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Wednesday, 23 September 1936

Senator COLLINGS (Queensland) . - I should not have risen at this juncture had it not been for the remarks of Senator Herbert Hays, and an interjection by Senator Sampson. When speaking previously on this subject, I suggested that the Government should see the job through.

Senator Herbert Hays - Which Government ?

Senator COLLINGS - This Government; the only government which we have any chance of influencing, and the one to which I presume the honorable senator was addressing his derogatory remarks. It is true that Queensland governments have embarked upon State enterprises such as have been operated successfully by other governments including the Commonwealth Government. There are State enterprises operating in every State of the Commonwealth, and no government or private concern dares to interfere with them. Honorable senators who live in the past should be sufficiently alert politically to realize that control is rapidly being taken from private enterprise because it has fallen down on its job, and has brought ruin in its train. Because it has brought the world to the condition in which it is to-day governments have found it necessary to exercise a greater measure of control. During a state of national emergency governments do not dare to allow private enterprise to control national activities. They always intervene to ensure effective service, to protect humanity, and to prevent profiteering. I have already complimented the Government upon its decision to undertake the construction of a fisheries research vessel, and I am particularly pleased to have the Minister's assurance that it is to be built in Australia. I remind those hypercritical honorable senators who have referred to governmental activities in Queensland that everything in the nature of a government enterprise that has been undertaken in tbat State has been an undoubted success. A Queensland government which established retail fish shops also controlled a fish market, and supplies were made available to over 300,000 persons in the metropolitan area at prices much lower than those charged when private enterprise was in control. Eventually the fish market was placed in charge of a commission on which the fishermen, merchants and distributors were represented. The commission was not under the control of the Government, and as a result only those who were exploiting the public were satisfied. Within the last few months the suppliers who were so dissatisfied with the exploitation practised again requested the Government to come to their rescue. It has always been the practice for the Commonwealth Government to bear all the initial expenditure of establishing industries, and then to allow others to reap the benefit therefrom. Investigations are conducted by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, and other similar bodies, sometimes at great cost, and when an industry appears to be producing profitably the Government hands over all its experience to others, who are then allowed to exploit the public. I have spoken on this subject, because I believe that the Government can do the job more effectively than, private enterprise. No one suggests that the Postal Department or our railway systems should be controlled by private enterprise.

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