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Tuesday, 22 September 1942

Mr CALWELL (Melbourne) .- The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Fadden) early in his speech in this debate made the following statements: -

The Opposition stands for the fullest cooperation with Government in every measure which we consider will further the effective prosecution of the war.

The Opposition's main objection to the budget is that it fails to recognize, and neglects to face courageously, the realities of Australia's present dire emergency.

At that stage in the right honorable gentleman's speech, the Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin) would have been justified in telling the right honorable member that it is hardly likely, whatever shortcomings the Opposition might claim tosee in the budget, that the people of Australia will reject the Government in order to make way for a second government under the right honorable member. The Prime Minister might have told the story of Charles II. and his brother James, Duke of York. When the latter told His Majesty that the people were murmuring against him, Charles replied, " The people of England will never depose me to make you King ". I admit that there are imperfections in the budget; but whatever those imperfections may be, the people are not likely to accept the solution of our present problems which has been offered by the Opposition. The burden of tie Opposition's case is that the Government will not adopt the Keynes plan for compulsory loans and post-war credits. Honorable members opposite have convinced themselves, apparently with no great deal of argument, that this country is in danger of inflation, and that that will spell disaster for the community. I cannot see how there could possibly be inflation in Australia in the present circumstances, when prices are fixed, goods are rationed, capital expenditure is forbidden and wages are pegged. All that i3 necessary is that we keep the pegs down. If that be done, we cannot possibly incur inflation. For the benefit of neophytes like the honorable member for Bendigo (Mr. Rankin) it is not necessarily the amount of money in circulation but the velocity of that circulation that determines inflation.

Mr Rankin - Does the honorable member say that wages have been pegged ?

Mr CALWELL - The vast majority of the people of Australia are receiving no more than the basic wage. Of course, some people may be receiving wages which seem to be extraordinarily high; but it i3 equally true that, until quite recently, many people were making extraordinarily high profits. During the regime of the Menzies and Fadden Governments, the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited and other big concerns were paying dividends at a rate considerably in excess of 4 per cent. As a matter of fact, the rate of dividend of the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited on its paid-up capital amounted to about 20 per cent. Did not Australian Consolidated Industries Limited state in its balance-sheet a few years ago that its profits were in double figures and still increasing ?

Mr Morgan - -And they have returned £46,000.

Mr CALWELL - Yes. As the result of the investigations of the Joint 'Committee on War Expenditure, that company has been obliged to return a certain amount to the Government. That money was handed back as conscience money. Not one argument has been propounded in this debate to prove that inflation is taking place. Honorable members opposite are pandering to fear. The employment of similar tactics enabled them to snatch an electoral victory in 1931-32. The tricks now being perpetrated in this chamber by honorable members opposite were perpetrated by their party at that election. They scared the people with wild talk about the worthlessness of the German mark. Apparently, they believe that they can try the same trickery again. [ remind them, as Lincoln said : " You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time ". The majority of Australians are not likely to be fooled by this talk of inflation, which has been indulged in not only . by honorable members opposite, but also by quite a lot of people outside. These persons are warning the country against the danger of inflation; and leading articles in the same strain are being published in the capitalist press. We find that the Governor of New South Wales has also been telling the people of the danger of inflation. The SydneyMorningHerald of the 13th September reported that, when speaking at the opening of a Returned Soldiers League congress, the Governor emphasized the need for austerity, and spoke of the disastrous inflation that followed the last war. It is a gratuitous interference in politics on the part of the Governor of a State to talk of austerity and inflation in that manner. If this Government is sincere in all its talk about austerity, it might make a start by letting the country do without its six State Governors for the duration of the war. It could let Lord Wakehurst go back to England to do a job there instead of drawing a salary of £5,000 a year in New South Wales interfering in politics and trying to stir up opposition to the Labour party in this country. The Labour party's proposals for financing the war need no gubernatorial approval or disapproval. State governors have long since passed their period of usefulness in Australia. Forty years after federation they are a decided anachron- ism. The Governor of New South Wales is not helping the community, or its war effort, by making speeches of that kind. It ill behoves him and a lot of other people to talk about austerity to the working people of this country. Later, I shall have something more to say on the subject of austerity. The German mark and the Russian rouble trick has been, played too often. It is historically correct to say that both the German mark and the Russian rouble were deliberately destroyed by the then governments of Germany and Russia to suit the interests of the governments of those countries. The Russian rouble was destroyed, according to Trotsky, during a period, of war, because the Communists wanted to destroy the value of holdings of roubles outside their own country. The German Government destroyed the German mark to defeat the Versailles Treaty. At any rate, there is no analogy between the conditions that operated in those countries after their defeat in war and the condition of controlled inflation which operates in this country to-day.

Mr Hutchinson - What has the honorable gentleman to say about the American civil war?

Mr CALWELL - That war ended in victory for the northern States.

Mr Morgan - With Lincoln's " Greenbacks ".

Mr CALWELL - Yes. If the southern States did not repay what they had been lent by the governments of Great Britain and other countries it shows that those countries had no right to interfere in the struggle. It was unfortunate for the British Government and the British bondholders that the southern .States could not be made to pay after their defeat. I am not worried about inflation and I do not intend to worry about it, because it is merely another bogy, like the Tantanoola tiger, raised by the Opposition. The history of anti-Labour parties has been marked with these bogies. When the late Mr. Andrew Fisher introduced legislation providing for the payment of a maternity allowance, members of - the old Liberal party described it as a sop to profligacy and a premium on prostitution. Everything that could be said in derogation of every social measure that this party advocated or introduced was said.

Mr MORGAN (REID, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Remember what they had to say about " Fisher's flimsies ".

M,r. CALWELL.- They called our note issue " Fisher's flimsies ". Yet it was that note issue which helped us to finance the last war and paid for the building of the east-west railway. It will help us to finance this war without paying interest to bondholders if we are courageous enough to use it.

Other people beside the Governor of New South Wales are telling the common people what they ought to do. A former Governor of Victoria, Lord Somers, formed Somers camp, to which he invited each year a certain number of public school boys and a certain number of youths from factories. The scheme was an imitation of one initiated by the then Duke of York - the present King. It worked all right for a number of years, but there was a plot behind it on the part of a number of people in this community who saw in it an opportunity to capture the minds of working class youths. As time passed, this organization became a little more rabid, and on the 1st June last Dr. C. Gordon McAdam, described as Camp Chief, in a circular, Power Home, expressed the following views : -

At the moment Australia would seem to bc lacking in three great essentials - leadership, spiritual inspiration and discipline. By its own choosing our Government is not an allAustralian government but a Labour Government. It is not representative of all the people but. of a section only and that section, on the showing of the last election, a minority. Moreover, the Government cannot or will not forget that it is a Labour Government with plunks in its platform close to the heart of the Labour movement but in many cases having little or no relation to the one great question of tile hour - the winning of the war. Surely the present calls for a united effort on the part of every one! Surely contentious matters should be left to more peaceful and reasonable times. . . . Bleatings for help go forth to the United States of America, and when this help is forthcoming it is made perfectly clear that no universal trainee will bc sent out of Australia at any time to the assistance of this one of our allies or any oilier. If you care to volunteer to do your duty to your God and your country, that's your affair, but no one is compelled to do his duty. And many of the youth of to-day, mean, selfish and cowardly, fail to see their duty.

He then offered the following opinion of the women of this country : -

Greasy, flaming, carmine lips, painted cheeks, distorted, tinted nails have replaced the freshness, beauty and charm of the natural woman. Many mothers and wives rate the safety of their sons and husbands above their honour and their courage. There is no spiritual inspiration or discipline here. Australia has little to be proud of in this generation.

That sort of talk comes perilously close to fifth column talk. He continued -

In spite of our sneering youth, ignorant and untutored politicians, Britain has done something for the glory of the world and our Empire remains, thanks be to God and His instrument, England, an inspiration to all true men.

There is a lot of truth in Dr. Johnson's dictum, " Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel ". A lot of people waving the flag to-day are persons for whom the general community should have no regard at all. This man, who tries to ingratiate himself by a free use of the name of the Deity and attempts to make himself the only custodian of loyalty in this country, is beneath contempt. I instanced that as further evidence that there is a fairly widespread conspiracy against the Labour movement and the control that this Government, for good or ill, is exercising. I have said that the Government is not doing all that I should like it to do, but the people who want a change want it not so that the masses shall have better social laws, but so that the control shall revert to the people who have dominated this country for years. One would imagine that there is an inherent evil in credit expansion; that it is something that decent people speak about with bated breath and something with which no self-respecting politician would associate his name. Yet in a speech delivered in 1939 before the Constitutional Association of Australia, the former Premier of New South Wales, Sir Bertram Stevens, recommended -

That the Commonwealth Government should consider the advisability of an early expansion of credit to enable all able-bodied men in Australia to be given full-time employment on essential works, preferably of a defence nature.

Nobody repudiated Sir Bertram Stevens then. There was nothing wrong with that sentiment from my point of view.

Mr Martens - No other honorable member has quoted that recommendation.

Mr CALWELL - That is so. In case that is not sufficient, I shall quote a report from the Melbourne Age of 28th August, 1940, which states -

The Young Nationalists' Organization carried a motion with regard to war finance, advocating that, in order to preserve an equitable distribution of income and wealth, the financial burden of. the war should be spread in the following way: - (4.) To facilitate post-war reconstruction, a suitable part of the loan money raised during the war should be redeemed by a capital levy at the conclusion of hostilities.

Mr Pollard - That is hot for " Young Nats ".

Mr CALWELL - Yes. If the " Young Nats", or for that matter the "Old Nats", like to check the authenticity of that report I shall be pleased to let them do so.

Sir George Bell - Quote the Treasurer's speech.

Mr CALWELL - I know what he has said. I have heard his speech quoted and requoted. I do not agree with his fears or with the dangers he foresees. If we continue to apply the present policy of borrowing money at interest, we shall end in repudiation, or revolution, or both. I shall quote what the budget papers show in regard to loan expenditure and interest. The table on page 123 shows that we borrowed £327,113,364 during the last war, have repaid £159,893,750, and on the 30th June last still owed £167,219613 in respect of that war debt. During the period in which we repaid £159,893,750 we paid in interest at least £255,000,000. We still owe one-third of the money that we borrowed during the last war.

Mr Martens - The further back one goes the worse it becomes.

Mr CALWELL - Yes. According to the table mentioned, Commonwealth and State governmental debts, apart from municipal and semi-governmental debts, amount to the colossal sum of £1,628,S28,760. We are to borrow or obtain by release of credit an extra £300,000,000 this year. That means that at the end of this financial year we shall owe about £2,000,000,000. Should the war last another five years and we obtain £300,000,000 a year by credit expansion, compulsory loans or voluntary loans, on all of which interest is paid, we shall have the colossal debt of £3,500,000,000, on which we shall have to pay £100,000,000 a year in interest. At present, according to the figures shown on page 12S, we are paying £53,000,000 a year in interest. We are expending on the war £1,250,000 a day, and interest on debts incurred during the last war and this war and debts incurred for the development of this country amount to £1,000,000 a week. Where will it all end ? Five years hence, at the present rate of borrowing, our interest bill will be £2,000,000 a week. We simply shall not be able to meet it. It can end only in repudiation. The honorable member for Parramatta (Sir Frederick Stewart) advocates post-war credits .and likens them to deferred pay for soldiers. I believe in deferred pay for soldiers, but it is practically impossible for the community to impose compulsory loans that will have to be repaid to the community in the form of deferred Pay-

Mr Ryan - What is the difference between compulsory loans and voluntary loans ?

Mr CALWELL - I have already said that interest has to be paid on both. The sooner we get interest out of our minds the better it will be for every one. Credit expansion is only a system of deferred taxation. We have credit expansion. We could, if we wanted to do so, reduce our credit in the same way as we reduce our indebtedness at the rate of 10 per cent, by means of a sinking fund which is supposed to liquidate our capital liability within 70 or SO years. If the sinking fund be used for purposes other than repayment of loans, we shall never be out of difficulty. We must establish a system under which, first, we can cut out borrowing and the consequent payment of interest and, secondly, make provision for the reduction or cancellation of our credit. The honorable member for Parramatta said that we would have deferred pay. That is so much nonsense. It is plain that under the plan of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Fadden) which is that of Baron Keynes, a director of the Bank of England, we shall borrow money from ourselves, tax ourselves to pay interest on the money we have borrowed from ourselves, and then, when the money falls due a few years later, float a loan from ourselves to pay ourselves back the original loan that we borrowed from ourselves, and so reach the very happy position which can be quite simply described as taking in each other's washing and pretending that we are very busy. We simply cannot pay the interest on our total loan expenditure, and the problem will not be solved by introducing a system of compulsory, instead of voluntary, loans.

Mr Guy - What does the honorable member suggest?

Mr CALWELL - I have already told the committee.

Mr GUY (WILMOT, TASMANIA) - That we should repudiate the payment of interest?

Mr CALWELL - I did not say so. I told the committee that, if we continued to be a party to this sort of thing, we should be catapulting the nation into a state which can only end in repudiation. I do not believe in borrowing money at interest, as I have said over and over again, and, therefore, I disagree with the Government's proposals in that regard.

Mr Beck - Why does the honorable member continue to support that policy?

Mr CALWELL - I have never supported loan bills. I am making the best of the circumstances as I find them, and work upon the principle that the worst Labour government is better than the best United Australia party government. I am not suggesting that this is the worst of Labour governments, by any means. The honorable member for Boothby (Dr. Price) quoted certain figures in relation to taxation in Great Britain and this country. The honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Holt) quoted what was being done in Great Britain and Australia in the matter of taxation, all to the advantage of GreatBritain. I propose to quote from a paper which is not a. Labour party paper. It has never been associated with the Labour party, nor do I suppose that it ever will be. It is called Jobson's Investment Digest. In an excellent series of tables, set forth in such a way that even the almost uninitiated can read quite clearly, it is shown that Australia has clone better than the United States of America, Great Britain or Canada in the matter of taxation for war expenditure. The percentage of taxation to total expen diture in the United States of America for the year 1942-43 is estimated at 39.8, in Great Britain 37.9, Canada 52.5 and Australia 53.9. It cannot be said, therefore, that we are undertaxing in comparison with Great Britain; as a matter of fact we are taxing at least one and a half times as much proportionately as is Great Britain, whilst we are relying less on borrowings and credit expansion than it is. An ideal system of war taxation would be, " Pay as you go, make this generation pay for its wars, because this generation helped to make the mistakes that, created them ".

Dr PRICE (BOOTHBY, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Those are not the official British budget figures.

Mr CALWELL - They are Jobson's figures, and at least they do not carry any suspicion of having been prepared by some Labour enthusiast or even by an economist friendly to Labour principles.

Mr Holloway - They are accepted by the business people of this country.

Mr CALWELL - Yes, the Investment Digest has a very big circulation. The issue from which I quoted is that of the 1st July, 1942, and it suits me, if I am to make comparisons between what is happening in this country and abroad.

Mr McDonald - The honorable member said the other clay that all budgets were faked.

Mr CALWELL - I am speaking now about the proportion of taxes to total expenditure. I withdraw nothing that I said to the effect that budgets are faked, and can bc faked, and that there never has been presented to any parliament a budget that could be said to state clearly and definitely the real financial position of a country at a particular time.

Dr PRICE (BOOTHBY, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - That is what we think about this budget.

Mr CALWELL - And that is what I thought about the last one, and the one that preceded it. If I may digress for a moment, I shall tell the committee the story of a budget introduced by the late Sir William Macpherson when he was the United Australia party-Nationalist Treasurer of Victoria. Mr. Gibson, a member of the firm of Foy and Gibson, died and left an estate of £2,000,000, on which the estate duty for State purposes was £200,000. His death gave the

State a windfall, as the result of which Sir William Macpherson was able to show a surplus. He promptly did so, but instead of acknowledging that it was due to an act of God, he took all the credit to himself, claiming that the wise statesmanship of the Nationalist party had produced the credit balance, whereas it was one of those fortuitous circumstances that sometimes come the way of impecunious Treasurers.

I have some other views to offer in answer to the criticism of Australia's war effort which honorable members opposite have uttered. The honorable member for Indi (Mr. McEwen) was quite laudatory concerning what he thought of the splendid effort being made by Great Britain, and condemnatory of the comparative failure of Australia's war effort. I have some interesting quotations to present to the committee concerning those matters. The honorable member told us that the war effort and the sacrifices of the British people were remarkable. I do not deny that great and heroic sacrifices have been made by the British people, but I am equally conscious of the fact that great sacrifices have been made in this country also, and that our war effort, too, is splendid. It is not complete. We cannot have a 100 per cent, war effort, an unlimited war effort, or a total war effort in this country whilst we allow production to be regulated by the profit motive. If we permit those who own the means of production, distribution and exchange to regulate production in order to make more and more profit, our war effort is damaged accordingly. But things are not altogether all right in Great Britain. I read in the press, two days after the honorable member for Indi spoke, that the Aga Khan, a very wealthy Moslem leader, had paid £8,000 for a race-horse at a horse sale in Britain, which continued for a couple of days, when many thousands of pounds changed hands in exchange for horse-flesh. That does not seem to bespeak a very strenuous war effort on the part of the people in Britain who are in. possession of a great deal of wealth ; but there is other evidence in that regard also.

Mr Blackburn -In fact, the British papers point to what is being done in

Australia as an example to be emulated in Great Britain.

Mr CALWELL - If that is so, they are perfectly correct. There areother people besides British publicists who see in our war effort something to admire. An American correspondent named Hallett Abend was recently in Australia and has just published a book entitled Ramparts of the Pacific. According to the Melbourne Sun of last Saturday week, he says that the unions in Australia have retarded war production only very slightly. The Sun adds -

He singles out Australia's air effort as the most striking of the country's" almost incredible records in war effort of achievement ".

The honorable member for Inch, who was Minister for Air, ought at least to know these facts, and to have spoken of them when chidinghis own countrymen for failing to do as well as the British people have done. In the Melbourne Herald of the 8th March, 1941, under the heading of " Women Slackers ", the Herald special service sent the following facts from London : -

Girls filling Lake District cinemas, tea-shops and cafes, yet refusing to assist the war effort, are denounced by the Auxiliary Transport Service Company Commander.. Vera Lewis, who has just completed a fortnight's recruiting drive through Cumberland. Westmoreland and North Lancashire. "None volunteered,'' she said, " yet there are hundreds of leisured women in these districts. It is a disgusting and disgraceful situation."

None of these people that I have mentioned this evening is a friend or supporter of the Australian Labour party, and I cite their opinions in refutation of the slanders on this country uttered by many members of the Opposition, particularly the honorable member for Indi.

We are told that we have to take part in an austerity campaign. Many electors in my division and divisions represented by other Labour members in this Parliament have already taken part in one austerity campaign, which lasted from 1930 to 1939. It was not created by the machinations of any outside enemy, but was due to the manipulations of the international financial machine, particularly inside this country, by bankers and others of their type.

There were mem hers in this Parliament who supported the deflationary policies of the Lyons Government, which accentuated the sufferings of the Australian people. As a result of that austerity campaign which was forced on the people, borrow, suffering and semi-starvation stalked every street in the industrial portions of every city and town in Australia, and haunted every country road. That period of suffering continued right up to the outbreak of war. There was no money for developmental works, and it was only when war broke out that the then Treasurer of the Commonwealth, the Right Honorable R. G. Casey, said, " So far as war expenditure is concerned, the sky is the limit ". The policy was changed overnight, and many married and single men, who had never had a regular job for years - some of the single men had never had a regular job in their life - joined the Australian Imperial Force to get the first regular pay they had ever earned. They became economic conscripts, joining the fighting force? ro defend a grateful country that, promised never to forget them, after starving them and their children all through the depression years. Those people and their relatives, who comprised one-third of the working population of Australia, according to the figures quoted in this House by the honorable member for Calare (Mr. Breen), are not likely to engage in any austerity campaign, and should not be asked to do so. What money are they getting? "What is the soldier receiving that could justify the Government in asking his wife and children to practise austerity? Only since the war broke out have these people had a chance to live as human beings. The honorable member for Dalley (Mr. Rosevear) said that many of his constituents will resent any suggestion that they should make more sacrifices in this period of difficulty. Many of my constituents will also resent such a proposal. Let the people at the top make the sacrifices.

Mr Marwick - Many people in my electorate have never had any money.

Mr CALWELL - While the banking system remains as it is the wheat-growers will never have anything but debts. The debts of the wheat-growers of Australia far exceed, their assets. The farmers will never be out of debt while they have to pay interest. I am waiting with a good deal of curiosity and some anxiety to read the provisions of the Mortgage Bank Bill which the Government proposes to introduce. They will have to be very much more liberal than rumour says they will be for the bill to be acceptable to the people generally and the primary producers in particular.

Members of the Cabinet have had a good deal to say about austerity. I suggest that an example of austerity should be set by people in high places. The Government was unwise to give the wives of Ministers first priority in travelling at a time when many other people in the community were forbidden to travel interstate except under severely restrictive conditions. It also did wrong in giving members' wives priority No. 2 in interstate travel.

Mr McLeod - That is not so; they have priority No. 6.

Mr CALWELL - I am glad to be corrected by the honorable member for Wannon (Mr. McLeod). Those who preach austerity should practise it. .Some members of the Advisory War Council are claiming the right to the sole occupancy of sleeping compartments on interstate trains. I understand that Ministers and members of the Advisory War Council were afforded that right recently by order of the Prime Minister. Honorable gentlemen who see fit to attack coalminers in this House for not producing more coal should do their utmost to see that the coal that is produced is used properly. In my view coal is wrongfully used for the purpose of pulling an extra number of 45-ton railway carriages simply because certain individuals demand the right to the sole use of a sleeping compartment. I say to these honorable gentlemen that an ounce of practice is better than a ton of precept. Many people are only too anxious to attack our democratic institutions, including the Parliament itself, and we should not provide them with ready-made arguments.

The honorable member for Hume (Mr. Collins) delivered a carefully memorized speech in this chamber a few days ago which, for its flag waving, jingoistic, and ranting outburst was reminiscent of the speeches delivered by members of the Nationalist party during the last war.

Mr Bernard Corser - I wish the honorable member for Melbourne (Mr. Calwell) could deliver one like it.

Mr CALWELL - I would not demean myself by employing such tactics. The honorable gentleman waved the Union Jack and the Australian flag and then draped both flags around his shoulders. He also claimed for himself one of the King's titles, the Defender of the Faith. Then he proceeded to attack communism and in the course of doing so alleged certain excesses against the Russian people. [Extension of time granted.] The honorable gentleman posed as the sole champion of loyalty in this chamber. His cockatoos down at Lambing Flat could hardly have screeched more bathos and bunkum in a half an hour than did the honorable member while delivering his memorized speech. It was a nauseating outburst. No one owns the flag. It does not belong to any party or to any section of the people. It is something to be honoured by every member of the community and any man who will not honour it is not a good Australian. Therefore, its use for party political purposes tends to destroy the unity of the nation and to promote dissent: If we have a case on any subject let v advance it on reasonable grounds. Let us not descend to the trickery indulged in by the honorable member for Hume. The honorable gentleman's effort disgusted me. I verily believe that he goes to bed in a pair of Union Jack pyjamas.

The honorable gentleman talked about a ban on communism. There is no ban on communism in this country and never has been one. The Menzies Government imposed a ban on the Communist party. If that Government considered that the Communist party was a menace to the war effort it should have been suppressed and the leaders' interned. If it was not prepared to take such drastic action it should have let the party alone. It chose, however, to adopt a middle course. It simply said : " The Communist party no longer exists; therefore it does not exist. The Communist party must no longer function; therefore it cannot function." But the communists continued to organize and propagate their views in their own way. They formed political rights associations.

Mr Blackburn - One member of the Communist party actually stood for Parliament.

Mr CALWELL - That is true. He stood as a communist candidate for the Port Melbourne seat in the Legislative Assembly of Victoria.

Mr McDonald - And polled remarkably well.

Mr CALWELL - Yes, with the aid of United Australia party votes, because there was no United Australia party candidate.

Mr McDonald - How can the honorable member say that seeing that it was a secret ballot?

Mr CALWELL - Many United- Australia party supporters are simpleminded people. Let me tell honorable gentlemen what happened in this case. This candidate joined the Army a few days before the poll and was discharged from it a few days afterwards; but he was proclaimed as a digger candidate. Canvassers for the United Australia party went to people whom, perhaps for some physical reason, they took to be United Australia party supporters and said : " Do not forget to vote for the digger candidate". The alleged digger candidate polled about '7,000 votes in a working-class electorate, and the Labour candidate polled only about 10,000 votes. The circumstances of that occasion are not likely to be repeated.

My point is that communism continues to be propagated. The honorable member for Hume had a good deal to say about what he called the evils of communism, but he stood behind the previous Government in the depression years and helped it to create conditions which make communists. Lenin said on one occasion that it was not possible to have a revolution without having a revolutionary situation, and it was not possible to have a revolutionary situation unless the people were made into revolutionaries by the treatment they received. Everything that the United Australia party Government d-id during the depression years was calculated to create a revolutionary spirit and therefore to propagate communism in this country. The United Australia party Government in the depression years denied people the basie wage. That was true in every State except Queensland. In some States the workers who worked only one week in three were paid the basic wage. During the weeks when they did not receive the wage they were expected to exist, with their wives and children, in a state of semi-starvation. The wonder is not that there are so many Communists in Australia to-day, but that there are so few. Communism is not an absolutely evil thing. There are- some great truths enshrined in its doctrines. If there were not some truths in communism it would not make any appeal to the people. It is impossible to propagate a political philosophy unless there is some truth in it. If it were otherwise Amee Semple McPhersonism and- other crank religions which seem to flourish in America would sweep across the world. Communism makes converts because its adherents preach the doctrine that the great mass of the people are being exploited by that section of the community which owns and controls the means of production, distribution and exchange. Speeches such as that delivered by the honorable member for Hume do nothing to solve the problems of this country; they merely encourage all kinds of " isms " without making any contribution towards the solution of current social problems. If we desire to introduce a new order we must take note of what is being said by people who are studying the problems of post-war reconstruction. At the synod of the Anglican Diocese of Grafton, held on the 16th September, 1942, one of the speakers had some telling words to say on this subject. These were reported in the Sydney Morning Herald of the 17th September as follows: -

People asked whether a new order was necessary. The answer was in the slums of great cities and the sub-standard houses, and the spectacle of people starving in the midst of plenty.

Those words are undeniably true. If we want a new order we must get rid of the slums in our cities, and inaugurate an era of social justice. If we do that we need have no fear of communism or any other " ism ". I bring to the notice of honorable members, also, a letter by the Bishop of Goulburn," Dr. E. H.

Burgmann, M.A., which was published irc the Sydney Morning Herald on the 21st April, 194/2, under the heading " Unity and Workers ". Dr. Burgmann was replying to the criticism of people whospoke about the strikes that occasionally occur in this country.

Mr Ryan - Occasionally ?

Mr CALWELL - Yes ; occasionally in comparison with the number of strikes that occur in the coal-fields districts of Great Britain. We also have far fewer strikes in Australia than occur in the anthracite mines in America, for instance.

Mr Ryan - That is incorrect. I shall give the honorable member some statistics on that point later.

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