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Friday, 6 March 1942
Page: 279

Mr BLACKBURN (Bourke) .- The effect of certain regulations that have been made is to close up a number of small businesses, with the object of releasing men for war employment. Those whose businesses are closed have not done anything wrong; they merely have the misfortune to be closed up.

Mr Guy - Many of them do not employ any one.

Mr BLACKBURN - A number of them do not. It is clear that they are entitled to some form of compensation. The press has published the statement by one Minister that compensationis not to be paid. That is very unjust. Most of those whose businesses are to be closed are small operators, and the closure of the businesses will very largely benefit big competitors. The closure of some will not mean that the luxury goods they produced will not be consumed ; they will still be sold by warehouses that have large stocks. The small man who is producing the whole of his stock and selling it wholesale, will lose his business for all time. If suffering is to be caused as the result of war emergency, the burden should be distributed over the whole of the community. I understand that when a person's property is taken, it must be done on just terms, the provisions of the Constitution prevailing over the regulations ; yet a man's business, which is much more intangible than real or corporeal property, may be attacked without compensation. At all events, one Minister has said that there is not to be compensation. I trust that that is not the policy of the Government, but that the Commonwealth will compensate all those who, as the result of its actions, lose everything that they possess. The men whose businesses are closed are not being punished for anything they have done against the community, but are merely the victims of the

Government's policy. That policy may be dictated by the necessities of the country - I suppose that it is - but the burden which it entails should certainly notrest where it first falls.

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