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Thursday, 5 March 1942

Mr DEDMAN (Corio) (Minister for War Organization of Industry) . - The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Fadden) mentioned proposals for the rationalization of private trading banks, mid either stated directly, or implied, that what was being done would damage the prospects of the raising of this loan.

Mr Fadden - I never said any such thing.

Mr DEDMAN - I am sorry if I misunderstood the honorable member.

Mr Fadden - I said what was being done constituted the first step towards the nationalization of banking. I never said anything about its effect upon the raising of the loan.

Mr DEDMAN - I accept the honorable member's statement, but I point out that the rationalization of banking is ancillary to the effects which will be produced by the raising of this loan. The purpose of the loan is to take away spending power from the community so that the community, by its spending, will not, be able to draw away, for the satisfaction of its wants, man-power which should be used for the prosecution of this war.

Mr MARWICK (SWAN, WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - Surely it is not suggested that that is the only reason for the loan !

Mr DEDMAN - It is the only reason.

Mr MARWICK (SWAN, WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - Then why not make it compulsory?

Mr DEDMAN - J do not. propose to answer that question now. Compulsory diversion of spend'ing-power can be done equally well by taxation. I am now discussing the actual effect of the rationalization of banking, or of any other industry, and I say that that effect on man-power- in relation to the war effort is exactly the same as that of the raising of loans.

Mr Menzies - Why did not the Government extend its scheme to the Commonwealth Bank?

Mr DEDMAN - If the honorable member had followed our proceedings, he would have realized that the scheme was being applied to all industries.

Mr Fadden - But not to the Commonwealth Bank?

Mr DEDMAN - No, because the Commonwealth Bank is in an entirely different position from that of the other banks.

Mr Fadden - The Government is placing it in an entirely different position.

Mr DEDMAN - Rationalization is being applied to every industry, and the proposals in regard to banking are less drastic than those in regard to many other industries. The private trading banks have themselves agreed to the policy of rationalization in order to make man-power available, so I do not know what all the uproar is about.

Mr Fadden - The private banks did not. agree to the Government's proposals?

Mr DEDMAN - The private banks, at a conference on Monday last, agreed to the general principles which I put before them.

Mr Fadden - But not to the details.

Mr DEDMAN - No detailed proposals have been placed before them. The private trading banks, like every other industry, are putting before me proposals for the release of man-power, and i shall examine the proposals put forward by the banks just as I shall examine those put forward by other industries. If I think they are drastic enough, I shall accept them. If, in my opinion, they do not go far enough, I shall ask the authors of them to think out something more effective. I shall do that with every one of our industries, so that the private trading banks have not been singled out for special treatment. I believe that, in applying this policy for the rationalization of industry, including banking, 1 shall be doing something to assist in the most effective utilization of man-power, and that is exactly the effect for which we look from the raising of this loan.

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