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Wednesday, 3 June 1942

Senator COLLETT - And essential raw 113 Si 1 6 r 1 £1 1 s *

Senator ALLAN MacDONALD - Yes. The only way to do that is to draw upon the rolling-stock of the New South Wales Government railways. The rollingstock of Victoria and South Australia, which States, of course, are closer to the transcontinental line, is unfortunately useless, because it is of the 5-ft. 3-in. gauge; whereas the New South Wales rolling-stock is of standard gauge, and could be taken to Kalgoorlie if a connexion were made between the Commonwealth railway system and the New South Wales system at Broken Hill. This is a matter of national importance. The people of Western Australia are at an enormous disadvantage as regards communication with the eastern States, and that disadvantage cannot be tolerated. They want to be in touch with the eastern States, and as there is practically no sea traffic, the railways are the only means of transport. I ask the Minister for the Interior, who, of course, enjoys the benefit of a standard-gauge line from Sydney to South Brisbane, to remember that the people in Western Australia also wish to keep in touch with the more populous centres.

I should like to congratulate Senator Collett upon the excellent speech which he delivered in this chamber this afternoon. He gave us food for thought as regards the future. I suggest to him that, when he is in Melbourne again, he should see the statue of General Gordon of Khartoum, because it might give him inspiration in regard to the future disciplining of our people. He will see that the very gallant general holds the bible in one hand and a cane in the other. A mixture of the two might do the people of this country a world of good.

Senator ARNOLD(New South Wales; [5.58]. - I should like to bring before the Senate the tremendous task which trill confront this nation in the post-war years, when it will be necessary to reverse and adjust the present diversion of more and more man-power and resources from war-time economy to a peace-time economy. The problems which will be associated with the coming of peace will be of such magnitude and complexity that I consider that this Parliament should be making some preparation to deal with them. The Joint Committee on Social Security, of which I have the privilege to be a member, has given some consideration to post-war problems, and has recommended to the Government that something should be done in regard to housing. It has urged that a planning committee be set up now, to draw up a programme of housing which can be put into effect immediately the war is over. We could win the war but lose the benefits of peace. I make no apology for drawing attention to the seriousness of the problem, and I urge honorable senators to give consideration to it during the parliamentary recess.

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