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Thursday, 5 March 1942

Mr ARCHIE CAMERON (Barker) . - The Opposition recognizes full well that the Government must have money for the conduct ofthe war, and realizes that heavy expenditure will be incurred on works and other important projects during the next few months. In addition, some of us know that the scale of expenditure is likely to increase substantially. When we enter a partnership, we must always pay some attention to the opinions of our partners, and I am afraid that the scale to which Australians have been accustomed will not be sufficiently great to satisfy our partners.

Mr Pollard - Who are our partners?

Mr ARCHIE CAMERON - - The honorable member for Ballarat (Mr. Pollard) is not one of them, though he would willingly become my partner if I would have him. Increased expenditure is inevitable. We all know that we are committed to it, and the Opposition sincerely hopes that the Government will be able to raise the money. Every honorable member on this side of the chamber deprecates the statement of the honorable member for Melbourne (Mr. Calwell). If he expresses the sentiments of the Labour party, he is practically accusing the Government of running false to the policy of the party. At this stage, it is necessary for the government of the day to run true to the interests of the country rather than to the interests of any party. The honorable member did his worst piece of work a few moments ago when he raised a party political issue on a matter of this description. I gave him credit for possessing better political judgment than that.

Mr Calwell - Is the (honorable member fishing for a national government?

Mr ARCHIE CAMERON - No. That subject would be outside the scope nf the bill. Apart from that, no one has hoard "rae mention a national government for some time.

My purpose in participating iu this debate is to deal with another matter. The Government faces a difficult situation as the insult of some very unguarded statements by one of its members. If that Minister believes that the honorable member for Melbourne 'hai correctly stated the position, ke should not occupy Ms place on the treasury.bench for another minute. Here and now, :he should state clearly and without equivocation that be believes in the policy of the Government of which he is a member; that be believes that interest should be paid on the loans, and, in addition, that interest will be paid if the

Labour Government remains in office. -No action could have affected the financial future of the country more detrimentally than the utterance of the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. Ward). He may be entitled to his views. But if" he disagrees rath the policy of the Government, he should either remain silent- and SI admit the difficulty of doing that - or he should resign. We have had a good deal from the Minister. We have suffered in silence, being very patient beings lik*i Mahomet's camel. We have watched him attack Army officers for having batmen and seen him gather round himself a staff which, at the rate he is going, wil! soon have as many members as there were eunuchs in King Solomon's harem, it has been added to to-day. We have to have consistency. The Minister laughs, but it is not a joking matter. He has to decide once and for all whether bo is with or against the Curtin Government. That matter must be decided and, if 'ie or the Government does not decide the House shall. If there is more of the same kind of conduct from the Minister, there will be only one course open to us a substantive motion which will elicit his answer and also the answer of the Government.

Mr Pollard - Such a motion would suffer the same fate as befell the honorable member's motion regarding the former Minister for the Army (Mr. Spender).

Mr ARCHIE CAMERON - That motion was not debated owing to thu honorable member not being game to second it.

Mr Pollard - I thought it was utterly stupid.

Mr ARCHIE CAMERON - But not nearly ,so stupid as are some of my friends opposite. Tlie position of this Minister in tfe; Government has to be cleaned up. It be cleared Mp by him or by the House, and it stall be cleared up by one or t]*e other.

Mr. LANGTRY(Riverina) {4.36].- I am 100 per cent, in agreement with the honorable member for Melbourne (l£r. Calwell) that we should not pay interest on money used to fight this war. I do not say that we are not entitled to pay the interest on money already raised. but, in my opinion, the war should be financed by neither loan money nor taxation but by credit created through the Commonwealth Bank. As was said by the honorable member for Melbourne, we are still paying interest on money raised to fight, not only the last war, but also the battle of Waterloo. We are paying interest on something which does not exist, to the degree that many people believe, because credit is represented by book entries, in other words figures in a book. Money is the only thing in this world which is created out of nothing. It is shameful that to-day, while our own flesh and blood are being bombed, we should be arguing about interest. Money should be the last thing spoken about in connexion with the war. The Government has the full control of the natural resources of this country, and ii is only common sense that it should employ those resources and. in doing so. eliminate debt. Debt should not be incurred in the production of commodities. I put it another way: what has happened to all the production of Australia in the last 150 years - our wool, wheat, meat, butter and eggs, every mortal thing, even our beer, whisky and the " wine that maketh glau the heart of man"? Where is it all? It has gone like the snows of yesteryear. All that remains is debt. Labour i3 the only wealth that this country has. If our fighting men laid down their arms and the munitions workers their tools what would happen? We should be "gone a million ". There is no doubt about it: Labour, not money, is the real wealth. This Parliament and every other Australian parliament could be laden with gold, silver, copper and notes, but that would not win the war. It is labour that will win it. While we argue over a few million pound? and as to whether we should pay interest or not the war is proceeding. I do noi profess to be a financial expert, but I harp sufficient common sense to know that the money necessary to conduct the war should be created through the agency of our national Commonwealth Bank. That should be Australia's policy. Call it nationalization of banking or credit expansion, I do not care what name it is called, but the fact remains that, if the present policy be persevered with, when we have achieved victory, which we certainly will have, we shall be saddled with a debt amounting to millions of pounds. War debts have never been paid in the past. All that has happened has been an accumulation more debt. In peace-time there was not sufficient money to keep our people in employment, but if this war goes on for another ten or fifteen years we shall have the money with which to fight it. Yet. if it finished tomorrow, our returned soldier.would be thrown on the scrap heap. Ji would be the same old tale that there wano money. I refuse to believe that thi national credit cannot be used in orde: to provide, free of interest and debt, ever\ penny required for the war.

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