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Thursday, 17 September 1942

The PRESIDENT - The honorable senator is not in order in interrupting the speech of another honorable senator unless he raises a point of order. He has merely asked a question. He will have an opportunity to express his opinion on the subject later.

Senator SPICER - I object strongly to compulsory unionism because it will compel men to place themselves in subjection, not to government officials or individuals under the control of the Government, but to irresponsible leaders of trade unions.

Senator Clothier - That is not true.

Senator SPICER - That is what it involves. If a man is compelled to join a trade union he is compelled, also, to comply with the discipline that membership involves, and whether he likes it or not, he is compelled to subject himself to the dictation of those who happen to be in control of that union. There is no analogy between this proposal and membership of the British Medical Association or any similar organization. There is no law which gives the British Medical Association the right to compel doctors to become members.

This budget is an insult to the intelligence of the community, and it is one of the sorriest documents that have ever been introduced into this Parliament.

Senator Keane - It has been well received in London.

Senator SPICER - Apparently it has not been understood in London. I can quite understand a London newspaper, having had cabled to it these excellent principles set out in the budget statement, saying that the budget is a good one. Obviously what the newspaper does not understand is that this Government has no intention of raising £300,000,000 by way of loan; that is merely a printed lie.

Senator Large - The facts are known in London.

Senator SPICER - That is not so. This document suggests that the whole £300,000,000 will be raised by way of loan, whereas on the day that the budget was presented, the Treasurer himself admitted that his most optimistic estimate was £200,000,000. Was that reported in London ?

Senator Keane - I presume so.

Senator SPICER - The Minister only presumes so; but I am confident that it was not. As I have said, the principles outlined in the budget are laudable, and I would commend them to the people of the country as being the foundation of our financial policy ; but I would tell them, also, that these principles are merely what the Government says, and do not describe what it does. The real test is what the Government proposes to do, and, as I have said, the budget contains no solution of the problem of finance which is now confronting the Government. Because the Government fails to tackle that problem, and apparently relies in an airy sort of way upon the belief that somewhere, somehow, £300,000,000 will be found for the war effort, it is lacking in its duty to the people of this country. I believe that the day will come when the citizens of Australia will wake up to the position, and will realize that all the troubles that will flow from this budget will be attributable to .an irresponsible Labour government.

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