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Thursday, 29 October 1931

Mr HOLLOWAY (FLINDERS, VICTORIA) . - The discussion of this proposal has been somewhat laboured, and several honorable members opposite have applauded it with faint praise. We should accept the statement of the Prime Minister (Mr. Scullin) and the Treasurer (Mr. Theodore) that they do not suggest that this grant is a cure for unemployment, or that it in any way reduces the unemployment problem. The Government is trying to make a gesture which, it hopes, other employers will follow. 'Those who have studied the unemployment problem during the last few years must agree that the low wage standard now operating is the cause rather than the effect of the depression. The longer this low wage standard continues, the greater will the depression become. I agree with the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Latham) and the honorable member for Swan (Mr. Gregory) that we should try to give employment to more men under this scheme, hut the only way to do that is to persuade the Government to double the grant.

Mr Bayley - The only other money available is being given to the wheatfarmers.

Mr HOLLOWAY (FLINDERS, VICTORIA) - That money could have been used under this scheme to give relief to persons who are absolutely destitute. I hope that the Government will not accept the suggestion to reduce -the rate of wages to be paid under this relief scheme, because I am certain that the reduction of wages which has already taken place is one of the causes of the existing depression.

Mr Thompson - I suggested, not that we should reduce wages, but that we should reduce the period of work.

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