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Wednesday, 2 March 1932

Mr GANDER - So do we..

Mr GABB - I do not question the honorable member's sincerity in that regard. He and his associates have claimed that their party is thinking about the starving women and children of Australia. To my knowledge there are no women and children starving in this country. I wish to preserve conditions which will ensure a continuation of that state of affairs. It has been claimed that it is the thin red tie of blood and kinship that holds the component parts of the British Empire together. I do not deny the existence of this tie; but I feel impelled to emphasize that it is a very thin tie. There is a much stronger tie. It is the broad yellow tie of gold. I put it to honorable gentlemen who support the policy of the present New South Wales Government that the natural consequence of the repudiation of interest payments to bondholders is the repudiation of the liability to repay their principal to them. Vast sums of British capital have been invested in Australia, and if the time ever comes when that capital is idle, and not returning interest, and the people of this country refuse to repay the principal tha% is due, we shall find that the thin red tie of kinship will not be strong enough to hold us to the Empire. This,

I know, is a selfish aspect of the subject; but politics is a selfish business. The longer the new members of this Parliament remain in political life the more they will realize the truth of that statement. I believe that if we do not meet our obligations the tie of kinship will be broken. The British people, in the event of our refusing to recognize the principles of commercial honesty which have always been maintained by the Mother Country, will justifiably turn round and say, " These people are not worthy to be regarded as our kinsmen ". If that time comes, we shall no longer have the protection of the British Navy. That would mean, without any doubt, that we should not be able to maintain the White Australia policy. We should be left at the mercy of any nation which cared to attack us. I have daughters, and I have no wish to see that time come in Australia's history. We should do our utmost to fulfil our obligations to our overseas bondholders, and not place ourselves in the unfortunate position of having, possibly, to sacrifice our noble ideal of a White Australia.

The fourth reason why I shall support the bill is that I do not desire the dissolution of the federal bond. It must be clear to every thinking person that if any one unit in the federation can default, or if it can, without penalty, lean heavily and illegally upon the other members of it, the future of the federation will be jeopardized.

For these reasons and others, I shall support the bill.

I wish now to refer briefly to the comments made by the honorable member for Martin (Mr. Holman) in respect of two clauses of the bill. I listened to that honorable gentleman with great interest, and am very glad that he has indicated that he does not intend to become a party hack. Although this bill was brought down by the Government which he supports, he criticized it in the light of his experience, and gave the House the benefit of his wide legal knowledge-. I sincerely hope that his example will be followed by the ' other new members of this Parliament. Although the shackles of party politics are wretchedly rigid in many respects, I trust that the new members of this Parliament will not be afraid to express their honest opinions, even though, in doing so, they may be obliged to criticize measures introduced by the Government which they support. We should not be party hacks, but should exercise our rights and privileges. I listened with interest to the comments of the honorable member for Martin in respect of clauses 6 and 14, and I trust that the Government will give careful consideration to the statements which the honorable member has made in respect of the validity of those provisions. I hope that the arguments of the honorable member will be effectively rebutted, or that the Government will withdraw or recast these clauses, which are not essential to the effective administration of the measure. The honorable member for Martin left no doubt in my mind that there is grave danger of these two clauses being declared invalid. Unless my convictions in respect of these clauses are altered by subsequent speeches, I shall, while giving strong support to the other parts of the bill, vote against them.

Sitting suspended from 6.15 to 8 p.m.

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