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Thursday, 7 August 1930

The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon W Kingsmill -- The honorable senator must confine his remarks to the bill before the Senate,

Senator RAE - If members of this Parliament are to be called upon to make some sacrifice by way of a reduction in salary, then why not introduce the system of paying sitting fees?

Senator Barnes - Why talk about that matter ?

Senator RAE - I am sorry if my suggestion disturbed the Assistant Minister. But it has occurred to me that, at a time" like this, we should explore every avenue for the purpose of effecting economies, and I remind the Assistant Minister that the constant repetition of a slogan Or ideal gradually secures for it wider publicity and recognition. There was a time when, if a man mentioned anything about socialism he was regarded as a dangerous character. A few years later a member of the British Cabinet actually stated from his place in the House of Commons that nowadays everybody was a socialist. Similarly, if a man in these days talks about revolution some people conceive the idea that he is carrying bombs in his pocket, whereas revolution merely means a change in the existing social system.

We all recognize that additional revenue . by way of taxation is required to enable the Government to. carry on the business of this country. But taxation, and especially proposals of such a dragnet nature as those now under consideration, are justifiable only as emergency, measures. If we succeed in righting the affairs of this country - I doubt that we shall, because the world outlook is gloomy in the extreme, and there may soon come a financial crash involving many nations - I hope that the various methods of taxation which have been adopted lately will then be swept aside.

It has been said in the course of this debate that in the process of stabilizing the finances of this country, the standard of living must come down. What does that mean? It means, of course, that the standard of living of the wage-earners and manual workers - those men who lose so much time through wet weather and from other causes, that they rarely receive the full basic wage - must be still further reduced. It does not mean that the standard of living of persons in the higher grades of society will be interfered with to the extent that they will not be able to get three good meals a day or that they will be forced to sleep on rough couches in shacks and hovels. I shall object to any proposal involving sacrifices unless they are spread evenly over all sections of the community.

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