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Wednesday, 25 August 1920

Mr GROOM (Darling Downs) (Minister for Works and Railways) .- The speech and methods of the honorable member for Gwydir (Mr. Cunningham) are characteristic. He throws out the suggestion that this is a profiteering Government. He knows that that statement is not correct, but that this Government is representative of the whole of the people of Australia. If I were to attempt to array in their order and strength the elements which are behind the Opposition party, and then were to proceed to impute to its members that they represented the views of any one of those sections, there would be a howl of indignation. We do not hint, for example, that because there is a Bolshevik section of the community honorable members opposite are Bolsheviks. But it is all right for the Opposition to say anything they, can lay their tongues to concerning the Government. Anything is good enough. That is the method employed for endeavouring to lower in the public esteem a Government which. by its good works, stands higher in the regard of the community than ever before. The honorable member for Gwydir desires that consideration of the clause be postponed. He says the Committee should not agree to it until honorable members have been furnished with a report from the Judge of the Arbitration Court regarding what he considers should be done. Surely this Parliament is the legislative body for the interests of Australia. I repeat, deliberately, that the majority of the clauses in this Bill are based on suggestions which have been made by the President of the Court. His very latest letter to the Government, which is dated 3rd August, and which I have before me, contains one of these suggestions.

Mr Ryan - Why not read the letter?

Mr GROOM - I will not do so, and have given my reasons. First, honorable members opposite say that we have not received such suggestions, and then, when we show them that we have done so, they can only cry) "Read them." However, anything goes so long as a little mud can be thrown.

Mr Mahony - We think, about that letter, that it may be like some of "Billy" Hughes' cables.

Mr GROOM - I hold the President of the Arbitration Court in the highest respect, as I do the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes). I urge the Committee 'not to delay this measure for any such reason as has been advanced.

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