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Wednesday, 13 May 1942

Mr MAKIN (Hindmarsh) (Minister for the Navy and Minister for Munitions) .-Honorable gentlemen opposite have professed many times that they desire to assist the Government to organize an all-in war effort and to mobilize completely all the resources of the nation. Yet they never tire of sharpshooting when they see a favorable opportunity for it. The Minister for War Organization of Industry (Mr. Dedman) is the latest victim of this practice, yet no Minister has devoted himself with greater industry and capacity than has the honorable gentleman to the organization of the country to meet war conditions. Honorable gentlemen opposite should remember that the Minister has had to sail in an almost uncharted sea. Much of the work that he has done has been of the kind that could not be described publicly for obvious security reasons. Whereas the activities of some Ministers may be given prominence in the press and over the air, a great deal of the work of the Minister for War Organization of Industry has had to be done quietly. It has, nevertheless, been done effectively. Whenever possible, the honorable gentleman has informed the public of plans in progress for the organization of the community on a war footing. His statement on Friday afternoon was delayed until the latest moment when it could be made in Parliament. The honorablegentleman spoke on the motion for the adjournment of the House. Had he withheld his statement until after Parliament had risen, I am surethat honorablegentlemen opposite would have criticized him severely andprobably rightlyso.Inmyview,itisproperthat statementsofthekindmadebythe

Minister should be made in Parliament ii Parliament be in session. In the past, many Ministers have waited until after Parliament has risen at the end of a weak to make statements in the press that should have been made in the Parliament, The honorable gentleman sought to exercise caution, so far as he could, to have proper regard for the possible effects of any statement he might make, and to pay due recognition to the right of this Parliament to be informed of government policy with respect to matters that might affect war. issues. Therefore, he cannot be charged with having done other than his duty. The effects have been greatly exaggerated. The Opposition has made every effort to magnify them. For a number of weeks, there has been a good deal of excess buying. Had that been allowed to continue without check, when the moment for the application of the principles of rationing arrived the stocks of clothing would have been so seriously depleted that it would have been impossible to make anything like proper provision in this regard. The check imposed by the restriction of 25 per cent, on average normal sales is furnishing a basis for the accumulation of stocks, thus guaranteeing effective rationing.

Debate interrupted under Standing Order No. 257b.

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