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Thursday, 15 April 1915

Senator LYNCH (Western Australia) . - I feel that I echo the feelings of honorable senators present when I say that we are thankful to the Government for giving us this informal opportunity to express our opinions on matters as they have developed during the long adjournment. The statement submitted to ustakes the place of the ordinary AddressinReply, and although I am not, and never have been, an admirer of that obsolete practice, still I think on the present occasion, owing to the exceptionally trying experience through which we are passing, there is every reason for us to be glad that the Government have given, us an opportunity to discuss the events that have taken place since we last met here. I was pleased to hear the friendly note sounded at the beginning and end of the Leader of the Opposition's speech, but unfortunately he fell away from that high standard in the middle of his address. He began well, and finished well, but, while he did not actually commit himself to a hostile form of criticism, he certainly indicated his displeasure at the course that the Government propose to» take in adhering strictly to the letter of the programme laid down by them when first intrusted with the reins of office. The Government would he false to their pledges unless they tried to make some headway with the programme on which they were elected.

Senator Shannon - And never mind the circumstances)

Senator LYNCH - Independent of the circumstances. It is quite true that it would be of great advantage to the Leader of the Opposition to secure a truce on all matters affecting the public welfare while the war was in progress, because so long as things remain as they are he and his party will score all the time. Those gentlemen are here, sir, with the object of bringing about the former order of things. Every day on which they succeed in maintaining the status quo is to them a day of victory. They and their party want to stand still, and it is, therefore, only natural that they should ask for a truce, so that they may avoid as long as possible putting to the test those measures which we, at all events, feel to be in the interests of the bulk of the people. With the Lep der of the Opposition, I recognise that Australia, in common with every other civilized nation in the world - and also Ger- many - is engaged in one of the most terrible struggles recorded in human history. . It is incumbent upon us, who belong to that great Empire which has taken up the cudgels on behalf of right and justice, to make every effort to bring the war to a glorious conclusion. I am sure that what the Government have done may be taken as an earnest of what they are prepared to do until the exertions of the Allies are crowned with success. We can well draw a big lesson from this war. It is very necessary that we should bend all our energies and exhaust all our resources to see that the arms of the Mother Country and her Allies are strengthened in this struggle, and this is, therefore, no time to talk about remedies for future cases. This is hardly the occasion to dogmatize, or experiment, or to talk about what may happen if ever such another monumental exhibition of human folly is given as we have seen during the last seven or eight months; but I honestly believe that the time lias come when all the nations that claim to be civilized should radically remodel their ideas as to the way in which wars should be undertaken, if we are ever pressed to such a cruel necessity.

Up to the present, owing to our peculiar methods of government, and the insidious influences which strong personalities and parties are able to exercise in different countries, the voice of the people has not been heard on the question of the declaration of war. In order to bring about a radical change in that regard, it is absolutely necessary that we should come to some common understanding as to how war should be declared in the future. My proposal is that the nations which claim to be civilized should agree not to associate with any other nation unless that nation is prepared to consult the bulk of its adult population on the question of whether war should be entered upon.

Senator Millen - While you were taking that referendum the enemy would overrun you.

Senator LYNCH - There is hardly a proposal or expedient that has been offered since deliberative assemblies began but some ingenious critic like Senator Millen has pointed out its imaginary weaknesses, and predicted that something fatal might happen if something else happened previously. A slip-shod attempt was made by the nations in the past to bring about this peaceful order of things by the establishment of The Hague Conference, where the nations had informal talks as to what should be done to minimize, if not altogether prevent, the horrors of war. That expedient was attended with very little success. If the British Empire, which claims to be a Democracy, and the United States, which is a Democracy in theory if not in practice, agreed to enter into no league or treaty with any other country unless it agreed not to declare war until its adult populalation had been consulted, a solid advance would be made. This might be said to be impracticable, but it is worth trying, because our methods up to the present have proved a hopeless failure. Representative government has been cast to the winds, and a very important element in the political life of one of the enemy countries has had its views, if not actually stifled, at least not heard in the counsels of its country. The Socialists in Germany have been silenced or submerged. If any of the enemy countries had previously been warned that to enter upon a war without first consulting its adult population would lead to its being annihilated by a league of all the other civilized nations, the present disastrous conflict would probably never have taken place. I look forward to a strong union of nations like Great Britain, America, and France, which will give concrete expression to my idea, but until that time comes we can never expect that absolute cessation of war which every person who loves his kind desires. It is clear that such a policy would allow the play of reason to operate, and the animal passions that inhere so much in our nature would not be permitted to predominate. All the civilized nations of the world, if they joined together for this purpose, could force their views upon any other nation. I entertain the liveliest hopes that the present war will be brought to a successful issue, though I realize that we are not yet near the end. A long and weary track has still to be passed over, but having started with the first essential in any fight - a just cause - we believe that we shall succeed in the long run.

The Leader of the Opposition expressed the very hearty hope that a party truce would be arrived at in substance. That is a very laudable opinion for him to express at any time, because no person wishes to see the two parties at handgrips in this chamber, even though one is a big party and the other a very small one, at a time like the present; but, unfortunately, the honorable senator and his party have not set the worthy example which they want the Ministerial party to follow. If the Opposition set the example they will be entitled to exhort the Ministerial party to do what they have done. The honorable senator alluded to what had been done in the Old Country, and urged that, as was done there, Parliament should not be called together except to deal with matters arising out of the war. That practice has certainly been followed in the Old Country, but it "has been carried much further, for there the Opposition have religiously abstained from entering into any political contest where the retiring candidate was a Ministerialist. Unfortunately, the Opposition in this country, who now want the Ministerial party to mark time, made the first declaration of war on their own part when they decided to contest every seat held by the Ministerial party that could be contested up to date.

Senator Findley - At election time they made the war itself a party question, and wanted to score off it.

Senator LYNCH - I believe that is so. They contested the by-elections for Grampians and Bendigo - seats previously held by Ministerialists - and in those contests brought to bear all the forces they could muster to win an Opposition victory. The Leader of the Opposition, therefore, has every reason to go to the Bible for light and leading before he exhorts us to cry a truce.

Senator Millen - Those by-elections took place in the recess. Our proposal for a truce was made last session, and is only repeated now. Your party would not accept it then. The responsibility is therefore theirs.

Senator LYNCH - The war has been in progress since the 3rd August, and there have been two by-elections since. On each occasion the honorable senator's party had an opportunity of following the worthy example of the Opposition in the Old Country by declining to contest seats which had been, held by Ministerialists. But, unfortunately, Senator Millen's party chose to depart from that practice and to generate one of the fiercest exhibitions of party strife witnessed in Aus tralia for a long time. It chose to contest these two vacancies.

Senator Millen - The honorable senator's idea of a party truce is that his opponent should go to sleep while he carries on his party propaganda.

Senator LYNCH - The honorable senator's idea is that whenever Ministerial seats become vacant the Opposition should annex them, so that eventually they may be able to force their policy on the country.

Senator Millen - The arrangement at Home was conditional on the Government not proceeding with contentious party legislation.

Senator LYNCH - Of course, I suffer from the disadvantage of having to contend with a critic of the honorable senator's ability. If there be any loophole for escape under the sun, or under the moon, or under the earth, we may be sure that the agility of the honorable senator will enable him to get through ft. If the Opposition had been sincerely desirous of squaring precept with practice, they would have refrained from contesting those two seats, just as did the Opposition in the Old Country, and Senator Millen would then have been justified in making the appeal which he made this afternoon. But, seeing that they declined to adopt that course, their professions stand stultified by their own practice.

There is another feature of the present position to which I feel called upon to refer. Hitherto, the party which now occupies the Ministerial benches have been systematically taunted with a want, of loyalty to the Mother Country. Our opponents have frequently gone out of their way to question our devotion to the British Empire. Of late, it is true, they have abandoned these attacks, but only because the people of Australia, having listened to that fairy tale so long, now turn a deaf ear to the libel. But how has our loyalty endured the supreme test to which it has been put by the present war ? We find that the party with which I am associated has not only proved equal in patriotism to our political opponents, but that it has risen superior to them on every occasion. Recently, figures were compiled by Mr. Knibbs, the Commonwealth Statistician, which show the number of trade unionists who" are now serving with, our Expeditionary Forces abroad. According to those figures, the total number of unionists in the Commonwealth who are eligible for service are either with our Expeditionary Forces abroad, or who are in active training for such service, amounts to 6| per cent.', whereas the number of non-unionists and of persons generally who are not favorable to our policy-

Senator Russell - Do not say that. Say "all others."

Senator LYNCH - We all know that those outside the ranks of unionism are not particularly strong adherents of the Labour party. Of the number who supposedly were more devoted to the cause of the Empire, we find that only 4 per cent, have volunteered.

Senator McKissock - The figures to which the honorable senator refers do not include all unionists who have gone to the front. They do not include members of the Australian Workers Union.

Senator LYNCH - It is about time that attention was drawn to these facts. If public attention is not now riveted upon the monstrous libel which has been circulated for years and years, that the Labour party is deficient in loyalty, it never will be focussed upon it. The impression which has been left upon the public mind will never be removed unless attention is directed to the valuable vindication which adherents of the Labour party have experienced at the hands of Mr. Knibbs. I repeat that from the party which has been repeatedly taunted with disloyalty a higher percentage of men has gone to the front than has gone from the adherents of the opposite political party, who have always boasted of their overwhelming loyalty and bursting patriotism .

I turn now to another phase of this question, which discloses the hollowness and hypocrisy of the case that has been sought to be established against our party. Recently this Parliament enacted legislation with the object of preventing trade with the enemy bv the commercial classes of the Commonwealth. Although the Act has been in operation only a few months, we find that some men engaged in commercial pursuits required looking after, and looking after very badly. Although they were prepared to attend public meetings, at which they were profuse in their professions of loyalty, we now know that when their pockets were touched they were disloyal in the extreme, and were even ready to sacrifice their country's interests for the sake of personal gain. As the result of. inquiry from the Attorney-General's Department, I learn that no less than twelve - of these gentlemen, whose loyalty has:not hitherto been questioned, and who-' have been prepared to go to extremes inexpressing their slobbersome devotion tothe Empire, have already been haled before the Courts and fined, for having attempted to make money by trading with, the enemy. In addition to that, there are fourteen others who are now on the carpet under suspicion of having beenguilty of the same offence. Having regard to the fact that 100 per cent, of those who have already been tried have been convicted, there is strong presumptive evidence that the remainder will suffer the same fate. It is an old saw that a straw indicates the direction of the wind. Small things indicate big things just as plainly as if they wereblazed across the firmament. If any want of loyalty has been exhibited amongst thecitizens of this country, unquestionably it has been exhibited by those who haveheretofore ostentatiously labelled themselves as patriots. In opposition to that,, it is worth while noting what the adherents of the Labour party have been doing. We have observed that throughout the Commonwealth . disturbanceshave taken place in industrial centres. Why? Not because the men were desirous of trading with the enemy. The truth is that they found themselvesworking on ships and in the country alongside of enemy subjects, and they sacrificed their earnings day after day rather than continue in that position. InPort Pirie, in Sydney, and in Western Australia, we find examples where supporters of the Labour party, without hesitation, sacrificed their means of livelihood for the purpose of upholding principles which they regarded as sacred; whilst, on the other hand, the commercial men of the community were endeavouring to make money all the time, even at the sacrifice of the Empire's best interests.

I come now to the CommonwealthBank. I notice that the Leader of the Opposition in his address this afternoon skimmed very lightly over the long reference which is made in the Ministerial statement to this subject, and to the Australian note issue. We might have expected that, because, perhaps, he is under the impression that the work of the Ministerial party speaks for itself, and requires no extolling on his part. But lest the public outside should lose sight of the good results which have flowed from the establishment of that institution, they are worth recalling. During the present crisis, which is without a parallel in our history, the Australian note issue has been the direct means of sustaining the credit of the country up to date. But before dealing with that aspect of the matter, I want to correct one statement made by Senator Millen concerning the note issue. In referring to it he spoke of " the rather inflated note issue of to-day." Now I say advisedly that it is not wisdom on his part to refer to that form of currency in such language, because if there is any note of warning to be sounded, it certainly should not proceed from such an authoritative source, unless there is the most solid ground for uttering it. The Leader of the Opposition is not entitled to take the lead in casting a veiled" reflection on our Australian note issue. I hope that he did so iu haste, and whilst his mind was centred on other points connected with his subject. In his calmer moments he will, I am sure, realize that it is not the duty of the patriotic citizen, and least of all of the leader of a political party, to lead the public to believe that our note issue is inflated.

Senator Millen - The honorable senator does not call it normal, does he?

Senator LYNCH - Our note issue has to-day an ample backing of 40 per cent, gold. I do not offer my own amateur opinion on this matter. I do not know what opportunity Senator Millen may have had to acquire a deep knowledge of this subject, and to induce him to express the view that ours is a rather inflated note issue.

Senator Bakhap - Are not some members of the honorable senator's party in favour of a note issue without any gold backing at all?

Senator LYNCH - If I .may answer the honorable senator, I say that it takes me all my time to be responsible for my own opinions. What I wish to direct attention to is that, whilst Senator Millen lias told the Senate and the country that we have a rather inflated note issue, the honorable senator should be sorry for what he has said. In order to enlighten the honorable senator and the country, let me say that the matter under discussion was previously, the subject of a searching inquiry in New South Wales. During that inquiry men of distinction, and with a lifelong experience of banking, testified that a very much lower percentage of gold would be quite sufficient for a note issue. A Commission was appointed in New South Wales in the early nineties, and the late Mr. Miller, who was then manager of the Bank of New South Wales, which I shall not advertise beyond saying that it was one of the banks which withstood the financial shocks of the early nineties, was asked by the Commission what gold backing was required for a note issue. He stated in evidence that, in his opinion, 3s. 6d. in the £1 would be an ample gold backing for every note issued.

Senator Millen - Mr. Miller was speaking on the assumption that the notes were convertible. The Government have made an arrangement with the banks that the notes are not to be converted.

Senator LYNCH - No such thing. Mr. Miller was asked the plain question as to what, in his opinion, would be a fair amount of gold to hold for the redemption of notes, and his answer was that it would be sufficient to hold 3s. 6d. against each note issued. Another manager - I think of the Bank of Australasia - said that as low as 2s. 6d. in the £1 would be an ample gold backing for the redemption of notes. It must he remembered that it was not, at that time, suggested to these gentlemen that a State bank should be established. They had not before their minds the issue of notes by a State bank when they testified that from 12 to 1G per cent, of gold at most would be a sufficient backing for a note issue. So that, in the opinion of the most experienced bankers in Australia, a gold reserve of from 12 to 25 per cent, is ample for the redemption of notes. Here, in connexion with the notes issued by the Commonwealth, we have behind them the resources of Australia, and, what is far more important, the credit of the whole of the people, anr! 40 per cent, in gold in addition : and yet the Leader of the Opposition tells us that a gold reserve of that percentage is not ample for our note issue.

Senator Millen - I did not say anything of the kind.

Senator LYNCH - The honorable senator's words still stand - "this rather inflated issue." We could only make it less inflated by increasing the gold reserve.

Senator Millen - No; we could make it less inflated by withdrawing some of the notes. I object to the honorable senator twisting my argument in this way because he does not understand it.

Senator LYNCH - The honorable senator's words were, "this inflated issue." Notes to the value of £27,000,000 have been issued, and we know that if there were 27,000,000 sovereigns in the Treasury there would be no inflation. As there is a gold reserve of a fraction over 40 per cent., the issue is referred to by the Leader of the Opposition as rather inflated. That means that by putting more gold in the Treasury it would become less inflated.

Senator Millen - No.

Senator LYNCH - I do not wish to argue these niceties. I think the matter is sufficiently plain, and that the man who runs may read.

Senator Millen - The honorable senator will allow me to say that when I referred to the note issue as being inflated it was because there is an issue of £27,000,000 in a country which it has been shown normally requires only £10,000,000. I never questioned the solvency of the issue at all.

Senator LYNCH - When those men who have claims to be considered experts were called upon to express an opinion, they said that in the case of private banks from 16 to 25 per cent, was ample. Although in the case of the Commonwealth to-day there is a gold reserve of over 40 per cent., yet we are told that our note issue is "rather inflated." I ani pleased to say that the' predictions of our opponents in that regard have not come true. One of the wise gentlemen among the Opposition - a man who, I suppose, has been more or less successful in business - indulged in a witty saying regarding the note issue. "This proposal," he said, " contains the germs of disaster." Where is the disaster that has been produced? I can only say that since our opponents have already placed on record their appreciation of the note issue in helping to finance the Commonwealth in the present Parliament, that in itself is a- sufficient credential without any words of mine to reinforce it. The Opposition said before the last election that this country was secure. Why did they make that statement? It was because we had a note issue. Why did the country have a note issue ? Because it had a Labour Government to establish the note issue. Did the Labour Government do that with the support of the Opposition? No. The Opposition said that our proposal contained the germs of disaster; but we are pleased that, just as in regard to the development of every other proposition tackled by the Labour Government, it has been attended by success. The note issue has been the positive financial salvation of this country up to date. It has helped the Government, not only to finance the requirements of the Commonwealth, but to finance the States. Aye. and even private banks, as well as private individuals.

Senator Bakhap - What about the British Joan? Did it not have anything to do with the salvation of the country?

Senator LYNCH - I desire to speak a word or two about the Commonwealth Bank. Senator Millen, of course, slid very gently over that ice, and it is just as well that he did. He made a slight reference to a paragraph on page 7 of the Ministerial statement-

The Australian Notes Fund could not hare been used in the manner indicated without the assistance of the banks, which have agreed not to present notes at the Treasury for gold until the close of the war.

That is quite true; but in regard to that arrangement there is always the other feature to be presented - that the note issue could not have been the help it was without the assistance of the banks. No more could the banks have assisted this country without the aid of the note issue. The position is just the same as if I was in the back country and wanted to get a ton of merchandise carted out from a railway station. If my team were inadequate for the purpose, and I obtained two horses from a neighbour, of course, with the aid of the horses I could get the ton of merchandise landed at its destination, and it could properly be said of me that I could not have achieved that result except with the aid and the help of my neighbour ; but I would know that he came to my assistance as a neighbourly act. or to gain an advantage for himself in the future. Had not the banks come to the assistance of the Commonwealth Government, what would have been the result? Would we not have had a certain dislocation of trade throughout the country? Whilst I am willing to give credit, to the banks for their action, let me remind Senator Millen that they could not have done what they did on their own account. It is a case of mutual co-operation, in which two parties co-operated in a very creditable spirit.

Senator Millen - What advantage is it to a bank to get a note for a sovereign? There is an advantage to the Treasurer, because he could issue three other notes on the strength of that sovereign.

Senator LYNCH - The note issue has kept the gold in the Commonwealth. It has enabled the people of this country to trade, because, after all, 4,000,000 persons must have some credit, the same as any person of passable repute has credit. The people of this country had no credit until the Fisher Government gave them the power to trade. The note issue could not exist on its own; it wanted a gold base, and by that means it has enabled the Government to circulate £4 for every sovereign deposited in the Treasury. That is an advantage to the banks. It was a transaction praiseworthy to all parties, and no particular share of praise ought to be given to the banks. Had they not come to the rescue we would have had a serious shortage, and such a disruption in our industrial and commercial life as possibly to bring about a repetition of the distress and unemployment experienced in the past - in times, by the way, when Liberal Governments could not cope with the difficulties which the Fisher Government happily have been able to cope with to such an extent that the position of the country is as solid and sound as a bell. This result has been accomplished by a Government who have been exposed to much criticism.

We also have had a further reference to the Commonwealth Bank, which I will help Senator Millen to memorize. We were told by the Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Cook - I do not know how many times, for I have lost count - that the Bank was being called into existence for the purpose of injuring private banks.

Senator Millen - It was your party who said that.

Senator LYNCH - But so far from injuring the private banks, the Commonwealth Bank has actually come forward to their help, if not to their rescue. It is a strange role to be filled by a bank which was said to be incubated in a spirit of revenge, with a design to injure other banks, that it should be» their actual saviour at the present time. We have lived and learned, as we always do. The predictions of our opponents have been falsified in regard tothe Commonwealth Bank as well as in regard to the Government, the note issue, and every other big reform which has been carried to a successful issue by the Labour party.

Our proposal to establish a Navy was also opposed. It was referred toby members of the Opposition as a "mosquito fleet"; but where are our critics now? The Labour party brought the Navy into existence, but we do not hear any criticisms now. Thus one more prophecy is tossed overboard, one more prediction is pulverized. We had to wait for good old Time to vindicate the party on the Treasury bench. I am pleased at the progress which the Commonwealth. Bank has made, and at the thought that in three months it has increased its deposits by £500,000. That shows the expanding confidence which is making itself manifest everywhere in this grand institution. What do we find when we turn to the other end of the world? Amongst the banks of the Old World, according to this Ministerial statement, the Commonwealth Bank and the Bank of England were the only two banks which kept their doors open, and did not take advantage of the moratorium passed by the Imperial Parliament. What have our opponents and critics to say on that point now ? Nothing ! Of course, they cannot say anything. They are as scarce on the landscape as a rabbit would be on the Sahara. We do not hear our opponents criticising the Commonwealth Bank, because the operation of time has brought out the weakness and thefalsification of the arguments they used in times past against our proposal. I am also pleased that the Government have taken advantage of their power, although it was a very extraordinary thing to do, to remit the duties on hay, chaff, and fodder entering the Commonwealth.

Although the revenue has not been too buoyant, still we find the Fisher Government sufficiently alive to the primary industries to do a thing which I have not heard of as being done before, in order to help the primary industries during dry times. Those of us who are acquainted with the dry conditions in the inland parts of Australia, and. know the hardships which many a settler lately in the ranks of the wage earners has had to undergo, cannot too highly appreciate the action of the Fisher Government in making fodder free of duty. Ministers have, it is true, gone behind the back of Parliament.

Senator Bakhap - Have not the Government made fodder free for the carters in the cities as well ?

Senator LYNCH - Of course they have, even for the hunting horse of the man who rides in the cab.

Senator Bakhap - You are asking the farmers to fall down 'on their knees to !bless you.

Senator LYNCH - What I am endeavouring to' point out is that the Government, realizing the disastrous character of the season, did not wait for» a command from Parliament to remit the duties on fodder. Knowing the desperate position of some men who cannot get fodder to keep their horses alive - and Senator Shannon will support my statement - I cannot appreciate too highly the statesmanlike act of the Labour Government during the last few months. They did not hesitate to do a thing which many a Government would not dream of doing; they have given a chance to farmers and settlers to cling to their holdings through being able to get cheaper fodder to keep hungry horses alive and get a crop in. How often have the present Government been told that they were not a farmers' Government? How often has the quintette who remain in the Senate told the people of this country that the enemies of the farmers are to be seen on the Treasury bench ?

Senator Millen - The- Tariff shows that.

Senator LYNCH - What more could the Fisher Government have done ? They remitted the duty on fodder and showed themselves to be the real friends of the farmers, without waiting for a direction from Parliament. They took a step which, ordinarily speaking, would have justified a vote of censure.

Senator Findley - You speak as a farmer ?

Senator LYNCH - Unfortunately, I do.

Senator Bakhap - Are you in favour of fodder duties in normal times ?

Senator LYNCH - Of course I am, but these are not normal times. I have no need to tell the honorable senator that the Tariff was not made for abnormal times. It was made to advance the interests of this country, and although it was about to press severely upon many an anxious farmer and settler throughout the Commonwealth, the present Government stepped forward and did everything they could to ease the burden on his back. Are our opponents truly sorry for what they have said of the Labour party in the past? I hope that they will be sorry. I do not know whether they want to be tested according to the Christian or the old Egyptian code. The new Christian code is that a person is held responsible for the acts he is guilty of, whereas under the old Egyptian code a person was condemned for the acts he had omitted to do. I verily believe that the old Egyptian code will be the safer one for our honorable friends to be tested by. In fact, their sins of omission and commission have been so numerous that -'t would be a good thing to re-establish the Egyptian code in order to -allow them to escape the fury which awaits them in the future.

I would like honorable senators on the other side to remember that the party they represent in a great measure in the country ought to be particularly thankful to the Fisher Government for financing the war as they have done.

Senator- Millen.- You mean to the Imperial Government?

Senator LYNCH - In other countries a very stiff tax would be imposed such as has been imposed on persons in the Old Country who are able to pay. So far, that has not been the case here. While it will be necessary for the Government to resort to the power of taxation to cover the expenditure of the war, still, owing to the disastrous times we have had wisdom prevails in the ranks of the Ministerial party, and no taxation is to be imposed until the productive energies of the country are in a state to stand the strain.- - So the Opposition should be thankful that their main supporters have been allowed to escape so long; but let them not take that fact as a guarantee that they will escape always. I believe that the burden will be fairly adjusted. I believe that when we get a return to normal seasons and the cruel war is over we shall be able to adjust the burden in such a way as will entail no hardship to any individual, and at the same time will secure the finances of this country. The items in this statement so far as I have had time to criticise them have appealed to me very favorably. I am particularly impressed with the way the Government havehandled the situation. I only hope that with the return of good seasons and the cessation of hostilities, Australia, in common with our Allies in the war, will experience a lengthened era of prosperity.

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