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.

Australian Events

Posted in 1947

  • Crowd rush the Bank of NSWChifley plans to nationalise the banks.

"Bank Nationalisation Fails
In response to the High Court's invalidation of part of the 1945 banking legislation, Prime Minister Chifley declared on Aug 16, 1947 his intention of nationalising the private banks. This legislation was in its turn challenged and invalidated by the High Court in 1948 and by the Privy Council in 1949. Unpopular for continuing wartime austerities and offending powerful banking and medical interests, Labor lost office at the elections on Dec 10, 1949."
The Macquarie Book of Events, 1983 p 349.

  • Workers win the right to a 40-hour week.
  • First arrival of displaced persons from Europe. Because the low birth rate in the 1930s had led to a shortage of labour, Australia launched a programme aimed at increasing the population by 1% a year through net migration.
    The Macquarie Book of Events, 1983 p 71.
  • Painter Sidney Nolan exhibits his Ned Kelly series.
  • Qantas announces plans for regular flights to Britain.

World Events

Posted in 1947

  • Dr Evatt at United Nations Organisation, New York, as Chair of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Palestinian QuestionChuck Yeager flying an American aircraft breaks the sound barrier.
  • UN proposes the partition of Palestine between Arabs and Jews: Arabs reject the proposals.
  • British India gains independence: partitioned to form India (Hindu) and Pakistan (Muslim); Burma becomes independent.
  • Dead Sea Scrolls - part of the library of the Qumran sect - are found in Palestine.
  • GATT (The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trades) is formally launched.
  • Under the Marshall Plan, USA provides $17 billion in aid for the economic rehabilitation of war-torn Europe. It is turned down by the USSR and the Eastern Bloc countries.
  • The Diary of Anne Frank is published.