House of Representatives
18 November 1938

15th Parliament · 1st Session

Mr. Speaker (Hon. G. J. Bell) took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.

page 1713



Minister for Commerce · Cowper · CP

by leave - The Commonwealth Government is very gratified at the successful conclusion of the lengthy trade negotiations between the United Kingdom and the United States of America. It hopes that the agreement which has just been signed will greatly benefit the trade between those two countries, and that Great Britain and the United States of America may now find it possible to exert joint efforts to establish more liberal conditions of trade throughout the world.

The fact that two such highly industrialized countries have found it possible to conclude a comprehensive agreement demonstrates what can be done when there is on both sides a will to succeed. It is an example, moreover, of the best form of economic collaboration between Empire countries. Australia, Canada, India, Now Zealand, South Africa, and other Empire countries have contributed towards the success of the negotiations, by reconsidering some of the preferences they have enjoyed in the United Kingdom market since the Ottawa Conference was held in 1932.

The commodities affected by the agreement which are most significant in respect of the Australian export trade are fresh apples and pears, canned pineapples, and wheat. The changes of preferences agreed to in respect of these items will not adversely affect the industries concerned.

In regard to apples and pears, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia have all agreed to a modification of the preference provided for in the Ottawa Agreement. Australian apples and pears, in common with those from other southern hemisphere countries, are marketed in the United Kingdom during the period from the 1st April to the 31st July in nach year. The principal northern hemisphere suppliers are Canada and the United States of America. The reduction of the duty on apples between the 18th August and the 15th April, and on pears between the 1st August and the 31st January, from 4s. 6d. per cwt. to 3s. per cwt. will assist the marketing of fruit from the United States of America. The Australian industry still retains adequate protection. Fruit imported into the United Kingdom from the United States of America, or from any other foreign country, between the 16th April and the 15th August, will continue to pay duty at the rate of 4s. 6d. per cwt.

The position of Empire apple producers in the southern hemisphere is, in fact, improved, because the Government of the United States of America will draw the attention of American apple exporters to the desirability of cooperation with Empire fruit organizations, with the object of avoiding undue fluctuations of supplies and prices.

The alteration of the duty on canned pineapples entering the United Kingdom from foreign countries is from 15 per cent, ad valorem to a specific rate of 5s. per cwt. The specific rate is an added deterrent to the importation of cheaper varieties, and is an increased protection against them. It is, therefore, preferable to an ad valorem rate of 15 per cent. Attempts by the Commonwealth Government to secure specific duties on other canned fruit were not successful. Apart from the market in tho United Kingdom, Australia enjoys preferences on canned pineapples in Canada and New Zealand, as follows: Canada, 3 cents per lb.; New Zealand, 25 per cent, ad valorem.

Since the Ottawa Agreement was concluded, Australia’s production of pineapples did not increase up to 1937, and the export actually declined from 62,000 cases in 1932 to 37,000 cases in 1937. This year both the production and the export have increased. The export has been to the United Kingdom, Canada, and New Zealand. Australia still supplies less than 1 per cent, of the market in the United Kingdom, and about 2 per cent, of the markets of Canada and New Zealand. There is room in those three markets for the existing volume of Australian export, provided that Australian pineapple producers can compete with the help of the substantial protection they enjoy.

Wheat is in a different category from the other commodities mentioned. It is a world commodity, and the price received by the seller is determined solely by the relationship that exists between the total export surpluses, and the total import demand of all importing countries. Under the agreements concluded at Ottawa in 1932 between the United Kingdom on the one hand, and Australia, Canada, and India on the other hand, the United Kingdom agreed to admit Empire wheat free of duty, and to impose a duty of 2s. a quarter on wheat imported from foreign countries. This duty is now to be removed. The Ottawa agreements with Canada, India and Australia stipulated that the continuance pf this preference’ was conditional on Empire producers continuing to offer wheat on first sale in the United Kingdom at prices not exceeding the world price. Quite apart from this proviso, the force of competition amongst Empire producers would always keep the price in the United Kingdom in conformity with the world price. “Wheat exports from Canada and Australia are, of course, dependent upon the crops harvested. In the last seven years, which have included some years of very low harvest in Canada, the average yearly exports have been over 260,000,000 bushels, whereas the imports - of the United Kingdom have never exceeded 210,000,000 bushels. The excess of Empire supplies over Empire demand must keep United Kingdom wheat prices at world parity. The removal of the duty of 2s. a quarter will, therefore, have no influence whatever on the Australian wheat producer. The problem of the wheat-grower is epitomised in the existing excess of world supplies over the prospective import demand. Available world export supplies are nearly 950,000,000 bushels, whilst anticipated world import demand for the current cereal year is only 550,000,000 bushels. No Empire preference can have any remedial effect on that position.

These changes of the Empire preferences enjoyed by Australia were concurred in by the Commonwealth Government after the fullest consultation with the Governments of the United Kingdom and the other dominions. That consultation was commenced during the Imperial Conference held in London in May, 1937, and has continued without interruption ever since. The Commonwealth Government recognized the great influence which would be exercised on world economic affairs by a comprehensive trade agreement between the United Kingdom and the United States of America, and fully realized its responsibility to assist in the conclusion of such an agreement, provided the vital interests of Australian industries were preserved. This dual objective has been attained.

The Australian action in this matter is an example of the kind of co-operation visualized by the Governments of the United Kingdom and Australia, as expressed in paragraph 4 of the Memorandum of Conclusions resulting from this year’s discussions in London. The United Kingdom will similarly co-operate with Australia in its future trade negotiations.

The alterations of formerly existing preferences agreed to by Australia are as’ follows : -

Fresh Fruits

Apples. - Reduction from 4s. fid. to 3s. per cwt.. during the period from the 15th August to the I5th April. The full duty of 4s.6d. will still operate during the Australian season, viz., from the 10th April to the 15th August.

Pears. - Reduction from 4s.6d. to 3s. per cwt., August to January inclusive. The full duty of 4s. fid. still to operate during the Australian season.

Fruits, Tinned or Bottled in Syrup.

Apples.- Reduction from 3s.6d. to 2s. 3d. per cwt.

Grapefruit. - Duty of 15 per cent. removed; free entry substituted.

Fruit salad. -Change from an ad valorem rate of 15 per cent, to a specific rate of 5s.6d. percwt.

Pineapples. - Change from an ad valorem rate of 15 per cent. to aspecific rate of 5s. per cwt.

Loganberries. - Change from an ad valorem rate of 15 per cent. to a specific rate of 4s. per cwt.


Reduction from 7s. to 5s. per cwt.


Duty of 2s. a quarter removed; free entry substituted.

In addition to the above changes of preferences enjoyed by Australia, the agreement between the United Kingdom and the United States of America provides for a reduction of the duty on rice imported into the United Kingdom from foreign countries. The duty provided in the Ottawa Agreement between the United Kingdom and India was1d. per lb. This is now to be reduced to two-thirds of a penny per lb. Although Australia had no treaty rights in respect of rice, the strongest representations were made by the Commonwealth Government to the Government of the United Kingdom to retain the duty of1d. per lb. This action was taken because Australia has developed a substantial trade in rice during the last five years. The small reduction of duty, while regretted, could not be prevented by Australia. However, it will not seriously affect the Austraiian rice industry.

This morning the Prime Minister received the following cablegram from the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs.

On the occasion of to-day’s signature of the United Kingdom - United States Trade Agreement I should like to express again to the Commonwealth Government cordial appreciation of their readiness to facilitate our agreement with the United States by consenting to such modification of their rights under their existing trade agreement with the United Kingdom as were necessary to enable it to be concluded. It is our confident hope that the agreement now signed will assist substantially in reducing the barrier to trade and will thereby prove a real contribution to world appeasement.

I should add a few words in connexion with the direct trade relations between the United States of America and Australia. As was indicated when Ministers returned from abroad early this year, the possibility of Australia commencing commercial negotiations with the United States of America has been discussed informally. The study by both Governments of the problems involved, initiated some months back, is still proceeding, and will, of course, now be continued in the light of the contents and the probable effects of the Anglo-American Agreement. It is too early yet to” indicate whether a sound basis for negotiations can be discovered, but we are confident that both countries will desire that this should turn out to be the case. I lay the paper on the table and move -

That the paper be printed.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Toura;) adjourned.


– Now that the Anglo-American Trade agreement has been concluded, can the Minister for Commerce state when it is proposed to reopen negotiations with the United States of America for a trade treaty between that country and Australia? Will negotiations cover all industries, primary and secondary?


– That phase of the matter was covered in the concluding part of my statement.



-I direct the attention of the Minister for Commerce to the following sentence in his statement concerning the trade agreement between the Government of the United Kingdam and the Government of the Unite’d States of America : -

The reduction of the duty on apples between the 10th August and 15th April, and on pears between the 1st August and 3.1st January, from 4s. 6d. per cwt. to 3s. Gd. per cwt. will assist the marketing of United States fruit. [s that provision definite, or may it be altered in any way? If it is possible to reduce the duty on foreign fruit in the period stated will the Government make provision to have the duty trebled on fruit imported from foreign countries between that period, so that marketing conditions in Australia shall not be unduly dislocated?


– The agreement between the Government of the United Kingdom and the Government of the United States of America has been completed and cannot be altered at this stage. I point out, however, that provision has been made to ensure that conditions relating to the export of fruit from the southern hemisphere shall be such as not to interfere with local arrangements.


– Will the Minister for Commerce inform me whether provision has been made in the agreement to pre vent foreign competitors from placing sufficient quantities of fruit in cold store to flood the British market during the Australian fruit export season?


– If the honorable member will read my statement carefully ho will realize that the Government of the United Kingdom has expressly preserved the rights of suppliers in the southern hemisphere.

page 1716




– Will the Minister for Defence state when the Railways War Council last met, and if reports of its 1936 meeting and any subsequent meetings have been made? If they have been, will the honorable gentleman make them available to honorable members?

Minister for Defence · CORANGAMITE, VICTORIA · UAP

– The honorable gentleman asked a similar question last week, and I thought that a reply had been furnished to him. I regret that it has not been. I shall look into the matter, and supply the honorable gentleman with as much information as possible.

page 1716



Prime Minister · Wilmot · UAP

- by leave - The Commonwealth Government has again had under consideration the subject of the exportation of pig iron from Australia. Having investigated all its phases, a decision has been reached to permit this trade to continue for the time being. The volume of exports is comparatively small, viewed in relation to the quantity of iron ore which would have been exported, had not restrictive action been taken.

The Government’s technical advisers affirm that the present volume of exports of this commodity is not prejudicially affecting the ability of the industry to meet Australia’s requirements ‘of iron and steel products. The whole position will, however, be kept constantly under review, and if at any time it appears that the exportation of pig iron is likely so to increase as detrimentally to affect Australian industry and development, the question of the restriction of export will receive immediate consideration.

The refusal of the waterside workers at Port Kembla to load pig iron for Japan is regarded very seriously by the Government. The quantity to be loaded on the

Dalfram is 8,000 tons, being part of a total order of 24,000 tons. The Government cannot permit the usurpation of its functions by any section of the community. It has the full responsibility to determine what attitude it shall adopt with regard to the Sino-Japanese dispute, and cannot allow this responsibility to be taken from it. I sincerely trust that the decision of the Government with regard to pig iron will have the effect of bringing clearly to the minds of the waterside workers at Fort Kembla the fact that their action ia in conflict with the recognized principles of orderly government and international trading. I therefore hope they will realize that their position is untenable, and that they will resume at once the loading of pig iron for export.


– Does this represent a change of policy in regard to the export of iron?


– No.


– In the report in to-day’s newspapers of the refusal of the waterside workers at Port Kembla to load 8,000 tons of Australian pig iron for shipment to Japan, the Prime Minister is quoted as saying that this is part of a total order for 24,000 tons. Is the Prime Minister in a position to say how much pig iron has been exported since the embargo was placed on the export of iron ore from Western Australia, and how does he reconcile the inconsistency of the Government’s policy -

Mr SPEAKER (Hon G J Bell:

– The honorable member is not in order in speaking of the Government’s inconsistency.


– How does the Prime Minister justify the action of the Government in shutting the door against the export of iron ore from Western Australia while continuing to allow large shipments of pig iron from the powerful iron and steel companies in the eastern States?


– I am not able to state the actual quantities that have been exported, but I shall obtain the figures for the honorable member. I assure him that there has been no inconsistency, because pig iron differs from iron ore in that it has passed through a process of manufacture which has provided employment for Australians. Moreover, the important aspect of the matter is that only a very small quantity is involved, and it is not likely to interfere with the future requirements of Australian industry. I give an assurance that if these exports do tend in that direction consideration will be given to measures for the protection of Australian industry.


– Is it a fact that the Premier of Victoria, the Minister for Agriculture in that State, and the chairman of the Grain Elevators Board, recently made public statements to the effect that the construction of silos in Victoria was being delayed because the Broken Hill Proprietary Company was unable to supply the necessary iron and steel fabricated material? If that is so, does the Prime Minister know what quantity of this material will be required to complete the work, and is it as much as the 24,000 tons which it is proposed to export to Janan?


– I cannot state what quantity of iron and steel will be required to complete the work referred to, but I assure the honorable member that if it can be demonstrated that this pig iron is needed here, action will be taken to protect Australian industry, no matter what country is affected.


– By whom were representations made for permission to export pig iron? Is it a fact that the permission given covers the export of a quantity of approximately 300,000 tons? Was an application received from the’ Broken Hill Proprietary Company?


– I cannot immediately furnish the honorable member with the details of the applications, but I shall obtain them.


– Has the Broken Hill Proprietary Company, at any time within the last two years, pointed out to the Government the advisability of making inquiries regarding a possible shortage of iron ore in Australia ?


– I cannot answer that question offhand, but I shall look into the matter, and find out what communications have passed.

page 1717




– Has the attention of the Minister for Defence been directed to a press interview with WingCommander Gayford, officer in charge of the

Vickers-Wellesley record-breaking flight to .Australia, in which he is’ reported as having stated that the Avro-Anson bombers, which are of the latest type available in the Royal Australian Air Force, were obsolete? Is he still of the opinion that there is nothing wrong with the Avro-Anson aircraft used by the Royal Australian Air Force?


– My attention was drawn to that paragraph. In the Royal Air Force in Great Britain, there are many squadrons of these Avro-Anson bombers still in use. It is considered that these machines are at least equal in ability to any kind of sea-borne aircraft that they may have to meet in this country. They have an adequate range for all requirements.

page 1718




– Can the Minister for the Interior state whether there is any truth in the allegation that delays are taking place in the completion of the National War Memorial at Canberra? If so, what is the cause of the delays, and what steps are being taken to expedite the completion of this memorial, seeing that the war ended in 191S?

Minister for the Interior · INDI, VICTORIA · CP

– There has been some delay during recent months, due to several causes. In the first place there was a suggestion by the architects that there should be a modification of the design. A meeting of the War Memorial Committee was held some time ago at which I presided, and it was agreed that certain modifications should be made. The architects subsequently suggested further modifications, but they were not accepted. Delay was also occasioned by the nondelivery, or late delivery, of stone from the quarries for the facing of the building. I understand that these matters have now been cleared up, and we may expect the work to be proceeded with expeditiously. Speaking on the Works Estimates recently, the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Francis) questioned the amount of money on the Estimates for the completion of the War Memorial. In addition to the amount appearing on the Estimates there is a substantial sum held in trust, sufficient to cover the cost of the work for this year.

page 1718




– I have received the following telegram from the Australian Power Alcohol Liquid Fuel League: -

Our proposal liquid fuel production cheapest offering in Australia to increase primary mid secondary production and adequate selfsufficiency high octane fuel. Why has our deputation been ignored and committee appointed anything but impartial. President has wired Prime Minister.

Has the Prime Minister received the communication referred to, and is it a fact that the deputation was ignored? Will the League be given an opportunity to place its case before the committee?


– I have not actually seen the telegram referred to, but I assure the honorable member that no representations from the Power Alcohol League were ignored when I was in Northern Queensland. I gave a definite undertaking that the Government would consider its representations, and it is partly as the result of those representations that an inquiry into this matter is now being made. The inquiry will be conducted by an impartial and competent body, and the League will have every opportunity to place its proposals and opinions before that body.


– Is the Prime Minister prepared to grant the League representation on the committee of inquiry?


– The matter of representation has, I think, already been dealt with. I shall look’ into the matter in order to ensure that there is no possibility of anything other than an impartial decision being reached.

page 1718




– Can the Minister for Public Works state what progress is being made with the erection of dwellings in Canberra to overcome the existing shortage? Does he intend to effect a change of policy in this regard, and will he make- an early statement to the House regarding what it is proposed to do?


– I cannot at this stage give any detailed information on the subject, because I have not yet been able to obtain it from the Director-General of Works. I know that several contracts have been signed recently, for which tenders were called for some time ago, for the erection of a large number of cottages in Canberra, and they will be expeditiously completed. In addition, I am having made a complete survey of all works, those that have been approved, those thatare in process of construction, and those that are contemplated. When this information is available, I shall place it before the House.

page 1719



Minister for Commerce · Cowper · CP

by leave - Following on the agreement reached by the State Premiers . at conferences with representatives of the Commonwealth Government on the 29th August and the 29th September last, the Commonwealth Government undertook to introduce legislation for the purpose of collecting a fund to provide for wheat-growers a homeconsumption price of 5s. 2d. a bushel f.o.r. Williamstown on that portion of the crop sold for human consumption in Australia. The Commonwealth Government undertook to do this on the definite assurance that the State Governments would introduce legislation to fix prices for flour in their respective States. The Commonwealth proceeded to prepare the legislation which it undertook to introduce upon the passing of the necessary legislation by the States. Recently representations were made by the Premiers of Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia seeking by different methods some allocation from the homeconsumption price fund for the purpose of rendering relief to drought-stricken farmers in their States. The suggestions made by those Premiers necessitated a departure from the home-consumption price plan as agreed to unanimously by the Premiers at their previous conferences, and the Commonwealth Government, therefore, deemed it advisable to call a further conference of Premiers or their representatives to discuss the whole question and ascertain what departure, if any, was unanimously desired from the plan which they had previously submitted to the Commonwealth.

A conference was held on Wednesday at Canberra of Ministers representing the Commonwealth and the States of New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia.

The Premier of Tasmania had indicated his views by telegram. This conference discussed the serious position of wheatgrowers in certain areas and States due to climatic conditions, particularly in Victoria where the incidence of drought will cause a serious decrease of the output of wheat for the 193S-39 season.

It was realized that the Commonwealth Government, with its huge defence commitments, would not consider the making of an additional grant; so the conference discussed the question of allocation of the funds which will be derived from the sales tax on flour. It was realized that any proposal to allocate some portion of the fund for relief purposes would involve a departure from the plan as originally proposed by the States, but there was unanimity that assistance to distressed wheat-farmers during the current season was imperative.

The conference unanimously decided : -

  1. that the State governments fix the price of flour so that a homeconsumption price for wheat sold for human consumption in Australia may be made effective through a Commonwealth levy,
  2. that this fund with the exception of £500,000, be distributed on a production basis,
  3. that £500,000 be allotted in agreed proportions to the respective States for the alleviation of distressed wheat-farmers in 1938-39,
  4. that in its opinion the scheme should be a permanent one and that from the fund established through the collection of the Commonwealth levy a sum of £500,000 should be set aside each year for the introduction of a long-range plan for the transfer of farmers in marginal areas to other more productive areas or to other forms of production and/or for the alleviation of special distress amongst wheat-farmers.

The Commonwealth legislation has already been drafted but slight alterations will be necessary in order to give effect to the decisions reached yesterday. The States of New South Wales, Queensland,

South Australia and Western Australia have passed their legislation. In Victoria the bill has reached the secondreading stage and should be passed next week, aud in Tasmania the second reading will be moved next week. The Commonwealth Government will Be in a position to introduce its legislation next week.

page 1720




– Would Mr. Speaker consider the placing of an amplifier in this chamber so that statements made by Ministers, who make them in a voice so modulated that they cannot be heard, will be clear to all honorable members? It was difficult to hear the statement just made by the Minister for Commerce (Sir Earle Page).


– If the House generally thinks that it is necessary, I shall consider the matter, but, personally, I do not think that one would require an amplifier to hear what Ministers say.

Mr Lane:

– They speak to you, sir, not to us.


– I shall inquire into the matter if it be the wish of honorable gentlemen generally.

Mr Nock:

– Some of us did not hear distinctly what the Minister for Commerce said.

page 1720




– Is the Minister for Commerce yet in a position to believe that Japan will carry out its part of the trade agreement with Australia, particularly in regard to wool purchases? Will the right honorable gentleman give an assurance that the Government will watch the position closely?


– The Government is watching the position very closely, and it receives continuous reports.

page 1720




– I ask the Prime Minister whether, in view of the increase of the prices of commodities that has taken place since this Parliament last fixed the rate of invalid and old-age pensions at £1 a week, an increase of the rate of pension will be granted in order to enable the unfortunate pensioners to meet the increased cost of living? If this will not be done, why not ?


– There is no intention to increase the amount of pension that was fixed.. The position waa made very clear to honorable gentlemen on the last occasion when the rate of pension was fixed.


– In view of the fact that the Premier of New South Wales, Mr. Stevens, has publicly announced a departure from his long-standing policy of non-interference with prices and that legislation will be introduced in the Parliament of New South Wales at an early date to regulate the prices of foodstuffs, clothing and house rents, will the Commonwealth Government reconsider its decision not to increase the rate of the invalid and old-age pension beyond £1 a week in order to meet the rising costs that have been recognized by the Premier of New South Wales?


– Whatever the inclinations of members of the Government might be, it has been made perfectly clear to this Parliament and to the people of the country that the financial obligations that fall upon the Ministry to maintain and increase the efficiency of the defence of this country make it impossible at the present time to do what the honorable member has suggested.

page 1720




– Is it the intention of the Government to introduce legislation to reorganize the Australian Broadcasting Commission this session, or is it its intention to extend the term of office of the present commission?


– As honorable members are aware a reorganization of the Australian Broadcasting Commission is under the consideration of the Government, but it is doubtful that “legislation could be brought before the House before it adjourns for the Christmas break. If it cannot be introduced before that adjournment legislation will be submitted to Parliament at the earliest possible date. In the meantime it will be necessary to extend the term of the commission.

page 1720




– Has the Minister for Commerce yet made inquiries into the report of the intention of the Government of France to regulate importations of wool into France?


– That question is being pursued and I hope to be able to give honorable gentlemen information very soon.

page 1721




– When plans are being formulated for the housing of plant and equipment at the Lithgow Small Arms factory and other munitions factories, will consideration also be given to the need to provide housing accommodation for the employees?


– Consideration will be given to the honorable gentleman’s suggestion


– Is it a fact that machinery similar to machinery that is lying idle at Lithgow has been installed in the annexes to private establishments for the manufacture of munitions? Is the Minister for Defence prepared to give an undertaking that in future no machinery will be installed in those annexes in duplication of idle machinery in the Government’s own munitions works, and that no orders for munitions will be given to private companies until the whole of the machinery at the Government’s factories is in use?


– I should think that it would be extremely unlikely that machinery of a type which exists at Lithgow has been installed in these annexes. It is the policy of the Government to use its own factories. The annexes will bc used when the Government’s factories cannot cope with orders.

Mr Rosevear:

– The honorable gentleman says “ It is unlikely “.


– I shall check the matter and inform the honorable gentleman.


– Some little time ago the Prime Minister gave an assurance that the Government was evolving a plan whereby the profits of those engaged in the private manufacture of armaments and munitions would be limited. If that plan has been evolved, what are its details ?


– An assurance was given that the Government would take action to prevent any profiteering by those who produce armaments and munitions in cooperation with the Government munitions factories. Occasion to do so has not arisen. Moreover, those who have offered cooperation with the Government to meet its needs for armaments in a time of emergency have also given a guarantee that there will be no profiteering on their part. On our part, I have given an assurance that if there were any attempt at profiteering plans would be evolved to prevent it. 1 gave that assurance to the Australian trades unions through the Australasian Council of Trade Unions when I asked for their co-operation with the Government in the defence of this country, but I have not yet received any intimation that they will co-operate.


– Can the Prime Minister indicate what he considers to be profiteering? The right honorable gentleman says that profiteering will be prevented, but does not indicate what percentage or rate of profit he would consider to amount to profiteering.


– The honorable member’s question is an impossible one. He knows that at no particular time could a particular percentage be fixed that would cover the whole field of time. In any case, I have given an assurance that the Government will closely watch the position. The honorable gentleman is very concerned as to the possibility of this country being exploited, but the Government is just as much concerned as he is.


– The Prime Minister has often repeated that he has sought the co-operation of the trade union movement in defence matters, but does the right honorable gentleman seriously think that that movement would cooperate with his Government while the Minister for Defence is letting out contracts to non-union shops in- which award conditions are not observed ? In spite of all the assurances from the Minister for Defence that there is proper regulation of conditions in these shops, trades union officials in Melbourne report that when the officers of the department go around these premises they find men employed doing the work of boys.


– Order ! The honorable gentleman is not asking a question, he is making a statement.

Mr Street:

– That is incorrect.


– I did not ask the Minister for Defence the question.


– Any Minister may answer a question.

Mr Lyons:

– The honorable member made an incorrect assumption in respect of the Defence Department.


-It is incorrect to say that the Defence Department make’s contracts which permit non-union labour to be employed. The particular firm the honorable member has in mind is engaged in the manufacture of military hats. I have discussed this subject with the honorable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr. Holloway), and I am satisfied that a course is open for the union to take if it feels that any injustice is being done. Personally, I do not think any injustice is being done. In any case the union may cite the firm concerned as the respondent in an action, but it seems reluctant to do so. I have been approached by the honorable member for Melbourne Ports on this subject and have arranged to meet the secretary of the union, Mr. Devereaux, at the earliest possible date to discuss the matter. The general observation that the Defence Department lets contracts without providing that award rates shall be paid is entirely without foundation.

Mr.WARD. - Is the Prime Minister aware that similar assurances to those referred to by him were given by private firms engaged in the manufacture of armaments and munitions) in Great Britain-


– The honorable member is obviously basing his question upon a reply given to a previous question. His use of the words “ similar assurance “ clearly indicates this.

Mr.WARD. - I ask the Prime Minister whether he is aware that an assurance was given by those engaged in the manufacture of munitions and armaments in Great Britain, similar to that given by firms likely to be engaged in such undertakings in Australia, and yet during the recent emergency in Great Britain the scandalous incident occurred of certain firms increasing the price of sandbags by 300 per cent.?


– Order ! Obviously the honorable member’s question is based on a reply given to a previous question.

That is not in order, and to permit such a practice would allow a debate to develop during question time.


– I ask the Prime Minister whether in view of the unsatisfactory state of affairs which arose in Great Britain consequent upon the noncompliance of private firms engaged in the manufacture of munitions and armaments with an assurance-


– I cannot allow the question. Obviously it is based upon a reply previously given.


– Is the Minister for Defence aware that a Melbourne firm which secured a contract for the manufacture of military hats will not allow trade union officials on its premises? Is he also aware that in a recent labour publication in Victoria the statement was made by officials of the Pelt Hatters Union that when the official of the Defence Department was about to visit the factory in question boys were taken from machines and men put on them, and that after the official left the factory the boys were put back on the machines and the men taken off?


– The honorable member’s question is not in order: first, because it is not in order to state facts in asking a question except so far as may be necessary to explain the question - secondly, because the honorable member is clearly making an imputation that something improper is being done. I ask the honorable gentleman to pay attention to the rules governing the asking of questions.


– I wish to make a personal explanation. The firm to. which I have referred signed a contract in which certain things were guaranteed-


– It does not appear to me that the honorable member is making a personal explanation. Rather is he suggesting that certain things are not being done. Clearly the purpose of the honorable member’s question is to direct the attention of the Minister to certain things and not to obtain information !


– Will the Prime Minister inform me whether, when he sought the co-operation of the trade unions in connexion with the defence programme of the Government, he intimated that he proposed to use such powers as the Commonwealth Government has, and also to seek the co-operation of the State governments, to prevent the eviction from their homes of unemployed trade unionists, and also whether he undertook that no unemployed persons or their dependants would he allowed to go without the necessaries . of life?


– The appeal I made through the Australasian Council of Trade Unions to the trade unions for their cooperation in connexion with the Government’s Defence programme had no relation whatever to the questions asked by the honorable member.

page 1723




– Will the Minister for Commerce inform me what action, if any, is being taken to oblige British wool manufacturing firms to subsidize the fund established in Australia for the purposes of wool publicity and research?


– During my recent visit to England I discussed this subject with representatives of the wool manufacturing industry at Bradford and attempts are being made to secure 100 per cent, voluntary co-operation in the scheme. If these endeavours are not successful, consideration will be given to the possibility of introducing legislation to deal with the subject.

page 1723




–I ask the Minister for Works whether it is true that the Works Department is so inadequately staffed as to make it impossible for the officers of the department to prepare plans and specifications expeditiously for certain jobs, and that, therefore, these particular jobs have had to be done by day labour? Will the Minister give me an assurance that the staff of the department will be strengthened so as to make possible the preparation of plans and specifications without undue delay?


– It is the policy of the Commonwealth Government to do certain work by day labour where it can be donn, expeditiously and without interfering with the activities of certain organizations. These works relate chiefly to remodelling, additions, and the like.

Mr Holloway:

– I wish all the work could be done by day labour.


– That is not the policy of this Government. I have not been furnished with any information as to a shortage of staff in the Works Department, but, as I stated the other day, I have not yet had an opportunity to acquaint myself fully with all the affairs of the department.

page 1723




– I ask the Prime Minister whether the Government is prepared to allow the building industry of this country to languish because of his failure to carry out his election promises-


– The honorable member’s question is not in order.

page 1723


Bill brought up by Mr. Menzies and read a first time.

AttorneyGeneral · Kooyong · UAP

– I move -

That the second reading of the bill be made . an order of the day for the next day of silting.

I take this opportunity to inform honorable members that the explanatory memorandum which I made available in connexion with the Patents Bill introduced some little time ago should not be used in connexion with this bill, because certain amendments of the measure have since been made. When I move the second reading of the bill I shall circulate a new memorandum dealing with this particular measure.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

page 1723

BUDGET 1938-39

In Committee of Supply:

Consideration resumed from 10th November, 1938 (vide page 1472), on motion by Mr. Casey -

That the first item in the Estimates under Division I - Hie Senate - namely, “ Salaries and allowances, £8,210 “, be agreed to.

Mi-. FRANCIS (Moreton) [11.28].- The number of honorable members who rose, with me, to obtain the call from the Chair to continue this discussion indicates the degree of enthusiasm to see the budget debate’ ‘proceeded with immediately. I regret that so much delay has occurred in connexion with this matter. The budget was introduced on 9lst September last, but practically two months elapsed before the Government was able to make an opportunity for it to be discussed. In modification of such criticism a? may be offered respecting this delay, and of any observations that I may make on the subject, I confess that the international situation that developed, but which we aU hope has been terminated by the Munich . Pact, and the disorganization that has occurred in consequence of other untoward happenings, have undoubtedly contributed to the delay of which I complain. I hope, howover, that in the future the Government will make it possible for honorable members to proceed with the budget debate as soon as possible after the budget has been introduced, for many matters arise in connexion with every budget which honorable members wish to discuss. Delay in this respect does not permit honorable members to take a really effective part in discussing certain aspects of government policy affected by the budget.

The outstanding feature of this budget is that this is the first occasion since the Lyons Government has been in office on which it has been found necessary to increase the burden of taxation on the people in this country. I am sure that, in view of the special international conditions existing to-day, all responsible taxpayers of Australia are ready to cooperate with the Government in endeavouring to secure national security and social betterment. Since the Lyons Government came into office it has reduced taxation by many tens of millions of pounds. The total cumulative effect of taxation remissions made by the Lyons Administration to the 30th June, 1938, may be estimated as follows: -

This budget practically subordinates everything to defence. To every reasonable man and woman it must be an uncomfortable thought that, just as Australia is emerging from the depression and seems to be on the way to the enjoyment of a period of prosperity and financial security, we must of necessity submit to fresh taxation imposts which will once again throw us out of our stride. I am afraid we cannot afford to grumble. It is beyond the powers of Parliament to influence the trend of international affairs. The world is definitely heading for an epoch in which armed strength will be the final argument between nations, and we must accordingly arm ourselves to the best of our ability.

In the current financial year Australia will incur a defence expenditure of nearly £.17,000,000, as against £11,000,000 last year and £3,000,000 in 1931-32. These figures may sound very high, in fact staggering, to a peaceful people unaccustomed to the fear of war. Let us compare our defence expenditure with that of Great Britain. Australia expends 3 per cent, of its national income on defence, less than £2 10s. a head of population, whereas Great Britain expends about S per cent, of its total income, or something like £7 a head of population. But, in comparison with the other dominions, Australia’s defence expenditure is outstanding. A feature of this defence expenditure is that the proportion that comes from loans is to bc considerably reduced. Whereas, during the last financial year, nearly onehalf of the £11,500,000 expended on defence was borrowed money, this year only £4,000,000 is to be provided out ofloan moneys. I congratulate the Treasurer (Mr. Casey) on this sound policy. Australia cannot, at this stage, afford to over-borrow, because of the very large loan conversions about to fall due.

Of this year’s expenditure nearly £10,000,000 will be utilized in the building of defence works, ships, and aircraft, and in the manufacture or purchase of equipment, arms, ammunition and stores: The remainder is labelled, “ Maintenance expenditure “. Very little expenditure is provided for in this budget for the enlargement of the personnel of our defence forces. The strength of our defence forces has been fixed at 35,000. The Prime Minister (Mr. Lyons) has recently announced that an effort is to be made to double that number by raising a volunteer army of 70,000. With this objective I am in accord. Every effort should be made to raise that number with as little delay as possible, but even a volunteer army of that size would be Of little avail if the troops were not more efficient than the present 31,000 trainees, who, it is generally accepted, are only half trained.

How could they be anything but half trained when they have only six days’ continuous training in camp, one day of which is taken up in going into camp, the issuing of supplies, stores, &c, and one day in cleaning up camp, returning stores and returning to their homes? Only six other days of training scattered throughout the year are provided to enable them to fit themselves for their job of defending our continent. The volunteers have our wholehearted admiration and regard. We all appreciate the wonderful effort they are making in existing circumstances. I want it to be understood that I criticize not the volunteers but government policy in this respect. With units so highly mechanized as they must be to-day, the period of training to reach efficiency must of necessity take twice as long as it did in pre-war days. Therefore, I believe that greater provision should be made for an increase of the time devoted to training, and that a better system of training should be adopted. The problem is an urgent one. The criticism that I direct to this essentially defence budget is that not enough money is provided for the “adequate training of our men who are to use the intricate mechanized arms and equipment now being purchased. Most of the defence expenditure will be incurred in the purchase of materials and equipment, and very little is to be expended on the personnel who are to use this mechanized equipment, or on the training of that personnel.

The Government should grant increased pay to volunteers and should provide for the payment of efficiency pay which should be granted to trainees each year for three years. Should a trainee be deemed efficient in the discharge of his duties, and have served continuously for three years, he should be granted a further sum by way of deferred pay. To-day, volunteers stay only a short time with their units, with the result that the personnel of our forces is continually changing, making it difficult to advance much beyond recruit training. If voluntary training is to be successful, a special effort must be made to ensure that our trainees have, a right to attend camps of continuous training. It is the best training they get, but, unfortunately, the percentage that is able to attend camp is very low. All trainees want to attend camps, but they are fearful that if they approach their employers for the necessary time off, they will lose their employment. These men should not be exposed to this risk. The Defence Department must tackle this question as one of its most urgent problems concerning man power. If this be not done, and volunteers are not given at least three years’ continuous training they cannot be efficient, and the whole expenditure in connexion with the voluntary scheme would be more than futile.

There is ample evidence of a lack of goodwill at defence head-quarters for the ex-members of the Australian Imperial Force. I have always felt that this is so. Of course, by far the majority of my comrades of the Australian- Imperial Force are either so disabled, or so advanced in years, further increased by the rigours of war service, that they could not be considered as available for our first-line defence in time of national emergency. There are, however, many ways in which the services and experience of the ex-members of the Australian Imperial Force could be utilized. Recently, I submitted to the then Minister’ for Defence (Mr. Thorby) a plan for the effective utilization of the personnel of the Australian Imperial Force in the time of war. He undertook to put it into operation, but the recent ministerial change precluded him from doing so. I express the hope that the new Minister for Defence (Mr. Street) will put the plan into operation at the earliest possible moment. The plan is as follows : - To obtain the fullest co-operation of the returned soldiers, the army, as at present constituted, must have as little to do with the “ digger “ as possible in his enlistment administration.

From the day mobilization is ordered, no troops other than our militia are available for guard duties on railway bridges, oil depots, wireless stations, gas, water and electric light supplies protection, and for anti-sabotage. Militia cannot possibly mobilize and train intently with practically their whole present strength scattered everywhere on the. duties I have mentioned.

Through the Federal President and the executive of the Returned Sailors and Soldiers Imperial League, of Australia, invitations should be extended to exAustralian Imperial Force and British Imperial ex-service men to volunteer for these home duties, the names being listed in their own sub-branch, or the nearest sub-branch of the Returned Sailors and Soldiers Imperial League of Australia, if they are not members of the league.

Arrangements should be made to allot these ex-service men by platoons to the number required to be enlisted to the nearest militia battalion, keeping exservice men intact.

Issue the men with complete war equipment at the. sub-branch or the drill hall, as found more convenient, the battalion or sub-branch to be responsible for the necessary accounting for such equipment on details as arranged.

Allow the men to meet on their own arranged nights at intervals to be determined, whether at the drill hall or at the sub-branch of the league, as the case may be. If arrangements are made for them to meet at the drill hall, officers and noncommissioned officers should be allowed to have their own mess, or to be honorary members of the officers’ or sergeants’ mess.

Arrange for payment at militia rates or a lump sum payment for privates, with pro rata payments to non-commissioned officers and officers, subject to efficiency. Give them authority to deal with their own absentees, discharges and fresh enlistments.

At the time of mobilization issue to them from the battalions, with which they are co-operating, full information as to their exact duties. The duties that the militia would normally undertake would be set out in the mobilization orders. ExAustralian Imperial Forde men could then proceed on their duties without further notice immediately mobilization was ordered.

Ex-service men would normally be required to remain on duty after mobilization for a period of up to six or eight weeks, until the militia organization was” smoothly running. The more elderly members of the ex-service organization could continue to remain on guard duties, while others might prefer to join service, units, or to act as instructors or administrators in training battalions or other base units. An important duty in respect of mobilization would thus be discharged very capably without fuss or loss of efficiency to the militia, who will need “ every man and every minute “.

An alternative proposal, or one that could be adopted in conjunction with that which I have just mentioned, is that ex-members of the Australian Imperial Force, and of the British Imperial Force, be invited to volunteer for refresher courses in the more modern and mechanized methods of warfare, and after competitive examination be granted provisional commissions in the Commonwealth Military Forces, or provisional appointments as non-commissioned officers. Their services could then be available for training with units of the militia forces, to whom they should be attached as reserves.

As I pointed out earlier, I brought under the notice of the former Minister for Defence the details to which I have just referred, and discussed the matter with him at considerable length. He undertook, wherever possible, to adopt my suggestions. I understand that these proposals meet with the unanimous support of the Returned Sailors and Soldiers Imperial League of Australia. I hope that the present Minister for Defence will approve of the scheme, and put it into operation without delay.

There is one other point to which 1 should like to refer. A national registration should be made of our total manpower, and of the resources of our secondary and primary industries, so that the fullest use might be made of them. Men should be used where they can pull the greatest weight. Medical men, engineers, and the like, should not be used in the infantry or light horse as combatant troops if their skill and training could be applied to greater national advantage elsewhere.

During the last war, an extraordinarily large number of women’s organizations were raised in Australia, Great Britain and other parts of the world. They were enabled to become thoroughly organized by reason of the fact that the war was of such lengthy duration. I see no reason why similar organizations should not now be established, composed of those who have grown to womanhood since the termination of the war, and are anxious to make their services available for the benefit of the nation, in case any emergency should arise. They could be used in many activities associated with preparations for defence, protection from gas attacks in our cities, and in red cross, ambulance and nursing services.


– There is no ‘more useful work than that of making certain that Australia is adequately defended. I know that the honorable gentleman does not hold ideas along those lines; he is a pacifist, because he knows that there are plenty of people in Australia who are willing and anxious to defend this country, and that, consequently, there is no need for him to do anything in that respect. I regard all that has been done by the Government as vital for the defence of this country, my only criticism being that it has not gone far enough. A great work lies ahead of the Government if “the nation is to be adequately defended. Surface appearances indicate that sufficient has not so far been undertaken. We seem to be merely manufacturing and securing war materials. Although I admit that this is most urgent, I affirm that the other work is equally urgent.

Whilst I regret that the shortage in the budget of £3,184,000, owing to the special provision for defence, has to be made up by extra taxation, I congratulate the Government on the method it proposes to adopt to raise the additional amount required. I have yet to learn that any tax is popular; none is. The intention of the Government to meet the shortage is by an additional impost of 15 per cent, on income tax payable by companies and individuals, estimated to raise £1,400,000, and by an increase of the sales tax from 4 per cent, to 5 per cent., estimated to raise £1,300,000. It is an equitable proposal. Already the Government has specially exempted from sales tax all foodstuffs, goods usually required by the basic wage earners, the sick and the destitute, and the primary producer, also fields which offer particular opportunities for the encouragement of employment, and the requirements of educational, scientific and religious institutions, and the like. Accordingly, I think that the tax is placed where it can best be borne.

I regret the necessity to increase the present rates of land tax by approximately 11.1 per cent.; but when it is recalled that this tax was reduced five years ago by 50 per cent., it will be realized that a very substantial measure of relief is still being given. The tax 13 collected only on land of a value of £5,000 and over, and three-quarters of it is derived from city and town properties, only one-fourth being contributed by country lands.

The Acting Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Forde), recently made a speech i a which he offered certain criticism of the Government which in my opinion was not based on sound premises. He said that youth employment and other social problems in which the Government professed to take a very deep interest had been omitted from the budget. I contend that the promises made in respect of these matters are being fulfilled. The Government has made available the sum of £400,000, to be expended over a period of two years in connexion with youth em”ployment. The measure of delay which has occurred in giving effect to this proposal is the responsibility of the Governments of the States. One must admit, however, that considerable organization was needed to enable plans to be prepared and details to be worked out for the absorption in industry of youths between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five years who because, of the depression, have never had an opportunity to obtain employment. In some cases, the State governments have tackled the problem with a certain degree of enthusiasm. In his criticism in this respect, the honorable gentleman disclosed the desperate position in which he found himself in attempting to make out a case against the Government. National insurance is the only social problem that he could have had in mind. Any delay that has taken place in the plans to put into operation the scheme which has already been given legislative expression has been caused by the unfortunate disaster to the air-liner Kyeema in the Dandenong Ranges, which caused the death of the legal representation of the British Medical Association which had been appearing before the royal commission inquiring into doctors’ remuneration. “When that commission has completed its investigation and has submitted its report, there will be no delay in bringing the scheme into operation.

The honorable gentleman also stated that the national debt had been increased very substantially since the Lyons Administration came into office. Se sought to leave in the minds of honorable members the impression that that increase had been due principally to faulty financial administration by this Government.

Mr Brennan:

– Undoubtedly.


– I shall endeavour to enlighten the honorable member for Batman. When this Government came into office, the national debt of Australia was £1,182,566,000. At the 30th June last, it was £1.275,026,000, an increase of £92,460,000. I point out that in that period, the debts of the States increased by £99,544,000, and there was a reduction of Commonwealth indebtedness by £7,OS4,000. When the Lyons Administration assumed office, the Commonwealth national debt was £397,929,000, and on the 30th June last, it was £390,S45,000.

The honorable gentleman asserted that overseas loans aggregating £200,000,000 had not been converted. My reply to him is that conversion has already been effected in respect of £200,000,000, representing loans which fell due for redemption, and that those loans which have not so far been converted, have not yet become due for redemption.

Having regard to “the different circumstances in which we are living to-day, the budget is one on which the Treasurer and the Government can feel a definite measure of satisfaction. The comments of the press upon it throughout the world practically without exception have been favorable. The London Baily Telegraph, in a leading article, said -

Most countries may well envy Australia’s economic position. An increase in defence expenditure is not likely to be begrudged in the present state of the world.

Professor Copland, concerning it, made the following statement: -

On the whole, the increased taxation announced with the budget yesterday by the Federal Treasurer (Mr. Casey) lias been soundly chosen. It is spread evenly between the direct and indirect taxes. It involves no new taxes, and no disturbances to business, in spite of what may be said in criticism.

The president of the ‘Chamber of Commerce of Western Australia is reported as follows: -

The Treasurer had produced a workmanlike budget - taking due cognizance of trade factors as well as defence requirements.

I think the budget has been generally accepted, not only in Australia, but also throughout the world, as one of which the people and the Government can be proud. Having regard to all the circumstances, the Treasurer has done a good job. I congratulate him on it, and I hope that, in future, there will not be the same delay in introducing the budget and having it debated.


.- The budget under review at the present time is certainly not a cheerful one. No one faces increased expenditure or increased taxation cheerfully, but if it causes serious reflection on national affairs, and sober thought on national problems, it will be all to the good. It has been frequently stated that we have passed the peak of prosperity, and are now entering upon a period of regression. Well, I do not agree that we have ever reached the peak of prosperity. Unless prosperity is provided for all, there is no peak of prosperity, and whatever measure of prosperity there exists for even a section of the community cannot be permanent unless it is also general. It is true that seasons and prices vary. Seasons are poor in some places, and prices rise and fall. These factors affect the general welfare of the country, but if there were wise preparations, and a just distribution when things were plentiful, we could prevent the lean years from becoming tragic years.

We must look ahead in planning for a nation. There are numerous outstanding problems confronting Australia. Among them may be classed as most outstanding the industrial development of the nation, national defence, effective monetary reform, organized marketing, standardized railway gauge, the transfer of the unemployed from sustenance to permanent work, the simplification of methods of arbitration and the regulation of conditions of labour, and the control of combines to prevent profiteering.

I shall not elaborate these problems, as they have been elaborated very effectively by others on previous occasions. I content myself at this stage with merely stating them, because it is my desire to stress just one aspect of government, that is, the reform of our parliamentary machine, which I regard as imperative. The outstanding problems I have mentioned, and others not specified, call for urgent attention, but many of them cannot be dealt with under our existing constitution. The bulk of them cannot be as effectively handled under the present system as under a unified system of government.

After 38 years’ experience of the federal system, I doubt whether there is one thinking man who is satisfied with the results. The need for change is becoming more urgent day by day. One has only to recall the events of the last twelve months, or even less, to be convinced that we are reaching a stage when that change is imminent, and certainly desirable. There is always a call in war time for unity, and I suggest that we should also have unity in time of peace. The world around us is moving rapidly. Many nations are pursuing dangerous paths. Democracy, as we know it, is being sorely tried. In many countries, and in many places, democratic institutions have been destroyed, and it is idle for us in Australia to boast of our democracy unless we are determined to make it a real, living force. Democracy, as has been tritely observed, means government by the people. The people can govern only through their representatives in parliament, and, in my judgment, they can govern effectively only through a unified parliament. Our Constitution should clothe this Parliament of the nation with full legislative powers, so that it may respond readily to the wishes of the people. Legislation passed by this Parliament has, from time to time, been declared invalid. Parliament has been told that it did not have power to pass the laws, and that they were, therefore, ultra vires the Constitution. They were declared invalid, not on their merits, but on technical and legal grounds, because they were outside the constitutional powers of the Parliament. These decisions of the High Court, which was set up to interpret the Constitution, have created vexatious delays; they have caused expense in the industrial field of arbitration, and have disgusted the unions. Many of these have left the court ; many threaten to do so. It is a quarter of a’ century since that great constitutional authority and justice of the High Court, Mr. Justice Higgins, made the remark that the way to the Arbitration Court was through a veritable Serbonian bog of technicalities. That was 25 years ago, and the industrialists of Australia are still struggling in the morass. The first Federal Parliament realized this, though it was constituted largely of men who had drafted the Constitution. 1 Mr. Higgins, afterwards Mr. Justice Higgins, moved this motion: -

That the Parliament shall have full power to make laws as to wages, hours and conditions of labour.

That was carried by the Federal Parliament unanimously. We have not progressed much since then. The Constitution, as honorable members know, gives power to the Commonwealth in connexion with conciliation and arbitration for the prevention and settlement of industrial disputes extending beyond the limits of any one State. Every word of that provision has been tested in the High Court.

Passing from the industrial field to the larger field of economics and finance, what has ‘been our experience? We have been compelled to adopt makeshifts in an attempt to overcome constitutional restraints. We have set up a loan counciL

We frequently call Premiers conferences, but these have proved merely expedients. Every national emergency has found us with the bands of the nation fastened by constitutional manacles. The result has been inaction and delay. No expedient can be devised, in my judgment, to secure unity of effort in Australia while we have seven sovereign powers, embracing thirteen houses of parliament, with 600 members of parliament, and 70 Ministers of the Crown, each, parliament having, for practical purposes, equal status and authority over many matters. With a population of 7,000,000 people, we have seven sovereign parliaments, seven governors, seven overseas representatives - the High Commissioner and the Agents-General - seven taxing authorities, seven railway departments, seven public works departments, seven police forces, and so on. It is grotesque, and there are many other departments that can be multiplied by seven. As a matter of fact, I regard these as the seven wonders of the world.

The duplication and over-lapping inherent in this system cause delay and expense, and bring ridicule on the institution of Parliament. That is the most serious aspect of the matter. We are living in an age when democracy is being challenged. and if the parliamentary institution is not capable of responding to the will of the people in peace as well as in war, then the institution will suffer. To have our military and police forces under separate authorities is not only absurd, but also highly dangerous. .National security demands co-ordination of transport, yet we have seven railway departments, with three principal’ gauges and we have nine Commissioners of Railways. Public works in the various States are under independent authorities, so that works are not planned to meet national needs. They are planned to meet the needs of the areas, circumscribed by artificial geographical boundaries, called States.

The Sydney Bulletin, which has .been a consistent advocate of the remodelling of the Constitution, aptly summed up the position as follows in a recent issue: -

The defence of Australia is the sport of seven governments and a multitude of transport departments and harbour boards. In the result, we have seven government railway systems, operating 24,780 miles on different gauges - (i,050 on- 5 ft. 3 in., 0,103 on 4ft. Si in., on 12,537 on 3 ft. 6 in.

I shall not elaborate that point, because we had an excellent debate on the subject yesterday, capably inaugurated by the honorable member for Maribyrnong (Mr. Drakeford), who was followed by other honorable members who also made excellent speeches. It is sufficient to state the position in order to call the attention of the people to these anomalies. Take one small matter which indicates the stupidity of this division of powers. I refer to the simple matter of a joint electoral roll. One would imagine that it would only be necessary to mention the need for a joint roll for it to be agreed to. State and Federal authorities cover the same areas, and represent the same people. As far as the Legislative Assemblies and the Commonwealth Parliament are concerned, we are on the same franchise, and yet we have been trying for 26 years to make arrangements with all the States for a joint roll. The first agreement was made with Tasmania 26 years ago, but. the job is not yet completed. So far, only four States have come into the agreement, and two are still outside. This makes for needless cost. The proposal of the Commonwealth for a joint roll does not even constitute a challenge to the power or authority of the States, yet we cannot induce all of them to agree to this simple measure of co-operation in the interests of efficiency and economy. The present system is misleading, inefficient and costly.

These thing3 are faults of a federal system, and sooner or later we shall be forced to adopt a unified system, a system similar to that of Great Britain, South Africa and New Zealand. Canada is the only other member of the British Commonwealth of Nation’s that works under a federal system, but even in Canada the central authority has much wider powers than the Commonwealth Parliament possesses. The Canadian Parliament has complete trade and commerce powers and possesses all residual powers that aTe not written into the provincial constitutions. Australia has a written constitution for the Commonwealth and the residual powers are left to the States.

One of the arguments presented against one sovereign parliament for Australia is the size of Australia, the broad expanse of the country; but distance to-day is not the obstacle that it was when federation was accomplished. It has been almost annihilated by modern transport methods. For example when the ‘first colonial parliament was set up in Sydney it took longer for members of that parliament to reach the seat of government from country constituencies than it now takes to travel to Canberra from the most distant parts of the Commonwealth. We have progressed in transport methods, but distance is still held up as a barrier or objection to sane government of the nation. If, on the score of size, Australia should have seven sovereign parliaments, Russia should have at least 20, but it has not. lt is not suggested by anybody who advocates one sovereign parliament for Australia that every detail should be dealt with by the national parliament. What is suggested is that the local details could be entrusted to small local bodies with powers delegated to them by the national parliament, retaining for the national parliament all national questions. If postal facilities can be provided for by a central authority, why cannot the railways? Is there any special circumstance in the management and control of railways that would make it impossible, impractical or inefficient for them to be controlled by one authority as we control the Postal Department? In our railways which we discussed here yesterday we find many anomalies. The Minister for the Interior (Mr. McEwen) mentioned one of them, namely, the injustice of differential freight charges at the borders. It was said when we federated that by the abolition of border duties we should abolish border barbarism, but it still exists. The Minister mentioned the dragging of produce to the capital cities of States away from the natural ports and outlets for that produce by means of freight concessions.

The honorable member for Werriwa (Mr. Lazzarini) yesterday mentioned decentralization. We shall never have real decentralization in Australia until we have one unified parliament, because the influence of the State capital cities is too great in the State Parliaments. There would not be that influence if we had one national parliament. Under such a system no one could imagine the freight rates of railways being fixed to haul produce to capital cities hundreds of miles further away from the place of production than other cities or ports of outlet. That could not be imagined under a unified system.

Then we have the question of the public debt. In the final analysis the whole of Australia’s debt, Commonwealth and State, is a Commonwealth liability, and this debt is based upon the nation’s assets. Our land, our railways, and our forests, and other great national assets are under the control of the States, whereas the debts which have been incurred in respect of them are, ultimately, the responsibility of the Commonwealth. Nobody will be pleased with the way in which those assets are being conserved, or, rather, with the lack of conservation of them. I do not propose to go into that aspect, because on former occasions, not only I, but also other honorable gentlemen, have gone deeply into the question of the destruction of timber, soil erosion, and the silting of streams. I am glad to - see that there has been a little awakening of interest, but it is still small, and the voices of those who protest against the destruction of our assets still are voices crying in the wilderness. I pay tribute, however, to the federal authority in forestry matters for’ what it has done towards the conservation of our forests, but there is still diversity of control. The best interests of the nation would he served if forestry matters were dealt with by an authority clothed with power from one Parliament. I am keen on the decentralization of our population and development, but I believe that we shall never achieve it until we have a unified system. I represent a city electorate and I have never wavered in my detestation of slums due to the growth of the capital cities at. the expense of the rural population and to the detriment of the nation as a whole. Even if it bc not economically profitable to distribute our industries over the whole of the country, instead of centralizing them in the capital cities, it would be nationally sound.

The main purpose of having a unified system would be to end the legal arguments as to what are the powers of the Commonwealth and what are the powers of the States, whether this is or :that is State. We have cost, delay, and vexatious litigation, when the people of :this country are asking us to get on with the work. These disabilities are inherent to a federal system. ‘ The High Court has been set up to interpret the Constitution. We cannot complain about what justices of the High Court do in carrying out their work, but I do complain about the system. After legislation has been in force for yean, it is challenged in the High Court and often thrown out by a legal decision, irrespective of whether the people want it - we imagine that they must if their representatives pass it ; otherwise we do not understand democracy. Interpretation of the Constitution in the High Court becomes almost a personal thing. With the changes of personnel of the High Court Bench, come changes of interpretation of the Constitution. We are ruled in a large number of cases, not by a majority of the people, but by a majority of the justices of the High Court or members of the Privy Council.

I am grateful to the Attorney-General (Mr. Menzies) for his having supplied me with a list of the cases in which the High Court has overruled its own decisions. They are not numerous, but are far-reaching in their effect and there must be added to them the many cases in which the decisions have been by majority. In many cases, if one justice had turned one way instead of the other, the High Court would have reached decisions opposite to those which they did reach. An outstanding illustration is the history of the interpretation, of section 92 of the Constitution. Section 51 of the Constitution, which specifies the powers of the Commonwealth, sets out inter alia that it shall - have power to make laws for the peace, or, and good Government of the Commonwealth with respect to trade and commerce with other countries and among the States - whereas section 92 provides that - trade commitee and intercourse among the States shall he absolutely free.

Those words “ absolutely free “ have caused more argument than any other two simple words in the English language. We are told by th. t eminent constitutional authority, Sir Harrison # Moore, that the phrase “ absolutely free “ i3 “ vague and question begging/’ whereas we always thought it was simple. To illustrate how section 92 of the Constitution operates in respect of the marketing and handling, of goods between State and State, I cite the Foggitt Jones case which was heard before the High Court in 1916. Foggitt Jones and Company Limited, a company incorporated in Queensland, instituted an action against the State of New South Wales to prevent it from impeding their right to purchase livestock in New South Wales and take them to Queensland. The High Court held by a majority of four to one, the fifth justice being doubtful, that the legislation of New South Wales which sought to prevent the sale of stock in New South Wales to other Stales, was invalid. In (September, 1916, a few months later, in the Duncan case, almost exactly the same class of legislation passed by the Parliament of Queensland was tested in the High Court which ruled by a majority of five to two that the legislation was valid. Then in 1920, the High Court in the Mc Arthur case ‘held by a majority of five to two that the decision in the Duncan case was wrong and that the decision in the Foggitt Jones case was right. Then the Privy Council in 193C put the “ kibosh “ on the lot. It decided that neither the Commonwealth Government nor a State government had the power to do what either had been doing In 1920 it was held that the Commonwealth could, but that the States could not. make certain legislation, whereas sixteen years afterwards the Privy Council declared that it could not be done either by the Commonwealth or by the States, acting together or apart, and as the result our legislation on marketing to a large degree went by the board. Even when we have the court’s kindly permission to legislate on behalf of the people of this country, we are later overruled in our legislation at times by a decision of a High Court of half a dozen justices or by the Privy Council. The last decision of the Privy Council, I understand, leaves a gap in the powers of the Commonwealth Government and of the State governments. Most of us laymen, atanyrate, and. most lawyers, had believed that powers’ existed to make the legislation which the Privy Council upset.

Mr Prowse:

-The people refused to give the powerto the Commonwealth.


– I shall come to that in a moment. We have a no man’s land in our legislation. It is an intolerable position. The decisions of the courts are reached, not On the merits of the question, but on the capacity of Parliament to pass legislation. Mr. JusticeRichinthe James case in 1929 said -

After many years of exploration into the dark recesses of this subject I am content to take the decided cases assailing directions, upon which I may setmy course, however unexpected may be the destination to which it brings me.

He set his course upon the sailing directions contained in the decided cases, but seven years later the Privy Council said that the course was entirely wrong, that he should have gone south instead of north.

On the industrial side of the question, the p6wer Of conciliation and arbitration, there has been great difficulty. The unions’ have expended tens of thousands of pounds in order to have a decision reached as to what is meant by the words in the Constitution. The unions fought for this interpretation because they wanted a common rule. We have step by step come a little closer to its but we havenotgotityet. The case of the railway employee’s is an example and a warning. It was held at first that the Commonwealth Arbitration Court could hot fix labour conditions for railways which were instrumentalities of the States. We went to the country with two referendum proposals asking for that and other industrial powers to be given to the Commonwealth, but the people rejected them. After deliberation in 1915 the States agreed to transfer industrial powers to the Commonwealth, but they broke their word. The High Court, however, came along in 1920, and said that the Commonwealth Court had the power all the time to make awards for railway employees. But there is no guarantee that that decision will stand, because other decisions have been overruled.

I am indebted tothe Commonwealth Solicitor-General, Mr. Knowles, for hisbook, The Australian Constitution.I commend all honorable gentlemen who have not yet read it to do so. It contains all of the constitutionalcases, and the details of the voting at each referendum, as well as much other useful information. He refers to what one of the Arbitration Court judges termed “infamous word splitting “. I am not intending to impose details upon honorable members in the brief space of time that I have at my disposal, but I use them as a background for my thoughts’ on the matter. I find Mr. Knowles’s book most interesting.

Not only are cases over-ruled by the High Court, but the court even over-rules its own previous decisions. Moreover, many dissenting judgments have been given. In fact, we hardly know where we are, in respect of the court. Here is an example: The court held; in a certain case, that an award was binding on a successor in a business. It might have been imagined that it would not be necessary to go to the court to discover that; yet the decisionwas based on a three-to-two judgment of the court. In some cases’, judges are divided three on each side, and the Chief Justice is required to determine the issue with a casting vote. These numerous majority decisions of the High Court may be over-ruled in the future by merely an alteration of one in the personnel of the High Court bench. Professor Harrison Moore declared that a change in the personnel of the bench “ might iead to revolutionary changes in the interpretation of the law.” He also remarked - “ The High Court has not declared itself bound by its own decisions.” Although the court is not bound by its own decisions, this Parliament of representatives of the people of the Commonwealth is bound thereby, In effect, the court assumes legislative authority under the Constitution. It has a power of veto in respect of the legislation of this Parliament. That is not democracy. I am not criticizing either the court or its justices. I mention these facts to show a weakness that i3 inescapable from, and inherent in, the federal system. As Professor Dicey said : “ Federalism means excessive legalism.” We should extricate ourselves from this tangled web of legalism. We need a clean-cut method of government, which we would have if an alteration of the Constitution were made and Australia had a one united parliament. I commend the Australian Natives Association for the splendid work it has done in educating the public mind on this subject. It has taken a broad outlook.

I suggest that this Parliament should meet early next year, dispose of such business as the Government has to submit, and then hold a Constitution session, to formulate proposals for the alteration of the Constitution for submission to the people at the next general elections. In my humble opinion it is imperative for us to do something of this kind. It may be said that 1 am looking a long time ahead. I believe that in the past we have never given the people sufficient opportunity to consider Constitutional proposals. Campaigns extending over four or six weeks have been held, and a good deal of misrepresentation has occurred. I do not blame either party for this. In fact all sides have been guilty of it to some degree, because the issues involved have nearly always been affected, by the policy of the government in power at the time. We should try to avoid anything of that description. Any proposals formulated for the alteration of the Constitution should be divorced from Government policy, and clear cut issues should be submitted to the people. Surely, after 38 years’ experience of the Constitution, we should be able to discuss with an open mind the situation in which we find ourselves. If such a session as I have suggested were held, differences of opinion would probably be revealed. If that should be so, the people should be invited to decide as between the issues involved. At least we should ask the people if they favour one sovereign parliament for Australia. It may be said that on other occasions the people have refused to extend the power of this Parliament and that we must accept this situation. I remind honorable members that some of us, I among the number, have stood for election at different times and have been defeated; but we have stood again and have been elected. We do not believe that we should give up the effort because a defeat has met us. Many people whom 1 met during the recent referendum campaign voted in the negative because, they said, “Australia has too many parliaments and therefore the parliaments have too much power.” I wish to give the people an opportunity to elect one parliament for Australia. If they are given that opportunity I believe that they would accept it.

We should recast our whole Constitution. Some people speak about the Constitution as though it were sacrosant because it was. drafted by great men of the past. For this reason they say that we must not place our unholy hands upon it. But is the dead past forever to rule the living present? I hope not. That was never intended. When the late honorable Alfred Deakin presented the Constitution to the people of Australia he said : “ It is the framework and ground plan of the nation.” ‘ It was expected that we would build on this ground plan, and improve the framework. All our industrial machinery has been modernized but our machinery of government is obsolete. Our throbbing, pulsating life and activity is deadened by a musty parchment. If we continue like this we shall be political mummies in a constitutional tomb.

Our population is homogeneous. Our people have the same habits and the same traditions; they speak the same language, and look to the same ideals. With one parliament we should march forward as one people to greater and higher achievements.


.- All honorable members present have been glad of the opportunity to hear the speech just delivered by the right honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Scullin), on our Constitution. The problems to which he has referred will have to be solved some day by this Parliament in particular, and. the country at large. In these days, the right honorable gentleman seldom takes an active part in the debates in this Parliament, but when he speaks, he invariably gives us food for thought. Whether we agree or disagree with the views he has just expressed, we must all admit that he has made a speech which is of definite value to the Commonwealth.

I propose to deal at some length, with only one or two subjects in the course of my remarks. I think it better to follow that course than to try to touch casually upon every matter referred to in the budget. I congratulate the Government upon its management of the affairs of this country. 1 feel that it has done a good spot of work.

Mr Brennan:

– “Spot” is right 1


– I always try to look on the bright spots, and they are numerous when we look at the record of this Government. For that reason, I hope it will remain in office for a long time. Notwithstanding what has been said lately, there is absolute unanimity in the Government parties, and also absolute confidence in the Prime Minister.

Mr Brennan:

– The honorable member appears to be putting himself in the running for the next Cabinet reconstruction.


– 1 am not in the running, and I assure honorable members that I am not looking for office. 1 believe that if this Government remains in charge of affairs in this country, we shall go forward to greater and better days. The Government did a great deal to help the country out of the depression in which it rested a few years ago. I do not say that it should be given all the credit for the position in which we find ourselves today, but at least it gave the people a lead and much that has been accomplished during the last few years should be placed to its credit.

I wish to direct attention to certain vital factors in relation to the motor industry of Australia and our supply of petrol and oils. The necessity for improving our position in respect of local supplies of petrol and oil is urgent. In 1937-38, 351,000,000 gallons of petrol were used in Australia. Of this quantity, 332,750,000 gallons, valued at £5,503,085, were imported, and 18,250,000 gallons were produced in Australia. The duty and primage tax, amounting to 7¼d. per gallon, on this petrol yielded £9,761,810 in 1937-38. The urgency of this problem is partly in the fact that scientists and geological experts have declared that the world’s known sources of petrol supply are being rapidly exhausted. It is predicted that they will be utterly depleted within the next twenty years, in these circumstances it is logical to assume that in the future the cost of petrol and oil will increase proportionately to the rate of exhaustion, lt is interesting to note that in 1937-38 the motoring community of Australia paid £10,66S,000 in taxes to the Government in one way and another. An important factor that we must not overlook is that a very large amount of the money paid by our people for petrol and oils is taken out of Australia. If such huge sums are permitted to pour continuously out of Australia into foreign countries, a serious situation must arise. It would be interesting to calculate what period would elapse under such a policy of national wastage to reach the zenith of Australian progress or for its 7,000,000 inhabitants to liquidate the national debt of £1,275,026,000. I ask the Treasurer, or some other responsible Minister, to make a specific statement about what the Commonwealth Government and the State governments are doing to find a substitute for petrol ? Has the Defence Department made any experiments in this direction? If not, it should do so, at least for defence purposes. I ask also whether the possibilities of producer gas have been investigated in any real way? An effective substitute for petrol is very greatly needed, for liquid power fuel is, in some respects, the very life-blood of the community.

Silting suspended from 12.45 to 2.15 p.m.

I Quorum formed.)


– I point out that, unless provision is made for a supply of petrol substitutes, the cutting off of the supply of petrol from overseas during a- time of national emergency would paralyse our industries and render us unable to defend ourselves against an aggressor.’ The gravity of the position can be realized when we learn that supplies of petrol on hand at present are sufficient to last only a few days. We have heard quite a lot about oil from shale and coal, but are those two sources sufficient to supply our requirements of oil fuel in the event of emergency? My own opinion is that they are not, and that the yield from those sources is definitely restricted. In a country like Australia, every endeavour should be made to find a substitute for imported petrol. The only solution of this vexatious problem would seem to lie in the direction of making provision on a large scale for the development of producer gas. I ask the Government to have this important matter fully investigated by competent authorities, and to report to Parliament the full facts disclosed. I understand that at the present time the Defence Department is operating a few large trucks on producer gas. To give some idea of its utility, I may mention that I have been informed that the total cost of running a large lorry from Canberra to Sydney on producer gas is only Ss. This experiment on the part of the Defence Department seems to hold out some promise, and should commend it to the business community as a means of effecting economies in the cost of transportation.

I am not at all satisfied with the present method adopted by the Government in connexion with the tabling of tariff schedules. A practice has grown up in recent years of tabling tariff schedules and providing no opportunity to honorable members to debate them until months have elapsed. Let us consider what has happened in the past in connexion with the tabling of tariff schedules. The first Australian tariff schedule was passed by the Federal Parliament in 1901. It is claimed that the 1901 schedule was adopted as the basis for subsequent schedules. Later, when an alteration or an amendment of the schedule was tabled, the procedure was adopted that if a schedule contained a reduction of duties the previous duties at the higher rate would continue to be collected until the new schedule was passed. By this means it was sought to safeguard the revenue and to protect industries until Parliament had decided on the rates of duties that should be imposed. This method was consistent with the terms of section 90 of the Constitution, which reads -

On the imposition of uniform duties of customs the power of the Parliament to impose duties of customs and of excise, and to grant bounties on the production or export of goods, shall become exclusive.

It gave the Federal Parliament full freedom in any action it took in regard to a vote on customs duties to be collected. That procedure held good with all parliaments until the 6th December, 1934, when the then Minister for Trade and Customs, on tabling a tariff schedule, surprised Parliament by announcing that the reduced duties contained in the schedule would become operative on the following morning. During 1935, additional tariff schedules were tabled which also included a large number of reductions of duties, and the same dangerous procedure was followed. It should be noted that no discussion of the new duties was commenced until the 21st March, 1936, when the Minister moved that the schedule to the customs tarilf be amended. Tariff schedules were tabled on the 28th November, 1935, and included a schedule introduced on tbe 6th December, 1934, together with others introducing new items. These schedules, dating back to the 6th December, 1934, and extending up to the 31st March, 1936, were not finalized by Parliament until the end of May, 1936, about eighteen months after the first schedule was tabled.

Mr Gregory:

– Schedules have now to be approved within six months of being tabled.


– Nevertheless, eighteen months elapsed before the first schedule to which I have referred was finally passed by Parliament.

Mr Gregory:

– The honorable member’s dates are wrong.


– I do not think so, and I stand up to the statement I have made. I ventilate the matter now because I think the time has arrived when this practice should no longer be permitted to continue.

Mr Gregory:

– The Customs Act was amended to provide that schedules must be approved within six months after being tabled.


– That is certainly a step in the right direction, but the law is not being adhered to. Let us proceed further: Another schedule was tabled on the Sth December, 1937, which included other schedules tabled previously on the 24th June and the 7th September, 1937. These schedules were not finally disposed of by the Parliament until early in June, 1938. I put it to honorable members that the question may well be asked “ How can the electors or the business community keep pace with this practice?” In my opinion the time is ripe for attention to be called to this practice, which has grown up only during the last three years. Members should not be denied the right to discuss items contained in tariff schedules immediately they are introduced. The procedure at present followed places too much power in the hands of the Minister for Trade and Customs.

Once again- I refer to the fact that when the State of South Australia entered into an agreement to surrender the Northern Territory to the Commonwealth, an agreement was reached between the two governments for the construction of a railway line from Darwin to the South Australian border. The present position is that the Commonwealth has honoured the agreement only in part by the construction of a line from Pine Creek in the north to Birdum, and in the south from Oodnadatta to Alice Springs. The gap between Alice Springs and Birdum, a distance of approximately 647 miles, has still to be bridged. We are informed that there is at present available at Birdum sufficient material to put down an additional 43 miles of railway. I listened with a great deal of interest to the speeches delivered on the motion for the adjournment of the House yesterday to discuss the necessity for the standardization of Australian railway gauges. In my opinion that is a most important matter, but I also feel that from a defence point of view the time has arrived when the gap between Birdum and Alice Springs should be bridged by the railway promised by the Commonwealth when the territory was handed over to it by South Australia.

Mr Martens:

– The South Australian people have now given up hope of that line ever being constructed.


– I have not given up hope.

Mr Martens:

– The honorable member is too optimistic.


– I believe that, like the little drops of water which wear away a stone, constant reiteration of the need for the undertaking of this work might bring results. At present the Government is incurring a large expenditure of money for defence purposes, and it may be difficult to raise money for railway development; but I . should like to hear the views of the Minister for Defence (Mr. Street) on the desirability of the construction of this line as a defence measure. If it is not possible to complete the north-south railway the Government would, in my opinion, be justified in expending the money necessary to construct a line from Alice Springs to Tennant Creek. I have visited Tennant Creek on two different occasions, and I am satisfied that there is great mineral wealth there. That wealth can only be tapped successfully by the, construction of such a line.

Mr Harrison:

– What did the Government of South Australia agree to do when the Northern Territory was handed over to the Commonwealth?


– I have not with me the whole of the terms of the agreement, and it would not be possible to give them in a debate of this character. It was my late respected father who made this good deal with the Commonwealth Government. At that time, he was Premier of South Australia. That State could not develop the territory, but there is a chance of its being developed under the administration of the Commonwealth.

I recently had an opportunity to visit Darwin, and wish to make reference to the burning question of the resumption of land and property in that town for naval and military purposes. It is not too much to say that among the citizens of Darwin there is widespread dissatisfaction at the rumoured intention of the Commonwealth to acquire considerable areas of the town for these purposes. The uncertainty as to the land that is actually to be taken, and the prohibition issued against proceeding with certain proposed building projects, are exasperating to both the official and the business population, and are retarding essential development. Inflated prices were recently paid for land in Darwin, and this will lead to a greatly increased cost of acquisition if they are taken as the basis of valuation. The Government should make public its intentions as soon as practicable. Full consideration should be given to all local representations, in order that the townspeople may feel assured that the best interests of both the residents and the town are being safeguarded. I promised a number of persons in Darwin that I would take the first opportunity presented to me to bring this matter before Parliament. It is vital to the town. I am acquainted with the area which the defence authorities say they require, and, in my opinion, it is not necessary that they should acquire property in that location. There is plenty of land in and around Darwin suitable for naval and military purposes, without disorganizing the populated part of the town, including some beautiful sites on the harbour itself. The Minister for the Interior (Mr. McEwen) had an opportunity to investigate the matter during his recent visit to the Northern Territory, and I hope that in collaboration with the Administrator he will find a solution of the problem.

I contributed to a recent debate on the subject of the manufacture of motor car engines in Australia, believing that these engines can be made in this country, to the advantage of all.

Mr Martens:

– Or anything else.


– And almost everything else.We have had many examples of what can be done in the manufacture of agricultural machinery. I was very disappointed with the report presented by the Tariff Board as the result of its inquiry into -

The host means of giving effect to the Government policy of establishing in Australia the manufacture of engines and chassis of motor vehicles, with consideration to the general national and economic aspect.

Reading the report of the board, one is amazed to note the immense amount of time which must have been devoted to the elaboration of material from the offices of large overseas firms whoseinterests lie in the stoppage of any development within our borders of competition which may in any way affect their plans. The board does not show in” its report how many of these overseas organizations are entwined in the meshes of the great American net, with control of factories in England and other parts of the world, including Australia. The one bright spot in the matter is the fact that that great industrial organization at Newcastle - the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited - is able to sell its products at prices below those at which purchases can be made in the United States of America. In my opinion, the board did not investigate the matter as fully as the Parliament and the people had a right to expect. Either personally or by deputy, it should

Lave inspected engines brought under its notice during the course of the inquiry, so that it could either praise or condemn the features which were claimed to be of advantage to Australia. It should be pointed out that no inquiry has been made with a view to endorsement of evidence given to the board to the effect that the engine power can be made wholly from materials produced in Australia, the specifications in respect of ferrous metal being cast iron and one mild steel, those of the non-ferrous metal being aluminium, bronze, and white metal. Surely we should be in a position to say whether or not the materials necessary for the building of a car are obtainable in Australia! The boardwas asked to do a certain thing, but it failed to make a complete investigation. It might have asked to be shown under working conditions an engine made in Adelaide, or it might have discussed the charts showing the output of power, fuel consumption, torque, and other technical details which either were supplied or were available, but it did not do so. Even to-day there is displayed in a showroom in the main street of Adelaide an engine manufactured in that city at a cost of only £35. The Tariff Board has made no mention whatever of it. It is difficult for me to believe that motor car engines cannot be successfully manufactured in Australia. Necessity is a driving force. There is need for a cheaper car, and I believe that such a car could be economically manufactured inthis country. Australian industries have developed in this country, the stripper, the harvester, the stump-jump implement, the string binder, and milking and shearing machines. This development has been of great assistance to our primary industries. Why should Australian citizens be asked to pay such big prices as are demanded for motor vehicles, cars, &c? The purchasing public of Australia are crying out for the production of an Australian vehicle, designed and equipped for the transport of persons of moderate spending capacity. They do not want cars equipped with all the expensive gadgets, upholstery, and fittings, which aim at a false standard and at outside show. What they want is a car that will take a family in reasonable comfort from 30 to 35 miles on a gallon of petrol at a speed of from 45 to 50 miles an hour if necessary. I

Lope I may live to the day when cars are made in Australia at a price that will enable a working man to purchase one. The Tariff Board has shown in its report that, on the same calculated money basis, cars sold in the United States of America at £19S are sold in Australia at £445, a difference- of £267. The English Ford, which sells at £180 in England, is sold in Australia for £2S5. The Australian worker and producer should be put in the way of making a purchase of a new product, instead of having to take over a discarded c-r of a more expensive type, thus attaching himself, because of the low capital outlay, to a vehicle which must drain his resources by expensive running costs, taxation, &c. I regret that the Tariff Board has not gone more deeply into this matter of motor vehicles. I trust that, in the near future, the problem will be tackled by the Government, and that eventually complete motor cars will be made in Australia.


.- I. resent very strongly the action of Judge Dethridge, who is known in Chancerylane as the “ talking judge,” in attacking my friend, the honorable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr. Holloway). I am sorry that the Attorney-General (Mr. Menzies) went out of his way to support the judge in that attack. All I can say is that the Attorney-General forgot himself for once, and I suppose we must pass it over.

I intend this afternoon to make two appeals, one for the children who are too young to go to school, and, therefore, do not share in the distribution of milk to school children, and the other is on behalf of the Jews.

As for the children, I regret that in some schools one pint of milk is diluted with two pints of water to m.;ke it go further. 1 hope the Commonwealth Government will make enough money available to enable every child in Australia to receive two pints of milk a day, the same as is done in Russia, throughout the whole of its vast domain. In Germany, the children are given more milk than we give, while in England, good luck to them, millions of pounds are devoted to this purpose. Though T know the wisest among the Greeks sard in regard to the study of life, “ J udge the end “, I say rather “ Let us judge the beginning.” There is no one in this House, whether he be engaged in agricultural pursuits, or in merely looking after a garden, who does not know that plants will not thrive unless they have good food, water and sunlight. So with a little child. Unless he has milk in his first two years, he cannot hope to grow up into a thriving, strong adult. I should like to see the mothers, in the pre-natal stage of the child’s life, also receive a proper allowance of milk. I have some pictures here of .children in a Salvation Army Home in Victoria, to which a cow was recently presented. I am sure that there is not one honorable member in this House whos would not vote te give each of these children two pints of milk a day. Some time ago, I made an appeal throughout the whole of Victoria, for financial assistance in order that milk might be bought for the children. I spoke personally in as many centres as possible, and, in order that the appeal might be made everywhere, I, in my 81st year, tried to become a movie actor so that a film might be prepared to curry the appeal throughout the country. In the film, I was introduced to the public by my old friend, now dead, Mr. Prendergast, and when I afterwards saw myself wobbling across the lawn, as I was depicted in the picture, I realized what a lame duck I was. .1 never asked for more than a donation of a penny or a half-penny. More, of course, was given, and honorable members will bo interested to know that we raised moTe than £4,000 in order that milk might be supplied to children in creches and kindergartens. It is the duty of the Commonwealth Government to ensure that every child in Australia shall have a chance. No child asks to come into the world ; no child can come into it except at or by the will of its parents. Every child, once he comes into the world, is a unit of the State, and as such has the right to proper food and clothing, so that he may grow into a healthy adult, and be a credit to the nation. I wish that the example of New Zealand could be followed in respect of this matter and others. Already, in New Zealand, “the old-age pension has been increased to 30s. a week, and the allowance for children to 10s. a week. There is one provision in connexion with the appointment of

Ministers to the NewZealand Government which might well be copied here.If it were, it would prevent much of the internecine strife between Ministers’ and members of Parliament, and would remove the possibility of member’s being bribed by the offer of posts in the” Government. I quote from a publication called History in the Making, being a summaryof the actions of New Zealand’s first Labour Government, by David Wilson, in which the following occurs -

Aunique system of shaving ministerial and members’ salaries has been adopted by the partyand as a result; the yearly income of Labour members has been increased by nearly £100 per annum with a consequent reduction in ministerial salaries. The only proviso is that all ordinary members who participate must give all their time to the discharge’ of their parliamentary duties and be willing at all times to co-operate with Ministers in administrative and research work. The scheme also provides that each Minister shall co-opt a number of members whose duty it will be to assist in drafting new legislation and administering the department concerned. 1 am certain that there is a great deal of merit in that system. If it were in operation here, we Should not hear so” much about rights of precedence in the Cabinet. There would not be the same desire to obtain highly-paid posts in the Government. They would all be paid at theonerate. Of course, all expenses in connexion with the administration of the party would be met, The system would have the great advantage that it would tend to train men in the rules and procedure of Parliament, and in that way a great deal of time would be saved.

My next appeal is oh behalf of the Jews. I have studied this race for over 60 years’. My earliest memory in connexion’ with them is associated with the’ teaching of my mother-God rest her; she has passed away many years. She was in California at the time of the second fire, and was” one of the firstEnglishwomen who walked across the Isthmus of Panama to’ reach the Californian gold-fields. While my father was absent at the gold-fields at Sacramento, she was employed in a hotel in San’ Francisco. There she fell sick with what was known as Panama fever. She was taken into the home of a Jewish family, perfect strangers to her, and they nursed her back to health as if she were a sister. She brought me up with a sense of gratitude to the Jewish people which I have carried through all my life. On one point, she Avas very severe; and my mother was oiie of the few persons of whom I Was ever afraid. If I attended the Jewish Synagogue she did hotmind; if I went to the Anglican church, of which she was a member, she did not mind; if I attended the Catholic church she did not mind ; but woe betide me if I attended a service in any other church.

Thelaws of Moses will appeal to the most advanced democrat in the world for their justice and goodness. The jubilee

Avas something which no nation has ever yet bettered. Every 50 years, or seven times seven, the sabbatical year, all lands and houses which had been mortgaged or pledged,- had to be returned to the family. One of my greatest regrets is that the Jews were never allowed to give their system a proper trial. Wars were as numerous, and probably as blood-thirsty, then as now, though I do not think that the Jews ever had to suffer as much as they arenow suffering’ under Hitler. The jubilee was a wonderful piece of lawgiving, and one that could be imitated with profit by any country in the world, no matter how, advanced its civilization. The Jewish race has produced many great’ men. When reading the Scriptures, wecannot but be impressed with the roll of great names such as Isaiah, Nathan, John the Baptist, Samuel, Job, Jeremiah, Daniel and Malachi. Burns, the Scottish poet, it was who said-

Man’s inhumanity toman

Makes countless thousandsmourn.

It was Malachi who uttered thesewords -

I willbe a Swift witness ….. against thosewho oppress the hireling inhis wages, the widow and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger fromhis right.

I have here a letterwhich I received recently from thewifeof a good friend of mine. It is as follows: -

My dear Dr. Maloney,

How strange the hand of fate works. For two weeks I have dreamed, thought and talked of you, and to-day a letter arrives from you, tomy son. Ernest.

Nowmydear doctor,I am going to ask you to do the greatest and most noble deed of your remaining years. Will you please help my people, the JewishRace. There is not a home in the world where Jewry exists that do does not feel thepain and anguish: for the fate and suffering of my people in Europe.

Dear Dr. Maloney, I implore you in the name of God Almighty to use your influence and put forth a suggestion’ before your Government to help these poor sufferers

Is it not possible, for our people to purchase a- large state somewhere in Australia, which will enable them to cull home. Australia will pro. per by their brains, culture an.1 intellect and work.

Please be a Moses, and load thom out of their bondage in Europe, to a land flowing with love and kindness. They have suffered long and plenty. Please use . your noble influence to help us.

My heart and my soul is too full to write more to-night. Kindly hand this letter to your Prime Minister and nsk his aid, I arn prepared to do everything in my power to help with thu good work.

Again I implore you with the help of God to help save my people.

Our united good-wishes, (sgd.) Rae Lever.

I commend that appeal to the Prime Minister (Mr. Lyons), who I know is a big-hearted man. He has eleven children in his family.

Mr Brennan:

– Big enough, but the quality is not good enough.


– Dearly beloved friend, you will permit me to disagree with you sometimes. I disagree with you now.

In the north-west portion of our continent there is a great fertile strip which I suggest could under certain conditions be provided by this country as a home for the Jews. That piece of country was surveyed more than 100 years ago by one of the greatest ambassadors that England ever sent from its shores, Sir George Grey. His report of his survey contains a reference to the splendid physique” of the natives in the area and to the fertility of the soil. The honorable member for the Northern Territory (Mr. Blain) could verify the fact that the natives in. that district are of splendid physique.- Some of them-, I understand, are 7-ft. tailzie is due to the wonderful nature of the country that they are so splendidly built. The only objection which could be raised by any honorable member against allowing the settlement of Jewish refugees in that portion of Australia would be that there would be a danger of their gravitating to the cities and overcrowding them. That objection has been made in the press, even bv Jews already in Australia. I have a suggestion, however, that could overcome that objection. When the Arabs overran Spain and Portugal, the Jews were held in high esteem, but later were expelled from Spain and fled to Prance and Holland, mainly to Holland. Then, when Cromwell, whom they saw to be, in many ways, a just man, ruled England, they felt that he would give them a home in England. They approached him and he granted their request for a home in England On a strict agreement, which was signed and honored. The congregations of Jews in Germany and Poland, learning how happy die Jews were in England - there were no immigration barriers then - followed them to England. They, however, were not bound by any agreement, and 1 suppose they thought that they could take liberties. To show how faithfully the Portugese and Spanish Jews observed the agreement which was made with Oliver Cromwell5 I cite the fact that, even when I was pursuing my studies in England between 1880 and 18S7, it was considered a mesalliance for a Spanish ov Portugese Jewess to marry a German or Polish JeW. We have brains enough among our lawyers to formulate a contract which Jewish settlers would have to sign and abide by. They could be supplied with life cards containing their photographs as a check on their movements, but I know enough about the Jews to know that they would abide by any contract they make. If Australia offered those people a home, it would be the first time in- centuries that they would realize that they were welcome in a country. Every honorable member is a Christian or a professing Christian, and as the Jewish people were good enough from which to take our Messiah it is good enough for us to give the Jews a home. The settlement of the Jewish refugees in the north-west of this continent would bc worth many ironclads in the defence of Australia. How they would fight! Honorable members should know from the good Book how Judas Maccabees rose against the might of Rome, whose power in Europe was greater evan than the power of Germany in Europe to-day. I make this appeal in the hope that the Commonwealth Government will give’ a lead to the world. The issue of the Argus of Wednesday contains the following report of what that great ‘man, Mr. Roosevelt, President of the United States of America, said -

Thu news of the last few days from Germany has deeply shocked public opinion in the United States. Such news from any part of the world would inevitably produce a similar profound reaction among American people in every part of the nation. 1, myself, could scarcely believe that such things could occur in 20th century civilization. With a view to gaining a first-hand picture of the situation in Germany, I have asked the Secretary of State (Mr. Hull) to order our ambassador in Berlin (Mr. Hugh Wilson) to return at once to report to me and to confer with Mr. Hull and myself.

The report continues -

There was a moment of stunned surprise among the journalists and then the President was bombarded with questions. He refused to amplify his statement. He said that it spoke for itself. Asked whether a formal protest had been sent to Germany, he replied: “ None has yet been dispatched “, hut he’ gave a hint that that might bc the next step.

I hope it will he to the honour of the British race that it is first in the race to give the Jewish people a new home.

My appeal on behalf of the J ewish race is based, not only on my love of humanity, but also on the gratitude which I feel for what they did for my mother close on 90 years ago.

War! We talk about war. Why do we not call it murder? For murder it is. If from every pulpit preachers declaimed, “ Thou shalt not kill “, there might be an end to all this talk. We are to-day, however, confronted with the need to defend Australia. The fear, of course, is’ of a dictator. The tyrants of ancient Greece and Rome, we know from our reading of Plutarch, were magnificent men. Napoleon has been .eulogized by poets and writers, Byron among the poets, and Abbott, the American, among the writers. In Abbott’s introduction to his Napoleon, he says -

I have written this history as if I were on my dying bed, and would not wish to alter one single sentence.

I commend to honorable members the book Blackmail or War, by Genevieve Tabouis, in which she says -

Emil Ludwig, in his hook on Mussolini, reproduces a conversation which he had with the Duce. In a sudden burnt of frankness, which he rarely reveals, Mussolini told Ludwig that Fascism was bound to end with him. In the Italian edition, this statement was coyly omitted.

Samuel Albert Rosa, in 1920, published The Invasion of Australia. The arguments he advanced then are sound to-day.

I asked the following questions recently of the Minister for Defence -

  1. What are the estimated costs of up-to-date submarines as used by (a) the British Navy, and (6) the Italian Navy?
  2. What are the costs of up-to-date aeroplanes as used by the British Air Force?

I received the following replies: - 1. (o) Costs vary from £230,000 to £500,000 (sterling) according to class and tonnage;

  1. No figures are available.

    1. The approximate average costs (landed in Australia and in Australia currency) of representative types of modern aircraft in use in the Royal Air Force are: - Primary trainer type, £2,000; fighter type. £9,000; bombers, from £9,000 to £40,000 per aircraft according to type; flying-boats, £00,000.

To the foregoing costs in sterling 25 per cent, exchange must be added. There was a feeling that the late Signor Marconi, the Italian genius, has invented an appliance to render aeroplanes powerless. I sought information as to whether there was any foundation for that belief, but none was available. It would cost £10,000,000 in Australian currency for Australia to purchase a battleship. On the basis of the figures supplied in answer to my questions, for that expenditure we could buy sixteen of the most expensive types of submarines. Admiral Jackie Fisher, one of the greatest admirals since Nelson, says that submersibles would make Australia impregnable. For. the same outlay of money, 250 of the most expensive bombing aircraft could be obtained and 1,111 of the least expensive. I cannot imagine any battleship of an opposing power wanting to approach our shores if the admiral of the fleet knew that there were more than 1,100 bombing aircraft available to repulse him. Aeroplanes are the most mobile force in the world. It is interesting to note the number of lives risked on battleships, submarines and aeroplanes respectively. A battleship carries 61 officers and 1.304 other ratings, making a total of 1,365 ; a submarine carries five officers and 55 men; and a twin-engined medium bomber carries one officer and three men. Yet the bomber may sink a battleship which

*Budget* [18Novermber,1938]1938-1939.1743 cost ?10,000,000. I offer strong objection to the building of battleships. We should use our resources in a much more effective way if we bought submersibles and aircraft. We could get more than 3,000 aircraft of useful kinds for the price of one battleship. I now direct the attention of honorable members to the following letter which I received from Captain C. W. McCulloch, Royal Navy retired, on the subject of Australia's defence: - >May I offer you my most sincere congratulations on your advocacy of submarines and aeroplanes in the House yesterday. > >I am a retired captain, Royal Navy, and my wife and I came out here ten years ago for climatic reasons. > >During that time, I have written many letters to the West *Australian* on the subject of Australian defence, especially the naval side of it. > >Recently, I wrote a private letter to the editor of the Sydney *Bulletin* urging him to take up the subject. > >Briefly, my convictions are: First, that the original conception of an independent Australian navy was a mistake, but that cannot now be altered; secondly, that the ships now in service in her Navy are oil-burners, which is a vital mistake. And she has just bought two more. They should have been dualburners. A splendid quality of steaming coal is available in New South Wales, whereas, in all probability, oil supply would he the first tiling Japan would try to cut off. > >Then the question of submarines. Australia now has none. They are the ideal defensive weapons nf small poor nations. They are the only type of warship which wou'd deter Japan from sending a battle squadron to bombard coastal ports such as Sydney. > >After settling down here, I was amazed to find the confirmed belief that the Singapore Naval Base would be a tower of strength in the defence of Australia.. I proceeded to show that in the first place a naval base was of no earthly (or should I say "watery") use to any one unless there was a fleet based on it; and that, in the second place, there was no British fleet in existence to spare for that purpose. > >I found that Australia did not seem to have any definite policy for defence; it was merely a political shuttlecock. 1 am not interested in politics. Early this year, I wrote to and saw **Mr. Curtin** on these very points. But since then, we have had a very startling reminder of Australia's defenceless condition. In my opinion, there should be a permanent council of defence, *a* body of men competent to study the subject from all angles, and to recommend suitable action. Defence is not only a matter of men and guns, it is also the art of cultivating friendly relations with one's neighbours, and is no less economic than military. Those blundering wool and iron ore embargoes, for instance. Have they had no effect on Japanese feelings towards this country *1* > >There is strong professional opinion in England that the exclusive use of oil fuel in the Navy is a tragic blunder.It renders the fleet dependent on neutral friendliness for its mobility, instead of using the finest steam coal a beneficent nature has provided the country with. And the oil supplies call for a considerable proportion of naval protection. > >I notice that you received the standard reply to your suggestions, " adopted on the advice of the bust naval experts." That is just where Australia makesher greatest mistake. Who are these "' experts " Are they responsible for the condition of the British Navy to-day? Are they the same type of " experts " who are responsible for the appalling revelations we are now reading of - Great Britain's unpreparedness, after two or three years " rearming "? > >You have been inflicted with the advice of visiting experts ", the most recent being the advice of Admiral Kelly to exchange two cruisers for a battleship. The one, battleship presumably being to fight the Japanese Navy! Then I believe you had Admiral Jellicoe recommending eight battleships, which automatically entailed sixteen cruisers, thirty-two destroyers, *&c, &c,* with two complete naval liases, docks, workshops, storehouses, &c. > > **Mr. Thorby** quoted the costs of up to date submarines. Australia does not need up todate ones. In any case, she could not at present get them from Great Britain. But she probably could get a flotilla from the United States of America of what are classed as " over-age " vessels, completed after the war. All that Australia requires are small seaworthy vessels; the mere fact of having them in commission would ensure that they would never be required in action. > >As for the nil versus coal question, the present ships could not be converted. Coalburners can be adapted for oil fuel, but not vice versa. But asI see no useful purpose in Australian cruisers, they are of little consequence. > >There is too much of the 1014-18 mentality in service minds. They think in terms of the last war, not the next one. Those who try to think of the future are classed as cranks. The experts " still prattle about protection of trade routes." Australia will not worry about trade routes when she is fighting to the death on her own soil for her own existence! Like China to-day. > >Australia might with great benefit study the composition of the Netherlands naval forces. She realizes the usefulness of submarines in the defence of her eastern possessions. > >I hope, sir, that you will persevere with your arguments and at least arouse the nation to the danger of the present haphazard methods of providing for its defence. > >Yours sincerely, Chas. W. McCulloch. The book by Samuel Albert Rosa, entitled *The Invasion of Australia,* to which I referred a few moments ago, contains the following statements by Admiral Fisher that are relevant to this subject : - >Any sailor who attacks a fort is a fool. The attack on the Dardanelles did not " nearly succeed ". Kitchener's conscription was not needed in Australia. Submarines would make Australia impregnable. The Dardanelles adventure was a deplorable massacre. A good deal has been said from time to time about the necessity for ships to protect our trade routes; but, so far as I know, no big shipping company that is really Australian in character engages in the overseas trade. For this reason, I contend that those who are really interested in the overseas shipping business should protect the trade routes. I have no doubt that surplus Australian wool, wheat and edible commodities would be of great value to people overseas in the event of war. We may, therefore, leave to those other interests the responsibility to provide for the safe transit of these commodities abroad. Unfortunately, a great deal of foodstuffs is destroyed from time to time for commercial reasons. A year or so ago, when the Government was preparing the questions on the alteration of the Constitution for submission to the people, I asked the Prime Minister to include this question in the list: "Do the people of Australia consider that the man who destroys good food, which is provided by God through nature for the sustenance of human beings, should he regarded as guilty of a crime; if so, what should the punishment for the crime be ? " Unfortunately, the Prime Minister was not willing to include this question in his list. Had he done so, the people would have fixed a very heavy penalty. Lord Fisher in his memoirs declared - >Australia does not need conscription. It is an island, and submarines would make it impregnable. The book in which those statements first appeared was published about twenty years ago; but it shows the absolute absurdity of wasting money upon the construction of modern battleships. I have had sent to me a letter which was submitted to the *Sydney Morning Herald* for publication. For some reason which I cannot understand that newspaper refused to print it. The letter made replies to certain statements by T. Ogata, a Japanese, and read as follows: - {: type="A" start="T"} 0. Ogata, *on* Japanese Appeasement. *To the Editor of the Herald.* In the *Herald* of 13th October. **Mr. T.** Ogata, in referring to **Mr. Spenser** Watt's letter in a previous issue of the *Herald,* travels far and wide of the mark in his attempt to justify Japan's conquest of Manchuria and her present war to conquer China. He compares the invasion of Japanese into Manchuria, and ipso *facto,* the invasion of China and the consequent ruthless butchery of Chinese men, women and children " to the settlement of Australian squatters who sought pasturage for their flocks ". Such a statement implies a strong concept of the ignorance or gullibility of Australians. Australia was a land well nigh uninhabited when white men sought to find pasturage for their cattle and sheep. Those who pioneered Australia, in the main, offered to the aboriginals better conditions of life than those under which they previously existed. In a pamphlet *The Struggle* *inthe* *Far East,* published in San Francisco in 1932, the author, James M. Rafferty, under heading " Japan Violates Her Pledge ", stated, "Japan successfully rejected any interference with her claims of special privilege in Manchuria and Mongolia, although she signed the nine power pact agreeing to respect the integrity of China ", and not to take advantage of China's weakness or disorganization totrespass on her rights. **Mr. Ogata** is not correct in stating that the Italian conquest of Abyssinia was based on the economic starvation of Italy ". The so-called Government of Abyssinia had raided, and were continually raiding, the adjoining Italian and French Somaliland and the British Kenya, taking over 2,000,000 of their subjects, and treating them as the most abject of slaves. Lord Noel Buxton and Lord Polworth sent to the League of Nations after a long journey in Ethiopia on behalf of the Antislavery Society the following report: "Slavery constitutes the basis of the entire economic system of Ethiopia. The rich possess a great number of slaves amounting sometimes to thousands, but slaves are owned by people of inferior social position ". Lady Simon, wife of the British ex-Minister of Foreign Affairs, in a recent book stated, " Slavery is so woven into the pattern of Abyssinian existence that one can only fear that the country will never be able to free itself from the chains of this disgraceful institution without the generous intervention of other nations moved by the intention of establishing a new State in Ethiopia ". The invasion of Manchuria by Japan is not on any parallel with that of Italy into Abyssinia referred to by **Mr. Ogata** in his special pleading. Professor T.O'Conroy. in his book *The Menace of Japan,* wrote, " The history of Manchuria is part of the history of China. Definite mention of this territory can be traced back to 'the twelfth century B.C., and its development is one of the most interesting sections in Chinese history . . . Until theend of the nineteenth century Manchuria witnessed peace and prosperity, and the population increased very considerably . . . Manchuria is approximately the size of France and Germany combined. Its area is 360,000 square miles. Its population amounts to a little more than 30,000,000; 29,000,000 out of this figure arc Chinese. Koreans total about 800,000; Japanese 220,000. By 1907 Chinese farmers were to be found almost everywhere in Manchuria. Its natural wealth is immense and is, as yet, hardly exploited. It has vast mineral areas where coal, iron and gold are to be found, and its agricultural possibilities are enormous. There are huge tracts of timber, especially in the northern districts ". Yet with all the conquest, of this area, as large as France and Germany, and with less than onethird of the population, Japan is not satisfied. **Mr. Ogata** attempts to justify the invasion an attempted conquest of China and its population of 450,000,000.. Professor O'Conroy writes of Manchuria: " The greatest field in the matter of production is in agriculture. Arable land in Manchuria is placed at 54,900,000 acres. To-day, out of this total, 32,000,000 acres are undercultivation. The annual production of crops has shown a steady advance for the past twenty years. In 1929 it had reached the peak of 786,799,333 bushels valued at $200,000,000. . . According to the estimate of experts, the coal deposits for the whole of Manchurian area are approximately 1.556,000,000 tons. In 1930 the output of all active mines was 10,040,652 tons.. The gold deposits in Manchuria are the richest in the whole of China, and their output is estimated at around 430,000 oz. There are 30 places where copper is found, and 58 lead and silver mines ". With all this, Japan's rulers are not satisfied. Professor O'Conroy further stated: "To-day the military cliques, the modern descendants of the old Samurai, arc in the saddle, and the world must be made to realize the menace that accompanies this ". General Araki, exMinister of War, Stated - the essence of his speech is taken from the Japan *WeeklyChironicle,* 16th March of this year (1933) - "It is a big mistake ", says General Araki, " to consider the Manchurian problem from a merely materialistic point of view, and regard it simply as a question of interests of ' life line '. The trouble has arisen from the corrupt materialistic ideas of the Chinese people, imported from the west, have defiled the racial spirit and national morality of the Japanese to the firing point. We Japanese are not afraid of blood . . . What is the present state of the East? India, with its population of 300,000,000, lives in dire misery under Britain's oppressive rule. . . The countries of the Far East are the object of pressure on the part of the white races. But awakened Japan can no longer tolerate further tyranny and oppression at their hands ... If anybody impedes the march of this country he should be beaten down ruthlessly, and without giving any quarter, whatever the body may be ". In the pamphlet above quoted, *The Struggle in the Far East,* J. J. Rafferty refers to the famous Tanaka. Memorial. " This memorial was presented to the Emperor of Japan on 25th July, 1927 ", Rafferty stated, "the Japanese scoff at its authenticity . . . The path of the Japanese procedure in Korea, Manchuria, Mongolia and China seem to lend colour to the authenticity of the document". The Tanaka Memorial states - " 1. For settling difficulties in Eastern Asia, Japan must adopt a policy of blood and iron ' ". {: type="1" start="2"} 0. In order to conquer the world, Japan must conquer Europe and Asia. In order to conquer Europe and Asia Japan must conquer China, Japan must first conquer Manchuria and Mongolia. Japan expects to fulfil the above programme in ten years ". " Australian ". Sydney, 19th October, 1938. *[Leave to continue given.]* Montague Grover, a distinguished journalist, formerly reporter for the Melbourne *Age* and Melbourne *Argus,* subeditor of *Sydney, Morning Herald,* editor of Sydney *Sun* for twelve years, editor of Melbourne *Sun Pictorial,* editor of Melbourne *Herald* subsidiary publications, and Melbourne editor for the Sydney *Bulletin,* in his book *The Time is now Ripe,* says that the day of capital has ended. He said: - >The Russian revolution hung in the balance for months, if not years, and would have had no chance whatever had it not been for the soldiers, returning from the Great War with their arms, throwing in their lot with the Bolsheviks. In another chapter he makes reference to the task of the Attorney-General. I say in all kindness to the honorable gentleman that although he is one of my political enemies, if he ever accepts the leadership suggested by **Mr. Grover,** I shall be his sincere and honest follower, and I shall join with him in the singing of " The Red Flag", as long as my old lungs will permit rae to do so. Progress reported. {: .page-start } page 1745 {:#debate-19} ### PRINTING COMMITTEE Third report brought up by **Mr.** Stacey, read by the Clerk, agreed to and *- by leave* - agreed to. {: .page-start } page 1746 {:#debate-20} ### ADJOURNMENT Sitting Days - Recruiting . Campaign - Defence Contracts: Military Hats - Commonwealth Public Works - Export of Pig Iron - Postal Dismissals - Air Accidents Investigation Committee - Peace Commission in South Australia - Country Aerodromes : Mildura. {: #debate-20-s0 .speaker-F4O} ##### Mr LYONS:
Prime Minister · Wilmot · UAP .- I move- >That the House tlo now adjourn. On Tuesday next the debate on the budget will be resumed, and it is intended to sit four days next week and during each week before the adjournment for the Christmas recess. The Government is now setting out on the organization of an appeal to the whole of the people of Australia for the raising of the personnel of the militia forces to a strength of 70,000. That number has been decided upon as essential in order to add to the security of this country. I call upon all . honorable members to co-operate with the Government for the success of the campaign, each to do what he can within .his own district, and I also make a similar appeal to all political sections of the community outside because, in this case, there must bc no division of opinion, first as to the necessity for the adequate defence of Aus-tralia and, secondly, as to the method of achieving it. Honorable members of the Opposition and the organizations that support them Aave, from time to time expressed themselves in favour of the voluntary system of enlistment. This appeal is based on that system. It is an appeal to the manhood of Australia to provide the numbers necessary for the defence of this country against an aggressor and not for purpose of aggression. I hope that whatever views may be held by outside organizations as to the merits or otherwise of either the compulsory or the voluntary system for the defence of this country, they will recognize that only one system can be adopted at a time. The voluntary system is being attempted to-day. {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr Brennan: -- What alternative is there if the Government fails to raise the 70,000 recruits? {: .speaker-F4O} ##### Mr LYONS: -- The alternative is that we are not doing what is absolutely necessary in respect of that particular part of the defence programme for Australia. {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr Brennan: -- :That is not an alternative, but an observation. {: .speaker-F4O} ##### Mr LYONS: -- We must either provide for adequate or have inadequate defence. That' is the alternative. {: .speaker-JXL} ##### Mr Frost: -- Why does not the Prime Minister go ahead with the defence programme properly, and stand up to his obligations to the country by the adoption of compulsory military training as the returned soldiers have asked hiin to do? {: .speaker-F4O} ##### Mr LYONS: -- I am sadly disappointed that, on the first mention of this appeal to the people of Australia as a whole_on a non-party basis, any honorable member should introduce this note of discord. I hope that his sentiments will not be echoed by his colleagues throughout Australia. {: .speaker-JXL} ##### Mr Frost: -- It is not a note of discord. {: .speaker-F4O} ##### Mr LYONS: -- The Minister for External Affairs **(Mr. Hughes),** the Minister for Defence **(Mr. Street),** and the Minister for Works and Minister for Civil Aviation **(Mr. Thorby)** have been constituted as a special committee appointed by the Government to organize the appeal campaign. I say quite frankly that I should like to see associated with them a representative of the Opposition. {: #debate-20-s1 .speaker-L08} ##### Mr ROSEVEAR:
Dalley .- Once again 1 feel it encumbent upon me to raise a matter of major importance tq the success of the Government's hopes for the assistance of the trade union movement in the implementation of its defence policy. I do so to-day more particularly as the Prime Minister **(Mr. Lyons)** has repeatedly stated that the trade union movement has turned down a proposal that it should have representatives on the Council of Defence. While I was asking a question regarding this matter to-day, the ex-Minister for Defence **(Mr. Thorby)** backed up by the present Minister for Defence (Mt. Street), conveyed the impression that the information I was conveying was untrue. For that reason I take this opportunity to place at the disposal of the House information which I have received in regard to military contracts, and I back it up with the assertion: that if the Prime Minister or some other responsible Minister of the Government does not see to it that military contracts are carried out under trade union conditions, it is beyond question that the Government cannot hope to secure the co-operation of the trade union movement on the Council of Defence or anything else. My complaint refers to a contract that was to be let for the supply of 13,000 felt hats for the military forces. Before the closing date for the submission of tenders I, and the honorable member for Cook **(Mr. Sheehan),** at the request of trade union officials of the hat manufacturing industry, and at the invitation of one of the biggest manufacturers of felt hats in Sydney, visited a factory to view the process of manufacture and to hear both sides of the question relative to the supply of hats under contract to the. Defence Department. We were told definitely by the managing director of the factory that, although he had in his own office the necessary application forms for the contract, it was absolutely useless for his concern or any other factory observing trade union conditions to tender for this work, because the firm which had previous been given the contract, and which would probably be given the new contract, did not observe trade union conditions. When I raised this matter on a previous occasion the Minister for Defence promised to have it investigated and if necessary to prevent the contract from being let until the full facts had been ascertained. No delay, however, occurred in arriving at a decision as to what firm should be given the contract. It was, of course, given to the firm which the union officials state does not observe trade union conditions, and against which employers in New South Wales assert they cannot compete because of that fact. Statements were made by the former Minister for Defence **(Mr. Thorby)** that air examination had been made of the premises occupied by this firm, and that he had provided for the policing of the contract. As a matter of fact one of the conditions precedent to the securing of the contract was that the firm in question undertook to observe trade union conditions. Union officials state that not only is this shop a non-union shop, but also it will not tolerate the presence of trade union officials on its premises. I do not think the Minister for Defence will deny the accuracy of that statement. He must be aware that it is impossible for anybody but an expert in hat making to know whether a hat in the process of manufacture is an ordinary civilian hat or a military hat until 60 per cent, of the manufacturing operations have been completed. The department sent along an officer who knew nothing at all about the manufacture of hats to investigate the matter. It is obvious that he must have been as incompetent as I, or any other honorable member of this House, to determine whether the operations that took place during his visit were concerned with the manufacture of an ordinary civilian hat or a military hat. Yet when he returned to the department and reported that he had made an investigation the department accepted without question the statement 'that this particular military contract was being carried out under the conditions which the contractor agreed to observe when the contract was let! {: .speaker-JOM} ##### Mr Beasley: -- They are "putting it over " the Minister. {: .speaker-L08} ##### Mr ROSEVEAR: -- I do not blame the present Minister for Defence **(Mr. Street),** whom I regard as a reasonable man. When I approached the previous Minister **(Mr. Thorby)** I had little confidence that he would be concerned about the observance of trade union conditions, or that he would do anything in the matter. I have to-day had an assurance from the present Minister that he will interview the secretary of the union. I think he will find that what I have said in this House, what the union officials in New South Wales have informed us, and what a director of one of the leading manufacturers of hats in Sydney has stated, is true, namely, that the firm which has this contract is not observing trade union conditions, and that it is impossible for any other respectable employer who is doing so to compete with it. All that the department can place against that information is that it sent an inspector to the factory who is not competent to judge as to whether or not our statements are based on fact. The union even went so far as to place at the disposal of the department an expert who could recognize the difference between hats in the process of manufacture, yet all that the department did waa to continue to rely on the inspector. In these circumstances, how does the Government expect any self-respecting trade union to Go-operate with it? It deliberately places the telescope to the blind eye when asked to investigate the circumstances that I have depicted. 'Condemnation has been voiced not only by the trade union, but also by the employers. I have received from the Minister a letter dated the 17th November, from which I shall read certain passages. One passage reads - >The departmental inspecting officers report that an examination of the books, together with an inspection of the work and interrogation of the employees, has failed to disclose evidence of any breach of the award. Both the Minister and the inspector ought to know that this firm is not observing award conditions. It will not allow on its premises a trade union official who knows something about the manufacture of these hats, as well as the conditions under which the men have to work. With Unscrupulous employers, an inspection of books does not furnish a good and sufficient reason to disbelieve the views expressed by the trade union. An employer who is so biased against union inspection of his works or interrogation of his men is capable of compelling the men to sign for wages that they do not receive. Neither an examination of the books nor an inspection of the works is of any value, if the inspector does not understand what he is inspecting. The Minister's letter continues - >It moy bc mentioned, also, that recently the secretary of the union sought permission' for an officer of the union to carry out the necessary inspection under the contract, and it was explained- *lt* does not say by whom, but I assume that it was by the department- that there ie no provision for either the Minister or the department to authorize an officer of the union, or any person other than an officer of the Commonwealth or of the State, to carry out the inspection- under the contract. Despite the fact that the Government assures us that everything is aboveboard, and although this firm largely depends upon Government contracts, and consequently would not dare to resist an effort by the Government to have a union official inspect the works, the Minister tells us that there is no power under the contract to enable that to be done* We admit that there is nothing in the contract which compels the firm in question to submit to an examination by other than an officer of the department, who is not in a position to judge; but I do not think it would dare to resist a request by the Government that a union official should be allowed to inspect the works to see that everything is above board. I said earlier that I had a press cutting dealing with this particular matter. It reads - >The first government contract was given in 1034, the next in 1037, and the latest followed the calling of tenders in August of this year. Thus the Lyons Government, which seeks " co-operation " from the trade unions of this country, is openly assisting the anti-union shop by giving it hig military contracts. Union officials tell the *Voice* that conditions in tlie Hatcraft factory are bad. Employment of child labour is a feature. There are only five skilled men in the factory, they say, but to fulfil the latest military contract under union conditions it would take at least fifteen skilled men. This is not considering any additional outside work. Most of the employees are boys between sixteen and eighteen years of age. Very few lads are kept on over eighteen years. Other union-condition employers are kicking because they find it impossible to compete with Hatcraft Proprietary Limited under these conditions. One former young employee of the factory has told the union that whenever an inspector visited the factory he was whisked away into another room and handed a broom. The foreman continued with the boy's job until the inspector had gone - the lad was doing a skilled man's job. If the firm were to observe award conditions, union officials say that Hatcraft's could not Complete their present military contract if they worked their present skilled men 24 hours a day. Hours in the industry are fixed at 44 a week. Hours at this factory are hard to calculate, but the union believes them to bc more than 48 a week. Under these conditions, is it reasonable that the Government should expect any co-operation from the trade Union movement in carrying out its defence programme so far as the supply of materials is concerned, when it has the power to see, by the simple inclusion in the contract of a clause - as the ex-Minister for Defence could have done, when a deputation from the union represented the dangers of giving the contract to this firm-which would give to some authority in a position to know the difference between a civilian hat and a military hat during the process of manufacture, the opportunity to overlook these works and to see, not only that the workers in the industry were getting a fair deal, but also that other manufacturers of hats were not being prejudiced in the matter of securing government contracts. I invite the Minister, before he questions the truth of anything placed before him, to remember that I have heard both sides of the matter. If there are three sides, [ have heard the three; I have heard the views of the union officials in Sydney, of the managing director of the biggest hat factory in Sydney, and of the union officials in Melbourne, where this particular factory *h* located; and from the evidence placed before me, I know the conditions under which these men must be working. The only evidence the Minister can produce to challenge the veracity of those who raise this matter is that of an inspector, who is not in a position to judge as to whether or not the statements that have been made are correct. If he doubts our word, lot him accept the challenge issued by the union when the last contract was given to this firm, namely, to supply the department with an expert who would be able to watch the process of manufacture of these hats,, and to see not only that these men who work in the factory get a fair deal, but also that other manufacturers of hats throughout Australia, who pay decent wages and work their men reasonable hours under award conditions, shall have a chance to obtain a contract. {: #debate-20-s2 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order ! The honorable member's time has expired. **Mr. MAHONEY** (Denison) [3.551.- I have repeatedly expressed in this House the view that every effort should be made to impress upon the Department of Works the advisability of pushing on with the works it has in hand. During the last six months, the answer that I have received from the Minister is that the department has not a sufficient number of quantity surveyors to take out the necessary particulars for the preparation of plans and specifications for the different works. That leads me to only one conclusion, namely, that the Works Department is understaffed. I have frequently asked the Minister to do everything that lay in his power to secure the appointment of quantity surveyors throughout the Commonwealth. From time to time I am informed that it is not right to say that there is a shortage of staff in the department; yet that is the reason advanced by the Minister for the delay in proceeding with the work! How can the Department of Works function efficiently if it is not properly staffed? I know that there are many quantity surveyors in Australia who are out of work, and who would be only too ready to accept a position in the department, taking out the quantities required for the different works, lt is the duty of the Government to push on with its public works. Throughout Australia to-day there is a slump in the building trade, and it is the duty of every government, Commonwealth and State, to arrest it, by pushing on as quickly as possible with works which will again place in employment those whose services are no longer needed in the building trade. If the Commonwealth does not take action, hundreds of tradesmen will become unemployed, and that will have very serious consequences. It is bad enough for unskilled men to be unemployed, but infinitely worse for skilled men to be in that category. If the building industry does not revive, the apprenticeship system will break down. I have been informed on good authority that the banking institutions throughout Australia have informed builders that they have no more funds to advance at the present time. This will bring about a scarcity of money, and a consequent depression in the building trade, lt was predicted twelve months ago that, in 1939, there would be one of the greatest slumps in the building trade that has ever been experienced in Australia. That is why I appeal to the Government to push on with all the works it can in order to take up the men who are being displaced from the building trade all over the Commonwealth. Certain public works, which were authorized eighteen months ago, have not yet been commenced. I received definite promises that certain works, which had been authorized in my State, would he proceeded with without delay, but nothing Ins been done. When I go to see a Minister, he tells me that he is not now handling the matter, that it has been taken over by some one else. The Government is always juggling its Ministers and departments, so that it is almost impossible to find out at any particular time who is responsible. If there is not sufficient staff in the department to ensure that the work is carried out, let more be engaged. If there are not enough quantity surveyors, there is no reason why more should not be appointed. It is reported that expenditure on building in Melbourne this year has declined by £600,000. There is a slump in Sydney, and very soon skilled tradesmen will be walking the streets of every city in the Commonwealth looking for employment. Tho loan conversion operations are absorbing all the, available money, and the building trade is suffering. That is all the more reason why the Government should press on energetically with its own works programme. While works which were authorized over twelve months ago have not yet begun, there is no need for the Government to bring down fresh works schedules in an attempt to make the people believe that it is doing something. If there is not sufficient staff to get out plans and specifications for the calling of tenders, let the -work be done by day labour, so that an immediate start may be made. Otherwise, the Government must accept responsibility for the unemployment that is occurring. **Mr. HOLLOWAY** (Melbourne Ports) [4.6 J. - I desire to draw the attention of the Government to a matter that has all the potentialities of a grave industrial dispute. I refer to the holding up of the British ship *Dalfram* which was loading pig iron at Port Kembla. The ship was supposed to be going to a port that would not raise the suspicions of the men employed, but they were informed after the loading was started that the ship was really going somewhere else. I know that this is a delicate subject, and I should not have raised it except that I want to nip the dispute in the bud. There is a large volume of public opinion behind tlie men who are refusing to load pig iron for despatch to certain ports, though those who support this action may not, perhaps, be taking a very long view. I appeal to the Prime Minister **(Mr. Lyons),** and the Attorney-General **(Mr.** Menzies), who has had so much experience in the handling of difficult problems of this kind, to take action before the situation drifts from bad to worse. It would be so easy to make it appear that the men in this instance are overwhelmingly in the right. The Government has straightened out the difficulty associated with the export of iron ore from Yampi Sound. Exports were prohibited because it was necessary that the ore should be retained in Australia for our own purposes. It was difficult to make some people understand that the international situation was not responsible for the embargo, and that action was taken only because a survey had disclosed the fact that our iron ore resources were limited. The present dispute is a different matter altogether. It is not concerned with ore from Yampi Sound, nor with the contract of the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited, which has been in operation for some months, for the export of certain quantities of ore to Japan. In this case, pig iron is involved. This is a product that has gone through the first process of manufacture, so that those who import it are not concerned with the disposal of the offal, and time will be saved in putting it to its ultimate uses. Most of us know that there is a shortage of this particular material in Australia for the manufacture of iron and steel girders for building purposes. The men concerned in the dispute know that their colleagues in the building trade are being stood off temporarily because the master builders say that they cannot obtain supplies of girders, and those who fabricate the girders make the excuse that they cannot obtain supplies of pig iron. The mon have been told that, yet the waterside workers at Port Kembla are being asked to load pig iron to go to a place where they do not want it to go. They resent the fact that the export of this pig iron will be responsible, in some measure, for throwing their colleagues in the building trade out of employment. I know that this matter is a very delicate one for the Government to handle, because of the possibility of an industrial dispute occurring on a wide scale. Yesterday, 60 men refused to put a vessel under the gear for loading. Workers in foundries supplying pig iron are on pins and needles, and the whole district is in a state of ferment over contracts made by the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited to export ore, and with the trouble over tin clippings. Only a spark is needed to start *a* general industrial conflagration involving the employees of the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited and extending to land, and sea transport workers. I suggest that the Prime Minister or the Attorney-General should get in touch with the men concerned and give an assurance that a continuance of the export of pig iron will not be permitted. We have been told that contracts amounting to about 300,000 tons are awaiting fulfilment. I understand that four or five shipments, each of about 7,000 tons, will be required to complete the first contract. The workers should be given a definite assurance that the export of pig iron will not continue when the contracts are completed. A continuance of the export of pig iron would not only throw a large number of Australian workers out of employment, but would also tie up many industries. This question is not an international one - at present it is a purely internal trouble - but unless immediate steps are taken to prevent the export of this raw material, it will lead to a largescale industrial upheaval in Australia. Workers will be thrown out of employment in the building trades and in the iron and steel industries which manufacture material for building work. The Government should act as .quickly as possible. I have been in touch with certain people and have advised them to localize the dispute until some conciliatary steps are taken, ff the Prime Minister or the AttorneyGeneral could make a satisfactory statement of the Government's intentions the trouble, I believe, would be settled without further delay. {: #debate-20-s3 .speaker-JNX} ##### Mr BARNARD:
Bass .-I should like to refer to the dismissal of certain employees of the Postal Department in Tasmania. Upon reaching the age of 18, 19, or 21 years, boys who in many cases have been in the service of the department for many years, have been dismissed following re-classification of their positions. I have had brought to my notice the case of a young man who after seven years' service, was put off when he reached the age of 21 years. His conduct had been satisfactory. That is a very undesirable state of affairs and should be investigated immediately. An even more distressing case to which my attention has been drawn is that of a young man, an orphan, who had been employed in the Postal Department for three or four years as a junior assistant. I understand that some effort was made to retain his services, because of his unfortunate circumstances, and his general good conduct ; but his position was reclassified, and after his dismissal, the work done by him was taken over by a girl. 1 appreciate ' the difficulties in postal administration, but I suggest to the PostmasterGeneral **(Mr. Archie Cameron)** that a thorough investigation be made so that such dismissals may be prevented in the future. I am especially interested in the inquiry now being conducted in Melbourne into the recent tragic mishap to the airliner *Kyeema,* because for a number of years I have been following the development in wireless beacon control. Yesterday, -a report appeared in the press that, because the scope of the inquiry was now much wider that had been originally anticipated, one member of the board of inquiry, whose original position had been more or less that of a judge, was required to give evidence. One of the barristers appearing before the inquiry is reported to have made representations for the reconstitution of the board. The AttorneyGeneral **(Mr. Menzies)** said yesterday that those representations had not reached him. I do not know whether they have reached him yet, but, at any rate, they have reached the board itself. Nothing should be allowed to hamper the successful conclusion of this inquiry, which is the first that has ever been publicly held into an air disaster in Australia. The public must be satisfied with its findings in respect of, not only the *Kyeema* disaster, hut also the control and operation of civil aviation generally. I appeal to the AttorneyGeneral -and to the Minister for Civil Aviation **(Mr. Thorby)** to pay heed to the representations that have been made in respect of the personnel of the board. It should be reconstituted so that the fullest possible light may be thrown on the administration of civil aviation in this country and so that the people can be inspired with confidence that the control of aviation will be placed in the future on a satisfactory basis. {: #debate-20-s4 .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN:
Hindmarsh .- It has come to my notice that several employees of the Postal Department in South Australia have been offered the honour of appointment as Commissioners of the Peace, but, because the Department will give only a qualified permission for them to accept the honour, they are prevented from accepting it. I have one case especially in mind, and I shall supply the Postmaster-General **(Mr. Archie Cameron)** with all the particulars. For the present the Postal Department is prepared to allow its employees to accept Commissions of the Peace, but only if they are not called upon to perform court duties. That qualification is fatal to approval being given to appointments by the Attorney-General of the State. I feel that those in charge of the administration of justice in South Australia would not require officers to* undertake services in any way that would inconvenience the department. I myself have held for almost twenty years a Commission of the Peace in South Australia, but, undoubtedly because of the public office that I hold, T have never been called upon to undertake court work. The man I have particularly in mind figures prominently in the municipal life of the suburb of Adelaide in which he lives. He is a reputable citizen, and if he were appointed a justice of the peace, as an employee in the mail branch of the Postal Department he would* be able to perform a useful service in the department by signing documents and performing other little services that Justices of the Peace are called upon to perform. If private employers are ready to allow their employees to hold a Commission of the Peace, Government departments should be equally ready to do so. The department's attitude is indefensible, and I ask the Postmaster-General to take up the subject with his Deputy Director in Adelaide. {: #debate-20-s5 .speaker-JPN} ##### Mr BLACKBURN:
Bourke .- I take advantage of the presence of the Minister for Civil Aviation **(Mr. Thorby)** to ask if the Government has any explanation of the adjournment of the inquiry into the *Kyeema* disaster this morning. I am informed that when the inquiry met at 10 a.m. it was abruptly adjourned until Monday without reason being given. I think that the people and honorable members are entitled to an early explanation of the reason for the adjournment. {: #debate-20-s6 .speaker-L1L} ##### Mr WILSON:
Wimmera .- I wish to direct the attention of the Minister for Civil Aviation **(Mr. Thorby)** to a matter of national importance, namely, the need for more money to be made available to municipalities and other bodies, such as aero clubs, in country districts for the establishment and maintenance of aerodromes. In particular I have in mind the city of Mildura. The aerodrome in that centre is used by at least three air lines for services to Canberra, Sydney, Adelaide, Broken Hill and Melbourne. It is not within the financial ability of small municipalities to provide suitable allweather aerodromes. Some time ago I gained the information from an answer to a question that only meagre amounts have been allotted to assist in the development of these aerodromes. Particularly in these times every possible encouragement should be given to the development of country aerodromes. The Commonwealth has granted about £19,731 to assist these aerodromes, and of that sum, New South Wales has received £12,225; Victoria, £500; Queensland, £1,107; South Australia, £300; Western Australia, £1,350; and Tasmania, £4,139. The £500 received by Victoria has been paid wholly in respect of the aerodrome at Bendigo. The Government might well consider the advantage of having aerodromes in country areas and of assisting to make them efficient. The authorities in control of them are actually doing pioneering work, and should receive substantial financial aid. Everything possible should be done to develop air -mindedness by encouraging the formation of aero clubs which give instruction in flying. The aerodrome at Mildura, about which I am particularly concerned, is frequently used by the planes of the Royal Australian Air Force. The surface of the aerodrome has been disturbed a great deal by the propellors of the machines, and in wet weather I can well imagine that the landing ground would be a quagmire. I trust that the Government will review the whole question, and in view of its close connexion with defence, provide more liberal assistance for this national need. **Mr. DRAKEFORD** (Maribyrnong) [4.32J. - I support the remarks of the honorable member for Wimmera **(Mr. Wilson).** It may be thought that, as a railway man, I am not interested in competitive industries calculated to take traffic away from the railways; but I think that the time is rapidly coming when it will be recognized that the control of all transport should be vested in one authority. Then, instead of competition, we should have cooperation. 1 have visited the Mildura aerodrome, and I consider that its condition reflects no credit upon any authority. I do not say that the control of commercial aerodromes should be solely under the Government. I was surprised at the answers supplied to tho questions asked by the honorable member for Wimmera, particularly when I noticed that only £500 had been provided for country aerodromes in Victoria, that sum having been allocated to the aerodrome at Bendigo. This matter should be considered from the defence aspect, and, although I have not consulted tho honorable member for Wimmera, it seems to be that the work of surfacing country aerodromes should be given to persons who are now unemployed. In wet weather, the landing grounds' would be dangerous to both pilots and passengers. {: #debate-20-s7 .speaker-KVN} ##### Mr STREET:
Minister for Defence · Corangamite · UAP -- Reference was made by the honorable member for Dalley **(Mr. Rosevear)** to a contract given by the Defence Department to Hatcraft Proprietary Limited for the supply of military hats. Correspondence has already taken place on this matter, both with my predecessor **(Mr. Thorby)** and myself, particularly in regard to the fact that the successful tenderers for the contract are not respondents to the award covering the trade in which they operate. The terms and conditions of tenders in all defence contracts provide that tho contractor shall observe the wages and conditions provided under the appropriate award. As the honorable member for Dalley has said, the departmental inspecting officers have examined the books and operations of this company, and, having cross-examined employees, some of whom are financial members of the union, they have found nothing to suggest that the terms of the contract are not being observed. The secretary of the journeymen's division of the union in New South Wales recently said that the complaint was that the firm employed boys and youths and adult labourers to do tradesmen's work at rates below the award rates. Special instructions were given by my predecessor for departmental inspecting officers to investigate this aspect of the complaint, but no breach of .the award has been discovered. The secretary of the union, as the honorable member for Dalley remarked, sought permission for a member of the union to enter the factory in order to watch the processing of the hats; hut under the contract no Minister or officer of the department can authorize anybody other than Commonwealth or State -officers to carry out such an inspection. The first contract was let to this firm in 1934, and since that date, the union could have cited this firm as a respondent to the award. I cannot understand why the union has not yet taken such action. I have discussed the matter with the honorable member for Melbourne Ports **(Mr. Holloway),** with whom I propose to see the secretary of the Victorian branch of the union. A draft clause has been drawn up by the honorable member, with the assistance of the honorable member for Bourke **(Mr. Blackburn),** which it is suggested might be included in future defence contracts to obviate such a state of affairs as is alleged to exist. This clause is now being examined by the industrial officer;' of the department. I seriously suggest that the union should be able to give an explanation as to why it has not any attempt to cite the company as a respondent. If it did so, it would be entitled under the award to make any inspection considered by it to be required. In this respect, the union is no different from any other union having members employed by firms engaged in the work of supplying defence equipment. I shall interview the secretary with the honorable member for Melbourne Ports, and I hope .that we shall arrive at a satisfactory conclusion in regard to the matter. {: #debate-20-s8 .speaker-JTY} ##### Mr ARCHIE CAMERON:
Postmaster-General · Barker · CP -- I assure the honorable member for Bass **(Mr. Barnard)** that the point to which he referred will be investigated. I know that it is one that has troubled honorable members for some time. To the honorable member for Hindmarsh **(Mr. Makin)** I say offhand that I know of no reason why a postal officer should not accept appointment as a justice of the peace. I may add that this is a distinction that so far I have successfully resisted attaining. However, I shall inquire into the exact position. {: #debate-20-s9 .speaker-N76} ##### Mr MENZIES:
AttorneyGeneral and Minister for Industry · Kooyong · UAP -- I wish to make a statement concerning the remarks of the honorable member for Melbourne Ports **(Mr. Holloway)** respecting the export of pig iron; first, however, I shall deal with two points raised in relation to the *Kyeema* Air Disaster Inquiry, which the Minister for Civil Aviation **(Mr. Thorby)** has asked me to mention. As the honorable member for Bourke **(Mr. Blackburn)** said, this morning's adjournment of the hearing appeared to be somewhat mysterious, since no reason was given for it. Apparently the reason was not announced in consequence of an oversight. I have now made inquiries and have ascertained that the inquiry was adjourned in order to permit the tribunal to visit the Essendon aerodrome to make an inspection, and to examine certain types of aircraft mentioned during the inquiry. The adjournment was apparently normal, though the normal course was not adopted of announcing the reason for it. The honorable member for Bass **(Mr. Barnard)** referred to a member of the tribunal whose position had been challenged. Until this afternoon our information on this subject was derived only from newspaper reports, but I have now been- notified that the legal adviser appearing on behalf of one of the parties has made certain representations on the subject. These are under consideration. The honorable member for Melbourne Ports has referred to a " hold up " that has occurred in the loading of certain supplies of pig iron at Port Kembla. The Government realizes that it is most desirable that problems of this kind shall not be allowed to spread, but shall be settled as promptly as possible. As Minister for Industry I have a very special interest in this matter. The honorable member for Melbourne Ports is well aware that for some time I have been engaged in a series of discussions with representatives of the waterside workers, and others, in relation to the whole problem of waterside employment, in respect of which certain anomalies exist which I am genuinely anxious to remove. I should regard it as a calamity for the waterside workers, and also for the Government and people of Australia, if any action were persisted in by the waterside workers of Port Kembla which would increase the complexity of the problems we are already confronting. The honorable member will fully appreciate that point. In order to avoid . any action which might add to the complexity of these problems I was requested by the Prime Minister **(Mr. Lyons)** to take certain steps in relation to this matter. Yesterday I communicated with the "Waterside Workers Federation in Sydney, and this morning I communicated with the federal council cil of the federation which is at present meeting in Melbourne. My experience of the federal council in these matters is that it is thoroughly prepared to be helpful and to take any action possible to preserve the peace. I have invited the council to co-operate with me in this matter, and I have no doubt that it will do so. As the real trouble in the minds of the waterside workers at Port Kembla appears to he due to a misapprehension, a public statement on the subject at this juncture may be helpful. I was informed by the representatives of the council in Melbourne that the waterside workers at Port Kembla consider that the shipments of pig iron now being made are merely the first of a series which will aggregate something like 300,000 tons. The information before the Government is that the total shipments will aggregate only between 20,000 and 30,000 tons. If this is so, the quantity of pig iron involved is almost microscopic compared with the quantity involved at the time the Government prohibited the export of iron ore from Australia. If it should turn out that the business is likely to assume proportions totalling anything like 300,000 tons, I assure the honorable member that the new position will he faced promptly by the Government, and action will be taken in connexion with it. As the Prime Minister has already pointed out the amount of business involved at present is of relatively small proportions. For this reason, the Government is not prepared to impose an embargo upon it. If, however, it threatened to assume large proportions, the Government would reconsider tho whole situation. Our information is definitely to the effect that only between 20,000 tons and 30,000 tons of pig iron is involved. The honorable member for Melbourne Ports suggested that there was a shortage of this commodity in Australia. Inquiry has been made into this aspect of the subject. The facts are, as the honorable member knows, that two kinds of pig iron are marketed. There is basic pig iron, which is used for the manufacture of steel ; and foundry pig iron. The Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited is practically the only user in Australia of basic pig iron. Foundry pig iron has many purchasers throughout the country. There is no shortage of fpundry pig iron. In fact, accumulated stocks of unsold foundry pig iron are on hand, and the difficulty is orders and not supplies. If the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited were selling to foreigners basic pig iron which in fact it required for its own purposes, a very remarkable situation would have to be faced. {: .speaker-KHL} ##### Mr Holloway: -- It might be done if any question of exceptional war-time profit were involved. {: .speaker-N76} ##### Mr MENZIES: -- No doubt, such a remarkable state of affairs might arise in remarkable circumstances. The information before the Government is that there is no shortage of basic pig iron, and that the steel masters are not being embarrassed in this respect. I assure the honorable member that specific inquiries have been made on this subject. {: .speaker-JPN} ##### Mr Blackburn: -- The men object to the handling of basic pig iron for export. {: .speaker-N76} ##### Mr MENZIES: -- I realize that fact, and it brings me to the last point I wish to make. I reiterate the statement already made by the Prime Minister that, while problems and differences of opinion undoubtedly exist in relation to the supply of raw materials to foreign countries, in certain circumstances, such problems must be faced by the Government and the Parliament of the Commonwealth. They cannot be determined by independent industrial action by any union or group of men. This is the place for discussion and decision in regard to the question of the supply of raw materials to foreign countries. With the assistance of the good offices of organized industrialists, I hope that we shall succeed in establishing that these problems must be determined by the Parliament. Question resolved in tho affirmative. House adjourned at 4.51 p.m. {: .page-start } page 1755 {:#debate-21} ### ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS *The following answers to questions were circulated: -* {:#subdebate-21-0} #### Power Alcohol {: #subdebate-21-0-s0 .speaker-JWT} ##### Mr Francis: s asked the Treasurer, *upon notice -* >Having regard to the national importance of utilizing a portion of our surplus primary products for the production of power alcohol, and in view of the fact that of the eight members of the Standing Committee on Liquid Fuels recently appointed, none are direct representatives of the primary producing industries of Australia, will he review these appointments with a view to appointing a direct representative of the primary producers? {: #subdebate-21-0-s1 .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr Casey:
Treasurer · CORIO, VICTORIA · UAP -- The answer to the honorable member's question is as follows: - >The personnel of the Standing Committee on Liquid Fuels has, apart from Government officers, been confined to those principally concerned as producers of liquid fuels. The object of this limitation is to facilitate investigations. An unwieldy committee from the point of view of numerical strength would not be able to deal expeditiously with the problems. Organizations and persons interested in the subjects with which the committee will be dealing will, however, be accorded full facilities for placing their views before it from time to time, and one of the courses which will be taken to achieve this will be to co-opt persons with special knowledge on to the subcommittees which have been appointed by the main committee to deal with such questions as power alcohol, 'benzol, oil from coal, oil from shale, Sc. As an example of this, the Australian Sugar Producers' Association and The Queensland Canegrowers' Council will be asked jointly to nominate one representative to assist the sub-committee on power alcohol. {:#subdebate-21-1} #### New Guinea : Site for Capital - Status of Territory {: #subdebate-21-1-s0 .speaker-KF9} ##### Mr Green: n asked the Minister for External Affairs, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Was the advice of the Executive Council of the Territory of New Guinea obtained before the Cabinet selected Salamaua as the site for the capital of the Territory? 1. Was the advice of the Executive Council of the Territory obtained before the Cabinet directed that the Salamaua- Wau-road should be constructed ? 2. On the advice of what officials did the Minister base his selection of Salamaua as the capital? 4.Did the Deputy Administrator of the Territory in August last, in the Legislative Council express the view that Salamaua was a most unsuitable site? 3. What view has been expressed by the Director of Public Health of the Territory as to the suitability of Salamaua as the capital, and, in particular, as to the prevalence of malaria at the selected site? 4. Will he lay on the Table of the House the report of the Director of Public Health with reference to Salamaua as a site for the capital ? {: #subdebate-21-1-s1 .speaker-DQC} ##### Mr Hughes:
Minister for External Affairs · NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · UAP -- The answer to the honorable member's questions is as follows : - >The matter of the selection of a site for the head-quarters of the New Guinea Administration is now being reviewed by the Government and replies to the inquiries by the honorable member will be furnished as soon as practicable. Mr.Watkins asked the. Prime Minister, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Has the British Government communicated with the Prime Minister regarding the Mandated Territory of New Guinea? If so, what was the nature of the communication? 1. Has the Commonwealth Government tendered any advice to the British Government with reference to that Territory? Ifso, what was the nature of such advice? {: #subdebate-21-1-s2 .speaker-F4O} ##### Mr Lyons:
UAP s. - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Assuming that the honorable member has is mind the question of the " return of colonics ", the answer is that no communication has been received from the British Government. 1. No advice on the question has been tendered to the British Government, although its attention has been drawn to the statement of **Sir George** Pearce in the Senate on the 13th March, 1936, when the attitude of the Commonwealth Government was indicated. Reapers and Binders. {: #subdebate-21-1-s3 .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr Pollard: d asked the Minister for Trade and Customs, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. In what year was the Australian-made 6-ft. cut reaper and binder first placed on the Australian market? 1. What is the name of the firm which placed the first Australian-made reaper and binder on the Australian market? 2. During the three years following the placing of Australian-made 6-ft. reapers and binders on the market, what prices were charged for them? 3. What prices were charged for 6-ft. imported reapers and binders for the three years immediately preceding the marketing of Australianmade reapers and binders? 4. When was a tariff duty first placed on imported reapers and binders? 5. What was the incidence of the abovementioned tariff? {: #subdebate-21-1-s4 .speaker-KXY} ##### Mr Perkins:
Minister for Trade and Customs · EDEN-MONARO, NEW SOUTH WALES · UAP -- As far as can be ascertained, the information desired is as follows: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Year 1921. 1. H. V. McKay Proprietary Limited, Sunshine, Victoria. 2. 1921, January, £95. April, £85; 1921-22, £85; 1922-23, £85; 1923-24, £77. 3. 1917-18. £52 10s.; 1918-19, £58 10s.; 1919-20. £03 10s.; £77 10s., from January, 1920; September, 1920, £98 10s. 4. 1st January, 1921. 5. The duties were increased from - Free (British preferential tariff), 10 per val. (sreneral tariff) ; to - each £6 10s.. or ad val. 30 per cent. (British preferential tariff) ; each £10. or ad val. 45 per cent. (general tariff), whichever rate returns the higher duty. (The prices shown in Nos. 3 and 4 represent the net cash price delivered Melbourne, of a fi-ft. reaper and binder, including transport truck and sheaf carrier.) {:#subdebate-21-2} #### Export of Iron Ore, Pig Iron and Scrap Metal {: #subdebate-21-2-s0 .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr Ward: d asked the Minister for Trade and Customs, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What quantity of iron ore has been shipped from this country since *the* Government imposed its ban on the export of this commodity? 1. What quantity of pig iron and scrap metal was exported in the same period? 2. Who were the principal exporters? {: #subdebate-21-2-s1 .speaker-KXY} ##### Mr Perkins:
UAP -- The informationis being obtained. {:#subdebate-21-3} #### Sale of Commonwealth Line of Steamers {: #subdebate-21-3-s0 .speaker-009MC} ##### Mr Holt:
FAWKNER, VICTORIA t asked the Treasurer, *upon notice -* 1.. What was the sale price ofthe Australian Commonwealth Line of Steamers? {: type="1" start="2"} 0. What amount was received from the White Star Line prior to liquidation in reduction of the principal amount owing? 1. Was any interest received in respect of the unpaid balance of the purchase money; if so, what amount? 2. Has the liquidator declared any dividends? If so, what are the respective amounts of such dividends and when were they received? {: #subdebate-21-3-s1 .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr Casey:
UAP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. The sale price of the Australian Commonwealth Line of Steamers to the White Star Line Limited was £1,900,000. 1. £1,238,000. 2. Yes. £317,625. 3. The following dividends have been received from the liquidator to date: - {:#subdebate-21-4} #### Oil from Coal {: #subdebate-21-4-s0 .speaker-JVJ} ##### Mr Mulcahy:
LANG, NEW SOUTH WALES y asked the Treasurer, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Has he received a communication from **Mr. F.** A. Chartres, of Chartres Limited, on the subject of the production of oil from coal? 2.Is it a fact that this company has applied to the New South Wales Government for coal-bearing leases in the Camden district with the object of producing oil and petrol from small coal, without Commonwealth or State subsidy? 1. Will he ask the State Government to give this company every facility to make a start with this industry as soon as possible? {: #subdebate-21-4-s1 .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr Casey:
UAP -- The answer to the honorable member's questions is as follows : - >No communication has been received from **Mr. F.** A. Chartres, of Chartres Limited, on the subject of the production of oil from coal from coal-bearing leases in the Camden district. Cabinet Ministers and Company Directorates. {: #subdebate-21-4-s2 .speaker-JPN} ##### Mr Blackburn: n asked the Prime Minister, *upon notice-* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Is it a fact that, by the Company Directorships Act 1937, members of the. Quebec Cabinet may not be directors of any company which does business with the Provincial Government, directly or indirectly, or pays company taxation? 1. Will he favorably consider applying this principle to his Cabinet? {: #subdebate-21-4-s3 .speaker-F4O} ##### Mr Lyons:
UAP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. I am not familiar with the provisions of the act mentioned by the honorable member, but shall take an early opportunity of perusing them. 1. I refer the honorable member to the statement made by me in the House in relation to this matter on the 9th November. Treatment of Jews in Germany. {: #subdebate-21-4-s4 .speaker-KIX} ##### Mr Hutchinson: n asked the Prime Minister, *upon notice -* >Has he received any information from the United Kingdom Government that a protest is to be lodged with the German Government against the treatment of Jews in Germany; if so, will he associate Australia with that protest, and so give evidence of the disapproval of the whole of the Australian people of the measures adopted towards a minority population in Germany? {: #subdebate-21-4-s5 .speaker-F4O} ##### Mr Lyons:
UAP -- The answer to the honorable member's question is as follows : - >No communication has been received from the United Kingdom Government on this question. Should the Commonwealth Government receive a communication that a protest is to be lodged, the matter will be given full consideration. {:#subdebate-21-5} #### Commonwealth Finances {: #subdebate-21-5-s0 .speaker-KIX} ##### Mr Hutchinson: n asked the Treasurer, *upon notice -* >In view of the expense of transferring the Civil Aviation Department to Canberra and the additional expense consequent on national insurance, does the Treasurer contemplate a Commonwealth deficit this year; if so, what steps does he intend taking to rectify this position? {: #subdebate-21-5-s1 .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr Casey:
UAP -- The answer to the honorable member's question is as follows : - >It is too early yet to make any new forecast of the budget results for the present financial year. In my view, there is no reason at present to anticipate any serious departure in the aggregate from the budget Estimates for this financial year. {:#subdebate-21-6} #### Daylight Saving {: #subdebate-21-6-s0 .speaker-KK7} ##### Mr Jennings: s asked the Prime Minister, *upon notice -* >Will the Government take into consideration the advisability of instituting a daylight saving scheme for the Commonwealth? {: #subdebate-21-6-s1 .speaker-F4O} ##### Mr Lyons:
UAP -- The suggestion of the honorable member will receive consideration. {:#subdebate-21-7} #### Commonwealth Oil Refineries Limited {: #subdebate-21-7-s0 .speaker-F4O} ##### Mr Lyons:
UAP s. - Yesterday, the honorable member for Kalgoorlie **(Mr. Green)** asked me the following questions, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What is the number of shares held in the Commonwealth OilRefineries Limited by the Anglo-Persian Oil Company Limited, and what is the number of shares held by the Commonwealth Government? 1. What was (a) the amount of money advanced by the Government at the time of the agreement, (b) the agreed value of the assets provided by the company, and (c) the cash provided by the company, if any? 2. If plant was provided by the company, how were the main items made up, and what was the tabulated value of each item? I am now in a position to furnish the following reply : - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. The number of shares held in the Commonwealth Oil Refineries Limited by the Commonwealth Government is 425,001, and by the Anglo-Persian Oil Company Limited (now Anglo-Iranian Oil Company Limited) is 424,999. 2 and 3. The initial capital of the company authorized by Parliament was £500,000, of which £250,001 was subscribed by the Government, and £249,999 by the Anglo-Persian Oil Company Limited. No plant was provided by the company in lieu of cash. Flight of Bombing Aircraft. {: #subdebate-21-7-s1 .speaker-KCM} ##### Mr Drakeford: d asked the Minister for Defence, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What was the time taken by the Avro- Anson bombers in their recent flight from Darwin to Cloncurry? 1. What was the time taken by the VickersWellesley bombers for the journey? {: #subdebate-21-7-s2 .speaker-KVN} ##### Mr Street:
UAP -- The information is being obtained, and will be supplied later. {:#subdebate-21-8} #### Charges for Radio Messages {: #subdebate-21-8-s0 .speaker-KYH} ##### Mr Price: e asked the PostmasterGeneral, *upon notice -* >What stage has the Government reached in connexion with the disparity which exists in the rates charged for radio messages from ships at sea to Australia, and to the United Kingdom ? {: #subdebate-21-8-s1 .speaker-JTY} ##### Mr Archie Cameron:
CP -- The answer to the honorable member's question is as follows : - >It is regretted that no understanding has yet been reached in negotiations with the company concerned, but every effort is being exerted to secure early agreement. {:#subdebate-21-9} #### Coastal Survey {: #subdebate-21-9-s0 .speaker-KF9} ##### Mr Green: n asked the Minister for Defence, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What ship made the last survey of the Kimberley coast of Western Australia between Cape Leveque, King Sound, and the mouth of the Ord River? 1. On what date was the survey made, and what coastal mileage was covered by the survey ? 2. What vessel was previously engaged on this work, and on what date? 3. What is the total mileage of the coast line between the points mentioned yet to be accurately surveyed? 4. Where is the survey ship *Moresby* at present employed. If not engaged on the area mentioned above, when is it likely that she will be diverted to the uncharted part of this dangerous coast? {: #subdebate-21-9-s1 .speaker-KVN} ##### Mr Street:
UAP -- Inquiries will be made, and a reply will be furnished to the honorable member as early as possible. Manufacture of Aircraft in Australia. {: #subdebate-21-9-s2 .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr Forde: e asked the Minister for Defence, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Has the Premier of New South Wales made a suggestion to the Government that it should ask the Lockheed Aeroplane Company of America to establish a factory in Australia? 1. If so, what course will the Government adopt? {: #subdebate-21-9-s3 .speaker-KVN} ##### Mr Street:
UAP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. I am advised that a copy of correspondence from the Premier of New South Wales referring to a suggestion bya member of the New South Wales Parliament that the Federal Government should negotiate with the manufacturers of Lockheed aircraft for the establishment of a factory in Australia was received by the Defence Department from the Prime Minister's Department to-day. {: type="1" start="2"} 0. The Government has placed an order for 50 Lockheed aircraft for early delivery, but docs not propose under present conditions to invite tlie company to establish a factory in Australia. As the honorable member is aware, the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation is at present engaged in the local manufacture of aircraft for the Government, and between 600 and 700 men are employed on the work. Anglo-Italian Agreement. {: #subdebate-21-9-s4 .speaker-F4O} ##### Mr Lyons:
UAP s. - On the 16th November, the honorable member for Batman **(Mr. Brennan)** asked whether Australia is a party to the Anglo-Italian Agreement. I wish to make it clear that the AngloItalian Agreement is a purely bilateral arrangement between the United Kingdom and Italy, and neither the Commonwealth Government nor any other dominion is a party thereto.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 18 November 1938, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.