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Wednesday, 17 May 1939

Dr MALONEY (Melbourne) .- It is with pleasure that I welcome this bill. I do' so for the sole reason that it should establish the splendid principle that every widow left unprovided for should be helped in her hour of trial. Whether she be resident in the north, south, east or west of Australia, the only fact to be considered is that she is in need and, perhaps, has little ones depending on her. We might do well to emulate the reverence of the ancient Greeks for their children. We are told by the historians that the ancient Greeks would never hand over their children as hostages to the enemy for the carrying out of an agreement. Although they would offer as hostages generals and politicians, they would never offer a child, because they did not know what a genius that child might become. They realized the value of their children. Lately, I have been endeavouring to obtain milk for little children such as those whom Christ nearly 2,000 years ago took into his arms and blessed. In -this great land of ours, which is richer than any other land and blessed with a. bountiful supply of all the things that are needed for the comfort of man, it is a tragedy to see little children in need of food, shelter and clothing. My sympathies are with every good man and every good woman. I know of no other couple in Australia who set a better example than the late Prime Minister and his dear lady; but although I have been their personal friend for many years, I feel that no consideration should be given to- the widow of the late Prime Minister which this Government is not prepared to give to every other deserving widow in the community. Only recently I had brought prominently to my notice the distressing case of a man and wife with twelve little children, victims of the recent bush fire in Victoria, who tried without avail to find a home in the mighty city of Melbourne in which to live. Although the man was willing to pay a fair rental for a house they were unable to obtain one. I, myself, am a landlord. I tried not to be, but I found that I could not sell my property. If I could sell it I would be a landlord no longer, because I do not believe in landlordism unless legislation is enacted to protect the interests of both landlord and tenant. In respect of the relationship between landlord and tenant we might well emulate the good example set by Russia, where the worker is charged only a percentage of his wages as rent, no matter what accommodation he needs.

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