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Friday, 18 September 1942

Mr STACEY (Adelaide) .- During my speech on the budget on Thursday of last week, I referred to what I termed the unnecessary spending of public money in Canberra. My statement was severely criticized by the Minister for the Interior (Senator Collings), who denied the truth of what I had said. I assure honorable members that I am not given to the telling of falsehoods or to the making of statements for which there is no foundation in fact. I claim the right, as a member of Parliament and as the representative of the electors of Adelaide, to criticize whatever government may be in office if I think it deserves criticism. When I sat on the other side of the chamber .1 criticized the Government I supported, just as I have since criticized this Government. I was surprised and disappointed by the attack made on me by the Minister for the Interior.

On the same occasion I said something about the use of motor cars by Ministers. The Minister for the Interior, in reply, mid definitely that no government motor car had been sent to Melbourne from Canberra since last November which was not propelled by producer-gas. There are Ministers present who know that my statements are correct.

Mr Conelan - The Minister's statement was true.

Mr STACEY - The honorable member knows nothing about the subject. 1. have two eyes and I also have witnesses. The cars were seen going a way from Canberra, and they were seen coming back. If they were equipped with producer-gas units, the work was done somewhere on the journey. The Prime Minister has asked the people to co-operate in an austerity campaign. I am heart and soul with him in that matter. I want Ministers, honorable members opposite, and honorable members on this side of the chamber to be with him, too. In my view, the Government should set an example. Two motor cars did go from Canberra to Melbourne as I stated, and they were propelled by petrol and not producer-gas. Some people say, "Let the past die in the past" but I say that we ought to do what is right now without waiting for the future.

Mr Conelan - We shall not do that.

Mr STACEY - Perhaps the honorable member foa- Griffith would be better dead anyway.

Mr Curtin - Is the honorable member for Adelaide in order in hoping for an immediate vacancy in the House £

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