17th Parliament · 2nd Session
Mr. Speaker (Eon. 7. S. Rosevear) took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.
Civilian Clothing fob Discharged
– An old “ digger “ has notified me that he visited more than twenty retail stores in an endeavour to obtain a suit of clothes with a voucher for £6 10s., a pair of hoots with a voucher for £1, and a hat with a voucher for £1. Does the Minister for the Army know that some retail stores are disinclined to accept these vouchers, because they fear a delay of months in the receipt of payment from the Commonwealth ? Will the right honorable gentleman have retail stores informed of the system under which discharged soldiers receive vouchers entitling them to obtain civilian clothes, and ensure that the stores which accept such vouchers will receive prompt payment, thus avoiding the embarrassment from which discharged soldiers who attempt to use them now suffer?
– I cannot imagine that any reputable retail store would refuse to supply a suit of clothes to a returned soldier on the ground that some time would elapse before it would receive payment. Retail stores may rest assured of the absolute certainty of payment. So far as I know, there has not been undue delay in making payment. If definite cases can be brought to. my notice, I shall have them investigated.
– In view of the peril to the lives of our soldiers, the war effort of the United Nations in the South-west Pacific, and the health of the Australian people, will the Prime Minister, before the rising of Parliament this week, make a statement in connexion with the deplorable failure to maintain coal production? Will the right honorable gentleman state whether or not the Government has any proposal to remedy the existing position in the coal-mining industry? Has the stage been reached at which the Government is obliged to inform the Australian people that the problem is beyond its solution, and that the coal control legislation passed by this Parliament is a dead letter?
– These questions are such as I would normally have asked to have placed on the notice-paper, but I consider that certain of them should be answered immediately. The coal control legislation is not a dead letter. The law should be enforced, and I am doing my very best to see that it shall be enforced. At the same time,. I have to face the problem which every government in this country has faced, that of knowing quite clearly in its mind that it cannot imprison simultaneously all the men who are absenting themselves from work; and, furthermore, that it cannot adequately replace from any other source with men having the necessary skill, ability and experience to do the work. I have dealt; with this matter previously. If this were the only country in the world on the Allied side in which this situation existed, I should feel that on my part there was some remissness or incapacity which called for deep personal examination; but I find - and I regret to «ay it - that what is happening in Australia in respect of the grevious disproportion between current production and consumption of coal, is being paralleled in other countries whose war effort is like unto our own, but, in its impact upon the enemy, can be said to have even greater importance and significance, because they are the countries which have the large resources and the great striking power.
– The right honorable gentleman does not mean that it is proportionately as large in those countries as it is in this country?
– I mean that their problem in respect of coal is as grievous as ours.
– The right honorable gentleman would not suggest that the coal which they have lost by reason of absenteeism is relatively as great as ours.
– I do not know. Of course, their total coal production- is much greater than ours.
– That is why I used the word “ relatively “.
– I do not wish to make any excuses for what is happening in Australia. I have never made excuses, but have endeavoured to find remedies. I have acknowledged in this place with deep regret that if I knew how to do better, better would be done. That has been regarded as an admission on the part of the Government of its abdication to external influences and of its utter spine.lessness in enforcing the law. But the problem is one not so much of enforcing the law as of getting coal. I said yesterday that the Miners Federation had asked me to see it. I have agreed to do so. I also said yesterday that the coal owners had asked me to see them. I have agreed to do so. I have always been ready to consult with those who are most experienced in the conduct of the industry. Whenever they have requested me to see them, I have said that I have an obligation to meet them for it may be that, somehow, things may turn out better than has been the case. One further thing that I have to say, is this: There is, on the part of many interests in Australia, a disposition to assume that, because of ,the facts that I have recited in respect, of the way in which the war is going, they can now expect a substantial surcease from the strains of war. That ie a mistake. Those who are engaged in the meat industry, .the coal industry, th& transport industry, and any other essential war industry, have now a greater obligation to maintain their industry and their effort than has ever previously been the case. The threat of invasion has moved from us, but the obligation to defeat the enemy still remains. Not only in respect of coal, but also in respect of timber and of most of the other physical things that are requisite for the conduct of the war, there has been a great decline of stocks, and the supreme task of the nation is to maintain current production at a level that will enable the wastage of stocks to be repaired. I say quite frankly to the coal-miners that the men who are on strike at the present time, for any cause, are unwarrantably on strike; for there is no grievance that they have which does not admit of submission to a reasonable, fair, independent andcompetent tribunal - a tribunal which has been established in accordance with the submissions of the miners’ organizations themselves. I have no wish to burke the facts. I have also to say that it has been made clear that there have been certain pinpricks and provocations on the part of people whose interest in coal production does not appear to he so great as it ought to be. I had a consultation with the Minister for Mines in the United Kingdom. I do not think that any two men ever sat together with the same realization of how necessary it is to have certain things done, and at the same time an equal realization of how difficult it is to have them done.
– Does not the Prime Minister believe that lack of incentive due to high rates of taxation is one of the primary causes of discontent on the coal-fields, and, in fact, of the general slowing down of industry throughout Australia? Does he not thank that this lack of incentivecould be met by a system under which a part of the income tax now paid by the workers would be earmarked as post-war credits? Would not that result in greatly increased production ?
– The income tax imposed by this Parliament is levied on the income of each taxpayer and it is imposed on a graduated scale. The greater the income, the higher the rate of tax in the£1. Therefore, the prin ciple has been applied to people in all occupations. If that principlebe wrong, the Parliament should reconsider the whole practice that it has followed and still follows in the imposition of income tax. I do not look upon the income tax as excessive, having regard to the fact that we are at war. I do not see any reason why men should receive refunds of tax. It may be that the outlook of many men Ls blurred by the fact that after a given income they are expected to work for the Government. That is true of every citizen. Some part of his working time can be regarded as time worked for the Government. We have developed a rather had state of mind in this country. The citizen is in fact paying to the Government the debt which he owes to his fellow citizens. The Government is his agent merely for the purpose of organizing the affairs of the country. The Government is not an alien authority; it is the instrument of the people themselves. I say to the coal-miners, and to very other man, including the taxevader, that the supreme obligation of a man in this hour of the national life is to his fellow citizens, for without them becould not subsist at all. That is true, not only of the money which he gets, but of the physical service which he renders. Instead of regarding it asa sacrifice to make a contribution to the nation, the community should realize that, but for the nation there would bc no free existence for people.
Temporary Accommodation in Canberra.
– On behalf of the Minister for the Interior, I say quite readily that the provision of temporary accommodation, both here and in other places, to .meet the great expansion of the Administration in time of war is inescapable. That is true of the capital cities, of the outback, and of this city. It is also true of Washington and of London. Temporary provision for temporary static is an inescapable part of the arrangements that have to be made in order that the administration that is requisite for the conduct of the war mav be able to function. In respect of the specific question, I have to say that temporary accommodation for the Prices Commission will not be provided in Canberra, because the Government has decided to establish the Prices Administration away from Canberra, on the ground that we would have to provide not only temporary accommodation for the staff to work in, .but also living accommodation in which they could sleep and eat when their work had been completed. Other arrangements are to be made for the Prices Administration.
– Will the Minister foi Commerce and Agriculture request the Prices Commissioner to investigate immediately the fixed price paid for milk to producers in the Tamworth area? Will he request the commissioner to bring that price into line with the fixed price throughout the same price zone?
– The honorable member has previously asked me to try to arrange for himself and myself to meat the Prices Commissioner with a view to making representations along the lines indicated. Unfortunately, I have not, so far, been able to contact the Prices Commissioner, but I shall do so as soon as possible I have received from the dairying association at Tamworth a Maim in the terms mentioned, and some days ago sent it to the Prices Commission with a .personal request for immediate consideration of it.
– The Prices Commissioner does not seem to have received it.
– The Prices Commis son, by which I mean the department, bas received it. I shall take the matter up again, and do all that I can to assist.
– I ask the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture whether or not the Government, with a view to ensuring the stability of primary production, has given consideration to the uecessity for a long-term plan of from, say, three to five years, for the continuation of the existing system of guaranteed prices in connexion with primary products such as pig meats, dairy produce, wheat, eggs, flax, &c.
– It is the definite policy of the Government to stabilize primary industries. Stabilization can be achieved only by the guaranteeing of prices for a specific period, as the honorable member suggests. I assure him that negotiations are at present being conducted with the authorities overseas for sales of our export primary products over a long term, for I am hopeful that they will be successful. The Government has given a definite assurance of the stabilization of some of the industries referred to for at least two years, and before there will be any deviation from the established policy at least a year’s notice will be given to the primary producers. It is recognized generally throughout the Commonwealth that the Government has tackled the problem of the stabilization of primary industries in a manner not previously attempted.
– Has the Treasurer read the report in to-day’s issue of the Sydney Daily Telegraph giving what purports to be an interview with treasury officials relating to the collection of anonymous information, in order to discover income tax evaders? In the course of the article, this passage appears -
The treasury officials also said that wives angered by their husbands in family squabbles had given information which led to the detection of tax evaders.
Is it a fact that information supplied by wives has been used in that way? Does the Treasurer’s own approval of the supply of anonymous information extend to information coming from wives in respect of husbands? Will he ascertain whether, in fact, and on how many occasions, information supplied by wives has been used in order to take criminal proceedings against their husbands?
– I have not read the newspaper report referred to by the honorable member, nor can I say whether anonymous letters, indicating husbands’ incomes, have been received from wives. I know that in some cases in which wives have gone to court for alimony orders, or for similar reasons, they have given evidence before registrars that their husbands’ incomes are much larger rhan the husbands have admitted, and in some cases the incomes have proved to be larger than the husbands have declared them to be.
– I do not think that is what is referred to in the report to which F have directed attention.
– I said in the first place that I had not read the report. In cases in which information has been given by wives before court registrars pointing out that their husbands’ incomes are larger than has been disclosed by the husbands, I have no doubt that that information would be brought to the notice of the Commissioner of Taxation.
– In view of the statement by treasury officials that they ;ire exploiting the domestic quarrels of husbands and wives to obtain anonymous information regarding income tax returns will the Treasurer give a direction to those officials to adopt the complete Nazi technique, and explore the possibility of getting children to act as informers against their parents?
– The treasury officials as such have nothing to do with the collection of income tax. That is a matter entirely for the Commissioner of Taxation, who acts in accordance with legislation passed by this Parliament. I do not attempt to give directions to him at all. He merely administers the law. I think it is the desire of this Parliament, and has been the wish of Treasurers in the past, not to interfere with the Commissioner of Taxation in the administration of the law, except in certain directions where a discretionary power has been given to the Treasurer. I seek to avoid interference in those matters, as far as I can. No treasury official has been given any direction, and I do not propose to do so.
– Not even with regard to these methods - exploiting the quarrels of husbands and wives ?
– I do not accept any newspaper report as being accurate, any more than I accept statements by the honorable member as correct.
– The officials are catching tax-evaders.
– I do not know what truth there may be in the statements published in the press. I believe that information of that kind has been sent to Commissioners of Taxation in the past and has not been disclosed to any Treasurer. From time to time individuals have informed the department that certain people have evaded the law.
-. - Too many are evading it.
– Does any honorable member opposite suggest that, if a person anonymously telephoned the police to say that his house had been burglariously entered, he would not expect the police to take action in the matter?
– But the department is inviting people to supply anonymous information. That is one of the first principles of Nazi-ism.
– Nobody need expect me to show sympathy for people who break the law.
– The department is taking action that will break up family life.
– Those who refuse to accept their obligation to pay their share of the taxes due to the country will get no sympathy from me. The workers have their taxes deducted from their paxenvelopes. They have no choice but to pay. If there are others in the community who are evading the payment of their taxes, they need not expect any sympathy from me when some one discloses the fact that they are breaking the law.
– Is the Minister for the Army aware that the Gatton Agricultural College has been vacated -by the United States Army authorities and that the Australian Army authorities are trying to impress the building? Will the Minister take steps to see that the Hirings Administration shall hand the building back to the Queensland Government?
– I am not aware that the Australian Army authorities desire to impress that building. The honorable member’s request will be considered promptly, and a reply will be furnished to him as soon as possible.
Projected Visit to Australia
– Has the Prime Minister read the statement in the press by the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Mr. Fraser, that Mr. Churchill will visit Australia and New Zealand to help in planning the war against Japan when Germany is defeated? Has the righthonorable gentleman any information that he can give to the House on the matter ?
– It is perfectly true that, in conversations which I have had with Mr. Churchill, he expressed a wish to visit Australia. He said that when I he war with Germany was concluded, he hoped he might be able to visit this country. I have not stated publicly what Mr. Fraser has said, because I thought that such an intimation would be made at the proper time by Mr. Churchill himself. I leave the matter at that. I have no doubt whatever that Mr. Churchill’s eagerness, when circumstances permit, to visit this country will be matched only by the eagerness of the people to welcome him.
– Having regard to the changed position in the South Pacific, and the great need of Australia to-day for phosphatic fertilizers, will the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture state what steps the Government has taken to ensure that supplies -of phosphatic rock will be obtainable from Nauru as soon as that island is occupied by the Allies?
– I can assure the honorable gentleman that every avenue is being explored to ensure that we shall :get increased supplies of superphosphate.
– But not from Nauru.
– No, because we are not in a position to say when the possession of that island will he wrested from the enemy.
– I draw the attention of the Acting Minister for Supply and Shipping to the fact that great congestion of railway traffic has occurred between the southern and northern parts of Australia, and particularly traffic between New South Wales and Queensland. The trouble appears to be becoming more acute as time goes on, and consequently considerable delay occurs in the transport of goods from Sydney to the northern part of New South Wales. Will the Minister ascertain whether it is possible to restore the shipping services to the northern rivers of New South Wales, particularly the service to Byron Bay, which was discontinued shortly after Japan came into the war? In view of the improved position with regard to shipping, and the greater degree of security along the coast, will the Minister endeavour to have the shipping services restored?
– I shall take the matter up with the Controller of Shipping. Although shipping facilities and equipment have increased, the demands for the services have grown in certain directions. I shall have the matter investigated at once
– Is the Minister for Repatriation yet able to make a statement regarding the request of a number of Australian prisoners of war in Germany for information upon the Government’s post-war land settlement policy? I handed a letter on this subject to the Minister two days ago. I should like to know whether the Government has a policy, and whether it proposes to let it be known to prisoners of war in Germany.
– Through the honorable member for Barker (Mr. Archie Cameron) I received a very interesting letter from a prisoner-of-war camp in Germany. It seems that a committee has been established -in the camp to deal with matters pertaining to post-war rehabilitation, and a hopeful view was expressed in the letter that the prisoners would very soon be back in Australia. I have passed the letter on to the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction whose department has prepared extensive plans for soldier land settlement. The Government has a policy for post-war land settlement which is, we hope, superior to that which was put into effect after the last war. We have benefited from the experience gained in previous attempts to deal with this matter. The Minister for Post-war Reconstruction and his officials are preparing information on the subject, which I shall ask my colleague to give to the honorable member so that he may forward it to the prisoners of war in Germany.
– There have been so many references to the tapping of telephones and listening to conversations that J Thought I would take the first opportunity of stating that our listening post has advised us that Tokyo radio has announced the resignation of the Japanese Cabinet.
– -In view <>f the shortage of building materials, especially in the country, even for works approved by the Department of War Organization of Industry, will the Minister see thai, manufacturers are making full use of the plant and labour available to them in order to accelerate production?
– I assure the honorable member that I have diligently sought to obtain an ever increasing flow of building materials to the civil community as well as for war purposes. In some instances, the shortage of labour presents an almost insuperable problem, but we are endeavouring to use to the best advantage such labour as is available.
MUNITIONS FACTORIES. Post-war Uses. Sir FREDERICK. STEWART.Apropos of the revelation by the Minister for Munitions that it is the intention of the Government in certain circumstances to use Government munitions factories for the manufacture of goods for ordinary trading purposes, will the Minister, before the Government reaches a decision, draw the attention of his colleagues to the inglorious failure of past government enterprises, and particularly to the fact that the Cockatoo Island Dock, while under government control, was costing the Government £70,000 a year, whereas now, under private control, it is earning £50,000 a year? In any case, are we to regard this revelation as a first concession to the demand by the New South Wales Australian Labour party conference for a ten years’ socialization programme ?
– I do not admit the truth of some of the statements contained in the honorable member’s question. I point out, however, that the quality and price of goods manufactured in Government munitions establishments compares favorably with anything that has been, achieved elsewhere, and there is no reason why the same efficiency should not be maintained after the war in the production of goods for civilian use. These establishments are the property of the people, and there is surely no reason why they should not, after the war, be employed in providing goods necessary for the comfort and well being of the people. Therefore. I make no apology for the views which J expressed on this matter. I believe it to he better that the factories should be used as I have suggested than that they should be used as a medium for profiteering by those who might get possession of them after the war at depreciated values. 1 am not prepared to sacrifice the interests of the people of Australia for the benefit of those who might seek to gain some advantage from securing possession of these properties, thus being in a position to exploit the public.
Aw abd to Medical Personnel.
– oy leave - Yesterday the Leader of the Australian Country party (Mr. Fadden) asked without notice the following question : -
Is it true, as appears in an article in Salt that no Australian doctor or strefcher bearer has been recommended for the Victoria Cross either in the last war or the present war? Does he not consider that Australian doctors and stretcher bearers have earned the Victoria Cross and, if so, will he demand the reason why they have not been recommended by the military authorities?
In the last war there was a British order to which the Australian Imperial Force abroad conformed which, in general, precluded the award of the Victoria Cross to medical officers. This order is referred to in Colonel Butler’s book History of the Australian Medical Services in the Great War. In February, 1.944, Sail reviewed Colonel Butler’s book, and referred to the existence of this old order. The Salt article, in turn, was further reviewed by the Melbourne Herald, and reference was made to the existence of the prohibition, or alleged prohibition of Victoria Cross ‘awards to medical officers. Actually, there is no such order now in existence in the Australian Military Forces, and it is open to any medical officer to earn a Victoria Cross or any other decoration. In this war, many medical officers have been awarded the Distinguished Service Order, and it is only a fortuitous circumstance that some of them have not been awarded the Victoria Cross. If any medical officer is recommended for the Victoria Cross by his Commanding Officer it will be considered on the same basis as other recommendations. The existing British Army Regulations are on similar lines to the Australian Army Regulations, that is, members of the Army Medical Corps are not precluded from being awarded the Victoria Cross.
– Has the Acting Minister for Supply anything to say to the House about the proposal to establish the aluminium industry in Tasmania? “Will he take whatever action is necessary to expedite the completion of the Butler’s Gorge hydro-electric scheme, so that energy may be available for the aluminium industry?
– As the honorable member knows, an agreement has been signed with the Government of Tasmania in regard to this matter, and a bill will be introduced into this Parliament during the next sitting for the purpose of ratifying the agreement. The Butler’s Gorge undertaking is about to be declared an Allied Works project, and we hope that the necessary labour will be made available very soon, because the completion of this scheme is a necessary pre-requisite to the manufacture of aluminium.
– Will the bill be introduced without delay?
– It will be introduced at the very first opportunity.
Tapping or Telephones
– Can the Prime Minister say whether the information about the change of government in Tokyo, gained by the tapping of a telephone, was obtained by the same people who listened to a telephone conversation between the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies) and myself, and made a typewritten record of it?
– I did not say that I obtained the information about the resignation of the Japanese Cabinet by listening to a telephone conversation. 1 said that, as there had been a good deal of talk about listening to conversations, and tapping telephones and the like, it might be of interest to honorable members to know that I had been advised by our listening post that Tokyo radio had broadcast an announcement to the effect that the Japanese Cabinet had resigned. Does the honorable member wish to tempt me to embark upon an explicit statement, regarding the conversation which he had over the telephone with the Leader of the Opposition, the circumstances in which the conversation took place, where he was when he initiated the conversation, and the requests which he made?
– I have no objection.
– The Leader of the Opposition is not responsible for any part of this affair. He was only listening at the other end.
– If there is supposed to be something very “ hush hush “ about any telephone conversation I have had, let the report of it be here and now read to the public.
– I wish to assure the right honorable gentleman that I in no way intend to reflect upon him in this matter. However, I make this point: The Army has exclusive right to a certain telephonic circuit for purposes which are exclusive to the Army. That line must be used only for army purposes. Does the honorable member for Barker wish me to proceed?
– All I have to say is that a circuit of that description’ should not be used for the kind of conversation that is under discussion.
– Can the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction say whether, in order to facilitate the collection of information for government purposes, he will arrange that in the houses to be built by the Government after the war provision will be made for larger keyholes ?
Question not answered.
Address-in-Replt. Debate resumed from the 19th July (vide page 241), on. motion by Mr. Curtin -
That the. following Address-in-Reply to His Excellency the Governor-General’s Speech be agreed to: -
May it pzjsasis Yotnt Exceelbncy:
We, the House of Representatives of the Parliament of the Commonwealth, of Australia in Parliament assembled, desire to express our loyalty ,to our Most Gracious Sovereign, and to thank your Excellency for the Speech which you have been pleased to address to Parliament.
.- I join in congratulating the Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin) on his safe return from his mission overseas and in thanking him for the good work that he performed on behalf of Australia while abroad. The right honorable gentleman landed in Great Britain during the most momentous period in the history of the human race; the allied leaders were fully occupied with final preparations for the opening of the second front in Europe. Although the negotiations in which the Prime Minister participated were not final, they were by no means abortive. On the contrary, much was done towards the solution of problems in relation to man-power, Australia’s war effort, and its part generally in the task undertaken by the United Nations. The Australian
Prime Minister did much to raise the discussion to a high level, and no doubt he sowed the seeds of goodwill and paved the way to a better understanding among: not only the representatives of the British Empire but also the leaders of the nationsallied with the British Empire in thefight for democracy. I am confident that the efforts of the right honorable gentleman did much to lay the foundations of a true and lasting peace when hostilitiescease.
In his report to the Parliament, the Prime Minister said on Monday last -
The critical question that faces the United Nations is the creation of the appropriatemachinery for the maintenance of peace to enable these ideals to be realized in the realms of national policies and in the sphere of international relations where national policies make contact with each other. In London, the Prime Ministers discussed the principle of the machinery for the preservation of peace and. international collaboration, but it would be premature for me to attempt to outline a blueprint of the organization.
In Article 4 of the Moscow Declaration of November, 1943, .the Eour Powers state -
That they recognize the necessity of establishing at the earliest practicable date a general international organization,, based on the principle of the sovereign authority of all peace-loving States, and. open to membership by all such States, large and small, for the. maintenance of international peace and security.
While the allied leaders concentrated on completing their plans for the opening of a second front, and on fighting the common enemy in all theatres of warr there were others who also made plans. Those plans may not assist in establishing a true and lasting peace. In the newspapers recently there have been reports of a meeting of a number of persons in Washington to prepare plans relating tointernational finance in the post-war period. According to. press reports, the representatives of 34 nations agreed tointernational finance being carried on after the war on. a gold basis. The reports state that those who participated in the discussion were experts, and that the question of monetary stabilization in the post-war period was dis-cussed on an expert level. As 34 nations were represented, and as only a few countries,, including Australia, have a people’s bank, it is obvious that most of those present represented the international banking system and the money-changers of the world. “We have had contact with these gentlemen before: we have had experience of their plans, and have tasted the fruits of their schemes. All members will recall that in the depression of a few years ago some of these experts were invited to come to Australia. They know too, the result of the visit to thi” country of Sir Otto Niemeyer and Professor Gregory (or Guggenheimer). Towards the end of the last war when thu Allied nations were in death grips with the enemy and it was uncertain which side would win, some financial experts met in the Black Forest. Among them were representatives of the Bank of England and other financial institutions. Their purpose was to devise plans for a peace which would not be the people’s peace. At that time, as now, there was an agitation for the trial and punishment of war criminals. The slogan of that day was “ Hang the Kaiser “. To-day, we aretold that various Nazis who have b<«m responsible for criminal acts of cruelty, will be tried and punished for their crimes. I remind honorable members that, despite the agitation to “Hang the Kaiser”, the Kaiser was not hanged. Instead, he was allowed to live in comfort on a nice farm in Holland. Newspaper reports state that, notwithstanding the evidence that defeat faces the “Germans, Hitler seems to be jubilant and supremely confident. Perhaps he knows that, just as the Kaiser was not brought to justice but was allowed to live in security and comfort until his death from natural causes, so a ranch in Argentine or elsewhere has been prepared for him and his associates. We are told that the Russians are a ruthless people and that because they have suffered tremendously at the hands of the Nazis they are determined on retribution. Their purpose, we are told, is to take guilty Nazis to the places where their crimes were perpetrated and have them dealt with there. We are told also that the Russians will demand the restoration of their cities, towns and villages by those who were responsible for their destruction. I may be unduly suspicious, but, as I have said, the threats of the past were not always ful- filled. Having heard recent news from
Tokyo, I wonder whether there may be a number of Badoglios in Japan, and whether the practice of the past will be repeated.
In a recent issue of the Sydney Morning Herald the following report appeared.” -
The United States Treasury announced to-day that 34 united and associated nations taking part in currency stabilization conferences in Washington had agreed on the broad outlines of an 8,000,000,000 dollar international stabilization fund based on gold.
In this fund the United States quota would he between 2,500,000,000 and 2,750,000,000 dollars; Britain’s 1,250,000,000 and Russia 1,000,000,000.
The Secretary of the Treasury (Mr. Mor.genth.au) says that proposals to use international currency designations such as “ unitas “ and “ bancor “ had been discarded.
The Associated Press says the agreement i3 a clear-cut American victory over the British plan framed by Lord Keynes, which would have relegated gold to a minor role in favour of pre-war trade quotas as the basis of voting power in the stabilization fund.
It is understood that Russia supported the American position.
However, Mr. Morgenthau and the Treasury expert, Mr. Harry White, emphasized that the plan does not represent the views of any one nation.
Immediate Congressional reaction is favourable. President Roosevelt is expected to call an international monetary conference as soon as possible to embody the principles in a definite programme which will then be subject to Congressional approval.
The report then sets out some details of the plan showing the quotas to be provided by the respective countries, the basis of voting, and so on. Evidently, the plan is based on the rule that he who pays the piper calls the tune. The views of a number of leading newspapers are then given: -
The London Times, in an editorial, congratulates the framers of the currency agreement, but warns that the achievement must not be exaggerated.
The expansion and balanced growth of international trade will not be achieved by international currency agreements, however skilfully drawn, without an active policy by leading industrial countries to secure this balanced growth.
If a repetition of the troubles between the last war and this war is to be avoided it is as important to take care of the balance as of the growth.
Much will depend upon the United States as a great creditor and exporting nation. It is not merely nor primarily a question of American tariffs. What matters most to the rest of the world is that the United States should enjoy stable prosperity without the disturbing fall in the .price level and without alternate booms and slumps, causing havocfar outside American boundaries and by themselves sufficient to wreck any international currency scheme.
It will be seen that there is a determined move to base international currency again on gold which, according to other reports, is a diminishing quantity in the world. The Sydney Morning Herald recently published the following article : -
Fear Revives Demand. By a Special Correspondent.
Two recent reports have directed public attention toward the problem of gold. The report of the committee on international monetary stabilization showed that powerful influences are determined that the monetary functions of gold must be preserved. The annual report of the Australian Mines and Metals Association discloses that gold production in Australia has fallen by about f>0 per cent. Bince 1941.
Is there any connection between the continued use of gold in monetary systems and the very substantial reductions which have recently taken place in gold production?
It is important in answering this question to remember that the decline in gold production is virtually world wide. In practically every belligerent country where the goldmining industry was important before the war. shortages of man-power and equipment have necessitated restrictions on production.
Return to the gold standard, as after the last war, will inevitably lead to a further war. To tie the currency to a commodity which is diminishing or at least static will mean contraction of trade, the closing of industries, and unemployment. We must devise a financial and economic system based on a currency which will expand progressively with the productivity of men and machines, and which will provide not only for economic security as regards our material needs, but also scope for cultural and spiritual development. We can do this if wc realize that man’s real enemy is not or should not be man, but disease, squalor and want and similar ills which scourge mankind. We can conquer them only if we cease internecine warfare, which, if it continues, will exterminate the human race. We can make progress only by observance of the true spirit of brotherly love and co-operation laid down and preached 2,000 years ago by the Founder of Christianity, whose precepts are more preached than practised by many of His professed adherents.
As was pointed out by the Prime Minister, we owe a debt to the small nations. I was amazed to hear broadcast a few nights ago an announcement that one of the conditions laid down by the Monetary Conference in the United States of America is that economic sanctions will be imposed on any country which does not subscribe its quota of gold to the international currency stabilization fund. Is that the sort of thing we are fighting for? A country which has no gold of its own will either not be able to subscribe or will have to borrow from the United States of America, which holds more than 80 per cent, of the world’s gold. It seems to me that we shall be. adding a fifth freedom to the four freedoms for which we artfighting - the freedom of the small nations to be crushed out of existence if they do not provide their quota of gold to the proposed world bank. And what is Australia but a small nation? We have produced one thousand million poundiworth of gold. But where is it? It is not in Australia. So, we cannot provide Australia’s quota of gold unless we borrow from the United States of America and thereby get further into debt. Instead of having one thousand million pounds worth of gold as the backing for our currency we owe mortthan that overseas. The proposal reminds me of the entrepreneur selling trinkets to the farmers at a country fair. He gets the cash, and the farmers get a valueless bauble. That is the position we are now in through having dealt with the international money changers. I hope that this Parliament which will have the final say will give serious thought to whether we should subscribe to the projected bank under the proposed conditions. While we have the Commonwealth Bank and the actual and potential production of this great country, there does not seem to be any necessity for Australia to go back to the gold standard.
We must give proper consideration to the rights of the small nations, because, as Mr. Roosevelt put it very appropriately recently, poverty somewhere means insecurity everywhere. Human society is as sensitive as the human body. Thenis reaction throughout the whole to injury of the smallest member, and, if we are to have permanent peace, we cannot disregard the poverty and suffering of others. Charity, of course, begins at home and our first duty is to our own people. Having cleared the slums and removed the causes of poverty in our own midst we shall then be able to give consideration to the condition of other peoples. I am glad, therefore, that the Minister for External Affairs has announced that Australia will participate in the world rehabilitation scheme, the exact details of which he will place before the House in the near future, so affording honorable members an opportunity to debate the matter in detail. The United States of America, under the lend-lease agreement, has given a good example of what nations can do for each other by mutual aid. If we can have lend-lease for purposes of war we can equally have it for purposes of peace. If other nations cannot pay immediately for our products we can provide them with credits. It would be better to give stuff away than burn or dump it in the 3ea, as happened after the last war.
When we consider the rights of small nations and measures to protect them against the depredations of aggressor nations, we must also give consideration to the small man, the little business man, in our own community, and ensure that he shall be protected from the depredations and rapacity of combines, monopolies and trusts which operate in Australia as they do in other parts of the world. In the United States of America there are not the constitutional difficulties that operate in this country, and there is the Sherman Anti-Trust Law by which trusts, combines and monopolies in that country can, up to a point at least, be dealt with. During this war there have been some interesting disclosures about the operations of some of those combines. For instance, the Standard Oil Company Limited waa found to be in league with the enemy m that, by agreement with the I.G.I, of Germany, it was bound to withhold from the United States authorities certain synthetic rubber processes, even though those processes were vital to the safety of America. That shows how shallow is the patriotism of the people who control such organizations. They are not interested in the maintenance of peace ; their only interest lies in dividends. The Standard Oil Company Limited also had an agreement with the Mitsui and Mitsubishi Trusts in Japan for post-war trade. Does that not indicate that if the members of these trusts, combines and monopolies are allowed to remain in control of them the small man will be crushed out of existence? Surely that is not what we are fighting for! That is why it is important that the referendum be carried. The Attorney-General, on his return from his first trip overseas as Attorney-General, brought down a- bill for alteration of the Constitution in order to ensure the fulfilment of the promises made to men and women of the fighting forces and the community generally. The purpose of the bill was to implement the Four Freedoms of the Atlantic Charter - freedom from want, freedom from fear, freedom of worship and freedom of speech. It was too idealistic and was not proceeded with.
– Yes. That is one reason why it had to be scrapped. Suspicion and distrust prevailed and the influence of vested interests was as strong as ever. The fact remains that the AttorneyGeneral was not able to proceed with that measure. He then called the Canberra Constitution Convention which was attended by representatives of the Government and Opposition parties of all the Parliaments of Australia. The proposals put before that Convention by the Attorney-General in a draft bill were modified. The right honorable gentleman asked that certain specified powers bttransferred by the States to the Commonwealth for a limited period. After discussion, those proposed powers were further watered down. At last, the Convention reached the stage at which it was unanimously agreed that fourteen additional powers were the minimum requirements of the Commonwealth Government in the post-war period to fulfil the promises made to the men and women of this country in the services or in industry, primary and secondary. Those are the powers that the Government will ask the people on the 19th August to transfer to the Commonwealth in order that there may be security for all. Notwithstanding the unanimity of the Convention’s decision, there is great opposition to the referendum proposals, from certain quarters. Who are the “people and what are the interests opposed to the transference of those powers to the Commonwealth Parliament? These selfsame monopolies and combines are already active behind the scenes. Whilst opponents of the Government’s proposals question the expenditure of every penny expended by it in connexion with, the referendum, we do not hear one word about the huge funds which are being, made available by vested interests to opponents of the referendum. Those interests have even gone to the length of using a renegade Labour leader, Me. J- T. Lang, and it is rumoured that that they have placed large sums at his disposal. Just what sum is being paid to him and his organization to help them frustrate the Government is not known, but whatever the amount- be it £50.000 or £100,000- it is a mere pittance compared with the profits which will fall into the lap of vested interests should the Government’s proposals be rejected. I sincerely hope, therefore, that the people will awake to the facts, just as the people of Great Britain, are awakening to the evil influences of trusts and combines. I take the following article from yesterday’s Sydney Morning Herald: -
British Trend Towards Control. F-iill Vse of Nation’s Resources. By Colin Bingham, Our Staff Correspondent in London. (By Beam Wireless.) There is no experience more fascinating to the observer of current affairs in Great Britain than to watch the forces of opinion making preliminary alarums and excursions in preparation for the great struggles between enonomic, principles which will start in earnest when the war ends. One of these struggles will centre around the question of monopoly in general and cartels in particular, and already complications are expected to arise from Hie fact that, whereas powerful industrial spokesmen in Britain have been advocating extension of cartel practices, opinion in the United States is different.
It must be remembered that the United States already has the Sherman Act and other anti-trust legislation, and that the main difficulty of the American Government is to rnforce existing legislation. The British Go- vcrnment, on the other hand, is only at the beginning of the legislative movement against monopoly and restrictive practices, and, according to forecasts, is approaching such eoutrol - in whatever degree it may be exercised - by way of proposals for achieving the highest possible employment of national resources.
There seems to be widespread approval of these intentions, but at the same time several’ influential quarters have emphasized the need for more detailed inquiry into monopolistic practices before legislation is given its final form. The British weekly The Economist complains that Government spokesmen, when approached about the desirability of official factual inquiry into the extent of monopoly and restraint of trade and output before the war, have replied that such an inquiry would cause delay and would not help in tackling, the problems of the future.
The article proceeds to show how certain interests extol the virtues of monopolies in the same way as we in. this country hear so much about the virtues of private enterprise as opposed to government enterprise. The article continues -
Intensification of discussion on ‘various aspects of monopoly followed on what the fiiiiincial editor of the Manchester Guardian called “ the remarkable confession of faith “ try Lord McGowan in his latest annual statement as chairman of Imperial Chemical Industries.
Lord McGowan believes in largescaleorganization and in international agreements with private groups abroad “ as instruments of world rationalization of industry “. He is frightened that without such co-ordination his industry would suffer from “ the economic- min retry of cut-throat competition”. private empires.
The O-uardian’s financial editor comments: “ Candour commands respect, but it is not in itself an answer to these private empiresLord McGowan knows that our future standard of living will largely depend on theenergy of our people, our technical development, and our success in foreign trade. He knows we shall not have a dog’s chance unless the skill and ingenuity of the people is matched by ability and skill in management. That is where the doubt comes in. Has Lord McGowan realized how far ability and skill of management has fallen behind the times? Have all these industrial captains who haveescaped competition by monopolies realized that in preventing what they mis-name economic anarchy they have killed the power that kept them on the move?”
The financial editor of The Times, also commenting on Lord McGowan’s report, says: “ There is crying need for a closer definition of the virtues of large-scale organization and abuses of monopolistic power. To recreateconditions of free competition may often bethe only way to deal with such abuses.” restraint of trade.
The latest word on restraint of trade is contained in a report issued by the British Committee of the International Chamber of Commerce. The report deals with many aspects of world trade, but only one of its proposals need be mentioned here. This declares that: “Every combination in restraint nf trade, -whether local or world-wide, and whether or not deliberately created by Government action, requires public supervision in the general interest. The objects of such -.upervision should be to prevent any combination from keeping prices unduly high or output unduly low, and acting as a shield for the inefficient or high-cost producer or obstructing shifts of production which are iH’ouomicnlly necessary.”
It may be noted that Britain’s technological position is usually given an important place in discussions on monopoly. Mr. Herbert Morrison - who on social and economic questions speaks more often and more stimulatingly than any other member <)[ the British Government - declared in the Hobhouse Memorial Trust lecture in Cambridge : “ When a great industrial corporation slows down a particular line of development or buys up and locks away a new patent, it is perhaps just being stupid and lazy, but not necessarily. Every large change in the social and economic sphere has its cOBt os well as its possible advantage. In the case of great firms dominating their market or dealing with some process vital to the economic well-being of the community, it -hould not be left to their unaided devices to calculate whether a certain change is justifiable or not. Their calculation is bound to be made in the interests of their shareholders. We ought to remember the importance of ensuring that public policy is effectively operative.” [Extension of time granted.’] That article sets out tie position very clearly and reveals an awakening on the part of the people of Great Britain to the evilg of monopolies and combines. It also sets out the reason why the Government is asking the people to vest greater powers in the National Parliament to enable it to deal effectively with such concerns. We know from experience that if monopolies are allowed to go their own sweet way in the post-war period, large-scale unemployment will inevitably result as happened after the last war. Let us see what is actually happening now under our very noses. I refer to a recent industrial dispute on the South Coast.
– That is the point. In this case the Government exercised that power by ordering the Australian Iron and Steel Company to re-employ 10.000 employees after the company had closed down its works merely in order to take advantage of a disipute which had occurred on the South Coast coal-fields, although that dispute had nothing whatever to do with the ironworks. The point I emphasize is that unless the referendum be carried, the Government will retain that power only for the duration of the war and twelve months thereafter. A similar case reported in the daily press was -
A Newcastle firm was fined a total of £280 in the Federal Court yesterday on charges of having attempted to dismiss 35 of its employees without consent of the Director-General of Man Power.
The firm, Bylands Brothers, Australia, Proprietary Limited, steel manufacturers, wasfined £8 on each of the 35 charges.
The Government was able to protect those particular employees only because of the power it now enjoys temporarily under the National Security Act; but it will not be able to protect the workers in that way in the post-war period unless its referendum proposals be agreed to. Our experience shows that monopolies and combines cannot continue to make huge profits unless they are enabled, by tactics of the kind I have described, to create pools of cheap labour. Because of such conditions the workers not only in Australia but also throughout the world are now becoming restive. Here is another interesting press extract -
New York, Tuesday.-“ Sit-in “, “ work-f oi - nothing” strikers at the Brewster Aircraft Factory declare they are fighting for millions’ of war” factory workers in the United Nations.
They maintain they are defending the right of workers to be kept on their jobs during and after conversion of war factories to peacetime products.
Dismissal notices were served ou 4,500 Brewster employees, following the Navy’s cancellation of orders for Corsair lighters.
But they are still defying the Navy’s ordci to get out, and are determined to stay on the joh, even without pay.
The workers admit they want to make the strike as dramatic as possible and say work without pay is calculated to arouse publicinterest.
Representatives of the United Autoworkers* Union announced: “They’ll have to carry us all out bodily - and that’s going to be a big job “.
Company representatives, who nominally arc neutral, say they can’t physically evict the men.
Bichard Frankensteen, a vice-president ot the union in charge of the aircraft workers, has issued a statement that the situation al the Brewster factory is “ only >i foretaste “t wide-scale chaos of unemployment if war production is suddenly halted without adequate planning. “ If this chaos develops during war-time, what will the situation be when peace comes? “ he asks.
Brewster workers to-day decorated the om side of the factory with huge posters : “ We’ve got tools, ability and experience, but we ain’t got the work! “ 1 he union plans to hold a mass meeting in Manhattan later in tha week to decide future tactics. - “ Sun “ Special.
That is evidence of the workers determination not to tolerate the economic conditions with which they were obliged to put up after the last war. They want a new deal ; and the Australian workers wish to see adequate powers vested in the National Parliament to enable it to deal with combines and monopolies. I was pleased to hear the Minister for Munitions (Mr. Makin) give an assurance that the annexes and factories set up by the Government at very great cost to the people will not be sacrificed to private interests ‘ after the war. However, the Government will have no alternative should the people decline to give to the Parliament the power necessary to enable it to make the best use of those undertakings in peace. In my own electorate, for instance, the Government has established an explosives factory at a cost of £5,000,000. In order to do so it appropriated land which had been bought by private people for the purpose of building homes; but it paid to those people only a third of what the land had cost them. The former owners were prepared to make that sacrifice so long as the community as a whole benefited thereby. However, they will resent the sacrifice if that property is to be sacrificed to Imperial Chemical Industries Limited, which is already preparing to take over the works, because in this field it will have no competitor, and, therefore, will be able to pick up the undertaking almost “for a song”. That is what will happen if the Government be not given power to convert its factories in the post-war period to manufacture articles for peace-time use. Im- perial Chemical Industries Limited is dismissing employees whom the Government sent to its factory, and is putting its own staff in control. The same thing is happening at the aircraft works at Lidcombe, in the management of which the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited and Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation are interested. I smile when I hear comparisons drawn between government enterprise and private enterprise. For security reasons, I do not desire to make a. statement that would in any way undermine the morale of the community or the fighting services, but I could tell a very sorry story about the conduct of the management of those works. Perhaps in the post-war period, a public inquiry will be held into that matter. If that occurs, some light will be thrown upon what private enterprise is doing. Recently, some workers there were dismissed because they protested against what they regarded as sabotage of the Avar effort and fifth-column activity. They asked for a full inquiry, but to date their request has not been granted. “When in due cour.se their complaints are investigated, their stand will be fully vindicated, just as the Tolpuddle martyrs were vindicated many years ago.
– That is an assumption.
– It is not an assumption because I know the facts. Unfortunately, my lips are sealed at this juncture. I am loth to disclose the facts because the publicity might prejudice the war effort. Some people in control, particularly the personnel officer, have openly said that they hope that the Commonwealth Government will not be granted additional powers. They do not want the Government to obtain power to convert factories from war-time to peacetime manufacture, although it has invested millions of pounds in those enterprises.
My old opponent, Mr. J. T. Lang, has been retained by the same interests to fight their battle for them, in an endeavour to ensure that the Government shall not secure these powers. Perhaps, it is only logical that this individual should be holding a brief for those interests, because he has consistently opposed every phase of the war effort. I did not mention this matter previously, even during the election campaign, although this individual and his followers spread insidious propaganda and carried on a whispering campaign against me. For my support, I was prepared to rely upon my record of service to my constituents. But this gentleman is linked with subversive influences in this country. On the outbreak of war, this fellow, Lang, stated publicly at the Australian Hall, Sydney - I heard him repeat the statement subsequently - that the first man who enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force to serve overseas “ scabbed “ on his mates here. Although that was his attitude towards the Australian Imperial Force then, he now poses, according to the last issue of his newspaper, Century, as the champion of the soldiers, and tells them that this Government, if granted additional powers, will impose industrial conscription upon the troops in the post-war period. He is ,a fine individual to pose as their champion!
– The honorable member will find that some people closer to him than Lang, for instance, some Ministers, made a similar remark.
– Two of my sons are ia the Australian Imperial Force, and the third is in the Royal Australian Air Force. Relatives of hundreds of thousands of service men and service women resent the attitude of this individual, and his opposition to every phase of the war effort. He has opposed the Government’s defence policy, financial policy, and war loan campaigns. Indeed, he advised people in his electorate to invest not in war savings certificates, but in real estate. He opposed the rationalization of industry, designed to direct man-power and materials from non-essential works into the war effort. He opposed the Department of War Organization of Industry and the Allied Works Council, which constructed airfields that later played such an important part in the battle of the Coral Sea. Week after week, he has made personal attacks on the Prime Minister, other Ministers, and departments. Inspired articles written by an individual signing himself “ Demos “ repeatedly criticize this Government. Through his journal, he has incited workers in the key industries - food, fuel and transport - to strike. His “ stooges “, who work in those industries, are linked with Trotsky elements. They believe that they can repeat what the Bolsheviks did in Russia in 1917, and make a deal with the enemy. Some are international revolutionaries, who believe that they can come to terms with Japan. Others are Fascist elements, who think that they can make a deal for another purpose. Every issue that can be raised to split the workers - communism and anticommunism, and religious and racial prejudices - has been raised by this individual, just as he is now attempting to divide the workers on the referendum issue. His object is to create chaos in this country, and to set up a dictatorship with himself as leader. I say that advisedly, because I have been in the unfortunate position of having to come into contact with his operations, and I have had to study some of his tactics. The upheavals in the coal-mining industry are not accidental. Miners are defying even their own workmates and their own organization. The truth is that these elements have a link with the enemy, and I oan prove it from facts within my knowledge. [Further extension of time granted.]
Lang has employed a publicity officer, J. H. C. Sleeman, who has studied Nazi and Fascist tactics. Some years ago, he was convicted on a charge of trying to bribe a Labour member of a government in Queensland and so defeat the Government. Unfortunately for him, the attempt was discovered, a sum of £3,000 was found on him, and he was convicted. Now, Lang has assumed the leadership of the “ No “ campaign. Hecertainly did not employ Sleeman because of his Labour principles. Thepublicity officer began to adopt thetechnique of the Nazis and Fascists, by building up Lang with press propaganda,, badges, buttons, and even busts which were offered for sale at 2s. 6d. apiece. He preached the doctrine that “ Lauis right “. No one could remain in theLabour movement if he differed from Lang. No Labour supporter was to take any action unless instructed by his leader to do so. This attempt to gull tieworkers into a state of insensibility wasalso adopted by the dictators in Germany and Italy. But a time always comeswhen such people fall out, and for as short period, Lang and Sleeman were not friends. Sleeman wrote a book in which he purported to tell the true story of J. T. Lang and in which he showed how Lang’s “ victories “ had assisted high finance. When Lang was asked to reveal to the executive of the Australian Labour party the identity of “ Demos “, he declined to do so and for a very good reason, because Sleeman in this book admits that he was “ Demos “. Referring to another book that he was about to publish, he wrote: -
Fascism m Australia. The Little Known Faacistic Powers That
Canberra Has Up Its Sleeve. Democracy is Liable to Assault and Battery Whenever Fascism Becomes Active. By
Fascism in its anti-Christian, anti-Jewish aspects re-introduces to the world the worst pogroms of mediajval Europe, grafted on to a pagan stock, in which modern dictators demand for themselves the apotheosization that the Emperors of Rome demanded. Modern dictators demand that they shall be worshipped as gods and served without question, without hesitation, without delay. No dictator in Europe demands a great moral servitude, a greater political slavery, a greater subjection of the individual to the machinemade despot, than does Mr. Lang in New South Wales.
To-day, there can only be one issue for the democrats within the Labour party to face, and that is the freeing of Labour thought from the machine-made manacles of dictatorial leadership.
Either Labour must free itself from ite servitude, or it must remain the bond-slave 01 a soul-numbing and spirit-depressing tyranny. Before Labour can succeed to power, it must rid itself of the overlordship that would prevent it functioning, other than as a party in pawn to a juuta and answering the whip-crack of a leader.
There must never again be the slogan, “Lang is Right! “ because to-day, before the people is one grim alternative:
There is a link between these elements and the enemy. Sleeman and Lang composed their differences. The publicity officer, who has been writing subversive articles and making attacks on the Government, wrote a booklet in which he criticized the attitude of this country towards Japan.
Truth newspaper described it as “ferocious”. About the time Japan entered the war, Sleeman, or “ Demos “, was actually in the pay of the Japanese Government. He was employed in the office of the Japanese Consul in Sydney, and despite the fact that this country had been at war with Germany and Italy for a couple of years, he was a Japanese agent obtaining information about our industries and providing vital data for our potential enemy. When Japan entered the war, he was promptly interned. That is the kind of man whom these people employ to do their dirty work. The Government has been very tolerant towards certain elements who are sabotaging and undermining our wb.t effort. If they had their way, they would plunge this country into civil war and bloodshed, and repeat the horrors that Spain and. other countries have suffered. It can happen here, just as it has happened recently in Argentina. I ask the Government to take heed of my warnings of the danger.
Debate (on motion by Mr. FitAwois), adjourned.
– by leave - Earlier, I made a short announcement, as the result of “ monitoring “ which had been carried out by the listening post of the Departmeent of Information, of a broadcast which stated that the Japanese Cabinet had resigned. The full text of the announcement by Japanese Bureau of Information over Tokyo Radio is as follows: -
Since the beginning of the war the Government in concert with Imperial Head-quarters has acted as one body for the successful prosecution of the war and has up to now repeatedly concentrated all its efforts. However, owing to the present emergency and the need for an all-out effort the personnel of the Government has been changed, in order to bring about co-operation in the strong prosecution of the war. In accordance with the needs of the time, a wide search has been made to find suitable men for the strengthening of the Cabinet, lt was decided to try every possible means to reach a solution. It has failed and the objective was not attained. Therefore, the Government has finally decided to restore the whole nation’s confidence in the Government and its prosecution of the war and has found it appropriate that the whole
Cabinet resign. To jo has received the resignation of all Cabinet Ministers and he saw the Emperor at 12.40 p.m. on 18th July in order to tender his resignation. This situation is the result of the period of all-out effort, and we sincerely regret causing anxiety to thu Emperor. We thank the people at home and at the front for co-operating with the Government. We hope that a strong Cabinet will come into being so that the war will be carried on successfully without further waste of time.
I do not at this stage offer any opinion on what this development means.
– It 3eems n novel way of restoring confidence in the Government.
– I should imagine so.
Suspension op Standing Orders. Mr. CUETIN (Fremantle - Prime Minister and Minister for Defence)- [12.19]. - by leave - It is desired that, in order to meet the convenience of the Senate, the representatives of this House on the War Expenditure Committee and the Social Security Committee should now be appointed. I move -
That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent, before the AddressinReply is adopted, the appointment of joint committees.
Question resolved in the affirmative. Motions (by Mr. Curtin) - by leave - agreed to -
That, notwithstanding anything contained in the Standing Orders -
the committee or any sub-committee have power to send for persons, papers and records, to adjourn from place to place, and to sit during any adjournment of the Parliament and during the sittings of either House of the Parliament; and have leave to report from time to time the evidence taken;
the committee have leave to report from time to time its proceedings, and any member of the committee have power to add a protest or dissent to any report; (ti) three members of the committee constitute a quorum of the committee and two members of a sub-committee constitute a quorum of that subcommittee ; (e) the committee have power, in cases where considerations of national security preclude the publication of any recommendations and of the arguments on which they are based, or both, to address a memorandum to the Prime Minister, for the consideration of War Cabinet, but on every occasion when the committee exercises this power, the committee shall report to the Parliament accordingly. 4. That a message be sent to the Semite requesting its concurrence and asking that two members of the Senate bc appointed to serve on such committee.
That, notwithstanding anything contained in the Standing Orders -
the committee have leave to report from time to time its proceedings, and any member of the committee may add a protest or dissent to any report;
three members of the committee constitute a quorum.
Debate resumed (vide page 300).
.- This House has been specially called together to hear a statement by the Prime Minister arising out of his recent vidit to Great Britain to confer with the leaders of the Empire. We had hoped - at bast
I had- to be given much more information than we have received at his hands. I had believed that the importance of the discussions that took place there would have caused the Prime Minister to take the House into his confidence and tell it many things which I especially expected to hear. I regard the conference as one of the most important that has taken place during this war, but in the -main’ all the information that this House has had is only a compilation of what we have already read in the press. I believe that many things were discussed by that conference which it would be improper for the Prime Minister to disclose to the public through a statement to the House. Nevertheless, I also believe that much .of the information which he must have .at his disposal should have .been made available to honorable members. We should have been told something more specific about the arrangements for man-power, and something more definite about any agreement or resolution carried at the conference which will affect the whole Empire. I am quite satisfied that at that conference some general principles must have been arrived . at regarding .mam-power, and peace, and co-operation between the various nations which make up the British Commonwealth, but there is no reference to any of those things in the Prime Minister^ speech. According to the press reports that have been received, he represented this country very well while overseas. But decisions which were made at the conference, of vital importance to the Commonwealth’s war effort and to post-war reconstruction and development, on such important questions as the possibility of the exchange of .people between the British Dominions, sud migration generally, should have been revealed to the House. Before the final adoption of any such decisions this Parliament should be in a position to know what the details are, and to discuss them, so that we can make a contribution to the .general welfare of this country and of the whole Empire. The Opposition in this Parliament has its rights, and it ‘has its views, which it is entitled to express. It can make very vital contributions towards reconstruction after the war of the Commonwealth and the world generally, and towards the re-organization which is necessary to-day to carry on the war.
One feature which I was pleased to see in the Prime Minister’s speech was the somewhat belated appreciation of Great Britain. I wish that many more members of the ‘Government were able to .proceed overseas to make contact with the Government and people of Great Britain, and learn to appreciate their war effort. This country owes much -to Great Britain and so do other parts of the Empire. Had if. not been for ‘the lone stand of -Great Britain after Dunkirk, and the fine, inspiring leadership of Mr. ‘Churchill civilization would have -gone under, democracy would have perished, all the democratic nations of the world would have been trodden underfoot, and Naziism and all it stands for would have survived. Too much cannot be said to-day and at all times in appreciation of the part Great Britain has played in this war, and the assistance it has given to Australia and to the Allied Nations which ure fighting together for the destruction of Hitler. I appreciate that tribute from the Prime Minister, because it has been far too long delayed, and it has never been expressed as it. should have been in thi3 House by this Government.
I, too, would like to pay a tribute to the wonderful work that las ‘been done by both Mr. Churchill and President Roosevelt in global strategy, which was agreed to at the conferences .held in ‘the Atlantic, and at Cairo, Casablanca and Tehran, of which we have heard from time to time. I should have liked to know, stated in as broad general principles as could be disclosed to the House, -what was decided there, what the Government is going to do in co-operation with our Allies arising out of those conferences, and generally what the global strategy is. Details obviously cannot be made available to the House, but I very much regret the vagueness of the reply that w. e have received from the Prime Minister. I, too, was sorry that the information made available to us was still so vague about the methods proposed to be adopted, when -peace is signed, to ensure the continuance of peace. The proposals of the Prime Minister, vague as they were, looked very much like the old
League of Nations dressed up in some new garment. That will not suffice. That alone will not pull us through and prevent war in the years which are yet ahead. I hope that an urgent opportunity will be given to this House to discuss the proposals in detail so that we may all malco our contributions to ensure lasting peace when this war is over.
Another disappointing, feature of the Prime Minister’s statement wa3 the vagueness of his reference to the reallocation of Australian man-power, consequent upon the understanding reached with the Allied leaders. I regard the discussion of the reallocation of man-power as the main reason for the calling together of this Parliament. I read in the press that that was one of the features which the Prime Minister had discussed with the War Advisory Council, and that he would deal with’ it at length in this chamber. 1’ refer honorable members to what the Prime Minister said on this subject in his speech on Monday in moving the Address.i nReply -
As’ I indicated, in the discussions which 1 had with Mr. Churchill, President Roosevelt, and with the combined Chiefs of Staff, and with the Chiefs of Staff of the United Kingdom, and of the United States of America, I have arranged for steps to be taken to re-allocate thu man-power resources of Australia. There is a fighting- contribution which this country should make,, and will make, until the enemy lias been completely defeated. There are, however, leeways in the economic life of Australia which we should commence to overtake. Some part of the physical equipment for the maintenance of our war effort has to have strength added to it. I do not here intend to particularize. I merely say that the strength of our fighting services has been the subject of a mutual understanding with ou-r Allies. This will enable- more,, but not unlimited, man-power to be allocated to the economic services of the nation.
I have also arranged what shall be the extent nf the’ production of this country which shall be allocated for export. This is a part of the understanding that has been reached. Two considerations enter into this matter. One is the realization of the total nature of the Australian war effort, and the other is the capacity to supply the transportation required for that part of our production which other countries require and can take.
To my mind that statement could not be expressed in vaguer terms. Australia has reached a stage in this war at which it should be told more definitely what those proposals are. The Govern ment’s intentions should be definitely indicated to the nation regarding all the organization of man-power required in our secondary industries, what the real problem is, and what is to be done to meet the very urgent need for more man-power in our rural industries, having regard at the same time to the obligations necessary to keep the fighting forces of this country up to the highest possible standard. The vague phraseology employed by the Prime Minister leaves the community in a very uncertain position, and I trust that, when replying to this debate, the right honorable gentleman will be much more specific. How can private industry prepare for post-war reconstruction if it does not know what plans are being made for this work? The primary industries to-day are in a deplorable condition through lack of man-power, and they have been looking to the Prime Minister for a definite statement of policy, but the right honorable gentleman has not made any concrete proposals for the alleviation of the present hardships. His speech could not have been couched in more vague terms. It is obvious that the unsettled position which exists throughout this country to-day cannot be permitted to continue. Definite plans must ‘be made and implemented without- delay.
I object to the manner in which, the authorities have been handling manpower releases from the Army, and, in that regard also, I had hoped to’ hear a definite pronouncement by the Prime Minister. I have had forwarded to me by many of my constituents complaints about the refusal of the authorities to release their sons from the forces. Some of these letters would make one weep. In tragic circumstances, aged and infirm parents of servicemen, some of whom are only sons, are carrying on pastoral properties - dairying and’ agricultural - without the assistance- of ablebodied employees; yet releases have been refused. On the other hand, applications supported by much weaker cases have been granted. There is something grossly wrong in the administration of this important matter. Apparently, very little regard is being, paid to the individual circumstances’ of farmers who apply for the release of their soldier sons. Also-, it is most difficult to obtain the release of soldiers who enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force early in the war and have fought in the Middle East, Greece,Crete and Syria, and later on for long arduous periods in New Guinea. Despite the long and valuable service that these soldiers have rendered to their country, the Army authorities refuse to release them because they are members of operational units. I contend that, whether a soldier is in an operational unit or not, consideration should be given to the fact that he has served with the fighting forces for three or four years, during which his parents have carried on their farming activities by working extra hours and suffering great physical strain. In my opinion, the situation in the rural industries to-day cannot be improved very much by the release of men from other vocations to undertake farm-work. Every one knows that it is impossible to obtain workers for dairy-farms and for rural work generally, merely by advertising in the press. The real trouble is the Army’s refusal to release men who are members of operational units. Although there is a huge number of men in our fighting forces to-day, apparently fighting is to be limited to the comparatively few members of the Australian Imperial Force who already have fought on three continents. That is a wrong principle, and I ask that the whole matter be reviewed.
The Government’s policy in regard to man-power releases from the Army in Queensland has been so unfair that the Queensland Minister for Agriculture - a Labour Minister - regarded it as his duty to make a public protest to the press. He pointed out that in the dairying industry the percentage of releases in Queensland recommended by the man-power authorities was lower than in any other State. The figures are: Queensland, 33.9 per cent.; New South “Wales, 43.7 per cent.; Victoria, 46 per cent.; South Australia, 46.6 per cent.; “Western Australia, 58.8 per cent.; Tasmania, 54 per cent., giving an average for the Commonwealth of 42.4 per cent., compared with Queensland’s 33.9 per cent.
– If the honorable member were to make a comparison of the releases for the sugar industry in the various States, he would find that in Western Australia no releases had been granted, and that very few had been granted in Victoria and New South Wales.
– That, of course, is elementary. Very little sugar is grown in the other ‘States. It is unworthy of the Prime Minister to waste the time of the House by making such futile observations. I ask him how much sugar is grown in Western Australia?
– None. Apparently the honorable member wants man-power for the industries exclusive to Queensland and the same proportion of man-power for every other industry.
– No. I am dealing mainly with the dairying industry. I remind the right honorable gentleman that the release of men to engage in the sugar industry is temporary. Labour for this industry has always been recruited from every State in peace-time, and in war-time is also being supplied from every State. Preference is being given in releases to men of experience in the sugar industry. Obviously, these men who formerly came from every State in the Commonwealth to work in the industry are eligible for release from the forces to-day. There is widespread dissatisfaction in northern Queensland at the lack of a definite and just policy. Enlistments from rural industries in Queensland have been higher than in any other State, the figures being: Queensland, 24.2 per cent.; New South. Wales, 16.1 per cent.; Victoria, 17 per cent.; South Australia, 22.4 per cent.; Western Australia, 16.8 per cent.; Tasmania, 21.6 per cent., giving an average for the Commonwealth of 18.8 per cent.; yet, despite that high percentage of enlistments in Queensland, releases have been lower in that State than anywhere else in the Commonwealth.
– By whom were those figures prepared?
– They were issued by the Commonwealth Statistician. I ask the Prime Minister what hope or inspiration can anybody derive from his vague statement about the importance of meting out fair treatment to rural workers in order to increase production? Rarely does the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture (Mr. Scully) speak in this chamber without, mentioning ever-increasing production targets; hut the targets for the dairying industry have dropped substantially this year, following a similar drop last year. Despite strenuous efforts on the part of dairy farmers to increase production, every effort that is made in Queensland to obtain the necessary man-power for this work, is handled unjustly. I ask again that some regard be paid to the individual circumstances of each applicant for the release of a serviceman, and to the soldier’s own record of service. Dairy-farmers in Queensland are having a most difficult time. Up to date they have been heroes and have stuck to their jobs, but now some of them are ageing, and no longer are physically able to carry on this work. Honorable members opposite would sympathize with their plight had they seen them working as 1 have during the recent wet season.
– The same conditions apply- all over Australia.
– Yes, but the treatment of those people in other parts of the Commonwealth is much better than it has been in Queensland. Had the Prime Minister made a clear statement of the Government’s intentions, the primary producers of this country would be much happier than they are to-day.
A further point with which I should like to deal is the Prime Minister’s statement regarding the future of our fighting forces. I was pleased to hear the right honorable gentleman’s tribute to our soldiers, sailors, and airmen, and I join with him in paying that tribute; but 1 say to the right honorable gentleman and to the House that very much more must be done before we can be satisfied that our fighting forces arc receiving all the consideration that they deserve. The Prime Minister said -
I would add that while sacrifices have been general on the part of the peoples of the United Nations, the first claim on our gratitude is that of the fighting men and their dependants. It is the supreme duty of governments to sec that this debt is discharged.
As a returned soldier and one who has jealously watched repatriation activities since the last war, I consider that the Government is not making a very worthy effort to discharge its supreme duty to the members of our fighting forces. I protest strongly against the long delay in implementing the reports of the unofficial committee of returned soldier members of this Parliament on repatriation matters generally and the rehabilitation of service personnel. That committee made two reports, one dealing with pensions, and the other with repatriation matters generally. Very few, if any, of the recommendations contained in the second report have been implemented by the Government. It is of the utmost importance that we should make adequate provision for the repatriation, rehabilitation, re-education and vocational training of members of the fighting forces who, after serving their country nobly, are broken down in health and have resumed civilian life. There are tens of thousands of them. I am advised that only one of the many ex-servicemen suffering from war disabilities is receiving vocational training in Queensland. Generally speaking, these men are handed over to the Department of Labour and National Service, and pushed into any blind alley job which may be offering. They are being given all kinds of light duties - jobs which I admit are difficult to find on many occasions - and I concede that the man-power authorities have done a good job in finding work for them; but that is not the point. Instead of wasting their tame, they should be given an opportunity to learn a trade or be trained for a skilled occupation, and when university careers have been interrupted by military service, provision should be made for the return of service men to the universities, so that when peace comes they will be prepared to undertake useful employment.
Sitting suspended from, 12.^.5 to 2.1.5 p.m. .
– I endorse wholeheartedly the statement of the Prime Minister that our fighting men and their dependants have first claim on the gratitude of the nation, and that it is the supreme duty of the Government to ensure that the debt which Australia owes to them shall be discharged. The manner in which the Government is discharging it does not meet with my approval or the approval of the .overwhelming majority of the people of Australia. It can be honoured only by ensuring that the tens of thousands of men who are being released from the Army to-day, and others who will bc released later, shall be given <m opportunity immediately to receive vocational training. We should not await the termination of the war to begin to take steps to that end. The men who are being discharged to-day should speedily be given every opportunity to learn a trade, so that they may be better fitted to engage in civil occupations, either in the industries which they left or in other industries which they may choose to enter. Those whose university or technical school courses were interrupted, should be given the chance to complete them. Because of loss of limbs, sickness, or a general break-down of health, many of them are unable to return to the trade or occupation which they followed prior to the war. It is the duty of the Government to put into operation without delay the recommendations of the joint committee of returned soldier members of this Parliament, which inquired, some time ago, into the rehabilitation of soldiers. These men are not receiving first claim on the gratitude of this country, because the Government is still marking time. Many of them have been put by the man-power authorities into whatever jobs may he available, not those that represent an improvement of the position which they held before enlistment. The attitude of the Government in this connexion is not indicative of that gratitude which thu Prime Minister has professed. These men should be speedily given every opportunity to equip themselves to fill permanently a successful place in the economic structure of this country, instead of being employed ‘ by the Allied Works Council and in other “ blind-alley “ jobs. Repatriation of such men should be effected not after the war but immediately. I shall read a few paragraphs from the report of the committee to which I have referred, in order that the minds of honorable members may be refreshed in relation thereto. The committee reported in paragraph IS -
The objective of the task of re-establishment is, of course, to place the discharged members is quickly as possible in positions whereby each can earn a livelihood of a reasonable standard of comfort. After the last war the measures were directed along four main avenues - employment, vocational, training for ultimate employment, assistance to commence in business, and land settlement.
Since 1918 there have been changes in industrial structure, methods and requirements, in methods of primary production, and in the proportions of the community engaged in primary industries, secondary industries, and distribution. Economically, however, the position is substantially the same now as then - the four avenues mentioned are still the main ones open to the community for gaining livelihoods.
Of the four, the most suitable for reestablishment of large bodies of men is undoubtedly the first mentioned - employment, especially if reconstruction is sound in planning and effect. With all four methods, it is inevitable that in some cases there will be delay in achieving the objective, but this disadvantageous factor is less with employment than with training, land settlement, and establishing men in business.
One phase of the evidence given to the committee should convince the House of the changes that have taken place in the members of our fighting services, as well as in the economic structure of Australia. The report continued -
There are good reasons on this occasion for extending training to a greater percentage of members. The reasons arc well set out in evidence given before the Committee by Lieutenant-Colonel R. B. Madgwick, M.Ec, Ph.l>., Director of Education and Vocational Training in the Department of the Army, as follows: -
We have taken men out of their normal civil employments and have changed them fundamentally. Wo have removed the motive that would actuate them in their civil life. We have taken from them all striving to gain a livelihood. Shortly, we have changed them; they are different social beings; In the course of that process of change, we have put them into an environment in which they cannot get a full appreciation of the changes that are occurring in the economic and social structure. They have new interests which occupy the greater part of their time and do not know what is taking place in the environment in which they formerly lived. At the same time, that environment itself is changing very rapidly. Australia is now going in for secondary industry. We are producing process workers, or men and women with n degree of skill rather greater than that of a process worker, in our munitions training schemes, dilutee schemes, &c. Those men who are skilled tradesmen or process workers have two major advantages over the men in the Army. In the first place, they are maintaining and increasing their skill; and in the second place, they are working in a- changing economy, and are understanding the changes by reason of tlieir participation in them. The man in the ATjnj is losing his skill and is not being given the- training that is being given to the ordinary civilian population. Therefore, when he returns to civil life he will have lost a good deal of the skill that he formerly possessed and will certainly not have been trained for all of those new trades that developed during the war. That seems to me to he tho great argument in favour of a full-dress vocational training scheme after the war, in which the eligibility for training as far as Army personnel are concerned will need to be isxtremely wide, otherwise, they will bc penalized in two ways - by having been vemoved from their environment, causing change to themselves, and because those not in the Army will have had all the advantages of training that they needed in order to ensure an effective war effort.
For those reasons, which were so well stated, I appeal to the Minister for Repatriation to ensure that the vocational training organization shall be .so constituted that it will absorb these men as they come out of the Army to-day. T mentioned earlier that I had learned from inquiries in Queensland that only one man of the tens of thousands who. had been released from the Army had been aiven vocational training.
– That is wrong. We have a tentative scheme, and have done the very best we could do.
– A tentative scheme after five years of war does not appeal to rae.
– The honorable gentleman should remember that we are still at war.
– The Minister has had this report since January, 1943. The Army has said that it has no further use for tens of thousands of young men who have given to this country all that they possessed, because chey are broken down in health or are suffering from wounds or other disabilities. For the reasons stated by Lieutenant-Colonel Madgwick, the Government should go right ahead with vocational training. [Extension of time granted.] Lieutenant-Colonel Madgwick went on to say -
My attitude towards eligibility for training after the war is that all men in the Army, of whatever category they may be, both for their own sake and for the sake of Australia’s economy, must be given a degree of skill and training at least equal to that given during the war to the civilians;
That is what I am advocating. I ask the Minister to take action now, not to nurse a tentative scheme after five years of war.
– The honorable gentleman knows that every man who has been incapacitated has been trained to take his ordinary joh, and that employment has been found for other men, who will not be debarred from being trained as soon as possible after the war.
– The Minister is not aware of what the department is doing.
– I am. Mr. FRANCIS.- -A tentative scheme of repatriation and vocational training is a monstrous proposition to put to this House. Lieutenant-Colonel Madgwick continued -
Otherwise, no preference or anything else will be of the slightest value, because these men will be unskilled and untrained and will not he able to take their places in the post-war economy. They will be competing with men and women who are skilled. Even if they are trained to at least the point renched by the civilian during the war they will stilt be at a hig disadvantage.
A unanimous decision of the committee was contained in this paragraph -
The Committee considers that training should be available not only for the classes eligible in 1918, viz., those” incapacitated by war service to the extent of being unable to follow their pre-war occupations, and those who enlisted at an early age, but also for the following classes: -
Those who have commenced a course of instruction under a Service scheme of education or training, with a view to improving their earning capacity, and have shown that they have the ability to complete the course; (10 Those whose pre-war occupations were not of a skilled character, or who were skilled in certain directions nowless in demand, and who have shown aptitude for and are otherwise deserving of training for othcT occupations.
As regards those enlisted at an early age, the condition last time was that the member enlisted while under 20 years of age. The Committee considers the condition should be * enlisted at the age of 22 years or under “.
There is one other point in connexion with vocational training which I impress upon the Minister. It was pointed out in evidence that the facilities needed to set up all the machinery required for vocational training are hopelessly inadequate, if these proposals are to be given effect. There is not sufficient technical machinery and equipment in Australia to start the school that will be needed to give these men vocational training. It was mentioned that if all of the facilities available at present in the high schools were handed over to the Repatriation Department, or to some other organization, it would not be adequate to give these men the vocational training to which they are entitled. Therefore, I ask the Minister for Repatriation to give up the idea of a tentative scheme, and to build up the necessary organization immediately to provide these men with a proper vocational training.
I shall now refer to the attitude of the Government to disabled returned soldiers “who have sought to obtain small businesses. At an inquiry recently conducted in Sydney, at which the commissioner was Mr. Bradley, K..C, evidence was given that Commonwealth departments had definitely refused to allow disabled returned soldiers to go back to the small businesses which they conducted before the war. It was stated that all applications had been refused. That is a shockingly dictatorial attitude to adopt, because the community owes a debt of gratitude to disabled ex-servicemen. The Government is still “dilly-dallying” with the subject of preference in employment to returned soldiers.
– That policy will he put into operation where practicable.
– I am satisfied that no preference is being shown to-day. The Australasian Council of Trade Unions, in March last, passed the following resolution on the subject: -
No section of the community is entitled to, or can be given, any privilege or preference for their war-time service in respect to postwar employment.
The Australasian Council of Trade Unions also said -
We believe that preference to ex-service personnel is not in the best interests of the nation and should be abandoned.
This matter was mentioned in the House two years ago. The Attorney-General (Dr. Evatt) promised that a bill would be introduced with regard to preference to ex-servicemen, but that was never done. During the last sittings of the
House I asked the Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin) whether ho had received from the Returned Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen’s Imperial League of Australia a draft bill to provide for this preference. He replied that he bad, and had passed it on to the Attorney-General. That was about twelve months ago, but the bill has not yet been introduced. Apparently, the Australasian Council of Trade Unions dictates to this Government what it should do, and denies to the returned soldiers of Australia the preference which the Returned Soldiers’ Committee of this Parliament recommended, and which the Prime Minister said would be given legislative effect. When the Government says that its supreme duty is to safeguard the interests of ex-servicemen, how can it refuse to introduce the legislation promised by the Prime Minister?
– I understood that the whole policy of the Opposition in respect of preference to ex-servicemen had been incorporated in the law during the twenty years for which it occupied the treasury bench. .
– The preference that I have been discussing is provided for in the present law, and there has been no variation of the law, but the Opposition asks that action be taken in the light of the special circumstances prevailing at present. This preference was embodied in the law when the right honorable member for North .Sydney (Mr. Hughes) was Prime Minister, and it was opposed then, as it is now, by honorable members opposite. I ask that it should be applied in the light of the circumstances in the present war. The Government undertook to do that, but nothing has been done.
I shall also consider whether the Government has shown its gratitude to ex-servicemen in the matter of the provision of a civilian suit on their discharge. The attitude of the Government in this respect is reprehensible. The matter has been raised before, and I make no apology for referring to it again. On their discharge from the forces, men are entitled to get a better suit than the sort of “ Zoot “ suit now supplied to them. Originally the cost of the civilian suit supplied to soldiers on their discharge was £2 10s. Later it was increased to £3 10s., and I understand that the cost to-day is £6 10s., but exservicemen should not be asked to wear such wretched suits as those now supplied to them. They are of poor single-weft cloth, and are only an apology for clothing. Canada provides its discharged servicemen with a clothing allowance worth £20, and in New Zealand the value of the clothing provided is £25. I should like the Minister for War Organization of Industry (Mr. Dedman) to tell mc whether austerity suits can be purchased to-day for £6 10s., or at any figure like that. In reputable clothing establishments a civilian suit now costs £17, £18 or £19. Quite recently, several soldiers in Queensland wrote to me pointing out that, when discharged, they were unable to obtain suits at all. They were told that no suits were available because those of the sizes they required had been handed over to Chinese who had been discharged a week previously. These soldiers then asked their commanding officer to take action in the matter, a.nd the rationing authorities were requested to supply the requisite number of ration coupons to enable them to purchase civilian clothing, but their request was refused.
– Each man gets an issue of 200 coupons immediately on discharge.
– These men did not get suits and could not obtain the ration tickets necessary for their purchase. Can it be said that the gratitude which the country owes them was shown by such treatment at the hands of the Government? After protracted efforts, the request was finally granted, but there was no semblance of gratitude on the part of the Government.
I shall now refer to the lack of gratitude displayed by the Government in the provision of war service homes. Many thousands of soldiers have been discharged, and many thousands were married during the war. They have no homes at all, but are living wherever they can get a roof to cover their heads. I am advised that about fourteen war service homes have been built in the last two years, and that only two have been made available to discharged servicemen. There is no scarcity of land, and no fewer than 3,755 allotments are held to-day by the War Service Homes Commission for the provision of homes for discharged members of the services. These allotments are distributed among the States as follows:- New South Wales, 1,607; Victoria, 605; Queensland, 1,315; South Australia, 11; Western Australia, 110; Tasmania, 107.
– The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- The honorable member for Indi (Mr. McEwen) bitterly criticized members of this side for not appearing eager to take a part in this debate. I confess that I have always accepted the view that it is unwise to cross-examine a witness who has said nothing against your case, or to continue to address a judge when he does not require to hear any further addresses. So, in this chamber, I have found no great urge to speak on behalf of the Government in defence of its policy, because the Government and its administration have been thoroughly accepted by the people of Australia. I can understand the great need of the Opposition to talk, because it. has so much for which to apologize. It had control of the affairs of this country for many years but did little worthy of admiration during that period. There is no great need, for members on this side to be continually extolling the virtues of the present Government. It is unnecessary to remind the public frequently that Sydney has a beautiful harbour or that the sun rises every day. We on this side of the House speak when we have something to say, and the honorable member for Indi should realize that there is a great deal of difference between saying something and having something to say. A hundred years ago Lord Macaulay said that democracy was government by talking. When we have accepted a democratic system of government, we must be prepared for its disadvantages as well as its advantages, but I think that the majority of honorable members and the public will agree with me that what we need in Australia is far more achievement and far less talk. Now that Labour is in office with a full majority in both Houses, I believe that we shall get the achievement which the people urgently desire. I hope that the Government will proceed to implement Labour’s policy as far a3 it possibly can, and that after the war that policy will be carried out in its entirety.
The honorable member for Deakin (Mr. Hutchinson) made what I regard as an unfortunate attack upon the Solicitor-General, Sir George Knowles. He said that it was strange that Sir George always agreed with the Government, and that - the Government always agreed with him. He was referring to the legal opinion which the SolicitorGeneral recently gave in connexion with one of the guarantees given in the Constitution Alteration (Post-war Reconstruction and Democratic Rights) Bill. Everybody agrees that Sir George is a man of honour, and would not give an opinion which he knew to be false. He is in a position unaffected by political considerations. His opinion was supported publicly by that of an eminent King’s counsel, as published in the Sydney Morning Herald. I was very sorry to hear the attack made by the honorable member. No doubt he was carried into this indiscretion by the political propaganda of his party, which is hoping to win the referendum campaign by raising a scare against bureaucracy. I regard such tactics as revolting. Those persons who have chosen the Public Service as a career are now fashionably and contemptuously described in the uncomplimentary term of “ bureaucrats “. It is well known that they are not, by and large, supporters of the Labour party. They are generally found to be supporters of the United Australia party. Labour finds its supporters in the lower ranks of the Public Service. Honorable members opposite are seeking to discredit the Government by attacking the Public Service. I am not supporting the unnecessary delegation of ministerial power to public servants. If we have gone too far in that direction, criticism should be directed against the Ministers who have delegated their power, and not against the public servants, who have no right of reply, and whose voices cannot be raised in this chamber in their own defence. Public servants have to perform their duties in accordance with their position, and under ministerial direction.
During the war, they have had to assist in doing many necessary but unpopular things, but this has resulted in Australia putting forth a war effort unsurpassed by any country in comparison with our population. I remind honorable members thai bureaucracy did not begin with this Government. It was condemned in England twenty years ago, when the book, The New Despotism was written. Bureaucracy has spread with the war because of the great growth of war-time administration. It will diminish with the ending cf the war.
The honorable member for Denison (Dr. Gaha), who has a great sense of humour and a very bright disposition, made a speech that was full of pessimism. He left us with the impression that he had lost faith in humanity because our Empire has been engaged in three major wars in 45 years. I suggest that we must accept humanity as we find it. It was said of the first war by statesmen all over the world, that it was a war to end war, but nobody has 3aid that of the present war, because we realize that there always will be wars. I believe that there will be wars so long as human beings exist. “We may avert some wars, we may postpone wars, but I believe thai we shall never permanently bring abou conditions which will make wars impossible, because we can never succeed in changing human nature.
This leads me to remarks that we are fortunate, indeed, to live in Australia. Our geographical isolation is our strength as well as our weakness. We must make ourselves strong. After this war we must always be conscious of the old proverb, “ He who desires peace must prepare for war “. Strong armaments are the best security for peace. I believe that if Great Britain and the United States of America had been strongly armed the Nazis would never have dared to enter upon this war.
We have it in our power to establish in this country after the war a social paradise. If we do that, we shall induce the people of war-stricken Europe to come to a land where they will find peace and security. The Americans and the Dutch have been great friends of ours during this war, and we must never forget their splendid courage and unselfish assistance. We should now hasten to strengthen the bonds of friendship with them. We are proud of our membership of the British Commonwealth of Nations, and we pray that it will always endure.
I believe that this will be the last war in our years, but who can foretell the future? We shall, after long and hard years of fighting, crush the. physical strength of the Japanese Empire, but we may not succeed in crushing the spirit of the Japanese people. Great nations rise again like the Phoenix from the ashes. There has been some talk in this chamber about the extermination of our enemies. That is a barbarous notion. The British tradition is to grip the hand of a fallen foe. This talk of extermination leads me to recollect that Julius Caesar, in the year 51 b.c. after the successful siege of a city during the conquest of Gaul, cut off the right hand of every male inhabitant of the city who had borne arms against him. That action has, throughout the centuries, filled the minds of men with horror. It is ridiculous to talk of exterminating nations. We may disarm our enemies, but we cannot entertain any such barbaric notion as exterminating whole nations. I suggest that the world would be much better off if it applied itself to practical Christianity.
Australia will be a great country, indeed, in the post-war years. We have great resources yet untapped. We have great rivers to harness, and sweet, fertile lands to irrigate, but the people must he prepared to pay for the defence of their country. Hitherto, we have discarded our armaments and disbanded our forces at the conclusion of hostilities because of the heavy cost involved in maintaining them. We must realize that, in order to be free, we must pay all the time. Strength is our security, and we must keep up our strength.
To return to domestic matters, I hope that the Government will be prompt to honour its promise to release 50,000 men from the Army to assist in rural production.
– What 50,000 men?
– Was this a report to caucus?
– I am speaking of what I have read in the newspapers. I am expressing the wish that the Government will release the 50,000 men-
– Which 50,000?
– Fifty thousand men from the Army - will that satisfy the honorable member? The Opposition has been advocating the release of men from the Army for rural work, and I am agreeing with the Opposition in that respect. It is most important to out’ war effort that the production of food should be maintained. Many old men and women are trying to carry on heroically on the farms, and the Government should, if possible, give them the relief which they require in order to maintain and even increase production.. I trust that when the releases are being made, the Government will give consideration to men with long service, and that those who have served for four years and upwards will be given preference over those who have served for shorter periods. I also hope that men who have served in the Air Force in the Mediterranean areas for four years and more will be brought back to Australia.
I urge the Government to remember that certain sections oi Australian workers are carrying what I regard as an unduly heavy burden during the war. I refer particularly to the employees of the various State Railway Departments. I know that many of them are working under great strain, and I hope that something will be done to alleviate their condition.
Old-age and invalid pensioners are being paid what I regard as a miserable pension. I am conscious of the difficulty of financing the various social benefit schemes, but I strongly urge that old-age and invalid pensions should be immediately increased by a substantial amount. It is amazing to me that old people are able to keep themselves alive on a meagre pension of 27s’. a week. I am only one of many members of this House, and one of thousands - perhaps, millions - of Australian citizens, who are deeply impressed with the conviction that oldage and invalid pensions are far too low. The war has made the lot of the pensioners much harder. Many of them are experiencing the greatest difficulty even in securing rooms in which to live. The Labour party has always fought the case of the pensioners, particularly the invalid and old-age pensioners, and this Labour Government should delay no longer in removing the injustices that they are suffering.
I believe that the war will last for a long time yet; our people are now extremely war weary, and it is therefore important that we carefully maintain the morale of the civil population. We should take heed of the fact that it is better to do a few things well than agreat many things indifferently. Many groups of workers, particularly those employed in State Railway Departments, have borne unequal burdens during this war. I have always considered that overtime should not be taxed, and I strongly urge the Government to review its policy in that respect as well as the taxation of small incomes, so that the workers, including the miners, shall have more incentive to work.
I congratulate the Government on its published intention to release a further 50,000 men from the Army, but I hope that the applications for those releases will be dealt with more expeditiously than were the applications for the release of 20,000 men to return to rural industries. Given the men required, Australian primary industries will be in a position to render great assistance to the Allied cause by food production. To that end the labour needed should be made available at once. Meanwhile, the farming position is not one for admiration. That the Labour party is also a country party in the sense that it represents most of the country people was shown by the last general elections in New South Wales. The farmers are solidly behind the Labour party because it has given them more than they have ever received from any other political party. I make no apologies for, indeed I am proud of, rising in this House to advocate the cause of the farmers. I know the difficulties with which they have to contend. For instance, the shortage of rubber and the consequent shortage of tires is causing them great concern. Many of the Army cars that are to be seen running around our cities, particularly Sydney, some of them driven by society women and carrying officers from place to place, ought to be stripped of their tires which should be made available to the farmers to enable them to get their produce to market. Similarly, the petrol that would be saved by curtailing the unnecessary use of motor vehicles by the Army could be provided to the farmers with great advantage. A great uncertainty exists in many parts of the country as to whether land which the Army has taken for camps and other purposes is to be permanently acquired, and I ask that that uncertainty be dispelled by a clear statement by the Army as to whether it intends to retain the land permanently or to return it eventually to the owners.
Australia’s war effort is second to none, but in many quarters the conviction exists that since the danger of invasion has passed owing to measures taken by the Curtin Government our war effort’ has been too widely spread and that we might have been of more use to the Allies than we have been and given more satisfaction to the people had we concentrated more on food production and the building of ships to carry our exports overseas. The future cannot be foreseen ; the war may last another five years or more, and accordingly we ought to make long-term plans, always keeping in mind that armies are greatly affected by the morale of the people behind the lines. In this regard, I think it unwise to continue some of the regulations that were made under the fear of invasion. Needless restrictions ought to be eased. I do not think that the colour of sweetmeats matters, and I believe that, without endangering the nation, the Minister for War Organization of Industry (Mr. Dedman), who has done a splendid job, could give us back our shirt-tails. The retention of some needless regulations serves only to bring into ridicule and contempt other regulations worthy of great praise and respect. The Prime Minister is to be congratulated upon his journey abroad. It was undertaken at great personal risk. We are delighted to see him back safe and in good health, and we thank him for the worthy way in which he represented us.
.- The formal opening of the Second Session of this Parliament by His
Excellency the Governor-General enabled us to- pay a very well deserved tribute to His Excellency and Her Excellency, the Lady Gowrie, who have rendered distinguished service to this country over many years. The motion for the adoption of the AddressinReply was made the vehicle for a report by the Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin) on his recent journey to Great Britain and America. I shall come to the report in a moment. The circumstances of the debate and the procedure which led up to it have brought very much to the forefront of our minds the people of Great Britain, and it is appropriate that we should pause occasionally to think of the debt that we in Australia, as well as all the other freedom-loving peoples of the world, owe to them. The inhabitants of that little island stood almost alone with the . shield of their unbroken spirit to protect the democracies of the world against the aggression of totalitarian Germany. ‘Since the bleak days before Dunkirk, they have kept their hearts high. During the Battle of Britain they refused to allow their courage to flag. With tightened belts and living on meagre rations they have sustained themselves and rallied the other freedom-loving peoples of the world to the cause. Loyalty to and affection for Great Britain do not conflict with loyalty to and affection for Australia. Indeed, we can feel great pride in these days in the fact that we are sprung from the same stock as the British and have inherited their traditions. In my first speech in this Parliament, I said that Australia was tied to Great Britain, and I see no occasion now to retract those words. I went on to say that we were tied, not hand and foot, but headand heart, and that there were sound common-sense reasons why that tie was of value to Australia practically as well as emotionally and should endure. That realistic recognition of our position in relation to Great Britain involves no vassalage on our part, no lack of any spirit of independence; it is merely a clear appreciation of our present weaknesses, economically and strategically. The position could hardly be otherwise in a country of 7.000,000 people. We should be merely deluding ourselves if we imagined that we could cut the same figure on a world stage as Russia, Great Britain, the United States of America or any other nation with populations ten or twenty times greater than our own; hut we can have an influence, a very real influence, in the shaping of world affairs, and that influence can be out of all proportion to our population and industrial and economic strength. That influence can be exercised by our membership on the basis of equality with the other members of the British Empire. When our representatives meet the representatives of the other constituents of the British Commonwealth, as the Prime Minister has done in recent months, to shape the policy of the Empire, they will know that that policy, when announced to the world, will have a pronounced effect on its future. When we come to play our part in those discussions at Westminster, or wherever they may be held, we shall do so as equal partners, and our voice will have equal authority and meet with the same response as that of every other member of the partnership. In the realization of that fact - a realization which states or implies nothing novel, but which we are apt to forget on occasions - we get a true appreciation of the strength that this country can possess and the influence that it can wield in world affairs. We speak not as a nation of 7,000,000 against Great Britain’s 45,000,000, but on the basis of a firm partnership. It is because I believe that Australia is going to exert great influence by maintaining an unbroken membership in the British Empire that I criticize the type of pact that we see in the Australian-New Zealand Agreement. However trivial it may be, we depart in that agreement to some extent from the principle of Imperial relations by emphasizing our separateness and our own individual problems, and we thereby tend to weaken the strength of the whole. That is a danger against which every Australian Government must guard. If we put out to the world, as we do when we form these local and regional pacts, that we have problems which cannot be solved through our community membership of the British Empire, we may believe that other countries -will realize that we still maintain unweakened in any way our membership of the British Empire. But they do not always see these things as we see them. They do not understand the almost mystic tie which exists between us. They see in our endeavours to study our own separate problems, some indications of a breaking of allegiance, and weaknesses in the imperial set-up. At all times we must guard against creating that impression. No one in this chamber has a greater loathing of Fascism and all that it stands for than I have; but there was at least one good thing about Fascism, and that was its symbol - the fasces - rods bound together, and deriving strength from the joint association, however weak each individual rod might be. “ Unity is strength “ is a very old and sound proverb, and it holds just as true for Australia to-day as it has at any other period of our history. In our allegiance to the Throne we have our symbol of unity, just as Fascism has its symbol of unity. We gain nothing in. world stature by trying to act too often as if we were a separate entity, and by strutting around the world stage as if our problems were not intimately linked with those of all the other components of this great Empire.
The Prime Minister’s speech which was to be a report, so we understood, on his great mission, has been a disappointment to members of the Opposition. I do not say that uncharitably; I merely make a statement of fact on it. The right honorable gentleman himself will agree that hu has conveyed to the House no more information than he considered himself bound to convey within the very strict limits of secrecy or security. Naturally, those of 113 who desired fuller information on some of the great problems of the day, had a feeling of disappointment after listening to his speech. But it occurred to me that he was stating, not so much information on the great problems which he was putting to us, as indicating the contents of some volume which may later bc revealed to us, but of which, to-day, we can be given only a sort, of index. Therefore, we have to fill in some of the gaps for ourselves.
Honorable members, in ,the course of this debate, have addressed themselves to some of the large questions of Empire relationships, and some questions of international relationships which are agitating our minds at the present time. In the short compass of the timeallotted to me, I do not intend to deal with -many of those aspects, but I shall touch on one which has a direct bearing on policy within this country, and on its future prospects. That is the problem of migration. The honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Spender) made an extremely useful suggestion which the Government should consider. He pointed out that there would be on the Continent of Europe and perhaps elsewhere, many young boys and girls who have been made orphans as the result of the tremendous death-roll in this war. That was the kind of raw material, he said this young country should seek in order to swell its own slender population resources. We should all agree, irrespective of our party ties, that we need to augment our own resources in that way. It is encouraging to see an apparent change of policy on the part of some of the Labour spokesmen in this regard. The insularity and timidity, which characterized some of their earlier statements of policy, seem to have been submerged to-day in a recognition that,, for our own security and for our own internal prosperity, we must have a greater population. It would be difficult to imagine a more favorable time for getting increased population of the right kind. In a short time - how short we do not know - hostilities in Europe will cease. The end of the war there is in sight. We can imagine the feelings of hundreds of thousands of people in the devastated areas of Europe who see the “things which they created, destroyed by the war machine. They will look with hope to another country where they can start life anew, away from the repression which they suffered at the hands of the Gestapo or other secret police. They will look for a land of opportunity, where, by the exercise of their own endeavours, they will be able to build a place for their children before they, too, become involved in the horrors of Avar in their native countries. The Commonwealth Government has a great opportunity to recruit’ population from people of that type.
There are other factors. In the last few years thousands of allied servicemen have been in this country. Those of us who have been in conversation with them found many who expressed a desire to return to this country after the war. It is not too early now for the Government to devise- some scheme whereby these men may be; contacted, if their governments approve, and asked whether they desire to settle in Australia after the war. Policies- of that description could, with some drive and imagination, be drawn up even, before the war ends. That raises a very important consideration. If we are to- look for migrants, what kind of country or what kind of community life will the migrants expect in the land of opportunity that we opento them % We know the success which attended the efforts of the people of the United. States of America in receiving and absorbing tremendous numbers of migrants, during, the last century. America was the land of opportunity. It had vast natural resources. If a man was prepared to work, use the energetic spirit that lay within him, exercise his resourcefulness and show some initiative, the opportunities were there for him to gain wealth, ease, and security, and a standard of living and a way of living that would maintain his own personal liberties for him. There- was an amazing influx of people from many countries into that vast continent, so much so that the Government of the United States of America was obliged to impose quotas restricting the entry of people..
People who accept the hazard of migrating- from one country to another are usually people of spirit and courage, and possess a sense of independence. They will not come to Australia expecting to find a dole or some assured pension waiting- for them, although the latter no doubt could fit into any proper scheme of social security that we may devise. If they come to this country, they will do so for two important reasons. The first is that they feel that they will find some security from chaos and the dreadful experiences of wars which had devastated’ their countries twice during the last 25 years. If they come here, it will be because they expect to find a country geographically remote from then- devastated native land - a country which offers them security against the horrors that they have already known and security for their own persons. They will not be worrying in Australia about the Gestapo prying into their private affairs. They will not have the haunting dread of being watched and spied upon by their neighbours. These people will know that they will not be liable to be snatched away in a moment and taken to a concentration camp. They will come here because they know that Australia is a country in which their liberty will be secure, in- which opportunity is- plentiful and where, if they observe- the law and work as they should, they will have a very good prospect of making a- comfortable livelihood and enjoying happiness.
Secondly, these people will come here because they will regard Australia as a land of opportunity. They will ask whether they will have opportunities of success if they are prepared to work and to invest their capital, or whether vested interests are so- solidly established here and Government control over such enterprises as they might care to establish, is so tight that their prospects of getting anywhere will be very poor. They will ask whether they are liable to find that their efforts to establish small businesses will be so impeded by the red tape of bureaucratic entanglements that they will never be able to make a start. Those are very real considerations that will affect the mind of a migrant, or of an organization that desires to send migrants to this country. No government which desires to attract migrants can lightly cast aside the consideration that these are matters which will affect the minds of the people whom it wants to come here.
Whilst I have stressed those points with regard to migrants from other countries,, the same considerations have an equally important consequence for young Austraiian men and women who will be migrants in the sense that they will be returning to their own country from war service. What opportunities will there be for ‘ them ? What kind of community life do they expect to find here? Most of them will expect to come back to a better organized society than that which they left. They will expect to find that we have been able to eradicate the blemishes which marred the pre-war order in Australia. Those aspirations will be shared by every honorable member. But I believe that they will also expect to come back to an Australia which, whilst it may have removed most of the blemishes which marred the old order, has retained most of the advantages and joys which marked it. After all, there was a measure of personal liberty in the pre-war Australian order. Whilst it may have seemed rather a hollow thing to the man who had no job it did represent to the great mass of Australian citizens a priceless possession which they would never willingly give up. Our men and women in the services will want to come back to the kind of society that will guarantee those tilings to them. The economic machine has creaked, at times in this country. We suffered from the depression of the thirties. But we pulled ourselves out of it by our own efforts faster than did any other nation of the world, irrespective of its form of government. Moreover, there has always been a substantial measure of opportunity in Australia for our young nien and women to make their own way in life and to achieve their dearest ambitions. If we are to discharge our responsibility to the young people who are to-day in our fighting forces, we must assure to them in the post-war world the continuance of such opportunities. It may be suggested that the present control can be swept aside when war needs have been satisfied. But what guarantee have U that they will be swept away? I say in all seriousness that it will not be an easy thing to do. Experience in our own country, and knowledge of affairs of other parts of the world, indicate to ns that administrative policies which become thoroughly established are very difficult to upset. It is not easy to throw the administrative machine into reverse. Even to-day in Great Britain certain measures that were taken under the old Defence of the Realm Act during the last war remain in operation, and policies that were established in Australia under war emergency powers at that time are also still effective here. We must keep in mind the real danger that faces us in this regard. We ought also to study the history of Germany in the days following the last war, because the same tendencies which are manifest in the life of this country to-day were evident in Germany after the last war, and actually led that country into its present plight. These tendencies are too real in our own economic structure for us lightly to disregard them. I do not make these remarks in criticism of government policy; I simply point out that during and after the last war, the German nation was organized On an economic basis not unlike the economic basis of Australia to-day. But we have organized on a more intensive scale than did Germany in the days to which I refer. That factor lends strength to my argument. The economic system which developed in. Germany after the last war proved to be a fertile breeding ground for Nazi-ism.- Seeing that we have even more extensive controls in force in Australia, at present, there is all the greater need for us to guard against the calamity that overwhelmed Germany. Economic power in Germany was concentrated in relatively few hands during the last war, and this led to bureaucratic control after the war. Authority passed into the hands of a bureaucracy which was responsible for the provision of war needs.
One effect of that policy is that the very hard-worked government official who is called upon to meet pressing demands realizes very quickly that he can more easily obtain supplies from four or five big organizations than from 40 or 50 smaller ones. In this country, as a matter of fact, since the beginning of the war, big industrial organizations have become bigger, and small organizations either have been strangled or have been considerably limited in their operations. This is an unhealthy trend. Only last week I was speaking to one of the ablest industrialists in Australia on these matters, and he said to me, “If I had only the interests of my own company in mind, I would vote ‘Yes’ at the referendum, assuming that one result of a ‘ Yes ‘ vote would be the continuance of the control system which we have to-day.^ We have gone through our capital expansion stage. We are now well established. We have useful contacts with Ministers and. government officials which we have made during the war, because we have been engaged principally on munitions work. For these reasons we have no fears for the future. Whatever system may be put into operation by governments after the war, we know that we would be protected against competition “. I shall develop that theme presently. At the moment I point out what I consider to be an undeniable effect of war-time control. This may have been inevitable, at least to some degree, and I am not critical of it at the moment. But we must realize the danger of the present tendency to strengthen big organizations and to weaken smaller ones. The operation of that policy in Germany had the result of eliminating the German middle classes. Inflation was practised in Germany in the post-war period by the German Government for the deliberate purpose of liquidating the great bulk of its internal war debt, and these things together dealt a death blow to the German middle classes and led to the development of monopolistic industries. The financial backbone of the country was weakened as the result of inflation, and a breeding ground was created for the development of the spirit of Nazi-ism.
In this connexion I shall quote two significant passages from a volume published in America last year entitled The Nazi State. The author is William Ebenstein, Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin. Professors, of course, are fashionable in these days. Whilst the book deals with Germany, the first passage to which I refer has a direct bearing upon the point that I am making as to the danger of present trends in this country. It reads -
The emergency decree of the 28th February, 1033, was thus based on a propaganda He. This decree suspended the seven basic rights guaranteed by the Weimar Constitution in Articles 114, 115, 117, 118, 123, 124, 153. They included the freedom of person, opinion, press, meeting, association, the privacy of communication through the mails telegraph or telephone, search of the home without warrant, and the inviolability of property. The emergency decree also introduced the capital punishments for several offences committed by enemies of the State, i.e., by opponents of the Nazis. In one stroke the Weimar Constitution was wiped out by executive action.
We, in Australia, have seen some of these things happen under war-time regulations. In Germany they happened in peace-time six years before the present war, but that they could happen in Australia even during the war, indicates the need for us to be on our guard. We must make sure that similar dangers do not continue into peace-time. I have heard nothing from the Government benches during this debate, or in discussions during recent sittings of this Parliament, which gives me any confidence that we can rely upon governments to restore the liberties of the people when the war is over. It is by the exercise of the vigilance of private members of the Parliament that we shall be able to preserve our liberties or, I should say, restore the liberties which have been abrogated during the war period.
The second passage that I wish to read from The Nazi State consists of a single sentence, but it is pregnant with significance in its relation to controls in. the economic field. The writer says -
The transformation of economic activities into a sector of public administration as an emergency measure in time of war in western nations, and the normality of such a situation in the traditional German pattern of political economy, is merely a reflection of authoritarianism and militarism as dominant forces in German public life.
Governments have assumed control of industry in this country and, no doubt, rightly during the war period, because it was considered that only so could the nation be geared up to meet the danger which threatened it.
– The honorable member admits that it was done rightly?
– Yes, I am prepared to admit that. At any rate I admit it for the purposes of this discussion.
– That is a poor sort of admission.
– I am not in a position to analyse the whole situation in this speech. My warning is not so much in relation to things that have been done under war conditions. I am trying to show the need for guarantees that the liberties of the people will be restored when peace returns and that we shall be able to resume our life under pre-war conditions. [Extension of time granted.] During war-time there has been an extraordinary intrusion upon the private lives of the citizens of this country. Most of us
I have regarded some degree of intrusion, as inevitable, but if we had been told: a few years ago that such things could happen te the degree that they have happened, we would have found the statement quite unbelievable. I know that it has been argued strongly in recent months, that these, controls, were essential to a total war- effort, but. what guarantee have we that they will not be continued in the post-war period? I believe that the Government is sincere in giving an assurance that the controls will’ not be continued; but I consider that if the control system be con.tin,ued in the economic field after hue war, it will be quite impossible to guarantee the civil liberties of the people. The exercise of such liberties, as a matter of fact, would ‘be practically impossible. I believe that the Minister far War Organization of Industry (Mr. Dedman)- was sincere in the statement, that he made to the press recently to the effect that he would Sooner walk out of the Government than entertain industrial conscription and the regimentation of the workers after the war. But if he insists on the Government maintaining the control system in the economic sphere in the post-war period, he will have no alternative but to. apply industrial conscription. I ask the honorable gentleman to name one country in which regimentation applies where industrial conscription is not also, present. If we are to be guaranteed full employment after the war - and that is the term that has been frequently used - regimentation will be necessary. Individuals will have to. be placed in their jobs. Honorable members opposite are pledged - and I use the word literally - to the policy of socialism. They stand for the ownership and control of the means of production, distribution, and exchange.
– They have been pledged to that policy for 40 years.
– That is true, but this Ls the first time that they have been in a position to apply it, and they are now seeking wider constitutional powers for the purpose of implementing the policy as fully as possible. Can they find, at any point in history, evidence of the liberties of the individual having been guaranteed concurrently with the main tenance of a policy of socialism? Socialism can work, and it has worked in Germany. It is working to-day in Russia. But it can work only if there be control of’ the individual in such a way that not only his economic life, but also a very great, deal of his personal and social life, is directed. Government members may sincerely believe that that is not likely to happen I assure them that ii is likely. That is not a stubborn opinion which I hold, but is deducted from the lessons that are taught by the histories of the peoples of the world’. A policy of socialism- cannot be made to work without control of the individual. It has been tried in recent times. President Roosevelt gave a foretaste of it under his New Deal programme; he- endeavoured’ to guarantee jobs for the workers without at the same time controlling’ the workers in their jobs. One result of that policy - I believe that it was a direct consequence of it - was that by January, 1940, after eight years of the- operation . of the New Deal programme, approximately 10,000,000 persons in the United States of America were unemployed. Pull employment can be guaranteed under a socialist or bureaucratically controlled organization - . -
– Only with full manpower controls.
– As the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies) has interjected, only with full man-power controls. If the Government tells the people that it will guarantee them employment without controlling them through the manpower organization, it will be guilty of humbug and hypocrisy or will he deluding itself, because undeniably that will bathe economic and social effect.
I have mentioned something of the effect of the Government’s economic policy on our economic organization, and in particular on industry to-day. There has been a curious result of government policy which, perhaps, has not been intended. The Government, while claiming to be hostile to big business, has done more to consolidate and strengthen big business, and has proceeded farther in the direction of monopolistic development, than did any- government which preceded it.
– Surely the AttorneyGeneral does not profess to be hostile to big business!
– That profession has been made from time to time by many honorable gentlemen opposite. An inevitable consequence of the system of control, functioning on the basis of priorities in respect of materials and man-power, control over capital issues, allocations of man-power, and the like, is the fortification and strengthening of established organizations in relation to prospective competitors. A direct result will be to make it almost impossible for the returned serviceman to enter business. As we understand the position from what we have been told by government planners, controls are to be maintained in respect of raw materials, priorities are to continue in respect of man-power, and control over capital issues is to be maintained. What is happening to-day? A discharged serviceman may wish to start a newsagency business, a grocery business, a sweets shop, or any one of a number of small businesses of that type. He encounters one government restriction after another. If. he wishes to sell shirts or other softgoods in a drapery shop, he cannot obtain coupons from the Rationing Commission. If he wants to hire hands, he cannot secure a permit to do so from the man-power authorities; he is told that he is starting off in an unessential business, and that there are already plenty of such in operation. Government restriction and control are encountered at every turn. That would be serious enough, if these operations were confined to the period of the war. But we are told that control of priorities in respect of materials and man-power, control of capital issues and so forth, are to extend indefinitely into the post-war period. If that be the case, not merely will effective and healthy competition be stifled, but in addition young Australians will be denied the opportunity, which should be theirs as a matter of right if they can obtain the capital as well as the support and confidence of others, to start off in their own businesses.
– Does the honorable gentleman refer to the acquisition or purchase of a business?
– There would be control in that respect.
– I should hope so: because hundreds of soldiers were robbed after the last war.
– That does not deal with the present issue. Surely the Government does not consider that it can control that sort of thing by means of the economic set-up that is suggested to-day ! Does the Prime Minister seriously consider that, by means of a system of prices control, transactions of this sort can bc pegged? The Government may consider that it has pegged the price of a secondhand motor car when a prices declaration has been issued by Professor Copland. Generally, one of two effects may resu.li from such action : either the car becomes frozen as an asset where it stands, because the owner considers that he would not get the true market value if he were to sell it at the pegged price : or the owner will be driven into a blackmarket transaction. That is what is happening. Land transactions are taking place, and land is ostensibly changing hands at prices specified ‘by the Government.
– What would the honorable gentleman do? Would he wash his hands of the whole thing, as I am said to have done in respect of the coalminers?
– The Prime Minister is inviting me to take part in a discussion which the time left to me would not permit us to conclude. I shall be glad to have a full discussion with him on that aspect during the debate on the next budget. I merely say now that, whatever degree of chaos might be expected if we were to leave a relatively free economy to operate in this country after the war, would be as nothing compared with the chaos which will result from the indefinite continuance of existing controls after the war. I have far more faith in the resilience of the Australian economy, and in the resourcefulness of the Australian business man to adapt himself to an economic system in which such controls do not exist, than I have in the capacity of that man to struggle through the entanglements of red tape and bureaucratic regimentation which he is experiencing at the present time.
I conclude on this note: The real issue which, I believe, is presented to the people of this country by the policies that are offered to them by the present Government, and the real issue which underlies the forthcoming referendum, is not a choice of social objectives. Every man who sits in this Parliament to-day is agreed as to the need for establishing the four decencies in this country - a decent home, a decent job, a decent system of social security, and a decent system of education. Our main difference is, as to how those can best be achieved. Apparently, the Government believes that such standards can be guaranteed only under a system of stringent government control of virtually the whole economic field. That is what it offers as a solution of the problem. We, on the other hand, believe that the highest standard can best be guaranteed by having a society in which the individual shall have the right to pursue happiness in his own way, the opportunity to exploit his energy and resourcefulness, and a proper incentive to spur on that effort. Only by aggregation of effort . by the whole of the community will the highest standard of living be obtained. Can any government claim that to-day the Australian workman is giving the daily output that might reasonably be expected of him? We are aware of the decline of output per man which has taken place in almost every section of industry. The explanation, largely, is that incentive has been destroyed, that he has been given very little inducement to exert himself beyond what he regards as the bare minimum. It will be a sorry state of affairs for Australia if the tremendous opportunities which will be opened to us in the post-war period are to be denied because we have not evoked the best energies and the greatest spirit of which our people are capable. Only in that way can we guarantee to our people the highest standards.
.- I propose to confine my remarks to the report that has been made by the Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin) on his mission overseas. My first point deals with the defence of Australia if a certain foreign policy be pursued. It would seem that there are two alternatives which offer a reasonable chance of maintaining Australia’s security in the next twenty years. Each of them is based on what is termed power politics, and presupposes the inevitability of war. The first is the idea of a super State, such as the League of Nations, or a federation of States having the necessary power to back up whatever decisions may be arrived at in council. An analogy to that would be the police force of a civil State. A scheme of that nature has operated since the last war under the League of Nations, and appears to have failed. Still, I do not consider that we should altogether discard the idea for a new order, without a proper examination of apparent faults in the structure, with a view to finding a solution of t&e troubles which afflicted the old system and to building up a structure that might be workable. The structure known as the League of Nations requires that the components of the federation shall be able to bring to its councils a clean conscience in relation to foreign affairs and the manner in which territories and subordinate peoples which might have come within their ambit have been managed.
– I know that it is an unprecedented step for a Prime Minister to take; nevertheless, I direct attention te the state of the House. [Quorum formed.]
– No such organization should include members who are not, to use a colloquialism, “ clean potatoes “. There have been several instances in which effective action by the League of Nations was hindered by the fact that some member nations, acting as judges in particular cases, were themselves guilty of the faults which they were assembled to condemn. Mr. Eugene Young, who was for many years cables editor of the New York Times, and who should, therefore, have been in a position to obtain authoritative information, h&s described such a situation in these words-1-
Japan, coming out from seclusion, made a close study of imperial statesmanship, as did Germany and Italy. Her painstakingness matched German thoroughness. The realism with which she absorbed the lessons may be illustrated by what happened at the meeting of the League of Nations Council in Paris in the winter of 1931. She had been summoned there to be judged on her invasion of Manchuria, and the other powers had plainly indicated the judgment would be severe. Instead, the western statesmen were shocked into inactivity. For the Japanese had arrived with a lot of high explosives.
Right at the beginning they raised troublesome issues. They asked, if they were wrong in absorbing Manchuria, how did Britain excuse her absorption of India and other lands? How did France excuse her similar activities? How did America excuse her absorption by force of vast lands belonging to Mexico and her activities in the Caribbean urea? What was the difference between Japan’s forcible occupation of Manchuria and the forcible creation by Britain of a “ sphere of influence “ in the Yangtse Valley or of the creation of a French “ sphere of influence “ in southern China? Or what was the bearing of the fact that western nations, including America, had established a naval patrol of the Yangtse River?
It is evident that, in that instance, it would have been worse for the members of the assembly to have examined their own consciences before they set out to vindicate what they described as international justice. Here is a further instance, taken from Philip Gibb’s book, Across the Frontier.
Baron Aloisi, speaking passionately on behalf of Italy, complained that the League had adopted a system of “ two weights and two measures “ in their principles of justice. There was one weight and one measure for Italy. There hud been another weight and another measure for Japan against whom no action whatever had been taken for the invasion of Manchuria. That was true and there was no explanation possible on that point, except that Japan was a long way off and that Abyssinia was very near to Europe.
It may be said that I am concentrating too much on the failings of the League, but, as I said at the outset, since the League had apparently failed to provide an effective check to aggression, it might bc as well to examine its failings in order to see whether, by correcting them, it might be possible to establish a better and more effective organization in the future. Here is another example, and in this case France was the complainant -
France now attempted to get action by the League of Nations as the guardian of the Versailles Treaty. When the League Council met in Geneva on the 11th April, she made a formal demand for consideration of the violation of the treaty, with a view to sanctions under the Covenant. And on this at last came the showdown, and through it was set the precedent that afterwards ruled in thu Rhineland affair. Britain, finally forced to make her position clear, declared that from her point of view, “A violation of a treaty was not an act of aggression calling for joint action under either the Versailles or the Locarno compacts; there must be an actual military invasion of territory of a member of the League before she could be called upon to help to enforce the provisions of the Covenant “.
I have cited three instances in which the League failed to act in the way expected of such an assembly. Would it have been possible, had the League acted differently, for it to have preserved its character and authority? If it had acted differently upon the first occasion, when Japan was the aggressor, would it thereby have been in a stronger position to act on the second occasion, and if it had acted differently on the second occasion, would it, on the third occasion, have been able to take such action as would have prevented its final collapse? Frankly, I cannot see States which have themselves acquired territory by violence, which have been guilty of oppression in either the domestic or foreign sphere, can logically band themselves together in a league for the purpose of inflicting punishment upon some other nation which may have attempted to acquire power, influence or territory by exactly the same methods as those employed by its judges. I am forced to the conclusion that, unless each of the member States examines its conscience and corrects the obvious faults, it would be useless, as well as wrong, for a league composed of such States to judge and condemn a country charged with the commission of similar faults. As a matter of fact, we come back to the biblical precept, -
Cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote that is in thy brother’s eye.
The alternative to setting up an effective League of Nations of some sort is for the British Empire to maintain a twopower army, a two-power air force, and a two-power navy. We found during the last war that such a structure could not guarantee defence to any member of the British Empire for various reasons which I do not intend to state now ; events showed that no section could be secured against aggression by a combination of enemies even if every one of the Dominions immediately rushed to the assistance of the member attacked. We had to rely on the United- States of America, when our allies went down before the force of a combination of our enemies. Nevertheless, I think that such a set-up does offer other prospects to which we might look for Australian defence, despite the fact that, as I have said, it failed on the last occasion. I suggest that the first need is that each member of the British Empire should examine itself earnestly to see whether it could say with a clear conscience to a convention of leaders of the various dominions, “Here are my cards on the table. I am prepared to do such and such to assist any other member of the British Empire that may be attacked. Are you prepared to do the same? Are you prepared to commit your people to certain taxation in order to enable you to develop the necessary armaments to provide for such a contingency and to meet your obligation in the event of such a contingency ? “ Such a scheme of things, in my mind, offers better prospects of success than the idea of a superstate that is composed of a number of nations, alien to each other in language, thought, social outlook, ideals, and religions - in fact, everything that makes possible a gathering together of human beings with any prospect of preserving peace and harmony. I think that the British Empire idea with its blood relationship, affinity of ideals and common interest in respect of literature, culture and trade, offers better prospects of success because of those things alone than does a super-state composed of nations differing, in race, colour and creed. Again, the question arises as to just how far are the representatives of single dominions (prepared to commit their respective people to the common defence of the Empire? Is Australia, for instance, prepared to forgo many of the things that make life comfortable, in effect to place guns before butter, in order to maintain an army which probably is the most effective contribution that we can make to the total armament of the Empire. Is Canada prepared to go without many of the luxuries which come from her great neighbour, the United States of America, and which
Canada itself can produce in order to build up a tremendous air force? Are the people of Britain prepared to sacrifice many of the things which they gain by having a big aggregation of population in their country? Those are considerations which the constituents of the British Empire must examine. Each member of the British Empire must consider what it is prepared to undertake for the common defence. The Prime Minister suggested that the conference of Empire Prime Ministers which he attended could agree on certain things, but that always those things had to be compatible with the local or national idea of things. I can cite what I can image would be a vital phase of the discussions that may occur. Perhaps Great Britain, India, Canada and South Africa could not agree on our migration policy and could not prevail upon their peoples to race to our aid, if we became embroiled with a neighbouring power because of a difference of opinion on Australian foreign policy. In other parts of the Empire our migration policy may not be considered so definitely vital to this country as we regard it. As I have said, the idea of the super-state should not be discarded, although experience showed it to be unworkable in one instance. I have referred to the idea of the British Empire regarded as a Commonwealth of Nations, each constituent committed under a rigid set of rules to assist the other. I must confess that I desire more security than such a structure could offer. Possibly, if we discarded the idea of the British Empire with a rigid constitution committing each member in certain circumstances to assist the other, we could adopt the family concept of the British Common wealth of Nations. That may offer better prospects of success. I cite the analogy between the British Empire, regarded as & family of nations, and the ordinary family unit. The obligations of brothers and sisters and other members of a family to each other are not laid down in black and white; the family code of ethics provides that one helps the other. When one gets into trouble the other goes to his aid, leaving till afterwards the question whether he is worthy of chastisement or praise. That idea, if carried into effect in the British Empire, certainly offers great prospects of success’, but each member of that family would have to be bound to- other members- by stronger ties than exist at present. That scheme again depends on whether war is avoidable. I am not so pessimistic as to think that war is unavoidable; that further world upheavals are inevitable; I am fortified1 in my belief by a brochure, Men. Parties and’ Politics, published recently by John Fairfax & Sons ProprietaryLimited, proprietors of the SydneyMorning Herald. The article to which’ I refer honorable members specifically deal’s with the things which, cause nations to fly at each other’s; throats. It is headed, “Democracy- Endangered by Selfish Creeds and contains the following statement -
The world is in a sorry moss- to-day, but no thinking1 poison will believe, that the whole of its- woes are due to the wickedness of Germany, Italy, and Japan, The war could and should have been prevented.
I believe, with the writer, that the war could and should have been prevented and that future wars can and should be prevented. We have to examine the causes of war and ways and means of removing those causes. We have listened to speeches in this House to-day dealing with the rise of Hitler in Germany and the creation of the Russian dictatorship, and we heard reference to. similar events in ancient history. All honorable members will agree that the conditions which eventually create dictatorships, have a common cause. In this country during the depression,, we saw the incipience of a dictatorship which might have brought civil war to Australia. I refer to the rise of the Lang movement in New South Wales and to the climax which occurred when the State Government defied the Commonwealth Government. If the federal authority on that occasion had yielded, -the -Federation would have collapsed as surely as the League of Nations collapsed.
– That was one occasion when Jack Lang was not right.
– No one is infallibleMr. Warwick Fairfax wrote -
It is worth -looking back and reflecting that the strength of the “Lang movement in 1930 arose primarily from the unwillingness of Unpeople to accept the fact that the depression, unemployment and. dole were inevitable.
If modern civilization accept unemployment and the- right of a stronger State to prey upon its weaker neighbour as inevitable, war will be inevitable. I do not accept that condition- of affairs. The people of Australia liave an opportunity to play a prominent part in a new movement which, though it has not yet taken concrete form, has great possibilities.
– Order! Tha honorable member ha& exhausted his time. [Quorum formed.]
Mr. FADDEN (Darling . Downs Leader of the Australian Country party) ‘ 4.35].. - This debate was initiated by the Governor-General’s, Speech,, and1 I take this opportunity to endorse the cordial sentiments which the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies) conveyed to Lord Gowrie during his speech- last Tuesday. The right honorable gentleman referred in most appreciative terms to the long, valuable, faithful and inspiring service that His Excellency has rendered to tlii.= nation and to the British Empire. I express the feelings of every Australian when I place on record the fact that thi; nation sincerely regrets that Lord and Lady Gowrie will shortly depart from our seat of Government. After having lived for sixteen years in this country, Hi.; Excellency will leave Australia with an intimate knowledge of our problems in peace and in war, and he will always be a great ambassador on our behalf . That he will be succeeded by a member of the Royal Family, His Royal Highness the Duke of Gloucester, is, in itself, a compliment to Lord Gowrie. I hope that His Excellency and his gracious wife, the Lady Gowrie, will long be spared to enjoy wellearned leisure.
It was most fitting that the AddressinReply should have been moved by the Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin). His action in doing so was unique in Australian political history. The right honorable gentleman delivered a most informative account of his mission abroad, during which, he attended the Imperial Conference and consulted with the Prime Ministers of other dominions. Through out his speech ran a note of optimism. because the trend of war has altered materially in our favour since the dark clays of Dunkirk and the fall of France in 1940. When we survey the course of the war, we realize how fortunate we have been. The evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force from Dunkirk, the capitulation of France: the losses caused by the U-boat campaign in the Atlantic, the bombing of London and the industrial centres of England and Scotland, our reverses in the Middle East, the overrunning of Greece and Crete and the fall of Singapore were dark chapters for the British Empire in the history of this war. Then the tide turned, and the invasion of Europe by the Allies has brought new life, light and hope. We thank Providence for the freedom that we still enjoy to meet in this Parliament and to govern ourselves. Our optimism has been stimulated to-day by the news of internal political dislocation in the seat of government of our arch-enemy, the Japanese. The resignation of the Japanese Cabinet must have been caused by discontent and waning morale, and will cause a disruption of the continuity of governmental control and affect the war effort in Japan itself. Let us hope that the road to victory, however rough it may be, will be short, and that peace will not be far distant.
The Prime Minister, in the course of his address, emphasized the unity of purpose among the Allies, and their resolve 10 wage the war to a successful conclusion, and to maintain peace in the future. Australians must recognize their dependence for security, first, upon other members of the British Empire and secondly, upon other nations. Bitter experience has taught Australians that this country can no longer adopt an isolationist attitude. Its security must depend upon international co-operation. Members of previous governments find it most tedious to listen to a continual repetition of the statement that the present Government alone saved Australia from invasion, and that the defence preparations of previous governments were so negative and ineffective that the Labour Government narrowly averted disaster to the nation. I remind honorable members opposite that the defence policy of this country was founded, advocated and implemented by previous governments only in the face of the strongest opposition. I surely do not need to remind honorable members and the country at large that compulsory military training, which was the basisof the defence of Australia, was suspended by the Labour party. Which party was it that closed the Duntroon Military College and .turned out the staff and cadets from the Jervis Bay Naval College? It is to the credit of honorable members on this side of the chamber that the governments which they supported re-introduced compulsory military training, and laid the plans which made possible the defence of Australia. It was only because of those plans and the administration of members of the present Opposition that the active defence of this country was rendered possible so quickly when the need for it arose. The international status of Australia, and the right of the representatives of this country to sit at tho peace table when peace is achieved, are due to the administration of the political parties which now sit on this side of the chamber. Australia’s international reputation was founded when our troops left our shores for the Middle East and stood shoulder to shoulder with troops from Great Britain and from other British Dominions. The Australian Imperial Force and our Empire air trainees could bo described as providing our letters of international credit, but the Australian Imperial Force was sent to the Middle East, and our country agreed to participate in the Empire Air Training Scheme only in the face of the most strenuous opposition from members of the Labour party. Yet honorable gentlemen opposite are to-day attempting to mislead the people into believing that the Labour party, and it alone, has been responsible for the nation’s war effort. Actually, the parties now in Opposition in this Parliament pioneered our war effort, but, as is usually the case with pioneers, they have never been given the credit for their work. The foundations of our great munitions and aircraft production industries, were laid by governments supported by honorable members on this side of the chamber.
– Private enterprise had a good deal to do with it.
– That is so. If it had not been for private enterprise and the assistance of the great captains of industry in this country, Australia would not have been able to switch over so quickly and effectively from peace-time to war-time conditions. For these reasons, we, on this side of the chamber, become heartily tired of hearing honorable members opposite tediously claim all the credit for what has been done. If we had had to rely solely on the Labour party, with its isolationist policy, I shudder to think what would have happened to us. The reason why we have received such substantial material and physical support from Great Britain and America in this war is that, in the days when previous governments were in office, we showed our readiness to accept, to the limits of our capacity, our share of international responsibilities. We laid the foundations upon which the Labour party (has built.
I consider, however, that basic to Australia’s acceptance of international responsibility must always be its position as a unit of the British Empire. It was only because we were within the Empire that we were able so quickly to gear up the nation to an adequate war effort. In my mind, our influence and authority in the peace consultations will also be bound up with our membership in the Empire. It is because we are within the Empire that we have been able to make and develop our contacts with the other Great Powers of the world. I do not wish . to be misunderstood in this regard. No one appreciates more than I do the assistance that we have received from the great sister democracy of America. The United States sent, to us materials, money, and men when we most needed them, and it is proper that, we should show a true appreciation of what was done for us. Unfortunately, however, many people in Australia arc too ready to forget all that Great Britain has done for us. They do not remember that Ave are integral to the British Empire.
– We all agree on that point.
– There is need to counteract the suggestion in certain sections of the community that America has done everything for us, and Great Britain has done nothing. Surely, such sentiments can be expressed only by people who are ignorant of the facts. Whilst we properly express our appreciation of what America has done, we should not allow the presence of American troops and equipment in this country, and their frequent appearance in the streets of our capital cities, to cause us to overlook all that Great Britain has achieved for this country during the last 150 years, and particularly during the years of this war. We must remember that we carry a responsibility as an integral part of the British Commonwealth of Nations, and, as a member of this family ive must regard the interests of each one as the interests of all.
I regret that in his speech the Prime Minister made such inadequate reference to Australia’s need of a migration policy. Migration will be of the utmost importance to us in relation to all post-war problems. It will be important also in our relations with the other peace-loving democracies of the world. Australia has a population of only 7,000,000 people; yet it is obvious that the future security of this country can be assured only by a very much larger population. But before we can make any elaborate plans for migration, we must provide for a more scientific spread of the present population of this country. During the period of twenty years between the last war and the present war, our population increased by approximately 38 per cent, but that increase was distributed unevenly, 54 per cent, going to the capital cities, and only 24 per cent, to the country. If we are to accept our full responsibility in relation to food supplies for the people of other parts of the world, not only during the remainder of the war period but also in the subsequent years we must exploit the food-producing capacity of Australia to the maximum degree. The economic well-being of this country unquestionably depends upon an increase of its productive capacity. We must have a virile and well-balanced population in our rural areas. Our population at present is seriously out of proportion. During the war years, many of the young people from our country districts left their normal work and came to our cities to join the forces or to work in munitions factories or other war-time enterprises. We must take steps to ensure .that -with the return of peace, we shall apply -a scientific policy for the encouragement of rural life. This will mean that we shall have to provide living conditions and social amenities in the country districts comparable -to .those of city areas. Our primary producers must be sure of stabilized prices. Suitable industries must be established in the country. People must .be attracted to country life. In Darticular encouragement must be given to the acceptance of family responsibilities. Our living conditions must not ,b.e allowed to work to the disadvantage of married people with families. I propose to develop this theme, .however, on a later occasion. I cannot over-emphasize the disappointment I felt at the failure of the Prime Minister to outline for us a broad migration policy. We must attract desirable immigrants to Australia. It is true that this should not be done without mature consideration of every aspect of the problem, but that was no reason why the Prime Minister should have failed to deal in general terms with the issues involved. I had hoped that from his conversations abroad he would nave been able to say something that would have helped us in formulating an effective policy.
Another disappointment to me was the Prime Minister’s omission to deal, in an .adequate way, with the whole .subject of food production and Australia’s responsibilities in that regard. An obligation rests upon us to increase our food production so that we may make additional supplies available to the people of the United Kingdom and, subsequently, to the starving peoples of Europe in respect of whom rehabilitation .plans will need to be put into operation immediately after .the cessation of hostilities. We shall have responsibilities also in relation to Eastern and Pacific countries. The development of markets in .these areas will be essential to the true progress of Australia, and this need should he considered in association with all rehabilitation and post-war reconstruction planning. In order to ensure the true security of Australia, we must develop .our food production in ;every possible way. Only so can we meet our responsibilities to the teeming millions of the old .world. That aspect should have -found .an important -place in the discussions which the Prime Minister had overseas. We should ha>ve been told something of what it was .proposed ‘.to do .about our .export industries., and what would be required of us after ‘.the wai. There.should .be evidence that plans have been .made which will justify. our .playing an .effective .part at the peace table ;as an important -member of the British Empire.
On the ;7th July, the Prime Minister released to the Australian press -a summary of the British White -Paper -on its unemployment policy. ‘From that “White Paper, which covers many pages, the Prime Minister extracted what he described as “ important facts “. These, however, occupied only nineteen lines in a typewritten document. Naturally, such a ‘brief .summary of such a highly important document failed completely to give a true picture of the situation in Great Britain. In particular, :the summary failed to emphasize the part that industry, and particularly -primary industry, will play in post-war .employment. !So far as Australia is .concerned, this is ,a highly important consideration, and -one that should not be lost sight of.
According to the White Paper, it is with industry that the responsibility and initiative must rest to make the most of opportunities to recover export markets and to find fresh outlets for products. The White Paper goes further. Tt points out that important modifications in the incidence of taxation on industry will make a substantial contribution towards economic recovery after the war.
It is pointed out that the British Government, in planning to reduce to a minimum unemployment caused by the change from war to peace, is adopting a six-point policy. This consists of the granting of assistance to firms to prepare to switch over their capacity to peacetime production as quickly as possible. It provides for the making of arrangements, so far as war conditions permit, for labour and raw materials to be made available for urgent civilian work. It further provides that the disposal of surplus government stocks shall not prejudice the re-establishment and development of the normal trade channels for producing and distributing similar goods. It also proposes to regulate the disposal of government factories in such a way as to help towards the early restoration of employment. The British Government proposes to depend on private enterprise after the war as it has done during the war.
The British Government has adopted a realistic policy in relation to post-war industries. It proposes that factories which are not likely to be required for munitions manufacture after the cessation of hostilities shall be released as early as possible, and those owned by the Government shall be leased or sold for production of civilian needs. Contrast this attitude with that of certain members of the present Government. The British Government regards as vital the encouragement of private enterprise. The Commonwealth Government, on the other hand, favours the nationalization of industry, as is indicated by the statement of the Minister for Munitions (Mr. M!akin) on the 7th February, that one of the purposes of the referendum was to seek power for the Commonwealth Government to engage in industrial undertakings in competition with private enterprise. Mr. Makin makes no apology for his attitude. It is not surprising, therefore, that those who have, by their enterprise and initiative, developed private industry to a high pitch of efficiency, are fearful of what will happen if the referendum be carried. They see, in the granting of increased powers, authority for the Commonwealth Government to use government factories after the war in competition with privately controlled secondary industries.
Another contrast is to be found in the British and Australian schemes to ensure social security. The British social security plans are based on the contributory principle. In Australia, however, the Labour Government has rejected this principle in favour of financing such expenditure from Consolidated Revenue. These are but a few instances of how Britain has adopted a realistic policy towards post-war problems, whereas this Government - if it has any policy at all - has followed the course best suited to its political ends.
When it was suggested that the Prime Minister ‘had failed to make it clear in his summary of the White Paper that the British Government contemplated the encouragement of private enterprise, the right honorable gentleman came out into the open. It was revealed that the real purpose of this interest in the White Paper was to endeavour to influence the Australian people to believe that the post-war policy of Great Britain could be applied to Australia. The Prime Minister pointed out that the Commonwealth Government lacked the necessary power to plan ahead which the British Government possessed. There, of course, was some subtle propaganda for the referendum.
My opinion is that all this importance was attached to the White Paper by some of the Government’s economic advisers. These gentlemen apparently can see the writing on the wall. They can see that if the referendum, be lost, and bureaucracy receives a severe jolt as a consequence, the future for them will not be too rosy. They envisage a post-war era in which the bureaucrats will have complete domination over the lives and activities of every one in Australia. These economic advisers will, if they can, surround themselves with even larger staffs than they have to-day, and from their armchairs in Canberra will dictate to the nation. [Extension of time granted.]
In point of fact, there is no comparison between conditions in Great Britain and those in Australia. Great Britain imports considerable quantities of foodstuffs and raw materials. Australia exports enormous quantities. Also, it, fortunately, has not experienced the ravages of total war. Great Britain, on the other hand, has had upwards of 1,000,000 houses and buildings destroyed by the enemy. Even to-day, Great Britain is experiencing the destruction of homes and buildings on a large scale.
It is only natural, therefore, that in a country which has suffered so severely as Great Britain has suffered there is an enormous programme of re-building and re-housing to be undertaken. I suggest that, when the Prime Minister tables the British “White Paper in Parliament, he should point out to the Australian people that the British post-war policy could be adopted in Australia without any alteration of the Constitution. The Government knows full well that for a considerable period after the last shot is fired, and during the whole period of demobilization, it will have all the powers it needs to put the nation on a sound post-war footing and to make up the leeway in production.
I point out, also, that whilst Great Britain is doing everything to encourage private industry to play its part in post-war reconstruction, industry in Australia is receiving no encouragement at all. In fact, the financial policy of the present Government tends to discourage private industry to plan for the future. The honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Holt) emphasized that this afternoon.
First, I ask the Prime Minister whether, so far as Australia is concerned, he is willing to give the same consideration to the constructive suggestions for post-war development of private enterprise contained in the White Paper that he has given to the few proposals for post-war regulation. Is he prepared to learn from the White Paper the lesson of reliance on private enterprise to which we; shall have to look in order to carry Australia through the difficult post-war period ?
.- I take this opportunity to voice my regret at the impending departure of the Governor-General, Lord Gowrie. His Excellency has discharged the duties of his office with dignity and ability, and now bc is about to leave us. We are privileged in that wc shall have in his place no less a person than His Royal Highness, the Duke of Gloucester, the brother of the King. Although, when war was thrust upon us, the various parts of the Empire discovered in themselves a wonderful degree of unity, I believe that, after the war, we shall be glad of the unifying and strengthening influence of so distinguished a personage as the Duke of Gloucester in the office of GovernorGeneral. I am convinced that the appointment of His Royal Highness as Governor-
General of Australia will have the effect of strengthening the ties that bind the Empire.
We were pleased, indeed, to know that our great leader, the Prime Minister (Mr.. Curtin), had returned safely to Australia, and to listen to what he had to tell us. A man would be, indeed, poor in spirit did he not feel a thrill of pride at the recital by the right honorable gentleman of what had been done by our kith and kin on those far-off shores. We have been able tovisualize some of the hazards that accompanied the great invasion which has taken place, and the sufferings and privations which the gallant people of Britain have suffered and withstood since the outbreak of the war.
No country with a population of 7,000,000 could have made a greater war effort than has been made by the people of Australia. The Empire Air Training Scheme has been the means of providing us with- a great air force, in whose magnificent achievements the Minister for Air (Mr. Drakeford) has privately expressed to me the highest degree of pride. We should also be proud of the wonderful, record that has been gained by the Royal Australian Navy. Whenever our war vessels have been engaged in battle, they have covered themselves with glory. I regard the Navy as the first line of defence, not only of this great Commonwealth, but also of the Empire as a whole. In saying that, I do not detract in the slightest degree from the merit of the other fighting services. Never since the days of Nelson, in all the naval engagements that have been decided in defence of the British Empire, has that great flag, the white ensign, been lowered.
Whatever opinion some persons may hold of the workers of Australia, they, too, have done a splendid job in the construction of mighty war vessels and aircraft, and the production of munitions. We have provided the Mother Country, as well as our great Allies, with many of the essentials of war, particularly food, which is just as essential as any gun that we have produced. This Curtin Government has been charged with lack of courage to do this and to do that. In my considered opinion, no previous government displayed courage equal to that of this Government. The Curtin
Administration had the courage to assume control of the affairs of the Commonwealth at definitely the blackest hour in our history. In order to overcome in some degree the shortage of manpower in the- industrial sphere, the Government proposed, and the industrial movement accepted, a dilution scheme. The wages of the workers generally were pegged, but when the great magnates of industry undertook a task in which they were inexperienced, they were given the benefit of the cost-plus system, in order that they might be on the right side of the ledger.
The recent visit of the Empire parliamentary delegation from Great Britain and Canada convinced me that beneficial results would be experienced by all parts of the British Commonwealth of Nations if visits of a similar nature were made at frequent intervals. The Earl of Listowel said in one of his speeches that, although the people of Great Britain had suffered the horrors of war, and the children in congested areas had had to be evacuated to less vulnerable parts, the standard of health generally in that country is now on a higher plane than it was previously.
AVe must begin to plan for a greater effort on behalf of all humanity, including the people of our own country. The opponents of the referendum proposals contend that labour will be conscripted, and the people as a whole will be regimented, if the Commonwealth receives the additional powers which the electors are being asked to grant. Prior to the war, we were on the verge of a depression similar to that which lasted from 1929 to 1933. At that time, 250,000 of our citizens were unemployed. The war provided the means whereby every ablebodied person was able to obtain fulltime employment and a living wage, many of them for the first time in their lives. If finance can be found for war purposes, surely it can bc found also for peaceful pursuits. In the darkest days of the threat to this country, we were told that there would be better times for all if every endeavour were made to win the war. Yet, from the time when the Prime Minister announced that Australia was free from the threat of invasion, those very persons who had introduced and condoned national security regulations, knowing that they were safe, were the first to evince hostility to measures designed to ensure a continuance of a maximum war effort. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies), as the Attorney-General of Victoria, made this statement in relation to the possibilities which would be open to a Commonwealth Parliament clothed with full control in respect of industrial matters -
It is not to be assumed that a Commonwealth Parliament would be less conscious of. the needs of the community than a State Parliament; and it is, I think, fair to assume that a Commonwealth Parliament, armed for the first time with a general power over industrial matters, would proceed to exercise it along sensible lines and in the light of prior experience. Let me picture briefly what could be done by such a Commonwealth Parliament. It would completely remodel our industrial machinery; it could eliminate the notion thai the way to wage fixation or hours fixation is through the processes of dislocation and dispute; it could provide for local tribunalsto deal with local matters; it could make the round-table conference, in industries or individual factories or in departments of individual factories, a real and effective thing; it could, by the machinery it set up, encourage the idea that wages and conditions are matters which ought to be sensibly discussed, and, if possible, agreed upon at periodical meeting* between employers and employees.
Yet we are accused to-day of being desirous of having industrial conscription ! I approach the case for the referendum on a national basis. The matter is not one of party politics. It behovesevery public man to do everything in his power to ensure that the National Parliament shall have all the authority that it needs in order to build for the future. It should be given the right to act as one body, with one mind and thought, so that everything possible may be done to advance Australia fair.
.- I take advantage of the opportunity afforded by this occasion to say a few words in rather general terms in respect of many of the problems that have been discussed and are of importance to the people of thiscountry.
In common with other honorable members, I pay tribute to the faithful service which Lord Gowrie and the Lady Gowrie have rendered to Australia during their term of office. Australia is losing a couple whom it could ill afford to lose; but, as the speaker who preceded me (Mr. Sheehy) has said, we shall be compensated by the fact that His Excellency’s successor is a brother of His Majesty the King.
I also pay tribute to the statement which has been made to this House by the Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin). His representation of Australia abroad has added lustre not only to himself personally, but also to this nation and the party of which he is a member. The statement dealt with matters that are of vital interest to every member of this Parliament, as well as to the nation generally. We are indebted to him for the manner in which he discharged his functions overseas. In view of the Prime Minister’s speech, it is fitting that many of the things that have been said in this debate have embraced not only Australia’s future, but also the problems that will confront the whole world after the war. Great changes will occur throughout the world, and there will be a tremendous task for the peoples of all nations if they are to rehabilitate themselves. Australia’s problem, although it will be relatively smaller than that of Prance, Great Britain, Canada, America and others, will, nevertheless, he of tremendous gravity. I believe, in common with other honorable members, that we must have a broader and more liberal outlook on world affairs. The problems of other nations cannot be thrust aside when we are dealing with post-war reconstruction here. At the same time, however, we must remember that in this Parliament we are the representatives of the Australian people and that, regardless of what happens in other countries, our duty is paramountry towards them. Regardless, too, of on what side of the House we sit, it. is our obligation to ensure that our own people shall receive our first consideration. Whatever sympathy we may have with the peoples of other nations, we must first ensure that Australians shall have social security, full employment, and everything that goes to make for a happy national life. I agree with the honorable member for Richmond (Mr. Anthony) that in order that we, as members of Parliament, and the people of Australia generally may have n broader outlook on world affairs, it would be well for honorable members to mingle as much as possible with the peoples of other countries, and exchanges of visits by members of parliament, such as the recent visits by the Empire Parliamentary Delegations from Great Britain and Canada to this country, and Australian members to Great Britain, should be encouraged, not merely for the purpose of providing members with a trip round the world, but to enable them to get a closer understanding of what other nations are doing so that we may be able to use their experiences to guide us in the solution of our own problems. I hope that the honorable member’s commendable suggestion will be adopted and carried out in the not-far-distant future.
I was also impressed by what the Governor-General, Lord Gowrie, said at the farewell dinner to him on Monday night when he declared that the duty of parliamentarians was not to regard themselves as bound to vote for their party, right or wrong, but to support’ whatever good arguments were advanced regardless of the side whence they came. I hope that the future representatives of this nation and this Parliament will adopt that as their creed.
– What about having some of that spirit now?
– The honorable member for Fawkner prompts me to declare that it is extremely difficult to reconcile the attitude adopted by the Opposition towards the referendum, which has been proposed for the national good, with the Governor-General’s advice. There is little to commend the Opposition members to the Australian people in their present attitude to proposals which, only a few months ago, they in their hearts believed and said were necessary for the welfare of the Australian people. The only reason why the alleged statesmen and people’s representatives in the Opposition are opposed to the referendum- is that the Labour party is in power. It will be a sorry future for the Australian people if they ever restore to the treasury bench Opposition parties with so warped an outlook. Men like the honorable member for Fawkner have a brief in this Parliament. They represent big interests which, notwithstanding the Opposition’s pledged support of the transference of powers to the Commonwealth, used their influence to make honorable members opposite change their tunc. That the old order will die hard is proved by the opposition to the progressive policy for the postwar world which has been shown in the attitude of big business to the referendum. Another instance of the die-hard conservatism which has held this country back is the antagonism of the British Medical Association to this Government’s medical health benefits proposals. The British Medical Association is endeavouring to dictate what policy shall be laid down for the Australian people in that respect. It is noteworthy that the representatives of the association who have dealt with the Government on this matter are men who earn big incomes and are out of touch with the rank and file of medical practitioners. My own experiences and my membership of the Social Security Committee have convinced me that there is strong support amongst the general practitioners for a salaried medical service. Of the doctors I have met as many are in favour of it as are opposed to it. A sidelight on this dispute between the Government and the British Medical Association is the fact that the association employs a doctor on a salary as full-time secretary. How the British Medical Association can reconcile that with opposition to a salaried medical service is beyond my comprehension.
I deprecate the view that after the war Australia and the rest of the world will be lands flowing with milk and honey in which there will be no need for sacrifice. On the contrary, there will be tremendous problems to solve, and their solution will demand great organization, entailing labour and sacrifice. So that Australia shall be able to evolve plans whereby security shall be assured to all, the premier parliament of Australia must have adequate powers to tackle the problems that will confront us. Unless this Parliament be given those powers on the 19th August we shall at a not very distant date return to the days not long past when through lack of organization Australian people sought unavailingly for work and paradoxically went hungry in a land of plenty. The problem of rehabilitation of returned servicemen and women alone will require almost fulltime attention by the Government to ensure that they shall be placed in suitable employment commensurate to the sacrifice made in the defence services. The right honorable member for Darling Downs (Mr. Fadden) said a lot about the claims of private enterprise, and gave honorable members to understand that he would like to return to the good old days, but he neglected to tell us about the thousands of men who walked the streets workless and hungry while those in control of private enterprise prospered. The interests opposing the referendum to-day are those which were in control of industry in the depression. They want once again to be able to dictate to men when and how they shall work. “Whilst acknowledging the benefits that have accrued to Australia through the efforts of private enterprise, I do not wish Australia to continue to be at its mercy. The subject of unemployment, however, has been dealt with sufficiently already by other honorable members on both sides. The only other observation I desire to make on that subject is that it is futile to think that there will be full employment for every one without there being some plan to ensure it. The only Parliament competent to make that plan is the National Parliament, and for that reason it is essential that the people shall say “ Yes “ at the referendum. A “ Yes “ vote is needed to prevent the plans which have already been drafted from being discarded. There are other matters which I could touch on as a warning to the people of the dangers associated with a “ No “ vote at the referendum; social security, for instance, will be endangered unless the referendum be carried.
One of the most pressing needs now is housing. More than 300,000 homes will be required by the middle of next year to make up the leeway. That requires national planning and administration. Unless we can lay the foundation of a national housing plan, we shall find ourselves in great difficulty in providing homes not only for those who need them now but also for those who will be returning from active service. It is needless for me to say that in my electorate the housing position is very bad.
That is the fault not of this Government, ‘but of the maladministration of its predecessors on the treasury bench. I hope that on the 19th August the powers which this Parliament is seeking will be granted by the people so that we shall be able to go ahead with a national housing plan. Meanwhile, I urge the Government to take every action immediately to alleviate the housing shortage. I hope that the people will give to this Parliament the powers that it requires for the purpose of ensuring the future welfare of this country. Members of this Parliament realize that, in asking for the additional powers, they must be prepared to accept increased responsibility. The average citizen does not realize the great responsibility that will devolve upon this Parliament if it be given power to provide employment and social security in the post-war world. I contend that the Commonwealth should possess those powers. The Opposition in this Parliament would render a great national service to the people whom they represent if they supported the Government’s proposals and, in the words of Lord Gowrie, “Do a job for Australia that they know to be right”. They should not oppose the referendum issues for purely party reasons because the proposed grant of powers does not suit the political interests that they represent.
delivering one of the most epoch-making speeches that the House has ever heard on the Address-in-Reply. Certainly, it i3 unusual for a Prime Minister to move the adoption of the Address-in-Reply. I cannot recall having heard, or read of its ever having been done before. Nor can I recall an occasion on which the head of a government has had to call for a quorum in order to secure the attendance of his own followers. The rule is that the obligation devolves upon the Government to preserve a quorum, and, apparently, the Australian Labour party which, in this chamber, outnumbers the combined Opposition by at least two to one-
– Not enough !
– Not enough, perhaps, but the longer the tail the alligator has to carry around the more difficult it is for him to walk through the sand. The Minister will be reminded of that in due course.
From my point of view, the most interesting feature about the Prime Minister’s speech was that he ascended into the political stratosphere and never came back to earth. When such tactics are adopted I always suspect that the right honorable gentleman has concluded that conditions are not very satisfactory on the ground and that the eyes of all mankind must be uplifted to the great and mighty highfliers. In his speech dealing with the great things that are to happen after the war, two matters were mentioned to which I desire to refer. The first was the very vexed question of international security after this war. I am not one of those who believe that, this war will be the last war that the world will see. I do not believe that we can ever have a static civilization, unless it be a stagnant civilization. That is the teaching of history. After this war, we shall witness the establishment of the greatest and most powerful maritime empire that the world has ever seen. That empire will reside in the United States of America. In population, wealth, and production, the British Empire, diverse as its resources may be, cannot hope to compete with the United States if the American nation sets itself out to hold the hegemony of the seas. It is unlikely that, in a contest of that description, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics will be a competitor with the United States of America. Rus.sia is essentially a continental Power. So is Germany. But the United States of America is only to a certain degree, a continental Power. The chief interests of the United States lie in the Americas and, in order to keep its empire together, it must have a powerful navy. One of the most important factors in the preservation of world peace in the post-war world will be the maintenance afloat of only two naval forces, those of Great Britain and the United States. True, there will be the air factor, and that will be a big thing. But if we attempt to impose collective security on mankind, we shall immediately create a condition of affairs in which there will be collective insecurity. The fault in the League of Nations was that it possessed no armed forces of its own with which to impose its will, by force of arms, on any recalcitrant member state or non-member 3tate which had set out to disturb the peace of the world.
– If there were only two navies afloat, would not that be collective security?
– It would be a form of security, but not collective security, because only two Powers would be involved. If you decide to enforce collective security by arms the parties to the collective security must be prepared to surrender a portion of their armed forces to this central authority. There is no other way. Would any honorable member be prepared to cast his vote in this chamber in favour of a measure which provided that some of our ships, aircraft, soldiers and munitions should be segregated, allocated, alienated or hypothecated, a* you will, to come under the authority of this super-state - this world authority - for securing peace? The proposition is impracticable; and yet, unless this House is prepared to concede that this superstate must have arms, munitions, transport, food, and clothing in order to fulfil its mission, all talk of collective security in the post-war world becomes an idle dream. These suggestions are not new. They have been tried time and time again. One of the wisest things that Solomon said was that there was nothing new under the sun. The honorable member for Denison (Dr. Gaha) went back only to 400 B.C., and some of the States that he mentioned are excellent examples of my contentions. Collective security is one of the greatest individual acts of self-delusion in the history of mankind. In the final analysis, the safety and security of nations, whether in the international or domestic sphere, rests upon force and nothing else. The custodians of peace inside the six States of Australia are members of what is known as a “ police force “. It is a force. When these forces prove to be insufficient for the tasks that confront them, most countries have special ways and means of quickly recruiting men to assist in quelling any disturbance. Mr. Burke. - That force is maintained for the purpose of enforcing a code of law.
– If we have an international code of law, we must have an international force in order to maintain and enforce it. My objection to the international force is that the nations will not agree to allocate a certain number of their troops, ships and planes to a super State to be used, if necessary, against one of the nations that actually provided those resources. That is, to my mind, an absurd proposition, and one which is unlikely to find any useful response in any country.
What is the alternative? When the war ends, there will be three very great powers. Two of them will be particularly great powers. The other will be the British Empire, to which we have the privilege and the honour to belong. But it will be overshadowed in population and in wealth by each of the other two powers. Therefore, the keystone to world peace after this conflict ends lies in. our closest collaboration and complete understanding with the United States of America.
– And Russia.
– Collaboration with America is the keystone so far as we are concerned. Erom my study of the situation - and I endeavour, perhaps with some limitation of which honorable members may be more conscious than I am, to look at these matters somewhat objectively - I am not able to discern in the foreign policy of Russia anything to lead me to the conclusion that the Moscow declaration is likely to be interpreted in such a way that the undisputed internal sovereignty of countries like the Baltic States, Poland, Rumania, and perhaps some others, will be granted by the Soviet Republics. Unless this untrammelled sovereignty, this complete sovereignty, this right to self-determination, is accorded to those countries just as much as we and the United States of America are prepared to accord it to the countries of western Europe, a number of countries will not be in the happy position of determining for themselves the method of government under which they are to live.
– Did not Russia subscribe to the Atlantic Charter?
– I have not forgotten that Russia subscribed to a treaty with Adolf Hitler. However, I do not want to pursue that line of argument. At this stage of the development of international relations, the Government would do well to exercise its statecraft, and take a strictly objective and realistic attitude towards all the people in the international field.
I have not mentioned China. This is a rich and populous country, but it suffers extremely from lack of transport and communications. Those deficiencies retard its development. Great forces are at work within China itself. What China is to do while face to face with the J apanese Army is one matter. What will be its internal form of government as soon as the Japanese have been, disposed of is one of its most difficult problems. The solution will have a very important bearing on the future of international relations in the Pacific.
Sitting suspended from 6 to 8 p.m. [Quorum formed.]
– It appears to me that when this war is over, and we return to something like stability in international affairs, we shall see a ro-grouping of the smaller nations of the world such as has not been witnessed in recent history. There are rumblings and strivings and yearnings in many of the smaller countries to-day, and we shall be faced with the question of what is to happen to the smaller democracies in western Europe which, while maintaining a democratic system of government in a relatively small area, and with a comparatively small population, have been able to develop a considerable overseas empire. Some understanding among them will be vital to their security and to the preservation of civilization as we know it. We shall also have to face the very difficult problem - and it is becoming increasingly difficult - of what is to happen to the older Arab states of the world. These questions may be considered by some honorable members to be rather remote, but, as I said earlier, this debate began in the stratosphere and, for the time being, I intend to keep it there. There will be a resuscitation of interest in the lot of the Arab peoples, and also of the Mongols and the Tartars of eastern Asia. Again, we have in South America homogeneous races, mainly of Latin extraction. With a very small amount of organization the peoples of that sub-continent could become an important power in the world at large, not only in numbers but also in commerce and finance. Those who aspire to lead Australian thought will be called upon to consider these subjects in the not distant future. We cannot give all our time to the consideration of them, but they are so important that we cannot, afford not to give any of our time to them.
I come now to a question much closer to home. What are to be the relations of Australia with the other members of the British Empire? Although I do not entirely agree with the views advanced by the Prime Minister on this subject at the Imperial Conference, I was pleased that he initiated a debate on it. Perhaps hp was one conference ahead of the right time. Nevertheless, it is of interest to me to discover that there is some understanding on the Government benches - albeit a newly-born understanding - of the importance of this subject. I cannot deal, in this speech, with all the issues involved, but when the final clarification comes - I use the word “ final “ with some reservations, because in a community of self-governing countries such as the British Empire, there can be no finality; fluidity and change are the characteristics of the relations of these countries - insofar as finality can be achieved, it will be, I believe, on the basis of a much closer agreement on foreign policy and defence than has been manifested in the past. Quite naturally, after the last war, a tendency was noticeable to recognize the newly-achieved - I do not say the newly-won, for we did not have to fight for it - independence of the different parts of the Empire. There has been a tendency to drift away from what some honorable members know as “ Whitehall “, but our experiences in the struggle through which we are passing must force us to realize the salient fact that the communities of the British Empire must be regarded as one indivisible whole. Although these communities are separated geographically, and although each has its own problems of race, productivity, and economic stability, the safety of each, in a world in which there is a tendency towards what might be called big business in international affairs, depends upon the cohesion of all of them. After the war there may be a tendency for the big powers to dominate the small powers just as big business, or what my friends on the front benches would call trusts and combines, dominates small business in the commercial sphere. I consider that this will be the tendency in international relations after the war. Consequently, it appears to me that the smaller countries will really need to be brought together under one political and military head.
Having dealt with these important subjects in a somewhat perfunctory manner, which was unavoidable in view of the circumstances under which the Parliament is meeting this week, I now turn to a consideration of the big question of immigration. The Prime Minister referred to this subject only briefly. I regret that he did not say more about, it. I was surprised yesterday afternoon when the honorable member for Hunter (Mr. James) made certain remarks concerning the White Australia policy, the effect of which was that any one who was brought to this country to fight should be entitled to live here, regardless of his colour. I do not accept that view. After our experiences in this country during this war, I am more than ever convinced of the necessity for the continuance of the White Australia policy. I believe that it is a first essential to the maintenance of a British community in the Commonwealth. However much we may desire to debate the subject, I must say that every time I see an American negro walking along the streets of our big cities, I see a living argument in favour of White Australia. I hope that I shall not be misunderstood on this subject, but, for Heaven’s sake, let honorable members opposite pay some regard to the experiences of other countries in which races of different colours have been brought together, as they have been, unfortunately, in the United States of America. Whenever the coloured races are introduced in this way they create their own problems, and their own peculiar types of outcasts, in comparison with whom the outcasts of India may be regarded as a minor problem. They develop also their own peculiar antagonisms and their own difficulties. There can be no such thing as a common meeting ground on which a cohesive and homogeneous race may develop. Australian statesmanship will be tested by the” manner in which it deals with this problem and with the problem of migration as a whole.
One thing that we need in this country is the populating of our rural areas. I hope that the Government will give attention to this important subject. Until we have a population satisfactorily distributed over the wide territory of Australia, and particularly over our northern areas, we shall not be in a sound position to discuss certain matters with the people of other countries. We must utilize our country to the best advantage, and until we do so we shall be courting trouble. A good deal of misapprehension exists overseas about the populationcarrying capacity of Australia. I have travelled over a large part of this continent and I know that a great deal of it is desert. In any other part of the world it would be so classed. We have been inclined to consider that, having an area of nearly 3,000,000 square miles, we should be able to sustain a certain population, but that is not the right method of computation. There are great areas in Western Australia, in the north of South Australia, in the southern parts of the Northern Territory, in western Queensland, and in the western parts of New South Wales which by no stretch of my imagination can I see closely settled. This is pastoral country and it will remain so. If it were in certain overseas countries, particularly in Africa and Asia, it would be designated pastoral country and would be dealt with accordingly.
Certain matters that are agitating the public mind in Australia at present should be discussed in this debate, but I am disposed to believe that the Government is trying to keep the debate up in the air, so that nothing will be said on these subjects for the time being. The Government does not desire attention to bc directed to its failures and its delinquencies. One matter on which it desires to avoid discussion is man-power. I say, frankly, that many people in this country, of whom 1 am one, do not know where they stand in relation to releases from the Army. It is time the position was clarified. I do not desire to go into detail on the subject at the moment, but I shall cite two types of applications for releases which I consider have been wrongly dealt with. One application was made on compassionate grounds, and the other on strictly commercial grounds. The first application was made by a person in my electorate. He had three sons, all of whom enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force. Two were killed in infantry actions in Libya, and the third is now serving with the forces in New Guinea. When the application was made for the release of this man it was stated that in consequence of his medical classification, and the unit to which he was attached, he could not be released.
– He should be released.
– I agree with the honorable member. The policy of the Government in this connexion does not commend itself to me. I consider that when two of three members of a family have made the supreme sacrifice on the field of battle, the Government is morally bound to say to the parents of the third and only boy left, “Your son need not remain in the jungle of New Guinea, or gr. to any other place where the exigencies of war require fighting to be done. He can be released “. The other case relates to the somewhat unusual industry of oatmeal grinding. There is an oatmeal mill at Mount Gambier. Recently tenders were called by the Army for 80 tons of oatmeal. No tender was received from this mill. The Army Department rang the manager, Mr. Mcintosh, and asked why no tender had been submitted. The answer was, “ Until you release my foreman, and one of my chief operatives, I cannot increase production “. The management was informed, “ Man Power will supply you with men”. Having some knowledge of industry, Mr. ‘Speaker, you will agree that Man Power cannot produce a foreman to take charge of a night shift in a mill of that sort. There is great necessity for somebody to get down to a proper consideration of what is possible under the man-power policy that is in operation in Australia to-day. I have seen a good deal of the Commonwealth lately, and I say without hesitation that in my considered opinion the Army to-day is hopelessly overmanned, considering the state which the war has reached, the much reduced threat to this community, and the large number of head-quarters and base formations that we have. That is one of the problems which has to be attacked. I do not consider that we should be without a very large reserve of trained reinforcements. But when I pay attention to what the Prime Minister told us the other day, I am forced to the conclusion that the military policy of the Government has been reduced to the decision that only two or three Australian Imperial Force divisions will be engaged in future active operations. If that be so, the whole question of the manning of the Army and of our local defences is badly in need of overhaul.
Coupled with the Army is the question of the waste of man.power by that delectable body that is known as the Allied Works Council. I have a very strong suspicion that ‘ before long the administration of that body will be one of the most important subjects for discussion in this Parliament. I have just returned from another visit to the Northern Territory. I was told that at a place called Simpson’s Gap, not far from Alice Springs, some wag has inscribed on a rock this slogan, “Never waa so little done by so many for so much. J. Curtin “. That epitomizes the feeling of practically everybody who has witnessed this most expensive and extravagant organization at work. I am not at present in a position to say actually what the costs of certain works are under this organization ; but on the little knowledge that I have, I do say that they are without parallel in the Commonwealth. I admit that there are many queer things connected with the Allied Works Council. Many disabilities had to- bo overcome. Many men “were dragged into its ranks; consequently, it had an awkward problem in connexion with man-power. But I am not satisfied that the men who were allotted to it were always used to the best advantage. It would be hoping for too much to expect that they would be in time of war. But from what I have seen and heard in my travels, I am very much afraid that in too many cases has there been a spirit of extravagance, of don’tcareahang, and of opposition to the intention and the will of the Government, which does not augur well and will have its repercussions when reports on this body by the Auditor-General finally come to light. I do not wish to go into figures; but one of the questions I ask the Government to be prepared to answer when this House next meets is, “ What has been the cost of the graving dock at Sydney up to date ? “ I understand that that work has been handed over to the Allied Works Council. Judging by what I have heard, the increased cost has been enormous. We had an instance, during the last sessional period, of certain men having been sent to cut ordinary gum posts in southern Victoria, and of discovering that the posts were costing £52 a hundred.
– What is the customary rate?
– The trained employees of the Forests Commission were not doing rauch better.
– My colleague the honorable member for Corangamite (Mr. McDonald), who comes from that State and has different ideas, which doubtless will be ventilated in due course, says that the customary rate is £4 lis. a hundred.
Sooner or later, there must be an investigation of the costs and the administration of this august body on the mining fields of the Northern Territory. While I was up there recently, I visited a place called Hatches Creek, which was the subject of a debate, initiated by me, in this House last March. The state of affairs there demands the urgent personal attention of somebody in authority on the government benches. I have put certain propositions to the Minister concerned ; theref ore, I do not wish to engage at present in an extensive debate. The first requirement is to secure some measure of redress for the men, who, in my opinion, have been very ill treated as the result of certain administration, possibly without knowledge or intention on the part of the Government; I do not think that there was any such intention. The costs which they were told they would be reimbursed have not yet been reimbursed. After the last sessional period, the Acting Prime Minister (Mr. Forde) was good enough to send to me a letter in which he stated that certain things had been done. When that letter was sent to the miners concerned, they said frankly and bluntly, “ These things have not been done: these inquiries have not been concluded, and this compensation has not been paid “. The net result of my inquiries on this score to date is, that a committee was appointed to assess damages. That committee has not visited the mining fields concerned, but has met in Melbourne. Yet, I saw up there that timber and ladders had been taken out of the shafts, and was told that the miners had been refused information as to what workings had been operated underground. In one considerable mine, the whole of the workings have fallen in. Only by visiting those fields can a board of assessors get any idea of the position. While I was there, one man received a radiogram from his agents in Melbourne telling him that he must engage a competent mining engineer to visit the field, which is nearly 300 miles from Alice Springs, and furnish a report of what damage had been done to his mine. The original intention of the Government, as it was conveyed to me, was that this committee was to be set up in order to compensate these men for acts of administration whereby they had suffered financially. There is only one method by which the committee could arrive at a conclusion on that matter, and that is by visiting the mining fields concerned and seeing what had occurred. To attempt to arrive at a conclusion in the city of Melbourne, without personal knowledge of the conditions, without having viewed the ground, and without having seen the subjects in dispute, is utterly ridiculous, and should not be tolerated for one minute in this House.
The question of the future of the Northern Territory is one which this Parliament will soon have to consider. I was interested to see a report by the Administrator - I have not yet read it in full - in which he recommended that a certain measure of local self-government should be accorded to the Northern Territory. In my view, the Northern Territory is too big an area to be administered from one centre. I believe that it should be divided into two parts, with the central part and the area slightly to the north being administered from Alice Springs, and the northern part being administered from Port Darwin. The first thing needed towards the settlement of any understanding between the Commonwealth on the one hand and the residents of the Northern Territory on the other hand, is some form of Legislative Assembly or Council at each of those places. I am afraid that, until the people concerned have a voice in the administration of that territory, we shall have considerable difficulties in administration and considerable distrust between the people of the Territory on the one hand and the Commonwealth Government on the other hand. It was rather singular, from my point of view, to observe while I was there that the residents had just formed what is known as the Northern Territory Development Association. The first requirement which they put before the Commonwealth is the necessity for some form of local self-government. To my mind, that is in striking contrast to what is happening in the rest of the Commonwealth. Here, we are about to embark upon a campaign to decide whether or not additional powers shall be accorded to the Commonwealth Parliament; certainly for a limited period of years, nevertheless additional powers. But in that huge area of northern and central Australia, in which there is 100 per cent. Commonwealth power to-day, the residents have formed this association to endeavour to further their development by securing some measure of local self-government. To me, that is a most interesting sidelight on the referendum campaign.
I do not want to debate the merits of the referendum proposals, because they were debated previously. There has been mention of the methods employed by the
Government in putting its case. I understand that during the last 24 hours or so the decision has been reached that every member of the Labour party shall be pledged against industrial conscription. I had a look at the Government benches once or twice in the last few days, and noticed that some members had “ Yes “ on them, whilst others had not. I remember that during the passage of the bill through the Senate, this very point as to whether or not if certain powers in relation to employment and unemployment were given to the Commonwealth it would have the authority to introduce industrial conscription, was raised by a South Australian senator of that day - Senator Wilson.
– Is the honorable gentleman in favour of it?
– I am not expressing an opinion at the moment. I have expressed it time and again. Nobody can read the referendum proposals, as drafted, without coming to the conviction that their wording would give to any government the power to introduce industrial conscription. Once you give complete power over unemployment and employment, once you set up an authority to plan, once you take unto yourself the sole right to determine that everybody shall be employed, it stands to reason that everybody cannot be employed where everybody wishes to be employed; consequently, some bodies among that collective everybody must go into those avocations which the Government of the day decides they shall enter in the interests of employment generally. To my mind, there is only one answer to the apparently new discovery of the Government and the party that sits behind it, which prompts the signing of a letter declaring that industrial conscripion will not be introduced, and I give it to the people who are likely to support the referendum proposals ; that is, to vote “ No “ on the 19th August.
– The people have never taken notice of the honorable gentleman previously, and they will not on this occasion.
– That will be all right. I shall not mind. I am afraid that I should be deflated rather than elated if my honorable friend did take notice of me. That, however, is by the way. The action taken by the Federal Labour party during the last few hours is a frank and voluntary admission to the working men of Australia, to trade unionists and to the people, including those who support Labour policy, that the powers proposed to be given to the Commonwealth on the 19th August do include power to impose industrial conscription, something which, in my opinion, should not be tolerated. I respect the sincerity and purpose of honorable members opposite, but they will not be here forever. Members come and go, just as governments come and go. To those people who fear industrial conscription, no stronger argument in favour of voting “ No “ could be provided than the action which the Labour party itself has just taken.
– The States already have this power, but they have not introduced industrial conscription.
– I come now to the activities of the Censorship Committee, and to the matter of censorship generally. Immediately after I first raised this matter, I was told that a search had been made of departments which I had previously administered. I do not know who authorized the search, but I was told what had been discovered, &nd I do not mind its being made public. The search was not confined to those departments which I had administered in time of war ; it extended even to those which I had administered in time of peace. I was told that it had been discovered that I, as Postmaster-General, had done a certain thing with a letter in 1939. That is quite true. I am not unwilling that these matters should be discussed in public. Any administrative act of mine is open for this or any other government to inquire into.
– Most of the honorable member’s allegations about censorship have been refuted.
– In respect of one letter, I have the envelope and an apology from the Chief Censor himself, so that there can be no doubt that it was opened. In point of fact, that letter was the only one my wife had written to me for nearly a month, because she was in hospital. The Prime Minister stated that he was surprised that the Censorship Committee had not completed its inquiries. Meetings of the committee are called by the chairman, who was appointed by the Prime Minister. Very soon after the Prime Minister left, the then chairman resigned. [Further extension of time granted.] I am not challenging the right of the Government to change the chairman, but surely the circumstances which warranted his resignation must have been known to the Government at the time he was appointed. Notwithstanding requests by members of the committee, including myself, the committee was not called together for some weeks after it was appointed. There were a few meetings, and an interim report was drawn up, presented to the Government and, I understand, adopted by the Government. Subsequently, an endeavour was made to remit the matter to a judicial tribunal. I maintain that, whatever are the rights and wrongs of the censorship, this is essentially an administrative matter, and not one for a judicial inquiry. The Commonwealth Parliament is the overseer of Commonwealth administration. That is one of its functions. Therefore, I say that the proper authority to inquire into a matter of this kind is Parliament itself, through a committee selected by Parliament. This morning I received a note saying that a meeting of the committee would be held to-morrow after question time. I am ready to attend, but the honorable member for New England (Mr. Abbott), having had no information of what was intended, had already committed himself to attend a meeting of the Australian Wool Board in Melbourne, and so he cannot attend the meeting of the Censorship Committee.
– The committee has been summoned for to-morrow because, in the consultations which I bad with the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies) and the Leader of the Country party (Mr. Fadden), the view was conveyed to me that the committee should proceed to work immediately. I therefore directed the chairman of the committee accordingly.
– I am not challenging the wisdom of calling the committee together to-morrow. I maintain that it should proceed with its job without delay, prepare its recommendations, and submit them to the Government.
– Hear, hear!
– It is a matter of regret that, during the absence of the Prime Minister, so many weeks were allowed to pass without any meeting of the committee being held, and that when meetings did take place, they were very perfunctory. I have attended every meeting of the committee, and I hope I shall be able to attend all future meetings. I can say, with some knowledge of the feeling throughout the country, that it is a bad thing when Parliament sets up a committee to do a certain job, and that committee goes about its work in what appears to the public to be a half-hearted and perfunctory way.
– This committee was appointed by me, as Prime Minister. It was not appointed by resolution of the Parliament.
– I think the Prime Minister will agree that there is no essential difference. Certain reasons were advanced why only Ministers and exMinisters should sit on the committee, and I do not dispute them, but I say that, in the interests of parliamentary institutions, which are held in high regard by British people, the work of this committee should proceed with as little delay as possible.
– And I, as a citizen, should not be able to read in the newspapers the contents of a document which was tendered to the committee as evidence.
– I am quite innocent of that.
– It was released by the honorable member for New England (Mr. Abbott).
– The honorable member for New England can answer for anything he has done, and I am prepared to answer for what I have done. I have nothing to be ashamed of regarding my actions as a member of the committee, and nothing to apologize for. I know that there were certain leakages to the press almost as soon as the committee met, and those responsible can answer for them. It would be well for Parliament to lay down the principle that, when committees are appointed for a special purpose, expedition should be one of their main considerations. It is a matter of deep regret and, in some quarters, of deep suspicion, that the Censorship Committee has not proceeded more quickly with its work. I hope that, at to-morrow’s meeting, we shall be able to devise a method of carrying on the work of the committee without the interruptions which have marked its efforts hitherto.
.- The honorable member for Barker (Mr. Archie Cameron) pointed out that if there were work for everybody, some people would have to do work that was unpleasant. That is quite true. Many jobs will have to be done that no one will want to do. For instance, I cannot imagine anybody wanting to make bricks, or dig trenches, or fell trees, but those jobs have to be done. The solution of the problem is to be found, not in industrial conscription, but in providing for such work wages and conditions that will attract workers. This talk of industrial conscription is just so much propaganda against the Government’s referendum proposals. During the depression, there was no industrial conscription as such, yet, when an unemployed man registered at a labour bureau he was likely to be told that there was a job in such and such a place, and that he could have it if he went there. If he did not go, he was free to starve; that was economic conscription.
The events of the last six months have clearly shown the great value of international co-operation. The results of the meetings between allied leaders at Teheran, Cairo, and Moscow should convince the most hardened Tories of the value of this form of collaboration. The opening of the second front in Europe, which was pleaded for by so many, and resisted for so long, is now an accomplished fact, and it is a matter for thankfulness that it was achieved with relatively few casualties. “We can look to the eastern front to note the principal benefits. There has not been any spectacular advance in the west, but the fact that the Germans have had to divide their forces has assisted the Red Army to make its gains. 1 am one of those “who believe that the second front ought to have been opened earlier, and I think that if it had been the war would have been so much nearer conclusion. It is well known that the classic German military strategy is to avoid war on two or more fronts. Captain Liddell Hart, in his biography of Marshal Foch, pointed out that in the last war had the German strategists adopted a defensive strategy on the eastern front and an offensive on the western front, France would have been over-run and the war probably won for Germany; but, instead of that, they pursued the offensive on both fronts and thereby allowed the Allies the time in which to mobilize their superior economic resources, which, in the end, caused the defeat of Germany. However, whatever can be said against the German militarists, it cannot be said that they do not learn lessons quickly and easily. On this occasion, by intrigue and deceit, in which they were ably aided by powerful Tory influences in France, Great Britain and America, they were able to hoodwink many people in those countries into the belief that all their rearmament and ambitions of territorial expansion were directed solely against the Soviet Union. It is only necessary to read history to find that the British Tories turned blind eyes to the overrunning of Austria and Czechoslovakia.
– What about Ramsay MacDonald ?
– And what about Baldwin, who confessed that he would not arm in 1934 because he was afraid that he would thereby lose the elections?
– It is of little use to saddle governments of the day with responsibility for policies of the past. After the Germans had over-run Austria and Czechoslovakia, they decided to turn west, and clean up the western front before turning east. Owing to the fact that France was rotten at the top, although not at the bottom, they were easily able to clean mp the. west as far as the English Channel. They then turned to the east in order to liquidate once and for all the Soviet military power in order to secure for themselves the vast resources of the Soviet Union, and so be able to embark upon a policy of world conquest. Fortunately for the rest of the world, the British people did a lot of hard thinking, and popular upsurge forced into the background the appeasers of Munich and brought to the front Winston Churchill, a man of sufficient realism to know that not the Soviet Union, but Germany, was Great Britain’s enemy. Immediately the Soviet Union was attacked, Churchill pledged Britain’s unqualified aid to the Soviet Union, and that pledge was followed by a series of conferences between the two great Powers, and then America came into the war, with the result that to-day these three Powers are united in the common aim to defeat the common enemy. The unity of the peace-loving peoples of the world is one of the main hopes that we have for our future security. . I, therefore, deprecate the way in which some people are playing into the hands of the Fascist gang by comparing the efforts of Russia on the one hand with those of the Western Powers on the other. Those who play up the magnificent assistance given to the Soviet by Great Britain and the United States of America and forget Russia’s own sacrifice of men and materials, and those who emphasize the Soviet achievements without acknowledging those of Britain and America, are playing Hitler’s game. This is a struggle between the democratic powers and the Fascist powers, and all nations in the Allied bloc - Great Britain, Russia, America, China, ourselves, and those which have been overrun, France Belgium, Holland, Norway, Czechoslovakia - are playing their parts to the extent of their capacity. Whether above ground or underground, their activities are tremendous and all are directed to the liberation of themselves and others. There is no room for disparagement of the effort made by any of the United Nations. The honorable member for Denison (Dr. Gaha) in his speech on Tuesday, said that he could not offer any solution of the problem of how to prevent wars, but I am one who thinks that it is not an insoluble problem. I believe that the cause of war is the simple fact that man exploits man. In other words, while there is on this earth a system in. any nation which allows one section to exploit the other, the seeds of war are sown. Only by abolishing systems of that type shall we be able to abolish war. Wars arise from capitalism. There is no other word to describe the cause of war, and the solution is the substitution of a system of private appropriation of social production, a system of social appropriation of social production - in other words, socialism. I cannot accept the idea that war is a part of man’s make-up, that man is naturally an aggressive animal ; he is not ; he is a peaceful and social animal, and only when his baser feelings are whipped up does he go to war at the behest of his masters. I do not mean to imply that all wars are unjustified ; on the contrary, many wars are justified, particularly on one side. For instance, the war of China against Japan is justifiable on China’s side, and unjustifiable on Japan’s side, for the reason that Japan was the aggressor. Our war against Germany is justified; Germany’s aggression is not. I have endeavoured to show that had it been possible to achieve before the war, the unity that we have achieved to-day, the war would either never have commenced, or would have been greatly shortened.
Man is a peculiar animal. Although nature has given him an intellect which raises him above the beasts, he never seems able to learn from the suffering of others. He has to learn by bitter and bloody experience, and the experience of this war is bitter and bloody enough, God knows! Will he learn from it? Will he realize that wars arise from the simple fact that man exploits man, that capitalism as a system has long outlived its usefulness, that production for profit must give way to production for use, that there is no social necessity or moral obligation why he should allow others to live in super-luxury on the wealth created by his industry, while he manages on or below the bare minimum, finally to be thrown on the industrial scrap heap when he has worn himself out in the service of the nation, and there left to eke out his days on a mere pittance which will just about keep him from starvation. When will he realize that modern science and invention belong to him, that they are capable of giving him a life of full and plenty, with leisure to spend on the pursuit of beauty and culture. It is his for the taking, but he must take it, for the greedy octopus of finance capitalism will never give up its position of wealth and privilege without a bitter struggle. I am hopeful that the people generally, and the boys in the front line particularly, will demand the new order which was held out to them so enticingly as an inducement to fight to defend this country. When by their sacrifices the war has been won, are they to have the promised new order or merely the old one dressed up in new clothes? Not until we achieve socialism will the common people receive their just reward. In the course of his remarks, the honorable member for Denison also said that he could not perceive the difference between Communism and Fascism. I would have thought that to one who has had the advantages of training in how to think, of extensive reading and wide travel, such a question would be elementary. I am sure it is to anybody who gives it a little unbiased research and thought. Fascism, in any of its names, is monopoly capitalism in decay; it is the death throes of a dying system. It is a most ferocious attack by capital on the worker, industrial and white collar, on the farmer and on the middle class. It is unbridled chauvinism. It is rabid reaction and counter-revolution. It is, the most vicious enemy of all working people. That, in short, is what Fascism is. On the other hand, Communism is a classless society, wherein all shall give according to ability, and receive according to need. This stage of civilization has not yet been attained by any country, although the Soviet Union is in the first stage, namely, socialism. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies) spoke about the day when all nations shall be as brothers. At least, that was the mast liberal interpretation I could draw from his remarks. If he is in earnest about such a desirable state of affairs, I commend my short explanation to him, and the honorable member for Denison for further examination and research. I can understand people who have never taken the trouble to examine the question being confused by such terms as Fascist dictatorship and the dictatorship of the proletariat, but I do think that people should study the question before they lump together two ideologies which are as wide apart as the poles.
A statement in the Prime Minister’s speech on the subject of man-power interested me greatly. Last September, in speaking in this place, I said a proper balance of our man-power should be struck between the needs of the services, secondary industry and rural industry. On the outbreak of war, young men from every walk of life considered it their duty to join one of the branches of the services. This impulse was increased when Japan entered the field against us. Many young men, before their enlistment, were engaged in rural pursuits. Their fathers were getting on in years, but had benefited from a short retirement from work. They had handed over thu active management of the properties to their sons, and as the result, of that despite, they were in better health. “When the war position became serious for Australia, they realized that they could play a big part in the defence of the country, and readily agreed to allow their sons to enlist. Five years have elapsed, and during that period the ageing fathers have worked under great difficulty, strain and worry. Although they returned to active farming in fairly good health, they have now reached the limit of their physical endurance. They simply cannot carry on any longer. I realize perfectly the requirements of the fighting services and of industry. I know that man-power is one of our greatest problems. Apart from men for the services, man-power is required for housing, which involves the production and use of divers building materials. Man-power is a problem of the first magnitude. But whilst I realize all those facts, I still plead that the plight of these elderlyarmers should receive consideration when men are being released from the Army. The ageing fathers have served their country, perhaps not very spectacularly, but without their assistance Australia could not have put forward the war effort that it has done. Despite their labours, their properties are deteriorating. Because of the lack of man-power, the rabbit and fox menaces have increased. Fences and sheds are in need of repair. The owners have seen their land losing its productivity through lack of fertilizers. They must be given some relief from the strain under which they are labouring.
The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies) criticized the Commissioner of Taxation, Mr. L. S. Jackson, for having broadcast an appeal to members of the public to supply information against tax dodgers. Whilst I have the usual worker’s dislike for what is commonly known as pimping, I could not help being struck by the right honorable gentleman’s rank hypocrisy. I remind him of the arguments which he advanced on another subject last session. I assume that a Prime Minister must take some responsibility for the utterances of his Ministers, particularly if he does not refute those utterances. In the circumstances, how can the Leader of the Opposition reconcile his present attitude with his attitude when his Attorney-General (Mr. Hughes) who, in a broadcast speech, invited the people to become spies and pimps by informing on militant workers? He promised them that the source of information would not be disclosed. If it be wrong for people to pimp on tax dodgers, it is equally wrong for people to pimp on militant workers. The occasion on which this incident occurred was when the right honorable gentleman was showing his high democratic principles by outlawing the Communist party and other organizations, because they were caustically critical of his policy of supplying pig iron to Japan.
Later in his speech the Leader of the Opposition used the phrase, “ peace is indivisible “. I do not know whether honorable members are aware of the name of the man who coined that phrase, but if I remember rightly it was Maxim Litvinov, delegate of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic to the League of Nations some years ago. What was the right honorable gentleman’s opinion of that phrase in those days? To-day he agrees with the principle. A few years ago he did not believe that peace was indivisible. He believed in appeasing our Fascist enemies. If we desire to ascertain the cause of the breakdown of the
League of Nations, we should go back to 1932, when Japan invaded Manchuria. The great nations, with the exception of the United States of America, refused to take any action, because they considered that the Japanese occupation of Manchuria would be an obstacle to what they thought might be the Soviet Union’s expansion southward. However, it is not my intention to dip into the past unnecessarily, because to do so will serve no useful purpose at this juncture. But it annoys me to listen to statements by honorable members opposite which are saturated with hypocrisy.
The Leader of the Opposition declared also that the Netherlands East Indies would welcome investments from overseas. Undoubtedly it would. But what motive actuated the right honorable gentleman in making that statement? Is it a fact that the moneyed interests, whose spokesman he is in this House, want to find a field of investment from which they will be able to derive super-profits from the money which they have made out of the Australian people in war-time? That i* how I interpret his statement, and that is, I believe, one of the reasons why members of the Opposition are opposing the referendum.
The right honorable gentleman mentioned’ also that Great Britain in the past derived its strength from overseas investments. In other words, British moneyed interests, by exporting capital to China, India and Malaya, were able to exploit the natives of those countries to a tremendous degree. By way of a change, I agree with his statement that Australia’s future is linked more firmly with its neighbours in what is known as the Far East than it is with Europe. That argument is perfectly sound. An improvement of the living standards of our near neighbours will provide a market for our primary and secondary goods. “We shall have to trade with them, and if their standards of living be improved, we also shall benefit. I look forward to the day when the Leader of the Opposition will use his undoubted gift of oratory to plead for the granting of political freedom to India. In my opinion, India should be granted that political freedom now. If that were done, the United Nations would have the sup- port of 350,000,000 people who are now sullen enemies. In addition, such an act would give a ray of light to people in the oppressed countries of the Far East, and they would see some future in democracy. It is of little use to ask those people to fight for democracy when they do not know the meaning of the word.
I come now to the position of Yugoslavia. Equipped with only the lightest of weapons, the partisans are writing glorious pages of history, and they are keeping very busy almost as many German divisions as are the Allied forces in Italy. By this means, they are contributing in no small measure to Allied military successes. To-day, most people realize that the partisans under Marshal Tito have been responsible for this effort. The time is overdue when Australia should give a lead to the world by recognizing Marshal Tito’s Government in Yugoslavia as the de facto Government of that country. I do not believe that we should continue to recognize emigre governments’ in London, Cairo, or elsewhere..
Much criticism has been voiced by members of the Opposition of what they call the “misuse of public funds.”. They refer to the expenditure by the Government of an amount of money upon the referendum campaign. By an absolute majority of both Houses of this Parliament, the Government received an instruction to take a referendum of all the people to decide whether the Commonwealth should be granted certain additional powers. Therefore, it is the duty of the Government to ensure, as far as it is able, that the people are fully informed on this important question. Consequently, any expenditure on the referendum campaign will be money well spent. It is not pilfering from the public purse, as was the secret fund established by “Billie” Hughes.
Although statements have been made that repatriation benefits after the last world war were adequate, the fact remains that returned soldiers were starved off their farms, put into unemployment camps under the crudest conditions and forced to tramp the country looking for work. As a railway employee. I helped many a poor hobo to get under a tarpaulin in a truck when he wanted to go to a place where ho thought that he would find employment. That idea of repatriation is not good enough. Talk about preference to returned soldiers is propaganda, and propaganda of the lowest order at that. Will all honorable members who advocate preference to returned soldiers be prepared to support action to compel private employers to give preference to returned soldiers? Did private employers give preference to returned soldiers after the last war? Of course they did not. The man with the biggest muscles and the most robust constitution got the job.
– The honorable member considers that preference to unionists is much better?
– The big majority of soldiers are unionists. The proposal of the Government to provide work for every one is a far higher ideal than the advocacy of preference for returned soldiers. I believe that troops in the front line in places like New Guinea, where conditions are the worst in the world, should be given every benefit as a reward for their participation in the struggle. I would be the last to deny that to them. But this advocacy of preference to returned soldiers is only a catch-cry. Employers were never happier than when they had three or four hungry men waiting at the gate, because they were able to force their employees to work a little harder under threat of dismissal.
One honorable member declared that the crimes perpetrated by the Gestapo must not be forgotten, but we cannot punish all the German people for them. We should not attempt to crush the German people to the degree of making the innocent suffer with the guilty. But every one of the Gestapo criminals who can be traced should be made to answer for his crimes. We cannot hold out a hand of friendship to men whose hands have dripped with blood. They will have to be punished, but I believe that the German people will punish them. This war is different from the last one. The war of 1914-18 had many horrors, but when the front line moved on, civilians who minded their own business’ were reasonably well treated, so far as war can treat people ‘reasonably well. They were not mass-murdered as they are being mass-murdered to-day. Millions of innocent people are being deliberately butchered. Consequently, the problem this time is different from what it was after the last war. There is talk such as “ Hang the Kaiser “ now as there was after the last war. Gestapo leaders and Fascists should get their deserts. We cannot have it otherwise. The honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Holt) said that after the last war Germans graduated to socialism. I have read a good deal, in recent years, of the development of the German economic position. There has never been socialism in Germany. As the honorable member for Fawkner has spoken of national socialism, he should know that it is merely another name for Fascism and Nazi-ism. If he is not trying to mislead the House by referring to this as socialism he should examine the matter more closely than he appears to have done. I agree with the honorable member for Barker (Mr. Archie Cameron) that civilization is not, and gru never be, static. If it does not move forward it will move backward. I can agree with some statements made by honorable members of the Opposition, although, of course, I may draw different conclusions from the same premises. If civilization is to move forward in its next step it must be by means of socialism If it does not move forward, we shall have suffered the last five years of sorrow and bloodshed in vain.
. -As one who, for several years, had intimate associations with His Excellency the Governor-General and Her Excellency the Lady Gowrie, I express my deep regret at their departure from Australia. They have moved about this continent very freely and with rare dignity and great kindness. They have been simple and tolerant, and full of interest in, and understanding of, the people of Australia. To me, personally, they have done very great kindnesses. At a time when I was overwhelmed with grief they stood by me in such a way as to earn my deep and lasting gratitude. I believe that already the Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin) will have told the people of England something of the gratitude of Australia for the work that their
Excellencies have done in this country. I hope that after their return to England they will find pleasure in thinking of our many expressions of gratitude for their services to Australia. I hope also that they will express our gratitude to the people of that great country, from which we received our own lifestream for we realize that without their tireless energy and courage, in the days when they stood alone on the borders of civilization, this nation would no longer be in existence. Expressions of warm appreciation of Lord and Lady Gowrie have been made over and over again in this debate; for my part, I shall always have a feeling of gratitude for what they have done.
I am thankful, also, to-day for the position in which we find ourselves as a nation. I do not believe that any one of us, in his secret heart, could have thought it possible, twelve or eighteen months ago, that at this time we should be able to consider, and rightly consider, plans for peace. I never hear the words “ peace “ and “ war “ without thinking back to an occasion which I believe I have already mentioned in this House. I stood one morning on a hillside in Prance. It was midsummer. I was in a garden, where rows of garden beds stretched out on either hand and where the bees were humming and the birds singing. It was a place of the utmost beauty and peace. Yet on every hand there were long rows of headstones. As I walked along, I saw the inscriptions, “19 years”, “20 years”, “ 21 years “, and “ 19 years “ again. The headstones were those of the young men who had fought and died in the last war. I was standing amid the graves of the world’s youth. No mother or father, nor any other person who stood there, could have thought about these things without feeling that everything that could be done for the preservation of peace would be justified, and should be expected from any government.
I do not for one moment believe that because the League of Nations failed we must forever turn our hacks upon any idea that conforms to the ideals of the League of Nations. One failure does not mean that failure will go on for ever. I believe, however, that we must face the fact that a force must be maintained which is capable of being used for the preservation of peace. I believe that all the Australian people believe most sincerely in peace; but if the need arose again, they would once more send their boys into the battlefields. Even those of us who have lost our boys or may yet do so in this war, must face the fact that in all the years to come we must be prepared to face war again if the necessity to do so should arise. I must confess that I am among the members in this chamber who do not believe that we can ever hope entirely to abolish war. Nevertheless, I believe most strongly that war is a crime against humanity and that we must do everything we can to preserve peace. We must maintain whatever force is needed to ensure peace, but, as the Attorney-General (Dr. Evatt) said last night, we must make possible the weaving of an international economic structure so that we shall have safeguards other than armed forces. I was very much struck by the right honorable gentleman’s exposition last night of the international position. I agree wholeheartedly with his views. I believe that the standards of living in every country will have a great deal to do with the maintenance of peace. The standards of health, also, particularly of women, will be of the utmost importance. This applies especially to Australia.
Population will play a very important part in the preservation of peace in the next few years. The white races, at this moment, are afflicted with a disease from which civilizations have suffered in the past. We are failing to reproduce ourselves in sufficient numbers to maintain civilization as we know it. Unless our population be largely increased we ourselves may become a potential cause of war. I hope that my words on this subject will not be taken from their context and twisted into an advocacy of the reproduction of the race for gun fodder. That is not what I am advocating. I believe that unless we are prepared to populate this country and to use it as it should be used, we shall have no excuse for holding it. And there are those in the world who will see that we have little opportunity to hold it. 1 am particularly interested in the subject of population. The honorable member for Denison (Dr. Gaha), who has been my friend for many years, has been mentioned on many occasions in the last few days. I shall mention him again. The honorable gentleman spoke about the gap between utterance and achievement on this question. With me, achievement has come first. I shall now proceed to utterance. I shall put to the Souse some of the points which I consider should receive attention if Australia is to be adequately populated. I have already said that a very great deal will depend on the health standards of women. That is true. This question has been regarded, tup to the present, as purely a women’s question, and perhaps it has been treated rather contemptuously. That should no longer he the ease. In time of war, the most important citizen in the community is the young man, for he really bears the brunt of the carrying on of the wa.>r. In time of peace, the most important citizen is the young woman, for she bears .the brunt of the struggle for survival that every nation faces. Unless we preserve the health and strength of our young mothers, and of our potential mothers, and unless we give to our children a solid basis of health, we cannot hope to increase our population at a satisfactory rate.
Two aspects of this subject which should be considered are, first, the preservation of the health of all the mothers who are at present rearing children, and this I consider should be a primary consideration of the Government ; and secondly, the adoption of ways and means to induce the young women of the nation to appreciate the fact that motherhood in itself is not only a national duty, but also a great career. Motherhood is also a source of great and abiding happiness. If we can bring home this fact to our young women we shall enable them also to realize that to limit families is not to achieve the greatest happiness. To limit families, either through necessity or through lack of desire for families, is to miss part of the greatest happiness that God has offered to human beings.
In regard to the preservation of the health of mothers, I direct attention to certain proposals that have been made by the Tasmanian Council for Mother and Child, which I believe have very great value. Probably most honorable members have received a copy of the formula. The council considers, in the first place, that there must be a complete change in the Australian attitude to maternity, which must be regarded as a very important national service. It also calls for ante-natal care of all mothers and ante-natal treatment beds in all maternity hospitals. It requests a definite standard of feeding for. expectant and nursing mothers. This has been proved to have great influence on stillbirth and premature death-rates. The right honorable member for Cowper (Sir Earle Page) directed attention recently to some striking figures in relation .to the maternal death-rate and the premature birth-rate. Stillbirths and premature deaths oan be counteracted to a very great degree by the proper feeding of expectant and nursing mothers. The council considers that there should he a ban on maternity hospitals not large enough to employ two fully qualified nurses, one of whom should be adequately informed on the care of premature infants. A very great increase has occurred in the number of premature births, due to many causes of which I have very little knowledge. Probably our increasingly unnatural standards of living are partly responsible. The council considers that there should be proper provision for preserving warmth in premature and weakly infants. This point has doubtless been advanced because of some very unfortunate happenings in connexion with births in some small maternity homes. The provision of an adequate hot-water supply and means for sterilization in hospitals is important. The council also advocates the linking of every State or State-assisted maternity hospital with the Public Health Department, and that all hospitals should be required to serve clearly defined areas and have means of conveyance available for mothers. There should be an inquiry into the death of every mother and every infant, by- a properly constituted body of at least two doctors, a public health official, a maternity nurse, and a mother. There should be a doctor at every public hospital, to be on call for the administration of an anaesthetic or other necessary service for women in any maternity hospital who have not engaged a doctor. Every doctor who intends to do obstetric work should be required and enabled to gather adequate experience in a State maternity hospital. These are points which, at the moment, do not necessarily come within the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth, but if they be not taken up as national questions, they must more or less fail. If it be a question of finance, then the Commonwealth Government, in view of its responsibility for national existence, must come into the matter. There should also be an almoner’s department in every State or State-assisted hospital, with officers to investigate the needs of each expectant mother in respect of food and clothing for herself and her child, the care of other children, and the provision of domestic help. This department should be open to women who enter private hospitals and have not engaged a doctor. There should also be a roster of domestic helps to go into homes, and homes should be established into which children may be taken while their mothers are in hospital. Further, there should be emergency accommodation in all maternity hospitals.
I would go beyond that. It is entirely necessary that we turn now to a system whereby provision will be made for the home treatment of maternity cases. In this proposal I come up against a very great body of medical opinion and,’ indeed, of public opinion. The majority of people say that the hospital is the safer place. I know that I shall be forgiven for referring once more to my superior experience in this connexion. I have knowledge of births in the home as well as in hospitals, and am convinced that if the mother be a normal case, the home is the place in which she will receive most of the things which will make for her welfare and happiness as well as the welfare of her child. There are two things which are really necessary in the treatment of all cases of maternity. One of them is absolute cleanliness and
Dome Enid Lyons. the other is rest. If there is one thing which one cannot get in a hospital it is rest. I hope that I am not really hurting the feelings of any one when I say that. Because of the routine of any hospital, no person can be treated solely as an individual. Patients become cases and a part of a system. They can no longer, because of the very nature of the case, have that individual and personal attention which is entirely necessary. I have referred to the need also for absolute cleanliness. Over and over again it has been affirmed that a maternity hospital is safer than the home because it has all the means for sterilization for asepsis. In the home there is no need for what is called asepsis. It is because, in a hospital, there is a concentration of various forms of infection, that asepsis is necessary. In one’s own home, whatever the conditions may be, there is a high degree of immunity. If this can bc achieved, the matter of bringing children into the world will be made very much more natural than it is to-day. Honorable members, on this side of the House particularly, have proclaimed over and over again that We must preserve our rights and our personality, that we must no longer depersonalize everything. The subject of maternal treatment has been depersonalized. We send an expectant mother into a hospital, and put the poor father behind a glass screen to look at his infant for the first fortnight. I said the other day that I regarded that as the saddest sight in the civilized world, and I repeat it. There is something entirely alien to the whole idea of family life in the exclusion of the father, and the dictum that the mother cannot have her infant where she wants to have it. That must be the case in a hospital, because of the dangers of which I have spoken. I do not for one minute want any one to consider that I believe in the closing of all maternity hospitals. I hope that, in my support of the scheme that has been put forward by these people in Hobart, I have demonstrated that I believe that we should have maternity hospitals and that we could do with even more of them, but that they have to be made standard. I have heard many people suggest to mothers that they should udt have any more children, but I have never accused such persons of saying to the mother that she should destroy the children she already had. I believe that we should now turn our faces away from hospital treatment. But I do not believe that hospital treatment could or should bo entirely abolished. There will always be a certain number of abnormal cases. There will always be people who, for various domestic or temperamental reasons, will prefer hospital treatment. But have we to continue piling up the cost of this service, as we are doing? If we do, we shall make it almost impossible to revive the falling birth-rate, and shall perpetuate the idea that this is not a natural event in the life of any family but is merely a major medical crisis for the mother. It is more than that; it is one of the great crises of family life, but it is a crisis of happiness, and should bc made such. I quite realize that this matter of home treatment, if it is to be made possible, will require a good deal of organization. Surely the organization which has built up the hospital system that we have to-day is capable of evolving another scheme. I have discussed this matter with many doctors, who have agreed with me that the reform is a very necessary one, but have said they are afraid of the difficulties which face them - it would mean more doctors, more of the time of each doctor being devoted to the cases he has under his care, and a home-help service. Wot, mark you, that there is not need for that home service at present; because, after all, if a woman has a home and a family to be cared for, and she goes into a hospital, she must have at home some one to care for those whom she leaves behind. If she remained in her own home, she would need that help, but in the majority of cases would not need a nurse to be present during the whole of the time. There is no need for a triple-certificated woman for the kind of service that I envisage. That, it seems to me, is one of the main economic features of the scheme that I put forward - that we can give to very many people a shorter course of training, which will make them thoroughly proficient in the work that they are about to undertake and yet will not call for so long a period of training or so long a period during which they will not earn. To those who fear that there is some danger in going backward-as they would put it - I point out that the centre in America which has the finest, by which I mean the smallest, maternal death-rate in the whole of that country, is the Chicago maternity centre. Men and women doctors from that centre are sent to work in the homes in all the poorest districts of Chicago. These are not luxurious homes. ‘They are not places which a doctor would select, if he were asked to make a selection, for the treatment of such cases, yet they have this very low maternal death-rate. The same applies to hospitals in London which also have the same low death-rate; they do most of their work in one of the poorest districts of London. It is entirely necessary that every mother in the community, and not merely those who are able to afford it, shall have provided all of those modern aids which make child-birth easier. I visited a maternity hospital in London in which this work is done, and was shown plants for the provision of anaesthetics, which could be administered by persons who had not been trained - not even trained nurses, but the patients themselves. I believe, too, that there should be clinical advice for all mothers, and that drugs should be available to all country doctors to help them in their practices. The Commonwealth Department of Health is at present conducting an investigation of the causes of the falling birth-rate. I would give to it every assistance that lies within my power. That investigation is wholly admirable. But, in addition, a special body should be get up to inquire into the matter. So many causes are operating against the birth-rate to-day that we cannot afford to neglect or overlook any one of them. That problem is not so simple as we believe it to be, when we say, “ This is due to economic conditions”. They, of course, play a part. But there is also the loss of the instinct of motherhood throughout the community. I have repeated once or twice the belief that there is happiness in motherhood. There is in every woman an instinct for it, and a joy in it. If she is not now in possession of that instinct, she is, as I saw it stated somewhere recently, a case for a psychoanalyst, because she is no longer a normal woman. We have to prove to mothers the happiness and the greatness of motherhood, that everything entailed in it -the work in the home and all that goes to the making of a happy family - constitutes a great, a dignified, and a noble profession. After the war, many women will undertake work which hitherto they have not been able to do. I believe it to be entirely right that all avenues of employment should be open to women who are capable of filling them. But I hope that women will never forget that motherhood and all that is associated with it, constitute the greatest of all professions, and one that has the greatest dignity attached to it. 1. intend to move, at the earliest opportunity, that a body such as I have described shall be set up to inquire into all the causes of the decline of the birth-rate. Such a body has been set up in England. Mr. Churchill himself announced the formation of it. It consists of fifteen members, the majority of whom are not medical experts and are not population experts, except in the sense that I myself might be considered to be one of the leading exponents of the very best method of increasing the population that ha.s ever been discovered.
– When the Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin) returned to this country, members of the Opposition demanded that the Parliament should bc called together immediately in order that many matters which they alleged were of considerable importance might be debated in it, but principally in order that the Parliament itself might hear a report from the right honorable gentleman. Cabinet decided that the Parliament should be called together. We have sat for four days. All the force and fight which seemed to be in the Opposition when the demand was first made, either did not exist in reality or have rapidly evaporated. They screeched like a flock of angry penguins at the suggestion that there should not be a meeting of the Parliament, yet now that they have had the opportunity to discuss matters of urgent public importance^- to which, they said, they wished to address themselves - they have apparently decided that there is nothing upon which chey can successfully attack the Government, and their first vain efforts have not been succeeded by anything very constructive. The attacks upon the Government in connexion with the referendum campaign fall under three heads. The first attack is in connexion with the expenditure of public funds. The Government makes no apology for the fact that public money has been spent in placing before the people of Australia the case for a grant of additional temporary power in order that the Parliament of the nation may do justice to the mcn who have fought and defended the nation, and in order that Parliament may be able to place back in civil life the army of 1,130,000 men and women who have fought and worked for Australia.
– How much has been expended on the campaign?
– Sufficient to enable the case to be presented properly to the people. In any case, it is only a fraction of the amount being spent by those who are conducting the “No” campaign.
– At least, they are not spending the taxpayers’ money.
– The money which the Government is using is being properly expended. The money expended on the “No” campaign has been subscribed by those who, if they were in France, would certainly be supporting the Vichy administration. If they were in Norway they would be quislings, and if they were in any other part of German-occupied Europe, they would be supporting, and arch-collaborationists with, the Axis Powers. The Australian quislings and reactionaries who are behind the “No” campaign to prevent the National Parliament from doing justice to the fighting forces, are the very people who, if the Japanese had come to Australia, would have been the first to make a deal with them.
– Is Parliament not to know how rauch money is being expended by the Government on the campaign?
– Parliament will know in due course. Whatever is being expended is for the proper conduct of government business, and the Government is only following a precedent of many years’ standing.
– It is a principle of parliamentary government that Parliament should approve in advance of the expenditure of money for any purpose. When did Parliament approve of the expenditure of this money?
– Parliament has approved of the expenditure of money for the proper conduct of the war, and the referendum campaign is a part of the war effort because we have to win, not only the war, but also the peace. Apparently, a lot of people are concerned only with saving their own skins, and when the war is over they will not be concerned with doing the right thing by those whose sacrifices have made victory possible. They will want a backtothedepression movement, so that they may be able to use the vast army of unemployed to break down wages and worsen conditions in precisely the same way as was done after the last war.
The second allegation is that the Government has interfered with the fixation of prices for advertisements in certain country newspapers. Members of the Opposition who made that charge were not aware of the facts. They never are. They just make wild charges against the Government, and when the facts are stated it becomes obvious that they have no case. The cost of newspaper advertising has been fixed by the Prices ‘Commissioner ever since the Prices Commission was set up. When it was proposed to buy advertising space in country newspapers for the presentation of the Government’s case on behalf of the Parliament of the nation, there was not the slightest difficulty in reaching agreement with the proprietors of the provincial and country press in all the States except New South Wales. The leader of this group of newspapers in New South Wales, a man named Summerlad. is a member of the Country party in the New South Wales Legislative Council, who, when he saw his opportunity, tried to do a little profiteering at the expense of the nation. The Prices Commissioner decided that he would not be allowed to profiteer. He told Mr. Summerlad that the newspapers which he represented would not be allowed to charge more than a certain fixed price for advertisements; that he would have to publish advertisements at the same price as the proprietors of provincial and country papers in the other States had agreed to accept.
The third allegation is in regard to a broadcast made on Sunday night last by the Department of Information over commercial broadcasting stations. It was alleged that the owners of broadcasting stations were required to disseminate certain propaganda under a threat from some government instrumentality. The truth is that there was no threat at all. For a long time past the Department of Information has been making broadcasts over commercial stations on Sunday nights, and it was agreed with the representatives of the Commercial Broadcasting Stations Federation that these broadcasts should be changed over from a certain line of propaganda to propaganda in favour of the referendum proposals. No attempt was made to apply force. As a- matter of fact, the suggestion that the Department of Information should use this quarter of an hour for the purpose I have stated came, not from the department or from the Treasurer, but from the representatives of the commercial stations themselves. It is true, of course, that some of the stations do not agree with that policy, but their complaint lies, not against the Government, but against their own federation. Some of the stations are owned by newspapers which are opposed to the referendum proposals, and they are naturally very critical of the agreement made by their federation. Out of 100 commercial broadcasting stations, no fewer than 44 are directly or indirectly owned by newspaper interests. It is only natural to expect that there should be opposition from some of these stations to any agreement on a matter of this sort between the Commercial Broadcasting Stations Federation and the Government.
Those are the answers - convincing answers so far as the great majority of the Australian people are concerned - to the only three allegations made by the Opposition against the Government’s conduct of the referendum campaign. Those who oppose the grant of powers know that the people want to see the National Parliament clothed with these powers. They know that the people realize that unless Parliament be given these powers another depression is inevitable. Is it any wonder then that in yesterday’s Sydney Daily Telegraph the following item should appear
Wherever I have been in England lately, Royal Australian Air Force mcn have been barraging me with questions about the Commonwealth powers referendum.
They are terribly keen to get fullest information on an issue which they realize will profoundly influence their lives “in the postwar Australia they are fighting for.
Many men I have talked to ask whether granting new powers to the Commonwealth will represent the first step towards the abolition of State Parliaments.
And most of the men who ask this question say that if it is a move towards the abolition, they arc all for it.
Whether or not the men desire the abolition of State Parliaments, the fact w that they are in favour of the granting of additional powers to the Commonwealth Parliament. That is why we hear so much moaning and whining and squealing from the Opposition benches when the Government does what is necessary to acquaint the people with the case for the referendum proposals. The simple fact is that the “ No “ case is no case. The only case is the affirmative one. The airmen who are fighting for Australia in England are men of intelligence, and they do not need to have either the official affirmative or the official negative case placed before them to enable them to gauge the position accurately, and to realize that, unless the Commonwealth Parliament be given the power it seeks they will suffer the same sort of depression after this war as the men who fought in the last war suffered when they returned.
The impression is strong in the minds of the Australian people that there will be another depression unless the problem of employment and unemployment be tackled upon a national basis, and they are convinced that this depression cannot be avoided if the “ No “ advocates should, by some grave misfortune succeed in defeating the present proposal. It is evident that the soldiers are thinking along these lines also. Some little while ago I read in the Australian press the following account of an inspection made by the Minister for Labour in Britain, Mr. Bevin, and Mr. Churchill of British invasion forces:-^-
Mr. Bevin said that he and Mr. Churchill had visited a port to see men embarking for Normandy. “ They were gallant and brave men going off without complaints to face this terrific battle with great hearts, full of courage. But the one question they put to me as we walked through their ranks was: ‘Ernie, when we have done this job for you, are we coming back to the dole?’ It hurt! It stung! And both Mr. Churchill and I answered: ‘No. You arc not! ‘ “
This Government repeats the promise to the Australian forces that Mr. Churchill and Mr. Bevin gave to the British army. The fighting men of Australia will not be asked to come back to a state of affairs similar to that which disgraced this country within a decade of the termination of the last war.
– That statement is like many others made by the Deputy Leader of the so-called United Australia party. It is untrue, as was demonstrated by the Minister for War Organization of Industry (Mr. Dedman) quite recently. The fact is that unless the referendum proposals be agreed to, there will be no small businesses for any soldier to open. The leader of the “ No “ cause in this country has said that, if the “ Yes “ cause should be triumphant, the men will not be able to choose their jobs after the war. The fact is that, if the “ No “ cause is triumphant, there will be no jobs to choose, and we shall- witness a depression worse than the last. During the last depression, 33 per cent, of the working population of Australia was unemployed at one period, and for varying periods many hundreds of thousands of men were out of work. I shall quote from a statement by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies) when, as Prime Minister, he said on the 25th August, 1941, in an address to the Economic Society of Victoria -
Only a singularly irresponsible politician would guarantee that there would be no reduction of the wage-earners’ standard of living.
Since tuc outbreak of the war the total unemployed hud fallen from 260,000 to 120,000, most of whom were sick, unemployable, or untrained.
Two years after the war started, on the right honorable gentleman’s own figures, we still had 120,000 unemployed, and when the war broke out we had 250,000 unemployed. The present Government desires power over employment, so that it can provide the people with full-time employment and prevent unemployment.
– Industrial conscrip tion !
– The parrot says “ industrial conscription “. What a confession !
– The honorable Minister is not in order in referring to an honorable member as a parrot.
– I apologize to the parrot. Industrial conscription is a pure bogy. When the whip of the Labour party, whose numbers in this House indicate the greatness of its strength in the electorates, approached the leaders of the parties comprising the Opposition for a declaration from them that they opposed industrial conscription, they refused to give it. They wrote all kinds of foolish reasons as to why they would not sign. They said that, if the “ No “ cause won there would be no possibility of the imposition of industrial conscription by this Parliament. We wanted a declaration from them that they were ^opposed to the principle of industrial conscription either by Federal or State action, and they refused to make it.
– They are conscriptionists, in season and out of season.
– Yes. No honorable member in the parliamentary life of Australia has a more disgraceful record than the Leader of the Opposition. It is -as dark as Erebus, and as black as the Phrygian Styx. This gentleman was Deputy Premier of Victoria during the depression years. It was he who imposed industrial conscription on the workers of “Victoria. It was he who thought the young men of that State were not worth feeding during the depression. It was he who asked single unemployed men to live on 6s. a week. He is one of those who, during the last war, ?said that ! men should igo forth and fight in order that the world might be made fit for heroes to live in, and after the war said to the married and single unemployed that they must be prepared to live on the dole. He expected married returned soldiers who were unemployed to live like heroes on 8s. 6d. a week. He is the man who said to the workers of Victoria, “If you want work in the forests of Victoria in the depths of winter, take the few blankets in your homes and leave your families to fend for themselves as best they can. Otherwise we shall strike you off .the sustenance list and you can starve “. This is the leader of the so-called anti-conscription party in the referendum campaign. The right honorable gentleman’s attitude is inconsistent and insincere, and, as usual, is flagrantly dishonest. As Deputy Premier of Victoria, he undertook the work of laying out the grounds surrounding the Anzac Memorial in Melbourne, and compelled the unemployed to work there at sustenance rates of pay. They got full time work at less than the basicwage for one week in four. For the rest of the time they lived on 8s. 6d. a week, and clothed themselves and their wives and children with the discarded clothing of more fortunate people. He gave the unemployed returned soldiers of the last war the alternative of decorating their own war memorial at sustenance rates of pay or starving. He condemned their wives and families to a similar fate. And this is the Leader of the Opposition who warns the country of the dangers of industrial conscription. He and his colleagues of the Australian Country party and the United Australia party refused to sign a declaration that they were against industrial conscription. In reality they want the State parliaments to deal with the subject of employment and unemployment in the post-war years, so that the Upper Houses in those States mav once more impose on the men of Australia the same wretched conditions as those to which they were subjected during the years when Victoria, unfortunately, had to carry a polotical incubus in the person of the right honorable member for Kooyong Other States were inf’“+pd with similar burdens.
Like the Bourbons of France, the Leader of the Opposition learns nothing and forgets nothing. If he were a good Australian and had some regard for hia country, he would not help the agents of big business to do the things they are doing. When the Constitution Convention was sitting in Canberra he was expected to take a part in its deliberations but he ran away. He went to the Employers Federation, the Chamber of Manufactures, the Chamber of Commerce, and those other great democratic organizations sitting in conference in Melbourne, and sabotaged the effort to transfer to this Commonwealth Parliament without a referendum the power which all of the State leaders in Australia and all of the Federal leaders, except himself and Senator McLeay, had decided were the minimum additional powers which this Parliament ought to po.sess, if Australia was to have a peaceful transition from a war-time to a peacetime economy. He got the cheers and the plaudits, of course, of the enemies of the nation who are to-day subscribing the money to that huge slush fund which is being spent so lavishly in an effort to delude the people of Australia. The right honorable member’s views are not his views. He is the ventriloquist’s doll of vested interests - the “ Charlie McCarthy “ of Collins House. There is not the slightest doubt as to where the right honorable gentleman stands in regard to consequent unemployment, with its povety and destitution, for on his way back from England, where he had been pretending to assist Churchill win the war - it is marvellous how Churchill has been able to get on without him for the past three years - he received an enthusiastic welcome from certain sections in New Zealand, and, according to the report of a speech he delivered at a dinner of welcome he poured scorn on any suggestion that the British people were putting their backs into the war because of the many improved conditions they might expect afterwards. Of course ho did not go around the slums. No! He went with the Cliveden set and other people of the same political kidney as himself. He called them the thinking people of Britain ! He said -
I encountered no thinking human being in Britain who did not realize that if the price of victory is poverty - and I think it is; and what is wrong with poverty provided it is the poverty of freedom? - then the business of statemanship after the war is to see that poverty is honorably shared.
How much does he know or do any of those people know about deprivation? They still get their fat briefs from those in whose services they labour so zealously to-day. They still get their election funds from the same anti-Australian sources as are providing the “ No “ money in this referendum .campaign, and it is obvious from that quotation that the right honorable gentleman expects that when this war is over we shall have another depression. But a depression, in his view, will be perfectly all right provided that poverty is honorably shared ! How can poverty be honorably shared ? The power desired by thi3 Government is to abolish poverty and to build houses for the people. We are 300,000 houses short because of the long years of neglect by anti-Labour administrations. Those houses will have to be supplied as quickly as we can supply them. We have to ensure that every man willing to work shall have a job. We have to ensure economic security for everyone. The only time when there will be freedom of choice of a job will be when there is full employment for all. When there is unemployment there is no such thing as freedom to choose one’s work. Many thousands who suffered in the depression were much better citizens than some of those fortunate enough to have jobs, and much better than those who administered the laws against them. It was fortuitous whether one had a job or not. The awful experience of the depression must not be repeated. Because we believe that we shall be able to make Australia secure against its repetition we urge the people to give to the National Parliament complete power over employment and unemployment. The Opposition wants to leave the matter to the tender mercies of State Parliaments. What that means only those with memory of the depression years can realize.
– They want a big reservoir of unemployed.
– Of course, they do. That is what is wanted by the b:g interests that are providing; the “ slush “ funds to-day. I have a copy of a document circulated amongst retail traders by a gentleman named George L. Taylor who described himself as editor of Storecraft. This publication 13 circulated amongst the retail houses. The document is dated the 10th July. It starts off -
This letter is written to you in deadly earnest.
Frankly 1 am alarmed at the complacent Attitude you and your friends are adopting about the Powers Referendum.
I tell you straight that unless some of us wake up and DO something the day will he lost.
Bight now, we are drifting along with a pleasant give-and-take of argument, with an air of easy assurance that sweet reasonableness will win through.
That is surely the way to lose the light; that is the Singapore outlook. “Singapore outlook!” He goes on, and says -
I do not write like this in Storeoraft; if I did so I would be accused of being a defeatist. You know and I know that I am not a defeatist - I’ve always been a battler.
Then he tells why he is a battler. He wants them to -
Order extra copies of the next three prereferendum issues of storecraft, and circulate them where they will lie most effective in stirring up thought and action.
The- letter contains the following postscript : -
The Constitutional league of Australia is bearing the brunt of the financial burden of this fight. Any subscriptions will be more than welcome.
The writer of this article is a “ battler “ ! This paper circulates amongst the retail stores, and the editor’s hope is that they will exercise their influence upon the general public in opposition to the Government and its proposals. The “ quota sold “ inquiry demonstrated the unfair influence that was used by the retail stores. Mendacious statements were made in regard to the quantity of goods available about the time when the new ration books were due. It is perfectly obvious that there was a conspiracy for many months to use the retail stores of this nation to try to destroy the prestige of this Government. Why the retail stores should allow themselves to be the agents of big business is their own affair, but it is mystifying. There is no justification for the allegations in literature and broadcast over the air in opposition to the case that this Government has put forward. I said that we were charged by the Leader of the Opposition with having spent government money wrongfully. When the right honorable member for Kooyong returned from Great Britain, the present Opposition, then in power, spent government money in an attempt to bolster up its fortunes on the publication of the booklet Unlimited War Effort, A National Prospectus. It was printed by the Government Printer ait Canberra and distributed through various agencies of the Government.
– That was a reprint of the then Prime Minister’s speech’ and its publication was as valid as is the weekly publication by this Government of the Digest of Decisions and A nnouncements
– Yes, it is a reprint of the right honorable gentleman’s speech and broadcast. There was an attempt to boost the then Government. The booklet contains this statement -
We are fighting this war for such a victory us will enable humane men in every country to set about the building of a new way of lite in which men may live not only free from the fear of war but free from the fear of unemployment and injustice.
Yet, when the Parliament, on the initiative of this Government, seeks powers to guarantee that there shall not be unemployment in the post-war years, the writer of that very sentiment becomes the tool of big business and opposes the grant of the fourteen additional powers. The publication of that booklet is one piece of evidence of the way in’ which the Government, which he led, used public moneys. If it was legitimate to print and circulate that booklet it is equally legitimate for this Government to do what it has done in furtherance of its case in the referendum. The honorable member for Swan (Mr. Mountjoy), in his speech, drew attention to the fact that our predecessors used public moneys to establish what has come to be known as “ The Secret Fund “. In a previous Parliament there was an exhibition of the misuse of public funds by the present Leader of the Opposition when he was Attorney-General. [Extension of time granted.] In 1937, or thereabout, the then Attorney-General, who is now the Leader of the Opposition in this Parliament, went to Britain to argue the James ease. As Attorney-General of the Commonwealth he could not take Commonwealth money from the Crown, and so he obtained a brief from the Government of Victoria to argue precisely the same case. He did not have to add anything to the argument; he merely had to say to the Lords of the Privy Council : “ The case for Victoria is the same as that for the Commonwealth “. For that service he extracted 2,000 guineas from the taxpayers of Victoria. Yet that gentleman leads the campaign against the Governmenton the ground of the wasteful and wrongful expenditure of public money! There were many other examples in the life of this Parliament to show that honorable members opposite have had easy consciences in the expenditure of public moneys to serve political purposes. When the present Government set out to make a good case for the granting of additional powers in order to do- justice to our fighting men, in accordance with legislation passed by the Parliament, the Opposition complained that money had not been provided for the support of its case. The Opposition has all the money that it needs; what the Government is spending on the campaign is a mere bagatelle compared with the expenditure of its opponents. The leaders of the “ No “ cause have already booked time on Victorian radio stations and space in newspapers circulating in Victoria for their cause at an estimated cost of £40,000. In addition to that sum, money will be expended in the printing and distribution of pamphlets, to say nothing of the leaflets that it hopes to put into the pay envelopes of employees in the last week of the campaign in an attempt to show the alleged danger of voting “ Yes “. We are at a critical time in the history of Australia. This country’s destiny is now being determined. Should a wrong decision be made - should a “ No “ vote be given on the 19th August - Australia’s progress will be arrested for a decade or more. When the electors realize that those who are fighting against the granting of additional powers to the Commonwealth are the people who endorse what the Leader of the Opposition said in the debate on the Referendum Bill; when they realize that the right honorable gentleman wanted deleted from that measure the control of employment and unemployment, of company law, of trusts and combines, of profiteering and prices, of the production and distribution of goods, of overseas1 exchange, of investment, and of theregulation and borrowing of money - essential powers if this country is to do justice to its service men and women, and if work is to be provided for those engaged, in other aspects of the war effort - they will, I am confident, vote strongly in the affirmative on the 19th August. I trust that the common sense of the Australian people will enable them to see through the fallacies of the case presented by the opponents of the Government’s proposals. I trust also that that common sense will cause Australian men and women to realize that the oppositionto the granting of additional powers to the Commonwealth is particularly vicious, and is not explained by any desire to serve the nation, but is actuated by a determination to serve only that section which lives by the exploitation of the rest of the people, whether they be producers or consumers. The “new order “ must come. When Japan was threatening us at our door, we heard a good deal from honorable members opposite about a “ new order “, but now that the threat is receding, they seem to have forgotten that a new order is necessary. They prefer a continuance of the “had old order “ ; they want the same set of conditions after this war as existed after the last war. Should such conditions be repeated, this country will not last out in the next war, which may come within 20- or 25 years. I believe that, in the final analysis, the question of the granting of powers will be decided by the prestige of the Prime Minister of this country (Mr. Curtin) and the prestige of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies). I believe also that the people who trusted the present Government in August, 1943, will not desert it in August, 1944. The people of Australia know that the Leader of the Opposition is thoroughly disgruntled and thoroughly discredited. They know that it can be said of him what was said by a poet of some one else -
In friendship false, implacable in hate, Resolved to min - or to rule, the State.
The attitude of the Leader of the Opposition is that, if he cannot rule Australia, he is determined .that no other person shall do so if he can prevent it. In 1938, he was in favour of a grant of further powers to the Commonwealth, but he changed his mind in 1942. He is, as I have said, insincere and inconsistent, and flagrantly dishonest in his political opinions. He has no real desire to serve the interests of the nation. The right honorable gentleman might well ibe described as a political dipsomaniac, crazed with the desire to drink deeply once again, at whatever cost to thie nation, of the heady wine of power, an intoxicant which he proved so incapable of using with moderation and decency when he was, unfortunately for Australia, its first war-time Prime Minister.
Debate (on motion hy Mr. Bernabu Cobseh) adjourned.
Message received from the Senate intimating that it had agreed to the appointment of the War Expenditure Committee and had appointed Senators Large and Sampson to serve thereon.
Message received from the Senate intimating that it had agreed to the appointment of the Social Security Committee and had appointed Senators Cooper, Foil :and Tangney to serve thereon.
Motion (by Mr. Curtin) agreed to - That the House, at its rising, adjourn to to-morrow, at 10.30 a.m.
The following papers were presented : -
Financial Assistance to Tasmania - Report of the Commonwealth Grants Commission u^on the application submitted hy the State of Tasmania for additional financial assistance in 1043-44 under the States Grants (Income Tax Reimbursement) Act 1942.
Lands Acquisition Act - Land acquired for Commonwealth purposes - Sunshine, Victoria. Yarraville, Victoria.
National Security Act - National Security (Rationing) Regulations- Orders - No*. 50-52.
House adjourned at 10.28 p.m.
The following answers to questions were circulated: -
t asked the Minister representing the Minister for Supply and Snipping, upon notice -
What has been the amount of coal produced in the State of New South Wales for the period 1st January to 30th June in each of the following years: - 1042, 1943 and 1944?
– The answers to the honorable member’s question is as follows : -
s asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
n asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
n asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
n asked the Acting Minister for Supply and Shipping, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
asked the Minister- for Commerce and Agriculture, upon notice -
– The desired information is being obtained and will be furnished to the right honorable gentleman as 800n as it is available.
n asked the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture, upon notice -
Royal Commissioner who recently inquired into the marketing oi vegetables and other commodities?
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : - 1 and 4. In the letting of contracts for vegetables for service requirements, it is the recognized practice for the State Government to act on behalf of tha Commonwealth. Originally contracts were let in oil States, but for various reasons the scheme proved less successful in Queensland than in other States and early in 1943 the Queensland Government requested that contracts be eliminated in that State. This was agreed to. However, since the introduction of ceiling prices for vegetables there have been indications that contracts are favoured by some sections of growers. It has been made clear to the Queensland authorities on several occasions within recent months that if they desire the reintroductioii of contracts in Queensland the Commonwealth Food Control would be prepared to issue the necessary authority accordingly. Up to the present, however, the Queensland authorities have not notified the Commonwealth nf any
Munitions Plants : Post-war Uses.
n asked the Prime Minister, upon notice- -
In view of the repented statements of Ministers that the Government intends to use the munitions annexes to compete with private enterprise, will he inform the House whether the Government proposes to form a holding company to be a government company whereby the Government would retain ownership ana operate wholly as many war-time industrial plants om possible to prorluco domestic and other commodities in competition with private enterprise ?
– The Government has not made any overall decision as to the methods by which war-time industrial plants will be operated in the posthostility period. The Secondary Industries Commission has been established by the Government to investigate the possible expansion, of secondary industries and will in the course of its functions examine war-time factories and annexes with n view to establishing how such plants may be utilized so that they will not be wasted. The Government will consider the commission’s reports when available. Recommendations regarding certain aspects of this matter and in connexion with specific factories are now under consideration by the Government. The problems confronting the Secondary Industries Commission are being discussed with the Chambers of Manufactures and leading industrialists and a spirit of co-operation is manifest.
s asked the Treasurer, upon notice-
– The answers to the honorable momber’s questions are as follows -
t asked the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -
What is the .total amount of subsidy paid on these artificial fabrics since the Government inaugurated this policy?
n. - The Minister for Trade and Customs has supplied the following replies to the honorable member’s questions: - 1, For the year ended the 31st May, 1944, the imports of synthetic fibre piece goods resembling wool were 2,535,334 square yards.
The rate of subsidy varies with the landed coat of the material and the ceiling price in operation in April, 1943. Occasional payments at a Tate exceeding 3s. a square yard have been made, but most payments are at a rate less than 2a. a square yard - many being at less than Is. a square yard.
Perth “Sunday Times”.
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
f. - The answer to question 3 is “ No “. The other parts of the question do not afreet the administration of public affairs and are not matters upon which the Government has information, or would seek such information.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 20 July 1944, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1944/19440720_reps_17_179/>.