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Wednesday, 25 November 1931

Mr LYONS (WILMOT, TASMANIA) - I shall never be an apologist for Mr. Lang, nor for his followers in this House. The only defence that was made by the honorable member for Calare was that Mr. Lang did worse things than this. Half of the defence of the Treasurer was an endeavour to draw attention to the awful things that Mr. Lang is doing in New South Wales. It is no satisfaction to us or the people of Australia to be told that the Government has done this because Mr. Lang has done worse. I regret that the Prime Minister, who has dealt with the matter very reasonably, andhas advanced the only adequate defence that has so far been submitted, is not prepared to have the whole matter properly investigated.

Mr Scullin - I did say that I would have the matter investigated.

Mr LYONS (WILMOT, TASMANIA) - Yes, by departmental officers. I point out that this £250,000 does not come from the Government, or from this Parliament.

Mr Beasley - It comes from the people.

Mr LYONS - It will not come from the people for a long time. It comes from the banks that have been subjected to so much condemnation of late. This £250,000 that the banks have made available is to beused to enable political capital to be made of the position by one party or another. Had the Government made the money available through existing State organizations, or through its own organizations in the various cities and towns of the Common wealth, all this trouble would have been obviated. Without bothering about bringing into the matter politicians, the workers could have been informed through the columns of the daily press, where to go to register. That would have shown a genuine endeavour to give the desired relief to our unemployed.

Mr JONES (INDI, VICTORIA) - Has not that course been followed ?

Mr LYONS - It has not. Had that been done, politicians would not have been drawn in, and the honorable member for Parramatta (Mr.Rowe) would not have called the meeting at Liverpool at which he announced that those seeking employment must make application through him. There has been a definite attempt to make political capital out of the expenditure of this money. The Prime Minister has been courageous. I assure him and other honorable members opposite that his threat about going to the country will not deter honorable members on this side from following the course that they deem to be the right one. The Prime Minister could not offer a better reason to honorable members on this side for supporting the proposal of the honorable member for West Sydney, than to threaten that an election will follow that action.

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