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Thursday, 3 July 1941

Senator KEANE (Victoria) .-! support the bill. With honorable senators on both sides of the chamber, I hope that it represents an instalment of the promised new order. To me nothing appears to be more essential to the welfare of our people than legislation of this kind. As I have been blessed with physical fitness all my life, and have never known hunger, I am, perhaps, more observant in these matters than the man who has not been so fortunate. Senator Cooper struck a very pertinent note when he emphasized the importance of a healthy-minded, as well as a physically healthy, community. Small as is the effort being made by the Government on this occasion, I believe that this work will be increased as the years go on. The fact that we are engaged in a war is not a sufficient excuse for neglecting this duty towards our people. Recently, when I visited Sydney I was greatly impressed with the work being performed by the Police Boys' Club among the children in the slums in that city. I then saw many of the boys who are deriving benefit from the organization, through which they are being enabled to develop to healthy manhood, and to realize that the police are not their enemies but their friends in the maintenance of law and order. Thai club has already produced many outstanding athletes. I share the hope that this scheme will be extended to embrace boys and girls at as early an age as possible. The community generally is; becoming educated to such schemes. More money should be provided for this purpose. As the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Collings) pointed out, we should now, on a basis of population, be providing not £20,000, but £200,000, if we approached this work as enthusiastically as Great Britain, which is generally regarded as being a long way behind us in social reform. In view of the colossal sums being expended on war, we should have no difficulty in raising sufficient money to undertake this work properly, particularly as any scheme that will enable our children to develop into healthy manhood and womanhood is an investment of incalculable benefit to the nation. Anything that the Government does along these lines will, I believe, be supported by every member of this Parliament. Of course, I could speak at length on the fact that this effort is belated, but I do not intend to criticize the Government on that point. I believe that, despite the necessity for colossal war expenditure, the outstanding realization to-day is that this conflict can be pressed .to a successful conclusion only by a united, healthy and determined people. For that reason, I welcome this instalment of a necessary reform.

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