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Wednesday, 21 September 1960

Mr FOX (Henty) .- I did not intend to speak in this debate, and I rise only because the honorable member for Grayndler (Mr. Daly) said he looked in vain for somebody on this side of the chamber to defend the Government's policy. I am proud to defend the policy of the Government. The honorable member for Grayndler said that the purchasing power of the pension is now less than it was when the Labour Government went out of office. I wish to remind him that, in making that statement, he finds himself out of step with his leader, the honorable member for Melbourne (Mr. Calwell) who stated in his speech on the Budget that since the Menzies Government came to power prices had risen by 98 per cent. The honorable member for Grayndler says that 100s. per week at present will not purchase as much as 42s. 6d. a week purchased in the time of the Chifley Government. If the honorable member cannot work out his arithmetic, I point out to him that that is an increase of 110 per cent, in the rate of the pension and that prices, according to the Leader of the Opposition, have risen in the same period by 98 per cent.

Let me make one more point. The proof of the Government's sincerity lies in what it does and not in what it talks about. I shall refer to the last three years the Labour Government was in office. It is interesting to recall that in 1946-47 Labour's total expenditure was £431,300,000, and of that sum it spent £62,000,000 on health and social services.

Mr Calwell - It was more the following year.

Mr FOX - I hope the honorable member is prepared to say that when he has heard my argument. In 1947-48 the Labour Government had an expenditure of £465,900,000, of which £68,600,000 was for health and social services. In 1948-49, its last year of office, with a total expenditure of £554,400,000 that Government raised its expenditure on health and social services to £80,800,000. So Labour's expenditure on health and social services to its total expenditure in each of those three years was between 14 per cent, and 15 per cent. This year, out of a total Budget provision of £1,616,000,000, this Government will spend over £330,000,000 on health and social services, or more than 20 per cent, of its total revenue. So I say we are spending more than 20 per cent, of the money we derive in revenue on health and social services. That is the proof of what the Government is doing. I am proud to support the policy of this Government in respect of social services.

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