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Thursday, 26 November 1931

Mr LAZZARINI (Werriwa) .- I should not have spoken were it not for one or two statements made by the honorable member for Adelaide (Mr. Yates) - statements which I cannot allow to go unchallenged. By innuendo, of which the honorable member is a master, he endeavoured to create the impression that the coming election has been precipitated because of some collaboration between the group of which I am a member, and members of the official Opposition. The members of the group to which I belong believed that something had occurred which called for an inquiry. The honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Beasley) moved the adjournment of the House in order to discuss the matter, thus taking advantage of a right which has been exercised hundreds of times while I have been in this Parliament. He made a proposal to the Government that if it would allow an unbiased inquiry to be held into the charges, which were supported by statutory declarations, he would himself vote in support of the Government, if. a vote were taken. It was because the Government refused his request for an inquiry that he pressed an with his motion. For the approaching election the Government is alone responsible. Instead of shedding crocodile tears over the lot of the unemployed, the honorable member for Adelaide would have done better had he, during the last two years, used his influence and his vote to induce the Government to do something to relieve unemployment. It is in bad taste for the honorable member, now that everything is in the melting pot, to try to make an issue out of the unemployment problem. I take it that honorable members will put their platform before the electors in due course. The members of the group to which I belong will not be backward in doing so, and we have a very definite policy for the solution of the unemployment problem. We will state that policy clearly and unequivocally, so that all who hear or read it will be able to understand it. Our policy statement will not be loaded with a superfluous verbiage which might he made to mean anything. There will he about it no ambiguity behind which we can shelter when asked to stand by our pledges. The honorable member for Adelaide endeavoured, I think, to create the impression that the members of the group to which I belong were in some way lacking in sympathy with the unemployed. If we had been able to see any hope that the Government would do something to relieve the distress and want from which so many thousands of citizens are suffering, we would have been prepared to condone even some measure of maladministration in order that it might carry out its policy. It was because for two years we bad had from the Government nothing but vacillation and exhibitions of hopeless ineptitude that we decided to take the step we did, being quite indifferent whether the Government remained in office or not. So far as we can see, it matters little to the unemployed whether the present Government remains in office, or the Opposition is returned.

Mr Brennan - The honorable member will have a bitter experience.

Mr LAZZARINI - I am speaking from the bitter experience of the last two years. Government supporters - I am not including the Attorney-General - will at least give me credit for being honest, and for doing what I believed to be right.

Mr Lewis - Why all this selfadulation ?

Mr LAZZARINI - I am simply replying to the statements of the honorable member for Adelaide, and giving my record of two years, which has to be adjudged by the people as to whether it is worthy or unworthy.

Mr Lewis - Why not say all this in the constituencies?

Mr LAZZARINI - When honorable members are inspired to make statements challenging the bona fides of other honorable members, they must expect an answer. I have been forced, therefore, to speak; I should not otherwise have done so at this stage of the proceedings.

On behalf of the group which I represent, I express my keen appreciation of your impartiality, Mr. Speaker, and of the masterly manner in which you have conducted the proceedings of this House. You have upheld the dignity of that office with much credit to yourself. I also wish to express my appreciation of the work of the Chairman of Committees, of the members of the Hansard staff, and the other officers of Parliament. We appreciate the efficient service rendered to us by our officers.

I" regret that I have been compelled to reply to statements which I consider a reflection upon the integrity of the members of my party.

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