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Thursday, 3 March 1932

Mr JAMES (Hunter) (1:50 AM) .- I protest against this clause, which provides that at. any time during the currency of any proclamation the Treasurer may serve upon the chief executive officer of any corporation carrying on the business of banking, a notice requiring him to render forthwith to the Treasurer a return of the amount of the balance standing to the credit of the State to which the proclamation relates. That is grossly unfair, and will be deeply resented by the people of New South Wales. I am certain that the citizens of Australia would never have accepted the financial agreement if they had thought that the Commonwealth Government was to have power to do what is proposed in this clause. I remind the honorable member for Denison (Mr. Hutchin), who has been interjecting freely, that his own State may shortly be in the same position as New South Wales. . The Premier of Tasmania, when asking for £80,000 recently, said that, in carrying OUt the Premiers plan, his Government had taken £300,000 out of circulation, and if they took another £1, financial collapse would follow. As a matter of fact, Tasmania is proportionately further behind in its payments than New South Wales. The Premier of Western Australia stated recently that it was all very well to say that they could do this or do that, but, - in the final analysis, who was going to pay their interest bill and feed their unemployed? Of course, honorable members opposite are not concerned with that. To them the feeding of the unemployed means nothing. There is not the slightest doubt that before very long some of the other States will be unable to meet their commitments. In Queensland, under the Moore Government, wages .have been reduced, and the standard of living brought down to the coolie level, but the unemployment problem has not been solved. Before long the bailiffs will be in every State in the Commonwealth. To whom is the Treasurer going to give the job of collecting the revenue of defaulting States? Perhaps he proposes to give jobs to members of the New Guard, under the direction of " Little Eric". The Government is rushing blindly into this matter, actuated by political prejudice against Mr. Lang. During the election campaign, honorable members opposite declared that Mr. Lang was an incubus which must be removed. Some even went so far as to take vows that they would eat their hats or their boots if they did not shift Mr. Lang; but he is still there. He is too astute for all of them. He will be there when the whips are cracking, and he has behind him the solid support of the people of New South Wales.

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