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Thursday, 26 November 1936


The CHAIRMAN - I ask the honorable senator to resume his seat.


Senator BROWN - I shall do so.


The CHAIRMAN - In considering the proposed vote for the Prime Minister's Department, the honorable senator is entitled to discuss any proposed item of expenditure in that department. The honorable senator must confine his remarks to some item.


Senator BROWN - I intend to do so, but I was interrupted by the Leader of the Senate, who asked me to discuss the bill.


The CHAIRMAN - Order !


Senator BROWN - In the matter of unemployment, the Government has fallen down on its job. It is now admitted that political parties all over the world-


Senator Sir George Pearce - I rise to a. point of order. In discussing the proposed vote for the Prime Minister's Department, it is not competent for an honorable senator to deal with unemployment. The discussion must be confined to the payment of salaries and allowances and the items set out in the schedule. If the honorable senator is allowed to discuss unemployment, it will be competent for other honorable senators to discuss the Government's policy in respect of cancer research or any other matter.


The CHAIRMAN - The honorable senator must confine his remarks to items in the schedule.


Senator BROWN - I am dealing with the work of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.


The CHAIRMAN - How does the honorable senator propose to connect the Government's unemployment policy with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research!


Senator BROWN - The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research is a scientific body; its members are paid to conduct researches into scientific and industrial matters. Owing to the failure of political parties - especially the tory party - to solve unemployment, a portion of the money allocated to the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research should be set aside for the engagement of one or two men who would devote their time to a scientific search for a solution of the problem.


The CHAIRMAN - Under the heading of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research there is no reference to unemployment. If the honorable senator continues to speak in that strain I shall have to rule him out of order. He will be in order in discussing any item in the Prime Minister's Department.


Senator BROWN - Item 1 of division 15 deals with " Animal Health and Nutrition ". The unemployed man is human, and humans bolong to the animal kingdom and need nutrition.


The CHAIRMAN - The honorable senator is out of order.


Senator BROWN - Then perhaps the unemployed man is not an animal and does not need nutrition. I turn, therefore, to Item 14' " Unforeseen and Urgent Investigations ". It is urgent that a scientific investigation be conducted into the affairs of this nation, in order that the problem of unemployment which has beset us for so many years and defied all the efforts of the parliamentary intelligentsia, may be solved. Science should be given an opportunity to succeed where the combined governments of Australia have failed. In making this suggestion I do not jest; I am in deadly earnest. The sum of £2,000 allotted for "Unforeseen and Urgent Investigations " is inadequate for the purpose. The vote should be greater in order to make possible a scientific investigation such as I have suggested. We know why the inquiry into hours of labour and their effect on unemployment promised by the Prime Minister (Mr. Lyons) was rejected. It was proposed to ask seventeen or twenty persons, taken from various walks of life, to investigate this problem; but the economic antagonisms and conflicting interests at work would have vitiated and prolonged such an inquiry, and made a satisfactory recommendation impossible. The experts of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, however, would not be likely to be influenced in any way by party, financial or commercial interests, or industrial entrepreneurs; they would approach the problem as scientific men in the service of the community. If my suggestion were adopted it would be for the good of Australia, despite the doubts of Senator Pearce and other honorable senators.







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