House of Representatives
14 May 1930

12th Parliament · 1st Session



Mr. Speaker (Hon. Norman Makin) took the chair at 3 p.m., and offered prayers.

page 1715

PUBLIC WORKS COMMITTEE

Cottages at Canberra.

Mr.LACEY, as chairman, brought up the report of the Public Works Committee, together with minutes of evidence, relating to the proposed erection of cottages at Canberra.

page 1716

QUESTION

REPATRIATION OF COALMINERS

Dr EARLE PAGE:
COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES

– It is reported that the Commonwealth Government proposes to make a grant of £100,000 for the purpose of repatriating Newcastle coal-miners. I desire to know whether the money is to be expended on workby the Commonwealth Government or whether it will be spent through the medium of the State Government ?

Mr SCULLIN:
Minister for External Affairs · YARRA, VICTORIA · ALP

– I ask the right honorable member to postpone his question in order that the Government may later make a full statement on the whole position.

page 1716

QUESTION

EILDON WEIR TO JAMIESON ROAD

Mr JONES:
INDI, VICTORIA

– I direct the attention of the Prime Minister to the following motion agreed to at a meeting of the Thornton Progress Association : -

In view of the federal grant for construction ofEildon Weir-Jamieson-road having been given for work for relief of unemployed, that this meetingstrongly protest against the action of the present contractor in commencing entirely with Southern European labour, and that the attention of the Prime Minister (Mr.Scullin) and the Honorablethe Premier (Mr. Hogan) be directed to the matter by the member for the district, with the request that the arrangements as to unemployed be strictly adhered to in connexion with all contracts on this road.

Will the right honorable gentleman have inquiries made into the matter with a view to taking some action?

Mr SCULLIN:
ALP

– I am not aware of the circumstances referred to. ‘ The Commonwealth Government made certain sums of money available to the States for the purpose of providing relief work for the unemployed. I should be astonished if any of it were being used as suggested in the motion. I will at once communicate with the Premier ofVictoria in connexion with the matter.

page 1716

QUESTION

BRITISH PREFERENCE

Mr FRANCIS:
MORETON, QUEENSLAND

– I have received the following letter, dated the 8th May, from the Ipswich Chamber of Commerce and Industry : -

It is understood that some of the Federal Ministers contemplate visiting England in the near future. Iam directed to ask you if you would approach them with a suggestion from this chamber to advocate greater pre ference from Britain for Australian manufactured goods; also to urge upon those responsible to push the sale of Australian goods in every way possible. Seeing the part we played in the Great War, we feel we are due for greater consideration from Britain than we are obtaining at present, as other countries are receiving preference who did not assist us in anyshape or form.

Will the Prime Minister make representations as suggested while he is in England?

Mr SCULLIN:
ALP

– One of the important subjects to be discussed at the Imperial and Economic Conferences is that of reciprocal trading within the Empire, with particular reference to reciprocal trade between Australia and Great Britain. I assure the honorable gentleman that Australia’s case will be presented as forcibly as we can present it. If chambers of commerce and manufactures or other bodies make any representations on the subject to the Government these will receive every consideration.

page 1716

QUESTION

IMPORTED OLIVE OIL

Mr PRICE:
BOOTHBY, SOUTH AUSTRALIA

– Will the Acting Minister for Trade and Customs inform me whether the Department of Trade and Customs has any laboratories, or other means for testing the purity of foodstuffs and other products? If so, will he cause inquiries to be made to ascertain whether the olive oil imported into Australia is the pure product of the olive? Is the Acting Minister aware that a big business is being done to-day in France in extracting oil from grape seed ? Will he inquire whether this oil is being mixed with olive oil and sent to Australia as pure olive oil?

Mr FORDE:
Assistant Minister assisting the Minister for Customs · CAPRICORNIA, QUEENSLAND · ALP

– The Department of Trade and Customs has two laboratories, one in Sydney and the other in Melbourne, staffed by fully qualified analysts. I will have inquiries made into the subject to which the honorable member has referred.

page 1716

QUESTION

PUBLIC DEBT

Mr GREGORY:
SWAN, WESTERN AUSTRALIA

– Has the attention of the Prime Minister been drawn to the report’ of a speech broadcast by Mr. Chapman, the secretary ofthe Australian

Railways Union, in which he advocated that Australia should repudiate her debts? If such a speech was made, will the Prime Minister take action in regard to it?

Mr SCULLIN:
ALP

– My attention has not been drawn to the report to which the honorable member has referred. I know nothing about it. But I know that no one speaks with authority on the subject of Australia and her debts except the Commonwealth Government, which has declared that Australia will meet her obligations.

page 1717

QUESTION

NEWSPRINT

Mr MACKAY:
LILLEY, QUEENSLAND

– Will the Prime Minister inform me whether the negotiations initiated by the previous Government to encourage the manufacture of newsprint in Australia have been continued, and if so,whether the work is likely to be commenced at an early date?

Mr SCULLIN:
ALP

– Certain negotiations have been going on, but finality has not yet been reached.

page 1717

QUESTION

RELIEF OP THE UNEMPLOYED

Mr CUNNINGHAM:
GWYDIR, NEW SOUTH WALES

– Will the Prime Minister inform me whether any reply has yet been received from the State Governments in connexion with the proposal to make certain defence equipment available for the relief of the unemployed? The right honorable gentleman referred to the subject in the House on the 7th of May.

Mr SCULLIN:
ALP

– Unless a reply has come to hand to-day the Government has not received one.

page 1717

QUESTION

OIL FROM BROWN COAL

Mr PATERSON:
GIPPSLAND, VICTORIA

– I direct the attention of the Acting Minister for Trade and Customs to a report which appeared in the Foster Mirror on the 8th May, in regard to the improved prospects of extracting oil from brown coal. The report began as follows: -

As a result of exhaustive tests over a long period into processes for extracting oil from brown coal, Imperial Chemical Industries (Australasia ) Limited, will begin operations shortly on Victorian brown coal-fields, sub ject to certain tariff concessions being obtained from the Commonwealth Government. This was stated at a meeting in London last Tuesday, of Imperial Chemicals Limited, of which the Australian firm is an offshoot.

Has the Government yet come to a decision with regard to the tariff concessions said to be necessary to induce this company to commence the extraction of oil from Victorian brown coal?

Mr FORDE:
ALP

– A representative of Imperial Chemicals Limited visited Australia and stated that it was the intention of that company to establish a plant in Australia to extract oil from coal. The question was raised whether the Government’s protection policy would be extended to cover the by-products of that industry, and the gentleman was assured that as the protection policy of . the Government was not to benefit only one section of the industry, it would be applied to industry generally. Furthermore he stated that the company expected to be able to produce oil from coal and to make a success of the industry without the assistance of a bounty.

page 1717

QUESTION

DEFENCE RETRENCHMENT

Mr LATHAM:
KOOYONG, VICTORIA

– Does the Minister for Defence propose to introduce a system of rationing employment in the Navy, Army, and Air Forces ; if so, will that system be applied in respect of civilian employees of the Defence Department?

Mr A GREEN:
KALGOORLIE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · ALP; FLP from 1931; ALP from 1936

– That question has not been decided.

page 1717

QUESTION

TARIFF EXPLOITATION

Mr ARCHDALE PARKHILL:
WARRINGAH, NEW SOUTH WALES

– Has the Government been asked to call a conference of Federal and State authorities on the question of profiteering under the tariff; did it refuse to convene such a conference; and, if so, will the Prime Minister state for what reason?

Mr SCULLIN:
ALP

– A suggestion to. that effect was published in a section of the press in Sydney and brought under my notice, but no request has been made to me to call a conference. However, instructions have been given to the Customs Department to appoint investigating officers in every State to sift every charge of profiteering under the tariff.

page 1718

QUESTION

DISTRESS RELIEF GIFTS

Mr CUSACK:
EDEN-MONARO, NEW SOUTH WALES

– With regard to the report that Mr. McNess has offered £10,000 to the Federal .Government for the relief of distress, will the Prime Minister intimate to any citizens desirous of making munificent gifts for that purpose, that such gifts would be welcomed by the Government ?

Mr SCULLIN:
ALP

– There is little need for me to broadcast such an opinion as that. If there are gifts to be made available through this Government or through any other body for the relief of distress in Australia, we shall be glad to accept them.

page 1718

QUESTION

LAND APPEAL BOARD

Mr FRANCIS:

– Is the Minister in a position to state more definitely when the appointment of the Land Appeal Board will be. made by him ; who are to be appointed as chairman and Government representative; and when will the board begin to function?

Mr BLAKELEY:
DARLING, NEW SOUTH WALES

– For some time I have been in negotiation with the Government of New South Wales with a view to having one of its Land Board chairmen made available to act as chairman of the Canberra Land Board. Those negotiations are almost complete, and I hope soon to make an announcement with regard to the chairman of the board, the Government representative and the representative of the rural lessees.

page 1718

QUESTION

TARIFF DISCUSSION

Mr ARCHDALE PARKHILL:

– Can the Prime Minister indicate the approximate date when public business will permit of the tariff schedules being discussed ?

Mr SCULLIN:
ALP

– I cannot give the approximate date. There are’ several urgent bills of which we must first dispose.

page 1718

TUESDAY SITTINGS

Mr SCULLIN:
ALP

– I take this opportunity to announce to honorable members that after, next week we shall recommence holding sittings on Tuesdays. I make the announcement so as to permit honorable members to make their arrangements.

page 1718

QUESTION

AMALGAMATED POSTAL WORKERS UNION

SENIOR Lineman Holley.

Mr LATHAM:

– Will the Postmaster- ‘ General lay on the table of the House or of the Library the papers relating to the action of the Amalgamated Postal Workers Union in fining Senior Lineman Holley £2 for refusing to break Public Service Regulation No. 35 by disclosing official information to the union?

M.r. LYONS. - I have no objection , to laying the papers on the table of the House.

page 1718

QUESTION

CANNING INDUSTRY

Mr HILL:
ECHUCA, VICTORIA

– Some few weeks ago the Minister was good enough to visit Shepparton and to obtain first-hand knowledge of the canning industry in that district. On that occasion certain representations were made to him, and he promised to inquire into the whole matter, and to make representations to Cabinet. Have those representations been made and, if so, with what results?

Mr PARKER MOLONEY:
HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP

– It is true that I visited that district and obtained information, from the cannery and from others employed . in the- industry. I have submitted the whole matter to the Government. The industry is to be afforded relief, .the exact extent of, which I shall make known at an early date.

page 1718

QUESTION

EX-CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE HIGH COURT

Reference in Parliament.

Mr ELDRIDGE:
MARTIN, NEW SOUTH WALES

– It will be remembered that, before the Easter recess, and during my contribution to the discussion on the’ proposed constitutional ‘ amendments, I had’ occasion, to. refer to the exChief Justice of- .the High Court pf Australia. In the course of my remarks .the Prime Minister left the chamber. I think that it was the honorable member for Oxley (Mr. Bayley), who referred to that incident as a protest .against my .views. The newspapers also referred to the incident in similar terms. I ask the Prime Minister to state the facts connected. with his action in leaving ‘the chamber’ on that occasion? 1

Mr SCULLIN:
ALP

– If I were to walk out of the chamber every time that I objected to remarks that were being made I should walk out pretty often, and if on every occasion on which I have to walk out to meet my engagements I were taken to be as protesting against something that was being said, I should always be protesting. As Prime Minister, I have so many calls and deputations that it is difficult for me to remain in the chamber for any considerable length of time. I remember the occasion referred to by the honorable member. My action in walking out of the chamber then had no significance whatever in regard to what he was saying. I had to meet a deputation that was waiting for me in my room.

Mr LATHAM:

– Will the Prime Minister state whether he, in fact, approved of the remarks of the honorable member for Martin (Mr. Eldridge) ?

Question not answered.

page 1719

QUESTION

FEDERAL AID ROADS

Mr CUNNINGHAM:

– Has the Prime. Minister received any reply from the New South Wales Government giving its reason why so much pf the money allocated to it under the Federal Aid Roads scheme remains unexpended ? I raised this question some days ago, and the Prime Minister then expressed the view that perhaps the New South Wales Government could not find the amount necessary to enable it to receive the federal subsidy, but he said that he would make inquiries.

Mr SCULLIN:
ALP

– Immediately, after the honorable -member asked his question I sent a communication to the Premier of New South Wales, but have not yet received a reply from him.

page 1719

QUESTION

WAR PENSIONS

Mr D CAMERON:
BRISBANE. QLD · NAT

asked the Minister for Repatriation, upon notice -

Referring to the questions asked by the honorable member for Brisbane on the 12th December last, regarding ‘the desirability of giving power to the war pensions assessment appeal tribunals to make permanent pension assessments, will he inform the House whatthe present position is in this connexion?

Mr ANSTEY:
Minister for Health · BOURKE, VICTORIA · ALP

– It is not proposed to give the war pensions assessment appeal tribunals power to make permanent pension assessments. The making of pensions permanent is a continuous policy, and is effected in every case where it is reasonable to do so. During last financial year, for instance, the pensions of 1,792 incapacitated soldiers were made permanent. There are many cases where the soldier’s incapacity varies considerably from time to time, and in cases where the degree of incapacity is progressive, it would be unjust to make the pension permanent.

page 1719

QUESTION

POSTAL DEPARTMENT

Principal Officers - Deficits and Surpluses

Mr ELDRIDGE:

asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -

  1. Will he furnish a return showing the name of each of the principal officers of the Postmaster-General’s Department from the inauguration of federation to date, together with the length . of the term of office in each case, and the deficits and surpluses shown in each of such terms of office?
  2. Will he also state the total salary and. allowance paid to each of such officers?
Mr LYONS:
Minister for Works and Railways · WILMOT, TASMANIA · ALP

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -

  1. The name of the permanent headof the department and the length of service are as follow: -

Sir Robert Scott. From 1st March, 1901, to 31st December, 1910 (ten . years.).

Mr. Justinian Oxenham. From 1st January, 1911, to 17th December, 1923 (thirteen years).

Mr. Harry Percy Brown. From 18th December, 1923, to date (six years).

Profit and loss accounts have only been prepared by the department from 1912-13 onwards. Information regarding the deficits and surpluses in the accounts were furnished to the honorable member in reply to his question on the 30th April, 1930. 2s The following are particulars qf the total salary and allowances paid: -

Sir Robert. Scott. ? 1,000 per annum.

Mr. Oxenham. ?1,000 pev annum at date of appointment. On . 1st July, 1918, a w.ar bonus of ?150 per annumwas granted to meet the increased cost of living; this was subsequently merged into salary, making a total salary of ?1,150 per annum.

Mr. Brown. ?2,500 per annum at date of appointment. An allowance of ?500 per annum was granted as chairman of the Wireless Broadcasting Advisory Committee from 12th September, 1928, to 31st December, 1928. ?4,000 per annum from 1st January, 1929.

page 1720

QUESTION

MIGRATION

Mr KEANE:
BENDIGO, VICTORIA

asked the Minister for Home Affairs, upon notice -

How many migrants, other than British, were admitted to Australia during the past six years, and what were the nationalities and numbers of each group?

Mr BLAKELEY:

– Figures showing the total arrival of aliens, and also the net migration, i.e., the excess of arrivals over departures, are contained in the attached statement, which is necessarily in tabulated form -

page 1721

QUESTION

UNEMPLOYED AT DARWIN

Mr WHITE:
BALACLAVA, VICTORIA

asked the Minister for Home Affairs, upon notice -

Whether he will explain fully what concessions were made by the Government to the unemployed who recently demonstrated at Darwin ?

Mr BLAKELEY:

– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows : -

For some time past, those of the unemployed in Darwin who were destitute have been supplied with rations by the Administration, at a cost of £1 per week. As funds could not be made available to provide relief works for the unemployed, the Government decided to place those of the unemployed who so desire on the land growing peanuts. The offer made by the Government was as follows: -

Land to be made available on the Daly River and at Katherine. The payment of rent of land to be deferred until such time as the growers become established.

Seed peanuts to be supplied to the men.

A sustenance allowance of £1 10s. per week to bc paid until the first crop has been produced and sold.

Any agricultural machinery in the possession of the Administration or of the North Australia Commission to be made available on loan.

The scheme is definitely limited to the unemployed at present in Darwin, and will not be extended to new-comers. To date, 33 men have indicated their willingness to accept this offer.

Mr FRANCIS:

asked the Minister for Home Affairs, upon notice -

  1. What was the number of unemployed persons who were assisted to leave Darwin since October last, and come south at a cost of £21 each, as stated by the Minister in this Bouse on the 22nd November last?
  2. What is the total amount involved?
  3. To which of the States did these persons go?
  4. Has work been found for men so “ deported” from Darwin; or North and Central Australia ?
  5. Are unemployed men still being so “deported”?
Mr BLAKELEY:

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow: -

  1. Forty-one. 2.£585 14s.
  2. Queensland, 10; Victoria, 21; New South Wales, 3; Western Australia, 7.
  3. I am not aware whether the men found work in the various States to which they went.
  4. The above men were not “deported.” They asked to be provided with passages south, and their requests wore granted. The practice of granting passages south to unemployed in North Australia when required has been in existence for some years. No assisted passages are being provided at present.

page 1721

QUESTION

GOVERNOR-GENERAL’ S OFFICE

Expenditure

Mr KEANE:

asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -

  1. Will he supply details of the expenditure of £4,476, travelling expenses, &c, in connexion with the office of Governor-General for the year ending 30th June, 1920?
  2. What was the total expenditure on the office of Governor-General during the past six years, and what were the details for each service?
Mr SCULLIN:
ALP

– The total expenditure on the office of Governor-General during the past six years was £177,598. The following are the details of the various services : -

page 1722

QUESTION

TARIFF

Effect on Machinery Prices - Alteration of Embargoes.

Mr GREGORY:

asked, the Acting Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -

  1. Is it a fact that a Western Australian road board, through the Minister for Defence, drew the attention of the Minister to the excessive duty, charged on a cylinder block for a Fordson tractor, the list price of this article being increased on account of the duty from £24 10s. to £35 12s.
  2. fs it a fact that upon these representations being placed before the Minister it was found that the whole increase over the list price was wholly due to the increased duties, and. that the duty was suspended or refunded?
Mr FORDE:
ALP

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow: -

  1. Yes.
  2. No. It was decided to admit under bylaw generally parts of engines for tractors, excepting parts specifically provided for in the tariff.
Dr EARLE PAGE:

asked the Acting Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -

  1. What exemptions have been made in the schedule of tariff embargoes since that schedule was announced in the House?
  2. What were the reasons for such exemptions 1
  3. On what date did these exemptions become operative?
  4. In any future alterations to the schedule of embargoes, will the Minister, make a public Statement in the House indicating what these exemptions are, the reasons therefor, and the date of operation, in the same manner as the announcement regarding the original schedule was made?
Mr FORDE:

– The answers to the right . honorable member’s questions are as follow : -

  1. and 2. There have been no alterations in the schedule itself. This is in the form of a proclamation, and could only bc altered by the Governor-General in Council. The prohibition of importation applies to the goods- specified unless the consent of the Minister has first been obtained. The right honorable the Prime Minister stated in this House that the Government would be prepared to give fair and sympathetic consideration to any case in which it ‘ could be shown that unnecessary hardship would be -inflicted. Such a schedule necessarily involves instances in which it is not in the interests of the community rigidly to enforce the prohibition in its entirety. To meet those cases permission to import goods covered by the proclamation has been given in the cases set out in the statement appended. The items speak for themselves, and, in general, they represent restricted classes of goods within the prohibited -range, which are rerequired by the community and are not made in Australia, or rationings on the principle laid down when the proclamation was announced to the House.
  2. The consent given operates in each case from the date of importation of the goods affected.
  3. There, is no objection to bringing before the House at a later date a supplementary statement of any further exemptions that may be found necessary, and this will be done.

Statement. .

Goods admissible under by-law.- 1 (Goods are admitted under by-law either because they are raw materials or are not procurable here and are essential.)

Goods being the produce or manufacture of Papua, New Guinea, Norfolk Island, and New Zealand, which are imported direct from such Territories or Dominion.

Goods representing a rationing of 50 per cent. of importations for previous twelve months of -

Ale and other beer, porter, cider, and Perry, spirituous.

Potable spirits.

Perfumed spirit and bay rum.

Wines, including unfermented grape wine.

Vermouth.

Manufactured tobacco.

Cigarettes.

Cigars.

Snuff.

Matches and vestas, including book matches.

Locomotives.

Rivets, copper.

Rivets, bifurcated.

Nails, horseshoe.

Saddlers’ nails.

Soy.

Any goods imported by parcels post being bona fide presents, and not importedfor sale and not exceeding a total value of £5.

Passengers’ personal effects and passengers’ furniture and household goods admissible under Tariff Item 409.

Seed, canary - two-thirds of importations for year ended 31st March, 1930, provided imported prior to 1st December, 1930.

Chaffcutters , and horse gears.

Goods concerning which satisfactory evidence is produced to Collector that such goods were actually despatched from factory of overseas manufacturer or supplier prior to 4th April, 1930, for shipment to Australia.

Goods imported for export provided entered for warehousing and entry endorsed “ For export only.”

Bolts, nuts, rivets, and engineers’ set screws of a class or kind not commercially manufactured in Australia, and which arc imported for repair or maintenance purposes, provided satisfactory evidence produced to Collector that such goods are not commercially manufactured in Australia.

Bolts and nuts which are imported as spare parts of any machine or appliance, provided imported with machine or appliance of which they are spare parts.

Hollow brass rivets.

Sago powder. (For infants’ and invalids’ food. )

Goods imported by the Commonwealth Government.

Goods imported by Consuls.

Motor cycle batteries. (Not made in Australia.)

Sugarless jams and jellies, and sugarless cocoa and chocolate. (For diabetic patients.) Wine finings.

Samples of confectionery imported by confectionery manufacturers, provided strictly samples, and only one sample of each line. (Manufacturers require these samples in order to keep in touch with new lines produced abroad, also packing methods.)

Ships’ stores which are not actually landed in the Commonwealth.

Goods essentially for Chinese use of a kind not made in Australia, if bona fide for Chinese residents.

Canned corn (Canadian) and canned beans (bearing labels for Australian market and ready for shipment.)

Electric ranges. (Wired to Australian voltages. Electricity Commission will arrange manufactureafter these importations.) .

Gas ranges and grillers (three only) (special orders’) .

Electric locomotives (six only), and iron pipes (small quantity). - Portion of large order for large low-grade ore mine. Paid for in London by English capital.

Mild steel channels, of a size not manufactured in Australia (20 only).

Malted milk, Horlick’s (Suitable for infants) - 50 per cent. of previous importations.

Pastilles, medicated (Allen & Hanbury and Evans, Lescher & Webb) - 25 per cent. of previous importations.

Rusks, diabetic (Allen& Hanbury) - 25 per cent. of previous importations.

Potato starch - 27 tons only. (Raw material not obtainable here.)

Tragantine - 5 tons only. (For manufacturing purposes.)

Dry cells, balance of contract for Postal Department. (Manufactured to special specification and branded “ Commonwealth of Australia.” )

page 1723

QUESTION

WAR DEBT

Interest - Reparations Payments

Mr LEWIS:
CORIO, VICTORIA

asked the Treasurer, upon notice -

  1. What is the total amount of the interest paid up to 31st December last onAustralia’s war debt?
  2. What is the amount paid in pensions in respect of war services?
  3. What is the amount received from Germany in reparation payments?
Mr THEODORE:
Treasurer · DALLEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -

  1. £206,922,856.
  2. £84,917,209.
  3. £3,892,427.

page 1723

QUESTION

WHEAT PRODUCTION

Prices of Wheat,flour and Bread.

Mr PRICE:

asked the Minister for Markets, upon notice -

Is he in a position to furnish the following particulars in connexion with the wheatgrowing States of the Commonwealth for each of the last ten years:- (a) The average price of wheat; (b) the average price of flour; and (a) the price of bread per 2 lb. loaf?

Mr PARKER MOLONEY:
HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP

– The desired information is being obtained.

page 1724

UNEMPLOYMENT STATISTICS

Mr SCULLIN:
ALP

– On the 1st May the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Gullet) asked me whether I would consider the practicability of publishing unemployment statistics monthly instead of quarterly.

I have obtained a report from the Commonwealth Statistician who advises that the methods of collection available do not render the variation suggested practicable. He states that this matter has had the serious consideration of the Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics over a long period, and that it was considered at the conference of the Government Statisticians of Australia and New Zealand, held in Hobart in January, 1928, at which it was resolved that, with the existing organization for the collection of data for the compilation of statistics of unemployment, it is undesirable that such collections shall take place more frequently than quarterly.

Mr. Wickens adds that the matter of unemployment statistics has been listed for further consideration at the conference of Statisticians to be held in Brisbane this month.

page 1724

QUESTION

FEDERAL CAPITAL

Saleyard Charges - Rural Lessees’ Rents

Mr BLAKELEY:

– On the 8th May the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Francis) asked me, upon notice, certain questions relating to the sale of sheep through the Government saleyards in Canberra.

I now desire to furnish the following answers to the honorable member’s questions : -

  1. Yes.
  2. No. The yard dues received from the first sale were not sufficient to cover interest charges per annum on the capital sum expended, quite apart from the necessity to provide for maintenance, sinking fund and administration.
  3. Yes.
  4. Yes. The request of the Lessees Association was refused after careful consideration had been given to the charges fixed by the authorities at the municipal saleyards at Cooma and Goulburn, and also the privately-owned sale-yards at other adjacent centres.
  5. £659 3s. l1d., excluding cost of cubicles provided for auctioneers’ office accommodation. 6. (a) £24 10s.1d. ; (ft) £10 10s. 2d.

On the 9th May the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Francis) asked me the following questions: -

  1. How many rural lessees in the Federal Capital Territory failed to pay their January instalment of rent at the due date?
  2. How many of them asked for an extension of time to pay it; how many were granted time to pay?
  3. How many still owe the January instalment of rent or some part of it?

I am now in a position to advise him as follows : -

  1. (a) 57; (b) 54.

3.68.

page 1724

QUESTION

TELEPHONE PARTY-LINE SYSTEM

Collection of Accounts

Mr LYONS:
ALP

– On the 9th May the honorable member for Wimmera (Mr. Stewart) addressed to me the following questions, upon notice -

  1. Whether it is a fact that the policy of making one member of a party telephone line in country centres responsible for the collection and payment of the accounts of all other subscribers to such line is the cause of widespread dissatisfaction?
  2. Will he give consideration to the abandonment of this policy and the substitution therefor of one in which the department will collect its own accounts from individual subscribers on party telephone lines?

I am now in a position to inform the honorable member as follows: -

  1. There is no evidence of general dissatisfaction with the policy, which appears to meet the wishes of the majority of the telephone subscribers affected.
  2. The practice applies only to party lines in country districts which are wholly or partly erected and maintained by the subscribers concerned. The rendering of independent accounts was tried and abandoned owing to the difficulty in effecting the necessary apportionment amongst the subscribers. The extent of the payment to be made by one subscriber for the right to use a portion of the plant provided by another, or by the department for another subscriber, is naturally a matter for settlement between those interested. The subject has been carefully reviewed, but I am satisfied it will not be in the best interests of the parties concerned to make any change.

page 1724

QUESTION

WINE INDUSTRY

Excise Duty Remitted

Mr FORDE:
ALP

– On the 1st May, the honorable member for Wakefield (Mr. Hawker) asked the following questions, upon notice -

  1. What is the estimated amount of excise duty remitted to wine-makers by the decision of the Government not to collect the recent 5s. increase in excise upon wine at presentheld in bond of vintages prior to 1930?
  2. How many wine-makers thereby received a concession exceeding £25,000 in value?
  3. How many wine-makers received a concession exceeding £10,000 in value?

I am now able to furnish the honorable member with the following information : -

  1. £239.098.
  2. Three.
  3. Two.

page 1725

QUESTION

PRICE OF YARNS

Mr FORDE:
ALP

– On the 2nd May the honorable member for Melbourne (Dr. Maloney) asked the following questions, upon notice -

  1. What was, the price per pound of the various kinds of yarn used for knitting jersey cloth before the last tariff alteration?
  2. What are the prices charged to-day?
  3. Has the Government arranged for an expert customs officer to inspect the books of manufacturers in order to see if the prices charged have been raised, whenever allegations are made that prices have been unduly raised ?

I am now able to furnish the honorable member with the following information : -

  1. and 2. The following information has been obtained regarding prices in Victoria. Prices charged per lb. before last tariff alteration and prices charged at the present time for woollen yarns used for knitting jersey cloth: -

Inquiry in Now South Wales shows that mule spun yarns are the kind usually used for knitting jersey cloth and that the prices of such yarns have dropped approximately 9d. per lb. since October, 1929. A typical example is that while the price of (64’s quality 24’s count in October, 1929, was 5s.10d. per lb. net the present price is 5s.1d. per lb. net.

  1. Any allegations that priceshave been unduly raised will be carefully inquired into.

page 1725

PAPERS

The following papers were presented : -

Development and Migration Bill (1930) - Copies of Agreements specified in the Schedule of the Bill.

Audit Act - Transfers of amounts approved by the Governor-General in Council - Financial year, 1929-30 - Dated 2nd May, 1930.

Judiciary Act and High Court Procedure Act - Rules of Court- Rules re Sittings - Dated 28th April, 1930.

Post and Telegraph Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1930, Nos. 41, 42.

Public Service Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1930, No. 44.

page 1725

FEDERAL CAPITAL

Public Baths

Mr BLAKELEY:
Minister for Home Affairs · Darling

– I move-

That, in accordance with the provisions of the Commonwealth Public Works Committee Act, 1913-21, the following proposed work, which was referred to and reported upon by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works, be proceeded with, viz.: - The proposed erection of public baths at Canberra.

The establishment of these baths will fill a long felt want in Canberra. It is proposed that they shall be 100 feet long and 40 feet wide, with a depth ranging from 3 feet 6 inches at the shallow end to 9 feet at the deep end. The basin is to be lined with white tiles, and black tiles are to be used for the provision of subdivisional lines for racing and other purposes.

Mr Archdale Parkhill:

– Are white tiles available?

Mr BLAKELEY:

– The Acting Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. Forde) is inquiring into that matter. If white tiles cannot be obtained, I believe that it will be possible to procure tiles of some other colour that are manufactured in Australia, or the opal glazed tiles which also are manufactured locally and are placed upon the market at a very reasonable price. The Public Works

Committee had placed before it a number of other propositions, but both it and the Government considered that in the. existing circumstances they were altogether too extravagant. One scheme provided for the building of a rather elaborate structure, with a covered-in pool and provision for the heating of the water. It would have been a somewhat magnificent enterprise, and would have cost upwards of £30,000. .

Mr Lacey:

– It also included submarine lighting.

Mr BLAKELEY:

– As I am reminded by the Chairman of the Public Works Committee (Mr.- Lacey) provision was made for submarine lighting also. There will be ample dressing accommodation for both sexes. One of the chief reasons why the Government proposes to go ahead with the construction of swimming baths in Canberra is that the only available swimming facilities near the city are provided by the Molonglo River, which, from time to time, becomes contaminated during flood, and on two occasions residents were warned by the health authorities against swimming in it. At present there is no place in Can.berra where children can be taught to swim, with the result that most of them are growing up in ignorance of the art. If for no other reason than that, ‘ it is desirable that swimming facilities should be provided here.

Mr Latham:

– Will the Minister say where the baths are to be constructed?

Mr BLAKELEY:

– They will be in the vicinity of the Telopea Park school. The site is screened by trees.

Dr EARLE PAGE:
Cowper

.- I think that honorable members should have an opportunity of considering this proposal in relation to other works which have been recommended by the Public Works committee, and for that reason I ask the Minister to postpone consideration of the matter, if only for a day.

Mr Blakeley:

– We cannot agree to that. We have already considered a proposal for postponement.

Dr EARLE PAGE:

– Then I consider that the House has a right to ask for fuller information, not only in relation to this proposal, but regarding the whole public works programme. Everybody recognizes that there is an acute shortage of money for public purposes, and many will take the view that it is not desirable that this work which, after all, will provide only a convenience for leisure hours, should take precedence over what are urgent matters in other parts of Australia. Since the proposal was first made to erect swimming baths in Canberra the whole situation in regard to providing money for public works, whether out of revenue or loan, has undergone a change, and it is now only right that the House should have an opportunity of exercising its judgment as to which works should be undertaken with the limited amount of money available.

Dr MALONEY:
MELBOURNE, VICTORIA · ALP; FLP from 1931; ALP from 1936

.- I compliment the Minister upon his proposal to, erect swimming, baths in Canberra. Has his attention, ever been drawn to the advantages of the chlorination of the water used in swimming baths? Recently new swimming baths were opened in Footscray, Melbourne, and chlorination of the water supply is a feature of them. During the visit of Dr. Truby King to Melbourne he demonstrated his faith in the efficacy of this method of treatment by drinking a tumblerful of water taken from the pool. I hope, further, that white tiles will be used to line the baths, and that a system of illumination underneath the water will be> adopted. This is the system in operation in the Footscray baths, and I have never seen anywhere a more charming effect.

Mr MACKAY:
Lilley

.- The proposal to erect public swimming baths in Canberra was first made some years ago, and the Minister for Home Affairs, then seated in opposition, was a most enthusiastic supporter of it. I am surprised,, however, that the Government should attempt to carry out this work at the present time. Probably within a few weeks the Treasurer will bring down proposals for increased taxation; the Postmaster-General is short of funds for providing much-needed telephone extensions and increased postal facilities; yet the Government, apparently without giving the matter any real thought, brings down a proposal to spend £10,000 on a work which, however desirable, cannot be regarded as necessary or urgent. Most visitors to Can- berra, after viewing the splendid city which has been built at a cost of so many millions of pounds, think that those who live here are doing pretty well as things are, and a government which proposes to spend £10,000 on the provision of public swimming baths here in- existing circumstances cannot escape the charge of extravagance. The Minister said that the Molonglo was a polluted stream - probably in flood times it becomes discolored, but there are, nevertheless, many good “swimming holes in it. I protest against the expenditure of this money on what is not an urgent work.

Mr WATKINS:
Newcastle

.- I hope that the Minister will proceed with this undertaking. I agree that we need to practise economy at the present time, and I also agree that we need money for telephones and other desirable works; but I do not think that is a sufficient reason for refusing to provide the people of Canberra with the swimming facilities so greatly needed. Those persons who are fortunate . enough to reside on the sea coast have sea beaches at their disposal, and even there swimming baths ure built for them. I am surprised that honorable members who spend most of their time amid the comforts of coastal cities should cavil .at the spending of £10,000 to provide reasonable swimming facilities for the people compelled to live in Canberra. The matter is too paltry to be discussed, in a national parliament.

Mr NAIRN:
Perth

– I also protest against the Minister’s proposal to go on with this work at the present time. A feature of the Labour party’s last election campaign was that if the party were returned to power there would be no expenditure on public works that were not of a reproductive character. The proposed baths will not be reproductive, and if we may judge by the results of other expenditure incurred at Canberra, we may anticipate that they will show a substantial loss; in fact it is doubtful whether they will pay the wages of the attendants. . I recognize that a convenience of this kind would be much appreciated by the people of Canberra, but throughout Australia are larger towns in drier areas which are in more, urgent need of public baths; such baths as exist elsewhere are provided from the pockets of the citizens, who have co be content with facilities that are within their own means. The proposal now before the House has not even the merit of conforming to the original plan of Canberra ; it is altogether too costly for present requirements, and yet is not part of the permanent scheme. I do not object to the residents of Canberra ‘ having baths, but they should not be given any more privileges at the expense Qf the general taxpayer. At the 30th June last, the capital expenditure on Canberra was £11,400,000; on which the interest is £365,000 per annum. In other . words the taxpayers of the Commonwealth are paying £1,000 a day in interest on this white elephant.’ During the last election campaign, Labour candidates were loud in their denunciation of the extravagance that h’as occurred at- Canberra. I agree with their criticism, and I, and many other honorable members, believe that it is not too late to shut down this artificial city. I hope that some of us will, have the courage to put such a proposal -fairly and squarely before the people. ‘No more tragic error has occurred iti ‘Australian public affairs than the establishment , of the Federal Capital at Canberra. If’ the financial condition of the Commonwealth does not permit of the provision of baths that conform to the standard laid’ down by the designer of the city, and yet baths must be provided, let us provide merely for present needs. I suggest that this matter be referred back to the Public Works Committee, with a view to obtaining a recommendation more in accordance with what, the Commonwealth can afford at the present time.

Mr CROUCH:
Corangamite

– This is the first occasion on which I have spoken in the House on any matter relating to Canberra. My only object in rising is to assure the right honorable member for Cowper (Dr. Earle Page) that if - he will move that the Seat of Government be removed to a place where baths are already available, I shall support him.

Mr PATERSON:
Gippsland

. -There is a good deal in the argument of the honorable member for Perth (Mr. Nairn), that other communities which desire conveniences like, public swimming baths, have to provide them by funds contributed by their own citizens. Most of the expense in connexion with the establishment of the Federal Capital at Canberra has been borne by the nation, but it is questionable whether the provision of swimming baths is a national obligation. I assume that before long Canberra will be controlled by a municipal body, and this proposal might well be deferred for its consideration. I strongly urge the Minister to postpone this motion, at any rate, until honorable members have had an opportunity to study the report of the Public Works Committee.

Mr LACEY:
Grey

.- Apparently the honorable members of the Opposition are animated by the idea that the duty of an Opposition is to oppose, regardless of the merits of any proposal submitted by the Government to the House. I have, at times, questioned the wisdom of expending large sums of money in Canberra, but what has been done cannot be undone. Nearly £12,000,000 has been expended in the establishment of a federal city here, and if a motion that Canberra be scrapped were seriously submitted, honorable members would be bound to give due weight to that fact, irrespective of their views regarding the wisdom of ever having embarked on the enterprise.

In connexion with the matter now before the House, substantial economy has already been effected. The first proposal submitted to the committee involved an expenditure of £23,000. Although the Government is not obliged to refer to the committee proposals involving an expenditure of less than £25,000, the Ministry evidently thought it advisable to have this project investigated. After taking considerable evidence, the committee recommended the provision of baths, better than were first proposed, and yet to cost £13,000 less. A large proportion of the people in Canberra are compelled to live here, and they have been transferred from capital cities where they enjoyed, as well as sea bathing, public baths established by municipal councils. Canberra has a growing population, and it is high time that swimming facilities were provided for its children.

In this connexion 1 quote the following extract from the evidence of the headmaster of one of the public schools here -

We have about 180 children over the age of eight years at the Ainslie school, and only twelve of them, seven boys and live girls, can swim. The total number in attendance is 250. and I believe that practically the whole of the children would attend the baths for instructional purposes. Last year the department proposed to hold a swimming school in the Molonglo river, but owing to the state of the stream the arrangements were cancelled. About 90 per cent. of the children were then anxious to learn to swim.

The committee gave special consideration to this subject from the point of view of the school children. It was principally in their interests that it recommended that the depth of water at the shallow end of the baths should be 3 ft. 6 in.

Provision is made in the scheme recommended by the committee for the chlorina tion and filtration of the water, as suggested by the honorable member for Melbourne (Dr. Maloney). It wouldbe ridiculous to refer the matter back to the Works Committee, for it has made a thorough investigation into the subject. It could only recommend again after another inquiry what it now recommends. The committee visited very many public baths throughout Australia.

Mr.Mackay. - Could not a bathsbe built for half the proposed expenditure?

Mr LACEY:

– It would not be possible to do anything worth while with an expenditure of £5,000. The committee is of the opinion that £10,000 must be expended in order barely to meet the reasonable requirements of the case. The report of the committee gives details of the cost of many public baths which were inspected, and I invite honorable members to compare those costs with the expenditure now proposed to be incurred. The Malvern baths were perhaps the best that we inspected, and it will be possible with the expenditure of additional money subsequently to make the proposed Canberra baths equal to them.

I have often urged the Government to expend more money in country centres and less in cities, but after a very careful inquiry I am convinced that this proposed expenditure is thoroughly warranted. The baths it is proposed to construct here will not meet all the needs of the case; in the course of time, when the financial stringency has eased somewhat, baths will be required in other parts of Canberra. The committee favoured the site now proposed because it was close to the largest public school here, and would provide swimming facilities for a greater number than would baths constructed on any other site.

I hope that the Minister will not heed the request of the right honorable member for Cowper (Dr. Earle Page) to postpone further consideration of this subject. The report of the committee was ordered to be printed on the 10th April, and honorable members have had ample time to consider it. I trust that this work will .be pushed on, for it will provide not only much-needed swimming facilities for the population of Canberra, but also work for some of the unemployed.

Mr ARCHDALE PARKHILL:
Warringah

– The main consideration in connexion with this subject should hu whether the proposed work is urgent. I can see nothing urgent about it. It is idle to say that Canberra is in any worse position in regard to swimming facilities than ma.ny inland towns in Australia. As a matter of fact, it is better off, because of the rivers which flow through the Federal Capital Territory.

Mr Cusack:

– If the people wanted ro swim in the rivers where would they undress?

Mr ARCHDALE PARKHILL:

– Dressing sheds could be provided at an expenditure very much below £10,000. That is not an insuperable difficulty. The Minister said that the Molonglo river had been declared to be unsuitable for swimming purposes, but he qualified his statement by saying that the examination of it was made after a flood. In my opinion the rivers in this locality are admirably suited by their purity and other qualities for swimming.

It was reported in the press to-day that the public accounts for the first nine months of this financial year show a deficit of more than £3,000,000. Iii these circumstances we should scrutinize very carefully every proposal to expend public money, and only the most urgent work should be put in hand. It waa at first proposed to construct the baths at Canberra at an expenditure of £23,000.

The cost of upkeep was estimated to be between £2,000 and £3,000 per annum! It appears that after a considerable amount of evidence was submitted to the committee, Mr. Murdoch, formerly Commonwealth Director-General of Works, was asked whether a baths could be built for £10,000. His answer was in the affirmative, and the committee thereupon recommended that a baths to cost that amount should be constructed. No details have been given in the report of the manner in which the expenditure is to be incurred. It seems to me that as most of the work will be done by tilers and concrete workers, not much employment will be given to unskilled labourers.

Mr Lacey:

– The .honorable member is misrepresenting the ease.

Mr ARCHDALE PARKHILL:

– If that is so, a member of the Works Committee will have an opportunity later to correct’ me. The report of the committee is entirely unconvincing. We have been given no information as to the number of persons who will use the baths, nor of the annual cost of maintaining them. It seems to me that at least these salient points should have been considered by the committee. All that the committee has said is vague. Its report might be paraphrased in this way - “It is estimated that baths of a certain type will cost £23,000 and that the upkeep will cost between £2,000 and £3,000 annually. We will not recommend such a large expenditure. We will recommend a project to cost £10,000. It does not matter what the upkeep and other details are. These are minor considerations.”

It has not been shown that the people of Canberra want these baths, which will be merely another expensive ornament to this city. Seeing that the swimming pool will be only 100 feet by 30 feet it will be merely a toy baths. In addition to that, the baths will be far away from the main centres of population, so that the people will not have reasonable access to them. It will take the people who do not own motor cars a day’s travelling to get to the baths and get back to their homes again. All that the Minister has told us is that white tiles will be used. He added that if a sufficient number of white tiles was not available cream tiles would be obtained. If necessary, he said, a line of red tiles would be put around the centre of the pool with perhaps some pink ones lower down. He also observed that it was at first thought that lights might be installed at the bottom of the pool, but that was not now proposed. The whole proposition has no substance in it and I hope that it will not be persevered with.

Mr CUSACK:
Monaro · Eden

.- I am surprised that the Opposition is against the construction of a baths in this city, for it is a necessary adjunct to every >city. To my mind it is a reflexion upon the Government that our capital city is still without a public baths. If a party of international swimmers came to Australia we could not hold a carnival in Canberra because we have no baths. “ That would surely give such visitors the impression that’ politics is a dirty game. “ To swim, or not to swim,” or perhaps I should put it “ to wash, or not “to wash”, is the question. Apparently the members’ of the Opposition do not want to swim or to wash. It is a reflection and a stigma upon this Parliament that it has not provided a public baths for the’ capital’ city of the nation, which now has a population of more than S,000 people, many of whom are children. I. understood that it was not the function of the Public “Works Committee’ to deal with proposals for ‘the expenditure of such small sums as £10,000.

Mr Lacey:

– The Public Works Committee was considering a proposal to cost £30,000, but it recommended an alternative proposal to cost only £10,000.

Mr CUSACK:

– Yet the Opposition wants the committee to make a further inquiry. It is an absurd suggestion. For the honour of Australia we should bring this national city up to date, particularly in regard to bathing facilities. The Cotter water is available for these baths, which, when constructed, may be used for the purification of politicians and others. If we have clean bodies we shall have clean minds. Those who cannot swim should learn to swim. A politician should have a knowledge of water as well as of land, because at some future date he may be called upon to join the Navy. The Opposition has said that a swimming baths should be constructed at Canberra only when this city is administered as a municipality. That is a remote possibility because the Federal Capital has been established by the nation, lt is not like the ordinary city which depends for its development on its own resources. The national exchequer stands behind Canberra. We have expended £12,000,000 in its development and we should be failing in our duty if we did not make provision for a swimming baths . at the Federal Capital. I hope that this proposal will be accepted without further objection by honorable members opposite.

Mr FRANCIS:
Moreton

– I am one of those who believe ‘in Canberra, and I am glad indeed that we have a national capital; but at this stage economy -should be exercised in regard to the provision, of further facilities.- The people of Canberra are very f fortunate ; They have a splendid water supply from .’the Cotter river. In addition they are able to swim in the beautiful Molonglo river, -many parts of which were improved under the previous administration. There is, therefore, no urgent need to construct a swimming baths at Canberra, particularly during this time, of depression and financial stringency. Almost every request made by honorable members to the Government for new works in their electorates is being refused on the score of economy. It is absolutely futile to approach the Post and Telegraph Department in respect of alterations or facilities, because even the most sympathetic officials of the department find themselves unable to accede to any request for the want of funds. Yet the Government is providing money for the construction of a work that is certainly not urgent. I do not believe that the people of Canberra themselves are asking for this facility at a time like this, when unemployment is rife throughout the country, and there is urgent need for the construction of reproductive works. I have perused the report of the Public Works Committee on this proposal, and I find that it contains few details. According to that report the proposal was to construct in Canberra swimming baths estimated to cost £23,000, and I defy the chairman or any member of that committee to point to any details in the report concerning a proposal at a cost of £10,000. This, project should be .deferred, or referred back to the Public Works Committee with instructions to furnish this Parliament with proper details, as it is required to do under the provisions of the Commonwealth Public Works Committee Act. I have read most of the reports submitted by the Public Works Committee, and with the exception of this report they have been model reports.

Mr Blakeley:

– It is very evident that the honorable member is not now a member of that committee.

Mr FRANCIS:

– I am at a loss to understand why this report should have been furnished to Parliament without any particulars with respect to the proposed expenditure of £10,000. I urge the Government to re-consider its decision to construct swimming baths at Canberra at this time of great national emergency.

Mr CURTIN:
Fremantle

.–It is true that the report does riot contain details of the scheme, but if the honorable member for Moreton . examines the type of baths which the committee has recommended and compares ‘ the estimate for that proposal with the estimate of £23,000, he will find that the difference in the estimates is due to a radical modification of the original proposal.

Mr Francis:

– Then there is all the more reason why the details should be included in the report.

Mr CURTIN:

– It was not so long ago that parliamentary committees were urged to prune their reports as much as possible in order to reduce the cost of printing. I can see in the report adequate information as to why baths of the- type and size recommended should cost less than the original proposal, under which the batb.9 were to be covered and the water heated. The present proposal provides for smaller baths, and these are to be uncovered, and without heating appliances. By cutting out those details the committee was able to submit a bedrock estimate of £10,000. It is all very well for honorable members like the honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Parkhill) who come from places where bathing facilities are available, not only to themselves, but to their children, to oppose this proposal. I have yet to learn that any educational curriculum of this country, that does not provide facilities for tuition in swimming, is to be regarded as satisfactory. We have cookery classes established by the nation in connexion with the educational department of the Capital City. We have technical education facilities, .carpenters? benches and an engineering shop established at the Telopea Park School as part of the educational system chargeable /to this nation. The parents of the children of Canberra have no selective opportunity. They have been compelled, in carrying out their duty to the Public Service of this country, to come, to Canberra, and therefore they are in a position entirely different from that of the ordinary citizen, who ha.3 selected the locality in which he happens to live. The great majority of the public servants have been conscripted and forced to reside in Canberra. Therefore their children, have equal rights with the children residing in any other up-to-date city of Australia.

While it is true that at hundreds of places throughout Australia swimming baths have been provided by municipal authorities as distinct from the nation, ,the fact remains that, because of national policy, there is no municipal authority at Canberra. This Parliament has, therefore, to take responsibility for that position. We have not yet granted municipal status to the people of Canberra. It is absurd for us’ to ask them to provide their own swimming baths, especially when there is no administrative authority under which they could raise and expend the necessary money. The committee, in recommending the construction of a swimming baths at this stage, took into consideration the needs of the children. It was not neglectful of the financial’ situation of Australia generally: but it felt that an expenditure of £10,000 to enable more than 1,000 children to be given facilities for swimming would be more than justified. It was ascertained in -evidence that only about 3 per cent, of the children attending primary schools in the Capital City are able to swim. This is the national centre of Australia, and until swimming facilities are provided we shall be affronted with the outrage that only 3 per cent, of the children living here are able to swim or have, opportunities to learn to swim. There is an obligation on this Parliament . to remedy that disability at once. It is just as important that Canberra children should learn to swim as it is that the boys should learn to use a plane, or the girls to cook.

The honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Francis) has said that we should not incur this expenditure at this stage. I submit that if it is wrong to expend £10,000 on this project, it is wrong to spend money on other non-utilitarian projects. Within the last few months honorable members opposite, who now protest against this expenditure on the ground of economy, were complaining of the Government’s action in deferring expenditure on another work which they regarded as of some importance. In that instance, the expenditure involved was £250,000.

Mr Francis:

– Not for this year.

Mr CURTIN:

– No; but there was the commitment. If the whole case against this proposal is that £10,000 cannot be spared at this juncture-

Mr Latham:

– For this purpose. Baths would be very desirable if we could spare the money.

Mr CURTIN:

– In times of stress the conservative-minded always look round to see whether expenditure can be cut down ; and in their survey they include systems of education, the health services of the community, and other provisions for social amenity. The opposition that has been shown to this project this afternoon is characteristically true to label, and those who have raised it are typical of those who consider that in times of stress money should be spent only on the payment of interest, and the maintenance of the ordinary obligations of everyday society.

Mr Latham:

– Keep postal employees in their positions.

Mr CURTIN:

– Does the honorable member suggest that the saving of this expend!iture would enable the whole of the requirements of honorable members opposite, in connexion with postal services, to be met?

Mr Latham:

– That has not been suggested, and the honorable member knows it quite well.

Mr CURTIN:

– Is it suggested that there is involved in this matter the question whether or not the capital city should be scrapped, or, as the honorable member for Perth (Mr. Nairn) suggested, the wisdom of having established it here ?

Mr Gregory:

– Let us scrap it.

Mr CURTIN:

– Let us face that question courageously, and decide it upon its merits. Let us not visit upon the children of this capital city the full weight of our objections to what has already been done. I cannot find in the report of the Public Works Committee anything that warrants the criticism that it is not sufficiently informative. It explains why these baths can be constructed for £10,000. The sole argument advanced against their construction is that of economy. I reject that, because I do not regard £10,000 as an element in the determination of what is an economic or a non-economic policy for this Parliament to pursue. The children of this capital city should be as presentable as those of any other community in Australia, and should have equal rights.

Mr Latham:

– No one denies that.

Mr CURTIN:

– It is useless to compare Canberra with an ordinary country town. Honorable members have sought to make this place the pivot of the national life of Australia.

Mr Nairn:

– The honorable member speaks differently in Western Australia.

Mr CURTIN:

– I do not speak differently in Western Australia. I should be ashamed to go to Fremantle, with its magnificent beaches, and say that I had denied the children of Canberra the opportunity to learn to swim. The education curriculum in all of the States makes swimming a compulsory subject wherever the necessary facilities exist. There is a definite pressure upon the people of all the States to provide those facilities. I have explained how the citizens of Canberra are handicapped in that respect, and why the provision of those facilities here is a national obligation. I can see no reason why honorable members opposite should be willing to draw upon the national revenues to make provision for cooking classes at Telopea Park School, and object to pay for a swimming pool.

Mr MARKS:
Wentwortb.

.- Representing, as I do, a’ district that has the finest surf beach in the world - Bondi - and the club which holds the surf championship of Australia - the Bondi Surf Club - I feel that I ought to say something upon this matter. I fear that if further opposition is offered to this proposal by honorable members who siton this side, we shall be designated “ spoil sports”, and I have no wish to be so designated.

The honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Curtin) has stressed what I regard as the main point, the needs of the children. A little while ago there was an appalling harbour disaster on Sydney Harbour, in which the ferry steamer Greycliffe was involved, and a number of my pals were caught in the smoking room and were drowned. But several young people, who were passengers on the ferry boat, and were able to swim but a few yards, succeeded in reaching pieces of wreckage and lifebuoys, and thus were saved. Had they not been able to swim that four or five yards, they must have gone down. If the expenditure of this £10,000 may in some future disaster be the means of saving the lives of on* or two of the children who are now attending the Canberra schools, it will have been well spent.

We must also consider this matter as it affects the public servants who have been brought to Canberra, and do such excellent work for the nation in the service of the Parliament, and in the different departments. They were forced to come here because the Parliament came here. Should we not make some provision for them to obtain relaxation in the heat of summer?

A third point that impressed me was raised first by the right honorable member for Cowper (Dr. Earle Page) ; I refer to the need to exercise economy. But the fact that the Minister for Home’ Affairs (Mr. Blakeley) has brought down this proposal, On the report of the Public Works Committee, convinces me, that the Treasurer (Mr. Theodore) considers that he can afford to make available the £10,000 involved. For some time the Treasurer has been urging the nation to economize, and to reduce as far as pos- sible, its expenditure on luxury items. The other day a relative of mine, who is at present in London, cabled asking that, on account of financial stringency, I should take steps to have made available to him a few hundred pounds. I interviewed; the bank with which I have been dealing for 30 years, and was informed that they did not want to send the money, but that if they did they would charge me 7 per cent, for the transfer.

Mr SPEAKER (Hon Norman Makin:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA

– Order ! The honorable member is dealing with a matter that has hardly any relation to the motion before the House.

Mr MARKS:

– It is related to the subject of economy, which has already been raised in this debate. The, point I make is, that the Minister for Home Affairs (Mr. Blakeley-) would not have brought down this proposal if it had been opposed by the Treasurer. I was told by my bank, “ We do not mind so much, but Mr. Theodore says that this money must not be sent out of Australia because there are thousands of Australians in London who are asking for similar amounts “. Having allowed the Minister for Home Affairs to bring this proposal forward the Treasurer must be satisfied that he can afford the expenditure.

I am surprised that the honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Archdale Parkhill) should oppose the motion. He has but to walk down to one of Australia’s finest beaches at Manly in his electorate and have his surfing, but he has no thought for Canberra’s residents in the heat of mid-summer. I believe in borrowing money for productive works. The productive side of this proposal is that the children will learn to swim, and that the residents of Canberra will have relaxation. We must also consider the tourist traffic. We should encourage the people of Australia to visit Canberra in large numbers, and thus assist the business people here, who are now finding it a hard struggle to keep going. The more people who come to Canberra the more money will be spent in the hostels and shops. For those reasons, but mainly for the sake of the children, I urge the Minister to go on with this matter, and force it to a vote if necessary.

Mr GREGORY:
Swan

.- The complaints made by some honorable members that the report of the Public Works Committee does not give detailed information is hardly justified, as honorable members will find if they read the report through. It deals with the several propositions put forward, and shows how the committee reduced the amount it was proposed to spend on the provision of public baths in Canberra from £33,000 to £10,000.

Mr Francis:

– Where is that information ?

Mr GREGORY:

– In the report, as the honorable member will see if he reads it. That, however, is apart from the question whether the country can afford to spend £10,000 on this work. There is also the question whether we should continue to spend money in Canberra at all, and whether we should not re-consider our whole policy in relation to it. This £10,000 is a small item in comparison with what has been spent here. Up to the present time we have spent nearly £12,000,000 in Canberra, and we have very, ‘ very little to show for it. Some assert that there is no need for swimming baths here, because Canberra is traversed by a glorious river which should be able to provide all the swimming facilities required. According to the Griffin plan, weirs were to be thrown across the river, and a series of lakes formed in the centre of the city to reflect its many charms. It has been stated that one cannot have a beautiful city without running water, yet last year the Molonglo, if it did not absolutely cease running, was at any rate reduced to a trickle, and a scum formed over the pools. Five- years ago, however, it was in high flood, and when the floods subsided the streets of Queanbeyan were feet deep in silt. What possibility is there of establishing a lake system in Canberra by means of a river subject to such changes? Personally, I believe that we should scrap Canberra as quickly as we can, and place our capital near some centre of population where we can get into touch with important interests easily when the need arises. We have a beautiful climate here, and we might use the place as a sanitorium. Indeed, its suit ability for the establishment of a mental institution should not be overlooked.

Mr SPEAKER:

– It is not in order for the honorable member to develop his argument in that direction.

Mr GREGORY:

– I believe that Parliament should reconsider the whole .matter, with a view to abandoning Canberra as the seat of government.

Mr Latham:

– Is it not a fact that Duntroon Military College holds swimming competitions in the Molonglo river against the representatives of other military establishments?

Mr BLAKELEY:
Minister for Home Affairs · Darling

– It is true that the authorities of the Duntroon Military College have used the Molonglo river for’ such purposes, but it is also true that on two occasions the health authorities have declared the Molonglo unfit for swimming purposes. After floods, when the carcases of beasts are floating, down the river, the water is most obnoxious. Also, when the river is very low the water has a distinct odour, and is not regarded as healthful by the medical authorities. It seems extraordinary to me to hear honorable members of the Opposition making impassioned orations over a proposal to spend £10,000 on public swimming baths in Canberra. With rare exceptions they have swallowed proposals for the. expenditure of not £10,000, .but £10,000,000, over the past ten years. When those proposals came forward- they gave’ them their blessing as if they were carrying out the Lord’s work. In thai matter, at any rate, I a,gree with them, because they assisted in the establishment of the very beautiful city of Canberra. Nevertheless, honorable members sat behind a government which wantonly wasted money in the construction of Canberra, and they now oppose a project which has many virtues to recommend it. For instance,. the last Government, which the opponents of this proposal supported, supported a system of administration for Canberra in connexion with which this Government, by one series of reforms, has effected a saving of £47,000 a year.

Mr Latham:

– The position is different now from what it was under the last Government.

Mr BLAKELEY:

– The same situation confronted the last Government, and it absolutely refused to deal with it: It refused to take the necessary steps to reduce administrative costs. The last Govern.ment could have saved £20,000 during the last year of its office if it so desired; yet the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Francis), the honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Archdale Parkhill)., and others blame the present Government for its proposal to spend £10,000 on swimming baths, though they had no word of protest to offer against the wastefulness of the Government they supported.

Mr Francis:

– The last Government was responsible for the report regarding administration on which the present Government is working.

Mr BLAKELEY:

– That is not so. This matter was not even referred to the committee by the last Government. The honorable member for Moreton gets up in this House and makes speeches’ on’ subjects which he has not even troubled to investigate before entering the chamber. The Public Works Committee’s report was available to him two weeks ago, but he was not sufficiently interested even to look at it. The same remark applies ‘to the honorable member for Warringah, the honorable member for Lilley (Mr. Mackay), and the honorable member for Perth (Mr. Nairn), who did not even look at the report before making their speeches on the subject to-day. The speeches themselves were sufficient proof of that. The Government has given this matter very careful consideration during the. last six months, and has paid full attention to the financial situation of the Commonwealth. We took the matter up where it was left by the last Government. It was,, not necessary for us. to ‘refer it to the Public Works Committee, but we decided that the proposal should be carefully scrutinized, and the best scheme adopted. This proposal is worthy of the support of honorable members irrespective of party. -It is necessary that the ‘Capital City of the Commonwealth should be provided with swimming baths, hot only for the benefit of public servants and “tourists, b’Ut of the children living here.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

page 1735

PUBLIC SERVICE BILL

Motion (by Mr. Scullin) agreed to -

That lie have leave to bring in a bill for an act to amend the Commonwealth Public Service Act 1922-1928.

page 1735

GERMAN NATIONALS : PROPERTY RIGHTS

Agreement Between German and Australian Governments

Debate resumed from 30th April (vide page 1251) on motion by Mr. Scullin -

That the paper be printed.

Mr LATHAM:
Kooyong

.- This, though merely a motion for the printing of a paper, invites the House to consider the terms of “ an agreement between His Majesty’s Government of, the Commonwealth of Australia and the Government of the German Reich regarding the property rights and interests of German nationals subject to the rights created under ‘the Treaty of Versailles.” This must be considered in conjunction with another agreement which includes the settlement concluded at The Hague conference in respect to reparations. Article I. of the agreement provides for the adoption of what is known as the Experts Plan - the Young Plan. It is satisfactory to observe that a further step has been taken in the settlement of the problems resulting from the Treaty of “Peace. The Commonwealth of Australia, under the Government in power in 1920 determined to enforce its full rights under the Treaty. A good many of us have not felt very satisfied for a number of years past with the adoption of that policy to its full extent, and I do not disgu:se the fact that when I found myself having to administer for a time some portions of that policy I acted with considerable reluctance. But i’t is difficult after a policy has been in operation for a number of years to abandon it, and to substitute for it something entirely different’, though that is what is now being done under this agreement.

No one can regard this as an entirely satisfactory solution of the difficulty. It is proposed that German interests which have not already become liquid or4 been liquidated or, been finally disposed of shall be released. As’ between individuals that must give rise to a certain- measure of injustice. A person whose .property has been liquidated lias lost it altogether, except for a claim against Germany, which that country should honour; but one whose property has not been liquidated will get it back. This new policy represents a cutting of the Gordian knot, which, in the circumstances, is probably justified. I have no Opposition to offer to the course proposed, but I ask the Prime Minister whether the Government is satisfied regarding the identification of the interests which are definitely excluded from, the agreement. It would be most unfortunate if there were room for dispute as to what properties had been liquidated or finally disposed of. I presume that the Government has gone into that phase of the matter, as otherwise serious difficulties might arise.

Mr SCULLIN:
Prime Minister · Yarra. · ALP

1 4.45]. - Regarding the point raised by die Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Latham) as to the identification of interests, the Government has gone into this matter, and a conference was held and a committee appointed to handle cases. Australia was represented by the High Commissioner, who was assisted by our financial advisor in London, Mr. Collins. Before any finality was reached all the particulars were sent to Australia. The Attorney-General’s Department went into the matter very thoroughly. Mr. Collins considered particular cases, and my department here went into the question of identification. I agree with the Leader of the Opposition that this agreement does not represent an entirely satisfactory solution of the problem, nor do I think that such a solution is possible at this stage.

I agree with what the Leader of the Opposition said on a former occasion. I hope that there will never be another war; but, if there is, I trust that there will be no seizing of private property, such as occurred during the last war. Under this agreement unliquidated property will be handed back, but it will be impossible to hand back property already disposed of. The former owners of such, properties must look to the German Government for redress.

Under the new agreement with Germany, Australia is forgoing approximately £200,000 a year in comparison with what she was entitled to receive under the Dawes agreement. That will provide a margin out of which Germany can settle claims regarding properties which were seized, and have been liquidated.

Mr Latham:

– What amount will Australia receive per annum?

Mr SCULLIN:

– I cannot say, but the liquidated properties are valued at £1,500,000 in Australia, and at £2,500,000 in the Territories.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

page 1736

DEVELOPMENT AND MIGRATION BILL

Second Reading

Mr SCULLIN:
Prime Minister · Yarra · ALP

– I move -

That the bill be now read a second time.

The purpose of this bill is to abolish the Development and Migration Commission, which was created in 192© to deal, first, with migration, and secondly, with development. The activities with which it was associated are. to> be placed under departmental control. Ministers will be directly responsible to Parliament for the carrying out of this work. The details of the bill can be better discussed in committee, so I shall confine my remarks to-day . to general principles. The work that was carried on by the Development and Migration Commission will be divided into two parts- development will be placed under the control of the Prime Minister’s Department, and migration under the control of the Department of Transport. The London administration, instead of being a separate body, will be under the direction of the High Commissioner’s office.

The commission consisted of four members, whose salaries totalled £13,250, or more than the salaries of any State Ministry, except that of New South Wales. It was a separate body, only indirectly subject to the Minister, ai’d having power to appoint its own officers and! fix their salaries. Under the reorganization the staff will be under the control of the Public Service Board, which will fix salaries and conditions. When the officers of a governmental body are not subject to the Public Service Board, distinctions and differences in respect of salaries and conditions are set up which do not make tor the smooth working of the Public Service. The experts who were appointed by the commission to advise on different enterprises are being retained under the control of the Prime Minister’s Department. Of course expert advice on any enterprise is essential.

Dr.EarlePage. - Will those officers, be under the control of the Public Service Board?

Mr SCULLIN:

– Yes ; with some exceptions, which I shall enumerate. It is not a sound policy to establish a body with power to appoint a staff outside the control of the Public Service Board, and, to a large extent, outside parliamentary control. The cost of administration of the commission, including salaries of commissioners, Australian and London organizations, investigations and reports in Australia and London, training of farm labourers anddomestic servants, subsidies to the Failbridge training school and other training farms, subsidies to voluntary organizations and publicity,was set out in the Estimates of the previous Government as £111,000. The present Government, when reviewing the Estimates, asked the commission if it could revise its expenditure. The commission reduced the total to £107,000. Under the proposed scheme of departmental control the estimate of expenditure for the next financial year will be £57,000. The estimate of the amount required for passagemoney in the current financial year was £100,000; thus the total expenditure proposed in the Estimates of the last Government was £211,000. The estimate of the present Government for the next financial year is - Administration, contributions, &c, £57,000; passage-money £20,000; total, £77,000. The amounts paid for assisted passages since the £34,000,000 agreement was signed have been - 1925 £191,309; 1926, £314,892; 1927, £304,164; 1928, £218,855; 1929, £137,373 ; total, £1,166,593, or an average of £233,300 per annum.

When the Government assumed office it was confronted with two serious problems - growing unemployment and the difficulty of finding money to pay for the passage of migrants and to carry on the expensive organization , that had been built up. The Commonwealth had entered into an agreement with the British Government and the State Governments. My Government approached first the British Government. We pointed out the financial and economic position of Australia, and the serious and increasing extent of unemployment, and said that it was not sound policy to borrow money to pay the passages of assisted migrant? when there was already in Australia an army of unemployed consisting of both the native-born and migrants who had not been absorbed in industry. The British Government, realizing the position, met us in a fair and reasonable manner. The Commonwealth stipulated that assisted migration should be restricted to the reunion of families. If a father had been assisted to come to Australia, refusalto assist his family to join him would be a serious hardship. The British Government agreed to proceed with certain of its obligations in respect of development if ‘ the Commonwealth continued the system of assisted passages so far as it related to the re-union of families, and the migration of boys for farm training and domestic servants requisitioned by the States. To that condition the Commonwealth Government agreed.

Very much stress has been laid onthe fact that, under the £34,000,000 agreement, a large amount of cheap loan money was made available to the States for developmental purposes. Infact, there is a popular opinion thatthe £34,000,000 was being lent by the British Government to Australia at a low rate of interest and that the money couldbe utilized for developmental purposes and so provide work. The truth is that, under the agreement, money for developmental purposes had to be borrowed by the Commonwealth through the Loan Council. The British Government paid a certain proportion of the interest, the Commonwealth contributed another proportion, and the money was handed over to the States at a low rate of interest. During the five years in which the agreement operated the amount contributed by the British Government as interest on loans for development was £1,163,000, whilst the amount paid by the Commonwealth Government for assisted passages alone was £l,166,000.

Dr Earle Page:

– How much did the British Government pay, for assisted passages during the same period?

Mr SCULLIN:

– The same amount as the. Commonwealth. My point is that the Commonwealth paid more for assisted passages than it received from the British Government as a contribution to interest, and, in addition, the Commonwealth had to shoulder the whole responsibility of providing employment for the migrants.’ I say deliberately that Australia did not carry out its agreement with the British Government, and thereby failed in its obligations to the migrants. That is a serious statement, but the truth of it is obvious. One of the conditions of the agreement by which the British Government made a contribution to interest and paid one-third of the passage-money of assisted migrants, was that the migrants should be satisfactorily settled in Australia. The large number of migrants out pf work to-day is proof that that obligation was not honored. The amount of money that has been advanced to the States under the agreement in connexion with schemes already approved is £6,445,379. Further advances amounting to. £2,037,597 will’ .probably have to be made. Therefore, it is necessary to retain the services of certain advisers and experts to investigate the schemes upon which these further advances will be expended. The Government proposes also to retain some members of the commission in an advisory capacity.” Mr. Gepp, who was chairman of “the commission, will be retained a.? a part-time consultant.

Mr Archdale Parkhill:

– “What will his duties be?

Mr SCULLIN:

– One-fourth of his time will be available to the Commonwealth in an advisory capacity, and he will receive a retaining-fee of £1,250 per annum for the remaining four years for which he was originally appointed. His salary was £5,000 per annum.

Mr Archdale Parkhill:

– Did he get any compensation?

Mr SCULLIN:

– No. This is a voluntary agreement; he could have claimed -to be paid for the balance of his term at £5,000 a year, but he met the Government fairly and reasonably and without duress or pressure . agreed to give his services as a part-time officer. If his services are required for more than one-fourth of his time he will be paid, for them pro rata. The very fact that we were able to loan Mr. Gepp to serve on the Coal Commission for about eight months indicates that the whole of his time was not required for developmental work. The proposed advisory committee will consist of Dr. Rivett, Mr. Gepp and Mr. Gunn. The last-named gentleman will give the whole of his time to the investigation of developmental projects. About eighteen months of his term of appointment was unexpired, and as the developmental works, in regard to which he will have to advise, will extend over some years, a new .agreement was made with him whereby he will forgo the balance of his original term of appointment and be re-appointed for ‘.a period pf five years from August, next at a salary of £1,800. His former salary was £2,500.

Mr ARCHDALE PARKHILL:
WARRINGAH, NEW SOUTH WALES · NAT; UAP from 1931

– Parkhill. - Is there no departmental officer who could have done that work equally as well?

Mr SCULLIN:

– Having gone into the matter very thoroughly the Government came to the conclusion that Mr. Gunn, who had been attending to developmental work for the commission, and- of whose services very good reports had been made, was specially qualified for the job. ‘He had won the . confidence of the” Governments in the States where works under the agreement’ are being carried out, and I do not think the Commonwealth could relieve any officer who could discharge these duties so well. Over several years Mr. ‘Gunn has gained special .knowledge of the developmental activities of- the- Commission” In any case we were under- an obligation to retain his services until August, 1931, at v £2,500 per annum ; consequently ,’we had to find work for him to do. ‘

We learned that another, member, of -the commission, Mr. Devereux, was highly regarded amongst wool men as a wool expert. He had about four years to go to” complete ‘his : term *of appointment; and his salary was £4,000- per annum. It was necessary, therefore, that we should place him in useful service. In consultation with the representatives of the Wool Council, the Government ascertained that the council was anxious to secure the services of a good man in London to advise it on certain aspects of the marketing of wool. The council regarded Mr. Devereux as a man admirably suited for that work, and an arrangement was made to loan him to the council on the condition that the Government should pay £2,500 per annum towards his salary for four years, and that the council should pay the balance and provide office equipment, and meet all other expenditure iri London.

Mr E RILEY:
SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP

– What service will Mr. Devereux give to the Commonwealth?

Mr SCULLIN:

– He will serve the wool interests of Australia, and that, at present, is a. very important service.

Mr Crouch:

– What is the arrangement with regard to Dr. Rivett?

Mr SCULLIN:

– He is now connected with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, and his services are availablein that capacity to the advisory committee.

Mr. ‘ Mulvany will return to the Department of Markets as Secretary. Honorable members are aware that the Department of Markets and Transport has been divided. The Department of Markets is expanding rapidly, and will provide ample scope for Mr. Mulvany’s service. I have laid upon the table the agreements that have been made with these persons.

Ithas been stated that, although the Government has claimed ‘ to be saving approximately £50,000 on the administrative side of the Development and Migration Commission’s work, and approximately £80,000 in passage money, this is not so, because the transferred officers have merely gone into various departments and their salaries are being charged to those departments. That is not the case. The whole of the salaries of theofficers taken into departments have been charged against development and migration, with the exception of the salaries of Mr. Devereux, who has been found work in another capacity; Mr. Mulvany, who has gone back to his old position as Secretary of the Department of Markets; and Mr. Farrands, who is a permanent officer of the Public Service, and has taken theplace in the High Commissioner’s Office rendered vacant by the return to Australia of the Assistant Secretary.

The Government has gone to a great deal of trouble to place in employment outside the members of the staff of the commission whose services were dispensed with. Some of these officers have gone back to the State departments with which they were formerly connected and from which they were loaned to the commission.

I wish to emphasize that the Commonwealth pledged its word to the British Government that it would see that all the migrants brought to Australia under the £34,000,000 agreement were satisfactorily settled. Many of them have not been satisfactorily settled. The British AuditorGeneral, in a report on this subject, said : “ There is no definite evidence forthcoming of satisfactory settlement.” A good deal has been done by various organizations to settle the migrants who were brought here. But unfortunately it was believed that if the migrants who came to Australia with high hopes for the future were placed in even temporary positions, everything would be all right. Many of these people were found work in the country in the harvest fields and elsewhere ; but it was usually seasonal employment which gave out in six or eight weeks. The. migrants then found themselves out of work and drifted back to the cities: I have met large numbers of them in my own electorate. Even in recent months, I have met some of them on the roads looking for work. I wish to say quite definitely that while our first obligation, as a community, is to find work for our own people, we have a special obligation to settle satisfactorily the migrants who were brought to Australia under the terms of the Migration Agreement. For a long while Australia pursued the policy at a continually accelerating pace of importing workers, and importing work in the form of manufactured goods; but it was apparent that sooner or later that would get us into difficulties. The difficulties are now confronting us, and the Government has faced them. It is often said that a large population is an asset to a country; but the statement is only true with qualifications. If a large population is usefully employed in producing wealth, it is an asset, but if employment cannot be found for it, it is a liability. We should only bring people here from other parts of the world when wo can provide work for them. If we attempt to make the stream flow too rapidly, we will cause extreme difficulty and injure not only the people whom we bring here but our own people as well.

Mr Gullett:

– I take it that the Prime Minister does not suggest that assisted migrants were coming here in large numbers at the time his Government assumed office ?

Mr SCULLIN:

– At that time the number of assisted migrants arriving here had been considerably reduced. About 120,000 assisted migrants have been brought here in the five years since the agreement has been operating. This has involved an expenditure in passage money of approximately £233,000 per annum. The amount provided by this Government for assisted passages last year was £100,000. The amount that we will provide on the Estimates for 1930-31 for this purpose is £20,000.

Mr Maxwell:

– How many migrants will that provide for?

Mr SCULLIN:

– Between 2,000 and 3,000; and many of these will be persons who are coming here to rejoin their families. The expenditure, therefore, must be regarded as humane. We must strive to deal justly with the migrants who have been brought here, and at the same time deal justly with our own workers who are out of employment. The migrants brought here under the agreement, and our Australian workers, have an equal claim upon us.. But a very serious position is facing tha Commonwealth and State Governments, for there is a great deal of unemployment in Australia to-day. The money that theGovernment is- saving on the administrative side of the Development and Migration Commission will be availablefor expenditure in other directions, andso help us to face our difficulties.

Debate (on motion by Dr. Earle Page] adjourned.

page 1740

NATIONALITY BILL

Second Reading

Mr BLAKELEY:
Minister for Home Affairs · Darling

– I move -

That the bill be now read a second time.

The object of this measure is simply to provide power to prescribe a fee for a certificate of naturalization or for a copy of a certificate. Sub-section 2 of section 32 of the act provides that a person towhom a certificate of naturalization is granted shall not be liable to any fee or charge in respect thereof. It is proposed to omit that sub-section and insert thefollowing : -

The prescribed fee shall be payable in respect of the grant of each certificate of naturalization.

Australia is practically the only British country that makes no charge for naturalization. Great Britain charges £10 for certificates in ordinary cases, and New Zealand charges £2. Canada levies a fee of 5 dollars for each certificate, and makes an additional charge of 50 cents for the taking of each oath of allegiance. The fee in the United States of America is 20 dollars. The Commonwealth is involved in considerable expense in dealing with applications for naturalization. Special inquiries have to be made and reports obtained in regard to every applicant. A considerable staff is engaged in this work. A fairly large expenditure is also involved in postages, telegrams, stationery and so on. I estimate, from ^figures which have been prepared for me, that it costs the Government at least £1 to grant each application for naturalization.

Mr Archdal e Parkhill:

– Does the same staff deal with naturalization as with passports?

Mr BLAKELEY:

– Not necessarily.

Mr Latham:

– It is entirely different work.

Mr BLAKELEY:

– That is so. Special officers of the Attorney-General’s Department, and particularly of the Investigation Branch of it, dealing with nothing except naturalization, are engaged in this work. The Government offers special privileges to naturalized persons, for after 20 years’ residence in Australia, they become eligible for oldage and invalid pensions. The wife of a naturalized person is also eligible to receive the maternity allowance. It seems to me that the greatest privilege that can be conferred upon a person who comes to reside in Australia from elsewhere is naturalization, for this is a great country, and citizenship of it is worth a great deal. Advantages unparalleled in the history of civilization are available to the nationals who come here from other countries. It is often said that privileges which cost nothing are regarded as of little value, and there is a great deal of truth in the statement. That privilege is becoming more and more appreciated by the various nationals as they reach the stage of having resided five years within Australia, and become eligible to make application for naturalization. In 1925, the number of certificates granted was 909; in 1926, 1,169; in 1927, 1,122; in1928, 1,635, and in 1929, 1,732. It will, therefore, be seen that the number of persons making application for naturalization is rapidly increasing, and has practically doubled within six years.

Mr E RILEY:
SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP

– What charge is to be made for naturalization?

Mr BLAKELEY:

– The charge will be £3 per certificate. The practice of applying for naturalization certificates is becoming increasingly popular among these nationals, particularly in view of the determination of the governments of their countries of origin to prevent as far as possible migration from those countries, and the naturalization of their subjects in other countries. As a result it has been necessary to increase the staff which deals with these applications. The Government believes that it is conferring a great privilege indeed upon foreigners who come to this country by giving to them an opportunity to become citizens of a potentially great nation. It is not extortionate to ask these nationals, when making these applications, to pay to the Consolidated Revenue a sum of £3 per certificate so that we may be com- pensated to some extent for the liabilities which we incur by accepting them as citizens of the Commonwealth. .

Debate (on motion by Mr. Latham) adjourned.

page 1741

COTTON INDUSTRIES BOUNTY BILL

In committee (Consideration resumed from 9th May, vide page 1670) :

Clause 2-

The Cotton Bounty Act 1926 is repealed.

Upon which Mr.Forde had moved by way of amendment -

That the clause be omitted with a viewto insert in lieu thereof : - “2.- (1.) The Cotton Bounty Act 1926 is, subject to this section, repealed. (2.) The provisions of the Cotton Bounty Act 1926 shall remain in force to the extent necessary to authorize payment of bounty on -

seed cotton grown in Australia, delivered to a place appointed under that act, and graded as prescribed by that act, prior to the commencement of this act; and

cotton yarn manufactured in Australia prior to the commencement of this act and in the ‘manufacture of which not less than fifty per centum of Australian-grown cotton has been used, and upon which bounty has not been paid prior to such commencement. (3.) All the provisions of the Cotton Bounty. Act 1926 shall remain in force in respect of the payment of bounty under the last preceding sub-section, and shall, so far as. applicable, extend to, and be deemed to authorize, the payment of bounty upon cotton yarn manufactured in Australia the materials used in the manufacture of which consist, to the extent of at least ninety per centum, ‘of Australiangrown cotton, and, in the remainder, of cotton imported by the manufacturer prior to the first day of April One thousand nine hundred ‘and’ thirty.”

Mr FRANCIS:
Moreton

.- Thi3 clause has already been debated at considerable length, and I am taking this opportunity to reply to some. of the objec-tions to the bill.. The honorable member for Corangamite (Mr, Crouch) has, during this debate, said that the bounty is likely to prove useless, that it is unjust to the spinners, and that the cotton mills are not keeping their undertaking to the Tariff Board. I hope to show, during my remarks, that that is not the case, and that, the industry will eventually be a success if given the assistance provided in the bill.

Mr Maxwell:

– “What does the honorable member mean by “ success “ ?

Mr FRANCIS:

– I mean that with the assistance now proposed to be given, the industry, both on the primary and on the secondary side, will become permanently and definitely established in the national’ life of this country.’ The honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Maxwell) has said that the cotton industry would never be a success, and that the- sooner it was wiped out the better it would be for Australia. That is an extraordinarily pessimistic view to take of one of our biggest and most important primary industries, which is likely to develop into an important secondary industry. The honorable member’s statement has no foundation in fact! The Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Gullett) said that smashing duties, under this and other legislation, particularly the customs tariff, would increase unemployment. In addition the honorable member for “Werriwa -(Mr. Lazzarini) had considerable doubt as to whether the proposals of the Government were wise, but he did not go so far as to oppose’ the- bill. .

For a number of years I have made acareful examination of this industry and, as a result, I am convinced that it is one of the few big industries remaining ‘ to Australia that can be developed on the primary and secondary side. Our first attention in Australia’s development should be. given to industries by which primary products can be produced in Australia, while, at the same time, there is a large demand for the secondary products of that industry. Cotton-growing fully complies with these conditions. There are, in Queensland, hundreds, of thousands of acres’ of land with the required rainfall and temperature, suitable for the production of cotton.’ Cotton was first produced in Queensland in 1860, and the industry has had various vicissitudes. It was revived in 1913, and steadily improved until 1919- 1920, when 45,500 lb. of cotton were produced. In -subsequent years the development was- really remarkable. For the information of honorable members, I submit some particulars concerning the development and possibilities of- the colston industry which has recently been, developed in Queensland. Following upon the shortage of cotton during the war, and because the urgent need for the; .Empire- to be self-supporting in this and1 other essential commodities was realized, a search was made by the cotton-spinning industry of Great Britain to ascertain the most suitable country within the Empire in which superior, long-stapled cotton could be produced-. After an exhaustive investigation the sub-tropical areas and forest lands of Queensland were , considered to be .the most suitable for the establishment, of the long-stapled cotton industry, and in. that State the in’dustry has been developed. The honorable member for Fawkner has stated -that the cotton industry has not developed.

Mr. -.Maxwell.– I did not. I said- that there was no -evidence before us that the industry was nearer ; being selfsupporting .that- it was five years ago when we invested £900,000 in ii.

Mr FRANCIS:

– Let me say that the industry on both the primary and the secondary side has materially developed, and if given the assistance now asked for, will become permanently established in the national life of this country as one of our most important industries, having the widest scope for development.

Mr Maxwell:

– “Will the industry be able to develop without further assistance from the Commonwealth Government?

Mr FRANCIS:

– I am hopeful that the industry, if given the necessary assistance, will soon be self-supporting. The following figures will give honorable members some idea of the growth o’f seed-cotton production in Australia. In . 1901, we produced 950,000 lb. of cotton; in 1922, 3,900,000 lb.; in 1923. 11,500,000 lb.; in 1924, 15,000,000 lb.-; in 1925, 18,000,000 lb.; in 1926, 11,500,000 lb.; in 1927, 7,069,312 lb.; in 1928, 12,180,259 lb.; andin . 1929, 7,965,339 lb.

Mr Gullett:

– Those figures do not indicate any considerable ‘development.

Mr FRANCIS:

-The industry developed from 950,000 lb. to 18,000,000 lb. It has experienced a . number of difficulties. It has had to face the uncertainty of support and the uncertainty of the Commonwealth Government’s policy in respect of its development, and what is more, it has had to contend’ with the financial depression which is now general throughout Australia. Despite these difficulties, its production increased from 950,000 lb. to 18,000,000. lb. This industry is peculiarly suitable for development on much of our undeveloped second-class land in sub-tropical areas, which are as yet sparsely populated. Australia is under a special obligationto assist in developing those areas.

Mr Maxwell:

– What does all this development cost ?

Mr FRANCIS:

-Taking into consideration the possibilities of this great industry,I am sure that we would be amply repaid for the little expenditure that we are now asked to incur. The cotton plant itself is eminently suitable for the development of the class of area which is now being planted. It has great drought-resisting capacities, and once the plant is established it will resist almost any drought. Many mixed farmers, whose maize and other crops have failed because of drought, have been saved from ruin by the small returns that they received from their cotton areas, which were unaffected by drought. Poultry farmers, pig farmers and others have been able to supplement their incomes with returns from small crops of seed cotton. I hope that these proposals of the Government, which really represent a superstructure on the ideal foundation laid by the late Mr. Pratten as Minister for Trade and Customs, will develop the industry in Queensland as I should like to see it developed. There is no danger of over-production. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Gullett) has urged that we should discard the growing of cotton-

Mr Latham:

– The honorable member for Henty ! He was not speaking in his official capacity.

Mr FRANCIS:

– I am glad of the correction. The honorable member, of course, was not speaking for the Opposition, but was expressing- his personal views on the bill. He saidthat we should discard the growing of cotton, and develop the production of maize and butter. . I remind him that to-day there is overproduction of those commodities.

Mr Gullett:

– The production of butter ishightlyprofitable.

Mr FRANCIS:

– Certainly it is. But why should we go out of this industry, which in both its primary and secondary sections maybecome one ofthe best that we have, in order to develop the butter and maizeindustries in which we are at present over producing? The value of the cottongoodsthat Australia imports is £11,000,000 annually. There is thus a field for considerabledevelopment on the secondary side of the industry.

Mr.Maxwell. - Why not try producing tea ?

Mr FRANCIS:

– I leave it to the honorable member for Fawkner to advocate that. My duty is to prove to the committee that these proposals of the Government are in the best interests of a very important primary and secondary industry. If the honorable member for Fawkner can make out for tea as good a case as can be made out for cottongrowing, I shall be pleased to support him. If the secondary side of the cottongrowing industry can be developed to the extent of reducing materially our importations of cotton goods, employment will be found for probably 20,000 workers, and that would mean the provision of sustenance for approximately 80,000 persons.

Some significant facts are associated with the part that cotton plays in the general life of the community. In connexion with defence, it is necessary to the manufacturers of cordite, without which no rifle or big gun can be discharged. It enters into the manufacture of motor cars to a greater extent than does rubber; and whether in peace or war, motor transport is indispensable to Australia. It covers the widest field in the textile industry, being used in the manufacture of the coarsest canvas as well as the finest muslin. It forms the basis of the artificial silk industry. It is the raw material of the knitted underwear and hosiery industry. It is used in the woollen manufactories. Its by-products are used by margarine and soap-makers. It provides the dairyman and the poulterer with a valuable stock food. To the paper-maker it supplies a high class pulp. Bedding manufacturers, upholsterers and motor car body builders use the waddings that are made for cotton waste and the lower grades of cotton. There is scarcely an industry, and certainly not a home, in which cotton in some form or other is not used. From Chemistry and Industry of the United States of America, I quote the following statement to illustrate the importance of this industry.

If I were asked “ What won the war “ ?I would unhesitatingly answer, “The cotton plant.” Let us consider fora moment some of the things the cotton plant contributed. The four outstanding things required by a soldier in any war are food, clothing, housing and ammunition. Second only in importance to the nitrogenous foods for soldiers are the fats that they must have. Most of the lard consumed by our armies was compound lard, made from cotton-seed oil. Much of the butter they ate was oleomargarine, of which cotton-seed oil was the principal component. The dairyproducts and meat which they consumed came from cattle largely fed with cotton-seed meal and hulls. Much of the clothing of our soldiers was made of cotton. Their hats were made of felt, a product of cotton linters. The buttons on their uniforms, when not metal, were celluloid, also a product of cotton linters. The artificial leather used in their equipment was made from cotton linters, and the real leather came from cattle which were fed on cottonseed meal and hulls. The tents which covered our soldiers were made of cotton, the mattresses upon which they slept were stuffed with cotton and their bedclothes were either made from cotton or from wool of sheep which were fed to a large extent on cotton-seed meal. The basis of ammunition, or explosives, was cellulose and glycerides, one coming from cotton linters and the other from cotton oil. This was such an important factor during the World War that the War Department took over all the cotton-seed oil mills and operated them under licence. Can you find one single source that contributed so much to the welfare of our soldiers as the cotton plant? It may not hare won the war, but we certainly could not have won without it. The cotton-seed produces fourmain products: the linters, meal, hulls, and oil. Aresume of the history of the cottonseed products industry will show that within a space of half a century the chemist has developed from this little insignificant seed sixteen ‘principal commercial products and hundreds of minor ones.

To-day thereare hundreds of millionsof dollars invested in plants using the cotton seed as a raw material, and this is the second largest manufacturing industry in the southern States. It is not, however, confined to the southern States, for most of the large refineries producing the finished products are located in the big cities of the east and middle west. Hundreds of chemists have made this little cotton-seed their lifestudy, and it is entirely through the science of chemistry that the industry has been developed.

The following list will prove bow wide are its ramifications: - The by-products obtained annually from cotton seed alone in the United States of America are valued at over £100,000,000. In this direction also there is room for considerable development in Australia. The scheme devised by the late **Mr. Pratten,** when Minister for Trade and Customs, of which these proposals are the superstructure, provided for the payment of a bounty amounting to £900,000, of which £600,000 was to he used to encourage the development of cottongrowing lands, and £300,000 was to be set aside for the development of the secondary section of the industry. {: .speaker-KNP} ##### Mr Maxwell: -- The honorable member will remember that that was supposed to complete the structure. {: .speaker-JWT} ##### Mr FRANCIS: -- I shall deal with that supposition; and I am certain that when I have done so the honorable member for Fawkner will change his attitude towards this bill, an attitude which, unfortunately, is identical with that adopted by him five years ago. The proposals of the then Minister for Trade and Customs were designed to ensure ultimately the success of the industry. Unfortunately, however, he had to depend upon the secondary side of the industry to give effect to his policy. Misfortune overtook the industry when the biggest firm of cotton-spinners, G, A. Bond & Company Limited, was compelled to go into liquidation. The reason for that was, not lack of support by the Government, but over-capitalization and bad management. The Chairman of Directors of the firm, **Mr. G.** A. Bond, drew such extraordinary fees and allowances from the company, and paid such liberal gratuities and allowances, to his relatives and friends, that the firm was compelled to go into liquidation. Upon an application that was made by the liquidators and others interested in' the company, a New South "Wales court ordered **Mr. Bond** to return to the liquidators the sum of £90,000, which in its opinion had been wrongly drawn from the firm. Such extraordinary happenings could not be foreseen. The great cotton-growing industry ought not to be condemned by honorable members because of its failure to make the progress expected, when that failure was due to these extraordinary misfortunes with which it has been beset. The firm of G. A. Bond & Company Limited has since been re-established, and proof has been afforded that it is able to produce cotton yarn at a price considerably below that at which it gave an undertaking before the Tariff Board to sell it. The policy of the late **Mr. Pratten** failed to reach fruition because of this particular mishap to one of the biggest establishments for the manufacture of cotton yarn. {: .speaker-KXQ} ##### Mr ARCHDALE Parkhill: -- How many growers are there in the electorate of the honorable member? {: .speaker-JWT} ##### Mr FRANCIS: -- I am not here to put the parochial view of my electorate. This industry, I believe, will do much to relieve the distress that exists throughout Australia to-day. I speak not as the representative of Moreton, but as a Queenslander and an Australian, and as one who has the utmost confidence in the ability of the industry, ultimately, to prove completely successful. The failure of certain large spinning companies to establish branch factories in Australia, as they promised that they would do, contributed to the disappointments the industry has experienced, and prevented it from making that progress which every well-wisher had a right to expect. This measure, which has been built on the late Government's proposals, and which provides for additional tariff duties on certain imported cotton goods and yarns, should ensure the permanent establishment of the industry in Australia. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Gullett)** has contended that the lands on which cotton is grown to-day are suitable for dairying, and maize and lucerne-growing. That is true to only a limited extent; it applies only to the richer lands, and not to those on which cotton can and should be grown. Cotton is best grown on second-class forest land. "When it is grown on richer country there is too much wood and leaf, and encouragement is thus provided for the increase of insect pests. There is the further disadvantage also that a sufficient number of bolls is not formed. It is not profitable crop unless grown on what is by no means ideal dairying land, and certainly land which is not necessarily suitable for the growing of maize or lucerne. It may also be pointed out that we are overproducing *sack* things as hatter, .maize, &c, but we are certainly not producing too much cotton. There is a local market for 120,000 bales of cotton a year, and we are producing only 9,000 bales. "We are importing £11,000,000 worth of cotton goods each year. In fact, cotton is the largest single item on our whole list of imports. If all the.cotton we needed were produced in Australia, it would require 300,-000 acres of land to grow it. That would promote closer settlement, and furnish much employment in field and mill. {: .speaker-KNP} ##### Mr Maxwell: -- If cotton' can be produced in Australia at payable prices, why should it be necessary to induce people to grow it? {: .speaker-JWT} ##### Mr FRANCIS: -- Practically all our Australian industries have required a certain amount of encouragement in their initial stages. All I ask is that this industry should be given the same measure of encouragement and protection that has been :given to others from time to time. I am convinced that honorable members will never regret giving this assistance to an industry which has every prospect of developing into one of great importance. The honorable member for Corangamite **(Mr. Crouch)** referred to the knitting mills at Maryborough, Victoria. I do not agree with him that the mills have had to pay more for cotton yarn since the imposition of the new tariff. They have been asked a higher price for percentage yarns, but not for pure cotton yarns. Most honorable members who debated this bill on Friday last directed their remarks against the tariff. Without desiring to reflect in any way on the Chair, I consider that a general debate on the tariff should not be allowed on a measure such as this, the purpose of which is to provide for the payment of a bounty on cotton and cotton yarn. {: .speaker-KFS} ##### Mr Gullett: -- This is merely part of the assistance which has been given to the industry; the whole thing should be taken together. {: .speaker-JWT} ##### Mr FRANCIS: -- The policy of the present Government on this matter is the same as that of the last Government. The present bounty was to continue for one year only, but in this bill it is proposed to continue the bounty on a graduated scale until 'September, 1936. The only alternative to that would be to let the ^cotton-growing and spinning industries -die out. If that were done, the £400,000 which has already been paid in bounty would be wasted, as would be the capital invested in the industry, and the grants made by the Queensland Government through the Cotton Board. {: #debate-38-s1 .speaker-K7U} ##### The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Hon R A Crouch:
CORANGAMITE, VICTORIA -- The honorable member's time has expired. {: #debate-38-s2 .speaker-KRD} ##### Mr MCGRATH:
Ballarat -- I do not represent any cotton-growers or spinners, but I have in my constituency many users of cotton goods, and some factories making cotton products. It has been alleged by some honorable members that the price of cotton goods has been increased since the new tariff became operative. In order to test the truth of that assertion, I wrote to one of the largest firms in Ballarat engaged in the manufacture of cotton goods, and asked for a comparison of prices for this year and last. Their reply is as follows : - >In answer to your question, " How this season's prices compare with last season's, both in underwear and half hose," we have pleasure in stating below some of the prices, and from them you will note that a reduction from 15 per cent, upwards has taken place: - In cotton and art. silk, prices ranging from 20s. 6d.-2Gs. 6d. are now from 15s. to 17s. Difference from 5s. 6d. to 9s. 6d. per dozen. In Underwear. Art. silk bloomers ranging from 45s. to 65s. in 1929 can now be obtained at from 36s. 6d. to 56s., reduction Of 9s. per dozen. The same applies to vests ranging from .36s. to Sps. 6d. per dozen in 1929 are sold this year from 29s. to 43s., reduction 7s. C. knickers from 69s. to 95s. in 1929 are now '58s. to '82s., difference lis. to 13s. The above are only instances which are. carried -out right through, the price ranges of different articles such as petticoats, nightdresses, pettitoires, dressing jackets, and pyjamas, &.c."~ In support of the above we wish to state that we have received letters from McDonald & Co., Brisbane, and Murray's, in Perth, which state that other firms such as Lustre and others have also reduced their prices from 10 per cent, to' 12^ per cent, 'on last year's quotations. : * < . It is evident that there has been a reduction of at least 15 per cent, in prices since last year. The quality of the goods made by this firm is excellent; they can bear comparison with those produced in any part of the world. Only this week the firm received a repeat order from New Zealand for 500 dozen half-hose. They are to-day competing successfully in Now Zealand against German and British manufacturers. That letter is a complete answer to the statements of the honorable member for Warringah **(Mr. Parkhill),** who said, among other things, that he did not know how I would be able to face the poorer people in my constituency in view of the increased prices of cotton wearing apparel brought about by the tariff. If there is to be a monopoly in the manufacture of cotton goods I prefer that the monopoly should be in Australia, where we have a chance of dealing with it. However, there is no danger of a monopoly. Since this Government has increased the tariff, knitting mills are springing up everywhere, and for the most part they are successful, iti? not fair to quote the example of the mills at Maryborough. This firm was established by Messrs. Cuttle and Schemp and the first factory was .opened at Clunes. There it was successful, and the factory was later moved to Maryborough. Later **Mr. Cuttle** died, and the other partner was handicapped through illness. The, firm did not prosper, but it was not because the price of cotton yarn was raised unduly. {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr Gregory: -- What is the reason for the increase in the price of cotton goods hi drapers' shops? {: #debate-38-s3 .speaker-KRD} ##### Mr McGRATH: -- I think that, the drapers must be responsible ; at any rate, it is evident that the manufacturers are not. If the drapers increase the price of goods to the public it is not fair to blame the manufacturers or the tariff. {: .speaker-KNP} ##### Mr Maxwell: -- What is the reason for the drop in manufacturers' prices? {: .speaker-KRD} ##### Mr McGRATH: -- In the case of the firm I have mentioned, much of their success may be attributed to skilful management, and the adoption of progressive methods. They have fitted their factory with the best machinery that can be obtained. They are now installing motors and machinery 'for the manufacture of celanese goods, this being the first firm to undertake this class of work in Australia. In November of last year they were struggling along in a small way, employing only about 100 persons. When the new tariff was brought down, they obtained a new lease of life, and the directors went courageously forward to take advantage of the new market provided. The almost immediate result has been a reduction in prices of 15 per cent, to the retailers. That is sufficient answer to the freetraders who say that protection increases prices. The honorable member for Warringah **(Mr. Parkhill)** challenged me to justify my support of the Government's policy before my electors. I have accepted his challenge, and any time the honorable member visits Ballarat I shall be pleased to show him over the factory to which I have referred. Much of Queensland is tropical, and it is our duty to foster the cotton-growing industry, which is suitable for such latitudes. Even if we have to pay something more for our cotton goods we should do our part to develop the tropical portions of that State. {: #debate-38-s4 .speaker-K6Q} ##### Mr BERNARD CORSER:
Wide Bay -- I was one of those who supported the second reading of this bill, and it is natural that I should be interested in the amendments which the Minister has brought down. Those amendments, it seems to me, are in some respects opposed to the spirit of the original bill. None of the honorable members who have spoken to these amendments have really dealt with the amendments themselves. I make an exception in favour of the honorable member for Fremantle **(Mr. Curtin)** ; but he merely mentioned the fact without touching the amendments; all the others dealt with the tariff. I regret that, in doing so, they went so far as to challenge the right of the cotton industry to protection. The present duty on cotton products was imposed because the spinners said such action was necessary and it is not fair to charge the cotton-growers of Australia with the whole responsibility of the protection which the industry is receiving. The honorable member for Fawkner **(Mr. Maxwell)** referred to the fact that £900,000 had been made available for the assistance of the industry by the late Government, but he did not mention that, for reasons over which the growers had no control, £640,000 of that amount was never used at all. It was not made available because of conditions affecting the secondary side of the industry; conditions with which the growers had no direct concern. It was intended that the primary side of the industry should be built up through the encouragement afforded to the secondary branch - encouragement which would induce the manufacturers to use seed cotton grown in Australia. It was considered that the assistance given by the Bruce-Page Government would be sufficient to develop the primary, as well as the secondary, side of the industry. Afterwards, it was claimed by the manufacturers and spinners that the protection was not sufficient to enable them to carry on. To-day the honorable member for Ballarat **(Mr. McGrath)** made the interesting statement that machinery is being installed in his electorate that surpasses anything previously used in this industry in Australia. That i3 gratifying to the cotton-grower, who has always realized that the trouble in the disposal of his product and the marketing of the manufactured goods has been due to obsolete equipment and unscientific methods of manufacture, which did not enable the Australian factories to compete with the goods of other countries. Ally shortcomings in this respect are not to be accepted as evidence that the grower has failed, or that cotton cannot be grown in Australia. {: .speaker-KNP} ##### Mr Maxwell: -- Oan it be grown at a payable price without government assistance? {: #debate-38-s5 .speaker-K6Q} ##### Mr CORSER:
WIDE BAY, QUEENSLAND -- The success of the grower is dependent largely upon the successful use of his product in the secondary industries. If a spinning company failed because the managing director was drawing £10,000 a year from the business, and relatives were receiving amounts that were afterwards questioned in court, and as a result of the use of out-of-date machinery, the penalty should not be visited upon the growers who pay Australian rates of wages for everything they use in the production of their crop. Members of all parties in this chamber claim that the labourer must be properly compensated, and that Australian standards of living must be maintained. Can we ask the cotton-grower to comply with those conditions and yet produce in competition with the products of black labour? {: .speaker-KYI} ##### Mr Prowse: -- The Australian grower's price is all right if the public can afford to pay it. {: .speaker-K6Q} ##### Mr CORSER: -- The Australian public has already paid for lots of things. Even Western Australia has been successful in getting a substantial payment from the Commonwealth exchequer. The honorable member for Forrest **(Mr. Prowse)** complains because the State Governments are to bo asked to accept 50 per cent, of the liability in respect of the guaranteed price for wheat. When the honorable member's own industry is concerned, he asks for the same assistance from the Commonwealth as is given to the cotton industry. The cotton bounty is one of the few contributions made by the federal authority to Queensland industry. The people of my State have not benefited by the construction of the east-west railway. {: .speaker-KYI} ##### Mr Prowse: -- What about the sugar industry? {: .speaker-K6Q} ##### Mr CORSER: -- Does the honorable member complain of the assistance given by the Commonwealth to develop a portion of Australia in which those members who live about the southern capitals would not reside? Cotton production is not solely a Queensland industry. In Western Australia are idle lands well adapted for cotton-growing, and I advise honorable members representing that State to urge their people to take advantage of this measure. Already Western Australia has produced small quantities of cotton quite suitable for the local market. *Sitting suspended from 6.15 to S p.m.* {: .speaker-K6Q} ##### Mr BERNARD CORSER: -- The honorable member for Henty **(Mr. Gullett)** spoke in glowing terms of the nature of the country in which cotton is being grown in Queensland. He said that it was second to none in Australia. I agree with him in that regard; but I disagree with his contention that it would be better if this country were put to some other use than cotton-growing. Cotton is a product for which 'there is a large market in Australia, whereas there is not a large available market forsome of the other commodities that these farmers could produce. It is highly desirable that Australia should endeavour to produce here some of the commodities that she is at present importing, rather than that she should extend her production in lines which she already finds it difficult to export. The cotton industry offers very great possibilities, and if we can develop it on sound lines we shall be able to settle ten producers where there is only one to-day. It is desirable, therefore, that the Commonwealth Government as well as the State Government should do everything possible to encourage the industry. The Bruce-Page Government set a good example in this respect. It was the first Government which endeavoured to develop the industry in both its primary and secondary branches. It was the first administration to provide a bounty on cotton yarn. The bill now before us provides for an extension of the period in which the bounty will be payable. The bounty granted under the 1926 act was for cotton yarn made in Australia which contained 50 per cent. of Australian cotton. At that time the Australian spinners and cotton experts argued that Australian-grown cotton was of a superior quality, and that it was necessary to mix it with a proportion of inferior imported cotton. The policy adopted by the previous Government was considered to be wise. {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr Blakeley: -Why stone-wall the bill? {: .speaker-K6Q} ##### Mr BERNARD CORSER: -- I am not stone-walling it. This measure is of vital importance to Queensland and Australia, and I consider it necessary to reply to some of the criticism to which it has been subjected. I am leading up to the amendment now before the Chair, which the. Minister did not explain. He merely said that it had been prepared at the request of the spinners. Although the scheme propounded by the previous Government was declared by all sections of the industry to be satisfactory, the spinners suddenly came to the conclusion that they needed more assistance. They declared that they had accumulated large stocks of Australian cotton which they could not use, but had to leave lying about in bales. They claimed that they should be given an increased bounty if they used it, and conducted a vigorous agitation, which eventually gained them their end. Apparently the manufacturers will use their accumulated stocks of Australian cotton if this amendment is agreed to. We need to be careful that we do not grant the manufacturers assistance at the expense of the cotton-growers. The bill provides for a gradual reduction of the bounty to be paid to the cottongrowers, although they will still be required to observe Australian wages and conditions in their operations. In the past the cotton-growers have had to be satisfied with a return of 4d.,4½d., or 5d. per lb. for their cotton, and out of this they have had to pay from1¾d. to 2d. per lb. to the cotton-pickers. Notwithstanding this, the manufacturers will reap the whole of the advantage of this amendment if it is agreed to. The manufacturer should be obliged to pay the producer a fair price for his cotton, particularly as the amount of the bounty will be gradually diminished until, in 1936, it will amount to only¼d. per lb. I was astonished at the list of amendments to this bill tabled by the Acting Minister. The purpose of the amendment under notice at the moment is to authorize the payment of bounty provided under the Cotton Bounty Act of 1926 on - {: type="a" start="a"} 0. seed cotton grown in Australia, delivered to a place appointed under that act, and graded as prescribed by that act, prior to the commencement of this act; and 1. cotton yarn manufactured in Australia prior to the commencement of this act and in the manufacture of which not less than fifty per centum of Australian-grown cotton has been used, and upon which bounty has not been paid prior to such commencement. This really means that the spinners will be able to get the full advantage of the 1926 act on stocks of cotton which they have on hand, but have not used, and at the same time reap the increased advantages afforded by the provisions of this bill. The amendment, therefore, is wholly to the advantage of the spinner, which leads me to insist that we must not lose sight of the fact that, if the cotton industry is to prosper in Australia, the welfare of the cotton-grower must be the prime consideration. It is a somewhat poor outlook for the grower that the bounty of 1½d. is to diminish gradually until 1936, when it will amount to only id. per lb. After that year no bounty will be payable, and the cottongrower will be dependent upon the cottonspinner. If we are not careful we shall destroy this industry at its base. I think the Acting Minister should have given us a little more information to justify the acceptance of this amendment. {: .speaker-KNP} ##### Mr Maxwell: -- By increasing the duty in favour of the manufacturer, and insisting that he pay a certain price to the grower, would wo not be continuing the bounty in another form? {: #debate-38-s6 .speaker-K6Q} ##### Mr BERET ABD CORSER:
WIDE BAY, QUEENSLAND -- Not necessarily; because wrapt up with this question is the economic position, Drought about by the Australian standard of living. We must protect our growers from the competition of growers in black labour countries. Unless we give them some assistance, at least equal to the basic wage in secondary industries, we shall be working on a wrong basis altogether. Therefore we cannot complain . if the industry is given some protection, even by way of tariff revision. I cannot see that that assistance could be taken as being equivalent to a bounty. It is really providing for the policy which has determined the Australian standard of living. In giving effect to that policy we must protect the producers of Australia, so that they may be on an equal footing with other sections of the community, who, in turn are protected by industrial awards, or by tariff duties on those commodities that the producers have to buy. While some honorable members may claim that it is wrong to increase our tariff, at the same time it must be recognized that if we are to take away bounties, we must substitute an effective tariff. The policy of this Government is eventually ito abolish all bounties. I would sooner have the bounties continued than have any subsequent revision of the tariff. {: .speaker-KNP} ##### Mr Maxwell: -- Then the honorable member admits that there is no prospect of this primary industry developing without Government assistance? {: .speaker-K6Q} ##### Mr BERNARD CORSER: -- I do not claim -that the tariff constitutes Government assistance. It is an assistance given really at the expense of the consumer, and in accordance with the established policy of the country. {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr Gregory: -- There is no reason for tariff protection. {: .speaker-KYI} ##### Mr Prowse: -- It has certainly placed us in a wretched position. {: .speaker-K6Q} ##### Mr BERNARD CORSER: -- The honorable members who represent Western Australia would object to any proposal to wipe out the Paterson scheme, because that would adversely affect the ever increasing butter industry of that State. They do not offer any criticism of that scheme. {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr Gregory: -- We voted against it. {: .speaker-K6Q} ##### Mr BERNARD CORSER: -- The honorable member would not vote against it to-day. Recently 1,028 leading professors of economics applied to the Congress of the United States of America for the rejection of increased tariffs before that body, and they also requested the President of the United States of America to exercise his veto on the tariff measures if they were passed by Congress. They gave economic reasons for their action. In their opinion high tariffs were operating adversely against the production of that country, and against humanity,' and were forcing up the cost of production, and compelling governments to subsidize waste and inefficiency in industry. {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr Gregory: -- Which was quite right. {: .speaker-K6Q} ##### Mr BERNARD CORSER: -- If a similar argument is to be used against the tariffs imposed in this country, and if eventually the tariff is- -to be varied, then we should still reserve the right to return at least to the direct 1-Jd. bounty which the cotton-grower has enjoyed in the past. {: #debate-38-s7 .speaker-KRD} ##### The CHAIRMAN (Mr McGrath:
BALLAARAT, VICTORIA The honorable member's time has ex.pired. {: #debate-38-s8 .speaker-KFS} ##### Mr GULLETT:
Henty -- I am pleased that the Prime Minister **(Mr. Scullin and the Treasurer (Mr. Theodore)** are present, because I wish to appeal to them, in the interests of the great knitting industry of this country, to . restrain the ardour of this young Acting Minister for Trade and Customs **(Mr. Forde)** who desires to speed and bolster up .the cotton-growing industry of Queensland. I shall confine my remarks to the position in which the knitter of Australia is being placed because of the imposition of these new duties on cotton yarns. The knitter is being punished very heavily. Already he has lost a lot of business, and the new duties have brought about a substantial amount of unemployment, which is still increasing. The Acting Minister on Friday last made three statements with reference to the knitter, who in my opinion is being victimized in the interests of the spinner and the cotton-grower. The Acting Minister said that the spinners are now capable of supplying all classes of the yarn which is subject to the new duty, and is required by the knitters at the present time. He also said that the knitters at a conference with the Minister, held some time ago, raised no objection to the new duties on yarn; that the knitters had no grievance to-day; and that the representations which were being made from this side of the House were so much party politics. I submit, with all respect, to the Acting Minister, that his statements were quite unfounded. It is beyond all question that the spinners to-day are not supplying the yarns necessary for the carrying on of the large and well-established knitting industry of this country. They are not supplying requirements, and they are not in a position to supply them, and the substitutes that they are offering will not enable the knitters to carry on their industry satisfactorily. Further, the knitters of this country emphatically deny expressing approval of the imposition of full duties on many classes of yarns which they use. The facts about the alleged agreement by the knitters are these. At a conference held in Sydney in November last, attended by the Acting Minister and certain manufacturers from Victoria and New South Wales as well as representatives of the Austral Silk and Cotton Company and George A. Bond Limited, the matter of a duty on cotton yarns was discussed, and it was eventually agreed that the trade, as represented, would have no objection to the duty of 35 per cent, being placed on soft cotton, or, in other words, white cotton. At that conference the matter of coloured cotton and random dyed cotton was discussed, and the spinners' representatives stated that they were quite prepared to allow this yarn to come in free of duty. It was only in March last, that the spinners approached the Acting Minister for Trade and Customs **(Mr. Forde),** without consulting the manufacturers, in regard to the imposition of a 35 per cent, duty on coloured and random dyed cotton yarn, and this duty was agreed to and imposed on the 30th March, 1930. That actually is the story of this alleged agreement by the knitters in respect of the new duties. The Acting Minister stated most emphatically on Friday last that the knitters had been behind him in extending these duties. The following is an urgent .telegram which I received to-day from the Secretary of the Hosiery and Knitted Goods Manufacturers Association of Victoria : - >Executive of the Hosiery and Knitted Goods Manufacturers Association of Victoria embracing all branches of the trade in session to-day emphatically protest against duties imposed 10th Mardi on all coloured or random dyed, or mixture coloured cotton yarns used in knitting industry. That telegram is perfectly clear. It shows that the statement of the Acting Minister for Trade and Customs that the knitters have agreed to the new duties, is entirely unfounded. I understand that a similar association in New South Wales known as the Hosiery and Knitted Goods Association of New South Wales has agreed to these new duties, but there is this extraordinary fact to be taken into consideration. I am informed that the President of the New South Wales Association is also the Chairman of George A. Bond Limited, the spinners, and that the Vice-Chairman of the Association is **Mr. George** McLean, who is the manager of George A. Bond Limited. So that in New South Wales the spinner is also the knitter, and naturally there is no protest from the knitter against these new duties in favour of the spinner. I appeal to the Acting Minister and to the Prime Minister to assent to the repeated request of the knitters of Victoria. The great knitting mills of that State have again and again appealed to the Minister to convene a conference on this question. They have pointed out that "they are being penalized, and have been compelled to work short staffed because they cannot get from the Australian spinners the material which has been made dutiable. They are working short time and are being progressively compelled to lay-off staff. It is remarkable that the Acting Minister should not grant this request for a conference. The following is a letter, written to the Acting Minister, by the secretary of the Hosiery and Knitted Goods Manufacturers Association of Victoria, dated 14th March, four days after the wide extension of these duties : - >A meeting of the committee of the Victorian Knitters Association was held to-day, at which the officers of the Australian Textile Workers Union were present by invitation. I particularly draw the attention of the Acting Minister to that fact. The letter proceeds - >As an outcome oi the meeting the committee decided to submit for your earnest and immediate consideration the following resolution : - > >That in view of the serious set-back to the industry as a result of the operation of the recent tariff schedules, which has resulted in supplies of various yarns urgently required by manufacturers being practically cut off, by reason of the inability of local spinners to make immediate deliveries of yarns, we urgently appeal for an immediate conference to be held for the purpose of investigating the administration of the tariff schedule, and also the apparent inability of local spinners of yarns to meet immediate requirements. We respectfully suggest that the following should be represented at such conference : - > >The Federal Government. > >Manufacturers using all classes of yarns. > >Spinners of all classes of yarns. > >Australian Textile Workers Union. > >Parties concerned in Sydney. The Australian Textile Union is behind this request, which is 'an eminently reasonable one. Obviously it is suffering disability because of the operation of the tariff, as its men are being dismissed from their employment. The Acting Minister cannot lightly brush aside the request, in view of the telegram that I have read. He cannot say, as he did again and again on Friday last, that the knitters are satisfied. The following further resolutions were carried by this association and forwarded to the Acting Minister : - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Resolved that a protest be made at the conference with the union representatives against the discrimination shown in T.D. 30/205 (6) as between the knitting and weaving industries as it is considered the knitting industry should be on the same favorable basis as the weaving industry. 1. That we emphatically protest against the imposition of duties on coloured and random cotton yarns for the knitting industry in view of the fact that same cannot bc produced locally at present, and we cannot see the necessity for this imposition of duty when the Australian spinners notified the manufacturers and the Minister that they were not interested in the question of the production of dyed and random dyed yarns. 2. That we emphatically protest against the discrimination of- allowing condensor and waste yarns in free for the towelling, blanket and weaving industries and making them dutiable for the knitting industry. We consider that they should all be on the same basis in accordance with resolution number 1. An extraordinary feature of the refusal of the Acting Minister to allow the bylaw admission of yarns for the knitting industry is that he is allowing by-law admission, duty free, in respect of all or a large proportion of the requirements of the weaving industry. He is discriminating between the weavers and the knitters, and between two classes of employees. His attitude is inscrutable to me. Bond's say that they can supply a substitute for a number of these yarns that they are not manufacturing. Last Friday I quoted the case of the Cosmos Knitting Mills Limited, of Footscray, Victoria. That company spent a year in conducting heavy and expensive experiments, which enabled it to procure a particular type of material with which it turned out 50,000 boys' jerseys. {: .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr Forde: -- What are those garments made of? {: .speaker-KFS} ##### Mr GULLETT: -- A cotton and wool mixture, based on an imported cotton mixture yarn. When the new duties were imposed this firm wrote to Austral Silk and Cotton Mills Limited, and G. A. Bond & Company Limited, asking them to quote for this particular material. The former company replied - >We have to inform you that we do not manufacture mixture colours cotton yarns exactly as your sample. . . . We suggest a substitute by means of twofold or multifold yarns; at any rate individual yarns of appropriate colour to produce a general colour effect. The postion is that after a company has shown notable enterprise in having manufactured a first-class article based on quite a commonplace cheap British yarn, the action of the Government has had the effect of cutting off its supplies, and all that it can obtain is an inferior substitute manufactured in Australia. Can it be expected that under those circumstances its business can be carried on without loss, and that unemployment will not result? During the course of this debate reference has been made to the increased number of factories established, and the manufacturing activities that have been induced by the operation of the new tariff schedules. But the fact has been ignored that since this Government came into office the ratio of unemployment has increased from 12£ per cent, to 14J per cent. In the light of this hopelessly unbusinesslike handling of the matter, and the positive discrimination shown between one section and another, I do not wonder that unemployment is increasing. {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr Blakeley: -- The honorable member's Government was responsible for the unemployment; it wasted, squandered, and mismanaged. {: .speaker-KFS} ##### Mr GULLETT: -- The increase of 2 per cent, in the unemployment figures has occurred since the present Government came into power. I do not say that it has been entirely due to the Government ; but I do say that violent changes of this character lead to all sorts of unexpected consequences, and that for a long time they will do more harm than good. I have a number of definite requests to make to the Minister, and I trust that he will give them consideration. I do not wish to receive any more of the cheap abuse that he has formerly engaged in, nor to have the good old charge of being a freetrader levelled against me. I am not at present opposing either the duty or the bounty; but I ask that, in administering them, some consideration be shown to the most important of all the branches of industry associated with cotton to-day, the knitting industry, in which are invested large sums of money in the establishment of extensive factories and the employment of thousands of workers. It is being penalized for the benefit of other branches that may be established in the future. I ask the Acting Minister not to rush this matter, but to take it quietly. Why should he aim to bring about a big extension of the cotton-growing industry in Queensland ? Why not be satisfied with the existing acreage for a year? I suggest that he make this change gradually, and with a minimum amount of dislocation, financial loss, and unemployment in the knitting industry. Yarn is a raw material; not a manufactured article. Labour represents about 75 per cent, of the value of the cotton goods that are manufactured in Australia from imported yarn. I ask the Minister to allow in free under by-law all yarn that was on firm order before the new duties were imposed; that all mixture yarns required be allowed in free until an exact yarn is being spun within the Commonwealth; and that con.densor yarns be admitted under security to all manufacturers irrespective of the purpose for which they are to be used. At the moment I believe that very little condensor yarn is being made here. I appeal also for the admission of dyed and random-dyed yarns that are not now being supplied in sufficient quantities to meet the demand. Finally, I ask for the admission of heather mixture yarns duty free under by-law, as they are not being manufactured in Australia. I appeal for these admissions to be made retrospective where it can be shown that the knitters have not been passing on the increased duties. These yarns must be imported until the spinners in Australia are spinning them, if the knitting mills are not to close their establishments. To impose a duty on them is merely to place a tax on raw material to the detriment of the manufacturers and the workers in the knitting mills of this country. It is a foolish as well as an unprincipled action. To-day there are 50 knitting employees to every spinning employee. The disproportion is remarkable. I again appeal to the Minister to agree to the request for a conference, and to meet the knitters as far as he possibly can. {: #debate-38-s9 .speaker-KIT} ##### Mr MACKAY:
Lilley .- The Acting Minister for Trade and Customs **(Mr. Forde)** has at all times been most enthusiastic in advocating the claims of the cotton industry. Now that power has been placed in his hands he has gone as far as it is possible to go to foster that industry. Many attempts have been made in Queensland in the past to establish the cotton industry, but the great difficulty has always been the cost of production. The cost of picking cotton- in Queensland varies from 1-Jd. to 2d. per whereas in the United States of America it is as low as *id.* and *$d.* per lb. {: #debate-38-s10 .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr FORDE:
ALP -- Cotton is picked largely by coloured labour in the United States of America. {: .speaker-KIT} ##### Mr MACKAY: -- That is true. In Australia coloured labour would not be tolerated. We must pay white labour for the job, and that is what has constituted the difficulty right from the beginning. No one suggests that it is not possible to grow enough cotton in Queensland to supply Australia a dozen times over. The obstacle is that it costs too much to harvest the crop. In the district in which I live one man planted 1,000 acres of cotton in one of the boom periods, thinking that he was going to make a fortune out of it. When the cotton was grown he provided housing accommodation and brought families from different parts to do the picking. He tried it only once, however, because he lost so heavily over the experiment that he resolved to leave cotton alone for the future. If cotton-growing is to be a success it must be conducted in a small way, so that a man with 5 or 10 acres of cotton can, with the assistance of his family, do all the picking without having to employ outside labour. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Gullett)** attacked the policy of the Government, particularly its proposal for assisting the secondary side of the industry. It must be evident to every one, however, that unless we assist the secondary side of the cotton industry the primary side has not one chance in a thousand of succeeding. What we really have to consider is whether this industry is a natural one for Australia. I am sorry to say that, in my opinion, it is not. As a representative* of Queensland, I should like to- see everything possible done to make its industries thrive; but I am sure that my constituents have too much sense to wish the Commonwealth Government to bleed the taxpayers white in order to assist an industry which has not a fair chance of succeeding. This is an artificial industry, and the Government has made a mistake in attempting to foster it. The Acting Minister was lavish with his promises as to what is going to happen in the future. He spoke of the thousands of men who would find employment in the industry; but if the growers are asked to pay award wages they will be up against serious trouble from the very start. I am surprised that honorable members on the Government side of the House have not given some thought to the increasing price of cotton goods. The honorable member for Henty quoted facts and figures which have not yet been contradicted. I should like to believe that the cotton industry in Queensland will be as successful as prophesied; but I have grave doubts regarding it. {: #debate-38-s11 .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr FORDE:
Acting Minister for Trade and Customs · Capricornia · ALP -- The Deputy Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Gullett)** read a telegram which he had received from certain hosiery and. knitting goods manufacturers in Melbourne. I also received a similar telegram in connexion with dyed and randomdyed yarn, concerning which a complaint was made. The duty was applied to those yarns because it was found that many of the dyed yarns were being, brought into this country, bleached, and used in competition with kinds made dutiable under the tariff. A complaint to this effect was made to the department, and a thorough investigation was conducted by one of the most reliable officials of the Customs Department, who learned that the tariff was being evaded in the way I have indicated. {: .speaker-KFS} ##### Mr Gullett: -- That is an amazing story. {: .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr FORDE: -- I am surprised that the honorable member, who had a brief if inglorious experience as head of the Customs Department, should adopt that attitude, because I know that he has complete confidence in the officer of the department who made the investigation. {: .speaker-KFS} ##### Mr Gullett: -- I have, but the trouble caused by an occasional dishonest man could have been overcome without recourse to the action taken by the Government. {: .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr FORDE: -- The duty was applied only to certain yarn which could have been manufactured in Australia. It does not apply to mercerized cottons, yarns for the manufacture of cotton tweeds, sewing cotton, yarn used in the manufacture of towelling, and many other varieties. All those things are exempted from the duty imposed in the November tariff. To-day I received from the Austral Silk and Cotton Mills in Melbourne a telegram which reads as follows: - >We are informed Victorian Knitters Association resolution forwarded to-day to you opposing duty on dyed and random dyed cotton yarns. Dyed yarns in solid colours and random dyed yarns are produced and offered by local spinners. Hence we request duty on these remain. We do not produce multi-coloured mixture yarns being yarns spun from coloured cotton fibres dyed before spinning, and hence do not oppose recession in that classification - Austral Silk and Cotton Mills. {: .speaker-KFS} ##### Mr Gullett: -- Do they decide the policy of the Government? {: .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr FORDE: -- No; certainly not; but they have as much right to express an opinion as any ' other section of the people. Complaints have been made against the Government's tariff proposals, but it must be evident to honorable members that nothing can be achieved by a lopsided system of protection. We must have a comprehensive policy which will protect both the grower and the spinner; moreover the manufacturer' who takes the product must also receive adequate protection. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Gullett)** complained about what has been done for the spinners, but I should like to remind him that when this Government came into power the rate of duty on blouses, skirts and underwear manufactured from cotton materials was ls. and 2s. each. This Government increased it to 2s. and 4s. each. The duty on wool and silk good3 under the last Government was 2s. 6d. and 4s. 6d., and this Government increased it to 5s. and 9s. each. All we require is that Australian-spun yarn be used wherever it is suitable. The spinners have large quantities of yarn on hand. They have not been able to sell it, and they have a right to ask for a market, especially as they have adhered to the promise given to the Tariff Board. If we do not protect the Australian spinners, how can we expect them to buy Australiangrown cotton? Allegations have been made that since the new duties have been in operation prices have been raised and the public exploited. During the week-end I had inquiries made into those charges, and reports have now come to hand from the collectors of customs in New South Wales and Victoria. The Collector of Customs in Victoria sent an officer to Maryborough, and learned from **Mrs. Cuttle,** the managing director of the Maryborough Knitting Mills, that she had not placed any orders for cotton yarn with the Austral Silk and Cotton Mills. In view of that admission the criticism of the Government's policy falls to the ground. The yarn purchased by the Maryborough Knitting. Mills, regarding the increased price of which a dispute arose, was percentage yarn, which contains a small amount is* cotton, and in respect of which no bounty is paid. **Mrs. Cuttle** further stated that no hands have been dismissed because of an increase in the price of cotton yarn charged to knitters. She bought no cotton from the Austral Silk and Cotton Mills, and the price of the yarn she has bought from Geo. A. Bond and Company has not been increased ; but she fears that, with the price of cotton, which she alleged will be higher than before the introduction of the November tariff, the output of her mill will be further reduced. The investigation officer ascertained from **Mrs. Cuttle** that at peak periods the Maryborough Knitting Mills had employed more than 400 hands, but never more than 450, whilst the average was approximately 300. She stated that the number of hands employed fluctuates, and that there has been a reduction recently through loss of trade. {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr Gregory: -- Due to higher costs. {: .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr FORDE: -- As she has said that she bought no yarn from the Austral Silk and Cotton Mills, and that the prices of the yarn bought from Geo. A. Bond and Company have not been increased, the loss of employment cannot be attributed to the high cost of yarn. The decline in the average number of hands employed began nine months before the introduction of the November tariff. Questioned as to the falling off of business, she attributed it to the following causes : - (a) Importations of knitted piece goods, which were made up into various, articles of clothing similar to those she manufactures; (£>) competition in trade; (c) trade depression ; and *(d)* fashions changing over from cotton to silk. **Mrs. Cuttle** added that during the last twelve months the overdraft of the mill has been substantially reduced, and upon this the company has been complimented by its bankers. The investigation officer also checked the selling prices of the Austral Silk and Cotton Mills. This company submitted to the Tariff Board two lists of prices, which it guaranteed not to increase unless production costs were increased by additional wages, or higher duties on raw material. One list was based on a bounty of -id. per count per lb. and the other on id. per count per lb. Unfortunately the Tariff Board published only the latter list, probably on the assumption that the Government would adopt a bounty of ½d. per count' per lb. The Government, however, granted only -id., and the following list shows that the Austral Silk and Cotton Mills, not only refrained from increasing the guaranteed price, but actually reduced the prices of some of the counts: - Regarding the relations of the Austral Silk and Cotton Mills with the Maryborough Knitting Mills, I received the following telegram on the 12th May, from the former: - >Reference statement in House by **Mr. Crouch** as reported in press, we desire to report that inquiry by Maryborough Knitting Mills for our cotton yarns has been confined so far to the request for a copy of our price list of same. **Mr. Crouch's** remarks apparently are based upon our quotation for special percentage yarns in reply to definite inquiry by that mill, but this production in no way is connected with the subject of cotton yarn bounty or duty on cotton yarn. That statement has been verified by the department. An investigation officer visited the factory of Geo. A. Bond and Company at the week-end, and inspected its books. He found that this company had not increased the prices of any of its cotton yarns, but that a reduction was made in the price of twist yarns of sixteen counts. In regard to the prices charged by the knitters, an investigation officer visited the following knitting factories in Melbourne, and ascertained that no increases of'1 prices had taken place since certain yarns became subject to increased duties on 22nd November last: - J. Eugster, 110 Flinders-lane; Foy and Gibson Proprietary Limited; Australian Knitting Mills Limited; and Myer Emporium Limited. Investigations in New South Wales proved that no increases have been charged in respect of men's athletic singlets, ladies' vests, men's shirts, men's underpants, women's hosiery, and men's hosiery, manufactured by Gerge A. Bond and Company. As a matter of fact the prices of all Bond's goods have been reduced below the rates ruling on the 22nd November last. Men's shirts have been reduced from 42s. 6d. to 27s. per dozen, and men's underpants from 44s. 6d. to 30s. per dozen. Regarding retail prices, inquiries were made in Sydney of Mark Foy Limited arid Sydney Snow Limited, who purchased cotton goods, &c, from George A. Bond and Company, and they disclose that there has not been any advance in the prices of any cotton garments supplied by George A. Bond and Company since prior to the 22nd November, nor has either of those firms increased the retail prices to the public. On the other hand,, various reductions in prices, have been, effected. A special inquiry was made also as to the theoretical effect- the increased cotton duties, that is, the increased charges that could have been made to the public if the manufacturers had added, or had been able to add, the value of the increased duties to the price of their goods: As already sta Lou, George A. Bond and Company have not taken advantage of the increased tariff rates, but have actually reduced their prices. But the theoretical surcharges they might have made are - Men's athletic singlets, ltd. per garment; women's vests, *id.* per garment. I am most anxious to do everything possible to meet the reasonable wishes of the knitters, and to that end I arranged a special conference in Sydney, of representatives of the Sydney and Melbourne knitters, the cotton-spinning mills of Melbourne, and George A. Bond and Company. We discussed the supply of yarn, and reached an agreement which was satisfactory to all. In regard to dyed and random yarns, a thorough investigation willbemadeatonce. The Government doesnot wish to penalize any section of manufacturers. Human nature being what it is, some knitters: pressed for the duties that were imposed in November last,but wanted to buy their yarn in the cheapest market. At the conference I pointed out that the Government believes: in a comprehensive policy of protection, and expects the knitters to be consistent, and support the Australian spinners, who are producing the yarn they require. Some unscrupulous people were importing dyed yarns and bleaching them, and. selling them as white, and in that way were evading; the tariff. Because of that dishonesty, a duty was imposed on dyed yarns ; but, if that has caused anyhard- ship, I assure the Deputy Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Gullett)** that, although I am working from twelve to fourteen hours a day, I shall do my utmost to arrange a conference with the knitters with a view to removing any injustice. But they will have to make out a good case. If, although they are opposed to the importation of knitted good's, they want to import yarn that can be bought inAustralia, their inconsistency will be frankly pointed out to them. If however, they can show a reasonable case for the importation of dyed yarn at the old rates, I shall give their representationsmost sympathetic consideration. On the12th May received the following telegram from the Australian Knitting Mills, Melbourne : - >As users of cotton yarns, and in riew of the satisfactory protection enjoyed by us in regard, to the finished garments, we are not opposed to the Government's protective duties on cotton yarns. The Hosiery and Knit Goods Manufacturers Association of New South Wales wrote to me on the same day - >This association has read with interest the comments made by you in Parliament concerning the cotton-spinning industry in Australia, and desires to say that its members are pleased with the present position of the cotton-spinning industry in New' South. Wales. > >Some considerable time ago this association opposed duties on cotton yarn, but. did so only because it believed that local mills could not supply knitters" requirements. Siince then, however, from conferences held- between knitters and spinners,, the members of this association are satisfied that all. their requirements can now be met. > >It is the opinion of the members of this association that, as their manufacturedproduct is now wholly protected,', it is reasonable that they should now use only Australianmade yarns. > >Members of this association consist of practically the whole of the' knitters in New South Wales. > >There has been no increase in the price of yarn supplied by local spinners,, and' the quality, according- to members', is good. > >The members of this association, although usinglocally-spunyarn,haveinsomecases already reduced prices of their products; > >We are happy to give you this information, as we. appreciate the benefits, thathave resulted through foreign products being excluded from this market. {: .speaker-KFQ} ##### Mr GULLETT:
HENTY, VICTORIA · LP -- Who is the chairman of the association? {: .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr FORDE: -- Mr.H. Thomas. {: .speaker-KFS} ##### Mr Gullett: -- Is he not chairman of George A. Bond and Company? {: .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr FORDE: -- No. {: .speaker-KFS} ##### Mr Gullett: -- George A. Bond and Company are spinners, and knitters. {: .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr FORDE: -- The Deputy Leader of the Opposition urged that certain condenser yarn, for the manufacture of articles other than towels, should be admitted free of duty. Bond and Company have large quantities of substitute condenser yarn ready for delivery. The Tariff Board is absolutely satisfied that Bondi & Company have a real substitute for this article, and that it is not now necessary to, import it. If. the. Deputy Leader of the Opposition will read the report of the board he. will see that that is so. The honorable member for Wide Bay **(Mr. Corser)** made certain observations' about the amendments: I point out to him that paragraph a of the proposed new section: 2 is for the benefit of the growers, and paragraph *b* of it is for the protection of the spinners. The whole object of the amendment is to cover the last monthly delivery before the commencement of the new act. Stocks of yarn have not been held against the cotton-growers. Only normal stocks of foreign lint wereheld. If the bill had not been suddenly introduced with a clause repealing the original act the cotton-spinners could have obtained the full bounty until the 15th August, 1931, even if they had used 49 per cent, of foreign lint in their yarn. The Government has endeavoured to do the honorable thing by retaining the absolute rights earned by the spinners under the act, which, until this bill is passed, remains in force. It is directly in the interests of the cotton-growers that only 10 per cent, of foreign lint should be used in each count instead of the 49 per cent., which the spinners have a moral, if not a legal, right to use. I am informed that there are only about 100 bales of foreign lint involved, whereas the Australian lint purchased by the local spinners this year amounted to 10,000 bales. The object of the amendment is to safeguard the interests of both the growers and the spinners during the period between the operation of the old and new policy. I assure honorable members that at the first opportunity I will meet the representatives of the knitting mills in Melbourne and discuss their grievances with them. It is my desire to deal with the industry from an Australian stand-point, and remove any genuine grievances which the Australian manufacturer may have. {: #debate-38-s12 .speaker-JVR} ##### Mr NAIRN:
Perth .- It appears to me that the Acting Minister is asking for too much assistance for this industry. Su'ch a large measure of help is not justified by experience. Of course, we all sympathize with the cottongrowers, but it must be remembered that the bounty-cum-duty protection given to this industry is S5 per cent, against British, and 105 per cent, against foreign cotton goods. Is the industry worth buying at this price? The optimism of the Acting Minister as to the future of the industry is not shared by some in his own State who should be well qualified to express an opinion. **Mr. R.** J. Webster, manager of the Queensland Cotton Pool, who, I understand, was once a candidate for Labour support, and therefore cannot be accused of political prejudice, is reported to have said that the Acting Minister's estimate of a production of 25,000 bales next year was too optimistic. He thought that it would only be by a very- great effort that 18,000 bales- could be produced. The cotton industry has been granted preferential treatment for a number of years - long enough, in fact, for us to judge whether there are reasonable prospects of its ultimate success. A fair inference to be drawn from the present position and from the Acting Minister's description of the languishing condition of the industry is that it cannot be conducted on economic lines in Australia under Australian conditions. The Acting Minister stated in his secondreading speech that in America the cottonpickers received 6-10ths of Id. per lb. of seed cotton, whereas in Australia they received 1¾d. per lb. The cost in Australia is, therefore, three times as great as in America, and American industries are not carried on under low-wage conditions. We were informed that the Australian cotton-pickers operated during the slack season in the sugar industry. It seems to me that these workers have fattened on the sugar industry and now want to add to their prosperity by giving some of their time to the cotton industry, At any rate they do not appear to' be prepared to do a fair day's work for a fair" day's pay. *[Quorum, formed].* The primary and secondary branches of this industry are being rather cleverly played off against each other, with the unfortunate effect that the price of cotton goods in Australia is increasing year by year. We were at first told that the growers could not carry on their operations successfully unless a bounty of ltd. per lb. was paid. Then we were told that the manufacturers would not buy the local product. _ The next step was to grant a duty of 35 per cent. British and 55 per cent, foreign to protect the local manufacturer. It was next asked whether in view of this fact the growers should not be granted equal consideration. The result of all this has been, that the wearers of cotton goods in Australia, who constitute the great majority of our people, have been obliged to pay a heavy toll to this industry. It may be said that the retail price of cotton apparel has not increased by much, but it cannot be denied that the quality has declined seriously. Many manufacturers are to-day turning out- goods of poor quality and- charging for them the price of high quality' products.- If. the poli'cy of the' Government is1 approved, the workers in the industry, and not the cotton-growers, will reap the greatest advantage. When they get their awards from the courts, or when the Minister prescribes the conditions which he regards as satisfactory, these workers will undoubtedly do very well. It is true that a few manufacturers may also do well in the industry, but I am not optimistic as to the general result. Not one of the hotbed industries that we have developed in Australia has been a success. Those who have followed the history of the sugar, steel and cotton industries must admit that our efforts to establish their operations in Australia have not been satisfactory. Not one of them is being conducted to-day on a sound basis. For this reason I cannot support this proposal. {: #debate-38-s13 .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr CROUCH:
Corangamite .- I wish to quote a few figures in reply to the statements made by the Acting Minister in relation to the Austral Silk and Cotton Mills. I do so because I believe that the Minister desires to know the facts of the case. If he can be satisfied that this company has not stood by its undertakings, I am sure that he will act accordingly. Since this subject was debated by the committee on Friday last I have not had any further information from the Maryborough Knitting Mills, although I received a message from the solicitors of the Austral Silk and Cotton Company to the effect that they wished to see me. But I knew enough about solicitors to avoid an interview. An analysis of the statements made by the Acting Minister to-day substantiates the case that I made out on Friday. The Acting Minister has admitted that the Maryborough mills, which some little time ago employed 400 to 450 workers, have since dismissed a considerable number of their hands. The reasons given for this were, first, no orders for manufactured yarn and secondly, undertakings as to prices not kept. Of course, if there are no orders there must be unemployment. We agree on that. The Acting Minister confirmed my statement when he said that his officer had found that there had been no increase in prices. {: .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr FORDE:
CAPRICORNIA, QUEENSLAND · ALP; FLP from 1931; ALP from 1936 -- **Mrs. Cuttle** stated that she had not bought any Australian yarn. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr CROUCH: -- The trouble is that the knitters could not buy their yarn ex cept at an increased price. If the knitters have to sell their products without increasing their prices and yet have to pay more for their yarn, which is their raw material, there must naturally be a decrease in employment, because it is not possible to produce at a profit. If there is a large increase in the cost of the raw material, then, of course, there would be decreased profits and unemployment. The Acting Minister has said that the Maryborough Knitting Mills have given no orders to the Austral Silk and Cotton Mills. The reason for that is seen in the greatly increased prices set out in a letter from the Maryborough Knitting Mills, part of which I read to the Acting Minister the other day. The letter reads - 26th February, 1930. We have just obtained quotations for the supply of cotton yarn from the Austral Silk and Cotton Mills Ltd., and they quote as follows: - On referring to the Tariff Board's report and recommendation, which you very kindly forwarded to us a few days ago, we notice that at the end of same is annexure " A," which states the schedule of prices at which Australian spinners undertook to sell cotton yarns in the event of the duties under the customs tariff taking effect. The prices at which the Austral Silk and Cotton Mills Ltd. undertook to supply are as under: - If you compare the two lots of prices abovementioned, you will find that the prices; since the undertaking was given, have been increased to the following extent: - 1-10's. - Id. per lb. 1-lZ's.- Id. per lb. 1-14's.- lid. per lb. 1-16's.- -1½d. per lb. 1-lS's.- 24d. per lb. 1-20's.- 2d. per lb. 1-24's. - 4d. per lb. 1-28's.- 5d. per lb. 1-30's. - 3Jd. per lb. 1-36's.- 4d. per lb. The foregoing, as you will notice, are a very considerable increase in the prices, and it appears to us that this should be laid before the Minister for Customs, as it is apparently, to our way of thinking, an exploitation of the tariff. We might mention that present-day prices of Messrs. Geo. A. Bond & Co. (in liquidation) arc exactly as set out in their undertaking to the Tariff Board on 6th March, 1929, and, therefore, we cannot understand why the Austral Silk and Cotton Mills Ltd. should advance their prices as materially as shown above. Please accept our thanks in anticipation of your bringing the foregoing to the notice of the Minister of Customs. The Acting Minister has admitted tonight that in some instances there has been an increase over and above the guaranteed prices. He also said that the New South Wales Knitting Mills had sent him a letter of appreciation, expressing satisfaction with the prices charged by the spinning companies. Apparently, in New South Wales G. A. Bond Limited is satisfied that it is getting a fair deal; but my complaint is that in Victoria the Austral Silk and Cotton Mills have not kept their undertaking. The reason is clear. They are in competition at the present time with other knitting mills. In addition to being manufacturers of cotton yarn, which is the raw material for the knitters, they have their own knitting mills, and the Austral Silk and Cotton Mills are to-day attempting to kill competition by raising the price of their own raw material supplied to the country mills, while they supply their own knitting mills at any price they wish. I take strong exception to that action. The Maryborough mill has complained that it occasionally requires 500 lb. of union yarn, and that the Austral Silk and Cotton Mills refuses to supply orders for less than 2,000 lb. Although I drew the Acting Minister's attention to that fact in a letter which I wrote to him the other day, I think that he has forgotten it. I now ask him to instruct his officer to investigate that matter also. It may be said that in criticizing this bill I am to some extent, opposing the legislation of the Government of which I am a supporter, but I have no option but to take the stand that I am taking on this bill in the interests of a large number of my constituents. The township of Maryborough has about 5,000 or 6,000 inhabitants, and 450 of them are employed at the Maryborough mills. Their employment is gradually decreasing, and it will be a very serious matter to the town if, as the result of the action of the spinning company, employment ceases altogether. The honorable member for Ballarat **(Mr. McGrath)** rather questioned the efficiency of the Maryborough mill. It is the most up-to-date mill in the Commonwealth. I wish not to question the efficiency of the Ballarat mill, but to say that some time ago there w:-a a trade dispute between the management of the two mills, and as a result some of the old second-hand machinery at the Maryborough mill was transferred to the Ballarat mill. I deplore any controversy about the efficiency of these mills, but I have seen the Maryborough mill, and 1 have been told by persons who should know, that it is efficient, and I regret that the contrary has been stated by the honorable member' for Ballarat. However, I trust that the Acting Minister will instruct his officer to investigate the complaints of the Maryborough mill and particularly the complaint' that the Austral Silk and Cotton Mills have refused to supply it with yarn in quantities of less than 2,000 lb. {: #debate-38-s14 .speaker-KXQ} ##### Mr ARCHDALE PARKHILL:
Warringah -- On Friday last the honorable member for Corangamite **(Mr. Crouch)** gave an unmistakeable instance of an increase in the price of goods which were recently protected by an increased tariff. I also emphasized further instances of increases in the price of wool and cotton goods as indicated by the honorable member for Henty **(Mr. Gullett).** I pointed out that there would be a considerable increase in the cost of oof- ton goods as the result of the bounty given to spinners and the duties which are being imposed upon the cotton industry generally. In reply, the honorable member for Ballarat **(Mr. McGrath)** pointed out that the Ballarat mill was quoting prices considerably less than those ruling some time ago. He said that no increase had taken place in the price of its goods, but on the other hand there had been a reduction in prices. The Acting Minister also quoted wholesale and retail prices to the same effect. I quite agree with them, because their statements are in- accordance with inquiries that I myself have made, but the reason given to me for the present reduction in the price of these goods is entirely different from that put forward by the honorable member for Ballarat **(Mr. McGrath).** All these firms are jobbing because they have overtraded. They have goods on hand, and in order to get money with which to carry on the industry during this time of depression they are selling their goods at reduced prices. That was told tq me by two retail buyers, one of whom stated that he had given a large order at considerably reduced prices. He said that a similar position prevailed in all the cotton industries throughout the Commonwealth. This discussion has been most interesting. I heard with some amazement the patronizing tone of some of the telegrams from the manufacturers to the Acting Minister to the effect that they wanted this but would be satisfied witu that. In addition we have heard the most intimate details of the manufacturers' businesses, and these, of course, have been duly recorded in *Hansard.* This is a most extraordinary way in which to carry oh the business of the country and to deal with what has been described by the Minister as a great national industry. {: #debate-38-s15 .speaker-KYI} ##### Mr PROWSE: -- In what way is it great ? {: .speaker-KXQ} ##### Mr ARCHDALE PARKHILL: -- I am merely repeating what the Minister has said. If this is a great national industry, surely it is not necessary to send out investigation officers post haste to verify every statement that is made in this Parliament? Certain statements were made on Friday afternoon; yet today the Minister can give them a categorical denial in the light of information which, he said, had been obtained during the week end from a distant part of the Commonwealth. It has been pointed out that by means of the bounty and the duty this industry will receive protection to the extent of 85 per cent, against British goods and 105 per cent, against foreign goods. In the absence of a denial by the departmental investigator, that must stand as an authoritative statement of the position. It has not been disproved, either, that Canada is able to carry on its industry with a duty of *1* per cent, against British goods, and 20 per cent, against foreign goods. If traders can reduce their prices to the extent indicated tonight, where is the necessity for this duty? It is inconceivable, in the light of such a statement, that they have not been able to squelch the British .and foreign manufacturers years ago, and to obtain complete control of the Australian market without the assistance of these duties. {: .speaker-KNP} ##### Mr Maxwell: -- In addition to that, they are exporting their goods to New Zealand. **Mr. ARCHDALE** PARKHILL.That is so. The Minister should, therefore, show the necessity for this duty. So soon as the imported stocks that are now on hand have been disposed of, and this duty has been imposed, the Minister will not be able to say that the prices charged are as low as they are to-day. {: .speaker-L1C} ##### Mr Lewis: -- The honorable member is a dismal prophet. {: .speaker-KXQ} ##### Mr ARCHDALE PARKHILL: -- My dismal outlook is induced by a desire to conserve the interests of the people of this country. I noticed on Friday, and again to-day, a profound anxiety for the grower, the spinner and the knitter. I am dismal regarding the prospects of a section of the community that has not been referred to, the consumers. No mention of them has been made by the Minister during this debate. {: .speaker-KNP} ##### Mr Maxwell: -- They were not represented at the conference. **Mr. ARCHDALE** PARKHILL.These conferences were attended by **Mr. So** and So and **Mr. Somebody** Else. They had a talk. One said to the other " You take this bit, and I'll take that ". They all went away happy, because they benefited at the expense of people who were not represented at the conference. That is an aspect of the matter that should concern at least some honorable members in this chamber. I make no apology for viewing with very great apprehension the effect which this tariff assistance will have upon certain necessaries of the workers, of this country. Amendment agreed1 to. Clause, as amended, agreed to. Clause & agreed to. Clause 4 - >There shall, be payable out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund1, which is hereby appropriated accordingly, the bounties specified in this act.. {: #debate-38-s16 .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr GREGORY:
Swan -- It has been the policy of the Commonwealth Government to provide bounties in the past. Only a little while ago the Acting Minister' for Trade and' Customs **(Mr. Forde)** brought, down a bill for- the payment of a bounty om the- manufacture of galvanized iron. Upon investigation' itwas shown, that that would amount in ti e. aggregate to. the total sum paid in wagesby tha manufacturer concerned. Sincethen another bill has been brought down dealing with a compulsory wheat pool. In. that measure, however; the- Government advanced a new proposal - that the Commonwealth shall pay one-half of a stipulated guaranteed price, and that theStates, shall provide the balance. In other words, if a loss occurs, one-half shall be made, good by the Commonwealth, and the. remainder by the States. I wish to have a similar principle applied in connexion with this bill, and to all future bills which make provision for the payment of a bounty. I,, therefore, move - >That after the word, "accordingly" the word's " one-half of the amount of " be inserted. I do not wish it to be understood that I agree with the payment of the bounty. There is. nothing more discreditable than the way in which this Parliament interferes with industry. Why not allow industry to- manage its own affairs? We have been told' that the- Acting' Minister (Mr; Forde) met certain interested' persons, and, in the manner of a great poohbah, decided that one person- shall be allowed' to import good's- free of duty, while another person shall be compelled to- pay the duty. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Gullett),** stated: to>night that the weaver- can obtain his: yarn duty-free; while1 the knitter cannot.. The sooner the people realize that- certain persons can approach' the Minister- and' secure the admission of- their goods; duty free, while others are unable to do so and must pay the duties provided by the tariff list, the better it will be for them. This Parliament would be. better employed if it saw to the- enforcement of the- legislation that it passes. I question; whether any man will dare to> say that the*, cotton-growing industry is as important as the wheat industry. The wheat, industry and the mining industry, when operating fully/,, are responsible for enormous, developments: in every other, industry.. At least, seven or eight personsare given, employment, by the operation, of those industries, for every individual whom they directly employ. The mining industry has been- destroyed on account of the high cost of production; yet during- the last seven years the Commonwealth Government has assisted it to the extent of Only £1,770, while in the case of the iron and steel industry the. assistance rendered has been valued at £1,400,000. If the people of Queensland want this bounty, let the Queensland Government be- responsible for half of it. The spinner is the man who is being well looked after. The duty on cotton yarn is 35 per cent, in the case of British goods, and 5-5 per cent., in the case of foreign) goods; and, inaddition, we propose by this bounty to give the manufacturer assistance ranging from Id., per lb. to ls-, per lb. That means, that on the- high-class yarns, hisprotection will be 55 per cent., and. from 10.d.. to ls., per lb. If the manufacturers are to be given these concessions,, the States which profit by the employment, that is provided for their people should pay their proportion. I do- not believe that the growers willget such a great deal out of this, afterall. Most of the benefit will- be derived by the spinners. {: #debate-38-s17 .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr FORDE:
ALP -- The spinners havepromised' to- pay the growers a minimum, of 5d. per lb., up to 1936. {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr GREGORY: -- How can the Government follow the- spinners through all their operations ? I object to the large degree' of Ministerial control in the administration of tariff matters. Let honorable members: study the weekly notices issued; by the department prior to the imposition of the last tariff, and; see the enormous list of exemptions, under item.- 174, for the importation of machinery. It is all very well for those who can get the ear of the Minister, and obtain exemptions, but what of the unfortunate person who has no way of putting his case before the authorities, and who just pays up? It has been suggested that if these proposals are given effect it will enable Australia to build up an export trade in cotton manufactures. This is the first time we have ever heard of the possibility of exporting any of our secondary manufactures, and if that desirable object is achieved in this case it will certainly be something to be proud of. Amendment negatived. Clause agreed to. Clause 5 - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. The bounties under this Act shall be payable in respect of - {: type="a" start="a"} 0. seed cotton which - {: type="i" start="i"} 0. has been grown in Australia; 1. has been delivered to an appointed place; and 2. has been graded in one of the grades prescribed under section 7 of this Act; or lint produced from seed cotton which has been grown in Australia; and .... {: #debate-38-s18 .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr FORDE:
Acting Minister for Trade and Customs · Capricornia · ALP -- I propose to move - >That after the word " or," the words " at the option of the Minister " be inserted. The Attorney-General's Department stated that it is essential that some particular authority should determine whether the bounty shall be paid on seed cotton or on lint. If the clause were not altered individual growers could exercise their choice, which would be very undesirable from the point of view of the Commonwealth and the Queensland Cotton Board. {: #debate-38-s19 .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr LATHAM:
Kooyong .- I am not satisfied that the amendment moved by the Acting Minister for Trade and Customs **(Mr. Forde)** would cover the case. I understand that the object to be attained is to ensure that the bounty may be paid on seed cotton, or on lint produced from seed cotton, but that if it is paid on seed cotton it shall not he paid on lint produced from that seed cotton. I suggest that the intention could be better expressed than by inserting the words, " at the option of the Minister," and leaving it at that. The clause would still be open to the interpretation that the bounty may be paid on seed cotton or, at the option of the Minister, on lint produced from seed cotton. , It does not make it clear that the classes are exclusive, as it were. It would be desirable, I think, to reconsider this clause with a view to having it re-drafted, and re-committed before the third reading. It might be possible to include in this clause a definite proviso that no bounty shall be payable on lint produced from seed cotton in respect of which a bounty has already been paid. That would remove all ambiguity. {: #debate-38-s20 .speaker-KIT} ##### Mr MACKAY:
Lilley .- In April last the Acting Minister visited Brisbane, and conferred with the Cotton Advisory Committee. During the conference mention was made of a sum of £250,000 that was to be made available for the assistance of cotton-growers. "Will the Minister give the committee some particulars as to where that money is to come from; whether it is to be found by the Government of Queensland or by the Commonwealth, or whether it is to be part of the bounty? {: #debate-38-s21 .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr FORDE:
Acting Minister for Trade and Customs · Capricornia · ALP . A proposal was made that £250,000 should be made available through the Queensland State Agricultural Bank for the development of new cotton-growing areas. The State Agricultural Bank should, it was suggested, obtain the money by way of loan from the Commonwealth Bank, application being made for the money by the Queensland Government. {: .speaker-KIT} ##### Mr Mackay: -- Would the loan be guaranteed by the Commonwealth Government ? {: .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr FORDE: -- No, it would be purely a business deal between the State Agricultural Bank and the Commonwealth Bank. {: .speaker-KIT} ##### Mr Mackay: -- Is it a contribution by the State Government to the cotton industry? {: .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr FORDE: -- It will be a loan to the cotton-growers of Queensland, and will be administered through the State Agricultural Bank. The Queensland State Government will, if necessary, ask the Commonwealth Bank to lend the money in order to meet the increased demands on the Agricultural Bank as a result of the expected expansion of the cotton-growing industry. {: #debate-38-s22 .speaker-K6Q} ##### Mr BERNARD CORSER:
Wide Bay .- Surely the Acting Minister does not wish to evade the point that any loan to the Queensland Agricultural Bank would have to he guaranteed by the Queensland Government. That Government may be prepared to guarantee the loan of £250,000 provided it is for a period which will enable the money to be used effectively for the encouragement of production. It has been suggested that the money should be made available by the Commonwealth Bank for two years only; but what State Government could guarantee to return the money after two years when it had been lent to farmers, necessarily on fairly extended terms? A two-years loan is of no use to growers. The amendment now before the committee is to ensure that a bounty may be paid on seed cotton, or, at the option of the Minister, on lint. In the schedule attached to the bill the rate of bounty payable on seed cotton is set forth, but there is nothing about the rate of bounty payable on lint. It might be reckoned as 3 lb. of seed cotton to 1 lb. of lint, but there is no direct provision in the bill. As the lint is all mixed together in the ginneries no one can determine accurately how much .seed cotton has gone into the production of a particular consignment of lint. I should like to know from the Minister whether the growers have ever asked for the payment of a bounty on lint. {: .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr Forde: -- Sub-clauses 2 and 3 of clause 6 cover the points raised by the honorable member. {: .speaker-K6Q} ##### Mr BERNARD CORSER: -- I do not think that they do. On page 6 the bill provides a schedule of prices to' be paid for seed cotton, but there is no provision for lint. If lint is included under these provisions it will be necessary to recommit the bill later in order to define the position accurately. {: #debate-38-s23 .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr LATHAM:
Kooyong .- The Acting Minister should give serious consideration to the point raised by the honorable member for Wide Bay. The object of sub-clauses 2 and 3 of clause 6 is undoubtedly to deal with the situation described by the honorable member, but, as he has pointed out, they do not do so. Sub-clause 2, which is quite unambiguous, reads : - >The rates of bounty on lint produced from seed cotton shall be such rates as, having regard to the proportion which the weight of the lint bears to the weight of the seed cotton from which it is produced, are equivalent to the rates of bounty in respect of seed cotton. Pursuant to that provision it would undoubtedly be necessary to ascertain the weight of the seed cotton from which any particular parcel of lint was produced and to pay the bounty in accordance with the proportion of the weight of lint to the weight of seed cotton. To give effect to this provision it would be necessary to get the actual weight of seed cotton from which the lint was produced. Sub-clause 3, which reads - >The Governor-General may prescribe for each season, or part of a season, a standard ratio between the weight of seed cotton and the weight of lint produced from seed cotton, is designed to prescribe a general standard to be applied to the working-out of the scheme of sub-clause 2. But although the standard ratio prescribed by the GovernorGeneral might be interesting and informative, it could have no application, as the sub-clause is worded, to sub-clause 2. I suggest, therefore, that it should be re-drafted. If it were provided that the Governor-General should, each season, prescribe a ratio, and that the bounty paid in respect of lint should be paid upon the basis fixed by the prescribed ratio, the scheme would be workable, for it would then be known every year that so many pounds of seed cotton would be understood to produce so many pounds of lint, and the bounty would be paid accordingly. {: #debate-38-s24 .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr FORDE:
Acting Minister for Trade and Customs · Capricornia · ALP -- I have referred the point raised to the draftsman, and suggest that further consideration of the clause be postponed. Clause postponed. Clause 6 postponed. Clauses 7 and 8 agreed In. Clause 9 - *No* bounty shall be paid in respect of any cotton yarn unless - {: type="a" start="a"} 0. is is of good and merchantable quality; and 1. one hundred per centum of the cotton used in its manufacture was grown in Australia: Provided further that,, if the. Minister is satisfied that circumstances have arisen in which it would be unreasonable to require the use of ninety per centum of Australian-grown cotton, he may, if more than fifty per centum of Australian-grown cotton is used, authorize the use of Australian-grown cotton at any percentage under ninety and over fifty, and' in that case the rates of bounty set out in the Second Schedule shall be reduced to such rates as bear to the rates set out in that Schedule the same proportion as the amount of Australian-grown cotton used bears to all the cotton used in the manufacture of the cotton yarn: Amendment (by **Mr. Forde)** agreed to- >That in. the second proviso the words "if more than fifty per centum of Australiangrown cotton is used, authorize the use of Australian-grown cotton at any percentage under ninety and over fifty," be omitted and' the following be inserted in lieu thereof " subject to the next succeeding proviso, authorize the use of less than ninety per centum of Australian-grown cotton." {: #debate-38-s25 .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr FORDE:
Acting Minister for Trade and Customs · Capricornia · ALP . - I move - >That after the second proviso the following proviso be inserted: - "Provided further that bounty shall not be payable on cotton yarn in the manufacture of which less than fifty per centum of Australian-grown cotton has been used, unless the Minister is satisfied > >that there are insufficient sup plies of Australian-grown cotton available to enable the manufacture of cotton yarn so to use at least fifty per centum of Australian-grown cotton; and > >) that the manuf acturer has used, in the manufacture of the cotton yarn, all the Australiangrown cotton that is available." It is unlikely that this proviso will ever become operative, but it is designedto cover the situation which may arise if the Australian cotton cropfailssobadlythat less than 50 per cent. of the manufacturers' requirements was available locally. The proviso is,, in effect, an insurance for the manufacturer; so that he may not be afraid to proceed with a full expansion programme. Departmental inquiries have proved that the spinners need some bounty in addition to the tariff protection accorded to the industry. {: #debate-38-s26 .speaker-K6Q} ##### Mr BERNARD CORSER:
Wide Bay -- When the Acting Minister dealt with the amendment in clause 2 he said that it was a suggestion from the spinners, and this amendment is to a small extent consequential, but as its actual purpose is to strengthen the hands of the manufacturers I can quite understand that it has been suggested by them. {: .speaker-KXQ} ##### Mr Archdale Parkhill: -- I should like to know if the bounty is to be paid in proportion to the Australian cotton used, because no proportions are mentioned in the bill. {: .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr Forde: -- Under the principal act the full rate of bounty could be claimed if 50 per cent. of Australian grown cotton was used, but the bounty is now to be paid on a percentage basis according to the Australian cotton contents of the yarn. {: .speaker-K6Q} ##### Mr BERNARD CORSER: -- It permits the manufacturer to use less Australian cotton, and yet secure the bounty. Amendment agreed to. Clause, as amended, agreed to. Clauses 10 to 12 agreed to. Clause 13- (1.) The Minister may make application to the Chief Judge or a Judge of the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration, or to any Commonwealth authority established for the purpose of determining wages and conditions of employment, for a declaration as to what wages and conditions of' employment are fair and reasonable for labour employed in the production of seed cotton or lint, or the manufacture of cotton yarn. (6.) If the Minister finds that the conditions of employment or rates of wages; or any of them, paidby any claimant for bounty under this act - {: type="a" start="a"} 0. are below the rates and conditions declared, as in the first- sub-section of this section mentioned, to. be fair and reasonable; or 1. are below the standard rates and conditions of employment prescribed by the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration, orby any other industrial authority of the Commonwealth or a State, the Minister may withhold the whole or any part of the bounty payable. {: #debate-38-s27 .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr FORDE:
Acting Minister for Trade and Customs · Capricornia · ALP .- I move- >That the following sub-clauses be added to the clause : - "' ('7.) The Minister may appoint an authority or authorities for determining,. for the purposes of this section, wages and conditions of employment which are fair and reasonable for labour employed in the production of seed cotton or lint, or the manufacture of cotton yarn. (8.) An authority appointed by the Minister under the last preceding subsection shall consist of a representative of the Commonwealth, a representative of employers engaged in the production of seed cotton or lint, or the manufacture of cotton yarn, and a representative of employees engaged in such production or manufacture. (9.) An authority appointed under subsection 7 of this section shall have such powers in relation to the summoning of witnesses, the production of books and documents and the taking of evidence, as are prescribed." The clause contemplates the determination of wages and conditions of employment by a Commonwealth authority established for the purpose. The amendment provides means whereby such an authority may be appointed for the purpose of dealing with wages and conditions in an industry existing in only one State. {: #debate-38-s28 .speaker-KFS} ##### Mr GULLETT:
Henty .- This is rather an extraordinary provision, contemplating as it does the setting up by the Commonwealth of a special tribunal appointed by the Minister to cover the cotton-picking industry. It is the Coal Tribunal all over again. The evil of appointing a special tribunal to function in one industry only is that such an authority does hot necessarily take into consideration the relation of the wages and conditions it determines to those obtaining in other industries. As happened in the coal industry it can award a special wage out of all proportion to the wages paid in other industries. For that reason I dislike the amendment. I do not like the idea of having special tribunals for special industries, and I trust the Acting Minister will not spring this extraordinary proposal upon the committee at this late hour. {: #debate-38-s29 .speaker-JWT} ##### Mr FRANCIS:
Moreton .- While I favour the purpose of this bill I think it necessary to point out that, if the cotton industry is greatly to expand, its chances of doing so may be jeopardized by forcing upon the farmers heavy costs of production. The industry has had special assistance, first in the primary stage, secondly in the manufacturing stage, and thirdly by the protection afforded against the importa tion of cotton goods from overseas; but rumours are current that an effort will be made to obtain a higher wage for picking cotton than has been paid in the past. In the United States of America cotton is picked for id. per lb., whereas in Queensland we are required to pay lid or ' 2d. If the industry is to prosper there must be a margin of profit for the grower over his cost of preparing the land and planting it, which, according to the latest Tariff Board report, is 2½d. per lb. When to that a further 1¾d. is added for picking there is is very little profit in cottongrowing at present prices, although I am an ardent believer in the possibility of this industry being a great success and a great aid to the development of Australia. In the amendment he has proposed the Acting Minister takes to himself very many powers. I hope that he will be careful to see that the farmer gets his proper reward, and that the profit to which he is entitled is not taken from him by the exorbitant demands of the cottonpickers and field workers. {: #debate-38-s30 .speaker-K6Q} ##### Mr BERNARD CORSER:
Wide Bay -- I protest against this amendment, which gives the Minister power to appoint an authority for the determination of wages and conditions in an industry which, so far as the producer is concerned, is already paying a wage equivalent to any award rate that has been given. Harassing conditions, not known to-day in regard to the growing of the crop, may be laid down, and may deprive the cotton-farmer of any benefit he is otherwise likely to enjoy from this bounty. The bounty is to be paid, not to enable a higher wage to be given, but to permit the industry to compete with success against importations from other countries where the wages and conditions of labour are not of the high standard enjoyed by the workers in Australia. If all the advantage to be derived from the bounty is to go in the payment of higher wages, and nothing to the man who has struggled to carve a farm out of the forest or scrub, the industry will be a failure. The Acting Minister has now brought down an amendment which, if carried, will give him the right to appoint an authority to determine the wages and conditions governing the growing of the crop, although we have just passed a clause which provides that after inquiry and report by the Tariff Board, if, in the "opinion of the Minister, the lint produced from seed cotton upon which bounty has been paid is not being sold by the recipients - the cotton-growers - of the bounty at a reasonable price, having regard to the cost of production, the Minister may withhold the payment of the bounty. The cotton producer has not only to comply with the wages and conditions prescribed by a tribunal appointed by the Minister, but also to sell his product to the manufacturer at a price which, in the opinion of the Minister, is reasonable. I cannot see any hope for the producer at all. The whole of these amendments seem to be framed in the interests of the manufacturer and the primary producer seems to be out of the picture altogether. I protest against this clause, and I shall certainly vote against the Minister having the right to inflict these unreasonable conditions upon the cotton-grower. {: #debate-38-s31 .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr LATHAM:
Kooyong -- I hope that the Acting Minister will not insist on this very remarkable and farreaching addition to the bill. In all bounty bills there are provisions corresponding with clause 13 of this bill. Those provisions are carefully drawn and have now reached a standardised form. They provide that the Minister may apply to a judge of the Commonwealth Arbitration Court or to any Commonwealth authority established for the purpose of determining wages and conditions of employment, for a declaration as to what wages and conditions of employment are fair and reasonable for labour employed in the production of seed cotton or lint for the manufacture of cotton yarn, and if the conditions of employment and wages are below the standard so determined, then the bounty may be withheld. The reference is to a judge of an existing tribunal, the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration, the constitution and powers of which have been the subject of keen debate in this Parliament; indeed, no subject has, in the history of the Commonwealth, received more attention than has the constitution of industrial authorities. Under this amendment it is proposed that the Minister shall have power to appoint an authority. There is no qualification for membership of that authority except that two members are described as representatives of certain interests. The Minister is to have power to appoint that, authority whenever he likes, for the purpose of determining the wages and conditions of employment. He is to have power to do this in respect of the labour employed in the production of seed cotton which is one industry, in the production of lint, which is another industry, and in the manufacture of cotton yarn, which is a third industry. The first two industries are carried on in the country and the the third in the city. The authority is to be appointed entirely by the Minister. One member is to be a representative of the Commonwealth. Obviously, that may be anybody. He may be a man of some' qualification, a police magistrate or a judge, or a man skilled in industrial conditions, or a man with no such qualifications. No qualifications whatever are prescribed in the bill. {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr Blakeley: -- The honorable member should trust the Government. {: .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr LATHAM: -- The Minister has not been present in this debate, and he should not join in at this stage for the purpose of making jocular remarks. The other member of the tribunal, a representative of the employers, is to be selected by the Minister. He will not be nominated or suggested by the employers themselves. {: .speaker-KMZ} ##### Mr Martens: -- The honorable member used to appoint the workers' representatives, and gave the workers no choice. {: .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr LATHAM: -- The honorable member is making an entirely inaccurate statement. On no occasion did I, or the Government of which I was a member, select any representative of the workers except from a list supplied by the workers themselves. I presume that the honorable member is referring, to the International Labour Conference,. {: .speaker-KMZ} ##### Mr Martens: -- Yes. {: .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr LATHAM: -- No representative of the workers was ever sent abroad by the late Government except persons nominated by the workers themselves. In fact, the representative who was selected was always the person marked No. 1, in a list containing three nominations. The amendment provides for the setting up of a number of authorities in three associated industries, possibly one authority in Sydney and another in Melbourne. That is not clear from the phrasing of the provision; but on these authorities most remarkable powers are .to be conferred. The powers of a judge of the Commonwealth Arbitration Court when acting under this legislation are set out in sub-clause 2, which reads - >On the hearing and determination of the Application, the Chief Judge, Judge or Commonwealth authority, as the case may be, shall have all the powers which under the Excise Procedure Act 1907 are conferred on the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration, and all witnesses and persons summoned to appear or appearing before the Chief Judge, Judge or Commonwealth authority, as the case may be, shall bc entitled to the same privileges and protection, and be subject to the same liabilities and penalties,- as witnesses or persons summoned to appear or appearing before the President on an application within the meaning of that act, and the provisions of that act shall, so far as they are applicable, apply accordingly, mutatis *mutandis,* as if the application were an application within the meaning of that act. In other words, where the judge is hearing an application, precise provision is made for the powers of the judge and for the protection of witnesses; hut under sub-clause 9 an irregular authority appointed by the Minister under subsection 7 is to have such powers in relation to the summoning of witnesses, the production of books and documents and the taking of evidence, as are prescribed. The judge of the Commonwealth Arbitration Court is tied down and his powers are limited; but the authority appointed by the Minister is to have such powers as 'may be prescribed, and no provision whatever is ni de for the protection of witnesses as is done in connexion with witnesses who appear before a judge of the Arbitration Court. If the Acting Minister has followed recent industrial events in Australia, he must be aware of the difficulties which have arisen in consequence of the setting up of special tribunals which were not a part of our general industrial system. One was in connexion with the engine-drivers' special tribunal in connexion with the coal-mining industry, which awarded rates of wages which bore no relation to the rates awarded to engine-drivers performing work in places other than coal-mines. There has been a great deal of trouble on that account, in regard to which one may have a degree of sympathy with the men concerned. These difficulties, which at times have been most acute, have been due to the fact that special tribunals have been set up which are not a part of the general industrial system of the community. If effect is given to this amendment, further difficulties will arise, not only in connexion with the production of seed cotton and lint, but also in relation to the manufacture of cotton yarn, and these will affect engineers, electricians, and other employees engaged in the industry. I do not pretend to have any knowledge of the manufacture of cotton yarn- {: .speaker-L4X} ##### Mr PARKER MOLONEY:
HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- Hear, hear. {: .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr LATHAM: -- And the Minister for Markets and Transport knows as much as I do on the subject. Cotton yarn is produced in factories in which there will be the ordinary factory employees, such as those in the control of machinery, as well as others engaged in the processes of manufacture. Although a number of these employees will be covered by existing awards, it is proposed, under this amendment, to set up another authority, which will have power to prescribe wages, but there is no provision with respect to the relation which is to exist between the awards made by this authority and those of the Commonwealth Arbitration Court, or of State arbitration tribunals. As all the manufacturers of cotton yarn and the producers of seed cotton and lint will apply for the bounty as a matter of course, it will mean that the awards made to those engaged in this industry, will overlap a number of other awards, and thus bring about a condition of chaos. No benefit will be conferred upon anybody by the adoption of this proposal. As the clause stands,' it is effective to deal with any situation which may possibly arise. The rates of wages of the employees concerned are already prescribed by one authority or another, and no difficulty has arisen in the past in applying the provisions of the existing Cotton Bounty Act. If any difficulty should arise, a judge of the Commonwealth Arbitration Court is the proper person to deal with it. In these circumstances, I trust that the Minister will withdraw this amendment, which has the effect of introducing t a new system of industrial tribunals, to be appointed by a government with no provisions as to qualification, or jurisdiction, and with all the risks which arise from the appointment of special tribunals not related to other tribunals. This can lead only to confusion, difficulty, and, indeed, chaos. {: #debate-38-s32 .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr GREGORY:
Swan .- I intend to vote against this clause. "We have heard to-night of the various persons concerned in the matter of subsidies, and I suppose a section of the party opposite, on finding that the Government is granting some concession to the growers of cotton and the manufacturers of cotton yarn, desire that additional consideration shall be given to another section. Surely they should be satisfied with the Commonwealth Arbitration Court, which has been appointed to fix the conditions in this as well as in other industries. I object to the clause, which gives the Minister power to intervene. As we already have a Commonwealth Arbitration Court, the Minister should not be empowered to intervene as is proposed in this instance. This proposal will apply, not only to the growing of cotton, but to those engaged in the manufacture of cotton yarn in Melbourne and Sydney. We have already had considerable trouble' in connexion with the overlapping of Commonwealth and State awards, and, if this 'amendment is adopted, a chaotic position will arise. Under this proposal the Minister will have power to appoint a judge or a magistrate, as well as representatives of the employers and employees, to constitute a tribunal and make an award, which will probably conflict with Commonwealth arbitration awards granted to employees engaged in similar work in other industries. If honorable members opposite believe in the Arbitration Court, why should they assist in giving the Minister the unlimited power proposed in this amendment? Honorable members know that I am opposed to the Arbitration Court, but the carrying of this amendment will make our industrial conditions even worse. It is placing too much power in the hands of the Minister, and will result in even greater conflict than now exists between awards. All classes of artisans will be employed in factories producing cotton yarn, and, notwithstanding the existence of Commonwealth awards, the Minister will have power to appoint a special tribunal and may do so in consequence of pressure which may be brought upon him. {: .speaker-JOS} ##### Mr Bell: -- What for? {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr GREGORY: -- That is what I should like to know. As I have said, perhaps it is because the supporters of the Government have decided that those whom they represent should also have something out of the bill. The amendment, which is an absurd proposal, will not have any beneficial effect, and if honorable members do not wish to create confusion in the industry they should oppose it. We are all anxious to develop our industries, and to provide good conditions for the workers, but there is no justification for giving the Minister power to appoint another industrial tribunal. {: .speaker-L1C} ##### Mr Lewis: -- Why bring the growers before the Arbitration Court in. Melbourne or Sydney? {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr GREGORY: -- Their case could be heard in Queensland. Why should we give the Minister for Customs authority to appoint a special tribunal to deal with the industry? The proposal savours of something I do not like, and I trust the committee will reject it. {: #debate-38-s33 .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr FORDE:
Acting Minister for Trade and Customs · Capricornia · ALP -- The amendment to which exception has been taken is supplementary to clause 13, which reads - >The Minister may make application to the Chief Judge or a judge of the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration, or to any Commonwealth authority established foi the purpose of determining wages and conditions of employment, &c. Honorable members know that frequently there is a long waiting list in the Federal Arbitration Court, with consequent endless delays. In the event of a dispute occurring between the growers and the pickers in Queensland, must they be put to the expense of waiting until a federal judge is available ? Can honorable members not conceive of a thunderstorm or a hail storm ruining a whole crop during the currency of, a dispute that cannot be readily terminated? Is it not advisable to have the power to appoint some authority in Queensland to deal with the matter expeditiously? {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr GREGORY: -- That would not apply to the factory. {: .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr FORDE: -- Honorable members opposite have expressed at different times a belief in round table conferences and wages boards, and a desire to escape from the legality of the Arbitration Court; yet, when we propose to make provision to appoint an authority to deal with a dispute on the spot, they raise objections to such a course being followed. An authority comprising a police magistrate, a representative of the cotton-growers, and a representative of the employees in the industry, could probably settle a dispute in half a day. without all the delay and legal paraphernalia of the Federal- Arbitration Court. This amendment is proposed primarily to deal with the cottongrowing industry in Queensland. I believe that all sections of the community realize that there should be some provision for an authority to deal expeditiously with any dispute that may arise in the industry. {: .speaker-KFS} ##### Mr Gullett: -- Why in this particular industry? {: .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr FORDE: -- All previous bounty bills contained a clause giving the Minister power to refer such matters to the Federal Arbitration Court. All honorable members who have had any experience of the Federal Arbitration Court know quite well that long delays, lasting sometimes uri to twelve months, occur before plaints are heard by the court. This amendment will enable the Minister to step in quickly and appoint a police magistrate to act with a representative of the employers and the employees, to decide a dispute without delay. The proposed arrangement will tend to a speedy settlement of disputes that may arise in the industry, and prove inexpensive in its operation. {: #debate-38-s34 .speaker-KXQ} ##### Mr ARCHDALE PARKHILL:
Warringah -- The extraordinary feature of this proposal is that it does not find a place in any other bounty bill.' When the Wine Bounty Bill was before this chamber only a week ago, such a provision was not inserted. The ordinary procedure of the' Arbitration Court was considered good enough for the workers in the wine industry. There was no talk then of the clouds lowering, the wind blowing, and thunderstorms destroying the grapes, though it must be admitted that grapes are much more susceptible than cotton to damage by thunderstorms. Delays in the Arbitration Court apparently do not effect those who are engaged in the wine industry. Evidently because the geographical situation of the cottongrowing industry is the centre of Queensland, and the Acting Minister for Trade and Customs is therefore particularly interested in it, hailstorms, thunderstorms and everything else must- be guarded against. The honorable gentleman has stated that the reason for this proposal is that there is a long waiting list in the Arbitration Court. ' What value has that statement in the light of the fact that only a few days ago the Attorney-General took Judge Lukin off the Arbitration Court to act in the Bankruptcy Court because he could be spared from his duties in the former court? {: .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr Forde: -- The fact that an Arbitration Court judge has been taken off that bench- {: .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr Latham: -- He has not been taken off. {: .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr FORDE: -- The honorable gentleman quoted a newspaper statement to the effect that he had been taken off. If that is right, Judge Lukin will not be available to hear cases in the Arbitration Court, and that is all the more reason why we should have a simple, inexpensive authority to deal with any disputes that may arise in the cotton-growing industry. {: .speaker-KXQ} ##### Mr ARCHDALE PARKHILL: -- It proves that he can be spared from his duties in the Arbitration Court and that, therefore, there is no waiting list in that Court. Then, there is the further fact that Chief Judge Dethridge has been taken off the Arbitration Court to act as a Royal Commissioner. Apparently there is not sufficient work for these judges. Consequently, the Minister's statement will not bear investigation, and the facts are not as he has stated them to be. What does he propose to do? Clause 13 sets out in detail the procedure to be adopted in the fixing of wages and conditions in this industry. No one objects to that. If the question of wages and conditions goes before the Arbitration Court, we are assured that not only will the grower, the manufacturer, and the workman get a fair deal, but also that at least some regard will be paid to the economic circumstances of the industry and the interests of the general public. Instead of having a. tribunal of that nature, which at least commands some public confidence, it is proposed that, so far as this industry is concerned, the Minister shall have the power to appoint a ramshackle tribunal of his own. Such a tribunal will not beget confidence in the general public It is merely an extension of the principle underlying the secret conferences that have been held in connexion with this matter. A few men will sit around a table. The grower will say "I want so and so out of the industry." The manufacturer will say that he wants his bit; the employee will make the same demand, and if all demands are conceded it will be at the expense of the general public. A proposal of this nature is not fair to the Commonwealth, because the industry involves the payment of about £900,000 of public money. We are threatened with a repetition of our experiences of the coal industry. For years there were incessant fights between the capital and labour engaged in that industry, and everything that was gained was at the expense of the people of Australia. Prices for coal rose to an extraordinary height. The proposed tribunal will not be competent to give all interests a fair deal, and the Minister has advanced no reason whatever why this amendment should be accepted. Such fi provision is not to be found in any other measure for the payment of bounties. The Minister spoke of the risk involved in sudden thunder or hail-storms in cotton-growing districts. Is it to be imagined for one moment that in the event of a thunder-storm the proposed tribunal would bc suddenly brought into existence and would be able to determine to what extent the industry would be affected? We have never before heard such an extraordinary explanation from a responsible Minister as that made by the Assistant Minister for Trade and Customs to-night. The proposal seems to be a most suspicious one. I hope that the Minister will re-consider the matter, and allow the interests of all parties to be safeguarded, as they would be quite amply by the provision already in the bill. {: #debate-38-s35 .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr FORDE:
Assistant Minister for Trade and Customs · Capricornia · ALP -- I wish to clear up one point. The Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Latham)** said that the authority to be appointed under this amendment would not be able to ensure to witnesses the protection afforded under sub-clause 2, which provides, *inter alia -* . . All witnesses and persons summoned to appear or appearing before the Chief Judge, judge or Commonwealth authority, asthe case may be, shall be entitled to the same privileges and protection and be subject to the same liabilities and penalties as witnesses or persons summoned to appear or appearing before the President on an application within the meaning of 'that Act. . . . The authority which the Minister has power to appoint under this amendment will be in the nature of a wages board, which honorable members opposite declared in the past they preferred to the legalities of a court, and it will afford to witnesses the same protection as is given to witnesses before the Federal Arbitration Court. {: #debate-38-s36 .speaker-KYI} ##### Mr PROWSE:
Western Australia -- The cotton industry is not sufficiently important to justify this departure from the recognized procedure. The preceding Government was criticized for its appointment of boards and commissions. Apparently this Government will be criticized for the number of courts it intends to appoint. In view of the seriousness of the financial position in Australia, the Bruce-Page Administration endeavoured to reduce the number of courts, but this Government has established the Bankruptcy Court, and proposes to set up another authority to determine wages and conditions in the cotton industry. Can the people of Australia trust the Minister to determine matters in relation to this industry which is not likely to be of any real benefit to the Commonwealth? Honorable members supporting the Government may laugh if they please. They would have us believe that they deplore the volume of unemployment that exists in Australia to-day. This proposal, I am afraid, will add to our troubles. The cotton bounty is the pet white elephant of the Assistant Minister for Trade and Customs, who represents Capricornia in this House. Because of the measures taken to bolster it up, the cotton industry will, I fear, be responsible for still further unemployment. Can any honorable member seriously argue that it will add to the wealth of this country, or assist to reduce the cost of living? The wages paid in it will be at the expense of wageearners in every other industry in the Commonwealth. The only people who are asked to work more are the wheatgrowers. The cotton industry is never likely to be of one-half the value to the Commonwealth that the wheat industry is, and yet the wheat-growers will be expected to contribute their share to maintain this new white elephant. The Minister had a good deal to say about the possibility of sudden storms endangering the industry. Is it of such importance that its needs should be attended to more promptly than the needs of any other industry ? {: #debate-38-s37 .speaker-K7U} ##### The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Hon R A Crouch: -- Order! I must ask the honorable member to connect his remarks with the clause under discussion. {: .speaker-KYI} ##### Mr PROWSE: -- I was not aware that I had departed from my text. I do not see any reason for departing from the arbitration principle as it applies to other industries. Section 7 of the amendment is as follows: - The Minister may appoint an authority or authorities for determining, for the purposes of this section, wages and conditions of employment which are fair and reasonable for labour employed in the production of seed cotton or lint, or the manufacture of cotton yarn. The Minister tried to create the impression that this provision would apply only to the workers in growing the cotton, but it is evident from the wording of the amendment itself, that it will apply also to those employed in the mills. Judicial courts have been set up to determine conditions and wages in industry, and it is not right that such matters should be given over to the control of a Minister representing party interests. I hope that the Government will withdraw this amendment. {: #debate-38-s38 .speaker-JUR} ##### Mr MCTIERNAN:
Parkes .- It has been said, that clause 13 of the bill covers everything necessary in regard to the conditions which shall be observed in the industry. It should be remembered, however, that the court in clause 13 does not operate unless there is an interstate dispute. It is clearly apparent that the Constitution contemplates that the Commonwealth Court of Arbitration and Conciliation shall have power to make awards with regard to wages and conditions in relation to interstate disputes. {: .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr Latham: -- Clause 13 does not refer to the Arbitration Court; it refers specifically to the Chief Judge or a judge of the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration. {: .speaker-JUR} ##### Mr MCTIERNAN: -- The Arbitration Court of which they are members is a tribunal set up under the provisions of the Constitution, which say that the Commonwealth Parliament shall have power to make laws for the prevention and settlement of industrial disputes extending beyond the limits of a State. The ground covered by this amendment is entirely different from that covered by the normal operations of the Commonwealth Arbitration Court. {: .speaker-KNP} ##### Mr Maxwell: -- Would not the State in which the industry is being carried on have full power to deal with the matter? {: .speaker-JUR} ##### Mr MCTIERNAN: -- For State purposes it would, but this tribunal is being set up for the purposes of this bounty bill. In those circumstances I can see nothing revolutionary or novel about the proposal to set up a special tribunal. It is an effective provision to ensure a quick and economical method of dealing with the special matters referred to in the clause. Amendment, *by leave,* withdrawn. {: #debate-38-s39 .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr FORDE:
Acting Minister for Trade and Customs · Capricornia · ALP -- I have withdrawn the amendment in order to move in its place another which, while the same in substance, is designed to meet one difficulty raised by the Leader of the Opposition, who expressed doubt as to. whether the tribunal to be set up could be deemed to be a Commonwealth authority. I desire to place that beyond all doubt and move : - >That the following sub-clauses 'be added to ' the clause- - " 7.. The Minister .may appoint an authority or authorities for determining, for the purposes of this section, wages and conditions of employment which are fair and reasonable for labour employed in the production of seed cotton -or lint, or the manufacture of cotton yarn; and any authority so appointed shall be deemed to be a Commonwealth authority within the meaning of sub-section 1 of this section. > >An authority appointed by the Minister under the last preceding sub-section shall consist of a representative of the Commonwealth, a representative of employers engaged in the production of seed cotton or lint, or the manufacture of cotton yarn, and a representative of employees engaged in such production or manufacture." {: #debate-38-s40 .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr LATHAM:
Kooyong .- I ask the Acting Minister to report progress. I have been a member of this House for a number of years, and I do not think that any previous government has asked members to sit much past 10.15 p.m. on the first evening of the week. Most honorable members have travelled long distances by train, and are not anxious for a long sitting to-night. {: .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr Forde: -- I want to get the bill through. I am very busy in my department. {: .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr LATHAM: -- The Acting Minister says that he is very busy. It seems to be a new thing for him to work twelve or fourteen hours a day. I have been doing it for years, and I am prepared to do it now if necessary. The alteration which the Minister now proposes meets the particular point that I raised as to the protection of witnesses and the powers of the authority, but I object to the conferring on such authority as this the powers of a judge of the Arbitration Court. It is improper to suggest thai such a haphazard authority, appointed, perhaps, as the Minister informs us, to deal with a dispute in anticipation of a thunderstorm, should have the same powers as the judge of -an arbitration court. The idea of the Government seems to be that tribunals should be appointed from time to time to deal with anything that may arise which the Minister considers of sufficient importance in the industry of growing cotton, manufacturing cotton lint, or of manufacturing cotton yarn. This is not to be an authority with a tenure, responsible for the continuity and regularity of the conditions of the industry. We are to have tribunals to determine from time to time what wages and conditions are fair and reasonable in any of the three branches of the industry that I have named. There could hardly be a more ill-considered scheme presented to a responsible assembly. The honorable member for Parkes (Mv. McTiernan) has made a most surprising suggestion. We can only suppose that he has misunderstood the words of the clause. He told us the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Court has power,- as a court, to deal only with interstate disputes. We all know that. That is a commonplace in this Parliament at least. He said that clause 13 therefore could not be applied save in the case of an interstate dispute. Had the honorable member gone on to draw the conclusion that the clause as originally proposed was invalid and ineffective, and that the same provision which was passed last week in the Wine Export Bounty Bill was equally invalid and ineffective, as were all similar provisions in other bounty bills, he might have been thought to "have made some discovery. But he did not draw that conclusion. The Commonwealth Court has power to deal only with interstate disputes. Insofar as this Parliament legislates under paragraph xxxv of section 51 of the Commonwealth Constitution, it can confer power on an authority only to deal with interstate disputes. But the legislation under consideration is not introduced under that section of the Constitution at all; it is legislation under the bounty power conferred by section 90 of the Constitution. That section confers exclusive power on this Parliament to grant bounties on the production and export of goods, an exclusive power modified only by the provisions of section 91, which provides that the States may, nevertheless, grant a bounty upon "mining for gold, silver, or other metal " and that " with the consent of both Houses of the Parliament of the Commonwealth expressed by resolution " a State may grant " any aid to or bounty on the production or export of goods". This legislation being under the bounty power, this clause is not limited to interstate disputes. Our bounty legislation has been uniform ever since bounties have been granted. All the bounty acts provide that bounties shall be paid only when fair and reasonable conditions of employment are observed. The settlement of a dispute is utterly alien to this bill, and perfectly irrelevant. The limits of jurisdiction of the Arbitration Court have nothing whatever to do with anything dealt with in this lull. The bill does not purport to confer any additional power on the Commonwealth Arbitration Court. But this Parliament can require the court or the ComptrollerGeneral of Customs, or the SoliciiorGeneral, to determine what wages and conditions are fair and reasonable in an industry to which a bounty is being paid, and what this clause does is to provide that a judge or the Chief Judge of the Arbitration Court may determine what wages and conditions of employment are fair and reasonable. {: .speaker-KMZ} ##### Mr Martens: -- At any old time that he likes. {: .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr LATHAM: -- If the honorable member reads the first line of the clause he will see that the " Minister may make application", and thereupon the judge may determine the wages and conditions of employment. The power of the judge is to be exercised when application is made by a Minister, and not otherwise; not at times to be determined by the judge himself. Nor is he to deal with special disasters that may arise. The Minister appears to have no conception of the meaning of his origin al. clause, or of the alreadyonce-varied amendment which he has introduced. Disasters, catastrophes, calamities, and other horrors and terrors are not within the jurisdiction even of the new Commonwealth authorities. The Minister was entirely wrong when he suggested that he could overtake the thunderstorm almost with the speed of light by the appointment of a special authority to deal with a matter. The clause confers no such power. It is a power to determine wages and conditions of labour and, if exercised, will introduce an entirely novel method of determining what shall be the wages and conditions in the three grouped cotton industries. Already certain awards apply in the factories. Evidently they are satisfactory, as no one suggests that the operatives there are not working under proper conditions. This authority, not a judge of the Arbitration Court - who would be familiar with the existing awards, and would have some idea of proper relativity - is to determine those wages and conditions. {: .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr Forde: -- What about an award for the cotton-pickers? {: .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr LATHAM: -- The Acting Minister has already abandoned about two-thirds of the ground on which he stood. There is no need for any further overlapping in industrial tribunals. The wages and conditions in the factories and ginneries have already been, determined; consequently there is not a shadow of justification for this proposal. {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr Blakeley: -- The Leader of the Opposition is putting up bogys and knocking them down. {: .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr LATHAM: -- The Minister for Home Affairs **(Mr. Blakeley)** rouses from his torpor from time to time in order to get an interjection into *Hansard.* The Acting Minister has said that there is no award in. force applicable to the cottonpickers. {: .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr Forde: -- There was a State award, but it was abolished by the present Queensland Government. Why set up a tremendously expensive tribunal to determine picking rates, when they could be determined by a tribunal in Queensland immediately? {: .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr LATHAM: -- The first answer to that is that if that is all that this clause is intended to deal with there is no need to mention in it the labour employed in the ginneries and factories. The second answer is that there is no reason whatever why a judge of the Commonwealth Arbitration Court, whose salary would be paid in any case, should not deal with the case of the cotton-pickers instead of a tribunal composed of three persons who, presumably, would be paid fees. The clause provides for an unnecessary addition to our existing machinery. The amendment was not thought of when the clause was drafted, but it appears to have been introduced as a means of bringing a new rural award into operation in Queensland. The State Parliament abolished the rural award formerly in force in that State. {: .speaker-KMZ} ##### Mr Martens: -- It did not; the award was abolished by an executive minute. {: .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr LATHAM: -- At any rate it was abolished by action which was legally effective in Queensland, and for' which the present Queensland Government was responsible; and the Government has not been turned out of office by the Queensland Parliament. There seems to be little doubt that the object of this amendment is to re-impose the rural award in Queensland. {: .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr Forde: -- The farmers have no objection to paying decent wages. {: .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr LATHAM: -- If any evidence had been submitted to the committee that the workers in this industry needed protection, steps could be taken to protect them ; but no such argument has been advanced. I suggest that the determination of the wages and conditions of the cottonpickers should be left to be controlled by the Queensland Government or Parliament unless some obviously wrong, outrageous or scandalous ill-treatment has been meted out to the workers there. If that had been the case we should have heard of it three or four times over from the Acting Minister. {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr Blakeley: -- Why is the Leader of the Opposition stone-Walling the bill? {: .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr LATHAM: -- That remark is offensive to me, and I ask that it be withdrawn. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Hon R A Crouch: -- I do not think that a charge of stone- walling can be regarded as offensive. {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr Blakeley: -- This is the most disgraceful stone-walling that has ever taken place in this Parliament. {: #debate-38-s41 .speaker-10000} ##### The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN: -- I think that the use of the word " disgraceful " is objectionable, and I ask the Minister to withdraw it. {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr Blakeley: -- I withdraw it. {: .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr LATHAM: -- If the workers in this industry had been ill-treated in any way, the Acting Minister would have mentioned it; but it is much too late to advance that as a justification for the amendment. If the amendment is agreed to, confusion must follow, and there is a danger that the real object of the Government might be destroyed. I hope that the committee will reject the amendment on the grounds that it is wrong in principle, and that there is no need for it. {: #debate-38-s42 .speaker-KIT} ##### Mr MACKAY:
Lilley .- I do not think that a single member of this committee would stone-wall a bill of this importance. This is the first time an important principle of this kind has been introduced into a bill by a ministerial amendment. Had a proposal of this kind been included in the bill in the first place, the Opposition would have fought it at every stage. The real object of the bill is now becoming apparent. While my sympathies are entirely with the cotton- growers, I have no confidence that the proposals of the bill will afford them any assistance. This whole scheme, it seems to me, is designed to protect the manufacturers, and to provide high wages, at the expense of the taxpayers, for the workers in the industry. It certainly cannot assist the cotton-growers. While I admit that the men who work in country districts have as much right to a good living as the men who work in the cities, and am prepared to do my best to secure this for them, I must say that economically the cotton industry cannot be used for the purpose of paying even the basic wage to any section of the community. What I object to, so far as this amendment is concerned, is the introduction of the system of special authorities for fixing wages. As pointed out by the honorable member for Warringah **(Mr. Parkhill),** we have had experience of the operation of these special authorities in the coal tribunal. We know that the miners and coal-owners get together, the owners saying, " We have to get our profits," and the miners saying, " We have to get our high wages," and the people who buy coal have to pay both with the result that industry in general is penalized. If the same sort of thing is to happen in the cotton industry it will not outlive one season. I am surprised that it is proposed to set up a special authority, seeing that cotton is only grown in Queensland, where there is a State Arbitration Court available which cannot be said to be not in full sympathy with the workers. As constituted to-day, it is exactly the same tribunal as was appointed by the State Labour Government. It is to the credit of the Moore Government that, when it altered the basis of the Board of Trade, it reappointed the three gentlemen who previously held office. There iB, therefore, no occasion to go to extra expense or to harass the growers by setting up this special authority, and I certainly object to the Minister springing this surprise in the committee stage of the_ bill. If the Minister with his big majority sitting behind the Government insists, surely it is desirable that the representatives of the employer and the employee should select the chairman. If the cottongrowers of Queensland had the slightest idea that their industry was to be made use of to bolster artificial conditions in Australia, they would have said that cotton-growing could go, because they could make use of their land for other purposes. It is not too late for the Minister to realize the position. I strongly urge him to allow progress to bo reported, because it will be quite impossible for him to get this amendment through without serious objection from honorable members of the Opposition. The hour is already late, and as there are other important clauses to be debated, the Minister must be prepared to sit to at least 4 o'clock in the morning to get his measure through. {: #debate-38-s43 .speaker-JWT} ##### Mr FRANCIS:
Moreton .- I regret very much that this important industry should have its prospects jeopardized by this extraordinary proposal brought forward in such a hush-hush way. There was not .the slightest reference to it on the second reading, and the Minister has apparently used very possible means to keep it from honorable members. Now that the -Prime Minister has entered the chamber, I trust that he will not a8k honorable members to sit late on this the first sitting day of the week. The present proposal is unworthy of the Government. It should not be brought forward at such a late hour, aud, in any case, honorable members of the Opposition are entitled to some courtesy for the assistance they have rendered in getting the bill through. If any obstruction has been raised it has come from the Acting Minister himself. He has found it necessary to get up and reply after every speech delivered from the Opposition. I have not seen this done : on - any other bill. I am sure 'that, if a record were taken of the number of speeches on this measure, the Minister would be found to have occupied the greater part of the time. {: .speaker-L1C} ##### Mr Lewis: -- I rise to a point of order. I want to know whether the honorable member for Moreton is in order in making reference to the number of speeches made by the Acting Minister and what relation it has to the clause under discussion? The **CHAIRMAN (Mr. McGrath).The** honorable member is quite entitled to make an incidental reference to the time occupied by a Minister. {: .speaker-JWT} ##### Mr FRANCIS: -- -I shall not continue my reference to which the kindergarten member for Corio **(Mr. Lewis)** seems to take objection. I am seriously interested in the development of the cotton industry, and at all times I have done all I possibly could to get it established successfully. I am sorry to see that the Acting Minister for Trade and Customs, who has also made a certain contribution to. its development, is now trying to shatter its prospects by creating on extraordinarily just suspicion in the minds of the farmers. I am satisfied that there is more harm than help likely to come to the farmers from this proposal. I am sure that the growers will be as certain as I am that the whole purpose of the. bill, particularly of the amendment we are now discussing, is to build' up artificial conditions in Australia and to assist those engaged in manufacturing and knitting rather than the producers; This proposal will deny to the producers of Queensland the fruit of their industry. Never before has such an injustice been perpetrated. For years these farmers have been building up an industry in the hope that they would get a chance to develop it successfully. {: .speaker-KMZ} ##### Mr Martens: -- How will the amendment injure them? {: .speaker-JWT} ##### Mr FRANCIS: -- The honorable member for Herbert has perhaps forgotten that every time there has been an effort to develop cotton-growing, those engaged in the field work have taken all the honey -from the comb and left the farmer with the wax. {: .speaker-KVS} ##### Mr Theodore: -- Why is the honorable member obstructing the bill ? {: .speaker-JWT} ##### Mr FRANCIS: -- If the Government will agree to the proposal made by the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Latham)** I shall stop at once, but my concern is to see that the farmers in the cottongrowing industry obtain justice. If Ministers are interested solely in the secondary producers, letthem say so frankly. I am anxious to see the industry prosper; Mr.Scullin. -But do you want the bill or do you not? {: .speaker-JWT} ##### Mr FRANCIS: -- I want to see the industry meet with every success. {: .speaker-F4Q} ##### Mr Scullin: -- If Queenslanders do not want the bill, the honorable member can sit down, progress can be reported and the bill dropped. {: .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr Forde: -- The honorable member for Moreton will lose the bill if he obstructs, further. {: .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr Latham: -- We cannot accept the bill with this amendment in it. {: .speaker-JWT} ##### Mr FRANCIS: -- I am willing to sit down, on the understanding that the Minister's proposal will be amended. {: .speaker-F4Q} ##### Mr SCULLIN:
YARRA, VICTORIA · ALP; FLP from 1931; ALP from 1936 -- As Queensland members have been blocking and obstructing this measure, progress can be reported. Progress reported. House adjourned at 11.56 p.m.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 14 May 1930, viewed 6 July 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1930/19300514_reps_12_124/>.