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Wednesday, 12 May 1920

Mr PROWSE (Swan) . -We have been sparring for some time on this proposal in its varied forms. It was originally submitted to this Chamber by the honorable member for Echuca (Mr. Hill), and the Committee recognised that a certain principle wasinvolved in it. Another place turned it down. We submitted a further amendment, and this another place has also rejected. In all that this Committee has passed, it has recognised a principle. I had some sympathy with the turning down of the first proposal that went forward, on the ground that if a certain amountwas granted to returned soldiers in the fashion then suggested, many of them, without much good intention, could say, "We will give it a try; it will cost us nothing." The amendment now proposed will, first of all, reduce the number of applicants, and, secondly, will give security to the Government. When a returned man comes along with his 10s. to the Government's £1 he shows an earnest intention to do something for himself. That is the security which the Government will have. I do not think that the trouble of the Department will be so great when the soldier will be under an obligation to present so much money on his own account before he starts. The Committee and another place will be perfectly safe in accepting the amendment as nowsubmitted. These men should get a chance. I hope it will be clearly understood that those who have gone back into their businesses or offices are not to take the passing of this proposal as an intimation that there are other fields open to them. Many of our worthy soldiers have not had a distinct chance. Some men are not capable of managing a business of their own, and would be the first to admit it. They like to get a weekly wage or salary, but there are others who desire to embark in enterprises and get a start in life. I certainly admire them for that, and think we should give them that chance, which will involve a very small amount of money compared with what we are finding for soldiers who desire to embark on other avocations, such as taking up land. For these reasons I propose to support the amendment moved by the Deputy Leader of the Country party (Mr. Jowett). I am as conscious as any other member of the gravity of the financial position of Australia, but I feel that this will not be money wasted. 'It will be sent into avenues of business and production, to which we must look more than anything else in order to produce further money to meet our financial obligations.

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