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Friday, 26 May 1939

Mr ANTHONY (Richmond) .- This matter has been "so well discussed and so completely threshed out that there is not very much more for any honorable member to say.

Mr Frost - The honorable member should speak for himself.

Mr ANTHONY - I have listened for the last two days to the speeches of honorable members, all of them aimed at the single purpose of finding some formula for the control of excessive profits. Some honorable members sought to prevent all profit in time of war. In regard to that, of course, there is a great difference of opinion, but there is a general agreement among all honorable members that exploitation of the community should be prevented particularly in relation to defence expenditure. I simply rise not only to support very briefly the amendment moved by the Acting Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Forde), but also to congratulate him and his party on their general attitude towards the amendments which have come before the committee, lt would have been very easy to sabotage this bill altogether by moving for the insertion of impracticable amendments, which, if they had been carried, the Government would have found it impossible to apply, and which would have resulted in the inability of the Government to carry on the work of the Department of Supply and Development in such a fashion as is necessary having regard to the position of this country in relation to defence at the present time. It is the duty of all honorable members whether they sit in Opposition " or behind the Government to assist the Government in the ultimate framing of a bill of this character. I believe that the Opposition has approached its consideration of the bill from that viewpoint, and that its sole purpose in bringing forward this amendment is to ensure that the measure, when it becomes law, is really effective. The bill, as it stood, did exhibit a certain weakness, in that it left to the discretion of the Government the question as to whether it should or should not investigate profits. The effect of the amendment moved by the Acting Leader of the

Opposition now makes that investigation mandatory. I think that in all measures in relation to defence our. prime consideration should be to enable Australia to be better prepared to defend itself than it was in September last year when we were faced with a crisis. The paramount consideration ought to be that, in the event of hostilities, valuable Australian lives might be spared if the preparations which we now make are effective. I support the amendment of the Acting Leader of the Opposition believing that it is an honest attempt to protect the people against exploitation by those entrusted with the manufacture of war materials.

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