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Friday, 26 May 1939

Mr MCCALL - But the right honorable gentleman believes in some profit being made?

Mr SCULLIN - I believe that we should eliminate all profit in war supplies. The honorable gentleman thinks that we should give these companies .6 per cent., whether it be on a small or a big turnover.

Mr White - The proposal is that 6 per cent, should be the maximum.

Mr SCULLIN - We know that in practice the maximum becomes the minimum. No party in this House can administer any law until it is on the treasury benches, but we say that certain principles should be followed, and if those principles are followed, a substantial measure of justice can be done. I am not saying that, at this stage, the Government could set up ail of these factories, and be left with them on its hands when the war is over, for, unfortunately, the Constitution restricts us to manufacture only for government departments, and, therefore, such factories could not compete outside. At the same time, I believe that we could expand our activities further than we are doing in connexion with State workshops and Commonwealth factories. Then, if war eventuates, we can do what was done in Great Britain during the Great War, namely, take control of the private factories and so obviate the dangers of profiteering. However, this discussion will have done some, good insofar as it will have told the people of Australia and those who are to supply materials to the Government that this Parliament will not brook the profiteering that was associated with the Great War. My last word is that the attack made upon the Opposition by the honorable member for Indi was most unfair, when, in fact, it was the Opposition, and not the honorable member, who discovered the weakness of this clause and forced the Government, by making this provision mandatory, to do something to limit prices. In those circumstances, it is most unjust for the honorable member to charge us with connivance.

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