17th Parliament · 3rd Session
The President (Senator the Hon Gordon Brown) took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.
Motion (by Senator Sampson) - by leave - agreed to -
Thatleave of absence for two months be granted to Senator McLeay on account of absence overseas.
Motion (by Senator Clothier) - by leave - agreed to -
That leave of absence for one month be granted to Senator Nash on account of absence overseas.
Tobacco - Beer - Campaign Stars and Defence Medal
– Will the Acting Minister for the Army inform the Senate whether the decision of the Government to grant an increased tobacco allowance of 15oz. a month to troops on active service is being carried out?
– A responsible officer of the Quartermaster-General’s Office informs me that the Government’s decision to grant to the troops 13 oz. of tobacco a month from the canteens and 2 oz. a month from supplies made available through the Australian Comforts
Fund is now being observed. I am also informed that the Government’s decision regarding the beer ration is being carried out. If an honorable senator has any complaint with regard to this matter, and brings it to my notice, I shall see that the instructions are observed.
– Yesterday Senator Allan MacDonald asked me the following questions: -
The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follows: -
asked the Minister representing the Acting Prime Minister -
With reference to the statement made in the House of Representatives by the Acting Prime Minister on the 18th May last, and appearingin Hansard, pages 1917-1924 of that date, what medal, if any, may he awarded to - (a) Members of the Royal Australian Navy and Royal Australian Naval Reserve employed on other than sea-going service; (b) members of the’ Australian Military Forces employed only on the mainland for the defence of the Commonwealth; (c) members of the Royal Australian Air Force ground staff employed only oil the mainland of Australia?
– The statement of the Acting Prime Minister on the 18th May on the subject of campaign stars and the Defence Medal to which the honorable senator refers was amplified in a further statement made by the right honorable gentleman in the House of Representatives on the 25th May, when it was indicated that those members of the forces whose service has been confined to the mainland of Australia will not, in general, be eligible for a campaign star or the Defence Medal. However, one of theGovernment’s reservations to its acceptance of the scheme is directed to ensuring that all members of the forces who served in Darwin when that area was subject to aerial attack will receive the Defence Medal.
– Can. the Minister representing the Treasurer say why such long delays are taking place in the Department’ of the Treasury in giving decisions in connexion with the transfer of properties? These delays are causing considerable inconvenience. Will he ascertain whether decisions can be expedited?
– I shall confer with the Treasurer with a view to speedingup decisions.
asked the Minister for Supply and Shipping, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follows : -
– On the 27th June, Senator Armstrong asked the following question : -
Will the Government co-ordinate the tourist facilities of Australia under a Commonwealth Minister in co-operation with State governments in order that they may be developed, if necessary on a long-range plan, and prosper publicity given, at home and overseas, to the tourist facilities this country can offer?
The Acting Prime Minister has asked the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture and the Minister for Information to consider the question of tourist facilities and the best way in which the Commonwealth Government can assist in its developments.
Debate resumed from the 28th June (vide page 3779), on motion by Senator Keane -
That the bill be now read a second time.
– A number of honorable senators have said that they regard the measure as being very important. I look upon it as being totally unnecessaryand I fail to comprehend why the Government should introduce it. For these statements I shall give my reasons later, because I was a member of the Ministry which amended the original Commonwealth Bank Act. When the bill now before us becomes law, it will (become important, because under it the existing trading banks will be entirely wiped out. Before I proceed to discussthebill in detail, I propose to reply to certain statements made by honorable senators opposite. First, I shall deal with the remarks of the . Postmaster-General (Senator Cameron). When a man becomes a member of a Ministry he is supposed to have a composite mind. When he speaks as a Minister he can be taken as speaking for the Ministry. I should like to know whether the Postmaster-General was speaking for the Ministry last night when he said that a capital levy would have to be imposed in order to enable the Government to obtain sufficient money to carry on the affairs of the country. Or was he then speaking for himself only? If he is a responsible Minister, he at least was speaking for the Ministry; and, accordingly, much notice will he taken of what ‘he said. The Government will surely kill the goose that lays the golden egg if it imposes a levy on capital in addition to the high existing rates of taxation. By -that process it will wipe out a great proportion of the revenue now derived by taxes from those riches upon which the PostmasterGeneral says an additional impost should be levied. He referred to the proposals in this direction now under consideration by the French Government. If that policy ibc adopted, the Government will get less revenue than it derives to-day from taxation, with the result that widespread unemployment will be caused; because a government cannot take capital from people and, at the same time, ask them to provide full employment. We cannot have it hoth ways. The PostmasterGeneral’s outburst last night in this respect is to be deprecated, particularly as it was made in a debate upon a measure of this kind.
Senator Aylett made a vitriolic attack upon the private .trading banks in one of the wildest outbursts I have ever heard in this chamber. He referred to the private banks as “ racketeers and swindlers” and repeated those terms in order to emphasize his attack. The honorable senator’s statements are entirely wrong. He said, in effect, that I had inherited riches, and had not experienced the difficulties which inevitably confront borrowers of money. I did not inherit riches. I worked sixteen hours a day for the greater part of my life, and in my early days I had a very great struggle. I had a hig overdraft, but I was never called upon to pay more than 5 per cent, interest; and the bank never had any security in respect of my overdraft beyond my personal security. In that respect my case was not singular. Scores of people throughout the length and breadth of .the Commonwealth have done business on similar terms with the private banks. Senator Cooper drew attention to what the private banks had done for farmers in drought-stricken areas in Queensland. For some years they did not collect any interest at all. I am afraid that when Senator Aylett speaks of banks charging 10 per cent, interest, he is referring not to banking institutions, but to unscrupulous money lenders. If the honorable senator knows of any one who had to pay 10 per cent, on a loan, all I can say is that the greater the risk the higher the interest charged. I was sorry to hear Senator Aylett’s tirade of abuse against the private banks of this country. When the Commonwealth Banking Bill comes before this chamber, I shall show what the private banks have done for this country. ‘ The honorable senator alleged that the private banks of Australia were controlled by British and American interests. That is not true. Why does the name of Great Britain appear to the honorable senator like a red rag to a bull? Of the nine trading banks in this country today, only three are controlled by overseas interests, and they came here from Great Britain 100 years ago when the people of this country were unable to secure adequate financial accommodation. It is noteworthy also that these three banks did not close their doors during the financial disaster of 1893. They were British banks with British money behind them.
– Are they any the worse for being British?
– No, they are all the better. Our forefathers’ of two or three generations ago came from Great Britain. Why do honorable senators opposite throw mud at everything that is British? The other six banks are Australian, backed by Australian money and controlled by Australians. Figures given in the course of this debate show that shareholders in these institutions are receiving only about 4 per cent, on their money. A person who wishes to get rich does not invest his money in bank shares, because they are not sufficiently remunerative. They are an investment and not a speculation. Higher rates of interest can be obtained by investment in many industrial undertakings.
I come now to Senator O’Flaherty’s contribution to this debate. That honorable senator did not let the cat out of the bag, because it was never in the bag. The honorable senator’s speech was one on the most candid I have ever heard from the Government side of this chamber. He admitted that the Government intended to strangle the private hanks. That, he said, was a plank in the Labour party’s platform, and the Government intended to carry it out. I have no doubt that the cat of which the honorable senator spoke has been exhibited throughout the length and breadth of South Australia, and that the people of that State know just where the honorable senator stands.
– It was a dead cat.
– Yes. The attitude that has been adopted by the honorable senator will drive the Government to disaster. He said that overdrafts must be controlled, that the private bunks must be controlled, and that the whole financial system must be controlled. 1 say that if such wide control is to be exercised by one institution such as the Commonwealth Bank, this country is heading for disaster. The honorable senator went on to say that the private banks were robbers. “Whom have they robbed? They have helped many scores of people in this country in the past, and arc continuing to do so. I’ believe that the honorable senator would go so far as to prevent the transmission of money by cheques. In fact, he said as much. He looks upon cheques as currency j and claimed that cheque transactions during the last eighteen months have amounted to £16,000,000, but can anybody trace what happens to cheques ? A cheque may pass through the hands of ten people, pay their accounts, and finally be destroyed. Obviously, Senator O’flaherty means what he says, namely, that the banks should be socialized. The honorable senator indicated where Senator Grant stood on this matter also. He said that Senator Grant had pointed out that this measure was only one step towards the nationalization of industry. Apparently, ho argues with Senator Grant. It seems that the Government, having the necessary majority, will go ahead and socialize all activities, beginning with the banks. I regret that Senator Grant is not present. Evidently he has donned the cloak of the late Senator Darcey, but he cannot rise to the same heights of eloquence as that former honor able senator. Senator Grant embarked on a criticism of private banks and of what he alleged was their practice of lending ten times the amount of deposits. He stated that if a man deposited £1,000 in a bank the bank could immediately advance ten times that amount. Do honorable senators on the Government side of the House believe that? If that were so the following would be the result: On £1,000 deposited the bank would pay the depositor lj per cent., which would amount to £15. According to Senator Grant’s figures, a bank lending £10,000 at 4 par cent. - and that is the rate charged by the Commonwealth Bank - would get a return of £400 yearly on that £1,000 deposit. That would represent 40 per cent, on its money. Do honorablesenators believe that to be true ? If a bank can make 40 per cent, on its money, it can make any profit it likes. But that is not the case. If Senator Grant’s statements are correct, on £1,000 deposited, the bank can afford to give the depositor 4 per cent, on that deposit, lend the money at 1 per cent, and make a profit of 6 per cent. Why does not the bank do that? The answer is that such a procedure as Senator Grant outlines is fantastic and impossible. These statements are misleading and men in the position of Senator Grant and other honorable senators on the Government side of the chamber should have more sense than to make them. The honorable senator proceeded to deal with inflation and said that in Germany it was brought about purposely, but the rich man there was not affected. The rich man in Germany was affected more by inflation than the working man. A man who had a home - even though it were only a cottage - on which he had a mortgage of £400 or £500, was able to pay off that mortgage in the infla-tion period with a 3d. piece. That was actually done. The men who suffered most were those who had money and investments. I was in Germany in the midst of that country’s period of inflation, and on one occasion I had dinner at an hotel in Berlin. When paying for the meal I was entitled to receive 2s. change which was handed to me in the form of 5,000,000 marks.
– What was the position of the working classes?
– If the working classes had savings in thebank they lost them, as the rich people lost theirs. Bricks and mortar and similar tangible assets were the only things of real value. Senator Nicholls made a good and moderate speech in accordance “with his usual custom. The honorable senator has information on facts and figures comparable with the Encyclopaedia Brittanica. He quoted names and figures from memory as easily as an ordinary man would read them from a newspaper. I listened carefully to the honorable senator, who contended that the foundation of finance is production, but according to other honorable senators on the Government side of the chamber the foundation of finance is paper money. “While they talk about the foundation being production, they conveniently forget that the Government is spending £750,000 a year to limit production. Instead of the Government’s financial policy being founded on production it is based on a flimsy paper currency. The issue raised ‘by the bill is nationalization versus private enterprise, Senator after senator on the Government side of the chamber has admitted that.
– That is not so.
– Then Senator Courtice is the only senator who apparently does not admit it. Honorable senators on the Government side who have spoken have clearly shown that the intention of the Government is to wipe out private enterprise and socialize industry. The Government does not intend to eliminate the private banks by direct action but by a process of strangulation, and substitute the Commonwealth Bank to carry out the functions now being performed by the private banks. If it were done (by fair competition nobody would object. The whole basis of the financial structure depends on the confidence of the people in the financial institutions. We have to go back 50 years before we can point to a bank that has gone out of existence in Australia, with one exception, and that was the Government Savings Bank of NewSouth Wales. Why did that bank close its doors?
-Because of a political stampede.
– It was the result of lack of faith in a banking institution conducted by a government which did not have the confidence of the people. I can understand’ the public being alarmed about the financial affairs of this country, when they find that thousands of millions of pounds are deposited in the banks at present, whereas prior to the war the currency amounted to only £47,000,000. How can that be done?
– Because for once in their lives the workers have been paid wages continuously.
– Before the war a currency amounting to £7 a head of the population was sufficient to carry on the business of the country, and. that proportion applies also in Great Britain, but to-day the currency represents £30 a head for every man, woman and child in the community. What are we doing with the money? Obviously, the people are scared and are hoarding it, as they formerly hoarded gold, not knowing the difference between paper money and something more solid. These conditions will result in inflation. The Government is now calling in the notes for large amounts in the hope that it may obtain possession of notes to the value of £20,000,000 or £30,000,000, or more. The result will be inflation, and once that begins it will be difficult to stop it.
The Commonwealth Bank was instituted by the Fisher Government, but I shall not relate its early history. It was established under a Governor. In 1924, the government of which I was a member introduced a measure which placed the management of the tank under a board of businessmen representing all sections of the community. There could not have been better representation of the people than there was on the board. I invite honorable senators opposite to state in what way the Commonwealth Bank was restricted in its operations. I claim that it was not restricted in the slightest degree. On the contrary, its powers were increased. It was given control of the note issue in. 1925, and it also established a rural credits system under which millions of pounds were advanced for primary production. It was given other activities, such as central banking. It was a trading bank then, as it is now, and as it will be under this bill, without any restrictions whatever. I hope that it will continue in operation, provided its competition is fair, because it has done a good job for the people. Let me point to some of the “ restrictions “.
The assets of the Commonwealth Bank increased from 1924 to 1942 by £347,000,000. Is that slipping back? Its yearly profit -in that period increased from £405,000 to £957,000. It was slipping forward at a very good pace, and there should be no objection to what it has done in the past. Take the position of the trading banks of the same period. ‘Supporters of the Government claim that they have not helped the community, but have proved themselves to be robbers and swindlers. Thatis an absolute libel.
– Are the primary producers, whom the honorable senator represents, satisfied with the treatment received from the trading banks?
– Yes ; I shall refer to that matter later. Prior to the depression, those banks paid a dividend to their shareholders at the rate of 8£ per cent., but in the depression years they paid only 2$ per cent. That is an indication that they were giving to their borrowers a great deal of assistance, which, reduced the dividends of the shareholders. During the depression years they advanced £23,000,000 more than previously. I claim that the trading banks were generous in their advances. Good seasons and credit have ruined more men on the land than anything else. It was too easy to get overdrafts and to borrow money from the banks in the period just after the depression, and that ruined many a man.
This bill gives to the Commonwealth Bank control of all of the Wool-broking and pastoral companies and firms which act as bankers throughout the country. One of those companies during the present period had £5,500,000 on its books, all loaned to primary producers. Under this measure those companies and firms will not be permitted, to advance money without the consent of the Treasury. Members of the Labour party in both houses of this Parliament have said that the trans-Australian Railway was financed by the Commonwealth Bank, free of interest, and also that under similar conditions the General Post Office in Perth was built and millions of pounds advanced to various people. That is “ hooey “ ; nothing of the kind occurred. Those who make that assertion are quoting from a pamphlet issued by an individual in New South Wales. The Commonwealth Bank itself denies the statement.
– The charge was 5s. 9d. per cent, as against £2 7s. Id. per cent.
– Labour members have said that advances were made free of interest. The controls which this bill will set up will mean so much “ red tape “ administration that none of the pastoral companies which now make advances to primary producers will be able to carry on without the consent of the Treasurer. That is wrong. At least these matters should be dealt with by a board of competent men, such as now comprise the Commonwealth Bank Board. As is not unusual, Senator O’Flaherty let the cat out of the bag, when he said that the bill contemplates the .political control of the Commonwealth Bank. The honorable senator said that in future the policy of the bank will be the policy of the Government. Clause 9 provides that, in the event of a dispute arising -between the Governor of the Commonwealth Bank and the Treasurer, the latter may inform the Governor that the Government accepts responsibility for the policy to be carried out by the bank. I should like to know what will happen when there is a change of government. Will that mean that the policy of the Commonwealth Bank will be changed? The Opposition has already announced that when there is a change of government the Commonwealth Bank will again be placed in charge of a board instead of a governor? It is true that the bill provides for the creation of an Advisory Council, but of -what use will that body be? No one will take any notice of it. Moreover, the Advisory Council will consist of men connected with the Treasury, all of whom will be public officials. I have no objection to public officials, but the present Government seems keen on accepting the advice of Communist theorists and men with wild ideas in regard to matters of finance. As I have said before in this chamber, an economist is a man who can tell other people how to run their businesses but cannot run successfully a business of his own. Under this legislation, the trading banks will become the servants of the Commonwealth Bank, and will have to ask the Commonwealth Bank if they can make advances to persons and bodies which seek financial assistance. I visualize such “red tape” methods that it will be practically impossible for anyone to get money when he needs it. For instance, a pastoralist may desire a loan to carry him over until after shearing time, but two or three months will probably elapse before he can get a loan. The delays will be similar to those now associated with permits to build homes.
Government supporters claim that the trading banks will be able to compete with the Commonwealth Bank, yet under this legislation, £230,000,000deposited by the trading banks with the Commonwealth Bank will not be available to the trading banks. Although that money will not be available for use in the ordinary way, the Commonwealth Bank will be able to advance a similar amount to its clients. Rural credits may be granted by the Commonwealth Bank out of money which really belongs to the trading banks. Do honorable senators opposite claim that that represents competition on fair terms? When this bill becomes law, the trading banks will have no hope of carrying on successfully, and the money invested in them will be in jeopardy. As has been pointed out, the capital of the trading banks has been subscribed by 80,000 shareholders, mostly in small amounts. These shareholders do not receive large incomes by way of dividends on their bank shares. This legislation will make the trading banks the tools of the Commonwealth Bank. Moreover, this bill does not give effect to the most important part of the Government’s banking policy; that is contained in other legislation which will come before us later. The Banking Bill is now before the House of Representatives. When it comes to the Senate, I have no doubt that its provisions will be criticized by Opposition senators. I believe that the action of the Government in deciding to place the Commonwealth Bank under the direction of one man, instead of a board, will cause the value of the Australian £1 to drop to 10s., or even lower. I dread to think that the savings of the people will be placed in the hands of one man- the Governor of the Commonwealth Bank. Government supporters, and, indeed, some Ministers, let the cat out of the bag when they said that the Labour, party is out to socialize the banks.
Reference has been made to price control as a means of checking inflation. After the last war, prices rose by 29 per cent., but I have good reason to believe that prices to-day arc more than 29 per cent. above pre-war levels. One has only to buy children’s shoes and various items of clothing to find out how prices have risen.
– Shoes are in shortsupply to-day, whereas that was not so during the depression.
– I fear that the Government and the people are in for a rude awakening when the result of this legislation is felt. Government supporters say that the Commonwealth Bank did not assist the Scullin Government during the depression, but it granted to that Government assistance amounting to £90,000,000. That was done in peacetime. The trouble was that the Scullin Government wanted to fix the sky as the limit. Clause 18 imposes on the’ Commonwealth Bank the duty of developing and expanding its general banking business. Does that mean that it will establish branches in post offices throughout the Commonwealth and, if so, that an application will have to be made to postmasters should a person require a loan of £50 or £500 for a short period? If that be the intention, I can see further delays, because no public servant occupying the position of postmaster will be authorized to make advances without first referring the applications to headquarters. Under the existing system, branch managers of trading banks may make advances to individuals. Under the new arrangement, “ red tape ‘’ methods will be employed which will mean that considerable delays will inevitably occur in the granting of loans. I regard clause 38 as providing for the creation of a morgue to which the banks will be taken and where post-mortems will be conducted. The bill contains evidence of careful preparation to meet the situation which will have to be faced at the time of the death of the existing banks. Clause 83 limits the amount of money which the Commonwealth Bank can lend to any individual to 70 per cent. of the individual’s property. What is the sense of that provision ? A man with so great an equity as 30 per cent. is well off, and does not need to go to any bank to obtain money, because he will find ready accommodation anywhere. Under that provision a settler whose property is mortgaged with the Commonwealth Bank will not be able to obtain an advance from his stock and station agent on his stock. Compare that provision with the facilities provided under the Credit Fonder system in Victoria, under which advances are made up to 80 per cent. of the value of an individual’s property and stock and a further advance on plant. Therefore, the provision under clause 83 is of no value whatever.
– Apparently, the private banks will be able to flourish.
– They will be strangled long before they have any opportunity to flourish. The Government and the Labour party are regular Jeremiahs. They remind me of the gloomy forecasts of prominent British leaders down through the ages. William Pitt said, “ There is scarcely anything around us but ruin and despair “. Early in the nineteenth century Wilberforce said, “I dare not marry, the future is so dark and unsettled “. In 1819 Lord Grey said he “believed everything was tending to a convulsion “. The Duke of Wellington, on the eve of his death in 1851, said he “thanked God he would be spared from seeing the consummation of ruin that is gathering around “. Disraeli, in 1849, said, “ In industry, commerce and agriculture there is no hope “ . Queen Adelaide said she “had only one desire, to play the part of Marie Antoinette with bravery in the revolution that was coming to England”. In 1848, Lord
Shaftesbury said, “ Nothing can save the British empire from shipwreck “.” Those gloomy forebodings epitomize the despair of the present Government and the party which supports it. They cannot see a ray of brightness in the future. Hope can be restored to this country only by the removal of the Government from office.
– The Minister for Trade and Customs (Senator Keane), in moving the second reading of this measure, said -
It willbe generally agreed that banking policy plays an important part in the economic life of every country. At present, when we are facing grave problems and momentous economic issues, any legislation affecting the hanking system is of vital national importance.
All honorable senators who are prepared to discuss the subject reasonably and dispassionately will agree with that view. Banking does play a very important part in the economic life of the community, and I know of no subject which in recent years has aroused more discussion in writing or verbally. Men of great learning have given many years to the study of the problem. The bookshelves of our libraries are full of works on this important matter. The fact that this subject has caused such widespread and serious discussion indicates that banking is not so simple as Senator Gibson would like us to believe. It indicates that the last word has not been said on this important subject. If the existing banking system were perfect as honorable senators opposite would like us to believe, there would be no reason at all for the disputation now taking place throughout the world on this very matter.
From the debate itappears that two points particularly are agitating the minds of honorable senators opposite. The first is what form of control of banking should operate in the future; and, secondly, what part should the private banking institutions play in our future financial policy. We should endeavour to ascertain which is the best banking system. What is wrong with the existing system, which we call the private banking system? What is wrong with the form of control proposed under the measure now before us? First, let us examine the fundamental function of a bank. A bank exists primarily for the purpose of liquefying the assets of the community. Ever since production began there has been some medium of exchange between producers. In the earliest times one set of producers exchanged the goods they produced for the goods produced by another set of producers. That was the old system of barter. But that system was found to be impracticable, and a more convenient method of exchange was introduced. Thus originated the system which we now know as the banking system whereby tokens, such as cheques, bills of exchange, and 90 on are used as’ mediums of exchange. We are now asked to consider whether it is better that the nation as a whole conduct the system of exchange, or whether it should be conducted by private individuals for private profit. Honorable senators opposite who have pleaded on behalf of the private banks have not looked thoroughly into the problem. They are speaking pimply for certain interests regardless of the rights of the nation as a whole. I have no doubt that the system proposed under the bill is the best for the nation. The name of Gibson looms large in this debate; but I believe that Senator Gibson is the better of the bearers of that name because he at least is a producer. But Senator Gibson indulged in arguments that were used by opponents of the proposal to establish the Commonwealth Bank. He bases his arguments on an appeal to fear. He and his colleagues realize that people are usually afraid of a change. In 1910 when a Labour government was formed, it realized the need to establish a national bank; and when it propounded its platform in that respect its opponents endeavoured to defeat its proposals by playing upon the fears of the people. It is not necessary for me to repeat the arguments that were advanced in those days. Possibly the younger generation does not remember them, and that may be why to-day the opponents of the Commonwealth Bank are raising the old bogies once again. They are speaking of the savings of the people being entrusted to one man. I remember that in 1910-11, when Mr. Andrew Fisher was Prime Minister and Mr. King O’Malley was a driving force behind the creation of the Commonwealth Bank, it was stated that the savings of widows and poor people would be jeopardized, and stark ruin would come ‘to the country if the Commonwealth Bank were established. It was claimed that all people on fixed’ incomes, and individuals depending on interest from estates and so on, would be faced with a very dark future. It is now a matter of history that all these fears were ill founded, and I venture to suggest that in the days that are to come the fears which honorable senators opposite and their supporters are now expressing regarding the present banking legislation will also prove to be ill founded. During this debate, the flood-gates of memory have been opened. In the days of the fight for the establishment of the Commonwealth Bank, I never imagined that I should be standing in this chamber in 1945, hearing the same old arguments advanced by the opponents of Labour as were advanced then.
Passing reference has been made by several honorable senators to what can happen when private banking institutions decide to bring a nation to heel. Senator Lamp and Senator O’Flaherty referred to the classic example which occurred in the United. States of America in 1907, when Rockefeller, representing oil interests, Pierpont-Morgan, representing the steel industry, and Armour, representing the meat industry, decided to hold America to ransom. This combine set itself against the government of the most highly industrialized nation in the world, because the government, led by President Theodore Roosevelt, had taken steps to put an end to the depredations of the combine, which had decided to organize its forces to destroy rival concerns; yet we find members of this chamber defending the right of private enterprise to operate without restraint! During that American crisis, the president of the Knickerbocker Trust committed suicide, and many bankers also could not stand up to the strain. The combine brought every bank in the United States of America to heel. It decided that the certificates of exchange passing through its New York agency should be .controlled-, and then it was able to say to the President, “You can keep your gold. We shall have a new currency, a currency of paper”. So the fight was waged, and it was not very long before the combine brought the President to his knees. He capitulated, and that was the end of the legislation by means of which his administration proposed to break up the powerful industrial combines. Those things are possible in any country in whichthe capitalist system is uncontrolled. The American system of finance and capitalism is brutal, and the people of that country know where they stand. There are no “ beg your pardons “. Possibly, the British and Australian form of capitalist finance is more sophisticated. It worms its way more silently, but it is none the less deadly.
Senator Allan MacDonald shed tears for the shareholders of the private banks, and Senator Brand pointed out that a large number of people held shares in these institutions, many of the holdings being quite small. It is quite probable that the individuals who actually control the private banking institutions hold the fewest shares in them. The ordinary shareholders of a bank are not the ones who are powerful. How many people who hold life assurance policies have any voice in the management of the companiesby which those policies are issued? All policy-holders are shareholders in those companies, but they do not have any voice in their management. Similarly, shareholders in private banks have no voice in the control of those institutions. A perusal of the directorates of Australia’s foremost financial and industrial organizations reveals the ramifications of those organizations, and the few people with whom their control rests.
Many arguments have been advanced as to why the present system of controlling tie Commonwealth Bank by a board should continue; but in these days, it. is almost impossible to find a suitable person for appointment to that board who has not some private interests to serve. With the exception of the few members appointed to theboard to represent industry from the workers’ point of view, every man who has held office on the board has had interests in various financial or commercial institutions in this country. Obviously, these individuals are not able to deal with the administration of the Commonwealth Bank in the impartial manner which is so much to be desired. The link between the various banking and industrial organizations in this country makes progress most difficult, should the controllers of those institutions decree otherwise. This country must be developed. Australia is a young country with resources and potentialities as yet not fully discernible. We believe that Australia will one day be one of the greatest Pacific countries, and to this endwe must make possible the development of Australian industries. It is well known that with the interlocking of various directorates they are able to stultify the development of industry. Senator Gibson and other honorable senators on the Opposition side have referred to the accommodation they have received from private banks. Honorable senators on this side of the chamber could describe the difficulties that have been placed in their way by thesame institutions. If a person goes to one of these banks seeking an advance to establish an industry, everything depends on how that industry is likely to affect concerns in which members of thebanks directorates have an interest. If it is likely to compete with them the directors will politely suggest that they cannot make the advance required.
– There are nine other banks to which the applicant may go.
– That is so; but are the directorates completely separate and free from a mutual interest with the other banks?
– I invite Senator Leckie to analyse the occupations or interests of the members of the various directorates controlling private banks, insurance companies and pastoral companies, and he will soon observe an intimate link-up among them.
– What does the honorable senator mean by that?
– I mean what I say - that the control of the finance of Australia is in the hands of a very small section which dominates the country’s development in every way.
– Each hank or company has a different board of control
– That is true, hut there is a close affinity - even a direct mutual interest among them. How can the resources of Australia be harnessed to develop the country when there is such a set-up in the financial sphere? Under the bill the Government proposes to remove the possibility of any representative of the trading banks having any voice in the control or operations of the Commonwealth Bank. The Commonwealth Bank Board will be abolished and the operations of the Bank will be controlled by one man, whose duty it will be to ensure that it functions in accordance with the charter to be drawn up. He will have the advice of a body of experts. Members of the Opposition have said that banking should be left in the hands of experts. Because a man becomes a member of the Commonwealth Bank Board does not necessarily mean that he thereby becomes an expert in banking. If a vacancy occurred on the Commonwealth Bank Board and I had lost my seat in this House and the Government appointed me to the vacant position, I would not consider that by that appointment I had suddenly become an expert in banking. If I were a wheat-farmer and a Country party government appointed me to the Commonwealth Bank Board, that would not be a guarantee that I would be a banking expert. I might be an expert wheatgrower, but that would not be an attribute of expertness in banking matters.
– Is the honorable senator asking us to imagine that he is a wheat-grower?
- Senator Leckie and his supporters have been trying to convince the people of Australia that a wheat-grower can become an expert banker merely by appointment to the Commonwealth Bank Board. Under the new set-up the Advisory Council will consist of experts who have been trained in finance and will administer the institution in accordance with the policy laid down.
– The honorable senator believes that the hank’s affairs will be in the hands of experts appointed by the government of the day.
– Members of the Opposition object to political control, but the bill really deals with a phase of the commercial life of the community. Tha Government controls industry and trade through the Department of Trade and Customs and other phases of commercial life by laws that have -been enacted in this Parliament. If private individuals and private enterprise are controlled in that way, why should there be any objection to private enterprise, as typified by the banking institutions, also being controlled by the Government? Honorable senators on the Opposition side of the chamber have advanced arguments against the Commonwealth Bank, in an attempt to frighten people. Senator Gibson suggested that the only bank which has closed down in the last 25 or 30 years was the Government Savings Bank of New South Wales. That was closed, however, as the result of propaganda indulged in by the private financial institutions in that State.
– And by members in this Parliament.
– Yes. The stage was reached when even an anti-Labour premier had to appeal to the press and other propagandists to call off their dogs. At the same time that the Government Savings Bank of New South Wales closed its doors, the Victorian State Savings Bank, in its report to Parliament, claimed that it was one of the strongest banking institutions of its kind in the world. It made that claim simply because 28 per cent of its assets were liquid. But if all the depositors in that bank had called on the same day to draw out their deposits they would have received only £2S for every £100 they had lodged. The propaganda indulged in in New South Wales at that time made it impossible for the Government Savings Bank in that State to meet its liabilities, because it did not have control of the note issue. It could not meet the demands made on it; neither could any other bank in this country have done so if it were placed in a similar position. No bank except the Commonwealth Bank could meet the sudden demand that would be made upon it.
– Was it not due to lack of confidence in the Lang Government?
-What created the lack of confidence, except the propaganda indulged in by men like the honorable senator and the press of New South Wales, in order to gain a political victory, and the kind of propaganda indulged in now for the same purpose at the next elections? On the one hand, honorable senators opposite extol the Commonwealth Bank for the work that it has performed. Even when it was proposed to establish the bank the croakers were abroad, but, to-day, we have a practical demonstration of the power of this institution. Whilst the Opposition gives credit to it on the one hand, it points to the “ ifs “ and the “ buts “, and refers to what is likely to happen in future. It suggests that, with the new powers with which the bank is proposed to be clothed, it will constitute a menace, and that the economy of the nation will be destroyed. If that happened the nation would go down, but that is the kind of propaganda being indulged in by honorable senators opposite and their spokesmen outside, in the interests of a political victory. They talk of being a political party that will develop the country, yet they indulge in tactics which are unworthy of men who claim to have the best interests of this country at heart.
Not one constructive argument has been used by the opponents of the measure; they have merely tried to play on the fears of the people. Even if their worst fears were realized, and in the course of time people transferred their business from the private banks to the Commonwealth Bank and the private banks had to close their doors, honorable senators opposite have not shown that the economy of the nation could not be as effectively carried on through one national bank as under the present system.
– Does not the honorable senator regard competition as valuable?
– What is there in competition, if the only business of a bank is to liquefy the assets of the people? What was the story told by a government which the honorable senator supported? The late Mr. Lyons said that the reason for the depression was that those who had assets could not liquefy them. Who refused to liquefy them ? Was it not the banking institutions of that day? They had power to do so, and enable the wheels of industry to move, but they refused, and the great bulk of the people were forced into the pit of depression.
– Has the honorable senator read what Professor Copland said about the banks at that period?
– That is like what somebody said about the associated banks at the outbreak of the war of 1914-18, when a Labour government and representatives of the Commonwealth Bank called in the representatives of the outside money interests and said that they deserved a vote of thanks, whereas it was the great institution created by the Labour party that deserved the thanks. Whatever Professor Copland said about those times, a good many people disagree with him.
What do we find when the assets of the country are frozen and the private banks refused to liquefy them ? Honorable senators opposite and their political organizations are endeavouring to stimulate a good deal of opposition to the present Government because of the housing shortage. Homes have always been in short demand, except in one period, and that was when the financial institutions refused to liquefy the assets of the country. People were driven from their homes, when a wise policy of development would have resulted in keeping them in possession of their houses and building more of them. Whilst this bill is quite distinct from the Banking Bill which will come before us at later stage, it lays the found ations for increased development with regard to the economy of the nation, and I have heard nothing to convince me that it should not be passed. Honorable senators opposite have suggested that the Government has no power to implement its bank ing proposals. It has been said that, at the last referendum, the people refused to agree to a policy of socialization. Evidently, there were some wiser men in anti-Labour ranks forty-odd years ago than there are to-day. Those who framed the Constitution were laying the plans for the Commonwealth which they had in mind, and they visualized the part that Australia would play when the people became a united nation. They decided that in the future this Parliament should have power to engage in banking, and they provided for it in the Constitution. Therefore, there is no argument as to the power of this Parliament to engage in banking.
I have given thought from time to time to the motive that caused the Conservatives in those years to give to this Parliament power to interfere with the vested interests of this country and to set up a banking institution which would be a rival to the private banks. I have come to the conclusion that theywere wise in their day and generation. They lived very close to the timeswhen the private bankswere not giving effect to the requirements of this young country. They saw the interests of the great nation which they visualized being subordinated to those of certain of the trading banks, and, therefore, they placed in the Constitution the right of this Parliament to legislate with regard to banking.
– Does the honorable senator support a capital levy, as advo cated by the Postmaster-General?
– His attitude to that matterwill be discussed by me in considering the Banking Bill. We are now dealingwith the operations of the Commonwealth Bank. There is not much difference between a capital levy and an income tax. I have yet to learn that my friends oppositewould disagree with the present income tax. They may disagree regarding its incidence, and may consider that its incidence in Victoria is preferable to that elsewhere, because it “socks” the small income earner and lets the large income earnerdown lightly.
When we appreciate the functions for which banking is engaged in, there should be no argument against clothing theCommonwealth Bank with the powers visualized in this bill. The bank will be able to finance everyactivity of the community, and will be free from the influences of private interests. It will be able to steer a course which will be in the interests of the community as a whole. At a later stage, when this Parliament has had an opportunity to discuss further legislative proposals to be brought before it, I have no doubt that the legislation sponsored by the Labour Government will have placed Australia in a more favorable position than it is to-day’. It has been said that the Government had no right to bring in this legislation in view of the promise given to the people by the Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin) at the last elections, I suggest that this legislation gives expression to promises made to the people of Australia over a long period of years thatwhen the Labour party obtained a majority inboth houses of theCommonwealth Parliament if would give effect to its banking policy. If the present Government had failed todo that, the Labour party would have beenunworthy of the name of a great political party andunworthy to be entrustedwith the government of the country. In bringing forward this legislation, the Labour party is doing what it has told the people for many years was necessary for the development of this country. I congratulate theGovernment on the introduction of this legislation, and I believe thatwhen it and complementary bills have ‘been placed on the statute-book Australiawill be set along the road to prosperity.
– So much has already been said on this instalment of the Government’s financial policy that there is very little fresh ground to cover, and, therefore, I shall not speak at length. First, I wish to dealwith the remarks of some Opposition senators. I do not think that I have ever listened to more dire calamity howling than Senator Gibson indulged in this morning. The honorable senator is noted for that tendency, but he excelled himself to-day. He did just those things of which he complained. He said that the only bank which had been forced to close its doors in Australiawas the Government Savings Bank of New South Wales, a government-owned institution. Senator Sheehanwas able to deal effectively with that statement, and I could add the names of the individuals whowere primarily responsible for that calamity. The honorable senator also said that inflation, once started, cannot be stopped. That is not correct. With his long experience of parliamentary practice, if not of banking. ho should know better. It is true that inflation, once started, and backed up by calamity howling, has a snowball effect.
– Is not that what happened ?
– During the depression it was customary for one man to say to hi» neighbour, “ My word, business is bad. Don’t you find it so ? “ The reply, frequently, was, “Yes, I do. Jones, around the corner, says things are terrible.” Such conversations were listened to by the men who indulged in speculation, and looked for a direct return on their investments. When they heard that calamity howling, they buttoned up their coats on the real money which stabilizes banking. That was- a factor in the depression which could not be controlled by the banks. Senator Brand was definite in his assertion that the banks had nothing to do with causing the depression. I shall deal with that point later. The honorable senator also said that the Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin) promised not to socialize industries during the war. That is not what the right honorable gentleman said. His statement was that he would not take advantage of the war situation to introduce a policy of socialism. When he said that, the Prime Minister did not say, “All right boys, the Labour party’s policy of national control and socialism has gone overboard. During the war we shall not give effect to our promises to the electors, but will play the game which our opponents want us to play.” The Labour party always believed in governmental control of the nation’s credit, and in giving statutory effect to that belief the present Government is only carrying out the policy of the party. That policy is not abrogated if we say that we shall not take advantage of the peculiar situation caused by the war to introduce socialism. The same false note has been played on many times by honorable senators opposite. Senator J. B. Hayes said that we should be careful of our money ; he advocated a policy of thrift. When I was a young fellow, I was told that thrift was a virtue, but I concluded many years ago that thrift is a vice. Only by the circulation of currency can we make that currency do the job that it ought to do. What i3 wealth? It is the result of labour applied to land. Wealth cannot be derived from any other source. What is credit? It is the confidence that can be reposed in the individual who holds documents indicating that certain wealth in his. I do not wish to repeat what Senator Grant said, but rather to amplify his statements, when I say that banking originated with the traders who operated between Mediterranean and Asiatic countries. They were subjected to marauding expeditions by Arabs and others on their return journeys when they were known to have treasures of various kinds on their caravans. Rather than risk losing their wealth they deposited assets in excess of the amount of money that they desired to use for trading on the return journey, with various goldsmiths in Lombardy. Later, in such places as Teheran or Smyrna, similar bases were established where surplus assets were deposited. Only commodities were carried by them along dangerous routes, as if was too expensive to arm a convoy sufficiently strong to resist the attacks of marauders. Periodically, huge caravans, sponsored by the government and properly armed, took that surplus wealth from one place to another. And so it came about that the goldsmiths of Lombardy were temporarily in possession of goods that did not belong to them. They soon realized that at least 80 per cent, of the wealth deposited with them remained virtually undisturbed. They then decided to use those reserves for their own purposes. They thereupon became usurers. That was the beginning of the private banking institutions which ever since has used other peoples’ credit and wealth to get something for nothing.
– This bill legalizes marauding.
– If through some misfortune the goldsmiths - of Lombardy could not meet their indebtedness, the position was not different from some of the calamities which have happened in the world when banks have closed their doors. Those who take no risks are not entitled to receive the plaudits of the people. Honorable senators opposite also have said that we must have a gold backing to our currency.
– That is so.
– I am not greatly concerned about a gold backing to the currency. If I have a paper £1 note, even though it does not say, “ I promise to pay” and take it to my grocer, I am satisfied so long as I can exchange it for goods to the value of 20s. That shows that I have confidence in the value of that piece of paper; I know that it will be honoured when presented at the proper place. The great economist Paish said that in 1896 - the latest year for which figures were then available - the gold currency of the world amounted to approximately £3*0,000,000,000, but that the world’s wealth in solid and liquid assets amounted to thirteen trillion pounds. I am not an accountant. My conception of thirteen trillion was merely the numerals 1 and 3 with an interminable string of noughts placed after them. But that gentleman took the trouble to dissect that amount, and found that the gold reserve that served as the backing of the world’s wealth in 1896 represented only 2£ per cent, of the total world wealth. Since then, of course, the wealth of the world has been multiplied, at least ‘twenty times, because in the interim we have had two world wars, and scientific discoveries have greatly expanded the world’s wealth. Yet we are told that the amount of gold in the world to-day is practically static at its level in 1896. If that be so, whilst in the interim the world’s wealth has multiplied from twenty to 30 times, it is difficult to ascertain the practical worth of gold as a backing for wealth. I give that information for the particular .benefit of Senator Mattner.
I have had the pleasure of meeting on several ocasions Mr. James Grant, who was one of the pioneers of monetary reform in Australia. He now lives at Surry Hills, Sydney. He was one of the first advocates of the establishment of the Commonwealth Bank, and he is also known as the author of a book entitled The Circulating Sovereign, which did much to further the cause of monetary reform, influencing to a substantial degree the members of the Commonwealth Parliament of the day. Incidentally, James Grant toured the Commonwealth during the last war, using the proceeds from the sale of his book to finance his tour; but at Gawler, South Australia, he was taken into custody and placed in a detention camp on the ground that the sale of his book, which advocated monetary reform, was inimical to the best interests of Australia and the successful prosecution of the war. The Prime Minister of the day, who was to some degree responsible for his detention, was the present right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes). I propose now to deal with the circulation of money. I am a member of a very powerful trade union, the Amalgamated Engineering Union, which has substantial sums to its credit in a private bank.
– Why did not the union establish a bank?
– That is the point. Over 30 years ago I advocated that the union should establish its own bank, but my colleagues were conservative-minded and declined to endorse the proposition. Members of this union pay comparatively high membership subscriptions, and these are deposited in a private bank.
– Why not in the Commonwealth Bank?
– Because the Commonwealth ‘Savings Bank cannot accept deposits beyond a certain limit in any one account. Over a fairly long period the union has received interest on its deposits in a private bank at an average rate of 3i per cent. Let us suppose that a gentleman applies to that bank for an advance to enable him to start an engineering shop. It is assumed that he possesses the deeds of a block of land and a number of friends are prepared to recommend him to the bank as a man possessing ‘ the glorious attribute of business acumen. If the bank is satisfied with the security offered, and that the man is likely to succeed, it will lend him some of the money deposited by the Amalgamated Engineering Union. While the bank pays the union interest on its deposits at 3£ per cent., it charges this man interest at the rate of 7 per cent. Let us assume that he is given an advance of £10,000 with which he buys the necessary machinery to set up an engineering shop. At the same time, owing to the vicissitudes of industry, I find myself out of a job and in search of further employment I go to this man for a job, not knowing how he has financed his Undertaking. If he is satisfied that I am capable of earning him at least 15 per cent. profit by manipulating the machinery, which he has bought with money which belonged to me as a member of the Amalgamated Engineering Union, he will give me a job. “What is the virtue of that system? Is it not clear that itis my own money that provides me with a job? At this stage I revert to Senator Gibson’s query as to why the union did not establish a bank. Had it done so 30 years ago it would to-day be in control of a very powerful institution. However, I can only come to the conclusion that the Lord does not put a good accountant and a good engineer in the one skin. Possibly, for that reason the members of the Amalgamated Engineering Union were content to remain good engineers and, dumb-driven, work for other individuals.
Senator Brand said that the banks did not have anything to do with the depression. The dear old general would be well advised to keep to the one subject with which he seems to be au fait, namely, matters relating to ex-service personnel. Evidently, he does not understand much about subjects outside that particular sphere.When he said that the banks had nothing to do with the depression, he must have been talking without his book. All honorable senators know that what happened in the depression was this: Consequent upon the sky-rocketing of prices, involving an increase of 29 per cent., after the last war, wages were increased, and persons who had money on fixed deposits in the banks, for which they were receiving from 4 per cent. to 5 per cent. interest, found that their income was depreciated to the degree that prices had risen. Such people realized that the value of their £1 was only from l1s. to 12s. Consequently, they put their case to the private banks that that position must be rectified, and as the result, the private banks commenced to call up overdrafts. That is what started the depression. Then the calamity howlers at street corners began to whisper that things were bad, and that whispering campaign caused investors who had real money to “ button up “. The banks had no control over that money. That is the story of the depression. Admittedly, the banks acted as they did in the interests of their big shareholders, but the real cause of the depression was that those who had their money on fixed deposit with the banks demanded that they should receive real value for their money, and that could only be done by depressing wages. I ask leave to continue my remarks at a later stage.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
Motion (by Senator Keane) agreed to-
That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn to Tuesday, the 3rd July, at 3 p.m.
.- I move -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
On the 20th June, Senator Allan MacDonald asked me the following question : -
In view of the fact that the coupon rating of men’s socks and knitting wools has been reduced recently, will the Minister for Trade and Customs give early consideration to a similar reduction of the coupon rating on all male and female apparel manufactured from wool ?
I now inform the honorable senator that stocks of clothing are not sufficient to justify any great relaxation of the ration scale. The position, particularly in regard to woollen goods, is being carefully watched, and reductions will be made whenever supplies permit.
To-day Senator Collett asked me, upon notice -
In connexion with the recent issue of new ration coupon books, is it a fact that the issue of coupon books was conditional on the applicants presenting a completed and signed occupational survey card; if so, (a) by whom, and under what authority, was the information required; (6) what was the purpose of the survey; (c) by whom were the cards used printed, and why was the customary official imprint omitted from the card?
The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follows: -
The issue of coupons books was associated with the presentation of occupation survey cards and instructions were furnished to issuing officers as to how cases should be dealt with if occupation survey cards were not presented. (a.) The authority for the occupation survey was an order issued on the 10th May, 1945, under National Security (General) Regulations 71a.
The purposes of the survey were fully stated by the Acting Prime Minister on the 10th May, 1945. These were in the main to provide information for use by the War Commitments Committee, to guide policy for rehabilitation of servicemen and to assist in deciding the nature and timing of relaxation of war-time controls.
The cards were printed by the Government Printer, Canberra, and State Government Printers. The card indicates the survey is made under the authority of National Security (General) Regulations.
.- Some time ago I asked the Minister for Trade and Customs (Senator Keane) to see if it were possible to amend the regulations which prevented milk lorries in South Australia when picking up milk from entering upon the farm. The Minister was courteous enough to assure me that he would give the matter consideration, and I ask him now if he has anything further to report.
.- I draw the attention of the Minister representing the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture to a matter which is causing great concern to primary producers in Tasmania, namely, the disposal of last season’s potato crop, which was exceptionally heavy. Potatoes grown in Tasmania, generally speaking, are of two varieties. First, there is the Bismarck potato, which is an early variety and should be marketed early in the season. Then there is the Brownell variety, which is suitable for marketing in mid and late season. Last year, growers were encouraged to increase plantings, especially of Bismarcks, and a fixed price was guaranteed by the Government. Owing to the shortage of labour, however, thousands of acres of Bismarck potatoes have not yet been dug. A representative of the Department of Commerce and Agriculture who made an inspection of the potato-growing areas recently said that the guaranteed price would be paid to the growers. He said that the department would watch the position, andif signs of deterioration became evident, an assessment would be made, and the payments forwarded to the growers. Thousands of tons of Bismarck potatoes which are still in the ground should have been marketed last March at the latest. Heavy rains have fallen and the potatoes are starting to sprout. Immediately that happens, their quality deteriorates considerably. As potatoes are urgently required in other parts of the Commonwealth, especially in areas which have been affected by the drought, I see no reason why these Tasmanian potatoes should not be put on the market, if necessary, at a price lower than the figure guaranteed. The complete loss of these potatoes will involve the Government in heavy expenditure in addition to worsening the food position in this country. The Bismarck potato is an excellent carrier. Normally, it is marketed before the Brownell is ready to be dug, and any surplus available after the Brownell is placed’ on the market, is sold at a discount of from £1 to £3 a ton. I appreciate the transport difficulties which confront the Government at present, but I point out that the additional acreage of potatoes planted in Tasmania was in response to the Government’s appeals. The new-season Bismarck potatoes will come on to the market in November, and, because of the better season on the mainland this year, there is every reason to believe that potato crops will be heavy. The Government is to be commended for its efforts to maintain food production, but unless some action be taken to deal with this matter the loss to the taxpayer will he enormous. “Whilst thousands of acres of potatoes remain in the ground, the good land which they occupy cannot be used for any other purpose, thus causing a further loss to the country.
.- in reply - The matters raised by honorable senators will be brought to the notice of the appropriate Ministers and the information desired will be given as soon as possible.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 12.40 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 29 June 1945, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1945/19450629_senate_17_183/>.