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Tuesday, 2 June 1942

Senator FOLL (QUEENSLAND) . - I bring to the notice of the Senate a paragraph published in the Sydney Daily Telegraph this morning regarding a statement alleged to have been made by the

Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin) -when he was replying to a deputation from a Labour organization at Newcastle regarding the Government's hanking policy. The statement attributed to the Prime Minister is as follows : -

The Federal Government was unable to carry out its banking policy because it did not have a majority in both Houses. [ ask the Leader of the Senate (Senator Collings) whether the Prime Minister implied that, because the Government has not a majority in both branches of the Commonwealth Parliament, he has not received adequate support from all sections in the Parliament with regard to the financial policy of the Government for the prosecution of the war. My recollection is that this Government has had substantial assistance from all sections and in both Houses to ensure that nothing shall be done to hamper it in prosecuting the war. I believe that the Minister for Trade and Customs (Senator Keane) would be one of the first to admit that. If the statement by the Prime Minister has reference to the fact that he has not yet put into effect the policy of the Labour party for the complete nationalization of banking, I point out that he has not submitted that policy to the Parliament. If he did so, it might have a different reception from that givento the financial proposals already presented by the Government. The Government has not had the courage to introduce this policy, therefore we cannot say what the Parliament would do. Although members of the Opposition may have indulged in certain criticism of the policy of the Government, no Opposition member in either branch of the legislature has done anything to hinder the Government in carrying out its present financial proposals. I think that the Prime Minister recognizes that fact, and I hope that he will use his position in the Parliament to convince some of the members of the left wing of the Labour party that the Government has not been hampered by the Opposition. I can speak with an experience of almost 25 years in the Senate, and I can say with confidence that this Government has had more support from the Opposition in both Houses than has any previous ministry. The reason is that members on all sides are desirous of assisting the Government in the prosecution of the -war.

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