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Wednesday, 7 December 1938

Mr BAKER (Griffith) . -The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Curtin) has enunciated most emphatically the Opposition's attitude to the defence proposals. Its policy has the approval of not only the entire Opposition in this House and the solid Labour vote outside, but also, I believe, the great mass of the people - in fact, almost the whole of the population. Therefore, it is a matter for congratulation that the Leader of the Opposition has made the position of the Australian Labour party clear. The bill brought forward by the Government last evening to provide for a loan for defence purposes furnishes further proof, if it were needed, that all the criticism offered by the Labour party regarding the Government's defence programme is justified, and that the policy enunciated by that party at the last elections is the most suitable for Australia, because the nearer the Government approaches to a satisfactory defence policy the closer it comes to that advocated by the Labour party.

Mr Street - We are not prepared to accept that assertion.

Mr BAKER - The present Minister for Defence (Mr. Street) has certainly submitted a better scheme than that propounded by the ex-Minister for Defence (Mr. Thorby). At the last elections the Government party was returned to power as the result of a perversion and distortion of the facts of the situation.

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