15th Parliament · 1st Session
Mr. Speaker (Hon. G. J. Bell) took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.
– Having in view the congestion which exists, at the Randwick Repatriation Hospital as the result of recent developments, and the urgent necessity for extensions, can the Minister for Repatriation say whether the negotiations between the Common wealth and State authorities which are a preliminary to the erection of a new hospital at Randwick, as approved by the Public Works Committee, have been completed?
– There is no undne congestion at the Repatriation Hospital at Randwick. The proposed additions to the hospital are held in abeyance because of the necessity for giving more immediate consideration to hospital matters . as they may apply to the defence forces. The carrying out of a big building scheme for the hospital generally might throw back that work for many months.
– Will the Minister for. Repatriation state whether the delay in the building of the new repatriation hospital at Randwick, which was approved by the Public Works Committee, is largely due to a dispute between theFederal and State authorities regarding the freehold of the land? If so, will the Minister have the matter submitted to arbitration?
– The answer to the first part of the question is “ No The second question, therefore, docs not arise.
– Three weeks ago 1 asked the Acting Treasurer if he would take action to prohibit the importation of certain papers and literature which were entering Australia in large quantities and having an undesirable effect. The list of articles, the importation of which.- is to be prohibited, to which the Minister for Trade and Customs referred yesterday does not include literature of this character. Can the Minister say when a decision in the matter is likely to be reached?
– I have nothing to add to what I said a few days ago on this subject. When the report has been received it will be considered. ‘
– Has the Minister for Information any official confirmation of the Russian aggression against Finland, and can he give to the House any information in addition to what is contained in the press?
– Unhappily, there is official confirmation of Soviet aggression against Finland. I have here a message which was received from the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs last evening. The House may be interested in Mr. Chamberlain’s statement in the House of Commons. It is as follows : -
The House will be aware that for some time past there has been an exchange of views between the Soviet and Finnish Governments on certain questions mainly of a. strategic character raised by the former. Some apprehension has been expressed by the Soviet Government at the proximity of Leningrad1 to the Finnish frontier which is. in fact only some twenty miles distant and a proposal, was. made by them for the realignment of this part of the frontier in exchange for territorial compensation further north. Claims were also made for the. acquisition of certain Finnish Islands in the Gulf of Finland and of a. Finnish Port at the entrance to the Gulf in order, it was stated, to assure the position of the Soviet Union in the Gulf of Finland. A further claim is believed to have been made for the Finnish- side of the Rybachi Peninsula which overlooks and dominates Finland’s sole Arctic Port of Petsamo.
The attitude of the Finnish- Government was from the outset un provocate though governed by their determination to do nothing which would impair their country’s Sovereign status. It is known that a Finnish note delivered in Moscow immediately before the announcement of the rupture of diplomatic relations was of a most conciliatory character and. the Finnish Government proposed to submit the dispute which had arisen to arbitration and offered meanwhile to withdraw all troops from the Finnish Frontier in the Carelian Isthmus with the exception of ordinary frontier guards and Customs Forces. Nevertheless the Soviet Government on Tuesday night denounced the Soviet-Finnish non-aggression Pact which had been expressly designed to ensure the settlement of disputes such as this by peaceful means.
His Majesty’s Government have observed these developments with increasing concern and they have found it difficult to believe that strategic measures of such scope and importance as were suggested, should have been considered necessary to protect the Soviet Union against a country as small as Finland. Late last night M. Molotov broadcast a statement in the course of which he is officially reported as having denied the suggestion which he attributed to the foreign press that a Soviet attack on Finland was intended. Yet only a. few hours after this broadcast it is understood that Soviet Forces have invaded Finnish territory on several sections ‘of the frontier and. have dropped incendiary bombs on an aerodrome in the neighbourhood of HelsingforsIt is later reported that Helsingfors, Viborg and other centres have been bombed, in somecases with loss of life.
His Majesty’s Government warmly welcomed the offer of mediation made by the United States Secretary of State since, in their opinion, the questions at issue between Finland and the Soviet Union were not of a. nature to justify the resort to warlike measure. They deeply regret this fresh attack upon a small independent nation which must result in fresh suffering and loss of life to innocent people.
– Can the Prime Minister inform the House whether, before the House adjourns for the Christmas recess, he proposes to introducelegislation for the imposition of a tax on war-time profits?
– On the question of taxation I have nothing to add to what was said yesterday by the Acting Treasurer. As he then indicated, the whole subject of further taxation will be considered’ in the New Year.
– In the matter of import control which was introduced yesterday,, and will operate against countries whose currency is not in sterling, and in view of the fact that Britain and France are now co-operating economically in pooling their resources, will the Minister for Trade and Customs say whether, in respect of France, which is now our best Continental customer and Britain’s principal ally in the present war, import control will fall lightly upon our gallant ally?
– Import, control applies to France in common with all non-sterling countries. I assure the honorable member, however, that in determining priorities full consideration is given to France, by reason of the special position that that country occupies as an ally of Britain in the present war.
– In view of the fact that clauses 9 h and 26 of the Peanut Industry Protection and Preservation Bill, which was recently introduced into the Queens’ and Parliament, empowers the Queensland authorities to seize any peanuts imported into Queensland, will the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior make representations to the Premier of Queensland with the object of ensuring that, after peanuts have been examined and passed by the Superintendent of Agriculture in Darwin, they shall be allowed into any other part of the Commonwealth ?
– I shall ask the Minister for the Interior to give consideration to the honorable member’s request.
– What steps are being taken to survey the position with regard to youth employment in Australia, and will steps be taken to ensure that, at any conference on the subject, representatives of each State will be invited?
– .Since the conference of ministerial representatives from the various governments was held in Victoria, recently, an active programme of research has been carried out by the research officers established in the various States as the outcome of the conference. A meeting of those officers will be held in Canberra on Monday of next week, when the future programme of research, covering the problem of employment generally, and having especial relation to the effects of the war, will be discussed. I assure the honorable member that all of the States will be adequately represented at the conference.
– I understand that the grant of £2,000,000 to be distributed among the States will be used principally for defence works. I have had a tele phone communication from the Leader of the Opposition in South Australia, who, I understand, is assisting the Premier of that State .to speed up these works, stating that some of the works already approved have been completed, and that -other approved works could not be commenced before Christmas, and asking that other works proposed by the Premier of that State be included in the scheme so that they may be proceeded with before Christmas. I now ask the Acting Treasurer if such works can be authorized so that they may be proceeded with before Christmas?
– The matter has been brought under my notice. If the Premier of South Australia makes representations to the Commonwealth Government with the object of dealing with employment more quickly, I assure him that they will receive favorable consideration.
– Have representations yet been made?
– Not yet.
– In view of the fact that I am continually receiving letters from experienced land men in the South, seeking information as to what land is open in the Northern Territory, and cannot receive any satisfactory replies to my inquiries as to when land will be open for application, I now ask the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior if he can inform the House if the PayneFletcher report has been definitely shelved, and whether the Northern Territory is for ever to be held by a gang of racketeers
– Order ! The honorable member will resume his seat.
– Yesterday the Minister said that 1,400 bales of cornsacks would arrive to-day,” and in view of the fact that there is a considerable shortage of cornsacks in New South Wales and that the Department of Agriculture in that State was definitely informed that about 10,000 bales were available for private owners, will the Acting Minister for Supply consider the compulsory acquisition of those bags, so that they could be distributed equitably to farmers throughout the State who are waiting for bags to contain this year’s harvest? Further, will he arrange for deliveries to be expedited by the running of special trains ?
– The whole question of the proper distribution of cornsacks is under discussion by the officers of my department, the Wheat Board and the Minister for Agriculture in New South Wales. It is hoped that out of those discussions some way out of the present difficulty will be found.
– I have received a request from the Commonwealth Graingrowers Association of South Australia, which was supported last night by a telephone message from the Leader of the Opposition in the South Australian Parliament, that an appeal should be made to the Australian Wheat Board to waive the dockage on No. 1 second-hand cornsacks and the rejection of sound flour bags for this season, seeing that so many farmers were influenced to purchase second-hand bags owing to the reported shortage? Will the Acting Minister for Supply and Development instruct the Australian Wheat Board, in view of the difficulty in obtaining bags, that such bags as I have mentioned shall be permitted to be used and that the dockage shall be returned to the farmers concerned ?
– I certainly could not undertake to give- a direction of that kind to the Wheat Board, but I shall have inquiries made, and will apprise the honorable member of the result.
– I have received a report that 80 Japanese luggers are using Deliverance Island, about 80 miles northwest of Thursday Island, as a base for pearling operations and stores. Would the Minister for Trade and Customs ascertain whether the report is correct and, by the use of the Customs ship Vigilante or other means, clear up the matter ?
– I have no information of the kind referred to by the honorable member, but I shall make inquiries into the subject.
– I ask the Acting Minister for Air what has happened in regard to the applications obtained from persons prepared to undergo training for the proposed civil air reserve?
– Prior to the outbreak of war, more than. 3,000 applications had been received in respect of the civil air reserve scheme, details of which were announced some time ago by the Minister for Air (Mr. Fairbairn). When the war broke out that scheme was merged in the larger scheme for the training of men for the Royal Australian Air Force. Applicants were circularized and asked ‘whether they would be prepared to volunteer for the Air Force. More than 90 per cent, sent an affirmative reply. Wing Commander Cobby, who was attached to the Civil Aviation Department, has been transferred to the Royal Australian Air Force as Director of Manning. I have given instructions that each of the applicants for the Civil Air Reserve Force shall be called up for interview and medical examination. Steps are now being taken to see that this is done at available recruiting centres.
– In connexion with the Empire training scheme, it is proposed to establish additional training schools in Australia? What is the exact position? Are training schools to be established shortly, and, if so, will they be established at such places as Mascot?
– It is proposed to supplement the air training facilities at present available in connexion with the Royal Australian Air Force by making use of facilities provided at civil training centres by the principal aero clubs and the principal civil flying training schools. There are, speaking from memory, three organizations, including the New South Wales Aero Club at Mascot, which are being used for that purpose. A conference of representatives of the various interests is being held by the Air Board in Melbourne on Tuesday next.
– Is the Acting Minister for Air doing anything to deal with the congestion at Mascot in order to avoid a repetition of the recent tragic accident there by expediting the establishment of training schools elsewhere?
– The matter raised by the honorable member will be considered.
– Has the Acting Minister for Air investigated the complaint that A class pilots with very little flying experience are receiving commissions in the Air Force. while men with B class licences, and a great deal more flying experience, have not received commissions ?
– I am having investigations made into this matter, and will supply particulars to the honorable member later.
– Will the Minister for Trade and Customs inform me whether the Government is receiving any reports from the State Prices Commissioners? What is being done in connexion with the policing of prices throughout the Commonwealth? If any reports have been submitted by the State authorities, will the Minister make them available to honorable members? If not, will he explain* fully what steps are being taken to give effect to the expressed intentions of the Government in regard to the prevention of profiteering? Does the Government really intend to protect the public against war-time exploitation by seeing that shop inspectors are appointed?
– Reports from the Deputy Prices Commissioners in the various States are reaching the Commonwealth Prices Commissioner by every mail. Each Deputy Commissioner sends in a large number of reports each week. The work of policing the control of prices is being done vigorously in the States. In New .South Wales recently, 100 inspectors were asked to make a check of retail prices in the metropolitan »i ea. Nearly 800 effective inquiries were made, and in more than 500 instances it was ascertained that prices were either below the level of the ’31st August or had not been varied since that date. The largest number of increases had occurred in respect of tea and salmon, both of which commodities .are subject to price control. In view of what is ;being done it does not appear that further action is justified at present.
– Has the Government been able to determine the exact prices of all goods as at the 31st August?
– It has beenvery hard to do that in every case, but the Government is taking the fullest and most vigorous measures to see that the prices regulations are being observed. I feel confident that when the Commonwealth Statistician’s report becomes available it will show that the variations, of the cost of living in Australia compare more than favorably with such variations in other parts of the Empire.
– Will the Minister for Trade and Customs have a statement prepared showing the increases of prices that occurred in the first three months of the war in 1914 and the increases that have occurred in the first three months of this war in order to show the relative value of the methods adopted on each occasion to control prices?
– Such a statement is in course of preparation.
– Will the Acting Minister for Supply and Development be good enough to make a statement setting out in detail the policy of the Government in respect of aircraft construction ? Will he also make the information available to interested parties who may wish to offer their manufacturing services as sub-contractors for the building of Beaufort Bombers, Pratt- Whitney machines, and also such machines as the De Havilland type, so that those concerned need not make individual inquiries, and may also be informed as to how their resources ma:y be used?
– I shall be glad to prepare a statement such as the honorable member has suggested.
– I ask the Minister concerned ‘ whether, seeing that country boys who desire to enlist for the Navy are at a disadvantage compared with boys in metropolitan areas, he will have the regulations altered to provide that, in necessary cases, railway warrants will be issued to country boys who are instructed to report for examination in connexion with their enlistment?
– There is some merit in the honorable member’s suggestion, and I shall give it consideration. 2nd AUSTRALIAN IMPERIAL FORCE.
– In view of the fact that when many men who served in the last war have applied for war pensions, they have been refused favorable consideration on the ground that their disability was existent prior to their enlistment, and in view of the further fact that recruits for the 2nd Australian Imperial Force are being subjected to a most stringent medical examination, I ask the Prime Minister whether he will give an undertaking that men who serve in the 2nd Australian Imperial Force and who subsequently apply for pensions. will not be refused them on the ground that their disability was existent prior to their enlistment?
– The honorable member’s suggestion will be considered, but I can give no undertaking in connexion with it at present.
– I ask the Minister for the Army whether the Government has yet had time to consider a suggestion that I made yesterday that, it should give the militiamen an opportunity to re-enlist on the present terms, that existing and future gaps in the Militia Forces should be filled by calling up further age groups for universal training, and that the Government, revise the rates of pay in order to ensure that those whose patriotism is so practical as to induce them to leave this country in order to defend it, should be paid some rate which is commensurate with their services?
– The suggestion of the honorable member has not yet been considered.
– Will the Minister for Trade and Customs supply me with the quantities and values of all alloys imported during the last twelve months for the manufacture of aircraft ?
– I shall obtain the information and furnish it to the honorable member in due course.
– Will the PostmasterGeneral inform me whether the advisory committees set up in connexion with the Broadcasting Commission arc still functioning ?
– I believe they are.
– Is it proposed to place any serious restriction upon the heavy importations of unmanufactured tobacco from the United States of America, which is a non-sterling country ?
– This matter is receiving the close attention of the Government,
– In view of the fact that drastic alterations are to be made in the personnel of the Industrial Board which functions in the Australian Capital Territory, will the Attorney-General take steps to ensure that the same regulations shall apply to the Northern Territory, where at present there is no industrial board at all, so that the members of the board, when appointed, will enjoy the confidence of the interests they represent ?
– I am unable to answer the honorable member definitely at the moment. I do not know all of the facts, but. I shall make inquiries and let him know.
– In view of the fact that a tax of 5 per cent, is collected on gold won in New Guinea, and that the Commonwealth Government has now imposed an excise duty on gold, will the Minister representing, the Minister for the Interior communicate with the Administrator of New Guinea to ensure that the total tax paid on New Guinea gold does not exceed that paid on gold won on the mainland?
– The honorable member’s proposal will receive consideration.
– Does the Government propose to proceed with the construction of a dry dock as was proposed some time ago ? Has the report yet . been received from the overseas expert who inquired into the proposal, and”, if so, has the Government yet reacheda decision?
– Up to the present, the report has not been received. It is still awaited, and in the meantime the Government has made no decision.
– Will the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior state whether any information has been received from Darwin, with regard to the so-called strikes that have occurred there, to support the suggestion that they have been deliberately engineered so that all the larger defence contracts may be controlled by the one contractor?
– There is no evidence of that.
– During recent years, two parliamentary committees have been appointed to consider amendments of the Bankruptcy Act,, and have reported to the Government. Can the Attorney-General say whether it is the intention of the Government to proceed with the amendment of the act?
– The matter has been discussed quite recently in my department, and is still receiving attention. It may be possible to make a statement shortly regarding the intention of the Government.
– In view of the precarious position of the Government, which is likely to be shot from the flank if its enemies are game-
– Order !
– It is not the Government, only, that is in a precarious position.
– Will the Prime Minister state whether the Government has yet reached a decision regarding the proposal to construct an aerodrome at Cessnock for the aerial defence of the Newcastle district, seeing that its cost would be not more than £10,000, whereas the construction of an aerodrome on any of the other proposed sites would cost at least £40,000?
– I understand from the Minister for the Army that an inspection will shortly be made of the proposed site. As to the other aspect of the matter, I am in consultation with my colleague, the Acting Treasurer.
– Having regard to the scarcity of skilled artisans for defence work, and to the efforts being made by the Government to overcome the shortage, has the Acting Minister for Air taken any steps, as requested by me, to give young men in Queensland the same facilities for training as exist in the southern States ?
Mr.HOLT.- I have directed the attention of the officers concerned to the position in those States which are not concerned with the tool-makers’ training courses. Mr. Eltham, the Director of the scheme, will be in Sydney next week to consult with the committee which has the matter in charge, after which he proposes to visit Queensland to examine the facilities in that State. He will furnish a report before a final decision is made.
– On the 17th of November I asked the Postmaster-General the following question, upon notice -
I was informed in reply that the matter was receiving consideration, and that the information, if it could be obtained, would be supplied. I should like to know whether the information is yet available. If not, as this is a business undertaking, will the Minister consider the advisability of introducing business methods into the department so that information may be supplied without undue delay?
– The information is not yet available. The honorable member must realize that it would take a considerable time to prepare what he wants, and the cost would possibly be more than the information is worth.
– “Will the AttorneyGeneral say whether Notice of Motion No. 4 on the notice-paper refers to the big consolidating patents bill for which we have been waiting, or only to o measure rendered necessary by the situation arising out of the war?
– This is not the big . bill; it is the little bill.
– Is it proposed to bring in the big bill this session?
– It is the intention of the Government to proceed with it at the earliest possible moment.
Ministerial Statement : Resumption of Debate
– Will the Prime Minister indicate when the House will be given an opportunity to consider Item No. 7 on the notice-paper, “War activities of the fighting forces and the amendment which I have moved in regard to it?
– I cannot say positively, but it will not be to-day. It may be that we can .reach it early next week.
– In the event of a federal election taking place before the 2nd Australian Imperial Force embarks for service abroad, will members of the force remain on the rolls of the electorate.* from which they came?
– I am already having that matter looked into.
– Seeing that the women of Adelaide donated £5,000 for the provision of an aeroplane and pilot to be stationed at Alice Springs for the benefit of the Inland Medical Mission on the understanding that the Commonwealth Government would provide a doctor, will the Minister for Health say whether it is the intention of the department to appoint a doctor, or merely to utilize the services of the resident doctor at Alice Springs ?
– I have no personal knowledge of the con’ditions applying to the gift, but I shall make inquiries. The whole subject of government aid to the Inland Medical Mission is now under the consideration of the Government.
Customs Tariff Amendment (No. 11)
In Committee of Ways and Means:
Consideration resumed from the 21st September, 1939 (vida page 954), on motion by Mr. John Lawson -
That the Schedule to the Customs Tariff 1933-39, as proposed to be amended by Customs Tariff Proposals be further amended . . .
Division 7 - Oils, Paints and Varnishes
Item 229 (petrol and lubricating oil).
– These proposals, which were introduced on 2lst September, 1939, were necessitated by the committee’s decision on fuel oil when customs tariff proposals associated with the budget were under discussion. The effect of the committee’s vote when it desired to lift the proposed duty from fuel oil was to remove also the proposed duty on petrol and lubricating oil. As it was obvious that the result of the vote went further than was intended, the proposals now under discussion reintroduced the item in question, namely 229, and excluded therefrom any reference to fuel oil. Although the proposals cover seven sub-items, only petrol and lubricating oil have any real revenue significance. The duties under the other sub-items are proposed principally for the purpose of safeguarding the increases proposed on petrol and lubricating oil. It is proposed to debate these proposals and then to resume the debate on customs tariff proposals No. 8 after which a bill will be introduced to cover both the proposals now ‘before the committee and proposals No. 8 which have already been’ partially debated.
Item agreed to.
Motion (by Mr. John Lawson) agreed to-
That preliminary paragraph (5) be amended by omitting the definition of “ Customs Tariff Proposals “ and inserting in its stead the following: - “ ‘ Customs Tariff Proposals ‘ means the Customs Tariff Proposals introduced into the House of Representatives on the 8th September, 1939 “.
Standing Orders suspended: resolution adopted.
That Mr. John Lawson and Mr. Street do prepare and bring in a bill to carry out the foregoing resolution.
In Committee of Ways and Means :
Consideration resumed from the 20th September (vide page 853), on motion by Mr. John Lawson -
That the schedule to the customs tariff 1933-1939 … be further amended . . . (vide page 335).
Division 9 - Drugs andChemicals.
Item 266 agreed to.
Division 16 - Miscellaneous
Items 434 and 442 agreed to.
Preliminary paragraphs verbally amended and, as amended, agreed to.
Resolution reported. .
Standing Orders suspended : resolution adopted.
That Mr. John Lawson andMr. Street do prepare and bring in a bill to carry out the foregoing resolution.
Bill brought up by Mr. John Lawson, and passed through all stages without amendment or debate.
Consideration resumed from the 8th September (vide page 341), on motion by Mr. John Lawson (vide page 338), and from the 21st September (vide page 955), on further motion by Mr. John Lawson (vide page 954) -
That the schedule to the Excise Tariff 1 92 1-1938 … be further amended . . .
– These excise tariff proposals form part of the budget and provide for increased excise duties on petrol, benzol and allied products, and on beer, whisky, rum and gin. When introducing the Customs and Excise Budget proposals J gave figures of the additional revenue expected and qualified my remarks by reference to the present international situation. The figure I gave for additional excise was £713,000 including £50,000 for heavy fuel oil on which the excise duty has since been withdrawn. While it is practically certain that lower customs revenue may be expected, there is a more hopeful view with respect to excise. Indeed, there is the prospect, a not unlikely one, that some lines, the imports of which may fall, will be replaced to some extent by similar locally made goods upon which excise duty is payable. If our internal economy is preserved the excise position will be very favorable. The probable fall of customs revenue will force the Government to review its financial position and I cannot, offer any hope that the present list of excisablecommodities will not be augmented in the future. On the 8th September, 1939, a duty was proposed on fuel oil under both the customs tariff and the excise tariff. When the proposed duty under the customs tariff was before the committee ii was decided not to proceed with the collections of the import duty. In consequence of that decision, Excise Tariff Proposals (No. 5) were introduced on the 21st September, 1939, for the purpose of removing the proposed excise duty on fuel oil. By incorporating Excise Tariff Proposals (No. 5) in the Excise Tariff Proposals (No. 4) all reference to the proposed duty on fuel oil will be removed from the proposals now under discussion and with that objective in view. I move -
That the excise tariff resolution introduced into the House of Representatives on 21st September, 1939, be incorporated in the excise tariff resolution introduced into the House of Representatives on 8th September, 1939.
Motion agreed to.
Items 1 and 2 agreed to.
Item 11 (with amendment of 21st September, 1939, incorporated) agreed to.
Preliminary paragraphs verbally amended and, as amended, agreed to.
Standing Orders suspended: resolution adopted.
That Mr. John Lawson and Mr. Street do prepare and bring in a bill to carry out the foregoing resolution.
Bill brought up by Mr. John Lawson, and passed through all stages without amendment or debate.
Customs Tariff Amendment (No. 10)
In Committee of Ways and Means:
Consideration resumed from the 14th September (vide page 594) on motion by Mr. John Lawson -
– The customs tariff proposals now before the committee deal principally with subjects covered by some 27 reports of the Tariff Board. They provide for increases of duty under all columns of the tariff on cotton condenser yarns for towels, and on manufactured towels, towelling and bath mats, industrial sewing threads of flax or hemp, process engravers’ plates, water bore castings, tractor wheels and wheel centres, tractor tyres and tubes, tap wrenches, bolt screwing machines of certain sizes, precision workshop lathes and tomato juice, while only the foreign rates are increased on radio and electrical testing meters of the panel mounting type, mosquito coils and staple fibre suitable for spinning purposes. Reductions include wool tops, woollen yarns and piece goods, glucose, cornflour, potato flour, internal combustion engines over 50 horse-power excluding marine engines, industrial belting, hemp and flax yarns of types not made in Australia, jute yarns, cotton yarns n.e.i., and cordage and twines. The foreign rate is reduced on wire netting and the British preferential rate on catalogues and price lists which relate exclusively to the products of the United Kingdom. There is, therefore, a blend of increases and reductions differing according to the protective requirements of individual industries, and as each item comes before the committee I shall explain as precisely as possible the reason for the variation of duty.
I quite realize that my views on protection of industries may not coincide with those of some honorable members, but I need only point to the industrial achievements of the last few years to prove that the reasonable measure of protection which this Government and recent governments have seen fit to accord has provided a stimulus to secondary industry unparalleled in the history of the Commonwealth. It is natural that some should take the view that an extraordinarily high level of protection is necessary to enable our manufacturers to continue to function, and that any reduction of protection spells ruin to Australian secondary industry. Such an outlook disregards the facts as they apply to individual industries. Our experience in the immediate past is that a lowering of the duties has not been attended by the dire results that were forecast by adherents to the theory of prohibitive tariffs. On the contrary, some of our more important industries have reached that pitch of efficiency which enables them to meet United Kingdom competition without duty or with very low rates of duty. I make these remarks by way of analogy and not with any intention of conveying to the minds of honorable members and to the public generally that the Government desires to see industry exposed to undue competition. Commonwealth Governments of the past have been protection-minded, and this Government is no exception. The Government feels, that, under cover of protection, an individual industry should gradually acquire a state of efficiency of which it can be proud. Only by this means can we hope to develop the sound industrial fabric that a situation such as the present demands of this country. I commend, the proposals to the committee.
.- I do not intend to speak at any great length on thegeneral debate, but the Minister’s observations need some reply on our part. The honorable gentleman claims, I think, far too much credit for his Government for the very substantial expansion of our secondary industries that has taken place. We know that in pre-federation days substantial secondary industries had been established in certain States, although many other industries were then in the embryo stage. There has been a steady growth of secondary industries in Australia, particularly since the uniform fiscal policy was adopted for the whole of Australia at federation. If any party in this House can claim credit for having consistently stood for the adequate protection of Australian industries down the years it is the Australian Labour party. I do not think that the Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. John .Lawson) will deny that. If any criticism can be levelled at the Labour party - and some has been directed by the Minister himself - it is pro’bably because when that party was in office it gave too generous a measure of protection to Australian industries.
– Succeeding governments have done. away with that.
– The Government which succeeded the Scullin Administration reduced 2,000 items and sub-items of the tariff. When the Scullin Government came into office, it found that drastic steps had to be taken to stem the tide of imports and to lay the foundation for the eventual development of Australian industries. We found that over a period of seven and a half years during which the Bruce-Page Government was in office, the adverse trade balance of Australia drifted £80,000,000 to the bad. During the three years prior to our taking office, loan moneys amounting to £40,000,000 per annum were raised in London by the States with the connivance of the Commonwealth Government and brought out here, not in gold, but in imported goods. We found also that Australian industries were foundering because of the acute competition of cheap labour countries. The woollen industry alone, in which 8,000 persons were engaged, could only provide half-time employment. The industry appealed to the Scullin Government for adequate protection, claiming that if its request were granted all of the employees would quickly be employed on full-time work. That protection was given, and within three months those 8,000 persons were in full-time employment, and after the huge stocks of woollen goods held by the importing houses had been disposed of the number of employees in the industry increased to 17,000. Therefore, it cannot be denied that this large expansion of the woollen industry was brought about by the adequate tariff protection afforded by the Scullin Government.
– Yet its successors have claimed the credit for that expansion.
– We know that it is not a just claim. It must be apparent to everybody that the governments which succeeded the Scullin Government whittled away the protection so wisely afforded to many Australian industries. Because of the meddling that took place with regard to the tariff, many Australian industries which might now be in a flourishing condition were forced out of business. This interference with the tariff was largely the result of dictation by the Country party. The then Leader of the Country party (Sir Earle Page) came into the composite Ministry pledged to tear down the tariff wall to the 1921-28 level. Aiding him, the right honorable gentleman had the present Leader of the Country party, the honorable member for Barker (Mr. Archie Cameron), who came hot from a State parliament where he had fearlessly advocated free trade for Australia. In that Parliament, the honorable gentleman had unblushingly said, “ Free trade is my slogan, and I do not care who knows it “. .Because of his outspokenness, the honorable gentleman greatly impressed his then leader with the result that before very long he was not only admitted to a high position in the councils of his party, but also given a responsible post in the composite Ministry. In the Cabinet earnest men like the honorable member for Balaclava (Mr. White), who, I believe, stands for the protection of Australian industries, were associated with members of the Country party who were pledged to tear down the tariff wall and expose Australia’s secondary industries to the competition of goods from cheap labour countries. It is no wonder that the protectionist policy was unstable for a number of years, when those gentlemen exercized such an influence on the decisions of the composite Ministry. I submit that the Scullin Labour Administration played a very important part in putting Australia in a sound position by rectifying the adverse trade balance, which had drifted by many millions of pounds and by laying the foundation for the development of secondary industries locally. In spite of interference by subsequent governments, which reduced the duties on 2,000 items and sub-items, the action taken by the Scullin Government has resulted in a big expansion of secondary industries, with- consequent additional employment throughout Australia. The protectionist policy which we have consistently advocated has placed Australia in a much better position to meet the impact of the present war than would otherwise have been the case. In the last war, we found that many necessary articles could not be made in Australia; and when ships to bring them here were no longer available, this country was seriously inconvenienced. Fortunately, on this occasion our secondary- industries have developed to such a degree that goods to the value of many millions of pounds, which formerly were imported, can now be manufactured locally. The results which have followed the action of the Scullin Government prove how sound is *the Labour party’s fiscal policy and how wise are the people of Australia in endorsing at each election a majority of candidates who stand for a sound protectionist policy for the Commonwealth. The only party that knows definitely where it stands on the fiscal question is f lie Labour party. It is true that some honorable gentlemen opposite hold protectionist views, but they are associated with others who seem to be under the domination of the big importing interests, the representatives of foreign traders, the shipping combine, and others. These interests are given prior consideration to persons who have invested capital in Australian industries which employ over 500,000 Australian workers.
In addition to standing for adequate protection for Australian industries, we stand for Australian standards being observed by manufacturers. We believe also that the products of our factories should be sold to the Australian people at reasonable prices, and that there should be no profiteering by those to whom the protection is given. It was because of that belief that the Australian Labour party many years ago adopted its new protectionist policy, which makes protection conditional upon the observance of arbitration awards and the sale of products at reasonable prices. The Labour party is as much against profiteering to-day as it was then. It is even more opposed to profiteering now that the country is engaged in a war which blackens the horizon. Anything that the Minister may do to grapple with the profiteer will have ‘ our wholehearted support. Our only anxiety is that, however desirous he may be to deal with them, those who are unscrupulous enough to desire to engage in profiteering at this time will be able to do so without being detected by the Minister or his officers. Any assistance which the Opposition can render in running to* earth such unscrupulous members of the* community will be gladly given.
There are certain items in the schedule about which I shall have more to say later, but I take this opportunity now to say where the Opposition stands in regard to the fiscal policy of Australia. It believes that the whole of the Australian market should be given to Australian manufacturers, so that the large army of workers now engaged in secondary industries may continue to receive employment and that many thousands more may find congenial employment.
– The list of prohibitions introduced yesterday should, delight the Opposition.
– Prohibitions are sometimes necessary. When I was Minister for Trade and Customs I took action to prohibit a great number of imports. Among the articles prohibited were wireless sets. The result of that action was that within a few months 3,000 Australians were engaged in the manufacture of wireless sets, which were sold at rates about . half of those previously charged. The same story can be told of a dozen other Australian secondary industries. The Leader of the Country party, who is a staunch free trader, claims never lo go back on what he has previously said. He does not even go back on that eloquent speech which he delivered in the South
Australian Parliament when he. said that he stood for freetrade and believed in buying in the cheapest markets of the world, irrespective of colour, wages or conditions of labour. Nevertheless, I presume that he would not like to sell the products of his farm in competition with the products of cheap labour countries.
– Unfortunately, I am compelled to do so.
– As a primary producer, the honorable member clamours for protection, but he still wants to buy his requirements in the cheapest market. As a wheat-grower he wants a guaranteed price–
– The tariff policy of the country makes that necessary.
– The Opposition has never been opposed to giving a fair deal to the primary producers of this country. Indeed, it has been over-generous in its attitude towards them., and on a number of occasions its generosity has embarrassed members of the Country party. Only recently, when the Opposition sought to obtain a higher price for wheat, members of the Country party side-stepped the proposal in order to protect the Government from an embarrassing situation. Yet they claim to be the. friends of the wheat-farmers and of primary producers generally. Members of the Opposition alone in this Parliament have stood for a fair deal for both the primary producers and the workers of this country. We be- lieve that the great masses of the workers in secondary industries and the primary producers, who together form the working population of this country, have much in common, and should combine to defeat the rapacity of speculators, wheat merchants, wool and shipping combines, who provide financial support for the Nationalist party which the Country party keeps in office. It is just as well that we should know where we stand in this matter. I give to the Leader of the Country party credit for knowing where he stands, and for having the courage to say in this Parliament what he means. But it is just as well that the people out- . side should be reminded of those eloquent speeches in which he described himself as a “ whole-hogger “ free trader. Will the honorable gentleman say that a freetrade policy would be wise in Australia to-day ?
– There is nothing wrong with the Sermon on the Mount, but it is- difficult to put it into operation.
– Where would the growers of dried fruit, rice, potatoes, and other primary products find a local market were it not for the 500,000 workers in secondary industries, who pay more than world parity for some of their requirements in order to provide subsidies to primary industries ? The workers of Australia stand for a well-balanced economy, and are willing to make sacrifices in “order to help struggling primary producers, many of whom are producing at a loss. The Labour party does not stand for sweating in either primary or secondary industries. Even the most ardent advocate of the interests of the primary producers must admit that we have right on our side when we say that Australia must establish secondary industries if the boys and girls who leave our schools in large numbers each year are to find useful employment. Because there is not sufficient room for them in industry, many young men are to-day on the track in receipt of the dole. Thousands of young men, 21 or 22 years of age, have never had regular employment. They have been deprived of the opportunity to earn, much less save, money and assume the responsibilities of family life. Unless there is a well-balanced system for the development of both secondary and primary industries, how can opportunities be provided for the employment of the young men and young women who are growing up in our midst? The one-eyed free trade policy which is advocated by certain honorable members in this House is antiAustralian. Each year a. diminishing number of people support it, because they know that it is not in the best interests of Australia. The unsoundness of that policy was demonstrated in connexion with farming implements. We were told that we could get these implements from the United States of America, Canada or elsewhere, more cheaply than if made here, but the fact is that farm machinery used in the wheat industry to-day can be bought more cheaply in Australia than in .New Zealand, where there is no local manufacture and the farmers have to depend upon imported implements. Similarly, in South Africa, where also there is no local industry, the price of farm implements is higher than in Australia. A similar state of affairs exists in regard to barbed wire, about which we hear so much from the honorable member for Swan (Mr. Gregory). The political nostrums preached by the free trade members of this chamber have been, effectively answered, but, seeing that the Country party is again knocking at the door of the Cabinet room in the hope that it will again get control of the fiscal policy of this country, it is just as well that we should know where we stand. The Government has yielded too much to the pressure exerted by importing interests who desire to whittle down the tariff barrier. The iniquitous Ottawa Agreement makes it impossible for the representatives of the people in th is Parliament to increase duties lillies and until the Tariff Board has recommended accordingly.
The Ottawa Agreement put thu Tariff Board above this Parliament. Agreements of that kind are unsatisfactory and do not provide commensurate gains for our’ people. Had it not been for the strong stand taken by Alaa Scullin Government, which lifted our protective duties to the high level that was necessary and gave to the Australian manufacturers practically the whole of the Australian market, the Lyons Government would have undoubtedly inflicted great damage to our secondary industries, and I believe that half of those employed in them would have lost their work. The foundation for the success of secondary industry in Australia and for the progress of the last few years was laid by the last Labour government. I shall reserve anything further I have to say on these schedules until the items are under consideration.
.- I should not have risen to have taken part in this discussion had not the Deputy Leader of (he Opposition (Mr. Forde) allowed his enthusiasm to run away with him, with the result that he overstated the facts in relation to the Government of which he was a member. Consequently, a few historical inaccuracies need correct ing. It is an oft-told story that the last Labour Administration was principally responsible for the great industrial strides that Australia has. made; but every body with a knowledge of the facts is aware that protection was a live issue in politics in Victoria before federation, and that the foundation of our industrial progress may be dated from that time. Every Commonwealth Government, with the exception of one early administration, has been protectionist in policy. The Labour Administration, of which the Deputy Leader of the Opposition was a . member, had to face a .desperate crisis. Prices had fallen calamitously, and the Scullin Government had to take extreme steps to adjust our trade balance, with the result that it introduced a series of prohibitions of imports and some almost prohibitive duties. But for the exceptional circumstances of those days, I do not imagine for a moment that such extreme steps would have been taken. I do not think the honorable gentleman himself believes it. The tariff is not simply an instrument for the piling up of duties. If prosperity could be attained merely by imposing tariff duties, they would, of course, he put on with a spade ; but the plain fact which every reasonable man must recognize is that neither prohibition nor free trade conduces to congenial conditions of living in a country. If a policy of prohibitions is enforced it inevitably brings in its train retaliations from other countries, with the result that employment dwindles. The measures taken by the last Labour Government rectified the trade balance, but they did not cause the increase of employment that honorable gentleman expected.
Just as prohibitions fail, so also do free trade principles, because, in international dealings, the different standards of living in different countries have to be considered. Our Australian industries definitely could not be maintained if they are subjected to the competition of industries conducted under Japanese standards. Consequently, tariff duties are necessary to effect essential adjustments. The purpose of the tariff is, in fact, threefold. In the first place the tariff is necessary to protect infant industries and to create employment. In the second place, it is necessary to adjust trade balances. In the third place, ‘ in respect of Australia in particular, it is necessary to obtain revenue. Two-thirds of the revenue which the Government requires for social services and the like is obtained through our customs houses. The tariff cannot be dealt with by slapdash, haphazard, or rule-of-thumb methods. The mo3t careful adjustments are essential. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition said that more than 2,000 reductions of tariff duties had been brought into effect by the Lyons Administration. . That is true, but it is unfair to make such a statement without analysing the character of the reductions and stating the items to which, in the great majority of cases, they related. In many instances the reductions were made on raw materials. If manufacturers have to pay high prices for their raw materials, the cost of living must inevitably increase, with a consequent reduction of the purchasing power of the workers’ wages. The Lyons Administration, therefore, took steps to make raw materials available at the lowest possible figure, having in mind all of the facts of the situation. It also removed the prohibitions imposed by the Labour Government and reduced or removed the duties on essential machinery. The duties on 365 items in one group were reviewed in order that manufacturers might obtain their machinery under conditions which would permit of a reduction of costs. This placed our manufacturing industries on a definitely improved footing. The reductions of duties were not made by guesswork. The most careful inquiry was instituted. Departmental officers and also the Tariff Board were engaged on this important work. The Government did rot Accept every recommendation of the Tariff Board. It accepted those which related to British duties, but, in respect of recommendations in relation to foreign goods-, it took into account such factors as the trade balance. I refer, in particular, to the action that was taken in relation to agricultural implements. Our adherence to the foreign rates of duty previously in force has had the effect of establishing the International Harvester Company’s organization in Australia, and it is now engaged in large-scale operations here, giving much employment. That would not have been the case had not the Lyons Government adhered to the existing duties. We did not approve of all recommendations for reductions of foreign rates of duty. I personally resisted many attempts to reduce these rates. An appeal to cold statistics shows that the period 1933-3S, when the Lyons Government was in office, and when I had the privilege of administering the Trade and Customs Department, was marked by the greatest industrial advances ever made in Australia’s history. Whether it was the tariff, or pure circumstance-
– Or the then Minister for Trade and Customs !
– I must not claim too much.
– Why did the honorable gentleman leave the Cabinet?
– That is, perhaps, beside the question, at the moment; but I may be permitted to say that I left- because it had been decided to establish an inner group of the Cabinet to determine all major matters of policy. The Minister for Trade and Customs was not a member of the inner group, and I refused to take my orders from a junta that was set up to control major policy within the Commonwealth.
– The honorable gentleman is always complaining!
– I quite appreciate thai the honorable member for Denison (Mr. Mahoney) is not likely to understand or appreciate a sacrifice for principle. (Quorum formed.]
– The setting up of an inner group was in my opinion a departure from democratic principles. The action that I took at that time was endorsed by the press, and by people in all parts of the Commonwealth with one or two notable exceptions.
To revert to the point I was makins when that disorderly interjection was made, I emphasize that the period of the greatest industrial advancement in Australian history was 1933-1938, when the Lyons Government was in office, and I had the honour to administer the Department of Trade and Customs. I challenge truthful contradiction of that statement. Tn that, period 4,000 new factories were established, which definitely shows thai manufacturers had confidence in the Government of the day.
– The factories were established as the result of the Scullin Government’s tariff policy.
– I know that the honorable member for Maribyrnong (Mr. Drakeford) wishes to be loyal to his party; but he is also a reasonable man, and he will appreciate, on consideration, the truth of the statements I am making. The establishment of 4,000 new factories during that period was a definite indication of the confidence of manufacturers, investors and workers in the Government of the day. In that same period more than 200,000 additional persons were employed in our factories, the increase being in round figures from 336,000 to 545,000. At the same time, certain primary industries came under the purview of the Department of Trade and Customs, and their conditions were stabilized. I refer particularly to the cotton industry which, as the Deputy Leader of the Opposition knows, has suffered many vicissitudes. The Lyons Government put it on a basis which brought the grower, the spinner and the weaver into gear, as it were, and provided them with profitable employment and scope for expansion. The Deputy Leader must agree that the action taken at that time was to the definite advantage of the cotton industry. The wine industry, which was under consideration last night, was also greatly assisted. Moreover, our tropical industries in Papua and New Guinea were overhauled and stabilized. As the result of the large increase of factory employment in that period, our wages bill increased by millions of pounds, and there was a general expansion, of the purchasing power of the workers. Australia was definitely strengthened industrially and we must remember that industry is our second line of defence.
The revision of the tariff in conformity with the provisions of the Ottawa Agreement was to the mutual advantage of Australia and Britain, as, of course, it was intended to be. Our two-way trade has expanded enormously. Britain is buying more and more of our exportable surplus of goods. Although the Ottawa Agreement may require amendment in certain respects, in order to remove some iniquities, it has been definitely to the advantage of the Empire as a whole and we should appreciate that fact to-day.
I have always endeavoured to take a long view of these matters, and I have felt that we must consistently adhere to our protectionist policy in all circumstances. I hope that the Government will not at any time relax its attitude in this respect. Under an effective protectionist policy our Australian industries will be able to expand with the consequent increase of employment within Australia, and so Australia will be able to keep its place in the march of nations.
The shipping industry was discussed last night, and indications were given of how the Government could provide more effective assistance to it which for long I have advocated. I do not desire to dilate further on that subject at the moment,- but I trust that favorable consideration will be given to the proposal 1 made that, instead of paying a bounty on ships of up to only 1,500 tons, the Government will pay a bounty on the first 1,500 tons of any ships constructed in this country. If it does so, another great secondary industry will be developed in Australia and we .shall increase our strength as a nation.
.- The Government is not consistent in its attitude towards the protection of secondary industries. To some it has given great assistance, while upon others it has imposed taxation that makes it very difficult for them to develop. Some of our most important secondary industries it has failed to protect at all. I have fre.quently appealed to the Government to grant tariff protection to a Tasmanian industry engaged in the production of magnesium alloy, a metal which is of the utmost importance in the construction of aircraft. So far, however, that assistance has not been forthcoming. There are powerful interests in this country opposed to the granting of this protection, but the Government should not be influenced by them. These interests are importing magnesium, not as such, but in the form of alloys, and when representations are made’ to the Government on the matter we are told that hardly any magnesium is coining into the country. It is important for the defence of Australia, and, indeed, of the Empire, that we should develop our aircraft manufacturing industry as rapidly as possible, and to do that we should develop also the industry for the production of magnesium alloy. The Empire is hard-pressed at the present time, and we should make this contribution to its defence. If this industry were sufficiently encouraged it would provide employment for 4,000 persons. There is a tendency in this Parliament to regard Tasmania as a foreign State. Secondary industries which should, by their nature, flourish in Tasmania, are discouraged by the unsympathetic attitude of the Government. Further consideration of this tariff should be postponed so that the Government might investigate proposals for the encouragement of the manufacture of magnesium alloy. This metal is not well known by members of this House, but it i3 of the greatest importance in the manufacture of aircraft. Consideration should be given to the development of our most essential secondary industries at a time like this, and if the Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. John Lawson) is sincere in his expressed desire to foster important Australian industries, he will grant the insistance for which I ask. The Government boasts of its intention to construct thousands of aeroplanes in Australia, but the necessary materials are not available.
– Does the honorable member know that the value of magnesium imported into Australia last year was only £600^
– It is not being imported in the form of magnesium-, it is coming in as an alloy. That is what I am complaining of. Magnesium alloys are necessary in the construction of aeroplane engines, propellors, seats and undercarriages.
M!r. Francis. - What” is the value of magnesium alloy imported annually into Australia?
– That information is not divulged. There is at present a market in Australia for 300 tons of magnesium alloy, valued at £90,000. When the aeroplane manufacturing industry is fully developed, there will be a market for 1,000 tons a year.
– This factory in Tasmania is not yet in production.
– What encouragement has the Government given it? The Minister for Trade and Customs was able to obtain a grant of £250,000 for the development of shale oil deposits in his electorate. Surely we are entitled to some consideration in Tasmania. I have brought samples of magnesium alloy manufactured in Tasmania to this. House and shown them to the Minister. All that I ask is that the Government get its magnesium for the production of aeroplanes from Tasmania in preference to importing it from an Anglo-German firm. When the Government! does that I shall be satisfied. We should be united, in our efforts to win this war and in order’ to win it we should take every necessary step.’ It will not be possible to carry out the programme for the manufacture of aeroplanes in this country without magnesium. Before long it will not be possible to import magnesium and, unless steps are taken to develop the Tasmanian resources, this country will be left high and dry. Tasmania has everything that is needed for the manufacture of the alloys necessary for manufacture of aircraft - zinc, copper and magnesium, and the cheapest source of power in the Commonwealth, the hydro-electric scheme. According to the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Tasmania, because of the existence of hydro-electric power, has an enormous economic advantage over the other States in respect of manufactures, and the production of magnesium. For the Government to fail to take advantage of the enormous quantities of magnesium in Tasmania is equivalent to sending a soldier into the front line with a rifle but no bullets. The Government is playing into the hands of Canada in this matter. Our aircraft industry will be stultified unless we develop our magnesium, and. Canada will get the whole of the benefit. One way in which Tasmania is treated would indicate that, instead of it being an integral part of Australia, it is just a foreign part. That attitude is due, I have no doubt, to the fact that it is separated from the mainland. I have no doubt also that the Government’s failure to develop the Tasmanian magnesium resources is due to the opposition of the steel octopus. If the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited had one of its tentacles around the magnesium field in Tasmania that field would be developed soon enough. There is no doubt about that. The Government’s efforts to develop the newsprinting paper industry in Tasmania ave praiseworthy. That industry is essential to this country, but no more essential than the development of . a magnesium industry, because successful defence efforts will largely hinge on such development. As a matter of fact, the development of our magnesium resources, quite apart from the defence aspect, is important because magnesium alloys can be employed in the manufacture of cooking and other kitchen utensils, for which at present we are utterly dependent on imported aluminium. Australia can never be secure while it is- dependent on other countries for necessary articles. I gave the Minister for the Army (Mr. Street) a sample of the Tasmanian magnesium.
– I have it in my room.
– It is just as essential to assist the magnesium industry towards successful development, as it is to assist the cotton, butter, sugar and wheat industries. The Minister for the Army I know is sympathetic, but not the Minister for Trade and Customs, to whom my appeal on this occasion is being directed. Neither he nor I may be in this Parliament in years to come, but we shall live to see the Tasmanian magnesium industry developed into one of the greatest industries of this country. Germany has developed ite magnesium fields to a high pitch of efficiency. I have learned on very good authority that the development of magnesium in Germany has been so great as to render that country almost independent of iron and steel.
– Is there much magnesium in Tasmania?
– The field is 51 miles by 4$ miles and the deposits extend to a depth of thousands of feet. The Minister for the Army smiles, but I shall have the last laugh. »The Minister apparently does not understand the situation. He does not realize that twelve months from now we shall not be able to get an ounce of magnesium from Great Britain because it will need all that it has for itself. The time has passed for smiling. The newspapers carried stories this morning which indicate hostilities on another front which may involve us. The Minister for the Army and his colleagues in the Cabinet should take a more serious view of the situation than they do. If the magnesium deposits were in New South Wales or Victoria, not one moment’s delay would occur ‘before they were developed. I am fighting now on behalf not only of Tasmania, but also of Australia and the Empire. If we are to play the great part that we should play in this war, we must do as I have advocated. Yesterday this House agreed to pay £50,000 a year in bounty’ to the wine industry in South Australia. Wine will have no place in this war except perhaps to blow the heads off our own soldiers. Magnesium, however, will play a most important part. It is surely not too much for a Government which is prepared to give £50,000 to the wine-makers to provide £300,000 as assistance towards producing Tasmanian magnesium for use in the aircraft industry.
.- It was not my intention to take part in this debate, ‘because I have seen the futility of attempts to swerve the Government from its high protectionist course. I am compelled to speak, however, by the tirade that came from the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Forde) . He made some extraordinary statements about the wonderful work that was done by the Labour party’s tariff policy to save Australia in the depression. What wonderful ‘brains they were that formulated the policy of 1930 with its embargoes and sky-high duties! What was then wanted to develop this country and keep its people in employment was not a sky-rocketing tariff but the raising of the exchange rate, so that those industries, which are the lifeblood of Australia, could maintain the value of their exports and provide credits overseas. The result of the Scullin Government’s tariff policy was that unemployment figures soared to unbelievable heights. The Deputy. Leader of the
Opposition declared that all of Australia’s needs should be manufactured in. Australia. How then could we sell our wheat, wool and other products?
Sitting suspended from 12.45 to 2.15 p.m.
– I would not have spoken during this debate but for the charge made by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition that members of the party to which I belong endeavour to bring about free trade in Australia. I do not believe that any honorable member in this chamber has ever advocated such a policy. I remember very well when, in the early days of federation, we had free trade and protectionist parties. In numerical strength the parties were nearly equal, but the protectionists, with their slight majority, were able to give effect to the policy which they advocated. Their sole desire was to give to infant Australian industries a chance to be able to compete successfully with overseas manufactures. It was believed that if our young industries were- given assistance in the early stages of their development, they would be able to compete with the world without further assistance. However, the Australian manufacturers began to realize the possibilities of appeals to politicians, and, as the result of their efforts, a dreadful tariff schedule was tabled in this chamber in 1920. It was allegedly designed to make Australia selfcontained, but instead of satisfying the demands of the Australian manufacturers it merely whetted their appetites. Since then there has been no end to the demands made upon successive governments for protection for various industries. My party is not prepared to grant unreasonable protection to enable industries to make undue profits. I should like, at this stage, to refer honorable members to a report issued by the Broken Hill Proprietary. Company Limited, stating that it possessed the biggest and richest deposit of iron ore in the world, and that one ton of its ore was equal to two tons of ore in England. What is wrong with Australian manufacturers that they are unable to compete with the’ manufacturers in other countries without the assistance of high protective duties? Mr. Fleming, the Canadian Finance Minister, boasted that in 1929
Canada had exported more of its manufactured products than its total exports in 1914, despite the fact that between those years a semi free trade policy was adopted. Canadian industries flourished because Canada demonstrated its willingness to trade with any country in the world willing in turn to trade with it. We have greater and better metal deposits than are found in Canada, and we enjoy better climatic conditions. Why, then, is it necessary for Australian manufacturers to have to come to this Parliament year after year asking for the imposition of high duties? These requests are unblushingly made by manufacturers whose sole desire is to make huge profits out of the rest of the people. It has been said that, because of the industrial conditions that prevail in countries like Japan, where wages and working conditions generally are far below the standard which the workers in this country enjoy, it is impossible for certain Australian industries to continue without preposterous protection. Ample provision has been made in the Australian Industries Preservation Act, to deal adequately with the effect of competition from such countries without bringing in a policy of restraint of trade. Why cannot we compete with the British manufacturers? Certainly, we should be able to compete with a country like Canada. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition had a good deal to say with regard to agricultural machinery and implements. Mr. Sam McKay, Chairman of the Sunshine Harvester Company, announced at Toronto in 1929 that his firm had completed arrangements for the establishment of manufacturing plant in Canada. “ According to the Melbourne Herald he said -
It is my intention to transfer from Australia the export trade lost owing to the restrictions placed upon industry under the Arbitration law and owing to the repeated industrial disturbances.
– That was only bluff.
– No, he went to Canada. Mr. McKay continued -
My company has no alternative but to manufacture where such conditions do not prevail.
The Australian worker is as good as any in the -world; he has initiative and the benefit of living in a glorious climate: but with trade union reservations and manufacturers’ greed costs are unduly increased and production has to pay. Let us consider for a moment the duties imposed on commodities essential to the man on the land. The rates of duty on fencing wire are: British 50 per cent., foreign 17£ per cent, and £6 a ton. These high foreign duties have been imposed because of the existence of an agreement between the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited and the British manufacturers. Other duties are: galvanized iron, British £4 10s., foreign £6 10s.,; piping, ‘ British 25 per cent., foreign 56 per cent. ; fittings, British 5d. per lb., foreign Sd. per lb.; wire netting, British free, foreign £10. Reports which I have received from the South African Government show that, although a duty of 15 per cent, is imposed on imports of wire netting from Great Britain and Belgium, the price of wire netting in the dominion is 25 per cent, lower than the Australian price. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition complained that I am always protesting against the duties on barbed wire. Is it any wonder when we realize the influences that are brought to bear in this Parliament to the detriment of the man on the land? Barbed wire is sold in South Africa at from £12 to £13 a ton, whereas the price here is £24 a ton. Is the honorable member aware that when Australia was charging £24 a ton, this wire could be bought in New York at £9 a ton and a duty of £9 a ton was imposed to prevent competition here. Is it any wonder that those who represent the struggling primary producers in the outback are continually protesting against the incidence of unduly high rates of duty ? The Deputy Leader of the Opposition referred to the Tariff Board’s report on agricultural machinery. In its report the board states that if a farmer insists on using an imported machine it is not unreasonable to ask him to pay the extra price demanded for it. The board states -
Then the board had the impertinence to tell the people that if a farmer desired to buy an imported machine, it was not unfair to expect him to pay the extra cost.
Reverting again briefly to wire netting and barbed wire, I wish to show honorable members how some of our big concerns are exploiting the people. A letter dealing with the complaint of a Melbourne manufacturer of wire netting and barbed wire was recently handed to me. This gentleman complained that he was compelled to buy his raw material from Lysaghts and Rylands, who were also engaged in selling wire netting and barbed wire. He said that Lysaghts and Rylands dumped large quantities of that barbed wire and wire netting on to the Melbourne market at the same price as they charged him for his raw materials and that they stated that they would continue to do this unless he would refrain from selling his goods in New South Wales and Queensland and increase his price in Melbourne by £6 a ton. I received an assurance from the Minister that the matter would be referred to the Tariff Board. I waited for some time only to find that the reference had been withdrawn from the Tariff Board because the Melbourne manufacturer had retracted his charges against Lysaghts and Rylands. Honorable members can readily see what influence was exercised by these powerful organizations. I have in my possession a printed list published by Lysaghts and Rylands, fixing not only the wholesale price but also the retail price of fencing wire and wire netting. The men who are producing the basic wealth of this country have to meet the exorbitant charges imposed by these wealthy firms.
Speaking before leaving England for the Ottawa Conference, Mr. Baldwin said -
The object of the Government is freer trade. At Ottawa the objective was the expansion of Empire trade, to .be brought about as far as possible by the lowering of trade barriers as between the several members of the Empire. This can best be attained by assuring traders of markets for goods by the removal or limitation of existing barriers to trade, particularly arbitrary and erratic quota systems.
Some honorable members have said that Australia should be able to manufacture and consume everything ti mt it requires. Do they contend that we should abandon our export trade? They should realize the great value of the credits which that export trade creates for us.
– All primary products have substantial protection.
– That is unnecessary. A different position existed in the early days of federation; the whole problem has developed with the introduction of the existing policy. Does any honorable member dare to deny that strong influences have been brought to bear by the Australian Glass Company, the cementcompanies and the Broken Hill Proprietory Company Limited, and that we have destroyed our meat and barley trade with Belgium as the result of similar pressure exerted by lobbyists in this Parliament? For the benefit of honorable members opposite, I quote a statement by Viscount Snowden, one of their confreres, who said -
Protection is the most corrupt influence that could be introduced into political life. Witness the most violent corrupt lying campaign that followed my proposals regarding the McKenna duties. If we could have that when a comparatively small industry is affected, it does not require much imagination to conceive what a hell the political life of this country would become if every industry in the country were protected.
I know that that is not very palatable to members of the Labour party.
I should not have spoken on this ‘subject but for the remarks made by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition and other honorable members opposite about what I and others have done in connexion with tariff policy. There cannot be the slightest doubt that it is advantageous in a new country to give assistance to secondary industries, but too many countries, in pursuit of false ideals of national interest, have imperilled their own welfare and lost sight of common interests by basing their commercial relations on the economic folly which treats all trading as a form of war. Trade is not war; it is a process of exchange. Restricted imports involve restricted exports, and no nation, particularly a debtor nation like Australia, can afford to lose its export trade. Moreover, that trade is the great balance wheel of a nation’s progress and must not be destroyed. We cannot sell unless we buy, and those fundamental economic laws cannot be transgressed or ignored without disastrous consequences. With embargoes, high duties, heavy taxation, control of industry, trade and commerce, and unbridled extravagances, we have strangled our basic industries, the life-blood of the nation, and brought the country to disaster and impoverishment. Above all. there is no doubt that the antagonising jealousy and the appeal to war are due almost wholly to the malign policy of trade restrictions.
A tremendous amount of borrowing has been carried out in Australia in the last few years. Huge sums of money have been expended by the Defence Department on the establishment of new industries in New South Wales, a State which itself has borrowed about £3,000,000 or £10,000,000 to relieve unemployment. Nevertheless, if honorable members opposite are to be believed, unemployment is increasing in New South Wales. Why should that be so? It is solely because we are draining the lifeblood of the great industries that produce the real wealth of Australia.
– That money is not being borrowed. It is raised by taxes.
– The borrowing of New South Wales during the last few years has been abnormal, and taxes are continually being increased. In almost every instance, the tax is passed on to the man on the land, who thus has to bear the brunt of all this financial strain. The manufacturers and the workers are protected. Only yesterday an application was made before the Tariff Board by an Australian manufacturer for increased duties on stockingette meat-wrappers We are attempting to encourage the export of lambs from Australia, which would provide more employment, but another attempt is made to burden the industry with increased duties. The honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Francis) was prominent in an. attempt to obtain concessions for the Australian Glass Company at a time when it was retiring many of its employees, a trick it often perpetrates. A great cry was raised about the need for an increased duty on cement. I point out. that at the Wiluna Gold Mine operations are being carried out 1,500 or 1,600 feet down in hard rock. The ore is one of the most difficult in the world to mine and treat, and the mine is 400 or 500 miles inland. In spite of that the. company is able to carry on at a cost of about 18s. a ton. Yet is is asked to pay £4 or £5 a ton for cement. There is something wrong with that. Manufacturers always try to secure consideration from the Government before they consent to carry on with their undertakings.
The Deputy Leader of the Opposition referred to the Tariff Board report on agricultural machinery, but he did not say that the Tariff Board made two reports on that subject. The first report was made at a time when one firm was able to pay a dividend of 20 per cent, and give away £60,000 in bonus shares. The board said that that was not too great a profit. When I appeared before the Tariff Board about four years ago I pointed out that farmers in the United States of America and Canada were able to purchase machinery at much lower prices than those prevailing in Australia. The board then recommended that duties on agricultural machinery should be reduced, hut I have never been able to persuade the Government to give effect to that recommendation. I do not think that the Deputy Leader of the Opposition was referring to that report when he quoted what the Tariff Board had 3aid about agricultural machinery. It is disgraceful and very unfair that Australians should have to pay higher prices for these goods than do farmers in other parts of the world. When the Economic Commission presented its report to the Bruce-Page Government in 1928, Mr. Bruce, in a speech to the Premiers, referred to the big interest bill resulting from wild borrowing which had made increased taxation necessary. He then referred to the many increases that had been made in the tariff schedule for the benefit of manufacturers and said that the manufacturers had failed to respond properly to those concessions. He told the country that, unless the Premiers changed their policy and reduced costs of production and the cost of living, the then existing standard of living would have to be abandoned and the whole national economy reorientated. Our present tariff policy is breeding all sorts of corrupt practices and is imposing a heavy obligation upon those who produce the real wealth of the country. It is also creating unemployment, despite the fact that enormous sums of money have been expended on defence works and large loans have been raised simply for the relief of unemployment.
.- Honorable members need not be reminded of the fact that the honorable member for Swan (Mr. Gregory) is the most ardent, free-trader in this House and I am afraid that his views are at conflict with public opinion generally. Fortunately there is no party alignment on this side of the House on tariff questions. Supporters of the Government have always regarded tariff problems as non-party matters. I agree with those honorable members who say that a full measure of support should be given to sound secondary industries, and I believe that that view is held by the majority of the younger generation of Australians. The last economic depression was broken down largely as the result of a great expansion of our secondary industries. The fact that to-day those industries employ 550,000 workers, to whom they pay n huge wages bill, is an important factor in the stability of our economic position and our state of defence preparedness. 1 have always contended that there should be the most complete co-operation between our primary and secondary industries. Each is dependent upon the other. I point out to the honorable member for Swan that the development of the primary industries is governed to a large degree by the fact that the manufacturing industries provide a valuable home market at enhanced prices. “ It was because of the prosperity of our manufacturing industries that we were able to provide £21,000,000 to assist the wheatfarmers.
My main reason in rising is to draw attention to the position of the woollen industry. We have an abundance of raw material in the woollen industry, which is one of of the most successfully managed in this country. That fact must appeal to the average Australian. For some years past the industry has been competing against strong opposition from overseas interests, which have unceasingly attempted to break down the duties imposed by this Government. To-day the industry employs about 19,000 men and is paying approximately £3,000,000 a year in wages. Despite’ the rapid growth of the industry the opposition from overseas will cause a retrogression if we are not careful to protect it. I understand that a tariff amendment will be moved shortly so as not to interfere with protection for the industry. I propose to support that amendment.
– The debate so far appears to have resolved itself into a competition for the credit for establishing Australian industries on a satisfactory basis, but surely no one on the other side of the chamber can deny that the Scullin Government’s tariff laid the foundation of the success of our manufacturing industries. That will be generally admitted.
– It is admitted by any one who is not unreasonably prejudiced against Labour. The honorable member for Balaclava (Mr. White) has admitted the beneficial effect of that tariff on the establishment of industries in this country, notwithstanding that, as Minister for Trade and Customs, he was responsible for a reduction of the duties on more than 2,000 items and sub-items. I understand that he did so in many cases on the recommendation of the Tariff Board that some of the industries concerned could get along satisfactorily with lower duties. It may be that there was some profiteering; if so, I wish to make it clear that the Labour party does not want to see the tariff used to make enormous profits for a few individuals or monopolies. If the tariff provided that arbitration awards and conditions of labour should apply in every protected industry, the number of persons engaged in secondary industries would be greater than it is to-day. The trouble is that, in many instances, employers are not under any obligation to treat their employees on that basis. I am glad, therefore, that the present Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. John Lawson) ha6 applied that requirement to the wine-growing industry, and I urge that it should operate also in other industries.
– A similar provision is contained in the Shipbuilding Bounty Bill, .and will be contained in amendments to other- bounty bills which are pending.
– That is good news. Evidently, the Government is prepared to learn from the successful application to industry of the policy of Labour. There is, however, cause for complaint in that some industries which could be developed in this country are being neglected.
I sympathize with the honorable member for Denison (Mr. Mahoney), who showed that the interests of Tasmania have been neglected. Australia produces some materials, which are not available in large quantities in other countries. For instance, it has almost a monopoly of the the deposits of tantalite, which is a mineral of great value in hardening steel. If those deposits were properly handled, and the industry adequately protected, the production of this metal could give employment to many Australian workers. Probably the possibilities of this industry have not been examined by the Government. At present most of the tantalite is sent to other countries, where it is probably being used in the manufacture of armaments for use against the Allies. An investigation should be undertaken with a view to keeping such valuable metals in our own hands. To do so would be in keeping with the policy of other countries which conserve such valuable products as chrome and nickel largely for their own use. The tariff could well be employed to develop industries which will (rive to Australia a. leading place in the production of metals for use for the good of mankind, not for the manufacture of armaments. Like other members, I desire to see the need for armaments disappear. Tantalum could be used in the manufacture of surgical and other instruments and materials which require a particularly tough surface. 1 agree with the honorable member for Watson (Mr. Jennings) that the tariff should be regarded a3 a non-party matter. This . committee should refuse to allow the duties on wool tops to be reduced, but probably the Government is of the opinion that under the terms of the Ottawa Agreement >t must follow the recommendations of the Tariff Board. I hope that that view will be rejected. My electorate is a big manufacturing centre, lt contains some industries which are being developed with the assistance of the tariff, but recent happenings have caused some doubt in my mind as to the wisdom of the policy that has been applied.
Recently the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) opened extensions to the premises of the Olympic Tyre Company. During the course of the proceedings a statement showing the profits made by the company was presented. I am glad that the industry is functioning so well and giving employment to so many Australians, and that its success has .necessitated a plant covering ten acres compared with five acres about five years ago, but when I reflect on the large profits made . by that company I am inclined to agree that there is something in the argument of the honorable member for Swan (Mr.
Gregory). The following statement shows the profits made and dividends paid by the company during each of the last five years : -
In the light of .those figures, we are entitled to inquire why the prices of that company’s products are so high. I agree that Australian manufacturers are entitled to a fair margin of profit, and to set apart reasonable reserves as well as to extend their premises if the volume of business justifies it, but there ought to be some regulation of ‘ the profits made on articles which are in daily use, especially in respect of industries which are protected by the tariff. Motor tires are likely to be required in large numbers for the mechanized units of our defence forces and should not be unduly costly. If the company’s operations are so successful that large profits are made motor tires should be obtainable more cheaply. I am not condemning this enterprising firm, but I am criticizing the principle of unregulated prices. It commenced operations with a capital of 100,000 shares, at £1 ; to-day its paid-up capital and reserves exceed £500,000. 1 disagree with most of what the honorable member for Swan said to-day respecting reduced tariffs, but I am inclined to agree with him that prices should be regulated in industries which are protected. We should also insist on arbitration awards as to rates of pay and working conditions being observed.
There are several items in the schedule in which I am particularly interested but I shall deal with them when they come before us.
I put it to the Minister that the Government should reconsider its attitude towards the duty on wool-tops because, notwithstanding the recommendation of the Tariff Board, I a.m convinced that there is no justification for the reductions of duty. I hope that the Government will take into consideration the views expressed by honorable members on both sides of the chamber and will reconsider its proposal. When the item comes before us I shall submit information to show the need for further consideration of this matter.
I appreciate the continuance by antiLabour governments of principles established by the Labour party, but I strongly object to their claiming the credit for the increased number of employees in secondary industries. Had the policy of the Labour party not been interfered with by United Australia party governments, thousands more of Australian workers would to-day be employed in industry, providing an additional market for those primary products about which the honorable member for Swan seems to be so greatly concerned. It is unlikely that the present or any other government will do anything to destroy the tariff which has established industries in this country on a sound footing; but it is possible that, like the honorable member for Balaclava, who, when Minister for Trade and Customs, was prepared to whittle away some of the protection, another Minister may cause injury to be done to industries of value to this country.
– Instead of criticizing previous Ministers, the honorable member should give credit where credit is due.
– I freely admit that the honorable member who has interjected did not go so far in whittling away the protection given to Australian industries as some of his colleagues desired. If the honorable members for Swan (Mr. Gregory) and Forrest (Mr. Prowse), as well as other members of the Country party, had had their way. the tariff would have been much lower. To that extent the honorable -member is entitled to credit, but no more. Nevertheless, the tariff was reduced on a number of items when he -was Minister for Trade and Customs, and, as a. consequence, there are fewer persons employed in secondary industries today than there should be. I trust that the Government- will heed what has been said to-day and do nothing to injure a tariff which has done, much to establish new industries in this country, thereby providing markets for the products of country constituencies, and making the country as a whole more prosperous.
The general debate being concluded -
Division I. Ales, Spirits, and Beverages
Item 16 agreed to.
Division 3. -sugar.
Item 27 (Glucose)
.- Under this item a reduction of the duty on glucose is proposed. In my opinion there is no justification whatever for importing glucose into this country, because the whole of - Australia’s requirements of this substance can be supplied by Australian firms. It is true that there was an inquiry into this item by the Tariff Board, but on looking at the list of witnesses, I find’ that one of the chief of them was Mr. Ferguson, a director of the Association of British Manufacturers. He appeared before the board to urge that British manufacturers should be given a share of the Australian market. Other witnesses included representatives of both the primary and the secondary branches of the industry in Australia. They asked for higher protection. The whole of Australia’s glucose requirements can be produced from the maize grown in this country. In north Queensland, particularly on the Atherton Tableland, which is represented by ‘the honorable member for Kennedy (Mr. Riordan), there has been a great deal of activity in this industry. Over a number of years about £110,000 has been expended on storage silos, plant and machinery, for the purpose of maintaining and stabilizing the maize industry. Similar action has been taken by maize-growers in. other States. The system and storage introduced in North Queensland have offset possible shortages in other parts of the eastern States. Last year it was possible to export 7,097 tons of maize to Canada, despite apparent shortages in some districts. The Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. John Lawson) will probably say that he is obliged to give effect to this recommendation of the Tariff Board. It seems to me that, the sooner the article of the Ottawa Agreement which requires such action to be taken is reviewed in normal times the better it will be for many Australian industries. I ask the Minister to have another investigation made into this industry. His departmental experts may be able to show that acceptance of this proposal would inflict serious hardship on the industry. In 1936-37, 1937-38 and 1938-39 our importations of glucose, which totalled 991 tons, represented a loss to the Australian maizegrowers of approximately 69,370 bushels, nullifying to that degree the protection afforded to these primary producers who, since the formation of Maize Products Proprietary Limited, have had the benefit of an increase of duty on foreign maize from ls. to 3s. 6d. per cental. From 60 to 70 bushels of maize are required for the production of one ton of glucose or one ton of starch. There are also certain by-products. I feel sure that the employment of a considerable number of people will be affected and primary-producing interests will also be damaged if the proposed reductions are made. ,
– I support the request of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Forde) that this item be reviewed. A serious mistake will be made if the duty is reduced. The sole manufacturer of glucose in Australia is Maize Products Proprietary Limited, of Footscray. The interests of this company will be seriously affected if this item is agreed to. During the last war, this company supplied practically the whole of the glucose requirements of Australia, and was largely instrumental in the maintenance of the Australian confectionery industry. At the outbreak of this war, the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) said that it was desired to carry on business as usual as far as possible. Business cannot be carried on as usual in this industry if this item is agreed to by honorable members. The Tariff Board report suggested that this industry was now in a position to maintain its operations with a somewhat lower degree of protection. I am informed that the company is making a profit of about 7 per cent., which I do not think will be regarded as excessive,
– Will the honorable gentleman make a statutory declaration to that effect?
– I do not think it is my place to do so. The manufacturers of glucose, to whom I have referred, have made representations to me on the subject, and I am prepared to accept their word. I would not insult them by asking them to give me a statutory declaration. If the Minister (Mr. John Lawson) desires to suggest that they are not telling the truth about their operations that is a matter for him.
– I am not making any such suggestion. The honorable gentleman said that the company was making a profit of only about 7 per cent. The Tariff Board suggests something different.
– The company manufactures other products beside glucose and it gives employment to 300 persons who would . be seriously affected if the manufacture of glucose had to be abandoned. The maize from which the glucose is manufactured is grown principally in north Queensland. The company uses Australian maize exclusively and pays approximately 100 per cent, more for it in Australia than is paid for maize in Great Britain. In these circumstances, it is reasonable that ii should be given adequate tariff protection. The company requires 650,000 bushels of Australian maize annually, and it has been largely responsible for the relatively high price that has been obtained in recent years for Australian-grown maize. I do not wish to make statements that I cannot substantiate, but this information has come from a source which I regard as reliable. If the duty on glucose is reduced, as proposed, the maize-growers of north Queensland may lose their market. Maize Products Proprietary Limited did very good work in the interests of Australia during the last war, and now that we are again experiencing war conditions its value to the Commonwealth should be recognized. The Government should not permit a temporary reduction of the duty on glucose, for it might be difficult later, when conditions required it, to raise the rate again. Perhaps the Minister will say that difficulty will be experienced in procuring glucose from overseas, but that should not influence us at this juncture. Glucose is essential to the Australian confectionery industry. If supplies from overseas became difficult to obtain the confectionery industry might be seriously dislocated. In view of our altered circumstances since the Tariff Board made its report, I submit that there is a sound case for referring the subject back to the board for further consideration. The following figures in relation to this industry are interesting and significant : -
Capital invested - £717,958.
Maize used per annum - approximately - which represents an expenditure of at price ruling, i.e. 5s. 3d., and all maize used is Australian grown - 050,000 bushels equal £170,000.
Number of employees - 300.
Amount paid in salaries and wages, approximately - £72,000 per annum.
Coal and coke consumed - 15,000 tons.
Casks containers and other supplies, all of Australian origin - £100,000.
Amount paid for inward and outward transport on materials used in the course of manufacture and manufactured goods - £32,300.
Seeing that the materials purchased by this company cost approximately £302,000 per annum, and that the wages bill totals £72,000, there is every justification for reviewing the situation.
– What reasons have been given to justify the proposed reduction ?
– The Tariff Board has recommended that the industry could be maintained on a lower duty, but Maize Products Proprietary Limited, which, as I have shown, is chiefly concerned, challenges this view. I feel that we have made a strong case for a reconsideration of the proposed reduction.
.- I support the request for a review of this item with a view to retaining the present tariff. Most of the maize from which Australian glucose is manufactured . is grown on the Atherton Tableland, one of the most fertile districts not merely of north Queensland, but also of Australia. The industry has been developed to such a degree that Queensland maize-growers were able last year to export 7,097 tons of maize to Canada. Mr. John Gargan chairman of the Atherton Tableland Maize Board, who gave evidence at the Tariff Board Inquiry on behalf of the Maizegrowers Association, said that the association opposed any interference with the existing duties, for such action would un justly penalize the maize-growers. This Government has declared that it stands for the preservation and encouragement of both primary and secondary industries. The manufacture of glucose affects both primary and secondary industries. The maize-growers of the Atherton Tableland depend on the glucose manufacturers for a market for a large portion of the produce, and if anything is done which is of serious detriment to the manufacturers of glucose in Australia, it will react adversely upon the maize-growers, who fear that their industry may be placed in jeopardy. The substantial sum of £110,000 has been spent on the construction of storage silos, plant and machinery for the purpose of maintaining and stabilizing the maize industry of Queensland, and considerable sums of money have also been expended elsewhere in order to develop this industry. If those who grow maize at present are obliged to divert their activities, as certain, tobacco-growers have been obliged to do, serious losses will be incurred. Atherton has become a prosperous district because of the development of maize-growing, and it would be deplorable “ if the Government should do anything at this stage to alter this situation. Not only the Atherton Tableland but also certain other districts in Queensland and in other parts of Australia are interested in the production of maize. During the last few days, we have been discussing the wheat industry, which is in a precarious condition. Let us not do something which is likely to place another primary industry in an even worse position. At the outbreak of war, the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) appealed to the people to carry on as usual. Let the Government practice what is preaches, and not interfere with a tariff that has meant so much to the growers, to those employed in the transport industry, and to those engaged iri the manufacture of glucose.
– The reasons which prompted the Government to take the action of which honorable members opposite complain can best be summarized by quoting from page eight of the report of the Tariff Board on this item. The Tariff Board stated -
There is no doubt that the business is highly profitable and the high measure of protection has supported a local selling price that lias permitted unjustifiably high levels of both costs and profits.
The honorable member for Maribyrnong (Mr. Drakeford) said that the profits of. the company were modest. No doubt he made that statement in good faith, but he did not have access to the books of the company. The Tariff Board did have access to the books, and, though it could not, of course, disclose the details, its conclusions were based upon what the books revealed. I am sure that the honorable member for Kennedy (Mr. Riordan) would be the last man in the world to support a duty that permitted the making of high profits. This company enjoys a virtual monopoly of the manufacture of glucose.
About 8,000 tons of glucose are consumed annually in Australia, and last year only 500 tons were imported. Glucose is imported mainly from the United Kingdom, and the English manufacturer’s price at the time of the Tariff Board’s inquiry ranged from £15 10s. to £16 sterling a ton, as compared with the local manufacturer’s price of £36 10s., Australian, a ton.
Maize costs are higher in Australia than in the United Kingdom, but, even after due allowance is made for this, the board is of the opinion that there is too large a disparity between the selling prices of glucose in Australia and those in the United Kingdom. In Australia, the selling price of one ton of glucose exceeds the cost of maize into the factory by £.19 a. ton Australian, while in the United Kingdom the difference between maize costs and selling prices is approximately £7 sterling a ton.
Two possible explanations for the wide disparity in the margins between the maizecosts and selling prices in the two countries have been advanced by the Tariff Board, namely: - (a) The Australian industry is not efficiently or economically conducted: (b) the shelter of the tariff is being used to make excessive profits.
The manufacture of glucose in Australia is almost wholly in the hands of one company, and the board states that the existing high measure of protection has supported a local selling price that has permitted unjustifiably high costs and profits. The duties now proposed will, in the opinion of the Tariff Board, be sufficient to protect the local manufacturer against competition from overseas sources.
– How do wages in this industry compare with those paid in England ?
– I presume the wages paid here are award wages.
– Does the Tariff Board ignore the difference in wage rates?
– No, they have been taken into consideration.Wages in the industry here are only 50 per cent, higher than in Great Britain.
.- The Labour party does not stand for the making of unduly high profits, but we stand for the employment of our people as far as possible. The Tariff Board has recommended a reduction of duty because, in its opinion, the selling price of glucose in Australia is too high. I suggest that a reduction of the import duty is not the proper remedy to apply. The Government has power to regulate prices.Why, therefore, should it not exercise that power in this instance? If the import duty is reduced it will probably result in a. number of men being thrown out of employment. Every ton of glucose imported will displace 60 to 70 bushels of Australian maize, and tend to displace Australian workmen, while the profiteering, if it exists, may still go on. I do not know whether there is profiteering or not. I do not profess to have a better knowledge of the facts than has the Tariff Board, but the Government has ignored the proper remedy, which is not to reduce the tariff, but to attack profiteering wherever it exists.
– I support the proposal of the right honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Scullin). It is not many years ago since the maize-growing industry began to develop in Australia. As a matter of fact, I helped to form the first maizegrowers union in Gippsland. The difficulty experienced by growers in Australia at thattime was that they could not compete against black-grown maize from South Africa. That difficulty was overcome by the imposition of a fixed duty on imported maize. After that the industry developed by leaps . and bounds. It later became necessary to develop a secondary industry in order to create a market for the maize, and so this company was formed to engage in the manufacture of glucose and maize oil. High profits are made in such industries, because they can be carried on successfully only on a monopolistic basis. The plant is so expensive, and the turnover must necessarily be so great, that we cannot have factories on every corner, as it were. The result, therefore, is the establishment of a monopoly, as in the case of the match industry. It is right that the Government should protect these people against exploitation, but there must be some way to do it other than by destroying the industry. The Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. John Lawson) has made an. effort to prevent what he believes to be exploitation, and he has followed the old, orthodox method of reducing the protective duty. The result will be that some workers will be discharged, and we shall have the beginning of another of those periodic depressions. I do not want to be on the side of those who are exploiting the public and making excessive profits, but I cannot agree that we should seek to correct the evil by importing from overseas the product of manufacturers who are doing the same thing there. It is better that we should use the product of an Australian monopoly over which we have some control, and which employs labour in this country. We should not prevent this company from extending its operations, even if it is making big profits, but we should take its excessive profits away from it. Why should not the Government do in this instance what it did in regard to the gold industry? Because of world economic conditions, the gold-mining companies were reaping excessive profits, and the Government imposed a special tax on gold. We do not want black-grown maize in Australia, nor do we want to import, glucose. Perhaps, one day, we shall have a government with sufficient courage to take an industry over when it becomes a monopoly, and run it for the benefit nf the community. In the meantime, let us grow the maize here and make the glucose here. Let the industry expand as it can, and let the Government take the excess profits away from the company after it has made them.
.- We on this side of the House are becoming used to hearing the right honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Scullin) and the honorable member for Melbourne Ports (‘Mr. Holloway) saying that they do not support monopolies. [Quorum formed.] I shall begin again by once again reminding honorable members that we hear from the Labour party a good deal about their dislike of monopolies and exploitation of the consumers. But when it comes to a matter of reducing a duty in order to protect the consumers from exploitation by monopolies, the Labour party most vigorously opposes the reduction. Honorable members opposite declare, immediately a reduction of duty is proposed, that men will be thrown out of work as the result; but the history of the tariff teaches us that that is not so. High tariffs mean dismissals, high costs and reduced money values, which are detrimental to the interests of the workers. That was the result of the Scullin tariff. The tariff policy of the present Government has brought men back to work and has reduced costs and increased the value of money. I challenge any member of the Opposition to show me where any reduction of a duty has meant the dismissal of men and disaster to Australian industry.
In these circumstances very little notice should be taken of the Opposition’s claim that in this case, instead of there being a reduction of duty, the Government should keep down prices and profits by means of price fixation - in other words, add to the bureaucratic control of this country. It is incomprehensible that the Opposition, which, since this war began, - has been fulminating against government by regulation, should seek to have an extension of government by regulation. If the Opposition had its way in this matter, the Minister, even if he were willing, could not possibly police the regulations. A superman could not do the work. The Opposition’s argument will not hold water. The Tariff Board is the most reliable agent for the fixing of the tariff.
.- The Commonwealth Parliament in 1902 adopted the principle of protection. To prevent protective tariffs being used by the manufacturers as a means of exploiting the people, power was given to the Governor-General in Council to suspend the operation of a duty when it was thought that the duty enabled the manufacturer to charge extortionate prices. That did not work out very well, and later there developed a campaign for what was called “ new protection “. It was supported not only by the Labour party, but also by what was then called the Liberal party, led by Mr. Alfred Deakin.
The idea was that the protection of Australian industries should be conditional upon there being a law which fixed the prices of the manufactured product, and the wages of the manufacturers’ employees. That was no creation of the war. It dates from 1906 or earlier. An attempt was made by this Parliament to give effect to that policy, but the High Court declared it to be unconstitutional. It may be that in peacetime the High Court would follow the previous decision, but in wartime the power of the Commonwealth is so enlarged that the National. Parliament can control the prices, not only of manufactured goods, but also of all or any goods, and control the wages, not only of the employees of manufacturers, but also of all or any employees. The Tariff Board’s report and recommendation forming the basis for the proposal before the Chair, is based upon the peacetime assumption, that the Commonwealth Parliament, cannot regulate prices and wages. Its position is that the only check that can be applied to exploitation is a check based on trial and error. The Tariff Board comes to the conclusion that a manufacturer is charging too much and, in order to stop that, it recommends a reduced tariff. The immediate result of a reduced tariff is that the manufacturer makes an effort to maintain his same rate of profit by closing down certain operations .and dismissing men. It is not the manufacturer who is the first sufferer; it is the employee. The manufacturer may ultimately suffer and have to reduce his profits, but from the outset the employees are the scapegoats. Over and over again in this country we see the spectacle of a monopoly dismissing employees in order to exert pressure for the restoration of the tariff. Tariff protection should be conditional on protection for the consumer as well as the worker. At this time it can be worked out, because there is an enlargement of the powers of the Commonwealth, and it seems to me, therefore, that the reason for the Tariff Board’s report disappears. There is no reason to dislocate industry at all or to deprive numbers of people of employment. All that need be done is to regulate profits and prices, or prices alone. The honorable member for Deakin (Mr. Hutchinson) talked about bureaucracy. I am surprised to hear a representative of the primary producers talk about bureaucratic control, because if there is one industry which is subject to control it is primary industry with all its boards and councils.
– I was merely answering the Opposition’s arguments.
– No, it has been a contention of the Government that although the worker cannot-
The CHAIRMAN (Mr. Prowse).Order! The matter before the Chair is the reduction of a duty.
– We are discussing the principle of reducing tariff protection by reason of the fact that we have no proper control of prices.
– That is not before the committee.
– That has been the tenor of the whole discussion.
– That does not bring the question within the scope of all the discussion.
– I want to understand your ruling, because it was not imposed on other honorable members. From the very opening speech, the contention has been that the proposed reduction of duty is the result of a recommendation by the Tariff Board that the prices charged are too high and the profits too great. This matter has been discussed on that basis by every honorable member who has spoken. I cannot discuss the question whether this reduction should be made or not unless I discuss the alternative to this reduction. I suggest that, instead of reducing this duty merely because the Tariff Board recommends the reduction on the ground that the prices and profits are too high, the Government should allow the duty to remain at its present level and control prices or profits. The same submission was made by the right honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Scullin), who was heard by the Chair without interruption.
Bill returned from the Senate without amendment.
Bill received from the Senate and (on motion by Mr. John Lawson) read a first time.
In Committee of Ways and Means:
Mr. SPENDER (Warringah- Acting
Treasurer) [3.43]. - I move -
That a tax bc imposed upon gold (other than -
gold imported into Australia from any place not being a territory of the Commonwealth of Australia;
gold coin; and
wrought gold), delivered, either in Australia or in a territory of the Commonwealth of Australia, to the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, or to an agent of that bank, on or after the fifteenth day of September, One thousand nine hundred and thirty-nine.
That the amount of tax so imposed be onehalf of the amount by which the amount payable by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia in respect of gold so delivered exceeds an amount calculated at the rate of Nine pounds for each ounce of fine gold contained in the gold so delivered.
That the Treasurer be empowered to direct, by notice published in the Gazette, that, for the purposes of the tax imposed by the act passed to give effect to these resolutions, gold includes gold coin and wrought gold delivered to the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, or to an agent of that bank, and thereupon tax be imposed, in accordance with these resolutions upon gold coin and wrought gold so delivered.
The legislation that it is proposed should follow this resolution is a bill to impose the gold tax and another bill for the collection of that tax. As honorable members are aware, in September a bill was introduced to impose a tax on gold equal to 75 per cent, of the excess price over £A.9 per oz. That bill was not passed in the Senate. In order to avoid loss of revenue, an excise duty, as from the 15th September, 1939, was imposed at the close of the sessional period. The rate of that excise was 50 per cent, of the excess over £A.9 per oz. The reduction of the rate from 75 per cent, to 50 per cent, was influenced by the representations which were made during the course of the debate in the House of Representatives and the Senate. Under the measures now to be brought down, the tax will continue to be 50 per cent, as from the 15th Septem ber on gold delivered to the Commonwealth Bank of Australia or to an agent of that bank.
The Government has, however, given further consideration to the small prospector. As the result, provision will be made in the Gold Tax Collection Bill to give relief to the bona fide prospector by granting a rebate of tax in respect of the first 25 oz. of gold delivered by him in each year commencing on the date of the passing of that bill. A “ bona fide, prospector “ means a person, other than a company, who has personally carried out the whole or the major part of the field work of prospecting for and obtaining the gold delivered by him. I indicated when the previous bill was before the House that the price of gold was likely to increase; it has now risen to £10 13s. an ounce. . This provides one of the clearest examples of unearned increment which has been placed before this chamber. In Southern Rhodesia, the whole of the excess of the price of gold above £7 10s. sterling a fine ounce is appropriated by the Government, whilst New Zealand takes 75 per cent, of the excess over £9 5s. 8d. a fine ounce.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Standing Orders suspended : resolutions adopted.
That Mr. Spender and Mr. Perkins do prepare and bring in a bill to carry out the foregoing resolutions.
Bill brought up by Mr. Spender, and read a first time.
Motion (by Mr. Spender) proposed -
That the bill be now read a second time.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Green) adjourned.
Motion (by Mr. Spender) - by leave - agreed to -
That he have leave to bring in a hill for an act relating to the imposition and collection of a tax upon gold.
Bill brought up, and read a first time.
Motion (by Mr. Spender) proposed -
That the bill be now read a second time.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Green) adjourned.
Message recommending appropriation reported.
In committee (Consideration of Governor-General’s message) :
Motion (by Mr. Spender) agreed to -
That it is expedient that an appropriation of moneys be made for the purposes of a bill for an act to authorize the raising and expending of a certain sum of money.
Standing Orders suspended; resolution adopted.
That Mr. Spender and Mr. Perkins do prepare and bring in a bill to carry out the foregoing resolution.
Bill brought up by Mr. Spender, and read a first time.
– I move. -
That the bill be now read a second time.
In September last, Parliament approved an appropriation of £22,405,000 for expenditure from loan fund and at the same time approved the raising of loan moneys to meet expenditure under the appropriation. The services in respect to which the moneys were appropriated were as follows : -
The £10,000,000 included for war services was for the purpose of meeting war expenditure to approximately the 31st December only. The reason for providing for so short a period was to enable the Government to prepare comprehensive estimates for war services up to the end of the financial year.
The Estimates have now been completed and have already been distributed to honorable gentlemen. This bill is to provide finance for the Government’s defence and war proposals for the year, except in so far as they will be met by the revenue appropriation of £13,780,000 in main Appropriation Act. The services provided for in this bill are: -
To this has been added £250,000 to meet the expenses of loan raising. This amount represents 1 per cent, of the total, and probably will not be expended.
An amount of fully £1,593,000 (Defence £906,000, Supply and Development £687,000) has been included in the bill for the balance of the services of the developmental programme of 1939-40. This amount was originally included in the Estimates, but has been swung over to loan to permit a larger charge to revenue for pay and maintenance of the fighting services. This action was taken because the services covered by the amount of £1,593,000 are of a capital nature and are, therefore, a more appropriate charge to the loan account. The inclusion of this amount completes the appropriation necessary to cover the defence developmental programme for the current year.
The amount of £23,392,000 is in respect of anticipated war expenditure and is included under comprehensive descriptive wordings. An amount of £21,250,000 is for requirements of the Defence Departments and is allocated among the three services, Navy, Army and Air, while £2,142,000 is provided for the Department of Supply and Development. The Loan Estimates show thenature of the proposed expenditure in greater detail, and I invite perusal of pages 313 to 3l7 of the printed Estimates, on which are set out the various services ranging from pay to raw materials and aeroplanes. The bill includes the bulk of the pay and maintenance requirements of the Navy, Army and Air Force as well as expediting of a capital nature.
In accordance with proposals which have already been made known, an amount of £2,000,000 is included in the bill for works of low defence priority, that is, works of defence value but not of immediate urgency. The £2,000,000 is not shown separately. This provision is made to provide a stimulus to employment pending the heavy War expenditure producing its full effect.
As I reminded members when submitting the bill which included an amount for war services last September, it was the custom in 1914-18 to appropriate a lump sum and to show no allocation of the provision. In the bills presented this year we are indicating the services on which the money will be expended, and the basis on which the amount of the appropriation has been calculated.
The amount of the appropriation required for war purposes is arrived at in the following way: -
The difference between the amount of £37,538,000 for “Defence Authorizations “, that is, orders to be placed and commitments to be incurred before the 30th June next, and the sums included in the Estimates, is £7,594,000, and is made up of the following items : -
It is, of course, necessary to include the higher amount so that sufficient funds may be available to cover the authorizations, and I wish to make it clear that this bill, when passed, will give approval to such commitments to the end of the year. It will be realized that Parliament must give approval to authorizations and orders which have to be placed well in advance of the expenditure, and which cannot be held up because the liability in respect thereof will be met next year instead of this year.
Honorable members will have noticed that Works Services appear under the ordinary defence programme and under War Services. The former are part of the defence development programme commenced before the outbreak of war, while those under War Services are works that have been approved since, and as the result of the outbreak of war. There is, however, no essential difference between the two sets of works as they are both in respect of the present Avar, and while they have been kept separate for 1939-40 for the sake of convenience and consistency in this year’s accounting, I shall endeavour to arrange to amalgamate them into one programme in subsequent years.
This bill covers known liabilities to date, with the exception of the liability in respect of the transport abroad of the 2nd Australian Imperial Force. It is, of course, likely that unforeseen liabilities may present themselves and that a further appropriation may be necessary later in the financial year.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Forde) adjourned.
Footwear for the Defence Forces - Aerial Direction-Finding Beacons.
Motion (by Mr. Spender) proposed-
That the House do now adjourn.
– I wish to know if on Tuesday the Government will give the House an opportunity to discuss Order of the Day No. 6 on the notice-paper, “ Footwear for the Defence Forces “. One result of tabling ministerial statements in the House and moving that they be printed is that all other avenues for discussion of the matters referred to in them are closed. For about ten days now I have been desirous of discussing the matter of footwear for the defence forces and I hope that the Government will give me an opportunity to do so next Tuesday.
– I direct the attention of the Government to a report that appeared in yesterday’s issue of the Melbourne Herald on the subject of aerial direction-finding beacons. The report states that a fault exists in the steel beacon towers that have been erected at various airports in the Commonwealth and that they will have to be replaced with wooden towers. I approached the Acting Minister for Civil Aviation (Mr. Holt) on this subject recently, and 1 am indebted to him for the information he supplied to me. I have taken a particular interest in aerial directionfinding equipment ever since I entered this Parliament because of the regrettable losses of several passenger aeroplanes between Tasmania and the mainland during the first two or three years the Bass Strait air service was in operation. The erection of the direction-finding beacon towers and equipment cost approximately £500,000, and I am concerned at the fact that some of the structures must now be scrapped. I do not believe that we can justly lay any blame at the door of the Government on that account. The beacons were tested on a wooden structure at Essendon, but the other towers were made of steel, because the greater durability of steel would give longer life and steel towers would be less costly to maintain. Australia is pioneering this type of beacon, and it is not unusual that faults should develop and possibly cause some losses of aircraft. It will probably cost a further £50,000 to overcome the defects that have been discovered in this form of directional control, but I impress upon the Government the urgency of the work. It is not necessary to refer in detail to regrettable experiences that have occurred in recent years to make clear the necessity for immediately removing the fault. When this direction-finding equipment was first introduced, a feeling of confidence was created in the minds of the public, and we should not destroy that confidence now with the knowledge that the system, is not altogether fool-proof. Although we are facing difficult times in which heavy expenditure will have to be incurred in other directions, it is absolutely necessary to effect the change-over from the unsuitable towers to wooden structures. The steel towers were erected long before they were put into use ; it was not until a very unfortunate accident occurred at Mount Dandenong that the work was completed. Such a state of affairs should not be allowed to occur again. The necessity for expending a large amount of money on the work should not prevent the Government from obtaining the maximum amount, of efficiency ‘ from the system. If this is not corrected other accidents may happen. One of the faults which I find with this Government is that statements in regard to matters of public policy appear first in the newspapers instead of being made by Ministers from their places in this House. I urge the Government to attend to this matter without any delay, because it is urgent. It may be argued that it will prove costly to correct the mistake, to which I have directed attention, but that should not be an excuse for neglecting it. I hope also that a statement of the Government’s intentions will be made at an early date in this House.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
The following papers were presented : -
Apple and Pear Organization Act - First Annual Report of the Australian Apple and Pear Board, for period ended 30th June, 1939, together with Statement by the Minister regarding the Operation of the Act.
Bankruptcy Act - Eleventh AnnualReport bv Attorney-General for year ended 31st July, 1939.
Norfolk Island Act - Ordinance of 1939 - No. 4 - Matrimonial Causes.
House adjourned at 4.12 p.m.
The following answers to questions were circulated: -
n asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
Air Squadron Facilities at Townsviile.
r asked the Acting Minister for Air, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
It is estimated that the expenditure to provide the required facilities will be ?220,000. This figure does not include the cost of the acquisition of the land. 2 and 3. Tenders have been invited closing 10th December, 1939, in respect of buildings; and -
asked the Minister for the Army, upon notice -
How many marriedmen are enrolled in the6th Division?
t. - The information will be obtained and a reply will be furnished to the honorable member as soon as possible.
asked the Minister for the Army, upon notice -
t. - The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
i asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable members’s questions are as follows : -
e asked the Minister representing the Minister for Commerce, upon notice -
Will he ascertain whether the British Government has purchased any wheat from Canada since the outbreak of war, and what was the price paid for any wheat purchased?
– The Minister for Commerce has supplied the following information : -
No contract for the sale of wheat has been made between the Governments of Canada and the United Kingdom. Since the war, the United Kingdom Ministry of Food has purchased Canadian wheat from time to time at current market prices.
d asked the Minister for Information, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
d asked the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -
– The question asked by the honorable member was answered on the 21st November, 1939, vide Hansard No. 23, page 1399.
n asked the Minister for the Army, upon notice -
– No prosecutions for failure to fill in national register cards have yet been launched, and it is impossible at this juncture to state how many prosecutions will be instituted in the future. The question of instituting certain prosecutions is now receiving consideration.
d asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
d asked the Minister for Information, upon notice -
– Particulars are being obtained.
d asked the Acting Minister for Supply and Development, upon notice -
– I have already informed the House fully as to the action proposed in relation to the subject matter of this question.
n asked the Acting Minister in Charge of Scientific and Industrial Research, upon notice -
Since the report of the 20th March last, what progress has been made in the experiments with the rabbit virus used in the enclosure of rabbit warrens at Wardang Island, South. Australia?
– As the results of the work carried out at Wardang Island, South Australia, in connexion with the rabbit virus were not promising, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research is now devoting its attention to the question of the transmission of the virus by insects. It is too early yet to express any opinion on these experiments.
e asked the Minister representing the Minister for Commerce, upon notice -
– The Minister for Commerce has supplied the following answers: -
k asked the Minister for Information, upon notice -
Is any restriction being placed by the censors on the publication in Australia of the prices being paid abroad in neutral and/or allied countries for wool or any other primary products ?
y asked the Acting Minister in charge of Scientific and Industrial Research, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
Gold-mining at Tennant Creek.
n asked the Minister representingthe Minister for the Interior. upon notice -
– Answers to the honorable member’s questions will be supplied as soon as possible.
Military Camp: Transport Facilities.
t. - On the 28th November, the honorable member for Werriwa (Mr. Lazzarini) teferred to the provision of better transport facilities for the conveyance of troops from the Ingleburn camp to Liverpool.
n. - On the 30th November, the honorable member for Balaclava (Mr. White) asked the following questions, upon notice -
I am now in a position to furnish the honorable member with the following answers to his inquiries : -
Movements of Public Servants between Canberra and Melbourne.
– On the 16th November, the honorable member for Bass (Mr. Barnard) asked me the following questions, upon notice -
I am now in a position to furnish the following replies : -
The details given in reply to parts (2) and (3) hereunder refer to all travelling from Canberra to Melbourne and return during the period the 1st September to the 16th November, 1939. Much of this travelling with its consequent expense would have been necessary under normal conditions. A certain amount of travelling is necessarily associated with the administration of departments, and with meetings of Cabinet, &c, in places other than Canberra. The expenditure set out in reply to (2), a considerable portion of which is represented by railway fares, would not be greatly in excess of the expenditure similarly incurred in a corresponding period during recent years.
In regard to the number of officers snown under certain departments in reply to part (3), it is pointed out that in many instances these officers were not all travelling at the same time, but only as required in connexion with work appropriate to their positions.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 1 December 1939, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1939/19391201_reps_15_162/>.