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Tuesday, 22 June 1937


Senator BROWN - The advocates of Douglas credit have done good service in calling attention to the failure of the financial system under which we live. I give credit to them for their propaganda which has shown that, under the existing financial system, thousands of men, women and children in the cities of Australia are starving, notwithstanding that ample food to meet all their needs is available in this country. The people of Australia are beginning to realize that there is no need, other than is imposed by a wrong financial system, for any person in this country to lack sufficient food. Were it not that the system is wrong, there would be no need for the' Minister for Health to go about the country talking of the dangers arising from malnutrition. If every worker in the community had an income .sufficient to provide food for his family, malnutrition would not exist. When the Labour party displaces the present Government it will put its financial and industrial policies into operation, and many of the problems now confronting Australia will disappear.

SenatorABBOTT (New South Wales) [5.21J. - I am afraid that were I to attempt to reply to some of the statements of Senator Brown, those journals which will give full publicity to the propaganda contained in his speech would not publish ray remarks. In the circumstances, I shall not attempt to answer the honorable senator, but shall deal with some of the subjects referred to in the Speech of the Governor-General.

I desire, first, to add to the congratulations, which have already been expressed by the Leader of the Government (Senator Pearce) and other honorable senators to the mover and the seconder of the motion for the adoption of the AddressinReply Senator McLeay, who submitted the motion, put his case clearly and logically, and when he praised the Government for its accomplishments he did not indulge in exaggeration. All that he said in that connexion was true and justified. The speech of Senator Marwick, in seconding the motion, gave promise of a long and useful career in this Parliament.

The attendance of Ministers at the Imperial Conference has been criticized during this debate and, indeed, the usefulness of the conference itself has been questioned. Unfortunately, attempts to belittle the elected representatives of the people attending these conferences are not confined to this Parliament; sneers and jibes are heard on all sides and even the press of this country is not guiltless in this connexion. I do not, think that the importance of conferences between the elected representatives of the Mother Country and of the dominions can be over-emphasized. The parsimonious outlook of those who quibble at the expenditure of money on such conferences is greatly to be deplored. The Opposition, which has criticized these visits, professes to believe in democracy. Surely the principles of democracy apply as well to the Empire as a whole as to Australia. We must not overlook the fact that practically every member of the Imperial Conference is an elected representative of the people under the democratic system of government of which Britishers are so proud. It is most desirable that such representatives should meet together to confer on the democratic ideals of the great family of nations to which they belong. It is sheer hypocrisy to condemn such visits, the purpose of which is to make the wheels of government in the British Empire revolve more smoothly. If, in the distant future, the Labour party should attain to the Treasury bench, I, for one, will not cavil at reasonable expenditure incurred by its representatives in meeting with the representatives of other parts of the Empire in conferences designed to promote the welfare of the people.


Senator Hardy - Members of the Scullin Government visited other countries.







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