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Monday, 18 December 1911


Senator McGREGOR (South Australia) (Vice President of the Executive Council) - I move -

That this Bill be now read a second time.

This, as no one will attempt to deny, is really a Loan Bill. It is for the purpose of borrowing £2,460,476 for certain purposes. There may be honorable senators opposite, and even some on my own side of the Chamber, who will urge that a Loan Bill is against the declared policy of the Labour party. But I say emphatically, that at no time in the history of the Labour party have I ever known that it was directly opposed to borrowing, lock, stock, and barrel. The party has always declared itself opposed to borrowing for purposes for which the revenue of the Commonwealth could be applied.


Senator Millen - Every other party was opposed to borrowing in the same way. The only point is as to when revenue can best be applied to a certain purpose.


Senator McGREGOR - We have contended that all matters with respect to defence should be paid for out of revenue. But there is another feature that has to be taken into consideration. We do not propose to go to the pawnbroker or to the foreign money-lender. We have decided to depend entirely on our own resources. There is enough money, or there will be enough, available when required, in the 75 per cent, of gold in connexion with the note issue, without any interference with the position as it exists at the present time. It will not be necessary to take away the precaution that was instituted with respect to the Commonwealth retaining a sovereign for every note issued in excess of £7,000,000. At present there 'will be enough money available without resorting to that source. I am not saying that it will not be necessary to remove that obstacle, because the obstacle is there, and it acts as a block to the investment of money that might be used in the interests of the people of Australia. Apart from those considerations, this is a Loan Bill for useful and practical purposes. It is a Loan Bill that any Labour man can defend. We propose to borrow from the people of Australia themselves. As to the purposes for which the money is to be applied, I have only to remind honorable senators, in the first instance, that we have incurred serious obligations with respect to the construction of the railway from Port Augusta to Kalgoorlie. A sum of £1,000,000 is required for that purpose. With the aid of that £1,000,000 which it is proposed to devote to the railway, and of surplus revenues which may be in future utilized, we may be able to carry on without further loans. Whether we (can or not, the £1,000,000 is sufficient for the present. A sum of £600,000 is required for the purchase of land and the erection of buildings in London to house the High Commissioner. The necessity for that work is proved by the speedy passage of a Bill for the purpose through the Senate. A .~.um of £600,000 isalso required for the purchase of freehold; land in the Federal Capital area. That is a reproductive investment. The value of the land to which the ,£606,000 will be applied will continually increase, and the people of the Commonwealth will receive the benefit from that augmentation of value. In appropriating a sum for the purpose, I think that the Government are doing a wise thing and making a good investment in the interests of the people. A sum of £246,400 is required for the discharge of our responsibilities in connexion with the taking over of the Northern Territory. There is also a sum of £34,470 to pay for a portion of the work that was carried out by the South Australian Government in connexion with the Oodnadatta railway. Those items make up the total sum included in this Loan Bill. Consequently, what we propose to do is clear and above-board. The Government are laying all the facts before the representatives of the people, and we hope that the Bill will speedily receive the concurrence of the Senate.

Debate (on motion by Senator Millen^ adjourned.







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