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Thursday, 26 March 1942

Mr CURTIN - The Commonwealth Government considered the subject of racing. It came to the conclusion that the most competent authority to deal with racing in a particular Sta.te is the Premier of that State. The Government takes the view that a decision for uniformity made by the Commonwealth would he a bad decision, having regard to the great divergence of conditions all over Australia. It also takes the view that what would be a suitable arrangement at one place might be unnecessary and burdensome at another place. I consider that the Premiers have the requisite authority to regulate athletic sports and race meetings - all come under the one regulation - so completely that, only their discretion has to be invoked to produce common-sense results.

Mr Rosevear - The Army is curtailing race meetings now.

Mr CURTIN - The Army is taking places which it requires for the accommodation of troops. I say quite frankly to the House, that Army needs of accommodation for the fighting forces of this country must have precedence over every other need. Insofar as there are opportunities for sports meetings to be held, and so long as they are intended to pro vide reasonable healthy recreation for the people and so give them relief from the monotony of consistent industry, sports meetings and race meetings are reasonable. But judgment as to their extent and as to where they shall be held, is, I think, best left with the Premiers, who have a much more intimate knowledge of the situation than I could have.

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