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Wednesday, 26 November 1941


Mr SPEAKER - That has not yet come before the House.


Mr ROSEVEAR - The honorable member for Corangamite (Mr. McDonald) moved -

That all words after " bill " be omitted with a view to inserting the following words in place thereof : - " be withdrawn temporarily and re-introduced with the provisions of Statutory Rules 1941, No. 261 incorporated therein."

This amendment was moved for no other purpose than to give to certain Country party members an opportunity to indulge in. their annual "winge" regarding telephone communications and postal matters generally. Statutory Rule 261 is already in force, yet the honorable member proposes to delay the business of the House so that it might be incorporated in the bill. This is a war measure designed to raise revenue. It proposes to increase the postal rate by one halfpenny, but to hear honorable members opposite one would think that a very heavy increase was proposed.


Mr Harrison - A matter of ?2,000,000 is involved.


Mr ROSEVEAR - Perhaps, but it itproposed to do no more than increase the postal rate by one halfpenny. Honorable members opposite are now playing the role of repentant sinners, because they have themselves been responsible for doing the very thing which they are now condemning. Governments of the kind which they supported were responsible for every increase of postal rates that has taken place, but never on any occasion did they follow the virtuous course suggested by the honorable member for Wentworth - never did they repeal the provision when the necessitous times had passed. Before the last war we had penny postage. Then, as a war measure to raise revenue, the rate was increased to 11/2d., and although more than twenty years had elapsed since then, no attempt was made to reduce the rate. During the depression, a national government increased the rate to 2d.


Mr Harrison - I think that the Scullin Government did that.


Mr ROSEVEAR - Even if that were so, governments supported by the honorable member allowed the rate to remain unchanged for ten years. Honorable members opposite are either merely humbugging the House, or are deliberately placing obstacles in the way of necessary war-time legislation.


Mr SPEAKER - The word "humbugging" is unparliamentary.


Mr ROSEVEAR - The honorable member for Wentworth said that he did not oppose the present increase for war purposes, but said that, if his Government were in office, it would make clear that the increase should apply only for the period of the war. If his party had been in office, and had done anything of the kind, it would not have been running true to form. I hope that honorable members opposite will stop their stone-walling tactics, and allow the House to get on with the business of the country. The honorable member for Richmond (Mr. Anthony), when he was a member of the Government, never failed to display his patriotism by objecting to members of the Opposition embarking upon any discussion which might delay the passage of Government measures. Now that he is in the cool shades of the Opposition, he is taking his defeat very badly, and is losing no opportunity to place obstacles in the way of the Government. I trust that he and other honorable members opposite will realize rhat this is a serious, deliberative chamber, and will refrain from attempting to turn the proceedings of Parliament into a comic opera.







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