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Thursday, 5 March 1942

Mr SPEAKER (Hon W M Nairn - That is only a. contradiction; it is not. a point of order.

Mr ROSEVEAR - Honorable members opposite, most of whom were born with silver spoons in their mouths, are shocked at the suggestion of the honorable member for East Sydney that if every one were to make an equal contribution to the war effort we might pay for all services by the issue of coupons-

Mr Harrison - Does that represent Government policy?

Mr ROSEVEAR - It is a suggestion from a very good Labour man. Honorable members opposite are scandalized at the suggestion that they, and other members of their class, should accept food coupons, but I never heard any of them condemn the issuing of dole coupons to the unemployed.For ten years they thought it good enough to issue food coupons to the men who are the present heroes of the workshops making munitions with which to fight the enemy. That is their contribution, whilst the contribution of honorable members opposite is a continuous heckling of the trade unions. Those honorable gentlemen have expressed great enthusiasm for the £75,000,000 loan for the purpose of destruction. The same honorable members, during the depression years, held up their hands in holy horror when it was suggested that a few million pounds might be raised to give work to the unemployed. They are always enthusiastic about war loans, but they have no enthusiasm for work loans for the purpose of making life bearable for those suffering the worst effects of depression. There is an obvious difference between the financial outlook of the Government and that of the Opposition. We support a policy of taxation for defence purposes, together with a restricted loan policy. 1 hope that the Government will not tempt the loyalty of the party too far by going in too much for loans. The defence policy which I have just enunciated is the one to which we have always subscribed, the one upon which we won our seats in thisParliament, andit is up to us to ensure that that policy shall not be departed from too widely.

Honorable members opposite are still harping on the fact that the Government has failed to make greater inroads into small incomes. They are perturbed at the fact that an amount of £500,000,000 is received each year by the lower-paid workers, but none of them told the House just how many people share that money, and how much is left to each of them after he pays his taxes. The honorable member for Deakin (Mr. Hutchinson) still bemoans the fact that the Labour party is not prepared to dig deeper into i lie earnings of the lower-paid workers. 1 commend the Government for not having done so. If it dug much deeper into the pockets of the workers, who are [he real wealth producers of the country, it might then logically present them with loin cloths and rice howls. They would have no money to put in their pockets any way, so that a loin cloth would do them well enough.

Mr. HOLT(Fawkner) ['8.26TJ. - I think it might be well for me to deal first with one of the larger red-herrings drawn across the path by the honorable member for Dalley (Mr. Rosevear). I refer to the popular story about the scrap iron which the Menzies' Government allowed 10 be exported to Japan. The time has come when the full facts regarding this matter should be made public, and they are very different from the story told by members of the present Government for political purposes. This problem cropped up again last year while I was Minister for Labour. We received a report that there was likely to be industrial trouble m the waterfront because the workers were being asked to load zinc concentrates and lead for shipment to Japan. I asked the Minister for Trade and Customs for a full statement on the position, because it seemed at first sight strange i hat Ave should be supplying these materials to a potential enemy. When the matter was investigated it was found that Japan could secure supplies of zinc concentrates and lead from a number of other countries besides Australia.

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