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Wednesday, 3 June 1942

Senator LARGE (New South Wales) . - I had not intended to speak on this bill, but I am impelled to do so because of certain remarks by honorable senators opposite. I was impressed by the obvious concern of the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McLeay) at the alleged disciplining of members of the Labour caucus. On several occasions the honorable senator has expressed similar concern, and I am beginning to wonder how soon we shall see him in open rebellion against his own caucus. Members of the Opposition are as much subjected to caucus discipline as are members of the Labour caucus. The honorable senator knows that the parties are lined up to represent class interests. On the one hand we have the owning and employing class, shortly described as the capitalist class, and on the other hand there is the working, wage-earning and real taxpaying class. Here and there an independent comes into the picture, but soon he is either swallowed up by one of the two contending parties, or, by showing his independence, he becomes unpopular in his electorate and is rejected. From his dissertation on the rigours of caucus discipline, the Leader of the Opposition passed on to something worse. If party politics are anathema to him I was surprised that he introduced the petty State rights squabble that has agitated the minds of many electors in the various States since the establishment of federation. At a time when the nation is at death grips with powerful enemies, the Opposition should have been bigger than that. It should have been prepared to direct all of its energies to the successful prosecution of the war. The Leader of the Opposition was obviously anxious to bring into the income tax field the people in the lower income groups. Invariably, when the opportunity offers, the honorable senator and his colleague, Senator McBride, are anxious to tax those people. When I look at the Leader of the Opposition, I am reminded of an advertisement which was popular a few years ago. It depicted a cherubic child who, while having a bath, was straining to reach a piece of soap lying outside the bath, the caption being, "He won't be happy till he gets it".

The Leader of the Opposition was followed by Senator Spicer, who has a keen analytical mind. He made a gallant attempt to make the best of a weak case, but he found his task difficult. His contribution was marred by his continuation of the squabble about State rights. He declaimed against the fact that New South Wales, whose initiative was probably responsible for the meritorious social legislation recently passed through this Parliament, was to be rewarded because it had made sacrifices in order to implement similar legislation. He should know, as almost every thinking person is aware, that what New South Wales does to-day the Commonwealth does tomorrow, and the rest of the world does 8 month later. He does not seem to have realized that, whilst manufacturing or commercial classes in New South Wales were making a sacrifice in order to give effect to mat beneficial social legislation, other States, and particularly the State that he represents, were taking full advantage of the handicap that New South Wales manufacturers and traders suffered in that respect

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