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Wednesday, 20 July 1921


Senator WILSON (South Australia) . - I think it can be said that this Bill has been fully criticised by honorable senators, the majority of whom have come to the conclusion that it is beyond repair, even in Committee. Most of us are pledged to the principle of political economy, and in this connexion- we havethe opportunity of preventing the creation of another huge Department. Honorable senators must realize that we have ai duty to- perform' to the consumers- as well1 as- to the manufacturers.


Senator FAIRBAIRN - And to the electors.


Senator WILSON - They are included in the consumers, and we have to do what is right in the interests of the whole community. On the score of economy, I cannot support the appointment of the proposed Board, because we have officers in the Department who are capable of advising the Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. Greene) on questions which should be submitted in Parliament. It appeared to me that the Minister for Trade and Customs adopted a very gentle attitude when introducing the measure in another place, and after listening to the Vice-President of the Executive Council (Senator Russell) this afternoon, I came to the conclusion that he was not overenthusiastic.


Senator Duncan - It makes one wonder if they really wish the measure to be passed.


Senator WILSON - I .do not' think they are too sincere. Already the people are unnecessarily burdened in consequence ;of the number of Boards which are in, operation, and whose investigations considerably hamper those who are employing labour. A man in .a mixed business nas to contend with ;no less than six or seven inspectors, who have the right to enter his premises and occupy his time in connexion with different sections -of -his trade. A man in such a -business has to interview inspectors representing the following trades and callings: grocery, bakery, small goods, bread carters, shop assistants, and stablemen.


Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - And .what of the -income tax inspector?


Senator WILSON - He comes once a year, and that is too often, but the others -are always on the doorstep. In nine cases out of ten they are making investigations to justify their job, and that is what makes the work of a business man exceedingly difficult. We are now asked to appoint another Board that will request the attendance of business men, who will be examined as to the profits they are making.

I .have been astonished at the reference which has been made to the alleged profiteers in Flinders-lane and elsewhere. It is almost alarming to men engaged in business to see the number of firms who are finding it difficult to keep afloat. There are firms even in this city who two or three years ago were considered to be .financially strong who are now finding it difficult to carry on. These are the men who are called .profiteers. It is easy for us to come into this chamber and charge men who are successfully conducting industries with being profiteers, but we cannot base our allegations on the profits made during one year. Probably the most abused man in Australia in this connexion is Mr. Hugh V. McKay, who through his thrift and industry has built up one of the finest industries in Australia. During the last five or six years the farmers of this country would not have been able to purchase agricultural implements if men such as Mr. McKay had not been operating in our midst. Cheap money and plenty of it was available to defeat such men, and honorable senators are well aware of what the taxpayers, of Western Australia lost - it was a "huge sum - an this direction. Now they are reconstructing and endeavouring to get another start. The failure. of Western Australia resulted from the 'fact that brains and thrift were not at the head of the undertaking. I 'ask you, gentlemen, to realize-







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