Sir Robert Menzies

Posted in 1947

  • Menzies leads the debate against the Banking Bill 1947 which Chifley introduced in Parliament on 15 October. Described as one of the most impressive speeches he ever made to the House, he speaks for an hour and 23 minutes.

"It is my duty ... to open the debate against the most far reaching, revolutionary, unwarranted and un-Australian measure introduced in the history of this Parliament ... It will wantonly destroy the system of trading banking which has been intimately associated with the whole of the economic development of Australian business and production. It will create in the hands of the ruling political party a financial monopoly, with unchecked power to grant or withhold banking facilities or bank accommodation in the case of every citizen ... This bill goes far beyond banking. It will have an operation and effect far beyond the business of money changing. This bill will be a tremendous step towards the servile State, because it will set aside normal liberty of choice, and that is what competition means, and will forward the idea of special supremacy of government. That is the antithesis of democracy."
A W Martin, Robert Menzies: A Life. Vol 1 1844-1978, 1999 p 78.