House of Representatives
24 June 1937

14th Parliament · 2nd Session

Mr. Speaker (Hon. G. J. Bell) took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.

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Talks by Dr. EarlePageandSenator A. j. McLachlan.


– Is it a fact that to-night the Acting Prime Minister proposes to broadcast over the national network a speech in connexion with vocational training and the employment of persons between the ages of eighteen and 25 years? Furthermore, have arrangements been made for Senator A.J. McLachlan to deliver an address over the national network on the fisheries industry on the30th June, and one entitled “ The tobacco industry” on the 6th July next? Are these talks in exposition of Government policy? If so, how can theybe considered non-political? If not, is it notconceivable that expert departmental officers could deliver addresses on these matters with a greater degree of technical knowledge and greater advantage to those who may listen to them?

Minister for Commerce · COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP

– It has been arranged that to-night I, as Acting Prime Minister, shall make an appeal over the national network on behalf of the youth unemployment campaign that has been arranged between the Governments of the- Stale.-; ami the Commonwealth. A similar period is i.o be made available to each State Premier to apeak over the national network. I have received a communication from each of them accepting thi? suggestion and some request to bc supplied with my statement so that theirs may he completely in line with it. I think that every one will agree that this is surely ‘a reasonable distribution of time.

Mr Forde:

– “Will the Federal Labour Leader lie given a similar opportunity?


– We should bo delighted if the Leader of the Opposition would agree to make a contribution. .1 invite the honorable gentleman to share with me the period of twenty minutes thai has been made available to me.

Mr Curtin:

– It is rather a belated invitation.


– I offer to the honorable gentleman freely and frankly what has been offered to every State Premier, to whatever political party he may belong. I have no information in regard to the other mattors referred’ to by the honorable gentleman, but I shall obtain it for him. I ask him now whether he desires to share with me to-night the time that is available, or whether he would care to have len minutes made available to him on another night?

Mr. Gunns. I must ask for notice r,f that question.

Later :


– In view of the fact that the Broadcasting Act places the entire control of broadcasting in the hands of the Australian Broadcasting Commission, how does it happen that the Acting Prime Minister is in a position to offer to me the use of the national network without any application on my part for such having been made to the commission ?


– lt was quite obvious from what I said that my offer to the honorable gentleman was subject to the consent of the Austraiian Broadeasting Commission. It was recently suggested by the delegates to the conference which met to consider the matter of the employment of youths that not merely should an appeal be made to employers throughout the Commonwealth generally through the national network, but, if possible, the B class stations should also be asked to place1 their facilities at the service of that appeal. If the Leader of the Opposition would agree to ‘join me in this appeal, I shall at once make application to the Australian Broadcasting Commission to enable him to share the time which has been allotted to me to-night.

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– Can the Acting Prime Minister assure the House that when thu Government is considering draft proposals for a scheme of national health insurance, the representations of friendly societies throughout Australia will bc (liven full consideration?


– Representatives of the friendly societies have already interviewed me, and 1 have given them the assurance that before a bill dealing with national health insurance is introduced in this House, full discussion will take place both with them and with those medical men who are vitally concerned in the matter.

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– In view of the fact that some of the States have not supplied particulars in regard to the number of youths who are unemployed, and that those figures that have been supplied are in conflict with thu figures of different local governing authorities, will the Acting Treasurer make representations to those authorities, particularly in the State of New South Wales, with a view to obtaining accurate information in relation to their areas?

Attorney-General · KOOYONG, VICTORIA · UAP

– That matter will be taken into consideration.

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– In view of the announcement in to-day’s Sydney’ MorningHerald by the Minister for National Review at Ottawa, of an extension of the Ottawa agreement, has the Acting Prime Minister a statement to make concerning the Australan portion of that agreement ?


– The statement made at Ottawa deals with the AngloCanadian agreement, with respect to which certain arrangements were made last year. The Anglo-Australian agreement will expire in August next, but it may be continued, with the stipulation that either side shall give six months’ notice of the desire to terminate it.

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– Will the Minister for Trade and Customs make inquiries to ascertain whether the closing down of the cut glass factory in Sydney, with the consequent dismissal of 200 employees, is the result of the treaties which Australia has made with Belgium and Czechoslovakia?

Minister for Trade and Customs · BALACLAVA, VICTORIA · UAP

– I shall have inquiries made; but I do not think for a moment that the dismissal of any employee has anything to do with either trade treaties or the present tariff.

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– I ask the Assistant Minister for Commerce: Did the recent agreement with shipping companies for a reduction of freight rates contain any stipulation forbidding a compensatory increase of freights on imports ? If not, in view of the persistent report that shipping companies will shortly effect a considerable increase of freight rates to Australia, will the honorable gentleman take steps to ensure that recent freight reductions on certain exports do not represent merely one phase of a costly “ put and take “ game which is being played by the shipping companies at the expense of the Australian community?


– Order ! The latter part of the honorable gentleman’s question, which is comment, is not in order.

Minister without portfolio assisting the Minister for Commerce · CALARE, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP

– In reply to the earlier part of the question, I inform the House that the negotiations carried on by the Commonwealth Government with the shipping and exporting interests relate only to contracts under the Australian overseas transport agreements, and have no bearing whatever upon import cargoes or other shipping lines that are not associated with that agreement.

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Patrol of Territorial Waters


– Will the Minister for the Interior state how many patrol boats have been constructed to police the waters of the northern parts of Australia? Has any patrol boat been delegated for patrol work in the territorial waters of Thursday Island and the Cape York Peninsula, to prevent foreign pearling poachers from entering Queensland waters ?

Minister for the Interior · GIPPSLAND, VICTORIA · CP

– Two boats are in commission at present, and a muchlarger one is being constructed. TheCommonwealth has no jurisdiction whatever with respect to fishing operations that are carried on in the territorial waters of any State.


– Is the AttorneyGeneral aware that the Minister for the Interior has stated that the Commonwealth could not place patrol-boats on the north-western and Kimberly coasts of Western Australia because the Commonwealth has no authority to police waters within the three-mile limit of a State? Does this answer mean that the naval forces of the Commonwealth can be used only along the 1,000 miles of coastline of the Northern Territory, and that the coastline of all of the States, about 9,000 miles, cannot be policed by the naval patrol-boats of the Commonwealth ? If the facts are as stated, will the Attorney-General present this as an urgent matter for consideration at the next conference of Commonwealth and State Ministers ?


– I did not understand that my colleague the Minister for the Interior said that the Commonwealth could not put patrol-boats into certain areas to which he has referred. What he pointed out was that the jurisdiction that has been conferred on the Commonwealth in relation to fisheries is in relation to “ fisheries in Australian waters beyond territorial limits “. I am quoting the words of paragraph x of section 51 of the Constitution. It follows from that that the fisheries within territorial limits adjacent to States come within the jurisdiction of those States. The fisheries within the territorial waters of the Northern Territory, for instance, come within the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth, as does the rest, of the Northern Territory. With reference to the other part of the question, no restriction is placed on the naval and military defence power of the Commonwealth, but there are very important considerations which would lead to a refusal or an unwillingness on the part of a government to use the naval forces for the purpose of protecting civil rights, or enforcing what would in such eases bo State fisheries laws. I am sure the honorable member will appreciate that at once.


– Will the Attorney-

General state whether foreigners engaged in the fishing industry inside territorial waters, thereby coming under State jurisdiction, would not be under the supervision of the Commonwealth as the immigration authority? The point of my question is whether foreigners who comply with State fishing regulations, when they enter territorial waters, would be exempt, so long as they did not actually land, from the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth as the authority which supervises immigration?


– Supplementing what I have already stated in reply to the previous question, I should say that the immigration power of the Commonwealth attaches to a person who lands in Australia, and, until the foreigners referred to, in fact, effect a landing in Australia, they do not come within the scope of the immigration laws. When they enter Australian territorial waters anywhere, for certain purposes, of course, the customs jurisdiction of the Commonwealth attaches to them. and, as the honorable member knows, we have customs laws to deal with that position. But the matter which was put to me related to the control of their operations as fishermen within territorial limits, and the control of those operations insofar as they take place off the coast of any State, is by the Constitution entrusted not to the Commonwealth, but to the State governments concerned.

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– How will the increase of the basic wage affect the payments made to invalid and old-age pensioners? Will they be given an increase of the pension ?


– The increases of pensions provided for in the table contained in last year’s legislation’ are related to index figures of the cost of living, and not to the basic wage as declared from time to time.

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– Has the attention of the Minister for the Interior been drawn, to a. report in to-day’s Canberra Times that the school at Weetangerra, in the Federal Capital Territory, is to be closed down? Is it correct that the parents of the children in that district have been offered the alternative of a subsidized teacher or” of sending the children to a Canberra school? If that is so, is it a fact that the parents would have to provide transport for the children to Canberra? Does the Minister consider that closing down the school is in the best interests of those concerned? If he does, will he explain why such a retrograde step should be taken ?


– Although I have not seen the press report referred to, I have already taken steps to see that the school will be subsidized, so that it may continue to carry on.

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– Can. the Acting Minister for Defence say whether his department has any plans for the construction of naval craft at the Cockatoo Island Dockyard, and, if so, when the work will be put in hand ?


– There are no definite plans for the construction of naval craft for the Defence Department, but some boats are being built for other departments. In addition, a certain number of ships belonging to the Australian naval squadron will be docked there for repairs in the usual course. Some tenders are being called for, and the company at Cockatoo Island will have the same opportunity to tender as is afforded to other companies.

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

– Has the Assistant Minister for Commerce any comment to make regarding the state- ments made by the organized bee-keepers and honey merchants, to the effect that the State of New South Wales is getting an unjustifiable share of the £1,500 provided by this Parliament for the assistance of the honey industry?


– The allocation was made for the purpose of assisting the industry generally to sell its honey. Naturally, the money will be distributed where the greatest potential market is available. That is why the activities have been concentrated in and around the more populous portions of the Commonwealth.

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– Has the Minister for Trade and Customs received the Tariff Board’s report regarding the proposal for the manufacture of motor car chassis in Australia?


– The report has not yet been received, but will be made available after it has been considered by the Cabinet.

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– I ask the Acting

Treasurer is it not a reasonable assumption that the cause of a large amount of the recent conversion loan in London being left with the underwriters has been due to the disturbance of money markets generally owing to the intensification of international difficulties in Spain?


– No doubt the circumstances to which the honorable gentleman has referred have had an effect on the condition of the money market in London, and therefore on the matter of the conversion loan, on which I reported yesterday.


– I ask the Acting Treasurer if it is not quite obvious, even to Government members, that the failure of the conversion loan recently issued in London at3½ per cent., 53 per cent. of which was left in the hands of the underwriters, is accounted for by the fact that, at the same time, a new loan was being floated, nominally on behalf of the Sydney Metropolitan Water and Sewerage, Board, but in reality for the Government of New South Wales, at 4 per cent.?


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– Recently Mr. Wilson, who visited Australia, advocated the establishment of a fund for the purpose of advertising wool, and he stated that at least £100,000 would be required for this purpose. He added that the wool-growers and overseas manufacturers would contribute equal portions to this fund. Will the Assistant Minister for Commerce state what contributions, if any, are being made by overseas manufacturers?


– When the Australian Wool Publicity and Research Act was passed, it was provided that a board would be financed by the collection of a levy of 6d. a bale on the whole of the Australian wool clip. The board was also given power to confer with representatives “ of similar organizations in New Zealand and South Africa, with a view to bringing about an Empire movement for wool publicity and research. The wool manufacturing interests of Great Britain agreed to contribute a considerable sum of money to the fund for publicity purposes in the United Kingdom, and I understand that that undertaking is being honoured. In addition, I might mention that the Australian wool manufacturers have volunteered to contribute to the expenses of the whole campaign.

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– Yesterday, the honorable member for Bendigo (Mr. E. F. Harrison) asked for information regarding the contributions of the States towards the apple and pear publicity campaign in Australia. I am now in a. position to inform him that all States, with the exception of Western Australia, have replied to the request for contributions. The States which have so replied have advised that they are prepared to make the following contributions: -

The Committee of Direction of Fruit Marketing, Queensland, will contribute £50.

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Tariff Board’s Report


– In view of the report of the Tariff Board recommending the reduction of the duties on imported agricultural machinery, will the Minister for Trade and Customs state whether the department has given any further consideration to the question of complying with that recommendation?


– The matter is still under consideration.

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-Will the Acting Prime Minister 3tate whether there is any truth iri the report that members of the Country party, who are Cabinet Ministers, contemplate resigning before the elections, and that such action is necessitated by the decision ‘of the Country party to run candidates in apposition to the United Australia party?


– That suggestion must have emanated from the honorable member’s own mind.

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– In view of the widespread concern of municipal associations in the various capital cities at the suggestion that some of the money allocated for expenditure on roads will be permitted to be spent on other works, can the Acting Prime Minister give the House some indication of how much money will be so spent?


– This matter will be fully discussed when the bill which authorizes the expenditure of this money is introduced?


– Is the Acting Treasurer able to inform me whether an opportunity will be afforded the House to discuss the proposed new Federal Aid Roads Agreement? I understand that the present agreement expires at the end of this month.


– It is proposed to bring legislation down to the House on this subject this session. When that is done honorable members will have a full opportunity to discuss it.

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Low TEMPERATURE Carbonization.


– In view of the fact that the New South Wales State Fuel Oil Research Committee issued a report that petrol can be produced in Australia for is. a gallon, can the Acting Prime Minister explain why the Federal Fuel Oil Search Committee has stated that petrol can only be produced in this country at ls. 5d. a gallon?


– In anticipation of this question being asked, I have had a statement prepared on the subject, and I ask the leave of the, House to read it. [Leave given.] The New South Wales Government Fuel Research Committee,, in a report submitted recently on proposals of Coal Petrol Proprietary Limited for the production of oil from coal by the low temperature carbonization process, stated that the Lyons system which this company proposes to employ has not yet been operated on an industrial scale, and that until this has” been done, the yields, costs and values associated with the process must, in many respects, remain uncertain. Subject to this important qualification, the committee credits the ‘enterprise with, a return of ls. a gallon for petrol; it assumes that large quantities of semicoke and gas can be disposed of profitably and, subject to the realization of these assumptions, indicates that there would be a small excess of revenue over expenditure associated with the project.

It has not yet been demonstrated that it is practicable to crack low temperature tar from Greta or any other coal, for the production of usable petrol or a power kerosene substitute, and there is no evidence to support the view that large quantities of semi-coke and gas, which would be produced by the low temperature carbonization treatment, could be disposed of at profitable prices. In the absence of this information, it is impossible to assess the value of the process as a contributor to our fuel requirements. Experience in Great Britain certainly discounts its value.

Approximately 200 gallons of highgrade petrol can be produced by hydrogenation from one ton of coal treated. Assuming that the committee’s estimate of production by low temperature carbonization can be realized, eleven gallons of petrol would be produced from one ton of coal treated by this process.

Mr. Rogers, the Commonwealth Fuel Adviser, attended meetings of the New South Wales Government Fuel Research Committee in an advisory capacity. He was not a member of the committee nor was he a signatory of the report, and he does not subscribe to the views expressed in the report.

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– Has the attention of the Attorney-General been drawn to the following statement which appears in today’s issue of The Canberra Times and purports to be a report of remarks made yesterday in the Senate by ‘Senator Leckie : -

For six yours the Government lias been in office and it would be idle to suggest that it had not made mistakes. What it had to avoid was making itself a laughing stock. There had been errors by Ministers but no Minister could expect the party to carry a Jonah and exist.

Will the Attorney-General inform me who is the Jonah referred to?


– I trust that the Attorney-General will not do so. References to the debate in the Senate are not in order.

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Presentation to the GovernorGeneral.

Mr SPEAKER (Hon G J Bell:

– -Accompanied by honorable members, I waited this day upon His Excellency the Governor-General at Government House, and presented to him the AddressinReply to. His Excellency’s Speech on the opening of Parliament, which was agreed to by the House on the 22nd instant. His Excellency was pleased to make the following reply: -

Mr. Speaker

I desire to thank you for the AddressinReply, which you presented to ‘me at Government House, Canberra, to-day.

It will afford me much pleasure to convey to His Most Gracious Majesty the King the message of loyalty from the House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Australia to which your Address gives expression.


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Acting Prime Minister · Cowper · CP

by leave - I desire to inform honorable members that copies of communications received from the Premiers of South Australia and Tasmania relative to the question of the resumption of assisted migration are being placed on the table of the Library together with copies of the Prime Minister’s replies thereto, and also further correspondence between the Prime Minister and’ the Premier of Queensland. As honorable members are aware, copies of earlier correspondence on this subject are already available in the Library.

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The following papers were presented -

Australian Soldiers’ Repatriation Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 11137, No. 56.

Nationality Act - Regulations Statutory

Rules 1937, No. 33.

Wine Overseas Marketing Act - Regulations -Statutory Rules 1937, No. (34..

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Motion (by Dr. Earle Page) proposed -

That, unless otherwise ordered, Government Business shall, on each day of sitting, have precedence of all other Business, except on that Thursday on which, under the provisions of Standing ‘Order No. 241, the question is put “ That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair “. On such Thursday General Business shall have precedence of Government Business until nine o’clock p.m.


.- The Labour party is> no’t prepared to support this motion which is tantamount to a suspension of the Standing Orders. Under the procedure and practice of the House, as set down in the Standing Orders, private members have certain rights assured to them. Those rights should not be taken away within a week of the opening of the session. It is only when matters of urgency have to be dealt with by the Parliament, or when a particularly heavy programme of legislative measures has to be dealt with within a short compass of time, that the procedure set out in the motion should be invoked. I desire to see a re-establishment of the deliberative competence of this Parliament. That will not be possible unless private members are assured of a reasonable opportunity to discuss the business which they themselves have originated. Parliament is more than a place in which the desires of the Government ‘may be expressed or realized. It is a place in which the representatives of the people of Australia may bring forward any proposals which they believe would be of advantage to the people whom they represent. If this motion be carried, the House will be deprived of any opportunity to consider other than government business. This is really the purpose of the motion. I know of no justification for the taking of action of this description at this juncture. This Parliament has been in recess for many months. Private members have certain matters which they desire to bring forward for discussion, and if the House had been meeting reasonably often they could have brought than forward, but under the procedure that the Government has adopted we would be deprived of all opportunity to consider these matters. I can see no reason why we should, at this stage of the session, depart from the ordinary rules of procedure which, in my opinion, should be adhered to regularly and not interfered with except in a case of emergency. No situation of emergency is imminent at present.We know quite well that immediately a certain measure, which will be under consideration presently, has been passed by this House and the other place, Parliament will again go into recess. Because of the state of uncertainty that has existed regarding sittings of the House, private members have not been able to place their business on the noticepaper with any assurance that if it be set down for a certain date it will be discussed. It is realized, of course, that the House is not likely to sit on the Thursday specified in the motion. This means that even items of private business which have been under consideration will not be given any further consideration. For a considerable period during the life of this Parliament, inadequate opportunity has been provided for the consideration of private members’ business. This has been detrimental to the whole system of parliamentary government and has grievously reduced the significance of the Parliament as an instrument of democratic government. It has also seriously curtailed the rights of private members to discharge competently the onerous duties that fall upon them. There is no justification for varying at this stage of the session the ordinaryrules of procedure, and I am not prepared to support a motion of this kind until the circumstances make such action necessary.

Acting Prime Minister · Cowper · CP

.- The Leader of the Opposition (Mr.Curtin) is under some misapprehension as to the procedure which it is proposed to adopt. I have been a member of this Parliament for eighteen or nineteen years and it has been the practice during the whole of that period to introduce a motion of this description quite early in the session. This has been done irrespective of the government in office. In actual fact, this procedure preserves to private members the right to discuss on one day at least in every three weeks the private business which they have placed on the noticepaper, and it also makes provision for what is commonly known as “ grievance clay “. In. these circumstances, I cannot understand the purpose of the Leader of the Opposition in opposing the motion. If the honorable gentleman peruses Hansard and also our Votes and Proceedings over a long period of years, he will see that the practice which the Government is proposing to adopt has been consistently followed. I well remember that the Government, of which the right honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Scullin) was the Leader adopted this procedure, which, in actual fact, protects the rights of private members.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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SUPPLY BILL (No. 1) 1937-38

Debate resumed from the 23rd June (vide page 301), on motion by Mr. Menzies-

That the message be referred to the committee of supply forthwith.

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

That all the words after “That” be omitted with a view to inserting in lieu thereof the following words: - “ this House directs the Government -

1 ) To increase the rate of invalid and old-age pensions to £1 per week, and to liberalize the provisions of the Invalid and Old-age Pensions Act;

To take whatever steps are necessary to ensure progressive reductionsin the number of working hours and increases in living standards commensurate with increased powers of production due to the mechanization and speeding-up of industry; and

To give effect to the Prime Minister’s pre-election promise made in 1934 that a great national housing scheme would be undertaken in conjunction with the States and local authorities. “

Minister for the Interior · Gippsland · CP

.- When the debatewas adjourned last night, I was replying to some statements of the honorable member for Kalgoorlie (Mr. A. Green) with reference to the pearling industry in northern waters. Those statements I can describe as nothing short of extraordinary. Knowing the honorable gentleman as I do, I believe that he will not disagree with me when I say that he allowed his zeal for the industry to override his judgment when he described the Government as traitorous to Australia, because it did. not prevent the carrying on of the fishing industry by Japanese in waters north of Australia. No one knows better than the honorable member that the citizens of any nation are free to fish on the north coast of Australia or anywhere else as long as they keep outside territorial waters. I am informed that the most recently discovered pearling beds, which are now occupying the attention of both Australian and Japanese pearling fleets, are more than 50 miles distant from the coast. The honorable member also referred to what should be done by the Government regarding the protection of coastal waters at Broome, Wyndham, and Thursday Island. A reply furnished to-day to aquestion will inform the honorable member that the Commonwealth has no control over those waters. The power of the Commonwealth to deal with fishing trespass in territorial waters is confined entirely to the coastline of the Northern Territory.

The honorable member for Kalgoorlie referred lastnight to the recent Larrakia patrol as a fiasco. I remind him that the launch Larrakia, manned by a small crew, went in amongst 60 large luggers, and arrested two of them in territorial waters, and brought them unaided over 300 miles to Darwin. If that is a fiasco, I wonder what the honorable member would regard as a successful trip. Many reports regarding the temporary breakdown of the launch have been grossly misleading, but, in the absence of full information, it was difficult to keep pace with all the exaggerations and fabrications. While it is true that at one stage, owing to flat batteries, Captain Haul tain had to compel one of his prisoners to tow him for 22 miles, the fact is, that the rest of the journey of over 700 miles was done under the launch’s own power, and. at all times Captain Haultain was in full command of the situation. The launch Roonganahhas recently been commissioned to assist the Larrakia, but her overhaul had not been completed when the patrol began. It is easy for honorable members to be wise after the event, and no doubt had the Larrakia waited until the Roonganah was ready to accompany her, it would have been possible to keep in wireless communication with Darwin during the whole of the trip. However, the captain of theLarrakia was eager to go - and who would blame him ? - and he succeeded in convincing the Administrator that he could carry out the patrol alone. He was permitted to go, and it must be admitted, even by those who have no good word to say about the Larrakia, that he certainly kept his word.

The Larrakia was chosen by the Defence Department as being of the most suitable type for the kind of work which it was originally intended to carry out. She was built by a well known shipbuilding firm with the reputation for the building of such vessels. She is very fast, and has a light draft which enables her to cut across the shallow waters on the northern coast where a larger vessel would have to go round. It was originally intended that the vessel should be used to help in such an emergency as a mail plane coming down in the Timor Sea, and it was also intended that she should patrol the waters in the vicinity of Bathurst and Melville Islands, not far from Darwin, where, until recently, most of the pearling was conducted. It was well adapted for carrying out such relatively short patrols, and will probably be retained for this work after a larger vessel has been built. The Larrakia did excellent work in patrolling that area, and some months ago arrested some luggers which had aboriginal women aboard. The luggers and their crews were taken to Darwin, where heavy fines were imposed, and the pearlers were warned as to what would happen if there was a repetition of the offence. To our disgrace it must be admitted that those luggers were owned iu Darwin.

More recently, new pearling beds were discovered some hundreds of miles to the eastward, and it was soon recognized that a boat of the size of the Larrakia was inadequate for patrol work because of the long distances involved, and because there was not sufficient accommodation for the crew. A larger boat was ordered several months ago. It is to be powered with diesel engines and will have a fast pinnace. It is being built at Cockatoo Island dockyard, but cannot be delivered until the end of the year. In the meantime, the best means of augmenting and improving the existing service will receive consideration when I visit Darwin in the near future.

There are many misconceptions regarding the primary purpose of this patrol. It is supposed by many people, including, I believe, some members of Parliament, that the principal purpose of the patrol is to prevent poaching - that is, fishing in territorial waters. As a matter of fact, the poaching that goes on in Australian territorial waters is quite negligible. So far as I know, no illegal fishing is being engaged in at the present nor has any been done for a considerable time past. The fishing has all been conducted well outside territorial waters.

The honorable member for Kalgoorlie spoke last night about a proposal to use Darwin as a base for Japanese pearlers, and referred to a letter which he sent to me in that connexion. I have made inquiries in regard, to it and find that it was sent on to the Administrator for advice. The Administrator reported that no overtures had been made by Japanese or their agent in Darwin for the establishment of a commercial base at -that port ; that he had merely confined himself to obtaining stores for Japanese pearling vessels when calling at the port, furnishing the necessary customs documents for the vessels, which permit them to enter the harbour, and acting as interpreter when required.


– Why was not an. earlier reply made?


– I regret the delay. The department did not receive the reply from the Administrator until after the last letter had been sent to the honorable member. What the honorable gentleman desires’ with reference to Darwin and the fleet of Japanese pearlers? There is nothing at the present time, as the honorable member knows, to prevent any ship belonging to a friendly power from entering any port in the Commonwealth and obtaining water, wood, fuel and stores, so long as the requirements of the Customs Act are complied with. There is nothing to prevent such a ship making full use of the port of Darwin for that purpose. It is true that foreign fishermen could not land - the Immigration Restriction Act would prevent them from doing so - but they could obtain any supplies that they required. There is nothing to prevent them from landing shell. Primage would be imposed in respect of any shell landed, but if it were subsequently re-exported after it had been treated ashore by Australian workmen, a drawback of primage would be given. I cannot conceive that the honorable gentleman desires the Government actively to discriminate against the people of one friendly foreign nation, while permitting all others to use our ports in accordance with international usage and our own customs laws.

Returning for a moment to the patrol service, I should like to inform honorable members that, in view of the fact that no poaching is taking place, the patrol really resolves itself into the task of keeping our aboriginal reserves inviolate, and of preventing trespass in territorial waters. I have already referred to the action taken off Bathurst Island to suppress traffic in native women. With the transfer of the Japanese and Australianowned pearling fleets to the new pearling grounds hundreds of miles to the eastward, this immoral traffic has shown itself on the north coast of the huge Arnheim Land aboriginal reserve. Unfortunately, it has to be said that the readiness of the male aboriginals to trade their women for flour and tobacco adds greatly to the difficulty of the Government in stamping out this traffic. When pearling boats were first caught by the Larrakia in territorial waters off this reserve - honorable members will remember that that took place some weeks ago - the only procedure which could be followed by the captain of the patrol vessel under the existing laws was to order them to leave territorial waters within twelve hours. That order was made pursuant to the provisions of the Customs Act. Nothing more could be done. To get over this difficulty, the Government promptly amended the Aboriginals Ordinance. It could not amend the Customs Act until Parliament was in session. The ordinance was amended in such a way as to enable the confiscation of boats found in territorial waters abutting on aboriginal reserves. It was under that authority that the more recent action was taken.

A lot of well-meant but ill-informed advice has been tendered to the Government in the press and elsewhere with regard to what should be done to improve the patrol service. One suggestion made was that naval vessels should be used for patrol service. We do not use the militia to keep order in the streets; we use the police force; and there are even stronger reasons why a police patrol should .be used for policing purposes of this kind instead of using naval vessels. The honorable member for Kalgoorlie last- night referred to the use of amphibians. I agree that for “spotting” purposes amphibians would undoubtedly be very useful as long as they could fly high enough to see without being seen or heard. I remind the honorable member, however, that they could not arrest anything and that their usefulness is entirely confined to “ spotting “. They cannot alight on rough water, and, indeed, they are extremely vulnerable when they do alight. A seaplane is very much more helpless when it alights on the water than is a land plane when it comes to rest on the ground. In addition to that there are many occasions when the sea may be just rough enough to permit a seaplane to alight but too rough to permit it to rise again. A seaplane would be unable to approach very closely any luggers which it might desire to arrest, and if it did so it would be in great danger of having one of its wings smashed. One can only regard the seaplane as a useful adjunct to a patrol boat service, and I can assure the honorable member that that aspect is being given the fullest consideration.

As there are some hundreds _ of miles of coastline on the Arnheim Land aboriginal reserve, it is admitted that it would be a hardship to our own pearling fleets if no facilities for obtaining fuel and water were made available and they had to travel some hundreds of miles to Darwin to secure supplies. Yet if they are allowed to go ashore anywhere in that area there is danger of undesirable contact with the aboriginal population. Consideration is therefore being given to the question of providing a controlled base or bases for the provision of wood and water along the coastline, with an officer in charge. Honorable members will recognize that the choice of the locality is an extremely important matter from the point of view of safeguarding the welfare of the aboriginals on that coastline and that the Government must obtain the views of the Chief Protector of Aborigines, the pearlers, and the captain of the patrol boat, in regard to the selection of sites for these bases, because they are all intimately concerned with this question. If the Australian pearling fleet were compelled to concentrate on one or two watering places, the rest of the coast would be very much more easy to patrol than would be the case if we had to undertake the almost impossible task of preventing any of these boats from landing at any time on any part of the hundreds of miles of coastline to be patrolled.

I hope to return from Darwin with the best possible recommendations for the Government on all aspects of this matter. I think that, while it will be conceded that it is desirable to do everything possible to encourage the proper carrying on of the Australian pearling industry, there is a still more definite obligation and bounden duty resting upon us; that is, to protect a primitive people from degradation and disease.


.- The amendment which is being debated at the present time does not place before the Parliament any positive proposal upon which it may vote in such a manner as to lead to action of the nature indicated. Like an amendment to any financial measure which may be advanced by an Opposition, it necessarily is merely a vehicle for propaganda by the Opposition. In saying that, I in no sense wish to sneer at the Opposition for having brought it forward. No doubt when, in the very distant future, members of the present Government occupy seats on the Opposition side of the House, they will have to avail themselves of like opportunities when financial measures are being considered. The Opposition has confined itself, not to what it would propose, but almost entirely to a castigation of the Government based upon an outline of alleged legislative and administrative shortcomings. Those Opposition members who have spoken along these lines have drawn the deduction from the arguments that they themselves have advanced that after the next elections they inevitably will occupy the treasury bench. I would point out to those ofthem who have talked themselves into this happy frame of mind, that all things are relative; that it is not sufficient to direct attention to the shortcomings of the Government in order that the people may be induced to dismiss it. That is not sufficient even if the alleged shortcomings may be real. After all, the factor which will influence the decision of the people is not whether the existing Government has certain shortcomings, but whether the Opposition could provide a better administration. Of course, it will be necessary for the Opposition to increase its numerical strength very sub: stantially before it will find itself able to form an administration. It will certainly have to make a very great numerical advance in the upper House of this Parliament, where to-day it has only three representatives in a total membership of 36. It has already laid its plans for an improvement of its position in the Senate when the next general elections take place. For example, the Labour party of New

South Wales has selected four candidatesto contest the next Senate elections, not because of any great public service which, these gentlemen have rendered 10 their State or to Australia, not because of any particular qualifications that they may possess, but apparently because, by an accident of birth, the surnames of their parents began with the letter “A”. The names are : Anderson, Amour, Armstrong and Ashley. Usually, a general election provides the people with an opportunity to pass judgment upon parties. On the present occasion the Labour party of New South Wales proposes to reverse the . customary procedure. Even before the election has taken place, it has passed judgment on the people of that State. In its opinion, so simple minded are the people that, in order to secure Senate representation it is necessary to do no more than put forward a team of candidates whose surnames commence with the letter “A”. The so-regarded simple electors of New South Wales, finding the names of these candidates at the top of the ballot-paper, will proceed automatically to place Nos. 1, 2 and 3 opposite to them, and thus the desired result will flow from their selection. I should say that, if the conclusions of the Labour party of New South Wales are correct, it will not be long before it will be insufficient to select a candidate whose name is “ Ashley “, for example, because the alphabetical index value of “ Ashley “ is inferior to that of “ Abbott “, and the alphabetical index value of “Abbott” is inferior to that of “Aaron”. So we shall soon find that tb( Labour party of ‘New South Wales is scouring the country for “ Aarons “ to stand as Senate candidates. It will not be sufficient merely to have one “ Aaron “ to head the ticket; it will be necessary to have four “Aarons”. Further, if the judgment of the Labour party of New South Wales is proved to be sound, this gospel must be spread to the other States, and thus we shall find the Labour party throughout Australia putting forward in every State three or four candidates, according to the number of vacancies, with the name of “ Aaron “. Pursuing this line of logic to its inevitable conclusion, I suppose that the Labour party will expect eventually to establish itself in the Senate with 36 members, all having the name of “Abraham Aaron”, and it will be necessary to identify them by attaching numbers to them. Of course, it would be quite useless for such a veteran of the Labour movement as the right honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Scullin) to hope to secure selection as a Labour Senate candidate in New South Wales; his marne would make it utterly impossible to consider him for selection. Even if the famous John Lang should decide to try to enter the Senate, I presume that it would first be necessary for him to join the United Australia party. When, so ludicrous a development is taking place in the system of selecting candidates to be offered to the franchise of the people of this country for the purpose of filling the upper chamber of our National Parliament, it is high time that we took stock of the method of election to the Senate. I would suggest that the rumoured reform which was referred to in such caustic and sarcastic terms by the honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Beasley) yesterday, and of which we have heard a whisper in connexion with the proposal to ballot for groups on the Senate paper, is entirely insufficient. If we look at the voting that took place on the occasion of the last Senate election, we find that the United Australia party and the United Country party secured 1,744,000 votes, which returned eighteen of their representatives to the Senate, while the. combined Labour parties obtained 1,543,000, which secured for them no representation whatever. That is an unjustifiable and intolerable state of affairs. So complicated is the Senate ballot-paper that, in a total vote of some 3,500,000, no fewer than 420,000 votes were informal. Tfe see to-day the spectacle of the Labour party providing the Government in three States of the federation and the official Opposition in every other parliament except that of Victoria. Yet that party was unable to secure a single representative in the upper house of this Parliament on the occasion of the last general election.

Mr McClelland:

– That is totally unfair.


– I entirely agree with the honorable member for Wimmera (Mr. McClelland). On the other hand, the United Country party, which is a partner in the Federal Administration and the Administration of New South Wales, and provides the Government of Victoria as well as the official Opposition in the parliaments of Western Australia and Queensland, never has secured, and under the present system of selection never could secure, a single representative in the upper House of this Parliament without the co-operation of another political party. There, again, I would say that that is an intolerable state, of affairs, and not one which we should permit to continue. It drove the Prime Minister (Mr. Lyons), immediately after the last federal elections, to make a statement in the following terms: -

I have boon considering the vote for thu Senate, and its results. The results are not final yet, but it appears that the parties opposed to Labour will either win all eighteen seats or nearly all of that number. It happens that on this occasion the voting system has operated to the advantage of the party which I represent; but it is obvious that, having regard to the voting by the people, it is scarcely just that the Labour party or parties should obtain no representation. There can bc no excuse or justification for allowing such a system of voting to remain, if it is possible to devise a better system. J. propose, therefore, to invite the lenders of the other parties to join with me in appointing a committee representing all the parties, to consider and report to the Government upon the possibility of changing the. present system of voting for the Senate.

This statement was commented upon by the Labour parties in New South Wales. The Melbourne Age, of the 6th October, 1934, Stated-

Members of the Federal and Lang Labour parties to-day expressed their approval of the proposal by the Prime Minister to alter the system of electing senators. The secretary. Lang Labour party (Mr. J. H. Graves), said the party was anxious that the ballot papers should he as simple as possible. The secretary. New South - Wales branch, Federal Labour party (Mr. Colbourne), said that his party favoured an alteration in the system to ensure of more equitable representation.

I suggest that the time is certainly overdue when this Parliament should consider a thorough reform of the method of electing senators; not an alphabetical reform of which we have heard rumours, but a real reform which would establish representation in the upper chamber of this Parliament for minorities, and would enable a great political party to be always assured of some representation in that chamber, without it being necessary for it to be beholden to any other political party in the arrangement of joint tickets for candidates.

I find, on perusing the debates of the federal conventions, which were held when the Commonwealth Constitution was drafted, that it was scarcely in the mind of one delegate that the present system should operate. When the convention met in Sydney in 1897, the relevant proposal in the draft constitution with regard to this matter, read -

The senators shall he directly chosen by the people of the State as one electorate.

Before the convention had an opportunity to consider that proposal in the draft, motions were carried separately by each House of the five State parliaments, which were represented at the convention, asking that that clause of the draft should not be adopted. Every State House asked that either one of two things should be inserted in the new federal Constitution in regard to the Senate election - either that the Constitution should provide for proportional representation, or alternatively, that the States should be subdivided into single Senate electorates. It is well worth while quoting to the House some of the statements made by delegates at the convention when this matter was under revision. Sir John- Forrest, later Lord Forrest, speaking as a Western Australian delegate, said -

The proposed system is too unwieldy. The people will not know whom they are. voting for and candidates will not be able to visit their electors - great scope will be afforded for tickets, cliques, and associations to try to force upon the people of the country persons holding their particular views.

How true that prophecy has become ! Mr. Simon Fraser, of Victoria, agreed. He remarked -

If the colony is one electorate, I have no hesitation in saying that the press will have almost all power.

How true was that prediction! Mr. Lyne, representing New South Wales, remarked, inter alia -

  1. . If we allow the country to remain as one electorate we will have a system of tickets on which elections will take place
  2. . and Sydney or Melbourne can rule the whole colony. The suggestion from both Legislative Council and Assembly of New South Wales is to have six electorates and from Victoria the same - in each case it was made by an overwhelming majority.

Sir George Reid opposed the amendment before the convention. He was disposed to support the original proposal in the draft. In reciting the requisition or petition which had come from the ten State Houses of Parliament, Sir George Reid said -

I think - although I would adhere to the original clause under less pressure than this - that with the enormous pressure put upon us by the fact that each colony through its Parliament objects to the provisions, we must respect the suggestions they have made.

These were the suggestions for proportional representations or individual Senate electorates. Mr. Clark, a Tasmanian representative, advocated that proportional representation should be provided for in the original federal Constitution for the election of senators. Mr. Isaac Isaacs, who became a Governor-General, of the Commonwealth, concurred, and presented to the convention a requisition from the Victorian Parliament, asking that the States should be divided into Senate electorates. Mr. Alfred Deakin observed : - .

I think, however, that it would allay the apprehensions which have been awakened by this proposal for a single electorate which has been laid before us in its naked form, that is, without any requirement for the representation of minorities. . . . Instead of leaving it to the option of the States and of the Commonwealth to provide for the representation of minorities, we should place in the

Constitution a direction to the effect that some method for the . better representation of all the electors should be provided for.

Mr. Higgins, later Mr. Justice Higgins, who opposed the proposal for small Senate electorates, stated: -

I do admit there is a danger of the operation of what might be called ‘the party ticket, of only one party being represented in an election by the colony as a whole. I think that anyone who looks carefully into the matter will see that, by the adoption of the “ Hare “ system or something of that sort, it will be quite possible to avoid the whole of the members being elected on a party ticket.

Mr. 0. C. Kingston, who presided at the convention, used his influence to secure the amendment of the proposal, which was in the draft Constitution, in such a manner that it should be left to this Parliament to decide as between the virtues of proportional representation for the Senate and the division of each State into Senate electorates. So we find that the relevant section of the Constitution reads: -

The Senate shall be composed of senators for each State, directly chosen by the people of the State, voting, until the Parliament otherwise provides, as one electorate.

The convention was almost unanimously agreed that the system of Senate elections which we have followed since federation was a bad one ; but the convention did not take upon itself to. decide as between the merits of proportional representation and single Senate electorates. It left it to this Parliament to make that choice, anticipating that it would do so, and adopt a more reasonable system of election.

We find that, at this Federal convention, the State of Queensland was not represented. At that stage, there was some doubt whether Queensland would join the federation, but, when it was later disclosed that Queensland was likely to join, a separate section was inserted in the Constitution dealing with the eventuality of Senate elections in Queensland. The following is the section to which reference is made: -

But until the Parliament of the Commonwealth provides, the Parliament of the State of

Queensland, if that State be an original State, may make laws dividing the State into divisions and determining the number of senators to be chosen for each division, and, in. the absence of such provision, the State shall be one electorate.

Throughout the whole theme of the debates when the Constitution was framed there was uppermost in the minds of the framers the thought that the system, which we have allowed to continue for electing senators, was not a good one.

Having regard to the results of not only the last Senate election, but every other Senate election as well, this Parliament should declare that the time is ripe for a real reform of the method of electing senators. At the last election, the winning senators secured no more than 52.8 per cent, of- the total number of votes cast, whilst the defeated senators, who comprised the Labour groups and received between them 47.2 per cent, of the votes, did not obtain one representative in this Parliament. That is not an isolated instance. Of the total number of votes cast, the winning senators secured 54 per cent, in 1931; 53 per cent, in 1928; and 55.3 per cent, in 1925. This shows that there has been a very substantial minority body of political opinion which has been denied representation in the upper House of this Parliament. There is an inescapable obligation upon this Parliament, and particularly upon this Government, to introduce before the next Senate election a reform which will re-establish the upper House of the national Parliament as a democratic body in which it is possible for minorities to secure representation. This Government and this Parliament would not be fulfilling their duty if they failed to make an attempt to bring about this necessary reform.

Sir Donald CAMERON:

– Listening yesterday to the speeches delivered by the leaders of all parties in this House, I was more convinced than I have ever been that it is- a great honour to be a member of the national Parliament. Whatever political differences may divide us in this chamber, there are certain things which we have in common, and which unite us, even though we retain our individual views. This is one of the finest features of the British system of parliamentary government; it allows us to differ amicably to the ultimate benefit of tha country. Whilst the debates in this chamber are frequently conducted with fervour and a measure of asperity, there is no spirit of rancour amongst us. I speak with some experience, because only four members of this chamber were in this Parliament before you, Mr. Speaker, and I, were first elected in 1919. We are therefore what one may term old politicians. We have had some experience and have seen many honorable members come and go. Oh one occasion both of us went but we came back again.

The spirit of personal bitterness has been so rare in this chamber as to be an unpleasant intrusion. One of the factors that unite us and make us truly a parliament rather than what one might term a mere collection of bickering factions, is the deep sense of privilege that we all feel in belonging to this national assembly. We are members not only of this or that political party, but also of the Parliament of the Commonwealth, and we bring to its debates and deliberations, such knowledge and talents as we may have, anxious to use them in the service, not only of our party, but 6f our country fis well. Here, then, we meet on the same ground. Thi3 land of Australia is our common heritage, ours to have and to hold, and to govern wisely and well, according to our sincere beliefs, and our united abilities. I understand that it is often given to those who are about to die to see more clearly than they did in ordinary circumstances. At the present time I maintain that, even going back to the year in which I entered this National Parliament, I am able to see better to-day the solution of the problems that face us, than at any time in my previous experience.

Mr James:

– Yet the honorable member proposes to leave us!

Sir Donald CAMERON:

– In the course of this debate every honorable member has referred to the great problem of unemployed youths and each has urged that it should be recognized as a great national problem and that we should set about finding a solution in a truly national way. I agree with all that has “been said and 1 maintain that no greater tragedy or no more profound evil has arisen out of the world-wide depression than the enormous army of unemployed youth. The other effects of the depression, though of great gravity, pale almost into insignificance when compared with the effect of the slump on the employment of youth. The cash losses of the depression can be made good and in many cases they have already been made good; but, unless immediate and bold steps are taken,. the evil effects, of the legacy of unemployed youth arc going to extend far into the future, and with increasing rather than decreasing intensity. A cursory examination of this urgent problem shows that its chain of cause and effect extends into every aspect of our economic and social life, and is deleterious not only to the unemployed youths themselves, but also to the whole nation. Unless some action is taken, an unpardonable and flagrant injustice will be done not merely to our unemployed youth, but also to the country as a whole.

Briefly, the position is that at the outset of the depression, thousands of Australian boys and girls who were just out of school were unable to find work. During the depression thousands more left school and were unable to find useful employment, or employment which trained them in some craft or profession and so gave them a future. In addition, thousands of young men and women who were in employment at the outset of the depression and who had, as it were, just set their feet on the highway of citizenship, were thrown out of employment, and remained unemployed .during the years of the slump.

It is now said that the depression has passed. Very true ! So it has ! And returning prosperity has left behind many thousands of those young men and women who were thrown out of work or were unable to find work during the slump years, and unless they are helped, there is no chance of them catching up in life. The-r tragedy is that they are not old, but they are too old to be received,, untrained and unskilled, into commercial life. Each year, 20,000 Australian boys and girls leave school. The vast majority of these find (their way almost immediately into shop, office, warehouse or factory, and they can be taken and trained for responsible and well-paid positions. But what is the position of those who left school four, five or six years ago? Many of them have never done any work at all. At the time when they should have been laying the ground work of their life’s occupation, there was no work to be had ; and now that there are opportunities for those just leaving school, they are too old to be able to take them. Their juniors are rapidly leaving them behind in the struggle of life, and a.s the years pass their plight becomes not easier, but more desperate, because this is a world of specialization and skill. Unskilled labour is a glut on the market. It cannot command buyers, it cannot command -iecurity, and it can command only a very low wage. Nor. is there any outlet in rural industry for the whole of this army of unemployed youth, the bulk of whom, if they are to be absorbed, must be absorbed by factory, shop and office. But here comes the vicious circle, for only shop, office or factory can give them the training necessary for them to find permanent employment, and employment with a future in the city. And as each year passes this army of unfortunates is faced with a fresh 20,000 competitors, who are in a far happier position than they to secure that early training so essential to success in later life.

The moral and social effects of prolonged unemployment and an apparently hopeless outlook upon youth are so vast and diversified that it is doubtful if we can glimpse more than a fraction of the real total. But what we can see is quite enough - or should be quite enough - to convince any man or woman with the slightest sense of citizenship of the seriousness of the position. I ask honorable members to picture, for themselves, the gradual moral and social deterioration of these young men and women who left school, regarding life as a high and glori ous adventure, only to find that avenues of useful and permanent occupation were closed to them, that when they could get work they were frequently exploited by their employers, that the future seemed as hopeless as the present and that no one seemed to care a rap what happened to them. Is it to be wondered at that thousands of them took to the roads wandering from State to State? The blame is not theirs, it is ours; and we must do all that we can to rectify the dreadful wrong that has been done to them.

From another sociological point of view, it must also be remembered that, in the normal course of events, these unemployed youths and young women should have “been among the contented, prosperous parents of the future, but to many thousands of them parenthood and marriage can never be more than a wistful dream. Heaven only knows what Australia. will lose as the result of this economically-enforced position! I emphasize that unemployed youth is our problem ; it is the problem of the Federal Government and of every State government, and the problem of every adult mau and woman in the country. If we do not grapple with it, we shall do a great injustice not only to youth, but also to our country, because the two are inseparable. When all is said and done, we have in the youth of this country the potential rulers of our great land in the near future, and our responsibility, as the older generation, to them cannot be gainsaid. I do not contend that we have failed, and that we have not made every effort, to do our best to meet the problem, but we have not taken it up in a truly national manner. That is the step which we must now take, irrespective of governments and parties ; and the petty activities of party politics will not, I am sure, enter into the efforts which we are making to solve this difficulty.

Mr Mahoney:

– That is because up to date the party to which the honorable member belongs has failed.

Sir Donald CAMERON:

– The- honorable member is always referring topeople who have failed. If any one- particular party has failed in grappling with this problem, I maintain that all others in common with it have failed, and that the older generation, entirely irrespective of parties and politics, has also failed ; but that is no reason why we should not now set out to solve this important problem. A wrong has been -done to this army of unemployed youth, and it is for us to rectify it. The depression was none of their doing, and if any one could be held blameworthy for the colossal forces which led to the economic upheaval, it was an older generation. This is a case where the sins of the fathers must not be visited upon the children to a greater extent than can be avoided by earnest and practical government and private effort. The effort must be made now. There is no time to waste, for each day that passes accentuates the seriousness of the position. As the months go by, the chances of our unemployed youth become less and less, and their prospects in life are bleak indeed. If we allow much more time to slip by, our chance of making some recompense for the wrong that has been done will be gone forever. I plead for our unemployed youth. I regard these young people as in a special class facing special difficulties -surrounded by special circumstance^, and, therefore, meriting special treatment. Their plight cannot be compared with the plight of any other class in the community, for it is peculiar to themselves and their brief era.. It is not in any sense anything that they have done that has brought them to their present condition, and it is the duty of the whole community to help them out of their trouble.

Something admittedly . has been done. The Commonwealth Government has taken the matter up and has appointed a committee to investigate all the aspects of the problem. It has also provided £200,000 to alleviate the distress of these young people. I am glad that this has been done. My only regret is that action could not have been taken earlier. But the amount of money which the Commonwealth Government has provided will not, in itself, go very far towards solving this problem. . In fact the Commonwealth Government, itself, cannot solve it. The responsibility rests upon the Commonwealth Government and all the State governments to act in cooperation, for this is a national problem. The money that has been provided might be described as a drop in the ocean compared with what is needed. When I speak about meeting the needs of the situation, I do not refer to money merely, though that is a first essential. We cannot expect to ease our conscience by simply allocating sums of money for this purpose. A few hundred thousand pounds, or even a million pounds, of public money would not provide all that is needed. We must go much further than that. The obligation on the Commonwealth Government is to build th( machinery, but in this also it must have the co-operation of all State governments. The money might be described as the oil which will lubricate the machinery. These young people must be given such a training as will endow them with the skill to take their place in the national structure as useful and efficient citizens. Money alone cannot drag these young men off the roads - and, unfortunately, many of thom are on the roads to-day; nor can it restore their self-respect and make them industrious and eager to carve out for themselves a fine and useful career. What is needed is a nation-wide and comprehensive programme designed to give them a complete training which will instil in them the incentive to win a place for themselves in which they will feel they will have the confidence of their fellowcitizens. It is not for me personally to suggest the details of such a scheme, although I know of quite a number of the more modern trades in which many young men and women could be placed if they had the appropriate training. There are vacancies in the trades which I have in mind, not only in Queensland, but in other States of the Commonwealth as well. These young people could be trained at a comparatively low cost to take up work in the callings to which I refer, but we must devise some nation-wide scheme to help them. Any such scheme must be backed by all the money necessary, and these young people, who have not had a fair deal from the world, must be trained to take up life’s struggle confidently and with a sense of pride and belief in themselves. Unless such a scheme is adopted I say, in all solemnity and with all sincerity, that the ultimate effect on the fabric of our national life will be serious and absolutely tragic.

In February last a national conference’ was held in Melbourne to discuss this subject. Certain plans were suggested at the conference, and while an immediate decision on a matter of such vital importance could not be expected, it would be comforting to know that progressive action was being taken, and that plans were being developed as rapidly as possible. The allocation of the Commonwealth Government’s grant of £200,000 between the States has already been announced, but I impress upon the members of the Government that its activities in seeking to cope with this serious problem must not be allowed to slacken. Eather should we be increasing our endeavours to place these young men and women in occupations in which they will recover their self-respect and win a worthy place in the community. The problem transcends iri importance any party political problem which may be engaging our attention, and it is only by our realization of the importance of facing the issues involved in dealing with these young people that we shall successfully overcome our difficulties.

I have spoken at some length on this subject, and my friend the honorable member for Denison (Mr. Mahoney), who seems to enjoy himself when interjecting on the somewhat rare occasions when I rise to speak in this House, has shown on this occasion at least that, in spite of his persiflage, he is in agreement with me.

The charges made in the amendment moved by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition were effectively answered last night by the Acting Prime Minister, the Acting Treasurer and other honorable gentlemen on this side of the chamber. It has been shown clearly that the administrative actions of this Government have effectively remedied many of the troubles which faced the country when it assumed office. I wish, however, to refer to one aspect of our national economy, which so far has not received much consideration in the debate, but which affords just as definite an indication of the success of the wise policy of the Government as other subjects referred to by those who have eulogized the Government. I refer to the improvement of our overseas trade, which really, began shortly after the Lyons Government was returned to office, and has continued during the six years, that have followed. Our exports in 1935- 36 were valued at £108,000,000 sterling, compared with £90,000,000 sterling for the previous financial year. Complete figures for the current financial year are,, of course, not yet available, but for the first nine months of it our exports of merchandise, including bullion and specie, were valued at £96,421,000 sterling, compared with £87,179,000 sterlingfor the corresponding period of the last financial year, an increase of £9,242,000. Our overseas obligations continue to be secured by the preponderance of exports; over imports, and the favorable balance for the nine months under review is £27,684,000 sterling compared with only £22,349,000 sterling for the corresponding period of the previous year. These, of course, are official figures, and it is useless for any one to attempt to deny that they indicate a return to prosperity. It is grossly unfair also to suggest, as some honorable members opposite and some persons outside this Parliament have done, that Australia has been carried back to prosperity - or is being carried back to prosperity, if honorable members opposite would prefer to have it put in that way - not through the administration of the Lyons Government, but irresistibly, and in spite of the Government, on the crest of a huge wave of renewed confidence that has swept across the world. The world, we know, has experienced a recrudescence of confidenceand prosperity in which Australia has shared, but we may justly claim that the Commonwealth would not be enjoying, and could not enjoy, its present measure of economic stability had it not been for the untiring and well-directed efforts of” the present Government. I make statement without the slightest hesitation. As I said earlier in my speech, I can .°e3 far more clearly now than ever I could before that this is a true statement of the case.

Mr Lazzarini:

– Is the honorable member satisfied with the economic position of Australia?

Sir Donald CAMERON:

– I do ‘not think that the present economic position of any country could be entirely satisfactory to its citizens, but it is undeniable that, during the years the present Administration has been in office, there has been a definite improvement of our economic position. I could cite many other figures to substantiate that statement, but I do not” wish unduly to detain honorable members.

One other matter to which I shall refer is most definitely a responsibility of the national Government. I have always thought of it as a primary responsibility of government. In these times of international uncertainty and trouble, the care which this Government has bestowed .on the defences of the country is a cause for gratification and satisfaction to ali right-thinking men and women who have a proper regard for our future and believe that the greatest hope for world peace, ‘security and prosperity lies in the strength of the British Empire. We must all surely agree that it is the responsibility of the national Government to provide for the defence of Australia should the occasion ever unfortunately arise when we should have to defend ourselves. Great Britain, a3 we all know, led the march along the road to disarmament and collective security, until the defences of the Empire had fallen to a desperately and dangerously low point in a world which was, and still is, feverishly arming itself to the very teeth, and which appears to have discarded - we must all hope only temporarily - those high ideals for which the League of Nations stands.

It has been my privilege on two occasions to represent the Commonwealth Government at Geneva at the annual Assemblies of the League. I did so first in 1922, and I was impressed from the very beginning of the proceedings on that occasion with a feeling that the represen tatives of the smaller nations of the world had implicit faith in Great Britain as the strong member to whom they could look to guard their rights and privileges. I went to Geneva ten years later, after Britain had set a magnificent example to the world in disarming. No one can deny that Britain’s actions were a splendid example to all those who really desire to see the first objective of the’ League of Nations, the reduction of armaments, carried into effect. What struck me at that time was that there had occurred in the interregnum between my visits a loss of confidence on the part of the small nations in the ability of Great Britain to assist them if the need should arise. They felt, it seemed to me, that Britain had reduced its armaments to such a low point that, if serious trouble occurred, they could no longer look to it for assistance. No one could possibly fail, when, the history of these times is written, to appreciate the truly magnificent effort which Britain made to lead the world along the road to disarmament. Now there has been a reorientation ‘of policy in Great Britain. Recently she silenced a threatening world by announcing that, over a period of five years, she would spend £1,500,000,000 on armaments, and more if necessary. The Lyons Government has not overlooked its obligations to Australia and the Empire, and last year the appropriation of £8,000,000 for defence purposes was the largest in the history of the Commonwealth. Again I say that, although we must regret the necessity for such expenditure, the fact remains that, if we are to have peace - and I know that the wish of honorable members opposite is that there shall be peace in our time, and that the generations following us will live in times of peace - then we must be prepared to defend ourselves if the occasion should arise. I am glad to have had this opportunity to say a word in support of an administration which, for nearly six years, has done much to help Australia, to reach a better position, and to promote the happiness of all sections of the community.


.- Before discussing the terms of the amendment, moved by the Deputy Leader of the

Opposition (Mr. Forde), I desire to refer to the proposal of the honorable member for Echuca (Mr. McEwen), that a system of proportional representation be introduced for Senate elections. It is wonderful how generous the honorable member and his colleagues have become in this regard when they see that political annihilation is staring them in the face. They know that they will lose their majority in this House, and they have cast about in their minds to devise some method of entrenching themselves elsewhere. In the Senate, at the present time, they have seventeen members who will not have to face the electors at the forthcoming general elections. They can see the probability that the Labour party will obtain a sweeping victory in the Senate as well as in the House of Representatives, just as it would have done in 1929 had there been an election for the Senate. Consequently, members of the Country party have sought to devise a system which will enable them to hold some of the seats which they would otherwise lose. And they pretend to be so generous about it ! Theysay they want to give the Labour party a chance. The honorable member for Echuca dwelt upon the representation the Labour party would have obtained had a system of proportional representation been in operation at the last elections. I ask him now whether he is prepared to support a proposal whereby the whole 36 senators will face the electors at the forthcoming elections, so that the whole Senate may be elected under a system of proportional representation.

Mr McEwen:

– Don’t be funny.

Mr. LAZZARINI.Ofcoursethehonorable member will not agree. He wants to keep the seventeen seats whichhis party and its allies now hold, and wants the other nineteen to be contested under the proportional representation system.

Mr McEwen:

– They will all come under the same system within another three years.


– Yes, and the honorable member is quite prepared to deny the people their democratic rights for another three years, so that his party may retain control of the Senate. He wishes to keep in Parliament men who, he knows, will be defeated if they face the electors. Under the present system of voting, the same position is likely to arise at any time. When I was defeated, I polled more than twice the number of votes the honorable member for Wilmot (Mr. Lyons) did, but I went into cold storage, while he became Prime Minister. Of course, this is always likely to happen so long as we persist in the stupid system which lays it down that in no case shall the representation of a State fall below five members. Under this system, the representatives of Tasmania and Western Australia are elected to this Parliament on one-quarter the number of votes that elect members for New South Wales and Victoria. If we are to have democracy, let us make it apply all round. Let us not be deceived by the hypocritical lip service which members of the Country party are prepared to pay to the ideal of democracy, because it happens to suit them at the moment.

The amendment of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition opens with a request to the Government that there should be an increase of the rate of the invalid and old-age pension to £1 a week, and that the provisions of the Invalid and Old-age Pension Act should be liberalized. This party has always supported the restoration of invalid and old-age pensions to their former level, and even honorable members opposite have said that restoration should take place as soon as the economic condition of the country permitted it.Now we find that practically everything else has been restored to its former level, but the pensioners have not yet got their pensions back. There is certainly room for liberalizing the provisions of the act. The honorable member for Hunter (Mr. James) has frequently drawn attention to those sections which used to impose harsh conditions upon pensioners, particularly those obnoxious provisions in regard to income, etc. Most of them have now been abolished, but there still remains one which states that parents receiving even as little as the basic wage may be denied a pension in respect of an invalid child if, in the opinion of the Commissioner, they are not entitled to receive it. I object to this discretion being left in the hands of the Commissioner. Parliament should lay it down specifically that such persons are entitled to receive an invalid pension unless their income is over a certain amount.

The Commissioner also has power to determine from what date the pension shall bc paid to a successful applicant, and it is a fact that, in many cases, the first payment is delayed several weeks. This, I maintain, is done at the direct instigation of the Treasury, so that a few pounds may be saved. When I first came into Parliament it was the custom to pay pensions to successful applicants from the date upon which their application was lodged. The act lays down that, under certain conditions, an applicant is entitled to an invalid or an oldage pension, as the case may be. If he applies for a pension, and satisfactorily fulfils the conditions, it should be paid from the date of his application, not two or three weeks later.

The act should also be more specific in defining the degree of invalidity which entitles an applicant to receive a pension. Probably every honorable member of this House who has dealt with these matters knows of cases in which persons who were obviously entitled to receive a pension were yet denied them on the report of the medical officer. In one case which, came under my notice, a man was denied a pension for a considerable time, and was only granted it when I took the case up personally with the Treasurer (Mr. Casey). The man was a wharf labourer, and bis heart gave out. The doctor told him that he would die if he went back to his work, but because he had two arms and two legs and an apparently sound body, he was refused a pension on the ground that he was capable of doing light work. As a matter of fact, he had a better chance of winning Tattersalls sweep than of obtaining light work. In another case the applicant had been a miner and a road worker employed by the Water Board when his heart became affected. He was told by his doctor that he must leave his work. He was offered, and could have obtained, employment by the Water Board at a wage of from £3 8s. to £3 16s. a week, but his medical adviser told him that if he accepted that job he would lose his life. I had to fight this man’s case also because of the refusal of the department to accept the certificate of the doctor who had been attending him. I do not blame those employed in the Pensions Department - they are merely carrying out the law - but I do blame the Government, which is responsible for allowing this state of affairs to continue. The pensions legislation should be amended in such a way that justice is done to all applicants. Only last week the case of a girl aged about twenty years, residing on the South Coast, was brought to my notice, and I had to go through the same lengthy process to secure justice for her. I quite appreciate the fact that it is necessary to consider the avocation of the applicant before making a decision. For instance, a man employed in an office who loses a leg or a left arm is not necessarily incapacitated for work in the calling in which he is usually engaged, and therefore would not be entitled to receive an invalid pension; but if a labourer were to suffer such an amputation, he would no longer be able to earn his living in his normal avocation, and, therefore, his claim for a pension should be sympathetically considered. All over the Commonwealth there are men employed in different jobs who find it necessary to use all of their limbs in order to Carry on their work; but under the pensions legistlation, if they lost a limb, many of them would not be entitled to an invalid pension, and would suffer great hardship. It is all very well to say that a person who has suffered an amputation can undertake light work, and that, therefore, the claim for an invalid pension cannot be upheld ; but there is a limit to the amount of light work that can be secured. Cases of the sort I have described are constantly being brought under the notice of members on both sides of the House, and the Government should realize the justice of many of the claims, and liberalize the pensions legislation so that the applicants can be more sympathetically dealt with by the departmental officers.

Another complaint which I have to make in regard to the administration of the old-age pensions legislation is that if an old-age pensioner happens to have a pint or two of beer, and some officious person reports his lapse to the department, his pension is taken away from him. Apparently the pension is given to him as a charity - if he is good, he continues to receive it, but if he has a few pints of beer, and the matter is reported to the department, he is treated as a criminal, and his pension is withdrawn. If it is criminal for a man to take a few pints of beer, then I must admit that I have often committed a criminal act. Many cases have been brought under my notice of pensioners in the Liverpool Old Men’s Home and in the Waterfall Sanitorium who have had their pensions stopped for this reason. Recently the case of an old man residing in an old men’s home was brought under my notice. He was a teetotaller, but because one of his mates was sick, he bought a small bottle of wine to take back to him. On the way back to the institu-tion with the bottle of wine in his pocket, while in conversation with a Salvation Army lass, he suddenly lost the use of his legs and collapsed ; the bottle broke, and its contents were spilled onto the pavement. This man was suffering from a complaint which robbed him of the use of his legs on occasions. The police saw him on this occasion and said that he was drunk. Following upon their report of the incident, he lost his pension for three or four, months, and it was only restored after a prolonged fight on his behalf. The pension should be given to the old and infirm as a right. The whole genesis of the invalid and old-age pension legislation, was that the payment should bc granted as a right, financed by the taxpayers and the workers of this community and payable to those people left destitute because of the system under which we live. It was never intended that the pension should be regarded as charity. It is as much the right of the pensioner to demand his pension, as it is the right of the wage-earner to demand his wages, and nobody suffers a loss of wages unless he breaks the law. If an old man had been accustomed to having a pint of beer when he was able to work, it is a crime to deprive him of it in his old age. I feel sure that not one honorable member on either side of the House who, if he met one of the old pensioners who wanted a pint of beer, would not immediately put his hand in his pocket and buy it for the veteran, yet by so doing the honorable member might be instrumental in bringing about the stoppage of the pension. That is wrong, and the lawshould be amended. I want it to be understood that I do not intend these remarks to apply to pensioners found lying drunk in the gutter; but of course the pension is not sufficient to provide the means of indulging in drink to excess. Again, it must be recognized that in the case of some old pensioners, one pint of beer is sufficient to make them appear drunk. Many are on the verge of the grave, and strong drink has a remarkable effect upon them ; in some cases one pint of beer will make an old man look as if he had had a half a dozen. I leave the matter there, hoping that the pensions legislation will be overhauled and that the Government will permit the administrative officers to bc more generous in their treatment of the aged and infirm.

The second part of the amendment moved by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Forde) reads as follows : -

To take whatever steps are necessary to ensure progressive reductions in the number of working hours and increases in living standards commensurate with increased powers of production due to the mechanization and speeding-up of industry.

I understand that the Attorney-‘General (Mr. Menzies) stated last night - I was not present in the ‘chamber at the time, but he can correct me if I am wrong - that while he would support an increase of wages, he would oppose a reduction of hours. I am quite sure that some of the right honorable gentleman’s clients would support a reduction of the hours he takes up in defending their cases, especially when each hour during which he appears in court on their behalf probably costs them about two guineas. If the Attorney-General refuses to realize the necessity for a reduction of hours of labour to-day, he is a political anachronism. Economists all over the world to-day are agreed upon the necessity for the introduction of a shorter working week. Let us read what some prominent authorities and employers in other countries have to say in regard to this matter. Mr. Kellogg, of the Kellogg Company, which manufactures cereal foods in America, has introduced a 36-hour week. Giving his reasons for this decision, he said -

The experience of my company, together with the failure of other methods, lias convinced me that the shorter working day, without cuts in pay, is the solution of the unemployed problem. This is not just theory with us. We have proved it by five years’ actual experience. We have found that with the shorter working day the efficiency and morale are so improved and the unit of cost of production is so lowered that we can afford to pay as much for six hours as we formerly did for eight. The company is more than satisfied with the result.

That is the result of the practical application of a shorter working week in a particular industry; it is no mere theorizing in regard to this matter. We have books on the shelves of the Parliamentary Library including The Great Technology and many others written by economists not pf my own particular school of thought, but more of the school of thought of those in walks of life not unlike that of the Attorney-General, whose views are directly opposite to those of the right honorable gentleman. Here are a few of the facts which I have elicited from books like The Great Technology and from British statistical reports which I can produce for the information of honorable members: -

To-day a single turbine unit generates power equal to the labour of nine million men.

The - United States of America alone has machine power equal to the labour of 10,000,000,000 men, Ave times the population of the whole world.

With to-day’s equipment 4,000 men are sufficient to cultivate the soil for the whole of the American wheat crop; 80 years ago 5,000,000 men were required to do that work.

Since 1912, Australia has increased its area under crop by 08 per cent, with 36 per cent, less labour.

In Britain a mechanical planter sets and waters 12,000 plants an hour.

I have cited these to show what has been the result of the mechanization of industry mentioned in the amendment moved by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition. If its effects are not fully realized, we shall quickly reach that state mentioned in Jack London’s Iron Heel ‘ of “ a world inhabited by a few men and many machines.” The German scientist, De Paul Spangenberg, has proved by experiments on fertile soil; by duplicating its nutriment content with a chemical solution, that sufficient food can be grown on one acre to feed 1,200 cattle. In 1879, 11,695 men produced 3,070,875 tons of pig iron in the United States of America ; in 1929, no less than 42,613,985 tons were produced by 24,960 men; in other words, one half as many men produced fourteen, times as much. The same improvement is taking place in Australia to-day at the Broken Hill Proprietary works at Port Kembla and Newcastle. Some years ago, in company with other honorable members, I paid a visit to Bryant & May’s match factory in Melbourne, and was astounded to see the work being done by machinery. In that factory a piece of wood sawn from a log entered a machine at one end, and came out at the other end as boxes of matches; the material was not touched by human hands in the process. We all know some of the ill effects suffered by workers engaged in the match making industry in other parts of the world whose work required them to handle phosphorus. Unless we shorten the hours of labour I have no doubt that we shall see quite often in this country what was so graphically described by that eminent clergyman, Dr. Burgmann, of Goulburn, who is doing wonderful work among the working people - “ men with rags for covering throwing themselves down to rest beside silos bursting with the staple food of life “. The Mechanical Engineer of South Australia states that in 1929, at the Islington Workshops, SOO men were doing the same amount of work that 18,000 did in 1925. A mechanical drill in the United States of America and Great Britain, does 50 times as much work as a boiler-maker with a hand drill. A canister-making machine produces in one day what three men and two boys require weeks to produce. The Daily Mirror in Great Britain has announced that there is a new £-lb. winding device which threatens the employment of 40)000 men. A new machine in the United States of America, with the labour of two men, produces 1,000 pairs of shoes daily. A Northampton authority told the Sunday Graphic that a firm which is now producing 10,000 pairs of shoes weekly requires only two men, two helpers, and a few operators for odd jobs. One knitting operator can produce 3,000,000 loops in the time required by one hand to produce 300 loops. At St. Louis, 30 machine operators, aided by 37 labourers, constructing sewerage works, do as much work as was previously done by 7,000 pick and shovel men. One giant 6hovel now does as much work as was done by 200 men in 1900. Digging the “Welland Canal in Canada, five workmen with machines displaced the same quantity of earth as was displaced by 4,000 men during the digging of the Suez Canal. A machine for making electric bulbs displaced 10,000 men. During the course of a visit that the honorable member for Cook (Mr. Garden), other honorable members, and I, paid to the Australian Glass Works in Sydney, the manager of that concern, Mr. Smith, pointed out that the company which operates this machine for the making of electric bulbs threatened to use the same process for the making of tumblers. He said that had it done so the whole of that section of the glass industry in America would have had to close down. He also informed us that the firms which are making tumblers in the United States of America are today subsidizing this company to keep the machine away from the manufacture of tumblers. We were told that if it were applied to that operation, tumblers could be manufactured so cheaply and quickly that they would be in the same category as is now the cardboard cup which is used for drinking purposes on trains - , they could be thrown out of the window after use. We are denied that advantage, simply because in our failure to realize that, in a managed economy, we should utilize machines to the full for the benefit of everybody, some persons are allowed to make undue profits while others languish in unemployment or are forced to exist on the cursed dole and relief work. In 1904, to produce a motor car, 1,291 man hours were necessary. A motor car can be produced to-day in 92 man hours. The introduction of oil fuel on a Cunard liner reduced the number of stokers employed from 951 to 263. A girl with a machine is able to make 60,000 razor blades daily. A bolt-making machine, operated by a man and a boy, does the work which previously was done by 6,000 hands, the savings in wages being £17,000 weekly. A machine recently invented breaks 3,600 eggs an hour, and separates the yolks from the whites ten times faster than is possible by hand. Mechanization has invaded every ramification of our economic life. From the planting of little seedlings, to the operations of refreshment-rooms and cake shops, all is mass production, and every day the human element is further depleted. Yet despite this fact, a gentleman who is learned in the law - I do not think much of his economics - stands up in this Parliament and says that he will not consider the reduction of the hours of labour. In 1907, in Great Britain, 121,000 workers produced 8,200,000 dozen pairs of footwear. In 1933, the production of 95,000 workers was 21,560,000 dozen pairs- 26,000 fewer workers for an additional production of 13,360,000 dozen pairs of shoes. This experience is repeated in every other walk of life. I have given only a few examples, but they emphasize the necessity for the acceptance of that por-tion of the amendment which asks that hours be reduced because of the speedingup process that is practised in industry and the mechanization of production.

I wish to make a few remarks concerning the third proposal of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition which deals with housing. I referred particularly to this matter in my speech on the motion for the adoption of the Address-in-Reply. The amendment asks that effect be given to the Prime Minister’s pre-election promise in 1934 that a great national housing scheme would be undertaken in conjunction with the States and local authorities. Ministerial supporters obtained thousands of votes, and the Government certainly secured the return of its candidates for the Senate, because of this promise. There is no more urgent problem than that of housing. I do not know what is to become of a large section of the youth of this country if they are to be reared under the housing conditions which exist today. In some cases a four-roomed house is shared by four families, each family occupying only one room. In my electorate, on the south coast of New South “Wales, there is rapid development as the result of construction works which have been put in hand by the Broken Hill Proprietary Limited in connexion with coke production and the iron and steel industry. Some of the men who are engaged on those works have to live in some congested area in Sydney if they wish to have a roof over their heads. [Leave to continue given.] Private enterprise refuses to build houses in Wollongong on the ground that only 1,000 or 1,500 men are affected and the work is merely a “flash in the pan”. This constructional work will possibly last for three or four years. A large number of the men will then go elsewhere; consequently, private enterprise considers that the building of houses would not be a payable proposition. But these people have to be housed. If houses were built for them, others might be found to occupy them later. From Wollongong to Waterfall the housing problem is an urgent one. As I said the other day, the habitations of some people in that picturesque area are the only things that offend the eye. I assure the Attorney-General that the local governing bodies, particularly the Illawarra shire council, would take the responsibility of building the houses and of looking after them if they could obtain the necessary finance. They have done everything possible to ease the problem, but are hampered because of lack of funds.

Statistics have been trotted out to show the number of homes that have been built. I endorse the comment of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Curtin) that a large portion of the expenditure has been on expensive flats and that sort of thing. The honorable member for Barton (Mr. Lane) has referred to homes that the Stevens Government has built.

I invite the honorable member to meet me in debate on the public platform in his electorate whenever he cares vo do so, and justify the scheme that has been put into .operation by that Administration. He is not game to do so. He utters a lot of inanities in this House, but he will not meet his electors. The Premier of New South Wales, Mr. Stevens, had the effrontery to go to the Fairfield district, in which I live, to open one of these two-roomed houses. I shall not repeat the reference that I have already made to the slave camps in National Park and elsewhere, which are a standing disgrace to civilization itself. One would not put hogs in the habitations that the Stevens Government is erecting all over New South Wales.

Mr Garden:

– The honorable member for Parramatta (Sir Frederick Stewart) houses his hogs under better conditions.


– The honorable member for Cook (Mr. Garden) reminds me that the housing which the honorable member for Parramatta supplies for pigs is such as the unemployed would be delighted to obtain, because of the warmth and comfort it provides. Hogs, of course, produce bacon, and bacon produces money. The toiler does not produce anything when there is no work for him. Honorable members opposite will have to face their masters on these issues in due course. If the honorable member for Barton will not meet me in debate, I shall meet his constituents. He talks about the workmen’s homes which the Stevens Government has built. He ought to be ashamed to stand up in the national Parliament and take credit for the erection of those abominations to the eye. They are a disgrace to people who call themselves Christians. Some of these houses have been built out of money provided by the Commonwealth Government. I speak only of New South Wales, because for the last twelve months that is the only State in which I have had experience. This Parliament must face the fact that the home is a symbol of civilization. If the home is attacked or degraded, civilization also, is degraded.

Debate (on motion by Mr. White) adjourned.

page 367


Customs Tariff Amendment (No. 1) : Customs Tariff (Exchange Adjustment) Amendment (No. 1): Excise Tariff Amendment (No 1)

In Committee of Ways and Means:

Minister for Trade and Customs · Balaclava · UAP

.- I move-

That the Schedule to the Customs Tariff 1933-1936be amended as hereunder set out, and that on and' after the twenty-fifth day of June, One thousand nine hundred and thirty-seven, at nine o'clock in the forenoon, reckoned according to standard time in the Territory for the Seat of Government, Duties of Customs be collected in pursuance of the Customs Tariff 1933-30 as so amended.

Customs Tariff (Exchange Adjustment) Amendment (No. 1)

That, on and after the twenty-fifth day of June, One thousand nine hundred and thirty-seven at nine o'clock in the forenoon, reckoned according to standard time in the Territory for the Seat of Government, the Schedule to the Customs Tariff (Exchange Adjustment) Act 1933-1936 be amended as follows : - by omitting " 9 ". by omitting " 11 (b) ". by omitting " 16 ". by omitting " 42 " and inserting in its stead " 42(a) " and " 42(b) ". by omitting " 44 (b) (2) ", " 44 (c) (2) " 44 (c) (3) ", " 44 (d) ", " 44 (e) " and " 44(f) ". by omitting " 64 (a) ". by omitting " 79". by omitting "84".- by omitting " 88 ". by omitting " 89 (b) ". by omitting " 105 (f) (4) " and " 105 (f) (5) ". by omitting " 118 (b) ". by omitting " 152 (a) (2) ", " 152 (b) (2) " and " 152 (c) ". by omitting " 153 ". by omitting " 161 (c) ". by omitting " 173 (a) ". by omitting " 176 (c) " and " 176 (h) ". by omitting " 180 (b) (1) " and " 180 (b) (2) (b) ". by omitting " 181 (b) " and inserting in its stead " 181 (b) (1) ". by omitting " 185 " and inserting in its stead " 185 (a) " and " 185 (c) ". by omitting " 203 " and inserting in its stead " 203 (b) ". by omitting " 204 (b) ". by omitting " 206 (d) ". by omitting " 209 ". by omitting " 216 (b) ". by omitting " 231 (h) by omitting " 237 (c) ". by omitting " 234 (b) " and " 234 (c) ". by omitting " 240 ". by omitting " 241 (c) " and " 241 (c) except as to goods entered for home consumption on or after the 29th November, 1935, and before the 1st April, 1936 ". by omitting " 301 (d) ". by omitting " 303 " and inserting in its stead " 303 (b) ", " 303 (c) " and " 303 (d) ". by omitting " 334 (i) ", " 334 (j) (as to blotting paper only)", " 334 (o) (1) ", "334(o)(4)", "334(q)" and "334(s)(l)". by omitting " 342 ". by omitting " 343 ". by adding after " 359 (g) (5) " the following:- " 359 (i) ". {:#subdebate-25-3} #### Excise Tariff Amendment (No. 1) Thatthe Schedule to the Excise Tari ff 1921 -1936 be amended as hereunder set out, and that on and after the first day of January, One thousand nine hundred and thirty-eight, at nine o'clock in the forenoon, reckoned according to standard time in the Territory for the Seat of Government, Duties of Excise be collected in pursuance of the Excise Tariff 1921 -1936 as so amended. The motions which I have just submitted provide for amendments of the Customs Tariff, the Customs Tariff (Exchange Adjustment) Act, and the Excise Tariff. The customs tariff proposals incorporate 150 items and sub-items. The most important items in the tariff schedule are those relating to the cotton and artificial silk textile duties. Honorable members will recollect that Parliament passed a bill last December which provided that rates of duty could be imposed on certain textile items by proclamation, and that these rates should remain in force "until the day following the expiration of fifteen days after the first meeting of the House of Representatives in 1937, or the introduction into that House of a .tariff proposal imposing duties of customs on the goods covered by the items, whichever first happens ". This provision was made in order to afford tho Government .the opportunity to negotiate a settlement of the trade dispute then existing with Japan. Honorable members are aware of the terms of the settlement of the dispute. Action was taken to proclaim the intermediate tariff rates agreed upon, and these operated from the 1st January, 1937. It is now necessary to submit these rates for parliamentary approval. Twenty-two sub-items come within this category. As for the remainder of the customs tariff schedule, it can be divided into three categories, as follows: - {: type="I" start="I"} 0. Items included for redrafting purposes and clarification. This group includes 38 items and subitems. 1. Items in respect of which action is being taken to extend adjustments on account of exchange to the intermediate and general tariffs. In this group the rates under the British preferential tariff have for some time been adjusted to exchange. Some 24 items and sub-items are now incorporated in this group. The principal items included in this group are essences, fruit juices and syrups, cocoa and confectionery, oilmen's stores, felt piece goods, spray pumps, weighing machines, and tiles. 2. Other variations made in pursuance of Tariff Board reports. There are seventeen groups of items on which increased duties have been imposed, the principal items being certain marine petrol engines, handset telephones, sprocket wheels for motor cycles, certain static transformers, and electric warning devices for road vehicles. These goods are all now being economically made in Australia. The number of sub-items on which decreased duties are being imposed is 49. The principal items affected are salt, alpacas, certain types of internal combustion marine engines, aluminium- ware, sanitary and lavatory articles, and goods for use in the pearling industry. As to salt, n.e.i., that is, other than rock salt and salt in packages not exceeding 14 lb., coarse salt is practically immune from, overseas competition, whilst the price of dairy salt is such that a moderately low duty is sufficient under present exchange conditions. The duty on salt in small packages, that is table salt, under the British preferential tariff and intermediate tariff remains stationary and under the general tariff has been increased by 10 per cent. The rates adopted in regard to alpacas, lustres, mohairs and Sicilians - piece goods - should enable local manufacturers to retain the market in the lines they are in a position to produce, but will reduce landed costs of qualities suitable for men's coats, which are not produced locally, to the extent of ls. 2d. a yard equivalent to 5s. in the retail price of a man's coat. This item is of particular interest to Queensland. Adequate protective duties have been provided on types and sizes of internal combustion marine engines capable of being manufactured in Australia, and the duty has been removed or reduced in cases where the engines cannot be made in Australia. This should be helpful to the boat-building industry, and, to a certain extent, to the fishing industry. Aluminiumware, n.e.i., which is merely stamped from imported sheets, was formerly grouped with enamelledware, which is manufactured from local materials, and entails much, greater labour costs. After a further full inquiry, the Tariff Board has again recommended the same rates as in its previous report with regard to sanitary and lavatory articles of earthenware. The Board states that no attempt is made by Australian manufacturers to relate their selling prices to costs of production, and that the failure to pass on to their customers cost reductions because other branches of potteryware do not yield adequate profit is unreasonable. As to goods for use in the pearling industry, an item is inserted, in accordance with the Tariff Board's recommendation, enabling goods to be admitted, under departmental by-law, at the rates of free, British preferential tariff, and 15 pe"r cent, general tariff, for use in the pearling industry. Other changes were made departmentally, which have already assisted that industry. In order to encourage the use of Australian tobacco leaf overseas, the Government has decided that the tobacco and cigarette duties under the British preferential tariff should be reduced, provided they contain 13 per cent, and *2&* per cent, respectively of Australian-grown leaf. The import rates will be the same as those which operated prior to the 23rd May, 1936. On that date, honorable members will recollect, the import duty on tobacco leaf; unless blended with at least the stated percentages of Australiangrown leaf, was increased. United Kingdom tobacco and cigarette manufacturers will now be placed in the same position as Australian manufacturers insofar as the use of Australian-grown leaf is concerned. The amendment will not deprive either the Australian tobacco-grower or the Australian tobacco manufacturer of any protection. The amendment is designed to create a market overseas for Australian-grown leaf. Mr.Forde. - The growers would have to sell their leaf at the same price as that received for tobacco grown by coloured labour in the United States of America. {: #subdebate-25-3-s0 .speaker-KZR} ##### Mr WHITE:
UAP -- It may encourage the export of a certain quantity of Australiangrown leaf, although the local growers now produce only one-third of Australia's requirements of tobacco. They are able to sell all the good leaf they can produce. I have it from the president of the Tobacco Growers Association in Victoria that that body is perfectly satisfied with the present proposal. The excise proposal amends only Excise Item 2 l, which relates to spirit for use in the manufacture of scents, toilet preparations and essences. Under this sub-item, providedcertain proportions of Australian products are utilized, the spirit is subject to rates of duty representing a considerable concession over the excise rate on spirit for industrial and scientific purposes generally. Certain defects have been apparent in the existing sub-item, one being that it has not sufficiently encouraged extension of the use of Australian manufactures. The new sub-item, which is the result of a comprehensive inquiry by the Tariff Board at which evidence was given on behalf of citrus fruit-growers, essential oil producers and essence and perfumery manufacturers, will not operate until the 1st January next, inorder to afford ample time to. any manufacturers who may desire to alter their formulae. Progress reported. {: .page-start } page 395 {:#debate-26} ### SUPPLY BILL (No. 1) 1937-38 Debate resumed from page 366. Mr.PROWSE (Forrest) [5.25].- In 1922, this Parliament decided that the Postal Department should not be used as a taxing machine, but that the profits made by it should be devoted to the granting of increased postal facilities throughout the Commonwealth. I now find that the Government' is anxious to pay into Consolidated Revenue all the profits made by the post offices. That policy, I think, is wrong. Cheese-paring methods are adopted when requests are made for postal and telephonic facilities, particularly in out-back areas. At Lake Harley, in Western Australia, it was proposed to place 3,000 farmers on the land, and a number of men were settled there, but a certain expert contended that the land contained saline elements to such an extent that it was inadvisable to develop farming interests in that region. Much of the land, however, has proved to be excellent for farming and grazing operations. The Agricultural Bank of Western Australia has changed its opinion in regard to this area, and is now granting assistance to the farmers there. They are 30 or 40 miles from the nearest telephone service, but they should be provided with telephonic facilities, particularly to enable them to obtain medical assistance when required. In view of the large profits made by the department, it should not refuse to grant these facilities on the ground that the lines asked for may not return sufficient revenue to cover interest and sinking fund payments. As a matter of national policy, telephonic facilities should be afforded to such worthy settlers, irrespective of the cost. I was interested to hear the duel between the Attorney-General **(Mr. Menzies)** and the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Curtin)** regarding the Government's action in reducing taxation. If one may express an opinion on the matter, I consider that the AttorneyGeneral won in the debate. He pointed out that this Government had reduced taxes by £15,000,000 by lowering the rate's of tax. The Leader of the Opposition desired to refute that assertion by showing that this Government had collected more from the taxpayers than had been done under the Scullin régime, but it must be obvious that had this Government not reduced the rate of various taxes the receipts would now be double what they are today. It is no reflexion upon the Government that, although a reduced rate of tax is now in operation, it is collecting much more money from this source from the people, because it predicates nothing more than that an era of greater prosperity has been brought about among those persons with taxable incomes and in business generally. I do not desire that the remarks which were made during this debate by the honorable member for East Sydney **(Mr.** Ward) should go unchallenged. The honorable member seemed to be still suffering heavily from the knowledge that this Parliament had granted certain assistance to wheat-growers at a time when wheat was being produced at a loss, and when the Royal Commission on the "Wheat Industry stated clearly that Australia was paying ls. a bushel less for home-grown wheat than the price at which the grain could be imported from " black countries ". The honorable member also seemed to regard it as a shocking thing that one farmer was paid £4,000 bounty under the relief scheme. I believe that I know the man to whom the honorable member referred. At any rate the person whom I have in mind had put in about *1* 0,000 acres of crop ; to-day he is bankrupt. The honorable member for East Sydney and other honorable members who are so strongly opposed to the granting of assistance to primary industries have expressed no dismay at the fact that this Parliament paid £600,000 in bounty to one company, yet they are shocked at the payment of £4,000 to a man who put the capital of his life into the development of the land and then, owing to the world slump, failed. During the last few years conditions in the wheat-growing industry have indeed been parlous. In Western Australia, 2,600 men have left their holdings, and other States have had a similarly sad experience. When the general public of Australia were getting so much from this depressed industry in the way of cheaper food it was surely not too much for the wheat-growers to expect to be paid a bounty by the Federal Government. I consider that the Federal Government, and the Country party, are deserving of a good deal of credit for the excellent condition of the main roads throughout Australia. To my knowledge they have never in the past been in a better condition than they are to-day, but I regret that_this Parliament and this Government have not received the credit which is due to them for making this developmental work possible. Both in Western Australia and in other States I have heard that the State Parliaments, which apply the money from the federal aid roads grant, take the credit for the construction of these excellent roads. The building of splendid arterial roads throughout this vast country is due to the collections from the petrol tax, and in view of the purpose for which these proceeds are devoted, I am sure that nobody will complain. The motoring public certainly take no objection to the tax, because good roads mean a substantial saving to them in many other directions. The tax upon petrol, however, is a restriction on the development of transport, and handicaps this great country itself in relation to competing nations. These aspects of the matter should not be disregarded by this national Parliament. For this reason I object to the attempt being made so early to carry out the complete' manufacture of motor cars within the Commonwealth, because we have already experienced a rise of price of' motor vehicles since the manufacture of motor parts was commenced in this country. For instance, the Ford car in America costs only one-third of the Australian price, and the same vehicle in England requires only half of the purchase money that is necesary in Australia. I venture to think that the manufacture of the complete motor car in Australia would increase fourfold the American price for a corresponding vehicle. Such an additional cost, together with the petrol tax, would make transport in Australia too expensive. In these days the motor car is not necessarily the wealthy man's conveyance, and dear vehicles and dear fuel "are real handicaps to the progress of this country. I hope that the House will be given every opportunity to discuss the advisability of the suggested appointment of a tariff advisory committee, particularly if the personnel of that body is as has been forecast in certain quarters. There can be only one decision in every case upon which such a committee would deliberate. With the manufacture on one side and the importers on the other, the Government nominees generally would act as they thought that the Government would like them to act. For that reason, such a committee would, in my opinion, be useless and superfluous and I should certainly desire to be given fuller details about it before I should be inclined to accord it my support. A number of speeches in connexion with the 40-hour working week have been made during this debate, and I consider that the Attorney-General gave a complete answer to criticism in response to the Government's conduct in this matter up to the present time. The honorable member for Werriwa **(Mr. Lazzarini)** produced sheaves of evidence this afternoon in order to show how mechanization had displaced manual labour. When listening to the honorable gentleman, I hoped that he would say: "I do admit that some of that labour has been taken up in the manufacture of machinery", but he did not do so, with the result that an uninformed observer might be led to believe, from his remarks, that all the labour so displaced had been relegated to the ranks of the unemployed. The problem of the loss of employment, th rough the advance of science, is most difficult, but it is practically impossible to estimate the number of persons who have been displaced from their occupations through this development. From time immemorial, objections have been taken to advancement and progress of various forms. I well remember that many years ago in Western Australia a few people earned their livelihood by the transport of goods by barge from Fremantle to Perth. As time went on, the construction of a railway between the capital city of the State and its seaport was advocated, but opponents of such a scheme took objection to it on the ground that it would dislocate the existing system of transport by water. Another instance of opposition being taken to the trend of modern development is to bc found in the history of the Coolgardie water scheme. Before the pipe line linking Mundaring with Coolgardie and Kalgoorlie was laid down, a number of people made a good living on the goldfields with condensers. They raised strenuous objections to the construction of the pipe line and, when they realized that it was inevitable, they demanded compensation. The Attorney-General gave a lucid explanation to show that the shorter working week demands most careful consideration, and that, before it is introduced, we must count the cost to not only the country, but also the working man himself. The working man in New South Wales had to count the cost when **Mr.** Lang improved conditions in that State, and thereby allowed the working man in Victoria to gain a distinct advantage over his fellow-worker in New South Wales. The same position would apply in the international sphere. As the AttorneyGeneral stated, if such an experience were found in relations between State and State, it would surely have a similar result in the relations between country and country. If there were 1,000,000 workmen throughout Australia, the introduction of the shorter working week would mean that 200,000,000 fewer hours would be worked in the Commonwealth in one year. That would certainly mean an increase of the cost of the goods produced. It is a fact that, because, of the high standard of living that has been set up throughout Australia, and the high protective policy, the cost of production is so great that the country is virtually unable to export any manufactured article. If it were a case of taking in each other's washing or cutting each other's hair, such a standard might be satisfactory ; but the point must not be overlooked that one section of the community, the primary producers, has to produce and compete in the open markets of the world, while the export of their commodities maintains our credit abroad. The Tariff Committee which examined this aspect reported to the Bruce-Page Government that the high tariff protection imposed to encourage the development of secondary industries placed a burden of 9 per cent, on the primary industries, and, according to Professor Copland, the higher duties under the Scullin Government's tariff increased that burden to 15 per cent. If the introduction of the 40-hour working week were to increase the cost of production, the handicap imposed on the exporting industries must be added to. Surely honorable members do not desire that the farmer should be further penalized in addition to the burdens that he already carries, because there is a limit to the load which can be placed upon him before he must give up altogether. The depression, in addition to other imposts, brought the load to weigh so heavily upon the producers that in increasing numbers they have been obliged to leave their holdings. The granting of the 40-hour working week promiscuously is not advisable, and it is remarkable to me that the Labour party is not anxious to enter into a council with the representatives of other interests for the purpose of weighing the pros and cons of the whole subject. I hope that the Attorney-General will convey to the Postmaster-General the observations that I have made in regard to post offices. In my opinion, the post office should be a separate concern and any profits derived from it should be devoted towards improving it. But it certainly should not be used as a taxing machine. {: #debate-26-s0 .speaker-KYI} ##### Mr PROWSE:
FORREST, WESTERN AUSTRALIA -- The telephone line to Lake Harley should be constructed in the national interest. {: #debate-26-s1 .speaker-JNX} ##### Mr BARNARD:
Bass **.- Mr. Speaker-** {: .speaker-KJQ} ##### Mr James: -- Apparently I am to be overlooked in the call because I was suspended from the sitting yesterday. {: #debate-26-s2 .speaker-JOS} ##### Mr SPEAKER (Hon G J Bell: -- I hope that the honorable member will not give the Chair Cause to take similar action to-day. {: .speaker-JNX} ##### Mr BARNARD: -- I take this opportunity to make brief reference to the subject of invalid and old-age pensions, which should be paid on a more liberal scale to this unfortunate section of the community. I also advocate the removal of some anomalies which exist in the present act, and in order to illustrate my contentions, I shall cite several examples. The first one is in regard to aliens who have lived in Australia for a great many years. The act forbids the payment of pensions to Asiatics. I have in mind a case of distinct hardship in this connexion concerning an Asiatic who came to Australia many years ago as a young man. He married an Australian woman and they reared a family which has now grown up. They and their children are good citizens of Australia. The man was in business in Tasmania for many years and paid his fair share of taxation. Now that he is old and no longer able to earn his own livelihood he finds that he is denied a pension because he was born in Asia. Surely the act could be liberalized to meet such a case as that in view of the small cost involved. Another anomaly concerns a woman who has made application for an invalid pension. Because she is a trustee of her mother's estate, the book assets of which exceed £400, she is unable to obtain a pension although in every other respect she is ' eligible for one. This seems to me to be also a case that calls for special consideration and I appeal to the Government to see whether something cannot be done to meet such circumstances. Last night quite a lot was said in the course of the debate about the history of our invalid and old-age pension system, and about who was responsible for its introduction. The occasion is thus opportune for a more complete statement of the historical background than, that given last night in the interests of the Government. I shall therefore ask honorable members to go a little further back into the past than they were taken last night. It is true that our pension system was introduced before the Labour party came into power in the Commonwealth, and on that account it has been denied from time to time that Labour was in actual fact, responsible for the inauguration of the system. {: #debate-26-s3 .speaker-KWC} ##### Mr THORBY:
CP -- That is quite true. {: .speaker-JNX} ##### Mr BARNARD: -- I am glad to have that interjection, for I propose to show that it is not true. The Labour party, in the period to which I refer, was one of three parties in the Commonwealth Parliament, not one of which was sufficiently strong to hold office by itself. The other two parties were numerically stronger than the Labour party, but each of them could hold office only with Labour support. The Labour party gave its support to the party which was prepared to give effect to the greatest number of planks in the Labour platform. By lending its support to other political parties in this way, it was able to bring into operation a number of the planks of its platform. Many reforms for which the Labour party stood were, in actual fact, brought into effect before the Labour party assumed governmental office because, it compelled the parties in power to introduce the reforms as the price of its support. Old-age and invalid pensions were a subject of public concern in the nineties. The spiritual ancestors of the United Australia party at that time were unfriendly to the proposal and discouraged it in every possible way. They said that pensions would discourage thrift and weaken the moral fibre of the masses. There was, however, a lot of unorganized sympathy for the proposal and some governments played with the idea. Yet it was not until the Labour party made old-age pensions a fighting issue that they were given. The Labour party put in governments which promised to pass old-age pensions and then made them live up to their promises. {: .speaker-KWC} ##### Mr Thorby: -- The honorable member is trying to take credit for the Labour party which belongs to other parties. {: .speaker-JNX} ##### Mr BARNARD: -The interjection of the Assistant Minister makes it even more necessary for me to give a detailed account of the happenings of those days. The first Federal Labour party platform was adopted at a conference held on the 24th January, 1900. It provided among other things for - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Electoral reform providing for one adult one vote. 1. Total exclusion of coloured and other undesirable races. 2. Old-age pensions. I shall now go a little bit further back in order to bring under the notice of the Assistant Minister some facts of which he is apparently ignorant. In September, 1899, Labour put **Mr. Lyne** into office in Mew South Wales in place of **Mr. Reid** because he promised to pass an old-age pensions bill. In December, 1900, that bill became law in New South Wales. In November, Labour put **Mr. Turner** into office in Victoria in place of **Mr. McLean,** because **Mr. Turner** promised to pass an old-age pensions bill. The next month such a bill became law in Victoria. In February, 1908, Labour put **Mr. Kidston** into office in Queensland, instead of **Mr. Philp,** and in July of that year an oldage pensions bill became law in Queensland. This shows that while it may be true that Labour did not actually introduce the bills necessary to give effect to the old-age pensions system, it was the driving force behind the bills. {: .speaker-KWC} ##### Mr Thorby: -- In other words, the Labour party talked about pensions. {: .speaker-JNX} ##### Mr BARNARD: -- In the early days of the political Labour party in this country many reforms sponsored by Labour were given legislative effect by the political party in power. Labour did not have sufficient numbers to occupy the Treasury bench, but it was the force behind the Government in office. This is particularly true in relation to invalid and old-age pensions. Let me resume my historical *resume.* Before the old-age pensions came into force in Queensland, **Mr. Deakin** had promised to introduce a pensions bil] in the Commonwealth Parliament. The promise was made in 1905, and the Labour party, on the strength of that undertaking, put **Mr. Deakin** in office in place of **Mr. Reid.** That action was taken in consequence of a letter which **Mr. Deakin** wrote to **Mr. Watson,** the leader of the Labour party, under date of the 5th July, 1905. The full text of that letter, which is published in **Mr. W.** G. Spence's book, *Australia's Awakening,* is as follows: - Dear **Mr. Watson,** I am now able to inform you that the programme of business to be submitted to the present Parliament will include, in addition to the budget and other ordinary requirements of that kind, any necessary legislation upon the matters and lines embraced in the Ballarat platform, 1903, or since arising, out of the action of the House. I may mention among the subjects that we hope to deal with - some of them being already advanced more than one stage - are the following: - (1) White Australia; (2) Iron Bounty; (3) Preferential Trade; (4) Rural Development; (5) Navigation; (0) High Commissioner; (7) Tariff Commission Report; (8) Trade Marks; (9) Fraudulent Marks; (10) Papua; (11) Quarantine; (12) Electoral Requirements; (13) Population; (14) Old-age Pensions; (15) West Australian Railway Surveys; (16) Anti-trust Bill; (17) Defence; (18) State Debts. We cannot hope to dispose of all these great problems, but may be enabled to secure further consideration for those upon which legislative action is not yet desirable. Yours very truly, Alfred Deakin. Following upon the receipt of that letter, the Labour party carried the following motion : - >That this party, having been informed through **Mr. Watson** of the measures proposed to be submitted by **Mr. Deakin,** agrees to give his Ministry a general support during this Parliament in the transaction of public business. It may be said that the writing of that letter marked the inauguration of the system of Commonwealth invalid and old-age pensions. Unfortunately, however, .the promise was not fulfilled until 1908 in consequence of delay caused through a constitutional difficulty. Tho States claimed that they were entitled to receive all unspent Commonwealth revenue month by month. **Mr. Deakin** thought that this was a correct view of the constitutional position, and that being so, the plan to create a trust fund for the payment of pensions was impracticable. **Mr. Fisher** obtained legal advice on the point which was to the effect that the view held by the States was not correct. **Mr. Deakin** accepted this opinion, and introduced a bill to create a trust fund for old-age pensions. After the bill was passed the Government of New South Wales challenged its validity, but in October, 1908, the High Court upheld the constitutionality of the measure. The Invalid and Old-age Pensions Act was passed in 1908. Old-age pensions were to be payable not later than the 1st July, 1909, but **Mr. Fisher's** Government was in power for six months during 1908-9, and he brought the act into force as regards old-age pensions as from the 15th August, 1909. No time was fixed for the commencement of the invalid pensions. The second Fisher Government, however, made invalid pensions payable from the 19th November, 1910. That, briefly, is the history of the inauguration of our pensions system. {: .speaker-KWC} ##### Mr Thorby: -- What the honorable member has said proves that the legislation was not introduced by a Labour government. {: .speaker-K9C} ##### Mr Garden: -- If the Tory Government in power in New South Wales at that time had had its way there would have been no Commonwealth pensions system. {: #debate-26-s4 .speaker-JNX} ##### Mr BARNARD: -- That is true. It is only fair that I should point out that certain members of the Parliament who were not members of the Labour party supported the pensions legislation. In view of the comments made by the Assistant Minister for Commerce, I feel it necessary to state that those who joined the Labour party in providing a majority for the original invalid and old-age pensions bill were Messrs. Bonython, Chanter, HumeCook, Crouch, Groom, Higgins, Isaacs, Kingston, Lyne, Mauger, and Storrer. These eleven, with 25 Labour members, gave a total vote of 36 in the House of Representatives, and Senators Styles, Trenwith and Playford, with fourteen Labour senators, gave a total of seventeen in the Senate. But for this alliance with Labour, the Deakin party of that day could not have got back to power. It was the Labour party, plus the gentlemen whose names I have just read, who deserve the honour of having inaugurated the Commonwealth pensions system. {: .speaker-KZR} ##### Mr White: -- The honorable member has got it the wrong way round. Those gentlemen with the Labour party were responsible. {: .speaker-JNX} ##### Mr BARNARD: -- Apparently everything, or, at any rate, most things, that the Labour party does is wrong in the eyes of the Minister. {: .speaker-KZR} ##### Mr White: -- I wish to be fair. {: .speaker-JNX} ##### Mr BARNARD: -- And I endeavour at all times to be fair. I have noticed, however, that when social reforms which, for years, have been advocated by the Labour party finally become popular with the general public, they are stolen by the conservative parties, and adopted as a plank of their platform in order to curry favour with the electors. Last night, the Acting Prime Minister **(Dr. Earle Page)** became very heated when he sought to prove that no credit was due to the Labour party for the inauguration of the system of invalid and old-age pensions, but the facts I have cited cannot bc denied. Seeing that the Government has claimed that prosperity has returned to the country, and seeing that substantial remissions of taxation have been made to the wealthy sections of the community, there is no reason why pensions should not be restored in full. I should like now to draw the attention of the Government to some of its electioneering promises. Some time ago, .1 read an article published in a small paper in my electorate setting out what the Government was going to do to relieve unemployment. The paper is dated the 18th December, 1934, and this is what it says - >The Commonwealth Government, in carrying out its election pledges, is straining every effort to provide work for thousands of persons unemployed, and every aspect of the problem is being examined, says an official statement issued at Canberra to-day. Already a start on the new drive has been made. The sum of £176,000 has been provided out of revenue for special Christmas relief, and is now being spent on Commonwealth works. This, however,is only the beginning, and, in co-operation with the States, comprehensive plans are being drawn up for a long programme of Commonwealth and State works, mainly of a reproductive character. At the same time, an investigation is to be made into the root causes of the problem of unemployment. It must not, of course, be forgotten, that before this new programme was inaugurated £4,250,000 of Commonwealth loan and revenue work, for which moneyhas already been appropriated, had been put in train. In connexion with defence and postal requirements about £750,000 of this willbe spent abroad, but the balance (about £3,000,000) will be spent in Australia and will provide work, which is now being pushed on by the various departments. In addition, a £22,000,000 programme of States works for the financial year is being vigorously pursued. > >The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Re-employment **(Mr. Stewart)** and his staff, arc throwing all their energies into the task, and it is hoped that before long work will be found for many who have not benefited by the already considerable improvement in the general economic position of Australia. > >There are four angles from which the position is being attacked at present. In the first place, there is the expenditure of £176,000 on special Christmas relief. This does not involve loan expenditure, and the money, in the main, is being expended on renovations to Commonwealth property. This is the first shot in the campaign, and Commonwealth properties have been chosen principally because the work can be commenced without delay. Thus a measure of relief will be afforded before Christmas. First preference is being given to work which does not involve delay in preparation of designs and drawings, and the Commonwealth departments which will undertake the work have been impressed with the necessity for getting on with the job immediately. At the same time, the departments are being carefully examined with a view to providing further work, as part of the general plan. The second angle of attack is in the form ofCommonwealth assistance in the carrying out of State public work. Considerable progress has been made in this direction, and schedules from four States have been drawn up already. These have beendiscussed with State Ministers by **Mr. Stewart,** and general agreement has been reached in principle on much of the proposed works. The schedules are being considered by the Federal Cabinet this week. Another angle is the standard ization of railway gauges, to discuss which a conference of premiers of all mainland States will be held. It is interesting to compare in this way the Government's programme in 1934 with what it has actually accomplished. "What, I ask, has yet been done to discover the root causes of unemployment? Theanswer is that nothing has been done. What has become of the Minister appointed to handle this question, the Under-Secretary for Employment **(Sir Frederick Stewart).** If the Government really desired to solve the problem of unemployment it would have taken steps before this to introduce a shorter working week in Australia. I was interested to hear what the honorable member for Forrest **(Mr. Prowse)** had to say in this regard. He, and those who think as he does, have always used the same arguments in opposing reforms of this kind. I remember that when the 8-hour day was introduced in Tasmania, the very same things were said in regard to it as the honorable member for Forrest said to-day about the 40-hour week. People who think as he does always oppose such reforms, until eventually they are favoured by such a tremendous weight of public opinion that they can no longer be denied. Then the Conservative party places them in its own political platform, and uses them to win elections. I realize that there are difficulties in the way of putting into operation a shorter working week. There are constitutional obstacles to be overcome, but the Government has made no attempt to overcome them. Of course, the Government could introduce a 40-hour week into the Commonwealth Public Service, but I do not think that would be desirable until it is possible to make the principle apply generally throughout thecountry. The honorable member for Forrest objected to the introduction of a shorter working week on the ground that it would interfere with international trade. I remind him that in regard to overseas trade conditions in New Zealand are very similar to those in Australia. Both countries are much the same distance from the world's markets, but the Government of New Zealand had no hesitation in introducing a standard 40-hour week as soon at it got into power. The Minister for Labour in the New Zealand Government who spoke recently at the International Labour Conference at Geneva, is reported as follows: - " If you vote against a 40-hour week in the textile industry you are hopeless," said tho **chairman, Mr. Armstrong,** of New Zealand, during to-day's debate on a textile convention at the International labour Conference. When hours were reduced to 40 a week in New Zealand, he said, income had increased 20 per cent., amounting to £14^00.0,000 a .year, and the demand for goods had increased enormously. New Zealand was prosperous to-day, **Mr. Armstrong** added, because of the increased spending power of the community. Tens of thousands of boys and girls leaving school were now absorbed in industry instead of walking the streets. The Conservatives in New Zealand would not dare repeal the 40-hour week. This indicates clearly the value of a shorter working week in providing employment for youths, and no one can bc more concerned with this aspect of the unemployment problem than I am. By shortening the working week it would be possible to find employment for many thousands of our boys and girls who leave school each year. The Labour Government in Tasmania has, during the last few years, done everything possible to' make the 44-hour week general throughout that State. It- first introduced the shorter working week throughout the government service, including the railway service, and wherever possible a five-day week was introduced. Moreover, through the wages boards, it has sought to introduce the 44-hour week generally throughout industry, with the result that employment has been found for many youngpeople who would otherwise be out of work. *Sitting suspended from 6.15 to 8 p.m.* {: .speaker-JNX} ##### Mr BARNARD: -- I desire now to deal with another matter of .importance to Australia, the failure of the Prime Minister to honour his pre-election promise to provide a national housing scheme. Although the Commonwealth Housing Act was assented to on the 22nd December, 1927, in reply to a question addressed to him this week, the Acting Prime Minister admitted that not one house had been built under that scheme. The people of Australia are, however, looking for an opportunity to purchase their own homes. Under the administration of the present Labour Government in Tasmania, much has been done to assist prospective home purchasers, and many homes have been built under the State housing scheme, the operation of which had been suspended for some years during the regime of a former government.- The effect of the Tasmanian Government's efforts in this direction has been to increase employment in the timber-milling industry and in the building trade, and to provide many skilled artisans with lucrative employment; and the stimulus in the building trade generally has gone a long way towards the rehabilitation of the State which I represent. The question of slum clearance in the big cities of Australia is a very pressing one. In this connexion, I would urge honorable members to read **Mr. M.** W. Child's *Sweden To-day* to ascertain what Sweden has done and is doing in regard to home building for the masses of the people. The Commonwealth Government has done nothing to carry out the election promise made by tho Prime Minister in regard to housing. If the Commonwealth housing scheme had been proceeded with, many workers would have been able to purchase and own their own homes and become better citizens, and greater homelovers, and would have been able to provide an asset not only for themselves, but also for the community in general. Generally speaking, the people to-day are looking for greater reforms and improved social conditions. Any government which fails to recognize the necessity for improving the social standards of the people is doomed. *[Leave to continue given.]* All the honorable members on this side of the House realize that it is necessary to provide money to continue the essential services of the Government. While I desire to enter my protest against the procrastination practised by this Government, I do not propose to do anything to delay the provision of the funds necessary to carry on. In conclusion, I say that the financial policy and technique which should keep the nation in work are in need of urgent reform. Where there is useful work to be done and the material and goods are available, it should not be beyond the will of the financiers to set the work in operation. They exist for that purpose and it is their task to facili- tate the exchange of goods and services. It is up to the State to see that this is done for the whole body of citizens. {: #debate-26-s5 .speaker-KFS} ##### Sir HENRY GULLETT:
Henty -- I have listened with a great deal of interest to the rising roll of drums and the trumpeting which has come from the Opposition benches during the last two or three days. I have been positively fascinated by the splurge of loudly-expressed confidence of honorable members opposite in their prospects at the forthcoming general election. I cannot say, however, that I have felt very intimidated or concerned. I have heard honorable members opposite,with the sameconfidence, tell the storyof what they are going to achieve at the next election too often to be moved by it. For over 20 years, honorable members opposite have displayed all this loud confidence on the eve of a general election. During these 20 years they have done that on no less than eight or nine occasions, and only once have the people hearkened to it. That is the record of honorable members opposite at general elections over the last twenty years. What followed upon that vote they got from the people? Was there ever a more calamitous collapse of a government than that of the Labour Government which came into office in 1929? *Opposition membersinterjecting,* {: #debate-26-s6 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order ! Honorable members sitting on my left have been heard in complete silence, and with proper courtesy.Immediately an honorable member rises from the other side of the House there is a general interruption. Such conduct is grossly disorderly and unfair to thehonorable member addressing the Chair. {: .speaker-KFS} ##### Sir HENRY GULLETT: -- I shall endeavour to tell honorable members opposite a few things about themselves which they have so carefully abstained from telling the House during their speeches. T. have been interested by the tactics adopted by the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Curtin)** and the honorable member for West Sydney **(Mr. Beasley)** during this debate ; it is such obvious electioneering. We had the gentleman who leads the Opposition, in one of the most soft-spoken speeches he has made in this House, standing up and parading himself as one of the most moderate, temperate, and conventional men in the public life of this country, and, by implication, declaring that those behind him subscribe to the same sound conventional policy, which he will offer to the electors some time later in the year. I doubt very much whether the people will be in the least deceived by tactics of that kind. Then we had the honorable member for West Sydney, who generally speaks sopassionately from a front seat on the floor of the House, for some extraordinary reason on this occasion going upstairs to a position on the back benches, where be was as nearly as possible, without crossing the gangway, right behind the Leader of the Opposition. The Leader of the Opposition and the honorable member for West Sydney both sought to convey to the country that there is now, in the Opposition, complete unity, that it is as one, and that there is no such thing as a violent Lang party dominating the Opposition in this House and in the country at the present time. When the honorable member for Reid **(Mr. Gander)** put his hand upon the shoulder of the new member for Gwydir yesterday, andsaid, "Here is the living witness of what happened at Gwydir ", I, in a metaphorical sense, put my hand on the shoulder of the honorable member for Cook **(Mr. Garden),** and say, " Here is a living witness, an eloquent witness, of the deep dissension between the two wings of the Opposition ". Can there be a more vivid exposition of the hopeless cleavage between these two sections of the Opposition than there is at the present time? We had recently, in Sydney, first the expulsion of members of the Labour party, including the honorable member for Cook, and subsequently a fruitless conference to bring about some reconciliation; the Leader of the Opposition went to Sydney, and the honorable member for Cook and others were re-admitted to the party, and the pious wish was expressed that the preselection ballot for Cook would be re-opened. {: .speaker-009FQ} ##### Mr Curtin: -- I could put the honorable member for Cook back into the Labour party, but I cannot put the honorable member for Henty back intothe Ministry. {: .speaker-KFS} ##### Sir HENRY GULLETT: -- Has the selection ballot for Cook been re-opened? Did the New South Wales Labour party pay two minutes' attention to the very strongly expressed views of the Leader of the Opposition? Where is his influence over this party? What influence will the honorable gentleman be able to exercise over this strong group of the Lang party? Can he ever be entrusted with the leadership of his party in this House? What sort of a government could he form, in reality? It would a Lang government, as all Australia knows. We have, in the amendment moved by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition^ three points notable, not for what they have expressed, but for what they conceal. I do not propose to cover them in detail, but I shall deal with one of them. The second part of the amendment moved by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition reads - To take whatever steps are necessary to ensure progressive reductions in the number of working hours mid increases in living standards commensurate with increased powers of production . We come there to what is becoming notorious as the 40-hour week. I say without hesitation that the dangling of the 40-hour week before the people of Australia is sheer political humbug. Honorable members opposite, almost without exception, have admitted that this Parliament has not the power to declare a 40-hour week. {: .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr Ward: -- Who said so ? {: .speaker-KFS} ##### Sir HENRY GULLETT: -- When honorable members opposite came up against the Attorney-General's opinion that, under the Constitution, the Commonwealth has not that power, they have said, "Why not grant it to the public servants of the Commonwealth ? " Is this merely an electioneering appeal to the public servants of the Commonwealth and not to the workers generally? Is that what honorable members opposite mean it to be? If so, what will the workers generally think of such a proposal? It is politics of the shabbiest kind. They are holding out to the workers an offer of something which this Parliament cannot give. I believe that every honorable member opposite is quite aware of that fact. Opposition members - No. {: .speaker-KFS} ##### Sir HENRY GULLETT: -- The workers of this country, who fortunately have an extraordinarily high degree of native intelligence, will be quick to see through such a political fraud. In the interest of the workers, I would not favour the exercise of that power by this House even if this House possessed it. I believe that the sudden, arbitrary imposition of a 40-hour week would be disastrous in the extreme for the workers of the Commonwealth. We have heard from honorable gentlemen opposite a good deal concerning the effects of the mechanizatm of industry. My friend, the Attorney-General did not yesterday definitely commit himself to an opinion as to whether or not the mechanization of industry has been a good thing for the workers of the world. I have no hesitation in saying that throughout the last century it has been responsible for raising millions of workers from a condition of bondage to the position which they now occupy. That will be realized if we cast our minds back to the industrial conditions in Europe before the advent of machinery and compare them with those that exist to-day I frankly admit, however, that in certain cases there has been dislocation of individuals and groups of individuals. If one wishes to test whether the introduction of machinery during the last century has been a boon to workers, one can do so by considering what effect if has had on the wages, hours, and social conditions of the world. It has raised wages by from two to three times and reduced hours by at least two-fifths. Out of the new wealth pool which followed the mechanization of industry have been provided the means for all the social amenities which are to-day enjoyed by the workers.- Out of that pool is defrayed the cost of invalid and old-age pensions, free education, public hospitals," and much else that one could mention. A new workers' world has been created by machinery. Admittedly a certain degree of cruelty was associated with the transition period; but on the democratic principle of the greatest good to the greatest number there is no question of what mechanization has done and is still doing. Let honorable members opposite have, if they so wish, the point that mechanization is deadly for the worker and that the extension of the system would impose hardship upon him. From that basis let us consider the effect of the application of a 40-hour working week. I have no doubt that there are some industries which could carry a 40-hour week. Already in this country certain industries are doing so. But I put to honorable members and to the workers of this country that if this House were to apply a 40-hour week arbitrarily to all industries, many of them, including a number of very great importance, would not be able to carry on. What, then, would be the effect on the workers? First, there would be an extraordinary intensification of the use of machinery. Every gadget that could be gathered up in the world would be utilized to reduce the employment of labour. That would be the first blow to labour. A premium would be placed upon highly efficient men and a discount on the average, the slow, and the ageing men. The workers would be driven as they have never been driven before. As industry is to-day, the employer of a man who is ageing says: " Old Bill is getting a bit slow, but he has been with us for 20 or 25 years"; and under the existing system he carries him. Slow men are carried in the same way. Even the most competent men would be overdriven, and the less efficient workers would be penalized. The highly efficient are in the minority. There would be discrimination in the employment of youths; the bright boys would be taken and the dull boys be left. As the Attorney-General has pointed out, the matter of working hours is being considered every day by the industrial tribunals of Australia - those tribunals which are applauded to-day and condemned to-morrow. I do not think that the Commonwealth Arbitration Court was particularly popular in the ranks of the Opposition yesterday, I do not say that honorable members opposite were not pleased with the increase of wages which it announced ; but they were anything but pleased politically at the fact that that increase had been granted at the present time. {: .speaker-009FQ} ##### Mr Curtin: -- Nonsense ! {: .speaker-KFS} ##### Sir HENRY GULLETT: -- It would have suited honorable gentlemen opposite very much better had the Arbitration Court left the wages where they were until after the forthcoming elections. I believe that the increase has demonstrated to all fair-minded people that the court has at heart the interests of the workers of this country, and that it can be trusted by the workers, whatever honorable members opposite may say in regard to it. I personally have no doubt as to the very high respect in which it is held by the working men and women of Australia. We have heard a good deal in regard to unemployment, and an entirely unjustifiable charge has been made against the Government. What is the position of unemployment to-day compared with the position in the years prior to the depression? I take the House back to a boom year. To-day, the ratio of unemployment is 9.9 per cent. In 1928 it was 10.8 per cent. Yet the Government is charged with having shown callous indifference to the interests of the workers of Australia. This Government broke new ground after quite a number of Federal Labour governments had been in office. In 1934, 1935, and 1936, it accepted, for the first time since the initiation of federation, financial responsibility with the States for the relief of unemployment. It has made available a few millions of pounds for that purpose. That was not done by any previous government. What is the position of the general worker in industry? I do not deny for a moment that there is hardship and some suffering, but it is not as great as in the boom year 1928. Honorable gentlemen opposite would have the workers, business people, and industrialists believe that today Australia is in a terrible situation. They say, "Return **Mr. Curtin** as the nominal leader of **Mr. Lang** and those who follow him". They would then clean up what they claim to be the apalling mess in which Australia finds itself to-day. The truth is, that this country has never been as prosperous as it is at the moment, and I do not think it has ever been faced with a fairer outlook. That is the picture which the electors of this country have before them. The tales which my friends opposite tell them, of the misery in which they find themselves, represent shady electioneering. How cheaply they hold the intelligence of the electors of this country, who, after six years of administration by this Government, are rejoicing in the most prosperous conditions they have ever known! What indication has been given by the Opposition of the steps that it would take to effect improvement? Where is the old banking proposal that we smashed at the last general elections? Will the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Curtin)** tell me whether it has been abandoned? {: .speaker-009FQ} ##### Mr Curtin: -- It is probably in the same predicament as the honorable member's resignation. {: .speaker-KFS} ##### Sir HENRY GULLETT: -- The honorable gentleman sidesteps the question. It is a vital one "which the electors, and particularly the workers of Australia, want to have answered. Where do the Leader of the Opposition and his supporters stand in relation to finance? What are their proposals? Are we to continue under our present system, or do they propose to bring down something new, fanciful and strange in the way of the production of wealth from the -air - wealth for which no one has worked ? Do they propose to tell the people that **Mr. Lang** will make this wealth? If they would state where they stand in relation to finance, the air would be cleared a thousandfold more than it has been by the amendment. Honorable members opposite overlook a simple fact which is obvious to every man in industry, business, or employment in this country - that behind every great industry and every unit of industry, whether it be pastoral, agricultural, manufacturing, industrial enterprises such as those at Newcastle and Port Kembla, wholesale and retail operations, down to the smallest shops, and occupations right down to the position of office boy, there must be a sound and trusted banking system. That is a truth which honorable gentlemen opposite ignore. Yet it is a truth which every worker and every man of industry and business understands. I asked honorable members opposite whether they proposed to change the present financial system, but there was complete silence. I do not believe for a moment that the nationalization of bank ing will be trotted out as the number one plank of the Labour party's platform at the next election. Whether this policy is mentioned at the election or not, no doubt an attempt will be made to implement it, if the party opposite is returned to power. Such a policy would constitute a menace to the workers generally, who have less between them and sudden change or peril than has any other section of the community. I believe in political honesty and candour. Let us have done with this 40-hour week proposal, -which could not be put into effect, and which would only result in chaos if it were. The electors will not be led to believe that the distress in the community is due to the actions of the present Ministry. The people are too well off earning money, and keeping their jobs, to want a change of government. The Labour party might make some headway if it adhered to two or three main principles. Let it tell the country where it stands in regard to the Empire, and in regard to defence, particularly Empire co-operation and defence. These are the questions to which the people will require answers. Let the party opposite announce the proposals which it will introduce, if the country turns its back on the Government that has served it so well for the last few years. {: #debate-26-s7 .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr WARD:
East Sydney .- I do not intend to spend much time in replying to the weak case presented by the eccentric ex-Minister **(Sir Henry Gullett)** who has just resumed his seat. If tolling the truth can be called political propaganda, I plead guilty to indulging in it. It is necessary to examine the matters under consideration in the same manner as the Attorney-General **(Mr. Menzies)** suggested they should be considered. He said we should deal with the facts, and let the public arrive at its own conclusion. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Forde)** has asked us to determine whether the time has arrived to do the following : - >To increase the rate of invalid and old-age pensions to £1 per week and to liberalize the provisions of the Invalid and Old-age Pensions Act. To take whatever steps are necessary to ensure progressive reductions in the number of working hours and increases in living standards commensurate with increased powers of production due to the mechanization and speed- ing up of industry. To give effect to the Prime Minister's pre-election promise made in 1934 that a great national housing scheme would be. undertaken in conjunction with the States and local authorities. I have heard honorable members on both sides of the chamber claiming to have regard for the conditions of the people. If the anti-Labour Government were honest, it would tell the people that it could not support the amendment because it would be directly against its personal interests to do so. To give effect to any of the suggestions contained in the amendment would mean an additional levy on the wealthy section, and that is exactly what the Government is attempting to prevent. It is interesting to consider the actions of members of the Government apart from what they do in this Parliament, and to consider why they are so anxious to prevent the introduction of the 40-hour week. To the honorable member for Henty **(Sir Henry Gullett)** I would say that the Treason why members of antiLabour governments seek to be honoured with titles bestowed abroad is that these titles have a commercial value, and enable the holders to take positions as directors of various companies. Through the title's being commercialized, the principle of bestowing honours on various members of the Parliament has been degraded. We find that one of the bosses of the Government parties, **Mr. James** Ashton, of New South Wales, is the Chairman of Directors of the Commercial Banking Company of Sydney Limited and of the Mutual Life and Citizens Assurance Company Limited. Turning to the famous Baillieu group, with which the Attorney-General is associated, together with other Victorian members of the United Australia party, inthe flash clubs of Melbourne, such as the Australian Club and the Savage Club, we find that this group has very large business interests. The companies of which its members are directors are as follow: - Baillieu, A. S.- Bay Steamers Limited, Commercial Bank of Australia Limited. Baillieu, Clive - Carlton and United Breweries Limited. Carlton Brewery Limited. Baillieu, C. L., C.M.G. (London) - Electrolytic Zinc Company of Australasia Limited. English, Scottish and Australian Bank Limited. Dunlop Perdriau Rubber Company Limited. National Smelting Company Limited. New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Agency Company Limited. Standard Trust Limited. Yarra Falls Limited (London Director). Zinc Corporation Limited. No wonder the Government does not desire a 40-hour week to be put into operation when its bosses are directly interested in undertakings which would be affected by the introduction of the reform. The Attorney-General said last night, " I am prepared to support an increase of the wages of the workers, but I will not support a reduction of the working week ". The reason is that the antiLabour forces, being in control of the financial machinery of this country, can give with one hand and take away with the other. When wages are increased, they can manipulate the currency and depreciate its value at will, but a reduction of hours of labour would confer a direct benefit on the workers which could not be taken away from them. The interests of the other members of the Baillieu group are as follow: - Baillieu, D. - Atlas Assurance Company Limited (Victoria Board). Queenscliffe Gas and Coke Company Limited. Baillieu, E. L. - Freehold Assets Company Limited. Land Mortgage Bank of Victoria. Melbourne Electric Supply Company Limited. Shamrock Brewing Company Limited. Yarra Falls Limited. Baillieu, H. L. - Standard Trust Limited. Baillieu, M. H.- Australian Knitting Mills Limited. Carlton and United Breweries Limited. Castlemaine Brewery Company (Melbourne) Limited; Colonial Mutual Fire Insurance Company Limited (chairman). Foster Brewing Company Limited. North Broken Hill Limited. Western New South Wales Electric Power Proprietary Limited. Baillieu, M. L. - Associated Pulp and Paper Mills Limited. Austral Silk and Cotton Mills Limited. Electrolytic Zinc Company of Australasia Limited. North Broken Hill Limited. Western New South Wales Electric Power Proprietary Limited. Zinc Corporation Limited. Baillieu, R. F. - Myer Emporium Limited, (Associate Director) . That is the group which dominates the business interests of Melbourne. Before the Prime Minister **(Mr. Lyons)** was elevated to his present position - when he was about to sacrifice the political principles which he had espoused at the previous election, he had an interview with one of the Baillieus of Melbourne, so that they could talk the matter over. He was told that he had to pay the price demanded by the Baillieu group before he could become Prime Minister, and the price demanded was that he had to reduce the living standards of the people so that higher profits could be made by the wealthy minority. I now come to another alleged democrat in New South Wales, **Sir Henry** Br addon. He is another man who commercialized the title bestowed upon him. Titles are very valuable, as the honorable member for Parkes **(Sir Charles Marr)** has found. **Sir Henry** Braddon is a director of the following companies : - Bank of New Zealand (Sydney). British and Foreign Marine Insurance Company Limited (New South Wales Board). Goodyear Tyre and Rubber Company (Australia) Limited. Mutual Life and Citizens' Assurance Company Limited. Sydney Ferries Limited. Union Assurance Society Limited (Sydney Board) . {: type="A" start="W"} 0. R. Carpenter and Company Limited. **Sir Wallace** Bruce, who, I understand, is the "big noise" of the anti-Labour forces in Adelaide, is a director of the undermentioned companies : - Adelaide Cement Company Limited (Chairman ) . Adelaide Rope and Nail Company Limited. Clarkson Limited (Chairman). General Motors Holden's Limited. South Australian Gas Company. A particular friend of the AttorneyGeneral is the Honorable H. E. Cohen, C.M.G., C.B.E., D.S.O., V.D., M.L.A. He is a director of the following companies : - Amalgamated Zinc (De Bavay's) Limited. Associated Pulp and Paper Mills Limited. Carlton and United Breweries Limited. Carlton Brewery Limited. Electrolytic Zinc! Company of Australasia Limited ( Deputy -Chairman ) . Foster Brewing Company Limited, (Chairman). Shamrock Brewing Company Limited. Foster Brewing Company Limited (Chairman ) . Standard Mutual Building Society. Swan Brewery Company Limited (Chairman ) . Zinc Investments Proprietary Limited. Our old " friend " **Sir H.** R. Denison, is well known in New South Wales, and is one of thepoliticalbosses of theparty opposite. He holds the following directorships : - Associated Newspapers Limited (Chairman). Australasian Paper and PulpCompany Limited. Australian Paper Manufacturers Limited (Chairman). **Sir W.** G. Duncan, M.L.C., is similarly associated with the following companies :- Australian Iron and Steel Limited. Adelaide Steamship Company Limited. Bagot's Executors and Trustee Company Limited. Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited. {: type="A" start="J"} 0. B. Chandler Investment Company Limited. These gentlemen are executive officers of the United Australia party. I have quoted from Jobson's *Digest Year-Book of Public Companies of Australia and New Zealand, for* 1937, but I notice that certain companies with which the gentlemen to whom I have referred are associated are not mentioned. **Mr. T.** S. Gordon is a director of the following undertakings : - Australian General Insurance Company Limited. Ballambi Coal Company Limited. Lapstone Hotel Limited. Coming nearer home, **Senator Grant** holds directorships in the following companies : - Cascade Brewery Company Limited. Farmers and Citizens Insurance Company Limited (Chairman). {: type="A" start="H"} 0. C. Heathorn and Company Limited. Hobart Gas Company (Chairman). Launceston Gas Company. Perpetual Insurance and Securities Limited (Chairman). Perpetual Trustees, Executors andAgency Company of Tasmania Limited (Chairman). **Senator Sir Walter** Massy-Greene is a director of the undermentioned companies : - >Amalgamated Zinc (de Bavay's) Limited. Associated Pulp and Paper Mills Limited. Atlas Assurance Company Limited (Victorian Board). Australian Knitting Mills Limited. Austral Silk and Cotton Mills Limited. Barnet Glass Rubber Company Limited. Electrolytic Zinc Company of Australasia Limited. Emu Bay Railway Company Limited (Chairman). Melbourne Electric Supply Company Limited (alternate). Zinc Investments Proprietary Limited. Is it any wonder that the United Australia party and the Country party are not anxious to introduce the shorter working week? **Mr. Hawkins,** M.L.C., ofNewSouth Wales, who is another very influential member of the United Australia party, is director of the following companies: - >Co-operative Insurance Company of Australia Limited. Cresco Fertilizers Limited. Farmers' Co-operative Executors & Trustees Limited. South Australian Farmers' Co-operative Union Limited. **Senator A.** J. McLachlan is a director of the following companies: - Hume Pipe Company (Australia) Limited. Hume Steel Limited. Mick Simmons Limited. Singapore Hume Pipe Company Limited. Southern Union Insurance Company of Australia Limited. Although those are the only offices held by **Senator A.** J. McLachlan, according to the *Digest,* I understand that the honorable senator is interested in some oil search concern, and I saw in a statement in the press that he had refused to prohibit the advertising of dope medicines, apparently because he was interested in some chemical company. **Sir Kelso** King is associated with the following companies: - Australian General Insurance Company Limited. Batik of New South Wales. Beale & Company Limited. Church of England Insurance Company of Australia Limited. Illawarra and South Coast Steam Navigation Company Limited. Mercantile Mutual Insurance Company Limited. Mert's Dock and Engineering Company Limited. **Senator J.** D. Millen, another member of the United Australia party, is interested in the following concerns : - Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) Limited. Australian Banner Knitting Company Limited. Australian Provincial Assurance Association Limited. I come now to the Right Honorable R. G. Menzies, K.C., M.H.R., and I desire honorable members to bear in mind that the Attorney-General, when speaking on the amendment moved last night by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, stated that he preferred that any building activity in Australia should be the result of private enterprise as opposed to municipal or governmental enterprise. The offices which the right honorable gentleman holds are as follows: - Capel Court Limited. Capel Court Investment Trust Limited. Commercial Union Assurance Company Limited. County of Bourke Permanent Building and Investment Society. Equity Trustees, Executors and Agency Company Limited. National Reliance Investment Trust Limited. New Zealand Perpetual Forests Limited. Were's Investment Trust Limited. I have heard it on very reliable authority that the Attorney-General has also become a Director of Imperial Chemical Industries, and probably that accounts for the failure to make progress with the proposal that the Commonwealth Government should establish a plant for the extraction of oil from coal in Australia. Referring again to the *Digest,* I find that **Sir James** Murdoch is director of the following companies : - Linoleum Manufacturing Company of Australia Limited. Melbourne Hotels Limited. Murdoch's Limited. National Studios Limited. Standard Portland Cement Company Limited. **Sir Keith** Murdoch is director of the following concerns: - Advertiser Newspapers Limited. Herald and Weekly Times Limited. News Limited. Paper Makers Proprietary Limited. Colonel T. A. J. Playfair is director of: - Australian Gas Light Company. New South Wales Fresh Food and Ice Company Limited. Perpetual Trustee Company Limited. **Sir W.** Lennon Raws is director of: Caledonian Colleries Limited. Commonwealth Fertilizers and Chemicals Limited. Elder Smith and Company Limited. Howard Smith Limited. WallarooMt. Lyell Fertilisers Limited. **Sir Arthur** Robinson holds the following directorships : Australian Mutual Provident Society (Victorian Board). Bank of Adelaide. British-Australian Lead Manufacturers Proprietary Limited. (Chairman). Central Insurance Company Limited. Colonial Gas Association Limited. Crankl ess Engines Limited. De Haviland Aircraft Proprietary Limited. Ford Manufacturing Company of Australia Proprietary Limited. Ford Motor Company of Australia Proprietary Limited. Freehold Assets Company Limited. Gold Mines of Australia Limited. International Harvester Company of Australia Proprietary Limited. Melbourne Electric Supply Company Limited. Modern Permanent Building and Investment Society. National Trustees, Executors and Agency Company of Australasia Limited. Robert Harper and Company Limited. Trufood of Australia Limited. **Sir Sydney** Snow is director of: Broken Hill South Limited. General Industries Limited. {: type="A" start="H"} 0. B. Dickie Limited. The Honorable **Sir Arthur** Trethowan holds the following directorships: - >Farmers and Graziers Co-operative Grain Insurance & Agency Company Limited. > >Producers and Citizens Co-operative Assurance Company Limited. Union Assurance Society Limited. I hope that honorable members will not be misled by the word " co-operative ", because the directors collect their fees, and dividends are also paid to shareholders. **Sir Samuel** Walder is director of: Eagle Star and British Dominions Insurance Company Limited. National Studios Limited. Sargents Limited. Sargents (Newcastle) Limited. The Right Honorable W. A. Watt, who was at one time Speaker of this House, and who exercises a great deal of influence with the Government parties, is director of: - The Aeolian Company (Australia) Limited. Barnet Glass Rubber Company Limited. Dunlop Perdrian Rubber Company Limited. Jalan Kebun Rubber Company Limited. Mutual Life & Citizens Assurance Company Limited. Qantas Empire Airways Limited. Rolfe & Company Limited. Silverton Tramway Company Limited. Zinc Corporation Limited. {: .speaker-JVR} ##### Mr Nairn: -- Is the honorable member reading a catalogue of Australian business directors? {: #debate-26-s8 .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr WARD: -- No; I consider that this information bears a most important relation to the present discussion, because it shows from what quarter the Government supporters are influenced in regard to their decisions on any proposal to benefit the workers' conditions in this country. I desire now to quote an opinion of a gentleman who in 1924 was a member of the Bruce-Page Government. I read the following in a well-known journal, the Castlemaine *Mail: -* > **Sir Frederick** Stewart is a member of the Federal Cabinet, and sits with **Sir Frederick** Tout on the directorate of Associated Newspapers Limited. In addition, he is governing director of the Metropolitan Omnibus Company Limited, Australian National Airways Limited, New South Wales Woollen and Felt Mills, and 2CH broadcasting station. None of his activities has made the poor less poor or the farmer less a slave to the banks. Notwithstanding this, some one has considered them " valuable ", and that some one has the say in the preparation of the "Honours List". I think that any unbiased person, who has examined the manner in which these honours are bestowed, will agree that the distribution is made without any regard to the merit of the recipients, or to the fact that they are deserving of them for any public services which they may have performed. From time to time scandals have arisen in Great Britain with -regard to the trading in titles until such time as honorable gentlemen in Australia would consider it an insult if they were offered a title, because they are well aware of the uses to which titles have been put in the past. If any further evidence be required as to the influence brought to bear on Government members with respect to their policy, I shall quote to them the opinion of one honorable member who still sits in this House. The Attorney-General **(Mr. Menzies)** made some reference to the general elections of 1929, and I went to the trouble of looking up some of the utterances which were made by the Right Honorable W. M. Hughes in that year, when he was standing as an independent candidate, and probably thought that he would never be able to get back into the Nationalist party. On that occasion the right honorable gentleman said - >They have called me an Independent. That epithet can never .he applied to them. I am the representative of the people, owning no master but the people. What I believe in I stand for boldly. But they: what are they? For the most part poor, weak, spineless ones, who dare not speak as their consciences and their solemn pledges to the people bid them. > >And along with these unhappy, timid souls,, terrorized into submission by threats of excommunication, are others who are the mere creatures of vested interests and reaction. > >What is **Mr. Parkhill,** the campaign director, but the paid servant of the Moneybags of this State? No man can serve God aud Mammon. No man can bc a faithful servant of the people who is in the pay of the Plutocracy. Those statements were uttered by the present Minister for Health against the Minister for Defence **(Sir Archdale Parkhill),** and other members of this Government. I emphasize that it was not a Labour man who made these assertions, but a member of the United Australia party at the present time. This Government has used its powers in Parliament to pass legislation which was deliberately designed to protect the wealthy interests of this country. From time to time royal commissions are established ostensibly for the purpose of holding inquiries into important public matters, and, naturally, those honorable gentlemen who support the Government and who advocate the holding of such inquiries, will find it very difficult to explain to their constituents why this Government passed amending legislation to provide that evidence given before a royal commission may be heard *in camera.* The obvious conclusion to be drawn from that decision is that there are certain matters which may be divulged or forced from witnesses before a royal commission, but about which, for the purposes of political expediency, the public should be told nothing. The mere fact that the Government has appointed royal commissions to sit behind closed doors has destroyed any confidence which the public may have had in regard to such inquiries. A great deal of talk during this debate has hinged upon the 40- hour working week, but I wonder what members of the ' Government parties would say if I showed them where the Commonwealth Government assisted to enforce, not a 44-hour working week, but a 56-hour working week, upon trade unionists. Honorable members will recall the circumstances in which the shipping companies made an attack on seafaring men. The companies concerned were Burns Philp Company, which is linked with the Queensland National Bank, and regularly pays a 10 per cent, dividend; the Adelaide Steamship Company; the Bank of Adelaide, which is also connected with the Colonial Sugar Refining Company, and various coal companies; the Melbourne Steamship Company, which is controlled by the National Bank of Australasia; the Union Steamship Company; the Australian Union Steam Navigation Company; Mcllwraith, McEacharn Limited ; Howard Smith Limited ; Huddart Parker Limited; the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited., and the Colonial Sugar Refining Company. The attack, upon the conditions of sealfaring men who. were manning Australian ships took, place in 1935, although in the preceding year the following profits; were made by the companies cOn.cerned: the Adelaide Steamship Company, £139,651; the Huddart, Parker Limited, £83,774; Burns Philp Company, £211,006; Howard Smith Limited, £83,979 ; Melbourne Steamship Company £64,463; and the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited, £670,442. Although it was well known that these companies were making huge profits, the Government members had the audacity to say that the shipping industry could not afford to maintain the conditions which then existed in this industry. What did the Government do when these men were being compelled to accept a 56-hour working week? Did it say, " We have no control over hours of work. That is a matter that must be settled between the employers and the employees in the industry" ? Not at all. It rushed to the assistance of the gentlemen whose names I read a little earlier, for they, of course, were its friends. It brought its legislative power into ' operation to ensure that any of the employees who had the courage to fight for a decent livelihood and decent industrial conditions, so that they could rear their families in a decent/ way, would be victimized. It provided that these men would have to be licensed like dogs are licensed, before they would be permitted to work on the waterfront. Yet they dare to talk about their sympathy with the workers! The plain fact is that any workers who protest against the treatment which this Government accords them will be victimized by being denied the right to live. 1 was disgusted this evening to hear the honorable member for Forrest **(Mr. Prowse)** talk about the number of hours of work that would be lost if a 40-hour week were adopted. I think he said that about 1,000,000 hours' work a year would be lost. Did the honorable gentleman or any of his colleagues ever take the trouble to work out how many hours' work a year are being lost by the unfortunate unemployed people of Australia, who are being denied the right to work? The honorable member for Werriwa **(Mr. Lazzarini)** gave us some interesting particulars this evening showing the manner in which machinery has displaced men in industry. The honorable member for Henty **(Sir Henry Gullett)** tried to discount the statements of the honorable member for Werriwa by saying that the Labour party was against any improved methods of work. The Labour party offers no objection to the adoption of improved methods of work. "What it says is that the benefits which follow the adoption of improved methods should not go to the people who invest their money in industry, but should, in the interests of humanity in general, be used for the purpose of lifting the living standards of the people. It is deplorable that this Government should have instructed its delegate at Geneva to declare that Australia was prepared to adopt a 40-hour working week only if all other countries adoptedit. In spite of having issued that instruction the Government is now seeking to delude the people of Australia into thinking . that it really believes in a shorter working week.When the honorable member forWest Sydney **(Mr. Beasley)** tried to get the Government to take action against the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited for endeavouring to compel its workers to remain on the job, not for 44 or 48 hours a week, but for almost the round of the clock, the Government declined to take any action whatever. What did it care if some workers were compelled to work overtime under conditions which were injurious and dangerous to their health, while thousands of others had no work at all? The fact is', of course, that this Government is always on the. side of the employers, and it will continue to be on their side as time goes on. Things have reached a deplorable condition in this country, and the political hypocrisy of some members and supporters of the Government, as shown by their public utterances, made in any place where they can get people to listen to them, is almost beyond belief. The honorable member for Parramatta **(Sir Frederick Stewart)** has been vociferous in his protestations that he favours the adoption of a 40-hour working week. He has even threatened to wreck the Government if it did not swing to his way of thinking; yet, on every occasion whenthis question has been before Parliament he has voted with the forces of toryism and reaction. However, it is a particular utterance of the Minister for Health **(Mr. Hughes)** to which I wish to direct attention at the moment. That right honorable gentleman has had a great deal to say during the recess about malnutrition and the effect it is having on children in Australia who are suffering from rickets because they cannot get enough to eat. Only this week the right honorable gentleman, in delivering an address in connexion with the National Health Campaign, made some remarkable statements. The newspaper report of his utterance reads as follows: - After setting out the number of sick people at present in public, private and general hospitals, **Mr. Hughes** said there was a still larger number of mental hospitals, and 40 per cent. of the growing children were suffering from malnutrition, while, according to the Commonwealth Advisory Council on Nutrition,6 per cent. of the children examined had been found to be suffering from rickets and 13 per cent. were on theborder-line of diet deficiency disease. In the same report the right honorable gentleman had attributed to him the following remarks : - **Mr. Hughes** went on to say that last week a sheep show was held in Sydney and some magnificent specimens were exhibited. One energetic, far-seeing and enterprising breeder, who was trying to produce fine wools and improve the breed of his flock, said he had spent a large sum of money on rugs for his sheep. He was satisfied, after careful inquiry, that this would improve the health of his lambs and save the lives of many sheep. If it was necessary to rug sheep to protect thum from disease, how much more necessary was it to care for mothers, and children generally. If it was essential to breed the best kind of fleece merino sheep, surely it was essential to breed an Al class of people, he added. The object of that utterance was undoubtedly to try to get the public to believe that the Government was anxious to do something effective to improve the sorry state of affairs that was described ; but whenever the right honorable gentleman has an opportunity in this Parliament to use his vote to assist the people *hs* declines to use it in that way, but votes the Tory party and the forces of reaction. I wish now to offer a few observations concerning the activities of certain representatives of this Government overseas. lt cannot be denied by any observant student that foreign imperialist powers - and among the number 1 include Great Britain - are preparing for war. In a leading article in the *Sydney Morning Herald* of the 21st of May last - and I make this and two other citations from that particular newspaper because it cannot be alleged that it is in any sense a supporter of the Labour party - the following statement appears: - >What is certain amid much uncertainty is that modem expenditure upon armaments cannot continue indefinitely. Diplomatic manoeuvring' may be as much for position in the eventual conference as for premeditated war. But the danger meanwhile is obvious. Of course the clanger is obvious. Everyone who speaks the truth must agree that the suggestion that the expenditure of £1,500,000,000 by Britain upon arms is for purely defence purposes is intended to delude the public. I put it plainly to honorable members that expenditure on that scale cannot continue for very long. The British Imperialists are spending money in this way because they realize that sooner or later they will be compelled to fight to protect their vested interests in different parts of the world. The honorable member for Henty asked what the Labour party had to say about Empire. Here is what I> as a Labour man,, have to say about it : The British Imperialists who have invested their money in different parts of the world have clone so not to benefit native races, but to exploit them. The actions of British capitalists in many countries are such as would not bear description in this House. Despite what honorable, members of -the Government may say about the need to protect British investments in foreign countries, I, as a member of the Australian Labour party, declare definitely that if the British capitalists wish to protect their investments they can do it themselves. I would advise the workers to protect their own interests. Let us defend and fight to improve our conditions in this country. On the 26th May, 1937, the *Sydney Morning Herald* stated in a leading article : - >It is clear that Australia led the other dominions in the defence discussions. **Sir Archdale** Parkhill's Speech, although much longer than the others, showed the Commonwealth's real grip of the situation, and deeply impressed the delegates. This, however, represents only one phase of the defence deliberations, about which important discussions are' taking place outside the conference between the Dominion Defence Ministers and experts with Britain's Chief of Staffs. The result of these conferences will not appear in the main conference minutes, nor will they be disclosed to the public. That, of course, is the great danger. The reports that will be presented to this Parliament will not contain all the facts. We wish to know the extent to which Australia has been committed by this Government. We want to know exactly what was said behind the closed doors of the conference. On the 20th of May last, the following report appeare'd in the *Sydney Morning Herald: -* >Australia is prepared to enter into closer commitments in return for more precise assurances that plans will be drawn up for rapid movement to her aid - Australia, through **Mr. Lyons,** has come out boldly for a consistent, unified Empire policy. It is doubtful whether any other dominion could go so far, because of internal public opinion. {: #debate-26-s9 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- The honorable member's time has expired. {: #debate-26-s10 .speaker-KEM} ##### Mr FAIRBAIRN:
Flinders .- I do not rise with any intention to take part in the election campaign that is now proceeding, but rather to make one or two comments and suggestions in regard to the government of this country. First, however, I should like to offer one or two comments on certain speeches that have been delivered. I cannot say thatI listened with any close attention to the long and detailed list of names of wealthy and titled men read out this evening with evident satisfaction by the honorable member for East Sydney **(Mr. Ward).** It did appear to me, however, that this honourable and enthusiastic gentleman attempted to make one or two rather amazing points. He appeared to argue, for instance, that there was something detrimental to a political party in having among its supporters men who were leaders in the most efficiently conducted industries of Australia. I could not follow the logic of the honorable member, but he seemed to suggest that in some way the Government was unsympathetic with the proposed 40-hour working week. Yet, the names of some of the men which the honorablemember read out to us reminded me that they were associated with some of our finest and best developed enterprises in which the wages and conditions compared favorably with the wages and conditions of any other country in the world. The honorable" member read out the name of **Mr. M.** L. Baillieu. Apparently, **Mr. Baillieu** has committed a crime in allowing himself to become a director of the Zinc Corporation. Yet about ten days ago, I had the most pleasant experience of inspecting the works of the Zinc Corporation at Broken Hill. It was a most pleasant experience, causing me to recast my previous ideas regarding Broken Hill. I had always been led to believe that the people in Broken Hill were a little wilder than the people elsewhere in Australia. Actually, I found them to be a very fine type of citizen - as fine a type as is tobe found anywhere in this country. In talking with one of the miners on the Zinc Corporation, I found that they were not even working a 40-hour week. Moreover, I was simply staggered by the pains that were taken to ensure the well-being of the employees. I do not claim to have any knowledge of the mining industry, but I was amazed at the magnificent efforts of the management to make the conditions of the workers as attractive as possible. A great deal of welfare work had been done quite apart from any conditions fixed by negotiation between the union representatives and the directors of the mines. The swimming baths that I saw on the Zinc Corporation property were beautifully tiled and as attractive as any I have seen elsewhere in Australia. They were available for use not only by the employees, but also by their wives and children. I saw the foundation of sunbathing rooms for the use of the employees and their wives and children. I suppose sun-bathing is particularly good for health in places where the mining industry is carried on. The cafeteria being provided for the use of the employees' was air conditioned, and the dressing rooms compared favorably with any that I have seen in any golf house in any part of the world. The men were able to hang their clothes on drying racks which were then lifted up-into a specially provided drying area, at the top of the building. From there the men pass through the bathrooms to get to another handsome dressing room, where their town clothes, as they are called, are kept. Everywhere I saw the most praiseworthy efforts being made to provide conditions which would compensate for the strenuous nature of employment underground. This shows the board of directors are willing to spend a considerable part of their very considerable profits in order to make conditions better for their employees. It shows the low level to which the attack upon the Government has fallen when we are to be condemned for numbering among our reputed supporters some of the most efficient industrialists in Australia, men who are providing in their industries the best working conditions to be found anywhere. I desire to commend the honorable member for Echuca **(Mr. McEwen),** who suggested that the method of election to the Senate should be altered. It was a courageous thing to do just before the general elections, because he lays himself open to the charge of proposing jerrymandering. Nevertheless, the honorable member's proposal is sound. It is felt by a great many people in Australia that the Senate wouldbe better balanced than it usually is now if a system of proportional representation were introduced. The original idea was that the Senate should be a house of review, which would give fair average representation to all political points of view. The present method of election may suit the party to which I belong and the Labour party, because they are the only two parties ever likely to obtain complete control of the Senate, but it does not give any representation to schools of thought outside those two parties. Under a system of proportional representation there would not be the same violent fluctuations in the strength of party representation. However, this is hardly a propitious time for making such a change, but the proposal should receive the consideration of the incoming Administration. . I desire now to mention some matters which will probably seem rather humdrum after the orgy of campaigning to which we have been listening during the last few days. I urge upon the authorities the. advisability of making increased use of short-wave broadcasting in Australia for national publicity purposes. Almost every other country in the world is using the short-wave system for the dissemination of publicity and propaganda. Unfortunately, a great deal of it is directed against other countries, but rauch is being done in the way of national publicity. We in Australia should use the short-wave in order to make friendly contacts with our neighbours in the Pacific, and with Asiatic countries, so that we may explain to them our point of view on matters of common interest. Particularly should the system be used to broadcast trade publicity. I feel that almost as much could be done in this way as can be achieved by the expenditure of considerable sums of money on publicity in the countries themselves. At the present time, there is, so far as I know, only one short-wave station in Australia, 3LR, which is specially broadcasting programmes for overseas listeners. They are primarily engaged in an attempt to reach northern Australian business interests, but they also send out programmes to British India and the Federated Malay States. Programmes are broadcast in French to New Caledonia and the New Hebrides, and a programme is also broadcast in German. I was disappointed to note that no programme is broadcast in Dutch for the benefit of our very friendly and helpful neighbours in the Dutch East Indies. Whilst flying out from England I encountered less red tape and more friendly assistance at the Dutch airports than anywhere else along the whole route. The programmes now being sent out from 3LR are more or less experimental, and are of interest chiefly from a technical point of view. The matter consists chiefly of excerpts from the national programme. I suggest that programmes should be specially arranged for the benefit of neighbouring countries. I also have a suggestion to make regarding the ' connexion of suburban telephone exchanges with the metropolitan network. At the present time a radius is fixed in arbitrary fashion and all telephone exchanges within that radius are connected with the metropolitan system. As the central exchange is able to take on extra business, so that radius is increased. This, I have been given to understand, is the practice in most of the capital cities of the world, but we should remember, when making comparisons, that most of those capital cities are more or less circular in shape. This is true of London, although it may be a little wider along the Thames than it is north and south. The same thing applies in regard to Paris and Berlin. Melbourne, however, being right on the sea, and the General Post Office being within 1$ miles qf the coast, produces an extraordinary anomaly when this radius is applied to it. Not only is Melbourne unable to develop in the direction of the sea, but there is, in fact, very little development westward in the direction of Werribee and Geelong. You, **Mr. Speaker,** must have noticed, when coming from Tasmania by air, that most of the development of Melbourne has taken place in a southerly direction along the coast of the bay and towards Dandenong. As a matter of fact, there are graziers out on the plains at Werribee connected to the metropolitan network, while towns such as Chelsea and Frankston have been left out, and this notwithstanding the fact that those towns are really suburbs of Melbourne, and that a big percentage of the workers living in them are employed in the city itself. I suggest an alteration is essential. There has been a good deal of controversy lately between the people of Rose Bay in Sydney and the aviation authorities regarding the proposal to use Rose Bay as a terminus for the EnglandAustralia air mail. Although several arguments have been advanced against the proposal, I think that the honorable member for Wentworth **(Mr. E. J. Harmon)** will admit that the most important objection to it is the possibility that the beauty of Rose Bay might be spoilt by the erection of unsightly workshops. I can understand that objection, but I suggest that it would be quite possible to compromise so that the wishes of both parties may be met. The Government should stipulate that flying boats may alight in Rose Bay and take off from it, that they can set down and take up passengers and mails there, but that the workshop should be situated elsewhere. Although it seems to be clear that, as far as. Sydney harbour is concerned, flying boats can alight and take off satisfactorily only at Rose Bay, they could taxi in safety in practically any weather to any part of the harbour, and that in very quick time, too. Flying boats in themselves are things of beauty, and would add much to the aesthetic attractions of Rose Bay. I have seen flying-boats anchored outside tho Short works, and in my opinion, they are more beautiful than any ship afloat. The people of Rose Bay could have no reasonable objection whatever to the proposal, and from the viewpoint of the people of Australia generally I do not think that anything could be more desirable than that visitors by air from overseas should be taken ashore at that beautiful suburb. There is a lot in first impressions, and so it would be well that visitors to Australia by air should see- some of our beauty spots immediately on their arrival. Another very great necessity for aviation in Australia at its present stage of intensely rapid, almost too rapid, development, is the lack of facilities for training commercial pilots. It is very difficult, indeed, to train a commercial pilot first as an assistant pilot, because unless weather conditions are perfect, the chief pilot will always take the machine up and land it; usually only when the machine is in the air is the assistant pilot permitted to take over control. For this- reason an assistant pilot gets little or no practice in landing or taking off. There is no facility for young pilots applying for jobs to get this training. It has been said to those who have suggested that something should be done to set . up a school like Air Services Training Limited iri England that, if there is a shortage of pilots, they would be recruited from among the ranks of Air Force pilots. Why should we encourage the air lines to rob the Air Force of its best long-distance pilots, and why should the companies be put to the added expense of tempting men trained entirely for a specialized purpose who have not the proper background for the very specialized skill needed by pilots of air lines ? The idea that a good military pilot is equally competent for commercial flying is no longer true. The greatest foundation for flying any man can have is an Air Force training, but a lot of experience apart from the ordinary Air Force training is needed before a man can be really qualified as a commercial pilot of a big aircraft. When in England last year I visited Air Services Training Limited, the " University of the Air ", where I met some senior pilots of Imperial Airways Limited who had done from 2,000 to 3,000 hours flying, doing courses to make themselves even more efficient. Pilots from the air lines of every part of the British Empire as well as of China, Japan, Siam, Russia, France and Germany, were all undergoing the same course of instruction there. To ask that the Government should subsidise pilots to undertake that course is asking it to bear too great an expense altogether. I admit that the number of pilots required in Australia does not justify setting up a school on a scale comparable to that conducted by Air Services Training Limited; but I consider that the Air Force itself might conduct a sort of university of the air which included in its curriculum courses which might well fit in with the training of long distance pilots, bomber pilots, and crews for the Air Force itself. The record of Air Force pilots shows that navigation courses would not go amiss. I do not blame the pilots themselves for the mishaps that have overtaken them on long-distance flights so much as the unfortunate fact that their training takes place in an area where it is nearly impossible to get lost. When the pilots leave Point Cook they always come back to the shore of the bay ; their favorite cross-country flight for experience is up to the mountain alongside ray home, which can be seen from 2,000 feet above Point Cook. Young pilots do not seem to be getting a fair chance to make themselves proficient in cross-country flying. The establishment of a school for Air Force purposes and to give specialized training to commercial pilots is a very serious want indeed. Another necessity is the provision of a certain number of scholarships each year in each of the States for suitable types of young men desirous of learning to fly. It is most disconcerting to me every week or two to be asked by some young man if I know of a cheap way of learning to fly. I am unable to give him any advice. Occasionally newspapers have given scholarships whichhave enabled likely young men to do a flying course. The Government spends money in subsidies for our aero clubs, and although these clubs are run very efficiently indeed - I have no criticism to offer in regard to' the way they are conducted - the subsidy is spread not only over young men hoping in due course to become commercial pilots, but I would venture to suggest also over others, 75 per cent. of whom learn to fly only for the sport of it, just as they join golf or tennis clubs. Very many of them are women. A good deal of the subsidy provided by the Government for aero clubs is spent on people who learn to fly, do five or six hours' solo flying, and never fly again. A number of my own personal friends have benefited by the reduced fees made possible by the subsidy, and after undertaking a flying course and getting their licences, have flown for a month or two and never flown again. I do not suggest that the subsidy should be cut down or withdrawn, but I do point out that it is not giving keen, suitable young men of no private means a chance to get into flying. The granting of a few flying scholarships in each of the States would do much to encourage likely young men. {: .speaker-JUB} ##### Sir Donald CAMERON:
LILLEY, QUEENSLAND · UAP -- That has been done in Tasmania. {: .speaker-KEM} ##### Mr FAIRBAIRN: -Iamgladto hear that; the Tasmanian Government deserves to be congratulated upon its initiative, and its lead should be followed by the other Australian Governments. I need not apologize to the House for having broken away from the election campaign that has been going on, as after the blast of poison gas to which the House has been subjected by the honorable member who preceded me, and which almost emptied it, the injection of a little fresh air is apparently welcome. {: #debate-26-s11 .speaker-KJQ} ##### Mr JAMES:
Hunter .-After listening last night to the various speakers on the amendment moved by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Forde).** I listened carefully to the remarks made by the honorable member for Flinders **(Mr. Fairbairn)** in reply to statements made by the honorable member for West Sydney **(Mr. Beasley)** and others in regard to **Mr. C.** L. Baillieu's association with the Baillieu group. If the honorable member for Flinders were a little more conversant with industrial conditions in Australia, he would realize that the provision of change-rooms and bath-houses at the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited works at Broken Hill was not due to sympathetic consideration on the part of **Mr. Baillieu** Or any of his co-directors of that company, but, on the contrary, was the result of legislation passed in New South Wales by the Labour Government. I was much interested by the speech of the honorable member for Lilley **(Sir Donald Cameron)** who, I think all honorable members will agree, is sincere in his attempts to do something for the well-being of the people of Australia without desiring to make any political capital out of them. The honorable member dealt with the youth problem, a subject about which honorable members opposite generally have been strangely silent. I compliment the honorable member for having raised this important matter, because, although the Government claims that there has been a reduction of unemployment, in my electorate and in the coal-mining districts generally, the position in regard to unemployment is still as it has been during the last seven or eight years. Many children leaving school to-day grow up to manhood without having a chance to secure a job. The statistics in relation to unemployment do not disclose' the true state of affairs, because many young people who have never had a job since leaving school have not been able to register as members of trade unions, and it is upon the trade union returns that the Statistician's figures are based. From that aspect alone, the Government itself is being misled. I do not believe in any party trying to make political capital out of the sufferings of the unemployed. The time has passed for any political party to attempt to fool the people. I am becoming rather concerned at the prevalence of the practice. In other parts of the world democracy is being destroyed, and I honestly and sincerely believe that the principal' factor is the fooling of the people by politicians, who make promises at election time and do not attempt to redeem them. I have never yet endeavoured, and never shall, *to* fool the people in any shape or form for the purpose of gaining political capital or of helping the party to which I belong to reach the Treasury bench. Quite a lot has been said by Government supporters in regard to old-age pensions. I think it will be conceded by anybody who is honest enough that the Labour party was primarily responsible for the initiation of the pensions system.. Certain members of the United Australia party know from bitter experience what can bc done by a party which holds the balance of power; they lost their ministerial positions because of the demand of the Country party for portfolios. In the early years of federation the Labour party bartered the balance of power that it held for measures of reform for those in1 whom it was particularly interested. According to *Hansard* of the 3rd June, 1908, page 11S,099, **Senator Mulcahy,** who was not a Labour man, made the following statement : - >I am prepared to give to the Labour .party credit in the matter, and I .assort that, if a scheme for the establishment of old-age pen- sions is approved this session, the whole of the credit for it will be due to the Labour party aud not to the Government. I listened very attentively to the" speech which the Attorney-General **(Mr. Menzies)** made last night. Some honorable members may wonder how I was able to hear it, seeing that you, **Mr. Speaker,** had me evicted from the chamber. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order ! The honorable member is out of order in referring to that incident in. any sense. {: .speaker-KJQ} ##### Mr JAMES: -- The Attorney-General told the House what the Government had done in connexion with the restoration of pensions. But he made no mention of the fact that in 1931 members of the present Administration joined with the Scullin Government in the definite promise that, when the finances of Australia regained normality, the first persons to be considered would be the pensioners whose rate of pension had been reduced, nor did he refer to the additional cut of 2s. 6d. a week which those gentlemen made when they attained to office. Not satisfied with that, they also made the amount payable by way of pension a charge upon the property of deceased pensioners, being unmindful of the fact that in numerous cases the possession of such properties had been made possible only by substantial contributions by in eln,bers of the family. In my electorate, where miners are frequently killed, sons have rendered that service to- their widowed mothers. The amount which this callous and brutal Government recovered from the properties of deceased pensioners is not less than £30,000. ' The Attorney-General made no reference to that. Furthermore, he did not say that, for a period, the Government actually forced the relatives of pensioners to maintain their aged parents. If a son of mine was not prepared voluntarily to contribute to my support were I an oldage pensioner, I should certainly resent having to take from him anything that an act of Parliament compelled him to contribute. There was a hue and cry against that particular section of the Invalid and Old-Age Pensions Act, and just prior to the last elections in 1934, the Government repealed it by regulation. When it was later prepared to repeal the iniquitous property sections, I pleaded with it to repeal paragraph *h* of section 22, which compels the parent of an invalid to maintain him or her irrespective of his or her age. Every one must admit that that particular section inflicts extreme hardship upon a parent who may have adult children, seeing that the act lays it down that, before a person can qualify for the invalid pension, he must be sixteen years of age. The framer of that particular section must have considered that after the child had reached the age of sixteen years, the parent was entitled to some assistance in the form of the invalid pension. I have mentioned in this House the case of a son who had reached the age of 4S years and was living with his aged father, who was 72 years of age. Because the act says that no pension is payable if an applicant is adequately maintained by his mother, father, sister or brother, that relief was not available to him. A wage of £5 a week is considered adequate to maintain a man, his wife and three children. If the Government had been fair, it would have repealed that particular section. But as the honorable member for Henty **(Sir Henry Gullett)** said to-night, it is always a matter of legislating along the lines of the greatest good for the greatest number. Although the majority of parties adopt that principle from time to time, we must not fail to recognize that on numerous occasions grave hardship is thereby inflic-led upon a small minority. Section 52m was repealed because otherwise many thousands of votes would have been cast against the Government. That section made provision for liberal allowances. A son was allowed to earn £6 a week before being called upon to make a contribution to the pension of his parent. It further provided that there should be an educational allowance of £50 a year, and an additional allowance in respect of any member of the family who was unemployed. But under the provisions of section 22, if £5 a week or the basic wage is the income of the father., the child is deemed to be adequately maintained irrespective of his or her age." The Government would not repeal that section, because not very many votes were involved. Votes have been the deciding factor. According to the report which was laid on the table of the House yesterday, by the Acting Prime Minister **(Dr. Earle Page),** the committee appointed to inquire into the production of oil from coal has definitely rejected the suggestion for the erection of a plant in Australia, notwithstanding the fact that the promise that such a plant would be erected has been made at election time and to deputations. This promise was embodied in the last policy speech of the Prime Minister. Great Britain, which the Government parties exhort us to follow, has adopted not only the high temperature, and low temperature carbonization processes, "but also the hydrogenation process, and probably a plant will be erected in Wales to put into operation the Fischer-Tropsch process. The proposal has found favour with Great Britain, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Italy, France, and many other countries which have adopted it. It is recognized that it would* 'be in the interests of Australia, in the "event of war, to be in a position to produce petrol from the coal that is available in this country. There are still 7,500 miners unemployed in my electorate. All that the Government seems prepared to do is to ask somebody who is interested in flow oil companies to come here from England to report on the possibility of erecting a. plant for the extraction of oil from coal by means of the hydrogenation process. The latest visitor to Australia, who has been asked to report on such a scheme, is Lord McGowan, Chairman and Managing Director of Imperial Chemical Industries. We are told that his report is unfavorable to the extraction of oil from coal, yet, according to *Smith's Weekly,* of the 19th June, Lord McGowan, in his annual presidential address to the shareholders of Imperial Chemical Industries, said he was still convinced that Imperial Chemical Industries took the right course in investigating the possibilities of the hydrogenation process, which he described as the best technical and commercial method of converting coal into petrol. Lord McGowan went on to say that after providing £1,000,000 for depreciation and income tax, £1,500,000 for general reserves, and £150,000 for the workers' pension fund, the company showed a profit of £5,553,000, which, with £639,000 brought forward from the preceding year, left £6,192,000 available for dividends. These figures, of course, relate to all of the ramifications of this vast organization. It is not imagined that Imperial Chemical Industries engages in business merely to provide employment. We are safe in assuming that the hydrogenation process is regarded in Great Britain as a profitable one. As against the statement that the erection of a suitable plant in Australia would cost approximately £11,000,000, I shall quote an extract from the *Parliamentary Debates,* of the House of Commons, of the 25th February, 1936. Captain Crookshank, Secretary of Mines, was asked by **Mr. G.** Hall, the cost to date of the works of Imperial Chemical Industries at Billingham. The reply given included the following statement: - >The number of work people employed at Billingham in connexion with petrol manufacture is over 2,000, and it is estimated that, in addition to miners directly engaged in producing coal for the plant, something approaching the same number may be employed in secondary industries. I have no information about the cost of the works beyond what was announced by the company in October last, when the plant whs officially opened. It was then stated that the new capital expenditure amounted to about £3,000,000. That statement, conflicts considerably with the report of **Sir David** Rivett, that the total cost of the erection of a plant in Australia would be £11,000,000. The honorable member for Parramatta **(Sir Frederick Stewart)** said that the estimated cost of a suitable plant was £5,000,000. It has to be remembered that, as a result of the experience gained in erecting the first plant, a considerable saving should be effected in establishing any further plants. **Sir David** Rivett's report dismisses as impracticable the low temperature carbonization process. Of tho four systems under consideration, the high and low temperature carbonization processes are not favoured. We are led from these on to the hydrogenation method, but we are also introduced to a new scheme called the FischerTropsch process. A plant of this description would cost about £3,000,000. The quantity of petrol which it would produce is infinitesimal, having regard to the quantity that would be required in Australia ; but in my opinion the requirements could be met by the erection of four hydrogenation units working in conjunction with low temperature distillation. In reply to a question which I asked in the House to-day, the Acting Prime Minister admitted that I was practically correct in suggesting that petrol could be produced by the process of low temperature carbonization, according to the New South Wales Go,vernment Fuel Research Committee's finding, at ls. a gallon. Yet the report submitted by **Sir David** Rivett states that it is impossible to produce petrol in this country under ls. 5d. a gallon. {: .speaker-KXT} ##### Mr Paterson: -- I think it also states after allowing for the value of the tax that would have to be remitted." That, I believe, is the explanation for the difference in the costs. {: .speaker-KJQ} ##### Mr JAMES: -- All honorable members have probably had a report sent to them by the Coal Petrol Proprietary Company Limited, which is registered in Canberra. The Government of New South Wales allocated £5,000 to Lyon Brothers, chemical engineers, of Wallsend, for research. **Mr. Rogers,** the Commonwealth Fuel Adviser, attended fifteen meetings of the New South Wales Government's Fuel Research Committee which, after exhaustive research and inquiry into the low temperature process as set up by the Lyon Brothers, reported that it was a commercial proposition. Since 1929, I have advocated in this chamber that oil should be extracted from coal. Much of the information that I have given to the House from time to time is contained in the report. In 1930 or 1931. **Dr. Rivett** was, sent to England to report on the experiments being conducted there. My continued agitation led to **Mr. Rogers** being sent to report upon **Dr. Rivett's** report. Last year, the Government again sent **Dr. Rivett** abroad to report upon **Mr. Roger's** report upon **Dr. Rivett's** previous report. By such means the Government has delayed dealing with this subject; but now the people of New South Wales, and of Australia generally, are becoming concerned about supplies of oil for the defence of this country. They realize that, in the event of war, Australia would be at the mercy of an invader should its fuel supplies be cut off. Without oil, defence aeroplanes would remain helpless on the ground while our cities were destroyed and our people killed. The Government has been apathetic and indifferent in regard to the extraction of oil from coal. Its estimate of expenditure on defence this year for the purchase of aeroplanes, guns and mobile forces is £9,000,000. I should like to know what expenditure is contemplated for the purchase of fuel for those implements of war. I am no believer in war; but as one who has the interests of his country at heart, I want to see Australia adequately defended. The Labour party believes in defending Australia against any invader, but it does not believe in taking part in wars overseas. Part of the defence of Australia is the provision of adequate oil fuel. On the eve of an election, the Government has decided to continue its efforts to obtain oil from shale, hoping thereby to gain some votes for the honorable member for Macquarie **(Mr. John Lawson).** I am not opposed to the extraction of oil from shale - I believe that both processes should be proceeded with - but, as a practical miner, I point out that, unlike coal, shale is not found in the earth in large quantities. At the best, shale is found in seams about 24 inches high at Newnes, and, consequently, a good deal of "brushing" or letting down of the roof is necessary in order that men mining shale may work in reasonable comfort. That means heavy overhead expense. Coal deposits are more extensive; in the mines in which J have worked in Australia, coal exists in seams from 6 feet to 30 feet high. Moreover, in order to extract oil from shale, new mines will have to be sunk, whereas existing coal mines only require to be opened for production on a large scale to commence. Mines in New South Wales which have been closed down since 1925 and the following years contain millions of tons of coal which, through lack of ventilation of the mines, is being destroyed by spontaneous combustion. *[Leave to continue given.]* The heavy expense of starting new shale mineswould not be associated with the process of extracting oil from coal. I admit tha t there is greater oil content in shale than in coal, but not more than twice as much. The overhead costs of shale mining are, however, four times as great as in coal mining. In saying that, I am giving to the House the benefit of a lifetime of experience in the mining of both shale and coal. {: .speaker-KOQ} ##### Mr McCall: -- Does it cost four times as much to mine a ton of shale as to get a ton of coal? {: .speaker-KJQ} ##### Mr JAMES: -- It does. It will be seen, therefore, that, even if the oil content of a ton of shale is twice as great as that of a ton of coal, the return would have to be doubled to compensate for the greater overhead charges of mining shale. Another matter which the Government has overlooked is the tobacco industry. That industry not only gives employment to a large number of people, but also is playing an important part in the development of Australia. From time to time members of the Country party have made extravagant promises to do everything in their power to assist the industry generally, and no honorable member has made more promises in this respect than the Country party Whip, the honorable member for New England **(Mr. Thompson).** Since the formation of the composite Ministry, the honorable member has shared the " perks " that were demanded of the United Australia party by the Country party as the price of its support. I clearly recall an occasion on which the honorable member definitely threatened the Government that he would vote against it upon the tobacco issue. {: .speaker-KVU} ##### Mr Thompson: -- So I did. {: .speaker-KJQ} ##### Mr JAMES: -- When the Labour party moved a motion of censure against the Government on this matter the honorable member voted with the Government. {: .speaker-KVU} ##### Mr Thompson: -- :That is a lie. {: .speaker-KJQ} ##### Mr JAMES: -- It is not a lie, and I ask that the statement be withdrawn. **Mr. SPEAKER (Hon. J. G. Bell).The** honorable member for New England must withdraw that remark. {: .speaker-KVU} ##### Mr Thompson: -- I withdraw the word " lie " and say that the statement made by the honorable member for Hunter with reference to myself was grossly inaccurate. {: .speaker-KJQ} ##### Mr JAMES: -- The Country party made a definite promise to the electors that it was concerned more with principles than with portfolios; but immediately the Prime Minister **(Mr. Lyons)** offered to its members a number of portfolios, they forgot' their principles and accepted the jobs. This remark also applies to the honorable member for New England, who accepted the office of Country party Whip, and undoubtedly receives some remuneration for it. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order ! The honorable member for Hunter should be aware that personal reflections of that nature cannot be permitted. He is being most provocative to the honorable member for Now England and must not continue making personal reflections upon him. {: .speaker-KJQ} ##### Mr JAMES: -- I regret that the two political parties which now form a composite government resorted to efforts at the last election to fool the people, and I desire to take members of the Country party severely to task for having failed t o live up to their promises of " principles before portfolios ". When portfolios mean everything to a party, whatever promises it made to the electors are cast to the four winds. When the United Australia party government passed the original legislation imposing the flour tax, a provision was inserted in the bill that no person could participate in the bounty if he had a taxable income. At a later date, the Country party accepted portfolios in the Lyons Ministry, and demanded of the United Australia party that this particular clause should ho deleted with a view to allowing every wheat-grower, irrespective of his income, to benefit from the collections of the tax, which totalled about £1,600,000. We know full well that members of Parliament actually accepted this bounty, although they enjoyed an excellent allowance, and when the honorable member for East Sydney **(Mr. Ward)** submitted an amendment to exclude members of Parliament from participating in the bounty, the Country party, as the price «if its support, compelled the United Australia party to assist it to secure the defeat of this proposal. For this reason, I was convinced at the time that the Country party's professions of concern for the basic wage worker whose limited purchasing power naturally made him a greater contributor to the flour tax than the person in better circumstances, because he could, afford only the bare necessaries of life without the luxuries, could not be regarded seriously by thinking people. I am afraid that I have practically "exhausted myself", and 1 do not desire to say any more at this stage; but I feel sure that when this Government appeals to the electors in the near future, it will Lave to answer for many sins. The Australian public, in my opinion, will be seeking a change of government, and I honestly and sincerely hope that if the Labour party is returned to the Treasury bench, it will redeem in full any promises which it makes- on the hustings. **Mr. E.** J. HARRISON (Wentworth) [10.28 J. - A short while ago, the honorable member for Hunter **(Mr. James)** said that he was afraid that he had " exhausted himself ". Might I suggest that the contentions which have been used bv honorable members of the Labour party 'have exhausted the patience of the House, and, unfortunately, those honorable members who speak at a late hour in the debate are therefore obliged to address empty benches. The second remark of the honorable member was that he would say no more. For that, I am thankful, because when I look at the benches normally occupied by the Labour party, I notice that practically every member of the Opposition has left his place. I am therefore thankful that the honorable member said no more; otherwise the House might have emptied itself. Before I consider the amendment submitted by the Deputy Lea.der of the Opposition **(Mr. Forde),** I desire to deal with one or two remarks which were made by the honorable member for Flinders **(Mr. Fairbairn).** I thank the honorable member sincerely for the very high tribute which he paid to Rose Bay, and to the beauty of that desirable portion of Sydney Harbour. I agree, with him that one of the objections raised by the people of Rose Bay against its utilization as an air-mail base is founded upon the destruction of the foreshores of the harbour, which such a scheme would necessitate, and the inter- ference that would be caused to that most desirable residential area. But that is not the principal reason why those who object to Rose Bay as an air-mail base are desirous of fixing the site in some other part of the waters adjacent to Sydney. I made an interjection to that effect when the honorable member was speaking, but, characteristically, he replied that that complaint might be only a minor one, but it was the only one that would hold water. That is the only portion of his statement to which I object, because we find experts, who have studied this matter, supplying other arguments than the destruction of the harbour foreshores, which also will definitely hold water. I admit that the honorable member for Flinders is an excellent pilot. There are few men with whom I would entrust my life, but I have entrusted it to him in an aeroplane in mid air. That, I think, is the highest tribute one man can pay to another, but it requires something more than experience of piloting aeroplanes to determine the most suitable sites for the establishment of seaplane bases. Such knowledge is peculiar to those experts who have studied that particular phase of aviation. I propose to cite as my authorities in this matter experts against whom the honorable member will not raise an objection on the score of ability. Passing over, for the moment, those experts who have some knowledge of seaplane flying, I draw the attention of the honorable member to the opinion expressed by Captain P. G. Taylor, who, it will be generally admitted, is one of the three leading world authorities on the phase of the subject with which I am dealing. I feel sure that the honorable member for Flinders will readily listen to any opinion expressed by that gentleman. Captain Taylor has stated that there are several factors that would militate against the establishment of a seaplane base at Rose Bay, and he goes so far as to say that there are other areas adjacent to Sydney which are suitable for this purpose, having facilities equal to, if not better than, those of Rose Bay. It must be admitted, therefore, that there are other arguments which can be advanced against the establishment of a base at Rose Bay, and that, contrary to what is, in effect, the contention of the honorable member for Flinders, these arguments will certainly hold water. I point out that **Mr. Gouge,** the chief designer of Short flyingboats for Imperial Airways Limited, states that he has already made plans for the building of boats four times as large as those it is at present proposed to operate on this run. Furthermore, it has been said by the survey committee which consists of experts in the establishment of seaplane bases, that a runway, or take-off, of from l¼ to 1½ miles will be required on Sydney Harbour. That calculation is made on the basis of the present size of flying boats and ordinary conditions obtaining, that is, on the assumption of calm weather and moderate loading, but any one who examines a map of this locality will find, taking a line from the base site, that variable winds will cause these runways to cross existing ferry and deep sea traffic routes, which obviously must present possibilities of great danger during fogs, low visibility and night flying, which must be accentuated by the advent of larger craft. [Quorum *formed.]* Thus several experts who, I claim, are as qualified as the honorable member for Flinders to express an opinion on this matter, have pointed out that there are definite disabilities militating against the establishment of a sea plane base in Sydney Harbour, even if such a proposal is confined to the establishment of a base solely for the accommodation of Imperial Airways' seaplanes. For instance, provision is being made for the accommodation of only one air line, and no consideration is being given to the probability that other air lines, such as the Dutch and American Clipper lines, will require accommodation at this base. {: .speaker-KEM} ##### Mr Fairbairn: -- The Dutch will not use Sydney Harbour. {: #debate-26-s12 .speaker-KNX} ##### Mr E J HARRISON:
WENTWORTH, NEW SOUTH WALES · UAP; LP from 1944 -- With characteristic short-sightedness the honorable member can view flying only from the point of view of land planes. After studying the development of flying generally throughout the world, and realizing how the seaplanehas already superseded the land plane for the carriage of mails from England to Australia, he must admit that the Dutch and American Clipper lines, in addition to Imperial Airways Limited, will probably want to use the base at Rose Bay. Sydney Harbour experts apparently hold this view and, for this reason, have advocated that the base should be established in more expansive waters, such as Botany Bay. One of the chief arguments against the establishment of a base at Rose Bay is that Rose Bay does not offer adequate scope for development. I suggest to the honorable member for Flinders that he should have given consideration to this aspect o'f the subject before expressing an opinion upon an area which he only visits occasionally when he makes one of his all-too-infrequent visits to Sydney. I wish now to discuss the amendment of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition. As a student of psychology I have been interested to observe the effect of the window-dressing of the honorable gentleman upon other members of the House, and also to ascertain what he hoped would be the effect of it upon the public outside. This window-dressing is characteristic of the notion of those who wish to conceal the rottenness of the goods which they have to supply to prospective customers. An endeavour is always made by people who doubt the quality of their goods to entice unsuspecting customers within the doors of their store in order that they may then sell them goods of questionable character. I have no doubt, however, that the people who have already some knowledge of the quality of the goods which the Opposition has to offer will be shop-shy and will not yield to the blandishments of honorable gentlemen opposite. I have never before heard such blatant misrepresentation of a government as we have been forced to listen to on this occasion. I am reminded by the noise we have heard from honorable members opposite of the bands which are often to be heard at Easter side-shows. There is generally a conductor to such a band who endeavours to control his instrumentalists to prevent their discords from becoming dominant. The Leader of the Opposition is striving to get the public to believe that he himself is something of a conservative. In other words, he is endeavouring to reduce the tempo of the band; but however much he may desire to achieve this end, I have no doubt that the brass instruments of the Lang forces among his followers will blare forth such a volume of discord as will ultimately make harmony impossible. Even if the Leader of the Opposition is able to foster the belief that he is a mau of moderate views, the public will, before very long, find that it has been deceived *[Quorum formed.)* The honorable gentleman will be allowed to lead his band only so long as he is prepared to adopt the reactionary tactics dictated by the Lang forces. If he succeeds in enticing the public to return him to power it will only be to meet with the fate which overtook the right honorable member for Yarra **(Mr. Scullin)** some years ago. The traitorous gentlemen who sit in the Lans: corner will permit him to retain his leadership only so long as he is prepared to act as a stalking horse for them. The first part of the amendment deals with invalid and old-age pensions, and has a small measure of merit in it. This Government has already increased the rate of pension, by an amount more than the reductions made by the Labour party in successive years, and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition was not taking a great, risk in demanding that the rate should be increased to 20s. Neither he nor his party had anything to lose by making such a demand. I wish, however, to direct the attention of honorable members, and also the public at large, to the fact that ever since the inauguration of our pensions system Liberal or Nationalist governments have increased the rate payable and Labour governments have decreased it. In these circumstances the Deputy Leader of the Opposition is not likely to achieve much success in his endeavours to discredit the Government for what it has done. I ask honorable members to bear in mind that when the pension was reduced in 1931 the rate payable was approximately 26.3 per cent, of the basic wage. In 1936 when the rate was lifted to 19s. it was approximately 27.9 per cent, of the basic wage, which was considerably higher in actual value than the rate paid while the last Labour government was in office. I have no doubt -that when the next adjustment is made in consequence of the variation of the cost of living the pension will represent a still, higher percentage of the basic wage. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition, in including this provision in his amendment, was merely seeking to obtain kudos for himself and his party at some later period. It is also worthy of note that the purchasing power of the pension of 19s. a week is equivalent to 23s. 8d., compared with 20s. in 1905, and to 22s., compared with 20s., in 1930. The people are not likely to overlook this fact. Owing to misrepresentation by members of the Opposition, a pension of 19s. is regarded by the average person as being an insignificant sum and unworthy of our pioneers; but a thrifty person who invested £1,250 at 4 per cent, would get an actual return of 19s. In the case of a "married couple, it would represent the return on an investment of £2,500. Therefore, the amount paid to pensioners i3 not so meagre as is suggested by some members of the Opposition who should study the subject from that aspect. The second portion of the amendment moved by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition reads - >To take whatever steps aru necessary to ensure progressive reduction in the number of working hours an increase in living standards commensurate with increased powers of production due to the mechanization and speeding up of industry. That is an embracing amendment. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition was placed on the spot by the AttorneyGeneral **(Mr. Menzies),** who showed how impossible it would be under the external powers of the Commonwealth to ratify a convention in order to evolve a method of control without the rights of the States being seriously interfered with. Following upon the remarks of the honorable member for Henty **(Sir Henry Gullett),** who did not go into the matter too deeply, but said sufficient to impress the House that a reduction of hours might result in danger to the community and lead to definite misrepresentation of the value of the mechanization in industry, I have taken out some figures which in the main support the honorable member's remarks. I should like to divide my comments into three headings - (1) Do changes in population affect persons seeking employment? (2) What are the changes in business and industry which affect the workers?; and (3) what is the effect of machinery and production upon the standard of living? If we study these three points impartially, we can clear up to a certain extent the misconception which has arisen concerning the effect of mechanization in industry. If we should find that the proportion of the population usually employed in industry declined, as a result of the mechanization of industry there might be some ground for the assumption that the introduction of machinery creates unemployment, but my investigations show that it has not. For instance, if we take the ratio of workers in Australia to the total population during the last four or five decades, we find that it has always increased. I have deliberately excluded the depression years, because it would be unreasonable to include 'an unusual set of conditions. From 1881 to 1929 the population of Australia increased by approximately 1S4 per cent., but the workers increased by 209 per cent., or a definite increase of 25 per cent, over the natural increase of population. If industry can absorb the natural increase of population and still find room for those who come into mechanized industry because it has been made attractive by the improvement of conditions and methods, we are able to show beyond doubt that the mechanization of industry has not reacted to the detriment of the worker, but has really encouraged him to enter industry. Consider now the percentage of workers necessary in each one thousand head of the population to produce goods and services. In 1881, it required 430 workers for each one thousand of the population to produce goods and services, but in 1929, notwithstanding the increased mechanization in industry from 1900, it required 470 to do the same work. Obviously the mechanization of industry has not resulted in decreased employment. Let us now consider whether employment in the mechanized area, has increased as the result of mechanization? According to the Commonwealth Statistician in 1896 approximately 10 per cent. of our people were unemployed, and with the exception of 1921 that percentage has not been exceeded. In 1911 it was 4.7 per cent., and in 1927 it was 5.7 per cent., so that in the mechanized era the percentage of unemployment was lower in the years mentioned than in 1896, which was in the pre-mechanized period. These figures are conclusive, and should prevent honorable members opposite from making loose statements to the effect that the mechanization of industry results in unemployment, when, as a matter of fact, the introduction of machinery has been to the advantage of the workers. My third pointis " What is the effect of machinery upon production and the standard of living?" Prior to the depression the lot of the worker was infinitely better than in the pre-mechanized period. We know that the workers have been obtaining and regarding as necessaries those things which they formerly regarded as luxuries. But let us confine our comparison to the amount received as wages by the worker, which seems to be the recognized standard.From 1900 to 1920 wages paid in the manufacturing industries - and they are the most highly mechanized part of industry - increased by 476 per cent., factory employment by 128 per cent., and production by 475 per cent. Those are striking figures, and they prove beyond doubt that the mechanization of industry has not only increased the volume of employment, but has also increased production and raised the standard of living. The Leader of the Opposition expressed great wonder when he found, after reading the census returns, that much of the increased employment in recent years was provided by those industries connected with amusements and recreations, as typified by the films, radio, and motor cars. This is the crux of thematter. Mechanization brings into being new trades, new services and new industries, and the Leader of the Opposition seems to have stumbled on a great truth. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- The honorable member has exhausted his time. Debate (on motion by **Mr. Mahoney)** adjourned. The House adjourned at 11.4 p.m. {: .page-start } page 426 {:#debate-27} ### ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS *The following answers to questions were circulated: -* {:#subdebate-27-0} #### Postmaster - General's Department : Tasmania Mail Contracts - Inglewood Post Office - Tusmore and Lower Mitcham Post Offices - Charges for Radio Telegrams {: #subdebate-27-0-s0 .speaker-N76} ##### Mr Menzies:
UAP s. - On the 23rd June, the honorable member for Denison asked the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral the following question, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What is the total amount paid for the carrying of mails between Tasmania and Victoria by ships outside the mail contract? 1. What is the amount paid per lb. for the carrying of mail between Tasmania and Victoria by boats outside the mail contract? I am now in a position to furnish the honorable member with the following information : - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. The total amount paid for the twelve months ended 31st May, 1937, was (a) from the mainland to Tasmania,£1,950; and (b) from Tasmania to the mainland, £31. 1. The rate paid for letters and postcards is1s. 4d. per lb., and for other articles 2s. 8d. per cwt. {: #subdebate-27-0-s1 .speaker-JVR} ##### Mr Nairn: asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, *upon notice -* >What steps, if any, have been taken towards providing an official post office at Inglewood, Western Australia ? {: #subdebate-27-0-s2 .speaker-N76} ##### Mr Menzies:
UAP s. - The honorable member's representations in the matter have not been overlooked, but it is felt that the time is not yet ripe for steps to be taken in the direction of providing the proposed office. {: #subdebate-27-0-s3 .speaker-KYH} ##### Mr Price:
BOOTHBY, SOUTH AUSTRALIA asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Is it a fact that the department purchased, for the purpose of building post offices, a site near the Burnside Municipal Buildings at Tusmore, and a site at Lower Mitcham? 1. If so, will the Government give an assurance that a sum of money will be placed on the next Estimates for the building of these two post offices? 2. Is it a fact that, since theland at these two centres was purchased, the growth in these localities has been considerable? {: #subdebate-27-0-s4 .speaker-N76} ##### Mr Menzies:
UAP s. - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Yes. 2 and 3. There has doubtless been some growth in the population of these localities since the blocks were purchased, but never theless the circumstances do not warrant the erection of official buildings at present. {: #subdebate-27-0-s5 .speaker-KYH} ##### Mr Price: asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What stage has been reached by the Government in negotiations in regard to the disparity which exists in connexion with rates charged for radio messages for ships at sea to Australia and those to the United Kingdom? 1. Is it a fact that, in answer to previous representations by the honorable member for Boothby, the Minister stated: "Negotiations regarding rate reductions for radio-telegrams between ships and coast have reached an advanced stage, although certain points are still outstanding. The matter is being actively pursued "? 2. Is the Government now in a position to advise that uniformity in charges has been reached? {: #subdebate-27-0-s6 .speaker-N76} ##### Mr Menzies:
UAP s. - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. . Negotiations regarding rate reductions for radio-telegrams between ships and coast stations are still proceeding. While progress has been achieved in this connexion during recent months, finality has not yet been reached. 1. Yes. 2. No; the discussions are being continued with a view to reaching finality at an early date. Brisbane Post Office. {: #subdebate-27-0-s7 .speaker-N76} ##### Mr Menzies:
UAP s. - On the 17th June, the honorable member for Brisbane **(Mr. George Lawson)** made certain inquiries on the subject of the provision of a new general post office building at Brisbane. The Postmaster-General now advises me that estimates of space requirements have been prepared and some consideration given to the nature of the building scheme. The question of making provision for the work on next year's Estimates will receive consideration in connexion with the preparation of the budget. Wireless Broadcasting: Station at Western Junction. {: #subdebate-27-0-s8 .speaker-KWC} ##### Mr Thorby:
CP -- On the 22nd June the honorable member for Bass **(Mr. Barnard)asked** the following question, without notice: - >For the last two and a half years there has been a temporary wireless broadcasting station in use at Western Junction, Tasmania. Can the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral indicate whether it is likely that a modern and permanent station will be established there? I am now in a position to inform the honorable member as follows: - >A temporary wireless station at Western Junction is not a broadcasting station, but is employed to aid navigation or aircraft. It consists of Bellini-Tosi direction-finding equipment and transmitter and receiver for communication with aircraft. Arrangements were completed in March last to replace it with a permanentradio aeronautical station, and to include an ultra-high frequency beacon for air navigational purposes in addition. The equipment for this station and nine others, namely, Hobart, Essendon, Holbrook, Canberra, Sydney, Kempsey, Brisbane, Nhill, and Adelaide is now in course of manufacture, and the complete system should be installed and in operation in about sis months. Western Junction should be completed by September next. {:#subdebate-27-1} #### North-South Railway {: #subdebate-27-1-s0 .speaker-KYH} ##### Mr Price: e asked the Minister for the Interior, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Is it a fact that when South Australia handed over the Northern Territory to the Commonwealth an agreement was reached between the two governments for the construction of a line of railway from Oodnadatta in the south to Darwin in the north? 1. Is it a fact that the Commonwealth has honoured part of the agreement by constructing a line from Oodnadatta to Alice Springs, and from Darwin to Birdum? 2. Is it a fact that there is approximately 580 miles of railway still to be constructed between Alice Springs and Birdum? 3. Does the Government propose to complete the north-south line at an early date? {: #subdebate-27-1-s1 .speaker-KXT} ##### Mr Paterson:
CP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. The agreement for the surrender and acceptance of the Northern Territory entered into between the Commonwealth and State of South Australia on the 7th December, 1907, which was ratified and approved by the Northern Territory Acceptance Act 1910, provides - The Commonwealth in consideration of the surrender of the Northern Territory and property of the State therein and the grant of the rights hereinafter mentioned to acquire and to construct railways in South Australia shall - {: type="a" start="b"} 0. Construct or cause to be constructed a railway line from Port Darwin southwards to a point on the northern boundary of South Australia proper (which railway with the railway from a point on the Port Augusta railway to connect therewith is hereinafter referred to as The TranscontinentalRailway). {: type="1" start="2"} 0. Railways have been constructed between Oodnadatta and Alice Springs and between Darwin and Birdum. 1. Yes. 2. The matter will receive the consideration of the Government. {:#subdebate-27-2} #### Advisory Tariff Committee {: #subdebate-27-2-s0 .speaker-JWT} ##### Mr Francis:
MORETON, QUEENSLAND s asked the Minister for Trade and Customs, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What is tho personnel of the newlyappointed Advisory Tariff Committee? 1. What duties is the committee required to perforin? 2. What are the reasons which caused the Government to make such appointments? {: #subdebate-27-2-s1 .speaker-KZR} ##### Mr White:
UAP -- The answer to the honorable member's questions are as follows : - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. **Mr. C.** H. Mcfadyen, Department of Trade and Customs, chairman; **Mr. S.** F. Ferguson, director, Australian Association of British Manufacturers, member; **Mr. L.** Withall, secretary, Associated Chambers of Manufactures of Australia, member. 2 and 3. The function of the committee is to advise on requests for removal of goods from by-laws where goods of United Kingdom origin are concerned. Prior to 1932 the Minister acted on departmental reports with respect to these requests. When the United KingdomAustralia trade agreement was signed certain rights were established for United Kingdom interests. When the Prime Minister's delegation was in London in 1935, the United Kingdom Government agreed to a variation of tho procedure with respect to these by-law requests provided a representative of United Kingdom industry was represented on the advisory committee. {: #subdebate-27-2-s2 .speaker-KNX} ##### Mr E J HARRISON:
WENTWORTH, NEW SOUTH WALES · UAP; LP from 1944 son asked the Minister for Trade and Customs, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Is it a fact that the Government has decided to appoint an Advisory Tariff Committee, consisting of a departmental officer, the secretary of tho Associated Chambers of Manufactures pf Australia, and a director of the Australian Association of British Manufacturers, to make recommendations to the Minister in respect to the framing of new by-laws and the amendment or abolition of existing by-laws ? 1. If so, are paid representatives of sectional interests proper persons to be entrusted with this important part of tariff administration ? 2. Should merchants be expected to supply confidential trade information in respect of their application to the paid representatives of their competitors? 3. Does not tho appointment of this committee conflict with declared governmental policy, that the Government will not make drastic tariff chances or increases to existing duties without reference to the Tariff Board? 4. If the appointment of the committee is to relieve the Tariff Board of a press of work, will he consider additional appointments to the Tariff Board, rather than the appointment of what can only be viewed as a biased sectional committee ? {: #subdebate-27-2-s3 .speaker-KZR} ##### Mr White:
UAP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. An advisory committee comprising representatives as stated has been constituted. The function of the committee is to advise on requests for removal of goods from by-laws where goods of United Kingdom origin are concerned. Prior to 1932 the Minister acted on departmental reports with respect to these requests. When the United KingdomAustralia trade agreement was signed certain rights were established for United Kingdom interests. When the Prime Minister's delegation was in London in 1935 the United Kingdom Government agreed to a variation of the procedure with respect to these by-law requests provided a representative of United Kingdom industry was represented ou the advisory committee. 2 arid 3. The unofficial members of tho committee will not have any part in tariff administration. The function of the committee is advisory, not administrative. The members of the committee .will not be advocates but will make their recommendations on the merits of cases before them. They are sworn to secrecy and can be entrusted not to divulge any information furnished to them by the department as members of the advisory committee. 1. No. 2. It is desired that the Tariff Board's activities should bc confined to major tariff inquiries. Additional appointments to the Tariff Board would not provide a solution. It is considered that the Tariff Advisory Committee fully meets the needs of the by-law matters with which it will deal. Air Mail Bases: Rose Bay Site - Botany Bay Site. - Mi-. E. J. Harrison asked the Acting Minister for Defence, *upon notice -* >If the Government ultimately decides to establish the air mail base at Rose Bay, is it the intention to permit all subsequent air lines employing flying boats to use this base, or is it proposed to hand over complete control of the waters of Rose Bay to private enterprise as represented by Qantas Empire Airways? {: #subdebate-27-2-s4 .speaker-KWC} ##### Mr Thorby:
CP y. - The Government has no intention of granting to any one operating company the exclusive use of any of the flying boat bases now being established by the Government in Australian waters. These bases will be under the direct control of the Commonwealth, whose representatives will be in sole charge throughout the 24 hours. {: #subdebate-27-2-s5 .speaker-KNX} ##### Mr E J HARRISON:
WENTWORTH, NEW SOUTH WALES · UAP; LP from 1944 asked the Acting Minister for Defence, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Following the statement attributed to the survey committee, that Botany Bay is too exposed to permit the successful establishment of a flying-boat base, is it a fact that bases for flying boats have been established in the open sea in the English Channel, and also in the North Sea? 1. If so, how can it bc advanced that a land-locked area like Botany Bay is too exposed? {: #subdebate-27-2-s6 .speaker-KWC} ##### Mr Thorby:
CP y. - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. No bases have been established in open seas at any time, but during the war some liberty was taken in establishing bases in indifferent shelter on account of the strategic value of the situation. These have been abandoned by the Royal Air Force. The British have one air mail flying-boat base at Hythe, inside Southampton Harbour, temporarily until the new air base is constructed at Langstone Harbour at a cost of over £1,000,000. The French have one base inside Cherbourg Harbour. 1. Evidence from boatmen on Botany Bm shows that seas not only greater than 3 feet, but of a dangerously steep character, rise frequently in the bay, especially at certain frequent combinations of wind and tide, also in south-east and north-east winds an ocean swell enters the bay, spreading fanwise until it is across the wind into which flying boats must take off and alight. The area of BotanyBay with its low shores permits seas to rise in ordinary strong winds, which would prevent the movement of flying boats onto or off the slipway, with resultant delays of days in *many* instances to the service. commonwealth bank : appointment of Clerks. {: #subdebate-27-2-s7 .speaker-KLC} ##### Mr Mahoney: asked the Acting Treasurer, *upon notice -* >Will he urge upon the Commonwealth Bank Hoard the adoption of the system of competitive examination when appointing clerks to positions in the bank? {: #subdebate-27-2-s8 .speaker-N76} ##### Mr Menzies:
UAP s. - On previous occasions I he method of appointment to the Commonwealth Bank staff has been brought under the notice of Parliament, and the views of individual members laid before the Bank Board, which is solely responsible for the staffing of the bank. On those occasions the Bank Board has explained in detail its method of appointment. While willing to transmit to the board the views of honorable members, the Government considers it unnecessary to urge the adoption of another system of appointment. {:#subdebate-27-3} #### Fishing Industry {: #subdebate-27-3-s0 .speaker-JNX} ##### Mr Barnard: d asked the Minister representing the Minister in charge of Development, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Will he have made available a report upon the information gained from the aerial survey of fishing beds along the Tasmania!! coast during recent months by **Dr. Fowler** and party? 1. Have any experiments yet been made at the laboratory in Sydney by the Council for Scientific ' and Industrial Research in connexion with the preservation of fish by quick freezing, canning, &c. ? 2. When is tho trawler under construction expected to be placed in commission ? 3. Can he indicate when the proposed conference between the Commonwealth's and the States' representatives of the fishing industry and **Dr. Thompson** is to take place? {: #subdebate-27-3-s1 .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr Earle Page:
CP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. . The report on the results of the aerial' survey made by **Mr. Fowler** on the fishing beds along thu Tasmanian coast and other localities is now in course of preparation. When the report ig completed a copy will be made available to the honorable member. 1. Laboratory facilities are not yet available for thu conduct of experiments in connexion with the preservation of fish by quick freezing, canning. &c. 2. It is expected that tho fisheries research vessel will be in commission during October next. Construction has been delayed owing In difficulties associated with the obtaining of material from abroad due to existing abnormal conditions. 3. It is proposed to convene a conference to discuss fisheries problems to be held in Melbourne during September. Representatives of the Commonwealth and the States, together with representatives of tho fisheries industry. " ill be asked to attend this conference, theprimary objects of which will be to secure co-ordination and to prepare a programmeof 0]>era.tions for the future. {:#subdebate-27-4} #### Melbourne Waterside Workers : Preference Licences {: #subdebate-27-4-s0 .speaker-KHL} ##### Mr Holloway: y asked the AttorneyGeneral,, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Has he given consideration to therequest of the Waterside Workers Federation regarding thu issue of first preference licences, in the Port of Melbourne? 1. If not, does he intend to give consideration to the request, a.nd make an announcement in the House at or before its adjournment? {: #subdebate-27-4-s1 .speaker-N76} ##### Mr Menzies:
UAP -- The answer to the honorable member's questions is as follows : - 1 and 2. Yes. I propose to make a statement regarding this matter during the present sittings of the House. {:#subdebate-27-5} #### Taxation Report {: #subdebate-27-5-s0 .speaker-KNX} ##### Mr E J HARRISON:
WENTWORTH, NEW SOUTH WALES · UAP; LP from 1944 son asked the Acting Treasurer, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Is it a fact that in the annual report of the Commissioner of Taxation information is given regarding individual taxpayers' affairs where breaches of the act are alleged? 1. Is it a fact that, in many instances, information is submitted concerningcases that are subject to pending appeal or regarding which representations are being made for a remission of penalties? 2. Is it a. fact that cases are on record where companies have been listed as defaulters when the matter in question was a difference of opinion as to the legal interpretation of a section of the act, and regarding which the court decided in favour of the company? 3. Is it the case that such indiscriminate publication of names and penalties might seriously impair the credit of the person or company concerned, in addition to its being a direct contravention of the secrecy provisions of the act? 4. Will he take steps to ensure that such action, which cannot be in the best interests of public policy, is discontinued. {: #subdebate-27-5-s1 .speaker-N76} ##### Mr Menzies:
UAP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. . Yes. 1. In connexion with alleged breaches of the act where the taxpayer lodges an objection which has not been finally determined either by a court of appeal or by the taxpayer accepting the Commissioner's decision on his objection, it has been the departmental practice for some years past that no information in connexion with the case is published until the objection has been so finally determined. If the final determination of the objection supports the assessment, and the Commissioner is still of the opinion that there has been avoidance of tax by evasion, the case is reported to Parliament in accordance with the instructions of Parliament to the Commissioner, as contained in section 14. of the Income Tax Assessment Act1936, and the corresponding section of the previous acts. When the Commissioner found, some years ago, that the report to Parliament had included a few cases in which objections had not been finally determined, he promptly issued instructions thatall such cases were to bo excluded from the report until they had. been finally determined. One such case, however, inadvertently appeared prematurely in the Commissioner's 14th Report, but this was remedied by a special statement on the case in the 15th Report. In connexion with alleged breaches of the act in which representations for remission of penalty are made, the cases arc reported to Parliament unless the representations submitted satisfy the Commissioner that the avoidance of tax has not been due to evasion. {: type="1" start="3"} 0. As stated in the answer to question 2, there has been one such case in which the then Second Commissioner of Taxation, in the exercise of the powers conferred upon him by the law, formed the opinion that the company had avoided tax by evasion. The company lodged an objection to the consequential assessment on the ground that it was not liable for the additional tax claimed. The company had also objected to its State income tax assessment on the same ground, and the State Court of Appeal upheld the objection. This judicial decision was then applied to the federal assessment. This case is that which is mentioned in the reply to question 2 as having been inadvertently prematurely included in the 14th Annual Report of Parliament. 1. There is not now any indiscriminate publication of names and penalties-. The Commissioner instituted the present practice because he considered it improper to publish any information relating to cases of the kind under consideration before the legal liability of the taxpayer to pay any additional tax demanded has been determined. 2. See replies to previous questions. {:#subdebate-27-6} #### Importation of Jelly Crystals {: #subdebate-27-6-s0 .speaker-KHL} ##### Mr Holloway: y asked the Minister for Trade and Customs, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Will he state the quantity and value of jelly crystals and jelly powders imported into the Commonwealth for the past three years up to the latest figures available, and the country of origin? 1. Is a jelly crystal made in Canada and known as " Lushus " entering the Commonwealth; if so, in what quantities? 2. Is the method of packing the Canadian product patented, thereby depriving the Australian jelly crystal manufacturer of the right to pack his goods similarly to the imported article ? 3. Is the flavouring in the imported jelly crystals fruit flavouring or artificial flavouring? 4. What is (a) the price of the imported jelly crystals landed in Australia; (b) the price to the retail seller; and (c) the price at which the retailer sells to the consumer? 5. What are the constituent parts of jelly crystals, and can these products be made in Australia? 6. Can Australian manufacturers make all the necessary fruit extracts needed for Australian jelly crystals? 7. Can Australian manufacturers manufacture all the artificial flavourings needed for Australian-made jelly crystals? 8. What is the duty on imported jelly crystals ? 9. What is the primage duty? 10. What relation has the Ottawa agreement to imported jelly crystals? {: #subdebate-27-6-s1 .speaker-KZR} ##### Mr White:
UAP -The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Imports of jelly crystals and jelly powders during the past two years and ten months have been - {: type="1" start="2"} 0. Yes. The precise quantity cannot be stated as it is not the practice of the department to make known the transactions of an individual importer. 1. The position with respect to patent right is not known to the department. 2. Both natural and artificial flavours appear to be used. 5. (a) and (b) It is not the practice of the department to divulge price particulars revealed by confidential documents tendered in compliance with the Customs Act. (c) It is understood that " Lushus " jelly crystals are retailed at a minimum price of6d. per packet. The Australian product retails from 4d. to 6d. per packet, principal selling lines selling at 5d. 3. Raw materials used in the manufacture of jelly crystals comprise sugar, gelatine, citric acid, tartaric acid and flavouring substances. Practically the whole of these materials are manufactured in Australia. The Australian agent for "Lushus" jelly crystals has advised that his principals use considerable quantities of Australian sugar, gelatine and crushed pineapple in the manufacture of jelly crystals. 7 and 8. It is understood that Australian manufacturers supply practically the whole of the flavouring substances used in the manufacture of jelly crystals. 4. Under the Australian-Canadian Trade Agreement jelly crystals from Canada are admitted at the British Preferential Tariff rate of 4d. per lb., less exchange deduction of onefourth of the duty or one-eighth of the value for duty, whichever isless. The General Tariff rate of duty is 5d. per lb. 5. Primage duty payable on jelly crystals admissible under the British Preferential Tariff is5 per cent. and . 10 per cent. when admissible under the General Tariff. 6. The United Kingdom-Australia Trade Agreement does not grant any rights or privileges in respect to Canadian goods. The Canadian-Australian Trade Agreement of 1931 provides for the grant to Canadian jelly crystals and powders of the British Preferential Tariff rate for the time being in force. {:#subdebate-27-7} #### Control of New Hebrides {: #subdebate-27-7-s0 .speaker-JUB} ##### Sir Donald CAMERON:
LILLEY, QUEENSLAND · UAP asked the Acting Prime Minister, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Has official advice been received by the Government to the effect that Britain is willing to hand over to the Commonwealth her share of the condominium control of the New Hebrides? 1. Has France signed an agreement with Britain recognizing Australia's right to share in the control of the New Hebrides? 2. In the event of the agreement being signed, what form will Australian representation in the New Hebrides take? 3. What are the specific advantages to the Commonwealth of partial Australian control of the New Hebrides? {: #subdebate-27-7-s1 .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr Earle Page:
CP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows:- {: type="1" start="1"} 0. The question of the condominium in the New Hebrides was discussed at the Imperial Conference, but it is undesirable to make any announcement on the subject until the Prime Minister's return, when the Government will be in possession of the whole facts of the matter. 2, 3 and 4. See answer to1. {:#subdebate-27-8} #### Land Tax Remissions {: #subdebate-27-8-s0 .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr Ward: d asked the Acting Treasurer, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Is the C.O. J. Monro shown in the list of remissions from land tax, tabled *in* the House on the 22nd instant, identical with the member for George's River in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly? 1. If so, what was the ground advanced by C.O. J. Monro that exaction of the full tax of £442 would entail hardship? 2. Does the Minister consider that the ground was sufficiently sound to justify the remission of £295? 3. Is the A. S. Rodgers shown in the list identical with the former member forWannon? 4. On what ground of adverse conditions was a remission of tax totalling £608 made to A. S. Rodgers? {: #subdebate-27-8-s1 .speaker-N76} ##### Mr Menzies:
UAP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Yes. 1. The ground on which the taxpayer applied for relief was that he had suffered such a loss that the exaction of the full amount of the tax would entail serious hardship. 2. The board constituted under section 66 of the Land Tax Assessment Act is not subject to ministerial or governmental control in the exercise of the discretion vested in it by Parliament, and I am, therefore, not in a position to form any opinion whether the relief granted was or was not justified? 3. Yes. 4. On the grounds of drought conditions and the low prices received for primary products. These are grounds specified in section66 as grounds upon which relief may be granted. Control of Civil Aviation in Australia. {: #subdebate-27-8-s2 .speaker-JUB} ##### Sir Donald CAMERON:
LILLEY, QUEENSLAND · UAP asked the Acting Minister for Defence, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What stage has been reached with the proposal for co-operative Commonwealth and State control of civil aviation in Australia? 1. Are any further negotiations taking place between the Commonwealth and the States on this subject? 2. Will it be necessary in giving effect to the Commonwealth's plans, for the Commonwealth and the States to pass uniform legislation ? If so, when will that legislation be introduced into this Parliament? {: #subdebate-27-8-s3 .speaker-KWC} ##### Mr Thorby:
CP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : - 1, 2 and 3. At a recent conference of Commonwealth and State Ministers it was agreed on behalf of the States that uniform legislation, the terms of which were agreed to by the conference, would be submitted to the respective State Parliaments. The object of the proposed legislation is to secure uniformity of control of civil aviation throughout Australia. Legislation by the Commonwealth is not necessary. {:#subdebate-27-9} #### Railway War Council {: #subdebate-27-9-s0 .speaker-KCM} ##### Mr Drakeford:
MARIBYRNONG, VICTORIA d asked the Acting Minis ter for Defence, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What are the names and ranks of the naval and military officers, other than the Quartermaster-General and the commissioners of the Commonwealth and respective State railways, who are members of theRailway War Council? 2.On how many occasions, on what dates, and at what places has the council met in the last ten years? {: #subdebate-27-9-s1 .speaker-KWC} ##### Mr Thorby:
CP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. The names and ranks of the naval and military officers are dependent upon the occupancy of certain appointments and are variable. At the present date the names are as follows : - Director of Naval Reserves and Mobilization - Commander H. L. Quick, A.D.C., Royal Australian Navy. Director of Military Operations - Temporary Colonel V. H. H. Sturdee, D.S.O., O.B.E., Australian Staff Corps. Director of Mobilization- Brev.LieutenantColonel T. E. Weavers, Australian Staff Corps. Director of Supplies and Transport, Movement and Quartering - Colonel J. M. A. Durrant, C.M.G., D.S.O., Australian Staff Corps. The Honorary Consulting Military Engineer - Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel **Sir John** Butters, C.M.G., M.B.E., V.D. (unattached list). 2. (a) Once; (b) 15th July, 1936; (c) Brisbane. Cost of Delegations to International {:#subdebate-27-10} #### Labour Conferences {: #subdebate-27-10-s0 .speaker-KZZ} ##### Mr JOHN LAWSON:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · UAP n asked the Acting Prime Minister, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Will he give full information concerning the basis upon which costs are incurred by the Commonwealth with respect to delegations to the International Labour Conference at Geneva ? 1. What was the cost to the Commonwealth of delegations to the conference for each of the years 1932 to 1936, inclusive? 2. Will he furnish a detailed statement of the manner in which such costs were incurred? {: #subdebate-27-10-s1 .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr Earle Page:
CP -- Information is being obtained, and will be made available at as early a date as possible. {:#subdebate-27-11} #### Wireless Broadcasting: Australian Broadcasting Commission's Finances {: #subdebate-27-11-s0 .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr Forde: e asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. How many national broadcasting stations are there in Australia? 1. What was the total revenue received by the Australian Broadcasting Commission for the financialyears 1930-31, 1931-32, 1932-33, 1933-34, 1934-35, and 1935-36? 2. How was its revenue spent in 1935-36 under the headings (a) cost of the members of the commission,(b) cost of administrative staff, (c) money spent on bringing artists to Australia under contract to the commission, and (d) total sum spent on engaging Australian artists and musicians? 3. What is the licence-fee in England, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia? {: #subdebate-27-11-s1 .speaker-N76} ##### Mr Menzies:
UAP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Twenty-one, including short-wave station 3LR. 1. The Australian Broadcasting Commission commenced operations on the 1st July, 1932 - {: type="1" start="3"} 0. The information willbe obtained from the Australian Broadcasting Commission. 1. England 10s., Canada 2 dollars, South Africa 35s. within 100 miles of the nearest broadcasting station, 25s. in the area between 100 and 250 miles from a broadcasting station, 20s. beyond 250 miles from a broadcasting station, New Zealand 25s., Australia 21s. for zone (1) and 15s. for zone (2) - zone (1) is the area within 250 miles of a national broadcasting station, zone (2) is the rest of the Commonwealth.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 24 June 1937, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.