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Wednesday, 14 July 1915

Senator FINDLEY - Senator Bakhap's main argument was that whatever the State undertook was a failure, and he cannot prove that.

Senator READY - Senator Bakhap knows perfectly well that the French authorities make seven or eight different grades, of tobacco. They do the same as the companies here; they put up a cheap tobacco like the 6d. Lubra, and if the poorer people want cheap tobacco like that, they can obtain it. But they also put up better qualities, and they put them up cheaper than we do in Australia. Does the honorable senator know that the average price of tobacco in France is 4s. ltd. per lb., as compared with 6s. 8£d. in Australia? That is to say, in Aus tralia we pay 2s. 7d. per lb. more than the people in France do for their tobacco. But that is not all. The Tobacco Combine here is making millions out of the people. That is successful business.

Senator Bakhap - Yes, hit it on the head if it makes a million. That is your philosophy.

Senator READY - The French Government twenty years ago hit it on the head by establishing a national monopoly. And what is the position ? In France today they are making between £13,000,000 and £14,000,000 annually out of tobacco.

Senator Bakhap - And they send a widow to gaol for selling matches.

Senator READY - That does not alter the fact I have stated. Italy, prior to the war, was making £9,000,000 out of tobacco, and Austria £12,000,000. I am reminded that Japan has also nationalized this business. It was one of the best things that Japan ever did, for it enabled 'that country to prosecute the war with Russia more successfully than would have been the case otherwise. During (.'he war with Russia Japan was able to draw on her finances to insure, to a very great extent, the successful conclusion of that conflict. She floated ordinary loans, and finally, after she got up to her limit she raised a loan of £60,000,000 on the security of her nationalized tobacco industry. That will show how profitable the industry is to a country like Japan; and yet, if we talk about nationalizing the tobacco industry by means of these additional powers, which we hope the people will give to the National Parliament, we are told that it cannot be done, and -that French tobacco, which is quoted aB an illustration, is the worst in the world. The quality of tEe tobacco will be just as good as the people of Australia determine through their representatives that it shall be, and if they want a better grade, or a cheaper tobacco, all the demands will be legitimately and fully supplied. With the magnificent object lesson provided by Japan during the war with Russia, we can unhesitatingly say it would be good for Australia if, in prosecuting this war, we had our own tobacco industry from which we could draw profits to fight the Germans, instead of allowing those profits to go into the pockets of private companies.

Senator Bakhapalso said that State Socialism was enervating. Of course, according to the honorable senator, it is not enervating if private enterprises fix and raise prices against the people. No;, it makes them feel better, and it' gives them a manly pride in themselves when they walk down the street ! We all must delight, I suppose, at the thought that the sugar company is taxing us, that the tobacco industry is doing the same, and that the many other monopolies existing in our midst are all getting their little bit. According to Senator Bakhap, it would fill us with anxiety and dread, it would strain our intellects, and it would upset our mental equilibrium, if we were to make many of these articles in our own factories. Pursuing' that line of reasoning further, we are told that it would be dangerous and damaging to the Constitution, and altogether deplorable, so far as the Democracy of Australia is concerned, to nationalize these industries. What an argument ! Let the honorable senator ask the people of Victoria if the State Coal Mine, which the Legislative Council prevented from selling coal to people, is enervating to their constitutions. Let me read the balance-sheet, which has been published in the Age. It is very brief -

Revenue to end of 30th June last, £212,219. Expenditure, made up of working expenses, £105,274: interest- on capital, £6,107; or a total of £171 ,'381; leaving a surplus of £40,918.

How enervating it must be to the people of Victoria to find that they have developed a new industry, established a new town , and made a profit of £40,000 !

Senator Senior - It must be remembered, too, that the object of the mine is not to make a profit; it is a utility.

Senator READY - That is so. If the mine authorities had permission to sell this coal universally to the public, it could have built up a magnificent industry, but one of those institutions which my honorable friends opposite buttress - the Legislative Council - stands like a dead hand in the way to prevent this being done. My honorable friend from South Australia has reminded me of another successful enterprise, the Export Department of South Australia, which has developed the farmers' industries, has handled £3,000,000 or £4,000,000 worth of farmers' products, shipped them to England, and landed them in the overseas markets. Yet, according to Senator

Bakhap, all this must be enervating' to the farmers !

Senator NEWLANDS (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - The State Government have now opened two butchers' shops.

Senator READY - That is so. We all admire the State of South Australia for what it has done, and lately two butchers' shops have been opened there to supply the public with cheap meat. Not so long ago I was sitting next to Sir Richard Butler, the then Leader of the Opposition, at a function at Adelaide.

Senator NEWLANDS (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - You were in bad company.

Senator READY - I admit that 1 was, politically; but the ordinary courtesies of social etiquette compelled me to sit next to Sir Richard Butler, -and, whatever his politics may be, I found him charming company. I said to him, "As a Socialist, Sir Richard, I have noticed that you stated, as reported in Hansard some years ago, that the Socialistic Export Department of South Australia has added £1 per acre to the value of the land in the State. That seems a pretty tall statement. Do you still think that?" Sir Richard, in his reply, said, " I think it will be even more." And yet an institution that has added "£1 to the value of every acre in South Australia is supposed to be an enervating thing !

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