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Wednesday, 29 June 1938

Women's lipstick may play a devastating part in the next war.

So complete are the Commonwealth Government's plans under the new defence programme that there are factories in Australia that can change over from the manufacture of cosmetics to cartridge shells.

One lipstick factory has special machinery installed so that by a minor adjustment it can change from the production of lipstick tubes to rifle cartridges.

This was revealed by the Minister for Defence (Mr. Thorby) last night. He said that under the emergency industry conversion scheme, many factories had special machinery installed in reserve, enabling them to switch at a moment's notice to wartime production.

As a mater of fact, this is only another example of the work which the Scullin Government arranged that the munition factories should undertake. That Government also was responsible for the manufacture of shock absorbers in Australia before any of the big' manufacturing firms were prepared to do the work. I stress this point because the present Government is evincing a disposition to claim credit for the establishment of new industries which were really established by the Scullin Government for the definite purpose of providing employment. Now this Government is reversing the Scullin Government's policy, and is handing over to private enterprise the manufacture of goods that could quite well be produced in the Government's own factories. One of our political weaknesses is the tendency of governments to reverse the policy of their predecessors. Of course, the people are responsible for that, because it is they who elect the governments. Nevertheless, it is regrettable that, a national policy in regard to arms manufacture having been decided upon, the present Government should now abandon that policy under pressure from financial interests. I hope that, even at this stage, the Government will reconsider its determination in this connexion. I agree that there should bo something in the nature of shadow factories for the manufacture of munitions in the event of war, though I do not think there is much danger of our being involved in war for many years to come. This Government, however, is going too far in the direction of presenting to private enterprise the opportunity to make profits out of the manufacture of arms and munitions, a principle to which a democratic community such as ours should be strongly opposed.

Country party representatives have complained that the policy of protection for secondary industries has made life on the land unattractive and unprofitable. They seem to overlook the fact that, while it is true that secondary industries have received protection, the primary industries also have had their share. Recently, I asked a question in the Senate regarding the amount of money paid out in bounties since 1932, because I desired to bring a previous set of figures up to date. The figures supplied to me were -

 

This is the amount which has been paid out to primary producers by way of bounties during the last six years, so it must me admitted that the primary producers have had their fair share of protection. I do not complain of that, and I merely raise the matter now in answer to those who assert that secondary industries have received too much protection under the tariff, the Navigation Act and the Arbitration Act. Like the honorable member for Ballarat (Mr. Pollard) I consider that the farmers are entitled to an adequate income, but their employees should be protected against sweating.


Mr Anthony - Would the honorable member support the payment of a flour tax.







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