15th Parliament · 1st Session
Mr. Speaker (Hon. G. J. Bell) took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.
– Has the Minister for the Interior noticed a report in the press regarding a scheme for the colonization of Melville Island by 25,000 Jewish families proposed by Mr. J. B. Cramsie, and has he any remarks to make in connexion with the matter?
-My attention has been directed to the proposal which I regard as fantastic and misleading, and from an Australian point of view, dangerous, in that it might bo calculated to give the impression that the northern parts of Australia are capable of carrying a tremendous population.
– Can the Minister for Commerce indicate whether the amendments to the Workmen’s Compensation Act are likely to be introduced during the present session?
– The presentation of the bill has been delayed owing to the necessity for an analysis of the various points raised by the deputation which the honorable member introduced to me six months ago. That analysis has been completed and the bill is now in draft form and ready for submission to Cabinet for consideration.
– Yesterday, . the honorable member for Lang (Mr. Mulcahy) asked, without notice, whether an instruction had been issued to the Repatriation Commission that no regard should be paid to evidence brought by an applicant to the commission -except medical evidence. The Minister for Repatriation has now informed mc that no such instruction has ever been issued and that due regard is given to all evidence.
– Has the attention of the Attorney-General been drawn to a circular distributed amongst honorable members alleging that before he left for England he promised Mr. Swinton, of W. D: & H. O. “Wills (Australia) Ltd., Melbourne, that on his return he would pass a Trade Marks Act through Parliament, granting the firm a patent right on all commodities manufactured by it, so that it could fix a price from the factory to the public, and that he stated that he had the support of all honorable members. Bread, butter, tea and other lines, were also to be dealt with in due course. Has the Minister any statement to make on this matter? By way of explanation, I may say that, although the circular is anonymous, in view of the serious nature of the allegation, I have submitted this question.
– My attention has been directed to the circular; indeed, I have been honoured with a copy of it. As the honorable member for Watson (Mr. Jennings) has said, it is anonymous. The statement that I made certain promises to Mr. Swinton is quite untrue. To the best of my belief; I do not know Mr. Swinton, but became aware of his name for the first time when I read the circular. It relates to a suggestion that some method would be adopted to compel the observance of a fixed price in relation to goods which are subject to trade marks. That suggestion was made, to me about a year ago by an office-bearer of the New South Wales Chamber of Commerce. I discussed it with him and pointed out certain objections to it, as well as certain arguments in its favour. I said that I would refer the matter to a committee of an unofficial kind, which 1 was proposing to appoint to review the trade marks law, just as I had appointed a committee to review the patents law a year ago. The matter has been before that committee, but I have received no report from it. I have offered no personal views on the subject. It has never been brought, before Cabinet, and no change in the law could be made without the approval of the Parliament.
– Oan the Minister for Commerce say what preferences have been secured to encourage the export of canned pineapples from Australia under the recent United KingdomAustralia trade agreement ?
– The position is that the preferences in regard to pineapples are still in existence, and that, if ally change is to bc effected, a full statement concerning it will bc made to Parliament.
– Yesterday, I was asked a question by the honorable member for Maribyrnong regarding the salary paid to the Inspector-General of the Australian Military Forces. The honorable member, in his question, stated that the salary paid was considerably more than double that paid to the Chief of the General Staff of the Australian Military Forces. That is not accurate. The Inspector-General receives the pay and allowances that would be payable to him for overseas service in the British army, and it is surely obvious that no officer could be expected ‘to serve in Australia for ‘less pay than he would receive in the British army. The InspectorGeneral receives the minimum salary, for a Lieutenant-General which is £2,514 (sterling) or £3,161 (Australian). All British officers serving overseas are paid in. sterling. In addition, the InspectorGeneral receives an overseas allowance of £486 (Australian) and this is in accordance with the usual English practice of payment to officers serving overseas.
– Would the total salary be £3,647?
– No, £3,161.
– Will it be pos sible at the beginning of next week to let the House have an approximate programme of the business to be submitted to it during the rest of the session, and would it be possible, on the last day of sitting in each week, to give a reasonably accurate outline of the work proposed for the following week?
– Yes, I hope we shall be able to do what the honorable member asks.
– Will the Prime Minister state whether, in view of the fact that the latest returns reveal a rising trend in the number of unemployed, the Government considers it about time to cease bringing to this country considerable numbers of migrants whose presence will only accentuate the difficulties of the present residents of Australia?
– The question is not an urgent one, and I suggest that the honorable member place it on the noticepaper.
– Has the Minister for Trade and Customs been informed of the protests made against the suggestion that his department intends to prevent the export of koala bears?
– That is not an urgent question.
– It is not urgent, but it is important. No request has been made for a licence to export koala bears, and if such a request were made, it would not be granted.
– In reply to a question asked on Wednesday by the honorable member for Melbourne (Dr. Maloney), I have now to advise that 761 dairy cows in the Australian Capital Territory have been tested this year, none of which was found to be tubercular. This is the result of a number of years consecutive testing fortuberculosis, and it can now be said that dairy herds in the Australian Capital Territory are tubercle free. There is a number of privately owned cows producing milk solely for the householder’s use and the testing of these for the current year is proceeding. On present indications, fewer than 1 per cent. will be found to be tubercular.
– I lay on the table the following paper : -
Report andRecommendations -
The Tariff Board has come to the conclusion that this industry will be valuable to Australia, and the Government endorses that view. The Tariff Board has recommended that the industry be assisted by means of a bounty, the funds for which, the board recommends, should he provided by duty, both bounty and duty to vary as the imported cost of Canadian newsprinting paper varies. The Government has decided to grant the measure of assistance recommended by the board to the new industry, but proposes to give this assistance by means of bounty without duty unless the price of newsprint falls materially below the present day levels. No additional duty to that in force at the present time will be imposed unless the c.i.f and e. price, plus primage, of imported newsprint is less than £15 a ton.
The bulk of newsprint being supplied to Australia under 1939 contracts cannot be landed at less than £16 6s. a ton. Under the Government’s plan of assistance to tho new industry the COS of imported newsprint will not be increased. The amount of bounty which will be paid on this figure will be fi 14s. u ton. The bounty will be on a sliding-scale basis, and will not exceed £4 at £12 a ton and will be eliminated at a landed cost of £18 lis. 3d. a ton. In the event of a material fall of the cost of imported newsprinting paper to a level below £15 a ton, the Government proposes to apply duty at rates substantially lower than those recommended by the Tariff Board. The rates of duty will be: Below £15, 5s. a ton; below £14, 7s. 6d. a ton ; below £13, 10s. a ton. The assistance being granted by the Government will continue for a period of three years from the commencement of production; and the question of what asasistance, if any, after the expiration of that period will be determined only after further investigation by the Tariff Board. The necessary legislation to give effect to the Government’s decision will be introduced at an early date.
Ordered to be printed.
– Yesterday the honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Beasley), and other .honorable members, asked questions in connexion with the appointment of individuals to the staff of the National Insurance Commission. I ventured to treat the question as one upon notice. I have had the information compiled and it will be circulated for incorporation in Hansard.
Debate resumed from the 22nd September (vide page 105) on motion by Mr. Casey -
That the bill he now read a second time.
– .’Several honorable members have raised matters relating to the postal administration. Some of these have been considered before, and others are entirely new. Regarding the latter, full inquiries will be made and honorable members concerned will be advised in due course of the result.
Towards the close of the debate last evening the honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Beasley) referred to the banning of imported magazines. The honorable member was certainly most moderate in his remarks. He did not mention the names of any magazines or question whether they fell within the regulations; but he confined his observations to the question whether the prohibition applied solely to American magazines and whether the action of the department was not somewhat too antiAmerican. If the honorable member has not given careful consideration to this aspect of the subject I can quite understand him thinking that possibly there are grounds for such a conclusion. He is not the only one who has raised this issue. It has been raised, in particular, by the secretary of the committee in New South Wales which represents some of the importers of the affected magazines. Other individuals have also referred to it. I assure the honorable member that there is no foundation whatever to justify any such interpretation of the department’s activities.
In order that the situation may be put very clearly before the House I shall read a report which, in other circumstances, and possibly a little later on, would have been read by the Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. White). Owing to the absence of the Minister overseas during the last six months practically the whole of the work of dealing with these magazines has fallen upon my shoulders. I have, of course, been helped by officers of the department, but I ask honorable members to appreciate that, before any action was taken to ban a magazine or other publication, the matter had to pass through my hands. I therefore assume full responsibility for all that was done in this respect during the period when I acted as Minister for Trade and Customs. After reading the report, which sets out clearly the reasons which led to the banning of these magazines, and also the course that is adopted in regard thereto, I shall say anything that I consider to be necessary to defend my own personal actions in this regard. The report is as follows : -
Representations from various sources were made from time to time over a long period for a prohibition on the importation of certain types of cheap literature which, while not coming within the prohibition imposed by section 52(c) of the Customs Act on indecent, obscene or blasphemous works or articles, unduly emphasizes sex or crime or tends to encourage depravity.
In 1934 a decision was reached with magazine importers that orders would not be placed for such undesirable literature and as far as possible their sale would not be encouraged.
However, the number of publications of the type indicated which found their way on to the local market became so great as to bring forth renewed and persistent representations against their sale. These representations came from many different sections of the community, embracing social, religious, educational and other organizations. The Premier of New SouthWales also approached the Commonwealth Government on the subject. In all cases the harmful effect on the youth of Australia of the dissemination of the publications was stressed and the Premier of New South. Wales instanced a case where the belongings of a young man who had been sentenced to death in his State for murder has been found to include a large quantity of this undesirable matter.
It was found that books of the type concerned were being given special prominence by many booksellers and also by departmental and chain stores. In some of the cities, shops were opened for the sole purpose of selling this class of publication.
The books are put up in luridly attractive covers with, in many instances, suggestive titles. The general get-up of the books and the low prices at which they were being sold were obviously intended to appeal to the young folk and to those seeking to satisfy depraved tastes for morbidity, sadism and salaciousnese.
As a preliminary to further consideration of the question of prohibiting importation, the Minister on the 21st September, 1937, referred the matter to the Literature Censorship Board, and at the same time forwarded to the board for inspection a number of typical magazines.
On the 2nd May, 1938, the board furnished its report in which it stated, inter alia, that consideration of the publications forwarded to it had led the board to the conclusion that certain types exist which are pornographic and. which, in other ways also, are intended to appeal to degraded tastes. The board further stated that the question at issue was not whether unpleasant facts should or should not be accessible to the general public, but whether the manner of their presentation is such as to make them injurious. The board expressed the opinion that certain of the magazines offered for its inspection were injurious.
After consultation with the SolicitorGeneral, it was considered that the position could be met by the issue of a regulation under Section 52(g) of the Customs Act prohibiting the importation of: -
Literature which in the opinion of the Minister, and whether by words or by picture, or partly by words and partly by picture: -
On the 10th May, 1938, Cabinet approved of the issue of a regulation in the terms above quoted, and such regulation was issued and became effective on and from the 26th May, 1938.
The question as to who should be responsible for examination of the publications for the purposes of the prohibition was considered. The. Literature Censorship Board took the view that special literary skill is not essential for the examination of matter of this kind, and the board suggested that the function be left to efficient departmental officers. The position in this regard is that consignments of imported publications are checked by customs officers in the States, and any publication which, it is considered, might come within the prohibition is examined. If examination indicates that the publication is of a type to which the prohibition applies, it is submitted to the central administration of the department where it is perused.by an officer whose duty it is to indicate those portions which he considers objectionable. The book is then examined by a senior officer and submitted to the Minister with whom the decision as to whether it comes within the prohibition or not rests.
To date, seventy-two publications have been determined by the Minister to be of a class to which the prohibition applies, and these are not permitted importation. In a relatively few instances, importers have appealed against the Minister’s action in regard to specific publications and these are at present being given further consideration.
Generally speaking, the action of the Government in imposing the prohibition has been well received, and a very large number of commendatory communications from organizations and individuals representing many different sections of the community have been received. Amongst these was one from the Children’s Courts Magistrates’ Association of Victoria.
I have a list of some of the organizations which have written to the Government on this subject, and I ask permission to have it incorporated in Hansard.
– Oh no; this is not an answer to my question at all.
– I shall deal with the honorable member’s observations presently. At the moment I am seeking to answer statements that have been made in a circular issued by certain interested parties. I have already said that I do not cavil at the observations of the honorable member for West Sydney, and I shall answer his points presently. The list of organizations to which I have just referred is as follows: -
CONGRATULATORY LETTERS TO THE MINISTER ON THE ACTION TAKEN BY HIM REGARDING THE PROHIBITION OF OBJECTIONABLE LITERATURE UNDER ITEM 14a OF THE CUSTOMS (PROHIBITED IMPORTS) REGULATIONS.
Associated Newsagents of Mackay, Queensland.
Australian Holy Catholic Guild, Broken Hill.
Australian Literature Society, Middle Brighton, Victoria.
Australian National Secretariat of Catholic Action, Collins Street, Melbourne.
Australian Women’s National League.
Baptist Union of New South Wales, Chatswood, New South Wales.
Bathurst Holy Name Society.
Catholic Women’s League, Hay-street, Perth.
Catholic Action, West Maitland- Group Leader.
Catholic Evidence Guild, Sydney, New South Wales.
Catholic Women’s Social Guild.
Catholic Laymen of Launccaton, Tasmania.
Chesterton Club, Perth.
Children’s Court Magistrates Association of Victoria.
Colonial Stamp Club, Bundaberg.
Corporation of the Synod of the Diocese of Brisbane.
Council of Churches in Victoria.
Council of Churches in New South Wales.
Combined Social Questions, Perth, Western Australia.
Father and Son Welfare Movement and League of Youth and Honor, Sydney.
Federal Conference of Churches of Christ in Australia, Homebush, New South Wales.
Gladstone, Queensland, Holy Name Society.
Hawkesbury District Minister’s Fraternal.
Housewife’s Association (Progressive) of New South Wales.
H.A.C.B.S. All Saints Branch No. 421, Broken Hill.
Ketteler Group, Broken Hill.
Lismore Diocesan Union of the Holy Name Society, Casino, Now South Wales.
Methodist Conference, Adelaide.
Manly Minister’s Fraternal,Queenscliff, Sydney, Now South Wales.
Methodist Young Peoples’ Department, Sydney.
Methodist Church of Australasia, Maitland District.
Mothers’ Union Workers Conference, Victoria.
Mr Morgan Branch of the Holy Name Society.
New South Wales Council of Religious Education, Rockdale.
National Council of Women of Australia.
National Council of Women of Victoria, 271. Collins-street, Melbourne, Victoria.
Northern Suburbs Parents’ and Citizens’ Association, Greenwich, New South Wales.
Parents’ National Educational Union, Kew, Victoria.
Public Question Committee of The Methodist Church of Australasia, New South Wales Conference.
Queensland Authors’ and Artists’ Association, Brisbane.
Queensland Authors’ Artists’ Section, Australian Journalists’ Association.
Queensland Country Women’s Association.
Rev. Dean Brennan, on behalf of the Holy Name Society, Catholic Guild, H.A.C.B.S. and St. Vincents de Paul.
St. Patrick’s Branch, Holy Name Society, Mackay, Queensland.
Social Questions Committee, Melbourne.
Special Committee upon objectionable literature, Rotary Club of Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
The Koala Club of Australia, 17 Castlereaghstreet, Sydney, New South Wales.
The Housewives’ Association (Victoria Division).
The British Empire Boys’ Brigade, Baptist Staff Fraternal, Petersham.
Vice-Chairman, New South Wales Baptist young People’s Department, Lakemba, New South Wales.
Wagga Wagga Diocesan Holy Name Union.
Women’s Service Guilds of Western Australia.
Women’s Christian Temperance Union, Melbourne.
Women’s Christian Temperance Unionof Queensland.
Women’s Section, Polwaith District Council, Colac, Victoria.
Western Australian Housewives’ Association, Perth.
I do not think any action which the Government or the Department of Trade and Customs has taken in recent years has won such universal approval as its action in connexion with these objectionable publications.
– Hear, hear !
– If honorable members desire further assurance that the actions of the Government in connexion with these publications have been widely endorsed, I refer them to the published remarks of the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, and many other bishops throughout Australia. I also direct attention to the following letters : -
Father and Son Welfare Movement and League of Youth and Honour. (Registered under the Provisions of the Charitable Collections Act,1934.)
P.O. Box64, Broadway.
St. Barnabas’ Church Building,
Broadway, Sydney, 16th May, 1938.
Hon. J. A. Perkins,
Acting Minister for Customs.
Dear Mr. Perkins,
My Council desires to express its great appreciation of your determination to do everything in your power to stem the tide of literature of a debasing nature at present pouring into the Commonwealth.
We also view with alarm the number of cheap birth-control publications and preparations exhibited in close proximity to schools, constituting, as they do. a very serious menace to boys and girls.
Wishing you every success in your contemplated action and with kindest regards,
Yours in Service.
Tramways Building, 159 Craig-street, West,
May 14, 1938.
Acting Minister ofCustoms Perkins,
Canadians were very interested indeed in the reading of a press despatch from Melbourne yesterday that you had banned the importation of over twenty magazines of a salacious nature into Australia. On behalf of our organization permit me to offer you our sincerest congratulations.
Conditions have become so bad here in Canada on account of the importation of such magazines from the United States that a delegation composed of every church in the country, Protestant, Catholic and Jewish, and all welfare organizations and service clubs, recently waited upon the Prime Minister of Canada urging that a similar ban be placed upon these publications. We expect that definite action will be taken along these lines very shortly.
This is indeed a good work which you have done.
Yours very truly,
Secretary, Special Committee upon objectionable literature, Rotary Club of Montreal.
Shortly after that letter was written a report was received that a deputation headed by His Eminence Cardinal Villeneuve of Canada waited upon the Canadian Government and requested that action should be taken in that dominion similar to the action taken by the Commonwealth Government. The result was that nineteen magazines were banned. Of these eighteen originated in the United States of America.
– What I want to know is why the Government does not follow the same course in connexion with British publications as it has taken in connexion with American publications - a course with which I agree?
– I wish the honorable member to realize that the Government of Canada has taken steps to ban objectionable literature and that the majority of publications which have fallen within the prohibition are American.. The same may be said of South Africa. Practically all the magazines banned in the dominion have been from the United States of America. The Government of New Zealand does not believe in banning magazines, but it has consulted certain importers and asked them to cease importing the magazines known as “pulp.?? productions.- The honorable member. .>fo» West Sydney (Mr. Beasley) asks why W have not banned any English publications. He might just as well ask why we have not banned English bananas, English pineapples, and English oranges. The answer is that there are none to ban.
– Is indecent literature from England any better than indecent literature from America ?
– If we could find it wc should certainly ban it. If the honorable member for West Sydney produces the goods and their banning is warranted, they will be banned. The action of tha department was taken at the request of parents who sent samples of the literature to the department. No one has scut copies of English magazines with a request that they be stamped out of circulation in Australia. No one wrote to the department in respect of English magazines saying, “My children bought this on the road to the school. Do you think it should be allowed ? “
– I shall give you a parcel of English books of questionable character.
– Do so then. A few weeks ago, a parcel of fourteen English magazines was forwarded to the department by the importers and distributors of American magazines in New South Wales. Each of those magazines was read by the department, and I am informed that there is nothing objectionable in them. Do not blame rae or the department. Those magazines have been read in Canada, South Africa and New Zealand, and in those countries also nothing objectionable about them was found.
– That is my point.
– What is the honorable member’s point?
– The Assistant-Minister is allowing Gordon and Gotch to get its stuff into the country.
– Gordon and Gotch import American as well as English magazines. I give that firm the credit that it has itself banned a good many magazines. It sent samples of its imports to the department immediately the new regulation came into force and asked whether they would come within its scope. It said that it did not want to import magazines to which objection would be taken. Gordon and Gotch Limited tendered probably a dozen different American magazines for the scrutiny of the department. I myself have no mortal idea as to who are the importers or publishers of these magazines. What has been done has been done on the recommendation of the Literature Censorship Board. I am surprised that the honorable member for West Sydney, himself a father, should want to give any protection to this class of literature.
– I do not want to protect it. I want to see that if English publications are equally obscene, they should also be banned.
– Order ! Interjections must cease. If honorable members wish to express their opinions, they must, do so in the debate and not by interjection.
– Perhaps I was unjust to the honorable member for West Sydney, and I withdraw what I said. My objective is to enable the fathers and mothers of Australia to give their children a decent chance. This class of literature is most depraving, even the best of it. Even where we cannot find objections on the ground of over-emphasis of sex or crime, it is most impure; it is written in very poor English and there is not an honorable member of this House who could not, write a better story. It is not because it is American that it is banned. Some of the best works that we have come from the United States of America. There is no question, however, that the United States of America is the leading country in the production of this lass of objectionable literature. I have in my office one or two extracts from Now York papers which congratulate the Commonwealth Government on what it has done and declare that some action will have to be taken in the United States of America to prohibit the printing of these objectionable magazines. I think, on the whole, that the department is fulfilling its duty well. There has been no conspiracy * to ban American literature. In Australia we have six Collectors of Customs in six States and imports are examined bv the Collector at the port of arrival. He inspects the shipments of magazines, whether they be English or American.
Samples are read by him and are then forwarded to Canberra with a report to the Minister. It is noticeable that no adverse reports have been made concerning English magazines. Complaints were lodged some time ago about 23 magazines which were submitted to the Censorship Board. Of that number, 21 were American, one was English and one New Zealand. The Censorship Board recommended that ten of them be banned, and they were all from the United States of America. The board was doubtful about four or five others, but because the then existing law did not prohibit them the Censorship Board recommended that an amending regulation be issued. This course was followed and not one of the magazines that came within the scope of the new regulation, and was banned, was of English origin. The department makes the fullest inquiries. As a matter of fact, I should not mind if the honorable member for West Sydney did the censoring himself. He would achieve no different result.
I was recently taken on tours of the bookstalls in Sydney and Melbourne, and whilst I saw a great number of objectionable magazines of American origin, I defy the honorable member for West Sydney to be able to buy an objectionable English magazine at those bookstalls. It is a credit to Great Britain. It is something to be proud of that our nation, whatever it does otherwise, cannot be labelled as an offender in the direction of producing obscene literature. It is true that the action of the department in banning the entry of literature of this type has resulted in some hardship. A circular has been issued by some importers complaining that their livelihood has been removed. I have a certain amount of sympathy with them. It is a severe blow to lose one’s livelihood. I have received one or two pathetic letters: One was from a man of 7S years of age who, after living in the country, went to Sydney and opened a bookstall. He complains that the banning of these magazines has taken away his living. I had another letter from two sisters who opened a bookstall in a northern suburb of Sydney. They had been selling this class of literature and now their living has been taken from them. But, which is the better? Is it better that they should suffer or that the whole of the community should suffer? Are we to allow the youth of the community to become depraved because the banning of the magazines will result in hardship to a few owners of bookstalls 3 In imposing the ban I was as liberal as I could be - so liberal in fact that 1 received Letters censuring me because 1 did not make the ban immediately operative. The writers of the letters took the view that, even though shipments of the banned magazines were already on the water before the ban was imposed, they should not be allowed admission. I, however, am of the opinion that, following the usual practice of the department, importers who were not aware that theban was to be imposed should not be victimized.
– That was the one weakness.
– But it was npt meant to be a weakness. This sort, of literature had been coming into Australiafor many years and the departmental view was that the flow could not be checked immediately and that more good than harm would result if there were an attempt to impose an immediate stoppage. This fact was pointed out to Cabinet in making the submission for approval. A certain quantity of undesirable literature was already on the water when the ban was imposed, but we felt that it should be allowed entry. Five or six weeks ago a vessel arrived at Brisbane with a consignment of some tons of these magazines, some of which were on the list of those banned. The Collector, of Customs at Brisbane was not satisfied that it was in transit when the ban was imposed and he ordered that it was not to be delivered to the consignees. By some error, how-, ever, it was delivered. It was a slow steamer, and when the vessel arrived at Sydney, the Customs officer was satisfied that the magazines were in transit when the ban was imposed. The Sydney importers, therefore, received their stocks. In Melbourne, however, the view was taken that there was not sufficient evidence that the magazines were in transit when we acted and the cargoes were held up whilst further inquiries were made. It was found that to all intents and purposes the goods had been consigned within the time limit. That consignment filled the bookstalls once again with certain prohibited publications. Admittedly the banning has not come into force as quickly as some people would desire, but I assure honorable members that there will be no further importations.
About twelve or fourteen persons in Sydney alone were making a living out of the importation of this sort of stuff and their business would have been very badly affected if they had not had time to make other arrangements. I had complaints that the ban did not become operative soon enough, but the matter had to be looked at reasonably, and the importers would have had ground for serious complaint if their whole means of livelihood had been suddenly wrenched from them without warning.
I think that I have cleared up the misunderstandings with regard to the American. ‘’ literature generally. Some objection has been taken to the magazine Esquire. It has been charged that because this magazine is too expensive to be sold to other than adults we have allowed it to remain in circulation in Australia. As a matter of fact the question of price does not enter into the question except when the magazines are so cheap as to enable children to get hold of them. I have had congratulations from parents on what has been done ; also from schoolteachers, who say that it is a godsend to be able to stamp these magazines out of the schools.
– Can they get them at the schools?
– In many instances the shops are very near the schools, and the children take them to school with them. Another aspect of this matter, is that many of these pulp papers are two and three years old and not just second-hand, but are fourth and fifth hand. The exporters collect them from railway carriages and dining rooms. Some of them come out coverless and bear egg marks and other breakfast stains. They are printed and sold at about one shilling in the United States of America, but when they come to Australia, they are retailed at one penny or twopence a copy to the youth of the community. A large percentage of the magazines come out to Australia not as ordinary cargo, but as packing for other goods. When 1 was at a wharf in Sydney the other day, I was shown a packing case in which these pulp magazines and papers were used as packing for another import. This packing is sold to bookstalls and disseminated among the young people. It was high time that the Government took a hand in this matter. I give credit to my colleague the Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. White) who, before his departure for overseas, took steps to see what could be done to stem the tide of obscene literature which was flooding this country. It fell to my lot while he was abroad to make the decision that was reached.
– When I was Minister for Trade and Customs, I had a lot of criticism for censoring pornographic literature.
– That is so. We followed the honorable member’s example. As a matter of fact, the vast quantities of cheap unwholesome literature from the United States of America has forced many magazines of British origin off the Australian market. Messrs. Houghton and Company who were importers of English magazines informed me that as the result of the huge trade in the American type, the Australian market had been made not worth while.
– Several excellent British magazines have gone out of circulation in Australia.
– The honorable gentleman is correct. It was not that fact, however, which guided me; I was guided by the law. What has been done by the department has been commended almost without exception by the city and country press. A total of 72 magazines has been banned. Some people complain that we are digging the scissors in too deep. They are to be dug deeper. There are scores of magazines that are yet to be examined and banned if need be. This brings me again to Esquire. Copies of that magazine were submitted to the Censorship Board after a large number of complaints had reached me. Esquire was examined by the. Censorship Board a few years ago, and it then came to the decision that this magazine should be admitted. The matter was again referred to the board, and it again advised that the importation of the magazine should be permitted.
– Some of the board’s decisions are inconsistent.
– That may be so, but we cannot criticize. From the Children’s Court Magistrates’ Association of Victoria I havereceived the following letter expressing appreciation of the action taken by the Government -
At a meeting of our association held on 17th May the following resolution was missed: - “We express our satisfaction at the action taken to suppress the importation, publication and circulation of ‘pernicious literature ‘ “.
I was instructed to convey this to you, and I have now much pleasure in doing so.
The banning of these magazines had the approval of honorable members generally, including the honorable member forWest Sydney. Indeed, I was congratulated in the House by several honorable members on the opposite side of the chamber oh the decision to prohibit their entry into Australia. I assure the honorable member for West Sydney, and the House generally, that the Government is not dealing with this matter on a national basis. Irrespective of the country of origin - whether the United States of America, Great Britain, New Zealand, or elsewhere - publications which come within the category of undesirable literature will not be admitted.
– Are not some publications of a similar nature published in Australia?
– It is frequently urged that equally pernicious literature is printed in Australia, and should be dealt with in the. same manner. I point out, however, that the department has the power to deal only with imported literature; it cannot exercise any control over what is printed in Australia. That is a matter for the State governments.
– Some of the State governments have taken action.
– The Prime Minister wrote to the Premiers of the several States seeking their co-operation in con trolling this class of literature, and replies have been received from most of them. The Government of Victoria proposes to take drastic action; bookshops will be searched, and vendors of filthy literature will be* dealt with severely. Queensland has taken a similar stand. A bill to control this class of literature has been prepared, and is ready for submission to Parliament.
– The honorable member for West Sydney supports the banning of this literature.
– I am aware of that. He is, however, a little perturbed because, as most of the banned magazines have conic from the United States of America, he fears discrimination on a national basis. It is true that most of the banned literature is published in that country, but its nature, not the country of its origin, is the cause of the ban. Recently fourteen magazines of British origin were submitted for censorship, hut those who examined them found nothing objectionable in them.
– Perhaps they wore blinkers when they read them.
– I challenge the honorable member to bring those magazines along to the department. I presume that the people who submitted certain magazines to honorable members of the Opposition, and pointed out thai some of them were of British origin and others of American origin, were the same people who submitted to me the fourteen magazines that I have mentioned. Those magazines have been examined and nothing objectionable found in them.
– They are just as bad as those which have been banned.
– I myself have not seen them. I shall, however, submit them to the honorable member for West Sydney, and he himself can be the censor. It was so obvious that most of the banned literature was of United States of America origin that I instructed the officers of the department to make a particularly careful search through parcels of literature printed in Great Britain to see that it was fit for circulation. So far, they have not located any objectionable matter. A number of magazinesselling at higher prices were placed in the same category as Esquire. They are now before the Censorship Board. Although 72 magazines have been banned, there have been appeals in respect of only about six ofthem. In one or two instances the appeals may be successful if minor changesare made. Difficulty has arisen in connexion with books containing a number of stories. For instance, a book may contain twelve stories, ten of which will be satisfactory,the other two being objectionable. With the objectionable stories deletedsuch a hook would be permitted to enter Australia. It is possible that in some instances banned books or magazines have been published under other names, and have found their way into this country; one such case has come under notice already.
– Such frequent changing of names reminds me of the United Australia party.
– I have given the facts, and I repeat that there has been no favoritism. For its action in prohibiting this class of literature, the Government is glad to have the endorsement of the House, and, indeed, of the country.
– I rise to a make a personal explanation. In his opening remarks the Assistant Minister (Mr. Perkins) was good enough to say that I had been moderate in. my approach to this subject, but he went on to say that I had complained that there had been discrimination as between countries. As he proceeded, the impression grew that I supported the introduction of undesirable literature into Australia.
– I assure the honorable member that I did not wish to convey that impression.
– I am pleased to have that assurance. I do not think that any member of this House would accuse me of wishing that literature of this kind should circulate throughout Australia. I may have lots of faults, but that is not one of them. I am as keen as the Minister is that filthy literature should not enter Australia,and I heartily agree with the action that he has taken to ban magazines of an undesirable kind. My colleagues are of the same opinion. Although I drew the attention of the Minister to what appeared to be discrimination in the ban ning of magazines, I wish to make it perfectly clear that I am wholeheartedly in favour of banning undesirable literature, irrespective of its source. The Minister can rely on my support of any restrictive action that will have general application to all undesirable literature.
– I, too, wish to make a personal explanation. Ishould be sorry if it were thought I intended to convey the impression that the honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Beasley) was in favour of the introduction of undesirable literature. I admit that at one stage I was inclined to think differently. I appreciate the honorable member’s offer of co-operation in dealing effectively with such importations.
.- No member of this House has criticized the Government for keeping filthy literature out of Australia. When I was Prime Minister, the honorable member for Capricornia (Mr. Forde), who was then Minister for Trade and Customs, was subjected to a good deal of criticism for his action in banning, not only imported hooks by foreign writers, but also a number of books written by Australians and printed and published overseas. I admit that, however careful the censorship may be, there is danger that some publications of an undesirable nature will get past the censors, thereby giving rise to the belief that discrimination has been exercised. But I cannot understand why the Government, after having adopted the correct and perhaps, the courageous attitude, towards filthy literature, allowed largo shipments of books and magazines to come in and be circulated. It is not sufficient explanation that the books were . on the water, and that the importers would have lost money had entry been prohibited. People who import filthy stuff should lose money. I remind the Assistant Minister (Mr. Perkins) that when a duty is imposed on goods, no concession is made in respect of goods already on the water. It is true that when prohibitions were imposed on the entry of certain goods, some leniency was shown, hut in those instances the importers were not offenders like those persons who make profits out of the sale offilthy literature. It is gratifying to know that several State governments have taken, or are taking, drastic action. I know that the Government of Victoria proposes to introduce legislation to deal with books already in the bookshops. It is not concerned that the vendors of such literature will lose money; its only concern is that offensive publications should not circulate among the people. The proposed legislation will affect not only books on the water, but also those already in the shops in that State. I commend the Minister for what be has done, but I regret that he allowed so many thousands of volumes to get in and be read for generations.
– Only one week’s supply was admitted after the ban was decided on.
-That may be, but those magazines will be read for generations.
– As the magazines show sign’s of wear, they are repaired, and sent into circulation again.
– That is so, and probably for years to come they will be available in the second-hand book-shops. Moreover, the very fact that they are on the list of banned books will increase the demand for them with the result that prices will be raised.
-Could not the States deal with such literature?
-They may do so, but it was the duty of the Commonwealth Government to prohibit its introduction in the first place. In that respect, the Minister showed weakness. So far as the decision to ban filthy literature is concerned,we on this side, and, I am sure, members generally, support the action of the Government.
– I wish to make a few observations arising out of my recent visit to New Guinea. As I travelled in New Guinea, . I could not but be struck by the devotion to duty of the district officers and patrol officers who, sometimes at considerable risk to themselves, go into the wildest parts of that territory in the performance of their duty. I met one young fellow almost as far inland as Mount Hagen, where a couple of missionaries had been massacred a short time previously. Although he was surrounded by tribes whose language he did not know, by fair dealing and the exercise of considerable tact, he prevented many tribal clashes. The danger in the interior of New Guinea is not so much that clashes will occur between natives and whites, but that tribal warfare will break out on the slightest provocation. For instance, under the tribal law, the stealing of a pig is sufficient to require the death of a man. Australia should be proud of its achievements in New Guinea. The general pacification of the country by young Australians has been so marked that the Dutch authorities who have been handling wild tribes in the Dutch East Indies and in Dutch New Guinea recently sent an officer to the British territory in order to learn something of the system which had proved so successful there. Whilst Australian officers have penetrated far into the interior of Papua and the wildest portions of New Guinea, the Dutch on the other side of the island have settlements only along the coastal fringe. I pay a tribute to the present Administrator of the Mandated Territory, Sir Walter McNicoll, for his work there. Of course, one cannot travel through New Guinea without meeting “ whisperers “ who are at no pains to refrain from criticising the administration. I am convinced that the complaints which I heard were exaggerated. It is generally recognized that many of the Australians there have learned the secret of dealing with the native peoples, and I hope that in our administration of these territories we shall continue to proceed along broad and democratic lines. Associated with Sir Walter McNicoll is Mr. Charles Field, Director of Works, a very efficient officer; and also notably amongst the many other fine men employed in the New Guinea service is Mr. Page, a. brother of the Minister for Commerce (Sir Earle Page). In my opinion these men are outstanding in the group of very capable and efficient officers in the New Guinea service, all of whom are imbued with a desire to do their very best for the territory.
After a comparatively short stay in the territory one is, of course, somewhat diffident in finding faults with the administration, but I desire to draw attention to one or two matters which I think should be rectified. It is natural that, as the representative of a mining constituency in this Parliament, I should take a deep interest in mining in New Guinea. To acquaint myself with mining conditions in the territory, I flew up to Wau, went down the Bulolo River and examined the dredges, and then on to Korangi Creek, -where it enters the Bulolo River, at the spot where William Parkes first discovered gold in what was then the German territory of New Guinea. Before the war the Germans did their utmost to keep Australian diggers out of New Guinea.
My first complaint deals with what I might call the obnoxious tax of .5 per cent, levied on all gold won. Although this tax is to be commended as a wise impost on the profits of the big mining companies, such as the Bulolo Dredging Company, which makes a profit of £600,000 per annum, a sum in excess of the profit made by any mining company in Australasia, the objectionable feature of it is that it imposes severe hardship on prospectors who are endeavouring to eke out a bare living searching for gold. Its effect is to discourage prospecting very greatly and to retard the opening up of the interior of New Guinea. Mining men generally have no fear for their lives. We all remember how in the early days of Victoria’s history the miners at Ballarat made a stockade in which they were prepared to fight for their lives against what they deemed to be an obnoxious imposition by the Victorian Government of a tax of fi for a miner’s right. The miners in New ‘Guinea, however, are paying very much more than that to-day. There they have to work under very difficult conditions and are susceptible to many tropical diseases. If a miner should be unfortunate enough to contract blackwater fever on a second occasion, it, means almost certain death. Apart from the dangers of disease, these men risk their lives even in controlled areas. In view of the valuable service they render under adverse conditions, I regard as unfair the imposition of the 5 per cent, tax on all gold won by prospectors. Knowing the democratic outlook of the Minister in Charge of Territories (Mr. Hughes) I feel sure that he will sympathetically consider my protest. I brought the matter under the notice of the Administrator but that titled gentleman brushed it aside with the comment that the Administration did not receive a large revenue from prospectors. Apparently, in his opinion, the matter was too negligible to bother about. He said, however, that the tax was imposed in order to catch the big mining companies which take the gold out of the territory. I quite agree with the tax from that view-point, but in my opinion it should be imposed only on the earnings of prospectors in excess of what might be regarded as an appropriate wage, taking into consideration the hardships of the country. .
Most of the district officers in the New Guinea service are excellent men. We hear the praises of the district officer at Morobe, M.r. Taylor, sung everywhere, and we of ‘t.en hear of the wonderful work done by other district officers. I hesitate to mention names because if some are omitted certain officers might feel hurt.
Recently I received a letter from two prospectors named Forrester and Tebb who set out on a prospecting expedition from Madang’ into the interior near the Ramu River. They experienced some trouble with the natives and complained of their subsequent treatment by the Administration. I sent on their letter tothe Minister, who was good enough to forward it to the Administrator for comment. These men were prospecting near the Ramu River in controlled territory. I may say that no miners are allowed to go into uncontrolled territory; if they do so without permission, they take their lives in their own hands, and no one is responsible for their safety. Forrester and Tebb spent £200 in the purchase of their outfit and set off on the prospecting expedition with the full knowledge and consent of the district officer at Madang. While they were engaged in their work natives fame down from the adjoining uncontrolled territory in the Bismarck Range and stole some of their gear. The prospectors asked that a patrol officer be sent out to control the natives. These patrol officers do not need- to use their arms to enforce order. Accompanied by only half a dozen native policemen, patrol officers go out into uncontrolled areas in which the natives are engaged in fighting and often are able to persuade them to give up their spears because fighting is not permitted by the Government. The Minister has been good enough to hand to me the reply furnished by the Administrator to the letter in which I drew attention to this matter. It reads as follows: -
Messrs. Forrester and Tebb arrived at Madang on the 26th April and, reporting at the district office on the 28th April, stated it was their intention to proceed to an area near Atemble, west of the Ramu River, to engage in prospecting. The area had in earlier years been visited by prospectors, . including one Cruickshank, and it was believed that the adjacent country was gold-bearing. It was explained to and fully understood by the above-mentioned that the uncontrolled areas Commenced at a point five miles west of the Ramu River. They stated the area they desired to work was approximately four miles west of the Ramu River. They further stated it was not their intention to attempt to enter the uncontrolled area. The party proceeded and nothing was heard of them until the 22nd June, when a letter, brought by aeroplane from Atemble, was received at the district office. A copy of the letter is appended - “We have to report that, having met with some hostility south of the Ramu, we returned to Atemble. We had established a camp on Mogo Creek, about four miles south of the river, relations with the local kanakas being friendly. The mountain natives came down to trade foods and everything was O.K. for a couple of weeks and then the mountain boys, getting bolder, made night raids on our camp, five axes being stolen, together with sundry other gear. As these thieves came from outside the controlled area, we could not make any attempt to get them back. This doubtless had an adverse effect as. from then on, we were subjected to a series of night robbing raids . . . We were all the time in controlled ‘ country and well established with the local kanakas; all our trouble came from kanakas who came down from the uncontrolled area. We should like youradvice and help on the matter as wewish to go back and finish the work we have started. We have every reason to believe that we are opening up a new dredging area. Should this be allowed to pass, we are of the opinion that the kanakas nowpeacable living in the ‘ controlled area’ will be subject to periodical raids “.
In reply, a message was put through by radio telephone to Atemble and this message was confirmed by a memorandum, a copy of which is also appended - “ With reference to your letter of the 21st instant, and in confirmation of message per teleradio this morning, in view of the hostile attitude towards your party by natives living in the uncontrolled area on the Bismarck Ranges, you are herewith advised to vacate your present mining location without delay. It is noted you have been camped at approximately four miles south-west of the Ramu River, thus in close proximity to uncontrolled areas as yet unvisited by government patrols. Until such time as an officer and adequate patrol personnel is available, no action can bo taken to protect your party. Should you delay in vacating your present location, action will be taken to include the area within the boundaries of all uncontrolled areas ‘ in the Madang district. In effect, this will mean you will be permanently prohibited to recommence prospecting.
Is it any wonder that Forrester and Tebb, when writing to some friends, said -
As yon heard we got into a spot of bother with the local coons (natives), and as we did not wish to give the Government any reason to make trouble for us, we sent back a report and asked for a patrol to be sent in. We were very surprised when they told us to come in. We were in controlled country and it really was up to the District Resident Officer to help us.
We were all set in there and had six months’ supplies to carry on with, most of which we had to abandon, ‘ as Oakley threatened to cancel our mineral rights and all permits unless we came out of the district at once. Wo had only been in there three weeks, and most of that time had been spent in making a camp and getting in supplies from Atemble.
What little work bad been done had merely verified my original prospects, and convinced me more firmly than ever of its dredging possibilities. But I’ll give you more detail when I can check up from my diary.
Oakley, the District Resident Officer here, reckons that it will be September before a patrol is available to go in there. Oakley is going on leave in August, and I understand Harry Downing is taking his place. He may be more amenable to reason. Anyhow, it has cost Tebb and I around £200 for this trip, and now we’ve got to turn to and find a way to get a crust while waiting. To ‘ell wid de Government.
It is perfectly understandable that prospectors would feel resentment at such treatment. Had a Government patrol been instructed to intervene no lives would have been lost.
– How far is this place from the district office?
– If . the right honorable gentleman will look at the map he will see that Madang is well within 70 or80 miles of the mouth of the Ramu River.
– As the crow flies.
– That is so. Transport is by aeroplane.
– Every one inNew Guinea travels by air.
– Until recently in Wewak, a town on the north coast in the district of Sepik, a considerable amount of prospecting was being carried on by probably a couple of hundred men. Now there are only about 20 or 30 on the field because, like every other gold rush, there were only a few prizes, and most of the men drifted away. Many prospectors find only enough to keep them going, yet under the ordinance issued by the New Guinea Administration, 5 per cent. is taken from their meagre earnings. Such a tax is no encouragement to men to continue prospecting, especially when, in other respects, their interests are neglected.I leave this matter with the Minister in the belief that he will see the necessity for repealing this tax. The small amount of revenue which it might return to the Administration could very well he made up from Commonwealth revenue.
– The Administration might impose a tax on profits.
-Th at wouldbe a better idea. This objectionable tax is without parallel outside of the more backward of Latin American States.
– There is no income tax in New Guinea.
– That is correct, and that reminds me of the planters. They are on a pretty good wicket when the price of copra is high, as was the case some years ago. I admit that a considerable expenditure has been incurred in opening up country for the purposes of primary production, but these planters are the greatest lot of growlers it has ever been my lot to meet. One of them said to me - “ We would be all right if it were not for the Government and the natives “. My reply to that was - “Blast your souls, if it were not for the natives you would have to get up off your seats and do some work “. The natives work for the planters for something lees than 10s. a month. They receive 1½ lb. of rice each day, . three sticks of tobacco a. week, a lap-lap once a month’ to hide their nakedness when there is company, and a blanket once a year. It is the cheapest labour in the world. Payment on the gold-fields is much better, and so far as I could discover, the natives of New Guinea, under the care of the Government, are well looked after. When they leave their villages they are usually in a very lean condition, but after working their term on the gold-fields they are mud-fat, and the majority are reluctant to return to their villages.
At this stage it is not my intention to discuss at any length the proposed establishment of a new capital for New Guinea at Salamau, Lae or elsewhere. The Minister will, no doubt, bring that matter forward. If he does not, it will certainly be raised by members on this side.
I do not wish to anticipate the debate that will take place on another subject which will be mentioned in this House and about which I am particularly concerned. I do not suggest there is any suspicion of graft about this business, but, I know some people are only too ready to make such allegations.
– There is nothing like that here.
– The Minister has informed me that tenders are being called for the purchase of a permit, under the New Guinea Forestry Ordinance, 1936-37, for the exclusive right to remove 50,000,000 super feet of hoop pine and klinkii, and other species of timber from a natural forest area in the Bulolo valley in the Morobe district. I understand that tenders will be received up to the 2nd December next. Recently, while flying over the Bulolo river district, I was greatly impressed by the wonderful forests of hoop pine, similar to those which existed in Queensland, but are now greatly depleted. These stands were as straight as Cleopatra’s Needle and were at least 150 feet high. I should like to know the precise terms of the lease which will give the successful tenderer access to this wonderful timber. I should also like to have a copy of the lease together with a map of the district placed on the table of the library for the information of honorable members. I do not think that sufficient care has been exercised to make the terms of the proposed contract stringent enough. When I was in the principal gold-mining centre in the interior, Wau, I heard it whispered that the timber rights for this territory were to be leased. Wau can be reached by plane from the coast in 25 minutes to-day, whereas some years ago it took eight days for a . digger with 40 or 50 natives to get there. But one has to pay £5 for that 25-minute flight. If a Commonwealth Labour government were in power and the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Hughes) wore supporting that government,I am sure he would support any proposal requiring the administration of New Guinea to provide transport to the interior at a nominal fee of, say, 30s. Not only has a miner to pay £5 to reach Salamaua or Wau by ‘plane, but if he wishes to enter the interior from Port Moresby, which is virtually the front door of the territory, he has to be transported over the mountains and pays very much more.
– I believe the natives are carried by ‘plane at 3d. per pound.
– The air-services established for the development of the mining industry of New Guinea are without parallel in any other country. The heavy planes in use have carried annually cargoes totalling about 27,000 tons, including individual parts of huge dredges weighing as much as 3½ tons. One writer has given much of the credit forthis work to Mr. Charles Levine, whom I knew personally. One is amazed to think that by means of air-transport the most modern dredging machinery has been installed along the hanks of the Bulolo River, and that they are producing annually gold to the value of about £600,000 from areas which, in Australia, without water, would be entirely unpayable. Success in New Guinea has been possible by the employment of modern dredging machinery.
But I am digressing. I was dealing particularly with the calling of tenders for these great forest resources. When I heard that tenders were to be invited for a permit to remove this timber, I paid a visit to the Administrator at Rabaul and asked to be allowed to see the Secretary for Lands, Surveys, Mines and Forests. That gentleman assured me that the land on both sides of the Bulolo River had been mapped out for the removal of the timber. My principal objection to the scheme is that a ten-years’ lease of the land is to be given. I know of no other State in which forestry leases are granted for such a. long period. I have no knowledge of the terms of timber leases in New South Wales or Queensland, but 1 know that in Victoria forestry leases are granted from year to year; If the successful applicant has a tenancy of ten years, adequate supervision as regards re-afforestation will not be possible. The proposal to give one company the right to cut 50,000,000 super. feet of hoop pine is, to put it mildly, exceedingly unwise. It is true that tenders are to be called for the lease of the area and, therefore, a fairly high price should be obtained. I have heard an Arabian Nights story that one company has announced its intention to manufacture plywood on a site in the forest area, and to establish an overhead fox cable system for the transport of timber and goods, similar to services in some other countries for the carriage of mineral ore. The proposal to grant a lease of these valuable forest areas to one company should be thoroughly investigated. I warn the Minister that this House will be vigilant and will watch closely the interests of the Mandated Territory of New Guinea over which, as a sacred trust, the right honorable gentleman now exercises control. It is his duty and that of the Administrator to see that nothing occurs in that territory which, later, might result in the finger of scorn being pointed at Commonwealth administration. Whether the matter to which I refer is brought up for discussion by the Government or not, members of the Opposition are determined to debate the question of the terms of the proposed lease, and will do all in their power to see that the conditions are equitable.
I should like now to refer to the recently established organization known as the New Guinea Labour party, of which the Minister has no doubt hoard.
– I have met members of it.
– I am sure the right honorable gentleman will agree that members of that party are a. very fine type of men. They have no industrial rights to preserve: and though honorable members supporting the Government may have a natural antipathy to anyonecarrying the Labour brand, they cannot genuinely object to the New Guinea organization on that account. In the “Wau district alone, 130 persons have joined this movement. The membership is representative of all shades of society, because it is believed that the people of the district now have an opportunity to make their wants known. They wish to have a delegate representative of the gold-mining industry appointed to the Legislative Council. In the past the affairs of the territory have been discussed mainly between the Administrator and the planters. I hope that the Minister will investigate the bona fides of the persons nominated, and that a wise choice will be made.
For some of the grievances to which expression has been given in New Guinea, there is no justification. Complaints have mostly come from. the planters, who can obtain labour at a comparatively low rate of wage. The purchase price of their properties has been reduced, they pay no Federal or State income tax, and they have an import duty of only 10 per cent., or, in some instances, slightly more. Clever individuals take trips to the United States of America, buy motor cars at the American price and save very large sums, as compared with the prices they would have to pay in Sydney. Wc find them driving about in new American cars purchased at about half the price charged in Australia. This is one of the advantages which the planters enjoy. On the other hand, in view of the trying climate of the coastal areas, and the hardships encountered in rearing families there, the planters are also entitled to some benefits. If the price of copra rose they would be in a very good position.
– In some respects I support the remarks of the honorable member for Kalgoorlie (Mr. Green), but I differ from him in some of the opinions he has expressed. Although his remarks were most interesting, I think he was unfair to the planters. The development of the gold-mining industry has led to a considerable amount of settlement in New Guinea, and has brought much grist to the mill - to the Government, the private companies and individuals, but it cannot ensure so much constant employment and wealth production as the copra industry. Most of the planting was done by Germans iti the early period of the settlement cf the territory, and 95 per cent, of the present planters are returned soldiers. I am acquainted with some planters who have established new areas, and had to wait ten years to enjoy the fruits of their labour, but the price of copra has been so low that the work is unprofitable. A Labour government had to grant a moratorium to the planters in New Guinea to enable them to remain on their properties. The honorable member for Kalgoorlie has spoken of the purchase of motor cars by the planters. I am not aware that many of them have such vehicles. There are few roads suitable for motor traffic.
– The whole of New. Ireland is suitable.
– I have in mind the mainland, which consists of 70,000 square miles. New Ireland occupies only 7,000 square miles and New Britain only 9,000 square miles. At one period so many persons were desirous of settling in New Guinea that it was necessary to require each new-comer to be possessed of £1,000, because fourteen natives were required to enable each white man to live.
– That is not the position now.
– It would br, were it not for the fact that aircraft companies have opened up the country. I remember when the freight charge from the coast to the gold-fields was ls. 6d. per lb., whilst now it is only 2d. per lb.
– It is’ 4d. per lb.
– I am referring to foodstuffs and other necessaries of life. Miners in Central Australia - al Tanami, for instance - have to pay even higher freight than was formerly charged in Now Guinea. I think the honorable member was unfair to the planters in saying that the native boys employed on the plantations are treated differently from those working on the gold-fields.
– They get meat on th, gold-fields.
– The honorable member said that a native boy received two blankets at Wau instead of one, but a boy does not require a blanket because the tropical climate renders it superfluous. The law went further in regard to mining boys. They had to be supplied with rubber boots and SOUlwesters. That was the most absurd order that was ever introduced. A boy would never don such clothing unless compelled to wear it. The natives work in the garb with which nature has provided them.
The administration of New Guinea will bear the closest scrutiny, and all credit is due bo the officials for the efficient manner in which the interests of the natives are safeguarded. The officers are carefully selected, and cadets are trained to reach the highest rungs of the ladder. Yet I hope that the Government will give consideration to the evolution of a new administrative policy in regard to the territories under the control of the Commonwealth, with a view to having one territorial service. At present we have five territories with different ordinances and various kinds of administration, as well as separate superannuation schemes. Whilst I realize that New Guinea cannot be amalgamated with Papua, it would be possible to have one service, so that officers could be transferred from one territory to another. One director of agriculture and one director of medical services should be sufficient for all territories.
– Could that system be adopted in regard to a mandated territory?
– Yes. In Tanganyika, the British territory and the mandated territory are under one administration.
– The patrol service in New Guinea is superior to those in. any other parts of the world.
– Yes; but ;is soon as a position in the service becomes vacant, an outside officer is appointed, although he may have no knowledge whatever of the work required to be done. The men already in the service, who have been trained as patrol officers, assistant magistrates, land officers, rnining officers, and so on, should be given the opportunity to fill the highest positions available. They have, as a rule, borne the burden and heat of the day, and their claims should not be overlooked or disregarded.
I also agree with the honorable member for Kalgoorlie that we have not a better officer in the Service than Mr. Harold Page, the brother of the Minister for Commerce (Sir Earle Page). It is unfortunate for him, in some ways, that he is related to the Minister. I first visited New Guinea in 1927 as a Minister when BrigadierGeneral Wisdom was the Administrator, and I confess that at that time I was not enamoured of Mr. Page. Later, when Brigadier-General Griffiths was appointed Administrator by the Lyons Government, I, in my capacity as Minister, said : “ I want one administrator, not two “. But after his return to Australia, I asked him what he thought of Mr. Page, and he said, “I have never met a more conscientious, or better, officer than Mr. Page is “. I mention this because I think that we should do our very utmost to encourage good officers and give them the opportunity to advance to the highest positions we have to offer. I suggested some years ago that Mr. Page should be appointed Administrator of Nauru, in order to prove his capacity as an administrator, but the suggestion was not acceptable. I very much regret the recent appointment of an officer from the Tasmanian Public Service as Administrator of Nauru. I consider that that was an insult to our own officers who have served the Commonwealth faithfully and well. Surely we had many men available who were quite competent to fill the office of Administrator of the insignificant territory of Nauru.
I am not blaming the present Minister for the existing policy. I was Minister in charge of Territories in two governments, and I applied the same rule. I, therefore, take my share of the blame. But our policy is wrong, and it should bo corrected. We should, establish a propel territorial service, with its own superannuation fund and conditions of employment. The officers engaged in Now Guinea, Papua, Nauru, Norfolk Island and also the Northern Territory could be included in the one scheme.
– A New Guinea patrol officer might be very useful in work among the aborigines of the Northern Territory.
– That is so Sir Hubert Murray has been described as “ a world figure and so he is. He really began the territorial service of the
Commonwealth. I believe that we could make more use of him in the future than we have made of him in the past, although he is now an old man. He is a great Australian, of whom we should be proud. On one occasion while I was in ministerial office I brought our four territorial administrators to Canberra to discuss their problems and to try to advance this territorial scheme. It is not amalgamation that I look for, but a common scheme of administration. I suggest that the. Minister in charge of Territories (Mr. Hughes) should consider this subject forthwith with the object of referring it to Cabinet for action. Development along this line would undoubtedly lead to a more contented, and, therefore, a more efficient service, for undoubtedly efficiency waits on contentment. Officers who are constantly fearful that persons from other places and without their own qualifications may bc appointed to jobs to which they themselves expect appointment are not likely to be contented. The only recommendation of some persons who step into important positions in the territorial service is that they hold high military rank. This is not enough.
The necessity foi- a road to the goldfields was mentioned by the honorable member for Kalgoorlie. I was the first Minister to suggest such a road. I did so at the time the gold royalty was under consideration. The gold-mining companies said that they needed a road, and had no objection to paying for it. They asked whether1 the money from the gold royalty would be used for that purpose. I replied that it would not. The gold royalty payable iri respect of gold won in New Guinea is at a lower rate than any similar impost in other countries.. Those who object to a royalty on gold should remember that precious metals won from the soil belong to the nation and not to the particular individual who exploits a particular block of land which he has leased. The peop!e as a whole should reap some benefit from the gold that is won. .Our gold royalty is at a much lower rate than that payable in respect of gold won in South Africa, for example. I invite a comparison of the conditions which operate in New Guinea with those in South
Sir Charles Marr.
Africa. South Africa takes the exchange as well as a royalty, and I think it is justified in so doing.
– They do not tax the prospector anywhere but in New Guinea;
– I ask my honorable friend whether there are any small prospectors in New Guinea, and I point out that even if there are, and if a man makes only a couple of pounds a week he has only to pay 2s.
– He should not have to pay even ls. Why not let it go?
– We cannot make different laws for different classes of people. I am not suggesting that the prospectors should be taxed heavily. I differ from my honorable friend in regard to the finding of the gold-fields and of the work of Parkes and Levien. They did a great job of work and fought hard to open up the country. It is to the credit of Levien that he purchased tho first aeroplane used on the gold-fields.
– I merely said that h« was mentioned in that connexion bv an author.
– The work of those men opened up the country. It was due to them that these great forest areas were made available for commercial oporations. The forests of New Guinea and Papua are enormous, but there is a. peculiarity about all tropical forests; they do not contain a uniform class of timber, such as hard, wood or soft wood. I remember seeing samples of wood from a 70,000 acre block in which there were 42 classes of timber, varying from the hardest variety to the softest. That gives an idea of the difficulties experienced in extracting timber from tropical forests. My honorable friend said he would nol lease forest country for a ten years’ term and suggested a period as brief as two years. Because of the expenditure necessary to install logging mills and saw mills I do not think any one would be justified in taking up a lease for so short a time.
– The leases could be renewed as they arc in Victoria.
– The honorable member would not be prepared to take such a risk ; nor would I, or any one else. The renewal of the lease would depend upon the whim or “fancy of an administrative officer.
I think a very grave mistake has been made in selecting Salamaua as a site for the capital of New Guinea. Since reading the report of that very eminent man who was brought out to report on the volcanic structure of New Guinea, I have been very concerned about this question. 1. can well understand the enormous danger which surrounds Rabaul, but the report also points out definitely that Salamaua must always be subject to tidal waves. Any one who has been to Salamaua must agree with me that it is a godforsaken place. If there is one part of the t ropics more subject to malaria and blackwater fever than another, it is Salamaua, and if there is any place where it would cost more to fill in the country to make a suitable capital, if it has to be near the beach, it is Salamaua again. I do not want to talk about “Wau, and I have no particular fancy as the most suitable place for the capital. I have made many visits to the Territory and on one occasion, in 1930, I spent four months travelling around the. Madang coast in a private capacity. As far as I could see, Amelia, 20 miles in the hinterland from Madang, and 1,200 feet above sca level is the best site in New Guinea for administrative offices. If our officers are to enjoy good health, the administrative centre should be established in a healthy locality. In my opinion it is not essential to have the capital on the sea-board. I have in mind Delhi, in India, which was made the capital city so that public servants could live in a district away from the sea-board in healthy surroundings. Other countries have done the same thing. “Why should we spend £500,000 to establish a new capital at Salamaua, a locality which is more subject to malaria than any other part of the territory? I am not espousing the claims of Lae, although I do not think any one has a better right to offer a suggestion regarding the new site than Brigadier-General Griffiths, who was the best administrator that this Commonwealth has ever had. He went among his people, ascertained their problems, both private and public, and endeavored to solve them. To-day our administrative officers keep themselves too much aloof. They are too much concerned about their social standing, and do not give sufficient attention to the troubles of the common people. I should not care to be the Minister in Charge of Territories at this juncture and so have to decide where the capital should be established; but I hope that further consideration will be given to the points I have made. After all, what I have said is merely my personal opinion, and the Minister has enough responsibility to shoulder and a big enough task to face without having to listen to a harangue by me. I know him well enough to realize that he will try to select the best position available. I simply suggest that further consideration be given to the claims of Amalie. It has been said in criticism of Madang that it is not a port.
– The residents do not want the capital to be established at Madang.
– I do nol know of one business firm which wants the capital near its premises. I have heard it said that Burns Philp and Company and Carpenter and Company are working to have the capital located on a site suitable to their own interests, but I have had conversations with representatives of the three biggest companies in New Guinea, and they have stated that they would be more pleased if the administrative centre were removed as far away from them as possible. The farther it is away the better they will be pleased. It has been said that Madang is unsuitable as the main port, but all the boats that go to New Guinea in a year could be berthed in Madang harbor at the one time- It has been stated also that the existing wharf at Madang is unsuitable, but if only 20 feet were added to its length, the biggest vessel in the world would be able to lie alongside it. Why is it necessary for the administrative centre to be a port? The officers who have contact with shipping could be at the main port and no more officers would be needed at Madang to handle shipping than are there at present.
I listened with interest to the illustration of the honorable member for Kalgoorlie concerning the two prospectors who went into the Ramu River country. That country will be the great wealthproducing area of New Guinea in the future. One argument against the road at present suggested from Salamaua to Wau, is that it will have to go over the mountains. That will not open up the hinterland.
– It will open up the Markham Valley.
– But the proposed road from Salamaua to Wau will not touch the Markham Valley at all. In any case, a road already runs up the Markham Valley for a considerable distance from Lae. My information is that, after gold-mining is finished, the Ramu River district and the hinterland to Mount Hagen and Mount Dixon will be the country for cattle and sheep, and that it will become a great primary-producing country. It is not for mc to say that the proposed road from Salamaua to Lae is wrong; it has been approved, and I do not take it upon myself now to oppose its building; but I bear in mind what the future development will bo, and am aware that additional communications and roads will be needed.
An Australian man unshipped 40 head of Australian cattle, swam them ashore, and drove them up the Ramu River where he built a bungalow which the natives burnt out, and then built himself another one. That man is now well established. He is a typical Australian. Nobody else is allowed into the country - it is not under control - but this man has done good work. Apart from driving the cattle to the gold-fields, where he sold them at £40 a head, bc has done other things to place himself on a firm footing in the Mandated Territory. I take off my hat to him.
When the Germans were in control of New Guinea they estimated the native population, men, women and children, at 30.000. After the Australian army of occupation had taken over New Guinea from the Germans, a Mr. Lynx, who was then a member of the staff of the Commonwealth Statistician, was sent to New Guinea as an interpreter. He then estimated the native population at about 100.000, and two or three years later he made an estimate of 300,000. In the last year in which 1 was the Minister in Charge of Territories, the number of natives under control was 520,000. After aeroplanes had passed over the Ramu and
Sepik River districts, it was reported that there were at least 200,000 natives in that area who had not been accounted for. To-day, between 40,000 and 50,000 natives are recruited for work. I defy any one to see the natives, merely skin and bone, coming from the bush, and then later see them well-fed and nourished, and still say that native labour should not be recruited. The natives who are recruited for work are fed on hard-and-fast scales of diet, laid down by the Administration. There are eleven scales of diet; fish is compulsory every week. One can see from the physical condition of natives who are at work that they benefit from it.
– How much are they paid ?
– Pay does not matter to the native. It is what he gets out of life that matters. I have seen, at least 100 times,” natives place their hands behind their black backs, and refuse to take pay when they are lined- up to receive it. What is the good of money to a native when there are no shops? He cannot eat money. The native is only concerned with what he can eat, what sleep he can get, and what he puts on.
– What does he put on?
– As little as possible. The policy of the Administration in New Guinea contrasts with that in Papua, where the natives are all properly dressed. The moment that you start dressing the natives you introduce them to pneumonia. It is to the credit of Sir Hubert Murray that he insists that the native is not to be clothed. It is regrettable, however, that an ordinance was recently promulgated under which the members of the native police force are dressed in khaki jackets and trousers. It is a most atrocious ordinance, and it is a lasting shame that it is being enforced, because the uniforms are undermining the health of those who are compelled to wear them. Formerly, the boys were dressed in little shorts, and the upper parts of their bodies were uncovered. The health of the police force is being menaced by these uniforms.
I had the privilege last night of seeing a film taken by Judge Phillips, of the Mandated Territory, of Rabaul and district before and after the earthquake and eruptions of last year. Judge Phillips visited Parliament House, and some of us were so fortunate as to be able to see the film. He said that if opportunity offered, and honorable members wished, he would show it again to-day. I suggest to the Minister in Charge of Territories that the film, or a copy of it, should be obtained for the National Library. Judge Phillips played a notable part on the fateful 29th of May last year towards solving the problems of the people who were caught in the zone o£ the eruption. The Administrator at the time was away in the goldfields, and did not arrive back until some time later. Meanwhile, Judge Phillips saved approximately 9,000 lives by calling the vessel Montora, which was some distance away, to the scene. I regret that little or no credit has been given to the people who played such notable parts in the rescue work during the eruption. One person who was overlooked by the Minister in this respect was Bishop Vesters of Vunopope. The Administrator was the first person to be recognized for the work that was done, but he was not even at Rabaul when the volcano erupted. The captain of an American freighter that was alongside the wharf has never even received a letter of thanks for his valuable work. He manoeuvred his vessel in the darkness, and moved hundreds of people from the danger zone. The junior officers of the service who did meritorious work have also been overlooked. There has been no recognition of the services of the man who sat by the telephone and kept the town in communication with other parts. Nor has there been any recognition of the man who took over the wireless and sent messages to the outside world when the wireless operator met his death. These men are deserving of more than thanks and the Minister will do himself credit if he obtains a report written by the men on the spot instead of contenting himself with a cold-blooded official document. Judge Phillips is one man who could furnish such a report,
.- The Treasurer (Mr. Casey), in delivering the budget speech said -
In spite of considerable difficulty created by oversea developments, the past year has been one of appreciable economic advance in Australia. The wide fluctuations and instability experienced in many important oversea countries have not been, to any appreciable extent, reflected in Australia as a whole. Indeed, we may congratulate ourselves on the degree of resistance that Australia has shown to adverse oversea influences.
Taking that as his text, the Treasurer has brought down a budget which does not present to the Australian people any degree of national security. During the last twelve months or two years, he has taken the view that, despite an adverse trade balance and a decline of export prices, Australia is in a unique position and that it will not be affected as other countries have been. The result of this budget will be a drift towards economic insecurity. The increase of the rate of sales tax and the introduction of the national insurance scheme will bring considerable hardship to the community. Dr. R. B. Madgwick, in a statement in the Sydney Daily Telegraph, of the 27 th July last, drew the attention of the people of Australia to the position towards which we are drifting. Pointing out that the Empire markets are reaching saturation point, he made a plea that the Australian people should endeavour to develop the home market. There is nothing in this budget that will assist the people to do that. In the long run, it is very doubtful whether Australian sales of wool, wheat and other primary products within the Empire can be increased very much; so that we may have to face the other alternative of relying less on world markets, and more on the home market. This will entail a considerable change in the composition of Australian production ; for the home market would need more secondary commodities and far less primary commodities. With the possibility of a declining export market in the long run, Australia must realize that it will be able to purchase fewer manufactured goods. And iri any case, as the Australian national income falls with a reduction of exports, the standard of living can only bc maintained by more extensive manufacture at home.
Thus, an attempt to develop manufacturing industries in Australia seems necessary for two reasons. The first is that reliance on world markets places Australia at the mercy of world conditions which either force down the prices of wool and wheat, or induce overseas countries to buy less of these commodities. Inevitably, in these circumstances, Australia faces serious depression, because any considerable decline of receipts from exports causes a much greater decline of the national income as a whole. The second reason is that, in the long run, the everincreasing striving for economic selfsufficiency by nations which were previously important buyers of Australian exports may lead to a gradual decline of the volume and value of our exports, accompanied by persistent instability in the whole Australian economy.
Sitting suspended from 1.45 to 2.15 p.m. [Quorum formed.]
– There is an agitation by the people of Australia generally for a reduction of the fee for broadcast listeners’ licences from £1 ls. to 15s. or 16s. per annum. One beneficial result of the development of radio is the restoration of family social life. To-day, radio is keeping the sons and daughters of the Australian people in their own homes, and is developing home culture Young men and young women no longer look upon their homes merely as places in which to sleep, but as places of instruction and social enjoyment. That change has been made possible by radio broadcasts. Unfortunately, the licence fee is so high that great numbers of people in my electorate and elsewhere in Australia cannot enjoy these advantages. Only a few days ago I received a letter from two oldage pensioners who are unable to pay the licence-fee, and consequently cannot use their wireless receiving set. These people are typical of many who, were it not for the cost, would obtain much enjoyment in their own homes from radio. Should the Government not be prepared to reduce the licence-fee for all listeners, I suggest that at least it should make a concession to invalid and old-age pensioners. The granting of this concession would not affect the finances of the country to any great extent.
Telephone facilities should be made available to the poorer sections of the community. In my opinion, a telephone should bc installed in every home which requires it, and only a nominal charge made for it. The installation of a pennyintheslot meter would obviate any dif ficulty about overcharging for calls. Theprofits made by the telephone department are sufficiently high to enable this to be done. From time to time the introduction of penny postage is advocated,, but” the granting of reduced postal charges would not benefit the workers greatly. Many of them do not write more than one or two letters a week. They do, however, find it necessary to communicate with friends and neighbours in their own districts, and a telephone in their homes would make that possible. The wageearners of Australia are entitled to have telephones in their homes at the cheapest possible rate.
Recently the Department of Defence invited tenders for the manufacture and supply of felt hats. Realizing that the successful tenderer for a previous contract did not pay award rates to its employees, the trade union concerned waited upon the Minister for Defence (Mr. Thorby) as a deputation, and requested him not to grant the contract to that firm unless it complied with trade union conditions in its factory. The Minister assured the deputation that a tender would not be let until he had investigated its charges. Since then the same firm has obtained the contract, but it is still not complying with trade union, rates and conditions. The Minister has promised that the factory will bc policed in order to see that award rate* and conditions apply, but it is too late to do anything effective. No one can tell what kind of a hat is being manufactured –whether >it is a military hat or otherwise - until 70 per cent, of the process of manufacture has been carried out, and therefore it is impossible to police the industry. I regret that the Minister gave the contract to Hatcraft Proprietary Limited, Melbourne, because that firm is not employing trade unionists -at union rates.
I am pleased to learn that the Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. “White) intends to impose on cut glass duties which will have the effect of giving employment in the cut-glass industry to another 400 men. I hope that there will be no delay in giving effect to his intention. This is an industry which cannot bo established immediately; it will probably take six months to build the kilns and to get the work started. I urge the Minister to proceed without delay, so that Australian workers may be employed in the manufacture of cut glass, particularly since adverse tariffs have had a serious effect on the industry during the last three or four years.
It is greatly to be regretted that the Government should have brought to Australia a man from overseas to act as Inspector-General of the Military Forces. Had the appointment been made from among the men already in the Defence Force, a general promotion of officers of the forces would have followed. Australia does not need a man from overseas to teach its Defence Force officers military strategy, for among the men who have been trained at the Royal Military College at Duntroon are many who are not only highly qualified in their profession, but alsounderstand Australian conditions and the Australian people. High positions in the Defence Force should be held by Australians.
Also in connexion with the appointment of an actuary to the National Insurance Commission, I understand that no advertisement was inserted in any Australian newspaper inviting applications from qualified actuaries in this country. The Government’s anti-Australian outlook is greatly to be deplored.
– The honorable member for Kalgoorlie (Mr. Green) and other honorable members referred to the Mandated Territory of New Guinea, and to certain matters connected with its administration. The honorable member for Kalgoorlie directed my attention to the royalties charged to prospectors who, in the very nature of things, win only small quantities of gold, out of the proceeds of which they are required to pay royalties. Perhaps the position will be clarified if I relate the facts. A royalty on gold was first imposed in 1922, when a royalty of 1 per cent. in respect of gold won from mining leases and mineral leases was levied as from the 1st January, 1923. The application of that royalty was extended on the 27th August, 1925, under Mining Ordinance 37 of that year, to cover dredging andsluicing leases, and on the 30th September, 1926, it was further extended to include miners’ rights under Mining Ordinance 21 of 1926. The royalty on gold won from all tenements was increased from 1 per cent. to 5 per cent. on the 2nd February, 1928. The amount of royalties paid during the last recorded year was about £100,000. As the honorable member for Kalgoorlie will have gathered from my remarks, the extension of the royalty to personsoperating miners’ rights dated from 1926. I have endeavoured to ascertain the amount of royalty derived from such persons, but without success. I should imagine, however, that the amount is almost negligible. I shall consider very carefully and sympathetically the suggestion made by the honorable member that prospectors, especially those who are on poor ground, and those who are recovering such a small quantity of gold as to make the royalty a formidable item in their economy, should be exempted from its operation. The honorable mem- ber referred to a party of prospectors operating on the edge of the Ramu Plateau, about four miles distant from uncontrolled territory. Apparently they had been raided, but I did not gather from what the honorable member said that they had been molested.
– Goods were stolen from their tents.
– We must have some regard for the hobbies of these lighthearted people and their need for recreation. I shall have inquiries made into the matter. The honorable member will see, however, that the Administration cannot take responsibility for the actions of natives in territory not under its control. In an area so vast and with administrative resources so limited, it must inevitably happen that those who go beyond the boundaries fixed by the Administration do so on their own responsibility.
– But these men were in controlled territory.
– That is so, but the Administration told them most plainly that they were very near the boundary of uncontrolled territory. The honorable member said. they were about 80 miles distant as the crow flies from the district office at Madang. He will appreciate the fact that all communications are effected by air; aeroplanes can proceed only to recognized landing grounds, and if no landing ground is situated conveniently to the place at which trouble occurs it is impossible for the Administration to supply an armed force to subdue the natives. Penetration of uncontrolled country by an armed patrol is quite an expedition.
– A landing ground was quite close to the scene of the incident to which I referred.
– I shall have inquiries made into the matter. The honorable gentleman also raised the very important subject of timber permits. He said, quite rightly, that the hoop pine and klinkii forests of New Guinea were most valuable. During my recent visit to the territory I was taken round by the forestry experts, and had the advantage of a really wonderful panoramic view of the great forests of hoop pine and klinkii with trees towering 15(5 to ISO feet without a, branch. The honorable member said, quite properly, that we must see to it that these valuable assets are not destroyed or exploited in such a way as to militate against the permanent interests of the country. It is with that consideration in view that the Administration has formulated its timber policy. Broadly speaking, the policy upon which it has decided is this: These pine forests take a certain time to mature. There is at present available so many millions of superficial feet of timber. That timber should not be cut at a greater rate than it can be replaced, and for that reason, in the calling of tenders for the cutting of the timber, such a restriction will be imposed upon the annual output as will enable re-afforestation to keep pace with the cut. I do not know that I can say anything with advantage about the conditions imposed by the permits. They are fully set out in the form of invitation to tenderers. The honorable member must see that here is >a valuable asset; all of the timber has now reached maturity, and time will not add to its value. There is a time when pine must be cut, just as there is also a time when it ought not to be cut. Vast areas are now ready for cutting, and the timber must be disposed of to the best advantage. This cannot be done until it is carried to the coast. A tenderer may carry it to the coast either by the ordinary means of transport, by road, or a ropeway, which the honorable member says, quite properly, is in operation in other countries. The conditions of the tender do not require a tenderer to utilize any particular method of transport, but it is insisted that he must get it to the coast and state how he proposes to do it. As the honorable member knows, this legislature approved of the construction of a road from Wau to Salamaua; that may be the means by which a tenderer may get the timber to the coast, or he may use some other method.
– Does the Department desire that information for its own use?
– A tenderer must either provide his own means of transport or make use of the road. The road from Wau to Salamaua will not be completed for a couple of years, and for that reason tenderers are given 24 months grace before the timber must be transported to the coast. If they wish to make arrangements independent of the road they may do so, but they must be prepared to commence operations after a lapse of 24 months. The Government will not help them in any way; if they prefer a means of transport other than the road, they may do so. Before a permit is granted, the Administration must bc satisfied that the tenderer can transport the timber to the coast.
The honorable member asked that the people of Wau should be given more consideration than they at present receive. Wau is the biggest centre of white population in the territory; for all practical purposes it is wholly dependent upon, and, in fact, owes its very existence to, the gold-mining industry. That industry has done more to develop New Guinea than has any other, and is now responsible for nearly one half of the revenue of the territory. It produces an average income by way of royalties of £100,000 per annum, and in the last recorded year produced gold valued at £2,000,000. Since the Morobe fields were opened ten years ago, gold valued at £10,000,000 has been produced. The honorable member urged (hat the residents of Wau should have more representation on the Legislative Council. I have made inquiries and find :hat Mr. Neale, a miner of Wau, is a member of the Legislative Council. If the people of Wau are of opinion that their representation in the Legislative Council is not sufficient, I shall be glad to consider the matter.
The honorable member will not expect me to say anything about the position of the planters in New Guinea. There is much to be said for the happy, position in “which they find themselves, and also for the difficulties with which they have to contend. The honorable member unconsciously did them an injustice when he said that the price oi copra had been satisfactory. It has been satisfactory, but it has also been most unsatisfactory.
– It was, some years ago.
– The price of copra fluctuates considerably and, as the honorable member knows, stability is the foundation of progress in any industry.
I endorse what my friend, the honorable member for Parkes (Sir Charles Marr), has said in relation to the natives in New Guinea. In no country in the world is the native better treated, and I know of no country where the natives have responded in a more satisfactory way to good treatment. As I have said on other occasions, at Sek, near Madang, I saw a cathedral capable of seating about 2,000 people, built wholly by native labour under the supervision of whites. It is a monument to their skill, industry, and mastery of handicraft. It has great massive pillars; the arched roof towers 60 feet from the beautifully laid mosaic floor. Within and without it is well built. There too, I saw the natives operating wood-working machinery - planing, moulding machines, frame, cross-cut and horizontal saws - and in operating these machines they seemed as skilled and as efficient as the average European.
The honorable member for Parkes made some references to the controversy about the administrative capital. The honorable member managed to create a rather damaging impression of Salamaua. I am not a native of that place, but I protest most emphatically against what my honorable friend said. During the luncheon hour I had inquiries made and seached for some facts in relation to the health of the people of New Guinea and the prevalence of malaria. The honorable member for Parkes said that Salamaua, of all places in New Guinea, was the centre where malaria was most prevalent. There is not the slightest foundation for such a statement. I have before me, reports showing that in Rabaul last year there were 89 cases of malaria; in Wau, 74 cases, and Salamaua, 26 cases. There is no return for Lae for the simple reason that there is no hospital at that centre. On the 31st August of this year, there were no fewer that seven patients from Lae in the Salamaua hospital suffering from malaria.
– There are 9,000 people in Rabaul and only about 50 in Salamaua.
– Notwithstanding all that has been said about the prevalence of malaria and blackwater fever in the mandated territory, there are very few countries in the world with a better health record. For example, of the total number of persons who died in the Rabaul district hospital during last year, blackwater fever accounted for one and tropical typhus for another. The number of materia patients represented 29 per cent, of the total morbidity in that hospital.
– What is the population?
– The population of Rabaul is about 700 whites.
– The total is 9,000 people, comprising 1,000 Europeans, 1,000 Chinese, and 7,000 natives.
– The figures I have given represent the total number of” deaths. Surely it is not suggested that Chinese do not die. We know very well, from what is going on in China to-day, that they die very frequently. The figures I quoted are based on comparable conditions and show the morbidity and mortality from malaria and blackwater in Rabaul, Wau and Salamaua. There were no deaths in any of these places in the period covered by the return. In Wau, tropical typhus was responsible for the only death last year. There were no deaths in that town from malaria or blackwater fever. In Salamaua the only death during the period under review was due to dysentery. Honorable members may have noticed in the press that the only white person who died in Salamaua during the last four years died from a cause other than malaria. No town of similar size in this or any other country can boast a better record.
– What is the population of Salamaua?
– The white population is about 140 and, as I stated, only one white person living there has died in four years. I should not have mentioned this had I not thought that the statements of the honorable member for Parkes might mislead honorable members.
– The same statement was made by the Griffiths committee.
– It was made in the official report of the Griffiths committee to the Government.
– I do not care who made the report. I am giving facts contained in the official document which I have before me.
– The figures given by the honorable member for Parkes were also contained in an official report of a committee appointed by the Commonwealth Government.
– Well, it has been overlaid by this report and, as with all infants that suffer that fate, the result is most unfortunate for the document which has been overlain. However, I leave the matter there. I repeat that I shall give careful consideration to the matters put forward by the honorable member for Kalgoorlie and see if it is not possible to remove the royalty now being paid by prospectors. I shall also investigate his representations on behalf of the population of Wau.
– I rise to make a personal explanation. I did not cite statistics with regard to the population of these places. Everybody in New Guinea knows that Salamaua is a feverinfested area.
Mr. SPEAKER (Hon.G. J. Bell).Order! The honorable member is not making a personal explanation.
– I rise to a point of order. I submit that the honorable member for Parkes is not entitled to do more than offer an explanation of statements in respect of which he considers the Minister has misrepresented him.
– I have already called the honorable member for Parkes to order.
– Statements which I made this morning have been misrepresented by the Minister. He has said they were entirely wrong. I invite honorable members to go to Salamaua. If they do they will find that the biggest population is in the cemetery.
– Order! The honorable member must not proceed.
– I do not think that the honorable member for Parkes should be permitted to make statements of that kind.
– The honorable member for Parkes was told by the Chair that he could not proceed on the lines by which he was attempting a personal explanation.
.- I direct attention to certain reprehensible practices which are creeping into various Government departments with respect to the filling of vacancies. From evidence in my possession it is apparent that political patronage is a determining factor in the filling of positions in the Public Service. During the last sittings of Parliament I drew attention to a certain appointment that had just been made in the Defence Department, but I was unable to complete the matter because not sufficient members remained in the House to keep a quorum, and the business of the House could not be continued. On the 21st June of this year, I asked the Minister for Defence this question -
Is it a fact that a Mr. Tart, a son-in-law of the right honorable member for Cowper, has been appointed to a position in the Publicity section of the Defence Department? What are his particular qualifications apart from the fact that he married a daughter of Sir Earle Page? .
The Minister replied -
I have no information on the subject at the present time.
It should be noted that when I put this question to the Minister, Mr. Tart had actually been appointed to the position. On the same date, I again referred to the matter on the motion for the adjourn- ment of the House, and, in reply to my representations, the Minister for Defence said -
I draw the attention of members to the fact that, in the morning, the Minister said that he had “no information,” and, later in the day, he had “ no detailed information.” He said further -
I have made inquiries. The person referred to is a son-in-law of the Minister for Commerce (Sir Earle Page). He is being appointed to a junior position in the Defence Department on therecommendaion of the Public Service Board.
Honorable members should bear in mind the Minister’s statement that -
The appointment was made on the recommendation of the Public Service Board in the ordinary way after applications had been invited through the press. It appears that his qualifications satisfied the requirements contained in the advertisement and the needs of the department. There has been no political patronage as has been suggested by the honorable member . . . No honorable member of this House has made representations concerning him, and I have had nothing to do with the selection-
It will be noticed that the Minister denied that he had anything to do with the selection - which has been made in the ordinary course and strictly in accordance with the Public Service Act.
On the following day, I pursued my inquiries and, in a question directed to the Minister for Defence, I said -
The Minister replied -
On the 28th June, I carried the matter further by asking the following questions, upon notice -
With reference to the appointment of Mr W. B. Tart, son-in-law of the right honorable member for Cowper (SirEarle Page), to a position in the Defence Department -
Is it a fact that applications for the position closed with the Secretary of the Defence Department?
To this the Minister replied in the affirmative.
The Minister replied that the names in the panel had been based on reviews by departmental officers.
The Minister’s answer to this was that several applicants had interviewed the Minister, including two from the panel of five.
In answer to the last section of the question, the Minister said -
No, the regular procedure for this class of employment was observed. The Minister, after consideration of the secretary’s report on the applications, approved of Mr. Tart’s appointment.
It will be seen that, on the first three occasions, the Minister said that he knew nothing about the appointment and had personally made no selection, but, on the 28th June, he admitted that the selection had been made by himself.
– That was never said.It is absolutely incorrect,
– I invite the Minister to refer to Hansard, and to read his own replies to my questions. I have given the dates of those replies, and they show how the Minister first denied that he knew anything about the appointment, and subsequently admitted that Mr. Tart was his own selection for the position. He further stated -
Application was made to the Public Service Beard for a certificate of exemption from the provisions of the Public Service Act, for a period not exceeding twelve months. The Public Service Board, after consideration of the papers, made a recommendation accordingly for the approval of the Executive Council.
Recently there have been many suggestions that political patronage has been extended to successful applicants for appointment to the Public Service. In this case, the Minister has at least something to answer to the members of this House, and to the public generally, since on three different occasions he said that he had no knowledge of this appointment, and had nothing to do with it personally, although seven days later he admitted that several of the applicants had been interviewed by him and that the final selection was made by him. On previous occasions the Minister has tried to avoid answering question by reflecting on the members who have submitted them, but on this occasion he is faced, not with what i. have said, but with the records of this Parliament, whose officers do their work in an able and efficient manner. . As I have quoted the official records the Minister must satisfy the public that the deciding factor in the filling of this appointment - and no doubt this practice extends beyond the filling of one appointment - was not that the successful applicant happened to be related to a prominent member of the Minister’s own party. Let us examine this matter impartially in order to see if such was the case. The applicants numbered 70 or more. I understand that one of the qualifications required of the applicant was that he should have a university degree. The successful applicant had a university degree, but it related to agricultural science, although the position he was applying for was in
I he publicity section of the Defence Department. There were many qualified men among the applicants, including one who holds the degree of M.A., and had been covering the Defence Department for a newspaper. He and many others were passed over, because the Minister was determined that the man selected before the position was advertised should be the successful candidate.
Another matter to which I desire to direct attention is that of which mention was made by the honorable member for Cook (Mr. Sheehan) namely that, in the administration of the Defence Dc*partment, a tendency is shown towards, not only imported ideas as to how the military, naval and air forces should be conducted, but also imported men to administer those branches of the service. This Government has involved the country in a costly defence programme which will extend over a number of years. In order to meet the expenditure which that programme involves, the people are being taxed. In ordinary circumstances, no section of the community complains a great deal about being asked to provide the funds out of which equipment is purchased for the defence of this country, but when the people know that they are being taxed so that enormous salaries may be paid to imported officers for whom positions are created, much resentment is felt. There is seething unrest amongst the permanent forces because of what has been done, but a certain regulation having been tabled in this Parliament, it is impossible for any Australian officer to complain because to do so would be to- commit an offence.
Air-Marshal Sir Edward Ellington was brought from England to inquire into the administration of the Royal Australian Air Force and make a report to the Government. He had to depend on information supplied to him by leading government officials in this country. He did not visit some of the States, and when he submitted his report the only criticism he had to offer was not of the personnel of the Royal Australian Air Force - on the contrary he commended it upon its standard of efficiency - but of the conduct of the department over which the Minister for Defence presides. He said that this country was being asked to foot the bill to provide aircraft which were not of a sufficiently high standard to meet the needs of Australia. He pointed out that their speed was too -slow, and that for that reason they could not properly be designated fighting planes. As the result of this report, the Minister for Defence has announced that Air Squadron-Leader Williams is to be sent abroad for experience. This officer has pointed out that he had been abroad only four years ago. Possibly he has acquired as much experience in this regard as he could obtain at the present juncture. Anyhow, judging by his own statement, he considers it unnecessary for him to be sent overseas again. It would appear that this action, which is a reflection on the efficiency of the men of the Royal Australian Air Force, is designed to distract public attention from those sections of the report which are critical of the general administration of this department. lt seems to me that an effort is being made to do in Australia what has been done in the other dominions, where lucrative, positions are reserved for Imperial officers, instead of promoting officers from the local services to them. The public will view this matter seriously. “We find that a new position has been created, and that Lieutenant-General Squires, a British officer, has been appointed InspectorGeneral of the Defence Forces. He is to receive the salary of £3,647 a year, which is about twice as much as the salary and allowances of the Chief of the General Staff, Major-General Lavarack, and about three times as much as those of the AdjutantGeneral, Major-General Sir Carl Jess and the Quartermaster-General, MajorGeneral Phillips. Each of these officers receives £1,395 a year and in the case of the Chief of the General Staff there is also an allowance of £600 a year. It seems to me that unless the public is made aware of the situation, and members of this Parliament raise their voices in protest, the public will again be fleeced by having to pay additional taxes, so that money can be squandered to provide lucrative positions for men who have in many cases been failures in the country from which they have come.
It would appear from Sir- Edward Ellington’s report that Australia has been made the dumping ground for the rejected war material of the Imperial authorities. The people of this country are to be made to pay up to the hilt for equipment which has proved unsatisfactory abroad; now Australia is to be made a dumping ground for Imperial officers who lack opportunities for advancement in their own country. As the Commonwealth Government has decided to enlarge the defence forces, more lucrative positions are to be created, «and persons overseas, such sis members of the nobility of England, who put their sons into the Army, the Navy or the Air Force to provide them with well-paid and secure positions, are now looking to the dominions as suitable places in which to find careers for their sons. Evidently they believe that there are greater opportunities for advancement in Australia than in England. Members of the Labour party consider that no matter what the positions to be filled may be, there are Australians quite capable of filling them most satisfactorily. We wish to know whether the Minister for Defence will administer his department as it should be administered and in keeping with the desires. of the Australian people, or whether he will prove to be merely a rubber stamp to record the will of the Imperial authorities. The Minister should tell this Parliament whether we can expect the administration of his department to be carried out as the public desires, or whether he intends merely to implement the plans of the Imperial authorities. If there is any branch of the Public Service regarding ‘which a searching inquiry is necessary, it is the Defence Department. On many occasions the Minister has said in this Parliament, “ We must have secrecy in regard to our army, navy, and air-forces “ ; and he has already tabled a regulation which stifles the voices of the members of the Australian forces. I understand that it is his intention, at an early date, to introduce a measure which will make it practically impossible for even a member of Parliament to exercise the right of criticism in regard to the administration of this department. Now is the time for honorable members to make their protest, not after the Official Secrets Bill has been passed. Honorable members should act now, before it is too late.
– I was interested to hear the speech by the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward), which was a mere vilification of the Defence Department. Most of the subject-matter to which he has referred this afternoon had already been threshed threadbare by him, but to-day he endeavoured to misconstrue even the replies given by me to his questions as recorded in Hansard.
– They mean only one thing.
– Yes. All that was done took place openly, in the usual way, and was in the best interests of the Defence Department and the Commonwealth. As I have said on many occasions, I challenge anybody to show that anything improper has been done. As far as the appointment of the publicity officer to the Department of Defence is concerned, his greatest handicap was that there was a relationship between him and a member of the Government. But ho secured the position on his merits, as he had all the qualifications required in the advertisement calling for applications.. Having proved that he was capable, after having been carefully interviewed by the competent officers of the department and the Public Service Board in the usual way, his name was included in a panel of five, and a definite recommendation was made to me that he was the most suitable applicant for the position.
– Will the Minister assure me that one of the unsuccessful applicants for the position of publicity officer to the Defence Department has not since been recommended for appointment as publicity officer to the Prime Minister’s Department?
– That may be so, but that has no connexion whatever with the other matter. An applicant, having been unsuccessful in securing appointment to a position of a very different kind in the Defence Department, was not precluded from applying for a vacant position in the Prime Minister’s Department. For the information of the Leader of the Opposition, may I say that the class of work being performed by the Press Relations officer of the Defence Department is absolutely different from that which will be performed by the publicity officer to bc appointed to the Prime Minister’s Department.
– But the Minister will at least agree that the person’s capacity to do either job depends upon his qualifications as a journalist?
– That is not so. That is where the honorable gentleman is wrong, and also where the honorable member for East Sydney is misleading himself and trying to mislead other honorable members of the House. It is of no use for honorable gentlemen opposite to ridicule this appointment because the person concerned holds a university degree in agriculture. This officer is to-day discharging most important duties in the Defence Department.
– What has agriculture to do with the Defence Department?
– The honorable member foi- Barton again displays his ignorance, and he will not give me a proper opportunity to explain the position. This officer is, as I have said, doing most important work. In the event of an emergency, the Defence Department will have to be closely associated with many activities other than defence. For example, it will have to be associated with transport in general, and with the handling and distribution of primary products from one part of the Commonwealth to another. It will have to deal, too, Avith the maintenance of the transport routes between Australia and overseas countries. The science of agriculture, in such circumstances, will have to be associated with the activities of the Defence Department if an emergency arises.We have actually gone further in this direction than honorable gentlemen are aware, for special officers associated with the Department of Commerce are being linked with the Defence Department as liaison officers in order to avoid any serious dislocation in the handling of our primary produce. Primary products which, for export purposes alone, are valued at over £100,000,000 per annum, must be carefully considered and provided foi-. It is absolutely essential to the welfare of both the United Kingdom and Australia that nothing should happen in a time of emergency to interfere with the smooth transport of these goods. For this reason, officers of the Defence Department are being appointed to ensure the maintenance of a complete organization to deal with the situation if the need should arise.
– Then why call this man a publicity officer?
– Only part of his duties have to do with the press. Honorable members may think it proper to try to make political capital out of this appointment, but no distortion of the facts, no argument and no ridicule in order to mislead the public will alter the. situation. We have absolutely nothing to hide in connexion with the selection of this officer. He is competent in every respect. His appointment was recommended after the most careful consideration. The practice followed was that usually adopted in filling such vacancies.
The honorable member for East Sydney went so far as to suggest that the
Public Service regulations had been improperly suspended in order to make this appointment. I assure him that the practice adopted has been followed for good and sufficient reasons, in many hundreds of cases throughout the Commonwealth in connexion with both senior and junior officers when a man has to be appointed to carry out temporary duties of a specific character. I absolutely deny that there has been any ulterior motive in the making of this appointment. It should be remembered that the information which the honorable member used as the basis of his questions and of his attacks on this subject came from interested parties. An analysis of the grounds of the attack levelled at me will prove that the honorable member’s attitude is quite unjustified.
It is significant that the Australian Journalists Association, which has taken this matter up, not only complimented the Government upon the selection of the person concerned, but also declared that the criticism of the appointment was without any proper foundation. The association, in wholeheartedly commending the appointment, stated that the appointee was an officer of the association who had proved his ability to serve not only his own organization but also the employers who had engaged his services in the past.
– That comment was made after the appointment had been criticized.
– The association’s action was entirely voluntary. I did not ask it to make any move, nor did I desire it to do so. It acted entirely on its own initiative in the matter, and I am glad to say that it has stoutly defended its member.
Lieutenant-General Squires, the newly appointed Inspector-General of the Forces, has also been subjected to a most vindictive attack, although he is filling a position in the Commonwealth which is of great importance at a time when we need the very best advice we can get to strengthen and develop our military organization.
– Did the Minister say “ vindictive attack “ ?
– I did. LieutenantGeneral Squires was appointed after the most careful consideration. He was selected on the recommendation of the most competent authorities available. The salary which he is receiving is the minimum amount payable to a Lieutenant-General of the British forces. The amount is £2,514 sterling which is equivalent to £3,161 Australian. To this amount is added £486 special allowance as the officer is required to reside in Australia and has had to leave his usual place of abode.
– Does he get an adjustment for exchange and also a special allowance?
– So ; the salary is exactly the same as that payable to any Lieutenant-General in the British Army who is on service outside the United Kingdom.
– But it has been adjusted to Australian conditions.
– Yes ; the usual practice is to adjust the British salary to the currency of the country in which the officer is required -to serve.
– The plain fact is that, the whole remuneration is paid in Australian currency?
– The salary is £2,514 sterling, plus an allowance of £486. This is equivalent to £3,647 Australian, and it was agreed to between the Commonwealth Government and the Government of the United Kingdom in respect of the services of Lieutenant-General Squires for the two years in which it is expected that he will serve in Australia.
– No wonder the rate of income tax is to be increased!
– The point that I wish to be clear upon is that this Parliament will be called upon to vote £3,647 per annum for the services of the Inspector-General.
– That is so. The salary is calculated, as I have already said, on the basis of the minimum salary payable to a Lieutenant-General in the British Army. This, converted into Australian currency, becomes £3,161 to which must be added £486 special allowance, which is strictly in accordance with the regular allowance paid in respect of all appointments of a similar nature.
I wish now emphatically to contradict the statement of the honorable member for East Sydney that the Army is seething with unrest on account of this appointment. I say definitely that there is no justification for that statement. The honorable member declared that it was impossible for officers to lodge a complaint about the appointment because of certain new regulations, which, as he puts it, seal the lips of the members of the forces. Here, again, the honorable member is deliberately attempting to misconstrue the position and also the regulations.
– To whom can the rank and file complain?
– It would be a serious position if they had to complain to the honorable member.
– Order! Honorable members are interjecting in a most disorderly way. The debate cannot be carried on in this fashion. I insist upon silence while the Minister is speaking.
– The regulation referred to by the honorable member was designed to prevent military officers from using their rank for publicity or commercial purposes. Let’ me give one clear illustration of the kind of thing that is occurring. A campaign is proceeding in Victoria at present on the issue of licence or no-licence. One of the organizers on the licence side holds a high military rank, and is: using his military title at the foot of printed matter which is being distributed throughout Victoria for propaganda purposes. Military titles are not intended to be so used. The purpose of the regulation to which the honorable member has objected is to prevent military officers from using their titles for propaganda purposes.
– Will the regulation prohibit military officers from using their titles in political pamphlets and the like?
– No. It has nothing to do with candidates for political or local government positions. A special exemption is made in that regard.
I offer a strong protest also against the suggestion that this country is being fleeced by the filling of all the senior offices in the defence forces with persons from overseas. It has been stated that Australia is being made the dumping ground for inefficient British officers. That is a serious reflection upon senior officers in this country who are carrying out very responsible duties in connexion with the control and development of our armed forces for defence purposes. Moreover, the statement is not true. Let us look at the position in the Navy for a moment. The Australian Navy has, at its head, a British admiral, and he is supported by several other British admirals and senior officers. This is because there are no Australian naval officers competent to bake over the higher commands in our Navy, it is only a matter of a few years since Australia began to train its own naval officers and some time must necessarily elapse before men can graduate to the higher posts. Every opportunity is being taken to encourage our own officers to equip themselves for the higher positions in’ our Navy, and several of our own men now hold commissions as captains in the Navy. The most recent appointment which I call to mind is that of an Australian captain to command the new cruiser which will leave England in the next few days for Australia.
– Does it take over 30 years to train a naval officer?
– No. The honorable gentleman knows that the graduates of the Royal Australian Naval College are now rising in rank, but it is only during the last couple of years that Australian naval cadets have reached the rank of captain. Satisfaction has been expressed generally that our Australian officers are sufficiently senior to attain that rank.
I return to the appointment of Lieutenant-General Squires as InspectorGeneral of the Australian Military Forces. That appointment was made for the purpose of giving to the Australian military organization the benefit of the knowledge of a high military officer who has had wide experience in India, the United Kingdom and other parts of the world. Lieutenant-General Squires has had the opportunity to keep abreast of the tremendous military re-organization in Europe, and he will be able to confer with our senior officers and give to them the benefit of advice and guidance as to military organization, tactics, finances, and control. I say without hesitation that the Australian people are pleased to know that Lieutenant-General Squires is here to give us the benefit of his experience, and to co-operate with our senior officers in endeavouring to bring our organization to the highest pitch of efficiency that it can achieve.
Icome now to the report of Air-Marshal Sir Edward Ellington, on theRoyal Australian Air Force. The honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) is not ever prepared to be fair. He said that Sir Edward Ellington’s report was based on his conversations with officers of theRoyal Australian Air Force. Sir Edward Ellington was in Australia for five weeks and Was accompanied by two highly-skilled officers from the Royal Air Force. After thorough investigation and close consultation with the key officers of the Royal Australian Air Force, Sir Edward Ellington was able to furnish us with a valuable report which does, undoubtedly, disclose weaknesses. Those weaknesses are being rectified. When full advantage of his advice is taken our Air Force will be much more efficient than it was prior to his visit.
Mr.Baker. - At any rate it could not be much worse.
– The honorable member for Griffith (Mr. Baker) is not justified in saying that the Royal Australian. Air Force could not be much worse. That is a serious reflection on a very fine organization which is made up of some of the finest manhood of Australia. No one could be justified in casting such a slur on the members of the Royal Australian Air Force. It is unfortunate that serious accidents have taken place. Every one regrets them, but I resent the honorable member’s reflection on the men.
The honorable member for Griffith (Mr. Baker) interjecting,
– Order! If the honorable member for Griffith interjects again to-day I shall name him. He has been called to order several times and by continuing to interject he is defying the Chair.
– The men of the Royal Australian Air Force are doing their utmost to build up the efficiency of a service that will be one of the most reliable organizations that Australia could have in the event of an emergency.
– Hear, hear! I am glad to have that admission from the Minister.
– (Statements havebeen made impugning the efficiency of the equipment of the Royal Australian Air Force. It has been alleged that the aeroplanes that have been imported from Great Britain are second-hand, and, in fact, that Australia is a dumping ground for Britain’s obsolete machines. I am going to say, although it is a delicate subject, that the Commonwealth Government, on the advice of its technical officers, and on the. advice of Great Britain, is doing the best that it can for the Air Force and for the defence of Australia as a component part of the Empire. Nobody could get better equipment or supplies in the present world conditions than those which Australia is obtaining. It is easy for those who have a slight knowledge of what is happening inside the Defence Department to criticize and ridicule. We are even criticized because we are doing our utmost to preserve secrecy as to defence matters in . order to honour pledges given to the British Government to keep secret plans and specifications obtained from Great Britain for the development of the defence organizations in this country, which is part and parcel of the defence organization of the Empire. Because I refuse to answer questions dealing with the secret activities of the defence forces it is suggested either that I am not competent to give the information, or that I am not willing to give information in detail to the Australian people. It would he beyond my right, as Minister for Defence, and contrary to the interests of defence, to discuss such details, particularly those which relate to matters which are part and parcel of the Empire defence plan, and more particularly what we are doing in our munitions works where we are manufacturing highly technical parts of equipment and ordnance based on plans supplied by the British authorities under pledges of secrecy. Yet we find newspapers ready to publish details of such work obtained in an underhand way. Those newspapers have gone so far as to disclose details as to the anti-aircraft guns that have been made, and antiaircraft guns of a different type that are to be made in the future. That is not Australian journalism ! It is not the function of any person or group to undermine or otherwise weaken the defence organization of this country, particularly at a time of such menace to the British Empire.
The speech of the honorable member for East Sydney was nothing less than a vilification of the Defence Department. It consisted of slurs upon myself and the higher officers, civil and military, of the Defence Department. It is not the first time that the honorable gentleman has ridiculed the higher officers of the command as “ brass hats “.
– The Minister would find it easier to perform his duties if he were less sensitive to criticism.
– I do not want my task made easier. I am prepared to put up with insults, so long as 1 know that my work is beyond question, so long as I know that the work of the Defence Department may not be criticized, justly, from inside or out.
– The Ellington report is criticism.
– It is not criticism. It is based upon an inquiry and shows how the Air Force can be improved. I welcome any suggestions or reports from either side of this House, or from any authority inside or outside the Defence Department, which are constructive, and I do not look upon them as criticism. The Government would welcome any investigation which could indicate how the defence organization could be improved and strengthened. If honorable members read the speech of the honorable member for East Sydney, and take it sentence by sentence, they, will find nothing but vilification and slurs upon those charged with the defence of the Commonwealth, and no attempt whatever to make one constructive suggestion. It is nothing but destructive criticism from beginning to end, but it is strictly in accordance with every speech that the honorable member has ever made in this House.
– I rise to make a personal explanation. During the speech of the Minister for Defence (Mr. Thorby) I made the interjection, “ At any rate it could not be much worse” in reference to the Ellington report on the Air Force. The Minister for Defence, in his usual fashion-
-Order! The honorable member may explain that he has been misunderstood or misrepresented, but must not comment upon the Minister’s “ fashion “.
– The Minister endeavoured to interpret my remarks as a slur upon the manhood of the Royal Australian Air Force.
– Which it was. Mr. Baker. - That statement is not true.
-Order ! The honorable member ma.de an interjection to which the Minister replied. The honorable member is entitled to say that he did not mean what the Minister suggested, but he may not proceed to debate the matter.
– I wish to point out that my last intention would be to cast any slur upon the personnel of the Royal Australian Air Force. As a matter of fact my remark had the very opposite intention. It is because I have a high admiration of the Australian citizens and forces that I think that every effort should bc made to protect them.
– Order ! The honorable member has made his personal explanation and may not proceed further.
.- The Minister for Defence (Mr. Thorby) was heated in his reply to the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) because that honorable member has seen fit, from time to time, to criticize the administration of the Defence Department, but I think that it is essential that the Minister should clarify the position in respect of the first matter mentioned by the honorable member for East Sydney, if he is desirous of maintaining satisfaction within the service. In the military and naval services, like other services, every man who takes his position seriously looks forward to the day when he will be able to obtain promotion on his merits. The gravamen of the charge to-day was that the Minister had been responsible for introducing political patronage into appointments to the Defence Department. When a charge of that character is levelled against the Minister who is in charge of the department the onus is on him to clear himself or take the consequences. If he refuses to try to clear himself of any criticism that any member of this House offers against the administration of this department he does a greater disservice than any one else to the country. The honorable member for East Sydney has charged the Minister with favouritism to a member of a colleague’s family in an important appointment in his department. The honorable member has done a real service to this House in disclosing the manner in which the Minister on several occasions misled the House in regard to that appointment. The Minister has been charged with political patronage, and I think that any member who listened to his defence this afternoon, if he were a member of a jury, would find the Minister guilty. Between the 21st June and the 26th June last, the Minister made a number of statements which are not merely recorded in the mind of the honorable member for East Sydney, but are embedded in the records of Parliament. Those records are not subject to the control of the honorable member for East Sydney; they are records of which the Minister himself, from day to day, would get a proof for perusal before his remarks were printed in Hansard. The Minister, therefore, not only had the opportunity in this House, to correct any false impression which he thought might be given by his remarks, but also had the opportunity to make corrections on the Hansard proof when it was submitted to him. He took neither course. We are, therefore, not asked to accept the word of the honorable member for East Sydney as to what was said by the Minister for Defence, because what was said is incorporated in Hansard. There is no question about it. When the Minister was first asked, on the 21st June, about this appointment he said “ I have no information on the subject at the present time “. I can understand the Minister’s position then. Normally, I should not expect the Minister to have a ready answer to any question which might be asked regarding the ramifications of his department. He might reasonably bo expected to say that he had no information. But the facts are that within a week the Minister for Defence had to admit that not only was he in full possession of all the facts regarding the case, but also that this man had been appointed some time before the original question was asked, and that before hie appointment the Minister had interviewed him and others whose names were included in the panel. It is, therefore, not unreasonable to say that at question time on the 21st June, when the original question was submitted to the Minister, and he replied that he had no information on the subject, he actually did have information regarding it, for he had been personally responsible for the appointment. He must have known the facts. But, even assuming that he had no information at the moment, he had every opportunity during that day to obtain it, particularly as his political honour was involved. On the same night, on the motion for the adjournment of the House, the subject was again raised by the honorable member for East Sydney. In replying, the Minister qualified his former statement a little, for he then said that he had no detailed information on the subject. He then went on to say that this gentleman had been appointed to a junior position in the Defence Department, on the recommendation of the Public Service Board. He added, “ It appears that his qualifications satisfied the requirements “! Those words would indicate that he had no personal knowledge of the appointment, but that it appeared to him that the gentleman who was appointed’ must have satisfied the requirements. But subsequent events showed that this gentleman’s name had been submitted to the Minister in a panel of five, and that he himself had approved of the selection. In the light of these facts, what are we to believe? First, the Minister said that he knew nothing about the appointment. Then he said that he had no detailed information about it. A week later, not in reply to a question without notice that he could dismiss with any kind of reply, but in answer to a question upon notice, hewas forced to admit that he knew all about the appointment, and moreover that he had full knowledge not only of this man’s qualifications, but also, as he himself admitted to-day, of his relationship to one of his Cabinet colleagues. According to the Minister’s statement to-day, that relationship was one of the principal bare to his getting the position. There is no doubt that the Minister used political patronage in the making of this appointment, and therefore the charge levelled against him by the honorable member for East Sydney is well founded. In making that charge and substantiating it the Honorable member has warned honorable members, not only of what is happening in the Defence Department, “but also of the need to peruse carefully answers to their questions given by the Minister. We should be able to accept the word of the Minister, but what are we to think when, within a week, he convicts himself, out of his own mouth, of the responsibility for an action which if repeated must ultimately undermine the Public Service. Once it is known that the Minister had had a hand in making a political appointment to this highly paid position, to which men in lower ranks had every right to aspire, the result will be most harmful. Nothing is more calculated to bring about dissatisfaction in the Public Service than the knowledge that political “ pull “ counts for To-day in the making of appointments. To-day, the Minister castigated the honorable member for East Sydney for referring tto defence administration generally, but on the Minister’s own showing, any criticism of himself and his department in the future will lead to a searching investigation in order to determine, if possible, who has given information to members of the Opposition.
Some time ago the Prime Minister invited the trade unions to nominate representatives on the defence panels which were to deal with the implementing of the defence programme, so far . as the manufacture of war materials in Australia was concerned. At first, the trade unions rejected the proposal, but, apparently, the Prime Minister claimed that he desired that proper trade union conditions should be observed in the manufacture of Australian armaments. A phase of this matter has been brought under the notice of the honorable
Ifr. Rosevear. member for Cook (Mr. Sheehan) and myself by the Felt Hatters Union. We have been informed by the union that tenders had been invited for the supply of 13,000 military hats, and that the firm which had the previous contract was not observing trade union conditions. The honorable member for Cook and I accompanied by representatives of the union, waited on the Minister for Defence as a deputation before the. time for receiving tenders expired, and placed the position before him. We pointed out that, although the Defence Department was protected by a signed agreement that the successful tenderers would observe trade union conditions in carrying out the contract, those conditions were being evaded by the Victorian mill which held the previous contract. It was explained to the Minister that that firm took advantage of the fact that no one but an expert could tell whether a military hat or a civilian hat was being made until 60 per cent, of the operation of manufacture had been completed. The Minister replied that the department was covered by an agreement signed by the successful tenderer. The deputation pointed out that although there was a degree of supervision by the Defence Department, the supervising officer did not possess the requisite knowledge to say whether, up to a certain stage of manufacture, civilian hats or military hats were being made. Hat manufacturers in New South Wales have told me that they refused to tender for those hats because they realized that they could not compete against the Victorian firm which, evaded certain conditions of the agreement into which it had entered. Although the deputation waited on the Minister on the 5th August, it was not until the day before Parliament reassembled that a definite reply was received from the Minister. In the meantime a new contract had been let to the same firm as previously had been successful. The Minister promised that if there was any doubt in the matter he would not only postpone the date for receiving tenders, but would also see that the things of which we complained were rectified. After six weeks’ consideration, and after a new contract had been let to the same firm, the
Minister, possibly in the hope of avoiding criticism, sent the following letter, which, however, did not cover the main point of the dispute : -
Canberra, 20th September, 1938.
Dear Mr. Rosevear,
With further reference to your representations at the deputation from the Felt Hatters’ Union which waited on me in Sydney on 5th August in regard to the defence hat contract, Ifind, as a result of my investigations, that arrangements have been made for departmental officers to make periodical inspections of the premises, books and work at Hatcrarft Pty. Ltd. to ensure that the provisions of the award in respect of wages and conditions of labour are observed as provided in the general conditions of tender and contract.
Minister for Defence.
I am not greatly concerned about periodical inspections of the premises, or inspections of the hooks of the firm, for they will reveal nothing amiss. Indeed, as I have pointed out, an inspection of the work of manufacture will reveal no more to a nonexpert departmental officer than it would reveal to the average member of this House. Only an expert who has served a long apprenticeship to felt hat-making can differentiate between a military hat and a civilian hat until 60 per cent. of the operation of manufacture has been finished. This contract will be carried out under exactly the same conditions as the former contract. Manufacturers who endeavour to do the right thing by their employees find it impossible to compete with competitors who evade their obligations. In this matter I do not ask honorable members to accept my word, or even that of the union concerned. But I do ask them to heed the statement of manufacturers of hats in Sydney that they refused to tender, knowing that they could not pay trade union journeymen wages and compete successfully with a firm which evades obligations which it had undertaken. If the Prime Minister desires the co-operation of the trade union movement in assisting the manufacturers to provide defence materials he must first see that his Ministers are prepared to ensure that employers of labour, who do not now observe award conditions, will not be placed at an advantage in securing contracts for the supply of defence materials over other manufacturers who are more scrupulous in observing union wages and conditions. I know that it is of no use appealing to the Minister for Defence (Mr. Thorby) on this matter. He resents all criticism, andwould, if he could, be a little Mussolini in this country and in this House, denying everybody the right to criticize or advise him. If, as the head of the Government, the Prime Minister desires the cooperation of the trade union movement in this country he should see to it that his Ministers stand up to their job and require that proper award conditions be observed by the manufacturers of our defence requirements. [Quorum formed.]
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clauses 1 to 5 agreed to.
.- I desire to refer to changes that have taken place in the conduct of business in this Parliament, particularly during the last few months. When the Parliament met in Melbourne conditions were entirely different from what they are in Canberra. At present only on very rare occasions is more than one Minister present during a debate. This is discreditable to the Parliament and a great disrespect to the members of this House. Apparently the reason for this is that Ministers are engaged for the greater part of their time in administrative work in the precincts of the House. It seems to me that this building is being used more for administrative purposes than for parliamentary purposes. When the Parliament met in Melbourne I think only one room was provided for Ministers, who were able to carry on fairly well with that accommodation because most of their administrative work was carried out in the departmental offices near by. Here, however, with everybody desirous of getting out of Canberra as quickly as possible, little administrative work is done outside of this building, in which Ministers demand accommodation, not only for themselves, but also for their secretaries and staffs, with the resultthat private members are “tossed” about from place to place. Only recently members of the Country party were asked to vacate their room on the Senate side of the building. I do not know who is responsible for authorizing these changes. On the last day of the sitting prior to the recent recess members of the Country party suddenly discovered that they were to lose their room and were to be “ pitchforked “ into some other room on the Senate side of the building. Coming from Western Australia, I have to store a large quantity of private papers in my locker in the party room. I found on that occasion that all of those papers were being tossed out, and other members of the Country party found their papers taken out <of their lockers and placed on a table in another room. Treatment of this sort should not be allowed to be meted out to honorable members. Are Ministers in charge of this building, or is it under the control of the President and Speaker and the House Committee? If the responsibility devolves upon the President and Speaker they are open to very severe censure for the. manner in which they have allowed Ministers to take control of this building. I enter my emphatic protest against this treatment. If room must be found for officers and private secretaries they should be accommodated on the ground floor. It is not right that honorable members should be “tossed” about at the sweet will of any Minister, and be put to very considerable inconvenience and risk the loss of their valuable papers. I hope that honorable members will insist that this building shall be used purely for Parliamentary purposes and not to an increasing extent as a secretariat building. Arrangements should be made for honorable members to meet deputations in places other than the corridors, which, when tariff ‘ schedules are under consideration, are” usually filled with lobbyists. That does not add to the dignity of Parliament or to the convenience of members which is of just as much moment as the convenience of Ministers. The House Committee should have had the courage to refuse Ministers accommodation on thefirst floor for their secretaries and staffs, while honorable members are thrust into rooms in distant parts of the building. I trust that this matter will receive the earnest consideration of the President and Speaker.
.- I am compelled to direct attention to the extent to which strangers invade parts of this building, to which strangers who merely desire admission to the galleries while the House is sitting should not be admitted. I can understand visitors to Canberra, who desire to see the Prime Minister, other Ministers, or myself, being escorted to their particular rooms. But under the present arrangement strangers are to be found in both lobbies awaiting admission to the floor of the House either in the Speaker’s gallery or in the seats at the back of the chamber, and entering at the doors through which members enter. I suggest that all strangers should enter from the King’s Hall.
I also say that the facilities which the press have - and I speak as a former pressman - in the lobbies of this chamber to get the ear of members, of Ministers and myself, whenever it suits their convenience to push- up against us, is not only wrong, but also, in some instances, becomes intolerable. The fact that during last week some of us have carried very heavy responsibilities has not saved us from being importuned at times and in places when and where we should have been free from such importunity.
– So far as the remarks of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Curtin) and the honorable member for Swan (Mr. Gregory) are the concern of the Government, I shall see that they are brought to the notice of the Prime Minister. I, myself, am in some doubt as to the division of authority between the Government, the House Committee and Mr. ‘Speaker, in connexion with these matters. I think that the honorable member for Swan overlooks the fact that, particularly while the House is sitting, Ministers have a number of gods to serve ; they have their own departments, the administration of which has to be carried on, and they have to answer queries and requests in person and in writing from members, and it is their aim to give as rapid service to members as possible. That is impossible unless one’s own personal staff is immediately handy. I am sorry that there has been discourtesy to honorable members; I shall bring it under the notice of the persons more directly concerned.
– I did not know that this matter was to be raised but I think it would be opportune for me now to reply to the remarks made by the Leader of the Opposition (Ma1. Curtin) and the honorable member for Swan (Mr. Gregory). As regards the allocation of rooms, it is true that some time ago Ministers said they required additional rooms; I informed the Prime Minister that it was not possible for me to make them available on this side of the building, and that the Government would have to make additions to the building if more rooms were required. A proposal was put forward which I need not discuss now, but, ultimately, more rooms were provided for the library staff and that allowed certain of the rooms formerly utilized by that department to be made available to Ministers. With regard to the statement that Ministers have been using rooms in Parliament House as administrative offices, only one room in this .building has ever been allotted to a departmental officer, namely, the Secretary to the Prime Minister’s Department, who was given a room in order that he could be reasonably near to the Prime Minister. I appreciated the reasonable nature of the request and agreed to it. So far as I know no other departmental officer is using a room in this building.
– -.Secretaries are using looms as offices on the ministerial side of the building.
– I know of none other than the private secretaries to Ministers. Ministers have their private secretaries and typists, and I am not in a position to. know what are their requirements in that respect. Each Minister now has two rooms. As a rule, a Minister has one for himself and one for his staff. I cannot take responsibility for whom Ministers put into their rooms. As to the rooms on the Senate side of the building occupied by the Country party, I under stand that the inconvenience caused to the Country party there is not so much due to Ministers requiring more accommodation as to the fact that the larger Opposition party in the Senate needs more accommodation than was formerly allotted to it.
The Leader of the Opposition complained that strangers were frequently seen in the lobbies of Parliament House. From time to time I have asked members not to bring strangers into the lobbies and leave them there, and I have instructed messengers and attendants that any strangers found in the lobbies must betold to leave. I have asked for the cooperation of members in this matter. If they bring strangers into the House and allow them to remain in the lobbies by themselves, it is very difficult for me to exercise control. It is wrong to do this, and I hope that in future members will co-operate with me in this matter. Members of the press have been told that they must not frequent the lobbies, which are set apart for members only, and an instruction to that effect will be repeated. With regard to the entrance to this chamber, 1 do not know how that difficulty can be entirely overcome, but strangers will not be allowed in the lobbies unattended.
Proposed vote agreed to.
Prime Minister’s Department.
Proposed vote, £94,010.
.- 1 direct attention to ‘the fact that in this financial year Australia House in London will cost this country an additional £8,394. An amount of £4,000 is to be expended on alterations to the building.; the upkeep is to be increased from’ £10,507 last year to, I understand, £14,000 this year ; the amount to be paid to the High Commissioner (Mr. Bruce), for expenses in connexion with his official residence, is to be increased from £1,999 in 1937-3S to £2,510; and the upkeep of his official residence will be increased from £741 to £1,130. In brief, the additional costs will be £4,000 for alterations to Australia House, £3,493 for its upkeep, £511 for Mr.’Bruce’s expenses, and £390 for the upkeep of his residence. In view of the fact that this Supply is being voted for a financial year in which Parliament has to make provision for the highest Commonwealth expenditure on record, I urge that a little more than usual prudence be exercised in the consideration of increased departmental expenditure.
. - I have no details of the expenditure on Australia House available at the moment, but I shall give the information required when the Estimates are being discussed.
Proposed vote agreed to.
Proposed vote. - Department of External Affairs, £2,680 - agreed to.
.- If no other honorable gentlemen has anything to discuss, in view of the fact that the Treasurer has not available details in answer to some of the inquiries which have been made, I am quite willing to allow the rest of the schedule to be taken, inglobo, and shall reserve any comments which I may have to make till a later date.
Remainder of schedule agreed to.
Preamble and title agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.
Bill read a third time.
– In moving -
That this House do now adjourn,
I wish to intimate that on the resumption of the sittings next week it is proposed that the Minister for Commerce shall make a statement reviewing the work of the. ministerial delegation to Great Britain. The other business will be the Sales Tax Bills, States Grants Bills, and the Interstate Commission Bill.
– That is a pretty big list for only two days.
– Of course, some of that legislation will be only started. A statement will also be made by the Minister for Trade and Customs on the manufacture of motor cars in Australia.
– What about the international situation?
– That, of course, will depend on the developments. . It is proposed that the House shall meet on Tues day of next week and sit until late on Wednesday afternoon.
– Until eight o’clock?
– Until such time as will enable several Ministers to attend a Loan Council meeting in Melbourne on Thursday. It is proposed that the House shall meet on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of the following week.
.- I should like the Treasurer (Mr. Casey) to let me know when regulation 86, dealing with the export of iron ore, and repealing regulation 65, now in force, is to be tabled in the House. I wish to give notice of motion in regard to it.
– I shall obtain the information for the honorable member.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
The following paper was presented : -
Ordered to be printed.
House adjourned at 4.24 p.m.
The following answers to questions were circulated: -
r asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The answer to the honorable member’s questions is as follows: -
In the course of debate on an amendment of the National Health and Pensions Insurance Bill moved by the honorable member, I informed the House as follows: - “Assuming that the bill comes into operation on the 1st January of next year, insured persons will become entitled to medical benefit on the 1st April.” It was never expected that it would be practicable to commence medical benefit before April.
OnWednesday, the 21st September, the honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Beasley) asked the following question, without notice: -
Can the Treasurer inform the House as to the number of appointments that have been made to the department of the National Health and Pensions Insurance Commission, and the number of appeals lodged? Is it intended to appoint persons outside the Public Service to any position in the department?
A number of questions have been asked by honorable members regarding appointments made to the staff of the National Insurance Commission. In reply to these questions the following statement is furnished: -
The stalling position to the 22nd September, 1938, is shown on the attached statement.
Briefly,99 positions have been created on the recommendation of the Public Service Board. All positions were duly advertised in the Commonwealth Gazette. Eight positions have not yet been filled:91 positions have been filled, either by provisional promotions or transfers, and all officers appointed tothese positions up to the present date have been officers of the Commonwealth Public Service.
Promotions have been made in accordance with section 50 of the Public Service Act. Eightytwo appeals have been lodged against the provisional promotions made by the National Insurance Commission, and the Public Ser-. vice Board- has determined appeals in respect of fourteen of these positions. Appeals in respect of 51 positions have not yet been determined by the Public Service Board, and of these 45 are promotions, the closing date of appeals against which has not yet been reached.
No permanent appointments have yet been made to the staff of the National Insurance Commission from among persons outside the Commonwealth Public Service. The actuary whose appointment has been announced, will be an officer of the Treasury, and not of the National Insurance Commission. Two temporary appointments have, however, been made by the National Insurance Commission for special work which it is anticipated will not continue longer than six months. One of these is a temporary officer engaged to advise employers and others in the adjustment of private provident and superannuation funds, which will be affected by the introduction of National Insurance, and the other is a temporary officer employed in assisting the commission inthe preparation of literature and publicity associated with the introduction of National Insurance.
n asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
Surcharge on Air Mail.
naskedthe Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
Will he supply in detail the poundage of the air mail matter per flight with regard to consignments to the United Kingdom from
s. - The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
Air Mail Postage Rates.
s. - On Wednesday, the 21st September, the honorable member for Wentworth (Mr. Harrison) made certain inquiries regarding the charges for parcels despatched by air mail to Ho bar t. I am now in a position to furnish the honorable member with the following reply to his inquiries: -
Air mail services arc established primarily for letters and a uniform surcharge applied to all classifications of mail matter. The department cannot introduce special rates for restricted types of service such, for instance, as Hobart-Sydney. Postal rates must provide for uniform treatment covering transmission from any post office to any destination, and rates are necessarily based on the acceptance and delivery of the article and complete conveyance from the point of origin to the point of destination, which might include one or more air services, railway or sea transportation, and possibly also road mail conveyance.
t asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
n asked the Minister in Charge of Territories, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : - 1, 2 and 3. A royalty of 5 per cent, is payable to the Administration on gold won from all mining tenements held under the Mining Ordinance 1928-1936.
n asked the Minister in Charge of Territories, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
Defence: Training of Tasmanian Air Pilots.
y asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice -
Will he take the necessary steps to establish in Hobart under the control of the Defence Department an aeroplane for the training of air pilots in Tasmania?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows. -
The Tasmanian Aero Club, a club operating under financial assistance from the Defence Department, and whose head-quarters are at Launceston, maintains an active flyingsection at Hobart with necessary aircraft and instructional staff, which are available for the training of air pilots. The club maintains a fleet of five aircraft.
n asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice -
Will he give details of the expenditure of £6,500 provided in the Estimates for the Commonwealth Literary Fund?
– The information will be obtained.
r asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
With reference to the cabled press reports that the question of sanctions against Japan is being discussed by the League of Nations, will he inform the House whether he has had any recent communications from the High Commissioner for Australia in London, Mr. Bruce, upon this matter?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows: -
No. This question so far has only come before the Council of the League. The honorable member will appreciate that as the Commonwealth of Australia is not now a member of the Council, it will not be called upon to consider the question unless the matter is referred to the League Assembly for consideration.
y asked the Minister representing the Minister for Repatriation, upon notice -
Can the Minister say whether it is an instruction to the Repatriation Commission that no regard is to be given to evidence brought by anapplicant to the commission except medical evidence? If this is so, will he consider widening the scope of evidence to be heard by the commission!
– The Minister for Repatriation has supplied the following information : -
No such instruction has ever been issued, and due regard is given to all evidence.
Trade With the United States of America.
s. - On Thursday, the 22nd September,” the honorable member for Swan (Mr. Gregory) asked a question, without notice, regarding the matter of trade negotiations between Australia and the United States of America.
I desire to inform the honorable member that the possibility of initiating commercial negotiations with the United States of America has been informally discussed on several occasions. This involves questions of such complexity, and raises so many problems, that it requires further special study. This study is now being made in both countries.It is hoped that a basis for negotiations will be found at a not very distant date.
s. - On Thursday, the 22nd September, the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) made inquiries as to the recording, by the Postal Department, of portions of telephone conversations, when investigating complaints of overcharging.
I am now in a position to inform the honorable member that it is only in most exceptionalcases that the department makes any record of conversations when investigating complaints concerning accounts for local telephone calls, and, when this is done, the particulars recorded are of thebriefest possible character sufficient only for the purpose of satisfying a subscriber of the accuracy of the record.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 23 September 1938, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1938/19380923_reps_15_157/>.