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Thursday, 26 November 1931


Mr YATES (Adelaide) .- I join cordially in the felicitations that have been expressed. They are associated with the season, are part of the courtesies of life, and should be extended irrespective of our political convictions.

One important reference, however, has been omitted. No mention has has been made of the misery of hundreds of thousands in this continent of ours. Not one word of hope has been sent out to those who have for years undergone privations and passed through a really awful existence that is a discredit to any civilized community. We are on the eve of an election which has been precipitated by party jealousy and discord. Yesterday the Opposition were able to ensnare those supporters of the Lang plan known as the Beasley group, and use them to serve their purpose. It has been claimed that Parliament is being dissolved as the result of a challenge that was thrown out by the Prime Minister, and with the desire to call the bluff of the Beasley group. That is merely an excuse. When I face my electors in the near future, the issue will not be the dispute between the Langites and the honorable member for Dalley (Mr. Theodore) about how certain money should be distributed. There is no suggestion that the Government manipulated the distribution of money for relief work in my electorate. Only recently I was in Adelaide and saw a queue stretched from the post office right along King William-street, consisting of men whose presence there was a protest against and a refutation of the statement that they did not want to work, but desired to live on the dole. They gave the lie direct to that insinuation. What is this Parliament offering to those unfortunate people for the months to come? There has not been any proposal that the hours of labour should be shortened to provide a better distribution of the work that is available. I hope earnestly that at the forthcoming election we shall be able to throttle the financial oligarchy that has refused to do the job before it. Men have worked themselves out of jobs, simply because saturation point has been reached. There are not sufficient jobs available for those who seek employment; the position must be readjusted. That will be the election issue in my constituency. I stand for a fair and reasonable living for every human being in the community. I do not intend to allow the position to be camouflaged by irrelevancies but will make known the facts to the people. It is not a matter of whether the honorable member for Dalley (Mr. Theodore), or any other honorable member, overstepped the bounds, and acted improperly in an endeavour to obtain work for his constituents. We are really going to the country not on that issue, but on an issue which involves the provision of ways and means for the finding of work for nearly a half of a million people in a country opulent with wealth. We have heard on other occasions that our national income has fallen by £200,000,000, but on this occasion no one has drawn attention to the fact that since that statement was made our national income has risen by £100,000,000, nor has attention been directed to the fact that unemployment has not decreased in proportion to the increase in the national wealth. I endorse the felicitous remarks that have been made; but I also have some consideration for the poor devils in this community to whom this Christmas will be the worst in their experience. I hope that they will never have another of the same kind.







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