10th Parliament · 1st Session
Mr. Speaker (Hon. Sir littleton Groom) took the chair at 11 a.m.. and read prayers.
– I ask you, Mr. Speaker -
Parliamentstaff notified in the Government Gazette, and by whom, and in what manner arc such vacancies filled?
– The honorable member was good enough to apprise me of his intention to ask these questions, and I am therefore able to furnish the following replies: -
-Has the Minister for
Home and Territories yet received a report from thu Mackay expedition that has been exploring the country between the overland telegraph line in Central Australia and theWestern Australian border? If so, will he make it available to honorable members?
– I have received a report from the expedition and will lay it on the table of the Library for the information of honorable members.
– The Old-age Pensions Act permits a pensioner to earn up to 12s.6d. per week without suffering any reduction of pension. I know of several persons who are in receipt of from 10s. to 12s. a week in the form of rent for houses they own but are unable to occupy. Will the Treasurer take into consideration the advisability of amend ing the Act so that income from rent or interest shall be upon the same footing as earnings?
– The request will receive consideration.
– I ask the Minister for Home and Territories whether it i? true that several Chinese stowaways were discovered on a steamer at Fremantle yesterday ?
– I received information this morning that 50 Chinese stowaways were discovered on a boat at Fremantle yesterday, and I take this opportunity to pay a tribute to the vigilence of the Customs officials concerned. The owner of the vessel is the same company as was involved when stowaways were found at Sydney recently, and I have instructed the Customs officials at Fremantle to take proceedings against the captain.
– Has the attention of the Prime Minister been drawn to an extraordinary statement made by Mr. Webb, Chief Commissioner of Railways in South Australia, and published in the Advertiser of 19th October? The headings to the statement are - “ Federal Railway Schemes, Red Hill Line of no Advantage, Port Augusta-Hay Line Unnecessary, Uniform Gauge Height of Folly.” Will the Prime’ Minister take aotion to ensure that the agreement between tha Commonwealth and the South Australian
Governments shall be honoured despite such obviously biased statements by a State official?
– A bill for the construction of the Port Augusta to Red Hill railway, and for the laying of a third rail between Red Hill and Adelaide is now before the House, and, beyond proceeding with it,no further action can he taken by the Commonwealth.
– Will the increase of pay recently granted to allowance postmasters apply generally, or will only a limited number of officials participate in it?
– All allowance postmasters will participate, and the increase dates from the 1st Januarylast.
-Has the PrimMinister any further information in regard to the removal of a coal dump in my electorate, to which I have directed his attention several times recently?
– Enquiries are being made, and I am awaiting information from the Defence Department.
-Can the Minister for Markets and Migration give to the House any information as to what steps are being taken for the relief of the beef export trade and cattle-growers generally?
– The subject is now under consideration, and I hope to be able at a later date to make an announcement.
– At the ceremony of turn ing the sod of the first permanent administrative building in Canberra this morning, the Prime Minister expressed the opinion that the policy of erecting temporary buildings in Canberra should be discontinued. If only permanent buildings are to be erected, will not the transfer of departments from Melbourne to Can berra be further delayed, with consequent inconvenience to Parliament and the public ?
– My remarks referred to all governmental buildings in the Federal Capital Territory, and I merely suggested that Parliament will soon have to consider whether the wiser policy would not be to erect only permanent structures. That course would not affect the rate of transfer of public servants to Canberra, because the proposals already adopted are based upon the erection of a permanentadministrative building, and not upon the erection of further temporary buildings to accommodate the administrative staffs.
Embargo in America.
– In view of the scandalous treatment of the Australian Commonwealth Band in the United States of America, where it is prevented from appearing in public, will the Prime Minister give consideration to the advisability of instituting reprisals against Americans who come to Australia with orchestras, &c, as this seems to be the only means whereby a lesson could be taught to people who for years have pirated our copyright and blocked legitimate trade?
– I have read in the press reference to the incident mentioned by the honorable member, but the Government would not contemplate for a moment recourse to reprisals of any kind. I cannot endorse the statement contained in the latter part of the honorable member’s question.
– I have before me a newspaper cutting reading -
Big developments in oil matters in both Australia and New Zealand are hoped for by the use of the Elbof system of geophysical survey by eminent German scientists who arrived in Australia to-day.
The delegation is headed by Dr. R. Krah- mann, the world-fumed professor of applied geology at Berlin University, and includes Dr. Koenigsberger, of Freiburg University, Dr.
Schenble, of Leoben University,- Dr. Hecker, of Jena Seismic University, and Dr. Machts of Marburg University. They are associated with the Elbof Company, which is undertaking a geophysical survey of oil areas, and are on their way to New Zealand to carry out an exhaustive investigation of the petroleum possibilities of the Waihatiki oilfields and other areas. While in Australia, Dr. Krahmann will lecture in the capital cities. “Will the Prime Minister endeavour to make arrangements for Dr. Krahmann, if he speaks English, to deliver a lecture in Canberra, as such a lecture would be most instructive to honorable members and others ‘(
– A number of German scientists are to visit Australia in the immediate future in connexion with geophysical prospecting. A great deal of investigation and practical work has been done in Germany in connexion with geophysical prospecting, and great advances have been made. If it is possible to arrange for a lecture to be delivered in Canberra by Dr. Krahmann. the Government will be only too glad to do so, as it is considered that the subject should be more generally understood.
– In view of the “holdup “ that occurred in connexion with one of the Federal Capital Service buses last night, causing considerable inconvenience to those honorable members who were marooned in the rain, will the Minister for Home and Territories expedite the signing of the bus contract, and the inauguration of a better service?
– The commission can scarcely be held responsible for the “ holdup “ that occurred last night. Endeavours are being made to expedite the signing of the contract, which, it is hoped, will result in the establishment of an efficient transport service in the Federal* Capital city.
– Is it a fact that returned soldier applicants for assistance under the War Service Homes Act, and resident in the Federal Capital Territory, are required to lodge deposits of 10 per cent ? If so, why is there this discrimination against them?
– I am not aware that returned soldier applicants under the Act are required to lodge a deposit of 10 per per cent. I shall make inquiries and, if it is a fact, I shall see what can be done to remedy what appears to be an anomaly.
Location in Canberra.
– What steps are being taken to establish the- High Court of Australia in Canberra?
– Arrangements are being made to provide accommodation in the Federal Capital for the High Court of Australia, but if, in the absence of the Attorney-General, the honorable gentleman will place his question on the notice paper, full information will be made available to him.
– Is it the intention of the Government to introduce, during this session, a bill to amend the Commonwealth Workers’ Compensation Act?
– I cannot, in reply to a question, indicate the policy of the Government.
– I understand that the Prime Minister, when recently giving this House information as to the matters to be brought up for consideration, foreshadowed an amendment to the Commonwealth Workers’ Compensation Act. A3 the act applies at present only to government employees, will the right honorable gentleman consider the advisability of amending it in such a way that its benefits will be extended to workers in the Northern Territory who are not in government employment, so bringing Commonwealth legislation into line with State legislation ?
– The representations of the honorable member will receive consideration.
– Has any progress been made in the formulation of a new ordinance under the Commonwealth Workers’ Compensation Act as it applies to the Federal Capital Territory, bringing into effect more modern methods? I understand that the matter has been in hand, for some time.
– The matter has received the attention of the Government and is at present in the hands of the AttorneyGeneral’s Department, which is formulating a new ordinance to give effect to the granting of compensation to workers in this territory.
– On the 14th instant I asked the Prime Minister whether any report had been received from the Commissioner of Pensions regarding the representations made some months ago that the amount that pensioners are allowed to earn should be increased. Has that report yet been received? If not, why the undue delay?
– When the honorable member asked his previous question I instructed my department to investigate the position. I have not yet received their report.
Civil Service - Housing - Transport Service - Grazing Leases
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
asked the Minister for Home and Territories, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -
– Yesterday the honorable member for Hunter (Mr. Charlton) asked me the following questions : -
I then stated that the information was being obtained and that I would advise him as soon as it was available. I have now received the following particulars from the Federal Capital Commission : -
3.(a)321. (b) 10. (c)66.
Two contracts for 100 houses each, and one contract for 25 houses.
– Yesterday the honorable member for Hunter (Mr. Charlton) asked me the following questions : -
I then stated that the information required by him was not at present available, but that I was making inquiries regarding the matter. I am now in a position to furnish, the following replies : -
– Yesterday the honorable member for Maribyrnong (Mr. Fenton) asked me She following questions : -
I then promised that the information required by him would be definitely made available to-day. I have now received the following particulars from the Federal Capital Commission: -
asked the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -
Whether he has yet completed the promised early investigation concerning the importation under by-laws* of large quantities of farina and other substitutes for arrowroot grown by black labour, which threatens to destroy the market for arrowroot grown and manufactured in Australia?
– Yes. I have approved of the cancellation of the by-laws admitting potato flour under item 404, (free and 10 per cent.) of the tariff.
asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
What is the amount of the annual- revenue and expenditure (including the administration expenses for the separate States) of the following post offices: - Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, and Hobart?
– The information is being obtained and will be furnished to the honorable member as soon as it is available.
Purchasesfor Navy and Lighthouse Services
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Defence, upon notice -
– Inquiries will be made and the honorable member will be informed as early as possible.
asked the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -
– The information is being obtained.
asked the Minister for Home and Territories, upon notice -
With reference to the proposed geological survey in Papua and the Mandated Territory, will he state -
What are the names of the geologists and their qualifications?
Who will carry out the work?
What field or ‘fields is it proposed to work ?
– The position is as follows : - Several companies are at present engaged in prospecting for oil in Papua and New Guinea, and some of them have incurred considerable expenditure in connexion with the sinking of bores and other exploratory work. Applications, in a number of instances, have been received for subsidies in aid of boring, but it has not been practicable to deal with them, as it is not considered that sufficient work in the nature of preliminary geological surveys has been carried out in the areas concerned to enable it to be determined whether the prospects of the occurrence of oil reasonably justify the granting of financial assistance. In view of this situation, and of the desire of the Government to do all in its power to encourage and assist the search for oil in Australia and its Territories, arrangements have been entered into with the Anglo-Persian Oil Company to undertake extensive surveys in Papua and New Guinea. Two geological parties are to be provided by the company, and an Australian geologist, or perhaps two, will be attached thereto. In addition, an aerial survey is to be made by members of the Australian Air Force. and aerial photographs are to be made of the country flown over. These photographs are expected to be of great value to the geologists. The parties will work in Papua from October to March and in New Guinea from April to September, in each twelve months. It is anticipated that the surveys will extend over a period of about three years, and will cost about £50,000. PlightLieutenant E. Wackett, in charge of an aerial party and two Seagull amphibian aeroplanes, has recently reached Papua after a successful flight from Melbourne, and is about to enter upon a preliminary aerial survey. Two of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company’s geologists, Messrs. Nason Jones and E. L. MacPherson, have also arrived in Papua, and are making advance arrangements in order that an immediate start may be made with the geological surveys when the parties are complete. Messrs. W. H. Stronge and H. C. Stotesbury, surveyors, left. Sydney for Papua by the Morinda on Wednesday last. Messrs. Wm. Gray, Harland, and Mackenzie, surveyors, are en route to Australia, per s.s. Ormonde, and should reach Sydney about the9th November. Dr. R. K. Richardson, deputy chief geologist of the AngloPersian Oil Company, who is to take charge of the surveys, will leave Toulon for Australia on the 4th November. He is said to have had very wide experience, and to be an able administrator. Dr. Simon Papp, geologist, will leave London for Australia on the 7th November. It is, therefore, expected that the surveys will have progressed substantially before the end of the year. In the meantime, boring operations at Popo (in Papua), at the new site selected by the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, are being steadily pushed forward, a depth of 669 feet having been reached at the date of the latest advice from the field. The bore last previously sunk was abandoned before penetrating the petroliferous areas, the drilling difficulties encountered in the gassy mudstone stratum having proved insuperable. It is possible that there may be similar difficulties in connexion with the present bore, and, in order that the best technical advice and assistance may be available in the event of such a contingency arising, the company is bringing out its senior drilling technical expert, Mr. C. R. Clark, who will proceed to Popo and makea personal study of the problems to be solved. Mr. Clark is due in Melbourne from London on the 7th November.
asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
– Proposals of this nature come within the province of the Minister for Defence, to whom the question is being submitted for a reply.
asked the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -
What is the amount of taxation raised from -
– The information is being obtained.
Rate of Interest on Bank Balance.
asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
Whether interest is paid by the Commonwealth Bank on the Commonwealth Government’s bank balance.
Amalgamated Wireless (Australia) Limited v. Commonwealth Government.
asked the AttorneyGeneral, upon notice -
Regarding the action in . 1914 of Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) Limited v. the Commonwealth Government for, inter alia, alleged infringement of patents -
Did the terms of settlement include an undertaking on the part of the company to transfer to the Government certain Marconi patents ; if so. were some of these patents found to be. in the opinion of the Crown Law authorities, valueless?
Is it a fact that certain of these patents expired within a few mouths after the date of settlement of the action?
Did the company undertake to hand over to the Government all patents the Goldsmidt system held by the company in Australia: if so, is it a fact that it was within the knowledge of the company at that time that they held none of the Goldsmidt patents, inasmuch as, in the month of March previously, the company had re-transferred them to the Telefunken Company - a German organization ?
Did the Crown Law authorities write to the representative of the company directing his attention to the fact that the Goldsmidt patents had not been re-transferred; if so, what reply, if any, did the representative make to this complaint, and was it satisfactory to the Crown Law authorities ?
– The information is being obtained.
– On Eriday, 14th October, the honorable member for Lilley (Mr. Mackay) asked the following questions : -
I am now in a position to make the following reply: -
– On the 6th October the honorable member for Wide Bay (Mr. Corser) asked the following question : -
The answers are as follows: -
A previous proposal to impose a duty on kapok was rejected on the voices in this House on 10th November. 1921.
Bounty onmotor Cars.
– On the 14th October the honorable member for Reid (Mr, Coleman) asked the following questions : -
Iamnow able to supply the honorable member with the followinginforma tion : -
After an investigation by the Board’s Accountant an amended application was submitted. It was then understood that the applicant was about to visit America and further representations were expected on return. No representations were made and nothing has been heard from the parties since.
– On the 19th October the honorable member for Darling asked the following question : -
Will the Minister for Trade and Customs supply the House with a return showing: -
the number and value of rabbits exported annually from 1922 to 1927.
the number and value consumed in
Australia for the same period.
– The information is being obtained as far as possible.
I am now able to supply the honorable member with the following information : -
(b) The information is not ascertainable.
Appointments and promotions.
.- I rise to a question of privilege. The honorable member for Reid (Mr. Coleman) asked a question this morning about the responsibilities of members of the House Committee in regard to appointments to the parliamentary staff. In regard to a recent appointment to the engineering department, I understand that public applications were not called for the position, and that a person who was not a returned soldier was appointed. When the matter was raised in the House Committee, I was informed that it did not come within the functions or powers of the committee to discuss it, and the replies that you, Mr. Speaker, gave to”day to the questions asked, by the honorable member for Reid, force me to the conclusion that a member of the House Committee is merely a figurehead who has neither duties nor responsibilities. If that is so, I shall at once tender my resignation from the committee.
– Neither the President nor the Speaker is responsible for the constitution of the House Committee, or for the determination of its functions; but their own powers and duties are specifically set out in section 9 of the Public Service Act. The subject of appointments was discussed when the Public Service Bill was being considered in the Senate, but it was determined by Parliament that all appointments and/or promotions in the parliamentary departments should be made by the Governor-General on the recommendation of the President or the Speaker, or of the President and the Speaker, as the case required.
– The committer has been a farce for a long time
– If that is so, I certainly am not responsible for it. The question that I was asked was by what authority and by whom were certain appointments made.
.- I have been a member of the Library Committee for some years, but I have never been under any misapprehension as to my duties and responsibilities. The members of these committees are merely dummies ; the President and Speaker exercise all the authority and power. A committee may come to decisions, but only on sufferance, for the President or the Speaker may over- ride it, and render its decisions null and void. This is an absurd situation, as I have said on previous occasions in this House. All that the members of a joint committee can do is to give advice; but their advice may be ignored. As a matter of fact, membership of these committees does not carry with it honour, distinction or prerogative.
.- I should like to ask, sir, if it is not possible for you and Mr. President to consider the views of members of the House Committee in regard to staff matters? If that is not to be done, I think every member of the committee will resign, because they are absolutely powerless.
– The committee is only called together to approve of what has been done.
– Yes. You, sir, have intimated to the House that all vacancies are notified in the Government Gazette, when that course is deemed expedient. I submit, with due respect, that in the public interest all the vacancie.3 which occur in this establishment should be notified in the Gazette, and that every person should have an opportunity of applying for vacant positions, in order to prevent suggestions of favoritism and preferment. In the matter of appeal, it seems that the position of the Parliamentary employees is invidious. They have no appeal to any constituted authority, although that right has been conceded to other members of the Public Service. I claim that the discretionary authority given to Mr. President and yourself enables you to confer with the
House Committee concerning appointments, and to note the objections of members of the committee. If not, the act should be. amended in the direction of defining the powers of the various committees. If that is not done they might as well disband.
– In referring to the Library Committee the honorable member for Bourke (Mr. Anstey) suggested that its members were merely “ dummies “ and were not entitled or allowed to express their opinions. I have been a member of the Library Committee, for about two years, and during that time I have attended its meetings fairly regularly, which is more than can be said of some members of the committee.
– Personalities will not get the honorable member any where.
-If the cap fits it may be worn. Personally I have no recollection of any instance in which, as chairman of the Library Committee, you, sir, or your predecessor has endeavoured in any way to prevent members ofthe committee from expressing their views by voice and by vote.
– I throw the insult of the honorable member for Boothby (Mr. DuncanHughes) back in his face. It is well known that the work of these committees has been futile for many years.As a member of a committee who has attended every meeting which the President called - and meetings were invariably called only at the end of a session - I am able to say that we were asked to approve only of what had already been done. The position became so unsatisfactory that I decided to resign from the committee, and I think other honorable members will be well advised to do the same thing.
.- When I was a member of the House Committee we considered the wages of the waiters employed in the refreshment room. We were in. a generous mood and tried to do the right thing by suggesting that their wages should be made the same as the wages of those performing similar duties outside. An increase of 2s. 6d. per week was granted which, however, did not bring their wages up to the ruling rate. A further increase of 10s. a week was then conceded. In order to show the authority of Mr. President and Mr. Speaker. 1 may say that during the following week one of the waiters was dismissed ; so that the department actually made a profit. I wrote to the President, objecting to the manner in which the decision of the committee had been thwarted and asked for a special meeting of the House Committee to be called. But no other meeting was called, Mr. President and Mr. Speaker had their way, and I did not then attend any further meetings of the committee.
.- I understood you to say. sir, in reply to the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Coleman) that effect was not being given to the policy of preference to returned soldiers. The position of electrician in this building became vacant, and the electrician employed here - Iam not sure whether he is a permanent officer - whois a returned soldier, was denied the opportunity of applying. I believe that the position was given to a man who is not a returned soldier. I should like to know if this is the case? If it is, I shall have more to say.
.- I understand that a question of privilege should be founded on a motion ; but I do not wish to raise the point of ‘ order against myself. I appreciate the fact that, up to the present members of the committees appointed by Parliament have had no opportunity to notify the public of the discharge of their functions, as the proceedings of these committees are not reported. I therefore welcome the opportunity of saying a word or two concerning my own distinguished services on the committee of which I am a member. The honorable member for Bourke (Mr. Anstey) complains of being only a figure head on the committee of which he is a member. If the honorable member plays a quiescent part on any committee there must be something wrong. You, sir, as the chairman of the Library Committee, are aware that its meetings proceed in the most orderly and peaceful manner. I attribute our great success to the fact that you, sir, have always wisely abstained from bringing forward any controversial mat- ter. Such matters, I understand, you deal with yourself. Consequently, acrimonious utterances are never heard there. The members of the committee are usually engaged On inquiries into such matters as the suitable exhibition of an early transcript of Captain Cook’s diary, or other questions upon which there is absolutely no difference of opinion. Like the honorable member for Boothby (Mr. Duncan-Hughes), I have noticed that we always get a respectful hearing for anything we have to say. I have moved motions which have been seconded by a member of another party, and been carriedunanimously. Sometimes the honorable member for Eawkner (Mr. Maxwell) moves a motion which I oppose, and it is negatived on the voices without discussion. Until the honorable member for Bourke (Mr. Anstey) threw the apple
Of discord into this debate, I was under the impression that there Was not the slightest ill feeling associated with the work of the joint parliamentary committees. The members of the Library Committee are, as I have shown, a most happy family. My object in rising was to say a word on behalf of the committee of which I am a member.
– In connexion with the point raised by the honorable member for Batman (Mr. Brennan) concerning the discussion of a question of privilege, I may say that there is precedent for the present procedure, as my predecessors have allowed such questions to be discussed without the submission of a motion. In this instance, I thought it well to give all honorable members ah opportunity to express their views on the subject that has been raised. Since I have been chairman of the Library Committee, its meetings have been held regularly, and so far as possible, at fixed periods. These meetings have been well attended, and the transaction of business has sometimes occupied as much as two hours or even more. All the subjects brought before the committee have been fully discussed by its members.
– They have not.
– Since I have been chairman they have been. Can the honorable member for Bourke mention one matter that has not been considered.
– Every matter that has been brought forward has been discussed.
– Yes; and before the meetings have closed, membershave been asked if there was any matter which they wished to bring before the committee. Mr. President, who presides over the meetings of the House Committee, is responsible for the summoning of its members and the conduct of its business.
– Meetings are called only at the end of every session.
– I know that the President has called meetings frequently; I cannot speak for his predecessors. In regard to the appointment of returned soldiers, I assure the honorable member for Ballarat (Mr. McGrath) that in every instance the policy of preference -is applied. The suitability of applicants must, however, receive consideration, and sometimes soldier applicants have not the special qualifications desired. Ability must be the deciding factor. Only in cases of that nature have persons other than returned soldiers been appointed, and only then after full consideration has been given to the claims of soldier applicants.
– The committee could not get that information.
– The honorable member knows that the matter was discussed, but that finality regarding it was not reached. The committee was informed by the President that he and myself were prepared to grant a further hearing. There was no desire to withhold information from the committee. Parliament itself is responsible for the determination of the functions and duties of its committees; but the President and the Speaker, in the matter of appointments and promotions, are bound by definite provisions in the Public Service Act, and their obligation to obey the laws is the same as that of other persons in the community.
– I desire to make a personal explanation. In my time I may have been a somewhat turbulent individual, but now, in my old age, I desire - to use the beautiful phrase of the right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes) - “ to graze in the pastures of perpetual peace.” Certainly, I have no animus against you, Mr.
Speaker, nor do I object to the manner in which you discharge your important duties. Even if I did entertain unfriendly feelings regarding you, I should not give expression to them in this chamber. Although, as I have said, a somewhat turbulent individual, I raised certain questions during the chairmanship of your predecessor in a peaceful manner, and explained my views calmly. Feeling “that as a member of the committee I was practically useless, I desired to leave it. It is true that members of a joint committee may give expression to their views and vote upon the questions brought forward; but that is only in regard to such matters as the .President, or Mr. Speaker, permits to be discussed. Changes in the personnel of the staffs may occur; officers may be removed and others may take their place; salaries may be raised or lowered; and yet the members of the committees concerned may, as such, know nothing about these things. When meetings are called, members enter the room, smile at one another, and sit clown. They may pass resolutions, and eventually disband; and may still know nothing of what really is done. Evidently the “honorable member for Boothby (Mr. DuncanHughes) is this morning suffering from a bad liver.
– The honorable member is now going beyond the limits of a personal explanation.
– I wish to say that, as my earlier reference to this matter was couched in courteous language, it was unkind of the honorable member for Boothby to draw public attention to the fact that I am not always present at the meetings of the Library Committee. It is true that, on occasions, I have been absent, but even the honorable member will admit that when I have been present I have adorned the gathering, and tried to maintain peace.
In committee (Consideration resumed from 20th October, vide page 691) :
Clause 4 -
In this Act, unless the contrary intention appears - “Authority “ means a prescribed Commonwealth, Territorial, State or Muni cipal Authority which administers a scheme for providing or assisting in providing dwelling houses.
.- I is inconceivable that the State authority* will accept this scheme. Last night the Treasurer said that he had consulted the savings bank authorities in South Australia, in relation to it, but he did not sal whether they would co-operate with him. The Treasurer did not state whether he had consulted the men in control of the State Bank of South Australia, the principal authority in that State conducting a housing scheme. In any case, before introducing this legislation, he should have obtained an assurance from the State’ governments that they would introduce into their parliaments the legislation necessary to give effect to this scheme.
– I regret that there should have been any misapprehension concerning my remarks last night. When I said that I had consulted with the State savings bank authorities I referred to the savings banks of New South Wales and Victoria. When in South Australia recently I met the Premier and Treasurer of that State, Mr. R. L. Butler, the Under-Treasurer and Chairman of the State Bank, Mr. R. R. Stuckey, and other members of the State Bank Board, and discussed with them the general principles underlying this bill. Some of the provisions- of clause 9 are the result of that discussion. I can assure the committee that the advice of the authorities in the several States is, to a large extent, incorporated in this bill.
– Let us assume that the amount of money which will be made available will not be great - at the best it is . uncertain - and that the need for houses in the Federal Territory, which is now so obvious, will continue. In that case I should like to know whether the Federal Capital Commission, as at present constituted, would be an “Authority” in terms of this clause. I am aware that if the commission does not come within the scope of the clause, it can be made to do so; but I should like to know whether, as at present constituted, it is an authority to which money could be loaned, and whether the Government contemplates making the commission the chief beneficiary of the trust fund which will be constituted under this statute.
.- In view of the refusal of the Government to include the War Service Homes Commission as an “ Authority “ in terms of this clause, I should like to know what is meant by the term “ a prescribed Commonwealth authority.” If the War Service Homes Commission is not such an authority, there can be no prescribed Commonwealth authority. The only other Commonwealth house building authority is the Federal Capital Commission. The term appears to be superfluous.
– What about the North Australia Commission?
– That is a territorial authority. Apart from the Federal Capital Commission, there is no Commonwealth authority carrying on house building operations if the War Service Homes Commission is excluded.
– That is the point thatI raised.
– The reason given last night for refusing to include the War Service Homes Commission within the scope of this clause was that a returned soldier, under existing legislation, is able to secure a generous advance for the purchase of a home. But I have been advised by returned soldiers on the staff of Parliament that, in order to secure a home in the Federal Capital Territory, they are required to deposit a sum equal to 10 per cent. of its cost. I protest against such discrimination; it is unwarranted and unjust. The scope of this clause should be liberalized to include other authorities.
Dr. EARLE PAGE (Cowper- Treasurer [12.12].- The Federal Capital Commission as at present constituted is an authority which could be prescribed under this clause. Whether the Government will create a special body to deal with private housing in the Federal Capital Territory is a matter for determination in the future. That position would be met by the term “ territorial authority.” The Federal Capital Commission already has authority, subject to the approval of the Treasurer and the concurrence of the Loan Council, to borrow money. This bill will provide it with additional powers in that direction.
– Should any difficulty arise could the commission be covered?
– Yes. It is contemplated that the commission will participate in the scheme. Moreover, should the State Savings Bank of New South Wales establish an agency in the Federal Capital Territory as is proposed, it could come within the scope of this clause. The Minister has already promised to inquire into the matter of the deposit necessary for returned soldiers living in the Federal Capital Territory who wish to obtain homes. That promise will be fulfilled. It is the intention of the Government to give as liberal terms to returned soldiers residing in the Federal Capital as to those in other parts of Australia.
. Intentionally or unintentionally, the Treasurer evades the questions put to him by honorable members. I should like to know whether, before introducing this bill, he consulted with the authorities in charge of the Savings Banks of the several States. So far as I understand their building and housing schemes, every State will need to pass special legislation before effect can be given to this scheme.
– That would take from six to nine months.
– But it should be done, because we are taking too many risks. If certain of the States refused to alter their legislation this housing scheme would fall to the ground.
– It would not be operative so far as those -States were concerned.
– That is so. The State authorities should have been consulted. The Melbourne newspapers which came to hand this morning disclosed that views similar to those given expression to here yesterday were also put forward by soldier members of the Victorian Parliament in the discussion on the Savings Bank Bill introduced by the Victorian Labour Government.
– I have already stated that I discussed the proposal with the State Bank authorities in South Australia, and saw also the Premier and
Treasurer of that State. I was unable to get in touch with the Premier and Treasurer of New South Wales because, owing to the exigencies of the political situation, it was difficult for State Ministers to keep appointments ; but I discussed the scheme with the members of the State Savings Bank Commission, and subsequently they forwarded to me suggestions which, in their opinion, would liberalize the scheme. Exactly the same procedure was adopted inVictoria.
– Then the Treasurer did not consult the head of the State Governments ?
– In certain cases they were not consulted. I saw the Treasurer of Queensland.
-Did the discussion with the New South Wales authorities take place after the bill had been introduced?
– No; but their further suggestions came at a later stage. The point I wish to make is that in all the discussions which I had with the various State authorities there was a general agreement as to the need for an extension of housing facilities throughout the Commonwealth.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 5 -
The power of the Savings Bank to advance money for the purchase or erection of dwelling houses and for the discharge of mortgages on dwelling houses shall be exercised in accordance with and subject to the provisions of this Act.
.- During the debate last evening a number of honorable members claimed that there was nothing in the bill to prevent returned, soldiers from taking advantage of its provisions. If honorable members will study the measure they will see that it will be impossible for returned soldiers to benefit unless the government is prepared to comply with the provisions of its own bill. Paragraph a of clause 9 states that advances shall not be made by the savings bank to an authority until the commission is satisfied : -
That since the passing of this act the powers of that authority in relation to housing have been increased,so as to extend the existing facilities provided under the housing schemes of that authority in order to cover the matters hereunder specified (if the existing powers are not sufficienr to cover those matters), that is to say-
It is clear that returned soldiers cannot take advantage of the provisions of this bill unless the Government amends the War Service Homes Act to allow of more liberal advances being made under that measure. At present the maximum advance under it is £800, but in special circumstances £950 may be obtained.
– The Treasurer said last night that the position would best be met by an amendment of the War Service Homes Act.
– That is another matter entirely. The point I wish to make now is that the Government should be prepared to treat returned soldiers as liberally as it proposes to treat civilians.
– That is a matter for consideration, is it not?
– Surely the Government should give returned soldiers the same privileges that it is proposed to extend to civilians under this bill?
– This is a supplementary measure to existing State legislation.
– But the bill distinctly provides that, before State authorities can take advantage of the more liberal advances contemplated, they must alter their existing legislation. The War Service Homes Commission is a Commonwealth building authority, and we contend that returned soldiers should be entitled to participate in the privileges of this bill.
– Does the honorable member suggest that returned soldiers will be precluded from taking advantage of the provisions of this bill.
– Yes, unless the Government inserts in it a provision such as I have indicated.
– There is no doubt about that, unless the State to which a returned soldier belongs brings its legislation into line with this measure.
– Would not the difficultybe overcome if we made the War Service Homes Commission a prescribed authority within the meaning of this bill ?
– No; because the War Service Homes Commission could not participate in any advance by the savings bank unless it complied with the conditions laid down in this bill. Advances under the War Service Homes Act are limited to £950. That is the point which I am trying to impress on the committee. Something should be done to rectify this anomaly. The Government should not compel the States to amend their legislation unless it is prepared also . to bring its own legislation into line.
– This measure does not give civilians an advantage over returned soldiers, because civilian applicants cannot avail themselves of it until the State legislation has been amended. Immediately that is done returned soldiers will be on the same footing as civilians.
– My contention is that the Commonwealth legislation should be in conformity with the provisions of this bill.
– The honorable member’ wants a declaration’ of policy by the Government ?
– That is so. Why should we impose certain conditions on the States in regard to their legislation and specially exclude Commonwealth legislation? That is the position in a nutshell. The attitude of the Treasurer will not stand investigation. The accepted policy of the Commonwealth is to give preference to returned soldiers; in this case preference is being given to civilians.
– We are entitled, on behalf of returned soldiers, to ask that they shall not be in a worse position wilh regard to this new opportunity than an ordinary civilian.
– That is the position I take up.
– Perhaps the Treasurer will make a statement and clarify the position.
– That is what I wish him to do. The arguments of honorable members opposite last night were based on the erroneous assumption that the interests of returned soldiers would not suffer under this measure. Now is the time to rectify the anomaly which the passage of the bill in its present form will create.
.- The Treasurer has invited the six States to increase the limit of their advances for housing from £750 in New South Wales, £950 in Victoria, £700 in South Australia, £600 in Western Australia and £850 in Tasmania to £1,800. If that is a proper course to pursue, the Commonwealth should be prepared to follow it by raising the limit under the War Service Homes Act from £800 to £1,800. No one has suggested that the basis on which assistance is now extended to ex-soldiers should be materially different from that contemplated under the bill. We merely ask that the returned men be allowed to participate in the benefits of the Government’s housing. scheme without losing any of their existing rights. Apart from the financial advantages that the War Service Home? Act accords to them, the department gives advice, and its general supervision and paternal interest constitute advantages that one cannot fail to appreciate. I am surprised at the obstinacy of the Treasurer in refusing to adopt the suggestion of the Opposition.
– It seems to me that the whole of the discussion this morning and last evening is due to confusion regarding the status of the soldier in the community, and the sources of the moneys made available for war service homes, and for the homes to be built under this scheme. The terms under which war service homes are provided are more liberal in Australia than in any other part of the world, and the returned man will retain his rights; but he may also come under the present scheme. He is in the same position in that respect as any other citizen.
– The State, as an authority under the bill, may do so.
– The soldierhimself can come under the scheme.
– Only if the State is an authority within the meaning of the bill.
– That argument is applicable to every citizen. Honorable members apparently fail to realize the source of the money made available. That raised for war service bornes is obtained by way of loanby the Commonwealth Government, and, no matter what interest may be paid, it is made available to the returned man at 5 per cent. No charges for administration are imposed. The scheme covered by this bill must bear the whole cost of administration. Honorable’ members now suggest that a returned man should receive950 under the War Service Homes Act, and come under the present scheme for the balance of the money if he should wish to build a home worth £1,600 or £1,700. That would be impossible, if we are to maintain the terms now offered with respect to war service homes. Furthermore, the financial complication would be too great. How could we determine which money was to carry certain, administra ti ve charges, and which was to be free of those costs? If the desire is to liberalize the conditions for returned men, we should do it by an alteration of the War Service Homes Act. The money used for war service homes comes direct from the Government, while the funds for the housing scheme will be derived from the savings bank, so that there are two distinct sources of supply. There can be no distinction under the bill between returned soldiers and private citizens.
. I am. not satisfied with the Treasurer’s explanation. Under this measure there is a distinction between’ the soldier and the private citizen. In many cases the returned man wishes to increase his dvance. His family may be growing, and he may need more housing accommodation. He still has a mortgage on his property, and he will be unable to obtain the same advance as will be made available under the bill to other members of the community. He cannot mortgage his present dwelling unless the department gives its consent. Apparently the Treasurer has realised this difficulty, because I notice that a proposed amendment appears in print for the insertion of the following new sub-paragraph in clause 9, requiring that the commission must be satisfied that the schemes administered by the authority contain provisions under which : -
A loan is not made for the purpose of discharging a mortgage unless the conditions of the mortgage, or the conditions of any further loans on the property, are, in the opinion of the Authority, unduly disadvantageous to the mortgagor.
Since the State authority would not take over a mortgage on the existing home of a returned man, it cannot truly be said’ that the ex-soldier would be on the same footing as the private citizen. The latter would be able to obtain an advance up to £1,800, while the man who fought overseas would be limited to £950 under the War Service Homes Act. I want the Treasurer to tell the committee how any man with a mortgage on a war service home could receive the benefit of the scheme. If an amendment of the War Service Homes Act is required, why does not the Government make a declaration that it will give ex-soldiers thesame benefits as those proposed to be conferred on others?
– That is an argument in favour of liberalizing the War Service Homes Act.
– Yes ; but the matter has not been cleared up to the satisfaction of the committee. I do not think that the general public or the returned soldiers themselves would be content with such an anomalous position. I know that the honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Maxwell) is willing to do everything he possibly can for the returned men; but we should have a declaration from the Government that they will not be permitted to suffer injustice. They are meeting their present responsibilities well, and I believe that the department made a profit during the past year of about £23,000. We should not ask the States to amend their housing laws until we have brought the war service homes legislation up to the same standard. Let us practice what we preach. If the Government is not prepared to do the fair thing it should take responsibility in regard to what might happen.
– There is an ambiguity about this measure that ought to be removed.
It is idle to talk about the war service homes scheme as the beginning and end of everything. That scheme was intended as a recognition by the people of the Commonwealth of the priceless service rendered to the country by the returned soldiers. The war gratuity and other things went into the scale, and the soldiers were distinguished from the rest of the community because they had done things which the rest of the community had not done. Then they fell back among the civilian population, but surely they should not now lose anything that those who remained behind will obtain. It would be a curious thing to give a person £5 because he had done a heroic deed, and later when you are giving £7 10s. to other people, to cut him out because you had previously given him a fiver for saving your life. The Treasurer and the leader of the Opposition mean the same thing, but they do not say it in the same way. The soldiers ought to be in’ as good a position, as far as the benefits under this measure are concerned, as the civilians who did not go to the war. Whatever is given to the soldier under the War Service Homes Act is given to him because he belongs to a special section of the community, and he should receive that over and above what everybody else is getting. I agree with the Treasurer that the money has to be found somewhere, and that we have to pay a price for it. Nevertheless, 1 am entirely opposed to any attempt to cut the returned soldiers out of anything they would have got if they had never gone to the war. If the soldier has a war service home on which there is a mortgage, he is as much entitled to borrow under this act as any other member of the community.
.- It is evident that the right honorable member who has just resumed his seat was absent from the committee last night, when we had a most informative debate asto the extent to which this measure would apply to war service homes. The War Service Homes Commission is not an authority entitled to receive money under this bill, and last night the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Coleman) moved an amendment to alter the definition of “ authority “ so as to include the commission. Unfortunately, the committee did not accept that amendment. The right honorable member said that the soldiers ought not to be in a worse position under this bill than the civilians, and that contention should appeal to every one. But the returned soldiers may be in a worse position under this bill. There is one workers’ homes scheme in operation, that of Queensland, under which many returned soldiers do not benefit because the income of those qualified to borrow is limited to £260 a year. Those with incomes below that amount receive special advantages, such as being able to borrow money at five per cent., and having to make a deposit of only five per cent. of the cost of the home. The Treasurer insists that the State Governments should extend the special facilities they have provided for a special class so that houses to a value of £1,800 may be’ built for other citizens. Though the States may not desire to extend these facilities because of the risk involved, the Treasurer insists upon their doing so. The returned soldier’s income, however, may disqualify him from coming under the bill, or he may already have a house under the war service scheme. He is precluded in either case from obtaining the advantages of this bill. The bill makes provision for the workers’ homes scheme to be amended, but that scheme is not available to returned soldiers whose incomes are in excess of £260. The right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes) thinks that the housing scheme is entirely fair to returned soldiers; but in my opinion these men will not get a fair deal if the committee is prepared to accept the niggardly promise on the part of the Government that there will be an amendment of the War Service Homes Act.
– There is no doubt about the sincerity of the Government’s desire to do the fair thing by returned soldiers. It seems that the returned soldiers have the same right as any ordinary citizen to come under this bill at any time. The members on this side of the House are genuine in their efforts to get something done for returned soldiers. Nevertheless, I think that the returned soldiers are not in as good a position under this bill as is the ordinary civilian. ‘ The ordinary citizen can borrow up to £1,800 for a house, but the returned soldier is limited to approximately £850. That, however, is not a matter which the Opposition should push forward at this juncture, because the money for the two schemes will come from different sources. If it is desired to benefit the soldiers, I have no doubt that the Treasurer, and the other members on this side of the chamber, will give a helping hand toward the amendment of the War Service Homes Act.
.- - Honorable members on the other side of the committee are correct in saying that any citizen, whether a returned soldier or not, can come under this scheme, but we are talking about the mcn who have already applied for, and obtained, homes under the War Service Commission. About 30,000 men have already come under that scheme. The homes that were built for these men for £850 are not now sufficient, in many cases, to accommodate the children coming into them. Perhaps 50 per cent. of the men with these homes would now like to make additions to their dwellings if they were in the position to do so. If the Government will make a declaration that it is prepared to put the soldiers on. the same footing as ordinary citizens, this discussion will probably be allowed to drop. Ministers ought to make such a declaration. I think I am safe in saying that a very big percentage of the men who bought houses from the War Service Homes Commission are not in a position to-day to lodge their families properly. It is time we came to the rescue of those families, and placed them in the same position as that in which we are placing the ordinary citizens to-day. The Treasurer has said that if we want to give these privileges to the returned soldiers there is a proper way of doing it, by the amendment of the War Service Homes Act; but why should not a declaration to the effect that that will be done, be made this morning by the Government before the bill is passed.
.- I had intended to reserve any remarks I might have to make on this bill until its later stages, but I have come to the conclusion that there is something underlying the attitude of the Treasurer. There seems to be no doubt that the Government has decided that it will do nothing in any way to assist the housing scheme. What it has decided to do is to provide money for some other body to take over the housing responsibility. If members were to talk from now until they leave to go to the Melbourne Cup I do not think it would make any difference in the attitude of the Government. The Government would have to change its policy if it were to extend the provisions of this bill to the returned soldiers, but this it will not do, nor will it give us any assurance that it will alter the War Service Homes Act to give soldiers the same concessions as are provided for those who will benefit under this measure. This matter has been under consideration by three members of the Australian Council of the Nationalist party - Sir Owen Cox, Mr. A. A. Hemsley, and Sir David Gordon, with others. These gentlemen have been holding a conference in Canberra, and there is no doubt that they have been brought here to impress it upon the Government that under no circumstances is the Common wealth to became directly involved in any housing scheme.
Sitting suspended from 1 to 3.15 p.m.
– It is clear from the wording of clause 6 that the Government has no intention of carrying out a housing scheme. When we were discussing the States Grants Bill the Treasurer laid down the principle that the Government that raised the revenue should spend it; but in the bill before us he proposes to depart from that principle. While the Government is prepared to raise money for a housing scheme, it will not accept the responsibility of spending that money. I cannot understand opposition being raised to the laudable and reasonable proposition that returned soldiers should be given the same privileges as are extended to the general public. The disrespect shown by the Government to the opinions of honorable members opposite is probably due to the fact that a Supreme Council of Six has been sitting at Canberra during the last few days. I know the history of some of the gentlemen who comprise that council; I know their determined nature. It is apparent to me that their presence in Canberra is due to their determination to keep the Government under their hand.
The CHAIRMAN (Mr. Bayley).The honorable member must address his remarks to the clause.
– I want to show that the Government’s proposal is not a genuine housing scheme. As individuals, ministers may have humanitarian ideals, but because of their environment and the pressure of people outside they will not give effect to a scheme of housing which is in accord with the ideals of the Labour party. That outside pressure is sufficiently strong to prevent the Treasurer from doing what I believe he would be willing to do if he were at liberty to follow the dictates of his own conscience. Unfortunately the returned soldiers have to suffer because the Government is not at liberty to put into effect a scheme which would be of advantage to ‘the community. I hope that the people of Australia will realize that this Government never had any intention of putting into operation the housing scheme it promised on the hustings. It is shocking that in a democratic country with the liberal franchise of Australia people should suffer because those who for the time being by chance happen to occupy the Treasury bench dare not bring forward a Housing Bill other than one which upon examination proves to be a sham and a delusion. I regret also that, apparently at the dictation of an outside council, the Government is opposing an endeavour to extend the benefits of the bill to returned soldiers.
.- Two facts seem to have emerged from this interesting and informative discussion. One is that it is the evident desire of all honorable members that every facility should be given to returned soldiers to secure homes. The other is that, although the object which honorable members of the Opposition seek to attain might possibly be secured by an amendment of the bill now before us, the proper way to attain it is by an amendment of the War Service Homes Act. It seems to me, however, that having established the fact that it is the desire of honorable members that every facility open to civilians should also be extended to returned soldiers, in addition to whatever advantages they may now derive under the War Service Homes Act, if this bill is once passed it will be an unanswerable precedent for an amendment of the War Service Homes Act. In these circumstances, therefore, I suggest that honorable members of the Opposition should no longer insist on getting from the Treasurer a declaration of policy in regard to returned soldiers and should allow the clause topass.
.- I have listened with great interest to the discussion on this clause. I appreciatethe fact that the position is difficult,but I should be sorry if any undertaking were given by the Government that the WarService Homes Act will be amended in. the direction of increasing the maximum advance to £1,800. That would involve the country in an expenditure of which I Gould not approve, and would also from this time forward place soldiers who are applying for advances for houses on an incomparably better footing than manythousands of their fellows who haveobtained advances in the past. I should like to suggest the possibility of so amending the bill now before us as . to leaveit open to returned soldiers who own houses at the present time to extend them under the housing scheme for which provision is made in this bill. At the present time I have in hand the application of a returned soldier for an additional £60 or £80 to add another room to his dwelling.. His wife has become a permanent invalid, and he has found the additional accommodation necessary. His request has been refused. I have taken up the case for him, but so far I have failed to alter the decision ‘of the War Service Homes Commissioner. I cannot help thinking that the Government is getting into a somewhat untenable position if a refusal is given to the request of a soldier to extend his house beyond the £800 limit, while at the same time money is granted on exceptionally easy terms to ordinary civilians up to £1,800. I do not profess to have at my command a satisfactory solution of the problem. All I say is that it is a problem that is worthy of the earliest consideration of the Government, and that it would be better to postpone for a few days the discussion of that part of the bill dealing with this particular matter, to see if in the meantime we cannot arrive at a solution satisfactory to the whole committee.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 6 agreed to.
Clause 7 -
The Housing Fund shall consist of -
Provided that the sum available under the provisions of this paragraph shall bc reduced by any amounts made available to and used by the Government of a Statu in accordance with the terms of any agreement binding on the savings bank by virtue of the provisions of sub-section (2) of section thirty-four F of the Commonwealth Bank Aci 1911-1927, under which the commission may be required to make available a proportion of the increases in deposits to the Government of a State. …
.– Paragraph a of sub-clause 2 does not appear to me to be sufficiently definite. At certain periods of the financial year there may be an excess of deposits over withdrawals. At other periods of the year the withdrawals may be greater than the excess of deposits in, say, the first quarter of the year. I suggest that the Treasurer should insert an amendment providing that only such excess deposits as are disclosed as the result of a whole year’s operations shall be made available to the commission for housing purposes. Should the scheme be worked on a quarterly basis, it will fail to give the stability which is essential. Almost invariably certain quarters show an excess of deposits over withdrawals, irrespective of the general trade and prosperity of the country. No doubt the commissioners could recoup themselves by drawing on loans made available to them by the Commonwealth Bank, butwe should be very careful when dealing with savings bank funds, and endeavour not to prejudice the stability of the institution or shake the confidence at present reposed in it by depositors.
– I do not like the wording of paragraphs a and b of sub-clause 2. Both specify -
Such proportions. . . . as, in the judgment of the commission, is available for investment……
If the money is available the lending of it should not be a matter for the judgment of the commission. The question should be, is or is not money available, the commission having no option but to exercise its powers with the maximum of 50 per cent. of the funds available. My interpretation may be wrong, and I am subject to correction, I consider it desirable that the commission should have power to determine what proportion of the surplus, not exceeding 50 per cent., shall be invested. With all humility, I suggest to the Treasurer that he should withdraw from both paragraphs the words “ available for investment,” and substitute therefor the words “desirable to be invested.” That would make the position quite clear.
– Replying to the honorable member for Dalley (Mr. Theodore), the value of having a definite basis is recognized, but here it is scarcely necessary, . the housing fund being drawn from three different sources, enumerated in paragraphs a. b and c. The amounts available, both of deposits and payments, are to be used according to the judgment of the commission, which also has the power to make up its requirements by the flotation of loans by the Commonwealth Treasurer.
– I consider that the funds should be not made available unless they represent a net surplus extending over a period of one year.
– That requirement is met by the manner in which the fund is to be operated. However, I have no objection to the proposal of the honorable member. I shall have it examined and, should my advisers deem it necessary, itwill be inserted in the bill.
The honorable member for Boothby (Mr. Duncan-Hughes) doubts, as a lawyer, whether the words used in the bill carry into effect the intention of the Gi-overnment. It is the opinion of the Commonwealth Law Department that they do, and that only such proportion of the increased deposits will be utilized as, in the judgment of the commission, is deemed advisable.
I have a consequential amendment, and move -
That the words “ Thirty-fourf,” paragraph 2 (a) be omitted, and the words “Thirty-five d “ inserted in lieu thereof.
Consequential amendments are to be made in the Commonwealth Bank Savings Bank Bill, and my present amendment is merely a necessary corollary of those amendments.
– What proposed new sub-section in the Commonwealth Bank Savings Bank Bill will be affected if this amendment is adopted?
– In the copy that the honorable member has it would be proposed new sub-section 35f 2.
Amendment agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clause8 agreed to.
Clause 9 -
An advance shall not be made by the savings bank to an authority until the commision is satisfied -
that since the passing of this Act the powers of that authority in relation to housing have been increased so as to extend the. existing facilities provided under the housing schemes of that authority in order to cover the matters hereunder specified (if the existing powers are not sufficient to cover those matters), that is to say -
by providing that the maximum amount which may be lent by the authority to any one person shall be One thousand eight hundred pounds, and shall be ninety per centum of the valuation made, by or on behalf of the authority, of the property in respect of which the loan is made: and
by omitting from the existing schemes any provision which excludes from the benefits of the schemes a person in receipt of an income (as determined by the authority) not exceeding Twelve pounds per week; and
that the schemes administered by the authority contain provisions under which -
no loan is made by the authority to any person who already owns a house, except for the purpose of discharging a mortgage upon one dwelling house of which he is the owner;
– I do not desire to traverse again the ground that I covered yesterday in my second reading speech; but I must point out that if this clause is agreed to in its present form there will be no possible hope of Queensland coining within its provisions. Under one of its housing schemes, Queensland is at present advancing up to 95 per cent. of the valuation of homes. Under this clause it would be necessary to advance only up to 90 per cent. Yet the clause sets out that the powers of the State housing authorities must be “ increased.” So far fromwidening the scope of that Queensland scheme, this measure would have the effect of narrowing it, for it appears to me that this provision is mandatory.
.- It is quite evident that- the gentleman who drafted this clause assumed that the powers provided for in it were in excess of those with which any of the subordinate State authorities were clothed, for paragraph a states that the powers of the State authority must be “ increased.”
– The clause sets out certain conditions which must be complied with before any advance can be made. These are that the maximum amount which may be lent by an authority to any one person shall be £1,800, and shall be 90 per cent. of the valuation made; that no person shall be excluded from the benefit of the scheme who is in receipt of an income not exceeding £12 per week: and that any prohibition in the existing schemes against purchasing houses already built shall be removed. No State scheme is at present wide enough to satisfy all these requirements. In Queensland only persons whose incomes
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 21 October 1927, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1927/19271021_reps_10_116/>.