Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Full Day's HansardDownload Full Day's Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Wednesday, 3 June 1942

Senator SAMPSON - Although members of the Labour party may talk as they like, they must vote as they are told. I confess that at times I should have liked to see similar discipline enforced on members on this side, but, fortunately, we are not subjected to such cast-iron discipline; we have souls that wecan call our own. If ever there was a matter which demanded consideration on its merits, or its demerits, it is the bill, or collection of bills, now before the Senate. They constitute a threat to federation and all that federation implies. To those who do not believe in federation, that may be all right. I, however, have always believed in federation. I remember distinctly the conference held in Hobart in 1897, and the discussions which took place then. The conference was open to the public, and I attended some sessions and saw some of the political giants of those days. It is claimed that these measures will ensure greater uniformity in respect of war taxation, but a careful examination will show that the effect will be just the opposite. The most glaring inequalities in our war taxation are due to the disinclination of the

Government to demand a just contribution from wage-earners in the lower income groups. Those inequalities will be intensified under this plan, because those groups will be relieved of the necessity to pay State taxes as is now the case in respect of federal taxes. Even if the contributions were fixed on a low scale, every person in receipt of a reasonable wage should be expected to contribute something to the cost of conducting the war.

Senator Keane - What will happen when the electors get a chance to deal with the honorable senator?

Senator SAMPSON - I have never been concerned about matters of that kind. I first entered the Senate in 1925, and it was because of my disregard of such matters that I, possibly, "got it in the neck" in 1937. I do not pander to the electors; I tell them what I think is right, and if they do not like what I say, they know what to do about it. I am expressing my honest opinion about these bills. The electors do not come into the matter at all.

Senator Keane - The honorable senator is not loyal to the State which he represents.

Senator SAMPSON - I am.

Senator Keane - At one moment the honorable senator is a federalist, and the next moment he is just the opposite.

Senator SAMPSON - I am both.

Senator Keane - Tasmania will gain under these proposals, but the honorable senator is letting that State down.

Senator SAMPSON - Tasmania will not gain. Does the Minister say that the price of Tasmania is £77,000?

Senator Keane - There is also a grant of £1,000,000, and lower taxation.

Senator SAMPSON - Is that the price? It is not. I shall not support these proposals, because they are utterly contrary to the spirit of federation. I remind the Minister for Trade and Customs (Senator Keane), who has interjected freely, that it is unwise to prophesy. It may not be long before the scales fall from the eyes of the electors, and they see what these proposals really mean. I think that I have shown that the preamble to the bill should be altered. All the money in the world could not ret us out of the mess that we are in, unless we have the right spirit, the will to resist and, if need arose, are willing to go down and die before we give in to the " Jap ", or any one else. Money is quite a side issue. Wars are not fought with money. The belief that money wins wars has been the trouble with the British nation over and over again. Britishers have neglected their defences and have relied on raising a few million pounds to put things right, if trouble came. That conception is wrong, because armies cannot be created in a moment. It takes years of preparation to train and equip an army. More than anything else, patient training is necessary before men become masters of the art of war. Otherwise, a nation merely pits amateurs against professionals. That, unfortunately, is what has been happening in this war, and that is why, so far, we have hardly won a round in the, fight. Up to date, it has largely been a case of the enthusiastic amateur, not too well equipped, facing men trained to the minute and having the best equipment that can be provided.

It has been said that these proposals will release a big reservoir of manpower. I do not know the position in the other States, but Mr. Dwyer-Gray, the Treasurer of Tasmania, said the day before yesterday that the special committee's report on which this scheme is based, estimated that 30 per cent. of the staffs of various State departments could be released when these proposals were in operation, and that £250,000 a year would be saved in salaries. I do not follow that reasoning, because I presume that the men who would be released would still get some payment. Mr. DwyerGray said that, in his opinion, the figures were greatly exaggerated, He estimated that Tasmanian State departments might suffer a reduction of 20 officers, all of whom were temporarily employed. He went on to say, however, that their rights would be conserved, either by the Commonwealth or the State. That would be only just.

In conclusion, I repeat that I am opposed to these proposals, lock, stock and barrel. They are absolutely contrary to the spirit, if not to the letter, of the Constitution; they are quite unnecessary; whilst the same amount of money which it is estimated that these proposals will yield could be raised more easily by other methods.

Suggest corrections