Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. J. J. Clark) took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.
Mr HARRISON: WENTWORTH, NEW SOUTH WALES
– Has the attention of the Prime Minister been drawn to the fact that protests have been made by the governments of several countries to the Soviet Embassies in those countries regarding statements that have been made by local Communist leaders concerning the support that the workers of those countries may give to the Soviet army? Has the Australian Government yet made a protest to the Soviet Embassy in Canberra regarding a declaration by the Australian Communist leader, Sharkey, that, in the event of war, Australian Communists will support Russia? If no such protest has been made, will the Government make one, having regard to the fact that Sharkey’s traitorous utterance was timed to coincide with similar statements that were made by other Communist leaders abroad? In view of the fact that the Prime Minister has stated that this Government will not impose a ban on the Australian Communist party, I ask him whether he will examine the power of the Government to withdraw Australian citizenship from Sharkey and others in Australia who utter un-Australian sentiments ?
Mr CHIFLEY: Prime Minister · MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP
– Sharkey and the other persons to whom the honorable gentleman has referred are Australian citizens. As such, they can be dealt with under Australian laws if they are proved to have been guilty of seditious or subversive actions.
-This was done by direction of the Kremlin.
– The honorable gentleman is one of those all-seeing individuals who know exactly what everybody is doing everywhere and who has a solution of every problem. It must be marvellous to have such a magnificent intellect! The Australian Government does not propose to make a protest to the Soviet Ambassador in Canberra. Sharkey is an Australian citizen. If he and Australian Communists are proved to have been guilty of seditious or subversive’ utterances or actions, the Government will take the necessary steps to deal with them. The Australian Government does not require the support of the Soviet Ambassador or anybody else to deal with Australian citizens. If the persons to whom the honorable gentleman has referred are proved to have been traitors to their country, consideration will certainly be given to the action that can be taken against them and of their standing as citizens of Australia.
TUNICA Y CASAS
Mr LANG: REID, NEW SOUTH WALES
– Did the Minister, for Immigration issue an order to Tunica y Casas, former secretary of the Communist party in New Caledonia, and now proprietor of the Coq d’Or restaurant in Ash-street, Sydney, and his wife to leave Australia by the 10th March ? Did the Minister receive a report from the Commonwealth Investigation Service confirming my statements in this House that those people had been in contact with Communist organizations in the New Hebrides and Indo-China, and had brought to this country a considerable sum of American dollars? Has the Minister’s order now been suspended, and if so, why?
Mr CALWELL: Minister for Immigration · MELBOURNE, VICTORIA · ALP
– The honorable member has suggested in his question that the Commonwealth Investigation Service has made certain observations to me as Minister for Immigration. He has concocted that story himself. I do not propose to tell him anything that the Commonwealth Investigation Service has told me because he would be the first to tell the world. If we are to have a security service we must respect any reports that it makes. Nothing that the honorable member has said this morning is contained in any security report. I have given the people whom, the honorable member has mentioned until the end of May to get out of Australia. If they have not left by that time, I shall deport them.
Mr HAYLEN: PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES
– This week, in this chamber, the Minister for the Interior, in reply to a question that was addressed to him by the honorable member for Richmond, stated that there was not an atom of truth in a press report that appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald concerning the transfer of aboriginal children from New South Wales to Alice Springs. I ask the Minister whether his attention has been directed to a further report which appeared in the same newspaper on the 9th March in which the honorable gentleman’s statement was referred to as “ nonsense “ ? If the Minister’s attention has been directed to the matter, is he in a position to furnish any additional informa tion to the House? Has the Minister noticed that a reference was made in the “ Column 8 “ of the Sydney Morning Herald to a paragraph which appeared on Saturday but which was referred to as though it had appeared on Friday ? Does the Sydney Morning Herald know what day of the week it is ?
Mr JOHNSON: Minister for the Interior · KALGOORLIE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · ALP
– I have seen the statement .in the Sydney Morning Heraldto which the honorable member has referred. I am glad of the opportunity to place the facts before the public because, statements that I have made from time to time refuting untrue allegations which have appeared in the press have not been published. Only- by medium of a question of this character can the people be informed of the facts. I make no apologies for having arranged for the question to be asked. There were two half-castes from Mulgoa working for professional families in Sydney. One, Topsy Glyn, was working for a doctor at Vaucluse. She has two children, Freda and Rona. When the Director of Native Affairs visited Sydney, Topsy’ Glyn was one of the first of the half-castes to say definitely that she intended to return to the Northern Territory. Her employer’s wife, who was contacted by telephone and told that Topsy would be returning to the Northern Territory, accepted the decision without question, arranged transport for Topsy from Sydney to Mulgoa and also assisted her in obtaining a few articles which she required. The other halfcaste, Alice Roberts, worked for another doctor at Five Dock. She has two children, Glen and Janice. Alice feared that her children might be separated, as all the other half-caste hoys were remaining in Adelaide. However, at her request, the Director of Native Affairs permitted the two children to proceed to Alice Springs with their mother. As soon as Alice knew that she would be returning to the Northern Territory) she immediately left her employment and returned to Mulgoa to await the movement of the party. The doctor’s wife expressed regret at losing Alice, but realized that Alice’s employment was of only a temporary nature. She made inquiries to ascertain whether she could render any further assistance to make the removal to Alice Springs more pleasant. No suggestion was ever made that any of the evacuees should pay their own fares. A check of their wardrobes was made to ensure that they all had suitable warm clothing. The bank balances, if any, of Topsy Glyn and Alice Roberts were not known to the Director of Native Affairs, and no suggestion was made that they would be forced to pay their own fares. Both of these women are now employed ou the staff of St. Mary’s Hostel at Alice Springs. They receive 35s. a week each and full board for themselves and their children. With reference to the latter part of ‘the honorable member’s question, it is quite obvious that no reliance can be placed on statements which appear in “ Column 8 “ of the Sydney Morning Herald. In the issue of that newspaper of the 9th March, the editor of that column referred to a paragraph which he said had appeared in the issue of the preceding Saturday, the 5th March. As a matter of fact, the paragraph to which he referred had been published in the .issue of the preceding Friday, the 4th March. Apparently the editor of “ Column 8 “ of the Sydney Morning Herald does not know what day r>( the week it is.
Mr TURNBULL: WIMMERA, VICTORIA
– I direct a question to the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture. I have received a letter from the Australian Wheat Growers Federation seeking my co-operation in an endeavour to bring about improvements in the wheat stabilization legislation. The federation asks that 15 per cent, of the exportable surplus wheat be made available for stock-feeding purposes and that if the Government requires any quantity above the 15 per cent, for stockfeeding, it should subsidize the price to increase the return to growers from the guaranteed minimum figure to the average export realization of the pool. Has a similar request also been made to the Minister ? If so, is he prepared to consider it?
Mr POLLARD: Minister for Commerce and Agriculture · BALLAARAT, VICTORIA · ALP
– I have received a letter from Mr. Stott, M.H.A., general secretary of the Australian Wheat Growers Federation, outlining the request stated by the honorable member. I promptly informed Mr. Stott that, as the existing stabilization plan was. of such recent origin, and was the outcome of prolonged deliberations by wheat-growers’ organizations, the Australian Agricultural Council, and the Commonwealth and State Parliaments, there is at present no intention on the part of the Australian Government to re-open thematter or to amend the legislation.
Trade with Australia.
Mr CONELAN: GRIFFITH, QUEENSLAND
– Is the Prime Minister aware that there is a move on foot in Australia to sell Japanese textiles at a rate far lower than the cost at which such goods can be produced in Australia? As the United Kingdom Government has protested to the United States of America against Japanese goods being allowed to flood Great Britain and to undersell local cotton goods and textiles, will he take steps to ensure that goods from that low wage country shall not be allowed to glut the markets of Australia?
Mr CHIFLEY: ALP
– As I have intimated previously, a trade arrangement has been made for the supply of Japanese goods to Australia in return for the supply of certain Australian materials to Japan, maintaining as closely as possible a balanced trade budget. It is proposed that the value of the equipment received from Japan shall be equivalent to the value of goods purchased from Australia by SCAP or through arrangements with SCAP. Some of the imports from Japan will be textiles, and it is true that complaints have been made by some retailers and manufacturers about the possibility of Japanese textiles which are produced at low cost being allowed to undersell Australian textiles in this country and British textiles in the United Kingdom. I assure the honorable member that the matter is being watched very closely. The Government is having a special examination made of the situation now. If suitable textiles are available in the United Kingdom we should prefer to purchase in that country any supplies that cannot be produced in Australia. In fact, Australia is importing rayon goods of various kinds from continental countries, first, because we need them and they have not yet become plentiful in the world’s markets, and, secondly, because we are anxious to help to augment the sterling balances of continental countries that are short of foreign exchange. I assure the honorable member that the matter has been examined very closely.
Mr HOLT: FAWKNER, VICTORIA
-The Minister for Shipping and Fuel has published figures which show the amounts of petrol that are allocated monthly in Victoria to the Liberal party and associated organizations and to the Australian Country party. Will the Prime Minister also supply to the House a statement showing the monthly quantities of petrol allocated to the Australian Labour party and its associated organizations and to the Communist party and its associated organizations?
Mr CHIFLEY: ALP
– I personally examined the answer prepared by the Minister for ‘Shipping and Fuel in reply to a previous question on this subject. I am rather sorry that the honorable member has raised the matter because I think it will be found that, perhaps for very good reasons, the petrol quotas of the Liberal party are very greatly in excess of those allotted to the official Labour organizations. That explanation was to have been attached to the statement issued by the Minister for Shipping and Fuel, but I thought that, in allthe circumstances, it should be deleted because of another aspect of the matter. The allocation of petrol to the Australian Labour party in Victoria is small compared with the allocation to the Liberal party in that State, but allocations are made to various trade unions that may very well be engaged in political activities. I seem to be in trouble on this occasion, and perhaps I have been over-generous in one respect by giving publicity to the matter in a way which may not fairly present the case. However, I shall supply some information about the position.
– What allocations are made to the Communist party and its associated organizations ?
-I have not examined the allocation that the Communist party receives, but I think that a similar position obtains in that case.
– What coloured petrol does the Communist party use ?
– It is not possible for the reasons that I have given, to form a reasonable judgment on the allocations of petrol to the Liberal party and the Australian Labour party respectively. The Communist party may not receive a direct allocation of petrol, but a particular trade union, the officials of which are members of the Communist party may get an allocation. I am quite prepared to give the honorable member some information about the position, but I do not think that he will derive much gratification from it. The statement may not present a completely fair picture of the situation, and that is why, in the first place, I deleted some information from the reply.
Mr DALY: MARTIN, NEW SOUTH WALES
-Has the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture seen a statement attributed to Mr. H. W. HopeGibson, a Melbourne merchant, on his return from the Far East yesterday, to the effect that Australian goods have a bad name in the Far East because racketeering exporters send goods there that are not true to label? Mr. Hope-Gibson has further stated that Chinese merchants are suspicious of Australian goods, and complain that they do not come up to the standard of the sample, that the packing is haphazard and that the goods arrive in a damaged condition. Will the Minister investigate those statement, and explain to the House the precautions that the Department of Commerce and Agriculture takes to prevent racketeering of that nature?
Mr POLLARD: ALP
– I have not seen the statement to which the honorable member has referred, but I assure him that the Department of Commerce and Agriculture endeavours to protect the overseas purchasers against goods of bad quality and against bad packing and labelling. It is obviously impossible for departmental inspectors, of whom there is an insufficient number, to inspect every package that is sent from Australia, but when overseas importers bring to the attention of Australian trade commissioners instances of inefficient packing, and of goods, of bad quality and unsatisfactory labelling, our representatives endeavour to photograph the goods in question, and furnish reports to the department. We promptly convey those photographs and reports to the manufacturers concerned and intimate to them, if we are satisfied that the complaints are justified, that if they repeat such bad trading practices, we shall seriously consider cancelling their licences.
Mr FADDEN: DARLING DOWNS, QUEENSLAND
– Will the Treasurer state whether the American Ambassador to Australia, Mr. Myron Cowen, has discussed with the Australian Government the matter of double taxation? If so, can the right honorable gentleman give the House any information about the result of such negotiations?
Mr CHIFLEY: ALP
– The subject of an agreement on double taxation between Australia and the United States of America was raised a few years ago when Mr. Nelson T. Johnson was the American Minister in Australia. About that time, the American Charge-d’ Affaires, Mr. John Minter, introduced to me a deputation of American interested parties, not in an official but in an informal way, and we discussed the possibility of arriving at an agreement on double taxation. That meeting was the forerunner of other discussions, and since Mr. Myron Cowen has been American Ambassador in Australia, further representations have been made to me on the subject. Quite frankly, the investigations have not yet enabled me to see any prospects of reaching a reasonably fair reciprocal arrangement, because the position in respect of trade, dividends and the like is rather one-sided. Not many people in Australia receive dividends from America, but miscellaneous payments from Australia to the United States of America other than for goods imported amount to between 90,000,000 and 100,000,000 dollars a year. There is, of course, some difficulty in making a double taxation agreement that will be, to use a diplomatic term, of mutual advantage. However, Mr. Cowen has raised the matter, it has been discussed, and discussions are still proceeding.
YAMPI SOUND IRON ORE
Mr HOWSE: CALARE, NEW SOUTH WALES
– Has the Prime Minister seen a statement made recently by Mr. W. M. Webster, the representative in Australia of the British Phosphate Commission, that there should be an official inquiry into the acquisition of the rich Yampi Sound iron ore deposits by the London firm of Brassert and Company Limited? Will the Prime Minister say whether there is any truth in the report that that firm has been granted a lease of this valuable national asset, .and will he present n statement to the Parliament setting out all the relevant facts?
Mr CHIFLEY: ALP
– The history of Yampi is well known, I think, to the Leader of the Opposition.
– I do not know about these recent events.
– But the right honorable gentleman knows all about the association of Brassert and Company Limited with Yampi.
– The right honorable gentleman also knows of the action taken by the Government of which he was a member to .prevent the export of iron ore from Yampi. It is true that portion of the Yampi Sound deposits were leased to Brassert and Company Limited. There are tv<> islands, Koolan Island and Cockatoo Island. One of them is leased from the Government of Western Australia by the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited. A lease of the other has also been issued by the Western Australian Government, but, of course, it has a terminating period. I do not think I should disclose the private business of the firms concerned. The Government of Western Australia has been endeavouring to promote the establishment of a steel production unit in that State. It has been in communication with the representative of an American organization engaged in business in this country. Mr. E. S. Spooner, who was formerly a im ember of the Parliament, is, I understand, eitherthechairmanora director of the companythatispromoting this particular venture in conjunction with, or at least with the approvaland support of, the Government of Western Australia. The GovernmentofthatState is anxious to develop the production of iron ore and to manufacture steel and I understand that thisis also the desire of both the Labour andnon-Labourpoliticalparties of that State. No iron orecan be exported from Yampi Sound without the authority of the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture. The matter of the utilization of the ore deposits at YampiSound arose in a discussion at the meetingofthe International. Trade Organization at; Geneva andithassincearisenandbeen discussed invarious forms..The Government has made it. perfectlyclear that it does not proposeto permit ore to beexportedfromthatareaorto agreetoanyinternationalarrange- ment that will involve the export oforefromYampiSound It proposes toretaintherighttopermitonlygoods fortheexportofwhichalicensehasbeen issuedtobeexported. It is not intended todepartfromourearlierdecisionthat ironoreshallnotbeexportedwithouta licence,andthe Government does not propose to grant any such licences. In making the statement attributed to. him. I think that Mr. Webster, who is an associate member of the BritishPhosphate Commission, was talking about somethingofwhichhedoesnotknow greatdealbecauseYampiSounddoesnot come within the ambit of the. commission’s activities and would, therefore,- beoutsidehisordinaryknowledge Although one can agree that iron ore shouldnotbe exported, I am sure that Mr.Webster could not have been aware of allthefactsotherwisehewouldnot have madethestatement referredto
-Has the Ministerfor Immigration seen the report of a statementmadebythe Economic and Social Council of. the. UnitedNationsappealing to those countries which accept migrants to take a greater proportionofintellectualsasmigrantsamongstthedisplaced personswhomtheyselect? The report statesthatthereareapproximately 2,500 qualified medical practitioners inthecamps in Europe. Will the Minister’ consider accepting those men, who have come to be known as the “forgotten people of Europe “? I point out. thatitis vitally necessary to Australiatoacquiretheservices of a greater number of professional and highly skilled persons if our development, as envisaged by the implementation of such comprehensive economic plans as the Snowy River diversionscheme, is to proceed expeditiously. Since the trade unionsapproveoftheintroduction of foreign workers to industry in thiscountrydoestheMinister consider that the FederalCounciloftheBritish Medical. Association shouldapproveoftheintro- ductionofforeignmedicalpractitioners?
Mr CALWELL: ALP
-The matter raised by the honorable member for Parkes is receiving, consideration. The great tragedy of Europe is thatthereare approximately 11,000,000 displaced personsinvariousparts of that continent. Amongst those who have been specifically designatedas”displaced persons” bythe International Refugee Organization are many highly qualified medical practitioners. Some such practitionershave already arrived in Australia. They have signed on as labourers and have been given employment as hospital orderlies Ihave recently hada check madeof the numberofdoctors amongst the displaced personsbroughtto Australia, and it disclosed that there are 22 doctors among them. Last week I received a report oneachofthoseindividualsandalsoon161qualifiednurses. The Minister actingfortheMinisterfor External Territories asked me whether itwouldbepossible to release some of these displaced persons who are qualified as doctors to serve as doctorsinNewGuineabecausethe administrationcannotgetsufficientquali- fiedAustralianpractitionerstogotthere Ihavesentthelistofdoctorstothe Minister with a view to having their qualifications checked, and if the individuals concerned are regarded by the officials of the Department of External Territories and the Departmentof Health assuitable I shall release them from their obligationsinAustraliasothat their special qualifications may be availed of in New Guinea. A copy of the list of the doctors and nurses has also been forwarded to Dr. Turnbull, Minister for Health in the Tasmanian Government, because he informed me in Hobart in January last that Tasmanian legislation permits displaced persons and other aliens who are properly qualified to practice medicine in that State without having to pass an examination by the local medical registration board.
We may also be able to use some of those doctors in the Northern Territory. The matter is under consideration, and if we can help in the solution of this particular problem, which is only one of many problems associated with displaced persons, we will enhance the reputation that Australia has gained for co-operation with, and general assistance to, the international organization that is charged with the responsibility of resettling displaced persons.
THEFTS OF MILITARY EQUIPMENT
Mr BERNARD CORSER: WIDE BAY, QUEENSLAND
– In the absence of the Minister for the Army, [ direct a question to the Prime Minister, fs the Government aware that the number of active Communists in Australia exceeds the number of recruits that it has been able to secure for the land forces ? What quantity of small arms, ammunition and stores has been stolen in Australia since the termination of the last war? Would it be making an excessive estimate to say that the quantity of small arms stolen since the war ended is in excess of the official distribution of small arms to our land forces?
Mr CHIFLEY: ALP
– The precise number of Communists - and by Communists I mean people who have declared themselves to be Communists - was at one time 20,000. I understand that the number has been very greatly reduced since the time when that figure was supplied.
– They have gone underground.
– The party to which the honorable member who has just interjected belongs wants to drive all Communists underground.
– I was interested to hear the honorable gentleman’s inter jection about Communists going underground, in view of what honorable gentlemen opposite think about declaring Communists illegal, and thus driving them underground. I understand that there has been a very great reduction in thu number of persons who admit to being Communists. I am not referring to people who are known as “ fellow travellers “ or to other persons who have, radical views. Many people who art radicals have no association with the Communist party. A man may have radical views without being a Communist or without having any association with Communists. There art even churchmen who have radical views. Some time ago I examined reports of what might be regarded as thefts of military materials and store.at various places, but I did not encounter a single instance in which it was suggested that the equipment had been stolen by Communists.
Mr BERNARD Corser:
– They do not write their names on a piece of paper and leave it at the scene of the theft.
– Admittedly the thieves did not leave their visiting cards. But. among instances in which the identity of the person or persons who stole the equipment has been discovered, there was not one that provided any evidencethat the person or persons involved were known Communists or even “fellow travellers”. There have been theft? of military material at various times. Such thefts occurred even on the battle fronts during the war. Soldier? are rather prone, if they want something badly, to take it. They might describe such thefts, as an honorable member has just interjected, as merely taking a loan of the particular article. The best that I can do for the honorable member for Wide Bay is to ask the Minister for the Army to give him a list of the thefts that have occurred at various times and a statement covering the circumstances of thefts and, where the culprits have been traced, information regarding them.
FOOD FOR BRITAIN
Mrs BLACKBURN: BOURKE, VICTORIA
– Can the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture inform me whether it is a fact that inferior goods are being packed by some of the firms supplying food that is being sent to Britain? Would it be possible, in some way, to protect the buyers in Australia and the recipients in Britain, and to ensure that only food of the best quality is sent to those who are in need of it? if a tin is supposed to contain meat could it be required to carry a label setting out die percentage of meat and the percentage of other products in the contents?
Mr POLLARD: ALP
– I appreciate the question of the honorable member for Bourke. It is probably true that in some instances products which are not of a very palatable character go into food parcels for Great Britain. Those products are prepared under, and have to conform with, the health laws of the States. Although the products are not approved by the inspectors of the Department of Commerce and Agriculture as being suitable for export, they are suitable for human consumption in Australia, and may be purchased in the markets and shops of the respective States. The problem then resolves itself into how the inspectors of the Department of Commerce and Agriculture could ensure that food that is prepared in Australia and approved by the local health authorities for consumption in this country only, could be prevented from being included in parcels which are sent through the post to the United Kingdom and other places. lt would obviously require a very large staff to police all packages for export to see that the department’s regulations were complied with. If that were done it is possible that considerable hardship would result to the people of the United Kingdom, because undoubtedly although many of the products included in food parcels for Great Britain are not of a remarkably high standard, the contents are acceptable to the people of the United Kingdom. Harshness with relation to the standard of food parcels would diminish substantially the quantity of food sent to that country. The honorable member suggests that steps should be taken to ensure that only good quality products are sent to the United Kingdom. The only ways that that could be done would for the purchasers to limit their purchases to retail stores which supply only palatable products for in clusion in their made-up parcels; and to confine their purchases of individual items to brands that have been found to be palatable and worthy products.
Mr FRANCIS: MORETON, QUEENSLAND
– On several occasions, by way of both questions and speeches in this House, I have directed the attention of the Minister for Repatriation to the conditions existing in the Repatriation Department in Brisbane because of the shortage of medical officers. As I have pointed out before, about 450 ex-service men and women are experiencing dimculty in obtaining attention for their disabilities from the Repatriation Department. Will the Minister inform me whether he has yet had an opportunity to examine the requests that I have made, and whether he has been able to relieve the situation at all?
Mr BARNARD: ALP
– The position in relation to the number of doctors available to attend to ex-service men and women who apply to the Repatriation Department in Brisbane for attention has been examined. As I have pointed out previously, there i? a shortage of doctors in Brisbane, as, indeed, there is in all States. The department has experienced great difficulty in staffing at full strength the various departments throughout the Commonwealth. To a degree, the position in Brisbane was relieved recently by the employment of part-time medical men. who were good enough to come to our assistance and help us out. Another doctor has either been transferred, or i? to be transferred from Victoria to Brisbane to relieve the situation there. Very few reports of delay exceeding a week or eight days in having cases dealt with can be verified. In selecting the case? for examination new applicants for pension or treatment are taken in order, so that the position is eased as much as possible. Those who are in urgent need get some priority in attention. I assure the honorable member that the position at Brisbane has eased considerably since he first raised this matter with me. We are doing all we can to provide a full staff of medical men at each of the centres where they are needed.
Mr DEDMAN: Minister for Defence · CORIO, VICTORIA · ALP
– I lay on the table the following papers : -
Industries in Australia - Reports by the Division of Industrial Development of the Department of Post-war Reconstruction, on -
Agricultural Implement Industry
Heavy Electrical Engineering Industry
Rayon Weaving Industry
Inall, eleven Australian industries have now been reviewedintheseries, which will ultimately cover the whole range of manufacture inAustralia . Honorable members will be gladto know that considerable public attention has been given to these authoritative studies of Australian industry.The publication of such information has never before been attempted in Australia and industry generally has freely acknowledged its worth. The reviews have “also attracted much attention overseas and have been widelysoughtbyoverseasgovernments, industriesandotherinterestedbodies. Widepublicationinthepressofmany countrieshasresultedinvaluable publicity for Australia.Copiesofallreviews are availabletohonorablemembersinthe ParliamentaryLibraryorfromtheoffices oftheDivisionofIndustrialDevelopment.
Mr.DEDMAN(Corio-Minister for Defence, MinisterforPostwarReconstruction and Ministerinchargeof the Council for Scientific andIndustrial Research) [11.12] -I move -
Seamen engaged in interstate trade and commerceare outside the scope ofthe workmen’s compensationlawsofthe variousStates.In1911theCommonwealthParliamentpassedtheSeamen’s CompensationActtocoverthose seamen. It was amended an 1958 and againin 1947, anditistheviewoftheGovernmentthatitshouldbeamended from time to time toensure thatitsbenefits are not inferior to those conferred by other similar laws. Accordingly,it has been decided to bring this act into line with the Commonwealth Employees’ Compensation Act. It will berecalled that the Commonwealth Compensation Act itself was amended earlier in the present session by the incorporation of improvements madewithinrecent years inState workers’ compensation laws. Honorable members will, of course, appreciate that it is not possibleto make the two acts identical in terms, but by the bill now introduced the benefits available to seamen and their dependants will be brought to the same scale as thoseprovidedin the Commonwealth Employees’ Compensation Act. In matters of administration and of detail there isnecessarily some differencebetween the two acts, and some draftingimprovementshave also been made.
Briefly the more important changes involved areasfollows : -