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Tuesday, 23 August 1960

Mr CALWELL (Melbourne) (Leader of the Opposition) . - As a mark of censure against this inadequate and unjust Budget, on behalf of the Opposition, I move -

That the first item be reduced by £1.

Last year the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) presented his first Budget. Naturally, the members of all parties complimented him on achieving the laudable ambition of becoming Treasurer of the Commonwealth of Australia, a post occupied by very few before him, and a post that will not be occupied by so very many in the century to come. Last year's Budget provided for a deficit of £61,000,000, and that was claimed to be the right way in which to restrain the evils of inflation. This year's Budget is based on the opposite policy, that of budgeting for a surplus of £15,000,000 because that is supposed to be the way to stop inflation in 1960. Those two contradictory policies cannot both be right. My right honourable friend, the hapless Treasurer, has had and shall continue to have the unenviable task of trying to convince a sceptical public otherwise.

Nobody has said that either Budget was a good Budget. The best that can be said about the present Budget is that it is negative, that it lacks imagination, that it is unimpressive, that it is stolid, and so on. I could exhaust a long list of adjectives that have been used by the critics of the Government and of the Budget. And the critics are not confined, of course, to the Labour side of politics!

The Treasurer says that Australia is expanding too fast. He said in the course of his speech that it was necessary to halt our expansion. He did not mean the public sector of the economy; he meant the private sector.

Mr McMahon - No, he did not.

Mr CALWELL - Yes, he did. If the Minister for Labour and National Service will only do his colleague the honour of reading what he did say, he will agree that I have reported him faithfully.

Mr Harold Holt - I do not agree that you have reported me faithfully.

Mr CALWELL - If the Treasurer would read his speech he would find that he said that Australia's expansion had to be slowed down. That was the central feature of it all.

Mr Harold Holt - " Steadied " was the word.

Mr CALWELL - " Steadied ", in that connotation, is a synonym for slowing down. It could not be otherwise.

Mr Harold Holt - Certainly not halting.

Mr CALWELL - I did not say "halting ".

Mr Harold Holt - You did. You used the word " halt ".

Mr CALWELL - I said, " slowing down ".

Mr Duthie - He said, " Halting Holt ".

Mr CALWELL - We shall leave it to the electors to halt Holt. The Labour Party says that Australia, in the public sector, is not expanding fast enough. In the next generation, if Australia is to be free of fear of challenge to its right to continue to hold this continent, there has to be greater expansion in the public sector, and that expansion has to be commenced now. Our national growth has been far too slow over the last ten years. No matter what credit we might take to ourselves or what the Government might claim it has done since the war, we are still expanding far too slowly if this country it to be held for ourselves and our descendants.

It has not been a bad decade in some ways. It has not been a bad decade for some people, particularly for the speculators, the manipulators of the joint corporations, for those who can preside over take-over bids and the like. It has not been a bad decade for those who can charge what they like for the commodities they have to sell, who can add every tax to the price of everything they have to sell and so make a profit on the tax they have to pay as well as on the goods they have to sell at whatever prices they like to charge. But there has not been much in it for the primary producer; there has not been much in it for the worker, the pensioner, the mother with a growing family, or for all those living on fixed incomes. The Treasurer sneers when I speak about the primary producer. I remind him that the Leader of the Country Party told the Country Party conference in New South Wales quite recently that it was no use asking the primary producers to increase production in order to increase exports because, in the last four years, the primary producers did increase their production by 11 per cent, and in that same period they witnessed a reduction of 11 per cent, in their incomes. The average income of the primary producer to-day is about £408 as against something like £489 in 1948-49, despite the vast depreciation of the currency in the intervening years. Let nobody say that the primary producers of Australia have anything for which to thank this Government.

Mr Harold Holt - Do you believe that is all they earn?

Mr CALWELL - That is all they get, according to the Commonwealth Statistician's figures. I do not know what sidelines the Treasurer thinks the average primary producer engages in, but if there are any, the Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Country Party (Mr. McEwen) could not find any to reveal to the Country Party conference in New South Wales.

Mr Harold Holt - We give them liberal taxation concessions.

Mr CALWELL - I like the emphasis on the word " liberal ". It is about as good as anything else that is labelled " liberal " in this country to-day.

This second Budget of the Treasurer is only one of the eleven which have been presented since this Government came to power in 1949. The present Government came to power on the promise to put value back into the £1.

Government supporters. - Not again!

Mr CALWELL - I repeat, the Government came to power on the promise to put value back into the £1, and it has never done it. It has never even tried to do it. On the contrary, the Government has allowed inflation, which it says was excessive when it came to office, to grow worse. I shall not forget the 10 per cents, nor the 20 per cents., nor even the 50 per cents.

During the first four post-war years, the period when the Chifley Government was in office, prices rose by 24 per cent., an average of 6 per cent, a year in Australia. The Treasurer may say that the increase was 9 per cent, in each of the last two of those four years, but it is equally true that in the ten years this Government has been in power prices have risen by 98 per cent., an average of 10 per cent, over each of those t:n years. In 1951, prices rose by as much as 20 per cent, and in the next year they rose by as much as 161 per cent.

Mr Harold Holt - Last year it was only 3.2 per cent.

Mr CALWELL - Of course they slowed down last year, and the reason why inflation was slowed down last year was the imposition by the Government of excessive and burdensome forms of indirect taxation such as sales tax, excise duties and customs duties. Sales tax was taken in 1951-52 to the record height of 66| per cent. Why, at !he worst period of the war, at the most disastrous period when the Japanese were threatening Milne Bay and when they were close to the Coral Sea, at no time did the Curtin Government raise sales tax by more than 25 per cent. The Curtin Government, with Mr. Chifley as the Treasurer, governed in accordance with the right canons of taxation and placed the burden of taxation on the shoulders of those who were best able to bear it. So income tax was taken up to 18s. 6d. in the £1 on all taxable incomes of £5,000 or more, and sales tax and excise duties were kept as low as possible.

But this Government has distorted the whole economy. It has placed heavy tax burdens on the masses of the people and relieved its wealthy friends of much of their share of this burden of taxation. With this Government it will be galloping inflation or creeping inflation, but it will always be inflation. Inflation is the operative word.

The battle against inflation will never be won while an anti-Labour government continues to control the administration of this country. We are now to have a balanced budget - a budget that aims for a surplus this year in the Consolidated Revenue Fund of £125,743,000 against a surplus of £41,000,000 in the same fund last year.

Mr Harold Holt - What would you do?

Mr CALWELL - Now I am asked to produce an alternative budget. I am asked to say what ought to be done. The first thing that ought to be done is to get rid of this Government. This is axiomatic. It is obvious even to the dullest intellect on the Government side. If we get rid of this Government and the Labour Party secures control of the Treasury and learns just what has been going on in the ten years we have been out of office, we shall be able to present the people with a budget in the Chifley tradition; and it was a magnificent tradition. When the Second World War ended the Chifley Government left Australia with the best economy in the whole of the Western world; and let any tyro on the Government side try to dispute the fact.

Mr Bury - What is your authority?

Mr CALWELL - I cite as my authority no less a person than Sir Douglas Copland, and no one would doubt his qualifications as an authority on economics. The gentleman who deserted the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development to enter this Parliament as a back-bencher - I refer to the honorable member for Wentworth (Mr. Bury) - poses as a worthy and doughty opponent of Sir Douglas Copland. It is like a sparrow challenging an eagle. Inflation in Australia is worse than in any other British country. I understand that it is now worse than in any part of the European democratic world. Inflation has increased by 98 per cent, in Australia in the past ten years; but in the same decade it has increased by only 52 per cent, in New Zealand, 50 per cent, in Great Britain, 20 per cent, in Canada and 18 per cent, in the United States of America.

Mr McMahon - Do you believe that?

Mr CALWELL - I do, because the honorable member for Wentworth gave me the figures.

Mr Menzies - He was the chap you described as the sparrow.

Mr CALWELL - He has never repudiated the figures. The honorable member for Isaacs (Mr. Haworth), who is interjecting, would not know whether they were right or wrong. His sole contribution to national politics since he entered the Commonwealth Parliament was to have the Queen's monogram put back on the postalvans. He was hard put to it even to think of that one. Anybody else is now entitled to interject if he wishes to do so. As my colleague the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) has stated much more graphically than I have done, inflation in Australia has increased twice as fast in the past ten years as it has done in the United Kingdom and in New Zealand over the same period, and five times as fast as it has increased in Canada and the United States of America. If capacity to protect the earnings and savings of the people against the ravages and inroads of inflation is a test of good government, obviously the Menzies Government has failed. Indeed, it has never even held the downward trend of the purchasing power of our money even in the year when it reported that inflation had increased by only .7 per cent.

Mr Harold Holt - It was 3.7 per cent.

Mr CALWELL - No, it was .7 per cent. I pay you tribute for not allowing your modesty to claim what is your due. Even if it were .7 per cent, in one year it increased by 2.2 per cent, in the next year and last year by 2.9 per cent. The Treasurer is presently aware that something is happening to propel the forces of inflation forward again.' I wish now to come to the point of the Government's failure to adopt remedial action. I shall indicate where the Government failed; and I think it knows just what that failure is.

Mr Harold Holt - Last year you said that we failed to give enough stimulus.

Mr CALWELL - I will give the Treasurer plenty of stimulus before I finish. The Menzies Government retained office in the 1955 and 1958 elections, not because the Australian people endorsed its economic policies, but because of other circumstances that had nothing to do with the realm of politics at all. What happened in those elections had everything to do with political blackmail and with certain extraparliamentary pressures, lt' had nothing to do with the maintenance of economic stability. Now, Sir, we worry about what is happening in the economy because it affects the great mass of the people - the people whom we on the Opposition side represent. We claim that the Government has distorted the economy. The Treasurer has argued that the provisions of his Budget guide the broad trends of the economy towards certain specified aims. The principal aim in this budget is stated to be the defeat of inflation. Apparently, last year when the Treasurer remitted taxes he was not worried about the battle of inflation at all. lt had seemingly been won last year. Now he proposes to put back the taxes that he remitted last year; so the battle against inflation has to be fought all over again.

We say the Budget does not guide the broad trends of the economy. It merely accepts the condition of the economy established by free enterprise; or what is called free enterprise. Free enterprise now is the enterprise of giant monopolies - large industrial and financial concerns. We say this country is under monopoly control, and the consequences of this monopoly control are felt by the 600,000 pensioners and the low-income families which embrace more than 2,000,000 people. They become poorer, but land and capital owners have become, and continue to grow, richer. That expansion, in the terminology of the Treasurer and the Government, merely means speculation' because it takes place in those sectors of the economy where financial, concerns can. create, money or, through their power, are able to. determine their own. prices. As I pointed out earlier, the. incomes of the smaller farmers, have continued to fall at an alarming rate, and the basic public services are starved of sorely needed funds.

Only yesterday wool prices opened at a reduction of from 5 per cent, to 7± per cent, on the prices at the closing sales of a week or so ago. The honorable member for Wannon. (Mr. Malcolm Fraser) raised that issue to-day with the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr. Adermann). He asked the Minister to don the mantle of the prophet and say how much lower the prices would fall and whether they would ever rise again. It was forecast weeks ago by those in the know that wool prices would fall' by 8d. per lb. A fall of Id. per lb. inthe price of wool means that the national income falls by £7,000,000. I do not know how the Treasurer will manage his budgetary affairs if there is a fall in the price of wool of 8d. per lb. during the coming year.

The Budget makes no attempt to deal with these distortions in the economy. We say that it will aggravate them. Inflation is not merely, a rise in retail prices since it consists of these distortions in the economy. Only action by the Commonwealth Government can correct the situation. We have told the Government repeatedly that the report of the Constitutional Review Committee - a committee which this Government set up four years ago - will help it to find a solution to the problem of inflation. The committee was representative of both Houses of Parliament and comprised equal numbers from each side of the Parliament. The men on the committee had been in Parliament for a considerable time and had either occupied ministerial office or given distinguished service to their respective parties in other ways. With the exception of the recommendation in regard to economic powers - there was only one dissentient to that - the committee was unanimous that the Commonwealth Parliament should have additional powers. We. on this side of the House have said repeatedly that if the Government will submit a referendum to the people along the lines recommended by the Constitutional Review Committee,, the Labour Party will guarantee that the referendum will be carried. We can. answer for between 40 and 43 per cent, of the people. We know that the influence of the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) is dwindling; but he will have to command' the affection, and support of only- 8 per cent., of the people. That is all we' ask of him. By a process of simple arithmetic, our 43 per cent, plus his 8 per cent, will be' sufficient to carry the proposal by a majority of the people and by a majority of the people in a majority of the States.

What did the committee recommend with regard to economic powers? Incidentally, Senator Wright alone dissented from the recommendation only because the committee was unable to do what no Commonwealth

Government has been able to do since federation and what no Premiers' Conference has been able to do either and that is divide the tax field satisfactorily between the Commonwealth and the States. The committee recommended, among other things that the Constitution should be amended to provide -

(1)   The Commonwealth Parliament should have power to make laws with respect to -

(a)   the issue, allotment or subscription of capital; and

(b)   the borrowing of money whether upon security or without security; by corporations which engage, or may engage, in production, trade, commerce or other economic activities.

To quieten the fears of those who may have felt that this was the way to wholesale nationalization, my colleagues and I were prepared to add provisos to the recommendation so that that power could be used only for the purposes which I have indicated because the committee further recommended as follows: -

(2)   The power proposed to be vested in the Parliament ... is not to apply to -

(a)   the issue or allotment of capital out of profits or accumulated reserves of corporations; or

(b)   incorporated authorities of a State, including local government authorities.

We recommended also -

That the Constitution should be amended by vesting the Commonwealth Parliament with a power to make laws with respect to hire-purchase and other agreements or transactions entered into in connexion with the sale, purchase, hire or encumbrance of goods which involve the making of periodical payments or deferment of payment of the full amount payable.

The committee recommended further -

That the Commonwealth Parliament should have power to make laws with respect to rates of interest and other charges payable in connexion with loans obtained upon the mortgage or other security of land.

This Parliament ought to have those powers. The British Parliament has them; the American Congress can pass valid laws in relation to them; the New Zealand Parliament, having a unitary system of government similar to that in Great Britain, can pass such laws, but in this Parliament we cannot do so. The Government knows that it lacks the powers to which I have referred. It has admitted this time and time again when it has been asked to find a solution to our problems, but it will not ask the people for the powers that it lacks. In this hour of crisis when, after ten years our prices are 100 per cent. higher than they were a decade ago and the value of our money is only one-half what it was a decade ago, no government can govern effectively in the interests of the Australian people unless it has these powers.

The Government of Australia is in truth being carried on by monopolies and corporations which are outside the power of this Parliament. The hire-purchase companies for one can do what they like. The private banks, under an amendment of the Banking Act were permitted to invest their funds where they wished. Whereas in the days of the Chifley Government the industrial finance section of the Commonwealth Bank advanced £15,000,000 of the then current hire-purchase debt of £25,000,000, the Development Bank which the Country Party pretends to support can still advance only £15,000,000 when the total hirepurchase debt is about £450,000,000. The banks have gone out of the field of genuine banking into the field of hire purchase. They now own or control many of the hirepurchase companies. The English, Scottish and Australian Bank Limited owns all the shares in Esanda Limited, for instance, and the ownership of other companies by the private banks ranges from 100 per cent. to 12½ per cent. In some cases, as with the English, Scottish and Australian Bank Limited, the shareholders live in London even though some of the directors are expatriated Australians. So this whole distortion continues, and it will continue while this Government lasts.

This Parliament must have power to fix interest rates other than bank interest rates. It already has power over bank interest rates but not over anything else of a like nature. Until it has that power, no government in Australia can ride the storm of inflation or protect the interests of the small people; the great mass of the people; those who live on fixed incomes; pensioners, wage-earners and those who are retired.

The monopolies, not the National Parliament, determine the state of the economy. To some extent, these debates are only a farce. We go through the pretence of believing that when the Government's budgetary policy is approved steps will be taken to restrain the greed and rapacity of some people and do justice to those who need justice. But what do we find? Restrictive trade practices, price-fixing, the determination of mutual profit margins, comparable rebates and the carving up of the country into zones are common-place to-day in the business world in Australia. About this, much is known and a lot suspected. All of it, however, leaves this Government cold and indifferent.

We say that the money-grabbing, moneygrubbing controllers of big business have built-in star chambers which inflict severe penalties on those who refuse to abide by, or break, the agreements which they determine among themselves. This can mean, and sometimes does mean, the loss of livelihood for many small shopkeepers, retailers, growers and producers of all sorts who have no court of appeal against arbitrary and unjust penalties imposed by the monopolies. The small people look in vain for protection, and for relief and redress, to the Menzies Government and to the AttorneyGeneral (Sir Garfield Barwick), who joined the Liberal Party of Australia only the night before he obtained the nomination for the Parramatta seat.

Australia should take heed of the warnings that have been forthcoming from many quarters over the past few years, and should learn from the experience of the United States of America, Canada, the United Kingdom and other European countries, which long ago took steps to protect the sovereignty of Parliament and the interests of consumers and producers against the predatory activities of the moguls of big business. But from this hapless, useless Government, the Australian people can expect nothing. Ministers display complete unconcern at the growing concentration of financial and economic power in fewer and fewer hands in Australia. Worse still, they show complete indifference to the powerlessness of the Australian Parliament under the present Constitution to prevent the occurrence of such unhealthy phenomena. Falsely proclaiming themselves the champions of free enterprise, the members of this Government are in reality its undertakers, not its underwriters.

There is more than ample evidence available in the day-to-day news of stock ex change activities to justify the Parliament seeking the additional powers that I have mentioned in order to protect the interests of all Australians, wherever they live, because we in this Parliament have been elected to protect the interests of all Australians in these and other matters. But the Prime Minister, in the vernacular, " just couldn't care less ". He was questioned on this very matter before his most recent world tour. The right honorable gentleman was reported to have been asked at a press conference -

Have you any kind of programme in mind for legislation on monopolies and restrictive practices?

He replied -

No I haven't.

Yet this statement was made just three months after the Government had promised such legislation in the Governor-General's Speech of February last. So the country can only conclude that the matter has been dropped and that nothing more will be heard of it.

On behalf of the Opposition, I now challenge the Government to say whether or not monopoly control and the curbing of restrictive practices, which are at the bottom of the trouble caused by inflation in this country, have any relation to the Budget. If they have, why was no mention made in the Treasurer's Budget speech of the Government's present intentions on that question? Surely any matter which concerns prices must be fully considered when the state of the economy is being debated in association with the Government's financial proposals. But not one word of the Government's intentions on this very vital and fundamental question can be found in the Treasurer's Budget speech. What we want to know and, indeed, what the people want to know, is: When will the Government present the legislation which it foreshadowed in the Governor-General's Speech six months ago?

While we are in an inquisitive mood, let us ask what is happening to the committee that was appointed by the Government some time ago to inquire into our taxation laws.

Mr Cleaver - The honorable gentleman knows that it is meeting regularly.

Mr CALWELL - That is something, surely. People will be glad to know that.

Mr Harold Holt - Has the honorable gentleman made any submissions to the committee?

Mr CALWELL - I have not, because I have none to make.

Mr Harold Holt - That is obvious.

Mr CALWELL - I have very little tax to pay. I do not know of any democrats on the committee and I do not know just what its charter is. But I do know that the activities of the privileged few in this country have led to many uncontrolled abuses in respect of tax evasion and tax avoidance. Not the least of these is playing the stock exchanges by such practices as dividend stripping. Many people know that all this is happening, and one of those who knows most about it is the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the United Kingdom. He has taken action to stop the further development of tax evasion in that country. We have a feeling that the little people have nobody to go to but the Taxation Branch of the Treasury, and they pay what they are told they must pay. But some other people are able to employ experts, and these people work their way round and through every tax law. Every citizen is not able to employ tax experts and do these things.

The Treasurer referred to Australia's financial maturity and sophistication, but he ignores the true implication of his words. Sophistication has so far meant complete freedom for the powerful vested interests to play the stock exchanges, manipulate share deals and make tax evasion a vast and flourishing industry. Any government worthy of the name would at least try to protect the people against these vast takeover bids that are being made. The Treasurer cannot fill his loans. He said the other day that they were underwritten, but surely it is of no satisfaction to the Government to find that people will not invest in loans floated by the Commonwealth and the States for the financing of the public sector of the economy while they can get better interest rates from the go-getters, from land speculators and people of that type. The Treasurer to-day urges the people to put their money into government loans. So did his predecessor when in office, but that gentleman is now engaged in falsifying all that he ever said by trying to damage the status of this country and the solvency of the government in which he was once Deputy Prime Minister by telling the people to invest their money at high interest rates in companies that speculate in land.

Mr Mackinnon - Shame.

Mr CALWELL - I think it is a shame. Shame on all those who are associated with it. I for one recognize that the public sector of the economy has to be financed. Every government loan ought to be filled, and nobody should do anything to try to prevent the Government from raising sufficient money to see that this nation is able to build the hospitals and schools and to undertake the other public works that are essential to the maintenance, development and expansion of the private sector of the economy. What the Treasurer calls sophistication, Sir, is not sophistication at all.

I want to say just a word or two about the right honorable gentleman's reversal of form. He has certainly become a sort of put-and-take Treasurer. Last financial year, he remitted £20,000,000 of income tax and £18,000,000 of company tax.

Mr Harold Holt - There was no reduction of company tax last financial year.

Mr CALWELL - Company tax was reduced in an earlier financial year. The Treasurer now re-imposes the income tax that he remitted last year and, in addition, he imposes an extra 6d. in the £1 on companies, to yield a further £18,000,000. At the same time, he allows the indefensible impositions in respect of postal charges to remain. These charges bring in a further £16,000,000, and they have never been satisfactorily explained, either by the Treasurer or by the Postmaster-General (Mr. Davidson). The charge of 5s. on prescriptions, which only sick people have to pay, is to remain. We believe that the Treasurer should not have remitted income tax last year. He should have kept the tax at its then level and he would not then have had to provide for additional postage charges and additional charges for pharmaceutical benefits.

It is interesting to recall the justification claimed by the Treasurer for his tax concessions last year. In his Budget speech in August, 1959, he said -

It is important to keep the burden of taxes down to a minimum.

Well, nobody will disagree with that statement of principle. He said also, in justification of his proposals -

There is a case for each of the tax concessions we have proposed. Should these be deferred indefinitely? To do so would reduce the cash deficit, but it would also forgo certain economic advantages, that will flow from the relief given to taxpayers. On the whole, therefore, the Government has decided that it ought to go ahead with these benefits and concessions in the current Budget.

At a later stage the Treasurer said -

The tax concessions we have chosen commend themselves as likely to encourage effort and savings and enterprise.

That was also said about twelve months ago. In this Budget the Treasurer abandons his 1959 principles and puts the taxes back again. His explanation for this change of policy was given on Tuesday night last, when he said -

Under the altered circumstances of this year, the Government finds itself unable to continue this rebate in respect of 1960-61 incomes.

In other words, the Government no longer considers it " important to keep the burden of taxation down to a minimum ". It now believes that there are no " economic advantages that will flow from the relief given to taxpayers ", and it has no desire in the forthcoming twelve months to " encourage effort and savings and enterprise ". This is what the change of mind means when one has regard to the arguments given to the people of Australia by the Treasurer last year. Having put back this year the taxes he remitted last year, he and his colleagues might have had the decency to repeal the increases in postage, telegraph and telephone charges, costing £16,000,000, which were imposed last year, and the prescription fee of 5s. levied on sick people in last year's Budget.

Finally, I want to say a word about child endowment, which is needed by the mothers of Australia. In his speech on the Budget last year, the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) said that because the workers had received increases in the basic wage since 1951, child endowment was no longer of great consequence to the family income, and that therefore the Government had decided, in effect, to make child endowment a dead letter This year, when the workers went to the Commonwealth Arbitration Commission asking for an increase in the basic wage, the

Government intervened and told the commission that in its opinion the commission should not grant any increase until the economy had absorbed increases that the workers had already been granted. This was the first Government in Australian history to go before an arbitration authority and to say that the workers were not entitled to an increase in the basic wage. This was the first Government to depart from the practice of merely putting the facts before the court or the commission, and leaving that authority to decide for itself without undue influence or duress.

Mr Mackinnon - It was the first honest Government.

Mr CALWELL - Well, that is a gross reflection on the first Menzies Government. When Mr. Justice Beeby, as Chief Justice of the Commonwealth Arbitration Court, was called upon to deal with the question of a suggested increase in the basic wage, and said that the basic wage would be increased by 6s. a week unless child endowment was introduced, the Menzies Government of the day decided to introduce child endowment. I think it was quite right in doing so. But child endowment is now a dead letter. As far as the basic wage is concerned, I submit that persons receiving wages and salaries, together with pensioners and others who are dependent upon the will of this Parliament, are the only people in the community who have their incomes regulated and controlled and, in some cases, frozen. Everybody else in the community is free to do as he likes.

These policies are followed by the Government in the name of free enterprise. If this is free enterprise, then I submit that free enterprise will ultimately destroy this country. That is not the sort of free enterprise that the early proponents of the policy wished to see flourish. We are living in an era when the giant corporations dictate the policy of the nation. They are dictating the policy of the world, but they are doing less dictation in other countries than they are allowed and encouraged to do in Australia by the Menzies Government.

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