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Thursday, 29 July 1920

Mr MCGRATH - We are spending more than that on military preparations.

Mr BURCHELL - I am not. familiar with the actual figures referred to by the honorable member, but he must know that there is practically no military training going on now. If he is referring to commitments arising out of the war, I can understand his statement, but when he speaks of "military preparations" I take it he means military training, and I doubt whether he is correct.

Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Treasurer) - This motion would take a month to debate thoroughly.

Mr BURCHELL - I am inclined to think that there is something more in the proposal than meets the eye - something more than its simple adoption would import. I have heard the complaint made that the passing of a motion by a private member carries us no further towards the object desired. That may be so; and one of the reasons probably is that honorable members are apt to accept ill-considered propositions. If honorable members would put forward workable and sound proposals, undoubtedly the Government would be prepared to give effect to them. Prior to the last election I was asked ito deal with the matter of providing pensions for widows and orphans, and on his return to Australia I was asked to introduce a deputation to the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) on the subject. I mention this fact in order to show that it is not new for me to be advocating anything of this nature or assisting it to the utmost of my ability. But while I am anxious to do that, I am also anxious that the proposal should be put forward on reasonable and sound lines.

Mr Fleming - The honorable member does not wish it to break down under its own weight?

Mr BURCHELL - Certainly not. I want to give the proposition a fair chance of success, and I am surprised that honorable members who advocate State insurance should oppose the amendment submitted by the honorable member for Robertson (Mr.Fleming).

Dr MALONEY (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) - If the amendment bad been brought forward as a separate proposition I should certainly vote for it. I have always advocated national insurance.

Mr BURCHELL - I know the honorable member's views in regard to national insurance, and how keenly he has advocated it in the past. He could hardly do otherwise than support it now. He will find that the second part of his motion is not interfered with by the amendment. I agree withthe Treasurer that the subject needs more than five minutes' consideration. The honorable member for Robertson and I would be very much astonished if we found that our few words were able to convince the House.

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

Mr BURCHELL - We have two taxing authorities in Australia, and as the power to tax the people carries with it a certain amount of responsibility, it must be borne in mind that the Commonwealth Parliament is not the only legislative body in Australia responsible for the demonstration of sentiment and the display of kindness towards the people. I use the word "sentiment" in its broadest sense. There is also a responsibility on the State Legislatures. Of course, the share of each might need to be determined at a conference such as was held the other day in regard to the one taxing authority. I could not let this phase of the subject pass without a reference to the responsibility which rests upon the various States as well as upon the Commonwealth. For the various reasons which I have outlined, I have the greatest pleasurein seconding the amendment.

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