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Wednesday, 27 April 1932

Mr RIORDAN (Kennedy) .- The honorable member for Calare (Mr. Thorby) libelled a big section of the community when he referred to abuses of the food relief distributed by the Government of New South Wales. The statement that one man left a job of Ss. a day and keep, to live on a dole of 5s. a week, is too ridiculous to receive credence by even the most infantile mind. The story about government interference with the police is very old. When the Unemployment Insurance Act was first operated in Queensland, similar allegations were made, but upon investigation were proved to be without foundation. The honorable member would condemn the whole working community because in

New South Wales one man who had secured employment, left it, possibly finding it distasteful to him. This Government has been in office for four months, and the revenue which it declared it would obtain from New South Wales has not yet been collected. The honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Marr) said that he would eat his hat if Mr. Lang was not out of power within a fortnight.

Mr Stacey - That is an old story.

Mr RIORDAN - It may be, but it still stands good. The Premiers were to meet and frame legislation to enable money to be collected from New South Wales. How successful all these efforts have been is shown by the fact that neither the Prime Minister (Mr. Lyons) nor the Assistant Treasurer (Mr. Bruce) will make any statement as to the amount of revenue that has been collected in New South Wales up to date. When the enforcement legislation was before this chamber, I asked the Prime Minister how he intended to collect revenue from the people of New South Wales. He said that if I would read the bill, I would see in it a provision which obliged the banks to pay to the Commonwealth any money held by them for the Government of New South Wales. If a man knows that a garnishee is to be placed on his wages on Saturday morning, he will hang on to his job until Friday night, draw his money and get away. Mr. Lang withdrew his money and got away before any garnishee order could be placed on the money to the credit of the State in the banks.

This Parliament has spent all its time dealing with New South Wales. No effort has been made to find employment for the people of Australia - almost 30 per cent. - who arc in a state of semistarvation. Is confidence likely to be restored in this country by a change of government in New South Wales? The Prime Minister and the Assistant Treasurer say "Yes." We were assured that when the present Prime Minister took charge of the Commonwealth Treasury, confidence would be restored. Yet the unemployment figures are, still growing. Promises have been made that sums of money will be made available to private enterprise. Will those sums of money enable the farmer to grow more wheat when what he is now producing is unsaleable, or enable the grazier to grow one pound more wool on the sheep's back? A reduction of their interest rates or their taxation would enable those people to turn their land to greater use, or to bring into use some of the idle land lying alongside existing railways. That would afford greater employment. And if goods capable pf production in Australia could be forced into use, it would enable people to get back to work. In this connexion the present Government has destroyed the work of the previous Government. This " honest " Administration, which told us that when it was returned to power it would do something to relieve the unemployment position-

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