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Thursday, 3 March 1932

The CHAIRMAN - The honorable member is now making remarks more appropriate to a second-reading speech.

Mr BEASLEY - The object of these remarks, Mr. Chairman, is to reply to the observations made by honorable members opposite that honest methods should be adopted by governments. The previous speaker had something to say, on this point, relative to the Premier of New South Wales. At the foot of the report from which I am quoting appears a reference which reads, "A.A. Dividends in arrears". That, I take it, refers to dividends declared but not paid. Those who feel impelled to discuss motives should ask themselves, first of all, whether their own motives and conduct are honest. They should- make a check of themselves before they criticize others. How much honesty is there in a business firm which declares dividends but does not pay them?

It appears to me that the Government has introduced this bill because it feels called upon to do something spectacular. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Scullin) has truly stated that if the Government acts in accordance with ihe provisions of this bill it will usurp the powers of the judiciary by taking action simply on a resolution submitted to both Houses of the Parliament. We have been invited to discuss this subject apart altogether from party political considerations; but I ask whether the honorable member for Barton (Mr. Lane) and the honorable member for Parramatta (Mr. Stewart) will disregard all party- political considerations when the resolution to which I have referred is before the House. The appeal to consider this subject on a broad national basis will fall on deaf ears in their case. I suppose that in spite of everything that is being said, the Government, will proceed with this vindictive legislation. It has, no doubt, made this clause as vicious as possible. But that fact will in '.no way reduce our power or- prestige, as we criticize the Government ' here and elsewhere for this unwarranted action. I can visualize what will happen if this drastic measure becomes law, and unjust regulations are made pursuant to its provisions. The individual taxpayers of New South Wales will be the people who will suffer. This is an attempt to corner them and force them to meet commitments which they cannot afford to meet. In these circumstances, the people will take the only course open to them, and refuse to pay.

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