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Thursday, 5 March 1942


Mr FRANCIS (Moreton) .- In this bill, it is proposed to rais* £75.000,000 by way of loan for the prosecution of the war at a time of the utmost importance in the history of Australia and the British Empire. Never before have we been faced with such dangers as now confront us, and a stranger walking into the House to-day and listening to the speech of the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. Ward) might be pardoned for believing that, if we continue to debate an all-in war effort in the way that he did and to propound such principles, we do not deserve to win the war. I, in common with many thousands of other men, took part in the last war. We were short of men and materials on many occasions, and we wondered what on earth Parliament: was doing. It does not seem that Parliament has improved much in the last 25 years if we are to have a repetition of what has occurred to-day on the other side of the chamber. Nothing but the best will enable us to pull through. Every body must help in the prosecution of a common plan, from the raising of the money to giving to every man in the front line the maximum of equipment and support. We need men, money and munitions. We need money with which to provide the men with equipment and munitions of war; yet, on the basic principle of the manner in which that money is to be raised, the party supporting the Government has become hopelessly divided. One Minister holds opinions directly opposite to those held by the Government, and the honorable member for Melbourne (Mr. Calwell) and the honorable member for Riverina (Mr. Langtry), by their speeches, have clearly indicated their opposition to the Government. Many other Government members, by shouting "Hear, hear" have indicated their support of the Minister as against the Government. Without sound backing, the Government cannot make a supreme war effort. Parliament,as it is atpresent constituted, cannot effectively conduct the war unless it changes its attitude and shows a greater spirit of co-operation. The Government should reconsider its position because it has no majority, so many of its own followers being opposed to paying any interest on Joans, and without a majority, it cannot inspire confidence in the people. My experience when visiting country districts has been that people have no confidence in the Government, and draw no inspiration from it. Accordingly, I appeal tothe Government, before it is too late, to reflect upon the incidents that have occurred this afternoon and put its house in order.

I leave this thought with honorable members. We shall not win the war unless we put forward our maximum effort. We cannot obtain that maximum effortunless we have a common plan, in which every one believes. That plan is required to raise the necessary funds, to produce war materials, and to engender among the populace an enthusiasm akin to fanaticism. That spirit is not to be found in the Parliament or in the country under the present Government's leadership and the spectacle that we have witnessed this afternoon will do irreparable harm.







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