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Thursday, 3 April 1941

Senator CAMERON (Victoria) . - I emphasize that if this war does not last beyond the lifetime of this generation, it will be paid for fully by this generation in terms of man-power and materials. That submission is incontrovertible. Then why the necessity to borrow? Like Senator Keane, I protest against the attempt to rush this bill through the Senate. I know that for years it has been, the custom on the eve of Parliament rising to rush legislation through this chamber, but in the light of what is taking place an emphatic protest should be make against such procedure. To expect this committee to be more or less, in the words of Senator Abbott, "an animated rubber stamp ", is to expect something which Senator Keane and I do not propose to accept. If other honorable senators on this side of the chamber are prepared to be " animated rubber stamps", we are not.

Senator Courtice - We accepted the proposals when the budget was under consideration last December.

Senator CAMERON - This is not the budget. It is a proposal to borrow ?50,000,000. It is one thing to give power to the Government, but the way in which the Government intends to use that power is another. If the burden were to be distributed equitably, I assume that honorable senators who are now dissenting would agree to the bill. But equity is not intended in this bill. From whom is ?50,000,000 to be borrowed? From the persons who have been able by devious methods well known to all-

The CHAIRMAN -(Senator JamesMcLachlan). - From whom the money is to be borrowed is not set out in this clause.

Senator CAMERON - The language is not so clear and explicit as I think it should be. The clause reads -

3.   The Treasurer may, from time to time, borrow, under the provisions of the Commonwealth Inscribed Stock Act 191 1-40, or under the provisions of any act authorizing the issue of treasury-bills, moneys not exceeding in the whole the amount of ?50,000,000.

It is about as clear as mud. "We want to know precisely what the Government intends to do. I assume that the Government intends to borrow money in the ordinary way which you,' Mr. Chairman, and I, as common-sense individuals, understand and, if that is done, it simply means that rather than tax those who should be taxed to pay for our war-time effort, the Government is saying in effect : " We shall not tax you, but lend us your money which will give us the right to pay for services and purchase materials which we require, and we undertake to pay back not only what we borrow from you, but also interest. Therefore, you will remain at home receiving interest on the money which you have loaned while your fellow Australians will he fighting overseas on your behalf. They will be making all the sacrifices and you will be making all the profit". That is exactly what it means, and we, as Labour men, who for years and years have denounced this system as infamously fraudulent, would be lacking in our duty if we did not register our protest. On those grounds I join with Senators Darcey and Keane.

Senator Herbert Hays - On a point of order. Is the honorable senator entitled to say that the system under which money is borrowed is fraudulent?

The CHAIRMAN - I do not think that Senator Cameron used the word "fraudulent" in that way.

Senator Herbert Hays - He said that the money was being raised in a fraudulent way.

The CHAIRMAN - Was that the expression used by the honorable senator?

Senator CAMERON - I was not reflecting on Senator Herbert Hays. I think that he is quite an honest man.

The CHAIRMAN - Order! Did the honorable senator say that this money was being raised in a fraudulent way?

Senator CAMERON - Yes, emphatically.

The CHAIRMAN - Then I ask the honorable senator to withdraw the remark.

Senator CAMERON - With due deference I withdraw the expression. I shall say that in the past money has been raised in a manner which is seriously suspect to all intelligent people.

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