12th Parliament · 1st Session
The President (Senator the Hon. W. Kingsmill) took the chair at 11 a.m., and read prayers.
Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE (Western Australia) [11.l]. - I wish to make a personal explanation. This morning when I received the Hansard, proof of the remarks I made yesterday concerning the appointment of Senator Daly to the Public Works Committee, I found that an interjection by Senator Daly had been recorded which I did not hear at the time. I was dealing with the rumour that I have heard that a pooling arrangement had been made by honorable senators opposite in regard to the payment of certain emoluments. The honorable senator is reported to have said -
It is hardly cricket for the right honorable gentleman to repeatsomething which he heard in the Senate clubroom.
I take this opportunity of saying that it was not in the Senate clubroom that I heard the rumours to which I referred; and that it is not my practice to relate conversations which I do hear there.
Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Defence, upon notice -
In view of the difficulty experienced in locating aeroplanes that have been obliged to make forced, landings, will the Government make regulations requiring aeroplanes to be equipped with wireless?
– The Defence Department is watching the progress of wireless development, and if considered desirable regulations will be made covering the use of wireless equipment by aircraft in the air.
Mr. CRAWFORD VAUGHAN.
Mission to America.
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– Inquiries are being made in connexion with the matter.
War Censorship: Appointment of Mr. A. Vaughan - Search for Machine Guns
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Defence, upon notice -
– Inquiries will be made and a reply will be furnished to the honorable senator as soon as possible.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Defence, upon notice -
– The Minister for Defence will have inquiries made and furnish a reply to the honorable senator as early as possible.
Debate resumed from 16th April (vide page 915), on motion by Senator Barnes -
That the bill be now read a second time.
– It has been rightly said by some honorable senators who have participated in this debate that this measure is of far-reaching importance. The Prime Minister, in statements which he has made to the Australian public, has called it the “pivotal bill” of the Government’s policy for the reconstruction of Australian financial and economic affairs. In its consideration three questions present themselves: First, is some such action necessary; secondly, will the proposals enunciated in the hill achieve the purpose which the Government has set out to achieve; and, thirdly, is there any reasonable or practical alternative to the scheme which the Government is asking honorable senators to sanction?
There can surely be no argument as to the necessity for this, or some similar measure, in view of the existing conditions iu Australia. For a considerable time our people have been faced with a tremendous problem. At the moment I do not intend to discuss how the blame for the creation of this problem should be apportioned, except to say that certain responsibility for it may be attributed to the governments of the past, and to the people of Australia, for not taking sufficient interest in the financial and economic questions . which required their attention. One could spend many hours in conducting an inquiry into this question of who is responsible for the unfortunate position of Australia ; but I shall not occupy time in discussing it this morning, as it has already been effectively dealt with in this debate. There is, however, an undeniable and urgent necessity that something shall be done immediately to improve our economic position.
Economists of standing are in general agreement that the depression through which we are passing is due to two causes : first, the los3 of national income owing to the fall in the value of our export commodities; and secondly, the loss of national income due to the sudden drying up of the loan market abroad, insofar as provision for the financial accommodation of Australia is concerned. There is nothing very remarkable in the fact that the external loan resources of this country are not, for the time being, open to exploitation by us. The cutting off of these resources has been an important factor in the creation of similar financial crises in this country in former days. This has been well stated by Professor Gordon Wood, of the Melbourne University, in the volume which he has recently published, and which I regret that I nave not time to quote from at length. Professor Wood follows the history of the economic development of this country during its 100 years of settlement, and shows that there have been cycles during which boom periods have been followed by periods of sharp depression. He shows clearly that the pathway of our national progress has not been uniformly smooth, but that there has been serious undulations interspersed with sharp hills and valleys. These have been caused by the unwise and extravagant expenditure of governments and individuals alike. Professor Wood has shown conclusively that at times there has been a failure on the part of those in control of the government of Australia to invest properly the credit created, and the resources provided by external borrowing, and that towards the end of every period of heavy borrowing abroad there has been extravagant expenditure both by governments and individuals. This has caused other sharp reactions such as that through which wb are now passing. Unfortunately, in addition to the cutting off of our loan supplies towards the end of 1928 - before the present Government took office, so that no responsibility for it can be placed on its shoulders - there was also a sharp drop in the price of Australian primary products.
These two factors combined have led to an unprecedented volume of unemployment in Australia. Such an experience is, however, not unprecedented in the history of older countries, nor is it unprecedented in the history of countries which are endeavouring to get back to the gold standard, and to deal in terms of real money in accordance with the traditional banking methods. Although such efforts have created and re-created similar conditions in the older countries of the world, our friends opposite tell us that we should continue to finance our affairs on the old lines. We are expected to dance to the tune called by the overseas financiers. In the midst of plenty we are expected to remain idle while men, women, and little children starve. We are told that we must cut our coat not according to the cloth which we have provided for ourselves, but according to the measurements provided by some financial tailors overseas. But this Government, in launching out with due moderation and proper caution along new financial paths, is endeavouring to do a service to the people of this country, for which future generations will thank it. On the other hand, if honorable senators opposite succeed in preventing the Government from rendering this service to our people, a day of reckoning will come for them sooner than most of them anticipate, and in a way that many of them will not appreciate.
We have in Australia something like 300,000 unemployed - able bodied men, who are anxious and willing to work for their living, and who have shown in the past that they are capable of developing this country, and of increasing its productive capacity. These people are anxious and willing to continue to build upon the great edifice erected by the pioneers, and to develop in Australia a bigger and better nation than the world has yet known. The opportunity is denied them. Some of them have walked thousands of miles in a fruitless quest for employment. For the past two years they have haunted labour bureaus in our capital cities and provincial t.owns day after day and month after month in a vain endeavour to obtain something to do, so that they may earn the wherewithal to buy bread for themselves and their families. But the system under which we live decrees that they shall not be given such an opportunity. In 1925, a conference that was held in Europe decided that there should be a return to the gold standard, but it failed to effect the necessary adjustments in the matter of war debts and fixed monetary investments. Consequently, too much is now being taken out of production to pay interest on fixed investments, and too little of the wealth that is produced is allowed to be retained for the benefit of the producers, and for the purpose of promoting expansion in industry.
Unfortunately quite a proportion of the statistics upon which I have to rely have to be taken from memory, because of the tactics employed by the Opposition to-day, but we have it on the authority of our statisticians that, two or three years ago, the amount taken out of the national income for the payment of fixed money charges in Australia approximated 17 per cent. At the end of the present financial year it will probably represent 30 per cent., while, if it con tinues to increase progressively in the next two years as it did during the past few years, the consequences will be unthinkable.
This Government has exploited many avenues in an effort to provide a remedy. Honorable senators opposite and the people whom they represent have been prolific in their advice to the Government, and have advanced many alleged cures for the evil, but the insincerity of their counsel is evident, while the way in which they constantly shift their ground is amazing. The Government has endeavoured to co-operate with the banks and to give them an opportunity to play their part in arresting the deflation that is strangling the taxable capacity of the country, which is the life blood of all governments. It has also endeavoured to provide the means to put men into employment and to lighten the burden that has been placed on the shoulders of those who are fortunate enough to retain something to do. Scheme after scheme has been presented to those who control the financial machinery of Australia, only to be rejected. The Government was told that it was impossible to make further credit available. As time passed, the people of Australia recollected that credits had been made available for the prosecution of the Great War and therefore should be made available in the present crisis. The bulk of expenses for war purposes creates a debit, but no corresponding credit, other than the laudable endeavour to protect one’s, country from foreign aggression. So the people became articulate, and made it manifest that the present was an appropriate time to make additional credits available.
Here we have a young country whose vast potentialities are literally crying out for development. We have a people only too eager to engage in that development. Tactfully, our political adversaries changed their policy. They told the Government that if certain action were taken the necessary credits would be made available. Senator Greene reiterated that statement last night. Evidently, then, ample fianancial resources exist, which could be made available if those in control of them desired it to be done. But they are not to be released until this Government bends its knee to the financial heads of Australia, and adopts a policy that is not sponsored by the democracy of the country, that is not in keeping with the traditions and the destinies of the Australian race, but is merely dictated by certain gentlemen who have appointed themselves the custodians of the country’s financial machine. The Government, and I personally, resent that an attempt should be made to dictate the social and economic policies of this nation. I believe that among the proletariat there is just as much common sense and intelligence, aye, and a greater desire to prosecute the development of Australia in the interests of the majority of the people, than there is among the people to whom I have referred.
For those reasons I submit that the financial policy of the Government must be given a trial. One would imagine that it enunciated something extraordinary, and hitherto untried by any other nation. Yet for many years a substantial portion of England’s currency has been issued on exactly the same lines as those proposed in this bill.
– That is not so.
– It is so.
– Honorable senators are bound to accept one another’s statements.
– Am I in the wrong, sir?
– Both honorable senators are in the wrong.
– I shall obtain a copy of the Bank of England Act from the library to substantiate my statement. The note currency of Great Britain is determined by legislation that was passed in 1928. The Bank of England is empowered to issue notes up to the amount of the gold reserve, also to issue additional notes to the value of £260,000,000, which the act specifically designates “fiduciary” notes.
– What backing is behind them?
– A backing precisely similar to that which is behind the proposed issue of this Government. Those British notes have behind them the confidence and integrity of the British people, just as our fiduciary issue would have behind it the good name of the Australian nation.
– This Government has no securities.
– Is there any wonder that the credit of Australia has been damaged, and that people overseas look askance at Australia’s securities, when representatives of an important and responsible political machine broadcast the statement that Australia possesses no credits?
– 1 said nothing of the sort.
– I shall quote again from Professor Gordon Wood’s excellent work. Borrowings and Business in Australia. It discloses that three years ago the public and private assets of Australia were estimated by the Federal Statistician and other economists to be worth somethink like £4,050,000,000, of which £3,150,000,000 represented private and £900,000,000 public wealth. The figures may be found at page 235 of the book. The public wealth mentioned represents money invested in railways, water schemes, sewerage works and other public utilities established by governments, municipalities and other semi-public bodies, and the amount was arrived at after a considerable depreciation had been provided for.
– What are those assets worth to-day?
– Considerably less than they were in 1928, because of the deliberate policy of those in control of the country’s financial machine. South Australian farms that were worth £10 and £12 an acre two years ago, can now be purchased for £4 and £5 an acre. Pastoral properties that were then worth £50,000 can be bought, in some instances, for £10,000 and £12,000 to-day. Part of that depreciation may be attributable to the fall in the price of primary products, but a very considerable portion of it is due to the unfair charges that those with fixed money claims are permitted to levy on the producers, under a policy of deflation. Take the case of a farmer who borrowed money at 6 per cent, in 1926, to finance his operations.
It. then took 15 bushels of wheat to pay his interest on £100. Since then his rate of interest has increased to 8-^ per cent., and it now takes over 50 bushels of wheat to pay the interest on a similar sum. I could run over the whole gamut of production and other business activities in this country and show that the same inequalities have been brought about.
So it is that the farmers of South Australia, through their organization, which is a responsible one, composed of genuine wheat-farmers, have appealed to honorable senators to support this measure, and place it on the statute-book.
– They have appealed to honorable senators to vote against the bill.
– This morning I received from the secretary of the only genuine farmers’ organization in South Australia, a letter confirming and supplementing a telegram that he sent me a few days ago urging me to support this measure. He is Mr. T. C. Stott, Secretary of the Wheat Producers Protection Association.
– That gentleman has changed his front three times.
- Mr. Stott, so far as I know, has never changed his front. He is authorized and entitled to speak on behalf of this organization, and the only communications that I have received from him have urged me to support the bill. I have read in the press that he has forwarded a similar communication to honorable senators from South Australia who sit opposite. There is, in South Australia, another organization which has in its ranks some genuine farmers who. according to their lights, are endeavouring to serve their fellow farmers; but, unfortunately, they have become involved with gentlemen, who, in Adelaide, are known as King Williamstreet farmers, and who call the tune to which the organization dances. It is because of that fact that it was found necessary to form the Wheat Producers Protection Association, which consists only of genuine farmers. To-day, it is a representative body, with branches in every wheat-growing district in South Australia, and a membership of thousands of farmers, who are scattered throughout the State. The secretary lives, not in
Darling Buildings, Adelaide, hut in a country town. He writes as follows: -
I have forwarded you a telegram “ Association desires you to support the Wheat Bounty Bill and financial proposals to give effect to same “. Farmers cannot carry on without tha bounty. This provides means of purchasing super. This 4$d. a bushel will be a real Godsend to farmers in this State. Many of them are very doubtful if they will be able to secure super, supplies to sow ‘their coming crop. Merchants are very shy of supplying super, under the Farmers Relief Bill in this State.
The letter goes on to point out the difficulties under which the farmers are labouring, and to urge honorable senators to support the Wheat Bounty Bill and its concomitant financial measures.
Earlier in my speech I made the statement that the Bank of England is empowered to issue fiduciary notes. I have now obtained from the library the statute which confers that power, and it can be consulted if there should be a disposition on the part of any honorable senator to challenge the accuracy of my statement. I do not consider it necessary to read the provision, because I believe> that I have quoted it accurately from memory. I claim to be a little better acquainted with this legislation than are some of those honorable senators opposite who have interjected.
Perhaps it would be wise if, at this juncture, I show that there are in different parts of the world some economic and financial authorities who agree with the contention that we on this side advance, that the present crisis is due, to a major extent, to financial policy.
Senator Greene last night challenged us to produce one authority in the world whose views could be held to support this measure. Perhaps that is not possible at, the moment. But I can say that many economists have advocated similar proposals. The directors of the Bank of England, a full list of whom Senator Greene last night quoted from Whittaker’s Almanac, are themselves administering to-day a fiduciary note issue in Great Britain.
I shall quote first from a report, published in the Adelaide Advertiser, of the 14th March last, of a speech delivered before the British Engineers Association in London on the 13th March by Sir Henry Strakosch, who is well known to honorable senators as one of the loading economists of the world, and a foremost authority on central banking practices. As a student of central banking practices, I presume that he has some knowledge of credit conditions, because central banking deals peculiarly with those conditions. He said that monetary causes were mainly responsible for the fall in commodity prices. He advocated the co-ordination of credit policies in the principal goldstandard countries, directed towards maintaining the purchasing power of gold within reasonable limits, and then went on to say -
An influential section of economic opinion believed that this could bc achieved by cooperation by the principal central banks. Tho root cause of the world’s troubles was drastic general credit deflation in 1929, and the consequent fall in prices. The virus afflicting the economic body fortunately carried its own remedy. The prospect was that, when commodity prices reached bottom - and he believed they almost had - confidence would return and production for normal needs would be resumed.
There are many other quotations that I could give, but I shall content myself with giving only one. It is from an Australian economist, Professor J. B. Brigden, and is taken from the report of an address that he delivered in Brisbane in October, 1930. He then said-
Australia might stop its downward trend by a justifiable inflation of credit. It would create more employment and be good for business generally. . . . There could be, as a palliative, a slight inflation, which would not be so much an inflation as a restoration of credit to the stage it was earlier, and a check to deflation.
Those two economists, one in the old world and one in the new, support proposals similar to that embodied in the bill. I could continue quoting almost ad libitum from different sources and different authorities.
Honorable senators opposite tell us that they would give the people of this country “ real “ money. I should like to be informed whether there is any satisfactory or reliable definition of “ real money.” We have various forms of currency and exchange. I have consulted Webster’s standard dictionary to see if it could give me any light or understanding as to what the term “ real money “ means. Webster defines “ money “ as “ anything having a conventional use as a medium of exchange or a measure of value.” I do not suppose that Webster had heard the term “ real money “ ; otherwise, he might have furnished a definition of it. In the absence of any definition, I think that we are entitled to ask honorable senators opposite to explain what they mean by “ real money.” There is a very considerable volume of educated and informed opinion in the world which affirms that Webster is right. Honorable senators opposite who talk about “ real money “ cannot produce any authoritative person or publication who or which is able to differentiate between the cheque currency, the note issue, the copper, silver, or gold currency of a country, because all of those are ised for the specific purpose of facilitating the exchange among the people of a country of its wealth production, discarding the old cumbersome system of barter and introducing what is more adaptable to modern practices.
This contention was supported 20 year3 ago by Senator Greene. I quote from Ilansard, page 1504, of the 12th August, 1910, a speech that the honorable senator then delivered, in which he gave a very fine dissertation on the Australian Notes Bill that was then before the Federal Parliament. The honorable senator was a member of the House of Representatives at the time. He said -
There is a popular impression that a currency is limited to the actual coin of the realm and notes; but it is nothing of the sort, because currency includes every negotiable instrument. The Government cannot control the whole of the currency - it is not within their power or possession. Every time wo sign a cheque we add to the currency for the time being.
Later in the same speech, at page 1509, he is reported to have said -
In times of crisis, when there is a run on the banks’ coffers, the right to issue notes provides a safety valve which the bank may legitimately use to stave off trouble.
The honorable senator on that occasion was opposing a national notes issue scheme. He published to the world his opinion that notes were not the only form of currency in this country, and said that the right to issue them was not to be taken away from the banking institutions, because they might be deprived of the right to use the note issue to protect themselves in a time of crisis. I ask honorable senators which is the sounder proposition : To permit banks that are privately controlled, and to that extent are representative of a very small section of the community, to have the right to issue notes to deal with a crisis; or to permit this Parliament, within strictly and safely guarded limits, to issue notes on the responsibility of the nation in order to deal with a crisis? If Senator Greene believed in 1910 that it was right for the banks to do this, he ought to believe that it is right for the nation to do it now, in order to help our wheat-farmers and to place our workers in employment. I quote now from a publication entitled International Finance, by Mr. Hartley Withers - one of the greatest authorities on banking and finance in Great Britain, and an exdirector of financial inquiries to the British Treasury. He states -
Tha Bank of England is very severely and strictly restricted by law in the matter of its note issue, but it luckily happened when Parliament was imposing these restrictions on the bank’s business, the note issue was already becoming a comparatively unimportant part of banking, owing to the development of the use of cheques. Nowadays when borrowers go to the Bank of England for loans they do not want to take them out in notes; all they want is a credit in the bank’s books against which they can draw cheques. A credit in the Bank of England’s books is regarded by the financial community as cash, and this pleasant fiction has given the hank the power of creating cash by a stroke of the pen and to any extent that it pleases, subject only to its own view as to what is prudent and sound business.
The banking practice of England, according to Mr. Withers. is similar to that of the associated banks in this country. The banks must, and have, the right to create credits which they term cash, and which honorable senators opposite tell us is real money. Credits are created by the sale to a customer of a cheque-book for 2s. 6d. or 5s., and are given upon some security which the bank considers sufficient to cover the advance made. In an endeavour to assist the wheat-farmers of this country and to relieve unemployment, the Government is asking that the Government with the backing of the nation shall provide additional currency which is to be strictly limited to £18,000,000. We are told that this involves inflation, and that the passage of this measure will destroy the value of money. Mr. Withers continues -
If the commercial and financial community is short of cash, all that it has to do is to go to the Bank of England and borrow a few millions, and the only effect on the bank’s position is an addition of so many millions to its holding of securities and a similar addition to its deposits. It may sometimes happen that the borrowers may require the use of actual currency, and in that case part of the advances made will be taken out in the form of notes and gold; but, as a general rule, the bank is able to perform its function of providing emergency credit by merely making entries in its books.
That statement was made by a responsible financial authority selected by the British Government to conduct financial inquiries- and negotiations on its behalf.
Let us examine this proposal from another aspect. According to the letter I have read, the farmers are desperately in need of financial assistance. The repeated attempts of this Government to assist them have been frustrated by honorable senators opposite or by those controlling the financial machine in this country. The Government has given the banks every opportunity to respond to the cry of the needy fanners, many of them hardy pioneers, of whom we hear so much from honorable senators opposite at election time. The Government is endeavouring to assist those who have blazed the trail, who have cleared the mallee, and have proved that wheat can be successfully grown on a rainfall of 10 inches during the growing’ period. To-day these men are crying out for assistance; but, unfortunately, their cry is falling upon deaf ears, so far as the Opposition is concerned. Unless the £6,000,000 provided in the bill is made available, the assistance which i3 so urgently required cannot be given. It is the only method by which financial help can be rendered to needy primary producers, because previous attempts have been strenuously resisted. If immediate action is not taken, a large number of farmers will be driven off their holdings within the next few months. That would be a national calamity, particularly at a time when there is a sign of improvement in world wheat prices The statistics now available suggest that within the next twelve months or two years the wheat-growing industry in Australia will be again on the road to prosperity.
– Where does the honorable senator find those signs?
– I hare quoted them before, and if the honorable senator cannot assimilate them the responsibility is upon him. Not many months ago some honorable senators opposite disagreed with the opinion I then expressed that world wool prices were on the eve of a revival. We learn from a statement recently published by Winchcombe, Carson Limited - a reputable authority - that within the last three months wool prices have appreciated to the extent of £.13,000,000 to £14,000,000 annually. Similar -signs can be read to-day in the wheat market reports. Wheat production in the world is being reduced a3 a result of depreciated prices, and if further reductions are made in the areas under crop, prices must improve. Within a period of two years there will be an adjustment of wheat values which should place Australian agriculture substantially upon the road to prosperity.
– Production in Russia may have an important bearing
On future prices.
– As I do not think that farming under communistic rule is likely to be a success, I do not believe that Russia will be a serious menace to the wheat-producing countries of the world.
The Government’s proposal under this bill for the relief of unemployment is to release £1,000,000 a mouth for twelve months for use by the State Governments, local governing authorities, and other bodies on the construction of approved public works, which can provide full interest and sinking fund payments, and which the community is prepared to pay.
– What is the nature of the public works to which the honorable senator is referring?
– When all the reservoirs in the Adelaide metropolitan area are full there is less than eight months supply of water for a population of 330,000. South Australia is subject to considerable variations in rainfall, and there have been instances when, no water has been taken, into the reservoirs for approximately twelve months. Moreover, only one-half of the metropolitan area is sewered. The present return from metropolitan water scheme is over 11 per cent., and that from the metropolitan sewerage system approximately 8 per cent. The construction of an additional reservoir to relieve the present pressing danger of a water famine, and dispense with the necessity to impose water restrictions for the greater part of every summer, as is the case at present, would cost approximately £350,000, on which a return of over 7 per cent, on the capital invested would be assured.
– That is not a Commonwealth work.
– The metropolitan sewers could be extended at a cost of £1,000,000, and show a return of between 6 per cent, and 7 per cent, on the capital invested. If Senator Herbert Hays had read the bill he would realize that sums are to be made available to the States and certain local governing bodies for the purpose of undertaking public works.
– If a satisfactory return is assured, could not the money be raised locally by debentures?
– This proposal was brought before the Loan Council three years ago, but that council has noi yet been able to provide the money. It is anticipated that if money were to be made available for the construction of such works in South Australia employment would be found from 4,000 to 5,000 unemployed, some of whom have been out of work for years. Many of these men and their families are without clothing, and their homos are practically devoid of furniture and food. We read in this morning’s newspapers that the Minister for Defence (Mr. Chifley) has authorized the issue of 70,000 garments from the Defence Department to protect the unfortunate unemployed from the rigors of the coming winter. If we were to place these men in employment we would be creating a greater purchasing power in the community. Those men would have to buy boots, clothing, blankets and furniture, and pay rent to landlords, some of whom have not had any for mouths. The other day I saw a worker’s rent book which disclosed that his rent was eighteen months in arrears, but, notwithstanding his inability to pay, his landlord has not turned him out of the house.
– There are hundreds in a similar position.
– Yes, and if the honorable senator has his way there will be thousands. We want to give those landlords an opportunity to collect their rents, pay rates and taxes, and improve their buildings, thus affording more employment. If this £1,000,000 a month is made available to provide profitable employment, not only will from 40,000 to 50,000 men find direct employment; but as a result of the expenditure from 40,000 to 50,000 will also be provided with indirect employment. In this way, some 100,000 breadwinners will be no longer depending on the dole, but will be placed in a position of independence. This 100,000 represents over 300,000 persons, counting wives and children, who are at present being supported by the community, State Governments, public bodies and private charitable institutions at a cost of at least £5,000,000 a year. That expenditure, which would be avoided by the passing of this measure and the giving of employment in the way I have described, would, in a little over two years, provide a sinking fund to redeem every fiduciary note and cover interest as well.
– What a beautiful picture the honorable senator has painted !
– What is wrong with it? Is it not better to provide a fund which will enable these men to earn sustenance rather than tax persons already working to the extent of £5,000,000 a year to keep others in food ? The £5,000,000 could be used to balance budgets or reduce taxation.
– The States are now providing the money out of overdrafts.
– The balancing of budgets, a laudable object according to honorable senators opposite, and incidentally to honorable senators on this side, would certainly be closer to realization.
– The payment of interest on overdrafts would also “be avoided.
– That is so. We are told that there is only one way in which budgets can be balanced. With a great display of indignation, last night
Senator Greene claimed that Mr. Scullin had broken his bond. I deny it. The Prime Minister will not break his personal bond nor be a party to the breaking of any bond he makes on behalf of the people of the Commonwealth. He went to the Melbourne conference with a desire to do the right thing, and when he signed the agreement he thought that he was doing the right thing. He is now attempting to implement the principles laid down in that agreement by a policy of which the bill now before us is the pivot, and if this bill is not passed, neither Mr. Scullin nor any other man can balance budgets in this country. Honorable senators opposite will have to take the full responsibility for any failure on the part of the Commonwealth Government to keep to the terms of the Melbourne agreement.
But why should this charge of dishonesty be laid against the Prime Minister only? What about the Premiers of Queensland, Tasmania, Western Australia, South Australia and Victoria, who also signed the Melbourne agreement and contracted to balance their budgets? How have they fared? Have they not an aggregate deficit, according to the last quarterly returns, of something like £4,000,000? Did not the Nationalist exPremier of New South Wales fail to bring down any budget and walk out of office, leaving an accumulated deficit of £S,000,000? This taunting of the Prime Minister and the present Commonwealth Government is ill-timed. Honorable senators opposite should look at what has been done by some of the State Governments they profess to support rather than charge the Commonwealth Government with having broken a bond or with having been dishonest in regard to contracts.
Senator Sir WILLIAM GLASGOW (Queensland) [12.6]. - I think that Senator O’Halloran should have made sure of his facts before making many of the statements he did, particularly in regard to what has been done by the Premiers of the States. One Premier, who was a party to the Melbourne agreement, has kept it. I refer to the Premier of Queensland.
– He has a deficit of £1,600,000.
Senator Sir WILLIAM GLASGOW.The Premier of Queensland made every effort to balance bis budget. He very nearly did so, and would have done so, but for the adverse exchange rates which have placed a very heavy burden on the people of the State. He reduced expenditure, with the result that the percentage of unemployment in Queensland is half what it is in the other States, showing what would have been, the result if the policy advocated by honorable senators on this side had been given effect to throughout the Commonwealth. The Premier of Queensland in cutting down his expenditure is doing his best to spread the burden evenly.
– He was the first to reduce expenditure.
Senator Sir WILLIAM GLASGOW.Yes, and he obtained results. In the early part of his speech Senator O’Halloran said that the present financial and economic position in Australia could be attributed to the fall in the value of exportable products, and to the drying tip of the loan market. No one can find fault with that statement, but the honorable senator inferred that the late Government was responsible for the drying up of the loan market both here and abroad. He was cute enough not to actually say it, because he knew that it was not a fact, but Senator Barnes, in the course of his speech, said that the late Government was responsible for the drying up of the loan market both here and broad. Both honorable senators are aware that about a fortnight ago I asked a question of the Treasurer, and he was obliged to answer truthfully that during the last three years of the late Government’s term of office the loan indebtedness of the Commonwealth was increased by only £4,000,000, and that as a matter of fact the indebtedness per head of the population decreased during the period. For a long time past honorable senators opposite have been so accustomed to accusing the Bruce-Page Government of extravagance in the expenditure of loan money, that they have evidently begun to believe in the truth of their statement. If, however, they know that it is not true, their constant repetition of the accusation is dishonest. The Treasurer’s answer was a complete refutal of the statement made by him when speaking recently in Brisbane. He said that the Commonwealth during the last three years of the Bruce-Page regime had borrowed £129,000,000, whereas the increase of Commonwealth public debt during that period was only £4,000,000.
Senator O’Halloran also went to some trouble to criticize the banks. Although these institutions are quite capable of looking after their own interests, I want to point out the extent to which they have granted short term credits to the various Australian Governments during the last couple of years. I think it is only fair that honorable senators opposite should give the banks credit for the way in which they have come to the assistance of the Governments of Australia during a critical time. On the 30th June, 1929, the short-term indebtedness of the Governments to the banks was only £5,500,000; on the 28th February, 1931, it was estimated to be £55,500,000. As a matter of fact the amount was actually more than that. The banks were in a position to come to the assistance of the Australian Governments in this way simply because of the prudent manner in which they had been looking after their funds. The honorable senator also criticized these institions for not having granted credit to industry. When credit is granted to industry it is essential that industry should produce some security. If some one came to the honorable senator and asked for a loan he would require some security before granting the loan; possibly also he would require the borrower to live within his means. Would he be satisfied to grant a loan to a man who was spending more than he was earning?
– I should be more concerned about the purpose to which the money was to be applied.
Senator Sir WILLIAM GLASGOW.But would the honorable senator make the loan if he were satisfied that it would not give him an adequate return?
– Did the war give Australia an adequate return?
Senator Sir WILLIAM GLASGOW.The war preserved our independence, and to-day we are as a consequence of it in a’ position to develop our country in accordance with our own aspirations. It was more important that we should contribute towards the cost of the war for the purpose of maintaining our independence and ability to develop our country in accordance with Australian ideals and aspirations than that we should allow others to fight our battles and then find ourselves under the heels of a foreign nation.
– Is it not also a matter of importance to find jobs for returned soldiers ?
Senator Sir WILLIAM GLASGOW.No honorable senator opposite has more sympathy than have honorable senators of the Opposition for the wheat-farmers and unemployed. In that respect we differ from honorable senators opposite only in regard to the method of rendering that assistance. We know very well that the method advocated by honorable senators opposite has failed when applied in other countries. The honorable senator was quite right when he said that he could give no satisfactory precedent for this action on the part of the Government. He referred to the Bank of England, but did not accurately describe the position in that connexion. Everybody knows that the Bank of England is the authority for the issue of currency in Great Britain. It is authorized to issue £140,000,000, in notes with a gold backing of a sovereign for every £1 note, and it is also authorized to issue fiduciary notes to the value of £260,000,000. But those notes have behind them liquid securities which are easily convertible.
– What is the nature of the securities?
– Bills, bonds, and the like. But if the £400,000,000 worth of notes had no baching, except the £140,000,000 in sovereigns, they would still have a greater gold ratio than the Australian note issue. The gold backing of the total British note issue is 35 per cent., and that of the Australian note issue about 33 per cent. The fiduciary note issue of Great Britain is, therefore, quite different from that proposed in this bill.
The honorable senator said in the course of his speech that the value of the farm lands of Australia had fallen. That is quite true, but how could it be expected that the value would remain high in view of” the fact that the value of the products from them and from our pastoral areas have fallen? The value of landed property is based upon its productive capa city. There can be no other basis for for the value of farms.
– Values have not fallen in Queensland where the sugar bounty is in operation.
– I am not now dealing with the sugar bounty. The previous Government was not responsible for the economic conditions which have caused the fall in the value of our farm lands. It is well known that we cannot influence the price of our exportable products, nor can any country determine the price of its exportable products, except possibly, to a small extent by orderly marketing.
– Is not the fixing of the artificial price for sugar a method of inflation?
– Of course, if the price of anything is advanced beyond world’s parity price, there is inflation. Honorable senators opposite want to create more money, hut they do not recognize that in doing so in the way proposed by this bill that will decrease the value of money. If we had 100,000,000 £1 notes in this country and had units of goods valued at the exact equivalent of the 100,000,000 notes and the Government issued 10,000,000 additional £1 notes to purchase the 100,000,000 units of goods, it would have the effect of increasing the value of each goods unit to 22s. or of reducing the value of each note to 18s., because, after all, the notes are only a means of exchange. A note is a token exchanged for goods. If the number of tokens issued exceeds the number of goods units the value of the tokens depreciates. This means of creating credit has failed to achieve the objects of its advocates in every country in the world where it has been tried.
– Does it not depend on the purpose for which the tokens are used?
– It does not. I am rather surprised that honorable senators opposite should approve of this policy, for, as I have said, inflation has been a failure in every country where it has been tried in recent years. Let us think of Russia for a few minutes. The Government of Russia estimated its expenditure and revenue, and then printed sufficient notes to balance the revenue with the expenditure; but everybody knows what dire distress followed the adoption of that policy in Russia.
– What has happened in Russia?
– I thought I heard the honorable senator say that he did not approve of the communistic farming policy in Russia.
– I do not approve of it.
– One hears all kinds of things about Russia.
– I am sure that the honorable senator does not desire to live in Russia, and that he would not care to send his family there.
An enormous amount of paper money was also printed and circulated in Germany, and it caused untold distress. The consumption of milk in Germany dropped to one-sixth of the normal quantity. The people of Germany had any amount of paper money, but its value was so small that they could not purchase sufficient milk for their children, and very many children in that country died of malnutrition.
– Some of them are dying in Australia from the same cause.
– Another effect of the inflation policy in Germany was that the farmers were unable to buy fertilizers, with the result that many of them were almost ruined. Many industrial requirements became unprocurable because of the low value of money, and the number of unemployed people in the community increased enormously. This happened notwithstanding the very low real value of wages. The workers, like other sections of the community, had an abundance of paper money, but it was almost worthless.
– Apparently inflation in Russia and Germany had the same effect as deflation is having in Australia.
– Deflation has not occurred here. Honorable senators opposite have said something about the results of inflation in France. It is true that during the inflation period France for a time was prosperous, but certain other con ditions brought this about. Like Australia, France experienced a period when she obtained high prices for her raw materials, and when large sums of loan money were expended. Under the peace treaty, France acquired some very rich territory which helped her to develop her industries. Then again, enormous sums of money raised by loans were expended in the reconstruction of her devastated war areas. Nearly all the French industrial concerns have been rehabilitated on modern and up-to-date lines, and France has become a thoroughly efficient industrial country. Again, during the years following the war, multitudes of tourists visited France for the purpose of inspecting the battlefield areas. These people took real money into France and this also helped to bring prosperity to the country. But, by her inflation policy, France robbed her people of fourfifths of the money they subscribed to the war loans of the nation. The loan indebtedness of the French nation after the war was £10,000,000,000 ; but by inflationary methods it was reduced to £2,000,000,000. Yet, in spite of the huge expenditure of loan money on reconstruction works in France, the acquirement of valuable new territory, and the restoration of her industrial concerns, the real value of wages in that country was 30 per cent, lower than in England. It is well to remember also that unemployment is growing apace in France. Inflation has not achieved the results in that country that honorable senators tell us it will achieve in Australia.
I believe, and experience confirms me in the belief, that what has happened in other countries where inflation has been tried will happen in Australia. It is proposed at present to issue fiduciary notes to the value of £6,000,000, for the relief of the wheat farmers, and to the value of £12,000,000 for the relief of unemployment.
– And to revive industry.
Senator Sir WILLIAM GLASGOW.The Government has said that the money is to be raised in order to find work for the unemployed.
– Approved works.
– And reproductive works.
– It must be apparent that £6,000,000 will not be sufficient to help all the wheatfarmers who need help, and that £12,000,000 will not go far in providing work for the unemployed. Is it not reasonable to assume, therefore, that- if this bill is passed the Government will soon be requested to provide still further money by this means? Even if the relief proposed to be given to the farmers this year is actually given to them, no one can undertake that they will not be in need of further relief next year, for we cannot say what’ price wheat will bring next season.
– Does not the honorable senator approve of the granting of relief to the farmers?
– £ do ; but not by means of bogus money. It seems to me to be certain, if this fiduciary issue is agreed to, the Government will not be able to resist the appeals for relief that will be made to it by other sections of the community who are in need of assistance.
It is significant that in every country where inflation has been tried, the people have had the same experience. Governments have, first of all, resorted to inflation as a means of balancing their budgets. As a result they have had to obtain assistance from the financial institutions in the form of short-dated loans or overdrafts. There is already inflation in Australia, as, since 1929, those Governments have increased their short-dated loans and advances from the banks from £5,000,000 to £55,000,000. That is exactly the way in which inflation has started in every other country. When the Governments found that it was impossible to obtain further credits, the financial institutions, having made advances to the full extent of their resources, they resorted to the device of printing notes. Once the noteprinting press is availed of, very few governments can resist its lure. Almost invariably they find it necessary to continue to print notes to meet their deficits.
I am sure that honorable senators opposite do not realize the risk to which they are exposing the country by sponsoring proposals such as those set out in this bill. The Prime Minister has stated definitely that this is a wrong method of adjusting the affairs of the country. Everybody knows the contents of the cablegrams that the Prime Minister, then in London, sent to his colleagues when caucus insisted upon inflation. At that time the belief of the right honorable gentleman was sound, and in accord with the opinion of our highest financial authorities. What has brought about the change of front on the part of the Prime Minister and honorable senators opposite, and made them incapable of resisting the inflationist demands of certain members of caucus? They know that the project is absolutely wrong and unsound. Honorable senators opposite cannot point to one case where a government, once having begun to inflate, has been able to check matters before a tremendous number of people were ruined, and many worthy citizens deprived of their well-earned savings.
– That is just what is happening at present because of deflation.
– There has not been any deflation, but a reduction in the value of our commodities and in our loan expenditure.
– Is our £1 worth any more to-day than it was three years ago?
Senator Sir WILLIAM GLASGOW.Compared with the outside pound sterling, its value is less than it was; but the value of our commodities has also fallen. Inflation exists in Australia because Governments have not balanced their budgets, and have borrowed from the banks to the limits of their resources.
Two causes have reduced our national income - the reduced value of our commodities and a lower expenditure of loan money. Of course, everybody must bear his share of that reduction. The pool from which all draw their incomes is represented by the value of our commodities and the amount raised and expended by governments by way of loans. Those who draw from that pool are those who conduct industries - employers and employees, capital and labour - and governments, the tax gatherers. If the amount that can be drawn from the pool is reduced, industries suffer. Already industry has had to take very much less from the pool.
– £40,000,000 has been taken from the workers.
– Many of the workers have to accept very much less than previously. To remedy the evil, we must increase our exports and keep down the costs of production. We cannot raise the value of the goods that we export, but we can increase the volume. Australia can produce as cheaply as can any other country. If Canada can continue producing wheat, so also can Australia. It costs the farmer in the great western provinces of Canada ls. 3d. a bushel to transport his grain to Montreal to the ships that will carry it overseas. It does not cost the Australian farmer 5d. a bushel to have his wheat taken to the seaboard. Provided that there is co-operation between employer and employee, Australia can compete with any other country in the world. Very few other countries have the opportunities for extending industries that Australia possesses. We also have the means of transporting our goods to the markets of the world.
– How would the honorable senator provide the necessary credit ?
Senator Sir WILLIAM GLASGOW.Various governments have been responsible for “ freezing “ credits. They have drawn on financial institutions to the limit of their resources. Senator Barnes knows that Australia has shortly to meet a payment of £38,000,000 in London. £23,000,000 of that indebtedness is due to Australian banks. If our governments made a determined effort to balance their budgets there would not be the slightest difficulty in having that amount funded. That would immediately release credit in Australia to the extent of £23,000,000. Would that not be a better method than creating bogus money, which cannot assist our exporting industries?
– How can governments balance their budgets under existing conditions?
Senator Sir WILLIAM GLASGOW.if the honorable senator’s Government would get out of the way, some other government would quickly be found that will do the right thing. If this Government does not feel like stepping aside, let the people decide the issue. I have shown a way in which £23,000,000 could be released in Australia in a legitimate fashion.
– Would we then borrow that £23,000,000?
Senator Sir WILLIAM GLASGOW.I hope not. At ‘ the end of February last, the Government had already borrowed nearly £56,000,000, while by the end of March the amount had increased to £58,000,000, and it is still increasing. The Government cannot continue to go the pace in this fashion. The only way in which we can .improve our credit is by restoring confidence. Does any honorable senator opposite imagine for one moment that this measure, which sets out to create money-
– To release credits.
Senator Sir WILLIAM GLASGOW.That is one of the high-sounding phrases of which we have heard so many recently from honorable senators opposite. The principles of the measure are opposed to every sound precedent, and the experience of all countries before and since the war. Honorable senators opposite know that credit is based on confidence. How could anybody expect confidence to be reposed in a government like the present one? The Government supporters have not even confidence in themselves. The attitude of themselves and the Ministry is one of perpetual irresolution. Almost daily the Government brings forward a new proposal, and has to retrace its previous steps. No sooner does it move forward than it has to go back again. How many times have the Treasurer, who is responsible for this bill, and the Prime Minister changed their minds with regard to our currency and credit problems? How often, have honorable senators opposite vacillated on the subject? It is impossible to inspire confidence in. others until the supporters of the Government have confidence in themselves.
The first thing to do to improve credit is to establish confidence, and to do that we must make an effort to live within our means. As soon as we do that the amount that we owe in London will be funded, confidence will be restored, and credit will be made available. It is essential that we should have that credit, so that we may increase production and extend avenues of employment. Because of the disastrous experience of other countries that have dabbled in inflation, I have no confidence in this measure, and I shall vote against it.
Sitting suspended from 12.45 to 2.15 p.m.
Motion (by Senator Hoare) negatived -
That the debate be now adjourned.
Question - That the bill be now read a second time - put. The Senate divided.
Majority . . . . 15
Question so resolved in the negative.
Debate resumed from the 15th April (vide page 818), on motion by Senator Daly-
That the bill be now read a second time.
Upon which Senator McLachlan had moved, by way of amendment -
That the word “ now “ be left out with a view to add the words “ this day six months “.
– When I last addressed myself, very briefly, to this bill, I said I hoped that all honorable senators had read the very informative report of the select committee of the Senate that had inquired into the matter; and that, had they done so, their knowledge of central reserve banking, and the principles underlying it, would be very much greater than it was formerly.
I am one of those who consider that the establishment of a central reserve bank in this country is highly desirable.
Indeed, I think that it should have been established some time ago. A previous government took partial steps to that end, but did not persist with the proposal, probably because of the problem of divorcing the trading business of the Commonwealth Bank from its central banking functions.
It appears to me that the proposal in this measure does not lend itself to the establishment of an ideal central reserve bank, nor does the Commonwealth Bank as it is at present constituted. A central reserve bank should be free from all political control. Under the provisions of the bill there would be a greater degree of political control than is to be found in any other central reserve bank in the world, and the Senate should steadfastly oppose the establishment of such an institution. The consensus of opinion examined by the select committee of the Senate, and of that which is to be found in many text-books on the subject, goes to show that it is highly undesirable to have any degree of political control. In the opinion of the select committee, provision should be made for the holding of shares in the venture by the public as well as by the Government, and in its report it suggested that two-thirds of the capital might be found by the public and one-third by the Commonwealth. If that were done, the directorship of the institution naturally would be divided proportionately. The powers that should be conferred upon it are those set out in Sir Ernest Harvey’s statement, which appears at page 16 of the report.
During the course of the inquiry by the select committee it was pointed out that Australia is not in a good position to-day to inaugurate a central reserve bank, because it has not the bill business which is transacted in Great Britain and in other countries. It was suggested that the present overdraft system in Australia should give place to one of advances to clients by banks, those advances to be covered by bills having a currency of six months, or any other term that might be arranged. That principle was advocated rather widely by bankers. I venture to affirm, however, that it would not be acceptable to the commercial community. I speak from a long experience ; at various times I have had the use of a good deal of banking funds. It would be a calamity if the overdraft system of Australia were to be replaced by one under which advances were covered by bills. The bill system would involve payment immediately by the borrower for the accommodation afforded to him.
– But he would get it at a lower rate of interest.
– That may be so ; but I prefer the other system. Under it, you have a limit up to which you can work should you care to do so, the charge being made on the daily balance. Assuming that the interest charge was 6£ per cent., in a good working account the average frequently would be as low as 4% per cent. I do not think that Senator McLachlan will argue that it is likely to be as low as that under the bill system.
– That system operates very favorably in both the United States of America and Great Britain.
– They have a larger turnover. They have classes of business which we do not possess. The issuing of bills would lead to what I have always regarded as the pernicious system of trading on four, five and six monthly bills. That system operated in Queensland for years, but fortunately it is not being used to-day. Under it a firm did not know how it stood until the bills were met. With bills having a currency of four months, there could be four months’ aggregation before you would see your customer’s money. In Queensland, we were very glad to get rid of the pernicious system. I greatly fear that if we adopted the practice of the bank making advances as suggested, it would ultimately again evolve into that system.
This bill transgresses the whole of Sir Ernest Harvey’s recommendations, which I invite honorable senators to read. I am prepared to vote for the establishment of a central reserve bank on the lines of the select committee’s recommendations. I am willing that the bill should pass the second reading and be amended in committee in accordance with the report of the select committee. If that were done, we should have a central reserve bank that would be acceptable in an international system. Before very long there will be at Geneva an inter national bank, with which all other central reserve banks in the world will be affiliated. If we established a bank in Australia along the lines recommended by the select committee, no difficulty would be experienced in having it affiliated with every other central reserve bank or with the superior institution at Geneva, because the principles underlying its establishment would be those approved of and accepted by other countries.
On the other hand, I am willing that the bill should be withdrawn to allow the Government to introduce another measure; or that a new measure should be drafted by the select committee. Honorable senators who sit on this side do not desire to burk the establishment of a central reserve bank; but we do want it to be established on proper lines. Inasmuch as the establishment of such a bank to-day would involve the acquirement of quite a lot of capital, we are certainly not in a position to launch it. If the Government adopted my suggestion, we could have the nucleus of a bank, and whenever the time was favorable the institution could be launched. I am sure that it would then function very successfully. The conditions for the establishment of a central reserve bank are particularly unfavorable at the present juncture; but it is a consolation to realize that the Commonwealth Bank is now functioning as completely and effectively as any established central reserve bank. There is complete co-operation with the trading banks in the matter of exchange, and with respect to the reserves lodged with the Commonwealth Bank. All this has been done voluntarily, and that is a very healthy sign. Of course, the existing policy cannot continue indefinitely; but we should certainly allow it to operate until the present financial crisis is over, when it may be thought highly desirable to proceed to establish, as early as possible, a central reserve bank on proper lines.
I suggest that, owing to its trading operations, it is very difficult for the Commonwealth Bank to continue to function as a central reserve bank. It is well known to every student of central reserve banking systems that a central reserve bank cannot be directly associated with or operate as a trading bank. It has been suggested in another place that the trading activities of the Commonwealth Bank should be controlled under a separate directorate or board of management, which would not interfere with its functions as a central reserve bank. I venture to say, however, that it would be difficult to get away from a suspicion on the part of the other banks that in such circumstances some advantage would accrue to the trading branch of the Commonwealth Bank, as against the other trading banks, arising out of central reserve bank operations. Inasmuch as the directorates of the central reserve bank and the trading bank would be nominated and appointed by the Government, thus ensuring political control in both instances, it would be highly undesirable to adopt such a course. That was the opinion expressed by the select committee which inquired into the Central Reserve Bank Bill, and is, I am sure, the opinion of all who have studied the subject.
I consider that the operations of the Commonwealth Bank as a trading bank cannot be abandoned. It has been stated in this Senate that, in many instances, the Commonwealth Bank is not doing good business. Some say that its business is negligible; but I invite honorable senators to note the business of the trading branch of the Commonwealth Bank in Queensland, where it is conducting one of the best commercial businesses of any of tho banks. I cannot conceive that any party in power would abolish the trading branch of tha bank. The proper course to follow is to provide for the establishment of an independent central reserve bank, and to allow the Commonwealth Bank to continue to function as a trading hank, but directly and entirely free from political control. I do not suggest that the Treasurer of the day should not be heard by both directorates. There should be the strongest possible liaison between ^ the government of the day and the directorates of a central reserve bank and the trading branch of the Commonwealth Bank. The control, however, should not be vested in any government.
The note issue profits of a central reserve bank, such as suggested by the select committee, should go as at present to the Government, and any profits on its business exceeding, say, 6 per cent., should also go to the Government. It is highly undesirable that a central reserve bank should make huge profits, and, therefore, a limitation nt 6 per cent, should be sufficiently high. Any profitover that figure should go to the Governme u
– Or to reserves.
– Or partly to the Government and partly to reserves.
The financial position of to-day has not been brought about by the action of the banks, but by the action of governments, and in that respect it differs materially from tho 1893 crisis. In that year speculation, aided by the banks, brought about that crisis. To-day the banks have been standing up to the requirements of governments in a way which, I think, has been highly prejudicial to private enterprise. The banks should have imposed restrictions some time ago, and I believe that action in that direction is now being taken. In the meantime private enterprise, which, as admitted by honorable senators opposite, employs 80 per cent, of the people of this country, has not been receiving the financial assistance to which it is entitled, because the banks have been satisfying the voracious appetites of the governments of the day.
In conclusion I should like to say that, al, a mooting of the Associated Chambers of Commerce in Melbourne the other day, a resolution was unanimously passed approving the select committee’s report on the Central Reserve Bank Bill, and I invite the Senate to adopt the same attitude.
Debate (on motion by Senator Duncan) adjourned.
The following paper was presented : -
Financial Policy - Letter dated 2nd April, 1931, from Sir Robert Gibson, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Commonwealth Bank, to the Hon. J5. G. Theodore, Chairman of the Loan Council, and letter dated 15th April, 1931, from the Hon. E. G. Theodore to Sir Hebert Gibson.
Ordered to be printed.
Senate adjourned at 2.39 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 17 April 1931, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1931/19310417_senate_12_128/>.