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Thursday, 19 May 1960

Mr STEWART (Lang) .- Section 26 (1.) of the principal act reads -

The Board shall open and maintain with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, and may open and maintain with any other prescribed bank, an account or accounts, into which there shall be paid all moneys appropriated by the Parliament for the purposes of the Board and all other moneys received by the Board.

Clause 13 seeks to amend that sub-section by omitting the words " Commonwealth Bank" and inserting in their stead the words " Reserve Bank " in accordance with the changed name which has been given to the bank by this Government. As the Australian Broadcasting Control Board is a Commonwealth body, why should this section of the principal act allow it to open an account with any other bank than the Reserve Bank of Australia? I feel that section 26 of the principal act should also be amended by omitting the words "and may open and maintain with any other prescribed bank ". 1 think it is time that all governments, both State and Federal, should bank with the Commonwealth Bank or with their own State banks rather than give their money to any other prescribed bank. It is time we realized that the people who control the Reserve Bank of Australia are the people who are interested in Australia and want to assist in its development and see that the financial and economic structure of the country is kept on an even keel. The Government has no compunction in using the Commonwealth Bank in certain circumstances, to its own ends. If it is prepared to use the Reserve Bank of Australia, when it suits the Government to do so, it should be prepared on all occasions to place all the business of the Commonwealth in the hands of the Reserve Bank of Australia.

To revert now to clause 9, which amends section 21 of the principal act; this amendment will give the board the right to arrange with the Crown Solicitor for the Commonwealth for a barrister or solicitor to assist the board of inquiry. At present the board is not entitled to be assisted by legal representation, but the people appearing before it and endeavouring to obtain licences are assisted by a legal councillor. The board is not bound by the rules of evidence. So, instead of making this provision, why not stipulate that the people appearing before the board for licences should not be represented by counsel, instead of putting the whole burden and responsibility on a representative of the Crown Solicitor's office to battle against Queen's Counsel from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane or "anywhere else? Why allow legal representation before the board in any instance? We find that in some of the industrial courts legal representation is not permitted. Why does not the same principle apply in any appearance before or hearing by the board?

Mr. KILLEN(Moreton) r2.58]. - I am almost dismayed that a person such as the honorable member for Lang (Mr. Stewart) should present such an extreme point of view to the committee. The honorable gentleman has suggested - I submit with a measure of seriousness - that every State government and, presumably, every local government authority in this country should bank with the Reserve Bank of Australia. I would have thought that that argument was settled long ago. It was repudiated by the Australian people and was rejected by the High Court of Australia and by the Privy Council; and if I may say so, with goodwill to the Leader of the Opposition, it was one of the arguments that led to a Labour government going into the wilderness. It has long since been what I regard as essentially an obsolescent form of thinking - a doctrinaire form of thinking - to imagine you can lay down every manner and form of human behaviour. Such a doctrine is completely repugnant to the Australian tradition, and it is something which has been repudiated time and again by the Australian people. Looking at the political result, I do not think I have anything to complain about, because so long as the Labour Party insists on pursuing this line of thought it will remain in opposition.

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