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Wednesday, 2 March 1932

Mr SPEAKER - Order ! The honorable member has had an opportunity to make his complaint with reference to the unemployed in the Federal Capital Territory. The Minister is replying to his statements, and must be heard in silence.

Mr ARCHDALE PARKHILL - I was pointing out that a number of these men were placed on the roll for relief, while the remainder were notified that they should proceed on their way. That is the arrangement which is adopted in all the States.

Mr Ward - That is not true.

Mr ARCHDALE PARKHILL - It is true. They were told that, if they remained at the camp, they did so on their own responsibility. The honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) asked me if they would be allowed to stay there so long as they obtained their livelihood in the district. I say to him quite frankly that the Government is not prepared to maintain in this Territory a permanent camp for unemployed, so that anybody who came along, whether from New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania or any other State, might demand the right to remain in it, and expect the Government to feed him. Once that principle was accepted there would be in the Federal Capital Territory an army of unemployed whose wants it would be beyond the ability of this Government to attend. The men in this camp have placed one of their number, in charge of it, and have adopted rules governing its conduct, without consideration for anybody else. They attempt to dictate as to who shall go there and who shall not. In a sense, they have made of it a little township of their own. That was not the desire even of the last Government. The question is merely one of enforcing a reasonable arrangement, such as is enforced in all the States. Week after week rations have been issued to these men, on the understanding that they would move on. They have declined to do so, because they have in this House advocates who are constantly urging additional expenditure on their behalf. I have done all that any reasonable man could do. I have treated these men with the utmost generosity - with a great deal more generosity than they would have received from any State Government. This Government will not be recreant to the duty that has been entrusted to it, to deal fairly and squarely with all sections of the community. These people have been treated generously as well as justly.

Mr James - Will the Minister allow them to remain under the same conditions that were observed by the last Government?


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