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Thursday, 8 July 1920

Mr CONSIDINE - As the honorable member has expressed himself in agreement, I am glad to see that the principles of Bolshevism are spreading even to the Ministerial benches. The honorable member for Eden-Monaro (Mr. Austin Chapman) has already paid tribute - inadvertently, I admit - to the principles of Bolshevism, and I am sure he will not go back upon them simply because the Bolsheviks happen to have adopted them. The honorable member for Denison (Mr. Laird Smith) has expressed himself in. favour of compulsory labour, and it naturally follows that if everybody works, and the exemptions are similar to those provided by the much-maligned Bolsheviks of Russia, there will be no need to go further.

Mr Austin Chapman - Will the honorable member allow me to peruse the book from which he has quoted ?

Mr CONSIDINE - Yes, but the honorable member can purchase them in any quantity at a Bourke-street establishment. So far as the discussion on this motion has gone it would appear that there is no. need for further debate; but there is a need for investigation and careful consideration of the social legislation of other lands, particularly Russia. If we perused the legislation that has been enacted by people whom some delight to abuse, it would be found that many of its provisions would be very useful here. Notwithstanding the prejudices that existI believe that we could discover much that would be of considerable advantage to the people of Australia and which would render motions of this character unnecessary. The question is one that is worthy of attention, but I am reminded of the Biblical saying - that " the harvest truly is plenteous but the labourers are few."

Mr Jowett - In Russia they killed most of the labourers.

Mr CONSIDINE -The honorable member will then, perhaps, be prepared to explain why the British Premier (Mr. Lloyd George) and other statesmen are so earnestly seeking reconciliation with Russia and participation in her food supplies.

Mr Burchell - Is that why Mrs. Philip Snowden speaks so enthusiastically concerning Russia?

Mr CONSIDINE - The honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Burchell) must remember that Mrs. Snowden was one of a party which visited Russia as a Labour mission from Great Britain; but, although we have been told her views, there is a suspicious silence regarding those of the other members of the mission, who must have reported the result of their investigations. Why have Mrs. Snowden's opinions been given such prominence?

Mr Burchell - Because she was an ardent advocate of Soviet Government, and her conversion is so pronounced.

Mr CONSIDINE - Neither she nor her husband were advocates of the Soviet system, as the honorable member knows. It is an unfortunate thing that a resolution agreed to on the motion of a private member does not carry much weight; but the honorable member for Melbourne has at least afforded us an opportunity to discuss the bedrock facts of a question of vital interest to the people of Australia.

Mr Jowett - Do not run away from Russia.

Mr Hector Lamond - The honorable member wants you to stick to a question that you do not know much about.

Mr CONSIDINE - If the honorable member for Illawarra (Mr. Hector Lamond) suggests that I know nothing of the conditions in Russia, I shall he pleased to meet him on the public platform, and there discuss the Russian situation.

Mr Hector Lamond - As the public would know as little about the matter as either of us, not much would be gained by such a discussion.

Mr CONSIDINE - I challenge the honorable member, or any other honorable member, to discuss with me, on the public platform or elsewhere, the Soviet Government of Russia. I am prepared to defend the Bolsheviks and the present Administration of Russia.

Mr.LAZZARINI (Werriwa) [4.25].- I rise to support the motion, although, like the honorable member for Barrier (Mr. Considine), I would prefer to have the idea of charity dissociated from the proposal. I should like to have destitute persons provided for by an amendment of the old-age and invalid pensions legislation. The burden of the Minister's argument seemed to be that if those pensions were increased, the applicants for them would become more numerous. There is not much force in that argument. The country has agreed to the provision of old-age and invalid pensions, and the continuance of the system is an admission of the need for providing a decent living for those eligible for the pension. It was thought, when the pension system was introduced, that 10s. a week was the lowest sum that would be of any service, and if 10s. was the minimum then, £1 is not sufficient now, because, despite Mr. Knibbs and statistics generally, it is absurd to say that the cost of living has increased only 50 or 65 per cent. Everything that I buy has increased 100or 200 per cent.

Mr Hector Lamond - Perhaps that is owing to the duties.

Mr Tudor - Has the price of meat, flour, and butter increased because of the duties ?

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