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Tuesday, 3 May 1932

Mr GREGORY (Swan) .- It appears as thou|gh honorable members generally are favorable to the amendment of the honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Maxwell). I should like to know why clause 17 was introduced as it appears in the bill. In my opinion, it would, if agreed to, leave the way open for the commission to. engage in business to any extent' that it thought desirable. When the Electricity Commission was set up in Victoria, it was not intended that it should engage in ordinary business activities su'ch as the buying and selling of electrical equipment and the like in competition with private enterprise, but to-day the commission has shops open in the city and in a number of country towns expressly for this purpose.

Mr Rosevear - Hear, hear !

Mr GREGORY - I know that honorable members opposite approve of that policy, but I cannot admire some of the members of my own party for supporting that view. I believe in consistency. I am totally opposed to sacrificing consistency to expediency. If the honorable member for Macquarie (Mr. John Lawson) would make some inquiries over a period of years, I think that he would be amazed at the amount of waste that has occurred in connexion with the Lithgow small arms factory, particularly in the years immediately after the war. The Prime Minister (Mr. Lyons) ha3, in many public speeches, referred to the fine service which private enterprise is rendering to Australia. The honorable gentleman led us to believe that lie would do everything possible to encourage the development of private enterprise. But almost the first bill introduced by his Government shows an entirely different tendency. We know very well what is going on at the Munition Factory in Maribyrnong. It is entering into competition with private enterprise in many line3. Do honorable members desire the broadcasting commission to emulate that practice? If the members of the United Australia party and the Country party are worth their salt, they will not agree to this clause without deleting from it those provisions which may permit the commission to infringe the rights of private enterprise. We know very well that such concerns as the Electricity Commission, which are competing with private enterprise, are not liable to State, Federal, or municipal taxation. Their competition, therefore, is on an unfair basis. It is not desirable that we should permit the broadcasting commission to follow these other bodies in their trading enterprises.

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