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Wednesday, 16 March 1932

Mr LYONS (Wilmot) (Prime' Minister and Treasurer) . - Very little criticism, apart from that expressed during the debate on the Financial Agreements Enforcement Bill, has been offered to the Government policy during the discussion of this motion. The honorable member for Kennedy (Mr. .Riordan) and some other honorable members have said that dreadful things will happen in New South Wales if the Government puts info effect the policy which it has outlined, but I assure those honorable members that the retribution which will follow continued default and repudiation by the New South Wales Government will be far worse than anything that can follow the attempts that this Government may make to attach State revenues for the purpose of meeting State liabilities. The complete failure of the New South Wales Government to carry out the undertakings which it solemnly gave to the Commonwealth and State Governments at the conference which agreed to the Premiers plan is the original reason for the adoption of the policy which this Government is now pursuing. Nothing that honorable members of the group which supports the Lang Government in this House have said, or can say, can explain away Mr. Lang's failure to reduce the expenditure of his Government in accordance with the Premiers plan. Anything that may happen in New South Wales in the. near future in consequence of the failure of the" Lang Government to honour its pledges in that respect will be the responsibility of that Government.

The Commonwealth is merely taking steps to "recover moneys paid by it on behalf of New South Wales. Those moneys have been spent on developmental works in New .South Wales. Honorable members of the Lang group in this chamber care nothing about undertakings of the character to which I have referred and they are at least consistent in the course which they are following ; but the honorable member f or Kennedy was one of the great majority of honorable members of this Parliament who, by his vote, declared that the Commonwealth Government should accept liability for any payments due by a State under the Financial Agreement and not paid. Those honorable members who deliberately did that the other day now protest against the action taken by this Government to secure reimbursement of the amounts already paid by the Commonwealth on behalf of New South Wales.

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