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Wednesday, 23 September 1942

Senator DARCEY (Tasmania) . - I have frequently pointed out to the Senate that wars are not fought with money. Last Sunday I attended St. Stephen's Forum, held at the schoolroom, where Mr. H. D. Black, Lecturer in Economics at the Sydney University, who is also, I believe, Economic Adviser to the New South Wales Government, made the following remarks regarding the use of money in the war: -

Money was not necessary to win the war. As an economist, he found propaganda urging people to invest in war savings certificates very misleading. The propaganda was prepared by people under the delusion that money would win the war. The man. woman and material power of Australia would prevail whether or not money was made available voluntarily or involuntarily. It had never been made clear that the taking of money from the bank for investment in war savings did anything physically to affect the war. In England, people were asked either to put their money in war loans or leave it in the bank. He had heard the Federal Treasurer appeal to the people many times to save money by buying war savings certificates, but he had only once heard him include a request to put their money into a savings account. The inadequacy of the salary of the fighting man compared with that of the civilian needed attention. The difference in the earnings of civilians and people in the Services might he a potent factor in civil unity after the war. The difference between the two incomes was too wide in a country where the order was the survival of the fittest. The austerity campaign was more important to morale than to economics of the war effort. Austerity was the name for a policy which had not been clearly thought out.

The newspaper report states also that at the end of Mr. Black's lecture, Senator E. Darcey, of Tasmania, said that he was impressed by Mr. Black's statement that what was physically possible was financially possible. I added -

I have heard announcements on radio stations to the effect that if you don't invest in war savings certificates the war effort will be held up. The cost of floating one £35,000,000 war loan was £134,678, just to ask people to buy war bonds. I agree that it is not necesasry to have money to fight this war. The only things that count are men and material.

I have been advocating that for four years, and now I am supported by the Professor of Economics of the Sydney University. I am afraid that he is only coming around with the wind, which is all blowing my way now, and he is taking the first opportunity to be in with the crowd. The figures I gave about the cost of raising war loans were obtained by me from the Treasurer. Of an amount of £134,000, the banks take about £33,000. Last week one honorable senator said that to listen to me gave him the horrors. Honorable senators who do not wish to hear my remarks can always retire to the billiard room or the refreshment rooms. It seems to me that those honorable senators who retire from the chamber when I rise to speak do not wish to hear the truth. The trouble is that the people have been fighting with one hand behind their back. Mr. Lloyd George said that, after the last war, England would be a place fit for heroes to live in, and he would have made it so, were it not for the fact that the banks called up overdrafts and brought about a depression. The result was that for 20 years England was a place for paupers. The following message was issued by Mr. Lloyd George, in September, 1919: -

Millions of gallant young men have fought for the New World. Hundreds of thousands died to establish it. If we fail to honour the promise given to them we dishonour ourselves.

What does a new world mean? Whatwas the old world like? It was a world where toil for myriads of honest workers, menand women, purchased nothing better than squalor, penury, anxiety and wretchedness - aworld scarred by slums and disgraced by sweating, where unemployment through the vicissitudes of industry brought despair to multitudes of humble homes; a world where, side by side with want, there was waste of the inexhaustable riches of the earth, partly through ignorance and want of forethought, partly through entrenched selfishness.

If we renew the lease of that world we shall betray the heroic dead. We shall be guilty of the basest perfidy that ever blackened a people's fame.

It should be the sublime duty of all, without thought of partisanship, to help in building up the New World, where labour shall have its just reward and indolence alone shall suffer want.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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