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Wednesday, 15 March 1961

Mr HAYLEN (Parkes) .- I want to say, without offence to the honorable member for Isaacs (Mr. Haworth), that I have never heard such flapdoodle in my life. I want to say, further, that as an essay on how to defend yourself against a motion of censure the honorable gentleman's speech made me feel that he was attending some dreary summer school on economics and foreign affairs. He ambled on and gave no concrete rebuttals of our charges, nor did he attempt in any way to come to grips with the problem which has caused us in the Opposition - the alternative government - to bring to this House the facts of the crisis that exists outside. It was the famous Earl of Beaconsfield - the great Benjamin Disraeli himself - who said, " There are lies, damned lies and statistics ". In his attack on the socialistic countries, the honorable member for Isaacs made a happy hotchpotch of all these things - lies, damned lies and statistics. What it had to do with the case before us, with the battle that is joined by us on this side and the Government in rebuttal, on the motion of censure, is very hard to follow.

I should like for a moment, in all humility, to try to represent myself as an average Australian outside looking in on this dreary, sloppy, and no-account Government and wondering, " What next, in the name of God? What next? " The Government has changed from one foot to another. While marching it has changed from aggressive conservatism to weak milk and water socialism. As a final parting gift the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) himself, on leaving the country, said before he stepped into the plane, " All the legislation, the increased sales tax on motor cars, the threats to the insurance companies, the idea of regimentation to stop this inflation, to stop the fall in our overseas balances and to put the country back on the rails, was a dreadful mistake. You need not worry about anything until I come back." He makes a fool of the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt). He makes fools of all his followers, because you could not have anybody less consistent than the Prime Minister. He has gone off again. I notice that the Minister for Trade (Mr. McEwen), who is now the Acting Prime Minister, has advocated tourism. You have the greatest example of tourism in the Prime Minister himself, who is home in Australia only incidentally when some minor royalty is visiting us, or when there is some occasion of pageantry. So, I want to say in regard to what has been said on the other side of the House during this debate, that we are weary of the explanations of people like the honorable member for Corangamite (Mr. Mackinnon) who, climbing the weary Matterhorn of his own platitudes, was trying to explain the unexplainable. What the people of Australia want to-day is to know what the Government is now going to do about the chaos it has created outside. It wants to know what you gentlemen opposite are going to do about the things that are so manifestly, so abundantly, and so demonstrably, clear. There is trouble in this country, and all the dreary nonsensical babble on the other side cannot get away from the fact that you have not got a formula, that you have run dry. You have borrowed from socialism, you have borrowed from laisser- faire liberalism. You have run out of tricks. You have run down like a cheap clock made in West Germany and you have not got a tick left in you. You have no credit in your own country, and certainly no credit overseas. So, in the circumstances, why cannot we get deliberate answers from the Government on these problems. The Government says, " What is the alternative government's answer? " Do you think we are going to tell you so that you will steal it again? Honorable members opposite laugh at that, but the happy laughter from the other side prompts me to remind honorable members opposite that most of the measures they are now employing are socialistic measures to cure problems caused by laisser-faire. Of course, they are! Your controls are socialistic, your pressures are socialistic and your various moves to limit and your methods to stop and start are all a badly applied remedy instead of the remedy that we would apply properly. If you want the short answer about what we are going to do when we become the government, that answer is that we will do exactly the opposite of what you are going to do and, having set ourselves to the wheel, or, to put it more explicitly, having set ourselves a target, we will stick to it. Our Government will not be one that will run away in cowardice, but one of some substance and with a desire to do the right thing for the Australian people.

What I want to say in the few minutes at my disposal is that we want to shake up the Government into giving some answer instead of coming to us and asking what we would do. The great Bernard Shaw, who was the greatest publicist as well as the greatest author and playwright of his time, wrote a very provocative play which caused the critics, referring to the problem with which the play dealt, to ask, " What would you do to solve it? " He answered, "My boy, it is my right and privilege to tell you what is wrong and you, as sovereign people, have to fix it". In the same way, we are the Opposition, and we know our policy and have expounded it from time to time without deviation. There it is. Read, mark and inwardly digest, and you will know what we are going to do. You pretend that you do not know. Even the honorable member for Isaacs got up a while ago after one of the Ministers had said, " Labour hasn't a clue. It will not be able to tell us what to do. If it gets in it can't do it ", and he sard, " Beware of Labour when it gets in. It has a definite programme. It is going to put the screws on. It is going to hurt private enterprise." It is going to jolt some capitalists out of their slumbers, and it is going to do some good for the working classes of this country. Yet one thing belies the other. Of course we know where we are going, and we leave that as the answer to the rather childish bleatings of the Government, which says to us, " You will not tell us what you are going to do, so we do not know what to do ".

I should like to point out the perplexity of the worker outside, whether he lives in a constituency which returns a Liberal member, a Country Party member or a Labourite. He does not know a great deal about overseas balances, but he has a glimmering of fear in his mind and a beat in his heart that perhaps what the Government is doing means depression, that it means unemployment, that it means some change in the economic fair weather that he has enjoyed, and which was instituted, of a certainty, in the days of the Chifley Administration. He also knows a great deal about the fact that there are 73,000 unemployed, and he is worried about the growth of unemployment which, from its incipiency, has become very definite and in a while could be a rather strong trend.

The Labour Party has said from time to time through its former leader, who is now the Chief Justice of New South Wales, and its present leader and its members, that we do not declare for either unemployment or a depression; but we cannot help but tell the people who are running from the juggernaut which is rolling downhill into both disasters, that the Government should take a look-see and make some hand signals before it rs too late. That is the thought of the man in the street. He is not taken up with your academic arguments about trade balances and the fine razor's edge of your economy, and about where your trade flows and does not flow. His is not to reason why but to bend his back and work and to hope that in the fullness of judgment and understanding, he will get a government that will give him a chance to build his house, rear his children, and live in the prosperity that belongs to the Australian people.

The honorable member for Isaacs (Mr. Haworth), in some sort of Alice in Wonderland fashion, drew an analogy between the people of Indonesia and the people of Australia, and tried to point out that because we work fewer hours we do not have as much prosperity. Of course, he merely proves our argument that with automation and facilities for continuity of higher production we can have shorter hours and greater prosperity. The two are synonymous. The worker believes that.

I want to concentrate, in my remaining time, on the appalling problem of interest rates and the Government's complete arrogance and absence of feeling in regard to the credit squeeze on the community. The businessman, the investor, the old people in retirement and living on fixed incomes, the worker and everybody else feel this interest squeeze. The Government must have encouraged more Shylocks in this country than there are anywhere else in the world. The Government has talked about controls. Surely that is where controls should be applied. As I pointed out yesterday, and as the honorable member for Lang (Mr. Stewart) has mentioned, the trustees admintering the Commonwealth Superannuation Fund have had the temerity to lend money to a rag shop ostensibly to extend its factories, but no doubt to buy goods overseas. Yet the Government cannot find a bob for council work, to repair our streets, or for co-operative housing so that people can build houses and live in contentment! Of course there is a shortage of money, but it is an artificial credit squeeze. What a disgraceful thing it is when an organization with £1,000,000 to hand out does not think of Commonwealth loans as a fitting avenue of investment! Trustees should not go after the golden gate; they should make sure that they place their funds in a gilt-edged investment.

Mr L R Johnson - What is the rag shop?

Mr HAYLEN - David Jones Limited. The interest rate, I believe, is 8 per cent. If that is wrong, I shall stand corrected.

The enormous and tragic thing to-day is that the worker is being blasted to hell with his own money. The funds that go from the worker into insurance, superannuation and other investments are used, in bulk, to oppress him. That money is lent, not back to the worker, but to madcap adventurers, exploiters, people who want to buy more overseas goods, or build stupid-looking buildings that will remain empty because when the worker has not a job his exploiters and oppressors will certainly not quarter him in these big houses. Huge new insurance company buildings dot the landscape in Sydney, Melbourne and the other capital cities. This indicates that the premiums are too high and the bonuses are too low. The word " mutual " in regard to insurance companies is the greatest laugh since Henry the Horse was on the films.

Where is the tragedy behind all this? These organizations have almost unlimited funds which they should lend for housing. They should lend to people in travail. They should lend to the little businessmen. Instead of that, they are chasing 12 per cent. I could give the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) a list of half a dozen insurance companies which have people standing in a queue waiting to lend them between £3,000 and £5,000 at 1 5 per cent.

Do 1 believe in the nationalization of insurance? Most emphatically I do. T hope to see the day when it is done. The insurance companies are even more dangerous to-day than were the banks in 1945. They create a credit squeeze by using their funds against the worker. Look at the sequence of the money that is collected by an average insurance company." Take for instance what is called " industrial insurance ". A man knocks at the back door and gets ls. or 2s. a week from the worker's wife for the insurance of their children. It has been proved by statistics that there is a 40 per cent, rake-off for the collector. After the woman has paid about £100 and the currency has depreciated, the company comes along with a great flourish and produces an alleged bonus. The policy is written off and the woman who has paid £100 receives, in effect, only about £70 to help her son or daughter. That money is virtually blood money. It is wrung from parents who are hoping to do their best to help their youngsters to receive higher education or perhaps to have a little nest egg when they marry.

What happens to insurance contributions? They aggregate an enormous sum of money. The " bobs " at the door become millions upon millions of pounds. Where do those moneys which belong to the worker go? They certainly do not go into the workers' housing. They certainly do not go into loans to municipalities. The big, important and, perhaps, reasonable-minded insurance companies pay their devoirs or forfeits to the Government. They put 30 per cent, of their investments into loans. But all the little shyster organizations are bleeding this country dry. That is a statement that the Minister should answer instead of talking poppycock about balances and imbalances and using the jargon of the economist - not that I condemn economists, because we have half a dozen brilliant men on our side who are economists, and I pay my respects to them. But there is a question which dwarfs all other questions.

The Government has mouthed platitudes about controls, lt says that the Labour Party favours controls. The Government raises these bogies to drive the little people into slamming the door and saying that they must not have the Fascist Party. Of course, like all criminally-minded people - and the Government has a sort of slant that way - it thinks of only one master control, the control of credit. Compared with this, all the little controls of Labour fall to the ground. The Government has the key. If you have a stranglehold on the banks and on the credit of the country you do not need other controls. What sort of a Uriah Heep is the Treasurer? What sort of a Jason, speaking from two minds and two faces, is the Acting Prime Minister (Mr. McEwen) when he says that the Government abhors controls? He says there are no controls. In fact the Government subsists on control, but, unlike us, it does not have several of them, exposed to the public gaze for criticism or comment. It has one master control.

The cruellest and deadliest thing of all, and the thing that is strangling this country is the interest rate. All right! " Control " is a naughty word and the Government does not like to hear it, but the Government would love to have control of business and of capital issues. Look at the most recent scandal in this country! Nowhere else would it happen. 1 refer to vending machines. Not the big, knowledgeable investor, nor the fellow looking for the quick quid, not the banker who thinks he will make money for his organization, but the little old lady sitting by the television set and the man in retirement are inveigled into an investment by a specious conversation over the air. Here is your chance to make £20 on every £100! It was doomed from the start. Any commercially minded man, any accountant, or even the average man, knows that no investment of that kind can return 20 per cent. Why does the Broadcasting Control Board allow that sort of investment to be advertised on television and radio?

This Government favours the manipulator, the entrepreneur, and the shady shypoo businessman. That is why the vending machine companies were allowed to advertise on the television. It stank from a long way off. Anybody who had ever spent two bob on investment could smell it. Yet this highly paid Broadcasting Control Board could not take action! It was too busy fostering Yankee programmes and pushing Australians in the face to bother about the fact that there was a racket in which the great machinery of television, paid for and established by the Government, was being used by one company to make a £1,250,000 rake-off. The investor can kiss it good-bye. It is gone for ever. Tt is gone with the wind. The Government says that there is not anything in the want of confidence motion about a lack of controls, but clearly there is no control of big business, there is no control of the banks, and there is no control of the banks' big brothers, the bandits, the time-payment companies. I heard a speaker refer to some organizations, and the Cambridge Investment Company comes to mind in that connexion. You can get your money out quickly, according to these companies. They say. " If you do not want £50 for a week, put it in our bank and we will give you interest on the sum ". It is all wrong, and it is dangerous and the Government knows that it cannot be sustained. The Commonwealth Bank cannot give interest on a current account, and Australia stands behind the Commonwealth Bank; so how can some private organization do it?

Wherever you look you find interlocking organizations engaged in the interest racket. You find the Shylocks in countless numbers and the racket of the insurance companies and big business. You see £1,000,000 advanced for David Jones to build a shed or buy some dolls' eyes from Italy or West Germany or wherever they are obtained. It is all fantastically wrong, yet supporters of the Government wonder why the Opposition supports a motion of want of confidence in the Government.

Supporters of the Government rise and say to us, " There is nothing to prove ". They must be living in an ivory tower of impenetrable thickness. Outside, everybody is asking: " How soon will the Menzies Government fall? Will you wait until the old boy gets back or will you do it while he is away? Will you be merciful so that he will not see what will happen to his followers, or has he deserted them and perhaps is never coming back? ". I notice that very admirable lady - Dame Pattie Menzies whom I greatly respect - made a speech and said "We in Australia are extremely loyal and extremely rich ". We are extremely rich because of our potentiality. We are extremely loyal, too; and if Dame Pattie does not come home soon we will be extremely poor as well because we will have 150,000 unemployed.

These are the things that every supporter of the Government will have to consider when he returns to his electorate. The honorable member for Moreton and his friends will not be talking about the beatnik Bible next week. They will be worrying about their seats in the Parliament. Some of them have indulged in a brief dilettantism with politics. It has been frightfully nice and too utterly utter to be a member of the Liberal Party! Last year, its members said to themselves, "We do not need to worry until next year ". But they are right on their beat now and we are ready to give the Government a go.

There are so many things I could talk about that I am overwhelmed when I look for additional points. Let us turn to inflation. Members of the Australian Country Party who are interjecting now, give an occasional giggle. If there was ever a post and rail fence surrounding a lot of hillbillies, I have seen it in this House in the eighteen years I have been here. The members in the Country Party corner are impervious to anything except their own profit. They deal with the Communist Party and love it. They will have red wool, yellow wool or Chinese wool so long as they get their money. They do a complete bludge on the Government because they say, " We want so many men in the Cabinet or else ". Their spokesman gets up and says, " We have to out costs so that our wool can compete with the wool of the rest of the world ". It does not matter to them how many Australian workers - men and women - the Government puts out of work so long as costs are cut. I thought I had heard the last of that pernicious free trade twaddle, " We have to cut costs ".

I went into the country on several occasions during by-elections and I would say that under the Country Party, the country has slipped back. In the country towns, if you took the motor cars out and put the horses back, you would be back in the days of the Ford before the V8. That is the sort of thinking we find in the country. The Government should wake up. It has had the most wonderful run over the 'last ten years. It has had wonderful seasons, and the advantage of the removal of the rabbit through the miracle of myxomatosis, and all the Government supporters can do is sit on a wet and lonely hill and whine about the workers. The workers - not the graziers - nave made this country and the workers will continue to bear the burden of it. Honorable members of the Country Party corner should grow up.

The honorable member for Mallee (Mr. Turnbull), who is very vocal about these things, is like the rest of the Country Party. He has never seen a horse or a plough; he is an auctioneer. A former Leader of the Country Party was a doctor. One member was a dentist and somebody else was a major in the Army. Another one was Chairman of Committees. They are the greatest imitations of the farming community that I have ever seen. The honorable member for Hume (Mr. Anderson) made a most arrant and savage attack on everything relating to the Labour movement. All he can see is chaos. He sees Commoes on the wall, Commoes under the bed, Commoes in the sheep pen and Commoes in the cow bails. He sees Commoes here and Commoes there. It is a completely irrational and stupid picture. What he should see is capitalists here and capitalists there, and free enterprise eating the heart out of the country.

Something should be done about the interest scoundrels and those who are exploiting inflation. The Government should do something about the get-rich-quicks and those who have destroyed this community. It should give an answer to the man on the street corner waiting for his bus who asks: " What are they doing in Canberra for my future? Is my job secure? Is the country secure, or is it the same old story? " The Liberal Party runs like a clockwork mouse for a certain time, runs down, turns over on its back and dies. Then it asks the Labour Party to come in and take over. We will be prepared to dc that at any time because the Government has missed its chance on so many things.

We have not had an answer to one of the great questions of to-day. We have not had an answer on foreign affairs. Men have died in Sharpeville and men are dying in the Congo. The honorable member for Hume says there will always be black and white people. Of course there will. Why can we not debate those matters? I wanted to speak on this matter half an hour ago and I was gagged. The Government is gutless on foreign affairs; it is gutless on interest rates and on policy because it does not know anything. The Minister for Health (Dr. Donald Cameron), who is sitting at the table, has no prescription for his failing Government. He cannot get an anti-biotic that would cure it or an emetic that would make it any sicker than it is. He cannot prescribe anything to build up the tissues of Government supporters so that they will survive in office another six months.

The Leader of the Opposition has said, and we reiterate, that it is time the Government got out. It is time you rolled the swag and went waltzing Matilda because the hour has struck and Australia has done with your ineptitude. The Government started off in 1949 with almost £900,000,000 in overseas funds. But it has wasted that money on the stuff it bought overseas that only the rich can afford, such as chicken in aspic, mushrooms in jelly, white ants in honey and things of that sort. They are silly nonsensical things. The worker walking through David Jones and Farmer's asks, "Who eats those things?", because the workers are struggling to get a ration of food for their families.

Mr. SPEAKER (Hon. John McLeay).Order!The honorable member's time has expired.

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