18th Parliament · 2nd Session
Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. J. J. Clark) took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.
– Is the Prime Minister aware that the Federated Ironworkers Association has decided to defy the decision of the Commonwealth Arbitration Court, which recently declared the organization’s compulsory political levy to be illegal ? “Will the Government take the necessary steps to see that the court’s authority is upheld and that, if necessary, the law is tightened to make it an offence for trade unions or associations to collect such levies and for members of a registered trade union to be required to divulge their political affiliation, as a condition of union membership? Will protection be given to unionists who refuse to pay the levy or fill in the contract out form?
– I am not aware of the attitude of the Federated Ironworkers Association on this matter. The Commonwealth Arbitration Court has power to deal with any unions which may disregard its instructions or directions. Assuming that the statement of the honorable member is correct,’ I should have thought that the court had ample power to deal with the matter, if it desired to take any action. I shall arrange for the Acting Attorney-General to look into this matter, and will furnish the .honorable member with any additional information that I obtain.
– My question relates to the attempts that are being made overseas, by the Attorney-General, as President of the General Assembly, of the United Nations, to bring the Four Powers together, along the lines that he has indicated.. Will the Prime. Minister inform the House whether, before this approach was made, Dr. Evatt, con sulted with him or with the Government? If so, did the Government approve of Dr. Evatt’s proposed action?
– J keep closely ‘ in touch with the Attorney-General on these and other matters. In this instance, Dr. Evatt acted in his capacity of President of the General Assembly. Anything that he has done in this matter has the general approval of the Government. In some instances approval was communicated to the Attorney-General by personal conversations. In a broad sense, any move that he may make with the object of overcoming the difficulties that have arisen in this matter, would have the approval of this Government. Sooner or later something had to be done about the Berlin dispute; it could not be permitted to continue indefinitely. As President of the General Assembly, Dr. Evatt’s first duty is to see that conditions thai exist in the world are such as would permit of that organization functioning efficiently. It cannot bo function until peace treaties with both Germany and Japan have been concluded. As I have said before, anything that Dr. Evatt has done to aid the efforts that are being made to achieve peace in the world have thecomplete approval of this Government.
– Has the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction seen the report in the Melbourne Herald last night relating to wool duties in the United States of America ? If so, can he indicate whether the statement is correct?
– I have seen the statement in the Melbourne Herald; in fact, I have a copy of the statement before me. It makes some reference to Senator Joseph 0,’Mahoney, a leading congressional authority on wool in the United States of America. He represents one of the wool-growing States. ‘ The. statement is completely misleading. Above the letterpress in the report, in big type, is the heading “ U.S. Tax on Wool Unchanged “. That is completely untrue. As the result of negotiations at Geneva last year the United States tariff on wool was reduced by 25 per cent. The comment in the Herald is quite clear. It says-
Congress last year rejected a plan to add a ofl per cent, duty to the tariff of 35 cents (2s. lid.) a lb. on” imported wool.
That statement is also untrue. The legislature of the United States of America did pass a measure to increase the duty on wool by 50 per cent., but it was vetoed by President Truman himself. The Herald goes on to state that the existing duty on wool in the United States is 34 cents per lb. That is untrue. As I have stated, the duty was reduced by 25 per cent., and it is now 25^ cents per lb. I am glad to be able to direct attention to this untruth, which is another example of completely false press reports.
Loss of Aircraft “ Lutana “ - Pacific Regional Services
– Has the Minister for Civil Aviation received the report of the court of inquiry held by Mr. Justice Simpson into the loss of the airliner Lutana? If so, will he table the report in the House next week and arrange for it to be discussed before we adjourn for the Christmas vacation?
– The report leached me on Wednesday evening. It consists of 29 foolscap pages of single-spaced type writing and offers some criticism of certain aspects of the Department of Civil Aviation and its equipment. I have sent the report to the department for its advice. The recommendations, which are numerous, cover a number of matters of a highly technical nature that in my view require early examination and consideration. As soon as I receive comment from the department and can consider it I shall discuss the matter with the DirectorGeneral of Civil Aviation.
– “Will the report be debated in the House?
– I wish to have it examined first.
– Does the Minister for Civil Aviation intend to leave Australia next week to visit New Zealand? If so, what is the purpose of his visit to our sister dominion?
– I shall visit New Zealand shortly. Possibly the honorable gentleman does not know that I am the chairman of the South Pacific Air Transport Council, which is due to meet in New Zealand. The conference will be attended by representatives of va rious countries of the British Commonwealth of Nations, including the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia and, for the first, time, Canada. The council will discuss many questions relating to Pacific regional air services. The meeting will be an important one, and I am grateful to the honorable gentleman for affording me an opportunity to inform the people of its importance.
– I ask the Prime Minister, who is acting for the Minister for External Affairs, whether Australia’s Minister to China is on his way to Nanking? Is the Government in constant touch with developments in China? Is there any likelihood of China’s desperate plight coming before the Security Council of the United Nations?
Mi-. CHIFLEY. - Australia’s representative in China is, of course, keeping closely in touch with events in that country. It is difficult in a short reply to a question to cover the whole position in China. We have been in constant communication with Nanking and have been informed as well as possible of developments in China. Many of the happenings in China have been feared for some time. We are interested particularly in the position of Australian residents. I shall try to provide the honorable member with a fuller written answer to his question.
Attitude of United States oi? America.
– Does the Prime Minister consider that the public is entitled to have the truth about our relations with the United States of America concerning nuclear research? Is it false to say that the United States authorities have been reluctant to impart to Australia certain secret information about the progress of research and development in relation to atomic energy because of the uneasiness by American leaders about whether the Australian Government would be able to preserve secrecy? If such statements, are false, why does not the right honorable gentleman for the sake of the reputation and the prestige of his office as Prime Minister of Australia, end all such allegations by an unqualified denial of them? If the allegations are true, however, oan anything justify the Government misleading the nation by concealing the truth?
– I have tried to make it clear to honorable members that, when they seek information, I shall always be glad to give it to them. However, when they endeavour in their questions to engage in some vilification of the Government in the form of propaganda they do not deserve an answer and should not receive one, even as a courtesy. The fact is that this country has not been associated at any time with the production of atomic bombs or atomic energy in any form. Information about the development of atomic energy for civilian industrial purposes in the United States of America is not divulged to any country. I have stated that previously in this House, and the Minister for Defence has confirmed any statement by questing the relevant United States act. This country has not been connected with the development of atomic bombs, nor is it likely to be joined in that class of special work. Even during the war such research was carried out only in America. The United Kingdom had nothing to do with it even at that time. There is absolutely no truth in the statements that have been made on this subject.
– Has the Minister in charge of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research seen a report in last Wednesday’s issue of the Melbourne Herald to the effect that the council had stated in its report that not sufficient money was provided for research work? If so, can he give the House some information on the subject?
– I did read that report in the Melbourne Herald. It, like the report I referred to a few minutes ago, is also completely false. It stated that the report of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research which was tabled in the House this week had declared that, because of a shortage of money, research could not be carried out in many fields in which the council would like to undertake activities. There is no statement to that effect in the council’s report. The report does state that there is a limitation on our scientific resources and that, because of that limitation, it is not possible to do all the research work which the council would like to do. There is no question of a shortage of money for research. I point out that, since I have been Minister in charge of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, expenditure on research work in Australia has been increased five-fold.
– I ask the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction whether there are enough people trained in scientific research techniques to carry out the work of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research as well as the scientific research projects within the defence programme, which are estimated to cost £33,000,000. If not, will the Minister give consideration to financing unl. versity scientific faculties and technical schools to enable them to train more people in scientific techniques?
– There are, at present, insufficient numbers of trained personnel to undertake all the scientific research work that we should like to see undertaken. That applies to peace-time research work as well as to defence projects.
– It is the same all over the world.
– Yes. We have taken certain steps to assist in the training of a large number of people whom we hope will be available in the future to carry out scientific and industrial research. That is one reason why we are so pleased with the success of the Commonwealth reconstruction training scheme, under which more than 22,000 students are at present in training at the universities. A large number of them are studying for science degrees, and we hope that, as they complete their courses, they will become available for scientific research work, I am informed, however, that not all individuals who manage to take a science degree are suited for scientific research work. This work requires certain qualifications which are not held by all science graduates; consequently, only a proportion of those who obtain science .degrees will be available for scientific research. We have encouraged the training of scientific research workers by making /grants to universities throughout the Commonwealth. Last year, we made £82,000 available for scientific research projects at the universities. The various university authorities claimed that that -sum was not sufficient, and, after consultation with the Treasurer, it was decided that the Government should make available a further £20,000 to ensure that certain research projects of a defence nature, or related to defence scientific research, could be undertaken at the universities. The Government is doing all that it possibly can do to assist in the education of students who are taking science degrees at the universities, and are also being trained in the mere -specialized subject of scientific research work.
– Will the Prime Minister inform the House of the attitude adopted by the Australian Government in connexion with conversations that took place in Paris during the last few days between representatives of countries of the British Commonwealth of Nations concerning the proposed Republic of Ireland? Was the Australian Government pledged to any particular policy in regard to relations between Eire and other British Commonwealth countries? In the event of there being no policy, is the House to assume that the attitude of the Australian Government to this important matter is purely one of platonic friendship? Alternatively, was the question of the relations “between Australia and Eire left entirely to the discretion of our wandering star in Paris?
– The policy of the Australian Government in regard to relations between the United Kingdom and what may be called the Dominions in the British Commonwealth of Nations has been perfectly clear for a considerable time. We are anxious that the existing relations between British Commonwealth countries, including India, Eire and South Africa, shall be maintained. The governments of those countries, which are the masters of their own destinies, hold different views on this question. I made it perfectly clear in the course of discussions in which I took part long before the meeting in Paris took place that, even if the present relations between all the countries of the British Commonwealth could not be continued in their existing form, it was, in the opinion of the Australian Government, highly desirable that there should be at least some formal link between them. There was no need to make any decision of the policy of the Australian Government in this connexion, at Paris or anywhere else. I made our policy known to the British Government prior to the meeting in Paris or the Conference of Empire Prime Ministers in London. This is a matter upon which each country must make its own decision, but we are most anxious that, whatever form the relations may take, there shall be some formal link between all countries of the British Commonwealth, including Eire, India and South Africa. There was no question of policy-making at Paris, because the policy of the Australian Government- was well-known to all concerned long before that meeting was held.
– Some time ago, 1 asked the Prime Minister a question about the duty on tea, and the right honorable gentleman promised that the matter would be given consideration. I now ask him again whether, in view of the Government’s buoyant revenues, and of the rising cost of various commodities, he will give consideration to the removal of the import duty on tea which is not a protective duty but is of a revenue producing nature only?
– Consideration has been given to this matter. The import duty on tea is small and actually does not affect the public generally, because tea is heavily subsidized by the Commonwealth. Virtually, the import duty is only a contra charge. It would be quite easy, of course, to remove the duty and the subsidy as well, but the general public would then find itself in a very much worse position. I am sure that people prefer to buy tea at its present price rather that to pay 4s. 9d. per lb. for it, as they would have to if both the duty and the subsidy were removed.
– Is the Prime Minister aware that under a new measure that has been passed by the New South Wales Parliament called the Local Government Areas Act, many councils’ will be abolished in the Greater Sydney area? As this will mean the vacation of many town halls at present occupied by those bodies, will the Prime Minister give consideration to the suggestion that those buildings should be acquired by the Commonwealth for use as post offices, and for the housing of officers of the Department of Social Services?
– My attention has been drawn to the possibility that, as the result of the amalgamation into one body of a number of local governing authorities in New South Wales, some of the buildings formerly used by them may become available for other purposes. The process of amalgamation was originally initiated by Mr. Spooner, when he was Minister for Local Government in New South Wales, and very wisely too, because in many instances the administrative expenses incurred by local governing authorities were out of proportion to their total revenue. Such amalgamations were effected very extensively in areas on the north coast and, to a lesser degree, on the south coast of New South Wales, as well as in the County of Cumberland. However, they have not always resulted in premises being vacated. Certain premises are still being used as branch offices by the central body. Following the recent link-up of local governing bodies in the Blue Mountains area of New South Wales the offices previously occupied by the staffs of the various bodies are now used for the collection of rates and for the transaction of other business with rate payers in the areas concerned. Where it seems likely that some of these buildings can be obtained and utilized for Commonwealth purposes, the possibility of their acquisition will be examined.
– Has the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture seen a statement in the press, attributed to Mr. Crawford, of the Bureau of Agricultural Economics, that he regretted very much that the International Wheat Agreement had not been ratified, and that he hoped that a sufficient number of nations would ratify it in the near future to enable it to be put into operation ? As the ratification of the agreement would have cost the Australian wheat-growers approximately £16,000,000, will the Minister consider the appointment of some person to attend the meeting of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization who knows something about wheat and has the interests of the Australian wheat-growers at. heart, rather than one of the long-haired idealists in whom this Government apparently places its confidence?
– I have seen a newspaper report of a statement alleged to have been made by Mr. Crawford at the meeting of the United .Nations Food and Agriculture Organization at Washington. I do not accept the press report as accurate, and until I have received a report by Mr. Crawford, I am not prepared to comment on it. I resent the honorable member’s reference to Mr. Crawford as “ a long-haired idealist “. The agriculturists of this country owe a great debt to the so-called long-haired idealists. When the Wheat Costs of Production Committee found itself in difficulties Mr. Crawford acted as its guide, philosopher and friend, and straightened out many of the problems that confronted the committee in the course of its investigations. I suggest-
– Order I There is too much audible conversation.
– I suggest that I leave it where it is.
– In the press to-day there is a serious statement to the effect that opportunity for trade with Ceylon is being lost because no trade commissioner has been appointed to that country. Mr. Segal, a Sydney business man, who recently spent several weeks in Ceylon, is reported to have said that trade opportunities are being lost because the Australian High Commissioner is taking no interest in the matter. Will the Prime Minister have these allegations examined and ensure that the High Commissioner will make some contribution towards the fostering of trade relations between Ceylon and Australia ? If the High Com.missioner is unable to do so, will the right honorable gentleman consider appointing « competent man skilled in trade matters to carry out that duty?
– The Minister for Commerce and Agriculture will answer the question.
– I do not know Mr. Segal and, probably, many other people do not know him and do not want to know him. It is possible that his criticism may be due to some frustration because he cannot make some trade arrangement which would be particularly profitable to himself. Without exception, bodies such as chambers of manufactures, chambers of commerce and other responsible organizations, competent to express an opinion, pay tribute to the value of the reports which the Government receives from time to time from its trade commissioners and other representatives throughout the world. Therefore, Mr. Segal’s comment is not worthy <of notice.
LONG-RANGE Developmental Programme.
Mi-. ADERMANN.- Can the Prime Minister give the reason for the delay in the construction of post offices, particularly in country districts, where they are urgently needed? Can he indicate the number of automatic telephone exchanges proposed to be erected in country districts in Queensland? Is it true that the construction programme is so far delayed that it is now possible that the laying of the foundation stone of the new Brisbane Post Office is now set down as one of the duties to be discharged by the new-born prince ?
– The Government’s approach to the development of services provided by the Postmaster-General’s Department, is unprecedented in the history of this country. A Cabinet subcommittee, of which the PostmasterGeneral and I, as Treasurer, are members, was appointed to draw up a long-range developmental programme for the department, whereas hitherto it has been obliged each financial year to wrangle with other departments over the amounts which should be appropriated for their respective developmental programmes in the ensuing twelve months. At first the Government drew up a three-year programme for the PostmasterGeneral’s Department but later evolved a plan which will probably take five years to complete, and it allocated a total sum of £42,000,000 in respect of the programme which will be approved in sections by the cabinet subcommittee from time to time. That programme provides for the erection of not only post offices but also rural automatic exchanges, as well as improved telephonic and telegraphic services, both intra-state and interstate. I understand that the plan provides for the erection of 500 rural automatic exchanges. It will be proceeded with as expeditiously as possible as man-power and materials become increasingly available. Any delay that is being experienced at present is due to shortages of labour and materials. I shall ascertain from, the Department of Works and Housing when it is anticipated that a commencement can be made with the erection of the new Brisbane Post Office, which is included in that programme.
– I draw the attention of the Prime Minister to an article which appeared in the Sunraysia Baily of the 13th November : -
To let or for sale. - In the vast Valley of the Murray, hundreds of thousands of acres of rich, idle soil, and millions of gallons of water, sufficient to provide the nation and million* nf the starving peoples of the world with food.
The article mentioned that an area of 200 acres which was scrub land in 1943, was estimated to return £30,000 this financial year. I ask the right honorable gentleman whether the Government nas a rural policy. What is it doing to develop the Murray Valley? Will the Government consider giving greater financial assistance and other support to action by the States to develop the Murray Valley as a practical step towards increasing production and furthering decentralization? Will the right honorable gentleman confer with the Minister for Immigration on the possibility of settling British migrants in that area?
– A measure has already been dealt with by this House which indicates the practical interest taken by the present Government in the efforts of the States concerned to develop such projects as those of the Murray Valley. However, the particular matter mentioned by the honorable member is the responsibility of State governments. The former agreement concerning the Murray River waters ‘ has expired and the Commonwealth has completely discharged its financial responsibilities under that scheme. Nevertheless, the Commonwealth has agreed to co-operate further with the States to increase the storage capacity of the Hume Dam, and legislation to implement the agreement is at present under consideration. The honorable member also referred to the “starving peoples of the world “. I want to make it perfectly clear that when we grow even more food it will not .benefit those unfortunate people if they are unable to purchase it. That is the reason why the Australian Government has joined in the world crusade to improve the economic condition of many of the backward nations .of Europe and Asia. As evidence of the sincerity of our efforts to improve the lot of those people I remind honorable members that the present Government has made gifts to Unrra for the relief of the suffering people of Europe which total £25,000,000. The chief difficulty of those ‘Unfortunate people is that they have not the money to purchase, the goods produced by the more fortunate nations, and which they need so urgently. Australia has previously experienced the disastrous effects of such a situation, when our silos have been glutted with huge quantitiesof wheat which we have been unable to sell overseas. After all, the real value of our production is determined hy thecapacity of overseas countries to purchase it. The present Government hascooperated in every possible way with State governments to increase rural production, particularly with a view to exploiting potential overseas markets of thefuture. If I cared to weary the House I could quote statistics to show exactly what the present Government has done. It must not be assumed that the people of the United Kingdom can consume all the foodstuffs that areproduced in this country. Statistics which I examined only a few days agoshow that a great quantity of Australian foodstuffs is purchased by countries other than the United Kingdom, and, as I have already pointed out, Australia has madeconsiderable gifts to various countries in Europe, including recent gifts to the unfortunate refugees in Palestine. Theproblems of national production must be surveyed very carefully, and we must take into consideration our ability to dispose of our products. As that subject is so important and comprehensive, ant opportunity may be provided for theHouse to debate it on another occasion..
Report or Public Works COMMITTEE.
– I present the report of the Public Works Committee on thefollowing subject: -
The proposed establishment of a new airport for Hobart, at Llanherne, Tasmania..
– I move -
That, in accordance with the provisions of the Commonwealth Public Works CommitteeAct 1913-1047, the following proposed work be referred to the Parliamentary StandingCommittee on Public Works for investigation, and report, viz.: - Erection of a new school! at Alice Springs, Northern Territory.
The purpose of the proposed building is to provide additional primary school accommodation at Alice Springs, so designed as to form the nucleus of a central school at a later date. It is proposed to erect the building as a concrete frame structure with cement brick wall panels :and corrugated asbestos roof. The building will be partly two-storied and partly single-storied, with class-rooms, offices, science and domestic science rooms in the two-storied portion. Lavatories, locker rooms and manual training classroom will be contained in the single-storied portion. The anticipated cost as estimated in September last is £78,024, which include services, roads, paths, &c. It is proposed to erect the school on a site that has been reserved for the purpose on the Anzac Hill reserve. I lay on the table plans of the proposed work.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Debate resumed from the 18th November (vide page 3254), on motion by Mr. Calwell- -
That the bill he now read a second time.
.- The introduction of this bill is proof that Australia has really grown up. The principal features of the measure are, first that it creates an Australian citizenship; secondly, that it provides that a person who is an Australian citizen shall ;also be a British subject; and,thirdly, that whilst providing for the special position of Irish citizens, it recognizes as British subjects persons who are citizens of other countries of the British Commonwealth. The bill also makes other changes in nationality law. In particular, it removes the disabilities of married women under the existing nationality law, and enables them to choose their own national status. Last night, several honorable members spoke in this debate, but in the report of the discussion published by the Canberra Times this morning, -the Acting Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Harrison) received three-quarters of a column, tie honorable member for Richmond (Mr. Anthony) was also mentioned, but three Government supporters were ignored.
– Honorable members opposite will have to do better before they will receive a mention.
– The honorable member for Balaclava (Mr. White) has a wrong sense of his value.
– I mention that fact as an example of the difficulty that the Government experiences in conveying its ideas to the people. The Acting Leader of the Opposition made an impassioned address which, in my opinion, was one of the worst speeches that he has delivered since I have been a member of this chamber. He has said that this legislation will mean the liquidation of the British Empire. He has gene as far as to state that the bill will also destroy Empire trade preferences. That reference of course was completely irrelevant to the bill. He said also that the bill was born in secrecy; that it amounted to a socialist plot to tear the British Empire apart; that it would mean the disintegration of the Empire, and that Australia was falling away from the Motherland. In fact, right through his speech he implied that the Dominions were breaking up into unrelated segments. He referred also to the deletion of the word “ British “ from the name “ British Commonwealth of Nations “, although that subject had nothing to do with the bill either. The Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley), in one of his recent Sunday night broadcasts, said that as far as he was concerned the prefix “ British “ would stay for all time in the title “ British Commonwealth of Nations “. I believe that the Prime Minister thereby expressed the general view of honorable members on the Government side. Despite the findings of the Empire conference held in London recently, we shall retain the word “British” before the word “ Empire “.
The speech of the Acting Leader of the Opposition was neither more nor less than disruptive. In it he even denied that any progress had been made in inter-dominion affairs. In my opinion, the Acting Leader of the Opposition desires the Empire to return to its original constitution, with Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa in the position of Crown colonies, as they were half a century or more ago. In fact, I consider that a good name for the honorable gentleman would be “ Viscount Bellevue of Wentworth “, as he gives the impression of an Englishman of about 50 years ago speaking of the Crown colonies of the British Empire who might have said something like this : “By gad, sir, these colonies desire selfgovernment. That is a dreadful show. The utter bounders ! We must look after them and see that they are put in their place “. That kind of talk is ridiculous in modern times.
– Hear, hear!
– Order ! The honorable member for Balaclava is a nuisance to the House. If he does not behave himself I shall name him.
– Imperial relations have developed rapidly over the last 50 years, and the present measure is a natural outcome of progress among the Dominions in the process of growing up.
– But to where are we progressing?
– Order! If the honorable member for Barker desires the floor he must await his turn.
– Australian children have had it drummed into their ears at school over a long period that Australia attained nationhood at Gallipoli in 1915, and yet the whole tenor of the speech of the Acting Leader of the Opposition would indicate that this country was still in its swaddling clothes. I cannot condemn his speech too severely. It was completely out of harmony even with the views of other honorable members on his own side of the House, and in comparison with the speech of the honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Spender) it appeared very childish indeed. I should like to congratulate the honorable member for Warringah on the attitude to this bill that he displayed last night. It was free from party political bias and bitterness. His speech really gave to the House and to the country a masterly survey of the necessity for the present measure, which, in fact, only recognizes a development that has already taken place in the constitutions of the British Empire. In endeavouring to show that the Empire is being liquidated theActing Leader of the Opposition is only reiterating statements that have been made in the press from time to timeEvidently he likes the word “ liquidation “ for he uses it frequently. Nothing could be further from the truth, however, than that theBritish Commonwealth is being liquidated. All Empire leaders at the present time realize that the British. Empire is not in the same position as it was in twenty or thirty years agoOther empires have grown up in th«* world. The recent war has altered the alinement of nations to a very great extent. By granting self-government toPakistan, Burma, India and Ceylon England has shown its greatness as a nation. That is the more wonderful when we remember that notwithstanding that we are living in a post-war world of insecurity. Great Britain has honoured the promises that were given to those four powers years ago that they would be granted self-government. That is in keeping with the modern development of Empire. The Empire no longer comprises subject peoples scattered throughout the world. All of the British leaders who spoke on this matter in the House of Lords stressed that they do not want the Dominions, in future to regard themselves as subject nations or races. These outposts of the Empire have now reached nationhood. They have reached a status that the Empire has encouraged for - probably a hundred years. It has always been hoped that ultimately these outposts of Empire would become nations in their own right. The. nationality bills that were passed by the Canadian and New Zealand Parliaments acknowledge the fact that we have achieved nationhood. Our leaders have declared again and again that we had reached nationhood at Gallipoli. Theref ore it is high time that a bill of this description should be placed on the statute-book of this country. There should be no suggestion of the disintegration of the British Empire, because its component parts are becoming nations in their own right. That is a purely disruptive attitude. I consider that the Acting Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Harrison) was playing party politics purely and simply when he spoke on this bill last night. Had he been on the Government side of the House, in the place now occupied by the Minister for Immigration (Mr. Calwell), I am convinced that he would have supported this bill.
In a real sense, Australia is now closer to Great Britain than ever before. I regard the British Empire as a family of nations. The term “ family “ conjures up in our minds a relationship built upon mutual love and respect for each component part of that family. It matters not that members of a family have different Christian names, as was clearly demonstrated last night by the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen) in the able speech that he delivered. Although twelve children of a family all have different Christian names, they are members of the family. It is of no consequence that they may leave their native place and take up residence in other parts of the world.
– It would be awkward for the Moslems.
– Yes, but we do not seek to deal with the Moslem problem in this bill. Whilst it is true that many mothers fear that when their daughters achieve maturity they will marry and probably move far away from the family home, I point out that such a move does not necessarily weaken the family ties, nor disrupt the solidarity of the family. Likewise, I claim that when the sons of a family reach maturity, and in many instances leave the family home to gain experience in other parts of the world, the strong family ties are not thereby weakened. I point out that the British Dominions have always been a family of nations under the British Crown. Our desire is that way always remain so. This measure emphasizes that fact. It must be conceded readily that the Dominions of Canada, New Zealand and Australia, as well as other parts of the British Empire, are bound together by solidarity of loyalty to Great Britain. That loyalty will not in any way be weakened by this bill which seeks to put our relationship to Great Britain in its proper perspective. This measure merely gives legislative acknow ledgment of a condition that has existed for many years which is, that Australia is a self-governing Dominion. It is a nation in its own right, linked with Great Britain by ties of blood and loyalty to the Crown. The position is analogous to that of the members of a family assuming different names, and becoming scattered throughout the- world. As I have already pointed out, the family remains an entity; the family ties are not destroyed or weakened.
The Deputy Leader of the Australian Country party (Mr. McEwen), during his bitter speech last night, spoke disparagingly of this bill. The honorable member reiterated what the Acting Leader of the Opposition had already said, and he too alleged that this measure would presage the dismemberment of the British Empire. It should be recognized that there has been no breaking away from the ties of Empire -
– What about Eire?
– That country can look after its own affairs. The events of the recent war proved conclusively that the British Dominions are united with the Mother Country in a way that cannot be destroyed. For members of the Opposition to suggest that the Empire is being dismembered is crass stupidity on their part, which demonstrates a lack of understanding of the progress that Australia has made in the conduct of dominion and Empire affairs.
When one has regard to speeches that were delivered in the British House of Lords, it becomes apparent how far removed from the affairs of to-day are members of the Opposition, with the exception of the honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Spender), who spoke on this measure last night.
– Hear, hear!
– As honorable members are aware, the House of Lords is the legislative centre of the British Empire. That house of review received a bill, similar to this bill, from the House of Commons and dealt with it in a dispassionate manner, far removed from party politics. The House of Lords could have condemned the measure out of hand if it had wanted to, and if it had thought that the measure would result in the disintegration of the British Empire it would undoubtedly have rejected it. If the noble Lords had thought that the bill would cause the Dominions to draw away from the Empire, or that it amounted to a socialist plot, they would have said so.
– Hear, hear!
– If their Lordships had thought that it would bring about the liquidation of the Empire, they would have said so. But the Lord Chancellor, when speaking to the bill on the 4th May this year, said -
I believe the only alternative to the common code method, which had broken down.; that is to say, to let each member State decide for itself according to its own laws what constitutes citizenship, and when that has been decided, nationality will follow citizenship. . . . We are trustees for the people of those territories. … Of course, as a Colony achieves responsible government, there will probably have to be a new species of citizenship.
The common code existed from 1914 until this year. His Lordship also said -
Let it be plainly understood that common nationality does not necessarily confer rights in other member States. Let me take, if I may, for example, Australia. Beyond all question, Australia i3 perfectly entitled to legislate for herself as to whom she shall admit into her territory as settlers. She may insist upon certain qualifications with regard to character, intelligence, creed or colour. All those things are entirely matters for Australia to decide. I mention this because I am anxious not to give rise to any misunderstanding. The mere fact that one possesses British nationality does not, and cannot in the nature of tilings, confer any rights in regard to any particular territory. All we can say is that, although there is no special treatment which necessarily follows throughout the Commonwealth, we hope and believe that, other tilings being equal, the fact that a man possesses British nationality will stand him in good stead in his application, whatever that application may be.
That puts the matter clearly and dispassionately. He recognized our right to legislate that British nationality shall give a man top priority in entering Australia and that he should be able to assume our Australian citizenship by a simple method.
– Is not he a member of the British Government that introduced the bill?
– He is the Lord Chancellor.
– He is Leader of the Government in the House of Lords.
– And he is quoted as am impartial observer!
– The honorable member for Wilmot said that he was dispassionate.
– Winding up the debate, the Lord Chancellor said -
There are only two ways in which to kee> that conception of common nationality - we cannot legislate for the other member states of the Dominions. One is by having a common code, everybody legislating in the same way. That was tried, and it has broken down. The second way is by having a new conception,, and that is that everybody shall decide for themselves, by their own legislature, who are their citizens, and that the sum-total of the citizens of the various member states shall be British subjects.
I now propose to quote the remarks of theEarl of Perth.
– He is not a Labour man.
– No, definitely not. Hesaid -
Some of ns have long been hoping for a new nationality hill.
So, this legislation has been in the mindsof leaders of political thought in Great Britain for a long time. Honorablegentlemen opposite are twenty years behind the Conservatives in the House of” Lords. The Earl of Perth went on tosay
I wish to express our gratitude for the introduction of the bill and for the fact that His Majesty’s Government have found time, duringa session which has certainly been prolific of legislation, to introduce this non-controversial’ but highly important measure. The bill must have required much consultation with theGovernments of the Commonwealth, and, from what the noble and learned Viscount, theLord Chancellor and the noble Viscount, the Leader of the House, said, these governmentsso far as they are affected, are in full agreement with the clauses and purposes of the bill.
He added -
I assume that any British subject, whethera citizen of one of the Commonwealth countries or of any other, will be entitled to full’ diplomatic protection and consular help from the British Commonwealth representations if he is in a foreign country.
That is provided for in this bill and in the British bill, too. Lord PethickLawrencesaid -
I have been for a long time a strong advocate of one of the major changes which thisBill proposes to enact.
He said that he had had legislation of this kind in his mind for 25 years. He went on -
Time and again, in days gone by, alterations were desirable in the nationality laws, particularly in the law relating to the position of married women. The alterations could not be made because the British Government were anxious that every part of the Commonwealth should move in step. That desirable reform was delayed for a great number of years in consequence of that fact.
That .proves that this legislation has been in the minds of the leaders of political thought in Great Britain for many years, whether they have been members of the Labour party, the Conservative party, or the Liberal party. He said that the British Government had awaited a move from the Dominions before bringing the law into being. The move, of course, came from Canada in 1946. He added, referring to Lord Simon -
I do not think that he did full justice to the fact that in the main this bill represents an endeavour to deal with a situation that is a fact; it ie not in itself creating a situation of difficulty.
His statements prove our contention that this bill legislates in fact on something that has already happened and has been accepted in Empire relationships for a long time. This bill puts the hall-mark of the Australian Parliament upon an accomplished fact. Lord Altrinchan said -
In the first place, let m,e say that the Bill as a whole seems good, wise and tidy. I congratulate the Government upon it, and upon the understanding with the Dominions upon which it has been founded.
He went on to make the following statement, which is pertinent to this bill : -
Younger nations in particular are rightly jealous regarding the material, the bricks, the human bricks, the stone and the mortar, of which their communities are to be built, and they have an absolute right which we should acknowledge in the fullest terms, so far as it needs acknowledgment, of defining their citizenship, that right being essential to their sovereignty and the liberties which that sovereignty connotes.
– Why does the honorable member not give some of his own ideas?
– I am trying to prove that-
– The honorable member is only reading what the Minister has given him.
– Why did the honorable .member for Indi not quote what was said by members of the House of Lord* on this very proposal?
– I do not have to do so. I can think for myself. I do not want my opinions to be second-hand or thirdhand.
– Members of the House of Lords, I claim, have a greater chance of seeing this matter from theEmpire point of view and the British. Government’s point of view than we have. That is why I am quoting them. The honorable member does not like it.
– The Lords passed the second reading of the bill without division.
– Yes ; I was coming to that.
– Is that in the notes, too?
– The notes contain the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
– Lord Altrinchan went on to say -
The nation States are to be absolutely freeto define the status of their citizens, both as to genus and as to species. The movement towards the legal definition of these essential realities, which was initiated by Canada, is,. I understand, supported now by all theDominions. There is full agreement with that here, and I warmly congratulate the skilled representatives from all parts of the Empire who promoted this legislation and got agreement upon it.
Lord Tweedsmuir, a distinguished writer-
– The distinguished writer is dead. The man referred to is his son.
– Thanks for the correction.
– We have to educate the honorable member as he goes on.
– I am grateful I have never said that I know everything about everything.
– Order! There is too much interruption from the honorable member for Indi.
– Lord Tweedsmuir, son of John Buchan, said -
Our understanding is much the stronger where nothing is written - we like it that way.
But we have one or two documents, of which the Statute of Westminster is the chief example. That really brought nothing into effect; it merely recognized an existing state of affairs. Some people, who have not studied the subject, imagine that it gave the Commonwealth countries their freedom. They were free, independent, and powerful nations, and that Statute merely recognized the fact. That Statute has done nothing to weaken our real relationship. The Bill we have in front of us, to my mind, recognizes identities that have been clear cut for years past. . . .
For myself - and I speak only for myself - I am not in the least worried by any concept that is embodied in this Bill; in fact, I welcome it. I think that common citizenship by the creation of parliamentary citizenship is a most reasonable and constructive status.
Those are the words of Lord Tweedsmuir, speaking in the House of Lords on the British Nationality Bill in May, 194S.
– And he is a Conservative.
– Yes. I conclude by saying that the history of this measure goes hack further than honorable members imagine. The Lord Chancellor gave us the history of the measure when he said -
So far, I think the matter is plain. I do not think that anybody, on reflection, would doubt that this is right. There is no other course. What rather surprised me in the debate was to hear it hinted that this was a matter which a lot of departmental officials, acting comparatively recently, had thought out and evolved for themselves. This matter has a long history. I was myself Attorney-General when the preliminary work which led to the Statute of Westmlister was passed. And your Lordships will find that at the Conference of Dominion Premiers which took place in, I think, 1930, the subject of nationality was discussed at length. It was discussed again at the Imperial Conference in 1937.
The next development after that conference was the introduction into the Canadian Parliament of a bill similar to the measure which we are now debating. Et is interesting to record that the measure enacted in the United Kingdom was passed by the House of Lords without division. I do not know whether that will happen here, hut, after hearing the speech made by the Acting Leader of the Opposition, I cannot imagine that he will vote for the bill. The difference between the tenor of the speeches made in the House of Lords and those made by the Acting Leader of the Opposition, the honora’ble member for Richmond (Mr. Anthony) and the honorable member for
Indi (Mr. McEwen) was remarkable. Although the British measure received the wholehearted support of the House of Lords, that honorable members of this House, to which I have just referred, have said that this bill, which is almost identical, .will cause disintegration of the Empire and that therefore they will have nothing to do with it. Why did they speak in that fashion? What was their purpose? I consider that they have made this a party political issue. I believe that, had they been in office, instead of in opposition, they would have followed the lead of the Mother of Parliaments, which, they so often praise. They frequently declare that the United Kingdom Parliament is the ideal democratic legislature. That is true, in spite of what honorable members opposite call socialistic trends in Great Britain. This bill, and the related measures which have been dealt with in other countries of the British Commonwealth, are of vital importance to the Empire. Yet, although the United Kingdom legislation was passed readily, honorable members opposite are making stupid speeches about disintegration, disruption, dismemberment and liquidation.
– With the exception of the honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Spender).
– -I have already commended that honorable gentleman for his speech. The difference between it and the speech of the Acting Leader of the Opposition was as pronounced as the difference between a Rolls-Royce car and a T model Ford. It was a pleasure to listen to the honorable member for Warringah last night. I repeat that this bill actually confirms a fact that has been recognized by leaders of the Empire for many years. We shall continue to bc British citizens; but now we shall also be Australian citizens in our own right. The hill is merely complementary to the United Kingdom legislation. It is not an alternative to, or in opposition to that measure. The statement that we shall weaken the ties of Empire by passing the bill is, to say the least, wide of the mark. I have studied both this bill and the British measure, and I have found that the two are almost identical.
For example, the provisions in the two measures relating to the status of women are almost word for word.
I welcome the provision for a special inauguration ceremony for every person who accepts Australian citizenship. Clause 41 of the bill provides that the Minister may make arrangements for the oath of allegiance to be taken in public before a judicial officer and to be accompanied by proceedings designed to impress upon applicants the responsibilities and privileges of Australian citizenship. That does not describe the details of the proposed ceremony, but the Minister is to be congratulated upon having thought of this method of conferring Australian citizenship upon people cf other countries who wish to take the oath of allegiance. Until now, the process of acquiring citizenship has been a very half-hearted affair. There has been nothing to impress upon new Australians the importance of the step that they take when they sign citizenship papers. I believe that the ceremony for which the bill provides will impress upon the minds of such people the responsibilities which they accept and the rights which they acquire when they become Australian citizens. That is a splendid idea. Churches and lodges have special membership services. One never forgets the impact of such a ceremony. If the ceremony can be conducted in a semisacred spirit, new citizens will definitely realize the full significance of the step that they take. The Minister for Immigration has given a great deal of serious thought to this matter, and he is to be congratulated upon the results that he has achieved in the form of the bill. Australia will fall into line with Canada, New Zealand and other nations which belong to the British Empire when the bill is passed. We shall become a nation in our own right, yet, at the same time, we shall be as firmly attached to the British crown as we have been hitherto. The process is like that of a family growing up, with the children acquiring deeper respect for their parents. Young children are not able to understand the importance of family ties, and they take too much for granted. So it is with nations. In the past, we have taken for granted a great deal of the help that we have received from Great Britain. We have looked to the Mother Country for guidance in all sorts of ways. As wc grow up we gain greater knowledge, but our respect for the Mother Country and the Crown is, by reason of that greater knowledge, deepened. The future of the Empire will be brighter and not blacker as a result of this legislation. The Deputy Leader of the Australian Country party (Mr. McEwen) prophesied that it is something for which we shall be sorry in a few years’ time. I am glad to say that I cannot agree with that. Honorable members on this side of the House will vote for this bill in the hope that it will lead to a great advance in Empire relations and a strengthening of our ties with the Mother Country.
– It is a pleasure to hear members of the Australian Labour party in this Parliament praising the wisdom and impartiality of the House of Lords. I had always understood that they did not agree with chambers of second thought. However, my mind goes back to the nominee legislative council that they appointed for the Northern Territory, so I suppose that it is quite in order for them to take one step further back and advocate a hereditary chamber. At any rate, the remarks of the honorable member for Wilmot (Mr. Duthie) will give a sense of security, if not of satisfaction, to his colleagues in the Senate, who are pledged to abolish that chamber at the first opportunity. Apart from that, I do not propose to deal with the speech of the honorable member for Wilmot, which he delivered in his own characteristic and inimitable way.
I regard this bill, not as a prelude to the disintegration and dissolution of the British Empire, but as a public recognition of a disintegration and dissolution which has already occurred. This bill is not the forerunner of something that is to take place, but the consequence of something that has already taken place. My reading of history leads me to the conclusion that this is the first time in the history of the world when an empire of the nature of the British Empire or anything like it has emerged victorious from a great war and gone into voluntary liquidation.
We must face one or two facts concerning the future of the Empire and, having faced them, must decide what we :shall do in regard to this bill. So far as the United Kingdom is concerned, there has never been such a thing as the British Empire. At no time have the style and titles of the King of Great Britain included the word “ Emperor “ in relation to the United Kingdom, the Dominions or the colonies. For over 70 years they included the phrase “ Emperor of India “. Not very long ago, the Parliament passed an act which amended the royal style and titles and provided that the King of Great Britain should no longer assume the title of Emperor of India. Therefore, the Indian Empire is gone. The only other official recognition of the word “ Empire “ that I have noticed was when the Order of the British Empire was inaugurated in the first World War. I never agreed with the establishment of that order, but that is by the way. There is no official recognition of the word “ Empire “ in the laws of the United Kingdom or of the Dominions. The term “ British Empire “ is one that has been accepted and used. It is one of which I am proud. The record of the British Empire as a civilizing, peace-producing and economically improving instrument is without equal in the history of the world. That Empire was brought into being in a different way from that in which the empires that preceded it were established. No comparison can be made between the British Empire and any of the Asiatic empires, the Roman empire or the Spanish empire. The conquests of Great Britain, if such they be, were carried out with very small military forces. It was mainly the merchants and the missionaries who built up what to-day is commonly known as the British Empire. The core of that Empire’s programme in the countries upon which it imposed, or to which it lent, its protection, was to uplift the people and to produce a state of affairs in which they could govern themselves.
We have now reached the stage when we should closely examine the direction in which we are tending to move. This morning, I asked a question of the Prime Minister regarding Eire. That country, according to press reports, is to change its name again and henceforth to be known as the Republic of Ireland.
– Like the Liberal party.
– I had not that in mind, but it may be something from which honorable gentlemen opposite can derive a little satisfaction. It was part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, then it was known as the Irish Free State, latterly it has been known as Eire, and henceforth, apparently, it is to be called the Republic of Ireland. The argument advanced by the Prime Minister this morning in reply to my question was that the attitude of the Australian Government is that there must always be some kind of a link between Ireland, or the southern portion of it, and the rest of the British Empire. In view of what is taking place in Dublin, I do not know how such a link can exist. There are certain features about the Irish position that I think I should mention, and I hope that I can do so without arousing ill-feeling or misunderstanding. I have never been able to understand how Irish unity can bc secured when the very first condition upon which the southern Irish insist is one that prevents it from being achieved. I ^cannot see a united Ireland except as an active participant in the British Commonwealth of Nations, or whatever we like to call it. It is apparently argued by honorable members opposite that when Eire leaves the Empire the links will bc stronger than ever, or, in other words, the farther you are apart, the closer you are together. That seems to he tha way in which this problem is regarded by honorable members opposite. I hope that, when the legislation is passed by the Parliament in Dublin, we shall have some idea of what our future relations with Eire are to be. The descendants of the Irish people are scattered throughout every British dominion. They are heavily represented in the United Kingdom itself and in the United States of America. As a result of what is now taking place in Eire, it is likely that this measure will require to he amended almost as soon as it receives the Royal assent.
Mr. (Jal well. - That is quite possible.
– My opinion is that the Government should defer consideration of the bill until the next parliamentary session, so that we need to take only one bite at the cherry.
Reference was made to Canada. As I understand the Canadian position, one of the strongest elements in Canada in favour of the British connexion is the French-Canadian element. The FrenchCanadian is a Catholic and a royalist. He does not believe in the- French Republic, or in its anti-clerical attitude. The French Canadians, having secured religious freedom as Canadians - a freedom they have enjoyed since Great Britain took over - are the last people in Canada who want even to join up with the United States of America. Their affinity with Great Britain is much closer than with either France or the United States. My reading of the Canadian position tells me that there are elements in Canada which are not. of French extraction but which possibly would look upon union with the United States of America or the independence of Canada with much more favour than would the FrenchCanadians. Although the FrenchCanadians have preserved their own customs, and although seme people say that they constitute a nation within a nation, it cannot be denied that they have always exerted a stabilizing influence in Canadian politics.
There is a somewhat different position in South Africa. That position is not helped by the fact, although it is illuminated by it, that Southern Rhodesia and Northern Rhodesia prefer to be constituted into a new British dominion rather than join the Union of South Africa. There are some features of the union that I have always admired, and one of them is the decision to incorporate the former German South-West Africa into the Union of South Africa whether the United Nations likes it or not. I have the most complete contempt for the United Nations. I do not think it is worth a “ cracker “. It never was, and never will be any more than the League of Nations was. Therefore, I say that I admire the attitude of realism adopted by the Government of South Africa, which is in striking contrast to the mealymouthed sticky-fingered attitude of the Australian Government in regard to New Guinea - an attitude that is publicly belied by clause .15 of this bill. If the Commonwealth believes in the trusteeship system which has been imposed on New Guinea - against the better judgment of the Australian people - it has no right to insert in this measure the wording of clause 15. Of the other Dominions, only New Zealand and Australia matter. They are both practically British. Australia, I understand, is approximately 96 per cent. British, although that figure is being watered down somewhat as the result of the activities of the Minister for Immigration (Mr. Calwell). Incidentally, I hope that those activities will not be very successful. As far as the rest of the former Empire is concerned, I believe that we must face the facts. For all practical purposes the so-called Dominions of India and Pakistan are no longer part and parcel of the British Empire. My conception of the future of the British Commonwealth, or Empire, whatever it may he called, is that it depends henceforth upon the degree of unanimity and of unity that can be achieved between Great- Britain, Canada, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand. Those countries form the core of the Empire, and there must be a substantial degree of cohesion in their relationships. There must also be a degree of flexibility and adaptability if we are to meet changing conditions.
– Hence this bill.
– This bill does not arise out of that need at all. There would be no difficulties from the viewpoint of the Australian who is a British subject, if this bill never saw the light of day. I have a few more words to say about British Commonwealth relationship but I shall reserve them for another occasion, because this is not the appropriate measure on which such remarks should be made. There is one peculiarity about this measure which I just do not understand. We have in it the reference to nationality, which is an old conception, and is clearly understood ; but we also have a reference to citizenship, which. is new in legislation of this kind. I have some familiarity with the Scriptures and I recall Saint Paul’s claim that he was a Roman citizen, as a result of which he made his trip to Rome. I know something about the manner in which the term “ citizen “ was used in the time of the French Republic ; but, apart from that, the term “ citizen “ in a British community connotes residence in some well-defined city. For instance, a man may be a citizen of London, Glasgow, Melbourne, Wellington, Sydney, or even of this national capital; but to be an “ Australian citizen “ seems to me utterly ridiculous. It is a contradiction of terms. There is no such person as an Australian citizen. I can understand the term applying to Rome, or to any one of the Greek cities or colonies that the Greeks planted in Asia Minor, Europe, and North Africa, but I do not understand the practical meaning of the term “ citizen “ in regard to an Australian or a Canadian. If one is under the Crown, one is a subject of the Crown, and I do not believe that there is any convenient half-way house, or any lower order of subjects. If the Crown is to be supreme, the people who adhere to the Crown and owe their allegiance to it, are subjects of the Crown, and nothing else. They may be citizens of individual cities in the Dominions, or in the United Kingdom itself. I am a country man who has no desire to live in any city. I know cities and I have no ambition ever to be called a citizen of any city even in Australia. So, we have a dual position in which every person is placed. I do not think that that is a convenient position. I believe that the problem could have been overcome by referring to any one of us as a British Australian, British New Zealander, or British Canadian. Personally, I like the term “British”, and I do not willingly surrender it. I believe that this Government, and certain people who met recently in London, have done the world, and particularly the subjects of the Crown, a great disservice by turning their backs on the term “ British “. It is nothing to be ashamed of, and if the people who have held to it hitherto are prepared to face the new conditions, tfr. Arc/lie Cameron. they have nothing to be afraid of in the future. This measure seems to indicate that some people under the Crown envisage a continuing disintegration of that institution. I have referred to the dismemberment that has taken place so far. I do not wish to see that process carried any further. There seems to me to be no real reason why there should not be one overriding British nationality, with the status of a British subject being accorded to everybody who owes allegiance to the British Crown. If there are some individuals who have no desire to owe allegiance to the British Crown, the sooner we know who they are, and the sooner they renounce their allegiance to the British Crown, the better it will be for that Crown. We should face those facts, and get down to the good old adage that those who are not with us are, potentially at any rate, against us. If they are not prepared to go with us all the way, I do not see any very great advantage in having them with us as fair weather sailors, because as soon as stormy conditions are encountered they will want a boat of their own.
I feel strongly about certain provisions in the bill, and there are a couple of matters which I asked the Minister to clear up in his reply to this debate. One is in relation to clause 5 which contains definitions. “ Service under an Australian Government “ is defined as meaning
Under clause 15, the Minister may grant a certificate of naturalization as an Australian citizen to an alien or to a protected person who has made application in accordance with the provisions of clause 14, and has satisfied the Minister -
So, for the purposes of Australian citizenship, a resident of New Guinea is looked upon as an Australian resident; yet the Government tells us that it is only the trustee for some shadowy body that flits around from Lake Success to Paris, and other delectable spots. The paragraph continues - . . or partly in Australia and partly in Now Guinea, or lias had service under an Australian government, or partly such residence and partly such service, for periods amounting in the aggregate to not less than four years during the eight years immediately preceding that date. “ Service “ is a blanket term. It means any service under the Commonwealth. Recently the Government brought to this country certain persons of enemy nationality. They are still of enemy nationality because we have not yet signed peace treaties with our enemies. Many of these people are employed by the Commonwealth. Do the provisions of the bill mean that as soon as they have completed four years’ service they shall be automatically entitled to registration as Australian citizens?
– That would appear to be so.
– I invite the honorable member to read the remainder of the clause. He will find that such persons have to reside in Australia for at least twelve months continuously, in addition to the four years, making five years in all. That provision is included in the existing naturalization law.
– The Minister agrees, then, that an alien is to be placed in exactly the same position as a Britisher, as a Britisher has to reside here for five years before he becomes entitled to claim the full benefits of Australian citizenship, unless at some time after twelve months’ residence the Minister is so disposed to admit him to Australian citizenship. No doubt he, too, will have to take the oath of allegiance, sign the book and, perhaps, cut off the rooster’s head in a public, semi-sacred function to which the honorable member for Wilmot referred in the closing passages of his speech. That should be. cleared up by the Minister. I am not at all satisfied that the honorable gentleman is clear as to what he proposes to do under this bill.
– We brought to Australia a number of Polish ex-servicemen who had served under British comman ders in Tobruk and other places. We believe that those men are entitled to claim the period of their service under British commanders as part of the qualifying period for naturalization. I do not believe that anybody would object to that.
– I do not object to that; but I point out that the definition of “ service under an Australian Government “ in the bill does not mean military service, but service under the Commonwealth or a State or territory. The Polish ex-servicemen who served under British commanders in the Middle East and elsewhere served, not under an Australian government, but under the British Government. In this bill a distinction is clearly drawn between service under the British Government and service under an Australian government.
– The bill provides that the qualifying period of four years may be spent in any portion of the British Commonwealth.
– I appreciate that, hut it does not provide that such service shall be military service. It may be any service. To put another case, because I, like the Minister, am of a somewhat suspicious nature, I mention that not long ago we imported a Russian professor to this country and directed him to work, I believe, with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. I do not know the gentleman, nor am I interested in him except for the purpose of illustrating my case. He is in service under the Australian Government. As soon as he has completed five years’ residence and four years’ service will he be automatically entitled to Australian citizenship?
– If he lives in Australia for the whole of that time, the answer is “Yes”, subject to the qualification that his application for naturalization would be subjected to the same security checks as would the application of any other alien and that if an adverse report were received a certificate would not be forthcoming.
– The answers which I have had from the Minister so far only add to the confusion in my mind resulting from the reading of this involved attempt at legislation. The bill is so involved that one would think it had been drafted by the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt) in the spare time left to him after carrying out his duties as President of the United Nations General Assembly, _ settling the Berlin dispute and receiving his doctorate of laws at the Dublin University. I shall leave my detailed criticism of the bill until we reach the committee stage, when we shall see what we can knock out of it. I have a strong suspicion that, although the bill is supposed to have been based on the legislation passed in the United Kingdom, it will require a great deal of amendment. Having examined the act passed by the British Parliament, I have a feeling that that legislation will also need to be amended. I regret that there should be any necessity for legislation of this description. I do not believe that it will have nation-rocking results; nor do I think that it will result in any great derogation of Australians overesas. I have a. feeling that Australia, like many other nations with small populations and of very limited power, is trying to run just a little too far and too fast in the realm of international affairs. If some of our leading statesmen spent a little more time at home minding Australia’s business instead of staying abroad trying to mind the business of everybody else, it would be much better for this country. The sooner the Government faces up to the realities of the situation that confronts this country as a result of changes in the set-up of the British Empire which we cannot prevent, the better. I do not think that we have seen the end of these changes. Other things are brewing which will bring about further changes, and we should be prepared to meet them. I do not see any prospect of a long period of peace ahead. An honorable member opposite spoke about the Pax Britannica. Let me remind him, and other honorable members opposite, that from Trafalgar until the outbreak of World War I. - a period of more than 100 years - no other peace in. the world was worth naming. If, as the result of world developments, we have to fall back - and it is of no use blinking the fact that we have had to fall back from, leadership in the world - some of these things are inevitable. There is no need for us to be completely pessimistic in regard to the future so long as we keep our heads and remain loyal to ourselves. I regret that to-day too many elements in this community seem to think that loyalty to Moscow, to the United Nations, or to some shadowy or infamous conception, is of more importance that loyalty to ourselves. For the benefit, not so much of the Minister, as of some of his supporters, I draw attention to that old but good Latin proverb which says that a man has to run very fast if he is to get away from his own blood.
.-] should like to express to the Minister for Immigration (Mr. Calwell) my appreciation of the manner in which he has brought this bill before the House and of the extensive documentation which he has provided for us on this subject. I have no intention to detain the House for any great length of time. I merely desire to take this opportunity to express my resentment and that of many people who have written to me at the introduction of this measure. I propose to deal with it in the most general terms. Its principal purpose is to establish in Australia a dual nationality, the status of British subjects and a new status of Australian citizenship. Whether or not we like the proposal, and believe it to have been necessitated by changes that have taken place either inside or outside Australia, the fact remains that it must loosen our ties with Great Britain and, as a consequence, weaken the British Empire as a whole. The fact remains that under this bill Australian citizens - to use the new term, although I prefer the old, Australian nationals - will be placed in a position substantially different from that we held before the changes took place overseas, and that difference will be accentuated following the changes which will take place in this country when this legislation is implemented. Under the old order an Australian, upon setting foot in England, became an Englishman to all intents and purposes under the English law. He had the same privileges and rights as a resident in England. He could enter the public service, and obtain a commission in the services. In fact, he had all the rights of an English resident including, after residence for a certain period in that country, the melancholy satisfaction of paying income tax at the English rates. But under the new legislation passed in England all this will he changed. In future, an Australian, before he can enjoy the rights enjoyed by a resident in England, must reside there for one year, and apply for them. What he has hitherto received by right he will, in future, receive by favour, and the same change will apply to an Englishman, Scotsman, or Northern Irelander who comes to this country. Hitherto, a British national before arriving here was in exactly the same position as any Australian citizen. Under this legislation, however, he will have to live in this country, not for twelve months as will an Australian going to England, but up to a period of five years which may be shortened at the whim of the Minister administering this legislation. That is a retrograde move. It weakens our ties with Britain because we hitherto regarded ourselves as being not only Australian or British nationals but also nationals of the British Empire. That idea is now to be abandoned.
Various reasons have been given by the Minister and other honorable members opposite for the introduction of the measure. Last night the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen) said that this new idea of Australian citizenship would bring about more rapid and effective development of this country. When Australia was just a pioneering nation our population and our wealth and influence in the world increased under the old idea of British nationality. We did not require any Australian nationality, or citizenship, to bring this country to the position it enjoys to-day. What was true of the past is equally true of the present and the future. There is no need to change our status in order to increase the rate of development of this country. Surely, no one will deny that statement. The honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) said that this legislation will remove any idea of subordination of Australia to Great Britain or to any other member of the British Commonwealth of Nations. Thi6 idea of subordination was dealt with long ago, and it was buried after World War I.
– The honorable member was referring to Pakistan and India.
– His remarks apply equally to Australians because under the Statute of Westminster which the Parliament ratified some years ago all the Dominions became independent sovereign States freely associated under the Crown in the British Commonwealth of Nations. Nothing further was required. The Minister and other honorable members opposite also told us that this legislation will effect some technical improvement which will help us better to look after our nationals abroad and in dealing with matters, such as passports and Australia’s representation abroad. This legislation may help us in a small way in that respect, but that benefit will surely be outweighed by the disadvantages which we shall suffer through its operation. We have abo been told that as Great Britain itself and other members of the British Commonwealth of Nations have already passed legislation of this kind we have no choice but to pass this measure. If we really wanted to maintain our previous position with respect to nationality vis-a-vis the United Kingdom we could have done so by informing the United Kingdom Government that we did not desire any change, and that Government could then have made provision under its legislation to give Australians in Great Britain the same rights in respect of British nationality as are enjoyed under this legislation by residents of Jamaica, or the other colonies. But what happened was that there was some talk about the common code being no longer valid, that it had been mixed up as the result of action taken by certain dominions; and a conference was held to consider the matter. I should like to know what views were expressed by Australia’s representative at that conference. All we know so far is that the conference was held, and that the legislation there decided upon was subsequently passed by other members of the British Commonwealth of Nations. That may be so; but we also know that the United
Kingdom Government introduced its measure only reluctantly. I note that the honorable member for Wilmot (Mr. Duthie) is shaking his head. However, I have been informed of the facts in correspondence from friends in England and members of the House of Commons, and I have read the report of the debate on the measure in the House of Lords. It is clear that the Government did not welcome the act but introduced it because it was thought that the Dominions wanted it, and as some of the Dominions had already taken action in that direction that Government had to follow suit. I shall not criticize any other dominion for action it has taken in that matter. Perhaps, Canada and South Africa and other dominions had good reason to take such action in view of population problems within their own borders and their relations with their neighbours. Similar problems do not exist in Australia. The other dominions simply did what seemed obvious to them i na b they should do, but I see no reason way we should follow their example, or why the Australian Government should not have told the conference that it did not want to make this change. I repeat that similar legislation was introduced in Great Britain because the United Kingdom Government thought that the Dominions wanted it, and, therefore, that such action would please the Dominions. I can speak for many people on this matter. Many Australians do not want this legislation at all. Yet we are now told by some people that because Great Britain has introduced similar legislation we must pass this complementary measure.
This bill reminds me of an incident which happened in Egypt at the beginning of the century. The Egyptian Government lost its Astronomer Royal and obtained a new man from England. When he arrived in Egypt the first thing he did was to find out how the standard of time was kept in that country. He was informed that every day at 12 noon a gun was fired at Heliopolis, which is not far from Cairo. He went to Helio.polis to find out exactly what took place. He was there when the gun was fired as a signal that the time was 12 noon. He asked the man who pulled the trigger, “How do you get the time by which to fire the gun? “, and the latter replied, “ We get a signal through from Cairo “. There was a chronometer in a shop in Cairo, which passed the time signal to Heliopolis. Since the astronomer was a man who liked to get to the ‘bottom of things, he visited Cairo, went to the shop, and examined the chronometer, which was perfectly good. He said to the man who kept the chronometer: “How do you check the time shown by the chronometer?” The man replied, “We always check it with the signal from the Helio.polis gun “. The British Government introduced a measure because it wanted to please the Dominions, and the Dominions, including Australia, are enacting similar measures because they desire to please the British Government.
– Is not that criticism equally applicable to the Statute of Westminster ?
– I think that it is, but 1 do not approve the Statute of Westminster. I raise this matter because it has aroused deep feelings in a large number of people in this country. Like others they are proud of their British nationality, and they believe that their nationality is, somehow, being whittled away. For that reason, if for no other, I regret greatly that the bill was introduced. At the same time, I do not think that we should take too tragic a view of the measure. The greater part of the circumstances surrounding its introduction are matters which lay outside the control and volition of the Government, and although the passage of the measure may, to outward appearance, weaken the ties with our kinsfolk in the United Kingdom, I do not think that in practice it will weaken the Empire in the way that some people have suggested. The ties which bind the Empire cannot be defined in words; they are bonds of sympathy, blood, and kinship.
– The Empire is not held together by mere names.
– Whilst I agree with that remark, I think that we should adhere strongly to the word “ British “. That adjective should continue to apply to ourselves and other dominions. The matter is important, and it demands attention, because, at the present time, duty and policy alike dictate that we should strengthen, rather than weaken, the cohesion of the members of the British Empire. We look forward to the mutual development of the British race within the framework of the Empire. We have a mutual history and traditions, and anything which tends to weaken that association is to be deprecated. For that reason f cannot give my blessing to the bill.
.- When I first examined the bill my reaction was one of absolute hostility to it and I determined to oppose it as strongly as possible. I could see no prospect of any gain but, on the contrary, I considered that the enactment of the measure would mean that we may well have to surrender much which has proved to be of real value, including traditions which we regard with pride and affection. However, since hearing the arguments adduced by the Minister for Immigration (Mr. Calwell) and the honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Spender), I have changed my opinion somewhat. The honorable member for Warringah certainly made it clear that the measure is not viewed in a party political light by, at least, some honorable members on this side of the chamber, a.nd [ regret that a similar spirit has not been revealed by supporters of the Government. I cannot believe that a measure which profoundly affects us all can have received the unanimous approval of every honorable member opposite. Although I have been impressed by some of the arguments purporting to show the necessity for the bill I have not been at all impressed by some of the alleged advantages, which it is claimed, will result from it. I refer in particular, to some of the technical reasons mentioned by the Minister, who said that the “ common code “ system has broken down. Of course, I realize that the Minister’s view is shared by the honorable member for Warringah, but no evidence . has been presented in support of this stand. As the honorable member for Warringah pointed out, the measure has been introduced because a similar step was taken by Canada, but that is no reason for us to do likewise. Nor am I in the least reassured by the Minister’s statement that certain conferences of nationality experts decided that this step is necessary. I believe that one’s nationality, like one’s family relationships, is not a matter for experts to decide and it is a very great pity that the experts were ever called into the matter at all. I also deplore exceedingly that the average Australian was not given an opportunity to express his opinion on such a vital matter, because, from whatever standpoint we view the proposal, it is clear that the principle involved is one which will most affect the individual citizen. I remind honorable members that the average Australian is descended from British forbears, who came to this country from one of the British islands. The average Australian has, in time of war, served alongside British people, for whom he has both regard and affection. Furthermore, the average Australian has, through his travels in time of war, a geographical appreciation of Empire, and realizes the value of maintaining the closest possible cohesion between its members.
A great deal has been said about the action of other dominions - as though that consideration should greatly influence us in considering this measure - and, in particular, the attitude of Canada has been mentioned. We have been told that Canada was the first dominion to take the step now proposed to be taken by the Australian Government. However, I remind honorable members that there is very little similarity between the considerations which affect Canada and those which should influence Australia. After all, for more than one hundred years Canada has not, as we have, been dependent on Great Britain for its existence. Nor has Canada been dependent on Great Britain and the British Fleet to maintain its living conditions and racial standards. It is not so long since Canada was added to the British Dominions by force of arms, and, to this day, many Canadians do not speak English as their mother tongue. For those reasons, amongst others, it is misleading to suggest that considerations which influenced Canada to abandon the British nationality of its citizens apply also to Australia. We should also realize that Canada enjoys, as a neighbour, the protection of the United States of America, the greatest power on earth. Although many British descendants in Canada are tied to Great Britain by bonds of kinship, they are not dependent on that country or on the brotherhood of the Empire as we are and many Canadians feel a natural affinity with the United States rather than with Great Britain. A similar comment might be made of India, Pakistan, Ceylon and South Africa. The inhabitants of those countries are not primarily people of British descent. It is right and proper for them to decide to have their own nationality, but I cannot for the life of me understand why we in Australia should follow suit. We are in a totally different category. Whether we like it or not, we are a British people. Whether we pass legislation of this kind or not, we are still a British people. I cannot for a moment believe that the overwhelming majority of Australians do not wish to continue in this tradition and it is clearly in our best interests to do so. I desire to nail the misrepresentation that, in passing this bill, we are taking a step to bring us into line with others in a like position. We are in a particular position, as I have tried to show, and we are not keeping in step with anybody, because we are completely on our own. However, I do not attempt to attribute the entire blame for this bill to the Government, because the Minister has made it abundantly plain that this legislation has the blessing of the British Government, which, I believe, has expressed the view that it should be regarded as urgent.
Mi-. Calwell. - Australia is. the last dominion to pass this legislation.
– I understand that that is so. It is claimed that we should favour this bill and support Great Britain, because the compromise arrangement is a satisfactory formula for keeping India and Pakistan in the Empire. I am somewhat impressed by that argument. It has always been the genius of the British people to be able to meet changing circumstances. But I also know that the continuation of the Empire as a cohesive body does not depend in any real sense on the. passing of legislation or the formal recognition of a particular status. The Empire has been held together by two considerations. The first is affection and loyalty to the Crown. The second consideration, and we should face it, is self interest. We must realize that we shall not placate either India or Pakistan by making this sort of arrangement. Immediately affection or self interest no longer exists in those countries, they will cease to be members of the British Empire. I am also mindful that the British themselves have no small history of placating those who are difficult at the expense of those who are prepared to agree to whatever they are asked to accept.
I am not surprised, in a sense, that this recognition comes from the British Government, particularly when we consider the character of that Government as it is now constituted. When Mr. Winston Churchill was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, he emphasized that he did not intend to preside over the disintegration or weakening of the British Empire. That was a natural view for Mr. Churchill to take, because, as everybody here knows, he has devoted the greater part of his life to working and fighting for the maintenance of the Empire. More than any other man of our generation, he represents John Bull. He has always given expression to those kinds of opinion which we associate with John Bull, and, indeed, he has been the living personification of all that the Empire has meant. However, the British Government now is of a different complexion. The socialists of Great Britain have always made it perfectly clear that they are out of sympathy with the Empire and the peoples of the Empire. In season and out of season, they have criticized the development of the Empire. Therefore, it is not to be wondered at that they have been all too eager to take this step. Although I deplore it, I say, in order to be perfectly fair, that we cannot altogether blame the Australian Government for taking what the Minister claims to be. a step at the behest of the British Government.
What benefit can result to anybody under this bill? Does any one feel any more Australian as the result of establishing an Australian nationality? I desire to direct attention to a few matters which the Minister mentioned in his second-reading speech, when he referred to what he was pleased to call that warm, pulsating document which enshrines the love of country of any genuine Australian. By those words, he meant this bill. Referring to the desirability of passing this measure because it would be such an, incentive to foreign-born migrants who would settle in this country, he stated -
Like everybody else they will be able to say with some pride, “ I also am an Australian “.
The Minister does very well to refer to foreign-born migrants who have come to Australia. Despite repeated warnings by members of the Opposition and members of the public, the honorable gentleman has done a great deal to bring to this country people who, it is doubtful, can be satisfactorily absorbed into our way of life. It is most important that, at the present time, when so many foreigners who have no clear idea of Australia are coming here, we should present to them the strongest possible picture of our national life and our connexion with Great Britain. To many people who come here, Australia is simply a country without traditions. Therefore, it is to our own interest to remind those new citizens of our traditional connexion with British institutions. “Whilst I am impressed by certain views which the Minister has expressed, it is impossible to overlook the fact that the passing of this bill will certainly be welcomed by every person who opposes the British Empire. This legislation will be supported by every enemy of Great Britain and Australia.
– That is the point.
– Indeed it is. This bill will be welcomed by persons such as the honorable member for Lang (Mr. Mulcahy) and Senator Amour, who stated clearly in San Francisco his opinion of our connexion with Great Britain.
– Senator Amour denied that report.
– I am aware of that.
– The honorable member for Henty is not entitled to reflect on members of the Parliament.
– One of the reasons why we must regard the bill with suspicion is that it will be hailed with such joy by all those who work against us and who will be glad to see us weakened. Of course, this proposal will be opposed by the overwhelming majority of Australians - by every ex-serviceman and every man, woman and child who will go into the streets to welcome the Royal Family when they visit this country next year. Whatever else may be said for the bill there is not the slightest public demand for it. The honorable member for Robertson (Mr. Williams) has described the subject of citizenship and nationality as difficult and technical. Of course, it appears to be difficult and technical when we read the bill, but we can say, with equal truth, that the altered relations of a growing family may also be described as a difficult and technical subject. Nationality and citizenship can be made a difficult and technical matter when governments appoint experts, who are guided only by logic and legalities, to solve the problem. But I say that this bill is, in effect, an example of a field day on the part of experts. To quote the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture (Mr. Pollard), it would very much seem as if the firm of Fogg, Fogg, and Pettifogg have had more than a fair share in certain of the clauses of the bill to which I shall draw attention at a later stage. If the ordinary people of this country had had the slightest voice in the determination of this bill, it would not have come before the House. I recognize that the bill is, in a sense, inevitable, but I cannot let this opportunity pass without expressing my own very great regret that such a step should be considered necessary.
.- I support the views that the honorable member for Henty (Mr. Gullett) has expressed so well. I believe that his speech will find its place in the hearts of the people generally. I consider that the present measure is quite unnecessary. The Minister for Immigration (Mr. Calwell) may find reasons for introducing it, but there is really no reason why Australia should follow Canada or any other part of the Empire in taking the action proposed in the- measure. Some other Dominions have their peculiar problems. Canada, for instance, has a large French population, to which the Prime Minister of that dominion is beholden for his position. South Africa has the Dutch problem. Pakistan, India and Ceylon have a good deal of affection for the Empire and desire to remain in it if it takes another form, and we can understand the wish of those nations to throw aside the term “ British “. But there is no reason why Australia should follow suit. I consider that the bill, if it becomes law, will gladden the hearts of the Empire’s enemies, and will be particularly popular in Soviet Russia. The British Commonwealth of Nations, which is the most successful coalition of nations in the history of the world, is being weakened by such measures as the present one. It is being slowly sacrificed on the altar of political philosophy. Mr. “Winston Churchill, who represents what is best and greatest in the Empire, said on one occasion, “ I have not become the Empire’s chief Minister to preside at its liquidation”. But now his opposite number, Sir Stafford Cripps, says that “ the liquidation of the Empire is essential to our philosophy”. Australia has a perambulating Minister for External Affairs, who goes around the world speaking about unity among the nations. He would do more good if he worked for unity within the Empire. We have never required unity within the Empire more than we do now. Yet the Australian Government introduces a measure such as the present one. How strange it is that the introduction of this measure should coincide with the Republic of Ireland bill, which was passed at its first reading on the same day as the Minister brought down-
– That is not true.
– It is true.
– I did not introduce this bill on the same day-
– I am’ not referring to the actual day or minute, but nevertheless the introduction of this measure coincides in time with the passage of that bill in Eire, a country which was neutral during the war, although thousands of its best men fought as members of the British fighting forces. But that country now has a policy which it calls non-partition. In other words, it desires to tear away from the Empire the most prosperous part of Ireland - that is, the six northern counties. If the present measure becomes law, Australia will have put itself in line with all the various proposals and actions that are leading to the disintegration of the Empire. At a time when the world is torn in two by conflicting ideologies, and when the democracies are on the defensive, we are proposing to adopt something that amounts to appeasement and that can only please our enemies. I am pleased to say that the Labour party has become somewhat less isolationist in sentiment during the last few years, but patriotism should not be merely lipservice; it should be practical, and if the members of the Government are patriots they should meet all assaults on the Empire, whether external in nature, or emanating from the fifth column in its own ranks, or contained in corrosive legislation adopted by other dominions or colonies which would have a grave effect on our successful coalition of nations. Socialist regimes will pass. The present Australian Government is, in fact, already on the way out and before long we shall have a return to what is the true feeling of the people. It is a pity that this measure should have been laid before the Parliament. There is a case for Eire, India, Pakistan, Canada and South Africa, from their own points of view, to have legislation of this kind, but it is not the kind of legislation for us. We, and our fellow dominion, New Zealand, are, above all. British, and we should set an example.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Lang) adjourned.
House adjourned at 12.50 p.m.
The following answers to questions were circulated: -
n asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
Y - On the 5th November, the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Lang) asked me questions concerning scientists travelling overseas. I have looked into the questions raised regarding Messrs. Spencer Smith-White and Paul Klemens and the position Appears to be as follows : - Mr. Spencer Smith- White is apparently an employee of the University of Sydney, which is a State institution, and if information about him is desired I suggest that the proper avenue is the Council of Sydney University or its senior executive officer, the ViceChancellor. As regards Mr. Paul Klemens, the position is broadly the same. His appointment is made, under legislation passed by the Commonwealth Parliament, not by any Minister, but by the properly constituted governing body of the Australian National University, which is its council, whose chief executive officer is the Vice-Chancellor, Professor D. B. Copland. I understand that Australian National University scholarships are awarded to enable persons of proved ability to obtain further training in research techniques and that it is not the practice of universities to inquire into the political beliefs of persons to whom scholarships are awarded. These scholarships do not carry with them any undertaking that at their expiring the holder will be employed by the National University.
I have received from Mr. Klemens’s father and- colleagues emphatic denials that he is a Communist or is in any way linked with Communist activities. I have also received a similar letter from Mr. Smith- White in respect of himself. This letter states that Mr. Smith-White did not leave for England on Orion nor does he contemplate a trip abroad in the near future and that he resigned the secretaryship of the Australian Association of Scientific Workers many months ago. There is no record of this gentleman having been granted passport facilities.
So far as the honorable member’s questions relate to the issue of passports, I have frequently pointed out that the political views of an applicant for a passport are not regarded as a disqualifying factor in the issue of such a document. The Director, Commonwealth Investigation Service, however, is furnished with the names of all applicants for passport facilities and any representations made by the director in regard to an applicant would receive special consideration. As Mr. Klemens complied with all the conditions requisite to the issue of a passport, he was granted such facilities.
N asked the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
In general, it can be stated that supplies of protein meals of animalorigin in Australia are insufficient to meet the demand and unsuccessful inquiries have been made overseas with a view to importation.
Dollar Deficits : Educational Courses.
y. - On the 4th November, the honorable member forFremantle (Mr. Beazley) asked a question regarding the provision of’ dollars to students desiring to take up educational courses in the United States of America. I am now in a position to supply the following information to the honorable member: -
Under existing dollar conservation policy the provision of dollars for study purposes in the United States of America is restricted to special courses, considered to be of national importance, which are not available within the sterling area or soft currency countries. In some particular fields where it is generally recognized that the foremost, if not the only, research facilities or tuition are available in the United States, it is in the interest of scientific development in Australia to permit suitable students to pursue post-graduate courses in that country and in such cases approval is given to the dollar expenditure required to complete a particular course. Each case is considered individually by the Commonwealth Bank and regard is taken of the advice of leading Australian authorities on the importance of the particular course of study and the qualifications of the student for it.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 19 November 1948, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1948/19481119_reps_18_200/>.