House of Representatives
8 December 1937

15th Parliament · 1st Session

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

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Imports from Japan.


– Will the Minister for Commerce state whether the figures relating to imports of rayon and cotton goods from Japan are being carefully watched, to see whether the suggested boycotts have affected the market for those goods in Australia ? If they have, will he see that those who are conducting such boycotts have their attention drawn to the danger of retaliatory action being taken in regard to the quota of Australian wool entering Japan !

Minister without portfolio assisting the Minister for Commerce · BARKER, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · CP

– Ishall bring the matter to the notice of the Minister for Commerce, and see that a reply is furnished to the honorable member.

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– I have been advised that the Government of Great Britain has abolished the preference of 10 per cent. on Empire-produced mother of pearl shell as from the 18th June, 1937. Will the Government have inquiries made, and take up the matter?

Minister for Trade and Customs · BALACLAVA, VICTORIA · UAP

– The matter will be. taken up and the honorable member will be informed of the result.

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– Some time ago the

Government announced its intention to make available the sum of £80,000 to assist the fishing industry, and stated that arrangements had been made for the construction of a special exploration vessel. Willthe Minister in Charge of Development state what progress has been made with the construction of this vessel, and what are the details of the arrangements for the assistance of the fishing industry ?


– This vessel is nearing completion, and I believe will he ready to be launched about February of next year. At a later stage, I shall make a statement in relation to the plans of the Government for its utilization.

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The following papers were presented : -

Transport Investigation in Great Britain - Report, dated 31st December, 1936, by A. E. Heath. Lt. Colonel J. Northcott, and E. Simms.

Transport Investigation in South Africa - Report, dated 14th April, 1837, by E. Simms, Secretary, Commonwealth Railways.

Transport Investigation in the United States of America and Canada - Report by Lt.Colonel J. Northcott, M.V.O., Department of Defence, June, 1937.

Northern Australia Survey Act - Aerial, Geological and Geophysical Survey of Northern Australia, report of Committee for period ended 30th June, 1937.

Wine Overseas Marketing Act - Annual Report of the Australian Wine Board for year 1936-37, together with Statement by Minister regarding the operation of the Act.

Ordered to be printed.

Sugar Agreement - Sixth Report of the Fruit Industry Sugar Concession Committee, for year ended 31st August, 1937.

Apple and Pear Bounty Acts - Report on working of the Acts, together with return of bounty paid.

Commonwealth Public Service Act-Four teenth Report on the Commonwealth Public Service by the Board of Commissioners dated 6th December, 1937.

Bankruptcy Act - Ninth Report by Attorney. General, for period 1st August, 1936, to 3lst July, 1937.

Arbitration (Public Service) Act - Determinations by the Arbitrator, &c., 1937 -

No. 19 - Arms, Explosives and Munition Workers’Federation of Australia: Amalgamated Engineering Union; and Australasian Society of Engineers.

No. 20 - Amalgamated Engineering Union.

No. 21 - Amalgamated Engineering Union; Australasian Society of Engineers; Electrical Trades Union of Australia- and Boilermakers’ Society of Australia.

No. 22 - Amalgamated Postal Workers’ Union of Australia, and others; Arms, Explosivesand Munition

Workers’Federation of Australia; Commonwealth Storemen and Packers’ Union of Australia; Commonwealth Foremen’s Association; and Common- wealth NavalStorehousemen’s Association.

Defence Act - Regulations Amended - Statutory Rules 1937, No. 107.

Judiciary Act - Rule ofCourt - Dated 3rd December,1937.

Customs Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1 937, No. 108.

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-Some time ago the Government announced that it proposed to make available the sum of £200,000 a year for a period of two years, towards the cost of providing suitable facilities for the. vocational training of young men and women between the ages of 17 and 25 years : who had found it impossible to obtain employment owing to the depression. Will the Treasurer lay on the table a report from each State, setting out what is being done to give effect to that policy, and the extent to which the wishes of the Government are being carried out? I understand that the proposals of some of the States are not of a vocational nature.


– I do not think it would be possible to obtain reports of the nature mentioned by the honorable gentleman Before the forthcoming recess, but I shallsee what information can be obtained.

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– Will the Minister for Defence state whether work in connexion with the establishment of an air base at Rose Bay has been commenced, and, if not, when operations upon it are likelyto be commenced and completed, and what is the estimated cost?

Attorney-General · KOOYONG, VICTORIA · UAP

– I shall have an answer obtained for the honorable member.

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Landand Land Industries: Report of Investigation Committee.

Minister for the Interior · INDI, VICTORIA · CP

– I lay on the table-

Northern Territory - Report of the Board of Inquiry appointed to inquire into Land and Land Industries. andmove -

That the pa per be printed.

Last week, the honorable member for Boothby (Mr. Price) asked me whether this report was available. I informed him that it had just been received, that it would be given consideration by the Government, and that it would be tabled in due course. The Government will not have ‘time ‘to give consideration to it before the close of this period of the session. As the matter is one of considerable public interest, it has been decided to table it now, and give consideration to the recommendations at a later date.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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– In view of the very great damage that has been, and is being, done to aviation in Australia by the extravagant publicity given in the press and in this House to aviation accidents and minor mishaps, will the Minister for Defence make an appeal, particularly to the press, to keep such publicity in something approaching proportion to thatgiven to accidents associated with other forms of transport? In fairness to the Air Accidents Investigation Committee, and also for the information of the public, will the honorable gentleman, in the near future, make a statement explaining the very great difficulties that confront any committee that inquires into major air accidents ?

Minister for Defence · CALARE, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP

– In view of the assurances I gave to the House yesterday, that I would make further inquiries regarding the form of the investigations being held, I had a statement prepared late last night, and my intention was to ask leave to make the statement to the House. The honorable member’s question has come unexpectedly, but I shall ask forsuch leave.


– Is the Minister for Defence willing to reconsider the decision that he announced, in reply to a question that I asked him yesterday, as to whether an inquiry into the mishaps to the Hawker-Demon aircraft would be conducted by persons disassociated from the Department of Defence, such inquiry to be open to the public? Will the honorable gentleman take into consideration that this form of inquiry has been supported by a number of authorities and has been particularly requested by Mr. C. G. Fallon, the father of a pilot who was killed ?

Mr. THORBY (Calare- Minister for Defence) - by leave - In regard to the statement made yesterday afternoon during questions without notice, and the subsequent questions raised by honorable members, I wish to make a further statement on two points. First, a question was asked as to whether the Demon type aircraft should be grounded pending completion of investigations. I have consulted the Air Board, and it is of the opinion that, after considering all circumstances connected with the recent mishaps, there is no evidence to cause the board to believe that Demon aircraft are unairworthy in any respect. The board does not consider that the flying of Demon aircraft should be suspended. Although complete details of the accidents at Cootamundra are not yet available, as the officers comprising the court of inquiry are still collecting evidence there, information gleaned today from the remainder of the squadron, which is now at Laverton, and as the result of inquiries so far made by members of the special technical committee, is such as to lead the Air Board to believe that there is no fault in the aircraft or engine. The Royal Australian Air Force has had many thousands of hours’ flying out of Demon aircraft without previous trouble of this kind, and there is no reason whatever for condemning the aircraft offhand. As a matter of fact, the engines involved in the series of mishaps had had very little use prior to the date the flight commenced.

It is of interest to note that about two-fifths of the aircraft in use in the Royal Air Force are equipped with Demons and sister types of aircraft. They are still being produced in England in large numbers, and as far as is known no serious trouble with this type of aircraft has been experienced elsewhere.

As to the procedure in connexion with the investigation of air force accidents, it is the regular practice for a court of inquiry to be convened by the command ing office of the station, and its members are experienced officers drawn as far as possible from units other than that involved in the accident. The proceedings and findings of the court of inquiry are reviewed by the station commander and then forwarded to the Air Board, where the whole of the circumstances surrounding the accident are investigated and considered. Any necessary orders are given which the board considers may prevent a recurrence of a similar accident.

In addition, the Air Accidents Committee is informed in the case of any major accidents or one involving injur)’ to personnel. This committee is independent of the Air Force, although one of its members is an Air Force officer, and it was formed by the Government many years ago with the object of carrying out independent investigations of air accidents. On being notified of the occurrence of an accident, the Air Accidents Committee begins its independent investigation. In accordance with the regulation under which the committee is constituted, the aircraft and engine concerned cannot be touched in anyway without the authority of the committee. The Air Board places all facilities at the disposal of the committee to enable it to inquire into every aspect of the accident. The proceedings of the official court of inquiry already mentioned are made available to the committee to assist it in its deliberations. This committee, after taking all the evidence it considers necessary, and after carrying out the technical examination of the crashed aircraft, arrives at a finding as to the cause of the accident, reports to the Minister for Defence, and the findings are then made public. The Accidents Committee’s findings are also forwarded to the Air Board by the Minister, and these are considered by the board in conjunction with those of the court of inquiry. It will be seen from the foregoing that two separate inquiries are held on each major Air Force accident -

  1. An inquiry within the Air Force itself ; and
  2. An independent inquiry by the Air Accidents Committee.

In any accident involving the death of one of the occupants of an aircraft, a coroner’s inquiry is, of course, also held.

In reply to the honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Beasley), I point out that the coroner’s inquiry opens the door for the public investigation which he desires in the interests of the relatives, the members of the Air Force, or anybody else concerned. In the series of mishaps to machines of the Demon type during the last few days, an additional special technical committee has been convened to deal with the specific causes of engine troubles encountered by No. 1 Squadron. All these courts and committees are now actively engaged in investigating the circumstances surrounding the crashes and the engine troubles encountered. The findings of all three of them will be available in due course for consideration by theAir Board and by the Minister. I would, therefore, reassure honorable members and the public in general that this matter is being fully and thoroughly investigated. I shall make a further public statement at the earliest possible opportunity.

In view of the questions asked this afternoon, I may add that I have taken full advantage of every avenue available to me to ensure that the fullest inquiries will be held and that they will be as independent as possible, safeguarding the interests of the Air Force itself, the. public, the relatives of the deceased and those who have received injuries.

Mr Forde:

– But they are not public inquiries.


– I have already fully explained that two investigations are being held within the department itself, and that, in addition, there will be a coroner’s inquiry, which is a public one. These investigations should meet the requirements of the public in the fullest possible way. A coroner’s inquiry is the most open investigation that could be granted. I know of no means whereby I could institute any inquiry that would be more open or complete. The departmental inquiries are of two kinds. We have already appointed a special technical committee to examine thoroughly the engine and the aircraft to see if any defect or weakness is apparent.

Mr Beasley:

– Is the technical inquiry being held apart from the departmental inquiry?


– Yes.

Mr Beasley:

– Will the Minister refer to the board the question of the possibility of young pilots being allowed to take charge of machines before they are sufficiently trained to do so?


– That matter is being fully investigated. The Air Board is making inquiries in that direction, and checking over every phase of this unfortunate series of accidents which has caused the death of one of our fine young pilots. I appeal to honorable members in every part of the House that, as the matter is sub judice at the present time, nothing should be said that might affect the rights of the relatives of the deceased or members of the Air Force.


– Having regard to all the distressing circumstances associated with these accidents, and in order to reassure the public that the inquiry is of a kind which does not restrict the examination to those who are connected with his department, will the Minister for Defence consider, as early as possible, the question of adding to the membership of the Air Accidents Investigation Committee, for this inquiry, either a justice of the High Court, if that could be arranged, or a magistrate ofone of the States, in short, somebody with judicial training, so that the obvious desire of the public that this matter should be a little wider thana technical inquiry might be met?


-I cannot offhand agree to do what the honorable member has suggested, but I promise that his suggestion will receive careful consideration. I have already assured honorable members on both sides of the House that these inquiries are being conducted to the fullest degree. I cannot agree to upset the constitution of the committees that have already carried out an extensive amount of examination. They must complete their work. If, however, at the completion of the inquiries, it appears that any facts have been overlooked, I shall not hesitate to appoint a further committee of inquiry with the fullest possible judicial powers, and I am sure that my colleagues, in such an event, would agree with that course.

Mr Forde:

– Would that inquiry be open to the public,and would the press be allowed to report the proceedings?


– The inquiries by the departmental committees are not public, and are carried out in accordance with the regulations that have existed formany years. As I have already pointed out, a coroner’s inquiry will be held in connexion with the death of an airman in one of the accidents, and coroner’s inquiries are public. In addition, the coroner can call before the court any officer who has information, technical or otherwise, which he might deem advisable should be made public. Therefore, any of the evidence given before departmental committees can be subsequently made available by the coroner, if in the public welfare he deems it advisable.

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– I ask the Treasurer whether it is a fact, as reported in a section of this morning’s press, that the Government has decided to abandon its proposal to proceed with the scheme for national unemployment insurance? If the report be correct, will the Treasurer explain to the House the reasons for the Government’s decisions?’


– The answer to the first part of the question is “ No “, and the second part, therefore, does not arise.

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First report brought up by Mr. Stacey, read by the Clerk, and - by leave - agreed to..

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Christmas Grant


– In view of the close proximity of Christmas and the proposal of the Government to distribute £100,000 as a gesture of goodwill for the festive season, for the relief of unemployment, can the Treasurer inform the House of the reason for the delay in submitting the bill in relation to this money to the House,, which should have an opportunity to discuss the allocation of the money, particularly in areas where unemployment is most acute?


– There has been no delay in bringing down the bill. It has been in my hands for some time, awaiting the first available opportunity to introduce it, which, I hope, will be this afternoon.

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– I direct the attention of the Minister for the Interior to the fact that about eight employees of the Government Printing Office, who earn small salaries, will be dismissed on Friday, because no further work is available for them. Would it be possible for the. Minister to arrange for these employees, who do not happen to be on the unemployment register in the ordinary way, to be given work in Canberra in the period between their dismissal and Christmas?’


– The honorable member will appreciate the fact that the printing office is not under the control of my department, so that I have no knowledge of the dismissals to which he refers. However, my department will allot Christmas relief work under the authority of a bill to be introduced later, and I shall see that the claims of these men receive full consideration.

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– Before the last election the Prime Minister announced, in Adelaide, that a committee - I do not know whether it was to have been a Cabinet sub-committee or a departmental committee - was to inquire into the adequacy of superannuation payments to naval officers. I ask the Minister for Defence whether the report of that committee has been received, and if 80, whether Cabinet has made any decision in respect of it?


– I shall be glad to make inquiries for the honorable member if he will place his question onthe notice-paper.


– Will the honorable gentleman also make inquiries concerning superannuation for officers of the military forces?


– I shall endeavour to make the information available for the honorable member, if possible, before the conclusion of this sitting.

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– Will the Treasurer indicate when we may expect that action will be taken to provide loans for persons in temporary financial difficulties?


– The small committee that has been investigating this matter has not yet completed its inquiries, but I hope it will do so very soon. Its report, when presented, will be taken into consideration by the Government.

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– Is the Treasurer of the opinion that the Government will be able to submit to Parliament, when it meets for the first session next year, a bill in relation to unemployment and health insurance?


– The Government is pressing on with its work in regard to these matters, and I assure the honorable member that no time will be lost in bringing forward such measures as are possible.

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– What steps are being taken to establish a long-term mortgage bank, as was recommended in the report of the Royal Commission on Monetary and Banking Systems?


– The Government has prepared legislation dealing with this matter, and will submit it at no distant date.

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presentation to the governorGeneral.

Mr. SPEAKER (Hon. G. J. Bell).Accompanied by honorable members, I this day waited upon His Excellency the Governor-General at Government House, and presented to him the AddressinReply to His Excellency’s Speech on the opening of the Fifteenth Parliament, agreed to by the House on the 1st December. His Excellency was pleased to make the following reply: -

Mr. Speaker,

I desire to thank you for the AddressinReply, which you have just presented to me.

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 the Addressgives expression. ( Sgd. ) Gowrie;


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Mr. SPEAKER (Hon. G. J. Bell).I have received from the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Forde) an intimation that he desires to move the adjournment of the House for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of urgent public importance, namely, “ The succession of accidents with Hawker-Demon aeroplanes of the Royal Australian Air Force, and the necessity to conduct an open inquiry into recent accidents, one of which resulted in the death of a flying officer, and injuries to several others “.

Five honorable members having risen in support of the motion,


.- In moving -

That the House do now adjourn,

I invite the attention of honorable members to the succession of accidents with Hawker-Demon aeroplanes of the Royal Australian Air Force, and the need to conduct an open inquiry into recent accidents, one of which resulted in the death of a flying officer, and injuries to several others. I realize that all honorable members of this House, no matter to what party they belong, deplore the frequent air accidents that have occurred in Australia, and particularly to those with Hawker-Demon aeroplanes belonging to the Royal Australian Air Force, which have involved the deathsof several persons. This is a matter which is causing grave concern, not only to members of this Parliament, but also to the general public.

The air. arm of our defence forces is one of growing importance. Many military experts have stated that, in their opinion, the defence of Australia in the future will depend more on the air arm than upon any other. That makes it all the more important for the Government to institute a searching public inquiry into the. recent series of accidents, and to provide for proper independent representation for aeronautical experts on the investigating body. Only in this way can it restore public confidence in the Air Force.

The Air Force is a very costly part of our defence equipment. According to the speech of the ex-Minister for Defence (Sir Archdale Parkhill) delivered on the 8th September, 1937, no less than £2,683,000 was to be allocated for aerial defence. The active personnel of the Air Force was 353 permanent members, bringing the total strength up to 2,472. I realize that some accidents are unavoidable, and I am not here to condemn the present Minister for Defence (Mr. Thorby) or any of the officials connected with the department. I do not know who is to blame. All I ask for is a searching investigation that will be open to the public.

Mr Lane:

– That has been promised.


– It has not. There is to be a departmental inquiry that will not be open to the public, while the investigation by a coroner will have no more real bearing upon the matter than would an ordinary coronial inquiry into the death of a man killed by a motor car be able to inquire into the efficiency of the motor car industry generally. A coroner does not profess to have expert knowledge in regard to aerial matters, such as would enable him to come to a finding of any value. . Yesterday, the Minister for Defence said that, apart from the investigation of individual accidents by the Air Accidents Investigation Committee, a special investigation would be made by Group Captain W. H. Anderson, WingCommander E. H. Wackett, and WingCommander Murphy. This inquiry would not be open to the public. There was a departmental inquiry now in progress, he said, which would not be open to the public either. In my opinion, inquiries conducted by officers of the Air Force only are not satisfactory.

Mr Thorby:

– The chairman of the committee of inquiry is Colonel Murdoch, an independent private citizen, who is absolutely independent of the Royal Australian Air Force, the Civil Aviation Board, or any Government activity.


– He is a military officer, and it is desirable that the committee should have the benefit of expert advice from outside. No doubt, before he was recommended by the Defence Department for the appointment, his outlook on the matters under investigation were well known. I do not wish to cast any reflec tions upon him, but I should like to sec an independent outside appointment to the investigating body.

Mr Curtin:

– The chairman should be a civilian.


– That is so. We are indebted to the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Curtin) and to the honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Beasley) for having drawn attention to this matter in several questions asked in the House. The Leader of the Opposition asked that all Demon aeroplanes should be kept out of commission until the. result of the investigation is known. Later, he suggested that a justice of the High Court or a well-known police magistrate should be appointed to the board of inquiry in place of Colonel Murdoch. I am strongly of the opinion that the numerous accidents that have taken place in connexion with the Royal Air Force machines calls for a thorough investigation by qualified assessors representing recognized aeronautical engineering firms with a non-technical officerto consider the administrative side. This would remove the inquiry from the atmosphere of the Royal Australian Air Force. Under existing conditions, the Royal Australian Air Force is, in fact, the judge, jury and accused in all investigations.

Mr Martens:

Mr. Goya Henry said it was a case of appealing from Caesar to Caesar.


– That is so. A great deal is at stake in this investigation. We should not expect a board, which consists of military officers, to castigate the Royal Australian Air Force if it deserves castigation. They are not the right authorities to offer fearless criticism of their brother officers, if necessary. But we cannot submit to a “‘hush hush “ policy, or to the whitewashing of individuals who may deserve criticism.

Mr Thorby:

– There is no justification for a statement of that kind.


– I ask the Minister for Defence not to look upon this discussion as an attack upon himself personally. We are not attacking any individual. We are simply asking for a thorough public investigation into the cause of these accidents. The Minister should not adhere to any previous decision on this subject; nor should he feel himself bound to hold a secret inquiry simply because a previous Minister for Defence thought that that was the right cource to follow. i am pleased that the honorable gentleman has shown originality since he has held the defence portfolio, and i hope that he will not be content to rest upon a precedent in this case. Unless prompt action is taken to dispel doubts that have arisen in connexion wilh the efficiency of the Royal Australian Air Force, an adverse effect upon the recruiting of young” men of the right type for this service is certain to follow. This would be deplorable, for I believe that, to a greater extent than ever, Australia will have to depend upon an efficient air force for defence. Undoubtedly there is room for grave concern over the numerous accidents that have occurred.

Leading newspapers throughout Australia, such as the Sydney Daily Telegraph, tho Sydney Sun, the Melbourne Sun News-Pictorial, the Sydney Morning Herald, the Labor Daily, and others, are demanding an open inquiry by a committee with a different personnel from that of the present Air Accidents Investigation Committee. I direct particular attention to the following report that appeared in to-day’s issue of the Sydney Daily Telegraph : -

The appointment of three officers of the Royal Australian Air Force to investigate a series of accidents to Hawker Demon planes was criticized last night by Mr. C. G. Fallon, the father of the pilot who was killed. The father rightly said that only a public and independent investigation would uncover what he believed to be a grave inadequacy in the equipment of Royal Australian Air Force planes. Mr. Fallon strongly protested against any form of departmental inquiry. He said that in fairness to the public and in the interests of national defence a public inquiry should be held. Public confidence in the air arm of the national defence is badly shaken.

The views expressed in that article are supported by an overwhelming body’ of public opinion throughout Australia. It ip extraordinary to me that all our Royal Australian Air Force aeroplanes are not equipped with wireless. Mr. C. G. Fallon, of Brisbane, father of the pilot who was killed, has pointed out that trouble occurred with the cooling apparatus of one of these machines of which his son was the pilot before it left Bris bane, yet the plane was allowed to fly on to Cootamundra. At Cootamundra, the trouble was accentuated.

The record of the Royal Australian Air Force in regard to accidents compares very unfavorably with that of planes engaged in civil aviation. During the last twelve months, commercial aircraft in Australia have flown 5,497,401 miles and carried 43,402 passengers with only eight fatalities. That record compare.” favorably with a similar mileage by motor cars. It is notable that seven machilei out of the nine engaged in this Royal Australian Air Force flight of 2,000 miles have crashed. Such an amazing contrast in field results calls for a searching and public probing of the whole air force organization. The black record of the Royal Australian Air Force of eight accidents in nine days involving tho death of one pilot and injury to nine members of the personnel of the service surely must give everybody cause for grave concern. The nine mishaps to Hawker-Demon machines to which I have referred have been as follows: -

November 21. - Brake jammed while landing at Cootamundra. Plane tilted but no damage caused.

November 21. - Same machine damaged through brake - seizing while landing at Canberra.

November 29. - Forced landing near Bourke. Nobody injured.

December 3. - Machine tipped on nose while taking off at Archerfield aerodrome, Brisbane. Propellor broken.

December 3. - Engine trouble developed in a machine while on manoeuvres, compelling squadron to return to Archerfield.

December 5. - Pilot Officer Jack Frederick Fallon incinerated and Mechanic Fitzgerald injured in crash near Cootamundra.

December 6. - Second crash near Cootamundra, Pilot and observer mechanic injured.

December 6. - Machine landing at Cootamundra broke a wheel and came to Test on a wing.

December 7. - Pilot and wireless operator of meteorological observation plane crashed at Avoca. Both injured.

Mr Thorby:

– From what is the honorable member quoting?


– I am reading the list of accidents to Hawker-Demon machines, which, if my memory is correct, appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Mr Curtin:

– Does- the Minister for Defence doubt the accuracy of the list?


– Ifthe list is incorrect, I haveno doubt that he willcorrect it. I have checkedthe details as far asI have been able to do so. If Australia should everneeddefenceby aeroplanes, of what use would the aircraft be of the kind now being used?

Accordingto a report inthismorning’s DailyTelegraph, Mr. T. D. Leech, lecturer inengineering at the Sydney University, and an outstanding authority onaeronautics, was asked to express an opinion of the accidents to the HawkerDemon machines. He said thatmore than adepartmentalinquiry wasneeded if the real cause of the accidents was to be discovered. He added -

In my opinion the search forthe cause must go furtherthan any suggestion of slackness on thepartof the pilots of their planes. The Hawker-Demon, as a type, is an excellent machine. In some quarters it is suggested that the machine isnot suited to Australian conditions, and a consideration Such us this must be viewed very carefully. In my opinion, the series of accidents calls for the appointment of a special board of inquiry comprising members of the Air Accidents Committee, andmembers of the public with aeronautical qualifications who could ask questions and speak openly and candidly without anypeculiar restrictions.


– That is being done.


– Will the Minister inform mo who is the representative of the public on the board of inquiry?

Mr Thorby:

– Colonel Murdoch.


– That isnot satisfactory to me. I wish to see are aeronautical expert such as Mr. Leech on the board. If he is qualified to occupy the position of lecturer in engineering at the Sydney University, and is regarded as an authority on aeronautics, he is competent to act on such a board. I would have more confidence in an impartial opinion being given and in his ability to be able to cross-examine witnesses who may come before him. I have the greatest confidence in the impartiality of men who have occupied trusted positions in the universities of Australia. They have nothing to hide in regard to this matter and they do not have to save the faces of those administering the Royal Australian Air Force. Mr. Leech went on to say -

As chairman of the board I suggest Mr. H. E. Wimperis, who is in Australia. He is probably the most qualified person in the Empire to discover the cause if it should he some mechanical failing.

Continuing, he said : -

In a flight such as that of the Laverton squadron, we might expect a couple of engines togive trouble, but eight successive cases of engine trouble in about as many days suggest that there is some grave fault somewhere. The committee of inquiry, I suggest, should be empowered to re-open any previous inquiry into accidents toHawker-Demons, and for that matter, to any othertypeof military plane.

According to the aviation correspondent of the Sydney Morning Herald, a regular Royal Australian AirForcepilot expressed the view that there had been a fair amount of trouble with engine seizures, chiefly around the pump. When officers of the Royal Australian Air Force are interviewed with regard to theseaccidents theyall say that they arenot allowed to express an opinion.

Mr Thorby:

– What officer suggested that?


– Does the Minister want to sack him ?

Mr Thorby:

– If thehonorable mem- be r can substantiate thatstatement I promise the House now that I shall institute an additional inquiry to go into his utterances.


– The honorable gentleman misunderstood what Isaid. I said that according to the aviationcorrespondent of the Sydney Morning Herald, a regular Royal Australian Air Force pilot, whosename isnotmentionedin the newspaper; when interviewed in regard to these accidents, expressed the view that there had been a fair amount of trouble owing to engine seizures,chiefly around the pump. That statement came from a correspondent of the Sydney Morning Herald, and not from theLabor Daily or the Melbourne Age.

Mr Curtin:

– If it came from the lat ter it would not lessen its credibility.


– That is so, though had it appeared in newspapers other than the Sydney Morning Herald, the Minister might have been inclined to disregard it. I know that he has on other occasions said that the Sydney Morning Herald does not publish comments without first carefully considering them.

Mr Thorby:

– I have nevermade such a statement.


– In an article in the Melbourne SunNews-Pictorial, appeared the following comment:-

The public has the right to expect thatofficial investigations into these unfortunate and tragic mishaps will be given the widest publicity.

Conducting an inquiry behind closed doors is not giving the matter the widest publicity. The best way to restore confidence in the Air Force is to have a thorough probing conducted openly by an expert of the type suggested by Mr. Leech, lecturer in engineering in the Sydney University, and a recognized aeronautical expert, such as Mr. Wimperis, whom Mr. Leech regards as one of the greatest engineering authorities in the British Empire.

Minister for Defence [3.25]. - I regret that the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Forde · Calare · CP

should have taken advantage of a sad fatality to discuss this matter in the way he has in view of the fact that I have already given to the House the most definite assurances that everything possible will be done to investigate fully, not only the fatal accident, but also all other accidents, and that an expert body of men constituting a special court has been appointed. 1 have over and over again given the House that assurance, and I regret that the honorable member should havetaken this opportunity to move the adjournment of the House to discuss this matter and to east aspersions on responsible officers who are recognized as impartial investigators of accidents of this kind.

Mr Forde:

– I cast no aspersions on them.


– The Deputy Leader of the Opposition said that officers of the Royal Australian Air Force are not allowed to come forward to give evidence at these inquiries.

Mr Forde:

– I said that officers when interviewed said that they could not make statements to the press.


– If the honorable member can produce evidence in support of that statement, I promise now that I shall not allow any authority in the naval, military, or air services to silence any person anxious to give evidence in connexion with the recent fatality or any other air accident. I have emphasized the point that the very fact that a fatality is associated with a recent air accident itself opens the door for an open inquiry in the form of a coroner’s court. No one would suggest that a coroner’s inquiry is not an open one.

Mr Makin:

– It is not conducted by an expert court.


– Experts can be called to give evidence, as the honorable member knows. Officers of the Defence Department will probably be called upon to give evidence at the coroner’s inquiry into the fatal accident. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Curtin) suggested that a. justice of the High Court or a police magistrate should be appointed.

Mr Curtin:

– I suggested that such a person should be added to the Air Accidents Investigation Committee.


– Colonel Murdoch has no association with the Defence Department; he is also independent of the Air Board and the Civil Aviation Board. No one is justified in questioning his impartiality as the Deputy Leader of the Opposition did. I appeal to honorable members to realize that this matter is now under consideration. The various committees have already proceeded a long way over the ground, collecting information, technical and otherwise, to enable them to furnish a report. Until the findings aremade available I feel that it is inadvisable, injudicious, unfair and unreasonable that this House, without information other than that based on newspaper reports, should attempt to discuss the details of these eases, and perhaps imperil the position of some of those whose interests are at. stake, among whom I include the relativesof the deceased, and even the injured airmen. I appeal to honorable members and to the press to realize the seriousness of this matter from the point of view of both the Air Force and the defence of this country. I hope that honorable members will accept my assurance that everything possible is being done to ascertain the whole of the facts surrounding the accidents, to investigate this question thoroughly, and to avoid nothing irrespective of who may be to blame, or what the findings may be. I know that honorable members will be ready to admit that I have no interest on one side or the other; my sole aim is to ascertain the actual causes of the accidents. No man can say that he holds the scales more evenly between the public and the Defence Department than I do. I trust that further discussion in regard to this matter will be avoided, and I urge upon honorable members the desirability of leaving it to the judicial, semi-judicial and expert bodies now inquiring into the accidents. When the reports and findings are received, they will be made available to the public and, if the House is sitting at the time, they will be made available to honorable members in this Parliament at the earliest possible opportunity. Nothing will be hidden; I shall take definite action to prevent anything being passed over that should be thoroughly investigated.

Mr Forde:

– Those two inquiries are not public inquiries.


– I have admitted that over and over again. I wish that the honorable gentleman would not repeat that ridiculous statement. Inquiries of this nature have been conducted for years. I am not responsible for the system, I am merely following the practice that has been adopted by every government that has held office in this country since the inauguration of aviation. But I have instituted a special inquiry so that the matter may be carried further than would have been the case under the ordinary system of investigation. Three departmental bodies are inquiring into the circumstances of these accidents at the present time. A coroner’s court exercises its jurisdiction under the State government. It is entirely independent of the laws of ‘the Commonwealth, and can investigate every circumstance associated with the fatal accident, including the complete history of the machine.

Mr Beasley:

– Is it not possible that, under the Defence regulations, certain evidence relating to defence may be excluded from the coroner, and, therefore, the inquiry will not be complete?


– I have already given the House the assurance that, in such a contingency, I should not hesitate to appoint a special board with wider powers. Surely honorable members will accept that assurance. I am as sympathetic and sincere as is any honorable member, and probably have to carry a greater responsibility. I am as anxious and as determined as any one to have the matter satisfactorily cleared up, in the interests of the personnel of the Royal Australian Air Force, the defence organisation of this country, and everybody concerned, including the relatives of the deceased, and those who still have to fly air-force aeroplanes. I am not unmindful of the disabilities and difficulties that have to be surmounted. I have given the most conscientious assurance that any man could give, that everything possible will be done. I hope that honorable members will not take advantage of this opportunity to press the matter, and that the press will restrain its comment until the findings of the different bodies have been made available.


.- The contention of the Minister for Defence (Mr. Thorby), that this matter should not be raised in Parliament, would appear to indicate failure on his part to appreciate the fact that this Parliament is the body responsible for ensuring the safety of pilots in the Royal Australian Air Force.

Mr Thorby:

– I have never questioned the right of honorable members to raise the matter.


– During the last nine days, there have been eight serious accidents. That record is itself a demonstration of the inadequacy of the inquiries that the department has previously conducted with respect to other accidents. The Minister himself is cognizant of that, and has taken action to . constitute an additional authority to investigate these particular accidents. I am not clear as to whether the special board that he has constituted is to inquire only into the fatal accident at Cootamundra, or into the whole of the accidents that have occurred during the last nine days.

Mr Thorby:

– The whole of the accidents associated with that flight. The board need not necessarily confine itself to that flight, but may, if it deems it advisable, make further inquiries into the history of the machines.


– I accept that. But that inquiry is to be held in secret. No facility is to be given to the relatives of the deceased to be represented and to be satisfied that it is adequate. Furthermore, the public, who have a major interest in this matter, will have no means of knowing the nature of the evidence submitted at the inquiry. They will merely be given the ultimate findings or recommendations, and will be unable to convince themselves that these are in accordance with the weight of evidence.

Mr Brennan:

– Why is the inquiry secret?


– Because the Minister has so directed. That is the whole point. I ask the honorable gentleman to do two things: to add a magistrate to tho authority, and to allow the proceedings to be held in public. A coronial inquiry will be limited to ascertaining the causes of the death of Mr. Fallon. I agree that a coroner may take a somewhat wider view than that. But not being a lawyer, yet having some familiarity with coronial inquiries, I submit that one could not expect the public inquiry held by a coroner to extend sufficiently beyond the ascertainment of the causes of the accident to Pilot Fallon to furnish a satisfactory criterion of the general causes that have led to this most unfortunate record of eight accidents in nine days. My concern is to reassure the Australian public in regard to the competence and completeness of the inquiry that the Minister has ordered to be made into the accidents associated with this particular flight. I do not desire to arouse in any way a greater sense of disquietude than apparently now marks Australian public feeling in regard to this matter, and I would be the last to embarrass the Minister in connexion with the very unfortunate set of circumstances that have been associated with his acceptance of the defence administration. I know that that has entailed an anxiety with which every honorable member has the utmost sympathy. But when all is said and done, the circumstances make it imperative that Parliament shall do two things. First, we are convinced that this chapter of accidents’ during the last fortnight proves the futility of previous inquiries in giving to the department that degree of knowledge and foresight which would avert serious accidents. Therefore, we nan place no reliance on what has hitherto been done. The Minister has superimposed a special inquiry upon the ordinary departmental inquiry. I am not convinced that that special inquiry will be any better than the departmental inquiry in the direction of reassuring public opinion, unless it is an open inquiry. That seems to me to be the very important feature which should distinguish this inquiry from all of its predecessors. I regret to say also that, if public opinion is to be reassured, the personnel of the board will have to bo extended. I should be satisfied if a magistrate were added to it, a.nd the inquiry was held in public. I sincerely urge the Minister to represent that view to his colleagues, and hope that they will adopt it.


.- I do not question in any way the intention of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Forde) in moving the adjournment of the House to discuss this matter, but I do feel that his action illustrates the unfortunate-mentality with which so many people in this country regard aviation. Anything that happens to an aeroplane is exaggerated out of all proportion to the nature of the accident or mishap. I am not attempting to excuse this sequence of accidents. . There is no doubt that they are something of which the Royal Australian Air Force cannot be proud. I am quite sure, however, that no stone will be left unturned to ascertain the causes of them. These incidents, causing, as they do, suspicion of faulty maintenance, call for very careful inquiry. The Royal Australian Air Force itself is quite capable of carrying out that inquiry. I am sure that the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Curtin) had no wish to do a dis-service to the Royal Australian Air Force or to be unfair to its personnel; but the honorable gentleman referred to eight serious accidents, a list of which was given by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition. The first was a brake seizing, with no damage, when an aeroplane landed. Although an aero plane should not have brake trouble of that nature, to call it a serious accident is surely fantastic. The second serious accident was a recurrence of that brake trouble a little later. But when we consider the state of the brakes on many motor cars in Australia to-day, and the number of tragic accidents that are thereby caused, surely it is fantastic to describe this recurrence of brake trouble, without damage, as a serious accident. Three other mishaps were caused by engine trouble. That is a very serious commentary on the maintenance of these aeroplanes, because the modern aeroplane engine should not fail. That, however, is a matter of discipline, into which the Air Force itself is quite capable of inquiring. One of these accidents - a very minor one - resulted fatally, probably for the very reason that so many minor accidents have fatal results - the failure of the pilot to switch off the engine. That is the first thing which any pilot should do when making a forced landing. It is, however, very easy to overlook, and the importance of doing it should be stressed. I understand that in practically no case has fire occurred when the engine has beer switched off; but the less said about that aspect of the accident, the better. I have no wish to whitewash those responsible for these incidents, but I do feel that, from the view-point of the danger to human life, we aro very greatly exaggerating these accidents. We should endeavour to abstain from so doing. Every day fatal motor car accidents occur in Australia, and only the slightest publicity - in some cases no publicity at all - is given to them, whereas, in the case of aviation, the most minor accident is exaggerated. Both the Leader and tlie Deputy Leader of the Opposition have referred to the ( secrecy of the departmental inquiries into this particular series of mishaps. I quite appreciate their objection to secret inquiries. We are always suspicious when we hear that something is to be done in secret. But the policy of holding air accident inquiries in secret has been adopted on the advice of experts. It is most difficult to obtain evidence regarding an air accident, particularly a major one, in which practically all the evidence, is destroyed because of the nature of the mishap. If an employee of a civil aviation company comes forward at a public inquiry and states that the servicing of the machine had been carried out in an inadequate manner, he may run the risk of being thrown out of employment. A ground engineer may have a suspicion that an alteration should be made of the method of servicing a. plane, but he is inclined to withhold that opinion if. he believes that he may be victimized for expressing it at an open inquiry; but if, when interrogated in private by experts, he is asked tor his opinion for the guidance of those responsible for the drawing up of the air regulations, he is likely to give his candid views.

Mr Beasley:

– I know very well from men in the service what would be the fate of a mechanic who expressed his opinion to an officer.


– That statement is unfair and most derogatory to the Royal Australian Air Force. . I do not believe that an air mechanic would be victimized for expressing his opinion in a proper way. The consequences, if any, of giving evidence against a- superior officer would be more serious at a public inquiry than at an inquiry held in camera, and, if any victimization was likely to occur, a most unworthy imputation, there would be less danger of it at a secret inquiry. At a secret inquiry ./.-.. employees would have an. opportunity to express an opinion, possibly, about the faulty technique of a brother engineer, or, perhaps, the cheese-paring methods of a private company, without fear of ill-feeling, or possible resentment of comrades or employers. Opinions are often obtained at secret inquiries which in many cases might not be disclosed if the witnesses had to take the consequences of expressing them publicly.

Another theory is that these inquiries should be held in public ‘so that the industry may gain the benefit of any information brought to light. That is not essential. Every pilot or air-craft owner receives a list of the air regulations, in which he is informed of modifications which should, be made to his plane, or of some method of servicing to which he should pay attention. Much of that advice is the result of secret inquiries. I am not suggesting this by way of criticism of the remarks of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition; I am merely attempting to help the House and the public to understand the position.

There is, I admit, controversy in , air circles as to whether these inquiries should be secret or otherwise. But personally, I believe the greatest benefit is achieved by holding inquiries in camera. [Leave to continue given].

As the Minister has said, the rights of the public are protected by means of coronial investigations. Somebody has suggested that a coroner’s inquiry is inadequate, and that a coroner is incompetent to conduct an investigation into an aeroplane accident. My contention is that it is just as important for the facts to come out if a man has been killed through negligence in a motor car accident as it is if he loses his life through carelessness in an aeroplane accident, and I consider that a coroner is. as capable of carrying out an inquiry into an aeroplane accident as he is in respect of any other transport accident. I have two suggestions to make. I have referred already to the difficulty experienced in obtaining evidence in major aeroplane disasters. In the recently gazetted air regulations - and I do not criticize the department, because I understand that these are copied from the international regulations - it is stated that aircraft log books are to be carried on all aircraft. That is a regulation which I personally, ignore, because in the event of a major accident occuring, one of the few things to which the Air Accidents Committee can turn is the log book. If it is desirable for some reason, on long trips, that a plane should carry a log book, I suggest that a duplicate of the book should be kept where the aircraft is serviced, and that where that course is unnecessary the log book should be kept on the ground at the place where the aeroplane is,serviced. The other observation I have to make is that any misgiving we may have had reason to have about efficiency in the Royal Australian Air Force has been in connection with long distance flights. The efficiency in regard to discipline, aerobatics and formation flying, compares favourably with that of the Royal Air Force, or any other force in the world.That is the opinion expressed to me by senior officersof the Royal Air Force who have had opportuni ties to see our force at work. There is no doubt that in long distance flights, with some notable exceptions, the record of the Royal Australian Air Force has not been so good as in other respects, and I hope that the Minister will make investigations to ascertain whether more money should be made available for that side of the training. It is unfair to send members ofthe force on occasional longdistance flights, and then criticize them for the results of insufficient opportunities for training.


.- I listened to the statement by the Minister for Defence (Mr. Thorby) with great care. I noticed that the reports which he read stated that the engine of the aircraft in which Pilot Fallon was killed was in good order, and that the machine used was of a suitable and good type. The only suggestion left is that the pilots are apparently inefficient. If that is so, it is a very serious matter. The young man who was killed had been known to me since he was a child, and possibly he was not as efficiently-trained as he should have been; but, in that case, I blame the senior officers for having allowed him to go into the air. The morning after the accident I recollect the father of the deceased pilot making a statement.

Mr Thorby:

– I have no desire to suppress anything; but would it be wise, in the interests of the father, to repeat that statement ?

Mr Menzies:

– Is not this matter to be investigated?


– The adjournment of the House has been moved for the purpose of asking the Minister to cause a certain inquiry to be held. Honorable members would not be in order in giving their opinions as to the cause of the accident upon the motion.


– I was merely about to refer to a statement made by the father of the deceased pilot as to the condition of the engine of the aircraft which crashed. I believe that the most satisfactory form of inquiry would be a public one, particularly if a judge could be attached to the court. In that way the interests of the public generally would be best served. I agree with the honorable member for Flinders (Mr. Fairbairn) that too much publicity is given to aeroplane accidents; but the fact remains that the number of accidents that have occurred in connexion with the Royal Australian AirForce is out of all proportion to that of those in connexion with civil aviation. Something must be wrong. Mr.Fallon said that his son had told him that the cooling system of his machine was faulty. The aircraft had previously been recalled to the Archerfield aerodrome and examined, and the pilot was again sent into - the air with the same engine, despite the fact that the cooling system was faulty. There is certainly room for a public inquiry. Depart-‘ mental investigations are not of much use at any time. When are members of this House given a complete record of the evidence tendered at such inquiries? They are usually of a confidential character, and nobody hears of the decisions reached.

Mr Thorby:

– The reports are forwarded to the Minister, who makes them available to the Government. I claim that the Minister represents the public in these matters.


– I do not agree with the Minister in that regard. The proper method is to conduct such inquiries in public. If, when a serious accident occurred, a public inquiry were ordered, attention would be drawn to the fact that an extraordinary course had been adopted, and aviation would benefit as the result of it. Secret inquiries in these and other matters are a great scourge. The public would be more satisfied if they could read the evidence taken before a judge or a senior magistrate with regard to air accidents. Great exaggeration is indulged in in describing air disasters, and the bold newspaper headlines employed tend to prevent air traffic from increasing at the rate it should. Several companies have flown their planes for millions of miles, and the number of accidents that have occurred is very small indeed. Personally, I do not believe that a departmental inquiry would be as thorough as a public investigation. I trust that the Minister will see that inquiry is made by a justice of the High Court or at least a senior magistrate.

Minister for Trade and Customs · Balaclava · UAP

– There is no warrant for the Opposition or any honor able member to say that the HawkerDemon type of aeroplane is unsuitable or dangerous. Hawker-Demon machines are admittedly fast, but they are war machines, and, although there is truth in the assertion of the honorable member for Herbert (Mr. Martens), that more accidents occur to military aeroplanes than to civil aeroplanes there is aclear reason for that fact. Service machines outnumber civil machines, and whereas the civil aeroplanes are a safe form of transport, service machines have speed as their first requirement. Moreover, civil aeroplanes do not engage in formation-flying or in aerobatics, both of which are prominent features of air force and flying school activities, and it is in those activities that accidents chiefly occur. Flying accidents, unfortunately and inevitably, will occur and bring about the loss of good young lives, but they should be taken as calmly as possible. Training for modern warfare demands these flights. I endorse the appeal by the honorable member for Flinders (Mr. Fairbairn), who is the only active flying pilot in this Parliament, for less flamboyant reference in newspapers to aerial accidents. It is a pity that the accounts of accidents in the air are sometimes exaggerated; I am not referring, of course, to the unfortunate fatality which recently occurred to a member of the Air Force, but to the minor accidents. The publicity which is given to these accidents is entirely out of proportion. Some newspapers in fact are morbid enough to publish photographs of the incinerated machine in a case where an unfortunate pilot has lost his life. It is desirable that a calm dispassionate outlook be taken in these cases, and that is what happens in the official inquiries that are made. When a death occurs as the result of an air accident, the circumstances are investigated, not only by the departmental committees, but also by a coroner. Who would cavil at the personnel of the Air Accidents Investigation Committee? Wing-Commander Wackett is an engineering genius and is one of the foremost men in aviation in Australia. He is entirely impartial. Colonel Murdoch is an engineer of experience and Group Captain Anderson was a noted war pilot. In every case of an air accident this committee has made the fullest investigation. Of course, it happens sometimes, as the honorable member for Flinders has pointed out, that the pilot is killed and it becomes impossible to discover the real reason for the accident. The honorable member for Herbert said in reference ‘to the recent fatality that it was his opinion that the cause was a faulty engine, but I point out that the fact that the aeroplane was burnt shows that the engine must have been going, or at least ticking-over, when the crash occurred. Whereas engine trouble was a frequent occurrence 20 years ago, so great have been the improvements, dual ignition and multiple engines for example, crashes, as ihe result of engine trouble are much rarer, but making a forced landing with a fast machine is always fraught with danger. To my mind it is a pity thatthis motion for the adjournment should have been moved. We all deplore accidents, but honorable members should remember another aspect - the humane aspect - of flying, namely, the aerial medical services, which save more lives than are lost in aviation. That perhaps is a melancholy satisfaction to derive, but it is none the less true. It is unfortunately true also that whilst aeroplanes exist as a weapon of offence and defence, the training carried out by such fast machines must necessarily occasion accidents.

Question resolved in the negative.

page 419


Motion (by Mr. Menzies) - by leave - agreed to -

That lie have leave to bring in a bill for an »ct to amend section 12 of the Transport Workers Act 1028-1929.

page 419


Second Reading

Mr. THOMPSON (New EnglandAssistant Minister) 4.6]. - I move -

That the bill be now rend a second time.

In doing so I desire to say that I feel highly gratified that this measure, which is the first that I have had the honour to introduce in this House, is one of a liberalizing nature, designed to confer substantial benefits on a very deserving section of the community. I am sure that honorable members remember the difficult times through which this country passed a few years ago, and many of us are familiar with the action taken by the Government of the day to cope with the national emergency to arrest the drift in governmental finance, and to spread as evenly as possible over all sections of the community the sacrifices that had to be made. Acting with the co-operation and upon the advice of a special committee representative of all organizations of returned soldiers it was decided that some provisions of the Financial Emergency Act of 1931 should apply to certain classes of soldiers’ dependants, and that the personal pension of the incapacitated soldier should not be subjected to reduction under this legislation.

One of the provisions referred to enacted that a wife married, or a child born, to an incapacitated soldier after 1st October, 1931, should not receive war pension, and the main object of the bill now before the House is to remove that prohibition. Clause 3, if accepted, will permit of wives married and children born to incapacitated soldiers on or before the 3C’t.h June, 1938, becoming eligible fur consideration for a grant of war pension. The Repatriation Commission has expressed the belief that approximately 4,000 additional wives and 20,000 additional children will benefit under the terms of the bill, and that the annual liability will be increased by about £220,000.

It may prove of interest to honorable members to compare this proposal with the conditions operating in the United Kingdom and other parts of the Empire. In New Zealand the marriage must have occurred not later than the 31st July, 1936. In Canada the marriage must have taken place before May, 1933, and children must have been born before that date. In South Africa the marriage must have taken place within two years of discharge from the forces, and the only children eligible are those born within nine months of discharge. In the United Kingdom the marriage must have occurred at the latest before discharge from service, and again the only children eligible are those born within nine months,of the soldier’s discharge.

In addition to having restored to them the right to pension removed by the Financial Emergency Act these classes of pensioners will also be eligible to participate in general repatriation benefits enjoyed by present dependent pensioners, and amendments of regulations to this effect are now being attended to.

Clause 4 of the bill is designed to protect the right to pension of thosewomen and children married or born since the 1st October,1931, whose husbands or fathers have since died, and is purely consequential on the principal amendment contained in clause 3.

It is interesting to mention that at the 30th June, 1937, 77,076 incapacitated members of the forces were receiving war pension as well as 174,730 dependants of deceased and incapacitated members, and that last financial year £7,683,089 was distributed in war pension payments, the grand total of war pensions on the same date being £140,836,592.

Honorable members, will agree that it has been the constant desire of successive governments to accord liberal and generous treatment to the reasonable claims of ex-servicemen and women, and this bill is further evidence of the present Government’s determination toen sure a continuance of that policy.


. -As the promise of this legislation figured in the policy speeches of both the Prime Minister (Mr. Lyons) and myself, I see no occasion to do other than recommend the bill to the House. The steps which were taken some years ago we are now in a position to retrace, and the bill brings into the pensionable field children in families certain members of which are within the pensionable field at. the present time. Then again, it brings into that field a number of wives who, since 1931, have married returned soldiers who are now war pensioners or else may subsequently be eligible for war pensions. I am glad too that the educational conditions of the general system are being extended in the manner suggested by the Assistant Minister (Mr. Thompson). In my policy speech, I said -

Australia must honour its obligations to subscribers to war loans, and it must also stand up fully to the promises which were made to the men who fought and suffered in the world war.

I went on to say, and I repeat it now -

It would be incongruous to be spending millions of pounds in preparation for defence against the next war were we, at the same time, failing to do the proper and honorable thing by those who suffered for Australia in the last war.

I commend the bill to the House.


.- I support the bill. It, I think, restores the last of the cuts that were made by legislation at the time of financial emergency. Every honorable member of this House no doubt will welcome it as a milestone on the way to recovery, but in welcoming this last restoration of the cuts that were made by legislation I hope that the House and the Government will not overlook the fact that there are some cuts that were made under regulation by administrative act which have not yet been restored. I mention this matter now, because there has been a suggestion that, as the cuts have been restored, it would now be decent for honorable members to restore their own allowances. That would be the case were all the cuts restored, but they havenot all been restored yet. I rise now to point out a few cases in which restoration has not been made. One case is the allowances which were paid to dependent mothers of soldiers who were killed. That allowance was reduced at the time of the financial emergency economies. I do not know exactly the amount involved, but I do know that it meant considerable hardship in the case of aged parents. . As far as I know, that cut has not been restored. Another reduction made at that time was in respect to the scale of allowance to dependants of officers who lost their lives actually on active service. Before these economies were instituted, there was a small-range sliding scale, varying from £1 to £1 10s. The almost microscopic margin allowed in this instance was certainly on the economical rather than on the generous side, yet even that was eliminated in the interests of economy. That is another thing which should be made good before Parliament votes a full restoration of allowances to members. In regard to allowances for dependent children, originally 10s. was allowed for the first child, and 7s. 6d. each for subsequent children. The margin in favour of the first child was eliminated, a considerable saving thereby being effected.

Mr. SPEAKER (Hon. G. J. Bell).I remind the honorable member that he is discussing matters quite outside the scope of the bill.


– I am glad that this complete restoration is now being made by the measure before us, and I commend to the notice of the Assistant Minister these administrative matters to which I have referred, confident that the fair and liberal attitude taken up by the Government in the past will be extended to them also.

West Sydney

. The amendment being made in this bill has been the subject of a good deal of controversy by members of soldiers’ organizations since 1931. Difficulty has been experienced in fixing upon a definite date for the termination of these benefits, but it appears from the bill that the Government has now decided upon 1938 as the time limit beyond which new applications will not be considered. I have no desire to traverse the arguments for or against that decision. I should like the Assistant Minister (Mr. Thompson) to explain, however, how far the concessions provided in the bill’ are to apply to pensions generally. Representatives of the Tubercular Soldiers’ Association have discussed the subject with me, and have pointed out that the concessions do not apply to those in receipt of service pensions. They apply only, is is said, to those who have been classified as suffering from disabilities due to war service. When Parliament decided thatpensions should be payable to soldiers suffering from tuberculosis, it was moved by the consideration that it was very difficult to ascertain whether or not the disease was actually due to war service.


– I cannot allow the honorable member to discuss that matter ; it is outside the scope of the bill.


– Then I should like to know whether it is true that these benefits will be restricted to those who come under the general pensions scheme, and will be withheld from those who come within the class of service pensioners. I am aware thatI cannot move for the extension of the benefits to this class, because that would involve an increase of the appropriation, and I should be ruled out of order. However, I raise the matter now in the hope that the Assistant Minister will have an investigation made into the claims of service pensioners.


.- This legislation has been brought forward following the representations by various returned soldiers organizations, and I congratulate the Government upon having introduced it. The honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Beasley) mentioned the claims of tubercular soldiers. This particular matter has been brought forward at the eleventh hour by various members and I have no doubt that the Government will make inquiries, and see that the right thing is done. This may be the only opportunity I shall have in this session, to refer to the repatriation claims of that forgotten legion composed of South African war veterans. I hope that consideration will be given to their case, especially as, I understand, the Returned Sailors and Soldiers’ Imperial League of Australia is agreeable to their inclusion in general repatriation benefits.

Melbourne Ports

– I desire to express my appreciation of the Government in bringing forward this measure. It is generally admitted that some date must be fixed beyond which new applications for pensions will not be considered, but it was, I think, absolutely necessary that the present extension should be made. Those who will benefit as the result of this legislation, and who were denied benefits by the emergency restrictions of 1932, are among the very worst cases. They are men who were so badly disabled that they resolved never to marry at all. However, as their condition became worse, they decided no longer to impose this penalty upon themselves, but to marry primarily because they needed some one to look after them; because, in fact, they needed lifelong nurses. Most of the children who will be affected by this amendment belong to badly disabled fathers. I understand that the right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes) discussed this matter with returned soldiers’ organizations, which have expressed themselves as being satisfied with the date fixed in thebill.

matta · Parra

– We have been reminded by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Curtin) that this measure represents the redemption of a preelection promise by the Leader of a the Government (Mr. Lyons), and that a similar promise was made by the Leader of the Opposition himself. It is not surprising, therefore, that we should have the concurrence of honorable members on both sides of the House in this measure. However, there is a certain amount of doubt in some quarters, not all of them hostile to the Government, whether the legislation now before us is a complete redemption of the Prime Minister’s undertaking. I had hoped to have forestalled the honorablemember for West Sydney (Mr. Beasley) in regard to his references to service pensioners, or to have said something in amplification of them, but I realize that he probably absorbed all the toleration of the Chair. I hope that, in the interim between now and the next meeting of Parliament, the Government will give sympathetic consideration to the possibility of bringing within the ambit of this provision those new wives and children of service pensioners who, we understand, are not now included.


– I commend the Government for having introduced this bill, which provides for the restoration of one of the last remaining reductions compulsorily imposed in a time of national emergency. The Government that made those reductions acted with as much reluctance as did honorable members on the then Opposition who supported them.

Mr Mahoney:

– It has taken this Government a long while to restore the reductions.


– That may be so; but better late than never. I congratulate the Minister for Repatriation (Senator Foll) and the Assistant Minister (Mr. Thompson) upon having been able, as one of their first parliamentary acts, to pilot through a bill which will give such general satisfaction as this one will do. I join with the honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Beasley) and the honorable member for Parramatta (Sir

Frederick Stewart) in expressing the hope that the Government will consider, at an early date, another amendment of our pensions legislation, to cover certain cases which it will not be in order for me to refer to at the moment. All I can say is that I concur entirely in the views of those honorable gentlemen in this regard, and trust that we shall soon have an opportunity to discuss the subject in this chamber. I am quite sure that the members of the Returned Sailors and Soldiers Imperial League of Australia, and other organizations of ex-service men and women, as well as returned soldiers who are not connected with any organizations, will be very glad that this restoration is being made.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time and reported from committee without amendment or debate; report adopted.

Bill - by leave - read a third time.

page 422


Message recommending appropriation reported.

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

Motion (by Mr. Casey) agreed to -

That it is expedient that an appropriation of revenue be made for the purposes of a bill for an act to amend the Maternity Allowance Act 1912-1936.

Resolution reported.

Standing Orders suspended; resolution adopted.

Ordered -

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

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

Second Reading

Treasurer · Corio · UAP

– I move-

That the bill be now read a second time.

Speaking broadly, this bill has been framed to provide additional assistance by way of maternity allowance where families are large and financial resources mall. At present, maternity allowance is payable at the rate of £4 10s. in respect of a first child and at the rate of £5 where there are any previous surviving children under the age of fourteen years. The amount of allowable income at present is £221 a year, which is £4 5s. a week, with an additional £13 in respect of each previous surviving child under the age of fourteen years, up to a maximum of £312 a year, which is £6 a week. It is now proposed to liberalize the provisions of the act in order to afford additional assistance in certain cases. Under this measure the amount of maternity allowance will be increased to £7 10s. where there are three or more previous surviving children. It is also proposed to provide for a general increase, from the bottom of the scale to the top, of £26 a year in the amount of allowable income. Consequently, the amount of allowable income will be increased at the bottom of the scale from £221 a year, or £4 5s. a week, to £247 a year, or £4 IDs. a week. The additional income allowance of £13 a year in respect of each previous surviving child under fourteen years of agc, is being retained with a limit of £338 a year, or £6 10s. a week, in lieu of £312 a year, or £6 a. week, as at present. The effect of the proposed amendments is illustrated 5n the following table: -

Opportunity is also being taken to deal with one or two other matters. As the law stands at present, only the children of the mother are taken into account in determining the allowable income and the amount of the allowance. Cases have come before me, however, through the Commissioner, which indicate that hardships result from this provision. For example, a widower who marries again may have children by his second wife. Even though there may have been one or more children by his deceased wife, the amount of allowance payable at present in respect of children by the second wife is on the lower scale. It is now proposed to amend the act to include all dependent children of the husband by a former marriage.

Mr Curtin:

– I take it that at present the allowance in respect of the first child of a second marriage is limited to £4 10s., whereas if this amendment is agreed to, it may, under certain conditions, be as high as £7 10s.?


– That is so. Another amendment has relation to the time within which an application for a maternity allowance must be made. The act provides, at present, that claims must bo lodged within three months of the birth of a child. It is now proposed to vest a discretionary power in the Commissioner to extend the period of application where satisfactory reasons are furnished for delay in the lodging of the claim.

The total cost of the liberalizations of the law now being made is estimated to be £96,000 a year . The cost, during the balance of the curran, financial year, will be approximately £50,000.

Perhaps I may anticipate a matter which may be raised by honorable members. Prom time to time questions have been asked as to the deductions allowable, in respect of employment taxes and the like, in determining the permissible income. It has been contended that such deductions should be allowed in arriving at the income of applicants for the maternity allowance. The Government has investigated this subject very carefully. Because of the numerous variations of the law in various States, it has been found impossible to fix a basis of exemption which would operate uniformly in all the States of Australia.

Mr Rosevear:

– And, therefore, because all cases cannot be covered, the present injustice is to be allowed to continue !


– The Government has decided that a more satisfactory way to meet the position is to increase the allowable income, and this has been done. On a previous occasion an increase was made in the allowable income in this way.

Mr Rosevear:

– But the living wage has increased by almost as much as the increase which the Government is proposing in the amount of permissible income.


– That is not so. The increase in most States has been about 4s. a week. The average would not be more than 5s. a week. The Government is proposing to increase the amount of allowable income in connexion with maternity allowances by 10s. a week.


– I express very great regret that the Government has decided that the allowance in respect of the first child shall be retained at £4 10s. I remonstrate against this decision. For many years, as honorable members know, maternity allowance was paid at a flat rate of £5 for each child. When the reduction of that figure was made, at a time when the countrywas passing through a time of grave financial emergency, it was distinctly understood, and, in fact, assu rances were given, that immediately the financial resources of the Government improved, the allowances would be restored to the former figure of £0. It is true that the Government is providing in this measure for certain increases of the sliding scale that is now in operation. An increase of the amount of permissible income is also being made. I protest, however, that action has not been taken to restore the payment in respect of the first child of a family to £5. If the Government would make the first payment at that figure, I could feel that perhaps this measure represented the beginning, in a very small way, of a system of family endowment which would take cognizance of the need for a proportionate distribution of Commonwealth money in accordance with the size of families, a larger subvention being paid in respect of large families than in respect of small families, in order to maintain living standards in large families. I have no objection to the general prin ciples of this measure, but I want to know why the Government has failed to lift the payment from £4 10s. to £5. I am obliged to traverse the history of this allowance in order to show that there is no present justification for keeping it at £4 10s., having regard to the history of the reduction from £5 to £4, and its subsequent increase to £4 10s. We know that in 1931 it was reduced from £5 to £4, resulting in a saving of £260,000 per annum. The Treasurer will remember that when the right honorable member for Wilmot (Mr. Lyons) assumed office as Prime Minister his first budget statement as Treasurer under-estimated the revenue for 1932-33. He stated that, on the estimate prepared, there would be a deficit of over £4,000,000 in that year, and that, in order to balance the budget, he had again to reduce old-age pensions. He also further reduced from £260 to £208 the permissible income of those to whom maternity allowance could be paid. Even subsequentto the original Financial Emergency Act, the contemplated, although unrealized, deficit of the financial year 1932-33, as wrongly viewed by the Treasurer in his budget statement, induced the Parliament “to make a further slash at the eligible range in respect of the maternity allowance. By this means, a further saving of £60,000 was effected. At the time, the Opposition pointed out that the Estimates of revenue were decidedly under-stated; it looked as though the Government had carelessly budgeted for a deficit in order to make those reductions of old-age pensions and maternity allowances.

Mr Casey:

– Shame! I am sure the honorable member does not suggest that the budget was so framed.


– I do not say it was deliberately done, but it can easily bear that construction. I submit that, when the Treasurer of the day found the revenue far in excess of his estimate, he should have used that revenue to annul the extra cuts imposed on previous ones in order to keep expenditure within the yield of revenue. It was, in my judgment, entirely dishonorable on the part of the Government at the time - the present Treasurer was not a member of that Government - to have understated revenue which had it been correctly estimated, would, I venture to say, have made it extremely difficult to convince the Parliament to impose those additional cuts. In any case, realized revenue should have been used for restoring the position to what it had been. The Financial Emergency Act of 1934 provided that an income of £208 per annum should be progressively increased by £13 per annum for each child under fourteen years of age, and in that year the maximum income was raised to £299. Under that act, the £4 was increased progressively by 5s. in respect of each child subject to a maximum payment of £5. That is to say, the Treasurer did acknowledge in that year that the reduction from £5 to £4 was an emergency provision and, as his. financial position enabled him to improve the position of all of those who had been submitted to the Financial Emergency Act, he raised the £4 by 5s. in respect of each child until, in some instances, it came up to £5. But the Treasurer is departing from that provision in this bill, and that is the only point of controversy between us. I ask for a reasonable explanation of this departure. It would be very difficult to convince me how the honorable gentleman can justify a maternity allowance of £4 10s. in view of the fact that, whereas, until the Financial Emergency Act of 1931 was passed, the allowance was £5, he now contemplates going up to £7 10s. in. certain instances. Although the variation in practice is, I think, legitimate, I do not endorse some of the arguments which have been advanced outside in support of it.. I do not think it will have any beneficial effect on the birthrate, but obviously where there are four children within the income limit fixed in this act the duty of the Parliament is to take cognizance of the increased difficulties which the father and mother of the larger family have to combat. Insofar as this is a step indicative of our appreciation of the position, it is a welcome one. I regret more than I can say that the Treasurer has not started this provision off on the original basis and, in principle, restored the maternity allowance to £5. We have to recognize, some will say fortunately, others un fortunately, that there is a disposition towards the one-child family. The average family in Australia at the present time is somewhere in the vicinity of two. The honorable gentleman will discover that he is paying in maternity allowance, in this year of grace, far less than was paid in 1931. In 1931 maternity allowances cost the Commonwealth £630,600. In 1937 my figures show that the payment will amount to £370,000. The progressive improvement that has been effected by variations of the law for which the Treasurer himself has been responsible represents, I think, a very small amount of money; I understand it will cost another £90,000 in the present year.

Mr Casey:

– It will cost approximately £50,000 for the half-year.


– That would be £100,000 for a full year. Therefore, in a . full year the maternity allowance will now cost £470,000, considerably less than £500,000, whereas, in 1931, it cost £630,000. I submit to the House, with very great seriousness, that it is no contribution to the general financial stability of Australia for the Commonwealth Parliament to be saving money in maternity allowances.


.-I am pleased that something is being done in the way of providing further assistance in respect of maternity allowances, particularly to those who have large families; but I do not think that the proposition placed before the House sizes up to the promises made by the Prime Minister (Mr. Lyons) during the election campaign. If we examine the position as it is at the moment, and as it will be when this bill is passed, we find that, because of the standard of wages upon which they exist, relatively few people will be entitled to the benefits conferred by this bill. For instance, when the Maternity Allowance Act was last amended, a scale was introduced providing a range of permissible income. At that time the maximum permissible income of a person entitled to the maternity allowance for the first child was fixed at £4 5s. a week. All that this bill does is to raise the permissible income in respect of the first child by 10s. a week. In some States the basic wage has been increased by that amount in the meantime.

Mr Casey:

– In what States?


– The basic wage has been increased in New South “Wales from £3 6s. to £3 16s.

Mr Casey:

– I do not think so.


– I am taking into account increases of the basic wage since this legislation was last amended. That is a point that must be considered. If the Government does not lift the basic scales in this bill to a greater extent than the basic wage increases in the various States, it is of no use at all to workers who receive margins for skill. Taking another view of the matter, we discover that in this bill the Treasurer (Mr. Casey) has forestalled the criticism that we levelled against the last amending maternity allowance legislation, that the gross income of the parent, and not the net income, was made the base of calculation. We pointed out to the Treasurer then, and I point it out again now, that in the Government service, particularly in New South Wales, a man whose gross earnings amount to £4 5s. a week, by no means handles thai amount of money. First, a deduction is made for superannuation payments, whether he likes it or not. Then again, he- has to pay the wages tax which is a further infliction not only on the basic wage-earner, but also on those who receive margins for skill. Therefore, if we examine the position of the public servant in New South Wales in relation to this bill we find that, although nominally we fix a base of £4 5s. as permissible income, assuming his gross income to be £4 5s. a week, the money he actually handles is considerably less than that. As I have said, the Treasurer has anticipated the possibility of the introduction of this point again, and has put forward as an excuse that the officers of his department have examined the position, and have discovered that superannuation, wages tax and other deductions vary in the different States and, for that reason, an injustice would be done if such payments were taken into consideration in connexion with the maternity allowance. I point out that, the basic wage varies in the different States. If it is regarded as an injustice to make provision for a man in the Public Service of New South. Wales, who suffers deductions in respect of both superannuation and wages tax, as against the man in some other State who has only to suffer one of these deductions, it is equally unjust to determine the matter from the point of view of the basic wage existing in each of the States. If the basic wage in one State is 6s. higher than in another, then, according to the Treasurer’s own argument, it is an injustice to have the same law covering the whole of the people of those two States. I put it that if to do what we suggest would result in injustice - and I fail to see that it would - because of the varying deductions from wages in the different States, the injustice continues to exist because of the varying basic wage in the different States. This is a matter that could be overcome quite easily. Some allowance should be made for those on the basic wage or those receiving a little over the basic wage, who have to suffer deductions of pay over which they have no control. It is ridiculous to say that a man outside of government employment in New South Wales who gets a net income of £4 5s. a. week, after paying wages tax, is entitled to the benefits of this legislation, but another employed in the government service who has to suffer an additional deduction from his wages for superannuation, and whose net income is no greater, is not entitled to those benefits. The Treasurer ought to give further consideration to the matter. I think he will agree that, if he believes that anN injustice is caused by varying deductions in the different States, the same injustice exists by reason of a varying basic wage in the different States. I do not think there is any force in his argument. Some provision should be made for those who are being victimized because of circumstances over which they have no control. The net and not the gross income should be taken into account when considering applications for the maternity allowance.

Debate (on motion by Mr. White) adjourned.

page 427



Customs Tariff Amendment (No. 1) ; Customs Tariff (Exchange Adjustment) Amendment (No. 1); Customs Tariff (Canadian Preference) Amendment (No. 1); Excise Tariff Amendment (No. 1)

In Committee of Ways and Means.:

Mr.WHITE (Balaclava - Minister for Trade and Customs) [5.2]. - I move - [Customs Tariff Amendment (No. 1).]

That the Schedule to the Customs Tariff 1933-1936 be amended as hereunder set out, and that on and after the ninth day of December. 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 1933-1936 as so amended. By omitting the whole of Prefatory Note (4) and inserting in its stead the following PrefatoryNote : - " (4) Unless otherwise expressly provided for in the Tariff, goods manufactured from hair or containing hair shall be dutiable under the Tariff Item which would be applicable to those goods had they been manufactured from wool or contained wool." By omitting the whole of Prefatory Note (121 and inserting in its stead the following Prefatory Note : - " (12) (a) Mechanical driving units and apparatus for transmitting power from such driving units to the driven units, when incorporated in or forming part of machines, machinery or machine tools, shall not, unless the Tariff specifically so directs, be dutiable under the Tariff Item applicable to the machines, machinery or machine tools in which they are incorporated or of which they form a part, but shall be dutiable under the Tariff Item or Tariff Items applica ble respectively to similar mechanical driving units and to similar apparatus for transmitting power from such driving units to the driven unite, when not incorporated in or forming part of machines, machinery or machine tools. {: type="a" start="b"} 0. Nothing in the last preceding paragraph shall apply to mechanical driving units or to apparatus for transmitting power from such driving units to the driven units, when incorporated in or forming part of machines, machinery or machine tools to which the Minister directs, by notice published in the *Gazette,* that it shall not apply. 1. For the purposes of the last two preceding paragraphs, the expression " mechanical driving units " moans any apparatus or appliance producing motive power and operated by means of steam, oil, electricity, petrol, air, water, alcohol or any other liquid or gas, and includes all devices for regulating starting or controlling such mechanical driving units, whether such devices be incorporated in or form part of the mechanical driving units or the driven units.". Ifr. White [Customs Tariff (Exchange Adjustment) Amendment (No. l).] That, on and after the ninth day of December, One thousand nine hundred and thirtyseven, 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) ". [Customs Tariff (Canadian Preference) Amendment (No. 1).] That the Schedule to the Customs Tariff (Canadian Preference) 1934-1936be amended as hereunder set out, and that on and after the ninth day of December, 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 (CanadianPreference) 1934-1936 as so amended. {: type="1" start="1"} 0. After the words " THE SCHEDULE " insert the following words : - " In this Schedule " Intermediate Tariff " used in respect of the goods covered by any item or portion of an item in this Schedule means the rate of duty for the time being set out opposite the tariff item or portion of a tariff item covering those goods in the Schedule to the Customs Tariff and, where that rate is proposed to be varied by any tariff proposal introduced into the House of Representatives, means that rate as so proposed to be varied : " Customs Tariff" means the Customs Tariff 1933-1936 and includes that Act as amended from time to time and any Act in substitution for that Act or for that Act as so amended." [Excise Tariff Amendment (No. 1).] That the Schedule to tho Excise Tariff 1921 -1936 bo amended aB 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 tho Territory for the Seat of Government, Duties of Excise be collected in pursuance of Excise Tariff 1921-1936 as so amended. The resolutions that I have just moved provide for amendments of the Customs Tariff, the Customs Tariff (Exchange Adjustment) Act, the Customs Tariff (Canadian Preference) Act, and the Excise Tariff. These proposals incorporate those introduced on the 24th June and the 7th September last, and certain new matter. Dealing first with the Customs Tariff, the sets of duties in the June and November proposals, which are re-introduced, number 151. The additional items now introduced for the first time affect 52 sets of duty, as follows: - The summary of alterations which has been distributed to honorable members shows clearly the alterations of duties made by the new matter in these' . proposals. In the schedule, effect is given to eleven Tariff Board reports. These relate to the following goods: Umbrellas, articles of napery, handkerchiefs and serviettes, curtains and blinds, tents and sails, laundry machines and appliances, lifting jacks, fixed resistors for wireless receivers, cellulose enamels and colours and resins used in their production, chinaware, porcelainware and earthenware, and corks. The most important items are those relating to laundry machines, chinaware, porcelainware and earthenware, lifting jacks, cellulose enamels, and articles of napery. In respect of laundry machines, adequate protective rates are provided for machines of the types and capacities manufactured in Australia, while a sliding scale of duties is provided to discourage the substitution of larger duty-free machines for smaller dutiable ones. Previously these had to be imported under by-law. This action removes that necessity, but at the same time adequately protects Australian-made machinery while admitting other machinery on a sliding scale. On the other hand, concessional rates of duty are provided for the more expensive washing and ironing machines and sundry- other machines not made in Australia, thus reducing the burden of the capital expenditure of laundries. The rates . of duty on chinaware, porcelainware and earthenware, which, to a certain extent, are competitive with one another, are brought into line. The new rate under the British preferential tariff is 14 per cent, above that hitherto charged on earthenware, but no alteration is made of the duties under the intermediate and the general tariff, except for the provision of alternative specific rates on pudding basins and lipped bowls. Lifting jacks are at present dutiable at ad valorem protective rates, which differ according to whether or not they conform to the departmental definition of a machine. The amendment now introduced provides for uniform rates on lifting jacks. About twelve Australian manufacturers produce an extensive range of these .tools, satisfactory both in quality and in efficiency, and the board has seen fit to recommend fixed rates of duty, alternative to the ad valorem rates, with a view to assisting local manufacturers to secure that part of the trade in jacks which is represented by the original equipment of imported motor vehicle chassis. Special provision is now made in tariff item 232 (a) for cellulose ester enamels, which were previously dutiable under that item as lacquers. Colours ground in1 plasticizing media are also provided for under the same item. Previously, they were dutiable under the paint item - 231(c) (1) - but' as they are closely related to the lacquer group the Tariff Board considered that they should be included in the lacquer item. Although no marked alteration has been made of the duties on articles of napery, a substantial concession is made to the manufacturers of those goods with respect to their raw materials. In the past, defined cotton and linen piece goods for the manufacture of cosies, doyleys, tablecentres, tray-cloths, &c, were liable to duty at the same rates as those applicable to the finished cosies, doyleys, &c. Defined cotton and linen piece goods used for these purposes will now be admitted at the ordinary piece goods rates. This will place manufacturers of cosies, doyleys, &c, on the same basis as handkerchief and tablecloth manufacturers. There is quite a large manufacture of these lines in Australia. In fact, there is a considerable export trade to South Africa. This action will reduce the cost of the raw material, the piece-goods on which fancy work is done by the Australian industry. Apart from the matters dealt with by the Tariff Board, alterations are made in respect of the items which cover the following goods : - Cotton tickings, artificial silk tapestries, canvas and duck,- meat wraps, handset telephones, grease guns or lubricators, graphite or plumbago, plaster of paris, foaming agents, and crude drugs being parts of plants. Many of these alterations are of a minor character, but two of them are worthy of comment. It has been found that the protective duties on cotton drills have been circumvented by the importation and subsequent dyeing of canvas and duck. The normal use of these materials is for purposes other than apparel, and a by-law provision has been- inserted to provide that if they are imported for their normal uses the same rates as hitherto will apply. If, however, the materials are to bc used in the manufacture of apparel, protective duties equivalent, to those payable on cotton drills will be charged. As the Deputy Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Forde)** knows, there is considerable manufacture of denims, drills, and the like, in cotton mills that have been started within recent years. Grease guns or lubricators are now being manufactured satisfactorily in Australia, and protective duties are therefore being applied in place of the rates of free British and 15 per cent, general, which apply on pneumatic portable hand tools generally. In other words, the by-law was withdrawn in that case, and the duties now apply. Both in the provision of rates of duty consistent with present-day conditions, and in the rectification of a number of anomalies, which have become apparent from time to time, the proposals constitute a distinct step forward in the efforts of the Government to make the tariff an instrument which effectively protects efficient Australian industry, and at the same time safeguards the interests of consumers. In respect of the Canadian preference tariff, the proposal affects carpet sweepers of Canadian origin, the intermediate rate of 35 per cent, being imposed in lieu of the British preferential rate of 10 per cent, at present applying. This action has been taken after consultation with the Government of Canada. Honorable members will recall that recently, after consultation with the Canadian delegation who visited Australia, the duties on a number of other items were raised against Canada because of the penetration into the Australian market of Australian manufactures. {: #subdebate-21-0-s0 .speaker-KZR} ##### Mr WHITE:
UAP -- How fortunate it is that we did so ! As the result of the non-acceptance of the report of the Tariff Board with respect to the foreign duties, the International Harvester Company of America is opening at Geelong works which will give employment to some 500 men, and in which ultimately the capital invested will be something like £1,000,000. Under the Excise Tariff, a duty of 6d. per cwt. is being imposed on Australiangrown tobacco to finance the activities of the Federal Tobacco Advisory Committee. This committee is representative of tobacco-growers throughout the Commonwealth, and its function is the advancement of the interests of tobacco-growers. This action is on the same lines as that taken recently for the organization of the wool industry, and should do an equal amount of good. {: .speaker-009FQ} ##### Mr Curtin: -- Will not the revenue from the excise go into consolidated revenue ? {: .speaker-KZR} ##### Mr WHITE: -- Temporarily, yes. {: .speaker-009FQ} ##### Mr Curtin: -- How can it be appropriated without authorization by this Parliament? {: .speaker-KZR} ##### Mr WHITE: -- I hope to obtain that authorization. Progress reported. {: .page-start } page 463 {:#debate-22} ### MATERNITY ALLOWANCE BILL 1937 {:#subdebate-22-0} #### Second Reading Debate resumed from page 426. {: #subdebate-22-0-s0 .speaker-JOM} ##### Mr BEASLEY:
West Sydney -- I am at a loss to understand why the Government continues to impose a condition with regard to income upon those who come within the scope of this measurein respect of first children. The Government cannot ignore the fact that the workers are called upon to make certain special payments for which the law provides, but from which they receive no benefit. To the extent that payments such as unemployment relief tax are not exempt in connexion with permissible income for. the purpose of this legislation they are penalized. It is not uncommon for honorable members to be requested to make representations on behalf of those who find they have earned probably £1 or £2 per annum over the prescribed amount. This applies mostly to railway men and others employed in government services in which they are called upon to make superannuation contributions out of their regular income, the result being that they are deprived of the benefits of the maternity allowance with regard to the first child, and, of course, in respect also of subsequent children. Those with an income of £4 15s. a week now find it very difficult to meet the ordinary expenses of living. We know that the cost of living has risen considerably during the last, year, house vents, particularly, having increased. I thought that the Government would have made the allowance of £5 payable in all cases, and would have removed the restrictions which in the final result defeat the real purpose for which the allowance is made. I support the honorable member for Dalley **(Mr. Rosevear),** because I believe that an allowance of £5 should be paid in all cases. The lower-paid workers, particularly, should not be placed in a position which causes them downright injustice. {: #subdebate-22-0-s1 .speaker-KZZ} ##### Mr JOHN LAWSON:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · UAP .- I support this bill. Whilst it represents the implementation of portion of the policy speech of the Prime Minister **(Mr. Lyons),** I should appreciate some effort by the Government to devise means of measuring the actual value of money gifts or grants of this character. Notwithstanding the fact that similar legislation has operated in Australia for a considerable number of years, nobody is capable of making an estimate of the actual value of this money to the country, or even to the recipients. No check has been made as to the exact purpose to which the allowance has been applied, and no test has been carried out to determine whether it is used for the purpose for which it is granted. I offer the opinion that the way in which the money has been made available is not highly satisfactory. As to tlie extra grant proposed to be provided, it is difficult to assess what the general worth of that would be. I am not prepared to say that the allowance has been spent to the best possible advantage. I do not suppose that any honorable member would suggest that the additional payments to be made to mothers of larger families represent an inducement to parents to indulge in the luxury, if I- may so describe it, of increased families. It can hardly be regarded as a compensation to parents for accepting the responsibilities of larger families. This allowance comes in the category of payments, the value of which it is difficult to estimate. Therefore, money of this kind - I believe that about £100,000 per annum is to be disbursed under this measure alone - might be better expended in providing educational facilities to assist mothers and child-welfare institutions, or to endow baby clinics. {: #subdebate-22-0-s2 .speaker-KYI} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Prowse:
FORREST, WESTERN AUSTRALIA -- The honorable member will not be in order in proceeding on those lines. His rem.:ks must be relevant to the bill. {: .speaker-KZZ} ##### Mr JOHN LAWSON:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · UAP -- I should have appreciated some effort on the part of the Treasurer **(Mr. Casey)** to indicate in what way it is expected that this bill will produce the results for which he hopes. I suggest that the mere disbursement of largess to parents of children is hardly a justification for passing measures of this character. Whilst I support the bill, I cannot restrain myself from expressing the view that some effort should be made by governments carefully to review payments of this nature in order to ascertain definitely whether the money required for such grants, and particularly increased disbursements, such as are provided for by this measure, might not be spent to better advantage by giving facilities for training that make for improved health and better conditions under which children arc reared. **Mr. HOLLOWAY** (Melbourne Ports) [5.221. - My complaint is that the Treasurer **(Mr. Casev)** has not carried out what the people understood to be the promise of the Government. I believe that the great majority of the people understood that the Government had undertaken to restore the amount by which the mater nity allowance was reduced under the financial emergency legislation. This bill does hot do that. 1 agree that it will be of advantage to many mothers, but the brunt of the reduction has fallen on the poorest homes, which are the largest in number. It is logical to assume that the Government i3 financing to save money by failing to restore the former allowance of £5 for each first child. The basicwage parents are more in need of this allowance than is any other section of the community, but they will still suffer portion of the reduction made under the financial emergency legislation. I heard several honorable members say this afternoon that they welcomed the restoration to be made in respect of pensions of the children of returned soldiers, because this marks the removal of the last relic of the emergency legislation, but 10s. will still be owing to parents in respect of the maternity allowance for first children. The basic wage is now higher than it was prior to the emergency legislation. [ do not mean immediately prior, but, say, in 1928-29, yet at that time parents on the basic wage received £5 as the maternity allowance for each child. I suggest that the first child causes more apprehension on the part of parents, and more money is spent in safeguarding both the mother and the child, than at subsequent births. This is another reason why the £5 should be restored. The raising of the permissible income does not meet the needs of parents on the basic wage. It makes a larger number of parents in receipt of higher wages eligible for the allowance, but it does not restore the full allowance of £5 to those on the basic wage. I hope that, at a later stage, the Treasurer will give further consideration, to the points raised by the honorable member for West Sydney **(Mr. Beasley),** the honorable member for Dalley **(Mr. Rosevear)** and myself. {: #subdebate-22-0-s3 .speaker-KJQ} ##### Mr JAMES:
Hunter .- Whilst it is pleasing to know that the Government is increasing the allowance to mothers with large families, there are certain restrictions in the act which should be removed. Assessment of the gross amount of income is unfair because many workers suffer certain compulsory deductions from their wages, such as wages tax and superannuation payments. which are not allowed for in the assessment of the gross income of the applicant's husband. Again, no allowance is made for unemployed children, and the importance of this omission will be realized when I state that in my electorate alone, there are many persons between 14 and 25 years of age who have never had an opportunity to work. Their maintenance places heavier burdens on their parents than does the maintenance of children of less than 11 years of age. Yet this bill proposes to perpetuate the principle that the maternity allowance shall be payable only to mothers who are wives of men whose wages do not exceed £221 per annum with the additional amount of £13 per annum allowed in respect, of children under the age of 14 years. In New South Wales men of 25, or even 30 years of age, are debarred from participation in unemployment relief if the income of their fathers, or other members of the family, exceeds the level prescribed as permissible in the regulations. Yet, these persons are not recognized by this legislation as being a liability on parents. In my opinion, all restrictions on the payment of tho maternity allowance should be removed. The former Minister foi Health, the right honorable member for North Sydney **(Mr. Hughes)** has directed the attention of the country to the alarming infant mortality rate and to the decline of the birth-rate. This bill offers an opportunity to the Government to take steps to retard both movements, and, in order to do so, *h* should restart the. maternity allowance to the basis which was laid down by the Labour Government under **Mr. Andrew** Fisher, in 1912. The allowance is for the specific purpose of ensuring women of adequate medical treatment during that critical period "of their lives when new citizens are being ushered into the world. The Fisher Government, in placing the maternity allowance legislation on the statute-book, was actuated by the fact that many useful lives were being wasted as tlie result of inexperienced people attending mothers during their confinement. There should be every encouragement to increase the birth-rate, but, in my mind, the encouragement offered in this bill is insufficient because the additional income allowance in respect of previous surviving children is made- only in respect of children of less than 14 years of age. The age limit should not apply in the case of families in which there are unemployed children. In addition to the deductions from wages of which no account is taken that I mentioned earlier, there is another deduction which should be taken into consideration in the assessment of gross incomes, and that is the payments made by miners, who work on contract, for tools of trade, such as explosives and shovels. I have already discussed this matter with the department without having received satisfaction, and I now appeal to the Treasurer to give consideration to the making of an allowance in respect of payments made by workers for tools of trade. I welcome the fact that it is proposed to include dependent children of a husband by a former marriage in determining the allowable income, and the amount of the allowance itself. That will be a step in the right direction. The Government has announced from the hustings that our prosperity is' such that we are back to the standard of 1929, and if its claim is true, the restrictions which -were made by the Scullin Government in 1931, and accentuated by the first Lyons Government in 1932, should be removed. The Scullin Government made the allowable income level £260, and the Lyons Government reduced the amount to £208. The level is higher to-day - it follows the basic wage - but I claim that income restrictions should not operate. If they were removed there would he more encouragement to Australian women to bear children than exists to-day. In conclusion, I again impress upon the Treasurer the need to make some provision in the assessment of the allowable income for such compulsory deductions as wages taxes and superannuation, and for expenditure by workers on tools of trade. {: #subdebate-22-0-s4 .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr WARD:
East Sydney .- I should like to hear the views of the Treasurer **(Mr. Casey)** in respect .of the motive of the Government in differentiating between the first three children in a family and the fourth or subsequent child in the matter of the amount of the maternity allowance. The original, intention of Parliament, I understand, was that some contribution should be made to cover maternity expenses, and I fail to see that maternity expenses can vary to any extent. I should imagine that the expenses involved in each birth would be almost identical. I agree with the proposal to increase the amount of the maternity allowance to £7 10s. in respect of the fourth and each subsequent child, but I consider that there should be no. differentiation and that the allowance in respect of the first, second or third child should also be at least £7 10s. The matter of the care of mothers and children has been neglected by every Government in the Commonwealth, both Federal and State. In my opinion, it should be the responsibility of this Government to care for the expectant mother, and also to remove her from any worry for some considerable time before and after tho birth of a child. In many States, women who have borne children have to return to employment very soon after the birth because their husbands have been unable to obtain work. I suggest that, in such cases, this Government should be prepared to make considerably larger grants, so that these women, in this period of their lives,, may be removed from any fear with respect to the conduct of their homes. To give one illustration, I bring under the notice of the Treasurer what happenedrecently in New South Wales, in respect of an application that I made on behalf of a woman who was an expectant mother. She had three children of the ages of fifteen, ten, and six- years, all of whom had been in attendance at the tubercuIosis clinic in Albion-street, Sydney. They had all been certified as sufferers from malnutrition, and as being liable to contract the dread disease of pulmonary tuberculosis, to avert which they were ordered, each fortnight, fourteen eggs, fourteen pints of milk, four pounds of vegetables, and six ounces of clinic emulsion. The State Government made a grant of 15s. a fortnight for this purpose ! During -the period when the expectant mother should have been free from worry, the best that the State Government was prepared to do was to make that very poor contribution towards the purchase of things that were necessary in her home. I believe that the Commonwealth Government should recognize its responsibilities in respect of this matter and should make larger grants in cases such as that which I have mentioned. I join with the honorable member for Hunter **(Mr. James)** and other honorable members in objecting to the method of assessing income in the home when applications are made for . the allowance. Many men in New South Wales have, as was pointed out by the honorable member for Hunter, to suffer compulsory deductions from their income, in respect of wages tax and superannuation, and, further than that, many of them are contributors to various insurance schemes, such as schemes for hospital treatment, which, in my opinion, assist the Government in defraying the expenses involved in providing a service that should be provided by the Government. I think that any deduction designed for the protection of families or by way of the wages tax or superannuation payments, should be taken into consideration in the assessment of the allowable income. I join with other honorable members in urging that some method of differentiation be devised so that applicants residing in a State where the basic wage is higher than in the other States shall not be penalized in arriving at the permissible income. A scale should be fixed so that the provision will apply equitably throughout the Commonwealth. {: #subdebate-22-0-s5 .speaker-KFS} ##### Sir HENRY GULLETT:
Henty -- I take this opportunity of again urging upon the Government the need for a more sympathetic attitude generally towards social services. At the present time, we are proceeding in a piecemeal and unsatisfactory manner. It is a relatively limited aid to pay a maternity allowance in respect of the birth of children, and then to allow great numbers of those children to return to the slum conditions in which their parents are compelled today to live. The time has come when the Commonwealth Government should recognize that certain social services are truly national in character. It is true that our powers under the Constitution are limited, but we could give financial assistance in respect of work carried on by the States, work that is nowsorely restricted through lack of funds. Everybody knows that it is far simpler for the Commonwealth to raise revenue than it is for the States. 1 urge the Government to make a survey of the whole field into which the Commonwealth might enter in regard to social services. There are few enough children in Australia at the present time. The birthrate is still falling, and it is estimated that the population will become static at 9,500,000. No longer can we, as a national parliament, stand aside and allow housing conditions to remain as they are. {: #subdebate-22-0-s6 .speaker-JOS} ##### Mr SPEAKER (Hon G J Bell:
DARWIN, TASMANIA -- I must ask the honorable member not to embark upon a discussion of that subject. {: .speaker-KFS} ##### Sir HENRY GULLETT: -- The Government should deal more comprehensively with social services. A great deal of money is being absolutely wasted, because mothers, after receiving the maternity allowance, must take their children back to the slums. Our responsibility should not end with the payment of the allowance. If it is to be of any real use, it should be supported by Commonwealth action in regard to the housing of people on small incomes. {: #subdebate-22-0-s7 .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr CASEY:
Treasurer · Co rio · UAP -- *in reply* - Listening to the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Curtin),** and to other honorable members on the opposite side of the House who have spoken to this bill, any one not acquainted with the nature of the measure might be excused for believing that the Government had brought down a bill to take something away from the public instead of its purpose being to confer a very considerable benefit upon them. {: .speaker-L08} ##### Mr Rosevear: -- The Government is only giving back what it previously took away. {: .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr CASEY: -- "With great respect, I say that that is not correct. The Leader of the Opposition made a great point of the fact that the allowance in respect of the first child was still £4 10s., but he neglected to point out that in respect of the fourth and all subsequent children the allowance is to be £7 10s., and that this will involve the payment of a vastly greater sum than the allowanceof £410s. for first children. {: .speaker-009FQ} ##### Mr Curtin: -- I find it hard to believe that there will be many claimants for the allowance of £7 10s., who will have seven other children under fourteen years of age. {: .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr CASEY: -- I have taken out the figures, and what I say is correct. The aim of the Government has been to provide a sliding scale so that the bounty will increase with the family obligations, and I think that that is a more rational scheme than the payment of a flat rate of £5. I believe that the Government's scheme, if a maternity allowance is a necessary and useful thing at all, is the best that can be devised. The honorable member for Melbourne Ports **(Mr. Holloway)** expressed some doubt as to whether this measure reflected accurately the election promises of the Prime Minister **(Mr. Lyons).** In order to put his mind at ease on that matter I propose to quote just what the Prime Minister said. It is as follows: - >In order to give financial assistance to persons on small incomes in the rearing of their families, the Government will amend the maternity allowance by making better provision for larger families. To this end it is proposed to raise the salary limit by £26 to £247 per annum, retaining the rates as at present in respect of the first three children in a family and increase the rate to £7 10s. for the fourth and each subsequent child. The honorable member for Dalley **(Mr. Rosevear)** mentioned the varying basic wage rates in the different States, but his remarks really do not apply, because the income limit in this measure is £4 15s. a week, which is considerably above the basic wage ruling in any State. Other honorable members have.referred to lodge dues and other expenses, but I remind them that to admit such matter would make it very difficult to police the measure, and would, moreover, introduce many anomalies and inequalities. The Government has more than offset any disadvantages that might arise in that regard by providing for progressive increases of the amount of the bonus. Question resolved in the affirmative. Bill read a second time. *In committee:* Clauses 1 to 4 agreed to. Clause 5 (Who may be claimants). {: #subdebate-22-0-s8 .speaker-L08} ##### Mr ROSEVEAR:
Dalley .- I move - >The following new paragraph bo added: - "(e) In this section the words 'total income ' mean total net income, that is to say, the gross total income after deducting therefrom any amount paid by way of taxation or compulsory contribution to a superannuation fund. "- Public servants, who are compelled to contribute to a superannuation fund, should not be placed in any worse position than those who are outside the Service.It is true, as the Treasurer pointed out, that superannuation contributions and wages tax vary as between one State and another, but I challenge his statement that wage-earners are relatively better off under this measure than they were when the first reductions in the maternity allowance were made in 1931. At that time, the basic wage in New South Wales was £4 2s. 6d., and the wages tax was 3d. in the £1. At the present time, the basic wage in New South Wales is £311s. 6d., with an added loading of 6s. a week, making a total of £3 17s. 6d. Thus the wage in New South Wales is 5s. a week lower now than it was in 1931 when the cuts were first made. The Treasurer argued that some injustice would be inflicted if a scale were arranged to cover variations of taxation in the various States. {: .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr Casey: -- I rise to a point of order. To save time I point out that if the honorable member's amendment were agreed to it would necessarily involve an increase of the appropriation, and therefore it is not within the power of a private member to move such an amendment. {: .speaker-L08} ##### Mr Rosevear: -- What is the appropriation? {: .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr Casey: -- Whatever it is, the honorable member's amendment, if agreed to, must necessarily increase it. {: #subdebate-22-0-s9 .speaker-JVR} ##### The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Mr Nairn:
PERTH, WESTERN AUSTRALIA -- If the Treasurer gives an undertaking that the amendment, if agreed to, would increase the amount of the appropriation, I must rule it out of order. {: #subdebate-22-0-s10 .speaker-L08} ##### Mr ROSEVEAR:
DALLEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · LANG LAB; ALP from 1936; ALP (N-C) from 1940; ALP from 1941 -- But the Treasurer does not know what the amount of the appropriation is, so how can he say whether the amendment would increase it or not? {: .speaker-N76} ##### Mr Menzies: -- Is not the purpose of the honorable member's amendment that more people shall be entitled to receive the allowance? If so, the effect of the amendment must be to increase the amount of the appropriation. The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.The Treasurer having given his assurance that, the appropriation must necessarily be increased, I rule the amendment out of order. {: .speaker-JOM} ##### Mr Beasley: -- I rise to a point of order. The conditions under which this appropriation will be made are purely speculative. The Treasurer cannot know until applications are actually lodged as to whether the appropriation would be increased by the amendment submitted by the honorable member for Dalley. The TEMPORARY CHAIRMANI direct attention to Standing Order No. 171, which reads - >No amendment for the imposition or for the increase of a tax rate or duty shall be proposed by any non-official member in any committee on any bill. Ill my opinion the amendment submitted by the honorable member for Dalley will increase the range of applicants for the maternity allowance and thereby increase the appropriation. I must, therefore, rule the amendment out of order. {: .speaker-L08} ##### Mr ROSEVEAR: -- I regret that the amendment has been rejected, for undoubtedly, as the Treasurer has himself admitted, the clause, as it stands, will inflict an injustice on certain sections of the community. {: .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr Casey: -- I did not use the word injustice ". I said that the matter had been carefully investigated and that it had been found impossible to frame a provision which would 'act fairly and equitably in all States. {: .speaker-L08} ##### Mr ROSEVEAR: -- I am quite prepared to take it on those grounds, I have already pointed out the difference between the basic wage in New South Wales and that in other States. {: .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr Casey: -- But the minimum allowable income is £4 15s. The basic wage has nothing to do with that. {: .speaker-L08} ##### Mr ROSEVEAR: -- I desi re tosee a provision in the bill which will put all workers, whether employed by the Government or by private employers, on the same basis. As honorable members are aware, both Government employees and private employees have to pay the wages tax; but government employees- have also to pay into a superannuation fund. Consequently, they actually have less money to hand to their wives each week than private employees who receive the same rate of pay but do not have to contribute to a superannuation fund. We ought to be able to fix a basis of net income which would not inflict an injustice on one section of the community. Public servants and persons outside the Service should be on the same footing in this regard. I hope that the Treasurer will give me the assurance that consideration will be given to this point before this bill is finally passed by the Senate. {: #subdebate-22-0-s11 .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr CASEY:
Treasurer · Corio · UAP -- The honorable member for Dalley **(Mr. Rosevear)** has said the Government should justify this clause. No justification is necessary beyond its inclusion in the bill. The Government desired to liberalize the provisions of the law in two respects, and also to remove certain anomalies which have been causing friction. The law could have been liberalized in two ways. Provision could have been made for certain allowances, such as wages tax, contributions to friendly societies, superannuation payment, and the like, to be deducted from income in order to determine income eligibility; or, alternatively, the eligible income could have been varied. The Government adopted the latter course. The income range was increased by 10s. a week. {: .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr Ward: -- Why is there a differentiation between a first child and subsequent children? {: .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr CASEY: -- A sliding scale has been provided because it is felt that costs within the home are apt to increase with additional children. For example, extra help may have to be obtained. Clause agreed to. Clause 6 agreed to. Title agreed to. Bill reported without amendment; report adopted. Bill read a third time. {: .page-start } page 469 {:#debate-23} ### TRANSPORT WORKERS BILL 1937 Bill brought up by **Mr. Menzies,** and read a first time. {:#subdebate-23-0} #### Second Reading **Mr. MENZIES** (Kooyong- Attorney- General) [6.13]. - *by leave* - I move - >That thebill be now read a second time. Honorable members of the last Parliament will recollect that earlier this year I introduced a bill to amend the Transport Workers Act in two particulars. One amendment had relation to the proclamation" of ports. The other, which I think was approved by honorable members on both sides of the House, was intended to shorten the term of suspension from eligibility for employment of a transport worker who had been found guilty of an offence. Under the existing law the holder of a licence who has committed an offence has his licence cancelled for six months. Representations have frequently been made to the effect that this penalty is too severe and that the period of cancellation should be reduced to one month. I intimated to the last Parliament that I was agreeable to introduce an amendment to that effect. As some of the provisions of the bill before the House at that time were contentious the measure was not passed. I am, therefore, introducing this bill with only non-contentious provisions in it. Several honorable members, including the honorable member for Melbourne Ports **(Mr. Holloway),** have brought under my notice cases of men whose licences have been cancelled and have pointed out that the cancellation would remain effective even after the passing of this amendment unless the new provision is given a retrospective effect. In order to meet such cases it is provided in this bill that: - " (6A.) Where a licence issued to any person has been cancelled prior to the commencement ofthis sub-section, and. the period of ineligibility of the person has not expired, the licensing officer by whom the licence was cancelled, or where the cancellation has been dealt with on appeal under this section, the Court which heard the appeal, may reduce the period of ineligibility to a period which is not less than the greater of the following periods: - {: type="a" start="a"} 0. the expired period of the ineligibility: or 1. the period of one month." The effect of the measure will therefore be to reduce the period of six months to one month, and to make the new provision applicable to certain cases that have already occurred. {: #subdebate-23-0-s0 .speaker-KHL} ##### Mr HOLLOWAY:
The Opposition does not intend to oppose this bill. We appreciate the promptness with which the AttorneyGeneral (Mr. Menzies · MELBOURNE, VICTORIA · FLP; ALP from 1936 has acted. This amendment will remove a very harsh penalty. Under the old law not only was a worker convicted of an offence rendered ineligible for employment for six months, but he had also to face the prospect of a delay of six or seven weeks in obtaining a new licence after the period of his suspension had expired. The amendment now proposed provides that the period ofsuspension will be reduced to one month. It may also be that the time necessary to obtain the new licence may be reduced. The existing law penalized both the workers whose licences were cancelled, and also the shipping companies which have complained about the difficulty of securing suitable labour on the waterfront. The amendment now proposed is therefore both humane to the workers and economically advantageous to the employers. The Government is acting wisely in repealing the present iniquitous provision. Question resolved in the affirmative. Bill read a second time and reported from committee without amendment or debate; report adopted. Bill - *by leave* - read a third time. *Sitting suspended from 6.18 to8 p.m.* {: .page-start } page 470 {:#debate-24} ### LOAN BILL 1937 Message recommending appropriation reported. *In committee* (Consideration of Governor-General's message) : Motion (by **Mr. Casey)** agreed to - That it is expedient that appropriation of moneys be made for thepurposes of abill for anact to authorize the raising and expending of a certain sum of money. Resolution reported. Standing Orders suspended; resolution adopted. *Ordered -* >That **Mr. Casey** and **Mr. White** do prepare andbring in a bill to carry out the foregoing resolution. Bill brought up by **Mr. Casey,** and read a first time. {:#subdebate-24-0} #### Second Reading {: #subdebate-24-0-s0 .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr CASEY:
Treasurer · Corio · UAP -- I move - >That the bill be now read a second time. This bill sets out to provide for the raising by loan and the appropriation of an amount of £2,500,000 Australian, to be a part of the defence programme of the Commonwealth for 1937-38. In the present state of international affairs, I do not think it is necessary for me to discuss at any length the urgency of the Government's current defence programme. This matter has been dealt with on several occasions by the Prime Minister **(Mr. Lyons)** and the Minister for Defence, and on at least one occasion by myself. In the budget speech, I outlined the methods by which the Government proposes to finance its defence expenditure for the current financial year, but for the convenience of honorable members I shall repeat the ways in which the money is to be found. Of the total of £11,500,000, £6,000,000 is being passed from current revenue from the budget, approximately £3,000,000 is to be taken from the two defence trust funds, and £2,500,000 is to be raised by way of loan. As I stated in the budget speech, it is proposed in the first place that the funds required to be raised by way of loan should be raised in London by means of treasurybills issued by the Commonwealth Bank to the Commonwealth Government. The amount of these bills will be £2,000,000 sterling or approximately £2,500,000 Australian. The bill contains a schedule with which I should like to deal at the outset of my remarks. The bill itself is a simple three clause bill, which I think needs no further explanation. I have said on. various occasions in this House that the equivalent of £2,500,000 Australian would be raised by loan in London, and that the total sum or its equivalent would be spent in London on the purchase of essential defence equipment that cannot at the present time be manufactured in Australia. {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr Gregory: -- About £1,000,000 is being expended here. {: .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr CASEY: -- I shall come to that in a moment. The schedule is divided into five parts corresponding with the five main subdivisions of Australian defence, naval, military, air force, civil aviation and munitions supply branch. The total is £2,-500,000 Australian. In each case there are items appearing under the main headings, such as "naval construction, £451,350 " ; " equipment for port defence, £110,120"; then under that "buildings," works and sites, £73,S00 ". For the purposes of Defence Department accounting, it has been found desirable to put in this bill items that are related to each other. The greater part in each case of the first two . items, " naval construction " and " equipment for port defence " will be purchased in Great Britain; under " buildings, works and sites " are to be found those items that are connected with the main items being purchased in London. The desire of the Defence Department from an accounting point of view is to debit to the Joan account such items as have a permanent or semi-permanent asset character. It will be seen that out of £2,500,000, roughly £1,000,000 is connected with buildings, works and sites and so quite clearly cannot be spent in Great Britain; but in actual fact considerably more than the equivalent of this £2,500.000 will be spent in London. Out of the total defence expenditure of £11,-000,000, the estimated expenditure in Great Britain in this financial year is £2,494,545. This amount is mainly for modern equipment of a technical nature and for advanced types of aircraft which we cannot as yet produce locally. The main classifications of this expenditure are set out in the following table:! - Those are the amounts out of this year's appropriations for defence. I should like now briefly to explain to honorable members another view of the defence accounts. A trust fund has been established known as the London Liabilities Stores Account in which are reflected all orders for equipment placed abroad. As soon as an order is placed in Great Britain for defence equipment a credit is placed for an equivalent amount in the London Liabilities Stores Account so that when the goods are delivered money will be On. hand to meet the expenditure. That account represents a bottle-neck through which all orders placed abroad pass. At the 30th June last, the balance in that account was just under £2,000,000. Some considerable part of the £2,000,000 worth of goods that have been ordered are as yet undelivered and unpaid for but will be delivered and paid for during this financial year. They represent in sterling the following: - The Commonwealth is ordering in Great Britain in this financial year military stores and equipment worth approximately £2,500,000. There will also fall due for payment in this financial year some considerable but unknown percentage of this other amount of £1,678,691 for defence equipment. In this year, as honorable members will see, defence equipment valued at considerably moTe than £2,500,000 Australian will be purchased and will have to be paid for in Great Britain. The proceeds of the issue of £2,000,000 worth of treasurybills by the Commonwealth Bank will go into the Commonwealth Government cash account in Great Britain. In Australia, we have also a cash account into which will be placed the proceeds of taxation appropriated for defence purposes. It is not the practice of the Commonwealth Government to make transfers of cash between Great Britain and Australia to a greater extent than is necessary. Honorable members will see that the actual works to which the loan money, from an accounting point of view, is being applied, including a certain proportion for overseas purchases together with works, sites and buildings which are applicable in the main to that particular lot of equipment, are shown in the schedule, but in actual fact all of this loan money spent abroad will be expended on equipment of various sorts which I have briefly outlined will be purchased in Great Britain. This is a simple explanation of the reason why the schedule of this bill contains items which clearly will not be purchased and paid for in Great Britain. If honorable members need any greater detail .than I have given in regard to the purposes and the application of this bill, I shall be happy to supply it. In view of the urgency of the defence programme, and the restricted field for the raising of a loan in Australia, particularly in this financial year, the Government believes that the present proposals represent the most reasonable and expedient method for the raising of the necessary funds. I commend the bill to the House. {: #subdebate-24-0-s1 .speaker-009FQ} ##### Mr CURTIN:
Fremantle .- The principle of this bill is one to which the Opposition is utterly opposed. The explanations given by the Treasurer **(Mr. Casey)** regarding the discrepancy between the schedule and the purpose for which, according to the budget speech, it is necessary to raise a loan in London, do not make the whole plan any more acceptable. As a matter of fact, at the commencement of this financial year the Treasurer had, in his London Liabilities Stores Account, a credit of approximately £2,000,000. That, no doubt, was, to some extent, required to meet orders previously placed. The Government, however, decided to increase the provision which the nation should be called upon to make for its defence. We discussed this matter on the budget speech. It was then pointed out that, although it was urgently necessary to make greater provision for our defence, the Australian people were not to be asked to make any greater contribution than had previously been made towards the cost of maintain ing their security.. I affirm that the reason for the adoption of that course by the Government was that an election was impending and - it was anxious to maintain its popularity as a reducer of taxes, regardless of the dire consequences to the ultimate financial wellbeing of the Commonwealth involved in a greatly increased expenditure upon defence without a larger contribution from revenue. That is the essence of the matter. When it is necessary for an individual to make greater provision for his security, he ought to make it out of his current income. Insurance premiums should be met not by levies upon capital, but out of income. That is the point which distinguishes the Government from the Opposition in relation to defence finance. I draw attention to the fact that, on his way to England to attend the Imperial Conference, the Treasurer delivered a speech at a mayoral reception in Perth. I had the pleasure - from the view-point of meeting the honorable gentleman - of being present at that reception but I listened with the greatest disquietude to what he had to say. He said, in effect, sufficient to lead me to believe that it was his intention to explore the London money market in order to ascertain the feasibility of this Government resuming borrowing overseas. He prepared the Australian public for that line of policy. His words were - >For the past eight years Australia has been financing her wonderful rate of development from Australian savings. That was true. We were not able, however, to accumulate savings in that period to the same extent as we are able to accumulate them in this year of unprecedented prosperity. The honorable gentleman went on to say - _ But we have now just about reached saturation point, so far as Australian savings are concerned, and if we are to continue to develop this country at the present rate, it now becomes necessary to tap those great sources of capital to be found in England. The intention was, not to attract capital for investment in Australian industry, but to prepare the ground for the resumption of governmental borrowing overseas. Commentators of the honorable gentleman's statement discussed the situation. The *Investors' Chronicle,* in London, observed with a good deal of satis- faction the probability of the resumption of Australian borrowing in England. There is certainly a bond market in England, and it is a country which, as far as possible, seeks investments abroad. As far as certainty can be secured, it looks for the best security, and no doubt greater attraction lies in an investment in a Commonwealth loan than in certain mining companies that I have in mind. But let me draw the attention of the Treasurer to the consequences of overseas borrowing. In May, 1936, the then Minister for External Affairs **(Senator Pearce),** opposing the reduction of import duties on agricultural implements and machinery, said - >I ask honorable senators to bear in mind, not only the effect of this course in respect of duties on agricultural implements and our trade with the United States of America, but also its effects upon our imports as a whole. An alternative would be the flotation of a loan overseas. The right honorable gentleman went on to say - >Can honorable senators contemplatelightheartedly a resumption of borrowing overseas in order to rectify our trade balance? It becomes increasingly difficult to rectify our trade balance when there is borrowing overseas by the governments of Australia. The period prior to the depression was marked by two things. The first was a very considerable leeway in our trade balance, and the second the coincidental practice of Australian governments of borrowing lavishly overseas. It was those two related things which made the onset of the depression in Australia such a formidable problem, not only for Australian governments, but also for the Australian banking structure. As matters now stand, in a world in which not even the wisest of men would offer anything in the nature of a forecast of the probable trend of economic development, and more particularly its international relationships, Australia is told that it is unable to finance an enlargement of the provision for its own security unless it resumes a policy which, prior tothe depression, landed this country almost next door to bankruptcy, and not only placed upon us the obligation to resort to the most rigid emergency measures in order to avert default, but also because of that dilemma, obliged the country to employ political, industrial, and economic devices which were distinctly prejudicial to our progress and anti-social in their incidence, and made an already bad position one that could easily have become worse. I point out to the Treasurer that at the present time the prices of wool and wheat are reasonably good. Generally speaking, over the last eight years the prices received for our exports have been at an average much below the present prices. Nobody can say, with any degree of confidence, that the point now reached is not on the curve above that which will represent the average for the next five or seven years. Such being the case, in this period of comparative economic health, we are, in effect, pawning this country, mortgaging it overseas, because the Government preferred to face the electors with a popularity budget rather than to do the honest thing, that of advising the Australian people that a greater amount had to be spent on our defence, and that, therefore, there would have to be an increased levy upon them in order that everything possible might be done to ensure their safety. {: .speaker-KZF} ##### Mr Lane: -- During the election campaign the honorable gentleman could talk of nothing but conscription. {: .speaker-009FQ} ##### Mr CURTIN: -- The honorable member who has just interrupted my speech will make to this debate the most useful contribution of which he is capable by being silent. I warn the Australian people to be guided by the history of the consequences of overseas borrowing. Surely we cannot agree to the resumption of a policy which, in the past, has been productive of dire consequences, for the purpose of raising £2,500,000 in order to meet, during this financial year, an enlarged provision for defence. Only yesterday the Treasurer airily waved his hand in this House and said that £750,000 could be produced to-morrow without any difficulty. {: .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr Casey: -- Hear, hear! But to be strictly accurate, the amount that I mentioned was £400,000. {: .speaker-009FQ} ##### Mr CURTIN: -- The commitment for the financial year is the figure I have mentioned. Replying to arguments that hadbeen advanced, the honorable gentleman said that he could do that without increasing the taxation or reducing items of expenditure that were provided for in this year's budget. If he can find £750,000 so easily, he has less justification for the resumption of borrowing overseas in order to provide £2,500,000 of Australian currency, more particularly as £1,000,000 of this overseas loan is not to be spent overseas. {: .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr Casey: -- Every penny of it will be spent overseas, and a further £1,000,000 also. {: .speaker-009FQ} ##### Mr CURTIN: -- That is what the honorable gentleman now says. But he has just told us that his loan schedule is produced in the form in which we have it before us because the Government proposes to pay for defence equipment in England out of revenue and for works and buildings in Australia out of the loan. That form of accountancy may be deemed quite proper from the defence view-point, but I very much question whether the Treasurer himself approves of it. {: .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr Casey: -- It was done by the last Labour Government. {: .speaker-009FQ} ##### Mr CURTIN: -- That Administration did not raise money overseas for purposes of defence. {: .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr Casey: -- It used it for other purposes. {: .speaker-009FQ} ##### Mr CURTIN: -The purpose for which it was used was to avert default by Australia. Theresult of the course that the honorable gentleman is pursuing will be, that at some time in the future, which may coincide with a reduction of the value of our exports and, simultaneously, a shortage of production due to seasonal adversity, so severe a strain will be imposed upon our London resources that, doubtless, the government of the day will be compelled to employ the most severe emergency measures in Australia, thus depressing the standard of life, in order that we may do once more what we did before, namely, avert default by asking our people to suffer intolerable sacrifices and bear heavy burdens. Having some pride in Australia, I would contemplate that if it were the outcome of unavoidable circumstances. But we should not accentuate the acuteness of the situation by the adoption of a policy that is bound to have harmful effects. That is the view which commends itself to the Australian people. I point out that this loan will come to Australia in the form of goods, for defence equipment it is true; but the interest charges upon it will have to be met by exports of wheat, wool, and other primary products. The honorable gentleman is raising this loan overseas at a time when the prices of wheat and wool are relatively good. Once again, as happened previously, we shall probably have to ship overseas three bales of wool to meet interest charges and repayments of principal in respect of an original loan floated when prices were represented by two bales. That argument is applicable also to bushels of wheat. Thus the volume of our production would have to be increased and sacrificed on the world's markets to produce income for the Australian nation. Ordinary marketing schemes, or the husbanding of the price levels, would, in these circumstances, be impossible. I say to honorable gentlemen representing the Country party that they have a lively and particular interest in this matter. I put it to the country, as plainly and dispassionately as I can, that a prosperous people should not borrow abroad. There should not be these daily contradictions in the utterances of the Treasurer, when he says that never before has this country been so happily circumstanced, and when the Minister for Trade and Customs **(Mr. White)** states that there are more men and women employed in factories in Australia to-day, as the result of the policy of the present Government, than has ever been known in the history of this country. {: .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr Casey: -- That hurts the honorable gentleman. {: .speaker-009FQ} ##### Mr CURTIN: -- Not at all. I am glad to know it, but I point out to the people of Australia that our existing wealth and our capacity to provide for ourselves should be used to pay for the defence of our own economic conditions - for our own insurance premium. I challenge the Government to do one of two things. The first, which I should prefer, is to say to the people, " The world situation is dark, dangers lurk ahead of this continent, and we should now strengthen our army, navy, and air force. We need better guns and the rest of it, and, therefore, we ask you to make a greater *per capita* contribution towards the revenue of this Government, so that we can use it wisely in preparing for the greater safety of this country." That is the first thing the honorable gentleman ought to do, and that is what a Labour government would have done. But if that does not commend itself to honorable gentlemen opposite, and if they prefer the mortgage system to the utilization of current income, they have a better alternative than borrowing overseas. They could ask the people of Australia to lend the money to the Government for the purpose of insuring the safety of our people. Taxation is better than borrowing, but, if borrowing be inevitable, a local loan is far preferable to an overseas ore. For these reasons, the Opposition challenges the passage of this bill. {: #subdebate-24-0-s2 .speaker-KOC} ##### Mr HAWKER:
Wakefield .- We have just heard most impassioned special pleading, in which the Leader of the Opposition (Mr.Cur tin) has submitted arguments which must make it more difficult than it should be for the country's defence to be brought up to date without puttinga handicap upon business progress, employment and prosperity generally. It is right that careful scrutiny should be made of the uses for which money is borrowed. Undoubtedly, we should not expend borrowed money to meet ordinary recurring business commitments. The man who borrows money to meet ordinary expenditure in protecting himself against five is clearly guilty of culpable negligence. But there is insurance of other kinds. Take the insurance of a water supply against the possibility of drought. In many cases, such insurance is most justifiably provided out of loan money. To-day, we are. facing two necessities with regard to our general defence. First, we have to maintain whatever defence we are able to organize, replacing stores year by year, training personnel, keeping naval vessels in order and maintaining and servicing aircraft; but we are also faced with the necessity for overtaking the tremendous leeway that has occurred in past years. The Leader of the Opposition has submitted a proposal that we ought to have more aerial defence, and so we should. Apart from the cost of the necessary staff and the maintenance, replacement and servicing of machines, it is necessary to provide permanent establishments, such as the landing grounds that have to be prepared throughout the Commonwealth, but which, once provided, are probably effective for half a century. At a time like this, when the Government is struggling to catch up the leeway due to the neglect of its predecessors in office, it is outrageous to suggest that the whole of the necessary cost should be borne in the current year. It is quite fair and, . in fact, necessary, if the leeway is to be overtaken as rapidly as it should be, that a proportion of the expenditure should be met out of loan. Then we have to decide whether it is safe to raise a small loan overseas. If money borrowed overseas were to be expended in Australia so that it inflated business in this country in a boom period, we should be undermining our position, but the proposed loan is to be used for the purchase of equipment which cannot be obtained in Australia. The question is whether it should be paid for in one sum out of current overseas balances, or whether it is more desirable to spread the payments over a few years. The Leader of the Opposition has suggested - Motion (by **Mr. Makin)** put - >That the question he. now put. The Housedivided. **(Mr. Speaker - Hon.** G. J. Bell.) Ayes . . . . . . 25 Noes . . . . . . 30 Majority . . . 5 Question so resolved in the negative. {: #subdebate-24-0-s3 .speaker-KOC} ##### Mr HAWKER: -- The Leader of the Opposition whenhe was speaking with such passion while his colleagues were arranging what appears to have been a breach of their " pairs "- {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr Brennan: -- I deny that! {: .speaker-KOC} ##### Mr HAWKER: -- I was not particularly alluding to the honorable gentleman. The Leader of the Opposition said that the action of the Government in raising loan moneys abroad to pay for the material which is being brought abroad might lead to an increase of the danger of default if economic conditions turned against Australia. Actually, in some respects, the Government's action is a safeguard for the future. In the absence of a loan in Great Britain, where the equipment is to be purchased, the money needed, whether it was raised by taxation or by loan in Australia, would have come out of the London balance, and it is very important that there should be a reserve of London funds held against an emergency. When honorable gentlemen who occupy the front opposition bench were in office, the reserve of London funds and the gold reserve together amounted to about £100,000,000, and they used very "nearly the whole of that amount to meet the emergency which arose during their term of office. The London funds in the last few years have been raised from about £20,000,000 to something like £40,000,000. There is agreat deal to be said against drawing out large sums from these funds in one year and in favour of spreading the payments over a number of years in such a way that they can be replaced as opportunity occurs.For the reasons that I have given, I support the bill before the House, and express astonishment that the Leader of the Opposition should have used such heated terms in opposition to it. {: #subdebate-24-0-s4 .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr WARD:
East Sydney .- I am opposed to the raising of loans, either in Australia or abroad, for any purpose, but particularly so when the loan is for the purpose of purchasing defence equipment, because, in providing these defence services out of loan moneys, they increase the burdens on the people, particularly on those who have least to defend. I read in the press a few days ago that another country, which some honorable gentlemen opposite are apt to praise, proposes a different method of obtaining the necessaryfinance to carry out its programme of aggression and defence. That country proposes to impose a capital levy on the people who have the greatest assets, and who have the most to defend. Personally, I believe that in providing for the defence of this country we should apportion the burden according to the worldly goods that each citizen possesses, and in such a way that the greatest burdens will be placed on those who have the most to lose in the event of any aggression against us. It appears to me that while our parliamentary representatives were abroad they discussed this matter with the Imperial authorities in Great Britain, and definitely decided that the time was opportune to resume overseas borrowing. I have heard a great deal of talk in the last few years about the national income and have listened to many statements that Australia's national income depends on what, we receive in return for the commodities that we' export Great Britain's national income, however, depends a great deal on the investments that Great Britain has made abroad. British capitalists have enormous sums of money in investments abroad. According to the London *Times* of the 23rd October last, **Sir Robert,** Kindersley said - >British investmentsabroad to-day amount to at least £3,764,000,000. the income from which amounted to £231,000,000 in 1929, £150,000,000 in 1933. and £184,000,000 in 1936. > >Up to 1934, this country lent abroad more than she received in repayments of capital: the net addition to investments abroad in that year was £21,000,000. But in 1934 she received in the shape of repayments of capital invested abroad £81,000,000, which was £20,000,000 more than she lent. In 1936, while £01,000,000 was lent overseas, as much as £107,000,000 was received in repayment of capital, making a further reduction in foreign investments of £45,000,000. Evidently Great Britainhas realized in the last few years that in order to keep the national income at the present figure, it has been compelled to reduce the total of its foreign investments. The capitalists had to bring about a repayment of some of the amount that they had invested abroad. But the position on the London money market has now improved and the British investors now desire a resumption of overseas borrowing. The money which this Government proposes to borrow in Great Britain may not amount to a great deal, but it is the re-coniniencement of the policy of borrowing abroad that concerns this side of the House, because if the Government were able to " get away " with the re-commencement of this policy we should probably experience another reign of the overseas borrowing policy which marked the term of office of a previous antiLabour Government led by the Right Honorable S. M. Bruce and the Right Honorable **Dr. Earle** Page. The Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Curtin)** has indicated to the House the questionable tactics adopted by the Government in trying to keep from the public the actual position with respect to the financing of its defence programme. The Leader of the Opposition also exposed the Government's lack of regard for the welfare of the Australian people, when he pointed out that it will cost more to raise £2,500,000 in Great Britain than it would in Australia, and that we shall have to pay a higher rate of interest for it than wo should be required to pay if the money were raised locally. The Leader of the Opposition went uncontradicted by the Treasurer **(Mr. Casey),** when he said that £1,000,000 of the £2,500,000 was to be expended in Australia, and not used for the purchase of defence equipment abroad, which it is claimed cannot be procured in Australia. No national government should ever adopt the policy of raising loans for any purpose. There are several ways by which governments can finance works, not only defence works, but also national works, in the interests of the people; but the raising of loans for the purpose of purchasing arms of offence, or, as the members of the Government prefer to call them, arms of defence, is the most objectionable method that can be used. I believe that the time is overdue when the Australian workers should be awakened to the fact that the policy of this Government is that, not only must they be prepared to lay down their lives in the defence of the country, but also they must *be* prepared to shoulder the financial burden that is involved in the provision for its defence. To-day we dealt with a. measure for increasing the number of persons entitled to war pensions, and as a justification for not having provided for more liberal treatment for the returned soldiers and their dependants, the Assistant Minister **(Mr. Thompson)** said that, up to the present, war pensions had cost this country £150,000,000. Including expenditure upon war equipment and pensions, and war services homes for those who returned, the cost of the last war to this country has been enormous. A great deal of the financial difficulties of this country are due to the fact that previous government have borrowed to finance Australia's war activities, and thereby increased the national debt. {: #subdebate-24-0-s5 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order ! What the honorable member for East Sydney is saying does not in any way relate to the bill. {: .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr WARD: -- The passage of this measure will, if it means anything, mean that the Commonwealth Government will increase the national debt by at least £2,500,000. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- The bill authorizes the borrowing of money abroad, and that is the point which is under discussion. {: .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr WARD: -- I am opposing the authorization, because it would increase the national debt and impose an additional burden on the Australian workers. If the figures are examined, it will be seen that almost all large commercial undertakings in this country have at the present time greater assets than' they have ever had in their history. This additional capital has come out of the accumulated profits of past years which these undertakings have attemped to hide from public gaze. They developed enormous reserves and increased their assets by extension of plant and operations, and then increased their capital by the issue of bonus shares. Actually speaking, the interests to which I have referred made practically no contribution to the cost of the last war or to the defence of the country; but, on the contray, a great deal of their wealth was accumulated in those years of the war. I have heard honorable members opposite - the honorable member for Parkes **(Sir Charles Marr)** is a recent case in point - say that, in the event of a national emergency, the Government should conscript notonly man-power, but also wealth. If this country is so desperately in need of defending, as the Government tries to indicate that it is, and it is necessary to obtain funds to provide for defence equipment, what is wrong with imposing a capital levy on those persons best able to bear it? The workers should not be asked to shoulder the additional burden. That is a fair proposition. There are many unfortunates in this country who would have to be imbued with a high standard of patriotic fervour to bring them into the state of mind that this country, under an anti-Labour administration, is worth defending. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order ! The honorable gentleman must confine his remarks to the bill. Mr.WARD. - I shall do my best to do so. I oppose the proposal of the Government, because the workers, who are represented in this Parliament by members of the Labour party, will be told in future *years* that, in order to prevent default, they must make sacrifices and accept a. lower standard of living. The Leader of the Opposition, as a matter of fact, said that, because of the overseas obligations to which the borrowing policy of the Bruce-Page Government had committed the country, the Scullin Government had been compelled to introduce proposals to reduce the standard of living so that we should not default. The more we increase our in debtedness abroad, the greater will be the difficulty of meeting our overseas commitments should commodity prices fall. The indications to-day are that prices for wheat and wool, our principal export commodities, are rapidly falling, and it is predicted that they will fall lower yet. When the Government finds that London funds are becoming depleted, and it is once more necessary to economize, it will, no doubt, tell the workers that, in order to avoid national default, they must again accept a reduced standard of living, and their social services will be sacrificed. I am looking ahead, and I shall not be a party to the raising of this loan abroad, simply because the Government, playing upon the fears of the people by telling them of imaginary dangers from an imaginary foe, proposes to buy military equipment abroad. The Labour party should fight strenuously against any proposal to increase overseas indebtedness. We should be striving to reduce the present debt. Since 1933, our overseas debt has been reduced by £7,000,000, not a large amount, but it indicates, at any rate, a movement in the right direction. Now, however, the Treasurer, after having been abroad, wants to turn the stream the other way, to begin once again the policy of raising money abroad, and this time, he would spend it upon the purchase of military supplies. I agree with the Leader of the Opposition, that it would be preferable to the Government's scheme of borrowing abroad to meet this expenditure, if it is necessary, out of revenue. However, if the Government must raise a loan, let it be raised here rather than abroad, though the best scheme of all would be for the Government to do what it has said in the past it would be prepared to do. Let it ask those patriotic flag flappers who are always talking about the defence of the country, the possessors of wealth and the exploiters of labour, to make a contribution from their own capital assets toward defraying the cost of our defences. {: #subdebate-24-0-s6 .speaker-F4Q} ##### Mr SCULLIN:
Yarra -- I hope that Parliament will consider this proposal very carefully before passing the bill. There are many honorable members in this Parliament who were not in pub- lic life during the dark hours of the depression, and who do not, therefore, know at first hand what the country had then to lace because of the policy applied by a previous government, a policy which' the present Government proposes to embark on once more. It is not an answer to say that it is proposed to raise merely a small loan. A small trickle can, in some circumstances, become a rushing torrent. If there is at the present time any justification for borrowing £2,000,000 sterling overseas, which is equivalent to £2,500,000 Australian, there will be still more justification in years to come. It is proposed to start on this policy of adding to our overseas obligations and the obligations will continue to exist even though prices fall, and the volume of our exports is reduced because of drought. I think that the Government has erred on the side of over-optimism in stressing the alleged prosperity of the people. I do not think that this prosperity is as widespread as it suggests, but there is no doubt that the general financial position is infinitely better now than it was. If the position were as good, or nearly as good, as the Government says, surely this is not the time to burden the country with an increased overseas debt. An obligation that is local can be met even in an emergency by emergency measures, but there is no emergency measure that can meet an overseas obligation. The Bruce-Page Government was in office for seven years, and during that time the overseas federal debt increased by £53,000,000, while the value of imports exceeded the value of exports by £70,000,000. That excess would not have been possible had it not been for our borrowing overseas. Everybody who knows even the elementary principles of finance is aware that when money is borrowed overseas it is not brought into the borrowing country in the form of cash; it comes in the form of goods. {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr Gregory: -- The States were the largest borrowers. {: .speaker-F4Q} ##### Mr SCULLIN: -- Yes, but the Federal Government increased Australia's overseas debt by £53,000,000 in those seven years. I am not charging to the Federal Government anything for which the States were responsible. The States erred in exactly the same way, and lived a riotous life of borrowing overseas, just as did the Bruce-Page Government. At various times, honorable members have had a good deal to say about inflation.I have never been an inflationist ;I believe that there are dangers in inflation. I also believe that when deflation takes place, it should be arrested by an expansionist policy that could, strictly speaking, be termed inflation, but which, in fact, is merely the arresting of deflation. But whatever are the dangers of inflation, it can only come by the flow of money into the country in excess of the production of wealth, the excess money coming from sources other than the legitimate revenues against production or the savings of the people. The expending of borrowed money raised locally is not inflation, but the spending of money borrowed out of the country is inflation of the worst kind, because it carries with it future obligations abroad. I ask honorable members to pardon me if I trace briefly a little of the history of the depression years so that they will know something of the principles involved before they record their votes on this measure. When the Leader of the Opposition was speaking, the Treasurer **(Mr. Casey)** interjected : " The Government that the Leader of the Opposition was associated with borrowed in London ". He was referring to the Government which I led, and I ask him what loans my Government floated in London. {: .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr Casey: -- The right honorable gentleman borrowed on treasury-bills. {: .speaker-F4Q} ##### Mr SCULLIN: -- For what purpose? {: .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr Casey: -- For the payment of interest. {: .speaker-F4Q} ##### Mr SCULLIN: -- We did so to meet obligations in London that were incurred by the Bruce-Page Government. {: .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr Casey: -- They were Commonwealth Government obligations; it did not matter who incurred them. {: .speaker-F4Q} ##### Mr SCULLIN: -- We had to fund the floating debt. The interjection of the Treasurer just now, and my explanation, together afford the strongest reason why we should not embark upon the policy associated with this measure. The Treasurer is pleased to scoff. I tell bini that he is not such a superior financier as he thinks he is. When my Government took office "we found that the overseas debt had increased by £53,000,000, and a similar sum, or a little more, had been borrowed by the six State governments. The obligations thus incurred had to be met, and unless the Treasurer says that we should have defaulted, he must agree that they had to be met by any means which the Government could devise. There would have been justification for raising £2,000,000 or £20,000,000 if the purpose was to meet obligations already incurred overseas, and to avoid default. Usually, when we say that a government borrows overseas, we mean that it increases the total of its obligations overseas. My Government did not do that. This Government, up to date, has not done it, but the present measure represents the first downward step in that direction. Even before I was sworn in as Prime Minister I was asked to see the chairman of the Commonwealth Bank Board. I saw him in his own rooms in Melbourne, in company with the Governor of the bank, and he placed before me the figures regarding Australia's financial position in London. I was staggered. Those obligations had to be met at a time when prices had tumbled and the volume of exports had fallen. Every possible way was discussed of meeting those obligations rather than that wo should default. And that position was brought about, or at least aggravated, by the policy of overseas borrowing. It is true that there was a worldwide depression. There had" been a general decline of world prices, and this had created a very grave situation in Australia, because we were a nation of primary producers. However, we could have faced the position and overcome our difficulties with but little sacrifice, had we not had to face it as a debtor nation, and one up to our ears in debt. We could have met the position had our indebtedness been merely local by the application of local methods, but there is only one way in which a country can meet overseas obligations : it must export goods, or export gold, which is the equivalent of goods. The gold reserves of the country had to be exported and we had to stop imports by drastic means, irrespective of the hardship that might be inflicted in individual cases. Otherwise' there was no alternative but default. Do honorable members know that in those years of prosperity, and we had seven years of continuous prosperity, that this country was being financed overseas by the issue of short-term bills, so that when the Labour Government took office in 1929 there were £10,000,000 worth of three-months treasury-bills floating in London? To issue treasury-bills in your own country is no menace. You have control of the currency, and can take measures to meet an emergency if it arises. But the situation cannot be met overseas in that way. The charges on overseas indebtedness can be - met only in gold or in goods, and at that time Australia had neither to spare. The Commonwealth had a large overdraft at the Westminster Bank. Fancy any Government financing a country's overseas obligations in times of prosperity by the issue of threemonths bills or by overdraft! Yet that is what the Bruce-Page Government had done. We surely have a right to expect sound financial methods to be adopted, for the Treasurer says that we are enjoying a period of unexampled prosperity. At any rate, the position is better and ' sounder than it was, and we should certainly not be expected to embark upon the course the Treasurer has outlined. It is unsound, I contend, foi- us to borrow this money overseas. The situation cannot be met, nor can the argument that the Opposition have advanced be answered, by mere gibes to the effect that the Labour party is against the taking of proper measures for the defence of Australia. I have v not examined the detailed proposals of this bill. I accept the word of the Government that "the expenditure is necessary. He would be a poor man who would not defend his own country ! That is not the issue. The alternative to the passing of this bill is not the scrapping of the Government's defence programme. It is the financing of it within the country. I shall not .even bother, at this stage, to discuss the methods that should be adopted, beyond saying that the money should be raised in Australia. I- refuse to believe that the borrowing of £2,500,000- if it can be justifiedwould be likely to affect the conversion operations in connexion with loans falling due next year. If we have such a poor margin as that, then God help the Treasurer's chances of converting *£70,000,000* next year ! Such a contention would not say much for our " unexampled prosperity", nor for the confidence of the people in this Government. I do not believe that that is a sound reason for not raising this loan in Australia. I do not believe, either, that even if the money could not be borrowed locally it could not be raised by taxation. I remind the Treasurer that the Government has been warned already against the danger of a resumption of overseas borrowing. It may be true that the floating of this loan may be welcomed abroad. If the money is to be expended on the purchase of equipment of one kind or another for defence, undoubtedly employment will be provided for people overseas. But, as late as last June, the High Commissioner for Australia in London, **Mr. Bruce,** endeavoured to convert a loan of £12,000,000, and less than half the money was subscribed in London. Surely that is a warning for Australia! Honorable members must be well aware that we owe far too much abroad. Our public debt generally is too- high. If we owe- money in our own country, at least the interest paid is distributed among our own people. The distribution, or the redistribution, of interest locally is an entirely different proposition from meeting the expenses in connexion with money raised overseas. I could forgive the Treasurer if ho could say, " We are passing through a period of . great difficulties. We are faced with a position in London that we cannot meet without borrowing sufficient money there to tide us over." But that excuse for the adoption of this policy has not been profferred. ' The honorable member for Wakefield **(Mr. Hawker)** said that ;> farmer would be justified in increasing his overdraft to provide insurance against an impending calamity. Of course he would. {: .speaker-KOC} ##### Mr Hawker: -- And to put permanent improvements on his property. {: .speaker-F4Q} ##### Mr SCULLIN: -- The honorable member spoke of insurance. No one suggests that expenditure of the kind we are now contemplating is providing permanent improvements such as a farmer would put on his holding. But if a farmer were iu a desperate financial difficulty he might even have to increase his overdraft to pay the premium on a fire insurance policy. Is Australia in such a position? Is the Treasurer in such a desperate plight that he must borrow money to pay an insurance premium? I think not. I certainly hope not. I do not believe any necessity' has arisen for action of this kind. The danger I see is that if in the next few years we meet a drought or some other difficulty it may be used as a justification for similar action. The difficulty may not be as serious as the recent depression, although some very wise men in this country are predicting a recurrence of such a disaster. After the Treasurer delivered his address the other day, I tried to get a list of the items of expenditure to which he referred, but I was not successful. Speaking from memory, I think the honorable gentleman said that the heavy expenditure to which he was then referring was the justification for the floating of this loan overseas, but very few of the items mentioned by him related to non-recurring expenditure. We have to face the fact, therefore, that such expenditure is likely to recur year after year. Does the honorable gentleman propose to continue his overseas borrowing policy ? It must be clear to everybody that, this is a declaration that the budget cannot be balanced without the floating of a loan in London. Such a declaration is. of course, quite contrary to everything that has been said recently by government supporters in regard to finance. It is contrary, also, to a great deal that was said, by members of the Governmentparties during the recent election campaign. Let us look at the financial position in which the Government finds itself to-day. In actual fact it is paying out about £9,000,000 less a year in interest than had to be paid out by the Scullin Government in the year that it assumed office. Moreover, it is obtaining about £9,000,000 a year more, from taxation than was obtained by my government. These figures give a total of £18,000,000. Yet it is said that Australia . must borrow £2,500,000 overseas to finance this expenditure ! If that is so, what is happening to the money raised in this country? Where is the sound finance of which we hear so much? Where is the husbanding of our resources? If this is actually the position then it is time for a financial stocktaking in Australia. I am deeply concerned about the financial future of the Commonwealth. If we take this downward step it will be so much easier to take other and more serious downward steps which would soon bring us again into the perilous position which faced the country when my government assumed office. I recall speaking in this House with passion in 1927 in protesting against overseas borrowing. I warned the then Prime Minister, **Mr. Bruce,** who was sitting where the Treasurer is now sitting, that the day would come when the price of our export commodities would fall, and when we should have a -much smaller volume of exports than we then had. I said that Australia would be in danger of default unless a halt were called in overseas borrowing. What did **Mr. Bruce** do at that time. He waved aside my remarks in the same contemptuous way that the Treasurer has to-night waved aside the remarks of the Leader of the Opposition. His attitude was, in fact, exactly similar to that of the present Treasurer. He declared that Great Britain was importing more than it was exporting, and that it was one of the wealthiest nations of the world. The obvious answer to such a statement was, of course, that Great Britain was not a debtor nation, but was a creditor nation, and that a creditor nation must necessarily import more than it exported in order to obtain payment for the investments of its people overseas. I pointed out that Australia was a. debtor nation which must provide £30,000,000 a year to meet its interest and services. That money could be found only in the excess of exports over imports. Otherwise the country 'would become insolvent. Yet in seven years Australia imported £70,000,000 in excess of the value of its exports. Federal and State governments, municipal authorities and other instrumentalities were at that time living a riotous life, and indulging in an orgy of extravagance. This Government is not living within its income to-day. It is not even living within the savings of the people. In tho circumstances, I submit that this money should have been raised on the local market or obtained 'by increased taxation. Australia should be living within its income and within its own financial resources. The members of this Government should be ashamed to raise their heads if, in a period of " unparalleled prosperity" they persist in going to the money lenders in other parts of the world. {: #subdebate-24-0-s7 .speaker-KFS} ##### Sir HENRY GULLETT:
Henty -- I should not act consistently if 1 did not express regret in this House that this loan is being raised in London. During the absence of the Treasurer **(Mr. Casey)** in England I delivered many speeches in opposition to this policy which I resisted very strongly. It was quite obvious to' me that my attitude was supported by the press of this country. The proposal to raise this money abroad has been condemned by the great majority of the members of my own political party. I think the policy is unwise. I believe that in the deepest sense - and I say this without wishing to reflect upon the Treasurer - this is a dishonest loan. I shall speak quite frankly. I do not think that we should borrow further money abroad except in circumstances of extreme national emergency. This amount of £2,000,000 could have been found in Australia very easily either by a local loan or by increased taxation. Either of these courses would have been preferable to the course the Government is taking, which must increase our indebtedness overseas. I cannot look forward in complete happiness to the future. I do not believe that we shall always be able to meet our overseas liability with ease in bad seasons as well as good seasons. If we should have two or three bad seasons in succession, or if a world-wide fall should occur in commodity prices, we should find ourselves in difficulties. The London market should be reserved to enable us to meet a condition of emergency - either international or financial emergency. Such a state of emergency has not yet arisen, and therefore this money should not be sought overseas. An overseas loan of a mere £2,000,000 was not worth floating seeing that it meant the breaking down of the practice that we have adhered to for quite a number of years of declining to add to our indebtedness in London. There never was a weaker plea offered in support of an overseas loan than that offered by the Government in support of this one. The money could have been raised in this country and it should have been raised here. However, the proposal is now an accomplished fact and I can do no more than express my opposition to it. Although I am opposed to the loan [ shall not vote against the Government, for I cannot by that means save the day. I shall support the Government in the strong hope that it will take heed, not of the attitude adopted *by* the Opposition to-night, but of the attitude adopted by a much wider constituency throughout the country. {: #subdebate-24-0-s8 .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr CASEY:
Treasurer · Corio · UAP -- *in reply* - I do not propose to make any debating points in this short speech. The address delivered by the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Curtin)** on this subject was notable for its lack of perspective. In seeking to make a series of debating points the honorable gentleman was guilty of distorting the fact3. **His** utterance was completely unbalanced and must have seriously disappointed even his own supporters. That the honorable gentleman knows the facts of the present financial situation, I am very well aware. He has for his own party political purposes given the House a completely distorted account of this matter; he has attempted to place this loan completely out of perspective and out of step with the realities of the position, and his references to this proposal, such as " pawning the country " and the like, will do this country a very definite disservice. The honorable gentleman has too much intelligence not to know that he was painting a distorted picture to the people of this country. In the circumstances which the Leader of the Opposition has created, it is difficult to keep the debate on a financial matter in this House on a balanced plane. I take it that one of the principal points made by the Leader of the Opposition was that our trade balance abroad becomes progressively more difficult to rectify owing to interest on our overseas loans. I cannot think that the Leader of the Opposition believes that to be the truth, because, with great respect, it is the completely opposite of the truth. The position . is that. during the last seven or eight years, our overseas balance has become progressively better each year. {: .speaker-009FQ} ##### Mr Curtin: -- Hear, hear! {: .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr CASEY: -- The honorable gentleman says " Hear, hear " ; but his " Hear, hear " is quite out of step with his remarks. {: .speaker-009FQ} ##### Mr Curtin: -- I did not use the words ascribed to me. {: .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr CASEY: -- I shall repeat what L wrote down of what the honorable member said. He said "the trade balance becomes progressively more difficult to rectify owing to the interest on our overseas loans ". That is the gist of the Opposition's case. The service of our overseas debt is costing Australia to-day £5,500,000 less than when this Government first came into office, so that we are by that much the better off than we were six years ago, and therefore we are the better prepared by that amount to meet any world recession that may come. The present Government has been paying off th« London debt steadily ever since it came into office, and that debt is now £13,000,000 less than it was when we took charge of the finances of this country. The present budget ib an £85,000,000 budget. In the peculiar and particular circumstances in which Australia finds itself at this time, from both a financial and a budgetary point of view, I repeat that a loan overseas of £2,000,000 sterling, in face of all the vituperations that have come from the opposite side of the House, is a completely balanced operation at this time. On earlier occasions I have failed completely to get the Leader of the Opposition to look at the general, broad financial position of Australia in a broad and balanced way. For party political purposes the duty of the Labour party, as its members conceive it, is to oppose. That is simply a negative and nugatory attitude. But when there is a chance, and I believe every chance, of doing the country a grave disservice by exaggerated talk, such as that indulged in by the honorable member to-night, 1 feel sure that he will acknowledge that it is unworthy of him. He must know that his remarks can do Australia no good, and will probably do it a great deal of harm. From the words of the Prime Minister and from the undertakings that I personally have given on behalf of the Government, the honorable member and the House generally know that the Government does not propose to make overseas borrowing a permanent part of its policy for defence or for any other government activity. I fail to see the point made by the right honorable member for Yarra **(Mr. Scullin)** when he said that the size of the loan had no reference to the problem at all, and that the only consideration was that we were borrowing abroad. We have been reducing our overseas debit for the last six years; we have been carrying on the budget in Australia, on revenue alone, no less than £8,000,000 worth of works which, in other circumstances, would clearly have been carried on the loan fund. In the circumstances of the great conversion that we have to face in the comingtwelve months, and of the facts of the London position as I have tried to explain them to honorable members, I suggest that a London loan of the size contemplated is a completely balanced and justified operation. I commend the bill to honorable members. Question put - That the bill be now read a second time. The House divided. (Mr. Speaker-Hon. G. J. Bell.) AYES: 29 NOES: 26 Majority . . 3 AYES NOES Question so resolved in the affirmative. Bill read a second time. *In committee:* Clauses 1 to 3 agreed to. Schedule. {: #debate-24-s0 .speaker-009FQ} ##### Mr CURTIN:
Fremantle .- I do not wish to delay the proceedings, asI have every desire to suit the convenience of honorable members; but, in view of the nature of this schedule, we are entitled to more details than are contained in it.. I understand that, in regard to portion of the work to be done in Australia, no information has yet been given regarding the location of the sites and buildings. We should be told more than the mere items in the schedule tell us. {: #debate-24-s1 .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr CASEY:
Treasurer · Corio · UAP -- Included in the first item: " Naval construction," is an amount of £360,000, which represents the fourth instalment on the cruiser *Sydney.* I have not any details of the buildings ; they are, however, naval buildings already designed and costed. The amount to be spent on coast defences is very largely to be used for the purchase of arms and munitions. The information which I gave during my second-reading speech, together with that contained in the schedule, is, I think, sufficient for honorable members generally. {: #debate-24-s2 .speaker-JOM} ##### Mr BEASLEY:
West Sydney . -I am interested in the item " Naval construction ". The Treasurer has informed us that £360,000 of the amount here provided represents the fourth instalment on a cruiser that was purchased overseas. That leaves a balance of a little over £90,000. I think that we are entitled to know the purpose to which that is to be applied. {: .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr Casey: -- That represents the cost of exchange on the cruiser instalment. {: #debate-24-s3 .speaker-KF9} ##### Mr GREEN:
Kalgoorlie .- The Government made it clear during the election campaign that it was prepared to distribute the manufacture of munitions among the various States. I should like to know whether this measure makes provision for that to be done. {: #debate-24-s4 .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr CASEY:
Treasurer · Coric · UAP -- I do not believe there is provision for the establishment of new munition works. The provision made in this measure relates only to Lithgow, Maribyrnong and certain other smaller works already in existence. {: #debate-24-s5 .speaker-KCM} ##### Mr DRAKEFORD:
Maribyrnong -- In regard to the item "Civil aviation - building works and sites", certain proposed extensions at the Essendon aerodrome are apparently to be made according to a practice which is hardly fair to those from whom the land is being resumed. Can the Treasurer **(Mr. Casey)** say whether or not any portion of this pro vision is to be devoted to the payment of compensation to these persons? On the last occasion when land was resumed a strong sense of injustice was felt by the persons affected. I trust that the Treasurer will bring the matter to the notice of the Department of the Interior and see that a greater measure of justice is done on this occasion. If it is considered desirable to acquire land for the Civil Aviation Department, those who own it should receive reasonable compensation. I do not stand for the fixing of a higher value than is warranted. Under the system followed by the department, however, a much lower valuation is placed on the land than the original purchase price. Land values are increasing, and I hope that justice will be done in all cases. **Mr. CASEY** (Corio- Treasurer) problem, because indirectly I have been associated with it. I assure the honorable member for Maribyrnong **(Mr. Drakeford)** that there is no provision in this bill for the compensation to which he refers. The Defence Department, for accounting purposes, has attempted to include only those items which are a permanent, or at any rate a semipermanent, asset, and may properly be debited to the loan fund. Items such as he has mentioned could not properly be included. Schedule agreed to. Title agreed to. Bill reported without amendment; report adopted. Bill read a third time. {: .page-start } page 485 {:#debate-25} ### APPROPRIATION (WORKS AND SERVICES) BILL 1937 Message recommending appropriation reported. *In committee* (Consideration of Governor-General's message) : Motion (by **Mr. Casey)** agreed to - >That it is expedient that an appropriation of revenue be made for the purposes of a bill for an act to grant and apply out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund a sum of £100,000 for the purposes of expenditure on certain Works and Services. Resolution reported. Standing Orders suspended; resolution adopted. *Ordered -* >That **Mr. Casey** and **Mr. Menzies** do prepare and bring in a bill to carry out the foregoing resolution. Bill brought up by Mr.Casey, and read a first time. {:#subdebate-25-0} #### Second Reading {: #subdebate-25-0-s0 .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr CASEY:
Treasurer · Corio · UAP .- I move- >That the billbe now read a second time. This measure is designed to carry out the proposal of the Government to put in hand works costing £100,000, in order to provide to as great an extent as possible additional employment for those who unfortunately are unemployed at or about Christinas time. The bill is on lines similar to those followed in connexion with measures that have previously been brought before this House for the same purpose. The schedule to the hill shows that there are works of five different types among which the Government proposes to divide this £100,000. These are so designed as to absorb to tlie maximum extent the unskilled labour available. They are works of the Department of the Interior, the Department of Defence, and i he Postal Department. As far as possible, they will be located in close proximity to areas in which unemployment is known to exist. The labour will be recruited through States agencies, because the Commonwealth Government has not . in the capital cities or elsewhere employment agencies, bureaux or offices, from which could be obtained,- a list of the unemployed. It will, of course, be necessary to employ a few tradesmen, but these will be kept to the minimum number, for the reason that generally good opportunities exist to-day for the employment of such labour. It is the desire of the Government to give employ-' ment to unskilled workers to the greatest possible extent. The money will be spent through the Commonwealth departments that I have named, as far as possible iu rho various States, roughly on a population basis. Generally speaking, the operations will consist of earthworks, clearing, grading, levelling, drainage and roads and other improvements at or close to existing Commonwealth establishments. The Government believes that this is a more appropriate method than was adopted last year of doing what is possible for the unemployed at Christmas time. I would also point out that this £100,000 "is relatively a very small proportion of the total amount which the Commonwealth is spending on public works in the current financial year, and a still lower proportion of the tens of millions of pounds that are being spent throughout Australia on public works by the different governments and local governing bodies. {: .speaker-K9A} ##### Mr Gander: -- Where will the men have to apply? {: .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr CASEY: -- Lists of men will be obtained by the Department of the Interior from the State labour bureaux. {: .speaker-JOM} ##### Mr Beasley: -- That is not satisfactory. {: .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr CASEY: -- It is the only method available to us. {: .speaker-JOM} ##### Mr Beasley: -- It is most unsatisfactory in New South Wales. {: .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr CASEY: -- With this short explanation, I commend the measure to the House. {: #subdebate-25-0-s1 .speaker-009FQ} ##### Mr CURTIN:
Fremantle .- 1 understand that the Treasurer **(Mr. Casey)** has brought down this bill in compliance with the request that the Commonwealth should do something at Christinas time to indicate its sympathy for that section of -the Australian people which, notwithstanding the improvement of labour conditions, finds- itself still denied even an average share of the employment that is offering. A year ago, the Government felt that it should do something at Christmas time to help these people. It therefore provided the sum of £150,000 and allocated it to the States on a population basis, on the condition that they should supplement the earnings of those persons who were either on sustenance or on relief work. The systems that operate in the States are not uniform. Some of them work well, and others badly. There is criticism of all of them, but, in some of the States, it is more direct and contentious than it is in others. On this occasion, the Commonwealth Government does not propose to supplement the activities of the States in the direction of furnishing an increased spending power for the unemployed at Christmas time. It really proposes to spend £100,000 on works, to undertake which it will call for applications from those whose names appear on the unemployment registers of the States. No doubt it will get. as many men as it requires; but; what will happen then ? When these men report back to the States for employment, they will have to admit that they have worked for the Commonwealth for a week, ten days, or a fortnight, as the case may be, and, in consequence, they will be kept off the State registers for a corresponding period. Th6 -provision of £100,000 for Commonwealth works in order to benefit the unemployed will, therefore, as a matter of fact, merely relieve the governments of the States of the expenditure of that amount upon unemployment. That represents the essence of the matter. A year ago, the Treasurer's desire was that all unemployed should have additional money to spend at Christmas time, and the grant was allocated without conditions with regard to work. This year, the £100,000 proposed to be made available will, at the very best, serve only a section of those now on the unemployment registers. The distribution will be anomalous, in that the money will benefit a few of the unemployed and exclude the great majority of them. Among those now out of work are many women. Some of them are spinsters, and others are widows with children, but none of the work will be available to them. The whole purpose of the Commonwealth grant is to make things brighter for the unemployed at Christmas time. A year ago, we devoted £50,000 more to that object than is now contemplated. If we were dealing with St general plan to make the conditions of the unemployed better at this season of the year, I should favour a programme of work. I still say that there should be a national employment council in which the Commonwealth and State Governments would collaborate in the planning of projects, and by a general correlation of efforts in which the municipalities and other public bodies would take part thereby attain to that form of organization which has marked the work of other countries in their general treatment of the unemployment problem. I regret that the bill does not reach the objective of those who made representa? tions to the Treasurer. I saw him before the present Government was constituted. I asked if it was intended that the Commonwealth Government should make an effort to provide happier conditions for the unemployed during the Christmas season. But the bill does not meet the needs of the situation. A lot of the work proposed cannot be put in hand until after Christmas, and even when it is undertaken, it will simply remove from the State unemployment registers men, who, if the Commonwealth did not employ them, would in their turn get some of the work which the States are providing. This measure has been wrongly conceived and hurriedly planned. As a gesture it is almost worthless. {: #subdebate-25-0-s2 .speaker-JOM} ##### Mr BEASLEY:
West Sydney -- I regret that the Treasurer **(Mr. Casey)** is not in the House, because the position in regard to this bill is most unsatisfactory. It is expected that members will be advised fully on this matter, but apparently, we are to be treated with contempt when we desire information upon it. Even the Assistant Minister **(Mr. Thompson)** now at the table is most unconcerned. {: .speaker-KVU} ##### Mr Thompson: -- The Treasurer will be back in a minute or two, and I shall tell him what you say. {: .speaker-JOM} ##### Mr BEASLEY: -- The* bill gives little or no information. The schedule refers to a number of works and sets out certain amounts, but six States are interested in the matter, and no indication is given as to the sums to be expended in the different States. That, I think, is the first point which should be clarified. Further, we should have had information as to the character of the employment to be given, and the exact localities in which the work will be done. It is said by the Treasurer that the* work will be carried out in areas close to those centres where unemployment is greatest. Statements made in the Parliament of New South Wales show that, in the densely populated city areas of Sydney, unemployment is greater than in the suburbs or in any other parts of the State. The municipalities and the Main Roads Board have undertaken work of a class that 'is providing relief for unemployed, but such employment has not been available to those who live in the more closely populated city areas. Those of us, therefore, who represent these electorates, are anxious to know the nature of the work to be made available by the Commonwealth and the localities in which it is to be performed. At the moment I am unable to say what Commonwealth work- is likely to be done in those areas. The House is entitled to all the details which it is possible for the Treasurer to give. Is the Government unable to state at this late hour what work is to be done, although we are within a fortnight of Christmas? This information must be available, otherwise the work will not be provided prior to- Christmas. We desire to know how much employment is to be provided, and the period over which it will extend. Are jobs to be given on a rotation basis, or will, the work be allotted entirely to those men who are selected in the first instance? That is an important matter to be considered, particularly as it is suggested that the work is to be provided for those who are unemployed at Christmas time. I desire to know also whether preference is to be given to returned soldiers. Under the State administration the granting of this preference has resulted in a large number of young mcn failing to obtain employment, and a similar experience has befallen a number of older men who were too old to serve in the Great War and who have not had employment through the State labour bureaux for a considerable time. The work provided in New South Wales through the Main Roads Board, the Water Board, and the municipal authorities is all given on the basis of preference to returned soldiers. {: .speaker-KZF} ##### Mr Lane: -- This work will not be given on that basis. {: .speaker-JOM} ##### Mr BEASLEY: -- I have no such information before me. How does it como about that the honorable member for Barton **(Mr. Lane)** knows more regarding this matter than do members of the Opposition, seeing that the Treasurer gave no such information in the course of his speech? {: .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr Casey: -- I assure the honorable member that no member of this House, other than members of the Cabinet, has previously seen this measure or knows anything about the Government's proposals. {: .speaker-JOM} ##### Mr BEASLEY: -- In my electorate there is ample evidence that little prosperity obtains, and that whatever relief is made available in New South Wales, the share of it which is likely to fall to my electorate will go a very short distance in the direction of relieving unemployment at Christmas time. A similar remark is applicable to electorates close to mine. Many men are not registered at the New South Wales labour bureaux owing to the conditions which the State government has imposed on them, and therefore those not registered at the moment will be ineligible for the work that is to be made available, despite the fact that they have been unemployed for a considerable period. Even if certain men did receive work from the Commonwealth authorities for some days, they would disqualify themselves from obtaining employment immediately afterwards through the State organizations, and thus they would be deprived of any real benefits arising out of this Christmas relief. The position is farcical in the extreme, and will not improve the lot of the unemployed one iota. I cannot understand why the Works Branch of the Department of the Interior could not have selected the men to whom this work is to be given, without going to the State bureaux. Labour has been recruited for years through the Commonwealth Works Branch for jobs at Mascot and other places. It is obvious that the Government has taken its present action to relieve the State authorities of obligations which they should carry. What the Commonwealth Government proposes to do will afford no real relief to the unemployed at Christmas. I again ask the Treasurer to state how much of this money is to be allocated to the various States, where the work is to be carried out, on what basis the workmen will be selected, and for what period the employment will be provided. When this information is made available we shall be in a position further to discuss the contents of the bill. {: #subdebate-25-0-s3 .speaker-KK7} ##### Mr JENNINGS:
Watson -- Whilst I support the bill, much is to be said for the suggestion that the allocation of this money will largely augment State funds for the purpose of providing Christmas relief. *(Quorum formed.]* ' Allocations of unemployment relief money by the Commonwealth Government always give rise to contentious arguments, and I hope that this will be the last time that it will be necessary for this Parliament to vote moneys for this purpose, for I have in mind the hope that before twelve months have elapsed a scheme of national insurance will be in operation. Another pos'ition in regard to employment relief measures i3 the fact that the money is largely expended on works of an unskilled character and consequently not of lasting benefit. Relief for unemployment is necessary, but it is not too much to hope that further similar schemes will bc unnecessary with national insurance in operation. {: #subdebate-25-0-s4 .speaker-JXL} ##### Mr FROST:
Franklin .- How does the Treasurer **(Mr. Casey)** propose to allocate this money between the States? In previous years when somewhat similar measures were before Parliament, we knew what each State was to get, but this year honorable members who represent Tasmanian electorates do not know whether any proportion of the vote is to go to Tasmania. I do not know whether the statement by the Leader of the Opposition in the Parliament of Tasmania that Tasmania deserved to get nothing because it had unseated three Nationalist senators and elected in their stead three representatives of the Labour party has weighed with this Government, but the fact remains that we do not know whether Tasmania is to participate in this bounty or, if it is to participate, what proportion it is to receive. {: .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr Casey: -- The honorable member could not have listened to my speech. {: .speaker-JXL} ##### Mr FROST: -- -On the contrary, I listened to it most attentively. {: .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr Casey: -- Then the honorable member ShOUld know that I said that the money was to be distributed between the States roughly on a population basis. {: .speaker-JXL} ##### Mr FROST: -- What does the honorable member mean by that? The schedule of the bill sets out that £15,000 is to be expended on " conduit and the cable extensions; telephone and trunk line services ". The honorable gentleman in his speech said that the money was to be devoted to providing work for unskilled labour. What degree of unskilled labour would be used in the work that I have specified? {: .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr Casey: -- Unskilled labour would be necessary in the digging of conduits. {: .speaker-JOM} ##### Mr Beasley: -- Conduits are not dug, hut laid. I know something about that. **Mr. SPEAKER (Hon. G. J. Bell).Order** ! Honorable members must cease interjecting. {: .speaker-JXL} ##### Mr FROST: -- Under this proposal is it intended to construct a telephone line along the new road between Hobart and Queenstown, a distance of 40 miles, over which thousands of tourists pass? I mentioned the need for this line during the discussion on the Postal Department Estimates, but was told that the work could not be undertaken. If this work is not one of the jobs that is proposed, what job is it to bc? The line that I have mentioned, **Mr. Speaker,** would run through part of your electorate as well as part of mine, and I feel sure that, were it not for the fact that you are now in the Chair, you would- take an opportunity on tho floor of the House to ask that the Hobart-Queenstown telephone line be one of the jobs undertaken. The only argument advanced on behalf of the Government against the construction of this line was the fact that, if it were built, it would probably not pay. But this money is to be expended on the relief of unemployment, and I can see no better direction for its spending than on the construction of the telephone line to which I have referred. I should like a schedule to be provided showing the exact amount that is to be allotted to each State, and, further, I urge that, the allocation be made rapidly, in order to give early relief to the vast army of unemployed. {: #subdebate-25-0-s5 .speaker-L08} ##### Mr ROSEVEAR:
Dalley .-! join with those honorable members who desire to know a little bit more about how this money is to be distributed, and I should like to know from the Treasurer **(Mr. Casey)** where he expects the bulk of the money to be expended. It is of no use for the Minister to get hot under the collar because we on this side are suspicious of the motives of the Government. In the past when votes of a similar character have been made by this Parliament, there has been distinct evidence of political patronage in the way in which the money voted has been expended. I remember that when the former honorable member for Warringah **(Sir Archdale Parkhill)** was Minister for the Interior and a similar vote was made by Parliament, the bulk of the money was expended in the Watson electorate. No one who lived beyond the boundary of that electorate could get a job. One of the singular excuses offered by the then Minister was that preference was given to workers in that electorate in order to save the unemployed the expense of travelling. {: .speaker-KK7} ##### Mr Jennings: -- What was the work? {: .speaker-L08} ##### Mr ROSEVEAR: -- It was work at the Mascot Aerodrome. The honorable member knows it quite well. He was instrumental in having a considerable number of his electors placed in work that was denied to the electors of other honorable members because of preference to returned soldiers. {: #subdebate-25-0-s6 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order ! The question before the Chair is the expending of the moneys provided for in this bill, and no honorable member is entitled at this stage to criticize previous expenditure {: .speaker-L08} ##### Mr ROSEVEAR: -- I think it is legitimate to seek information as to how it is proposed to allocate the £100,000 that is to be appropriated under this measure. In support of my argument, I am pointing out that on previous occasions there has been evidence of political patronage. That is relevant. {: .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr Casey: -- If it were true. {: .speaker-L08} ##### Mr ROSEVEAR: -- It is true, and if the honorable gentleman examines the records of *Hansard* he will find that I am correct in asserting that the then honorable member for Warringah, in advancing an argument as to why the money then voted should be concentrated in the Watson electorate, said that it was necessary to save the unemployed from paying heavy travelling expenses. When an important work was being carried out in my electorate, a guarantee was given by the then Minister for the Interior, the honorable member for Parkes **(Sir Charles Marr),** that the unemployed in the western suburbs of Sydney were to be employed on the work. It is true that the western suburbs got first preference. As a matter of fact, the Minister went to the extreme end of the Parkes electorate for the first call-up, and the last call-up was for the unemployed in the Dalley electorate. The work to which I refer was the repatria-tion building at Callan Park. It is wrong on the one hand to give preference on one job to persons living near the Mascot aerodrome, in order to save travelling expenses, and then to apply a different principle to an electorate represented by an honorable member of the Opposition. According to the Treasurer, the callsup under this vote will be made through the State labour bureaux. That sounds all right, but the Commonwealth Government should not perpetuate the injustice done in New South Wales to those unemployed who were debarred from registration and from relief work because of the income of their families. Many thousands of men in New South Wales are denied registration by the labour bureaux because of the earnings of their children.- These men will be debarred from participation in this relief grant. I know many cases of men who, since 1930, have been debarred from relief work and registration in New South Wales because of the income of their children ; and, if the Commonwealth Government allows the calls-up in this instance to be made through the State labour bureaux, it will perpetuate this injustice. The schedule to this bill provides *inter aiia* for " repairs and maintenance of buildings and equipment ". I take it that that means Commonwealth buildings ; but there are many electorates where there are no Commonwealth building or equipment, or Commonwealth property of any description. The schedule also mentions " clearing Commonwealth lands ". There are many parts of every electorate where there are no Common-' wealth lands. It appears, therefore, that much of this money will be devoted to parts of the Commonwealth where there are Commonwealth properties to improve and lands to clear. Will the Mascot aerodrome share in this distribution? {: .speaker-KZF} ##### Mr Lane: -- The Mascot aerodrome is in the Cook electorate, which is represented by a supporter of the Labour party.. {: .speaker-L08} ##### Mr ROSEVEAR: -- Yes; hut unfortunately the unemployed in the Cook electorate were not considered previously when jobs on works at the aerodrome were handed out. The honorable member for Watson **(Mr. Jennings)** expressed the ho>c that this would he the last occasion on which it would be necessary to make a similar appropriation, and if it is to be the last I hope that, for the spending of the money, a different method from that provided for in this bill will be adopted. I trust that there will be no occasion for plausible excuses for the bulk of the work having been done in electorates represented by supporters of the Government, as was the case in connexion with a previous vote. {: .speaker-KK7} ##### Mr Jennings: -- That is denied. {: .speaker-L08} ##### Mr ROSEVEAR: -- Denial is not proof that the charge is not right. {: .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr Casey: -- Neither is the charge proof. {: .speaker-L08} ##### Mr ROSEVEAR: -- As a matter of fact, the truth of the charge was admitted by the then Minister, **Sir Archdale** Parkhill. {: .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr Casey: -- I cannot believe that ; but, at any rate, in this case there is no ground for a similar charge. {: .speaker-L08} ##### Mr ROSEVEAR: -- The honorable member is unable to believe anything that goes against his party, but the proof is contained in *Ilansard.* I join with the honorable member for Watson in his expression of hope that this will be the last occasion on which it will be necessary to make a vote of this character, and I also trust that it will be the last time that this Government will have opportunity to bestow political patronage by means of an unemployment relief vote in electorates represented by its own supporters. I think honorable members are entitled to an assurance on behalf of the Government that there will be at least something resembling a reasonably fair distribution of the money which this House is now asked to appropriate. As 1 look at the schedule I cannot see how a fair and equitable distribution is to be made. In many electorates it is not possible to employ men on works of this kind. I want to impress upon the Treasurer that those men who, in New South Wales, have been prevented from obtaining relief work because of the earnings of their children, should be given some consideration on this occasion. The policy of excluding such men from participation in relief work is one that should be condemned by every fair-minded man, but, unfortunately, we have not a fairminded government in New South Wales. The result of this policy has been that for the last seven years a section of the unemployed in New South Wales have been forced to live on their children's earnings. They have even been denied the right to register as unemployed. If the honorable member for Barton, who has been interjecting so freely in this debate, is opposed to the granting of this Christmas cheer, he should say so, but if he thinks that the Government should institute a new principle in dealing with the unemployed, then I expect him to assist us ou this side of the House in our endeavours to induce the Treasurer to make this money available for the employment of all persons who are eligible. Otherwise he will be a party to perpetuating a severe injustice on a section of the unemployed in New South Wales. Moreover, I hope that in the spending of this money there will not be the same political patronage that has been so evident in the past when the Government has made funds available for this purpose. {: .speaker-KK7} ##### Mr Jennings: -- I rise to make a personal explanation. The honorable member for Dalley **(Mr. Rosevear)** suggested that some arrangement had been made between the exMinister for Defence **(Sir Archdale Parkhill)** and myself regarding employment at Mascot aerodrome. I know nothing of any such arrangement, and I believe that it exists only in the imagination of the honorable member. Mascot Aerodrome is not in my electorate, but is in the electorate of Cook which, until the last election, was represented by **Mr. J.** S. Garden. I feel sure that he, as well as other representatives in the metropolitan area, received for his district a fair proportion of the money allocated. {: #subdebate-25-0-s7 .speaker-JPN} ##### Mr BLACKBURN:
Bourke -- It is only a fortnight to Christmas, and therefore, I assume that the Government has already worked out its plans for expending this money. The Treasurer **(Mr. Casey)** did not say what those plans were; all he said was that the Government would take men from State labour bureaux. I should like to know whether the Commonwealth Government proposes to choose the men itself, or whether the choosing will be left to the State labour bureaux. If the Commonwealth proposes to do it, how is it to inform itself as to what men are most deserving of employment, or most in need of it? It seems to me that the Government must accept the men recommended to it by the' State bureaux. I understand that in some States the view is held that the Commonwealth ' authorities should do the choosing, but in Victoria, at any rate, I do not see how this could be done. If the Commonwealth were to set up its own labour bureaux, it would not be possible in the time to achieve the object which it has in view in voting this money. Personally, I should much prefer to see the money allocated to Victoria handed over to the State Government to use as it thought fit, But I know that an amendment in that direction could not be made in the measure, and, in any case, it would be opposed by the representatives of some of the other States. I presume that a considerable proportion of this work will be .done in country districts, and- 1 should like to know how the men are to bo selected. Are they to be drawn from the districts in which the work is done? It would he quite possible to draw all the men for work done in Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, Colac, or Mildura from those districts, but unless the work is to be fairly evenly distributed over the whole of Victoria, it would not be fair to draw the men exclusively from the districts in which the works were situated. The measure has been put before us without any information as to the Government's intentions. It is not to be wondered at that the honorable member for Barton **(Mr. Lane)** should have been charged with having obtained some advance information. Personally I do not believe that that is so.. I do not think the Government has given any information to any one. But the speech of the Treasurer in introducing the bill should certainly have been informative. By this time the Government must have made some plans for the spending of this money effectively and economically; yet not a suggestion of its plans has been divulged. How does the Government propose to decide which people in the community are in the greatest need, and which districts are the most deserving of attention? Surely it is intended to decentralize this expenditure to some extent. If that is so, how is the money to be distributed between the unemployed in town and those in the country? It appears to me to be quite likely that a large proportion of this money will be expended in country districts, but it would bo inequitable for all the persons employed to be drawn from country districts. All honorable members desire information on these subjects, and I hop( that the Treasurer will supply it in his speech in reply. {: #subdebate-25-0-s8 .speaker-KRE} ##### Mr SHEEHAN:
Cook -- I do not look upon this grant as in any sense a serious effort on the part of the Government to provide Christmas cheer for the unemployed. The amount involved it far too small to achieve any considerable effect in that regard. The schedule to the bill gives certain details of the proposed expenditure. My experience as a member of local governing bodies is that only about 50 per cent, of the money provided by governments for unemployment relief actually reaches the unemployed. The other 50 per cent, is used in purchasing material and equipment and in supervision. This means that only about £50,000 of this total will be available to the unemployed. If the distribution is made on a population basis it will mean that about £13,000 will go to New. South' Wales, £10,000 to Victoria, £8,000 each to Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia and £3.000 to Tasmania. To provide such paltry sums ostensibly for Christmas cheer is merely to fool the unemployed. According to figures published a few months ago by the Minister for Labour in New South Wales, **Mr. Dunningham,** there are 50,000 unemployed in that State alone, so that if, as I estimate, only £50,000 of .this money will actually reach the unemployed, it would represent only about £1 apiece for the unemployed of New South Wales. It seems to me that the Government is providing this money merely to make possible a beginning early in the new year with its public works policy. No real effort is being made to provide for the needs of the unemployed before Christmas. This proposed vote represents actually, only an early move by the Government to 'put into operation work that has been provided for in the Estimates for tho New Year. An amount of £50,000 could easily be expended in providing proper approaches to the Mascot aerodrome in the Cook electorate. Such an expenditure would be justified, for this aerodrome *it* used by the majority of the people who travel by air in New South Wales. What can possibly be done with £100,000 to provide adequately for the tens of thousands of unemployed people who walk the streets of our cities and tramp our country roads downcast and hungry? These people are practically dependent upon charity for the food that they eat. Yet Australia is a veritable garden of Eden, yielding in luxuriant profusion almost everything that man can desire. Although we have a population of only a little more than 6,000,000 people, we have produced this year sufficient wheat for 30,000,000 people, sufficient wool to clothe 100,000,000 people, and sufficient meat, butter, dried fruits and other foodstuffs to feed double or treble our population. What is wanted is not a few thousand pounds for so-called Christmas cheer, but democratic co-operation between Commonwealth and State governments in a common purpose, and upon a common plan of expenditure, to provide for the needs of our people on a basis that will give common satisfaction. I say, definitely, that the Government is only fooling the unemployed by providing such a meagre amount for relief purposes. {: #subdebate-25-0-s9 .speaker-KJQ} ##### Mr JAMES:
Hunter .- -Like the honorable member for Cook **(Mr. Sheehan)** I am deeply disappointed at the meagre amount of money the Government is making available for the unemployed, particularly as during the last few weeks I have sent on to the Government hundreds of letters from unemployed organizations and local governing authorities requesting that adequate provision be made for Christmas cheer. The reply that- I received after the Governor-General had delivered his Speech at the opening of this session of the Parliament was to the effect that £100,000 would be made available for expenditure on certain Commonwealth public works. The honorable member for Bourke **(Mr. Blackburn)** has made a suggestion, which the Government should seriously consider, that the money should be allocated in accordance with the acuteness of unemployment in different districts. *[Quorum formed.]* The Government should provide employment in certain localities. There has been no reduction whatever of the unemployment figures in respect of the coalmining industry for the last ten years. The organization of which I was an active member before I entered Parliament now contains only about 7,000 members, whereas previously its members numbered about 14,000. In the northern district of New South Wales there are approximately 9,000 youths between the ages of 14 and 24 years who have never done a day's work, yet, because their fathers are in employment, they cannot participate in any relief scheme. I make no selfish plea; I am concerned that people in my electorate should have to endure such conditions. Last year the Government made a grant of clothing, but much of it was not fit to wear. Consideration should be given to poverty-stricken areas such as some of those which I represent. When I asked the Prime Minister to say when the money was likely to be distributed, in view of the near approach of Christmas, the right honorable gentleman said that the matter would be discussed in Parliament, and that honorable members would have an opportunity to . present their views ; yet, when I do so, the Minister in charge of the bill is engaged in conversation with another Minister at the table. In many electorates, little or no Commonwealth works are in progress, for the reason that the Commonwealth owns no property there. With the exception of a few improvements to rifle ranges practically no work has been undertaken in my electorate by the Commonwealth Government. Commonwealth buildings in the district include a civil aerodrome and three or four drill halls. Most of the money which will be provided by this bill will be used to purchase materials and equipment rather than provide labour. As there are still about 200,000 persons unemployed throughout Australia, the amount to be appropriated by this measure represents an average of about 10s. to each of them. The Government might well take into consideration the making of a cash grant to each unemployed person, although it is tragic to think that that is all that the Government can make available to persons who have been unemployed for long periods. The schedule, contains such Sterns as maintenance of buildings. Most of the money expended under that heading will be required to purchase materials. The unemployed will not receive much of it. The Government is only tinkering with the problem of unemployment. When the Opposition, supported by some honorable members on the other side of the chamber, urges that more be done, the Government replies that unemployment is the responsibility of the States, and that it has no desire to interfere. I. suggest that it should interfere on a large scale by doing something worth while and enduring. Much could be done in the construction of docks, the prevention of damage by floods, standardizing the railway gauges, water conservation, and similar works. I ask the Treasurer to give serious consideration to my suggestions. I have again written to the Prime Minister on behalf of the Cessnock Municipal Council, asking that money be made available, if not by way of a monetary grant to the unemployed, then for the improvement of the municipal aerodrome and the rifle range at Cessnock. The ex-Minister for Defence **(Sir Archdale Parkhill)** inspected the drill hall at Kurri Kurri, where the local football club had expended approximately £400 on improvements to property belonging to the Commonwealth. The club had graded the ground by practically removing a hill. In conjunction with the local Returned Soldiers Association, which makes use of the drill hall, the football club asked the Minister for assistance in order that a fence, which had practically been destroyed by white ants, could be repaired, and also that a wooden floor be constructed to replace the present concrete floor in the drill hall. Can the Minister say whether that request has been considered, and whether the request of the local riflemen at West Wallsend for improvements to the rifle range, which are necessary because the road connecting Kurri Kurri to West Wallsend bisects the property, is likely to be granted? Consideration should be given to the claims of those living in areas in which distress is most acute. I believe that the Treasurer is convinced of the soundness of the arguments that have been placed before him that unemployment has never been reduced in the coal-mining communities. Therefore, I make this earnest request that the unfortunate people in those communities should be given more favorable consideration than is extended to those in more fortunate circumstances. In some electorates represented by sup porters of the Government, prosperity may be just around the corner, but the coal-miners know nothing of it. I make this final plea to the Government to give very serious consideration to the distress of those unfortunate people. {: #subdebate-25-0-s10 .speaker-KCM} ##### Mr DRAKEFORD:
Maribyrnong -- I join in the chorus of disappointment expressed by honorable members on this side of the House at the amount provided in this bill for Christmas relief to the unemployed. It is entirely inadequate to meet the existing situation reasonably, and in my view shows a lack of appreciation of the real needs of the unemployed. It seems that the Government has not closely viewed the situation, and that the bill has been drawn in such a way as to make it impossible to make grants for Christinas cheer for the unemployed. The arguments already advanced on this side of the House clearly demonstrate that the object of this bill is merely to provide funds for undertaking works which, in the normal course of events, would have to be undertaken at a later date. For instance, provision of £3,000 is made in the schedule under Item 3 for reconditioning the Commonwealth railways. The work that will be undertaken as the result of the provision of that sum would have to be done sooner or later in the ordinary course of events. What applies in my electorate applies, I am sure, equally in the electorates of other honorable members. Notwithstanding the claim of the Government that unemploymeni has been relieved, if not absolutely cured, there are hundreds of men out of work, some of whom may share in the work to be provided by this money, who are worrying their respective representatives in this Parliament for employment. When one knows that such a conditions 'of affairs exists, one can hardly help making comparisons between what has been done in Australia and what has been done- in New Zealand in similar circumstances. In New Zealand, a substantial cash grant was made for Christmas cheer for the unemployed ; here, we find that the Government's idea of dealing with the situation is merely to bring forward a programme of works, and provide a sum of £100,000 which will not, as far as I can see, provide £1 a head for those who are available for work. Yet the Government expects them to regard it as Christmas cheer. This proposal will be viewed with very grave disappointment. Another aspect of this matter was mentioned by the honorable member for Bourke **(Mr. Blackburn),** who asked how the Government proposes to deal with applications for employment under this scheme. In the rural districts in Victoria some of the unemployed registers have been entirely closed. The names of men who, a few months ago, would have been regarded as available for employment, have been struck off the list. It has been assertedthat the reason for that is that the Country Party Government in Victoria is anxious to make it clear to them that they should seek work on farms no matter what wages or conditions are offered to them. The honorable member for Flinders **(Mr. Fairbairn)** recently asked if inquiries are being made as to the non-availability of labour for farm work. I followed that up by asking the Government to inquire into the conditions of labour and the rates of pay offered for farm work. It is claimed that some farm workers are so poorly paid that they are really working under sweating conditions. If this Government is looking to the unemployment registers of the States to supply the names of men eligible to participate in this grant, it will be found that some men who, until quite recently, would have been eligible for work, will not now get it, because some of the unemployment registers havebeen closed. The Treasurer **(Mr. Casey)** should have been prepared to tell honorable members just how it is proposed to deal with the allocation of this money and how the work it will provide is to be distributed. If that had been done, a good deal of what has been said to-night would not have been necessary. Honorable members are justified in requesting that this information should be supplied. If the Government is really sincere in its desire to help the unemployed, the Treasurer is in duty bound to answer the questions raised by honorable members on this side of the House. My colleague, the honorable member for Cook **(Mr. Sheehan),** certainly raised a very pertinent question that cannot be left unanswered. When I look at the schedule and see the work proposed to be undertaken under this bill, the only conclusionI can draw is that quite an inadequate sum of money is being provided merely to bring forward a certain programme of work that would have to be undertaken at some time during next year. I trust that the Treasurer will give favorable consideration to the requests made by honorable members on this side of the House and furnish information as to how the work is to be distributed and how those who are out of work but not registered on the State employment registers can share in the small sum being made available. *[Quorum formed. ]* {: #subdebate-25-0-s11 .speaker-JNX} ##### Mr BARNARD:
Bass .- Many aspects have been raised in connexion with the allocation of money to be expended for Christmas relief under this bill. Ishould like to bring under the notice of the Treasurer certain work that can be undertaken in Tasmania with the money being made available to that State. Work of such a character as to provide the maximum amount of employment for unskilled labour has been undertaken in Tasmania during the last two or three years by the provision of special grants. I am referring to the removal of noxious weeds from properties owned by the Repatriation Department in the city of Launceston. Each year representations have had to be made to the Government to have this work done. It could be undertaken this year with portion of the money which is being allocated to Tasmania under this bill. {: #subdebate-25-0-s12 .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr WARD:
East Sydney .- I understand that the labour required is to be engaged through the State labor exchanges, but nothing has been said as to the rates of pay or the conditions which are to apply on the various works. According to the relief schemes in New South Wales, skilled workers get only a few pence per hour above the ordinary rates paid, which are extremely low. The present plan is a method used by governments and municipal and shire authorities for exploiting the unemployed, because the works now placed in the schedule appear to be the ordinary works of government departments which would have to be undertaken in any circumstances. In my opinion the Government is using very subtle means to exploit the unemployed in order to have its ordinary undertakings carried out cheaply. The Treasurer **(Mr. Casey)** should be able to give the House further information as to the various works proposed to he carried out under this scheme, because evidently some inquiry has been made in order to enable the money to be allocated to such undertakings as the laying of conduits for telephone cables, and the clearing of land for defence .purposes. The amount of £100,000 proposed is entirely inadequate to meet the situation. When I first saw it, I thought it was a vote for another trip abroad for a few Ministers, rather than a grant for the alleviation of the sufferings of the large army of unemployed. According to the Government and its supporters the country is right at tho peak of prosperity again. If this is an example of the Government's generosity, the unemployed can hope for no improvement of their condition. They have to depend upon the various " handouts " of food relief from the State authorities, and apparently the only employment they can get is one or two weeks at Christmas time, as provided by the Commonwealth Government in a measure of this kind. If this is the Government's idea of a grant in keeping with a period of " unexampled prosperity," it will not be found acceptable by the community generally. I have for years been trying to get the Government to carry out in my electorate the very necessary work of removing that blot upon the landscape in the Paddington district known as the Victoria Barracks, but the Government has always found a reason why it should remain. I, for one, would never be a party to permitting the Commonwealth Government, or any other authority, to exploit the unemployed by having necessary works carried out by cheap labour, for that is what this bill amounts to, but these unfortunate unemployed are compelled to take the work. It may be said that they need not take it unless they want it, but if they refuse it they will be struck off the register of unemployed, and that would mean that they would be unable to secure food relief. Many unfortunates have been compelled to go into country districts such as the honorable member for Flinders **(Mr. Fairbairn)** spoke of, and work for little or no wages. If they refused, they would also have been struck off. The same thing will apply in these works. If an unemployed man believes that he will he no better off by accepting this work - and very often that is the case - and refuses to take it, he will be victimised for not taking government work under sweating conditions. If the Government wanted to give these men, what Government members are pleased to call it, some Christmas cheer, they could do it in a much more equitable way. According to government supporters, the Government does not desire to take advantage of the unemployed position. There is, therefore, no imperative necessity to give them work instead of cash. In any event many men, owing to long periods of unemployment, are unable to undertake laborious work. The Government could increase the vote to such a figure as to make a liberal cash grant to the unemployed, allowing them to spend the money upon things which they desperately require, and giving them the opportunity to enjoy a little Christmas happiness. When £11,500,000 has been voted for defence purposes, it is ridiculous to suggest that £100,000 is sufficient for the unemployed. No member of the Government will be called upon to deprive himself of anything during the Christmas season. The honorable member for Hunter **(Mr. James)** pointed out. that if the whole of this paltry sum be made available direct to the unemployed, it will amount to only 10s. a head, so that they will be relatively very little better off than they were before the Government made this gesture, for, after all, that is all this bill is. The Government is trying to save its face with the electors by pretending to make a liberal grant to alleviate the conditions of the unemployed, whereas it is only tinkering with the problem, and aggravating the condition of the men by telling them, in an era of " unexampled prosperity ", according to the Government's own propaganda, that the best it can do is to distribute £100,000 amongst them, in return for work at wages much lower than the Government would be compelled to pay on works carried out in its ordinary programme. For these reasons, the Labour party should not be enthusiastic in supporting this measure. If a Labour government was in power, it would spend less on guns and warships and give the people better conditions and increased spending power, so that they could have a more pleasant festive season. {: #subdebate-25-0-s13 .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr CASEY:
Treasurer · Corio · UAP -- *in reply* - The money will be allocated on a population basis between the States approximately as follows: - {: .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr Ward: -- Is that all for expenditure on labour? {: .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr CASEY: -- The method of selection of the works has been as follows : Officers of ray department have on my instruction met the appropriate officers of the Department of the Interior and together they have compiled a formidable list of works in connexion with the Department of the Interior, the Postal Department, and defence. From the long list drawn up, the actual works to be carried out have not yet been selected, but a list has been made of those which can be quickly organized, and which will take the maximum amount of unskilled labour, and the least quantity of material. I have discussed with the Minister for the Interior **(Mr. McEwen)** and my own officers the schedule as it appears in the bill. It is quite likely that, in a number of cases, it will not be possible to organize the work before Christmas. Every effort, will, however, be made to proceed with them with the utmost expedition, and as near as possible to the Christmas period. {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr Makin: -- Why has this work of organization been delayed so long? {: .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr CASEY: -- Because the Cabinet, the Government, and this Parliament, have been extremely busy from the day that Parliament was opened. The works will be selected by reason of their proxi mity to areas in which there v pronounced unemployment. {: .speaker-JOM} ##### Mr Beasley: -- How are the officers of the Commonwealth to determine that factor? {: .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr CASEY: -- They have been in touch with the State authorities, and will continue to consult them. The men will be selected through the State instrumentalities, the principle adopted being the selection of those who are in the greatest need. {: .speaker-JOM} ##### Mr Beasley: -- That matter has not yet been determined ? {: .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr CASEY: -- Not finally. {: .speaker-JOM} ##### Mr Beasley: -- Then nothing has been done ? {: .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr CASEY: -- A very great deal has been done - all that could possibly be done in the time available to us. I have communicated with the Governments of the States to ascertain if they are willing to treat the men who obtain employment under this scheme in such a way that they will not be prejudiced in the future, and am informed that a reply has been received from South Australia and Tasmania agreeing to my proposal. I hope to receive a reply from the other States very shortly. {: .speaker-JOM} ##### Mr Beasley: -- In the event of the reply not being in accordance with our wishes, what will happen? {: .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr CASEY: -- All that I can say is that last year I, on behalf of the Government, communicated with the Governments of the States, asking that the gift in that case should not prejudice in any way the existing rights of those who received it. All of the States agreed to fall in with that proposal of the Commonwealth, and to the best of my knowledge, they observed that undertaking. {: .speaker-K9A} ##### Mr Gander: -- Not in New South Wales. {: .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr CASEY: -- I am informed that the rights of no man were prejudiced by reason of the Christmas gift made by the Commonwealth last year. I have no doubt that the States will act similarly on this occasion. The works will be carried out by day labour, at the ordinary rates. That is always the practice in works of this character. {: .speaker-JOM} ##### Mr Beasley: -- Is the work to be rationed? return for work at wages much lower than the Government would be compelled to pay on works carried out in its ordinary programme. For these reasons, the Labour party should not be enthusiastic in supporting this measure. If a Labour government was in power, it would spend less on guns and warships and give the people better conditions and increased spending power, so that they could have a more pleasant festive season. {: #subdebate-25-0-s14 .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr CASEY:
Treasurer · Corio · UAP -- *in reply* - The money will be allocated on a population basis between the States approximately as follows: - {: .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr Ward: -- Is that all for expenditure on labour? {: .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr CASEY: -- The method of selection of the works has been as follows : Officers of ray department have on my instruction met the appropriate officers of the Department of the Interior and together they have compiled a formidable list of works in connexion with the Department of the Interior, the Postal Department, and defence. From the long list drawn up, the actual works to be carried out have not yet been selected, but a list has been made of those which can be quickly organized, and which will take the maximum amount of unskilled labour, and the least quantity of material. I have discussed with the Minister for the Interior **(Mr. McEwen)** and my own officers the schedule as it appears in the bill. It is quite likely that, in a number of cases, it will not be possible to organize the work before Christmas. Every effort, will, however, be made to proceed with them with the utmost expedition, and as near as possible to the Christmas period. {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr Makin: -- Why has this work of organization been delayed so long? {: .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr CASEY: -- Because the Cabinet, the Government, and this Parliament, have been extremely busy from the day that Parliament was opened. The works will be selected by reason of their proxi mity to areas in which there v pronounced unemployment. {: .speaker-JOM} ##### Mr Beasley: -- How are the officers of the Commonwealth to determine that factor? {: .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr CASEY: -- They have been in touch with the State authorities, and will continue to consult them. The men will be selected through the State instrumentalities, the principle adopted being the selection of those who are in the greatest need. {: .speaker-JOM} ##### Mr Beasley: -- That matter has not yet been determined ? {: .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr CASEY: -- Not finally. {: .speaker-JOM} ##### Mr Beasley: -- Then nothing has been done ? {: .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr CASEY: -- A very great deal has been done - all that could possibly be done in the time available to us. I have communicated with the Governments of the States to ascertain if they are willing to treat the men who obtain employment under this scheme in such a way that they will not be prejudiced in the future, and am informed that a reply has been received from South Australia and Tasmania agreeing to my proposal. I hope to receive a reply from the other States very shortly. {: .speaker-JOM} ##### Mr Beasley: -- In the event of the reply not being in accordance with our wishes, what will happen? {: .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr CASEY: -- All that I can say is that last year I, on behalf of the Government, communicated with the Governments of the States, asking that the gift in that case should not prejudice in any way the existing rights of those who received it. All of the States agreed to fall in with that proposal of the Commonwealth, and to the best of my knowledge, they observed that undertaking. {: .speaker-K9A} ##### Mr Gander: -- Not in New South Wales. {: .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr CASEY: -- I am informed that the rights of no man were prejudiced by reason of the Christmas gift made by the Commonwealth last year. I have no doubt that the States will act similarly on this occasion. The works will be carried out by day labour, at the ordinary rates. That is always the practice in works of this character. {: .speaker-JOM} ##### Mr Beasley: -- Is the work to be rationed? {: .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr CASEY: -- In order to spread the work as much as possible, the men will be given between one and three weeks each, dependent on the locality and the character of the work itself. {: .speaker-JOM} ##### Mr Beasley: -- How can that be done before Christmas? {: .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr CASEY: -- I have not said that it was to be done before Christmas; but as far as possible, the works will be put in hand before that time. I agree that that may not be possible in some cases. I cannot sec that a very great deal of significance attaches to the work actually coinciding with the Christmas period. The main thing is to provide employment for men who otherwise would not be able to obtain it. {: .speaker-JOM} ##### Mr Beasley: -- Then it is not to assist them at Christmas time? {: .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr CASEY: -- Certainly it is. No human power could provide for the putting in hand of all of these works before Christmas Day. I believe that I have dealt with all of the points that were raised in the course of the debate, and now commend the measure to the House. Question resolved in the affirmative. Bill read a second time. *In committee:* Clause 1 agreed to. Clause 2 (Appropriation of £100,000). {: #subdebate-25-0-s15 .speaker-JPN} ##### Mr BLACKBURN:
Bourke .- During the second-reading debate I put to the Treasurer **(Mr. Casey)** certain questions relating to matters with which lie had not dealt in his opening speech, but he did not supply me with the information that I sought. I should like him to say whether the men to be employed under this scheme will be those suggested by the State labour exchanges, or whether they will be chosen by some Commonwealth agency. {: .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr Casey: -- I have answered that question three times. {: .speaker-JPN} ##### Mr BLACKBURN: -- I do not think that the honorable gentlemen has done so. The next question is, "nev are the unemployed persons to be chosen for the work that is to be done in provincial areas? The honorable member for Maribyrnong **(Mr. Drakeford)** has pointed out that in some country areas in Victoria there is no system for the registration of the unemployed. Apart from that, it has been the practice to divide such work between men drawn from the districts in which it is undertaken, and others recruited from other parts of the State. Obviously, it would be unfair if the labour were drawn only from the districts iri which the work was put in hand, should the volume of it be considerable. If the Commonwealth proposes to choose the labour the effect will be that the unemployment already suffered will not be taken into account in determining who shall be employed. We should have some definite information on that point. I suggest that in Victoria, at all events, the choice of those to be employed should be left to the State labour authority, and that in provincial areas the labour exchange should be instructed that the employment is to be divided as equitably as possible between men who live in the district in which the work is to be done, and those who are unemployed in other parts of the State. {: #subdebate-25-0-s16 .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr CASEY:
Treasurer · Corio · UAP -- In the engagement of labour, the Commonwealth authorities will collaborate with the State instrumentalities, from whom will be obtained lists of unemployed who, in their opinion, are most urgently in need of assistance. {: .speaker-JOM} ##### Mr Beasley: -- In the event of their not being permitted to register by reason of the conditions which prevail 'in the States, will they be debarred from consideration by the Commonwealth authorities? {: .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr CASEY: -- The Commonwealth Government, through the Department of the Interior, now works solely on a contract basis. It has no list of men, and no organization in the States of "which it can take advantage. The. States are more ' closely in touch with the unemployment situation than is the Commonwealth. In all of the States there are labour bureaux. Even if these do not exist in country districts, there are State instrumentalities from which the Commonwealth would be able to obtain advice as to the men who are most worthy of being given employment under this scheme. Generally speaking, the man with the biggest family responsibilities will be given preference over others. {: .speaker-K9A} ##### Mr Gander: -- If municipal councils or town clerks furnished lists of deserv- ing unemployed persons, would the Minister give them a chance to secure work ? {: .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr CASEY: -- The Commonwealth Government cannot possibly deal with the many hundreds of local government authorities throughout Australia. {: .speaker-009FQ} ##### Mr Curtin: -- The Government will be carrying out some works in municipal areas, and the local municipality will supply a list of workers. {: .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr CASEY: -- I repeat that the Commonwealth Government can deal only with State government authorities; I do not see how it is possible to administer the measure otherwise. {: #subdebate-25-0-s17 .speaker-JOM} ##### Mr BEASLEY:
West Sydney -- Several points that were raised in the debate have not yet been satisfactorily answered. Large numbers of men in the inner metropolitan area of Sydney, particularly in the East and West Sydney districts, have been unemployed for a long time; but, because of difficulty of registration with the State labour bureaux the Commonwealth will not be able to afford these men any help. {: .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr Casey: -- What is the difficulty in connexion with registration? {: .speaker-JOM} ##### Mr BEASLEY: -- One reason has relation to permissible income. I am also reminded by the honorable member for Reid **(Mr. Gander)** that in a number of localities, where there has not been a cull-up of unemployed for years, no registrations have been recorded. Men in the inner metropolitan area have suffered more, than men elsewhere in the city generally. {: .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr Casey: -- Work has been offering by the Metropolitan Water Sewerage and Drainage Board. {: .speaker-JOM} ##### Mr BEASLEY: -- Yes ; but the principle of preference of returned soldiers has been applied for the last eighteen months, so the men of whom I speak cannot get work under the board. Even sons of returned, soldiers have been excluded,' because they are not- eligible for registration. I am sure that the Treasurer **(Mr. Casey)** does not fully appreciate the position in some parts of the metropolitan area of Sydney. I am not offering this criticism in a party political spirit. We who are more closely associated with the problem are in daily association with unemployed per sons, who interview us even in our homes morning, noon and night. Therefore, we have an intimate knowledge of the hardships suffered by these people because the rule governing registration with the State bureau excludes them from any chance of employment. Practically all the federal members representing metropolitan constituencies have the same experience, and occasionally we come across some had cases. Unfortunately, we have to depend upon these State bureaux, and, in many cases, they do not pay much attention to us. There may be some ground for their attitude, because we are not operating in quite the same political sphere, and the authorities controlling the State bureaux think that the Commonwealth Government ought to do more. This measure offers some chance of relief, and we are anxious that something shall be done for the men of whom I speak. We know, however, that they would have no help through the State bureaux. If the allocation of the money were left to the Commonwealth officers, there might be a chance. I have the highest regard for the Commonwealth works employment officers in Sydney, and we should be pleased if these men had some say in the selection of the men required for this work. **Mr. CASEY** (Corio- Treasurer) [11.35 ). - I appreciate the remarks of the honorable member for West Sydney **(Mr.** Beasley), but I do not see how the Government can follow the procedure which be has suggested. I do not, for a moment, believe the bill will rectify all the disabilities under which men who are unemployed are suffering, but it will do as much as £100,000 expended for the employment of manual labour will do - no more and no less. The Government cannot, for the reasons given, do other than deal with the State authorities. The Commonwealth has no organization. {: .speaker-JOM} ##### Mr Beasley: -- That being so, it might help if the Government allowed some latitude in the allocation of the money. {: .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr CASEY: -- There is nothing in the bill to tie the Government down to a definite procedure in that regard. I shall bring the representations of the honorable member to the notice of the Minister for I he Interior' **(Mr. McEwen),** and see what can be done. {: #subdebate-25-0-s18 .speaker-009FQ} ##### Mr CURTIN:
Fremantle .- It is unfortunate that in this measure for the expenditure of £100,000 for the specific purpose of giving some comfort to those who are in need at the Christmas season, there is no provision for unemployed women. Earlier in the debate, I directed attention to this omission, and pointed out that women, including widows with dependent children, were on unemployed registers in the different States. {: .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr Casey: -- They could not be expected to do manual labour. {: .speaker-009FQ} ##### Mr CURTIN: -- I know they could not, and I am not asking that in any provision for unemployed women they should be expected to do manual work. The Treasurer **(Mr. Casey)** will remember that representations were made to him with a view to making the bill cover all sections * of unemployed persons in the Commonwealth, and he received a memorandum on the subject. {: .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr Casey: -- That is true. {: .speaker-009FQ} ##### Mr CURTIN: -- The Treasurer will also recall that I discussed it with him before the present Government was constituted, and I can only express my regret - I might even say my annoyance - that the very well-considered representations did not receive sympathetic consideration. {: .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr Casey: -- They were considered. {: .speaker-009FQ} ##### Mr CURTIN: -- This Parliament has done very little directly to help the unemployed, and when it is identified with tlie problem, its identification should be wide enough to deal with the various categories of unemployed. At this late hour I express considerable annoyance st the exclusion of unemployed women from participation from this grant. **Mr. CASEY** (Corio- Treasurer) i 11.38]. - I assure the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Curtin)** that his representations and those of **Mr. Monk,** of the Trades Hall, in Melbourne, received careful consideration. The Commonwealth Government is not the only authority setting out to give assistance to the unemployed at this time. I have no doubt that State governments are doing, what they can to give relief, and, in addition, various charitable organizations throughout the Commonwealth are playing their part. It cannot be expected that by one measure for tho expenditure of *£100,000* for the provision of manual labour, all the ills of unemployment will be cured. Clause agreed to. Clause 3 agreed to. Schedule agreed to. Preamble and title agreed to. Bill reported without amendment; report adopted. Bill read a third time. {: .page-start } page 500 {:#debate-26} ### TRADE WITH NEW ZEALAND MINISTERIAL Visit. {: #debate-26-s0 .speaker-N76} ##### Mr MENZIES:
AttorneyGeneral · Kooyong · UAP -- *by leave* - I inform honorable members that arrangements were completed to-day between the Governments of the Commonwealth and New Zealand, for the Minister for Trade and Customs **(Mr. White)** to leave by the *Awatea* on Friday next for New Zealand. He is visiting that dominion at the invitation of the New Zealand Government for the purpose of discussing during the parliamentary recess certain trade matters which are of mutual interest' to the two countries. {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr Makin: -- Is -any effort being made to secure a reciprocal trade arrangement with South Africa? {: .speaker-N76} ##### Mr MENZIES: -- I am not in a position to deal with that matter. {: .page-start } page 500 {:#debate-27} ### BILLS RETURNED FROM THE SENATE The following bills were returned from the Senate without amendment: - Transport Workers Bill 1937. Maternity Allowance Bill 1937. Loan Bill 1937. {: .page-start } page 500 {:#debate-28} ### SUSPENSION OF SITTING {: #debate-28-s0 .speaker-N76} ##### Mr MENZIES:
UAP -- I suggest, **Mr. Speaker,** that as it is necessary to await events in the other branch of the legislature, you may be pleased to leave the Chair and to resume it later at a time to be made known in the usual way by the ringing of the bells. I suggest 11 a.m. tomorrow. **Mr. SPEAKER (Hon.** G. J. Bell).The suggestion appears to be a desirable one, because we do not know how long the Senate will take to dispose of the remaining business. {: #debate-28-s1 .speaker-009FQ} ##### Mr CURTIN: -- I submit, without disrespect, that the suggestion by the AttorneyGeneral should not be acted upon. We have reached an Hour later than the time at which this House usually adjourns. Sessional orders have been adopted by the House fixing the time of meeting on Thursdays at 2.30 p.m. That was the decision of the House on a motion submitted by the Prime Minister **(Mr. Lyons).** If we follow the procedure which the Attorney-General suggests, we shall deprive honorable members of their rights by denying them to-morrow the opportunity to submit questions which may be of great urgency. The procedure suggested would frustrate the deliberative competence of members, and would bo a departure from the usual practice. I submit that the Acting Leader of the House should move the adjournment in the usual way until a definite hour to-morrow. Even on that motion, honorable members may have certain matters to ventilate. If, on meeting to-morrow, sufficient progress has not been made in the other branch of the legislature to enable this House to proceed with further business, the suggestion for the supension of the sitting could then be properly made and acted upon. {: #debate-28-s2 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- The course of suspending the sitting has been adopted on more than one occasion. It appeared to the Chair that this suggestion was made to meet the convenience of honorable members because of the uncertainty regarding the time to be taken by the Senate in dealing with the remaining business. {: #debate-28-s3 .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN: -- That has been done when the sitting has been resumed on the same day, but not when there has been an adjournment over-night. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- It has been done even over-night. {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN: -- The Senate has adjourned to-night in the ordinary way, and will meet again to-morow. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- But we do not know how long it will take to deal with its business. There is no further business for this House to transact until the Senate returns bills that have been agreed to here. {: .speaker-009FQ} ##### Mr CURTIN: -- If you, **Mr. Speaker,** propose to resume the chair at 11 a.m. to-morrow, what is to prevent the House from adjourning until that hour? {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- I was going to suggest that that House should not meet before 11 a.m., and that the bells should be rung for ten minutes to give honorable members a longer period than usual to prepare for the sitting, owing to the uncertainty of the time of meeting. The Chair will bo resumed when the bells are rung tomorrow, but not before 11 a.m. *Sitting suspended from 11.49 p.m. to 11.12 a.m. (Thursday).* {:#subdebate-28-0} #### Thursday, 9 December 1937 {: .page-start } page 501 {:#debate-29} ### APPROPRIATION (WORKS AND SERVICES) BILL 1937 Bill returned from the Senate without amendment. {: .page-start } page 501 {:#debate-30} ### TARIFF BOARD REPORTS **Mr. WHITE** laid on the table reports and recommendations of the Tariff Board on the following subjects: - >Aerated or Mineral Waters, viz.: - Contrexcville, Evian, Terrier, St. Galmier, Vak, and Vittel. > >Cellulose Enamels, Lacquers and Varnishes; Colours ground in plasticizing media; and Synthetic Resins incorporated in oil. > >China ware and Parianware, n.e.i.; Porcolainware, n.e.i.; Earthenware, Brownware and Stoneware, n.e.i., including Glazed or Enamelled Fireclay Manufactures, n.e.i., and all kinds of porous Insulating Blocks. > >Corks and Cork Manufactures excepting Corkboard. {:#subdebate-30-0} #### Cotton or Linen Handkerchiefs; Cotton or Linen Serviettes Curtains and Blinds, n.e.i. (not including blinds attached to rollers). {:#subdebate-30-1} #### Hydraulic Door Closers Laundry Machines (not being those of the type used in the household) . {:#subdebate-30-2} #### Lifting Jacks Parasols, Sunshades and Umbrellas, n.e.i. {:#subdebate-30-3} #### Tents, Sails and Flags Ordered to be printed. {: .page-start } page 501 {:#debate-31} ### LEAVE TO MOVE MOTION NOT GRANTED {: #debate-31-s0 .speaker-JTY} ##### Mr ARCHIE CAMERON:
BarkerAssistant Minister · CP -- *by leave. -* I move- {: .speaker-009FQ} ##### Mr Curtin: -- I rise to order. The honorable gentleman is proceeding to move a motion. **Mr. SPEAKER (Hon. G. J. Bell).The** Assistant Minister is asking for leave to move a motion. {: .speaker-009FQ} ##### Mr Curtin: -- I am quite willing to grant leave, but I am in some doubt as to whether leave may be granted to introduce new business, this being merely a continuation of the sitting commenced yesterday and the 11 o'clock rule not having been suspended. I am willing to facilitate the-convenience of the Ministry and the transaction of government business, but I wish to make quite certain that in doing so the proper procedure and the rules of the House are not violated. {: #debate-31-s1 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Two points arise in this matter. The first is, that new business may not be introduced after 11 p.m., if its introduction is opposed. The House can, however, grant leave for its introduction if it so desires. Is leave granted ? Honorable Members. - !No. Leave not granted. {: #debate-31-s2 .speaker-009FQ} ##### Mr CURTIN:
Fremantle *- by leave* - Last evening I endeavoured to convince you, **Mr. Speaker,** and the Acting Leader of the House **(Dr. Earle Page),** that the ordinary procedure of the Parliament should be adhered to, namely, that there should bo an adjournment to a specific hour to-day and that a fresh sitting should then be commenced in the usual way. That would have conserved not only the .rights of the Government to bring down new business but also - what is equally important - the rights of honorable members generally to submit to Ministers questions upon matters that they deem to be urgent and which they will have no" further opportunity to submit. I suggest, with very great respect, that the Acting Leader of the House should now move " That the House, at its rising, adjourn until 11.30 a.m.". We could then commence the work that lies ahead of us, at a sitting in which the normal procedure of the Parliament would be observed. In order to make it quite clear that the deliberative competence of this Parliament shall be maintained, I desire- that inly in the very gravest emergency shall there be a departure from the rules and the procedure of the House. It is for that reason that we have declined to grant to the Assistant Minister **(Ms. Archie Cameron)** leave to move a motion, even though we may desire that thai motion shall be considered. I understand that the Assistant Minister desired to move a motion to refer a certain work to the Public Works Committee. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- I should like to state, for the information of honorable members, that even had the House been adjourned last night, leave would still have had to be granted before the Assistant Minister could have moved a motion to-day. Last night the House did what it has done more than once previously. The honorable member for Hindmarsh **(Mr. Makin),** I am sure, will recall having taken similar action when he was Speaker. Other Speakers also have taken it. This is the first occasion on which exception has been taken to it. {: #debate-31-s3 .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE:
Minister for Commerce · Cowper · CP -- *by leave.* - The Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Curtin)** has taken exception to the manner in which the business of tlie House is being, conducted, in that last night the sitting was suspended instead of the House being adjourned. That practice has been followed universally during the eighteen years that I have been a. member of this Parliament. It has always been the practice to suspend the sitting while- awaiting the return of business from the Senate, because the hour at which it would have to be called together again has been quite indefinite. Honorable members are quite aware that it was by the merest chance last night that the position arose necessitating our meeting to-day. Had we completed our business in time to enable the Senate to deal with it last night, there would have been no need to suspend the sitting until this morning, because what remained to be done could have been concluded in a few minutes. Every honorable member was aware of that. In fact, as all know, many honorable members had arranged to leave Canberra last night, because it was confidently expected that the business of this period of the session would then have been terminated. It was the fact that the Senate disposed of the second last measure sent to it from this House more quickly than was anticipated' that made it necessary for us to meet at all to-day. Otherwise there would have been no occasion for an adjournment, suspension or anything else. I see no reason why the practice which has always been followed should be departed from now. It is quite competent for honorable members, on the motion for the adjournment of the House, to raise matters which they desire to bring forward. All Ministers are present, and replies can be given. In fact, such matters could be raised more effectively on the adjournment than in any other way. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- I wish to correct a mistake which I made earlier. Upon referring to the *Votes and Proceedings,* I find that the honorable member for Hindmarsh **(Mr. Makin),** when he was Speaker, did not suspend *a* sitting of the House overnight, as I said. However, that action has been taken on quite a number of other occasions; The honorable member for Hindmarsh ruled that a Speaker . could suspend a sitting, and leave the chair, pending tlie arrival of a message from the Seriate, but on that occasion he did not suspend the sitting overnight. {: .page-start } page 503 {:#debate-32} ### SPECIAL ADJOURNMENT {: #debate-32-s0 .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE:
Minister for Commerce · Cowper · CP -- I move - >That the House, at its rising, adjourn until a date and hour to be fixed by **Mr. Speaker,** which time of meeting shall be notified by **Mr. Speaker** to each member by telegram or letter. For the convenience of honorable members I desire. to inform them that the Government hopes that when Parliament is called together in March, its legislative programme will be well advanced, and Parliament will be able to sit continuously from that time. Motion agreed to. {: .page-start } page 503 {:#debate-33} ### LEAVE OF ABSENCE Motion (by **Dr. 'Earle** Page) - *by leave* - agreed to - >That leave of absence be given to every member of the House of Representatives from the determination of this sitting of the House to the date of its next sitting. {: .page-start } page 503 {:#debate-34} ### ADJOURNMENT Valedictory - Accommodation in Parliament House- Defence Expenditure - Regular Sittings oi? Parliament' - Milk for Children - Price of Gold - Destruction of Surplus Food - Christmas Double Payment of Invalid and Old-age Pension - Tasmanian Timbers for Government Buildings. {: #debate-34-s0 .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE:
Minister for Commerce · Cowper · CP -- I move - >That the House do now adjourn. I take this opportunity to express the appreciation of members of this chamber to yourself, **Mr. Speaker,** for the manner in which you have controlled the deliberations of Parliament, and also to the Chairman of Committees and to the Temporary Chairmen for the way in which they have controlled the business in committee. I should like also to thank the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Curtin)** for the* uniform courtesy and assistance which he has rendered, insofar as his duties ns Leader of the Opposition has permitted him to assist the' Government. I also thank the "Whip's of all parties for the magnificent way in which they have performed their duties, and the officers of the House for their assistance. We are all very pleased that it was possible to complete the business of the session on this occasion without any all-night sittings. I also extend the thanks of the Government to members of the *Hansard* staff and of the library staff, as well as to all the attendants, members of the refreshment room staff, &c, who have played their part in enabling the work of Parliament to be carried on. On behalf of the Government, I extend to members of all parties, and to representatives of_ the press, greetings for the Christmas season. The sittings of Parliament have been brief on this occasion, but the co-operation of honorable members has enabled the Government's programme to be put through expeditiously. During the recess, the Government hopes to go into the matter of improved accommodation in this building for Ministers and members generally. I have always felt very strongly that the only way in which private members can do their work properly is for them to have some quiet nook to themselves in which they can study or interview visitors. The Government has therefore conferred with the Speaker, the President and the Joint House Committee, and I hope that during the recess a beginning will be made with the task of providing improved accommodation. {: #debate-34-s1 .speaker-KFS} ##### Sir HENRY GULLETT:
Henty -- During the debates that have occurred over the last fortnight, I have been most deeply impressed by tho extraordinary unanimity of opinion of honorable members of all parties that the Government should have all the money it needs for the defence of Australia. Parliament has voted a larger sum for defence than has ever "Been previously voted in peace time, and members of all parties have, in effect, said to the Government, " Get on with this job, and all the money you need within reason for the adequate defence of Australia will be found for you ". This ha3 imposed a heavy responsibility on the Government, but I am sure that Parliament has acted wisely. I trust that all the money voted for defence will be expended this year, and that, in addition, a comprehensive plan for future defence developments will be drawn up and put into effect, until such time as we can say that the safety of this country is as assured as it can be made. It is common knowledge that the Minister for Defence **(Mr. Thorby)** has been allotted the vexing task of supervising arrangements for the provision of improved accommodation in Parliament House for members and Ministers. In my opinion, it is emphatically wrong that the Minister's time, so precious to this country just now, should be spent on a tin-pot matter of this kind. The Minister should be giving every moment of his time to providing for the defence of the country; ho should not be called upon to devote many hours, as he has been doing, to supervising the proposed building alterations. It is a. troublesome and distracting task, which was not of his choosing, but was, I understand, imposed upon him .by the Prime Minister. I trust that in future his attention will not be taken from the Ministry of Defence for this or any other matter. {: #debate-34-s2 .speaker-009FQ} ##### Mr CURTIN:
Fremantle . -I express to the Acting Leader of the House **(Dr. Earle Page)** our appreciation of his reference to members of the Opposition. We do hope that, consistent with our duty to the country, with the opinions expressed prior to the elections, and with our obligation to act as critics of Government policy and administration, we shall be able to meet the convenience of Ministers, and facilitate the work of Parliament. When the Opposition does take a stand, it is not out of pure cussedness, or a desire to obstruct; it is because we desire to perform, as far as we can, what we understand to be our duties as the Opposition in this Parliament. I express to every Minister and to honorable gentlemen sitting behind them, my sincere wishes for a happy Christmas festival, and also that they will find the New Year 'brighter and more pleasing even than this one has been. To you, **Sir, I** express admiration for the dignity and the courtesy which has marked your conduct of the proceedings in this chamber. I have nothing to add to what I said on the occasion of your second elevation to the chair, other than to say that I feel that everything that I said then I should say doubly at the present time. To the officers of tho House, the Clerk and the Clerk Assistants, the gentlemen of *Hansard,* and other officers and messengers in attendance at Parliament, T extend compliments on the approaching festive season. To my own supporters and colleagues I express my very great personal indebtedness. I do not quite know what the Acting Leader of the House meant when he said that so far as I was permitted to be courteous and so on, I generally behaved that way. As a matter of fact, I think Australia now realizes - even this morning there is some little evidence of it - that the Opposition is a much more united and cordial band than even the ministerial party itself. When I speak, as Leader of the Opposition, I speak authoritatively for every honorable gentleman sitting behind me, but I doubt very much the competence of the Leader of the Government to do that for every honorable gentleman sitting behind him. These things are not all important, although they none the less have their interest, and that is why I make that comment. My prayer is that Australia next year, and indeed for years to come, will have peace assured to it, that the world also will manage to escape the turmoil of any crucial struggles, and that men generally will be assured of such peace and happiness- as statesmanship will permit. {: #debate-34-s3 .speaker-KVN} ##### Mr STREET:
Corangamite -- The Acting Leader of the House **(Dr. Earle Page)** informed us this morning that Parliament will reassemble in March and sit until certain business is disposed of, but that is somewhat indefinite. It should be possible for the Government to arrange its business in such a way as to enable Parliament to sit for definite periods in each year, instead of in the present haphazard manner in which honorable members never know just when Parliament will or will not be in session. Regular sittings of Parliament would make for a smoother administration of the country. It would be right, I think, for the Government to announce that the Parliament will meet in March for three months, and then go into recess until the budget session is held. Under the present arrangements, the Parliament meets for a fortnight or ten days, and then goes into recess, and then shortly afterwards meets again for another short period ; and in my opinion that is an unsatisfactory method of carrying on the business of the country. {: #debate-34-s4 .speaker-KLM} ##### Dr MALONEY:
Melbourne -- I take this opportunity to say a few words on a matter concerning what, perhaps, will be the last effort that I shall make in this life, that is an effort to ensure that every child born in Australia shall be enabled to have an adequate supply of milk. Medical men agree that this should be from one and a half to two pints a day. I am sorry to say that I found in the creches and kindergartens of Melbourne that poor little mites did not get milk because they were too young to go to school. As the. result of efforts by my dear friend **Mr. Chas.** Barrett, a committee of five and myself, a supply of milk for the children and toddlers of the free creches and kindergartens of Melbourne was made available and distributed by the Metropolitan Milk Council. I regret that we found in some schools that a pint of milk was broken down to a third of a pint. There is no honorable member of this House, or, I think, any man or woman in this country, who would say that children should not have sufficient milk. Indeed, medical experts declare that we are raising a race of human beings that have not had proper and sufficient food. A child cannot be expected to become a healthy adult if it is stinted of food. One cannot grow flowers in cellars, and if a tree or any form of vegetable life does not get soil, water and sunlight (the giver of all life) it cannot grow. It is a sad commentary that this country, which produces on a *per capita* basis, more food than any other country, should deny to its citizens sufficient nutriment. I know that I have no need to appeal to my honorable friend, the Minister for Health **(Dr. Earle Page),** in this matter. In asking a question recently, I briefly congratulated the right honorable gentleman on his having been appointed to the department. I should, personally, have liked the right honorable member for North Sydney **(Mr.** Hughes), who made his name known throughout the length and breadth of Australia in advocating, as I am doing now, the supply of milk to children, to continue as Minister for Health. As one who, in past years, held the right honorable gentleman up to more scorn than any other honorable gentleman in this House, I welcomed the statements from his lips, aimed at improving the supply of food to our infants. But it has been said that a new broom always sweeps clean, and I hope that the right honorable member for Cowper **(Dr. Earle Page)** will use his own medical knowledge during the recess, and afterwards, towards obtaining fulfilment of the desires in this matter of both myself and of the right honorable member for North Sydney. **Mr. Barrett** and I and a small committee of five, raised £1,500 which was forwarded to the Metropolitan Milk Council for the supply of milk to the free creches and kindergartens. We have also been able to advance the milk-for-children campaign in most towns in Victoria, and committees have been formed to ensure adequate supplies of milk to children. Members of the committee have addressed meetings, through the courtesy of. owners of picture theatres in Victoria - more than a hundred of them - of an aggregate of more than 200,000 people, and not one objecttion was raised against our campaign. This is not a party political question, but is a question of the welfare of humanity. If the Minister for Health can do anything to ensure an adequate supply of milk for the children of this country he will earn the grateful thanks not only of the mothers of the children but also of the whole community. I believe that there was not a candidate that stood for election for this Parliament a few weeks ago who, if he had been asked on the platform whether he was favorable to the provision of a sufficient amount of money from the Treasury to ensure an adequate milk supply for the children, would not have said at once: "Yes, I aru; and I would support any effort of the Minister for Health to obtain money for this purpose." Surely in a country like Australia the school children should be provided with sufficient milk not only as a food but also as a medicine, as, in fact, is done in Russia to-day. When I was honoured by appointment as one of the official delegates to attend the Coronation festivities in England .1 made up my mind that while I was abroad I won id try to get an answer to two questions. The first was " Who fixes the price of gold for the world ? " Unfortunately I was not able to get much specific information. As kissing goes by favour, so, apparently, does the right to address conference meetings. A titled- gentleman, or the leader of a delegation, may obtain permission to address a conference, but other representatives have very little hope of doing so. I did ascertain, however, that on the second floor of the House of Rothschild., a meeting of representatives of certain companies is held at 11 a.m. each day at which the price of gold is fixed for the whole world. **Sir Howard** d'Eg ville endeavoured to obtain specific information for me as to who these representatives were and who appointed them, but he did not succeed. I wished to know under what authority these men met and ' also which companies they represented. I also tried to ascertain by whose authority large quantities of foodstuffs, said to be surplus, are destroyed from time to time, notwithstanding that tens of thousands of people throughout the world are hungry. We all know that vast quantities of wheat have been used as fuel, and hundreds of thousands of bags of coffee were destroyed in order to keep up the price of these commodities. Such action is irreligious, unchristian and inhuman in view of the fact that multitudes of people throughout the world are on the verge of starvation. {: #debate-34-s5 .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN:
Hindmarsh .- During the last few weeks representations have been made to the Treasurer **(Mr. Casey)** by the honorable member for Reid **(Mr. Gander),** the honorable member for Ballarat **(Mr. Pollard),** and others with the object of obtaining a double payment next fortnight for invalid and old-age pensioners as a Christmas gift. I have also taken this matter up with the honorable gentleman on behalf of the honorable member for Boothby **(Mr.** Price), the honorable member for Adelaide **(Mr.** Stacey), and on my own account. The reply of the Treasurer to the submissions made to him was that as our pensions bill this year will be more than £2,000,000 in excess of last year's total, the Government felt that it could not accede to the request. I communicated this decision to the Invalid and Old Age Pensioners Association of South Australia, and have just received from that body a telegram which reads : - >Government's reply not satisfactory; desire further consideration of the matter. I therefore ask the Treasurer, on behalf of these pensioners, to reconsider his decision, with the object of giving a favorable reply to the representations. {: #debate-34-s6 .speaker-KJQ} ##### Mr JAMES:
Hunter .- I desire, **Mr. Speaker,** to bring under your notice certain action that has been taken by the Secretary of the Joint House Committee, **Mr. Broinowski,** in connexion with a definite resolution of the committee, that plans and specifications be drawn up by the architectural branch of the Department of the Interior for alterations of Parliament House. I understand that **Mr. Broinowski** has approached members of the committee, individually, and sought their approval for certain work to be proceeded with, actually in contravention of the decision of the Joint House Committee. **Mr. Broinowski** approached me on the subject yesterday, and I told him I thought the best thing he could do was to summon a meeting of the committee. He said that it was impossible to get the committee together. He then asked me if I would approve of certain additional rooms being constructed on what, for lack of knowledge of the exact architectural terms, I can only describe as the landings leading out from the Opposition rooms at the rear of this House, and also those leading out from the Senate quarters. The new rooms, it was suggested, would be for the occupation of Ministers. I protest against any proposal that additional rooms should be provided for Ministers at the rear of the Opposition party rooms. Even as things are, complaints have been made from time to time that information has leaked out of the Opposition rooms. It has been said., of course, that persons outside the rooms have heard voices through the windows. If rooms for Ministers are built at the back of the Opposition party rooms it will be grossly unfair. Ministers might even hear what is going on in the Opposition party rooms. {: .speaker-009FQ} ##### Mr Curtin: -- We might also hear what is going on in the Ministerial rooms. {: .speaker-KJQ} ##### Mr JAMES: -- In any case I object to the procedure that is being adopted to obtain the approval of the Joint House Committee to the proposals. I have been a strong supporter of the proposal that additional accommodation should be provided at Parliament House for honorable members. We all know that every year the Joint House Committee has to seek an additional advance from the Treasury to meet the losses sustained in the upkeep of the Parliamentary refreshment-rooms. In order to overcome such a loss I have suggested that another story should be added to Parliament House, in order to provide a room for each honorable member. At present, some honorable members spend half of their time at a hotel and half their time here. If this additional accommodation were provided the Parliamentary refreshment-rooms could be maintained on a much better basis than at present, and the losses now being incurred could be avoided. The present staff is kept to cater for the whole of the members of Parliament, if necessary, but all honorable members do not take advantage of the facilities provided. I understand that the proposal of Ministers to seek additional accommodation has been brought forward in order to enable them to have their secretaries accommodated in this building. While I do not object to that, I say that sufficient accommodation should be provided for all honorable members.' I previously said that an additional story should be built, but the opinion is held that the foundations are not strong enough to carry another story. I see no point in that objection because if necessary they can be strengthened. In any case if the foundations are so weak that to add another story would endanger the safety of the building somebody should be held responsible for having permitted such a state of affairs in the first place, as I understand that when plans were originally drafted it was contemplated that an additional story would later on be required. You, **Mr. Speaker,** have indicated that, during the coming recess, the room occupied by those honorable members who formed the Australian Labour party of New South Wales, is to be vacated. I have no doubt that when we come back after the recess we shall find that our papers and other personal belongings have been removed to some other place, and that an attempt will be made to quarter the whole of the 29 members of the Opposition in one Opposition room, thereby accentuating the congestion that already exists. Under the present arrangements, a much smaller party, the United Australia party, has a much bigger room than is provided for the Opposition, and its numbers are reduced by the fact that Ministers have their own separate rooms. Why should not the two parties that form the Government occupy one room? In its endeavour to secure more accommodation the Ministry is endeavouring to house the Opposition in one room like cattle. The same privileges should be granted to all; while provision is being made for additional accommodation for Ministers adequate and suitable accommodation should also be made for all honorable members. I strongly object to the proposal that the room formerly used by the New South Wales Labour party should he handed over to the Government, and, for my part, I shall only be evicted from that room by force. **Mr. SPEAKER (Hon. G. J. Bell).I** think it might be well at this stage to reply to certain aspects of the matter raised by honorable members. I know that the Ministry proposed to build additional rooms, but not having been consulted in that respect I do not know how they will be used. The Joint House Committee, of which I am a member like the honorable ' member for Hunter **(Mr. James),** approved of the suggestion of the Minister for Defence **(Mr. Thorby)** that additional accommodation should be provided, but I did not agree to any plans, none having been prepared. Later, however, the secretary of the Joint House Committee informed me that all members of the committee had agreed to the Minister's proposal. They were consulted individually, because there was insufficient time to hold another meeting of the committee, and the Government was anxious that the work should be proceeded with without delay. {: .speaker-KIX} ##### Mr Hutchinson: -- That is not correct {: #debate-34-s7 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- It is what I was told. A3 to the other aspects of the matter, I know no more than does the honorable member for Hunter. I have not been consulted as. to who shall occupy the rooms, but that must be done before they are occupied. I assure honorable members that the provision of accommodation to meet the needs of honorable members is not an easy matter, and I have done what is possible with what is now available. 1 remind honorable members that the rooms provided for what was formerly the New South Wales Labour party were made available at the request of the members of that party because they considered that accommodation previously allotted to them on the ground floor did not suit their convenience. The Leader of that party was told at the time that if, subsequently, the Opposition became a united party, he and his followers might have to vacate their new rooms. Recently, I informed the Leader of the Opposition that, because of the demand for additional accommodation, one of the rooms he and his followers occupied would have to be given up, and it was his choice that it be the room referred to by the honorable member for Hunter. I have made arrangements to have the Opposition party room enlarged so that it will be more fitted to accommodate the members of that party and, until that is done, the honorable member for Hunter and his colleagues will continue to occupy the room which they now use. I have asked the Opposition Whip to inform those honorable members who now use the room which they are asked to vacate to leave their papers in order so that they can be removed during, the recess. The room will be used by a Minister. The available accommodation must be used to tho best advantage to meet the needs of all, and I have done my best to do so. No unofficial member of the ministerial parties has a room other than the party room. That is what is proposed in th« case of the Labour party. {: #debate-34-s8 .speaker-L08} ##### Mr ROSEVEAR:
Dalley .- I join with the honorable member for Hunter **(Mr. James)** in the protest which he has made against any further infringement upon the accommodation provided at the present time for members of the Opposition in this building.. Whether the architect is able to make that small alteration of the Opposition room or not, it will still be too small to accommodate 25 members adequately to enable them to do justice to the work they are called upon to perform in this chamber. It is all very well for the Government to endeavour to hoodwink the House in regard to this extra accommodation by saying that it is being provided for the general use of honorable members. It has been shouted from the housetops and repeated in the press of Australia that the Ministry merely requires extra accommodation. Your statement, **Mr. Speaker,** that the room from which the Opposition is to be evicted is to be used by a Minister merely indicates the truth of what I am saying. It is common knowledge that this evergrowing Ministry desires to provide rooms for every Minister and separate rooms for each Minister's secretary. Already the Ministry monopolizes two sides of this House; the third side is now used by the largest party in this Parliament; yet Ministers are not satisfied and desire to encroach upon the Opposition lobby. The State governments have passed shop and factory regulations stipulating the minimum air space to be provided for persons employed in those establishments. In New South Wales, office accommodation such as that provided for the Opposition in this building would be condemned as not giving sufficient air space. Yet, it is proposed to limit the quarters of the combined Opposition to a room which is totally unsuitable for the purpose. The Opposition does not complain about the accommodation which it now has, but it is unitedly opposed to any encroachment upon it. If the party is now satisfied with its two rooms, the Government should not alter them. In the United Australia party section of the ministerial party are 27 members, a number of whom - ex-Ministers - are, I understand, accommodated in a special room. {: .speaker-KWC} ##### Mr Thorby: -- That is not the position at the present time. {: .speaker-L08} ##### Mr ROSEVEAR: -- An alteration must have been made. At least the Ministers themselves do not use the ministerial party room. I understand that not more than seventeen or eighteen members are accommodated in that room. I am not complaining of this, for I realize, that the room is not large enough to provide reasonable accommodation for a larger number, but members of the ministerial parties should have sympathy with the Opposition. They should recognize that we have a smaller room, and that it would be unfair to put 25 members into it. If members of the Opposition are all of the same mind as I am, the Government will experience a very uncomfortable time next year, unless it realizes, that there are ways and means of preventing this class of eviction. I do not agree with everything which the Government or its nominees seek to foist upon me. Because of the fact that we made things uncomfortable for the Government in this House, the rights of the group to which I belong to a room on the same' floor as the chamber were recognized. What was done by that group on a former occasion can be done again, and nobody could blame it if it took such steps as seemed to be necessary to maintain the privileges it now enjoys. It is farcical to think that 25 men could work in one room, and do their work properly. I am sure that in such circumstances the character of the work of this deliberative chamber would suffer. I hope that wiser counsels will prevail during the recess, and that the Government will be satisfied with its present accommodation until such time as extra space becomes available, although, no doubt, it will be monopolized immediately by the ministerial parties. {: #debate-34-s9 .speaker-KWC} ##### Mr THORBY:
Minister for Defence · Calare · CP -- I regret that any honorable member should approach this difficult matter in such a way as it has been discussed. {: .speaker-JOM} ##### Mr Beasley: -- The Minister is only starting the dispute. {: .speaker-KWC} ##### Mr THORBY: -- I claim that I am the last one who should be spoken to in that way, particularly by the honorable member for West Sydney **(Mr. Beasley),** because the members of his party have me to thank for the fact that they were able to leave the basement and occupy a comfortable room on the main floor. {: .speaker-JOM} ##### Mr Beasley: -- We had to fight for it. {: .speaker-KWC} ##### Mr THORBY: -- The honorable gentleman expressed his personal thanks and that of his party to me for assisting it to get comfortable accommodation. He referred, appreciatively, to the difficulties with which the Government had been confronted in making satisfactory arrangements for the officers who were removed from certain rooms to make it possible for alterations to be carried out so that his group could be provided with comfortable accommodation, including a separate room for himself. It is admitted, on all sides, and by all honorable members, that serious disabilities are suffered, not only by Ministers and other members and their staff, but also by the typists in- the House who are associated with the - *Hansard* staff and with the work of honorable members themselves. Without hesitation I say that no health officer in Australia would dream of approving of some of the accommodation provided for the *Hansard* typists. It is disgraceful to have young women working in the typing cubicles they now occupy, as some rooms are without adequate ventilation and are provided only with artificial lighting. The typists have no opportunity to do their work under reasonable conditions, considering the long hours during which they are employed at various periods. {: .speaker-KLC} ##### Mr Mahoney: -Why has not the Minister improved the accommodation in the past? {: .speaker-KWC} ##### Mr THORBY: -- I have endeavoured to do so, but I have not received the cooperation which I expected from all honorable members, when endeavouring to make the necessarry arrangements with the responsible officials of the Parliament, to provide the rooms required by Ministers and members and their staffs and for the officers and their assistants in this House. Ministers have been labouring for a considerable time under the disability of trying to occupy the same rooms as their private secretaries, typists and messengers. The Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Curtin)** is not asked to carry on his work under such conditions. **His deputy (Mr. Fordo)** and' the honorable member for West Sydney **(Mr. Beasley),** also have separate rooms. I think that all honorable members will candidly admit that it is impossible for any minister to carry out his responsible duties in a proper way, if he is compelled to occupy the same room as his staff. As all honorable members know, when they desire to interview a minister, his staff is required to vacate the room temporarily while he receives the deputation. That is not a satisfactory arrangement. A temporary move has been made to give each minister two rooms, one for himself, and one for his staff, in order to facilitate his work. Some of the typists have been transferred to other rooms, which do not meet the wishes or convenience of honorable members generally. We contend that these conditions can be altered, and improved accommodation can be provided for the officers of Parliament inside this building. {: .speaker-L08} ##### Mr Rosevear: -- And for the Ministers. {: .speaker-KWC} ##### Mr THORBY: -- Undoiibtedly. Mr.Beasley. - What are the secretariat buildings for? {: .speaker-KWC} ##### Mr THORBY: -- The question of providing accommodation in those buildings has often been discussed. No Ministers have office accommodation in them, because it is not available. {: .speaker-KFQ} ##### Sir HENRY GULLETT:
HENTY, VICTORIA · LP -- I rise to a point of order. I ask whether the Minister for Defence **(Mr. Thorby)** is in order in wasting his time with such matters when he should be engaged in administering the important Department of Defence? {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- There is no point of order. {: .speaker-KWC} ##### Mr THORBY: -- No surplus space is available in any of the secretariat buildings in Canberra. In fact, difficulty is experienced in providing adequate accommodation for the staffs of the various departments. It has been said that the personal staffs of Ministers have no -right in this building, but I venture the opinion that no Minister could carry out his duties satisfactorily unless his private secretary and typist and a messenger attached to his staff were accommodated nearby. That is necessary, for the convenience not only of Ministers and their staffs, but also of honorable members generally, and the whole organization of Parliament. It is unthinkable that Ministers should be separated by long distances from their staffs also, and yet be expected to give to the country the service required of them. I also emphasize that permanent heads of departments have to attend Parliament from time to time. Theymust be here in the interests of the nation. They also must be provided with accommodation to enable them to do the essential work that they are called upon to perform. The Government has undertaken to make additions to this building in an endeavour to meet the requirements of all concerned - Ministers and their staffs, leaders of all parties and their staffs, and honor able members generally, as well as of the officers of the staff of Parliament, including the *Hansard* typists. The Government is doing its best to cope with the situation and to meet the wishes of all concerned, and it is unfair to suggest that the additional accommodation to be provided will be monopolized by Minister's and their staffs. The Government architect was here this morning consulting with **Mr. Speaker** and other members regarding this matter. He is now busy preparing several proposals in an endeavour to overcome the difficulty. {: .speaker-KJQ} ##### Mr James: -- Is it intended to go on with the work during recess? {: .speaker-KWC} ##### Mr THORBY: -- I understand that that is the desire. I submitted to the Joint House Committee a request that it should agree to the proposals and to the preparation of plans by the Government architect. I understand that the committee approved the principle. {: .speaker-KIX} ##### Mr Hutchinson: -- No. {: .speaker-KFS} ##### Sir Henry Gullett: -- The Joint House Committee has nothing to do with this matter. Its job is to attend to domestic affairs associated with the Parliament. {: .speaker-KWC} ##### Mr THORBY: -- I have been advised that the Joint House Committee has expressed its approval of the proposals. {: .speaker-KJQ} ##### Mr JAMES:
HUNTER, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP; LANG LAB from 1931; ALP from 1936 -- The committee asked that plans and specifications should be submitted to it. {: .speaker-KWC} ##### Mr THORBY: -- The Joint House Committee has agreed that the proposals should be gone on with during the recess in order to provide the additional accommodation at the earliest possible moment. It pointed out the difficulty of its re-assembling during the recess to consider further proposals. I reiterate that the Government has agreed to provide the necessary funds and that the Minister for the Interior has instructed his officers to prepare sketch plans for further consideration. I emphasize that the proposed additional accommodation has not been allocated to particular individuals. {: .speaker-L08} ##### Mr Rosevear: -- But Ministers will monopolize it. {: .speaker-KWC} ##### Mr THORBY: -- No. The Government architect is now considering how he can provide better accommodation for the *Hansard* staff. {: .speaker-KLC} ##### Mr Mahoney: -- Did the Minister instruct him what to do? {: .speaker-KWC} ##### Mr THORBY: -- I have given to him instructions which he is now carrying out. {: #debate-34-s10 .speaker-KIX} ##### Mr HUTCHINSON:
Deakin -- Yesterday, for the first time, I attended a meeting of the Joint House Committee. In passing, I may say that I. should be interested to know the powers and duties of that committee. At that meeting, as you, **Mr. Speaker,** know, a proposal was made by the Minister for Defence **(Mr. Thorby)** to add 24 or 25 rooms to this building, and the committee was asked to agree to the proposal. The committee - rightly, I think - declined to agree to the. proposals, but it accepted the principle that more accommodation is desirable. It asked that plans and specifications be prepared. Indeed, the committee carried a resolution to that effect. {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr Gregory: -- Was the committee asked to agree to additions without plans being submitted ? {: .speaker-KIX} ##### Mr HUTCHINSON: -- Yes; but members objected. {: .speaker-KFS} ##### Sir Henry Gullett: -- What plans did the committee have before it? {: .speaker-KIX} ##### Mr HUTCHINSON: -- There were no plans, but only a suggestion that rooms be added. I think that the proposal emanated from the Minister for Defence. As I havesaid, I do not understand what powers the committee has, but it carried the motion to which I have referred. To my amazement you, sir, now inform the House that the Secretary of the Joint House Committee has told you that every member of the committee is agreeable to the proposed works being proceeded with at once, without, so far as I know, any member of the committee having seen any plans or specifications. If the secretary has told you that, he has told you something which is distinctly untrue. I have not been approached by the Secretary of the Joint House Committee and have not given him my permission to state that I am agreeable; nor would I do so. After all, this building accommodates the National Parliament, and any additions or major alterations to it should be made only after most careful consideration of detailed plans and specifications. To make my own position perfectly clear I repeat that I was not approached by the Secretary of the Joint House Committee and did not tell him that I was agreeable to the proposal. Indeed, I am not agreeable to it, and so far as I understand my power as a member of the committee, I shall not agree to additions or extensions to the present building until accurate detailed plans and specifications have been prepared and submitted to the committee for its careful consideration. {: #debate-34-s11 .speaker-KLC} ##### Mr MAHONEY:
Denison .- I again call the attention of the House to the restrictions imposed by the PostmasterGeneral's Department on the use of Tasmanian timbers in Government contracts. The Assistant Minister **(Mr. Perkins)** representing the PostmasterGeneral promised that he would ascertain the facts. I now ask him again to withdraw the restrictions which unfairly discriminate against Tasmanian timbers. I doubt whether under section 92 of the Constitution, such a restraint of trade is constitutional. But in any case, I record my protest against the way in which this matter has been dealt with. The Assistant Minister has merely to use the telephone in his room in order to ascertain the facts. There should be no further delayin removing these discriminatory regulations. I hope that the Minister in charge of the House **(Dr. Earle Page)** will bring the matter under the notice of the Postmaster-General with a view to the early rectification of this anomaly. It would appear that some one in the Postmaster-General's Department has been acting without the Minister's full knowledge. If that be not the case, and action has been taken under ministerial authority, the Minister must accept the responsibility. I recently discussed this subject with **Mr. Cosgrove,** the Minister in charge of Forestry in Tasmania, who described the action of the department as being tantamount to a scandal. The Tasmanian timber industry is entitled to be considered in connexion with any work for which tenders are called by the Postmaster-General's Department. No sound reason has been advanced by the Postmaster-General's Department for refusing to use. Tasmanian blue gum. I know that, at times, influences are brought to bear on Ministers, but I have a duty to perform to Tasmania which is a part of the Commonwealth. The Government should be prepared to stand up to its responsibility in this matter, and should not seek to shelter behind others by claiming that it knows nothing about what is being done. The Minister is in collusion with the officers in Melbourne in prohibiting the use of Tasmanian timber in the department throughout the Common wealth. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order! There are too many interruptions. {: .speaker-KLC} ##### Mr MAHONEY: -- I notice that when a Tasmanian member puts up a case, conversations, making it difficult for him to receive attention, are started on the ministerial side of the chamber. The Deputy Prime Minister **(Dr. Earle Page)** said that Ministers would be present to listen to complaints, but in the last few minutes the honorable gentleman has done nothing but walk or stand about, conversing with other honorable members. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order ! Will the honorable member resume his seat? {: .speaker-KLC} ##### Mr MAHONEY: -- Is an honorable member allowed to be on his feet, conversing with other honorablemembers, when another honorable member is addressing the Chair? {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- The Standing Orders forbid honorable members to stand about in the aisles of the chamber. {: #debate-34-s12 .speaker-JOM} ##### Mr BEASLEY:
West Sydney -- It is quite clear to me that talk will not solve the problem of the lack of accommodation in this building. Definite and concrete action on the part of those who feel that changes should be made is imperative. Before I came into this Parliament, I was engaged in industry. There, whenever I and my colleagues wanted redress in regard to our working conditions, we found that very often talk got us nowhere. In orderto obtain justice we were many times forced to take some form of direct action. All that the workers of Australia have accomplished has been gained, in the last resort, by some kind of direct action. If they had been content with talk, their present conditions would have been intolerable. I am satisfied that the principles upon which I got my training in politics and industry must be applied to the fightfor accommodation in this building. I am prepared, for my part, to take direct action, and I ask my colleagues to do likewise. I would not work under intolerable conditions in the workshop. The State laws forbid men being housed in the way that sheep are penned at Homebush before being offered for sale. The conditions here are similar, and it *is* remarkable that honorable members themselves, allow them to continue. It is many years since this building was erected, and the Acting Prime Minister has stated that he has been aware of the bad conditions for years. Dr.Earle Page. - And I have endeavoured to correct them for years. {: .speaker-JOM} ##### Mr BEASLEY: -- The honorable gentleman has had plenty of time to do it. {: .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr Earle Page: -- The only corrections that have taken place have been at our instigation. {: .speaker-JOM} ##### Mr BEASLEY: -- The right honorable gentleman has been in Parliament for a long time, during the greater portion of which he has held ministerial office, with its accompanying power and authority. He has power to do the job, if he wants it to be done. If it has not been done, the responsibility is on him. He should endeavour to put things right now, so that hardships may no longer be imposed upon honorable members. {: .speaker-KWC} ##### Mr Thorby: -Did the Labour Government attempt to do anything? {: .speaker-JOM} ##### Mr BEASLEY: -- The opportunity did not arise when we were in power. The Minister for Defence was at great pains to protest against Ministers' secretaries and messengers suffering discomforts. It is not my wish that they should suffer these discomforts, but surely it is equally right that honorable members should have considerate treatment. Whilst Ministers have their jobs to do, honorable members have their own jobs also.. We have to" prepare whatever case we think it is necessary or desirable to put up in Parliament, and we should have opportunities to do so. According to the Minister for Defence **(Mr. Thorby),** Ministers and their secretaries and messengers are the only people whose convenience should be studied, and members are simply a lot of fools in theshow. {: .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr Earle Page: -- That is not so. I dealt with that matter when I first spoke. {: .speaker-JOM} ##### Mr BEASLEY: -- Members of Parliament have been hounded and kicked in all quarters far too long. They have allowed themselves to be so treated, and it is no wonder that they are looked down upon by many sections of the public. We have deserved whatever treatment we have got, because we have not had the courage to stand up for ourselves either in this building or outside. For too many years we have slunk away, and failed to put up a fight for our own rights. After all, every honorable member has a job to do in this Parliament. We of the Opposition cannot do it satisfactorily if 25 or 26 of us have to be herded together in a room in which there is not even a table to sit at. That is the position I am in at the moment. I do not want to hold the room I now occupy. I walk out of it now, but I cannot walk into another room, because there is nowhere in it for me to sit, or put a file or a letter. {: .speaker-KFS} ##### Sir Henry Gullett: -- Our room is just as bad. {: .speaker-JOM} ##### Mr BEASLEY: -- Probably it is. It is time we all put up a fight for our rights. It is of no use to talk any more about it. We must do something. If the authorities will only see the light and do the decent thing, I shall not desire to take direct action, but if something is not done, things will soon reach such a pitch that I shall have to do it. I had to do it many times before I came into Parliament, and I am not going to abandon my principles, just because I have a seat in this chamber. That is my position. **Mr. Speaker** will, no doubt, do what he has said he will do. He will probably take steps to have certain things done in our absence. Since there is no place for the safe-keeping of papers in the Opposition party room, we shall leave our papers where they are, and the person who moves them during our absence will have to take full responsibility for the consequences. If, in our absence, a single paper is mislaid or destroyed, or if any documents are taken from our drawers or lockers, it will be in keeping with what was done prior to the recent general election, when photographs were taken of party room doors in the lobbies and used as election propaganda. Our correspondence and private papers may be photographed and later these may appear as full-page advertisements in the newspapers, with a view to damaging the chances of Labour candidates at future elections. The Government may evict us from our present accommodation and may interfere with our papers. If it does we shall have an opportunity for reprisals when we come back to this Parliament early in the new year. The Standing Orders governing the procedure in this chamber will enable us to make it extremely difficult for the Government to get its legislation through. That was the policy which we had to adopt when the party which I had the honour to lead until recently was endeavouring to obtain decent accommodation in this building. Whether we came from New South Wales, or any other State, or whatever may have been the name of our party we had a perfect right to fight for what we believed to be our privileges. That is the position which we shall take up when we come back if, in the recess, we are evicted from the rooms we now occupy. I make no prophecy as to the methods of the campaign, but 1 promise the Government that if wc are inconvenienced we shall make it doubly inconvenient for Ministers. This is my final word in the matter. Evidently, it is the intention of the Ministry to put us out and put in Ministers and their messengers. They can do all .those things, but I warn them that we shall take advantage of every opportunity to assert our rights. I hope that other honorable members! will support us in giving to those who may be responsible for any interference all that will be coming to them if they evict us without providing proper accommodation elsewhere in this building. {: #debate-34-s13 .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE:
Minister for Commerce · Cowper · CP -- *in reply.* - I listened with interest to the honorable member foi- West Sydney **(Mr. Beasley)** tearing a passion to tatters. The honorable gentleman displayed a great deal of annoyance over something that has not even been suggested. When moving the motion for the adjournment of the House I merely indicated the contemplated action to secure, improved accommodation in this building in order that individual members might have proper facilities for research and study in connexion with their public duties. The only way in which this can be done is by additions to the building. This project is now being examined with a view to having the various proposals incorporated in a. scheme which, it is believed, will overcome many of our difficulties. Instead of being blamed, the Government should be commended for its earnest endeavour to secure reasonable accommodation for Ministers, honorable members and officials who work in this building. Whatever may be done in this matter, a certain amount of injustice is inevitable if the existing accommodation is not sufficient. If, however, additional rooms be provided, as is contemplated, they may be allocated in such a way as to be satisfactory to all parties and all honorable members. There is trouble already in my own party over the limited space available. It has been suggested that because of the impending addition to the Labour Opposition in the Senate, the Country party will have to vacate the room which it occupies on the Senate side of the building. There was the same difficulty when the Scullin Labour Government took office in 1929. {: .speaker-KJQ} ##### Mr James: -- We object to Ministers riding roughshod over private members. {: .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE: -- Nobody wishes to do that. There is no justification whatever for the display of annoyance by the honorable member for West Sydney. Nearly every addition that has been made to the accommodation for honorable members in this building is the result of constructive suggestions by the Minister for Defence **(Mr. Thorby)** who has given much thought to the problem which was considered insoluble by other Ministers who had studied -it. Therefore, my colleague deserves the* thanks of this House for the assistance which he has given in this matter. The honorable member for Corangamite **(Mr. Street)** urged that, if possible, the 'Government should so arrange its programme as to permit of regular sittings of Parliament. 'This course would* suit the convenience of Ministers and. I think, of honorable members generally ; but we have to realize that we are living in times of international strain and it is not considered possible to adopt the suggestion at this time. It has been urged that there was no need for this short session, but it was imperative, because the Government had to pass the Estimates or another supply- bill, as well as other essential measures. The Government has endeavoured to meet the convenience of honorable members by intimating when the House is likely to meet next year, and the probable duration of the sitting. The matters mentioned by the honorable member for Melbourne **(Dr. Maloney)** are receiving the earnest consideration of the Government, and it is hoped soon to have adopted a feasible scheme which will secure the co-operation of the States in the interests of school children. **Mr. SPEAKER (Hon. G. J. Bell).Before** putting the motion I wish, on behalf of myself, the Chairman of Committees, the Temporary Chairmen of Committees, and officers of the House, including *Hansard,* to thank the right honorable the Deputy Leader of the Government **(Dr. Earle Page)** and the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Curtin)** for their kind remarks and good wishes for the Christmas season. I assure them that their felicitations are very heartily reciprocated. Question resolved in the affirmative. House adjourned at 12.40 p.m. until a data and hour to be fixed by **Mr. Speaker.** {: .page-start } page 515 {:#debate-35} ### ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS *The following answers to questions were circulated: -* {:#subdebate-35-0} #### Trade Diversion Policy {: #subdebate-35-0-s0 .speaker-KFS} ##### Sir Henry Gullett: asked the Prime Minister, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Is it a fact that the purpose of the licensing system which the Government adopted in connexion with its trade diversion policy, when applied, was that trade should be diverted, first to Australian industry, secondly to the United Kingdom, and then to best-customer countries? 1. Is it a fact that the result of the diversion of trade to Australian industries has been a very considerable expansion of manufacturing establishments in many directions in this country, that a number of new industries have been established, and that others of considerable dimensions are now in course of being established ? 2. In view of the contemplated AngloAmerican trade agreement, will the Government have a complete survey made of the new industries that have been established under the protection of the licensing system in Australia, and of those that are in immediate contemplation, to ascertain the extent of the developments and their effect upon employment, and then as early as possible submit the matter to the Tariff Board for a pronouncement concerning the tariff protection which would be necessary in the event of the suspension of the licensing system? {: #subdebate-35-0-s1 .speaker-F4O} ##### Mr Lyons:
Prime Minister · WILMOT, TASMANIA · UAP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. The licensing system was introduced with the object of maintaining an adequate balance between exports and imports, either by substituting commodities of domestic production for imports or by diverting imports to countries with which compensatory trade was possible. 1. A number of Australian industries have benefited from the restrictions on competitive imports. The licensing measures have also led to decisions to establish new industries of considerable dimensions in Australia. 2. The attention of the honorable member is invited to the statement made by the Minister for Trade and Customs in the House of representatives yesterday. Promotion in Defence Services. {: #subdebate-35-0-s2 .speaker-KUG} ##### Mr Spender:
WARRINGAH, NEW SOUTH WALES r asked the Minister for Defence, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What measures are being taken to ensure that promotion in the various defence services shall depend solely upon merit, and not upon seniority? 1. Does the system at present operating for the co-ordination of our defence forces differ in any essential details, and, if so, in what details, from (a) the system for co-ordination of defence existing in England prior to March. 1936, when the Ministry for Co-ordination of Defence was established there, and (b) t he system at present operating in England? {: #subdebate-35-0-s3 .speaker-KWC} ##### Mr Thorby:
CP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. *Navy.* - Promotion in the naval service is by selection according to merit after an officer has served the minimum qualifying period in his rank. The only exception to this rule is thata lieutenant is promoted to lieutenantcommander automatically after eight years' service. *Army.* - Promotion in the permanent military forces is by selection according to merit, except that promotion from lieutenant to captain is made automatically after eight years' satisfactory service. *Air Force.* - Promotion of officers of the rank of flying officer and above is governed by the relative efficiency of officers eligible for promotion, and where two or more officers are equally efficient, by the relative seniority of those officers. {: type="1" start="2"} 0. Prior to March, 1936, when the Ministry for Co-ordination of Defence was established in England, the main difference with Australia, in the system of co-ordination of defence, was that in England the three services were controlled by separate Ministers, whereas in Australia they were under one Minister in a unified Defence Department. The Council of Defence and the Defence Committee in Australia correspond respectively to the Committee of Imperial Defence and the Chiefs of Staff Sub-Committee of that body. The appointment of the Minister for Co-ordination of Defence in England in March, 1930, was to provide for that degree of higher coordination which had been found practicable in Australia because of the smaller size of the forces and their concentration in one department under a Minister for Defence. {:#subdebate-35-1} #### Overseas Air-Mail Services {: #subdebate-35-1-s0 .speaker-JVR} ##### Mr Nairn: n asked the Minister for Defence, upon *notice* - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. When is the agreement with Imperial Airways for the carriage of overseas mails expected to be finalized? 1. Can he give the assurance that direct carriage of the overseas mails will be maintained between Darwin and Perth? {: #subdebate-35-1-s1 .speaker-KWC} ##### Mr Thorby:
CP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are ' as follows: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. No agreement is proposed between the Commonwealth and Imperial Airways for carriage of overseas air mail, the operations of that company being governed by an agreement between that company and the United Kingdom Government. The Government does propose, however, subject to ratification by Parliament, to enter into an agreement with the British Government and another agreement with Qantas Empire Airways upon the subject of the overseas air service. All main points in these two agreements have now been considered, but certain details have to be finalized before the agreement . can be submitted to Parliament for ratification. It is hoped to be able to do this as soon an Parliament meets next year. 1. The question of what variation to the internal air service will need to be made upon the introduction of the flying boat service has yet to be considered by the Government, but I can assure the honorable member due regard will be had to his representations for the retention of direct carriage of overseas mail between Darwin and Perth {:#subdebate-35-2} #### Youth Employment {: #subdebate-35-2-s0 .speaker-KUG} ##### Mr Spender: r asked the Prime Minister, *upon notice -* >What steps are being taken, and arc contemplated to he taken, to deal with the problem of the unemployment of youth, in particular in respect of their vocational training? {: #subdebate-35-2-s1 .speaker-F4O} ##### Mr Lyons:
UAP -- The answer to the honorable member's question is as follows : - >The States Grants (Youth Employment) Act 1937 provided for the grant, subject to certain conditions, by the Commonwealth to the States of the sum of £200,000, in providing facilities for the training for, and the placing in employment of, persons between the ages of 13 and 25 years. The act provided that the grant should be allocated amongst the States &» follows: - Proposals submitted by the States of Victoria, Queensland and South Australia have bee* approved by the Commonwealth, and the amounts paid over to those States. The New South Wales Government has submitted schemes for the utilization of £50,000 of its share of the grant, and this sum has been paid over to the State. Proposals in connexion with the balance of the grant to be paid to New South Wales, viz., £29,000, ar« expected shortly. The Governments of Western Australia and Tasmania have not yet submitted, schemes for the expenditure of their share of the grant. When the whole of the proposals have been received and approved, the details will be made available to honorable members. {:#subdebate-35-3} #### Canberra and Federal Capital Territory : Quarantine Precautions against Infantile Paralysis {: #subdebate-35-3-s0 .speaker-KJQ} ##### Mr James: s asked the Minister for Health, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Arc the regulations for the Federal Capital Territory aimed at preventing a spread of infantile paralysis to Canberra being effectively enforced and policed? 1. If so, will he give an assurance that the regulations will not be relaxed in any way, particularly during tlie approaching holiday season ? {: #subdebate-35-3-s1 .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr Earle Page:
CP -- -The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Yes. A few tourists passing through have failed to report. Most of these have been located, but in any case all have to pass the border inspectors of the New South Wales Board of Health, who notify the Health Department in Canberra. 1. The regulations will not be relaxed. Circulars have already been issued to all departments in respect of junior officers of the Public Service, and a public notice has already been prepared and will appear in the local press at an early date. Soil Survey in Tasmania. {: #subdebate-35-3-s2 .speaker-JNX} ##### Mr Barnard: d asked the Minister in charge of Development, *upon notice -* >What progress has been made with the soil survey in Tasmania, including Flinders Island ? {: #subdebate-35-3-s3 .speaker-N76} ##### Mr Menzies:
UAP -- The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research has carried out a survey of the basaltic potato-growing soils of northern Tasmania, and the results of this survey were published in the council's *Bulletin No.* 108, copy of which will be made available to the honorable member. A general reconnaissance of Flinders Island was also carried out for the purpose of assessing the major soil and agricultural problems of the island. The results of this reconnaissance are not yet available. Further surveys of the northeastern and central areas of Tasmania are now under consideration. {:#subdebate-35-4} #### Care and Treatment of Australian Aborigines {: #subdebate-35-4-s0 .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr Makin: n asked the Minister for the Interior, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Has the Commonwealth Government secured a copy of the report of **Mr. Mosely** to the Western Australian Government on the question of care and treatment of Australian aborigines ? 1. Ifso, do the various findings made by **Mr. Mosely** also apply to the aborigines in Northern and Central Australia, and do these conditions complained of exist in Commonwealth territories? 2. Will the Government consider the claim for a thorough inquiry into all matters associated with Australian aborigines? {: #subdebate-35-4-s1 .speaker-009MB} ##### Mr McEwen:
CP -- The answers try the honorable member's questions are as follows: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Yes. 1. The findings apply only to aborigines in Western Australia. A few of the conditions complained of exist in the Northern Territory. 2. **Dr. Donald** Thomson, who has been studying aboriginal problems and needs for so many years, is now preparing and will submit a comprehensive report at an early date. The Government proposes to hold a conference with State governments with a view to discussing and investigating the whole position in regard to aborigines. {: #subdebate-35-4-s2 .speaker-JOM} ##### Mr Beasley: y asked the Treasurer, *upon notice -* >Can he explain why the *Costof Food and Groceries* bulletin, issued by the Commonwealth Statistician, no longer includes the paragraph showing the cost of living as at 1914 and at the period under review in each bulletin? {: #subdebate-35-4-s3 .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr Casey:
UAP -- The column of indexnumbers for July, 1914, and the references thereto in the monthly press notices on "Cost of food and groceries" issued by the Commonwealth Statistician were no longer included after the end of 1936. It was felt that the comparison with July, 1914, had become less important than formerly, and space was required to include the comparative figures for each of the corresponding three months of the previous year, which is considered to be of more general interest. The 1914 index-numbers are still published in the *Quarterly Summary of Australian Statistics.* {: #subdebate-35-4-s4 .speaker-JNX} ##### Mr Barnard: d asked the Minister in charge of Development, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What progress has been made with the construction of the specially designed vessel for the exploration of the fishing grounds of Australia ? 1. When is it estimated that the vessel will be placed in commission? 2. Wall Australians possessing the necessary fishing experience be given preference in employment upon this vessel? 3. Have any definite conclusions been formed as a result of the aerial surveys mads by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research with regard to the quantity and variety of pelagic and demersal fish in Australian waters? 4. What stage has been reached by the department in its tests of methods of curing, preserving, smoking, canning, and quick freezing of fish? 5. Is this industry likely to be established on a commercial scale in the near future? {: #subdebate-35-4-s5 .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr Casey:
UAP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : - 1 and 2, The construction of the fisheries investigation vessel is now nearing completion and it is expected that the vessel will be in commission some time during February next year. {: type="1" start="3"} 0. Preference in employment on the vessel will be given to Australians possessing the necessary experience. 1. The aerial surveys which have been carried out in connexion with fisheries have shown that this method of observation will probably be of value in conjunction with the operations of the fisheries vessel. Aerial observations alone would not suffice to provide complete information in regard to such factors as seasonal occurrences of fish, migratory habits and the quality and species of fish available at different times of the year. These investigations will necessarily occupy some time. 2. Arrangements have been made for investigations to be carried out into problems connected with the preservation of fish by quick freezing, canning, &c, by the council's section of food preservation at laboratories and experimental cold chambers now being erected at Homebush near Sydney. In connexion with smoking and curing, some work preliminary to that which will be carried out in Australia is being done at theTorry Research Station, Aberdeen, Scotland, for the purpose of determining the suitability of Australian timbers for these purposes. The council is also endeavouring to secure in Australia the services of a skilled fish curer in order to carry out work in regard to the best varieties offish for curing, improved methods of technique. &c. 6 The future development of theindustry will largely depend upon the results of investigations being carried out by the fisheries section of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, and it is not possible at this stage to forecast when private enterprise will consider these investigations to be sufficiently advanced and the results to be such as to justify the further exploitation of the industry. {:#subdebate-35-5} #### Royal Australian Navy: Appointment of Rear-Admiral Custance {: #subdebate-35-5-s0 .speaker-KJQ} ##### Mr James: s asked the Minister for Defence, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Was the Commonwealth Government consulted in the appointment of Rear-Admiral Wilfred Custance to the command of the Royal AustralianNavy? 1. Does the Government consider that no Australian is capable of filling this position? {: #subdebate-35-5-s1 .speaker-KWC} ##### Mr Thorby:
CP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Yes. 1. Yes. There is no Australian officer of the rank of rear-admiral on the active list. {:#subdebate-35-6} #### Australian Broadcasting Commission: Employment of Australians {: #subdebate-35-6-s0 .speaker-KLC} ##### Mr Mahoney: y asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Has the Minister seen the statement in the press to the effect that the Australian Broadcasting Commission was proud of the fact that Australians had secured excellent radio positions overseas? 1. Will he ascertain whether any of those who have been successful overseas have unsuccessfully applied to the Australian Broadcasting Commission for work? 2. Will he ascertain from the Australian broadcasting Commission whether Australianborn announcers have to acquire an " Oxford " accent if they hope to retain their positions? {: #subdebate-35-6-s1 .speaker-KXY} ##### Mr Perkins:
Minister without portfolio assisting the Minister for Trade and Customs · EDEN-MONARO, NEW SOUTH WALES · UAP -- Inquiries are being made of the Australian Broadcasting Commission, and the honorable member will be informed upon receipt of the reply. {:#subdebate-35-7} #### Postal Department: Automatic Exchanges: Temporary Postal Employees: Postal Linesmen {: #subdebate-35-7-s0 .speaker-JNX} ##### Mr Barnard: d asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What is the total number of automatic telephone exchanges placed in use during 1936- 37, and how many were installed in each State? 1. How many are to be installed during 1937-38, stating the number in each State? {: #subdebate-35-7-s1 .speaker-KXY} ##### Mr Perkins:
UAP -- The PostmasterGeneral has supplied the following answers to the honorable member's questions : - {: #subdebate-35-7-s2 .speaker-KXY} ##### Mr Perkins:
UAP s. - On the 3rd December, the honorable member for Darling **(Mr. Clark)** made certain inquiries regarding the retention of the services of temporary employees in the Postal Department. I am now in a position to inform the honorable member that it is not proposed to dispense with the services of the temporary employees referred to at present, but the position will be reviewed after Christmas. On the 3rd December, the honorable member for West Sydney **(Mr. Beasley)** made certain inquiries pertaining to permanent appointments for temporary employees who have been engaged by the Postal Department for extended periods. Assuming that the honorable member's inquiry relates to female assistants employed in the accounts branch, General Post Office, Sydney, the position is that, in conformity with the Public Service Act, it is necessary to dispense with services .on completion of six mouths' employment. Two female assistants are due to cease on the 21st December, 1937, but special arrangements are being made to retain their services to the end of December. None of the employees concerned are eligible for permanent appointment. On tlie 7th December, the honorable member for Wakefield **(Mr. Hawker)** asked a question pertaining to tho permanent appointment of qualified returned soldiers to the position of linemen in the Postal Department. I am now in a position to inform tho honorable member Unit it is the intention that all existing vacancies as linemen, and those occurring during the next two years, which it is necessary to fill, and for which permanent officers of the service are not available, will be filled by returned soldiers who have qualified for, and are awaiting permanent appointment. In the interests of efficient service, it is important, however, that there should be before long a leavening of young men admitted to the ranks of linemen, and for this reason a limited number of youths is to be admitted in the near future as trainees. These youths will not bo available for at least two years to undertake linesmen's duties, and even then will not be utilized to fill more than 50 per cent, of the vacancies arising; the balance of the vacancies will be reserved for qualified returned soldiers.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 8 December 1937, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.