Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Tuesday, 25 November 1930

Senator GUTHRIE - That might be considered too. I would be quite agreeable, it would suit me; but payment for real service would be even better. We cannot expect the civil servants and workers to submit to a reduction of their salaries and wages if we do not set an example. We are out to do the best that we can for the country. We all want to help to balance the budget. But what are we doing?

Senator DUNCAN-HUGHES (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Why stop at a 20 per cent reduction?

Senator GUTHRIE - I think that that is a fair thing. The higher-paid civil servants would be called upon to submit to a reduction in like ratio, and the lower-paid employees on a sliding scale. I would not ask those on the breadline to reduce their wages.

Take the extravagance of the upkeep of Australia House, which is not a very efficient institution. I note that it costs £84,000 per annum for salaries. I hope that amount will be cut by half. The Government .has said, " You criticize us. Show us the way to economize." Did not the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Latham) show how the Government could cut down expenditure by £4,000,000 ? But his suggestion, after ali, meant merely that expenditure should be brought down to the level of 1928-29, one of the boom years in Commonwealth expenditure. At present it is much above that point. The Bruce-Page Administration has been accused of being extravagant in administration, but, strange as it may seem, this Government is spending even more money, and to meet the difficult situation that has arisen, the Leader of the Opposition in another place offered a number of valuable suggestions to the end that the Government might balance the budget.

I hope that a more genuine effort will be made to trade with our own people. Let us give preference, first to Australian goods and secondly to the Mother Country out of consideration for all that she has done for us, although I must confess that I am disappointed with the trend of the recent events in Great Britain under a Labour Government. Our trade position with the United States of America is wholly unsatisfactory. In the last ten years, we have imported from that country goods to the value of £332,000,000, and our exports, including gold, have totalled only £95,000,000.

Senator Daly - The adverse trade balance during the Bruce-Page regime was more pronounced.

Senator GUTHRIE - I admit that it was, but the position has become worse. During the last twelve months our adverse balance of trade was over £25,000,000, and for the ten years period it has amounted to £236,729,583. For heaven's sake let us face facts - work, produce, and retain our honour.

Suggest corrections