House of Representatives
5 October 1945

17th Parliament · 3rd Session

Mr. Speaker (Hon. J. S. Rosevear) took the chair at 12 noon, -and read prayers.

page 6618


Offences against Commonwealth Law : Remission of Sentences - Hospital Treatment of -Japanese Prisoners - Rabaul:.’ -Fate of Australian Prisoner’s - its. Harold Page and Captain Robert Page - Bombing of Darwin.

Prime Minister and Treasurer · Macquarie · ALP

by leave - I inform the House that His Royal Highness the Governor-General has been pleased to mark the occasion of the formal surrender of Japan by exercising clemency towards offenders against laws

L -of the Commonwealth and the Territories I of the Commonwealth. The remission to be granted to members of the forces, except in respect of sentences not exceeding 56 days, is on the basis of onefourth of the sentences being served on the 13th October, 1945, or those ordered to commence from that date or a date prior to that date. In respect of sentences not exceeding 56 days, the remission will be fourteen days. The remission in respect of civilians will be on tho basis of approximately one-seventh in regard to sentences of three months or more. Details of the scale of remission that is to operate in respect of offenders serving sentences on, or convicted prior to, the 13th October, 1945, are - £n respect of sentences up to three months inclusive, fourteen days; and in respect of sentences in excess of three months, at the rate of fourteen days for each period of three months, with the proviso that any period so remitted is not to exceed six months. These remissions are not to apply where a sentence of death has Deen commuted to imprisonment for life.


– Has the Minister for’ the Army read the report published in the Sydney Daily Telegraph of the 1st October, that two Japanese prisoners of war had been admitted to 113th Australian General Hospital, Concord, on the previous day, and were sharing bathrooms with Australians who had been prisoners of war in Malaya? Did the Minister deny last week that any Japanese prisoners of war were receiving treatment at 113th Australian General Hospital? If so, was he misinformed in this regard, and will he take steps to ensure that in future Australians who have been released from prisoner-of-war camps and have returned to Australia shall not be subjected to such an indignity?

Minister for the Army · CAPRICORNIA, QUEENSLAND · ALP

– I have not yet read the report. The reply that I gave to the previous question on the subject was based on information supplied to me as the result of inquiries through the Australian Army and hospital authorities. I shall have the matter inquired into further, and shall probably be able to advise the honorable member before the Parliament rises to-day as to whether or not there is any truth in the statements he has read.

Minister for Transport and Minister for External Territories · East Sydney · ALP

by leave - At the time of the Japanese invasion of Rabaul and other parts of New Guinea in January, 1942, there was a considerable number of administration officials, missionaries and other civilians in the area, in addition to the Army garrison. Some of these people escaped at the time, but a large number were captured by the Japanese, and, despite all efforts in the intervening years, it has not been possible to obtain any information as to their fate. Some missionaries and a few civilians were rescued when the Australian forces entered Rabaul after the surrender of the Japanese, but there are 316 civilians who have not been accounted for. On the 26th September, the Minister for the Army announced that most urgent prisoner of war inquiries were being made to ascertain the whereabouts of the men of the Rabaul garrison. These inquiries also covered the civilian internees. The Minister for the Army has asked me to announce the result of these inquiries in regard to both military personnel and the civilian internees.

Investigation in Japan by Australian inquiry officers working with General MacArthur’s forces has confirmed the Government’s fears that the majority of the Australian prisoners of war and internees captured in Rabaul, and still missing, lost their lives at sea. It has now been ascertained that the Japanese Navy Department officially informed the Tokyo Prisoner of War Information Bureau on the 6th June, 1943, that the SS. Montevideo Maru sailed from Rabaul on approximately the 22nd June, 1942, carrying 845 prisoners of war and 208 civilians, and that this ship was, during its voyage, torpedoed near Luzon with a total loss of the prisoners of war and internees embarked at Rabaul. It has also been ascertained that among the prisoners of war embarked were members of the 1st Independent Company which had been operating in New Ireland.

A roll which, it is understood, contains the names of those aboard the SS. Montevideo Maru at the time is now being translated in Japan in order that the information may be transmitted to Australia for notification to next of kin. It will be understood that this is all the information we are able to give at present, and inquiries concerning the whereabouts of individual civilians or members of the Rabaul garrison cannot be answered in any greater detail than in this statement. As there is a total of 1,053 persons involved, it is expected that some time will elapse before all names are available, but next of kin can be assured that names will be progressively released as they become available in Australia.

Some Australian prisoners of war, who were still in Rabaul when the SS. Montevideo Maru sailed in 1942, have been recently recovered, and they have been able to confirm the names of some of the prisoners of war who embarked on this ship. In all such cases the next of kin have been informed without, waiting for the rolls from Japan. So far, no authentic information has been obtained as to the names of the civilian internees on the vessel.

These servicemen and civilians, who died in such a tragic manner, have undoubtedly given their lives in defence of Australia just as surely as those who died face to face with the enemy. To their next of kin the Commonwealth Government extends its deepest sympathy.


– I ask the Minister for External Territories what provision, if any, is being made for the dependants of the civilians who, it is feared, have been lost, along with military prisoners of war who were taken to Japan? I understand that the Government quite properly regards these men as having made the supreme sacrifice just as if they ‘had fallen in battle.


– The matter is receiving attention, and I hope to make an early announcement.

Mr. FORDE (Capricornia - Minister for the Army). - -by leave - Honorable members will be aware that Mr. Harold Page, brother of the right honorable member for Cowper (Sir Earle Page), who was Government Secretary and Deputy Administrator of New Guinea at

Rabaul at the time of. its capture by the Japanese, is among the number now missing. On behalf of the Government, I extend to the right honorable member, and to the members of Mr. Harold Page’s family, its sympathy in the anxious time through which they are passing. That anxiety is accentuated by the fact that Mr. Harold Page’s son, NX19158, Temporary Captain Robert Charles Page, is also missing as a result of operations in the Pacific area.

It is appropriate that I should refer to the gallant services of this officer, who was awarded the Distinguished Service. Order, but at the time of the award it was known that his father was in Japanese hands. Because of this, and for other security reasons, action was taken to prevent any announcement from appearing in either the London Gazette, or the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette.

The operations which resulted in this award were of a secret nature, and were undertaken under conditions of extreme hazard. His personal courage and devotion to duty in the face of the enemy, and his bearing throughout, were important factors in bringing the operations to a highly successful conclusion. Further details of this most gallant episode in the history of the Australian Military Forces will be released shortly, but it is with great regret that I announce that, as the result of further exploits of a somewhat similar nature, this officer has been reported missing, and his fate is as yet unknown.

Minister for Defence · West .Sydney · ALP

– I lay on the table the following paper : -

Darwin - Japanese Aircraft Attack, February, 1042 - Reports of Commissioner (Mr. Justice Lowe), together with observations thereon by the Departments of the Navy, Army, Air and Interior. and move -

That the paper be printed.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Menzies) adjourned.

page 6620



Overseas Experience


– In view of the importance of agriculture to the Australian economy, will the Minister for Com- merce and Agriculture consider making arrangements for Australia’s most promising agricultural students to obtain overseas experience, so that our farmers may be made acquainted with the latest scientific developments?

Minister for Commerce and Agriculture · GWYDIR, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP

– I understand, from information supplied to me recently, that there is to be an interchange of agricultural students between Australia and Eastern countries, notably India and China, as well as the United States of America. I shall discuss the matter with the States, with a view to ascertaining whether they can give any assistance, and shall then submit it to Cabinet for consideration.

page 6621



Cromanhurst Observatory


– There is considerable congestion at Cromanhurst observatory on account of the extension of its operations. Mr. Inigo Jones is collaborating with Dr. H. I. Jensen, geologist, who is Director-General of Research, Sydney Trust. This observatory has rendered very valuable service to Australia. Will the Minister for the Interior endeavour to have old prejudices set aside, and thus enable Mr. Jones to continue his valuable work at the observatory, with the aid of additional equipment, in the interests of scientific research and Australian primary production?


– The Minister for the Interior is absent from Canberra. I shall ask him to examine the proposal.

page 6621


Reference in Debate.

Postmaster-General · BARKER, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP

– Yesterday, the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction directed my attention to a report published in the Sydney Morning Herald of a debate in this House last Wednesday night. I wish to make it clear that my reference to the Minister being “ off centre” related to “political centre”.


– Order ! The honorable member is not asking a question. Does he wish to make a personal explanation ?


– I am not simply asking a question. This is in accordance with an arrangement between me and the Minister.


– I again ask the honorable member whether he desires to make a personal explanation.


– Yes, if that is the correct procedure. It was thought that I might have been suggesting that the Minister was under the influence of liquor. I have always found the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction to be as great a wowser as I am myself. If any one inside the Parliament or outside it gained any impression to the contrary from what I said, I desire now to disabuse his mind.

page 6621



Report of Mr. Justice Clyne

Minister for Health · EDEN-MONARO, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP

– Can the Minister for the Army say whether the recommendations of Mr. Justice Clyne in regard to members of the Australia First Movement who were detained, have yet been given effect?


- Mr. JusticeClyne’s report was considered by Cabinet, which decided to give effect to his recommendations. I shall inquire whether that has yet been done, and I shall probably let the honorable member have an answer later to-day.

page 6621



Collection of Income Tax - Demobilization - Leave - Food Supply in Borneo.


– Has the Treasurer read a statement of the president of the Returned Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen’s Imperial League of Australia that servicemen, who had not received their income tax assessment before joining the forces, are now having the tax deducted from their deferred pay? Can he say whether this is true, and if so, will he put an end to the practice?


– I did not know that anything of the kind was being done. I shall have immediate inquiries made, and if the position is as the honorable member has stated, I shall consider his representations.


– In view of the uneasiness in the minds of servicemen due for release on the grounds of long service, owing to the change-over to a new policy and the conflicting announcements as to their rights, will the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction assure them that their rights will be no less than they were before the war ended? Will he ask the Co-ordinator of Demobilization and Dispersal to give priority to thousands of servicemen who have applied for release on the ground that they have jobs awaiting them? Will he ensure that the part of the policy providing for the granting of leave pending formal discharge shall be attended to promptly?

Minister for Post-war Reconstruction · CORIO, VICTORIA · ALP

– There have been no conflicting statements on this matter. I refer the honorable member to my statement on this matter a few days ago.


– I am advised by constituents of mine with relatives in the 35th Battalion that they have been in New Guinea for 22 months and have not had leave for two years. Will the Minister for the Army expedite leave to men who have been without home leave for so long?


– Yes. I shall have immediate inquiries made with a view to expediting leave to members of that unit. On the cessation of hostilities the ships that were engaged in bringing men from the islands home on leave had to be diverted to Singapore, Manila, and Morotai to bring back prisoners of war and also some hundreds of men who had served for five years or more. That accentuated our transport difficulties. I assure the honorable member, however, that the Government has full sympathy with people whose sons have been in the islands waiting to get home for two years or more. It is a matter of constant discussion between the Commander-in-Chief and myself. I shall make.further inquiries and let the honorable member know the result as soon as I receive it.


– I remind the Minister for the Army that a few weeks ago I asked him questions relating to the supply of fresh food for troops at Balikpapan, Borneo. The Minister informed me at the time that a shortage of refrigeration space had existed at Borneo, but that had been overcome and fresh food was being supplied to the troops. In my mail to-day I received two letters, dated the 27th September, from servicemen stationed at Balikpapan. They mention that they had read the Minister’s remarks in. the press, and they point out that since the 1st July last, when they arrived in Borneo, they have had fresh meat for only three meals. Will the Minister re-examine this matter for the purpose of seeing whether a continuous supply of fresh food can be made available to the troops in that area?


– When the honorable member asked me this question some weeks ago I immediately telephoned the Quartermaster-General, Major-General Cannon, and asked him whether the statements made in the House were true. He replied that it was true that because of the shortage of refrigeration there had been insuperable difficulties in providing fresh food in Balikpapan, but that refrigeration machinery had since been installed and he had received from Balikpapan advice that fresh food was being provided. Speaking from memory, I think that the Quartermaster-General said that fresh food was being served twice a week. I shall have further inquiries made immediately, because it is the policy of the Government that the best food possible shall be made available to the troops in the islands.

Mr Holt:

– It is the belief of these men that the shortage of fresh food is caused by the shipping hold-up in Australia.


– I am not aware of that. However, I shall make immediate inquiries for the purpose of seeing whether this cause for complaint, if there is still a cause for complaint, can be removed.

page 6622


Sales to Japanese


– Can the Minister for

Commerce and Agriculture say whether any money is owing by the Japanese to the Australian Wheat Board or the Australian Government for wheat purchased immediately before the outbreak of war? If so, can he say what were the terms of thesale? {: #subdebate-6-0-s1 .speaker-KQB} ##### Mr SCULLY:
ALP -- I shall have the matter investigated. Some money was owing by the Japanese to the Australian Wheat Board at the beginning of the war, but I do npt know the amount, or any other details of the transactions. I know that Japanese funds had accumulated in Australia, and these were probably used to satisfy the debt. {: .page-start } page 6623 {:#debate-7} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-7-0} #### TASMANIAN SHIPPING SERVICES {: #subdebate-7-0-s0 .speaker-J7U} ##### Dame ENID LYONS:
DARWIN, TASMANIA -- The press this week announced the intention of the Government to introduce legislation at the expiration of the regulations under the National Security Act to effect a combination of all the bodies at present dealing with shipping in one organization to be known as the Australian Shipping Board. I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Supply and Shipping whether this is to be taken as an indication of the Government's satisfaction with the operation of the shipping control as at present constituted? If so, is the Government aware that there is grave disquiet in Tasmania about the whole matter of shipping services in the future? Can the Minister give an assurance that under the proposed new arrangement, the rights and interests of small local communities will be given adequate recognition? The tendency recently has been not to give sufficient consideration to those rights and interests. {: #subdebate-7-0-s1 .speaker-JOM} ##### Mr BEASLEY:
ALP -- It is true that the Government has considered a scheme for replacing the number of existing controls in the shipping industry with one central body. Offhand I cannot give any details, but with regard to the honorable member's complaint about the treatment of Tasmania under the system of control, I think she will agree that **Sir Thomas** Gordon did a remarkably efficient job as Director of Shipping. I cannot praise him too highly for the services that he rendered. However, it may well be that owing to the acute situation and the need to requisition ships, Tasmania suffered. {: .speaker-J7U} ##### Dame Enid Lyons: -- It is the recent curtailment of the service, almost since the war ended, that is the cause of the great dissatisfaction. {: .speaker-JOM} ##### Mr BEASLEY: -- That absolves **Sir Thomas** Gordon. The point raised by the honorable member is very important. I hold the private view that between Tasmania and Victoria a government- controlled service ought to be conducted on the lines of other government transport undertakings. Again expressing my private view, I think the Australian Shipping Board, as a part of its shipbuilding programme, might build a modern vessel for that service. But, as to the immediate concern of the honorable member, which is really the important part of the question, I shall ask **Mr. Hetherington,** who has taken **Sir Thomas** Gordon's place, to mark the request for priority, and if possible to give it immediate attention. {: .page-start } page 6623 {:#debate-8} ### NEW GUINEA AND PAPUA {: #debate-8-s0 .speaker-KQK} ##### Mr McDONALD:
CORANGAMITE, VICTORIA -- Is the Minister for External Territories able to outline the Government's plan for the development of New Guinea and Papua. {: #debate-8-s1 .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr WARD:
ALP -- An announcement has been made of the initial plans of the Government. If the honorable member will indicate to me any particular aspect of the plans that he is interested in I shall supply him with the latest information. As decisions are made the Government's intentions will be announced. {: .page-start } page 6623 {:#debate-9} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-9-0} #### ROYAL AUSTRALIAN AIR FORCE Report of Inquiry by **Mr. J.** V. Barry, K.C. {: #subdebate-9-0-s0 .speaker-JLZ} ##### Mr ANTHONY:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES -- Has the Minister for Air yet received the report from **Mr. J.** V. Barry, K.C, on his inquiry into allegations concerning trafficking in liquor by certain members of the Royal Australian Air Force ? In view -of the importance of this matter to the officers concerned will he make the report public as soon as possible? {: #subdebate-9-0-s1 .speaker-KCM} ##### Mr DRAKEFORD:
Minister for Air · MARIBYRNONG, VICTORIA · ALP -- I have received the report from **Mr. J.** V. Barry, K.C. It ha3 been referred to the legal authorities within the Department of Air. I understand that they have prepared their report, but it has not yet reached me. When it does, I shall make a decision on the matter, and the public will be told what action is intended. {: .page-start } page 6623 {:#debate-10} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-10-0} #### COMMONWEALTH EMPLOYEES Leave {: #subdebate-10-0-s0 .speaker-KRE} ##### Mr SHEEHAN:
COOK, NEW SOUTH WALES -- Can the Prime Minister say whether a decision has been reached on the proposal to grant fourteen days' leave to all workers in Commonwealth employ? {: #subdebate-10-0-s1 .speaker-A48} ##### Mr CHIFLEY:
ALP -- The matter of fourteen days' leave for all Commonwealth workers is before the Full Court of the Arbitration Court for hearing and decision. Meanwhile the Commonwealth Government has deferred further consideration of the matter. {: .page-start } page 6624 {:#debate-11} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-11-0} #### MINISTERIAL ANNOUNCEMENTS Circulation to Members during Parliamentary Recess. {: #subdebate-11-0-s0 .speaker-N76} ##### Mr MENZIES:
KOOYONG, VICTORIA -- "Without doubt, in the parliamentary recess, important announcements will be made by Ministers on matters of policy and the like. I ask the Prime Minister whether he will consider giving a direction that copies shall be distributed to honorable members through the post? Otherwise, honorable members must rely on press reports, which are frequently abbreviated. {: #subdebate-11-0-s1 .speaker-A48} ##### Mr CHIFLEY:
ALP -- Some distinction will have to be drawn between statements on matters of major importance and statements on matters of minor public importance, and honorable members will have to rely on my judgment in making that distinction. However, I shall endeavour to see that honorable members shall receive a copy of important Government announcements. {: .page-start } page 6624 {:#debate-12} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-12-0} #### AERIAL SURVEY OF AUSTRALIA {: #subdebate-12-0-s0 .speaker-JUQ} ##### Mr CLARK:
DARLING, NEW SOUTH WALES -- At present, the Royal Australian Air Force has facilities for carrying out an extensive contour survey of Australia. "Will the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction consult with the Minister for Air with a view to utilizing the services available for the purpose of making a complete aerial survey of Australia, with special attention to natural features which will be of importance in undertaking any extensive irrigation schemes? Is the Minister aware that an aerial survey of India was completed in three weeks? {: #subdebate-12-0-s1 .speaker-KCF} ##### Mr DEDMAN:
ALP -- The matter is very interesting, and I understand that, in conjunction with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, some work of this kind was carried out before the war. The principal purpose was to make a soil survey, and use the information so obtained to combat soil erosion. As to whether the Commonwealth Government may undertake this work on. a large scale without consulting the States, I am not able to say at the moment. I shall have the matter investigated, and if the proposal is practicable I shall give favorable consideration to it. {: .page-start } page 6624 {:#debate-13} ### COMMONWEALTH DISPOSALS COMMISSION {:#subdebate-13-0} #### Refrigerators - Motor Vehicles and Tyres {: #subdebate-13-0-s0 .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN:
Minister for the Navy, Minister for Munitions and Minister for Aircraft Production · Hindmarsh · ALP -- *by leave* - On behalf - of the Minister for Supply and Shipping, I desire to reply to matters raised by the Leader of the Australian Country party **(Mr. Fadden)** regarding the activities of the Commonwealth Disposals Commission. At the outset, I emphasize that the reply which I made on the 7th September was not prepared by **Mr. Chippindall,** the chairman of the Disposals Commission, as the right honorable gentleman alleged. His original statement was carefully investigated by teleprinter, telegram, and interstate telephone before ' the reply was given, and the answer to his charges was complete in every detail. At the direction of the Minister for Supply and Shipping, the matter was treated as one of great urgency because of the serious nature of the statements made. Official statements regarding the number and values of refrigerators which were sold by the Commonwealth Disposals Commission were entirely correct. The Leader of the Australian Country party now states that the machines to which he refers were sold not by the Commonwealth Disposals . Commission, but by the Army Salvage Depot at Enoggera. Sales from Army salvage depots are now under the control of the commission, and a salvage committee, consisting of the regional manager of the commission, the secretary of the district contract board, the District Finance Officer, Department of the Army, and the chief salvage officer in the district, continuously reviews all sales *ex* Army salvage depots by auction or tender, and determines the flat rate at which any items might be sold direct to the public. The truth in regard to the sale of the refrigerators by the Army salvage depot is as follows : Sixty-one condemned refrigerator cabinets were handed over to the Army salvage depot by the United States authorities, and six from the Royal Australian Air Force depot in Townsville. Some were just cabinets, others had units or parts of units in them. Some of the machines are still held by the Department of the Army and the balance, which were a very unattractive lot, were made available for sale. Eleven were disposed of by auction and the average price was £10. These cabinets were seen personally, by the regional manager of the Commonwealth Disposals Commission in Brisbane, and his own opinion was that £10 was definitely as much as the cabinets were worth. Of the residue remaining after the auction was held, ten were sold last May at the average price which the others brought at auction, i.e. £10, to Fosters Foundry of Brisbane. The ten refrigerators bought by Fosters Foundry are still on their hands. Six of them are of the kerosene type and are without lamps, and advice from refrigeration experts is that it will be almost impossible, and very expensive, to get them to operate. The foundry concerned is anxious to get its money back and is happy to dispose of any of these cabinets at the price which it paid for them, namely, £10. No lamps for kerosene refrigerators were received into Army salvage stocks, nor have any of them been sold separately. No refrigerators or cabinets, either in good or bad condition, have been sold to any officer of the Commonwealth Disposals Commission or to anybody nominated by officers of the Commission. I believe that that statement completely answers the right honorable gentleman's charge in regard to these goods, and I see no necessity to agree to any investigation by the right honorable gentleman, either alone or in consultation with 'the Auditor-General in regard to this particular sale. All these sales are under the review of the Auditor-General in the normal manner. The next charge is in regard to the disposal of motor vehicles and motor tyres. I shall deal fully with the subject of motor vehicles at the end of my statement. So far as motor tyres are concerned, there is no discrepancy between the statements made by the Minister for the Army and those made by me. As quickly as commercial tyres become available from the Department of the Army, they are released through the Department of .Supply for civilian requirements. Motor car tyres are' in short supply and every tyre, as soon as it comes to hand, is sold either for use in its present condition for retreading, or, if it is entirely useless, to the rubber companies for the re-manufacture of rubber. A large number of the tyres made available by the Department of the Army, however, are of the special War Department type and are entirely unsuited for commercial vehicles. These tyres are being utilized for the War Department type vehicles being sold by the Commonwealth Disposals Commission, and as the number of those vehicles grows - it is already rapidly growing - we are hopeful of ultimately liquidating at least the major proportion of these special tyres. The next charge is again in regard to motor cycles, and the right honorable member instanced a particular sale in northern Queensland. I repeat that a vast number of the motor cycles made available by the Department of the Army to date have been wrecked machines, many without wheels and many without engines ; the majority of them have been lying in the open for long periods. The cycle referred to by the Leader of the Australian Country party as advertised in the Cairns *Post* would be a machine which was reconditioned and probably would contain in it the parts of quite a number of the wrecked machines which were sold. On the other hand, a number of the cycles were in reasonably good condition and it might well have been one of those. The price at which the cycle was offered for sale, £57 10s., is £21 under the pegged price for this, machine. When these machines are sold by the Commonwealth Disposals Commission, they are sold on the basis of the pegged price, less the commission allowed by the Prices Commissioner, and less the cost of repairs. That principle is sound and guarantees protection both for the public and for the trade. The next charge covers the disposal, of motor cycles in Sydney. All motor cycles made available *ex* Ryde Park in New South Wales are sold through the motor cycle industry as rapidly as they become available. If the firm to which the right honorable gentleman refers is a legitimate dealer in motor cycles, it will have no difficulty, on application, to the regional manager of the commission in Sydney, in obtaining its fair share of the cycles as they become available. There is an allegation that individuals in Army workshops arc stealing engines, &e. This is a matter for the Minister for the Army, but the right honorable member for Darling Downs will have to give more information than a mere statement without any supporting evidence.. Finally neither care nor speed has been sacrificed in the replies made to the right honorable member. I have covered every individual charge- made- by him with a complete refutation. I repeat that- if individual members can produce- any concrete evidence of malpractice, I shall, have investigations made immediately; but if the Commonwealth Disposals Commission is- to be hampered in- its endeavours for the rapid liquidation of surplus stocks by irresponsible charges,. I am afraid that it will not be possible to liquidate with the speed which all members require and which is so essential to the rehabilitation of our civilian industries. In view of misleading statements- now being; made' throughout, the Commonwealth, and particularly in* the State of Queensland, where an anonymous pamphlet has- been issued attacking the Government, and the Commonwealth Disposals Commission on. the methods, adopted in the disposal of surplus motor vehicles, I should, on behalf of the Minister for Supply and Shipping, make another statement to explain clearly to honorable, members the system adopted, by the Commonwealth Disposals Commission in the liquidation of surplus motor vehicles, the success which has been achieved, and the reasons underlying the' adopted system.. Most complaints are coming from people who consider that they should be in a position to buy motor cars, which are in such short supply, from surplus Army stocks. The Minister has stated on numerous occasions that practically no passenger vehicles have been declared surplus to the Commonwealth Disposals. Commission, and of the very few which have come forward, practically all are in a badly damaged condition and have been disposed of under direct priority instructions issued by the Department of Road Transport. It must be remembered that the fighting services have only one passenger vehicle for about 250' trucks. No new passenger vehicles have been made available from overseas for the use of the armed forces for several- years, and the majority of the few cars that have been held by the services are of necessity being retained by them. I refer now to the disposal' of other types of vehicles, but these include not only trucks, but also motor cycles-, the majority of which have, to date,, been in a wrecked condition, war-type trucks, and fighting vehicles such as armoured cars, tanks and machine-gun carriers. Of a total of 34,42.3- such vehicles-,, which I againemphasize includes several- thousand wrecks- lying in- the Northern Territory amd other areas), no. fewer than 17,813 have been- declared surplus in the last four weeks, which means that- until- four weeks ago the- Common-wealth. Disposals Commission had only 16,210 vehicles declared, surplus in a period of twelve months, and of these no less- than 14,70S had been sold by the 19th .September, 1945. Immediately,, the Army accelerated its rate of release, the CommonwealthDisposals Commission, machinery was put. into operation to cope with, the increased, numbers-,, though it. will be obvious to all members that it would not be possible to market. 17,000 od'd: vehicles within a period of four weeks. Actually in prewar days the total sales of trucks over a period of twelve months approximated 18,000 vehicles of this class only. However, the following figures will show the excellent work which is being carried out by the commission:: - In July, when the commission had comparatively few vehicles to sell, approximately 1,000- were disposed of. La August, when the quantities commenced to flow in greater numbers, some 2,000 were sold. In September, when the commission had received a portion of the numbers delivered over the past four weeks, no less than 3,500 vehicles were sold by the commission. The commission's objective for October is to dispose of between 4,000 and 5,000 vehicles, and it will maintain this rate of distribution as long as the market will absorb the vehicles. Now, as to methods of selling, the Commonwealth Disposals Commission, with the approval of the Government, is adopting, m regard to all its marketing, the principle of reticulating back through normal trade channels. That is done with the object, not only of rehabilitating established industry, but also of ensuring that that industry will be in a position to re-employ the hundreds of thousands of ex-service men and women as they become available from the fighting services. An alternative would be for the Commonwealth Disposals Commission itself to set up another huge government establishment - one which would have to be larger than any other government organization, with the possible exception of the Post Office - and it would have to engage in wholesale and retail trade. It would have to market in .direct competition, and with disastrous results to established industry. Further, and perhaps more important, it would develop a huge ^ sales organization over a comparatively short period of three or four years, during which time it would do incalculable harm to that section of our economy capable of giving permanent employment to our ex-servicemen and women, and at the end of that short period, having sold the surplus stocks, would then he forced to place thousands of men on the labour market. It must be remembered also that a large proportion of motor vehicles is sold on terms involving " trade -in " of -used vehicles. The machinery for handling this class of business already -exists, such sales could not very well be handled by the Government The allegation freely made against the Commission is that the whole of the disposal of motor vehicles has been '" bottlenecked " through four major companies. Regarding the allegations of " bottlenecking ", I point out that the large importing companies, representing some 80 per cent, of the normal selling organization for motor vehicles, employ directly or indirectly hundreds of thousands of employees. However, the commission does not restrict its sales to these major companies. It is correct that in accordance with its established policy, it offers vehicles to the original vendors under strict price control, and if the original vendors take the vehicles immediately, the commisison will sell to them. However, should the original vendors not take up the vehicles which are available, the commission offers the vehicles to all other original importers of motor vehicles. If they are not taken up by such importers of motor vehicles, they will be sold by the commission on the open market by public tender or auction. To date, industry has taken the vehicles as they become available, and, in fact, the commission has been pressed continuously until the last four weeks for more .and more vehicles. The great increase of the .sales over the last month indicates that the motor industry is in a position to deal effectively with motor vehicles and is doing an excellent job. "When the vehicles are taken up by the original vendors, such vendors - in addition to ensuring wide-spread distribution amongst the companies through distributors .and agents in the city and the country - also make .arrangements direct with other sections of the motor industry for the sale of the vehicles in question. In South Australia, for instance, Genera] Motors Holdens Limited has been reconditioning International trucks, >and Richards' 'body works are now reconditioning Ford vehicles. The commission is ensuring that every 'section of industry -capable of reconditioning and marketing these vehicles is given the opportunity of so doing. Every attention is given to the needs of the country districts, and to date approximately 70 per cent, of vehicles sold by the commission have been marketed in the country areas. Finally, on the methods of distribution, I point out that we cannot sell direct, and at the same time sell through industry. Either we give to industry the opportunity to market surplus commodities, or we put it aside altogether. I am satisfied that the present approved policy which the commission is following is in the best interests of the country as a whole. {: .page-start } page 6628 {:#debate-14} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-14-0} #### DELIVERY OF GOODS {: #subdebate-14-0-s0 .speaker-6V4} ##### Mr DALY: -- Is the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction yet in a position to inform the House whether the Government has made a decision regarding the resumption of household deliveries? {: #subdebate-14-0-s1 .speaker-KCF} ##### Mr DEDMAN:
ALP -- I am pleased to be able to advise that certain difficulties,which appeared to be insuperable earlier, are now being overcome, and as from the 1st November next all the remaining restrictions on household deliveries will be revoked. {: .page-start } page 6628 {:#debate-15} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-15-0} #### FOOD FOR BRITAIN {: #subdebate-15-0-s0 .speaker-L0G} ##### Mr RYAN:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA -- Is the Prime Minister aware that under the sponsorship of the Prime Minister of South Africa, FieldMarshal Smuts, the people of South Africa have inaugurated what they call a " thank you, Britain " campaign? This campaign has been launched throughout the Union of South Africa for the purpose of sending food shipments to Great Britain. "Will the Prime Minister sponsor a similar campaign in Australia immediately, in order to assist to relieve the shortage of food in Great Britain? {: #subdebate-15-0-s1 .speaker-A48} ##### Mr CHIFLEY:
ALP -- I have not seen the announcement to which the honorable member referred, but the Government has already stated that every effort will be made to expand the production of food in Australia so that the urgent needs of the United Kingdom shall be met. I am prepared to discuss the matter with the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture with a view to seeing whether more can ;be done in that direction. {: .page-start } page 6628 {:#debate-16} ### PRINTING COMMITTEE {: #debate-16-s0 .speaker-K0K} ##### Mr CONELAN:
GRIFFITH, QUEENSLAND -- As Chairman, I present the second report of the Printing Committee. Report read by the Clerk, and - *by leave* - adopted. {: .page-start } page 6628 {:#debate-17} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-17-0} #### DISPUTE AT BUNNERONG POWER STATION {: #subdebate-17-0-s0 .speaker-KNX} ##### Mr HARRISON: -- Has the Prime Minister read the report in to-day's issue of the *Sydney Morning Herald* that the general manager of the Bunnerong Power Station has advertised for competent ex-servicemen to replace the Bunnerong strikers? As the right honorable gentleman has already intimated that a previous direction by the Commonwealth Government that the employees of Bunnerong shall abide by the decision of the Industrial Commission has not expired, will he intervene at this late hour and insist that the Commonwealth direction shall be obeyed? {: #subdebate-17-0-s1 .speaker-A48} ##### Mr CHIFLEY:
ALP -- I have not read the statement, but I have kept in touch with the developments at Bunnerong. I indicated previously that I considered that the efforts which the State Government and the Trades and Labour Council were making- {: .speaker-KNX} ##### Mr Harrison: -- They are getting nowhere. {: .speaker-A48} ##### Mr CHIFLEY: -- They must be getting somewhere. I indicated that the order which the Commonwealth Government had issued and which has not yet expired, would enable the Commonwealth to prosecute the strikers. I further said that I did not believe that that 'action would provide any solution of the difficulty. {: .speaker-KNX} ##### Mr Harrison: -- It might precipitate a general strike. {: .speaker-A48} ##### Mr CHIFLEY: -- The order would not be responsible for that. I wished to do what I could to settle the dispute, but I considered, even when the order was issued, that prosecutions, would not help. I have had no communication with the State Government on the subject for more than a week. I believe that the Premier of New South Wales and hia colleagues are doing their best to end the trouble. I have nothing further to say on the subject at the moment. {: .page-start } page 6628 {:#debate-18} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-18-0} #### MINERAL RESOURCES {: #subdebate-18-0-s0 .speaker-JUQ} ##### Mr CLARK: -- As a very large area of Australia has a rainfall of less than 12 inches a year, and the developing of our agricultural and pastoral industries will be conditioned to some degree by this fact, I ask the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction whether he will give consideration to the making of extensive geological and geophysical surveys, and to the giving of further assistance to diamond drilling, with the object of locating new mineral lodes and developing the mining industry? {: #subdebate-18-0-s1 .speaker-KCF} ##### Mr DEDMAN:
ALP -- Exploration by means of geological and geophysical surveys is largely a matter for the State governments. In relation to Commonwealth territories, of course, it is a Commonwealth matter. I shall give consideration to the honorable gentleman's request. *Sitting suspended from* *12.43* *to 3.15 p.m.* {: .page-start } page 6629 {:#debate-19} ### BILLS RETURNED FROM THE SENATE The following bills were returned from the Senate: - Without amendment - States Grants Bill 1945. Tuberculosis Bill 1945. High Commissioner Bill 1945. Education Bill 1045. Seat of Government Supreme Court Bill 1945. Loan (Housing) Bill 1945. Supplementary Appropriation (Works and Buildings) Bill 1943-44. Without requests - Supplementary Appropriation Bill 1943-44. {: .page-start } page 6629 {:#debate-20} ### PHARMACEUTICAL BENEFITS BILL 1945 Message received from the Senate, intimating that it had agreed to the amendment made by the House of Representatives in this bill. {: .page-start } page 6629 {:#debate-21} ### LEAVE OF ABSENCE TO ALL MEMBERS Motion (by **Mr. Chifley)** agreed to - That leave of absence be given to every member of the House of Representatives from the determination of this sitting of the House to the date of its next sitting. {: .page-start } page 6629 {:#debate-22} ### SPECIAL ADJOURNMENT Motion (by **Mr. Chifley)** proposed - That the House, at its rising, adjourn to a date and hour to be fixed by **Mr. Speaker,** which time of meeting shall be notified by **Mr. Speaker** to each member by telegram or letter. {: #debate-22-s0 .speaker-N76} ##### Mr MENZIES:
Leader of the Opposition · Kooyong -- I do not want to pry too much into the gloomy recesses of the Prime Minister's mind, but has he any approximate idea as to when we shall resume our delightful labours in this place ? {: #debate-22-s1 .speaker-A48} ##### Mr CHIFLEY:
Prime Minister and Treasurer · Macquarie · ALP -- *in reply* - I hope that there will be no necessity for the Parliament to resume before early in February. I certainly shall not be disposed to convene an earlier sitting unless urgent business left me without option. Question resolved in the affirmative. {: .page-start } page 6629 {:#debate-23} ### ADJOURNMENT {:#subdebate-23-0} #### Valedictory - Department of Munitions: Sale of Goods - Commonwealth Disposals Commission: Refrigerators {: #subdebate-23-0-s0 .speaker-A48} ##### Mr CHIFLEY:
Prime Minister and Treasurer · Macquarie · ALP -- I move - >That the House do now adjourn. I take this opportunity to extend to all members of the House my very bestwishes for the approaching Christmas season. During the ensuing recess, they will have the opportunity to take a wellearned rest from the arduous labours on which they have been engaged during what has been a long and very heavy sessional period. I thank the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Menzies)** and the Leader of the Australian Country party **(Mr. Fadden)** for their cooperation in the conduct of the business of the House. A degree of harmony in regard to procedure, irrespective of differences of opinion on matters of policy, is highly desirable, and that has been achieved. I also thank the members of all parties for the tolerance and courtesy they have shown to me personally. I congratulate **Mr. Speaker** on the ability he has displayed while presiding over our deliberations, and thank him for the courtesy and impartiality he has extended to honorable members. That applies also to the Chairman of Committees. We owe a great deal to the Clerk of the House, his assistants, and the parliamentary staffs, for their advice, guidance and good counsel. The permanent heads of the public departments and their staff* make possible the work of governments legislatively and administratively. To the *Hansard* staff, particularly, I extend the thanks of all honorable members. I am confident that the members of that staff make better speeches than, with few exceptions, arc made by honorable members. Their labours have been difficult and trying during a lengthy session characterized by long sittings on as many as four days a week for considerable periods, and the strain imposed on them has been very great. To the Parliamentary Draftsman has fallen the work of preparing the legislation with which we have dealt. Thanks are due also to the Librarian and his staff, the staffs of Ministers, and particularly the chief steward and staff of the Parliamentary Refreshment Rooms. Others also have contributed valued assistance in the work in which honorable members have been engaged. We go into recess under very much happier circumstances than the Parliament has experienced for several years. We still have very big problems with which to contend, but I hope that as Australians we shall co-operate to find a solution of them, whatever may be our political differences. This responsibility is placed upon us, or upon those who may fill our places in the future - a contingency which no one of us keenly desires at the moment. {: #subdebate-23-0-s1 .speaker-N76} ##### Mr MENZIES:
Leader of the Opposition · Kooyong -- I do not propose to stale, by repetition, what the Prime Minister **(Mr. Chifley)** has said about our indebtedness to the officers and the staffs of the Parliament. That is a service of which we all are conscious and I believe that every one of them understands that he or she enjoys our goodwill and appreciation. I reciprocate the expressions of goodwill towards me personally that have fallen from the right honorable gentleman. I believe that so far during his term of office we have maintained the courtesies magnificently. There is no doubt that, should we fail to do so in the future, the fault will be mine. I offer my good wishes, and the good wishes of those who sit behind me, to all members of the Parliament. The sessional period has been very long and the most strenuous that I can remember since I have been in the Parliament. The work of an Opposition leader really could not be compassed without the very staunch support of one's own side. I hope that I shall not be thought to make invidious distinctions if, referring to my own party, I express my indebtedness for the constant work of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Harrison).** He has established a record in this Parliament. Certainly he succeeded yesterday, with the utmost goodwill all round the chamber, in making the longest short statement, on record. There is one other remark that I should like to make. In the last five years, as we adjourned at Christmas time, we have hoped almost against hope, that we would be at peace when the following Christmas arrived. When one's mind goes back to the fact that literally, year after year, we have voiced that hope, with no belief in our hearts that it would come true, one should be eternally thankful that this time it is true, and that we all can go hack to our homes and our people in the happiness of peace and with, I believe, new resolution to tackle the great problems that are in front of us. {: #subdebate-23-0-s2 .speaker-F4T} ##### Mr FADDEN:
Leader of the Australian Country party · Darling Downs -- I associate myself and the Australian Country party with the sentiments expressed by the Prime Minister **(Mr. Chifley)** and the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Menzies)** . I am sure that every honorable member is pleased, that this strenuous sessional period is now about to terminate. We have had a long series of sittings, and much important legislation has been passed since we assembled in February last. Unfortunately, however, *the* people in the electorates do not fully appreciate what their representatives in Parliament have done, or how much time has been taken up in discharging the duties entrusted to them. I fear that they do not realize that our primary duty is to be present in this House as regularly as possible, and to be consistently vigilant. The fact that honorable members are not seen frequently in their electorates leads to a misapprehension regarding the real service which we give to those who have elected us. I join with previous speakers in conveying our congratulations and thanks, first, to yourself, **Mr. Speaker,** and also to the Deputy Speaker and Chairman of Committees **(Mr. Riordan).** Both you and he have ha.d a strenuous time in presiding over the proceedings in this chamber. The hours of sitting have been long. The members of the *Hansard* atari have rendered yeoman service. Their work entails their attendance from early morning to late at night. Their duties begin long before they enter this chamber and continue after the House adjourns. To the members of the parliamentary staffs generally I extend the thanks and appreciation of my party for the valuable . service and cooperation which they have given. As the leader of a party that has had no email share in the legislative work accomplished since February last, I have the duty and privilege to express to my staff my thanks for their valuable and constant service. As we are now concluding our duties for the year as the legislative trustees of the people of Australia, I express my concern at the general national apathy apparent on all sides. We are proud :and privileged to be enjoying an era of peace. The transition from war-time activities to peace-time pursuits and economic reconstruction is an exacting process, and I hope that industrialists and trade unionists, and all of those who are responsible for the economic and industrial equilibrium of Australia, will realize that we can obtain in peace the full and wholehearted national effort, which we have had in the years of war, only by unity in industry and harmonious relations between all sections of the community. I hope that the Government will be able to promote a sense of responsibility on the part of the trade unions, in order to ensure that industrial anarchy and lawlessness shall not be carried into the New Tear. I am not unmindful of the possibility, in view of present trends, that we shall experience crucial times. I hope that the New Year will usher in an era of peace in industry, and that there will he no further display of lawlessness, apathy, and irresponsibility. None of us should endeavour to make political capital out of the situation in industry. There should be an all-party effort to bring . about a keen sense of responsibility on the part of those whose duty it is to give a lead in this matter. If there are any industrial difficulties that constitute an obstacle to an all-in peacetime effort, we should try to remove them. I deprecate the growing tendency towards further industrial unrest. The clays that lie ahead will not be easy for us. We all should display the same qualities of patriotism and 'conscientious devotion to duty as were shown in the all-in war effort which has made possible the advent of peace. I hope that in the New Year, and in the intervening months, there will be evidence of industrial harmony. If there be any influences which would prevent realization of the conditions that are desirable in the national interests, let us, as the responsible representatives of the nation, endeavour to eradicate them. I extend, to the Prime Minister **(Mr. Chifley),** to the other members of the Government, to their parliamentary supporters, and to the people whom they represent, all good wishes for a happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year. {: #subdebate-23-0-s3 .speaker-L08} ##### Mr SPEAKER (Hon J S Rosevear:
DALLEY, NEW SOUTH WALES -- I should not allow this occasion to pass without saying a few words of thanks to the leaders of the respective parties for the congratulations which they have showered upon myself, the Deputy Speaker and Chairman of Committees **(Mr. Riordan),** and the members of the parliamentary staffs generally. We have passed through one of the most exacting sessions that we have experienced. We have come successfully through the most critical stages of the war, and we have had the great pleasure of knowing that the cause which we have espoused has triumphed. I express to the Prime Minister **(Mr. Chifley)** my high appreciation of the manner in which he has cooperated with the Chair in ensuring the smooth conduct of the business of the chamber. In this respect he has followed closely the example of his distinguished predecessor. To the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Menzies)** I express my thanks, as I do to the Leader of the Australian Country party **(Mr. Fadden),** for the way in which they have co-operated in expediting the business of the House, without sacrificing their right to criticize to the full any measures which they and the members of their parties have desired to discuss. Despite occasional heated debates, they have considerably assisted the Chair in the conduct of the proceedings of the House. A special tribute of appreciation should be paid to the Clerk of the House and hig assistants for the consistently efficient manner in which they have carried out their duties. Without distinction between political parties or individuals, they have at all times been prepared, apart from their exacting duties in the chamber, to offer assistance and advice to any honorable member regarding procedure and other matters that vitally concern us. To the staff of *Hansard* I also offer my congratulations and thanks. As in past years, they have carried on faithfully, and given to the Parliament and the country service which is beyond reproach. It has been said that members of the *Hansard* staff make excellent speeches. That may be true, birt, at the same time, they have tried to interpret faithfully the debates of Parliament. To the staff of Parliament generally, from the highest officer to the person in the most lowly position, I express the thanks of honorable members for their service. Everything connected with the functioning of the Parliament has gone with clock-like precision, and honorable members appreciate the services that have made this possible. I thank honorable members of all parties for the way in which they have co-operated with the Chair in the conduct of the business of the House. In recent years, the responsibility of the Commonwealth Government and of honorable members has increased tremendously. During the year, apart from the extra responsibility involved in conducting Australia's war effort, the responsibilities of Ministers and of honorable members have increased greatly and permanently. This is notably so in regard to social services, which were formerly under the care of the State governments. This transfer of responsibility makes heavy demands on the time of honorable members, not only while Parliament is in session, but also during recess. During the last twelve months, some extra assist- ance has been afforded to honorable members in the carrying out of their arduous duties, and improved facilities have been placed at their disposal for travel to and from the National Capital. I trust that those facilities will be extended in the near future. I thank honorable members foi- their expressions of goodwill to me during my term of office as Speaker. {: #subdebate-23-0-s4 .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN:
Minister for the Navy, Minister for Munitions and Minister for Aircraft Production · Hindmarsh · ALP -- It is due to the House, as well as to loyal officers of the Department of Munitions, to answer the statements made by the honorable member for Wentworth **(Mr. Harrison)** yesterday. Unless I do so, the record would be incomplete, and a grave injustice might be done to men in the service of the department. The staff inspector denies most emphatically that the materials disposals officer was informed that his services were being terminated because the chief disposals officer had alleged that he was an informer. On the contrary, he was told that his services were not further required because, owing to the termination of thewar, sales within the munitions *bloc* were not now possible, and as private treaty sales were prohibited, there was no further useful field of operation in which his services could be used. The allegation that the most seniorofficer said that he had no alternative but to withdraw the dismissal notice,, and tore it up there and then, is incorrect. ' The State Controller deniesmaking such a statement, and that denial is supported by other officers present- He only agreed to hold over the notice of termination until he had inquired intothe allegations. The notice is still in. existence, and is held in this office. The materials disposals officer later indicated, that he had intended to ask for his release within a few weeks in any case, and he subsequently tendered his resignation, dated the 2nd October, 1945, to take effect as from the 19 th October, 1945. In view of his five years' service, it was decided to accept the resignation in lieu of enforcing the notice of termination. Any attempt to dissuade the materials disposals office? from approaching the honorable member for Wentworth to get a letter to clear his name is stoutly denied by the officers concerned. The statement that the chief disposals officer was incorrect in rejecting offers for the hot water system and work benches, as prospective purchasers were not on defence work, was made. The action of the chief disposals officer was correct, in accordance with the disposals policy laid down. The subsequent sale was by auction, and the price, and whether the buyers were dealers or not, were matters outside the department's control, as the public generally was given the oppor1tunity to attend and bid. I shall later in this statement make further reference to this. The allegation that the most senior officer - which apparently means the State Controller - stated that " a new inquiry could be held, but no good purpose could be served as such an inquiry would only result in more dirty linen being washed, and the chief disposals officer would not get out of it any dirtier than he was already ", is most emphatically denied by the State Controller, who is supported by the three other senior officers present at the interview. Further, no statement was made that; could bo construed, by the widest stretch of imagination, in this way. The State Controller did say that he was only concerned with the reputation of the department, and that if he could see the slightest evidence of improper practice he would have no hesitation in ordering an inquiry, and taking action if charges were proved, irrespective of individuals. He further stated, however, that in the two cases under notice - the hot water system and the work benches - the action taken had been in accordance with disposals policy already laid down, and any further inquiry would be meaningless. Regarding the allegation that a document was missing from the file, this can only refer to one letter - the offer of Consolidated Metals, dated the 11th April, 1945, for the purchase of work benches - as the offer for the hot water system was made verbally, as is admitted by the prospective purchaser. No record can be found of thi3 letter alleged to have been written containing an offer for the work benches, and whilst it is admitted that there is a possibility that it was received, there is no evidence to support the allegation that it was deliberately suppressed or removed from official files. Irrespective of whether or not the offer was received, the action taken in submitting the work benches to auction, as against a private treaty sale, was in accordance with the policy laid down for disposals. The remarks attributed to the officer interviewing the honorable member for Wentworth, i.e., that he stated to the Stan' Superintendent and the most senior officer, "I trust it will not subsequently be found that these letters, too, are missing from the files ", were not made as alleged. This is supported by four officers present at the interview. It has been claimed by the Treacy Engineering Company that a verbal offer of £150 was submitted for the heating system, hut this was not confirmed in writing. The chief disposals officer has no recollection of any such offer, and there is no notation whatever in the official files, by either the materials disposal officer or the chief disposals officer. Treacy was quite at liberty to purchase at auction if further interested. This equipment was in a damaged and incomplete condition. The purchaser subsequently complained verbally that it was misrepresented by the department and was not worth the amount he paid for it, namely £42 10s. As far as can be ascertained, the purchaser has not yet resold the equipment after having had it in his possession for several months. Referring again to the offer for work benches, and the reference by the honorable member for Wentworth to a letter dated the 14th July, 1945, file M.T. 1857, I point out that the letter is actually dated the 14th April, 3945. The offer, which was made by Consolidated Metals, to which this letter is an answer, refers *to* a number of work benches which had in the meantime been sold to the Royal Navy, and therefore were not available for disposal as stated. In regard to the alleged £10 offer, it has since been claimed by the firm that such offer was, in fact, submitted, and the firm was informed by telephone by the materials disposals officer that the offer was not acceptable because the benches were not required for defence work, and would be submitted for sale by auction. The materials disposals officer confirms this, but there is no record of an offer, either verbally or written, and the chief disposals officer states that he has no recollection of the matter. The maximum price of the grinding machine was fixed by the Directorate of Machine Tool.; and Gauges at £300, which was approved by the Prices Commissioner, who advises that his inquiries proved that the machine was not then sold, but was sent to an engineering works, totally dismantled and reconditioned, at a cost of approximately £100, and further that the machine was sold about two months afterwards, at a price which gave the vendor only a reasonable margin of profit. I say most emphatically that my officers acted correctly in sending the goods to public auction. The suggestion that reserve prices be placed on auction items is one which I shall be pleased to take up with the Commonwealth Disposals Commission, but it can bc stated that, generally speaking, the placing of reserve prices on auction items, particularly second-hand goods, is not recommended by the regional manager of the Disposals Commission in New South Wales. I hope that the Deputy Leader of the Opposition will realize that irreparable barm can be done to officers with a fine record in the Department of Munitions by ia statement such as was made yesterday. Whilst I recognize the honorable gentleman's right to ask for an investigation, I think that it would have been better had he approached me in the first instance, before an unfavorable reportwas placed before the public. I shall now consult with the Prime Minister **(Mr. Chifley)** as to whether there should be an independent inquiry to investigate the truth or otherwise of the charges. {: #subdebate-23-0-s5 .speaker-KNX} ##### Mr HARRISON:
Wentworth -- I listened with interest to the Minister for Munitions **(Mr. Makin).** The matter now resolves itself into the word of one man against the word of another man. Therefore. I was pleased to hear the Minister say that he would consult with the Prime Minister **(Mr. Chifley)** with a view to deciding whether further action should be taken. I welcome that decision because the matter has now gone beyond the word of any two men. The character of men in the Department of Munitions has been impugned. On the one hand, there is the word of a senior officer, and on the other hand the word of another officer who also has rendered good service. Nothing short of an inquiry in which evidence will be taken on oath will be satisfactory, and I trust that the Minister will give consideration to instituting such ®n inquiry. On evidence submitted to me I made certain statements, which, in turn, have been repudiated. That impugns the character of my informant. As I have said, there is only one way to resolve this matter and that is by taking evidence on oath. It is a moot point whether the action taken in regard to the disposal of certain goods has been for the benefit of the country. Generally, I am against sales by private treaty. When an offer at a certain figure is made for goods and a price ceiling is fixed below that amount, and when the goods are subsequently sold at auction for a price lower than the offer, there is some ground for saying that the ceiling price W'as wrongly fixed. {: .speaker-KQB} ##### Mr Scully: -- When an offer is made, and the goods are subsequently disposed of by other means, any person who knows of the offer has an advantage over other competitors. {: .speaker-KNX} ##### Mr HARRISON: -- When goods valued at some hundreds of pounds are sold for only about £42 there is something wrong. No person is likely to make an offer far above the value of the equipment to be sold. In the circumstances, I maintain that my statements have been substantiated and therefore something more may have to be said on this subject. {: #subdebate-23-0-s6 .speaker-F4T} ##### Mr FADDEN:
Darling Downs Leader of the Australian Country party -- *by leave* - I am reluctantly compelled to rise at this stage because of a report which was furnished in reply to an allegation made through me with regard to the disposal of refrigerators, tyres and other articles. I have had an opportunity to peruse quickly a statement made by the Minister for Munitions **(Mr. Makin)** in regard to the allegation. {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr Makin: -- The statement was made jil behalf of the Minister for Supply and Shipping. {: .speaker-F4T} ##### Mr FADDEN: -- A small, but significant, point occurs in the opening lines of the statement which declares that the reply of the 7th September was not prepared by **Mr. Chippindall,** the Chairman of the Commonwealth Disposals Commission. I have here a copy of the original statement made on behalf of the Minister for Supply and Shipping. The statement begins - >Statement read by the Honorable J. *A.* beasley, House of Representatives, 7tb September, 1945 (Matters rein ted to Disposals). The Minister from **Mr. Chippindall.** The very introduction to the reply contains a significant inaccuracy. I quite understand that **Mr. Chippindall** is loath to claim authorship in view of the proved inaccuracies in the document that was originally handed to me. It now transpires after many weeks' delay that my original allegations were founded on fact. I had hoped that they would be found to be inaccurate, because when I made the allegations I emphasized in clear terms that I did not vouch for their accuracy, that they had been made to' me in various quarters throughout Queensland, and that I regarded it as my duty to bring them before the Parliament purely as allegations to be investigated and satisfactorily answered. It is now disclosed that not only were many times more refrigerators sold than waS originally admitted, but also, according to the Minister's statement to-day, that eleven refrigerators were sold at auction at the average price of £10 each. My original allegation was that some refrigerators had been sold for as low as £7 each. {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr Makin: -- The right honorable member realizes that the refrigerators were either damaged or incomplete. {: .speaker-F4T} ##### Mr FADDEN: -- That is not the point. I asked whether refrigerators had been sold and I was told, if my memory serves me right, that four had been sold at £52 10s. each and that eight in all had been sold. Now I have the admission that more refrigerators were sold and that the average realization was £10 each. I again asked whether one of the eleven mentioned was sold for £7. It has taken some considerable time to get to the truth of this matter. I have had to ask a question upon notice, the answer to which referred to only eight refrigerators. I made a statement in the House and the reply indicated that the number admittedly sold had increased rapidly. I made a further statement and I find that in the reply the number has once more increased, but the price has decreased so much as to substantiate the original allegations made to me. I asked the Minister to place on the table of the House the duplicate receipts for all refrigerators sold in the last six months. He has now admitted that 67 refrigerators were sold at low prices. I repeat my request now, as I do not wish to enlarge on the many discrepancies in the reply to me until I have had the opportunity of perusing the evidence of the receipts. Certain allegations have been made, and it is surprising that the Ministers concerned in the matter take it as personal. Nothing is further from my mind than a desire to make the matter, personal. I think I know the Ministers well enough to be sure that they, too, desire that this matter shall be cleaned up. I ask them not to be carried away by departmental replies from the officers concerned. I ask them to accede to my request that this matter be investigated on the right plane in order that all of us may be cleared. I am not a member of the Government, but in my electorate I, also, am accused, as are government supporters, Ministers and their supporters, of being in this " ramp ". So let us have the matter cleaned up for the good of all, and particularly for the good name of the administration. I again request the Minister to let me have the counterfoils of receipts in respect of all refrigerators sold in Queensland in the last six months, and to authorize the Auditor-General to confer with me as to the form the investigation should take in order that the matter may best be ventilated. With regard to tyres, there is a discrepancy between the statement and the Army bulletin which reported that the Minister for the Army had said, I think, that there were 31,000 tyres available for commercial use. The reply says that they are not available for commercial use, because their specifications make them suitable only for Army use. That matter is not my responsibility. There is a definite discrepancy between what the Army says and what the Commonwealth Disposals Commission says. I ask that that be thoroughly investigated, too. {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr Makin: -- On behalf of the Minister for Supply and Shipping **(Senator Ashley)** I ask the right honorable gentleman whether he suggests malpractice on the part of the officers? {: .speaker-F4T} ##### Mr FADDEN: -- I am not suggesting anything. Allegations have been made and they should be investigated. I know the Minister for Supply and Shipping well enough to know that he, too, wants to have the matter cleared up. We all are implicated in the allegations. For the sake of our personal reputations and the reputation of the Parliament itself, it is necessary that the matter be ended one way or the other by a thorough investigation. I emphasize again, lest I be misunderstood, that these are not my allegations. They have been 'made to me from different parts of Queensland, not just in one concentrated area. There is a cloud of suspicion over us all. It must be cleared once and for all by the only way in which it can be cleared, by thorough, independent investigation. {: .speaker-JOM} ##### Mr Beasley: -- Could the right honorable gentleman help us by bringing along specific persons? {: .speaker-F4T} ##### Mr FADDEN: -- They will come forward provided that the Minister guarantees that they will not be persecuted. I was with the honorable gentleman on a body that existed for some years. No one battled more than he did. He came along with allegations by the armload. When we were about to rise for the night, he would ask whether we were not to deal with this or that matter, matters that he wanted cleaned up. That is my attitude. I want these matters cleaned up. {: .speaker-JOM} ##### Mr Beasley: -- I am not questioning the motives of the right honorable gentle man, but, surely, he does not want us to go on a fishing expedition. He would help us by bringing forward the persons who are making the allegations. {: .speaker-F4T} ##### Mr FADDEN: -- But first the Minister must help me. So far, he has dodged doing so. A fundamental need is to comply with my request that the counterfoils be supplied to me for my inspection. If they bear out the allegations, then let the investigation go on, but if not, that will be the end of the matter. I do not know whether the allegations are soundly based or not, but I have a responsibility in this matter just as in that other matter the Minister for the Army had a responsibility which he strenuously discharged. If the Minister for Supply and Shipping wants this matter cleaned up, and I think he does, let me or some one I nominate see those counterfoils. Every one who bought a refrigerator at the Enoggera compound had to produce his receipt before he could take his purchase out of the compound. If the receipts do not prove the case, it falls to the ground, but the matter cannot be wiped off merely on the statement of a departmental head. I again ask that the matter be thoroughly investigated. If the. allegations are proved to be wrong no one will be more pleased than I. Question resolved in the affirmative. {: .page-start } page 6636 {:#debate-24} ### PAPERS The following papers were presented : - >Australian Wool Board - Ninth Annual Report, for year 1944-45. > >Broadcasting - Composite statement of programme and technical service accounts of Australian Broadcasting Commission and Postmaster-General's Department in respect of the national broadcasting service for year 1943-44. > >Canned Fruits Export Control Act - Nineteenth Annual Report of the Australian Canned Fruits Board, for year 1944-45, together with Statement by Minister regarding the operation of the Act. > >Dried Fruits Export Control Act - Twentyfirst Annual Report of the Dried Fruits Control Board for year 1944-45, together with Statement by Minister regarding the operation of the Act. > >Meat Export Control Act - Tenth Annual Report of the Australian Meat Board, for year 1944-45. together with Statement by Minister regarding the operation of the Act. > >National Security Act - > >National Security (General) Regulations - > >Orders - > >Control of - > >Footwear (Styles and quality) (No.7). > >Highways - Revocations (2 ) . > >Prohibited places - Revocations (23). > >Protected area - Revocation. > >Use of land - Revocation. > >National Security (Shipping Coordination) Regulations - Order - No. . 104. > >Regulations - Statutory Rules . 1945. No. 154. > >Seat of GovernmentAcceptance Act and Seat of Government (Administration ) Act - Ordinance - 1945 - No. 10 - Gaining and Betting. > >Wine overseas Marketing Act - Seventeenth Annual Report of the Australian Wine Board, for year 1944-45, together with Statement by Minister regarding the operation of the Act. > >House adjourned at 4.5 p.m. to a date and hour to be fixed by **Mr. Speaker.** {: .page-start } page 6637 {:#debate-25} ### ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS *The following answers to questions were circulated: -* Armed Forces:redbank Discharge Depot - Personnel at Ambon,koepang andrabaul. {: #debate-25-s0 .speaker-JTY} ##### Mr Archie Cameron:
ALP asked the Minister for the Army, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. On what dates did Australian forces occupy (a) Ambon, (b) Koepang and (c) Rabaul, as part of defensive measures against possible Japanese operations? 1. What was the strength of each force, and of what units was each force composed? Shipping : Port Delays. Fish Steam Laundry Proprietary Limited. War Expenditure Committee. Commonwealth Disposals Commission : Impressed Motor Vehicles; Allied Works Council Plant and Equipment; Rocklea Factory; Military Huts; Annual Report. {: #debate-25-s1 .speaker-JOM} ##### Mr Beasley:
ALP -- On the 2nd October, the honorable member forGriffith **(Mr. Conelan)** asked that the Minister in charge of the Commonwealth Disposals Commission should give consideration to owners whose motor vehicles were impressed in the early stages of the war being allowed to repurchase the actual vehicle from the commission. When motor vehicles were impressed by the services early in the war, those vehicles thereupon lost their identity, and the commission has no means of knowing whether vehicles made available for disposal were originally purchased by the service departments from the motor companies or whether those vehicles were taken over from private individuals by impressment. Service vehicles are spread over the whole area of Army activities on the mainland and in the islands, and even supposing that the identification of impressed vehicles was possible in any specific case, the return of that vehicle from the place where it now lies to the point of impressment would, in most cases, be uneconomical and also impracticable because of the shortage of shipping space and other transport facilities. The honorable member will be aware that the policy of the commission is to sell surplus stocks wherever those stocks are, and, by so doing, the ultimate cost of the vehicle to the purchaser is kepi a.« low as is possible. As I mentioned at the time, the vehicles which were impressed are probably not now in a satisfactory working condition, and probably the only practicable method to ensure their mechanical efficiency is through the arrangement already adopted of having the major companies completely service the vehicles. It will be recalled that a complete statement has already been made available to honorable members on behalf of the Minister for Supply and Shipping which «et out fully the reasons for the practice adopted by the commission and showed clearly that the arrangements made were the most economical and appropriate. Motor vehicles are being sold by the commission at an increased rate and sales by the commission for September of this year were 3,500 vehicles. This rate will increase to 4,000 per month from October, and owners who have not yet secured a replacement vehicle should be able to do so in the very near future. Vehicles thus secured will have been reconditioned to an approved standard and will be retailed by the major motor companies through their agents everywhere at prices fixed by the Prices Commissioner. In these circumstances, it will be obvious that to secure the return i of the vehicles already impressed by the service departments would be impracticable in almost all cases and would not benefit owners. {: #debate-25-s2 .speaker-JOM} ##### Mr Beasley:
ALP -- On the 18th September, 1945, the honorable member for Moreton **(Mr. Francis),** and the honorable member for Griffith **(Mr. Conelan),** referred to reports in the Brisbane press that Queensland secondary industries have not had the opportunity to tender for plant and equipment at the Rocklea factory of the Department of Aircraft Production. As mentioned at the time, the question of the disposal of plant and equipment is a matter either for the Disposals Commission or the Secondary Industries Commission under my colleague, the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction. My inquiries from the Disposals Commission disclose that no part of the Rocklea plant or equipment has yet been made available to the commission for disposal, and, in these circumstances, the commission has no jurisdiction whatsoever over the disposal of the factory and equipment. The commission has been advised that the question of the disposal of the Rocklea factory is at present under review by the Minister for Munitions and the Secondary Industries Commission. {: #debate-25-s3 .speaker-F4T} ##### Mr Fadden: asked the Minister representing the Minister for Supply and Shipping, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Bid the Commonwealth Disposals Commission issue its first annual report during September, 1945, as promised in its official "Review of Activities"? 1. If so, will he *(a)* make copies of the report available to all honorable members without delay, and (6) table the report and move that it be printed? Australian Prisoners of War. {:#subdebate-25-0} #### Papua and New Guinea {: #subdebate-25-0-s0 .speaker-KNX} ##### Mr Harrison: n asked the Treasurer, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What scheme, if any, has the Government evolved regarding adjustment of the contracts between the Custodian of Expropriated Property and New Guinea planters in respect of the properties bought by them after World War I. and before the introduction of the Government's post-war policy relative to the development of Papua and the Mandated Territory of New Guinea? 1. Will he consider (a) the retrospective elimination of interest from the payment calculations so that all amounts paid by the pur- chasers might be considered as capital payments; (b) a further substantial writing off of capital balances now nominally outstanding; and (c) the opening of a branch of the mortgage department of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia to give financial accommodation to settlers? Mr.Chifley. - The position of planters who are purchasing properties in New Guinea from the Custodian of Expropriated Property is bound up with the question of rehabilitating the white settlers in the territory. This matter is now under consideration and the Government's policy will be made known as soon as possible. {:#subdebate-25-1} #### Motor Tyres and Tubes: Prosecution for Possession {: #subdebate-25-1-s0 .speaker-F4T} ##### Mr Fadden: n asked the Acting AttorneyGeneral, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Is it a fact that more than 100 motor tyres and more than 40 tubes were found on the premises of the Hillman Tobacco Company at Commercial-road, Brisbane, and on adjoining premises occupied by the same company, in the month of September, 1944? 1. Were some of these tyres markedD-broad arrow-D? 2. Was any recommendation made by the Queensland Commissioner of Police to the Commonwealth authorities that proceedings be instituted under the Black Marketing Act in connexion with the above matters? {: type="1" start="4"} 0. If so. what was the result of such recommendation? 1. Will the Minister lay on the table of the House the file in connexion with this matter? {: #subdebate-25-1-s1 .speaker-JOM} ##### Mr Beasley:
ALP -- As this case is *sub judice,* being set down for hearing on Monday next, I am not prepared to furnish the honorable member at this juncture with any information with regard thereto. Australia First Movement:report of **Mr. Justice** Clyne. {: #subdebate-25-1-s2 .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr Forde:
ALP e. - The honorable member for Eden Monaro **(Mr. Fraser)** asked earlier to-day whether any further information could be made available in regard to the action taken on **Mr. Justice** Clyne's report in connexion with the Australia First Movement. I am now in a position to advise the honorable member that, as stated earlier in the day, the Cabinet considered **Mr. Justice** Clyne's report and decided to adopt the recommendations made. I find, on inquiry, that the decision made by Cabinet is now being implemented. Honorable members will recall that the detention of Australia First members took place at a time when a Japanese invasion seemed imminent, and that some members of that organization were found guilty of conspiracy against their own country. Those were times of national emergency, when the enemy was advancing on our shores, and the fate of the nation was at stake, and there was no opportunity for the adoption of a " wait and see " policy. The problem of detaining persons who were, rightly or "wrongly, suspected of being a potential danger to the nation, was not an exclusively Australian one. it was common to all the Allied nations in a war when fifth column activity had reached a stage unprecedented in ingenuity. War imposes dreadful necessities, and in a state of national peril the necessity for immediate action may well preclude the careful investigation which in normal times would precede arrest; and it is to be regretted that in the exercise of emergency powers, the necessity for which could not be questioned by any reasonable citizen, innocent persons were occasionally confounded with guilty. It cannot reasonably be expected that powers of this kind can always be exercised with perfect justice and with Christian charity. The original ministerial statements made on this matter were based upon material vouched, for and recommendations submitted by Military Intelligence. Failure to act on those recommendations would, at that time, have been inexcusable. Quoting again from **Mr. Justice** dyne's report - " Having received the messages from Western Australia, the Army Intelligence authorities were, I think, justified in arresting the persons who were in fact arrested, but they should have acted with a little more caution in making recommendations that all the persons arrested should be detained." His Honour further added - "I can see no sufficient reason which would justify the Minister in not accepting the recommendation.". It is, I suggest, quite unprofitable to criticize action taken in 1942, in the light of the fuller knowledge available after elaborate inquiry in 1945. And it should be remembered, moreover, that public uneasiness in 1942 was manifested by a feeling not that there were too many people under restraint, but rather that there were too few. His Honour has pointed out that all the persons detained were given a proper opportunity of appealing against their internment in accordance with the National Security Regulations ; and that not only were they given such an opportunity, but special committees were formed to reconsider the cases of some of the persons detained. Although some nf the detainees complained of the methods adopted by the tribunal in hearing the appeals, to use the judge's words again, " There is no evidence that their cases were not fairly and justly considered ". As honorable members are aware, the Minister went further than this and set up the inquiry conducted by **Mr. Justice** Clyne, th.u3 providing further means for establishing the fact* of each case. In his report, His Honour recommends that the persons "wrongly detained are entitled to a public declaration that they were in fact wrongly detained and were not disloyal, and such a declaration should afford them 3om<measure of redress". This recommendation applies to the undermentioned eight persons out of the total of twenty persons who were detained. The Government has accepted the commissioner^ recommendation and, on behalf of the Government, I now publicly declare that Messrs. K. P. Bath, Clarence Crowley, S. B. Hooper, E. C. de la Roche Masey. Harley Matthews, C. W. Stoller, W. F. Tinker Giles, and Martin F. Watts, werein fact wrongly detained and were not disloyal. {:#subdebate-25-2} #### War Criminals {: #subdebate-25-2-s0 .speaker-A48} ##### Mr Chifley:
ALP y. - On the 27th Septem ber the honorable member for Warringah **(Mr. Spender)** asked the following question, *upon notice : -* >Will the Prime Minister on or before thifirst day of sitting next week, furnish th«House with a statement of - > >the number of (i) Italians, (ii ! Germans, and (iii) Japanese alleged by Australian prisoners of war to have been guilty of ill treating them while they were con fined in enemy prison camps; > >the number of each of the above nationalities who have beet arrested and who are being heir' for trial as war criminals; and > >the nature of the organization foi apprehension of such persons (i in the European zone, (ii) in the South-East Asia zone, and (iii in the South-West Pacific cone, giving full details of the organization within the Australian armed forces for such purpose and, in particular, stating if within the Aus tralian forces there exists an organization similar to the Criminal Investigation Brand for the purpose of tracking down a-nd apprebending Japanese against whom allegations have been made which warrant their arrest for trial as war criminals. The answer to the honorable member's question is as follows : - {: type="a" start="a"} 0. The number of (i) Italians, and (ii) Germans alleged to bo guilty of ill-treating Australian prisoners of war is not available /it present. The figures are being obtained from the United Nations War Crimes Commission in London. This commission, under the chairmanship of Lord Wright, who is also Australia's representative on the commission, is investigating charges by Australians against German or Italian war criminals, (iii) Many hundreds of Japanese are involved but the exact number cannot be ascertained until all reports and documents are received and the inquiries by the Australian War Crimes Commission and the Army authorities arc finalized. {: type="1" start="6"} 0. The number of Germans and Italians who have been arrested is being obtained from the United Nations War Crimes Commission. In regard to Japanese war criminals all commandants, staff and guards of prisoner-of-war camps have been arrested according to Army instructions. In addition, all Japanese suspected of being connected in any way with war crimes are being held for investigation, ft is not possible at present to give a precise figure of the number of arrests since detailed information from the many isolated forward areas under Australian Military Force Command is not yet to hand. The Government will undertake to have this ' information released as soon as all the reports have been examined by the proper authorities. 1. The nature of the organization for the apprehension of war criminals in the European zone is as follows :- Evidence of war crimes is collected by investigating teams of the various National War Crimes Commissions. Special branches of the allied armies have been responsible for detecting and Apprehending individuals charged. The lists of war criminals which were drawn up on the evidence supplied by the National Commissions «nd approved by the United Nations War Crimes Commission were used as the basis of the Army authorities' operations. In addition, Army authorities in certain instances acted on their own initiative and collected evidence on war crimes permitted within their field of operations. In the case of concentration camps, for instance, most of the immediate examinations were made by military investigators. It is not known whether any special form of organization exists in the South-East Asia zone. In the Pacific zone the responsibility for apprehending war criminals rests with theatre commanders. While there is no separate organization within the Australian Military Forces, all Australian commanders have available for the apprehension of war criminals the full resources of the Australian Military Forces in their areas. In addition, in co-operation with military authorities, two commissioners of the Australian War Crimes Commission are at present in forward areas making investigations and collecting first-hand evidence. Telephone Services: Installations. {: #subdebate-25-2-s1 .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr Calwell:
Minister for Immigration · MELBOURNE, VICTORIA · ALP l. - On the 12th September, the honorable member for Martin **(Mr. Daly)** asked a question concerning telephone installations in the Sydney metropolitan area. The Postmaster-General has now furnished the .following information: - >The general expansion of telephone business in the Sydney metropolitan area and thi diversion of man-power and materials to meet the requirements of the armed forces and those engaged in essential war-time activities have strained the resources of the. Post Office to the utmost. Reserves of telephone plan and equipment in Sydney are almost exhausted and it is not practicable to meet, the demand for new telephone installations. In these cilcumstances, therefore, it is not possible to lift the existing restrictions but this will be dont immediately the department is in a position to do so. Proposals have already been approved for a comprehensive programme for the establishment of new exchanges and the installation of equipment at existing exchanges in the Sydney metropolitan network. The approves plans provide for the establishment of two new large automatic exchanges of the most modern type in the immediate city area. These ex changes will have a total capacity for approx mately 18,000 subscribers' lines and. in addition to meeting development, will relieve the congestion at the existing City North and Cit' South Exchanges. It is also proposed to ope a number of new automatic exchanges ii suburban areas and to proceed wilh the con version of existing manually operated exchange to automatic working. The problem confront ing the department in placing the telephone service in Sydney and in other State capita) cities on a sound and efficient basis is one oi great complexity and the various works en tailed, which are of considerable magnitude, can only be proceeded with as man-power am! materials become available. Australian Broadcasting Commission Broadcast by Union Leaders {: #subdebate-25-2-s2 .speaker-KNX} ##### Mr Harrison: asked the Minister foi Information, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Is it a fact that a aeries of talks by trade union leaders, arranged some time ag. by the Department of Information with th« Australian Broadcasting Commission in the hope that they would be of value in connexion with the war effort, is soon to be discontinued 1 1. If not, will he arrange that similar sessions are allowed to representatives oi employers' organizations, in order that ii might not be said that a quasi-government authority is being used by the Commonwealth Government to disseminate Government prop,ganda ? {: #subdebate-25-2-s3 .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr Calwell:
ALP l. - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. No. 1. That is entirely a matter for arrangement with the Australian Broadcasting Commission which decides its own programmes. {:#subdebate-25-3} #### Broadcasting : Amateur Operators {: #subdebate-25-3-s0 .speaker-F4T} ##### Mr Fadden: n asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. When will amateur radio experimenters who before the war had licences to use transmitting apparatus be permitted to: (a) reclaim their transmitter parts which had to be dismantled and delivered to the department after the outbreak of war, and (b) recommence their experimental transmissions? 1. Will the 7,000-7,300 kilocycle bandbe re-allotted to amateurs for their use? 2. Will the Government discontinue the use of the 7,200-7,300 kilocycle band for short-wave broadcasting? If not, what steps are proposed for: (a) giving amateurs an adequate range of frequencies for their use, and (b) preventing interference by high-powered non-amateur short-wave stations ? The Postmaster-General has supplied the following answers: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Action has already been taken for the return of the equipment delivered to the Post Office by experimental licensees at the outbreak of the war, and it is anticipated that the apparatus will shortly be restored to its owners. 2 and 3. The matter of the frequencies to bo allocated for experimental licensees is receiving consideration and an announcement respecting the position will be made at an early data.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 5 October 1945, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.