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
Tuesday, 3 May 1932

Mr JOHN LAWSON (MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES) . - I cannot support the amendment of the honorable member for Swan (Mr. Gregory). I agree in great measure with the statements of the honorable member for Dalley (Mr. Rosevear), and of the honorable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr. Holloway) . I am one of those who, on general principles, do not support the entry of government into business, but that would not justify me in taking the stand that in no circumstances whatever shall a government enter into business affairs. There are circumstances in which it is not only desirable but necessary for governments to enter the business field. An instance of that may be had in the operations of the Commonwealth Small Arms Factory at Lithgow, which has undertaken the manufacture of combs and cutters. No private company was prepared to take on this work, and it was necessary that the Government should embark upon it in order to prevent the exploitation of the consuming public by firms which, in the past, undoubtedly exploited them. The honorable member for Swan must himself applaud the entry of government into business in that instance. At any rate, it has the support of the great bulk of primary producers throughout the Commonwealth, as is well known to the honorable member for Swan. The only reason why the broadcasting commission would desire to enter into trading or any subsidiary business in connexion with the wireless industry would be to prevent the exploitation of the public by those firms which might display a tendency to charge too much for their goods. If the Government did not insert in this bill some provision to protect the public, it would be extending an open invitation to the manufacturers of wireless sets and accessories to exploit the public in the future as, it is freely alleged, they have done in the past.

Moreover, this does not represent, in the generally accepted sense of the term, the entry of a government into business; it would be merely the entry of the broadcasting commission into business. The commission will be composed of the most able persons available, some of whom will possess a wide knowledge and experience of the wireless industry, and of business generally. The initiative is not to rest with the Minister, but with the commission. It is only upon the recommendations of the commission that the Minister may give his approval for the commission to enter into business. This disposes of the contention of some honorable members opposite that my support of this clause must necessarily involve me in the support of proposals for the general nationalization of industry.

Suggest corrections