7th Parliament · 2nd Session
Mr. Speaker (Hon. W. Elliot Johnson) took the chair at 2.30 p.m.,; and read prayers.
– Yesterday I issued a writ for the election of a member to serve for the electoral division of Swan, in the place of Lord Forrest, deceased. The dates appointed in the writ are as follow : - Date of nomination, 4th October; date of polling, 26th October; date forreturn of writ, on or before 21st November.
Assent tothe following Bills reported : -
Australian Soldiers’ Repatriation Bill (No. 2).
Defence Bill (No. 2).
Defence (Civil Employment) Bill.
Income Tax Assessment Bill.
Appropriation Bill 1917-18.
Supply Bill (No. 1) 1918-19.
Apple Bounty Bill.
The following papers were presented : -
Railways - Break of Gauge - Report of Board of Commonwealth and State Engineers on Break of Gauge Devices (10th August, 1918).
Wool Clip, 1917-18, Purchase by the Imperial Government through the Commonwealth GovernmentStatement by . the Central Committee.
Ordered to be printed.
Cyclone - Cairns and Innisfail districts, March, 1918- Report by Hon. F. W. Bamford, M.P., . and Senator Crawford as to damage done and relief measures.
Irish Convention - Report of Proceedings - (Paper presented to the British Parliament).
Proportional Representation - Report of the Royal Commission with the scheme prepared by the Commissioners - (Paper presented to the British Parliament).
Reform of Second Chamber - Conference - Letter fromViscount Bryce to the Prime Minister - (Paper presented to the British Parliament).
The War. - (Papers presented to the British Parliament) -
Board of Trade Departmental Committee - Reports re the position (after the war) of -
Shipping and Shipbuilding Industries.
Commercial and Industrial Policy - Committeeon - Interim Report on the Treatment of Exports from the United Kingdom and British Overseas Possessions and the Conservation of the Resources of the Empire during the transitional period after the War.
Correspondence with the Netherlands Government respecting the Requisitioning of Dutch Ships by the Associated Governments.
Correspondence between His Majesty’s Government and ‘the Netherlands Government respecting the treatment by the latter of Belligerent Merchant Vessels whose status has been changed as the result of an Act of War - Part I. - Cases of the steam-ships Maria and Huntstrick. Part II. - German ships at Antwerp at the outbreak of the War.
Report on the Export of Cement from the United Kingdom to Holland.
Prisoners of War - Report on the Treatment by the Enemy of British Prisoners of War behind the firing lines in France and Belgium.
Prisoners of War and Civilians - Agreement between the British and Ottoman Governments respecting.
Arbitration (Public Service) Act - Awards of theCommonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration, and other documents, in connexion with plaints submitted by -
Commonwealth Legal Professional Officers Association (dated 28th June, 1918).
Federated Public Service Assistants Association (dated 14th August, 1918).
Commerce (Trade Descriptions) Act - Regulations Amended- Statutory Rules 1918, No. 217-
Customs Act -
Proclamations prohibiting Exportation (except under certain conditions) -
Broom Millet (dated 4th September, 1918).
Butter (dated 28th August, 1918).
Honey (dated 4th September, 1918).
Phosphorus, Strychnine and its Salts, and Arsenic and its Water-soluble Salts (dated 31st July, 1918).
Red Lead and White Lead (dated 14th August, 1918).
Sausage Casings (dated 14th August, 1918).
Proclamation (dated 10th July, 1918) revoking Proclamation (dated26th July, 1916) prohibiting Exportation of Goods, to Liberia.
Regulations Amended - Statutory Rules 1918, Nos. 216, 226, 230.
Defence Act - Regulations Amended-
Statutory Rules 1918, Nos. 144, 145, 148 to 153, 157, 160, 161, 166 to 169, 183,184, 201 to 204, 210, 212 to 214, 231, 232.
Land Tax Assessment Act - Applications for Relief- Schedule of Relief granted to Taxpayers in all States.
Lands Acquisition Act - Land acquired under, at-
Broken Hill, New South Wales- For Defence purposes.
Caulfleld, Victoria- For Defence purposes.
Drummoyne, New South Wales - For Defence purposes.
Hobart, Tasmania - For Defence purposes.
Maryborough, Queensland - For Defence purposes.
North Sydney, New South Wales - For Defence purposes.
Randwick, New South Wales- For Defence purposes.
Rutherglen, Victoria- For Defence purposes.
Naval Defence Act -
Regulations Amended - Statutory Rules 1918, Nos. 180, 181, 200, 234.
Northern Territory -
Ordinance of 1918- No. 10- Stock Diseases.
Public Service Ordinance - Regulations Amended (two).
Papua - Ordinances of 1918 -
No.6. - Superannuation.
No. 7. - Ordinance Interpretation.
No. 8. - Supplementary Appropriation (No. 1) 1917-1918.
No. 10. - Native Crown Servants.
Post and Telegraph Act - Regulations Amended- Statutory Rules 1918, Nos. 94, 126, 127, 136; 139, 158, 162; 176, 182. 189, 220, 223.
Public Service Act -
Appointments, Promotions, &c. - .
S. Buchanan, Postmaster-General’s Department.
T. Cull, Prime Minister’s Department.
G . I. French, Prime Minister’s Department.
M. A: Gough, Prime Minister’s Department.
T. Keely, J. E. Martin, D. C. Stevenson, Department of the Treasury.
G. Leece, C. C. McGarry, F. Claremont,. F. V. Becke, M. B. Harry, J. R. Jackson, W. B. Sheridan, W. E. Bradshaw, C. F. Robinson, W. Reid, W. G. C. L. Dix, H. W. Germon, R. W. Lloyd, Postmaster-General’s Department.
J. McCormack, P. L. Johnston, Prime Minister’s Department.
MacNamara, Prime Minister’s Department.
L.McC Brain, Prime Minister’s Department.
C. Meeking, Prime Minister’s Department.
J. Murphy, Home and Territories Department.
H. Simpkins, Prime Minister’s Department.
B. Smith, Home and Territories Department.
H. Starling, Prime Minister’s Department.
White, Postmaster-General’s Department.
Regulations Amended- statutory Rules 1918, Nos. 174, 177, 188, 194, 196, 218, 221, 228.
Railways Act - By-law No. 5.
Seamen’s Compensation Act -
Regulations - Statutory Rules 1918, No. 163.
Regulations Amended - Statutory Rules 1918, No. 198.
War Precautions Act- Regulations Amended -Statutory Rules 1918, Nos. 89, 108, 111, 146, 147, 154, 170, 178, 195, 219, 224.
Wool Clip, 1917-18, Purchase by the Imperial Government through the Commonwealth Governmeut - Tables of Limits and other Papers.
Mr. KELLY presented a petition from the Proportional Representation Society of New South Wales, the Farmers and Settlers Association, the Women’s Reform League, the Soldiers and Citizens Political Party, the Free Trade and Land Values League, the National Council of Women of New South Wales, and the Vigilants Society, praying the House to pass proportional representation into law.
Petition received and read.
Deserters’ Dependants - Mothers of Ex-nuptial Children.
– Has the Acting Prime Minister (Mr. Watt) any information to give us as to the intention of the Government with regard to paying their allowance to the dependants of soldiers who have deserted, and with regard to placing the mothers of ex-nuptial children on the same footing as widowed mothers?
– About the matter last mentioned I have no information to give at present; the matter first mentioned is still the subject of negotiation between this Government and the Government of Victoria.
– I would like to ask the Acting Prime Minister (Mr. Watt), or the Minister in charge of price fixing, whether the Government can make any announcement as to the increase in the price of meat they have decided upon at the request of the squatters and butchers?
– It is not usual for my honorable friend to couch a question in such discourteous language. I suggest that, on second thoughts, and on reflection, he should give notice of the question to the Minister in charge of price fixing.
– In view of the arrangements which are being made in regard to Australian raw products, is it the intention of the Government to introduce at once a scientific Protectionist Tariff designed to protect Australian secondary industries? If the Government do not propose to at once amend the Australian Customs Tariff in such a manner as to give adequate protection to Australian industries, do they propose to make any such amendment during the life of the present Parliament?
– I know that the honorable member’s question deals with a very important matter, but it is hardly of a character that may be labelled urgent. If the honorable member will give notice of his question, it will be considered.
Bill presented by Mr. Groom, and read a first time.
– Varying statements are made by Federal Ministers, and State Ministers, and also occasionally by Comptrollers in regard to the operation of the Wheat Pool, some of which have a very damaging effect on the value of wheat scrip. It has recently depreciated from this cause by as much as2½d. per bushel. In view of the great importance of the financial stability of this scrip will the Acting Prime Minister take counsel with the Wheat Board for the purpose of seeing whether an official weekly bulletin can not be issued giving information in regard to the operations of the Pool, not only the information, but also the essential facts upon which it is based, so that the holders of the scrip may form an estimate themselves as to its value?
– The proposition is somewhat novel. I have not heard it suggested that frequent information of an official character should be issued, and I am somewhat doubtful as to the possibility of giving facts that would be of service to the wheat-grower without knowing what is taking place at the other end of the world. Information can be given as to the quantity of wheat stored in Australia, the quantity shipped, and the quantity consumed each week, or each month, but, obviously, for various reasons, in war time, we cannot publish the facts in relation to the difficulty of shipping. It is what prospective buyers at the other end of the world- think of our crop that governs all these matters, and clearly as I am not in a position to give that information I could not publish it. However, I will confer with the members of the Australian Wheat Board as early as practicable in order to see whether it may not be possible to do something in the direction of regular publications in order to stabilize the fluctuating wheat scrip.
– Is it the intention of the visiting French Mission to be in
Melbourne next weekwhenthe Royal AgriculturalShow will be held?
– From information I have received I am inclined to think that the French Mission cannot arrive in Melbourne at so early a date. In order to arrange for the maximum amount of sightseeing of a vital kind within the shortest possible time, the itinerary of the Mission was arranged some time in advance of its arrival, and as it came toSydney first, it was thought advisable that Queensland should be visited before the weather became too hot. The Mission will come down to Melbourne in due course, and is’ timed to arrive here about 14th October next. It will then proceed to Tasmania, and return to Melbourne in time to co-ordinate with another great festival which is held here in November.
– Has the Acting Prime Minister received any official confirmation of the news published in the press that theSoviets in Russia have declared war against the British Empire? Further, has the special representation of these Soviets in Australia been terminated since this declaration of war?
– We have no official information of the kind referred to by the honorable member. Beyond that I do not care to say anything at the present time.
– Has the Acting Prime Minister any official information in regard to the cabled statements that there is a movement on foot to retain the services of the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) in England? If so, is it the intention of the Government toco-operate with that part of the Empire in order to secure the achievement of such a desirable state of affairs?
– I think that, in the absence of the Prime Minister, the question is framed in insulting terms. However, I will answer one portion of it.
– The honorable gentleman is very sensitive !
– If the leader of the party to which the honorable member for Batman belongs were absent, and sneers were levelled at him from this side of the House, I am sure the honorable member would be the first to defend his absent leader.
– My leader would not go away under false pretences.
-That is an equally insulting observation.
– I ask the honorable member for Batman to withdraw his imputation.
-Certainly. I withdraw it if it is offensive to any one.
– Ignoring what is objectionable in the question, and replying to one portion of it only, I can say that we have received no information of the kind to which the honorable member for Barrier has referred.
Reported Government Purchase
– It has been reported in the press that the Government have purchased certain extensive iron ore deposits in Tasmania. Will the Acting Prime Minister state, if that report is correct, what is the nature of the transaction, and the reasons for it?
– I shall not give an extensive answer to the honorable member’s inquiry, and should prefer the larger question which it involves to be placed upon the notice-paper. Dealing with the first part of the inquiry, I may say that we have not purchased any iron ore deposits, but that we have secured a twelve months’ option) over what are known as the Blythe River iron deposits. If the honorable member desires further information, I ask him to give notice.
Shop Notices - Price of Soft Fruits - Chaff Bags - Prosecutions
– Will the Minister in charge of price fixing state to whom applicationshould be made for copies of notices of the prices fixed, which have to be exhibited in the shops where the goods to which they relate are offered for sale?
– It has been freely advertised that such notices are to be obtained at every post-office throughout the Commonwealth.
– Will the Minister in charge of price fixing lay on the table of the House the report of the Commission made last season as to the advisableness of ‘fixing the price of soft fruits ?
– I am not quite sure to what extent the report contains confidential information. I shall examine it, and advise the honorable member later on.
– Is the Minister for Price Fixing aware that a large number of agents dealing in bags have charged an excessive price for chaff bags, and that many firms have withheld the distribution of such bags, and so compelled farmers to sell their haystacks at an unreasonably low price?
– I am not, but if any individual case is brought under my notice, proper action will be taken.
– Is the Minister in charge of price fixing aware that in some cases where persons have been found charging prices in excess of those fixed by regulation, no action has been taken, while in others prosecutions have been ordered? Is it equitable that certain individuals should be picked out? If the honorable gentleman thinks it is not, will he see that every trader gets the same treatment?
-Generally speaking, every man receives the same treatment. Where a more or less technical offence is committed, the usual course is to give a warning, but should the offence be repeated, a prosecution takes place.
– In connexion with the forthcoming war loan, I desire to ask the Treasurer whether all subscriptions are to be paid into the Commonwealth Bank, as usual, or whether subscriptions willb e allowed to remain in the banks that find the money for the subscriber until they are required by the Commonwealth Government?
– The matter referred to formed the subject of considerable dis cussion betweenmyself and some of the commercial banks in the two principal cities of Australia. An arrangement has been effected, which I understand is agreeable to the banking community, that a more liberal system of transfer from the commercial banks to the Commonwealth Bank shall be allowed. Instead of the commercial banks being required to pay to the Commonwealth Bank- instanter, on the instalment date, the amounts which they have collected in respect of their clients’ subscriptions, there will be allowed a period over which that transfer will” extend. In view of the number of days on which instalments are receivable there will be practically a gradual but continuous transfer, as required, from the commercial banks to the Commonwealth Bank.
– Will the Acting Prime Minister lay on the Library table the correspondence which passed between himself and the proprietors of the Sydney Morning Herald respecting the Press Delegation to London?
– I invite the honorable member to give notice of his question so that I may consider it. The correspondence was somewhat unique, and it would be necessary for me, before answering the honorable member’s question, to go through it again to. determine whether it is really confidential.
– Is it not a fact that there was a threat to “ sack “ the editor if the “ boss “ was not allowed to go as a member of the delegation?
– One question at a time.
– Will the Acting Prime Minister inform the House how many members were comprised in the Australian Press Delegation to England, and what proportion of them were proprietors and not editors of newspapers; also, whether any representative of a Labour paper was sent from Australia?
– I do not carry in my mind all the details as to the personnel of the delegation. I believe it includes some proprietors, but the majority of the delegates were chosen from the editorial staffs. The editor of one Labour paper was invited to make the trip, but for reasons known to the honorable member, he did not accept. In addition, Mr. Anstey, M.P., who was in England, was invited to join the delegation. I will supply the honorable member with any particulars he requires.
– Has the Acting Prime Minister come to a final decision in regard to the important wool-tops industry at Botany, New South Wales? About 700 men who were engaged in that industry are still out of employment, and no finality has yet been arrived at.
– I think it was Queen Mary who said that, at her death, the word “ Calais “ would be found written on her heart. I believe that, on my death, the word “wool-top” will be found written on the lingering fragments of my brain. Using the word in ita ordinary sense, finality seems to be impossible in this matter. Only this day I have been in consultation with others in yet another endeavour to secure a settlement. I have summoned a conference of those most affected, including the chairman of the Central Wool Committee, to meet at Parliament House tonight with the object of trying to accomplish finality by some of the many means by which it should be possible.
– Has the attention of the Minister for Trade and Customs been drawn to a statement in the press regarding a supposed conspiracy to smuggle a large quantity of honey out of this country; and, if so, will he state whether prosecutions are to follow ?
– It is a fact that such an attempt was made- The papers have been before me, and I am referring them to the Crown Law Office.
– I wishto ask the Acting Prime Minister whether it is a fact that he, as acting head of the Government, has established the precedent of undertaking on behalf of the Commonwealth to pay the personal expenses of the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) in connexion with litigation in which he is involved in the Old Country? If so, does he not think it sufficient that the Commonwealth should be saddled with the expense of the Prime Minister’s public misdeeds without being involved also in his private quarrels?
– Order! I remind honorable members that questions should be couched in respectful language, and must not convey an imputation. I ask the honorable member for Batman (Mr. Brennan) to withdraw any imputation contained in his question.
– Certainly; I shall withdraw the latter part of my question, leaving the first part, to which no exception can be taken.
– Since the honorable member has withdrawn the latter part of his question I do not know what remains. If he will give notice I shall hide nothing, but will tell him the exact facts, and what the Government thinks of them.
Mr. GREGORY presented the report of the Public Works. Committee, together with minutes of evidence, relating to the proposed scheme for housing Commonwealth workmen at Lithgow.
Ordered to be printed.
– I should like to know whether nurses who accompany our Forces abroad will, on their return, have the same privileges as returned soldiers under the Repatriation Act?
– Speaking from memory, I think that the provisions of the Repatriation Act apply to all nurses who go abroad with the troops. However, if the honorable member will repeat his question to-morrow, I shall, in the meantime, ascertain the exact situation.
– In view of the perturbations amongst tin miners in regard to the fixing of the price of tin, I should like to know what decision has been arrived at in the matter?
Mr.WATT. - At the request of the Prime Minister, I am dealing with this as a metal matter. The arrangements for an association of tin producers have been under consideration for some time. It was attempted in 1915, but then failed ; but we have since developed the matter almost to the stage of completion, though I do not know exactly where the matter rests today. I understand that an agreement is in course of being signed by which it is hoped that the price of tin and’ the power to sell will be very much better for the producer for the period of the war, and perhaps afterwards.
– The Acting Prime Minister (Mr. Watt) recently informed me that steps had been taken to continue to fix the price of copper up to December. What steps, if any, are being taken by the Government to take a new contract, or enter into negotiations for the further continuance of the fixed price ?
– This matter has been in tie hands of the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) in London, and has caused a good deal of concern. After much negotiation, the Prime Minister succeeded in inducing the Home authorities to extend the existing contract to the 31st December. Beyond that, according to the latest advices, he has not been able to persuade them to go. We hope, however, that, before, the honorable gentleman leaves Great Britain, a further extensionwill have been arranged.
Mr.TUDOR. - A promise was made in this House that when the butter production in Victoria was sufficient for homo consumption the price would be reduced. In view of the fact that nearly 500 tons were produced last week, and we consumed only 300 tons, I should like to know when the price is going to be reduced to the figure at which it stood before we were compelled to import from Queensland.
– Theprice of butter has already been reduced.
– Butnot to what it was before.
– As soon as we are producing enough for the Australian consumption, all States will be brought to the same level.
Mr.FALKINER.- Are the Public Service officers adversely commented on in Commissioner Blacket’s report on the Federal Capital administration, still in the Government employ ? If so, is one or more of them on the Arsenal Board ?
– Who are to be connected with the Arsenal Board has not been finally settled. I ask the honorable member to place his question on the notice-paper for to-morrow.
Mr.CONSIDINE.- Is it a fact that the Government have been in communication with the Imperial authorities lately with a view to ascertaining the exact state of the relations between the Russian Federal Socialist Soviet Republic and the Imperial Government? Can the Acting Prime Minister (Mr. Watt) give the House any statement with regard to the position?
– I hardly think that that is a question that should be asked without notice.
– Is there aSoviet Russian Republicatthe present time?
– That I cannot say. I suggest that matters which involve international relationship ought not to be made the subject of questions to Ministers without notice.
-Before the Government recedes from the position taken up with regard to the wool tops contract, will the Acting Prime Minister (Mr. Watt) make the House acquainted with the auditor’s reports on the Government partnership with the Colonial Combing, Weaving, and Spinning Company, and Whiddon Brothers ?
– The honorable member who asks the question knows a great deal about this matter, having elicited much information through the Department. This is a question that I do not think it advisable to answer offhand; indeed, at this stage I would rather not answer any questions at all regarding the matter, because I am hopeful to see it put into shipshape order, when I shall be happy to give any reasonable information required.
– In view of the very limited supply of tins in this country, and of the prospects of an exceptionally good honey harvest, will the Acting Prime Minister (Mr. Watt) endeavour to arrange with the Munitions Department to liberate sufficient supplies of tins for the honey industry? Further, when second-hand containers are collected and used by the genuine producer, as against the dealer or trader, will the Department forego the profit now asked from the ordinary collector?
– I am not sufficiently acquainted with the conditions and prospects of the industrv to give an answer; but if the honorable member will, in writing, make representations on behalf of the interests affected, I shall see that they are properly considered by the Department.
Me. Justice Harvey’s Report
– Has the Minister representing the Minister for Defence received the report from Mr. Justice Harvey, of New South Wales, who presided over an inquiryrespecting certain interned persons? If so, will that be laid on the table of the House or the Library for the perusal of honorable members?
– As Mr. Justice Harvey was appointed a Royal Commission, I ask leave to answer the question. Yesterday there came through the proper channels His Honour’s report, which today I forwarded to the Acting AttorneyGeneral (Mr. Groom), and at the present time I think it is in the hands of the Minister for Defence (Senator Pearce). As soon as the Cabinet has had an opportunity to read and consider it, the report will be brought before Parliament in the ordinary way.
-Seeing that the Administrator of the Northern Territory is in the southern part of Australia, and in view of the turmoil and chaos which at present there prevail, will the Government hold some sort of inquiry, and take evidence from residents of the Territory, with a view to obviating future trouble?
– I do hot know to what “ turmoil” the honorable member refers; there are always disturbances in the elements, even in the Northern Territory. I can assure the honorable member, in respect to the last series of questions I received regarding this matter, numbering twenty-two, that I find it almost impossible to answer the whole of them, because some of them are almost equivalent to statements concerning things which do not exist. However, I shall give the honorable member information in regard to some of the points to which he drew attention.
Service of Returned Officers
– Will the Minister representing the Minister for Defence lay on the table the papers relating to the statement alleged to have been made by General Birdwood that he did not desire officers who had been returned to Australia to be again sent to the Front?
– I will convey the honorable member’s request to the Minister for Defence.
– Will the Minister for Home and Territories inform the House of the position in regard to the development of the oil resources in Papua, and also state whether any effort is being made by the Government to discover oil within the boundaries of the Commonwealth?
– Development in Papua is proceeding under the old arrangement. The Government received from private enterprise two offers worthy of consideration, and I have been investigating them for some time. I hope shortly to be in a position to decide what can be done in regard to them.
– Has the Cabinet yet considered the advisableness of introducing a measure for the prohibition of the liquor traffic during the war, in order to assist the Empire?
– Not yet.
– In view of theanticipated serious shortage in the cotton production of the world, and of the immense possibilities of cotton culture in Papua and the Northern Territory, does the Minister for Home and Territories contemplate any steps to take advantage of this splendid opportunity for the encouragement of Australian production?
– Some steps in that direction have been taken. For some time past, I have been inquiring into this matter, and have obtained from the Imperial Institute information regarding the quality of the cotton grown in both Papua and the Northern Territory. The reports were favorable regarding the Northern Territory product, and comparisons with some of the American cotton are favorable to the Australian article. The main difficulty is the cost of labour. Certain machinery, about which I obtained information three years ago, has been found not as effective as people expected, and, therefore, cannot be “ substituted for manual labour. I assure honorable members that this matter is receiving very careful attention.
Sale of Wheat to Japan - Central Wheat Board and Advisory Board - Offer of Freights
asked the Acting Prime Minister, upon notice -
Whetherhe will lay on the table of the House the papers, if any, containing negotiations for the sale of wheat to Japan during the period of the war?
– There have been no general negotiations for the sale of wheat to Japan. All the sales have been individual transactions, and the wheat has been sold in the ordinary way.
asked the Acting Prime Minister, upon notice -
Whether the Government have decided to increase the direct representation of wheatgrowers on the Central Wheat Board and Advisory Board by the appointment of representatives of such growers from each of the wheatgrowing States?
– Last week, the Cabinet decided that the several State Governments represented on the Australian Wheat Board be asked to. arrange for the appointment to the Board of a farmers’ representative from each of the States.
asked the Acting Prime Minister, upon notice-
Whether further inquiry has been made into the statement made by Mr. Clement Giles, the wheat-growers’ representative on the Central Wheat Board, in a letter read to this House on 25th April, 1918: - “That he was informed, while in London, in August or September, 1915, that an offer of over 1,000,000 tons of freight had been made at 75s. a ton to the Federal Government, and refused;” and, if so, with what result?
– There is no record of any such offer in the Government Departments of which I am aware. I have been investigating the matter, but my inquiries are not yet completed. I hope to be. in a position to fully answer the question of the honorable member within a few weeks.
Applications for Discharge
asked the Assistant Minister for Defence, upon notice -
How many eligible are now employed by the Department in Australia -
Mr.WISE. - The answers tothe honorable member’s questions are as follow : -
Yes; unless the circumstances are of a very distressful, financial, or domestic nature. The reasons, briefly, why these applications could not be approved are: -
The number of eligibles debarred includes officers, and others with special knowledge required for Defence purposes in Australia. From time to time, permission is given for some of these to enlist where suitable arrangements can be made to replace them, but care has to be taken that the number is not reduced to such an extent as to prejudicially affect the efficiency of the Department. The number of those eligible, but not debarred, has been reduced to a minimum, representing only 5 per cent. of the total employed in the Department. These consist mainly of permanent civilian employees, youths eighteen or nineteen years of age, and persons enlisted for Home Service and retained owing to their special qualifications in accountancy, or other branches of the work of the Department.
asked the Acting Prime Minister, upon notice -
– Many difficulties have arisen in connexion with the administration of the Commonwealth Public Service in consequence of the operation of the Commonwealth Public Service Act and the Arbitration (Public Service) Act. The Government, therefore, propose to review the position of the Commonwealth Government Departments in connexion with the various Acts by which they are governed, and in their relation to the Arbitration Court, with the object of removing and preventing the overlapping conflict of jurisdiction, and ascertaining what steps are necessary to satisfactorily re-adjust the present system, in the light of the experience which has been gained since the passing of the Acts which bear upon the situation. As a preliminary step, Mr. D. C. McLachlan, formerly Public Service Commissioner, has been invited to examine the existing situation, and to furnish a report on the subject, with a view of bringing, if possible, all Departments of the Commonwealth under one form of administration.
Appointment of Mr. Ralph King
asked the. Assistant Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice-
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow: -
Maintenance of Dependants
asked the Assistant Minister for Defence, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow: -
– (By leave). - I wish to put before the House the following statement: -
Recent information concerning the progress of the war has been of the most encouraging character. During the past month rapid and important advances have been made by the Forces of Freedom on the Western Front, justifying the expressions of hope and confidence which have been uttered by the civil and military authorities of Britain and the Allied nations. The Government observes with pride the important part played by our Australian soldiers in these historic movements, and it congratulates the nation on the cheering fact that the casualties amongst our troops have been comparatively light.
Notwithstanding this grateful change in the military outlook, the Government trusts that there will be noslackening of war efforts amongst the people.
The prosecution of the war to a victorious end is still the prime duty of Parliament and the nation.
During the adjournment the man-power problem has received careful attention.
The arrangements for the voluntary recruiting ballot are nearing completion, and the campaign will be launched in a few days.
The Prime Minister and the Minister for the Navy are still in Britain. Their work at the War Cabinet and the Empire Conference has been of the utmost consequence to the future of the Commonwealth. They are at present endeavouring to remove the great and increasing difficulties surrounding the sale and shipment of our products, upon which so much depends for the preservation of our prosperity.
The members of the National French Mission, headed by General Pau, have arrived in Australia, and are the welcome guests of the Governments of the Commonwealth and the States.
Everywhere they are received with popular enthusiasm, and the Government trusts that the visit will cement enduring ties between the people of this country and the great Republic of France.
It is not proposed at this stage to describe the work of administration since
Parliament rose. That will be outlined in the Budget, which will be presented next week.
But the Government desires to record its pleasure at the success which has attended its efforts to secure the return on furlough of the veteran Australian troops who embarked for service in 1914.
It is the intention of the Government to make the present session essentially a business one. To that end Amending Standing Orders will be brought down, which, if adopted, will substantially expedite public business.
The Government invites the cooperation of honorable members in the consideration and passage of important legislative measures between now and the end of the year.
Our growing financial burdens arising out of the war will necessitate additional taxation. Proposals for raising the revenue required will be described and submitted in theFinancial Statement.
In fulfilment of the repatriation policy of the Government, a Bill to provide for the housing of returned soldiers will be introduced.
An extensive Electoral Bill will also be brought in, which will co-ordinate the electoral machinery of the Commonwealth and the States, consolidate the many existing Electoral Acts, provide for preferential voting for the election of members to the House of Representatives, restore a modified form of postal voting, and remedy other defects shown by experience to exist in the present electoral machinery.
A Bill making provision for the statutory management of the Government line of steamers will be introduced.
To secure equitable contributions by the people to the war loans, in accordance with their means, a measure has been framed, and will be presented for consideration.
Price fixing has now assumed considerable proportions, and it is felt that the time has arrived to place this upon a more satisfactory basis during the war than that of a War Precautions regulation. Steps having that end in view will accordingly be taken.
To establish conditions essential to the conduct of continuous and economical operation of shipbuilding, the Government entered into agreements with a number of industrial unions. A Bill will be introduced to give effect to the promise made to the Conference, and to the provisions of the agreements with the unions.
Action has. been taken for the creation of an Institute of Science and Industry. A Bill will be submitted to give effect to this scheme. The intention is to secure full co-operation between the Commonwealth and States in this important matter.
Legislation will be introduced providing for the adequate control of waters in the vicinity of Naval Establishments, Arsenals, Dockyards, &c.
A measure to encourage the manufacture of black steel sheets and galvanized sheets in the Commonwealth has also been framed.
Other measures ready for your consideration are Bills to amend the Defence Act, the Naval Defence Act, the Maternity Allowance Act, the Service and Execution of Process Act, as well as Bills for the purpose of administrative amendments to the Customs Act, the Distillation Act, the Excise Act, and the Spirits Act. These, with proposals for which leave to introduce has already been given, will be the subjects of deliberation before Parliament again rises.
I move -
That the paper bc printed.
.- In accordance with the custom that has prevailed from the beginning, when statements like that which we have just heard, setting out the Ministerial programme for what is practically a session, have been made, I move -
That the debate be now adjourned.
.- I desire, for personal reasons, to oblige the honorable gentleman, and I do not wish to impale on the horns ofduty any other honorable member opposite ; but the statement was so simple, non-contentious and non -rhetorical, that I hoped that honorable members might agree to it right away. I trust that if the debate be adjourned, honorable members will see that our business is advanced a stage tomorrow.
Motion agreed to; debate adjourned.
House adjourned at 3.33 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 19 June 1918, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1918/19180619_reps_7_85/>.