14th Parliament · 2nd Session
Mr. Speaker (Hon. G. J. Bell) took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.
– by leave - The honorable member forDalley (Mr. Rosevear) asked me last night why a Chinese named Lum Roy, of Condobolin, New South Wales, charged with being a prohibited immigrant, was allowed to remain in Australia. The facts are these: -
Lum Roy landed in Australia in 1921 without authority, and was thus liable to deportation as a prohibited immigrant. He was not discovered until this year, sixteen years later. During that interval of time he had established a reputation as one of the most respected citizens of Condobolin. He conducted a large marketgardening business, providing employment for eight men, and when it was learned in Condobolin that it was proposed to take proceedings under the Immigration Act for the purpose of deporting him the strongest possible representations were made by the Mayor of Condobolin, the president of the Lachlan Shire, the heads of local business houses, and others, that he should be allowed to remain in Australia. It was urged that he was extremely liberal towards all good causes, being charitable to an exceptional degree, and that the poor people of the district were at times provided by him with vegetables at no charge whatever. The general consensus of opinion was that he filled a very definite need in the community, and that his departure would be a great loss to the town and district. I propose to quote from a few of the letters that I have received from representative citizens. The Mayor of Condobolin wrote as follows: -
The accused person has been known to me since his coming to Condobolin,some sixteen years ago, and I can confidently state that he has been, right through, an exceptionally good all-round citizen, honest in business, of good behaviour, charitable to a high degree, particularly in helping the hospital and other local institutions.
The president of the Lachlan Shire Council wrote as follows: -
LumRoyis a very honest and charitable man, and is known far and wide for his generosity, particularly to the poor, who are at times supplied by him with vegetables at no charge whatever. It is felt that if he is removed from here his gardening interests will be disposed of and the property put to other use, which would mean a great loss to this town and district. … He has intelligence and ability above most Chinamen, and many Europeans, too, and takes an active interest in all associations benefiting the town and district.
The manager of Thomas Watson Limited wrote as follows : -
Lum Hoy is a first-class type of business man, very popular and scrupulously honest, and employs a number of Chinese gardeners, who are consequently dependent upon him for a living. Since he has been in Condobolin my company have done a very large amount of business with him, and hehas always met his obligations promptly, usually within seven days. He subscribes to practically all charitable organizations in the district, and is always a willing contributor to any organization connected with the district’s progress.
In these circumstances, it was felt that the discretionary power of the Minister should be exercised in favour of this man. This is not the first occasion on which such discretion has been similarly exercised. In another case presenting somewhat similar features Mr. Blakeley, as Minister for Home Affairs in 1930, used his discretion in deciding not to enforce the departure of a Chinese who had entered Australia irregularly in 1912, some eighteen years earlier. These cases, dealt with in accordance with a Cabinet decision, are so very exceptional that honorable members may rest assured that there is no danger to the White Australia policy through such occasional acts of justifiable leniency.
– I now ask the Minister for the Interior, whether, simultaneously with the arrest of this Chinaman on the ground that he was a prohibited immigrant, certain other Chinese who had resided for the same length of time in Australia were also arrested and deported. Will the Minister explain the reason for this discrimination against Chinese who are labourers, compared with the treatment meted out to this wealthy Chinese merchant?
– In the cases referred to by the honorable gentleman, the residence in Australia was for a much shorter period than was that of LumRoy. The ministerial discretion to which I have referred is exercised only in cases in which residence has extended over a considerable number of years - something over fifteen years.
– In view of the apprehension that exists in regard to the supply of wireless valves by independent manufacturers of wireless sets, can the Minister for Trade and Customs promise that he will take whatever action may be necessary to prevent the creation of a monopoly in connexion with that commodity ?
– Manufacturers of wireless sets need have no apprehension in regard to the supply of wireless valves. Under the Government’s trade diversion policy, there is a prohibition on the importation of valves from the United States of America; but, because valves of certain types are not made in Australia, importers are allowed to import from overseas valves of other types up to a quota of 50 per cent. of their previous requirements.
Mr.curtin. - Including the United States of America?
-IncludingtheUnited States of America. Valves of other types can be obtained in Australia. The honorable gentleman, who in some cases is a supporter of Australian industries, might commend to wireless manufacturers the purchase of Australian valves.
– Will the AttorneyGeneral state whether it is intended to introduce during this session, or that which is to follow it, a bill to amend the Bankruptcy Act?
– It is hoped to introduce that bill during the present session.
Report of Tariff Board
– Will the Minister for Trade and Customs state whether the report of the Tariff Board on the manufacture of motor car chassis in Australia has yet been received by the Government? If not, will he take whatever steps he is empowered to take to expedite its presentation?
– This report has not yet been received. Inquiries have been made to ascertain when it will be, and : the information in my possession leads me to believe that it is unlikely to be received for some weeks.
– I ask the Minister for Commerce whether the Government has yet been able to give final consideration to the request of the poultry industry for assistance, in view of the extraordinary price of poultry foodstuffs?
– Consideration was given to that matter. The subject has been raised again during the last week, but the Government has not yet had time to consider the latest representations, including those of the honorable member for Parramatta and the Premier of New South Wales.
– I repeat the question which I addressed last night to the Attorney-General as to the reasons which actuated the Government in not proceeding with certain prosecutions which had been instituted against alleged Communists and the Friends of the Soviet Union.
– The prosecutions to which the honorable member refers were instituted by the Commonwealth Government consequent upon the issue of a writ against the Commonwealth by the Friends of the Soviet Union. The whole matter of the action and the prosecutions was subsequently discussed, if I may be permitted to say so, between the honorable member for Bourke (Mr. Blackburn). representing one side, and myself, representing the other. As the result of these discussions, I communicated with the honorable member for Bourke, telling him that I had given the matter much thought, and that, in particular, I was very reluctant to allow the proceedings to go to court at a time when the whole subject of the form and content of the Crimes Act was before me with a view to its ultimate consideration by Cabinet. I, therefore, told him that I was anxious, as I knew he was, that such a question should be considered on its merits, and not to the accompaniment of allegation and counter-allegation. I therefore proposed to him a mutual settlement of the matter which was agreeable to him and to those whom he represented, and so the prosecutions were withdrawn.
Operations of Poachers
– Will the Minister representing the Minister in charge of Territories ask him to obtain a report from the Administrator at Rabaul, if necessary, and, if not, will he inform the House as to what stage has been reached in regard to the provision of a patrol boat to prevent the poaching of trochus shell and other marine substances from the reefs and islands in the Mandated Territory of New Guinea?
– The question of patrol boats concerns the Department of the Interior, the Department of Trade and Customs and the Territories branch. The Customs Department looks after interests around the coast generally, and it is having a large patrol boat built which will be stationed qt Thursday Island, and will co-operate with the patrol vessel at Darwin. The Administrator at Rabaul requires a patrol boat somewhat of the type of that being built for the Customs Department. When decision has been made as to whether a vessel of that type will suit him, action will be taken by the Government to provide it.
– Is the Minister aware that the position as regards patrol boats to prevent poaching in the Mandated Territory was approximately the same twelve months ago, when he visited the territory, as that outlined by him to-day? Can he do anything to expedite the reaching of a decision in this important matter?
– Yes, I shall undertake to do that. It is entirely a matter for the Administrator to say what type of vessel he requires, and then he will get it.
Pearl Shell Industry: Arrest of Japanese Sampan
– In view of the ignominious situation which has arisen in regard to the arrest of Japanese luggers, and the towing of the Government patrol boat by one of the arrested vessels, is it possible, as suggested in the press this morning, that a claim for salvage will be made by the owners of one lugger on the Commonwealth Government? Is it possible, also, that legal action will be taken against the Government by the owners of the New Guinea Maru, because it was arrested by the Larrakia, . and, later, allowed to go without being brought to shore ?
– The answer to both questions is “ No “.
– Following on the unfortunate series of incidents in connexion with the patrol boat in northern Australian waters, which has led to a certain amount of derision in the mind of the public, will the Minister see that patrol boats of sufficient size, and, possibly, aeroplanes, are sent to the Northern Territory to patrol our northern waters ?
– I have asked the Administrator at Darwin to furnish me with a report as to whether the Larrakia; together with the Ro’oganah, are able to carry out an efficient patrol pending the completion of the larger vessel now under construction.
– Will the Minister for Commerce state the object of the publication recently of the regulation under the Wool Publicity and Research Act - Statutory Rule No. 61 of 1937, which provides for the expenses and additional fees amounting to £3 3s. a day for either the chairman or member or deputy member of the board while travelling abroad ? Is there any proposal to send officers of this board overseas, thus adding to the burden which the industry already has to carry?
– The moneys available for wool publicity and research are subscribed by the industry itself. The control of the board and its funds are in the hands of representatives elected by the wool industry, and their desires in connexion with this matter will be assented to.
-Regulation 4 of the Wool Publicity and Research (Fees and Expenses) Regulations authorizes the payment of £3 3s. a day for members of the research committee whilst travelling overseas. Was this regulation drawn up by members of the committee themselves, and, if so, has it been approved by the rank and file of the body which elects the committee, or was the matter decided by the Government itself?
– The whole purpose of the raising of this money for wool publicity is to provide a fund to be expended in co-operation with all other wool producing and wool manufacturing countries, which are themselves subscribing very substantial amounts, first in the conducting of a campaign to increase the use of raw wool in the manufacture of human garments, and secondly, to enable research to be made in order to ascertain more attractive methods of using wool, and for other purposes. That, of course, involves consultation between the authorities in various countries who deal with this matter. It is quite obvious that it would be impossible to have such a consultation in a satisfactory way without some of the members of the board which controls this fund being able to visit other countries and deal with matters first hand. In fact, the honorable member will remember that representatives of South Africa, New Zealand and Great Britain, some six months ago, came specially to Australia to discuss the wool question. It is anticipated that, similarly, visits abroad will have to be made by those controlling the Australian fund. In any event the desire to have this regulation brought into being is entirely a matter for the wool industry itself.
– Does the Government consider that when this House approved of the wool publicity legislation it also approved of the principle of the moneys collected being spent on trips abroad by members of the board?
– The total amount that will be raised by the wool publicity scheme will be approximately from £75,000 to £80,000 per annum. The six men who have been elected to the board from the different States to carry out the executive actions of the board are all acting in a purely honorary capacity, and they attend the ordinary meetings of the board at considerable personal loss. I venture to say that the great bulk of the wool producers of Australia are satisfied with their nominees and with their actions as members of the board.
– Is it the practice and the principle followed by the Government for the Government and the members of the board for wool publicity and research to expend moneys from a fund contributed by the wool-growers themselves without any authorization from those people who actually contribute the money?
– The underlying principle governing expenditure of wool publicity funds was fully explained to this House when this Parliament carried the present legislation without a division. Whatever is being done at the present time is being done under that legislation which honorable members opposite, as well as honorable members on this side of the House, passed on the voices.
Mr. McEWEN.Inviewofthepending renewal of the Federal Aid Roads Agreement, have representations been made to the Commonwealth Government by any of the States, and, if so, which States, that they should be permitted to use some of the funds allocated to them under the act for purposes other than the construction of roads ?
– In certain instances such requests have been received. I shall obtain a precise list, and let the honorable member have it.
– Can the Attorney-General state clearly and briefly why the Governor-General’s Speech contains no reference to such an important matter as the proposed Pacific pact?
Mr. SPEAKER (Hon. G. J. Bell).The Address-in-Reply to the GovernorGeneral’s Speech is now under the consideration of the House, and I would suggest that the honorable member might raise the matter during the debate.
– Referring to the proposed conference between representatives of -the Commonwealth and the States to consider the subject of unemployment insurance, will the Acting Prime Minister make a statement to the House, for the benefit of the country, indicating generally what it is that the Commonwealth Government proposes to have considered at the conference? “Which particular feature of the report on unemployment does the Government intend to recommend the States to co-operate with it in implementing, and does the Government contemplate having a bill prepared when the conference meets? “Will the Acting Prime Minister explain why he has sat on the report for approximately four months, and now asks the States to deal with the matter without having had an opportunity to consider the report at all?
– It was felt that a report of this importance should be presented to Parliament, and that the Parliament was entitled to the first possession of it. The Government has given consideration to the contents of the report, and, when it meets the representatives ofthe States, it will be prepared to state completely what it desires. Anybody reading that report must see that, in the final analysis, the scheme can be implemented only by co-operation between the Commonwealth and the States. The Commonwealth Government desires that co-operation in the fullest possible degree, and it believes that the course which it is pursuing will produce that result
– Are the States to be invited to consider a series of separate State schemes of unemployment insurance, or an Australian scheme under the control of the Commonwealth Government,or a series of separate State schemes with a measure of Commonwealth control to secure uniformity? I desire to have that information in order to assist the. States, so that they may come to the conference, whenever it is held, with some definite understanding as to what aspects they are likely to be asked to consider. Furthermore, if the right honorable gentleman is not prepared to tell me which of these proposals the States are to consider, will be explain to the House why he is not able to do so?
– It is quite obvious that the suggestions made by Mr. Ince, the British expert, who has reported on this matter, are for alternative proposals, each of which has certain merits.Whether the scheme be operated bythe States or by the Commonwealth, or by the States in co-operation with the Commonwealth, what the Commonwealth Government desires is that the States should consider each proposal and come to a conference prepared to discuss them all, putting forward reasons why any one of them is better than the others. At the same time, the Commonwealth will state its reasons for preferring any particular course’ of action. The proper place for that to take place is at the conference with the States, because subsequent action to be taken by the Commonwealth will be as the result of that co-operation and that discussion. The decisions of the conference can only be implemented by action in this Parliament.
-Isitafactthat,in the report submitted by Mr. Ince, of the three alternative schemes; the second provides for an Australia-wide scheme under the control of the Commonwealth Government? If that is the case, has the Government made up its mind as to whether that proposal is capable of being carried out by the Commonwealth? If so, why is it necessary to have a conference with the States?
– It is quite obvious to any one who knows anything of the constitutional relations of the Commonwealth and the States that it would not be possible for the Commonwealth Government to carry out that particular recommendation except with the co-operation and approval of the States. Consequently, it is necessary to convene a conference to discuss all three schemes.
– With reference to the national insurance scheme, is it the intention of the Government to act as the same political party did about ten years ago, when it brought forward a bill, took it to the second-reading stage, but went no further, and fought an election on the issue ?
– Order ! The honorable member is not in order in asking a question in that way.
– It may be recalled that a proposal was brought down in regard to a national insurance scheme, and the reason it was not carried further was because a questionnaire sent to the States was not replied to in time for the then Government to act upon it before it went to the country in 1929, and suffered defeat. As a result of that, the scheme was never brought into operation.
– If the delay in connexion with the proposed national insurance scheme in 1928 was due to the failure of the States to answer a questionnaire on this matter, can the Acting PrimeMinister tell me what the Government has been doing since 1932 in regard to this most important matter?
– All the data obtained by myself to bring down that very comprehensive bill in 1928 were available to the Labour Government in 1930-31 to act upon if it so desired. Since 1932, as the honorable member well knows, this whole question has been examined with the object, if possible, of including unemployment benefits in connexion with national insurance. It was explained in 1928 that the reason why unemployment benefits could not be included at that time was because sufficient data were not then available. “We have now had an opportunity to obtain that data and the machinery to provide unemployment figures, and, in addition, we have had the benefit of advice of two of the most experienced minds in Great Britain to help to prepare a report.
– by leave - Serious volcanic disturbances took place at Rabaul, the capital of the Mandated Territory of New Guinea, on the 29th May, 1937, and following days. Vulcan Island, in Rabaul harbour, erupted at4 p.m. on Saturday, the 29th May, emitting dense volumes of smoke and covering Rabaul with volcanic dust. Matupi, about 2 miles from Rabaul, also erupted, on the 30th May. The
European, Asiatic, and native ‘population of Rabaul was evacuated to Kokopo, about 20 miles away. Both volcanoes continued active until the morningof the 3rd June. Heavy depositsof pumice dust and mud fell on Rabaul, breaking countless trees and blocking streets, which became quagmires. The harbour became impassable, owing to a thick layer of floating pumice. Most of the buildings in Rabaul are intact and unharmed, but are covered thickly with volcanic dust.
Both volcanoes are apparently now quite dead, and the harbour is clear and available for shipping. The cleaning of the town is progressing rapidly, and Government departments have returned to resume their ordinary activities. Some of the commercial activities have also been resumed in the town, and permission was given for the European residents and the Chinese community again to take up residence in Rabaul as from the 10th June. One European has been missing since Saturday, the 29th May, and search has failed to locate him. The deaths of natives definitely known at present number less than twenty.The Administrator has been asked as to whether his inquiries to date disclose any further deaths, or that any number of natives has not been accounted for. Advice has just been received from the Administrator that the captain of the American vessel Golden Bear has reported that the wireless operator, Mr. Victor Costner, has been missing since the day of the eruption. He was last seen walking on the wharf from the ship late on the 29th May, but no news has been obtainable regarding his subsequent movements or fate.
The first reports received from the territory of the eruption indicated that a serious situation had arisen at Rabaul, and that, in consequence of the evacuation of the population of Europeans, Asiatics, and natives, an acute food shortage was imminent. H.M.A.S. Moresby was diverted from survey work in the Gulf of Carpentaria to proceed immediately to Rabaul, and the motor vessel Malaita, of the Burns, Philp Line, which was then at Brisbane, was commissioned to proceed to Rabaul with all speed with medical stores, provisions, and other necessities. The women and children who were resident at Rabaul at the time of the eruption were offered passages to Australia, and 75 of them left by the steamship Montoro, which is due in Sydney on the 19th June.
The question of the retention of Rabaul as the capital of the Territory of New Guinea is receiving consideration, and inquiries have been made with a view to obtaining the services of a qualified scientist who could proceed to the area and examine and report upon the volcanic and seismic dangers from the point of view of the safety of the inhabitants and the administrative and commercial activities. On the receipt of the report, the question of the advisableness of the- appointment of a committee to investigate the suitability of Rabaul as the capital and the possible selection of another location will be considered.
– Has the Acting Prime Minister yet had time to peruse a statement made in London by the honorable member for Richmond (Mr. R. Green) to the effect that Australian butter, meat and other primary products were sold in England as Empire products, and also his statement that butter marked “Empire” is not always as good as it should be, and that margarine is added after the butter reaches England? In view of the fact that the honorable member for Richmond is a supporter of the Government in this House, and represents one of the biggest butter producing areas in Australia, will the Acting Prime Minister have inquiries made as to the truth of these statements, and as to whether Australian butter is adulterated by food adulterators overseas to the detriment of the primary producers of Australia!
– In so far as the sale of Australian primary products in Great Britain is concerned, particularly in regard to meat in respect of which it is impossible to ensure continuous supplies, it is the practice to sell those commodities as Empire products. That was always the case with butter and meat until Australian butter production and export became sufficiently great to enable the word “ Australia “ to have some definite goodwill asset. With regard to the use of the word “ Empire “, it is a matter entirely for those who own those products to use their own discretion. With regard to adulteration, that is definitely a matter outside our own control. The bulk of the efforts of the Government have been designed to secure the adoption of the best business practices so that Australian butter will be sold at the best possible prices in England.
– Did the Premiers Conference which met in Adelaide in August, 1936, authorize a further conference on the co-ordination of transport and border railway rates? If so, which government has undertaken the responsibility for convening such a conference? If the conference is to be convened by the Commonwealth, what action does the Minister propose to take?
– Such a resolution was carried at the Adelaide Conference. It would be for the Commonwealth to convene such a conference when it is called. Advantage was taken by the Commonwealth Government of the presence in England of Mr. Simms, of the Commonwealth Railways, and Major Northcote, of the Defence Department, to get these gentlemen to prepare a report on transport conditions in that country. Mr. Simms also prepared a report on transport in South Africa, and Major Northcote one on American and Canadian transport systems. These reports have only just come to hand, and there has not yet been time to consider them. When they have been considered it is felt that the information contained in them will be helpful, and a decision will then be made with reference to the convening of a conference.
– I ask honorable members not to continue asking questions similar to several that have been asked this morning on the subject of national insurance to which the Acting Prime Minister has already given answers. This procedure is developing into a debate on the merits of a certain scheme, and that certainly is not in order.
The following papers were presented : -
Superannuation Act - Fourteenth Annual Report of the Superannuation Board, for year 1935-36.
Seat of Government AcceptanceAct and Seat of Government (Administration) Act - Ordinance of 1937 -No. 7 - Canberra Community Hospital (Inquiry).
Wool Publicity and Research Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1937, No. 61.
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League of Nations - Seventeenth Assembly - September-October, 1936 - Report of the Australian Delegation.
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International Labour Organization of the League of Nations - Twenty-first and Twenty-second (Maritime) Sessions, Geneva, October, 1936 - Reports of the Australian Delegates, together with Draft Conventions and Recommendations adopted.
The reports which I have just tabled of the 21st and 22nd Maritime Sessions of the International Labour Conference, held at Geneva in October last, have appended to them the texts of the draft conventions and recommendations. The Government delegate was Mr. L. F. East, I.S.O. ; the employers’ delegate, Mr. C. B. L. Filmer, D.S.C. and the workers’ delegate, Mr. J. A. Tudehope. Representation at the International Labour Conference consists, as honorable members are aware, of government and nongovernment delegates. The nongovernment delegates represent respectively the employers and the workers, and they are chosen in agreement with the industrial organizations concerned. The Conference discusses matters on the agenda, and may, by a two-thirds majority, adopt international regulations in respect of social and industrial matters in the form of draft conventions, which are subsequently submitted to governments for consideration with a view to ratification and implementation.
The second session in October was necessary to comply with certain constitutional requirements in connexion with the revision of an existing convention.
The Conference was attended by the representatives of 33 States, of which 29 were maritime countries possessing, in the aggregate, 84 per cent. of the merchant shipping tonnage of the world. The United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics took part in the Conference for the first time.
The Conference adopted draft conventions concerning -
In addition, the Convention of 1920, concerning the minimum age for employment at sea, was revised, so as to raise the age from fourteen to fifteen years.
Recommendations were adopted in regard to hours of work and manning, and also seamen’s welfare in port, while resolutions were passed calling for the study generally of certain questions with a view to their being placed on the agenda of a future maritime session of the Conference.
It is claimed that the draft conventions and recommendations adopted at these maritime sessions of the Conference, together with those adopted at the earlier maritime sessions in 1920, 1926 and 1929, now provide an international labour code for seamen in accordance with the spirit of the general regulations already accepted for workers as a whole.
The Commonwealth Government has ratified all the earlier maritime conventions with the exception of one relating to the repatriation of seamen. The provisions of this particular convention are, in practice, being fully complied with by the Commonwealth. The law regarding the repatriation of seamen from places abroad, other than the United Kingdom, is contained in the British Merchant Shipping Act, and the United Kingdom has postponed ratification, pending ratification by -at least six of the principal maritime powers, of which, so far, only three have ratified the convention. .
The provisions of three of the newconventions, namely those relating to the manning of ships, the liability of the ship-owner towards sick and injured seamen, and the establishment of minimum requirements of professional capacity for masters and officers, are already covered by the Commonwealth Navigation. Act, but some minor amendments will be necessary to bring the Australian legislation strictly into conformity with the conventions.
Hours of work and holidays with pay are covered by various industrial awards relative to officers and most, if not all, of the ratings employed on our coastal fleet. These provisions are, in many respects, more liberal to seamen than are those of the new conventions.
The conventions and recommendations adopted at the 21st and 22nd sessions qf the Conference have been referred to the several State governments, and are now under consideration by the Commonwealth departments concerned.
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Straits - Convention regarding the Regime of the ‘Straits (the Straits of the Dardanelles, the Seta of Marmora and the Bosphorus) - Signed at Montreux, 20th July. 1030.
The Convention regarding the regime of the Straits - the Straits of the Dardanelles, the Sea of Marmora, and the Bosphorus - was signed at Montreux on the 20th July, 1936. Notice of His Majesty’s ratification in respect of the Commonwealth of Australia was deposited with the French Government on the 15th September. The Convention came into force on the 9th November.
Convention fob Facilitating International Circulation.
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League of Nations - Convention for facilitating International Circulation of Films of Educational Character, 11th October, 1933.
The Convention for facilitating the international circulation of films of an educational character was drawn up at Geneva on the 11th October, 1933, at a conference held under the auspices of the League of Nations. Accession in respect of the Commonwealth of Australia, including the territories of Papua and Norfolk Island, and the Mandated Territories of New Guinea and Nauru, was registered with the League of Nations on the 23rd December, 1936, and came into force 90 days after that date.
– I direct the attention of the Minister for the Interior to complaints that alien migrants admitted to Australia are, very often soon after their arrival, thrown upon the resources of the State governments, particularly in Queensland. Shortly after the admission of these people they have been found on the dole. In some cases this has occurred within a few weeks, although it is provided that aliens should be admitted only if they are in possession of a certain amount of capital and .are guaranteed maintenance for five years. What explanation has the Minister to make concerning this most unsatisfactory state of affairs ?
– It came under my notice two or three weeks ago that the Minister for Labour in Queensland, Mr. Hynes, was reported in the press to have said that Italian migrants admitted to this country were to be found on the dole within a very short time of their arrival - I think .he mentioned five months. I immediately made contact with the Government of Queensland, and asked to be supplied with a list of such persons, and any particulars available. I have .since received a list of five names. Upon examination it was found that every one of the five Italians named had been in Australia for more than five years. It is true that their wives and families had been brought here subsequently - in one instance as recently as nine months; in another, eighteen months; and in the other three instances more than two and a half years ago. Three of the five Italians named were naturalized British subjects, and in consequence their wives and children were also British subjects. So far, therefore, I have received nothing to support the report that recently-arrived migrants were to be found on the dole. I assure the honorable member that every effort is made to safeguard the employment position in Australia before anyalien migrants are admitted to the country. The authorities in Queensland are communicated with and a report is obtained from the Queensland police with reference to the employment position in the district to which the migrants intend to go. My department has to be satisfied that the nominator of the migrants has given an undertaking that the persons he nominates will not become a charge upon the State and that employment will be found for them, which will not involve the dismissal of any person already employed. I may add that Italian- migration to North Queensland is at present practically at a standstill. The figures showing net arrivals of Italians for the first nine months of this year, which are the latest figures available, indicate a great diminution of migration compared with last year and the preceding year. Last year about 1,450 Italians arrived in Australia ; in the preceding year the number was about 1,150, and for the first nine months of this year 510 were admitted.
” THE TIME IS RIPE.”.
– Has the attention of the Attorney-General been drawn to the publication of a book called The Time is Ripe, by Montague Grover, in which the right honorable gentleman is pictured as the dictator of the forthcoming Australian Soviet? Has the AttorneyGeneral anything to say on the subject ?
– My attention has been drawn to the publication referred to, which I have read. The book con tains flattering references to myself, and, therefore is, I understand, having a very good circulation.
– I ask the Minister for Trade and Customs whether his attention has been drawn to a film which is being exhibited in Australia, entitled The Charge of the Light Brigade, in the preparation of which, apparently, very great cruelty to horses was involved. If it is a fact that horses were cruelly treated in the making of this film, does the Minister not consider that it would be proper for the censor to exercise his discretion and prohibit the exhibition of the picture?
– The censorship of motion picture films is in the hands of a Censorship Board, and there is alao an Appeal Tribunal. It is competent for any person to make an appeal against the exhibition of a film. I am sure that the honorable member is aware that, although it may appear from the film that horses were subjected to great cruelty in the preparation of the picture, things are not always as they seem. The horrors that are sometimes depicted are not suffered at Hollywood or elsewhere.
– Will the Minister make an inquiry into the matter?
– I shall certainly ascertain whether horses were actually subjected to cruelty in the preparation of the picture.
– Will the Acting Prime Minister inform me whether the Government has yet received from the State governments the information it desired in regard to unemployed youth? If not, are we to understand that no part of the £200,000 referred to in the GovernorGeneral’s Speech as intended for expenditure in providing employment for unemployed youth, is likely to be made available until the surveys being prepared by the States have been made available? If this is so will the Government take steps to expedite the preparation of that information in order that the greatest possible benefit may be obtained by our unemployed youth from the expenditure of this money.
– I shall refer the honorable member’s question to the Acting Minister for Defence, who is dealing with this matter.
Motion (by Dr. Earle Page) agreed to -
That the House at its rising, adjourn until Tuesday next at 3 p.m.
Debate resumed from the 17th June (vide page 40), on motion by Mr. Holt -
That the following Address-in-Reply to His Excellency the Governor-General’s Speech, be agreed to -
We, the House of Representatives of the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia, in Parliament assembled, desire to express our loyalty to our Most Gracious Sovereign, and to thank Your Excellency for the Speech which you have been pleased to address to Parliament.
.- I desire to preface my remarks on this motion by expressing my regret at the unfortunate occurrence which necessitated the holding of a by-election in the electoral division of Kennedy, but I am proud to succeed a man who was so highly regarded throughout the length and breadth of that electorate, and who was held in the greatest esteem by all members of this House. It is my modest hope that I shall worthily follow in his footsteps. I am conscious, too, of the honour that has been conferred upon me by my colleagues of the Opposition in choosing me to resume this debate on their behalf. My election as the representative of the Kennedy electorate furnished the electors with an opportunity to confirm their allegiance to the Labour party, to its policy, and to its platform. What occurred at the Kennedy by-election is likely to occur on a larger scale throughout the Commonwealth at the next general elections. The position of many members sitting opposite me to-day is threatened by the change of public opinion which has become evident, and it seems certain that, after the next elections, there will be a change of government. The political opinions of honorable members opposite are no longer shared by amajorityofthe people of Australia. The speech of the
Governor-General, delivered yesterday in the Senate, outlines the Government’s legislative programme for the coming session, and to me that Speech is evidence of the senile decay which has overtaken the Government. The electors can hope for very little at this late stage in the life of Parliament from a government which has demonstrated that it is definitely out of touch with the wants and requirements of the people. The Government, throughout its whole term of office, has exhibited a marked lack of interest in, and appreciation of, what is necessary for the proper development of Australia. It seems to think that the development of the capital cities is the development of Australia as a whole.
Last night, the honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Holt), when moving the motion for the adoption of the AddressinReply, stated that Australia was passing through a period of prosperity, and he claimed full credit for the Government for having brought about that condition. I am aware that honorable members opposite, and their supporters, are enjoying prosperity, especially those of their number who are privileged to travel the world at the people’s expense, but what of the real wealth producers of this country, the workers, and what of those who have not even a job? We have been told for the last six years by the supporters of the Government that we are living in a land of plenty, and this may be true in general, but there is no plenty for the thousands who are unable to obtain employment. They have been deprived of the right to earn a livelihood, and the Government has done very little to assist them. Little or nothing has been done to help those who are desirous of sharing in the work of building a nation, but who are denied that right. By means of a carefully planned developmental scheme much good work for the nation could be done by those thousands of men who are to-day out of work. The unemployed, and the man on the land, have received scant consideration from this Government. Certainly it voted £150,000 to the unemployed as a parting gesture last Christmas, a sum which represented about 10s. for each person unemployed. This, in itsel f, demonstrates, to my mind, the Government’s lack of sympathy with the unemployed. The Governor-General, in his Speech, stated that at the present time, unemployment had been reduced to 10 per cent., and this was cited as evidence of the improvement of the situation. The figure given, however, does not represent the actual position. lc refers only to registered trade unionists out of work, but what of the boys and girls who, during the last seven years, left school, and were unable to find employment and are still out of a job? They never became members of any trade union, and were thus never registered as unemployed. Moreover, one of the largest industrial unions in Australia keeps no record of its unemployed members. As a matter of fact, any improvement of the unemployed position has been achieved, not by this Government, but in spite of it. In Queensland, there is a Labour Government, which has consistently done everything possible to bring about an improvement in regard to unemployment, and it has succeeded in finding employment for a great many men. I have no doubt, however, that this Commonwealth government is quite prepared to claim all the credit for whatever improvement has been thus effected. Some years ago, the Queensland Labour Government approached the present Commonwealth Government in an endeavour to obtain its co-operation for a scheme of youth employment. It proposed that a national employment bureau should be set up consisting of representatives of the Commonwealth and of the various States with a view to exploring avenues for the employment of youths. Unfortunately for Australia, however, its overtures to the Commonwealth Government led to nothing. If we are to solve the problem of unemployment we must, in the first instance, seek to provide employment for the youth of Australia. A concerted effort in this direction would undoubtedly achieve results, and the way would then be open to find jobs for the older members of the community - many of them the fathers of unemployed youths - who are also out of work. This could be done easily if this Government were prepared to honour the resolution passed by the International Labour Conference at Geneva in favour of a 40-hour working week, a resolution for which the representative of this Government voted.
Immediately that representative returned to Australia, however, the Government tried to sidestep its responsibility. It began to talk about holding an investigation into the desirability of instituting a 40-hour week. Mention was made of constituting a committee ‘ of inquiry consisting of eighteen members, but the number proposed would have made the committee so unwieldy that it is evident that little could be hoped from it. Last evening, the honorable member for Fawkner referred to certain remarks of various trade-union leaders with regard to the 40-hour week proposal. In reply to his statement I propose to quote the following paragraph which was published in the Sydney Morning Herald of the 23rd April last:-
40-HOUR WEEK - £503,000 A YEAR- COST TO COMMONWEALTH.
Mr. G. P. N. Watt, representing the Public Service Board, told the Public Service Arbitrator (Mr. J. C. Westhoven) to-day that the estimated annual cost of introducing a 40-hour week in all Commonwealth departments would be £503,000.
Mr. Watt opposed the claims of combined Public Servants’ organizations for a reduction of hours from 44 to 40.
Mr. Watt submitted a statement which estimated the additional number of employees required at 2,220.
The cost would be les3 than £250 a year for each man. There is concrete evidence of what might be achieved in the way of re-employment by the introduction of a 40-hour working week. Since the Commonwealth Government had refused to implement the Geneva resolutions, the Queensland Labour Premier, at the Premiers Conference in August of last year, moved for the introduction throughout Australia of legislation for the reduction of hours of employment to 40 a week. Unfortunately, the motion was lost by four votes to three. The representatives of the Commonwealth Government, and those of the governments of New South Wales”, Victoria and South Australia voted against the motion, while the representatives of the three Labour governments voted solidly for it. That provides ample evidence of the insincerity of the Commonwealth Government and its supporters in regard to this issue. France, New Zealand and the United States of America are giving effect to the shorter working week ; but Australia, which a few years ago was regarded as being one of the leading nations of the world in respect of industrial conditions, is to-day slipping far behind other countries. The reason lies in the fact that we are hesitating to meet conditions which have been created largely through an everincreasing mechanization of industry. This Parliament will be forced to face this state of affairs, and the sooner it does so the better it will be for parliamentary government.
There is every indication, too, that at the present time we are gaining financially from the war scare and the armaments race in Europe, because the high prices now ruling for wool and base metals are the result of these circumstances. Various countries are taking advantage of strained international relations to embark upon defence programmes which will give to armamentmanufacturing firms increased dividends, and it is contended that the employment which is being afforded through the armaments race to millions of workers is a means of throwing off some of the effects of the financial depression, and thus preventing revolution. But I contend that, immediately this armaments race is over, the millions of workers who to-day are engaged in the manufacture of armaments throughout the world, will be again relegated to the unemployment market, and, when that happens, the price of our primary commodities in overseas markets must fall, with a subsequent ever-increasing growth of unemployment. We should therefore make a definite start to tackle this problem in an organized manner, and not wait for something to turn up, as was the. policy adopted in days gone by. We shall again be confronted with a financial depression if we do not apply the lessons taught by the last depression, and if we do not prepare in advance to meet those stringent conditions which must eventually manifest themselves throughout the length and breadth of the land. Unemployment is the greatest problem confronting the nations of the world to-day. The Commonwealth Government, by its lack of activity and non-co-operation with other bodies to secure some improvement of the position, is asking the people of
Australia to wait until the crash comes before it will take any action in the matter. Unless we do something immediately, repercussions with a very farreaching effect will manifest themselves, and the problem will become more acute when the defence construction programmes are completed.
There is another avenue in which this Government could have done much for the advancement of the welfare of Australia. With an active and efficient administration, Australia could be made a great country. Up to the present time, our development has only just begun, and work of every conceivable type and kind is crying out to be done. If it were done, employment could be found for many thousands of persons who now have no jobs ; but, unfortunately, this Government has .taken no steps to meet the position.
In accordance with the defence policy of this Government, an Australian air fleet is being established; but I regret that very little has been done in regard to the organization of landing grounds and the provision of fuel supplies. I am well aware that the Government has been making investigations into these matters, but such inquiries have been like all its other investigations - they have led to no practical result. Where landing grounds have been established, we find that they lie along recognized air routes over which machines belonging to Imperial Airways and other commercial undertakings operate. Much of the lack of success of this Government in implementing its policies relating to unemployment and defence may be traced to its lack of cooperation with various State governments, and to the disputes which have taken place between the several governments of Australia. I regret that the only outcome of any negotiations that have taken place in regard to these matters has been to prejudice and dull the prospects of immediate success. Furthermore, by a policy inaugurated a year ago this Government did grievous injury to a large section of the primary producers of Australia, many of whom are residents of the Kennedy electorate, and who are bitterly critical of the Government for such action. Their protest would have been more loudly voiced but for the serious repercussions which, might have been engendered thereby. The residents of my electorate are sorely in need of every assistance that this Government can render to them, and one of the most urgent matters requiring attention is the provision of efficient landing grounds for aeroplanes. The electorate of Kennedy comprises those districts known to us as “ the land of the great open spaces “, and the settlers in those areas are desirous of being able to keep in touch with modern progress, but their requirements in this regard have always been overlooked. The problem of population in the north and the west of Queensland would have been less acute if the people living in those parts could have had made available to them rapidity of movement if the need for it arose. The Flying Doctor has done yeoman” service “under the” greatest difficulties, and such humane work could be further ‘extended if a little sympathy were shown by the Commonwealth, and if satisfactory landinggrounds were provided in those areas. Australia lends itself admirably to the development of aviation, and one of our first lines of defence must be from the air, but if, in the event of war, Royal Australian Air Force pilots were forced to leave routes now flown over by air mail planes, they would not have the advantage of being able to make use of satisfactory landing grounds. As an example of the lack of efficiency in regard to landing grounds, I propose to cite the instance of two outposts of Australia. Cooktown, in the north of Queensland, is to be given an aerodrome, and an efficient landing ground is also to be constructed at Cairns; but Mossman, a town midway between Cooktown and Cairns, has been refused a landing ground despite the fact that the site has been favourably reported upon by a Commonwealth inspector. To my mind the rejection of Mossman’s claims clearly shows the muddling policy of this Government.
Another important matter relating to defence which requires the immediate attention of the Government is that of petrol supplies. If Australia were embroiled in a war our petrol supplies from overseas would immediately cease and the existing supplies in Australia would be commandeered by the Government for defence purposes. As the result of such action internal transport would be brought to a standstill, and people outback would be compelled to make a further sacrifice in the interests of their country. Such a sacrifice could easily be avoided. Adequate supplies of petrol or other forms of motor power are essential where a mechanized force is concerned. :
Queensland is already producing power alcohol, and this spirit is equally as efficient as petrol. With some encouragement and assistance from the Government this industry could be expanded, employment would thereby be given to a considerable -number of persons, and in the course of a few years Australia would become independent of external, fuel supplies. As an instance of what is taking place in other parts of the British Empire, I shall refer to the position in South Africa. In this connexion I have received a letter written by C. G. Smith & Co. Ltd., Durban, which was forwarded to me by the South African Cane Growers’ Association -
As a matter of interest, we may state that we are successfully marketing an alcohol fuel known as “ Union Motor Spirit “ which is composed of 50 per cent, of 99.9 per cent, alcohol and 50 per cent, first-grade petrol . . We arc linked to a 50 per cent, mixture of alcohol by reason of the fact that the government give us a rebate of 3d. on the petrol duty subject to not less than 50 per cent, of alcohol being mixed with petrol for motor fuel purposes.
If that can be done in South Africa, I see no reason why we should be prevented from following suit in Australia. Power alcohol is being produced at a distillery attached to the Plain Creek central mill at Sarina in the north of Queensland. The company which operates the plant has paid a dividend but I have been informed that the Commonwealth fuel adviser has expressed the opinion that the manufacture or marketing of the spirit produced by the distillery is uneconomic. If every enterprise had to be economic at the commencement of its operations, we should never establish an industry in Australia. The oil companies are naturally opposed to the introduction or the manufacture of power alcohol in Australia because it can be produced from sugar, maize, and other products of alcoholic content which’ grow prolifically in the north of
Queensland and would mean the loss to them of the great Australian market for their product. The establishment of this industry in Australia, however, should receive every encouragement because it would mean work and wages to many of our people. There is no means of defence that can surpass settlement.
The sugar, the maize and the grazing industries, which give employment to thousands of workers, stand as guardians of our great open north, and their numbers could have been very materially increased if it had not been for the action taken by this Government in regard to the reduction of the duty on imported black grown tobacco. There are in the north of Australia great tracts of land which are admirably suited for the growing of the finest grades of tobacco. After the import duty on tobacco was increased from 3s. 6d. to 5s. 2d. per lb., in 1930, the number of growers in this industry increased from 680 to 5,600 in the three years ending the 30th J une, 1933, but the present Government, apparently thinking that the tobacco grower was getting more out of the industry than the tobacco combine, threw a bombshell among the farmers by increasing the excise by 2s. 2d. per lb., and reducing the import duty on overseas tobacco by a similar amount, with the result that hundreds of them were forced to abandon their holdings and return to the cities, where they went on the dole. These pioneers of the north and the west should receive a little more consideration from this Government, because they are engaged in the development of our national heritage. There are miners who are winning base metals, and producers of primary commodities - the two principal industries of Australia. The. Prime Minister said in the policy speech that he delivered prior to the federal elections of 1934 that he would assist these people in their efforts to develop our national heritage. His words were -
Public works expenditure, requirements in material, and increased distribution of wages, would stimulate all secondary industry and business, and create stronger local markets for every kind of primary produce. It would increase manual and clerical employment in private enterprise, and hope and wages would come attain into the homes of a great many ;good citizens who are now on bare subsistence.
They are still on a bare subsistence. The primary producers have received no benefit from this Government. They and the workers in the north are suffering the privation and hardship which are the inevitable lot of the pioneer. Although they suffer patiently, kicks, rebuffs and the harshest of treatment are their only return. If the Government were more sympathetically disposed towards them, their lot could be made a little more endurable.
The policy of the Government in regard to telephonic and mail services, and the restrictions that have been imposed upon radio broadcasting, amply demonstrate its lack of sympathy for, and appreciation of, the efforts of these people. The electorate that I have the honour to represent in this House comprises an area of over 300,000 square miles and, from the viewpoint of defence, is one of the most important parts of Australia, yet very little developmental work has been done in it by this Government. The policy of the PostmasterGeneral with respect to telephonic services sadly needs gingering up. Telephonic communication in this portion of the continent is of great assistance to its inhabitants. The radio is another means of keeping them in touch with civilization. So anxious are they to keep abreast of the times that those who cn/i afford wireless sets have not hesitated to purchase them. There is a universal clamour for a wireless broadcasting station to serve the needs of western and northern Queensland. This request has been refused, but the Postmaster-General has promised an improvement of shortwave broadcasting. Very few will derive any benefit from this, for the simple reason that the purchase of the most expensive sets would be necessary to enable them to avail themselves of the service. That in itself is evidence of unjust discrimination.
I have briefly touched upon the needs and the disabilities of the people of the country districts of Australia generally. None have bean more neglected or are in greater need of assistance than are those who are still in the pioneering stages of development and are carrying on the work that was so capably begun by our forebears. The truth of the matter is that this Government has failed to meet its obligations riot only to these people but also to the people of Australia generally. As I said at the outset of my remarks,, it will face’ a different set of circumstances at the end of this year than it encountered in 1934, and the result of its next appeal to the people will not be to its advantage. It has exhibited a striking weakness for boards, commissions, and investigations both home and abroad, the only result of which has been to cause displeasure to those who have to meet the cost. There is no doubt that the Government could have done a great deal for those who are not fortunate enough to live in the cities. The views of the dissatisfied sections of the community have been aired time and again. The graziers would have been much more outspoken in regard to their position but for the serious implications that a controversy would have engendered. Mount Isa has suffered severely since a previous government sold the Australian Shipping Line, but for which action the miners of Mount Isa and other mining centres in North Queensland could now have been deriving considerable benefits.
In conclusion, I would merely say that I have every confidence that, when the next Address-in-Reply is being debated in this House, the party of which I am a member will be occupying the benches on the other side of the House.
.- The circumstances in which I address this House for the first time to-day are unique. So far as the Government is concerned, I am the uninvited guest, whose very presence is a bitter reminder that it has forfeited the right, to govern, and that political annihilation awaits it as soon as it is prepared to go to the people. The electors of Gwydir welcomed the opportunity to speak on behalf of the whole of Australia. Embracing an area that is approximately one-fifth of the State of New South “Wales, Gwydir is a typical rural constituency, which reflects the views of the man on the land and the feelings of the people in the land-locked country towns. For almost six years Gwydir, in common with the rest of Australia, has suffered from the blundering incapacity and the equivocation of this Government. It has pro tested against the reckless extravagance of luxury trips abroad, the handing out of briefs to friends of the Government to conduct fruitless royal commissions, and the failure of the Government to do anything to promote the economic welfare of the Commonwealth. Under the policy which the Government has followed, every board which it has created has become a millstone around the necks of the community. The Government has “ board mania “. Whenever it has had to face a problem it has either appointed a royal commission or set up a new board. Gwydir has suffered to an even greater extent than have other parts of Australia from the domination by overseas vested interests of the affairs of the Government. It has had first-hand experience of the power of the London mortgage and finance trust in the holding up of the work of closer settlement, and in securing preferential treatment by way of taxation remissions and legislative facilities to further the work of foreclosure. It has learned from bitter experience that the” so-called Country party is merely the puppet of these London financial groups, and that Country party government has meant a policy of anti-Australianism and financial oppression for the man on the land. It was resentful of the action of the Government in handing to a Country party member a rich political plum in order to save him from certain defeat. The electors of Gwydir would like to know exactly the qualifications that Mr. Abbott possesses to fit him for the position of Administrator of the Northern Territory. Those who have been acquainted with this gentleman over a period of years in the Gwydir electorate, consider that his qualifications for such an important position are very limited. The Government also removed Mr. McNicoll, a a Country party member, from the danger zone in the Werriwa electorate prior to the last elections, and made him Administrator of New Guinea. Is membership of the Country party and “the holding of a seat that is certain to be lost when an election is held, a principal qualification for one of these positions? If that be so, this Government will be kept busily engaged in finding positions for many of its supporters between now and the date of the next general elections, when their constituents will be afforded a similar opportunity to that given recently to the electors of the constituency that I am proud to represent.
Gwydir, in common with the rest of the Commonwealth, rejected the Government’s referendum proposals. It was told by the Acting Prime Minister (Dr. Earle Page) and the Attorney-General (Mr. Menzies) that if it rejected these proposals there would be chaos in both primary and secondary industries. Both of these gentlemen had previously visited London, and brought back with them the new formula of Empire rationalisation. Rural industries were to be placed under a multitude of boards, which were to control every phase of the producers’ activities, just as in New South “Wales, the accountant-supervisor now dictates the most trifling item of expenditure that may be incurred by those who are unfortunate enough to come under the control of the official receivers for the banking institutions. In some instances the attitude adopted by these receivers has led to primary producers being placed in a most humiliating position. This seems to be in keeping with the policy of the Country party to take away individual freedom from the man on the land and make him subordinate to boards that are governed by regulations that are an insult to his intelligence. The Government staked its waning prestige on its ability to carry its referendum proposals. In fact, at the outset of the campaign there was quite a scramble on the part of members of the Ministry for the right to sponsor those proposals. They would not exhibit so much anxiety now. Opening the campaign in Sydney, the Prime Minister (Mr Lyons) found himself acting as referee between the Attorney-General and the Minister for Commerce (Dr. Earle Page), and finally was forced to share his broadcast with the latter gentleman. Che people were told that if the marketing proposals were not carried the dairy farmers would be bankrupt in a month, and the entire system of organized marketing would break down. What has happened since the people refused to accept the word of the Government? Nothing; organized marketing is as sound as ever. The Government also claimed that, if its aviation ‘proposal were defeated, there would be chaos in commercial aviation. The Labour party declared that the solution of the problem was an agreement among the States for uniform regulations, and that the Government refused to accept this solution because its real purpose was to hand over Australia’s internal airways to the London air combine. The people refused to be stampeded into an alteration of the Constitution, and the Government is now adopting the very method that the Labour party suggested would meet the case. But there is to be no monopoly of internal civil aviation as there is in the case of external air communication, and the State railways are free from the danger of uncontrolled competition by aerial transport. Thus, on these two vital issues, the Government suffered a humiliating defeat, and from that moment, it was a government in name only.
Not satisfied, with such an overwhelming rebuff, the Government put forth extraordinary efforts at the by-election in Gwydir to retain the seat for the Country party. It found, however, that the writing was as clearly on the wall as was indicated by the referendum figures. After five years in office, it was so much out of contact with the people that it was not prepared to ‘accept their verdict. So it went into Gwydir. The voice of the Acting Prime Minister and leader of the Country party was heard through his travelling loud speakers in every town and settlement in the electorate, and this created as much amusement as a circus. He raised the dead bogies of six years ago. Everywhere he pleaded for eonfidence. He staked his political reputation on Gwydir, and lost. Strangely enough, although the Government was fighting with its back to the wall, and even the Premier, of New South Wales, Mr. Stevens, threw his hat into the Ting, there was one notable absentee - the Commonwealth Attorney-General. Perhaps the Attorney-General had more urgent engagements elsewhere. As acting leader of the United Australia party, Gwydir electors expected to find him on the same platform as his colleague, the leader of the Country party. Gwydir had before it all the issues, and all the record of the Government. Those issues were national, and admitted of no alibis.
For the first time the Country party stood stripped of its “ rural “ disguise, and was disclosed as the political machine of overseas pastoral and investment companies. Labour attacked .the fiscal record of the Government, and drew attention to its failure to face up to the major economic problems. Australia is still lagging in the backwash of the depression. While other countries are increasing wages and reducing hours, Australia still maintains a deflationary policy. Socially, Australia is to-day one of the most backward nations in the world. To the Government, social security is only a meaningless term, and any measures proposed to deal with that problem are merely designed to shift the burden of payment from the rich to the poor, without providing any increased benefits.
Gwydir also considered the tragic episode of the Pacific trade war declared by this Government in response to the demands of the Manchester trade delegation. Small graziers were able to assess their own losses, especially when, it became known that wealthy grazier supporters of this Government were able to keep back their clips until after the adjustment with Japan was made, enabling them to obtain the higher prices. The Prime Minister may give voice to platitudes in London about a Pacific peace pact; but it was he who declared the Pacific trade war, offending Australia’s most powerful friends in the Pacific.
Another issue in G wydir was the Freer case. It seems incomprehensible that any responsible Minister should cling to his portfolio after the performance of the Minister for the Interior (Mr. Paterson) in his treatment of Mrs. Freer. He has not yet withdrawn any of the innuendoes uttered in this House, under the cloak of privilege, casting reflections on the moral character of the lady. Is it a fact that the Country party last December threatened to withdraw from the coalition if other Ministers insisted upon Mrs. Freer’s entry ? No evidence has ever been submitted to this House in support of the Minister’s wild charges. Yet the same Minister now abjectly capitulates, and Cabinet, without a word of adequate explanation, announces that it will admit Mrs. Freer into the Commonwealth! The country demands to know only one thing: Were the original grounds for exclusion valid or not? If they were valid, why this retreat ? If they were not valid, why does not the Government do the decent thing? There can be no room in any Commonwealth Ministry for a Minister who makes such a sorry blunder in the administration of his department. There is always the danger of repetition of the blunder. Again, the Government owes it to this House, and to the person most concerned, to announce whether it intends to pay any compensation to Mrs. Freer for what, by its latest action, it admits to have been an entirely unwarranted exercise of power. If all persons attempting to enter this Commonwealth are liable to have reckless charges hurled against them, under cover of parliamentary privilege, then we may as well recall all our overseas travel representatives. This Government, by its successive actions in the Kisch case, the Freer case, and the Chinese case, with which the Acting Minister for Defence (Mr. Thorby) was associated, has brought ridicule upon the Commonwealth, and made itself a laughing-stock. Crude blunders such as these have appalled the people of the Commonwealth, but the real resentment, as reflected in the Gwydir by-election results, has its basis in . the anti-Australian policy of the Government.
During the last six years nothing of real value has been done for the man on the land. A royal commission, which cost thousands of pounds, sat for months inquiring into the wheat industry. Its report was pigeon-holed, and the farmers were compelled to rely on their own resources in fighting the banks for possession of their farms. A royal commission was. appointed to investigate monetary and banking matters, and the nominees of the banks and conservative economic circles were afforded overwhelming representation. Month after month, that commission sat at the expense of the taxpayers, and wandered throughout the Commonwealth listening to the bankers’ alibis.
Another royal commission reported regarding the petrol industry. Its report is still accumulating dust on the shelves, and will never be considered by this House, let alone acted upon.
A royal commission was set up to inquire into performing rights. The commission recommended legislation compelling the monopoly that is levying a heavy toll on the Australian Broadcasting Commission and “ B “ class stations to file proof that it owns the copyright of the music on which it is collecting royalties, and at the same time to- account for the disbursement of all money received. That report also has been shelved. Australia has had almost six years of governmental blundering. It has had too many royal commissions and boards. It has been bled white to satisfy external bondholders. The incidence of taxation has been removed from the wealthy to the man with the moderate income, the farmer and the worker.
Some supporters of the Government hope to save their political scalps by a death-bed repentance. They are talking about social reforms. The honorable member for Parramatta (Sir Frederick Stewart) says that he will lead them to the promised land, but every time the acid test has been applied to him in this House, he has failed to support what he has declared outside. In -this chamber, he talked about a 40-hour week, but voted against it. He promised to do something about re-employment, -but resigned his portfolio. Brave in promises, he is at a discount in deeds. Only recently ho announced his intention to enter Warringah to fight the Minister for Defence (Sir Archdale Parkhill) for his seat. But then someone told him that twisting the tail’ of the tiger was a dangerous sport. So. he beat a hasty retreat, and the United Australia party could not see his heels for dust in his anxiety to get back to Parramatta. Yet the same honorable member goes to suburban afternoon-tea parties lecturing elderly ladies on “If I were Dictator “. He is certain to be the best joke at the coming election.
Gwydir had an opportunity to sum up the situation and it cast an overwhelming vote against the Government. As went Gwydir, so will go the rest of Australia at the next election. This Government is already panic-stricken from the series of defeats which it ha3 suffered. Gwydir demonstrated that the referendum results were a true index of electoral feeling, and that the people are only waiting the opportunity to sweep this Government out of office. In such circumstances the programme announced yesterday for this session will merely add fuel to the Government’s own funeral pyre. The longer the Government clings to office, the more devastating will be its final destruction. Gwydir lit the torch, and the people of Australia are waiting for the opportunity to clean up the political mess in which it has landed the country.
In conclusion I draw attention to a subject that vitally affects the economic welfare of Australia. I have in mind the closer settlement problem, and the need for the sub-division of large estates. Many years ago, an act was passed by this Parliament, providing for a graduated tax on the basis of unimproved land values, but I say advisedly that never in the history of Australia was action of a drastic nature more needed than at the present time. Throughout the length and breadth of the vast electorate of G wydir one sees land-locked towns and millions of acres held in large estates comprising the most fertile lands. These holdings were selected years ago, when there was little or no demand for land, and they have been added to by the acquisition of adjoining properties. Despite the enactment of the legislation to which I have referred, we again find an aggregation of large estates in Gwydir. I urge the Government to work in conjunction with the State governments to bring about a system of closer settlement, because, in that, and in that alone, is the economic future of the youth of this country definitely and irrevocably bound up. It can be well said that if, in New South Wales alone, 20,000 farms were made available in living areas, they would be over-applied for ten times. The expenditure of loan moneys for such a purpose would provide opportunities and avenues of employment that should be given to the people of Australia. We hear much of the declining birth rate in Australia; lack of opportunity to secure employment is one of the main reasons behind it.
Open up the land, place settlers out in living areas, and they will build up the greatest asset we can ever have in this country, young Australian men reared in country districts, under conditions essential to the moral and physical wellbeing of the community. It is for us to do everything humanly possible to work in collaboration with the States to bring about in Australia that necessary and essential reform, a vigorous closer settlement policy.
I desire now, before I sit down, to deal briefly with the postal and telephonic facilities provided in the out-back parts of Australia.
– They are shocking.
Mr.SCULLY.- They are indeed, and those who formulate the policy of the Government and of the Postal Department little realize the adverse conditions in which the people are living in the farflung areas of the Commonwealth . We who live in more favoured localities - the cities and towns - little realize the difficulties under which they labour. Some of them receive their mails only once a week, others only every fortnight. It is absolutely absurd that such paltry services should be allowed to continue in many districts. The history of the policy of the Government in regard to liberalizing postal and telephonic services to the people out-back is a long story of neglect. Some of the most petty meannesses practised by the department in its dealings with the people out-back have already been brought under notice. Tenders are now being called for the conveyance of mails, in most instances, to out-back places, and before they are accepted, I ask the Government to instruct the Postal Department to do everything possible to invite the opinions of those who are to be served by them. Instead of being parsimonious in its deal ings with the people out-back, I ask the Government to do everything possible to liberalize present conditions, and afford the improved postal and telephonic facilities so long denied to these people.
Sitting suspended from 12.35 to 2.15 p.m.
.- The Government meets the House after a very protracted recess in which if can be said that it not only incurred a definite vote of no confidence by the people of Australia as a whole at a referendum on a matter of vital constitutional policy, but also lost some of the supporters it had when Parliament dispersed last December. It also meets the House with fewer Ministers than it had when Parliament was last in session. It has lost the support of the then honorable member for Gwydir (Mr. Abbott), and is without the services of the ex-Minister directing negotiations for trade treaties (Sir Henry Gullet), whose departure from the Ministry has never been made the subject of any statement to Parliament. Nothing has been said in any way that would enable us to feel that the reduction of the number of Ministers effected through the retirement of Sir Henry Gullett was not due to a grievous dispute on a major matter of policy. I merely remark that the trade diversion policy with which the honorable member for Henty was so conspicuously associated while he was a member of the Cabinet must have had the entire endorsement of his Cabinet colleagues before the schedule tabled on the 22nd May of last year could have been tabled. Obviously, therefore, the honorable member was carrying out the policy of the Cabinet; but having regard to the amount of hostility that that policy had developed in the country, his colleagues found that they had undertaken to do something to which they could not stand. I shall require something more to be said than has been said on this subject before I will dismiss the contention that the retirement of the honorable member was due to a dispute between Ministers as to whether or not this policy could be maintained as it had been introduced. In any case I think it will not be denied that regardless of what honorable gentlemen on this side of the chamber may say, the voice of the country has sounded definitely and clearly against the Government on major matters of policy.
Furthermore, although the development of the hostility to the Government has been due to its failure to proceed with legislation which the country sought, it has been reinforced by a series of blundering acts of administration which have, in some instances, reached such a stage as to make the country itself appear ridiculous.
In addition, having regard to the important matters that were to he considered this year, it was at least to be expected that the undertaking of the Prime Minister (Mr. Lyons) that Parliament would be reassembled in March, would have been honoured. I mentioned this to the Acting Prime Minister (Dr. Page) this morning, and he left me with the impression that he thought that no such definite undertaking had been given. I remind the right honorable gentleman that on the 11th December last I asked the Prime Minister -
Will the right honorable gentleman indicate the approximate date on which he proposes to prorogue Parliament or to summon Parliament to meet again if there is no prorogation?
The reply he gave me was -
It is intended to summon Parliament about the middle of March. If the Government is unable to prorogue Parliament in the interim it is hoped that it will be able to do so after a short session.
The Prime Minister made that definite statement in the House after he knew that the referendum was to be held because the legislation authorizing the taking of the referendum had already been passed. He knew very well that in fixing the middle of March as the time for the reassembling of Parliament he was stating a date subsequent to that on which the referendum would be taken. I say quite frankly that the members of the Opposition would not have allowed Parliament to disperse but for the specific undertaking that had been given that it would be reassembled in March, for we very definitely desired to discuss various matters which were to be submitted to the Imperial Conference. Thereby the Australian Delegation would have ‘ had the advantage of being fortified by parliamentary consideration of the major matters of Australia’s relationship to world affairs and the extent of the commitments we were prepared to incur as a result of our non-approval, approval or modification, as the case might be, of the views which the Prime Minister submitted to the House on behalf of the Government. I acknowledge that the Government had every right to be represented at the Imperial Conference, and to state, as it believed it could state the views of the whole of Australia, but its mandate was very much more vital two years ago than it is now, having regard particularly to the fact that it lost the referendum early this year by an adverse majority in all the States of the Commonwealth. This made it even more obligatory that Ministers should have consulted Parliament before attending the Imperial Conference. I hold the view that the Government consulted the electors of Gwydir in preference to consulting Parliament, feeling, perhaps, that an election in that specially chosen part of Australia would at least give it sufficient authority to say that its more recent appeal to a typical electorate should override the decision at the referendum. After having held up the appointment of the then honorable member for Gwydir (Mr. Abbott) as Administrator of the Northern Territory, it ultimately appointed him to the position and so made the wayclear for the by-election. Of course, everybody knows that the appointment of the honorable member could have been made months before it was made, for the Government decided months earlier to appoint the honorable member to the position. Its delay in actually gazetting the appointment was motived not by any difficulty associated with the Northern Territory administration, but solely by its political difficulties. It sought a way out of its troubles by the obtaining of a mandate either from the country on the constitutional issue, or from the electors of Gwydir at the byelection, and hoped that this would atone for its failure to consult Parliament before the holding of the Imperial Conference.
I do not propose, to-day, to say anything about what has been done at the Imperial Conference. I prefer to wait until the Prime Minister returns to Australia and presents his report to Parliament. Beyond criticizing the Government for what it has done - good, bad and indifferent - during the last six months, it is not the intention of the honorable members of the Opposition to do anything more than deal with the business before the House while the Prime Minister and his two colleagues are absent from Australia. This Opposition believes in a high standard of political decency and good conduct in the Parliament of the Commonwealth and throughout the country.
Having said so much, let me add that the points I have made respecting the increasing political weaknesses of the Government are emphasized by the fact that included among its supporters is the newly elected honorable member for Darling Downs (,Mr. Fadden). That honorable gentleman, to whom I offer my compliments upon his speech of last night, has succeeded a Nationalist member, the late Sir Littleton Groom. It is an amazing thing that the maiden speech of this honorable member of the Country party in this chamber should be the very antithesis of the speeches he made to the electors which resulted in his election. Last night the honorable member eulogized the Government. No doubt he was chosen to second the motion for the adoption of the Address-in-Reply because, as a supporter of the Country party, and a follower of the Acting Prime Minister, he regards the Government as a composite organization standing upon general principles which, at least, are consistent; but I ask how anyone could reconcile the speech made last night by the honorable member with the speech he made to the electors in his constituency as” reported in the Warwick Daily News on the 5th December, 1936. The honorable gentleman on that occasion expressed his opinion of the United Australia party in the following terms: -
The United Australia party gave its allegiance to the big financial and manufacturing interests of the cities and to the middlemen and monopolists, because it received its support and power from those people.
He then went on to ask the following question : -
How then, could the United Australia party serve the countryside as well as those in the city who sucked the lifeblood from the countryside ?
Proceeding, he said -
If you put a United Australia party man into the Federal House to represent the Darling Downs you are going to give your allegiance to your political enemies - the manufacturing and commercial groups and the middlemen.
He then offered this profound truth -
No man associated with the United Australia party - a party backed and influenced by city interests - could conscientiously serve city interests and ambitions, and at the same time adequately realize what the countryside required in the way of legislation.
It was upon that speech that the honorable member was elected to represent the Darling Downs constituency in this Parliament.
– It must have been a better speech than that!
– I do not know whether the honorable member made a better speech than that or not, but, obviously, views of that character presented to the electors must make it extremely difficult for the member uttering them to justify the support of a government, in which the ^preponderating power rests with, to use his words, the “ political enemies “ of the people in the electorate who voted for him. It must be quite apparent to the people of Australia that the irreconcilable differences in the principles of the Country party as expressed in the electorates, and the principles of the Nationalist party, as expressed in the electorates, account for the incompetence of a government composed of a coalition of these two elements, and its failure adequately to deal with the administrative affairs of Australia, or satisfactorily to provide for the legislative needs of the people. This is one reason why this Parliament has been more often in recess than in session. It is also a reason why for months Ministers will sit down upon a report on a subject of public importance and then, because of a threat of grievous public turmoil and hostility, hurriedly come together and take some action. Although the Government sat tight for months on the report on national insurance, it has now decided that it must immediately send a notification to the State governments calling upon them to make up their minds without delay because its caucuses have told the Government that something must be done. For four months Ministers have had the report of Mr. Ince, but they expect the Governments of the States, in less than four weeks, not only to consider that report, but also to come to Canberra, and to indicate how and by what means they think that an unemployment insurance scheme can be put into operation. I can understand a conference of States being called to consider this report if attached to it as forwarded was a memorandum setting out the tentative proposals of the Commonwealth Government which it thought ought to be adopted. That, at least, would be a constructive contribution to the elaboration of a system of unemployment insurance in Australia, but Ministers have merely put into the speech of the Governor-General a series of vague generalizations, and no member sitting behind the Government, no member on this side of- the House, no newspaper in Australia, and no man who studies public affairs, however closely, can to-day indicate whether the unemployment insurance scheme is to be u Commonwealth one, whether it is to comprise a series of. State schemes, or whether it is to be a hybrid scheme evolved by Commonwealth and State action. The Government itself, after four months’ deliberation, is unable to state what system should, in its opinion, be adopted by the people of Australia. I invite the Government, in order that we may work out this admittedly Very difficult development in the social services of the community, to indicate to the House the kind of scheme that it thinks ought to be put into operation. “When it does so, I pledge the Opposition to deal with the matter constructively. The Opposition holds the view that so tremendous a development in the social services of Australia ought to be put upon the soundest possible basis from the start, but so far no concrete proposal of any kind has been put forward. The report which came into my possession yesterday - though it has been in the hands of members of the Cabinet for four months- - provides for a series of alternative schemes, but not one of them has the positive recommendation of the research worker himself. Ministers are Still in the same state of - mind regarding this reform as they were when the Prime- Minister delivered his policy speech three years ago. At that time inquiries had been made into the matter by various Australian experts. It is well known that, on several occasions, the Government Actuary of the State of Westtern Australia was lent to the Commonwealth for this work. It is also known that, long before Sir Walter Kinnear and Mr. Ince came to Australia, the services of the actuary of the Australian Mutual Provident Society had been made avail- able to the Commonwealth Government for investigation work, but the members of this Parliament were never furnished with a memorandum to enable them to understand the nature of the work which these Australian experts performed, the calculations they made, the difficulties they envisaged, or the suggestions they advanced. We are still in the dark. If Ministers bottle up all the available data, except this report which has just been released, how can they expect Parliament to deal in a proper manner with a proposal of this kind. I hope that, in the formulation of a scheme, the States will not be thrust wholly aside; but, at the same time, we should remember that the Commonwealth Parliament is endowed under the Constitution with complete power over insurance. While it may be true that the employees of State governments cannot be brought into a Commonwealth scheme without the consent of those governments, nevertheless the inauguration of a scheme pf national insurance is entirely within the competence of the Commonwealth Parliament. That, I think, will be admitted by the Attorney-General (Mr. Menzies) himself. In any case, it must be apparent that this latest development in regard to insurance is more a contribution to the political necessities and difficulties of the Government than to the institution of a system of national insurance in Australia. Its paramount purpose is the winning of the elections for the Government, which believes that the promises it made three years ago will come home to roost unless it gives some more decisive indication of its earnestness than it has done during the two and a half years of its regime.
Certain statements were made in thE Speech of the Governor-General to which I direct attention. The Government continues to glorify itself because of the greatly improved condition of employment in Australia. The honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Holt), who moved the motion for the adoption of the Address-in-Reply, and the seconder of that motion, both referred to this matter, and said, in effect, that the Government was to be congratulated upon what it had done. The honorable member for Darling Downs said that the financial policy of the Government was fine; it had reduced the Commonwealth public debt, whereas the States, had increased the burden of public indebtedness by £75,000,000. It is true that State debts have been increased by approximately that amount, but who is so foolish as to claim credit for the recovery of employment in Australia while, at the same time, criticizing the States because the public debt has been increased by them. We cannot have it both ways. The expenditure of loan money on works and services by the States was in itself an important factor - I do not say it was the chief factor - in stimulating employment, and encouraging recovery generally throughout Australia. No economists, and none of the budgets issued by the Bank of New South Wales, or by any other financial institution, have denied that the increase of the public debt of the States, even allowing that some of the indebtedness has not been covered by assets, or resulted in interest-reducing work, was absolutely essential if recovery was to be brought about, and that, the indebtedness had to bt- incurred either by the State governments or by the Commonwealth Government. Some of that new debt will result in increased burdens on the taxpayers, but I hope that much of it will not. Then, as regards the general claim that economic recovery was due to the political wisdom of this Government, may I say that for last March - the latest quarter for which figures are available - the percentage of unemployment was 9.9, the lowest for many years. I am glad to acknowledge that it was the lowest, though I doubt whether the figure is in itself a reliable indication of the existing’ amount of unemployment; but I am fair-minded enough to say that thi3 figure has been reached by the same method of calculation as were the previous figures, and can, therefore, be regarded as accurately indicative of the general trend. However, let us examine this figure of 9.9 per cent. The records reveal that, for the quarter ended on the 31st March last, those three States which were administered by Labour Governments had all of them a lower rate of unemployment .than the other three States which were administered by non-Labour Governments. Western Australia had the lowest rate of all, the figure being 5.4 per cent. Then came
Queensland with 7.7 per cent., followed by Tasmania with 7.9 per cent. New South Wales had the highest rate with 11.8 per cent., South Australia had 9.5 per cent, and Victoria 9.5 per cent.
– The tariff policy has helped very considerably to reduce the proportion of unemployment in those States in which the rate is ‘low.
– If the honorable gentleman will read the evidence placed before the Commonwealth Grants Commission by witnesses from Western Australia, South Australia, and Tasmania, he will be left in no doubt of the views of people in those States regarding the tariff policy, and its effect upon employment. 1 suggest that ho read the evidence.
– I have read both sides.
– It must be obvious that the presence of factories in Melbourne and Sydney must have tended to stimulate employment in Victoria and New South Wales, but, despite that fact, the highest rate of unemployment is in New South Wales. I am not going to blame the policy of the Government for that. I hope I am not disposed to the cheap folly of trying to make unfair political capital out of a situation of this kind. If the policy of this Government is good, it becomes better where the States have Labour governments. If it is bad, the effect would be worse in New South Wales, because it would be madadditionally burdensome by the policy of a State government of the same tory complexion as itself.
When we consider the general improvement in employment in Australia, we must acknowledge that two important factors have operated - the expenditure of loan moneys by the State governments, and the fortuitous location of secondary industries in certain States. The fact that factories have been established in Victoria helped in no small measure to provide employment in that State, and I am prepared to admit the significance of the revival of the gold-mining industry in Western Australia in its bearing upon employment there. Nevertheless, gold mining in Western Australia, factory industries in New South Wales and Victoria, and the expenditure of loan moneys by the States are all factors which have been operating during the hast five years, but not one of them can be said to have been originated as a measure of policy by honorable gentlemen sitting opposite. When honorable gentlemen cite to me the improvement of business in Australia, I ask them is it true that this is the only country in the world in which there has been an improvement in the last five years? Is it not acknowledged that in the United States of America, Belgium, Great Britain, Italy, and, indeed, in Russia as well, recovery from the nadir of the depression has been almost constant? Had it not been so, civilization might well have gone down in common ruin. For this Government to claim that its programme has been responsible for the recovery of Australia from the depression is to claim far too much.
– Why has recovery been greater in Australia than in the United States of America or the United Kingdom?
– I doubt whether it has. At any rate we must remember that recovery would be complicated in those countries, because of their larger population. The real reason why the rate of unemployment is higher in New South Wales than in Western Australia is, because the economic life of that State is more complicated than that of Western Australia. Honorable members opposite make claims which are utterly preposterous. When I examine the facts in the narrow way in which they would have them submitted, and put the counterpoint, they jump away to America or Russia. All over the world the volume of unemployment will always be greatest in bad times where the population is largest. That, I think, is common sense.
I think that it was unreasonable on the part of the advisers of His Excellency the Governor-General not to have made reference in the Speech made to us yesterday to some of the more important features of the Government’s activities during the last twelve months. Are we to have no consideration of the present difficulties of Australia in regard to trade with our neighbours in the Pacific? What has been the position in regard to trade with -the United States of America, Canada, Japan and New Zealand? After all is said and done, the Acting Prime Minister in his capacity as Minister for Com merce, used to dilate at very great length upon the vast and expanding markets on the continent of Asia. The GovernorGeneral’s Speech contained no reference to that aspect of the matter, and I feel that it would be reasonable in fairness to the public for the Government to inform honorable members whether there has been any recantation on the part of the Government in respect of its trade diversion policy and, if so, why this recantation has taken place ; or, if not, why it is that the former Minister directing negotiations for trade treaties (Sir Henry Gullett) no longer finds it possible to remain in the Cabinet.
There are a number of important matters upon which the Parliament might deliberate. I say frankly that, as an Australian, I am perturbed about the difficulty of getting co-ordinated and cohesive government in this Commonwealth. I regret very much the unsatisfactory relations between this Parliament and the Parliaments of the several States, and I apprehend that the several conferences which are to be called by the Commonwealth Government in regard to any one of a dozen matters upon which in all probability it will be summoning conferences will more often than not result in failure. The reason for that lies in the fact that we have reached a stage in Australia when the problem of dealing with economic matters has ceased to be functional, and has become political.
I conclude by saying that between now and the election it ought to be within the duty of the Ministry to give a lead to the public upon the subjects which I have mentioned, including the public debt and the industrial private debt of Australia in relation to industry. We ought to have a consideration of our taxation matters, Federal, State and municipal in order that the Australian public may have a proper survey of their contributions to the upkeep of public services in all respects. Then it seems to me to be important that some attention should be given to the general problem of governmental credit and the availability of money for public services and works. It is unquestioned that the problem of labour and management is one which the development of our age makes it imperative to tackle as early as possible, and related to these considerations are the general questions of industry and employment. Associated with those two formal matters, I submit that we have to consider the relief of distress and our social services. I feel that foreign trade has to be considered, and I also use the phrase that we need in this Parliament to think about how we can get a more cohesive system of government for the people of Australia. I have separated these subjects, not because they are in themselves distinctive - they are all inter-related - but for the purpose of orderly consideration. I look forward between the present time and the general elections a few months hence to a real awakening of public interest not in the calumnies, slanders and besmirchings of one another which are all too frequently a feature of political disputation in Australia, but in that constructive genius of democracy which will enable the next government, regardless of the political party from which it may be drawn, to be able to carry through, with the full approval of the people, proposals which will minister to the real progress of Australia and the happiness of the people.
– In common with the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Curtin) I should like to offer my congratulations to the new members of the House who have spoken on the Address-in-Reply. They are, I should think, extremely fortunate, because, inside of the first two days of their experience as members of this House, they have been able to hear the Leader of the Opposition delivering a many-pointed attack on the Government. It is always interesting to hear the Leader of the Opposition delivering such an attack upon the Government on the ground that it is hopelessly divided, and I gather that this one is because, for example, the animosity between the Acting Prime Minister (Dr. Earle Page) and myself is so obvious and so profound, whilst, presumably, the new-found friendship between the Leader of the Opposition, himself and those of his more turbulent supporters who sit on his left hand, is to be regarded as permanent. When we met last in this House it was understood that all was over between them ; that the two parties to an ancient marriage had separated for ever. Later, we were told that there were negotiations, some of which took place in Sydney. One could almost imagine the old-fashioned marriage broker being employed for the purpose of bringing the parties together. Then we were told that there was a marriage. It is quite true that the honorablemember for Cook (Mr. Garden) forbade the banns, but he himself, in turn, has been forbidden, I believe, or is he one of those happy suppliants who have been brought back into a state of harmony? It is so hard for us to know the facts. It is really very amusing to find those gentlemen on the other side of the Housewhose political animosities among themselves have been so well advertised from time to time, now cheered immensely by the fact that they have “won a byelection “.
– What about therefferendum ?
– I shall come to that. In the meantime I suggest to those honorable gentlemen that they should not. shout too much about having won the Gwydir by-election, otherwise they will, in the opinion of the average person, resemble nothing so much as a man who, being entirely unaccustomed to the strong: drink of success, has become inebriated by one small glass. As honorable gentlemen opposite pointed out in frequent interjections an election will be held within the next few months, but there will bea few surprises in store for them.
Honorable Members. - We shall be here.
– Yes, and still on theother side of the House. I wonderwhether they will still be talking so much about the Gwydir by-election when they have had the experience of the deliberate judgment of the whole of the people of” Australia, not only on this Government,, which, I suppose, has made some mistakes, like every other government,, but also as to what kind of government they might expect to get from the honorable members on the other side of theHouse. That latter aspect will afford much food for thought to the Australian, elector during the next three or fourmonths!
– What did the righthonorable gentleman think of Tasmania, v-hen he was there?
– The climate was extraordinarily cold. My only regret when I was in Tasmania was that I had no time personally to inspect that rifle range at Sandy Bay, because I am sure that if I had been able to find it, I should have discovered the honorable member in the middle of it.
Some reference has been made by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Curtin) to the referendum. In fact, I think that bis first count against the Government was that in losing the referendum the people of Australia had cast a vote of no-confidence against the Government on a vital constitutional issue.
– On an issue vital to the Government.
– I wonder if I might make some observations on that subject. If the referendum were a vital constitutional issue to the parties constituting this Government, is the same vitality to be denied to it in the case of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Forde) who was one of its staunchest supporters ? Is the same vitality to be denied to it in the case of the Labour Government of Queensland, which also supported it with enormous vigour and, unhappily, very little success? Is the same vitality to bc denied to’ it in the case of the Labour party of Victoria, every member of which in the parliamentary arena supported the referendum proposals of the Commonwealth? The truth of the matter is that, as everybody knows, all parties were to be found on practically all sides of the recent referendum discussions. But there is one observation which I should like to make - that if the recent referendum controversy represented a vital constitutional issue, it is an extraordinary thing that the Leader of the Opposition, leading a party that he expects to be in power after the next election, took no part in it at all.
– Hear, hear !
– Just fancy what a position a party gets into when in one breath it says, “ That is a vital constitutional issue “, and in the next breath it says, “But, of course, we are going to shrug our shoulders and take no part in the campaign “. I do not desire to sow discord in the united ranks of the Opposition, but I remind honorable members opposite that at the -time the Leader of the Opposition was philosophically reflecting upon this matter in the neighbourhood of Perth, honorable gentlemen in what I am still calling “ that section of the Labour party “ were, so far as I gathered by listening to them over the wireless and in other ways, almost foaming at the mouth about the extraordinarily important problems that they claimed were involved.
– There was a majority of 936,000 against the referendum proposals of the Commonwealth.
– I admit that those with whom the honorable gentleman is associated had a win. Whenever they have a win they have no difficulty in remembering it.
The next count, which was made by the Leader of the Opposition in the charge against the Government, was that Parliament had not met at the time when it could discuss the matters that were to be brought up at the Imperial Conference. A charge of this kind is hot novel. I venture to think that the right honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Scullin) will recollect some such charge being made against him.
– And I also recollect that my Government kept Parliament sitting up to within two weeks of my sailing from Australia for England.
– Yes, but the right honorable gentleman will be the first to agree that subjects for discussion at Imperial conferences consist, for the most part, of material which is produced for the purpose of the conference and for members of the conference to consider when they have assembled. As a rule, these are not matters which involve or permit of exhaustive discussion or accurate statement in advance. If the Leader of the Opposition were making the complaint that this Parliament and the people of Australia were being committed to a certain course of action which we had no opportunity to discuss, his allegation would have great point. But I shall quote, if I may, words that were spoken in the Parliament of another British Dominion, because I regard them as being entirely appropriate to the circumstances that exist here. It appears that some discussion took place in the Parliament of the Dominion of Canada concerning the attendance of the
Prime Minister of that Dominion at the Imperial Conference and the possible commitments that might there be entered into without consideration by that Parliament. TheRight Honorable W. L. Mackenzie King, Prime Minister of Canada, made a reply that I take leave to quote and adopt. He said - I quote from the Canadian Hansard of the 19th February, of this year -
A good deal has been said in the course of this discussion about the danger of attending Imperial Conferences and of what may take place at such a conference. May I point out, first of all, that an Imperial Conference is only a conference, it is not a cabinet. An Imperial Conference is not a body that exists for the purpose of making policies for the Empire, and with authority to make such policies and to carrythem out. An Imperial Conference is simply a meeting of representatives ofdifferent parts of the Empire for the purpose of conferring together on matters of great common concern. Undoubtedly, at conferences efforts may be made to introduce Imperial policies and gain acceptance for them. But every government is responsible for the attitude that it takes at an Imperial Conference, and I wish to say here and now that the attitude which this present administration will take at the forthcoming Imperial Conference is that which ithas taken at every other conference, namely, that it is not in a position to bind Canada to anything. We shall be glad to get as much information aswe can on matters of common concern, on matters that have to do with trade, with defence, on matters which have to do with constitutional problems and the like, but we shall be as free to take our own action with regard to these matters as we are at the present time. Unless this Government permits it, there is nothing that an Imperial Conference can do which can in any way bind this country without the knowledge and consent of its Parliament. Therefore I do not think there need be very much fear on the score of what will take place by way of commitments at the conference.
That statement is one which, I think, will commend itself to honorable members all round the chamber as an accurate statement of the position. Of course, its inevitable sequel is that this Parliament will have the opportunity to express its view at whatever stage any of these matters, that have been discussed at the conference, may emerge and require any action or commitment on the part of this country.
The next matter referred to by the honorable gentleman was that of national insurance, and in particular unemployment insurance. As to national insurance, generally, may I draw attention to the fact that the last occasion upon which it was specifically brought before the notice of this Parliament was in 1928, when the National Insurance Bill was introduced by my present colleague, the Acting Prime Minister (Dr. Earle Page). A calamity, however, so I am informed, overtook the then Government in 1929, after the depression had manifested its onset and at a time when I do not suppose that anybody was very much disposed to think that a national insurance scheme might be pursued. The Leader of the Opposition will, I think, be the first to agree that the right time to introduce comprehensive insurance schemes that are designed to give much-needed security to the position of the wage-earner, is when circumstances are good. To come along at a time of depression, when the wages of wage-earners have already been cut, and when industry itself is acutely depressed, and present schemes of this kind, would not be right. I am sure that the right honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Scullin) had that in mind when he was Prime Minister.
– I agree. Yet the Acting Prime Ministerchidedme this morning with not having done so.
Dr.earle Page. -What I said was that nothing had been done since 1932.
– Perhaps my right honorable colleague was merely resisting, perhaps a little too zealously - I do not know - the suggestion that this Government should have taken action back in 1932 and 1933. The fact is, that subsequent to 1928 the next investigation of this problem on the actuarial side in Australia was made at the beginning of 1934 by Mr. A. W. Sneddon, an actuary of undoubted standing. That gentleman reported that at that time recovery had not proceeded so far as to make the introduction of these schemes practicable.
– To whom did he report?
– To the Government. That takes us to the beginning of 1934. In 1935, the matter was again looked at, recovery having by that time progressed so far that it seemed more practicable. At the beginning of 1936, the investigations referred to by the Leader of the Opposition, by Messrs. Bennett and Innes, were made; and it was the need for a re-examination of the matter which those investigations revealed, particularly in the light of greatly accumulated British experience, which led to the decision to secure the advice of experts.
Mr.Curtin. - Did Bennett and Innes submit a report?
– If the honorable gentleman refers to a full report of some finalnature,Ithinknot;butthatthey did from time to time consult with the Treasury authorities and indicate the general trend of their minds, I have no doubt. But the point is that their investigations, to the extent to which they went, made it clearly desirable that we should have the benefit of all the experience that had been accumulating in the last few years in Great Britain; and that experience was obtained when the Government secured the services of the two experts whose names are mentioned in the Speech of His Excellency the Governor-General.
– We know what Ince has to say ; but the Parliament knows nothing concerning the views of Mr. Bennett, Mr. Sneddon, or Mr. Innes.
– Whatever information is embodied in any of these reports, either ancient or modern, will in due course be submitted to the Parliament. I am not quarrelling with that for a moment. But the reason why concentrated attention has been directed to the report of Mr. Ince, and will be directed to the report of Sir Walter Kinnear, is that they represent the last word in a comprehensive re-statement and reexamination of the matter by the most authoritative people who could be obtained. I should have thought that it was abundantly clear-
-Clear as mud.
– I should have thought that it was abundantly clear to the average intelligence,’ from what the Government had done during the last eighteen months, that the present administration was extremely anxious to have the opportunity to submit national insurance proposals to this Parliament. We want to be the Government that does so. We have been investigating, not the desirability of some principle but the practicability of particular proposals. In other words, we have been getting down to the brass tacks of the matter ; and the brass tacks of a problem of this kind, as my friend opposite will at once agree, are of first importance; because no government, from whatever side of this House it might be drawn, -would desire to be associated with the carrying into effect of a scheme which, while pretending to be liberal, turned out to be unsound or unsafe, while pretending to be just turned out to be unjust, or in the long run involved a greater degree of insecurity to the worker than the position which it was designed to remedy. Any scheme has to be considered in detail in order to determine that it possesses all of those essential merits ; and that is a matter which requires time. Consequently, so far as national insurance generally is concerned, I suggest that the allegation made against the Government, whatever it may be - and I am not too clear as to what it is - falls to the ground.
– It was made by the honorable member for Parramatta (Sir Frederick Stewart).
– No doubt the honorable member for Parramatta will be able to speak for himself in due course. The Leader of the Opposition made a particular reference to unemployment insurance, and chided us - in a gentle way, I think - upon not having accompanied the circulation of Mr. Ince’s report to the States with some specific indication of what we thought ought to be done. Ten minutes after the honorable gentleman had made that charge he made a reference to something with which I am familiar at first hand, namely, the unsatisfactory relations which still exist between the Commonwealth and the States. I have had the opportunity to sit in two State Ministries, and I therefore know from both sides something of this unsatisfactory relationship. I know that if there is one thing that has tended to alienate the sympathy of State governments in the past, it has been the tendency of the Commonwealth from time to time to present to the States some completed set of ideas and say “ There you are ; gape and swallow.” The criticism that has been heard from State governments all over Australia is traceable to that very thing. The States say “ Why does not the Commonwealth meet us with a clear table so that we may exchange views, and our views will be just as open to consideration by the Commonwealth as those of the Commonwealth will be by us? “Why should the Commonwealth come along with a cut-and-dried set of proposals in relation to a matter that requires our cooperation? Would it not be far better if the Commonwealth were to come along with its mind flexible and elastic on the problem ? “ The position of unemployment insurance, as the honorable gentleman knows, is this : It is quite true that the Commonwealth Parliament has power to make laws with respect to insurance other than State insurance. Although I speak with a little hesitation in regard to any of these constitutional propositions, I should think it is clear that we as a parliament have the power to pass a law with respect to unemployment insurance and any form of insurance of a social or any other nature. But the facts of the situation can never be left out of account ; and the first fact that has to be remembered is that unemployment relief has so far been the prime responsibility of the States. Every State, I think, has imposed taxation for the relief of unemployment. Although in some cases it is called a special income tax, and in others a wages tax, the States are all collecting special revenues which are wholly or partly designed for unemployment relief.
– But the money is not all used for that purpose.
– That is so. If the honorable member is referring to the position in New South Wales, the present practice there has obtained under both United Australia party and Labour administrations.
Every honorable member will agree that the position of the States in relation to their budgets must be vitally or substantially affected by what we do in regard to unemployment insurance. If this Parliament decided to superimpose a Commonwealth unemployment insurance scheme on all the existing relief schemes of the States, there would be an extraordinarily unsatisfactory position. Many benefits would be paid for twice by the taxpayers, to say nothing of the added burden of creating a new system of relief. . Therefore, the first thing which the Commonwealth Government has to do is to say to the representatives of the States, “ Gentlemen, you all have your own schemes. Let us consider their financial aspects. Let us talk to each other as to how far it is possible by co-operation to evolve a scheme which will produce all the satisfactory results aimed at, and at the same time work in a coherent and sound financial way.” It is true that it would be possible to bring an earlier point to the discussion if we said to the States, “ We have decided that we ought to do this together “, or “ We ought to have half the responsibility and you the other half”, or “You should accept the whole of the responsibility”. But that is the very evil which this Government wishes to avoid. Is it not better to have no commitments on either side, only a common desire to evolve a sound scheme, all State governments being unfettered and in a position to outline the circumstances of their respective States? For that reason we do not intend to tie our hands unduly in our discussion with the States. We propose to go into a discussion with them on this extremely important matter with the earnest desire to arrive at a working result which will enable unemployment insurance to become an accomplished fact.
– You have all the actuarial information which the States do not possess.
– That information becomes available to the States in the report of Mr. Ince. The problem that emerges after that is not an actuarial one, but one of divided governmental responsibility for existing services. It is a practical problem of what I may call political carpentry to get two sets of governments working together for the purpose of achieving a result which can be actuarially tested. I sincerely hope that the result of the deliberations will be to bring an end to this matter, and to enable unemployment insurance to become what it ought to be - a new and real factor in giving the worker what he has not had before, that is, a sense of security in relation to his employment.
Many other matters have been referred to by the Leader of the Opposition.
– Will the Minister refer to what the honorable member for Darling Downs has said ?
– I shall not enter into a contest with that honorable member.
I am quite prepared to believe that he was not too well reported, or that he was feeling off colour at the time of his remarks. Some time when we have a few moments to spare I must invitethe honorable member to become a student of Hansard, and look up some of those llowers of rhetoric - some of them evilodoured flowers - that have been thrown by members sitting on both sides. I am sure we could get a perfect symposium of abuse, but, after reading it, we should not be much better off.
The Leader of the Opposition has referred to the admitted decline of unemployment. At one stage, I believe, he was tempted to say, and almost slipped into saying, that unemployment reduction had been greatest in the States in which Labour governments are in office.
– It might have been inferred from the honorable gentleman’s remarks that he attached some virtue to the Labour governments now in office.
– Nevertheless, the greatest decline has been in Western Australia.
– Quite so. Let us agree that the lowest figures regarding unemployment to-day arc those of Queensland, Tasmania and Western Australia, and let us take notice of the further fact that in each of those States the electors have the inestimable blessing of a Labour government. I should like to say to those people that, in the words of the old hymn, they might “ count their many blessings “, because this dubious blessing of a Labour government is only one of them. In the case of Western Australia, the honorable member has referred to the fact that gold has been an important factor in the reduction of unemployment. The honorable gentleman was very fair in that regard; in fact, he is always fair.
– Too fair.
-Ihavenodoubtthat the honorable member would think that. Gold plays an important part in the economy of Western Australia,justasthe Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Forde) would be prepared to admit the . significance of the sugar industry in the economy of Queensland; but, in the ease of Tasmania and Western Australia. I hope that the honorable members who represent those States will never forget that one of the most important factors leading to their improved position has been the increasing liberality of the treatment accorded to them by the Commonwealth. During the term of office of the present Government the special grants payable to Western Australia, over and above those received under the Federal Aid Roads and Financial Agreements, have totalled £3,300,000, and the payments to Tasmania have amounted to £2,410,000. In the case of Tasmaniaand I hope that the honorable member for Denison (Mr. Mahoney) will remember this - in the year of this Government’s advent to office payments totalled £648,000. The honorable gentleman, if he cares to look into it, will find that that amount was the largest payment to Tasmania recorded up to that time. The total payments to Tasmania in this financial year will be £1,220,000. I could not help noticing, Mr. Speaker, on a recent visit to your delightful island, which is delightful in every other than its political aspect, that the old truth was abundantly illustrated, that the fellow who spends the money is always much more agreeable than the fellow who ultimately provides it. The State government was regarded as an. expansive set of people, who always had money to spend. “Yon want a little road up there?” they ask. “ Certainly, we shall provide it. What else can. we do for you this morning?” That sums up their attitude. Yes, I envied them. I envied them with an envy that has become almost bitter since I became Acting Treasurer, which office does introduce an element of bitterness into a man. But the ultimate fact, and I hope the people of Tasmania will appreciate this, is that the buoyancy of the financial position of the Tasmanian Government, and, to a substantial extent, its capacity to provide work and employment to a marked degree, have been due to the increased liberality displayed to it by the Commonwealth.
– Yes, liberality. I am not for one moment suggesting that Tasmania, Western Australia and South Australia should not be treated liberally. 1 have never quarrelled for half a moment with the payments made to them, but I am quarrelling with the proposition that they are not treated justly - if honorable members do not like the word ‘”’ liberally “ - and that the justice done in Canberra should be suppressed and the alleged generosity done to them in Hobart advertised. There are lots of matters with which I should like to deal, but, not having the time, I close by suggesting that at this stage it is possible to say that the allegations made against the Commonwealth are entirely lacking in substance.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Mahoney) adjourned.
Message received from the Senate requesting the House of Representatives to resume consideration of this bill which was transmitted to it for its concurrence during the last session of the Parliament, the consideration of such bill having been interrupted by the prorogation of the Parliament.
Message received from the Senate acquainting the House of Representatives that the following senators had been appointed members of the Parliamentary Committee on Public Works: - Senators Brand, Brown and Cooper.
Motion (by Dr. Earle Page) - by have - agreed to -
That in accordance with the provisions of the Commonwealth Public Works Committee Act 1913-1936, the following members be appointed members of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works: - Messrs. Collins, Josiah Francis, Frost, E. .T. Harrison, Holloway, and Nairn.
Dispute in the Sydney GENERAL Post Office.
Motion (by Dr. Earle Page) proposed -
That the House do now adjourn.
– On the adjournment last night, the honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Beasley) raised a question relating to the trouble that is occurring in the Sydney General Post Office. I have been provided with a lengthy statement dealing with the allega tions made last night by the honorable gentleman, but in view of the concluding sentence in that statement I do not think that the merits of the case would be met by canvassing the matter. The concluding statement in the memorandum is as follows : -
The secretary of the union has now asked that J. should discuss with himself and representatives of the mail branch certain matters at issue and I have arranged to confer with them on Monday next at .11.30 a.m.
So desirable is it that that conference should succeed, honorable members will agree that to say anything further on the merits of the dispute would be unwise.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at 3.38 p.m.
The following answers to questions were circulated: -
y asked the Minister for Commerce, upon notice -
– The information is being obtained, and will be furnished to the honorable member later.
Trade with United States of America.
y asked the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -
What was the total value in Australian currency of imports and exports between Australia and the United States of America for the year .1935-30 and for the eleven months of 1936-37?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as f ollows : -
The total value in Australian currency of imports and exports between Australia and the United States of America for the year 1935-36 is as follows:-
n asked the Acting Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
Wireless Broadcasting: Second A Class Station for Adelaide - Listener’s Licence-fee.
e asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
Will he, in the preparation of the coming Estimates, see that provision is made for a second A class broadcasting station for Adelaide?
– I will ask my colleague, the Postmaster-General, to take this matter into consideration.
e asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
– The information is being obtained.
n asked the Acting Minister for Defence, upon notice -
What is the total value of imports of arms and munitions and allmaterial associated with the defence of Australia, for the years 1931-32 to date, showing each year separately?
– It is not in the best interest of Australian defence organization to disclose this information at the present juncture.
y asked the Acting Treasurer, upon notice -
Does the Government propose to take any action to enlarge the functions of the Rural Credits Branch of the Commonwealth Bank for the purpose of granting long-term credits on the equities of rural lands, or failing this, to legislate for the establishment of a rural bank for the above-mentioned purpose?
– These questions will be considered after the receipt of the report of the Royal Commission on Banking and Monetary Systems.
n asked the Minister representing the Minister in charge of Territories, upon notice -
– The information is being obtained, and will be furnished at the earliest possible date.
s asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice -
– The information is being obtained and will be furnished as early as possible.
Employers in Motor-body Industry.
y asked the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice-
What was the number of employers engaged in the motor-body building industry in December, 1935, and in December, 1936?
Mr.White. - The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
December, 1935 - 183.
December, 1936 - the figures are not yet available.
n asked the Acting Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The information is being obtained, and will be furnished at the earliest possible date.
Postmaster - General’s Department : Conditions in Non-Official Offices.
s asked the Minister repre senting the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
In view of the amount of service rendered by non-official postmasters and postmistresses, will consideration be given to that branch of the. Service, with a view to improving their conditions, which are, at present, most unsatisfactory ?
– The honorable member will be furnished with a reply to his inquiries as early as possible.
s asked the Acting Prime Minister, upon notice -
What is the present stage of the inquiries being made by Sir DavidRivett and Mr. Rogers into the production of power alcohol?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows : -
Extensive investigations have been carried out by Mr. L. J. Rogers, the Commonwealth Fuel Adviser, into the production of power alcohol from molasses and other sources. His present views are that the power alcohol industry appears to warrant less favorable consideration than other sources of fuel supply. He is, however, continuing his inquiries, and it is expected that he will submit a further report on the subject at an early date.
n asked the Acting Treasurer, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
By the unanimous decision of the Loan Council, having regard to -
For 1936-37 the States asked for the following sums, but the Loan Council unanimously decided that the total amount to be included in the Commonwealth loan programme for this purpose was to be£ 1,500,000: -
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 18 June 1937, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1937/19370618_reps_14_153/>.