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Thursday, 8 July 1920

Mr CONSIDINE (Barrier) .- The honorable member for Eden-Monaro (Mr. Austin Chapman) wilfully or inadvertently misunderstood an interjection I made during the course of his speech. I said that when it became a question of killing, any amount of money could he found. I was endeavouring to demonstrate that in all countries, not only in Australia, any amount of money can be found when it is a question of warfare, but that the cry of insufficient funds is always raised when the matter is one affecting social welfare. I had not the slightest intention of reflecting on any honorable member who had sons or relatives at the Front.

Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Navy) - Admitting all that for the moment, the honorable member knows the old democratic sentiment that the safety of the State is the highest law and the first necessity.

Mr CONSIDINE - At the proper moment, I shall be quite prepared to debate that matter with the Minister for the Navy (Sir Joseph Cook).

Mr Austin Chapman - What would the honorable member do if a burglar attacked him?

Mr CONSIDINE - I am now engaged in the task for which I was sent to this House, and that is to prevent burglary on my own class ; as a sort of policeman, I am trying to get a restoration of some of the property of the working man which has been taken from him by the exploiters of this country.

While I support the principle, because of the spirit behind it, that there ought to be no destitute men or women in Australia, that every individual should not only have the right to work, but should also be obliged to work, except those who, owing to physical disabilities, are unable to do so, and that those who have " done their bit " in helping to build up the country and make it what it is, and have reached an age when their working time is over, should he provided for, not as a matter of charity but as a right, I disagree with the wording of the motion which makes the granting of the pension an act of charity. It is incumbent upon the person who applies for assistance to seek it as an act of charity, when it is his right to get it.

Inthe course of his exchanges with me, the honorable member for Eden-Monaro made some reference to the Bolsheviks. The very sentiments to which the honorable member gave expression to-day have been put into actual practice by those Bolsheviks he so much despises.

Mr Jowett - How many have the Bolsheviks killed?

Mr CONSIDINE - All that was necessary. Official statements show that there were more people executed by the Allies in Murmansk and Archangel than were executed by the Bolsheviks in the whole of Russia. For the information of honorable members, I shall quote a few passages from Bolshevik Russia, Its Code of Labour Laws, a publication edited by the People's Commissariat of Justice, and printed in Petrograd. The first I quote is as follows : -


All citizens of the R.S.F.S.R.. with the excep tions stated in articles 2 and 3, are subject to compulsory labour.

2.   The following are exempted from compulsory labour: -

(a)   Persons under sixteen years of age;

(b)   All persons older than fifty years;

(c)   Persons who have lost their working ability due to mutilation and illness.

3.   From compulsory labour are temporarily exempted: -

(a)   Persons who, owing to illness or mutilation, have temporarily lost their working ability, for a period necessary for their recovery;

(b)   Women with child, for a period of eight weeks before and eight weeks after confinement.

I would like to point out to the honorable member for Eden-Monaro (Mr. Austin Chapman) that the Commonwealth has a good deal further to go before its legislation can compare with provisions such as these. The honorable member said that certain persons should be allowed to work if they were able, and by that means supplement their pensions.

Mr Austin Chapman - Hear, hear !

Mr CONSIDINE - I am glad the honorable member for Eden-Monaro is being converted. The next passage I quote is -

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