House of Representatives
4 May 1938

15th Parliament · 1st Session

Mr. Speaker (Hon. G. J. Bell) took the chair at 2.3.0 p.m., and read prayers.

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flats For Ministers : Buildings for Department of Health.


– Will the Prime Minister state whether the report appearing in a section of the press that the Government intends to build a series of Ministerial flats at Canberra is correct? If so, what is the estimated cost of the work, and when does he expect that it will be completed?

Prime Minister · WILMOT, TASMANIA · UAP

– The Government realizes the necessity for something to be done in the national capital to provide residential accommodation for Ministers. We have been considering the matter for some time, but no proposal is now before us for the building of a series of flats for Ministers.


– Last week I asked the Acting Minister for Health whether it was proposed to erect offices for the Department of Health on the site of, and attached to, the Institute of Anatomy, and, if so, whether such a proposal was a breach of the covenant entered into between the Commonwealth Government . and Sir Colin McKenzie. The Acting Minister undertook to refer the matter to the Crown Law authorities, and to advise me later. Has he received a report on the subject, and is he now in a position to make a statement about it?

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

– The matter was referred to the Crown Law authorities, and the Solicitor-General has advised the Government that the proposal which it was contemplating would not be inaccordance with the act under which the Institute of Anatomy was established. Consequently, the Government does not intend to proceed further with what was contemplated.

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– As it is announced to-day that a new Commonwealth loan has been underwritten in London, will the Treasurer state the amount of the loan, the reason for it, and the conditions under which it has been raised?


– The loan is for £7,000,000 sterling, of which £2,000,000 sterling is for defence purposes, in accordance with the authority that the Parliament gave to the Government about six months ago. The balance of £5,000,000 - is for the funding of an equivalent sum of Australian treasurybills held by the Commonwealth Bank in London. The loan has been issued with interest at 3¾ per cent., the issue price being £99 per cent, providing an effective yield. The currency of the loan is eighteen years with the option of renewal, on notice, at any time after fourteen yea rs.

Later :


– I ask the Treasurer what rate of interest is being paid in respect of the treasury-bills which, according to an announcement in this morning’s press, are to be funded in London, and can the Minister indicate why the Government thinks it necessary to pay what I understand to be a higher rate of interest in order to fund those bills?


– The rate of interest is 2¼ per cent. The . principal reason for the funding of this £5,000;000 worth of treasury-bills is to complete an undertaking given to the Commonwealth Bank by, I believe, the Government of the day when these bills were created by the Commonwealth Bank in order to provide the Government of the day with necessary funds in London. The Commonwealth Bank has in London £32,625,000 of Australian treasury-bills which are not marketable in London and which represent in the hands of the Commonwealth Bank frozen securities.

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– In view of the close collaboration and co-operation now existing between the Melbourne Univer sity, the Melbourne Workmen’s College and the Commonwealth Aircraft Manufacturing Company, which is now in active operation at Port Melbourne, where the aeronautical laboratory is to be established, will the Treasurer give serious consideration to the establishment of the Chair of Aeronautical Engineering at the Melbourne University, so that all these closely related activities will be centralized ?


– Yes; the matter mentioned by the honorable member will receive due attention when the Government comes to consider it.

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Fifth Annual Report

Minister without portfolio assisting the Minister for Trade and Customs · EDEN-MONARO, NEW SOUTH WALES · UAP

– I lay on the table the following paper: -

Australian Broadlcasting Commission Act - Fifth Report and Balance Sheet for year 1030-37. and move -

That the reportbe printed.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Curtin) adjourned.

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The following papers were presented : -

External Affairs Department - Report for 1937.

Ordered to be printed.

Arbitration (Public Service) Act - Determinations by the Arbitrator, &c. - 1938 -

No. 5. - Federated Public Service Assistants’ Association of Australia.

No. 12 - Federated Public Service Assistants’ Association of Australia.

No. 13 - Commonwealth Telegraph Traffic and Supervisory Officers’ Association.

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Minister for External Affairs · NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · UAP

– Yesterday the. honorable member for Watson (Mr. Jennings) addressed a question to the Acting Attorney-General with regard to the refusal of wharf labourers in Melbourne to load scrap iron on the steamer Stassfurt. I promised to obtain information from my colleague, who has authorized me to say that no representation has been made to him on this matter, and that he has no official information on the subject.

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– Has the attention of the Minister for Defence been drawn to a report in this morning’s press regarding the killing of a naval rating on H.M.S. Dorsetshire at Cairns, in which it is stated that the local police were refused permission to interrogate the suspect? Is it a fact that, although the ship was in the territorial waters of Queensland, it was not subject to the laws of Queensland? As there seems to be some doubt concerning this matter, will the Minister clarify the position ?

Minister for Defence · CALARE, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP

– I have received official advice through the naval authorities that this tragedy occurred on the Dorsetshire outside Australian territorial waters. It is a matter entirely under the control of the British authorities, and the captain in charge of the vessel has reported it to his naval station in China.

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– In view of

Australia’s interests in, and. relations with, the Far East, with the Prime Minister consider the appointment of a liaison officer to the British Emlbassy either in China or Japan following the precedent established in London and Washington, thus ensuring that matters of moment to Australia are not overlooked, as might otherwise happen, seeing that British officials, no matter how efficient, cannot be alive to all Australian requirements?


– The Government gave consideration to this matter some time ago, and had in mind the appointment of additional officers, as the honorable member suggests. There has been a liaison’ officer in Xondon for some years, and it was resolved that, when another appointment was made, it would be to Washington.

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Minister for the Interior · Echuca · CP

. -by leave - No encouragement or financial assistance is given by the Commonwealth Government towards the introduction of alien immigrants into

Australia. On the contrary, it is necessary for every alien who wishes to enter Australia for permanent residence to obtain a landing permit from the Department of the Interiorbefore being admitted to the Commonwealth.

In 1931, owing to the serious economic position, the issue of landing permits to white aliens was restricted. In 1936, in view of the improved economic condition, it was decided to issue landing permits to dependent ‘relatives, or aliens nominated by persons already in Australia, who had £50 landing money and would not engage in occupations detrimental to Australian workers. Aliens not nominated by persons in Australia must, except in special circumstances, have £200 landing money.

Before landing permits are issued, the department makes careful inquiries in each case to ensure that the persons in Australia who apply for permission to introduce their relatives or friends are of good character and of satisfactory financial standing, and inquiries are also made for the purpose of ensuring that the nominees, other than dependent relatives, are capable of being absorbed in some trade or occupation without detriment to Australian workers.

Aliens who apply from abroad are required to furnish full particulars regarding themselves, including age, proposed occupation in Australia and financial standing. In addition, they are also required to furnish photographs, certificates of health and officiail certificates of character.

There is an impression in some quarters that an arrangement exists between the Commonwealth and Italian Governments under which Italian migrants are granted special facilities to come to Australia. This is not the case. Italians are required to obtain landing permits under the same conditions that apply to aliens generally. Only 2,400 Italians arrived in Australia during 1937, as compared with 7,708 in 1927. Of the 2,933 Italians in whose favour landing permits were granted during 1937, approximately 50 per cent, were dependent relatives - mostly wives and minor children - of Italians already settled in Australia.

The 1933 census revealed that 99.1 per cent, of the population of Australia was British. Approximately 1 per cent, of Australia’s population consists of naturalized British subjects. The proportion of people of British birth is therefore 98 per cent. Although, during the last few years, the flow of migration between the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth has been adverse to the Commonwealth, t llc increase of alien migration has been offset by the natural increase - excess of births over deaths, which exceeded 54,000 last year.

Even if the alien population increased by 10,000 annually during the next ten years, and there was no gain of population by British migration, the. dilution of the population of British birth at the end’ of that period would be 2.3 per cent., provided the annual, natural increase remained at 50,000 per annum. Fortunately, the gain in our population by natural increase is again showing an upward trend, having increased, from 47,246 in 1934 to 54,635 in 1937.

In 1927, when the net gain of population by immigration, British and alien, was 49,567, the percentage of unemployment was 8.9. During 1937., the net gain of population by immigration was 5,788, although the percentage of unemployment has now fallen to 8 per cent.

The Government will not approve or facilitate group migration of aliens, and proposes to watch closely continued aggregation of nationals in certain areas. Hundreds of applications from foreigners who desire to go to the sugar-growing areas of Queensland have been refused. Investigations into this matter have already been made by officers of the Department of the Interior in Queensland and on the irrigation areas of the Murrumbidgee.

The Government has decided that no special facilities could he granted for the admission of groups of Jewish migrants. Since the German occupation of Austria, many questions have been put about the position of Jewish nationals who desire to settle in Australia, but each case will be considered on its merits, upon application in the usual form to the Department of the Interior.

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– Has the Minister for the Interior been advised of the difficulty experienced by intending British migrants in obtaining information about the Commonwealth Government’s scheme of assisted migration? Will he take steps to ensure that full information -is made readily available to all those who seek it on this subject cither in Great Britain or in Australia?


– The answer to the first part to the honorable member’s question is “ No.” Regarding the second part, I shall see that step3 are taken to make available in London and elsewhere, full particulars of the scheme’ regarding assisted migration.

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– In view of the fact that ‘ no specific case is now under consideration, and the matter may therefore be discussed dispassionately, will the Government consider the early introduction of legislation for the abolition of capital punishment in areas under Commonwealth jurisdiction?


– The honorable member’s question refers to &n important matter of government policy, and I cannot, therefore, reply to it now. I m-ay inform him, however, that the whole subject will receive consideration.

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– Can the Acting Minister for Trade and Customs state whether it is intended to ban certain classes of undesirable literature which is now entering Australia?


– This matter, which has been under consideration for a con.siderable time, was referred by the department to the Book Censorship Committee, whose report I received this morning. Before any announcement can be made, the report will have to be scrutinized by officers of the department.

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– I ask the. Prime Minister whether, in view of the somewhat erratic sessions of the Federal Parliament, the Government will give consideration to the adoption of regular sitting months, in order that honorable members may be able to plan their business arrangements some few months ahead?


– Ishall be glad to take into consideration the matter raised by the honorable member. It is the desire of the Government to do something of the kind, but it is not always possible to meet the wishes of honorable members in this matter, because the Government’s business, apart from the convenience of members, has to be considered. As far as it is possible to meet the suggestion of the honorable member, it will be done.

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– Has the

Treasurer yet made any arrangement for honorable members, either in groups or individually, to be able privately to discuss the provisions of the proposed National Insurance legislation with SirWalter Kinnear and Professor J. B. Brigden ?


– Yes, a room has been temporarily provided next to my own room in Parliament House for both gentlomen, and on a specified number of days within the next month or six weeks, when the House is sitting, either or both will be available to see honorable members either in groups or individually, who would like private discussions with them on the proposed legislation. I shall get into touch with leaders of parties and inform them of the times.

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– In view of the practice followed in Queensland of segregating aboriginals in camps away from centres of white population, where they are multiplying, I ask the Minister for the Interior whether he will take the advice of the Hermannsburg Mission and other missions and remove the detribalized aboriginals from Alice Springs town, and other town centres of the Northern Territory, where they present a menace to the growth of the white population? Will the Minister have prepared a plan of the town and environs of Alice Springs showing completely all reservations for natives in the locality, and the number of yards distant from the nearest business or residence?


– I shall he glad to make available to the honorable member the full numbers of native reservations about Alice Springs and I shall also be glad to give full consideration to all the points raised by the honorable member when preparing, as I am doing, certain recommendations to the Government in regard to the aborigines policy.

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Australia-New Guinea


– Is the Minister for Defence yet in a position to state when the air mail service between the Territory of New Guinea and Australia will be inaugurated?


– I have made inquiries about that matter within the last few days, but I regret that I cannot give any exact date even now. I assure the honorable gentleman, however, that it will be only a very brief space of time before the service is inaugurated.

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– In view of the fact that South Africa, which has a surface area almost as large as that of Australia has a penny postage and imposes no surcharge on air mail to Great Britain can the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral advise me why comparable charges cannot be levied on the air mail between Australia and the United Kingdom? If the Minister cannot see his way clear to eliminate the surcharge on mails carried by air from Australia to England, will he consider a reduction of the present surcharge of 1700 per cent, to the moderate surcharge- of 100 per cent. ?


– I direct the attention of the honorable gentleman to notice-paper question No. 3.

Mr Harrison:

– That does not answer my question.


– No, but it answers portion of the honorable gentleman’s question. In respect of the remainder, I ask him to put it on the notice-paper.

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Tariff Board’s Report


– Can the Acting Minister for Trade and Customs indicate to the House when the report of the Tariff Board on the manufacture of motor car chassis and engines in Australia will be made available to honorable members?


– I made a statement in the House yesterday afternoon as coming from the Minister for Trade and Customs who is abroad, in which he said that he was forwarding a recommendation on this matter to the Cabinet for consideration. When the recommen-. dation comes to hand and has been considered by the Cabinet the report will be made available to honorable members.

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– Is the Minister in Charge of Territories able to inform me whether the Government has yet come to a decision regarding the site of the new capital of New Guinea?


– I answered a question on this subject yesterday. A report on ithas come to hand, and will be presented to Cabinet at an early date. After it has been considered, I shall be in a position to make a pronouncement in regard to it.

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Motion (by Mr. Casey) proposed -

Thathe have leave to bring in a bill for an act to provide for insurance against certain contingencies affecting employees, and the wives, children, widows, and orphans of employees, and for other purposes.


– I move -

That all the words after “against” be omitted with a view to the insertion of the following words: - “unemployment; sickness, partial and/or temporary invalidity affecting the people of the Commonwealth “.

The order of leave as set out in the motion moved by the Treasurer (Mr. Casey) will determine, substantially, the principles upon which the bill will be drawn. Insofar as the motion limits the authority given for the submission of a bill, the House will subsequently, if it should carry the motion, be restricted in its consideration of the general subject. I read the motion to mean that whatever may be contained in the bill, when it is submitted, will relate only to employees and to dependants of em ployees. In that way we would definitely prevent Parliament from’ considering measures of insurance against certain contingencies as they affect the lives of our citizens who are not employees. For this House, atthis stage, to authorize the presentation of a bill that differentiated between Australian families in any system of national insurance - the differentiation being centred in the occupation of the bread-winner- would not only diminish the national benefit but must also inevitably be unjust in its. incidence. Insofar as a bill drawn in. the terms of the Treasurers; motion would exclude wives, children, widows and orphans it would, I believe, be-inherently unsound and unsatisfactoryand improperly discriminatory in national policy.

At this juncture when we are contentplating insurance against certain con-‘ tingencies, wo should lay it down’ definitely as a principle that the importance of the well-being of the family life of Australia is not confined to one class. I frankly concede that the protection of employees against certain contingencies is a matter of very great importance, but I submit that there are other categories of citizens who are not employees to whom the same general statement is applicable and whose interests may be just as great, and that it is, therefore, incumbent upon us at this stage, when we are giving consideration forthe first time for many years to general principles of a system of national insurance, that we should not, at the very start, amputate the deliberativecompetence of this Parliament in respect of very many important sections of the people.

The principle of insurance against certain contingencies should involve the whole of the people. It is my purpose, if this amendment is accepted, to provide that any bill which the Government may produce as the result of the motion, shall generally, and as far as possible, leave the House unfettered in its consideration of the whole subject.

There are certain specifications in my amendment should a gap be created in the motion. The new service should be an addition to that which the Commonwealth now provides, and should not be either an alternative method of dealing with it or a substitution for it. At present, Commonwealth legislation of this nature is limited to the provision of oldage and invalid pensions, war and service pensions, maternity allowances, a restricted system of child allowances, and superannuation for Commonwealth public servants. The important social welfare phases of that legislation, such as that which provides for invalid and oldage pensions, war and service pensions and maternity allowance, are on an entirely different principle from that envisaged in the motion the Treasurer has just moved. They are not benefits which *re provided exclusively for employees ai nd their dependants. I submit that social legislation of the type of our. invalid aud old-age pensions and insurance against certain contingencies such as sickness, or any type of permanent or temporary invalidity or even superannuation, should not take into account the -fact that one person is an employee and another person is an employer of that employee. Many hundreds of our citizens who have become employers may, for reasons probably not entirely attributable to incompetence, again descend into the ranks of employees. If that descent occur late in life, then the years that they have served as employers will be dead years from the viewpoint of any social legislation passed by this Parliament which is limited in its application to employees. “We should endeavour, by whatever we do in this important matter, to give additional protection to the Australian community and more particularly to those sections of it which are on the lower range of incomes, and this should be done regardless of how those incomes are derived. The House should bo careful in what it is doing because it may be that the term “ certain contingencies in its various applications, may endanger our present system of invalid and old-age pensions. I’ shall, therefore, specifically set out the views of the Opposition. We say that there should be’ no interference with the system of invalid and old-age pensions at present’ operating. There should be no variation of the principles upon which the statutes governing this service have been -founded. ‘ Any bill drawn in the terms of the limited phraseology of the motion would, I believe, lay the foundation for two classes of invalid and old-age pensioners1 - those who, because they are employees, will contribute to a system of invalid and old-age pensions, and those who, not being employees, would either get an invalid or old-age pension–

Sir Henry Gullett:

– I rise to a. point of order. I ask whether the Leaderof the Opposition is entitled to suggest amendments to a measure which is not yet before the House.

Mr. SPEAKER (Hon. G. J. Bell).The motion before the Chair seeks leave to bring in a bill to provide for certain things. The amendment of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Curtin) seeks to add to those things. If the amendment is agreed to, certain words on the motion will be deleted. So far, the Leader of the Opposition is in order.


– I am saying that the limitation of insurance against certain contingencies to employees, in the terms of tile motion of the Treasurer, and the drafting of any bill in pursuance of the order of leave, must affect only employees, and should that bill, when produced, relate to a form of invalid and old-age pension payable to employees, we might then have operating in Australia two systems of invalid and oldage pensions. I submit that it would be bad to have those parallel systems operating. 1 desire the House, at this stage, to take care that, in dealing with insurance against social contingencies, if does not authorize the Ministry to bring in a bill which would have that ultimate effect. There are phases of the contingencies affecting the lives of the people which at present are not provided for legislatively, and I desire the Government to have authority to -bring down a bill to deal with them. I specify those in my amendment. There are, in Australia, many persons who are permanently but not totally incapacitated., and as a result are not eligible for any pension under any existing statute. Similarly, there are a number of persons who are totally, but not permanently, incapacitated; they are temporarily totally incapacitated. I desire that applicantsfor the invalid pension, who como within those two categories- - as we know, there have been suchapplications - should have consideration in the bill that is to be drawn. How that consideration is to be extended to them, would, of course, be a matter for the House to consider when the bill was submitted to it.

There is one other thing that I feel ought to be considered now. In this motion relating to authority that the Government is to be given for the presentation of a bill, we ought to make sure that one of the certain contingencies for which insurance will be effected is that of the insecurity of unemployment. If provision can be made in the one bill for the contingency of old age and the contingency of temporary or permanent sickness, if it he so desired, a section can be embodied in the measure setting out what the House wishes to express legislatively in regard to the treatment of unemployment. I affirm that unemployment is the chief and greatest of the insecurities for which a system of insurance shouldbe devised.

I return to my chief objection to the order of leave, which is the limiting of this law, when introduced, to employees. t point out that what we have before us is a matter of social reform more than of the extension of industrial policy. Social reform should relate to the social life ofthe community, and the only limitation in regard to the eligibility of our citizens to share in this new chapter of social welfare should be whether the citizen is in such a state of necessity as makes it nationally desirable that he or she should have the benefit of the reform. On certain statements that the Treasurer is reported to have made in the press, and having regard to a report relevant to this matter which has been circulated to honorable members, I find that, by limiting the order of leave to employees, we. may expect that it will relate only to a given number of persons. I submit that, that would exclude too great a number of persons to warrant us at this stage allowing the limiting language to remain.

Mr Harrison:

– That is pure assumption.


– Of course it is pure assumption. Although I acknowledge that, none the less I point out to the honorable gentleman that it is not pure assumption that only the employees of

Australia will be covered by thebill if the Government has its way.

Mr Casey:

– That isnot strictly so.


– Employeesand dependants of employees.

Mr Casey:

– “ And other purposes.”


– The. word “purposes “ cannot be construed as meaning “people”.

Mr Casey:

– Of course it can.


– I, of course, acknowledge that this Government does some amazing things with the English language. But I am entitled, on the motion, to say that this isa scheme dealing in substance, and in principle, with employees. That is the substantivepart of the Treasurer’s motion. I pointout that the number of malesin Australia between the ages of 16 and . 64. years inclusive totals about 2,165,000. a reportcirculated to honorable members in relation to national insurance, proposed schemes were outlined affecting 1,350,000 males as contributors. The number of males between the ages of 16 and 64 years inclusive that would not be affected would, therefore, be approximately 815,000. The wives, orphans and widows of that 815,000 would in all probability be shut’ out from consideration by the Parliament unless we varied the order of leave sought by the Treasurer. The number of women between the ages of 16 and 59 years inclusive totals approximately 1,9S0,000, of whom 1,151,000 are wives. On the assumption that wives are affected by the provision which will be made for their husbands, provided that their husbands are employees, I do not include them in my calculation of the total number of women to be excluded from any scheme drawn in accordance with the notice of motion by the Treasurer. I point out that the number of spinsters in Australia between the ages of 16 and 59 years inclusive totals 724,300. In the same age range there are 89,000 widows, 9,800 divorced women, and 5,700 women whose conjugal state I have not been able to ascertain. Those figures account for 829,000 women who are not the wives of employees, who are not, in fact, the wives of anybody, but all of whom are between the ages of 16 and 59 years inclusive. On the basis of the report which has been circulated to honorable members, we, are entitled to assume that only 465,000 women will be affected by any legislation.drawn in the terms of that report, and that, therefore, there will be 364,000 women for whom this Parliament will be unable to pass a law to provide for insurance /against certain contingencies if we agree to the notice of motion in the terms which the Treasurer has submitted. Another extraordinary aspect is -that the total number- ‘of bread-winners in Australians 3,150;000, of whom 2,367,000 are males and 787,000 females, who have dependants totalling 3,474,000, and that any legislation dealing with employees and based upon figures which have been circulated to honorable members in a certain report must inevitably leave out a /great mass of the Australian people from the benefits of any legislation contemplated in the limited terms of the notice of’ motion introduced by the Treasurer. The farmers of Australia represent another class which, I think, ought to be considered.

Sir Henry Gullett:

– On a point ‘ ‘ order, Mr. Speaker, I submit that the Leader of the Opposition is delivering n second-reading- speed) upon a bill in respect of which the second-reading has not yet been moved.


– It is unusual for debate to take place upon the question that leave be granted, and therefore honorable members ought, perhaps, to be reminded by the Chair that the scope of debate on the order of leave is very much wider than is usually permitted on the second-reading of a bill, and may cover everything that can be supposed to be included in a bill, founded upon leave that is given. The speech of the ‘ Leader of the Opposition is in order.


– I emphatically say at this stage that any honorable member in this House desiring insurance against certain contingencies affecting farmers on the same basis as that affecting employees bad better vote for the amendment. The Wheat Commission’s report showed that there are about .41,000 wheat holdings in Australia, representing the pruned total from the 00,000 holdings which the report indicates as the total regardless of how much wheat is cropped. I am taking that figure as the basic num ber of legitimate, active wheat-farmers in the Commonwealth. A vast number of them have incomes lower than the limit of income suggested in the report to which I have referred as representing the maximum income affecting eligibility of employees for the benefit. Thus, a farmer with an income of £200 a year, or over a course of years, would be shut out from the scope of the bill while his employee up to an income of £350 would be provided for. I submit that the inherent justice of that must be at once apparent. The condition of many farmers throughout Australia need not be stated now; we have had plenty of evidence to show that they are exposed to sickness and to the obligation to receive treatment in hos;pitals. As one conversant with the administration of public hospitals in Western Australia I can say, without reflecting upon the farmers of that State, that many of them have been unable to pay their hospital bills. In that respect they are in the same category as farmers in other States of the Commonwealth. Therefore, as there are about 230,000 holdings in Australia of which only 1S,000 pay federal ‘ income tax, according to the returns which the Income Tax Commissioner submits over a period of years, and bearing in mind the statutory exemption in respect of incomes up to £250, it must be clear that a large number of farmers in Australia have incomes lower than the maximum income suggested in a certain report.

I” see no occasion to say any more. We desire that any extension of social benefits in Australia should be legislated for on a national and not a class basis. We desire also that, when considering the problem and the submission of legislation, the Government should take into account the desirableness of providing those contingencies for which present legislation does not now provide; and, therefore, we ask that sickness not covered at present by legislation should be dealt with, and employment not covered under any system at present should be dealt with, and, further, that temporary invalidity or permanent partial invalidity should also be provided for. The Opposition welcomes the opportunity to consider the extent to which this Commonwealth . should now increase national social services to improve the social welfare of the people; but in contemplating legislation which should arise us the result of this determination we cast our own minds back to what happened in the history of this Commonwealth when invalid and old-age pensions and maternity allowances were first instituted. “We say that when those great improvements in the legislative treatment of those who suffered misfortune or who were in difficulties was undertaken by this Parliament, it was made clear that we were engaged upon the passing of social legislation applicable to the whole of the people of the Commonwealth and not to a specificclass.

Treasurer · Corio · UAP
  1. 29]. - The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Curtin) has taken advantage of the forms of the House to make a speech of considerable length based on a series of assumptions because the measure is not yet before the chamber, and every moment that the honorable gentleman lias spent in protracting this debate lias made the bill a little bit later in getting into this chamber, and. eventually, coming into operation. The Government believes that the people of Australia and the majority, of honorable members wish to hear the Government’s proposals, but it would be futile for the House to discuss the subject before the bill is actually in the hands of honorable members. 1 admire the Leader of the Opposition for his political’ astuteness in so using the forms of the House as to enable him to make a speech on a measure not yet before us. What the people of Australia want, however, is not politics, but pensions. It seems to me that the people will have a limited admiration for the Leader of the Opposition and his colleagues for introducing what, I think, even the Opposition will admit, is party politics, when the people are waiting to hear the Government’s proposals on this great matter of social reform.

The honorable gentleman has referred to the fact that this bill is limited, to a certain extent, in its incidence, and he is proceeding on the assumption that it provides only for employed persons. That is not strictly true, although it deals, in the main, with employed persons. It does that for a definite reason, which I shall, in due course, have the privilege of explaining to honorable members. This is a self-contained scheme of national insurance for health and pensions, and it deals with a vast number of persons, made and female, who are employed for wages and salary within the boundaries of Australia. The scheme is a very large one, embracing 1,850,000 persons. It has taken every moment of the time of the Government and its advisers for the last six months, without any let-up, to get the measure ready for presentation to the House to-day. The Government has explored many- directions in which the scheme could possibly be extended in the course of time. The Leader of the Opposition has mentioned farmers, shopkeepers and self-employed persons other than persons who are employees. The Government has given a great deal of consideration to the extension of the broad principles of the measure to persons of that type. It would not be easy to do so, and I shall attempt to demonstrate that fact to honorable members on all sides at the proper time. Although ir. would’ be difficult, it is not necessarily impossible, and, as I -have said, the Government hai had under active consideration for some time the question of extending the benefits of the bill to other than employed persons. I give no undertaking, but I hope that the Government will be able, in due course, to extend the principles of national insurance to selfemployed persons. But, in order to do that, it will be necessary to delay the introduction of this measure very considerably, and the Government is not disposed to agree to that measure of delay. Later, I shall develop this point, and I hope to be able to convince honorable members that the matter is not being overlooked. It is being investigated at this moment. The necessary actuarial examination is considerable, and it is now in progress. I shall point out later that the bill provides for a compulsory scheme, and such a proposal could not be applied to self-employed persons. A scheme covering such persons would have to be a voluntary one, and compulsory and voluntary systems cannot operate well together.

Mr Makin:

– The Minister confesses to the exclusion of a large section of the community from the benefits of the measure.


– I cannot make my words plainer than I have done.

Then comes the subject of unemployment. The Prime Minister, on several occasions, has told the House and the people of the negotiations with the State governments with respect to unemployment insurance, and I can add no more to what the right honorable gentleman has said. This matter has not been dropped by the Commonwealth Government. There are many difficulties in the way which it is not possible for this Government alone to remove. At some convenient, early opportunity, the matter will be revived for further consultation with the State governments. The Opposition has forced this delay on the chamber. I suggest that the majority of honorable members wish to hear the Government’s proposals.


.- Mr. Speaker-

Motion (by Mr. Gardner) put -

Thatthe question be now put.

The House divided. (Mr. Speaker - Hon. G. J. Bell.)

AYES: 36

NOES: 30

Majority . . . . 6



Question so resolved in the affirmative.

Question put.

That the words proposed to be omitted stand part of the question (Mr. Curtin’s amendment).

The House divided. (Mr. Speaker - Hon. G. J.Bell.)

AYES: 38

NOES: 28

Majority . . 10



Question so resolved in the affirmative.

Motion agreed to.

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

Treasurer · Corio · UAP

. -I ask leave to move the second reading forthwith.

Mr Curtin:

– No.

Leave not granted.

Motion (by Mr. Casey) put -

That so much of thu Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent the second reading being moved forthwith.

The Rouse divided. (Mr. Speaker - Hon. G. j. Bell.)

Ayes . . . . . . 38

Noes .. .. .. 28

Majority . . 10

Question so resolved in the affirmative by an absolute majority of the members of the House.

Second Reading

Treasurer · Corio · UAP

– In moving

That the bill be now read a second time

I have to ask the indulgence of the House for the timethat will be taken in describing the provisions of the measure and the Government’s reasons for the principal matters of policy involved. This bull embodies one of the most far-reaching schemes of social reform that has been presented to the Federal Parliament. It brings directly within its scope over 1,850,000 persons, and affects, including wives and children, a total of no less than 3,600,000 persons, or about 52 per cent, of the people of Australia. It applies to the breadwinners, the sick, the aged, and to the wives, the widows and the orphans of the workers, and it affects persons in nearly every walk of life. Inevitably, therefore, it is a lengthy measure and in parts complicated.

For the convenience of honorable members, I have caused to be circulated with the bill a memorandum in explanation thereof, and also an actuarial report which deals particularly with the financial provisions of the measure. These will, I hope, be of assistance to honorable members, and will relieve me of the necessity for dwelling, in my speech, upon many of the details of the scheme, but I may say in a word that the scheme will provide : -

Weekly cash payments during sickness -called in the ‘bill “ sickness benefit “ or “ disablement benefit “ ;

Free medical attendance and free medicines - called in the bill “ medical benefit “ ;

Superannuation pensions for insured persons, life pensions for their widows and pensions for their orphans up to the age of fifteen ; and

Allowances in respect of dependent children, under the age of fifteen, of persons receiving pensions or sickness or disablementbenefits.

The bill is introduced in fulfilment of a pledge given by the Prime Minister (Mr. Lyons) on behalf of the Government before the last general elections. It has been suggested in certain quarters that recent developments in the matter of national defence, involving as they do the expenditure of large sums of money, would justify the Government in defering the introduction of this scheme, but the Government, once having determined on this most important matter of social reform, is not going to draw back now, especially in view of the great and growing benefits that the proposal will, 11.1 L hope to show at a later stage, produce to the advantage of the whole Australian community. .

In spite of the fact that the preparation of the scheme has involved a va’ t amount of work and negotiation, the hi 1 is introduced at the earliest possible moment. “We have pressed on with it because every day wage-earners are falling sick, or getting older, and many are dying, leaving behind them widows and orphans. Hopes have been aroused which it would bo unfair to disappoint.

The Government has felt it to be its duty to accelerate the initial operation of the scheme as much as practicable, for every week’s delay in bringing the scheme into operation means the withholding of its prospective benefits from a large number of deserving persons.

Our main immediate task as a government represents “defence” in a twofold sense - the building up of our national defences against possible aggression - and the building up of the defences of the individual Australian family against the unexpected emergencies of life.

The question of national insurance has been under consideration in this country for many years. In 1928 the present Minister for Commerce (Sir Earle Page) introduced a national insurance bill, but circumstances prevented its getting beyond the second-reading stage. Then followed the depression, when all hopes of a scheme of social reform, necessarily involving the expenditure of a considerable sum of money, vanished for years.

With the gradual emergence of this country from the depression, followed by a rising tide of activity, the Government devoted a considerable amount of study to an exploration of the question of social insurance. It was not, however, until the completion of the results of the last census, when reliable and up-to-date statistics became available., that it was possible to get to real grips with the problem, and to formulate, on a sound actuarial basis, f, comprehensive scheme of health and pensions insurance. The results of those labours are embodied in the bill now before the Parliament. lt is now recognized in nearly every country in the world that only under a national system of insurance, involving the joint co-operation of the Government, the employer and the employee, can a satisfactory and comprehensive scheme be devised for the protection of the wageearners against the various vicissitudes of life.

The people of Australia can point with some pride to the generous provision they have already made foi the sick, the indigent and the aged ; the State governments are doing much by way of relief, and the Commonwealth’s scheme of invalid and old-age pensions is one of the most generous in the world. But in our anxiety to relievo the most necessitous cases, we have, I think, tended to overlook the very real needs of many others who are willing and anxious to provide a reasonable measure of protection for themselves and their families, but who, without some assistance from other sources, cannot afford to make such provision out of their own limited resource?.

There is, amongst those who depend on wages and salaries, a great deal of anxiety and hardship for which no organized, self-respecting scheme of assistance exists at the present time. A long illness, involving heavy doctor’s bills, with a concurrent loss of earnings, falls with crippling effect upon many a happy home. Moreover, it has to be recognized that premature death may claim the breadwinner at an age when, probably burdened with family responsibilities, he has been quite unable to make any provision for his wife and young children. Such a case is not covered by our existing pensions legislation. The wage-earner who has endeavoured to live prudently, and to save something against his old age, when he will be unable to work any more, finds has savings are, in many cases, inadequate for old age.

The voluntary efforts made by hundreds of thousands of our people to provide somehow or other against the risks of sickness, early death, and the burden of oldage, through the medium of friendly societies, trade union benefit associations, insurance companies and similar bodies, indicate that they are fully alive to the need for some provision. The voluntary efforts of self-sacrifice which so many of these people make without any assistance from the Government, in order to make some provision for themselves and their families, are evidence of character and a sense of responsibility. Voluntary insuranceis to be highly commendedas indicative of individual thrift and foresight, and I pay my tribute to the splendid work which these organizations arc doing; but -and I speak in no spirit of criticism - voluntary insurance has failed to carer for a substantial part of our population. The greater portion of those who stand in most need of insurance are uninsured. They are either unable to afford it without the assistance of the Government, or lack the initiative to become and to remain insured. The story of voluntary insuranceis marred by the tragedy of the number of lapses from insurance due to sickness, unemployment and other misfortunes. For them there is no sickpay, unless the invalidity is total and permanent, no medical treatment, no provision for the widow and children except in the form of charity, and uo pension in old age except under the provisions of the Invalid and Old-age Pensions Act.

And there remain the people who make no effort to provide for the future. We Australians are generally regarded as a race of optimists. It is partly the result of our sunny, equable climate, and, on the whole, of a high standard of living. Quite a considerable proportion of our people earn good wages. But we are good spenders. So far as insurance is concerned, the motto of some of us seems to be - “ The day is fine. Providence will provide. Insurance can wait till tomorrow.”

Of the 1,850,000 wage-earners that this bill will bring into compulsory insurance, less than one-quarter are in friendly societies - though a much larger proportion have doubtless some insurance on their lives. Of these 1,850,000 wageearners, 700,000 are married men. I wonder how many of the 700,000 wives would have to face long years of struggle for themselves and their children in the event of the death of their husband. The capitalized value of the widow’s pension together with the child’s allowance, at the rates provided in the scheme, will, on the average, be worth about £700. I wonder how many wage-earners could afford to insure their lives for that amount, and even if they could afford it, how many would practise the self-denial necessary to do so?

I turn now to a general description of the scheme which we bring forward to meet these problems.

The scheme will apply to all persons over fourteen years of age employed under a contract of service in Australia, except -

  1. persons employed otherwise than by way of manual Labour (i.e.. in clerical work or the like) at a rate of remuneration exceeding £365 per annum ; and
  2. certain other limited classes for whom the scheme is unnecessary or unsuitable.

In other words, persons doing manual work as employees are included in the scheme, whatever their rate of pay - and those doing non-manual work as employees up to a salary rate of £365 a year. The income limit has not been applied to persons engaged by way of manual labour as we are desirous of safeguarding the insurance rights of many of these persons who may be remunerated at a rate in excess of £365 per annum, but who, because of intermittent employment, do not in practice earn more than that sum in the course of a year.

In order to protect the interests of persons who work under substantially the same conditions as persons under a contract of service, but who are technically under a contract for service, power is given to the Insurance Commission proposed to be set up under this bill to bring such classes of persons within the scope of the scheme, by special order, should they deem it expedient and equitable to do so. I have in mind such classes of persons as cane-cutters, shearers, share-farmers, and tribute miners.

It is estimated that when the scheme is in operation about 1,850,000 persons will have been brought into compulsory insurance. It is anticipated that this number will, at a later stage, be augmented by a considerable number of voluntary contributors. I shall refer to this class later.

It is desirable, in order that honorable members may’ envisage the whole plan of national insurance, that I should, at this stage, and later in my speech, make such references to the contributions by employers and employees, which this project involves, as are essential to explain the Government’s proposals. It is possible that the contributions payable in respect of the insurance contemplated by this proposal may, by reason of their compulsory nature, be regarded as taxation within iiic meaning of the Constitution. Should it be decided judicially that the contributions are “taxation”, the law by which they are imposed would fall within the application of section 55 of the Constitution, which provides that “ laws imposing taxation shall deal only with the imposition of taxation and any provision therein dealing with any other matter shall be of no effect.”

It has, therefore, ‘been thought desirable, in order to obviate the possibility of all the machinery provisions necessary to implement the scheme being declared to be of no effect, to separate from the main bill the provisions imposing the obligation to pay contribution, and to provide for their enactment in separate measures, to he introduced at a later s’tage.

Since, however, these three measures are equally designed for the establishment of the one national insurance scheme, it would, I think, have caused unnecessary confusion to deal with them separately at this stage, and I have accordingly dealt with the proposals as a whole, and have not attempted to indicate under which of the three measures the several provisions will be made.

The ordinary total weekly contribution at the inception of the scheme will be 3s. a week in respect of an employed man, and 2s. a week in respect of an employed woman, the contribution, in each case, being shared equally between the employer and the employee. Lower rates of contribution have been fixed for certain other persons who, ‘by reason of guaranteed provision elsewhere, ea] secure partial exemption from the scheme and will, therefore, be covered for part only of the complete scheme of insurance.

Although the main scheme does not apply to persons under the age of sixteen, the Government has decided to give medical benefit - that is, free medical attention and medicines - to young persons in employment between the ages of fourteen and sixteen. These young persons and their employers will pay a joint contribution of* only Sd. a week - that is, 4d. a week each. They will not be insured for cash benefits, and they will not have to pay anything towards the cost of pensions. I am sure the House will agree that it is eminently desirable that the health of these young persons should be carefully looked after in the formative period of their lives.

Pol lowing the example of practically every country in the world where a national insurance scheme exists, this scheme is on a contributory and compulsory basis. Twelve years ago the International Labour Office of Geneva, reporting on sickness insurance, stated that the replies of all governments indicated that the only effective basis for ensuring the protection of the workers is on the principle of compulsory and contributory insurance. A voluntary health and pensions scheme which might only attract the inferior lives, the married, and the elderly, would speedily become insolvent, unless the contributions wore at a figure which would be bound to prove prohibitive. The scheme at the outset is limited to the employed population, as experience has shown that the only practicable method of collecting contributions is by periodical payments related to the payment of wages.

An important point to bear in mind is that the weekly contributions from employee and employer combined for health and pensions benefit under the bill are only the equivalent of the actuarial value of the benefits for persons who enter the scheme at the age of sixteen. The Commonwealth will make good the difference for those who enter at later ages. Honorable members will realize that this is a concession of very great value to wage-earners when I mention that the average age of insured per- sons at the start of the scheme is 32, and the actuarial value of a man’s benefits under the scheme at that age is over 7s. a week, against the man’s own contribution of ls. 6d. There is a corresponding advantage for women. I do not believe that any reasonable person can oppose a great comprehensive scheme of this kind, embracing over 50 per cent, of the population of the Commonwealth, simply on the ground that a minority proportion of the whole might, in the absence of such a scheme, get some of the benefits for nothing under the Invalid and Old-age Pensions Act.

Every insured person, except the few who will be excepted from health insurance benefits, will be required to join one of the approved societies to be set up under the act. He will be given an insurance card by his approved society, which he will present to his employer who will affix to it for each week in which service is rendered an insurance stamp to bc purchased at any post office. The employer will be entitled to deduct the employee’s portion of the contribution from his wages. There will be a single stamp for both health and pension insurance, and the Insurance Commission will get, its contribution income by regular remittances from the post office, representing the revenue from the sales of insurance stamps. The approved societies will deliver and collect the contributioncards of their members at half-yearly intervals.

The scheme includes the following benefits : -

  1. Medical benefit;
  2. Sickness benefit;
  3. Disablement benefit;
  4. Additional benefits;
  5. Old-age pension;
  6. Widow’s pension ;
  7. Orphan’s pension ;
  8. Dependent child’s allowance.

The sickness and disablement benefits, with the accompanying children’s allowances, and the additional benefits, will be administered by the approved societies. The remaining benefits will be administered by the Insurance Commission. In order to give advice and assistance to the commission in the general administration of the health insurance scheme, the bill provides for the establishment of an approved societies’ consultative council and a medical benefit council-, and for the formation of district medical committees which will bc chieflyconcerned with the supervision of the local medical service.

The rates of benefits, pensions and allowances are set out in the memorandum accompanying the bill.’

Before I come to the details of the bill, there is one matter of profound importance to the Commonwealth to ‘which I feel bound to refer, and that is, the rapidly growing cost arising out of the present Invalid and Old-age Pensions Act. I believe that no country in the world has a more highly-developed sense of social justice than our own, and that the unwritten motto of Australia is “ Do as you would be done by “. The claims of the aged and the permanent invalid in needy circumstances have always appealed to our humanitarian instincts; few begrudge the money which is being expended upon these people and may I say at once that the Government has no intention of reducing the rates of ‘benefit or of altering the conditions for the award of pensions under the Invalid and Old-age Pensions Act. Nevertheless, it is necessary to look at the cost of these services. The growth over the last30 years has been-

The estimated figures for the current year 1937-38 are-

These figures speak for themselves, and we must face the fact that the cost of these pensions will continue to rise, year after year, for the next 50 years. It is estimated by the actuariesthat, 40 years from now, the annual expenditure on invalid and old-age pensions will exceed £32,000,000. It may be asked why these large increased costs in respect of pensions are anticipated. The answer is to be found in the vital statistics of Australia, and especially in those disclosed by the results of the recent census.

The expectation of life of the people of Australia is steadily increasing. Fifty years ago the death ratewas about fifteen per 1,000 of the population per year. Now it is about nine. That is a cheering fact, but it is overshadowed by the knowledge that within the last 50 years the birth rate has fallen by over one-half. It is true that in the last two years the birth rate has tended to rise; but the fact remains that, whereas the birth rate in Australia for 1936 was seventeen per 1,000 of the population, the corresponding figure for Italy was twenty-two per 1,000 and for Germany nineteen per 1,000. The figure for Japan for 1936 is not available, but that for 1935 was over thirty-one per 1,000. The changes in the age composition of the total Australian population are strikingly revealed by a comparison of the results of the census of 1881 with those of 1933:-

Mr Curtin:

– 1SS1 is too far back for a true comparison.


– It is roughly half a century.

Mr Curtin:

– 1901 would give a better criterion.


– The same tendency would be noted, a diminution of the youth class and a rapid increase of the age class The broad fact emerges that a striking change in the age distribution of the population of Australia has taken place, and is continuing to take place. The average age of our people is steadily rising, mainly because a sufficient number of young lives are not forthcoming to counteract the twin tendencies of a falling birth rate and a longer expectation of life. T admit that this experience is being shared by many other countries, but not to the same extent in some of the other countries I have just mentioned; and, of a certainty, above all countries in the world, we in Australia, with our spacious, sparsely populated territories, cannot afford to view the prospect with complacency.

What I have just been saying is in evidence of my statement that the cost of the existing pensions scheme must rise to over £32,000,000 a year if this national insurance scheme be not adopted. At the present time the number of persons in Australia of pensionable age - women, 60 years of age and over, and men 65 years of age and over - is 590,000, that is 210,000 men and 380,0.00 women. Of these persons of pensionable age, about 36 per cent.” are pensioners, lt is estimated by the actuaries that in 40 years from now that total number of 590,000 will have risen to 1,2S0,000, an increase of 117 per cent. The women will continue largely to outnumber the men, partly because the woman’s pension age begins five years earlier, and the expectation of life for a woman is longer than that of a man, and partly as a legacy from the Great War, owing to the number of men who were killed.

The gravity of the prospective growth of the cost of pensions is accentuated by the fact that, 40 years from now, there will be relatively fewer persons in the active productive age groups to bear the burden. According to the present and recent trends of our vital statistics, and on the assumption that there will be no material change in the rate of migration which has prevailed during the past five years, the population of Australia will have begun to decline in considerably less than 40 years from now.’ If one compares the number of wageearners in Australia - I am using the term as quoted in the census returns - with the number of persons in the pension age group, it will be found that whereas to-day there are 26 persons of pension age to every 100 wage-earners, in 40 years from now the proportion of persons of pension age will have risen to 54 for every 100 wage-earners.

These are some of the vital considerations against the background of which the Government has had to consider the framing of this national insurance scheme. The scheme that we have framed takes into account the factors that I have mentioned - some of them quite disturbing factors. We had had to superimpose this contributory scheme on top of the existing Invalid and Old-age Pensions Act. We are not disturbing in any way the rights and benefits of existing pensioners. Not a single one of the existing pensioners will be affected in the least by the new legislation, and not a single person who, in the future, would have got an invalid or old-age pension under the existing act, will be deprived -of a pension or will suffer any reduction because of this legislation.

All. we are asking is that men and women when in employment and earning wages will, by a great co-operative effort in conjunction with their employers and the Government, contribute about .2 per cent, of their wages in order to support a scheme which will assist the sick, the aged, the widow and the orphan, preserve the dignity of labour, and enable the Government to extend its benevolence, on a self-respecting basis, to a very largely increased number of participants. In view of the impending liability of the existing pensions scheme, I say quite frankly that, unless something is done to put these schemes on a contributory basis, no government of the future, however well intentioned, could embark upon any worthwhile extension of our social services without seriously threatening the whole financial fabric of the Commonwealth.

Mr Scullin:

– Would those not contributing be excluded from pensions?


– No; they would come -within the present pensions scheme.

This bill is no money-saving” device. The cost to the Commonwealth, including the contributions to the insurance scheme and the cost under the present act, will, for many years, be higher than the high and mounting cost of the system of invalid . and old-age pensions, as at present existing.

In due course - probably in about 25 years’ time - the combined cost to the Commonwealth Government of this national insurance scheme and of the -pensions payable under the present Invalid and Old-age Pensions Act, will approximate to what the cost of pensions would be under that act if it continued ais at present without this national insurance scheme.

I should like, this stage, to refer “briefly to some points bearing on the con.tributions to be paid under the scheme.

I do not disguise the fact that there -will be some heart-burning amongst -employers by reason of the cost to them of the employers’ share of the weekly contributions under this scheme. That cost will, in the aggregate, amount to about £5,500,000 a year in the early years of the scheme; and, in the course of about fifteen years, that figure will gradually rise to nearly £7,750,000 a year. That is a very large sum, but I invite employers to bear in mind what I have just said as to the formidable increase of costs under the existing Invalid and Old-age Pensions Act, if this national insurance scheme be not passed.

The benefits of this scheme cannot fail to be reflected in the increased efficiency of employees. I believe that every employer will agree that the psychology of the employee has a marked effect upon his output, and that better results will always bc achieved when men are satisfied and contented than when they are uneasy and restless. The contingencies covered by this bill are those that make for anxiety in the minds of all thinking people. How often do we hear of men who are not feeling fit, reluctant to give in, and trying to avoid going sick, lest they should incur heavy medical expenses and suffer a complete loss of earnings? The quality of such a man’s work cannot be good, and a serious breakdown later on may ensue. Employers who have started superannuation schemes of their own know ‘that their contributions are amply repaid by the quality of the work of a happy and contented staff. I believe that, considering only one aspect of national insurance, the provision of guaranteed pensions for widows and orphans cannot fail to relieve the minds of wage-earners from an ever-present sense of anxiety.

I must remind the House that in an insurance scheme which is on a precise actuarial basis, contributions and benefits must be strictly related to each other if that scheme is to remain solvent. If the benefits are to be increased, the contributions must be increased in proportion. It would be unfair to the friendly societies, trade unions and the other organizations who start approved societies, to ask them to administer a scheme which we knew from the start would be doomed to insolvency.

In fixing the rates of the weekly contributions we have been compelled to have regard to the amount which the lowerpaid wage earners could afford to pay, and in fixing the women’s contributions we have borne in mind the fact that the average wages of women are only about 54 per cent, of the average wages of men.

And, now, I must refer in some detail to the approved societies, which are to administer the health, insurance scheme. In this country wehave, fortunately, a number of well-organized, well managed friendly societies, who have a great tradition behind them, and an accumulation ofexperience which is very valuable, particularly in respect of the administration of sickness benefits. My officers and I have had many conferences with the friendly societies, and I am happy to say that they have assured me that we can count upon their hearty co-operation in the working of the health insurance scheme, and I look forward to their playing a prominent, probably the most prominent, part in the administration of the scheme. The friendly societies would have liked us to give them something approaching a monopoly of the administration of the scheme, but the Government regrets it has not been able to accede to their request. We pride ourselves, as a people, upon the right to choose our own associates, and we feel that persons who are brought into an insurance scheme by compulsion must have the right to choose and if need be to form, theirown society, just as we are giving them the right to choose their own doctor and their own chemist. I believe that the apprehension in the minds of some of those who are associated with the administration of the friendly societies, that the scheme will prejudice their interests, is quite unfounded. It has not been the experience in England - the birthplace of the friendly society movement - where approved societies representing a great variety of organizations arc in operation. Of the 1,850,000 persons whom we will bring into insurance, only about 400,000 who are in insurable employment are at present in friendly societies. I see no reason why these 400,000 should not continue to bc attached to the approved society that will be set up by their own friendly society, and I hope and believe that the friendly societies, with the aid of their existing organization, backed by their high reputation, will in addition enrol under their banner quite a large proportion of the remaining 1,450,000 insured persons. who have hitherto refrained from joining friendly societies.

Then there are the trade unions. In Great Britain most of the prominent trade unions have their own approved societies for national insurance purposes. Over 3,000,000 persons in Great Britain are insured in them. Many of these trade union societies can afford to give generous additional benefits to their members out of their accumulated surpluses. The trade union movement in Australia is strong. The aggregate membership is greater than that of the friendly societies. A few of the unions already do something by way of giving sickness benefits to their members. The Government feels that, in this great social insurance scheme, no well organized trade union that is anxious to play its part in looking after the social welfare of its members should be debarred from forming an approved society, so long as it conforms to, and conducts its business in accordance with, the requirements laid down in this bill. The same remark applies to the mutual life assurance societies, and to the many existing provident and welfare organizations which may be expected to possess the necessary qualifications for the administration of a sickness insurance scheme.

I want to make it perfectly clear that, under this bill, no society will be approved that is carried on for profit. There will be no shareholders, and no dividends. Every penny of surplus is to be conserved, in order to give additional benefits to the members.

Any existing organization which wants to form an approved society must create a new organization, under the absolute control of its members, with separate funds, books and accounts; and there is a clause in the bill providing that all moneys under the scheme must be kept for the sole benefit of the members, and must not be held or applied as security for any purposes outside the scheme.

Mr Curtin:

– What would happen to the member of a society which was unable to meet itsobligations ?


– There is provision for coming to the assistance of societies that meet with particularly difficult times owing to epidemics and the like.

The Government regards itself as a trustee for the contributions paid by employers and employees under the scheme.

Lt is our duty to see that that money is wisely and carefully expended or invested, and that the insured person will get full value for his money. We have had that very much in mind in our negotiations with the medical profession and the chemists. Similarly with the approved societies; there must bc efficient administration, but there must be no extravagance. A limit will be imposed upon the amount which can be spent on administration, and every penny spent by a society will he subject to annual audit by a Government auditor appointed by the Insurance Commission. It will be the duty of the commission to ensure that every member of a society who is entitled to benefit gets it, and gets it promptly. On the other hand, it will be the duty of the society, in co-operation with the officers of the commission, to ensure that any member who is clearly not entitled to benefit, shall not be allowed to dip’ his hands into the funds of his society to the disadvantage of his fellow members.

And now I come to the size and the number of the proposed approved societies. Under the national insurance scheme as enacted in Great Britain in 1911, no minimum of members of an approved society was required, with the result that at the beginning of the scheme no fewer than 14,000 different bodies were accepted as approved societies and branches, each a separate financial unit and many with as few as 100 to 200 members. The result was incompetence in administration. They could not afford to pay for efficient officials and many of them could not stand the strain of an epidemic or a series of ca,ses of longcontinued illness. To-day the number of societies and branches in Great Britain has fallen to 6,000, but even that number is still regarded as too high for the efficiency required in the interests of the great body of insured persons.

We propose in this bill to benefit by the experience that I have mentioned, and to provide for a minimum membership of 2,000, in order to secure efficient administration and to provide a safeguard against unexpected calls upon the funds. Subject to this condition, societies can be approved for each State separately, or for a combination of States, or, alternatively, for the whole of Australia.

The second point upon which we are departing from the position in Great Britain is that we are going to put into a pool one-half of the disposable surpluses of the societies, and then to redistribute the pool among allthe societies in proportion to their membership. By this means, the strong will help the weak and we shall avoid the wide disparities in the benefits given by the various societies ‘which have been the cause of some criticism in Great Britain.

Mr Curtin:

– Surely the benefits which any society will give will be standardized !


– In the first place; but at the end of the first five-yearly valuationsome of these societies may have surpluses considerably greater than those of other societies, by reason of the relatively sheltered occupations of their members compared with the members of other societies.


– Does not that at once introduce discrimination, in that the contribution paid by each insured person to any approved society is the same and that, therefore, the service that he obtains ought. to be the same?


– I think that I shall be able to satisfy the honorable gentleman on that point at a later stage. The remaining half of the disposable surplus will be left with thesociety which earned it. This will preserve the incentive to good administration and the careful supervision of claims-essential features in a sickness scheme.

Speaking of surpluses, may I say that we have every hope.that, in due course, the majority of our societies will be able, as in Great Britain, toprovide quite generous additional benefits to their members out of the surplusesreleased as the result of the periodic actuarial valuation. The Austraiian people are a healthy people, they are not naturally prone to malingerand, given efficient administration, there is no reason why approved societies should not eventually provide for dental services, ophthalmic treatment, hospitals and many of the other benefits enumerated in the fourth schedule of the bill.

Each society will be required to set up a contingency fund out of its contribution income as a bulwark “against the risks. of an especially unfavorable sickness experience during a ‘valuation period, and a small deduction - which I hope will be only temporary - will be imposed upon all societies in order to build up a special risks fund, out of which the commission can give assistance to a society which has fallen into a deficiency for causes quite beyond its control.

In order to protect the interests of insured persons who are getting on in years at the inception of the scheme, the bill provides that no society can reject an applicant for admission on the ground of age. The scheme will provide each society with a suitable reserve value, graded in amount according to the age of each contributor over sixteen. There will be no medical examinations for admission, and no employer will be permitted to make membership of a particular society a condition of employment.

The bill also provides for the compulsory allocation among societies of all insured persons who have not voluntarily joined societies within a time to be fixed.

Sickness benefit will be available to an insured person after he has been 26 weeks in insurance, and 26 contributions have been paid. The qualifying conditions for disablement benefit will be 104 weeks of insurance and the payment of 104 contributions. Disablement benefit is really a continuation of sickness benefit, but at a somewhat lower rate.

An insured person will be entitled, if qualified by contributions, to -receive one or other of these benefits, when certified as incapable of work by reason of sickness, right up to the age at which an oldage pension is payable. A weekly allowance in respect of each dependent child will be payable in addition.

In order to give as much relief as possible to persons who suffer from prolonged or chronic illnesses, we have provided in the scheme for disablement benefit, at a higher rate, and for a- longer period, than is usually given by the friendly societies, and any person who is in receipt of disablement benefit which is less than the pension which he would otherwise be entitled to receive under the Invalid and -Old-age Pensions Act will receive from the Commonwealth the difference between the two amounts.

The bill contains generous provision* for the purpose of maintaining continuity of insurance and benefits following prolonged periods of sickness. All contributions will be excused during: periods of notified sickness - including, periods of incapacity under workmen’s compensation legislation - and no matterhow long a man may be sick, his health and pension rights will remain unaffected.. The scheme provides that a man wholoses his job will be entitled to continuity of insurance for a period varying between, one and a half and two years. That iscalled the “ free insurance period “. If he falls sick just after losing his job, his free insurance period will not begin torun until his recovery. If he gets a job just before his free insurance is about to terminate, his insurance will be continued.

In passing, may I say a word as to thu principles underlying this bill in connexion with the payment of benefits when insured persons or pensioners are in institutions. There is a fundamental difference between a contributory and a noncontributory scheme. Under this bill the: wage-earner is compelled to contribute out of his earnings for the benefits. These benefits are the personal property of himself, and, running right through the bill, is the principle that, after the man’s own personal needs are satisfied, the first claim, on the balance is that of the needs of his wife, his children and his home.

The medical benefit provided under the scheme will be a first-class generalpractitioner service, available to every insured person, wider in scope than that generally provided under existing contract practice, and free from those extra charges in respect of mileage or night calls which fend to mar the happy relations between the medical practitioner and his patient. A complete range of medicines and drugs of first quality, and certain medical and surgical appliances, will be supplied free of charge on .the prescription of the medical practitioner. As the result of negotiations with the Peeler al Council of the British Medical Association, an agreement has been reached with the profession for a period of five years, for the payment of a capitation fee of lis. per annum for each insured person entitled to medical benefit under the scheme. To meet the special difficulties of country doctors, additional payments will be made from national insurance funds for mileage, to cover both travelling expenses and time, in respect of each insured person resident in country districts more than three miles from the nearest insurance doctor. One of our difficulties in starting the health insurance scheme - the difficulties do not apply to nearly the same extent as regards the pensions scheme - is the problem of those outback settlements throughout the Commonwealth where adequate and satisfactory medical arrangements do not exist at the present time. It is clear that the health insurance part of the ^scheme cannot be brought into operation “throughout the whole of the Commonwealth for some time to come, but we are’ aiming at trying to get it. started in all :areas within practicable range of a doctor.

It is the purpose of the Government steadily to develop the medical resources of the country, until it can be said that not a life will be lost, or avoidable suffering incurred, for the lack of proper medical treatment. The national insurance scheme will give a considerable impetus to the movement in that direction. It may interest honorable members to “know that, whereas the number of insured persons in Great Britain “increased by IS per cent, in the last twelve years, the number of doctors giving treatment under the scheme increased by 28 per cent, within the same period. The mileage arrangements with the medical profession have been conceived on generous lines, in order to assist struggling country doctors, and to encourage, young, enterprising medical practitioners to settle in areas where no medical facilities now exist.

In certain areas presenting difficult topographical conditions, it may be necessary to increase the travelling allowance or to give some other special assistance. The more sparsely populated areas present a very special and distinctively Australian problem, but I am, hopeful that, in course of time, no person eligible to come into this scheme shall be outside the range of medical benefit. Provision is made in the bill which will permit the Insurance Commission to co-operate with State and local authorities, and with private organizations, in the establishment of medical services in our remote areas. “With the assistance to be given under this scheme, for the benefit of insured persons, it should be possible to extend the range of medical services available to all residents in .such areas. The Government looks forward to the cooperation that I have spoken of, and .we believe that the resources that we are adding to those already available, and to the extensions of such services that are now proceeding, will generally be sufficient to establish a complete system for the whole of the continent. In that system the bush hospitals and the flying doctors will, I hope, play an important part.

The new scheme of medical services, which will be worked, out in detail in consultation with the leaders of the profession, will embody two cardinal principles - that any qualified medical practitioner will be entitled to be admitted to the scheme, and that insured persons will have free choice of doctor. One of the greatest factors in the effective treatment of illness is the confidence .of the patient in his doctor; this can only be achieved if the patient is free to choose his own doctor, and free to transfer to another doctor if his faith in the former practitioner is lost. We are anxious to cultivate, to the utmost, personal and friendly relations between the doctor and patient, and in our discussions with the profession there has been general agreement as to the necessity for securing a willing and contented medical service, not inferior to that obtainable in ordinary private practice.

The frequency of resort to our hospitals is much in excess of what should be found” with the comparatively low morbidity of this healthy country. Recent statistics show that no less than 30 per cent, of the population of Queensland resort to the hospitals, and the percentage for New South Wales is 26. During the year 1935-36 over £350,000 was spent in New South Wales and “Victoria alone in hospital construction. According to the last annual returns, over 1,000,000 persons attended’ hospitals throughout Australia as out-patients. Now that such a substantial proportion of the population will be entitled, as a right, to medical treatment from their own doctors, it may be expected that much relief will be experienced by the hospitals, especially in the out-patient departments.

The new scheme will provide that the doctor will he paidfor each person on his list - sick or well - and the patient can go to his doctor with the knowledge that no bills will follow the visit. The patient will be encouraged to. come early to his doctor.This cannot fail to have a substantial preventive effect in respect of disease. It will pay the doctor best for bis patient not to be ill, and all doctors agree that one of the most important factors in medical treatment, from both the preventive and curative points of view, is early diagnosis and prompt treatment. Eur nearly a generation doctors have been. emphasizing how much more could be accomplished in the treatment of those dread scourges, cancer and tuberculosis, if the patients would only como to them in the incipient stages of the disease.

I do stress the point that we expect, and shall take steps to secure, a high standard of service under this scheme. The medical profession of Australia has a deservedly highreputation. It is no longer a question of “ the pouring of medicines of which’ we know little into bodies of which we know less “. “We are satisfied, from the assurances that we have received from the representatives of the medical profession, that we can look forward to the ungrudging co-operation of the great majority of the doctors in Australia, and that they will give of their best in the treatment of human suffering, andin the prevention and removal of the causes of disease, with a view ‘ to keeping our people healthy and happy.

Medical benefit is defined in the bill as including the provision of proper and sufficient drugs and medicines and of prescribed appliances. The appliances prescribed ‘will be mainly bandages, dressings and splints as required in connexion with such operations or treatment of injuries as fall within the insurance doctor’s agreement.

These medicines and’ appliances will be supplied by registered pharmacists throughout Australia, and it is hoped that existing friendly societies’ dispensaries will take part in this service. Agreement has been reached with the central representatives of pharmacists in the Commonwealth as to the terms on which they will undertake this work. These terms are, briefly - repayment of the wholesale cost of the medicaments supplied, together with a dispensing fee for each prescription, to cover the pharmacist’s overhead expenses and to provide his remuneration. The medicines supplied will be without any restriction as to quality, but arrangements are contemplated to control, with the co-operation of the pharmacists’ representatives and the representatives of insurance doctors, any wasteful and unnecessary ordering of drugs at the expense of’ insurance funds.

The pension scheme, which, as I have stated, will be administered by the commission, will include -

Old-age pensions for insured women at 60;

Old-age pensions for insured men at 65;

Pensions for life (or until remarriage) for the widows of insured men, with, in each case, additional allowances for dependent children. The scheme also provides pensions for orphans, that is, for the children of insured persons, both of whose parents are dead.

In addition, there is a special scheme of cheap voluntary insurance for old-age pensions at 60 for wives who had been in compulsory insurance for a certain time. I shall refer to this later.

In the course of our investigations, we gave prolonged consideration to the possibility of giving old-age pensions to all wives of insured men as well as to the husbands, in addition to the pensions for widows. Very reluctantly, we had to abandon the idea, The contribution for a comprehensive scheme of that sort would have weighed far too heavily upon the basic wage earner and his employer, and the grant from the Commonwealth would have been increased out of all proportion,, because of the high average ages of the married men and their wives.

As regards the widow’s pension, we. never had any doubt that the case of the woman with young children, and no breadwinner, was very much worse than that of the married woman, with a breadwinner, and possibly no dependent children. The latter, if over 60 years of age and in need, can fall back on the non-contributory pension, the former would be nearly always under 60 and, unless she was a permanent invalid, would have no guarantee of any pension.

Iri our anxiety to make some provision for the wives, we explored the possibility of reducing the cost of the widows’ pensions by giving a pension to a widow foi so long only as she had children dependent on her, or by refusing pensions to childless widows. As regards the first of these alternatives, we came to the conclusions that a widow’s pension should not be withdrawn when the children ceased to be dependent, and that it should not be withheld from mothers who became widowed when their children had reached the age at which they could support themselves. A woman who has for many years been burdened with the cares of a home and the upbringing of a young family can rarely hope to re-enter employment on any very favorable terms and, if her widow’s pension were withdrawn when her children were grown up, she mighthave no other resource.

A case might be made out for some restriction of the amount of the pension to be paid to the young childless widow, but we have decided not to make any distinction. [Leave bo continue given.]

In view of the provision already made under the existing Invalid and Old-age Pensions Act for wives at age 60, we have come to the conclusion that we must concentrate in this scheme -on protecting the breadwinners in their old age, and on giving pensions and allowances to their widows and dependent children without any disqualifications.

In order to enable the widows and orphans to participate in the benefits of the scheme at the earliest practicable date, we have provided that these pensions will come into operation after the payment of 1.04 contributions in respect of the husband’s or father’s insurance. That means that after the payment of only £7 16s. in contributions by the man himself, the widow would become entitled to a pension, plus children’s allowances, which, according to the estimate of the actuaries, will bc worth on the average a capital sum of £700.

For the reasons already given, the scheme at the outset will be restricted to employed contributors, but many persons who relinquish employment or ‘ whose salaries rise above ;the limit for compulsory insurance - £365 a year - will desire to continue their insurance, and the bill accordingly contains a valuable option under which all such persons other than married women, if they have been in compulsory insurance for at least two years, will have the right to continue in the scheme as voluntary contributors at the ordinary rate of contribution. As the benefits under the scheme are worth on the average more than three times the amount of the total weekly contributions at the age of 40, and as their value increases rapidly with the age of the contributor, it may be anticipated that large numbers, of insured persons will wish to continue in insurance as voluntary contributors and, if it is’ generally desired, arrangements will be made to enable contributions to be paid by monthly, quarterly, or half-yearly instalments.

The option to become a voluntary contributor will have to be exercised within a period varying between one and a half and two years after the cessation of insurable employment. The option will ensure that all male members of the community who at some time in their lives pass through a period of insurable employment of not less than two years - and they will, in time, form the great majority of our adult male population - will have an opportunity, in addition to continuing their insurance for sickness* benefit, to make provision , for their old age, and for their surviving widows and children. It will also ensure that single women and widows, in the same category, will be able to make provision for their old age, and for sickness benefit until they reach pensionable age.

Voluntary contributors whose total income exceeds £365 a year cannot continue in insurance, for medical benefit, that is, free medical attention and medicine, and their contributions will be correspondingly reduced.

The option to which I have just referred, coupled with the provisions in the bill which permit the possible inclusion in the scheme of persons who, although not technically under a contract of service, work under substantially the same conditions as employed persons, will, in time, afford to the great majority of the adult male population of Australia an opportunity to take advantage of the scheme.

The Government recognizes that many persons who are at present in the selfemployed class may well desire to be brought within the scheme and they have given careful consideration to that aspect of the question. As I indicated in an earlier part of my speech, the experience of most other countries has shown that it is almost impossible to administer a compulsory insurance scheme unless the collection of contributions is related to the payment of wages. There must be somebody, such as an employer, upon whom the responsibility for the payment of the weekly contributions can be fastened. If there is jio employer and the scheme is compulsory, the insured person would have to pay the whole contribution himself, .and it may be anticipated that there would be considerable evasion on the part of a number of persons, for example, bachelors or widowers, who would expect to get little or nothing out of the scheme. There are, moreover, large numbers of self-employed persons who would suffer no financial loss if they fell ill, and such- persons might resent being compelled to pay for a sickness benefit for which they are not in immediate need. Obviously, the scheme could only be applied to persons who, upon their entering into insurance, are in receipt of incomes- within a certain limit of income, and the task of ascertaining the income of numerous small farmers, shop-keepers and others who did not want to come into a compulsory scheme would be very difficult, and the collection of their weekly contributions expensive.

When wo came to examine the alternative of voluntary insurance, we found it extraordinarily difficult to fit a voluntary scheme into a compulsory scheme because the moment we have a voluntary scheme we begin to have selection. That is to say, those people who have a great deal to gain by it choose to come in, and those who have very little to gain choose to stay out, whereas the whole financial basis of the scheme now. submitted is: that we get an average of ‘risks. If thereis a selection against the scheme becauseof the class of people coming in, people who are in poor health or are getting on in years, people who are married and Have large families, such persons would impose an abnormal burden upon the fundsfor benefit, and would upset the financial! balance of the scheme. The only way,, so far as we can see, of providing insurance for such persons is by a varying contribution.

Think what that means. We might, have to find out in every case what isthe age of the man; the condition of hishealth ; whether or not he is married ; if married, the age of his wife and whether he has children and their ages and number. If lie is a widower, wemight have to calculate the chances of his marrying again, and having a family. Added to all these complications, weshould have the difficulty of ascertaining: the income of the insured person and thecost of collecting the weekly contributions.. In order to carry out a scheme of that kind, we should have to set up a completely new administrative machinery, and appoint a large number of agentsfor the collecting of the contributions.

The Government has reluctantly cometo the conclusion that, much as it sympathizes with the claims of the many persons in the self-employed class whoseincomes are comparable to those whowill be compulsorily insured under this bill, it would be unwise to upset triefinancial basis of the present scheme by endeavouring to deal with the problem: of the self-employed person at the present juncture. The matter, however, is not being overlooked. The Government’ is already examining the whole question of the voluntary insurance of personswho are at present working on their ownaccount. When the present scheme hasbeen put into proper working order, theGovernment proposes, if a practicablescheme can be devised, to introduce a bill”, dealing with these persons.

We have not forgotten the claims of thewoman who has been in insurance for areasonable length of time and who givesup her employment on marriage or sometime thereafter. It is more than probable that quite a considerable proportion of these women will desire to continue their insurance for an old-age pension, and we have accordingly devised an attractive scheme under which they remain in insurance for pensions only, as special voluntary contributors. They will pay a contribution of ls. a week - and that contribution will be fixed and not subject to any later increase. When I remind honorable members that a woman’s old-age pension at 60 is worth over £400 in capital value, and that even at the young age of 25, she would have to pay 2s. 6d. a week for this cover to an insurance society the attractiveness of the scheme will at once become apparent. Of course, many of the women will marry insured men, and we have made it clear in the bill that, for special voluntary contributors, the old-age pension under the bill will be in addition to, and not in lieu of, any widow’s pension and children’s allowances to which such women may become entitled by virtue of their husband’s insurance.

Adequate and fair provision is made in the bill, and will be made in the rules of the approved societies, for the settlement by a competent and unbiassed tribunal of any appeals and disputes arising in connexion with claims for benefit under the scheme.

I now approach a description of the methods by which the Government intends to finance the national insurance scheme. The basic principle of the scheme is that the weekly contribution of each insured person must be the equivalent in value of the benefits under the scheme of persons, of the same sex, who enter into insurance at the age of sixteen. The finance of the scheme is thus free of the criticism that “the young pay for the old “. Young and old alike pay the minimum contribution - and the added cost of oncoming years is met by the Commonwealth Government out of general revenue. The table inthe explanatory memorandum gives interesting evidence on this point.

At the outset of the scheme a large number of persons, getting on in years, will be brought into insurance for the first time. More than half a million of them will bc over 40 years of age. Persons will be admitted to full insurance under the scheme at all ages between 16 and 65 years, paying contributions appropriate to entrants. at the age of sixteen years, and the scheme will therefore start with the assumption of liabilities greater than the contributions will cover. In other words, there will be an initial deficit both on the health insurance and on the pensions side. The capitalized value of the deficit willbe about £281,500,000, that is, £17,500,000 on the health scheme and £264,000,000 on the pensions scheme. ‘ These initial deficits will be met by grants from the Commonwealth, but in different ways.

Mr Scullin:

– Over what period?


– Until the scheme is stabilized, or about 45 years.

On the health side, in order that the deficit should not fall on the approved societies, through whose accounts pass the sums required to meet the cost of health insurance benefits, the Commonwealth contribution takes the form of guaranteeing the additional liabilities, in the first place by creditingthe societies with “ reserve values “, and, secondly, by an annual grant by the Commonwealth Government of 10s. for each insured person per annum, paid into a sinking fund which will gradually replace that guarantee by cash in about 30 years, after providing per cent, interest annually on the amount of the reserve values for the time being unliquidated. When the reserve values are liquidated, the Commonwealth grant will cease, and the bill provides accordingly. The sum involved is about £900,000 per annum.

The problem as to the best and wisest way of financing the pensions scheme presented special difficulties. We were faced with the enormous initial deficit of £264,000,000 arising from the high average age of entrants. In the ordinary case of a small superannuation fund, the “ back service “ charge, that is, the liability in respect of employees no longer young wheu the scheme is started, is generally liquidated over a period of 30 or 40 years, by means of a “ loading “ upon the contributions. We explored that method, but found it waa quite impracticable in a scheme of national dimensions, which brought into full insurance over half a million persons above 40 years of age. It would have killed the scheme at once, as the employees and their employers could not have afforded to pay the weekly contributions that would be necessary. t-

We then examined ‘the British scheme of widows, orphans and old-age contributory pensions which was introduced in Great Britain by Mr. Neville Chamberlain in 1925.. There we got some light, but we did not quite reach our goal. I may say, however, that we have patterned the finance of our scheme very much on the scheme adopted by Mr. Chamberlain, but we have altered it to suit Australian conditions. [Leave to continue given.]

In Great Britain, when the scheme was introduced, the capitalized value of the deficiency was £746,000,000. There were then 16,000,000 insured persons. That liability was undertaken by the State, but

I here was no specific provision for the amortization of the capital liability. The British Treasury contribution was not a fixed annual charge designed to redeem the initial liability. Apart from the payment of fairly substantial sump in the early years of the scheme in order to build up a reserve, and to mitigate the calls upon the Treasury in later years, the Government annual payment in Britain is not much more than the interest which would be earned by a fund, if such a fund existed. That payment will go on in perpetuity, because there is in fact no fund, and the contributions of one generation are being used to pay the benefits of another, so that- the original deficiency is never caught up:

When we came to examine the British scheme in the light of Australian conditions, we found ourselves in difficulties. In the first place the capitalized value per insured person of the initial deficit in Australia will be’ much greater than under the British scheme. That is due to the higher rates of pension that we propose to give in Australia^ - the old-age pension in Great Britain is only 10s. a week, and there are no children’s allowances - to the longer duration of pensions - in Great Britain the women’s pension only starts at the age of 65 - and to the greater expectation of life in Australia. If we had adopted the method of the British scheme without modification, we should have been committed to an ultimate cost to the Government of £20,000,000 a year under this scheme, in addition to whatever iiia cost might then bo under the existing Invalid and Old-age Pensions Act.

We then made an’ exhaustive exploration of the very material question of the financial effects of this scheme upon the future costs of the non-contributory scheme. It was not an easy task, as no precise actuarial calculations were possible. We had to bear in mind that the number of men aged 65 and over would rise by 260,000 in the next 40 years, and the number of women aged 60 and over by 430,000. Women’s pensions cost a lot of money, and only a small proportion of them will be insured as contributors at the age of 60. Other large sections of the population will be outside the insurance scheme and many of them will be entitled to pensions under the existing Invalid and Old-age Pensions Act. I think it is sufficient to say that the effect of the proposals that we now submit is, shortly, that, after the insurance scheme has been in operation for a few years, the cost of the existing scheme, although it will be higher than it is to-day, will probably be not much more than about one-half of the figure which would be reached in. 40 years from now if this insurance scheme were not adopted.

We then came to the problem that, in 40 years’ time, the Commonwealth might be faced with a liability of £36,000,000 or £37,000,000 a year in respect of national insurance and the Invalid and Old-age Pensions Act- £20,000,000 a year for the former and £16,000,000 or £17,000,000 for the latter.

The Government was not prepared to commit future generations to a liability of such magnitude, and we came to the conclusion that, if this national insurance scheme is to be brought into operation, the present generation - the generation which is to benefit by the creation of the initial deficit - must make some contribution in advance of the immediate needs, in order to build up, before the full liabilities of the pensions scheme develop, a fund, the interest on which, together with annual grants from the Commonwealth, will meet the increasing charges when they exceed the amount received in contributions. That is the scheme embodied in this bill. The Commonwealth will pay lo the pension scheme under the bill £1,000,000 a year for the first five years. Thereafter, the grant will rise at the rate of £500,000 a year until it reaches its maximum of £10,000,000 a year in 1961. Lt is estimated that from that year the annual grant of £10,000,000, with the interest upon the fund which is being gradually built up, will be sufficient to finance the future needs ‘of the national insurance scheme in respect of pensions.

It is important to note that, under this arrangement, apart from the fixed grant of £1,000,000 a year to pensions for the first five years, in no one year would the Commonwealth -be called upon to undertake a heavier financial liability for pen sions under this national insurance scheme and the Invalid and Old-age Pensions Act than what the cost of the Invalid and Old-age Pensions Act alone would be, if this national insurance scheme were not adopted.

It may interest honorable members to know the benefits which the actuaries estimate would be paid out in cash under the insurance scheme in successive yearly periods, apart altogether from the valuable medical services. They will be during the -

Although the number of insured women under the scheme would be only about onequarter of the total number of insured persons, it is expected that during the fifth year about 41 per cent, of the total cash benefits paid during the year would be paid in respect of women and children. The percentage, however, would gradually increase, and during the fortieth year it is expected to be about 52 per cent. In the fortieth year a total of about £25,500,000 would be payable in pensions alone under the bill in return for a contribution income of £19,600,000, viz., £10,000,000 from the Commonwealth and £9,600,000 from the weekly pension contributions. It is anticipated that, by the fiftieth year, the pension benefits would have risen to about £30,000,000, as against a. total pension contribution income of about £20,000,000. These figures are striking evidence of the value of building up an interest-earning fund in the early years of the pensions? scheme.

It is estimated that, in addition to the payments for medical services, the cash disbursements ion sickness under the health insurance’ scheme would, in the course of time, exceed £3,000,000 a year,, and that about 1,000,000 persons would participate in one or other of the benefits of that scheme in each year. The effect of the national insurance pension scheme, in conjunction with the existing Invalid and Old-age Pensions. Act, would be that, eventually, about £46,000,000 a year would be distributed in pensions among more than treble the present number of participants.

As I said in my opening remarks’, some provision foi benefits similar to those to be provided by this bill has already been made in Australia through provident funds set up by- arrangements between certain employers and theiremployees. When national insurancecomes into force the persons affected will, in certain cases, wish to modify their existing arrangements in order to takeaccount of the contributions paid and thebenefits provided under national insurance, but we are advised that we cannot embody in this bill any provisions tofacilitate any such- modifications as require an alteration of the existing law. I may say, in this regard, that theGovernment proposes to approach theState governments with a view to securing their sympathetic consideration of the proposal that the legislative powers of the States should be used to facilitate such adjustments of existing contracts between employers and employees as may be desired in view of the. provisions of the national insurance scheme.

Honorable members will ‘be anxious toknow when the national insurance scheme will be in operation, following the passage of this measure. This is a difficult question to answer, because a great deal of organization has to be brought, into being which ‘cannot be set up until the Government has received legislative sanction for its proposals. However, I think I may say this - that the Government hopes to start the scheme on the- 1st January next, provided that thereis no undue delay in the passage of the bill through the Parliament.

Before I finish, I wish, on behalf of the Government, to pay a sincere tribute to the invaluable assistance of Sir Walter Kinnear in connexion with this national insurance scheme. His hard work, ripe experience and tact, have made possible the framing of this long and complex bill and regulations in a relatively short space of time. The Government is greatly indebted to Sir Walter Kinnear, and I am glad to have this opportunity to express our sincere thanks to him.

As this national insurance scheme has gradually taken practical shape over the last six months, the Government has become increasingly aware both of the magnitude of the task involved, and of the great and increasing value of such a scheme to the Australian people. I believe that no measure of anything approaching such social importance has previously been presented to the Parliament or the people of Australia. We have heard much about collective security in recent years. This national insurance scheme is a practical application of the principle of collective security for the protection of the individual worker. Insured persons, through their contributions, will be able to secure on easy terms a right to benefits which many of them could not hope to secure by a lifetime of individual saving. The Government is convinced thatthe provisions of this measure will appeal very strongly to all who seek security for themselves and their dependants, and who, at the same time, value independence and selfreliance.

This national insurance scheme is designed to improve progressively the average standard of health of the people, and to provide, at the cheapest possible rate, guaranteed insurance against some of the worst of the anxieties that beset the minds of men.

On behalf of the Government I commend this great social measure to honorable members on all sides of the House, and ask for their support in the great constructive effort that it represents in an endeavour to promote the social and material well-being of our fellow men and women throughout Australia.

Mr Curtin:

– Honorable members would like to have as many copies of the speech made available as early as possible, because they have been inundated with requests from the public. I should like to say, without prejudice, that I heartily congratulate the Treasurer on the adequate and complete exposition he has given us.

Mr Casey:

– Printed copies of the speech are available.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Curtin) adjourned.

In Committee of Ways and Means:

Treasurer · Corio · UAP

– I move -

  1. That, on and after a date fixed by proclamation under the act passed to give effect to this resolution, liability be imposed upon employers to make . payments at the following rates, being part of contributions payable in respect of national health and pensions insurance : -

    1. In respect of the insurance of an employed . person -

In the case of a male - One shilling and sixpence per week.

In the case of a female - One shilling per week.

  1. In respect of the insurance of a partiallyexempt employee entitled in respect of his or her insurance to pension and dependent child’s allowance only -

In the case of a male - Eleven pence per week.

In the case of a female - Five pence per week.

  1. In respect of the insurance of a partiallyexempt male employee entitled in respect of his insurance to widow’s pension ‘ and dependent child’s allowance or orphan’s pension only - Sixpence per week. (d) In respect of the insurance of a juvenile contributor entitled in respect of his or her insurance to medical benefit-

In the case of either a male or a female - Four.pence per week,

  1. In respect of the insurance of a male employed person who has attained the age of sixty-five years - One shilling and sixpence per week.
  2. In respect of the insurance of a female employed person who has attained the age of sixty years - One shilling per week.

    1. That the rates of payments specified in paragraphs (a) and (b) of clause 1 of this resolution shall be increased by Threepence per week in respect of men and women as on and from the third day of January, One thousand nine hundred and forty-four, and, as on and from the third day of January, One thousand nine hundred and forty-nine, those rates shall be further increased by Threepence per week in respect of men only.
    2. That the rates of payments specified in paragraph (c) of clause 1 of this resolution shall . be increased by Twopence per week as on and from the third day of January, One thousand nine hundred and forty-four, and shallbe further increased byOne penny per week as on and from the third day of January, Une thousand nine hundred and forty-nine.
    3. That the rate of payments specified in paragraph (e) of clause I of this resolution shall be increased by Threepence per week as on and from the third day of January, One thousand nine hundred and forty-four, and, as on and from the third day of January, One thousand niue hundred and forty-nine, shall be further increased try Threepence per week.
    4. That the rate of payments specified in paragraph (f) of clause I of this resolution shall be increased by Threepence per week as on and from the third day of January, One thousand nine hundred and forty-four.

Also -

    1. That, on and after a date fixed by proclamation under the act passed to give effect to this resolution, liability be imposed upon employees to make payments at the following rates, being part of contributions payable in respect of national health and pensions insurance: - (a)In respect of the insurance of an employed person -

In the case of a male - One shilling and sixpence per week.

In the case of a female-One shilling per week.

  1. In respect of the insurance of a partiallyexempt employee entitled in respect of his or her insurance to pension and dependent child’s allowance only -

In the case of a male - Eleven pence per week.

In the case of a female - Five pence per week.

  1. In respect of the insurance of a partiallyexemptmale employee entitled in respect of his insurance to widow’s pension and dependent child’s allowance or orphan’s pension only - Sixpence per week,
  2. In respect of the insurance of a juvenile contributor entitled in respect of his or her insurance to medical benefit -

In the case of either a male or a female - Fourpence per week.

  1. That the rates of payments specified in paragraphs (a) and’ (b) of clause 1 of this resolution shall be increased by Threepence per week in respect of men and women as on and from the third day of January, One thousand nine hundred and forty-four, and, as on and from the third day of January, One thousand nine hundred and forty-nine, those rates shall be further increased by Three- pence per week in respect of men only.
  2. That the rates of payments specified in paragraph (c) of clause 1 of this resolution shall be increased by Twopence per week as on and from the third day of January, One thousand nine hundred and forty-four, and shall be further increased by One penny per week as on and from the third day of January, One thousand nine hundred and forty-nine.

The first resolution applies to contributions by employers. Clause 1, sub-clause a, sets out the weekly payment in respect of each employee entitled to all benefits. Sub-clauses b and c relate to partiallyexempt employees in public services, and set out the weekly payments to be made in respect of such employees. Sub-clause b relates to persons exempted from health benefits, and sub-clause c to those exempted from health benefits, and old-age pensions also. Both will be small classes. Sub-clause d sets out the weekly payment in respect of juvenile employees. Sub-clauses e andf set out the weekly payment in respect of men and women employees who are also pensioners. The employer pays to avoid discrimination against others for whom he would have to pay. The employees in this class do not pay.

Clause 2 provides for increased payments five years after commencement of the scheme in respect of both men and women employees, and a further increase ten years after commencement in respect of men only.

The second resolution relates to the payment of contributions by employees. Clause la sets out the weekly payment due from each employed person entitled to all benefits. Paragraphs b and c of Clause 1 relate to partially exempt employees in public services, and set out the weekly payment to be made by such employees. Clause lb relates to persons exempted from health benefits, and c to those exempted from health benefits, and old-age pensions also. Both will be small classes. Clause . 1 d sets out the weekly payments to be made by juveniles, that is employed persons between fourteen and sixteen years of age.

Clause 2 provides for increased payment five years after commencement of the scheme by men and women employees. It is possible to commence with lower payments than will be actually necessary later; because the charges on the pensions fund will be lower in the early years. This is a normal principle of superannuation schemes. Clause 3 deals with the increased payments due by men and women employees who are partially exempted.

Progress reported.

page 812


Customs Tariff Amendment (No. 2); Excise Tariff Amendment (No. S)

In Committee of Ways and Means:

Monaro - Acting Minister for Trade and Customs · Eden · UAP

– I move - [Customs Tariff Amendment No. 2.]

That the Schedule to the Customs Tariff 1933-1936 as proposed to be amended by the Customs Tariff Proposals introduced into the House of Representatives on the eighth day of December, One thousand nine hundred and thirty-seven, be further amended as hereunder set out, and that on and after the fifth day of May, One thousand nine hundred and thirty-eight, at nine o'clock in the forenoon, reckoned according to standard time in the Territory for the Seat of Government, Duties of Customs be collected in pursuance of the Customs Tariff 1933-1936 as so amended. [Excise Tariff Amendment ".No. 2.] That the Schedule to the Excise Tariff 1921-1936 as proposed to be amended by the Excise Tariff Proposals introduced into the House of Representatives on the eighth day of December, One thousand nine hundred and thirty-seven, be further amended as hereunder set out, and that on and after the fifth day of May, One thousand nine hundred and thirty-eight, at nine o'clock in the forenoon, reckoned according to standard time in the Territory for the Seat of Government, Duties of Excise be collected in pursuance of the Excise Tariff 192] -1930 as so amended. The resolutions I have just moved provide for amendments of - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. The customs tariff; 1. The excise tariff. Honorable mem'bers will recall that on the 7th December last the Minister for Trade and Customs **(Mr. White)** made in this chamber a statement on the Government's trade diversion policy. He announced that it was the intention of the Government to alter the licensing system introduced on the 22nd May, 1936, and, except in the case of motor chassis, to substitute a system of adequate duties where such action was necessary for the protection of Australian industry. Since the date of that statement, inquiries have been instituted to determine duties adequate to protect industries established or extended under the licensing system. The result of these inquiries is embodied in the resolutions I have moved. It should be explained that thin has not permitted of the matters being dealt with by the Tariff Board. The policy of the Government on tariff matters remains, however, as heretofore, viz., tariff making, after public inquiry, through the Tariff Board,, and not by arbitrary ministerial action. Amendments of the duties made in the present schedules should, therefore, be regarded as of a temporary nature, until the industries oan be inquired into and reported on by the Tariff Board. {: .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr Forde: -- The Government takes action first and inquires afterwards. Honorable members opposite condemned the Scullin Government for doing that. {: .speaker-KXY} ##### Mr PERKINS: -- The circumstances are quite different. They are abnormal, and the Government is adhering to its policy. The Government felt it incumbent that, until such inquiries could be held, Australian manufacturers who have incurred additional capital expenditure during the period of the licensing system should be adequately protected. Some such manufacturers may be disappointed, that the tariff items covering the goods they manufacture are not included in the schedule. With regard to such cases, I would say that, after investigating the probable effects of the lifting of the import restrictions, the Government was of the opinion that the existing duties constitute adequate protection to these industries. If, however, experience should prove that such is not the case, then applications from manufacturers concerned for Tariff Board inquiries regarding their industries will receive full consideration. In many cases, investigation has disclosed that there has been a substantial increase of local production of goods that were subject to the restrictions and in some cases increases of capital in the industries concerned, but the manufacturers have indicated that the existing rates of duty under the general tariff provide adequate protection. The aim of the present schedule is to make provision for the protection of goods actually being manufactured at the present time as the result of the trade diversion policy and not for future extensions of industry. I desire to stress that, the amended duties in the proposalsbeing of a temporary nature only, manufacturers should not base on them decisions to extend their industries whether by increasing capital orby embarking on the production of new lines. The department, in arriving at -the proposed rates, has necessarily worked on less complete information than that available to the Tariff Board at a public inquiry ; there can be no certainty, therefore, that the proposed rates will coincide with those which the Tariff Board may recommend as reasonable and adequate and which may subsequently bo adopted by Parliament. As the duties in the customs tariff proposals now submitted are designed to substitute a protection for the restrictions hitherto operating, the alterations of duty are confined to the general tariff and are in the nature of increases of duty. In the excise tariff proposals the only amendment is a reduction of the duty on Australian-made wireless valves by 3d. a valve in order to afford, in conjunction with the increased import duty, the Australian manufacturers, additional protection against imported valves. For the information of members, a summary of alterations, in which the previous rates of duty and the new rates of duty are compared, has been circulated. Progress reported. {: .page-start } page 819 {:#debate-21} ### HOUR OF MEETING Motion (by **Mr. Lyons)** agreed to - >That the House at its rising adjourn until 10,30 a.m. to-morrow. {: .page-start } page 819 {:#debate-22} ### LOAN BILL 1938 {:#subdebate-22-0} #### Second Reading Debate resumed from the 3rd May, *(vide* page 733) on motion by **Mr. Casey** - >That the bill be now read a second time. {: #subdebate-22-0-s0 .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr POLLARD:
Ballarat .- The speeches made in relation to this bill have not altered my opinion that if more money is to be raised for the adequate defence of Australia it should be raised by taxation. My personal desire, however, is that not one penny more should be expended on the defence of this countryor on armaments than is being expended at present. I have yet to be convinced that the panic-stricken attitude of honorable members opposite is warranted. I failed to hear or note in the Prime Minister's speech on foreign affairs, anything that should induce a feeling of panic among members of this House, or among the people generally, but from the tenor of the speeches made subsequently on this bill one could almost believe that the Government possessed information which justified it in making the panicky, provision that it is making to-day..- If the Prime Minister **(Mr. Lyons)** had said to this House, " Our Government is in possession of confidential information which it cannot divulge to the people of this country, that makes it essential that we should hasten with the defensive programme of the character outlined ", then only could we feel that at least from its point of view and the need for the adequate protection of our people the Government could justify this proposal to raise £10,000,000 for expenditure on defence. I disagree entirely with the method proposed for raising this money. If it is true, as has been suggested by honorable members opposite, that an imminent danger faces Australia, it is also true that that danger will destroy the lives and property of the people of Australia within the next few years, and that being so, there would be the greatest justification for introducing a financial measure, which would take toll of theexisting wealth of Australia, to protect that wealth which might be endangered. The Government has not done so and, consequently, there is less need than ever before to proceed with a panicky proposal of this sort. I further consider that a loan proposition is one that could only add to the already top-heavy burdens carried, in the main, by the wageearners and primary producers of Australia. An honorable member opposite, last night, pointed out that this Government, or its predecessor, had not imposed increased taxes. Rather, he said, had it lessened the burden of taxation. But all honorable members know that, whilst the burden has not been directly placed on small income earners who are employees, it is undeniable that the sales tax and higher excise and tariff measures and other indirect taxes have fallen markedly more upon the workers and primary producers of Australia than before. I, myself, decidedly oppose the increased defence measures, but to make a statement of that sort, one must justify it. Listening intently to the Prime Minister's speech and to the speeches of his colleagues, I formed very definite conclusions that the defence measures that this Government proposes to take have been dictated to it by people over- seas. It is a part of co-operative imperialism and, definitely, should the necessity arise, we shall be drawn into a conflagration overseas in the making of which the people of this country will have had no say and will be in no way concerned. It is worthy of note that a large section of the Australian people and their leaders will at all times take a lead from Great Britain and follow humbly any policy that the British Government- adopts. That statement has been well illustrated recently. A few weeks ago the British Foreign Secretary, **Mr. Anthony** Eden, resigned. Prior to his resignation, and during the whole period he was in office, this Government declared from time to time that it had complete confidence in him. The policy of **Mr. Anthony** Eden was undoubtedly regarded by the general public in Australia as the policy of the Lyons Government. After **Mr. Eden** resigned, Lord Halifax took over the portfolio. From that time an entirely different foreign policy was operated in Great Britain, but to-day this Government is, admittedly, 100 per cent, behind the present foreign policy of the Government of the United Kingdom. It seems true, therefore, to say that the Lyons Government is a more or less marionette government without a foreign policy of its own. While **Mr. Eden** was Foreign Secretary in Great Britain it accepted his views, and now that **Mr. Eden** has been superseded by Lord Halifax, it has adopted the views of that gentleman. ITo reasons whatever have been given to justify this change. All we know is. that just as this Government would have been prepared to cooperate actively in the prosecution of any war. that might have occurred during the Eden regime, so it is prepared to lend its aid to and participate in any war that may occur under the present regime in Great Britain. The honorable member for Henty **(Sir Henry Gullett),** in his speech a few days ago on this measure, said quite frankly that in his opinion the greatest menace to Australia was from Japan and the East. I do not believe that this is so. Such statements only camouflage the true situation. Responsible naval, military and air force authorities in this country know that it would be almost impossible for Japan, successfully to invade Australia. I believe that the result of the present armaments activity of the Government, and of the policy which it is operating, will be to embroil Australia, in due course, in a European war, the cause of which it will have had nothing whatever to do with. Yesterday, strangely enough, I made a calculation of the number of ships and men that Japan would require to make a successful invasion of Australia. I based my calculation on the knowledge that a troopship of reasonable size would carry approximately 3,000 men. It requires 50 troopships of that size to bring an army of 150,000 men from Japan to Australia. No intelligent person would say, however, that a force of that size would be strong enough successfully to invade even a country which had adopted the policy of non-resistance. Allowing that the 50 troopships could bring 150,000 soldiers to Australia, other ships would still be needed to bring artillery, fodder, munitions and other essential equipment to the country to provide the invaders with the means to wage a war. Further, if so many Japanese ships were used for this purpose there would be an acute shortage of shipping left for Japan to supply the civilian population of that country with the foodstuffs and materials needed to enable it to pursue its usual avocations. My figures were calculated on a conservative basis. It is rather remarkable that I made this calculation yesterday, and to-day to .find in the Melbourne *Age* a reported statement of a speech by **Sir Frank** Clarke. The statement read as follows : - >Japan would not waste any time in dreaming of sending hundreds of troopships containing hundreds of thousands of soldiers to Australia. It would take an army of more than 1,000,000 Japanese to attempt an invasion. They were aware that we sent 320,000 of the finest troops to the world war and that we could now put 000,000 men in the field. This gentleman has made an intensive study of naval, military and aerial science. He is not a man with whose opinion I very often agree. {: .speaker-K2A} ##### Mr Rankin: -- What would the men be armed with - -pitchforks? {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr POLLARD: -- In reply to that intelligent question, I might say that 150,000 Japanese might even be stopped with pitchforks by my honorable friend, the Brigadier, and his fellow farmers; The remarks of **Sir Frank** Clarke must be regarded seriously. Subsequently that gentleman, it seems to me, let the cat out of the bag, for he went on to say - >Australia should concentrate- on getting highly trained men who could be used in the instruction of others. We could save £1,000,000 a year by putting the money into the development of the Navy. What was going to cause war? Britain would not, but if Japan said it wanted to annex the Dutch East Indies with their 50,000,000 inhabitants, and with Sumatra only 15 miles from Singapore, Britain would have to defend her rights, and Australia would have to fight when there was a Japanese naval base and a seaplane base only 200 miles away. In those remarks **Sir Frank** Clarke revealed what is in the mind of the naval, military and air force authorities, and also what is in the mind of this Government in bringing forward these proposals. Australia is really being armed against the possibility of the Japanese making a serious attack on Java, Sumatra and other parts in that area. If Great Britain has to fight in that region, no doubt the Commonwealth Government, and therefore the Australian people will have to provide part of the wherewithal to prevent Japan from getting a footing there. I am not prepared to support any proposal which has that object in view. I am prepared to support only such defence provision as would enable the people of this -country, on their own territory, and within their own shores, to prevent a potential enemy from getting a footing here. I say quite frankly that if the Government continues to pursue its present policy, it will undoubtedly find itself involved in a war in the cause of which the Australian people will have had' no part whatsoever. I have heard it said that sporadic raiding is the objective of certain countries, but I cannot conceive that the Japanese would indulge in sporadic raiding of the Australian coast. In any case, sporadic raids would reveal a serious intention to invade the country, and I have already shown that it would be quite futile for the Japanese under existing conditions to think of successfully invading Australia. I am not prepared to agree to Australia becoming involved in a European war simply because Great Britain might be involved in one. I make that statement with a due sense of my responsibility. History has shown clearly that in some wars Great Britain has been in the wrong. We can have no guarantee that Britain will not again be involved in war for wrongful purposes. The Australian people should not be dragged into a war of that' kind. Incidentally, let me remind honorable members that only a few years ago, when the late President Hindenburg visited Great Britain and was welcomed by Lord Birkenhead, that gentleman, in shaking hands with the visitor said, concerning the late war, " After all, it was a gigantic mistake ". The gigantic mistake resulted in the death of 60,000 Australians and the wounding and maiming of 200,000 others. {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr Brennan: -- Some one made a lot of money out of that mistake. {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr POLLARD: -- The statement of Lord Birkenhead to which I have just referred may be read by any one who cares to obtain the appropriate volume from the Library. In seeking a reason for the psychological outlook which is developing among some of the Australian people, and particularly among a number of responsible men of this country, and causing them to support greatly increased expenditure on armaments, including the purchasing of cruisers from overseas, I was impelled to look to the history of the last twenty years. Having made a survey of that period, I think the first thing we have to do is to consider the degree of responsi- bility for world unrest to be placed against the Peace Treaty signed at Versailles. People of all shades of political thought admit that, on the signing of that peace treaty, an impossible and unjust penalty was imposed upon the German people, a penalty which those who imposed it knew was impossible of realization and of eventually being extracted to the full. Let me, in passing, illustrate the perfidy of so-called statesmen in this connexion. The other day I read a statement by the Right Honorable Lloyd George. Asked what had become of his promise to " Hang the Kaiser," which the people of England and Australia believed he meant in the physical sense, Lloyd George said " We only meant to hang him politically." In like manner, conditions of an unjust character were imposed upon Germany, the futility of attempting to enforce which hasbeen realized with the passing of the years. There has also been a determination on the part of the German people, by sheer courage, to unload from their shoulders the burden placed upon them, and apparently their efforts have proved very successful. For a very long time, due to the efforts of many deep-thinking people, a good deal of information has *been* collected exposing the rackets of the armament ring during and since the war. Men of advanced literary attainments have written extensively on this particular subject, leaders in the church world have spoken of it, and royal commissions appointed by various governments have submitted reports of a condemnatory character concerning it. Up to quite recently, particularly among our own. people in Australia, there has been a decided peace psychology created, and one entirely hostile to the establishment of an army and a navy which could provide suspicion of methods inimical to world peace. The British Government, wrongly I believe, decided on a policy of re-armament, and almost immediately a servile government in this country adopted a similar policy. Unfortunately, almost without exception, the newspapers of Australia in the last two years, in their pictorial pages, have published pictures of foot soldiers, artillery, light horsemen, and machine guns. Thus, the combined power of the press and of governments has gradually been wearing down the propaganda of those who were instilling into the people of this country a psychology in favour of peace and disarmament. I do not think that that can be denied, although I regret that it is so. Any person who thinks and reads can see it demonstrated every day in the life of the people of Australia. I have noticed that very active participants in this form of propaganda are men who served with distinction and courage in the last war. Prominent in this advocacy of increased armaments is a very large sprinkling of men who held officer rank. I do not say that in a derogatory sense against the officer class. They are mostly men who served with distinction, braved very great dangers, and rendered heroic and noble service according to their lights. They wore decorations for bravery, and bore the burden of a very great responsibility, but they did not experience the rigours of the war as did the rank and file of the Australian Imperial Force. {: .speaker-JPT} ##### Mr Blain: -- Rot! {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr POLLARD: -- I happen to know that what I say is true. I give them credit for very great -bravery, and for having borne the heavy responsibility of doing what was required of them. What I arn trying to point out is that, even during, the most severe period of military service, they had facilities for living like decent human beings, facilities that were denied to the rank and file. {: #subdebate-22-0-s1 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order ! The remarks of the honorable gentleman are irrelevant to the question before the Chair. {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr POLLARD: -- I was merely pointing out that those who held officer rank enjoyed opportunities which were not possessed by the rank and file, for living like decent civilized human 'beings. I persist in making that statement. I have had experience of the conditions in both cases, and know what difference existed between, those who' were receiving 6s. a day and those whose allowance was £1 ls. a day. I know which conditions were the more enjoyable, even though I admit that the responsibility imposed on the officer caused him considerable worry. I have enjoyed the amenities of the officers' mess. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- The honorable member, must realize that that has nothing to do with the bill. {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr POLLARD: -- May I say that I have travelled in two different ways on. a troopship. In the one case, I was slung from the ceiling like a rat in a trap. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order ! The honorable member must pay regard to the direction of the Chair. His remarks are definitely irrelevant to the question before the House. {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr POLLARD: -- I believe in the adequate defence of Australia, and am prepared to support a defence policy having that object in view but my interpretation of what is an adequate defence force is entirely different from that of the Government and those who support it. Apparently, judging by the Government's panic measures, the adequate defence of Australia is an urgent matter at the present time. In my opinion, the first essential in the adequate defence of Australia is to abolish poverty, and, as a means to that end, to take complete control of the monetary machine, provide work for all who need it, pay child endowment, and increase social services. Glancing round this chamber, I see a number of wellfed, well-clothed, healthy, happy, and one may say, completely emancipated men, from the economic viewpoint* I often feel that when one reaches such a stage, irrespective of how it is reached, one is inclined to overlook the fact that the great bulk of the people of Australia live far below the basic wage standard fixed by the industrial tribunals of this country. Until the burdens are removed from the backs of those whose standard of living is so low, one can say with a great deal of truth that they have little or nothing to defend. If the danger apprehended is as near as is indicated by the measure of the Government, then the onus rests upon the Government to take drastic emergency steps to deal with the ' matter. I am not prepared to support the Government's measures or its defence policy until those drastic emergency steps have been taken. According to figures given the other day by the Premier of Victoria, **Mr. Dunstan,** there are, in that State, 20,000 men who are registered as unemployed, and 4,000 who are on relief works. As these men are employed for only about three months out of every six. they are dependent on one-half of the basic wage to keep themselves, their wives and families. In the city of Ballarat, 500 persons are registered for employment, and I am inundated every day with requests for assistance from those who are seeking work. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order ! The honor able member must know that his remarks are outside the scope of the bill. {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr POLLARD: -- I am sorry if I am departing from the rigid rules of th« House. But I do think that it is essential, not only to remedy these deficiencies which we are perhaps inclined to overlook, but also, as a defensive measure, to standardize the railway gauges of Australia, construct better and a greater mileage of roads, and embark on an active public works policy, so as to raise tie standard of living, thus encouraging earlier marriage and thereby augmenting the natural increase of the population. Numbers of young Australians to-day do not marry when they should because of the economic circumstances in which the existing conditions place them. It is futile to talk about defence unless first things are tackled first. My attitude is backed up by eminent authorities. I have read in the Melbourne *Age* an admirable address by the Rev. K. Forster, Moderator-General of the Presbyterian Church. Addressing the annual assembly of that church, he said - >The National Government was taking steps for the protection of the Commonwealth against millions of potential enemies a few hours away by air, but a Christian nation had another means also to prepare for defence - to fill the country with people who would make good citizens. I do not know whether he was referring to locally-produced citizens. He went on to say - >They should be concerned to the point of alarm at the falling birth, rate, and concerned also about economic conditions, so that there could be no excuse for birth control. Proposals were being made for the establishment of clinics- {: #subdebate-22-0-s2 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPE AKER: -- Order ! I ask the honorable gentleman to study this matter during the dinner adjournment. The bill before the House is the only subject that may be properly discussed, and some of his remarks have been quite irrelevant to it. *Sitting suspended from 6.15 to 8 p.m.* {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr POLLARD: -- The Reverend K. Forster went oh to say - >Surely it was a counsel of despair for an unpopulated nation, to say nothing of ite moral and social evils. > >There must be a will to peace toward other nations. This nation was ruled by what might be termed the atmosphere of public thought, and the atmosphere was made up by individuals. Peace could be accomplished and war outlawed, as universal education had been established and slavery abolished. Every individual had a task to create an atmosphere of peace and to thwart those who would create an atmosphere for war, as was done before the last war by financiers, and those interested in the manufacture and sale of armaments. There was a Christian duty to make friends out of possible enemies, even if it might mean a revision of our attitude on migration, white Australia,or. trade prohibitions. I with most of that opinion and I quote it as reinforcing my view that it is the duty of every man who believes in the creation of this psychology to oppose, by every possible means in his power, a programme such as the Government is fostering to-day and attempting to foist upon the people of Australia. While I give the Government credit for a sincere belief that its policy is a good one and necessary for the protection of the Australian people, I believe with equal force that it is necessary for those of us who think otherwise and have the interests of the people of this continent just as much at heart, to resist by all possible means the propaganda circulated by the Government in regard to it. Many people are always inclined to believe that governments are right, but anybody who has read history knows that, from time to time, governments make very serious mistakes indeed. In Victoria, in the eighties, an intelligent government,, elected and supportedby intelligent people, believed that the colony was in danger of invasion hy Russia, and in order to thwart the efforts of a possible invader, scattered a number of old muzzle loaders around the coasts. These, I have no doubt, constituted the best weapons of defence available in those days, but they were totally inadequate to repel a hostile attack. It has been announced that, as part of our defence measures, the Government has placed two 9.2 guns at Newcastle; in my opinion, they would be just as futile for the protection of Newcastle as our old muzzleloaders of earlier days would have protected Victoria. Is it suggested that a possible enemywould not know the calibre of our coastal' guns, and it is not likely that enemyships would be armed with guns of muchgreater range? But no invasion of this country could be successful unless supported by a large number of transports to land troops when coast defences had been put out of action. These transports they do not possess in sufficient numbers. For that reason alone, the task of a potential invader wouldbe an impossible one.. I suggest that the Government should reconsider its attitude and that, instead of spending the money on armaments and military preparedness, it should deal with first things first and take the urgent and desperate measures necessary not only to provide work for the unemployed but also to extend the social services necessary for the wellbeing of our people. We must remember that there are large numbers in the community who have either to live frugally or to suffer a bare existence. I could supply to the Prime Minister or the Treasurer to-morrow a list of 500 men in Ballarat who would give anything to obtain employment of any sort. In these circumstances, it is an outrage that, before any serious attempt is made to remedy the plight of these people, we are asked to authorize the raising of loans for the purchase of defence equipment overseas. The money proposed to be raised under the bill now before the House would be far better expended in the standardization of the railway gauges of Australia or for the betterment of housing facilities, not only in slum areas of the cities, but also iia provincial towns. I am totally opposed to the reintroduction of compulsory military training advocated by a number of speakers on the other side of the House. Although the Government has denied that it intends to reintroduce such a form of military service, we find that a section of the press which vigorously supports the Government on most measures, is already apologizing for the time it has taken to see its own point of view and bring down a measure for the introduction of universal military training. Dealing with this matter the Melbourne *Herald,* in an article last week, stated - >Whatever political effects may threaten or whatever promises may have been given in the past, the country's safety comes first, and the question has to be faced. That very powerful journal is preparing the way for the Government to reintroduce compulsory military service. I have no objection to military training from the point of view that it improves the physique of the people, but I view with horror its psychological effect upon the youth of this country when it is used for the purpose of inculcating militarism. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -The honorable member's time has expired. {: #subdebate-22-0-s3 .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr GREGORY:
Swan .- I have no desire to enter into a discussion regarding relative merits of the Army, Navy or Air Force in the event of war. I prefer to leave that to those who have made a life-long study of this subject, whose experience should guide us in all matters pertaining to the safety of the nation. A great many opinions have been expressed during this debate as to the attitude which should be adopted by the Government in regard to defence, and the value of the various arms of the service. I take this opportunity to congratulate the honorable member for Ballarat **(Mr. Pollard)** as one of the greatest optimists I have ever listened to on the subject of defence. He reminds me of a gentleman who, from a platform, was preaching peace and goodwill and the desirability of making every effort to avoid war. He said his policy was the policy of the folded arm, But when somebody threw a potato which struck him on the head, the next minute found him engaged in a great battle of fisticuffs. I feel sure my honorable friend from Ballarat, if war came, would be one of the first to assist in the defence of his country. In considering the matter of defence, the questions that seem to me to be imperative are - first, are the conditions of the world such as would demand financial sacrifices necessary to add materially to the defence of the nation; secondly,, should Australia be prepared for any eventuality; and, thirdly, are its proposals for financing defence adequate aud fair ? We are justified also in asking ourselves what is the cause of the present unrest, and what policies, national and international, should be advocated to secure world peace. Those who cannot envisage the danger of a world war must, ostrich-like, be hiding their heads in sand. There has been evidence all over the world for some considerable time of considerable unrest. For the last two and a half or three years we have been living on the edge of a precipice, never knowing for a single moment when war would occur between the nations of the world. I know that there are many members in this House who see no value in the trade and commerce of this country; others seem to imagine that we could protect our trade and commerce in the event of an emergency ; but we cannot get away from the fact that Australia is part of the British Commonwealth of Nations and that if Great Britain or any part of the British Commonwealth of Nations became involved in a conflict we should have to do something to protect ourselves and our trade and commerce. {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr Brennan: -- "With the honorable member, trade and commerce is the main thing. {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr GREGORY: -- Does the honorable member think for a single moment that if our trade aud commerce were destroyed our people could carry on? He knows full well that if the trade and commerce of this country were destroyed our people would be placed in a very poor position indeed; unemployment, poverty and destitution would surely ensue. War to-day would be far more ruthless and devastating than was the last war. If the need for it had not arisen, could any one imagine why Great Britain, which, in the past, placed its reliance on the League of Nations and foolishly followed a policy of disarmament while other countries were spending hundreds of millions of pounds on re-armaments, should now be making such extraordinary and desperate efforts to retrieve the position and place itself on equality with other nations? Great Britain did everything possible to ensure the observance of the Covenant of the League of Nations. It showed a profound faith in tho League, and in the protection afforded to its members, but it found that its faith was illusionary, and that when the League's ordinances demanded action it stood alone; I was in Rome two and a half years ago when the announcement was made that **Mr. Eden** desired to know whether, in the event of war with Italy, the dockyards of France would be available to the British Navy. We were "undoubtedly on the verge of war at that time. Britain's policy of disarmament had placed it in a doubtful position. It was found that, although Britain was trying to carry out the objects of the League, it could not rely on the assistance *»* the other members. We owe a debt to **Mr. Winston** Churchill for his efforts to make the British Government realize that the enormous sums expended on armaments in Germany - £800,000,000 in one year- showed that that country was being prepared for war. We know what has happened to Austria and what is possible with regard to Czechoslovakia. We cannot escape the fact that everything points to the conclusion that the world may be plunged into" another war. All nations have been doing as much as they possibly can to protect their peoples. {: .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr Ward: -- If they are all for peace, why do they arm? {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr GREGORY: -- The honorable member knows that one or two potential enemies of Britain are arming to the teeth. I consider that Australia is not going far enough in its preparations for defence. Some members of the Labour party in Australia agree with their confreres in Great Britain, who have been urging the British Government to take sides with regard to the revolution in Spain. Would not that mean war? Action has also been recommended in connexion with the Sino-Japanese dispute. What could that mean but war? The Labour party preaches a policy of peace and disarmament, yet advocates a policy that would drag Great Britain into war, while opposing the present plans of the Government, designed to prevent this. {: .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr Ward: -- How many wars has the honorable member fought in? {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr GREGORY: -- None, but my people have taken their share. The only war -which the honorable member makes is against the people of Australia. A nation that waits to be attacked is already half conquered. Is it wise to delay action? In China there has not been even a declaration of hostilities; therefore there may be little warning if trouble arose. I recently witnessed the aerial pageant that took place in Melbourne. I had seen similar displays in Great Britain on two occasions, and I think that the Australian pilots proved themselves to be quite equal - if not superior - to those whom I saw in England two years ago. It was a magnificent sights and the enthusiasm of the tens of thousands of people who wit- nessed the operations was most impressive. I am strongly in favour of universal military training. The disciplinary effect on our young people would be highly beneficial. When I was a child, my old schoolmaster, who was an exmilitary man, made a habit of giving the scholars half an hour's' training about twice a week, and we thoroughly enjoyed the exercises. Australia has but a small army, and in the event of an outbreak of hostilities, six months or more of intensive training would be required before our troops would be fit to engage a welltrained force. I am advocating nothing in the nature of conscription in asking for the adoption of universal military training. If a country is worth living in, it should be worth defending, and the Government should seriously consider the advisability of instituting a system of universal training. It would only be necessary to apply legislation passed during the regime of a Labour government. {: .speaker-K9A} ##### Mr Gander: -- Would the honorable member confine the training to men between the ages of 18 and 35 years? {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr GREGORY: -- I should go even further than that. If war were declared,' I should put the old people in the trenches, and I should not mind going there myself. The members of rifle clubs are a valuable adjunct to any army, for a sharpshooter is always welcome. Increased expenditure should be provided for the encouragement of rifle shooting throughout the Commonwealth. When Calvin Coolidge was President of the United States of America, about eight years ago, he declared that it was the duty of a nation to pass legislation to control all the activities of every section and class in the community at a time of war. "We know perfectly well that in Great Britain, and in man) other countries, the most devilish profiteering occurred during the. war of 1914- 1918. Men who were waving flags, prating about the Empire, and urging men to go to the front, were at the same time making huge profits for themselves. At a time of war all should be prepared to make sacrifices, and co-ordination of all services designed in peace time should be far more effective than if designed after war came upon us. The sinking fund provision of 1½ per cent, in connexion with the proposed loan for defence purposes is hardly sufficient. I consider that it should be about 4 per cent. Apart from the fact that the money is required for the defence of the country, it must be recognized that it will be a wasting asset. There is a general movement for world peace, and we should give careful thought to the best means of removing the causes of the present unrest. The Japanese Empire to-day has a population of about 100,000,000, . and the numbers are ever increasing, while here in Australia there were about 500,000 fewer births last year than at the time of the last census. The people of Italy and Germany are being urged to increase the size of their families, and restrictions are placed not only against their trade and commerce, but also against migration of their people to other countries. At the request of the governments of France and of the United Kingdom, M. Paul van Zeeland, then Prime Minister of Belgium, agreed in April, 1937, to undertake " an inquiry into the possibility of obtaining a general reduction of quotas and other obstacles to international trade." . **Sir Walter** Lip-, mann in a pamphlet written by him concerning the report stated - >The substance of the report is obviously a description of the kind of economic world in which the British, the French, and the American peoples would like to live, and with them the genuinely neutral peoples like the Scandinavians, the Dutch, and theBelgians. At the same time it also describes the kind of world that many influential Germans and Italians would really prefer to live in if the)' thought it were possible. Most people in Australia realize the absolute necessity for preparations for defence, but we should endeavour to remove those obstacles which have created intense irritation and antagonism amongst the nations and which make wars inevitable. {: #subdebate-22-0-s4 .speaker-K2A} ##### Mr RANKIN:
Bendigo .- I believe that the Government has taken the right step in increasing our preparations for defence, as proposed under this measure. I have only one criticism to make, and that is that the proposals do not go sufficiently far. The funds required for the present scheme should be raised from revenue and the money proposed to be obtained by loan should be set aside, partly to provide for the standardization of railway gauges throughout Australia, which is essential in connexion with the defence of this country and partly for the creation of a small standing army, consisting of one brigade, which I regard as essential if Australia is to be adequately defended. In regard to the standardization of railway gauges, we should remember that the value of all our defence expenditure will be cut in half unless this standardization is effected. During the last war, I had personal experience of the tremendous military handicap of a break of railway gauges. The greatest tragedy for Turkey during the Great War was the two breaks of gauge, one at Damascus and the other at Rayah. The British Army under Lord Allenby defeated the Turks, and the defeat became a rout, but the destruction of the Turkish Army as a fighting force, was brought about more than anything else by the break of railway gauge. I believe that if Australia is ever invaded by a large force, we shall have the same bitter experience. I appeal to the Government to take a long view of this matter, and if the work cannot be undertaken on a large scale immediately, let us at least make a beginning. I believe that we should maintain at least a brigade of regular troops in Australia. It is unreasonable to expect members of a citizen force, who have received only twelve or fourteen days' training a year, to be a match in war against the members of one of the great regular armies of the world. If we are ever attacked, it will be by a highly scientific, mechanized force, possibly a small one, but of high efficiency. Imagine the result if young fellows from the cities and farms, with only twelve days' training, are pitted against such a force. I ask the members of the Labour party who say that we should not spend this money on defence, whether they realize that, no matter how magnificent our manhood may be, unless they have all the assistance that science can give them, they will not have one hope in the world against an invader. The opinions of members of the Opposition are so divided that the party has practically no defence policy at all. The honorable member for Denison **(Mr. Mahoney)** said that it was an insult to the intelligence of the people to suggest that any nation could successfully invade Australia, whereas the honorable member for Ballarat **(Mr. Pollard)** said that Australia could spend its whole national income on defence and still not be in a position successfully to defend itself. I believe that we are not justified in introducing compulsory military training until we have tried out the voluntary system. There is in Australia a sufficient number of patriotic young men to provide us with a force as large as we can support, a force large enough for our needs, provided it is efficient. {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr Brennan: -- What were the figures for the Government party vote on the subject? {: .speaker-K2A} ##### Mr RANKIN: -- I do not know what the figures were, but I know the opinion on the subject expressed by the honorable member for Batman during the war. {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr Brennan: -- My opinion has not changed, so that if the honorable member knew it then he knows it now. {: .speaker-K2A} ##### Mr RANKIN: -- The honorable member for Batman may be an educated and cultured man, but in regard to defence, while he may be well qualified to represent the billygoats of Strathfieldsaye, he is not qualified to represent the men of Australia. One of the things necessary to make a voluntary training system attractive is the introduction of a system of deferred pay for. efficiency. The rate of pay at the present time is unreasonably low. Recruits receive little more than half the pay of an ordinary labourer. They should receive the present rate of pay with an additional amount as a reward for efficiency. Steps should also be taken to promote physical efficiency. Young men are keen on physical training, and gymnasiums should be established in the drill halls. The Government shouldalso subsidize local sporting bodies. Even if the services of our young men were never needed to defend the country, it would be well worth while, from a national point of view, to promote physical efficiency in this way. As for our drill halls, while there are some palatial buildings in the cities, those in the country are, for the most part, tin sheds which are not worthy of Australia. {: .speaker-KVN} ##### Mr Street: -- In many places there are no drill halls at all. {: .speaker-K2A} ##### Mr RANKIN: -- That is so. Some method should be instituted to compel employers to grant their employees time off to attend military exercises. I agree with members of the Opposition that the employers have most to protect. They, therefore, should be prepared to make this small contribution towards tie defence of their property. Our regular soldiers, officers and non-commissioned officers are being treated very shabbily by this Government, as, indeed, they were by previous governments. They were the first to suffer a cut in their pay when the depression began, and they were practically the last to have the cut restored. In addition, in many instances, captains are doing the work of lieutenant-colonels, and should be given the rank and the pay that goes with the appointment. If they were members of the Public Service, they would get the pay to which they were entitled within one month of taking over the senior work. It is high time that the department turned over a new leaf in this regard. Another point that is of vital importance to the efficiency of the defence forces has to .do with the enlistment of Australian Army Service Corps clerks for formations. In the British Army, that system was introduced in the reorganization of 18S6, and it was re-approved by the Lord Esher Commission in 1904, after the South African War. To-day, we have good clerks in the Defence Department, but many of them are over age, so that, in the event of war, it would be necessary to enlist and train new men. The present clerks could not be. compelled to go to war unless a compulsory training system were introduced. {: .speaker-JNP} ##### Mr Baker: -- And the honorable member is in favour of a compulsory training system? {: .speaker-K2A} ##### Mr RANKIN: -- No ; because I believe that we can get the men we want by the voluntary system, and I would rather have 50,000 volunteers than 200,000 conscripts of whom, perhaps, 50,000 would be disloyal. Provision should be made for the formation of an enlisted ordnance corps. The system was introduced in the British Army after the Crimean War, because of the shocking mess which the civilian ordnance corps had made of things. It was re-approved in 1886, and again by the Lord Esher Commission of 1904. The system is still in operation in the British Army, but Australia is 50 years behind Great Britain in that respect. In regard to the proposal to appoint a British officer as Inspector-General of our forces, it must be remembered that our senior officers have not had an opportunity to visit Great Britain and Europe for a number of years, and that, in the meantime, tremendous strides have been made in defence matters. It would he a good thing, I believe, if the Government decided to bring the best man available from England for a period of six months to report on defence matters here. At the same time, we should select one of the five or six well-known generals in Australia to visit Great Britain in order to study military conditions. We have here such men as General Laverack, General **Sir Carl** Jess, General Blarney and General White. It was proved during the war that they were quite equal to any military . leaders that Great Britain could produce. In fact, in the British staff colleges three engagements are held up as classical examples of military art. They are the battle of Hamel, the battle of Villers Brettoneux, and, as a cavalry affair, the battle of. Beersheba, and all those shows were run by Australians. We should be careful, however, when getting a man from England, to ensure that he is the best available. If we ask for a man for three years we shall probably get one who is past, his prime, or one who, while perhaps efficient, has never been heard of before. Steps should be taken to move some of our munition works away from the seaboard. In Great Britain, they are now shifting munition factories, munition dumps, and oil storage tanks to Wales and other places as far away as possible from the eastern sea coast. . {: .speaker-KHL} ##### Mr Holloway: -- How about Bendigo? {: .speaker-K2A} ##### Mr RANKIN: -- Bendigo would be quite a suitable place, as there is a considerable mountain range between it and the sea coast. However, many other inland cities in Australia would be quite suitable. There is plenty of skilled labour available in such centres, and it would be just as well for us to have a second string to our bow. A f air proportion of our munition factories and air force squadrons should be based inland, where they would not be easily vulnerable from the sea. With regard to fuel supplies, we should undertake an intensive search for flow oil. If we are unable to find flow oil, then I agree with the honorable member for Kennedy **(Mr. Riordan)** that we should produce fuel by other means, irrespective of cost, whether it be power alcohol from primary products, or oil from shale and coal. I assure the honorable' member for Kennedy that such has been the policy of the Country party, not merely since the last elections, but for many years. The Leader of the Opposition said that defence expenditure was not justified. I believe that his statement, that **Mr. Chamberlain** had said that in the event of war Britain would leave Australia to its own resources was the greatest justification that this Government could possibly have for its programme. {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr Gregory: -- The Leader of the Opposition was wrong in what he said. {: .speaker-K2A} ##### Mr RANKIN: -- Yes, but, if he were right, and Australia was to be left to its own resources in the event of conflict, the amount of money that the Government now proposes . to . expend on defence matters is not a quarter of the amount that should be expended. The Leader of the Opposition said that the position did not justify the proposals of the Government, but any one who examines the position to-day- must realize that, in view of the seizure of Austria by Germany, and of Germany's declaration- that at the right time Czechoslovakia will also be annexed, in view also of the fact that as Germany was defeated in the last war because of lack of wheat- and oil it is now about to go down the Danube Valley to get oil from Rumania and wheat from the great Danubian wheat-fields, we must not sit back and allow Germany to become a great power. {: .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr Ward: -- Does the honorable member advocate war just because another nation is becoming great? {: .speaker-K2A} ##### Mr RANKIN: -- We must protect our own interests. {: .speaker-L08} ##### Mr Rosevear: -- Is tho honorable member seeking to drag Australia into another European war? {: .speaker-K2A} ##### Mr RANKIN: -- Does the honorable member agree with the honorable member for Bourke **(Mr. Blackburn)** that we should insert an advertisement in the press that we are going to defend Australia but no one else, whether or not Britain itself is dragged into war? If that were the attitude taken by this country a potential enemy would be able to say, " We shall first deal with Britain and then have a 'go' at Australia". I believe in collective security, and that the greatest hope for peace in the world is a union of the English-speaking peoples. Do honorable members of the Opposition believe that the United States of America would be likely to support a country which declares that it will not fight unless it is attacked within its own boundaries? {: .speaker-KF9} ##### Mr Green: -- That is the very attitude adopted by the United States of America itself. {: .speaker-K2A} ##### Mr RANKIN: -- That is not so. If we become strong and well-armed we shall have a much better chance of making a treaty with America and ensuring its support in the Pacific than we should have if what the honorable gentleman stands for were the policy of this country. The honorable member for Batman last session said that he believed in the expenditure of money on social services and not on munitions. The honorable gentleman said he realized that if any country attacked Australia every' man in the land would rush to the beach to repel the invaders.. What would he do? Throw sand in their faces ? {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr Brennan: -- Those are- not the words that I used. {: .speaker-K2A} ##### Mr RANKIN: -- Does the honorable member think that a country like the United States of America would make a treaty with people which had no more sense than to say that? But that is practically what it amounts to. {: .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr Ward: -- I would not mind going to a war if they only used sand. {: .speaker-K2A} ##### Mr RANKIN: -- It is the only kind of war that the honorable member would go to! {: .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr Ward: -- The honorable member is quite right. {: #subdebate-22-0-s5 .speaker-K2A} ##### Mr RANKIN:
BENDIGO, VICTORIA · ST CP; UCP from 1940; CP from 1943 -- The Leader of the Opposition deprecated expenditure on defence equipment because it rapidly became obsolete with . consequent wastage. I admit that the cost of defence is tremendous, but does any one realize what the cost of a bombing raid by modern aircraft on one of our cities would be, to say nothing of the loss of life? {: .speaker-L07} ##### Mr Lazzarini: -- Leaving the loss of life out, who would lose money? {: .speaker-K2A} ##### Mr RANKIN: -- The people of Australia. {: .speaker-L07} ##### Mr Lazzarini: -- Only those who owned the buildings and the city. "Why should they not have to pay for it? {: .speaker-K2A} ##### Mr RANKIN: -- Surely some of the people whom the honorable gentleman represents own their own property. The honorable member for East Sydney **(Mr. Ward),** who is a budding Napoleon,said that in the event of war Japan would ignore Singapore, and that the Singapore base had been built purely with a view to the defence of Britain's possessions in Malaya. The Japanese, he said, would come straight down and attack the eastern coast of Australia if they thought fit to do so. Are the Japanese sufficiently stupid even to dream of such a thing? They have sufficient technical knowledge to know that, although they could conduct raids on Australia, they could not attack it and land forces whilst leaving the great base at Singapore on their flank to attack their supply ships and transports. The honorable member's suggestion would make a cat laugh. My belief is that in our generation we shall not see a great force leave Australia to fight in the European theatre. I believe that no government would dare to send a force away from Australia so long as the present alignment of nations exists. We must, however, be prepared to accept our responsibilities and help to garrison Singapore which, although it is a British possession, is essential to our own existence. {: .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr Ward: -- I thought that Singapore was built to defend us,but now, according to the honorable member, we are to defend Singapore. {: .speaker-K2A} ##### Mr RANKIN: -- I think the honorable member's knowledge of defence is infinitesimal. I think that the honorable member for Ballarat **(Mr. Pollard)** let the cat out of the bag when he spoke about **Sir Frank** Clarke's references to the Dutch East Indies. ' It is unthinkable to me that any man* who takes a reasonable view of the matter could say that we could allow any hostile nation to seize the Dutch East Indies, which are on the air mail route - our connexion with the rest of the world - and which could be used, if taken by a hostile power, as a base from which to attack Australia. {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr Pollard: -- Does the honorable member advocate that Australians should be used to defend the Dutch East Indies ? {: .speaker-K2A} ##### Mr RANKIN: -- I do. Australia would be acting suicidally if it refused, so long as no enemies actually landed on its shores, to do anything to assist friendly neighbours. {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr Brennan: -- But the Dutch East Indies belong to a foreign power. {: .speaker-K2A} ##### Mr RANKIN: -- Yes, to a power which is not able to defend it. The Dutch people would fight in defence of the East Indies, but they form a small and weak nation, and the East Indies are a long way from the Netherlands. I do not think that there are sufficient people on the spot to defend those islands without assistance. In their hour of need Australia, in self-defence, should help the inhabitants of the Dutch East Indies to defend their country. It is just as necessary that no power hostile to Australia should obtain a footing in Java or Sumatra as it would beto prevent a landing at Darwin. Mr.Rosevear. - Where does the honorable member consider the frontier of Australia ought to be ? {: .speaker-K2A} ##### Mr RANKIN: -I believe that, in the event of war, the honorable member who asks the question would find the frontier in a cave at Alice Springs. The Government's policy is the right one. Australia must be prepared not only to defend itself, but also to take a reasonable share in the defence of the Empire. Every thinking man knows that Australia cannot stand alone. This country is the richest prize in the world to-day, and if the British Navy were defeated, if the British nation were defeated, the Commonwealth would speedily suffer the same fate as Abyssinia. Common decency and gratitude to the nation that has defended us for 150 years demand that we must be prepared to take our reasonable share in the defence of the British Commonwealth of Nations. Are we going to take up the attitude of the honorable member for Ballarat, who quoted some remarks by a Presbyterian clergyman? {: .speaker-K9A} ##### Mr Gander: -- And a good man, too! {: .speaker-K2A} ##### Mr RANKIN: -- I have heard a clergyman, a **Mr. Green,** say that he would not fight in any circumstances. He was asked if he saw his daughter being attacked whether he would not fight in her assistance, and he replied, "No, the Lord would not allow me to do it ". Some of the clergy take that view, but thank God that there are not many! The man who says that we are going to fight only in Australia, and then only to defend Australia, is in the same category as the reverend gentleman whom I have mentioned. Britain is our Mother Country. After springing from British stock, are we going to stand back and see Britain struck down? {: .speaker-L07} ##### Mr Lazzarini: -- Did we not lose 60,000 lives, and spend £800,000,000 in helping Great Britain in the Great War? Have we done nothing? The honorable member should be proud of his race. {: .speaker-K2A} ##### Mr RANKIN: -- I do not know from what race the honorable member sprang, but I am proud of the race from which I sprang. {: .speaker-L07} ##### Mr Lazzarini: -- I sprang from a better race than the honorable gentleman. {: .speaker-KF9} ##### Mr Green: -The remarks of the honorable member for Bendigo are unworthy of him. {: .speaker-K2A} ##### Mr RANKIN: -- That might be so, but so were those of the honorable member for Werriwa. In the Great War Australia did pay a portion, but only a small portion, of the debt that is due to the country from which we sprang. I personally believe that in the event of another war there would be no need for anything in the nature of conscription if it was decided to send a force away from Australia. We should have just as many volunteers in any future war as we had during the Great War. I command a unit of the militia to-day, and the men in it are of the same calibre as those who went away in 1914 to fight for Australia and the British Empire. They are prepared to fight for democracy against dictatorships. Judging by the attitude some of my friends on my right have adopted towards this bill, I doubt whether some in this chamber would be prepared to do so. {: #subdebate-22-0-s6 .speaker-KQ8} ##### Mr SCHOLFIELD:
Wannon .- I support the bill and congratulate the Government upon having proposed to expend this amount of money for defence purposes. I endorse the remarks made last week by the honorable member for Henty **(Sir Henry Gullett),** when he said, "I do not think that the Government is going far enough or fast enough." I believe that Ave should do our utmost to increase our defence equipment. Of course the Government is in charge of finance, but, nevertheless, everything that we can do to provide for defence should be done. No one likes supporting expenditure for this purpose, but the Government and its advisers - and I have no doubt that its advisers are the best it is possible to obtain - consider that this expenditure is necessary. Certain members of the Opposition hold a different view. We have been told by the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Curtin)** and other members of his party that nothing that has occurred in world affairs has justified the Government in taking this step. It has also been said that the Prime Minister has made no statement on international relations which justifies the action that the Government is taking. I suggest to honorable; gentlemen that they cannot close their eyes to what has happened in Manchukuo, Abyssinia, China, and Spain, and, more recently, in Austria. Something of the same kind might happen in Australia. We have no guarantee that if we remain idle and do nothing for our own defence, other nations of the world will leave us alone. Who expected a few years ago that Italy would enter Abyssinia? Yet practically the whole world recognizes to-day that Italy has conquered Abyssinia. "Who would have thought, even a few months ago, that German troops would have marched into Austria? Yet they are there to-day. What has happened in other parts of the world justifies us in increasing our expenditure on defence. Some honorable members of the Opposition tell us that they are not prepared to spend money on defence equipment w"hich may, or any portion of which may, be used outside of Australia. I am pleased, however, that the honorable member for Denison **(Mr. Mahoney)** believes that we should have a standing army of some dimensions. I agree with that view. I do not believe that we should re-introduce compulsory military training; but if we had a standing army we should be able to do a great deal more to give our men intensive training so that they could defend the country, and lead others in the defence of it, if it were attacked. The honorable member for Melbourne Ports **(Mr. Holloway)** objected to the provision of armaments which could be used for aggression. If his view were adopted, we should not be able to do anything provide a few guns for coastal defences. Certainly we should not be able under the policy enunciated by the honorable gentleman to establish an effective navy, army, or air force, for the equipment that they would use could be used beyond the shores of Australia. One honorable member opposite interjected when the use of sand was mentioned. Probably he knows something about that. If the sand were in a bag it might be more effective, and the honorable gentleman might know more about how to use it. Certain honorable gentlemen who have protested against the provision of armaments have been hard put to it to find excuses to justify their views. The honorable member for Hindmarsh **(Mr. Makin)** said that there was nothing in the offing which should cause Australia to arm. He remarked that we were not threatened in any way. But would it not be suicidal for us to wait until we were threatened or until an enemy were approaching our shores before we started to make provision for our defence? Any one who had experience in the last war will remember how impossible it was for the raw recruits who went into France, and into other theatres of the war, after a few weeks or even a few months' training, to take their place on terms of equality beside the men who had had a fairly long experience of warfare. It would be utter stupidity .for us not to make some provision for our defence and to train men so that in the event of an attack they would be available for defence. In criticizing the views advanced by certain honorable gentlemen opposite, I do not wish it to be understood that I disparage them, personally, in any way. Some of the arguments that they have advanced were honestly put forward, according to their lights, but we must face the facts fairly and squarely and reason things out for ourselves. In my opinion, the Government is proceeding along right lines. I do not think that there can be any argument about that. {: .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr Ward: -- Does the honorable member think that the Government should borrow this money? {: .speaker-KQ8} ##### Mr SCHOLFIELD: -- It should get the money somehow. I do not care how it 'gets it so long as the amount is adequate. We borrow money for other things, and we are justified in borrowing it to provide adequately for our defence. I support the Government right up to the hilt in this matter. Moreover, I have had many messages from returned men and organizations of returned men in my electorate and elsewhere which indicate to me clearly that they also support the Government. {: .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr Ward: -- My electorate is against this policy. {: .speaker-KQ8} ##### Mr SCHOLFIELD: -- An electorate often .takes its lead from its member, and probably the honorable member has given his electorate a lead in the matter. Some honorable members opposite say that we should arm for defence but should not go beyond our own shores to defend our country. I submit that our defence should extend right along our trade routes, almost to the other side of the world. It should certainly extend along our trade routes through the islands of the Pacific and to New Zealand. In the event of trouble occurring, and of Australia being attacked, it would be absolutely necessary for us to be able to defend our trade routes. What would happen if a war occurred, even if Australia were not involved in it? Undoubtedly, our trade routes would be closed to us, and we should find it impossible to market our produce overseas. That would be a matter of vital concern, particularly to electors represented by honorable gentlemen opposite, many of whom are entirely dependent upon the maintenance of open trade routes to overseas markets. Even if Australia were not directly involved in a war, it would be necessary for this country to assist in maintaining communications with Great Britain. {: .speaker-KXT} ##### Mr Paterson: -- That might be necessary to keep the British people alive. {: .speaker-KQ8} ##### Mr SCHOLFIELD: -- And we in our turn are dependent to" a very great extent upon Great Britain. That view has been ridiculed in the course of this debate, but the ridicule has not altered the fact. I strongly support the view that has been expressed by some honorable gentlemen that the Government should maintain a strict control of the manufacture of armaments. If it cannot take full control, it should at least strictly control all profits. Many' of us have a lively recollection of what happened during the last war. I do not care what nation or party a person may belong to, if the opportunity arises to make profits he is most likely to make them - even though he be a member of the Opposition party. I well remember that during the last war we were issued in France with razors that had not been honed. Yet I have no doubt that the Government was charged the price of the finished article. That sort of thing is always liable to happen in a time of war, when adequate inspection of supplies is sometimes difficult. For that reason, I hope that the Government will take 'full steps to control the munition supplies 'and to keep a strict watch on profits. {: .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr Ward: -- How does the honorable member suggest that profits should be regulated ? {: .speaker-KQ8} ##### Mr SCHOLFIELD: -- If any honorable member is .interested in my views on that subject I shall be glad if he will see me privately. " I sincerely hope that the armamentswhich we are manufacturing will never be used in war. I should not care if we were compelled to manufacture armaments indefinitely so long as they were never used for war activities. Even if they are never so used, the money spent on them should not be regarded as a complete loss, for the work of making them would have provided a great deal of employment for our people. If, in the future, the likelihood of war is reduced so that it will be possible for us to relax our armament-making activities, we could gradually convert to other uses the plant installed for war purposes. If we arm for defence it is likely that we shall not be called upon to use our arms, whereas if we are unarmed we shall be offering an invitation to nations which are armed to the teeth to attack us. It is practically certain that in any future war Australia will have to depend upon itself for defence. I cannot see how it will be possible for Great Britain to detach ships, men or aeroplanes for our defence. It is true, of course, that the Singapore base is a bulwark, but it is still necessary for our people to equip themselves to defend. this country. I am not under any delusion as to the practicability of a foreign nation transporting a large army to our shores. I believe that with the men that we have at present in training, and with those who would volunteer in an emergency, we should be able, as some honorable members opposite have suggested, to put a good force into the field in a comparatively short period to repel an attack. But to do that would be practically sending men to the slaughter, for untrained men are always at the mercy of trained troops. We must have regard to the fact that if a war occurred all the available forces at the control of the Government of "the United Kingdom would be fully occupied in other parts of the world. We should have to defend ourselves, for Britain would not be able to do a great deal to help us. Consequently very few units of the British forces, naval, air or land, would be able to come to our assistance. There is one other point which honorable members on the Opposition have made. They do not agree that any of our forces should he sent overseas. Such a contingency will never arise, in my opinion, unless it be that a certain number of troops are sent to islands just north of Australia. We shall need every man that we can train, even if we train a considerably greater number than is being trained at the present time. Even at the commencement of any war, it would be very foolish of us to send an expedition away from Australia as we did during the last war. At that time we had, not very far distant from us, a very powerful nation which was allied with Great Britain. We do not know what might happen in the event of another war, and if we sent our forces away from this country we might be more or less caught napping by some nation which might undertake to send an expeditionary force to our shores. Therefore, the claim that the Government is preparing something that might eventually result in our troops being sent to fight in foreign countries cannot be sustained. There are two items with respect to which I should like the Government to pay greater attention. I have no very special knowledge of naval affairs, as have some other honorable members, but I consider that we need a larger and a much more powerful battleship, in our navy. We have the experience of the last war to guide us, when the *Australia* was a unit of our fleet. I think it is generally recognized that the mere fact that the *Australia* was somewhere in Australian waters kept raiders away from our shores. We are adding two cruisers to our fleet, but I do not consider that they are large enough. We should have a battle cruiser, because that might be the means of saving a considerable amount of destruction and loss of life from raiding cruisers in the event of hostilities. Another matter into which I should like the Government to go very much more fully ha? been mentioned by practically all honorable members on this side of the House. It should immediately investigate the possibility of training a very much larger number of men than is at present being trained. I understand that the strength of the permanent forces is to be expanded by 918, and that a further increase of 1,350 is contemplated, a total of about 2,200 men, repre senting a couple of battalions, which is almost worthless as "an expansion of thb permanent forces. . I suggest that, as a first step, the Government should set about the appointment of area officers. We have practically no knowledge of what are our reserves. If aTea officers were appointed, we could undertake the collection of all sorts of information, such as the man power available in each area, the physical standard of those men, their ages, and the number who could be trained. We could also inquire into the productive resources, transport facilities, and industrial prospects of the area. There are also many other directions in which we could gather information which would be most valuable if it were needed at any time. -The defects of the present system of military training have been pointed out by many honorable members during the course of this debate, consequently there is no need for me to traverse that aspect of the matter. One thing that strikes me as most important, however, is that, if we intend to persist with the volunteer system, the training should be made much more" attractive than it is at the present time. I see no reason why the men should not be adequately paid. I do not think they are paid anything like an adequate amount now. While they are training for the.f. defence of their country, they are worthy of as great a remuneration as they receive when they are working at their ordinary occupations. As one honorable member has mentioned, Saturday .afternoon training should be abolished. TI1086 wb.° volunteer are only human beings ,and they naturally desire to indulge in sports on Saturday afternoons, especially as this is not a very attractive service.. Putting in their time at an unattractive, ill-paid job, on Saturday afternoons, suggests to me that they must be some of the finest specimens of Australian manhood. If for no other reason, they should be adequately remunerated. I commend the Government for its policy of aircraft expansion, The wonderful display that we witnessed at Flemington a few weeks ago shows of what Australians are capable if they have the right kind of machines. To1 a certain extent money is no object at a time like this, in view of the necessity adequately to defend Australia. The air arm should be very much expanded, and we should endeavour to expand it much more rapidly than is contemplated by the Government in the report that 'has been placed before this House. But notwithstanding the expansion of our air arm, our coastal defences, and the establishment of munition factories, the principal burden of any conflict must always rest on our man power. I therefore suggest that the Government should very seriously take into consideration the recommendation placed before this House by many men with long experience in military affairs who have studied the subject for many years; that is, that it should set about immediately to expand the man power of Australia. I commend the bill to the House, and congratulate very heartily the Minister for Defence **(Mr. Thorby)** on the very fine job that he has done since he has assumed office. I also congratulate the Government for haying taken this very necessary step in the right direction, even though it has not gone far enough., For what it has done, and for what I hope it will do in the future, I heartily commend it. {: #subdebate-22-0-s7 .speaker-KF9} ##### Mr GREEN:
Kalgoorlie .- I was very much impressed this evening by the speech of the honorable member for Bendigo **(Mr. Rankin).** It was the first occasion on which I had heard him speak on a matter of this kind. I very greatly regret, however, that towards the end of his speech he made insulting remarks concerning the race from which sprang an honorable member who sits on this side of the House. That reference was entirely unworthy of him. I take leave to remind him that the Italians were the allies of the British race during the last Great War. Australia is a country with a mixed population, and if the honorable member discriminates against Italians., he should, to be consistent, also vent his spleen against the descendants of Germans in Australia, who were our 'enemies in the last war. The honour boards of this country are sprinkled with the names of German Australians as well as Australians of Italian extraction, who fought for this country in the last Great War. In the circumstances, therefore, it is most regrettable that an honorable member should so far forget himself as to make an insulting remark which was entirely unworthy of him, and completely spoilt an otherwise excellent speech. Let me say at the outset that I do not think we have anything to gain by assuming that, because honorable members who sit on a particular side of the House do not agree with the Government in this matter, the supporters of the Government are justified in asserting that they are unpatriotic towards the country of their birth. We throw that declaration back in the teeth of those who make it. Many of those who sit on this side of the House had Australian fathers and mothers, and are of British descent. We, therefore, say that we should place Australia first. Although we recognize that we belong to the British Commonwealth of Nations, we take a much more definite view of our responsibilities. Australia is a country which is just in the making. Men come to this country from the north of Ireland, the south of Ireland, and England, who regard themselves as north of Ireland men, south of Ireland men, and Englishmen. The spirit of Australia should be cultivated in this country. I was an anti-conscriptionist during the Great War. I have been in many countries in the world, and have found that Australia is the only country in which a man is called a traitor because he is true to hi3 own land from his own point of view. We must outlive that if we wish to develop an Australian spirit. The Labour party stands for the defence of Australia. Whatever political capital our opponents may endeavour to make out of our attitude towards defence will not stand them in good stead. If ever war came to Australia, those who would have to defend this country *en masse* would be the people whom we on this side of the chamber represent, namely, the working class. I admit that the sprinkling of patriots, if we may so describe them, who are prepared to fight for this country, are as numerous, proportionately, among those who hold views different from mine, as among the members of the working class; but the great fight for the defence of this countrymust come from the working class, and in such circumstances harmony cannot be obtained, nor can patriotism be instilled, by insulting them and their representatives. In the matter of defence we differ from our friends on the other side of the chamber. I should like to ask this Government what its position would be if **Mr. "Winston** Churchill "were at the head of the Government in Great Britain to-day. Assuredly we should be in trouble if the 3,500,000 Germans who are at present residing in that portion of Czechoslovakia which was cut off from Austria by the Allies, followed the example of their racial fellows in Austria and joined up with Germany. The vote taken in Austria showed that that step was considered essential from their point of view. During a short residence in Austria, every one with whom I conversed in Vienna told me that the only possibility of raising that country out of the depression into which the Treaty of Versailles had plunged it by giving it a capital city of 3,000,000 for a country with a population of only 6,000,000, compared with a country with a population of 55,000,000 previously, was to unite the Austrians with their kindred in Germany. Now one-fourth of the Czechoslovakian Republic, representing 3,500,000 people, may decide to go with their kindred, just as we would desire to go with our kindred in similar circumstances. If **Mr. Churchill** were Prime Minister of Great Britain today and a conflagration were to break out in Europe, the British Empire would be involved, and, because of the policy oi this Government, this nation would see a repetition of the tragedy which faced us not so long ago when its wealth and mari-power were being expended in an international struggle, in this- case, however, without any legitimate excuse to justify it. The popular conception in 1914 was that Great Britain declared war on Germany because of Germany's violation of an agreement with Belgium; that, as honorable members know well enough, was not the real reason; Great Britain declared war on Germany because it feared that if the German troops occupied the north coast of France, the security of Great Britain itself would be endangered. I repeat that, with world conditions as they are to-day, if **Mr. Churchill** had been head of the British Government, because of the policy that the Australian Government is applying:* today, this country would have been at war. We cannot afford to take these risks. The policy of the Government, at best, leaves us in nebulous doubt. The former honorable member for Bendigo, **Mr. E.** F. Harrison, was a military man, as is his successor. {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr Brennan: -- I was born in Bendigo. {: .speaker-KF9} ##### Mr GREEN: -- The honorable member for Batman **(Mr. Brennan)** establishes the reasonable normal balance which we always get from nature in matters of this kind. The honorable member for Bendigo **(Mr. Rankin),** who is also aspiring, and with some showing, if he can contain himself, to be a military authority, said that we must have a large navy - an immense navy - in order to keep our trade routes open. I have heard other honorable members in this chamber expressing the same opinion, but Great Britain has no ideas of that kind. Great Britain realizes that it owes a duty to its own people, just as we in Australia owe a' duty to this country. Great Britain has at its call a great deal of the wealth of the world, and, in addition, draws from its investments of £600,000,000 in Argentina, a country nearly one-third the size of Europe, which is not under the British flag, as well as from its investments of £600,000,000 in Australia, and similarly, large sums in other parts of the world. The Prime Minister of Great Britain has said that Great Britain's first duty includes the protection, not only of the Mother Country, but also of its trade routes. Its very existence depends upon the preservation of its trade routes. During the last war, Great Britain's naval might was utilized to the full to keep the trade routes open, just as it would be utilized again if the need arose. It is said that we fear Germany, but, in its present position, Germany is far less able to defend itself or to engage in a war with Great Britain than in prewar days when it was the greates't militarist nation in the world. Dealing with the protection of trade routes, the British Prime Minister said *:-U* The first main effort df the British Government includes, not only the protection of the Mother Country, but . also the preservation of the 'trade routes which would be carried out by the naval forces supplemented by military and air forces, which at the same time provide the principal protection for British territory all over thu 'world. With four or five naval vessels in Australia, as 1 suggested, are we to assist to keep the trade routes open evento the furthermost parts of the earth? At one time we used to sing " Britannia rules the waves " ; I did 11Ot think the time had yet arrived when we could sing " Australia rules the waves." We realize, of course, that we "have a man-sized job to defend Australia, and that the task is as much as any reasonable country could ask. Great Britain itself recognizes that it is almost a superhuman effort, but we say that it can be done. We have £600,000,000 of British capital invested in this country to' defend. Surely that is an earnest of our preparedness to do our duty! Of our 7,000,000 people, 60,000 left their bones on the fields of Prance and, Flanders during the last war, and 200,000 returned from the war shattered 'in' health, many of them only to die a miserable death in the land of their birth. During the war, which cost Australia -'£800,000,000, the slogans most often heard were that it' WaS to be " a war to end .war," and " a war to make the world safe for democracy ". Despite that, we find, to-day we are to spend millions of pounds in addition to what we have already spent. In its present condition Australia could well do with that £800,000,000, which represents two-thirds of our total public debt, which was expended overseas on a fruitless war. We have already spent too much of our treasure; now, we want money for the development of, Australia, which stands out as the most poorly developed country in the world, with its *7,000,000* people trying to scratch a living while, at the same time, endeavouring to meet an unbearable burden of debt. Although we will never be able to shake off this burden, this Government, for reasons which I can- not fathom, is anxious to increase theburden on the country still further for defence requirements, and at the sametime baulks at the question of providing. £500,000 or £1,000,000 a year for social services in a complete national unemployment insurance scheme. It proposes toindulge in this recklessness at a time when the country is in need of increased social services, and 100,000 men are still out of employment, and while refusing them a decent living, I have no doubt it would. * expect the unemployed in the name of" patriotism to respond to a call to fight for their country. Having made up our minds that every person who can bear arms should be available for military service if needed in our own land,, we should refuse to be stampededinto agreeing to this huge expenditure of money unless it is fully warranted. We ask, therefore, what isthe reason for spending an additional £43.000,000 in the next three years on defence? Only last August we were told that we should have to find the exorbitant amount of £11,500,000 for defence purposes. The average defence expenditure in Australia over a period of years was £6,000,000, which was not exceeded even during the years immediately after the depression, when conditions in this country were improving; but it is now proposed to expend £43,000,000 during the next three years for defence purposes, of which £9,500,000 is to be expended this year. How can that be justified ? Can any honorable member opposite say that present circumstances demand a large expenditure of this kind at a time when money is urgently needed for the development of social services? The Labour party stands for the workers of this country and for improved social services for the people. Honorable members on this side are constantly engaged' in the fight for the workers, and for the betterment of their conditions, but, unfortunately, we are unable to secure justice at present because we are outnumbered by the parties opposite. It is the duty of the Government to see that, at a time like this, no wasteful expenditure of public money takes place, and it should give convincing reasons why such a large expenditure should be incurred for defence purposes. The Prime Minister recently disclosed his ostensible reason, when be said - >The deterioration of the world situation which occurred subsequently to the Imperial Conference of last year resulted in a programme much greater than the one contemplated at that time. I claim that what has occurred in Austria took place in accordance with the wishes of the people of that country, and is no concern of ours. The result of the plebiscite is now current history. I remind the House that 48,799,000 persons out of the 49,000,000 throughout the world, who were entitled to take part in the plebiscite, voted in favour of the union with Germany, and only 452,000 voted against it. The "yes" vote represented 98.47 per cent, of the population in Germany, and 99.65 per cent, in Austria, the most unanimous mass vote the world has ever known. The Prime Minister of Great Britain, **Mr. Chamberlain,** is doing remarkably good work. He has settled the difficulty with regard to Italy. Whatever differences of opinion honorable members on my side of the House may have on this matter, I contend that, it is a fortunate circumstance that Great Britain has a Prime Minister who considers international matters in a sane manner, with the object of bringing about peace rather than war. Not only has he come to an amicable agreement with Italy, but he is also discussing with Berlin the problem of the Germans in Czechoslovakia, and he has offered his services as an intermediary between China and Japan. If there was ever a country in the world that needs peace, in order that it may be properly developed, it is Australia. After another expenditure of money and sacrifice of human life, such as occurred during the last war, Australia's resources would be so depleted that for a century it could not offer to its inhabitants the amenities of civilization. During the troublous period experienced a few months ago, the daily press generally banged the drum in favour of increased expenditure on defence; but one journal in Australia, I am glad to say, stood out from among the rest, and had the courage of its convictions. I desire to pay tribute to the Sydney *Bulletin* on this occasion, and to point out that at various times it has taken a courageous stand. .When Great Britain went to war with the Boers -in South Africa, the *Bulletin,* opposed the campaign, although it lost a large number of subscribers .through its action. It expressed the view that that was an unjust war, and the general opinion to-day is that its attitude was justified. The *Bulletin* has a page headed "Uncabled Additions This news consists of items which are freely published in Great Britain, but do not appear in the Australian daily press. Probably, the business interests that have big trade advertisements in the daily newspapers in Australia are " responsible for the policy of the press, and for the fact that it is never behind the Labour party. The following item comes from the London *Evening Standard* :-rf {: .page-start } page 839 {:#debate-23} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-23-0} #### EFFECTS OF WAR .JITTERS Symptoms and effects of war panic have been on the increase in many parts of the world, including Australia and Maoriland. Not much wonder when war scares as a means of boosting sales have been a feature of newspapers foi- at least three years past, the scare-mongering - -not only in the press, but on the air and on the screen - reaching a hysterical crescendo over the last ' two months. In England even more than here this trumped-up panic was beginning to have fantastic and economically serious effects until the Anglo-Italian settlement steadied the markets. (Digest of a corrective leading article in London *' *Evening Standard.")* The comment of the *Bulletin* is as follows : - >Pessimists in London who seem to have accepted that a European war is inevitable and that any night sleepers may be wakened by bombs falling on Whitehall are victims of hysteria. > >They misread, the facts and' probabilities ot the current situation, and grossly exaggerate its dangers. Such alarmist pessimism is of the worst possible service to' the community. There exists a real risk lest -foolish talk of imminent war and even the sensible precautious the Government is taking against its possible, but improbable, occurrence may lead people to alter their normal habits of living and spending. Reference is also made to an article which was published in the London *Observer,* pointing out where' Great Britain stands. The *Bulletin* says - , ^ [In the article here condensed from London *Observer,* J. L. Garvin puts a clear' view of where Great Britain stands,under **Mr. Chamberlain's** foreign policy. "It is a steadying thought that if **Mr. Attlee, Mr. Churchill** or somebody obsessed with **Mr. Eden's** outlook had been in **Mr. Chamberlain's** place this year we should probably have been at war at this very moment.] The people with these ideas in the Old Country are first brothers to our friends on the Government side. Sometimes there is something political at the back of these matters. Almost every newspaper in Australia is slobbering over the Government for what it proposes to do with regard to defence with other people's money. Probably the Government hopes, as in Great Britain, to have a khaki election later. If so, the Labour party will fight it, and will be fearless in its opposition. The *Bulletin* further states - > **Mr. Chamberlain** has opened a new era of strength and hope. He has restored the foreign policy of this country to a plain foundation. > >What are the principles in effect? We do not trail our coat, nor toss our hat into every ring. We shun crazy crusades. . . . It would be crazy, indeed, to leave Australia unprotected by sending our troops away to take part in a fight in Europe on behalf of a country that had no interest in us. Would Czechoslovakia come to the help of Australia in the event of our being attacked? Of course it would not. The .honorable member for Bendigo **(Mr. Rankin)** has the fantastic idea that we must extend our defence activities to the Dutch East Indies. Java, which is only half as big as Victoria, has a population of 60,000,000. If the Dutch are unable to train the natives to fight for them, as the French do in their colonies, surely it is our duty to defend our own hearths and homes, and leave the Dutch to fight for themselves! I am pleased to say that the Labour party abolished compulsory military training. I was the Minister for Defence when that action was taken and I have no apology to make regarding it. Australia has 45,000 troops to-day under the voluntary system. Anybody acquainted with the views of the Defence Department knows that it is not concerned with the view expressed by the honorable member for Henty that plans should be made for the mobilization of all the youths in Australia, so that 200,000 troops could be placed in the field, when there is no probability of war for the next- 15 years. What we should be most concerned about is the placing of the unem- ployed youths of this country in work. The chief job for the Defence Department at the present time is to provide the necessary munitions and other equipment required for defence purposes. The Leader of the Opposition has pinned his faith to an increase of the Air Force. He had the courage to come forward boldly on this matter, although the Government and its supporters have previously tried to ridicule the idea. The admirals of the fleet will tell us that the best way to protect Australia is to build up great naval strength. The representatives of the Air Force will assure us that the main thing necessary for our defence is a large number of aeroplanes. Military men will tell us that the only proper way to defend Australia is to have a large number of men in full training. Honorable members opposite strangely contradict one another. The honorable member for Bendigo said that our troops should be prepared to go abroad to help the Motherland. The honorable member for Wannon **(Mr. Scholfield)** does not fear" an invasion of Australia, particularly from the country mentioned in such a provocative way as it was referred to by the honorable member for Henty **(Sir Henry Gullett).** That honorable member is noted for his provocative remarks. He had to be removed from the Cabinet because he provoked Japan, and tried to provoke Canada by trade restrictions. {: #subdebate-23-0-s0 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order ! {: #subdebate-23-0-s1 .speaker-KF9} ##### Mr GREEN: -- Some time ago, before Japan was in its present position, all the military people would have told us that the only country we had to consider as a potential enemy was Japan. We were told that the Japanese did not have the right psychology for an adventure of the kind. It was possible that Japan might seek to expand nearer home, and not so far away as Australia. Since then Japan, has done as was expected, and has taken on a pretty big job. Even if Japan is able to conquer China, it will take a great many years to settle the country. We we were told that, even if the improbable happened, and the Japanese really did contemplate attacking Australia, it would take six months to prepare for the expedition, and that, from the day they began their preparations, Britain and Australia would know of them, and would know where they intended to strike. Tears ago we were told that we ought to establish naval bases in Western Australia, in New South Wales and in Victoria. Hundreds of thousands of pounds were spent on the construction of a naval base at Fremantle, but the work was abandoned because the British Government undertook the construction of the Singapore naval base to cut the lines of communication of any power that sought to invade Australia from the north. The Singapore base has now been completed, and to-day it is impossible for any nation north of Australia to land armed forces in this country. Thus we come to this conclusion : the best defence for Australia is our Air Force, in conjunction with the land forces already in existence. That is what the Labour party advocates. The Government derided our defence policy last September, but within a few months it has doubled the defence vote for the Air Force, and now proposes to establish a force of 204 machines, which is not so far short of the 300 advocated by the Labour party. We agree that we must take steps to defend our country. It is proposed to spend an enormous sum of money on our defences, and if we propose to place ourselves in a position to defend Australia we are taking on a big job. We desire to inculcate an Australian spirit, a spirit not hostile to Great Britain. We are doing all that Britain could possibly ask of us. We are spending several times as much *per capita* on defence as Canada is. It might be pointed out, of course, that the Canadians can rely on the United States of America to defend them, but what about South Africa? In that country there are only 2,000,000 white people, yet we are spending far more proportionately than they are. We are also spending more in proportion than New Zealand is, although New Zealand is a small isolated country much more open to attack than is Australia. The Labour party is willing and eager to fight for Australia if the need arises, and we do not need the "soolers" on the opposite side of the House to point out our duty to us. Our sons will join the rest in the defence of their country. Every man able to bear arms would rush to the coast, if necessary, to repel an invasion. As for the voluntary system of training, steps should be taken to make it more attractive to the youths of the country. In the old militia force, of which I was a member, the men received 10s. a day while training, which was equal to £1 a day now. They received 5s. for night drill and 5s. for a half day's drill. The dress was attractive, and that' is not a matter for scorn. Young fellows do not like to be dressed, as were cadets under the old compulsory system, in breeches three feet wide, making them look like absurd popinjays. Australian men are as patriotic as any on earth. They have been tried, and have not been found wanting; nor will they fail if the need should arise in the future. {: #subdebate-23-0-s2 .speaker-JPT} ##### Mr BLAIN:
Northern Territory .- I support the bill. The first thing that impressed me after coming back here from the roof of Australia is that we do. not seem to have progressed very far in the direction of sinking our small sectional differences for the sake of wider national interests. One important aspect of defence has not been mentioned so far in this debate, and it has certainly not been given adequate consideration in the framing of the Estimates. I refer to the need for the complete triangulation and mapping of Australia for defence and other- purposes. I deplore, as does every one in the surveying and engineering world, Australia's lack of progress in the work of co-ordinating the surveys of the various States. **Mr. King** O'Malley tried to do something in this direction as far back as 1912, but failed. Australia is far behind the other civilized countries of the world in the mapping of the country's physical features and contours. I have in mind particularly the great ordnance surveys of India and the British Isles. I instance also the surveys made by the little principalities of the Malay Peninsula, Siam, Burma and the Straits Settlements. They made a major triangulation, so that they now know the whole surround of the country first, and then fill in the details with smaller surveys afterwards. We in Australia did not follow that course, and so we have chaos. *[Quorum formed.]* The following minute was placed before the Minister, **Mr. King** 0'Malley:, on the 21st November, 1911, by the secretary of his department, **Mr. David** Miller: - >The necessity for securing reciprocity between the Commonwealth and the States in the matter of surveys and associated subjects is obvious, and has been brought under notice by me from time to time. > >It is requisite that the whole of the survey operations (both field and office) carried out by the Commonwealth should be under the direction of an authority who would be responsible for and secure consistency throughout Australia, not only of the actual surveys themselves, but of the production of the original plans and their subsequent reproduction. He would also organize and direct the general survey of Australia, which would embrace the geodetic survey of the coast line and its ultimate extension. > >The Commonwealth is now employing surveyors for various purposes, working under the licences issued by the State Governments, between whom and the Dominion of New Zealand terms of reciprocity have been arranged. It is desirable that the Commonwealth should now be included in this arrangement, especially as, in the near future, it will be necessary to issue certificates of title for lands in the Federal Territory and elsewhere. > >I therefore submit for approval the recommendation of tho Director of Commonwealth Lands and Surveys for a conference between him and the Surveyors-General of the States and New Zealand, to advise generally as to the steps to be adopted to secure reciprocity and to make such suggestions as they may desire on the subject. That was in 1913, and **Mr. King** O'Malley approved of it on 'the 22nd November, 1911. Eventually, invitations were sent to the Surveyors-General of the States, and to **Mr. McKenzie,** the Surveyor-General of New Zealand. They met in conference and discussed the geodetic survey of Australia, and the revision of the map of Australia then in course of preparation. **Mr. McKenzie** pointed out bow the practice followed in New Zealand differed from that in Australia. New Zealand did not adopt the haphazard method that Australia adopted in its survey. "It made a geodetic survey of the whole of the island with big triangles' and added the details later. Australia was so anxious to develop agricultural lands that the first surveys were of agricultural .areas. In opening the discussion on the geodetic survey of Aus- tralia, at the conference held in May, 1912, **Mr. McKenzie,** of New Zealand", said. - >In New Zealand it was looked upon as a necessity to have a trigonometrical survey. **Mr. J.** T. Thomson started the work in the early fifties, and when he became Surveyor-General of New Zealand in 1876, it was vigorously pushed forward well in advance of settlement. I regard it as impossible to carry out any work satisfactorily without a trigonometrical survey, and our successive dominion governments have always approved of it without question as being the first essential in all settlement operations. It has never been claimed for the New Zealand triangulation that it possesses the high scientific status of the geodetic surveys of other countries, but that it has always been practical and was also sufficiently accurate to govern all classes of detail surveys. The outstanding difference between o.ur dominion work and that of the Australian States, excepting perhaps, South Austi n Iia, is that we bring it into everyday use, our reconnaissance and trigonometrical surveys being the real forerunners of settlement, whilst in. Australia, though the surveys are often highly scientific, there has been much less practical application, neither have the surveys been a factor in the settlement problem. I cannot help thinking that had New Zealand's way of keeping the practical uses of trans-triangulation more to the front been adopted, Australian legislators would have looked upon the work more kindly, and any resolution we pass should voice this side of the question. I harken a long way back; but as at the present time, I am, perhaps, the mouthpiece for the Institute of Surveyors of Australia and the Institute of Engineers I place stress upon the fact that, when we are expending so much money on defence, those famous words uttered by **Mr. McKenzie** should be heeded and we should carry on Avith the survey work, the lack of which in "Australia he deplored. The next speaker was **Mr. Spowers,** SurveyorGeneral of Queensland, under whom I had the privilege of studying. He said - >At the present time there is no trigonometrical vote in Queensland, and only a very small area is covered by the major triangulation which was carried about 1890. In addition to other reasons, we are greatly, in need of this survey to assist us in the correct compilation of our maps; much time is now lost and expense incurred in endeavouring to make accurate maps from information that is faulty or altogether wanting. We are in the unenviable position of being about the only civilized nation that has not an accurate trigonometrical survey. The work 'is roughly one for the Commonwealth Government to undertake. The chairman of the conference, **Mr. Scriviner,** Director of Commonwealth Lands and Surveys, and a predecessor of the present director, **Mr. Percival,** said - >Victoria carried out an extensive and accurate triangulation, but the demand foi land for settlement was so great that all the surveyors available were required to meet that demand, and settlement surveys were pushed on without being connected with triangulation. The trigonometrical survey had been of immense value in the compilation of maps and in correcting errors. With regard to the question of a geodetic survey of Australia there cannot, I think, be two opinions as to the desirableness of it from the scientific standpoint; and, further, it will permit of an accurate determination of the coastline, and so aid navigation. **Mr. Spowers** said that it would be useful in connexion with defence and the chairman added - >We need, I think, a trigonometrical survey of the whole continent; it would be of great value in the future. All of that happened in 1912, and now we are in 1938 without anything having been done. It is time that we decided to carry on with the work and the Commonwealth Government should seize an opportunity to do so. The conference regrettably failed to formulate a definite scheme of action. It is a matter of history that in 1913 the Defence Department and the military people generally were so disgusted at the condition that they started a survey branch of their own. They could not co-ordinate the parish maps and decided on a triangulation of their own and to produce their own maps. This was started in 1914, and in 1915 a survey corps was established. The military people, however, tried to coordinate their maps with maps that were not themselves co-ordinated. I think that it was in 1929 that a conference of State and Commonwealth Ministers agreed that there should again be a conference of Surveyors-General of each State to discuss the survey of Australia, but this, too, failed, largely, I think, because of lack of money. Then, in 1930, the Australian Survey Committee was formed on the recommendation of the Chairman of the Development and Migration Commission. That committee again stressed the need for a geodetic and topographical survey of Australia, but lack of funds frustrated it. That committee went further than any previous committee, because it evolved a working scheme under which the States would co-operate with the Commonwealth in control. It stressed the need for having a geodetic survey of first-class order. The report was published in the *Australian Surveyor.* Towards the end of 1934 the Australian Survey Committee submitted a second report from which I propose to quote later. All Australian surveys, including the latest aerial survey of northern Australia, have been made without any attempt to connect them, and much of the effort expended represents wastage. In entering the field now the Commonwealth is simply repeating the mistakes of the States. Where will the chaos end? As a plain statement of fact, I know that the Surveyor-General of Darwin was compelled, to close down on the correspondence with the aerial survey because he realized that it' was hopeless to corelate the surveys without ground control and geodetic surveying for which no money was provided. I appeal to the Treasurer, who is in charge of this bill, to allocate some of the money that is to be raised to an Australian survey. In its second report the Australian Survey Committee recommended - >In submitting this second report the committee desires to emphasize that the opinions and recommendations set out in its first report stand without modification. Recent survey development indicates that the errors of the past are being repeated, haphazard methods of survey are being continued, while public bodies, government departments, and others are effecting surveys without co-ordination and without reference to previous works; at the same time they jealously retain their own records forgetting the main principle that they are employed by and for the people of the whole of the Commonwealth. We have had other experience of one department holding jealously to information that should be the information of the nation. The report went on - >The result of all this is that the taxpayer has to pay repeatedly for the same or similar survey information. These matters will be remedied only when geodetic and topographical survey is instituted along* the lines set out in this and the first report, and when a control for all surveys throughout the Commonwealth is introduced. The personnel of that committee is **Mr. G.** B. McGowan, Victorian Institute of Surveys; **Mr. H.** S. McComb, Victorian Institute of Surveyors; **Mr. B.** A. Smith, Institution of Engineers, Australia (Melbourne Division) ; **Mr. G.** H. Dunlop, Victorian Institute of Engineers ; **Mr. J.** T. N. Anderson, Victorian Institute of Engineers; Professor E. W. Skeats, Australian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy; **Dr. H.** Herman, Australian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy ; Professor H. Payne, Faculty of Engineering, University of Melbourne; **Mr. E.** R. H. Darwin, Faculty of Engineering, University of Melbourne, and **Dr. J.** M. Baldwin, Melbourne Observatory. The observations of such a committee should be respected, but its recommendations because of lack of finance have not been effectuated. Everything is ready to coordinate the surveys as they have been co-ordinated in Malaya, India, England and New Zealand. The last blow at the cause of a survey of the continent was made by lack of finance in 1935. The committee's second report added - >Report on The Need fob a Geodetic' and Topographical Survey of Australia. > >The events which led to the presentation of the first report of the Australian Survey Committee in 1030, are fully set out in the introduction thereto. The report was presented by the Australian Survey Committee to the Vice-President of the Federal Executive Council on the 18th February, 1930. No action wad taken on the report, however, for the reason set out in a letter, dated the 4th March, 1930, from the Secretary of the Prime Minister's Department to the respective members of the committee, portion of which reads as follows: - > >Whilst the Government fully appreciated the need for a geodetic and topographical survey of Australia, they are unfortunately bound by stringent financial limitations which- prevent the adoption at present, either wholly or in part, of the proposals contained in the report. I am to assure you, however, that the matter will be further considered by the Government at the expiration of twelve months, or when conditions become more favorable. If the conditions are not favorable now for co-ordinating the surveys of Australia for defence and other purposes, when will they be favorable? I urge that the Government allocate money in order to co-ordinate the services on a scientific basis., so that we shall have exact information for military purposes. How can heavy artillery or field guns engage in indirect firing without the gunners having knowledge of the contours of the country ? It is a farce. For the effective defence of this country we must have accurate knowledge of it in the vertical. I now approach the economic aspect of this matter. Australia lags sadly behind the rest of the Empire and is behind most of the civilized world so far as the mapping of its physical features and contours are concerned. Apart from the work now being done adjacent to the cities by the Defence Department and certain scattered contouring in connexion with public works, &c, the surveys effected are generally for the fixation of boundaries, and the resultant maps give little indication of the nature of the surface of the ground. An artilleryman would naturally be seised with the importance of this. "What is needed is a complete set of maps which will show not only boundaries, features and contours, but also the class of country and the position of all improvements such as roads, railways, aerodromes, stock routes, bore drains, waterholes, &c. In short, it would be a map similar to that prepared by the British ordnance survey. With such a map routes for proposed roads and railways, sites for water supply and irrigation schemes, could all be decided tentatively by a few days' office investigation, instead of being dependent on lengthy and expensive field operations., which may not, however, disclose important factors. This is a reason why it is so often necessary for expensive deviation's to be made along our existing highways, railways, Asc. Even now there is a dispute as to the value of the railway line that is to be built to Sandy Hollow, in New South Wales. We find ourselves committed to heavy expenditure in this work, but military men are not convinced of its strategic value. If we had had the precise maps I refer to, no error would have occurred. A topographical map is essential for the geological and geophysical investigations of our gold, iron and other ore deposits, and for the location of possible oil domes. It would be of inestimable service in the field of forestry, and would permit a complete stocktaking of our timber resources. This is closely allied to the urgent problem of soil erosion, the causes and effects of which could be best studied on a topographical map. It is also demanded by the town-planner before he can draw up a proper scheme for the development and growth of our cities and towns. Other suggested fields in which the topographical maps would be of great value are: closer settlement schemes, land valuation and appraisement, soil surveys and classification, geodesy, botany, biology, ethnology, and other scientific investigations. I feel quite sure that the proposal that proper maps should be prepared will appeal to the Acting Minister for Commerce **(Mr. Archie Cameron),** who has had military experience, and will know the value of good maps. Every shire and municipal council would be glad to have a topographical map of its area. The information would be worth hundreds of pounds to them. Such maps would also be valuable to tourists. {: #subdebate-23-0-s3 .speaker-KYI} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Prowse:
FORREST, WESTERN AUSTRALIA -- I must ask the honorable member not to expatiate to any extent on that particular point. He must confine his remarks to the subject of defence. {: .speaker-JPT} ##### Mr BLAIN: -- I merely point out, sir, that these maps would have a value beyond their defence value. Land-owners in country districts would be prospective purchasers of maps showing their holdings in detail. Sales to tourists and travellers would be considerable. The required map is, briefly, one which should make a universal appeal, and enable a complete national stocktaking of our resources to be made. It is not necessary now to go into technical details as these would be arranged by State and Commonwealth survey officers and defence officers. Suffice to say that all existing triangulations should be adopted as far as possible, while some should bo discarded, and such triangulations should be accurately extended so that the data could, at a later period, be used for geodetic purposes. The map details would generally be filled in by air photography, but a certain amount of plane-tabling and other ground control would be necessary. The magic eye of the aero camera misses nothing, and discloses many features, especially geological, which the human eye could not discern. As already indicated, the Defence Department has a topographical staff in its employ, but it is entirely inadequate. It has been estimated that at the present rate of progress it will take 150 years to map the settled portions of our continent. The maps now being produced by the Defence Department do not meet all civilian needs. The topographical work which has been done by various departments and public bodies is generally scrappy and unco-ordinated, and there has been much duplication and uneconomic wastage. It is high time that a new era of mapping was inaugurated. Since federation was achieved numerous conferences of State and Commonwealth survey representatives have been held, and have passed pious resolutions urging the commencement of the desired topographical mapping. The Commonwealth Survey Committee, which accepted advice from the Commonwealth Suveyor-General and representatives of the naval, military and air forces, went into the question thoroughly in 1936, and made' specific recommendations to the Commonwealth 'Government. Their report was submitted to each State at a subsequent Premiers Conference, and the various Premiers promised to deal with the matter. So far, it is understood, some of the States have not yet intimated whether they will co-operate in the mapping scheme. This is a national undertaking, and it is considered that it should be mainly financed by the central government, as is done in Canada and in the United States of America. The Commonwealth Survey Committee estimates the cost of securing the desired map within a reasonable period of time at from £50,000 to £100,000 per annum. The State authorities should be strongly urged to co-operate with the Commonwealth so that the mapping may be immediately commenced. I do not wish to speak at any length on this subject, but there is real need to impress upon the Government the need for proper maps. It is regrettable that Australia should be lagging so far behind such countries as Burmah, Siam and the Federated Malay States in this matter. We know that the British Government has done a great deal of work in the Malay States in providing data for triangulation services, realizing the need for these facilities in advance of settlement. Last year, in a speech in this House, I dealt at some length with the importance of the north in relation to defence. Some honorable members thought I was indulging in a little kite-flying, and made it clear that they thought some of my views were far fetched, but the change in the international outlook has shown that the policy which I enunciated was sound. I am glad that the Minister for Defence **(Mr. Thorby)** gave us to understand yesterday that the Government has decided to give close attention to defences in the north, and was seised of the same ideas, Some honorable members appear to think that the north does not count I was surprised to hear the honorablemember for Melbourne Ports **(Mr. Holloway)** declare this afternoon that Australia was in no danger from Japan. The honorable member for Ballarat **(Mr. Pollard)** also appears to hold the same view. This shows that they know verylittle about the psychological outlook of the Japanese or of their migration southward. I pointed out last year that our northern areas abutted on eastern countries in a way that laid them open to considerable danger. The Archipelago, stretching from Cape York to the Malay Peninsula, is, in my opinion, in danger of Asiatic penetration from the north. If that happens the Asiatics will soon come south. It seems to me that some honorable gentlemen are afraid to tell the people the truth about these things. They would like to hookwink them by saying that Japan is too much occupied at home to give any attention to activities in the direction of Australia. That is not the truth, and the islands to the north of us have a strategic value to us, even if they are beyond our boundaries. Let me refer honorable gentlemen to a certain incident at Versailles. We had a plenipotentiary there - " The little digger " **(Mr. Hughes),** who is still a member of this House. He had a good deal to say about the importance of the Marshall Islands. As events have transpired, the right honorable gentleman showed an uncanny ability to see into the future. What he predicted at that time has actually occurred. These islands have become important. They are only 50 miles north of the equator. The Mandated Territory of New Guinea, for which we are responsible, is only about 50 miles south of the equator. To the west lie Papua and Dutch New Guinea, the Malay Peninsula, Borneo and Java, all tropical areas, which are of great importance. If we disregard them we bring into question our own intelligence. We have problems in New Guinea which must be faced. For instance, the Asiatics have been denied the right to settle in Rabaul. Within the next two decades this question will become one of prime importance. Even the wives of Asiatics already settled in Rabaul are being prevented from going there, which I think is inhuman. Yet evidence is available that the Asiatics may come into contact with the native people without doing them any harm. We have a high authority for that view in Colonel Ainsworth, who says that they improve them, and that it is just as foolish as it is cruel to prevent the Asiatics in New Guinea from bringing their wives there. We cannot for ever keep the Asiatics out of New Guinea, seeing that we have done so little to develop the territory. We have found it difficult to develop the region 12 to 14 degrees of latitude south of the equator from Darwin, but the problem of developing the Mandated Territory is more acute still. Perhaps Australia is a little unfortunate in that the continent strides so much latitude. The tropical portions of this continent are very sparsely populated. It might be said that the Mandated Territory of New Guinea is in the nature of another stone around our neck, as we are expected to develop it by white labour. We shall not be able to resist for ever the pressure from Asiatic countries for a footing in these areas, and now is the time to prepare. For that reason I was surprised to hear the views expressed to-day by the honorable member for Melbourne Ports. He told us a pretty story to the effect that we could very well allow ourselves to fall into a condition of coma in regard to the north. In other words, we could forget all about it. I hold a very different view on the sub- ject, and I congratulate the Government upon its decision to take the north into serious consideration in formulating its defence policy. There was a little coterie in Darwin in charge of the newspaper there which accused me of kite-flying when I said that the pick-and-shovel men of Darwin were behind me, and also behind the Lyons Government, in its defence policy; but l hose who held that view have been given their answer. Our first line of defence must be in our northern regions, and some honorable gentlemen opposite speak with their tongue in their cheek when they say otherwise. Their remarks seem to indicate that they have very little geographical knowledge of their own country. I emphasize the need for a more scientific examination of the whole of Australia, and particularly of the need for a topographical survey, so that exact information might be available for military purposes and also for the economic development of Australia on sound lines. {: #subdebate-23-0-s4 .speaker-KLM} ##### Dr MALONEY:
Melbourne -- I may differ from some honorable members in my views on this subject, but I firmly believe that if it had not been for Russia a European war would have occurred before now. I say this because of the information I was able to gather while I was abroad. I regret that I was not able to visit Russia. My medical adviser prevented me from doing so. But while I was in England I met men like **Mr. Ben** Tillett and **Mr. Tom** .Mann, who had visited Russia, and also **Mr. Savage** and **Mr. Nash,** Ministers of the New Zealand Labour Government, and they gave me a great deal of information. I would recommend any honorable members interested in Russia to read two volumes by Sidney Webb and his charming wife, and also a work by a Melbourne tramways man, **Mr. "W".** A. Smith, on the subject. **Mr.** Smith, by the way, endeavoured to obtain leave of absence from his employment to visit Russia, but although he was willing to go without salary he was unable to get any concession, and was ultimately dismissed. These people have told the truth about Russia. I believe fimly *in* the policy of nationalization for defence. I think our iron and steel industry, and also our sugar and dairy industries, should be nationalized. It is deplorable that the people of Victoria should have to pay 3d. per lb. more for Australian butter than the people of England have to pay for it. Another factor that would lead to the preservation of peace would be a reorganization of our coinage. The iniquitous discount system and the failure of the Governments of the world to make an adequate use of silver for coinage purposes are in my opinion fruitful causes of discord. I consider that the waterside workers have shown a great deal of courage in refusing to ship materials for the East that could, be used for war purposes. I wish now to give some figures from the *Compendium of Australian Statistics.* Unfortunately the figures are not as up to date as I would desire. In 1915 **Sir George** Knibbs showed that the total private wealth of Australia, including housing, buildings, clothing and in fact everything that our people own, wa8 £1,610,000,000, or £227 a unit of population. Six years later, **Mr. Wickens** valued it at £2,165,000,000, or £397 for each unit of the population. After a further six years, his value was £3,063,000,000, and in 1929 it was £3,351,000,000. No one living in Australia benefits to the extent of a snap of the fingers from those countless millions. Nearly nine years ago, I endeavoured to induce the department to bring the figures up to date. It has never published figures giving the approximate value of the public wealth of Australia. Of what does the public wealth consist? It consists of our unsold lands, and our potential mineral deposits. In many States, when Crown lands are sold, the mineral deposits remain the property of the Crown. I believe that, in Victoria, the minerals are sold only to a depth of 50 feet. Any person is entitled to take out a miner's right on private land. {: .speaker-KYI} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Prowse: -- I must ask the honorable member to connect his remarks with the bill. {: .speaker-KLM} ##### Dr MALONEY: -- I am endeavouring to show that money can be borrowed without the payment of accursed interest. This public wealth is a credit of which very few people have knowledge. As I could not obtain satisfaction from the Government Statistician, I appealed to the Treasurer, and received from him a very sympathetic reply. According to figures that I have taken out, the private wealth of Australia amounts to £4,212,000,000. I think everybody will agree that a half of the private wealth represents the public wealth, the total of which would, therefore, be just under £7,000,000,000, or £1,000 to each unit of the population. If we could realize on that wealth, we should be in a position to purchase every bank in Europe and the United States of America. Plato once said that all that was necessary in order to abolish slavery was to get machines to do the work. Every honorable member must agree that machines are doing the work to-day. Plato also said 2,300 years ago, "If there ever should exist a country where all wealth will be owned in common, and where what is known as property shall be abolished for ever, that country will at any rate be a happy one." Russia has given an example to the rest of the world. Five university professors in Australia approve of the magnificent experiment which is being carried out in that country. Russia has been responsible for the maintenance of peace in Europe. **Dr. A.** Watson Munro, perhaps one of the greatest physicians for women and children that Australia has produced, has stated with reference to our population problem, that parenthood is on strike in Australia. A country cannot be defended unless it increases its population. What is the principal cause of the failure adequately to increase our population? It is that men cannot obtain work at a decent wage, and children are under-nourished and under-clothed. On behalf of mothers and children, I have been responsible for the launching of an appeal which has proved very successful. A moving picture in connexion with it has been screened, and I have addressed audiences in 60 theatres, with the result that close on £3,000 has been collected. We have distributed over 200,000 pints of milk to children who were being deprived of it. A country that does not advance the welfare of its children must surely fall. Australia is rapidly reaching that position, because politicians are not doing their duty. Honorable members may be interested to hear the views of **Mr. Henry** Ford. That gentleman has said - >The next big job is to improve the money system. I am convinced that our money system is antiquated. We have plenty of men, we have plenty of materials, but money, which is not as important as men and materials, is hanging up progress. This must be changed. Honey should always be at the command of labour. The control of the money systems by private enterprise . is dangerous. There should bc no more profit in money than in postage stamps. What stake in the country have men, women and children who go to the Victoria markets in Melbourne and scrummage among the tips where the fruit that is not sold is dumped ? {: #subdebate-23-0-s5 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- Order ! I must ask the honorable member to confine his remarks' to the bill. {: .speaker-KLM} ##### Dr MALONEY: -- Very well. May I mention that 70 per cent, of the wageearners do not average 40s. a week. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- That may be very important, but it has no relation to the bill. {: .speaker-KLM} ##### Dr MALONEY: -- I owe my long and healthy life to the attention I paid to physical training in the German Turn Verein Gymnasium. In one of the corridors leading to the refreshment room in this building may be seen a tableau depicting a Spartan mother handing a shield to her son, with the injunction, "Bring back this shield, or come back upon it." The Spartans, more than any other nation, studied physique. We want our soldiers to be the best in the world. I want every man, woman " and child in Australia to have proper food, shelter and clothing. General Ian Hamilton, one of the best generals England had in the last war, is reported to have said that the Singapore Naval Base was built too near to the East; it ought to have been located nearer to Australia. **Dr. Sun** Yat Sen, the great Chinese patriot, showed very clearly that Japan intends to seek expansion in southern waters. I believe I am the only Australian ' who has had the privilege of meeting that great man. When I called upon him I found that he spoke perfect English. He did everything to place me at my ease. He had been educated as a medical man. As honorable members will recall, he was seized at the Chinese Embassy in London and held prisoner until such time as he could be sent to China for execution. **Dr. Sun** Yat Sen became very ill, and specialists were called in, because the officials at the Embassy were afraid that, if he died and they did not bring him alive to China, the Dowager Empress would behead them. **Dr. Sun** was able to convey to the specialists that he was held a prisoner, captured in London, and would be executed when they sent him to China. The doctor informed the Home Office, which took action and compelled **Dr. Sun's** release. He went into disguise and returned to China, where he organized a successful revolution. **Dr. Sun,** in gratitude, dedicated one of his books, a copy of which is in the Parliamentary Library, to the doctor who saved his life. In that book, **Dr. Sun** said - >Japan wants China. It wants to convert it just as Germany converted Austria during the Great War, as a recruiting ground for man power, and to exploit its iron and coal mines, which are the greatest in the world. According to **Dr. Sun** Yat Sen, Japan, with its 70,000,000 people, believes that if it could subjugate China and secure the co-operation of the 450,000,000 Chinese, it could then approach India with its 350,000,000 people, and using the slogan of Asia for the Asiatics, by means of these massed millions could lose 10,000,000 a year and go on for ever to conquer the world. That great Chinese patriot is considered to have been one of the most outstanding men that the world has seen in the last few centuries. His memory is so revered in his own country that his will is still read daily in every school throughout the country. If his advice is taken, China will he one of the most powerful nations the world has ever known. Many years ago Japan appealed to England's great philosopher, Herbert Spencer, to advise its Government how best to avoid entanglements that might lead to quarrels with various European countries. Herbert Spencer gave his advice, but not trusting his own people, asked the Japanese Government to keep it secret until he had passed away. The Japanese fulfilled his request; but it is interesting to note, as showing how well he. judged his fellows, that after his death he was criticized unfairly and unjustly by the English newspapers. During my two visits to Japan I was impressed with the artistic excellence of its bronzes, wood carving, and lacquer work. Its bronzes are not equalled in any other part of the world. I feel sure that, if it could succeeed in avoiding war, it would occupy a very much higher position in the world than it does to-day. On the 14th July, 1935, thousands of French troops, after being reviewed by the President of France in the Place Bastille, took the following oath : - >We swear to defend our democratic liberties, give bread to the workers and peace to the world. That, in my opinion, is the finest oath that soldiers or any other body of men have ever taken. We in thiB Parliament should take an oath in somewhat similar terms, perhaps - reading as follows : - >We, the Government and Parliament assembled, swear to defend the sacredness of our democratic institutions, and guarantee bread to all our population and peace to the world. I suggest, **Mr. Speaker,** that if you administered that oath to every member at the opening of a new Parliament much good would result. I read with interest a letter which appeared in the *Sydney Morning Herald* recently, in which the writer, **Mr. Dooley,** an expert who has recently returned from China, where he lived for five years, stated that if the countries holding world supplies of oil - America, England, Holland and Russia - kept the oil from the armies and navies of tho world, peace could be achieved at any time. I saw pictures in the illustrated papers from London depicting the Duchess of Athol carrying placards through the streets of London bearing the inscription, "Down with Japan ; buy nothing J apanese. " In processions a mile and a half long, high born ladies rubbed shoulders with the workers in an attempt to prevent the continuance of the Sino-Japanese dispute. The following message from London appeared in the local press of the 30th April : - >Because she believes that the Government has not taken adequate steps to secure the withdrawal of Italian cruisers from Spain before signature of the Italian 'pact, the Duchess of Athol has resigned as the National Government Whip. I have mixed with the workers in London. They are all opposed to the attitude of the British Government with regard to the war in Spain. At meetings held at Trafalgar Square and Hyde Park, strongly-worded resolutions have been carried and huge collections of goods have been made to assist the Spanish Government. Debate (on motion by **Mr. Collins)** adjourned. House adjourned at 11.7 p.m. {: .page-start } page 850 {:#debate-24} ### ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS *The following answers to questions were circulated: -* Importation of Cement. Mr.Francis asked the Acting Minister for Trade and Customs, *upon notice -* >What was the quantity and value of cement imported into Australia, and what was the country of origin of such importations, for the years 1933 to 1937, inclusive? A substantial proportion of the imports consists of special types of cement, such as white and.coloured. Details of importations of these special types for the last two years are as under : - {:#subdebate-24-0} #### Postal Department: Mail and Telephone Facilities - Tusmore Post Office {: #subdebate-24-0-s0 .speaker-JNX} ##### Mr Barnard:
BASS, TASMANIA d asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, *upon notice -* >In view of the reported profit of the PostmasterGeneral's Department for the past year, will the Postmaster-General give consideration to - > >revising the postage rates on firstclass mail matter; > >giving more liberal telephonic facilities to country dwellers; and > >the installation at a more rapid rate of automatic exchanges in country centres ? {: #subdebate-24-0-s1 .speaker-KXY} ##### Mr Perkins:
UAP -- The PostmasterGeneral has supplied the following answers : - {: type="a" start="a"} 0. The existing postage rates have been carefully considered but, in view of the heavy national commitments, any alteration at the present juncture is regarded as inadvisable. 1. Telephone facilities are already ex tended to country residents on such liberal terms as entail a heavy annual loss and, in existing circumstances, no more favorable readjustments can be contemplated. 2. The rate of installation of automatic telephone exchanges in country districts is being accelerated. Forty-eight exchanges are now in operation, and installation work is being proceeded with in 40 additional cases. Equipment has also been ordered for a further 74 exchanges, on which installation will be proceeded with during the coming year. {: #subdebate-24-0-s2 .speaker-KYH} ##### Mr Price: e asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Is the post office recently installed in the Burnside Municipal Council's Town Hall at Tusmore serving an important area, and is the office justifying its existence? 1. Has there been a steady progress of business, and does the department consider the position satisfactory ? {: #subdebate-24-0-s3 .speaker-KXY} ##### Mr Perkins:
UAP -- The PostmasterGeneral has supplied the following answer to the honorable member's questions : - 1 and 2. The position appears to he satisfactory, but further time must be allowed to elapse before definite conclusions can be. reached. {:#subdebate-24-1} #### Australian Merchant Shipping {: #subdebate-24-1-s0 .speaker-KUG} ##### Mr Spender:
WARRINGAH, NEW SOUTH WALES r asked the Acting Minister for Commerce, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Is it a fact that none of Australia's produce is carried overseas in ships either wholly or substantially owned by Australiana or Australian companies or built in Australia! 1. Are any measures contemplated to encourage through private enterprise . the building of mercantile ships in Australia, and ultimately to compel shippers to freight a substantial amount of their overseas cargo in ships built in Australia and Australian manned? 2. What, is the amount of freight earned over the past four .years for outwards and inwards overseas freight, and what proportion of such amount is it estimated has been spent in Australia? 4. (a) Is it correct that Australia is the only seh nation in the world with a sea border where the Government has not provided any training for the mercantile marine. (6) If such he not correct, what other sea nations have failed to provide such training, (c) ls it correct that Australia and New Zealand are the only sea-bordered nations in the world where a training ship or ships for the training of mercantile marine is or are not provided; if not, what other nation has failed to make such provision, *(d)* ls it a fact that New Zealand has a land training school for that purpose, but that Australia has none, (e) Is the existence of a trained mercantile marine regarded as essential or of importance in the defence of this country. (/) What steps, if any, arc contemplated being taken to provide, assist or encourage the training of the mercantile marine? {: #subdebate-24-1-s1 .speaker-JTY} ##### Mr Archie Cameron:
CP -- The information is being obtained. Uniform Legislation on Insurance. {: #subdebate-24-1-s2 .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr Pollard: d asked the Treasurer, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Has he seen a press report of the annual meeting of the Mutual Life and Citizens Assurance Company Limited in which it is stated " that the chairman of directors had requested the Federal Government to introduce a general insurance bill "? 1. Is the bill which the Government proposes to introduce in another place the result of thin request V 2. Is it a fact that the request of the life insurance companies for such a bill was only made after the Victorian Government had ordered a - preliminary inquiry and, later, had appointed a royal commission to inquire into many charges against life insurance offices in the matter of industrial life insurance? 3. Will the Government await the report of the Victorian Royal Commission before proceeding with the bill? {: #subdebate-24-1-s3 .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr Casey:
UAP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : - 1, 2 and 3. A considerable number of insurance companies have for years been pressing for uniform legislation on the subject of insurance, and these requests have been renewed from time to time. The introduction of the proposed bill is not the result of a request from any individual insurance company, but is a compliance with a promise which the Prime Minister made to the electors in his policy speech delivered at Deloraine, Tasmania, or. the 28th September, 1937. That promise was in the following terms : - " The Government will introduce legislation to regulate life and fire insurance in all its phases throughout Australia, thus rendering uniform the legislative control at present exercised by the various States." {: type="1" start="4"} 0. It is not proposed to defer the introduction of the measure until the report of the Victorian Royal Commission has been received, but, in the event of that report being received prior to the passage of the measure, consideration will be given to the incorporation in the measure of provisions covering any recommendations made by the commission which appear to the Government to be desirable of adoption. {:#subdebate-24-2} #### Overseas Air Services {: #subdebate-24-2-s0 .speaker-KF9} ##### Mr Green: n asked the Minister for Defence, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Has he seen the report in the press of yesterday's date, that it will be possible to travel from Sydney to Batavia in 36 hours by the Royal Netherlands Indies Airways schedule, which is to come into operation on the 3rd July, and that the complete schedule from Sydney to London by this route can be accomplished by Hie Dutch service in eight days ? 1. What time will be occupied in travelling by the Qantas Empire Airways from Sydney to Loudon? 2. If the service takes longer in the latter case, what is the reason for the slower service? 3. -- Is it a fact that the Royal Netherlands Indies Airways are using Lockheed Super Electra machines with a cruising speed of 210 miles an hour? 4. What are the names and speeds of the machines to be used on the Qantas Empire Airways run from Sydney to London? {: #subdebate-24-2-s1 .speaker-KWC} ##### Mr Thorby:
CP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Although no official advice has been received, it has been noted from the press that on the extension of the Dutch service from Batavia to Sydney, the transit time for through passengers from Amsterdam to Sydney is stated to be eight days. 1. The Empire flying boat service will arrive in London on the tenth day after leaving Sydney. 2. The reason for the slower service will be that aircraft of lesser cruising speed are being used on the Empire service, as shown in replies to (4) and (5). It ia the intention that the schedule for the Empire service should be progressively reduced from ten days to seven and a quarter days as the improvements to ground organization facilities on the route permit. 3. No official advice has been received, but it is understood that Royal Netherlands Indies Airways will use Lockheed 14 aircraft with a cruising speed of approximately 210 miles an hour, at GS per cent, rated power. 4. Short Empire flying boats have a cruising speed of 160 miles an hour at 65 per cent, rated power. {:#subdebate-24-3} #### Hardwood for Matches {: #subdebate-24-3-s0 .speaker-KLM} ##### Dr Maloney: y asked the Acting Minister for Trade and Customs, *upon notice -* >Is it a fact that Australian hardwood can be used for wooden matches? {: #subdebate-24-3-s1 .speaker-KXY} ##### Mr Perkins:
UAP -- The Forestry Bureau advises that Australian hardwood timbers are not suitable for use in the manufacture of matches. {:#subdebate-24-4} #### Status of Abyssinia {: #subdebate-24-4-s0 .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr Forde: e asked the Prime Minister, *upon notice -* >Does the Government intend to recognize that the Italian Government exercises sovereignty over Abyssinia? {: #subdebate-24-4-s1 .speaker-F4O} ##### Mr Lyons:
UAP -- The answer to the honorable member's question is as follows:- >The question of the present status of Abyssinia will be discussed at the next session of the Council of the League of Nations, on the 9th May, 1938. The Commonwealth Government will no doubt take into consideration any resolution of the council in regard to this matter. Resident Minister in Canberra : Provision of Home. {: #subdebate-24-4-s2 .speaker-009FQ} ##### Mr Curtin: n asked the Minister for the Interior, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. In connexion with the construction of a ministerial residence in Canberra, what is the estimated cost of: - *(a)* the preparation of the grounds of the residence; (6) planting shrubs, trees, plants and lawns of the residence; and (c) maintaining the grounds of the residence yearly? 1. Is the Department of the Interior to furnish the residence, and, if so, what is the estimated cost? {: #subdebate-24-4-s3 .speaker-009MB} ##### Mr McEwen:
CP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - 1. (a) The cost of preparing, planting and maintaining the grounds cannot be given at this stage; (fc) the preparation of the plan of lay-out of the grounds must await the completion of the building; (c) the grounds will not be maintained by the department. {: type="1" start="2"} 0. No. {:#subdebate-24-5} #### Imperial Pacific Advisory Defence Council {: #subdebate-24-5-s0 .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr Forde: e. asked the Prime Minister, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Will he make a statement on behalf of the Government in regard to the proposed Imperial Pacific Advisory Defence Council, which is featured in yesterday's Sydney press? 1. Is he in a position to indicate the likely personnel of such a defence council? {: #subdebate-24-5-s1 .speaker-F4O} ##### Mr Lyons:
UAP -- The answer to the honorable member's questions is as follows: - >I have no knowledge of any proposal to create an Imperial Pacific Advisory Defence Council. {:#subdebate-24-6} #### Canberra : House Rentals {: #subdebate-24-6-s0 .speaker-KLM} ##### Dr Maloney: y asked the Minister for the Interior, *upon notice -* >Is it a fact that rentals required for houses in Canberra are different for (a) public servants; and (6) average Australian citizens? {: #subdebate-24-6-s1 .speaker-009MB} ##### Mr McEwen:
CP -- The answer to the honorable member's question is as follows: - >No. The rentals are not different. {:#subdebate-24-7} #### Allocation of Loan Money to States {: #subdebate-24-7-s0 .speaker-KCM} ##### Mr Drakeford:
MARIBYRNONG, VICTORIA d asked the Treasurer, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. In view of the dissatisfaction expressed at the allocation of loan money made available to some of the States at the recent meeting of the Loan Council, has the Government given consideration to the matter of altering the formula by which such allocations are made? 1. If so, can he inform the House of the intentions of the Government on this question? 2. If not, will he bring the matter under the notice of the Government with a view to the method of allocation being altered to provide a more .equitable basis? {: #subdebate-24-7-s1 .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr Casey:
UAP -- The answer to the honorable member's questions is as follows : - >The allocation of loan money approved at the recent Loan Council meeting was arrived at by unanimous decision of the members of the council, and not by the application of the formula prescribed by the financial agreement between the Commonwealth and the States. That formula is only applied in the absence of unanimity. Defence: Expenditure in Dominions - Co-ordination of Forces - Purchase of Cruisers - Distribution of Allotments. {: #subdebate-24-7-s2 .speaker-KF9} ##### Mr Green: n asked the Minister for Defence, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What were the expenditures on defence for the last financial year in the following countries, giving the main details of expenditure in each case: - (a) New Zealand, (b) South Africa, (c) Canada, and (d) Australia? 1. What are the current detailed estimates for defence for the coming financial year in each case? {: #subdebate-24-7-s3 .speaker-KWC} ##### Mr Thorby:
CP -- Inquiries will be made and a reply will be furnished to the honorable member as early as possible. {: #subdebate-24-7-s4 .speaker-KUG} ##### Mr Spender: r asked the Minister for Defence, *upon notice -* 1. (a) In what respects does the present provision for the co-ordination of the various branches of our defence forces differ from that existent in the United Kingdom immediately prior to the appointment of **Sir Thomas** Inskip as Minister for Co-ordination of Defence; (b) In what respects is it in any way similar to that existing in the United Kingdom at present ? {: type="1" start="2"} 0. What steps are presently being taken to ensure that the claims of each branch of the service are considered and determined solely in accordance with the attainment of the maximum efficiency for the money expended? 1. Does the Government contemplate the introduction of a system of co-ordination sim ilar to that existing in the United Kingdom: at present? 2. Having regard to the fact that the present defence programme provides for harbour defences against submarine attack, has the Government received advice that submarines are not suited for Australian defence, and, it so, who tendered that advice? {: #subdebate-24-7-s5 .speaker-KWC} ##### Mr Thorby:
CP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : - 1. (a) 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. {: type="a" start="b"} 0. The similarities between the present machinery for co-ordination in the United Kingdom and Australia are as follows: - {: type="i" start="i"} 0. A Cabinet Committee to deal with defence matters exists in both cases. 1. The Council of Defence in Australia corresponds to the Committee of Imperial Defence. 2. The Minister for Defence in Australia corresponds to the Minister for Coordination of Defence. 3. The Defence Committee in Australia corresponds to the Chiefs of Staff Sub-Committee. 4. v ) The Secretariat of the Defence Department, as re-organized, corresponds, to the Secretariat to the Committee of Imperial Defence. 5. A Principal Supply Officers' Com- mittee, with an advisory panelor industrial leaders, exists in both cases to deal with the supply requirements of the services. {: type="1" start="2"} 0. The foregoing machinery ensures the con. sideration of the claims of each service, and that the provision made is co-ordinated and in accordance with the achievement of the maximum security on a joint-service basis. 1. As outlined in 1., the system of coordination is similar to that existing in the United Kingdom, except for essential local differences. 2. The Government has received advice that submarines are not suitable for Australian defence, and that greater naval security is to be achieved by concentrating on cruisers and escort vessels. The advice was given by the Government's local naval advisers and the Admiralty. Mr.Forde asked the Minister for Defence, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What is the cost of the two cruisers purchased from Great Britain ? 1. Approximately, how much willit. cost to bring these vessels to Australia? {: #subdebate-24-7-s6 .speaker-KWC} ##### Mr Thorby:
CP y. - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. The cost of each cruiser will be approximately £1,950,000 Australian currency, which includes the cost of modernization, refit, and stores required to equip each vessel for service with the Australian Squadron. 1. The total cost of bringing these vessels to Australia will be £91,000 Australian currency. {: #subdebate-24-7-s7 .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr Forde: asked the Minister for Defence, *upon notice -* >Approximately, what portion of the £43,000,000 proposed to be expended in connexion with defence will be spent overseas? {: #subdebate-24-7-s8 .speaker-KWC} ##### Mr Thorby:
CP y. - The answer to the honorable member's question is as follows : - >I t is estimated that the amount of £43,000,000 will be expended in the following manner: - Mr.Forde asked the Minister for Defence, *upon notice -* >In view of the statement by the Minister that defence expenditure would be spread over all the States, will he say what moneys under the defence scheme will be expended on defence works, war materials, &c, in each of the respective States during the year 1938-39? {: #subdebate-24-7-s9 .speaker-KWC} ##### Mr Thorby:
CP -- The answer to the honorable member's question is as follows: - >It is estimated that the proposed defence provision of £15.000,000 for 1938-39 will be allocated between the several States as under. The allocation between the several States is made for the purposes of authorization of expenditure, but it docs not follow that all expenditure for supplies and other like services will be incurred within the amounts shown against each State, as this will be governed by such factors as location of contracts or suitable sources of supply. Silicosis. {: #subdebate-24-7-s10 .speaker-F4O} ##### Mr Lyons:
UAP s. - Yesterday the honorable member for Melbourne Ports **(Mr. Holloway)** asked me the following question, *without notice: -* >Hasthe Prime Minister yet received a report form Chief Judge Dethridge, of the Commonwealth Arbitration Court, recommending a medical inquiry into silicosis, which has occurred among the operative stonemasons of Australia? As promised, I have had inquiries made in the matter, and have ascertained that no communication on the subject has been received from Chief Judge Dethridge by the Commonwealth Government. {:#subdebate-24-8} #### Migration {: #subdebate-24-8-s0 .speaker-009MB} ##### Mr McEwen:
CP n.- On the 29th April, 1938, the honorable member for Brisbane **(Mr. George Lawson)** asked the Minister for the Interior the following question, *upon notice: -* >Will he supply figures showing (a) the total number of immigrants who have entered Queensland during the calendar year 1937, and for the three months ended 31st March, 1938, and (b) the nationalities of immigrants who have entered Queensland during the periods mentioned? I am now in a position to furnish the undermentioned particulars of immigrants who landed as permanent new arrivals in Queensland during the periods stated : - Note. - It should be understood that some immigrants for Queensland have proceeded overland from Sydney to Brisbane on account of arriving by vessels which did not go beyond Sydney. Particulars of such arrivals are not available.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 4 May 1938, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.