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Wednesday, 24 July 1946

Mr SPEAKER -Order! Honorable members must cease interjecting.

Mr MENZIES - I am able to tolerate these interruptions, Mr. Speaker, because the House has been generous enough to grant me an extension of time. The present grave shortage of civil production was primarily caused by the diversion of a high percentage of our man effort to war service and war production. Until civil production "becomes abundant - it must become substantially higher than it was before the war - with the complete re-establishment of our people in civil occupations and with the general acceptance of the supreme importance of production, some controls will continue to be necessary. The great danger is that governments and officials become so accustomed to exercising controls that they come to love them for their own sake. They become so accustomed, for example, to price control that they are disposed to concentrate their minds on the mechanism of control and overlook the infinitely more important mechanism of restored production. It must be realized that when a country is at peace the willingness of democratic people to submit to controls diminishes, and that the temptation to evade them by all sorts of indirect and nefarious practices increases. That makes it necessary as time passes - and this perhaps is the whole burden of my theme on this matter - that the accent should be thrown more and more on higher production, which is the natural antidote to inflation, and less and Ieas upon mere restrictions, which should be regarded, to use a figurative expression, merely as a temporary treeguard surrounding the growing tree of production. So I venture to say that this financial statement contains two things that are broadly of immense importance to the people of Australia. The fir.?t is that it corroborates most strongly the view that a bold policy of tax reduction will .not really involve ,the

Government in financial difficulties, but will be an enormous stimulus to production. The second is that, however we may discuss this or that mechanical problem, the central theme to which governments must devote themselves in Australia in the next few years is the problem of so increasing civil production and civil services in Australia that the danger of inflation will disappear, that money will become worth real things, that increased wages will really mean an increased standard of living, and that all the other things we may talk about for the future will be translated into real terms.

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