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Thursday, 20 November 1941

Senator LARGE (New South Wales) . - Prior to the adjournment of this debate yesterday, I was saying that had the previous Government taken heed of what happened during the last war and in the post-war years, it would have realized that the general public requires something more than mere promises, in order to ensure a 100 per cent. war effort; that the workers require something tangible, such as an instalment of the much talked of new order. Had steps been taken to provide such an instalment most of the troubles which were experienced by the previous Government would not have occurred. If some ameliorative conditions had been introduced the Government would have been accepted in good faith and a much better war effort would have resulted. I am pleased to see that Senator Foll who was absent when I spoke yesterday is now in the chamber. The honorable senator commenced his dissertation - probablydiatribe is a better word - by stating that this budget was not nearly so good as the Fadden budget because all the good points of the Fadden budget had been omitted. However, the honorable senator did express one view concerning which the Opposition is apparently unanimous, namely, that compulsory saving should be introduced. That is rather strange ina party which has no caucus. I must join issue with Senator Foll and all honorable senators opposite who believe in compulsory saving. I believe that the man on the basic wage will have to endure certain privations if he is compelled to save something out of his meagre earnings. Probably his wife will have difficulty in balancing her household budget. That is" bread and butter " economics. It seems that quite a number of honorable senators opposite are still living in the days of the rope's end and the marline spike. They should realize that those days are. past, and will not return. I do not wish to occupy the time of the Senate by speaking at length, because I haveno desire to waste time.

Senator McBride - The honorable senator is wasting time now.

Senator LARGE - I am glad that the honorable senator has interjected because he has reminded me of a story which I told yesterday, and which I wish to amend, showing the ramifications of the circulating sovereign. I pointed out that when I contributed money to a trade union that money was put in a bank and. the union received the current rate of interest for it. The money would then be loaned to an employer. Then, should I happen to lose my employment 1 might have to apply for work at a factory 'the construction of which I had assisted by means of my contribution to the union. I might be successful in getting a job provided the employer was satisfied that I could show a 15 .per cent, or 20 percent, return for the money which he would have to spend on my wages. I should like to amend that story slightly, because at. present, under the cost-plus system, any one can get a job. That system has been responsible for much of the trouble to which reference has been made in the course of this debate. Had the system not been introduced I am convinced that the people of Australia would have been saved many millions of pounds, and the need for more stringent taxation might not have arisen.

In conclusion I make a suggestion which would have been useful to honorable senators opposite had they still been in occupation of the treasury bench, and which no doubt will be of some assistance to the members of my party who are now charged with the responsibility of carrying on the government of this country. The real solution of all our industrial troubles lies in the need for the calling of a conference of representatives qualified to speak for various interests including trade unions, employers, manufacturers, and even bankers. Such a conference could be charged with the responsibility of deciding upon a reasonable standard of living. Wages could then be fixed in accordance with that standard and prices could be pegged to prevent undue rises. The only changes permissible in wages would be increases or decreases in accordance with cost of. living figures prepared by the Statistician. That is a little more bread-and-butter, economics. I am satisfied that this Government is doing what its .predecessor failed to do, namely, it is giving the workers a small instalment of the muchtalkedof new order.

Senator McBride - Which end of the new order?

Senator LARGE - I do not think that honorable senators opposite will attempt to prevent the Government, from giving that, little instalment to the workers, nor do I think they will prevent the Government from, giving a much larger instalment in the supplementary budget which is to be introduced early in the new year. I believe that this Government will achieve a. 100 per cent, war effort; I believe that, it will inspire confidence. In fact it has already inspired confidence in the masses of the people, and it is the force of opinion outside of Parliament which deters honorable senators opposite from putting up a serious fight, against this Government's proposals. I sympathize with- honorable senators opposite. I realize that they have to fill in their time-sheets, and satisfy their bosses-; but even if they do so, when, the next general elections are held they will face defeat and pay 'their own election expenses as well.

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