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Wednesday, 26 June 1946

Mr CONELAN - Not exactly; thai depends on what is produced. Not longago, the men and women of this country could purchase very little clothing. .1 have received from David Jones Limited, Sydney, a catalogue consisting of 124 pages in which is listed for sale all the clothing likely to be needed by men. women and children. A large proportion of this was not procurable during the war years. The statement that production is not greater to-day than it has b"en previously, is sheer nonsense. Honorable members opposite are keen advocates ot private industry and big business. The figures published to-day in the tory press show that private employers are not able to play the part that they should play in the re-employment of ex-servicemen and women.

Mr Holt - The Government has told us that all discharged ex-service personnel have been absorbed in employment.

Mr CONELAN - The Governmenhas absorbed 16 per cent., whereas private employers have absorbed only 5 per cent, of the number engaged in production to-day. Attempts are being made to sabotage the Government. Some industries in Victoria have been closed for the last month, in order that the tax payable by the employers may be less. I do not desire to mention the names of the firms.

Mr Holt - The honorable member has my full permission to mention the name of any firm that has done that.

Mr CONELAN - They want to cause unemployment, and to blame the Government for the scarcity of coal supplies in that State. The quantity of coal going to Victoria to-day is larger than it wapreviously. I admit, that some person? are not producing so much, to-day as they should produce. I refer, not to the worker but to captains of industry, who visit the golf links two or three times a week and attend race meetings whenever they are held. In Queensland, many business executives spend half the week at their homes at the many beautiful seaside resorts in that State. The captains of industry are trying to embarrass the Government by lowering production and by holding goods in reserve until the expiration of this month. I am confident that after the 1st July next some of them will produce anything that is desired, whilst others will hold up production until after the next elections. When the present Government has again been returned to power, they will unload their stocks as quickly as possible.

The Government has been criticized on account of the number of persons it employed during the war period, and the number still engaged to-day. A statement issued by Mr. Pinner, who made a thorough investigation of Commonwealth departments, shows that the total staff employed at the peak period was 214,691, and the total staff at present employed is 67,125, a reduction of 147,566. Those displaced have been absorbed in other employment. The people of this country realize that their means of livelihood in the future will be different from what it was in. pre-war days. The Government has to provide £60,000,000 for defence purposes - ten times as much as was provided pre-war. That money will have to he raised by means of taxation. The -um needed for governmental activities has risen to the colossal figure of £300,000,000, compared with a pre-war budget of £84,000,000. Big interests will have to realize that they will not be allowed to make in the future the exorbitant profits they made in the. past. The Government will ensure that those who are in need of social services and full employment shall have those amenities guaranteed to them in the future. When the people are given the opportunity, they will again return the Labour party to power.

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