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Wednesday, 13 May 1942

Mr BRENNAN - I shall pay every attention to your request, Mr. DeputySpeaker, and I am happy to think that you have permitted my picturesque description of the Opposition to be recorded.

I am not enthusiastically in support of the policy of the Government in this matter. I realize that the announcement of the Minister on Friday, made in good faith as an expression of Government policy, was made, not " off his own bat ", but because the subject had been carefully considered by the Government as a whole. The Prime Minister had expressed the pious wish that the people would manifest a sufficient degree of pure patriotism to abstain from excessive buying. His pious hopes were disappointed, because well-to-do persons of leisure, who support the Opposition, disregarded the Labour Prime Minister's appeal to their patriotism and rushed to the shops in advance of the workers, who at the time were busy at their jobs. To that degree, the workers suffered some disadvantage, but only because the Prime Minister entirely miscalculated the pure patriotism of the supporters of the Opposition.

Mr Anthony - Who provided the opportunity for them to engage in excessive buying?

Mr BRENNAN - The truth is that the rich and the leisured classes did most of the excessive buying. I heard of one lady who purchased fifteen pairs of shoes. I do not know whether she intends to retail them or whether she was making provision for a new race of persons of the centipede variety of reptile. But no doubt that sort of thing happened.

Honorable members opposite have said that the Minister believes in th objective of the Labour party, which is socialism. I suspect him of entertaining that belief. The sound exposition of those principles, against great opposition on the part of honorable members opposite, gained for him .a substantial majority on the occasion of his election to this chamber, which, everybody is prepared to concede, he has graced by his presence. He has also enriched the knowledge of the honorable members opposite, who were badly in need of a little elementary education regarding a subject on which the Minister is something in the nature of a professor.

Honorable members opposite derived a cheap laugh from the intimation that the position had been complicated by Mother's Day. Apparently, that is to be a slogan with them for the next election. The Minister at least had informed his mind upon the subject. It does appear that Mother's Day affects to a material degree retail sales and turnover in the cities. Retailers know it so well that they may be credited for that reason with some not altogether altruistic support for Mother's Day.

I regret that confusion has arisen in regard to clothes rationing. I am aware that it is not considered to be politically popular to support a Minister who has the unpleasant duty of fearlessly putting into operation plans for the rationing of goods.

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