15th Parliament · 2nd Session
Mr. Speaker (Hon. G. J. Bell) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
– It is with feelings of deep regret that I refer to the death in Sydney, on the 22nd July, of the Honorable Sir GeorgeWarburton Fuller, a former member of this House.
Sir George’s parliamentary career dated from 1889, when he was elected to the Legislative Assembly of New South Wales as member for Kiama. He held that seat until 1894. In 1901, he was elected to represent the Division of Illawarra in the first Commonwealth Parliament, and was re-elected at the general elections of 1903, 1906 and 1910. He was Minister for Home Affairs in the Deakin Ministry fromJune, 1909, to April, 1910. It is, perhaps, appropriate to mention here that, as Minister for HomeAffairs, the late honorable gentleman piloted through the House of Representatives the bill creating the present Federal Capital. In 1915, he was elected to represent Wollondilly in the Legislative Assembly of New South Wales, and held that scat until 1928. He first became a State Minister in the National Government of Mr. Holm an, when he was appointed Chief Secretary. He held that portfolio from 1915 to 1920. In 1919, he was honoured by His Majesty the King with the order of K.C.M.G. An interesting feature of his State parliamentary service was that on the 20th December, 1921, he held office as Premier for the short period of seven hours. Sir George Fuller again became Premier in 1922, and held office until 1925. From 1928 to 1931 he was Agent-General for New South Wales in London.
The short review which Ihave given will indicate that Sir George Fuller’s service to Australia was of a distinguished character. He had, also, the distinction of being a member of the first Commonwealth Parliament
The news of li is death evoked many splendid tributes from, those who were closely associated with him in his parliamentary and governmental work. He was held in very high public esteem and enjoyed an enviable reputation for sincerity and kindliness. By his death, Australia has lost a distinguished citizen who served bis country capably and faithfully. Our sincere sympathy is extended to Lady Fuller and family in the personal loss which they have sustained. I move -
That this House expresses its deep regret at the death of the Honorable Sir George Warburton Fuller, K.C.M.G., a former mem.ber of the Commonwealth and New South Wales Parliaments, former Commonwealth Minister, and State Premier and Minister, places on record its appreciation of his distinguished public service, and tenders its sincere sympathy to his widow and family in their bereavement
– I rise to second the motion. As the right honorable the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) has said, the late Sir George Fuller commenced his public career a little over 50 years 11 po. During the half century that elapsed between the commencement of his public service and his passing from us, Australia developed amazingly, and the Commonwealth was founded. The honorable gentleman enjoyed the great privilege of si tting in the first Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia. His record as a member of the Parliament of “New South Wales, as Premier qf that State, and later as a Minister of the Commonwealth, and still later as AgentGeneral for New South Wales in London, indicates his versatility. All who knew him, including those who differed from him politically, pay tribute to his sincerity of purpose and desire at all times to do his best for his country and its people. Although it is inevitable that occasions such as this, when we contemplate the passing of those who have served their country well, bring to us a sense of loss and grief, we can be upheld by a deep sense of pride. The late Sir George Fuller served his country well, and to his sorrowing relatives we tender our sincere sympathy.
Question resolved in the affirmative, honorable members standing in their places.
– I regret to announce that Mr. Edward Walker Archer, a former member of this House, died at Rockhampton, Queensland, on the 1st July last.
Mr. Archer was elected to represent the division of Capricornia at the general elections of 1906. He was defeated at the general elections of 1910. Subsequently, ho was elected to the Queensland Legislative Assembly as member for Normanby at a by-election on the 5th March, 1914, and held the seat until the general elections of May, 1915.
Mr. Archer was prominent in the grazing industry of Central Queensland, and was for many years actively identified with the public life of Rockhampton and district. A widow, a son and two daughters arc left to mourn hia loss, and to them we extend our deepest sympathy. I move -
That this House expresses its deep regret at the death of Mr. Edward Walker Archer, a former member of this House for the Division of Capricornia, places on record its appreciation of his meritorious public service, and tenders its sincere sympathy to hia widow and family in their bereavement.
– I rise to associate the Opposition with the expression of sympathy with the bereaved widow and family of the late Mr. E. W. Archer which the right honorable the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) has voiced. For some years the late honorable gentleman was the representative in this Parliament of the electorate of Capricornia which I now have the honour to represent. All who knew the late Mr. Archer respected him for his gentlemanly qualities. In the Parliaments of Queensland and the Commonwealth, he served his country with courtesy, understanding and ability, and after he left the legislative halls he gave of his best as President of the Rockhampton Agricultural Society, which he saw grow from humble beginnings to one of the most important agricultural societies in Queensland due largely to his organizing ability and outstanding qualities of leadership. Hia activities were of great value to the people of Central Queensland, npt only in that sphere, hut also as president for many years of the Rockhampton Harbour Board, in which position he rendered distinguished service which will forever be remembered. The name of Archer is indelibly engraved in the early pioneering history of Central Queensland, particularly in connexion with the great cattle industry of the northern State. Mr. Archer’s record may well be emulated by many of the young men who are engaged in the grazing industry in Central Queensland to-day. As breeders of high grade Hereford stud stock, he and his family did a great service to the beef cattle industry. On behalf of honorable members of the Opposition, I extend deepest sympathy to his sorrowing widow, son, and two daughters, and hope that, in their hour of grief, it will be some consolation to them to realize that the members of the present Federal Parliament recall with gratitude the distinguished services that their husband and father rendered to Queensland and to Australia during a long and honorable life.
Question resolved in the affirmative, honorable members standing in their places.
Appointment of Trade Union Representatives
– With respect to the appointment of Messrs. Cleary, Cranwill, Trainor, and others, to Munitions Boards in the various States, will the Prime Minister state whether these gentlemen were recommended to himby the Australasian Council of Trades Unions, the Trades and Labour Council in any of the States, or any prominent trade union with which they may be associated, or were they simply chosen by the Government without consideration of the wishes of any representative body in the trade union movement?
– Their names were recommended in the first place by members of the State Munitions Committees of Management.
– The existing State committees?
– The committees appointed in each State under the new munitions scheme. Those committees were asked to suggest the names of prominent trade unionists for addition to the panel.
– The members of those committees are employers and manufacturers.
– Names were submitted of gentlemen who, in all cases, were undoubtedly prominent trade unionists, and they were approved.
– Following the example of Great Britain, will the Prime Minister appoint a committee of responsible men, or alternatively a select committee of members of this House, to investigate the administration of the War Departments, particularly Defence Co-ordination and Army and Supply, to ascertain whether there exist administrative delay, bottle-necks, or bureaucratic methods which are likely to injure the war effort of Australia? If such an investigation be projected, will the terms of reference cover inquiry into the following matters: - 1, general administration; 2, undue concentration of authority in the hands of a few senior officials; 3, undue concentration of the Federal Government’s activities in Melbourne; 4, abandonment by the Government of the Federal Capital; and 5, failure to keep the undertaking given by the Government that the Economic Cabinet would make its head-quarters at Canberra?
– The honorable member’s suggestion will be taken into consideration.
Allotment and Allowance
– In view of the many com.plaints that have been forwarded to the Minister for Air, on behalf of dependants of members of the Royal Australian Air Force, in respect of delay in the receipt of their allotment and allowance, by reason of the fact that no authority to deal with this matter exists in Brisbane, has the Minister taken the necessary steps to establish in that city a pay office of the Royal Australian Air Force, similar to that which operates in respect of the Australian Imperial Force?
– It has been decided to establish a pay office of the Royal Australian Air Force at each area head-quarters. As an area head-quarters has not yet been established in Brisbane, it has not so far been possible to do this in that city. Directly that head-quarters is established, there will also be a pay office. Meanwhile, so that there may be some authority whom dependants of Royal Australian Air Force personnel may consult - realizing as we do the difficulty experienced by some dependants in putting their case in writing - it is proposed to attach to the Army Pay Office in Brisbane an officer who will deal with Royal Australian Air Force cases.
– In respect of the pork and bacon needs of Great Britain, the Australian pig industry is seeking a lead from the Government as to what is the desire of the United Kingdom. Great Britain contracted to take all of the pork meats that Australia could produce. That contract, I am informed, expires in September next, and the future is indefinite. Last Thursday, the Minister for Commerce announced that from the 12th August next, all pork goods, other than ordinary sides or Wiltshire sides, would not be accepted for export. As foodstuffs are of national importance, both to Great Britain and to Australia, can the honorable gentleman give to the pig producers of Australia a lead as to what is required of them now and in the future, so that tne industry may produce what is needed and not continue to be in its present indefinite position?
– I shall deal with that matter comprehensively after dinner to-night.
– In view of the reported suspension of recruiting for the Australian Imperial Force, will the Minister for the Army state what action is intended to be taken in regard to those recruits who, in the country, have had a preliminary medical examination and are awaiting a final examination before being enlisted? If it be intended to proceed with the enlistment of these men, will the Minister see that the final examination is expedited, because many of theo) have given up their jobs and are out of work?
– Those who have passed a preliminary examination will be called up for a final medical examination. That is being done as rapidly as possible. I regret to hear the right honorable gentleman say that some applicants for enlistment have thrown up their positions. My department has been most particular in stressing from time to time the advisability of intending applicants for enlistment refraining from relinquishing their positions in civil life until they had passed the final medical examination. Those who have passed the first examination will be called up and will be enlisted.
– Has the attention of the Prime Minister been drawn to the statement of the honorable member for Hunter in respect of the sum of £3,000 having been handed to prominent members of the Labour movement for certain privileges? Has the right honorable gentleman any information as to how this amount was distributed, and will he make inquiries to ascertain what became of it?
– I am sorry to disappoint the honorable member. I had not heard anything of the matter until this morning, when an honorable member told me that a rumour was in circulation concerning a sum of £3,000. I have not myself seen the sum.
– In view of the conditions existing in Australia to-day, due to the war and drought, has the Government given consideration to the plight of thousands of persons who are in danger of losing their farms, homes and other property, which at present are held under mortgage? Does the Government intend to take any action to meet the necessity, in many cases, for an extension of time for the repayment of the principal amount due under mortgage, outside the Moratorium Act?
– The question referred to by the honorable member, together with allied questions, is at present being investigated on behalf of the Government.
– Can the Prime Minister explain the dismissal of a great number of men from Cockatoo Dock, Mort’s Dock and some small industrial undertakings at. Sydney and Newcastle because of shortage of raw materials especially steel bars? Can the Prime Minister give an assurance that this serious situation has not been created in favour of Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited by Mr. Essington Lewis, formerly managing director of that company and now Director-General of Munitions Supply?
– The underlying assumptions of the question I cannot admit to be true, but I will have them investigated. If there has been some interruption of supplies I should imagine that it would be much more attributable to the coal stoppage than to any desire on the part of the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited to get business that it would otherwise not get.
– Can the Treasurer explain why imports of petrol to this country from the Netherlands East Indies are based on dollar exchange whereas other imports from the same territory are based on sterling?
– Although the Netherlands East Indies is a sterling area, it does not follow that all imports from there are paid for in sterling. The manner of payment depends on the requirements of the supplying companies over which we have no control. It is because of that fact that imports of petrol involve, ultimately, through London^ payment in dollars. I shall be glad to reply in. more detail to a question on notice.
– In view of the close proximity of general elections have any steps been taken to ensure that men en listed in the Australian Imperial Force will have a vote? I refer not only to members of the Australian Imperial Force who are overseas, but also to those still in Australia who, since their enlistment, have reached the electoral enrolment age of 21 years. Will they enrol in the electoral division in which they are in camp or in that from which they enlisted?
– Final arrangements have not been made in regard to the soldiers who are overseas. Soldiers in camp in Australia are covered by the Electoral Act which requires that if a person leaves his own area and is away for three months it is necessary for him to transfer his registration.
– Can the Minister indicate more fully how the Electoral Act applies to soldiers?
– I regret that my answer to the honorable member for Hunter was not sufficiently clear. The position with a married man is that his home is recognized as his address and his name would remain as enrolled. The position of a single man without a fixed home would be that after a month in camp that address would be correct for registration.
– In view of the greatly increased cost of artificial fertilizers and the necessity for keeping rural production at a high level, will the Minister for Commerce recommend to Cabinet that the fertilizers subsidy be reintroduced ?
– I shall consider it.
– I ask the Prime Minister whether the Government has taken steps to secure to men volunteering in the Australian Imperial Force their positions at the expiration of the war so that they will not return to find their jobs have been taken by others? Is there any guarantee to members of the Public Service who enlist that their jobs will be open for them on their return? In regard to private employment, is the Governmentprepared to consider the making of regulations requiring that volunteer’s jobs. shall be restored to them on their return from the war, subject to some right of appeal being given to the employers on account of changed circumstances?
– There are regulations on that matter. I shall secure a copy and let the honorable member see them.
– Mr. Speaker, will you extend to the Representative of the United States of America the same courtesy as is usually extended to distinguished visitors to Australia, and ask him to take a seat in the House beside your chair?
– I shall consider that.
– Is the Minister for the Navy aware that the commandeering of the SS. Zealandia from the HobartSydney run has greatly interfered with the trade and commerce and war effort of Tasmania? Will the Government consider replacement of the Zealandia by a vessel taken from the Western Australia run? If not, why not?
– The SS. Zealandia is not the only ship that has been commandeered for defence purposes. Tasmania has been treated no different from, and, perhaps, not so badly as, other States.
– As, with two or three exceptions life assurance companies, upon the recommendation of the Treasurer, have agreed to cancel the risk relating to those who have enlisted in the Air Force, will the Treasurer make further representation to those companies which have refused to do so, because, in the event of their not agreeing, I intend to give the fullest possible publicity to their action?
– The matter has been the subject of considerable correspondence between the Government and two or three life assurance companies. If the honorable member wishes to see the correspondence he can do so. He will then be satisfied.
– Is the Minister for the Army aware that the water supply at the military camp at Bowen is very bad, and, if so, is anything being done about it?
– Steps are being taken to improve what is not at present a very good water supply at Bowen.
– Will the Minister for Supply and Development state whether the petrol rationing scheme as previously announced has been altogether abandoned? If so, when will the new scheme be announced? In any new scheme of rationing, will the Minister see that recognition is given to the fact that for primary producers living some distance from a town, a motor vehicle is a necessity rather than a luxury, and that the ration is determined accordingly ?
– The Commonwealth Liquid Fuel Control Board was recently enlarged by the addition of three now members. To that enlarged committee has now been submitted for consideration a plan, the general principles of which have already been published, and the Government expects to receive the committee’s report on Thursday. One of the three new members was chosen because of his intimate knowledge of the problems and requirements of rural transport.
– I wish to point out to the Minister for Supply and Development the disabilities under which residents of the hinterland and the areas adjacent to the great termini of our out-back railway systems are operating. I refer particularly to the termini of the Alice Springs and Mr Isa railway lines, and to the two ports, Darwin and Wyndham. Will the Minister extend greater liberality to the people living inland from the areas referred to, in the matter of petrol supplies than is to be extended to residents in less remote areas served by railways or other means of transport?
– I can give the honorable member the assurance that in fixing allocations due regard will be paid to the geographical difficulties as well as other problems of petrol users.
– In Victoria, unemployed men in receipt of sustenance who enlist in the Australian Imperial Force have sometimes to wait a considerable time before any allowance is received by their dependants. Such men usually have nothing to come and go on. Will the Minister for the Army make arrangements with the State Sustenance Department to continue the payment of sustenance to dependants until the dependants’ allowance is forthcoming from the military authorities upon which an adjustment can be made?
– I shall look into the matter.
– It is reported that members of the Australian Imperial Force who arrived in England 50 days ngo have not yet received any mail from Australia. The Postmaster-General has said that he is satisfied that there is no delay in his department. Will the Prime Minister institute inquiries at once to ensure that every effort is made to trace the missing mails for which members of the Australian Imperial Force arc eagerly waiting ?
– It must be understood that the Postmaster-General is as anxious as any one else can be to ensure t’he prompt delivery of the mails. I understood him to say, in answer to a previous question, that if notice were given he hoped to be in a position to make a statement on the matter tomorrow.
– Will the Minister for Commerce make available the report of the committee appointed to inquire into the disposal of the 1940-41 apple and pear crop?
– That report will come before the Agricultural Council at its meeting on Monday next. It will be the property of the council, but
I shall discuss with members of the council whether they desire it to he published.
– Will the Minister have referred to the Prices Commissioner the matter of the price charged for daily newspapers in Sydney, where the price is 2d. a copy as against l£d. in Melbourne ?
– The increase of the price of newspapers in Sydney was made after reference to the Prices Commissioner.
– In regard to the proposed advance on the 16th August of 4d. a bushel on wheat in the No. 2 pool, will the Minister for Commerce take into consideration the financial distress which prevails in the wheat-growing areas because of the present disastrous drought, and, if possible, increase the advance to ls. a bushel?
– Those conditions were taken into consideration when the advance was fixed at 4d.
– I ask the Minister for Air whether members of the Royal Australian Air Force will leave Australia fully trained, or will they complete their training in Canada?
– Members of the Royal Australian Air Force who leave Australia at the end of the year will have completed their training, but, in the meantime, several batches of trainees will have proceeded to Canada to complete their training there.
– Has the Minister for Supply any information he can convey to the House regarding the munitions annexe that was to be established at the Launceston Railway Workshops? Has any progress been made, and when will munitions be manufactured there?
– I shall have a reply to the honorable member’s questions prepared and, if possible, delivered to him to-morrow.
– In view of the press report that the Government is considering the acquisition of next season’s wheat crop, will the Minister for Commerce indicate what the price is likely to be, and whether that price will be based upon the cost of production a3 established by the Royal Commission on Wheat?
– At this stage I cannot do so.
– In view of the ravages of the rabbit pest, and the enormous cost of controlling it by the purchase of wire netting, and by other means, will the Minister for Commerce do what he can to facilitate the export of rabbit skins, so as to keep up the price, and thus encourage the destruction of rabbits ?
– A large portion of the available supplies of rabbit skins must be kept in Australia, particularly for military purposes. The balance is being exported as quickly as possible.
– Has the AttorneyGeneral yet been able to arrange for the appointment of inspectors under the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act?
– The regulations tinder the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act providing for the appointment of inspectors to police awards were to-day amended to provide for the appointment of seven additional inspectors. The amending regulations fix the salary of male inspectors at from £400-£450, and that of female inspectors at £350-£400. The regulations also provide for the appointment of a senior inspector, with a salary range from £546-£600. All salaries payable under the regulations are subject to cost of living adjustment. Mr. Arthur Blakeley, who has carried out the duties of inspector so successfully during the last *ix years, has been appointed senior inspector. The following inspectors have been appointed : Miss E. I. Cashman,
Messrs. A. J. Chambers, J. C. Eldridge, New South Wales; J. E. Gleadell Queensland; J. A. Guy, P. J. Roberts, Victoria and Tasmania; H. G. Sturcke South Australia and Western Australia. Five hundred and ninety-three applications were received, and they were subjected to the closest examination and inquiry. After a process of elimination extending over weeks, the selection was made. It will be noted that a woman inspector is included. Her services will be utilized in connexion with industries employing women and girls. Preference has been given to returned soldiers, and persons having wide industrial experience. No fewer than four of the six male inspectors appointed are returned soldiers. Three of the inspectors are executive officers of trade unions. All are experienced in industrial matters.
– Is the Government in possession of any authoritative information concerning reports that have appeared in the press regarding arrests of British subjects in Tokyo, and of Japanese subjects in Great Britain? The press reports in relation to this matter are conflicting. Was the action taken by the Japanese Government in reprisal for the action taken by the British Government, or vice versa? Is the Minister for External Affairs in a position to give to the House information regarding the Burma-road question and the attitude of the United States of America in regard to the matter?
– I shall presently be making a statement upon the international situation generally, in which I shall include some reference to the issues raised by the honorable member. In specific reply to the first part of his question, I can inform the honorable gentleman that the Japanese Government has advised the Government of the United Kingdom that the arrests in question were made by the Japanese Government under the terms of certain laws dealing with action to be taken where military espionage is suspected. The Government of the United Kingdom has emphatically denied that military espionage is being undertaken by any British subjects in Japan. The matter is at present under consideration, but I shall make some passing reference to it later.
– Who took the first action ?
– The first action was taken by the Japanese Government. In reply to the second part of the honorable member’s question, the Government of the United Kingdom authorized the arrest of certain Japanese nationals in Great Britain. The Government of the United Kingdom has explained to the Government of Japan that the individuals arrested have been under a certain degree of suspicion for some time, but that the Government of the United Kingdom had refrained from acting because it wished to take no step that would endanger the friendly relations between the two countries. The Japanese Government, having first acted in a similar manner, and having stated that it regarded its step as being no contribution to a deterioration of the relations between the two countries, the Government of the United Kingdom felt free to make the arrests of the suspected persons in Great Britain.
– Has the Commerce Department yet been advised of the terms of resolutions carried by recent conferences of wheat-growers requesting the reconstitution of the Australian Wheat Board to give grower control of the board? If so, what attitude has the Government adopted in regard to this request ?
– Many resolutions are coming from conferences of wheat-growers, but with grower control must come grower financial responsibility. At present, the responsibility is that of the taxpayers.
– Has any progress been made in connexion with housing accommodation for workers employed on the shale oil project at Glen Davis?
– Recently, a deputation waited on me representative, I think, of the employees engaged at Glen Davis, and pointed out the need for proper housing facilities now that Glen Davis is proceeding from construction to production. I immediately discussed the matter with the Commonwealth Bank and I can now inform the House that the Commonwealth Bank has indicated its preparedness to make available the sum of £50,000 to a building society to be formed at Glen Davis in accordance with the provisions of the New South Wales law, the advance to be guaranteed by the New South Wales Government in the usual way. Steps are now in hand for the formation of such a society.
Private and Public Tenders
– What is meant by the term “ private and public tender “ used by the Department of Supply and Development? In what cases are private tenders called ; is the granting of a private contract left to the Co-ordinator of Works so that he can give a hand-out to his friends; or is this procedure adopted for the purpose of restricting the number of persons eligible to submit tenders?
– I am entirely at a loss to understand how the honorable member associates the Co-ordinator of Works with any contracts let by the Department of Supply and Development. There is no connexion whatsoever between the two instrumentalities.
– As many motorists are anxious to convert their vehicles to the use of producer gas, I ask the Minister for Supply and Development whether anything has been done, in an organized way, to establish charcoal depots throughout the country? Have any arrangements been made with the State authorities to ensure that persons who equip their vehicles with producer gas units will be able to obtain supplies of charcoal ?
– .1 am pleased to be able to say that the State authorities have been most helpful in this matter, with the result that ararrangements are well forward to ensure that an adequate supply of efficient charcoal will be available at properly distributed localities.
– In view of the fact that the Australian potato crop this year is expected to be ample to meet the needs of the Australian consumers, I ask the Minister for Commerce whether the Government approved of the importation of potatoes from New Zealand in order to obtain a market for New South Wales oranges in New Zealand, or was it done in order to assist the Government of New Zealand to correct its adverse trade balance ?
– I do not admit that there will be a sufficiency of home-grown potatoes for the Australian consumers this year. The Government arranged for the admission of 5,000 tons of New Zealand potatoes in order to supply a part of the expected deficiency. The subject of the marketing of oranges from New South Wales did not arise and it had nothing to do with the business.
– Does the Minister for Commerce approve of the action of Professor Copland in curtailing shipments of potatoes from Tasmania while shipments of potatoes from New Zealand are continuing to arrive in Australia, particularly as many thousands of bags of potatoes are being left on the wharfs in Tasmania ?
– I always understood that it was the desire of the Tasmania potato-growers to keep up the price of potatoes.
– Not of New Zealand potatoes.
– Will the AttorneyGeneral inform me whether work has yet been commenced on the projected road from Salamaua to Wau? Has the right honorable gentleman yet received a final report on this subject? What is the estimated cost of the undertaking? When will work begin on it? How long will it take to complete the job?
– The answer to the first part of the honorable member’s question is “ No “. Work has not been commenced on this job. I have received information from the Administrator on the subject, which I shall be happy to make available to the honorable member. I shall also be glad to supply him with information concerning the details he mentioned insofar as I have them available. The honorable member will appreciate that many things have to be thought about just now. Among these is the Salamaua-Wau road. I shall not indicate in what order of priority these stand,
– Having regard to the importance of maintaining the dairying industry of Australia at its maximum production, and also bearing in mind that a number of those normally engaged as manual milkers have enlisted, I ask the Minister for Supply and Development whether he will take into consideration the difficulties that the manufacturers of milking machines are meeting, owing to their inability to obtain sufficient brass tubes, rods, sheets, and so on. If the Minister is not familiar with this subject, will he undertake to give consideration to a number of cases of which I have knowledge and which I am willing to bring under his notice?
Sir FREDERICK STEWART.Having regard to the difficulties of the dairymen in- the honorable gentleman’s electorate, I shall be pleased to give attention to any precise details of particular cases to see if anything can be done to meet the position?
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior whether, seeing that the electoral rolls have not been reprinted for two years, and that, in respect of some rolls, as many as 50,000 names have been elimininated, and more added, he will take steps to have the rolls brought up to date and reprinted in order that there may be no confusion if a possible election should take place?
– I shall bring the matter under the notice of the Minister for the Interior.
– I direct the attention of the Prime Minister to the following telegram which I have received from the representative of the Commonwealth Public Servants employed in Brisbane -
Commonwealth Public Service anxious regarding show Wednesday public holiday; State holiday definitely proclaimed.
I ask the Prime Minister whether he will take steps to ensure that Commonwealth public servants in Brisbane shall be granted the same privilege as State public servants, and be accorded a holiday nextWednesday on the occasion of Show Day?
– I shall give an answer to the honorable member’s question to-morrow.
– I ask the Prime Minister whether, in the choice of trade union representatives for defence advisory panels, it is intended to follow the precedent established in the appointment of munitions boards, of allowing representatives of the employers to recommend trade union representatives?
– I feel inclined to appeal to the honorable gentleman for his sympathy in this matter. To whom should I apply to obtain trade union nominees for a panel?
– That is what I should like to know.
– So should I.
– Will the Minister for Commerce inform the House what rate of interest is being paid by the Austalian Wheat Board on the overdraft from which it is financing the acquisition <>f the last wheat harvest?
– I shall answer the question to-morrow. v
– In view of the importance of fuel oils in these days, I ask tho Minister for Supply and Development whether it is a fact that the retorts being n.-v-‘d at Glen Davis for the production of oil from shale arc only about 60 per cent, efficient? If the retorts are obsolete, on whose advice were they purchased?
– We have every reason to believe that tho retorts are fully efficient. In a few days now the production of oil in commercial quantities will be commenced at Glen Davis.
– Has the Minister been advised of the proposal to form a new company to operate the shale deposits at Baerami in the Hunter River Valley, and, if so, can he say what stage has been reached in connexion with the formation and operations of such company ?
– I am aware of the proposal to form a new company at Baerami. Indeed, it wa* largely because of the representations of that company that the Government recently .decided to extend the principle of tariff protection which has operated in respect of the Newnes deposits for several years to cover all shale leases in Australia. That protection, which amounts to 7id. a gallon against imported petrol and 5-kl. a gallon against crude oil imported and refined in Australia, is now available to all lessees of shale leases in Australia, and will continue for fifteen years. By this means it is hoped that production will be encouraged, and new companies formed to operate deposits of shale at Baerami and elsewhere.
– Can the Minister for External Affairs say what progress has been made in connexion with tho proposal to appoint a Minister to Tokyo ?
– Some consideration has been given to the matter raised by the honorable member, and it is hoped that a definite announcement on the subject will be made at a not distant date.
– Can the Minister for Defence Co-ordination say whether it is correct that firms operating engineering establishments which are capable of undertaking the manufacture of munitions or other war requirements have been asked to submit tenders on a contract basis or, alternatively, on a percentage plus profit basis, that when, after the expenditure of time and money, they have done so, they have been informed that their prices are unacceptable, and that later they have been offered the same or similar work on a percentage of profit above cost basis through a non-Government agency or company? If so, does the Minister consider that it is a desirable practice; if not, will he take steps to see that the work is allotted directly by the Government and not through an intermediary?
– I do not know whether the allegations contained in the honorable member’s question are correct, but. I shall find out and let him know.
– Is it a fact that the Royal Agricultural Society of New South Wales has been compelled to abandon its Easter Show because the Army requires the accommodation at the Sydney Show Ground ? If so, does the Minister know that there are numerous centres throughout the State, particularly on the North Coast, where thousands of soldiers could be billeted, thereby enabling the Sydney Show Ground to be made available for the purpose of holding the annual show of the Society, and at the same time meeting the desires of the country people?
– I am astonished that there are people in this country who think that in time of war the army should move out in order to enable an agricultural show to be held. I know of no other location where I can so satisfactorily place 9,000 troops and provide them with, the facilities that exist at the Sydney Show Ground. I am aware that 500 or 600 men, or, perhaps as many as 1,500 men, could be accommodated in various centres, but that would involve the expenditure of considerable sums of money in the provision of water, sewerage and other facilities which already exist at the Sydney Show Ground. It is impossible to say eight months ahead what the situation will be next Easter, but the present indications are that the Sydney show will not be held next year because the Army will require the Sydney Show Ground.
– In view of theMinister’s opinion as to the excellence of the Sydney Show Ground for the accommodation of troops, will he say whether it was with his approval that, during the recent sheep show at Syd ney, soldierswere shifted from decent quarters and accommodated in pig sties and cattle stalls?
– It is true that during the recent sheep show in Sydney certain temporary rearrangements of the accommodation at the Sydney Show Ground were made, but there is no ground for the implication contained in the honorable member’s question.
– I bring under the notice of the Minister for Health the fact that the price of ergot, an essential drug, has increased 100 per cent., allegedly because there is a scarcity of raw materials due to the war, and I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs to see that action is taken by the Commonwealth Prices Commissioner to keep down the price of this drug irrespective of the supplies that may be available. There should be no profiteering in a drug needed by the mothers of this country.
– I shall bring the honorable member’s question under the notice of the Minister for Trade and Customs, but I assure him that there is no profiteering in drugs.
Mr. McEWEN (Indi- Minister for
External Affairs)[4.10]. - by leave - When towards the end of June I addressed the House on the general situation abroad, it was to recount the tragic circumstances leading to the surrender of France and the elimination of that country from the war against Germany. I do not, suppose that on that occasion there were many of us who would have cared to foretell the position in which we would find ourselves six weeks later. In those dark days of June the prospect immediately ahead of the British Empire was one of unknown dangers; uo one could say where or how we would I be called on to face new ordeals. As
I events have turned out, the actual war situation has changed very .little in nearly two months. There are indications that the enemy is better prepared for a large-scale offensive, either against the British Isles or in the Mediterranean and Near East, than at the end of June. Yet, in spite of all predictions of an immediate lightning war, both German and Italian hostile activity in the last six weeks has been on a scale well below that of which the enemy is known to be capable. Meanwhile, Britain has gained several invaluable weeks for reequipment after the losses in Flanders, for the best disposition of forces against an attempt at invasion, and for the most concentrated drive in its history for arms and munitions production. Similarly, on the diplomatic side, the interval has seen none of those startling changes in Europe which, on a pessimistic view in June, might have seemed likely. Russia has remained negative and aloof so far as intervention in the war is concerned; Spain is still a nonbelligerent; the countries of the Near East are stable. Only in the Balkans have there been marked signs of an increase of the influence of the enemy Powers.
I shall attempt to present something iu the nature of a balance-sheet of matters as they stand to-day before discussing some of these aspects of the situation in more detail. It is important, first, to recognize that, although there has been a comparative lull in war operations for six weeks, this period may, and probably will, be broken without warning. The flood of rumours and counter-rumours which comes from Germany and neutral sources regarding German intentions for a direct attack on Britain are irrelevant to the actual position. Whether the Germans openly predict an attack, or whether, as they are doing now, they hint that an attack is, after all, improbable, it is desirable to remember that the whole object of such reports is to create confusion and to disguise the real plans of the German General Staff. This is a well-recognized form of Nazi tactics of which there have been plenty of examples both before and during the war. The ascertainable facts are that preparations, which could be designed for an invasion of Britain, are known to be on foot on the German side. These include troop concentrations in Norway and Denmark, and the training of parachutists. There are also strong reasons why Hitler may decide to attempt to end the war by this means in the present year. On the other hand, the defences of Britain have during the last two months, been made so formidable that an invasion by either sea or air, or both, would, beyond question, be an undertaking of extreme hazard. In the circumstances, it is possible that if there he a major enemy offensive this year, it could be confined to the Mediterranean and Near East, in particular the British positions at Gibraltar and in Egypt.
A second item in the balance sheet is that, in the aerial war of attrition which has gone on between Britain and Germany since June, Britain has admittedly had material shipping losses, which have been accentuated by attacks by torpedo boats and submarines. It is possible that Germany will rely on this form of counter-blockade for some time to come; probably these operations will be intensified. We must, therefore, be prepared for continued difficulties in respect of shipping and supplies for the United Kingdom. But against this can be set the undoubtedly more effective action taken by the Royal Air Force against Germany. This is the main active form of offensive open to Britain at present, and it has been exploited with remarkable enterprise and success. There is good reason to believe that a continuation of these incessant attacks on Germany’s oil plants, stocks and refineries, will confront the Axis Powers with a most serious problem. This is in addition to the offensive act of the general blockade control maintained against the whole of Continental Europe. The blockade is an effective weapon of the highest importance. As the months go on, its effects will emerge more and more clearly as a major contribution to the enemy’s defeat. In the last two months the blockade has become still wider in its scope and more thorough. Italy ha? been eliminated as a loophole of evasion for supplies to Germany. Germany has :i Uo lost the possibility of drawing supplies from formerly neutral countries on its western and northern approaches which were importers from overseas. It has, instead, the heavy liability of maintaining the economic life of occupied territory. Much evidence already suggests that in the coming European winter Germany, Italy and enemyoccupied territories will face a grave constriction of essential supplies, more especially foodstuffs and fodder for livestock. If there be no attempt by Germany and Italy to force an end to the war this year, there can bc little doubt that, from the aspect of economic resistance and capacity for increasing war production, the British Empire will enter 1941 with enormously growing advantages. During next year, as plans in all paris of the Empire come to fruition, and as growing supplies are organized from the United States of America, our stride towards eventual superiority in war resources will lengthen.
I turn to a brief review of the attitude of certain countries whose position is important in the present stage of the war. First, I shall refer to Russia. The Soviet Government has been pursuing its policy of cautious self-interest. While Germany’s attention was engaged elsewhere, Russia succeeded in adding largely to ite territorial gains both in the Balkans and the Baltic. The provinces of Bessarabia and North Bukovina have been ceded by Rumania, and new governments in the three Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, have, in circumstances amounting to coercion, requested the incorporation of their countries in the Soviet Union. Relations between Germany and Russia were, apparently not strained by these moves, although there is plenty of evidence that Russian economic aid to Germany is dilatory and unsatisfactory, but there is nothing to show that any firmer bond of union between the two countries is contemplated. In his speech on Russian foreign policy on Thursday last, M. Molotov stated that relations with Germany remained as laid down in the Russo-Germ.au agreement, and emphasised again that Russia was. to use his own words, “ adhering to a policy of peace, neutrality and non-participation in. the war “. M. Molotov also said that there had been no essential changes in Anglo-Russian relations, and referred sharply to what he described as Britain’shostile acts against the Soviet, although he admitted that the appointment of SirStafford Cripps as Ambassador to Moscow possibly reflected a desire by Britain to improve relations. Sir Stafford Cripps’ mission to Moscow was primarily tofollow up a Soviet suggestion that trade discussions between the two countries should be resumed, but, as yet, noannouncement concerning the progress of his negotiations can bc made. Russia still evinces suspicion of Britain’s aims and motives, but M. Molotov’s speech indicated his apparent conviction that Hitler would not win a quick and easy victory in Europe. In that case, Russia can devote itself to the organization of its fighting forces and to expansion in quarters unlikely to involve opposition from a major power.
In the Middle Eastern countries the situation is relatively unchanged.. Evidence of British sea power in the Mediterranean, and notably the success of H.M.A.S. Sydney against the Italian cruiser Bartolomeo Colleoni, has had a stabilizing effect generally throughout the Arab territories. Internally, Palestine remains quiet, and Arabs and Jews are co-operating in local defence works.
In Egypt, a change of government favorable to Great Britain occurred at the end of June. The new Prime Minister, in. his statement of policy, declared that, while Egypt was anxious to maintain its integrity and independence, it was equally anxious to fulfil its obligations towards Great Britain and to carry out the terms of the Anglo-Egyptian Alliance in the letter and the spirit.
In Iran, closer commercial relations with Soviet Russia have been cultivated, and the country appears to have come more and more under the influence of Russian propaganda.
Much interest has inevitably focussed on the remaining neutral States of Western Europe - Spain and Portugal. Both of these States experienced strong pressure, both from within and without for closer ties with the Axis, but as yet this pressure has been resisted. The recent protocol re-affirming the Spanish-
Portuguese Treaty of Friendship may be taken as indicative of the desire of both countries not to become involved in the war. On the other hand, the fact that Germany now has a land frontier with Spain, and is in a strong position to bring pressure to bear on General Franco’s Government, must not be overlooked, especially in estimating the chances of an enemy attack on Gibraltar.
Relations with our previous ally, France, have been difficult. In Britain a number of Frenchmen have gathered who are determined to carry on the struggle, and General de Gaulle has been recognized as their leader.
Action by the British navy had, unfortunately, to be taken to prevent powerful units of the French fleet from falling into enemy hands, which would have occurred under the terms of the French armistice with Germany. This action led to the breaking off of relations with Britain by the Vichy Government, and the continuance of anti-British propaganda throughout France. In spite of these developments, Britain has striven to maintain friendly relations with France.
The situation in the French colonies remains obscure. Some of them, it is clear, are accepting the authority of the Vichy Government. Certain of these territories, however, rely for their economic livelihood on the British Empire, and a continuance of close collaboration with these is to be expected.
In the case of New Caledonia, in particular, the Commonwealth Government, I am happy to be able to state, has succeeded in reaching a satisfactory arrangement with the local administration for the maintenance of economic relations. In order to provide regular means of contact with the New Caledonia administration on these and other matters, and to assist the co-operation of New Caledonia in the prosecution of the war, the Commonwealth Government has decided to send a representative to Noumea. This representative will be Mr. B. C. Ballard, who for some years has performed excellent service as Australian representative in the New Hebrides and has a firsthand knowledge of the questions likely to be involved. The Government’s decision, I am glad to say, has been warmly welcomed by the New Caledonian authorities.
It is appropriate here to refer also to another territory near our northern and eastern coastline, namely, New Guinea. The assertion has been made by Germany that, in incorporating the Territory of New Guinea with Papua in a military district, the Commonwealth has committed a. gross breach of the New Guinea mandate. I take this opportunity to repudiate utterly this allegation. So far from violating the mandate, Australian administration has brought contentment and prosperity to the New Guinea natives. The present decision is an administrative measure only, and in no way conflicts with our obligations under the mandate, which simply binds us not to establish naval or military bases or fortifications in mandated New Guinea. Papua is in a different category, as it is Australian terri tory.
I come now to the broader stage of the Pacific and Far East, where also Australian interests are intimately affected. In the last few months we have witnessed a growing tendency in Japan to define the declared policy of non-involvement in the European war in terms more and more suggestive of an intention to use the opportunity which exists for the promotion of the interests of the Japanese in their own part of the world.
This is not the. place to attempt to interpret the declarations made by the present Japanese Government and its predecessor regarding Japan’s aims in East Asia and the South Seas. I merely sa.y that when Japan seeks what is described as stability in these regions, and co-operation of the countries concerned with itself, it is not an aim which need conflict with the known principles of British policy in the Far East. On the contrary, we in Australia in particular have seen in co-operation and stability in East Asia and the Pacific our highest immediate interest, on the basis naturally of mutual respect and understanding between the countries concerned. I do not. deny that we have had hopes that from one or other of the occasions for discussion which have arisen between Great. Britain and Japan in recent months, there might have emerged an opportunity for wider negotiations and a more general settlement, taking into account both British and Japanese interests. One such occasion, and the most recent, was that of the diplomatic exchange evoked by the Japanese request for the closing of the Burma-road source of war supplies to China. The House will recall that an agreement was eventually reached whereby Great Britain agreed to suspend war supplies by the Burma-road for three months, on the understanding that the interval would be utilized for further Anglo-Japanese discussions with a view to promoting a genera] settlement. This agreement, however, was immediately followed by a change of government in Japan. The declared foreign policy of the new government is not markedly different from that of its predecessor, but we have unfortunately to deplore the fact that recently there has been a deterioration of AngloJapanese relations. The arrest last week of fourteen prominent British nationals living in Japan illustrates this. The charges against those persons apparently related to the Japanese laws for the protection of military secret3, but any suggestion that British nationals in Japan have been engaged in organized espionage lias been emphatically repudiated by the Government of the United Kingdom. One of the persons arrested, and still under detention, is an Australian, Mr. Woolley. Upon learning of this, the Commonwealth Government immediately informed the Consul-General for Japan that it viewed the arrest with concern, and asked for information as to the nature of the charge against Mr. Woolley. The British Ambassador in Tokyo also was requested to keep us advised of developments, and has since informed us that Mr. Woolley, although still detained, is receiving good treatment. Others of those arrested have been released from detention, and throughout the episode diplomatic contact has been maintained between the British and Japanese governments. I hope, therefore, that the House will not form any hasty conclusion on the matter. In the arrests in Japan, and the similar action taken by the Government of the United Kingdom against certain Japanese nationals in British territory, there is not necessarily anything to cause a real breach of AngloJapanese relations.
I assure the House that in all recent developments in the Ear East situation, the Commonwealth Government, in common with the Government of New Zealand, has been taken fully into consultation by the Government of the United Kingdom. This Government’s expression of views has been a real factor in discussions between the Governments of Japan and the United Kingdom, on the Burma-road issue, and on other matters recently under consideration. Through the Australian Minister at Washington, the Commonwealth Government has also been kept fully aware of the attitude of the United States of America on these vital matters. The actions of the Government of the United States of America - for example, the maintenance of the moral embargo against Japan, and the firm attitude displayed at Shanghai - show the strong policy which is being pursued in the Far East by that country.
This reference affords me the opportunity to note with the greatest gratification, on behalf of the Government, the further strengthening of our own relations with the United States of America, signalized by the arrival in Australia of the first Minister to represent that country in the Commonwealth. I am sure the House would like me to take this occasion to express to Mr. Gauss a cordial welcome on behalf of the Parliament and people of Australia.
We face the immediate future, therefore, with full realization of the difficulties ahead, but with complete confidence that, by careful and resolute guidance of our affairs, these difficulties can be surmounted. No one oan say what turn the war in which we are engaged will take from day to day, or even from hour to hour. The determination of the British people is unimpaired, either by what has happened since May or by threats of what may come.
The enemy’s propaganda admits some of the difficulties Germany will have to face, either by a sudden attack on England this year or in continuation of the war on more or less the present scale. In what is called an “ appeal to reason “, England has been urged to cease fighting, under threat of the destruction of the British Em pir*. But neither in this propaganda, nor in Hitler’s own so-called peace offer of the 19th July, is there any genuine basis whatever for a peace settlement. All that Hitler’s speech did was to demonstrate that the Nazi idea of peace is simply an end of the war on German terms.
There is an unbridgeable gulf between the Nazi conception of a Europe dominated by the armed might of Germany and the British aim in this war, which is the restoration of freedom in Europe and the extinction once and for all from Europe and the whole world of the threat of Hitlerism and all that it stands for. That remains Australia’s aim, and we shall go on until it is accomplished. No tolerable life for any free community is possible until this is achieved. I lay on the table the following paper -
Review of International Affairs - Ministerial Statement by the Minister forExternal Affairs, 6th August, 1940. and move -
That the paper be printed.
– This is a statement of the kind that it has been customary for the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. McEwen) to give to the House when we re-assemble for the conduct of business and, as it deals with international relationships, it is a statement which is obviously made not only for the consideration of members of this House, but also so that it may be available to and canvassed by the whole community. Its data is therefore limited by considerations of State and its inevitable limitations, having regard to the circumstances of its delivery, are limitations which are inseparable from its consideration by this chamber. Furthermore, the dicta, insofar as there is dicta in the statement, also lacks the emphasis of candour with the Parliament. That is to say it is a factual statement, but it can be said not to add to the information of honorable members. Whilst it may confirm much that they believe, and a good deal that they have read, it does not contribute any very important new information which the Parliament may consider. I am not saying that in order to reflect upon the Minister, but I am saying that we are now within a few days of the war having continued for a year, and the discussion of international relationships in this chamber has been inevitably limited to the amount of information which the Minister, having regard to his high office, has felt it reasonable to submit to the Parliament. As the result, our discussions have been largely academic and, to some degree, pointless. We have not been able to ascertain with any precision what views the Commonwealth Government itself holds on international relationships. We do not know what advice it has tendered to the British Government. We do not know the character of the understanding which exists between the Government of the Dominion of New Zealand and the Government of the Commonwealth of Australia. We are told all through certain incidents that the Government has been in the closest consultation with His Majesty’s Government. One expects that. But we do not know what views the Imperial Government has put to the Commonwealth Government, or what views the Commonwealth has put by way of rejoinder to the Imperial Government. All we are told - and I can understand the reasons for this treatment of the subject - is that the Government has been in consultation, continual consultation, with the Government of the United Kingdom and that the moves which the British Government has taken have been moves which have been taken with the knowledge of the Commonwealth Government. I submit that we can take it as axiomatic that this country and the Parliament approve of the closest collaboration between the Commonwealth Government, His Majesty’s Government and the governments of the dominions in respect of the conduct of the war and also of international relationships, which are inseparable from the conduct of the war. But collaboration means very much more than being informed about certain developments and being in the position of having to accept whatever may be the situation without any attempt to deal with it. I submit that collaboration means not only receipt by the Commonwealth Government of the views of the Imperial Government, but also the consideration of those views and rejoinder and even a negativing of these views. Similarly, speaking of collaboration on the part of Australia, I have in mind that the
Imperial Government may make certain suggestions to the Commonwealth Government. It is the business of the Australian Government to accept or reject those suggestions or to offer some other proposal as being in its view the better way to deal with what may be a common problem. Therefore the responsibility of the Commonwealth Government to the whole partnership of the British Commonwealth of Nations is a responsibility which the Ministers, no doubt, fully realize, but which I say, with very great respect, is a responsibility which this Parliament, as a Parliament, has to discharge. Parliament cannot competently discharge its responsibility in this matter unless it knows much more in respect of what those suggestions are than is practicable in a statement made in this House for public distribution and for public comprehension.
The position is that here to-day the Minister says that the situation in the Far East and in the South Seas gives ground for graver concern than at any time since the war began. Those are not his words; they are my construction of what he said. I think that there we are confronted not only with the question of British relations to powers in the Pacific, but also with what may be to this country the consequences of any worsening of the existing relations. That involves, or may involve, if we knew the whole of the facts, the reshaping of the genera] character of our organization for the defence of Australia and the prosecution of the war. I feel that these subjects are so vital and so important that it becomes a matter of major moment for the Parliament to have a clearer and fuller statement of what the Ministers understand to be the position before we ourselves are able to decide whether the Government is handling the matter in a way that is prudent Or is in the best interests of Australia or the British. Commonwealth. At the moment I have no criticism of the Government to offer, because I am not sufficiently informed, but at the same time, because of that limitation, I am unable to say that I am in entire agreement with the views that the Government may have expressed. Therefore, we are in this difficulty, that the whole con- sideration of what is due to Australia is a consideration that Ministers may hold, but members may not share.
Having said that much, there is opened up the prospect of our having to have another look at what is the state of our country and the length to which there have been carried out those measures which this Parliament would regard as essential to ensuring the maximum of organization and strength to this country. The strength of our forces is a relative matter. It has regard to the peril that confronts us, and that, having been measured and provided for, determines the amount of the contribution that we can make to the general cause. Those things are all related, but they are all founded upon a satisfactory answer to the first question, which is: What at this moment constitutes the major problem involving the safety and defence of Australia? The effects of the international situation are the first illuminant that we must have. Before we oan adequately deal with the question, we must know what are the facts. We know that there has been some difficulty between Great Britain and an Eastern Power in respect of the Burma-road. We also know that that matter was adjusted temporarily at least. It was adjusted temporarily according to the statement made to-day, in order to pave the way for a fuller discussion of the general principles involved in the relationship of Great Britain to Japan.
– The British Press said that Australia had been consulted.
– I am going on the statement made by the Minister.
– He said that our representations had had some effect.
– Yes, he said that Australia had made representations. I fully believe that. I think that it should have. It is common sense to say that the British cause wants to have no increased antagonists at the present time. To the degree that our antagonists increase it is less difficult for- our cause to thrive; any kind of policy which would add to the number of those arrayed against us is a policy on which we should not lightly embark. The question whether we should pursue courses which may be considered as provocative by countries not at present arrayed against us, is a matter which it is obligatory upon us to consider, because, while we have an outlook as to what we should do, we have to take into account our capacity to do it. Those things go together. I submit that we should examine that question and then notice that since the Burma-road issue was determined, the tension, which it was hoped would be lessened, has, in fact, increased and reports are circulating, and to some extent theMinister’s statement confirms them, that there has been a deterioration - that is the word the Minister used. Whatever be the situation to-day, it is not so good as it was and its present momentum is in a bad direction. To cease that, and how to cease it, opens up matters that this Parliament should consider. We know that there are varying interests in the world, but the answer that we should give is one dictated by primary regard for our own position. Whilst I have the utmost confidence in His Majesty’s Government and in the governments of the other dominions, I yet say that we have an intimate and vital concern, as well as an important interest, at stake in ensuring the best satisfactory solution of this matter. That being our interest and concern, what is it that we would suggest as being the best way to assist in ensuring a satisfactory solution of that matter? I am obliged to speak here to-day with very great caution, realizing the difficulties which the Minister himself is in.
In my opinion, the time has arrived when the subject of international relation0, and all of the problems which they involve, ought to be considered fully by this Parliament, with the utmost frankness between Ministers and members, at a secret session.
HonorableMembers. - Hear, hear!
– It would be the height of folly for responsible public men, apprehensive regarding the safety of their country, to make remarks which by implication would inevitably point to some other country as a potentialaggressor. The very delivery of such speeches, which must precede the examinationof the problem and the policy which should be evolved, whether a policy of attempting to overcome difficulties, or of preparing for the defence of our own country, would place us in the position of either inflaming another country, or, by failing to deal with the problem adequately, perhaps leaving undone something which ought to be done to ensure a maximum capacity to meet a possible emergency. Thus the difficulties confronting this Parliament throughout this war must be manifest to the country, as I venture to say they have been well understood here.”
In dealing with the problem of the. organization, training and equipment (of our defence forces, and their use in the various theatres of conflict, it was far wiser for me to say what I had to say outside this chamber than to make speeches upon the matter in this House. From time to time I have refused to yield to the temptationto make speeches in which I should probably have referred to deficiencies in respect of this arm of the forces, inadequate organization in respect of another arm, or a weakness which I suspected to exist in regard to some other essential phase of our defence organization. I knew that Ministers themselves were doing their best, and that fair-minded criticism in regard to their actions would have been welcomed by them; but, speaking as a watchdog in respect of public administration, I considered that speeches of that kind would have excited disquiet in Australia, and at thesametime would probably have revealed to other countries the fact that the earlier they moved the less resistance they would, perhaps, encounter. Therefore, in order to ensure a maximum capacity for national defence, members of the Opposition have refrained, as a matter of general policy, from being critical of the Government, and even from making suggestions which would have been constructive. We have considered that that should be clone in heart-to-heart talks with Ministers; but the time has now arrived when, having regard to the fact that for nearly a year we have been deliberating in this Parliament upon the major questions of the safety of our country and the conduct of the war, this Parliament should meet Ministers without the limitations inseparable from an examination in public of international relations, and their effect upon Australia.
I do not agree that, in a democracy, all things canbe told to the people. 1 believe that the representative character of our parliamentary institution involves varying degrees of responsibility. Every citizen owes a duty to the Commonwealth, but those who are chosen to represent large bodies of citizens have a greater responsibility. Members of Parliament should inform themselves much more/intimately than private citizens in regard to the problems of the country, and Ministers have a higher responsibility than members of the Parliament in that respect. The duties of a member, however, are such that they cannot be properly discharged unless he has full knowledge of what is happening^ In time of war the dissemination of news is restrained by the censorship, and data which in time of peace would be accessible to members are made available to them only if the Executive allows it. The Executive can and does suppress the dissemination of actual facts, and it does so having regard to the safety of the country. I acknowledge the obligation that rests upon Ministers in this regard, and, as far as necessary, I accept the restraints imposed on the community; but I think that we have reached a stage when mere formal intimations regarding the international situation are no longer sufficient.
Members of this Parliament should know to what degree it is possible for Australia and New Zealand to co-operate in naval or air defence. What is the strength of the defence forces of New Zealand and Australia? What naval forces have we available, and where are/ they at the present time? How long would it take to get them here, in order to resist an attack, should an attack come? What provision has been made for the defence of the islands and territories adjacent to Australia, which are inseparably associated with the strategical defence of this country?^ These are questions on which members of this Parliament should have information, so that they may be able to judge whether the best use is being made by the Executive of the resources of this country. This Parliament might give wholehearted approval of the Government’s actions, or it might suggest a speeding up in regard to this matter and a slowing down in respect to that. Any deficiencies having been laid bare, surely the Parliament should be invoked to ensure that a maximum special effort should be made to overcome any weakness. I am not here to give support to the parties behind the Government, but it is my duty to give to the Government of the Commonwealth the maximum help in the power of myself and my party, in order that between us we may ensure a maximum effort to keep Australia a free country, and to retain for ‘our people the authority they have exercised in the past, and which, we hope, will be maintained in all the years to come.
I endorse the concluding observations of the Minister in which he affirmed the attitude of the Government towards the war. The cause for which the British Commonwealth of Nations is fighting is a justifiable one. We are fighting for the preservation of institutions and rights which we believe to be inherent in our own sense of manhood and womanhood. We are not defending any policy of imperialism. We are not trying to impose our will upon other people. We are not fighting nazi-ism in Germany or fascism in Italy. We say that the people of those countries are the sole judges of the political systems which they wish to accept. We say to the nazis, to the fascists and to all others, “ The form of government which the Englishspeaking community will practise in the British Commonwealth of Nations is not your business, and you must not seek to impose upon us, or upon any territories which we administer, your conception of government and your philosophy of life.” Therefore, there is no issue between the Government and the Opposition as to the causes of the war or its justification. Nor is there any conflict between us as to the objective of the nation. All that we ask is that we have the fullest opportunity to examine the policy being operated, that nothing be withheld, and that this Parliament be regarded as the proper place in which to direct the Government as to the course it should take. Therefore, I conclude with the suggestion that a secret session of this Parliament be held, so that Ministers may tell us all that they should make known to us in answer to any questions which may be asked.
– The statement made by the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. McEwen) affords honorable members an opportunity to express their views upon the information which they consider should be made available to them in regard to the progress of the war. The Minister’s statement was certainly a well-guarded one, for it has not conveyed to us very much more than we have read in the newspapers. Evidently our relations with eastern countries are not so favorable as they might be. The events of the last few weeks have strained them to such a point that they are now very delicate. It seems to me that the Government made a fatal mistake in failing to give effect to its declared intention to send an Australian representative to Tokio at the same time as it despatched a representative to Washington. When it was announced that both appointments would be made, the people of Australia expected that the decision of the Government would be given effect. I am not in a position to judge the temperament of the average citizen of an eastern country ; but, being susceptible to counter moves, I should say that he often does not appreciate our real intentions. If these misunderstanding continue between Australia and its eastern neighbours, it is hard to say what the final result may be. If we had had a representative in Tokyo right from the start, it is possible that the present relations which are developing between Japan on the one side, and Italy and Germany, might have been avoided. With the recent change of Government in Japan, those relations appear to be growing closer. Japan, no doubt, has been watching developments in Australia, in the United States of America, and in the United Kingdom, and in accordance with Eastern tradition is suspicious of every move. Japanese statesmen are wondering to what extent we are in collaboration with the United States of America in regard to certain action taken by that country recently, namely the embargo on fuel oil, which affects the interests of Japan. No doubt many of the neutral countries are watching to see what they may get out of the present war situation in the way of territory, raw material, or minerals. If Japan were convinced that the Axis powers were likely to win, it would hasten to place itself in favour with them. That, of course, would be against our interests, because our desire is to maintain the status quo in the Pacific. Since the invasion of Holland by the Germans, the situation in the East has grown steadily more serious. Undoubtedly, Japan is displaying a tendency to take advantage of the situation. Immediately after the invasion of Holland, an arrangement was reached between Japan, United States of America, and Great Britain, for the maintenance of the status quo in the Netherlands East Indies.
I draw attention to the fact that under Standing Order 119, the business of the day must be called on within two hours of the meeting of the House.
Motion (by Mr. McEwen) agreed to -
That Standing Order No. 119 be suspended to permit the debate to be continued.
– However, that agreement was entered into by a Japanese government which is not now in power. We are given to understand that the army and navy are all powerful in Japan, and that no government has a chance of surviving without the’ support of those services. It was because of their refusal to support the former government that the change had to be made. The Japanese army and navy authorities are evidently determined to take the fullest advantage of the present international situation, and to take every opportunity to expand Japanese interests, probably not caring very much in what direction the expansion takes place.
Can the Minister for External Affairs give an assurance that the present Japanese Government is likely to adhere to the agreement it entered into with Great Britain and the United States of America with regard to the maintenance of the status quo in the Netherlands East Indies. Is it felt that the present Japanese Government will regard itself bound by the decision of its predecessor? The situation, from our point of view, is rendered more difficult by the apparent impossibility of learning what the Government of the United States of America is likely to do. If an attempt were made to seize the Netherlands East Indies, Britain would be called upon to defend them, and if that happened, would the United States of America be likely to assist Britain? The hands of Britain are pretty full at the moment, with a large part of the world arrayed against it, and it is therefore of vital interest to us to know what would happen if Japan moves against the Netherlands East Indies. It has been suggested that the Japanese Government is tending to depart from the status quo arrangement, because the Dutch Government is now domiciled in England, and may, therefore, be supposed to be subject to English influence, which influence, it is claimed, may be detrimental to Japanese interests. Therefore, it is all the more important for us to know what the United States of America would be likely to do. I have not been able to obtain any information on the matter, and perhaps the Minister is not disposed to make it available.
– Oan it be made available by any one?
– Perhaps not, but if we knew the mind of the Government of the United States of America on this matter, it might relieve our anxiety a great deal.
-. - Does the honorable member think that the Government of the United States of America has made up its own mind on the matter?
– Having regard to the political situation in the United States of America, it is possible that no decision has been reached on the matter. However, if we had appointed a representative to Tokyo at the same time as we appointed one to Washington, there might be a much better feeling towards us in Japan than is the case at present. The Japanese Government has its diplomatic observers in England and in the United States of America. They have reported to their Government on the action of the United States of America in imposing embargoes on the export of fuel oil and scrap iron, and the Japanese Government is probably suspicious that this action has been prompted by the Government of Great
Britain. This has created distrust, and the Japanese Government is now trying to excite animosity amongst its people against Great Britain, so that the ground will be prepared psychologically should the situation deteriorate. I believe that, even at this stage, it would be of great advantage to appoint a representative to Tokyo. Before the present week ends, the Government should make a statement to Parliament on the subject. We should neglect no opportunity to establish more cordial relations between Australia and Japan.
The Japanese claimed that the Burmaroad was being used for the transport of arms and munitions to the Chinese Government, and that this traffic was detrimental to the interests of Japan. I am informed that this route was used for the transport of large quantities of goods from the United States of America to China. I understand discussions took place between the Governments of the United Kingdom and the United States of America on the subject of the closing of the road, and the Government of the United States of America was asked whether it would back Britain if the British Government refused to close the road. I am informed that the Government of the United States of America was not prepared to give such an undertaking. Then the British Government agreed to close the road for a specified time, and almost immediately the Japanese authorities made a further move by arresting twelve or fourteen British subjects in Japan. It is the old story of some one being given an inch and taking an ell. The arrogance of these people does not seem to have abated. It is all the more important, therefore, that we should know what steps the Government has taken in regard to the matter, and what advice it is offering. The Government should strain every nerve to see that a better understanding is reached between ourselves and Japan.
– Irrespective of Great Britain?
– Does the honorable member suggest that Great Britain would be other than anxious to establish friendly relations with Japan?
– I do not suggest that.
– Great Britain cannot fight the whole world at once. We must look at the situation as it is. Lacking knowledge therefore, as we do, on these important matters, it remains for us to take every step possible to strengthen the defences of our own country. That is a matter which is under our own control.
On this point I differ from the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Curtin), who suggested that we should refrain from criticizing the Government on its prosecution of our war effort. I maintain that it is the duty of every honorable member to voice his protest if he feels that the Government is not taking adequate steps to ensure thedefence of the country. I make no apologies for whatever my colleagues and I have done in this direction. In this morning’s newspapers there was reported a statement by Mr. Essington Lewis to the effect that Beaufort bombers wouldbe manufactured in Australia some time in 1942. It is a sad commentary on our war effort when it has to be admitted that so great a time must elapse before these machines will be turned out.
– Does the honorable member recall criticizing the Government for its policy of establishing munitions annexes ?
– The particular annexe associated with the manufacture of Beaufort planes is at the Chullora workshop, and is under the control of the Government of New South Wales. From the beginning, all members of the Opposition supported the establishment of munitions annexes in Government-owned workshops. It is essential to the adequate defence of this country that we manufacture Beaufort bombers in Australia. Following the Government’s original statement that these machines were to be manufactured in Australia, every citizen believed that the work would be proceeded with without delay. For this purpose the Railway Department in New South Wales set apart portion of its workshops at Chullora, and over 80 men, who were drawn from all parts of Australia, were sent overseas to be trained in the Bristol aircraft factory, with a view to assuming key positions in the manufacture of this kind of aircraft in Australia. Those men returned to Australia in January last, but they remained loose in the railway organization for many months before they were called upon to take any part in the manufacture of aircraft. As time went on, circumstances worsened, and it was not until Hitler invaded Belgium, Holland and Flanders that the Government exhibited any determination to proceed with work of this kind. In a statement published in the press this morning, Mr. Essington Lewis says that it will be some time yet before any of these machines are available. One phase of his statement calls for special attention. After attributing the delay to conditions brought about by the war, he said -
Much of the data originally supplied by the Bristol Aeroplane Company was “ incorrect and unreliable “. This had necessitated a vast amount of checking and rechecking. The company had found it impossible to supply the tooling it had undertaken to furnish, as a result of which 26,000 of the 33,000 jigs and tools necessary for production had to be manufactured in Australia.
It is indeed extraordinary for Mr. Lewis to declare that the plans and data that were made available by the Bristol Aeroplane Company were incorrect and unreliable That assertion was most serious. Bearing in mind the high standard of efficiency maintained by British manufacturers, can any honorable member imagine any British undertaking engaged in the manufacture of so important material as aircraft would send to Australia incorrect or unreliable data? If it be true, does not such an assertion savour of “Fifth Column” activity? That point struck me immediately I read Mr. Lewis’s statement. If aeroplanes had been constructed on such plans as were made available, many of the machines probably would have crashed. In any case, accidents would most likely have happened resulting in serious loss of life. In addition, had we gone ahead with manufacture on such plans, and an invasion of this country occurred, our position would be hopeless. I have not yet been able to discover any reason why a British firm like the Bristol Aeroplane Company would be guilty of such neglect as Mr. Lewis alleges. His statement amounts to an allegation either of sabotage on the part of the Bristol aircraft factory, or gross incompetence on the part of that company of a character never known before in the history of British manufacture. I hope that the Government does not accept Mr. Lewis’s statement meekly, because it is so serious as to warrant thorough investigation. Is it any wonder that the British Government to-day is conducting a thorough investigation into its War Office, and other phases of war activity in Great Britain? The honorable member for Parkes (Sir Charles Marr) asked a question earlier this afternoon as to whether this Government had any intention of taking a similar course. This matter is so serious that I hope something will be done to set our minds at ease in regard to it. Who can say, even at this stage, whether the revised plans and specifications are correct and reliable, or whether we can now proceed with complete confidence that everything is in order and above-board?
With regard to the making of the tools in Australia, one can appreciate the necessity for this change in the Government’s plans. However, had the scheme been proceeded with in accordance with the original announcement made by the Government, most of the tools and jigs required for aircraft manufacture in this country would have been landed in Australia before circumstances arose which compelled Great Britain to retain its available supplies for itself. We must now set about providing these tools for ourselves. I am not satisfied that the Government is using all of the facilities available to it in this country to expedite this work. Attached to each of the bigger workshops in the capital cities is a tool room. Some of these tool rooms are more highly equipped than others. They have better facilities for making tools, and more accurate measuring devices. However, the services of workers in most of these tool rooms have not yet been availed of for this work. It is not beyond the capacity of Mr. Lewis to allocate this work to these various workshops according to their capacity and efficiency. The manufacture of the more delicate tools could be allocated to the best equipped workshops. These tools, for instance, could be made at the Australian General Electric Company’s factory, which possesses machines of the most in- tricate design, as well as the rarer measuring instruments. All of our workshops could be used in aircraft production if the manufacture of tools of less intricacy and design were allotted to workshops not so elaborately equipped. However, no attempt has been made to distribute this work in this way, although it merely involves the marshalling and distribution of blue prints to workshops according to their capacity. I can see no reason why tool rooms attached to workshops in Melbourne and Adelaide could not be used in this way as could be done in Sydney. Some time ago I brought this matter under the notice of the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) and suggested that something ought to be done in this direction. He replied that he would ask some gentleman connected with toolmaking to discuss the matter with me, but I have heard nothing further about it. Consequently, I am still not convinced that the facilities existing in this country for this work are yet being fully availed of. I repeat, as I pointed out when discussing the latest amendment of the National Security Act, providing for the conscription of labour which my party opposed, that it is unnecessary to pass regulations for that purpose, because hundreds, if not thousands, of skilled men are available and anxious to apply themselves to this work, if the opportunity is given to them to do so. However, such an opportunity has not yet been fully given to them. Therefore, it is useless for us to be talking this afternoon about strained relations between certain countries and ourselves, or the general anxiety existing in the minds of the people in relation to the war situation, or to be suggesting that certain difficulties exist because we cannot ascertain what is in the mind of a likely enemy or what he is likely to do in certain circumstances if, at the same time we are neglecting to marshall our own resources to their fullest extent in our own country. The question I now put to the Minister is why, even at this stage, are we not making tools, jigs and gauges for the manufacture of aircraft to our fullest capacity. I hope that the Minister will apply his organizing capacity to this job. If he does so, I feel sure that he will find that the time originally allotted for the present programme of manufacturing Beaufort bombers can be reduced by half.
In connexion with the manufacture of munitions, I remind the honorable member for Wentworth (Mr. Harrison) of his visit with me several weeks ago to the annexe at the works of Duly and Hansford, at Marrickville. It was not then in production.
– It was in production.
– It was supposed to be in production when the official visit was made but, when I returned to the same place four weeks later, the machinery was at a standstill. The annexe was not in production, indicating that the whole affair was a “ set up “ when the official visit was made. I can verify my statement. I have discussed this matter also with the Prime Minister, and he did not deny what I say this afternoon. It is useless for any honorable member to endeavour to refute facts. However, such facts must be brought forward if this job is to be done. Furthermore, some of the works which are operating are not yet working three shifts. What is the reason for that? Sufficient time has elapsed to enable all of them to be producing to full capacity. I hope that steps will be taken to see that that is done.
I am sorry that we did not get more information from the Minister with regard to our relations with New Caledonia. He said that an appointment had been made for the purpose of strengthening our economic relations with New Caledonia. I should like to know whether those in control of New Caledonia at the moment are accepting direction from the Petain Government.
– That eases the situation considerably. I take it, then, that those in control at New Caledonia are acting under the direction of General De Gaulle, who is at present in England. That is reassuring and very pleasant news for all of us, for after the decision of the Petain Government regarding the French Navy I believe that that Government would do anything under pressure from the German victors. If these French possessions were made available as bases for any power that joins the Axis, our security would he jeopardized because I understand that
New Caledonia is within 800 miles of Brisbane. That position appears to be satisfactory, however, and I hope that the mission of the New Caledonian representative, who proposes to visit Australia for the purpose of strengthening the relations of the two countries, will be successful.
The Minister failed to complete his statement of what M. Molotov said in regard to Russia’s foreign policy. M. Molotov said that Russia would uphold its policy of neutrality. That is beyond my understanding. I cannot understand Russia’s claim to neutrality when it is grabbing practically everything it can lay its hands on. Words which were used yesterday to indicate one thing no longer have the same meaning. How can any country claim that it adopts a policy of neutrality while it is seeking to extend its boundaries at the expense of its weaker neighbours? Another point which, in my view, is more noticeable in Molotov’s speech is his statement that all of Great Britain’s efforts to weaken the compact which exists between Russia and Germany had failed. I take it that the Minister has read that part of the speech. That statement is significant in that it indicates that Sir Stafford Cripp’s mission to Russia has failed to weaken in any sense of the word the relations between Russia and Germany.
– The honorable member has already said that M. Molotov’s words are not to be taken at their face value. That may quite well apply to the whole of his statement.
– There is something to be said for that, but the fact that Russia is busily engaged in grabbing all it can get appears to indicate that it is not prepared to follow the course marked out by Great Britain and that Russia is more concerned in serving its own ends. It is quite reasonable to assume that what M. Molotov said in regard to the failure of British attempts to weaken the relations between Russia and Germany pretty well means what it conveys.
I wish to deal now with the proposal for the holding of a secret session of the Parliament. In this connexion I think it would be fitting at this stage to cite what the Prime Minister of Great Britain had to say on this subject as recently as the 2nd July last. Mr. Winston Churchill, speaking in the House of Commons in regard to the holding of a secret session, said -
The reason actuating those desiring a secret session was to have an opportunity to discuss our diplomatic and political relations with two great countries - one in Asia and one in Europe. They think that because our relations are difficult and delicate it would be better to discuss them secretly. But are we likely to improve relations by discussing them in private? The House of Commons never commanded higher respect than at present. Therefore, what justification is there for a secret session ?
The British Government is quite prepared to-day to let the world know exactly where the Empire stands. It is anxious that no other nation may see in the holding of a secret session a sinister purpose on its part to evolve some scheme behind the scenes which it would not be willing to stand up to in public discussion.
– Great Britain has a powerful fleet to back up its decisions.
– That may be so; but we cannot discount Mr. Churchill’s views on this matter. With its most powerful enemy on the doorstep Great Britain must watch every move made and every word uttered. The British Government is prepared to place all its cards on the table. It has prepared for the worst with the highest degree of efficiency and does not care who knows what preparations have been made.
– On the last occasion that Mr. Churchill spoke in regard to this matter he implied that he would like the debate on foreign affairs to be held in secret.
– I repeat that we cannot discount the latest view of the British Prime Minister on this subject, taking into account the present situation. When we were criticising the Government in regard to the munitions annexes, we raised the question of a secret session on that specific subject, because we considered that the Government might have had some knowledge to impart that had not formerly been disclosed. However the Prime Minister then asked who could say that a secret session was, in effect, a secret session? I think it is pretty safe to say that in these matters most news reaches the ears of those who should know least of it. It is foolish to bury our heads in the sand and think that others are not aware of what is going on around us and of the degree of preparedness which we have reached. It would be foolish indeed for us to think that we could prevent other people from getting to know about these preparations, for after ali that is part of their job. There are, however, limitations on what may be disclosed even in a secret session of the Parliament. No matter how much we might be curious as to the whereabouts of the Australian fleet, we must remember that on each of our naval vessels is to be found some one near and dear to most of us, and the leakage of any information that would be of value to the enemy would endanger their lives. I should never expect Ministers to disclose information regarding the exact disposition of the Australian navy, nor do I suggest that we could expect a Minister to lay on the table of the House documents and memorandums that pass between the Department of External Affairs and the British Foreign Office.
– The Minister could at least tell us whether the fleet was 1,000 or 10,000 miles away.
– Would that help us very much?
– It would merely satisfy curiosity.
– We have no time for curiosity here.
– That is so. As the Prime Minister said in answer to the honorable member for Dalley (Mr. Rosevear) a few months ago, “ Is a secret session really secret?” There is another aspect of this matter which should be taken into consideration. If a secret session were held during which discussions took place which resulted in Australia being committed to some agreement which we on this side thought should not be made, some obligation entered into in respect of some other part of the world in which we might be found trailing our coat in places where we should not, honorable members on this side would refuse to be a party to it. The determination of Australia’s foreign policy is a very serious matter, and I would not be disposed to feel myself tied by anything agreed to in a secret session of the Parliament.
– The honorable member has no foreign policy.
– If the honorable gentleman can contribute as much to this debate as I have he will do reasonably well. During a secret session a Minister is not likely to divulge matters which the Government believes should not be made known. I think it is pretty safe to say that during a secret session no Minister would take risks of that kind which he may think would have very serious effects.
.- One feels a good deal of trepidation in entering into a discussion of this kind. It seems to me that the honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Beasley) has answered the whole of the arguments in favour of the holding of a secret session. Ever since the deterioration of the international position in recent years, the members of his party and those who sit with them in Opposition have stood aside and said, “We have no foreign policy; we are not in favour of our young men leaving Australia to defend us, or of helping Great Britain because by doing so Australia might be dragged into the international conflagration “. The honorable member now asks that a secret session of the Parliament be held and then immediately begins to qualify his request by saying that at such a session we could not expect to be told anything about the disposition of the Australian navy. I suppose he will also say that we should not expect to be told where our Australian soldiers overesas are located. The Government is to be congratulated, however, for its decision to send members of the Australian Imperial Force overseas despite the strong opposition voiced by honorable members opposite and the clamour of certain organizations to which they belong. The great cry used by the honorable members opposite to frighten the Australian people was the issue of conscription. The streets of our capital cities were placarded with warnings that this Government proposed to conscript our young men for service on a foreign battlefield.
The honorable member for West Sydney asked for some explanation of M. Molotov’s speech. Who would know better than the honorable gentleman what Russia stands for?
He and others of his political creed have preached the doctrines of Soviet Russia on the street corners for the last 20 years. The truth ought to be told when matters of this kind are being discussed. Many honorable members are trying to delude the country that they are anxious to help Great Britain in its hour of great danger, when, in fact, they are not.
– Mr. Deputy Speaker, can the honorable member not be called to order for the statements he is making?
– The honorable member for Wakefield (Mr. McHugh) is probably ashamed of the Labour party’s policy. I would be ashamed if I were in his place.
– The honorable member must address the Chair on the subject before the House.
– The honorable member for West Sydney asked if M. Molotov’s speech meant that Russia would not fight. As a man who has studied Russia for many years I say that Stalin will not fight if he can avoid doing so. We have more to fear from the infiltration of Russian doctrines than from Russian arms. In 1931 and 1932 honorable members opposite, particularly those of the non-Communist section in the corner, declared that Russia could do no wrong. But when the “ hands off Russia “ issue was raised recently some of them ran for cover and said, “We are nonCommunists and we will have nothing at all to do with Russia “. Other prominent trade unionists opposite, when they entered this Parliament about 1930, were strong in their advocacy of Soviet principles. The honorable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr. Holloway) is one of them. He and a great many other honorable members opposite hope that the trade unions will yet be able to introduce a Communist regime in Australia.
– Order ! The honorable member must not discuss such matters as the trade union movement. He must address himself to the ministerial statement on international affairs.
– This country must be very careful not to adopt Russia’s outlook on international issues. The purpose behind the pretended, ignorance of certain honorable members opposite as to what M. Molotov meant in his recent speech is patent to any one who understands Russia and the issues involved in this great international conflict. Abundant evidence may be found in Hansard to prove that honorable members opposite have endeavoured to complicate issues rather than stand behind the Government and support it at all costs.
I refer now to the lamentable statements of the honorable member for West Sydney regarding Australia’s defence annexes. I inspected defence annexes in Sydney-
– Only some of them.
– I inspected all except the two at Chullora and Redfern. The Minister for Supply and Development (Sir Frederick Stewart) explained that, in the event of a crisis, men working in the factories to which the annexes are attached could be brought into the annexes in order to speed up the production of munitions. I also inspected the Commonwealth munitions factory at Maribyrnong and the aircraft factory at Fishermen’s Bend, which are the main centres of Australia’s munitions production. I saw a large production of small arms at Maribyrnong. I happened to be there when SOO hands came off the first shift and 800 others took their places. Millions of the cartridges produced in that factory have been sent to Great Britain and have been used by British airmen. These are facts of which the Australian people should be proud. At Fishermen’s Bend, where 400 or 500 men are working in the aircraft factory, I saw Wirraway aeroplanes being manufactured in quantity, and within the last week a very high official has stated publicly that shortly production will be at the rate of 400 a year. The honorable member for West Sydney said nothing of what these factories are doing. All he did was to accuse the Government of not attempting to resolve the great difficulties confronting it. Honorable members have as much right as I had to inspect our munitions annexes. All they need is a permit to do so from the Minister for Supply and Development. In one factory I was surprised to see in process of manufacture weapons which Australians had never previously attempted to make.
They included heavy armaments, such as anti-aircraft guns. This Government has to contend with many handicaps due not to its own neglect but to the rapid and unforeseen over-running of France by Germany. Surely the honorable member for West Sydney and other honorable gentlemen opposite can do something more than offer bitter, destructive criticism of a government which is doing its utmost to place Australia’s defence resources on a sound footing.
– Had it not been for the honorable member for West Sydney many things would not have been accomplished.
– The honorable member for Dalley (Mr. Rosevear), as Deputy Leader of the Australian Labour party Non-Communist, sticks to his leader; the two are like Siamese twins. The honorable member knows full well that his leader has never looked beyond the railway workkshops where many of his friends are employed. When I visited those workshops I asked the men, “Are you able to go full speed ahead? “ They replied, “ No, we are short of certain materials “. Then I went to those in authority and asked, “ Can you say whether the coal strike had anything to do with the restricted supply of materials ? “ They said that the strike certainly had caused a diminution of the supply of raw materials. Honorable members opposite supported a strike which partially crippled Australia’s war effort and, like “ Simple Simons,” told the people that Australia was safe while the strike was in progress and could still produce arms and munitions at its maximum capacity.
– What rot!
– That is the sort of rot that the honorable member and other honorable gentlemen opposite will have to answer for at the next elections. The electors will ensure that they will not re-enter this Parliament in order to defeat Australia’s war effort with glib phrases.
What the honorable member for West Sydney said in regard to Britain’s relations with Japan would have been very much better left unsaid. Apparently he still thinks that some day the Communists will come and lead Australia into the “ Promised Land.” The honorable member raised the subject of the appointment of an Australian representative in Tokyo and questioned the wisdom of leaving diplomacy in Japan under the control of the British Government. If any unfortunate breach occurs in the East, Great Britain will probably have to bear the brunt of it, and I assure the honorable member that he can confidently leave to this Government and the British Government the task of handling the difficulties about -which he has spoken to-day. Japan made no declaration of war when it invaded China, but it employed the full force of its fighting services against a lightly-armed nation. The Japanese have over-run China.
– Mr. Deputy Speaker, is not the honorable member making a provocative speech ?
– No one could successfully challenge that statement. The position has been evident for two years past. Great Britain can safely be allowed to deal diplomatically with the position that has arisen as the result of the arrest of British subjects in Japan and Japanese subjects in Great Britain.
It would be a mistake, in my opinion, for the Government to accede to the request of honorable members opposite for a secret session. It has been said that a certain amount of suspicion has been unjustly aroused against Japan, but we are entitled to believe that Japan will act in respect of any other country just as it did in respect of China, if it sees an opportunity to take possession of certain territory without any challenge. Australia should be fully armed to defend itself, and in order that our forces may be fully equipped, I appeal to honorable members opposite to give to the Government their fullest support. I was pleased to hear the declaration of the Leader of the Opposition. His pledge was a proper one, and he did the right thing. I recognize the difficulties which the honorable gentleman has to face. He cannot move of his own volition. He is expected to do what certain organizations outside tell him to do.
– So has the Prime Minister.
– The Leader of the Opposition has to take directions in respect of both international and internal affairs from authorities outside this Parliament. An annual conference here, there or somewhere else reaches a decision, and the Labour Party in this Parliament is expected to observe it. Although honorable gentlemen opposite supported the national security measures which the Government took some little time ago, they did so in a more or less half-hearted fashion, and did not forget to allege that we were actuated by a desire to impose conscription upon the people of Australia.
– So you were.
– That is not so. The honorable member forReid (Mr. Gander) must be well aware that I have frequently declared in this House and also elsewhere that the men of Australia were filled with British spirit and would voluntarily give their noblest effort to defend their country and would not wait for the application of conscription. Some honorable gentlemen opposite have a very poor idea of the calibre of Australia’s manhood. Apparently they have never really believed in a 100 per cent, war effort. To the degree that they have failed in this regard, they have shown clearly that they have not had the men of this country fully behind them.
– Is the honorable member in favour of conscription?
– Of course I am not. The record of the Australian Labour party clearly shows its attitude towards national defence. When the last Labour Government was in office it practically scrapped the Australian Navy and whenever a substantial increase has been proposed in the Defence Vote in this Parliament, in recent years, practically right up to the outbreak of the war, some honorable gentlemen opposite have opposed it.
Mr.Conelan. - At the dictates of Great Britain.
– If the honorable member for Griffith (Mr. Conelan) would accept the dictates of Great Britain at present he would be a better man. When the last Labour Government went out of office we had practically only two small destroyers, two small submarines, and a naval survey ship in our navy. We had practically no navy at all. The truth of what I am saying concerning the Labour Party’s attitude towards defence in recent years may be proved by reference to Hansard. Even when the Abyssinian war was being waged, certain honorable gentlemen opposite objected to an Australian warship entering the Mediterranean for fear it might involve Australia in immediate war. We are glad to know, however, that the Royal Australian Navy has performed valiantly in this war.
– A Labour Government formed the first Australian Navy.
– I dispute that statement. I have already had something to say concerning the manufacture of aircraft in this country. One of the leading executives in the aircraft manufacturing industry told me recently that it would take four or five months to make the tools necessary for the production of bombers and another four or five months to manufacture the machines. He added that we would be able to produce Beaufort bombers in this country comparable in efficiency with any similar machines made elsewhere in the world. I actually saw struts being manufactured by the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation. The twin-engine bomber that will be produced there will be as good as any similar machine made in the United States of America, Great Britain or Germany. I hope that honorable members opposite will cease their factious criticism and give the Government their undivided support. I am glad that we have our armies in the field in Palestine and England today. When the last Labour Government went out of office we had an army of only 24,000 men. To-day our army numbers nearly 200,000 men. This force is immediately available for the defence of this country. In view of what I have said, I again appeal to honorable members opposite to cease their destructive criticism of the national war effort and tq give their support wholeheartedly to the Ministry in order that it may make adequate provision for the defence of the land we love.
Sitting suspended from 6.11 to 8 p.m. [Quorum formed.]
Debate (on motion by Mr. Makin) adjourned.
– by leave - The war has produced great changes in the trade and commerce of the world. As far as agriculture is concerned, the following important changes have affected Empire countries : -
These changes and interferences have not been unexpected. Because they were anticipated, consultations between Empire governments took place before the outbreak of war. When war occurred, the negotiations between the United Kingdom and Australia were sufficiently advanced to enable contracts to be made covering most of our principal products. These contracts were announced as they were made, and those concluded soon after the outbreak of war were explained in a comprehensive statement made by the Government in November, 1939.
As soon as the first contracts were arranged, the Commonwealth Government inquired from the British Government as to Great Britain’s principal requirements of foodstuffs during the war, and the directions in which Australia could stimulate production with greatest benefit to Britain. It has not been easy for the Government of the United Kingdom to give precise answers to these questions. The principal causes of delay were the difficulty of forecasting the shipping tonnage that would be available, and the determination of the best nutritional standards for the people of the United Kingdom. The position as ascertained by the High Commissioner in London was explained to State Ministers of Agriculture in a document submitted by Senator McLeay, the then Minister for Commerce, to the Agricultural Council in Hobart last February. The States were then invited to consider whether they would be prepared to proceed with production in certain directions without assurances as to the post-war position. On that occasion, Senator McLeay expressed the view that Australia should concentrate attention on the meat and dairy produce industries. He said he saw no justification for making long-range post-war plans for the expansion of other export primary industries. Senator McLeay made it clear to State Ministers that the doubt as to the post-war marketing position might deter us from stimulating production during the war. He asked the States whether they were prepared to undertake the task of increasing animal production and accept the post-war risks of recession. On that occasion, the State Ministers considered that they should study the matter before making a decision.
Since that outline of the position by Senator McLeay in February, the Commonwealth Government has continued its inquiries with a view to ascertaining the needs of the United Kingdom. It has now received advice as to the directions in which increased production by Australia would be of assistance to the United Kingdom during the war. It is, of course, obvious that the capacity of the United Kingdom to take increased supplies of any commodities depends upon the availability of adequate and suitable shipping tonnage. It will be realized that enemy occupation of the entire coastline from northern Norway to the frontier between France and Spain constitutes a challenge to Empire sea-borne trade. Undertakings regarding future purchases and imports by the United Kingdom, therefore, depend on the successful protection of shipping and port facilities. Having regard to the difficulties of the shipping position, the United Kingdom Government has decided that the utmost effort should be made to conserve shipping space, especially since the need for importation of munitions and raw materials for armaments production is now far greater than before the collapse of France. The United Kingdom Government has advised that it therefore is bound to limit its definite commitments for food imports to articles regarded as strictly essential; but realizing the importance of agricultural exports to the war effort of the Dominions, it hopes that the situation will so develop as to permit arrangements for imports during 1940-1941 on a scale not materially different from that of 1939-1940.
I shall now give to the House the information received from the United Kingdom Government regarding specified commodities, and I shall mention aspects of war-time agricultural policy which, as a consequence of the advices received, I shall discuss with the Ministers of Agriculture on Monday next. 1 deal first with the animal industries. Wool is in a category by itself. The arrangements made with the United Kingdom Government provide for the purchase of the entire Australian production during the war, and one year thereafter. The wool producer, therefore, has no anxiety regarding the disposal of his product. There is no aspect of wool production which calls for discussion with State Ministers at the present time. Despite the assurance of war-time disposal, the wool industry will face serious post-war problems, and there would not be justification for stimulation of production.
As regards meat, the position for the ensuing twelve months is still uncertain. There is not the same assurance of the sale of the) total surplus as in the case of wool. Before the outbreak of war, the understanding between the United Kingdom and Commonwealth Governments was that the total surplus would be purchased. When the collapse of France occurred, large quantities of meat which were en route to that country had to be diverted to Britain. As a result the United Kingdom Government has, at present, abnormally large supplies of meat, and, the pressure on cold storage being acute, the British Government has found it necessary to limit the further quantities which can be taken from Australia during the next few months. Moreover, because of the changed conditions caused by the blockade of Europe, the United Kingdom Government is recasting its meat import policy for the year commencing next October. The Commonwealth Government is still in negotiation with it on the subject. The present indications are not favorable to an expanding rate of purchase of Australian beef, mutton and lamb, but there are somewhat better prospects that increased quantities of frozen baconer carcasses may be imported from Australia.
If, when the present negotiations are completed, the British Government is prepared to purchase increased quantities of Australian pig meat in the form of baconers, the expansion of pig production will coincide with increased output of dairy products and eggs. Owing to the loss of European sources of supply of butter, cheese and eggs, the British Government desires increased quantities of those commodities from Australia, and will give first priority to them in the allotment of available refrigerated shipping space. Importance is also attached to dried milk, in respect of which we are at present negotiating with the United Kingdom. We are also concluding negopore regarding substantial supplies of contiations with the authorities at Singadensed milk. The orders which are expected to result will call for a considerable increase of production in Australia.
An opportunity thus exists for a limited increase of the production of butter, cheese, other milk products, pigs, and eggs. The dairying industry is situated chiefly in areas of liberal rainfall, and increased production can be brought about through pasture improvement, fodder conservation, improved water supply, subdivision and stock improvement. Greater production following these efforts should also result in decreasing costs and consequent improved economic status for the industry. The increase of egg production will depend upon the capacity of the industry quickly to increase the hen population, and upon the availability of adequate supplies of feedstuffs at reasonable cost. At all events, it is clear that, in the stimulation of production in the two industries mentioned, there will be scope for the activities of State Governments and their Departments of Agriculture.
The position regarding wheat is vastly different. Out of the largest crop on record, we have certainly made substantial sales to the United Kingdom and to the East, and smaller disposals elsewhere ; but we have no continuing contract with the United Kingdom for all, or most, of the exportable surplus. It is true that the contract for the purchase, by the British Government of more than 60,000,000 bushels, in the form of grain and flour, is a very large deal, but it will be about the middle of 1941 before all of this is lifted. When that stage has been reached, we shall, doubtless, have made further sales to the United Kingdom; but at present no forecast can be made as to their dimensions. In any case, we shall bring in the next harvest in December and thereabouts, when we shall still have on our hands sufficient wheat of the old crop to fill export shipments for some months ahead. Growers have been fortunate in securing substantial payments on their record crop, and must have improved their financial position considerably, compared with the pre-war year. There are no grounds for optimism, however, regarding markets in the immediate future, and the affairs of the wheat industry must be considered in a realistic atmosphere. I shall again confer with State Ministers of Agriculture concerning this industry, and the Commonwealth Government will be prepared to confer with State Governments in regard to it. It would be unsound to allow wheat production to proceed as if there were no marketing difficulty. Wheat-growers should not be encouraged to produce as much as they can, in the expectation that the Commonwealth Government will make up the difference between market realizations and some figure which may be mentioned as the cost of production. Fundamental remedies are necessary to ensure the future of wheat farmers. It is believed that changes can be made in the industry with benefit to the farmers and to Australia generally.
I have said before, and I repeat, that there is need for greater diversification of their pursuits by wheatgrowers and other farmers; and I venture to suggest that there is room for improvement in general cultural practices in the wheat industry.
Under the present system of wheatfarming, there is a rapid deterioration of soil fertility. There is need for a change of policy and a new system of husbandry that will lead to a smaller annual wheat acreage and the introduction of more stock and fodder crops on the farm. With a reduced demand for wheat as grain, an increased demand for eggs and dairy produce, and, I hope, maintenance of the demand for meat, it seems that an avenue is open for’ the diversification of their pursuits ‘by wheat farmers - and not only by wheat farmers.
Another means of avoiding a glut of wheat is to arrange for the production of a certain quantity of wheaten hay on every wheat farm. I shall invite the State Ministers of Agriculture to consider the problems of the industry. I am also willing, as representing the Commonwealth Government, to widen the consultation in regard to the future of the wheat industry, so as to comprise not only representatives of State governments, but also representatives of the industry itself. If, under the stress of war-time marketing difficulties, the production side of the wheat industry can he thoroughly reorganized, we shall have made a virtue of necessity.
Barley production is of much smaller dimensions than- wheat, but the Government has been faced with the problem of marketing a record crop this year, namely, 15,000,000 bushels, compared with a normal harvest of about 10,000,000 bushels. The Marketing Board has been remarkably successful in disposing of the crop, although the United Kingdom Government has not been prepared to purchase any barley from Australia for malting purposes, and only very little feed barley. The prospects for next year are uncertain, and there is no room for expansion of barley production as a war-time industry.
Although the rice industry has been able to dispose of the total exportable surplus this year, the prospects are that the market available in the United Kingdom will not be greater next year than it has been this year. This means that there is not, at present, any scope for expansion of rice-growing on a war-time basis.
The general position of the fruit industries is not good. Of all fruit crops, dried fruits stand in the first order of priority. We have sold the total export surplus this year, and hope to do equally well with the next. crop. Fresh fruits have a lower order of priority. This year, Australia exported to the United Kingdom less than 2,000,000 bushels of apples and pears, compared with a peacetime supply of upwards of 4,000,000 bushels. We have no guarantee at all of any export of apples and pears to the United Kingdom next year. Indeed, we are informed that, unless the shipping position is very good indeed, we are not likely to get much space for fresh fruit in 1941. The marketing plan for apples and pears for the next season is at present under discussion, and the subject is on the agenda for the forthcoming meeting of the Australian Agricultural Council. That plan takes into account the possibility of our not having any export trade. I am sorry to say that canned fruits have been given a very low order of priority for next year. However, the Government is still in negotiation with the United Kingdom Government on the matter, and will do what it can to secure all possible export for these fruits. The position is bad enough this year. Normally, the United Kingdom imports 1,500,000 cases from Australia, but this year’s purchase has been only 750,000 cases, and there will be a large carry-over to next year. But the fruit product which is in the worst position is wine. The United Kingdom Government is not at present prepared to earmark any shipping for wine. The Commonwealth Government hopes to make arrangements for some shipping of this commodity, but the position is fraught with difficulty. Looking at the fruit industries generally, it can be seen that, however successful the Government’s efforts may be, there is no prospect whatever of any war-time expansion of fruit-growing.
The sugar industry may look forward to a fairly good demand for sugar next year, although, perhaps, not sufficient to take the total export surplus. In order to ease the shipping position, the United Kingdom Government has arranged to divert part of the Australian supplies to Canada and New Zealand. The present forecast is that 400,000 tons of sugar will be taken from Australia next year, of which 300,000 tons will be shipped to the United Kingdom, and the balance to Canada and New Zealand. The United Kingdom Government is taking 500,000 tons from the 1939 crop ; of that quantity, 120,000 tons will go to Canada, and 80,000 tons to New Zealand.
The foregoing review relates to commodities which are important in Australia’s normal export trade. Normally, little flax is produced in Australia, but, owing to the failure of supplies from Russia and the Baltic States, where 85 per cent, of the world’s production occurs, and to enemy occupation of Belgium, the British Empire is suffering from a shortage of flax, which is necessary for war and civil purposes; therefore, the Government developed the Australian industry from 1,200 acres to 8,000 acres a few months ago, and is now organizing the planting of another 13,000 acres with seed supplied by the British Government. Fibre and tow to be produced from, flax grown on the latter area will be sold to the United Kingdom Government at satisfactory prices already arranged.
– Where is the flax being grown ?
– Chiefly in Victoria and Tasmania, but also in New South Wales and Western Australia, and in the south-eastern district of South Australia.
There is opportunity for increasing the production of cotton. The Australian demand for raw cotton has almost doubled since war began, the increase being almost wholly due to the needs of the fighting services. The annual consumption is now more than 60,000 bales of 500 lb. each. Nearly half of this quantity has had to be obtained from non-sterling countries. In order to conserve foreign exchange, provide more cotton for manufacturers’ needs, and develop an alternative crop for farmers now engaged in other industries, the Government will introduce this session legislation for increased rates of bounty on Australian cotton production during the years 1941 to 1945. Already it is clear that next year’s Queensland production will be at least twice as great as that for 1940.
Tobacco is another commodity of which increased production may be possible.
Following a recent conference of tobaccogrowers, manufacturers and government technical experts, a move is being made for an increase of tobacco production. The early objective is to double the present area of 7,500 acres and to produce a total of approximately 9,000,000 lb. per annum, which would represent about 35 per cent, of Australia’s requirements. It is not expected that this objective will be reached during the present year, but when achieved it will mean an additional £400,000 to £500,000 to the tobaccogrowing industry. This matter will be discussed with the State Ministers of Agriculture at the meeting of the Australian Agricultural Council on Monday next. Provided the State governments are able to bring about the increase of production, the tobacco-manufacturing companies have undertaken to buy the product up to at least double the present quantities.
This review covers practically the whole range of agricultural production in Australia. I have stated clearly where opportunities exist for increased production, and where the prospects are unfavorable. The only commodities in respect of which more positive information may be expected in the near future are beef, mutton, lamb and pig meats. As soon as further information is obtained, I shall give it to the House; or, if Parliament is not in session, I shall publish it, and see that the State governments obtain it promptly. Honorable members are aware that production is under the control of the States. The responsibility for stimulating production will therefore rest upon them. In making their decisions, the State governments, and the farmers concerned, will doubtless bear in mind that the object sought is increased war-time production. The Government of the United Kingdom is not able to give assurances as to the post-war position. That will have to be looked at in the light of the circumstances then existing. I lay on the table the following paper: -
War-time Agricultural Policy - Ministerial Statement, and move -
That the paper be printed.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Forde) adjourned.
I have received from His Excellency the Governor-General the following communication : -
I desire to acquaint you that the AddressinReply at the opening of the Second Session of the Fifteenth Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia on the 17th April was duly laid before His Majesty the King, and I am commanded to convey to you and to honorable members His Majesty’s sincere appreciation of the loyal assurances to which your Address gives expression.
Assent to the following bills reported -
National Security Bill 1940.
Loan Bill (No. 2) 1940.
Debate resumed from page 202.
.- Prior to the dinner adjournment the honorable member for Barton (Mr. Lane) censured the Labour party for the part that it has taken in regard to the war effort of this country. The honorable member stated that, in his opinion, the Labour party had not given its wholehearted support to Britain in this moment of national emergency. The speech of the honorable member revealed the confused state of his mind, but during a few brief periods of clarity he mentioned several matters which I shall elucidate for his edification. The honorable member took the Labour party to task for its policy for the defence of this country, especially its disapproval of sending forces overseas on the ground that Australia’s first duty was to protect this part of the British Empire against aggression. The events which have happened since the outbreak of war show that the attitude of the Labour party was well justified. Indeed, the policy of the Government at the present time is eloquent testimony to the foresight displayed by the Labour party. The honorable gentleman sought to gain a party political advantage out of the declaration of
Labour regarding the sending of troops overseas ; but the developments of the last three months, particularly in the Pacific, show how wise was the policy laid down by this party at the commencement of the war. I believe that as the weeks and months pass the wisdom of that policy will be made even more manifest. A manifesto issued by the Australian Labour party prior to the last federal elections contained the following declaration in regard to the defence of Australia : -
World events suggest , the wisdom of a radical revision of the doctrine underlying the defence of Australia. Australia’s own defence has to be secured by Australia herself. . . . We can 110 longer expect Britain to ensure our safety; hence Australia must develop means by which to defend herself.
At that time the Labour party’s defence policy was treated with scorn and derision; we then heard criticism similar to that expressed by the honorable member for Barton to-night. But many who then scoffed have since had to admit that the Labour party showed foresight and sound judgment when it made its declaration three years ago. The Minister for External Affairs (Mr. McEwen), who introduced the present debate, said in a broad- cast speech on the 3rd July last -
While Australia will continue to give all possible support to Britain, home defence is her own responsibility, and this must be the first consideration of the Government. . . . It is our elementary duty to realize that home defence is our sole and exclusive responsibility.
Although that is almost identical with the declaration made by the Labour party three years ago, we are frequently told that the policy we adopt with respect to those matters which are so essential to the welfare and security of the nation is unsound. It is not until long periods have elapsed that honorable members opposite recognize the merits of the declarations made by the Labour party for the security of this country. The statement made by the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. McEwen) this afternoon was not very illuminating as it gave little information which was not already known to honorable members. The Minister’s statement was merely a formal means by which to initiate a debate on the international situation. This Parliament is entitled to a more comprehensive and detailed statement than that made to-day by the Minister, who believes that a brief statement of what has occurred since Parliament has been in recess is all the information to which we are entitled. If there is any place where a complete statement on the international situation should be given it is in the Parliament; but, unfortunately, we are unable to secure accurate information concerning the many complex problems associated with the international situation. If the disclosure of certain facts is likely to embarrass the Government’s war activities, or assist our enemies, surely the Government can devise some other means to bring them under the notice of honorable members. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Curtin) suggested that a fuller statement of the international situation should be submitted to Parliament. Honorable members should be entitled to question the Government upon certain subjects which are of vital interest to the Australian people. If such questions were asked the Government would conveniently excuse itself by saying that it was not in the public interest to disclose the information sought. We have a right to expect more comprehensive and detailed statements from the Government concerning the international situation than any we have had during the present war. Ministerial statements have contained only items which have appeared in the press, and consequently we have not received information on certain very important aspects of international policy.
I endorse what the Minister for External Affairs said concerning the arrival in Australia of a diplomat from the United States of America, and I join with him in extending a welcome to that distinguished gentleman. His presence in Australia will, I believe, strengthen the strong bonds of friendship which already exist between Australia and the United States of America, and I trust that as a result of his appointment there will be mutual expressions of goodwill and co-operation between the two countries. The presence in Australia of a representative of that great country should assist in the solution of some of the problems which are common to both countries.
The Government should develop a closer relationship than at present exists between other British Dominions in the Southern Hemisphere. Closer contact between Australia and South Africa and New Zealand would be of great advantage to the three countries. I made a similar suggestion two or three years ago, but apparently no action has been taken by the Government to collaborate with ihe countries mentioned, which have interests and obligations similar to our own. The Government should make a very strong effort to act in closer co-operation with New Zealand, a dominion with which we are expected to share a certain degree of responsibility in the Pacific, and in that way not only increase our own security, but also assist in the protection of a sister dominion.
In our war effort there has not been sufficient clarity of thought or determination to secure the maximum results from various Australian industries which are supposed to be producing war materials to be used in the defence of this country. After the war had been in progress for eight or nine months certain of our largest industries in Australia were practically at a standstill. There has been so much delay and incompetence that a thorough survey of the position should be undertaken, and every effort made to mobilize the whole of our resources in order to ensure the effective defence of Australia. This becomes increasingly important when we find that only last month the Commonwealth Statistician stated that unemployment in Australia is higher than it has been for three and a half years. It is difficult to realize that such a state of affairs should exist when thousands of men have enlisted for service overseas or in Australia and an unusually large number are engaged in the manufacture of munitions. It seems almost incomprehensible that unemployment should be increasing, and until every ablebodied man available is employed on productive work, we cannot be regarded as making the maximum effort for the successful prosecution of the war. It is clear that the great resources of this nation are not being utilized to the fullest degree. That is a subject upon which the Government must make a pronouncement at the earliest possible date.
Recently I saw a statement in the press, which I presume is authentic, that 2,000 alien internees from the United Kingdom are to be brought to Australia where they are to be kept in custody for the duration of the war. I enter a strong protest against those internees being brought the long distance to Australia and presenting us with a new problem. Possibly it may be desirable for the safety of the United Kingdom that they should be removed from that country; but surely there are British possessions which are much nearer to the countries that gave these aliens birth, and from which their ultimate repatriation might be achieved with greater facility than will be possible if they are interned in Australia. Newfoundland and the Bahamas for instance could be used for the time being. There, they could be guarded not only by the local police force but also by the British navy, which is constantly patrolling the Atlantic. If they be brought to Australia, not only will they be further from the countries of their birth, but also, at the termination of the war, because of shipping difficulties and the long distance to be travelled, they will in all probability be given the option of remaining in Australia or of being repatriated.
– They certainly will not.
– When the time arrives for war issues to be determined, doubtless overtures will be made because of transport difficulties, and those who desire to remain in this country will be given the opportunity to do so. That would involve us in a new problem and give rise to great difficulties and anomalies such as have been responsible for entangling certain European countries in the present conflict. If they were interned nearer to the country of their birth, less difficulty and expense would be associated with their repatriation. It would be a thousand times better to bring British children to this country. I know that it will be said that they cannot be convoyed. In reply to that contention, I point out that ships carrying goods for the maintenance, of essential services are being convoyed to Great Britain. When those vessels leave Great Britain they are practically empty, and their space should be made available for the purpose of placing British children in greater security than they enjoy at present. If it be right to provide convoys to safeguard the delivery of goods, surely it is more right to provide them for the safeguarding of human life. British children would become, in the future, better citizens of this country than some of those who, in all likelihood, would be given the opportunity to remain here subsequent to release from internment. There is not a British possession which has so meagre a population in proportion to size as that of Australia. Should the threat of aggression be made against this country, the whole of our manhood that can be mobilized will be required to deal with the emergency; and if we have within our borders a number of persons who are regarded as a distinct menace to our security, then, when fewer men are available to keep them in safe custody, they will become an even greater menace. This Government, in acquiescing in the proposal to bring internees to Australia, is contributing to our insecurity. It has not realized fully the significance of the proposal.
– A ready-made “ Fifth Column.”
– They will constitute a ready-made “Fifth Column,” as the honorable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr. Holloway) affirms. The people of Australia are gravely disturbed at the prospect of such a proposal being given effect. This matter calls for an immediate statement by the Government. If we could more closely question the Government concerning certain diplomatic exchanges within recent weeks, relating to happenings in the Far East, we should probably be better informed upon matters of grave moment to this country. The great body of public opinion concedes us that right. We cannot safeguard the welfare of our people unless we are fully informed upon every aspect of those matters which bear a close relationship to the security of this country. The Government should make a pronouncement regarding the methods of recruiting likely to be followed in the future. It should state what its intentions are concerning the men who are already in camp. An opportunity should be afforded to ventilate the anomalous conditions that prevail in military camps. The Government is not encouraging the maximum effort, and it would appear that the grave division which has developed in Cabinet constitutes the greatest menace to the security of this country. The removal from office of such an utterly incompetent Government would give a great measure of cmtisfaction to the Australian people. They would then be assured that their welfare was being properly and fully safeguarded.
.- The honorable gentleman who has just resumed his seat (Mr. Makin) has indulged in one of his usual flights of oratory, evading facts, conjuring up bogys, and refusing to face real issues. The last bogy to which he referred was the request that a certain number of aliens should be accepted by this country at the request of the British Government, in order that they might be kept in safe custody here and thus relieve that Government of that particular burden. That is a concrete request from the British Government to the Government of Australia to assist the war effort in a practical way. But our friend, the honorable member for Hindmarsh, sees in the proposal serious danger to Australia. A couple of thousand aliens, penned behind barbed wire in a concentration camp, could be guarded by half a dozen diggers with rifles, or at most a few machine guns. The honorable member for Hindmarsh and other honorable members have asked to be furnished with the full facts. They have argued that a secret session should be held in order that they might learn the truth. Do not the facts which emerge every day as to what is happening in tie world speak for themselves? Possibly, all that the Government could tell us we should have in our possession within two Or three days. The Government knows practically no more than would be known to every member of our community a week later. Certain honorable members refuse to believe what is unpalatable to them. Has not one country after another in Europe been overrun, despite every effort to avert the disaster? Notwith standing all professions of neutrality, and the work of ambassadors, each in turn has fallen beneath the heel of the enemy.
– Traitors in their own ranks have placed them where they are.
– Is it not quite evident to any intelligent person, whether he be a member of parliament or an individual working in the fields, the factory, or the office, that this country is in very great danger? Is a secret session necessary iu order to give honorable members information which is already known to all of them? This country is in danger. The honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Makin) said that the Labour party believed in a strong horns defence scheme - defence of this country within this country. Irrespective of whatever differences of opinion may exist between honorable members of this House with, regard to the sending of Australian troops overseas, there is no division of thought, I take it, with regard to the necessity for adequately defending this country from within. We may now have very little time in which to build up our defences, and I urge the Opposition to support all efforts to provide at least some military training for every male citizen who is capable of hearing arms. The job cannot be done by depending on voluntary enlistment; compulsory training must be introduced. Honorable gentlemen opposite may use the term “ conscription “, as they are fond of doing, but it is merely an election catch-cry. Every male citizen should be given a part to play in the defence of this country, and that can only be done by the introduction of compulsory military training. Australia has a huge coastline, a vast area to be defended, and a small population, and these conditions necessitate exceptional efforts on the part of the Government and on the part of every individual in the community. The minimum of that effort is the maximum of our man-power that can be trained. The honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Beasley) advocated the sending of ambassadors to other countries, but, after all, the influence which any ambassador may bring to bear depends entirely upon the economic strength and armed might of the nation which he represents.
Events since the outbreak of war, and particularly during the last few months, have shown that ambassadors, plenipotentiaries, and other accredited representatives who have depended mainly upon their social graces and virtues when seeking favours from other countries, have found their tasks very difficult indeed.
– Is the honorable member referring to the newly appointed representative of the United States of America in Australia, Mr. Gauss?
– I am very pleased indeed that the United States of America has sent a minister to Australia and I sincerely hope that the result of his appointment will be the making of even closer ties - if that is possible - between this country and the great nation which Mr. Gauss represents. I have no doubt that that will be so, because the interests of the United States of America ar« almost identical with ours.
In order that this country may be adequately defended, it is essential that we should have, not only material assets such as munitions and men, but also a strongly united people. The best manner in which unity among the people may be demonstrated is by unanimity among their elected representatives in parliament, and the present position in this House leaves much to be desired. I am not casting all the blame upon the Opposition; honorable members opposite have their own troubles, just as there are troubles on the Government side, but there is not the degree of unity in this Parliament, among either Government supporters or members of the Opposition, that is so necessary to Australia in this vital hour. I agree with one statement made by the honorable member for Hindmarsh, if I agree with no other, and that is that the time has arrived for members of this Parliament to face the people. An election is an imperative necessity. I have been in favour of this Parliament seeking that additional constitutional power, which, in the event of a sudden emergency, would enable the postponement of an election, because I can easily conceive of circumstances arising almost overnight which would render an election a physical impossibility. However. I am very strongly of the opinion that this Parliament should, at the earliest possible moment, give the people of Australia an opportunity to decide who is to be entrusted with the task of conducting the war, and what policy is to be adopted. I can see no other means of producing unanimity among all sections of the community. I repeat that it is not my intention to make political capital out of the attitude of honorable members opposite, or anybody else. Division and difficulties are not confined to the Opposition; they exist throughout the community. But I believe that, irrespective of political views, the heart of the people of Australia, working men and capitalists alike, is sound and patriotic so far as Australia’s part in this war is concerned, and the electors should be given an early opportunity to decide whom they wish to control the destinies of their land.
This is not the time for mouthing political platitudes and generalities. I want to get down to concrete facts, and the best suggestion I can make now iB that this Parliament should be dissolved and reconstituted as soon as the people have decided how best that should be done. It will then have a clearly defined course to follow. I do not hesitate to express my conviction that compulsory military training covering all males up to a certain reasonable age limit, should be introduced. These men should be instructed at least in the rudiments of military art, so that they might defend themselves if the worst came to the worst. I have no doubt that many members of the Opposition will agree with me, al least privately, and, I hope, publicly.
The Minister for External Affairs said much concerning matters of which we already know, but there was one statement which was of very great interest and importance, namely the reference to the Commonwealth Government’s diplomatic intervention in Far Eastern affairs. We can only gather by inference what has actually been done and there may be some difference of opinion with regard to the wisdom of the course which has been taken. I am not in a position, any more than is anybody else, to express an opinion.
– The statement only contained half of the facts. We know what was done.
– We can only assume what happened. I sincerely hope that in the future there will be a greater degree of unanimity among the various parties in this House than has existed up to the present, and I hope also that attempts will not be made to make political capital out of the task of building up the defences of this country to meet a possible aggressor. We all know what happened in France as a result of too many parties and too many people striving for personal, party, or political advantage. Surely we should profit by that lesson, and not allow the same thing to occur here.
– What about the Country party going out of existence?
– If the Country party has to go out of existence for the good of this country I shall be quite prepared to efface myself with it. If my going from this House as a gesture of patriotism would help the advent of a virile Labour party with patriotic inspiration, and a determination to wage the war with every means in its power, I would willingly surrender my seat to a representative of the Opposition.
.- We are indebted to the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. McEwen) for his comprehensive statement in regard to matters international. Perhaps, without being ungenerous, I might suggest that we owe it rather to his environment in the office of the Ministry for External Affairs, rather than to himself personally, because it must be acknowledged that we derive from that office fortnightly the most comprehensive and best reasoned statement on current international affairs that is available to honorable members. This unfortunate and tragic warhas reached a stage of development which a few months ago would have been unthinkable. In the pre-war days and in the days immediately following the outbreak of war we, or at least our rulers, were accustomed to think and talk constantly in terms of victory. Now, unhappily, we think and speak in terms of defence, urgent and necessary. To suggest a few months back, before this war began, indeed, that the German armies would overrun Poland in a month, would have been regarded as defeatist and alarmist. To have alleged that France might possibly make a separate peace would have been counted not only defeatist and alarmist, but positively traitorous. And bo on, through and over the gamut of our varying fortunes, mostly, I regret to say, misfortunes, until we have arrived at the stage of finding Great Britain a beleagured island with no immediate thought but that of the protection and preservation of its shores and its over 4.0,000,000 souls. Now it seems to me that nothing remains but the alternatives of resistance or the end of the war. Speaking at the Melbourne University in the early days of the war, I suggested that one of the things which prudent war-makers ought to provide for was the possibility of defeat in the military sense, because in the clash of physical force one could never be sure of what would happen. I remember as a boy at school that we were taught to regard the lion as the king of beasts, and I sometimes think of that phrase in this terrible physical force conflict and ask myself : May it not well be true that the greatest and the best nation may go down before one physically stronger than itself, on the principle that the vanquished has been able to lay no claim to be the king of beasts? But no combatant, apparently, ever prepared for defeat. We make, it is true, elaborate plans for victory, and we constantly state them : a new lay-out for Europe; justice for all; even mercy for the vanquished; a world safe for democracy; a Utopia from which evil will be finally eradicated; a new order dictated or bountifully offered to and gratefully accepted by the defeated enemy. What matters it, apparently,so long as the presiding genius of victory sits proudly over all ? The reality is very different from the dream, but the dream and the reality alternate throughout history. The victor is so preoccupied with the Dead Sea fruits of disillusion that he has little time for the tragic miseries of the vanquished. Tragic misery and disillusion, however, lie in wait just beyond the smoke of battle. Victor and vanquished change sides in the pageant of history, but the alternation of the greater and lesser misery is a constant factor. It is in the light, I suggest, of these established facts that provision should be made, as far as it possibly can be made, for the certainties of the future as well as for the speculative uncertainties which lie ahead. If the worst should happen - by which I mean the successful invasion of Great Britain - Great Britain will still be occupied by the surviving millions of Britishers. France will still be peopled by the French, and so with all the other nations of the world -Russia by its 183,000,000 Russians. The complication of mixed nationalities will remain unresolved. War, any particular war, is, let us hope, at least a matter of months or but a few years, but the human family lives on in succeeding generations from one age to another and for these endless waves of posterity each generation has to take heed as best it may. So I say, if the worst should happen, which, God in his mercy forbid, there are things which would be of lesser and things which would be of greater import. It is said that Britain is owned by some half a hundred rich families. Nobody desires to see those rich families who own Britain displaced by a new group of rich families of the same or a worse breed. But, after all, the tenant does not always know who his landlord is, and frequently he does not know when a change of landlord takes place. In Britain, I am quite sure, the worker docs not know the names of the select few who own the mines, the railroads, the land, the means of production, distribution and exchange. He does not know. He is not consulted about that. He works for a master on the master’s terms, and those terms are conditioned by the minimum reward necessary for maintaining him as a fit worker. Since it is the aim of capitalism to exploit the brains as well as the material things of the world, including manual labour, every new invention is added to the sum of the capitalist monopoly. Displaced labour is so much wastage. It has to be maintained - certainly under reproach and displeasure, owing to inveterate conservative prejudice against the use of the lethal chamber - until it has been removed in due course by death and disease. The transfer of ownership, which is relatively less important, therefore, becomes more important, and seriously important when the transfer means a new and intensified exploitation and the more complete subjugation of human individuality, when it means denial of the rights of social communication, organization and mutual consolation, when to this is to be added regimentation of its ethical, standard and of its religious practice. The worker to that extent will be much worse off and will naturally resist. He will accept no change, in a word, but one which promises to be for the better. He will resist a change which holds out no such promise, but really threatens worse things. It is the matter and the nature and extent of his exploitation. For those reasons, I take it, Britons - those who own Britain and those who are exploited and used by the owners, the worker and his master - will fight to defend Britain and, for reasons stated earlier, those who work for the owners will strive and pray for the speedy ending of the war. For this the soul of labour yearns as a condition precedent to the redress of labour’s inveterate wrongs. Sometimes we of the Labour party are inclined to forget, I fear, wishfully to forget, that we are Socialists. By socialist I mean socialist in that Christian sense of those who believe that Christianity is the greatest fact in history, or Socialists in the sense of that high ethical view held by those who are not convinced by the Christian theory. I am afraid that not the least amongst the reasons why we are prone to forget that we are Socialists is that we believe in achieving socialism through representative institutions by an orderly and progressive method without bloodshed. Arising out of this is the temptation for representative persons to rest content in the representative position, to become anaemic from the glamour of gilded associations, to grow tired of the toil and discomfiture of the hard ascent, and to wish to rest amongst the lotus eaters, saying, as Tennyson makes one of them say-
There is no joy but calm.
Why should we only toil,
The roof and crown of things?
Others in the lower grades look up at the lotus eaters, yearning consistently, with hope long deferred, that they might be amongst them. I refer to an interesting little London publication, The.
Socialist Standard, which quotes The Socialist Standard of July, 1917, with approval in its number of February, 1940, in these words -
When the war of 1914-18 was at its worst., when the blood-bath was full to overflowing, we said then : “ Every socialist must, therefore, wish to see peace established at once to save further maiming and slaughter of our fellow-workers. All those who, on any pretext, or for any supposed reason, wish the war to continue, at once stamp themselves as anti-socialist, anti-working class, and procapitalist.”
With those words I agree heartily, at least, in principle. They may not be completely applicable to each particular crisis. They would not be applicable in the event of a violent assault in the nature of an invasion of any one of the dominions making up our Commonwealth of Nations, and including, of course, Britain. My point is that under capitalism wars are inevitably recurrent. As, sooner or later, the whale comes to the surface to take air, so surely must the rivals of the capitalist management strive with each other for mastery, and so surely must they employ their servants for this as for any other work. So, when we speak of the immediate differences between the outlook of the Government of this country on the one hand, and of the Labour movement, as I think 1 understand the soul of that movement, on the other hand, we are not thinking of something which is purely personal, but of something which is fundamental. We are thinking of an essential difference in human values - the human mind, the human body, the human soul. This is fundamental, not superficial, and not by any means personal. We are not thinking of to-day or to-morrow, but of a great perpetual striving to make humanity not only better than, but different from, what it is.
A few months ago, I quoted in this chamber an eminent British authority to show that, in the object for which this war was then being fought, as an entirely European war, remaking Europe, there was an essential difference between the outlook of the Labour party and that of the capitalist government, led by Mr. Chamberlain, which was then in power. The Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies), in answer to a question submitted to him in this chamber recently, as to why he had not done something or other, candidly replied, “ Because this is not a Socialist Government “. He was quite right. This Government is fighting for the maintenance of the existing order of society, not for a changed and better order. He would spur us on to almost superhuman efforts that we might maintain and guarantee the status quo of children underfed, of youth without hope or opportunity, of old men crushed by toil and tribute to their masters, of a fair world held by a few to the exclusion of the many, of intensified competitive militarism, and of the ultimate boil-over of war and the destitution that follows in the wake of war. That is the difference between our outlooks. If we do not achieve the new order, the war is not worth fighting. The order for which the Prime Minister contends here and overseas is not the new but the existing order. Again and again he has exhorted us to maintain with bone, sinew, and the last drop of our blood conditions of life against which the moral nature of man continues to revolt, from which his body shrinks, and against which his whole soul cries out in protest. Against this the Labour movement summons all its courage and all its strength. Against this it rings out the tocsin bell calling upon all those who think as it thinks, hope as it hopes, and struggle as it, apparently, but not really, vainly struggles; and against which it warns off the charlatan and the opportunist.
I stated in this chamber a few months ago, in perhaps crude terms, why there could be no National Government, so called, of which I would be either a member or a supporter. It is admittedly the duty and the privilege of the Government to govern; no person not in the Government can share that responsibility. Any body or organization outside the Government can be nothing more than a consultant. The view publicly stated by the Prime Minister was in these terms -
The Cabinet is of opinion that no good purpose would be served by the constitution of a national war council or advisory council whose advice, if it be worth anything, must have knowledge at least equal to that of Cabinet, and it is unreasonable that such complete and confidential knowledge should be given’ to a body which accepts no responsibility for decisions made or action taken.
I can see the force of that argument, so far as it relates to a national council. It is an argument which fits in with the views that I have already shortly stated. My own objection to a national government rests on immovable foundations of tier on tier of solid fact. It rests, in the first place, on the commission that I received from the Labour authority in Victoria when I was last elected to this Parliament. It rests on the pledge that I gave to respect that authority, and on the case which, based upon that pledge and upon my own firm conviction, I put before the electors, and by reason of which I was returned to this Parliament. It rests, finally, on the vote of the whole of the people of my electorate, who, by a very large majority, endorsed my pledge ii nd my political conduct throughout. That decision stands immovable. It is a decision which requires no other sanction and admits of no veto. It applies to every similar case and with equal force. I make another quotation -
Great Britain has entered upon war in defence of a great principle. She seeks no advantages for herself, except the inestimable advantage of peace. She desires no increase of territory - no augmentation of power. She has no ambitious objects of any kind to serve. She stretches forth her hand for the maintenance of law and order, and in defence of the morality of nations. In the great federation of the European States, one that is puffed up with pride, vaingloriousness, and lust of dominion, cannot be allowed to destroy the liberty and independence even of the meanest, without peril to them all. The rulers of this nation, impressed with a full sense of their responsibilities, exhausted negotiation before they resorted to war. . . ‘. As long as there was the remotest chance that the dictates of reason and justice would prevail over the headlong passions of the disturber of the world, they refrained from any appeal to the sword.
I am quoting from the Illustrated London News of the 29th April, 1854, and not, as you might think, from a Melbourne daily paper of yesterday. I have made the quotation to show that, for practically the last 100 years, the capitalist, argument has always been the same. It is always this war which is really inevitable, unavoidable; all other wars have passed into history, and were “wrong, and might have been avoided, but this war is always right. The quotation is entirely applicable to-day. The war referred to in the quotation was waged against capitalist, Czarist Russia. The conflict was between Czarist capitalism and British capitalism. The Czar was denounced for proved falsehood as Hitler has been denounced for proved falsehood. The Czar was denounced for hypocritical pretence of religion, as Hitler has been denounced for hypocritical pretence of religion. The Czar was condemned for breaking his pledged word that he had no further territorial demands to make, just as Hitler has been condemned for precisely the same reason, and in both case3 the charges were probably quite true. This war of 1S54 was raised from the sordid to the sublime by the simple fact that there was associated with it the name of Florence Nightingale, a greater name in history than that of any statesman or general who conducted warlike operations in the Crimea. While this war was being fought against Czarist, capitalist Russia by capitalist Britain, and while everything said of the Czar as head of a cruel autocracy notorious for the wrongs which it inflicted upon, a subject people was doubtlessly true, it is also true that at this very time mere infants were working in the mines of Britain, and this freecountry of Britain, which was denouncing the Czar, was practising almost unbelievable cruelty on men, women and children under an odious social system and oppressive laws. And so the wheel turns. As my first speech since the beginning of the war was an invitation to prosecute the peace, so, too, is my present speech.
.- It has been suggested that the paper before the House is not of real value because of the restricted information which it contains regarding international affairs. One realizes, of course, that the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. McEwen) must speak with enforced reserve, but I contend that the reference in the paper to Pacific problems is of real value. This is the first time since the war began that reference has been made by a Minister to this subject. It is also interesting to find in the paper a statement to the effect that Australia has arranged economic relations with New Caledonia. Trade from that important island went previously to Prance, and it is important that Australia should sieze this opportunity to secure such a valuable connexion. There is also the matter of the strategic value of the island to be considered. It is only a few hundred miles off the coast of Australia, and anything affecting the ultimate control of the territory is of importance to us. The Minister also referred to the fact that Australia had made further arrangements regarding the administrative control of New Guinea, a country of great strategic importance to Australia; there is Dutch New Guinea adjoining, and that brings up another question for me. We all are very interested at the present moment in the future of the Netherlands East Indies. Situated as they are to the immediate north of the north-west of Australia, they are of supreme importance to this country. They have an area of 733,000 square miles, and carry a population of 60,000,000 people. These islands are the richest in the Pacific zone, and have in recent years become the subject of international controversy. We know that Japan, in particular, is interested in them because of their vast natural resources. Overnight, as it were, Holland came under German rule, and only the power of the British navy has prevented the Netherlands East Indies from also coming under German control. In that area, Holland and other countries have huge investments. The islands produce rubber, tobacco, sugar, tea and coffee, to say nothing of gold, tin and silver, and the all-important petrol. Some of these represent a large portion of world production. Notwithstanding that the territory is only partly developed, its exports have amounted to £150,000,000 in one year. The Dutch East Indies have imported goods to the value of £100,000,000 per annum. Adjoining is Dutch New Guinea in a primitive state. The Japanese have cast their eyes on these possessions because of their proximity to Japan, and because of the immense value of the raw materials produced there. The policy of the Dutch authorities in restricting Japanese immigration, and limiting imports from Japan, has created resentment. Not- withstanding those restrictions, however, Japanese exports to the Netherlands East Indies have attained large proportions. Cordial relations exist between Great Britain and the Dutch authorities there, and Britain is anxious to preserve the status quo. Australia is also interested in maintaining the existing state of affairs, and any alteration of the control of this area would be of vital concern to the people of Australia. At this time, we must keep our eyes firmly fixed on the north and north-western frontiers.
.- There can be no doubt that the good opinion which British nationals, and the peoples of the world generally, hold of Britain must have been greatly enhanced by British conduct during this war. References have been made within these walls to the importance of preserving public liberty, liberty of speech, liberty of association, and liberty of the press. We have been told that we inherit our love of these things from Great Britain, which cherishes them as we do. At the present time, Great Britain is in deadly peril; yet it has remained wonderfully true to the principles of liberty to which it has so often rendered lip service. Now it is rendering real heart service to them as well. We, much more remote from danger than is Great Britain, have abandoned our devotion to liberty. The promises of our Government to respect the liberties of the people have been broken, whereas the promises made by the Government of Great Britain, have been kept in the letter and in the spirit. Imagine a country in the position of Britain, in which parties opposed to the policy of the Government are allowed to exist, not as illegal associations, but as parties represented in Parliament, and able to contest elections. Recently elections have been contested in England by representatives of the British Union of Fascists, and by Communist candidates. There is a Communist member in the House of Commons, as well as members of the Independent Labour party which is opposed to the war. They are free to put their view before the English people and to explain it. The English people have heard what they have to say and have rejected their arguments. Nevertheless, the opinion of such persons may be freely stated and freely discussed. What happens here? We do not argue with people with whom we disagree - we silence them. We drive them out of the field altogether. The other day I read in an English paper called The Left Booh News statements from the opinions of Pacifists, members of the Independent Labour party, the Communist party and also of the Labour party. That would not be possible here. What happens in Australia is this : Any person who attacks the government policy, unless he belongs to a big and powerful party like the Australian Labour party, is outlawed. The Communist party is outlawed, and attempts are made to outlaw the Social Creditors. I am neither a Communist nor a Social Creditor. But the beat way to deal with such minorities is to endeavour to answer their arguments, as is done in. Great Britain. Recently I received through the post a pamphlet sponsored by bankers in which Social Creditors were termed “ fifth columnists “ because they had the temerity to say that the bankers were going to make huge profits out of this war as they did out of other wars. I also read in the Sydney press that when a series of talks was being given over the national network on methods of escape from the present social tangle, and the second of the talks had been given by Mr. Barclay Smith, a Social Creditor, the PostmasterGeneral (Mr. Thorby) would not allow the series to continue. Contrast this method with that adopted in Great Britain in dealing with similar cases. As soon as a body is proscribed people who believe in the free expression of public opinion are driven to defend that body and, at any rate, hesitate to join in the chase. In Great Britain the Communist view is freely discussed, with the result that many people detach themselves from the Communist party. I suppose that there has been no greater Communist publicist than John Strachey, but he has been conducting in the New Statesman and Nation a controversy with the editors of the Daily Worker on the correctness of the Communist position, pointing out why he can not longer support that position. The people are finding that the principles of liberty which they speak of so much are still cherished in Britain, and that Britain is a free country. The regulations passed under our National Security Act are copies of regulations originally passed in England. But an outcry arose against them in England. Members of every party in the House of Commons took part in the debate on these regulations, pointing out how oppressive they were. Ultimately the government said, “ Drop your motion, and we shall reconsider those regulations in consultation with representatives of the different parties which have opposed them “. Subsequently the government repealed the worst of those regulations and made drastic cuts in others, and the revised regulations which are sufficient for Britain to work under to-day, exposed as it is to danger, are much freer than our regulations. Foreigners who have lived decent lives in this country are interned because in the past they have expressed sympathy with the forms of government in their native lands. German and Italian Fascists are interned simply because they cannot discard their devotion to their own countries and their own institutions. When, ultimately, we put our hands on the traitors and spies in this country, they will be not the people who open their mouths, but well dressed people with comfortable incomes who do not open their mouths. In Australia men are prosecuted for all sorts of things. In Britain the House of Commons hears immediately of similar prosecutions, and immediately protests against them. Only the other day Mr. Churchill himself said that the people who authorized prosecutions of this kind had gonemad, and he promised that the government would review the prosecutions and sentences. The chief thing which we have to learn in this war is that the British Government has the loyalty and support of the British people, because it makes them feel that the freedom that they have been talking about is a real thing, and that it is enduring and standing up to the test of war and emergency. I believe that if Britain were invaded all her people, irrespective of their views, would be found fighting for Britain. But here in Australia, as in
France, opinions are suppressed, with the result that the people generally say that there must be something in what the Communists and Social Creditors say, because the Government suppresses them and will not allow the people to hear the answers to what they say. The Government will not attempt to argue with the Communists, and it adopts a similar attitude towards Social Creditors and all minorities. Here we haN machine-made opinion. In England there is not even a government censorship. The newspapers themselves apply the principles laid down in the National Security Act. Here we have a censorship, and more ; one newspaper proprietor is singled out to be put in charge of the press, and he is given the right to say what the press shall <say. and to compel the press to say what he wants said. We have one system under which the press must not say the things which the Government does not want it to say, and another system under which the press must say the things which the Government wants it to say, the Government speaking through the mouth, and on the advice, of this great newspaper proprietor. I have no fault to find with Sir Keith Murdoch. But it is wrong to put one newspaper proprietor in control of other newspapers as organs of public opinion. That is the way in which this country prepares for war; that is the way in which it organizes public opinion. I ask honorable members to contrast our methods with those adopted by the British Government. During Britain’s great struggle, with Napoleon the famous preacher, Robert Hall, who was probably one of the greatest orators the Nonconformist Church has produced, referred to Great Britain as “ the Thermopylae of the world “. He said that Great Britain was the last free nation, and was defying the might of Napoleon just as Leonidas in the pass of Thermopylae defied the might of Xerxes. That is true of Great Britain to-day. Britain stands as the freest nation in the world, freer than any of the dominions, freer than the United States of America, with a greater devotion to its liberties. For this reason the people of Britain will be prepared to fight for Britain in this struggle. I could not be equally confident that our people would be prepared to fight for Australia with the same enthusiasm.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Nairn) adjourned.
Troops on Leave: Railway Concession Fares - Supplies of Potatoes.
Motion (by Mr. Menzies) proposed -
That the House do now adjourn.
.- I take this opportunity to refer to the lack of transport arrangements for troops when they are on week-end leave, a matter which has been the subject of lively discussion on the mainland and in Tasmania for several months past. Last month, following a long controversy in the press, I wrote to the Minister for the Army (Mr. Street), asking for an estimate of the cost which would be involved in providing rail transport at concession rates for troops when on week-end leave. On behalf of myself and Senator Aylett and Senator Lamp, I suggested that if it were not possible to grant free transport to the troops, the Government should at least arrange for substantial concessional fares through the State Transport Commission, or provide guarantees for the running of necessary trains for the transport of troops on week-end leave. I also suggested that the Minister should give the matter urgent consideration, and that the Government should accept some responsibility in regard to it. I received a reply from the Minister for the Army dated the 23rd July last in the following terms : -
I desire to inform you that this matter is under consideration and negotiations are in hand to provide every possible facility for rail travel for members of the forces.
Has the Minister yet put this matter before Cabinet for consideration, and if so, has any decision been arrived at? It may be argued - and I think it is in some quarters - that this is not a responsibility of the Commonwealth Government. My reply to that is that during the time the men are in camp week-end leave is granted to enable them to return to their homes, but as their rate of pay is so low, it is utterly impossible for those who live in areas far distant from the camps to pay the rail fares involved. An instance of this was brought under my notice of a married man who was compelled to spend a week’s pay in rail fares in order to get home once a fortnight on week-end leave. After allowing for the allotment of pay to his wife, his weekly rate of pay amounted to 28s. and the cost of a return ticket to his home was 28s. 6d. His wife received an allotment of 3s. a day from his pay and 3s. a week as a separation allowance, giving her a total income of £2 2s. a week. The Commonwealth Government might quite reasonably be asked to accept some responsibility in this matter. The Tasmanian Transport Commission has granted concession fares to men in camp pending a decision by the Government, after considerable pressure had been brought to bear on it by not only the relatives and friends of soldiers, but also members of the public generally. In Tasmania men in uniform can be frequently seen on the roadside hailing cars as they go by and asking motorists to give them a lift, at least for portion of their journey to their homes. This state of affairs should not be allowed to continue. I repeat that the responsibility for the provision of reasonable transport facilities should not be forced onto the State governments; the Federal Government should make an early pronouncement of its willingness to bear at least a portion of the burden, if not by way of actual payment, at least by way of guarantee to the States of compensation in respect of losses incurred in the running of trains at reduced fares. I hope that the Government will not delay in accepting responsibility for some, if not all, of the cost incurred by the State Government in providing reasonable travelling facilities for troops on weekend leave.
.- I support the remarks of the honorable member for Bass (Mr. Barnard). I can assure the Minister for the Army (Mr. Street) that this is a burning question in Tasmania, where the troops have been likened to tramps thronging the highways and begging lifts from passing motorists to enable them to spend a few hours with their families. Those who are unlucky enough to live far from the cities near which the camps are established are placed in a most unfortunate position. Trainees who live in Hobart have to travel only twelve or fourteen miles from the Hobart camp; but those who live in the north-west coast areas have to pay high fares in order to get home for week-end leave. As the honorable member for Bass (Mr. Barnard) has said, it may be argued that the provision of cheap transport facilities for the troops is not a responsibility of the Commonwealth Government, but I do not think that the Federal authority can lightly escape its responsibility in this matter. No man who enlists to serve in the defence of his country and who is being trained within a reasonable distance of his home should be prevented from visiting his home because of inability to meet the cost of the rail fare involved. Married men who have only 14s. a week after the allotment to their wives has been deducted from their pay are most unfortunately situated in this regard. Following a public outcry in regard to this matter, the Tasmanian Government agreed to provide transport for members of the forces at one-half of the single fare.
– They get the return journey for one-half of the single fare.
– That is so; but I say emphatically that that charge is too much. The troops have the right to expect free transport when they are granted leave sufficiently long to enable them to proceed to their homes. To demonstrate that this is not a party matter, I cite the following extract from the leading article in the Launceston Examiner of the 15th July last, which refers to the attitude adopted by the Tasmanian Minister for Transport, Mr. Brooker, in regard to this matter -
Mr. Brooker was on sound ground when he indicated that the responsibility rightly rested upon the federal authorities. But if the federal authorities will do nothing, the State should not shelter behind their miserable attitude, but rather should set an example of kindly consideration for brave and patriotic young men.
The article concludes -
Let us have no more of the spectacle of young men in khaki tramping wearily along the State’s highways, begging lifts from passing motorists, sometimes sleeping outofdoors and enduring all manner of discomforts in order that they may spend a few hours with their loved ones. These men are not tramps. They are the cream of our manhood. They do not ask to be pampered. They merely ask to be treated like human beings. What is the Government going to do about it?
I ask the Government what it is going to do about it.
Another matter of vital importance to Tasmania is the lifting of the embargo on the importation of New Zealand potatoes. Protection for secondary industries has been agreed to by all parties in the House, but while fostering secondary industries we must not overlook the claims of the primary industries for protection. It is a rather remarkable fact that whilst there is an abundance of potatoes in Tasmania, the importation of New Zealand potatoes is permitted. According to a press report of the 27th July last, the Chairman of the Potato Marketing Board, Mr. G. H. Parsons, forwarded the following telegram to the Minister for Commerce : -
Marketing Board urgently requests that you defer the August shipment of New Zealand potatoes until October. The Tasmanian exportable surplus of potatoes is estimated at 300,000 sacks, being ten weeks’ supply for all States on estimated requirements. The carryover here this week is 15,000 sacks. We fear that unless this request is acceded to chaotic market will result, as Tasmanian potatogrowers object to their potatoes being held up to make a market for New Zealand potatoes. This attitude is quite logical.
I have exchanged correspondence on this subject with the Minister for Commerce (Mr. Archie Cameron), who told me that one reason why the embargo on New Zealand potatoes was lifted was the unsatisfactory economic position of that dominion. But Tasmania also has its economic problems, and there is reason in the old saw : “ Charity begins at home”. According to the latest statistical report, the population of Tasmania has actually been decreasing. Doubtless this is due in some measure to the war, as the result of which many men have enlisted and been sent to the mainland for training, and others have gone to the mainland to seek work in munitions factories and other war-time establishments. In view of this fact it is very unfair that the potato industry, one of the principal primary industries in Tasmania, should be penalized in order to give economic assistance to New Zealand. According to newspaper reports, there were 15,000 sacks of New Zealand potatoes on the Sydney market on the 30th July last. On the same date, there were accumulations of Tasmanian potatoes totalling 18,707 sacks. There were 6,208 sacks in Sydney, 6,601 in Burnie, and 5,868 in Devonport. It has been forecast that a shortage of potatoes will occur in the near future, but so far this season there has been a record yield in Tasmania, which has shipped approximately 180,000 more sacks to the mainland than during a similar period last year. The potato-growers of Tasmania think that the authorities may have under-estimated, the quantity of potatoes available in the State for shipment to the mainland. A reliable estimate made on the 27th July last was that approximately 300,000 sacks were still available for export to Sydney and other mainland markets. In these circumstances, it is difficult to understand why the importation of New Zealand potatoes is permitted. I realize that the Commonwealth Prices Commissioner has stabilized the market by fixing a fair price, but any one who understands the growing and marketing of potatoes is aware that the longer potatoes are kept in storage or in the ground at this time of the year, the greater is the loss due to, wastage. Frost decay, disease, and insect pests cause heavy losses. Even if there is a shortage of potatoes in Australia, surely it is a reasonable proposition that Tasmanian producers be given preference on the market until such time as their supplies are exhausted. There are prospects of early crops in the northern rivers district of New South “Wales, and it is suggested that, if there are no heavy losses due to frost, supplies from that area will come on to the market at the end of September. In that event great difficulty may be experienced in marketing the balance of the Tasmanian crop. The Government may wish to give economic assistance to New Zealand by allowing the importation of potatoes from that dominion, but it should first guarantee a fair and reasonable price for the remainder of the Tasmanian crop. I ask the Minister for Commerce to reconsider this matter with a. view to preventing further importations from New Zealand until local supplies are exhausted.
.- I want briefly to support the remarks of the honorable member for Bass (Mr. Barnard) and the honorable member for Wilmot (Mr. Spurr). The Government should take the financial responsibility for the travelling expenses of soldiers on leave. Conditions at the present time are different from those that obtained during the war of 1914-18, and the Government should seriously consider giving to the men long leave with free travel warrants at longer intervals, instead of the present system of week-end leave, even though they may bo held in Australia for some time to come.
In my opinion, the forces should bc concentrated in brigades in divisional areas, where it would be possible to carry out brigade manoeuvres and where divisional staffs could function in conjunction with the command system. In that event, the men would have the benefit of more advanced training should they be called upon to meet an invasion or engage in active service overseas; otherwise they might be required to go into the field as “ green “ troops and with inexperienced staffs. I fear that the forces may be held indefinitely in regimental camps. Australians probably make the most intelligent soldiers in the world, because they learn military work very quickly, and serious trouble may occur if the men are kept too long in regimental camps. They naturally expect to be given advanced training.
In the event of this concentration, the Government could well afford to give to the soldiers another home leave of reasonable length if they are to be kept in Australia for another two or three months. It would be more beneficial to the men to be given home leave for a week once in two or three months than to be given frequent week-end leave, when they may be able to visit their homes for only a few hours. Lives have been lost also as the result of men waiting on roadsides seeking free trips home because they were short of money. Soldiers have been given rides on motor-cycle pillions and in overloaded cars, with the result that fatal accidents have occurred. I urge the Government to try to concentrate each division so that brigade manoeuvres may be carried out and so that divisional staffs may give their own men special advanced training which is essential in the highly specialized warfare of to-day.
.- The honorable member for Bendigo (Mr. Rankin) suggested that instead of giving generous week-end leave to soldiers, as is done at the present time, it would be more satisfactory, especially where troops are retained in camp for lengthy periods, to give a week’s leave once in three months. There is some merit in that suggestion. The honorable member went on to say that, in order to obtain the best results from our troops, units should be concentrated in certain areas. The honorable gentleman must recall the very vocal protest that was made by a number of honorable members when the bulk of the Sixth Division was concentrated in the eastern States. When we brought men from Western Australia to be trained in New South Wales or Victoria, and from Queensland to be trained in the south, and from Tasmania to be trained on the mainland, we were subjected to intense criticism. I am not sure that even greater difficulties would not be involved in any attempt to concentrate’ units in divisional areas, however desirable that may ultimately be. If troops are to be retained in Australia for very lengthy periods that course may become necessary for training purposes. The honorable member knows better than I do, probably, that in training it takes a considerable time to move beyond regimental and battalion standards. Training must be maintained for some months and be continuous before that course can be adopted.
The honorable member also elaborated other points made by the honorable member for Bass (Mr. Barnard) and the honorable member for Wilmot (Mr. Spurr). I admire the perspicuity of the honorable gentlemen from Tasmania in anticipating the reply that they might receive. As they expected, I must say that the Commonwealth Government cannot accept responsibility for the free transport of troops when on leave. As it is, the Commonwealth Government is responsible for feeding, clothing and housing the troops. It nurses them when they are ill. It takes them to camp and brings them away from camp when they go on leave. It also gives them free preembarkation leave.
– Would the Commonwealth Government agree to guarantee the State governments against loss when special trains have to be run for the troops ?
– No. Whilst we may agree with the statement that we cannot do too much for the man who have enlisted, it would be unwise, in my opinion, to inculcate in the mind of the community that everything that is done for them should be free. Two or three days ago, when flying from Sydney to Melbourne in company with Mr. Brooker, I discussed this subject with him. The Tasmanian Government is acting generously in giving soldiers a. return ticket for a half-single fare. I do not think that anything more than that can be reasonably expected. Shorter distances are travelled in Tasmania than in the other States. The honorable member for Wilmot spoke of a return journey in Tasmania involving 220 miles. In all the other States, return journeys of much greater mileages are common.
– We have single journeys of up to 800 miles in South Australia.
– If free transport facilities were given to soldiers in one State obviously they would have to be provided for men in other States. If we say that a man shall be given free transport because he lives within 100 miles of a. camp, it would be most unfair to deny a similar concession to a man who lived 400 miles from his camp, simply because of the increased expense and the greater time involved. The Government has given careful consideration, to the provision of travelling concessions. The subject has also been discussed by the Prime Minister with the State Premiers. I consider that the conditions which now prevail are generous.
– What is being done on Commonwealth railways?
– The Commonwealth Government is providing free transport for pre-embarkation leave. As the present concessions are generous, I cannot offer any hope to the honorable gentlemen who have spoken on this subject that favorable consideration will be given to their representations. The Commonwealth Government cannot agree to provide free travelling for all soldiers.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
The following papers were pre sented : -
Liquid Fuels - Commonwealth Standing Committee - Seventh Report - Review of position of Substitute Fuels.
Land Tax Assessment Act - Applications for relief from taxation dealt with during the year 1939-40.
Air Force Act - Regulations Amended - Statutory Rules 1940, Nos. 114, 125, 140.
Arbitration (Public Service) Act - Determinations by the Arbitrator, &c. - 1940 -
No. 13 - Arms, Explosives and Munition Workers’ Federation of Australia.
No. 14 - Commonwealth Public Service Clerical Association; Professional Officers’ Association, Commonwealth Public Service; and Commonwealth Legal Professional Officers’ Association.
No. 15 - Amalgamated Postal Workers’ Union of Australia.
No. 16 - Arms, Explosives and Munition Workers’ Federation of Australia; Commonwealth Storemen and Packers’ Union; and Amalgamated Postal Workers’ Union of Australia.
No. 17 - Fourth Division Officers’ Association of the Trade and Customs Department.
No. 18 - Amalgamated Engineering Union.
Audit Act - Regulations Amended - Statutory Rules 1940, No. 145.
Canberra University College - Report for 1939.
Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act - Regulations Amended - Statutory Rules 1940, No. 92.
Commonwealth Public Service Act - Appointments - Department -
Civil Aviation - G. S. Lightbody.
Commerce - G. T. Arkins.
Regulations Amended - Statutory Rules 1940. No. 116.
Contract Immigrants Act - Return for 1939
Customs Act - Regulations Amended - Statutory Rules 1940, No. 146.
Dairy Produce Export Control Act - Regulations Amended - Statutory Rules 1940, No. 116.
Defence Act and Naval Defence Act - Regulations Amended - Statutory Rules 1940, No. 124.
Gold Mining Encouragement Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1940, No. 139.
Immigration Act - Return for 1939.
Lands Acquisition Act -
Land acquired -
For Defence purposes -
Broome, Western Australia.
Camden, New South Wales.
Concord, New South Wales.
Currie (near), King Island, Tas- mania.
Darwin, Northern Territory.
Derby (near), Western Australia.
Esperance, Western Australia.
Maylands, Western Australia.
Northam, Western Australia (2).
Perth (near), Western Australia.
Port Hedland, Western Australia.
Stockton, New South Wales.
For Postal purposes -
Canowie Belt, South Australia.
Nowra, New South Wales.
Renmark, South Australia.
Riddell’s Creek, Victoria.
Sydenham, New South Wales.
Rights acquired for Defence purposes -
Redbank, Queensland (2).
Motor Industry Bounty Act - Return for year 1939-40.
National Security Act -
National Security (General) Regulations - Orders -
Cinematograph Films Censorship.
Talcing possession of land,&c. (19).
Use of land (6).
National Security (Securities) Regulations - Order - Securities (United States and Canada).
Regulations Amended, &c. - Statutory Rules 1940, Nos. 90, 91, 93, 96, 103, 104, 106, 107, 108, 109, 111, 112, 113, 115, 117, 118, 119, 120, 121, 128, 127, 128, 129,130, 131, 132, 133, 134, 136, 137, 141, 142, 148.
Naval Defence Act - Regulations Amended - Statutory Rules 1940, Nos. 122, 123, 135, 147.
New Guinea Act - Ordinances of 1940 -
No. 4 - Public Service.
No. 6 - Superannuation.
No. 8 - Mining.
Northern Territory Acceptance Act and Northern Territory ( Administration ) Act-
Ordinances of 1940 -
No. 10 - Motor Vehicles.
No.11 - Administration and Probate.
Regulations Amended, Ac. - 1940 -
No. 4 (Motor Vehicles Ordinance).
No. 5 (Health Ordinance).
No: 6 (Motor Vehicles Ordinance).
No. 7 (Darwin Administration Ordinance).
No. 8 (Alice Springs Administration Ordinance).
Papua and New Guinea Bounties Act - Return for year 1939-40.
Post and Telegraph Act - Regulations Amended - Statutory Rules 1940, No. 102.
Post and Telegraph Act and Wireless Tele- graphy Act - Regulations Amended - tatutnry Rules 1940, No. 101.
Rabbit Skins Export Charges Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules . 1940, No. 105.
Raw Cotton Bounty Act - Return for year 1939-40.
Seat of Government Acceptance Act and Seat of Government (Administration) Act-
Ordinances of 1940 -
No. 11 - Housing.
No. 12- Stock.
No. 13- Hospital Tax.
No. 14 - Timber Protection.
No. 15 - Trespass on Commonwealth Lands.
Regulations Amended - 1940 - No. 5 (Public Health Ordinance).
Ship Bounty Act - Return for year 1939-40.
Sulphur Bounty Acts - Returns (2) for year 1939-40.
Wine Export Bounty Act - Returns (2) for yeaT 1939-40.
Wire Netting Bounty Acts - Return for year 1939-40.
House adjourned at 10.36 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 6 August 1940, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1940/19400806_reps_15_164/>.