Diary of a Labour Man 1917 - 1945

Full Text On the Backbenches






House of Representatives Division of Fremantle

Electors of Fremantle

Ladies and Gentlemen:

I beg to request your support for my candidature for the Fremantle Division of the House of Representatives at the General Elections.

FOR MANY YEARS I have shared very fully in the public life of Western Australia and have endeavoured to serve it by constructively dealing with its problems. Ten years ago, at the request of the State Government, I was a member of the Special Committee which prepared the case for the State in respect to its disabilities under Federation. In the early part of the present year, again at the request of the State Government, I acted as representative of the State in the proceedings for a special grant before the Commonwealth Grants Commission. These appointments may be regarded as evidence of the confidence which successive Governments of Western Australia have had in my fitness to undertake exacting and difficult work on behalf of the people as a whole.

It is however, the problems of the future which are now our vital concern. Briefly stated, I believe that the foundations on which these should be dealt with are twofold: They involve the proper use of the instruments of government in order to balance in a rational way the relationship of the States to the Commonwealth, and a National Economic Plan in order to deal with unemployment, not only of labor, but of capital resources.

That the Commonwealth should have unlimited taxable resources, which produce surpluses and extravagance, while the States are hamstrung financially, is an evil thing in itself. That it should lead to the Commonwealth remitting taxes upon the wealthy, while the States are compelled to impose taxes on the lowest ranges of incomes, aggravates the evil.

But worse evils follow: Upon the States devolves responsibility for unemployment, health and educational services, the maintenance of law and order, and the stability of the civic life of the people. I consider that the interests of the nation can only be met by a policy that ceases to separate responsibilities from resources. Reform in this respect calls for constructive statesmanship and not destructive generalisations.

The same thing applies to the problem of unemployment. Without a nation-wide policy the prospect of improvement in this grievous matter is hopeless. Monetary policy is a vital factor in grappling with the new conditions emerging as the result of the vastly increased productive power of industry and the restricted purchasing power of consumers. I believe in the power of the nation. I believe that it can be used to adjust the balance between production and distribution, and will support constructive measures to this objective.

I refuse to indulge in a propaganda of promises. My appeal to you must rest on your judgment of my general point of view, such qualifications as you may account me as possessing, and my assurance that if elected to the Parliament I will employ myself untiringly in the great tasks which confront our generation.

Yours faithfully

John Curtin

14 Jarrad Street Cottesloe

August 23, 1934

“Worker” Print, 38-44 Stirling St., Perth.