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Thursday, 1 July 1920

Mr PROWSE (Swan) .- I regret that I am unable to support the motion, but I congratulate the honorable member for Melbourne (Dr. Maloney), because I know that it is out of the generosity of his heart that he has submitted it. The honorable member referred to the Christian spirit that was necessary to permit of the carrying of such a proposition, but I do not know that we should be giving effect to a Christian spirit by carrying the motion in its entirety. We have New Testament warrant for the saying, " If any will mot work, neither let him eat."

Mr Gabb - I call attention to the state of the House. [Quorum formed.]

Mr PROWSE - For the last twenty years I have not ceased to sit on philanthropic boards in the State in which I have resided. I was, in Western Australia, a member of the Children's Protection Society from its inception, and have given more to philanthropic purposes - to the helping of the helpless - than to any other object in life. As a member of the Children's Protection Society, I found that over 75 per cent, of the cases of want brought under our notice were the result of drink. I find, too, that some men, by their manner of life, are simply living up to the old-age pensions and Old Men's Homes stage. I once said to a worthy workman in my employ upon his return, after a three" weeks' bout, " My friend, flesh and blood will not stand this. What is the end to be?" His reply was, "Oh, well, you know, Mr. Prowse, there is the oldage pension and also the Old Men's Depot." If we could so regulate matters in this Commonwealth as to save men from themselves it would be well. Where there were real cases of necessity my heart would go out to help them without question, but when we find such stumbling blocks in the way of men - when we see them so lose their own self-respect that they would fall back on a measure of this kind, what are we to do? We are dealing, not with the slums of London, but with Australia, where every able-bodied man should be able to earn his bread and clothes. This motion would apply to all such persons. That being so, while my sympathy goes out to the women and children, it seems to me that the motion would need to be vitally amended before I could conscientiously vote for it.

As I understand that the time has almost arrived when the debate must be adjourned, I ask leave to continue my remarks on a future date.

Leave granted; debate adjourned.

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