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Friday, 6 March 1942

Senator E B JOHNSTON (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - Mr.Polak told me that his elder son has enlisted in the Air Force, but has not yet been called up. That son's wife is on one of the properties. Probably when he is called up his mother, who owns the property in Victoria, which the bank is trying to sell up, may secure some relief. I suggest that this is a case for Government action, particularly by a government which is following the example of its predecessor in affording protection to people in similar circumstances under war conditions. Some provision should at least be made to ensure that this man cannot he sold up and his family driven off their property in Victoria without the matter first being considered by some tribunal. A tribunal should be set up to prevent creditors from making unjust use of the bankruptcy acts during the war. The bank's writ, being No. IS of 1941, was issued out of the Supreme Court of Western Australia. While some people would like to see fewer regulations passed under the national security legislation, the Government might well consider the wisdom of giving more protection to debtors. I urge the Government to look into this case not only as a special case, but as one of a class. All of us are aware that occupants of wheat properties have had a difficult time during the last ten or fifteen years. I should not like to see people who have made a start in another State unfairly pressed for an ancient debt.

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