House of Representatives
11 March 1949

18th Parliament · 2nd Session

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. J. J. Clark) took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.

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– 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 ?


– 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.

Mr Harrison:

-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.

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– 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?

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.

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– 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 ?

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.

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– 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?

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.

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Trade with Australia.


– 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?


– 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.

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-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?


– 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.

Mr Holt:

– 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.

Mr Menzies:

– 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.

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-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?


– 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.

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– 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?


– 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.

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– 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?


– The history of Yampi is well known, I think, to the Leader of the Opposition.

Mr Menzies:

– 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.

Mr Menzies:

– Yes.


– 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

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Alien Doctors


-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?


-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.

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– 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?


– 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.

Mr Beale:

– They have gone underground.

Mr Barnard:

– 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 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.

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– 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?


– 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.

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– 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?


– 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.

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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

Furniture Industry

Heavy Electrical Engineering Industry

Rayon Weaving Industry

Rubber 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.

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Second Reading

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 : -

Whereastheamount at present payable ondeath of a seamanmaynot exceed£800,thebillprovidesthata fixedamountof£1,000willbepaid to dependants.Theadditionalprovision foreachdependentchildistobe increasedfrom£25to£650.Incase ofincapacity,theexistingprovision of£3aweekortwo-thirdsofweekly wages,whicheveristhe less, is to be increasedtoafixedsumof£4a week. Inrespectofminors,theincreaseisto befromamaximumof£110s.aweek toafixedsumof£3aweek. The provisionforawifeorfemaledependant willbeincreasedfrom£1 a weekto £15s.aweek,andthatforeachweek dependent child under 16years of age willbe increased from8s.6d. aweek to10s.aweek.Thepresentmaximumof£800 forcertainspecified Injuries,such as lossoflegsor arms or sight, willbe raised to£1,250with proportionateincreasesofother amounts shownin the ThirdSchedule totheact.The maximumamountto whichweekly payments ofcompensa- tionmayaccruewillbeincreasedfrom £1,000to£1,250,butnomaximumwill beimposedincasesoftotalandper- manentincapacity. Certain diseases in respect of which compensation is payable are listed in the Fourth Schedule to the act. That schedule will be repealed and provision made for payment of compensation where incapacity for work is caused by any disease, provided it is due to the nature of the employment. "Disease " in this connexion will include the aggravation or acceleration of a disease and. recurrence of a pre-existing disease. The application of the act will also be widened. At present the act applies in respect of " personal injury by accident arising out of and in the course of employment"; thus two conditions have to be fulfilled before compensation is payable. It is proposed that in future the fulfilment of one of those conditions will be adequate. "Weekly payments now being made or due under the principal act will be brought up to the new scale now being enacted. The past practice of deducting weekly payments from lump sums payable for specified injuries, or where death ensued, from amounts due to dependants, is to be discontinued. The provisions of the act regarding remedy against a stranger are also to be extended so that a seaman may receive compensation from his employer, and also take proceedings for damages either against the employer or the third party, but any compensation paid is to be refunded as far as any damages so received permit. There are two other amendments contemplated in addition to those which are necessary to bring the Seamen's Compensation Act into line with the Commonwealth Employees' Compensation Act. The first is to provide that the word " employer " shall include the Crown in the right of the Commonwealth or of a State. This is necessary because both Commonwealth and State Government ships engage in trade and commerce, and it is the view of the Government that legal rights in regard to compensation on such ships should be the same whether the seaman serves a government or a private shipowner. The second is to exclude radio officers from the scope of the act so that in this connexion they will be in the same position as masters, mates and engineers. Such exclusion is the desire of the. radio officers themselves, as, like the officers mentioned, they have an award provision which is more acceptable to them. That award provision, however, applies only where no other provision exists; hence the necessity, in their view, of removing the provision in the Seamen's Compensation Act. Apart from the two amendments to which I have just referred, the bill, as I have already indicated, will merely have the effect of bringing the provisions of the Seamen's Compensation Act into line with those of the Commonwealth Employees' Compensation Act as far as practicable. Debate (on motion by **Mr. Beale)** adjourned. {: .page-start } page 1329 {:#debate-15} ### SHIPPING BILL 1949 *In committee:* Consideration resumed from the 10th March *(vide* page 1317). Clause 15 (Powers of board) - {: #debate-15-s0 .speaker-JWT} ##### Mr FRANCIS:
Moreton .- With clauses 29 and 30, this clause is one of the most important in the measure which is designed to establish a Commonwealth shipping line; and that fact accounts for the special interest which the Opposition has exhibited in it. The measure as a whole is entirely unnecessary for the development of the shipbuilding industry in Australia. The clause, which comprises nearly two pages of printed matter, deals primarily with the powers of the Australian Shipping Board. Paragraph Z of sub-clause 1 gives to the board power to {: type="i" start="1"} 0. . train, or arrange for the training of, persons to fit them for employment as officers or seamen in merchant ships. Such a provision is utterly unnecessary, particularly as it is to be limited to personnel employed by the Commonwealth shipping line. We protest against it also because it ignores the excellent record of private enterprise in building up Australia's merchant marine as we know it to-day. Private shipping companies have produced first class ships' officers and seamen over the years in both peace and war. We have every reason to be proud of the part that our merchant marine played in World War II. when in the face of great risk those enaged in those services transported troops and materials to many theatres of war. Therefore, the Government should recognize the fine work that has already been done by private shipping companies and help to extend their services. Paragraph m of sub-clause 1 gives power to the board - to design ships and to advise the Minister as to the design of ships to be built in Australia. Numbers of ships were built in Australia before the war and larger numbers were built during the war. I am privileged to represent an electorate in which a fine shipbuilding service has been established by Evans Deakin and Company Limited. Many " River " class steamers have been built in its yards, and I am advised that it has a contract to build four more of them. Those steamers, which are vessels of between 9,000 and 10,000 tons, have done extremely good work. During the war they played a large part in moving our troops and supplies round the Australian coast and to overseas ports, and since the cessation of hostilities they have been of great assistance to Australian industries. The same considerations apply to Walkers Limited of Maryborough, which has been building ships ever since the establishment of the Commonwealth. Instead of squandering money on a socialistic enterprise, it would be much more useful to the national life of Australia if the Government were to concentrate upon helping the firms that are building ships now and doing the job well. It should assist them to obtain the supplies of coal, steel and a thousand and one other commodities that they need to build ships to strengthen the Australian mercantile marine. Sub-clause 1 (n) provides that the board shall have power to advise the Minister on the action necessary to maintain and develop the shipping industry and the shipbuilding industry in Australia. It is obvious that the Government does not intend to assist private industry but to repeat the mistake that was made when the Australian Commonwealth Line of Steamers was established. That line, in spite of the help that it received from various governments, failed hopelessly. In the years immediately following the conclusion of hostilities in World War I., the Australian Government, of which the right honorable member for North Sydney **(Mr. Hughes)** was Prime Minister, purchased ships from overseas. That was done because it was imperative that we should have ships to bring our servicemen back to Australia and to maintain the flow of trade between Australia and the United Kingdom. That purchase was made in an emergency. The German U-boat campaign had resulted in the sinking of great numbers of Australian and United Kingdom ships. Many of our servicemen had been overseas for a long time, some of them for more than five years, and it was imperative to bring them back. In the early stages of its life the Australian Commonwealth Line of Steamers had almost a monopoly, because very few other ship* were available. In those circumstances, it made some progress and at first produced satisfactory financial statements, but after it had been in existence for a few years it incurred ever-increasing losses. The Bruce-Page Government endeavoured to make a success of the line. The then Prime Minister, **Mr. Bruce,** had great commercial ability. He brought the whole of his ability and energy to bear upon the task of making a success of the line. He sought the advice of every one in the community who could advise him. **Mr. Bruce** failed in his task. Millions of pounds was written off the value of the ships, the line was completely re-organized and only the best and most up-to-date vessels were retained, but it was found impossible to make the venture succeed. Strike after strike took place. Everything that the men who were engaged in the maritime industries could do to destroy the Australian Commonwealth Line of Steamers was done. The line, despite the best efforts of the government of that time, was not a success. Other State-owned shipping lines throughout the world have met a similar fate. After hostilities ceased in World War I., the Canadian Government, in order to bring Canadian servicemen back to Canada from the battlefields of Europe, acquired a very efficient fleet. That fleet had some success in the years immediately following the war, when it had a virtual monopoly of Canadian shipping, but in the years between 1921 and 1925 it incurred losses each year of between 8,000,000 dollars and 9,000,000 dollars. Finally, the ships were sold at substantially below cost. I suppose that in Canada, as in Australia, the Government is still compelled to tax the community in order to pay for the losses that were so incurred. Experience proves that when governments attempt to run businesses, those businesses always fail. The duty of a government is to govern. This Government has made such a hash of governing the country that it is now proposing to run a shipping line. That the line is certain to be a failure is proved by the fact that in this clause provision is made to cover the losses that the Government knows will be incurred by it. When a government makes provision in legislation for funds to meet the losses that will be incurred by the government instrumentality that is to be established under the legislation, it is obvious that The instrumentality is doomed to failure. I was disappointed to hear the honorable member for Hindmarsh **(Mr. Thompson)** try to create the impression last night that honorable members on thi3 side of the committee have no interest in the welfare of Australian seamen and that everything that has been done to help them has been done by socialist governments. That was unworthy of the honorable gentleman, who knows better. The wages and conditions of workers in Australian industries are now governed by decisions of arbitration courts. The arbitration system was established throughout Australia by antiLabour governments and not by Labour governments. It has been improved from time to time by governments of all political colours, but it was established by the anti-socialist forces of this country. Most of the social services legislation that is now on the statute-book was introduced by anti-Labour governments. The antiLabour parties were responsible for the introduction of age and invalid pensions, child endowment and workers' compensation. The record of the parties that are now in opposition in this Parliament shows that they have always dealt out even handed justice to all sections of the community. The honorable member for Hindmarsh did himself a grave injustice when he attempted to create the impression that we had no interest in the welfare of the working man of this country. If the working man ceases to listen to the clap-trap that is so frequently indulged in by the honorable gentlemen opposite and examines the records of the Parliament he will find that the greatest friends he has ever had are the parties to which honorable members on this side of the committee belong. That cannot be challenged. Our record in regard to furthering the welfare of the workers of Aus tralia is one of which we may justly bp proud. The honorable member for Martin **(Mr. Daly)** said yesterday that honorable members on this side of the chamber wished to destroy the Australian shipbuilding industry. On the contrary, the success that has attended the shipbuilding industry in Australia in the past has been entirely due to the policy and foresight of governments formed by the parties on this side of the chamber. By tariff protection, and by the payment of bounties and subsidies, the parties on this side of the chamber have assisted the industry to attain a high state of efficiency. Time does not permit me to trace the steady development of the industry from the beginning of World War I. to the outbreak of World War II. as the result of the encouraging policy of governments formed by the parties now in opposition. The shipbuilding industry would be in a much more nourishing condition to-day if the present Government removed the causes of the shortages of coal, steel and other essentials that are hampering all Australian industries to-day. The Government should break the bottlenecks that are hindering industry and, by legislative enactment, deal with the disruptionists in our midst. {: #debate-15-s1 .speaker-10000} ##### The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN: -- Order ! The honorable member's time has expired. Question put - >That the clause he agreed to. The committee divided. (The Temporary Chairman. - Mr. T. Sheehan.) AYES: 28 NOES: 18 Majority 10 (Question so resolved in the affirmative. Clause 16 agreed to. Clause 17 - (4.) The Board may appoint, to such positions or to positions of such classes as are approved by the Minister, persons who do not comply with all the provisions of the last preceding sub-section. AYES NOES {: #debate-15-s2 .speaker-KWP} ##### Mr TURNBULL:
Wimmera . -Many honorable members regard clause 15, which deals with the powers of the shipping board, as the most important in the bill. I regard the clause now before the committee as the more impor tant of the two because it deals with the persons who may be appointed by the board. The clause reads, in part - (1.) The Board may appoint such officers as it thinks necessary for the purposes of this Act. (2. ) The officers of the Board shall constitute the service of the Board. (3.) Subject to the next succeeding subsection, a person shall not be admitted to the service of the Board unless - {: type="a" start="a"} 0. he is a British subject; 1. the Board is satisfied as to his health and physical fitness; and 2. he makes and subscribes an oath or affirmation of allegiance in accordance with the prescribed form. I wholeheartedly agree with those provisions. The honorable member for Hindmarsh has said that I am always looking for a nigger in the woodpile. I plead guilty to that charge because I have found by experience that only too often there is a dangerous clause hidden away in legislation introduced by this Government. As I suspected, the nigger in the woodpile in this measure is to be found in sub-clause 4, which enables the hoard to appoint to its service persons who do not comply with all the provisions of the sub-clause 3. Sub-clause 4 negatives the whole of the provisions that I regarded as excellent. Under the provisions of sub-clause 4 the board may appoint to its service persons who are not British subjects and who are not physically fit. I take no exception to the board having the power to appoint persons who do not comply with the second requirement, because I realize that a man who is not physically fit may nevertheless possess great mental ability. However, I object to the board being given the authority to waive the third requirement that persons admitted to its service shall make and subscribe an oath or affirmation of allegiance. That stipulation in subclause3 is highly desirable, but sub-clause 4 negatives it. During the discussion of the Papua and New Guinea Bill recently I had to draw the attention of the Minister for the Army **(Mr. Chambers)** to the fact that the measure did not require members of the proposed Legislative Council to swear an oath of allegiance to the Crown, and the honorable gentleman admitted that the provision had been unwittingly omitted and gave me a guarantee that all members of the council would be required to take the oath. This measure will enable officers of the Australian Shipping Board to evade such a requirement, and in this instance the matter is of greater importance. Ships can easily be sabotaged and there are Communists at the head of the Seamen's Union who may endeavour to force the Government to appoint some of their followers to the board. Why should the bill be drafted to include the provision that we favour to strongly, yet include another sub-clause to negative that provision? I cannot understand such a procedure. At first, we are led to believe that the Government does not want to appoint any disloyal person to the service of the board, yet we immediately discover a loophole, which will enable the appointment of persons who are not British subjects and who will not swear allegiance to the Crown. In the circumstances, it is fair to ask the Minister for Defence **(Mr. Dedman)** for an explanation and to give earnest consideration to the clause, with a view to amending it so that our shipping line may be protected. In no circumstances should men who are not loyal to the Commonwealth and to the Crown be appointed to the board. {: #debate-15-s3 .speaker-KNX} ##### Mr HARRISON:
Wentworth -- I, too, am greatly concerned about the machinery for the appointment of officers to the service of the Australian Shipping Board that is provided in the clause, which states that the board may appoint such officers as it thinks necessary for the purposes of this legislation and that such officers shall be British subjects and shall make and subscribe to an oath or affirmation of allegiance in accordance with the prescribed form. Then the clause states that the board may appoint persons who do not satisfy those requirements. The history of this Government with regard to appointments to positions of trust is a very sorry one. As a case in point, it appointed n Communist, in the person of Jim Healy, to the Stevedoring Industry Commission. As is well known, Healy has exercised his authority, as a Communist and a British subject, to foment strikes in Queensland and New South Wales and has acted in a way that is traitorous to this country ever since he has been a member of the commission. The Government also ap pointed another Communist, **Mr. Elliott,,** to the Maritime Industry Commission. We all are aware of the trials and troubles on the waterfront that affect us at the moment entirely as the result of the stirring up of trouble by such traitorous elements in our midst. Only this morning I directed a question to the Prime Minister about the traitorous statement made recently by Sharkey about Australian workers standing behind the Soviet Government and the right honorable gentleroan said in reply that Sharkey was an Australian citizen. Thus, Sharkey conforms to all of the requirements set out in this clause. Such men are not worried about oaths of allegiance. They are quite prepared to break them the day after they have made them. Honorable members know full well that the technique of the Communists is to subscribe to anything, but that the Communist doctrine takes precedence with them over anything else. The sorry record of the Government in connexion with the appointment of Communists to positions of great trust makes me suspicious of this clause. My suspicions are increased by the nature of a statement that was made recently by an ex-Communist, who said that a number of Labour members of Parliament in Australia were avowed Communists and would reveal themselves as such when the time came. {: .speaker-KDA} ##### Mr Duthie: -- That was a lie. {: .speaker-KNX} ##### Mr HARRISON: -- That statement was made by McGillick, and I quoted it in this chamber. The honorable member may challenge it, but the fact is, as he well knows, that McGillick was the archCommunist in South Australia during the depression period. The Government's record of appeasement of the Communists justifies my suspicions, and in the light of them I propose to test it and its supporters by forcing them to reveal their true attitude towards the appointment of Communists to positions of trust in Australia. They must decide whether they will subscribe to such appointments or whether they will exercise their rights and powers to prevent Communists from holding offices of trust. I shall move that a proviso be added to sub-clause 4 in these terms : - >Provided that no known or suspected Communist shall be appointed to any position in the service of the Board. That will force the Government to show whether it is sincerely endeavouring to combat communism. Although it will not purge the Public Service of known Communist elements, it may agree to prevent further infiltration into key positions, such as those that are dealt with in this clause. The Minister for Defence has said that the proposed shipping line will be important to the defence of Australia, and he has invoked the Government's defence powers for the purposes of the bill. Therefore, the service of the board must observe the highest degree of secrecy and it is imperative that the Government should prevent the infiltration of Communists into the service. If the Government refuses to accept my amendment, it will stand fully exposed before the people of Australia as a supporter of communism. I move - >That the following proviso be added to subclause (4.) : - " Provided that no known or suspected Communist shallbe appointed to any position in the service of the board.". {: #debate-15-s4 .speaker-KRI} ##### Mr SHEEHY:
Boothby .- The honorable member for Wentworth **(Mr. Harrison)** has unsuccessfully tried to draw a herring across the trail. He has referred to certain appointments to boards and commissions. When considering clause 17, honorable members should realize that the Australian Shipping Board will appoint its officers, and, therefore, its position will be completely different from that of the Stevedoring Industry Commission and the Maritime Industry Commission. The ideologies of the persons to whom the honorable member for Wentworth has referred have nothing in common with the political philosophy of the Australian Labour party. However, those persons were elected by members of the organizations that were granted representation on those commissions. {: .speaker-KNX} ##### Mr Harrison: -- They were appointed by the Government. {: .speaker-KRI} ##### Mr SHEEHY: -- The Australian Shipping Board will appoint its officers, and, therefore, the position is not comparable with the appointment to a commission of the elected representative of an industrial organization. We should make the position clear to the people. Those honorable members opposite who wrongly imply that the bill has certain implications would be well advised to remain silent. The truth is that the Australian Shipping Board alone will appoint its officers. {: #debate-15-s5 .speaker-JOI} ##### Mr BEALE:
Parramatta .- I rise to answer one of the observations that the honorable member for Boothby **(Mr. Sheehy)** has made. {: .speaker-KDB} ##### Mr Edmonds: -- And to support the amendment. {: .speaker-JOI} ##### Mr BEALE: -- Yes, I shall give my reasons for supporting the amendment but first,I shall reply to the short speech that the honorable member for Boothby has delivered. The honorable gentleman said that Healy and Elliott had been appointed by the unions that they represent and not by the Government, to the Stevedoring Industry Commission and the Maritime Industry Commission respectively. {: .speaker-KDB} ##### Mr Edmonds: -- No, the honorable member said that those two persons were elected by the members of those organizations. {: .speaker-JOI} ##### Mr BEALE: -- I remind the honorable member for Boothby that in every instance, the appointment of a representative of a trade union to a government instrumentality has to be confirmedby the Government. {: .speaker-KOL} ##### Mr McBride: -- Such appointments are made by the Government. {: .speaker-JOI} ##### Mr BEALE: -- That is so. The Government need not confirm the appointment of persons like Healy and Elliott. The Government actually appointed Elliott to the Maritime Industry Commission and at least confirmed the appointment of Healy to the Stevedoring Industry Commission. At the time of their appointment, those men were known to be turbulent traitors to this country and avowed Communists. During World War II., Elliott said that Australians were " mugs " to fight. Every member of the Labour party knew that Elliott and Healy were traitors to this country, but that knowledge did not prevent the Government from appointing those men to the Maritime Industry Commission and the Stevedoring Industry Commission respectively. It is not an answer to say that the Government must accept Healy because the members of the Waterside Workers Federation elected him to represent them on the Stevedoring Industry Commission, and Elliott because members of the Seamen's Union of Australasia elected him to represent them on the Maritime Industry Commission. Suppose a union proposes as its representative on a Commonwealth commissiona person of disreputable standing, or a criminal. Is the Government bound to accept him? Of course it is not! But the Government has accepted Healy and Elliott, and relies on the feeble excuse :" The unions have elected them, and we cannot refuse to appoint them." If unions were to elect as their representatives people who were traitors and criminals, would the Government be bound to accept them? The Government takes the view that it must accept a person who is nominated by a union. It is too weak to stand up to the Communists, who are infiltrating the unions. Apparenty certain unions want them. The amendment has been submitted in order to prevent the appointment of such persons to the service of the Australian Shipping Board. Sub-clause 3 provides - (3.) Subject to the next succeeding subsection, a person shall not be admitted to the service of the Board unless - {: type="a" start="a"} 0. he is a British subject; 1. the Board is satisfied as to his health and physical fitness; and 2. he makes and subscribes an oath or. affirmation of allegiance in accordance with the prescribed form. That provision is meritorious and proper, and honorable members on this side of the chamber agree with it. The first time I read that provision I considered that at last the Government was getting some sense into its head. However, that idea was speedily dispelled, because subclause 4 immediately negatives sub-clause {: type="1" start="3"} 0. It provides - The Board may appoint, to such positions or to positions of such classes as are approved by the Minister, persons who do not comply with all the provisions of the last preceding sub-section. The only conclusion that I can reach is that, once again, the Government is trying to mislead the people with humbug and window-dressing. It says, in effect, "Look at this sub-clause. We are protecting your interests. We shall not have any traitors in the service of the Aus tralian Shipping Board. We shall engage only British subjects, who are healthy, and make and subscribe an oath or affirmation of allegiance to the King. You can see from that evidence that we are a fine patriotic Labour Government ". The Government has not told the people, and it is left to the Opposition to do so, that sub-clause 4 completely negatives sub-clause 3. The Minister himself - and this Minister may very well do so - may completely disregard the provisions of sub-clause 3 in making an appointment to a position in the service of the Australian Shipping Board. The position is fantastic. The board may appoint only those persons who fulfil the requirements of sub-clause 3 but the Minister himself is not bound by them and may override or disregard them. The board will be permitted to appoint only those persons who swear that they will serve this country faithfully in time of war, as in time of peace, but the Minister may appoint the Healys and the Elliotts and, of course, he will do so if it suits him. Therefore, if a Communist-ridden union says to the Minister, " we want Healy, Thornton and Elliott appointed to certain boards ", he will give way, as he has given way again and again in the past. The purpose of the amendment is to make such a position impossible. {: .speaker-6V4} ##### Mr Daly: -What is the amendment! {: .speaker-JOI} ##### Mr BEALE: -- For the benefit of the honorable member for Martin **(Mr. Daly)** who sometimes listens to the debate, I shall read it. {: .speaker-6V4} ##### Mr Daly: -I have not been given my copy of the amendment. {: .speaker-JOI} ##### Mr BEALE: -- I shall read the amendment very slowly, so that the honorable member may mark, learn and inwardly digest it, though I suspect that it will give him indigestion, because he will not be able to swallow it. It is proposed to add the following proviso to sub-clause 4: - >Provided that no known or suspected Communist shall be appointed to any position in the service of the Board. If the Government accepts the amendment, the board will be obliged to appoint only those persons who fulfil the requirements of sub-clause 3, namely, persons who are British subjects, who satisfy the board as to their health and physical fitness, and who are prepared to subscribe an oath or affirmation of allegiance. Even then; the Minister will have a discretionary power to override the board, although that discretion will be limited and will not apply to suspected Communists or known Communists. This amendment, if accepted, will protect the country against suspected Communists or known Communists, and not even this all-powerful Minister will be able to override the board in the appointment of staff. Does any honorable member really doubt that Australia is in danger from Communists at home or abroad? The vast majority of honorable members opposite will not dispute that we are in danger. They know that the clouds are darkening, and that the " red " tide is running. Australia is in danger. I notice that the Minister grins. {: .speaker-KCF} ##### Mr Dedman: -- Yes, I laugh. {: .speaker-KOL} ##### Mr McBride: -- The Minister is a " fellow-traveller ". {: .speaker-JOI} ##### Mr BEALE: -- The Minister, who is probably a " fellow-traveller ", laughs merrily at my warning. Apparently he does not believe that this country is in danger through Communist infiltration. {: .speaker-KCF} ##### Mr Dedman: -- Quite frankly, I do not. {: .speaker-JOI} ##### Mr BEALE: -- The Minister believes that Australia, in its glorious isolation in the South Seas, is not in danger from the " red " tide that is flowing over many countries, including China and Indonesia. The last named country is only a half-day's flight from Northern Australia. The East is inhabited by 1,000,000,000 people, yet the Minister does not consider that the " red " tide, which is flowing in this direction, will be a menace to Australia. All honorable members on this side of the chamber believe, and a majority of honorable members opposite agree with us in their hearts, that Australia is in danger. This amendment is an attempt to protect us from that danger. {: #debate-15-s6 .speaker-KCF} ##### Mr DEDMAN:
Minister for Defence, Minister for Post-war Reconstruction and Minister in charge of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research · Corio · ALP -- The honorable member for "Wimmera **(Mr. Turnbull)** has said that the provisions of sub-clause 3 relate to the appointment of person? by the board, but are negatived by subclause 4. The honorable member for Parramatta **(Mr. Beale)** has advanced much the same argument, but in a rather different form. He has said that subclause 4 will give to the Minister power to override the board. There is no truth in either of these statements. The Minister will not be able to appoint anybody, nor will he be able to over-ride the board in any way. If the honorable member for Parramatta reads the clause again he will realize that that is so. .Sub-clause 3 provides that the board, in appointing officers, shall ensure first that they are British subjects, secondly, that they satisfy certain health requirements, and thirdly that they shall make and subscribe an oath of affirmation or allegiance. Sub-clause 4 qualifies those provisions to some slight degree only. It provides that, not the Minister, but the board, with the approval of the Minister, may appoint persons who do not fulfil those requirements; but for anybody to say that subclause 4 over-rides sub-clause 3, and thai the Minister will be able to over-ride the board in relation to appointments, is completely wrong as the honorable member for Parramatta and the honorable member for Wimmera know quite well. Honorable members opposite are merely trying to make political capital out of thi? matter, a practice at which the honorable member for Wentworth **(Mr. Harrison)** particularly has shown himself most adept. The honorable member knows quite well that the Government cannot accept the amendment. He knows that no sensible government could possibly accept any amendment couched in such terms. It is the general practice in this chamber, out of courtesy, for the Minister in charge of a bill to be provided with a copy of any Opposition amendment, but I have not even seen the amendment that the honorable member for Wentworth has moved. The honorable member for Warringah **(Mr. Spender)** at least had the courtesy to supply me with the substance of an amendment which he proposes to move. What the honorable member for Wentworth seeks, in effect, is the addition to sub-clause 4 of an addendum stating, "Provided that no known or suspected Communist shall be appointed to any position in the service of the board ". Imagine a court of law being faced with the task of determining such a matter! How can a "known Communist" be denned? Known to whom? Known to the honorable member for Wentworth? Known to myself? Known to the court ? And what is a " suspected Communist"? Suspected by whom? While the honorable member for Parramatta was speaking, the honorable member for Wakefield **(Mr. McBride)** interjected that I was a "fellow traveller". [ am not a " fellow traveller ", but if the words " fellow traveller " have any meaning at all, they mean a suspected Communist. Therefore, what the honorable member for Wakefield said, in effect, was that I am a suspected Communist. I deny that allegation straight away, but I point out that if the Opposition's amendments were inserted in the measure, I could not be appointed by the board to any position, because, in the opinion of the honorable member for Wakefield, I ama" fellow traveller ". It is ridiculous to suggest that in any act of Parliament there should be a provision drawn in terms as loose as those of the amendment now before the committee. The Government cannot accept the amendment, and I am quite sure that if the honorable member for Wentworth were on this side of the chamber, he too, would agree that no -rneb, amendment could be accepted. {: #debate-15-s7 .speaker-JRJ} ##### Mr BOWDEN:
Gippsland .- The amendment is clear and it puts Government supporters " on the spot ". The Minister for Defence **(Mr. Dedman)** has said that the Government cannot accept the amendment and that no government could accept it. What amazes me is how the Government can resist it. I should be reluctant to believe that all Government supporters who are insisting upon the rejection of the amendment are " fellow travellers " of Communists, but it is noticeable that whenever anything is said in this chamber against the activities of the Communists whom we all know to be saboteurs, honorable members opposite either defend them vigorously or remain silent. The aim of the Opposition in sumbitting this amendment is to prevent a repetition of past appointments of men such as Healy and Elliott to governmental instru mentalities; yet the Government refuses to accept the amendment. Communist Sharkey is alleged to have said quite recently that if Russian forces came to this country in pursuit of an aggressor, the Australian workers would not oppose them. I do not believe that. What Sharkey meant was that his own element in the community would not support them. It is claimed that Communists in this country are only 20,000 strong. That is not the point. If they were only twenty strong, they could still disrupt the community in 24 hours if they held key positions. {: .speaker-KDA} ##### Mr Duthie: **Mr. Duthie** *interjecting,* {: .speaker-JRJ} ##### Mr BOWDEN: -- The honorable- member for Wilmot is one of the staunchest, defenders of the Communists. Everytime a charge is made against the Communists the honorable member rushes totheir defence. It is time he kept hia mouth shut. {: .speaker-KDA} ##### Mr Duthie: -- I rise to order. The? honorable member's statement is insulting to me, and I ask that it be withdrawn. {: .speaker-JRJ} ##### Mr BOWDEN: -- If it is insulting I withdraw it, but the world can judge the honorable member by his actions. The Sharkeys and their cohorts are prepared to kiss the boots of those who would kick their doors down, but their opportunities will be restricted if this amendment be agreed to. By moving the amendment, the Opposition has given the committee a chance to guard against the appointment of Communists under this legislation; but the Minister says that the amendment is not acceptable. What are we to believe from that? We can only believe that the Government wants the right to appoint Communists if it wishes to do so. The honorable member for Wimmera **(Mr. Turnbull)** drew attention to what he considered to be an obvious weakness in clause 17. Sub-clause 3 prescribes certain conditions under which appointments may be made, but sub-clause 4 further provides the board, with the approval of the Minister, may make appointments regardless of those conditions. The honorable member for Wimmera merely wants the clause to be tied up in such a way that there will be no possibility of further travesties of British justice such as the appointment of Communists like Elliott and Healy to certain Commonwealth instrumentalities. The Minister has asked how a "known Communist" could be defined. The answer is that Elliott, Healy, Sharkey, Brown and Burns are known Communists. They acknowledge themselves to be Communists. Are honorable members opposite prepared to admit to the people that they have no intention to prevent the appointment of Communists to this board or to positions under the board? That, in effect, is what they are doing by rejecting this amendment. It would be stretching public credulity too far to expect the people of this country to believe that the Government is not now deliberately preparing for such appointments. I agree with the honorable member for Wentworth that an oath of allegiance taken by a Communist is not worth a snap of the fingers. They would break their oath of allegiance to-morrow if it suited them. The point is that once they have subscribed or affirmed such an oath action could be taken against them for a breach of that oath. Let us be realistic, therefore, and prevent absolutely the introduction of possible saboteurs to what would be in time of war a key industry of the most vital importance to our security. In an international emergency it is not necessary for the Communists to have 100,000, 5,000, or even 100 men in a particular industry; a handful of traitors carefully placed could blow up the defences of the country. {: .speaker-KCF} ##### Mr Dedman: -- What defences? {: .speaker-JRJ} ##### Mr BOWDEN: -- They could destroy our ships, for instance. {: .speaker-KNX} ##### Mr Harrison: -- Why, the Minister for Defence even tolerates the employment of Communists in the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. {: .speaker-JRJ} ##### Mr BOWDEN: -- The Minister for Defence has said that he will not appoint any more Communists to the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research because they might jeopardize the country's security. However, he is quite prepared to place them on ships. Of course, the purpose of the Government in introducing this measure is to evade the spirit of the Constitution, and the bill is simply another back-door attempt to thrust something upon the people which they do not understand. By contrast. the amendment moved by the honorable member for Wentworth **(Mr. Harrison)** is simple and straightforward. He realizes the weakness of the clause, and proposes to remedy that weakness by preventing the appointment of persons whose activities may prove inimical to the interest* of Australia, should we ever again become involved in war with any of the so-called benevolent neighbour nations of Australia The 'political leaders of some of those countries would be quite ready and willing to make war upon us if their international comrades told them that we had been guilty of some " aggressive " act. If w«are realistic we must accept the proposed amendment. {: #debate-15-s8 .speaker-KVT} ##### Mr THOMPSON:
Hindmarsh -- Honorable members opposite are ai least consistent in their inconsistency. The amendment moved by the honorable member for Wentworth **(Mr. Harrison)** is allegedly intended to prevent the employment of avowed Communists or communistic sympathisers in the shipping industry. Unfortunately for honorable members opposite, I must remind them that several large industrial undertakings with which some of their colleagues are intimately connected do not object to employing Communists. Furthermore, I remind them that, apart from some misguided trade union officials, those who are most active in advocating communism, have quite good jobs in State and private enterprises. Yet members of the Opposition want to prevent the Government from being able to employ people who might have Communist sympathies. The honorable member for Gippsland **(Mr. Bowden)** mentioned the possible danger to our shipping in war-time if Communists were employed in the industry. I should like him to visit the private shipyards in this country where vessels are being constructed so that he could see for himself how many avowed Communists are employed by those firms. ] remind him that no one has compelled those firms to employ Communists, and the Government has not interfered with the right of the companies to select their employees. A number of industries in my electorate, which are quite free of government control, employ prominent Communists and other agitators. {: .speaker-KOL} ##### Mr McBride: -- They certainly do. {: .speaker-KVT} ##### Mr THOMPSON: -- The honorable member for Wakefield **(Mr. McBride)** is giving way now, because a little while ago he denied that private employers retained the services of Communists. {: .speaker-KOL} ##### Mr McBride: -- They are compelled to do so by the trade unions. {: .speaker-KVT} ##### Mr THOMPSON: -- That may be, but I should like to know of any action ever taken by the employers to dispense with the services of the Communists. The criticism of the Government and the contentions advanced by the Opposition to-day are nothing more than a part of a political stunt by the Liberal party. Only a week ago I spoke to a former member of this chamber, who was a Liberal supporter, and he told me that he had been approached by representatives of that party to contest the next elections on their behalf. He said, "I told them that I would not consider contesting another election until they had acquired a real policy ". Of course, we all know that the Liberal party has no real policy, that its aims are opportunist, and that its propaganda consists simply of appeals to the electorate to turn the present Government out of office. {: .speaker-KNX} ##### Mr Harrison: -- I suppose that the honorable member would not care to furnish the name of his informant! {: .speaker-KVT} ##### Mr THOMPSON: -- I should not care to do 80. {: .speaker-KNX} ##### Mr Harrison: -- The honorable member has not by any chance, fabricated this story ? {: .speaker-KVT} ##### Mr THOMPSON: -- I can look honorable members opposite straight in the eye and tell them that every word I have said about this matter is true. I do not know the individual concerned other than that I met him casually, and I was surprised to hear such a confession from a member of the Liberal party who waa formerly a member of the Parliament. His remarks, which I have just repeated, show what he thinks of the Liberal party. {: .speaker-KNX} ##### Mr Harrison: -- I suspect that that is a fabrication. {: .speaker-KVT} ##### Mr THOMPSON: -- The honorable member for Wimmera **(Mr. Turnbull)** criticized the inclusion of sub-clause 4 because he contended that the adoption of that provision would vitiate the safeguards sought to be imposed by subclause 3. I do not know whether honorable members opposite have read the sub-clauses carefully in order to appreciate the Government's intentions. The point is that it will probably be necessary from time to time to obtain the expert services of persons who are not British subjects, as frequently happens in other industries conducted by governments and by private enterprise. At the moment the Government is, I understand, considering enlisting the services of American engineers and scientists in connexion with the Snowy river developmental scheme. It is not possible for subjects of other nations who visit Australia for a limited period for the purpose of making available their expert services to take the oath of allegiance. Some provision had to be made, therefore, in the bill to empower the proposed board to avail itself of the services of experts from other countries should the need arise. At least, that is my understanding of the reason for the inclusion of sub-clause 4. Of course members of the Opposition deliberately chose to place another interpretation upon the inclusion of that subclause. They referred to what they called their unhappy experience of appointments made by the present Government. I say candidly that if I had had to appoint persons to the positions that have been- filled during the present Government's term of office I would not have appointed some of the individuals who received appointment. However, I would not deny to the proposed board the right to employ a particular individual in an appropriate capacity merely because he could not take the oath of allegiance. As members of the Opposition have themselves admitted, the administration of an oath of allegiance would not impose the slightest moral restraint on Communists who were bent on doing damage. Only a few days ago we had an example of that in my electorate. Four or five leading Communists went to the magistrate to subscribe an oath in accordance with the requirements of the Nationality and Citizenship Act. . The magistrate would not administer the oath to them because he said that he was not authorized to do so. They went round the town looking for someone who could administer the oath to them, and finally they found some one who was able to do so. Their purpose in going through that formality was to establish their eligibility to obtain the hire of the local town hall. The local municipal council, which controls the town hall, had previously decided that it would not hire the hall to known Communists, but it would not refuse to hire it to Australian citizens provided they took the oath of allegiance. Having made the oath of allegiance, which, as the honorable member for "Wentworth pointed out, counted for nothing at all, they obtained the use of the hall for a meeting. The point of the whole happening is that not one member of the municipal council which imposed the restriction on the hire of the hall that I have mentioned is a member of the Australian Labour party. That council is entirely composed of antiLabour members. Those anti-Labour individuals have given this opportunity lt© the Communists and yet honorable members opposite talk about the Labour party defending Communists. This clause provides that the board shall be restricted in its authority and can go beyond these restrictions only in specific instances with the approval of the Minister. I consider that, in these circumstances, the amendment can be safely treated by this House as not having any practical application, but as a deliberate attempt to embarrass the Government. If events do not show that I shall have a Communist opponent in my electorate at the next elections, I shall be one of the most amazed men in the world. I say definitely that I am totally opposed to communistic doctrines and to Communists having positions of trust and control in this country, but in spite of my opposition I consider that the amendment will not have the effect that the Opposition believes that it would. I consider that the Minister is justified in rejecting it. {: #debate-15-s9 .speaker-JTY} ##### Mr ARCHIE CAMERON:
Postmaster-General · Barker · ALP -- The honorable member for Hindmarsh **(Mr. Thompson)** has waxed eloquent upon this vital amendment. He did not give the House the name of the municipal council that insisted on Com munists taking the oath of allegiance before they were permitted to hire a town hall. {: .speaker-KVT} ##### Mr Thompson: -- It was the Port Adelaide Municipal Council. {: #debate-15-s10 .speaker-JTY} ##### Mr ARCHIE CAMERON:
ALP -- Does the honorable member mean to say that there is not a member of that council who represents the Labour party? {: .speaker-KVT} ##### Mr Thompson: -- Not one. {: .speaker-JTY} ##### Mr ARCHIE CAMERON: -- The honorable member is trying to be funny. There would be as much chance of electing an all-Liberal municipal council in Port Adelaide as there would be of putting a camel through the eye of a needle. Port Adelaide is a stronghold of the Labour party in South Australia, and if the honorable member's party cannot control a municipal council there he will not be a member of this Parliament after the next elections. {: .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr Calwell: -- They will be held under a different franchise from that applying to the elections of municipal councils. {: .speaker-JTY} ##### Mr ARCHIE CAMERON: -- The honorable member for Hindmarsh would not be able to gain election under any franchise. The only vote he would get would be his own vote, and only then if somebody showed him how to cast it properly. {: #debate-15-s11 .speaker-KRI} ##### The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Mr Sheehy:
BOOTHBY, SOUTH AUSTRALIA -- Order! The honorable member must confine his remarks to the clause. {: .speaker-JTY} ##### Mr ARCHIE CAMERON: -- Thic amendment provides that no Communist, known or suspected shall be appointed to the board. A few moments ago, when I was absent from the chamber, I understand that the Minister for Defence **(Mr. Dedman)** was very annoyed when an honorable member referred to him as a " fellow traveller ". That Minister has been " grilled " in this chamber more than once because of certain appointments to the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research of which he approved. One of those appointments was of a man named Rudkin, who was a convicted Communist, under war-time regulations. The other was of the former member for the electorate of Swan who, if he was not. a Communist, certainly talked the patter that his brother, a journalist in the parliamentary press gallery, wrote for the Communist newspaper *Tribune.* {: .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr Calwell: -- He was not a Communist. {: .speaker-JTY} ##### Mr ARCHIE CAMERON: -- Then there is no such thing on earth as a Communist, and communism is a pure fantasy and does not exist. Then we have the fact that this Government has appointed notorious Communists such as the general secretary of the Seamen's Union of Australasia, **Mr. E.** V. Elliott, and the general secretary of the Waterside Workers Federation, **Mr. J.** Healy, to bodies engaged in government activities. What does the Government expect the country to believe? Honorable members on the Government side, like the Minister for Defence and the honorable member for Hindmarsh, rise in this House and say that the last thing on earth that the Government would do would be to have any connexion with Communists. Yet, as soon as the Government wishes to appoint an authority to control some vital government activity one of those appointed to such authority is a Communist. Such appointments are frequent. I say to the honorable member for Hindmarsh that in his own State of South Australia an agreement was reached between the management and the workmen of the factory of Pope Products Limited, under which no Communist may be employed in the factory. As far as I know, that agreement is still in force. It would be a very good thing if the Government were prepared to follow that lead, which was given by private enterprise. If it is sincerely hostile to the activities of the Communists in Australia, why does '"' tolerate them in public activities? Recently, the Attlee Government in the United Kingdom, which is held up time and time again by the present Australian Government as a Government for which we ought to be extremely thankful - a proposition with which I disagree, as I consider that the existence of the Attlee Government is a calamity - instituted a purge of the British Civil Service. The Attlee Government is much closer to international realities than this Govern ment can ever be, because this Government's appreciation of international affairs is gained by proxy only. It depends on the gentleman who has gone about conferring with the Prime Minister of India, Pundit Nehru, worshipping at the shrine of Mahatma Gandhi, and holding conferences with the Pope. I am extremely surprised that Pius XII. has not yet been succeeded by the gentleman to whom I refer. {: .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr Calwell: -- The honorable member should keep to the bill. {: .speaker-JTY} ##### Mr ARCHIE CAMERON: -- The Minister may keep to the bill and I shall run around among the Standing Orders. The Government makes claims about its attitude to communism, but it is not prepared to follow the lead of the British Government by purging Communists from the Public Service. As the honorable member for Gippsland **(Mr. Bowden)** has pointed out, the preamble to the bill sets out that the reason for its introduction is that it is a defence proposal. The Government has linked the bill up with the defence powers held under the Constitution, and states that the bill has no political ends. At the same time, the Government has announced that it intends to appoint a judge of the South Australian Supreme Court to organize a security service. Surely it is not too much to ask the Government, which gives lip service to opposition to communism, to say to the judge, before certain people are appointed to government positions, " What is Your Honour's opinion of this man from the viewpoint of communism ? " Is that too much to ask? The Government refuses to do that. The Minister for Defence has already got Communists like Rudkin and Mountjoy all around him like the feathers in an old Indian's hat that show the number of victims he has scalped. I say quite frankly that I do not trust the Government in this matter. If the Government really holds the anti-Communist principles that the honorable member for Hindmarsh has stated that it holds, it will not hesitate to accept the amendment. Consider what is happening in the United States of America, and even at the vaunted United Nations, to which the Government asks honorable members on this side of the House to pay unbending loyalty. The United Nations is riddled with Communist treachery and has elected to a high position a gentleman with an almost unpronouncable name, the first syllable of which honorable members would not like me to pronounce, and the rest of it does not matter. If the present Ministry believes that it will be allowed to sit indefinitely on the fence regarding communism, it is making a mistake. The people want to see resolved the question <>f whether the Ministry will deal with communism at all. If the Government says, as the Minister has done, " We are the boys to deal with the Communists " it has to explain away the attitude of the honorable member for Hindmarsh who has said publicly that he would not like to have been responsible for some of the appointments that the Government has made. {: .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr Calwell: -- He did not. {: .speaker-JTY} ##### Mr ARCHIE CAMERON: -- He said that he would not have appointed certain people to certain positions. But he must share the responsibility for the appointments that have been made. He supports the Government and is prepared to vote for every crank or crook who is appointed by it, regardless of the appointee's allegiance to Moscow, Satan or anybody else. Deeds speak much louder than words, but all that we get from the honorable member for Hindmarsh is some statement to the effect that he does not agree with something that the Government has done. Despite his disagreement, however, he does not vote against such Government actions. The Opposition is giving him the opportunity to do so now. We are giving him the opportunity to prove by his vote, as well as by his voice, that he does not believe that the Government should appoint Communists to any instrumentality or any board established under clause 17. {: .speaker-KSD} ##### Mr McLeod: -- The Liberal party accepted their votes in Rourke. {: .speaker-JTY} ##### Mr ARCHIE CAMERON: -- If the honorable member for Wannon **(Mr. McLeod)** looks at to-day's press he will see that the Bourke branch of the Australian Labour party refuses to distribute the official "How to Vote" cards that were sent from Sydney for the Cobar by-election, because the Communist party candidate was placed second on the list. That branch now intends to use its own cards, giving second preference to the Australian Country party candidate. {: #debate-15-s12 .speaker-10000} ##### The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN: -- Order! The honorable member is getting a bit wide of the clause. {: .speaker-JTY} ##### Mr ARCHIE CAMERON: -- Thi* aspect of the matter was deliberately introduced by the honorable member for Wannon. When the test comes, it is not a matter of what we say, but what we do. We can well understand that the party that is prepared to give its second preferences to a Communist candidate in the Cobar by-election to-morrow, would be opposed to the amendment. Clause 17 provides that a person shall not be admitted to the service of the board unless he is a British subject; unless the board u satisfied as to bis health and physical fitness - although no mention is made of his mental capacity; and unless he make* and subscribes an oath of allegiance in accordance with the prescribed form. Anybody who has studied the Communist doctrine knows that the oath of allegiance means nothing at all to a Communist. A man who does not believe in the Creator, the hereafter, or in any deity, cannot swear allegiance to anything. His affirmation is not worth a " cracker ". As the Minister for Information **(Mr. Calwell),** who has made some study of this subject, knows, the only allegiance that a Communist bears is to Moscow and what Moscow dictates. We have seen evidence of that over the last week in certain undertakings, not only in Australia, but also in many other countries throughout the world. People thousands of miles apart, who could have had no contact with each other, made statements, which, because of the similarity of expression, were clearly dictated by the Communists in Moscow. Australia cannot afford any longer to have these gentry connected with any public activity whatever. They must be rooted out and treated in the way the people at Bourke treated Communists the other day. That is the only thing that they understand. {: .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr Calwell: -- That was a New Guard tactic. {: .speaker-JTY} ##### Mr ARCHIE CAMERON: -- The town of Bourke is a town in which the Liberal party would not receive very much support at all. It is one of the strongest Labour towns in New South Wales. It is one of the strongest centres of the Australian Workers Union, one of whose representatives was here yesterday. It is of no use the Minister condemning what happened in Bourke, because if he does he must also condemn the branch of his own party in Bourke. The members of his party, not those of the Liberal party, were responsible foi the demonstration. {: .speaker-JYV} ##### Mr Fuller: -- How does the honorable member for Barker know that? He is relying only on a press report. {: .speaker-JTY} ##### Mr ARCHIE CAMERON: -- I say that the oath of allegiance to the King or to any body else outside of Moscow, taken by any known or suspected Communist, is not worth the breath that it is spoken with. The members of the Ministry know that as well as I do. If the Ministry is sincere in the antiCommunist drive that it claims to have engaged in, it will accept this amendment. The Prime Minister let the " cat out of the bag " at question time to-day when he spoke in relation to petrol allowances. The right honorable gentle; man professed that he did not know how many associations were run by Communists. The Minister for Information should be able to tell him. {: .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr Calwell: -- I could tell the honorable member for Barker a few things, too. {: .speaker-JTY} ##### Mr ARCHIE CAMERON: -- Any petrol allowance given to **Mr. Brown,** of the Victorian Railways Union, is, for all practical purposes, given to the Communist party of Australia. {: .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr Calwell: -- He uses the trains. {: #debate-15-s13 .speaker-JTY} ##### Mr ARCHIE CAMERON:
BARKER, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · CP; LP from 1944; LCL from 1951; LP from 1954 -- CAMERON.- Many Australian men who did not take any back slap and nonsense from commissioned officers when on active service are prepared to " toe the carpet " to any Communist demands that are made, ft is one of the mysteries of present-day industrial activity in Australia that these people have got such a grip on the trade unions that the honest, decent men, who are in the overwhelming majority, are not prepared to stand up to their bosses - not bosses who, in the ordinary sense of the word, pay them their wages, but those who are laying down the conditions relating to how and when they shall work, if they work at all. One cure for this lies in the hands of the trade union movement, while another is in the hands of the Australian Labour party. Since tha Labour Government must carry out whatever is dictated to it by the Australian Labour party triennial conference, it is competent for that conference to lay down the policy of the Government. If thai conference tells the Government that it has to change its name, or commit suicide, or do anything else, the Government is bound to do it, in accordance with thi pledge that its members have signed. {: .speaker-KJQ} ##### Mr James: -- In the matter of changing names the Liberal party takes *some* catching. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN: -- Order! The honorable member's time has expired. {: #debate-15-s14 .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr CALWELL:
Minister for Information and Minister for Immigration · Melbourne · ALP -- A year or so ago the Opposition parties in this Parliament and elsewhere throughout Australia were screaming and squealing that the oath of allegiance should be taken by every public servant in Australia. Honorable members opposite said that every member of the Public Service should take the oath, as insisted upon in respect of members of Parliament. Yet when the Government puts a provision in a piece of legislation dealing with matters of high security, they say that the oath is nol worth anything; that a Communist would swear anything, and that it is only a mockery to invite such people to take the oath of allegiance. The Opposition cannot have it both ways. Honorable, members opposite remind me of dogs with worms - they are unhappy all the time. Whatever this Government brings forward or suggests is always wrong; even if it accepts some of their own suggestion* they will say, in effect, " What you propose now, even if it is in line with what we suggested even a month ago, is still no good to us ". The honorable member for Barker **(Mr. Archie Cameron)** said that he does not trust this Government. We on this side of the committee are supremely indifferent whether he or anybody else opposite trusts us. The only people we are concerned about are the little people outside ; if they trust us, all of the outbursts of honorable members opposite will not affect the situation one iota. Now, is this amende ment genuine? The Very framing of it shows its impracticability. It provides that no Communist or no known or suspected Communist shall be employed in the service of the board, Who is to determine whether ti person is o suspected Communist, and how far in the service of the board is that provision intended to apply? Such a proposition could only have arisen in the addled brain of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Harrison).** Honorable gentlemen opposite are just stunting when they pretend to support the amendment. I suppose that if we were foolish enough to accept it and abdicate our authority to govern in favour of the irresponsible elements opposite, we should be told by them that we must set up a board to determine the known Communists and the suspected Communists and all the other things that they want done. The only possibility of screening every one, as suggested by the Opposition, would lie in the appointment of the five most damgerous reactionaries in the Opposition's ranks, the honorable member for Wakefield **(Mr. McBride),** the honorable member for Parramatta **(Mr. Beale),** the honorable member for Richmond (Mr; Anthony), the honorable member for Swan **(Mr. Hamilton)** and the honorable member for Gippsland **(Mr. Bowden)** to " vet " all appointments. Even if that were done, I am sure that honorable gentlemen opposite would not be happy or satisfied and that before long we should have the wealthy grazier from Wakefield screening the honorable member for Swan because of his past activities as a trade union official. The honorable member for Parramatta would have some dialectical difficulties about the honorable member for Gippsland, because the honorable member for Gippsland is one of those people in Victoria who refuse to be swallowed by the new Liberal-Country party. In consequence, he is suspected of Communist activities. It has been said in Victoria by the Premier of that State that the followers of **Sir Albert** Dunstan -the honorable member for Gippsland is again temporarily one of them - who refused to join the Liberal-Country party are the friends of communism. {: .speaker-JOI} ##### Mr Beale: -- I rise to order. I submit for your ruling, **Mr. Temporary Chairman,** that the activities of **.Sir Albert** Dunstan have nothing to do with either clause 17 or the amendment {: .speaker-KRI} ##### The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Mr Sheehy: -- I have listened very attentively to the discussion. The honorable member for Barker **(Mr. Archie Cameron)** referred to the British Government and **Mr. Attlee.** I think the Minister for Information is making a passing reference to similar matters. {: .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr CALWELL: -- We are told by the reactionaries opposite that we ought to get rid of all the Communists in the Commonwealth Public Service. The honorable member for Wakefield waxes quite eloquent and becomes absurd in his ferocity and misguided enthusiasm. He so forgets himself as to asperse the honour of the Minister for Defence **(Mr. Dedman).** He has said that, in his opinion, the Minister is a Communist, a suspected Communist, or a " fellowtraveller ". Honorable gentlemen opposite have no arguments with which they can support their cause. So they revert to the old tactics of abuse and character assassination and do all the things that their newspaper mentors advise and encourage them to do day after day. If it is right that people should be removed from the Commonwealth pay-roll because they are Communists or suspected Com.munists, why does not the honorable member for Wakefield join with the honorable member for Barker in a deputation to the Premier of South Australia, **Mr. Playford,** and tell him to get rid of the Communists in the public service of South Australia? One of the public servants of South Australia has stood for election to the Parliament of that State as a Communist. He is a doctor and he was a member of the Department of Health of South Australia. {: .speaker-KVT} ##### Mr Thompson: -- He is not now. {: .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr CALWELL: -- But he was not removed from office because he was a Communist. {: .speaker-KVT} ##### Mr Thompson: -No; he was reinstated after the State general elections. {: .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr CALWELL: -Yes ; he resigned his position to stand for election as a Communist, and the Playford Government reinstated him after he had been defeated by a Labour man.. Honorable gentlemen opposite talk a lot of nonsense about Communists on government pay-rolls. "Why do they and those of their political kidney not tell **Mr. Playford** that he should remove all the Communists from the university of South Australia ? There are more Communists in universities in Australia to-day than there are in the trade unions. The Premier of Victoria, **Mr. Hollway,** who is a Liberal, or a LiberalCountry party man - he is changing his political appellation - has not removed any Communists from the Public Service of Victoria. As a matter of fact, he still treats with J. J. Brown and other Communist trade union leaders, as does the Liberal Premier of Western Australia. It is nonsense for honorable gentlemen opposite to try to fool the Australian public into believing that they are modern John the Baptists, the precursors of a new Christian social order. When they were in office, they dealt with the Communists as leaders of trade unions, as do Liberal Premiers and Labour Premiers in all the States of the Commonwealth. Yes,Healy is a member of the Stevedoring Industry Commission, and Elliott is a member of the Maritime Industry Commission. They are in those positions by virtue of their offices as secretaries of their trade unions. {: .speaker-KNX} ##### Mr Harrison: -And Thornton went overseas to represent the Labour party. {: .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr CALWELL: -- Thornton has never represented the Labour party overseas. {: .speaker-KNX} ##### Mr Harrison: -- He represented the trade unions overseas. {: .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr CALWELL: -- First the honorable member for Wentworth said that Thornton had represented the Labour party. Now hesays that he represented the trade unions. If there is one man in the Parliament who always needs a second think, it is the honorable member for Wentworth, and he cannot always be accepted as telling the truth, even on the second occasion. All those people are the representatives of their trade unions. If they were removed from office by a vote of the members of their trade unions, their successors would be appointed to the commissions or the boards on which they now sit. It is even possible that they could be succeeded by members of the Liberal party, although I cannot imagine a staunch trade union electing as a union officiial a representative of the anti-Labour force such as the Liberal party. {: .speaker-L1A} ##### Mr Williams: -He could be a member of the New Guard. {: .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr CALWELL: -- Yes, and the New Guard seems to be reviving. The activities of certain people in Bourke on Wednesday smacked of New Guard tactics. Iam opposed to mob violence, whether it takes place under the aegis of Communists or of anti-Communists. I am opposed to such tactics whether they be engaged in by members of the Labour party, the Australian Country party, the Liberal party, the New Guard, or any other organization. The rule of order has to be maintained and authority must be respected at all times. We are not going to degenerate into any system of lynch law in Australia. I hope that what happened in Bourke will prove to be the last incident of its kind in Australia. The honorable member for Barker, who believes in strong-arm tactics, applauded what happened in Bourke. The honorable member for Hindmarsh **(Mr. Thompson)** referred to the letting of a town hall in South Australia. Recently, the Melbourne City Council again refused the use of Melbourne Town Hall to John Rodgers, who wanted to speak on Russia, and the Melbourne *Herald,* for the second time, attacked the actionof the Melbourne City Council, members of which were associates of mine when I was a member of it, for having denied **Mr. Rodgers** the freedom of speech, which, the *Herald* said, was one of the rights that every citizen in Australia should enjoy. If the Murdoch press is so strong on the subject of freedom of speech, some honorable gentlemen opposite are quite out of touch with even the reactionary forces in the newspaper world and so far have they gone to the right that they would find it impossible to enter the ranks of the extreme right wing of the Conservative party in the House of Commons, because in the final analysis what they say is destructive of democratic government. Sharkey's name has been introduced. Sharkey has never been appointed to any position by the Chifley Government or by the Curtin Government. {: .speaker-JOI} ##### Mr Beale: -- But he will be. {: .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr CALWELL: -- He will never be. He is an official of the Communist party; he is not a trade union official. I remember the days in the early stages of the war and subsequently when the names of honorable members opposite, leaders of the anti-Labour forces, appeared in government advertisements alongside the name of Miles, the Communist, appealing for subscriptions to war loans. And it is on record that one leader of the Opposition forces went to the Sydney Domain and even sat on the same platform as Miles to urge support of war loans. On that occasion, as the honorable member for Martin **(Mr. Daly),** who will be the Labour member for Grayndler, reminds me, the right honorable member for North Sydney **(Mr. Hughes)** said - >I say to my comrade of the Communist party, " Welcome brother ". What the right honorable gentleman said on that occasion was said nine months after he had placed a ban upon the Communists; and he made that statement while the ban was still on them! That is the sort of delightful inconsistency and irresponsibility that characterized all the actions of honorable members opposite when they were in office; and their actions when they formed the government haunt them still. They cannot even now function as an Opposition. How they hope to be trusted to govern again when in opposition they are a heterogeneous conglomeration of discordant elements passes my comprehension. They have no policy but hatred of communism. A Communist to them is like King Charles's head. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN: -- The Minister's time has expired. Progress reported. {: .page-start } page 1346 {:#debate-16} ### PAPER The following paper was presented : - >Lands Acquisition Act - Land acquired for Defence purposes - Hoxton Park, New South Wales. House adjourned at 12.53 p.m. {: .page-start } page 1346 {:#debate-17} ### ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS *The following answers to questions were circulated: -* {:#subdebate-17-0} #### Commonwealth Advertising Division {: #subdebate-17-0-s0 .speaker-KZJ} ##### Mr Lang: g asked the Treasurer, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What was the total amount of money spent in 1948 by the Advertising Division.? 1. What was the total number of inches used? 2. What was the rate per inch charged for government advertising placed in each of the following political newspapers : - *Standard. Century, Liberal Opinion, The Countryman. Labour Call, Western Australian Worker. South Australian Worker, The Voice* (Hobart), and *Worker* (Sydney and Brisbane)? Mr.Chifley. - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. £309,671. This covers display and classified press advertising, radio, posters, printing and miscellaneous items. 1. 519,028. This covers display and classified advertising in 724 publications. 2. *Standard,7s.* 6d. an inch; Century, 5s.6d. an inch; *Liberal Opinion,* no advertising; *The Countryman,* 4s.6d. an inch; *Labour Call,* 2s. 6d. an inch; *Western* Australian Worker. 3s. an inch; *South Australian Worker,* 4s. an inch; *The Voice* (Hobart), 3s. 6d. an inch; *The Worker* (Sydney), 6s. an inch; *The Worker* (Brisbane), 6s. an inch. Commonwealth advertising is confined generally to papers published weekly or more frequently, therefore *Liberal Opinion,* which is published monthly, does not receive Commonwealth advertising. Naming of Post Offices. {: #subdebate-17-0-s1 .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr Calwell:
ALP l. - On the 8th March, the honorable member for Wimmera **(Mr. Turnbull),** asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General the following questions : - >Some time ago I drew the attention of the Minister representing the Postmaster-General to the fact that throughout Australia there are many post offices that give no indication whatever of the name under which they operate. This causes inconvenience to travellers and there. Did the Minister draw the attention of the Postmaster-General to the desirability of having names affixed to such post offices and, if so, what was the Ministers reply I The Postmaster-General has supplied t he following information: - >It is the policy of the department to exhibit the name of the locality on all official post office buildings, but during the war years all signs indicating the names were removed. The work of re-providing the name signs is being undertaken in conjunction with general repairs and maintenance, and the restoration of the name in all cases is being expedited as muchas possible. > >With regard tonon-official poet offices, of which there are nearly10,000 in Australia, it has not been the practice to display the name of the locality, seeing that, as a general rule, these offices are conducted in buildings which are owned or rented by thenon-official postmaster and where some other business activity is carried on. In these cases, the department provides an enamel sign showing the words " Post Office " for exhibition in a prominent position. In the circumstances, the cost involved in displaying the name of the locality on each non-official post office would be substantial, and it is considered that the advantages derived would not be commensurate with the expenditure, since the name of the post office usually coincides with that of the locality served and the latter is generally identified by a suitable sign at the roadside or by other means. The matter will be reviewed, however, in order to see whether any special action is justified, having regard to the aspects mentioned and the fact that the premises are not owned by the Department, excepting in a small number of cases. {: #subdebate-17-0-s2 .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr Calwell:
ALP -- On the 24th February, the honorable member for Flinders **(Mr. Ryan)** asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General the following question : - >I direct the attention of the Minister representing the Postmaster-General to a report that a new underground telephone cable is to be laid between Melbourne and Sydney. As there are many tens of thousands of applicants for telephones, will the honorable gentleman consider delaying the construction of that cable and diverting the labour and materials that would be utilized on that work to provide telephones and the necessary installations for those people? One of the two main reasons that have been given why the demand for telephones cannot be satisfied is the great shortage of labour and materials. The Postmaster-General has supplied the following information: - >The provision of this cable is necessary in order to ester for present-day requirements and future development in telephone business not only between Melbourne and Sydney, but also to and from, places along the route. The existing aerial trunk-line route is reaching the stage when additional circuits cannot be provided and the laying of a cable is necessary in order that the increasing demands for service will be met adequately for many years to come. In addition, the placing of the circuits underground will ensure that interruptions to the service will be reduced to a minimum. In the interests of the community as a whole, the rehabilitation and development of the telephone system throughout the Commonwealth must proceed to a well-balanced and coordinated plan which embraces the installation of telephone subscribers' services and the necessary exchange equipment, junction lines and long distance circuits to enable communication to be established between subscribers in different areas, without undue delays. It would not be wise to concentrate on the provision of telephone subscribers' installations to the detriment of the development of the trunk line system, otherwise serious breakdowns would occur in the long distance service which would have unfortunate repercussions on the local service. Despite the difficulties encountered in securing adequate stocks of some materials, telephone subscribers servicesare now being provided at a greater rate than at any time previously. During the last three years, more than 270,000 telephones were installed and the total number connected to the system throughout the Commonwealth increased by 22 per cent. Enormous supplies of materials have been ordered from overseas and local sources, and these are arriving in substantial quantities. Many additional men have been recruited and it can be anticipated that considerable progress will be achieved in the provision of telephone services in the near future. The importance of overtaking the arrears of applications for telephone services which have accumulated and catering for the continuing heavy demand for such facilities is appreciated fully by the Postal Department, and the honorable member may be assured that all means will be adopted whereby greater expedition can be secured towards this objective. Concurrently every effort will be made to complete in order of urgency and importance in the plan as a whole other features of the Post Office rehabilitation programme. It will not be practicable to commence the laying of the projected underground trunk line cable between Melbourne and Sydney for at least two years, however, and by this time, it is expected that the lag in the provision of telephone subscribers' services will be reduced substantially. Production. {: #subdebate-17-0-s3 .speaker-A48} ##### Mr Chifley:
ALP y. - On the 1st March the honorable member for Fawkner **(Mr. Holt)** asked me a question concerning increased employment by government departments during the month of December, 1948. Further to my oral reply to *the* honorable *member* I desire to advise that of the rise of 3,800 in governmentemployment during December, 1948, 2,400 occurred in Commonwealth departments and instrumentalities, 1,300 in State and semi-governmental authorities and 100 in local government bodies. The main rises in Commonwealth Government employment were 1,400 in the Postmaster-General's Department and 400 in the Taxation Branch. These increases were mainly temporary appointments to cope with seasonal demands in the postal services, and students engaged during the vacation period to assist in reducing the lag in the issue of tax assessments. A corresponding drop in employment may be expected in January or February. The main rises in State government authorities were 800 in railway staff and 400 in employees on State works. Professor D. B. Copland. {: #subdebate-17-0-s4 .speaker-A48} ##### Mr Chifley:
ALP y. - On the 4th March the honorable member for Reid **(Mr. Lang)** asked me- a question concerning certain press articles by Professor Douglas Copland, Vice-Chancellor of the Australian National University, Canberra. I indicated that I would have inquiries made into the matters raised by the honorable member. I now wish to state that Professor Copland's freedom to write for newspapers is a matter for consideration by himself and the Interim Council of the University. Any opinions he may care to express in the press are his own responsibility. His salary as ViceChancellor of the University is £3,000 per annum. Royal Australian Air Force: {:#subdebate-17-1} #### Recruitment and Discharges {: #subdebate-17-1-s0 .speaker-KEP} ##### Mr Falkinder:
FRANKLIN, TASMANIA r asked the Minister for Air, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What is the number of men recruited to the Royal Australian Air Force each month of the last twelve months? 1. What is the number of discharges each month for the same period? {: #subdebate-17-1-s1 .speaker-KCM} ##### Mr Drakeford:
Minister for Air · MARIBYRNONG, VICTORIA · ALP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. The numbers of males appointed or enlisted monthly is the Royal Australian Air Force during the past twelve months areas follows : - {: type="1" start="2"} 0. The numbers of male personnel discharged from the Royal Australian Air Force- Permanent Air Force and Interim Force - monthly during the past twelve months are as follows: -

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 11 March 1949, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.