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Thursday, 19 May 1960

Mr GALVIN (Kingston) .- I rise to protest on behalf of the Opposition against clause 24 which amends the principal act by removing the words " Commonwealth Bank" and inserting in their stead the words " Reserve Bank ". The Opposition is still strongly of the opinion that the moneys of the board, or commission, should be banked with the Commonwealth Bank. We tested the feeling of the committee on this matter earlier to-day. For that purpose the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) moved an amendment to another clause, and the Government, with its numbers, made it clear to the Parliament and to Australia that it did intend, if it thought it wise, to bank with the private trading banks.

Mr Killen - And you made bank nationalization clear.

Mr GALVIN - We make it clear that we believe that moneys voted by this Parliament should be banked in the people's bank - the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. There can be no objection that there are not sufficient branches of that bank throughout Australia. The Commonwealth Bank has branches throughout the length and breadth of Australia. Every post office provides facilities on behalf of the Commonwealth Bank; and the bank itself has branches throughout Australia. Therefore, the commission would have no difficulty whatsoever in banking with the Commonwealth Bank. As the Commonwealth Bank uses a greater proportion of its fund's than does any private bank to provide homes for the people of Australia, its deposits go to the people to enable them to build homes. Whereas the private trading banks use their funds for hire purchase and black market banking and charge extremely high interest rates in that field, the Commonwealth Bank is prevented from entering that field and offering real competition to the private institutions.

However, this Government earlier to-day decided by vote that through the commission it would bank its funds with the private trading banks. And, of course, one can't really object, I suppose, because the private trading banks are, after all, the people whom the Government represents in this Parliament. They are the people who, at election time, supply the Government parties' campaign funds and allow their officers to canvass on behalf of the candidates of those parties at election time. So we cannot really object. But we do raise our voices again on this clause to point out that the Australian Labour Party strongly believes that the funds of the commission should be deposited only with the people's bank, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. But this Government used its numbers earlier to-day and made it clear that while it says at this stage that it banks with the Commonwealth Bank, in a snide way it refuses to give an assurance that it will continue to do so. I repeat that we believe that the funds should be deposited with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

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