18th Parliament · 2nd Session
Mr. Deputy SPEAKER (Mr. 3. J. Clark) took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
– I have received a number of telegrams’ from taxi drivers in Brisbane, many of whom are ex-servicemen, complaining; that the inadequate petrol allowance has forced them out of business. Will the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Fuel ask his colleague to investigate the position with a view to having the petrol allowance to Brisbane taxi’ drivers increased to the same quantity as- that which is provided’ for taxi drivers- in Sydney and Melbourne?
– 1 shall ask the Minister for Shipping, and Fuel to investigate the matter: I am sure that he will do his utmost to ascertain whether any action can be taken to relieve the situation in Brisbane.
– Can the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture say whether a conference will shortly be held of officers of the Commonwealth and some of the States to draw up conditions for the apple and pear acquisition scheme for the 1948-49 season? If so, when and where will the conference be held?
– It is probable that a conference will be held between Commonwealth officials, and government officials from Tasmania and Western Australia, to consider the apple and pear acquisition scheme for the coming season, and the conference may be attended by Ministers if that is necessary in order to ensure that essential legislation is passed by the Parliaments of the two States concerned to make the scheme satisfactory and practicable.
Remuneration pv Line Staff.
– Has the Minister representing the Postmaster-General anything to report regarding the representations that I have made’ about living conditions and rates of remuneration for members of the line staff employed by the Postmaster-General’s Department in country areas?
– The honorable member for Grey made representations on this subject in the past, and renewed them recently. I am advised by the PostmasterGeneral that a conference has been held between the Public Service Board and the federal executive of the Amalgamated Postal Workers’ Union regarding the suggestion that rates of pay should be increased, and the PostmasterGeneral has been advised that the board’s decision will be issued shortly.
– Can the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs say whether approval was given a few .months ago for the issue of a licence to import a quantity of wire netting of Japanese origin? If so, what quantity was covered by the licence, and at what price will it be sold to users) Has any arrangement been made to ensure priority of supplies to primary producers ?
– I shall be glad fa. convey the honorable member’s question to the Minister for Trade and Customs, who will answer it in due course.
Inter-union Dispute in New SOl th Wales
– Will the Minister for Labour and National Service say what efforts have been made by the Government to settle the very serious interunion dispute between the Australian Workers Union and the miners’ federation about tunnelling work for a proposed new mine? What is the present position ?
– As is well known, the Minister for Shipping and Fuel never ceases negotiations to keep the coalmining industry going. Owing to the nature of this particular dispute, a conference was convened by the executive officers of the Australian Council of Trades Unions, the miners’ federation and the Austraiian Workers Union. The conference sat all day yesterday, and negotiations are being continued in an endeavour to find a permanent solution of inter-union troubles.
– Has the Prime Minister seen a recent statement by Mr. Llewellyn Toyne, agricultural attache1 to the Embassy of the United States of America in -Canberra, that there was urgent need in Australia for a keener appreciation of the dangers of soil erosion? Will the Prime Minister consider the suggestion made in the Land newspaper on last Friday that the Government should invite Dr. Hugh
Bennett, soil conservation chief in the service of the Government of the United States of America, to visit Australia and consult with local experts with a view to initiating a nation-wide save-the-soil campaign ?
– I have not seen the statement refererd to, nor, indeed, the article in the Land newspaper of last week. I realize the great national importance of preserving our soil and preventing erosion. As late as last week I received from the United States of America a great deal of literature on the subject dealing with developments and experiments in that country, and I propose to pass it on to the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture. The honorable gentleman asked whether steps would he taken to bring this expert to Australia in order to secure his advice on this matter. I shall have that suggestion examined because I realize the magnitude >f the problem which faces us in this i natter.
– I understand that a ballot has been taken in various States in connexion with the Government’s wheat stabilization plan. Is the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture in a position to inform the House of the result of rho poll taken in South Australia?
– I have not had any information from the State Electoral Officer or any other State official in South Australia in relation to the result of the ballot on the Government’s wheat stabilization plan recently concluded in that State. Unofficially, however, I have been informed that the result of the poll conducted in the various States in relation to that plan was as follows : -
– Will the Prime Minister inform the House whether a security service distinct from the Commonwealth Investigation Service, which is under the control of the Attorney-General’s Department, has been established by the Minister for Information? If so, was that service established by the Minister on his own initiative, or was it established as a result of a Cabinet decision? Is the Prime Minister satisfied that such duality will not make for inefficiency, in view of the fact that experience in other parts of the world has shown that if a security service is to be effective it must bo unified under one control?
– I must confess that this is the first that I have heard of any security service having been established in connexion with the Department of Information.
– lt, is the first that I. have heard of it, too.
– There may be occasions, of course, on which it is necessary for the Minister for Information to have inquiries made in respect of certain individuals. That is done by a reference by the Minister to the Attorney-General, who, in turn, refers the matter to the Commonwealth Investigation Service for attention. With regard to the latter portion of the honorable member’s question, apparently he has not studied methods adopted by security service.0 throughout the world. If he had I am sure he would not make such a suggestion.
It is not true that in some of t.ie most important countries of the world the security service is concentrated in one department. In many of them each government department has its own special security service, which is not associated with the general security service.
– Is the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs aware that a motion picture, entitled No Orchids for Miss Blandish’, is at present being exhibited in Australia? The book on which the film is based - a very vicious piece of work - is rightly banned in this country, and the film itself is banned in Malaya, in certain States of the United States of America and in some English countries. Three large British cinema companies, which own over 1,000 theatres, have refused to exhibit it. Judging <by press statements, one of which describes the film as a “saga of sadism “, it is full of undesirable characters and is inimicable to the Australian way of life. Its brutality, sadism and emphasis upon sex are described as revolting. Will the Minister explain why the film was allowed into Australia ?
– All of the British films that I have seen so far have been of an exceedingly high standard. I should be reluctant to accept the fact that a British film had been banned in Malaya or some other country as sufficient reason for it to be banned in Australia also. I imagine that the film has been approved by the film censors, but, as I have not seen it myself, [ cannot pass a personal judgment upon it. I shall direct the attention of the Minister for Trade and Customs to the comments that have been made by the honorable member for Griffith.
– I direct the attention of the Prime Minister to the report of a speech that was made in another place by Senator O’Flaherty, in which the honorable senator stated that the alleged agreement with regard to the “Manila girls “ must he observed so that they will not he stranded and so that they may he kept out of brothels. It is reported further that the honorable senator likened the Government of the United States of America to certain theatrical companies which, in the early days of federation, had allowed girls to become stranded in South America. Will the right honorable gentleman immediately repudiate and apologize for this foul insult to Australian womanhood and the United States Government made by a supporter of the Government?
– I have neither seen nor heard of the report to which the honorable member has referred. I shall make an examination of what he claims was said.
– Was the honorable senator expressing the views of th, Government ?
– I do not propose te enter into further discussions- or recriminations regarding these so-called “ Manila girls “. In my opinion, those who refer to the young women in that cheap way are themselves being disrespectful to them.
– 1 desire to ask a question of the Prime Minister. I have received from the Secretary of the Prime Minister’s Department a copy of a telegram sent from Washington by the Right Honorable R. G. Menzies, dated the 14th October, 1948, which reads -
Have seen Australian girls affected by recom discussions and have made inquiries. The are reputable, well employed and regarded. !l strongly urge that their rights to continue in employment here should be recognized.
Has the Prime Minister received the cable, or has he any know ledge of it? If so, does he propose to consider the representations made by the Leader of the Opposition, who is privileged to be able to view this matter from the place when the trouble obviously originated?
– I have seen th, cablegram that was received from the Leader of the Opposition. I thought he might have been a bit more gallant than to refer to the girls as merely reputable and hard working. Surely the ladies are entitled to something more complimentary than that.
– He said that the* were well regarded.
– Apparently, he hae seen them, and I accept his assessment as that of a man of artistic temperament who has given some study to the subject. This matter is the subject of discussion between the Australian Government and the Government of the United States of America, and I do not propose at this stage to discuss it in the Hons* or elsewhere at any length.
– I have received a number of urgent telegrams, some of which I propose to quote for the information of the Minister for Repatriation.
One is from Mr. Donnellan, the ‘State secretary of the New South Wales branch of the Tubercular Sailors and Soldiers Association. It reads-
New South Wales State branch of the Tubercular Soldiers indignantly deny statement by Repatriation Minister that the third member of No. I Entitlement Tribunal, Mr. M. A. Hickey, was deemed unsuitable by exservicemen’s associations. Hickey was nominated by this branch.
A telegram from Mr. J. R. Lewis, the secretary of the New South Wales branch of the Returned Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen’s Imperial League of Australia, contains the following statement -
A telegram in similar terms was received from the Air Force Association. In view of the statements made by these responsible bodies, will the Minister for Repatriation make the necessary amends to the gentleman concerned?
– The . honorable member’s question arises from a debate which took place in this House during the last two days in which references were made to the No. 1 War Pensions Entitlement’ Appeal Tribunal. During the course of the debate I said that Mr. Mickey had been considered unsuitable for re-appointment to the tribunal, and that the ex-servicemen’s organizations had evidently thought likewise because no organization had nominated him in first place on the panels of names submitted by ex-servicemen’s organizations to fill a vacancy on the tribunal. Mr. Hickey’s name was included on two panels of names submitted to the Government. On one he was placed third, and on the other he was placed fourth. I hope that that will clear up the point raised by the honorable member. Almost invariably when panels of names are submitted for consideration the organizations concerned indicate their first, second and third choices, Mr. Hickey’s name was placed third on the panel of names submitted by the Tubercular Sailors and Soldiers Association. The other organization that nominated him did not include his name amongst the first three.
– Whose nomination did the Minister choose?
– 1 accepted the nomination of the Returned Sailors Soldiers and Airmen’s Imperial League of Australia.
– I have been advised that there is a desperate shortage of powdered milk in north and north-west. Queensland. Will the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture state whether the distribution of powdered milk is controlled by the trade or by the Commonwealth? If it is controlled by the Commonwealth, will the honorable gentleman do his utmost to ensure that the shortage will be relieved?
– The Commonwealth has no control whatever over the distribution within Australia of powdered milk. I shall be glad, however, to ascertain whether we can facilitate the delivery of powdered milk to north-west Queensland, realizing as I do the great need that exists for it there. The Commonwealth exercises no control over the distribution of powdered milk other than at the point of export. Some action may be necessary to ensure that adequate supplies of powdered milk are shipped to Queensland before additional quantities are exported. I shall examine the subject from that aspect and ascertain what we can do to meet the position.
– Although Australia’ is n substantia] producer of zinc and lead, the scarcity of these commodities in this country is affecting the manufacture of galvanized iron. The shortage of spelter, which is largely a by-product of zinc, is also affecting the building trade and the shortage of sheet lead and zinc oxide is affecting the paint industry. Will the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs examine all export licences with a view to ensuring that exports will be regulated so that the building, paint, .rubber and other industries will .not be handicapped by these shortages ?
Mr. -POLLARD. - For some time, Australian industry has been somewhat short of adequate supplies of zinc for galvanizing and other purposes. That position is entirely due to the fact that as the States now control price fixing the company which manufactures zinc products finds that the price for zinc within Australia is £22 a ton compared with the overseas price of £93 a ton. Naturally, the company is anxious to export maximum quantities of zinc and to sell mini.mum quantities in Australia. That position is unfortunate. While the Australian Government had. power under the National Security Regulations to impose controls, it was successful in ensuring that local manufacturers had adequate supplies of zinc for galvanizing purposes. Considerable difficulty has arisen since the Australian Government had to relinquish controls, because the fixation of the price and the distribution of zinc is now administered by the Governments of 1>a six States.
– Supplies of zinc have been inadequate in Australia for years. The Australian Government controls the export of zinc.
– If the honorable member for Balaclava and other members >f the Opposition will he courteous enough to allow me to continue my -inswer, they will be completely satisfied That I am fully aware of the fact that cbe Australian Government exercises control over exports of zinc and other minerals. However, it must be realized that in the operation of that control, the Australian Government is confronted with a problem arising from the production of zinc concentrates. If the Government were to place an embargo on the export of a portion of our zinc, which is the finished product, grave difficulties would arise over the control of the export of zinc concentrates, which are the raw material. I assure the honorable member for Balaclava that the Government has been in close touch with the situation during the last month. Officers of my department are now trying to reconcile the differences between various private concerns in this country, which are involved in the problem. I hope that, with the co-operation of the companies concerned, we shall succeed in reaching a solution which will result in adequate supplies of zinc being made available to the manufacturers who desire them.
– I desire to ask the Prime Minister a question relating to the redistribution of electorates, but before doing so, I express the hope that the right honorable gentleman will forgive my ignorance about the subject. However, this House is the proper place for an honorable member to seek information on such a subject. After the Redistribution Bill ha3 been approved by the Parliament and the new electoral boundaries became official, will the present member be able to undertake work in the new sections added to his existing electorate? Will the electors regard as their member their present representative in the House of Representatives or the member into whose electorate they will be transferred as the result of the redistribution?
– The practice i.= that until a new member is elected for u constituency, the present member will continue to he regarded as the representative, and will be fully justified in attending to the requirements of his constituents within that particular area, f have no doubt that, in connexion .with the redistribution, honorable members will devote some attention to the new areas which they hope to represent. In the meantime, however, the people in the old electorates will be entitled to regard their present members as their representatives, and seek assistance from them when they require it.
– One of the reasons for the appointment of the Australian Aluminium Production Commission was to ensure that the adequate supplies of bauxite which are known to exist in Australia would be made available to meet the requirements of the aluminium industry. Is the Prime Minister aware that for some weeks past, the Straits Times at Singapore has published, over the name of the Australian Commissioner for Malaya, invitations to interests in Malaya to tender for the supply of 50,000 long tons of metallurgical grade bauxite for from five to ten. years ? Will the right honorable gentleman explain the reason for calling tenders for the supply of bauxite from Malaya, particularly in view of the Government’s previous statement that sufficient supplies of bauxite were available in Australia for the aluminium industry?
– A former Minister for Supply and Shipping, Mr. Beasley, who introduced the Aluminium Industry Bill in 1944, and who was particularly interested in the project, stated that there were large deposits of bauxite not only in New South Wales, but also in Gippsland, in Victoria.
– There are also deposits in Queensland.
– There are some deposits in Queensland and smaller deposits in Tasmania. Those who had considered the project also had in mind a claim that high-grade deposits existed in Malaya. After the Aluminium Industry Bill had become law, technical experts made an examination of the deposits in Australia, and a proposal was considered that the Australian Aluminium Production Commission, which is a joint authority representing the Australian and Tasmanian Governments, might take leases or options of leases over bauxite deposits in Malaya.. Subsequent investigations by experts employed by other aluminium interests have revealed that there are superior deposits in certain islands in the Pacific, and. consequently, the enthusiasm for developing the Malayan deposits has somewhat waned. Aluminium is made from alumina, and as this subject is highly technical, I shall have prepared a brief survey of developments in the industry with particular reference to the questions which the honorable member for Warringah has asked.
– I direct a question to the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction who is in charge of the North Australian Development Committee, a body which appears to be defunct. Will the Minister ascertain whether the Mount Isa mines interests made representations in the early stages of development at Mount Isa to the Government of Queensland to build a railway to a port on the Gulf of Carpentaria, or to authorize it to construct the line because of the reduced haulage to a gulf port compared with the haul of 600 miles to Townsville via Cloncurry ? In order to appease Mount Isa Mines Limited did the Government of Queensland grant to it considerable freight concessions on lead bullion or zinc concentrates hauled to Townsville, and on back-loading of coal from Collinsville and the coke ovens at Bowen on the eastern seaboard? What concessions, if any, did the Townsville Harbour Board extend to Mount Isa Mines Limited in that regard? In 1936, a series of articles was written for the North Queensland E agister by Mr. Doherty, a competent journalist, decrying the whole idea of opening up the gulf by providing a port at Borooloola in the Northern Territory or another suitable place. Will the Minister have those articles examined in the light of present-day evidence and ascertain what influence in Townsville sponsored the opposition to the idea, of providing an outlet on the gulf for the products of north-west Queensland ? Will the Minister confer with the Minister for the Navy with a view to having hydrographic surveys made of the Gulf of Carpentaria ? Will he ask the Minister for the Navy, who is the parliamentary representative of that portion of the Commonwealth, whether he has any knowledge of mineral assets such a? silver, lead and copper, which, apart from the cattle asset, in the gulf, would warrant the construction of a railway and port facilities in the Gulf of Carpentaria, commencing from Mount Isa?
– I am not the chairman of the North Australian Development Committee. So far as I am aware, the members of that body are the Prime Minister, the Premier of Queensland and the Premier of Western Australia. However, there is also a departmental committee which deals with that area.
– Is Dr. Coombs the chairman?
- Dr. Coombs is the chairman of the departmental committee. The problems which the honorable member has mentioned relate more to the State of Queensland than to the Northern
Territory. In my opinion, the Premier of Queensland can be relied, upon to attend, to the interests of that. State without any interference from the honorable memberfor the Northern. Territory.
– Housewives, am constantly expressing surprise, and sometimes annoyance, at the disappearance, from the shops of sundry articles. Can the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture say why washing soda is unprocurable in Victoria at the present time? Indeed, it has not been obtainable for a considerable time past.
– i cannot give an adequate answer to the question now, but [ shall make inquiries, and see what can be done to ensure that supplies of this necessary , commodity become available for housewives.
– Has the Minister for the Navy seen an article which was sent from London, and published on the front page of a Queensland newspaper on the 19th October, in which it is stated that the British Admiralty is planning the restoration of the British Pacific Fleet? Mas he received any official information on this vital subject, and if so, is he in a position to give details to this House? If not, will he inquire if the statement has any foundation? What will be the Australian Government’s attitude to such a proposal? Will the Minister indicate the new fleet’s operational base, and what would be the Royal Australian Navy’s scale of co-operation? Has the Minister any knowledge of the statement that the future strength of the British Far East Station; now based operationally at Hong Kong, with head-quarters at Singapore, is likely to include two aircraft .carriers, three 6-in. cruisers, a full flotilla of modern fleet destroyers, a complete escort group of frigates and a flotilla of the latest submarines, with a modern parent ship? When the two Royal Australian Navy destroyers now being built are commissioned, what will be the full strength of the Royal Australian Navy?
– The honorable member has asked me what will be the strength of a. certain section of the Navy. Heought to know that, at a time like this.. such, information, cannot be supplied. Asfor the rest of hi3 question, I thank him for the information he has given. I have not seen the article referred to, but 1 shall read it. In the meantime, if he puts, his question on. the notice-paper, 1 shall supply an answer..
OFFICE OF education.
Formal Motion for Adjournment.
Mr. Deputy speaker (Mr.
Clark). - I have received from the honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Spender) an intimation that he desires to move the adjournment of the House for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of urgent public importance, namely -
The serious penetration, with governmental approval or permission, of subversive influences into the instruments of government and the use of governmental agencies, in particular the Commonwealth Office of Education, for purposes subversive of the interests of Australia, and the use of public moneys tn such purposes.
.- I move -
That the House do now adjourn.
– Is the motion supported?
Five honorable members having risen in support of the motion,
– I have moved the adjournment of the House in order to call public attention to a matter of very great consequence to this Parliament and to the Government. For some time past, honorable members on this side of the House have been gravely concerned over the infiltration of subversive inferences into the instruments of government. When we mention the matter, Government spokesmen always choose to regard what we say as being designed merely to incommode the Government. However, on this occasion, it will be established that something has occurred which demands the urgent attention of the Government.
I should imagine that, in the state in which the world is to-day, the Government should direct its attention to three vital matters. The first is that it should endeavour to establish the most friendly relationship “with the United States of America, upon whose aid we relied so much in the desperate days of 1941, 1942 and 1943, and who in those days came to our assistance with generosity and speed. The second responsibility of the Government ought to be to present a united democratic front to those influences which are to-day endeavouring to destroy democracy. The Government’s third objective should be to prevent the entry into this country of subversive agencies, and to destroy those already here. Within the limited time at my disposal I propose to draw attention to the activities of the Office of Education, which, I understand, comes under the authority of the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction. Among the functions of that office is the distribution of literature, and of what are termed educational posters. I do not know what all the functions of the office are, but one of them is, as I have said, the preparation and distribution of posters, under the authority of the Government, to what are called group leaders. Perhaps the Minister who replies on behalf of the Government will inform us who these group leaders are, for what purpose the groups were established, and why there is a governmental agency which feeds them with information. When the Estimates were last under consideration an amount of £441,000 was voted to advance the activities of the Office of Education. That i9 more than was expended on all our overseas embassies and legations. The office has circulated a number of what are described as discussion posters. I have one of them in my hand, and I draw attention to the fact that it appears to offer a gratuitous insult to a nation whose- friendship we at all times should seek to cultivate. The document is headed, “ The Discussion Poster - The Government of the People for the People “. On the left-hand side are diagrams designed to show how democratic governments operate in this country. On the other side are diagrams, issuing from a blue block entitled “American Voter “, designed to show how democratic government operates in the United States of America. Were ‘ it left at that, it may be said that that is purely objective and presents a good poster for discussion. The very serious matter I draw attention to, however, as an example of the subversive influence which is creeping into the agencies of this country, is the drawing at the bottom of the poster, which I cannot imagine that the Government will defend. I at least hope that it will have the decency to order that it shall be withdrawn. I refer to the cartoon, which in itself is grossly objectionable. I assume that the person depicted is supposed to be an American citizen, a representative of so-called “ Big Business “. He is shown holding all the strings - jobs, concessions, and contracts - of the American voters in his hands. The President and government agencies are included. By the cartoon it is sought to establish, that behind the government of that country there is a political boss who controls the whole of the agencies of. the government in America. I cannot imagine any more abusive propaganda than this being engaged in by any government. If it were anti-Russian propaganda, there would undoubtedly be howl, about it from ‘one end of the country to the other by recognized Labour groups. But apparently a nation, the friendliness of which to us is unquestioned, and which has given generously towards the rehabilitation of the world, following the conflict through which ii has passed, is to have this kind of insult hurled at it, not by an individual, but by the Government of this country.
– At the taxpayers’ expense.
– Not only is that cartoon, standing alone, a disgraceful thing to appear on a government document, but in addition these words appear on the right-hand bottom corner of the poster -
Behind the scenes, the political bossesfinanced by big business or by machines of their creation - control party distribution of government jobs and contracts. Their “ protection “ ensures the party loyalty of main voters and candidates.
The word “ protection “ is sneer ingly printed in inverted commas. The only inference that can be drawn is that this is issued by the
Government of this country through the Office of Education. In other words, a Commonwealth agency is using the moneys of this country in a campaign against the United States of America. Clearly the American Government is charged with being corrupt, and subject r.o bribery and jobbery.
– That sort of statement is also contained in Communist literature.
– Yes. This did not happen purely by accident. The nature of the cartoon is deliberately disgraceful. The propaganda contained in it, and in the poster generally, is not merely similar, but indeed an exact parallel to what can be read in any Communist newspaper published in this country. Throughout the poster it is implied that behind the scenes in the United States of America there are political bosses, financed by big business, who control the government of that country. That is an assertion that has been made time and time again by Communist newspapers and Communist agencies. It is extraordinary that at a time when we ought to be adhering fast to those friends we have left in the world, the Government appears to be doing its best to destroy those friendships. We are engaging, through our governmental agencies, in the destruction of those friendships, and in advancing the interests of a foreign power that has no desire foi friendship with us. In this instance there can be no doubt whatever that that is so. We, on this aide of the House, have said more than once that the Government is allowing itself to be used, putting it on its lowest denominator, by Communist influence in this country. I should like the Minister personally to inform the House how the Office of Education functions, to tell us the names of the group leaders to whom these posters are distributed, and to describe their functions. Since this matter was brought to the notice of the Minister yesterday, by way of a question which was directed to him by the honorable member for New England (Mr. Abbott), I asked him who was responsible for the creation of this poster. Does the Minister not know that this is merely Communist propaganda, being put out as the official Anew of the Australian Labour party in this country ? What action doeshe propose to take in respect to it? .1 urge the Government, in the interests of the maintenance of friendly relation* between Australia and the United State.’ of America, to order the immediate withdrawal of this poster. The Government should dissociate itself completely from the circulation of the poster, and should forward an official apology to the Government of the United States of America for the perpetration of this insult upon that country. It should also ascertain who arranged for the publication of the poster, and should deal rigorously with the person or persons responsible. I contend thai this poster is an outstanding example of subversive influence in thi> country being permitted by a Minister of the Crown to further the carrying out of nefarious Communist activities. The technique of the Communists is well known. They infiltrate into a country and then proceed to turn the government instrumentalities into agencies for the destruction of democracy. That has been going on little by little for year3 in this country. On every occasion that attention has been directed to such activities, the Government has brushed the matter aside. On this occasion, however, the matter cannot so easily be turned aside. The Government must acknowledge that this poster is an official document and it should say plainly whether the views expressed are those of the Government. It will not be sufficient for the Government to say. “ This is merely the Office of Education setting out its views in an objective way for discussion “. This poster has a substantial circulation. It can only do incalculable harm to our relationships with the United States of America. This is not the only poster to which I shall draw attention, hut it may be well, at this stage, to compare words appearing in it with the words uttered by the late John Curtin in 1942, when we were seeking the aid of America. I shall draw attention to his words then, because they give a direct denial of the type of propaganda contained in this poster. The words were uttered on the occasion when, without qualms, Mr. Curtin sought the assistance of the United States of America. Having expressed his admiration and gratitude for what America had done, the late Mr. Curtin said -
We fight with what we have and what we have is our all. We fight for the same free institutions that you enjoy. We fight so that, in the words of Lincoln, “government of the people, for the people, by the people, shall not perish from the earth “.
Honorable members will observe that some of those famous words appear on r h is poster. Mr. Curtin continued -
Our legislature is elected the sam,e as is yours; and we light for it, and for the right to have it, just as you will fight to keep the Capitol at Washington the meeting-place of freely elected m,eu and women representative nf a free people.
This poster seeks to convey exactly the opposite of that, and suggests that in the United States of America there are no free people but simply minions of big business, and that in truth democracy does not exist in that country at all. 1. ask the Minister to direct that this poster be withdrawn, and, further, to convey an apology to the government of the country that has been insulted by it. [ said that I did not intend to confine myself to one document. There is another poster which is entitled “ Why did Japan go to War? “ It will be as well if honorable members of this House who suffered at the hands of the Japanese know what is the official view of the Government on the reasons why Japan went to war. The poster states them as follows : -
Rising population .pressure on small area of cultivable land. Japan’s future industrial expansion barred by rising tariffs overseas.
That statement causes the Opposition no surprise, because we know that, in the past - I do not say now - instruments of government such as the Australian Broadcasting Commission and the Department of Information were _ used as propaganda media by Communists, who are to be found in the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, the Stevedoring Industry Commission and many other agencies of government. Now we find that a newly created government department, which is spending large sums of public money, is telling group leaders of education, whoever they may be, through its posters, that the reasons why Japan went to war were rising popula tion pressure on a small area of land and other nations barring its industrial expansion. That is a pretty piece of literature to be issued by a governmental agency. In the usual Communist jargon, the poster contain? the further statement that militarists and monopolists reasoned that only conquests could ensure markets and raw material sources. This poster is another outstanding example of how subversive elements are penetrating into governmental agencies. The people of Australia want to know for what purpose they are being taxed and they will take the strongest exception to the money that is obtained from them being used to supply the means of destroying them.
The Opposition has drawn attention on other occasions to this kind of thing. On the 18th September of last year the honorable member for Bendigo (Mr. Rankin) asked a number of questions concerning a Mr. Robson, who was employed by the Australian Broadcasting Commission. The honorable gentleman alleged that Mr. Robson was a member of the Communist party. In its replies to the questions that were asked, the Government evaded the issue, as it always does, but in truth Mr. Robson was a member of the Communist party. I invite the Minister who is responsible for the Australian Broadcasting Commission in this House to listen to the foreign affairs discussions that are broadcast by the Australian Broadcasting Commission. If the one that is broadcast at half-past eight on every Monday evening is no being used as a vehicle by some of the speakers for Russian propaganda, 1 should like to know what a vehicle for Russian propaganda is.
Let me give another example of what I have in mind. A man named Norman Richmond was employed at Canberra University College. One of his duties was that of lecturing to officials of the Department of External Affairs. When the Opposition asked whether Mr. Richmond was a member of the Communist party, the usual reply was given that, in respect of such appointments, the Government does not concern itself with the political beliefs of applicants. That is the way in which i he ‘Government continually seeks to avoid facing up to the fact that Com.munists are infiltrating into government departments. It is true that normally Lie political beliefs of a man have nothing whatever to do with his appointment to tuy office, hut when attention is drawn to the fact that a man is a Communist or is engaged in Communist activities different considerations should arise. [Extention of Mme granted.] There are some members of the Labour party who have long realized that the Communists are seeking to destroy the present system of government of this country. The right honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Scullin) is one and the honorable member for Batman (Mr. Brennan) is another. The Government has shown singular inactivity in this connexion. It is not to be wondered at that there are men in government departments who are indulging in propaganda for the Communist party >r engaging in subversive activities. They .are not discouraged by the Government, and indeed on some occasions they are encouraged by it. Could any greater encouragement be given to such men than he. unfriendly reference to the United States of America that was made within The .last 24 hours by a government supDorter in another place? He suggested hat the “Manila girls”-
– Order ! The honorable member is not entitled to refer to that matter. It has already been debated in the House.
– “Which matter has been debated?
– The honorable member is referring to a matter that has already been discussed mid disposed of in a debate on a motion for the adjournment of the House. He i= not entitled to do that.
– I bow to your ruling, sir, and content myself by -ay ing-
– Order ! The honorable gentleman will deal with the question before the Chair and with nothing else.
– That is what I propose to do, with great respect to you, sir. ! content myself with saying that it is n’ot to be wondered at that in this country subversive elements are active, when even responsible Ministers give encouragement to those sections of the community thai desire “to destroy our democratic institutions.
The Government has two courses open to it. Either it can say plainly that what is taking place is taking place with its approval, or it can say that what is taking place is taking place without ite approval, and it can acknowledge thai such activities are opposed to the interests of this country. In the latter case, some action will be demanded of the Government, and the people will want to know what action the Government proposes tn take.
– The honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Spender) endeavoured to link this poster with subversive activities. He was quite entitled to refer to the poster. As soon as the matter was mentioned in this House, ] looked at the poster myself. It is not easy to withdraw a poster when it hasbeen sent out, but I assure the House that I have given instructions that no more of these posters are to be sent out.
– Will the men who drew it and issued it be given the sack?
– These posters, together with current affairs bulletins, are issued by the adult education section of the Office of Education. The official who is in charge of the issuance of publications from that office is an exserviceman and an ex-officer. He was al one time the deputy to Colonel Madgwick, the head of the Army Education Branch during the war.
– Was Colonel Madgwick the man who undermined the morale of the men in New Guinea?
– The honorable member for the Northern Territory (Mr. Blain) is attacking a gentleman and an organization that did excellent work during the war. The honorable member for Wakefield (Mr. McBride) has no -right to suggest that just because an officer nits made a slight error of judgment, he -should be sacked.
Opposition members interjecting.
– Order ! There must be no further interruptions -luring the Minister’s speech. I ask honorable members to remain silent.
– The Office of Education is doing very important work in the field of adult education generally. It issues periodically the Current Affairs Bulletin which has been warmly commended by every section of the community. These bulletins are on sale in many places and the demand for them is so great that I understand that r.hey are produced and distributed without cost to the Government. Large numbers of copies have been ordered by not only the ex-servicemen’s organizations, but also a wide variety of organizations, including church organizations. A commercial organization, the Shell Company of Australia Limited, has ordered a large number for distribution to its branches in Australia and overseas. The officer responsible for the issuance of these posters is also in charge of the Current Affairs Bulletin. Simply because he may have made a slight error of judgement in the text of one poster he should not be condemned outright. The honorable member for Warringah has drawn attention to No. 19 of the series of posters. It was recognized by the Office of Education that copies of its bulletins were not reaching all of the types of people in whom it desired to stimulate an interest in the problems that concern Australia, and these posters were issued as an experiment in an attempt to widen the circle of interested people. With the exception of the poster about which complaints have been made, all the posters issued have been excellent. As a matter of fact there is not very much wrong with the poster which the honorable member for Warringah has criticized. The purpose of these posters is to place objectively before the people certain problems affecting Australia upon the solution of which the future welfare of this country will, to a great degree, depend. I have approved of their issue generally just as I have approved of the issuance of the Current Affairs Bulletin.
No Minister can watch every detail oi what is happening in his department. I certainly did not see the poster complained about before it was issued. Had I done so I should have suggested thai the bottom part of it be deleted. The rest of the poster is excellent-
– I myself said so.
– That proves tuy point that in general the section of tinOffice of Education concerned with the preparation and distribution of these posters is doing very useful work.
– Who are the group leaders ?
– The groups consist of people all over the Commonwealth who are concerned with adult education.
– Could they be called cells?
– They have nothing to do with cells. The honorable member has cells on the brain. The members of the groups combine and co-operate with one another to form discussion groups to consider problems which are of the greatest importance to the future welfare of Australia. There is nothing wrong with that. It is outrageous that a gentleman who has had such an honorable career as has the officer in charge of these bulletins and posters should be accused of being a Communist. All he is trying to do is to so organize the preparation and issuance of the Current Affair? Bulletin and of posters of this kind as to stimulate the interest of discussion groups throughout Australia in the very important problems that confront this nation. Two of tb> posters which I have in my possession set out objectively the important problems that face Australia. No. 1 of the series deals with problems confronting modern India, including racial and economic problems, the problem of the native States, and so on and seeks to portray difficulties that confront the Indian Government. Australia must be interested in those problems as out future is so closely dependent upon the maintenance of stable government in Asia. With the exception of the poster about which complaints have been made, no objection could be taken to any of the matters -covered by the posters or to the manner in which they have been dealt with. Honorable members opposite are not interested in hh educated democracy. They know very well that if we do not have an educated people those who support reactionary policies in relation to governments generally will continue to get the ear of the people. In that way they hope ro succeed in again being returned to ,mce as the government in this country.
Opposition members interjecting ,
-Order! The Minister must be heard without interruption.
– Honorable members opposite do not believe in education for the masses of the people. They do not believe in educating the people about the problems that confront Australia and other countries because they know that the more the people are educated about the problems that all governments have to face the more likely are the people to support the Labour Government which has done such a good job.
– What arrant nonsense.
– Order !
– When the parties represented by honorable members oppo site were in office either in the State or Commonwealth sphere they did nothing in the field of education. This Government has expended large sums of money on education generally, and I am proud if the fact that it has done so.
– So has Moscow.
– The honorable member for Barker (Mr. Archie Cameron) may go to Moscow if he likes. We believe in adult education. We believe in bringing prominently before the Australian people the problems that confront us so nhat they may assist us in their solution.
– Why not talk about the poster?
– I warn the honorable member for Henty (Mr. Gullett) and other Opposition members who have interjected that they have made their second last interruption. The next will he the last. -
– The issue of these posters and of the Current Affairs Bulletin arose out of a great de mand from people who, during thewar, had received copies of the excellent journals pu!blished by the Army Education Service. There was a great demand for the publication of a similar journal in peace-time. It was thefighting men who created the demand for those publications. No doubt, members of the Opposition would like us to clamp down on all that kind, of work. Now that we have Avon the Avar, they do not want ex-servicemen to continue to receive the information about variousproblems which they received during the Avar through the Army Education Service. This series of publications is quite all right. Perhaps the further issuance of those posters will have to be reviewed. In the first instance, it was an experiment, and I believe that it has interested a number of people in the problems of government and in other problems facing the country. Those people do not receive other publications such as the Current Affairs Bulletin, and. consequently, would not have taken an interest in those subjects.
– Has- the Australian Government expressed regret to the American Government ?
-Order! The Minister must be heard in silence.
– The honorable member for Indi (Mr. McEwen) may rest assured that I shall discuss this problem with the American Ambassador, and that we shall settle our difference without his interference. Honorable members opposite seem to desire to foment trouble between Australian Ministers and the diplomatic representatives of other countries. We can get along quite well without such interference. I am quite sure that when I discuss this problem with the American Ambassador, we shall reach an amicable conclusion, and if the honorable member for Indi will keep his “ bib “ out of it, we shall get on much better.
Since my attention was drawn to thi? poster, I have given instructions that no further copies were to be issued-
– Who drew the cartoon ‘
– I cannot tell the honorable member for Warringah. but
– It is important.
– The officer who is responsible is the officer in charge of publications in the adult education secion of the Office of Education. It really Iocs nor, matter greatly who drew the cartoon. Apart from that feature, the rest of the poster is excellent indeed.
– So was the curate’s egg, in parts.
– The mere fact that one poster should have been objectionable in a certain matter should not lead to the complete elimination of all the work that the Office of Education is doing in relation to posters. The honorable member for “Warringah nods his head. I am glad to see that he agrees with my view in that regard. I shall ensure that posters of this kind shall not be issued in future. Frankly, I regret that this incident has occurred, particularly at the present juncture. However, [ believe that, when I have drawn the attention of the officer concerned to the incident, no similar incident will occur. In my opinion, the posters are doing good work in the community and I intend to continue that work under the conditions that I ha ve described.
– The subject to which the honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Spender) has directed attention is of the greatest importance. It is ridiculous for the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction (Mr. Dedman) ro say that the issue of the poster was a. slight mistake in judgment. The honorable gentleman has tried to dismiss the matter in an airy kind of way. The poster has been issued by the Office of Education, a branch of the Department of Post-war Reconstruction. The poster is grossly offensive to the United States of America, and is definitely Communist propaganda. The Minister has refused to state the name of the cartoonist who drew the foul insult to the United States which appears at the bottom of the poster, but it is plain that the cartoonist is probably one of those people who draw Communist cartoons in Australia.
As I stated, the Minister has tried to dismiss this matter in an airy manner as a slight mistake in judgment. It reminds me of the man who plunged a dagger into his mother’s breast, and subsequently told the court that he made a slight mistake in judgment because he pressed the weapon a little too hard BO that it pierced her heart. The issue of this poster is not an isolated event, but is one link in a chain of events, in respect of which the Government has not taken any preventive action. I refer to the Communist conspiracy to destroy tb.e Australian way of life, alienate our good relation with the United States of America, and leave this country wide open, in the event of war with the Soviet, to the enemies of Australia. I shall describe various link.in the chain of events. One was the betrayal of our whole defence system when the Australian Government refused to allow American forces to retain Mann* Island.
– Order ! The honorable member must confine his remarks to the subject which the honorable member for Warringah has introduced.
– There are other links which I desire to describe in this chain. The Government has failed to take adequate security measures-
– Order : Security measures are not relevant to the subject under consideration.
– 1 was referring to an agency of the Government, but I bow to your ruling, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I was merely trying to plead Australia’s cause in this Parliament.
– Order : So that the honorable member for New England may keep on the rails, I remind him that the House is considering the Office of Education.
– I rise to order! 1 should like to know whether you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, have ruled that the debate is confined to the Office of Education. The subject which I have discussed is sufficiently wide to enable any agency of the Government to be debated.
– Order ! L do not think that the honorable member is entitled, when moving the adjournment of the House in order to discuss a definite matter of urgent public importance, to launch a debate of an omnibus character. “When the honorable member submitted his letter to me and indicated his desire to move the adjournment, I considered thai; the terms of the subject which he proposed to discuss were too wide, and, at my suggestion, he modified them. I am still doubtful whether I should have allowed a discussion of the subject in its present form, and I ask the honorable member for New England to confine his remarks strictly to the definite matter that has been stated.
– The Minister for Post-war Reconstruction pointed out that the publications of the Office of Education, which members of the Opposition regard as subversive propaganda, have a wide circulation throughout the Commonwealth. No doubt the publications are sent to many organizations such as the Eureka Youth Movement and the Russian-Australian Society, of which the Minister for Transport (Mr. Ward) was a vice-president-
– Order ! [f the honorable member does not confine his remarks to the subject which the honorable member for Warringah has raised, I shall ask him to resume his seat.
– The Minister for Post-war Reconstruction has stated that the publications of the Office of Education are sent to many important bodies in the Commonwealth, and I have pointed out that the Minister for Transport was the Vice-President of one of those bodies. Incidentally, the Australian Labour party has described the Russian- Australian Society as a Communist organization.
– Order ! The honorable member is still wide of the mark.
– According to the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction, the officer responsible for the issue of poster No. 19, to which honorable members of the Opposition object, is the gentleman who is in charge nf the issue of the Currant Affairs
Bulletin. I hope that a meticulous examination will be made of that publication for the purpose of ensuring that the Communist propaganda is not injected into the minds of the Australian people through, that agency. The Minister has claimed that the posters are an experiment. I regard it as a raw and cruel experiment to endeavour to discover how much Communist propaganda the people will stand before they revolt against it. or before members of the Opposition protest against it in the House. The Minister has stated that he will withdraw the poster. He and his department have been exposed to the people as an agency for circulating Communist propaganda. They shield the Communists in government offices, and unless the Opposition protests, they allow this foul propaganda to be disseminated with the object of causing bad relations between Australia and the United States of America, the only country in the world which can saviour democracy in the Pacific sphere-
– And save the world.
– I agree ‘ with th.honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Francis). Who are some of the members of the staff of the Office of Education? The first name that occurs to me is that of Dr. Lloyd Ross who, I understand, is a convert. For many years, Dr. Lloyd Ross was one of the leading lights of the Communist party in Australia. To-day, he is supposed to be cleansed. I am not convinced. If a piece of litmus paper were placed on his tongue, it would probably be turned a flaring red colour with the acid of communism still in his system. The Minister for Post-war Reconstruction, who is a defender of communism, said that members of the Opposition-
– I rise to order. The honorable member for New England has said that the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction is a defender of communism. That remark is insulting to me and I ask that it be withdrawn.
– I ask the honorable member for New England to withdraw the words to which objection has been taken.
– I withdraw the expression and use the. synonym. “ socialism “.
– Order ! The honorable member has withdrawn the expression, and I ask him to continue his speech.
– The Minister for Post-war Reconstruction, who is a defender of socialism, has said that members of the Opposition are not interested in educating the democracy. That is a foul aspersion. What members of the Opposition are protesting against is a form of Soviet education which is being adopted. If the Soviet wants to try to educate the people of Australia, let it bear the cost of doing so. It should not be allowed to use the resources of the Commonwealth to pay for foul propaganda through Commonwealth institutions. The honorable member for Warringah deserves the thanks of the Australian people for having directed attention to this matter in a brilliant speech. I hope that in the interests of the maintenance of good relations between Australia and the United States of America, this kind of propaganda will cease. Australia and America have a common inheritance in respect of democratic freedom. The legal institutions of both great democracies sprang from a common source in Great Britain, and the rights of the two peoples originated in Magna Carta, which King John sealed at Runnymede. Both peoples have fought to preserve their democratic rights.
-Order! The honorable member has exhausted his time.
– The honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Spender) has launched an attack on the Government in a general sense and in a particular sense. He has alleged that there is a serious penetration, with government approval and permission, of subversive influences into the instruments of government. However, the honorable member did not produce one piece of evidence to support the general charge. He has made smearing attacks on departments and people who have no opportunity to defend themselves, here and he has invited honorable members to listen to the Australian Broadcast ing Commission if they desire to hear alleged Communist propaganda night after night. The chairman of the Australian Broadcasting Commission is Mr. R. J. F. Boyer, who is very well known to honorable members on both sides of the House. He was appointed to his position on the Australian Broadcasting Commission by a government supported by honorable members opposite. The general manager of the Australian Broadcasting Commission, Mr. Charles Moses, was appointed by a commission which was set up by a government composed of members of the present Opposition. The honorable member’s attack on the Australian Broadcasting Commission is an attack on Mr. Boyer and Mr. Moses. It was a most undeserved and improper attack. Those two gentlemen are responsible for what goes over the air. If any attack is made on those who talk over the air, if there is a labelling of certain people as Communist, the attack is really directed against Mr. Boyer and Mr. Moses, upon whom the responsibility lies, and I deny on their behalf that they have encouraged the dissemination of Communist doctrine. The Postmaster-General has no authority to interfere with the administration of the Australian Broadcasting Commission, or to nominate officers or speakers to talk over the air. That is the sole responsibility of the commission and its executive officers, and the attack of the honorable member was particularly regrettable, to put it mildly. It was in very bad taste, and is entirely indefensible.
The honorable member then attacked the Department of Information, saying that it had done this and that. There is not the slightest evidence that any instrument of the Department of Information, whether it be the radio, film or the written word, has ever been used by any Communist or fellow traveller to propagate Communist doctrine. The honorable member was not able to produce any evidence to support his charges. He merely threw mud, hoping that some of it would stick. Then he came down from the general to the particular, to one poster, in fact. Regarding that poster, the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction has publicly expressed regret, and stated that he will discuss the matter with the American Ambassador in Australia. An assurance has been given that no more posters of the kind will be issued. The Minister cannot do more, and he has gone a long way towards making amends for something that was issued that was :,lost offensive and grossly insulting to the United States of America that should never have been issued at all. But once it has been established that the Minister has taken such action the case of the honorable member for “Warringah falls to the ground. “When he produced r.he poster, he claimed that subversive elements in the Commonwealth Office of Education were responsible for turning “lit posters of that kind. There was a second poster, but he relied upon one to establish his claim regarding the existence >f subversive elements. The other points raised by him are properly matters for disputation. He might have produced other posters, but he did not do so. I have one here which deals with the production in Australia of iron ore. On the other side - and I point this out for the information of honorable members opposite, who are not of the rude type as is the honorable member for New England (Mr. Abbott) - there is a poster entitled Fire over Malaya “. The caption reads, ‘ Why Britain is standing firm “. The cause of. Britain is then advanced and a rgued. The poster bears the notice -
Published by the Commonwealth Office of Education, Grace Building, York-street, -Sydney.
And underneath, there appears the following letterpress : -
A ulong the dense jungles of Malaya, there i.- terror and tension; but with firm determination the Government has undertaken to -camp out both the Communist-led uprising ind the bandit gangs hiding behind a nationalist front. Leaders of the Malayan outbreak have taken a cue from neighbouring countries - Burma, Siam, Indo-China and Indonesia - where unrest is common and local nationalism has gained victories and varying degrees of .independence. Since the war. Britain has offered the Malayans a greater voice in government, but the changes did not satisfy the local residents. Why is Britain’s policy in Malaya different from her attitude in India, and Burma, where she has withdrawn and allowed the local inhabitants to assume control?
The letterpress then sets out how these vents affect Australia. It is pointed out that Singapore is a vital link in British Commonwealth defence, that friendship with the ultimate rulers of Malaya is vital to Australian security, and that a fall in British dollar income will hit us. The poster was designed to help the British cause in Malaya. There is nothing Communist about it. Indeed, everything about it is anti-Communist. The honorable member for Warringah and other honorable members opposite must have known of the existence of this poster, but they tried to support a weak argument by referring to one particular poster only. I have here 26 numbers of the Current Affairs Bulletin, issued by the Office of Education. They discuss all kinds of subjects, including a very topical one under the title, “ United States of America chooses a President “. Other articles discuss the position in Malaya, and matters affecting Australia, as well as international affairs. Nowhere in the bulletins is there any evidence of subversive activity. If the advice of the honorable member for Warringah is to be followed, that all Communists should be removed from government positions, let bini carry this advice to State Liberal governments. There are more Communists employed in universities than anywhere else, and the .universities ar»under the control of State governments..
– Does the Minister know that to he true?
– All honorable members opposite know that it is true, hut wehear nothing from them about removing .Communist lecturers and professors from universities which are under the control’ of anti-Labour governments. If Communists are to he removed from government positions in the federal sphere, ashonorable members opposite advise, ler them make a start with their friends in the States. We do not believe in persecuting people for their ideas, but we believe in prosecuting them when they break the law. That is why we took action against a Communist in Queensland. In State spheres, many Communists hold prominent positions, but honorable members opposite do not question their right to do so.
The honorable member for Warringah referred to Mr. Curtin’s appeal to the United States of America during the war.
Those who favoured the appeal were the supporters of the Australian Labour party, whilst most of those who criticized Mr. Curtin’s action were among the supporters of honorable members opposite. Indeed, some honorable members opposite declared that Mr. Curtin should not have appealed to the United States of America, or brought Australian troops hack from the Middle East to defend Australia. Some honorable members opposite - I do not say all of them - and their friends outside Parliament, are the real enemies in Australia of the United States of America. No one who supports the Labour party, or who has a Labour outlook, has any animosity to the United States of America, but there is a tory rump in this country which hates the very name of the United States of America. The honorable member for New England belongs to it. Hypocritically, he professes friendship for the United States of America, but in actual fact he has never got beyond 1776 in the history books. He hates the United States of America, and all this pretence about defending the name of the United States is so sickening that it deceives nobody.
– The Minister’s time has expired.
That the question be now put.
The House divided.
Noes . . . . 23
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Question put -
That the House do now adjourn.
The House divided. (Mr. Acting Deputy Speaker - Mr. H. P. Lazzarini.)
Question so resolvedin the negative.
Additions, New Works, and OTHER
Services involving Capital Expenditure.
In Committee of Supply:. Consideration resumed from the 8th September i vide page 233).
That the Estimates - Additions, New Works, and Other Services involving Capital Expenditure. 1018-49 - be considered by parts.
Part I. - Departments and Services - other than Business Undertakings and Territories of the Commonwealth.
Proposed vote, £27,594,000.
.- L shall speak particularly with regard to the necessity for the provision of additional aerodromes in country districts. [ think all honorable members recognize the desirability of having aerodromes, or, at least, landing strips, conveniently located throughout this country. Several accidents and other mishaps which have occurred during the last couple of months could conceivably have been avoided if aerodromes had been available in certain areas. I hope that the Government will take steps at an early date to establish additional landing facilities for aircraft, at least in the more settled parts of Australia, particularly in the north coast and New England districts of New South Wales. I point out that at the present time little is being done to carry out improvements to existing aerodromes in those areas so that they will be capable of being used by the heavier and larger types of aeroplanes which are now operating in this country. A number of aerodromes in the Grafton, Kempsey and Taree districts of New South Wales are only suitable for .use by the smaller types of aircraft, because the landing areas have not been sealed with bitumen or some other suitable material capable of withstanding the landing pressure of, heavy aircraft in all weathers. I suggest to the Minister for Works and Housing (Mr. Lemmon) that if his department is unable at the present time to undertake the work necessary to improve aerodrome facilities, particularly those in the areas that I have mentioned, consideration should he given to the advisability of arranging for local contractors to undertake the work. I point . out that the aerodrome al Grafton is frequently swamped during wet periods. That constitutes a dangerous hazard to aircraft when landing there in inclement weather. In that town firms such as Theiss Brothers have large earth-moving and other equipment, and they could, J believe, be safely entrusted with the work of regrading or resurfacing that aerodrome. That firm is doing somewhat similar work for government departments in various parts of Australia. 1 am convinced that if that firm, or any other firm possessing the necessary equipment, were engaged to perform the work on a contract basis, the job would be completed in a matter of weeks and safer facilities would thus he provided for aircraft. In many other country districts also there are small contractors who could at least undertake portions of thinecessary work, if given an opportunity to do so.
Early this year I visited South Africa. In Southern Rhodesia, which has a white population of about 100,000 people only, numerous aerodromes and landing strips have been provided, which serve for normal landings by aircraft, and also, in certain areas, for emergency landings. As a result, considerable economy is achieved in the workings of various government departments in South Africa, the representatives of which are able to fly to various parts of Rhodesia on governmental business and thereby save many days’ travelling time each month.
Another aspect of the matter is that at the present time builders in country areas are experiencing difficulty in procuring materials. Frequently, they have to wait some weeks before being able to obtain certain materials in order to complete a building or a section of the work. I urge the Government to take advantage of that position. If certain contracts to effect improvements at aerodromes were let to local contractors, and a flexible arrangement was entered into- whereby those contractors could carry out work al the aerodromes during such waiting periods, in the course of several months quite a number of improvements could be effected at the aerodromes. I should be glad if the Minister could inform the committee what stage has been reached by his department in relation to proposals for improving aerodrome facilities. I understand that there is ample money available for the purpose.
.’ - The right honorable member for Cowper (Sir Earle Page) has, in the main, raised the matter of the general maintenance of aerodromes, and contemplated improvements to facilities at air strips in various parts of this country. It is the .policy of the Government to effect improvements and bring about a better standard in the facilities at aerodromes. As honorable members know, many difficulties exist at the present time with regard to obtaining labour to perform such work, but the Department of Works and Housing, particularly the section controlling the heavy equipment and constructional activities, is doing everything- possible in that connexion. I point out that the work at aerodromes falls within two categories, which are engineering and work connected with the construction of runways. The established policy of the department is that such work shall not be let to private contractors. In fact, I do not think that there are any private contractors in this country who could undertake to carry out all that is required in that connexion. Frequently, contractors who possess bull-dozers and rollers carry out portions of the work required under departmental supervision. Technical matters, such as soil testing, are always handled by the departmental officers, who establish whether the earth is capable of carrying the heavier types of aeroplanes. If the soil is not capable of withstanding a given pressure to the square foot, clay or sand must be packed into it to form a satisfactory runway. That must be done under strict departmental supervision. The final rolling of the runway, however, can be undertaken by a contractor possessing suitable equipment. If the job is to be done efficiently, certain work must be carried out by the Department of Works and Housing. I can assure the right honorable gentleman that we shall use the services of contractors who have equipment of the kind to which he refers whenever we can do so, if we can supply the necessary technical officers for supervisory purposes.
– Honorable members will recall that during the war the Royal Australian. Navy acquired a site in Watson’s Bay for the Reserve Fleet. That action was not resisted or objected to by the municipality or the residents of the district because the nature of the work m. which the fleet was engaged at that time justified it. The war has ended, but th, Navy apparently desires that ships of theReserve Fleet shall remain in Watson’?Bay permanently. I have spoken to theMinister for the Navy (Mr. Riordan) about this matter previously. Conferences were held. Complaints thar were made to the honorable gentleman, especially with regard to the pollution of the waterfront in Watson’s Bay, have been investigated. It has been stated’ that the Department of the Navy proposes to install a septic tank on a wharf’ that is closely adjacent to the place in which the vessels are moored. On the loth October last, the Deputy Town Clerk of Vaucluse, Mr. Tobias, wrote to me as follows : -
This council had before it at its last meetinga report from its Health Inspector, a copy ofwhich is enclosed, of the result of inspections with himself and officers of the Reserve ships.. Watson’s Bay. I have been instructed by council to request you to take the matter up with the Minister for the Navy with a view to having the proposed septic tank installed” as soon as possible on the wharf at Watson’’ Bay.
I propose to read to the committee the report of the health inspector so thai honorable members may be informed of what is happening on the waterfront of” this very desirable residential district The report reads -
In accordance with instructions a series of inspections were carried out with officers from the Royal Australian Navy ships in reserveas follows: -
With Lieutenant Haberfield at -
1 ) About 2.30 p.m. on the 17th August., the tide was about half flood with a moderatelystrong south-westerly wind. Platypus was not alongside, Murchison was moored to the pier. There was a large amount of debris on thi– beach and in pockets consisting of wood, coke, clinkers, seaweed, bottles, tins, vegetables - onions, pumpkins, orange peel, &c. A quantity of toilet paperand a small amount of excreta were on the surface of the water about halfway between Murchison and the beach.
With the same officer at -
About 11 a.m. on the18th August, the conditions were much the same as on the previous day with the exception that Murchison was not alongside and there was no excreta.
On the 14th September, at about9.45 a.m. with Lieutenant Savage, of H.M.A.S. Platypus. - On the northern end of the beach there was a moderate quantity of coke, wood, fish and vegetables, a large quantity of1 -lb. and 2-lb, loaves of bread, broken bottles and other debris.
On the 5th October, with Lieutenant Savage and Commander Pearson, of H.M.A.S. Platypus. - The tide was at the flood with a moderate south- westerly wind blowing. There was a very large amount of debris consisting of driftwood, bottles, coke, tins, vegetables - onions, pumpkins, orange peel, apples, &c, bread, broken boxes. . . .
Then other articles are referred to. The Minister will see what they are when I hand this document to him. I do not propose to refer to them now, because they reflect upon the practices of certain individuals. The report continues -
A small amount of excreta was on the surface of the water near the beach and a larger amount between Muchison and the beach.
When the vessels were moored to the wharf, the objectionable matter was in evidence, but when they were moved away from the wharf no such rubbish was seen. The report concludes -
In my opinion the naval ships cannot be blamed for the debris or all the vegetable scraps. I think, however, that they may be responsible for some scraps and the excreta.
In view of the conditions found I am of the opinion that the proposed septic tank should he installed on the pier.
The Minister agreed with that statement when I last discussed this matter with him. It is true that when a westerly or a south-westerly wind is blowing, a quantity of the rubbish that is jettisoned by incoming and outgoing vessels finds its way on to the eastern foreshore. It has never been as evident before in Watson’s Bay as it is now, when, of necessity, a lot of s tuff is thrown overboard from the vessels that are lying at anchor in the bay. The main complaint of the people of this district is one that can easily be satisfied. The report of the health inspector proves that when the vessels are tied to the wharf, objectionable matter is to be seen floating onthe surface of the water, but when the vessels are moved away from the wharf there is an absence of the rubbish. I ask the Minister to take steps to ensure that, in accordance with an earlier decision, a septic tank is installed. In the summer months children frequent the beaches in this locality and many people bathe from them. It is, therefore, essential for the health of the community that something should be done.
– Some time ago the Acting Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Harrison) raised the question of the removal of ships of theReserve Fleet from the Vaucluse area. It was then stated that the cost of doing so would be prohibitive and that, in any event, no alternative site was available. Prior to that an investigation of the position was made by officials of the Department of the Navy, the Maritime Services Board of New South Wales, and other interested bodies. It was explained that the presence of debris and jettisoned material on the beach could not be attributed to the naval vessels that were in that area. When the honorable gentleman raised this matter previously. I informed him that it was the intention of the Department of the Navy to instal a septic tank on the jetty to which he has referred. The honorable gentleman may rest assured that I shall take the necessary action to ensure that it is installed as soon as possible.
.- The special appropriation of £450,000 that is proposed for the aluminium indus try affords honorable members a further opportunity to discuss a proposal of the Government that completely disregarded both economics and national security. It will be remembered that the bill to establish an aluminium industry was introduced over four years ago. The Government’s proposal was so discredited by the Opposition that the Attorney-General. who was the Minister in charge of the bill, gave an undertaking that before one penny was made available to the industry he would make a complete reinvestigation of the economic problems that were involved. The Australian Aluminium
Production Commission, which was established approximately four years ago, has devoted almost the whole of its energies to finding ways and means to justify the establishment of the industry in Tasmania. I shall attempt to prove that the commission washamstrung by the Government’s decision that the industry must be located in Tasmania, irrespective of whether that State is the most suitable place for the purpose. The commission has been trying for four years to justify the Government’s decision. I shall try to show why the Government insisted upon Tasmania. The reason that was given when the bill was under discussion was that there was an abundant supply of cheap hydro-electric power available in Tasmania. That was merely a figment of the. hu agination. Cheap electric power for this purpose was not available at that time, and it is not available now. The statement was made in an attempt to justify a proposal that could not be justified by reason or logic. 1.’ do not propose at this stage to refer t,o the economic aspects of the project. Having regard to the Attorney-General’s undertaking that no large capital expenditure would be incurred until the matter had again been investigated, the Parliament should discuss the proposal upon its merits before the large sum of money that is now proposed to he appropriated is expended. Honorable members have not yet had an opportunity to discuss the matter. Section 14 of the Aluminium Industry Act 1944 provides as follows : -
It is obligatory on the commission to furnish a report not later than the month of September. A report has not yet been submitted and consequently honorable members are somewhat handicapped in debating this subject. T do not blame anybody for the failure to submit the report because I understand that thereare good reasons for its late submission. I have discovered that the report will be tabled next week. I accept the reasons for the late presentation of the report but I do not accept the right of the Government to go on with this project until thereport has been made available for the perusal of honorable members.
The press has recently been full of suggestions that Tasmania’s share of thisproject may be bought out by overseasinterests. Those interests, I have ever, reason to believe, are the great world cartel the Aluminium Company of America,, commonly known as Alcoa.. and its associates. Discussions which the Prime Minister has had on this subject have lent weight to these suggestions. The Premier of Tasmania has spoken of the desire of certain interests to buy Tasmania’s share in theproject. The Premier has not said that he would not sell but he has insisted that if Tasmania’s share be sold to the cartel;, or to some other overseas concern, the industry should continue to be operated in Tasmania. Paragraph j of article 3: of the agreement which appears in the schedule of the Aluminium Industry Act reads as follows: -
The Commission shall not enter into oi be in any way concerned in or a party t<>or act in concert with any commercial trust or combine but shall always be and remain an independent Australian undertaking.
That clearly indicates why these discussions are premature. I want an undertaking from the Government that it will1 not commit itself to sell any part of thi? project until honorable members havehad an opportunity to debate the proposal. Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph j of article 3 of the agreement.. the Premier of Tasmania, who is a signatory of the agreement, and the Prime Minister himself have discussed the possibility of selling this industry. Because it is pertinent to this debate I want toprove that it is unnecessary for them to interest overseas concerns in this project. We have the wherewithal and the technical - ability and knowledge in Australia to develop this industry. If the Government does not want to go on with theproject let it vacate the field of aluminium- production and leave it to those who can and will develop it. Had it not been for the action of this Government - and I do not say that the Government did not act rightly at the time; but the effect is the same - Australia would to-day be providing most of its requirements of aluminium. It has been prevented from doing so because of the war. At least, I shall be generous enough to blame the war. I draw the attention of honorable members to some facts which [ have gleaned about this industry in Australia. To-day the honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Spender) asked a question about the projected importation of bauxite from Malaya. It might be interesting to honorable members to know that there are no large bauxite deposits of any quality in Malaya, and that good deposits are located in the Netherlands East Indies. The good quality bauxite which the Minister for the Navy spoke of as being available in Malaya comes from the Netherlands East Indies, where all the deposits are owned by Alcoa, the greatest monopoly. in the world. Only from the Netherlands East Indies is any considerable quantity of bauxite to be obtained. There may be some small deposits in Malaya but they are of very poor quality.
I propose now to refer to a booklet issued by the North-west County Council which deals with the development of the north and north-western areas of New South Wales. Recently, an important meeting of citizens was held at Inverell. [ am glad that the Vice-President of the Executive Council (Mr. Scully) is present in the chamber because the honorable gentleman was present at the meeting. The meeting was held to discuss the possibilities of the development of the north and north-western areas of New South Wales. It turned out to be a gala day for Labour parliamentarians. Every one said the nicest possible things, and left unsaid those things which might have dimmed the rosy picture which they wished to portray.
– The honorable member is waxing poetical.
– I should like the Vice-President of the . Executive Council to ^become poetical now and again. However, his major task in the Ministry does not give him much scope for poetry. The honorable member rarely says anything but, “ I move that the question be now put As an illustration of the nice things that were said at that meeting, Mr. Hogan, a member of the Australian Labour party, and, I have no doubt, a very estimable gentleman, said that it was a wonderful thing for Australia, for Inverell, and for the world, that there was a Labour government at Canberra and a Labour government in New South Wales. It would have ‘been sheer cruelty to dampen such enthusiasm by the application of a little cold logic. No interjector at that time would dare suggest, as I have suggested to this committee, that but for the Labour Government in Canberra Australia would now be providing most of its requirements of aluminium and not importing them. The major contribution to the discussion at Inverell was made ;by Councillor Mather. He submitted some pertinent data and some interesting facts. I intend to quote what he said as an illustration of how illogical and, for want of a better word, how stupid this Labour Government has been. Referring to bauxite potentialities at Inverell and the establishment of a plant there, Councillor Mather said -
An alumina plant of the proposed size would have a capacity to produce 20,000 tons of’ alumina per annum and at tins rate there is, I am informed, sufficient supplies of bauxite in this district to last for well over 100 years.
After that he became completely illogical because in this semi-dictatorship of ours one has to walk quietly. One cannot stand up and say what he likes because of a fear that he may not get something that he wants. Councillor Mather was afraid to carry his argument to its logical conclusion and suggest that the plant be established at Inverell, and defy the Government to prove that he was wrong. Instead, he continued -
To my mind it is fortunate that Australia’s largest deposits are situated inland where they are less vulnerable in ‘times of emergency; direct rail connexion to a deep sea port is all that is required.
While he applauds the fact that bauxite fields are widely dispersed over Australia he concurs in the proposal that the product of these fields be centralized at one focal point, in Tasmania, at a place where a. blind pilot could not help but find it on a dark night and be able to blow the whole lot to smithereens with one single bomb. First he proposed that a plant be established at Inverell to produce 20,000 tons of alumina per annum, which could be converted into 10,000 tons of aluminium; then he said that it was fortunate that Australia’s largest deposits of bauxite were widely distributed throughout Gippsland and inland areas of New South Wales and Tasmania, but notwithstanding those views, from a defence viewpoint he failed to see the folly of piling the whole of the alumina beside a river in Tasmania which could be used as a pathfinder by any pilot to lead him to the stock pile on the darkest night.
– Would not the alumina be equally as vulnerable if the plant were established at Inverell?
– Inverell would not be nearly as vulnerable as the site selected for the plant in Tasmania. I do not object to Tasmanian members entering this discussion in an attempt to justify the Government which they support ; but F cannot but remind them that the people in their own State did not want this industry, which they regard as a “ white elephant “. The Tasmanian Government is obliged to provide £1,500,000 as its share of this project, which will involve it in an annual expenditure of at least £60,000 for interest, but the most it can hope to get out of it will be the employment of a few people. This industry will be a mill stone around its neck.
– When the honorable member talks like that he almost makes me cry.
– The honorable member for Denison (Dr. Gaha) might look a little bit more interesting if he cried. C want to touch now on the high light of the meeting at Inverell. According to the booklet, the Vice-President of the Executive Council said -
I am, and have been for some time, 100 per cent, behind you. t do not blame the honorable gentleman for that statement. He did not have to accept responsibility for the project. The honorable gentleman went on to say that the Minister for the Navy (Mr. Riordan) would have most to say about the proposal as he would be responsible for presenting the case to Cabinet. In the most tragic statement I have ever heard, the Minister for the Navy said -
If an aluminium plant were established al Inverell and an aluminium plant in Tasmania, there would be two points which could be interfered with.
Could a more fatuous statement be made by a Minister in charge of one of our defence arms? Following the same reasoning he might well have said that if we had two battleships and not one, two would have to be sunk by the enemy instead of one. The thought of a whole flotilla would appal him ! We should have to inconvenience the enemy sufficiently to induce him to blow both of them up! If that is the sort of reasoning upon which our defence policy is based we might well pronounce the benediction now and start for home.
– This is a serious matter, and the honorable member should treat it as such.
– It is more than serious. According to the booklet the Minister also said that it is proposed to import 40,000 tons of bauxite per annum from Malaya. He meant, not from Malaya, but from the Netherlands East Indies.
– The honorable member’s statements are not quite correct.
– The information is contained in the booklet to which I have referred.. One of the reasons given for the decision to obtain bauxite from Malaya is the necessity to conserve Australia’s resources of the mineral, because they may be required in a war-time emergency. According to the statement of the Minister, 40,000 tons of Malayan bauxite, or 67,000 tons of the Inverell district bauxite, will yield 10,000 tons of aluminium. The opinion has been expressed that the resources at Inverell alone are capable of yielding 10,000 tons of aluminium annually for 100 years.
I shall now deal with another highlight. Honorable members will recollect that the bauxite at Inverell is low-grade ore.
– That is correct.
– Approximately (,000,000 tons of that low-grade ore is visible in the Inverell district.
– Nearly 20,000,000 tons is visible.
– The Vice-President of the Executive Council should not make the position worse than the Minister for the Navy has made it.
– And the Inverell ore is not low-grade ore, it is up to 39 per cent.
– The Minister for the Navy has said that 5,000,000 tons of lowgrade bauxite is visible at Inverell, hut the Vice-President of the Executive Council now claims that 20,000,000 tons of comparatively high-grade ore is visible there. The Minister for the Navy has also stated that there is 1,000,000 tons of bauxite in Gippsland. He has carefully avoided describing the grade of the ore, because he has to justify the importation of bauxite from Malaya.
– I was dealing with the bauxite at Inverell and not with the bauxite at Gippsland.
– According to the Minister’s statement approximately 5,000,000 tons of bauxite is available at inverell, another 1,000,000 tons is to be obtained in Gippsland and 1,000,000 tons in Tasmania. Incidentally, the Tasmanian bauxite is lowgrade ore. It does not come higher than “C” grade; it is not a metallic ore. The Minister proposes that 5,000,000 tons of bauxite should be transported from Inverell to supplement the 1,000,000 tons of low-grade ore in Tasmania. Obviously, the sensible plan is to transport the 1,000,000 tons of lowgrade ore in Tasmania to supplement the 5,000,000 tons of higher-grade ore at Inverell. If the statement by the VicePresident of the Executive Council is correct, the 1,000,000 tons of low-grade ore in Tasmania should certainly be transported to supplement the 20,000,000 tons of high-grade ore in New South Wales. From the word “ go “, the establishment of the aluminium industry in Tasmania was prompted by considerations of political expediency.
I desire to make some observations about the bauxite deposits in Gippsland. The fact that I represent that area will not influence my views, because the portion of my constituency in which the bauxite occurs will be included in another electorate after the redistribution of seats. The estimate of 1,000,000 tons of bauxite in Gippsland is purely hypothetical. The authorities have no definite information about the extent of the deposits. Several million tons may be available there. The proportion of this ore is 4 to 1, that is to say, 40,000 tons of bauxite will yield 10,000 tons of aluminium. The quality of the Gippsland ore is equal to that of the ore from the East Indies. The visible supply, I guarantee, it sufficient to provide 10,000 tons of aluminium per’ annum for the next 25 or 30 years. Yet the Minister is considering transporting high-grade ore to Tasmania, where a comparatively small quantity of low-grade bauxite exists. He also stated -
In the event of war, supplies from oversea* could be cut off, but they could not be cut off from Tasmania.
Did honorable members ever hear such nonsense as that assertion? An enemy could occupy Tasmania with a platoon, and, in that event, would have possession of the plant and the bauxite. The only practical plan is to establish the industry where large quantities of bauxite are available. Why does the Minister favour the location of the industry in a most vulnerable position, where supplies of low-grade bauxite are comparatively small? A business in Melbourne has produced from bauxite a finished ingot of aluminium. I had the pleasure of showing one of the ingots to the House during an earlier debate on this subject, after a Government spokesman had stated that no one in Australia had sufficient technical ability to make aluminium here. The ingot was manufactured by one of the cleverest metallurgical chemists in the world. He was cleverer by far than any member of the Australian Aluminium Production Commission. In appointing that body, the Government did. not claim that it was selecting experts in the subject of aluminium, bauxite or alumina. They may have been experts in other subjects, including engineering, but they had little or no knowledge about aluminium. When some of the commission’s investigators visited Gippsland, the bauxite deposits bad to be pointed out to them. Yet those officials had the responsibility of reporting to the commission on the practicability of establishing an aluminium industry in Australia.
Considerable importance was placed on the establishment of the aluminium industry in Tasmania, because cheap hydroelectric power would be available. I point out that the power has not yet been provided. Recently, the Premier of Tasmania, Mr. Cosgrove, spoke of borrowing £1,000,000 for the construction of hydroelectric works to provide the necessary power. The interest bill alone on the Government’s aluminium plant will be considerable. That item is one of the reasons why such instrumentalities make heavy losses. Probably, the aluminium industry will be subsidized in the same way as Trans-Australia Airlines is. The Government grants £3S0,000 a year in order to make its operations payable. As the Government proposes to manufacture j,000 tons of aluminium a year, and the plant will cost £3,000,000, the interest hil] alone will amount to £24 a ton.
I have already shown that, under the net, the Australian Aluminium Production Commission must not have any dealings with any commercial trust or cornSine, but must always remain an independent Australian undertaking. Another interesting point is that negotiations for the disposal of the plant shall not be commenced without the approval of both chambers of the Australian and the Tasmanian Parliaments. That provision was inserted in the Aluminium Industry Rill at the instigation, not of Labour members, but of members of the Opposition. However, honorable members on this side of the chamber become apprehensive when the Prime Minister and the Premier of Tasmania, who are the two major executives in this business, speak of selling the plant to an overseas organization. I do not know the nature of the information in the possession of the Government, but I atn sure that that overseas concern is associated with the monopolistic cartel. Members of the Opposition desired to avoid that position, and their anxiety in that respect prompted them to urge the Government to include the safeguard in the original act.
Great emphasis has been laid on the advantages of cheap power to the aluminium industry. Honorable members opposite may be interested to know thai the cost of power in the production of aluminium represents only 10 per cent, or 12 per cent, of the total. The cost of alumina represents approximately 50 per cent., and the cost of labour, electrodes and flux accounts for the balance. Undue emphasis has been placed on power, because that is the only excuse that the Government has for establishingthe industry in Tasmania. As member; of the Opposition declared when the original bill was under consideration, the location of the industry in Tasmania -was a political expedient on the part of the Government in order to win another seal at the then approaching election. The net result was that the honorable member for Denison (Dr. Gaha) became a member of this chamber.
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr. Burke). - Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- 1 1; one respect, it is regrettable that the honorable member for Gippsland (Mr. Bowden) was not able to complete his speech. I am gratified that he has raised the subject of aluminium, because the matter is becoming increasingly urgent in Australia. Yesterday, I asked the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley) whether there was any likelihood of the aluminium industry being removed wholly or in pari from Tasmania. The right honorable gentleman replied to the effect that, within the next few days, he would send certain information to the Premier of Tasmania, Mr. Cosgrove, about the whole position, but that whatever happened. Tasmania would not suffer industrially, but rather would gain from any decision? that were reached. I do not know what the Prime Minister meant by the last part of his reply, but many people in Tasmania fear that the island will lose the aluminium, industry. In 1944, the Aluminium Industry Bill was passed by the Commonwealth Parliament, and the Government appointed the Australian Aluminium Production Commission. Under the terms of the act, the industry may not be transferred from Tasmania without the approval of both houses of both the Commonwealth Parliament and the Parliament of Tasmania. The Hobart Mercury reported the Premier as having made the following statement in the Hou=e of Assembly last Tuesday : -
Paucity of bauxite in Tasmania might mean that only the smelting would be done in Tasmania, but the Government considered it of the utmost importance that the full aluminium industry should come to the State. . . .
Mr. Cosgrove said investigations had satislied members of the Aluminium Commission that aluminium could be manufactured in Australia on a competitive basis with world prices. Under the original scheme the Commonwealth and State Governments were to provide £1,500,000 each towards the cost-
The honorable member for Gippsland has expressed concern about the inability of Tasmania to meet that expenditure. This project was planned several years ago, and the Government of Tasmania guaranteed to provide that State’s share of the cost. The people of Tasmania are aware of the agreement, and have accepted the financial responsibility. As far as I am aware, they are prepared to carry out their responsibility in that connexion. Tasmania may be small in area, ‘but when its people set their minds to do a thing, they do it. Proof of that statement is to be found in the establishment of our great hydro-electric system, which has no equal in the Commonwealth. Therefore, the Premier of Tasmania and I are not concerned about the financial aspect. The Premier’s statement continued as follows : - and the act governing establishment of the industry provided for two representatives from each Government on the board, with two substitute members each.
There had been a move to bring private enterprise into the scheme, and he had had conversations with the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley) and the Minister for Munitions (Senator Armstrong). “‘I have not any particulars of the proposed change-over in control “, Mr. Cosgrove said, “but we are not prepared to forgo our share in the industry’ unless we can see some definite advantage to Tasmania in doing so.”
The Premier continued -
He said the original proposal was for the production of 10.000 tons of aluminium a year. He believed the new proposal was for 20,000 tons a year, and the introduction of the Australian Aluminium Company into the organization. This company represented British, Canadian and Australian interests, and would take up shares.
The public would be invited to take up shares, but the Commonwealth would retain its 50 per cent, interest.
There was a possibility that only the smelting would be done in Tasmania, because there was only about enough bauxite to last ten years at the original production rate, and supplier would have to be augmented from the main land, and possibly Malaya.
We are indebted to the honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Spender) for mentioning Malaya to-day. That country is getting a lot of publicity lately. Just what the honorable member for Gippsland knows about Malaya I cannot say, but he claims that there are no bauxite deposits there. The Premier of Tasmania stated further -
If the alumina only was to he treated iii Tasmania, it would mean the loss of the use oi about 3(i,000 tons of local coal a.nd 5,000 tone of local limestone a year. It was most important to Tasmania to have the full industry and that was the attitude the Government was adopting.
That shows that Tasmania will put up a fight to prevent foreign interests from playing a part in the industry. All the electric power, coal and limestone needed can be 1 supplied by Tasmania. The Hobart Mercury, which is not by any stretch of imagina-tion a supporter of the Australian Labour party, appreciates the fact that Tasmania was originally selected for this industry In an editorial published on the 20th October, it stated -
It has been suggested that a private com pan v with overseas interests should replace Tas mania as the Commonwealth’s partner. ThiPremier made it clear that if Tasmania vacated the field without watertight guarantee* on the industry’s future there was every chance that the most important part of the manufac turing process would be lost to the State.
The aluminium industry was first promised to Tasmania eight years ago. After a lorn? succession of delays and disappointments a site was chosen on the East Tamar, work wasbegun, a power contract was signed. But it appears that some interests still hope to pro duce the alumina on the mainland, and to foi’ off Tasmania by using her cheap power to convert the alumina into ingots.
That statement is right on the target. The honorable member for Gippsland was not logical in some of his arguments. For instance, he said that he did not want an overseas cartel to have anything to do with the aluminium industry in Australia, in conjunction with the Commonwealth or otherwise, and I support his attitude.
I.’hen he criticized the Government for having anything to do with the industry at all. He referred to Trans-Australia Airlines and suggested that the Government should have kept out of the air transport business. Now he wants it to keep out of the aluminium industry. Thus, he would have foreign cartels kept out ‘ of the industry, and he would have the Commonwealth keep out. of it also. Who, then, is to develop the industry? The honorable member did not say.
– I did not have time.
– Has he an idea that some yet non-existent Australian company should undertake the work of development ? He cannot have it both ways. The industry must he developed either by the Commonwealth, plus a foreign cartel, >r by the Commonwealth in conjunction with the Government of Tasmania, since no other agency is in sight. The honorible member also referred to bauxite deposits at Inverell, and to various defence aspects in connexion with the development of the aluminium industry. He claimed, that from the defence point of view, it was inadvisable to concentrate the industry in one place and that it should be divided into two parts, one in each of two States. However, if one part were in Tasmania and another in New South Wales, of what use would be the Tasmanian section if a bomb destroyed the New South Wales section, and vice versa? The honorable member’s argument was a stupid one to advance. In any case, if there should be another war, the situation of defence projects will not be important. They will be vulnerable anywhere, as was demonstrated during the last waa1. The honorable member also claimed that it would be a disadvantage to have to carry ‘bauxite from the mainland for treatment in Tasmania, but I cannot agree with him. The Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited has sections of its undertakings scattered in many parts of Australia. For instance, iron ore is won at Iron Knob, in South Australia, and carried by sea around the coast for treatment at Newcastle and Port Kembla. Surely, therefore, it would be practicable to transport bauxite from the mainland to. Tasmania-.
The site of the proposed treatment works is about halfway up the River Tamar, on the eastern side. As a matter of fact, it is just opposite where I live. A suitable site has been chosen, which, could be camouflaged from the airSoundings have been taken for a wharf, and the Tasmanian Government has passed a bill appropriating £2,000,00C for the construction of a new hydroelectric scheme at Trevallyn to impound the water of the South Esk River, al Cataract Gorge, in order to product 20,000 kilowatts. The current is to he carried by land-line a distance of 8 miles down the west hank of the Tamar, and then over the river, which is riot very wide, to the works. If even a part of the industry is to be taken from Tasmania it will upset all the planning which has been done. Work has already been begun at Trevallyn, where homes are being built for those who will be employed upon the undertaking. The Tasmanian Government has done its best, in spite of the shortage of labour and material, to get the project under way, and the Minister for Immigration (Mr. Calwell) is doing a great job in bringing in migrant labour. Although it might be three or four years before the industry has reached the production stage, I cannot see that quicker results could be produced by other interests.
The cartel mentioned by the honorable member for Gippsland is a worldwide organization. Recently, there came to Australia a representative of the Reynolds Company of the United States of America, a firm that has clipped the wings of the international cartel in America. During the war, it did a magnificent job for American war production departments. The Reynolds Company was prepared to co-operate with the Australian authorities in the production of aluminium in this country. Negotiations were conducted with the Minister for Munitions and the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley). Honorable members representing Tasmanian constituencies discussed the matter with Miss Old-field, who was representing the firm. She showed us films, and explained the operations of the company, and I was impressed with her story. Perhaps she is a good saleswoman, hut we were impressed. She has now left the country and, so far as I know, nothing further has been done in the matter. Altogether, she presented a very good case for her company, and I placed it before the Minister for Munitions. I should like to know what has been done about her offer, and whether, in the opinion of the Government, there was anything wrong with it. As a supporter of the Government, I now ask the Prime Minister for a statement on the matter. For my part, I should prefer that the Reynolds Company had an interest in the aluminium industry in Australia, than that the international cartel should have any hand in it.
I am not discussing this matter in a parochial spirit. The aluminium industry is a defence project, and a contract regarding it was entered into between the Commonwealth and the State of Tasmania. We have an obligation to choose the best site for the industry, irrespective of State interests, but all that has been investigated. The available bauxite deposits have been surveyed, and Tasmania was chosen as the site for the treatment works. A contract was signed, and work has begun. It would he bad faith on the part of the Commonwealth to break that contract now, either by changing the site for the treatment works, or by allowing any outside commercial interest to shove its way in.
I endorse the statement of the honorable member for Gippsland that the aluminium industry should be placed on a national basis, but I contend that Tasmania is probably just as safe a place for the industry as is New South Wales, from a defence point of view. As a matter of fact, Tasmania does not appear on some maps at all, for whatever that may be worth. When everything is considered, it must be admitted that Tasmania, is a very good locality for this industry.
I do not want any overseas cartel to bc gwen the right to develop the aluminium industry in Australia, and to take the profits out of the country. For a long time, we have had a suspicion that overseas oil interests have prevented the development of an oil industry in Australia. According to the honorable member for Gippsland, there are ample bauxite deposits in Gippsland. Indeed, he represents Gippsland as a land which, if not flowing with milk and honey, is. at any rate, filled with deposits of bauxite. There is no need to go to Malaya for bauxite, if it is present in Australia in the quantities suggested by the Vice-President of the Executive Council (Mr. Scully). Let us, therefore, develop our own industry. Let us not invoke the intervention of outside interest.to do what we are quite capable of doing ourselves.
.- These Estimates provide £5,759,000 foi various works to be undertaken by tinDepartment of Civil Aviation. It is the second largest vote on the works schedule for the year, and it should be analysed. The honorable member for Franklin (Mr. Falkinder) suggested that better navigational aids were needed for air lines operating in various parts of Australia, and I have no doubt that the matter will be referred to again. I do not propose to discuss the unfortunate accident in which an aircraft recently crashed into a mountain top. That matter is sub judice, and when the inquiry is finished we shall know all about it. I shall refer to the propsed works of the Civil Aviation Department. Speaking generally the beam system ai present in operation does not provide adequately for the safety of aircraft transversing the recognized air routes in Australia. Honorable members will notice on references to the Estimates for Capita! Works and Services, on page 421 that the amount allocated for works by the Civil Aviation Department for the year 1948-40 is £5,759,000. Some details concerning the proposed expenditure appear on page 425 of the publication. Provision should be made for an improvement in the bean system. The Minister for Air said on a previous occasion that the system is too expensive. However, the lives of Australian citizens should be protected, and the expenditure would be justified. Air travel is of a good standard in this country and every effort should be made to ensure, as far as possible, the safety of passengers travelling by aircraft under all circumstances. Development of means to ensure greater safety would inspire more confidence in air travel. This Government is providing £700,000 in ‘ the same vote as an advance to the Australian National Airlines Commission, but we were not told how that money is to be applied. We do know, of course, i.hut the commission has palatial offices, and that it has a very expensive overhead io meet. The salaries of administrative officers are high. Mr. Coles, the chairman of the commission, is paid a salary ot fc’3,500 a year, plus expenses. When money is not provided to enable the inra Nation of essential equipment in the interests of safety, something is wrong.
During war-time the pilots of aeroplanes returning to London from bombing operations over Europe found their way home with, a minimum of disaster and loss of direction. They were protected by the Laurentz and Gee systems. In Australia, however, tragedy has overtaken an aircraft travelling on a recognized route. The time has arrived when the Minister should promise to provide better navigational aids for aircraft in this country. Expenditure on the installation of such aids should not have come to an end with the close of the war. I do not know who was responsible for that. The Minister shakes his head ; I do not want to blame him for it if he was not responsible. During the war period no expense was spared in order to provide the best facilities available to protect aircraft, and I think that, within reason, that policy should be pursued in peace-time. It is generally admitted that the efficiency of our aircrews in this country is at least as high as that of operators in other parts of the world and our ground equipment should be correspondingly efficient. If the Government considered that this is expenditure for which there is no return, I point out that as charges are already being made for the use of aerodromes, it is competent for the authorities to increase those charges in order to secure additional funds. That has been done in the -United States of America, although admittedly the Australian scale of charges is very much higher than the scale in the ‘ United States of America. Such charges should, however, be fixed equitably. The vote of the Department of Civil Aviation is the second largest of the year. It i? quite capable of handling these matters successfully, and it should he encouraged to take action along the lines I have indicated.
– I shall reply first to tone or two statements that were made by the honorable member- for Gippsland (Mr. Bowden) in regard to the production of aluminium in this country. As the honorable member indicated, T went to Inverell, in New South Wales, accompanied by the Vice-President of the Executive Council (Mr. Scully) and Senator Amour, for the purpose of receiving a deputation and hearing what thu people there had to say with regard to the exploitation of the bauxite deposits in the Inverell district.
– When was the Minister there ?
– I was in Inverell about the 26th or 27th August, 194S. A booklet was published setting out what took place at that gathering. I understand that, prior to that visit, the VicePresident of the Executive Council had discussed this matter with Senator Armstrong. I secured all possible information on this subject and passed it on to the Minister for Supply and Development. The honorable member for Gippsland referred to the fact that this Government, by not establishing both the alumina and reduction plants in Tasmania, had sold out to the cartel.
– I did not say that.
– I remember the honorable gentleman saying that there was a sell-out to the cartel.
– I said that the proposal that Tasmania should get out of it was a sell-out to the cartel-
– The honorable gentleman’s reference to the cartel convinces me that his mind is still revolving around matters which took place before World War II. He referred to Alcoa, the Aluminium Company of America. That company, which was a world combine, or cartel, was subsequently prosecuted under thi: Sherman Antitru:f, Act. But. as honorable members know, since the 3rd September, 1939, there has been a war. The honorable member for Wilmot (Mr. Duthie), said that during the period of the war the Reynolds Tobacco Company established works to secure aluminium which was a vital commodity to them for :the packing of their tobacco. In addition, another plant was established in the United States of America by Mr. Kaiser, who built the Liberty ships. I remind the honorable member for Gippsland, as I mentioned before, that a prosecution was instituted in the United States of America and the cartel was broken up. To suggest that a cartel still exists shows a lamentable lack of knowledge on the part of the honorable member of what is occurring in the aluminium industry to-day. The cartel was smashed during the war years.
– It was not smashed.
– The honorable member referred to Mr. Hogan’s statement. If I heard him correctly, he quoted Mr. Hogan as saying -
We would not have had the aluminium industry at all but for the Labour Government.
J.’he honorable member for Gippsland said also that why we have not got an aluminium industry today is clue to the war. I wish the honorable member would make up his mind. He cannot have it both ways. This Labour Government did not come into office until October, 1941, when the war was well on the way. Within three months of that time we were fighting Japan. When the war ended there were enormous stock-piles of aluminium, and everybody was worried as to how the aluminium was to be disposed of. It was not long, however, before there was a world shortage because the demand for aluminium had increased. It was not possible for the company to secure plant during the war, as honorable members are well aware, and we all know that it will now be three or four years before the plant can be manufactured.
– And probably longer than that.
– That is the answer I give to the honorable gentleman who blamed this Government for the nonestablishment of the aluminium industry.
A question was asked in the House this morning with regard to the importation of bauxite from Malaya. It was said that 40,000 tons of bauxite a year will be exported from that country. It may well be asked, why should -the Government take steps to obtain bauxite from Malaya when there exists such enormous deposits of it in Australia? The Canadian company, known as Alcan, has enormous external deposits of bauxite which it exploits and takes to Canada for the production of aluminium. The American concern, Alcoa, also secures most of its bauxite outside of the United States of America, I believe from the northern or central part of southern America.
From time to time I have heard honorable members on the other .side of the chamber and their satellites outside of the Parliament advocate that what is wanted is a government with initiative. The honorable member for Wilmot was quite correct in his remarks in that connexion. With regard to the aluminium industry, what the commission suggests doing is what the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited is doing at present with regard to iron ore. That company is exploiting its iron-ore deposits at Kolan Sound during times of peace, but is keeping in reserve the deposits at Iron Knob in South Australia to work during any period of waT.
All that is happening in the aluminium industry is that the commission suggests that as the supply of rawmaterial from which alumina is produced is limited in Australia, we should conserve our internal deposits in times of peace so that they will be available to exploit during war-time when it is nol possible to work on external deposits. As .honorable members will agree, once the internal deposits have been worked out we would have no alternative but to import aluminium. The commission proposes to obtain raw materials from outside Australia in a time of peace. Then, if war breaks out and we are denied access to deposits in other countries, the Australian deposits can be utilized. It is proposed, in other words, to follow the methods that are used by big business, or, to adopt the word that was used by the honorable member for Gippsland (Mr. ‘ Bowden), the cartel, which utilizes bauxite deposits outside its own country. Recently, Alcan secured an option on an enormous bauxite deposit on an island it: the Pacific. It is one of -the richest of which we know. The bauxite that is obtained from Malaya is 50 per cent, aluminium. Prom 40,000 tons of Malayan bauxite we can produce 10,000 tons of aluminium. The bauxite at Inverell is only 38 per cent. pure. Sixty-seven thousand tons of it would be needed to .produce 10,000 tons of aluminium.
It was agreed at the outset to establish a plant that was capable of an annual production of 10,000 tons. I know of one industry that may be established in this country which will consume 3,000 tons of aluminium a year. An annual production of 10,000 tons of aluminium would be a mere drop in the ocean, but with an industry of that capacity we should have a source of supply that was capable of expansion in a time of war. The honorable member for Gippsland said that the deposits at Inverell will last for 100 years. That is so, if we use only those deposits and produce only 10,000 tons of aluminium a year from them. But who will say that we should not produce more than that quantity when we know that our present consumption is greatly in excess of it? From the defence standpoint, it, is necessary to secure as quickly as possible as much plant as can be established and utilized economically. We should not limit our annual production of aluminium to 10,000 tons for any specified period. It is difficult to secure the necessary plant, and inquiries are being made to see whether it can be obtained from overseas.
The production of aluminium at present involves two processes. First, the bauxite goes through what is known as a reduction plant, and, secondly, the resulting alumina goes through the aluminium plant. The second process requires enormous supplies of electricity. The honorable member for Gippsland referred to the proposal to establish the industry in. Tasmania as ridiculous, and pointed out that electric power is not available there. Although the transmission lines may not have been laid to the proposed site when the decision was made, the potential existed. Hydro-electric power, which is the cheapest kind of electric power, was available. The two governments de cided to establish the plant in the vicinity of Launceston, Tasmania, because hydroelectric power could be made available to it within a measurable period of itme It has been suggested that one plant should be established at Inverell and the other in Tasmania, where cheap power is available. We do not know whether new discoveries may enable the two processes to be amalgamated, .or whether an entirely new process will be introduced. I understand that the present method of production has been in use for a long time.
We do not know whether it may eventually be possible to combine the- two processes to which I have just referred. If the reduction plan were at Inverell or another place where there are deposits of bauxite, it would be necessary to transport the alumina from there to Launceston. It would have to be put into special bags, and carried in special railway trucks and ships. Although it is not impossible to transport alumina, there is no part of the world in which alumina is taken from a reduction plant to an aluminium plant some distance away. The plants are always in close proximity. If alumina is contaminated in any way, the impurity will adversely affect the aluminium that is produced from it. It is essential that the two plants should be in close proximity. By utilizing a port; we can receive bauxite from other countries, and thus conserve our own deposits so that they may be used in the event of war. The establishment of the two plants at Launceston would mean that only bauxite would need to be carried there. Bauxite can be transported in any kind of railway truck or steamship, and does not require to be handled in the same way as does alumina. Those are some of the considerations that moved this commission to recommend that both plants should be established at Launceston.
While the honorable member for Gippsland was speaking, the Vice-President of the Executive Council (Mr. Scully), referred to the fact that it is now estimated that there is approximately 20.000,000 tons of bauxite in the vicinity of Inverell. The honorable member for Gippsland said that the commission’s experts had to be shown the bauxite deposits in Gippsland. He ridiculed the commission and suggested that its field officers are not experts. If they were not, they would not have been engaged by the commission. I am not an expert geologist - I was a geological student - but I know bauxite when I see it. Either the honorable member was endeavouring to mislead the House, or he is so hostile to governmental enterprises that he wishes this industry to be handed over to a company which will enter into an agreement with the cartel, as he called it. The field officers of the commission have estimated that there are approximately 5,000,000 tons of bauxite in the Inverell area. At a place called Emmaville, which is not in the immediate vicinity of Inverell but in that general area, the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited have extensive leases. In the areas to which the leases apply there are, I understand, approximately 14,000,000 or 15,000,000 tons of bauxite of approximately the same alumina content as the deposit at Inverell. What is to happen at Inverell has been left to the Minister for Supply and Development (Senator Armstrong) to decide, and in due course he will advise the local people of his decision.
With regard to the statement by the Premier of Tasmania that was published in the press all I can say is that if there is to be any amendment of the agreement that is . contained in the Aluminium Industry Act, it must come before the Parliament, and all honorable members will have an opportunity to say what they want to say about it.
Sitting suspended from 5.55 to 8 p.m.
– I move -
That the bill be now read a second time
Existing immigration law provides for the deportation of an alien who is convicted of a crime of violence against the person or of extorting any money or thing from any resident of the Commonwealth by force or threat, or of any attempt to commit such a crime, or who is convicted of any other criminal offence for which he is sentenced to imprisonment for one year or longer. Admittedly, these power.are fairly wide and at first glance would seem sufficient to cope with aliens who are proved undesirables. Unfortunately, in practice this has not been the case. In the first place, before an alien can be deported under this provision, an order for deportation must be signed by the Minister for Immigration upon the expiration of, or during the term of imprisonment imposed on the alien. In a number of instances my department ha.received notification of the conviction after an alien has been released from gaol and it is then too late to effect his deportation. It has also been found that some aliens have been convicted on a number of occasions, clearly showing that they are undesirables, but none of the offences ha? been punished by imprisonment for one year or longer and, accordingly, SUe aliens have not been brought within the scope of the act. Lastly, and most importantly, the Commonwealth’s immigration power is limited by the Constitution.
The Immigration Act does not place any limitation on the time when action may be taken for deportation on the grounds I have previously mentioned, but the High Court has ruled that the immigration power does not authorize the Parliament to legislate with respect to persons, who, having emigrated to Australia, have made their permanent home? here and so have become members of the Australian community. Incidentally, it was the decision of the High Court in the cape of Walsh and Johanson which established that fact. The Commonwealth also has power under the Constitution to legislate in respect of aliens resident in Australia and this power is not limited in respect to time, as is the immigration power. By making use of this power the Government will be able to take effective action in regard to those aliens whose character and conduct are such that they should not be allowed to continue to reside here, but whose deportation cannot be effected at present because of the limitations upon the Commonwealth immigration powers.
Action for deportation under the bill will not depend solely on the issue of an order by the Minister. Every alien against whom such action is contemplated will be given the opportunity of having his case thoroughly investigated by a commissioner who is. or has been, a judge of a supreme court. If the commissioner reports that, as the result of his investigation, he considers that the allen is not a fit and proper person to be allowed to remain in Australia, or if the M liOn fails to appear before the commissioner, then the Minister may issue an order for deportation and the alien will be deported. Special provision has been made in the bill to enable the wife and dependent children of a. deportee to accompany him, if the wife notifies the Minister that it is her desire to do so. If the wife and children tire aliens their mimes will he included in the deportation order, but that cannot be done if the wife and children are British subjects. The Government will, however, arrange to provide passages for them. All expenses incurred in connexion with the provision of passages for a deportee, his wife and children, will be borne .by the Government. The remaining clauses of the bill call for no special comment. They are machinery clauses designed as safeguards to ensure that a. deportation order, having been issued, shall not be rendered ineffective by any action on the part of the deportee or any other person, and that a shipping company, when called upon to provide passages for a deportee, his wife and children, shall do so within, a reasonable period.
Aliens admitted as permanent residents of Australia have on the whole proved worthy and law-abiding settlers whose aim has been to improve their lot and fit themselves to take their proper place in the Australian community. Over the years they and their children have contributed in no small measure to the progress and prosperity of our country. However, there is a. percentage of undesirables in every community and no matter what precautions we may take in the selection of our migrants it is inevitable that some misfits will succeed in entering our shores. That is the experience of every country accepting immigrants. The only remedy at our hands that will enable us to deal effectively with those aliens, who, having succeeded in entering our shores, show that they are not amenable to our laws and institutions, is to strengthen our deportation provisions in such a way that action can be taken against them, irrespective of the length of their residence here, on the ground that their character and conduct is such that they should not be permitted to remain. This is the end the bill seeks to achieve.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Harrison)’ adjourned.
Audition 8, New Works, and Other Seh vices Involving Capital Expenditure.
In Committee of Supply: Consideration resumed (vide page 2010).
.- The committee has before it the Works Estimates for the current financial year. The Government proposes to expend this year on additions, new works and other capital items, a total amount of £41,347,000. The vote for this purpose last year was £29,967,000, of which only £22,468,579 was expended, leaving an unexpended balance of £7,498,421. In spite of the fact that last year the Government failed to expend the whole of the money appropriated, it proposes to expend this year approximately £18,000,000 more than was expended last year. As one who has closely watched the activities of the Department of Works and Housing, I am satisfied that, a9 the department is at present constituted, it is unable to put any drive into the works programme. The department should be overhauled. During the six or seven years of war the normal building programme of the department was stopped and the whole of its energies were directed to the war effort. Now that the war has been over for some years more drive should he apparent, in the department’s approach to the building programme. I ask the Minister for Works and Housing to reorganize his department in such a way as to enable it to overtake more rapidly the lag in building activities. Before the war the Works Estimates set out in detail the works covered by the various amounts which the Parliament was asked to appropriate. Eoi- obvious reasons that practice was abandoned during the war, but there is no reason why it should not be reverted to now. These Estimates contain no details of the works for which we are asked to provide such large sums of money. This nation is not at war, except in a technical sense with Japan and certain European powers, and there is no reason why the fullest information about the works programme should not be furnished. In the estimates for the Department of Civil Aviation provision has been made for buildings and works, £50,000; aeradio communication and navigation facilities, power generation and distribution plant, &c, £750,000; aircraft engines, vehicles and equipment, 300,000; Australian National Airlines Commission - advance, £700,000; Qantas Empire Airways Limited - provision of additional capital, including additional subscriptions to the capital of Tasman Empire Airways Limited, £900,000; making a total of £2,700,000.’ No details have been furnished other than the bare outline 1 have given. If honorable members on this side of the chamber do not question individual Ministers about the purposes to which this money is to be devoted they will continue to remain in the dark. Before the war details of all works were included in the Estimates presented to the Parliament. In the estimates of the Postmaster-General’s Department full details were given of post offices to be built and major works to be undertaken all over the Commonwealth. Why has the practice followed prior to the war not been resorted to now? Only if that be done will honorable members be able to discuss these Estimates intelligently. Undoubtedly we shall be rok! that printing difficulties are involved. T do not accept that as a satisfactory explanation, particularly at a time when we are expending considerably more than £500,000,000 of the people’s money annually. We should be told precisely how that money is to be expended. I desire to know from the Minister for Civil Aviation (Mr. Drakeford) whether these Estimates include provision for improvements at the ‘aerodrome at Bilinga, near ‘Coolangatta, in Queensland. T have pressed for this work tn be undertaken for a “considerable time.
On the 9th June last, in reply to strong personal representations on the subject, the Minister wrote to me as follows : - 1 wish to advise that the departmental prt.posals envisage the development of this aero drome to .the standard required for 20-3<* passenger aircraft, such as the D.C.3. It is hoped to proceed with the initial work during the financial year 1048-49.
Provision should be made in the Estimates now before us for that work, yet the Estimates contain no detail which would indicate whether or not that is so The letter continued -
This will include levelling and grading three landing strips. 5.200 ft., 4,200 ft., and 3,(i0< ft. in length respectively, the construction of a. gravelled apron area and the gravelling n* access roads and parking areas.
Has the Minister for Civil Aviation made the requisite provision in these Estimates for that work to be undertaken* I have been advised by people living it the vicinity of the aerodrome that he doe.not propose to commence the work thiyear because the Minister for Works anc Housing (Mr. Lemmon) is unable te- undertake it. Has he fallen down on the job? He has indicated that he if unable to provide the necessary plant, material and labour. I hope that the position is not so serious as the Minister has implied, and I protest against thilack of activity because this work if urgent. Under present conditions, aircraft flying from Sydney in the winter months are sometimes unable to land at Brisbane because of fog or wet, and in the summer months they are often prevented from landing because of heavy dust clouds, and have been obliged to return to Sydney. Therefore, the Department of Works and Housing should proceed at once to construct an emergency landing ground at Bilinga, which is not subject to fog, and, being situated on the coast, is more likely to be free from dust clouds than the Archerfield and Eagle Farm airfields. I should like the Minister to explain whether he proposes to proceed with that urgent work at Bilinga. If his department is unable to do the work, he should allow the local authorities in the area to undertake it. Many local authorities employ engineers, and possess up-to-date equipment required for the job. I believe -that the local authorities would make their plant. equipment and employees available for such urgent work. If the municipalities have not adequate machinery for the purpose, they can probably arrange, on this occasion as they have done on previous occasions, to borrow the equipment from the Department of Main Roads. Incidentally, the authority will probably be prepared to undertake an urgent work such as the construction of an emergency airfield, which might be the means of saving many lives.
The site of the Bilinga aerodrome was examined some years ago after the right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes) had been involved in an accident. He was travelling to Queensland in a passenger aircraft, which was unable to locate the Archerfield aerodrome. After the plane had circled for a considerable time, a- large number of motor cars were assembled around the racecourse near Beaudesert, and the aircraft came in to land. As it was about to touch down, it struck a fence and overturned, and the right honorable member for North Sydney broke his collarbone. Being a Minister of the Crown at that time, he became interested in the provision of emergency landing grounds, and caused ‘inquiries to be made into the construction of such a field near Brisbane. Experts made a careful examination of Greater Brisbane and surrounding areas, and the Northern Rivers district of New South Wales, and finally selected Bilinga, which is situated on the south coast of Queensland, near Coolangatta, as the most suitable site for an emergency landing ground in the vicinity of Brisbane. Some time ago, the government of the day made provision for the construction of a landing ground at Bilinga for use in an emergency by aircraft such as the D.C.3, carrying between twenty and thirty passengers. The hazards of flying, which I have already described, should prompt the Minister to treat this public work as urgent. Apparently, the plans and specifications have been prepared, because the type of work proposed was described in the letter which the Minister wrote to me on the 9th June last.
Another reason why this airfield should be constructed without delay is that it will be extensively used by aircraft from the southern States carrying holiday makers to and from the seaside resorts on the south coast of Queensland. No other seaside resorts in Australia are comparable with them. Because of the unsatisfactory railway services, for which this Government cannot be held responsible, the journey from Brisbane to the seaside takes longer than a flight from Sydney to Brisbane. Australia should endeavour to develop the tourist trade. Canada has recognized the importance of encouraging tourist traffic, which now yields to the dominion an income of £300,000,000 a year. We can improve our tourist resorts by providing aerodromes adjacent to them. I do not contend that the necessity to encourage the tourist trade is the principal reason for providing a suitable, airfield at Bilinga. As I have stated, this emergency landing ground is required for aircraft which, because of unfavorable weather conditions, are unable to land at Brisbane and, therefore, are forced to return to Sydney. I hope that the Minister will give me an assurance that the work will be undertaken without delay. If his department is unable to cope with it, he should authorize the municipalities in the area or the Department of Main Roads to do the job.
Recently, I asked the Minister for theInterior (Mr. Johnson) a question about the loss of certain absentee votes in the Moreton electorate during -the last referendum. By an extraordinary circumstance -
– It is a wonder that the honorable member is not frightened to mention the last referendum.
– The honorable member for Herbert (Mr. Edmonds) always blushes when that referendum is mentioned, because the people so overwhelmingly rejected the Government’s proposals. Certain absentee votes in the Moreton electorate apparently went astray, because they were found amongst waste paper when a ship was taking the waste paper to Sydney for conversion into pulp. Inquiries have been made to .ascertain how those ballot-papers came “to be mislaid., and I desire to make certain observations about the matter. At present, the Divisional
Returning Officer for Moreton has his head-quarters at Ipswich in a tiny, poky building which is unworthy of any Commonwealth department. A considerable time ago, I invited the Chief Electoral Officer for Queensland to visit Ipswich, and showed him the deplorable conditions under which men and women are required to work in that office, loiter, I prevailed upon the then Minister for the Interior, Senator Collings, to inspect the accommodation. Subsequently, a very minor alteration of the premises was made, which provided a little more accommodation, but I am satisfied that if some absentee votes went astray, the Government must be held responsible, because it has provided such hopeless quarters for the electoral staff. 1! urge the Minister for Works and Housing, who controls the construction of new buildings, to discuss this matter with the Minister for the Interior with a view to remedying the position. I hoped that the Estimates now under consideration would contain provision for the erection of a new building. At Ipswich, several Commonwealth departments, including the Department of Labour and National Service, are housed in an old, dilapidated structure. It is time the Government showed some interest in Commonwealth departments in Queensland, and made an effort to provide better structures than the temporary quarters in which staffs were accommodated during the war. The Divisional Returning Officer and his staff of six persons are huddled in a building which is as poky as a stall or stable. Accommodation of that kind is a reflection on the Government. A private employer is required to provide a certain floor area and cubic air space for each employee, and his offices or factory must comply with the provisions of the Shops and Factories Act. But I am certain that the accommodation provided for the Divisional Returning Officer and bis staff at Ipswich does not comply with the requirements of any act similar to the Shops and Factories Act that has been in operation since the days of Methuselah.
I urge the Minister to examine the form in which the Estimates for new works were presented to the Parliament before 1939. When he does so, he will find that - the details of each proposal were set out so that honorable members could see almost at a glance how the allocation of money had been made. 1 realize that in war-time it is imperative to maintain secrecy about certain works, but that emergency has passed, and honorable members should be given detailed information about new works in accordance with the practice in existence before the outbreak of World War II. If my suggestion is adopted, honorable members will he able to discuss the works Estimates more intelligently than they can do at the present time.
.- For nearly half an hour, the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Francis) has wandered verbally over many parts of Australia, and as usual, his contribution to the debate has not been in accordance with the facts, and, therefore, is entirely incorrect. The honorable member stated that the Department of Works and Housing should be re-organized, and that I, a* Minister, should put some ginger into ite activities. He recalled that before the outbreak of war, the estimates for new works were accompanied by a detailed statement of the proposals. I remind the honorable member that before the outbreak of war, when the honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Spender) was Treasurer, the works programme, including all defence works and services, did not exceed £3,000,000. Although there has been keen competition for labour and materials, we succeeded in doing £9,000,000 worth of work last year. In 1938-39, there was a reservoir of 300,000 unemployed, yet only £3,000,000 worth of work was done in the year. Had we had such a reservoir of labour to call upon, we would have been able to do more than £9,000,000 worth of work. I do not claim that because we expended £9,000,000 as against £3,000,000 expended by a previous government, we did three times as much work. Costs have risen in the meantime, but only by about 45 per cent. Allowing for this increase, it is clear that the present Government has succeeded in doing more than twice as much work as did the last pre-war government. In recent months, because of the activity of the Minister for Immigration (Mr.
Calwell) in bringing Bait immigrants to Australia, more labour has been available for engineering projects and for the construction of aerodromes, and it is expected that we shall be able to expend £16,000,000 on work next year. In addition to ordinary maintenance work, and the construction of government buildings, my department has been responsible for construction work on the rocket range project in Central Australia. It is engaged on construction projects as far north as Manus Island, and as far south as Tasmania. Many of the air strips laid down during the war have to be resealed, and some of them have to be extended so as to accommodate the latest types of aircraft. We have embarked upon a programme of aerodrome construction associated with the defence of north-western Australia, an area which, before the war, was quite undefended. Only the shortage of labour and certain materials is preventing us from doing even more, although the position in regard to materials is better than it was.
An amount of £2,000,000 has been provided for the improvement of aerodromes and the construction of buildings for civil aviation. I ask honorable members to compare that amount with the amount of £3,000,000 expended before the war on Army, Navy, Air Force and civil projects combined. Such a comparison shows what a complete humbug the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Francis) is.
– The Government ought to be expending £300,000,000.
– The honorable member says that we ought to be expending £300,000,000; yet only the other day he was crying to high heaven that taxation should be reduced. Apparently, in his opinion, all public works ought to be financed out of loan money, so that, instead of paying our way as we go, we would hand on the obligation to our children and our children’s children. The honorable member for Moreton also said that we should avail ourselves of the assistance of municipalities in carrying cut public works. He claimed that local bodies were looking for work, a statement which indicates clearly that he knows very little about the matter. If construc tion plant is available, we are always anxious to hire it to the municipalities, or to State governments if they want ii. For instance, the work of laying some miles of pipeline from Port Augusta to the rocket range has been let to the Public Works Department of South Australia. It is proposed to expend £11,000,000 on the reconstruction of the Mascot aerodrome, and on the construction of a seaplane base. Much of the earth-shifting work will be done by the Public Works Department of New South Wales, although the project as a. whole is the responsibility of my department. It is our policy to employ to the fullest extent possible any governmental or semigovernmental body which can assist nt. but many of the municipalities are not able to cope even with their own work. When my department, had control of the allocation of large track-type tractors, many honorable members wrote to me on behalf of municipal councils seeking the purchase of road-making plant. They said that plant belonging to the municipalities had been taken over by the Allied Works Council, with the result that roads had fallen into disrepair, and people in the outback could not get their produce to market. Now, the honorable member for Moreton gets up and waves his hands about and says that the municipalities have a lot of road-making plant lying idle which they are anxious to employ.
His last glorious effort, was to declare that my department should build some houses at Ipswich, and complete the Commonwealth offices in Brisbane. That sounds as if an election is due. Not long ago, when I introduced an amendment to the War Service Homes Act, the honorable member for Moreton said that the construction of war service homes was so urgent that my department should concentrate upon that work to the. exclusion of everything else. Then, before the cock has crowed three times, he gets up and says that we should erect Commonwealth offices in Brisbane. It is evident that the honorable member does not know what work is being done in Australia at the present time.
– I listened with interest to the speech of the Minister for Works and Housing (Mr. Lemmon). The French have a proverb which may he translated as, “ He who excuses himself, accuses himself “. The excuses of the Minister were so lengthy that one was convinced that every word of criticism uttered by the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Francis) was well deserved.
– The Minister was cut to the quick.
– Yes, he writhed in his seat, but I do not propose to say anything more about the speech of the Minister except that, after listening to him, I was convinced that the honorable member for Moreton was fully justified in criticizing the Department of Works and Sousing. Item 11, of Division 16 of the Estimates, under the heading of the Department of Civil Aviation, provides money for buildings and works, including grants, for councils towards the cost of establishing and developing country aerodromes. Last year, the amount so voted wa.s £50,000, of which only £7,S64 was expended. Those figures tell a tragic story. T propose to discuss the inland air route iri northern New South Wales, as opposed to the coastal route mentioned by ‘the right honorable member for Cowper (Sir Earle Page) this afternoon. The Great Dividing. Range runs north from Sydney to Toowoomba, in Queensland, and varies in height from 3,000 feet to as much as 5,500 feet in a few places.
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr. Burke). - I take it that the honorable member does not propose to refer to a matter that is sub judice.
– I am not going to refer to anything that is sub judice, or sub Judas, or anything else.
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN.- The honorable member will resume his seat. This is not a matter for levity. I drew the attention of the honorable member to the fact that. a. certain matter is sub judice, and 1 expressed the hope that he would not refer to it. The honorable member will take note of the warning.
– I was about to say that I do not propose to refer to any matter that is sub judice. The right honorable member for Cowper (Sir Earle Page) drew attention this afternoon to the lack of landing facilities, on the north coast of New South Wales on the. air route from Sydney to Brisbane, on what is called the coastal route. In contradistinction to routes in the southern portion of the State, where the planes cross the Great Dividing Range rapidly and fly a route west of the range, on the northern route the planes fly east of the range. I live in my electorate, and ] have often seen sea-birds driven SO miles and 100 miles inland over that range by the easterly gales. It is necessary to have alternate landing grounds available, should the aeroplanes be driven in. that way. Such landing grounds are also necessary for use by the local services ever the New England Tableland. At Cessnock and Williamtown, which are’ practically on thi same latitude, there are flying fieldswhich are capable of being used by Douglas aircraft. From there to Glen Lines there is not one aerodrome on which Douglas aeroplanes are permitted to land. The Tamworth aerodrome takes Avro Anson aeroplanes. The aerodrome at Scone was used by those. aircraft during the period of the war,, but it has not been used by them since. Representations have been made continually by the City of Armidale for assistance from this Government to enable them to extend their aerodrome, and to bring it up to first-class standards. But no assistance has. been given by this Government to help Armidale to do necessary work on it aerodrome, and consequently there is a” complete gap in the landing facilities between Tamworth and Glen Innes. Proceeding north from Glen Innes, there i> an air strip >at Tenterfield, but I do net believe that Douglas- aeroplanes can land there either. I a.?k the Minister to pay particular attention to this matter.
An extremely difficult problem arises throughout that area owing to the fact that, for some reason the reception of broadcasts from the commercial and national stations located at Sydney, and on the coast is poor, particularly at night-time, due to the mountains and the timber on them. On the other hand programmes broadcast from Victoria, South Australia, and Orange in New South Wales are received at great strength far in excess of those from the Sydney stations. 1 am glad to- see that £750,000 is proposed to be appropriated in respect of aeradio and navigational aids. I hope the Minister will say to-night whether he intends to provide something in the way of radio coverage over that particular territory, to assist to overcome the difficulty of wireless messages flowing in from distant parts much stronger than they do from Sydney.
I shall mention something- in regard to aviation maps. The country to the north of Scone in very broken Mount Woolooma to the east of Scone has an altitude of 5,400 feet. The Great Dividing Range in that locality reaches over 5,000 feet. In many instances heights are not indicated on maps. I. hope that in the Estimates for the coming year the Minister will ensure that provision is made for bringing maps up to date, by placing the azimuth levels on them, so that persons will be able to see at a glance «hat is the height of a particular peak.
In raising these matters, Mr.- Deputy Chairman, I have not referred to anything that is sub judice at present. I hope that when the Minister is replying he will inform the committee of the policy of the department in regard to the matters which I have raised.
.- I doubt whether I should be speaking, on this subject except foi” some remarks of. the honorable member, for/ Gippsland. (Mr. Bowden)* this afternoon in reference to the proposed aluminium industry in this country. I am not prejudiced in favour of my State in- a matter of such national moment as: the manufacture of aluminium. I” well remember, when the debate, ob this- subject was. taking’ place in 1944, the amount- of. cold water that was thrown on this project- by the members of the Opposition, im an.- attempt to ridicule the idea of establishing an aluminium industry in this country. Although the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies) is . absent, I shall quote a. few passages from his speech on that occasion. I do not want them to be regarded as criticism of the right honorable gentleman in his absence, but they present some very interesting in formation, and show how wide of thimark, honorable members can get when they are speaking about the development of industries in Australia, and in their attempt to defeat projects of one kind or another. The Leader of the Opposition said -
The aluminium capacity of the world, as every one knows, is “ not only great, but also growing. 1 have the advantage of looking at a table produced in Iron Age, of the 24th August, 1044, a journal of high authority. This journal reveals the significant fact that the annual capacity of the American aluminium industry is 1,180,000 tons, but at the date of publication of this issue, the stocks of alumnium in the United States of America wore so much greater than the demand that industry had agreed to a voluntary annual reduction o’f output of 33 per cent, or about 400,000 tons
At that stage the present Leader of the
Australian Country party (Mr. Fadden “> interjected -
And that while the big war demand still halo be supplied.!
The Leader of the Opposition continued-
That is so. We know that on account o: the need for aluminium for the manufacture of military aircraft the production has gone up to astronomical proportions. Scores of thousands of aircraft have been required b> the Allied nations. But what will be the position after the war?
That is the point. The Leader of the Opposition continued -
One would need to bc a raving optimist utterly detached from the realities of life not to realize that there will be a heavy falling ofl” in the demand for aluminium immediately the war ends.
Despite that extravagant statement, .1 am told now that there is a world shortage of aluminium.
-. - There is no shortage of optimists.
– I might find out something about that if I keep on looking through Hansard. That is the kind of talk that we are asked to believe.
– Who told the honorable member that there is a shortage of aluminium to-day?
– That is common knowledge. The right honorable member also said -
It is in these circumstances that we arbeing invited, without a shred of information to approve of two Australian government- launching out on the- expenditure of million. if pounds to establish another aluminium production unit, the effect of which will undoubtedly be to add to the world’s productive capacity, and, consequently, to the world’s glut.
No one will accuse my right honorable friend of being anything but a fairminded man. I am not making any attack on him. I am merely reading from his speech. He said that r.here would be a world glut, and nhat we would have to be raving optimists, utterly detached from the realities of life to expect otherwise. The Acting Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Harrison) also made some interesting criticisms. He said -
How can Australia hope for trade agreements if we enter into the production of an already surplus commodity ?
Se spoke later in the debate in the same strain, and used the following words : -
The Government, which has heavy commitments in the conduct of the war, for social services and in post-war planning, cannot afford to waste money. It has no right to waste £1,500,000 of the taxpayers’ money in a venture of this nature.
Those are the speeches that were made when the Government was introducing the legislation to establish the aluminium industry in Australia. We made it abundantly clear at the time that we were investigating the position and that we were not going to rush into this venture. We had to seek information from all parts of the world, and, in many instances, did not obtain it until comparatively recently. The honorable member for Gippsland is pushing for an industry in his own State. Before the bill was introduced, no investigation was made into bauxite resources in this country. The only thing we knew about it at the time was that there was some in New South Wales, that there were small but rich deposits in Gippsland, in the Hughes Valley and along the east coast of Tasmania. We did not fully investigate the quantity or quality of the deposits. We knew vaguely about the Inverell scheme, and the existence of high-class bauxite deposits in other parts of the world. Even the Canadian and American aluminium works obtain their bauxite from great distances across the water. I am not impressed by the argument advanced ‘by the honorable member for Gippsland that a factory on the banks of the Tamar River would be more vulnerable than one ai Inverell. Whilst I do not pretend to know a great deal about military strategy. I believe that unless factories are ‘built underground, the relative safety of sites is immaterial. I believe that the Australian Aluminium Production Commission is doing a good job. The honorable member derated Tasmania thiafternoon and we, the representatives of Tasmania, must protect the interests of that State. The honorable member said that we did not have available the hydroelectric power that is essential for the manufacture of aluminium. I can assure honorable members that the Butler’s Gorge electricity scheme will be ready to operate when it is required for the manufacture of aluminium. We have to produce direct current for this venture, not alternating current. The project is all ready to go ahead. Would it be sane for the Government to go ahead with a £1,000,000 or £2,000,000 project until it was certain where and when the plant was to be established? Of course not. That would not be good government business. Now that the site on the banks of the Tamar River has been decided upon, we can, with confidence, plan for the generation of the necessary kind of electricity by means of a hydro scheme. This matter has been _ thrashed out on many occasions in the past. There is a lot of State jealousy in regard to this matter. My friend laid emphasis upon the fact this afternoon that an overseas company, possibly a combine, was trying to secure a big interest in this venture. What does that signify? It signifies not, as was said by the Opposition at the time that we were trying to get the bill through the Parliament, that the aluminium industry was no good, but that there must be great merit in it. That is clear and unmistakable. Otherwise the overseas organization would not be interested in it. Rather than condemn the whole project, on. the basis that private industry is trying to secure an interest in it, I think that the Government should be urged to proceed with the attempt to develop the aluminium industry in this country. I believe that the private concern that has been inquiring into this matter visualizes a market for probably double the output if aluminium that was contemplated by t lie Government at the time the bill was introduced. I maintain that the Tas.manian Government has acted wisely by awaiting the recommendations of the Australian Aluminium Production Commission as to where the plant should be located and when it should begin to operate. I believe that the commission was wise to investigate where the best deposits of bauxite are in Australia and what the best methods of manufacturing aluminium are. Al thought there has been a delay of four years, at the end of that period there is not the glut of this metal that existed at the time the bill was introduced. All the indications are that the necessity for the establishment of an aluminium industry in Australia, is greater than ever before. Because it has not yet been decided from where the bauxite is to be obtained, it does not follow that bauxite cannot be mined in Australia. Hydro-electric power required for this project will be made available to the commission by the Tasmanian Government when it is ready i”> go into production.
.- I am interested in the establishment of in aluminium industry and the special appropriation of £450,000 that is proposed in respect of it. Much has been said about this industry to-day. What disturbs me greatly is the fact that the Government is inviting tenders from. Malaya for the supply of 50,000 long tons of metallurgical bauxite each year for a period of from five to ten years. The speech of the Minister for the Navy (Mr. Riordan) and the interpolations of the Vice-President of the Executive Council (Mr. Scully) force me to the conclusion that the Government is considering the possibility of not fully establishing this industry. Certain statements which have been made by the Prime Minister, who *aid he had discussed this matter in Great Britain, and by the Premier of Tasmania lend support to this fear.
It is well to remember that in 1941 the Menzies Government laid the foundations for the establishment of an aluminium industry in Australia. The purpose was to secure our supplies of aluminium in the event of war. It if important that we should have available adequate supplies of aluminium produced by an industry established in Australia, yet to-day we see the spectacle of the Government making arrangements to obtain supplies of essential raw material from overseas for a period of from five to ten. years. The Government should explain why that is being done.
We were told by the Vice-President of the Executive Council that ample supplies of bauxite are available in this country. As 1 understood the Minister for the Navy, one of the reasons for seeking bauxite from overseas is that thiquality of the ore that could be obtained from that source is rauch higher than that of Australian ore. Another reason that he advanced was that the Government wishes to conserve the bauxite resources of Australia against possible demands upon it in the future. An examination of those reasons will reveal that they are very flimsy. Before I examine them, it may be worth while to refer to the two reports that have been made by the Australian Aluminium Production Commission. The first one is dated the 9th September, 1946. In it the commission admits that the Menzies Government approved of the basic plan for the establishment of the industry, but says that many matters remained to be settled and that it was not until 1944 that the administrative arrangements were made and the negotiations with the Government of Tasmania were concluded. The problem that faced the Government and the commission was a three-fold one. It concerned, first, the availability of bauxite, the raw material; secondly, the chemical treatment of the bauxite to produce alumina; and thirdly, the electrolytic process necessary to produce the metal. Those three matters were considered by the commission. The purpose was to deal with each of them in thi? country so that ultimately we might produce the quantities of aluminium that we require.
The first report dealt with the investigation of and research into the bauxite resources of this country, the chemical and electrolytic processes, and the plant required. From the outset, therefore, it was the intention of the Government, as the Parliament understood it, that the bauxite resources of Australia should be used in the establishment of the aluminium industry, but it is quite clear now that the Government, at least for from five to ten years, does not propose to utilize those resources, at least to any marked degree, if it can avoid doing so. The question whether Australian bauxite was of sufficiently high grade to be used was considered by the commission. On page 4of its first report the following passage appears : -
The first problem facing the Commission was, therefore, the location of bauxite deposits sufficient in size and high enough in grade to
Mistily the establishment of expensive plants, which no company operating on a commerical basis would be prepared to set up without reserves adequate for the period over which the plants would be depreciated and amortized.
Having dealt with the bauxite resources of the Commonwealth, the report continued -
Summarized, the position of bauxite resources in Australia is that, of the deposits known at this date all are of grade lower than used generally by overseas producers, but those of Tasmania and Victoria are of a grade is high as or higher than those of other States, and by reason of their location are bettor suited to the requirements of economic aluminium production.
The date referred to in that paragraph is September, 1946, but I shall bring the position up to date later. The commission also considered the availability of coal supplies and cheap power. It was decided that Tasmania was the place in which production should be commenced and continued. It is important to point out that all those matters were considered. Paragraph 46 of the report states -
Factorssuch as quantity and quality of bauxite, availability of water, coal, or lime- tone supplies, use of direct or alternating currentfor power, and transport costs of raw, semi-finished or finished products, each have an important influence on the decision as to t hesites of each section.
Having regard to all those facts, the com mission decided upon Tasmania. There can be no doubt about that.
Paragraph 52 of the first report of the commission is relevant to the question of obtaining bauxite from Malaya. It reads -
The commission is aware that in the early stages ofthe war the precaution was taken of importing approximately 25,000 tons of bauxite fromBintan, NetherlandsEast Indies, as a reserve of ore for the projected industry. This ore, which is of high grade . . . was stored at Unanderra, about 3 miles from Port Kembla. Indications are, however, that domestic ore is likely to be mined and transported to treatment sites at considerably lesstahn the freight involved in transferring the Bintan ore from its present position, and at this stage the commission does not propose to make use of the imported stock.
That was the position in September. 1946. It is a little odd, therefore, to find that tenders from Malaya are being called for in October, 1948.
The next report was dated the 22nd September, 1947, approximately a year ago. The Minister for theNavy (Mr. Riordan) said that economic ore is not available in Australia and that our ore is more difficult to treat than is imported ore. In addition, he said that it is proposed to use bauxite from overseas before touching our own resources. The second report of the commissionnegatives both those propositions. This is what was said in it with reference to bauxite reserves -
To this end, the commission has pressed for ward during the year with the location of bauxite deposits in Australia, and their inten- sive examination. The result is that at this date the commission has within its control sufficient quantities of bauxite ofeconomic grade to maintain the industry for a substan tial period, but has by no means exhausted the full possibilities of Australian resources, and its investigations are continuing.
The report states that in the Ouse area of Tasmania a reserve of approximately 560,000 tons of bauxite of an economic grade has been determined, and that there are other deposits there. Paragraph 13 reads-
Summarized, the position is that the com mission now has within its control quantities of bauxite of economic grade estimatedas under -
with undetermined reserves in Queensland and extensive deposits currently under development in New South Wales. The quantities known at present are in themselves sufficient forover 30 years’ production at the full Capacity of the plant to be established.
In the light of that finding of the commission, thepeople of this country are entitled to knowwhy the Governmentis seekingto obtain supplies of bauxite from overseas for a period of up to ten years. Everything points to the possibility that it is getting out of this industry, with the establishment and success nf which I am personally very much concerned. It has been said that the plant to be established would more adequately deal with bauxite that comes from overseas. I point out that in both reports of the commission reference is made to the fact that its members have been in consultation with, 1 think, the Dorr Company of the United States of America, with a view to having a plant established in this country that would economically deal with the bauxite that we have here. We have resources of economic grades of ore already in sight or under the control of the commission sufficient to enable us r,o carry on for 30 years. In those circumstances, why is the Government not seeking to develop our resources, as it was intended it should, and why is it inviting tenders from - Malaya for 50,000 long tons of ore a year? During the course of some observations made by the Minister for the Navy, the Vice-President of the Executive Council interjected that 20,000,000 tons of good-grade bauxite was available in New South Wales. That quantity represents very considerably more than 30 year’s purchase. Indeed it represents much more than 150 years’ purchase. If that be so, what is the reason for going outside this country for supplies of bauxite? Is it because of the penetration of overseas interests into this industry? We know very >vell that, when the establishment of this industry in Australia was first envisaged, pressure was brought to bear by the big aluminium interests of the world to circumvent the proposal, and that that pressure “has continued to prevent its establishment. As a Minister during the period 194.0-41 I was aware that great pressure was being brought to bear to prevent the’ proposal for the establishment of the aluminium industry in Australia being given effect. Members of the present Government are well aware that that pressure is still being applied. We went into the whole proposal very thoroughly. We examined our resources of bauxite and found they were quite sufficient. Having done ‘that, we sought the best possible advice overseas as to the type of plant that should be established here to handle the grade of ore available in this country. Why should we seek overseas for ten years’ supply of bauxite? The plant which is being established is described in paragraph 35 of the report as being of 1 0,000 tons capacity. Even if the planned output were greater than that, the requirements of the plant could be satisfied by the tenders now being sought for 50,000 long tons of bauxite per annum. At paragraph 35 the report states-
The commission is most anxious to sec a considerable expansion of the Australian mar keL for aluminium, and concurrently an in crease in local fabrication capacity. Both items are at present less than half the output, of the 10,000-ton plant, and at the date of this report the commission is preparing for sub mission to the Government plans by which demand may be stimulated and fabrication facilities increased.
In the light of that statement it is interesting to learn that the Government proposes to secure from overseas 50,000 tons of bauxite, which is more than sufficent, to meet the requirements of a 10,000 ton plant. A small company, Sulphate? Proprietary Limited, established in Melbourne, has shown that we have in thi? country the brains and the capacity to manufacture om- own aluminium. Indeed, it could be done by private enterprise if an encouragement were given. Indeed, we have the brains and capacity to establish the production of artificial cryolite, which is the flux used in the chemical treatment of bauxite. I mention these points because I believe that thi? matter should be cleared up. We believe that the Prime Minister has discussed overseas the possible disposal of the Australian Industry. We understand also that the Premier of Tasmania has made observations to the effect that its disposal is being considered. If there is one tiling for which we in this Parliament and the people of this country generally must fight it is the establishment of the aluminium industry in Australia. We cannot face ‘the possibility of another conflict while we remain dependent upon overseas supplies of aluminium. If, in the next ten years, another conflict -should break out, and we are unprepared in thi? direction we shall find ourselves in the position we were in during 1937 to 1939. The ore which we had been able 0 get from overseas would be denied to is and we would still have to face the problem of winning and treating our comparatively low-grade ore. I have taken The time of the committee to direct attention to this matter because. I am not satisfied with anything that has been said by Government spokesmen indicating that this industry is intended to be developed by the Government. It is worth while pointing out, that although E181.000 was provided for this industry last year, only £30,000 was expended. From my meagre knowledge of this subject - I do not pretend to be an expert - 1 know that even after it was decided to establish the industry, propaganda of .all kinds was used by vested interests in an effort to devalue it. That pressure is -till being applied. I am not at all convinced by the statement of the Minister for the Navy that there is no world artel in aluminium.
-. - Canadian aluminium is being sold at ls. per lb.
– I am not at all impressed by the easy assurance of the Minister that there is no world cartel. In any case, whether there be a cartel or not, vast aluminium concerns are interested in the production of aluminium in this country. We have laid the foundations for the establishment of the industry in this country. I hope that the Government will develop the industry with determination and vigour - whether through private enterprise or otherwise I do not debate at the moment.
– The honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Spender) has devoted his attention largely to aluminium. That subject has already been dealt with by the Minister for the Navy (Mr. Riordan), and his remarks will probably be supplemented by other Ministers. During this debate something was said by honorable members opposite relative to the Department of Civil Aviation. One of the complaints made by the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Francis) was that little or no information about projected works has been included in the Estimates. The Minister for Works and Housing (Mr. Lemmon) made it clear that the works programme is very extensive and that, with the limited manpower available as the result of this Government’s policy of full employment, which means that every one in the community has a job, we can. only do a limited amount of work in the time available. Fortunately, however, as the result of the efforts of .the Minister for Immigration (Mr. Calwell), we may be able to accomplish very much more in the future that we have done in the past. We have nothing for which to apologize in that respect. The Department of Works and Housing has charge of works for the Department of Civil Aviation estimated to cost £7,176,000. I do not think that any one will say that that is not an extensive programme. Honorable members ask for the establishment of aerodromes here and there and complain that established aerodromes are not of sufficient size to meet requirements. It may be of interest to know how many aerodromes have been established in Australia. I do not suggest that all of the aerodromes have been provided in the right places. Many of them were constructed for war purposes. Fortunately, however, few of them remain unused. In Australia to-day there are 136 government aerodromes, 41 emergency landing grounds, five flying boat bases, six emergency alighting areas and 239 licensed aerodromes, making a total of 427. Having regard to the size of the population of Australia, that is a very large number indeed. I am not prepared to yield to requests made by honorable members on both sides of the chamber that aerodromes should be built here and there, or close to ohe another, simply because it suits the interests of those who support the honorable member concerned. Such a policy would indeed be foolish.
– What does the Minister mean by “ close to one another “ ?
– That is largely a matter of opinion. Some honorable members representing New South Wales constituencies have asked for the establishment of air-services in towns only 20 miles apart. Others seek the establishment of aerodromes in towns which are quite close to existing aerodromes. Obviously such requests cannot be granted. If all these requests were granted we should probably end up by having aerodromes all over the country, each of them having to be manned and provided with radio facilities. The provision cf aerodromes on such a grandiose scale cannot be justified at the present stage of aviation in this country. I am not prepared to consider favorably requests for the provision of bigger aerodromes to cater for aircraft of the larger type when the population of the surrounding districts and the air traffic to be served do not warrant the use of such aircraft. Many factors have to be considered before decisions on matters of this kind can be reached. [ trust that honorable members opposite will view this problem in a statesmanlike way and not adopt a parochial view. The honorable member for Moreton wants what he calls an emergency aerodrome established somewhere in his electorate. The name of the place he mentioned is quite unknown to me.
– It is referred to in the Minister’s letter to me on the subject.
– My letter probably indicated only that the honorable member’s request would be examined and that I would do what I could to help him. If it be found that by comparison with other works the provision of such an aerodrome is not so urgent, the honorable member will have to rest content with that. However, I do not blame him for pushing the claims of his own electors. The honorable member for Balaclava Mr. White) in a brief speech was good enough to say that he thought that the Department of Civil Aviation was attempting to provide the necessary facilities for safe flying, particularly air navigation aids.
– That is so; but the aids are somewhat out of date.
– I trust that the programme which I have announced will give some satisfaction to the honorable member for New England (Mr. Abbott) and the honorable member for Balaclava. The outstanding commitments of the department amount to £4,587,000. The amount authorized for 194S-49 is 2,588.000, making a total of £7,175,000.
The estimated expenditure for this year for works under the control of the Department of Works and Housing, principally comprising aerodrome buildings and housing for employees, is £2,000,000. If we are able to expend that amount during the current financial year we shall have made a considerable advance. 1 do not propose to give precise details. Since the honorable member for Moreton haspressed for information relative to the proposals of the department in Queensland, I can tell the honorable member that of the £7,000,000 programme an amount of £S23,000 will be expended in that State. In New South Wales, the proposed expenditure is £2,900,000. We hope to complete a very large programme of works during the current financial year. As to the amount of money to be expended on thu provision of radio aids, I repeat what I have said on many occasions in answer to questions in this chamber, that while we do not claim to be infallible, it is generally admitted by experts who have had an opportunity to compare conditions in Australia with those overseas that we are well advanced in the provision of radio and other air navigation aids. We shall continue to advance until we are on a level with the most advanced country in that respect. Whilst the Department of Works and Housing executes major works in the nature of buildings and aerodrome construction jobs for the Department of Civil Aviation, the latter executes minor works of the same nature, mostly in the more remote localities. As an example of bow a good deal of money may be saved, the outstanding commitments include £7,500 for the installation, at locations to be selected, of 50 anemometers being purchased through the Meteorological Branch. These instruments provide accurate wind data which will save very considerable expenditure on runways and landing strips. This was amply demonstrated at Cairns, where such an instrument had been installed for several years when it became necessary to reconstruct the runways and widen the landing strips there. The precise wind data, which would not otherwise have been available, enabled two landing strips to be omitted from the reconstruction programme, which resulted in a saving of approximately £157,000. Similar provision has been made in Tasmania; By installing anemometers, we can determine the direction of prevailing wind. When the prevailing wind does not .vary for 97 per cent, of the year it is not necessary to construct additional airstrips. We desire to avoid such works, because they would be complete waste. Honorable members will realize, from the explanation which I. have given, that these matters are at all times dealt with on a scientific basis.
Provision is made in the new programme for additional landing aids which meet the standards of the International Civil Aviation Organization, to which Australia is a contracting party. The limitation of the work which can be executed by the Department of Works and Housing will necessitate the Department of Civil Aviation undertaking additional minor works with its own staff. The bulk of the expenditure in connexion with this item will represent departmental salaries and wages. The Estimates provide for additions, modifications, and, where necessary, modernization of the Australian airways system. Those works are dealt with briefly under three main headings: first, communications; secondly, radio and radar navigation ; and thirdly, airport^ lighting and power supply. The main provisions which are being made for communications are the extension of the internal and international point to point communications network; the improvement of the international ground to air work by the provision of additional equipment, especially at Brisbane, Sydney, Cloncurry and Darwin; the extension of the high freqeuncy ground to air network which. I emphasize, was commenced during 1947-48; and further progress towards the completion of the international transmitting and receiving centres at Sydney and Darwin. The principal item of expenditure will be the purchase of 180 radio transmitters at a cost of £264,000. Of that amount, £50.000, it is expected, will be expended during the current financial year on the main items of material, whilst an additional £50.000 will h» expended on arrangements for installation. Provision i« also made for the purchase of installa-
Mr. Drakeford tion materials for stock; line equipment for use on telephone type lines used to control radio equipment; towers and masts to support aerial systems; and additional receiving equipment.
Regarding radio and radar navigation, provision is made to complete 30 radio range stations which are now being installed, and for the extension of the radio range system by nine ranges at an estimated cost of £230,000. Of thai amount, £31,000 will be expended in the current financial year. In the radar field, the principal provision is for the purchase and preparation for installation of distance measuring beacons for 8f locations at an estimated cost of £657,000. Only a small proportion of that amount can be expended during the current financial year. Honorable members will be interested to hear about distance measuring equipment. Some honorable members already know what that equipment is designed for, but a brief explanation may be helpful to other honorable members who are not familiar with the subject. The distance measuring beacon is a ground radar installation which, when used with the complementary air borne equipment, gives a direct reading and accurate indication to the pilot of his distance from the airport. Thus, when used with one or other of the ground aids, which enable the aircraft to indicate direction, the distance measuring beacon enables the precise determination of the actual position. The provision of distance measuring beacons will assist the air traffic control service by providing more accurate position reporting, and will enable better use of the air space by defining precisely where obstacles dc and do not occur.
The honorable member for New England (Mr. Abbott) referred to maps, a subject which has arisen in the Lutana inquiry. I assure him, and I think that those who have had experience of piloting an aircraft will agree with me, that the general height levels in the area? covered by the maps issued Upilots are tinted in different colon iv to indicate approximate heights. The “spotting” of particular heights if mentioned on the mans in most instances. The highest peak in a district is spotted, and other mountains close to it are simply, indicated by a tinted colour on the pilot’s map. Consequently, honorable members will recognize that every endeavour is being made to improve safety measures. If the system is capable of improvement in accordance with the International Civil Aviation Organization’s standards -or any other standards, I, as Minister, believe that we should adopt the improvements in every instance. The distance measuring beacons which will be installed will be manufactured in Australia, and I do not expect that it will be necessary for us to go outside the sterling area in order to obtain any components for manufacture or installation.
The programme provides for instrument landing systems at thirteen locations at an estimated cost of £455,000. Unfortunately, we shall be able to expend only a limited amount in the current financial year, but the expenditure has been planned and the work will proceed. These locations have been chosen on two criteria. The first consideration has been given to international gateways, where installations have been recommended by the International Civil Aviation Organization and where they are necessary because of the extreme desirability, if not necessity, to ensure that aircraft at the terminal stages of long trans-ocean flights may be assured of being able to land even under greatly deteriorated conditions and low-ceiling visibility. At other locations, the calculation has been made on the basis of the losses, including petrol consumption and decreased aircraft usability factors which occur when aerodromes are closed due to weather conditions involving diversion of aircraft to alternate landing grounds. Provision has also been made for airport control radar at the busier airports on the east coast.
I come now to the subject of airport lighting and power supply. The remarks of honorable members during this debate could have been actuated by their desire to make our airway system better than it is, and to provide the best possible facilities. That is the spirit in which [ accept the criticism that has been offered, but I give an assurance that a good joh has been done in Australia.
– There is no harm in doing a better job.
– I agree that we should never neglect an opportunity to improve the system. I appreciate the remarks by the honorable member for Balaclava (Mr. White), who indicated that he considered that we are doing a fairly good job in that direction.
– There is room for improvement.
– I would not contest that statement for a moment. We are trying, by every means in our power, to improve the system. I regard it as my duty, as Minister, and as the duty of the department, to adopt improvements wherever possible. I shall now give the number of aerodromes in in each State. The figures are as follows: - Queensland, 110: New South Wales, 88; Victoria, 25; South Australia, 39; Western Australia, 111; and Tasmania, 9. There are also 4:”. aerodromes in the Northern Territory, The large number of aerodromes in Queensland is easily accounted for because of the huge dimensions of that State, whilst the small number in Victoria is understandable, because of its comparatively small area. Considerable work is being undertaken in Tasmania because air traffic across Bass Strait is probably greater than air traffic between any other two States. When considered on a population basis, the air traffic between the mainland and Tasmania must be considerably greater than it is between any other two States. Tasmania is situated in a weather zone where fog and cloud conditions are more likely to occur than in the northern areas of Australia. Therefore, we must construct alternative aerodromes. Such a landing field is being built at Pardoe, near Burnie. We have already expended a considerable sum of money at Wynyard, and we shall undertake the construction of a new aerodrome at Llanherne, near Hobart. In addition, we have expended a large sum of money on the construction of a concrete runway at Launceston. That will not be the last of the expenditure by the Department of Civil Aviation in Tasmania, any more than the present, estimates will provide for the final expenditure in other States.
The honorable member for New England spoke of the need for additional facilities. I point out to him that the airport at Williamtown, which is only 100 miles from Sydney, is capable of taking any plane in operation.
– I was. referring to facililieS inland.
– There is an aerodrome at Coffs Harbour and another at Kempsey -which is not as big probably as we should like, but I have no doubt that it is included in our extensions programme. There is another aerodrome at Evans Head which used to be a Royal Australian Air Force aerodrome.
The honorable member for Moreton complained that the number of airports is insufficient, and urged the construction of an aerodrome at Belinga, south of Brisbane for emergency purposes. Let us examinine the facilities on the route. The village to which he referred may be important in his view, and it may be desirable to provide aerodromes at such places, but the Government cannot construct aerodromes in a locality just because it happens to be within the constituency of a particular honorable member. The department cannot work on that basis. The aerodrome at Narromine is capable of taking planes engaged on international services including Constellations and D.C.4’s. There is another aerodrome at Dubbo.
– What about the New longland district?
– The honorable member for New England, apparently, wants the Government to build aero- Ironies every 50 miles. Despite his capable advocacy, I am not prepared to yield to pressure of that kind. There are several aerodromes in that .particular area although, perhaps, they are a little far apart. The honorable member himself has .mentioned some of them. His complaint is that they are not big enough ro take planes of the size he desires. They are big enough to provide the kind of service most suitable to the particular locality. I assure the honorable member hat the department intends to develop all existing aerodromes where the traffic warrants extensions being made. Under that programme priority will he given to the extension of aerodromes where extensions are most urgently required. I have taken the opportunity to speak at this juncture, because I believe that I should give to honorable members full particulars with respect to navigational and safety aids in order to allay any misgivings that the department is not doing its utmost in tha’ respect. Up to date, the department has fi one an excellent job. Within the department we have experts who understand our requirements. I know from my personal experience overseas and from contacts I have made with people interested in civil aviation, who are kept abreast of what Australia is doing through the medium of civil aviation reports, that Australia has done a wonderful job in this respect. In saying that I am not egotistical. Most of our developmental work was accomplished during the war years, when aerodromes were constructed primarily in strategic localities. Admittedly, under present conditions, some of those aerodromes may not be as valuable as we should like our aerodromes to be. However, the capital cities are well catered for with aerodromes. In Western Australia there are aerodromes at Guildford and Maylands. In Tasmania, there are aerodromes at Launceston and Cambridge and there is another to be built at Llanherne which when completed will meet requirements, whilst the aerodrome at Wynyard is already very good. We are also constructing an aerodrome at Pardoe, near Burnie. At Sydney the aerodrome at Mascot is being developed, and in that metropolitan area there are aerodromes at Bankstown. Schofields and Richmond, any of which can be used should any difficulty arise at Mascot. At Brisbane, there are aerodromes at Eagle Farm and Archerfield. They are a little too .close together, but should service difficulties arise on the Sydney - Brisbane route there are two other aerodromes capable of taking D.C.3’s. In addition, there are aerodromes at Maryborough, Bundaberg and Rockhampton as well as at Lowood. 1 am not too happy about the aerodrome at Parafield, Adelaide. However, it i> useful and is taking D.C.4’s at present. A new aerodrome is under construction at West Beach. There is also an aerodrome at Garbutt,- Townsville, which is an Air force station, and another aerodrome at Darwin, as well as alternate aerodromes at places such as Batchelor.
– What about the tableland?
– The honorable member for New England has referred to the aerodromes at Glen Innes and Tamworth. I can understand the honorable gentleman’s desire that the Government should make the aerodrome at Tamworth sufficiently large to take D.C.3’s which it will not take at present. The Vice-president of the Executive Council (Mr. Scully) also advocates that prejet. No Minister is free from pressure in respect of matters of this kind, and no Minister can be insensible to the requests of honorable members on both sides of the chamber. However, it is my duty to develop civil aviation on a basis that will be both economical and safe, and to do what is best for Australia as a whole without being influenced unduly by the needs of a particular locality. If honorable members have any furthr matters to raise concerning the Department of Civil Aviation,I shall take the opportunity later to deal with such matters. I believe that I have given a useful indication of the work which the department contem plates undertaking, and the work which it has already completed or has in hand at present.
[ 9.47). - In fairness to the workers who are engaged on certain extensions to Parliament House, I should like to read a letter which has been forwarded to me by the foreman of that work. On the 24th September last, the honorable member for Deakin (Mr. Hutchinson) said in this House, that any one who wanted to see a study of still life should take a walk outside Parliament House and watch the workers engaged on the extensions being made to this building. I protested that the honorable member’s statement was unfair to those workers and said that if the honorable member went outside and made that remark in their hearing the still life would be disturbed abruptly.
– That would not prove very much.
-I have had an opportunity to inspect those operations. Every honorable member who has noticed the speed at which the extensions an being made will realize that the attack of the honorable memberfor Deakin was unfair. A letter sent to me by the foreman reads as follows : -
In an item published in the Melbourne Age on Saturday, the 25th September, under the heading “ Still life at Parliament House,” Mr. W. J. Hutchinson, Lib., Victoria, is reported to have referred to the work on Parliament House as a study in still life.As foreman of the work in question I would say that Mr. Hutchinson is obviously inexperienced in work of this nature, ignorant of facts and incapable of judging the true position. I take the statement as a direct accusation of incompetence to administer the work, which to date has made good progress. Regardless ofmy own personal feelings in the matter, however, the tradesmen themselves are by no means pleased with such unjustified criticism coming from within the House. I extend to Mr. Hutchinson an invitation to inspect the extent of the work carried out to date and if he then still feels that stilllifehas pro duced the results thus far, I undertaketo place all the tools required at his disposal and invite him to give us an action picture over a similar period and produce better results. I am sure, however, that Mr Hutchinson will find that bricks and cement require more careful handling than his mis placed words to produce useful results. It is obvious that Mr. Hutchinson has never worked on a project of this nature or he would never have made such an irresponsible statement.
Parliament House Extension.
I shall leave the matter there.
– The committee is considering Estimates of expenditure on addition new works and other services involving capital expenditure for the year 1948-49, amounting in all to £41,997,000. The projects are so various and the amount so large, that it is impossible to discuss everything in detail. An amount of £50,000 has been allocated for the construction of a permanent building for the Australian National University at Canberra. I hope to have something to say about that later, and I shall want to know what style of architecture is to be followed, and whether honorable members will have an opportunity to see the plans before they are approved. I should like a neo-Greek style of architecture to be adopted, preferably basic Doric. It would be a pleasant relief from the present trend in the direction of commercialism.
Under the heading, Department of Works and Housing, provision is made for the payment of certain moneys into a suspense trust account for the purchase of equipment and plant. I am always suspicious of trust accounts. Ha ving done some accounting in the Railways, Department I know that a trust account provides a very convenient method by which a foreman or engineer can deceive his department as to the actual cost of a specific work, by debiting certain costs to different jobs. In Division 15 of the Estimates, under the Department of Supply and Development, provision is made for the expenditure of moneys on ship construction. The Opposition, in general, has been opposed to the Government’s ship-building project, butI suggest that the Government might well engage in the construction of shallow-draft vessels for the navigation of our rivers in the north of Australia. Beyond that, I do not support Government ship-building.
The Estimates provide money for expenditure on aero-communications and navigation facilities. This is the most important section of the Estimates. On Monday next, in Melbourne, there will commence the biennial conference of the Australian Institute of Surveyors, and I have been invited to attend. I am a member of the Institute of Surveyors of New SouthWales, and also of the Queensland institute, and it has been proposed that I should attend the conference as a. delegate. However, the president of the Victorian Institute has invited me to be present as a guest. One of the subjects to be discussed is a geodetic survey of Australia. Little work of this kind hasbeen done in Australia comparable with the famous American undertaking known as the Geodetic Coast Survey. Similar surveys have been made of India and Britain. Ipropose, during the discussions which will follow the conference, to suggest that representatives of the institute should wait upon the Government with a request that a geodetic survey of Australia be undertaken. I recognize that the survey section of the Armyhas done some remarkably good work but, naturally, the Army has concentrated on surveys for strategic purposes. Usually, money for this work is voted when war is imminent. At the conclusion of the last war, I discussed this subject with senior officers at Victoria Barracks, in Sydney, who expressed the hope that the Government would maintain a staff of 500 to carry on the work in Australia, and in the islands to the north. The completion of such a work has been delayed too long, and we lag far behind other civilized countries. When the geodetic survey is completed, not only will every physical feature of the continent be exactly recorded, but so also will the altitudes of all the main mountain peaks. I am preparing members now for the recommendations which will be forwarded to them from the conference of the Australian Institute of Surveyors.
– How long would it take to conduct the survey?
– The work would be continuous in our time. Money is provided in the Estimates for the acquisition of sites and buildings, and in this connexion I desire to draw attention to the mistake which has been made in. the reconstruction of the aerodrome at Borroloola. Through the Postmaster - General (Senator Cameron), I was able to have money voted for the repair of this aerodrome, which is at an isolated spot on the Gulf of Carpentaria. Instead of expending themoney on improving the old site, the department’s official crossed a rough creek went about 3 miles farther and located the new site in a sand dump. For that purpose a special float had to be used to haul materials from Darwin, and because of the condition of the road approximately £1,000 damage was done to tyres. Later an additional sum of from £5,000 to £10,000 was expended on the construction of the aerodrome which is useless now. Had that money been expended on the extension of the aerodrome at the old site, it. could now have been used for large aircraft. I think that the Minister should obtain a report-
– When was the aerodrome built?
– Last year. Under Divisions 57, 58 and 59 of the Estimates, it is proposed to, expend £10,550,000, which includes provision for the transport of mails in central and northern Australia. I hope to have time to deal with that matter, because I desire to impress upon the Government the necessity for providing adequate truck services. I admit that the Postmaster-General’s Department is doing a good job in subsidising Connellan Airways Limited, which is at p resent carrying mail through the. north of Australia. However, the persons for whom I am speaking reside beyond the Finke River and at places as far remote as Borroloola and Arltunga,. Wave Hill, Tanami, and the mica fields. Many of the people are married and have children to rear, and they are anxious to obtain fresh fruit and other necessaries for them. Obviously, they cannot afford to purchase fresh fruit carried by the airline, on which the freight of 9d. per lb. has to be paid. Therefore, I ask the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral to take action to re-establish the track, mail service or. at least a monthly basis, as formerly, for places which lie to the east and west of the bitumen road and outlying areas of the territory.
I return now to discussion of the production of aluminium, in respect of which certain estimates of expenditure have been made which appear at page 419 of the Estimates. A great deal has been said in regard to the matter by the honorable member for Gippsland (Mr. Bowden) the honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Spender), the honorable member for Denison (Dr. Gaha) and the honorable member for Wilmot (Mr. Duthie). However, I do not propose to discuss technical details of the production of aluminium because I am not qualified to do so. My principal knowledge, of the production of aluminium is that which I retain from the study of chemistry .which I made in my schooldays. I was taught that aluminium, was the hardest of all metals to- separate from the; oxide, and I believe that’ it- is only in comparatively recent times that it has been possible to extract- the aluminium from the aluminium oxide which is known, as bauxite. An electrical, furnace is required to accomplish the extraction. An interesting example of. the use to which aluminium has been put is to be found in the operations which wencarried on at the former great Fingal mine, near Cue- in Western Australia. A sheet of aluminium waserected facing the sun at an angle of 42 degrees and “ hard “ water and anhydrous solutions containing, salts were pumped across the sheet, and because of the gases that arose from the solution when contact was made with the aluminium much of the saline content was deposited. That had the effect of softening the “ hard “ water, so that ir could be used in the boilers of mim engines. It is well known that during the war an alloy known as duralium was produced and used extensively in the production of aircraft.
I must express my very great surprise - at the action of the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley), who recently directed Australian geologists to visit Malaya for thepurpose of examining bauxite deposits in that country. After listening to the remarks of the honorable member for Warringah, and bearing, in mind the depositsof bauxite in this country, one wonderswhy he should have adopted the American policy of going outside our own country to obtain bauxite to producealuminium.. A friend of - mine who is a geologist mentioned to me casually in the street a few days ago that he had just returned from Malaya, where he had been sent to examine bauxite deposits in Johore Bahru. I said to him : “ How i?it that you did not get drilled when yon were there “ ? He said : “ I did not go out at night; it is. too dangerous “. He went on to remark that the Malays were not responsible for the’ present trouble in that country. When, he said the Chinese wereresponsible,. I dissented because they befriended. Australians during; the war,, and he then agreed that the people responsible are the gangsters with Communist affiliations . who are terrorizing
– .Order! The honorable member must return to the. discussion of the- Estimates.-
– Although the- PrimeMinister would not risk: his- life in-
Malaya at the present time, he did not hesitate to send Australian geologists to that country to risk theirs. Furthermore, he has decried the activities of Australians engaged in the mining industry in that country, and I ask, is his attitude consistent with his actions? Certainly it is not. Would the Minister for the Navy (Mr. .Riordan), who is present, care to go to Malaya and roam around at night with a geologist? Would the Minister for Civil Aviation (Mr. Drakeford) or the Prime Minister, who made insulting remarks about Australians who died in Malaya, care to do so?
-Order! The honorable member must return to discussion of the Estimates.
– I think that it is unworthy of the Prime Minister–
-Order! The honorable member must now return to discussion of the Estimates.
– I turn now to the Estimates for the development of Darwin, and I should like the Minister for the Interior (Mr. Johnson) to be present while I discuss that matter. The Government proposes to expend approximately t’200,000 during the current financial vear to execute its plan for the development of Darwin, and I invite the Minister for Work3 and Housing (Mr. Lemmon), who is under the control of the -silly planners in Collins-street, Melbourne, to take heed of my comments. I have with me a treatise on the Greater London plan prepared by the eminent authority, Professor Sir Patrick Abercrombie, who is now visiting this country and whom the Government entertained a. few days ago. Incidentally, although I am the only member of the Parliament who is trained in town planning and might have been able to converse with Sir Patrick Abercrombie in his own language, the Government did not invite me to meet him. I urge the Minister for Works and Housing to read r.he report on the 0lans for Greater London prepared by that gentleman. If he does so he will discover the extent to which his leg has been pulled by the architectural planners in Melbourne. Last week the Minister invited me to name the gentleman to whom
I am now referring, and although I declined to do so at that time, I now tell the committee that his name is Jack Walker “r” went to Darwin and made a mess of the Mcinnes plan. The chief activity of Mr. Walker during the war, apart from spending government money on various architectural projects, was to criticize the conduct of military operations in New Guinea. I believe that as a member of the Australian-Soviet Friendship Union he was also responsible for collecting funds for the erection of a building for that body in Flinders-lane, Melbourne, which is the “ Marx House “ of Melbourne. Is it any wonder that he was responsible for producing a Communist plan for Darwin?
– The cover of that book which the honorable member is exhibiting looks rather communistic.
– The publication which 1 have is the plan of the City of Manchester, and I exhort the Minister for Works and Housing to spend time in examining it. The publication discloses that the planners responible for the rebuilding of Manchester do not violate the fundamental principles of town planning. They established the civic centre in the centre, and the public buildings, such as libraries and administrative buildings, were erected on the flanks. But what are the silly people who are pulling the Minister’s leg doing ‘f They plan to establish the civic square on the Esplanade at Darwin, which iithe residential area. Will the Minister for the Interior say where the library is to be built? I suggest to him that it should flank the city square, where it would not be too remote from the people*
– Where are the plannerputting it?
– They are putting it in the civic square, but this is quite remote from the residential area, and is not centrally situated. A suitable place has not been provided for the children’s playground. The Minister for the Interior and the Minister for Works and Housing are both natives of Western Australia. As Professor Abercrombie is to go to Perth to study the layout of that city and recommend sites for the civic square and the town hall, I strongly urge those Ministers to arrange for the professor to visit Darwin and submit his recommendations on that town to the Government, Failing that, I suggest that Mr. Davidson, of Western Australia, be sent to Darwin for that purpose. We should not allow Darwin to be treated in the manner suggested in the Government’s wretched plan. The correct principles of town-planning have been violated.
Provision has been made in the Estimates for an appropriation of £3,400 for buildings, works and sites for the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, f shall refer to the establishment of a research station at Katherine River, concerning which I have sent a lengthy letter to the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction. (Mr. Dedman). I congratulate Mie Government on establishing that research station. However, I draw attention t.o the fact that we have to wait too long foi1 results of experiments conducted there to be announced. I discussed this matter on the spot a few weeks ago, prior to the Minister’s visit to Alice Springs. The officers there were rightly not allowed to give me any information. They are essentially research officers, who should present their reports to the Minister. But there should not be undue delay in publishing their findings. Great strides have been made at Katherine River with investigations concering cotton growing. It would be helpful to people in that area if the Minister could hasten the release of reports by the research offices concerning rho three main crops which are suitable for development there in the monsoonal season, when the rainfall aggregates about 40 inches. I refer to cotton, tobacco and sorghum. I went to a lot of trouble to investigate the scheme that is being sponsored in Queensland to provide food for Britain, but I shall reserve my comment on it for a later stage.
– The Australian Coun- i ry party opposes that scheme.
– I am a “ clean-skin “ in that connexion but I support the project. I shall refer now to the proposed appropriation of £50,000 for ibc construction, of a permanent building for the Australian National Uni versity. The architectural design of the proposed building is of intense interest to me, as it should be to every other honorable member. Whilst I have only a superficial knowledge of the architectural orders, I have studied the progress made in that science from Egyptian to the Byzantine times, and also the later DorkOrder, and later still the introduction of the Ionic and Corinthian Orders. I have traced the transition from the Gothic Order to the flambuoyant style, emerging, finally, into the architecture of the period of the Renaissance, and thence, as Ruskin aptly described it. into “filthy commercial architecture”. I urge the Minister not to make any decision in this matter until it has been debated fully in the Parliament. The Minister has not yet announced whether a competition will be held.
– At the request of the University Commission, the University of Melbourne was asked to prepare designs. They have since been prepared, under the direction of Professor Lewis, who is Professor of Architecture at the University of Melbourne.
– As a matter of interest, will the Minister say whether the new university is to be built in the Doric style of architecture? Probably it will not be, because I visualize this university as depicting something flambuoyant rather than basic.
Proposed appropriations for public health facilities in the outlying areas of Australia, particularly in the electorate of the Northern Territory that I represent, are mentioned on page 427 of the Estimates. The matter of the shortage of medical personnel at Darwin is disturbing to the people there, because they are entitled to be provided with amenities of life comparable with those in southern areas. Doctors who have gone there have left within a month because adequate housing has not been provided for them. Notwithstanding that I am trying to get a workers’ home scheme going at Darwin for people who are not on the public payroll, I think a doctor should have priority in the matter of housing. Whilst many of the workers there are living in shanties, I am sure that they would not object to medical officers having, priority
No. 1 in this matter. Dental services in the Northern Territory also come under the administration of the Department of Health. A dentist named Mr. Turnbull is in practice at Alice Springs and is carrying on with only one mechanic. He has urged me to try to arrange for the erection of a clinic there, and also to have an extra dentist appointed. I have approached the Minister for Health on this matter. I understand that this week or next week an extra dentist will be appointed, and facilities are to be provided for another mechanic. I was pleased to hear that the, Minister has promised that a suitable clinic will be built for the dental officers there as soon as possible.
-Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- I am indebted to the honorable member for Gippsland (Mr. Bowden) for his speech about the aluminium industry. I was not privileged to hear his opening remarks, but I “was greatly interested in his comments on the visit made by a parliamentary party to Inverell. I am not in complete agreement with the honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Spender), but I endorse his remarks in the main. The development of the aluminium industry in Australia is of the utmost importance. The most substantial known deposits of bauxite in this continent are located in the Inverell district in the electorate which I represent. I do not decry the value cif other Australian deposits, nor do I criticize the plans for the establishment of aluminium manufacturing plant in Tasmania. One of the outstanding requirements of the industry is a plentiful supply of hydro-electric power, and no other “part of Australia yet has a power system comparable with that of Tasmania. However, there are potential sources of hydro-electric power on the mainland, and ohe of the most important of these is in the Inverell district not far from the ‘bauxite deposits. I refer to the Nymboida ‘scheme on- the Upper Clarence River, -which is the greatest yet planned on the mainland. Nymboida is only a short distance by direct line from the bauxite deposits. [Furthermore, adjacent to those deposits is an almost unlimited supply of coal. Geologists told members of the parliamentary party that at Ashford there are vast coal deposits, the size of which cannot yet be reliably estimated. They could supply the needs of the aluminium industry and all other requirements of the area for hundreds of years to come. Some geologists contend that they are ‘part of a great coal seam extending from Maitland to Queensland. Many hundreds of thousands of tons of that coal could be won economically by open cut methods. Furthermore, countless millions of tons of limestone, which is essential to the manufacture of bauxite into aluminium, can be obtained in the district. All the natural ingredients of the aluminium industry are at hand. One disability is that Inverell is not connected by direct line to a port. However, a survey for a direct line to Iluka has been completed and a survey has also been made for a port there. These are matters of development which depend upon the establishment of the aluminium industry in the Inverell aTea. With the support of all municipal councils in northern .and northwestern New South Wales, Councillor Douglas Mather has been active in pressing the claims of the industry. Its’ potential ‘ importance, especially in time of war, is readily recognizable.
I agree with the honorable member for Gippsland and the honorable member for Warringah that the aluminium commission’s report is far.cial. I am entirely opposed to the proposal that we should purchase our main supplies of bauxite from Malaya. That would not be a reliable source of supply and, in the event of war, we should be cut off from it completely. I say advisedly that the suggestion that we should not use local bauxite deposits in order to conserve them for the future is stupid. Beneath the ground in the Inverell district ar<> bauxite deposits representing considerably over 5,000,000 tons of aluminium. Two days a;go I received a letter from Councillor Mather, who had recently visited the Mines ‘.Department ‘of New South Wales. He informed me of the leases held by the Broken Hill Proprietary Company. Limited. at Emmaville, about which I had not known previously. He told rae that departmental geologists had informed him that there were between 12,000,000 and 14,000,000 tons of highgrade bauxite in the area leased by th<? company. The aluminium content is estimated at 39 per cent., which is about o per cent, above the content disclosed by analysis of the Inverell deposit. Assuming an annual output of 20,000 tons of aluminium, there is sufficient bauxite in that region to keep the industry going for 300 years without even drawing upon deposits in Gippsland and elsewhere. These facts disclose the stupidity of the aluminium commission’s recommendation that we should support a foreign industry to the detriment of Australian industry. The parliamentary party which visited Inverell included New South Wales Ministers and members of the State Decentralization Committee. The visitors were unanimous about tho great potentialities of the deposits. I do not wish to be harsh in my comments about the aluminium commission, but I consider that it has failed to explore to r.he full the possibilities of developing the aluminium industry on the mainland. The industry can be developed, and it should be developed as soon as possible, ft would bc entirely wrong .to continue buying supplies from overseas and to neglect our own rich deposits of bauxite. [ could never support such a plan. The commission’s reports may be good from a technical point of view. As a layman [ cannot express any authoritative opinion upon that aspect of them. However, common sense shows that the commission’s scheme is absurd. Cts proposition that local supplies should he preserved for the future is merely ridiculous. We have deposits that we can draw upon for centuries. [ hope that the commission will reexamine its proposal. The Government of New .South Wales is prepared to assist in the construction of a railway line from Inverell to the coast and also the development of the Iluka port for the purpose of the decentralization of what should be and will be a major industry, [t would take some time to establish an alumina plant at Inverell. I have been informed by Cr.
Mather, the chairman of the organization which controls the electricity grid in northern New South Wales, that it is proposed to build an expensive generating plant in the area that will be able to supply all the electricity required by an alumina plant. Any one who is conversant with New South Wales knows that at Tamworth there is the greatest inland electrical generating plant in the Commonwealth. That is to be hooked up with Inverell within a few months. The industry could use supplies from that source in the early days of its establishment. There is plenty of water, limestone and all the basic materials that are needed. I am not pressing the claims of Inverell in opposition to those of any other part of Australia. I am merely describing the potentialities of the district. They are all that could be desired. There are deposits of bauxite in other parts of Australia, that are worthy of examination. I say advisedly that, in my opinion, the commission has not paid proper attention to them. It does not appreciate these potentialities. In its reports, the commission has made no reference to the huge bauxite deposits in respect of which leases are held by the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited, which is one of the most efficient industrial organizations in Australia., and perhaps in the world. If it is sufficiently interested to take up such leases, it must recognize the potentialities of the deposits.
Bill returned from the Senate without amendment.
The following papers were presented : -
Commonwealth Public Service Act - Appointments - Department of Civil AviationA. J. Bowler, K. G. H. Burr, C. Tj. Callaghan, J. D. Campbell, J. M. Carey, M. Cherny, 5T. D. Hagarty, J. V. Manley, D. E. McKinlay, W. R. Miles. A. R. Murray.
The following answers to questions were circulated: -
As a result of the dispute which developed on the vesselBabinda my department took all action which was within its power in an endea vour to assist in a settlement of the dispute, viz., by arranging for the appointment of a Manning Committee. When the honorable member previously raised this matter the Manning Committee had met and issued its findings and it was expected that the men would have accepted these and that the dispute would have thereby been settled. It is regretted however, that the men have not seen fit to accept the findings of the Manning Committee as they should have done and as a consequence the vessel is still held up. Efforts to settle the dispute are continuing.
Building Materials : Shortages at Townsville.
I have received a telegram from the Federa tion of Northern Chambers of Commerce. Townsville, which referred generally to the shipment of commodities to north Queensland ports. The matters raised by the Federation of Northern Chambers of Commerce in its telegram to me are at present under consideration. Mr. Lawrence, the president, made no reference to the specific commodities’ referred to by the honorable member, and I have had inquiries made as to the shipping position of these particular items. So far as steel products for Townsville are concerned the Governmentchartered vessel Inchona is at present at Newcastle loading approximately 1,000 tons, which is all the steel products available at that port for shipment to Townsville at the present time. In regard to cement and timber. I know of no stocks for Townsville awaiting shipment, but if the honorable member will furnishme with further details as to where such stocks:’ are held I shall have further inquiries made. He may rest assured that in arranging the allocation of tonnage for the various ports the requirements of Townsville are being kept in mind by the Combined Traffic Committee.
Permission was originally granted prior to the dollar crisis in July-August, 1947, for the importation of these machines for particular users, but this was withdrawn when the original licences were revoked as a result of the Government’s decision of the 26th November, 1 947, which had as its object the curtailment of dollar imports for the 1947-4S financial year. In the case of the thirteen licences referred to, requests were made early this year for reconsideration of the importation of the machines. These requests were considered individually and, in view of the element f hardship in each case brought about by the revocation of the original licence, it was decided to authorize the issue of thirteen new licences for bottle-labelling machines on the condition that importation into Australis! would not be effected before the 1st July, I94S. Tin’s condition was imposed so that dollar imports for the financial year which ended on the 30th June, could be reduced to the desired level and so that the dollar authorization involved in the thirteen licences ould be brought within the dollar budget licensing scheme for the 194§-49 financial year. Particulars of the licences are as follows : -
Seven licences covered labelling machines which were ordered from and manufactured in the United States of America to work in conjunction with other machinery which had been ordered and/or obtained by various users from United Kingdom and Australian manufacturers. The value of equipment ordered from local. and “Sterling” sources was considerably greater than the value of the labelling machines ordered from the United States of America. For example, the most expensive bottle-labelling machine was valued at £1,580 c.i.f. and e. or approximately $o,O!)0 c.i.f., whereas the associated British and Australian equipment was valued at approximately £8,000. In other cases the value was as high as £15,000.
One licence covered labelling machines to replace worn out units which were beyond reconditioning.
Four licences related to machine.which have been specially constructed and electrically equipped for particular requirements of the users for whom they were ordered. (</) One licence was for a machine which had been completed and paid for in the United States of America in December, 1947.
Air. Chifley. - On the 29th September, the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) asked whether it would be possible to grant diplomatic cadets who live in Western Australia the right to travel home by air for their Christmas holidays. The question has received the consideration of the Public Service Board, but the board is unable to grant diplomatic cadets more favorable concessions in respect of mode of travel when proceeding on recreation leave than those applicable to other officers of the Commonwealth Public Service. Diplomaticcadets may use air travel when returning to Western Australia on leave, but if this is done, the amount of reimbursement which will be made by the Commonwealth shall not exceed the amount by which return rail fare, including sleeperand seats, exceeds £10.
The Minister has informed me that Mr. BT. Frazer East, chairman of the War Blinded Welfare Committee in Queensland, has also commented on the inaccuracies of the statement alleged to have been made by’ Mr. Blackmore. Mr. East went on to eulogize the treatment and amenities provided by the Repatriation Department for blinded ex-servicemen, and the training facilities available to them. Mr. Blackmore, himself, has expressed his keen personal appreciation by letter for the work done by the welfare committee and the Repatriation Department, and I am informed that it is hardly twelve months since M’r. Blackmore returned from a refresher course at St. Dunstan’s, England. The expenses’ of this visit for himself and his wife were met by the Department of Repatriation.
Nation al Income.
What arc the individual totals of the national income from (a) unincorporated businesses ; (b) farms and (c) professions for the financial years 1938-39 to 1947-48 inclusive, shown as group totals in table a, item 5, of the Paper on National Income and Expenditure, .1947-48?
Although no specific negotiations have been conducted by Australian Trade Commissioners regarding sales of apples to the Philippines, the Australian Consul-General at Manila has the matter of the possibilities for sales of Australian fruit in this territory under active attention. Some two years ago, a trade delegation from the Philippines was in Australia and during the course of their inquiries discussed the prospects for apple shipments with the Australian Apple and Pear Marketing Board and other fruit exporting interests. At that time, the limiting factor was shipping tonnage However, recent developments in shipping services would appear to offer improved facilities for a general expansion in our exports to the Philippines, awd I understand that some shirking companies have introduced modern ventilating equipment with n view to catering for this trade. If Philippine importers are interested in the purchase of large quantities of apples from Tasmania, as recently indicated in the Tasmanian presreport, the Australian Apple and Pear Marketing Board would negotiate the orders.
Armed Forces: Militia; Medical andNursing Services.
The per capita cost of the advertising, campaign for recruits for the Citizen Military Forces cannot be determined at this stage ft is related to what would be the final re suits of the campaign. The cost must necessarily be much greater in the initial stages than at .a later date. In the meantime, the number of recruits is increasing daily, and the pei- capita cost correspondingly decrease!from day to day. The intake of recruits con tinues to be satisfactory. As I informed the honorable member for Henty on the 14tl» October, approval has been given for the sum of £40,000 to be expended on recruiting for the Citizen Military Forces, of which £30,17fi has been committed. The target figure for the Citizen Military Forces is 50.000; on the bashof the approval for an expenditure of £40,000: the per capita cost would be 16s
House adjourned at 10.35 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 21 October 1948, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1948/19481021_reps_18_199/>.