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Friday, 30 April 1920

Mr WEST (East Sydney) .- The plausible speech of the Minister for

Works and Railways (Mr. Groom) was as devoid of argument as any speech ever delivered by a member of this Chamber, and that is saying a good deal. I fully believe that the amendment carried in another place would be accepted by the returned soldiers in this Chamber, who have formed a union, and who believe that the Government will have to meet their wishes if they are to have their support. I draw honorable members' attention, however, to the fact that sooner .or later the Government will have to face the financial position, and any honorable member who disregards the seriousness of the situation is not fit to be a member of this House. As I have stated previously, this is an attempt to create a new Department, and its cost will exceed all expectations. If honorable members only realized the expenditure that is likely to be incurred they would not be so anxious to pass a in ea sure of this character. Although the Bill as it left this Chamber provided that the Commissioners were to be appointed for three years, there is nothing in the measure to prevent them being reappointed for a further period. I do not see why the taxpayers should be thus involved in further unnecessary expenditure. Our war debt has to be reduced, and it must not be regarded as a perpetual liability.

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