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Wednesday, 25 February 1942


Mr CURTIN (FREMANTLE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA) (Prime Minister) - The regulations are operative. They are being administered reasonably, equitably, and capably, by the responsible Ministers. I know of very great service to the country that they have already rendered. I am ready to set up the committee so soon as the Leader of the Opposition and I can constitute it. I cannot see any occasion for a protracted investigation. The report of the committee could be made available at a very early date.

Mr.Menzies. - By Thursday of next week ?


Mr CURTIN - Yes; and that ought to end the matter.


Mr FADDEN - When the House assembles next 'week, will the Prime Minister afford to honorable members an opportunity to debate these regulations and the general economic policy of the Government?

Mr.CURTIN.- That will depend upon whether the report of the committee, which, I understand, the Opposition accepts, has been completed. No good purpose would be served in debating the subject before that report is ready, and I sincerely hope that it will be available by next week. If the Government accepts the findings of the committee, the regulations will be amended. In those circumstances, new regulations to effect the necessary changes will have to be drafted. If the committee approves of the action of the Government, I do not see that anything further can be done, unless somesubstantive action be taken in the Parliament.


Mr Menzies - Will honorable members have an opportunity to take that action, if necessary?


Mr CURTIN - Yes, provided that the other requisite steps also are taken. But at the present stage I submit, entirely without prejudice or any wishful thinking on the part of the Opposition or the Government, that we expect the committee to apply its mind constructively to the regulations, the principles of which have been accepted by members of the Government and the Opposition alike, and it seems to me that any debate upon the subject should be delayed until next week.







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