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Wednesday, 31 July 1946

Mr SPENDER - I hope that the honorable member will tell his constituents that.

Mr MULCAHY - The honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Spender) spoke a good deal about taxing people in the lower income groups. His remarks did not deceive any one, because honorable members opposite are not the friends of the people in the lower income groups. They are here to help the more highly paid, and the wealthy sections of the community.

Mr Calwell - And those people only.

Mr MULCAHY - For six years, Australia was engaged in the greatest war in history. Our expenditure on the conduct of the war amounted to £1,000,000 a day. Now that we have won the war, we must provide money for re-establishment benefits for exservicemen. Naturally, the Government must impose taxation in order to meet that obligation. I do not know of any one in Australia who honestly complains about excessive taxation.

The CHAIRMAN - Order ! I ask the honorable memberto direct his remarks to the motion?

Mr MULCAHY -We are considering the social services contribution; and in order to finance our social services legislation, we must have money. When we measure our conditions with those under which the people of Europe live, and even those under which our friends in the United States live, we realize that we are in a very happy position. Like honorable members opposite, I have to pay a considerable' amount of tax for social services and repatriation benefits,but I do not grumble about it. If a Labour Government had not been in office during the last five years, we might not now have the right to impose taxation.

Mr Menzies - I hope that the honorable member will keep a straight face. I am afraid that he is about to smile.

Mr MULCAHY - I am serious about it. Although the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies) is sincere in many respects, he leads a number- of conservatives and must do their bidding. The money which we provide for social services will help to build up the nation. May I repeat a statement which has been made with truth many times in this House, that many young men who enlisted in World War II. were the product of the years of the economic depression

Mr Holt - The Minister for Immigration (Mr. Calwell) made a similar statement, and regretted it.

Mr MULCAHY - I do not regret it, because it is the truth, as the honorable member forFawkner (Mr. Holt) knows. He was one who enlisted for a few weeks-

Mr Holt - I did, and the honorable member did not.

The CHAIRMAN - Order! I ask the honorable member for Lang to direct his remarks to the motion, and address the Chair.

Mr MULCAHY -I recall that in 1932, the right honorable member for Cowper (Sir Earle Page) was instrumental in reducing invalid and old-age pensions. If he did not happen to be in the chamber when the division was' taken, he was "paired" on that occasion. At that time, the Government took the properties of invalid and old-age pensioners. I am not quite satisfied that the Government has gone far enough in providing social service benefits. I hope that when the Labour Government is returned after the forthcoming elections invalid and old-age pensions and widows' pensions will be increased. I believe that the Labour Government will increase child endowment. Those are the things that matter to-day. The people who complain about excessive taxation to provide social services should examine the conditions under which people live in other countries. Then they would realize that we in Australia are in a very happy position. We live in the best country in the world, and we are the lowest-taxed people in the world.

Mr Calwell - And we have the best Government in the world.

Mr MULCAHY - I believe that the people will return the Government with an overwhelming majority.

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