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Thursday, 3 April 1941

Senator CUNNINGHAM (Western Australia) . - This is an important bill. I do not oppose it; but I regret that it has been brought down in circumstances which will not permit hon orable senators generally to go thoroughly into our housing problem. All citizens, whether they are members of our fighting forces or their dependants, are entitled to equal treatment so far as the provision of housing is concerned. Particularly is that so at a time when the shortage of houses is so acute. Why could not the provisions of the Commonwealth Housing Act he made applicable to that section of the community which is covered by this measure? Now that we appear to be in the habit of overcoming national problems which previously appeared insurmountable, surely we can smooth out this problem. Parliament should review the housing problem as a whole. No reason exists why a special concession should not be made to members of our fighting forces and their dependants in this matter. In addition, the easy payments allowed to that section should be extended to all sections of the community. It appears wrong that we have so many acts of Parliament dealing with the problem of housing. The cause of the trouble appears to arise from our practice of continually grouping people into sections, and dealing with them in sections. As the National Parliament we should deal with the housing requirements of the community as a whole. I hope that next session we shall be given an opportunity to review existing housing legislation, as a whole, including even this bill.

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