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Thursday, 26 November 1936

The CHAIRMAN (Senator Sampson (TASMANIA) - No provision has been made in the bill for that purpose.

Senator ARKINS - I suggest that it should be made.

SenatorFoll. - Could such work be undertaken for the amount of £2,000?

Senator ARKINS - A preliminary investigation would not cost more than £50, and I know of no way in which money could be better expended. I believe that the inquiry in the United States of America is probably the best ever undertaken by any government in the history of the world, and that is saying a lotAustralia will have to undertake such a survey because of the problems that arefacing the people of every country. The American committee is ascertaining remarkable facts regarding the present and prospective productivity of the nation, what is actually consumed by its people, and what the consumption shouldbe to enable the community to be thoroughly healthy. All this information is of the utmost importance in theworld to-day. Representatives of the council could inquire into and report upon the work of the American committee and determine whether it would not be advantageous to conduct an investigation into the potential productive capacity of Australia. The American authorities are apparently making a determined attempt to solve some of the problems now confronting the nations of the world; amongst them must be the major subject of unemployment. If, as Senator Sampson suggested, we should have a definite defence plan, surely it is not unreasonable to ask the Government to ascertain whether an inquiry into the potential productive capacity of this country should not be made for the purpose of laying down a definite plan of development. Only by so doing can our economic power be used to the full for the benefit of the people of this land.

Senator Brown - Such an investigation should be made by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research

Senator ARKINS - Yes, and in that way it could render even more effective service to Australia.

Proposed vote agreed to.

Department of External Affairs.

Proposed vote,£12,670.

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