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Thursday, 16 May 1957

Mr HAROLD HOLT (HIGGINS, VICTORIA) . - in reply - This has been a very interesting debate and, once again, it has revealed the extraordinary divisions of opinion to be found in the ranks of the Labour Opposition in this Parliament. I do not need to spend a great deal of my time in analysing the speeches that have come from the Government side of the House. I have given my second-reading speech outlining the policy of the Government and the reasons why we have felt it necessary to increase this charge from ls. 7d. to 2s. an hour. From the Government side, there were two thoughtful, intelligent, well-informed contributions, one from my colleague from Fawkner (Mr. Howson) who, as chairman of the industrial committee of the Government parties, has made a close study of this problem; and the other from my colleague, the honorable member for Hume (Mr. Anderson) on behalf of the Australian Country party. He, also, has made a special study of industrial questions in Australia. I should like to thank both my colleagues for the helpful contribution that they have made. Some honorable gentlemen opposite, particularly the honorable member for Blaxland (Mr. E. James Harrison), alleged that the inevitable effect of the Government's proposal would be to push up freight and transport charges. 1 can assure them that we have not so docile a body of supporters that I would not have heard a great deal more about it from honorable gentlemen who sit with me on this side of the House if that were so. Government supporters have followed closely what the Government has been trying to do. I shall give a few facts in a moment which will demonstrate-

Opposition members interjecting,

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