12th Parliament · 1st Session
Mr. Speaker (Hon. Norman Makin) took the chair at 11 a.m., and offered prayers.
– I understand that a conferencewas held in London a few months ago, at which Sir Harrison Moore represented Australia, which gave consideration to the effect of dominion legislation in regard, to the Merchant Shipping Act and the Imperial power to disallow such legislation. Can the Prime Minister give me any information upon the subject?
– I intend to lay upon the table of the House the report presented by Sir Harrison Moore, and to give honorable members an opportunity to discuss it.
Mr.SCULLIN (Yarr a- Prime Minister) [11.2].- I move-
That the House, at its rising, adjourn until Wednesday next at 3p.m.
I intend to ask honorable members to assemble on Tuesday of the following week.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– I have received an intimation from the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Latham) that he desires to move the adjournment of the House for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of urgent public: importance, namely, “ The policy of the Government with respect to terms and conditions of employment in the Public Service of the Commonwealth in relation of membership of organizations.”
Five honorable members having risen in their places,
.- The terms and conditions of employment in the Public Service are matters of interest and importance, not only to the officers of the Service, but to the community aa a whole. The “Government has recently introduced a policy the object of which is to compel both permanent and temporary officersof the Public Service to join unions. I, and honorable members on this side of the chamber generally, quite understand and, to some extent, sympathize with, the objection of members of trade unions to others obtaining benefits for which the unions have fought and struggled. That is substantially the reason which is generally alleged for the application of any degree of compulsion to increase the membership of trade unions. But that consideration, powerful and legitimate as it may be in any effort to persuade men to join the industrial organization covering their calling - and the same principle applies in other than the industrial sphere - is not sufficient to justify compulsion. One might as well argue that because an organization has fought, for liberty of thought in religion there should therefore be some form of compulsion upon people to join that organization. The principle of compulsion isunsound in this, and in some other spheresin which it is sought to be applied.
Up to the present the joining of Public Service organizations by the members of the Service has been entirely a voluntary act ; but now there is an attempt to make such membership a condition of employment and retention of employmentin the Service, and also a condition of obtaining the same terms and. conditions of employment as are enjoyed by members of unions subject to awards.
Honorable members on thisside of the chamber are not opposed to trade unionism. As a matter of fact many of them regularly receive the votes of members of trade unions. But the Opposition objects to the abuse of power, whether by a trade union or any other organization. I trust that in this debute the specific points which I shall raise willbe dealt with, and that honorable members opposite will not pretend to believe, as they so often do, that we are opposed to trade unionism.
One of the defects in our federal system of industrial arbitration is the lack of powerto make a common rule.
Awards of the Commonwealth Arbitration Court do not apply to non-unionists nor to employers who are not parties to disputes. It was the policy of honorable members opposite during the many years that they were in opposition, and it is now their policy as supporters of the Government, to seek power for the making of a common rule in respect of industrial awards, so that awards shall be applicable to non-unionists and unionists alike. Honorable members on this side of the chamber are prepared to assist the Government to obtain this power, and that was expressly stated during the recent debate on the proposed alterations of the Constitution. In the Public Service, however, there is no difficulty in making an award a common rule, for this Parliament has full power to legislate for the Public Service and to provide for the application of a common rule to it. Since 1911 the principle of arbitration has been applied to the Public Service in one form or another. At first it was done through the Commonwealth Conciliation and ArbitrationCourt, but since 1920 it has been done through the Public Service Abritrator. The Public Service Arbitrator has power to make awards binding on members of organizations, and also to make a common rule. This power has rarely been exercised, because one of the principles of the Public Service Act is that the Public Serviceshall, speaking generally, be controlled by the Public Service Board. Another principle embodied in the Public Service Arbitration Act is that public servants shall have the right of access to the Public Service Arbitrator for the determination of their wages and conditions as publicservants. Another policy which has for many years, been embodied in the regulations made under the Public Service Act is that awards shall be made a common rule in cases where the Public Service . Board considers that tobe proper. Regulations 74b and 85 of the Public Service Act give effect to that policy, which, as I have said, is the policy of the Labour party in relation to industrial matters generally. Regulation 74b reads -
Where in any determination under the Arbitration (Public Service) Act 1920 conditions of employment are prescribed in relation to any officer or class of officers, those conditions or any of them may be applied to any other officer or class of officers if the board determines that the circumstances of employment justify such application.
Regulation 85 is in similar terms, except that it applies to supervisory officers. These provisions have existed in ohe form or another in the Public Service for many years. It is clear therefore that the Public Service Board has power to make awards apply to persons who are not members of Public Service organizations. That power has been very generally exercised, and I think it may be said that award conditions have been made a common rule throughout the Service.
But this condition of things has been changed by an act of policy of this Government. On the 17 th April, communications were sent to the departments, directing that in all employment preference should be given to unionists; and on the same day a regulation was made by the Public Service Board which repealed the regulations to which I have already referred. This regulation, which is No. 44 of 1930, is in these terms -
Regulation 74b is repealed and regulation 8f> is repealed.
The object of the repeal of these regulations is clearly to compel all persons employed in the Public Service to join the Public Service organizations. In pursuance of that policy a circular memorandum was issued by the Public Service Board on the 22nd April, 1930, which read -
I am directed to inform you that the Government has directed that, on and from 1st June, 1930, application of the provisions of the various public service awards and determinations shall bo restricted to members of the Public Service organizations concerned.
Action is accordingly being taken for the repeal of Public Service Regulations 74u and So.
The board suggests that the decision of the Government shall be made generally known throughout the department and that steps bo taken immediately to obtain and record particulars as to the membership of the various organizations, in order that the decision may be applied from the date fixed. It will also be necessary to make arrangements for receipt regularly of particulars as to employees subsequently joining, or ceasing to be members of, organizations.
The Public Service regulations are being reviewed by the board and advice will be issued in .due course as to the conditions which will be applicable to non-members of organizations.
The concluding paragraph of the memorandum provides for the application of these provisions to both permanent and temporary employees.
The specific points to which I direct attention are as follows: - First, that in the Public Service there is power to mak? a common rule; a power which is absent in respect of all other industrial matters under federal control.- The avowed policy of the Government is that, outside the service, awards shall be made a common rule. This is undoubtedly the case in regard to ordinary industrial matters, and that is one reason why the Government is seeking extended industrial power. But the Government has caused to be repealed the regulations which confer upon the Public Service Board the power to make a common rule, although it is anxious to., apply that policy, in outside industry in respect of which the Arbitration Court at present has only limited power. This action therefore is quite inconsistent with the general industrial policy of the Government.
The second point which I make is that under this policy ‘ those members of the Public Service who do not’ belong . to Public Service unions are left in the dark as to their rights. The Public Service regulations are being reviewed by the board, and. ad vice will be issued in due course as to the conditions that will be applicable to non-members of organizations. The public servants arc told that if they like to join a union,, they will getaward conditions; but if they do not, no one knows what they arc to get. The mere repeal of the regulation may leave some old forgotten and out-of-date regulations, made early in the century, still applicable to them.
– Is there any record of the percentage of public servants outside unions ?
– I know that a large number of men in th6 postal service are outside the unions. The purpose of telling the members of the Public Service that if they join a union they will get award conditions, and if they do not, their con.:ditions will be considered, is simply to frighten them into joining unions. That is not a fair method to employ to make men recognize the benefits conferred by these organizations. *
The next point that I make is that, under new regulation No. . 44 of 1930, which repeals the old regulations, the rights of returned soldiers are not protected. A few days ago the Prime Minister informed me in the House that returned soldiers who are not members of organizations will not be affected by the policy of the Government requiring public servants to be members of unions before they can receive the benefits given under an award ; but there is no authority in the act, or in the regulations, to interpret this repealing regulation as excepting returned soldiers- All non-members of organizations have been deprived of the benefits of awards by regulation No. 44 of 1930, and there is no saving of the rights .of returned soldiers. The departments have no legal authority for continuing to apply union awards in favour of non-union returned soldiers who are members of the Public Service. Another regulation could do that, but it cannot be done by departmental instructions. The heads of the departments and the Public Service Board must obey the regulations, and at present the regulations do not preserve in any respect the rights of returned soldiers, which the Prime Minister has said the Government proposes to preserve.
Th en this policy places the members of the Public Service entirely in the hands of those controlling the organizations. The union authorities are in a position to refuse to allow any particular officer to join an organization, and are able to impose any conditions which their organization permits. The Government has taken no action to safeguard the ordinary civic rights of members of the Public Ser. vice in these respects. I shall give some’ examples. I shall take first a Public Service organization, which, I understand, is non-political; the Professional Officers Association. Since this new regulation has been promulgated, public servants including returned soldiers have inquired the terms and conditions under which they can join that association, and have been informed by the secretary of the association that an application, even from an eligible applicant, has to receive the approval of the controlling body of the association before the applicant can be admitted to membership. Accordingly the controlling body is able to determine whether or not a particular public servant is to be entitled *te receive the benefit of awards of the Public Service Arbitrator. The consistent application of that policy will ultimately mean that the governing bodies of these organizations will be able to determine whether a man shall enter the Public Service or not. There can be no justification for such powers being given to such bodies. Further, these applicants have- also been informed by the secretary of the same organization-
– The honorable member is completely distorting the facts.
– I am stating the contents of a letter actually received from the secretary of the Professional Officers Association.
– I- am concerned not with the letter but with the entirely erroneous inference which the honorable member is drawing from it. .
– The letter speaks for itself. Further, in the same’ letter, returned soldier applicants are informed that dues are payable back to the date when the applicant became eligible to join the association. In this case the rates payable are: - Maximum salary £306, 10s. per annum; maximum salary £402, 20s. per annum; maximum salary £510, 30s. per annum; all others, 40s. per annum. In particular cases demand has been made for dues amounting to;£12, £15 and £1S before the application for membership will be considered. So long as an organization is entirely voluntary, it may conduct its affairs and its business as it pleases; but the position is entirely different when any degree of compulsion is applied by a government. Such powers as these should not be allowed to exist, under the rules of an organization which persons are compelled to join.
I come now to a political organization in the Public Service, the Amalgamated Postal “Workers Union. This union has branches in the several States. In each issue of its official organ, the Posted Advocate, are headings such as “New South “Wales Branch Notes - Affiliated with Australian Labour Party, and the Trades and Labour Council of New South “Wales.” Every branch is affiliated, with the Australian Labour party, and therefore this is a political union. In the issue of the
Postal Advocate of the 15th May, the principle to which I have” referred is applied. It reads -
The Queensland branch is taking definite steps to see that all those non-unionists who now desire to become members of the union pay in accordance with their service in the department.
Similar action is reported from other brandies. The honorable member for Wimmera asked me how many men were outside the unions. I draw his attention to the following passage.
In view of the foregoing decision of the Government, a large number of people who have refrained from becoming members of the union are now desirous of becoming members.
In effect the union has decided that all adult applicants shall pay such amounts as will equal the amount that they would have paid in contributions had they joined the union at the time they were first employed by the department, subject to the provision in the rules limiting the entrance fee to fi. There are also special provisions for temporary employees.
Yesterday the Postmaster-General, in response to a request by myself, laid on the table of the House, a file dealing with the action taken by the Queensland branch of the Amalgamated Postal Workers Union, which was reported in the Postal Advocate of the 15th January in these terms -
Disciplining members. Arising out of an accident that occurred to Lineman F. O. Bell, in the Ipswich district, in January, 1929, the committee endeavoured to obtain information .from the Acting Line Foreman of the district at the time, Senior Lineman John Holley. Holley replied to the effect that under Public Service Regulation 35 he was prohibited from supplying the union with information, and although he has been informed on several occasions that the union has a legal right to this information, and that he would not be committing a breach of Public Service Regulation 35, he still refused to supply the information to the committee to enable the union to prosecute the case successfully on behalf of Lineman Bell. As a result of Holley’s action, the general meeting held in December decided to impose a fine of £2 on him for failure to supply this information, and intimated to him that if he still refused to supply this information further action would, be taken by the local branch.
Upon seeing that; I wrote to the PostmasterGeneral pointing out that Holley was bound by this regulation, and that it was the duty of the Minister to enforce it. The matter thereupon became the subject of an inquiry in the department, and I have the file before me which was laid on -the table of the House. According to that file Holley was prepared to supply the information if, in accordance with the regulation, his superior officer would give him the necessary permission. Holley did not satisfy the union, so it wrote to Holley’s solicitor to the effect that it was -the intention of the central branch of the union to deal further with Holley in the event of his still refusing to supply the information which they required. In August the secretary of the union wrote in these terms to Holley -
It is apparent, on the surface, that you are more prepared to assist the department than you are to assist the organization to obtain the right for individual members.
Apparently Holley’s determination to be loyal to the Government that employed and paid him, to his department, and to the people of Australia, was a reason for penalizing him. According to the file, the union contended that it was entitled to obtain any information from any officer about his work in the department. On the. 27th March this letter was sent to the Deputy-Director -
Unless your instructions to Holley are countermanded I will have no other course to adopt but to place the whole of the facts before our federal executive, so as to allow them to take the matter up with the central office, and also the Postmaster-General himself.
I brought this matter under the notice of the Postmaster-General, and I am glad to say that he took proper action. The secretary of the department wrote to the union -
I feel impelled to inform you that should any action be taken adversely affecting Senior Lineman Holley’s interests, it will be incumbent on the department to adopt such measures as may he necessary to obviate his being penalized in any manner.
I congratulate the Postmaster-General and the Government on the action taken in this particular case. It was taken because the facts of this case happened to become public. But no one knows how much of this sort of thing is happening which has not become public. The attitude of the union is to be seen from its various letters on the subject. On the 2nd May it wrote -
The action taken by our Queensland branch against member Holley as a result of his failure to furnish information asked for was taken in strict accordance with the registered rules of the union.
In the last issue of ‘-the Postal Advocate, that of the 15th May, I find this reference to’ the case -
The improper action of the department in instructing members not to furnish information to the union is also being taken up by the federal executive.
The attitude of the Government in adopting a policy of compulsory unionism in the Public Service or elsewhere should be carefully considered. I consider, and I think that a great number of honorable members on this side are also of the same opinion, that -the membership of this union, like the membership of any other organization, should be voluntary, and voluntary only ;’ but if any degree of compulsion is applied, then provision should be made to entitle any eligible man of good character to join any organization under reasonable conditions. There should be a limitation of subscriptions and dues, and protection should be afforded to the civic rights of our people by requiring that any organization which men are to be compelled in any measure to join shall .bc entirely non-political.
For the reasons that I have given, I have brought this matter before the House so that it may be discussed.
– This is the fifth occasion within a period of eight weeks upon which the adjournment of the House has been moved, notwithstanding the fact that Parliament has very important measures to deal with, and arrears of work to make up on account of the time- wasting methods that were adopted by the previous Government, and are being followed by its supporters now that they are in opposition.
It was amusing to hear the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Latham) plead that he and his followers should’ not be charged with being antagonistic to unionism. He- said that those who sit on the Opposition benches are members of this Parliament because of the votes of unionists. They, and other members of the party to which they belong, sat on this side of the chamber for many years because votes’ were cast for them by unionists; and they now occupy the Opposition benches in sparse numbers because of their vendetta against public service organizations and . industrial organizations generally.
The Leader of the Opposition has complained that industrial unions are affiliated with the Labour’ party ; that wasthe real basis of his attack this morningThere is no truth in the statement that, by the repeal of this regulation, it if intended to use compulsion. Like manyother statements that are made by honorable members who sit opposite, that statement is absolutely unfounded. The position of the officers of the Public Service has not been interfered with. In connexion with their salaries and working conditions they have a perfectly free choice to. come under the determinations of either the Public Service Board, appointed by this Parliament, or the Public Service Arbitrator. No compulsion is’ applied to them. The regulation does noi affect admittance to the service, the promotion of an officer, or term of service, nor docs it contain any threat.
Let us consider the history of thismatter. Prior to 1911 the benefits of arbitration were not enjoyed by public servants. In that year, however, a Labour government granted them permission to approach the Arbitration Court; but no award of that court applied to any member of the Public Service who was not a member of the claimant organization. It was not until 1914. when the Cook Government assumed office, that a regulation was passed applying Arbitration Court awards to nonunionists in addition to those who had won the awards from the court. In 1915 a Labour government was again in power,, and held office under, first, the late Mv. Fisher, and, subsequently, the right’ honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes). The regulation that had been made by the Cook Government was then repealed, and the position was restored to what it had been between 1911 and 1913. The present Government has now taken similar action. In 1918, after the Labour party had ceased to be in power, new regulations were made; but they extended the benefits of awards only to supervisory officers, not to other nonunionists in the Public Service. In 1920 an order in council extended those awards to all non-unionists, but only in connexion with, salaries and living allowances, .noi. working conditions. It was not until 1926 that a regulation was made re-enacting that which was abolished in 1915. In other words, it was not until the BrucePage Government took the necessary action that non-unionists were admitted to the whole of the benefits of awards that had been fought for and won by members of organizations.
An investigation of this matter has been made. For a period of fourteen years the Public Service of Australia was under a highly respected Public Service Commissioner, Mr. D. McLachlan. He was the sole commissioner for the Public Service. A year after his retirement from office he was asked to act as a royal commissioner to investigate the conditions of the Commonwealth Public Service. He did so in 1919, and this is what he wrote in his report -
Every officer of the class concerned should join his representative association. In the formation and maintenance of an association expenses incurred should be met by the members jointly. It would be unfair to the members of an association which, by its efforts, gained some advantage that persons who, through indifference, refused to join the association, should share in the benefits and not in the incidental expenditure.
He added -
If any officer refuses to join the association there should be deducted from his salary, at the usual due dates, the amount of membership fees of the association, and the amount so deducted should be paid to the association.
This Government has not gone so far as that. As late as 1925 a report was submitted by the Public Service Board of Commissioners to the Bruce-Page Government. The then chairman of that board addressed to the right honorable the Prime Minister, Mr. Bruce, a letter indicating that, in the opinion of the board, there was justice in the claims that had been urged periodically by public service associations, that salaries granted under awards should be paid only to the members of those associations. The members of the Public Service Board of Commissioners at that time were, LieutenantGeneral Sir Brudenell White, chairman; Mr. W. J. Skewes ; and Brigadier-General J. P. McGlinn.
I come now to the points that have been raised by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Latham). The first point that he took was that there is power in the Arbitrator to make a common rule. But a common rule is not made by the Arbitrator. By their terms, the various awards made by the Arbitrator are restricted to the members of the claimant organization.
– That is what I said.
– The honorable gentleman added that the policy of the Labour party in industrial matters is the application of a common rule. I point out to him that there is a vast difference between this and the common rule advocated by the Labour party, under which every employer in an industry would be compelled to pay the same rates of wages.
The second point made by the honorable gentleman was that the rights of non-unionists are left in the dark ; and he read a circular sent out by the Public Service Board. Not one phrase in that circular was drawn up by any member of this Government. The circular was drawn up by the Public Service Board, with a view to carrying out the policy that the Government told it to give effect. I consider that the wording of the circular is strictly what it should be. Nothing is left in the dark. It merely states that the board is adjusting, and that it will continue to adjust, the position. There is not a threat, nor was there any instruction to convey a threat. Therefore, there is no force in the point raised by the Leader of the Opposition.
The third point made by the honorable gentleman was that returned soldiers are not protected, and that the only assurance which they have is what is conveyed by a statement that I made in this House. I point out, however, that the regulation which repealed the previous regulation was laid upon the table of the House ten days ago, and that new regulations had to be drafted to give effect to it. Those regulations have now passed the Executive Council and have received the signature of the Governor-General. The following is an extract from one of them : -
Any officer employee who is a returned soldier, or any other officer employee who has not completed two months’ service in a position in which he is eligible for membership of a Public; Service organization, shall be deemed to be subject to the provisions of any determination under the Arbitration (Public Service) Act 1920-28.
– I am glad that that has been done.
– Ithas already received the signature of the GovernorGeneral; therefore, the third point made by the honorable gentleman goes by the board. His fourth point was that a returned soldier who desired to join the union was told how much he had to pay. That is answered by the fact that the regulation which I have quoted brings non-unionist returned soldiers under awards obtained by the unions.
The Leader of the Opposition also stressed the case of the man Holley, and congratulated the Postmaster-General and the Government upon having taken certain action. Therefore I fail to see how the case supports his argument. The whole of the facts have not yet been sifted; it is still a subject for inquiry. In outline, the case is very simple. A returned soldier named Bell, who was working on a telephone line, met with an accident, and the question arose whether under the award he was entitled to full benefits or only secondary benefits. He approached his organization. To whom should he have gone? The organization took up his case and asked to be supplied with the facts. They went to this man Holley, who was in charge of the gang. He wrote them a letter in which he said that he could not supply the information that they asked for. The organization claims that in his letter he did not make it clear that the refusal was dictated by his senior officer.
– It appears in his letter on the file.
– From the file I should infer that he gave that impression ; but it is only an inference, and not a definite statement. The organization took it that he was endeavouring to avoid giving the information.
– They know now the true position.
– No. The suggestion now is that he is endeavouring to protect himself from the consequences of the accident. I am not defending the action of the organization; I merely say that they have some case. They say that if there is not a case against Holley, there is against some officer of the department. I wish to make it clear to this House and to every officer of the Public Service that, if any employee of the Government, 110 matter how humble he may be, meets with an accident the facts shall be made known, despite any regulations. The case for the union is that they have been denied necessary information.
– It is the fining of Holley that is the outrage.
– Had the union gone to the political head, or I believe to the permanent head, of the department, the information would have been given to it. But the cause of the accident, as well as the action of Holley and the union, are matters for further investigation.
Parliament has passed the Public Service Act for the fixation of the salaries and conditions of members of the Public Service. It also provides that any public servants who are not satisfied may appeal to arbitration. Without organization you cannot have arbitration. If there are members of the Public Service who, for any reason, do not desire to join their organization, they can accept - and they do accept - the conditions laid down by the Public Service Board. Those who are not prepared to accept those conditions join their organization, and. appeal to the Public Service Arbitrator, and obtain an award. That award applies only to the members of the organization that claims it. The previous Government, by regulation, made the awards apply to non-unionists as well as to those who had fought to obtain them, although the Public Service Board appointed by this Parliament had laid down what it considered to be fair and reasonable conditions for the Public Service. Those men did not appeal to be brought under the awards, but the regulation of the previous Government laid it down that they should participate in the benefits which they conferred. We say that the benefit of awards shall be enjoyed only by those who have declared that they are not satisfied with the conditions laid down by the board and have obtained an award from the Public Arbitrator.[Extension of time granted.] Under this regulation there is no compulsion. It does not affect admission to the Public Service, promotions, or the discontinuance of service; but it does affect salaries, wages, and conditions. Is it not to be assumed that those who refuse to join an organization, who have not appealed to the Arbitrator against the Public Service Board’s decisions, and have accepted the conditions prescribed by the board, are satisfied with their position ? That is all there is to be said about the matter.
Wow, what is the motive behind this attack? Why did an anti-Labour Government put this regulation into effect? And after it had been repealed by another Labour Government, why was it again revived by the late Government? Was this done because of the belief by honorable members of the Opposition in arbitration or unionism?No. When, a few weeks ago, the Opposition was talking about preference to returned soldiers, they all declared that though they believed in unionism it should not be applied to returned soldiers. Well, it does not apply in this case, so far as the soldiers are concerned; but it applies in all other cases. The late Government made a regulation, in regard to a condition of employment in the Service, that after preference had been given to returned soldiers there should be preference to unionists, and that is precisely the principle laid down by the present Government. I ask honorable members to consider whether this attack is sincere. Members of the Opposition say that they wish the awards of the Arbitrator to be extended to all employees in the Public Service; but did not the late Government disallow three awards of the Public Service Arbitrator?
– No ; the House did that in conformity with the law.
– They were disallowed at the instance of the Government of the day. Not only did it move to disallow awards of the Arbitrator, but it proposed also to go further, and abolish the position of the Arbitrator, with the exception-
– Hear, hear !
-“ Hear, hear!” says the honorable member. The last Government proposed to take fromthe Public Service Arbitrator all power of making awards, except in the matter of salaries.
– A sound proposal.
– Arbitration in regard to the hours and other working conditions of all the public servants was to be swept aside, and the naive admission was made by the then Leader of the Govern ment in the Senate (Senator Sir George Pearce) that £150,000 would thus be saved. That saving was to be made at the expense of members of the Public Service, which includes those precious non-unionists whose cause honorable members opposite are championing to-day. Thelast Government and its supporters made that one of the issues at the last election, and the people gave them their answer. All the advantages of arbitration that were to be gained by going fromthe Public Service Board to the Arbitrator were to be swept aside under the proposal of the late Government, andthe Leader of the Opposition has interjected to-day that it was a sound proposal. Members opposite now complain bitterly because non-unionists, who have done nothing to secure awards, will not benefit to the extent of the difference between the conditions fixed by the Public Service Commissioners and those laid down by an award, yet they themselves would have taken away those benefits from every one, including those who had fought for and won them.
– That is not so.
– It is so. Their plaintive appeals on behalf of non-unionists are simply part of a vendetta againstthe Public Service organizations, at whose hands the party opposite met its fate at the last election, and part of the vendetta against trade unionism generally.
.- I think that the country is indebted to the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Latham) for bringing this matter before the House I do not regard the statement of the Prime Minister as bearing upon the real point involved in this debate. I look on the Public Service as occupying a position analagous to that of the judiciary; it should be free from party political bias. In the present regulations we have an instrument of compulsion unsurpassed by the thumbscrew, to compel public servants to join a political party. I believe that legitimate unionism is advantageous to all concerned, and certainly an employee who purposely avoids joining such a union would be slacking, as it were, upon those who contribute to its funds. But one has merely to read the monthly organ of the Postal Workers Union to realize that more than half the matter published in it is of a party political nature, and that the contributions made to these unions are used for political purposes. It is not long since members of the Public Service received the franchise, which was withheld from them because it was desired that the service should be absolutely non-political. Since the franchise has been extended to them, they should realize that the safety of their position would be threatened if they were compelled to contribute to the funds of a particular political party. That is the serious aspect of this matter. In the Holley case, the union claims that the people who pay for the great postal services of this country are not entitled to preference, so far as the employees in that department are concerned. The union went so far as to fine Mr. Holley £2 for not obtaining information which the department that paid his salary advised him not to give.
Honorable members interjecting-
-Occupants of the ministerial benches, judged by their interjections, do not like to hear the facts. In the face of the revelations that have been made this morning, it seems clear to me that, while the Government had to ignominiously back down on its intention to refuse preference to returned soldiers, this regulation is in some way a’ subterfuge to get over the difficulty. It is not clear that preference to returned soldiers will be assured. It has. been reported that certain public servants became alarmed after the circular had been issued by the board, calling upon them to join a union. Then it had to be determined by the executive of the union whether the non-unionists would be admitted, and, if so, whether they would be required to pay up back fees according to the length of time they had been in the Service. That was giving to the union a power of extortion that is degrading to the country. It is a travesty of political liberty when men are compelled to contribute to party political funds. The people generally should rise up against action of this kind.
– This matter has been fought out already. It is a recognized principle that an employee must pay to belong to a union.
– I hope that the Government will listen to sound logic. The citizens of this country, after all, are the grand jury that will determine this issue.
.-. Mr. Speaker-
Motion (by Mr. Scullin) - That the question be now put - put. The House d ivided. (Mr. Speaker - Hon. Norman Makin.)
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Question - That the House do now adjourn - resolved in the negative.
asked the Acting Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -
– The information will be obtained.
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– A report is being obtained on this matter, and a complete reply to the honorable member’s question will be furnished as soon as possible.
Surpluses and Deficits
asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
What are the total amounts of the surpluses and deficits in his department from the inception of federation to the close of the last financial year?
– Profit and loss accounts have only been prepared by the department from 1912-13 onwards, and the results have been as follow : -
Capital Cost - Interest - Revenue
asked the Minister for Home Affairs, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -
asked the AttorneyGeneral, upon notice -
What was the comparative cost of administering the bankruptcy laws in the six States (a) during the twelve months preceding the coming into operation of the Commonwealth Bankruptcy Act, and (b) during the twelve months following tho act coming into operation?
– A similar question has been asked by the honorable member for Martin (Mr. Eldridge), and the information is being obtained.
asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow: -
asked the Minister for Markets and Transport, upon notice -
Has he considered the advisability of entering into arrangement with the New South Wales Commissioner of Railways for the running and control of the railway from Queanbeyan to Canberra, with a view to lessening the cost of living and of construction at Canberra ?
– I shall take an early opportunity of examining the efficacy of the present arrangements, and will communicate my views thereon to the honorable member later.
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
Is it a fact that the Commonwealth of Australia is charged a rental for the grave sites of soldiers of the Australian Imperial Force who fell in the Great War; if so, what is the amount involved, and to whom is it paid?
– I have taken steps to ascertain the exact position with regard to this matter, but as it may be necessary to obtain certain details from the Imperial War Graves Commission, some little time may elapse before a complete reply can be furnished to the honorable member’s question.
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -
Advances to Associated Banks
asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The honorable member’s question is being brought under the notice of the Commonwealth Bank.’
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
What amount has been spent in the last ten years in assisting migrants to come to Australia?
– The particulars asked for by the honorable member are being prepared, and will be furnished as early as possible.
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
With reference to what is known as the £34,000,000 Agreements - 1. (a) What amount has already been spent, and (b) for what purposes? 2.(a) What amount has been allocated but not yet spent, and (b) for what purposes was such amount allocated?
– I am having the desired details compiled, and a reply will be made available at an early date.
asked the Acting Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -
How many tons of egg albumen, i.e., white of egg, were imported during the past two years, and what was the country from which the importations were made?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is contained in the following table: -
Motion (by Mr. Theodore) agreed to-
That he have leave to bring in a bill for an act to amend the Commonwealth Bank Act 1911-1929.
Bill brought up.
Motion (by Mr. Theodore) proposed -
That the bill be now read a first time.
– Does the Treasurer propose to deal with this bill before proceeding with the debate on the Central Reserve Bank Bill ?
– As I announced during my second-reading speech on the Central Reserve Bank Bill, it is intended merely to introduce this bill, and allow it to be circulated so that honorable members may make themselves familiar with its contents. It is not intended to go on with the bill until the fate of the Central Reserve Bank Bill is determined.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a first time.
In committee: Consideration resumed from 14th May (vide page 1778).
Clause 13- (6.) If the Minister finds that the conditions of employment or rates of wages, or any of them, paid by any claimant for bounty under this act -
Are below the rates and conditions declared, as in the first sub-section of this section mentioned, to be fair and reasonable; or
are below the standard rates and conditions of employment prescribed by the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration, or by any other industrial authority of the Commonwealth or a State, the Minister may withhold the whole or any part of the bounty payable.
Upon which Mr. Forde had moved by way of amendment -
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. “ 8. 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.”
Amendment - by leave - withdrawn.
– I withdraw the amendment previously moved, with a view to substituting for it another in a different form but embracing the same principle. I now move the following amendment -
That the following sub-clauses be added to the clause : - . (7.) If-
the Chief Judge or a Judge of the
Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration has not declared, in accordance with subsection (1.) of this section, 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; and
Provided that, if the representatives of employers and employees fail to make a joint nomination of a chairman within twenty days after being called upon by the Minister so to do, the Governor-General may appoint a person to act as chairman.
The effect of the amendment is that the Commonwealth authority mentioned in sub-clause 1 of clause 13 of the bill will not be appointed by the Minister in cases in which the Chief Judge or a judge of the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration has made a declaration of fair and reasonable wages and conditions of employment; or in which standard rates and conditions of wages in employment are prescribed by the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration, or by an industrial authority of a State, or are contained in an industrial agreement reached under any law of the Commonwealth or of a State. This is in accordance with the assurance I gave to the committee that there would be no overlapping of jurisdictions, and that the Government did not desire to appoint a Commonwealth authority to fix wages in’ spinning mills, the workers of which were already covered by a Federal or State award or a registered industrial agreement. Nor do we desire to override any existing awards. The purpose of the amendment, is only to provide for those workers who are not protected by any existing tribunal. In such circumstances the Minister may appoint a Commonwealth authority to determine reasonable wages, and the amendment I have substituted this morning provides for the employers and employees each to nominate a representative and for the two so chosen to nominate jointly a chairman to be appointed by the Minister. That is the principle adopted in connexion with wages boards, and should result in the creation of an equitable authority to prescribe reasonable wages in the cotton industry. No reasonable and sane Government would appoint a biased chairman, whose opinion would weight the scales of justice against one party. Nevertheless, a Government appointee might be suspect in some quarters. If, however, the chairman were chosen by the employers and employees, there could be no sound objection to any award made by the authority over which he presided. Moreover, this proposal will enable the authority to be composed of persons particularly qualified by their acquaintance with the industry to prescribe wages and conditions for the workers. “When Mr. “Walker, the Queensland Minister for Agriculture, was in Canberra this week in connexion with the wheat pool, he informed me that the Premier (Mr. Moore) was of opinion, that the best tribunal would be one composed of a. judge of the Federal Arbitration Court, a judge of the State Arbitration Court, and a member of the Cotton Board. I discussed the matter frankly with Mr. “Walker, and told him that such a tribunal would be too expensive and cumbersome, would result in serious delay, and that the workers would object if they were given no representation. Moreover, even if all interests were represented it would be unnecessary to requisition the services of two arbitration judges, a representative of the Cotton Board and a representative of the union, to decide a comparatively small matter that might be expeditiously and inexpensively settled by a simple local tribunal, which could visit the cotton areas, and inquire into the conditions of the industry in a way that would not be possible for a more influential and unwieldy tribunal.
– “What is the need for all this investigation ?
– Over a number of years the taxpayers of the Commonwealth are to pay a large sum of money to assist to establish the cotton industry. Protection is given to the manufacturer, the workers in the factories have the benefit of arbitration awards, and the price to be paid to the grower will be guaranteed ; the only party left unprotected is the cotton-picker. The Government is proposing that if no award applicable to the cotton industry is operating in a locality, it shall have power to refer to a special tribunal the wages of the field workers, and thus obviate industrial strife, with its attendant lo3s. The proviso attached to new sub-clause 8 will be necessary in the event of the representatives of the employers and employees .not being able to agree to a joint nomination of a chairman. If they fail to make a joint nomination within twenty days after being called upon by the Minister to do so, the GovernorGeneral may appoint a chairman.
I listened carefully to the discussion that took place on this bill last week, and to the points of criticism raised by honorable members opposite. Having spent many years in opposition, I recognize that they have a duty to perform, and as a Minister I shall always be prepared to listen to the representations of members of the Opposition. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Gullett) and the honorable member for Corangamite (Mr. Crouch) said that the knitters were not getting a fair deal from the spinners. In accordance with the promiseI then made to investigate the matter, I convened a conference of knitters and spinners in Melbourne on Monday last, and their differences were satisfactorily adjusted. They agreed that all yarn that cannot be manufactured in Australia should be admitted free and 10 per cent. under item 404. Both parties left the conference thoroughly satisfied.
.- The amendments now proposed by the Minister meet some of the objections raised by members of the Opposition. They avoid the difficulty that would have been caused by the creation of special tribunals in industries to which industrial awards already applied. To that extent the new sub-clauses are good. I notice, however, a drafting defect in paragraph b of proposed sub-clause 7. It relates to localities in which there are not in force “ any standard rates and conditions prescribed by the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration,” &c. In every locality many standard rates and conditions prescribed by the courts or other tribunals may ‘be in force. The Minister evidently intends the sub-clause to refer to rates and conditions relating to the cotton industry. In order to make the wording more definite, I move -
That after the word “ conditions,” paragraph 6 of proposed sub-clause 7, the words “ relating to the labour employed in the production of seed cotton, or lint, or in the manufacture of cotton yarn “ be inserted.
– I accept that.
Amendment of the amendment agreed to.
.- I still fail to appreciate the necessity for this amendment. The Attorney-General said yesterday that it would be possible to spare a judge from the Commonwealth Arbitration Court Bench to do other work, because the court had not much work in hand at present; but I prefer that determinations of this nature should not be made by persons appointed to deal with the particular matters as and where they arise. If we were overhauling the Arbitration Act there might be something to be said for this proposal ; but under existing conditions I can see no reason whatever for it. It is now proposed that the Minister shall have power to appoint a tribunal of persons described as “ representative of the employers and the employees “. That is a vague phrase. Under the Victorian Wages Board system machinery has been provided for appointing persons to act as representatives of the employers and employees, and there is some certainty that the appointees will be acceptable to the parties concerned ; but no such provision is being made in this case. The matter is to remain wholly in the hands of the Minister. I think it unlikely that this provision will ever be brought into operation, and therefore I shall not resist it strongly. But it is extraordinary that the Government should even contemplate setting up a tribunal without a real guarantee that the members of it will be qualified to carry out the duties that will rest upon them. No provision is being made as to tenure, pay, qualification of voters, method of voting, or even for a vote for the appointment of representatives. The amendment provides for nothing more than a sketch of the form of tribunal which the Government desires to establish, and I can see no justification for it. [Quorum formed.]
.- I am glad that the Acting Minister has agreed to some alteration of the amendment which he originally introduced; but the proposal is still open to the objection that it will cause a special tribunal to be constituted.
– This tribunal will be acceptable to the Cotton Pool Board.
– In the first place the Government proposed to appoint the three members of the tribunal, but it is now proposed that the employers in the industry shall appoint one representative and the workers one representative, who shall jointly agree upon a chairman. If they fail to do so the Government will appoint the chairman. I cannot see why the Minister should insist upon this amendment, because there is a State Industrial Court in Queensland which is thoroughly qualified to deal with this matter.
– There is no award operating for cotton-pickers.
– The workers could ask for an award if they wanted one. I have no desire to prevent the workers in the cotton industry from protecting themselves. It is right that they should do so. No sound reason has been advanced by the Acting Minister as to why a special tribunal should be established.
I regret that there has been a great deal of misrepresentation as to the attitude of the Queensland members of the Opposition in regard to this measure. Reports have appeared in very many newspapers to the effect that the Government has threatened to drop the bill because of the obstructive tactics of the Opposition; but the Queensland members of the Opposition occupied only 19 minutes of the 87 minutes devoted to the discussion of these amendments when the bill was last before the committee. Because of the press reports that have been published we have been bombarded with letters and telegrams from Queensland which appear to have been inspired from Canberra. I should be sorry to think that the Acting Minister was responsible for this.
– I assure the honorable member that no such telegrams or letters were inspired by me. I have received telegrams similar to those received by other honorable members. I hope that the honorable member will accept my assurance that I am in no way responsible for them.
– As the Acting Minister has given me that assurance, I must accept it. But it is suspicious, to say the least of it, that all the telegramsare couched in almost identical terms. It will be admitted that the despatch of such messages is not in the best interests of the free expression of opinion. This sort of thing should not happen. I object to the amendment because I believe that the State Industrial Court could do all that is required.
.- I hope the Acting Minister will insist on the acceptance of his amendment. It is most unlikely that the State Industrial Court would take any action in the interests of the cotton-pickers, as suggested by the honorable member for Lilley (Mr. Mackay). One of the first acts of the Moore Government upon assuming office was to nullify the Queensland Rural Workers’ Award. The rate of1½d. per lb. was not paid to cotton-pickers prior to the making of that award. The workers were paid only1d. per lb., and were even asked to work for¾d. per lb. Civil war almost occurred at Biloela in Queensland this year between Australian and Southern European workers because an advertisement appeared in certain Brisbane newspapers offering work particularly to Southern Europeans. Thesepeople will work as many hours as possible. The only reason why they do not work very early in the morning is because it would require a double handling of the cotton, for the cotton would have to be spread out in the sun in order to dry the dew from it. But the Southern Europeans are willing to work Saturday afternoons, Sundays and almost any other time, particularly where it is not possible to police the awards effectively. I should be glad if the State authorities would undertake the fixing of the wages and conditions in this industry. If the Government could get an undertaking from the Queensland Government that it would agree to a member of the Queensland Board of Trade discharging this duty, this amendment might not be necessary; but in the absence of such an agreement it is essential for the protection of the workers. If we could get a local man with a thorough knowledge of the details of this industry to prescribe the wages and conditions, everything would be all right. One of the Ministers of the Queensland Government, Mr. Walker, was in Canberra a few days ago, but I do not know whether his visit had anything to do with the cotton industry. There are one or two industrial magistrates in Queensland who are particularly well qualified to fix the wages and conditions in this industry. If the Government would allow Mr. Power, the industrial magistrate at Mount Morgan, to do this work I should be perfectly satisfied. An advocate from either side could appear before the magistrate, and he would be able to settle the matter expeditiously, and, I am sure, satisfactorily. The great majority of employers are, as I have frequently said, prepared to do the fair thing towards the workers, but there is a minority of employers, as there is of employees, with whom it is almost impossible to deal. In the absence of an undertaking from the Queensland Government that a State industrial authority, a member of the Board of Trade, or an approved industrial magistrate would be made available for this work, I must support the amendment, and I trust that it will be agreed to.
Sitting suspended from 12.45 to 2.15 p.m.
– The amendment moved by the Acting Minister to his previous amendment makes provision for an employers’ nominee on any board established to fix the wages and conditions of employment - if such are to be insisted upon. Paragraph 8 of the amendment reads -
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.
It appears from the wording of that provision that there is to be one representative of the employers engaged in the production of seed cotton or lint or the manufacture of cotton yarn. I should like to know from the Acting Minister whether it is intended that there shall be a representative of the employers engaged in the production of cotton lint, and a representative of the manufacturers, or is there to be one representative only?
– The Minister may appoint an authority or authorities. As the only activity that is not covered by an award is cotton-picking, which this amendment is intended to cover, the authority would comprise a representative of the Cotton Board, and a representative of the employees, with a chairman mutually agreed upon. Of course the spinning industry and the factories generally are covered by federal awards. This provision would not operate in regard to them at all.
– If I were sure that this provision related only to the picking of cotton my mind would be eased considerably, but I think that it applies further. If it applies to the picking of cotton, it will cover that part of the operations on which an award was previously made by the industrial court of Queensland. That award, though now abolished, was always respected by the growers. They paid1¾ d. for the first picking and 2d. for the second picking. But I think that this clause goes further than that; because it says that this authority shall be established for the purpose of determining wages and conditions of employment for labour employed in the production of seed cotton or lint. That provision covers more than the picking of cotton. It covers the whole operation of the growing of cotton, and because of that I object to it. No action taken since this bill was last before us has altered my decision to oppose and protest against the bringing of the grower under industrial conditions. The amendment that the Acting Minister has moved to his previous amendment may afford to the producer of yarns or of seed cotton an opportunity of having more representation on the board than was previously intended; but I trust that the Minister will not insist on this clause, which may deprive the grower of the benefit of the bounty which was intended to assist him.
.- The amendment, as re-cast by the Acting Minister, is certainly more acceptable to the committee and to the cotton industry generally than was the original proposal, but still I dislike intensely the setting-up of special tribunals of any kind for the control of a particular industry. I wish also to refer to the delay which has taken place in the passage of this bill. Had the Acting Minister adopted last week the attitude of sweet reasonableness that he has adopted to-day this measure would have been passed a week ago. The suggestion that the Opposition was responsible for the postponement of the bill last week, I entirely repudiate. The responsibility for the delay that has taken place must rest entirely with the Acting Minister.
– I am entirely opposed to this provision and also to the amendment. It does not improve the position, because it aims really at the introduction of an award in an industry which is not covered by any award at the present time. The Acting Minister should have been content with the provision that is contained in other bounty acts, and I see no reason why we should insert in this bill machinery which is not contained in similar legislation. If an opportunity is given I shall vote against the amendment, because I think that it is superfluous and unnecessary.
– I should like the Acting Minister to make it clear that the amendment relates to labour employed in the picking of seed cotton. I can quite understand that in . the secondary stages of the industry some regulation will be necessary. I wish to know whether the words “ production of seed cotton “ include the preparation of the land, or does it cover picking only?
– The words “ production or manufacture “ is the usual term used in all bounty legislation. Of course it would be impossible to determine, when the land is being cleared, whether it is to be used for the growing of cotton. Obviously, this provision will cover cottonpicking.
– Is the object of the provision to appoint a special tribunal to determine the rates of wages for cottonpicking only?
Question - That the sub-clauses, as amended, proposed to be added bo so added (Mr. Forde’s amendment) - put. The committee divided.
Majority . . . . 12
(Temporary Chairman - Hon. R. A. Crouch.)
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Amendment agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clauses 14 to 17 agreed to.
Postponed clause 5 - (1.) The bounties under this act shall lie payable in respect of -
– I move -
That sub-clause 1 be omitted and the following sub-clause inserted in lieu thereof - (1.) The bounties under this act shall be payable -
in respect of seed cotton which -
has been grown in Australia :
has been delivered to an appointed place;and
has been graded in one of the grades prescribed under section seven of this act; or, in any particular case, at the option of the Minister, in respect of lint produced from Australian-grown seed cotton; and
in respect of cotton yarn manufactured in Australia and delivered from a factory, on or before the thirtieth day of September, One thousand nine hundred and thirty-six.
This is different in two respects from the amendment that was first printed. In the first place, the general form of the subclause has been amended to make its meaning clearer, by repeating the words “ in respect of “ immediately in front of the three commodities subject to bounty, namely, seed cotton, lint, and cotton yarn. This re-arrangement has been made possible by the necessity for making the second alteration. The original amendment proposed by me altered the wording in the original draft of the bill to read, “or, at the option of the Minister, lint produced from Australian-grown seed cotton “. The amendment that I now propose changes the wording to “ or, in any particular case, at the option of the Minister, in respect of lint produced from Australian-grown seed cotton “. The words “ in any particular case “ are being inserted so as to make the position clearer, and also in order that the sub-clause maybe better suited to meet the requirements of the lint position. The new words have been approved by the parliamentary draftsman, and I understand that they meet the point raised by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Latham), by whom they were really suggested.
Amendment agreed to.
Amendment (by Mr. Forde) agreed to-
That the following sub-clause be added: - “ (6). No bounty shall bo paid under this act upon any seed cotton or cotton yarn upon which bounty is payable, after the commencement of this act. under the Cotton Bounty Act 1926.”
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Postponed clause 6 - (3.) 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.
Amendments (by Mr. Forde) agreed to -
That the figure (3) be omitted and the words “ Provided that “ inserted in lieu thereof.
That after the word “ cotton “, second occurring, the following words be inserted - “, and in the event of a standard ratio being so prescribed, bounty in respect of lint shall be paid in accordance with that ratio “.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Schedules agreed to.
Preamble and title agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments; report adopted.
Bill read a third time.
Debate resumed from the 22nd May (vide page 2085) on motion by Mr. Parker Moloney -
That the bill be now read a second time.
Upon which Mr. Latham had moved, by way of amendment -
That all words after “ That “ be omitted, and that the following words be substituted in lieu thereof : - “ This House is of opinion that, while present circumstances justify a guarantee by the Governments of the Commonwealth and the States of a minimum price of 4s. per bushel for f.a.q. wheat, season 1930-1931, delivered at railway sidings, legislation providing for such a guarantee should be introduced separately from any legislation providing for the establishment of a monopoly in the marketing of Australian wheat by means of a compulsory pool.”
.- There are two distinct proposals before the House in connexion with the wheat industry. There is the proposal of the Government to guarantee the payment of 4s. a bushel upon the delivery of wheat at country railway stations, conditional upon the wheat-growers marketing their wheat through a compulsory pool. Then there is the proposal of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Latham)that that 4s. be guaranteed without the condition with respect to a compulsory pool.
It is hardly necessary for me to say that I whole-heartedly support the amendment of the Leader of the Opposition.I marvel that the Government should persevere with this bill, and persist in its proposal to have a compulsory pool ; because it must be perfectly obvious to every honorable member that the Government must pay the guarantee for the coming harvest whether the wheat-growers enter or remain out of a compulsory pool. The members of all parties, and of all State Governments who have been participating in the urge to “grow more wheat “, are committed up to the hilt to the guarantee of 4s. a bushel to the farmers. I believe that the farmers will have the sense to realize that that is the position.
– The honorable member is guilty of gross misrepresentation. He should not attempt to deceive .the farmers of this country’.
– I repeat that the farmers of Australia will receive 4s. a bushel for their wheat in the coming harvest, whether they enter the pool or not.
– That is a misleading and an irresponsible statement.
– It appears to be worrying the Minister. Let me put the position in another way. If only some of the wheat-growing States enter the compulsory pool, this Government dare not pay the guaranteed price only to the farmers in those States. If, for example, the State of Western Australia should stand out of the pool and the other States should come into it, the guaranteed price, if paid at all, must be paid to the wheat-growers of Western Australia as well as to those of the other Sta tes.
– That is a stupid statement.
– Every honorable member knows that that is the position. In the payment of this guarantee, the Government cannot discriminate between the farmers of different States merely ;because in some of the States they may decline to enter the compulsory pool at its bidding. There is a considerable doubt as to whether the pool will be acceptable to the wheat-growers of South Australia. If they should disapprove of it, will the honorable member for Grey =. (Mr. Lacey) stand by while the farmers of Victoria are being paid 4s. a bushel, and agree to its being withheld from the wheat-growers of his electorate, notwithstanding the fact that they have responded to the appeal of the Government and have worked long hours so as to plant additional areas? If, on the other hand, the Victorian farmers should turn down the pool, will the honorable member for Wimmera (Mr. Stewart) or the honorable member for Wannon (Mr. McNeill) agree to the guaranteed price being paid to the wheat-growers of New South Wales and not to those who are in their elec torates? Honorable members know that the guarantee must be paid whether the pool is established or not. The Government is caught in this matter. Under the circumstances, it is fairly easy to prophesy how the farmers will vote upon the question.
– What right has the honorable member to say what the Government will do?
– I happen to represent more taxpayers than any other member, and my electorate will have to bear its share of the cost of providing the guarantee. If it is paid in one State it will be paid in. all of them, and no fanciful socialistic scheme will be allowed to squeeze the farmers into a compulsory pool. I marvel at the Minister persevering with this proposal.
Honorable members interjecting-
– It is quite impossible for me to follow the honorable member’s remarks during a constant fire of interjections, and I ask honorable members to assist me in maintaining order.
– I do not know what I am saying that is so unacceptable to honorable members. The Minister proposes to give a guarantee of 4s. a bushel to ‘the farmers for one year, in exchange for their freedom for three years. Those of us who have grown up on farms-
– You, a farmer!
– You are a mushroom.
– If honorable members further disregard my request that they cease interjecting, it will be necessary for me to take further action.
– I come from a family in which there have been three generations of» wheat-growers. I grew wheat for nine years as a lad and as a young man, so I have had considerable practical experience of that work. Those of us who have lived on farms are familiar with the sight of an old lady holding up a whisp of hay to a horse in a paddock to entice the animal to allow her to catch it. This ruse is successful only in the case of a very greedy or foolish animal, because a wise horse knows that often behind the succulent bit of hay is a saddle and bridle, and a long journey. The Minister is in the position of the old lady. He has made an offer of 4s. a bushel to the farmers for one year, but behind the offer are three years of untried bondage. The farmers are to enter into a blind compact with the Government for a succeeding two years. When I contrast that with the offer of the Opposition, which is an unconditional guarantee of 4s. a bushel, I can see no comparison between the two proposals.
The honorable member for Wimmera (Mr. Stewart) asks how the money is to be paid unless a compulsory pool is established. I cannot submit off-hand the details of a scheme for that payment, but I suggest that the problem is not insurmountable. Are the Minister and the honorable member for Wimmera prepared to say that if a scheme for the payment of the money without a compulsory pool can be devised, they will drop the present proposal? If the object of the pool is merely to enable this money to be paid, let us see if we can devise a scheme for that purpose, without this extremely suspect, compulsory pool. The farmers are asked to trust the Government with regard to the succeeding two years, and they will want to see the Government’s credentials. They should refresh their minds regarding the notorious promises of this Government, in order to decide whether it can be trusted in future. Is the experience of the coal-miners on the northern fields likely to lead the farmers to trust this Government to carry out its promises? Take the very definite promises made to the disabled returned soldiers. Is their experience likely to inspire the farmers with trust in the Ministry? Has the Government stood up to its promise to provide work for all? No ; and it will not carry out its promise to the farmers.
We have been familiar for years with the Minister’s annual demonstration for the purpose of convincing the House that he is not a true-blue 100 per cent, member of the Trades Hall party. He regularly seeks to convince us that he has the interests of the farmers at heart, and is consumed by the desire to serve them, particularly the wheat-growers. Year after year, he has entertained us with his moving appeal that something should be done for those growers, but where are we to-day ?
– I am on this side, and you are among the Opposition.
– He presides over the Department of Markets, and has behind him battalions of supporters. He has a great majority, and an opportunity to do something for the growers, so he now comes down to the House with a guarantee to the wheat farmer of 4s. a bushel at country sidings, conditional upon the farmer entering into a bond which is odious to him. He brings down this insulting offer, conditional upon the farmers tying themselves up to the Trades Hall. I turu, particularly, to the Minister’s last essay. I refer to a speech made by him on the Supply Bill on the 18th March, 1929, when he moved to reduce an item by fi for the purpose of calling attention to the necessity to do something for the wheat-growers of Australia. He remarked that he submitted that motion as a direction to the Government to devise an Australian-wide wheat marketing scheme, with the object of obtaining for the farmer a price for his wheat that would ensure him an adequate return for his labour. He went on to say -
Every honorable member who, like myself, represents a rural constituency, will agree that the wheat farmer, to-day is in a parlous position, and if we are agreed upon that, we may be able to persuade the Government that some action should be taken to save the wheatgrowing industry from the disastrous situation that otherwise will be ahead of it.
A questionnaire was sent through the Riverina district a little while ago, and from the answers supplied, it is ascertained that the general opinion is that the cost of wheat production to-day is in the vicinity of 5s. a bushel.
Now the Minister has the effrontery to suggest that he is doing something for the farmers by offering them a conditional guarantee of 4s. a bushel, which does not equal the cost of production. The Minister also said -
The average price realized last year was 4s. 7d. per bushel. This year the price has been about 4s., and as the farmer cannot produce wheat under a cost of approximately 5s. a bushel, he is operating at a dead loss.
A year ago the Minister informed the House, as a private member, that tha wheat-farmers were operating at a loss when they received only .4s. a bushel. Now he comes to the House, clothed in. the authority of his office, and, while purporting to be doing a great thing for the farmers, offers them a guaranteed price which last year returned them a loss. In return for that the farmers are asked to bind themselves to a compulsory pool for three years. As showing that the Minister knew then, as he knows now, what it actually costs to produce wheat, he quoted a year ago the statement of Mr. Fleming, as follows: -
I am in agreement with those whosay that wheat cannot be produced under 5s.6d. per bushel, and the farmer receives at most 4s.1d.
In the course of the same speech the Minister said -
We advocate a basic wage for the man in a factory and the man on the land.
There is no doubt about the basic wage for the workers in the cities, but the wage offered by the Minister to the farmers, now that he possesses full power, is one that represents a dead loss onhis capital, and no return for his labour. There is another way of testing the value of this offer. The average yield of wheat in Australia forthe period from 1918 to 1928 was 12.20 bushels to the acre. Taking into consideration the comparative failure of last year’s crop, it may be said that the average yield over the last eleven years was in the vicinity of 1 2 bushels to the acre. The Minister proposes to guarantee to the farmers, conditional upon their coming into the pool, a return of 48s. an acre, which is to repay them for the capital cost of their land, their outlay on plant, machinery, stock, &c, and for their own labour . I have no hesitation in saying that the farmers, on an average, will not receive a wage equivalent to £1 an acre, so that they will be working the clock round, as they have been doing for some time past, for less than the basic wage.
– They have not been receiving the basic wage for years.
– They have not, nor will they receive it under this arrangement. That is what I am complaining of. The Government is pretending to be helping the farmers, when it is doing nothing of the kind, although it has already heaped burdens on them through the tariff, which has increased the price of everything they need and use. [Quorum formed.] The Minister said that he believed in ensuring a basic wage for the man in the factory and for the man on the land ; but I have demonstrated that there is no chance of the farmers receiving a basic wage from the Government’s guarantee. There is no doubt, however, about the basic wage received by the trade unionists - and properly so - who are engaged directly and indirectly in handling the farmers’ wheat. From the moment the wheat reaches the railway stations, even though it has been produced at. a dead loss, it comes into the hands of basic wage earners. The porters, engine-drivers, fettlers and all other workers right on to the wharf labourers, are assured of the basic wage.
– What is the honorable member complaining of?
– I am not complaining because they receive the basic wage, but I am complaining that the Minister, who set out with flags flying and trumpets blowing to do something for the farmers, should eventually have offered them something which will not provide them with the basic wage, though all other sections of workers are already assured of it.
The farmers of Australia have nothing to expect from the present Government, nor from the Labour party. This Trades Hall party has been the enemy of the rural industries since the day it came into existence. I cannot, and do not, believe that the farmers will trust the present Government. As I see it, the farmers’ pool will be the farmers’ fool, and I think that most of the farmers will be astute enough to recognize that when the ballot is held. There is no justification for compulsory pooling. Let the Government give a guarantee if it likes, but let us have nothing to do with compulsory pooling. I ask the Minister and the honorable member for Wimmera (Mr. Stewart), what is behind this pool idea ? Why this insistence on the farmers coming under the Government’s control? The Minister declared that the Government would not control the pool; that it would be controlled by the farmers themselves. It has to be admitted, however, that the controlling interest in an affair of this kind is money. He who controls the finances behind the pool really controls the pool itself. Where would the pool be without the Government, and without the support of the treasury? At the end of the first twelve months, when the guarantee is paid, the wheat-growers will have to come cap in hand to the Government and ask for a further guarantee. The farmers will be absolutely at the mercy of the Labour party of Australia, and that is an unthinkable position for the wheatgrowers to find themselves in. The Government desires this pool so that it may obtain control of a great rural industry. What it will do when it obtains that control I do not know. I believe that the members of the Country party desire the pool in order to bring about a special price for bread in Australia. They wish to obtain absolute control of the marketing of wheat within Australia, and to ration the Australian market so that the price of bread may be raised to a level which will give the farmers a bigger return than they are getting to-day. I do not blame them for desiring to do that; I merely state the fact as I see it. It may be that the farmers are just as much entitled to enjoy the benefits of bounties, special prices, tariff protection and prohibitions, as is any other section of the community. Possibly they are more deserving of it. because, in my opinion, there is no section of the community more deserving than the wheat-growers. I freely admit that, but I warn the Government and tha country that we cannot go on indefinitely increasing the artificiality of our economic situation. I believe that any rigging of Australian wheat and bread prices would be the economic end of all things. It would really be the last straw. I say solemnly to the honorable member for Echuca (Mr. Hill) that I do not believe that the people of Australia would stand for any juggling of wheat and bread prices in Australia. Wo doubt relief must be found for the wheat-growers, but it must be found in some other way. I am absolutely opposed to the compulsory pooling proposal, and I cordially support the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Latham).
– Honorable members have been treated to a very entertaining discourse by the honorable member for Henty (Mr. Gullett), even though it must be admitted that he did not convey very much information. The honorable member for Warringah (Mr. ‘Archdale Parkhill) described the speech of the honorable member for Calare (Mr. Gibbons) as incoherent. Those of us who listened to the honorable member for Warringah formed the opinion that his own speech was merely mumbo-jumbo, and that the speech of the honorable member for Henty ran it a very close second. It is remarkable how fools rush in where angels fear to tread.
– Did the honorable member say “ pools “ ?
– Listening to some of the speeches made by honorable members opposite, we can readily understand how the country was allowed to drift into such an unfortunate position as that in which we now find it during the six years the Nationalist Government was in office. To-day, when the Country party members are freed from the toils in which they were bound by the coalition with the Nationalists, they are taking the proper attitude as spokesmen of country interests. Those honorable members are supporting us to-day as they should have supported us in previous years, but for the baneful influence of Nationalism and the spoils ‘bf office. One can understand why the Nationalist organization was so anxious to get rid of such an incubus as the honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Archdale Parkhill) and shunt him into Parliament. Members of the Country party will find it difficult to explain to the people why, although they are now supporting a wheat pool proposed by a Labour Government, no steps of that nature were taken by the coalition Government during its six and a half years of office, notwithstanding that their leader was Deputy Prime Minister. The history of the Bruce-Page Government proved our contention that coalition governments are ruinous to any country. Their policy is the result of compromise, by which principles are sacrificed for the sake of office. That is what happened with the Country party, because of its foolish alliance with Nationalism for so many years. I congratulate the Minister upon the success that has attended his efforts to organize the primary producers. In launching his scheme he did not adopt a narrow party view. He invited a representative of every wheatproducing organization to attend the Canberra conference, and this bill is the result of the deliberations of those men, many of whom are not political supporters of Labour. It is due to the tireless efforts of the Minister for Markets that the provincial press, which understands this problem, has expressed unqualified and almost unanimous support of his proposal. This is a complete answer to the statements of the honorable members for Warringah and Henty that the Government is endeavouring to foist on the farmers socialistic theories and bolshevik doctrines. This bill is introduced to give effect to the expressed desire of the primary producers.
– To pool and fool the farmers.
– Does the honorable member say that the Premier of New South Wales, and his colleague, the Minister for Agriculture, who are supporting this scheme, desire to fool the farmers? The honorable member’s attitude reminds me of the old lady who, watching her son march by, said that every man was out of step but her Johnny. Apparently in regard to the wheat pool everybody is out of step but Archie.
– Order ! Honorable members are not to be referred to other than by their constituencies.
– I did not refer to any particular Archie. Definite provision is made in’ the bill for the representatives of the growers to control the operation of the pool, and I am certain that they will not heed the wild statement of the honorable member for Henty that the Government is attempting to put a noose about their necks. The amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition is in conflict with the statements of some of his followers. The chaos in regard to policy amongst members of the Opposition is shown by the fact that whilst their leader demanded an unqualified guarantee of 4s. a bushel, the honorable member for Warringah said that the price to be charged for the wheat will be too high, and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition said that the guarantee of 4s. is not sufficient. Clearly, the Opposition has no definite policy or clear conception of what is required. In the six years of Nationalist rule the Government sowed the wind, and to-day the country is reaping the whirl-wind. The formation of this wheat pool proves the justification of Labour’s financial policy. Labour is far-sighted, and lays well and truly the foundations of the national structure. The establishment of the Commonwealth Bank by a Labour Government enables the present Ministry to offer to the farmers a compulsory pool and guarantee. I can imagine what answer the Minister would have received had he asked the private banks to finance the pool. Honorable members opposite have said that those who provide the finance will control the operations of the pool. I do not agree with that statement ; but the existence of the Commonwealth Bank, which the coalition Government repeatedly tried to cripple, enables the pool to be financed. The private banks would not have given an affirmative reply to the Minister, because some of the wheat merchants are large shareholders in them and direct their policy. The statements by the ex-Premier of South Australia (Mr. Butler) convinces me that great pressure was brought to bear on even the board of the Commonwealth Bank by the wheat merchants in their endeavour to stultify the efforts of the Minister for Markets. Reading between the lines I judge that they deliberately attempted to coerce the Commonwealth Bank into refusing to assist the Government to form a pool.
It is difficult to understand the attitude of the opponents of the bill. Some time ago the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Latham) cast doubts upon the ability of the Commonwealth Bank to finance the pool, and he even denied the Minister’s statement regarding the extent to which negotiations had already been carried and moved the adjournment of the House. Although the Minister had the assurance of the Governor and Deputy Governor of the bank that if necessary £50,000,000 could be made available to pay to the farmers a guaranteed price, some members of the Opposition declare that only the wheat merchants could provide the £12,000,000 that might be required to finance the scheme. How are their conflicting statements to be reconciled? The honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Archdale Parkhill) stated quite recklessly that pools invariably produce criminality, shortages, and losses to the farmer.
– I adhere to that.
– The only wheat pool that was controlled by a Labour Government was the 1920-21 compulsory pool in New South Wales. According to official figures issued by the Under-Secretary of the Department of Agriculture 51,433,755 bushels of wheat were delivered into the pool, and 51,508,742 bushels were sold. In other words the quantity sold was 74,987 bushels in excess of the quantity received, owing to the increase in weight during storage. In the light of those figures, how can the honorable member say that pools are invariably attended by depredations which result in shortages and losses? The only, frauds that occurred in connexion with Australian wheat pools were those that happened in the pools controlled by a Nationalist Minister, Mr. Graham. Yet, although that gentleman at a subsequent election stood as an independent candidate, the honorable member for Warringah, as secretary of the Nationalist party, advertised in the press advising electors to give preference to him over a returned soldier candidate, the present member for Richmond, Mr. R. F. Green.
– Green never stood as a candidate for that constituency.
– He stood for Newcastle in 1920, and the honorable member gave preference to Mr. Graham over him and about a dozen other candidates. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Latham) quoted some interesting figures to show the diminution of the acreage under wheat during the currency of the wartime pools. His statistics were put forward with some subtlety because they covered the period from 1915-16 to 1919-20, and then jumped forward to 1924. There was undoubtedly a decline in the area under crop in the years between 1915-16 and 1919-20, but what stopped the decline? It was not the National party or the Country party, but the Labour Government which came into office in New South Wales in 1920, after a severe drought. Only 4,000,000 bushels of wheat were produced that year, and we had to import 13,000,000 bushels. One of the first acts of the new Government was to float a loan of £2,000,000, which was oversubscribed to the extent of £500,000, and make the money available through the Rural Industries Board to the farmers to prevent many of them from being driven off the land and encourage them to increase their area under crop. The Government also formed a compulsory pool and gave the highest guaranteed price - 7s. 6d. per bushel - ever given by any Australian government. The result was that in the following season the area under cultivation increased from 6,419,160 acres to nearly 9,000,000 acres. In New South Wales the acreage increased from 1,474,035 in 1919-20 to 3,126,775 in 1920-21. We were fortunate in that we had a good season, and the yield in New South Wales was in the neighbourhood of 55,000,000 bushels. The result of this policy was that between £14,000,000 and £15,000,000 circulated in New South Wales which would not have circulated had the Labour Government not come into office. I have no doubt whatever that if the pool now proposed is established, it will benefit the farmers in particular and the whole community in general.
The speeches delivered by the honorable member for Echuca (Mr. Hill) and the honorable member for Gippsland (Mr. Paterson) were both comprehensive and unanswerable and I do not propose to repeat the figures given by them regarding prices.
– They were delivered by experts on the subject.
– That is so. Those honorable members have been closely associated for many years with the organizations which were represented at the conference of wheat-growers held in Canberra some time ago. A great deal of literature has been circulated by interested parties in opposition to this bill. We all know that it comes from the wheat merchants, who, as one honorable member observed last night, are not in the wheat business for the good of their health. It has been suggested that these wheat merchants have some mystic power to command markets which would not be available if the wheat were marketed through a compulsory pool. But private enterprise must always encounter numerous difficulties which would not be met by the management of a compulsory wheat pool. The Minister for Markets has intimated since we commenced our discussion of this bill that it is the intention of the Government to appoint Australian trade commissioners in various countries in the world. Great Britain has 27 trade commissioners in various parts of the world. The sending out of competent trade representatives to discover markets for our commodities should be a splendid investment for Australia. Those who come here from other parts of the world frequently complain i hat Australia is not adequately represented abroad. We could, I believe, develop a very big trade with, countless millions of people within a few hundred miles of our coast in the Far East. This would be, not so much an interchange of commodities as new trade, because in many cases the commodities produced in those countries are not required in Australia, although there is a strong demand there for our primary products. It has been said that it is unprofitable to produce meat in Australia, because there is no market for it abroad; but I understand an honorable member of this House, who travelled in the Far East some time ago, reported privately to the then Prime Minister that the Government of one of the countries that he visited was prepared to spend a large sum in the erection of cold stores if Australia would assure it of a constant supply of meat. I believe that his report was ignored. The Leader of that Government was too busy looking after his own interests to give much attention to the welfare of Australia. It should be the first business of any government which professes to be interested in the development of our primary industries, to endeavour to open up markets for our commodities. It is to be regretted that this Parliament is hampered in this regard by constitutional restrictions, but a great deal more could be done than has been done hitherto. History shows that there are three stages in the development of a nation. First, there is the grazing period; then there is the agricultural era; and side by side wi-th that there should be’ a manufacturing era. The grazing period has practically passed in the United States of America. Agriculture became one of the main activities of the people ; but it is well known that, in the last few years, America has developed a vast manufacturing industry. Australia has great scope for the development of manufacturing enterprises. Huge sums of money are spent annually by Australians in purchasing imported goods that should be made here. We spend millions of pounds, for instance, in buying motor cars, although large numbers of our mechanics are continually out of work. We should make a great deal of the machinery that is at present imported. ‘ I hope that the day is not distant when a large motor cav manufacturing industry will be established here.
Unless we develop simultaneously our primary and secondary industries, we must always have a large army of unemployed. Gibbon, in The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, emphasizes that the empire decayed largely because agricultural pursuits were neglected and the people drifted to the cities. The city dwellers taxed the people on the land so heavily that when the invaders appeared they met with very little resistance outside of Rome, because they were looked upon, to some extent at least, as the saviours of the agriculturalists. We should learn the lessons of history and encourage our people to take up land. We should also make it possible for tie children of farmers to remain on the land.
In the period between myformer membership of this House and my re-election recently, I had something to do with the improvement of land settlement conditions in the irrigation areas of New South Wales. Associated with me was a representative of the settlers and a representative of the Irrigation Commission. Our investigation showed that the irrigation blocks in the Leeton area were too small. In many cases we made two and three farms into one. The new land was subdivided into blocks of from 500 to 800 acres instead of 200 or 300 acres as formerly. If we had had 10,000 farms of those areas available we could have settled desirable people on every one of them. It is sometimes said that honorable members on this side of the chamber are not able to speak with authority for the man on the land; hut many of us were born and reared there. The honorable member for Henty (Mr. Gullett) said that he came from three generations of farmers. If that is so, I cannot understand his opposition to this bill. Like the honorable member for New England (Mr. Thompson) I feel that every honorable member who knows anything about farming should support the pooling system of marketing. Nothing is more pathetic than a farmer who cannot find a market for his crop. For a good many years I resided near a small country town, and because I took a prominent part in politics, usually in opposition to the “powers that be,” I found myself on many occasions unable to market my crop. If the policy of this bill is approved by the farmers, every farmer who grows wheat will be on the same footing and cannot be penalized. Honorable members have had sent to them by a Mr.Cadd the copy of an open letter addressed by his society to the honorable A. E. Green. On making inquiries I am informed that Mr.Cadd derives his income, not from the sale of f.a.q. wheat at all, but principally from the sale of seed wheat of which he is a large grower. He is not an ordinary farmer, because, when the ordinary farmer is receiving 4s. and 4s.6d.a bushel for f.a.q. wheat, Mr.
Cadd is receiving 8s. to 9s. a bushel for his seed wheat. Hefixes his own price. Therefore, we can discount largely any literature which is prepared by a man in his position. I ask leave to continue my remarks on another occasion.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
The following papers were presented : -
Arbitration (Public Service) Act - Determinations (for 1930) by the Arbitrator, &c. - :
No. 10 - Professional Officers Association.
Nos.11 and 12 - Federated Public Service Assistants Association.
No. 13 - Commonwealth Telephone Officers Association.
No. 14 - Amalgamated Postal Workers Union of Australia.
No. 15 - Professional Officers Association.
– I move-
That the House do now adjourn.
I wish to announce that, in response to representations made by ‘the wine interests, and in view of the financial support accorded the wine industry by the Commonwealth Government, arrangements have been made for Mr. J. Guns, of the Development and MigrationCommission, in collaboration with Mr. R. McE. Gollan, Senior Inspector of Excise, to investigate the various aspects of the industry, and to furnish a report for the consideration of the Commonwealth Government. The investigation will cover a wide range. Such questions as the production of grapes, manufacture of wine, and the marketing of wine are included within the broad terms of reference. The Commonwealth Government looks for the cordial co-operation of all sections of the industry in this investigation, which, it is hoped, may point the way to the solution of some, at least, of the many difficult problems with which the industry is confronted.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at 3.48 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 23 May 1930, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1930/19300523_reps_12_124/>.