House of Representatives
9 February 1949

18th Parliament · 2nd Session

Mr. Speaker (Hon. J. S.Rosevear) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.

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Assent to the following bills reported : -

Judges’ Pensions Bill 1948.

Whaling Bill 1948.

War Service Homes Bill 1948.

Commonwealth Bank Bill 1948.

Social Services Consolidation Bill (No 2) 1948.

Stevedoring Industry Bill 1948.

Trade Marks Bill 1948.

Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Bill 1948.

Mental Institution Benefits Bill 1948.

Acts Interpretation Bill 1948.

Coal Production (War-time) . Act Repeal Bill 1948.

Hide and Leather Industries Bill 1948.

International Organizations (Privileges and Immunities) Bill 1948.

International Trade Organization Bill 1948.

War Damage to Property Bill 1948.

Commonwealth Public Service Bill (No. 2) 1948.

National Health Service Bill 1948.

Hospital Benefits Bill 1948.

Nationality and Citizenship Bill 1948.

Aliens Deportation Bill 1948.

Passports Bill 1948.

Immigration Bill 1948.

Wool Realization (Distribution of Profits) Bill 1948.

Defence (Transitional Provisions) Bill 1948.

Parliamentary Retiring Allowances Bill 1948.

River Murray Waters Bill 1948.

Commonwealth Aid Roads and Works Bill 1948.

Customs Tariff Bill (No.5) 1948.

Excise Tariff Bill (No. 4) 1948.

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– I desire to ask a question of the Prime Minister, and by way of preface I mention the worldwide disgust aroused by the travesty of justice in Communistcontrolled Hungary where the Primate, Cardinal Mindszenty, has been sentenced to life imprisonment. Has the Prime Minister’s attentionbeen drawn to the statement made by the British Foreign Secretary, Mr. Ernest Bevin, who described the methods of the Hungarian Government, both before and after the trial of the Primate and others, as utterly repugnant to our conception of human rights and liberties? If so, does the Federal Government subscribe to the views expressed by Mr. Bevin? Did the Australian Government receive public protests against the brutal torture of the Hungarian Primate, and demands for impartial investigation by the United Nations organization of the charges against him? If so, did the Government refer these demands to any United Nations organization authority, and what was the result of such representations?

Mr Chifley:

– The Minister for External Affairs will answer the question.

Attorney-General · BARTON, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP

– The Government did receive a large number of protests from all over Australia in reference to this matter. Prior to that, however, we received a report from the High Commissioner for Australia in London, and also other routine reports, about the matter. The Government kept in close touch with both the High Commissioner in London and the Australian Ambassador at Paris as it regarded the matter as very serious. The extraordinary character of the case was that it was not unrelated to other cases which had occurred earlier in Hungary, in one of which a leading member of the. Calvinist Church was involved and charged, and in a second of which one of the leaders of the Lutheran Church was involved. A much broader question than the prosecution of a cardinal of the Catholic Church of Hungary was involved. The matter seemed to me to involve the general question of the rights guaranteed under the Treaty of Peace with Hungary, to which Australia is a party. Those rights included the guarantee of freedom, of religion by the Government of Hungary to all people within its borders and also the guarantee of freedom of speech. Australia, therefore, has a practical interest in the carrying out of the obligations of that treaty. We lodged with the High Commissioner for Australia in London, and with the Australian Ambassador of Paris, our expression of deep concern about the matter and our desire to be seized of all relevant facts, and when the protests to which the honorable member has referred were made we also furnished to them the substance of those protests. We arranged that the Australian Ambassador at Paris should go to Budapest in order to attend the trial and, if possible, get in touch with those representing the accused persons at the trial. It has been reported to me that on no fewer than six occasions a vise for that purpose was promised for the Australian Ambassador, but when the time came for it to be produced, it was not forthcoming, a further circumstance which shows that a prima facie case exists for a very close investigation, one would think, in relation to the leaders of the other churches I have mentioned, of miscarriage or possible miscarriage of justice. That is the course that the Australian Government has taken. Its attitude was reinforced by the extraordinary number of protests which came from all over this country, and which have been made in one form or another by leaders of churches, not merely the church directly affected - the Roman Catholic Church - but by churches of all denominations. I have been informed this morning that it is proposed to bring this matter before the Assembly of the United Nations at its adjourned sitting in New York in a few months’ time. I assure the House that we regard this matter as one of great importance, because if things of that character occur anywhere in the world, especially when treaty violation seems to be involved, they constitute a threat to freedom everywhere in the world.

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– Will the Minister for Civil Aviation inform me whether it is planned to provide an all-weather runway at the Wagga aerodrome? If so, when will this runway be constructed?


– It is planned to provide all-weather runways at Wagga aerodrome, and money was placed on the Estimates last year for that purpose, but because of the shortage of man-power, materials and equipment, it was impossible to proceed with the work. We realize the necessity for having allweather runways at Wagga airfield, and the work will be undertaken as soon as possible.

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– I direct to the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture a question relating to the reported negotiations at present proceeding for the conclusion of an international wheat agreement? Will the Minister inform me whether he or the Australian Government has consulted the Australian Wheat Growers Federation, the Australian Primary Producers Union or any appropriate body of Australian primary producers in order to obtain the views of growers before committing them to what may be a contractual obligation extending over a number of years? Will the Minister also state whether a representative of the Australian Wheat Board is present at the negotiations ?

Minister for Commerce and Agriculture · BALLAARAT, VICTORIA · ALP

– The Australian Government is following exactly the same policy as that which it followed on the occasion of the last conference at which an international wheat agreement was considered. The conference was called on a government-to-government basis. The Australian Government is represented by Mr. Edwin McCarthy, who is the Secretary of the Department of Commerce and Agriculture. The Government has not, as yet, consulted either the Primary Producers Union or the Australian Wheat Growers Federation, but nothing stands in the way of those organizations or any other organization of wheat-growers, and, for that matter, consumers who are vitally concerned, conveying to the Government their views regarding the conference and the terms and conditions which, they consider, should be agreed to. A few moments ago, I said the Government was following the same procedure .as that which it followed at the last conference. I remind the honorable member for Indi that, following the signing of the International Wheat Agreement, which, of course, did not commit the Government to ratifying it, I called together the executive members of the Australian Wheat Growers Federation to meet me at Parliament House, Canberra. I told them the exact terms of the agreement, and gave them the opportunity to express their approval or disapproval of it. At that juncture the agreement had not been ratified -by the Australian Parliament, and those representatives of the growers had the opportunity to say whether they were in favour of it or opposed to it. They left the matter in complete abeyance and to the judgment of the Government, which proceeded to submit to the Parliament legislation ratifying the agreement. A representative of the Australian Wheat Board is not attending the present conference, but the board has carried a resolution, which it has forwarded to me, stating that, in its opinion, the terms of the agreement, if an agreement is reached, should be not less favorable than and should be along the same lines as those of the agreement which this Parliament ratified last year.

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– Before the House adjourned for the Christmas recess, I raised on a number of occasions the matter of coal shipments to South Australia, and endeavoured to ascertain whether the Government had taken any action to ensure that South Australia would receive the allocations which the Joint Coal Board had promised to it. Does the Prime Minister know that, since Christmas, many workers in South Australia have had to lose time because of their inability to get transport to their places of employment? This position has arisen because supplies of coal are insufficient to enable the railways to run normal services. At present, industry generally in South Australia is shut down because coal shipments have not been maintained. Will the right honorable gentleman again examine the matter for the purpose of ensuring that South Australian industries shall not be dependent upon a collier arriving precisely on schedule? Has the Government power to ensure that a fair allocation of coal is sent to South Australia?


– I have gone very fully into the question of the allocation of coal to South Australia, which is, as the honorable member knows, a matter for the Joint Coal Board. In view of the present general shortage of coal, South Australia would have fared much worse under the old system than it has done under the existing conditions. Percentage allocations were agreed’ upon by the Joint Coal Board, the States and the Minister for Shipping and Fuel. They were based upon a weekly coal production of 245,000 tons. When production, falls below that figure,. the allocations to the States are reduced proportionately. The Premier of South Australia, Mr. Playford, has taken up with me personally the question of the shortage of coal in South Australia. His’ telegrams appeared in the press before they reached me, but that is the usual thing. They generally appear in the press before they arrive here. The Minister for Shipping and Fuel and myself went into the matter very carefully and yesterday afternoon we sent to Mr. Playford a very long letter, setting out the position with regard to allocations of coal and the ships that would be proceeding to South Australia. A request was also made for the provision of fuel oil for auxiliary plants in South Australia. Provision has been made for- the supply of fuel oil to the South Australian Electricity Commission, the railways and gas companies. There has been some delay in regard to a couple of ships. I shall not weary the House with a detailed statement of the ships that are moving down the coast, hut it is anticipated that those two ships will arrive there the day after tomorrow. I shall supply the honorable member with a copy of the letter that was sent to Mr. Playford. The fact of the matter is that insufficient coal is being produced to meet the demands for coal that are being made from all quarters. Those demands are increasing every day. The quantity of coal that is now being produced in Australia would have been more than sufficient to meet all our requirements before the war, but owing to the great expansion of our economy, the great number of new electrical appliances and the great demand by domestic users, the coal supply now does not measure up to the needs of the community. The Joint Coal Board, which is operating under an agreement between the New South “Wales Government and the Australian Government, has set out on the task of rehabilitating the industry so that Australia will eventually produce enough coal to meet the needs of the community. That cannot, be done in five minutes; it may take some years.


– Is the Prime Minister aware that the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction, while speaking in the Labour Ring at the Botanic Park, in

Adelaide, on the 23rd January last, said that the South Australian coal order had now become a standing whine? Does the Prime Minister agree with the Minister’s description of South Australia’srequest for a fair deal in the allocation of coal supplies? If he does not, will hedemand from the Minister an apology for that unwarranted attack on the South Australian Administration?


– I have not seen the statement to which the honorable memberhas referred, and I shall not demand an. apology from the Minister for PostwarReconstruction for what he is reported: to have said.


– Surely the PrimeMinister does not agree with it?


– I think that the Premier of South Australia will admit that administrative relationships between the Commonwealth and that State are quite harmonious, and that we are endeavouring to do everything we can in the interests of the people of South Australia. I should like to see that statement denied by the Premier of South Australia.

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– Will the Prime Minister consider the remission of customs duty on fencing materials that are now permitted to enter Australia under the quota system, provided that means can be found to pass on to the consumer the benefit of such a remission? Many of the farmers who would be affected by the remission have already suffered considerable losses because of the shortage of these materials. Farmers who buy their fencing materials from abroad and do not receive the benefit of remission of duty will he placed at a considerable disadvantage in comparison with those farmers whose requirements have been met from Australian production.


– The honorable member’s request is that duties imposed upon imported fencing materials that are to be used for primary production and other similar purposes should he waived. That

Mr Rankin:

– What about fumigants?


– I shall not weary the House by dealing with the whole matter of imports, which is something that I can deal with later. Regarding fumigants, however, the fact is that prior to the war we imported about’ 50 tons of cyanogas a year and this year we have given permission for the importation of about 185 tons of cyanogas and of 127 tons of larvacide, which is deemed to he much more destructive than cyanogas.

Mr Rankin:

– Our rabbit population has increased 100 per cent.


– I am speaking of this calendar year. If any honorable gentleman desires a full statement on the question of fumigants I shall make one available at the appropriate time. I have already addressed a letter to the secretary of the Graziers Association in which I have set out all the facts of this matter. If aluminium manganese netting wire is desired I believe a great deal of that can be obtained from the United Kingdom. The question that the honorable member


– Will the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture say whether the Government proposes to make dollars available for the importation into Australia of wire netting, fumigants and ammunition to deal with the very serious rabbit pest? This has been on many occasions the forerunner of a serious drought, which could deal a serious blowto our economy.


– I have already referred to this matter briefly in reply to another question. It is expected that we shall obtain a considerable quantity of wire netting this year from continental countries, or what are known as easy currency countries. We hope to get 10,000 or 11,000 tons from Germany, 5,000 or 6,000 tons from France, and some more from other continental countries. Together with the local production of 11,000 tons, we anticipate that that will provide in this calendar year 35,000 tons of wire netting. I admit at once that the cost of imported netting is very high. In addition to that 35,000 tons, we may get 1,000 tons from Japan, but the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture informs me that he cannot guarantee the quality of the Japanese product. Some wire netting made of aluminiummanganese has come on to the market. It is much dearer than ordinary wire, but. owing to its lightness, it goes very much further. I do not know whether it would be readily purchased by Australian primary producers. It is anticipated that we may be able to obtain some thousands of tons of that wire if there is a market for it, which is problematical. On the present dollar provision, we could get approximately 5,000 tons from the United States of America. That would make a total of approximately 40,000 tons. The American wire netting is very dear. Since we have let it be known that we are prepared to issue import licences for wire netting from America we have received only two firm requests. The price to be charged is extremely high. I have written a letter to the secretary of the Graziers Association on this matter, and

I shall supply a copy of it to the honorable gentleman.

Mr Rankin:

– What about fumigants?

Mr.CHIFLEY.- We are bringing in much more than before the war. Before the war, approximately 50 tons of cyanogas a year was brought in, but we are bringing in now approximately 185 tons of cyanogas and 127 tons of larvacide. That should be ample to meet all requirements.

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– I address a question to the Prime Minister relative to a report that appeared recently in the press concerning increases in the homeconsumption prices of lead and zinc. The report, which appeared at the end of December, stated that the then price of £22 a ton for both metals was expected to be raised to £35 a ton for lead and £40 a ton for zinc. Did the Australian Government ask the States to fix prices for these materials? If so, did the States accede to the Commonwealth’s request, or was there an objection? Is there a surcharge of121/2 per cent. on the price of lead, and, if so, to what is this surcharge attributable ?


– Due to the transfer of price controls from the Commonwealth to the States the fixation of the prices of lead and zinc for home consumption is one that is, of course now entirely a. matter for the States. There were complaints during the past year that the prices of lead and zinc for home consumption were too low and that it was not possible, due to the rising costs of production, to produce those metals profitably at the then fixed prices. The prices were fixed at a time when costs were very much lower than they are at present. The fixation of prices is a matter entirely for the States. The question of how much lead and zinc should be exported is one for determination by the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture. There were constitutional difficulties in the way of any of the States acquiring lead and zinc in order to satisfy the Australian demand. I have conferred with the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture, and together we have discussed the subject with the Minister in charge of prices in each State, particularly with the chairman of the committee of Ministers, Mr. Finnan, of New South Wales, as well as with the Premier of that State. The Australian Government arranged for the establishment of a pool by lead and zinc producers. It is a long and involved story, but the establishment of such a pool would result in ample supplies of these metals being available. The Minister for Commerce and Agriculture and Iaccept full responsibility for agreeing with the producers that the price of lead in Australia should be £35 a ton, and the price of zinc £40 a ton. The Premiers of the States, with whom we discussed the matter, had no power to arrange for the formation of a pool. The Commonwealth was able to do so through the voluntary agreement of the producers, and the prices I have mentioned were accepted as fair, having regard to all the circumstances.

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– Was the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction correctly reported in the Melbourne Age of the 2nd February as having stated at Launceston that, while the Government’s political opponents would say that the Australian Labour Government had not done much to combat the menace of communism, that statement had no foundation in fact? Will the Minister inform the House of one instance in which his Government has invoked the Crimes Act to curb the activities of Communists? Will the Minister give the House specific instances of how and when the Government has taken any action to combat the menace of communism ?

Minister for Defence · CORIO, VICTORIA · ALP

– The press report to which the honorable member referred is a correct version of the statement that I made at Launceston. This Government has done a very great deal to combat the menace of communism in the only way in which it can he combated. It has given to the people of Australia a standard of living better than that which could be provided under communism or any other system. In that way it has met the menace of communism more successfully than it has been met in any othercountryintheworld. There is no other parliament of the size and importance of the Australian Parliament that has not one or more members of the Communist party sitting in it There is not one member of the Communist party in the Australian Parliament. There is no need for me to state in detail what this Government has done to meet the menace of communism. The Government’s record is sufficient answer to the honorable member’s question.


-I refer to events which are taking place in Hungary to-day and to the obvious pattern which Communist policy is following there in the persecution of religious and other leaders. I ask the Attorney-General whether the time has not arrived in the view of the Government for declaring the Communist party in Australia a like subversiveorganizationtothe Communist party in all other countries. If the Government is not prepared to go thatfar , will it give effect to the resolution which the Australian Workers Union recently carried in Melbourne seeking the abolition of the Communist party and other disruptive organizations in Australia?

Dr.EVATT.-I am not aware of the resolutionreferredtobytheehonorable member.ThepolicyoftheGovernment onthemainmatterhasbeenfrequently stated.Indeed,theMinisterforthePost- warReconstructionhasjustsaid something about it. Communism can be defeated and prevented from being a power not by suppression but by positive measures designed to remove the causes which lead to it. I have no desire to enter into a general debate on this matter. The views of the Government in relation to it seem to be opposed to those of the honorable member. We believe that the views of the Government are correct.


– Has the attention of the Attorney-General been directed to a statement which the Leader of the Opposition is reported to have made, to the effect that the Liberal party intends to ban the Communist party-, and that the banning of the Communist party is a plank of the platform of the Liberal party? Will the Attorney-General discuss with the Leader of the Opposition the possibility of having the Liberal Governments of South Australia, Western Australia and Victoria give effect to this plank of their platform in order that the Commonwealth may judge the effectiveness or otherwise of this method of dealing with the Communist party?


– The honorable member has made a very interesting and valuable suggestion. His proposal, if given effect to would be a perfect experiment, because whatever doubts there are about the Commonwealth’s legislative powers, there can be no doubt whatever that each State Parliament would have complete jurisdiction to impose a ban on the Communist party “within its territory;

Mr Menzies:

– Are there any doubts about the Common wealth’s power?


– I said, “If there are doubts “.

Mr Menzies:

– The right honorable gentleman does not think that there are?


– That is another question. I want to deal with the question which the honorable member for Martin has asked.’ I would welcome such an experiment-, so that the Parliament of Victoria, and, indeed, the parliaments of any other States which are so disposed, may try out that experiment so as to ascertain whether it will he a success.

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– Has the attention of the Prime Minister been drawn to the remarks of Professor T. Hytten, as published in the Sydney Sun on the 12th January? The statement, I believe, was made at the summer school of economics. The Professor is reported as follows: -

Australia should aim at a stabilized economy with an employed rate of 8 per cent. This plan, he said, was preferable to full employment. Complete stability was neither attainablenor desirable, said the Professor, who is Economic Adviser to the Bank of New South Wales.

Since the eight in every 100 unemployed under the Hytten plan would include on a statistical basis, two workers over 50, two women workers, two disemployed adult workers and two servicemen who had sweated it out in the Middle East or the jungles of New Guinea will the Prime Minister immediately repudiate this inhuman plan which would condemn eight out of every 100 Australians, together with their families, to starvation? Can the Prime Minister say whether the Hytten plan is part of a world-wide plot to bring about another depression?


– I have not seen the statement attributed to Professor Hytten, Abut I accept what the honorable member has said as being a press report of his remarks at a school of economics. All I have to say is that such a plan would lead to the degradation and misery of millions of people if it were widely adopted as government policy. An unemployment rate of 8 per cent, is naturally the objective of many who represent vested interests. I am speaking of the less humane employers. I know that there are .many employers who would not subscribe to such a policy, but there is a minority of employers who are anxious to exploit the people, and who, in order to make their business profitable, are anxious to have a great number of persons waiting at their factory gates, from whom they may select labour. Such a situation enables them to hold the threat of sacking and unemployment over their workers. This Government does not stand for anything of the kind suggested in the reported remarks of Professor Hytten. The policy of full employment has its own difficulties. No one will deny that, but it is desirable that the great mass of the people should be employed producing the things they need, and that they should have purchasing power to enable them to buy those things.

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– Has the Prime Minister’s attention been, drawn to an article in the Melbourne Sun by Pastor Douglas Nicholls, one- of Australia’s leading aborigines, in which he asks for a better deal for aborigines? Pastor Nicholls outlined the following four-point plan for aborigines : - (1) An aboriginal member of Parliament; (2) an aboriginal administrator of the native community; (3) better educational facilities for aboriginal children; and (4) the right of aborigines to conduct their lives exactly’ as they see white people, conductin’g’ theirs. Does the Prime Minister intend to devote greater energy to aboriginal problems? Will he consider setting up a committee to inquire fully into the numbers, locations and means of livelihood; of aborigines in this country> and into methods of improving their conditions? Will he give an assurance that there will be no repetition of the recent inhuman deportation from Mulgoa to Alice Springs of decent-living aborigines?


– I am always confident that native affairs will be sympathetically administered by the present Minister for the Interior, who is himself a child of the outback, where he lived among the aborigines and worked with them. He is not just a sentimentalist who, from a chair in a city office, talks of aboriginal welfare, but who would probably refuse to be associated physically with aborigines. The Minister earned his living among the aborigines, and worked with them as equals. The Government does’ not propose to set up any committee of the kind suggested by the honorable member. On one occasion the Minister for the Interior placed before a conference of Commonwealth and State Ministers a proposal that the care of aborigines in Australia should be entirely taken over by the Australian Government,- but the proposal was rejected. Most of our aborigines live in Queensland and Western Australia, and I admit at once that the opinions advanced by Mr. Hanlon, the Premier of Queensland, and by the Premier of Western Australia, were reasonable, and the objections which they advanced to the proposal, were valid.- 1 think that Mr. Hanlon understands this question more fully than any other State Premier. He ha’s; had a long experience in oaring for the aborigines. The honorable member” for Moreton knows that no injustice has been done.

Mr Beale:

– Why were the eighteen children sent back to Alice Springs?


– Order ! The question was asked by the honorable member for Moreton. The honorable member for Parramatta has no right to intervene.


– The honorable member for Moreton referred to the children from Mulgoa, which happens to be in. my electorate. I know something of the circumstances of their coming to and their going away from Mulgoa. A public statement has been issued by the Minister for the Interior in regard to the matter. Nobody can claim that any injustice has been done.

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Incident at Genoa.


– The Melbourne press reported last night that the Minister for the Navy has given consideration to what is known as the Kanimbla report, which concerns an incident which occurred at Genoa between members of the crew of the H.M.A.S. Kanimbla and civilians. Has the honorable gentleman any information to give to the House regarding the matter?

Minister for the Navy · KENNEDY, QUEENSLAND · ALP

– The honorable member has anticipated me somewhat. It was my intention to-day to ask for the leave of the House to make a short statement in regard to this matter. I now ask leave to make the statement.


-Is leave granted?

Mr White:

– No.

Leave not granted.


– Does the Minister desire to reply to the question?


– All I have to say is that it was my intention to place before the House a factual statement regarding the incident that took place at Genoa, but as honorable members opposite are not interested in it I shall say no more at this stage.

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– Has the attention of the Prime Minister been directed to evidence given before the royal commission in Sydney inquiring into the New Guinea timber lease case and to questions asked by counsel assisting the Commissioner ? As counsel assisting the Commissioner were the same counsel as those briefed to prosecute for the Crown in the previous cases, and as they now suggest that if certain evidence now given had been tendered previously, there may have been a doubt whether the jury would have convicted Garden, will the Government, in the interests of natural justice, see that counsel is briefed to represent Garden before the royal commission? Will the terms of reference be extended - (1) to obtain a report from the Commissioner stating whether or not Garden should be granted a new trial in relation to the Forshaw letter; (2) to provide for a full investigation into the workings of the plywood combine, and whether a monopoly has existed; (3) to ascertain whether there was any substance in allegations that the Brett interests were involved at any stage; (4) to inquire what would have been the effect on the plywood market in Australia, had large imports of the material been obtained from New Guinea, and (5) to inquire whether Mr. Leo Parer, managing director of Stanford X-ray Proprietary Limited and brother of Raymond Parer, interviewed Senator Courtice, Minister for Trade and Customs, in Canberra, on the 5th June, 3.947, and conveyed to him certain information relating to what was happening, and whether this evidence was available to the Crown at the recent trial, but was not called?


– I think it must be obvious that, because of the number of questions asked by the honorable member, and their length, it would not be possible for me to deal with them seriatim or fully. Apart from the fact that some of the matters raised by the honorable member are now subject to investigation by the royal commission-

Mr Lang:

– None of them is sub judice.


– I cannot accept the honorable member’s view about what may or may not be sub judice. Nobody at this stage can say what matters may be dealt with by the Commissioner. I have not read all the evidence, but I should imagine from the headlines that I have read in newspapers that some new facts have been disclosed or some new evidence has been given in relation to these timber leases. I shall arrange for the AttorneyGeneral and his officers to examine the details of the questions raised by the honorable member. Those that relate specifically to the case will be carefully examined in order to ascertain whether anything should be done about them. Those that do not specifically relate to the case will be examined pending the conclusion of the royal commission’s inquiries.

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– I address a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs. I preface my question by explaining that a constituent of mine who returned from New Zealand recently had taken from him by customs officials at Rose Bay certain exposed and partly exposed colour films from a 16 mm. Cinekodak. The films were not returned to him. Why were the films taken from him and when, if ever, will they be returned to him? Why is differentiation made between moving picture films and still films? Why is it considered necessary to seize private films taken on a visit to the sister dominion of New Zealand? Is this action related to war-time defence needs, and if so, what need exists at present, three years after the close of the war, for the arbitrary seizure of films taken during a visit to New Zealand? Will the Minister review the whole matter and remove at least one of the pin pricks to which travellers are subject?


– I shall be glad to convey the honorable member’s questions to the Minister for Trade and Customs and to ask that answers be supplied as soon as possible.

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– Will the Minister for External Affairs inform me whether it is a fact as reported in the Sydney press that the Prime Minister of India, Mr. Nehru, has strongly criticized the White Australia policy? Has the White Australia policy been the subject of any discussion or criticism at any of the conferences attended by Australian representatives, including the Minister himself? Has there been any attempt by any person or any nation to break down and undermine the White Australia policy?


– The answers to the first of the honorable member’s questions is No. So far- from the Prime Minister of India criticizing the White Australia policy, he supports it. I do not know why the honorable member for Warringah laughs at that statement. That is my reading of Mr. Nehru’s statement, and I think that is quite clear. The reply to the honorable gentleman’s second question is that no such protest has been made at any conference which I have attended. The answer to his third question is also No.

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– Has the attention of the Prime Minister been directed to statements in the press concerning the Australian exchange rate with sterling, and the suggestion that there may be an appreciation of the value of the Australian £1 in terms of sterling entailing the lowering the exchange rate? Is the right honorable gentleman able to give to the House any assurance that the rate will remain stable during the present export season?


– Last year, the honorable member for Indi addressed a similar question to me, and I stated on behalf of the Government that while the then existing exchange rate of sterling with other currencies remained as it was at that time, the Government had no intention of altering the exchange rate. The answer which I gave to the honorable member for Indi on that occasion stand? now.

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– In view of the people’s realization that the loss of the referendum on prices control has had more serious repercussions than they had anticipated, of the steady, persistent rise in prices in recent months with consequent danger to our economy, and of the evaporation of the States’ early enthusiasm about handling controls effectively, has the Government considered holding another -referendum to restore to the Commonwealth power to control prices ?


– I need not recapitulate all that was said during the referendum campaign about transferring prices control from the Commonwealth to the States, and the enthusiasm or willingness of the States to maintain effective control throughout Australia. The Commonwealth’s view was that six authorities could not possibly exercise that control so effectively as one authority could. The people rejected the referendum, and the Government and I have no complaint about their decision. In order that all fears may be allayed, let me state at once that I have not nor has the Government considered holding another referendum on prices control to vest that power in the Commonwealth.

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-Will the Minister for External Affairs include in his speech on international affairs, or lay upon the table of the House, a copy of the speech by the Secretary of the Department of External Affairs at the Asian conference held at New Delhi recently, and also a copy of the speech by the Australian representative at the United Nations, about which a British newspaper stated, “He outdid the Russians in his vilifications of the Dutch”?


– No doubt the honorable member for Balaclava will be more specific when the House begins the debate on international affairs. I think that I know the two matters to which he has referred, but he has made very vague suggestions. I am sure that he would be the last to make any imputations against the distinguished Australian Ambassador at Paris.

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– Will the Prime Minister say whether the Government proposes to implement its national health scheme without the co-operation of the British Medical Association by importing doctors from Italy? If that is so, has it approached the Tasmanian Government and any of the other State governments on this question? How many doctors is it proposed to bring to Australiaunder this scheme, if it exists ?


– Owing to the lack of co-operation by the British Medical Association, the Government is now giving consideration to measures by which its national health scheme can be implemented. A report by the Minister for Health will shortly be made to Cabinet. I have heard nothing more about Italian doctors than I have about any other doctors from overseas. When a decision on policy has been made, an announcement will be madeby the Minister for Health.

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Minister for Information and Minister for Immigration · Melbourne · ALP

– I lay on the table thefollowing papers: -

Australian Broadcasting Act - SixteenthAnnual Report and Balance-sheet of the Australian Broadcasting Commission, for year 1947-48.

Australian Broadcasting Commission - Report of Committee on certain aspects of the administration.

Mr Anthony:

-Will the Minister move that the papers be printed?


– I am prepared to do so, but. I warn the honorable gentleman that he will not be able to discuss them at this stage. He may, of course, move for the adjournment of the debate. I move -

That the papers be printed.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Anthony) adjourned.

page 56


Format Motion for Adjournment

Mr SPEAKER (Hon J S Rosevear:

– I have received from the honorablemember for Fawkner (Mr. Holt) an intimation that he desires to move theadjournment of the House for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of urgent public importance, namely -

The questions of policy and administration involved in the proposed deportation of theO’Keefe family.


.- I move-

That the House do now adjourn.


– Is the motion supported ?

Five honorable members having risen in support of the motion,


– I present this motion on behalf of the Opposition parties in this Parliament. We believe that the O’Keefe case is the culminating episode in a long series of harsh, rigid and bungling ministerial administrative acts of the present Minister for Immigration (Mr. Calwell). We claim that this is the worst of themany bad cases that have occurred in recent years in the administration of this policy by the Minister. We claim that the case involves powerful humanitarian considerations which should receive sympathetic support from all sections of the Parliament. Beyond that, we claim that the Minister, by his inept handling of this whole policy, far from defending the White Australia policy, as he claims to be doing, has done more to jeopardize that policy and more to provoke resentment and inflame hatred against this country and the policy that he administers than any other Minister in the history of federation.

I propose first to bring to the notice of the House the facts of this case. I do not know whether they are all known to honorable members, although doubtless some of them are because of the widespread publicity that the case has received. The facts, as I understand them, are that Mrs. O’Keefe. was formerly a Mrs Jacob, an Ambonese citizen. Her husband was the headmaster of a school. He, his wife and family were rescued by H.M.A.S. Warrnambool in September, 1942, from a supposedly uninhabited island near Ambon. In their party were other Indonesian civil servants. The Dutch authorities, being aware of the loyalty, courage and ability of Mr. Jacob, brought the family to Melbourne. They helped them to find accommodation at Bonbeach in the home of a retired unmarried Australian, Mr. John William O’Keefe. There were seven children in the family at that time, and an eighth child was born there afterwards. Mr. Jacob volunteered to serve on -any intelligence missions to which the Allies might assign him. His offer of service was accepted. Among the more perilous assignments that he accepted was that of being dropped by a Royal Australian Air Force Catalina aircraft on enemy-held Banda. It was while in the. service of the Allies that Mr. Jacob met his death in an air crash in September, 1944. The Dutch authorities obviously thought highly of his service because since that time they have paid a pension of £28 a month to his widow and family. Some time afterwards, Mr. O’Keefe, who had been the landlord of the premises in which the family were living, honoured the promise he had given ito Mr. Jacob to keep an eye on the family.

He married Mrs. Jacob in June, 1947, in St. Joseph’s Church, Chelsea. Since that time he has treated the family as his own and has brought them up in such a way that they have received widespread praise from their neighbours. They have received remarkably good reports of their conduct at school. It is of some interest that of the six children now at school, three of them have topped their classes, one of them has been second, and another third. The baby of the family, a child of five, is the only one who has not received a distinctive place in school work. Now this very fine family, which has rendered service to Australia, and in rendering that service has lost the head of the family, and which is now being brought up by an Australian step-father, has been told that it must leave Australia by midnight on the 28th February.

Mr Calwell:

– The family was never told that!


– The Minister interjects that the family was never told to leave Australia.

Mr Calwell:

– I did not say that they had never been told, to leave Australia. I said that it was not told to leave by midnight on the 28th.


– I do not think that the Minister challenges the fact that the O’Keefes are to be required to leave Australia. The facts suggest a story of some hardship, and undoubtedly the overwhelming majority of Australians would desire that this family, which lost its head in the service of this country in war, and which finds itself here due to no other cause than the abnormal and emergency circumstances of war, should be allowed to continue to remain in Australia during the period that they desire to do so, and to proceed with the education of the children.

Mr Conelan:

– Would the honorable member have that applied to everybody who comes to Australia?


– A prolongation of the family’s stay in Australia until the children have completed their education is all that has been asked for in this case. That has been stated by Mr. O’Keefe, who has written ro the honorable member for

Darwin personally on this matter. He said in his letter -

The facts, as stated in the Herald are accurate and concise, and I would be exceedingly grateful if you would render any assistance in your power, so that the Christian education of the children could be advanced here.

I would stress the point that it has always been the intention that they return to their own country later on. Father Fitzpatrick, in a statement from the pulpit of St. Joseph’s Church, Chelsea, on the 31st January, 1949, confirms this, among other things he said. [ would stress the point that it has always been the intention for the children to return to their own country after completing their education. Father Fitzpatrick, who solemnized the marriage of Mr. and Mr. O’Keefe, confirmed this view in a statement from the pulpit at St. Joseph’s Church, Chelsea, on the 31st January. Mr. O’Keefe also deals with other aspects of the matter in his letter.

There is nothing in the conduct of the family, which would suggest that any member of it is behaving in a manner undesirable by Australian standards. The only reason advanced by the Minister for ordering the deportation of these people is that his action is in accordance with our immigration restriction policy. Before I deal with that phase of the matter I should like to indicate to the House how this whole situation has been aggravated unnecessarily by the offensive and truculent remarks made by the Minister in relation to the matter. In fact, the priest who married the O’Keefes was so incensed by one offensive reference that he found it necessary to challenge the Minister’s statement and repudiate it from his pulpit. I refer to the Minister’s charge that Asiatic passive resisters had used every device, including marriage to Australian citizens, to defeat the immigration laws. It is apparently not sufficient for the Minister to order the deportation of this family, but he makes remarks which mean that the family must carry the slur that the device of marriage has been used only to avoid deportation. Attacking this statement, Father Fitzpatrick said, according to the Melbourne Herald of the 31st January -

It was in this church that the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. O’Keefe took place. I celebrated the marriage.

Ifr. Holt. . . I knew when I married them that Mrs. O’Keefe, being an Indonesian, did not acquire by marriage to an Australian theright to stay in Australia.

I take the Minister’s statement as implying that I was conniving at defeating the- laws of Australia. But I knew also that the Minister for Immigration had power to “rant extensions of the certificate of exemption

I was particularly concerned in seeing that Mrs. O’Keefe’s children received aChristian education, so -that when they returned eventually to their own country - as their mother intended - they would go as apostles for Christianity.

Therefore, I ask you nien and women of this church to do everything in your power to stop this Godless and un-Christian action. Each of you should approach your own member of Parliament; you should even see theMinister.

Father Fitzpatrick invited his parishioners to approach their members of Parliament and even to see the Minister himself. The point I wish to bring out is that a situation which was harsh and unsympathetic enough in itself was made more serious from the family’s point of view by this insinuation which the Minister gratuitously made. Then when the point was raised by representatives of the Netherlands Government in. Australia that Mrs. O’Keefe would be regarded by them as British because of her marriage to a British subject, and must apply to the Netherlands authorities for permission to enter Indonesia, and could not enter without a vise, the Minister is reported in the Sydney Morning Herald of the 5th February, a& having said -

The Department of Immigration and the Department of External Affairs will deal with someone considerably more important than the secretary of a minor consulate when determining the obligations of the Netherlands East Indies Government to accept back those it wished on Australia when the Japanese were sweeping down the Malayan Peninsula.

I ask honorable members to note the use of the phrase “ wished on Australia “r in referring to the family of a man who gave his life for the Allied cause.

Mr Calwell:

– Hear, hear!


– The Minister says “ Hear, hear ! “ to that truly offensive statement. The father of this family gave his life in serving the Allied cause in co-operation with our own air force authorities, when the Japanese were “ sweeping down the Malayan peninsula “.

The whole attitude of the Minister and the atmosphere it has created form the real core of the reason for the attack that the Opposition is making. The White Australia policy is one that every political party has supported since federation. Certainly every political party and every honorable member of this House at the present time supports that policy, and I stress that now , because I am quite certain that the Minister will argue that Ave are trying in some way to undermine the policy. We support the White Australia policy now, and always have supported it. We have always supported the policy of restricting the entry of certain classes of people. But it is not the White Australia policy that has caused rising resentment throughout Asiatic countries at the present time. I have discussed our policy with representatives of Asiatic and other non-European countries, particularly at a conference recently at which some of them were present. I have discovered that these countries do not resent that policy, and that in fact there are many Asiatic countries at the present time which, in order to preserve their own social standards, and for racial reasons, have found it necessary to apply restrictive legislation against other Asiatics. That action by them quite clearly is not a colour bar and contains no implication of the inferiority of other races. It is the result of a determination to preserve their own standards, which a flood of other people with different standards might undermine. We have pursued such, a policy steadily in this country, and Asiatic countries are finding it necessary to adopt a similar course. Rather than resent our attitude, they acknowledge it and accept it. The whole reason why the operation of the White Australia policy has come under challenge in recent times is because of the heavyhanded, harsh, rigid application of the policy by the present Minister for Immigration. There is no other reason. The Minister, no doubt, will ask what other course he could pursue. I reply that we were faced with an abnormal set of circumstances arising out of the war, and that the situation is not likely to be repeated in our lifetime. Where would have been the danger to our standard of living, what possibility would there have been of undermining our White Aus tralia policy, if in cases of genuine hardship the Minister had exercised that discretion which is vested in him, and had allowed these people to remain in Australia? ‘On his own admission no more than a handful of people were involved. It cannot be successfully argued that an undesirable precedent would be established, because, as I have pointed out, the circumstances which have led up to this situation are not likely to be repeated. However, although the Minister was faced with the need to apply our immigration policy with discretion, tact and humanity, he discarded the kid gloves, and resorted to the ham-fisted methods with which he has made us familiar. What are the consequences? What have been the inevitable repercussions throughout the world, and, in particular, throughout Asiatic countries? The action of the Minister has aroused ill will and hatred against himself and against Australia. H e has destroyed a great deal of the goodwill established first of all by the splendid contribution of our forces in the Pacific during the war, and subsequently as a result of the direct policy of the Government. This Government has been very sensitive to Asiatic opinion in other matters. It followed the dubious course of sending observers to a conference at New Delhi from which representatives of the United Kingdom and the United States of America had been deliberately excluded. The Government took that, action for no other reason than to show its goodwill towards neighbouring Asiatic countries. That was its only justification. The Government has sought to win the goodwill of the Malayans. It has established scholarships for Asiatic students in our universities. Because it is sensitive to Asiatic opinion, the Government is trying to win the goodwill of those who inhabit countries close to us. Now, within a matter of a few short months, the Minister for Immigration, by his bungling administration, and by the too rigid application of departmental rules, has destroyed all the goodwill previously established, and has evoked widespread hostility to our immigration policy which has stood firmly since federation. This policy has come under fire from the governments and press of other countries in a manner never before experienced. The responsibility for that must be sheeted home to the Minister for Immigration, but it must be shared by the Government and by all those who support it. We have read that the decision of the Minister received the support of caucus and the endorsement of the Government. I should like to know, as this debate proceeds, whether that is the unanimous view of the members of the caucus. I should like to know whether they accept responsibility, not only for the Minister’s actions, but also for the manner in which his policy has been applied. The offensive tactics, and the truculent, arrogant approach of the Minister who has, apparently, convinced himself that that is the way to be firm and to show himself to be a strong man, have brought Australia’s immigration policy into jeopardy in a way that should never have been allowed to occur. That policy is the keystone of Australia’s social and economic programme.

The facts, as they stand, are clear. A Minister exercising the most modest measure of humanity, and even the least degree of discretion, would have seen in the O’Keefe case an opportunity to show that, while we maintained our policy, there were occasions when exceptions to its application might properly be made. It is of no use for the Minister to say that the law is there and must be enforced. One reason why we have ministerial government is so that Ministers may act as a buffer between the law and the people when the strict enforcement of the law would prove harsh and unjust. For that reason, Ministers of the Crown have been rightly given discretion which they can exercise as the respresentatives of the people. Does any one believe that public opinion in Australia would have been against allowing Mrs. O’Keefe’s children remaining in Australia, to complete their education? That is all she sought. No request was made for permanent residence. However, the Minister, showing that firm front which, in his opinion, characterizes the strong man, has given offence to the governments and peoples of Asiatic countries. His action has evoked an inflamed response from those countries. Therefore, I urge all sections in this Parliament to register the disapproval that is felt throughout

Australia at the action of the Minister, and to carry this motion against the Government if the Minister persists in. his decision.

Minister for Information and Minister for Immigration · Melbourne · ALP

– One would have thought than in an election year a fighting Opposition would have brought forward at the first meeting of the Parliament in the first sessional period of 1949 something that could be regarded as of great moment to the Australian people. Instead of that, they bring along this little thing, and they have done it in order to divert attention from their own dog-fights in Victoria and elsewhere. In New South Wales and Victoria, the Liberal party is showing cannibalistic tendencies. It is trying to swallow the Country party. It will get indigestion if it tries to swallow some members of the Country party whom I could name. In order to distract public attention from their own disagreements and their own mutual incompatibility, honorable members opposite have brought along this .motion of protest in connexion with the O’Keefe family that has been asked to leave Australia just as have all other persons who came to Australia in similar circumstances. The family was wished on to Australia by the Dutch Government. The motion that isbefore the House to-day is part of a Dutch plan to embarrass the Australian Government because we sent representatives tothe Asian conference at New Delhi. It ispart of a plan to get even with the Australian Government because of our interest in Indonesia. Let me state the number of persons who came to Australia during the war in circumstances similar to those which brought the O’Keefe family here. A total of 15,000 persons were evacuated to Australia from nearby countries, and were given sanctuary during the war. All of them knew that they were here for the duration of the war, and for that period only. All of them knew that they must go back to their own countries when the war was over. We were glad, in the interests of humanity, to give them refuge in Australia while the war lasted, but there was never any doubt that they were to return to their own countries afterwards. Of the 15,000 persons who sought sanctuary in Australia, 5,473 were non-Europeans. Of these, practically all have returned voluntarily to their own countries. Since the conclusion of the war, we have repatriated 3,768 Indonesians, including 1,000 women and children. Very few had to be deported; practically all of them went willingly. There were 1587 Chinese, the vast majority of whom voluntarily returned to their own country. There were 100 Malays, most of whom returned voluntarily. There still remain in Australia approximately 280 Chinese evacuees and nineteen Indonesians. Of the Indonesians, three are mental oases, two are lepers, one is in prison and one has absconded. A deportation order has been taken out against him. The Australian Government not only repatriated these persons after the war, but it also paid the cost of doing so. The Dutch Government did not pay for the repatriation of any of those whom it asked us to accept. Australia hae expended approximately £100,000 in this way. The Government has used Manoora for repatriating refugees, and also Esperance Bay. Marella has carried refugees to Manila, and Cheshire has been used in repatriating Chinese. lt is significant that no protests have ever been made by representatives of any governments in Asia about the requirement that their nationals should leave Australia after the war. The Government of China issued a statement from Nanking, which was published in the Sydney Morning Herald, and I suppose it is right, that that Government would welcome back to China the Chinese seamen who have been or are to ,be repatriated from Australia. The Republican representatives of Indonesia have never protested against what the Australian Government has done in regard to its nationals. As a matter of fact, they have been very grateful. All the trouble that I have experienced has been made by colonial Dutchmen and colonial Englishmen. They and their supporters in this House are responsible for whatever trouble has been created. “We are told that we are stirring up ill-will, hut who is really doing that? It is Englishmen who own newspapers like the Singapore Free Press. in which they write derogatively of myself and the Australian Government. How ever, a statement has been issued by Dr. Usman, to representatives of Republicans Indonesia. It is interesting to note what he says. He is of the same nationality as Mrs. O’Keefe; he is not an overlord of the Indonesian people; he is of their blood. This is what he says -

It is obvious now that the case of Mrs. O’Keefe is part of a clever Dutch stunt toembarrass the Australian Government, because of its attendance at the Kew Delhi Conference.


– Whom does he represent?


– He more nearly represents his own people than does the Dutch Government which has inspired these attacks on Australia’s policy, and has supplied the honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Holt) with his propaganda. The statement continues -

Dutch cunning is proved by the use of Sultan Hamid II. of West Borneo, who, through the Dutch Information Service in Singapore, made a statement threatening to expel Australians from his territory. He also threatened that this policy will be adopted by the Government pf the United States of Indonesia, as soon as Indonesia is independent.

Any one who knows something about Indonesian affairs will take these statements- “ on its merits “, because every one knows that actual power is still exercised by theDutch in West Borneo.

As to Independent Indonesia, it is not very likely that Sultan Hamid will be elected even as Head of West Borneo, should unfettered, unbiased elections be carried out under supervision of the United Nations organization in that territory. Besides, the power to expel foreign nationals will be entirely in the handsof the Government of the United States of Indonesia and not in the hands of a Sultan> of a territory with less than 1,000,000 population.

Then Dr. Usman pays a tribute to theAustralian Government for what it did for Indonesians during the war. Hesay s -

During the war more than 3,000 Republican) Indonesians have experienced hospitality from, the Australian Government. They realize that after the war they have to go home to helpbuild up their country.

He is not worried about the colour bar and questions of racial antagonism. Headds

I am very glad to learn from the papers that Mrs. O’Keefe now realizes that she is an Indonesian. It is also reported that thereis a possibility that the Dutch authoritieswould not grant her a Visé and that they object to her returning home.

We accepted Mrs. O’Keefe and her late husband and children on the distinct promise that the Dutch themselves would take them back when the war ended. Dr. Usman continues -

Although Mrs. O’Keefe is not a Republican Indonesian, -we welcome her coming home and, if necessary and applied for, we are prepared to give her a vise for Republican territories.

All the Indonesians we sent back after the war were landed in republican territory. We sent them back as human beings. We gave them the same conditions as other people travelling on Manoora would have had. It was probably the first occasion on which they were treated as human beings. They have no feelings of ingratitude to this country. I have before me the file on Mrs. O’Keefe. For a long time attempts have been made to secure extensions. In answer to the charge that I treated her with inhumanity, I remind honorable members that the return of Indonesians to Indonesia started some time after the war had ended. I could have required Mrs. O’Keefe to leave this country at any time subsequent to 1945, but I granted her request for the extension of her permit. It is a long cry from August, 1945, to February, 1949. We have allowed Mrs. O’Keefe and her family to stay all that time, but the longer we allow them to stay the more we are abused for alleged inhumanity. There is a note on the file by Major Weale, a capable man, who was a security officer during the war. Major Weale minuted the file as follows : -

Mr. Zwalf of Dutch Consulate requested that Mrs. Jacob be not included on Manoora for the 15th April, 1947, and that the Netherlands East Indies Government will repatriate her.

That note was written on the 10th March, 1947, nearly two years ago. I did not repatriate the lady and her family then because she had applied for an extension. I said, “ We shall give them a little longer because conditions in Indonesia are still unsettled”. On the 10th April, 1947, Mr. Maddison, Acting Commonwealth Migration Officer, placed this memorandum on the file -

Mr. O’Keefe, the elderly Australian referred to in the letter from the Netherlands Consulate called at this office on the 4th April, 1947, and stated that Mr. Calwell had granted a further extension of three months, which period was to he final. No advice has been received in this office to date.

The next paragraph is most interesting. Mr. Maddison added -

The marriage between Mr. O’Keefe and Mrs. Jacob has not yet taken place and from the conversation with Mr. O’Keefe it was gleaned that it might take place purely as an endeavour to give her an opportunity to remain in Australia, so long as she wished to do so as a British subject.

I remind the House that that memorandum was written on the 10th April, 1947, and not at the end of 1948. It was written by an officer who interviewed the man. Relatives of the man who had spoken to me said that he wished to marry the woman in order to prevent me from repatriating her. Even then I did not interfere with the extension that I had given to her. If I had been as inhuman as has been suggested, I should have packed her off before the marriage, but I did not do so. I allowed the marriage to take place.

Opposition Members. - Oh!


– I did not want to interfere with the marriage. There is not the slightest doubt that Mr. O’Keefe, an elderly bachelor of 67, said that he was marrying the woman so that she could stay in Australia. That is the statement on the file.

Mr Spender:

– I ask that the document from which the Minister has quoted be tabled.


– The document is confidential. I have not the slightest objection to showing it to the honorable member or to the Leader of the Opposition if they wish to see it, but I have no intention of tabling it for the use of the press.

Mr Spender:

– I rise to order. Before he quoted from the document the Minister did not say that it was confidential. I. submit, therefore, that he should table the document.


-I do not think that it is material whether the Minister indicated either before or after he quoted from a document that it was confidential. Once the Minister has characterized the document as confidential its tabling cannot be demanded.

Mr Spender:

– The Minister reveals what he wants to reveal and conceals the rest.


– I do not want that sort of implication to go over the air or to be published in the press as a matter of substance. Only a few minutes ago the Minister told the honorable member for Warringah that he would show him the file if the honorable member desired to see it. The honorable member has no right to attempt to convey by interjection a totally wrong impression. I do not think that the Minister intended it to be understood that only certain things are to be revealed. He has already had an offer from the Minister to allow him to see the whole of the file.

Mr Spender:

– The suggestion is that 1 have made an inference which I had no right to make. The document read by the Minister should be tabled. I refuse to accept as a principle in a matter of such public importance the claim of the Minister that the document is confidential. I say that there was no suggestion on my part that any inference was open other than that which was open on the Minister’s own conduct.


– The file proves very interesting. Immediately Mr. O’Keefe married Mrs. Jacob, or some time afterwards, and while the certificate of exemption which I granted was still extant, the same Mr. Zwalf, representing the consulate of the Netherlands in Victoria wrote to my office acknowledging the receipt of a letter he had received concerning Mrs. O’Keefe, and went on to say-

With reference thereto I beg to submit that Mrs. O’Keefe on her marriage with a British citizen according to our laws lost her Netherlands nationality and acquired, to the best of my belief, British nationality.

From the Netherlands point of view, she is, therefore, now to be regarded as a nonNetherlands subject, and as a consequence not now at liberty to enter Netherlands or Netherlands Indies territory.

He did not say that that would be the position before the marriage took place. He asked me not to repatriate her on Manoora, which sailed in April, 1947, but later said that as the result of her marriage she was not now at liberty to enter Netherlands or Netherlands Indies territory. He did not say that she could enter such territory after she had applied for a vise. He did not say that as a British subject she had the right to do so. He said that as a consequence to her marriage to a British subject she is not now at liberty to enter the Netherlands or the Netherlands Indies territory. The Dutch officials have been playing a tricky game in regard to their nationals. They owe us thousands of pounds for repatriating their citizens, but they have refused to pay. They claim that this is a sort of lend-lease transaction and even have claimed that we owe them money. They have formally agreed to pay us £8,000,000. I hope Australia gets that money because we are entitled to it. If those people who are attacking me on the O’Keefe case, are logical and honest and have any ‘ elementary sense of decency they must agree that if I allow Mrs. O’Keefe to stay I have perforce to let back into this country those Indonesian husbands of Australian women whom I have already repatriated. I cannot make distinctions between the sexes and between Indonesian men who are Moslems and those who become Christians. The attempt to use the religious argument is indecent. In their efforts to humiliate nic, honorable members opposite quoted what a priest had said from a pulpit in relation to my action. A misunderstanding by a clergyman was used to whip up public support for this woman and her children. I am as humane as is any other person and I have administered the immigration laws with humanity. I have let these people stay here despite the Cabinet decision of 1945 that all Indonesians and other war-time evacuees had to go .by the 30th June, 1947. I have let them stay until February, 1949, but the hard core of resisters cannot defeat our laws. Mrs. O’Keefe and her children are not important; it is the precedent that is important. If we allow these people to stay we shall open the flood gates to any Asiatics who want to come hero. Honorable members opposite do not stand for a white Australia; they stand for a black Australia. There are,, unfortunately, far too many of their type in Australia to-day who want to break our laws. [Extension of time granted.”]

Let me cite some evidence in support of that charge. Sir William Angliss, a member of the Legislative Council of Victoria, and a member of the Liberal party-

Mr Gullett:

– Tell us something about the black women.


– In due course I shall remind the honorable member of -something that he said that he might regret. On the 29th June last, Sir “William Angliss said -

In the United States of America and in South Africa the availability of coloured labour offers & solution, at least in part, of this industrial problem.

I am convinced that if northern Australia is to be developed properly, coloured labour will have to be introduced. I do not want to be misunderstood on this particular point. As one who has travelled a good deal in the northern parts of Australia in the winter-time, when climatic conditions are at their best, I would not care to work there all the year round.

Not one member of the Liberal party in this Parliament or anywhere in Australia has repudiated that statement. He went on to say -

I would therefore like to see introduced some form of indentured labour for the northern areas of Australia under conditions somewhat similar to those that obtained 60 or 70 years ago in Queensland, for the opening up of the sugar cane growing areas.

Mr Duthie:

– Who said that?


- Sir William Angliss, one of those gentlemen who are trying to gobble up the Country party in Victoria. He also said-

In my opinion, this is the only way in which the northern part of Australia will he developed properly.

The honorable member for Gippsland (Mr. Bowden) might try to repudiate those statements. He will have an opportunity to say whether he stands for a white Australia or a black Australia before this motion is disposed of. Let us see what the Graziers Association, to which the honorable member belongs, has to say on this subject. In July last the Graziers Association held its 70th Convention. In & report of the convention under the [heading, “Italians Sought as Outback

Cooks”, the Sydney Morning Herald said -

The Graziers’ Federal Council wants Italian immigrants as cooks on stations in the “ outback “.

It would rather have Chinese, but the Minister for Immigration, Mr. Calwell, will not agree.

A little while ago the honorable member for Henty (Mr. Gullett) anticipated me slightly by offering an observation on this matter. Let us see what he said. Addressing the women’s section of the Darling-East Malvern branch of the Liberal party, the honorable member is reported to have said -

Every Australian citizen should have the right of choice in marriage, he it black, white or brindle.

Mr Gullett:

– Hear, hear!


– I am glad that the honorable member is honest enough to admit the truth of the report because that is the policy of the Liberal party. Then he said -

They should have the right to bring the foreign bride or bridegroom to this country for assimilation into its domestic economy. Mr. Calwell’s recent deportation of Malays - good citizens and people of excellent character married to Australians - was not the kind of thing to promote good neighbourliness with Australia’s nearest neighbours.

Mr Gullett:

– Well, is it?


– I disagree with the honorable gentleman’s reference to the Malays as good Australians. Every one of them was a member of the Communist party, which the honorable gentleman wants to suppress. His sentiments were echoed by the Tribune. Honorable members opposite are in a strange situation. They want to suppress the Communist party, and yet they support Communist party propaganda. The Communist party makes no bones about its policy. Given its way, it would let anybody into Australia. Honorable members opposite pretend to support the White Australia policy, but actually they want to bring in people who have no right to be here. If there were time, I could quote excellent statements by the right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes) in Splendid Adventure, a capital work which he published in 1929. In that book, he has stated very clearly the origin of the White Australia policy, and he tells of the fight that he made at Versailles against the attempt by the Japanese to write into the peace treaties a clause in regard to racial equality. He gives a complete and clear statement of the traditional Australian attitude about all those matters. His attitude, as expressed in that book, was his attitude when he was a member of the Labour party, and it expresses the point of view that is supported by the great majority of the Australian people. I wish that all his colleagues agreed with the statements that he has made on the subject. From the very beginning there has been a great fight in Australia, on economic grounds primarily, to secure a homogeneous population here. The fight was most bitter at times. In 1SS8, Sir Henry Parkes had to challenge the British Government, which had claimed the right to issue landing permits to certain Chinese to enter this country. The Chinese Minister in London made a protest to the British Government. I quote from an article by the late ex-Senator J. H. Keating in the Launceston Examiner -

To those who questioned, or might question, the constitutional right of the Colonial Government to refuse a landing to Chinese holding permits, Sir Henry Parkes said - “ I cast to the wind your permits of exemption. I care nothing about your cobwebs of technical law. I am obeying a law far superior to any law which issued those permits, namely, the law of the preservation of society in New South Wales.”

The late ex-Senator Keating continued -

Then lest there should be any doubt, by Parliament, by the people, or even by the Colonial office”, Sir Henry made clear his Government’s attitude, with all its implications - “ We have acted with decision, and we do not mean to turn back. Neither for Her Majesty’s ships of war, nor Her Majesty’s representative on the spot, nor for the Secretary of State for the Colonies, do we intend to turn aside from our purpose.”

The late ex-Senator Keating’s comment on that statement by Sir Henry Parkes was as follows: -

These words were not the vapourings of an irresponsible demagogue, nor the “ hot air “ of a revolutionary disloyalist. They were the measured, considered utterance of the leading Australian public man and statesman of the day - himself an admittedly loyal Empire builder. They are sufficiently revealing as to the influence that had been operating in opposition to Australia’s growing sentiment for the maintenance of racial purity within Australia.

We do not want in Australia a reproduction of conditions in Singapore, Sourabaya, Fiji and the Harlem centre of New York. Those who claim that we are antagonizing Asiatic feeling by saying that people who have come here as wartime evacuees must go back to their own countries, are blind to the fact that in Malaya there is a law which forbids the entry of any more Tamil Indians or Chinese. Such people -are not permitted to enter Malaya under a quota system or in the manner in which Asiatics may enter this country legitimately for the purpose of trade, or to study, or for other reasons within certain categories that have been prescribed. The position in Burma is precisely the same. The Burmese do not want any more Indians or Chinese. Is the action of the Government of Burma to be interpreted as anti-Asiatic? It is just as right to say that it is so, as it is to claim that we are anti- Asiatic when we tell people, who cannot mix with us and whose social and living standards are not high enough, that they cannot come here. Yet we are pilloried by some of our own people, and by others, mostly Europeans, who edit newspapers throughout the world, and charge us with doing something inhuman. What the O’Keefe family say is this: “We have a child five years old. Let the family stay until that child completes its education “. That proposal would mean allowing the child to stay here for another ten or eleven years. If we do that, we break down everything. We can stand by the present policy or we can weaken it or abandon it. There is a certain degree of peril if we stand by our policy. There is a great peril indeed unless we increase our population. There is a great peril if we weaken our laws and allow people to enter Australia, where they may establish colonies and can never be assimilated. I have weighed the costs and measured the risks. I know where my duty lies. All of us, and myself in particular, as Minister, have a responsibility, not merely to the present generation, but also to posterity. We have to hand down this country to our children and our children’s children in the same manner as we received it from our fathers and as they received it from their fathers. Our grandfathers and great grandfathers laid the foundations of Australia broad and large, and made it possible for this democracy to exist as it is to-day. We can have a white Australia, we can have a black Australia, but a mongrel Australia is impossible, and I shall not take the first steps to establish the precedents which will allow the flood gates to be opened. I respect Asiatic people. I do not regard them as inferiors, but they have a different culture and history, different living standards and different religions from our own. They can live, and, I hope, enjoy whatever they can get from the earth’s bounty in their own countries. We can make a success of our democracy here. I challenge those who attack us, and who have the temerity to raise the issue, to have the courage to force the matter to a division, and let us know where we all stand. Let us separate the sheep from the goats

Leader of the Opposition · Kooyong

– The House has just listened to- a most shocking speech. In fact, after having listened to it, I find that it is difficult to know exactly where to begin in dealing with it. It was a speech which revealed a singularly ill-balanced mind. My colleague, the honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Holt), launched his attack on this matter in a speech which was entirely moderate in tone and in which every fact to which he referred was a matter of public notoriety. His sources were sources that he quoted very freely to the House. He indicated, as plainly as words could indicate, that we on this side of the House stand entirely for the White Australia policy, and I shall say a few words presently to put that matter entirely beyond doubt. He concentrated his attack upon the administrative errors that has been made in this particular fta se.

What is the reply ? The reply is to say, with almost screaming repetition, “I hate the Dutch, I hate the Dutch, I hate the Dutch “. The Minister for Immigration (Mr. Calwell) does not need to tell us that. He does not need to tell anybody in Australia that this Government hates the Dutch, because every action that it has taken over a period of years has indicated its hatred of the Dutch, to its eternal discredit. Why that should be thought to be an answer to a case about a lady who is an Indonesian and has Indonesian children, I am entirely at a loss to understand, but the subject has been made a vehicle for a virulent attack upon people who, only the other day, were our friends and allies. During’ World War II., thousands of their nationals died in the defence of this country. It is curious indeed that, in this year of grace, we should have a Minister meeting a case of this kind by this scream of undiluted hatred of the Dutch. That, of course, is no answer to the ease that has been submitted.

The Minister quotes, as his authority, two particular sources. I want to say a brief word about each of them. One of his authorities is Dr. Usman, the representative of Dr. Soekarno, a spokesman of a Communist revolutionary movement. He, of course, may be quoted with bated breath and profound respect, but when somebody in the House rises to claim a similar piece of justice for a fellow countryman of Dr. Soekarno, who does not happen to be a Communist revolutionary, at once the whole scene of battle is changed and an attack is made upon the Dutch. They are described as the colonial masters of the Netherlands East Indies.

The other source of authority is the file. I regret to find that, in my temporary absence from this House, Ministers have not abandoned the evil practice, because it is an evil practice, of quoting from documents, which they claim to be confidential, such distorted fragments as they think help their case. That seems to me to be basically an utterly dishonest approach to this House. There is a file about Mr. O’Keefe, and the implication may be summarized thus - “ Let me suggest to the world that if the whole file were disclosed he would come out of it very badly”. I say to the Minister, “Put the whole file on the table. Let Mr. O’Keefe, whom I do not know from Adam, have the satisfaction of knowing whether these hinted charges have any substantiation in the file. The Minister, of course, read one little snippity bit, and that snippity bit was that some investigating officer had said, after a certain, conversation - I rather thought with somebody else - that it was gathered that the marriage was to be arranged in order to defeat the immigration laws. To charge against an Australian citizen that he has gone through the solemn and sacred form of matrimony in a conspiracy to defeat the laws of his own country is a very serious charge indeed. That charge cannot be laughed off. The Minister does not support it, but when he is challenged to produce the papers, he retreats, as usual, into the proposition, “ Oh, but it is confidential, and therefore, I am under no obligation - thank heaven - to put it on the table of the House “. If it were not confidential, the Standing Orders would compel him to produce it and lay it upon the table of the House.

Mr Calwell:

Mr. Calwell interjecting,


– I am in the same position as the honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Spender). I shall not look at the papers under the seal of confidence. I say that when a charge - a sneering, damaging charge - is publicly made, it should be supported by evidence openly given and by “documents openly tabled, and not by a proposal that some honorable member on this side of the House may confidentially have a look at the file and then, confidentially presumably, express his opinion about it to somebody else.

The Minister, having exhausted his passions about the Dutch, resorts to a diversion. He quotes statements by Sir William Angliss, and others. Let me say this clearly and categorically: the White Australia policy is under no challenge in this Parliament or in this country, except by bad administration. It is the settled policy of this country. It is the settled policy of the party which I have the honour to lead. It is the settled policy of the Australian Country party and the Australian Labour party. Nobody need start making a party political chopping block of this matter. It is a vital element in the national policy of this country. I myself believe id it most profoundly. But it is under challenge in the world. Anybody who goes through or by Eastern countries will constantly have a question put to him about this policy, and I agree with the honorable member for Fawkner, that almost every time, the question does not come down to a frontal attack upon the policy but to an allegation that, whilst we are entitled to have this policy, we administer it harshly and provocatively. That is a very serious challenge, and it is producing serious repercussions in the rest of the world. Let me put the view in three propositions. The policy of immigration restriction is completely within Australia’s acknowledged national rights and should be maintained. We must realize that it is not likely indefinitely to be maintained except by the aid of powerful friends, if by that time we have any left. It is not likely indefinitely to be maintained unless we make full use of our own country and increase our population. That is why, wherever we sit in this House, we are anxious to see in Australia family development and immigration. I, for one, listened to the Minister to-day with profound disappointment. Having been to the other side of the world and engaged in many discussions about migration, I am bound to say that I have admired the energy and enthusiasm with which he has applied himself to the task of securing migrants for this country. That fine work, however open to criticism it may be in points of detail, as all work is, can be marred hopelessly if, at the same time as we are taking those steps that are essential to the preservation of the national policy of this country the Minister takes administrative steps which are calculated only to raise up hatred against that national policy and to put it under unnecessary challenge in other parts of the world. [Extension of time granted.”] Therefore, it is elementary that our immigration policy, firmly as we hold it and clear and absolute as it is, must be wisely and fairly presented to the people of the world so that it may he seen by them, as it should be seen by them if we are sensible people, as a sensible* legitimate national movement of the kind that they well understand themselves and not as a crude, provocative or unreasonable policy. It is our duty to ourselves to handle this policy so that it is presented to the rest of the world in its proper terms and in its true light. That means that it must not only he a sound policy but also that it must be applied by a sensible administration, neither rigid nor peremptory, but wise, exercising judgment on individual cases, always remembering the basic principle but always understanding that harsh administration never yet improved any law but only impaired it, and that notoriously harsh administration raises up to any law hostilities that may some day destroy it. That is the pith of the case that is put.

What is the use of all this rodomontade about seeing by means of a division of the. House who is for a white Australia and who is for a black Australia ? Nobody will believe that kind of rubbish. This motion hinges upon a particular case. The question whether these people should have been left indefinitely in Australia has not arisen. It has been stated categorically by them that in due course they are going back to their own country.


– When they want to go.


– The question is whether they should have been put out at this time or granted some extension of time. The Minister’s answer - these are not his precise words - is that you cannot make fish of one and fowl of another, and that the moment you begin to exercise discretion the whole policy has gone. My retort to that is that I am perfectly certain that, as a Minister, he has exercised his discretion in respect of individual cases hundreds and hundreds of times. In this very case he has already, on his own showing, granted some extensions of time. I am perfectly certain that if we were to go through the files of his department we should find that in scores of cases a problem has arisen about, for instance, whether a permit should be issued or extended, or whether a particular person should be allowed to remain in this country for another year, two years or five years. Does the honorable gentleman say, on every occasion when such a matter crops up, that he will have none of it and will not exercise any discretion because the moment he extends the permit for an Indonesian lady to stay in this country by two years the whole White Australia policy goes and we shall become a black community almost in the twinkling of an eye ? Thisis an intolerable position. The Minister would have been far better advised to say that he agreed, on a reconsideration of the circumstances, that he had been in error and that the matter might have been treated a little less harshly. However,, having given a decision, he has followed it up by imputations against the marriage,, by suggestions that the marriage was a swindle, by the most damnable allegations against the Dutch, and by suggestions that these people, who were blown into this country by the storms of war, were wished on us by the Dutch authorities. Neverin my parliamentary career, which is now a lengthy one, have I heard a more lamentable statement from a Ministerabout a matter with such delicate international implications.


.- Theactions of the Minister for Immigration (Mr. Calwell) have at all times been honest and sincere. His references tothe file about which there had been some discussion answered adequately the charge of ineptitude and harshness. While listening to this debate, I was amused to notice that it became necessary for the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies) to re-state his party’s attitude to theWhite Australia policy. The Opposition is to-day wringing from a press campaign a little much needed publicity for itscause. The right honorable gentleman restated his firm belief in the White Australia policy. In doing so, he must haveagreed, whether he liked it or not, with the conclusions that were arrived at by the Minister for Immigration when he defended his actions in the O’Keefe case. If we are to strip this matter of sentiment and get back to first causes, wemust realize that the White Australia policy is a dominant factor in ournational life*. It is, on the admission of the Leader of the Opposition, believed in by all parties. Advantage is taken of it by some parties and it is fervently advocated by others. The strong thread running through our national life is a belief in the White Australia policy. Why,, then, has this case come before the Parliament in the form of a motion for the adjournment of the House unless it is being put forward with the intention of obtaining some additional publicity for a matter which has already been very highly publicized. What can honorable members opposite hope to gain by this motion? The Minister ha3 stated his decision. They will repeat the old outworn slogans about personal liberty and so on, but they know that, as Australians, we are held in a vice by our immigration laws. We are faced with the position of a woman, unknown to me, Mrs. O’Keefe, formerly Mrs. Jacob, with her eight or nine Indonesian children, who is now married to an Australian citizen, and has been caught up in those laws. She would perhaps have been caught up in circumstances of similar nature in other countries. To scream to high Heaven about Australian justice and harsh administration of the White Australia policy is nonsense. The policy has created problems which have been widely discussed. In the Eastern countries in particular, our policy is adversely criticized. The term “ White Australia “ is a coined one. It is not referred to in the immigration laws. The policy has been the cause of trouble for many years, but we have been able to hold to it. In reply to an Australian who was trying to obtain a derisory or at least a disadvantageous comment about the White Australia policy the Prime Minister of India, Mr. Nehru, very graciously and in perfect English, stated for the Indians and for us just what the policy stands for, thus putting the Australian in his place. I agree with the Minister that, while there are only approximately seven million people in this country and many hundreds of millions to the north of it, to lift the clamp by even a millionth of an inch would create conditions that would be damaging to this country. The Opposition spoke as though an injustice had been done to Mrs. O’Keefe. It must be remembered that Mrs. O’Keefe was an evacuee, sworn to be repatriated to her homeland. Is there anything savage, un-Christian or damaging to our liberty in repatriating her ? She should welcome her return to her own country, from which she was rescued from the invading Japanese. That is the task that the; Minister has attempted to complete. The charge of the honorable member for

Fawkner (Mr. Holt) that the Minister is inept was answered by the Leader of the Opposition, who said that the Minister’s administration of immigration generally was sound. It was one of those “ Yes, but “ compliments, but it sufficiently answered the criticism of the honorable member for Fawkner. The charge that the Minister was harsh was answered by the references from the file. As far back as June, 1947, there began a series of extensions of time to this woman and an honest working-out of a plan so that eventually she should leave this country. I cannot see that any injustice has been done or that there has been any harshness. The problems of a woman and her children have been caught up in a glare of political publicity. We did not raise this matter. We thought it was better to leave it to a humane and tolerant Minister. I bitterly resent the fact that a man who has done a great job in regard to immigration, as the Leader of the Opposition himself agrees, should be presented to the nation as a bloodthirsty ogre, swallowing little children and deporting people from this country. Let the Opposition tell us how many letters of protest they have received on this case. It is a vamped-up business, and I am sure the number of letters would not amount to a halfdozen in the case of each honorable member opposite. It there is no pressure from the public, that is by implication an admission that the Minister is performing a difficult task with dignity and kindliness, because this thing has to be done. The classic statement of Mr. Winston Churchill that he would not be a. participant in the disemberment of the British Empire and the statement of the Minister for Immigration that he would not strike the first blow in the destruction of the White Australia policy are comparable statements. The Minister, with his vast knowledge of immigration and its implications, is prepared to suffer criticism at the moment, knowing full well that in the final analysis his action will be justified. I understand that Mrs. O’Keefe is the possessor of a not inconsiderable amount of property off the island of Ambon, and that she is a woman of considerable means. That will cushion the shock of leaving this fair land of Australia and returning to her own land. The most repulsive nonsense has been talked by the Opposition about liberty, justice and other qualities that are associated with the Australian way of life. They have referred inferentially to our aborigines and to our treatment of the people who come to this coontry The history of Australia is sullied by the crimes of land-owners towards aborigines in the past. To honorable members on the opposite side of the House who claim to have the privilege to represent vested interests, I say that it is an ugly and disgraceful history. Honorable members may study the archives at the Mitchell Library or the. National Library and read cases heard in the Goulburn and Queanbeyan courts and elsewhere of charges against the pioneers of poisoning the aborigines by what was known as “ salting “ their food because they were destroying a few bullocks and interfering with the graziers. A cheap sympathy for the aborigines now is one of the tributary streams of criticism of the Government, and it comes from the very people who have a very bad house of their own to set in order. The honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Francis) who, I thought, was speaking in the Arunta dialect, alleged some bad work on the part of the Government, and I was reminded very forcibly of the fact that we have a very bad history in relation to the aborigines at a time before the Labour party became a force in politics. Whether nowadays we would have the same aggressive attitude to the aborigines of this country as is shown in our past history is a moot point, but the records show that we certainly have a bad history. The late President Wilson reminded the League of Nations of that. When we come to this point we must consider the background of honorable gentlemen opposite-


– Order ! The honorable gentleman’s time has expired.


.- I do not know what on earth our policy towards aborigines, or what some records in the Mitchell Library of the early attitude of settlers to the aborigines, have to do with this motion. The motion provides the

Parliament with an opportunity to debate and to crystallize Australian parliamentary and, perhaps, public opinion upon an issue of prime importance to this nation. The Minister for Immigration (Mr. Calwell), when he spoke in reply to the mover of the motion, attempted to achieve a jibe against the Opposition parties by saying that he would have thought that on this first day of the reassembly of the Parliament there would have been produced to it some issue of great moment. He said that instead of an issue of great moment we had produced this trifling thing. I say to the Minister and the Government that there is no greater issue of moment to the Australian people than the maintenance of the White Australia policy. It is not to assail the White Australia policy that this motion has been moved, but to defend and preserve it. Here we stand, a country very sparsely populated, near to the teeming millions of Asia, with what our best friends would describe as a national policy likely to be provocative to one thousand million people. No one could dispute that. How are we to defend and uphold this provocative White Australia policy? By force of arms? Or are we to defend it by warranting a favorable world opinion towards it and by justifying it to the 1,000,000,000 Asiatics whom it concerns? I hope that the Minister will realize that the White Australia policy is not likely in our lifetime to pass out of the arena of controversy between white and coloured people. It is not a policy likely to be maintained by force of arms. It can be justified and maintained only by us establishing that it is a fair, a proper, a justifiable and a just policy, justly administered. It is to draw attention to that very point that the mover of the motion has brought this issue before the House. It is of no use for the Minister to engage in rhetoric and talk about those who are for a white Australia and those who are for a black Australia. Such talk is sheer nonsense. The White Australia policy was introduced by a non-Labour government and has been administered by nonLabour governments for much longer than it has been administered by Labour governments. We justify that policy on economic grounds and not on grounds of racial discrimination or hatred. It is not a policy that we are likely to be able to uphold if we leave the impression in the minds of the world that it is inspired by feelings that the Asiatics are inferior to us and that we hate them. We have maintained our justification of it on economic grounds in the court of world opinion. It has been administered traditionally by both non-Labour and Labour governments with notable flexibility. It is not a policy which says that no person with a coloured skin may come to Australia. On the contrary, there are whole categories of circumstances in which we admit, and permit to remain here, natives from the continents of Asia and Africa. We permit them to come here and there are what are known as “exemptions” for visitors and for those who wish to come here for business or educational purposes and to establish an import or export business and, in relation to the turnover of the business established, there is a long standing formula which enables the admission of Asiatics or Africans to staff such businesses. Those are elements of the formula that has- been administered by myself and colleagues in previous years and also by the present Minister himself. This motion is to direct attention to the extraordinary and unjustifiably provocative rigidity of the Minister’s administration of the White Australia policy and his incitement to prejudice against people who are affected by that policy. Those who are concerned are not only the coloured people but our white friends, the Dutch, and I say to the Minister, in association with the Leader of the Opposition, that he aids his cause poorly by attacking our former Dutch Allies who fought as gallantly in the last war as anybody. He supports his case even more poorly by quoting from the statements of the representative in this country of the communistic Indonesian regime. It is a pity that there should be found as a mouthpiece in the Parliament of this country, a Minister who repeats the provocative press releases of such a gentleman as Dr. Usman, whom our democracy allows to reside here and produce propaganda freely. If such a person is allowed to remain here - and nobody on this side of the House suggests that he should not be allowed to remain - should not the widow of a man who died fighting for this country also be allowed to remain for a period?

Mr Fuller:

– She has been here four years now.


– There are 1,000 Chinese in this country who have had probably longer than four years in it.

Mr Calwell:

– Such persons did not come as refugees.


– The Minister by his interjection has put his finger on an important point which is the very one that the mover of this motion has stressed. That is, that this woman came here in extraordinary circumstances not likely, we hope, to be repeated in our life-time, as a refugee who was given sanctuary in this country with her husband, who then left the country as a volunteer to fight for it, and met his death with Australian servicemen. Are we so prejudiced that we cannot allow her and her family to remain here until the education of their child is completed, which is what the request for a prolongation of their stay is said to be founded upon. If that child was in Indonesia to-day and an application were made for it to be permitted to come here to engage in education, it would fall within the ambit of permits granted. But because it happened to come here-


– Order ! The honorable gentleman’s time has expired.


– The mover of this motion and the Leader of the Opposition have made it quite clear that they support the White Australia policy. Whilst honorable members on this side accept their statements to that effect there cannot be any doubt that in some respects they wish to water the policy down very considerably. They are opposing to-day the deportation of the people known as the O’Keefes, who are to be deported in conformity with arrangements made when they entered this country some years ago. In contrast to the attitude of members of the Opposition, the Minister for Immigration (Mr. Calwell) has made it quite clear that his action, which he decided upon after taking into consideration all aspects of the case, was in defence of the White Australia policy to which all citizens of this country subscribed. I do not know the O’Keefes, and I accept the statement by the honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Holt) that they are a reputable family and desire to remain in Australia and continue to take advantage of its educational facilities and excellent standards of living. The position of the O’Keefe family is the same as that of many other families of all nationalities who have settled in this country from time to time and have found it to be the best country in the world as far as living conditions are concerned. I can fully appreciate their desire to stay here and share in those conditions we enjoy, and rear their families in circumstances which Australians have come to regard as the ideal way of life. At the same time I cannot understand, the defence of these people by honorable members opposite, they were given security here during the war years and were under an obligation to leave at a given time. Having entered into that contract there can be no objection to the Minister taking action to see that they leave the country when the time has expired. The O’Keefes have already been four years in Australia and criticism of the Minister for exercising his discretion in deporting them is very difficult to comprehend. The Minister said that many thousands of people came to Australia during the war, including some hundreds of Chinese. The great majority of them have been repatriated to their own countries at the expense of the Australian Government. Stow, the Opposition would have us throw overboard the policy which has been applied already in thousands of cases. I agree that a strong case can be made out on humanitarian grounds for allowing this family to remain, but, as the Minister has pointed out, if we were to allow this family to remain in Australia, such action would be but the first step towards breaking down our White Australia policy, which is supported by all parties, particularly by the Labour party. The stand taken by the Minister has been supported by many notable people, among whom is Sir Frederic Eggleston, who, writing in the Melbourne Herald, on the 4th of this ifr. Daly. month, declared that the deportation of the O’Keefe family was proper. He stated -

Very great injustice to Australia is being done by the campaign on the O’Keefe case. The legal position is quite clear, and I think the merits are equally clear. Mrs. O’Keefe was given sanctuary here on the express condition that she should return to her home after the war. When I was Australian Minister at Chungking, many Chinese appealed to me to obtain permission for their relatives in Southeast Asia to go to Australia under sanctury, and I know that this term was imposed.

Further on in his letter he said -

What some people do not appear to realize is that some deportations will occur wherever immigration is controlled. Certain categories of immigrants are admitted on temporary permits or come here under sanctuary or other conditions. When the permit expires, or when the conditions change, the immigrant is under obligation to leave Australia.

That applies to the O’Keefe family. He went on -

The United States is at present rounding up all Australians who have over-stayed their permits in that country. If they do not comply with the requirements, they will be arrested and held in custody until they are deported. I have not heard any outcry about this.

When so respected a citizen, and’ so competent an authority, as Sir Frederic Eggleston endorses the decision of the Minister for Immigration, it constitutes strong justification of that action. There are others, also, who support the Minister. Mr. J. C. Neagle, the federal secretary of the Returned Servicemen’s League, is quoted in the Melbourne Sun of a few days ago as saying -

We are in accord with immigration policy over the past twelve months. If White Australia is to be enforced, we must be consistent. These people were apparently allowed to remain in Australia on compassionate grounds. Now their time is expired and they must go.

Those people all recognize that the continued presence of Asiatics in Australia constitutes a challenge to the White Australia policy. It is further reported that Mrs. O’Keefe has said that, while she was alarmed for the safety of her family in Indonesia, she did not blame Mr. Calwell personally. She realized that he was merely carrying out the law as it existed. That notable Australian, Mr.

  1. M. Hughes, in his book, The Splendid Adventure, writes, at page 365 -

Total exclusion is the only practicable policy. Whatever of virtue or of strength we have is fast-rooted in our breeding. Race may be, as some highbrows didactically declare, a relic of tribal days, but it still counts for very much in human affairs.

To the honorable member for Henty, who has just interjected, and whom the Minister quoted as saying that Australians should be allowed to marry persons whether they be white, black or brindle, and bring them to this country, I commend the following passage from the book of Mr. W. M. Hughes, a member of his own party: -

The racial and economic barriers between us and them are insuperable. We cannot marry their women nor they ours without producing a race of half-castes at which both races would spit contempt. Nor can we permit them to labour alongside us without destroying that high standard of living which is an integral part of our national life.

That is the policy which the Minister for Immigration is applying in the O’Keefe case. He is resolved to preserve the White Australia policy irrespective of whom it may inconvenience, and in spite of the political attacks which are directed against the Government. I support the action of the Minister and his colleagues in the Government, for they are merely asking that the obligation entered into by refugees when they came to Australia should be honoured.


.- I support the motion before the Chair. It is significant that the Minister for Immigration (Mr. Calwell), who is under fire in the debate on this motion, has succeeded in getting only two hack-bench members of his party to support him. If it be true that the Government supports the action of the Minister in this matter, then our challenge is to the Government. However, it appears that since no Minister has risen to support the Minister for Immigration, his action, which we claim is destructive of the White Australia policy in the long run, is his own responsibility. Enough has been said already by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies) about the irresponsible, truculent and despotic behaviour of the Minister for Immigration. At a time when we should be seeking the friendship of white people, the Minister has engaged in scurrilous abuse of the Dutch. It should be plain to everybody that the White Australia policy can be maintained only if, by just and wise administration, it can be rendered acceptable to other nations, and is regarded by them as fair. We of ourselves have not sufficient strength to maintain the White Australia policy. It would be difficult to find more than a few white nations which have any interest in maintaining this policy, or who would give any aid to us in defending it. On the other hand, we in Australia are surrounded by more than half the world’s population who, because of their origin and race, are excluded from becoming citizens of Australia. I claim that the Government cannot meet the arguments of the Opposition by pretending that what we advocate would be destructive of the White Australia policy. We claim that the action of the Minister for Immigration must tend eventually to destroy the White Australia policy, and also to destroy any chance that Australia will be able to retain for itself the friendship of white nations in this part of the world, or to count on their assistance in time of trouble. It has been often stated that the White Australia policy will ultimately be overwhelmed by the coloured people, unless by wise administration that policy can be shown to be primarily in the interests of Australia, and not based upon ideological factors. Mr. Nehru, the Premier of India, was mentioned by the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen) as one who supported the White Australia policy. No suggestion could be more fantastic. What Mr. Nehru said, in effect, was that he accented the policy on the short view. He was able to understand our attitude in so far as it had an economic basis. Although he did not actually say so, it was obvious that what he meant was that once the living standards of the Indians had been raised to the level of our own, the only justification for the White Australia policy, so far as the Indians were concerned, would disappear. It is clear that the policy depends upon two factors, one economic and the other racial. We can support the policy, without desiring it to be applied in such an inflexible manner as to permit of no possible exceptions, no matter what hardship may result. For instance, one case that has come to my attention during the last few years is that of a highly educated coloured woman who married an Australian, and had children. Those children can remain in Australia because it is their right. The husband can remain in Australia, but the wife must go.

Mr Calwell:

– It is always so.


– But the present circumstances are different from any which existed before. Never before in our history did people come to Australia seeking asylum from an enemy in time of war. In such circumstances, it must of necessity happen that, on humanitarian grounds, a rigid policy requiring all war refugees to be repatriated should not be applied. In this very case the Minister has granted an extension of time for the family, and it is within his discretion to make what modifications to his directions that are necessary in the light of circumstances. The Minister has told us that two Indonesians who sought refuge in Australia are suffering from leprosy. I do not suppose even the Minister will attempt to send them away, stricken as they are. It is nonsense to suggest that if an exception is made in the case of any person our whole immigration policy must break down. The Minister made a venomous attack on the Dutch, and he has given support to an insignificant person called Usman - as if he had any significance in the scheme of things. We on this side of the House are fighting for a White Australia, but the Minister is doing more than any one else to destroy that ideal. By every utterance he makes, he is robbing us of the friendship of white people in this part of the world. He has made an irresponsible attack on the Dutch, and has attacked the British in Malaya. Even the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley) has suggested, in effect, that the British have no right to he in Malaya. On one hand, the policy of the Government is robbing us of the friendship of the white nations in the Pacific, and on the other the Minister for Immigration, by harshly applying the immigration rules, is losing us the friendship of our coloured neighbours. Where will all this lead us? The Labour party, which pre tends to support the White Australia policy, is in reality torpedoing it. This issue is vital. The Minister for Immigration sought to dismiss it by saying that, after the Parliament had been for many weeks in recess, the Opposition could think of nothing more important upon which to attack the Government than this trivial matter. I submit that it is a vital matter. It is important from a humanitarian point of view, and it is even more important in its relation to the White Australia policy. I hope that the House will divide on this motion. The action of the Minister is calculated to alienate the friendship of the coloured peoples, and to rob us of the support of the Dutch, which was the first nation that, of its own volition, fought the Japanese in the Pacific, as was pointed out by the King in a message to Queen Wilhelmina. Britain and America are now attempting to form a Western European Pact in order to preserve our civilization, and the Dutch have been asked to join because their adherence is regarded as important. However, the Minister for Immigration, by everything he does and by every word he utters, is helping to rob us of the friendship of the Dutch. I support the motion and hope that there will be an immediate vote upon it.

Motion (by Mr. Scully) agreed to -

That the question be now put.

Question put -

That the House do now adjourn.

The House divided. (Mr. Speaker - Hon. J. S. Rosevear.)

AYES: 22

NOES: 39

Majority . . 17



Question so resolved in the negative.

Sitting suspended from 5.5S to 8 p.m.

page 75


AttorneyGeneral and Minister for External Affairs · Barton · ALP

by leave - Mr. Speaker-

Mr Harrison:

– I rise to order. I direct attention to order of the day No. 7, “ International Affairs - Ministerial Statement - Motion for printing paper “. Should not the Minister for External Affairs resume that debate instead of making another statement on international affairs, which might conflict with order of the day No. 7 and prejudice the conduct of the business of the House?

Mr SPEAKER (Hon J S Rosevear:

– If the Minister were to speak on the original motion at this stage, he would close the debate.

Mr Harrison:

– The right honorable gentleman proposes to make a new statement on international affairs.


– A further statement. The original motion for the printing of the paper will remain on the noticepaper.

Mr Menzies:

– Will the Minister move that his statement be printed? I may then obtain the adjournment of the debate, and I assume that the debate on the two motions could be taken concurrently.

Mr Chifley:

– We can discharge order of the day No. 7 from the notice-paper.


– What the Leader of the Opposition has suggested is quite satisfactory. I am anxious to preserve my right to reply to any statements that are founded upon the speech which I shall shortly make.

Mr Menzies:

– In other words, the right honorable gentleman will initiate a new debate?


– Yes, exactly. The situation is quite clear. I propose to deal in a broad and comprehensive way with the foreign policy of this country and the relationship of this country to the United Nations, to the British Commonwealth, to the great region of the Pacific and South-East Asia, and to the economic organizations which now form such an important part of international organization. I shall endeavour to show what that policy is. It is not a new policy. It has been the policy of the Australian Government, very broadly, since Mr. Curtin became Prime Minister of this country in 1941. It certainly is the policy of the Chifley Government, because this policy, in principle, was the policy submitted to the people of Australia prior to the last election. Therefore, although it may indicate that there has been an alteration of emphasis from time to time, it will be no new declaration. It is, I believe, the policy which the Australian people have accepted once - perhaps twice - and which commends itself to the overwhelming majority of them. Equally important, because a policy is nothing in itself, it is a policy which has been steady, and consistently carried out in every aspect of our dealings in foreign affairs, without exception. Perhaps we have failed on one or two occasions. If we have, we shall no doubt be criticized, but I shall dispute such criticism, on the grounds that, on every occasion, this Government, through its representatives overseas, and through various Ministers including myself as Minister for External Affairs, has endeavoured to carry out its policy loyally in .accordance with the principles which I shall state. What are they?

The first and fundamental principle of the policy of this country in foreign affairs is steady and unwavering support for the United Nations, and especially for the purposes and principles declared in the Charter of the United Nations. There is always some readiness to criticize when the United Nations, or the name of the United Nations is mentioned, because a very important fact is forgotten. The United Nations Charter is not merely the constitution of an international organization providing for machinery and rules of procedure. It also contains - and these are the most important parts of the Charter - declarations of duties, obligations and international conduct to which every member of the United Nations is pledged by becoming a member, so that the declared objectives and purposes of the United Nations organization also describe the essential features of what every nation’s foreign policy ought to be, and how it should behave to all other nations, without exception. In short, it is a declaration in the international community of the duty of each nation towards its neighbours. We must remember that neighbourhood is not a matter of geographical proximity or contiguity. The world has changed. We have been taught that lesson to our bitter sorrow in two great world wars. If we ask in relation to international affairs, “ Who is my neighbour ? “, we should recall the words of the late John Curtin that the conception must be a global conception and that aggression, breaches of international law and breaches of the peace anywhere in the world are matters of concern to every member of the United Nations That is the very basis of the United Nations constitution.

Let me express the situation more simply. Tyranny and even cruelty anywhere may come within the United Nations jurisdiction. We have only to think back to the dreadful years of Hitler’s domination of Germany, when cruelty stalked that great land and things drifted until cruelty within Germany became aggression against countries outside Germany. Therefore, the United

Nations organization, looking upon its membership as a world membership, regards those things as matters which, with some exceptions, are competent for action by it. I do not think that there can be any conflict about it, and those who are against the United Nations in conception and design must be people who really, in the last analysis, are isolationists and do not regard their international duty towards their neighbour as extending far beyond their own horizons. I mention that at the outset because one hears occasionally a false criticism which may be expressed as follows: - “Here is a matter in which Australia is interesting itself and which occurs at a long distance from this country. Why, then, should we worry about it? Why should we worry if there is aggression in a distant part of the globe ? “ I say that every member of the international organization known as the United Nations is bound by its pledges to the organization and to all the members to take note of aggression whereever it occurs, and of inhumanity whereever it occurs, and it must do its duty. Every member who belongs to the General Assembly of the United Nations, has an equal voice and an equal vote. When, in the last resort, everything is put to the test vote on a particular matter, the representative of each nation has to stand up and be counted. Later I shall make -available to honorable members a great many documents, including the full report of the delegation of Australia to the General Assembly of the United Nations in Paris, and a complete list of the resolutions adopted by that Assembly together with other documents. A perusal of them will show the enormous extent of United Nations activity and illustrate my point that there is not one question that comes before that body upon which Australia is not compelled, in the last resort, to express its opinion either early in the consideration or, at any rate, by its vote. That is a duty which is incumbent upon all, and, therefore, we must beware of a tendency to say that this or that matter does not concern Australia directly because it is such a long way off.

Both world wars commenced a long way from our shores. The first world war commenced through an incident in Serbia. The causes were far removed from Serbia, but the incident there was the occasion of the war. The second world war, as we know, commenced through the invasion of Poland by Germany, although the causes of the war are discernible at a much earlier point in history. In both world wars, Australia was necessarily involved, because Britain was involved. At one period in World War II. the members of the British Commonwealth were left alone to fight against Hitler. Because of these facts, it is our duty to our own people to look to these matters in order to see where the dangers lie and make our contribution to a peaceful and just solution of each dispute and each situation before it threatens war.

In the constitution of the United Nations certain purposes are declared. I shall try to summarize them very briefly. The first is in the following noble words of the preamble, for which Ave are indebted to Field Marshal Smuts - To save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.

By intervening in all cases of threats to the peace, acts of aggression, or in situations likely to cause international friction. That is the function and duty of the United Nations, primarily through the Security Council, which is a small body of eleven members, five of whom are permanent members and six of whom are elected members, and, to a secondary degree, through the General Assembly. The second purpose of the United Nations is to adjust and settle all such cases not arbitrarily but in conformity with the general principles of justice. That is most important indeed, because it is a fundamental part of the Charter. Such principles certainly include just procedures and a careful investigation of all relevant facts before a decision is reached. I do not propose to confine myself to any more general declaration of principle, but shall illustrate in particular instances what has been done in order to demonstrate that this country on every occasion has endeavoured to live up to its international obligations or to proffer its solution of a particular difficulty according to a principle and not according to the mere expediency of the moment. A classical illustration is afforded by one of the most difficult problems that has ever confronted the United Nations, the age old problem of Palestine. Just think of the difficulties that confronted the United Nations when that particular problem was put within the jurisdiction of the General Assembly. It was quite properly put in the jurisdiction of the United Nations. The mandatory power was the United Kingdom. In accordance with the great Balfour Declaration made during World War I., and in accordance with the Treaty of Versailles, the United Kingdom Government assumed the mandate in relation to Palestine. Taking into account all the difficulties of that generation and the special difficulties that confronted the United Kingdom, it can boldly be said by the United Kingdom and by all members of the British Commonwealth that that mandate was fully discharged. At the end of World War II. the British Government came to the conclusion that it was utterly impossible to find a basis of agreement as between Arab and Jew. All sorts of suggestions were made, but agreement could not be obtained. The British Government, having lost the lives of some of its soldiers in attempting to carry out the mandate, having heavy burdens elsewhere in the world and being unable to obtain agreement between Arab and Jew, as a last resort brought the matter within the jurisdiction of the United Nations Assembly.

What was to be done by the United Nations? The matter clearly came within its authority. It was a situation causing unfriendly relations between nations and one which was likely to endanger international peace. Therefore, the United Nations Assembly accepted jurisdiction over the matter. How was it to act? I take this again by way of illustration of these principles. It was to act, in accordance with the Charter, in conformity with just principles and just procedures. Early in 1947, when this matter came before the Assembly by reference from the United Kingdom Government, the first question to determine was how to approach the matter. A number of countries, including Australia, submitted to the Assembly that the problem could only be approached, if the Charter was to be observed in a spirit of justice, by introducing a just procedure. That was done. A special commission of inquiry and investigation into the Palestinian problem was appointed by the Special Assembly of 1947. The commission went to Palestine and heard evidence. It was difficult in those places at that time to obtain the fullest evidence that should have been available, but the commission did an excellent job. The undertaking was a very expensive and costly one for the United Nations, but the commission returned to the United Nations Assembly in September, 1947, with a report and recommendations. After looking at all the facts and investigating all the circumstances, its recommendations to the General Assembly were that, agreement being impossible between Arab and Jew, a political partition of Palestine was the solution that was just to Jew and Arab alike, that there should be economic union between the Arab and Jewish portions of Palestine, and that special trusteeship provisions should be made to protect the holy cities of Jerusalem and Bethelem. Those were the recommendations of the special commission, and they came before the General Assembly late in 1947. The Assembly then considered whether the report of the commission should be adopted. There was much debate and much argument for and against. I shall not repeat the details of it to-night, because I have done so on a previous occasion. I was appointed chairman of the committee reporting to the Assembly on that problem. The ultimate recommendation of the ad hoc committee on Palestine was in substance that, the procedure having been adopted of getting a special report, the recommendation of the United Nations Commission should be adopted. So it was decided by the recommendation of the Assembly, that being the decision, that this scheme of political partition of Palestine should be put into operation.

It is necessary to remember that the Assembly is not a body which has legislative authority. It is only a body. Part of its recommendation was that the Security Council of the

United Nations should treat any attempt to alter by force the settlement recommended by the Assembly as an action inconsistent with the Charter and that it should be ready to take appropriate action if that occurred. After nearly three months of analysis and debate, that decision was reached. It was based upon justice and it was reached impartially. No one had any purpose to serve in that Assembly except the finding of a just solution. The solution which the four British dominions of Australia, Canada, South Africa and New Zealand favoured was the solution that was ultimately adopted by the Assembly. The United Kingdom took the stand that, as the mandatory power, it should not take a view one way or the other on that point. There was just procedure, namely, an attempt to hear all sides of the case and to find out the true facts before a decision was reached. There was a report back to the Assembly and finally a decision was reached. That decision in favour of partition was defied for some considerable time by two of the Arab States. That led to fighting in Palestine of a very bitter nature, but then the Security Council of the United Nations intervened. In spite of the tremendous difficulties of a Security Council without force and without the military power to carry its decisions into action, Security Council intervention was successful time and again. In connexion with Security Council action, it must be remembered that the fighting was sporadic. But for the United Nations action, in my opinion, there would have been a full-scale war in Palestine, probably leading to war right through the Middle East.

Mr Rankin:

-.- The “ Gyppos “ ! They belted the “ tripe “ out of the “ Gyppos “.


– The honorable gentleman is recalling what was done in relation to one of the states to which I have referred, but that has very little to do with what I am saying. The fact is that but for United Nations intervention the Palestine dispute might easily nave caused a general outbreak throughout the Middle East. Those are undoubtedly the facts. The United Nations intervention in Palestine was undertaken under great difficulties. The problem appeared to be insoluble and finally, through the mediation of the Security Council and by intervention from time to time, the area of the dispute was lessened and fighting was limited. Through the combined action of the Security Council and the Assembly, I believe the day is not far distant when a settlement will be reached in Palestine, not according to the expediency of the situation, but in accordance with the just decision of the General Assembly, based on political partition. Honorable members know of the ups and downs of the struggle in that country. Finally the Jewish state was established in accordance with the decisions of the United Nations Assembly. It has been recognized by most of the countries of the world. I believe that on the foundation of the General Assembly’s decision there will be found a solution which will be of permanent value to the peace of that part of the world and which, by the very justice of the solution which has been adopted, will strengthen the prestige and establish the reputation of the United Nations. I say that purely by way of illustration of the United Nations principles and purposes. [ say that, first, the procedure was just and, secondly, the determination of the assembly was to reach a conclusion according to a just principle. If one had asked what would be the expedient course to pursue in the interests of power, perhaps a different solution would have been reached. That was the view taken by the four British Dominions to which I have referred, including Australia. That view has prevailed. I believe that its acceptance and final justification is strictly in accordance with the United Nations principles and purposes. I have referred to it to illustrate the point that the United Nations Charter declares the duty of adjusting and settling all international disputes, not arbitrarily but in conformity with the general principles of justice. Those principles certainly include just procedures and the careful review of all relevant facts before decisions are reached.

The third principle embodied in the Charter is the solution of international problems of economic and social significance by promoting universal respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, by requiring all nations to secure higher standards of living, full employment and conditions of economic and social progress and development. That is again a declaration of a universal duty to all mankind, to all countries and to all the peoples of all countries. I say again in that respect that this country, through its delegations, has carried out its duties strictly in accordance with those purposes. At San Francisco the Australian delegation was largely instrumental in securing the inclusion in the Charter of a pledge by each member that it would pursue the doctrine of full employment within its own territories and help to promote that policy throughout the world. There is no country in the world to-day in which that pledge has been more faithfully and loyally kept than Australia. Why, it may be asked, is it our business to be concerned with whether other countries have a doctrine of full employment? The answer to that is the economic depression in which this country suffered, not through events occurring within Australia but through a calamitous fall of the prices of our exported goods in other markets of the world. As a result of that, the unemployment that was first caused abroad ultimately reached this country, which then went through an economic blizzard of unprecedented proportions. So Australia took the initiative in including this pledge of full employment in the Charter of the United Nations. The body that has been appointed to see that these things are carried out in this case is not the Security Council but the Economic Council, acting under the jurisdiction of the Assembly.

The fourth point that I am making so far as the Charter is concerned, and I am only summarizing the main points, is that, under the Charter, it is the duty of nations to ensure the political, economic, social and educational advancement of all dependent peoples, that is, the peoples who have not yet got selfgovernment and are not. yet fit for self.government, recognizing always that the interests of the inhabitants of those territories are a paramount trust and that the trustee in such cases is the sovereign power. That doctrine applies to trust territories such as the territory of New Guinea in the case of Australia or the territory of Western Samoa in the case of New Zealand. It applies also to nonselfgoverning territories that are not placed under trusteeship. The concept is a dynamic one. It is one that develops with the stage of political development in each trust territory. In that respect, Australia has performed its duty to the United Nations, both our trust territories in New Guinea and the one that we share with Britain and New Zealand, Nauru, having been placed under trusteeship. If the Charter of the United Nations lays down these duties, they are a code of conduct for all the nations, and one of the first implications of that principle of unwavering support for the United Nations is unwavering support for the decisions of the United Nations and its councils and organs, because in one form or another every member of the United Nations is given a fair opportunity of seeing that all decisions are made in accordance with the Charter and its provisions. Therefore, it is essential that the nations should be loyal to decisions after they are enunciated. That is a matter of extreme importance and it is in relation to that that I wish to refer briefly to the case of the Republic of Indonesia. That is a case which has taken up an enormous amount of public attention, hut its essential features from, the point of view of the United Nations are simple. After the war, the Republican movement in Indonesia developed, and finally the Netherlands Government made an agreement, known as the Linggadjati Agreement of 1947, with the Republic of Indonesia. That is the basic agreement, and under its terms the Netherlands Government recognized the Republican Government of Indonesia as the de facto Government responsible in a certain portion of the Netherlands East Indies. The Netherlands Government, a sovereign government, recognized the Indonesian Republicans by making a definite agreement with the republic that had been proclaimed. The next point is that what was called “ police action “ - that is to say, force - was employed by the Dutch against the Republicans in July, 1947, and the Security Council of the United Nations intervened. Australia accepted part responsibility for that intervention, not only on its own account but as a member of the United Nations, and for one purpose only - to see that fighting in this territory so close to our shores should be stopped and that conciliation or arbitration should be substituted for warfare.

Mr Rankin:

– What about the Australians who were murdered in Indonesia ?


– That is the fundamental principle of the United Nations and it applies everywhere. There is no question of who is right in the present dispute.

Mr Rankin:

Mr. Rankin interjecting,


-The honorable member for Bendigo is a persistent interjector. He must cease interjecting.


– An honorable member has interjected that the present dispute is not our business. Nobody can say that it is not our business. It is the business of the United Nations organization, of which we are a part, and of the people of the world because the life or death of a Dutch or Indonesian soldier is just as important as that of any man anywhere in the world, and one of the purposes of the United Nations is to substitute the rule of law for the arbitrament of force, to attempt to conciliate differences and to substitute for all that has been suffered in two world wars some rule which all the nations can obey. I hope to make it perfectly clear to the House that this is a question not of the particular merits of the dispute but of the purpose and principles of the United Nations and of the necessity for loyalty to its decisions. As a loyal member of the United Nations, we have tried to carry out its decisions. The Indonesian question is simply an illustration of the general principle and I so treat it because the Security Council did intervene in that case. It intervened in spite of opposition by the Netherlands authority, and appointed a Committee of Good Offices to try to obtain mediation and conciliation in the area. Australia worked on that committee, as one of its members and helped to negotiate a new agreement which was known as the Renville Agreement and is additional to the Linggadjati Agreement. The Committee of Good Offices has worked ever since and we as a Government, through our representatives, have laboured unceasingly to effect a just settlement based upon the Linggadjati and Renville Agreements between the Dutch and the Republic of Indonesia. There is no trouble that could have been taken that has been spared in the interests of saving life in Indonesia and substituting the rule of law for the rule of force. We appointed Mr. Justice Kirby of the Arbitration Court on a number of occasions to go to Lake Success, to Holland, to Batavia, and to the capital of the Indonesian Republic, for that purpose. We have had other representatives there who also performed excellent work in the same direction. Our only purpose has been to achieve satisfactory conciliation. During a recent meeting in Paris of the United Nations General Assembly I spoke to the Dutch Foreign Minister, who thanked Australia for the services that Australian representatives had performed on the Committee of Good Offices. He said Australia had done, and was doing, its part in an endeavour to gain a settlement, and that is indeed the case. The situation was then disturbed by a new movement in Indonesia. There was a revolt against the Indonesian Republic by a Communist section in Indonesia. The Republic of Indonesia suppressed that revolt and in all States, in the Foreign Office in Britain, the, State Department in Washington, and in Holland, there was nothing a few months ago but praise for the Republic of Indonesiabecause of its suppression of extremist movements. Everything looked hopeful for a final settlement, and then arose this most recent dispute on which action was taken by the Dutch on the 19th December.

I have treated this matter purely from the point of view of United Nations action, and have recounted the various stages - the decision to intervene, the appointment of a conciliation committee of which we are a member, the attempts to gain agreement by conciliation, the apparent likely success of these attempts, and, finally, on the 19th December, the resort by the Dutch to what was called police action, which is, of course, a name for the use of force. The facts are set forth in the report to the Security Council by the Committee of Good Offices dated the 21st December, 1948. I pro pose to read five sub-paragraphs of that report. Paragraph 5 reads -

The Committee draws the attention of the Security Council to the following points which emerge from the foregoing and from the Committee’s previous reports: -

In their repudiation of the Renville Truce Agreement, the Netherlands Government did not comply with theprovisions of Article 10 of the Agreement. (b The Committee is not aware of any circumstances connected with the concentration of Republican forces or themanoeuvres of the Republican Army which should have given rise to apprehensions and alarm, leading toprecipitate action on the part of theNetherlands.

The tone of the Netherlands letter of 17 December to the United Statesrepresentative (vide Supplementary Report of 18 December) and the requirement of a reply within a time limit which was impossible of fulfilment give to this letter some features of an ultimatum.

Military operations of the nature carried out by the Netherlands forcesmust have involved considerable planning, and it is difficult not toconclude that plans for such operations were in progress during the exchange of correspondence referred to in the Committee’s Special Report of 12 December and the Supplementary Report thereto of 18 December, and at the time the Netherlands authorities facilitated the transfer of the Committee’s head-quarters toKaliurang.

Not only have the possibilities of negotiations under the auspices of the Committee not been exhausted, but they have not been adequately explored. There have been no negotiations under the auspices of the Committee since 23 July. The recent direct talks cannot be regarded as negotiations, as they took the form of Netherlands demands for the complete surrender of the Republic to the Netherlands position on all important issues.

In commencing military operations on 10 December, the Netherlands Government acted in violation of its obligations under the Renville Truce Agreement.

That was the report of a constitutionally appointed committee of the Security Council. It directed that the leader of the Republican Government, who had been taken prisoner as a result of an air attack on the capital of the Republic, should be immediately released.

What has happened since has been strictly in accordance with the United Nations principles. The matter has gone to the Security Council again. I was asked a question this afternoon whether the Prime Minister of India had called a conference which the representatives of a large number of countries in the South-West Pacific, Australia and New Zealand, had attended. That conference followed precisely the same broad principles that I have tried to describe here. Whatever one may say about the merits of the original dispute when the Security Council has intervened under the Charter of the United Nations, and has committed the parties to negotiations, and there is nothing to suggest that a. settlement is impossible, for one party to the dispute to resort to the use of force without taking note of the circumstances mentioned in the report I have read is a direct breach of the United Nations Charter. The Security Council has made its decisions in this matter and it now remains to be seen to what extent they will be adhered to, and when peace will be restored in Indonesia. I am not regarding this matter from the point of view of what one would do if one had a free hand or of what would be the expedient or even what would be the just thing to do. This situation has developed, the United Nations has intervened, and its decision should be loyally observed.

I entirely repudiate any intention, on behalf of this Government at any time, cf any hostility to the Netherlands. There is not one step that has been taken by the Australian Government that has not been taken for the purpose of preventing bloodshed in Indonesia and the loss of lives. That has been the purpose of our intervention in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations. I am surprised that honorable members opposite do not at once accede to that. There has been no other purpose from first to last. My instructions to delegations have always been to seek conciliation by the Security Council and to adhere to the Council’s decisions. There is an attempt in some circles to sow distrust between Australia on the one hand and the Netherlands on the other. I do not know what the motive is, but it is not based on fact. I repeat that in every case where we have had dealings with the Netherlands Government - and we have been thanked by that Government for many things - we have acted for the sole purpose of carrying out the principles of the United Nations and in an attempt to settle this dispute in accordance with conciliation and arbitration instead of by the arbitrament of force. I am prepared to accept the judgment of the Australian people on the Government’s attitude on that issue, which, I believe, would be in accordance with what the Government has put forward from, beginning to end. I am amazed that in this House, after all the sufferings that have been caused by two world wars, there could be any dispute about this principle, and I assure honorable members that its carrying out has been the uniform objective of Australia all along. I say further that, but for the United Nations intervention and Australia’s intervention there would have been countless lives lost in Indonesia, which has a population of 70,000,000 souls, and the whole area might have been convulsed with senseless and useless slaughter. I have dealt with both Palestine and Indonesia, because they are critical examples of United Nations’ practices and principles, and because they show how these principles have been applied. I say that they have been applied correctly. The right decisions have been reached by the Assembly and the Council.

Mr Hughes:

– What about China?


– I shall not deal only with China, but also, if honorable members will allow me, I shall go to Peru, However, we cannot go around the world too quickly. I am not interested in particular cases. I want to demonstrate that this Government, as well as the Government led by Mr. Curtin, has applied these United Nations principles without exception, and without regard to considerations of expediency in individual cases.

Mr Rankin:

Mr. Rankin interjecting,


– If the honorable member for Bendigo (Mr. Rankin) interrupts again I will name him.


– I want to turn now from the point relating to the necessity of observing the principles and purposes of the Charter, and the necessity of loyal obedience to the decisions of the United Nations, to the other aspects of Australia’s activity in world affairs as a member of the British Commonwealth of Nations. I want to make it clear that active cooperation by Australia as a member of the British Commonwealth in the interests of world peace based on justice and better conditions of life for all people is also a fundamental principle of the policy of this Government. Every member of the British Commonwealth has its own special problems. I want to deal frankly with this matter of co-operation because it is important. We must remember that each member of the British Commonwealth, including the United Kingdom, has its own special objects, sometimes regional, sometimes strategic and sometimes economic, and these must be taken into account when any particular problem arises. I make the statement unequivocally that, so far as Australia is concerned, there has never been any holding back from the full implications of British Commonwealth membership. On the contrary, we have repeatedly taken the lead in initiating improvements in the practices of co-operative consultation, and we are still doing so. We must appreciate the enormous changes taking place in the very structure of the British Commonwealth of Nations. There have been added three new independent dominions, India, Pakistan and Ceylon, with a total population of over 400,000,000 persons never previously represented at any British Commonwealth conference. The King, in referring to that, said he was proud of the increased membership of the brotherhood of British Commonwealth of Nations- and a brotherhood it is. That must be taken into account when one tries to 3ee what is feasible and desirable in connexion with British Commonwealth co-operation. This changing character of the British Commonwealth has brought in, not only nations with tremendous resources, but also individuals of tremendous value to the councils of the Commonwealth. The three new premiers, the Premier of India, Pundit Nehru, the Premier of Pakistan, Liaqat Ali Khan, and the Premier of Ceylon, D. S. Senanayake, contributed very considerably to the success of the British Commonwealth conference at the end of last year. On all points their opinions were taken, and on many they were accepted. That gave point to the conception of co-operation and enriched the tremendously valuable consultations which had previously taken place. Previously, not all these governments had been full members of British Commonwealth conferences because their countries lacked complete self-government. They had been represented only in a secondary sense. One of the contributions of the Prime Minister of India was his insistence upon the fact that in the modern world, where there are extreme political movements, you could not deal with them negatively by repression; you must recognize the rising tide of nationalism in Asia. The people wanted a greater measure of selfgovernment. You could not deny them by repression, and you could stop the infiltration of extreme political ideas from abroad only by seeing that the standard of living of the people, the miserable standard as it often now is, was improved. That was the argument advanced by the Prime Minister of India. I wish I could repeat his words. Of course, it has been said before, but he put it in a way that was convincing and compelling. In our contribution to the United Nations, particularly to the economic and social aspects of that organization, we have tried to act in accordance with that principle. That is why the doctrine of full employment and rising standards of living, together with the Atlantic Charter as signed by Roosevelt and Churchill, have in substance been incorporated in the United Nations Charter.

There has been no change of title of the British Commonwealth of Nations. The remarks of our Prime Minister on that subject have been taken up and published overseas. In the King’s Christmas broadcast, we were delighted to note that he did not omit the word “ British “ in his reference to the British Commonwealth of Nations. Thi.e title is recognized in all countries. Let me quote one brief passage from a leader published in the London Times of the 23rd October last, as follows: -

To such a gathering each sovereign country of the Commonwealth brings its own problems and each speaks with its own special voice.

The strength which the Commonwealth derives from its rock-like anchorage in the Pacific cannot be over-estimated.

There follows a tribute to the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Mr. Eraser, and to the Australian Government. What has been the policy of the Prime Minister in relation to the great economic and financial crisis in Great Britain caused by the war - caused not by things done for Britain but by the sacrifices of the British people? The Prime Minister’s policy has been to do everything asked of him in the interests of the British people, to act upon every request and suggestion of the British Government. His action in this regard has won recognition from what is probably the leading newspaper in Great Britain.

I refer to British Commonwealth consultation and co-operation. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies) has often used the formula, “ We must speak with one voice “. Let us see what that means. Obviously, it means that the British Commonwealth must speak with one voice. Well, let us see how far that is possible, but let me say this first of all : To-day, consultation and active cooperation functionally in dealing with matters not merely of international political concern, but with matters such as migration, aviation and economic and financial matters arising from day to day, were never greater than now. The amount of communication existing to-day, and the frequency of communications between London and Canberra is enormous compared with six or seven years ago. I should’ say that it has increased 50 fold as compared with the period before the war; that is, to say, for one communication involving consultation and co-operation before the war there would be 50 to-day. Views are stated at an early stage in the discussion of a matter and telegrams are exchanged until the area of agreement is increased. In most instances agreement is reached. The cases in which agreement is reached are never heard of. It is only occasionally, once in the “ blue moon “, that differences persist. The great characteristic of the British Commonwealth of Nations is that, in the great matters of life and death affecting our peoples, they act together.

This was proved during the first and second world wars, and it would be demonstrated again should another great crisis arise. The fact is that in the sphere of co-operation - and I want to make this statement quite clearly so that there will be no misapprehension - no member of the British Commonwealth of Nations has done more to advance cooperation than has Australia, and this is well illustrated by the recent conference in London. I am speaking of this Government, without detraction of any previous Government, because I speak of what I know. At the conference in London in 1944, Mr. Curtin suggested the formation of a British Commonwealth secretariat. It was rejected, but we have not been satisfied with that rejection. We have repeatedly made proposals for more active consultation. I believe that, in the near future, it will be possible - I am sorry that it has not been possible before - to announce additional arrangements in the matter of British Commonwealth conferences which, in my opinion, will mark a new stage in co-operation between the partner nations - the brotherhood of nations, as the King described it. The matter does not end there. In connexion with Japan, the Australian Government took the initiative by inviting to Australia at Canberra representatives of all members of the British Commonwealth to discuss the Japanese problem, which is primarily a problem of the Ear East and of the Pacific. In this matter of our external affairs there is active co-operation between members of the British Commonwealth, and so far as the Australian Government is concerned nothing is being left undone to improve that co-operation. The Leader of the Opposition tried, during the crisis of the war, to obtain Imperial co-operation for the purpose of winning the war, and he will remember the difficulties he encountered because of the fact that in this Commonwealth there are nations with very different outlooks. Some are very anxious not to have formal consultations at all, or to reduce them to a minimum. Difficulties arose in connexion with Canada, which were publicly stated by Mr. McKenzie King to Lord Halifax. Other difficulties arose in connexion with South Africa. One cannot determine the speed of a convoy by the speed of the fastest ship. Let those “who talk glibly about improved Commonwealth cooperation as if it were the same thing to make a proposal and to have it accepted, remember our experiences in the past and the difficulties that have been encountered. In my remarks on these matters I prefer, wherever possible, to couple New Zealand with Australia. These two countries are always in the van of those which want the maximum degree of co-operation, and I am pleased that the newer members of the British Commonwealth, India, Pakistan and Ceylon, are almost invariably on our side for the common good.

I have dealt with the United Nations and our participation in its activities. I have referred to the British Commonwealth. There is complete harmony between the policy of supporting the United Nations and the policy of actively co-operating as -a member of the British Commonwealth of Nations. The recent Prime Ministers’ conference in London showed a remarkable community of outlook among all “the governments of the British Common”wealth in their approach to present world problems, and this is of vital importance - the fundamental approach of all members was support of the objectives -of the United Nations as an instrument for world peace, and determination io make its work fully effective. So we Shave the United Nations obligations and objectives by which we are bound, and we have the British Commonwealth -.solemnly declaring to the world that a fundamental part of its policy is support of the United Nations. How can any -one fairly say that there is any conflict or antithesis between these two objectives - that it is a matter of choosing one or the other? The British Commonwealth is bound by the United Nations Charter. Any other view would be unthinkable, because the British Commonwealth is itself a brotherhood of free and equal nations which made important contributions to the framing of the United Nations charter and to the military victory which alone made the United Nations organization possible. Those -contributions were in many instances, decisive. I want to make it clear that Australian support for the United States of America, so far from in any way weakening British Commonwealth cooperation, strengthens and reinforces it. Equal members of the British Commonwealth have agreed to work together in upholding the broad objectives of the United Nations. In principle, those objectives are indistinguishable. Peace based on justice, the settlement of international disputes by peaceful means also based on justice, and, on the economic side, high standards of living and full employment are the objectives contained in the Atlantic Charter to which Mr. Churchill was a signatory.

A third aspect of vital importance to Australia i9 co-operation with the United States of America. An integral part of Australia’s foreign policy is, and has been, a maximum degree of co-operation with the United States, especially in relation to the Pacific and South-East Asia. In point of fact the co-operation of Australia with the United States of America - very close in time of war when President Roosevelt assisted us so much as Chairman of the Pacific “War Council, and General MacArthur was Supreme Commander of the South-West Pacific, including all our forces - is being confirmed and strengthened to-day by President Truman, whose courage and perseverance have been matched by his constructive “fair deal” plan for the world announced at his recent inaugural. I do not want there to be any mistake about this matter. The relationship between our two countries is one of close and cordial comradeship. I hope that that comradeship which was forged on the battlefields of the Pacific will be perpetuated. During the war, Australia under the leadership of the United Nations made its contribution to victory under the leadership of the United States of America.

Mr Abbott:

– The United States of America wants back Manus Island for its own use.


– The honorable member for New England (Mr. Abbott) has been very consistent on that point. I think that he has been very wrong about it. He knows very well that there are two points of view with regard to Manus. One is that that base should be completely handed over to the United States of America. I think that that is a completely preposterous proposition. No suggestion of that kind was ever put to us by the United States of America at any time. How could we give up part of a territory which under our trusteeship responsibilities is an integral part of a territory which Australia is bound to defend ? According to Admiral Hamilton, Manus is the Scapa Flow of the Pacific, and it is the duty and right of Australia to develop it as the forward base for our carrier arm. I should be surprised and astonished to hear that any reason was given to anybody in this country to complain about that attitude. We have never received any complaints about it. The President of the United States of America has not so much as breathed a word on the subject. As I have said, the relations between our two countries could not be more cordial than they are to-day. I appreciate the sincerity of the honorable member for New England who has always held a consistent view with regard to Manus. I merely say to the honorable member that if he visited the island he would appreciate its significance to Australia - as part of our plan of regional co-operation in the Pacific. He would be proud of the fact that Australia is making it a base for the defence of this country.

In time of war Australia’s policy was necessarily directed to energetic and whole-hearted concentration upon our survival as a free nation. Equally important is Australia’s attitude to international affairs in time of peace. We believe that war can best be prevented by removing its underlying causes, and that international disputes must be settled by reference to the standard of what is just and right and not to what is merely expedient. We also believe that war can best be prevented by promoting, in accordance with the Atlantic Charter, improvements of living standards not only in Australia and the British Commonwealth but also throughout the world. Do we look at these disputes from the viewpoint of what is a just solution or what is expedient? The second point of view is contrary to the Charter. Furthermore, what appears to be expedient to-day may turn out to be a quite wrong anticipation of events in twelve months’ time. There is only one course to follow and that is to find a just solution.

Both inside the United Nations organization and, in connexion with peace settlements, outside the United Nations framework, Australia has always insisted upon democratic methods and procedures in international conferences. From San Francisco onwards we opposed the unrestricted use of the veto by each permanent member of the Security Council. In relation to that, a remarkable development is taking place. In spite of the terms of Article 27 of the Charter, permanent members are not now exercising the right to veto to any great degree. Soviet Russia is exercising the veto much less than it was eighteen months or two years ago. Now Soviet delegates frequently abstain from voting. Although Article 27 of the Charter may suggest otherwise, there seems to be growing a rule or practice which takes account of the opposition of the middle or small powers to the unrestricted use of the veto in the Council. In connexion with the peace settlements, what we have done is to give a positive right to every nation which contributed to the victory over our enemies to take an active part in the making of the peace treaties. Partly as a result of Australia’s consistent efforts a peace conference was called and peace treaties were made with Italy and the satellite powers of Germany. Peace treaties have not yet been made with Germany and Japan. In my opinion, failure to recognize the simple and democratic procedure of bringing together all the nations that contributed to the victory, including nations like Australia, South Africa and New Zealand, has led to tragic delays in making peace treaties with Germany and Japan.

I turn now to the question of regional consultation. Australia has always recognized the importance of regional consultation and co-operation, both in matters of security and in matters of social and economic welfare. That approach is perfectly consistent, not only with British Commonwealth co-operation, but also with the Charter of the United Nations. For instance, valuable and important European and American regional organizations have already been established in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, which, as a general rule, requires Security Council authorization in cases of enforcement action. In addition, Article 51 of the Charter explicitly recognizes the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence in the case of armed attack pending the taking of enforcement measures by the Security Council itself. In accordance with these principles of regional co-operation, Australia and New Zealand made a special agreement for consultation in 1944 and subsequently both countries initiated the South Pacific Commission for international co-operation aiming at the welfare, of the peoples of the South Pacific islands under the sovereignty of Australia, New Zealand. the United Kingdom, the United States, the Netherlands and France. Regional consultation and co-operation in SouthEast Asia and the Pacific are strictly in accordance with the practice of the United Nations and of the British Commonwealth. Indeed, the South-East Asia and Pacific regions to-day include no less than six of the eight members of the British Commonwealth - the United Kingdom, India, Pakistan, Ceylon, New Zealand and Australia. The principle of regional co-operation in South-East Asia has already been recognized by the. United Nations Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East, and by Lord Killearn’s pioneer work on the problem of food, as well as by the South-East Asian members of the British Commonwealth.

I propose to refer as shortly and succinctly as I can to the increasing role of the United Nations as a mediator in disputes. With great power differences multiplying so rapidly and becoming critical, the role of the United Nations as mediator and conciliator is assuming vast importance. This function of conciliation and mediation has been exercised both by the .Security Council and the General Assembly, and frequently by the smaller and middle-sized nations. All it, does is to embody the duty which rests upon every nation to promote the peace ful adjustment of international disputes and to avoid the arbitrament of force. There have been United Nations interventions, either by the Security Council or by the General Assembly in the Balkans, where a conciliation committee was appointed, and in Kashmir, where an acute dispute between India and Pakistan was settled. But for the intervention of the United Nations in Kashmir a terrible catastrophe might have occurred in that part of the world. The United Nations organization was successful in preventing that catastrophe from happening and its success was of great importance. In Palestine the intervention of the United Nations has, on the whole, been successful. One has only to contrast what has happened there even with such intervention with the disasters that might have taken place in that part of the world had there been no intervention. The Berlin problem seemed virtually insoluble outside the United Nations. Finally, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and France referred the dispute to the Security Council where the matter was fully and openly debated. The attempts at mediation by the powers in the Council which were not parties to the dispute show how close to settlement of the Berlin question the action in the Security Council went.

Mr Beale:

– What does the Minister mean by that?


– A document covering the matter will be placed before honorable members.’ I do not want to weary the House with a too technical examination of the situation. A blockade contrary to the Potsdam Declaration was imposed by Russia. The Western Powers demanded that the blockade should cease. The Russian demand was two-fold. The Russians said that they must have, not only in the Russian zone, but also in the whole of the four zones in Berlin, only one currency, the currency of the Soviet zone. The German mark of the Soviet zone would be the currency for the whole of Berlin.

Mr Beale:

– And under Soviet control ?


– They made further demands, and there was a dispute on that point. Filially, the Russian Government demanded that the whole question of Germany should be re-opened before the Council of Foreign Ministers. The proposal embodied in the text of the resolution finally considered on the 25th October last was as follows : -

That there should he put in effect simultaneously, namely, on the day of the notification of this resolution, the steps required for the fulfilments of the points set out hereunder.

The first point was the immediate removal of all restrictions on communications, that is to say, the complete lifting of the blockade. The second was an arrangement for the unification of the currency under conditions controlled by the four military governors, under the quadrupartite finance commission. The second measure had to be carried out by the date indicated in another part of the resolution, the 20th November, which was some three weeks later. The third proposal was that within a further ten days, there should be consultations on the whole question of Germany. That proposal was, in substance, through the mediation of the six powers not party to the dispute, the proffered solution of the Berlin problem. Russia rejected it. The Soviet said that it would lift the blockade, but contended that the inauguration of the unification of the currency and the talks should synchronize with that action. The point of disagreement was purely one of time and not of substance, and the mediation of the six powers which were not direct parties to the dispute nearly came to be accepted. Indeed, that mediation is continuing through a committee investigating the finance question.

It is an extraordinary paradox that the San Francisco charter was founded on the theory that the great powers would always be in agreement, and would take the lead in composing disputes between the small powers. Now, to some degree, the reverse applies, and with acute differences between the great powers continuing, intervention by the middle powers will, I believe, be a feature of United Nations activities. It is meeting with substantial success. A similar thing occurred in respect of Greece, where a conciliation committee, of which I was a member, was appointed. “We had agreement on practically every point of difference between Greece on the one hand and Yugoslavia, Albania and Bulgaria on the other hand, but at the last moment, a further demand madeit impossible to have the agreement signed. The point which I make is this : The function of conciliation and mediation in accordance with the principles of the Charter of the United Nations is beoming an increasing feature of the Security Council and the General Assembly.

The right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes) has referred to China. A long and tragic war has convulsed that nation, and delayed the rehabilitation to which the long-suffering people are entitled. In my opinion, it would be strictly proper for the United Nations to endeavour to mediate there for the purpose of saving the lives of countless innocent people.

I return to the economic aspect in order to tell the House what Australia has done to carry out its international obligations under the Charter to maintain full employment and high standards of living. That obligation has been carried into effect internally. Of that there can be no doubt whatever. Australia has also discharged it3 duty to assist in the rehabilitation and relief of peoples outside our borders. In one way and another, on a small scale, we have been steadily pursuing, throughout the post-war era, our own version of the great Marshall plan, which was launched on such a great scale under the leadership of General Marshall. We have actively supported all action by the United Nations for the aid of distressed people throughout the world, and helped to provide assistance to many welfare and relief organizations. Australia was the fourth largest contributor toUnrra. Post-Unrra relief has carried on this policy. A good illustration is the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, which assists children and mothers in want, and is guided only by needs and is without any form of discrimination whatsoever. The Australian Government’s contribution to the United Nations Children’s Fund has been the second largest in the world. This remarkable achievement: - and I submit that it is a remarkable achievement - has recently been reinforced by the voluntary gifts made by our people in answer to the United Nations 1948 Appeal for Children, and has resulted in a greater direct contribution to the United Nations Children’s Fund than that of any other nation. In my opinion, that is magnificent evidence of two things, first, the support of our people for the people of other lands and suffering humanity everywhere, and, secondly, the intense interest of the people of Australia in the success of the United Nations. In granting this assistance, Australia has exported 70 kinds of foodstuffs. The countries which have benefited are Austria, Germany, Greece, Finland, Czechoslovakia, Poland and Albania. Tons of food have been sent overseas for the benefit of mothers and ‘children. Our food and wool are being sent to other countries as we carry out the moral obligation that we have assumed under the Charter. A further illustration of this policy is provided by Australia’s prompt assistance for the relief of Arab refugees, and our continuous support of the International Refugee Organization. I should like to be permitted to recall also Australia’s gift of £35,000,000 to the United Kingdom as practical evidence of our admiration of the magnificent effort that is being made by the Government and people of Britain towards the economic rehabilitation of that country - an effort not unworthy of our kinsmen’s epic sacrifices in the common struggle against aggression.

Mr.White. - It is inadequate.


– There is not one thing which the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley; has been asked by Britain to do in this great peace-time effort, that has not been done.

A close examination of the three years’ work of the United Nations - the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic Council and the Trusteeship Council - shows a faithful pursuit of its great objectives. The recent meeting of the General Assembly at Paris, and what was done there, is further proof of steady accomplishment, despite many setbacks and. difficulties. The General Assembly opened under the shadow of the crisis in Berlin, and there were not a few who feared that before the Assembly could really get down to work, the crisis would deepen in Berlin and practically destroy the United Nations. That did not occur. I submit that the United Nations is contributing day by day to the maintenance and even the making of a just peace. It was not its function under the Charter to make the peace. The peace was to be made by the victorious nations. That has been done in relation to Italy and the satellite countries, but not in relation to Germany and Japan, and so, bits and pieces of what should be the peace settlement are coming into the jurisdictions of the United Nations. The organization thus has an added burden, and I submit that the active participation of Australian delegations on these great occasions not only helps the United Nations but also proves that Australia is conducting its foreign policy in a way that is worthy of the war-time effort of its people. It is significant, and I hope that all honorable members will appreciate it, that in this critical period in the history of mankind, when there is such an intense difference between countries which were allies in the successful struggle against Hitler, Mussolini and the Japanese, President Truman, after the recent endorsement of his policy by the American people, has given great encouragement to and steadied the faith of those who have placed their faith in the United Nations. I quote the words that he used on the occasion of his inauguration. He said -

The supreme need of our time is for men to learn to live together in peace and harmony.

To that end, the first guiding principle which he enunciated was to -

Continue unfaltering support of the United Nations and United Nations agencies.

Do honorable members really dispute the necessity for the United Nations? There may be defects in the organization. We ourselves have pointed out where defects exist, but what alternative is there in the realm of international organization? I have referred to some of the successes of the United Nations. I commend to honorable members for study the detailed account of the work of the General Assembly to show its achievements in a number of directions. I say that there is no alternative to the United Nations.

Mr Spender:

– The Atlantic Pact seems to be some alternative.


– No, it is an addition. I appreciate the point that the honorable member for “Warringah has taken. He is referring to the Atlantic Pact as a regional security development based on the “Western Union. I referred to that before “when I mentioned European and American regional co-operation. Regionalism is good, and is recognized in the Charter of the United Nations under certain conditions. It is good because you may, in the long run, be faced with the position where the United Nations, devoid of physical power to carry out decisions, is unable to meet a situation, and, therefore, you are forced back upon other alternatives. Therefore, I say that the Atlantic Pact is supplementary to the United Nations, but not a substitute for it. Regional organizations are not limited to the Atlantic Pact. There are others in Eastern Europe and Latin America. I agree with the honorable member for Warringah that these regional organizations are good in their place so long as people do not treat them as the substitute for the world organization. If you simply have two regional organizations in the world struggling for mastery and without a forum at which they can meet and discuss their differences with a view to preserving peace, the future of the world under those conditions may be a terribly dark one.

As I have stated, President Truman has urged men to continue unfaltering support of the United Nations. We may consider that the United Nations should have acted differently in this matter and that matter, but we do not cease to support it. Rather do we increase our support of the organization. That is the duty which devolves upon the members of the United Nations, and the one thing that is necessary is the support of the people so as to back their respective governments. The honorable member for Warringah has rather indicated by his interjection that many current disputes are the by-product of a deep-seated dispute between the east and the west. I felt very affected and impressed by a speech which Mr. Churchill delivered in the House of Commons on the 10th December last. He referred to the situation in 1945 before Germany had been com pletely defeated and while the war with Japan was still raging. Three and a half years later, he read a copy of a letter which he had written to Stalin, and I should like to read a few sentences from it to the House. Honorable members will find the speech reported at page 726 of the Hansard of the House of Common.;, of fie 10th December, 1948. Mr. Churchill quoted a letter from Stalin thanking him for a great act of selfless co-operation by Britain in favour of Russia, and mentioned a similar act which had been performed by the Russians at the time of the break through by the Germans in the Ardennes. Mr. Churchill proceeded -

That was the high point of my relationship with him. I finished, therefore, in this way - “ There is not much comfort in looking into a future where you and the countries you dominate, plus the Communist parties iti many other States, are nil drawn up on one side and those who rally to the English-speaking nations and their associates or Dominions are on the other. It is quite obvious that their quarrel would tear the world to pieces and that all of us leading men on either side who had anything to do with that would be shamed before history. Even embarking on a long period of suspicions, of abuse and counter-abuse and of opposing policies would be a disaster hampering the great developments of world prosperity for the masses which are attainable only by our trinity.”

That is the trinity of Russia, the United States of America and Britain. One could not put that thought into language that is more compelling, eloquent or true. Mr. Churchill went on to say -

That was my outlook and hope then, irc April. 1045. It was my dearest wish. I believe that trinity of co-operation and theefforts of these three Powers would have opened to mankind a golden age of productivity and peace, and moral and intellectual well-being. That was my outlook then. I only deeply regret the reasons that exist - and they are “known to us all - which make it difficult to share it and express it fully now.

Why was Mr. Churchill repeating that in 1948 ? He was not doing so because he had abandoned all hope. He was putting forward a view with complete frankness which, surely, is still not impossible of achievement. He assumed the existence of Russia and the Communist parties possibly lined up on one side and all the countries of the English-speaking world and other democratic countries lined up on the other. He said that, if it came to a physical issue it would, to use his words - tear the world to pieces, and all of us leading men on either side who had anything to do with that would be shamed before history.

I think he meant that the door was not closed. Take this ridiculous dispute over Berlin. Why should Russia, willing to lift the blockade, say it will only do so if the financial agreement comes into effect on the same day? The Russians vetoed a proposal which would have brought it into force twelve days later. The blockade is an absurd physical embargo upon contact with Berlin, and the Russian Government has no moral right to impose it. They put their case forward. They say that the western powers’ currency plan was contrary to Potsdam, and that the western organization of Germany is contrary to Potsdam. Even supposing that there is some argument to put forward from the Russian point of view, why should they not do the one physical thing that is needful and give some demonstration to try to bring into effect the state of affairs that Mr. Churchill was obviously aiming at and thought he could get in 1945, and which he does not think should be impossible of achievement now? I have seen these people at conferences. I have seen how, in connexion with Assembly resolutions, time and again differences which are acute gradually lessen, the area of agreement widens and settlement is arrived at in many instances. Even in connexion with atomic energy, although the acute difference of principle is not settled, there was an area of agreement, and the work of the Atomic Energy Commission is to continue. I could give many other illustrations. The effect of the presence of the leaders of the great powers at these conferences is beneficial in the long run. They meet. You cannot meet human beings, the leaders of nations that have been your allies in a great war, without having a hope in your heart that disputes will be settled on a basis of justice. I do not mean that they should be settled on a basis of ridiculous appeasement and yielding always to the other side, but on a basis of justice. I believe that Mr. Churchill had that in his mind when he wrote his splendid letter. I feel that the door is not yet closed. The United Nations is the one great forum that remains to make that still possible of achievement.

I do not wish to elaborate further. In the course of the debate, which I greatly welcome, honorable members will be able to raise points with which I have not dealt, and I hope to have an opportunity to deal with them in reply. I submit for the consideration of the House and the people of Australia that among all Australians there ought to be complete agreement with the foreign policy of the Australian Government, which we have stated so frequently and frankly and which we have consistently tried to carry into effect, not without success. Differences in emphasis are understandable, but I submit that the fundamental principles remain. The essential objective of the foreign policy of this country is the same, under the Charter, in relation to political, social or economic matters. What is it? In a few sentences, it is the maintenance of peace based on justice, a peace made enduring by increasing living standards and by the development of political independence and political responsibility. Means to this end are in our hands. They are continuous- support of the purposes, principles and decisions of the United Nations, the greatest possible cooperation with members of the British Commonwealth of Nations, the maintenance of our special relationship in the Pacific with the United States of America, regional arrangements in order to promote welfare and to settle disputes causing international friction, the assumption of the role of international conciliation and mediation whenever and wherever it might be sought, and practical support for the economic and humanitarian activities of the United Nation.and its specialized agencies. We forget the work that they are doing. The International Labour Office and many of these other bodies are succeeding, but very little is heard of their activities. If there is trouble or a brawl at an international conference, that is news which strikes the headlines, but if there is agreement, as there was at Paris in the Economic and Social Committee, where great progress was made, that is not news and it is only to be ascertained by honorable members reading the reports that they will have an opportunity to read during the adjournment and letting the people of Australia know what has been done. The objective of our policy is peace, but not a peace except one based upon justice, and the prevention of a third world war by the methods that are open to us. The methods are at hand. Since the Charter was formed at San Francisco - and we took some part in its formation, as everybody knows - we have tried sincerely to carry these objectives into operation. It is the foreign policy not of myself as Minister but simply as agent for the Chifley Government. It is the policy of the Labour movement of Australia. It is and will continue to be, I believe, the policy of the people of Australia.

I lay on the table the following paper : -

Foreign Affairs - Ministerial Statement, 9th February, 1949, and move -

That the paper be printed.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Menzies) adjourned.

page 92


The following papers were presented : -

Air Force Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules1949, No. 2.

Arbitration (Public Service) Act - Determinations by the Arbitrator, &c. - 1948 -

No. 92 - Postal Telecommunication Technicians’ Association (Australia)and others.

No.93 - Australian Broadcasting Commission Staff Association.

No. 94 - Federated Clerks’ Union of Australia.

No. 95 - Commonwealth Public Service Artisans’ Association.

No.96 - Federated Clerks’ Union of Australia and Federated Ironworkers’ Association of Australia.

Banking Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1948, Nos. 154, 165.

Commonwealth Bank Act -

Appointment - B. Major.

Classification of Positions with Names and Salaries of Officers in the Service of the Bank as at 30th June, 1948.

Commonwealth Public Service Act -

Appoi ntments - Department -

Attorney-General - G. H. J. Phillips. Civil Aviation - G. D. Dawson, W. G. Gilchrist.

Commerce and Agriculture - E. S. Hoffman, I. Molnar.

Defence - F. M. Anderson, R. IX Botterill, A. C. Eastway, C. D. Inglis, F. S. King, K, S. Miller, K. W. Payne,. K. W. Stevenson, M. T. Van Baer,. J. W. Warmington, M. A. Williams-

Health - R, A. Rimington.

Interior- R. C. McBride.

Labour and National Service -

L. E. A. G. Black, E. T. Deaner, P. E. Newell.

Post-war Reconstruction - H. Coppock.

Prime Minister - H. E. Smith.

Repatriation - D. J. Rae, M. S. Rogers. B. G. Thompson.

Social Services - L. A. Chessman.

Supply and Development - J. W. Beagley,

R. G. Curedale, H. A. Doyle, D. W. Keam, W. G. Morgan, J. K. Newman,. W. H. Oldham, G. F. Schaefler, R. D. Walker.

Treasury - W. R. C. Jay.

Works and Housing - G. W. Allen, J.

Goldsmith, L. M. Kaberry, E. A. Keal, A. S. Perry, V. A. Rule, C. H. Smith, K. T. Wegg.

Regulations - Statutory Rules - 1948, Nos. 157, 158. 1949, No. 1.

Customs Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules - 1948, No. 156. 1949, No. 3.

Customs Act and Commerce (Trade Descriptions) Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules- 1948, Nos. 161, 166.

Defence Act - Royal Military College - Report for 1947.

Defence (Transitional Provisions) Act - National Security (Industrial Property) Regulations - Orders - Inventions and designs (17).

National Security (Liquid Fuel) Regulations - Orders - 1948, Nos. 3, 4.

National Security (Prices) Regulations - Orders - Nos. 3417-3419.

National Security (Tea Control) Regulations - Orders - Nos. 9 (substitutecopy), 10.

Order - Revocation of orders made underthe National Security (Food Control) Regulations.

Regulations - Statutory Rules 1948. Nos. 160, 163.

Education Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1948, No. 159.

Income Tax Assessment Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1948, No. 162.

Judiciary Act - Rule of Court, dated 28th October, 1948.

Lands Acquisition Act - Land acquired for - Banking purposes - Melbourne, Victoria. Defence purposes -

Glenunga, South Australia.

Karrakatta, Western Australia.

Parkes, New South Wales.

South Fremantle, Western Australia.

Townsville, Queensland.

Department of Civil Aviation purposes - Geraldton, Western Australia.

Department of Commerce and Agriculture purposes - Albany, Western Australia.

Postal purposes-

Arkendeith, Queensland.

Ashburton, Victoria.

Auburn, Victoria.

Bankstown, New South Wales.

Deepwater, New South Wales.

Elsternwick, Victoria.

Gardenvale, Victoria.

Kingaroy, Queensland.

Kuranda, Queensland.

Laverton, Victoria.

Murrurundi, New South Wales.

Palm Beach, New South Wales.

Penrose, New South Wales.

Perth, Western Australia.

Rochedale, Queensland.

Rushworth, Victoria.

Saddleworth, South Australia.

Scone, New South Wales.

Smithton, Tasmania.

South Brisbane, Queensland.

Thornbury, Victoria.

Ventnor, Victoria.

Wetherill Park, New South Wales.

Winton, Queensland.

Seat of Government purposes - Oaks

Estate, Australian Capital Territory.

Telephonic purposes - Canning Bridge, Western Australia.

Nationality and Citizenship Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1940, No. 4.

Northern Territory Acceptance Act and Northern Territory (Administration)

Act- Regulations- 1948- No. 6 (Plant Diseases Ordinance).

Papua-New Guinea Provisional Administration Act - Ordinances -


No. 12 - Barristers and Solicitors Admission.

No. 13 - Appropriation 1948-49. 1949 - No. 1 - Lands’ Acquisition (Town Planning) .

Pharmaceutical Benefits Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1948, No. 155.

Seat of Government Acceptance Act and Seat of Government (Administration)

Act - Ordinances - 1948 -

No.6 - Liquor (No. 3).

No. 7 - Liquor (No. 4).

No. 8 - Hawkers.

Social Services Contribution Assessment

Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1948, No. 164.

Stevedoring Industry Act - Orders - 1948, Nos. 32, 38, 40-43, 45, 46.

House adjourned at 9.40 p.m.

page 93


The following answers to questions mere circulated: -

Public Service.

United Nations: General Assembly.


Australians Domiciled Abroad : Transfer of Funds.

Woollen Garments

Mr Chifley:

y. - On the 30th November last the honorable member for Wentworth (Mr. Harrison) asked the following questions, upon notice: -

  1. Have representations been made by Australian knitting mills for supplies of local yarn in order to continue production of woollen garments’?
  2. If so, are supplies to be made available; if not, for what reason?
  3. Are Australian knitting mills now being offered English yarns, February-March delivery, costing 17s.6d. per lb., whereas yarns made by the Wangaratta mills cost only 9s.11/4d. per lb.?
  4. Is it a fact that some woollen garments of English manufacture are being retailed at about £4 each, whereas the comparable Australianmade article retails at 18s. 6d. ?
  5. Will he ascertain whether it is a fact that much of the machinery of Australian knitting mills is now idle because of the inability to obtain Australian yarns and that this has resulted in a shortage of Australianmade woollen garments?

The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -

  1. . Representations have been made frequently by knitters to the Supply Department in regard to shortage of yarn supplies. The capacity of Australia’s knitting machinery is far greater than the potential market in this country and although spinners are working to capacity of man-power available, and yarn production during the current calendar year shows an increase over the corresponding period, 1947, they are not able to fully satisfy Australian demands. At the same time from inquiries made throughout the trade there would appear to be no acute shortage of Australianmade knitted garments.
  2. The Government no longer has power to divert labour to industry nor to direct manufacturers in the matter of distribution of supplies.
  3. It is a fact that English yarn has been available to Australian knitters at round about the figure quoted. Through lack of detail in regard to quality, counts, &c, no comparison is possible between the imported yarns and the local product. At the same time it must bo taken into consideration that the locally produced yarn would consist almost entirely of subsidized wool.
  4. It is a fact that imported English woollen knitted garments are priced at £4. These garments are of superfine cashmere type which are not made in Australia. Hence they may be classed as luxury lines and are not competitive with locally made goods. It might be added, however, that there is a lack of comparability of imported knitted garments available at the price mentioned and Australian knitted garments priced around 18s. 6d.
  5. See answer to No. 1 above, but some knitting mills are also affected by labour shortages just as arc spinning mills and if full supplies of yarn were available some knitters would not be able to handle them fully because of depleted staffs.

Motor Vehicles

Mr Pollard:

d. - On the 10th November, 1948, the honorable member for Bendigo (Mr. Rankin) asked the following questions, upon notice -

  1. What were the total imports of motor vehicles from dollar sources during the past twelve months?
  2. What proportion has been commandeered by the Commonwealth Government and/or its departments and instrumentalities?

The Minister for Trade and Customs has now supplied the following information : -

  1. For the twelve months ended 30th June, 1948, imports of motor vehicles from dollar sourceswere.-
  1. 0.88 per cent, was released by the controlling authority, the Department of Transport, for the Commonwealth Government and/or its departments and instrumentalities.
Mr Rankin:

asked the Minister acting for the Minister for Transport, upon notice -

  1. How many applications for new American motor cars were (a) received, (b) granted, and (c) refused, during the year ended the 30th June, 1948?
  2. How many applications were (a) received, and (b) granted, in July, August, September and October, and (c) how many were outstanding at the latest available date?
Mr Chambers:
Minister for the Army · ADELAIDE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP

s. - The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : - 1. (a) 43,913; (b) 19,300; (c) 42,165 (unsatisfied applications as at the 30th June, 1948). 2. (a) July, 3,470; August, 3,007; September, 2,691; October, 2,123. (6) July, 1,388; August, 1,407; September, 1,002; October, 916. (o) 46,900 (30th November, 1948).


Mr Archie Cameron:
Postmaster-General · BARKER, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP

n asked the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture, upon notice -

  1. What is the Federal basic wage for a 40-hour week?
  2. In the commission’s interim report on the cost of producing wheat, what was the cash amount allowed for the wage of the farmer for his seven-day week?
  3. What rate of interest was allowed on the capital of the farmer invested in his farm operations?
  4. Was any allowance made for profit for the farmer or do the figures given merely represent the cost of production?
  5. Was the computation made up to harvest, the normal time of delivery?
  6. Is the cost without profit to be the basic price for all Australian sales for flour and stock spread over the ensuing year, without any addition of interest for holding the wheat for the buyers’ convenience?
  7. Will interest and storage charges for the holding of the 50,000,000 to 60,000,000 bushels for this purpose be charged to the Wheat Board and deducted from farmers’ proceeds, reducing their returns for such wheat to less than cost?
  8. Will the Government arrange to pay the price they have guaranteed for wheat to the farmers on delivering their wheat; if not, what amount will be paid to farmers as a first advance?
Mr Pollard:

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -

  1. The federal basic wage, per week, from the 1st November, 1948, is -
  1. £6 10s. per week.
  2. Three and one-quarter per cent.
  3. The figures given by the committee represent the cost of production including interest on borrowed money and interest on the capital the fanner has invested in the farm. No additional allowance was made for profit.
  4. The financial year was used in assessing costs.

    1. The basic price for all local sales is to be 6s. 3d. a bushel f.o.r. subject to a variation each season according to changes in the cost of production.
  5. Interest and storage charges will be a charge against the wheat pool concerned. As pool charges were taken into account in deciding the guaranteed price, this leaves a profitable margin for producers.
  6. It is proposed to continue the established practice of making a first advance on delivery, which will be determined from season to season. In the present season, 1948-49, the first advance is 5s. 6d. less freight for bagged wheat and 5s. less freight for bulk.

Civil Aviation : Trans-Australia Airlines.

Mr Francis:

s asked the Minister for Civil Aviation -

  1. Will he make available the cost of operating the Trans-Australia Airlines service between Townsville and Mount Isa and between Cloncurry and Normanton?
  2. Will he also give the actual returns from fares since the inception of the services?
  3. What action has been taken to grant a permit to Townsville and Country Airways who applied for a permit to operate a service between Townsville and Innisfail?
Mr Drakeford:

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : - 1 and 2. Trans-Australia Airlines is engaged in a commercial enterprise in competition with privateairline operators and the Australian

National Airlines Commission considers that detailed information of its operating costs or revenue should not be disclosed for the information of its competitors. Trans-Australia Airlines does not operate any service between Cloncurry and Normanton.

  1. The aerodrome at Innisfail, in its present condition, is not satisfactory for use by the type of aircraft operated by Townsville and Country Airways and, therefore, the Department of Civil Aviation could not approve the issue of a licence for the operation of the proposed air service.

Office of Education.

Mr Chifley:

y. - On the 17th November, 1948, the right honorable the Leader of the Australian Country party (Mr. Fadden) asked questions concerning the budget figures used in discussing poster No. 21, issued by the Commonwealth Office of Education, and I undertook to prepare a statement on the matter.

I now inform the right honorable gentleman as follows: - 1 am advised that in the compilation of the poster the amount of £29,000,000 referred to by the right honorable member was not deliberately ignored. The poster contains the following footnote: -

In compiling this statement of expenditure no account has been taken of certain loans and credits. Payments made to reserve funds have likewise been disregarded for the sake of clarity.

This footnote is taken up in the discussion brief, which is intended to be studied in conjunction with the poster. It states -

Estimates of receipts and expenditures for the current financial year are given in detail in a 181-page document entitled “ The Budget, 1948-40 “. It is not possible to cover the same complicated ground in a single poster, and for the sake of clarity and simplicity, liberties have been taken with the Government’s expenditure programme.

For example. - In planning expenditure for the current year, the Government has budgeted for an amount of nearly £29,000,000 in addition to revenue from taxation and business enterprises. This sum is made up as follows : - £18,000,000, chargeable to the Loan Fund; £11,000,000, various credits.

Both of these items have been disregarded on the poster, with the result that the statements of revenue and expenditure balance exactly. To achieve this balance, however, it has been necessary to omit certain minor items from the Miscellaneous column and to whittle down the war gratuity allocation of £26,000,000 to £4,000,000 (see Defence and Allied Services column).

This treatment of the war gratuity allocation probably needs further explanation. The Government’s total gratuity liability is £80,000,000, the greater part of which will fall due for payment in three years’ time; but rather than meet such a commitment out of revenue in 1950-51, the Government proposes to establish a War Gratuity Reserve. Thus, while the sum of £26,000,000 has been allocatedfor war gratuity this year, only £4,000,000has been earmarked for actual cash payments in 1948-49. The remainder will be transferred to the reserve.

It will be noted, therefore, that the statement of estimated expenditure shown visually on the poster does not strictly adhere to all the details given in the official document. Such omissions as have been made, however, are considered justified in the interests of simplicity.

It will be seen that no attempt has been made to presenta distorted picture of Commonwealth finance by deliberately suppressing the fact that the Government intends spending £29,000,000 from loans and credits. On the contrary, this omission is frankly acknowledged on the poster and discussed at length in the brief. Expenditure from loans and credits was not featured on the poster because it would have been irrelevant to the topic under discussion, vii., “ Where Your Taxes Go”.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 9 February 1949, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.