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Nugget Coombs, Selwyn Cornish and Laurel Black present their papers at the Post War Reconstruction Conference [sound recording]
Bib ID 704811
Format AudioAudio [sound recording]
Coombs, H. C. (Herbert Cole), 1906-1997, Speaker
Access Conditions Access open for research, personal copies and public use. 
Description 1 Sept. 1981 
5 sound tape reels (ca. 155 min.) : 7 1/2 ips., 2 track stereo ; 7 in. 

Post-war reconstruction seminar.


Dr Coombs speaks about the establishment of a Reconstruction Division of the Dept. of Labour and National Service; civilian commitment to the war; need for and establishment of the Ministry of Post-War Reconstruction; role of the Ministry; the Dept's association with the War Commitments Committee; the Pinner Committee recommendations; his decision to return to the Bank; preparation of the white paper; presenting his paper at the Conference on Post-War Reconstruction, 1944; Joseph Fisher Memorial Lecture, 1944; the issue of unemployment; Lloyd Ross' criticism of the white paper; the white paper and the referendum; control of investment; criticisms of Draft C; Curtin's editing of the paper; reaching consensus; papers presented to the Economic Society of Australia and New Zealand, 1948; public expenditure; personal consumption expenditure.

Selwyn Cornish speaks of the background to the decision to prepare a white paper on unemployment; the British government's Employment Policy; 14 powers referendum; Curtin's statement on post-war objectives; Atlantic Charter; Mutual Aid Agreement; Menzies' economic policy for war and peace; importance of trade and agriculture; 1941 Joint Parliamentary Committee on Social Security reports; acceptance of Keynesian economic thought; Melville and new capital investment; white paper as part of the referendum campaign; resource allocation; price movements; control of inflation; liquidating government stocks; debate on taxation; direct controls; public investment expenditure; balance of payments; criticisms of Draft A; Draft C's concentration on the transitional period; Dedman's desire to present the paper to Parliament; differences in Draft D from previous drafts; Curtin's attitude to Draft D; Ministerial and Departmental reaction to Draft D; Working Committee's production of Draft E; Cabinet discussion of Draft E; newspaper speculation of Draft G; Draft H; the tabling of the white paper; public reaction; Melville's after thoughts.

Laurel Black speaks of the significance of the White Paper; the adoption of Keynesian theory by capitalist countries; precursors to the White Paper; Beveridge Report; British White Paper; investment; emphasis on balanced budgeting; development of the Australian White Paper; criticisms of Draft A; loss of plausibility with the widening of the scope of the project; production of the final four drafts; presentation to Parliament of the the final version, 1945; three objectives addressed in the paper: theoretical exposition of the employment level, outline the measures through which the Government intended to achieve full employment; problems relating to the transition period; expenditure; similarity of the Australian paper to the British; paper as an anti-cycle policy; timidity and ambivalence of the paper; lack of attention given to the paper by Parliament; Sydney Morning Herald editorial on the paper; opinions of conservative business interests.


Dr Coombs was Director-General of the Ministry of Post-War Reconstruction, 1943-1949 and Governor of the Commonwealth Bank, 1949-1960.

Selwyn Cornish is Lecturer at the Australian National University.

Laurel Black is a post-graduate student at the University of Adelaide.


H. C. Coombs - "Extract from the forthcoming book, Trial balance: issues of my working life".

Recorded at the Australian National University, Canberra.

Digital master available National Library of Australia ;

Index/Finding Aid Note Transcripts available. 
Subjects Labor supply -- Australia.  |  Reconstruction (1939-1951)  |  Manpower policy -- Australia -- History.  |  Australia -- Economic conditions -- 1945-1965.
Other authors/contributors Cornish, Selwyn, Speaker  |  Black, Laurel, Speaker  |  Post-war reconstruction seminar (1981 : Australian National University)
Also Titled

H. C. Coombs presents Ministry of post-war reconstruction and the white paper on full employment'

Selwyn Cornish presents 'Full employment in Australia [sound recording] : the genesis of a white paper

Laurel Black presents 'Social democracy and full employment the Australian White Paper, 1945'


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    Details Collect From
    ORAL TRC 1096/6-10
    Copy: Recording
    Special Collections Reading Room
    ORAL TRC 1096/6-10 (transcript)
    Copy: Transcript
    Special Collections Reading Room

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