House of Representatives
17 September 1947

18th Parliament · 1st Session

Mr. .Speaker (Eon. J. S. Rosevear took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.

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-I desire to inform the House that the’ Honorable Brooke Claxton, K.C., B.C.L., D.O.M.,. Minister of National Defence in the Government of the Dominion of Canada, is within the precincts of the chamber. With the concurrence of honorable members, I shall invite him to take a seat on the floor of the House beside the Speaker’s chair.

Honorable Members. - Hear, hear!

Mr. Brooke Claxton thereupon entered the chamber, and was seated accordingly.

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Assent to the following bills reported : -

Australian National University Bill 1947. Aliens Bill 1947. Services Trust Funds Bill 1947. United Nations Educational, Scientific and

Cultural Organization Bill 1947.

Coinage Bill 1947.

Social Services Consolidation Bill 1947.

Social Services Legislation Declaratory Bill 1947.

United Kingdom Grant Bill 1947. ‘ ‘ Australian Soldiers’ Repatriation Bill 1947. War Pensions Appropriation Bill 1947. States Grants Bill 1S47. British Commonwealth Pacific Airlines

Agreement Bill 1947. Pharmaceutical Benefits Bill 1947. Hospital Benefits Bill 1947. Superannuation Bill 1947. Parliamentary Allowances Bill 1947. Supply Bill (No. 1) 1947-48. - War Service Homes Bill 1947. Northern Territory (Administration) Bill

Appropriation Bill (No. 2) 1946-47. War Gratuity Bill 1947. Wine Export Bounty Bill 1947. New South Wales Grant (Drought Relief) Bill 1947.

Apple and Pear Organization Bill 1947. Apple and Pear Export Charges Bill 1947. Interim Forces Benefits Bill 1947. Approved Defence Projects Protection Bill 1947.

Supplementary Appropriation Bill 1945-46. Supplementary Appropriation (Works and Buildings) ‘Bill 1845-46.

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Nationalization: PETITIONS; Notice of Motton of Want of Confidence.

Petitions in relation to .banking in Australia were presented as follows: -

By Sir EARLE PAGE, from certain electors of the division of Cowper.

By Mr. ABBOTT. fromcertain electors of the division of New England.

By Mr. ANTHONY, from certain electors of the division of Richmond.

By Mr.SPENDER,from certain electors of the division ofWarningah

By Mr. ARCHIE CAMERON, from certain electors of the divisionof Barker.

Petitions received and read.


– In this morning’s press the Prime Minister is reported to have announcedthatthe FederalParliamentary Labour party has approved draft legislation to nationalize banking other than State banks. I now ask the Prime Minister whether, before such legislation is put into operation, the people will be given an opportunity, either at a general election or through a referendum, to express their approva;: or, disapproval?


– The newspaper report to which the leader of the Opposi tion has referred is correct except that it is also proposeto exclude twotrustee savings banks in Tasmania, namely, the Hobart Savings Bank andtheLaunceston Savings Bank. Under the Constitution, State banks are excluded also, but. apart from these the Government, does propose to submit to Parliament a bill for the nationalization of Banking in Australia. The Leader of the Opposition also asked whether the Government intended to submit the issue to the people in a referendum or in some other way.TheGovernment has been informed by its legal advisers that, under the Constitution, the Commonwealth Parliament has complete power to legislate in respect of banking in Australia, other than State banks. That power was given to the Commonwealth Parliament by the people off Australia. The Government does propose to submit such legislation; itdoes not propose to hold any referendum on the subject.

Mr. MENZIES (Kooyong- Leader of the Opposition).- I give notice that to-morrow I shall move -

That this House -

notes the statements publicly made by, the right honorable thePrime Minister to the effect that the Government proposes to introduce during the present session a bill or bills to nationalize banking; (b)furthernotesthattheresult ofsuch legislationwould be to create a government banking monopoly exercising a single political control over the financial affairs and therefore the business industrial, and individual freedoms of Australian citizens;

places on record the fact that no such proposal was put before the people at the last election and that therefore no mandate for such legislation was either asked for or obtained by the Government; (d). is of opinion that such legislation should not be passed against the desires and opinions of the majority of electors, and should therefore not operate until approved either by a general election or by ref erendum ;

believes that the Government’s announced intention toact without such approval is an attack upon the whole basis of democracy and is a grossly improper and tyrannical attempt: to exercise power against the popular will and in denial of the rights of self-government, and therefore

declares that it no longer has con fidence in the Government.

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Motion (by Mr.Chifley) agreed to -

That the House, at its rising, adjourn to to-morrow, at10.30 a.m.

House adjourned at 3.17 p.m.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 17 September 1947, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.