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Wednesday, 2 March 1932

Mr JAMES (Hunter) .- Members supporting the Government are treating the plight of the unemployed as a laughing matter. It is all very well for them to laugh and jeer.

Mr RIORDAN - Their stomachs are full and their heads are empty.

Mr Lane - Why make a joke of it?

Mr JAMES - The honorable member is the chief offender in this regard. He should return to the collection of timepayment moneys in Sydney. That is all he is qualified for. As a new member he has been allowed a " fair go " in this chamber, but if he continues his interjections similar consideration will not be extended to him in the future. Ministerial members may treat this plea for bread and butter for the unfortunate unemployed as a jest, but to be hungry and refused relief is a serious matter for the victims. A Government which refuses rations to 30 starving individuals shows callous indifference to human suffering. The whole policy of the Government appears to be to " down " Mr. Lang. To that end it is prepared to starve citizens out of the Territory, and force them into New South Wales so that their maintenance will be an additional expense to the State Government. Some of these unemployed persons have been in the Territory for twelve months; they could not enrol because they were under age. If honorable members will visit No. 4 camp they will see there some of the best of Australia's youth, willing and anxious to work, but unable to get a job. Those honorable members who are laughing at this plea for help have never known the pangs of hunger. I have known them, and I can sympathize with those who are in need. In making these representations honorable members are not actuated by vote-catching motives. The men concerned are not from New South Wales only; indeed some of them came from the Prime Minister's constituency. The Government may say that the relief of the travelling unemployed is not a federal responsibility, but the Commonwealth Government should strain all its resources to give relief to all Australian citizens.

The Prime Minister has listened sympathetically to the remarks of the right honorable member for Cowper (Dr. Earle Page) regarding telephone connexions. For months I have been representing to the present Government and its predecessor the injustice and unwisdom of refusing telephone services to applicants unless they will pay the cost of the postsrequired between the trunk line and the establishment to be connected. The Minister has asked me to mention the names of applicants for a telephone service whose application has been refused. I mention the names of the Kurri Kurri Golf Club, Rugby League Football Club, and Soccer League, and the Secretary of the John Darling Lodge. There are numerous others whose names I cannot recall at the moment. They sought to adopt the advice of the Postal Department to " do it by ' phone," but the department would not afford them the opportunity unless they defrayed the cost of the poles. Yet there are at the different depots telephone poles that are being eaten by white ants. That is not economic administration. The Minister should make a determined effort to have these installations effected.

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