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Thursday, 17 September 1942

Mr BAKER - That is the effect of tho austerity campaign.

Mr BRENNAN - The appeal of the Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin) for simple living was timely; but the wealthy classes do not know what it means to live austerely. On the "Spirit of Progress", the charge for dinner has been reduced from 5s. to 4s. and at that price, a passenger may gorge himself almost to bursting point. Is that an example of austerity ? The "toney " hotels in Melbourne and Sydney are advertising in the name of austerity, meals reduced from 10s. 6d. to 8s., but neither those who compile the menus nor those privileged individuals who enjoy them practice austere living. The wageearner must always be austere, because his income is not sufficient to provide him with luxuries. His wife must also live austerely. Sometimes, she deposit!a few shillings in the savings bank, because she is apprehensive about a repetition of the miseries of unemployment. For that reason, she must deprive herself of some of the things that she needs, without being extravagant. Whilst there is no austerity on the part of the rich, the poor must always live simply.

Considerable ' indignation has been aroused by the closing of small businesses. This policy is playing into the hands of large monopolistic enterprisea.nd J ask the Minister for War Organization of Industry to give the matter hisearnest attention. After years of effort, mcn have established small businesses in the suburbs, and are known for theiprompt and efficient service. I deplore the fact that they are now being put ou: of business, and their clientele is being diverted elsewhere. The small business men are told that they may choose between accepting the dole, a' though they have been accustomed to rendering valuable service to the community, or entering the Army. For the first they have the utmost distaste. For the second, they are totally unfitted.

The CHAIRMAN (Mr. Prowse).Order! The honorable member has exhausted his time. '

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