House of Representatives
14 May 1936

14th Parliament · 1st Session

Mr. Speaker (Hon.G. J. Bell) took the chair at 11 a.m., and read prayers.

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Motion (by Mr. Lyons) agreed to-

That the House, at its rising, adjourn until

Wednesday next at 3 p.m.

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– Has the Treasurer any information to impart concerning the identity of the British experts who arc being made available to advise the Government in connexion with the subject of national insurance, and as to when they are expected to arrive in Australia?


– A number of cables have been exchanged with the High Commissioner, who is negotiating with the British Government, but I am not yet able to announce the names of the experts who will be asked to come to Australia. An effort is being made to obtain the services of men who are best qualified to advise, and who can arrive in Australia as early as possible. As soon as’ the names are known, the House will be informed.

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– Is the Minister representing the ‘Minister for External Affairs jet in a position to make a statement regarding the deliberations of the Council of the League of Nations at Geneva ?


– There is no information that warrants the making of a statement to the House at the moment, but it is hoped that one may be made on the motion for the adjournment this’ afternoon.

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Minister for Repatriation · NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · UAP

– On Tuesday the honorable member for Melbourne Ports asked me the following question : -

In view of the delay which has been occasioned in the hearing of several important basic wage cases, because the illness of Judge Beeby makes impossible the constitution ot the full bench of the Arbitration Court, will the Minister representing the Acting AttorneyGeneral give immediate consideration to the advisability of releasing a judge of the High Court to enable the hearing to be proceeded with?

I have brought the matter before my colleague the Acting Attorney-General (Senator Brennan), and am advised that inquiry at the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration has failed to disclose the important basic wage cases to which the honorable member referred. My colleague will, therefore, be glad if the honorable member can give further information which will enable those cases to be identified. If this is done, further consideration will be given to the state of the work of the Arbitration Court. My colleague desires rae to add, however, that when the granting of leave to Judge Beeby was under consideration, the information received from the Chief Judge as to the state of the work of the court satisfied him that leave might be granted without interfering seriously with it. The suggestion that a High Court judge should be released in order that the hearing of cases in the Arbitration Court might be proceeded with could not bc adopted “without an amendment of the law. If, however, the work of the court should become so congested as to necessitate the provision of relief, the Government might ask His Honour, Judge Lukin, who is still a judge of the Arbitration Court, to sit iu that court, provided that the state of the work of the Federal Bankruptcy Court permitted the adoption of that course. This would not necessitate any amendment of the law.


– The complaint I made was not that the ordinary work of the Arbitration Court was congested, but that full bench cases were delayed because only two judges remained on duty. The basic wage case of the Federated Storemen and Packers Union, has been held up for some time. I have received a telegram this morning from Melbourne asking me to approach the Acting Attorney-General and request him to meet a deputation in regard to this matter in Melbourne on Monday afternoon next. Will the Minister representing the Acting Attorney-General convey that request to his colleague?


– I shall submit to my colleague the request of the honorable member, and shall communicate with the honorable member later in the day.

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– When moving last week that in future Government business should take precedence over all other business, the Prime Minister undertook that an opportunity would he afforded for the discussion of private motions on the business-paper. Does that undertaking still hold good?

Prime Minister · WILMOT, TASMANIA · UAP

– I think the honorable, gentleman will recall that I did not give a definite undertaking, but said that an endeavour would he made to provide an opportunity for the discussion of private motions.

Mr Abbott:

– The right honorable gentleman said that the House might rest, assured that such an opportunity would be provided.


– I said that the House might rest assured that an endeavour would be made to provide the opportunity. I mentioned that, as on previous occasions when sittings were approaching their termination, this House would in all probability have to await the return of business from the Senate. I give the assurance that the Government will do everything it can to provide for what the honorable member has in mind.

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– Some time ago the Prime Minister promised, as nearly as he could, that before the session ended a discussion would be initiated on the report of the Petrol Commission. Is there any possibility of that discussion taking place before the session is terminated?


– That depends upon what the honorable member means when lie refers to “ the session “. Recent practice has been to continue from year to year without concluding the session. I think that I can safely give an undertaking in regard to the session, but it is not likely that there will be time before the adjournment which we hope will take place in a week or so.

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GROUND Organization.

Sir Donald CAMERON:

– Will the Minister for Defence inform honorable members of the progress which has been made in the development throughout the Commonwealth of ground organization in connexion with aviation, and of the further development that is proposed in the near future?

Minister for Defence · WARRINGAH, NEW SOUTH WALES · UAP

by leave - Very considerable work has been done in connexion with the improvement of ground organization in respect of civil aviation. It has to be remembered that Australia is a great country both in importance and in area, being equal in the latter respect to the United States of America. At the same time, very considerable disparity exists between the population of this country and that of other countries. Nevertheless, every effort is being made, as far as finances will permit, to extend conveniences and make improvements as rapidly as possible. Since the middle of December, 1935, the following works have been authorized : -

In addition, a total expenditure of £38,942 has been authorized for developmental proposals under the following headings : -

Wireless navigational aids are provided on the Darwin-Singapore service by the wireless station at Darwin, and also by an agreement -which has been reached with the Dutch authorities for the use of their wireless stations by the Australian service on the regular nights through Netherlands-India to Singapore.

In reply to recent criticism concerning the aerodromes at Mascot and Essendon, I may say that within recent months efforts have been made to improve these two sites. The Mascot site is naturally low lying. Considerable improvements have been effected to it, involving an expenditure of approximately £15,000 within the last two years. An additional area has been prepared, and will shortly be brought into use, while plans for a suitable administrative building are under consideration, and the construction of the building will be undertaken at. an early date. At Essendon, the area ox the aerodrome has been doubled by the acquisition of additional land, and this extra area will be brought into use at an early date. Additional workshop accommodation will shortly be provided in the departmental building.

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– In view of the anticipated surplus this year, will the Treasurer, when preparing next year’s budget, give consideration to the desirability of allowing claimants for the maternity allowance to deduct from the annual income into the home the amount of unemployment relief tax paid by the husband?


– I give the honorable gentleman the assurance that this matter will be taken into consideration.

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– Is the Minister for Defence in a position to supplement the answer which he made yesterday to my request that he should express the intention of the Government in respect of the provision of accommodation for the officers and men stationed at the Richmond aerodrome, in order that the position of investors and others who are prepared to provide accommodation in the Hawkesbury district might be clarified?


– 1 am now in a position to inform the honorable member that, of the 276 Royal Australian Air Force personnel now stationed at Richmond, New South Wales, 150 are married. It is not possible to provide government quarters for all married personnel, and the policy is to provide only for personnel whose appointments require that they shall be available at the aerodrome at all times. The provision so far made is for three officers and two non-commissioned officers, and steps have been taken for the erection of quarters for another officer and two noncommissioned officers. Further provision in accordance with the above policy will be made as funds become available from year to year, but the maximum government provision will probably not exceed that required for a total of 63 families. On completion of the present programme of development in June, 1937, approximately 720 personnel will be stationed at Richmond, of whom it is estimated that 320 will be married. It was hoped that, as the station developed, houses would be in demand, and that such demand would be met by private enterprise.

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Annual Report Delated


– ‘Oan the Minister representing the Postmaster-General state when the Postmaster-General’s report will be issued? In view of the fact that the report is now nearly twelve months overdue, and that the Auditor-General’s report on the Postmaster-General’s Department has long since been issued, will he state why there has been such a long delay?


– I am not able to say whether the protracted delay mentioned by the honorable member has taken place. While I was in charge of the department, I was aware of the great difficulty experienced in preparing a report dealing with an organization which extends over the whole of Australia as quickly as is ordinarily the case with businesses which are more concentrated. In view of this, I feel sure that the honorable member will realize that there is some ground for the delay, which is generally accepted by the Auditor-General and the Government; but I shall bring the matter under the notice of the PostmasterGeneral, and ascertain the approximate date on which the report of the department will be made available.

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Provision of Government Battery


– Has any decision been arrived at with regard to the provision of a government battery at Tennant’s Creek?

Minister for the Interior · GIPPSLAND, VICTORIA · CP

– After studying a recently-received departmental report on this question, I have come to the conclusion that the present battery position at Tennant’s Creek is limiting, to some extent, the amount of employment that might be provided there, and is retarding the rapid development of the field. It is therefore proposed to establish a government crushing plant at Tennant’s Creek. Sites for this purpose are at present under consideration.

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– Will the Prime Minister take into consideration the advisability of re-appointing the Public Accounts and Public WorksCommittees, which rendered valuable service to this Parliament some time ago, so that honorable members may more properly carry out the dutieswhichthey have been sent here to do?


– Consideration has been given to this matter, and the decision of the Government has been adverse to taking the action indicated by the honorable member. The matter will, however, be further considered by the Government.

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The following papers were presented : -

Beer Excise Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1936, No. 61.

Customs Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1936, No. 59.

Spirits Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1936, No. 60.

Nauru-Ordinances of 1935 -

No. 7 - Census Repeal.

No. 8 - Appropriation 1935.

No. 9 - Nauruan Royalty Trust Fund Appropriation 1935.

No. 10 - Appropriation (Supplemental) 1934.

No. 11 - Nauruan Royalty Trust Fund Appropriation (Supplemental) 1934.

Seat of Government Acceptance Act and Seat of Government (Administration) Act -Ordinance of 1936- No. 17- Wild Flowers and Native Plants Protection.

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Second Reading

Treasurer · Corio · UAP

– I move-

That the bill be now read a second time.

The object of this bill is to provide a further measure of financial assistance to the States for the purpose of relieving unemployment by means of the development of forestry and the metalliferous mining industry. Honorable members will remember that, about eighteen months ago, a bill was passed through this Parliament providing, amongst other things, grants to the States of £322,000 for the purpose of assisting forestry schemes, and £283,750 for metalliferous mining. The forestry grant was subject to a £1 for £1 contribution by the States, with the exception of South Aus tralia and Tasmania. It was also agreed by the State governments that not less than 20 per cent. of the money provided for forestry would be spent on the employment of youths. These grants have been the most successful of the Commonwealth Government’s efforts to assist the States in the solution of the problem of unemployment, in that, since the bill was introduced, 5,000 men have been found employment as the result of the expenditure of combined Commonwealth and State grants in this direction. The grants provided for forestry were to be utilized for the improvement of State forests generally, including regeneration of forests, restocking, the provision of fire breaks and access roads, and for the eradication of noxious weeds. The whole provision of £283,750 for metalliferous mining was made available to the States as a grant subject only to the condition that any portion of the grant to any one State used in the making of advances to miners or prospectors, was to be supplemented by a similar provision by the State concerned. At a later stage, I propose to furnish details of the ways in which the forestry grants have been utilized. The present measure is designed to continue this assistance. When, approximately eighteen months ago, the original grants were made, it was thought that the States would spend the moneys provided in the course of the ensuing twelve months; but expenditure has been rather slower than the Commonwealth Government anticipated, and it is now thought that the grants made eighteen months ago, generally speaking, will not be fully used until about the end of the present financial year. The financial position of the State governments as disclosed in their budgets is, happily, improving, and is a good deal better than was thecase eighteen months ago. For this reason, the Commonwealth Government does not feel called upon to maintain the grants at the same rate as formerly, and it is proposed to continue them for next year and the following year on a reduced scale. The forestry grants are being tapered off so that for 1936-37, they will be on the basis of one-half of the amounts provided in the bill brought down eighteen months ago, and for 1937-38, on the basis of one-half of the grants for the preceding year. The grants for raining are made not on a population or area basis, but by agreement with the States in accordance with their ability to spend the money most usefully. In comparing this bill with the bill brought down eighteen months ago, it will be seen that there is an alteration in the allocation of the mining grant. This comes about as the result of a conference which took place between representatives of the Commonwealth and State governments and technical officers three or four months ago, when the States submitted proposals in respect of the money they could usefully spend in the future. Though the Commonwealth was not able to meet the demands of the States in their entirety, the allocation proposed in this bill is based on the proposals put forward by the States. The total amount which the Commonwealth is able to make available is to be split up amongst the States in proportion to their requirements. In accordance with its expressed desire, no mining grant is to be made available to the South Australian Government for 1937-38. Opportunities in respect of the promotion of mining and prospecting in South Australia are more limited than in the other States, and the South Australian Government has not asked for a grant for that year.

Mr Barnard:

-Can the Treasurer state the forestry grant asked for by Tasmania ?


– No State has been asked what it wants for forestry. Certain funds are available, and distribution among States will be on the basis of half of the previous grants.

Mr Gregory:

– Was the cut made in the grant to Western Australia done with the concurrence of the State government?


– The total amount available is being split amongst the States on the” basis of the States’ requirements last year. I may say that the States have played very fair in this regard in that no extortionate demands have been made.

Sir Littleton Groom:

– Are the distributions to be made on the basis of previous expenditure ?


– In the case of forestry, yes, but, in the case of mining, the money is to be distributed on the basis of what the States think they can usefully expend in the next two years. When this bill becomes law, a total amount of just over £1,000,000 will have been appropriated and/or made available to the various States over a period of three years for the encouragement of forestry and mining, in directions supplementary to the normal activities of the States.

Mr Gregory:

– What is the situation regarding the employment of youths?


– One of the conditions of the grant will be 20 per cent. of the persons employed on forestry work carried out from funds provided by this Government shall be youths.

Mr Gregory:

– Did not the Government give way on that?


– No. We maintained it, but actually one State, which it is not necessary to name, has met with great difficulty in finding the necessary number of suitable youths. This is difficult to understand, because the youths live under quite congenial conditions and are well looked after. It is remarkable that one of our most populous States is not able to find suitable youths to employ on forestry work.

Mr Curtin:

– That is the State which has a Country party government.


– It is not necessary to name the State.

Mr Beasley:

– Perhaps the conditions of employment are not very encouraging.


– The work may be hard, but it is employment of a clean, honest and decent character.

Mr Holt:

– What are the prospects of advancement for the youths?


– They are learning a business and becoming accustomed to life in the country. Honorable members are entitled to draw their own conclusions, but I am telling them the facts. One State at least has found very great difficulty in obtaining sufficient youths to make up the quota and has applied to the Commonwealth Government to release it from its obligation. But the Commonwealth Government has not seen its way to let up in this matter, and the State is therefore obliged to find a sufficient number of youths to fill up the 20 per cent. quota. I am able to inform the House that the condition of employment of 20 per cent. of the youths is being observed in New South Wales. In Victoria, there are 482 boys or youths in camp and 562 have passed through the camps.

Mr Blackburn:

– What are the camps? I have figures in my possession covering the period up to the 8th May last.


– The camp at Noojee and several others. This is merely an epitome of a report on this matter by the Victorian Government. Of the 562 boys who have passed through the camps since the Commonwealth grant was made, at least 75 per cent. are still in employment, and I am told that the remainder would be extremely difficult to place even under the most favorable conditions.

Mr Beasley:

– What reason is advanced for the failure to absorb them?


– I presume that they are unsuitable for country work. The Forestry Commission of Victoria is in close co-operation with bodies interested in the employment of youths, whose object is to improve the economic condition of youths, and during their employment, every endeavour is made to place them in positions which promise some degree of permanency. The State government says that it will increase its efforts to get suitable youths and, particularly in the coming winter season, it is hoped to give employment to an increasing number of lads.

Mr Gregory:

– Does the State government pay these youths a reasonable wage?


– They are paid £1 a week. I have received private reports on the conditions under which they live, and they are quite favorable. Ihave not seen these camps myself, although I have been invited to visit thecamp at Noojee.

In Queensland, 92 boys are engaged in forestry work and the number has varied between just under 100 and just over 100. Queensland is observing the 20 per cent. ratio. From South Australia, we have a report that the State is able to live up fairly well to its 20 per cent. proportion. It has been found necessary to establish three camps in various parts of the State. In Western Australia, although this is not the State I mentioned earlier, considerable trouble has been met with in living up to the20 per cent. stipulation. The State government has informed us that it wishes to obtain the services of youths who may be expected to continue in country occupations of some sort, and preferably, of course, in forestry occupations. It has therefore directed its efforts to getting youths who will not take on from six to twelve months work in these camps as a temporary measure, but will benefit from the training and either continue in forestry work, or engage in some other rural pursuit. To that end, it. has directed its efforts to obtaining the sons of country men, preferably, the sons of men engaged in forestry work.

Mr Gregory:

– While that is the objective, it does not, of course, refuse employment to other youths.


– I think not. The State government concerned has made every effort to see that the youths who have served their period in the camps obtain suitable occupation.

In Tasmania, the percentage of expenditure devoted to the employment and training of youths amounts to 23.3. The number engaged during February was 43.

Mr Jennings:

– Has the Treasurer any information in this matter from the Government of New South Wales?


– I have no information other than that the State is living up to the 20 per cent. stipulation.

In regard to mining, at the conference of Commonwealth and State representatives, it was suggested that the money made available should be allowed to be spent in a variety of ways, which might be considered proper for assisting prospectors, such as plants, batteries and the like, roads and tracks, including rough tracks into promising districts for prospectors, possibly a small amount for the education of miners in the elements of the business, and advances in approved cases. But, in order that the Commonwealth Government might protect itself in this regard, it quite naturally made the stipulation that any advance from Commonwealth money should be accompanied by a similar amount from the State concerned. I do not know if there is anything else for me to say at this stage, except that the experience of the Government has been that these two grants have, been among- the most successful of its efforts to help the States in the unemployment question. If any further information is required by honorable members I shall supply it at a later stage.


.- This bill is one which I think this House would be recommended to pass. It continues the policy which was initiated two years ago, which has for its purpose the using of Commonwealth funds in association with those of the States to promote activity in two very important primary industries, mining and forestry. The idea that the central government shall help the States in matters of this description appears to me to be quite reasonable.’ But I am not quite sure that the States have been prepared to make full use of the help that has been given to them, and it is right to sound a note of warning to the States that they must develop their organization sufficiently rapidly to allow of the assistance which this Parliament provides being fully used. I find that there has not been a full utilization of the assistance by the States in the time that this Parliament assumed that it would be used. It is regrettable that the States should have taken eighteen months to spend money which this Parliament assumed would be expended in twelve months, and the fact that the Treasurer (Mr. Casey) has seen fit to reduce the contribution for this year by one-half and contemplates in the next financial year the reduction of the amount provided this year by another 50 per cent, is probably due to the realization on the part of this Government that the States are somewhat negligent in effectively promoting the objects which, apparently, this Parliament had in mind. I know in regard to mining that the improvement of employment generally cannot be attributed greatly to the use made of the assistance provided in the parent bill which this bill continues. Largely, established mines have been the employment providers. The number of men employed in the industry rose from 23,000 in 1931, to 32,000 in 1934!, in Australia as a whole. In Western Australia, the increase in recent years has been extraordinary. In 1933, 8,700 persons were engaged in mining, and in 1935, according to the latest figures in my possession, 15,547 persons were engaged.

Mr Casey:

– Directly?


– Yes. Australia at present supplies only about 3 per cent, of the world production of gold, whereas in the decade from 1851 to 1860, it provided 40 per cent. Since 1929, gold production in the British Empire has declined from 72 per cent, of the . total world production to less than 60 per cent. It is important to remember that, although in the past the gold-mining industry in Australia has had a bad record in the way of industrial diseases, measures have now been taken to prevent any repetition of the ghastly features previously associated with the industry. With proper safeguards, gold-mining can be carried on with reasonable safety, and occupational diseases incidental to it ought not now to be more distressing than those incidental to a number of other industries, and I have in mind several important secondary industries when I make that comparison. As a wealth producer, goldmining must be ranked high among the important primary industries of Australia. Canada is producing about 3)000,000 fine oz. of gold a year, which i3 just about three times the Australian production. Recently, Canada embarked upon a policy of intensive investigation of production sources in the Yukon, and the Central Government has made a substantial grant towards the expenses of the work. This is evidence of the importance which gold occupies - I will not say in any natural, or rational economy1 - but in our economy as it exists to-day. The various State governments should welcome the assistance which the Commonwealth offers under this scheme. As the schedule to the bill indicates, Western Australia has intimated that it is able to use a greater proportion of the money than any of the other States. That is natural, having regard to the fact that Western Australia is the principal gold producer among the States, and that it has the most assured prospects of continuing as a gold producer. I refer not to new promotions, but to established mines at present in production. One of the features of recent mining history in Western Australia is the success which has attended the treatment of what were previously regarded as low-grade propositions. These can now be operated profitably, due largely. of course, to the fact that the price of gold is extraordinarily high.

I welcome the action of the Commonwealth in taking steps to promote afforestation, a work for which the States are primarily responsible. There lies ahead of Australia an imperative need to realize the importance of forestry work. It is important that we should conserve and, indeed, increase, existing areas of growing timber to combat the ravages of soil erosion, particularly in low rainfall areas subject to damage from dust storms. I should like to say a word of commendation regarding the publicity efforts of the Australian Forest League, and I believe that this Parliament should assist the league in its work. It is impossible to over-estimate the importance of inculcating a sound knowledge of forestry matters among the public.

Mr Brennan:

– Particularly in the direction of discouraging the destruction of trees.


– That is important.

Mr Beasley:

– But the Postal Department is cutting trees down.

Mr.CURTIN.- That is occurring in certain places, but the dispute between the Postal Department and the local authorities on that matter is apart altogether from the general subject of afforestation. I regret the reasons which have made it difficult to induce parents to allow their boys to seek employment in forestry work in Victoria. It may be that if parents had more accurate knowledge regarding the actual conditions of camp life in the forests, they would not be so averse to allowing youths of fifteen to sixteen years of age to undertake this work. It is evident that many parents fear that their children will be herded together under conditions of camp life that they would regard as unsatisfactory. I had experience of the Victorian timber industry for five or six years when I was younger, and I experienced conditions to which youths should not be exposed. If that difficulty could be overcome - and it is a matter for supervision by the Victorian Government - there is no reason why youths, who have no prospect of employment elsewhere, should not engage in forestry work. The timberworkers of Australia are among the finest, the most virile, and most desirable of our citizens. I have mixed with them and known them for the greater part of my life, and, while they evince a characteristic robustness, they have an innate sense of decency, and no young man need fear moral deterioration through association with them.


– I wish to commend the Government upon making this assistance available to the States, and I feel sure that it will do much to promote employment. In South Australia, the mining grant has enabled the State Government to erect batteries on various fields, thus enabling the miners to work their ore at a profit, which they would not have been able to do if they had had to cart the ore long distances to previously establishedbatteries. At Moonta, a scheme hasbeen inaugurated by the Mines Department whereby miners, under a tributer system, have been able to earn wages which, while not large, are considerably better than the dole. It is a copper proposition, and, as honorable members know, the price of copper is, at present, very low, but if it should improve the miners would he able to obtain a fair return for their labour.

I was amazed to hear the Treasurer (Mr. Casey) say that South Australia had intimated that it would require no assistance from the Commonwealth for mining purposes for the year 1937-38. Of course, I do not suggest that the Treasurer misrepresented the position, but I think that the Government of South Australia must have made a mistake. I ask the Treasurer for an assurance that the Government will be prepared to consider any request the Government of South Australia may make in the future to participate in the grant. I recognize that the possibilities of mining in South Australia are limited, but I also know that assistance to prospectors may help in the finding or development of areas at present not being prospected at all. Last year, many applications were received by the Mines Department for equipment and assistance to enable men to go prospecting, and that, I understand, is the purpose for which the grant is made. I have no doubt that, in the year 1937-38, similar requests will he made.

In South Australia, we are unfortunate in that our natural timber resources are extraordinarily limited. As a matter of fact, they are practically non-existent, but, in order to make up for the deficiency of nature, successive governments in South Australia have been active in the promotion of afforestation schemes. According to the Commonwealth YearBooh for 1935, there is in South Australia a greater area of planted forests than in any other State in the Commonwealth.

Its total effective plantations cover 60,773 acres under softwoods, and 4,754 acre3 under hardwoods. The total area under forests in Victoria is 41,000 acres including softwoods and hardwoods. In New South Wales the area is 38,000 acres. Forestry work, is being carried on in South Australia by both governmental and private agencies, and I am pleased that the Commonwealth is showing a desire to assist those who are engaged in it. This grant will be very much appreciated. In view of the large area planted with timber in South Australia, I am surprised that the proposed grant is so small. In 1936-37, South Australia is to receive only £8,500 of the total under this heading of £161,000, though I accept the assurance of the Treasurer that this allocation was agreed to in conference. Apparently extensive planting is not being done in. South Australia at present.

Mr Casey:

– South Australia has already spent a considerable amount of money in forestry work and is not at present developing its forests extensively.


– I take it that this money is to be used only for new schemes ?

Mr Casey:

– That is so.

Mr.- McBRIDE. - It is interesting to note that the number of employees engaged in forestry work in South Australia under government supervision is 456. The number so engaged in Queensland is 530. Those figures relate to 1933-34. I shall endeavour to obtain some information for the Treasurer regarding the .South Australian mining proposals for 1937-38, and I trust that the Commonwealth Government will be able to see its way clear to continue this form of assistance during that financial year.


.- I hold in my hand a letter from the chairman of the Forestry Commission of Victoria, dated the 8th May, which contains some information that should be interesting to honorable members, in connexion with the relief work being done by that instrumentality in Victoria. Thirty-six relief camps are operating in Victoria and at the time the letter was written they were providing employment for 2,666 men, of whom 992 were single, the proportion of single to married men thus being 37 per cent. Seven plantations were providing regular employment for 707 men, all of whom were married. At only three of the relief camps did the number of single men employed exceed the number of married men. Those camps were situated at Otway Forest and Bendigo. In two or three other camps the number of married and single men was equal. I do not think the relief camps provide suitable employment for boys, for the work is available for only a limited period and does not afford the young men any valuable permanent training. The Unemployment Relief Act provides that 30 per cent, of the men employed by the Forestry Commission in a particular camp shall be local residents. That is not a hard and fast rule, but it is a guiding principle. I can understand the reluctance of parents to send their boys away from home to a mixed camp of men of all ages, where the employment given offers no prospect for the future. Employment in plantations is, however, of some value, in that it affords regular training in work of a permanent character. The Forestry Commission of Victoria is directed by efficient officers who are very sympathetic with the unemployed persons to whom they give work. I have had a good deal to do with the provision of work for the unemployed, and ‘that also confirms my opinion that relief camps are not, in the proper sense, schools of training. They actually give dead-end employment of an intermittent character. The boys who go to these camps learn nothing of much consequence to them, but the work in the plantation is attractive in’ that it has a permanent value.

I should also like to refer briefly to some excellent forestry work being done under interesting circumstances at French Island, in Westernport, where there is a prison settlement. Part of the land on the island is held by a Crown lessee, and part is used for prison purposes. Many of the prisoners are young men who are put to work to develop forests, among other things, and this outdoor activity has an excellent effect upon them. I have visited the prison settlement and, like others who have done so, have left it with a great appreciation of the value of the work being done there by the Penal Department and also with an enlarged appreciation of the capacity of outdoor work to rehabilitate young men who have fallen into crime in the cities and have been sent to French Island to serve their sentence. The openair conditions at French Island are much appreciated. The prisoners are on good terms with their warders and work hard. In fact, they have, on many occasions, been unwilling to cease work at six o’clock, but have desired to finish the job in hand at the time. Occasionally, the prisoners go out rabbiting with warders or by themselves, and on Sunday afternoons football and cricket teams visit the island and play matches with teams selected from the prison population. The boys, and even some of the older men, come to regard French Island as a kind of home from home, and, if they get into trouble a second time, are anxious to serve their sentence at the island, where the spirit is quite different from that of an ordinary prison. When visitors leave the island, practically the whole prison population assembles to see them off. A visit to French Island is an experience that one wishes to repeat, and I advise tourists, particularly those interested in prison reform, to make the opportunity to inspect the settlement there.

Darling Downs

– I join other honorable members in commending the Government for providing this vote for unemployment relief. The two avenues of employment that will be assisted under the provisions of this bill are probably the most reproductive and successful that could have been selected. Money spent on forestry work and mining development, always tends to improve the general condition in the country. The allocation made to Queensland for mining purposes seems to me to be generous, but that for forestry work is rather small, having regard to the much more substantial sum of £30,000 made available for this purpose under the act of 1935. This bill provides only £15,000 for Queensland under the heading of forestry, and we are informed that the amount for next year will be £7,500, the reason for the reduction being that it is expected that unemployment will declinein the meantime. Compared with the amountmade available to the other States, thatfor Queensland is small.New South Wales is to receive £25,000, Victoria £50,000, and Western Australia £50,000. I do not grudge these other States their allocation, but, in view of the immense importance of the timber industry to Queensland, could not more havebeen done for that State? Although forestry work was neglected in Australia for a number of years, a good deal more attention has been given to it lately. The report of the SubDepartment of Forestry of Queensland, for 1934-35, which is the latest available, states clearly the “ basis and goal “ of the administration, and I direct the attention of honorable members to the paragraph which reads as follows: -

Timber is a valuable primary product, and, in the economy of the State, the timberindustry occupies animportant position. In the past the industry has been itinerant in character - it has not taken its proper place in promoting permanent rural settlement. Country sawmills, with the minimum of house accommodation, have quickly exploited forests and moved on to new areas. Yet, only adequate financial provision is necessary to enable the forest capital to be rebuilt to the level wherea future permanent industry is possible on a sustained yield basis, capable of building and maintaining for ever prosperous rural communities with established homes and the water and electricity supplies necessary alike, both for permanent sawmills and a comfortable standard of living. Such an industry is the basis and goal of Queensland forest administration.

Queensland is fortunate in its forestry officers, for they are capable men, and deeply interested in the advancement of the timber industry. Forestry work is now being done in my own electorate, for pine forests planted at Yarraman are doing remarkably well. Quite recently a young graduate educated at the Australian School of Forestry, Canberra, was in charge of the forest there. One result has been that the people in the country visiting the plantation have come to realize much more clearly than formerly, the great value of forestry work to the State. Queensland is fortunate, also, in that it has a large range of marketable timbers. The work done by the SubDepartment of Forestry in providing employment is referred to on page 25 of the report that I have already cited. The relevant paragraph reads as follows: -

Towards the close of the year the joint Commonwealth-State Government Forestry Employment Scheme was put into effect. An allotment of £30,000 by the Common wealth Government was subsidized £1 for £1 by the State government, a condition being that 20 per cent. of the joint contribution be expended on juvenile employment. Under this scheme, 102 youths were placed at work at eighteen centres, commonly in camps of six youths and an overseen. The work of these youths throughout has been satisfactory, and is resulting in large improvement to the forest estate.

I was particularly pleased to read the concluding sentence of that paragraph.

The Treasurer (Mr. Casey) is to be congratulated upon the promised realization of the object which he had in view in fostering this scheme. I am sure that the Queensland Government earnestly desires to assist forestry. I should like to see even more done in regard to reafforestation and the clearing of additional areas for afforestation. I noticed in reading the report that a number of areas was opened during last year, so that the future supply of timbers in Australia might be assured. Forestry is not an industry which particularly affects only one State. The principal feature of the industry is its importance to the whole of the Commonwealth. In Queensland, timbers are grown which are invaluable to the rest of Australia. This industry ought to be regarded entirely as a national asset. I compliment the Treasurer upon the action he has taken. I feel sure that it will be appreciated, and that many persons will be grateful for the assistance he has given towards the provision of employment for the youth of Australia.


.- I wish to associate myself with the remarks of previous speakers. I commend the Government for the provision of assistance for the development of the forestry industry. There is no doubt that the policy which has been followed is of considerable value in the employment and training of youths in this activity, and in the promotion of a forest sense throughout Australia. I regret, however, that Tasmania is not to receive a larger sum. I agree with the honorable member for Darling Downs (Sir Littleton Groom) that this industry is not peculiar to any State, but needs to be developed on an Australia-wide basis, with the object of ensuring that the local production of timber will be sufficient to meet our requirements. I go further and say that it could be made of considerable value not only internally, but also, with reasonable facilities and encouragement, for export purposes.

According to figures which have been given by the Treasurer (Mr. Casey), the percentage of youths employed in this industry in Tasmania is higher than in any other State, having reached 23 per cent. I understand that no difficulty is being experienced in inducing lads to enter forestry camps. They find the occupation very congenial, and are anxious to continue in it. Their pay is graduated according to age.

I should like the Treasurer to say whether this bill makes provision for all the assistance that is to be granted to Tasmania for the development of this industry within the next three years, and whether any cognizance is being taken of the recommendation of the Commonwealth Grants Commission that a longterm loan should be made for that purpose. That Tasmania has wonderful potentialities in regard to forestry is generally admitted. A very good slogan which I read recently lays it down that we should plant trees for posterity and for prosperity. The Inspector-General of Forests, Mr. C. E. Lane-Poole, in a report which he made some years ago, said that Tasmania was known to possess the best forest climate in the Commonwealth, and was credited with the possession of very large areas of high grade forest lands. The Commonwealth Grants Commission, having made exhaustive inquiries into the disabilities of Tasmania, submitted to the Government certain recommendations. Dealing particularly with forestry, the commission showed clearly and concisely what should be done to enable Tasmania to rehabilitate itself and make good its wasted assets. At its instigation, a comprehensive survey of the forestry asset of the State was made, and has been submitted to the Government.

The Conservator of Forests in Tasmania, Mr. S. W. Steane, in a work entitled A Brief Note on the Principles of State Forest Policy, published last year, made the following observations -

In the past there was very little attempt to restrict or control the selection of areas for felling. Sawmillers and others were allowed to select areas, and were granted leases, permits, or licences to cut timber on those areas. The result is that, now, most of the accessible forests of commercial quality are either held under forest permits or have already been cut over. Were all the mills now cutting on Crown land to work at their full capacity from now on, most of them would certainly have to close down within fifteen years for want of accessible timber. From the passing of the Forestry Act in 1920, a longer view should have been taken, and an effort made to conserve supplies to meet future requirements and to ensure continuity to the sawmilling industry. As matters stand now, the problem is one of considerable difficulty. The steps to be taken for its solution have been discussed in section III. of this chapter.

The position which is rapidly developing in Tasmania can be realized from a consideration of that paragraph. The State is not in a position to develop forestry along lines that are desired. But a keen forest sense is being developed, and the State looks to the Federal Government to give effect to the recommendation of the Commonwealth Grants Commission.

A small paragraph which appeared in the press recently refers to action that is being taken in other countries in relation to forestry. It reads as follows: -

Valuable information about forest practice in other countries, has been brought back after a tour abroad by Mr. L. R. Camm, surveyor for the Forests Commission. He suggests that the best foresters in Australia should be sent’ to Sweden or Germany to study methods df forest conservation. Mr. Camm said that Sweden led the world in intense forestry culture and research work, and unlike Australia, was not in the position of having to live down the ruthless destruction of forests by pioneers. . . . “ They are forest conscious in Sweden,” he added, “ the people do everything to preserve them. Hardly any planting is done, 97 per cent, of the new growth being from natural regeneration. Forest fires are rare.” “ Germany is working on the same lines as Sweden.’

Forest practice, Mr. Camm said, was advanced in the United States of America.

Forestry officers who met in conference in Canberra in 1934 made certain recommendations, but I do not know whether they have yet come before the responsible Minister. Our forestry officers, not only are highly efficient, technical men, but also have a very keen conception of what is needed for the development of our forest resources. The conference suggested that the Forestry Bureau should be strengthened to enable it to co-operate effectively in the promotion of a policy for the co-ordination of the work of general publication and review, to give effect to which a full time member should be appointed. It urged that immediate steps should be taken to select a suitable forester. There is satisfaction in the knowledge that our forestry officers keenly desire to keep abreast of what other countries are doing in the development of their forestry resources, and realize the advantages of not only afforestation, but also the preservation of natural forest growth, which, at present, is being used unwisely in many instances.

I am glad that the Government proposes to give some assistance in regard to mining operations, and that the money is to be allocated to the provision of batteries and the opening up of promising propositions. The allocation of the money along those lines is a step in the right direction. The Government of Tasmania is doing everything possible to assist the mining industry, particularly in areas where there is no continuous water supply. Power lines from its huge hydroelectric plant are being extended along the north-east coast, and cheap power is being made available in the mining areas in that part of Tasmania, to ensure continuity of operation of the mines in places where the water supply from natural sources is limited or uncertain. The completion of this project will assist very greatly in the development of the mining industry in Tasmania, and in the general development of the State. Can the Treasurer indicate what the Government proposes to do in connexion with the recommendations of the Commonwealth Grants Commission in regard to the development of forestry in Tasmania ?


.- Being a consistent advocate of assistance to the gold-mining industry in Australia as a means of relieving unemployment, I am naturally delighted that the Government has seen fit to bring down a bill to extend the assistance granted in an earlier measure for a further period of two years. I do not propose to weary the House with a discussion of the pros and cons of this form of assistance; that was very thoroughly discussed last year, when the original bill providing for assistance to the States on similar lines was first brought down. As a representative of an electorate in which gold-mining is an important industry, I can assure the Treasurer (Mr. Casey) that the benefits of this form of assistance have been considerable. I have been very interested to observe the number of unemployed men who have called at my office in Ballarat seeking information as to how they may qualify for assistance. Numbers of them have asked for help in filling in the necessary forms. On more than one occasion, these men have found gold. The proposed grants will enable the States to allocate some of their own moneys for purposes other than for the assistance of prospectors, and they will be able to undertake many projects which they would not have been able to put in hand off their own bat if they had to continue to subsidize sustenance men. With the grants already made available, the States have been able to erect State batteries. Several of them have been set up in my constituency, and have been of immense help, not only to prospectors, but also to some of the small land-holders who, in their spare time, work little shows which in the aggregate produce a considerable quantity of gold. I suggest to the Treasurer that he should impress upon the State governments the necessity for continuing the schemes which they have already put into operation for the education of prospectors and those engaged in more responsible positions in the mining industry, such as mining engineers. On? or two of the larger alluvial mines in the Ballarat district have found it impossible to secure the services of miners and mine managers who understand alluvial mining. I do not wish to be regarded as speaking from a parochial point of view when I say that in Ballarat there is an excellent school of mines. Mining engineers trained at that school are employed, not only in mines all over Australia, but also in mining countries overseas. I think it .is generally accepted that the Ballarat School of Mines is a thoroughly efficient institution, well worthy of continued support, by the State Government, and I urge upon the Treasurer the desirability of requesting the States to extend this system of education in mining practice.

The Treasurer raised the point that some of the States had not spent the money provided under the ‘ measure brought down last year as rapidly as was expected, but I ask him not to think that they are not grateful for the grants then made. State governments have experienced considerable difficulty in getting men of the right type to come under the scheme. The Minister of Mines in the Victorian Government wrote to me some months ago saying that he was extremely worried when he heard a rumour that the grant for mining was to be discontinued. He gave me figures showing that it has been of considerable benefit to the mining industry. I regret that this Government and the State governments have not been able to formulate a more definite mining policy, although I do not think any blame can be attached to any one government in this respect. However, it is not yet too late to formulate a definite scheme for the rehabilitation of the gold-mining industry. A large amount of money has been expended by investors in gold-mining companies during the last two or three years, and, unfortunately, a good deal of it has been put into absolutely worthless shows. With gold at its present price, a great opportunity is afforded for Australia to evolve some definite policy in connexion with gold-mining, whereby a great deal of the money which is undoubtedly available on private account for investment, may be steered into more useful channels than has been the case in recent years.

Turning to the provision of grants for forestry, once again it is unnecessary to enlarge on the necessity for the formulation of a forestry policy in Australia. The delightful speech of the right honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Scullin) last year is, I am sure, still fresh in the minds of all of us. Once again on- this question I should like to speak from the point of view of my own electorate. The Ballarat “Water Commission, like the Ballarat School of Mines, is recognized throughout Australia as being an extraordinarily efficient body. The commission grows trees that very few other forestry authorities in Australia have as yet attempted to grow, including some of the more valuable softwoods grown in Europe and the United States of America. The commission has very successfully grown the species sequoia, a Californian redwood, on its water conservation areas. The commissioners are. desirous of extending their planting policy, and have on several occasions applied to the Victorian Government for a grant of funds for this purpose; but, invariably, the reply has been received that the State Government wished to extend its own State forests, because eventually it expected to get some revenue from its forest investments, and, therefore, was unwilling to provide money for the extension of planting by another authority. The Water Commission provides a considerable amount of employment in the Ballarat district for foresters looking after trees of immense value, not only to the commission, but also to the timber industry of Australia generally. I ask the Treasurer if there is any possibility of suggesting to the Victorian Government that some of the money to be provided under this bill, which, after all, is not Victorian money, but practically a gift from the ‘ Commonwealth, should be made available to the Ballarat Water Commission for the advancement of its afforestation policy.

I congratulate the Government on this further evidence of definite planning for the relief of unemployment over a period of years. We had evidence of this planning in the bill which was considered last night, and we have it again in the present bill.

Sitting suspended from 12.45 to 2.15 p.m.


.- In common with other honorable members, I commend the Government for the introduction of this bill. This bill, and similar measures which have been passed previously, form part of the Commonwealth Government’s employment policy. The grants which it authorizes represent, not a haphazard doling out of money from buoyant revenues, but a disbursement of funds to the States after the exercise of considerable forethought, for expenditure in the most, reproductive and effective manner for the creation of employment. The capacity of the. Commonwealth Government to create employment is restricted to two main methods. First, it can create an atmosphere in which private industry can flourish, and thus of itself create employment, and, secondly, it can grant financial assistance to the States for works which, most effectively, will help to improve the employment situation. Constitutional limitations have the effect of prohibiting the Commonwealth Government from taking action otherwise than along the lines that I have indicated, but the decline of unemployment figures to pre-depression levels, provides incontestable proof of the success of its policy.

Portion of the money set aside for forestry work under this bill is to be earmarked to give employment to youths, and it is on that aspect, especially, that I wish to speak. The unemployment of so many young men and women created one of the most serious social problems of the depression years. Among all sections of the community, many young men and women, because of the general decline of employment available at that time in all branches of industry, were denied the start in life which the more fortunate members of earlier generations were able to obtain. The task of dealing with those aged from 18 to 24, who have grown up in the depression years, has proved most difficult in all parts of the world. In those countries where youth is highly organized, and more articulate from a political standpoint than in this country, much has been clone for them. In Germany, for example, about £30,000,000 has been spent on giving relief to young people, and even in Great Britain, as an example of an English-speaking country, approximately £5,000,000 per annum is being devoted to various schemes connected with juvenile employment.

Although the Commonwealth Government has done its part, specifically directing that certain sums granted to the States should be used for the purpose of creating juvenile employment, the State Government of New South Wales is the only State government which has made a serious attempt to grapple with the problem. Some time ago the Commonwealth Government made a grant to the various States, with the suggestion that some part of the money granted should be set aside for the employment of youths ; but, generally speaking, the States disregarded the suggestion. I shall take, by way of illustration, the State of Western Australia, to point out to the Treasurer (Mr. Casey) what has happened in certain States in respect of these grants, and to suggest to him that, if possible, some closer supervision should be exercised by the Commonwealth Government to ensure that sums granted in the future on the distinct understanding that the whole or part is to be spent for the alleviation of unemployment among youths, are spent in that manner. The West Australian, in a leading article on the 4th February, entitled “ Government and Youth “, said -

Amongst the accusations that have been made is one that the Labour Government in 1934-35 used for deficit reduction its share, £133,000, of a special distribution in that year of surplus Commonwealth revenue, despite the fact that the Commonwealth expressed a hope that a considerable part of it would be used for youth unemployment. . . . The Treasurer (Mr. Collier), in a special interview in Melbourne on July 25 of that year, declared that “of the £129,000 which would be Western Australia’s share of the grant (this was afterwards amended to £133,000), it has been decided to use £100,000 to reduce to £650,000 the State’s deficit limit for 1934-35. This would leave £29,000 with which to assist unemployed youths in accordance with the request of the Prime Minister “. The Treasurer’s choice of words is important. According to him, the £100,000 was to be used, not to reduce the deficit, ‘but the deficit limit. In point of fact, none of the money was required for that purpose. The 1934-35 financial year ended with a deficit of £167,095, or £482,905 within the limit that had been arranged. The public has never been informed of any reason why the whole of that £133,000 could not have been devoted to the youth unemployment problem, which the Federal Ministry put forward for special consideration. . . .

The attitude of that Government to the youth employment problem was made a special issue in the recent elections. A full-page advertisement, inserted by Nationalist candidates, which, appeared in the Perth Daily

News on the day prior to the election, clearly showed that the employment of youths was made the major issue at that election by both sides.

Mr Curtin:

– I do not think that the honorable gentleman is warranted in quoting criticism contained in an editorial published in a hostile newspaper during an election campaign without having, at the same time, made himself acquainted with the detailed statement issued by the Premier in answer to it.


– I shall leave it to the Opposition to supply that detailed answer, if there is one. The newspaper I have quoted from is an authoritative publication, and the leading article sets out the circumstances in detail. In that State, I repeat, the employment of youths was made the major issue of the campaign, and, as a result, the Nationalist party received considerable support from the people, and reduced very considerably the majority of the Labour Government of that State. These facts provide further evidence that the remarks contained in the leading article can be substantiated.

Mr Curtin:

– The honorable member knows more about Victoria than he does about Western Australia. He should tell us what they have done in Victoria for youths.


– I am coming to that, and for the purpose of showing not so much what the Government of Victoria has done, but what it has failed to do. Last week, although it was announced in the press that unemployment had reached the pre-depression level in Victoria, the honorary secretary of the Boys’ Employment Movement in Victoria, Mr. G. R. Giles, a very capable gentleman who has made a specialized study of the problem of youth employment, announced that registrations of youths for employment with the movement for April, totalled 1,600, the highest figure for any April in its history. Some explanation for that, of course, may lie in the fact that the activities of that organization are becoming more widely known, and parents and unemployed youths are making greater use of it. Nevertheless, Mr. Giles’ statement is evidence that the problem of unemployment amongst youths is still serious in Victoria. I have mentioned previously in this House that the present Country party Government in Victoria is kept in office with Labour support. The Country party Government has done absolutely nothing with respect to the absorption in industry of unemployed youths. It announced recently that it proposed to introduce an apprenticeship bill to overcome difficulties in connexion with apprenticeships for young men and women. But it has made no contribution on the same lines as the contribution of £22,500 by the Government of New South Wales towards providing employment for young men and women. When the Argyle Ministry in Victoria took office after the last election in that State, which it fought with the support of the Country party, it was announced in the Governor’s Speech that a bill would be introduced for the industrial repatriation of youths on the same lines as the legislation for the repatriation of soldiers after the war. Notwithstanding the fact that the Argyle Ministry was returned with the support of the Country party, and was subsequently turned out of office as the result of the withdrawal of that support, the Dunstan Ministry has done nothing to give effect to this plan. As I mentioned earlier, the only State Government which is making a serious effort to grapple with this problem is the Government of New South Wales.

Mr Blain:

– What is that Government doing?


– The Government of New South Wales called a meeting of State Ministers of Labour to discuss employment problems and the problem of youth employment in particular. It has taken specific action to deal with it, and, as mentioned earlier, has contributed £22,500 for its alleviation.

I suggest to the Treasurer that he make some inquiries into the statement that sums voted by this Parliament for the assistance of unemployed youths have not always been used for that purpose. I also suggest that this Government might well consider whether it is not advisable not only to render assistance for the creation of employment in the country by way of forestry work, but also to render some assistance in the cities to provide facilities for technical educa tion. Strong requests have recently been made by the States for this. The Commonwealth Government should also take active steps to have the school-leaving agc raised. It could perhaps best do this by placing the matter on the agenda for the forthcoming Premiers’ Conference. In Great Britain, recently, the school-leaving age was raised to fifteen years, and competent authorities in this country say that that lead should be followed here. At the present time, the apprenticeship regulations for nearly all industries will not allow the apprenticing of boys and girls until they reach the age of fourteen and a half years, and if they leave school at the age of fourteen, they have time on their hands until they are old enough to be apprenticed. The problem generally, however, is not merely a depression problem. The problem of youth employment can be divided into two categories. The first category would contain those youths of from eighteen to 24 years who have grown to maturity in the depression years, and hence, in many instances, have never had a real chance of becoming engaged in regular employment with reasonable prospects of advancement. They require special attention. It is to that class of person that the industrial repatriation scheme proposed in Victoria was directed. But as a result of action which has recently been taken to graduate the wages payable to youths as they grow older, many youths aged from eighteen upwards who work in factories and who become entitled to higher wages, are dismissed from employ- ment. Formerly, boys aged from nineteen to twenty received about the same wage as boys of sixteen, and did not receive the basic wage until they qualified for it by reaching the age of 21. Now, a youth at the age of eighteen or nineteen years, who is doing much the same work as he did when he was sixteen, is dismissed from his . employment because, if he had to be paid higher wages, the cost of the article he produced would be so increased as to render its production unprofitable. His employer has no option but to put him off, and take on a younger lad at a lower wage. This 13 not a depression problem; the more factory employment is increased, the more this sort of thing will occur. One way out of the difficulty would be to improve facilities for technical education, so that youths who are dismissed in these, circumstances, may, while unemployed, acquire some training in skilled trades and thus be better equipped when they go on the labour market. With these observations, I commend the Government generally for the action taken to promote employment, and particularly for its endeavour to get away from haphazard and hand-to-mouth methods of relief in favour of a long-range plan extending over a period of years, particularly in regard to the public works policies of the States.


.- I congratulate the Government upon the introduction of this bill, but, in my opinion, the amount provided is quite inadequate. I agree with other honorable members that governments have not, in the past, paid to forestry the attention it deserves. The first settlers who went into the forests had only one idea, and that was to destroy the timber. Usually, the heaviest forests grew on the richest land, so that the best timber was destroyed first. The settlers grubbed out some of the timber, and recurring bush fires destroyed the rest. Conditions in Tasmania are eminently suitable to the growth and development of trees, which grow faster, and come to maturity earlier, in that State than almost anywhere else in the world. In the Huon Valley, forests which were milled 30 years ago are now ready for cutting again, although no new planting has been done. It is only necessary to prevent bush fires, and the forests re-establish themselves. Recently, a company was formed with a capital of about £3,000,000 to manufacture paper in Tasmania. Previously, we had been led to believe that hardwood was not suitable for the manufacture of paper, but this company has proved by experiment that it can make from hardwood better paper than can be made from soft woods. The first unit of the manufacturing plant is shortly to be installed with a capacity for the manufacture of 15,000 tons of paper a year. The Government would be well advised to make more money available for the planting of new forests, and the preservation of existing ones. The moun tainous areas of the Commonwealth, possessing a good rainfall, are suitable for afforestation purposes. Where the forests are already in existence, it is only necessary to construct fire-breaks, and to supervise the cutting of the timber to ensure that the forests are not wantonly injured. In past years, anyone was allowed to pick the eyes out of the forests, just as we picked the eyes out of our mineral areas. I. remember about 35 years ago, I was engaged in Tasmania on a big timber contract, cutting piles for a breakwater job in England. We used to fell trees in order to get blocks 120 ft. long, which gives some idea of the size of the trees. Those who are familiar with forestry work know that, unless care is exercised, a great deal of timber is wasted and destroyed when big trees are being taken out. All those trees which are bruised or chipped are liable to be destroyed subsequently by pests. It is necessary to clean the forest as one goes. The forestry authorities in Tasmania are now taking pains to ensure that all suitable trees are taken as the cutting proceeds. Many youths are employed planting pines in Tasmania in suitable areas. Where the rainfall is good, as in Tasmania, pine trees grow rapidly, and there is no reason why we should not be able to grow pine forests as good as those in any other part of the world. Some honorable members have referred to the forestry work being done in Germany and other European countries. I visited Germany last year, and was immensely impressed by the forestry work in progress there. The whole country side was scientifically laid out in alternating blocks of forest and agricultural land. The same thing was being done in Poland, and we, in Australia, would be well-advised to follow the example of those countries. A proper proportion of forest is necessary to preserve the soil. Where there are vast areas of open country, particularly if the land is cultivated, there is danger of the top soil being blown or washed away by winds and rains. Moreover, when forests are destroyed, the rainfall declines. I maintain that if our forests were properly cared for we should be able to supply all our needs in timber and paper. At the present time we are importing millions of pounds worth of paper each year, while we have in our own country natural forests upon which we could draw, and thousands of unemployed men who could work in industry. Sir Herbert Gepp, who reported some time ago on the possibilities of the paper industry in Tasmania, said that, in order to fulfil the requirements of Australia for paper, it would be necessary to employ between 5,000 and 6,000 men. The undertaking could be planned in such a way that it would take 25 years to cut through a block of timber. By the time the block was completed, the first areas cut over would have renewed themselves, and thus the forest could be preserved for all time. The Government seems to think that forestry work offers only a minor opportunity for employment, but it would be in the best interests of Australia if some of the money at present devoted to unemployment relief in other directions were used in afforestation work. At Bruni Island a private company is engaged in the planting of pines. The land, after planting, is sold to the public, the company undertaking to look after the pines for 30 years, at the expiration of which time the owners may realize on their investment. I feel sure that the enterprise will be a great success, because all the conditions are favorable to the growing of timber.

A small amount of money has been allocated to Tasmania for expenditure in connexion with mining. Tasmania is rich in minerals, and though some honorable members have been known to refer to it as the “speck”, we have, in Tasmania, the second largest copper mine in the world. I refer to the Mr Lyell mine, which has been producing copper for over 40 years. All through the depression, when prices were very low, the company kept on producing at full capacity, and now, with improved scientific equipment, it is working back over low-grade deposits, which formerly it did not pay to work. This company employs some of the best engineers in the world. It has also trained young men, who have shown beyond question that the training they received was equal to any that could be obtained anywhere. A great part of the south-west of Tasmania, which is mountainous and heavily timbered, has never been properly explored :for minerals. The Commonwealth Go vernment would do well to assist the State authorities to put roads into this country so that prospectors could explore it, for I have no doubt that mineral deposits of immense value to the whole Commonwealth would be discovered there. In 1925, an osmiridium field was discovered in country adjoining that to which I have just referred. At that time osmiridium was worth £32 10s. an ounce. The price has now dropped to £9 or £10 an ounce, but hundreds of thousands of pounds’ worth of osmiridium have nevertheless been won from Adamsfield. This mineral, which is used for hardening steel and for many other purposes, is difficult to procure, and hitherto has been discovered in only small quantities. About 1,000 ounces a year are marketed from Tasmania. In view of the great value of osmiridium, I suggest that the Government should purchase the whole output. While I was abroad, I was able to discover only two buyers of osmiridium. They told me that if another European war occurred, osmiridium would again bring very high prices. I have been told that osmiridium is useful for the manufacture of gases, but whether this is so or not, it is of great value for hardening steel. During the Great War, £100 an ounce was paid for osmiridium in New York. In view of the value of this mineral for military purposes, I reiterate my suggestion that the Government should purchase the whole output of the Tasmanian field. The miners there are at present undergoing severe hardships. I took some Tasmanian osmiridium to Russia last year and had it examined by Russian engineers, who admitted that it was far superior to Russian osmiridium. These gentlemen promised me a report on the Tasmanian sample, but so far this has not come to hand. All the circumstances suggest that it would be wise for the Government to assume control of the output of this field.

I regret that more money is not being made available for forestry work. If £4,000,000 were being provided for the purposes of this bill, it would not be too much. We cannot continue to allow our forests to be hewn down or burnt out indiscriminately, nor can we regard with any equanimity the gradual disappearance from among us of the old-time prospectors, who were chiefly responsible for the discovery of the great mineral resources of Australia which have hitherto been exploited. In the last 25 years very few new prospectors have gone out into our unexplored area3, for the attractions of city life have proved too enticing. The recent mineral discoveries in the Northern Territory have been made by the old prospectors, and it will be a sorry day for the Commonwealth if men of this character die out. I shall support the bill, but I regret that more money has not been provided for the purposes outlined in it.


– Although the honorable member for Franklin (Mr. Frost) has expressed disappointment at the limited amount which the Government is providing for the purposes of this bill, I must express appreciation of what has been done. Every honorable member must be imbued with the importance of mining and forestry work to the Commonwealth. The mining industry has always been a most effective means of developing a new country. The basic wealth of any1 country is in its soil, and we must look chiefly to our mineral, agricultural and pastoral industries to develop the Commonwealth. A great deal has already been done through these great industries to develop this great continent.

Mr Frost:

– Perhaps the honorable member for Parkes thinks that too much is being voted for these purposes in this bill.


– I do not. I had no intention to ‘criticize the honorable member adversely, for I realize that he has expressed some appreciation of the Government’s action in introducing this measure. I hope that this programme will be carried on not for two years only, but for a very long period. Money spent on developing our mineral and forest resources will bring a substantial return to the nation as time goes on. The Bruce-Page Government provided £300,000 at one period for the payment of subsidies to mining companies and prospectors for precious metals of all descriptions, as it was realized that practically all metals could be exported profitably under nor mal conditions. I shall always favour the encouragement of industries that will increase our exports.

Mr Holloway:

– The honorable member no doubt realizes that many Australian silver, lead, tin and copper mines have had to close down for long periods because of the low prices obtainable for their output?


– That is so. It is fortunate for us that the price of gold has increased so greatly. To-day it is almost double what it was before the war. One section of the act passed by the BrucePage Government, to which I have already referred, provided that the money voted by the Commonwealth Government for the assistance of mining within a State should be additional to the amount voted for that purpose by the State itself in any given financial year. Is a similar provision contained in this bill?

Mr Casey:

– The amount being provided under this bill is to be additional to the normal expenditure of a State.


– I am glad that that is so. The State governments, of course, have control of their own territories, and must work out their own salvation; but I am glad that the Commonwealth Government has realized the wisdom of developing the rich mineral resources of the Northern Territory. The Northern Territory is as heavily mineralized as any other country of the world of its size, but its development must take time. A few months ago I was informed by the Minister for the Interior that 600 men were employed in mining operations in the Northern Territory. Men who are prepared to isolate themselves to develop mining shows deserve every encouragement.

The Government is also to be commended for recognizing the vital need to encourage forestry work throughout the Commonwealth. A year ago I had the honour to travel through every State of Australia with His Royal Highness, the Duke of Gloucester, who, while amazed again and again at the beauty of the Australian forests, was also appalled and grieved to see the graveyards of forest giants in every State of Australia. No one can estimate the devastation and ruin which the destruction of these lovely trees has caused. This fact was impressed upon us nowhere so greatly as in Western Australia. We saw in that State some of the finest hardwood forests in die world. The jarrah and karri forests there contain trees from 900 to 1,000 years old. But, in the past, many similar trees have been ruthlessly chopped down for railway sleepers and even firewood. In 1923, I saw a great pile of timber on fire in one district. Honorable members will probably find it hard to believe that, when I was in the district again in 1933^ an immense pile of timber was still burning in the same place. All the wood that is burnt has some value. The north coast of New South Wales furnishes examples of the ruthlessness of people who devastate forest areas, particularly the cedar forests. On any dairy farm one can find beautiful cedar in the walls of houses and sheds, and even in post-and-rail fences. An endeavour should be made to induce the States, and through them, the public, to realize their responsibility in connexion with valuable timbers, and to recognize the need for re-afforestation. I would compel every man who cut down a tree to plant another in its place.

The Government of New South Wales is making provision for the training of cadets on forest areas. I regret chat the Commonwealth seems likely to be forced to close the Forestry School at Canberra. New South Wales has brought to the notice of the Commonwealth the need for financial assistance in the training of officers and the establishment of technical classes for their education. I should not mind if the Forestry School at Canberra were closed, if every State had a school of its own, and a more intensive educational policy, but some of the States are doing nothing in this direction. The honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Holt) has said that the Government of Victoria has made no provision whatever in regard to re-afforestation. Yet the schedule to this bill shows that Victoria is to receive twice as much as New South “Wales, which has established a forestry scheme, and is taking active steps to promote re-afforestation. It must be recog nized that the population of New South Wales is one-third that of the Commonwealth; consequently, it must have onethird of the nation’s problems. The provision of employment for youths is a tremendous task. It is bad enough for adults to be thrown on the industrial scrap-heap; but it is much worse for a youth to fail to obtain employment or undergo training that will fit him for a useful occupation. The moral effect of unemployment on the untrained youth is tremendous. Out of idleness, spring all kinds of thoughts. Crime among the young is probably caused largely by unemployment.

I am glad that the Government is continuing the policy adopted last year, and hope that still further assistance may be possible next year.

I have always been a warm admirer of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. That body is doing splendid work. Successive Commonwealth governments are to be commended for what has been achieved in the realms of science, considering the small population of Australia. No industry can exist which is not conducted upon scientific lines. For that reason, I wholeheartedly support the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. I should like the forestry branch to embark upon a more intensive campaign for the assistance of the States and the Commonwealth in the propagation of trees, grasses, and other plant life, without which we cannot progress as we should.

I do not quite understand the basis upon which the grant for metalliferous mining is to be allocated.

Mr Casey:

– The apportionment of the amount available is on the basis of what the States think they can usefully expend in the next two years.


– Is that the basis in connexion with the grant for forestry operations?

Mr Casey:

– No. That is exactly half of what was granted previously on the basis of relative requests.


– Victoria is to receive £50,000 in connexion with forestry and £25,000 in connexion with metalliferous mining. The grant to New South Wales is exactly one-half of that.

Mr Casey:

– This is in addition to what the States themselves are doing. The honorable gentleman must realize that in connexion with forestry the State concerned has to provide £1 for £1.


– But the very genesis of this measure is, assistance for the relief of unemployment. The honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Holt) has said that nothing is being done m Victoria.

Mr Casey:

– I believe that he spoke metaphorically.


– While I was a Minister in the last government I discovered that some excellent schemes had been inaugurated in the schools of Victoria. I commend the Education Department of that State. If the people of the Commonwealth are to be brought to a full recognition of their responsibility for the care , of our forests, a start must be made with the school children. I should like a sum to be set aside for the education of not only the older unemployed youth, but also the boys and girls in our colleges and schools, so that they might be brought to a full realization of the value of Australian timbers. On my first inspection of the Hume Reservoir, I visited the upper reaches of the River Murray. Millions of pounds have been spent in the construction of the Mitta dam, and in the damming of the river at other parts, yet we have allowed the hills of the upper reaches of the Murray to he denuded of trees. I have found in other countries that the growth of grasses and trees has doubled the volume of rainfall. The converse must be the result where a country is denuded of plant life. The ruthless cutting down of trees at the upper reaches of the Murray, not only has affected the rainfall, but has also caused soil erosion on a substantial scale. Engineers at the Mitta dam told me that this erosion might lead, in the not far distant future, to a tremendous area of the dam being filled with the soil carried down the stream, thus lessening the quantity of water that could be stored in it. Expenditure upon forestry and mining projects is wise, and if the amount could be increased, the finances, of the Commonwealth and the States in the years to nome would benefit correspondingly.

Mr. HOLLOWAY (Melbourne Ports) acted wisely when it decided to assist forestry and metalliferous mining. Some mining enterprises, of course,- are more or less a gamble and cannot be supported ; but gold-mining does not come within that category. I should like the Treasurer to state why there is no mention in the bill of any assistance for the Northern Territory.

Mr Casey:

– It will be dealt with separately.


– I have seen a good deal of the territory, and have inspected some of the mining operations which are being conducted in it. I was forcibly struck by the need for assisting the mica fields. Mica has a market which we cannot even scratch. It could be readily sold at a payable price. The highly technical German geologist who is in charge of a company operating mica deposits in Central Australia told me that the company could sell abroad ten times as much mica as it could produce. Its only complaint was that there was no supervision of mining operations in the territory. I know that there is a very fine man in Darwin who does his best to supervise gold-mining operations and to give advice to those who visit Darwin; but he cannot even touch the fringe of the work, although he works night and day. I refer to Mr. Bell. Working in the vicinity of the company that I have mentioned, was a. number of foreigners whose method was to gouge out the mica. In that way they destroyed more than they sold, but this method was not only risking the lives of those who were working for them, but also making it almost impossible for the company which wished to play the game, to employ its labour in the removal of mica under safe conditions. As far as I have been able to gather, the production of mica is very profitable, and there is an unlimited quantity of it in the northern portion of Central Australia. The Government could well help that particular field. The uses of mica are growing. There does not seem to be any reduction of output.

The honorable member for Parkes (Sir Charles Marr) referred to the remarks of the honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Holt) in regard to afforestation schemes in Victoria. Thu

Victorian Government is spending money wisely in cleaning up the Gippsland forests, and doing everything to prevent a repetition of the tragedies which have been experienced in past years as the result of bush fires.

Mr Holt:

– I did not say that the money was not being used for forestry purposes.


– That is so. The honorable member for Parkes clearly misunderstood what the honorable member said. The honorable member for Fawkner, in common with other honorable members, is very much concerned about the employment of the youths in this country. Those who read statistics covering unemployment agree that this is the most tragic side of the unemployment problem. Rising members of the new generation have never had a chance to secure work and they never will unless the problem is tackled. Two methods of dealing with it have been suggested; the school-leaving age should be raised, and the Government should honour its obligation to introduce the 40-hour working week. The Victorian Government is very much concerned about the problem of unemployed boys and girls and its relation to the sweating evil in the clothing trade in Victoria indulged in largely by manufacturers of foreign origin. Despite its efforts to cope with that evil, the Government is unable to stamp it out, because of the numbers of young people competing with each other for jobs, and accepting starvation piecework rates for work done in their own homes. The Commonwealth Government should endeavour to influence the State governments to raise the school-leaving age, and should adopt the 40-hour working week as a material contribution towards the solution of the unemployment problem. The Government should also exercise some control over the grants provided in this bill, to ensure that they are well spent. I can assure honorable members that, as far as Victoria is concerned, the forestry grant is being well spent. If every tree cut down is not replaced by another, at least everything is done to clean up the forests and to cut firebreaks to avoid outbreaks of bushfires in the future.


– The principle of this bill is complementary to that contained in the bill introduced last night, and its effect will be in a minor way to bring about further decentralization by arranging for the transfer of the unemployed from the cities to the country areas. The honorable member for Franklin (Mr. Frost) was concerned about the amount of money to be made available. I am concerned, not about the amount to be provided for each State, but rather about the continuance of this planned system. It seems to me that the bill aims at gradually tapering off the benefits conferred on particular industries, and, after a period of years, of placing the whole responsibility on the States to continue subsidies for industries which have been supported by the Commonwealth during the period of depression with the object of relieving unemployment.

Re-afforestation has been touched upon by various honorable members, and I do not think we can give too much attention to such a matter, which is wrapped up with the national life of Australia. We can learn our lesson from the experience of older countries, in which failure to realize the importance of reafforestation has had disastrous results. I refer particularly to the United States of America, where the failure to realize the necessity for replanting forests that have been cut down has resulted in the creation of areas that have no productive value. As the result of the failure to safeguard the top-soil, erosion has taken place in some portions of the United States of America at a very rapid rate, and it has been necessary to repatriate about 86,000 farmers into other areas so that they may continue profitable farming operations. The honorable member for Parkes (Sir Charles Marr) referred to the danger of erosion and to the fact that we are depleting our forests. It seems peculiar to me that this Government, which is facing this problem squarely, is smiling upon the destruction of very valuable trees on the Hume Highway, because their presence prevents the operation of some mechanical apparatus. The Government should be more sympathetic towards efforts to preserve the natural flora of the district. I plead for a national policy with regard to forestry matters. I have raised this point with the Treasurer on other occasions, hut I understand that the States are not prepared to hand over to the Commonwealth their powers in this regard. If we investigate conditions in the States, we find that their efforts are directed mainly towards the planting of trees without taking into consideration their effect on the area in which they are planted or their commercial value. There can be no doubt that soil erosion is one of the big problems confronting Australia to-day, and I am sure that the State governments are fully seized with its importance and will take the necessary steps to replant our watershed areas. The conditions which exist in Central Australia, as the result of soil erosion, furnish an object lesson to honorable members. In the windswept areas of Central Australia, high winds play havoc with the top-soil, with the result that grazing lands of not very high carrying capacity are destroyed by everadvancing hills of sand, and destruction of the natural grasses and the general denudation of those areas follow. Our experience in Central Australia is a fair indication of what we can expect if we do not tackle the problem of erosion as a matter of national urgency.

The Government has given a con’siderable amount of encouragement to the gold-mining industry, by making it possible for many of the unemployed to engage in prospecting for gold. This bill is a furtherance of a very systematic effort of planning in this direction. In travelling through Central Australia, one cannot help but be impressed by the fact that there are very few mining shows yielding ore of high value; in the main, the ore is very poor, and the shows are not giving the return that the considerable efforts of the Government warrant. Although the Government is to be commended for the assistance granted to the gold-mining industry, I do not suggest for one moment that the policy laid down is the right one. The Government should face up to this problem and give it greater attention. Much could be done by giving further encouragement to prospectors developing small shows, by the provision of grants for the purchase of machinery. Honorable members in this

House have listened frequently to the pleas made by the honorable member for the Northern Territory (Mr. Blain) for the establishment of a Government battery at Tennant’s Creek. We have all read in the press of the proposed camel corps march on Canberra. If it moved abreast of the times and carried out a policy that has been put into operation in other parts of the world1 - I refer particularly to the use of mobile crushing plants - the Government would be fully alive to the necessity for using such plants. They would assist prospectors considerably. Mobile bore mills are used extensively in the United States of America. They are moved from place to place as required, generally engaging in a regular circuit, moving on to other fields when the accumulation of ore there is sufficient to warrant it. Such plants would be of immense advantage in Australia as a means of overcoming the difficulty of developing areas which have not been proved, and which do not warrant the erection of permanent batteries. If the Government would take a leaf out of the book of other countries, and consider the methods adopted by them to tackle this problem, I feel sure that much good would result. It would certainly give added life to the low-value shows operating in Central Australia, which are merely carrying on in the hope that there may be a further rise in the price of gold. It has already nearly doubled over the last four years. I suggest that something should be done to encourage still further the development of low-value shows. As a means of relieving unemployment, the successful development of shows yielding even a few pennyweights to the ton would be a good thing. I suggest that further consideration should be given to the reappraisal of the value of gold within Australia. By an increase of the note issue, by an issue of treasury-bills, or by the issue of further loans, sufficient money could be raised to purchase the whole of the surplus gold produced in Australia. Of course, we should still have to ship a certain portion of the gold yield away in order to maintain our credit overseas, but the surplus could be used as a reserve for the creation of additional credit within Australia.

That in itself would increase the purchasing power of the, people, I am quite aware that what I am proposing is related to the exchange and that its effect would be inflationary, but an increase of the exchange rate might further improve the position in Australia. Indeed, it is possible that the depression may have been overcome much more rapidly if we had depreciated the value of the currency still further. If action on the lines which I have suggested were taken, I have no doubt it would mean a measure of inflation; but it would be controlled inflation, as the currency would still be based on gold, the commodity on which credit has always been based. Acceptance of my suggestion would lead to the production of more gold in this country, and, whilst we could continue to export gold at the present rate, the new gold won would create a reserve which would offset any restriction of credits.

The honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Holt) and the honorable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr. Holloway) this afternoon spoke with enthusiasm tinged with despair on the problem of the absorption of youths into industry. Both suggested as a partial solution of the problem an increase of the school-leaving age. I am entirely in agreement with the need for increasing the school-leaving age, but, in my opinion, it is necessary that there should be some transfer of at least a percentage of the children who normally leave school every year at the age of about fourteen to a system of technical or vocational education. Under the existing conditions we are turning out from schools white-collar men who find employment as clerks or salesmen. Skilled tradesmen are fast disappearing, and, in order to combat this tendency, technical training should be provided for those who are desirous of entering technical industries.

I commend the Government for the continued interest which it has taken in decentralization, but I feel that it could carry its efforts a stage further. Any attempt to taper off schemes which have been found by the States to be effective in relieving the unemployment situation is to be deplored.

Mr. BLAIN (Northern Territory) its endeavours to solve the unemployment problem by gold production and forestry, but, at the same time, I condemn the failure of this Parliament in past years to make certain that the money granted to the States is spent in the direction in which it was intended that it should be spent. This Parliament has to pay the piper, and it should have the power to call the tune; it should supervise the spending of every penny of Commonwealth grants.

Mr Casey:

– This money is not granted entirely unconditionally.


– No; certain conditions are to be found in this bill, but I contend that there is not sufficient supervision of the spending of the money by the States. The honorable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr. Holloway) made reference to the fact that the Northern Territory is not mentioned in this bill, and I join with him in asking that this territory be not excluded from benefit. The Treasurer (Mr. Casey), however, has assured the House that the requirements of the Northern Territory will be covered by a special appropriation.

I have never heard so much nonsense for many years as has been spoken about forestry. I venture the opinion that little of -the money which is being spent to-day on forestry work is likely to be of permanent benefit. It is to the discredit of this Parliament that it has allowed two States at least - I refer to Queensland and New South Wales - to pursue their present policies. I suspect that the policy adopted in New South Wales is to a large extent due to influence from New Zealand where that company of doubtful integrity, New Zealand Forests Limited, operates. In Australia we have land equal to any in New Zealand for the cultivation of pine, but New Zealand interests have been successful in their propaganda aimed at proving to the Department of Forests in New South Wales, that the country under its control is not suitable for the growth of pine. In view of the failure of the New South Wales Government to pursue a progressive policy in respect of the growing of commercial timbers, I appeal to this Government to take from it the spending of any money provided by the Commonwealth for forestry projects in that State. It would be better entrusted to the Australian Forestry School in the Federal Capital Territory under the direct control of this Parliament.

The honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Holt) takes a rather different stand in regard to New South Wales from that taken by me. In fact, he said that it was the only State in Australia which has a policy. If that be so, then I must extend my criticism to embrace the whole of Australia, because if what New South Wales is doing can be called a policy, it does not say much for what the ‘other States are doing. The unemployment relief funds are not being spent judicially. As a matter of fact, the whole thing is a sham.

My criticism of the policy in Queensland is differently based, because the influence exercised by New Zealand in New South Wales does not enter into forestry matters in Queensland. Any criticism which I offer concerning the Queensland forestry policy applies, not only to the present State Government, but also to all of its predecessors, Labour or Nationalist. Within sight of my own home in Queensland, there are tracts of bunya pine and hoop pine, which are among the best in the State. The policy, or rather, the lack of policy of the Queensland Government concerning this timber is tragic. It is allowing the leeching of areas where it grows. Big timber firms are enabled to filch from the bunya districts great sums of money, and spend them in the city. This House has been discussing the necessity for decentralization, but nothing has been done either by this Government or by the Government of Queensland to prevent this form of piracy. Brett and Company, and other big saw-mills are the offenders, and the money which they reap from their operations in the bunya forests is being spent in city channels, when it should be spent where the timber is grown. Forestry should not be regarded as a vagrant industry, ceasing with the removal of the main body of timber. Every effort should be made to utilize the whole log in the districts of production. Even the tops could be used in the manufacture of paper. At present the second cut of a log is left in the bush to rot, and it can rarely be purchased even by local people. Exploiting companies are thus enabled to obtain high prices for the choice log. In Queensland tracts of timber are cut out year after year and no steps are taken by the State government to provide for replacement by an efficient reafforestation policy. The situation is a disgrace and should be exposed. Efforts of this nature are often made to secure unjust concessions from the government.


– The honorable member (Apparently knows nothing about the forestry policy of the Queensland Government.


– On the contrary, I have made a close study of it, and if the honorable member will only listen he may learn something. The timber is hewn on a royalty basis. The Forestry Department decides that the timber is worth, say, 10s. a hundred feet on the trucks, ready for delivery, and the areas are let out on contract by competitive tender. Then begins the slavery at 4s. 9d. a hundred feet, for the benefit of the government, which is, in turn, fooled by the timber interests. Motor salesmen approach the men who have the felling contracts, and induce them to purchase lorries to haul the logs. The wood-cutters, however,- subsequently find that they have let themselves in for new lorries, when they cannot operate on a profitable basis. In fact, so small are the haulage payments which they receive that the work is done under slavery conditions, which should not be tolerated by any government. Much of the cutting has to be done by night by these men to make a living. The Queensland Government should make regulations to prevent this exploitation of haulers. It is a slur on the administration that it should allow these conditions to operate when on a block nearby men are employed on a day labour basis, and receive about £7 a week from larger contractors. After the logs have been cut and placed on the trucks at the railway sidings, they are often allowed to remain there for up to two or three weeks. This is beautiful white timber, but when it is exposed for long periods a mould, not the thickness of one’s finger nail, appears on it. The saw-mills then approach the Government, and say that they do not want the pine, because it is in poor condition, and cannot be exported, although actually it is in excellent condition, having no borers or any other trouble. However, the millers eventually agree to take the timber from the government at reduced prices, and so the circus goes on year after year.

Despite the fact that the Forestry Department in Queeusland is staffed with forestry officers it permits the cutting out of what we call the canopy in the bunya forests. This canopy is timber formed of trees sometimes 9 inches in diameter, and other flora which shelter the young growth from the sun. The necessity for retaining or planting a protective canopy is recognized all over the world in regions where delicate growth may be destroyed by the sun or by frost. In some places, sunshine has to be courted, but not in Queensland. When this canopy is destroyed, the young pines are immediately stunted, and are. not likely to grow to maturity. Failure to retain nature’s protective canopy has made this forestry work the laughing stock of the district. In addition to this, forestry officers in Queensland actually cut down pines 9 inches in diameter and not more than 30 feet high, which were left after the forest giants had been pirated. After this slaughter of hundreds of acres of young conifers and the destruction of the protecting canopy, large areas were burned off and swept clean in readiness for the planting of pines by quack science. The result was obvious, for in such an exposed area the young trees could only become stunted and scalded. Is it any wonder that I object to this waste of Commonwealth money. The correct policy is apparent, but quack science is so ashamed of its stupidity that it now refuses to heed practical lessons, or is incapable of learning. This Parliament contributes hundreds of thousands of pounds to assist reafforestation, and yet it does not send Commonwealth experts to see that the money is wisely expended. I suggest that the highly qualified officers associated with the Forestry School at Canberra should inspect every forest area, to see that proper methods are adopted. The bunya pine is subject to scalding when planted on slopes exposed to the western sun in sub-tropical climates, yet most of these forests have been planted in such localities that they have to contend with the full effects of the afternoon sun. Nature expands to the morning sun. In this respect the Forestry Department in Queensland has displayed its ignorance, and ha3 permitted the young bunya pines to be scalded in their early stages of growth. The forestry official who has been responsible for this in the past is, I take it, Mr. Swain, who acted so foolishly and wasted so much money that he had to leave the department in Queensland ; but he is now Commissioner of Forests in New South Wales.

The Sydney Morning Herald has done valuable service to Australia by publishing a leading article in its issue of the 15th April last, in which the following statements were made: -

In opening the annual conference of thu Forestry Field Officers Association yesterday, the Minister for Forests (Mr. R. S. Vincent), made reference to criticisms of the forestry administration which had appeared in the press from time to time. He stated that he had become so accustomed to them that, like the Government Meteorologist, he could predict their arrival to a nicety. The Minister evidently failed to realize the naivete of his admission. The meteorological comparison was particularly inapt, for whereas the phenomena of the weather occur quite outside the volition of the meteorologist, the head of an administration is responsible for the phenomena of its policy. If storms arise, we can hardly blame the weather prophet, but if the forestry barometer is not set to fair the administration has to bear its responsibility. In this case the press may well be called the barometer of opinion, and its readings should be met with serious consideration, not complacency.

Forestry is a matter of vital importance to the future of this State and Commonwealth, and the press has a duty to fulfil in criticism where deemed requisite for the welfare of the community. Mr. Vincent’s admission is merely that he knows in advance what acts of the administration are likely to produce a critical reaction, a prescience which is, in itself, a confession of something wrong somewhere, and one strengthened by the fact that the criticisms have been, according to the Minister himself, so frequent that he has grown rather blase about them. But it might reasonably be asked whether such indifference is the proper attitude to take .under the circumstances, especially when, as in the past, the criticisms and views put forward by the Herald at least, have been subsequently confirmed by an outside expert investigator . . .

In the future trained foresters will be our greatest need, yet the policy of our forestry administration threatens to close the Australian Forestry School. Such action has met with criticism and deserves explanation, especially in face of the erosion oroblem . . .

I also direct the attention of the House to an article which was published in the Canberra Times to-day. The article is headed -

page 1762



N.S.W.F irmin Decision.

Future Rests with Commonwealth.

The audacity of the New SouthWales people who are taking our good money! The article reads -

Further reference to the New South Wales Government’s attitude in connexion with the Australian Forestry School at Canberra was made by Mr. Lee (United Australia party) in the Legislative Assembly to-day.

He said that the Minister, in reply to a previous question, had stated that there were only three students representing New South Wales at this college, and they came from other States, whereas Mr. Lee said that he had now been informed by the InspectorGeneral of Forests at Canberra, that there were three New South Wales students. . . .

He asked for a further explanation of the position, and he also requested the Minister to inform the House of the real reason why the New South Wales Commissioner of Forests had recommended against sending New South Wales students to this school.

Mr. Vincent, in reply, said that the information he had supplied previously, was given him by the Commissioner of Forests. From this information, he understood that New South Wales was represented by three students at the Forestry School at Canberra, and that these students came from other States. He promised to take up the matter again with the Commissioner.

So far as the general question of the Canberra School was concerned, he had already stated that the question of continuing it was one for the Commonwealth authorities. He had also stated that it was considered by New South Wales that forestry interests could be better served by the material available to students in this State.

I differ from the concluding sentence of the article which I have quoted. .

Those interested in New Zealand forests advise that Australia cannot grow the kind of pine for the propagation of which a New Zealand company has obtained from people in Australia no less a sum than £5,000,000. I appeal to the Government to see that this Parliament takes charge of all expenditure in Australia on forestry work. At the present time the New South Wales Forestry Department appears to be unduly influenced by the New Zealand forests. That State is foolishly using up its grant in building expensive roads costing about £500 a mile, into hardwood and pine forests. The timber gained will not pay for this, and when economic conditions become normal the maintenance of such roads from ordinary revenue will not be warranted. The policy should be to provide for the inevitable gap which must occur after the cutting out of the hardwoods. New Zealand pine is the medium which should be employed now to ensure a continuous supply. Unless the Commonwealth Government supervises the proposed expenditure the grant to New South Wales will serve only to further the interests of New Zealand forests. The State authorities should act in a purely subsidiary capacity. I desire to see every ridge in the neighbourhood of Canberra covered with New Zealand pine, and similar forests should be established on the ridges removed from agricultural areas that are to be found at intervals in travelling between Sydney and Adelaide. I stated recently in’ this chamber that, from 6,000 acres of this pine, we could cut 150 acres annually, and obtain every year 10,000,000 ft. of timber, worth £100,000. Such a forest would renew itself in 40 years, so that the supply would be continuous. Surely this fact must appeal to honorable members.

I claim to have made sincere efforts to place the gold-mining industry on an industrial basis. I commend the honorable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr. Holloway) for his reference to the mica fields in Central Australia. It is regrettable that some of the people who have carried on mining operations in my electorate have collected big fees for themselves, but have not paid the wages of the men employed by them. There seems to be no legislation whereby one can overcome difficulties of this nature, and no avenue by which the men employed can obtain redress; but I intend to pursue the matter as far as possible on their behalf. Quoting Dr. Levinstein in an article entitled, “Debts, Unemployment, Gold, and the C.S. & I.R.”, published in thejournal of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in August, 1934, Sir David Rivett stated - “ If we had arranged to pay our indemnity to America in bricks, in many ways a more useful commodity than gold, we should have found the stocks inadequate. Should we have pulled down our houses to supply the bricks No. We would have opened up new brickfields wherever raw materials were to be found and, no doubt, at first rationed the bricks that could be used for non-essential building in our own country. This is precisely the reverse of what was done by our politicians and those advising them in the matter of sending gold. There was neither search for new raw materials, although they were available, nor was there any rationing. We tore down our financial structures to send the bricks “.

In the Gluckstein Memorial Lecture for 1933, Dr. Herbert Levinstein, one of England’s leading industrial chemists, asks how a man of sound training and extensive experience on a manufacturing plant would have faced the problem set before England at the time of the debt settlement with America. The quotation above conveys his own answer, and with it a severe indictment of the course actually followed.

Whether or not the trained technologist, if in power at Westminster, would have been so very wise may be left undetermined; lie had no less opportunity to be vocal before the event than he now has after it. But Dr. Levenstein’s contentions are arresting. From 1923 to 1931, over 4,200 tons of gold were shipped to America on account of war debts. The metal left treasuries where it had supported currency or credit and given confidence and security, and it did not return. Collapse and chaos ensued. The house was pulled down to supply the bricks. “ Not one step was taken to manufacture the goods, the delivery of which had been promised”; and Dr. Levenstein asks what would be thought in business of a sales department which made contracts to deliver without consulting the manufacturing side or even the research section . . . So much for the lesson read by Levenstein to England in the matter of her debts to America, lt is not without interest, with his words in mind, to look at the existing debt situation between Australia and England … I merely ask whether an immense national effort to dig our external debt out of the earth is an economically attractive project. If it is, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research must assume a heavy responsibility in conjunction -with the Mines Departments of the States … At the present time the search for auriferous deposits is in general not being conducted with anything like the thoroughness and scientific care that we bestow upon the attainment of profitable crops of sultanas, oranges or fat lambs. To some extent prospecting is still done by methods belonging to the ‘90’s and earlier. The practice of giving an unemployed man a tent, a pick, and a shovel and sending him out to “ prospect “ is an anachronism. In Western Australia, I understand, intensive effort along the best modern lines is being directed to the discovery of large low-grade deposits. All honour to the men who are responsible for this and are bringing their mining experience and the skill of geologists, geophysicists and aviators to bear upon the problem; but may there not be sound justification for greatly increased activity, organized on a national basis, along like lines over much bigger areas and on a scale beyond anything yet attempted! If se, the time for action is now. Maybe the whole time available will be comparatively short.

The concluding paragraph of the lecture states -

Of course there would be elements of a gamble in any attempt “ to dig out the external debt”; but even the Premiers’ plan was not free from gambling risks. The question is whether the risks are worth takin-: and. mining men and economists are the people to give the answer. If it is an affirmative answer, then there is a busy time ahead for the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and other national bodies, and there is no time to be wasted.

I was pleased to hear the honorable member for Wentworth (Mr. E. J. Harrison) mention the bore mills that are being used in America. I have myself gone very fully into this matter, and have collected information regarding it. I have passed that information on to the Minister, explaining how these mills could be loaded on to lorries, and delivered at Tennant’?! Creek and Pine Creek at the cost of about £1,000. Unfortunately, the man who was going to install one of the mills has since died at Darwin. He was practically a burnt-out man at the time he was negotiating for the mill, and since then, he has passed over. Last week, when I was in Sydney, I made investigations regarding a dryblowing apparatus in regard to which patents have been registered here in Canberra. I did not then know that th.*> Government would agree to my continued requests for the installation of a battery on the field at Tennant’s Creek,, but there would still be room for the employment of such apparatus as this in the more isolated areas where water is scarce. The Queensland Government has indicated its interest in this device, and I have nothing but praise for the Mines Department of that State, which is doing everything it can to assist the diggers operating in small syndicates on isolated shows. The plant, which I propose to inspect in Sydney, claims to be able to treat 100 tons of ore a day, with an S horse-power motor. It is portable and was registered at the Patents Office in Canberra. I should prefer the design to treat 10 or 20 tons a day. The manufacturer will agree to install a dry-blower on any field, and work it on a royalty basis. The Western Australian mining authorities are also interested in the machine, and propose ‘to give it a trial. Dry-blowing plants of this kind could be worked on the Tennant’s Creek field in conjunction with the government battery, if they were installed in areas where men have found payable gold in dry gulleys where they are living like rock wallabies under conditions of the greatest hardship.

Something should be done to curb the activities of no-liability mining companies, the directors of which persuade the public to invest money in enterprises even before any examination has been made of the mining property which they claim to control. I have outlined, as well as I was able, a scheme for the industrialization of mining, and in that scheme I would have provision made for controlling no-liability companies. Legislation should be passed making it necessary for companies to submit their prospectuses to an expert like .Sir David Rivett for examination before the company is allowed to go to allotment. I would not countenance any of these alleged mining experts, who, in fact, accept money under false pretences. The companies of which I complain first induce the public to subscribe a certain amount of real money, which is used to obtain an option over gold-bearing country, and to pay salaries to the promoters, then, once the company goes to allotment, the miners are bought out with scrip which they discover, too late, tr* have no market value. Eventually, after re-organization and stock exchange manipulation, the whole enterprise collapses, and the original investors are left lamenting the loss of their £5, £10 or £15. When I was in Sydney some time ago, I interviewed many such investors, and I was only sorry that it was not possible to take action against those who had robbed them of their money. Of course, all the companies operating in Northern and Central Australia are not of this kind. There are good companies, and I welcome private capital to join in the exploita- tion of these areas. I ask, however, in the name of justice and sanity, that something be done to regulate this industry, and place it on a proper basis, so that the small syndicate or party miner has first call on this expenditure.

Ifr. CASEY (Corio- Treasurer) [4.13]. - in reply - I am glad that this bill has been accepted with approval by honorable members of all parties. Two honorable members from Tasmania referred to the recommendation of the Commonwealth Grants Commission that the Commonwealth should finance a long-term forestry policy in that State. I remind honorable members that this bill makes no reference to that matter; it merely provides for the continuance of an earlier grant.


– The Government has not yet come to any final conclusion. It has been straining its resources, both from loan moneys and from revenue, to help the States, and in particular the three claimant States. The amount of money which Tasmania has received in recent years under many headings, taken in conjunction with the loans raised on behalf of that State, militate against the likelihood of any increased grant being made for the prosecution of a long-term forestry policy. There must be some limit to the amount of Commonwealth money made available to the claimant States. However, I do not wish to enter into a controversy on that subject at the moment. Tasmania has every reason to be grateful to the Commonwealth Government for the vast amount of assistance given to it particularly in recent years.

Mr Barnard:

– It is all a question of equity.


– That is one way to describe it.

The honorable member for Grey (Mr. McBride) directed attention to the omission of any allocation to South Australia for mining for 1937-38, and asked for an assurance that no misunderstanding had occurred in that regard. I have since examined the files and cannot see that there is room for misunderstanding; but any representations made to the Commonwealth Government by the Government of South Australia on the subject in the next twelve months will be considered.

The honorable member for Ballarat (Mr. Fisken) asked that certain representations be made to the Government of Victoria regarding the method of allocating the proposed grants for both mining and forestry. The Commonwealth Government has left the State Governments as free as possible in the disposition of these moneys, and has brought no pressure to bear upon them as to how the grant shall be spent, but it will, no doubt, be possible to bring under the favorable notice of the Premier of Victoria the representations made by the honorable gentleman.

There still seems to be some misunderstanding regarding the conditions governing these various grants. The grants for forestry work are conditional upon a £1 for £1 subsidy by the State Governments, and the employment of 20 per cent, of youths under the age of 21 on any work put in hand. The grant for mining is subject to the condition that any part of the money used for advances shall be, subsidized on a £1 for £1 basis by the State Governments.

The honorable member for the Northern Territory (Mr. Blain) spoke of the necessity for a national policy of forestry and the co-ordination of all forestry activities within the Commonwealth under one head. I have frequently discussed the subject with Victorian Ministers, but on each occasion have barely escaped with my life. There seems to be little disposition on the part of Victoria to co-operate in a national forestry policy.

I omitted in my second-reading speech to refer to the number of men who had been found work through the earlier provision by the Commonwealth Government of money for mining and forestry work. Up to date 5,000 men have been found employment in forestry work, and 6,000 men in mining operations.

The references of the honorable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr. Holloway) to the Northern Territory and Central Australia, and particularly to the potential mica fields in the north will be considered, and so also will the many matters referred to by the honorable member for the Northern Territory.

The honorable member for “Wentworth (Mr. E. J. Harrison) will, I feel sure, excuse me if I do not discuss at any length his remarks in respect to gold purchases by the Commonwealth. This is a big subject, to which the Government has given considerable attention. The opinion has been formed that no great advantage would accrue to the Commonwealth by the purchase of gold by the Government under the conditions outlined by the honorable gentleman. I hope to have a more appropriate opportunity to discuss this subject at length.

I again thank honorable members for the favorable reception they have given to the bill.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second ‘time and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.

page 1765


PROPOSAL FOR redistribution of Victoria.

Debate resumed from the 30th April (vide page 1049) on motion by Mr. Paterson -

That the House of Representatives approves of the distribution of the State of Victoria into electoral divisions as proposed by Messrs. F. W. Parkinson, P. Campbell and H. McTaggart, the commissioners appointed for the purpose of distributing the said State into divisions, in their report laid before Parliament on the 13th March, 1935, and that the names of the divisions suggested in the report be adopted, with the exceptions that the name “ Ballarat “ be substituted for the name “ Ballaarat “ and that the name “ Deakin “ be substituted for the name “ Mernda “.


.- The representatives of Victorian electorates for whom I am entitled to speak have informed me that they do not wish to debate this motion, and are prepared to accept the recommendations of the commissioners .


.- I approve of the recommendations of the commission, and feel that the requirements of the Electoral Act, in respect of community of interests and otherwise, have been observed. My chief regret is that, under this proposal, the largest centre of population in the electorate will be right at one end of it. From that viewpoint, I should have preferred the previous recommendation, but as our adoption of that proposal would have meant the abolition of the division of Corangamite, and my voting for it would have involved me in political fratricide in that my political twin would have lost his seat, I could not, of course, support it. I agree that the number of metropolitan and extra-metropolitan constituencies in Victoria should remain equal. I must express surprise, however, that the Minister for the Interior (Mr. Paterson) who has a delightful oldworld accent in pronouncing certain words, should have moved for the deletion of an “ a “ from the double “ a “ in the old-fashioned word “Ballaarat”. Many public bodies interested in the retention of the old spelling, including the City Council of Ballarat, have urged me to do my best to have the old spelling retained, and. as I personally think it a pity to break away from an oldestablished tradition, I ask the Minister whether he is willing to seek leave to amend the motion in order that the existing spelling may be retained?

Mr Paterson:

– If there is a general desire for that to be done, I shall seek leave to amend the motion.


– I congratulate the commissioners upon the report they have submitted to the Government on this subject, and the Government upon having invited the House to accept it. Although the redistribution of the electorates of Victoria now proposed may be slightly adverse to my own personal interests, I think it is an improvement upon the previous proposal, for it will ensure that the number of metropolitan and extra-metropolitan divisions in Victoria will remain equal.


.- I have rather a personal interest in this proposed redistribution. If the previous recommendations of the commission had been adopted my brief political career would have been terminated. I am pleased that, under the new proposal, the balance between metropolitan and extrametropolitan divisions in Victoria will not be disturbed. A report of the Electoral Commissioners submitted to Parliament in 1922, recommending, a redistribution which provided for eleven metropolitan and nine extra-metropolitan divisions was not approved, and was replaced by one recommending ten metropolitan and ten extra-metropolitan divisions, which was accepted. That position continued until 1934, when a new redistribution was proposed by the commissioners, providing for eleven metropolitan and nine extra-metropolitan divisions. Parliament again declined to accept such a proposal, and I am glad that this proposal will preserve the status quo between city and country. It would be unjust to rob the country of one representative in this Parliament.

Minister for the Interior · Gippsland · CP

– The proposal to change the name of the division from “Ballaarat” to “Ballarat” was made entirely on utilitarian grounds. Its object was to authorize the use of the name Ballarat, used by the Postal Department and the Railway Department. As there seems to be a strong sentimental attachment to the old spelling, I ask leave to amend the motion.

Motion - by leave - amended to read -

That the House of Representatives approves of the distribution of the State of Victoria into electoral divisions as proposed by Messrs. F.W. Parkinson, P. Campbell and H. McTaggart, the commissioners appointed for the purpose of distributing the said State into divisions, in their report laid before Parliament on the 13th March, 1935, and that the names of the divisions suggested in the report bo adopted, with the exception that the name “ Deakin “ be substituted for the name “Mernda”.

Motion, as amended, agreed to.

Proposal for Redistribution of Western Australia

Debate resumed from the 30th April (vide page . 1050) on motion by Mr. Paterson -

That the House of Representatives approves of the distribution of the State of Western Australia into electoral divisions as proposed by Messrs. R. H. Bandy, J. P. Camm and S. R. H. Roberts, the commissioners appointed for the purpose of distributing the said State into divisions, in their report laid before Parliament on the 13th March, 1935, and that the names of the divisions suggested in the report be adopted.


.- I move -

That all the words after the word “ That “ be omitted, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the following words: “this House disapproves of the distribution of the State of Western Australia into electoral divisions as proposed by the Distribution Commissioners, and requests the Minister to direct the Distribution Commissioners to propose a fresh distribution of the said State.”

I ask the House to do this, substantially because it is known that the electorate of Kalgoorlie is at present too large for what I shall describe as effective representation in the Parliament. The area embraced by it exceeds 900,000 square miles. The diversity of interests to be found in it may be well judged by a mere glance at the map. It extends from Wyndham and Broome in the north-west, to Esperance in the south. It comprises mining, pastoral and agricultural communities, but the bulk of the population is concentrated in Kalgoorlie and Boulder. Originally the electorate was predominantly a mining and pastoral one. From 1914 to 1930, the proportion of its population, in comparison with the rest of the State, had a tendency to fall, because of the increasing difficulties of the mining industry. There was an actual loss of population in some of the mining centres ; but a more important factor was the failure of the electorate to keep pace with the general growth of population in the State as a whole. Since 1930, however, and particularly during the last two years, the recovery of mining operations has been most marked, and the trend of population in the electorate has actually been reversed. I see no reason why this year at least should not be allowed to pass before there is any disturbance of the existing electoral boundaries in Western Australia. I should offer no objection if, at the end of this year, in the light of the most recent information available, the commissioners were to decide upon an electoral redistribution. In all probability I should then say that it was necessary to have redistribution before the election was held. But I feel that the boundaries ought not to be cast upon other than the very latest distribution of population. I believe it to be the wish of Parliament, in view of its previous decision in this matter, that, except under the most stern political necessity, there should be no enlargement of the territory comprised in the electorate of Kalgoorlie.

Because an enlargement is contemplated in the present proposals, I ask that the matter be deferred for further information and later consideration. Any alteration of Kalgoorlie must impel an alteration of other electorates. To add to it, the electorate of Swan must lose portion of its territory; and, to maintain the balance in Swan, that electorate would have to be pushed into the city area. The greater part of the Swan electorate has no community of interest which could be reconcilable with penetration into the outer suburbs of the city of Perth.

Mr Prowse:

– Is it not a fact that the Kalgoorlie electorate is developing its population quite rapidly enough ?


– It is. The figures in the proposed distribution are those which were taken at the 31st December, 1933. I point out that the number of men engaged in the mining industry in 1933 was only 8,700, whereas in 1935, it was 15,500. The bill which the House has just dealt with was justified by the Treasurer (Mr. Casey), on the ground that it would result in a considerable increase of employment. We know that the largest proportion of the increase so far made in the mining industry has occurred in Western Australia, and, when we speak of Western Australia in that connexion, we really mean the electorate of Kalgoorlie. These enlargements of the area of the Kalgoorlie electorate impel other changes in the remaining electorates of Western Australia, and their community of interests is threatened as the result of the disturbance. For example, the alteration of Swan impels an alteration of Perth, which is thus pushed across the river. The electorate of Fremantle loses a portion of its present area to Perth, and gains some of the territory now represented by the honorable member for Forrest (Mr. Prowse). The portion which Forrest will yield to Fremantle is mainly rural or semi-rural. It has community of interest with the remainder of the electorate of Forrest, but little or none with the major part of the electorate of Fremantle, which, for the most part, is either residential or semi-industrial, and, in effect, is purely a metropolitan and suburban electorate.

I have felt obliged to take this action, because I consider that had the honorable member for Kalgoorlie (Mr. A. Green) been here, he would have taken it, in view of the steps which he took on a previous occasion. I also feel that, in principle, the area of Kalgoorlie is already too large for all considerations of reasonable representation, and that, if there must be an enlargement of the electorate, it ought not to be made except in the light of the very latest information that could be used, in view of the preparations for the next election. As my amendment does not involve the denial of a redistribution before the next election is normally due, I ask the House to agree to it.


– I hope that the Minister for the Interior (Mr. Paterson) will agree to the amendment of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Curtin). I am sure that it is not desired that an election should take place on the present boundaries. But there has been such a big increase of the number of electors in the Kalgoorlie division that, should an election take place within the next twelve or eighteen months on the proposed boundaries, notwithstanding its enormous area - about nine-tenths of the area of the whole State - it would have a greater number of electors than the Swan electorate. The unfairness of that must be realized. The right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes) has told me that during his return voyage to Australia on one occasion, he boasted of the size of some of our constituencies, saying that there was one electorate which had a length of 2,000 miles from end to end, and. that the ballot papers from it took a year to arrive at headquarters. When asked when the member took his seat, he replied that he was elected three years ahead. Although an exaggeration, that conveys an idea of the enormous area of the Kalgoorlie electorate. In the past, five members have represented Western Australia, two of the electorates being city seats, and two agricultural and horticultural, while one seat has been dominated by the mining industry. Any one who has knowledge of the industrial and commercial life of the State will admit that that is a very fair representation. The Leader of the Opposition stated the matter very fairly when he referred to the encroachment of city influences in an agricultural area. I feel that the proposed distribution would do an injury not only to my constituency, but “also to that of the honorable member for Kalgoorlie (Mr. A. Green). I have absolute confidence in the officers who have recommended these alterations, but I think that other changes could be made which would ensure less -diversity of interests. The old roll for Kalgoorlie contained the names of 38,258 electors. In 1930, the number of miners employed in the electorate was 4,400. By 1933, this number had increased to 9,900; and, according to the Leader of the Opposition, it is now 15,500. That is a substantial increase. As mining operations cannot be conducted without the use of timber and other commodities, there must have been an increase of population in connexion with many other activities. There has been very considerable development at Southern Cross, where a large plant is now being installed, and at other places in that district. The Celebration mine, which is not far from Southern Cross, also is installing big machinery, and this must lead to the employment of many more miners. Crushing plants are being erected on the old Coolgardie field, and development is ta.king place north of Wiluna, as well as at Menzies and Cue. On the Big Bell mine, close to Cue, there is the possibility of an American company, with a capital of a couple of million pounds, installing huge machinery, the use of which, it is expected, will make a 4-dwt. proposition payable. This means a considerable increase of population. That Kalgoorlie should have a larger number of voters than Forrest and Swan is unjust. Moreover, this proposal means the taking away of some 4,000 or 4,500 electors from the electorate of Swan for the purpose of augmenting the Kalgoorlie electorate. I would have no objection to the proposal if it were not certain that next year the figures will show that a redistribution was unnecessary. I think we shall be doing an injustice if we do not delay consideration of this question until the end of the year, when the Electoral Office can have prepared a fresh report. If it be then found that the figures for Kalgoorlie need increasing, I shall have no objection to the proposal being given effect. I hope the Minister will agree to delay action in connexion with this matter. If an election were pending, I would say that we should agree to these proposals now; but as far as one can judge at the present time, there seems to be no possibility of an election being held until after January next. That being so, as far as the agricultural and mining constituencies are concerned, the cause of justice will be best served by a postponement of final consideration of this question. If such a course be adopted, no harm will be done, and at least in regard to the gold-field area we shall be acting on more accurate information.


.- I support the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Curtin), and I concur in the remarks made by the honorable member for Swan (Mr. Gregory), in the first place, because I am more than satisfied that it is in the interests of the best representation of the people of Western Australia that the huge electorate of Kalgoorlie should not be increased to an extent more than is necessary, and secondly, because the proposed arrangement of the electorates of Perth and Fremantle appears to me to disregard community of interest of the electors concerned, which is a most desirable consideration. Dealing first of all, with Kalgoorlie which has already been dealt with very thoroughly by the Leader pf the Opposition and the honorable member for Swan, the growth of population in the mining areas is such that if the figures were taken out again, there is little doubt that Kalgoorlie would be left approximately as it was under the old distribution. In any case, I feel very strongly that the provision in the Electoral Act permitting a departure from the exact quota should be made use of, in order to prevent what is already a most unwieldy electorate becoming more cumbersome, more diverse in interest, than it has been in the past. As regards the arrangements proposed for the electorate? around Perth, there is some difficulty which does not occur in the case of larger cities. It is relatively easy in large cities to arrange electoral boundaries, so that industrial districts aggregate and form one electorate, or in the case of very big cities, several electorates, embracing industrial, commercial and industrial areas. In the case of Perth and surrounding districts the voting strength is approximately only two and a half federal electoral districts, and one of those, Swan, which has approximately one-third or one-quarter of its quota made up from the districts surrounding Perth, should make up its quota from metropolitan residential and semi-rural areas. For instance, a large area which has been transferred from Forrest to Fremantle has affinities with Swan. In any case, a rural district has more affinities with residental areas than with industrial areas. The people of Victoria Park are mostly wage-earners. A fair line of division between Perth and Fremantle would leave the Fremantle electorate entirely south of the Swan River, excepting, of course, North Fremantle and Cottesloe, which are obviously attached to the town of Fremantle, keeping Perth electorate as much as possible to the north of the river, and attaching to Swan, some of the outlying areas of Perth, which it is desirable should be embraced in a country electorate rather than in a city electorate. There are no pronounced industrial areas in Perth, but suburbs such as Victoria Park have a great deal more affinity with the population of Fremantle than has a suburb such as Nedlands. There is every reason to expect that industrial development will follow the south side of the river, and the Distribution Commission should take these contingencies of population into consideration. For the reasons which I have advanced, first, because I consider that the enormous unwieldly extent of the district of Kalgoorlie has not been sufficiently taken into account, and secondly, because I feel strongly from my acquaintance with Perth and Fremantle, that community of interest would be very much better served by the adoption qf quite different boundaries, I support the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition, and the request of Western Australian members that this matter should receive further consideration.


.- In regard to the proposed redistribution of Western Australian electorates, it appears to me .that essential principles which should have guided the commissioners have not been as clearly followed as we had the right to expect. Certain territory has been taken away from Fremantle and has been replaced by other territory. The section taken away, however, has essentially the same community of interest as Fremantle generally; but the territory which replaces it has widely differing community of interest. The section proposed to be added is essentially rural or semi-rural, whereas the general body of the Fremantle electorate is composed of industrialists and those associated with commerce and the professions. The proposed redistribution of Kalgoorlie does not in any way rectify the anomalous position which has always existed in connexion with that electorate. It should be possible to devise something much better than the proposal now before the House. A study of the maps provided for the guidance of honorable members clearly indicates that those responsible for the present proposal have not utilized the opportunity presented to them for the submission of an equitable and desirable redistribution. The request that the matter be referred back to the commissioners for further consideration is a reasonable one. The commissioners should be asked to submit a proposal for a more equitable redistribution based on community of interest of the electors concerned. Only in that way can the best interests of the electors be preserved and the balance desirable in parliamentary representation maintained.

Amendment - by leave - altered to read -

That all words after .the word “ That “ be omitted with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words - “ this House disapproves of the distribution of the State of Western Australia into Electoral Divisions, as proposed by the Distribution Commissioners “.

Minister for the Interior · Gippsland · CP

– The rather extraordinary position has arisen, that since the redistribution proposals were made, the number of persons in some of the electorates, particularly in the electorate of Kalgoorlie, has increased to such an extent that . had it been possible to foresee the present figures, there would actually have been no necessity to make the redistribution. There is, however, some disparity between some of the electorates, although not sufficient to make it essential to have a redistribution. If, however, the House were to disapprove of the commission’s recommendation, it would then be open for the Government at a later stage to give a fresh commission to the gentlemen who dealt with these proposals. With a fresh commission they would be entitled to use the most up-to-date figures, whereas, if they were instructed by the Government to bring down a new proposal without being given a fresh commission, they would have to deal with it on the basis of the old figures. I, therefore, accept the amendment.

Mr White:

– Is there an undertaking that there will be a redistribution later?


– .Section 24 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act states -

If either House of the Parliament passes a resolution disapproving of any proposed distribution, or negatives a motion for the approval of any proposed distribution, the Minister may direct the Distribution Commissioners to propose a fresh distribution of the State into divisions.

It is clear, then, that it is left to the Government to decide whether that step should be taken in this case; but, in the event of its being taken, the Government will give a fresh commission to ‘ the commissioners, which will result in theft?using the most up-to-date figures, instead of those which are now out of date.

Mr Curtin:

– That is a fair thing.


.- The boundaries in Western Australia do need recasting, and I hope that the Government will not leave them as they are at the present time. No effort should be spared to make the divisions satisfactory. The commissioners have a very difficult job, and I have very little comment to make on what they have proposed. Two electorates in Western Australia contribute greatly to the difficulties involved in redistribution. One of them is the electorate of Kalgoorlie, which is of extraordinary size, and whatever rearrangement of the boundaries is recommended, a further increase of its size is inevitable. The second difficulty is the electorate of Perth. There are two metropolitan areas -Perth and Fremantle - but, asthe population of Perth greatly exceeds that of Fremantle, it is necessary that Fremantle encroach to a large extent on Perth. That creates the inevitable position that a number of Perth people - that is to say, people who have businesses in Perth, and reside in the suburbs - are included as voters in the Fremantle division, which leads to disturbance of what may be called community of interests. But these disadvantages cannot be avoided, and, whilst I have very little criticism to offer as to the boundaries suggested by the commissioners, I do think that, possibly, they could be improved. On this point I share the views held by the honorable member for Wakefield (Mr. Hawker), and agree that the commissioners should be asked to submit a fresh proposal.

Amendment agreed to.

Motion, as amended, agreed to.

page 1771


Message recommending appropriation reported.

In committee (Consideration of Governor-General’s message) :

Motion (by Mr. Paterson) agreed to-

That it is expedient that an appropriation of revenue be made for the purpose of a bill for an act relating to the encouragement of drilling operations in connexion with the search for petroleum oil in Australia and in the Territories of Papua and New Guinea.

Resolution reported.

Standing Orders suspended; resolution adopted.

Ordered -

That Mr. Paterson and Mr. Casey do prepare and bring in a bill to carry out the foregoing resolution.

Bill brought up by Mr. Paterson, and read a first time.

Second Reading

Minister for the Interior · Gippsland · CP

– I move -

That the bill be now read a second time.

The object of this measure is to appropriate a sum of £250,000 for the encouragement of drilling operations in connexion with the search for petroleum in Australia and in the Territories of New Guinea and Papua. It is the intention that moneys appropriated for this purpose will be made available as advances by way of loans to approved companies or persons on a £1 for £1 basis. In dealing with the applications for assistance, the Government will be advised by a technical committee consisting of Dr.W. G. Woolnough, Commonwealth Geological Adviser, Dr. L. Keith Ward, Director of Mines of South Australia, and Dr. Arthur Wade, an expert with experience in many countries.

Clause 2 of the bill defines the meaning of the term “ petroleum “. In amplification of the definition, I desire to inform the House that the provisions of this bill apply to petroleum or crude petroleum in a free state, to natural gases and to solid and semi-solid petroleum. Natural gases are scarcely less important than flow oil itself. Large volumes are piped for distances of upwards of 1,000 miles in other countries for use as fuels in large industrial centres. Many of the wet gases contain sufficient petrol to render it economical to subject them to a process known as “ stripping “, whereby a highly volatile petroleum is obtained in large quantities. As the result of slow and natural evaporation and of chemical changes originally, liquid petroleum becomes solid or semi-solid; such solid and semi-solid petroleum forms substances including natural bitumen, natural tar, ozokerite and similar minerals. These substances have considerable commercial value, and in some instances are the sole products of commercially important producers. Bituminous substances are used in road construction, while some others, such as ozokerite, yield the bases for the manufacture of lubricating oils, &c.

The search for petroleum has now been conducted in Australia and in the Territories for a long period. Considerable preliminary geological surveys have been carried out, accompanied by some drilling; but the geological surveys are far in advance of the drilling. Therefore, in the opinion of the Government, the time has come when special attention should be devoted to drilling. Geological structures may look favorable, but the only real test is the drill. The major expenditure associated with the search for petroleum is in connexion with drilling. It is recognized that geological surveys are prerequisites to drilling, and the technical committee to which

I have referred will in all cases take full cognizance of the results of such surveys in dealing with applications for assistance.

Some of the areas to which attention may be given include in Australia, the Carnarvon-North- West Cape District and the Fitzroy River Basin in Western Australia, the western portion of Queensland, including the Roma-Springsure and Longreach Districts, the Hawkesbury River-Hunter River District in New South Wales, the Gippsland Basin in Victoria, and possibly portions of Central Australia ; in New Guinea, the mandated territory north of the Sepik River; and in Papua the Gulf and Delta divisions. There will no doubt be other areas in Australia and in the Territories, but in this regard the Government will be guided by its technical advisers. The expert view is that districts possessing similar geological conditions to some of those which I have mentioned would, if existing in other parts of the world, particularly in the United States of America, have been drilled many years ago.

Information in possession of the Government indicates that the prospects of finding well oil in commercial quantities are now more favorable than has hitherto been the case. The Government is determined to investigate every means for giving to Australia some independence in oil supplies. In this regard it has given attention to flow oil, shale oil, and coal oil. In his statement to the House on the 30th April, the Prime Minister (Mr. Lyons) dealt fully with the Government’s policy in regard to these three sources of production.

It has been said by leading authorities that supplies of well oil in the United States of America are fast reaching the stage where that great country will no longer be an exporter of oil. No major oil fields have been discovered there since 1930. I am not suggesting that a world shortage of oil is imminent, but I am citing this to emphasize that it behoves us, if we have oil within our territories, to bring it to production so that we may be able to fill the gap which would bc created by the United States of America vacating the export field. We all recognize too, what a boon it would be to this country if flow oil could be dis- covered in commercial quantities. It would add immeasurably to our prosperity and would enable Australia to carry a substantially larger population.

I think it is desirable that I should again deal briefly with what the Government is doing in regard to shale oil and coal oil. It is looking to the more or les? immediate development of the shale oil industry, and with the object of encouraging the development of the industry, it has decided that petrol produced from shale in Australia up to a maximum of 10,000,000 gallons per annum shall be granted protection over imported petrol for a period of twenty years to the extent of customs and excise duties at present in operation. The effect of this is that if the present customs duty of 7d. a gallon on imported petrol or the excise duty of 5 1/2 d. a gallon on petrol produced from imported crude oil, are reduced during the next twenty years, a subsidy equivalent to the amount of such reduction will be paid on petrol produced from Australian shale up to the maximum of 10,000,000 gallons per annum.

In connexion with the production of oil from coal, .certain investigations are now taking place, and recently arrangements were made for Sir David Rivett, Chief Executive Officer of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, to visit Great Britian and Germany for the purpose of going closely into the processes now operating in those countries for for the production of oil from coal. The Government is determined to obtain firsthand the best scientific advice available on this important subject.

Reference has been made on a number of occasions to the development of the alcohol industry as a source of motive power. The Government has given close consideration to this matter, and its Fuel Adviser, Mr. L. J. Rogers, has carried out investigations in this regard in Australia and in other countries. To sum up his conclusions, Mr. Rogers says -

Altogether the alcohol industry appears to warrant much less favorable consideration than the distillation of shale and the hydrogenation of coal from the view points of both economy and national policy.

In commending this measure to the favorable consideration ‘of the House, I feel sure that it will be accorded the support which a proposal of such outstanding national importance merits. The transcendant importance of the measure needs no emphasis.

Mr Francis:

– The Prime Minister promised yesterday to refer the question of power alcohol to Sir DavidRivett. I take it that he will look into the position overseas.


– There is no intention to interfere with that investigation.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Beasley) adjourned.

page 1773


Officers’ Dining-rooms - Port Phillip

Fishing Boats - Press Report of Taxpayers’ Deputation - Transport Workers Act: Seamen’s Licences - Report on Power Alcohol Production - Interstate Motor Services - Italo-Abyssinian Dispute : Sanctions.

Motion (by Mr. Paterson) proposed -

That the House do now adjourn.


.- I draw your attention, Mr. Speaker, to a matter concerning the administration of this building. It is well’ known that Canberra has a newspaper-made reputation for snobbery. It is said that the public servant in receipt of a salary of £500 a year considers it beneath his dignity to speak to an officer receiving £400 a year. Last evening, I understand, when one of the messengers employed in this building entered the dining-room reserved for public servants and the press, one of the higher-paid officers objected to his presence, merely because he was a messenger. I understand that an order has been issued by Mr. Broinowski that, for the future, no messengers may take meals in that particular room. This, I think, is carrying things too far. Many messengers are the potential heads of departments, and they are at least entitled to consideration in the matter of meals. I bring this incident under your notice so that snobbery of this kind on the part of higher-paid public servants may be stamped out immediately. The man on the bottom rung of the ladder for the time being should be able to take his meals under decent conditions.

Mr. SPEAKER (Hon. G. J. Bell).I shall reply at once to the matter to which the honorable member for Lang (Mr. Mulcahy) has directed my atten tion. At the outset he stated that he “ understood “ that a certain incident had occurred, so I assume that he has no personal knowledge of the matter, but has received his information through indirect channels.

Mr Mulcahy:

– I do not take my meals there.


– In view of the fact that the honorable member has accused an officer of the House of snobbery, he ought to tell me from what source he obtained his information. If he prefers to do so, he may tell me that privately. It may be explained that as regards the dining-rooms available to the officers of the House and officers of various departments, there is insufficient accommodation in the upstairs dining-room to meet the needs of all the public servants engaged in connexion with the work of Ministers and of the House. To meet the need of those who require meals and because there is insufficient room on the main dining-room floor the Joint House Committee has issued rules which provide for the discrimination to which the honorable member objects. In telling the messenger that he could not have a meal in the dining-room mentioned, the officer whom the honorable member has named was merely carrying out his duty. There is another dining-room downstairs where meals are provided for those for whom accommodation cannot be found upstairs, so that they are not deprived of an opportunity to obtain meals when required. I am sure that there is no justification for a charge of snobbery against an officer who was observing the rules laid down long ago by the Joint House Committee. However, I shall inquire into the matter, and I invite the honorable member to acquaint me as to the source of his information.

asked the Argyle Government to see that portion of the money was spent on repairing the damage done to the property of fishermen and to make good the wrecked havens, breakwaters, &c. He said that he had no objection to the proposal, and he instructed certain officers to make inquiries as to the cost that would be involved. Nothing was done at that time, and some of the men who have suffered loss are under the impression that the Commonwealth Government is responsible for the fact that they have received no compensation or security for the future. I do not hold that view, but suggest that favorable consideration should be given ‘ to their claims. There should be a consultation with the State authorities with a view to a joint agreement regarding the problem. Along our coast-line are 10,000 fishermen. They are of a fine type, they provide the raw material for lifeboat crews, and they have been responsible for the saving of many lives. Some of them lost the whole of their plant, owing to the floods, and had to make a fresh start. Will the Minister in charge of the House (Mr. Paterson · Melbourne Ports [ 5.27]. -I have an application to make on behalf of the Australian Fishermen’s League. About two years ago, disastrous floods occurred in “Victoria and other States, and the Government made a grant of money for the relief of the sufferers. It was understood assistance would be given to fishermen who were victims of the disaster. Members of the Australian Fishermen’s League, whose boats had been smashed in Port Phillip, and in other parts of Australia, made claims for relief. No objection was raised by the Govern- ment to the granting of some of the money to these men. With members of the Victorian Parliament, I

try to ascertain the present position? If these men have no chance of obtaining compensation out of the last grant made for the relief of the sufferers, will he consider making a fresh grant to Victoria? Will he consult with the Premier of Victoria, to ascertain whether the omission on the last occasion can be rectified? In many instances, a fisherman’s boat represents his life’s savings, and now thousands of fishermen around the coast of Australia are on the dole. Even those who are able to obtain the capital for a new boat are reluctant to take the risk until the breakwaters arc strengthened. In some instances, two or three families, each of which previously had a boat of its own, have joined together and are working one boat between them. The matter was brought before the Victorian Government without success, and I have heard it stated that the Victorian Government declined to make money available because the Commonwealth authorities objected. I am sure, however, that that was not so. I urge the Government to help this necessary industry.

Batman · UAP

.- I desire to make further reference to a matter which was raised by me the other day in the form of a question to the Treasurer (Mr. Casey), relating to a deputation from the Taxpayers’ Association of Victoria, which interviewed him. It appears from what we are permitted to know of the facts, that the deputation was not heard in public, but that the Treasurer made the matter public by his statement on the floor of the House to the effect that what purported to be a newspaper report of what had occurred was entirely inaccurate. At a later stage the same day, I understand that the Treasurer exonerated the newspaper, and alleged that the representative of the Taxpayers’ Association was responsible for giving incorrect information. In reply to a question by me, the Treasurer informed me that certain correspondence had ensued, and that he would be quite pleased that that correspondence should be made public, so that the position might be properly understood. I have no brief for the Victorian Taxpayers’ Association, and I wish it to be understood that I am not raising this matter now at the request of that body, but I am very much interested in the views of that organization on this important public matter, and in the views of the Treasurer a3 far as he is free to make them known. I ask him, therefore, whether he will be good enough to lay this correspondence on the table in the Library. If the Treasurer does not feel free to table the correspondence without reference to the Taxpayers’ Association, will he obtain the necessary permission to do so, so that we may have access to these letters?


.- In a regulation issued under the Transport Workers’ Act, it was stipulated that all seamen who registered for employment under the act before the 1st of March, would receive preference in employment on ships trading along the coast of Australia; but a fortnight ago a system was introduced of first and second preferences. Men who registered before the 1st of March, and have been employed for two months or more, are given first preference, while those who have not been able to get a ship, or have been employed for less than two months are given second preference. Some men obtained employment on ships which were put in for overhaul before they were able to complete two months’ service, and those men have, as the result, been placed upon the second preference list. They were told, when being paid off, that they would be picked up again, but the mates and engineers find that they are unable to honour that promise because of the recently introduced regulation. Some of the men failed to complete the two months’ service by only a few days. I trust that this matter will be taken up by the AttorneyGeneral’s Department, and that the undertaking given to the men when they registered will be kept.


.- The Minister for the Interior (Mr. Paterson) stated to-day that a report had reached him in regard to the production of power alcohol in Australia. There is in my electorate a small plant engaged in the production of power alcohol” and I should be obliged if the Minister will make available to me a copy of this report. It would be an excellent thing for the industry if it were enacted that a certain specified percentage of power alcohol should be included in all petrol sold.


.- I understand that the Victorian authorities have suspended the motor service which formerly operated between Melbourne and Hay, thus causing considerable inconvenience. Though this is not a federal matter, I understand that an interstate transport conference is to be held some time later in the year, and I should like to know just when the conference is to be held, and whether this and similar matters will receive consideration by, it.

Treasurer · Corio · UAP

– The honorable member for Batman (Mr. Brennan) asked whether certain correspondence that passed between myself and the. president of the Taxpayers’ Association of Victoria, would be laid on the table in the Library. This matter has some small public significance, and for my part I should be quite willing to accede to the honorable member’s request. However, although the correspondence is not personal or confidential, I feel that in decency I should communicate with the president of the Taxpayers’

Association, and obtain his permission before making the correspondence public. When that permission is obtained, I shall have pleasure in doing what the honorable member has asked.

The honorable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr. Holloway) raised the matter of the provision of fishermen’s havens, and the making of other improvements around the coast of Australia. He suggested that the matter had been linked up with a Commonwealth grant to the States a little while ago. The position is that the. Commonwealth made available £1,000,000 to all the States, and the proportion allocated to Victoria was £225,000. The Commonwealth imposed no conditions as. to how the money should be applied, merely asking that the States should inform it as to what use was made of the money. The government of Victoria elected to spend its share on flood relief, and the Commonwealth Government agreed. As far as I know, the money was used entirely for that purpose. The matter of fishermen’s havens and small ports around the coast is a separate one. and was put up to the Commonwealth Government some time ago. The Commonwealth Government communicated with all the State governments to obtain their views as to the worthwhileness of the proposal, and a variety of replies was obtained, most of them evincing little enthusiasm. I shall bring the matter under the notice of the Prime Minister, but I do not want to commit the Government in the matter in any way.

During question-time this morning, the honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Beasley) asked whether the Government had any statement to make regarding the international situation. I am now able to inform the honorable member that, at the meeting of the Council of the League of Nations on the 11th May, a resolution was adopted which recalled the conclusions reached and decisions taken in the Italo-Abyssinian dispute since the 3rd October, 1935, and continued to the following effect: -

The Council of the League of Nations is of the opinion that further time is necessary to permit its Members to consider the situation created by the grave new step taken by the Italian Government, decides to resume its deliberations on this subject on the 15th June, and considers in the meantime that there is no cause for modifying the measures previously adopted in collaboration by Members of the League.

Representatives of Chile and Ecuador, whilst agreeing to the resolution, made a reservation regarding the last paragraph of it, and expressed the view that sanctions should be raised forthwith.

Mr Beasley:

-Did the Austrian representative have anything to say?


– The official telegrams mention only Chile and Ecuador.

As has been fully reported in the press, the Council was advised at the commencement of the meeting, that the Italian representative hadbeen recalled to Rome. Italy, however, has not given any intimation of what its future attitude as to continuation of League membership will be.

The question of sanctions is one which is being most earnestly considered by the Commonwealth Government, and also by every Member State of the League. The Commonwealth Government is of the opinion that the Covenant itself, as well as the existing League machinery to establish collective security, and to maintain the rule of law in international relations, should be re-examined in the light of experience of the last six months.

In the meantime, sanctions will ‘be continued by League Members until the 15th June, when the question will be reviewed. The action taken throughout this dispute by the Commonwealth Government and by all other governments of the Member Stateshas been collective, and the same risks and responsibilities have been shared by all.

The sanctions policy has been one for consideration and recomanendation by the Co-ordination Committee, acting on behalf of all Member States, and the question of their removal or continuation of sanctions will no doubt be referred to that body to ensure that the collective principleis maintained. In the meantime, the Commonwealth Government feels it would be unwise for individual governments to announce publicly their views and attitude on the question while sanctions are still in force, as this would only bring about disunity among League Members, and add to the difficulties of arriving at a final solution.

Mr Beasley:

– Is it not likely that the last country to lift sanctions will suffer most in the re-opening of the trade relations with Italy?


– As sanctions were imposed collectively by all Members of the League, with one or two exceptions, I assume that when it is decided to lift them they will be. lifted collectively, except, perhaps, in regard to one or two countries, not among the great nations of the world, that have expressed other views.

Minister for the Interior · Gippsland · CP

– I will bring the subject of seamen’s licences, referred to by the honorable member for Cook (Mr. Garden), under the notice of the Minister representing the AttorneyGeneral. I shall ascertain for the honorable member for Herbert (Mr. Martens) whether any report on power alcohol is available, and, if so, whether it can be made available to the honorable member. In reply to the remarks of the honorable member for Riverina (Mr. Nock), no arrangements have been made yet for the holding of a transport conference, but it is proposed to place the subject on the agenda for the next Premiers Conference, which is expected to be held in September.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

House adjourned at 5.48 p.m.

page 1776


The following answers to questions were circulated : -

War Service Homes.

Postal Department: South Melbourne Garage.

Air-Mail Services.

Broadcastof Medical Talks

Mr Mulcahy:

y asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -

  1. Hashe seen the report of the action taken by the Medical Board of Victoria in erasing the name of Dr. J. P. Hennessy from themedical register of that State on four grounds, of which two were -

    1. That he associated himself with Northey du Maurier … a person advertising for the purpose of obtaining patients; and
    2. b) That he covered Northey du

Maurier … in respect of surgical operations and by his presence, assistance and . . . co-operation did enable du Maurier to engage in . . . medical practice or to accept fees in relation thereto?

  1. Is it a fact that the management of 2KY radio station refused to allow du Maurier to speak over that station because of the number of complaints from persons who had consulted him?
  2. Will the Minister see that the public is not imposed on by du Maurier, and take steps to prevent him from broadcasting medical matters over any radio station to mislead the public and endanger health?
Mr Archdale Parkhill:

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

  1. Yes; I have seen the newspaper report.
  2. I have no knowledge of the fact.
  3. The matter is being pursued with a view to ensuring that the public shall not be mislead by any transmissions from the broadcasting stations.

Banking and Monetary Commission


n asked the Prime Minister, upon notice-

  1. What is the total expense incurred to date by the Banking and Monetary Commission ?
  2. What payments for fees, travelling expenses, or other purposes have been made to each individual engaged in the work of the commission ?
Mr Lyons:

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

  1. £4,841.
  2. As under -
BARKER, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · CP; LP from 1944; LCL from 1951; LP from 1954

n asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -

Whether the chairman of the Banking and Monetary Commission is accompanied fay his associate; if so, is the judge’s associate in receipt of fees or expenses or honorarium from the Commonwealth Government?

Mr Lyons:

– The answer to the honorable member’s question is “ No “.

Australian Defence Policy.

Mr Brennan:

n asked the Minister for

Defence, upon notice -

In view of the fact that ithas been publicly stated that the Minister on a recent date at a public meeting in Sydney said, regarding our defence policy : “ The basis of that policy and the detailed plan of development conformed with certain guiding principles for Imperial and local defence as laid down by the Imperial Conference, and which had been endorsed by the best advice “, will he inform the House -

To what Imperial Conference did the Minister refer, and when and where was it held?

Are the termsavailable in which these guiding principles were expressed?

Whose is the “ best advice “ which endorsed these guiding principles, and where and when was it given?

Mr Archdale Parkhill:

– The report quoted by the honorable member is not exactly what was said. The statement was - “ The basis of the Government’s policy and the detailed plan of development conformed with certain guiding principles for Imperial and local defence as laid down by the Imperial Conference, and has been fully endorsed by the best advice obtainable at home and abroad “. The answers are -

  1. The Imperial Conferences of 1923 and 1926 which were held in London.
  2. The guiding principles are quoted on pages8, 9, 11 and 15 of the printed copy of the statement of the Government’s defence policy made by me on the 2nd December, 1935 and circulated to honorable members.
  3. As stated on page 12 of the document mentioned, the basis of the Government’s policy for land defence subject to certain decisions on priority, is the report submitted by the Senior Officers Conference 1920, which comprised our leading soldiers in the Great War. On page 15 it is stated that the. basis of the Government’s policy for air defence, subject to certain modifications which are under consideration, is the reportmade by Sir John Salmond in 1928. The resources of the Committee of Imperial Defence, Admiralty, War Office and Air Ministry have always been at the disposal of Commonwealth governments for technical advice and have been frequently availed of. The Council of Defence is the advisory body on matters referred to it by the Government, and its last meeting was in June, 1935. The Defence Committee is the departmental advisory body, and it meets at frequent intervals.

Trade with New Zealand.

Mr Forde:

e asked the Acting Minister for Commerce, upon notice-

  1. What is the present position of the negotiations between the Commonwealth Government and the Government of New Zealand on the question of the embargo on citrus fruits from Australia, and the embargo on potatoes from New Zealand?
  2. Who is conducting the negotiations on behalf of the Commonwealth Government?
  3. What steps, if any, have been taken to review generally the Australia-New Zealand trade agreement, with the object of material advantage to both parties to such agreement?
Mr Thorby:

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

  1. At the request of the New Zealand. Government the New Zealand Trade Commissioner in Australia will attend the forthcoming meeting of the Australian Agricultural Council when these matters will be discussed. In addition, the Government is at present preparing information for re-submission to the Government of New Zealand as the basis of further negotiations. ,
  2. The right honorable the Prime Minister.
  3. The agreement as a whole has undoubtedly benefited the industries of both countries, and favoured Australia in particular, therefore, a general review is not considered necessary.

Wheat Marketing

BARKER, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · CP; LP from 1944; LCL from 1951; LP from 1954

n asked the Acting Minister for Commerce, upon notice -

  1. Has each State government and Parliament the power to -

    1. institute a compulsory wheat pool within the State:
    2. take a referendum of growers of wheat on the question whether the growers favour a compulsory wheat pool for either State or Commonwealth; or the wheat scheme agreed upon at Canberra in October, 1935 ; or neither scheme?
  2. Will the Commonwealth Government grant to the States for use in such a poll the roll of persons to whom wheat bounty is payable?
  3. Has any State government commenced to take a poll of growers on the question of wheat marketing or on the lack of it?
Mr Thorby:

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

  1. The question of the powers of both Commonwealth and State governments to effect compulsory pools lor wheat was traversed at length by the honorable the Attorney-General of the Commonwealth at a conference of the wheat industry convened by the honorable ‘ thu Minister for Commerce in October, 1035.

The proceedings of this conference were published as a Parliamentary Paper (No. lol)), and the honorable member’s attention is directed thereto.

It should also be rioted that a case now being argued before the Privy Council may have a bearing on the question.

  1. The Commonwealth will grant to the State any information it has, but for the past three years the States have distributed funds to the growers of wheat, and they themselves will hare necessary rolls.
  2. From time to time in past years State governments have taken polls on the question of wheat marketing.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 14 May 1936, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.