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Tuesday, 13 October 1931

Mr BEASLEY (West Sydney) . - I second the amendment. During the last two or three weeks, it has been brought particularly under our notice that in regard to public works that may be undertaken by the Commonwealth or the States, the duty of saying just how much money shall be spent upon them, and what works shall actually be carried out does not rest upon any government. We have, to-day, a number of statements by the Prime Minister and the Treasurer that, arising out of the last Premiers Conference, representations as to what works are to be carried out and what amount of money is to be made available for them have to be made to the Commonwealth Bank Board. If it is not for this House to determine what work should be undertaken to provide employment for the thousands who to-day are seeking employment, I fail to see the need for a Public Works Committee. Was the Public Works Committee asked to inquire into the sewerage scheme at Warrnambool, or the electrical scheme on the north coast of New South Wales, or the abattoirs at Brisbane? This Parliament had no say as to whether those works should be undertaken.

Mr Coleman - They are not to be undertaken with parliamentary money.

Mr BEASLEY - The banks will' not trust the Parliament or the Government to decide what works shall be put in hand. Ordinarily those matters would be determined by Parliament, but to-day only such works can be undertaken as the banks themselves approve. The powers of this Parliament have been definitely handed over to the financiers, who to-day are dictating public policy in all its forms. Therefore, we might as well be frank with the people, particularly with those who seek our aid and think that we can relieve their distress ; we should let them understand that we are not permitted to decide these matters. I propose to take any and every opportunity to expose the working of the financial machine so that the people will know what is the paramount authority in this country to-day.

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