10th Parliament · 1st Session
Mr. Speaker (Hon. Sir littleton Groom) took the chair at 3 p.m., andread prayers.
– Have the representations of the High Commissioner, supported by the Agents-General for South Australia and Victoria, made to the British Government, that so-called British wines made from foreign must should be subject to the same duty as foreign wines, resulted in any action by the British Government!
– I understand that the High Commissioner introduced the two Agents-General mentioned to the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs. I have received no information that any action is contemplated by the British Government as ‘ a result of their representations.
German Development Project
– The Prime Minister promised recently that, when the Arbitration Bill was disposed of, he would consider the advisability of introducing legislation to permit German capital to be brought into Australia for the purpose of extracting oil and other by-products from coal. Will he bring in the necessary legislation before the House adjourns at the end. of this week?
– I hope to give notice to-morrow of a bill to remove certain restrictions upon the investment of foreign capital in Australian industries.
– Having regard to the wonderful service rendered to Captain Kingsford Smith by the two American citizens, Messrs. H. Lyon and J. Warner, who accompanied him on his historic flight, will the Prime Minister consider the advisability of inviting those two gentlemen to be the guests of the Commonwealth for at least one month, and of expressing directly to President Ooolidge Australia’s appreciation of their services ?
– I discussed this matter with the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Marr) and the Controller of Civil Aviation (Colonel Brinsmead) in Sydney on Sunday night. They are consulting the wishes of these two American citizens, and I expect to receive at any moment telephonic advice regarding the arrangements that have been made.
In regard to the second part of the question, I received from the American Secretary of State, a cablegram expressing the appreciation of the Government of that country of the achievement of Captain Kingsford Smith and his companions. In acknowledging that compliment I expressed Australia’s gratitude for the services rendered by the two Americans who were members of the crew of the Southern Cross. I have no doubt that that communication will be brought to the notice of President Coolidge.
– As the two Americans shared equally with the two Australians the dangers of the flight, will the Prime Minister stipulate that the Commonwealth’s monetary gift shall be divided equally among the four?
– The circumstances of the flight do not render such a course desirable, nor do I think that the Commonwealth should lay down any conditions as to the distribution of its gift. The organization of the flight occupied about twelve months, and the two Australians - Captain Kingsford Smith and Mr. Ulm - carried out the whole of the negotiations and bore all the anxiety ‘ and responsibility of financing the venture. The two Americans are in a different position; although they shared the dangers of the flight, they were paid for their services, and had not to accept any financial responsibility. In my communication to Captain. Kingsford Smith I stated that the gift of the Commonwealth was in recognition of his great flight; but I left the distribution of the money to his discretion.
– In view of the fact that the Southern Cross, with its gallant crew, will arrive at Canberra tomorrow, will the Prime Minister arrange the business of the House to permit of honorable members being present to witness the landing?
– My information, which is not yet definite, is that Captain Kingsford Smith and his companions will arrive at Canberra on Friday. Every facility will be afforded to honorable members to enable them to be present at the landing of the Southern Cross to welcome the aviators.
– I noticed in the last report of the Federal Capital Commission that it has secured the very valuable co-operation of Dr. Tillyard, the Commonwealth entomologist in connexion with the control of flies, fleas and mosquitoes within the Federal Capital Territory. Has the Minister for Home and Territories noticed the splendid contribution by that eminent authority to the Encyclopaedia Britannica upon the subject of bull ants? Therein he describes the bull ant–
– Order ! I ask the honorable member not to persist if his question is of a frivolous nature.
– It is not, sir. It relates to the health of the people. Dr. Tillyard says that the bull ants are numerous and aggressive in most parts of Australia and that bushmen make the ant–
– Order ! I cannot allow the honorable member to put a question of a frivolous character.
– You are very hard, sir.
– Because of inquiries which have reached me from various parts of the Bendigo electorate, particularly Maldon, where phenomenally rich reefs were worked at one time, I ask the Prime Minister when Dr. Broughton Edge will commence his geophysical survey, and whether Bendigo, Maldon, and other mining centres in my electorate will be included within the scope of the investigation ?
- Dr. Broughton Edge has already traversed portions of Western Australia, Tasmania, and New South Wales with a view to determining the location of the earliest surveys. Several members of his party have yet to arrive, but the present proposal is that the first experiments shall be carried out in Victoria. Dr. Edge is conferring with the mining experts in that State regarding the most suitable areas to be tested. I can give no assurance that surveys will be conducted in the districts mentioned by the honorable member ; no doubt they will be considered; but that must be determined by Dr. Edge in consultation with the technical advisers of the Government.
– The sessional orders pro vide that this House shall ordinarily meet on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, That arrangement prevents South Australian members from reaching their homes before Sunday morning, and they have to leave again for Canberra on Monday afternoon. Tasmanian members are unable to catch the boat to their own State, because it leaves Melbourne on Friday afternoon. Will the Prime Minister, therefore, consider the advisability of altering the sitting days to Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, in order to convenience the honorable members from the more distant States?
– The Government is most anxious to meet the wishes of honorable members generally, and the suggestion of the honorable member for Hindmarshwill receive full consideration.
– Does the Prime Minister propose to attend the forthcoming conference of Premiers? If so, will he give effect to the promise he made to this House during the discussion of the Electoral Bill, by bringing under the notice of the Premiers the proposal that the residential qualification of electors for the Commonwealth and the States should be altered from one month to three months?
– The conference to be held in Sydney next week is a gathering of Premiers summoned by the Premier of New South Wales. So far, no invitation has been extended to the Commonwealth Government to be represented.
– Has the attention of the Prime Minister been drawn to the following newspaper report of a speech by the right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes) : -
Speaking of the executive of the Nationalist Association upon the methods adopted to pre select Mr. Pratten for the Martin Federal seat, Mr. W. M. Hughes, ex-Prime Minister, is reported to have said - “ These National selection methods are blood brothers to the sliding panel tricks of Labour. I am not against young Pratten. I am not for Holman. When my back was to the wall, and my neck to the pack, Holman was not my friend; but this is not a time for idle personalities or for vicious prejudices. “ We see a great movement being submerged beneath a turgid flood of contumely. We see the casuistry, the trickery, the knavery, the callous disregard for truth and honest endeavour that characterizes the unscrupulous partisan, being introduced into what should be a friendly contest. Shall we decide an issue like this on a technicality? I say we dare not! That Nationalism be clean is a matter of life and death to our movement. Honesty is the only atmosphere on which Nationalism cun thrive. “Gentlemen! If you permit this iniquity, you will live . to regret it. As thorns cannot produce figs, so the mean and paltry and despicable in national life can only bring decay and death to the movement that forgets that those . vices which tend to make men ostracize the individuals practising them, will most surely make a people shatter a movement that is not above such malpractices.”
– I remind the honorable member that it is the practice, when reading from newspapers, to reduce the quotation as much as possible, because if that were not done, it would be possible, under the guise of a question to incorporate in Hansard long statements of opinion.
– I ask if the attention of the Prime Minister has been drawn to that statement? If so, does the right honorable gentleman propose to take any steps to have those charges investigated?
– My attention has not been directed to the alleged statement which the honorable member has read. I entirely dissociate myself from the sentiments expressed in it, and do not consider that there is any need for an investigation, as I am confident that there is no justification for the suggestion that improper practices are adopted by the Nationalist party when carrying on the work of its organization.
– Apropos of the question directed to the Prime Minister by the honorable member for Hume, I wish to make a- personal explanation. The statement in The Border Morning Mail quoted by the honorable member is not in any way a correct report of my remarks at a meeting of the executive of the Nationalist party. It is an unauthorized and garbled report, and conveys an entirely wrong impression. No report was made to the press. I repudiate the statement.
– Asa feeling of apprehension exists in Sydney as to the intention of the Government in connexion with the Australian British Empire Exhibition Bill, will the Prime Minister make a statement on the matter, in order to allay the anxiety that exists as to the possible destruction of one of Sydney’s beautiful parks?
– I shall make known to honorable members the intention of the Government with regard to that measure before the House rises.
Theft from Mail Bags.
– Is the PostmasterGeneral yet able to make a statement to the House in connexion with the mail bag missing from the Adelaide Post Office containing £220 intended for oldage pension payments?
– I have not yet received the required information, but hope to be able to make a statement on the matter before the House rises.
– I have received a letter from a big firm of manufacturers in Melbourne in reference to the importation of binder twine from America, a portion: of which reads -
Unless we have the same trouble as last year to fight imported binder twine which, as you know, carries about 10 per cent, duty, we fully expect to be able to improve matters before long. No doubt you are also well aware that last year Australian manufacturers had to compete with 1,000 tons of binder twine imported from America.
I understand that that 1,000 tons of binder twine was dumped in Australia, precluding local manufacturers from marketing their products, and throwing a number of men out of employment. Will the Minister for Trade and Customs take early action to ensure that a similar occurrence does not take place this year?
– Legislation is provided against the dumping of goods in Australia at a price below that prevailing for home consumption. The Department of Trade and Customs watches these matters carefully at all times, and, when necessary, imposes a dumping duty. Should the necessity arise, the usual action will be taken in regard to the matter referred to by the honorable member.
– Will the Minister for Trade and Customs, when considering the alleged dumping of binder twine, also consider the interests of the farmers, and particularly of those struggling in the Mallee districts, by preventing increases in their already heavy burden of costs?
– I remind the honorable member that, whether dumping does or does not occur is a matter of fact, and all that can be taken into account whether dumping is or is not taking place. If it is found that dumping is taking place, the law inevitably operates.
Indication of Country of Origin
– Has the Minister for Trade and Customs made his promised inquiry into the allegation that wholesale softgoods merchants are penalizing Australian industry by preventing manufacturers stamping on the selvidge of goods the words “ Made in Australia “ ; if so, with what result?
– I am not yet in a position to communicate to the honorable member the result of the inquiries which are still being made in this matter.
asked the Minister for
Markets, upon notice -
– I am in a position to furnish the following information: -
asked the Minister for Markets, upon notice -
Whether he has seen, and is prepared to comment on, the statements made at a welcome to the Australian. Scottish delegation on their visit to Glasgow, when the President of the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce said: - “He regretted that Glasgow did not import Australian apples. The transit charges prohibited supplies through London, but direct shipment would solve the difficulty,” and further stated that - “ Here we have established markets literally starved of Australian commodities. No people would be more eager to purchase these products than the Scots. The possibilities were realized by New Zealand, which sent three times the quantity of fruit and dairy produce sent from Australia. The meat market was hungrily awaiting Australian exploitation “?
– I am in a position to furnish the following reply to the honorable member : -
The question of direct shipment of Australian apples, oranges, dried fruits, meat, dairy produce, eggs, and other products to Glasgow was in February last taken up by my department with the organizations and companies interested in the marketing of Australian products in the United Kingdom, who were furnished with information regarding the Glasgow market as well as statistics relating to the trade of that port. Replies have been received to the effect that the position is being investigated with a view to ascertaining whether a profitable market can be established in Glasgow. I might add that it is also reported that a special commissioner from the Clyde Navigation, Glasgow, is shortly visiting Australia for the purpose of promoting direct shipments,, from the Commonwealth to Glasgow.
Transfer to Canberra
asked the Minister for Home and Territories, upon notice -
– The replies to the honorable member’s questions are as follow: -
asked the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -
– The replies to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -
asked the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -
Appointments and Remuneration of Commissioners
asked the Minister for Home and Territories, upon notice -
Willhe inform the House on what dates the appointments of each of the three members of the Federal Capital Commission expire under the provisions of section 8 of the Seat of Government (Administration) Act?
- Sir John Butters, 2nd November, 1929; Sir John Harrison, 2nd November, 1928; Colonel T. J. Thomas, 2nd November, 1928.
asked the Minister for Home and Territories, upon notice -
– The replies to the honorable member’s questions are as follow: -
Payments to Inmates of Institutions
asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The replies to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -
Assistance to Soldier Settlers
asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The replies to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -
These concessions in interest and reductions in capital indebtedness were made in accordance with decisions of the Commonwealth Government.
asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The information will be obtained.
Housing - German Gun - Canberra
House - Hotels - Footpaths - Albert Hall
– On the 7th June, the honorable member for Melbourne (Dr. Maloney) asked me the following questions: -
I am now in a position to make the following replies thereto : -
On the 21st May, the honorable member for Melbourne asked me the following questions : -
I am now in a position to advise him as follows : -
Yesterday the honorable member for Melbourne asked me the following questions : -
I am now in a position to advise him as follows: -
Yesterday the honorable member for Lilley (Mr. Mackay) asked me the following questions: -
I am now in a position to advise him as follows : -
– On the 9th June the honorable member for Kalgoorlie (Mr. A. Green) asked me the following question: -
With reference to the question by the honorable member for Kalgoorlie on the 27th March last, as to what is the average cost per square yard of the granolithic footpaths in Canberra in material and labour, and what is the total number of square yards laid down, and the total cost to date, to which the Minister replied as follows: -
The average cost per square yard of concrete footpaths is 9s. 0.84d. The total area laid down and completed is 11,931 square yards, at a cost of £5,709 2s.11d., will the Minister inform the House if overhead charges for supervision, &c, are included in the amount of £5,709 2s.11d., and if so, what is the amount? If overhead expenses are not included in the sum named, what is the additional amount of that charge?
I am now in a position to inform him that overhead charges amounting to £397 are included in the sum of £5,709 2s. 11d.
– Yesterday the honorable member for Bourke (Mr. Anstey) asked me the following questions : -
I am now in- a position to advise him as follows : - 1. (a) The total expenditure to -date on the Albert Hall, including administrative’ and interest charges, is £25,115. (b) The’ total expenditure, to date, on furniture and equipment, including administrative and interest charges, is £2,470. These figures do not include an amount which will eventually he debited to the hall to cover proportion of charges for kerbing and guttering, parking areas, and gardens. The final contract adjustment is still to be made. The contract price of the complete building (for Public Works Committee reference) was £23,850 (i.e. excluding interest and administration).
– On the 7th
June, 1928, the honorable member for Herbert (Dr. Nott) asked the Minister for Home and Territories the following questions : -
I am now in a position to furnish the following answers: -
– On the 7th
June, 1928, the honorable member for Herbert (Dr. Nott) asked the Minister for Health the following questions: -
– On the 6th June, the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Watson) asked the Minister for Markets the following questions : -
E am now in a position to furnish the honorable member with the following information : -
– On the 4th May, the honorable member for Riverina (Mr. Killen) asked the following questions: -
I am now able to furnish the honorable member with the following information : -
– I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
This small amending bill has been rendered necessary by the ratification of the financial agreement between the Commonwealth and the States. The National Debt Sinking Fund Act 1923-1925 was designed solely to deal with the sinking funds in respect of Commonwealth debt. It created the National Debt Commission, set out its powers and duties, provided for the payment of sinking fund contributions to the National Debt Sinking Fund in respect of Commonwealth loans, and fixed the manner in which the fund shall be applied to the redemption of debt and the powers of investment of the commission. The financial agreement, which has now been ratified by all the Parliaments except that of Western Australia - the
Parliament of that State is now considering it - provides for sinking funds in respect of State debts, sets out what the sinking fund contributions shall be, and provides that they shall be paid into the National Debt Sinking Fund. It also sets out how the sinking fund moneys in respect of the debts of the States shall be dealt with by the National Debt Commission. But although the Financial Agreement Act set’s out the procedure in regard to sinking funds for State debts, it does not extend the powers or duties of the National Debt Commission, nor give the commission authority to apply or invest the funds in accordance with the agreement. This amendment of the Sinking Fund Act is therefore now submitted in order to bring it into harmony with the financial agreement. There are only two provisions in the bill. The first relates to the powers of the National Debt Commission’. Under section 7 of the principal act it is provided that -
The commission shall exercise such powers and perform such duties as are conferred upon it by this act or as are prescribed.
It is proposed to add to this section the following words: - or of which the execution or performance by the commission is provided for by the financial ageement between the Commonwealth and the States.
In this manner the powers and duties of the commission will be extended to meet the requirements of the financial agreement. The second amendment relates to the application and investment of funds received by the commission in accordance with the agreement. Under the principal act the moneys in the National Debt Sinking Fund must be applied to the repurchase or redemption of Commonwealth securities or be invested in securities of the United Kingdom, of the Commonwealth Government, or the Government of any State, or be placed on deposit in a bank. The amendment now proposed is that moneys received by the commission in pursuance of the financial agreement shall be paid into the National Debt Sinking Fund, and shall be applied or invested by the commission in accordance with the provisions of the agreement. Broadly speaking, the agreement provides for the sinking fund contributions in respect of the debt of a State being applied to the redemption of the debt of that State. Where this course is deemed in- expedient by the National Debt Commission the funds may be temporarily invested in any securities in which the National Debt Commission is authorized to invest moneys. In all other respects the methods to be applied to sinking funds in respect of State debts will be similar to those already adopted in respect of sinking funds for Commonwealth debt. In this bill the financial agreement is defined to include any amendment of it. The object of this provision is to render unnecessary the amendment of the sinking fund laws if the financial agreement is amended. Thus the Sinking Fund Commission will be authorized to exercise the powers and to carry out the duties set out in the financial agreement as amended at any time. As the agreement, which sets out in full the method of dealing with the sinking funds of State debts, has already been ratified by Parliament, I do not propose to enter into further details in commending this bill to the House. The object of it is solely to amend our present sinking fund law so as to bring it into harmony with the requirements of the agreement.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and reported from committee without amendment or debate.
Report adopted and bill, by leave, read a third time.
Message recommending appropriation reported, and ordered to be taken into consideration in committee forthwith.
In committee (Consideration of GovernorGeneral’s message) .
– I move -
That it is expedient that an appropriation of revenue be made for the purposes of a bill for an act to grant and apply out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund a sum for invalid and old-age pensions.
The purpose of this bill is to provide from the Consolidated Revenue Fund the sum of £10,000,000 for the payment of invalid and old-age pensions. The measure has nothing whatever to do with the rate of pensions nor the conditions under which they are payable. The usual practice is for an appropriation of £10,000,000 to be made from the Consolidated
Revenue Fund from time to time and placed in the trust account from which the pensions are paid. The total appropriation for this purpose up to date is £91,250,000, of which £85,610,664 had actually been expended up to the 31st March, leaving a balance of appropriation of £5,639,336. As the rate of expenditure is now nearly £10,000,000 a year, it will be seen that this balance will be exhausted by the end of September next. It is, therefore, necessary to appropriate a further £10,000,000.
Question resolved in the affirmative;
Standing Orders suspended, and resolution adopted.
That Dr. Earle .Page and Mr. Latham do prepare and bring in a bill to carry out the foregoing resolution.
Bill presented by Dr. Earle Page and passed through all stages without amendment or debate.
Message recommending appropriation reported, and ordered to be taken into consideration in committee forthwith.
In committee (Consideration of GovernorGeneral’s message) .
– I move -
That it is expedient that an appropriation of revenue be made for the purposes of a bill for an act to grant and apply out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund a sum for war pensions.
The object of the bill is to appropriate from the Consolidated Revenue Fund a further £10,000,000 for the payment of war pensions. The measure does not deal in any way with the rates nor the conditions governing the granting of pensions, but merely asks Parliament to provide the money to pay those which have been or will be granted under the Australian Soldiers’ Repatriation Act.
The number of pensions in force at 30th June last was 259,821, and the annual liability in respect of them is £7,372,768. The number is increasing, due to the granting of new claims, mainly in respect of newly-born children and newly-married wives of ex-soldiers who are pensioners, and it is estimated that the number in force at 30th June, 1929, .will be 271,899 ; at that the annual cost will be £7,651,124.
– When does the Treasurer anticipate that we shall reach the peak year?
– In 1931 or 1932, so far as we can gauge the position at present. The total expenditure on war pensions to 31st March, 1928, was £71,089,581. The last appropriation was made by Parliament in August, 1926, the amount involved being £10,000,000. The balance of the appropriation unexpended at 31st March last was £3,032,089, which would only be sufficient to cover payments to the end of August. A further appro- priation is, therefore, required to meet the total payments for 1928-29. The usual practice of asking Parliament to vote a lump sum has been followed and the amount of £10,000,000 has accordingly been included in the bill.
– Do I understand that the appropriation will just carry the Government on until next August?
– The present appropriation will expire about the end of August, and this is to enable us to carry on til] the end of the year.
– I merely wanted to know if this was a provision which would enable the Government to avoid having surplus revenue ?
– I do not think that there will be any surplus revenue this year.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Standing Orders suspended, and resolution adopted.
That Dr. Earle Page and Mr. Latham do prepare and bring in a bill to carry out the foregoing resolution.
Bill presented by Dr. EARLE Page, and passed through all stages without amendment or debate.
– I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
This is a measure to amend section 82 of the Crimes Act 1914-26. This section provides that any person who, without lawful excuse, trespasses upon land held by the Commonwealth, and used for naval or military purposes shall be guilty of an offence. The section also provides that any person found so trespassing may be apprehended by any member of the Defence Forces. The amendment has reference to the munition factory at Maribyrnong. Ti. has been found inconvenient that the right to arrest persons should belong only to members of the Defence Force, and it is therefore proposed that arrests may also be made by any person employed by the Department of Defence, by any peace officer of the Commonwealth, or by any member of the police forces of the Commonwealth, of a State, or of a Territory. Another provision of the bill prohibits the discharge of firearms over certain areas. Those areas are defined as land belonging to the Commonwealth,, or in occupation by the Commonwealth, and defined by notice. The object of the provision is to prevent the discharge of firearms over such an area as that at Maribyrnong where high explosives are stored. Certain adventurous citizens have a habit of going rabbiting there, and endangering their own and other persons’ safety. It is desirable that there should be power to prohibit the discharge of firearms over such land. Those are the only objects of this bill. There is a provision empowering the discharge of firearms by authorized persons, and authority for that purpose may be given by the Commonwealth officer in whose control the land is placed. The provisions are, I submit, very desirable in the interests of the Defence Forces and of the public.
.- I admit that it would be a very serious matter if the cordite factory at Maribyrnong were to get on fire. An explosion in that factory might blow up half my constituency.
– That risk should be removed.
– I have in my electorate enough explosive to blow up this Parliament, and every other Parliament in Australia. This bill empowers any person employed by the Department of Defence to make arrests. That, I think, is conferring very wide powers on such employees.
– Only those persons who have committed an offence may be arrested.
– The bill says that any person employed by the Department of Defence may make arrests. One is quite prepared to allow citizens to be arrested or detained by officials who understand the handling of such matters; but this, 1 think, is going a little too far. I admit that for safety’s sake something should be done to restrict the discharging of firearms over the land on which the munition factory stands.
.- I am very pleased to have an opportunity of supporting the Attorney-General in this matter. In this bill he proposes to prohibit the use of firearms in certain areas. When I addressed an inquiry to him on a subject similar to this, he replied that the prohibition of the use of firearms concerned the States and not the Commonwealth. I asked him his own opinion, and he told me that he did not hold the position of Attorney-General for the purpose of giving cheap legal advice. I hope shortly to be able to move a motion in this House to declare that no person should be allowed to carry firearms in Australia. Only criminals and persons of evil dispositions wish to possess firearms. The safety of individuals is sufficiently protected by the law, and there ?s no need for any one to go about with a blunderbus. This bill would not be wanted if my motion were carried. How many murders do we hear of, committed by persons in a moment of excitement, and how many more murders are committed in cold blood for purposes of revenge !
– The honorable member is discussing a wider matter than that embraced by this bill. I ask him to confine his remarks to the measure before the House.
– When discussing subjects in this House, I take a broad national view, and for that reason attempts are sometimes made to stop me. This bill would not be required if the proposal which I have suggested were accepted by the Government. I am only a private member, and can do nothing without the consent of the Government. I am not certain that the Attorney-General was right when he informed me that legislation in regard to restricting the use of firearms was a State prerogative. If the Commonwealth Parliament has the power to legislate on the matters covered by this bill, it should also have power to prevent the use of firearms altogether. The only persons whom I should allow to possess firearms are members of the naval and military forces. Even the police in New South Wales were not armed until criminals from Melbourne invaded the State. Two Melbourne criminals came to Sydney and nearly killed a policeman there, whereupon Sir George Dibbs gave permission to the New South Wales police to carry firearms.
– The wide national view of the honorable member is appreciated, but this bill is restricted in its scope, and I ask him to keep his remarks within its limits.
– I am not opposed to this measure; as a matter of fact, I am in favour of it, and I should like to see its provisions extended. This is a step in the right direction. My contention is that there is no necessity for people to carry firearms in Australia. We have a police force, and we are a law-abiding people. I am glad of the opportunity of saying these few words for the general enlightenment of my fellow-citizens, and I hope that the publicity given to them will assist towards bringing about the object which I have in view.
– In reply to the question raised by the honorable member for Maribyrnong (Mr. Fenton) as to the classes of persons who are empowered to arrest an individual who is found discharging firearms near an ammunition factory, I would inform him that prompt and immediate action is essential. It is probably better to run the slight risk that, might be involved by empowering any person employed by the Department of Defence to stop the individual concerned from discharging firearms than to make it necessary for such an official to send for a policeman.
– Provided that the individual is committing an offence.
– If the individual is not committing an offence then his apprehension would be wrongful, because the provision is limited to the apprehension of persons who commit offences. The honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. West) will, I hope, understand that this bill is limited to the discharge of firearms upon or over land owned by the Commonwealth. This Parliament has no power to legislate respecting the carrying of firearms generally, although the Commonwealth has certain powers for the defence of this country.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and reported from committee without amendment or debate.
Report adopted and bill, by leave, read a third time.
Mr. LATHAM (Kooyong- Attorney-
General) [4.3]. - I move -
That the hill be now read a second time.
This is a bill to amend the Service and Execution of Process Act 1901-1924. The Commonwealth has power . under section -51 (xxiv) of the Constitution to make laws with respect to the service and execution throughout the Commonwealth of civil and criminal process, and the judgments of the courts of the States. Under section 122 Parliament has power to make laws for the Territories of the Commonwealth. In pursuance of this power the principal act was passed providing for the service and execution of the process of any one State in any other State, and, generally, of the process of the courts of the States throughout the Commonwealth. It is often necessary, in the course of proceedings, to require the attendance of a witness from another State. Provision is made for that under the existing act, but if the desired witness is in prison then difficulties arise. There is no provision in the existing act authorizing the gaoler of the witness to surrender the custody of that witness to any other person, and, accordingly, a procedure by way of habeas corpus, which is of rather doubtful validity, has been followed when evidence is required from a prisoner who is in gaol. The object of the bill is to provide for the issue by a court of an order directing the officer in charge of the gaol or the place in which the “witness is undergoing sentence to produce him in accordance with the terms of the order. The bill makes the necessary provision for the service of any such order and for the custody of the prisoner who is produced in compliance of the order. The cost of complying with the order is left to the discretion of the court before whom the person to whom the order relates is produced, and it is provided that the period of time during which the prisoner is out of the control of his original custodian shall be taken into account as part of his sentence. This measure has been introduced to meet certain practical difficulties which have been experienced in the States, and to ensure facilities to enable persons involved in litigation whether civil or criminal, to produce in a reasonable and ready manner evidence to support his claim or to assist in defending himself against the claim or charge made by some other person.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and reported from committee without amendment or debate.
Report adopted and, by leave, billead a third time.
– I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
This is a bill to amend the State Laws and Records Recognition Act of 1901. The Commonwealth is empowered by section 51 (xxv) of the Constitution to legislate to secure recognition throughout the Commonwealth of the laws, the public acts and records, and the judicial proceedings of the States. Under this act, which was passed in 1901, provision has been made for the recognition throughout the Commonwealth of the public acts and laws, &c, of the States, and that has proved a convenience to all concerned in such matters. It has recently become apparent that there is need for the extension of this provision to the Territories of the Commonwealth, including Territories for the government of which the Commonwealth has a mandate. Accordingly the bill provides for the recognition in the Territories of the laws, &c, of the States, and for the recognition in the States of the laws, &c, of the Territories. I can best illustrate the necessity for the bill by reference to a case which recently occurred. An individual was charged with an offence which had taken place in New Guinea, and a warrant was issued for his arrest by a justice of the peace of that territory. The accused was found in Sydney, and it was impossible to prove under the existing law that the warrant had been issued by a justice of the peace in New Guinea. The proceedings were delayed, with the result that the gentleman in question continued his travels without interruption, so far as is known to the Commonwealth authorities.
– To parts unknown?
– Yes. In ordinary circumstances that could not have happened, because a State court always recognizes the signature of a. justice . of the peace of another State; but that is done by virtue of the existing act, which it is now sought to amend. The bill contains twenty clauses, but there is only one object in view, and that is the extension of the act to the Territories in the manner that I have described. These somewhat numerous amendments are accounted for by the necessity for inserting in the sections of the principal act the necessary references to the Territories or to documents emanating from those Territories or its authorities. The result is that a great many small amendments are being made to the act, but the sole purpose of the bill is to apply as between the States and the Territories what now applies between State and State.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and reported from committee without amendment or debate.
Report adopted and, by leave, bill read a third time.
Message recommending appropriation reported, and ordered to be considered in committee forthwith.
In Committee of Supply.
– I move -
That there be granted to His Majesty, for or towards defraying the services of the year 1 928-29, a sum not exceeding £6,343,635.
It may be convenient to honorable members if I explain at this stage the need for this bill, and the expenditure proposed under it. Its object is to appropriate sufficient revenue for the ordinary service’s of the Commonwealth during the first three months of the next financial year. It is anticipated that Parliament will adjourn before the end of ‘ June, and will not resume for some weeks afterwards. The amount which the committee is asked to appropriate is £6,343,635, and this includes provision for the following services: - Departments and services - other than business undertakings and Territories of the Commonwealth, £2,318,540; business undertakings, including only Commonwealth railways and the Postmaster-General’s Department, £2,819,820; the Territories of the Commonwealth, £55,275. The expenditure for these services totals altogether £5,193,635. The items in this measure that make up the foregoing sums are based on the present year’s Estimates, and are slightly less than one- fourth of the amount which was appropriated for the present financial year. No new proposal is included. In addition, the usual provision is made for refunds of revenue, £400,000, and advance to the Treasurer, £750,000. Immediately Parliament resumes after the adjournment, the financial statement will, I hope, be submitted for consideration. In the meantime it is fitting that some indication should be given of the results to date in the present financial year. As honorable members are aware, Australia generally has experienced, and is still experiencing, a period of financial stringency, due mainly to the adverse conditions which were met with last season. As a result the customs and excise receipts which are the main source of Commonwealth revenue, have shown a decline in comparison with the budget estimate. “When the budget was brought down in September last, I estimated that the receipts from- this source would amount to £44,800,000. Until November the receipts continued to be satisfactory, and were slightly above the budget estimate; but the collections in December, January, February and March showed appreciable decreases in comparison with the collections for the corresponding months of the previous year. In April the decline was much more pronounced, and exceeded £500,000. In May the position somewhat improved ; but there was still a decrease.
For the eleven months ended 31st May the’ collections amounted to £38,521,000, or approximately £2,545,000 below the budget estimate. A further decline is anticipated in June, and the total shortage for the year will be about £3,000,000. It is estimated that other transactions, taken as a whole, will produce a result approximately equal to the budget estimate, so that the deficit for the year will probably be about £3,000,000, due to the decline in customs and excise revenue.
In framing the budget for the present year the Government fully appreciates the need for economy. In addition, as soon as adverse seasonal conditions were experienced, all departments were instructed to review the position of their finances and to take special steps to effect savings where practicable. This economy drive was specially aimed at the ordinary votes and miscellaneous services under Part I. of the Estimates. Apart from these items, the expenditure of the Commonwealth is almost wholly made up of statutory payments authorized by Parliament and the services of business undertakings. No reduction can, of course, be made in the statutory payments without parliamentary sanction, and there is only limited scope for savings in business undertakings, unless the services are curtailed. The prospects for the next wool and wheat season are, so far, very favorable; nevertheless, the need for the strictest economy in governmental expenditure still exists. The position of the customs and excise revenue emphasizes this fact, and is likely to make Federal finance difficult in the coming year.
.- In regard to the general financial position, I do not propose to say much, in view of the fact that the Treasurer will be making a fuller statement later in the year. I cannot help thinking, however, that the reduction in customs receipts should have been foreseen. In anticipation of an increase in the tariff, which was preceded by very long discussions in Parliament, large quantities of foreign goods were rushed into this country, and the duties upon them swelled the customs receipts to an abnormal figure. Moreover, the Government has continued the policy of borrowing abroad, knowing that the proceeds of the loans would reach this country in the form of goods. In this way also the receipts from customs were increased. Therefore, the slump that has taken place in the last few months is not altogether unexpected; if it was not foreseen, the budget estimate was not as carefully prepared as it should have been.
– The slump is due to the shortage of money.
– Not entirely. However, my main purpose in speaking to-day is to draw attention to the immediate and pressing problem of increasing unemployment, duc largely to the influx of new arrivals, whom the country has been unable to absorb. In order to prevent misunderstanding it seems necessary to reiterate that I do no.t contend that this country cannot absorb many more people from other parts of the world. I do say, however, that a country cannot digest new population unless it makes adequate provision for their employment in advance of their arrival. It is not wise to bring in more people than the country can readily absorb.
– It is unfortunate that people should be leaving the country to come to the cities.
– It is; and that fact indicates the need for a review of the circumstances of primary production.
– Primary and secondary.
– Both. The primary industries cannot be built up unless we build up also the secondary industries, and vice versa. The two are interdependent, and must develop side by side. The growing unemployment is a serious problem that must be faced, and while the army of workless is increasing, boatloads of people from other parts of the world should not be brought in to add to its numbers. I draw the attention of the committee to the following statistics, which indicate the growth of unemployment : -
The Commonwealth Statistician states f!S.at the percentages are based on the number of trade unionists reported as unemployed, and estimates that the same percentage would apply to the whole of the wage-earners. He gives the number of these as 1,749,000, and, on a basis of 10.7 per cent., it can be estimated that no fewer than 187,000 persons are unemployed. Those are alarming figures.
We are frequently told that industrial disputes are the cause of unemployment. They may be a contributing factor, but only a very small one. The census statistics show that only 3 per cent, of unemployment was due to industrial troubles, whereas 50 per cent, was due to scarcity of employment.
– What is the cause of the scarcity ?
– I am not discussing the economic aspect of this problem, although that also is worthy of attention at the proper time. Whatever may be the explanation of the considerable unemploymentand I suggest it is caused by a combination of circumstances - the point I am stressing is that no business man buys more goods than he can dispose of, and no country should import more working people than it can absorb. The ability of a country to absorb migrants at any particular time must be gauged by the number of people out of work. I do not say that Australia’s capacity for absorption is permanently limited to the number of migrants arriving now; but while the existing distress continues migration should be curtailed.
– Has the honorable member any idea of the percentage of people who are unemployable at current rates ?
– I should say that it is very small. The information I have been able to obtain does not indicate that the percentage of unemployables has increased ; on the contrary I should imagine that it has slightly decreased. In answer to the contention that industrial disputes are responsible for the increase of unemployment, I emphasize these facts : In the first quarter of 1927, when the percentage of unemployment was 5.9, the lowest in any quarter, the greatest number of days were lost in industrial disputes, whereas in the fourth quarter, when the percentage of unemployment was 8.9, the highest for the year, the smallest number of days was lost from that cause. Those figures disprove the statements that industrial disputes are the cause of unemployment. There is a tendency to burke our responsibilities in this regard by endeavouring to place the blame for unemployment upon the workers themselves.
– Is not the reduced purchasing power of the community a potent factor ?
– No doubt; and yet there are people who advocate a reduction of wages in order to increase employment ! Only last week some honorable members argued that half a loaf of bread was better for the worker than no bread, lt is urged that a reduction of wages would bring about the employment of more men once we reduced wages, but the purchasing power of the great majority of wage-earners would be decreased, and conditions would be much worse than they now are.
Our policy of immigration needs serious consideration. Our excess of arrivals over departures for the three years 1925, 1926, and 1927 was 133,550, of whom 26,000 were foreigners. In those three years this Government assisted migration to the extent of £400,000 per annum, so that nearly £1,250,000 of public money was spent. During the whole of that period unemployment was rife in Australia, and it has increased in the last twelve months at a greater rate than during any previous twelve months. Our unemployment problem is now more grave than it has been for the last twenty years.
I have here an extract from the Melbourne Age of the 3rd April, 1928, which enumerates the different types of foreigners who came into Australia by the Trench steamer Commissionaire Ramel, as follows : -
The different nationalities are - Italians, 15; Jugo-Slavs, OP; Bulgarians, 3: Polish, 32; Greeks, 60; Albanians, 45; Palestine Jews, 9; Belgians, 8; Cyprians, 6; Russians, 10; Syrians, 1; English, 3; Lithuanians, 1; CzchoSlavs, 8 ; Esthonians, 3 ; French, 6 ; Asia Minor, 1; Indians, 4; Spaniards, 7; Austrians, 14.
The following day the steamer Orama arrived in Fremantle with 300 aliens on board. The West Australian of the 21st
February, 1928, dealing with the influx of foreigners, gave a statement of Mr. R. Linton, M.L.A., as follows: -
The first thing that greeted me on my arrival at Fremantle this morning was the sight of hundreds of foreigners crowding the rails of the French liner Ville d’ Amiens.
Those are typical examples of the boatloads of foreigners coming into Australia at a time when many thousands of our countrymen are out of employment. Can it be wondered that Australian workers harbour a feeling of resentment against those foreigners? One regrets that that feeling exists, as we should endeavour to avoid causing international resentment or hatred, but there is some justification for it. There is a big industrial centre in my electorate where the unemployment problem is extremely grave. Benevolent societies have exhausted their funds owing to the great demands which have been made upon them. Day after day I receive accounts of the poverty that exists among people who were previously comfortable, men who are good husbands and fathers and were always well dressed and who had decent homes. They are now ashamed to come to one’s door, because they are in such distressing circumstances. And that state of things is not confined to my electorate.
– To what can it be attributed ? The last Victorian harvest was not a bad one.
– It is not due to the fact that those men will not work. They are begging for work. We are informed that there is a financial stringency. I have debated that problem before, on the budget, and no doubt I shall argue it again. I can point to two big factors responsible for unemployment in the manufacturing districts of Australia. One is the huge importation of goods, which causes our factories to restrict their operations. Many Australian factories are now working only two to four days a week, whereas they worked full time previously. For the financial year 1921. Australia imported goods to the value of £100,000,000, while for the last financial year it imported goods to the value of £164,000,000. That is due to the fact that Australia is continually borrowing overseas, and the money borrowed has to come to Australia in the form of goods.
I disagree entirely with the Treasurer (Dr. Page) that we are compelled to go abroad to borrow money. The reason why we cannot raise it in this country is that we send so much work overseas, where we are continually increasing the capital of manufacturers, to the detriment of our own people.
– The honorable member must not forget that, if large sums of money were borrowed in Australia by the Government, it would leave very little to develop the country.
– The honorable member will never convince me that we shall increase production and employment in Australia by sending work overseas. Whatever the cause is, we should set to work to remedy it. Surely it is not a sound policy to spend £400,000 a year to bring workers into Australia when we cannot employ our own people. Only last month a statement was made by the Minister for Health in Victoria (Mr. Beckett), calling attention to the fact that 94 migrants had been treated for tuberculosis in State sanatoriums in the last four years, and that in that period the expenses of deporting 21 have had to be paid by the Government.
– How long had they been out here?
– They all arrived within the last four years, which indicates that there was carelessness in examining them.
– The honorable member forgets that about 180,000 came out during that period.
– Those figures concerned only ono State, and include only those who were sent to sanatoriums. The percentage is too high. I have a letter from Western Australia, saying that the effect of the arrival of foreigners in that State is detrimental to the local workers. The writer quotes a sworn declaration made by Mr. W. Watson, of Holyoake, Western Australia, to the effect that southern Europeans had been offered to 1]im. on the terms that they should work a month for their keep and then receive 10s. a week and their keep. A ganger with the timber mill railway line, in the same district, stated that, as ganger of the fettlers’ gang, he had been offered £2 for every foreigner that he could place in his gang, with a further payment from their wages if they were employed. A clearer in Western Australia wrote to the Westralian Worker on the 9th March, 1928, intimating that he had tendered for a fencing contract at the rate of 3s. 6d. a chain, or a total cost of £40, equivalent to pre-war rates. He was about to be given the contract when two Italians came along and offered to do the work for £20. The Sydney Worker of the 28th September of last year recorded an instance of nine Italians working at a furniture shop for £4 lis. a week, when the award rate was £5 lis. a week. The union made the discovery, with the result that one of those Italians received £100 in back payments and another £90, while total back money amounting to £300 was paid to the eleven men. Again, there are 4,000 workers engaged in the timber industry of Western Australia, and considerably more than half of them are Southern Europeans. The West Australian of the 28th January, 1928, gave as a news item from Kalgoorlie the statement that foreigners are ousting Australian workers from the mines. It stated that the Returned Soldiers’ League of Kalgoorlie and Boulder held a conference on January 26th to consider the matter. He was told that when men were being engaged on one of the big mines recently, two Australians, one a .returned soldier, and 40 foreigners lined up. The mine officials selected fourteen foreigners, and rejected the ‘ two Australians !
– I am afraid that those reports are exaggerated.
– I am quoting statements published in the press, and have given the dates so that they can be checked. I do not think that they are exaggerations. I also have statements by consuls of the different nationalities concerned. The Greek consul stated at the end of last year, that the bulk of the Greeks arriving in Australia to settle were city men, and that a great number of them accepted low wages. The consul for the Czecho-Slovakians stated that most of his countrymen arriving in Australia were tradesmen, but they would accept any work in the country until they could speak the language, when they would drift back to the cities. The Swiss consul declared that many of his countrymen were working in Australia without wages, while others, skilled tradesmen, were out of work. The Austrian consul said that very few of his countrymen were coming to Australia. Some who did were forced to accept the wages named by their employers, in order to live. The Danish consul declared that the majority of his countrymen coming to Australia were farmers, and that city men’ could secure work only at low wages, while the Italian consul said that 99 per cent, of his countrymen coming to this country, were employed at full wages. I merely select those few examples to demonstrate how serious matters are. I urge that a halt should be called, and that we should suspend the importation of these boatloads of immigrants while we have such an acute unemployment problem in our midst. The Government claims that it is necessary to curtail expenditure on necessary developmental work, such as the erection of public buildings, the extension of the telephone services, &c. Those operations have been held up and expenditure curtailed because of the tightness of money that prevails - yet we are spending over £400,000 per annum in bringing outside labour to Australia.
– Does that include the expenditure for Australia House?
– Is any of that £400,000 spent out of loans?
– It is. Passage money, for instance, comes from loans. This is not sound business, and what is worse, it is not sound national policy. The honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Maxwell) asked me a while ago what percentage of the unemployed I- thought was employable at the ruling rates of wages. I consider that a very big percentage is. The effective rate of wages is very little higher to-day than in 1911. As a matter of fact, the purchasing power of wages is 5 per cent, less to-day than in 1922. If we argue that any considerable number of the unemployed is not employable at the ruling rate of wages, and, therefore, should be employed at lower rates, we are practically proposing that the standard of living shall be reduced. That would accentuate rather than relieve our difficulty, for it would reduce the purchasing power of the people. One good effect of the fixing of wages by arbitration tribunals, wages boards, and so on, has been that wage reductions have been prevented in times of financial stringency. Years ago, at the first indication of a tightness in money wages were reduced; but the operation of wages boards and arbitration courts has stabilized wages and prevented a repetition of the deplorable conditions which existed in the early nineties in Australia. We have to admit to-day that there is far too much unemployment here, and I suggest that we could courteously intimate to the governments of other countries, without insulting them in any way, that until we reduce the unemployment among our own people we intend to cease admitting migrants to the country. I do not suggest that we should adversely criticize Australia; but we must face the facts. And, after all, the worst advertisement we can give Australia is to bring people here, leave them without employment, and cause them to write to their friends in other parts of the world the news that they are workless in this new country. Under existing circumstances it is the ‘ height of folly for us to continue to bring shiploads of migrants here.
.- As this will be the last opportunity honorable members will have, until the introduction of the next budget, of discussing our financial position, I consider it my duty to say a few words on the subject. I trust that the new budget will mark the beginning of a new phase in the administration of the Treasurer. I earnestly hope that the new budget will be distinguished from those which we have had to consider in recent years by searching and drastic economies, and a positive reduction in taxation per capita, and expenditure from loans. Further, I hope it will be attended by rigorous economy in the administration of the departments. If it is not distinguished by those characteristics it will meet with the disapproval of many honorable members, and the condemnation of the whole country. In the five years which ended on the 30th June last, public money was spent more loosely, and less productively, by both Commonwealth and State Governments than in any other similar period of peace in the history of Australia. The figures for those five years cannot fail to cause all thinking people the deepest concern. It is quite true that we reduced our war debt in that period by £34,S00,000 ; but our total Commonwealth public debt increased from £416,000,000 to £461,000,000. In other words, in spite of all we hear about sinkingfund provisions, the total public debt of the Commonwealth increased in that period by £10,200,000. This crushing burden is serious for the nation to-day, and it will be even more serious for it to-morrow. I am quite aware that the Commonwealth Government is not responsible in any way for State finance; but there is in these days a close .association between the Commonwealth and the States in financial affairs, and the example of the Commonwealth is not likely to be ignored by the States. The total public debt of the Commonwealth and States in the five;year period to which I have referred grew by £159,000,000. In 1914 the public debt of the Commonwealth and % Hie States amounted to £336,000,000. But, as the result of the reckless pace at which we have been travelling, we have in the last five years, increased our indebtedness by half as much as the total debt we had incurred in the 100 years prior to 1914. I understand that the Commonwealth and the States borrowed abroad last year £40,470,000, and New Zealand only £5,000,000. “With from three to four times the population of New Zealand, we borrowed on the overseas market seven or eight times the amount borrowed by our sister dominion. To my mind that is the reason why our credit in Lombard-street and Wall-street is substantially below that of New Zealand. In consequence of this extravagant borrowing, our annual_ interest bill and taxation have also increased greatly. I admit that the increase in our total loans is not solely responsible for the increase in the interest, bill; but it has been a strong factor. In 1922 the Commonwealth was paying £20,700,000 per annum in interest; in 1927 the amount had increased to £24,115,000. I am referring to the financial year ending the 30th June in each case. Our annual interest bill in the five years has, therefore, increased by £3,415,000. Another serious aspect of the situation is that the rate of interest of all Federal loans has increased during the five years by 5s. lid. per cent. This Government is not solely responsible for the increase in the rate of interest; but the additional indebtedness obliges the taxpayer to submit to increased taxation. That, I suggest to the Treasurer, is a strong argument for greater economy in administration, and in borrowing and expenditure.
– We have had to go outside of the Empire to raise some of this money.
– To me that is a positively sinister feature of our borrowing policy of the last few years. Had our administration been conducted along economic lines in the period I am reviewing, we might have been able to keep clear of the American money market. Taxation increased in the Commonwealth and the States in the five-year period by £19,500,000 per annum. We frequently hear it said that all the financial sinning must be charged against the States; but only £10,000,000 of this extra taxation has been imposed by the States; the other £9,500,000 has been levied by this Parliament.
I do not wish to labour these facts, or to criticize unduly the administration of the Treasurer. It is a much happier duty to congratulate him upon the change that has occurred in his administration during the last six or seven months. That change has been of particular satisfaction to me. It will be remembered that, during the general debate on the budget last year, I and other honorable members, including the honorable member for Wannon (Mr. Rodgers), the honorable member for Boothby (Mr. DuncanHughes), and the honorable member for Wimmera (Mr. Stewart), strongly criticized the financial policy of the Government. Personally, I objected strenuously to the growth of taxation and the increase in expenditure from loans. It may also be remembered that I was subsequently singled out for reproof by the Prime Minister. The right honorable gentleman dealt with me gently, but with a great deal of point. I am entitled, therefore, to call the attention of the committee to the fact that his voice was hardly silent before an entire change was noticeable in the Government’s financial policy. Substantial reductions were made in expenditure, and I believe that the departmental chiefs were directed to effect the greatest possible economy in their expenditure. The Prime Minister on that occasion recalled the fact - and I bring it up now because I intend to make a point of it later - that some years previously I had been a strong advocate of free spending in this country. That is quite true. It has always seemed to me that there are two courses open to a country to aid its recovery after a war. There can be strict economy all round to enable it to pick up, or there can be a generous spending policy, with expenditure directed into works which are surely productive. In other words, it is possible - and I believed immediately after the war that it was more than possible - so to spend great sums of money in this country as to bring about a big increase in the national production of wealth, and enable us to absorb an ever-increasing stream of British migrants. I advocated that policy so long as it seemed a sound one. I believed that if we could borrow money at 4 per cent, or 5 per cent., and make it earn 7 per cent., it was good business. If we could increase national production and induce more migrants to come to the country, we might not be reducing our total load of debt, but we would increase the number of shoulders which would have to bear it, and by that means we could lighten taxation. I realized however, when the fate of the soldiers’* settlements became clear, and when the increase in the cost of material and of labour became manifest, that there never had been a time in the history of Australia when it was more difficult to spend public money profitably. I then dropped my former policy. I believe that it is almost impossible to find avenues in many of the States of Australia for the profitable expenditure of large sums of public money, or from which profits will be returned to us within our own time. What this country needs above all things is satisfactory financial results from its expenditure, not 50 or 60 years hence, but within a reasonable time. Give to the taxpayers of to-day relief in their own time. As bearing out my contention that it is difficult to spend public money profitably at the present time, I mention the agreement under which the British Government made the sum of £34,000,000 available to Australia for expenditure on developmental works to assist immigration. The Prime Minister, in reply to the honorable member for Oxley (Mr. Bayley) yesterday, gave the astounding information that although this agreement has been in existence for five years out of the ten years during which it is to operate, less than £5,000,000 has been allotted to the States up to thi present date.
– I said paid to the States, not allotted to them.
– I mean actually paid. The amount allotted is £6,700,000, but the amount handed over is slightly under £5,000,000. Consider the position of the States tq-day: They all want money for developmental works, and most of them are interested in immigration. They have put up scheme after scheme for development with this cheap money, but those schemes have to satisfy both the Commonwealth Government and a representative of the British Government. It is an extraordinary fact that over this great and varied countryside of ours it has not been possible during five years to find developmental schemes calculated to cost more than £5,000,000, although £34,000,000 has been available. That is the strongest possible indication that we should proceed cautiously with our public works expenditure, especially out of borrowed money, and it also indicates that, of the money which is in the country, we should leave every possible shilling in the hands of private enterprise. During this difficult economic period, when money is so hard to find, and openings so difficult to discover for its profitable use, private enterprise will do better than government, enterprise every time.
The Leader of the Opposition referred this afternoon to unemployment. We all deplore the fact that there is unemployment; but I have no hesitation in saying that a contributing factor is the abnormal extent to which governments, both State and Federal, have in the last few years engaged in public works. Immediately their policy of public works becomes disrupted by a financial stringency such as we are now suffering, thousands of men who have been taken out of their ordinary permanent occupations are thrown on the labour market. Another disastrous effect of our borrowing policy is that it has taken off the land tens of thousands of young men formerly engaged in primary production; not, perhaps, off the first-class land, but off the lighter land on the border line of profitable exploitation. These men have given up profitable work as primary producers, adding to the aggregate of primary wealth, and have become more or less profitless navvies. I emphasize the fact that this unprecedented borrowing and expenditure by the Commonwealth and State governments has failed to increase substantially either national production or the flow of immigration. The money has gone Heaven knows where. We know that it has given a flush of artificial prosperity to the country; but it has been a transitory flush. There has been enormous expenditure without a corresponding increase in production. As an example of loose spending take this Federal Capital Territory, where great sums of loan money have, I am satisfied, been wasted. The charge of extravagance is borne out by one’s own observations, and by sworn evidence before a committee of Parliament. I do not blame the Commission for this; the Commission is the child of the Government.
– Whom does the honorable member blame?
– I blame the Government. I make no bones about that. The Commission rushed its activities; but it was the Government that put the pressure on the Commission. If this is not the right Commission, the Government should get rid of it. If the Government displays a strong disposition to set up commissions, Parliament should see that it is, in the last resort, responsible for the actions of those commissions. It must not be allowed to escape from responsibility merely by appointing commissions. Another example of money-wasting is furnished by the operations of the Development and Migration Commission. Until members of this House wake up to the realization of what a fool’s paradise we have been living in, and insist upon the exorcise of economy, they are not serving their country as they should. Too ;much money has been spent in the staffing of this commission, and it8 field ofactivities has been made far too wide. Let it narrow down its inquiries to a few of the export industries which can sell their goods at world’s parity prices. Migration has been mentioned during this debate, but the commission has been too wrapped up in romantic and fantastic schemes to give proper attention to the domestic side of the problem.
Apart from the immediate economic side, there is a larger and more vital aspect of this economy question: by not putting our finances in order after the war we have been trifling with the very safety of the country. We had the last war, and we shall have more wars. These Geneva jaunts, if we do not watch them, will lead us into a hazardous and false sense of security. The story of the British Empire is not one of peace, but of recurring wars. During the past few hundred years, there has hardly been a generation during which the British people have not gone to war. We are now a nation with a nation’s privileges, but we have also a nation’s responsibility, and we run a nation’s risks. Should we get into another war with our present load of debt and taxation upon us, God help us. Our first step would have to be the repudiation of existing debts, and we should get our new money as best we could, but it would not be advanced voluntarily to us as in the past. Every thinking nation has in the past invariably used the period immediately after a war to restore its financial position. The nations which have not done that have not endured. If Britain, after the Napoleonic wars, behaved as we have been doing here, and instead of reducing its debt had continued to pile it up, there would be no British Empire now. If France after the war of 1870 had not paid off her debts and lightened the burdens on her people, she would not have been able to stand up to the Germans during the recent war. I know that in speaking in this strain I may be thought to be pitching the note a little high, but it does not appear so to me. To me it seems that I am speaking of things near and real.
I should like to mention one thing concerning which there should not bc undue economy: I refer to the National War Memorial, in the building of which I would not be parsimonious, and I trust that the Government will not. It should not be necessary for me to say why. In that matter we have an obligation of the most sacred kind, and if we neglect it we shall be false to our traditions, to the men who fought and fell for us, and to our children after us.
I urge the Prime Minister to revive the proposal which he himself advocated some time ago for the appointment of an eCOnomiC and financial commission. The affairs of this country warrant a most searching investigation from the bottom up. A commission of that kind should be in part representative of this Parliament, and in part of experts outside this Parliament, and possibly include experts from oversea. The influence of a commission of that kind is very largely lost unless it is afterwards represented in this House by some of those who have served upon it.
The other point I wish to make is this : I think that this House should be given a greater influence in the financial affairs of the Commonwealth. The practice by which the financial policy of a country is settled entirely by the cabinet is not based on law, nor on the Constitution. I contend that this practice is out of date. Although our financial affairs are incomparably more important now than in pre-war days, the budget is still prepared by the cabinet and presented to Parliament, and honorable members are powerless to alter a single figure in it. That is wrong. An improved system of handling our finances should be evolved, or a finance committee representative of the whole House, appointed, so that a thorough standing investigation of our financial position might be established.
– I wish to refer to one or two important questions that have already been raised in this discussion upon the supply bill. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Scullin) has referred to the limited employment offering, and the considerable unemployment existing in Australia to-day. We all realize that there is unemployment in this country. According to the available statistics, the percentage of unemployment increased during the first three months of the present year. There are no complete statistics relating to unemployment ; but the figures available enable us to make comparisons between this year and other years. The Statistician’s figures are obtained from returns supplied by the trade unions, and the basis of those figures has been the same over a period of years. Taking the four years finishing with 1927, the position in Australia in regard to unemployment has not been so serious as some people have suggested. It has been stated more than once that during the latter part of last year, and the first three months of this year, we experienced a period of unprecedented unemployment in Australia. I suggest that the figures do not support that contention. The Statistician’s figures show that in 1924, 35,507 people were unemployed in Australia. In 1925, the number was 34,620; in 1926, 29,326; and in 1927, 31,032. Last year, although the figures show an increase in unemployment as compared with 1926, they were substantially lower than those for 1924 and 1925.
– Take the last two quarters.
– I am coming to that. The percentages were: - In 1924, 8.9; 1925, 8.8; 1926, 7.1; and in 1927, 7.00, so that there was not an increase in unemployment during 1927. The figures for the present year show that there has been a big increase in unemployment during the last few months, and we are unquestionably faced with the problem of finding a remedy for it. A number of suggestions have been put forward, and I shall analyse them to see whether they provide a solution of our difficulty. One suggestion is that the increase in the volume of imports into this country has been the cause of unemployment. We all agree that it would be of decided advantage if Ave could produce most of our requirements. That would enable us to absorb people seeking employment. But we have to consider whether, when these people are so employed, the purchasing power in the community will absorb the consequent increased production. It is useless to imagine that by stopping the flow of imports into this country in an endeavour to produce our own requirements, we shall be able to employ our people in productive occupations. It is very doubtful whether such a result would accrue. It is extremely probable that the result would be the reverse. The increase in the cost of production might be so high that the purchasing power of the people would not be sufficient to absorb the whole of our products. That would lead to a diminution in the demand for Australianmade articles and an immediate diminution in the volume of employment offering. So we cannot take it as an axiom, as some persons would lead us to believe, that an increase in production will remedy the unemployment evil. It has also been suggested that the flow of migrants into this country has caused unemployment, and that it should be checked as much as possible, to enable everybody in the community to find employment. We must hesitate before we accept that doctrine. We must remember that the experience of other countries has been that at the period when the flow of immigration was high, the percentage of unemployment was low, and great properity was enjoyed. Take the case of Australia. We have definite signs that similar conditions have existed in this country. Taking the year 1927, during which, it has been suggested, the volume of unemployment was greater than previously, the percentage of unemployment according to the figures available was 7 per cent., the number of assisted migrants being 30,125. During the years 1911, 1912 and 1913, there was a much greater flow of assisted migrants into this country. The numbers were - In 1911, 39,796; in 1912, 46,712; and in 1913. 37 445. The lowest of those is over 7,000 and the highest over 16,000 more than the figure for 1927. The percentages of unemployment in those three years were - In 1911, 4.7; in 1912, 5.5; and in 1913, 5.3, as against 7 per cent, in 1927. It will be seen that in 1927 the percentage of unemployment was higher, and the number of assisted immigrants less than those in previous years. It therefore cannot be taken as an established fact that a decrease in the flow of migrants into the country would bring about more employment and thus solve our social and economic problems. ft has been suggested that we should cease borrowing abroad, and that sugges-
Mr. Bruce tion is bused upon two contentions. The first is that if we desist from borrowing abroad and borrow only in Australia the interest on our loans will be paid to our own citizens. The second is that by not borrowing abroad we shall stop the enormous flow of imports into this country. Regarding the first contention, it does not seem to me that we shall solve our unemployment problem by stopping overseas borrowing. We have to recognize that Australia requires a great deal of developmental expenditure. Honorable members will all agree that we must borrow a substantial amount of money for developmental purposes, and, that being so, I suggest that if we cease borrowing abroad, and endeavour to raise our loans in Australia, the first effect will be to increase the interest rate, because there will be keen competition for loans; the second effect will be an increase in the rate of interest on loans raised by private individuals; the third effect will be the tying up of money which in the ordinary course would be available to private enterprise and for the private development of the country. We have only to examine the history of the war to recognize that fact. During the war we practically financed ourselves. Our overseas borrowing ceased altogether, except that we received occasional advances from the British Government. Numerous loans were raised in this country for war purposes. When I returned from the war I became a director of one of the biggest insurance companies in Australia. At that time Government loans were being floated for the purpose of meeting our war obligations. I remained a director of that company until I became a Minister of the Crown. The ordinary function of an insurance company respecting the investment of its moneys is to make advances to the people generally. One of the best known and most common forms of loan is to advance money on mortgage on the properties of primary producers. But on each occasion when one of the big loans was impending, the company had to close down for from two to six months upon all advances to private borrowers, regardless of the security which was offered, and gradually build up its resources so that it could invest £1,000,000, £2,000,000, or £3,000,000 in the War
Loan. That indicates the result that would flow from a complete stoppage of overseas borrowing, and the raising of all money required by the Government inside the Commonwealth. Such a policy would not prevent unemployment; rather would it tend to increase it, by reducing the amount of money available for developmental purposes, and expending the greater part of what was available upon Government enterprises, which are the least productive of lasting employment.
I hope I have convinced the committee that the three suggestions that have been made for coping with the problem of unemployment will not meet the circumstances of to-day. If it is not enough to increase the tariff, to cease borrowing overseas, and to reduce the number of immigrants; we must dig deeper, and ascertain the real cause of the trouble. I say without hesitation, that our first need is to take stock of our economic position, and to recognize that we must produce more efficiently and more cheaply. That necessitates greater co-operation between those engaged in production. Unless the workers will recognize that their standards of living and the other privileges they enjoy are dependent upon their proving that as producers they are superior to mcn in other countries whose standards are lower, they cannot maintain those privileges, much less extend them. We have also to drive it into the minds of the employers that they cannot expect a full return from their enterprises unless these are conducted with the maximum of efficiency. The only way in which we shall solve the problem of unemployment is by bringing about more efficient production. But the argument is sometimes used - “ What is the good of increasing production ; that will only complicate the problem of marketing.” That argument is hopelessly unsound. If the cost of production is being reduced with increased output, employment will increase, and the market for our goods will extend. Within our own local market increased and cheaper production will not reduce the purchasing power of the community; on the contrary, there should be an increase, because the lower cost of production will enable the wage that is being paid, and which we hope will be maintained and increased, to purchase more commodities, and that will go a long way to solve the problem of marketing, and, incidentally, of employment.
The market overseas is a fundamental factor in employment. Australia’s prosperity to-day is based upon its great primary industries ; our purchasing power depends entirely upon our being able to extend those industries, and add to them others which also will be able to export. As that happens, the annual production of wealth will increase, and there will be a larger fund out of which to pay wages. And finally, we shall probably reach that ideal which attracts many honorable members - the annual production of sufficient surplus wealth to provide the capital required for developmental purposes. These constant debates about unemployment, and suggestions for discontinuing overseas borrowing, and for restricting migrants are futile. Our policy in respect of these matters may have to be modified or altered, but not one of the proposals that have been made by the Leader of the Opposition will give a real solution of the problem of unemployment. None of them will enable us to put more men into reproductive employment.
The Leader of the Opposition has said that the Commonwealth Government is responsible for too many new arrivals, and thus is depriving Australian citizens of employment. A consideration of the facts will show that that is not so. The Government believes in introducing more of. our own kith and kin to help in the development of this country, but assisted migrants cai: come to this country only on the express requisition, or with the approval, of the State Governments. There are longstanding requisitions by State Governments for farm workers and domestic servants. The abnormal percentage of unemployment at the present time is due not to immigration, but in a considerable measure to adverse seasonal conditions. I do not suggest that there is anything unsound in the economic position of Australia. There are things we can do to reduce the average amount of unemployment; but the present conditions are due to the financial strain caused partly by the fact that portions of Australia have not enjoyed an average good season. It is fair to the State Governments to say that, recognizing their responsibility, they have reduced their requisitions for migrants. The other assisted migration is conducted under ‘the nomination system. A person already resident in the Commonwealth nominates a person overseas for an assisted passage ; but each nomination has to be approved by the government of the State in which the nominator lives. We have been told that some of the nominators shirk their obligation to find employment for the new arrivals. I do not think that that fault is general. The State authorities police the nominations, and require the nominator to fulfil his obligation to the nominee. If the nominator is unable to find employment for the person he has brought into the country, he has to get somebody else to take over his responsibility. Briefly, the facts are that the State Governments requisition certain classes of migrants, and approve of nominations, and the Commonwealth is merely the agent which arranges for the newcomers to be transported to this country. Therefore the Commonwealth Government cannot be saddled with any .responsibility for the number of British migrants reaching our shores.
In regard to foreign migration I assure the committee that not one farthing is provided by the Commonwealth or British Governments to assist foreign migrants to come to Australia. The Leader of the Opposition has very properly admitted that we cannot say to the whole world that we will not allow other people to come to Australia. But we can control the flow of migration according to our economic and industrial circumstances, in a manner that will not be offensive to other nations. That is being done. In perfect accord and agreement with the Italian Government the number of Italian migrants for the present year is being limited to 3,000, equal to about 50 per cent, of the arrivals last year. And these migrants must be either the female relatives or fathers or sons of Italians already resident here. Arrangements had been made with the Governments of Greece, Jugo-Slavia, and Albania to limit the number of their nationals arriving here to 100 a month. For the current year that provision has been reduced to 50, and the numbers from Czecho-Slovakia, Esthonia and Poland are to be on the basis of not more than 25 a month. We have gone quite as far as we should in limiting the number of foreign migrants coming to our shores. Of course this policy is based upon the determination of the Australian people to preserve the existing proportion of British blood in our community, namely, 98 per cent. The measures now being taken will ensure that in each year the proportions of British and foreign migrants will not disturb that percentage. We have to recognize, however,, that the prevention of 5,000 or 6,000 foreigners from coming to Australia would not solve the problem of unemployment. We have to go somewhat further than that. We have to recognize that it is very difficult to say to the world that we have no more room for migrants when, in fact, the migrants who are coming here are obtaining employment, and are not numbered among the unemployed in our community. Honorable members opposite have used the argument that every foreigner who comes here keeps a good Australian out of employment. I suggest that Australians are quite prepared to enter into competition with any other persons living within our borders, and are quite able to obtain employment when it is available. We should not, therefore, announce to the world that we are unable to compete with newcomers on equal terms.
As to unequal competition, we have in operation in Australia an arbitration law which requires that certain wages shall be paid, and it is possible to enforce that law in every State. In addition, there are the great organizations of the workers, which are only too keen to see that their members are protected. There is nothing so well policed in Australia as the payment of industrial awards, and I am confident that any man working for an employer is adequately safeguarded. When it comes to individuals working for themselves, I contend that any man may work such hours and for such remuneration as he thinks fit. Although it may be an excellent thing to determine what wages shall be paid by an employer in order to protect employees against exploitation, we certainly ought not to tell individuals working for themselves as free men what they shall or shall not do. What we are searching for to-day is not some slight alteration of policy that might find employment for 2,000 or 3,000 people; we are trying to discover the basic cause of unemployment, to see if we cannot do something to eradicate the evil. [Extension of time granted.] The problem of unemployment has occupied the attention, not only of the governments of Australia, but of most thinking people. Some time ago the Development and Migration Commission was asked to report upon the subject. I understand that that report is now completed, and should be available at a very early date. I hope that it will disclose that a careful examination has been made of the fundamental causes of unemployment, and that it will suggest a way whereby it will be possible, by co-operation between the Commonwealth and the States, to remove some of those causes and bring about the result which we all desire.
I do not propose to deal at great length with the financial matters raised by the honorable member for Henty (Mr. Gullett) ; but I shall say a few words with regard to certain issues which he put forward. We have to get out of the field of generalities and come to specific facts. The honorable member said something that has, no doubt, been said by every honorable member: that there’ should be a drastic reduction of the expenditure of the Government. Surely it is the task of a government to bring about drastic reductions if it is spending more on its services than is necessary. But we have first to discover where should reductions be effected. I suggest that it is desirable, when the Government’s financial proposals for the present year are under consideration, that honorable members should make their comments upon the items that they consider should be reduced, and indicate how far such a reduction would give relief. I do not propose at this juncture to deal with the whole of the figures in the Government’s financial statement for the current year, because an opportunity will be afforded honorable members to deal with the matter at an early date. I remind honorable members, however, that when we come to deal with the financial proposals, it will be necessary to consider all the various proposals for expenditure, and not merely to say that drastic economy should be effected. We must consider where and how it shall be done. All the figures are set out. in a very clear way. The first group deals with war expenditure, and embraces interest on loans, pensions to soldiers, and other repatriation benefits. The next group deals with special appropriations, such as old-age pensions, interest on the non-war debt, the maternity bonus, and that type of thing. All of those matters are matters of policy. Then there is the administrative expenditure of the departments, but that is responsible for a total of only about £3,000,000 out of something like £50,000,000. Finally, and this expenditure is comparatively small, we come to the group of proposals for expenditure on additions and new works.
I shall say a few words about loan expenditure, as the matter was dealt with in very trenchant terms by the honorable member for Henty, who told” us that Australia is borrowing excessively. I think that most of us have a pretty shrewd suspicion that our borrowings are fairly heavy, but the task is to determine exactly where the reduction of our loan expenditure shall be effected. How is a reduction of our loan expenditure to be made without causing tremendous disorganization in our economic life? I entirely agree with the honorable member that one of the principal causes of unemployment is the halts that are called with regard to government expenditure. Those halts dislocate activities that find employment for the people. We must consider how we can obviate such dislocations, as, in addition to causing unemployment, they increase the cost of public works tremendously. Take the building of the Kyogle to South Brisbane railway, or the great bridge in Sydney. Those concerned laid down a building programme to complete the work/ within a certain time. If a programme is subjected to periodic stoppages, with a consequent dislocation of employment, the cost is increased tremendously, and this addition to the cost of a work has to be borne by the people of Australia.
The honorable member for Henty criticized the administration of the sinking funds and the reduction of our public indebtedness. He stated that we have increased our indebtedness by £11,000,000 during the last five years. The honorable member is substantially correct. For the four years that I have in mind we have reduced our war debt by £30,000,000, and borrowed to the extent of £36,000,000, the result being a £6,000,000 increase hi our indebtedness. But it is necessary to point out that the reduction of indebtedness which has been effected is in respect of dead-weight war debt. The increase of the expenditure has been in relation to what should be reproductive works, which are, in effect, assets, and represent money that has been well spent. Let us assume that that expenditure has been wise and useful. If that is so, there is no particular crime in having borrowed £36,000,000, and while wiping out a portion of the dead-weight debt, increasing the public indebtedness in another direction. No one will deny that if public works are reproductive, and represent good value, they are- of advantage to the community. I urge honorable members to endeavour to indicate where, in their opinion, mistakes have been made, and how money could be better spent. Naturally, having been the responsible head of the Government of the country for the last five years, I am prepared to justify the whole of the expenditure to which I have referred. Of course, it is not for me to defend the expenditure of the1 States; that is the task of the State authorities. I have not the information which would justify me in saying whether their expenditure has been wise or unwise; but I suggest that it is not sufficient to say that because £36,000,000 has been borrowed we are heading straight for financial ruin. To prove that one has to show that the expenditure has been unwise. It is to be remembered that certain works that are carried out by Australian governments would be carried out by private enterprise in other countries. Some are such as would be regarded by every individual in the country as properly carried on under government control; some are on the border line; while it may be claimed with regard to others that it would be better if private enterprise carried them into effect. Let me give instances.
T.e Post Office is borrowing nearly £4,000,000 per annum, and that amount is being added to the, .national debt. It is necessary that the Post Office should extend its activities rapidly, in order properly to serve the needs of our developing country. If private enterprise were borrowing this sum annually and creating assets with it, as the Post Office is doing, no complaints would be made. It must be remembered that the loans raised for postal purposes are being liquidated in a period of 30 years, and that is, undoubtedly, sound finance. Our postal services are beneficial to the whole community, and I think no honorable member would suggest that they could be satisfactorily undertaken by private enterprise.
Large sums are also being raised annually for railway purposes, and these, too, are being added to the national debt. The railways of the United States of America and Great Britain are conducted by private enterprise, and some people think that private enterprise should manage the railways of Australia. I know that there is a good deal of dissatisfaction with the. manner in which” our railway services are conducted. I have many ideas to which I should like to give effect, with the object of placing them upon a better basis; but my point at the moment is that we must not overlook the fact that the money borrowed for railway purposes is in the nature of capital invested, and that this borrowing, like that for the Post Office, is for the good of the nation.
It should also be remembered that the introduction of this money into the Commonwealth is resulting in other valuable developmental works being accomplished which private enterprise could not possibly undertake. If private enterprise were to assume responsibility for some of them it would be praised, but because the Government is behind them it is criticized. I suggest to honorable members who adopt the role of critic in respect of our borrowing policy, that they should cease generalizing and become specific. They should indicate to the Government which particular work should not be undertaken, and where it is going wrong.
Our business is to satisfy the people that this borrowed money is being expended , wisely and usefully for the de’velopment of the “country, and that the interest payments are hot to be regarded as a millstone hung round the neck of the people. We are slowly reaching the point at which we shall be able easily to demonstrate that all our borrowed money is being wisely expended. Nowadays the Loan Council examines every proposition for the construction of public works out of loan, and determines whether it is desirable or otherwise. The public may rest assured that the closest examinaton is given to every project. It is not easy, of course, for individuals in widelyseparated parts of the continent to satisfy themselves that every proposal made for the expenditure of loan money is wise; but all propositions for the expenditure of money in accordance with the terms of the migration agreement with the British Government are examined, and recommended or otherwise by an impartial body.
It is essential, for economic considerations, that we shall discontinue at the earliest possible moment our present haphazard policy of embarking upon public works. It is not satisfactory that we should outline policies for one year only. Commonwealth and State Governments alike should lay down not less than a five-year programme of development. That would make for continuity of operations, and enable us to estimate more accurately the volume of employment that would be available from year to year. It’ would also enable us to estimate more accurately our financial requirements. We are moving towards that position in Australia. The Government of Western Australia, for instance, is considering the laying down of a five-years programme, and other State governments are doing the same. The adoption of an extended programme of this description would be most advantageous to the nation. 1 agree with honorable members who say that it is serious for Australia to be piling up her interest bill year by year ; but I disagree with those who assert that we ave borrowing too much money. Those who argue along that line should be prepared to indicate the particular work which the various governments are unwise to undertake. They should also remember that many of the public works undertaken in Australia with borrowed money ( are, in other countries, carried out’ by private enterprise. It is said that we do not encourage private enterprise as much as we should do; but general statements of that description do not get us anywhere. As a matter of fact, the great majority of public works in course of construction in Australia will make it possible for private enterprise to invest its capital in productive undertakings. Such investments would not be possible if the public works programmes of the various governments were curtailed. I n a young and undeveloped country like Australia, governments must necessarily undertake heavy responsibilities in order to open up avenues for private investment. For instance, if the Government did not construct roads and railways, and other developmental works, private enterprise would not be able to establish itself. It is only because the various governments are spending their money in developmental operations that private capital can be invested profitably.
I again ask honorable members not to forget when they are criticizing the national balance-sheet, that governments in a huge continent like this are obliged to carry heavy obligations. I thought it wise in consequence of the criticism of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Scullin) and the honorable member for Henty (Mr. Gullett), that I should make this reference to these fundamental considerations.
Sitting suspended from 6.10 to 8 p.m..
.- Before the adjournment the Prime Minister made a general survey of the economic and financial position of the Commonwealth, and he endeavoured to convey the impression that unemployment has not increased to any great extent during the last year. I think that it will be generally admitted that Australia was never in a worse position than it is in now in consequence of unemployment, which is rampant in every State. Unfortunately, a great many of our people are out of work, and have little prospect of obtaining employment this winter. In the circumstances, it is difficult to understand why the Prime Minister should try to make the public believe that the position is not so bad as it really is. He said that the unemployment position was very little worse this year than last. The figures prepared by the Governmnent Statistician show that for the ‘“first. quarter of 1927, the percentage of unemployment in Australia was 5.9. During the fourth quarter of 1927, the percentage was 8.9, while for the first quarter of 1928 it was 10.7. Therefore; I do not know how the Prime Minister can contend that there has not been a considerable increase in unemployment. The number of the unemployed has almost doubled in twelve months. Remembering that the figures published by the statistician do not include all the unemployed it is apparent that the position is even worse than it is presented. Many unemployed do not register, and therefore are not included in the computations of the statistician. It is a deplorable thing that there should be so many able-bodied men unemployed, and without any immediate prospect of obtaining work. Since the war, and up to the last year or so, Australian industries have been flourishing, but during the last eighteen months we have been gradually going back. This is reflected, not only in the large number of unemployed, but in the general economic position of the country. Notwithstanding this, the Prime Minister said that we should think very carefully before doing anything to check immigration from Great Britain, and added that the Government had already taken steps to limit the number of foreign migrants coming to the country. I do not think that we have done as much in this direction as we should do. It is not sufficient to fix a quota for southern Europeans; we should consider whether we are capable of absorbing any at all. Every country has the right to deal with immigration, because it is a purely domestic concern. The Prime Minister says that we should be cautious for fear of offending other nations. If that is so, it is only fair to warn other people, through their governments, that if they migrate to Australia there is very little prospect of their obtaining employment. I do not think that it would do Australia harm to make the facts known. “We have been told that migrants coming to this country from Great Britain do not come into active competition with our own people. The Prime Minister said that most of them are nominated by friends here, who are supposed to find employment for them.
That may be true, but how, I ask, are those people now unemployed to find work if the jobs are given to new arrivals from overseas. Even though they are nominated by friends, the migrants come into competition with our own people. The Prime Minister is very careful never to take any responsibility for immigration, but always endeavours to place it on the State Governments. Surely wehave some responsibility in this matter. If we vote large sums of money for carrying out immigration schemes we ought tohave some control over them. It cannot be contended that while we vote the money, the State Government have complete responsibility for bringing in migrants. Everybody knows that the Commonwealth Government does control immigration, and it is worked through the High Commissioner’s office. We keep a big staff there for that purpose, and spend much money in bringing people to this country. I should not object to that if there was any possibility of absorbing them. I complain that we do not provide means whereby migrants can be absorbed without coming into competition with our own people. We cannot afford to be charitable to others and neglect our own citizens. Charity begins at home. It is a shocking state of affairs that over 100,000 able-bodied men should be unemployed in Australia. We are told by every visitor who comes here, and by many of our own leaders also, that as this is a young country with large areas of land awaiting development, we ought tobe able to absorb a steady ‘stream of migrants. I admit that we have large areas of land, but most of it which is suitable for production has already been taken up. In many instances it is not being used to the best advantage, and should be carrying more people than it is. This Government, however, has taken no steps to have the land put to better use. The Development and Migration Commission has been in existence now for two years, but, up to the present, it has not been instrumental in placing more people on the land. It seems to spend its time in considering great schemes which will probably be found to be impracticable. Its members have their heads in the air, and refuse to get down to earth and devise some practical scheme for putting our people on the land. We should first of all put our own people on the land, and then, if there is more land available, it should be placed at the disposal of immigrants. The Prime Minister made it appear that we should endeavour to produce at a cost which would enable us to to compete in the world’s markets. I contend that if Australia is to progress, we must create a market in Australia for our own primary produce. We have no such market now, nor can we depend on obtaining a market overseas. With the exception of wheat and wool, our primary products are not able to compete successfully in the world’s markets.
Mr.Rodgers. - Why?
– Because we cannot produce and sell them there at a sufficiently low price ; our conditions here are so much better than in most foreign countries, and we have so much farther to send our produce.
– But Britain is not a foreign country.
– Britain does not take our produce if she can buy more cheaply elsewhere. If we take Britain’s surplus population, it is for her to take our produce.
– Britain is our best market for the best goods.
– No doubt; but she does not hesitate to buy from other countries if she can get their goods more cheaply than ours. I am glad to say that she gives a measure of preference to some of Our products, but I think that preference should be extended. When I was in London I discussed the competition of southern European countries with portions of the Empire, and I was told that we should have to sell our products on the British market more cheaply than other countries if we wished the British people to buy from us. It is essential that wo provide a market for the goods produced by the people whom we place on the land. If Great Britain expects her surplus population to be absorbed by Australia, she must do her part by taking the goods which they produce. At the present time, we cannot rely on the overseas market, and we must, therefore, build up our own home market. The Prime Minister said that the tariff would not help in that direction, but I maintain that it will. We must establish our own industries here so that we shall be able- to employ hundreds of thousands of people in our secondary industries. These workers will then provide a market for our primary products. The development of our primary and secondary industries should proceed side by side. There is no use in placing people on the land unless there is a market for what they produce. When we establish our industries, manufacture our own requirements and employ our own people, we shall have a market for our products. The Government is not justified in allowing immigrants to come here in great numbers. We have to take stock of our country’s capacity and its financial position. If we cannot employ our own people, surely it is not fair to them to bring migrants here to add to the ranks of the unemployed. The Prime Minister has stated that most of the migrants who have come here were nominated, and are now being employed. I invite him to accompany . me to my electorate and see the migrants there seeking employment. There is no work for them, and that proves the fallacy of the Prime Minister’s contention. He has stated that the only cure for unemployment is production, but let me tell him that in my electorate there is over production. He endeavoured to gloss over the evils of immigration, and tried to make it appear that it would work out its own salvation. I suggest that we at once grapple with this problem to see what can be done to find employment for our people. The Prime Minister spoke of oversea borrowing, and said that it was a mistake to place our loans only within Australia. I do not say that we could at the moment borrow all our requirements in Australia, butI think that when our financial position becomes buoyant there should be little difficulty in borrowing within Australia. If we continue to place our loans on the American market we shall soon owe as much to that country as we owe to Great Britain. The more we borrow from America, the more goods that country sends to Australia and the more our unemployment becomes pronounced. What is the use of a high tariff when we continue to borrow huge sums abroad ? I agree with the Prime Minister that we must develop this country and, therefore, cannot discontinue our programme of public works. If that were done, even in this time of stringency, it would make the economic position worse than it is. So far as possible, borrowed money should be expended on reproductive works. The post office is a reproductive department, and yields a good return on the capital invested in it. Our railways, generally, are reproductive works, although some of them will not be productive for years to come. What cries aloud for attention is the unification of the railway gauges. That work should be put in hand at once because it would be reproductive.
– There is a national opinion on that project.
– That is so, because the expenditure of some millions on the unification of the gauges from one end of Australia to the other would confer considerable benefits upon the Commonwealth. It would do away with the transhipment of stock and commodities at the various points where there are now breaks of gauge, and that would make a wonderful reduction of the costs of transportation. Again, the Hume Weir will be productive work.
We are certainly not justified in expending considerable sums of money for defence purposes, particularly in view of our financial position. Efforts are being made by the League of Nations to bring about universal peace. A conference is to be convened by America to consider its proposals for the outlawry of war. Whilst these agencies are at work with the object of bringing about peace and disarmament, we are not warranted in spending large sums of money upon defence. I do not say that we must neglect our preparations for defending this country from possible enemy attacks. I should have no objection to expenditure for the acquisition of aeroplanes and submarines instead of cruisers that may be sunk in a year or two. As a result of one conference the Australia was sunk. It may be that as a result of the next conference our cruisers’ will have to be sunk. We should make reasonable preparations for defence until such time as some scheme is evolved to maintain peace and ensure disarmament as far as possible. We have not yet reached that stage, and no one regrets that more than the members of this Parliament. At the same time we are not justified in expending huge sums of money on defence while efforts are being made to bring about disarmament. Unless the League of Nations accomplishes some good in the near future it is quite likely that another war will take place. If Australia is concerned in it, we shall find difficulty in financing our operations. Before the war we were practically free from debt, but now we have huge obligations to meet. We have to pay millions of pounds in interest alone. It is said that even poor countries are able to finance themselves for war purposes, but I venture to say that if Australia were to participate in another war we should find considerable difficulty in financing our operations. Our national debt is rapidly growing. We are now borrowing more for war services than we did- during the first two years after the war. One might think that we had reached the peak of expenditure in connexion with the repatriation of our returned soldiers, but that expenditure is increasing every year. There should be a greater effort on the part of the British Empire to bring about disarmament and peace. The British Empire should not play second fiddle in that to America. America has “at all times dissociated itself from the League of Nations, yet it has always taken the initiative in convening conferences to discuss disarmament. The British Empire has a greater prestige than America, and why should we not use that standing to induce other countries to meet together in conference in an endeavour to arrive at some common understanding about this mad race for armaments. The great nations today are spending more on armaments than they did prior to 1914. So far as Australia is concerned, if we were called upon to defend ourselves 11Ot one man in the community would fail to play his part, but while that is so, I cannot justify the voting of money year after year for defence purposes, particularly when the money so expended could be used for reproductive work and thus give employment to our own people. ‘
The Prime Minister’s suggestion that production is a cure for unemployment does not appeal to me. It is easy for a public man when dealing with the economic position to say that immigration and ‘overseas borrowing have nothing to do with unemployment. We cannot reconcile such a statement with the facts. To-day we are over producing and we cannot find a market for many of our products. Our secondary industries are languishing largely because of our policy of borrowing overseas. Let me point out that the miners of Australia are suffering through an overproduction of coal. The coal-fields which at one time employed 13,000 men, now employ only 5,000 or 6,000 men, and even they work intermittently, two days a week. The rest of the men are unemployed. These conditions have prevailed for the last two years, yet the Prime Minister talks about producing more. What applies to the coal industry applies to the dried fruits industry, in which thousands of our returned men are engaged. The value of the holdings of these men has been written down, and it will be written down again. They cannot make good at present because there is no market for their produce.
– They are making good now/
– They may be making good in the honorable member’s electorate, but generally speaking they are still making representations to the State Governments and to the Commonwealth for a reduction of the capital valuations of their holdings. The honorable member for Wimmera (Mr. Stewart) has frequently pointed out to us the perilous condition of the dried fruits industry in ‘ his electorate. Yet the Prime Minister talks about putting more men on the land. He should first of all devise a proper scheme of land settlement. He should ascertain the lands available and what they are suited for. If any person is not putting his land to proper use he should be compelled to work it properly or to sell it at a reasonable price to those who are prepared to put the land to its proper use.
– The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- The announcement of the Treasurer that the financial operations for the current year will show a deficit of £3,000,000 will come as a shock to the Australian people. In considering public finance, we are entitled to put aside party considerations and make a free and candid analysis of the accounts. The Treasurer is a very lucky man. When he budgeted last year for a surplus I thought he had the courage of a Napoleon, and had not generous rains fallen in October, with further good rains ‘ in the summer and nearly into the autumn, he would have been in a sorry position. Notwithstanding that good fortune, the Government is to-day confronted with compelling circumstances, and I am disappointed that neither the Treasurer nor the Leader of the Government gave any indication of how the ledger is to be balanced. The Treasurer started the year with an accumulated surplus of £2,921,000. If this is added to the anticipated deficit of £3,000,000, our finances have drifted to leeward during the year to the extent of £5,921,000.
– That is not so.
– The accumulated surplus in the hands of the Treasurer at the end of “the last financial year is not available to rectify the deficit, as it has been appropriated to the expenditure for this year. I am therefore justified in saying that we are faced with a grave position particularly as we have been accustomed for some years to recurring surpluses. The position calls for careful scrutiny by every prudent taxpayer. I am aware that the Treasurer will submit his financial proposals later in the year, but with the prospect of a deficit of £3,000,000 the country is entitled to look to the Treasurer for some immediate indication of the policy he proposes to adopt to make income balance expenditure. ‘ The Government must either enter upon a campaign of economy or impose new taxation to carry on the services of the Commonwealth, and I am sorry that when asking the House to grant £6,300,000 towards the expenditure of the next financial year he did not take the committee into his confidence. It is for the leaders of the Government to define their policy ; that is not the responsibility of those who support the Ministry. If the outlook- of the private financial institutions were not so promising, the position of Australia would be serious indeed.
I propose to contrast the management of public finances with the management of private industries and institutions. The private financial institutions are in a healthy position. Never in their history have they been better organized to face their difficulties; never have they been able to come more generously to the aid of the Government than in connexion with the underwriting of the large conversion loan the prospectus of which has just been issued. There is cause for satisfaction in the fact that the private institutions, profiting by the collapses in by-gone days, are to-day a veritable bulwark to governments, nearly all of which are confronted with deficits as a result of the faulty stewardship of the public estate. I have always believed that a government is wise and prudent to take from the people not more than the minimum amount of money required for the economical administration of the services of the country. The funds that are left with the people find their way into industries, and provide permanent employment. Prodigal expenditure of the public revenues and loan moneys is but a temporary stimulus; in a year or so the funds vanish, and unemployment follows fast in their wake. But the careful management of private funds creates enduring results, and provides permanent and profitable employment for the rising generation. The policy of taking too much- from the pockets of the people by taxation and the excessive expenditure of loan money creates an economic bubble which bursts when borrowing ceases.
I listened with great interest to the suggestions made by the honorable member for Henty. One by one they were rejected by the Prime Minister, who said that the factors the honorable member had stressed were not responsible for our present trouble. Undoubtedly no individual factor was wholly responsible, but all were contributory. Heavy borrowing has conduced in a large degree to the creation of an unsound economic position. This extraneous subsidy to the national effort has set up and helped to maintain an unsound state of affairs. If is an economic truism that values always rise to absorb plentiful money, but when money is scarce values shrink to accommodate themselves to the reduced purchasing power of the- community. Today we are engaged in an interesting search for. the causes of the present depression. We first departed from sound economics and good finance when during the war we started the lavish expenditure of borrowed money. In that policy we but followed the example of other countries. It was felt that what was necessary for the prosecution of the war must be got at all costs. It was got at heavy cost; hundreds of millions of pounds were spent recklessly, and we have never regained our old sense of the value of money. Unlike other countries Australia neglected that writing down after the war which was necessary to restore its finances and industries to a sound basis. The consequence is that we are endeavouring to maintain in times of diminished revenue, those standards that developed out of the heavy expenditure of borrowed money. Since 1914 the States have borrowed more than in the whole of theirprevious history. Their aggregate debt in 1914 was about £320,000,000, and the average rate of interest was £3 12s. 6d. On the 30th June last, their debt amounted to £677,000,000, and the average rate of interest had increased to £4 18s. 2d. We have now the task of discovering a sound economic basis for our production. No honorable member can lay down a formula for the guidance of the Government; it is the duty of Ministers to give a lead to Parliament and not to reject suggestions of honorable members as unworthy of consideration. The Government would do good service to the country if it would reconstitute the Board of Trade and instruct it to make a complete survey of the economic, industrial and financial position of Australia. The great private institutions would be only too glad to assist. Unless some investigation of that kind is undertaken, with a view to reverting to sound practice, the Parliament will not regain the confidence of the people. Grave unemployment exists throughout Australia. Why? Not alone because the wheat harvest last year was comparatively light ; that shortage was merely a contributing factor. Our wool clip produced as much as in the previous year. The fact is that there has been a loss of public confidence and a curtailment of credit which has led to a general depression. Private individuals have been compelled to examine the conditions of their industry. The banks had not pulled them up with a round turn for many years, and when they were at length forced to analyse their position they found that many industries which had been thought to be healthy and prosperous required drastic readjustment. I agree with the honorable member for Hunter (Mr. Charlton) that we cannot sell the products of the labour of our people in the .markets of the world. But it is of no use blaming the world for that. Great Britain is our biggest customer, and God help our standards in Australia if we lose its custom. Great Britain is always ready to take our products at their fair market value, and provides us with a limitless market. And in some products gives us a preference. It is for us to put our house in order at home, not for Great Britain to re-adjust its economics to suit Australia. It has other dominions and dependencies, and its own manufactured goods to place on the competitive markets of the world. We are to-day receiving excellent prices for our primary products in the markets of the world. Compared with pre-war prices the world’s price for butter is sound, it is good for wool, and sound for wheat, although not so good for meat. Our trouble lies at home, in the uneconomic position of our own industry, the high cost of production and the high cost of living. We did not, like other countries, write down our values, with the fall of world prices after the war. I heard an honorable member the other day refer to the value of the assets of Australia, which represent an enormous figure. But that was merely an amount, a revaluation of Australia’s assets upon standards following the expenditure of a vast amount of national wealth and of borrowed money, which has produced a highly inflated condition. We seek to continue to maintain those inflated standards, when we have a diminished output and lower world market prices. We show no desire to face the. position. If anything -ought to make the country and the Government face it, it is that the Treasurer has had to admit to the country that he is £3,000,000 behind his estimate of revenue for the year. That is a startling position, and should be the starting point of a national investigation to find a way out of our economic difficulties. It is not our duty merely to criticize. We have a definite responsibility to assist. Every man and woman should be assisted to find proper employment, and provision should be made for the generations to come. I shall suggest a few remedies. The first is that the country should begin to find its level by renouncing for the time being outside subsides, in the form of oversea borrowing. Let the nation, as the Treasurer used to say, live for a while within its means, upon its own resources, until it finds its legs. What is the use of ovir boasting that we have in Australia high social standards above those in existence in any other part of the world, when we go to countries with allegedly lower standards to borrow money to enable us to maintain our “high” standards? That is not national sanity; it is merely national boastfulness. We tried to settle from 30,000 to 40,000 of our young countrymen who served us well in the war upon our land. I have in my hand a State Ministerial statement about the soldier land settlement in the State of Victoria, where a most regrettable posi-tion exists. Many of those young men, after hard years of conscientious striving on that land, after putting all their savings and in many cases their parents’ savings in to their holdings, are being invited by the board to leave their homes. That is mainly due to the high cost of living and production. That is not a condition of affairs about which we have a right to be proud. Many of those men made a gallant effort to make good. They did their very best, but they had to face an unsound economic position. Many went in for that class of mixed farming on which the cost of production is such that no margin of profit is left, and not even a basic wage could be earned for them and their families. I ask the Government to do something to assist them. I understand that as soon as the House rises the Prime Minister will meet the Premiers of the States. The Commonwealth Government has asked Mr. Justice Pike to investigate the conditions of soldier land settlement in the various States after which it proposes to afford soldier settlement some further relief. I have here a pitiful appeal by the president of the Returned Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Association in Victoria, asking that some relief shall be given to those soldiers whose leases have been recommended for cancellation. I believe that those recommendations were made by the advisory boards, on the distinct understanding that the Federal Government Avas further to repatriate those men, for reasons which I shall not go into. I do not say that their misunderstanding constitutes a further obligation on the Federal Government. Boards were appointed over the Soldier Settlement- Board to examine matters in connexion with the farms of returned soldiers, and to make recommendations as to whether some of the men would not do better with other forms of repatriated assistance. I think that those committees acted in good faith, believing that if they recommended the cancellation of soldiers’ leases, the Federal Government would assist to provide further forms of repatriation. I do not know who gave authority for the action, and I do not place the responsibility at the door of the Federal Government. But this position has arisen, and I do not want it to be met merely by a formal statement that it will be investigated. It ia a condition of affairs from which these men must be relieved. This Government has not completely exhausted its obligation in the matter of soldier land settlement. I ask the Treasurer, as the acting head of the Government, to see the Prime Minister again, and not let the matter rest until justice is done to the returned soldiers.
The second remedy that I suggest is that there shall be a national overhaul of our financial and economic position by a reconstituted board of trade, and that every endeavour shall be made to bring about increased output, in both our primary and secondary industries. I say very frankly, as one who has always had an interest in secondary as well as primary industries, that I believe that our secondary industries have not yet done their duty by Australia. The pioneers who founded this country did the spade work, and carried our primary industries to a high standard. The generations which followed them consolidated that foundation, and to-day our primary industries hold their own in the markets of the world. Though our country has been settled for only about 140 years, it leads the world to-day in the production of wool. Our primary industries have played their part and it is now for those who are interested in our secondary industries to do theirs. They must get on to a world competitive basis in output. They must attain a proper balance, institute efficient organization, and not rely solely upon subsidies to hold the local market but must win markets oversea. It is not nation building merely to be able to sell goods within our own sheltered market. The granting of subsidies may be only a passing phase of the life of our secondary industries, and it is one which I have generously supplied in the past. But to-day we are not able to shut our eyes to the fact that the overwhelming majority of the people of Australia is drifting into our secondary industries. The honorable member for Swan (Mr. Gregory) received from the Commonwealth Statistician a statement showing that if the Victorian population drifts to the cities at’ the same rate as it has done during the years from 1922 to 1928, the population of the metropolitan area will be doubled within twenty years; while it will take the country districts of that State 300 years to double their population. Those figures are startling. I am not an alarmist, but I consider that we should state the truth to our people. We should let them know that this country is in debt to the extent of over £1,000,000,000, that it takes the wool clip to pay the interest on our public debt, and the greatest portion of our wheat harvest goes to pay our invalid, old-age, maternity and war pensions. It is abundantly evident that a vast increase of output is necessary if we are to maintain our present social standards. We must write down our assets to a point which, in a private concern, would enable the proprietor to carry on and make a profit on his capital. We must recast our position, restore ‘ confidence in individual effort, and private enterprise, reduce the cost of government, the cost of living, and the cost of production, and remove many of the hampering restrictions to trade and commerce that now exist in Australia. When our people indulges not in mere words, but in action; when it realizes the position and faces it honestly and squarely, we shall be able to provide profitable employment for the generations that are with us now and those that are to come.
.- The object of this bill is to apply out of the Consolidated Revenue £6,343,635 for public purposes for the year ending the 30th June, 1929. I was surprised to discover, on examining the bill, that of the total sum provided in Part I. for departments and services other than business undertakings and territories of the Commonwealth, namely, £2,318,540, the Department of Defence is to get £1,210,085. Honorable members opposite, and the honorable member for Henty (Mr. Gullett) in particular have urged that the Government should exercise the strictest economy ; but they have not had a word to say against the proposed vote for defence. The honorable member for Henty appeared to be willing that an even larger amount should be voted for this department.
– I did not mention the defence estimates.
– I regret if I have misinterpreted the honorable member’s remarks; but I understood him to do so. However, I suggest that we are being over-generous, if not extravagant, in respect of this department. To spend large sums for defence purposes is contrary to the spirit of the times. Only a few days ago we intimated to the President of the United States of America our willingness as a nation to join in a movement for the outlawry of war. But, if we vote this amount for defence, we shall hardly be able to claim that our actions are in harmony with our words, nor can we expect the world to believe that our declaration in favour of peace is sincere.
– What about the ‘ United States of America?
– Just as I believe that individuals should be prepared to stand by the principles that they profess to hold, so I think nations should be prepared to do it.
– Should the smaller nations be expected to make the first sacrifices?
– There is no reason why they should not set an example. I hold it to be the duty of every man who professes certain beliefs to exemplify them in his conduct. I do not hold up myself as a perfect pattern in this regard, for I am conscious of my shortcomings; but I suggest that we should all endeavour to be consistent. This proposed vote for defence is not consistent with our declaration that we are willing to outlaw war.
The Leader of the Opposition drew attention to the large amount of unemployment that exists throughout the Commonwealth. Many men, women and children in Australia are feeling the bitterness of this cold winter’s night. The unemployed workers of South Australia have camps provided for them so that they may be sure of at least some shelter, and I understand that in other States drill halls have been thrown open for the use of homeless and workless people. A man can, as a rule, fend for himself, but it is distressing that women and children have to suffer because their breadwinners are not able to provide the wherewithal to give them a decent living. Instead of making a huge sum available for expenditure upon defence, the Government should put urgent public works in hand to provide for the unemployed. The Prime Minister told us this afternoon, in his usual complacent manner, that the amount of unemployment in the Commonwealth at present was not unusual; but I submit that it is far more serious than is customary for this season of the year. That applies particularly to our capital cities. Many of our charitable institutions are at their wits’ end to know how to relieve the distress that is constantly brought under their notice.
In. circumstances like these it is lamentable that foreigners who, in many cases, are unable to speak our language or appreciate our standards of life, are being given preference in employment over our own people.
– They are being greatly favored.
– That ls so. Quite a number of the consular representatives of these foreign countries have made it clear that their countrymen are being paid lower wages and are working longer hours than those generally recognized in Australia. We have also been told on more than one occasion that the standards of living of these foreign people are much below our own. It is unreasonable that employment should be given to them while it is denied to good Australian workers. In the February issue of The Harbour, a journal issued in the interests of the shipping and coalmining industries of Australia, and certainly not particularly favorable to the working classes, I read the following paragraph -
It is lamentable that Australian workers should be dispossessed of their jobs. This is an unexpected result of the humanitarian legislation which, by raising wages and shortening hours, has done grievious harm to the very men in whose interests the arbitration tribunals were set up. By accepting contracts to do certain work, such as clearing land, for instance, the hard-working foreigners place themselves outside of such conditions- as the basic wage and the limitation of hours of labour. Banding themselves together in gangs, each mau works long hours for his share of the contract price - and saves two-thirds of what he earns. It is hard to see how this practice can be stopped.
It is acknowledged that om- conditions are humane. They have been made so because, in the years gone by, the working classes suffered persecution and victimization and made many sacrifices. I regret, therefore, that there is a tendency on the part of many employers to-day to prefer foreigners to Australian natives. Surely no true Australian is prepared to justify that. Whether or not we approve of the standards set by the Arbitration Court - and I know that some honorable members opposite do not - we surely cannot view with any satisfaction, the spectacle of our own Australian people being deprived by foreigners of the enjoyment of those standards. Immigration from any source at this moment must accentuate our unemployment problem, and Australian people indignantly protest at the inordinate flow of aliens into this country. The Prime Minister sought tol allay our fears by saying that : restrictions were to be placed UPOn the entry of foreigners, and that the number of Italian immigrants for this year was not to exceed 3,000. To see what that really means, let us compare those, figures with the number of Italian immigrants for previous years. According to the figures given in the Commonwealth official Year-Booh, the number in 1.920 was 631, while in 1921, the year in which the census was taken, it was 1,278.
– That was just after the war. Go back to an earlier period.
– The Year-Booh from which I am quoting does not give figures for any year earlier than 1918, when the number was 24. There were 116 Italian arrivals in 1919; 631 in 1920 ; and 1,278 in 1921. Now the Prime Minister says that he is going to restrict the number of Italian immigrants by allowing 3,000 to come in in one year, or more than twice the number which actually arrived in 1921. As a matter of fact, restrictions on Italian immigration are not likely to be very effective, because if the Italians do not come in as such, they will come in under some other denomination. The irony of it is that while Italians are allowed to come here without restriction, so long as they can find £40, immigration from Great Britain is limited by the nomination system. As showing what is the opinion held abroad concerning our migration policy, I propose to read an extract from a pamphlet published by the International Labour office at Geneva, which is associated with the League of Nations. This publication states -
A definite statement was made in November, 1027, by Mr. Bruce, Australian Prime Minister, to the effect that the Government would not stop foreign migration to Australia. In the Premier’s opinion, the expenses of unpeopled areas are too large to justify such a delicate action on the part of the Commonwealth until it is proved that now arrivals cannot be absorbed.
This shows that the impression in international labour circles is that this country will freely absorb alien migrants until it is proved that we have no further areas on which to place them. The Australian people will derive little satisfaction from the promises of the Prime Minister when they see boat-loads of foreigners coming to this country every month, - foreigners who secure employment either at the ruling rates or below them., while our own people are unable to obtain work. The Australian Natives Association appealed to the Prime Minister a few months ago to curtail the influx of aliens. The Prime Minister replied that the Government fully realized the seriousness of the situation, and promised that he would limit the number of Greek and Albanian immigrants to 100 a month. I have looked up the figures, and found that the number of Greeks and Albanians who come to Australia in any one year was never more than 679. Therefore, the Prime Minister proposes to restrict immigration by allowing 1,200 to enter in one year - nearly twice as many as ever arrived during any previous year.
– That may be; but the Prime Minister’s restrictions are certainly not having the effect of reducing the number of foreign immigrants. I say emphatically that especially at this moment there should be a full stop to the inrush of these Southern Europeans. The Returned Soldiers Association is also concerned over this matter. I have here a newspaper extract dealing with the position in Western Australia. It states -
Thu annual congress of the B.S.L. decided, to ask the Federal executive to request the Federal Government to reduce considerably the present influx of southern Europeans, or preferably, to suspend it entirely on the ground that an undue proportion of such immigrants created unemployment, and tended to lower the Australian standard, and to weaken Empire ties.
It was said the £40 which an immigrant had to possess before entering was sent back to Italy continually by a Fremantle agent for the use of a new immigrant.
It is only necessary to visit the Commonwealth Bank in any of the cities on a Saturday morning to get an idea of the large sums of money which are sent from Australia to southern. European countries by these immigrants. They do not spend their money here, but send it overseas, thus impoverishing this country. We find that after six, ten, twelve, or fifteen years - as soon as they have been able to save sufficient money - they go back to their own countries tO enjoy the wealth with which this country provided them. I wish to place on record a statement made by Sir George Fuller, AgentGeneral for New South Wales, which is reported as follows: -
Speaking at the luncheon tendered at the Army and Navy Stores, Sir George Fuller, Agent-General for U.S.W., said that migration was in a most unsatisfactory state.
Emphatically and systematically, Italians are going to Australia. The Australian authorities do not encourage them, but the Italians manage without knowing it, owing to their own excellent local organization. Each newcomer finds the credit necessary to establish him - a sort of “ loan of honour “ is made which the migrant engages to return, by making a loan to the cohorts following him. It is easy to imagine that after ten years of this kind of penetration, Australia and Canada will not retain the traditional aspects of British Dominions; their spirit will be changed, and their political tendencies modified.
– Order ! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- I have listened attentively to the speeches of the honorable member for Henty (Mr. Gullett) and the honorable member for Wannon (Mr. Rodgers). Their criticism of the bill has been fair, and I do not think that the Government should take any exception to it. The Prime Minister in reply said that those honorable members dealt only with generalities. I wish to deal, not with generalities, but with a specific case. I notice in the bill that provision is made for the Development and Migration Commission. The amount provided for the Australian organization is £13,250 and for the London organization £9,500. I have with me the reports of the Development and Migration Commission respecting Tasmanian industries, and in particular those relating to the berry fruit and fat lamb industries. I wish first of all to deal with berry fruits, because I have had a long experience of that industry. For the last 25 years I have travelled through the districts in which these fruits are grown and have been in personal contact with the growers. The object of the commission has been to solve the difficulties of Tasmania. For many months it has had experts in Tasmania investigating the possibilities of that State. The report deals principally with strawberries and the first paragraph reads -
While investigating the general condition of agricultural production in Tasmania, the Development and Migration Commission has come to the conclusion that there is both need and scope for an extension of the markets for berry fruits from Tasmania. The products most suitable for immediate experiment are strawberries and black currants, but the position of other fruits may prove worthy of consideration at a later date.
The Tasmanian growers have for many years sought markets for berry fruits, but their efforts have been unsuccessful. Yet the commission reports that markets may be established. Much of this report is interesting reading. It may seem well in theory, but it will not work out in practice. It continues -
The period during which active business can be expected may be estimated for the time being to begin in the latter part of December and terminate some time in March of each year. Investigational work, however, may indicate methods of cultivation and types of plants used, which may considerably extend this period to the benefit of the industry.
The report goes on to say that Tasmania is a most suitable place for growing strawberries. That is perfectly correct. In my opinion Tasmania grows the best-flavoured strawberries in Australia, and has been doing so for many years. We have grown strawberries for the last 40 years, and their excellent quality is well known all over * Australia. Yet this commission treats us as if we knew nothing at all about the growing of this fruit. It. says that the industry can be wonderfully developed, and that profitable markets may be established in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. The Development and Migration Commission is anxious to form a company of the growers wit.h a capital of about .£10,000. It contends that at least £5,000 would be needed to start the company, and that the Tasmanian Government would have to guarantee the money. We thank the commission for nothing. It says that the strawberries must be picked fresh, placed on trays, sent to Hobart and inspected by an official who is to get £750 a year. They are then to be placed in crates and sent by train to Launceston and by steamer to Melbourne . and sold in the market there. A day would be needed for the picking of tile strawberries; one day to send them to Hobart to be inspected and repacked; one day for the train journey to Launceston, and two days for the steamer trip. Five days would elapse before these strawberries reached, the . . consumer, and by that time they would be unfit for consumption. The commission proposes that these strawberries should also be sent to Brisbane, and one wonders in what state they would arrive there. The report continues -
Owing to the difficulty of obtaining cash contributions in large amounts from agriculturists and horticulturists in Tasmania for business of developmental type, it is suggested that a government guarantee to a bank should be given to enable the necessary finance to be provided for the first two years, during which the economics of the proposal will be thoroughly proved.
That has already been proved, and was proved last year. The Development and Migration Commission advised the Tasmanian Government to buy the fruit and to find a market for it in Sydney. The Government expended £300 in getting crates and punnets made, and the grower was paid 7d. a pound for his strawberries. They were then packed in crates and sent to Sydney. They arrived there in a stale condition, and only 2d. per lb. was realized for them. Yet this is one of the industries that the Commission suggests will ultimately get Tasmania out of its financial difficulties. The commission suggested that 40 tons of fruit should be despatched as the first year’s shipment. That quantity at 9d. per lb. would represent £3,360, and in obtaining that return, certain expenses would be incurred, such as -travelling expenses for the manager £50; clerical expenses £250; services for four months of manager and inspector £300; rent of receiving depot £150; other expenses £250; making a total expenditure of £1,000 for the management alone. When the strawberries are sold in Victoria, the administrative charges are 3d., not including wharfage, cartage and commission, which is 3d. per lb. extra, and that will have to be met before the growers receive any return for their strawberries. Yet these growers can take their strawberries to the jam factory, without picking out the best of the fruit, and sell them for 6d. per lb. The expenditure incurred in obtaining the services of the Development and Migration Commission to inquire into this industry, and in furnishing the report, has been an utter waste of money. The commission proposes to appoint as manager of the company an inspector of the Victorian
Railways Department. He is to manage the company for three months, from December to March, and for the remainder of the year he is to travel through Southern Tasmania telling the producers how to grow strawberries. The proposal is ridiculous. I have never seen a report like this before. There is appended to this report a report on investigations into the berry fruit industries in Tasmania by Mr. W. B. Bunker, officer-in-charge of fruit and perishable traffic, Victorian Railways. Could anything be more ridiculous than to expect that officer to advise the producers how to grow strawberries. The commission, in its report, suggests that the purchase of fruit; from the grower should be made by the company at a safe price, and that any profits over and above this price should be paid to the growers at the end of the season. Just imagine these poor unfortunate strawberry-growers, who are struggling for an existence from early morning to late at night, being compelled to wait until the end of the season before getting the balance of their returns from strawberries. The proposal is laughable. Many of these growers have to go to the jam-makers, even before the plants are in blossom, to obtain advances on their strawberry crop. Yet they are asked by the commission to wait until the end of the season for. the balance of their money. The commission also proposed that the growers should form themselves into a company with a capital of £10,000. The conclusion of the commission were -
The points for consideration by the growers concerned, and by the State Fruit Advisory Board for the information of the Government are -
Firstly. - The advisability of proceeding with this proposal.
Secondly. - The advisability of making a test on a comparatively small scale, during the coming season.
Thirdly. - Recommendations as to the details of the scheme.
The detailed report of the investigating officers above-mentioned are attached as appendices. Briefly, the following points have been determined: -
That there is a market in Melbourne, and probably an even better market in Brisbane and Sydney.
That organizations are also available on the mainland to receive and sell the fruit.
That the Tasmanian position appears favorable in regard to assistance from both Government and private organizations.
That after allowing a cost of 3d. per lb. for administrative charges, exclusive of freights and trays and packages, there is an extra payment available to the grower over and above average prices of .3/4d. to1d. per lb., with, indications that this is a conservative estimate.
In the appendix the commission stated -
The secretary of the Tasmanian Berry Fruit Growers Association, Mr. B. J. Pearsall, who is the berry fruit growers’ representative on the State Fruit Advisory Board, offered to arrange with the growers to send the strawberries to a central depot in Hobart for the purpose of having the best of the fruit placed in punnets, or trays, for despatch to the Melbourne market.
Mr. Pearsall takes a very great interest in fruit-growing, but he is not secretary of - the Southern Tasmanian Berry Fruitgrowers Association - there is no such body - he is not even a grower of berry fruits. Having regard to these misstatements one wonders how much value can be attached to this report. It goes, on to say that apricots and gooseberries also could be sent to the mainland. That suggestion is made as if it were a new and brilliant discovery, but Tasmania has been exporting apricots and gooseberries to Melbourne and Sydney for the last 30 years. The commission would be better employed in applying itself to the finding of markets for what we are able to produce. In Tasmania this year about 750,000 bushels of apples are going to waste. When I asked the commission for a small bounty to help the evaporating enterprise that is supplying Australia with dried apples, the commission sent two officers to Tasmania to report on the proposal. After an investigation extending over two or three weeks, they said that they . could not recommend the payment of a bounty to the evaporators. All the control boards, committees, and commissions that the Government appoints seem unable to dispose of a big crop. A small crop will dispose of itself. I quote the following passage from a letter published in the Argus on the 7th June: -
The Shepparton cannery last season processed 8,300 tons (roughly) of fruit. The waste in the orchards at 25 per cent, would amount to 2,075 tons. The cost of processing between grower and consumer is 6s. a . dozen tins, not including the fruit, which at .100 dozen to the ton, would amount to £30 a. ton for processing, or a total of £02,250. This is apart from the growers’ losses, which would amount to £24,000. According to Sir William Mcpherson, at Nagambie, there are at present 20,000 unemployed in Victoria, which is no doubt a source of worry to the Premier (Mr. Hogan), who has provided many thousands of pounds for relief work. Why not get to work on this fruit by giving eightpence more a dozen as a bounty, which would make export payable and would create productive work for thousands who are in dire need of it, and save the fruit-growers from disaster. Spending about £7,000 would save the State £02,250, a large percentage of which go to the workers employed in processing as well as giving the growers a chance to carry on.
While control boards and committees are talking about managing the fruit crops, all over Australia thousands of tons of fruit are going to waste each year. Yet, when we asked for a bounty that would save one industry, the Development and Migration Commission said that it could not see its way clear to grant it. The Commission asked me whether, if it helped the evaporators by a bounty, their industry would be stabilized. i replied (Jj at it would be stabilized to the same extent as the canned fruits industry. If the bounty were withdrawn,’ not a single can of fruit would leave Australia. That is a wonderful industry, and should be fostered, and, if the production costs are higher than the prices that can be obtained for the product in the overseas market, the Government must help to send the fruit out of the country. That is true of apples, also. The Migration Commission could do a great deal more good for the fruit-growing industry if it would confine itself to the obtaining of markets. None of these railway porters can teach us how to grow fruit - what we want is assistance in the selling of it. If the report of the Commission on berry fruits is to be depended upon to save Tasmania, God help the State!
The Commission also reported on the fat lamb and pig industry in Tasmania. It said that the State should be exporting fat lambs. Possibly it should, but I think that it should first supply its own meat requirements. About £100,000 worth of meat is imported into Tasmania every year. The report of the Commission on fat lambs must be considered in the light of the fact that at the freezing works in
New Zealand the average price of lambs is from 12s. to 15s. In a Tasmanian saleyard they realize from 20s. to 30s., and, while those prices are offering, the growers are not likely to send the lambs to freezing works. Until markets have been found for our products the expenditure of large sums upon the employment of scientist’s to teach us how to produce more is a mere waste of money. We already produce more than we can consume or sell. Tasmania this year sent to the United Kingdom 2,250,000 cases of apples and the average price realized would hardly pay the cost of growing the fruit; yet, if the apples were not sent away, the Australian market would be glutted. Notwithstanding the export trade, the local market is very low, and hardly offers a payable price to the grower. The Development and Migration Commission has recommended that Tasmania should be encouraged to grow more strawberries. If the growers follow that advice and extend their planting, the increased crop will be of no advantage, because, unless strawberries can be put on the market fresh, they are worthless.
– Order ! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- I do not desire to delay the committee very long, but I wish to make a few observations in reply to the speech made by the Prime Minister (Mr. Bruce) this afternoon. The right honorable gentleman chided the honorable member for Henty (Mr. Gullett) and other honorable members of his own party, for indulging in generalities. Then he continued for the best part, of an hour with a speech that abounded in generalities. It was one of the best examples of word-spinning that I have ever heard. The right honorable gentleman said that the curtailment of immigration will not solve our unemployment problem, nor would it be solved by reducing our borrowing abroad, or by protection. . He claimed that the only solution is “more production.” I challenge the Prime Minister, the Treasurer (Dr. Earle Page), and any financier in Australia to prove- that money which is borrowed abroad comes into this country in any form other than goods which have to be consumed here.
How can we solve unemployment when we spend all our money in providing employment abroad? I remind the right honorable gentleman that Australia is not the only country suffering from unemployment. It is prevalent throughout the world. It exists to a greater extent in Great Britain than in ‘Australia ; therefore, on the theory of the Prime Minister, Great Britain should be borrowing from Australia, not Australia from Great Britain. We have all heard of the island on which the inhabitants lived by taking in one another’s washing. That is exactly what is being done with the confused economic conditions which prevail throughout the world. The honorable member for Franklin (Mr. Seabrook) said that there was a glut of fruit in Tasmania. A similar glut exists in every fruit-growing district in Australia, and is due to the application of the policy of “ more production,” from which most of our industries are suffering. A few years ago I went down the South Coa3t of New South Wales, and I saw factory after factory with storehouses stocked from floor to ceiling with cheese. They had over-produced. The United States of America is running its factories 24 hours a day in order to produce more and more; Great Britain, Italy, Germany, and France, are all actuated by the same desire, and all have surplus goods which have to be sold in each other’s markets. And so the vicious circle continues. The whole thing is economic suicide, and economic stupidity. If one goes into the great stores and warehouses in our cities he finds in operation bargain sales and other subterfuges of the business man, necessitated by the glut following on “ More production.” Financial institutions are calling up overdrafts and advances in order to reap an advantage from the existing depression. They inflate and deflate at will in order to improve the face value of their stocks. And all the time their stranglehold on industry is becoming greater and greater. Australia must tackle the problem. We cannot compete with other countries of the world as things are. An Australian sovereign is worth five sovereigns in Japan. If a Japanese merchant sends £1,000 worth of goods to Australia, and he receives £1,000 in return, that amount is worth £5,000 in Japan. The whole scheme is artificial, and the Prime Minister (Mr. Bruce) will have to suggest something more economically sound than his parrot cry of “ More production.”
The right honorable gentleman claimed that the Opposition wishes to stop immigration. Our problem will not be solved by encouraging an influx of more and more people to Australia, when we cannot employ our own people. That merely aggravates the position. A higher standard of protection may assist to maintain our economic standard, but it cannot solve the problem of unemployment. Borrowing abroad merely aggravates matters. But if the recommendations of this party were put into effect the result would be of infinitely greater value to the country than the Prime Minister’s theory of “ More production.” Of what are we to produce more? I am confident that “More production” is causing the capitalistic system to totter, and, if it continues, it will destroy that system. The Prime Minister would have us produce more boots, but we are not to wear them. We are asked to produce more butter, but for God’s sake do not let us eat it. We are to produce more clothes, but must first wear our old ones threadbare. Let us take a new slogan, “More consumption, more consumption.” Let us consume the goods that we produce and keep our people working. The Prime Minister says that we must compete in the world’s markets with our coal. There are about 10,000 men too many hewing coal in Australia to-day, and if that surplus number volunteered to hew coal for nothing, we should still be unable to sell our coal. In the Dutch Indies convicts are hewing coal for Id. a day. Little children and women are digging coal in Japan, and in British India, financed by British capital, black women are producing coal for very low rates of pay. Yet the white men of Australia are expected to hew coal and compete with their product on the market of the world. This could not be done, even if our coal miners were paid only 2s. a ton. The Government of South Africa gives a bonus of 8s. 6d. a ton on coal produced in that country, while coal miners receive from 4s. 3d. to 5s. a ton. The bonus is in excess of the wage. Of what use is it, therefore, to advocate that we should increase our production? The wool -and wheat industries are the only ones which can do that to any great degree, and neither of them gives employment to a very large number of men. The sheep require very little attention while the wool is growing on their backs, and it is only in the seeding and harvesting seasons that the farmers need much labour. It is regrettable, in my opinion, that we should produce our wool chiefly to send it abroad to clothe the people of other countries. Many of our own people are unable to afford to buy woollen garments. Similarly thousands of tons of our wheat are shipped overseas while men, women and children in our own land go hungry. If honorable members opposite consider sound economics to be synonymous with larger profits, then I do not believe in their system. A country is not necessarily wealthy because it contains a few millionaires. If wealth were distributed more evenly among the great bulk of the people the country would be better off. Arguments such as those used this evening by the Prime Minister will not be allowed to go unchallenged so long as I remain a member of this Parliament. The right honorable gentleman should not indulge in such superficial surveys of our economic position.
The first problem that we have to face before we can solve our economic difficulties is finance. We have a wonderfully wealthy country; but we need a liquid currency to enable us to develop it. If a man were to sit beside a stream of beautifully clear water dying of thirst, and refusing to drink unless he were given a golden cup, he would be considered insane. Likewise, if a man, seated at a table loaded with wholesome food, refused to eat unless he were given a golden knife and fork, he would be counted mad. It appears to me that the Government may be compared with such persons for it has control of the affairs of a country which is capable of providing a good livelihood for tens of millions more people than it contains at present, yet will not take steps to release its natural wealth. It. prefers to allow the people already here to suffer semistarvation rather than institute the measure of financial reform which is necessary to bring prosperity to the nation. Its policy is stupid and foolish. We should take steps to place our currency on a scientific basis, and to produce for consumption rather than for profit. Then we should win our way to substantial prosperity. Nature gives a ten-fold return to those who woo her properly. . We should be doing all we can to increase our wealth reasonably. I may be told that we must find markets for our produce. But if markets mean profits I disagree with the suggestion. What we should be doing is to re-organize our economic methods to give the people generally a reasonable share of the wealth that they produce.
Motion (by Mr. Bruce) agreed to -
That the House at its rising adjourn until 11 a.m. to-morrow.
.- I move-
That the House do now adjourn.
It is reasonably certain that Captain Kingsford Smith and his companions will visit Canberra on Friday. The arrangements for their reception are not complete, but it is probable that the aviators will be entertained at luncheon at Parliament House.
An alteration has been made necessary in the personnel of the delegation of British business men which is to visit Australia later this year under arrangement between the British and Commonwealth Governments. Sir Harry McGowan, who was to have led the delegation, has been prevented by unforeseen circumstances from coming; and advice has been, received from the British Government that Sir Arthur Duckham, K.C.B., will be the leader of the party. Sir Arthur is particularly well qualified to discharge this duty. He is the chairman of the engineering company which bears his name, and is prominently identified with a number of other modern engineering companies. He is a member of the council of the Federation of British Industries, and during the war was a member of the Munition Council and the Air Council. We are particularly fortunate in obtaining his services.
– Will the Prime Minister inform me whether the delegation will report to the Commonwealth Government or the British Government?
– The object of the delegation is to consult with the Commonwealth and State governments in regard to Australian developmental problems, and also with representatives of our various primary and second industries, with the object of increasing the cooperation between Great Britain and Australia. It is not contemplated that there shall be any written report. Question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at 10.30 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 12 June 1928, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1928/19280612_reps_10_119/>.