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Wednesday, 23 November 1938

Mr MULCAHY - The Government should widen the scope of the Repatriation Department's activities, so that it may be able to do justice to those men who find difficulty in proving that their disabilities are due to war effects. In my opinion, the onus of proof should be transferred from the applicant to the commission. I have in mind the statement of Brigadier-General Lloyd, that when the Australians landed at Gallipoli very little medical assistance was available, and, to use his words, "men were lying about like rotten sheep ". When these men approach the commission they are informed that that body has full particulars of their war injuries. In the light of Brigadier-General Lloyd's statement,I cannot see that that is so. It would be impossible for the military authorities to record all the injuries which men suffered in that campaign, either in Gallipoli or France. A few months ago a returned soldier of my acquaintance died. For sixteen years he had been treated by a medical practitioner who, although an excellent doctor, kept no record of his patients. Consequently, the widow and children of the deceased soldier find it difficult to prove that his death was due to war wounds. If the medical practitioner who treated him were alive, it would be easy to establish their claim.

Mr Scholfield - Not necessarily.

Mr MULCAHY - I have found the commission most sympathetic in such cases. In another case which came under my notice recently, I got in touch with the medical man who had treated the returned soldier from the time that he returned to Australia, and I had no difficulty in securing a pension for his widow. I have no complaint to make regarding the commission. It is doing a difficult job well, but it is hampered by the limited scope of its operation. Especially at a time like this, when the Government is seeking recruits for the militia forces, it should act generously towards those who rendered good service to the country in the past.

The honorable member for Maranoa referred to the protection of Australian industries. I have in my possession a letter from a constituent of mine who is a manufacturer of curtains. He says in his letter that curtains manufactured in Japan are landed in Australia at about 9d. a yard. The dumping of goods of that description is causing a good deal of unemployment in Australia. I ask the Government to investigate all charges of dumping, so that Australian industries which give employment to our own people , may be protected. Goods of the kind mentioned are manufactured in Japan under conditions which would not be tolerated in Australia. In some instances they are landed in Australia at less than cost price.

Mr White - If proof of dumping i3 forthcoming, the practice can be stopped.

Mr MULCAHY - I have written to the manufacturer concerned advising him to bring his complaint before the Minister. If the honorable member for Balaclava (Mr. White) were still controlling the Customs Department I have no doubt that he would see that such industries were adequately protected.

I .hope that the Government will make greater efforts than in the past to relieve unemployment. It is not sufficient for the Minister for Works to say that unemployment is less to-day than it was some time ago. Much development work requires to be done in this new country, and money for the purpose should be made available in order to relieve the distress that exists throughout the Commonwealth. During the last twelve months I have not been able to obtain for any unemployed worker even temporary employment through the Sydney office of the Public Works Department. I suggest that, instead of small works being let to contractors, they should be undertaken by the department under day labour conditions, thereby providing work for men who now are only intermittently employed. I appeal to the Government to do all that it can to relieve the distress caused by unemployment.

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