15th Parliament · 1st Session
Mr. Speaker (Hon. G. J. Bell) took the chair, at 4.30 p.m., and read prayers.
Administrative Capital Site
– I have been advised that three surveyors’ gangs have been working for several weeks on the road up the Markham Valley from Lae in New Guinea. Does this indicate that the new administrative capital site is to be established at Lae ? If not, what is the purpose of this activity?
– The roadway to which the honorable member refers was laid down by the former Administrator of New Guinea, General Wisdom. The present Administrator is now arranging for the re-conditioning and maintenance of that road. That is the work upon which the surveyors’ gangs mentioned by the honorable member are now engaged. There is certainly no reason to suppose that, because that work is being carried out, Lae might ultimately be chosen as the new administrative capital site.
– As it appears to some people that the purpose for which the Australian Institute of Anatomy was established is not being followed, will the Prime Minister consider placing the institute under a board of management consisting of the professors of anatomy of the Universities of Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide?
– This matter comes under the administration of the Minister for Health. I undertake to see that it is brought under his notice.
Deferred Pay - Pensions
– In view of the fact that his predecessor, at the beginning of the year, informed me that he was having inquiries made into some better system of deferred pay and pensions for the navy, military and air force officers, and in view of his own sympathy in respect of this matter, will the present Minister for Defence be able to make a statement in regard to it before the House rises for the Christmas recess?
– Investigations are taking place along the lines mentioned by the honorable member. It must, of course, be realized that any action taken must be applied uniformly to each of the three services. I am at the moment awaiting a report in regard to the matter from the Inspector-General of the land forces; when that report is received I hope to be in1 a position to make a general review of the three services.
– Can the Treasurer inform the House if it is a fact that the grant to Victoria for technical training of unemployed youths for this year will be £27,500 instead of £55,000 as was originally proposed? Are grants to the other States to be reduced in the same proportion? Will the honorable gentleman state the reasons why the Government is now altering its original proposal to make £200,000 available to the States for this purpose for the current financial year?
– In the last financial year the Commonwealth made available to the ‘States for this purpose an amount of £200,000 in the proper proportions and the States were to have set aside an equivalent amount. I have not the figures in mind but I think that only about £80,000 was actually expended by the States from the gross total of £400,000 last year. Of that amount I believe Victoria spent only a few thousand pounds. With that in mind, and bearing in mind the other financial preoccupations of the Government, it is not proposed to make available again this year the full amount of £200,000, but such an amount as will bring the total available to the States up to the £200,000.
– Since the honorable member for Eawkner asked his question I have been able to secure the figures necessary to furnish him with a full reply. Up to the 14th July this year, Victoria expended an amount of £3,04S for the purpose mentioned, and between the 14th July and the present date an amount of £11,962 has been expended.
2GB News Commentator.
– Is the PostmasterGeneral aware that the news commentator of 2GB, and allied stations in New South Wales and Queensland, Mr. F. E. Baume, -made his final broadcast last night? Is it a fact that the German Consul-General in Australia, Dr. Asmis, complained of the matter contained in Mr. Baume’s broadcasts? Was the complaint made to the Postmaster-General; if not, was it made to the Government? Can the honorable gentleman say what was the real reason for the cessation of Mr. Baume’s broadcasts?
– No complaint from the German ConsulGeneral has reached me.
– Is the PostmasterGeneral aware of any complaints made against Mr. F. E. Baume, commentator on 2GB and allied stations in New South Wales and Queensland? Were the complaints made to him or to the Australian Broadcasting Commission? Can he say what official reason is given for the cessation of the broadcasts, which led to the dramatic statement by Mr. Baume that, owing to reasons which he was unable to discuss, listeners would not hear him over the air again?
– I assure the honorable member that I have had no influence whatever in bringing about any change of relationship between the broadcasting announcer referred to and the station concerned.
– Is the Minister for Defence aware that there have been many complaints in Sydney by intending militia recruits regarding their inability to find out the exact location of the places where they may enlist? Will he make inquiries to see if this difficulty can be overcome ?
– I am not aware that difficulty exists in this connexion. L understood that quite sufficient publicity had been given to the places at which intending recruits may enlist. I shall make inquiries in regard to the matter.
Dismissals of Temporary Returned Soldiers - Telephone Facilities - Extension of Sydney General Post Office
– I ask the Postmaster-General if to-day or tomorrow he will be in a position to make a brief statement to the House in regard to the position with respect to the dismissals of returned soldier temporary postal officials in Victoria and other States?
– I shall be able to make that statement to-morrow morning.
– Recently I received a reply from the Deputy Director of Posts and Telegraphs, Brisbane, that my request for the provision of telephone facilities on behalf of the Gunalda district residents had been considered but, unfortunately, that the costs involved could not he justified at the present time. In view of that reply 1 desire to know : Is it a fact that Hoffnung’s building and land adjacent to the
Sydney post office in Pitt-street were recently purchased for approximately £300,000 ; was this amount provided from revenue; have shop-owners occupying the ground floor of Hoffnung’s building at a rental from £20 to £25 a week been notified that they are on a weekly tenancy; is it a fact that the building is about to be demolished and another post office erected, bringing the total cost to approximately £1,000,000; will the amount be provided from revenue; when was the decision regarding this purchase and rebuilding arrived at; and is not the present upper floor space of Hoffnung’s building conveniently situated for immediate post office use?
– It is a fact that Hoffnung’s building has been purchased by the Postal Department within the last twelve months, and that, the price paid was in the vicinity of that mentioned by the honorable member. I shall have the necessary information prepared with regard to the other matters mentioned by him.
– During the discussion of the Estimates the Minister for the Interior was prevented by the lack of time from making a statement with respect to the Government’s proposals for improving the Governor-General’s establishments for future use by the Duke of Kent. Is there not a sub-committee investigating that matter now, and do not the Government’s proposals involve an expenditure greater than that set out in the Estimates for this purpose?
– This matter is not one that comes particularly under my administration, I understand that certain minor alterations of the GovernorGeneral’s establishments are under consideration. I shall see that the honorable member is furnished with the information he requires.
Appointment of Magistrate at Darwin.
– Have applications been called for the position of magistrate for Darwin; has the position been filled; what are the salary and duties attaching to the post; what is the name of the successful applicant, and when does he commence duty?
– It is the intention of the Government to appoint a stipendiar ymagistrate for the Northern Territory. The vacancy was advertised and applications were invited from qualified ]persons. Certain applications were made but none by persons who were legally qualified to occupy the post. The position was then re-advertised, but no appointment has yet been made. I have not in mind the salary offered, but I shall obtain the information and advise the honorable member.
– In view of the fact that preparations for the manufacture of the Bren machine gun in Australia have now been in progress for two years, I should like to know from the Minister for Defence when delivery of this weapon is to be commenced?
– It is intended to manufacture the Bren machine gun wholly within Australia. At present there are some of these weapons at the Lithgow Small Arms Factory. Preparations for the manufacture of the gun involve 12,000 drawings, and these are now being produced as quickly as possible. Jigs and patterns and gauges will arrive in Australia shortly, and as soon as they do, the manufacture of the gun will be put in hand.
– It is now two years since the production of the Bren gun in Australia was decided upon.
– The Defence Department is wasting no time in its preparations for the manufacture of the . gun. It will be commenced at the earliest possible date.
Admission to Australia
. - by leave - The Government of the Commonwealth has been invited with the governments of the other Dominions and His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom and the governments of other powers to consider the plight of many thousands of unfortunate people as the result of recent happenings in Europe.
It views with feelings of deep sympathy the sufferings of the people both of Aryan and non-Aryan races who have become refugees.
The Government has considered very earnestly the extent to which it can, in concert with other countries, assist in a humanitarian way to alleviate the conditions of these unfortunate people.
The Government feels that, if a solution of this problem is to be found, countries must* be prepared to receive a proportion of those to be expatriated, in relation to the capacity of the countries to assimilate them.
Iu recognizing this obligation, and after careful examination of the position, the Commonwealth Government has decided that Australia should assist to the extent of receiving up to 15,000 refugees over a term of three years.
In arriving at the figure of 15,000 over a period of three years, .the Government has been influenced by the necessity that the existing standards of living should not be disturbed and for reconciling with the interests of refugees, the interests of Australia’s present population, and of the people of British race who desire to establish themselves in Australia.
The Government will approve of only the admission of those classes whose entry into Australia will not disturb existing labour conditions. Special consideration will be given to individuals who have the capital and experience necessary for establishing and developing industries not already adequately catered for, and, in particular, those industries the product of which would command a market both within and outside Australia.
Although the refugee problem is one quite apart from the general question of immigration, in that it deal3 with the specific question of the amelioration of the conditions of oppressed people, at the same time it is essential that it should be considered in relation to the general question of immigration so far as the Commonwealth is concerned. The Government has decided, therefore, that, on broad lines, the admission of refugees should conform to the same principles _ as those governing the entry of white aliens generally.
The Government appreciates that an indispensable factor in the assimilation of refugees into the general community is that there should be available in Australia some body or organization able and willing to give them a helping hand after arrival and to assist iu their absorption.
These refugees may be divided into three classes : Aryans ; non- Aryan Christians, i.e., people wholly or partly of Jewish race of the Christian religion; and Jews. The Jewish community in Australia has set up an organization called the Australian Jewish Welfare Society for the purposes of assisting in the absorption of Jewish refugees after their arrival in Australia. This body is doing good work. The establishment of a separate organization is necessary in order to assist in the absorption of Aryan and non-Aryan Christian refugees after their arrival in Australia.
It is necessary that such an organization should be adequately financed to enable it to successfully undertake this work, and I am advised that church and other organizations in various parts of Australia have already expressed a desire to assist in the establishment of such an organization.
The Commonwealth Government hopes that various public bodies throughout Australia will co-operate in establishing a body for the purpose of helping Aryan and non-Aryan Christian refugees after their arrival.
The Government would be prepared to consider the granting of some small financial assistance to assist in the establishment of such an organization.
In all cases, permits for the admission of these refugees, within the limits of the number which I have mentioned, will be granted strictly in accordance with the. Government’s general white alien immigration policy.
Every refugee must be desirable as an individual, and of good character and health, of which prior evidence must be forthcoming. He must have the approved amount of landing money or have hi3 maintenance guaranteed by some approved individual or organization in this country.
Desperate as is the need of many of these unfortunate people, it is not the intention of the Government to issue permits for entry influenced by the necessity of individual cases. On the contrary, it is felt that it will be possible for Australia to playits part amongst the nations of the world, in absorbing its reasonable quota of these people, while at the same time selecting those who will become valuable citizens of Australia and, we trust, patriots of their new home, without this action disturbing, industrial conditions in Australia.
The quota which I have stated means that there will be some increase, but a not very great increase, of the rate at which permits have been issued to people of the refugee classes during the last six months.
It is part of the policy of the Government to plan that aliens who are given permission to come to Australia shall be distributed as widely as is possible throughout our country, in order to facilitate their assimilation into our population, and the Government maintains a steady policy against facilitating or permitting undue aggregation of aliens in any particular towns or centres.
– On behalfof the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Hughes), I desire to announce that this afternoon there will be laid on the table of the Library a copy of the proceedings of the Inter-Governmental Committee which sat at Evian from the 6th to the 8th July, 1938, together with the report on that conference by the honorable member for Balaclava (Mr. White), who was then Minister for Trade and Customs.
- -by leave - Although I have not had an opportunity to consider in detail the statement which has just been made by the Minister for the Interior (Mr. McEwen) with regard to the acceptance of European refugees in Australia, I feel that I can say unhesitatingly that the principles involved will be acceptable to the people of Australia. The Opposition feels, and I believe the country feels, that Australia is a place where lovers of liberty should be. welcome, and where those suffering from the inflictions of despotic authority should be given an opportunity to live lives which will enable them to realize their own highest and best future, and at the same time assist in the building of Australia into a great democratic power and a centre of civilization in its best cultural sense. I believe that the Government is anxious that, in accepting these refugees, there will not be involved any deterioration of economic or social standards in Australia. The quota suggested by the Minister seems to me to be a reasonable one. I feel also that the -vigilance exercised by the Government over these people will be sufficient to prevent the formation of racial colonies in Australia. The imposition of conditions under which refugees will be permitted to land in Australia conforming generally to the practice followed with respect to the admittance of white aliens, is a perfectly sound arrangement. I welcome the statement made by the Minister.
– In view of the importance of the statement of . the Minister for the Interior on the refugee problem, and of the fact that honorable members are frequently receiving personal representations and also correspondence in regard to this subject, to which they find some difficulty in replying, I ask the honorable gentleman to make copies of his statement available so that they may be used to reply to such representations ?
– In view of the comprehensive nature of my statement and ‘ of the honorable member’s request, I shall make copies of the document available.
– Seeing that a number of rivers in the Northern Territory are capable of being dammed to provide for water conservation, which would make possible a considerable settlement along their banks, will the Minister for the Interior consider the practicability of settling refugees in this area, so that they may be engaged in useful developmental work? I suggest also that suitable people already resident in Australia might be encouraged to settle in the Northern Territory in such circumstances.
– Any proposal along the lines suggested by the honorable member, which will not be contrary to the Government’s policy that aliens shall not be permitted to congregate unduly in particular areas, will be carefully considered.
– Is the Minister for .Works and Civil Aviation (Mr. Thorby) yet in a position to make known the results of the inquiry into Australian Aerial Services. If not, will he endeavour to have the results of this investigation made known before the conclusion of the present session?
– I am not yet in a position to make available any report, for the simple reason that the committee has not yet completed its investigation. I shall endeavour to have the information placed before the House before Parlia- ment adjourns or to make it public as soon as possible after that.
– On the 29th November, the honorable member for Dalley (Mr. Rosevear) asked the following questions : -
I gave an assurance that the information sought was being obtained.
I am now able to reply to the honorable member’s question as follows: -
– In view of the decision of the Government not to provide grants for Christmas relief this year, I ask the Minister for Works whether he will take all possible steps, through his department, to provide work before Christmas for unskilled workers in particular ?
– Everything that is humanly possible to do has been done to make available prior to Christmas as much employment as practicable, in respect of both Commonwealth and State public works. Lists of all jobs have been prepared and these works are being put in hand immediately. I hope that a lot of work will be offered within the next few days. I am happy to be able to say that every unemployed man in the Australian Capital Territory will be in full time work next week. To illustrate the steps that have been taken, I direct attention to the fact that at Mascot aerodrome in New South Wales the Commonwealth Government is spending £4,000 and the State Government £1,000, in conjunction, on work that will engage at least 95 per cent, of unskilled labour. Every job that can be put in hand from the north-west coast of Western Australia to the south coast of Tasmania, whether the expenditure involves only about £500 or runs to £5,000 or £6,000, is being scheduled and will be put in hand within the next five or six days, I hope.
– Will the labour be drawn only from the State labour exchanges ?
– Not necessarily. The doors have been thrown open as widely as possible so that all men who want work may be able to obtain it wherever it is offering. This applies to tradesmen and also to unskilled labourers. -Some of the jobs will be handled by the Commonwealth Public Works Department and some by the State labour bureaux. All restrictions are being lifted, as far as practicable, so that the maximum number of men may be employed. If men are ready to accept work it should be possible for them to get it. If they are not prepared to work, I cannot help it.
– When I asked my question of the Minister last week as to the number of men employed directly by the Commonwealth Works Department in Sydney since last June, I was actuated by certain information furnished to me and also to other honorable members.
– The . honorable member was misinformed.
– I now ask the Minister to state what method was adopted to recruit the labour required. Were the jobs advertised? Is it the policy of the principal officers of his department to give different information to inquiries by private members than they do to the Minister, or do they supply the same information.
– I suggest that if an honorable member desires information in regard to public works he should make his inquiry direct to the Minister concerned.
– Will the Minister for Works intimate how many men will be employed through the Commonwealth Public Works Department office in Sydney as general labourers between now and Christmas?
– It is impossible to say how many. All work possible will be undertaken, and as much employment provided as possible. A large sum of money will be expended, and the State authorities are co-operating by making technical officers and foremen available so as to avoid delay. No time will be lost in making work available, particularly for unskilled labour.
– Yesterday the honorable member for Flinders (Mr. Fairbairn) asked whether I would make a statement concerning rumours that had been current since the Jervis Bay manoeuvres in September, regarding the condition of five destroyers which, prior to that time, had been held in reserve. The honorable member mentioned that it had been stated that these vessels were so badly cared for in reserve that three of them were unable to go to sea for a fortnight, that the fire control system on all of them had failed and, further, that it was stated that it was unsafe to fire the torpedoes.
I have been in touch with the Naval Board on the matter, and am informed that such statements have no foundation in fact. Of the four destroyers and one destroyer leader of the Royal Australian Navy, two destroyers and one leader were in reserve at the established fourteen days’ notice for ships in reserve. On the 28th September, these three ships were ordered to be brought forward for commissioning. They were commissioned on the 29th September, were ready for sea on the 4th October, and sailed for Jervis Bay on the 8th October. The other two destroyers were in commission with reduced crews, and were completed to war complements and sailed for Jervis Bay on the 6th October and the 8th October, respectively.
At Jervis Bay -the flotilla carried out manoeuvres and gunnery exercises satisfactorily and efficiently. The few defects that came to light were of a minor nature, and were speedily rectified. As, by this time, the emergency had passed, it was not considered necessary to work the ships’ companies as for war conditions, and for this reason only, the exercises were limited in scope, and torpedoes were not fired. The torpedo armament was, however, in a perfectly efficient state.
– Is the PostmasterGeneral aware that officers of his department have been inspecting wireless sets in the coal-fields area recently, and that, apparently in consequence thereof, a number of owners of receiving sets have been summoned to appear before the Cessnock court next Monday? In view of the depressed conditions on the coalfields, due to unemployment and intermittent employment, will the honorable gentleman give consideration to the withdrawal of prosecutions against men who are out of work or are only casually employed ?
– A number of prosecutions will occupy the attention of the Cessnock court next Monday, but I am not prepared to withdraw them. Many persons who might have been summoned were not summoned; but, among those to appear before the court, are several who are well off and in receipt of good incomes.
– The PostmasterGeneral could not order prosecutions to be withdrawn.
– Has the Treasurer yet received the report of the AuditorGeneral for the year ended the 30th June, 1937 ? If not, when will it be made available?
– I have not yet received the report, but I assure the honorable member that, as soon as it comes to hand, it will be made available.
– Will the Minister for the Interior state whether, during the recent international crisis, officers of his department were detailed to watch the movements of German Nazi agents resident in this country and also visiting Australia? As the result of such inquiries, was a report submitted to the Defence Department in which the name of Dr. Asmis, the German -Consul, was mentioned? Was a list of names prepared of persons whom it was intended to intern immediately had hostilities commenced? Will the Minister lay on the table of the House all papers and reports made in connexion with inquiries into the activities of Nazi agents?
– The answer -to each of the honorable member’s questions is “No”.
– In view of the fact that the committee appointed to consider matters affecting the Griffin plan for Canberra is likely to meet in the near future, I ask the Minister for Works whether the proposal to erect a temporary wooden building in Canberra to house the Civil Aviation staff will be delayed at least until the committee meets and can consider it in relation to its effect upon the Canberra plan ? I also ask the honorable gentleman whether, in view of the fact that the Government has in its possession an extraordinarily valuable collection of geological and palaeontological data concerning the Pacific Islands and Australia, for which the Rockefeller Institute was prepared to pay £20,000, the Government will consider erecting a permanent building in which the collection may be displayed, so that it may be no longer housed under such unsatisfactory conditions in the wooden building in which it at present lies?
– I shall give preference, in respect of housing, to the provision of the necessary accommodation for the staffs of different departments associated with the Commonwealth Public Service. No decision has yet been reached concerning the accommodation to be provided for the Civil Aviation branch.
– I ask the Minister for Civil Aviation whether any steps have been taken to remedy a serious defect that was brought into relief in connexion with the Empire flying boat service during the recent crisis? I refer to the fact that no provision has been made for the overhauling of the engines of Empire flying boats in this country, or, in fact, anywhere this side of England. This, of course, means that in the event of war occurring, not only the Qantas Empire flying boats, but also other aircraft of a similar type, operating on this side of the Mediterranean would be of no use for either defence or civil aviation purposes in the event of the engines needing overhaul. I ask whether the Minister is taking urgent steps to arrange for engine overhauls for the flying boats in Australia?
– It is entirely wrong to suggest that this matter was discovered during the recent emergency period.
– I said, “brought into relief.”
– Or even brought into relief. The matter was carefully considered when the agreement was drawn up between Imperial Airways, Qantas Airways, the Government of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth Government. Provision was made to assist Imperial Airways in the overhaul of engines in Australia, and that is being considered now. In fact, a representative of the company is on his way to London to discuss the matter at the present time.
– Can the Minister for Trade and Customs say whether it is a fact that it is proposed to make a certain bushranging film entitled “ Captain Midnight,” regarding which the following is an extract from a newspaper comment which has been made: -
A film which is described as “arugged romantic saga of Australian colonization, showing the metamorphosis of New South Wales from a penal colony, a sort of Devil’s Island, into a land of determined British pioneers. Sir Earle Page has promised to supply the atmosphere.” . . . and that he has agreed to send koalas for the picture, , . also pay the cost of ten special eucalyptus trees to provide food for the bears.
Apart from the fantastic nature of this proposal and the false impression that such a film might convey of early Australian history in its suggested form, will the Minister state whether the Government has given any encouragement to the project?
– I am unaware that the production of such a film is contemplated. I am also unaware that Sir Earle Page has promised to supply koalas, or to assist in the production of the film. An application was made some weeks ago to my predecessor for permission to take a number of koala bears from Australia, but permission was refused. I believe that the decision of my predecessor was correct, and I uphold it.
– I ask the Minister for Defence whether an inquiry has been made by any competent body since the Premiers’ Conference in 1936, into the defence aspect of the standardization of railway gauges in Australia ? If so, when was the inquiry held, and did it consider that the concentration of troops for resisting invasion could be accomplished much more rapidly if railway gauges were- standardized?
– I have to-day replied to a question on notice couched in similar terms.
– I ask honorable members to place on- the notice-paper any further questions they may desire to ask.
– The call was given twice in succession to honorable members on the other side of the House.
– It is true that I inadvertently gave the call twice in succession to honorable members on the Opposition side of the House, and I am sorry. It is not my fault, however, that no further questions without notice are to be answered.
– I have received from Mrs. Hawker, mother of the late Hon. C. A. S. Hawker, a letter thanking the House for its resolution of sympathy in connexion with the death of Tier son.
Assent to the following bills reported -
Land Tax Bill 1938.
Income Tax Assessment Bill 1938.
Bill returned from the Senate without requests.
Motion (by Mr. Thompson) agreed to-
That he have leave to bring in a bill for an act to amend the Primary Produce Export Charges Act ] 935-1937.
Bill brought up, and read a first time.
Motion (by Mr. Thompson) agreed to-
That lie have leave to bring’ in a bill for an act to amend the States Grants (Fertilizer) Act 1937.
Bill brought up, and read a first time.
Motion (by Mr. Menzies, for Mr. Casey) agreed to -
That he have leave to bring in a bill for an act relating to the imposition, assessment and collection of a tax upon apples and pears, and for other purposes.
Debate resumed from the 16th November (vide page 1546), on motion by Mr. Perkins -
That the bill be now read a second time.
.- The Motor Industry Bounty Bill, commonly known as the radiator bounty bill, is one that the Opposition feels it can support, but it will first endeavour to have an amendment carried to the second reading as an indication to the Government that it is dissatisfied with this puny effort to establish a complete motor car manufacturing industry in Australia. I move -
That all the words after “That” be omitted, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the following words: - “the bill be withdrawn, and redrafted and re-introduced without delay to provide for the extension of the ‘bounty system to the production of motor car engines and chassis of motor vehicles.”
I believe that the purpose of the Government in introducing this measure is merely to sidetrack the larger proposal for the manufacture of motor car engines and chassis in Australia. If the amendment is carried, there will be no occasion for any unreasonable delay in reintroducing the measure. “We want all radiators manufactured in Australia, but we want to go further than that.
The Government should proceed with the proposal enunciated by the honorable member for Henty (Sir . Henry Gullett) in 1936, when he was a Minister. If Australia entered on the production of motor engines at the rate of 35,000 a year, which the trade could absorb, direct employment would be afforded to 10,000 persons, and the industry would support directly and indirectly 40,000. That would be of tremendous assistance at the present time when we have 160,000 persons out of work, and when parents are at their wits’ end to know how to apprentice their sons to suitable tradeswhen’they leave school.
This subject was investigated by the Tariff Board which, in its report, states -
The report goes on to say -
Furthermore, evidence placed before the board and discussed later in this report indicates that the local manufacurers should be able to supply radiator assemblies which are required for equipment in large quantitiesat littleexcess over their present cost to chassis assemblers.
Generally, the Tariff Board does not place any great importance on the value of this industry. It says that the value of the plant required is not great and that the industry will give direct employment to probably 70 persons. It is a puny effort in comparison with the bigger proposal to encourage the manufacture of motor car engines and chassis in Australia, which would give direct employment to 10,000 persons.
– How many bites at the cherry does the Government need?
– Apparently, a great many. The Government does not know just where it is going. One day it is being pushed one way by the Minister for Commerce (Sir EarlePage), who wants to tear down the tariff wall to the 1928 level, and by the representatives of overseas manufacturers, who try to control the Government. Then Ministers attend a dinner of the Chamber of Manufactures in Sydney and say, “ We believe in a tariff to protect Australian industries on a scientific basis.”
– Ministers move in opposite directions.
– True, and they speak with a half a dozen different voices The radiator industry is only a trifling step forward. Nevertheless, it had opposition before the Tariff Board. I find that it was strongly opposed by the representative in Australia of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders Limited, of London. He said that, in his opinion, Australia could not manufacture radiators economically and efficiently, and he strongly opposed the proposed assistance to the industry. Then we have the Ford Company in Geelong, for which the Treasurer (Mr. Casey) is such a great advocate.
– They are speed-up merchants.
– Yes, as my honorable friend interjects, they are speed-up merchants. The Ford Company took a leading part in opposition to the manufacture of motor-car engines in Australia, because it has a factory in Canada to manufacture for the world market. So long as we allow ii to go on manufacturing in Canada for the world market, it will continue to do so. It will not come within the Australian tariff wall until a government with sufficient courage to stand for its protectionist principles takes control of the treasury bench. The same applies to some of the other big manufacturers like General Motors, which have their roots in the United States of America. They, too, manufacture for the world market, and they are opposed to establishing any units in Australia unless it pays them to do so. Unless this Parliament gives adequate tariff protection to an Australian motor car manufactiuring industry and until General Motors and other big corporations fear that they will lose the Australian market, they will never be prepared to establish plants in Australia for the manufacture of motor car engines. The overseas manufacturers are opposed “to every progressive step towards the development in Australia of a motor car industry.
My reading of the Tariff Board’s report has forced me to the conclusion that National Radiators Proprietary Limited, whose representative gave evidence before the board, will be able to deliver the goods. It intends to establish a branch in each State and it has given an assurance that it can deliver 1,000 units a week in Melbourne alone, working 70 per cent, capacity and one shift a day.
I find in the summary of evidence that, if 40,000 radiators are made in Australia of the approximate 88,000 required annually, employment will be given to 70 persons directly, twelve in skilled work and the balance in unskilled work. The Tariff Board says that, in its opinion, indirect employment will probably be given to an additional 200 persons; but only 70 will obtain direct employment. The gravamen of my complaint is that the Government had not the courage to go on with the big project that was enunciated by the honorable member for Henty (Sir Henry Gullett) and endorsed by the Government in 1936.
– No policy of the Government could last two years.
– Unfortunately, “that is so. It seems to have no definite fixed idea for any period. The Government has been weakened considerably in its protectionist policy by the resignation of leading Ministers who found their position intolerable because of the pressure of the freetrade interests which have permeated the Government. It has lost men like the honorable member for Henty - and the honorable member for Balaclava (Mr. White), both of whom have taken a strong stand ‘ for the establishment of an industry in Australia to manufacture motor car engines and chassis. The occupant of the position of Minister for Trade and Customs should be a member of the inner Cabinet. He was excluded, and the Country party was given two nominees.
– It nearly lost the Attorney-General (Mr. Menzies).
– The Attorney-General hesitated on the bridge, and eventually decided not to leave the Cabinet, but evidently he has been overborne by the Minister for Commerce. If the Government fails to go on with the proposal for the manufacture of motor-car engines in Australia in a comprehensive manner, it will be definite evidence that the honorable member for Henty was right when he said in this House that there was some sinister influence at work which prevented the Government from going on with the proposal. Motor-car engines and chassis can be manufactured in this country quite as economically and efficiently as the “ fashion end “ of the cars - the todies - are already manufactured here. We all know that there wa3 an avalanche of opposition to the manufacture’ of motor-car bodies in this country when it was first proposed. We have seen that opposition broken down, and £2,000,000 invested in the industry, which gives direct employment to 12,000 people. Just as that opposition was broken down when it was shown that we had the business men and engineers in this country to turn out bodies very efficiently, so will opposition to an industry for the manufacture of complete cars be broken down when there is in office a government which will have the courage to establish that industry. I am firmly convinced, after a good deal of consideration of this matter, that, if the Government would only take the bold step forward and establish this industry, it will create an epoch in the development of the secondary industries of Australia. Cars could be manufactured in Australia at lower prices than are now paid for Chevrolets and Fords, the engines of which are manufactured overseas, giving employment to other people. In New Zealand and South Africa, where there are no large bodybuilding works, the retail prices of cars are higher than they are in Australia, where80 per cent. of the retail price of the car is represented in locallymanufactured parts. A Chevrolet sedan sells at £381 in South Africa, £361 in New Zealand, and £352 in Australia. That will, I hope, knock out for all time the contention of the honorable member for Forrest (Mr. Prowse) that protection is synonymous with high prices, that as soon as protection is given to an industry the people of the country pay higher prices for the finished product. That is the honorable gentleman’s invariable contention, but in the next breath he comes along and says, “ “We want a bounty from the Australian consumers for the wheatgrowers “. The consumers are very largely employees in secondary industries, because 500,000 are directly employed in secondary industries to-day.
– Order! The honorable member must confine his remarks to this bill.
– I shall endeavour to do so strictly, but the bill isso interwoven with the question of the development of Australian secondary industries that I find it extremely difficult to refrain from pointing to some of the inconsistencies of those who oppose every progressive step towards the development of those industries.
– The honorable member must restrain his desire to direct attention to the attitude of honorable members to proposals other than the one now before the House.
– Well, I agree with what the spokesman of the Government said in regard to the manufacture of motor car engines and chassis. The Prime Minister (Mr. Lyons) was so enthusiastic that he sat on the front bench and applauded with “Hear, hear!” the remarks made by the honorable member for Henty when he made a pronouncement of the Government’s policy to encourage the establishment of the car industry in this country. The Prime Minister attended the manufacturer’s function in Sydney two years ago and said -
The arguments used against the manufacture in Australia of engines applied with equal force to the manufacture of bodies and many accessories manufactured here. They also applied with equal force to every other established Australian manufacturing industry. . .. There is good reason to believe that the Australian market for cars is as satisfactory for engine production as for body production.
I say that, just as this industry to manufacture radiators will be a success, so would the manufacture of motor-car engines and chassis be a success. The considered opinion of the Prime Minister was right. My regret is that he has gone back on his attitude. I also regret that the Government has departed radically from the policy which was enunciated by the honorable member for Henty, who said that there would be 5,000 engines manufactured in Australia in 1938. 15,000 in 1939, 30,000 in 1940, and 40,000 in 1941. Of course he had in mind not only engines and chassis, but also radiators, which are now being treated separately. The honorable gentleman outlined the bounty scheme under which £30 was to be paid in respect of each engine and chassis manufactured. He said that the cost in 1938 would be £50,000, and that the amount would diminish in accordance with the increase of the quantity of the output up to and including 1941. I know from the utterances of the honorable member for Balaclava (Mr. White) that he backed up the proposals of the honorable member for Henty.
The purpose of my amendment is to indicate tothe Government that it will have no peace until it takes the bold step and establishes an industry in Australia to manufacture the complete car. We have the necessary engineering skill and sufficient trained artisans to undertake the work. The people would be ready to put money into this great epoch-making undertaking, which would be a definite move forward in the industrial development of the country if the Government would only stand up to the definite promises that it made in this House. It could not have been made in clearer or more definite language than was contained in the speech made by the honorable member for Henty (Sir Henry
Gullett) oil the 22nd May, 1936, when introducing the scheme he said -
In the opinion of the Government, reached after considerable investigation, there is room in the Commonwealth for the profitable working of at least three separate units of motor manufacture.
Not one, but three separate units! He went on to point out the experience of Great Britain where enormous factories manufacturing from 10,000 to 20,000 units a year were being conducted at a profit. Now we are told that the Government does not propose to go on with the scheme. I believe that if the truth were known the then Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. White) salvaged from the wreckage the assurance that proposals would be considered up to the 31st March from enterprises interested in the manufacture of complete motor cars in Australia. Now that he has left the Cabinet there is one vote less for any definite proposal in this direction. The honorable member for Henty who, it will be admitted, makes his statements clearly and definitely and in such a manner that they cannot be misunderstood, must have felt that he had the backing of the Government, and of the Prime Minister in particular, when he said in his place in this House -
There was not a detail in my speech in the way of fact that had not been agreed to by the Ministry. The whole of it had been submitted to and approved by the Prime Minister.
Nothing could be more definite than that. He said that the proposal to refer the matter “to the Tariff Board was “ a sham and a delusion “. It was something that had been forced upon him. By whom was it forced? By the dominating influence of the Minister for Commerce who crashes through to the Cabinet room with his freetrade proposals. As recently as the 16th November last the honorable member for Henty said -
If the Government will not establish this industry, then there is some sinister and mysterious influence stopping it, and it is well for one to speak plainly on the subject. Nobody expects that any manufacturer in this country will respond to the so-called invitation by the Government to enter into an arrangement before the 31st March to manufacture cars. That was a sham offer, and the Government know it.
Here is one of :the strong men of the Government party, a man who was picked out by the Prime Minister as soon as his party was returned with a majority and given the important position of Minister for Trade and Customs in the new Government, a man who shortly afterwards had to resign on account of ill health, but who, after his recovery, was reintroduced into the Cabinet and given the important position of Minister directing negotiations for trade . treaties. I feel sure that if the truth were known it was he who evolved this scheme, but who afterwards, because of the pressure exerted by the freetrade interest in the Cabinet, was forced to fall into line with the other members of the Cabinet and agree to this iniquitous proposal or get out, the pressure being exerted by that very section which condemned the United Australia party during the 1934 election campaign but which subsequently crashed its way through to the Cabinet room and used its influence to wreck the scheme.
– It is opposed to the establishment of new secondary industries.
– That is so, yet it wants 300 per cent, protection on certain lines while at the same time wanting to buy everything that the farmer needs on a freetrade basis. What would become of all those sections depending on the local market if that policy were continued to its logical conclusion? There is no room for half-way measures in regard to this question. The Government already has the money. It imposed a duty of .7d. per ]b. on imported chassis for this purpose. When that proposal was introduced, some opposition was levelled against it, but honorable members were appeased by the statement that the proceeds of the duty would he applied to the specific purpose of establishing a great enterprise in Australia that would provide very considerable additional employment. That duty, unpopular as it was, criticized as it was by some of the Government’s own supporters, has yielded to the Consolidated Revenue Fund approximately £1,000,000. It cannot be said that the money has not been raised. The money is there, the engineering skill is there, and trained artisans can be found. Boys leaving school are looking for employment, seeking to become apprenticed to various trades. The establishment of this high precision factory for the manufacture of complete motor cars in Australia would provide the opportunity for the absorption of a great many of them. The former Minister for Trade and Customs, in a very fine speech at the manufacturers’ dinner in Sydney, was right when he said -
I believe that if we can make iron and steel efficiently, there is nothing to stop us from making motor cars.
That statement was made whilst he was still a member of the Cabinet and showed very definitely that he was completely in favour of the proposal. I believe that the present Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. Perkins), in his own heart, wants to see the complete manufacture of motor cars in Australia.
– Hear, hear !
– He, however, is not a member of the inner Cabinet dictatorship. I appeal to him and to his colleague, the Attorney-General (Mr. Menzies), not to allow the dominating influence of the Minister for Commerce to grow. I can assure them that hd is mistrusted and loathed by the great protectionist section of the people of Australia, by whom he is -regarded as the great “ pooh-bah “ in politics to-day, who gets his way by presenting a political pistol at the head of the Government. What have other countries done to establish the motor car manufacturing industry ? What did Italy do ? It decided to go right ahead and produce 42,000 motor-car engines last year. Australia has a market for far more than 42,000 units ; we have a market for 87,000 units. The Italian market is completely closed to foreign motor cars. The Italian Government said that it would develop this industry and that it would provide adequate and effective protection to the local industry in order to keep foreign motor cars out of the country. If we in Australia took that definite stand would the Ford Motor Company of Canada be able to continue to send to Australia motor car engines manufactured in Canada? Would General Motors continue to manufacture its engines and radiators in the United States of America and dump them on the Australian market? Can it be said that the branches of these firms in Australia cannot secure the necessary engineering skill and the necessary capital to establish the industry in Australia ? What happened in Japan, that very progressive nation, which is bounding forward in its manufactures.
Whilst in 1935, Japan produced only 3,000 units, in 1936 it produced 6,200 units, and in 1937, 15,000 units. Within twelve months it will be producing 60,000 units per annum. The Japanese Government, in order to encourage the purchase of locally -manufactured motor cars, decided to limit the number of foreign motor cars imported from overseas. The Japanese Government was not timid ; it was not afraid to take this drastic step in order to encourage its own manufacturers and free them from outside competition. The Japanese Government was not pulled one way by the freetrade interests ; it did not permit itself to be influenced by a company such as the great Ford Motor Company of Geelong, which, no doubt, sought the assistance of its representative in this Parliament, the honorable member for Corio (Mr. Casey), to have shelved a proposal which, if given effect, would give it a lot of inconvenience and trouble, and would necessitate its outlay of a very substantial sum of money in Australia for the manufacture of motor cars exactly identical with those which it now imports from overseas. What has been done for the establishment of the motor car manufacturing industry in Italy, Japan, Russia and Germany could be done in Australia if only we had a government that for six months ahead could say exactly where it stands in respect of its protectionist policy. The German Government has ordered that all motor cars for use in Germany must be manufactured in German factories. That Government did not hesitate; it was not pulled hither and thither ; it knew where it was going. I fear that when these proposals, which the Government now says it will receive up to the 31st March next, come forward, the absence of the former Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. White) and the honorable member for Henty (Sir Henry Gullett) from the Ministry will result in further postponements being agreed to. With great respect to the present Minister for Trade and Customs, I fear that he and the United Australia party members who support the Governmentwill not be able to stand up to the Minister for Commerce and his cohorts, who threaten to resign from the Cabinet if they do not get their way. How true are the words of Sir Stanley Argyle, that nothing good can come out of a composite government; it is a mongrel government. I appeal to the Government, before it shelves indefinitely the proposed manufacture of motor car engines in Australia, to take into consideration -
Purchasers of new motor cars have been forced to pay that imposition, and they have done so believing that they were contributing towards a fund which would be utilized to encourage the manufacture of engines in Australia. There is no doubt that if the Government took the bull by the horns and had the courage to push this matter, the result would be increased employmentin the Commonwealth, including the employment of much skilled labour. The establishment of radiator manufacture in Australia will give employment to only a few hundred men whereas the establishment of the entire motor car industry would absorb 10,000 Australian workers. There are other aspects of the bill to which I shall refer during the committee stages.
I draw the attention of the AttorneyGeneral to the fact that the Minister for Trade and Customs has not included in this measure theusual clauses providing that employment in the industry shall be given under award conditions. Such provisions have been included in similar measures, for instance, the Iron and Steel Products Bounty Act 1919, the Iron and Steel Bounty Act 1922, the Wine Export Bounty Act 1934, and the Raw Cotton Bounty Act 1934. The last two measures to which I have referred were introduced by the Lyons Government when the present Chief Justice, Sir John Latham, was Attorney-General. In all of these acts it is provided that the bounty may be withheld if in the opinion of the Minister Arbitration Court awards and wages are not being observed in the industry concerned. The Minister is even empowered, if need be, to set up a special tribunal composed of representatives of employers and employees, and a chairman appointed by the Minister. Under these powers I, as Minister for Trade and Customs, was able, during the term of office of the Scullin Government, to set up a tribunal to fix the wages for cotton pickers in Queensland. At that time the Nationalist State Government of Queensland excluded all rural workers from the ambit of the State Arbitration Court, and industrial trouble appeared likely. A special tribunal, consisting of representatives of employers and employees, with a Commonwealth Conciliation Commissioner as chairman, was set up, the trouble was overcome; an award for cotton pickers was made and the industry operated satisfactorily. When a Labour government was returned to power in Queensland the rural workers wereonce more brought under the jurisdiction of the State Arbitration Court.
– That must have saved a court the trouble of declaring the tribunal illegal.
– If any of the recipients of bounties seek to have the provisions of the bounty legislation declared invalid by the High Court, this Parliament has power to deal with them. There would be a public outcry against these people. I will not be deterred by threats or warnings from the Attorney-General regarding the possibility of the legislation being contested in the High Court. Public opinion would be so overwhelming that the big corporations receiving bounties would not dare to take the matter to the High Court.
– The honorable member surely does not suggest that there are not in existence tribunals which can fix the wages of employees.
– I do not suggest that, but there are many avaricious employers who have way3 of evading the decisions of these tribunals. I believe that Parliament should insert a clause in this bill empowering the Minister to withhold the bounty if, in his opinion, award rates and conditions are not being observed in the industry. It may be that a swing of political opinion would place in control of a State Parliament a government which would decide to remove certain workers in this industry from the jurisdiction of the Arbitration Court. That is what happened when the Scullin Government was in office and the Nationalist party was returned to the treasury benches in Queensland. A bounty was then being paid to an industry, which was not covered by arbitration awards. A satisfactory solution was arrived at when I, as Commonwealth Minister for Trade and Customs, appointed a special tribunal to deal with the situation.
I repeat that the bill in its present form is puny and anaemic and reflects the strength, of protectionists amongst the members of the present Government. It falls far short of what we expected from the bold policy which the Government enunciated two years ago. This legislation will be in operation for two years only, during which period it will cost the nation a very substantial sum of money. At the end of two years, the scheme will be reviewed. Indeed that board has recommended that at the end of two years, the bounty should be replaced by a duty.
Radiators for replacement purposes have been manufactured in Australia for some years, but I am assured that the process of manufacture of radiators for original equipment differs widely from the methods adopted for the manufacture of radiators for replacement purposes. Mass-production methods are necessary to produce original equipment radiators at a price approximating the present costa operating under the system adopted for the manufacture of replacement radiators.
I shall support the bill because I think it is a step in the right direction, but at the same time I am very dissatisfied with it. The step taken is only a hesitating, infantile one. The Government is running away from the problem because of the opposition offered by a section of Cabinet. As the bill is merely a shadow of the Government’s original proposal, I am disappointed with it: I believe that it covers only the fringe of the policy enunciated by the honorable member for Henty in 193C. Further, it is tangible evidence of the Government’s inability to adopt progressive measures, because of its embarrassing alliance with freetrade interests which do not stand for the development of secondary industries. It is also evidence of the sympathetic ear which the Government gives to the representatives of overseas manufacturers, and of the growing influence of the arch enemy of secondary industries, the Minister for Commerce.
Sitting suspended from 6.10 to 8 p.m.
.- Naturally I shall give my blessing to this bill which I piloted through the Cabinet. I would not alter a word of the speech which the Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. Perkins) delivered in support of it. He said exactly what I should have said myself had I introduced the measure. The purpose of the bill is to provide a bounty of 10s. for each radiator manufactured in Australia. The report of the Tariff Board on this subject was accompanied by two minority reports, but the board unanimously favoured the bounty principle, and the Government has accepted its recommendation. I feel, therefore, that all honorable members will be prepared to support the bill. The necessity for the manufacture of radiators in Australia is amply explained in the board’s report, which points out that encouragement of the industry by means of bounty in its early stages will avoid any exploitation of the public. Although I wish that the bill had made provision for the automatic substitution of a duty for the proposed bounty at the end of two years, I must admit that the proposal that the whole situation should be reviewed by the Tariff Board at the expiry of that period is a reasonable alternative. Two firms in Melbourne and one in Adelaide, are at present engaged in this industry, and it should be possible, at the end of two years, to determine whether the bounty system should be continued, or whether a duty such as has been proposed, or a duty at a higher or lower rate, should be substituted for it.
The honorable member for Capricornia (Mr. Forde) has moved an amendment to the effect that the bill should be withdrawn for redrafting in order to provide for the manufacture of complete motor chassis in Australia. I am as enthusiastic as any other honorable member in the House in supporting the proposal that complete motor vehicles should be manufactured in this country as soon as possible, but I do not think the honorable member’s amendment will serve any useful purpose. It may, in fact, delay the achievement of the object he has in mind. Already hundreds of component parts of motor cars are being manufactured in Australia, such as pistons, piston rings, king pins, propellor shaft couplings, propellor shafts, rear axle shafts, shock absorbers, springs, bumper bars, batteries, bearings, brake shoes and brake bands, bushings of one kind and another, cam shafts, clutch plates and housings, clutch facings, connecting rods, crank shafts, motor bodies, and, in fact, most of the components of a motor vehicle. Only a small gap remains to be covered for Australia to engage in the production of the complete motor car. The manufacture of radiators in Australia will be a step in that direction.
The honorable member for Henty (Sir Henry Gullett) advanced a plan some time ago, with his trade diversion policy, by which this project could be implemented. I supported it enthusiastically. The Tariff Board report, however, was not so enthusiastic. I regret that the honorable member for Forrest (Mr. Prowse) has stated that I tried to coerce the Tariff Board to bring in a report in favour of the manufacture of motor cars in this country.
– I refer the honorable gentleman to the board’s report.
– Unfortunately, during the course of the inquiry by the Tariff Board, several commercial enterprises, which, in my opinion, could have undertaken the work of manufacturing motor vehicles in this country, did not show sufficient interest in the project to submit helpful evidence to the board. What I did was to ask the board to give reasons for establishing the industry here rather than reasons why it should not be established. The board’s report is an honest document based on the evidence submitted to it. This evidence, however, was given almost solely by companies engaged in operations on a limited scale, or by companies hostile to the whole proposal.
– It was evidence from interested parties.
– I suppose that in inquiries of this description, it is almost inevitable that evidence would be mainly from interested parties. The Tariff Board, naturally, had to submit a report in accordance with the evidence furnished to it, and it recommended development step by step. The introduction of this bill is a forward step. I believe that Australia is due for industrial expansion on an even larger scale than that of the last six years, although our progress during that period was greater than ever before in our history. In that time, more than 4,600 new factories were established in the various
States. This shows the confidence of investors and employers of labour. The number of employees in factories increased during that period by almost 209,000 persons. This means, of course, that the home market for goods produced by our primary producers has considerably enlarged. The members of the Country party who last night solidly supported the proposal for a bounty of £4,000,000 for the wheat-growers should realize that every expansion of our industrial enterprises enlarges the home market for their products. We cannot regard this subject in a parochial fashion..
– Some honorable members did their best, last night, to defeat the .proposals of the Government in respect of the wheat-growers.
– Quite a lot of honorable members did not wish to see this burden of £4,000,000 placed mainly on the shoulders of the poorer sections of the people who are the largest consumers of bread. In my opinion, measures such as we are now considering, may properly be described as prudent protection, in that they permit new industries to be established without any exploitation of the general public. In the last six years, the value of our production in secondary industries increased from £110,000,000 to £188,000,000, and the wages bill from £56,000,000 to £96,000,000. These are notable figures. I say emphatically that industrial development such as we have experienced is absolutely essential to the well-being of this country. Quite properly, this Parliament has devoted a great deal of attention recently to defence measures to ensure national security. It is almost equally important that we shall take all reasonable steps to ensure our economic security. If we do not develop economic strength we shall never be able to attract to Australia the man power which is essential to its safety. We need still further industrialization in this country. ‘ New industries should be established which will spread employment over as large an area as possible. We should also encourage what I might call industrial immigration. Australia is still very far behind Great Britain in industrialization. In fact, we are industrialized to only one-third of the extent of the United Kingdom. We are a people with the same traditions and the some trading outlook as the people of the Motherland, and we should do our utmost to develop secondary industries in this country. I look forward confidently to the day when the complete motor car will be manufactured on a commercial scale in this country. The Government is on trial in respect of its protectionist policy in this connexion. I am responsible for the invitation to manufacturers . in all countries of the world, to submit to the Government proposals for the manufacture of motor chassis in this country.
– What did the honorable member do to encourage this industry while he was a member of the Cabinet?
– The honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) could not have been in the House at the beginning of my speech. I suggest that he read the Hansard report of it when it is available. I may add to what I have already said on the point which he has raised, that while I was in England I used every spare moment at my disposal in inspecting motor car manufacturing establishments and in investigating this whole subject. I received the greatest courtesy in this respect from that notable industrialist, Lord Nuffield, who was at great pains to do everything possible for me. I would not like honorable members to imagine, however, that he is, himself, enthusiastic about undertaking motor car manufacturing in Australia, for he is not. I inspected many factories in which components as well as complete cars were being manufactured ; and I discussed the subject with representatives of many large companies. I assured those whom I met that every assistance would be given to firms which were prepared to begin operations in Australia. I myself fixed the 31st March as the date by which proposals should be submitted to the Government. I do not think, therefore, that the honorable member for Capricornia would be wise to persist in his amendment. I know that definite proposals will be placed before the Government, and in any case the whole subject will be reviewed four months from now. I hope that some Australian companies will also be sufficiently interested to submit propositions for the consideration of the Government.
– Unfortunately, the Minister for Trade and Customs is not a member of the inner group of the Cabinet which will determine policy in. this connexion.
– That is so. That is one of the reasons why I resigned from the Cabinet, and I know the views of some of the members of the inner group on this subject. However, I do not wish to discuss that matter any further.
Other machinery manufacturing enterprises, as well as those interested in the production of motor chassis, should be encouraged to establish themselves in Australia. I am glad that the schedule to the bill leaves the way open for the manufacture of other motor car parts in addition to radiators.
The honorable member for Capricornia has also intimated that he proposes to move at the committee stage of the bill for tho insertion of what may be called a “ labour clause “. This also, I suggest, is unnecessary. The position of the workers is safeguarded, for we have arbitration courts, wages ‘boards, or other wage-fixing tribunals in every State which may be entrusted to see that the interests of the workers are protected.
– There would be no harm in inserting such a provision.
– I am not so sure of that. Is the proposal of the honorable member for Capricornia constitutional? Some of us remember the decision of the High Court as long ago as 1908 in connexion with what was known as the “ new protection “. If not, it may be declared invalid by the High Court, and, therefore, may have the effect of wrecking the whole scheme. I urge the honorable member not to proceed along the lines he has suggested,
I hope that the bill receives the unanimous endorsement of honorable members. As the proposal has been most carefully investigated by the Tariff Board and the board has unanimously recommended the adoption of the bounty principle, it would be wrong for us to reject it. I trust that the bill will have a speedy passage and that before very long complete motor chassis will be manufactured in Australia.
– Whilst I applaud the indomi table persistency of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Forde), in advocating the building of complete motor cars in Australia, I regret that I am unable to support his amendment which would, if agreed to, have the effect of holding up the manufacture of motor car radiators. It may be that firms are already waiting to begin the work. All that can be done to bring under the notice of tho Government the need for manufacturing complete cars here has already been done. If the Government remains deaf to those representations, I despair of the fate of our secondary industries. I am confident, however, that an industry for the manufacture of engines and all parts of the chassis will be established at an early date. Therefore, I am prepared to leave matters as they are, and to vote against the amendment so that we may get on with the manufacture of radiators.
.- I should like to know whether the bounty on radiators _ is to be paid out of the proceeds of the tax on motor, car chassis which was to be devoted to the building of complete cars in Australia.
– It certainly should not.
– I say that it should not. The tax was imposed for the purpose of paying a bounty on complete cars.
– It was imposed to pay a bounty on motor car engines. The manufacture of other parts was to be assisted by duties.
– I am sure that the general impression among honorable members, and certainly among motor car users, was that the tax was imposed in order to pay a bounty on the complete car. If the money is. to be dissipated by paying a bounty on a bit of the car here, and another bit there, the Government will be doing something that is dishonest.
– This bounty will be paid out of Consolidated Revenue.
– Yes, and the proceeds of the tax on motor car chassis is paid into Consolidated Revenue, and I am sure that the Government will balance the one against the other. This is merely another instance of the practice, s» strongly condemned by the AuditorGeneral, of devoting moneys to one purpose when they were raised for another. 1 regret that the Government proposes to go about this job in a piecemeal way. The honorable member for Balaclava (Mr. White) and the honorable member for Henty (Sir Henry Gullett) have given their blessing to this proposal. A few weeks ago they were damning the Government from Dan to Beersheba because it was not doing enough to promote the manufacture of the whole car. Last week the honorable member for Henty would be satisfied with nothing less than the whole car. Now he is prepared to accept a radiator. In a month’s time he will probably be content with a few nuts and bolts. The Government is simply fooling the people. I strongly support the amendment of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, and the Government is deserving of severe criticism for having failed to take steps to ensure the manufacture of complete cars in Australia. No one who realizes how dependent is the transport of Australia on . foreign monopolies which supply us with cars and fuel can fail to be alarmed at the situation. If imports from overseas should be interrupted, the whole transport arrangement of the country would be destroyed. It should not be necessary -to wait until March, or any other time in the future, to begin this industry. Neither should it be necessary to go cap in hand to foreign capitalists to induce them to build cars here. The Government could itself begin the building of them to-morrow. It could establish a company for the purpose, keeping for itself a majority of the shares, as it did in the case of the Commonwealth Oil Refineries Limited and Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) Limited. If it made a move in that direction the motor firms would very quickly come to heel. The trouble is that this Government seems to concern itself with the affairs pf every country except this one. The matter is urgent, and if the Government allows the country to remain at the mercy of overseas exploiters it will be recreant to its trust, and cannot hope to retain the confidence of the people. Nearly £1,000,000 has already been col lected from the tax on motor chassis, enough to begin paying the bounty on the manufacture of complete cars. As 1 have said, if vested interests will not do the job, then the Government should take the job in hand itself. If it did so, the price of cars would. drop immediately. The cheaper cars could be sold here for £100 each, and the more expensive types at not more than £200. Prices would be halved, just as were the prices of agricultural machinery when we began to manufacture it for ourselves.
.- 1 oppose the amendment of the ‘Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Forde). Non-Labour members severely criticized the Scullin Government for increasing duties without referring the items to a Tariff Board, and the nonLabour government was elected by the people upon a promise that it would submit all such matters to the Tariff Board in the future. The same undertaking was given at Ottawa. I blamed certain members of the present Cabinet, when this matter of motor cars was dealt with, for trying to depart from that understanding, which was given to the Country party also. It is evident that the honorable member for Balaclava (Mr. White) was making a veiled reference to members of the Country party in the Cabinet. I remind him that they were only asking the Government to stand to the undertaking given to them, - and at Ottawa. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition considers himself greater than the Tariff Board, and would have the House discard the recommendations of the board, which took evidence on oath from persons associated with the industry. I draw the attention of the people of Australia to the fact that, if he had the power, he would again disregard the board because of his obsession to protect industry, and to build up monopolies. The Tariff Board, after taking evidence from the big motor companies of Australia, stated in its summary of conclusions -
Those conclusions were signed ‘by all of the members of the board. The board stated that it would be inadvisable to proceed with the manufacture of cars in Australia.
– That is its conclusion on the evidence available.
– The board had before it more evidence than is at the disposal of any honorable member here. One could have more confidence in the proposals of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition if those motor car parts already being manufactured here were being made to the advantage of the citizens of Australia; if, behind the shelter of the tariff wall, the manufacturers were giving service to the people, and were satisfied with a reasonable profit. Honorable members are aware, however, of the profiteering that goes on behind the tariff wall, and yet some of them, without attempting to correct that evil, are prepared to proceed with the manufacture of complete cars, so that the car which sells for £100 in the United States of America would sell here for £500. The Tariff Board reports that the duty on cars would more than pay the whole cost of wages.
– Does the honorable member know that the Chevrolet car is dearer in South Africa and New Zealand, where there is no motor body building industry, than it is here?
– I always take with a pinch of salt statements from any one who is so prejudiced as is the Deputy Leader of the Opposition. The honorable member mis-stated the price of a Chevrolet car in Australia. I was a recent purchaser of a Chevrolet and I know that he was astray in his figures by £25.
– I- used the figures given to me in reply to a question in this House.
– Even if it were conceded that the honorable member was correct, why should the price in Australia be so much greater , than the price in the United States of America? My answer is that the high price charged in Australia is due to the rake-off of 83 per cent, which is taken by the huge motorbody combine. The protectionist policy could be a help to Australia if the people protected would render a better service to the people of Australia.
.- I have no intention to oppose this bill, because I believe that a bounty is the best means to provide assistance towards the promotion of an industry. The bounty system gives reasonable assistance, and at the same time ensures freedom from cartels and secret agreements. I am opposed to the proposal of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Forde). The honorable gentleman claims that statements which are a direct contradiction of the sworn evidence given before the Tariff Board, would justify the Government in ignoring the board’s report. The honorable member for Werriwa (Mr. Lazzarini) thundered that the Government should develop the motor car industry in Australia. “Put some government money into the industry and it will develop,” he said. I direct the attention of honorable members opposite, particularly the Deputy Leader of the Opposition and the honorable member for Werriwa to the history of the motor-body building industry in Australia. That industry makes enormous profits in consequence of the existence of the abnormal duty of £90 on each imported motor-car body. One firm made a profit of about £1,000,000 in one year. I do not think that the Australian public appreciates the attitude of the Opposition, which is to give to one or two big firms a monopoly enabling them to reap excessive profits. The Economic Committee of 1928 investigated the relationship between tariff protection and salaries and wages in industries. It disclosed that, whereas the rubber industry paid annually £1,300,000 in wages and salaries, the value of the duty amounted to £2,100,000. It is an impertinence to call that protection. The same state of affairs exists in the motor-body industry.
This Parliament is not compelled to abide by the decisions of the Tariff Board, but the law sets out definitely that before any new duty is imposed or any rate of duty is changed the matter shall first be reported on by the Tariff Board. Yet this Government recently increased the rate of duty on one article from 60 per cent, to 320 per cent, without reference to the Tariff Board. Had that been known by me I should not have acquiesced in the validation of the collection of customs duties for another six months. The Government should be the first to uphold the law, not to break it.
It was only at the insistence of certain honorable members that the Government deigned to submit ito the Tariff Board the gigantic proposal that was made in 1936 by the honorable member for Henty (Sir Henry Gullett) for the establishment of a motor-car industry in Australia. We contended that the Tariff Board should investigate the proposal in order to ascertain whether the industry would be economic and in the best interests of the people. As a matter of fact, before the Cabinet took action, the Tariff Board should have made a report upon the proposal to encourage by bounties the construction of the complete chassis in Australia, because the subject is an involved one, and Australia cannot afford to take risks in creating another uneconomic industry, which, on the evidence so far available, can only exist by imposing further demands on the taxpayers without benefit to employment or the public, and by forcing the public to use what they do not want. In efforts to deal with a mirage, hundreds of old-established businesses may be ruined together with employees. No subject of greater importance could be dealt with by the Tariff Board. Hundreds of employees were put out of work immediately after the restrain-of -trade policy was announced by the honorable member for Henty.
The Tariff Board has investigated and reported in favour of the manufacture in Australia of radiators, and, since the assistance to be given to the industry will be by way of bounties, which will allow of competition and discourage secret agreements, I give the bill my support.
.- I support the amendment moved by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Forde), because I think that when we assist an industry of this description the workers associated with it should be protected. Last year I inspected the Ford Motor Works at Corio and was astonished to see that among the employees there were none of more than 40 years of age. The manager told me that men older than 40 were not kept in the employ of the firm. That is due to the American speed-up system. If we allow industries to establish themselves in Australia behind .the tariff wall we should take steps to safeguard the interests of the employees.
– in reply - Although the honorable member for Capricornia (Mr. Forde) made a long speech, I shall reply in a few words, because practically every word spoken by the honorable member was in support of the measure. I take it that other honorable members are also in full agreement with it. The honorable member for Capricornia expressed regret - and I join with him - at the fact that to-day, instead of being able to come forward with a measure to establish in Australia an industry for the manufacture of motor vehicles, the Government is restricted to providing a bounty for the manufacture of radiators. The reasons, however, are well known. First of all, we have the Tariff Board report which advocated step-by-step the development of the motor-car industry. This measure represents an important step towards that development. The honorable member for Balaclava (Mr. White) and the honorable member for Henty (Sir Henry Gullett), both of whom were my predecessors in the Department of Trade and Customs, are both behind the steps that we are taking. I emphasized in my second-reading speech that this bill was the first step towards the start in Australia of an industry to build motor cars. The Government is hopeful that it will not be long before it can come to the House and say. that it is ready to take the final step towards that objective.
The honorable member for Balaclava, who inspected motor-car factories in Great Britain and in the United States of America, when he was Minister for Trade and Customs, sent a circular letter to persons interested in the motor-car industry project, inviting them before the 31st March next to submit proposals. A delay for a further four months does not mean that we have abandoned the project. Radiators constitute 3 per cent. of the car, so it will be recognized that although this bill is a small step it is none the less an important move towards fulfilment of the desire to make Australia independent of the United States of America and other countries in its motor transport requirements. The radiator industry is already in operation. The people engaged in it are waiting with interest for the passing of this bill. I appeal to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition not to press his amendment if he is sincerely anxious to assist in the establishment of this industry in Australia. To withdraw the bill and to redraft it would take time and, as the honorable member knows, there only remain a few days before the House rises for the Christmas recess.
– There has been a delay of two and a half years since the Government first announced its proposals for the establishment of the industry for the manufacture of complete cars in Australia.
– The reasons for that delay were very fully explained during the discussion of two adjournment motions. We seem now to be within reasonable distance of securing the establishment of at least a portion of the industry. I cannot say now whether we shall have complete manufacture of cars in Australia in four or five months ; all I can say is that every likely manufacturer has been appealed to, and that the Government is willing to consider proposals received before the 31st March next. I earnestly appeal to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition to withdraw his amendment because, as I have said, if it is carried it can only result in further delay.
– My amendment proposes that another bill should be introduced without delay.
– That could not be done without some delay. The Government is anxious to press on with this matter and if any delay occurred now it would only result from the carrying of the amendment. I know that the company which proposes to undertake the manufacture of radiators in Australia is particularly anxious to see this measure passed. It has already commenced operations in expectation of the passage of this measure which has been introduced on the recommendation of the Tariff Board. The honorable member for Henty (Sir Henry Gullett), who has been a driving force in keeping the Government up to the mark in connexion with its proposals for the establishment of the motor industry in Australia, is in agreement that we should get this industry started at once. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition mentioned what has been done in Italy, Germany and Japan, and said that we might well emulate the good example set by those countries in that’ regard. I remind him that those countries have a form of government different from that in Australia. If we had that form of government here we might be able to manufacture motor cars next week, but at the same time we would see a lot of other things done in this country with which we would not agree. We pride ourselves on our democracy. The only fault of democratic government is that it is rather slow in getting into motion. I appeal to the democrats in this House not to retard the establishment of this industry by voting for the amendment.
Question put -
That the words proposed to be omitted (Mr. Forde’s amendment) stand part of the question.
The House divided. (Mr. Speaker - Hon. G. J. Bell.)
Majority . . 9
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Original question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and committed pro forma.
Message reported recommending appropriation for the purposes of amendments to be moved in this bill.
In committee (Consideration of Governor-General’s message) :
Motion (by Mr. Perkins) agreed to -
That it is expedient that an appropriation of revenue be made for the purposes of amendments to be moved by the Minister for Trade and Customs in a bill for an act to provide for the payment of a bounty on the production of parts of motor vehicles.
Resolution reported and - by leave - adopted.
In committee (Consideration resumed) :
Clause 1 agreed to.
Clause 2 (Commencement of act).
.- I should like some indication from the Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. Perkins) as to when the act will be proclaimed.I have no doubt that his intention in regard to the matter is quite good, but I am also mindful of the fact that he is not a member of the inner group of the Cabinet, which determines matters of policy. Although he as Minis ter for Trade and Customs may enthusiastically support the immediate proclamation of the act, he may be overridden by the inner group, two members of which are Country party members who do not believe in protection.
– This legislation will be brought into operation at the earliest possible moment.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 3 to 6 agreed to.
Clause 7 -
The bounty under this act shall be payable on the production of goods which have been manufactured in a factory in accordance with the prescribed conditions during the period of bounty specified in the schedule.
Amendment (by Mr. Perkins) agreed to-
That after the word “ production,” the words “during the period of bounty specified in the schedule,” be inserted.
– I move
That the words “ during the period of bounty specified in the schedule “ be omitted.
This amendment is proposed in order to ensure that the bounty willbe paid on radiator assemblies partially manufactured before the commencement of the act and completed during the period of operation of the bounty.
Amendment agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clauses8 to 23 agreed to.
.- I move -
That the following new clause be inserted : - “20a. - (1.) The Minister may make application to the Chief Judge, or a Judge, of the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration, or to any Commonwealth authority established for the purpose of determining rates of wages and conditions of employment, for a declaration as to what rates of wages and conditions of employment are fair and reasonable for labour employed in the production of such parts of motor vehicles as are specified in the schedule. (2.) Every person who claims the bounty payable under this act shall, in making such claims, furnish to the Minister such evidence as the Minister requires as to the rates of wages paid, and the conditions of employment observed, in respect of any labour employed in the production of such parts of motor vehicles as are specified in the schedule. (3.) If the Minister finds that the rates of wages or conditions of employment, or any of them, paid or observed in respect of any labour employed in the production of such parts of motor vehicles as are specified in the schedule -
Provided that, if the representatives of employers and employers fail to make a joint nomination of a chairman within twenty days after being called upon by the Minister so to do, the Governor-General may appoint a person to act as chairman.”
I take this action because the Government has not inserted in this legislation a provision similar to that contained in other bounty measures ensuring that employees in the industry shall work under award wages and conditions. A provision of this description was inserted in the Iron and Steel Products Bounty Act 1919, the Iron and Steel Bounty Act 1922, the “Wine Export Bounty Act 1934, and the Raw Cotton Bounty Act 1934. The last two measures to which I have referred were passed by the Lyons Government. This hill provides for the payment of a substantial bountyto manufacturers of radiators. Since 1918, governments of various political colours have passed bountybills and on all occasions there has been included a safeguarding provision giving the Minister power to withhold the bounty if, in his opinion, award rates and conditions are not being observed. During my own term of office as Minister for Trade and Customs in the Scullin Government, I had to take advantage of such a provision in the Raw Cotton Bounty Act, because a nationalist government in Queensland had removed certain rural workers, including cottonpickers, from the jurisdiction of the Arbitration Court. These workers were at the mercy of employers and were being forced to accept whatever remuneration was offered for their services. In framing legislation for the provision of a bounty on the production of cotton, the Commonwealth Government took into consideration, not only the growers of cotton, but also the workers engaged in the industry, and to this end included a safeguarding clause stipulating that award rates and conditions must be observed. Under the powers conferred upon me by the Raw Cotton Bounty Act, I appointed a special tribunal composed of representatives of the employers and employees engaged in the industry, and the Commonwealth Conciliation Commissioner as chairman. That tribunal visited cottongrowing districts, and fixed the remuneration for workers engaged in picking cotton, and industrial trouble, which had been threatened, was averted. No doubt situations will arise in the future in which such authority will again have to be invoked. I understand that the possibility of such a provision being declared unconstitutional is now exercising the mind of the Attorney-General (Mr. Menzies). I point out, however, that the onus would be on the employers, receiving substantial payments by way of bounty. to test the validity of the legislation in tlie High Court of Australia, and that public opinion would be so overwhelming that efforts to declare the provision unconstitutional would have to be abandoned. I personally do not think that the provision could be declared unconstitutional, but I do not wish to pit my legal knowledge against that of the Attorney-General. I point out, however, that several governments during the last twenty years have passed bounty legislation, and on each occasion a safeguarding clause similar to the one now1 proposed has been inserted. This was the case even with respect to legislation passed in 1934 by the Lyons Government, in which the now Chief Justice of the High Court, Sir John Latham, was Attorney-General. I cannot see any valid reason for the exclusion of a similar provision on this occasion. It is possible that manufacturers engaging in the production of motor radiators might establish factories in all the States of Australia. At present workmen in Victoria and New South Wales- at least would be covered by arbitration awards, but a government of one of the States might in future decide to exempt from the jurisdiction of the Arbitration Court certain workers engaged in this industry.
– If the industry were interstate in character there would be. no doubt about the workers being covered by the Commonwealth Arbitration Court.
– That is so, but circumstances might arise in which the awards of the Commonwealth Arbitration Court would not apply. For instance, the cottongrowers of Queensland, whom I have mentioned previously, were not covered by a Commonwealth award, and in order that they might be given reasonable wages and conditions, I found it necessary to appoint a special tribunal. What happened in the cotton industry might happen in some other industry. The insertion of a safeguarding clause in this bill would prevent such a state of affair:) occurring in the radiator manufacturing industry. The rights of the workers should be safeguarded. They are entitled to their place in the sun, and it must be remembered that even at award rates of pay they are receiving barely enough to keep, body and soul “together. Wo should protect them in this bill as they have been protected in other similar bounty legislation passed since 1918.
.- The Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Forde) has asked, not unnaturally, what has become of the provision which Ave inserted in quite a number of bounty acts now on our statutebook. The answer is that if anybody is to blame, I am, because I entertain very grave doubts as to the validity of such a provision. I am, therefore, not altogether disposed to ask the House to pass legislation which, in my opinion, might be of very doubtful constitutional validity. I shall endeavour to explain briefly why a safeguarding provision, on this occasion at least, would be invalid. The amendment moved by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition is -
The Minister may make application to the Chief Judge or a Judge of the Comomnwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration or to any Commonwealth authority established for the purpose of determining wages and conditions of employment, for a declaration as to what rates of wages and conditions of employment are fair and reasonable, for labour employed in the production of such parts of motor vehicles as are specified in the schedule . . .
In the radiator manufacturing industry there may be an interstate industrial dispute. No direction by the Minister would be needed, because the Commonwealth Court would have jurisdiction to deal with that dispute, and settle the wages and conditions, and the law would then provide means for enforcing the court’s award.
– There are some special cases.
– That is so, but I am dealing Avith two obvious possibilities. If, on the other hand, there was, in that industry, no interstate dispute, and there was no foundation for the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth Court, I am at a loss to understand how such a jurisdiction could be conferred upon the court by the request of the Minister, because juris-diction of that character is founded on section 51, paragraph 35 of the Constitution which provides for the prevention and settlement of industrial disputes extending beyond one State.
– A provision similar to the one provided for in my amendment was inserted in Commonwealth legislation by Sir John Latham.
– This is a matter on which nobody can say in a dogmatic fashion that any other honorable gentleman is wrong. I can only say that in my opinion there is very grave doubt as to the validity of such a provision. It is quite true that on more than one occasion, safeguarding provisions of this kind have been included in legislation by my distinguished predecessors, and perhaps this is the first occasion on which it has become necessary to give an explanation of the reasons for the doubts to which I have referred. I may sum up by saying that if there is an interstate industrial dispute, then such a provision as ‘this is unnecessary; if, on the other hand, there is no industrial dispute, then I can find no warrant in the Constitution for the insertion of such a provision as this.
– I found it necessary to exercise the power conferred upon me by the Raw Cotton Bounty Act.
– I would describe the honorable member’s action on that occasion as extremely wise and probably illegal, as many extremely wise things are. I cannot quarrel with the principle embodied in the amendment. Beyond all doubt, people who are put in a position to receive bounties, should be submitted to proper requirements in relation to their industrial conditions.
– The cotton-growers were not covered by any award at all on the occasion referred to by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition.
– That is so.
– It is possible that in the near future there may arise a situation similar to that in which the cotton pickers found themselves.
– What I am saying with regard to the legality of the legislation does not depend on whether or not there is an industrial tribunal in existence, although in the case of the employees affected by this bill, there probably will be one. This discussion recalls at once the discussion which took place upon what subsequently became known as “ new protection “. Honorable members will recall that in that case the Commonwealth Parliament passed a law which provided a certain rate of excise, and provided for the collection of a lower rate of excise if a certificate were obtained from the president of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Court, indicating that certain proper wages and conditions had been observed. In the famous cases of The King v. Barger, and the Commonwealth v. McKay, reported in volume 6 of the Commonwealth Law Reports, the High Court of Australia held that in examining the validity of a law of that kind, one must consider not merely its form, but its substance, and that although in form that law was an excise law, merely attaching to the excise conditions of an industrial nature, in point of substance it was a law to regulate industrial conditions themselves. Therefore it was outside the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth Parliament. By exact parity of reasoning, if the amendment of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition is agreed to, and the High Court follows the decision to which I have referred, it will declare that this provision, while professing to be a law relating to the payment of a bounty, is, in reality, a law dealing with industrial conditions in certain factories. I am bound to say, however, that the High Court was divided in Barger’s case, the decision having b,en given by a majority vote. I am also bound to say that indications lately are that if ‘the same issue arose again such a’ view might not be upheld. I have been extremely interested, however, to notice that in a number of decisions given by the High Court of the United States of America in cases affecting the .New Deal, the principle followed by our High Court has been applied by the High Court of the United States cif America, with the result that certain laws that have been challenged have been declared invalid. No one who is in a position of authority can say positively or dogmatically, however, that this decision of the High Court would be followed to-day. As Attorney-General, having regard to the decision in Barger’s case, I would not feel warranted in offering any other advice to the committee than that which I have given.
– A long while has elapsed since the case to which the Attorney-General (Mr. Menzies) has referred was decided, and we have had a lot of experience of, the Constitution in the ‘meantime. I regard the AttorneyGeneral as a wise member of the Cabinet, and I therefore suggest that if what the Opposition is now trying to do cannot be done in this way, he might be able to suggest some other way in which it can be done. The Government has declared that it stands for award wages and conditions in Australian industry. That being so, I ask the AttorneyGeneral to give some consideration to this subject, with the object of devising a means by which we may achieve our purpose. It may be that a provision of this kind will not be needed, but it is not hard to imagine that overseas manufacturers not accustomed to Australian methods may engage in this industry, and may not be prepared to observe Australian conditions and pay Australian wages unless compelled to do so. All contractors for the Commonwealth Government are obliged to observe award conditions, and I submit that a similar obligation should rest upon all manufacturers likely to benefit by the payment of bounties.
– I entirely agree with the principle underlying the amendment, and I am prepared to examine the problem as it relates to the payment of bounties of all sorts by the Commonwealth, to see whether some general provision cannot be devised which will have the desired effect. If I cannot find a means to do what is desired, I shall explain why.
– That assurance by the Attorney-General, for which I thank him, is perfectly satisfactory to me. Such a provision may never be necessary, but it is desirable in order that the workers in industry may be protected.
– I sympathize with the object of the amendment.
.- Whilst I appreciate the undertaking of the Attorney-General (Mr. Menzies) to investigate this matter to see whether some principle of general application can be provided to deal with this matter, I do not feel disposed to withdraw my amendment. Even the Attorney-General said he could not be dogmatic as to whether the proposed amendment was constitutional. The amendment I am moving was endorsed in similar form by Sir John Latham, and he is no mean authority on the Constitution.
Question put -
That the proposed new clause (Mr. Forde’s amendment), be inserted.
The committee divided. (Chairman - Mr. Prowse.) Ayes . . . . . . 22
Majority . . 8
Question so resolved in the negative.
Schedule agreed to.
Preamble and title agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments; report adopted.
Bill read a third time.
Debate resumed from the 17th Novem ber (vide page 1656) on motion by Mr. Perkins -
That the bill be now read a second time.
.- The purpose of this bill is “to provide for the payment of a bounty on the production of newsprinting paper.” . The
Opposition intends to support the measure, but it will make certain suggestions at the committee stage to protect the interests of the workers engaged in the industry, and also to safeguard the position of proprietors of small newspapers not financially interested in the company proposed to be formed. The production of newsprinting paper in Australia has received a great deal of attention for many years. The Labour party in the Commonwealth Parliament and also in the Parliament of Tasmania has taken a great interest in the subject, and has done much to bring the project to its present stage. It is proposed to establish this industry in Tasmania, one of the smaller States of the Commonwealth which claim that they suffer disabilities in consequence of federation. If the indus; try is successfully established, it will contribute to the decentralization of our secondary industries. It is desirable that these industries shall be distributed as evenly as possible throughout the whole Commonwealth. Instead of having the majority of them located in Sydney and Melbourne, it would be a good thing for the country if they were spread more widely throughout Australia. Some should be established in the more important country towns so as to provide a diversity of employment, and to enable the young people to become apprenticed to trades instead of ‘being thrown on the unskilled labour market.
The establishment of the newsprinting industry is of first-class importance. When the first unit comes into operation, it will provide employment for 266 persons, and, when the industry is fully established, employment will be provided for 800 persons. Thus it will be an industry which any State might he glad to have. I have to congratulate those, enthusiastic advocates of the proposal, the honorable member for Franklin (Mr. Frost), the honorable member for Denison (Mr. Mahoney), and the honorable member for Bass (Mr. Barnard), who have been indefatigable in their efforts to have the industry established.
When the Scullin Government was in office, I had a good deal to do with the negotiations between- the Government and the representatives of the companies that were then considering the establishment of the newsprinting industry in Australia. Difficulties were encountered because there were two rival companies which were unable to agree, and it seemed at that time that it would be an uneconomic proposition to begin the manufacture of newsprint. At a conference of Premiers, called by the Scullin Government/ a secretariat committee was appointed to deal with unemployment and production. That committee recommended to the Government that in order to obtain the necessary capital for this industry, it should set aside £875,000, out of which advances, to be secured by debentures over the assets, would be made to a company or companies, on a £1 for £1 basis, and on a definite undertaking by it or them to commence production. In 1925, the Tariff Board recommended that a bounty of £4 a ton should be paid on newsprint manufactured in Australia, besides a duty of £1 a ton on imported newsprint. In 1929, the Bruce-Page Government introduced a bill providing for the payment of a bounty of £4 a ton, and it was also decided to impose a deferred duty.
During the 1929 election campaign, the then; Leader of the Federal Labour party (Mr. Scullin) promised that his party would, if returned to power, grant the assistance promised by the BrucePage Government, namely, a bounty of £4 a ton. It can be seen, therefore, that this proposal has been supported by all parties, and by governments of differing political colour.
On the 24th June, 1930, the Scullin Cabinet approved of a proposal to pay a bounty of £4 a ton over a period of five years from the commencement of production of each class of paper, but no action was to be taken for the time being respecting the deferred duty. If new duties were imposed the bounty was to be reduced. Legislation was not proceeded with because the negotiations for the amalgamation of the various interested companies were not sufficiently advanced. The Scullin Government was always hopeful that the industry would be successfully established in Australia, and it gave an assurance to the interested parties that it would do all it possibly could to help.
We now have before us a definite proposal, and I have much pleasure in supporting it. The two rival companies have reached an agreement, and the new company, to he known as The Australian Newsprint Mills Proprietary Limited, is to commence operations with a capital of £1,300,000 in £1 shares, of which £250,000 in preference shares will be held by the Tasmanian Government, on which it will receive 4 per cent. The Tasmanian Government has taken up these shares because it realizes the great importance of the industry to Tasmania.
The bill now before us contains a proposal to pay a bounty of £1 14s. a ton on newsprint on the basis of the present cost of £16 6s. a ton up to a limit of £108,000, which would be the outlay on a production of 64,117 tons. On a production of 27,000 tons, which will be the output of the first unit, the annual bounty payments will be approximately £46,000. However, there will be no bounty payments until production commences, which will not be until the end of next year, or early in 1940. The bounty will operate for a period of four years, and we are assured that the matter will before the end of the four years be referred to the Tariff Board for investigation and report as to how the industry should be assisted in the future.
The first stage will be the erection of a mill with one machine capable of producing 27,000 tons of newsprint annually, and a mechanical pulp mill capable of supplying 75 per cent, of the pulp required. There will be immediate employment for 266 persons, and employment for 850 persons when the company is in full production. I notice that, when the managing director of the company was giving evidence before the Tariff Board, he estimated at 350 the number of persons who would be immediately employed. Now, the number is given at 266. I hope that we shall not find, when the industry is under way, that the number of persons employed will be considerably below even the amended estimate.
The Government has overcome a great deal of hostility to this proposal by granting a bounty on newsprint manufactured in Australia without imposing a duty on imported newsprint. There is no doubt that there would have been organized and justified opposition to the measure by those newspapers which are outside the company interested in the manufacture of newsprint. They were very concerned lest, by the imposition of a duty on imported newsprint, their costs should be greatly increased. Indeed, it was estimated that the extra cost to some of them would be between £10,000 and £20,000 a year. The Minister is to be complimented on having avoided that opposition, and I have been assured by the representative of the unaffiliated newspapers who came to Canberra that they have now no objection to the measure.
Though the Labour party is a strong protectionist party, it has always advocated certain safeguards for the consumers and the workers. . While it stands for the effective tariff protection of Australian industries, it would also introduce measures to prevent profiteering, and to assure .industrial protection to the workers engaged in industry. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Curtin) elaborated this point in the following statement : -
The party that I lead wishes it to be known definitely and decisively that its support of protectionist principles is motived by the desire to serve the best interests of the nation and in every important consideration the best interests of workers engaged in industry.
We have regard for the rights of the consumers, the welfare of the workers, and the stability of the industry. We do not believe in the imposition of duties in order to permit a great monopoly to exploit the public on one side and oppress its workers on the other.
Although there is no immediate provision in this measure for the imposition of duties on imported newsprint, the Minister has stated that, in the event of newsprint prices falling materially below £15 a ton, the Government will impose a duty which would be substantially lower than that recommended by the Tariff Board. The proposed duties would be 5s. a ton when the price fell below £15, 7s. 6d. a ton when it fell below £14, and 10s. a ton when it fell below £13. I am assured by those who know that the duties are not likely to operate for the next few years. Indeed, the history of newsprint prices in Australia make it extremely doubtful that the price will ever fall below £15 a ton again. During the war, of course, Australian users of newsprint paid up to £80 a ton for newsprint, as against the present landed price of £16 16s. It is clear, therefore, how important it is to Australia that this industry should be established, so that Australia may be able to supply its own newsprint requirements at a reasonable cost, irrespective of the prices pre,vailing in other parts of the world. Moreover, I have no doubt that when Tasmania is able to produce all the newsprint required in Australia, there will be no need for that State to obtain financial grants from the Commonwealth. Before that can happen, however, the industry will have to be flourishing to a much greater degree than is envisaged even” in this proposal.
– We want population,, not grants.
– I agree with the honorable member. If Tasmania had a few more secondary industries, there would not be the need for it to come cap-in-hand to the Commonwealth for annual grants. It is well to remember that, if there should be a war, what applied to the Australian sugar industry in the last war will also apply to the newsprint industry. During the war, when the price of sugar overseas was up to ls. 6d. a lb., the Australian people never had to pay more than 6d. a lb., and that price lasted only until the Government had been recouped for certain losses that it had had to incur on certain sugar purchased from abroad.
– Order ! The Chair cannot see what relation that has to the bill now before the House.
– I am sorry if that is so, because I was pointing out that what applied to the sugar industry during the war will apply to the newsprint industry in any future emergency.
– The local newsprint industry will be of tremendous, importance, because it will prevent the price of newsprint soaring to heavenly heights, as it did during the war, when it rose to £80 a ton. The landed price of newsprint today is down to £16 6s. a ton, and, with the existence of this industry, during a future war the newspapers will be able to obtain their requirements at a reasonable price, probably not more than £17 or £18, a ton, as against £80 a ton that it might have to pay for imported newsprint. The establishment of this industry is in accordance with the policy of progressive development of secondary industries in this country. It is an example of which the honorable member for Forrest (Mr. Prowse) should take heed. I hope that it will be tangible evidence to that honorable gentleman and to every one else who doubts their efficacy, of the great boon which these industries bestow upon a country.
I hope that the Minister for Trade and Customs will be able to give an assurance that he has gone to a good deal of trouble in framing this measure, because I am somewhat sceptical about the activities of the companies which have control of this new industry. They are amongst the very large newspaper owners of Australia. There are many newspapers outside the combine. I want to say a word for them. At the present time, because there is no duty to be imposed, they feel that they are all right, and they are hopeful of making a fair deal with the newsprint company in the future, but they have some mental reservations about the matter. I do not want it to be taken that I am opposed to this company, because I realize that the Government was fortunate in being able to induce a large number of the owners, who will be able to purchase a huge quantity of newsprint every year, to become interested in this proposition. I can see the difficulties which would confront a few business men at Hobart in embarking upon this industry without adequate protection in the. hope that they would be able to sell their product to the newspapers of Australia. Those newspapers would say to them, “We are interested in your enthusiasm, initiative, and enterprise, but we have entered into contracts overseas and cannot buy from you “. The venture would not last very long. If any company can make a success of this undertaking, I believe that it is the company which has taken up the work.
For the reasons that the proposition is in accordance with the Labour party’s platform, policy and ideals progressively to develop in this country secondary industries to manufacture increasing quantities of goods which we formerly imported from other countries, giving substantial additional employment to our own people and opening up fresh opportunities for skilled and unskilled workers working under Australian awards, the Opposition will support the bill. But in committee I shall move an amendment to provide a further safeguard for the workers engaged in the industry and ensure that they will not be exploited by the employing interests. In committee also, we shall have something to say in regard to safeguarding further the interests of the newspapers which are outside this huge combine that has a capital of £1,300,000. We wish the venture every success and support the bill.
.- Honorable members no doubt will remember that there was much discussion and newspaper controversy about this industry and the . Tariff Board’s inquiry. The Government had referred the industry to the Tariff Board and a report was received. There was speculation as to the result, and certain newspapers which were not shareholders in the new company believed that a duty would fall very heavily on them. As Minister for Trade and Customs, on the 23rd September I made a statement outlining what the Government intended to do and at the same time laid the Tariff Board’s report on the table. In that statement it was shown that by a compromise arrangement, a bounty of £1 14s. u ton would be paid when newsprint was £16 6s. a ton. The bounty was not to be collected by means of a duty as was proposed by the Tariff Board. The announcement was welcomed with approbation by both sides of the House. Since then the necessary safeguards and all particulars have been put through Cabinet. I am proud that I had the responsibility for the framing of this bill and the previous bill which has just been passed by honorable members. Therefore, I give this bill a blessing and congratulate the company upon its pertinacity in going forward with its project, because newsprint throughout the world is made from softwood, whereas in Tasmania a bold experiment is being made with hardwood. It looks as if it will be successful, but there is not complete certainty yet. With the Government paying a bounty of £1 14s. a ton on the present price the impost does not fall upon the newspapers which are outside the new company. They will still be able to import newsprint at the same rate. It will only be when the price of the imported product falls below £15 a ton that a duty will be imposed. Then it will start at the rate of 5s. a ton. All of the newspapers outside the company agree that it is fair that, if they can buy at that cheap rate, or at a cheaper rate, they should subscribe when prices are low.
What I am sure is pleasing to Parliament generally is the fact that the industry is to be established in Tasmania. There has been great development of secondary industries in the capital cities of Sydney and Melbourne and in the two States to which they belong. It would be wrong for development to be lopsided. As Minister for Trade and Customs, it was my aim to favour the establishment of industries in the more distant States by a decentralization of industry. If Western Australia could develop a few more secondary industries it would have the applause of every Australian, because Western Australia is capable of holding many millions of settlers more than it does at present. Western Australia can hope to prosper only if it pushes on with the development of secondary industries. Tasmania has harnessed its water power in the hydroelectric scheme, and it is now attracting secondary industries. Its forests will supply the timber for this new industry, which will directly employ 266 men and, indirectly, with feeder industries, will assist in employment in many ways. We can only wish the company success in its enterprise.
In the bill there are safeguards which will ensure that there will be no exorbitant profit. It is not expected that in the first year, or even in the second year, there will be any profit. At any rate it is good that such a huge enterprise can be launched. The project will be reviewed in five years. Bv that time the Government will be able to see whether there is a sufficient supply o’f newsprint and whether the bounty should be continued or replaced by a duty.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Frost) adjourned.
Bill brought up by Mr. Thompson, and read a first time.
Export of Pig Iron - Unemployment in New South Wales - Death of Sudanese War Veteran.
– I move -
That the House do now adjourn.
In doing so I desire to refer to one matter which was mentioned by the honorable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr. Holloway) and which also was made the subject-matter of one or two earlier questions. It appears that there is in some quarters a belief - I now speak about the Port Kembla trouble - that the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited has obtained permission to export pig iron to Japan at the rate of 1,000 tons a day, and in the second place there appears to be a belief that British interests - and I quote the statement made to me - had asked for shipments of the same commodities to be used in England but have been refused. I should just like to say, quite categorically, about these matters, that as to the first statement with reference to the suggestion of 1,000 tons a day, there is no embargo whatever on the export of pig iron; secondly, that it is not necessary for the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited or any other exporter to secure permission, and that in fact no permission has been asked for or granted in relation to any quantity of 1,000 tons or otherwise. The fact appears to be that the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited has at present contracts with Japanese buyers to a total of 23,000 tons, to be shipped, so I am informed, between now and the end of January, but beyond those contracts there are no contracts at present in existence. I have already indicated, and indeed the Prime Minister has indicated, that the whole question of these exports is kept constantly under review, and that should the export market assume very large proportions, the Government would consider the whole position again. At the present time, the only contracts of which we can obtain knowledge, are of the total I have mentioned, and it is not possible to find any foundation for the statement, “ a thousand tons a day”, and certainly no permission has been asked for in relation to such a quantity. As to the second statement about British interests having been refused permission, that also is without foundation. The Commonwealth Government has at no time refused permission for pig iron to be shipped to British interests. As far as the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited is concerned - that being the relevant company in Australia - it is, as the law now stands, at liberty to sell in any market it pleases.
.- During the last few weeks, I have received a considerable number of letters from various small country centres asking that the Government be requested to make available a grant for relief work in those centres if only for a short period. A representative of the unemployed at Coolabah, wrote to me and pointed out that, because of its isolation, no unemployment relief work had been carried out in that district for six years. He said that, having regard to its size, there is an unusual number of unemployed in that district. These unfortunate people have little hope of being able to attract Santa Claus to their homes during the festive season unless some relief work is put in hand. At Byrock, another isolated centre in western New South Wales, there is also acute unemployment. When an opportunity was afforded last week, I stressed the difficulties of country people owing to seasonal unemployment. Although a certain amount of work is available at certain seasons of the year, there are times when there is almost complete stagnation. I make this plea for special consideration of the needs of these unfortunate people. I suggest that the Government might very well make available to municipal and, particularly, shire councils, a small sum of money to finance relief works in isolated country centres.
.- I crave leave for. a few minutes to refer to the death of an old military veteran whose passing has gone unnoticed. I have received a complaint from the Old Men’s
Home at Perth that one of its oldest military veterans, James Curnow, had been buried as a pauper, and even without an obituary notice appearing in the newspapers. His military service dated back to the Sudan campaign, and he was a popular figure among the veterans. Recently theWomen’s Executive of the Returned Sailors and Soldiers Imperial League of Australia gave him a birthday party. Whilst the duties of citizenship require that a young man shall serve his country, and even, if necessary, make the supreme sacrifice, I feel that the country has a reciprocal duty to protect its soldiers in their old age, and to honour their memory after death. I take this opportunity to make this record of the appreciation of the services of James Curnow.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
The following papers were pre sented : -
Political Refugees from Germany (including Austria) - Intergovernmental Committee, Evian, July, 1938 -
Report of Proceedings.
Report of Australian Delegation.
House adjourned at 10.6 p.m.
The following answers to questions were circulated: -
y asked the Minister for Works, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : - 1 and 2. The following is the estimated expenditure a head of population in the States mentioned by the honorable member, based on the allocation made to those States for authorization purposes from the total defence vote of £16,796,641 in 1938-39-
s asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– I have communicated with the Minister for External Affairs with a view to ascertaining the full text of his statement on the subject mentioned.
n asked the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice -
– The whole matter has been carefully considered by the appropriate authorities, and suitable action is being taken.
t. - On the 23rd November, the honorable member for Maribyrnong (Mr. Drakeford) asked the following questions, upon notice: -
I am now in a position to inform the honorable member that the proposed inquiry has not yet been made.
The Premiers Conference held in August, 1936, decided that a Conference of Commonwealth and State Ministers for Transport should be held for the purpose of considering railway and transport matters generally.
It has not yet been found practicable to hold the Conference of Ministers for Transport, but it is now expected that this will be held early next year.
The unification of railway gauges is listed on the agenda for this conference.
e asked the Attorney-General, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
e asked the Attorney-General, upon notice -
– Before answering the honorable member’s questions, I suggest to him that the appropriate time to raise questions of this nature relating to the terms of a particular bill now before this House is when the bill reaches the committee stage.
The answers to the honorable member’squestions are as follows : -
n asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
n asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
Does the Government intend to take any action to unify the railway gauge from Kalgoorlie to Fremantle?
– The unification of railway gauges in Australia has been listed by the Commonwealth on the agenda for the conference of Commonwealth and State Ministers for Transport which it is expected will be held early next year.
Loss of Air Liner “ Kyeema “ : Evidence at Inquiry.
n asked the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
d asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The Government is fully conscious of the necessity for the provision of adequate housing for the people. The provision of housing is, of course, the responsibility of the States, but the Commonwealth has always endeavoured to co-operate with the States, subject to constitutional and financial limitations, in the carrying out of their obligations. During the financial year 1934-35 - the period corresponding to that quoted by the honorable member - the Commonwealth greatly increased its financial assistance to the States, the total payment to the States for all purposes during that year reaching the peak figure of £21,135,000. Included in this total was a special non-recurring grant of £2,000,000 which was distributed amongst the States. In addition, during that year, the Commonwealth also made available to the States a special grant of £1,283,750 for unemployment relief works, including a grant of £283,750 for assistance of metalliferous mining. Any direct assistance to the States for the specific provision of housing during recent years would have involved the raising of considerable sums of loan moneys. Owing to the limited amount of loan moneys available for all governments, this would have merely diverted loan moneys from the ordinary developmental programme of the States, with a consequent reduction of employment. In the Commonwealth Bank Bill, which was recently introduced by the Treasurer, providing for the establishment of a mortgage bank department in the Commonwealth Bank, provision has been made, inter alia, for the mortgage bank department to be permitted to make loans to societies approved by the Treasurer on the security of a mortgage over land. This provision will enable advances to be made to building societies. In view of the necessity of mobilizing our financial resources for the urgent needs of defence, it is impossible for the Commonwealth to provide further funds for housing at present.
Chinese Nationals: Negotiations fob Entry into Australia.
y asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice -
Will he instruct the officers of his department to deal direct with Chinese citizens rather than compel all inquiries to be made through the Chinese Consul-General, thus saving time and giving quicker service than can he given now because of the congestion in the Consul-General’s office?
– It ha3 been the practice for some years to require that, in ordinary circumstances, Chinese residents who desire to introduce Chinese nationals temporarily to Australia, should submit their applications through the ConsulGeneral. The arrangement has, on the whole, worked satisfactorily and been in the interests of the Chinese concerned as well as the department. The matter will receive further consideration.
s asked the Attorney-General, upon notice -
– There is already considerable duplication of industrial tribunals in Australia, both Commonwealth and State, and it is thought undesirable to add to this by having two Commonwealth tribunals exercising similar jurisdiction. It is quite true that there was an interstate dispute in the coal-mining industry. In relation to that dispute a conference was called under the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act. It was decided some time ago to repeal the Industrial Peace Acts as containing unnecessary and duplicating machinery on the subject of the settlement of industrial disputes. In the meantime it was decided not to appoint tribunals under that legislation.
Northern Territory : Dental Treat- ment for School Children - Teaching Service for Barkly Tablelands Area - Financial Aid for University Education.
n asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice -
Will he have provision made to enable local dentists at Alice Springs and Darwin to attend, at regular intervals, to the teeth of the school children of the Northern Territory?
– The matter will receive consideration. At present school children are examined periodically by medical officers in the employ of the Northern Territory Administration. Where dental treatment is necessary the parents are notified. The cost of dental treatment of children of parents in destitute circumstances is borne by the Administration.
n asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice -
Is it intended to provide for an itinerant school teacher to traverse the area from Avon Downs to Maranboy?
– The question of the appointment of an itinerant school teacher for the Barkly Tablelands area has been carefully considered, but it has been decided not to take any action in the matter at present.
n asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice -
Will he make a further allowance to Darwin parents whose children, having won a scholarship and passed their matriculation, in cases where parents, owing to their remoteness, find it increasingly difficult to finance their children’s higher education at a university?
– The matter will receive consideration.
e asked the Minister for Commerce, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
n asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: - 1 and 2. Under the Wireless Telegraphy Regulations broadcasting station licences may be granted for an initial period not exceeding three years, and they may be renewed thereafter at the discretion of the PostmasterGeneral for periods not exceeding one year. The usual practice is to grant the initial licence for a period of two years, and to grant annual renewals.
y asked the Minister Defence, upon notice -
– Inquirieswill be made and a reply will be furnished to the honorable member as early as possible.
e asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
d asked the Minister for Works, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
n asked the Minister administering External Territories, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
e asked the Minister for Commerce, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
Commonwealth Statistician records that approximately 200,000 persons are permanently engaged “ principally in farming (cultivation) “, but no dissection is made to how the number engaged in the wheat industry.
l asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
What is the estimated cost of entertainment by the Australian Broadcasting. Commission of visiting artists by cocktail parties at Menzies Hotel, during the past two years?
– The amount spent in entertaining fourteen visiting artists at five receptions held at Menzies Hotel during the past two years was £89.
e asked the Minister for
Trade and Customs, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
y. - On the 10th November, the honorable member for Boothby (Mr. Prior) asked the following questions, upon notice: -
The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
Censorship of News-reel Pictures.
– On the 30th November, the honorable member for Darling (Mr. Clark) asked the following question, upon notice: -
I am now able to furnish the honorable member with the following information : - 1, 2 and 3. No “March of Time” edition dealing with the Munich Pact has been submitted for censorship. 4 and 5. I have no information on this matter, but statements made by Mr. Wickham Steed and Mr. Cummings in a British Paramount news item imported in October last were deleted at the request of the importers, who, it is understood, had received instructions from their principals in England.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 1 December 1938, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1938/19381201_reps_15_158/>.