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Wednesday, 12 May 1920

Mr TUDOR (Yarra) . --The Acting Treasurer (Sir Joseph Cook) has said either too much or too little. Under cover of asking honorable members to defeat the amendment that was carried by this House, he has delivered what is practically ti semi-Budget speech; to quote his own words, the amendment has to be judged by the financial outlook. The honorable gentleman should have delivered that speech when the Bill was introduced; he ought to have told us that the financial outlook is black, and that we have to pay all these millions for pensions, war service homes, and so forth. The Ministers of the two big spending Departments - Defence and Repatriation - are not in this House, the Ministers (Senator Millen and Senator Pearce) both being members of another place. There they are gradually getting control of the spending of this money, and those two Departments spend more than the whole of the other Departments put together. The Treasurer (Mr. Watt), in his Budget speech, showed that we are spending £78,000,000 on war, up to the end of June, this year, an expenditure representing £1,500,000 a week.

Sir Granville Ryrie - And the honorable member desires to spend more on repatriation !

Mr TUDOR - The Acting Treasurer (Sir Joseph Cook) should be honest, and dec! aire that the Government will not accept an amendment, instead of offering a subterfuge of this kind.

Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Navy) - It is not a subterfuge in any shape or form.

Mr TUDOR - The Government proposal pretends to do something that it will not do.

Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Navy) - It does not.

Mr TUDOR - It pretends to give, those men assistance, when the limitations in the amendment cut away that assistance.

Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Navy) - That is not so.

Mr TUDOR - Why do not the Government apply the same conditions to men who go on the land ? Why not give them the treatment that is given to men who enlisted from the cities or big towns, or even from the bush, but who have' no opportunity of going on the land 1

Mr Hill - The' amount suggested - £250,000 - will repatriate only 80 men on the land.

Mr TUDOR - .The honorable member for Corangamite (Mr. Gibson) interjected that it would repatriate 1,666 men.

Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Navy) - Is not that a very good beginning ?

Mr TUDOR - Is it a good beginning for this Commonwealth, in view of the 400,000 men who want away ? The honorable member for Capricornia (Mr. Higgs), whose amendment was defeated in the Senate, was quite correct when he said that the best type of returned men have gone back to their own work without applying to the Repatriation Department, and because they have done this they are deprived of the benefits proposed by the Bill.

Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Navy) - All honour to them !

Mr TUDOR - I quite agree with' the honorable gentleman; but why cut them off from the benefits of a measure of this kind ? A man who has gone steadily to work himself is to have no assistance, and he is in the same position if he has been back more than twelve months, thus cutting out the original Anzac men.

Mr Poynton - That is not so, as the honorable member will see on reference to the Bill.

Mr TUDOR - Yes, I see that the Anzac men have a chance, but, after all, only 1,666 men will get any assistance under the Bill. I shall be pleased to support the honorable member for Echuca (Mr. Hill) in his original amendment, or any substitute for it, in order to show that we were earnest in all the promises we made to the men on the platform. I made promises on the platform, and to those . promises I shall be true, though apparently other honorable members would desire to evade them on the ground that they are afraid of a financial crash. We should have had to raise a great deal more money than this co-operative proposal would involve if the Parliament had accepted the proposals for conscription, which were supported by the Acting Treasurer (Sir joseph Cook), and which would have resulted in the raising of 200,000 more men. I shall vote against the proposal of the Government.

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