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Thursday, 5 March 1942

Mr JOLLY - Yes, if that be practicable. I am intrigued by the proposal of certain honorable gentlemen opposite that money should be provided for future war loans interestfree. Why should a person who invests £1,000 in a war loan be called upon to make his money available without interest, whilst other persons who invest similar amounts in property or in business undertakings may still receive fairly substantial returns in rents or dividends? I am aware, of course, that the security in respect of war loans is better than in respect of either property or business, but that, surely, is no reason why persons should be denied any interest on money invested in war loans. It would be absurd, in present circumstances, to ask people to provide money for war loans interest-free.

The time has passed in this country for talking; it is high time that we were acting to the very utmost ofour energy. I am not so much concerned, at the moment, as to how the money is to be raised as I am as to how it is to be expended. Our difficulty is not in raising money, but in spending it speedily and wisely to provide the needs of war. In making that statement, I do not criticize members of the present Government. I appreciate the difficulties that have to be faced. I do not think that any one in Australia to-day is satisfied with the nature and extent of our war effort. Much has been done, but a great deal more will have to be done in the future. I am afraid, however, that there is a tendency in some directions for us to spread ourselves too much. At this serious stage of the war, it is futile for us to be devoting our energies to activities which cannot be completed for twelve to eighteen months. We must put first things first. This is no time, for example, to be spending money on permanent buildings. We must be satisfied with temporary accommodation. We are too apt to spend our money lavishly in constructing permanent buildings. A single bomb may blow some of these buildings out of existence in a few moments. It would be far better for us to concentrate our spending on items of our war programme that are urgently needed at the moment. As a father who has sons in the services, I know that what our men at the front require are more planes, more guns and more ammunition. I agree with the view that our fighting services, and particularly the men in the front line, should receive greater consideration than they have received hitherto. I believe that the people of Australia would stand behind anything the Government did in this connexion. It is urgent that planes, arms and equipment shall be provided with the least possible delay. Any person who impedes or obstructs the war effort should be regarded as a traitor and dealt with accordingly whether he be employer or employee. There has been too much interference with our war effort, and the Government should deal severely with those who adopt obstructive tactics.

I urge the importance of giving our men who enlist in the forces a far more intensive training than they have received in the past. I know from personal experience that many of these young men have been discouraged and disheartened because they have not had practical training. In the present grave hour I hope that the military authorities will see that improvement is effected in that direction.

The Government should be prepared to take action in order to curtail unnecessary expenditure. There cannot be any support for the degree to which pleasure and enjoyment are being sought and obtained in Australia to-day. It is the duty of every Australian to concentrate on the war effort. The Government should follow the lead set by the Premier of South Australia, and prohibit horse racing in the Commonwealth. The only task that confronts Australia to-day is the winning of the war. I am satisfied that if this Parliament will tell the people what it wants them to do, they will do it. The situation is serious; let us get on with the job before it is too late.

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