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Monday, 20 May 1957


Mr CALWELL (Melbourne) (Acting Leader of the Opposition) . - I suggest to the Government that the four associated bills - the Appropriation Bill (No. 2) 1956-57, the Appropriation (Works and Services) Bill (No. 2) 1956-57, the Supply Bill 1957-58, the Supply (Works and Services) Bill 1957-58 - be taken together. The House can then debate them together now but deal with them independently at subsequent stages.

Mr. ACTING DEPUTYSPEAKER.Is it the wish of the House that the course suggested by the Acting Leader of the Opposition be followed?

Honorable members. - Yes.


Mr CALWELL - Mr. Acting Deputy Speaker,the Government proposes under these four measures to appropriate a very large sum of money. In the Supply Bill the amount to be appropriated is £184,212,000. The amount to be appropriated under the Supply (Works and Services) Bill is £34,956,000. The amount to be appropriated under the Appropriation Bill (No. 2) is £15,305,000. The amount to be appropriated under the Appropriation (Works and Services) Bill (No. 2) is £2,139,000. Members of the Opposition - and I have no doubt members of the Government parties too - will offer some critical and constructive observations upon the manner in which the Government is carrying on the services of the country. We on the Opposition side have very strong views about what the Government ought to do and equally strong views on what it is failing to do for large sections of the Australian community. We believe that pensioners of all sorts - civil pensioners and repatriation pensioners - have been neglected since this Government took office and continue to be neglected by it. We believe also that the mothers of Australia who have had no increase since 1948 in the endowment for second and subsequent children should be allowed increased payments in the next budget. The endowment paid at present for second and subsequent children is only 10s. a week. Every one knows that the value of the £1 has fallen considerably since 1949, when the Chifley Government went out of office.


Mr Cramer - It had fallen a bit before then.


Mr CALWELL - It is true that the value of the £1 had fallen before 1949, but it fell between 1940 and 1949 only because of Australia's participation in a dreadful war during which the labour power of 1,000,000 workers was withdrawn from production.


Mr Cramer - The value of money has fallen in all other countries as well.


Mr CALWELL - Yes, but it has never fallen anywhere else as catastrophically as it has fallen in Australia since this Government took office in 1949. Wages are still chasing the fleeting £1. It is easy to obtain from the reports of the Government Statistician, the Commonwealth Bank and other authorities ample information to show the extent to which the value of the £1 has fallen in the last eight years. It used to be said in the days of the Chifley Government that the Chifley £1 was worth 12s.11d. as compared with a value of 20s. in 1939. This was a true assessment, but the value of the £1 had fallen over the war years for the reasons I mentioned earlier. To-day, the £1 is worth less than 6s. Indeed, its value is probably only about 5s. The formerly much-derided Chifley £1, which was worth 12s.11d., has been replaced by the Menzies £1, which is worth something about 5s.


Mr Graham - Why not compare the value of the £1 to-day with that of the £1 of Edmund Barton's day?


Mr CALWELL - On any ground of comparison I can show conclusively that the £1 always bought more when Labour governments were in office than it has when anti-Labour governments have occupied the treasury-bench. If the honorable member wishes me to make an up-to-date comparison, let me tell him that the Menzies £1 is worth less than the Nasser fi. According to financial reports I read over the week-end the Nasser £1 is worth 6s. I wish the Australian £1 under the Menzies Government had as much purchasing power.

It is up to this Government to do something for the great mass of the people who have fixed incomes, and particularly for those who live on pensions. It is impossible for any of these people to get cost of living adjustments in respect of their incomes through the industrial courts. It is impossible for them to have their incomes determined by some industrial authority, as are the incomes of those who work under awards of Commonwealth and State industrial tribunals. The earnings of workers under awards are adjusted to some extent according to the value of money, though honorable members on this side are not satisfied with what is being done for them. We feel that they are entitled to a much better deal - particularly those on margins and those who have been denied cost of living adjustments.

However, for the time being I direct my attention to the plight of old people, of mothers raising children and of war pensioners. This Government in its next budget must do much more for them than it has done in past years. The plight of age pensioners is distressing and is beginning to influence people who ordinarily would not take particular interest in a matter of this sort. Recently a group of professors and lecturers in the University of Melbourne considered the situation of pensioners, and their findings have been printed and circulated. This Parliament and the nation are indebted to the people who prepared this document and published it at their own expense. Their motives are completely disinterested and the sole reason for their action is the outrage that their consciences have suffered through the plight of so many of our fellow Australians who are living in misery and undeserved destitution. Such poverty demands action. The persons responsible for the pamphlet are Professor R. I. Downing, Ritchie Professor of Research in Economics, University of Melbourne, Associate Professor K. E. Fitzpatrick, Associate-Professor J. Polglaze, Dr. J. E. Isaac, Dr. G. S. L. Tucker, Miss

M.   M. Bayne, Miss E. R. Hoban, Messrs. A. H. Boxer, F. G. Davidson and J. M. Main. They have put forward an inspiring five-point programme for the improvement of the conditions of pensioners. Implementation of that programme would require the Government to find an additional £12,000,000 a year. This sum would help the needy aged. For example, some recipients of age pensions have their own homes or a small income apart from the pension. Their plight is not so bad as that of the majority of pensioners, who have no income except the pension. Such unfortunate people must survive on this pittance alone.


Mr Cope - When the Government talks about pensioners, it mentions only the ones who are comparatively well off.


Mr CALWELL - The Government has a guilty conscience on this matter. It does its best to make its weak case appear sound, but its arguments are nothing more than a hollow facade to the facts. The Downing committee to which I have referred suggests that the Treasurer should appropriate £12,000,000 more for pensioners in his next budget. This sum would provide, first, 7s. 6d. a week more for pensioners who do not share their household expenses with another person. The cost of this benefit would be only £5,000,000 a year. The committee wants £3,500,000 of the £12,000,000 to be set aside for special assistance to pensioners who can demonstrate actual need. This appropriation would enable an extra 10s. a week to be paid to one-third of the pensioner population. The committee wishes also to have housing allowances paid to those pensioners who cannot get suitable accommodation at reasonable rents. The cost of this benefit would be £2,500,000 a year, and it is estimated that it would average 10s. a week for each of the 100,000 pensioners considered to be in this situation. The committee wishes to have £1,000,000 spent each year on subsidies to State, local government and voluntary organizations for a greatly expanded provision of communal facilities and domiciliary services for the aged. The committee's five points are, in short, a payment of 7s. 6d. a week extra to the pensioner living alone, special help for special needs, housing allowances, home services and social amenities, and the encouragement of self-help for old age.

We of the Australian Labour party consider these proposals excellent. We believe further that age pensioners, as of right and in accordance with the Labour party's election programme, should receive a payment equivalent to the same percentage of the basic wage as they were being paid when the Labour government was in office. This would probably mean the payment of an extra 15s. a week on the present pension. I believe that every shilling a week more on the age pension requires at least £1,000,000 more a year to be obtained in revenue, so the 15s. a week extra in the pension would mean an extra appropriation of more than £15,000,000 a year for this extra social service.

Pensioners should not be left in the coming winter months to starve and shiver while the Government makes up its mind whether it will do anything for them in the next budget, which will be introduced in September. Any benefit to pensioners will be enjoyed only by those who happen to survive the hunger and cold of the winter months that will pass before the budget is brought down. Many people will suffer very greatly in the next three or four months while the Government makes up its mind. We who belong to the Australian Labour party are being attacked because we believe in democratic socialism. We believe in it, and we preach it, and practise it.


Mr Cramer - What is it?


Mr CALWELL - It is a system of society which is very different from the one out of which the Minister has done so well. It is a system in which production is based on use, not on profit. It is a system that does not envisage a section of the community at one end of the social scale having more than it needs, while, at the other end of the social scale, large numbers of good Australians, many of whom are better than those of the wealthy classes, cannot get sufficient for a healthy existence. We want to change society. When Labour was in office, we set about changing it. First, as a matter of war policy, we taxed large incomes as much as we could - up to 18s. 6d. in the £1 for taxable incomes of more than £5,000. If we made a mistake, it was in reducing the taxation on big incomes after World War II. In the United States of America to-day, a person with a taxable income of 400,000 dollars pays 92 cents in every 100 in taxation. That is equivalent to the rate of 18s. 6d. in the £1 which applied in Australia during the war. In Great Britain - another citadel that has been half-captured at least by the democratic socialists - a very high rate of tax is still imposed on big incomes.


Mr Anderson - Many people are trying to emigrate from Great Britain.


Mr CALWELL - I am not sure about that. British people are not coming to Australia in the numbers that we want, and no political party in Great Britain seems to want to encourage them to come. But that is another question. People are not emigrating from the United States in large numbers, either. That is certainly true. The population of the United States is growing rapidly, and, at the same time, standards are rising.


Mr Dean - That is private enterprise for you.


Mr CALWELL - Under private enterprise, the Americans are being taxed at the rate of 18s. 6d. in the £1 on big incomes.


Mr Dean - Their productivity is much higher.


Mr CALWELL - They are certainly being taxed heavily on high incomes, and their productivity is high. Ours would be higher if, as the honorable member for Hume (Mr. Anderson) mentioned some time ago, the Australian worker had at his disposal as much horse-power as the American worker has at his disposal. Indeed, if that were the case, productivity would be as high in this country as it is in the United States. At the present time, the ratio is about 5 to 2 in favour of the Americans. It is because of the comparative inefficiency of Australian industry that productivity in this country is not much higher. However, it is still very high by any standards.

To return to the question of taxation, the Labour government, after the war, reduced taxation from the high level of 18s. 6d. in the £1 on all taxable incomes in excess of £5,000 to 13s. 6d. for each £1 of taxable income in excess of £10,000, plus ls. 6d. in the £1 social services contribution, making a total of 15s. in the £1.


Mr Cramer - Did Labour reduce taxation?


Mr CALWELL - Labour reduced the war-time level of taxation to the extent that 1 have stated.


Mr Cramer - Does the honorable member think that the Labour Government made a mistake in reducing it?


Mr CALWELL - I think that we may have done.


Mr Cramer - Does he suggest that, if Labour were returned to office, it would increase taxation again?


Mr CALWELL - It would, if necessary, on big incomes. I shall answer that question fully in due course. This Government has reduced taxation on big incomes to 13s. 4d. on each £1 of taxable income in excess of £16,000.

The Labour government redistributed the income of the community in order to finance the welfare state that it established on such a firm foundation. Indeed, the welfare state is a part of democratic socialism; and it is so firmly established that this Government dare not attack it. So, to the extent that the Government supports the welfare state, it condones and supports democratic socialism. The present Government reduced taxation on big incomes, and, at the same time, increased taxation on small incomes by fostering inflation. The galloping inflation for which it was responsible took the basic wage from about £6 12s. a week when Labour was in office to approximately £13 in recent times. As a result, a married man with two children who earns the basic wage pays a lot more in taxation than he did when the Chifley Government was in office. In the days of the Chifley Government, a married man with two children who was on the basic wage paid no income tax. On the basic wage, which is the equivalent of approximately £644 a year, a married man with a wife and two children to-day pays income tax totalling £14 1 8s. a year. Therefore, he is £14 18s. a year worse off under this Government. A man with a taxable income of £16,000 a year pays only 13s. 4d. in the £1, whereas, under the Labour government, a man with a taxable income of £10,000 paid 13s. 6d. in the £1, and ls. 6d. in the £1 social services contribution.

As I have pointed out, this Government reduced taxation after the financial year 1953-54, and the rates have remained the same during the last three years. However, a man with a taxable income of £600 received a benefit of only £1 16s. a year, or about 9d. a week; whereas a man with a taxable income of £10,000 a year received a benefit of £400 a year, or nearly £8 a week. It is evident, therefore, that this Government is attempting to redistribute the national income in the opposite way from that favoured by the Labour Government. That is wholly wrong. In addition, this Government has imposed a heavy sales tax which hits the family man - particularly the man with a large family - on the basic wage much harder than it hits the wealthy man and the single man. It is a vicious tax, and is totally wrong. Labour considers that the sales tax should be abolished as quickly as possible.

Now I want to make a plea on behalf of former public servants who are dependent on superannuation, and, therefore, are on fixed incomes. There are many thousands of them throughout Australia, and, doubtless, they are to be found in every electorate. They feel that they should not be forgotten after having served Commonwealth, State and municipal instrumentalities through many years of public service and active citizenship. I ask the Government to give relief to those who contributed throughout their working life to superannuation funds, whether as railwaymen, teachers, police officers, customs officers, clerks, or in any other capacity.


Mr Graham - What can the Government do?


Mr CALWELL - The Government can increase the rate of pension. I think that it should also ease the means test. This would be of particular benefit to those who have been thrifty.


Sir Wilfred Kent Hughes - That would apply to every one, not just to superannuated public servants and the like.


Mr CALWELL - That is so, but most of the people affected by it are former public servants. Until recent times, not many private businesses and organizations supported superannuation schemes. They are steadily increasing in number.


Sir Wilfred Kent Hughes - What about those who live on the income from assets that they have accumulated in order to keep themselves in their old age? They would be in the same position.


Mr CALWELL - We should like to see them also benefit from the easing of the means test. There are many people who depend on the income from an equity in a property, or on small dividends, rents, and interest on investments in government loans. Indeed, there are many investors in government loans who are greatly annoyed because, having, as a matter of patriotic duty, put their money into liberty loans, victory loans, and the like, they are being asked to accept a return of from 3 per cent, to 3 per cent., compared with a return of 5 per cent paid to more recent investors; although I regard 5 per cent as being too high a rate of interest.


Mr Ward - There is no key money now!


Mr CALWELL - I am not interested in key money at the moment, but I am interested in the matter of housing, as we all are. Quite a few of the people in Australia to-day are not satisfied with the achievements of either the Commonwealth Government or the State governments in regard to housing. I believe that the Commonwealth Government should provide the extra millions which the States will ask for at the forthcoming meeting of the Australian Loan Council, but I think that the States have a concomitant obligation to prevent the big oil companies from knocking down decent houses to provide service stations on every third corner of the large centres of settlement in Australia. I think, too, that the State governments should prevent private enterprise from knocking down habitable buildings in order to provide extensions to hotels, office space and the like.


Mr Graham - And stop the owners from selling them?


Mr CALWELL - Yes, I would do that too, if necessary, because-


Mr Cramer - It comes back to the point that the honorable gentleman does not believe in private ownership at all!


Mr CALWELL - I do, but I do not believe in private exploitation of the people. While there is a tremendous shortage of houses, no decent house should be knocked down.

There is a shortage of from 200,000 to 300,000 houses in Australia, and the rate of construction has slowed down in the last couple of years. The point I want to make is that it is the obligation of this Government to step up housing production from 80,000 a year to something like 120,000 a year in order to supply the needs of the Australian people and to house the migrants who are coming to this country. There is criticism of immigration to-day because of the shortage of houses.


Mr Cramer - What would the honorable member do with 120,000 houses?


Mr CALWELL - I should quickly fill them with people if the houses were here to be filled. It is all very well for the Minister for the Army (Mr. Cramer) to try to defend the existing situation. There is nobody in Australia, outside the ranks of the Ministry, who believes that there is not a housing problem.


Mr Cramer - The honorable member said that he would build 120,000 a year.


Mr CALWELL - Yes.


Mr Cramer - Would he gear up the building industry to build them?


Mr CALWELL - Yes.


Mr Cramer - Then he would ruin Australia.


Mr CALWELL - No! The only people who would suffer would be those who are building luxury homes, luxury picture theatres, luxury hotels and all the rest of it. If this country cannot build 120,000 houses a year we are not going to be the prosperous nation that we tell ourselves we shall be.


Mr Cramer - We could not do that now.


Mr CALWELL - Of course, we could!


Mr Cramer - That is a childish economic argument.


Mr CALWELL - The Minister for the Army may be a real estate agent, but he has never built anything.


Mr Cramer - Have I not? I have built more than the honorable member for Melbourne.


Mr CALWELL - The Minister is wrecking his reputation by interjecting - that is, such reputation as he has already for ministerial capacity. If we cannot build 120,000 houses a year, we can at least aim at that figure, and the Australian people are entitled to that number of homes.

Why, 25,000 returned service men and women are still waiting for houses, twelve years after the end of the war! They are told that they can get finance eighteen months to two years hence.


Mr Turnbull - And also some of the World War I. people.


Mr CALWELL - That may be so, but whether they are World War I. people or World War II. people, they are entitled to houses in the country which they helped to defend.


Mr Cramer - How could you do that?


Mr CALWELL - People used to say, " How can you possibly bring 50,000, 60,000, or 70,000 immigrants into the country " ? You can always find people to give you reasons why you can never do anything, but if the Minister, or the ministry corporate, will address themselves to the problem of housing, they will find means of solving it.


Mr Cramer - We would need to gear the building industry to that rate of production.


Mr CALWELL - First of all, we would have to be able to gear the Minister up, or sack him, because he has been one of the flies in the ointment at every stage.

Having said all that I want to say on this question at the moment, I wish to make a few remarks on some other matters. I think that the Public Accounts Committee has done a reasonably good job, but I am never happy about it. It was suppressed by the Scullin Government and was not re-established by the Lyons Government during the depression. I should much prefer to see the committee constituted as a committee on expenditure. I should rather see a committee appointed by both Houses of the Parliament to safeguard the finances of the nation and investigate the spending of money before it was spent, rather than eighteen months after it had been spent-


Mr Leslie - Hear, hear!


Mr CALWELL - I hope that the Government will consider this matter as quickly as possible. There are such committees in the United States, and they cut down the budget considerably. As a matter of fact, they are in process of cutting it down now, in both houses of the American Congress.


Mr Ward - You have converted the honorable member for Moore.


Mr CALWELL - I advocated this before the honorable member for Moore made his appearance in this Parliament. I have always believed in such committees. I am of the opinion that the Government should do something about putting value back into the £1. It promised to do so seven years ago, and I do not propose to allow it to neglect its obligations or to break its promises. Most members on the Government benches would very willingly forget all about this matter, but we must not allow them to do that, nor must we let the Government fail to realize that, in the opinion of the great majority of the Australian people, it has become stale, stolid and stubborn. It lacks determination, imagination and inspiration. The current sittings have proved conclusively that the Government has no business to put before the Parliament. We have sat here for the last two or three weeks waiting for measures of major importance, and all we have heard have been nice stories about prosperity, about what the country is going to do in the future, and about how many people we will have ten years hence. Even when honorable members opposite speak about the population of the country ten years hence they are hopelessly conservative and speak only of a population of 12,000,000. If the Government was really as active as it ought to be it would seek an increase of the population by 1,000,000 every three and a half years, and if the tempo of immigration had been maintained at the rate at which it was moving in the days of the Chifley government, and as it was moving when this Government first came to office, with the necessary provision of finance for housing, social services generally, hospitals and the like, this country would have 12,000,000 people sooner than ten years from now.


Mr Hamilton - But did not the honorable member, only recently, second a censure motion, complaining bitterly about the immigration programme?


Mr CALWELL - No. The honorable member for Canning must have misunderstood the situation, as he often does. We still stand by the Chifley Government plans on immigration, and we are telling the Government to speed up expenditure on roads, hospitals, schools and private housing to make it possible for us to bring in more immigrants. Not only should the Government provide loan money for those purposes, but it should also tell the private banks and the Commonwealth Bank to make overdrafts available to people who want to do something worth while with them, rather than make them available to finance such projects as the building of a luxury hotel in Melbourne which is to cost £4,000,000, another luxury hotel in Sydney to cost £3,500,000, and a sumptuous place at a town called, appropriately enough, Surfers Paradise. Of course, it is paradise for those who have the money to go there and enjoy its luxuries, but how foolish-


Mr Hamilton - Wait till we get on to the High Court!


Mr CALWELL - I hope that if the honorable members for Canning (Mr. Hamilton) and East Sydney (Mr. Ward) ultimately are members of the High Court bench - and I believe that there is a plan to that end in the course of preparation - they will do something to look after the interests of the Australian people.


Mr Howson - Mr. Cain enjoys his visits to Surfers Paradise.


Mr CALWELL - He may. I do not go there. I have no concern about how people spend their lives or what they do with their money, but what I object to, and so do all my colleagues, is the provision of luxury homes for the wealthy and luxury hotels for purse-proud millionaires from overseas. I would prefer to see houses for the people than these luxury buildings being erected. Where do you find the age pensioners living? Where do you find many basic wage workers living? Not in luxury hotels! Not even in houses that are a little better than sub-standard! You will find thousands and thousands of them in fowlhouses, garages, shanties, bag huts, caravans, tents and hovels all round Australia. While that condition of affairs exists we have not a healthy social life.


Mr Cope - The fowls have nowhere to live now.


Mr CALWELL - Well, you see, in accordance with our philosophy, capitalism breeds Communists. Because it denies economic justice, because it denies social justice, to so many people, capitalism breeds

Communists just as a swamp breeds mosquitoes. If this country is going to be a great and prosperous country the sooner we erect the houses we need so much the better will it be for all of us.

I think that the Government ought to consider the reports of the two committees, one from each side of the House, which, having consulted the same authority, produced identical reports on rail standardization. I admire their enthusiasm. I think the job both committees recommend ought to be undertaken. I am sorry that the Ward plan was not carried out. If the Labour Government made a mistake in this matter, it was that we asked the States to contribute to the cost of rail standardization. If we had said that it would be done as a Commonwealth job we would have had rail standardization well on the road to completion now. We dealt with the States, however, and, as usual, we could not get unanimity among them. Ultimately, we did not even get a reasonable degree of cooperation. Nowhere was that truer than in Western Australia, where the honorable member for East Sydney, when Minister for Transport in the Chifley Government, offered to finance the construction of a standardgauge railway from Kalgoorlie to Perth.


Mr Leslie - He did not agree that the Commonwealth would bear the whole cost.


Mr CALWELL - We did offer to do that ultimately. An anti-Labour government in Western Australia turned us down, and a succeeding Labour government was just about as co-operative. I am sure that, to-day, we all believe that it is vital to the development and defence of Western Australia that the rail gauge between Kalgoorlie and Perth be standardized.


Mr Leslie - Standardization of it would be mainly to the benefit of the trade of the eastern States.


Mr CALWELL - It would also be to the benefit of Western Australian trade.


Mr Leslie - Not so much as it would be to the benefit of the trade of the eastern States.


Mr CALWELL - I advise the honorable member not to be so parochial. Occasionally, he can develop a wider outlook on these questions.

I urge the Government to do something to meet the wishes of the people who believe that the whole of the revenue from the petrol tax should be handed to the States. I cannot see why the Government wants to continue to hold on to that £16,000,000, which is the difference between the amount it collects from petrol tax and the amount it hands to the States.


Mr Leslie - The Labour Government did not give the States as much as this Government does.


Mr CALWELL - That may be, but at least we started the disbursement of this revenue.


Sir Earle Page - Labour opposed it in this House.


Mr CALWELL - It is all right for the right honorable member for Cowper to tell us what he did. We were the first government to give the money for feeder roads.


Sir Earle Page - No.


Mr CALWELL - Yes, we were. It is completely true that we were the first government to insist that the States did not expend all the money on speedways. We said it ought to be used for developmental roads. Of course, that has been extended since. What we want the Government to do is to hand to the States that extra £16,000,000, plus another £4,000,000 from a tax on diesel road trains. If we really envisaged this country as having a great future, and were determined to develop Australia as quickly as possible, we would build a road between Cape York and the south, which would not only be developmental in character but would also have a great defence value. We would also build an east-west road from Carnarvon in Western Australia to Bundaberg in Queensland, and finance its construction from the proceeds of the petrol tax. Now that members of the Australian Country party are becoming vociferous, let me remind them that their leader in 1 949 promised a loan of £250,000,000 to the States for road construction to be financed from the proceeds of petrol tax. The Government did no more about that than it did about keeping its promise to put value back into the £1.

I spoke about taxation a while ago, and I want to go on record as saying that nobody likes taxation, and that everybody wishes to see all taxes reduced as soon as possible.

But if it is necessary to increase taxes so that the pensioners may be paid an amount at least sufficient for their frugal needs - in fact, so as to give the pensioners the amount that would be required to bring their pensions to 37 per cent, of the basic wage - we shall have to consider increasing the rates of taxes on individuals in the higher income brackets and on the big wealthy companies which have produced, and are producing, balance-sheets which show profits running into millions of pounds annually. I put this to the Government: We have now reached a stage where the investment of foreign capital in this country - British and American - is requiring an annual provision of dollars for the payment of dividends abroad that is equal to the amount of money we are able to raise abroad annually in loans. I think that the position is becoming quite bad.

Nobody begrudges General MotorsHolden's Limited its well-deserved reputation for efficiency, nor does anybody wish to belittle the great service it is rendering to Australia in the provision of a car which is popular both here and abroad; but there is an amount of only £1,250,000 of United States capital invested in that company. The profit made is around £8,000,000 this year, of which about £3,000,000 is to be sent abroad. The amount of money being sent abroad represents 225 per cent, on the capital invested, and the amount of profit earned is about 800 per cent. We cannot stand a strain like that, and we have to tell all foreign companies which have put their money into this country, and particularly the English banks like the Australian and New Zealand Bank Limited, and the English, Scottish and Australian Bank Limited, and also the insurance companies, that the time has arrived when they will have to domicile portion of their capital in Australia, when they have to transfer at least 49 per cent, of their shares to the Australian register, because the Australian people are entitled to share in the equity that those companies earn or enjoy. It is too bad that the Australian people should have to see vast sums being sent out of the country to pay dividends abroad, when the price of the article from the sale of which the profits are made could be reduced. If profits of the order now being made by industrial companies are to be made, then a large portion of them ought to be ploughed back, and even more than is being spent on extensions should be thus spent. A big section of the profits should be invested in government loans in order that the States may be better able to provide the roads, school buildings, water and electricity services, and all the other things without which none of those companies would be making any profit at all.

I again emphasize the need for the Government to consider whether it has the constitutional powers to require companies registered here, although their capital is owned abroad, to transfer, over a period of years, a number of Australian shares to the Australian market, so that Australian citizens may own these shares and so partake of the benefit which accrues from the making of considerable profits - profits which are growing with the passage of the years. We are reaching a stage of crisis in this matter, and I think that the Government should take some action on it.

Having said that, I wish to say that the Opposition does not propose to deny the Government the Supply it seeks, because we want the pensioners to be paid even the inadequate amount they are being paid to-day. We also do not want to deprive the Government of sufficient money to enable the Public Service and the defence forces to discharge their duties until the House meets again to discuss the budget. When the budget does come down, we all hope that it will be a better budget than the last one or any other one, and we hope, also, that in future the Government's activities will not be marked by procrastination, vacillation and trepidation.







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