House of Representatives
18 May 1949

18th Parliament · 2nd Session

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

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Petition - Investigation of Activities - Mr. E. Thornton and Mr. Dixon

Mr. GULLETT presented a petition from 100 electors of the division of Henty praying that the Communist party be banned.

Petition received and read.


– On the 15th October, 1947,I asked the Prime Minister whether his Government had decided that there was no need to appoint a royal commission of inquiry into Communist activities and he replied that nothing had been disclosed to that date to “warrant a special inquiry, but that should occasion for such action arise the necessary action would be taken. In view of recent and serious disclosures that Australian Communists are acting as a fifth column for a foreign power, sabotaging our naval construction programme, rigging trade union election ballots and call ing strikes without consulting the members of the unions affected thereby, is the right honorable gentleman now convinced that circumstances warrant a complete investigation of Communist activities in Australia, and will he honour the undertaking he gave in October, 1947, by instituting such an investigation?


– I made the statement to which the honorable member has referred. I now merely wish to repeat that I and the Government believed then and still believe that it would be completely futile to appoint a royal commission to inquire into communism. For some years past the political party to which the honorable member belongs has been in office in three of the States. It has had ample opportunity to appoint royal commissions to inquire into communism but it failed to do so until quite recently when the Victorian Government, I understand, undertook to hold such an inquiry. Those facts are evidence, as I indicated previously, of the complete futility of instituting such inquiries.


– The Minister for Immigration will remember that during the last sessional period he accepted an amendment which I proposed to a certain bill to the effect that immigrants arriving in Australia should be made to sign an undertaking that they are opposed to the over-throw of the Government by revolutionary means. Will the Minister examine the Immigration Act to see whether this provision can be made to apply to Mr. Thornton and Mr. Dixon, who Are at present overseas, the former in Moscow and the latter in Prague 1 If it is found that the existing provisions cannot be made to apply, will the Minister introduce at an early date and amendment of the act so that those professional revolutionaries may be kept out of Australia?

Minister for Immigration · MELBOURNE, VICTORIA · ALP

– I heard the honorable member for Parkes murmur something about the “ Thornton-Dixon Line “. Thornton and Dixon are Australian citizens, and do not come under the provisions of the Immigration Act. The amendment which the honorable member proposed, and which I accented, was born of our experience when we visited the United States of America, and where we were required to give an undertaking that we did not favour revolution, were not Communists, and did not seek the overthrow of constituted authority by force. The honorable member suggested that immigrants entering Australia should give a similar undertaking. T agreed, and the act was amended accordingly. That was one of the honorable member’s bright ideas, and I give him full credit for it. However, I do not see how we can amend the Immigration Act so as to affect the status of Australian citizens who are overseas, and wish to return to Australia. The House would not like me to give a dissertation, even if T wanted to, on the merits of the WalshJohnson incident when the Bruce-Page Government tried to deport the two men, neither of whom had been born in Australia. The High Court ruled that there comes a time in the life of a person admitted to Australia from overseas when he ceases to be an immigrant and becomes an ordinary citizen of Australia. Thornton came to Australia at an early age, and is now accepted as an Australian citizen. Dixon was born in Australia. I cannot see how the honorable member’s suggestion could be accepted by me or by any other member of the Government.

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– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Fuel what is the number of ships allocated for carrying coal on the Australian coast? What are their ages and speeds ? Has the Minister power to direct the Australian Shipping Board and the Joint Coal Board with respect to coal cargoes ? If so, will he give specific directions that the fastest of the coal ships shall be placed on the long run to South Australia ?

Minister for Defence · CORIO, VICTORIA · ALP

– Off-hand, I cannot answer the honorable member’s question in detail. I shall obtain the information he seeks from the Minister for Shipping and Fuel. I assure the honorable gentleroan that my colleague will do his utmost to see that fair allocations of coal shall reach South Australia. It must be recognized that the shortages which we are suffering from at present are due in part to the measure of prosperity which we are now enjoying. The consumption of electricity in Australia has increased by 75 per cent, since 1939, and it is inevitable that as the result of that increased demand for electricity which, of course, is due to the fact that our factories are working at fuller capacity than they did in 1939 and also to the fact that Australian workers are sufficiently prosperous to buy electrical appliances which in themselves consume a considerable amount of current, the demand for coa! if. greatly in excess of the demand that had to be met in pre-war years. If any blame is to be attached to any one for present-day shortages it must be laid at the door of those anti-Labour governments which, before the war, failed to envisage the measure of prosperity which the country is enjoying to-day.

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– Will the Prime Minister give favorable consideration to the desirability of inviting the Government of the United States of America to be represented by naval units at the anniversary celebrations of the Coral Sea battle to be held in the State capitals of Australia next year? Will the right honorable gentleman discuss with the State premiers the desirability of arranging uniform and fitting celebrations to mark future anniversaries of this historic battle? As American co-operation in the Pacific war was the direct outcome of a special appeal addressed to the late President Roosevelt by the late Mr. Curtin, will the Prime Minister discuss with his colleague, the Postmaster-General, the issue of a special stamp for the next anniversary of the Coral Sea battle to commemorate the actions of those two great war-time leaders?


– I shall discuss with the Minister for the Navy the honorable member’s proposal that units of the American Navy be invited to participate in the anniversary celebrations of the Coral Sea battle. The honorable member’s suggestion relative to the issue of a commemorative stamp will be referred to the Postmaster-General. The honorable gentleman will appreciate that it is not possible for me to give an immediate reply to his questions. He may rest assured that I shall look into them.

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Rationing - Attendance at Military Parades.


– My question to the Prime Minister relates to a number of statements made by the Leader of the Australian Country party to the effect that sufficient quantities of petrol are available to Australia from sterling areas to enable the Government to abolish petrol rationing. Will the Prime Minister state whether there is any substance in such statements? If so, does the right honorable gentleman propose to avail himself of the opportunity to obtain additional quantities of such petrol? What effect would the importation of such supplies have on petrol rationing in this country?


– I cannot vouch for t.he accuracy of certain statements I have seen in the press which have been attributed to the Leader of the Australian Country party. Tb at right honorable gentleman has made many statements to the press, some of which I have probably not seen. Some of those that I have read have teemed with inaccuracies and distortions. However, I do not charge the right honorable gentleman with responsibility for some of the press statements attributed to him. The subject raised by the honorable member for Herbert is too involved to be dealt with fully in answer to a question. Prior to the termination of the last sessional period I made it clear that there had been a great improvement in the world production of petrol, particularly of crudes, but that there was still some shortage of refining capacity. It is true that there has been a great increase in the world production of petrol. I shall prepare a statement on the subject for the information of the House and of the honorable member.


– In view of the uncertainty which exists in the minds of many people, can the Minister acting for the Minister for Transport say whether the new petrol tickets which bear on them the name of the State of issue can be used in a State other than that in which they are issued?

Minister for the Army · ADELAIDE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP

– I shall examine the honorable member’s question and supply the information to-morrow.


– Some time ago I asked the Minister for the Army whether he would make available a special supply of petrol to members of the military forces living in country centres to enable them to attend training parades and camps. Has the Minister yet considered that matter? If so, what decision has he reached ?


– After the honorable member raised this matter earlier in the year consideration was given to his request, and I am almost certain that a special supply of petrol has been granted to members of the military forces in country centres for the purpose he has mentioned.


– The quantity made available is quite inadequate.


– I have not received any complaint with respect to the quantity of petrol that has been made available for that purpose. If it can be shown that the quantity is insufficient I shall give further consideration to the matter.

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– In view of the announcement by the Prime Minister on the 12th May that Cabinet had decided to terminate the appointments on the Stevedoring Industry Commission of Mr. Healy and Mr. Roach, and that the Waterside Workers Federation had been asked to nominate two representatives in their place, will the right honorable gentleman indicate whether the federation has yet submitted the names of new representatives on the commission? If it has not yet done so, has the Government intimated to the federation any time limit within which the names of new representatives are to be submitted?


– As the honorable member has indicated, the Government has terminated the appointments to the Stevedoring Industry Commission of Mr. Healy and Mr. Roach because they refused to co-operate with the commission in its work. In reply to a telegram that I received from Mr. Healy, I indicated briefly the reasons why that action had been taken. I pointed out that it was impossible for the commission to work without the co-operation of the watersiders’ representatives. No communication has been received from the federation, unless it has arrived this afternoon, in reply to the request that it should nominate two new representatives. The question of how long the offer to nominate two new representatives should be held open to the federation will have to be considered by the Government. So far, no final date has been fixed, but a decision will have to be made before long.

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Pensions - Explanatory Booklet


– Can the Prime Minister inform me whether any date has been fixed for the commencement of the increases of the allowances to the wives and children of certain pensioners? Can the increases be applied immediately, or will the date on which they will become payable depend upon the passage of appropriate legislation by both Houses of the Parliament?


– Normally such increases commence at approximately the date on which assent is given to the legislation in which provision is made for them. That was the intention in this instance. I shall take the matter up with the Minister for Social Services, and ascertain the approximate commencing date. When that information is available, I shall supply it to the honorable member.


– My question, which is addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for Social Services, relates to a booklet dealing with the social services of the Commonwealth which I understand will be published shortly. Tn view of the importance of it? contents, which set out in detail the social services that are available to the people of Australia and of the need for the Australian people to be fully informed of what benefits are available to them, how applications should be made, and other matter? of that kind, will the Minister give consideration to issuing a copy of the booklet, when it is published, to every householder in Australia?

Minister for Labour and National Service · MELBOURNE, VICTORIA · ALP

– I shall confer with the Minister for Social Services to ascertain what is to happen to the booklet when it is ready for distribution. It is now in the hands of the printer and is a very fine compilation. I think that the suggestion that has been made by the honorable gentleman will be adopted.


– I have received many representations from constituents who have been admitted to hospital for the treatment of injuries suffered in accidents, and, either through ignorance or because they have been very sick, have failed to submit within the specified period claims for social services benefits. In consequence, they have been denied benefits to which otherwise they would have been entitled. Will the Minister who represents the Minister for Social Services ask his colleague to consider introducing amendments to the legislation or the regulations made under it in order to remedy this obvious injustice and to ensure that injured peoplewho are admitted to hospital may receive benefits from the date of admission?


– I understand that the point to which the honorable gentleman has referred is already covered by the act. However, I shall consult with the Minister for Social Services to see whether there are any of these difficulties. If there are, doubtless steps will be taken to overcome them.

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Mr.FRANCIS.- Some time ago the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture informed us that the Bureau of Agricultural Economics of the Department of Commerce and Agriculture was inquiring into the economic position of the poultry industry. Will the Minister inform me whether that inquiry has, been completed, and whether he has received a report upon it? If so, has the Minister yet made any representations to the United Kingdom Government for increased prices for poultry and eggs exported to that country? Does the report of the bureau justify such representations? Has any new agreement been reached with the United Kingdom Government on increased prices? Will the report of the Bureau of Agricultural Economics be made available to honorable members?

Minister for Commerce and Agriculture · BALLAARAT, VICTORIA · ALP

– The investigation has been completed by the Bureau of Agricultural Economics. A report has been made, and is available to honorable members and to representatives of the poultry industry. I have communicated the findings of the committee to the United Kingdom Ministry of Food, and indicated the desirability of it considering the offering of additional inducement to Australian poultry-farmers if increased quantities of eggs andpoultry are desired.

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Motor Traffic Regulations

Mr.FRASER. - I refer to a matter that I have already discussed with the Prime Minister on behalf of a constituent who has been crippled for life by an accident in which a diplomatic corps motor car was involved, and to the reply given by the right honorable gentleman that the diplomat concerned was not prepared to waive diplomatic immunity which constituted a barrier to proceedings for compensation.

I ask the Prime Minister whether he will approach representatives of the diplomatic corps with a view to ensuring voluntary compliance by all members of the corps - such compliance has already been conceded by most of them - with traffic laws, particularly in respect of eyesight and the minimum age of drivers of motor vehicles? I ask also whether, in eases where injuries are suffered, and the law of the Commonwealth exempts the diplomat owner of the vehicle concerned from financial responsibility, the Commonwealth itself will accept such responsibility to the injured person?


– I think it might be better if I deferred a complete answer to the honorable member. I understand that the dean of the diplomatic corps made a statement this morning. I have not yet seen it; but I understand that the matter raised by the honorable member has been the subject of discussion by members of the diplomatic corps and that satisfactory arrangements can be made. I prefer to reply to the honorable gentleman fully when I have had the opportunity to become informed of all the circumstances.

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– I ask the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture whether, if the International Wheat Agreement is ratified and becomes operative, the money collected as wheat tax in respect of the 1947-48 and 1948-49 wheat crops for stabilization purposes will be returned to the wheat-growers?


– Under the terms of the wheat stabilization plan, it was indicated, as a matter of policy, by the Government that from time to time the funds available in the stabilization fund and the need for continuing the tax at particular amounts would he examined. Whether it is wise at this early stage, before the International Wheat Agreement has been ratified, to arrange for a distribution of the money in the Wheat Stabilization Fund is somewhat dubious. The honorable gentleman may rest assured that, when the time comes for a review to be made, most favorable consideration will be given to making a refund to the wheatgrowers if it is possible to do so.

Postmaster-General · BARKER, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP

– I ask the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture whether he has repented of his failure to send to the Washington wheat conference a representative of the Australian Wheatgrowers Federation ?


– I have no need to be repentant. The Government never intended to send a representative of the Australian Wheatgrowers Federation to the Washington conference. It accepts full responsibility for decisions made at international conferences and makes no attempt to place any responsibility for those decisions upon people attending the conferences.

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Wah Service Homes : Interest Rates - Construction Programme


– I have been asked bv several ex-servicemen’s organizations in my electorate to make representations on their behalf for a reduction to 2 per cent, of the rate of interest charged in respect of war service homes. The Prime Minister may recall that I made such representations to him personally. Can he say whether the Government is prepared to arrange for a reduction of the interest rate charged in respect of war service homes ?


– Representations on that subject were made by the honorable member and by other honorable members. I discussed the matter at some length with the Minister for Works and Housing, who has interested himself in it. Interest rates as they affect war service homes and certain other housing schemes have been fully considered by the Government. The Government has decided that, at present, it is unable to make any further concessions in interest rates.


– In view of the fact that many thousands of Australians are still without homes, can the Minister for Works and Housing say when his department expects that the lag will be overtaken? Can the Minister state the number of houses constructed in Australia during the last twelve months? In particular, would he state the number of war service homes that have been constructed in the last year, and the number of applicants for Avar service homes who are still waiting for houses to be built?

Minister for Works and Housing · FORREST, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · ALP

– Yes, I can prepare a statement giving the information sought. During the ten-year period before the outbreak of war, the average number of houses built each year was 27,000; during the last twelve months, 49,000 houses were completed.

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– I ask the Prime Minis,ter whether it is a fact, as reported from London, that the United Kingdom Government has proposed an interchange of dominion air squadrons with the Royal Air Force? Has the Australian Government been given the details of such a scheme by the United Kingdom Government? If so, what is the Australian Government’s attitude to such an interchange? As there is probability of an attack upon Hong Kong by the Chinese Communist Army shortly and as Malaya and Hong Kong are bound up with our defence system, will the Prime Minister make an early offer of an Australian fighter squadron to replace the Royal Air Force Spitfires and Mosquitoes that have been transferred from Malaya to Hong Kong?


– No discussions took place while I was in the United Kingdom on the matter referred to by the honorable member. I understand that at various times it has been suggested thai such an interchange of air squadrons should take place, but there have been no official communications on the subject that I remember. Arrangements have been made in special, individual cases. I understand that a Spitfire squadron has been transferred from Malaya to Hong Kong, but no request has been made to us by the British Government in that connexion. When trouble arose in Malaya some time ago no request for armed intervention by Australia emanated from that area, although every request made to Australia by the Malayan Union and its officers, through the British Government, for material to assist in the preservation of law and order was acceded to. No consideration has been given to making any Such offer as that mentioned by the honorable member for Balaclava.


– Recent statements by the Prime Minister that have appeared in the press suggest that discussions are taking place on the defence of the Pacific area along lines parallel to those of the North Atlantic Pact. Will the Prime Minister say whether such discussions are taking place? If they are, with whom are they taking place? [s it intended to make a statement to the House at an early date on these matters.

Mr Chifley:

– The Minister for Defence will answer the question.


– There has been a good deal of speculation in the press regarding a Pacific pact. From the stand-point of this Government, the position is quite clear. In various statements to the House it has been indicated that our defence policy is based, first, on an international security force set up under the auspices of the United Nations organization, when that becomes possible; and, secondly, on the development of our plans for the integration of Australia’s defence policy with the defence policies of other members of the British Commonwealth of Nations. Our proposals along those lines have been accepted by the United Kingdom and New Zealand. It is the belief of the Australian Government that since, at the moment, it seems to be impossible to get other nations on the Pacific littoral to join in a Pacific pact, the best we can do for the present is to develop our plans on the lines of integration with the plans of the United Kingdom and New Zealand. Proposals to this end are under consideration and plans on that basis are now being developed.

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– Recently I asked the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs

Borne questions about the prices of hearing aids and the relative value of British and American instruments. At that time I understood that American hearing aids were not being imported. Can the Minister ascertain whether any such articles are now being imported as British goods, when, in fact, they are manufactured in the United States of America ? A correspondent who purchased an instrument that was branded “ Made in England “ has since discovered, owing to the paint having worn off, that the words “ Made in U.S.A.” were stamped into the material of which it is constructed. He has pointed out that the price charged was the same as that for an American hearing aid, although at the time of purchase he believed that an English instrument would be cheaper because he thought that it would be free of duty. Will the Minister have the matter investigated so that I may inform my correspondent of the facts?


– I shall submit the honorable member’s question to the Minister for Trade and Customs with the request that the information sought be supplied as soon as possible.

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– Will the PrimeMinister state whether either he or the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture will make a comprehensive statement at an early date concerning the so-called meat agreement which was recently arranged by the Australian Government with the United Kingdom ? Such a statement would be welcomed by the Parliament, by the very interested people of Australia, and also, incidentally, by the meat producers. Will any such statement contain details of the arrangements which were made as the outcome of the extremely prolonged negotiations which have taken place? Will the Government indicate whether the United Kingdom Government has been asked to provide capital for the development of meat production in Australia, or, alternatively, whether the Australian Government proposes to provide capital for that purpose? If so, how much capital is to be provided, and in what manner is it proposed to be expended ?


– The subject, as the honorable member has pointed out, has been under discussion for some time, but at the moment it is not possible to make a comprehensive statement. One of the points made by the Australian Government was that there should be some guarantee of a long-term contract to provide that, subject to certain limitations.. all surplus meat in Australia should be accepted by the British Government. Such a condition is necessary if the Australian Government is to embark upon substantial capital expenditure to increase the production of meat. Following discussions with the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sir Stafford Cripps, and later with the Minister for Food, Mr. Strachey, the British Government has given certain undertakings. Those undertakings are subject to certain conditions connected with the practicability of producing additional meat .in Australia within a reasonable time. That task cannot, of course, be accomplished in five minutes, but will require a fairly long period. Negotiations will have to be conducted on an expert level in regard to such matters as price. My officers and I did not deal with that subject. It comes within the province of the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture, and his officers, who are the most competent persons to discuss arrangements regarding prices. It would be most difficult to construct railways from other States into Central Australia, because such works would require a great deal of labour and materials, which could not be obtained for a fairly long period. Therefore, the general suggestion has been that, although some railway construction may be undertaken, roads should be built to various meatproducing areas in order that greater quantities of meat may be obtained. I do not think that I am able to give much additional information about the subject at the moment, but I shall have a statement prepared setting out what has happened to date. The general matter has been placed in the hands of a sub-committee of Cabinet and a departmental sub-committee, which are working closely and quickly on the subject. An essential requirement to the carrying out of capital works would be the provision of certain materials for the improvement of properties, and road-making and earthmoving equipment for the construction of roads not only in northern Australia but also from Wyndham in Western Australia and perhaps from Bourke, Thargomindah, Cunnamulla and similar areas in Queensland. We do not manufacture sufficient quantities of such material and equipment in this country, but unless it is made available it will not be possible to carry out any plans of that character. However, that matter is being examined for the United Kingdom Government by the British Ministry of Food, through the Overseas Food Corporation, for the purpose of ascertaining the possibilities. I shall not give a detailed answer to the latter portion of the honorable member’s question, because the subject is intricate, and any reply that 1 might make would necessarily occupy a considerable time. Briefly, however, the Australian Government ha? not asked the United Kingdom Government to engage in any capital expenditure in the matter.

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– Has the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture any information concerning further advances by the Australian Government on account of the apple and pear marketing scheme for the 1947-48 Tasmanian crop?


– I am glad to be able to inform the honorable member that the arrangements which the Australian Government made for the marketing of the Tasmanian and Western Australian apple and pear crops for the 1947-48 season have had most satisfactory results. Prior to the opening of the season. 1 visited the Huon Valley, in Tasmania. The growers of that State requested that an additional payment of ls. a bushel be made to them on account of the marketing of that particular crop. They were informed that the Australian Government was prepared to place at their disposal the experience and marketing organization of the Australian Apple and Pear Marketing Board, and to make available to them all the profits that, might accrue from the marketing of the crop in the United Kingdom. The result has been that they have received the advance which waa then fixed, plus the dividend of ls. a bushel, and I am glad to be able to announce an additional dividend of 4d. a bushel and that there will be what I may describe as a “ fractional clean-up payment A similarly satisfactory state of affairs exists in Western Australia, where an iii tenni dividend has already been paid io the growers. I am glad to announce that an additional ls. 9d. a bushel will be paid to Western Australian growers for fancy Grade I. apples.


– I ask the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture when a chairman will be appointed to the Australian Apple aud Pear Board and when that board will begin operations?


– The chairman of rho Australian Apple and Pear Board will be appointed simultaneously with all other members of the board if possible. Arrangements are being made by the Department of Commerce and Agriculture to announce the appointment of the board as soon as possible in order that it may be in working order and have its organization complete in readiness for the handling of apple and pear exports on a pre-war basis when the 1949-50 crop becomes available for export.

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– I ask the Prime Minister whether the attention of the new Director-General of Security has been called to tho admission into this country of approximately 200 aliens from Shanghai and other Chinese ports with passports or vises granted to Soviet legations. Did the Government order a cessation of such entries after a large number had arrived in Australia pending the establishment of new precautionary measures? Have steps been taken to rescreen all of those who were admitted prior to such revision of Governmentpolicy in view of the possible entry of Soviet agents?

Mr Chifley:

– -The Minister for Immigration will answer the question.


– The Security Service of this country does its job effectively and efficiently at all times, and all persons of alien birth who are admitted to Australia have reports made upon them by our security officers at home and abroad. Nobody who is either an actual or a potential danger to the security of the nation is admitted to the country. We have tightened things up a lot since the days when the honorable gentleman brought in Judge Swindells.

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– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs whether the Government has received representations from Tasmania to the effect that the fish-canning industry is in danger of collapse in that State owing to the importation of canned fish from foreign countries, including, I understand, a large shipment from Russia recently? Can the Minister say whether it is a fact that approximately 1,300 import licences have been -issued since the war ended and that those licences authorize importations from 26 different countries, including Yugoslavia? Has the Government received representations from the Australian fish-canning industry meeking the imposition of quotas upon “easy currency” countries? If so, has the matter been referred to the Tariff Board ? If not. what other action has the Government taken?


– I have no knowledge of any such representations. If any have been made, they would have been forwarded to the Minister for Trade and Customs. I shall be glad to refer the question to that Minister in order to ascertain whether the information for which the honorable member has asked can be made available.

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– Many people have written to me and complained that it is impossible for them to obtain ammunition, particularly .22 calibre rifle ammunition, for the destruction of rabbits, foxes and other pests. Will the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture say whether firms that wish to import ammunition have been granted import licences, and whether dollar allocations have been made available to them to purchase ammunition from the United States of America?


– I have no doubt that some licences for the importation of ammunition from dollar areas have been issued. I do not know how many have been issued; nor do I know the extent to which the licensees have taken advantage of their licence rights. I shall refer the question to the Minister for Trade and Customs, who controls imports and import licences. Doubtless he will supply the information for which the honorable gentleman has asked.

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– “Will the Prime Minister say whether the policy regarding advances by the Commonwealth Bank which was announced in the press this morning, has been arrived at after consultation with, or with the concurrence of, the Government? Does this new restrictive policy indicate that some recession from the high level of prosperity that Australia has enjoyed because of high prices abroad for its exportable products, is imminent? Does it mean that the “Government intends to take other restrictive steps coincidental or parallel with the new policy? Is the Prime Minister aware that the new restrictive policy will affect, in the main, small businesses as big businesses normally experience no difficulty when calling for fresh capital?


– The Governor of the Commonwealth Bank from time to time discusses with me, as representing the Government, questions of general overall policy. The matter that the honorable member has mentioned is covered by a very long memorandum which was drawn up when Mr. Armitage was Governor of the Commonwealth Bank. The memorandum dealt with a great number of matters connected with the position of small businessmen. I do not know exactly what the honorable member means by “ small businesses but the fact is that advances up to £1,000, such as a small businessman would desire, would not require the approval of the Commonwealth Bank. They can be dealt with by the trading banks without any reference to the Commonwealth Bank. In addition, there are certain provisions which give a great deal of flexibility to the making of advances by trading banks and if any person feels that he has not been fairly treated by a trading bank he may refer his case to the Commonwealth Bank to ascertain whether the trading bank’s attitude on, or suggestion regarding, a particular advance, was warranted. It is impossible to cover in a short reply all the implications associated with this matter. To do so would require a statement of very great length. With reference to the main portion of the honorable member’s question, it has been recognized by everybody that there will be some decline in general overall world prices for primary products and raw materials. I hope that any such decrease in prices will not be of great magnitude, but it can be said that there is bound to be some falling off in certain lines. That is already happening in overseas markets. The policy which the honorable member has referred to as restrictive is calculated to ensure that investment is not used for speculative purposes or for the overproduction of some lines that are not essential to the life o-f the community or to the needs of other communities to whom we might export goods. There has been a discussion between the general managers of the trading banks and the Governor of the Commonwealth Bank. I shall prepare a written statement on the subject that T may deal with it more fully.

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– I desire to ask a question of the Prime Minister in his capacity as Minister acting for the Minister for External Affairs. The Potsdam Agreement, which laid down the basis for the surrender of Japan, provided for the setting up of a Far Eastern Commission which has been charged with the task, among other things, of seeing that the terms of the agreement are adhered to. One of the conditions of the agreement was that the great Japanese industrial combines, such as Mitsubishi and Mitsui, were to be purged. The purging has been done, but some of the persons affected have now appealed for re-instatement. Press reports suggest that their position may be reviewed, and that they may be allowed once again to take charge of the great armament and shipping industries. We have an army of occupation in Japan.


– Will the honorable member now ask his question?


– Can the Prime Minister say whether the press reports are correct and, if so, what does he propose to do to ensure that the Potsdam Agreement is observed, and that the great industrial combines of Japan are prevented from operating once more?


– The Potsdam Agreement covers a very large field, including reparations, displaced persons, and the transfer of populations. It also touches upon the level of industry in Germany and Japan. At the Pacific conference, I pointed out how difficult it was to control the level of industry in Japan. Within a measurable time, there will be a population of 80,000.000 in Japan, and it is impossible to keep them as economic serfs for all time. Although neither Germany nor Japan should be allowed to develop its war potential, or embark again upon the manufacturing of armaments, it is clear that the people of those countries must be permitted a decent standard of living.

Mr Francis:

– I referred to the purge only.


– The honorable member referred to a matter which, after all, touches the level of industry in Japan. It must be remembered that, under the Potsdam and Yalta Agreements, Japan has lost such great producing areas as Manchuria, the Kuriles, Sakhalin Island and Korea. As I have said, people must be provided with a decent standard of living whether they be former enemies or not. Of course, the military situation is another matter. The honorable member asked about the big Japanese cartels and trusts.

Mr Francis:

– I asked about the leaders of those trusts who had been purged.


– The honorable member asked whether those leaders were to be re-instated in their old positions. I understand that that is not so, although the matter has been considered.

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– I direct to the Minister for the Army a question relating to the title or mode of address applying to the lowest rank of the Army. At present, such a man is called “ Private “ so and so. If the term “ Private “ ever had any meaning in this connexion, it has long since been lost. Certainly, it means nothing in Australia. Will the

Minister consider changing the practice so that the ordinary soldier, and the infantryman in particular, shall in future be referred to as “Digger” so an so? That term is understood and accepted in Australia.


– The term “Private “ has been in use for a long time, and I do not know what an alteration would involve. However, I shall have the honorable member’s suggestion examined.

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position of India.

Prime Minister and Treasurer · Macquarie · ALP

. -by leave - I wishto read to the House the text of the declaration made by the Commonwealth Prime Ministers at the conclusion of their recent meetings at London. It is as follows : -

During the past week the Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India, Pakistan, and Ceylon, and the Canadian Secretary of State for External Affairs have met in London to exchange views upon the important constitutional issues arising from India’s decision to adopt a republican form of constitution and her desire to continue her membership of the Commonwealth.

The discussions have been concerned with the effects of such a development upon the existing structure of the Commonwealth and the constitutional relations between its members. They have been conducted in an atmosphere of goodwill and mutual understanding, and have had as their historical background the traditional capacity of the Commonwealth to strengthen its unity of purpose, while adapting its organization and procedures to changing circumstances.

After full discussion the representatives of the Governments of all the Commonwealth countries have agreed th at the conclusions reached should be placed on record in the following declarations : -

The Governments of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India, Pakistan and Ceylon, whose countries are united as Members of the British Commonwealth of Nations and owe a common allegiance to the Crown, which is also the symbol of their free association, have considered the impending constitutional changes in India.

T he Government of India have informed the other Governments of the Commonwealth of the intention of the Indian people that under the new constitution which is about to be adopted India shall become a sovereign independent republic. The Government of India have however declared and affirmed India’s desire to continue her full membership of the Commonwealth of Nations and her acceptance of the King as the symbol of the free association of its independent member nations and as such the Head of the Commonwealth.

The Governments of the other countries of the Commonwealth, the basis of whose membership of the Commonwealth is not hereby changed, accept and recognize India’s continuing membership in accordance with the terms of this declaration.

Accordingly the United Kingdom. Canada, Australia, New Zealand. South Africa, India, Pakistan and Ceylon hereby declare that they remain united as free and equal members of the Commonwealth of Nation?, freely co-operating in the pursuit of peace, liberty and progress.

These constitutional questions have been the sole subject of discussion at the full meetings of Prime Ministers.

London, 26th April, 1949

That statement is self-explanatory and calls for no elaboration whatsoever by mo.


– That is correct. The Government regrets the decision of India to become a republic. That is obvious; and I think that the same view has been expressed by the governments of other dominions. However, that decision having been made, the Government believes the new relationship with India, which will come into force when the republic is proclaimed later this year, is in the best interests of the British Commonwealth.

The declaration makes quite clear the fact that this new relationship which India will have with other members of the British Commonwealth will not change in any respect the relationships of these other members with the Crown or with one another. Australia’s allegiance to the Crown will remain unaltered and Australia’s part in and relations with the British Commonwealth will remain unaltered. I lay on the table the following paper: -

Indian Constitutional Changes - Declaration by British Commonwealth Governments. London, 26th April, 1949 - Ministerial Statement - and move -

That the paperbe printed.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Menzies ) adjourned.

page 14


Assent to the following bills reported:-

Shipping Bill 1949.

Seamen’s Compensation Bill 1949.

Pharmaceutical Benefits Bill 1949.

Papua and New Guinea Bill 1949.

Commonwealth Electoral Bill 1949.

Northern Territory Representation Bill 1949

Australian Capital Territory Representation Bill 1949.

Science and Industry Research Bill 1949.

page 14


Messages from the Governor-General reported transmitting Additional Estimates of Expenditure and Additional Estimates of Expenditure for Additions. NewWorks and Other Services involving Capital Expenditure, for the year ending the 30th June, 1949, and recommending appropriations accordingly.

Ordered to be referred to Committee of Supply forthwith.

In Committee of Supply:

Motions (by Mr. Chifley) agreed to-

That the following additional sum be granted to His Majesty to defray the charges for the year 1948-49 for the services hereunder specified, viz.: -

That the following additional sum be granted to His Majesty for theserviceofthe year 1948-49, for the purposes of Additions, New Works and Other Services involving Capital Expenditure, as specified hereunder, viz.: -

Resolutions reported.

Standing Orders suspended, resolutions adopted.

Resolutions of Ways and Means, founded on resolutions of Supply, reported and adopted.

Ordered -

That Mr. Chifley and Mr. Dedman do prepare and bring in bills to carry out the foregoing resolutions.

page 16


Bill presented by Mr. Chifley, and read a first time.

Second Reading

Prime Minister and Treasurer · Macquarie · ALP

– I move -

That the bill be now read a second time.

When the budget was presented last September, it was estimated that revenue in 1948-49 would be £492,800,000 and expenditure £510,500,000. The Estimates have now been revised in the light of figures for ten months of this financial year, and whilst conclusions drawn from them must still be tentative, they suggest that revenue may exceed the budget estimate by about £35,000,000 and expenditure by about £14,000,000. This would mean that on the overall budget results for the year there would be a small surplus. The House will recall that, in the budget, provision was made for a gap of £17,700,000 to be financed from Loan Fund. Improvements in revenue have been principally due to income tax and social services contribution and customs and excise, and also, in a minor way, to sales tax and pay-roll tax. All these items show the influence of higher employment, rapidly rising incomes, a greater flow of imports and larger business turnover. On the expenditure side, the budget this year has reflected, in many branches, the impact of rapid increases both in Australian wages and other costs and in prices of materials and equipment obtained overseas. In defence and allied services there has been some lag in expenditure on defence development projects, due to building difficulties and delays in getting equipment. On the other hand, expenditure on a number of defence works has proceeded faster than was foreseen last September, and expenditure on the armed services has in general kept up to programme. Credits have been rather higher than expected. Amongst items of post-war charges which seem likely to be somewhat lower than estimates are international relief and rehabilitation, reconstruction training and war service land settlement. Against this, payment of certain arrears of price stabilization subsidies has brought expenditure on that item appreciably above the September estimate. The budget estimates of post office expenditure will be exceeded. This is due in part to wage and salary increases and in part to faster deliveries and higher costs of equipment from overseas. There will be a substantially greater transfer to the National Welfare Fund than was estimated, largely because of the successful drive to accelerate the issue of tax assessments. Larger collections of pay-roll tax will add to the amount transferred.

As already mentioned, there may be a small surplus on the financial results of the year. If a surplus occurs, it is proposed to appropriate the amount to the war gratuity reserve, a course for which approval was given by the Parliament in the budget last year, under which, as honorable members know, an amount of £23,400,000 was set aside to meet the payment of war gratuities which will fall due mainly in 1950-51. I might mention here that although certain further advance payments of war gratuity have been made this year, the total liability outstanding is still estimated at £75,000,000. Transfers of additional amounts to the National Welfare Fund will, of course, be in accordance with the National Welfare Fund Act. It becomes necessary, however, to seek appropriation for certain additional revenues which will become available before the end of the year and bills to bo introduced are intended to cover a total amount of £22,900,000.

Since defence and post-war charges will be lower than the budget estimate, it seems likely that all expenditure on these items can be met from revenue. Accordingly, it is proposed to seek revenue appropriation of a further £8,500,000 for this purpose. Additional appropriations are also being sought for £8,400,000 to cover other ordinary services. Capital works and services, for which appropriations amounting to £6,000,000 will be sought in a separate bill, include an item for purchase, in conjunction with the New Zealand Government of the lease of the Christmas Island phosphate deposits. Legislation will shortly be introduced covering this transaction and the establishment, in conjunction with the New Zealand Government, of a commission to work the phosphate deposits. Further items relate to the long range weapons project, and the refitting of ships for the transport of immigrants. I commend the bill to honorable members.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Spender) adjourned.

page 16


Bill presented by Mr. Chifley, and read a first time.

Second Reading

Prime Minister and Treasurer · Macquarie · ALP

– I move -

That the bill be now read a second time.

In the second-reading speech on the Appropriation Bill for ordinary services, which I have just concluded, I indicated that it was necessary to seek an additional appropriation of £6,000,000 for capital works and services. This bill is intended to authorize that appropriation.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Spender) adjourned.

page 16

SUPPLY BILL (No. 1) 1949-50

Message recommending appropriation reported.

In Committee of Supply:

Motion (by Mr. Chifley) agreed to -

That there be granted to His Majesty for or towards defraying the service of the year 1949-50 a sum not exceeding £71,558,000.

Resolution reported.

Standing Orders suspended; resolution adopted.

Resolution of Ways and Means, founded on resolution of Supply, reported and adopted.

Ordered -

That Mr. Chifley and Mr. Dedman do prepare and bring in a bill to carry out the foregoing resolution.

Bill presented by Mr. Chifley, and read a first time.

Second Reading

Prime Minister and Treasurer · Macquarie · ALP

– I move -

That the bill be now read a second time.

This bill is intended to provide funds for the necessary normal services, other than capital services, of government during the first four months of the financial year 1949-50. Its purpose is to appropriate £71,558,000 and this provision may be summarized as follows : -

The provision made in the bill covers only the estimated requirements to carry on the essential services on the basis of the amounts in the Appropriation Act passed by Parliament for the current year 194S-49. The several amounts provided for ordinary services represent, with minor exceptions, approximately onethird of the 1948-49 appropriations for such services.

The amount of £32,000,000 for defence and post-war charges covers expenditure on the post-war defence plan and on repatriation and other charges arising out of the last war.

The usual provision is made in the bill for “ Advance to the Treasurer “, the amount being £9,000,000 as in the last two years. This amount is required to continue the payment of special grants to the States of South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania pending the report of the Commonwealth Grants Commission and to cover unforeseen and miscellaneous expenditure. No provision has been made for any new expenditure and there is no departure from existing policy.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Spender) adjourned.

page 17


Message recommending appropriation reported.

In Committee of Supply:

Motion (by Mr. Chifley) agreed to -

That there be granted to His Majesty for or towards defraying the service of the year 1040-50, for the purposes of Additions, New Works and Other Services involving Capital Expenditure, a sum not exceeding £13,604,000.

Resolution reported.

Standing Orders suspended; resolution adopted.

Resolution of Ways and Means, founded on resolution of Supply, reported and adopted.

Ordered -

That Mr. Chifley and Mr. Dedman do prepare and bring in a bill to carry out the foregoing resolution.

Bill presented by Mr. Chifley, and read a first time.

Second Reading

Prime Minister and Treasurer · Macquarie · ALP

– I move -

That the bill be now read a second time.

The purpose of the measure is to obtain an appropriation of £13,694,000 to enable Commonwealth works in progress at the 30th June, 1949, to be continued pending the passing of the budget by the Parliament. The Government has adopted a policy of comprehensive long-range planning for capital works, covering from three to five periods, in departments such as Works and Housing, PostmasterGeneral, Civil Aviation and the defence services. For the successful implementation of these programmes, it is essential that funds be available without interruption to enable advance purchasing of materials in Australia and from overseas, and to ensure continuous employment on the many projects. Hence this bill provides for approximately four months’ expenditure on works which were approved by the Parliament in the Capital Works Estimates 1948-49 and in proportion to the expenditure programme of £41,347,000 then authorized. The requirements of the several departments are summarized in the schedule to the bill. In accordance with the usual practice in submitting a Supply Bill, no provision has been made in the bill for any new service.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Spender) adjourned.

page 17


Message recommending appropriation reported.

In committee (Consideration of Governor-General’s message) :

Motion (by Mr. Dedman) agreed to -

That it is expedient that an appropriation of revenue be made for the purposes of a bill for an act to grant and apply out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund a sum for war pensions.

Resolution reported.

Standing Orders suspended ; resolution adopted.

Ordered -

That Mr. Dedman and Mr. Barnard do prepare and bring in a bill to carry out the foregoing resolution.

Bill presented by Mr. Dedman. and read a first time.

Second Reading

Minister for Defence, Minister for Post-war Reconstruction and Minister in charge of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research · Corio · ALP

– I move -

That the bill be now read a second time.

The purpose of the bill is to provide £21,000,000 out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund for the payment of war pensions. The measure is similar to that periodically submitted to the Parliament for the purpose of appropriating from revenue an amount for payment into a trust account to enable pensions to be paid at rates already approved by the Parliament. The balance of the amount of £19,000,000 appropriated in June, 1948, is sufficient only to meet war pension payments to mid-July. Expenditure on war pensions is showing a continuous increase as the following table indicates : -

Expenditure from the proposed appropriation of £21,000,000 will, it is estimated, be divided into £11,000,000 for the 1914-1918 War and £10,000,000 for the 1939-1945 War. Increased expenditure is expected during the forthcoming year due to the pension rises approved last October being now payable for a full year. There is also a steady increase in the number of pensions to ex-service personnel of the 1939-45 War.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Harrison) adjourned.

page 18



Debate resumed from the 24th November, 1948 (vide page 3416, volume 200). on motion by Mr. Dedman -

That the following paper be printed: -

Brief Review of Australia’s Manufacturing Economy in the Post-war Period.


.- In November of last year, the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction (Mr. Dedman) made a short statement to the House and. at the same time, tabled a rather lengthy document that incorporated a review made by his department of Australia’s manufacturing economy. This is the first opportunity that has been given to the Parliament to discuss the statement that was then delivered to us. The statement prepared by the Minister’s department was complacent in tone; it adopted a rosy view of Australian’s manufacturing economy. It was obviously designed largely for propaganda purposes and for consumption by people outside Australia who would not be so familiar with our internal conditions as we are; because, quite clearly, once this statement is subjected to examination by people in Australia who have some notion of conditions here at the present time, a good deal of the optimism and rosiness that permeated the Minister’s remarks and are developed in his statement disappears. I feel that it is proper for the Opposition parties to point out to the Government and the people of Australia as a whole some aspects of Australia’s economy that certainly cannot be described as favorable and have called for a long time for appropriate governmental action and have shrieked for urgent treatment. We are inclined in these days of rapidly increasing prices and soaring governmental expenditure to become mesmerized by money terms. We feel that if the country is producing more in money terms than it was five or ten years ago, things are going along reasonably well. It is rarely, far too rarely indeed, that we pause to ask ourselves just what we are getting in real terms as opposed to mere money symbols and money terms. Quite obviously, if we think for a minute, the fact that we are being paid twice as much for production as we were in 1929 it. not of great significance if, in point of fact, we do not get the same volume of goods or services as we could get with our money then. The remarkable truth is that despite the enormous advantages gained, by Australia during the war years in terms of technical expansion and additional capital equipment and notwithstanding the fact that the number of employed persons in Australia has increased by some hundreds of thousands - indeed, in factory employment alone there has been an increase nf almost 250,000 since 1938- in examination of the purchasing power of the £1 shows that the real income l>er capita of the population to-day is £128 a year, only slightly more than the real income of £117 a year in 193S-39. Associated with the deplorably slow increase of production and development of productive resources, we have had to endure the discomforts and dangers of fi rapidly expanding inflationary process. Some measures have been proposed by the Government for the purpose of halting i hat process. I shall discuss one of the more recent of those measures shortly. Undoubtedly the inflationary process in Australia has been accelerated by the actions and policies of governments, in particular the Chifley Government at Canberra.

The process has been accelerated because this Government has embarked upon a spending spree unprecedented in the history of Australia. The Government is deriving, in revenue from the people of Australia, approximately £500,000,000 a year, which is more than five times the total amount nf any pre-war budget. Instead of pruning its departmental expenditure and reducing the bureaucracy that was built up for war purposes, it has, to our consternation, persisted with the process of expansion and recruitment from our diminished labour resources ever since World War II. ended. The result is that in Australia to-day one of every four employed persons is working for some government or semi-government authority. Although our primary and secondary industries are starved of the mau-power that they need in order to increase production and supply the materials and goods that would reduce the inflationary pressure on our economy, the Australian Government has steadily added to its forces. The number of per sons employed in government departments in Australia has increased from more than 400,000 before World War II. to more than 600,000 at present. And this Government is the worst offender! Before the war. in June, 1939, 47,000 persons were employed in the Commonwealth Public Service. Approximately two years after hostilities had ceased, in June, 1947, the number was still well over 100,000. By February of this year, the total for June, 1939, had been almost quadrupled, and the figure for June, 1947, had been increased by 70 per cent., to more than 172,000. Yet; we are being implored by the Prime Minister and his colleagues to avoid unnecessary expenditure and unnecessary demands upon the community ! The Government is the worst offender and sets the worst example to the rest of the community.

Associated with the growth of the number of persons in government employ ment, there has been a sensational increase of the cost of departmental administration. I shall not deal with the years prior to World War II., when departmental expenditure was at a relatively low level, because my time is limited. However. by referring to the votes for Commonwealth departments in 1946-47 and 194S-49, we find that the total expenditure in 1946-47 was £23,000,000 and that the estimate for the current financial year is £38,000,000, representing an increase of considerably more than 50 per cent. - 63 per cent, to be precise. As I have shown, one of the most dangerous threats to the health and development of our manufacturing economy is the inflationary trend to which this Government is one of the prime contributors. It has fostered the trend by activities which ‘it has shown no disposition to reduce. Indeed, what was regarded as a temporary war programme of finance and departmental growth has quite clearly become the settled permanent policy of the Chifley socialist government. If we are to study the situation of the manufacturing economy as a whole we must necessarily direct our minds to the situation of one or two of the industries that are basic to that economy.

Therefore I propose to deal with the coal and steel industries, upon which the whole of our manufacturing economy is based. The limitations, or the opportunities for expansion, of our manufacturing industries are governed by the volume of coal that can be made available to them and by the volume of iron and steel products that can be manufactured.

When we examine the condition of those two basic industries, we find no cause for the Government’s rosy optimism and no cause to congratulate it upon its performances in recent years. We find, indeed, that there has been a continuous record of disappointment, frustration and failure, which has obstructed the development of the entire national economy. Our need for coal last year was about 13,300,000 tons. The country actually produced 11,720,000 tons, approximately 1,500,000 tons less than we required. The effect of that inadequate production was felt throughout the country. I shall not go into the details because they have become painfully familiar to every manufacturer, every housewife, and, indeed, every other citizen, as the result of the impact of coal shortages upon their daily lives. In winter time it is now our common experience to be subjected to the rationing of fuel and power, and to suffer other inconvenience resulting from the shortage of coal. The number of trains that can be used to transport passengers and goods is reduced. The volume of power that can he generated by our electricity plants is dependent on coal. As the supply of coal falls short of needs, so the supply of essential power also falls short of the demand. The housewife finds that she cannot conduct her ordinary domestic affairs with comfort and convenience because of those shortages, which recur every year with painful and monotonous regularity. When she goes to purchase the goods that she requires for her domestic needs, she has a continuing and exasperating experience of shortages. These conditions, I remind honorable members, are occurring nearly lour years after the conclusion of the war, and at a time when the Government has every possible advantage in terms of legislative power, good credit resources and ample funds for the needs of the community.

What has the Government done to improve the supply of coal ? The story is one of a long record of failure. The Government has not shown even the necessary vigour and resourcefulness to import coal in order to supplement the supplies which can be obtained in Australia. Other governments have bestirred themselves to do so. For example, the Government of South Australia and the Government of Victoria - perhaps I may be pardoned for mentioning that both of them are Liberal governments - have sought supplies of coal from other countries, such as England, India and South Africa, because of the urgent need of the industries in their States, and their own community services.

Mr Thompson:

– How much coal has South Australia imported from those countries ?


– I am not saying that South Australia has received very much coal from overseas. I am quite certain that the Premier of South Australia, Mr. Playford, desires to receive a great deal more than he has obtained. I may mention, for the edification of the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Thompson), that in to-day’s press, Mr. Playford is reported as having made arrangements to secure additional supplies of coal from England and South Africa, and possibly India. Victoria has taken similar action. I also direct the attention of the honorable member for Hindmarsh to the fact that the efforts of the Government of Victoria to obtain coal from overseas have met with a lukewarm reception and even passive resistance from the Chifley Government. One vessel, with a cargo of coal, has been tied up in Port Phillip Bay for three months, because the Seamen’s Union has declared it “ black “. The Victorian Government has appealed to the Chifley Government, asking for a statement of the degree of support that it may expect if it takes steps to have the ship unloaded. To the best of my knowledge, the Victorian Government has not received any encouragement from the Chifley Government in the matter. Yet that shipload of coal is in Port Phillip Bay at a time when the citizens of Melbourne are under a daily threat of the rationing of electricity and transport services. I mention those facts because we are feeling the consequences of the shortage of coal throughout the whole of our Australian economy.

When we consider the steel position, the story is equally depressing. I emphasize this matter because the Minister for Post-Avar Reconstruction has taken pride in the expansion of Australia’s steelmaking capacity. At page 5 of the Brief Review of Australia’s Manufacturing Economy, he stated -

Australia’s iron and steel industry now has six blast and 21 open hearth furnaces with an annual capacity of about 1.75 million tons of steel from local ores.

That is a subject in which we all can take an interest. .This great capacity is available to us. Approximately 1,750,000 tons of steel can be produced annually from local ores, but the picture is very different when we pass from that rosy statement of our capacity to a cold examination of actual production. In 1948, far from reaching the capacity of 1,750,000 tons of steel, we made only 1,27S,000 tons. In other words, we used only 75 per cent, of the available capacity. More recent figures are even more depressing. As the result of the combined effects of the shortage of coal and strikes in the heavy industries, the quantity of steel that is produced at the present time is only 60 per cent, of the country’s capacity. In consequence, the farmer is unable to obtain the iron and steel products that he requires to keep his property in good repair. Fencing wire which is so essential to his needs, and farm equipment which occupies such an important “lace in his production programme, are moat difficult to obtain. The degree to which the farmer is feeling the effects of the shortages to which I have referred is indicative of the manner in which industry as a whole is suffering.

Mr Menzies:

– May I suggest to the honorable member that the shortage of steel in 1948 was not peculiar to that year, but was equally true for the two previous years.


– The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies”) reminds me, with some point, that this condition is chronic. It is not a sudden development but it is a continuing condemnation of the failure of this Government to expand production to a point within a measurable distance of the capacity that the country possesses. The effect of the shortage of steel is to be seen in the housing programme. We are not able to complete the homes that are so urgently required by our citizens. The whole of our manufacturing economy v feeling the effects of inadequate steel output. We have reached a farcical position in Australia. This young country prides itself on the growth of its manufacturing industries. Our cost of producing steel is the cheapest in the world, but even Labour governments are compelled to buy steel from other countries at double and treble the local prices. The Labour Government of !N”ew South Wales is importing Japanese steel at a cost of £42 a ton in order to make dog spikes for railway tracks, and the Government of Victoria is importing steel from England and Belgium for water supply undertakings at a cost of £26 a ton, compared with the Australian price of £15 a ton. Many private manufacturers are importing steel at costs three times greater than that at which the steel can be supplied by the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited organization and at which it would be sold if we could maintain a reasonable supply of coal and obtain a fair day’s output from those engaged in these two basic industries. In the circumstances, the Government can find little cause for complacency. An examination of the figures that I have read in relation to the coal and steel industries should completely destroy such complacency.

I turn to another phase of this matter. Earlier, I said that the inflationary movement was causing concern throughout the Commonwealth, and that the Government had appealed to the community to refrain from wasteful expenditure and unnecessary purchases. But, in the last few hours, we have witnessed another move on the part of the Government. It has been brought to our notice by an official statement of policy issued by the Commonwealth Bank, which in view of the banking legislation of 1945, may be taken to reflect the policy of the Government, and, in particular, the Treasurer. It is quite clear from that statement of policy that the Commonwealth Bank is determined to restrict advances to Australian industry. The statement urges the banks to adopt a more cautious and conservative policy. Quite frankly, the language of the statement will provoke mordant mirth in manufacturers as well as bankers. I cite, as an sample, the following passage : -

Banks should generally adopt a cautious attitude towards advances for enterprises of doubtful economic value or involving a high degree of risk.

I would like to know at what period of banking history banks have done anything but adopt a “cautious attitude” towards “enterprises of doubtful economic value or involving a high degree of risk “. I am afraid that in that passage we detect the pen of the doctrinaire; and I am even more afraid that the hand of the theorist is going to lie very heavily on the Australian manufacturing economy for just so long as the policy of the Chifley socialists and those who support them continues. However, the general theme underlying the statement of policy is that a more cautious approach is to be adopted and the banks arc to be more restrictive in granting overdrafts. The effect of that direction, in practical terms, will be that industry will be compelled to look to the public for the supply of funds to expand its undertakings and to continue production at the current level.

In that statement of policy the Government, through the Commonwealth Bank, has expressed views which completely ignore the problems which beset the small industries of this country. I believe that members of the Chifley Government, and the Australian Labour party which supports them, have become so indoctrinated with socialist propaganda that they instinctively think of industry and manufacturing in terms of “big business”. The policies which they propound are directed against “big business”, and show no appreciation or recognition of the needs of small industrialists. It is all very well to suggest that the individual who is running a small business, whether as a partnership or as a member of a. small proprietary company, should go to the public for the funds that he needs. How is he to go to the public? He has not a public share issue which he can make available for public subscription. If he is operating a partnership, his is a private undertaking in which the public cannot readily share.. Opportunities for small business to secure finance in this way are very limited indeed. In practical terms, those industries which are most often in need of financial assistance, either to tide them over a difficult period or to enable them to carry forward a programme of expansion, find the greatest difficulty in approaching the [public for financial assistance. Very often they have the poorest story to tell to the public, and they naturally look to the banks for assistance and for sound advice in the solution of their problems. “If I may highlight the matter, I draw the attention of the Government to a simple and undeniable fact. Our manufacturing economy is not based primarily on “big business “ and large manufacturing concerns which employ more than 100- persons, but on small businesses. Large undertakings form only a very small proportion of the total number of factories in Australia. The Commonwealth Statistician has supplied me with the official statistics for the financial year 1946-47. which are the latest available. Those statistics show that of a total of 34,700 factories, only 2, SOO employed 100 or more persons. In other words, there were approximately 32,000 factories that employed fewer than 100 persons. In shaping its economic policy an administration - and particularly one which publicizes so much its opposition to “ big business “ and its desire to help the “ little man “ - should base that policy on the special needs of small businesses because they are numerically the most important factor in our secondary production.

Mr Conelan:

– Does the honorable member know the total number of persons employed in the categories which he has mentioned?


– J. do not know exactly what the honorable member for Griffith (Mr. Conelan) has in mind, but the number of persons employed in Australian factories in 1946-47 was 813,000, of which fewer than. 400,000 were employed in factories of 100 or more employees. In other words, more than 50 per cent, of the total factory employment in Australia was provided at factories operated by fewer tuan 100 employees. It is apparent, therefore, that the small factories of Australia represent a very important element in our manufacturing economy, and that the policy of the Government should obviously be designed to protect and encourage them.

Any reference to our manufacturing economy during the period under review would be incomplete without special mention of the part played by unwarranted strikes and industrial disturbances in accelerating the current inflationary trend. By failing to prevent these irresponsible stoppages the Labour Government has provided what is probably its greatest disappointment to the Australian people. When the Curtin Government assumed office in 1941 the people of Australia thought that perhaps Labour would be able to maintain industrial peace, and put a stop to the strikes and stoppages which had marred our war effort and had done so much to poison the community atmosphere during the fateful war years. However, they have found, to their infinite disappointment, that so far from improving on the efforts of earlier nonLabour administrations, Labour has permitted a steady and serious deterioration of the industrial situation. Not only have strikes occurred with increasing frequency, but also they had affected a greater number of industries. The total number of working days lost has been considerable, and the cumulative effect upon our production has been most serious. Naturally, we ask ourselves why no reference of any consequence was made to this disturbing fact in the review of our manufacturing economy presented by the Government. We may also ask why it is that the Government, even at this late stage, has taken no effective steps to improve the position. It has not even met the requests made to it by men of authority in the tribunal which it affects to support. I refer to the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Court, whose Chief Judge and Chief Conciliation Commissioner, who were appointed by the present Administration, have appealed for increased authority in order to preserve our industrial law. Although those gentlemen, who are a vital part of the machinery established by the present

Government for the settlement of industrial disputes, made specific recommend:) tions to the Government, their recommendations have been completely ignored. The present Government has not made the slightest attempt to strengthen the hand? of the Arbitration Court, and the only reason that the court was able to assert itself recently was because an individual had, by deliberately and contemptuously defying its authority, brought himself within the disciplinary powers of the court. Turning from the court to theCommunist conspirators who are endeavouring to disrupt our maritime industry, we find that only in the last few days ha.<the Government taken action to preserve industrial peace by discharging from the Stevedoring Industry Commission the two Communists who represented the Waterside Workers Federation. Not onh has the Government rejected the appeal? made to it from time to time to deal with the militant extremists, but it has also rejected the appeals made to it from the trade union movement itself. In describing “ red “ activities in the building trades union, and the legal difficulties of resisting their disruptive tactics, only last week a trade union journal stated -

Is it any wonder that decent unionists are asking what the Federal Government will do to give them an even break against the crookedness and corruption which alone to-day keeps the Reds juntas in power in the unions I Decent Labour-minded unionists will do the job against the Reds if the politician* give them a chance.

That is what this trade union paper asks. It is what the Australian people have been asking for years. The name of Mr. C. G. Fallon is very well known to members of the Parliament. He is a leading figure in the political life of Australia on the Labour side and has been a dominating figure in the Australian Workers Union, one of the largest and most responsible trade unions in this country. Mr. Fallon has complained of this inaction and has referred to what is happening in the industrial world in the following terms : -

Communists are sabotaging Australia in the industrial world. If I had the power of government I would treat many of these people who are supposed to be leaders and union officials and who are causing their members to sabotage this country, ns guilty of treason to the nation, and T would deal with them by imposing the maximum penalty of the law . . These people are pledged to a policy which has for its purpose the intimidation of decent people. Violence has been done to scores of good Australians at the behest of these people. There is a fifth column now in the industrial life of Australia.

Mr. Fallon and bis colleagues in the Australian Workers Union acted in the matter. They banned Communists from membership of the Australian Workers Union and from holding office in it. Nevertheless, at a time when decent Australian trade unionists who want to get on with the job of production and of improving living standards in Australia are crying out to the Government to take some effective action, we have been told by the Leader of this Government (Mr. Chifley) that it is futile to ban the Communist party. This matter is right in the lap of the Government now. Recently, some sensational revelations were made by Mr. Sharpley. The revelations did not convey anything very new to members of this Parliament ; they are matters that we have debated freely during recent years. However, they had a sensational impact upon the Australian people as a whole, because they came from within. They could not be dismissed as propaganda from some red-baiting politician or from a team of parliamentarians opposed to the Labour movement. They came from within the Communist party itself. They have placed in the lap of this Government the responsibility for dealing with the Communists. [Extension of time granted.~ I thank the House for its courtesy. I shall not detain it much longer.

There is one other matter to which I desire to refer before I conclude. Having made the criticisms that I have made of our manufacturing economy, I have a responsibility to suggest a constructive course of action. I commend to the attention of the Government and of the people as a whole the action that was taken by the Menzies Government in order to give a real drive to our munitions programme at the time of our greatest need. Honorable members on this side of the House do not talk in empty terms when dealing with these matters. The expansion of our secondary industries, to which the Government has referred proudly in the paper that is now before the House, was achieved as a direct result of the action that was taken by the present Leader of the Opposition and his Government at a time when Australia, in order to preserve itself and to assist its allies in Pacific waters, had, as a matter of urgency, to develop its secondary industries, to produce munitions on a scale that previously would have been thought to be impossible and to undertake a programme which the present Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. Holloway) described at the time as a “ miracle of production “. A miracle of production was achieved. Every fair-minded person who looks back on that period will pay tribute to the leaders of industry and to the Australian workers who worked under them for the great effort that was put forward in the munitions programme and for the remarkable results that were achieved. They were not achieved by increasing the size of government departments beyond control, by enormous departmental expenditure, by a series of white papers or by theoretical approaches to the problem. The Menzies Government realized that the only practical way to obtain munitions was to utilize the services of the men who had made a success of the business of production in their respective industries in Australia through the years. As the spearhead of the munitions drive the Menzies Government selected Mr. Essington Lewis, one of the outstanding figures in the industrial life of Australia, and made him Director-General of Munitions. It gave him a relatively free hand to select, from his own knowledge of their capacity and worth, men who had been able to achieve production in their own fields of industry. Functioning under the director-general were directors of various aspects of the munitions programme. The result was, to use again the words of the Minister for Labour and National Service, “ a miracle of production”. That is the kind of approach that the Liberal party, if returned to power, would make to the Australian housing problem. The need for more houses is very pressing. The community life and the lives of individual citizens are being embittered because of the shortage of houses, which means that thousands of people cannot live a proper domestic life. Does any one really believe that the methods that have been adopted by the present Government are securing results? Does any one believe that the creation of a mushroom-like Department of Works and Housing and the periodical churning out of reports relating to housing is getting us the houses that we need? To-day, in answer to a question, and in order to give some kind of figure that would satisfy the public the Minister for Works and Housing (Mr. Lemmon) had to take the average over the ten years preceding the outbreak of World War II. Everybody knows that during that period the depression occurred and that housing construction reached its lowest level. It was in the last year before the war that, under the Menzies Government, we were able to achieve the greatest housing production and to put into effect the greatest building construction programme that this country had ever known. If honorable gentlemen opposite desire to challenge that statement, I invite them to examine the figures. They will find that in the last year before the war, which was the first year of office of the Menzies Government, the building construction programme in this country reached a level that it had not reached before. If we were in office - and I commend this policy to the present Government for its consideration - we should get on with the housing programme in a practical way. We have encouragement from the experience of the manufacturing economy of the United States of America. I know that before this year has ended we shall hear a lot from honorable members opposite about the United States of America. They will ask the Australian people to look at the unemployment in that country. We might well look to it for guidance to see how we can secure the maximum output from our industrial capacity. The Government of Great Britain, which is a little more realistic than is this Government, has sought expert technical advice from American industrialists in order to boost the British industrial programme. To-day we find that the United States of America, despite the fact that it has embarked upon a mighty defence programme and is trying to lift out of its war wreckage almost the whole of the

European economy, is able to give the American people a better standard of living than they have ever known before. There has been a very substantial rise in real living standards in the United States of America despite the two burdens of virtually world defence and world economic security that it has assumed. In the United States of America, more than in any other country to-day, the individual is given incentive and encouragement. In that country the role of the State is limited to planning and development. It is not a hindering and crippling role, as is that played by the Chifley socialists here. It is as a result of the incentive and encouragement given, in America, to the individual and individual resourcefulness, that that country owes its remarkable achievements.

Mr Duthie:

– America has 4,000,000 unemployed.


– I challenge any one to produce figures showing that there is any chronic unemployment in the United States of America. Naturally, in a country with a population of 180,000,000. where there are many seasonal industries, there must be a certain number of people unemployed at any given time.

Mr Dedman:

– Has not Australia any seasonal industries?


– Yes, it has, and the Government is not providing or enabling sufficient labour to move freely among those industries. The shortages of shearers and fruit pickers, and of labour in other industries can be attributed, partly at any rate, to the fact that thi = Government has become the great monopolizer of labour.

Mr Dedman:

– The honorable member evidently desires workers to be directed to those industries.


– I challenge the truth of any statement that in America there i.= any substantial body of unemployed. For persons who, as a result of seasonal conditions, are temporarily unemployed, the American Government, I understand, maintains the highest scale of unemployment relief in the world. So honorable members opposite will not obtain much comfort from comparing America with Australia in that connexion. I have made these comments because the Government in November last year presented to us, as a statement of fact, a roseate review of Australian manufacturing economy. Much as we take pride in the efforts of our own people - and I have no inferiority complex about the Australian workman and what he is capable of doing - I do say that at the moment we are not by any means geared to our best effort. T make that statement not as criticism of Australian workmen but of those who should be an inspiration to them and should give them leadership and ensure that they shall be enabled to do their best. But as long aa we have a government which embitters the community with class-war propaganda and talks in terms of the exploitation of the worker by the boss, while at the same, time, refusing to point out how the welfare i>f one is bound up with the welfare of the other, so long shall we find that our effort falls far short of the effort of which wo are really capable. It is proper therefore to take a balanced view, if we would achieve the better effort of which we are capable, and thereby produce a better standard of life for the Australian people.


.- The report presented by the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction (Mr. Dedman) contains some interesting statistics and facts. It contains a list of now industries and also gives employment statistics. But it is very misleading. lt does not show that r.ho Government has poured out millions nf pounds in the establishment of factories, that it sold many of them for a song, and that those factories are not now in operation. If the report were presented in the form of a balance-sheet it would be very illuminating. To the unthinking members of the community it would show that the Government is responsible for the tremendous development and improvement of the soundness of our economy. But that is not so. The development of our secondary industries has been in progress for a long time under successive governments. The result is that the number of employees engaged in secondary industries now surpasses the number of those engaged in primary industries. That is something which must be carefully watched because at the moment the Australian tariff is being neglected. It is overlaid with all kinds of other enactments - the licensing system, the increase in primage, sales tax and so on. The tariff was originally intended to be a protection to Australia’s secondary industries, but it no longer exists as a protective tariff. It is now a revenue-producing tariff. This year the Government will collect £123,000,000 in customs and excise duties. That sum i* greater than the entire annual Commonwealth revenue prior to the war. To-day there is a great scarcity of certain goods and we have to buy in oversea* markets, paying high prices for the imported goods. That produces an inflationary effect, which increases costs throughout the whole economic’ structure. The housewife and working man have to pay those increased costs, which produce in turn a constant spiral of rising costs leading to increased wages, and ultimately to a further rise in costs. Because of rising costs the workman seeks increased wages through arbitration or by use of the strike weapon. The Government is aiding this inflationary process because it does not have a proper understanding of how7 the system operates. During its term of office it has never made a statement on the subject and has given no undertaking to examine the tariff position to ascertain whether the 1933 tariff, which is in operation to-day, is operating as the Parliament intended, lt is laid down in the statutes that the Tariff Board shall be consulted before changes are made in the tariff, hut the present Government has not only made, changes without consulting the Board but it also ignored the board in relation to the Havana charter. I suggest that the Government should go to th<Tariff Board, and ask it for the information it requires, saying to the members of the board, “ You are the expert body, trusted by the people and are a cross section of the community, with all the necessary access to the economists. Advise us what is the proper and fair rate on thi* or that item “. The Government could thereby save millions of pounds. I shall enlarge on my suggestion in this way. Housing construction is in arrears. Ministers say that there is still a lag of 300,000 houses. We know that houses cost much more than they should. Houses that are built of cement sheets and timber now cost from fl,o00 to £2,000 whereas before the war they would have cost £600 or £700. No one will deny that. One reason for the increased cost of houses is the scarcity of materials which produces a keener bidding for such materials as are available. Yet despite those circumstances, the Government is using essential materials in constructing great works in Canberra and elsewhere. In Melbourne the Commonwealth Bank is being newly faced by men who could be employed in building homes lor the people. The Minister who issued this report made one momentous statement that he would gladly forget, but that honorable members on this side of the House will not allow him to forget, when he said that he did not believe in creating little capitalists. We are all capitalists. Any honorable members opposite who say they are not capitalists are just deluding themselves. The little capitalists he referred to were people who wanted homes. Ho used that expression as a jibe when referring to those people, many of whom were ex-servicemen living with their families in single rooms. What comfort can they look for from a so-called Labour Government, a member of which referred to them as little capitalists? The man who owns his own home is a far better citizen than is the man who squanders his substance so that he never has a stake in the country.

On the subject of the cost of building materials I do not wish to adopt a partisan attitude. Honorable members of this House, who represent constituencies in South Australia, have for years been advocating a reduction of the import duty on Oregon timber. Admittedly, Oregon competes in some measure with local hardwoods, and the present high import duties were imposed as a form of protection. At the present time, however, the demand for timber is so great that there is little need to protect the local timber industry, and imported Oregon could well he admitted under by-law for a limited time and in a limited quantity which means that it would be admitted duty free during that period. By-law administration means that it is necessary for an investigating officer of the Department of

Trade and Customs to recommend its admittance under by-law, and that the Minister can then approve the recommendation. At the present time, the Victorian Government is importing coal, steel and cement from Great Britain because those commodities cannot be obtained in sufficient quantities in Australia. I suggest that the Tariff Board should be asked to inquire into the possibility of obtaining building materials more cheaply overseas. The board haiexerted a most beneficial influence on our economy in the past, but the present Government has by-passed it.

As T have said, the Government if draining away available supplies of labour and materials, and using them for public buildings when they might more properly be used for the construction of homes. A few chains from Parliament House great earth works, are in progress in preparation for the erection of a new administrative building, and extensions are being made to Parliament House itself. I do not say that some of thiswork is not necessary, but it should not be given priority. Homes for the people should come first.

In the Sydney Domain recently, tinMinister for Transport and External Territories (Mr. Ward) said that he was opposed to the Government’s immigration policy because immigrants were taking homes needed by Australians. If that attitude had been adopted in the early days of Australia, the country would never have been developed. Australia needs more immigrants, particularly British immigrants. The immigration problem has never been tackled proper: by this Government. The Minister for Immigration (Mr. Calwell) has the necessary goodwill, but the Government’s immigration policy is badly planned. Displaced persons from the continent of Europe are being put into hostels and camps, while potential British migrantare refused entry because they cannot -how that they have homes and job= awaiting them in Australia. The difficulty could be overcome by an agreement between the Government of the United Kingdom and the Australian Government. Priority should be given to migrant* prepared to work on specific jobs. Satellite villages should be constructed near our cities and provincial towns. In Great Britain, great progress has been made in this direction. Slum areas are being abolished, and complete new villages have been constructed. There is no reason why the same thing should not be done in Australia. Potential British migrants, who have tried to get to Australia, have grown tired of waiting, and of receiving the same stereotyped replies from Australia House, and have gone eventually to Canada or South Africa.

Mr Haylen:

– There is a flaw in the honorable member’s argument. The fact is that wo cannot get building workers from Great Britain.


– We did get a number of building workers from Great Britain. Many of them came here to Canberra, and were employed patching up Parliament House. Some, I admit, were employed on home-building. I contend that home-building should be given priority over other work. During the war what were actually complete villages were erected in the form of air force camps. They consisted, not of shacks, but of comfortable huts, many of which are now being used to house displaced persons, [t should be possible to build similar villages now.

While the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley) was calling for greater production, the Postmaster-General (Senator Cameron) recently published an article in the Australian Worker, the official organ of the Australian Workers Union, in which he stated -

Workers have nothing to gain and everything to lose by increasing production beyond Wlm t would be necessary to maintain them- selves and their families.

  1. cannot understand how he remains in the Cabinet when the Prime Minister -sings one tune and he sings another. It is no wonder that people cannot get telephones. Not long ago the PostmasterGeneral offered the ingenious explanation that because Australia was so prosperous, and so many people wanted telephones, the department was unable to supply them all. In the article to which I have referred, the Postmaster-General wrote -

If, as the result of workers increasing the productivity of the soil, and increasing the production of materials and commodities of all kinds, the wealthy continue to be made wealthier, and more powerful economically and politically, and the expenditure on preparations for war in times of peace continues to be increased, and military conscription or slavery to bc extended.

That clap-trap is over 100 years old but it is dished up as having something to do with the new order. The Minister continued -

Fundamentally, the ever-increasing surpluses of materials and commodities which have been produced by workers in the past, and which have always been so greatly in excess of what they themselves consumed, or used, have constituted a brutal weapon which has always been used more effectively against themselves through the ages by the ruling or capitalist classes, with disastrous results

A Marxist axiom 100 years ago was - “Capitalism is about to collapse; finish it off”. Karl Marx said that under capitalism the workers would have increasing difficulties, longer hours, and the like, yet Marx in his own generation was proved to be wrong. Nevertheless, the socialists have taken up the cry to-day, “ Capitalism is doomed; capitalism is exploiting the workers “. We hear all their shibboleths and slogans which they will bring out again at election time in order to delude the ignorant.

Mr Haylen:

– Tell us another story.


– I think that now and again the honorable member for Parkes (Mi*. Haylen) has condemned strikes. Perhaps he has not, but some of his colleagues have done so. This is what the Postmaster-General has to say about strikes -

Increasing strike action, however, to workers now-u-days in most countries of the world would indicate that the dangers of producing surpluses is being realized by them where the necessary provision is not being made to raise their standards of living and to provide for co-operation and peaceful trading among the nations.

Coal miners, for example, have few, if any. illusions about the matter.

In that statement, the PostmasterGeneral, by implication, condones control of the coal-miners by such Communists as Mr. Williams, and, by the same reasoning, he approves Mr. Healy-

Mr Duthie:

– The honorable member should tell that to the Postmaster-General personally.


– The honorable member can pass on my statements to the Postmaster-General. It would be refreshing if honorable members opposite when dealing with these matters would say in public what many of them say off-stage. The future of Australia, which has been blessed by Providence with great resources and has within its borders room for millions more people, is being sabotaged by those who have stolen the control of the trade unions from the working man. Honorable members opposite may laugh, but they know very well that Mr. Thornton is now in Moscow where he has been lauding Mr. Stalin as the greatest citizen in the world, f have no doubt that in the near future we shall see honorable members opposite consorting with Mr. Thornton when he comes here to tell them what he wants them to do for the ironworkers. Unfortunately, many great trade unions have been captured by those saboteurs, but at last the working man is waking up. The revelations made by the former Communist Mr. Sharpley in Melbourne confirmed much of what we already knew. Nevertheless, the Prime Minister will not take action against the Communists. However, the Liberal Government of Victoria, which has some backbone, has decided to appoint a royal commission to inquire into Communist activities in this country, and it will be interesting to see the undercover men and Communist “fellow travellers” known ro honorable members opposite who may Ite called upon to testify before that body. The decision of the Victorian Government to hold such an inquiry is refreshing news to ‘many trade unionists who are waking up to the Communist menace.

I wish to stress another aspect of our manufacturing economy. I refer to the report published on the front page of to-day’s Sydney Morning Herald under tho heading “ New Policy on Bank Finance “. The honorable member for Fawkner (Air. Holt) had something to say about that announcement which no doubt has been worked out by the Prime Minister and his king of planners. Dr. Coombs, who is the Governor of the Com monwealth Bank. In the statement which he issued to the press Dr. Coombs said -

Banks should adopt a cautious attitude towards advances for enterprise of doubtful economic value or involving a high degree of risk.

New advances should not be made to encourage day to day expenditure beyond current income.

To-day, the planner is the greatest menace to our democracy. The centralized control which we are now experiencing passed into the hands of the present Government during the recent war. Now, the party despots do not want to release their hold on the people, although I have no doubt that they shall be forced to do so after the next general elections. Dr. Coombs, as the adviser to the Government, said that the housing problem in this country would be solved within two years of the cessation of hostilities. The planners are confused among themselves ; they are out of touch with reality. The Prime Minister when he was a member of the Royal Commission on Monetary and Banking Systems condemned the rapacity and stringency of the private banks. He declared that the banks were not sufficiently generous in making advances, and told the story which we have heard hundreds of times that during the depression the private banks were too harsh. The announcement made by Dr. Coombs in to-day’s press is the policy which the Prime Minister has so often condemned. The right honorable gentleman introduced legislation in order to enable his Government to take the private banks into its custody, but that attempt was thwarted by tho Melbourne City Council in litigation which went on appeal to the High Court. That body claimed the right to bank where it chose. Now, the Australian taxpayer is being put to the expense of the appeal that is being heard by the Privy Council. It is interesting to note that counsel for the Government in that action includes Mr. Pritt, K.C.. who is a reputed Communist. It is a nice state of affairs when all our import and export trade is dependent upon the whims of a few nien who exercise centralized power in Canberra. Should the Government win its appeal before the Privy Council the corner stone of commerce in Australia will Le knocked out and not only the banks but also every commercial institution will be completely in the Government’s hands. Yet, while we are awaiting the outcome of that appeal the Government has the impudence to tell the banks that they must limit their overdrafts. How can this country progress if the enterprise of its people is to be stifled in this way? No doubt honorable members opposite regard Lord Nuffield as a capitalist who should be nationalized, yet he has distributed in charity from £12,000,000 to £14,000,000 of the profits he has made from his enterprises. Lord Nuffield commenced in business as a bicycle repairer in Oxford and he received his start by means, of an overdraft from a private bank. Sir William Rootes who is head of the British corporation which manufactures the Humber and Rolls Royce motor cars established himself by means of an advance from an insurance company. Yet, if those men were living in Australia and sought help from a private bank to finance their enterprises they would be told, “Dr. Coombs and Mr. Chifley object “. How can we progress under a Government of the type of the present administration? If the Government were prepared to examine enterprises in order to see whether they could be better developed by the Government or by individuals, it would be the fair way; but that is not how the present Government operates. Tt has. signed the Marxist pledge of complete nationalization. It pursues its way under a dour and ruthless Prime Minister who has determined that Australia in his day shall be completely socialized. The paper tabled by the Minister shows that Australia is progressing in spite of the fetters placed . upon industry under the Government’s policy of centralized control. The Tariff Board is being ignored at a time when many duties need overhauling, and when it is apparent that many essential goods should be allowed entry under bylaw in order to counteract inflation. The Government should restore the subsidies which it has stolen from the people. “ Stolen “ is not too strong a word to use in this connexion. When the Government’s proposals in the referendum on rents and prices control were rejected by the people the Prime Minister decided to take drastic action. Indeed, since the referendum the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction (Mr. Dedman), who is now sitting at the table, when questioned on almost any aspect of Government policy replies : “ What a pity the Government’s referendum proposals were not carried “. As soon as the referendum result was known the Prime Minister, in a fit of pique, said, in effect. “ Prices control will be handed over to the States; we shall no longer pay subsidies amounting to £30,000,000.”. Notwithstanding that decision, the Government did not give this money back but continued to levy high rates of primage duty and to charge sales tax on some 25 different articles that are essential for the building industry. Is there any necessity to continue levying sale,tax. a turn-over tax which is inflationary in its incidence? This Government can take no credit for such progress as has been achieved in this country. It continues to monopolize the taxing field and takes out of the pockets of the people no less than £500,000,000 every year. Ai present the revenue collected through the Department of Trade and Customs if greater than that gained from all source? exploited by the Commonwealth before the outbreak of the war. The document which we are now considering contains lists of industries established in Australia -ince the end of the war. Unthinking people might believe that the establishment of those industries is in some way due to the policy of the Government. Thai is far from the truth. The Government shows that far from being the friend of the little man, whether he he a worker or a small business man, it is his enemy, lt is demonstrating every day itinability to look after the interests of the loyal working men in the tradeunions. It is concerned more with the interests of big business which it can more easily nationalize when the time i.ripe. The statement now before us is full of instructions relative to the financing of business. If a business man wants to raise money to expand his business or to commence a new one he must go to the private banking institutions in order to obtain it. Where can proprietary companies and small partnerships obtain financial assistance, except from the private banks? Only the public companies can put their share reserves before the public and then obtain Treasury approval to increase their share capital. Recently the Prime Minister introduced a measure imposing crippling taxes on proprietary companies, which are often family concerns and which put thom at a disadvantage compared with public companies. And now he has issued an instruction to the banks te. tighten up advances - in other words, to be “ tough “. In future, when presenting their pay cheques to the banks, many small business men will no doubt be told, “ Your overdraft is in excess of the limit and must be reduced “. Because of these restrictions it will bc impossible for them to expand their businesses and some may even be put out of existence. In that way, depressions begin. As we all know, thai has happened in the past. Those who will suffer most as the result of the contraction of credit will bo the exservicemen who borrowed money from the Repatriation Department with which to start businesses supplementing their loans with limited accommodation obtained from the banks. Now they are told that in future the banks will be “ tough “. Most of these men have had the greatest difficulty in securing office and factory accommodation because the. Government itself commandeered much of the available accommodation in our capital cities during the war. The statement now before, us demonstrates the degree to which this fine country of ours has been hampered by people who believe that everything shounld be owned by the Government. Those who subscribe to tho theory of socialism are merely chasing the rainbow. Socialism has failed in every country where it has been fried. We all know of the failure which attended the socialistic colonies established in America by Robert Owen and, later, the new Australia established by William Lane in Paraguay. It is true that, to a limited degree, socialism has been successful in Russia. Indeed, it can succeed only in a country where compulsion is enforced by terrorism, where a selected few are able to demand com pliance. Some members of the present Government aspire to become dictators in some kind of socialist state, which is neither British nor democratic. Only by allowing those with ability and enterprise to fight their way to success, and by protecting the weak in the community, can this country rise to greatness. To a certain degree governments must engage in business enterprises and control them, but if the Government takes the business of the nation out of the hands of individuals and companies and stifles private enterprise, the result must be disastrous.

Sitting suspended from 5.55 to 8 p.m.


.- We are debating a paper that was tabled in this House during the last sessional period by the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction (Mr. Dedman), entitled, “ Brief review of Australia’s manufacturing economy in the post-war period “. As usual, the contents of this, paper may be divided roughly into two parts. In the first part, the Government seeks to tei! the people objectively the story of the growth of Australia’s secondary industries. In the second part, which is the most important from the Government’s point of view, it indulges in propaganda aimed at making the people of this country believe that much of Australia’s recent industrial development has been due to the Government’s efforts. Government supporters claim consistently that the. substantial expansion that has occurred in Australia’s manufacturing capacity in the last decade, particularly (.be last seven or eight years, can be traced to the policy of the Labour Government. We had an example of such claims at question time to-day. We all know, how-* ever, that Australia’s prosperity springs from an entirely different source. Itmust be put down to the continuing high prices ruling on overseas markets for our exportable products. Our secondary industries have reached their present stage of development mainly by the impetus given to them during the two world wars in which Australia has fought in the last three decades. Undoubtedly our industrial expansion during World War II. was the greatest in our history. In fact, it exceeded anything that we ever thought possible even in our most optimistic moments ten or twelve years ago. In Australia to-day, there is a variety of machine tools and a variety of skills far exceeding anything we have known hitherto. This has resulted largely from the production demands of World War II., particularly in the dark days when France fell and the Empire stood alone against Hitler’s Europe. In those days we undertook the manufacture of articles which normally would not have been within our industrial capacity for another 50 years. The expansion of secondary production has continued in the post-war period, and the nation has continued to enjoy a high degree of prosperity due to the high prices at which our wool, wheat, meat and other primary products are being sold on the world’s markets.

To view our secondary industries to-day in the proper perspective, it is wise for us to trace their growth since the beginning of World War I. Industrial expansion during the two war periods and the immediate post-war years has been strikingly similar. Throughout World War I. there was a rapid development of our secondary industries. We were faced with the problem of manufacturing materials of war in this country for the first time. The war itself was followed by a boom period, and the prevailing high prices for primary products produced an era unparalleled in the history of Australia’s economy. Subsequently, however, the revival of industries in other countries had an impact upon production in this country. Some Australian industries were forced to the wall and, to save others, tariff protection to a degree never before experienced was necessary. Had that action not been taken, undoubtedly many industries that came into existence during World War I. would not exist to-day. Tariffs were increased to such a degree that during the depression years, economists estimated that the excess cost passed on to the primary industries as the result of our fiscal policy was approximately 8 per cent. We should always remember that our primary industries are the foundation of secondary production. During the later 1930’s, tariffs were revised. The Ottawa Agreement had the effect of lowering many high imposts. Exchange adjust ments followed. Ultimately, in the years preceding World War II., we had reached a stage in which there was a reasonably healthy growth of secondary industries. As I have said, World War II. produced the greatest impetus of all time to our secondary production, and we were compelled to produce commodities which normally we would not have considered producing for several decades. Unfortunately, the expansion of secondary industries was carried out to the detriment of primary industries. We should be very foolish, indeed, to concentrate on industrial development without realizing that the basis of our prosperity is still our primary industries. In 1921, 491,000 people, or 23.8 per cent. of the total number of employed persons in the Commonwealth, were engaged in primary production. The 1947 census disclosed that of a total of 3,167,000 people employed, 498,000. or only 15.7 per cent., were engaged in rural industries. Clearly, therefore, there has been a substantial drift of labour from the basic primary industries to the secondary industries of this country. Our industrial expansion has been greatest in the engineering, vehicle manufacturing, and ship-building industries. In 1933, 101,000 people were engaged in those industries, whereas in 1947 the number was 277,000. Capital employed increased in the same period from £50,300,000 to £111,900,000. To-day, Australia is undertaking the production of articles never before made in this country. We have embarked for instance upon shipbuilding. The Government’s intention, of course, is that this industry shall be socialized. The Government is to be the sole shipbuilding authority. Australian workmen are now making a complete motor car which is remarkably good. Other items of production include tractors and engineering equipment of all descriptions. That is the reason for the enormous increase of capital and labour employed in those industries. The manufacture of textiles and clothing has also grown remarkably. In those industries, capital invested rose from £21,900,000 in 1932 to £38,000,000 in 1946-47 and this growth is continuing. We are still short of woollen yarns. Rayon, too, is being manufactured. The capital employed in the production of food, drink and tobacco has increased from £54,900,000 in 1931-32 to more than £77,000,000 and it is still being poured into those undertakings. Gas and electri- city undertakings, both vitally important to home comfort and industrial expansion, have remained fairly stable, the increase of capital being only from £41,700,000 to £53,300,000. The figures I have given I received from the Commonwealth Statistician. They are the latest available from that source, but, from banking sources and other reliable sources, I have learnt that since 1947, the census year, between £60,000,000 and £100,000.000 per annum has been poured into Australian secondary industries in the same ratio as in the years preceding 1947. That is to say, the greatest part has flowed into the engineering, shipbuilding and vehicles group. The next greatest has gone into the clothing and textiles group and the next into the food, drink and tobacco group. This remarkable development of secondary industries has been detrimental to the primary industries to a degree. A pertinent question is whether there lias not been too great, and therefore dangerous, a development of secondary industries and a dangerous neglect of primary industries. The secondary industries are exporting their products but not nearly to an extent sufficient to warrant an ever increasing expansion of secondary products without a corresponding expansion of primary production. As things stand to-day, secondary industries are somewhat top-heavy, and that is always a dangerous condition, because, should the secondary edifice tumble, great unemployment would be possible. I want to see the continued development of secondary industry in Australia. I believe that it can go on. I believe that it can absorb even more men and money and that it can produce more goods and services. I believe, however, that that is only possible with an ever-expanding population. We must bring migrants by the thousands to this country. Without an ever-expanding population, secondary industries can easily run into difficulties and dangers. I deplore the statement of the Minister for Transport (Mr. Ward) that new arrivals are a danger to our jobs. I tell him that our security, indus- trial as well as national, depends on an ever-increasing population. An ever-increasing population is vital to the maintenance and development of our secondary industries. Therein lies our salvation. In reply to a question that I asked earlier to-day about banking, the Prime Minister (Mr, Chifley), had to admit a recession on the primary side. Such a recession must necessarily have an impact on the secondary structure. There are other factors in the world to-day that must be considered. A great deal of the boom of the secondary industries in Australia is due to the fact that we cannot buy goods overseas. The war left one-half of the industrial world out of action. Before the war, Germany was the third greatest manufacturing nation in the world and Japan was making great strides all the time in manufactures, particularly textiles. Today, as after World War I., the competitive element in trade is returning. From what the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies) saw in Germany, he could tell honorable members that western Germany bas reached about 73 per cent, of its production in 1936. That shows that Germany is rapidly returning as a competitor in secondary industries. Then we have the great export drive that Great Britain is making. Its economic position has completely altered. Whatever we may like to say about Japan, it must have some place in world trade. We cannot allow millions of people to be born and to die of starvation. The industrial resurgence in other parts of the world, therefore, must have an effect on our industrial development. We are exporting manufactures sand I believe that that export trade can be expanded. I believe, for instance, that soon we shall be able to export the Holden motor car and that there is room for the expansion of our exports of textiles. Nevertheless, there is not nearly sufficient export trade in sight to warrant the continued expansion of our secondary industries, unless we have a constant stream of migrants pouring into the country. Without them we can easily run into difficulties, if we continue to expand our secondary industries at the present rate. Another aspect of our economy that is causing concern to every one engaged ve secondary industry and every one who takes a wide view of the Australian economic field is that man-hour production is less in Australia than it is in most of the western nations. We cannot be unmindful of the fact that when man-hour production is down costs must rise and that, in competition with the rest of the world, we shall lose our export trade unless costs are kept down. The public mind is embarrassed by the fact that we are living in days when there is any amount of money about. Wages of £9, £10, £12, and even £14 or £15 a week are commonplace. Men on the wharfs can make £14 or £15 a week and shearers £6 a day. We are supposed to be living in the Golden Age. [t is true that never before was so much money available. But it is a different story when we try to buy anything. Money then seems to vanish into thin air. Money is mere dross unless one can buy with it the things that make for human comfort. There is not that contentment in the country that honorable members opposite would have us believe. The scarcities of to-day are largely the result of the reduced man-hour production. We are short of most things. Motor cars are far distant prospects for most of us. It is almost impossible to build or buy a home, which is something that all young couples starting life together need. Even should one be lucky enough to get a home, it is next to impossible to furnish it because of the high cost of furnishings. So the story goes on ! Yet, basic secondary industries are not in anything like full production. Do honorable members think that the Newcastle steelworks, one of the most efficient steelworks, if not the most efficient, in the world, is operating at SO or 90 per cent, capacity? It is not. lt is operating at only 58 per cent, capacity, a little more than half. It is not to be wondered at that commodities are hard to buy, that it is difficult to build a home or buy iron for a roof, and that farmers cannot obtain many requirements essential to primary production. The fact that our steel mills are working at only 58 per cent, of their productive capacity means that they are capable of supplying us with over 550,000 tons of additional iron and steel products each year. In fact, they are capable not only of sa isfying t the local market, but also of providing a surplus for export. We cannot close our eyes to those facts.

What is the reason for low production? Iron and steel are vital to the great industries in which most of our capital is invested, such as the engineering and shipbuilding industries. The real reason is the lack of sufficient coking coal. Yet the proportion of workers employed in the coal-mining inindustry to the total number in all avenues of employment in Australia if about the same to-day as it was in 1921-22. Admittedly the demand for coal was not so great in 1921-22 as it is today, but mechanization has increased the average productive capacity considerably since that time. Why are we suffering from this great shortage of coal, which has an impact upon the iron and steel industry and, therefore, upon citizens in all walks of life? The answer is that the Communists employed in the industry do not want production to be increased. Mr. Sharpley has told us all about the aims and objects of the Communists. His revelations came out of the blue to many people, but they were not news to politicians. We have known for a long time that the aim of the Communists is to keen industry continually in a state of turmoil. Even when Communists campaign for better rates of pay for wageearners, they seek at the same time to nullify any gains that may be made by increasing costs by some other means. The Government has done nothing to rectify the situation on the coal-fields. Like many other honorable members, I receive a weekly report upon disputes in the coal-mining industry. As T pointed out to the Prime Minister when T asked a quest;on in this House not long ago. most of the stoppages have nothing to do with disputes between workers and managements. Production is interrupted for all sorts of frivolous reasons simply for the purpose of maintaining chaotic conditions in the industry. The Government knows that, but I have never known it even to speak harsh words to the people responsible f for that state of affairs. Instead, “t joes out of ite way t to reward Communists who sabotage industry by appointing t them f for instance, to posi- ions o on t,l’f> Stevedoring I Industry Commission and the Coal Board.

Once upon a time it was possible for a ship to berth at Newcastle with a load of iron ore, have its cargo unloaded, and be re-filled with finished steel products within a period of seven days. To-day, the same series of operations occupies from sixteen to twenty days. That is simply due to the reduced capacity of workers in this country to do a job within a reasonable space of time. I do not say that men should be driven to work hard, and I do not believe that anybody urges such a policy. But so great is the need to improve our standard of living so that a man may buy something worthwhile with every £1 of his income that any worker who fails to do a reasonable amount of work within a reasonable space of time imposes a hardship upon his colleagues and also upon his wife and children. Everybody who goes slow on the job is lowering the true value of the £1 note. The Government should take all possible steps to reduce the effect of disruptive Communist tactics in industry, yet it has been almost entirely inactive. Only recently did it suddenly become aware of the fact that, after all, production is related to the standard of living. I come now to my last point.

Mr Edmonds:

– Will the honorable member not tell us his solution of the problem that he has been discussing?


– I have done so. If we are to maintain a decent standard of living we must have a larger population in Australia and get back to a competitive basis, and there must be more production for each man-hour worked than there is at present. That is the solution of the problem, but it requires for its application a government that will whole-heartedly support the men who are willing to work, and not the disruptionists who prevent the workers from giving of their best. In other words, the Australian Government should back the genuine worker instead of the “ Com “.

My final point refers to the methods by which industry should be developed. Unfortunately there has been a great deal of indiscriminate industrial expansion in Australia recently. Many of the new industries may be of great value to the nation, but great dangers are involved in the indiscriminate establishment of industry. Should we be faced again with the economic difficulties that assailed us during the ‘thirties, it might be difficult, or even impossible, under the terms of the Geneva international trade agreement, to protect many of our industries. Our tariff policy cannot safely proceed along the lines that were followed during the ‘thirties. When the Bruce-Page Government adopted a policy of developing industries by means of tariff protection accorded along the lines recommended by the Tariff Board, it undertook one of the most sensible plans ever put into effect in the economic history of Australia. This Parliament has not the ability to investigate in detail every one of the 3,000 items affected by our tariffs. Therefore, it must have some independent body to make investigations and present comprehensive reports for its guidance. Unfortunately the Tariff Board seems to have fallen into the discard under the administration of this Government. That is not unusual under a Labour regime. The Tariff Board was discarded in the period from 1929 to 1930, and an extraordinary tariff policy was pursued by the Scullin Labour Government with the result that colossal costs were unloaded on to the primary industries during the depression years. This Government is following the same dangerous path. For instance, it proposes to develop the aluminium industry. Nobody knows much about that industry. There has not been any proper inquiry into it, and no adequate reports have been prepared for the guidance of the Parliament. Honorable members on this side of the House have been suspicious of the Government’s proposals and have asked for information and explanations, but their requests have received a meagre response. Is the aluminium industry a sound industry? A strong manufacturing economy cannot be established by foolishly developing unsound industries or by unloading on to other natural industries costs that might interfere with their progressive growth. If we are to develop our manufacturing economy on sound lines we must change to a more methodical and sensible policy than that which is being pursued by this Government. After all, we still have to sell our products an well as buy those of other countries. We must engage in world trade, and if we persist in developing uneconomic industries we incur risks in the event of possible recessions and interfere with the trade of our basic exporting industries. We should return to the wise policy that was adopted many years ago of proceeding according to the reports of a fully qualified instrumentality. By that means, we can go on from greatness to greatness. We can build well, and if we build well we can provide higher standards of living. Ifwe fail to do so, we may very well go forth to disaster.


– The House is indebted to the honorable member for Deakin (Mr. Hutchinson) for the fair way in which he opened his address. The first part of his speech consisted mainly of a recapitulation of facts of which most of us are well aware, in the latter part of his speech, the honorable member descended to party politics. I disagree with many of the statements that he has made this evening. An honorable member on this side of the chamber invited him, by interjection, to offer his solution of the problem. As I desired to be fair to the honorable member for Deakin, I made a note of his words. He said that we must have a larger population and get back to a competitive basis, and that we must have greater production per man-hour than at present.

Mr Archie Cameron:

– Hear, hear !


– That interjection by the honorable member for Barker (Mr. Archie Cameron) indicates that I have interpreted the remarks of the honorable member for Deakin fairly. Everybody realizes that Australia must have a bigger population, and I venture to say that no government and no Minister for Immigration in the history of this country has done as much as the Chifley Government and the present Minister for Immigration (Mr. Calwell) to bring migrants here.

Mr Archie Cameron:

– The Minister for Transport (Mr. Ward) says that the Government has done too much in that respect.


– I am not responsible for any statement by the Minister for Transport, but I am responsible for my own utterances. We all agree that Australia must have a bigger population. However, the further statement by the honorable member for Deakin that we must get back to a competitive basis arouses my suspicions. I believe that Australia requires a larger population in order to make this country safe for democracy and for its citizens. The view of the honorable member for Deakin is that Australia requires a bigger population so that there will be greater competition for jobs, and workers will give greater production per man-hour than they are giving at present.

Mr Hutchinson:

– I did not say that.


– That inference may be drawn from the honorable member’s remarks. The honorable gentleman has stated definitely that Australia requires a bigger population, that we must get back to a competitive basis and that we must increase production per man-hour.

Mr Harrison:

– Does not the honorable member for Hindmarsh want people to work when they come to Australia?


– I consider that a worker should always do a fair and reasonable job, but I do not want to witness the spectacle that I have seen in the past of a queue of unemployed outside a. factory gate waiting for workers to be dismissed in order that they may take their places. When the honorable member for Deakin talks about a competitive basis, he may butter the statement as he pleases, but I recall that some honorable members opposite have said more than once that, unless a man is spurred by the fear of unemployment, he will not devote all his energies to his job, and therefore, production per man-hour will not increase.

Mr Harrison:

– Why is the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley) appealing for greater production ?


– The Prime Minister is certainly appealing for greater production, but he is not appealing for a return of the conditions under which the unemployed waited outside factory gates to take the places of workers as they were dismissed. The honorable member for Wentworth (Mr. Harrison) will not convince the people of Australia that the Prime Minister or, for that matter, any other member of the Australian Labour party, desires a recurrence of those conditions.

This review of the Australian manufacturing economy follows an address that the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction (Mr. Dedman) delivered some months ago, and honorable members have taken the opportunity that this debate affords to put forward their views on this subject. Honorable members opposite have asserted that the figures in the review do not mean very much, but I believe that they mean a great deal to the workers. For many years up to the outbreak of war in 1939, the anti-Labour parties had majorities in the Senate and the House of Representatives, and were in an excellent position to give effect to any plans that they might have had for increasing production. In that period, anti-Labour governments were not confronted with any obstacles to prevent them from encouraging the establishment of industries, such as the shipbuilding industry, and expanding steel production. They had an excellent opportunity to use the labour resources available to manufacture greater quantities of galvanized iron, and build houses. Had those governments shown foresight, many Australians would not now be without homes. Of course, honorable members opposite want the public to forget that, in those years, anti-Labour governments failed to grasp their opportunities to increase production. In 1939, the number of persons in employment, excluding those employed in rural industries, household domestic duties and the defence forces was 1,730,200. Last December that number had risen to 2,416,600, an increase of 6S6,400.

Mr Archie Cameron:

– But our steel production is only 58 per cent, of the capacity.


– I do not contend that nearly 700,000 additional persons are now employed in the production of steel compared with the number so employed in 1939. I desire to make my position clear not only to honorable members but also to the general public. I for one do not believe in this continual hold up in industry.

Mr Archie Cameron:

– What does the honorable member propose to do about it?


– If I were to do no more than the honorable member for Barker has ever done about the position, I should not do very much. What action do members of the Opposition advocate? They recommend the enforcement of the Crimes Act. I warn them that imposition of penalties on everybody who will not work, will not get more men into the steelworks.

Mr Harrison:

– What will the honorable member do ? Would he kiss them ?


– No, I am not accustomed, as is the honorable member for Wentworth, to gain support in that way. The honorable member, by the kind of talk in which he so often indulges, does more than any one else in this chamber to irritate workers, and keep them from giving of their best. That is my opinion of the honorable gentleman’s utterances.

Honorable members opposite have seized on this debate as an opportunity to lam the Government again for its attitude to the Communists, and for being too easy with the coal-miners and the waterside workers. I could prove that the treatment which anti-Labour governments have meted to those workers in the past is responsible for their existing state of mind. If honorable gentlemen opposite were to seek sincerely the solution of the problem, they would admit that the present conditions are the result of what was done to those workers year ago.

Mr Anthony:

– Most of the strikes are caused by boys, which does not seem to agree with the honorable member’s contention.


– I said just now that I do not agree with the actions of the workers who have been responsible for many of the interruptions to production which have occurred. If any of those who have been responsible for the recent interruptions are listening to the broadcast of these proceedings this evening, I take the opportunity to impress upon them that in dislocating production in the hope of improving their conditions, they are, in most instances, injuring, perhaps unwittingly, the interests of their fellow-workers and of the entire community. Having said that, I repeat that the cause of the distorted outlook of some workers is the selfish and unfair attitude which has characterized members of the Opposition parties.

A lot of criticism has been levelled at the Government for its alleged failure to increase production. The honorable member for Deakin criticized the establishment of uneconomic industries and contended that the Government should always be guided by the recommendations of the Tariff Board. However, the real reason for the establishment of many of the so-called uneconomic industries is the acute shortage of goods which we used formerly to import from overseas. It must be clear to any impartial observer that the main reason for the establishment and continued operation of many of the so-called uneconomic industries lies in the destruction during the war of the productive capacity of many European countries from which we formerly drew our requirements. It is characteristic of the inconsistency of members of the Opposition, who complain that the Government has sponsored the establishment of a number of uneconomic industries, that to-day one of their number asked a question that was designed to obtain tariff protection for the fish canning industry. That industry, which was established in this country in recent years, is now being adversely affected by imports from overseas. I know something of the problem presented by these industries, because a number of new industries which were established in my electorate during the war and immediately afterwards are now beginning to feel the impact of the competition presented by lower priced goods shipped from abroad. Those industries must be given sympathetic consideration. The national economy demands that, irrespective of the political complexion of the government of the day, or of the capacity or personality of the Minister for Trade and Customs, or of the members of the Tariff Board, many of those industries must continue to function. In the State of South Australia, in which my electorate is situated, many small industries sprang up, not because of government sponsorship, but because of individual enterprise in the endeavour to fill pressing needs.

I was somewhat intrigued by the criticism of man-hour production voiced by certain members of the Opposition. In contradiction of their assertions I propose to refer to the experience of an English industrialist who came to this country. He was the general manager of a cotton textile manufacturing firm which in recent years established works in South Australia. In the course of a discussion with him I said, “ Are you receiving a satisfactory return from your employees? “ He replied, “ I am perfectly satisfied that we are getting a fair deal from our employees “. I emphasize thai that particular industry is one of the newindustries established in Australia. Incidentally, I claim that South Australia stands very high in any interstate comparison of new industries. The construction during war-time of munition factories and the importation of plant and machine tools enabled private enterprise at the end of hostilities to establish a number of new industries. As an example of the successful establishment of new industries in South Australia, 1 mention that a director of the concern which took over a munitions factory at Finsbury told me that his firm intended to install plant to the value of £1,250,000. Moreover, that particular factory will bc engaged in the production of heavy steel products, unlike other factories which are engaged in the production of light article? and luxuries which command a quick turnover.

I propose to quote some statistics which I obtained to-day and which I understand were released by the Premier of South Australia. Although the information has not hitherto been made public I do not consider that I shall be doing any harm by releasing it. I preface my citation with the admission that the value of money has deteriorated, and the price of some commodities might even have doubled in the last ten years. The statistics to which I refer show that the value of the production of South Australia increased from £33,000,000 before the war to £104,000,000 last year. I think that the degree of that increase gives sufficient indication of the increased production of

South Australia. Whilst I do not usually interject when honorable members are speaking, I was moved to do so during the speech of the honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Holt), who made a serious misstatement of fact. He referred to the importation of coal by the Liberal Governments of Victoria and South Australia, and I interjected to inquire whether any coal had actually been imported. In reply, the honorable member referred to a statement made by the Premier of South Australia. I took the trouble to examine the report of that statement which is contained in to-day’s Issue of the Adelaide Advertiser. That report stated, in part, that 10,000 tons of coal will be imported from England for the haulage of ore from Broken Hill to Port Pirie. The report went on to state that the steel companies concerned will pay the difference between the price of local coal and that which is to be imported. However, the significant fact is that no one yet knows how great that difference may be. It is also intended to obtain supplies of coal from South Africa, but supplies are conditional upon that country granting export licences. The South African coal is intended to be used by a. government trust in Adelaide. Whilst [ readily admit that the decision to import coal to fulfil requirements represents, a forward step on the part of the State governments concerned, I point out that so far no coal has materialized, f pay a tribute to the Liberal Government of .South Australia for its action in taking over the Adelaide Electric Supply Company and continuing with the work of erecting the new power plant at Osborne that was opened a few weeks ago. That was a step in the right direction. I.n a press statement, the manager of the South Australian Electricity Trust has said that, provided the trust can get adequate supplies of coal, there will be no need to increase the price of electricity. He has said, further, that if sufficient quantities of coal are made available the trust can provide from its plants all the electric power that is needed. The difficulties with regard to electricity in cities in other States, particularly in Sydney and Perth, have been caused largely by failure to make provision for an extension of generating plants to meet the increased demand for electric power.

This Government has done all that it possibly can do to keep the wheels of industry turning. Honorable gentlemen opposite do not agree with that statement. They contend that the Government has not “ stepped in “ fast enough. The honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes) is an old hand at this game. The right honorable gentleman knows as well as I do that when there is, as there is to-day, a tremendous need for production and a shortage of the man-power that is necessary to achieve that production, it is impossible to force men to work by taking action under the Crimes Act or other legislation. I remember that on one occasion the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies) addressed the coal-miners and did all that he could to get them, to return to work, but he was unsuccessful.

Mr Menzies:

– They went back a week later.


– They usually go back a week later, in any case.

Mr Menzies:

– Not at that time.


– They come out, they may remain out for a month, or whatever the period may be, and at the end of that time they usually go back. The point that I am trying to make is that at the present time men form their own views and will not do just what any leader would like them to do. Irrespective of whether it is the Prime Minister or anybody else who appeals to them, in the end it rests with the men themselves to decide what they are going to do. In an attempt to achieve industrial peace, this Government took action with which honorable gentlemen opposite did not altogether agree. It appointed ten Conciliation Commissioners, most of whom had been closely associated with industry and trade unions. The Government felt that by taking that action it was doing something that would avoid many unnecessary stoppages and achieve greater production. However, even though governments may do all that they can do to make provision for the avoidance of stoppages, if men decide to stop work they cannot be prevented from doing so. I do not agree with the statements that have been made to the effect that the

Prime Minister has played up to the extremists in industry and let them get away with it to their hearts’ content. In my view, unnecessary stoppages of work will not cease until trade unionists as a whole realize that unnecessary stoppages are not in their interests or in the interests of workers generally. I hope that the tide is beginning to turn and that the men are beginning to realize that they as well as the Government have a responsibility to Australia and to the community generally. I want the individual man, whether he be a coal-miner, a seaman, or a waterside worker, to realize that if for some inadequate reason he holds up the production of coal or delays the loading or the sailing of a ship he is causing trouble to other men in other branches of industry. I want him to appreciate that this Government has done all that is possible to prevent unnecessary stoppages. The individual unionist will never agree to surrender his right to strike. If any employee is convinced that he cannot carry on in a fair and reasonable way, it is for him to decide whether or not he will continue. If an employer does not wish to continue in an industry, he is at liberty to close his factory. I do not think that that fact is always sufficiently recognized in some statements that are made in connexion with these matters. It is a very good thing for the House and the country that we should have an opportunity of expressing a few thoughts on this topic.

This afternoon one honorable member opposite said that in the last year before World War II., during the regime of the Menzies Government, approximately 39,000 houses were erected. I ask the honorable gentleman, with due deference, what the government of the day had to do with that? Approximately five years ago I was appointed by the Treasurer as a member of the Commonwealth Housing Commission. The present Premier of South Australia, Mr. Playford, having congratulated me upon my appointment, said, “ I want you to understand that when we were discussing the transfer of powers not one Australian Premier was agreeable to transfer to the Commonwealth Government powers regarding housing “. I claim that the report of the Commonwealth Housing

Commission was one of the best that has been prepared. That fact is, I think, generally recognized. In their report, all that the members of the commission could do was to recommend to the Australian Government that the only powers it had over housing, apart from war service homes, and homes for Government employees, was in regard to finance, and that it could make finance available to State governments under certain conditions. It made certain recommendations. Two main conditions were specified. One concerned a rental rebate on houses built for rental if the rent amounted to more than onefifth of the income of the tenant. The other condition was that there should be a limit placed upon the expenditure on any one house. That entailed that only reasonable types of houses should be constructed. All the States except South Australia are working under the CommonwealthState Housing Agreement. They are building houses with money supplied by the Commonwealth. Let me say now that it is the State itself which is responsible for the building of the houses. It may be alleged that indirectly the Commonwealth is to blame for the lag in home-building, but the Commonwealth could be blamed only if it had power over production. I remember debates in this House on the subjects of banking, free medicine and national health. The Leader of the Opposition caused an amendment to be made to the question that was put to the people at a referendum regarding the control of health services. The amendment had the effect of including in the question asked of the people a proviso that the Government’s powers to legislate for a national health service should not be such as to include conscription of the labour of doctors or chemists. It was only with that proviso that the Opposition supported that portion of the referendum proposals. Now honorable members opposite want us to say to workmen that they must work in steelworks. By doing so those honorable members are forsaking their old argument regarding conscription of labour. The States, whether governed by Labour or Liberal governments, bear a great deal of the responsibility for production lags. They have powers that this Parliament does not possess. State governments can introduce legislation of a nature that the Australian Government could not introduce, and do things thereby that the Australian Government could not do, yet the shortage of houses is attributed to the Australian Government. The Australian Government has no control over the number of houses built in any one State. All the control it has is whatever it may assume through some arrangement that it may make with the State concerned or with a board set up by that State to regulate the production and allocation of materials.

Mr White:

– The Australian Government is taking most of the available building materials for public buildings.


– The honorable member who has just interjected would be one of the first to complain that the Government was not building sufficient repatriation hospitals or something of that nature. Very likely he is like myself, and has been writing to the PostmasterGeneral and asking for a new post office to be erected in a town in his electorate. I do not doubt that when some municipality or individual in the honorable member’s electorate writes to him and complains about inadequate postal facilities caused by inadequate premises, he does not write back and say that the Commonwealth is using too much material and that the work on that post office must wait until something else has been built first. It is all very well to criticize the Government. The honorable member will complain next that the Government is taking a bank and not building one in its place. The honorable member is going around the mulberry bush, as it were, and if he cannot pick a mulberry on one side he will pick one on the other, providing it is a green one, and he will say that the Government is providing a sour mulberry. That is typical of the Opposition’s methods. Honorable members opposite do not look at the good fruit which the Government is growing. They only wish to seize on something that has not been matured, such, for instance, as the arbitration system. They pick on that and blame the Government for not doing things that it should have done. We on this side of the House realize, with honorable members opposite, that the first prerequisite of an increase in production and manufacturing is the obtaining of electric and hydro-electric power, and coal. We must get that power first and supply it to industry at a price that will enable it to be economically used. I quite appreciate the views of honorable members opposite about coal, but I desire to say also that whilst I ask the coalminer to do his best in production, I think that honorable members opposite should accept some of the responsibility for the coal situation as it is now because of the heritage that we now have which resulted from the treatment of the coal miners in the past when honorable members opposite were in office.


– Order f The honorable member’s time has expired.-

Leader of the Opposition · Kooyong

– I consider that this debate has been a useful and an> interesting one. It was opened this afternoon with a speech by the honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Holt). His speech, I consider, was an uncommonly informative and thoughtful one, and I am only sorry that it was not made at a time when it might have enjoyed a greater audience over the radio. The honorable member who has just resumed his seat, indicated particularly in his closing passages, some faint hostility to the Opposition, but apart from that I should like to say to him that I think he put his case most reasonably. Indeed, I and my colleagues here who were members of the Menzies Government are indebted to him for the testimonial that he gave us regarding the industrial development of South Australia, which, as he knows, is the direct result of a deliberate act of policy by us when we established large munitions works there during the first two years of the last war, when we had the responsibility of office. He said something else upon which I shall comment before proceeding with my own remarks. He pointed out - I consider quite rightly - that none of those problems is easy of solution. The greatest mistake that any of us can make in discussing these matters is to assume that those problems are simple. They are not a bit simple. I think it is also dangerous to generalize about industry as a whole. All industry is not equally efficient, all production effort per man-hour is not uniform in Australia. There are some industries in which I believe the performance per manhour is excellent, and nobody could criticize it. The honorable member mentioned one such industry, and I could mention others. That, of course, is very true of the machine industries. From inspections that I have made recently of the steel industries I consider that the work done by steelworkers is beyond praise. But there are other industries in which the productive effort is grossly inadequate, and that is why I do not desire to generalize, but to particularize. The productive effort in the coal industry at- present i3 much below what this country needs, and the productive effort in the building industry is, unfortunately, so much lower than it ought to be that it is a very large factor in the cost of building homes in Australia. As all honorable members know, since the House last met I have travelled extensively in three States, very largely for the purpose of going into industrial centres and visiting factories and workshops. From time to time I made speeches, including dozens to trade union audiences. I think it was quite a useful experience and I returned from it reinforced in a view that I entertained in a general way before that there are three things of paramount importance which are relevant to the matter before the chair. The first, is that we in Australia must aim at reducing, or at lea6t holding, prices. The rising price level is a constant source of anxiety to people all over Australia. It is very true that the factors that contribute to rising price levels are not always properly realized. Sometimes, it must be said, the very people who, by their own failure to realize the needs of production, have contributed to higher prices, complain about the high prices when they occur. As a national problem the reducing, or at the least, the holding of prices is of paramount importance.

There is another matter of great importance. We must endeavour by every conceivable means to house our people at a reasonable cost. We tend to talk rather too much in terms of the number of houses completed. Whenever I look at new groups of houses being built in hous- ing settlements, and inquire about the cost, and look at the quality of the buildings, I am horrified to think that people should have to pay such fantastic prices in order to get into such common-place dwellings. Recently, I looked over some bouses being built in a New South Wales town by the Housing Commission. No one could be proud of them. They were wooden houses and were, I thought, crudely finished, the interior partitions being merely fibro plaster. The honorable member for Hindmarsh, who has just concluded his speech, could, with one dramatic gesture, put his fist right through the wall of such a house. They were the sort of cottages which, before the war, one would have expected to build for £500 or £600. I was told with some pride that the cost was working out at about £1,600 a piece, apart from the cost of the land, fencing and furniture. What ordinary wage-earner could expect to build or acquire a home a» that price?

I come now to the third matter, which, while it may not be the concern of those who are not used to examining national problems, should, nevertheless, be very much the concern of honorable members of this Parliament. It is this: We must aim at producing, not only in order to meet our own local requirements, but also to capture and hold new and permanent markets overseas. Time and time again I have emphasized to such members of the public as were willing to hear me that, in the long run, a guarantee of full employment must lie not alone in the provision of public works designed to avoid unemployment, but also in developing markets in other countries for things which we make in Australia. We must get away from the practice of having all our eggs in one basket. We must cease to be exporters of primary products only, and must in addition develop an export trade in secondary manufactures.

I do not believe that we can successfully achieve any of the three objectives which I have set forth unless we observe certain conditions. When the honorable member for Deakin (Mr. Hutchinson) was sneaking, some one asked him what was his solution of our problems. I think wo have all been here long enough to realize that there is no easy solution. No me can write out a neat formula on a piece of paper and say, “ Do this and all will be well “. We are dealing with intangible human factors. We must seek by persuasion to make the people understand more and more the nature of the problems that confront us. That is why a debate of this kind is so valuable. As a preliminary to solving our problems certain conditions must obtain. In the first place, it will have to be learned - not, [ hope, in the hard way - that failure in one section of productive industry may do irreparable injury in other sections. The honorable member for Hindmarsh referred to this in the course of his speech. If I may put the matter in biblical terms, we must learn that we are all members one of another, as far as the industrial situation is concerned.

Some time ago, I was at Muswellbrook, which is on the fringe of the electorate of the honorable member for New England (Mr. Abbott). It is an important dairying district, and on the outskirts of the town, a factory is being erected for the production of powdered milk, for which there is a big market outside Australia. The establishment of such a factory is of great importance to the dairy-farmers of the district, because it would give them a market right at their door. The factory has been under construction for two years. It will not be a huge building, although it will be adequate for its purpose. I was told that it would be another twelve months before the building was completed. I said that I could not begin to understand why there was so much delay in the completion of a building which was obviously of such importance to an important group of primary producers. I was told that it was impossible to obtain reinforcing rods for the concrete work. Honorable members will understand that, in the construction of such a factory, there must be a great deal of concrete work for the bedding down of heavy machinery, for the flooring, and for the side members. Why is there a shortage of reinforcing rods? Because there is a general shortage of steel. The reason for that has been stated, and I shall return to it presently.

In other country areas, people are unable to produce as much as they otherwise could because there is a grave shortage of machinery. Where such machinery ia locally made, the shortage is due to the fact that it is impossible to obtain some particular kind of iron or steel. In another place one finds that there is a shortage of fencing wire and wire netting, without which farmers cannot subdivide their properties, or protect them from rabbits. Here, again, the difficulty is due to a shortage of iron and steel. All over the country one sees wooden houses complete as to foundations and walls, but without roofs, because corrugated iron is not available. In other places one hears of a shortage of builders’ hardware, plumbers’ material, and piping. Such shortages are commonplace, and every time they occasion delay in the completion of buildings the cost of the buildings increases. A house built in fits and starts over a long period must necessarily be much dearer than one the construction of which proceeds steadily from beginning to end. Always, when one seeks the root of the trouble, one is referred to the steel industry at Newcastle and Port Kembla. I confess that working in iron and steel is a man’s job. Those who are engaged in the industry are working efficiently, a fact which the management is quite ready to admit. The managers Bay that they have a good team to work* with, and they have no complaints about efficiency. Why, then, is it that at the greatest of our steelworks production during the last three years has been only 75 per cent, of capacity, and that for this year it is expected to be only 58 per cent, or at most, 60 per cent. ? The reason is the shortage of coal.

Mr Conelan:

– And of man-power.


– Those engaged in management do not say so, and they should know. The population of Australia was smaller in 1941 and 1942 than it is now, and from that population 1,000,000 persons were subtracted and transferred from civilian occupations to service in the armed forces, to say nothing of the hundreds of thousands who were employed in specialized occupations in the production of munitions; yet in 1941 and 1942 over 1,000,000 tons of steel ingots were produced each year, whilst, as I have said, during each of the last three years only 75 per cent, of that quantity has been produced, and for the present year the quantity is so far not expected to exceed 60 per cent. The answer is not a shortage of man-power in the steelworks. The answer is a shortage of production on the coal-fields. Nobody who looks at the problem, and goes up there and discusses it on the spot, will fail to find that the shortage of coal production is due to a variety of circumstances. There is a good deal of Communist interference; there is a tremendous snarl of unnecessary stoppages, and there is a violent and unreasonable opposition to the mechanical extraction of pillars. With mechanization, we would be getting from those fields alone another 3,000,000 tons of coal a year. But, basically, the answer goes back to the very matter referred to by the honorable member, and subsequently, by myself. the real failure is the failure in the minds of the people concerned in that industry to realize that while they may earn adequate wages by working four shifts a week, as they do, by denying the community the result of the fifth shift they are denying the community iron and steel and continuity of productive employment in a series of subsequent activities and that they are pushing up the cost and limiting the quantity of production on the land, and increasing the cost of housing. They do an act of deep injury to the rest of the community. That is the first thing which must be emphasized so far as we can emphasize it from this place. It needs plain speaking not only by politicians and above all not only by members of the Opposition. This is common ground, or it ought to be common ground, for all of us. By every conceivable word and effort union leaders themselves ought to get their people to understand that no section of the community can live to itself. We are all in this problem of production, and until all do their job it is useless to talk about rising prices because all these things mean under-production; and under-production in the face of the present purchasing power in the country must mean rising prices. Let me remind everybody that with under-production and vast purchasing power prices must rise, and we must inevitably reach a point of time when that crazy structure crashes. These policies of under-production and indifference to the welfare of the rest of the community are the inevitable precursor and cause of depressions. Depressions are not made by deliberate scheming on the part of somebody, by wicked planning of some political kind. Depressions are produced because you get a boil-up in the price level. The whole structure becomes unsound, and then it begins to collapse. Therefore, it is of the first importance that it should come to be realized in all sections of industry that we are all in this matter together.

The second condition is closely allied to the first; it is that full employment depends upon full production. The public attitude to this matter is all wrong. There is an attempt to say that full production is the inevitable result of full employment. It is nothing of the kind. Full employment depends in the long run upon full production. An evil doctrine is being disseminated in Australia to-day. I have encountered it in many places. It is an attractive doctrine, but very evil ; and it sums itself up in one slogan, “ Look old man, don’t work yourself out of a job. Don’t go too hard because if you do, the job will finish more quickly and you will be out of a job “. That slogan is attractive on the face of it. This is the justification for all the go-slow advocacy carried on in Australia and with some success in many sections of industry - “ Don’t work yourself out of a job “. The truth is that under-production will ultimately weaken our true capacity to produce, because we can get into an entirely wrong frame of mind on this matter. But under-production at a time when the purchasing power of the country is so high for a variety of reasons, including the extraordinary prices we are receiving for our exports, must mean a forcing up of prices. It is a destructive, indeed, a self-destructive, attitude. If we were producing fully, with vigour and efficiency, we would not only be supplying the demands of our own people at prices which would cease to rise but we would also be putting ourselves in a position to supply the wants of people all around the world and thus provide ourselves with markets which would maintain in continuous employment the population of Australia.

The next ‘thing I say with reference to this great problem of production is that we shall not solve it unless we meet and overthrow the real menace of communism. I am not going to talk about communism in rhetorical terms. All I say is that it is a real menace and that until we over-throw and defeat it, we «hall not defeat the problem of production because where Communists are most active and successful, production is at its lowest because these are the people who have preached this doctrine more successfully and continuously than anybody else. Nobody can go round, as I have myself, and have discussions with scores, or hundreds, of wage-earners in factories and workshops and have their views without knowing that there is a rising impatience among the decent wage-earners in Australia with communism and with the tolerance of communism. We must get it dearly into our minds that “these people are our enemies. Does anybody in this House - I am sure that no honorable member does - suppose for one moment that the Communist is seeking for better production in Australia? The question answers itself. His actions have been destructive from first to last, and the people are becoming increasingly impatient about it. How are we to deal with communism? Again, I am not producing some medicine, free or otherwise, out of a bottle. On this subject the Prime Minister published an advertisement quite recently headed “ Common sense about communism”. It is a very attractively printed advertisement, and the Prime Minister, I see at a glance, is immeasurably more photogenic than I am. It is a very nice picture. What does he say in the advertisement? He says -

Communism can be beaton by improving the conditions of the people. Bad conditions are the soil in which communism thrives.

In other words, the proposition is that communism in Australia is the product of bad conditions. If that is so, I put two questions to honorable members opposite. One is this: How is it that communism is most active and vitriolic and so successful in the coal mines in which the best conditions and highest wages obtain?

Mr Conelan:

– What does the right honorable gentleman mean by best conditions?


– The honorable member knows that if at one end we take a first-class colliery on the Maitland field like the John Darling colliery and at the other end look at a mine like the Wonthaggi’ mine in Victoria, in which there is a miserable seam of coal and conditions of mining are most difficult, we find at the John Darling colliery, under first-class conditions and with a wonderful seam of coal, hours which cannot be regarded as excessive and wages which, as the honorable member knows, are far beyond the wages earned by the ordinary skilled worker in many other industries.

Mr Conelan:

– Why should they not be paid good wages?


– I am not arguing about, their wages; I merely recite the fact. The fact is that in that mine the wages of miners employed at the coal face range up to £4 12s. a shift, the lowest being £3. It cannot be said that such a wage level, and conditions of the kind that exist there, represent the bad conditions which produce communism. Yet, the agents of communism, which, so far from being the product of bad conditions, aims to be their cause - which is a very different matter - come to this very place and say, “ Here is where we start our activities “. They are immeasurably more active in the good coal mines than in the bad ones. When they read in the newspapers that communism is the product of evil conditions, they must smile, because they are devoting the whole of their energies to getting rid of good conditions wherever they find them because their objective is misery and despair, a state of mind in which people will be ready to absorb revolutionary ideas. “ Common sense about communism “ this advertisement is called! I believe that there is a positive approach to this problem, not that which is merely a process of putting one’s head in the sand. I divide the approach into two parts. First, inside the trade unions, I believe that this Parliament has a duty, which I hope it will perform, to restore complete industrial democracy by placing control of the unions in the hands of their rank-and-file members, and not in those of a few people who, having gained power by one means or other, presume to exercise it at their own sweet will. What sort of democracy would there be politically in this country if every individual adult did not have the right to record his or her vote at a secret ballot? 1 hope that nobody will suggest that we should go back to the bad old days when there was no secret ballot and people were stood over when recording their votes.

Mr Sheehy:

– Such a suggestion would not come from the party on this side of the House.


– I hope not. Honorable members opposite are now hearing from this side of the House a proposal that they should apply the same idea of democracy to the trade unions. My friend, the honorable member for Boothby (Mr. Sheehy), knows that that is a great and powerful answer to irresponsible Communist activity. Under such a system no longer would it be possible for n handful of Communists - and they are necessarily a handful because there is no union in Australia that does not contain a clear majority of those opposed to communism - to call meetings at odd times when it is thought that loyal trade unionists can not be present. The answer to this problem is to restore something which is vital to this country. Just as the trade unions are vital to Australia so democratic control of the trade unions by their members is vital. There is only one method of democratic control worth talking about and that is control by vote in a secret ballot. I believe that if parliaments, wherever they exist, were to adopt that method, so that it became universal, and if we were not limited to our constitutional function of dealing only with interstate disputes, the Communist who to-day is the king pin in some of the key unions in Australia would more and more be put back in his place. We should then have moderately led unions and sober decisions by them. We should then get rid of a whole lot of the stupid and criminal stoppages and the country would have immeasurably better production.

Outside the unions we should recognize treason for what it is. Does any one doubt that the true Australian Communist is treasonable? Can any one doubt that the true Australian Communist - I do not mean that poor fish, the “ fellow traveller “, the fellow properly described as a “ rat-bag “ who bounces up and down around the fringes of meetings, but the true Communist - owes allegiance to the Soviet Union? I gather that the Sydney Trades Hall Council has no doubt on that matter, because it recently so declared in a very notable resolution. Although responsible people are coming more and more to realize that communism is treason, the Government invariably says “ No. Do not worry about that. All you have to do is to raise wage levels, shorten hours or perform some other industrial movement, and all of a sudden these wretched traitors will become loyal citizens and your troubles will be at an end.”

Before I conclude I want to bring that argument a little nearer home. Wherever one goes in Australia up to that point one meets with a great deal of agreement, but at that point some one is hound to say, “ The true protection against communism is a strong socialist party I -want, with my usual restraint, to speak in mild terms on this matter, but I say that that argument is utter trash. As a matter of fact the socialist movement in Australia has for too long got away with the piece of humbug that it is really opposed to communism. A little careful analysis will show clearly how untrue that suggestion is. Only last year the British Labour party republished a centenary volume of the Communist manifesto of Marx and Engels. It. has the honour of containing a foreword by Professor H. J. Laski, who recently resented being told that he was of Communist tendencies, and brought a libel action with deplorable lack of success. In the foreword by the Labour party the opening sentence roads -

In presenting this centenary volume of the Communist manifesto, with the valuable historical introduction by Professor Laski, the Labour party acknowledges its indebtedness to Marx and Engels as two of the men who have been the inspiration of the whole working class movement.

Of course, they have no connexion with the fellow next door in Australia ! Across the seas the Labour party changes into something altogether different. In Australia the Labour Government says, “ Leave it to the socialists to clean up the Communists “. Let me ask the socialists in this House and wherever socialists may be found, “What are the Communists aiming at?”. That, surely, must be worth a little thought. What are they after? Do not assume that the Communist leaders in Australia are fools. Do not assume that the Communist leaders in the world are fools. It is a great mistake to think that the man you are fighting is a fool. Let us assume, as we should, that these men have some intelligent conception in their minds of what Communists are aiming at. Exlension of time granted.^ What are they aiming at? Let me, in a few minutes, endeavour to answer that question. Are they aiming at mere disorder? If they are aiming at mere disorder, then their movement is admittedly a criminal movement. Any movement that sets out to create disorder in an orderly community accustomed to the rule of law is a criminal movement. I do not care whether there is anything about it in the Crimes Act; it is criminal if that is its objective. If the Government believes that that is the objective of the Communist party, it has no shadow of an excuse for not dealing with communism as a criminal movement. Somebody may say “ No, they are aiming at something more than that “, so let us have a second shot at answering the question. Are the Communists aiming at some state such as Russia in which a ruthless minority holds absolute power? Are they aiming at a minority government established and maintained by force? If they are, again they are a criminal movement, because that result cannot be achieved without overthrowing the entire parliamentary system in this country, and abolishing universal franchise. Those things cannot be overthrown without revolution, and I mean revolution with bloodshed. Ls that what the Communists are aiming at, because that is a definition of civil war; and a movement that aims at civil war is a criminal movement. What possible third answer is there to the question?

Although I have thought about the matter considerably, I cannot find any further answer other than that in the long run the Communists are aiming to establish a socialist state. Honorable members opposite may retort, “But our methods are different “. Parliamentary socialists in Australia say, “ Yes, our method is the method of orderly progression through acts of Parliament, supported by a majority of the people. We aim by constitutional means to produce the socialist state “. It will be the same socialist state as that which the Communists aim to produce, although admittedly it will be produced less violently. But what is the difference in the ultimate objective? Honorable members opposite may have their choice on this matter. Once it is established that the socialist state, with the Government as the universal master, is the objective of both parties, and it is retorted that the methods of the parties are fundamentally different I say, “ All right, what is the difference ? Your methods are peaceful and theirs are violent. What government, so believing, can stand quietly by and permit as a lawful movement in this country, a party which it admits is designed to use violence to achieve its ends ? “ A simple examination of this problem, I venture to say, makes these things abundantly clear, and makes it equally abundantly clear that just as we should establish industrial democracy in the unions, so we should treat a treasonable and criminal movement outside the unions as a treasonable and criminal movement and an enemy of this country, because, in the long run, we must put the Communists down or they shall destroy us.


.- The House is discussing a paper on Australia’s manufacturing economy presented by the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction (Mr. Dedman). The debate gives honorable members an opportunity to discuss broadly the expansion of our manufacturing industries, our methods of production, the causes of the alleged underproduction, and, in the still wider sphere entered by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies) the causes of and remedies for communism. I propose to say a few words about some matters mentioned by the Leader of the Opposition and certain other speakers.. I am- on common ground with the right honorable- gentleman on the necessity for adequate production! of coal if the industries of’ this country are to be Coal is basic; to our economy, and upon the quantity of coal produced and its transport to many parts of the Commonwealth,, depend various other industries which are vital to- om- economic existence. I believe;,, therefore-, that coal production must be kept- at the maximum. A. couple- of years ago, I attended a coal conference convened, by the International Labour Organization at Geneva. At that meeting I sat with representatives- of other coal-producing nations-, and heard them discuss their problems. I might have been talking to a group of fellow Australians. I soon learned that co&l- mining problems were not confined to this country, but were common to- all coalproducing countries. Reference was made, for. instance, to- a shortage of man-power, mistrust between employers and employees, and lack of mechanized equipment. Clearly, throughout the world under-production in the coal mines was causing industrial dislocation. That problem has not yet been solved. Industrial output in most parts of the. world, is hampered by a lack of coal, and the problems which beset coal production in this country are to be found in all other coal-producing lands. Particularly inEurope, heavy demands are being mad© upon industries to overtake existing shortages of various commodities. Production figures of pre-war years have to be considerably exceeded to meet changed’ world conditions. I emphasize therefore that coal-mining problems are not confined to this country, but are shared by all nations in which this vital commodity is, produced.

The Leader of the Opposition has referred to the part played by Communists in hindering production by causing strikes in the coal mines at crucial periods. I agree with the right honorable gentleman that the Communists are responsible for many unnecessary stoppages in the coalmining industry which bring misery and privation to the working people of Australia. I hold no brief for any person who supports communism. All members of the- Australian Labour party recognize the growth of communism as the real menace to tha working people; At- the same time, the. Government and. the members, of out pasty have: at least a common policy on how communism is to be stopped. I reiterate the view already expressed that communism-, has grown out of the conditions that existed in- Australia in those tragic years prior to She prosperity that we- enjoy to>-day.


– Under the Menzies Government !


– They existed under all anti-Labour governments^ whose, policy resulted in queues of people looking for work. Blame for the growth of communism must be laid at their door. This Government believes that. by improving the conditions of the workers, by creating better conditions generally, and by bringing prosperity to people in all walks of life, it will be able to destroy for ever the. evils of communism and the hopes- of those people who. would, foist it upon us. We on this side- have; a common policy. We believe that we have gone a long way along the road towards the achievement of our objectives. The Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley) has given to- the people a. clear and- definite indication of the fact that we are in- no- way supporters of communism, that we are viciously opposed to it and that we represent, as a party, the only opposition worth mentioning to the growth of communism. But what do we find on the other side? We find that the Opposition parties, have a dozen different methods of stamping out communism. The Leader of the- Opposition said that the Communist party was a criminal organization, that his party recognized communism as a treasonable movement and that Communists would be treated as traitors. He implied that the Communist party would be banned by his party if it were returned to power. He has stated several times publicly recently that if he were returned as Prime Minister, the Communist party would be banned. But what does the Liberal Premier of Victoria, Mr. Hollway, say? He is a member of the same party and has signed the same pledge of loyalty to Liberal principles. Has he banned the Communist party? No! He has appointed a royal commission. The Leader of the Opposition says that theCommunist party is a treasonable- organization. Mr. Hollway is of the same political ilk as the leader of the Opposition. He leads a government with all the sovereign power necessary to ban the Communist party: Yet he has not banned it. All he has doneis to appoint a royal commission. The results are known to-day. He agrees with a Communist renegade inthe person of a man named Sharpley. The Sunday Telegraph of the 24th April reported Mr. Hollway as having said -

I am inclined to agree with Mr. Sharpley in his published article in the Melbourne Herald that immediate and outright banning of the Communist party would not have all the desirable consequences most people would expect of it.

Fancy that ! One would never think that he was in the same party as the Leader of the Opposition. He added -

The banning of the Communist party was only a short-term answer to communism.

What a pity that the Leader of the Opposition does not read Mr. Hollway’s statement! Mr. Hollway added - and this is interesting -

As a long-term plan you must eliminate the social conditions which provide a breeding ground for communism.

The Victorian Government has been carrying out its policy of fighting communism by improving living conditions during the past two years of its period in office.

On the Victorian side of the border, we find Liberal recognition of the fact that this Government is facing the problem by removing the conditions that have brought communism about and for which honorable members who support the parties opposite are in the main responsible. We are criticized for our lack of action in endeavouring to stop the growth of communism in Australia. I speak from memory when I quote Mr. McDonald, leader of the Victorian Country party, as having said -

At least the Chifley Government is prosecuting for seditious utterances members of the Communist party, which is more than the Hollway Government is doing in Victoria.

It is more than Liberal leaders in the States where Liberal governments rule are doing. The Playford Government in South Australia and the Liberal Government in Western Australia have not taken any action to carry out the announced policy of the Liberal party to ban the Communist organization. As a government, we say that the utterances of the Leader of the Opposition are mere electioneering catchcries, are not honest andlack sincerity, and that the people cannot expect him to carry out the policy, because the Liberal Premiers have not supported him in any shape or form and are applying an entirely different policy.

Mr Bowden:

– The State cannot do it.


-The State cannot do it? The honorable member for Gippsland (Mr. Bowden) said that the State could do anything, in the matter of prices control. We were told that the States were better organized than was the Commonwealth and were closer to the problem and that only they could do the job efficiently and well. The honorable member for Gippsland ran all round Victoria saying that. Yet, to-night, he says that communism is not a State problem. He is trying to dodge the issue. The Australian Country party has enough issues, to dodge already without trying to dodge that one. We realize the part that the Communists play in Australia in stopping necessary production and in denying to the people the necessaries and amenities of life. This Government is facing the problem. We are fighting communism in the places where it really matters - the trade unions, the workshops, and in this Parliament - on the issues that really matter by improving the living conditions of the people. Australians need to bear well in mind the half-hearted attempts of the Liberal State Premiers in dealing with the Communist party. Let the people compare the statements of Mr. Hollway and other Liberal. Premiers with those made by the Leader of the Opposition, and they will be able to judge for themselves what action they can expect from the Liberal party with its dozen different policies on this issue.

The honorable member for Deakin (Mr. Hutchinson) said that we had built up in this country manufacturing industries to the detriment of our primary industries. He would have us believe that we should have only primary production in Australia. He is one of those honorable members of the Opposition who in days gone by were prepared to send all our raw materials out of Australia for manufacture in other countries and then buy back the manufactured products. We believe that we should manufacture in Australia, employing Australian workmen, everything that it is possible to manufacture here. That policy was commenced by the Scullin Government to which the people of Australia owe an undying debt of gratitude. That Government laid the foundations on which Australian secondary industries have been developed. Before the war, the establishment of secondary industries was seriously neglected, but, with the outbreak of war, Great Britain was unable, because of its vast commitments, to provide us with a great many of the necessities with which to prosecute the war, and we were thrown on our own resources and had to manufacture for ourselves our own war needs. So, with the outbreak of war, we had to establish munitions factories and the like, and we saw a remarkable growth of secondary industry in Australia, which has carried on into the post-war years, as is shown in the statement of the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction. [ agree with most people that it is impossible to expect the primary industries of Australia to maintain the employable population for an unlimited period. Before the war, the people were mainly dependent on the primary industries for employment. Many thousands of people in all walks of life, anxious and willing to learn a trade, were unable to find the neCessary employment to do so. That position has changed and, with the growth of those industries, employment in that field has increased by about 500,000 persons during the past ten years. The honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Thompson) spoke of the expansion that has occurred in South Australia, and honorable members from other States know that similar remarkable development has occurred elsewhere throughout Australia. We cannot but be impressed with the great industrial potentialities of Australia and with the opportunities that have been created for the exploitation of those potentialities by the progressive efforts of this Government. We have been told by honorable members opposite that man-hour production is inadequate, that our methods are bad and that the Government has done nothing to improve industries. It is a remarkable fact that, despite their bitter criticism, industrialists have come to Australia in hundreds with the object of establishing industries here. The Daily Mirror of the 6th February, 1948, reported the activities of overseas industrialists in Australia under these headings - “Rush for Factories: Thirty British Agents Here: New Plants Established.*’ The article stated -

More than thirty representatives of British manufacturing firms were in Australia at present surveying opportunities for the establishment of factories, the Premier (Mr. McGirr) said to-day.

High praise for Australia was expressed by Mr. L. Hartnett, a leading Australian industrialist, whose remarks should interest the honorable member for Henty (Mr. Gullett). Mr. Hartnett must be well known to the honorable member, at least by reputation, and I am sure that he will agree that Mr. Hartnett’s political views are not predominantly socialist. The Daily Mirror reported an interview with Mr. Hartnett upon his return from abroad recently in these terms -

With its abundance of food arid raw materials, vast untapped resources, and healthy climate. Australia is the best country in the world, according to Mr. L. Hartnett, a leading Australian industrialist. “ In the last seven months “, he said, “ 1 have visited twenty countries, and 1. say without any qualification that none is better off than Australia.”

Mr. Robert Butler, a former Ambassador to Australia from the United States of America, has also spoken in glowing terms of this country. I shall not quote his remarks to the honorable member for Henty, because I fear that these facts do not please him. However, after his return from Australia, Mr. Butler told the people of America of the great conditions in Australia and the wonderful opportunities that exist here for industrialists and others seeking to establish new businesses. The matters that I have discussed this evening are of extreme importance to Australians who depend upon manufacturing industries for their employment, their welfare and their living conditions. Although primary industries are of vital importance to us, we cannot neglect the wide field provided by the manufacturing industries for the employment of our people and the betterment of their standard of living. I commend the Minister for his speech. The paper has been well presented, it contains a wealth of information, and it is a tribute to the progressiveness of the Government in this very important national sphere.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Anthony) adjourned.

page 51


The following papers were presented : -

Aliens Deportation Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1949, No. 21.

Arbitration (Public Service) Act - Determinations by the Arbitrator, &c. - 1949 -

No. 25 - Amalgamated Postal Workers’ Union of Australia.

No. 26 - Hotel, Club, Restaurant and Caterers Employees’ Union of New South Wales and Federated Liquor and Allied Trades Employees’ Union of Australasia.

Bankruptcy Act - Twentieth Annual Report by Attorney-General, for year ended 31st July, 1948.

Commonwealth Bank Act - Appointment - J. F. Symonds.

Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act - Regulations- Statutory Rules 1949, No. 20.

Commonwealth Public Service Act - Appointments - Department -

Attorney-General - R. H. Bird, J. P.


Defence - E. W. Battersbey, A. P. Crow. A. W. McCasker, R. R. Shearer.

External Affairs - P. G. Law.

Interior -J. Boyle, J. J. S. Clifford, K. R. Morgan, B. C. Perrers, J. M. Stack.

Parliamentary Library - A. T. Dix. D. I. Gilfedder, M. G. Williams.

Post-war Reconstruction - K. H. Herde, J. J. Pratt.

Repatriation - N. U. Denniss.

Trade and Customs - D. D. Simpson-Lee, F. Woodlock.

Treasury - J. T. Bennett. J. F. Deall, C. A. Fletcher, F.J. Mobbs, C. E.H. Rich.

Works and Housing - B. H. Buddie. R. W. Cameron, C. Clarke, , J. J. W. Gray, J. H. Raves.

Customs Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1949, Nos. 16, 17, 18.

Defence (Transitional Provisions) Act -

National Security (Industrial Property) Regulations - Orders - Inventions and designs (67).

National Security (War Damage to Property) Regulations - War Damage Commission - Report for period 1st January, 1948, to 30th September, 1948.

Regulations - Statutory Rules 1949, Nos. 14, 15.

Lands Acquisition Act - Land acquired for -

Defence purposes -

Garbutt, Queensland.

Mount Gravatt, Queensland.

Mount Louisa, Queensland.

Newington, New South Wales.

Nowra, New South Wales.

Port Melbourne, Victoria.

Department of Civil Aviation purposes -

Coff’s Harbour, New South Wales.

Craigieburn, Victoria.

Essendon, Victoria.

Guildford, Western Australia.

Mangalore West, Victoria.

Narromine, New South Wales.

Port Hedland, Western Australia.

Townsville, Queensland.

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

Department of the Interior purposes -

Alice Springs, Northern Territory.

Carnarvon, Western Australia.

Kalgoorlie, Western Australia.

Department of Trade and Customs purposes - Glen Davis, New South Wales.

Postal purposes -

Adelaide, South Australia.

Armidale, New South Wales.

Auburn, New South Wales.

Balaklava, South Australia.

Belmont, Victoria.

Berri, South Australia.

Boddington, Western Australia.

Booval, Queensland.

Bunbury, Western Australia.

Capella, Queensland.

Chelsea, Victoria.

Childers, Queensland.

Deniliquin, New South Wales.

Essendon West, Victoria.

Footscray, Victoria.

Hawker, South Australia.

Hobart, Tasmania.

Inman Valley, South Australia.

Ipswich. Queensland.

Katoomba, New South Wales.

Kedron, Queensland.

Keyneton, South Australia.

Lake Clarendon, Queensland.

Lutwyche, Queensland.

Maclean, New South Wales.

Marleston, South Australia.

Meadow Flat, New South Wales.

Mermaid Beach, Queensland.

Molong. New South Wales.

Montville, Queensland.

Morawa. Western Australia.

Mount Alford, Queensland.

Mount Compass, South Australia.

Myponga, South Australia.

Narrogin, Western Australia.

Research, Victoria.

Revesby, New South Wales.

Rivervale, Western Australia.

Salisbury, South Australia.

Scarborough Beach, Western Australia.

South Kilkerran, South Australia.

St. Marys, Tasmania.

Thirroul, New South Wales.

Toowoomba, Queensland.

Traralgon, Victoria.

Wellington Point, Queensland.

Werribee, Victoria.

Wirrulla, South Australia.

Yealering, Western Australia.

Repatriation Commission purposes - Hobart, Tasmania.

Life Insurance Act - Third Annual Report of the Insurance Commissioner, for year ended31st December, 1948.

Nationality Act-Return for 1948.

Northern Territory Acceptance Act and Northern Territory (Administration) Act-

Ordinances -


No. 1 - Apprentices.

No. 4 - Public Service.

No. 5 - Buildings and Services.

No. 7 - Interpretation.

No. 10 - Marine.


No. 1 - Police Arbitral Tribunal.

No. 2 - Crown Lands.

Regulations - 1949 -

No. 1 (Plant Diseases Ordinance).

No. 2 (Licensing Ordinance).

No. 3 (Crown Lands Ordinance).

Papua-New Guinea Provisional Administration Act - Ordinances - 1949 -

No. 2 - Superannuation.

No. 3 - Explosives (New Guinea).

Post and Telegraph Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1949, No. 19.

Services Trust Funds Act - Services Canteens Trust Fund - Report for year 1947- 48.

Stevedoring Industry Act - Orders - 1949. Nos. 4-8.

War Service Homes Act - Land acquired at -

Coorparoo, Queensland.

Findon West, South Australia.

Miranda, New South Wales.

House adjourned at 10.4 p.m.

page 52


The following answers to questions were circulated: -


Mr Anthony:

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

  1. What acreage of ramie is under cultivation in Australia?
  2. In what districts isit located?
  3. What is the annual production in tons (a) for use in Australia and (b) for export?
  4. Hasa large sum of money been made available by the Commonwealth Government toa Mr. Wise for the purpose of developing a process connected with ramie fibre?
  5. How much has been paid to Mr. Wise or to the company with which he is associated?
  6. What is the name of that company?
  7. What is its subscribed capital and who are its directors?
  8. On whose recommendation was the money referred to, paid to, Mr. Wise or his company?
  9. Did the Council for Scient fic and Industrial Research analyse and investigate the Wis e process, and did it recommend the payment; if so, what are the names of the council’s officers who recommended the payment?
  10. In what manner has the money been expended (a) in planting ramie, (b) in machinery and (c) in other ways?
    1. Has the department checked or audited the expenditure of this money. If so, what is the nature of such check or audit? 12. (a) Is the Mr. Wise referred to identical with a Mr. Michael Wise, who is or was part proprietor of a frock salon in King-street. Sydney, known as “Bruton”; (b) in what business is Mr. Wise engaged now?
  11. What were Mr. Wise’s credentials in respect ofthe growingorprocessingoframie?
Mr Pollard:

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

  1. In pursuance of an agreement made in 1946 between representatives of the Commonwealth Government, the Government of New South Wales and Mr. M. M. Wire, experimental plantings of 150 acres to ramie were made in a number of areas as an initial step towards meeting the shortage of fibres in Australia. For various reasons, most of the experimental areas proved unsatisfactory. The agreement was terminated and at present . I understand only about 21 acres are planted to ramie by private interests, while the New South Wales and Queensland Departments of Agriculture have small experimental areas under test.
  2. The Lismore district of New South Wales.
  3. The 1947-48 production was approximately 28 tons of green steins, which yielded1½ tons of fibre, which is at present undergoing scientific tests.
  4. The Commonwealth Government made available a sum of £5,000 under the abovementioned agreement to test the economic possibilities of the development of a ramie industry in Australia.
  5. An amount of £4,816 13s. 4d. was expended from the Commonwealth grant. With the exception of £289, this amount was paid to Mr. Wise to meet expenditure incurred in relation to the experimental programme. 6 and 7. The agreement was made with Mr. Wise.
  6. Payments to Mr. Wise were effected after receipts had been checked against expenditure by an officer of my department in respect of services connected with the performance of obligations under the agreement.
  7. It was not a function of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research to recommend payments under the agreement. The merit of the Wise process could only be determined after the actual production of ramie. The council is at present conducting the necessary tests. 10. (a) Rental of land, cultivation and harvesting £2,949 12s. 4d.(b) Nil. Certain Commonwealthmachinery on hand after the termination of war-time machinery pools was madeavailable forthe purposesofthe experiment and reverted to the Commonwealthon the termination of the aforementioned agreement. (c) Fuel, transport, freight, road construction, processing costs, root stocks and legal expenses £1,8701s.
  8. Yes. See answer to No. 8.
  9. The private business interests ofMr. Wise are not known to me.
  10. Mr. Wise invented the “ Wise process “ for . the degumming and decortication of ramie. The process holds world-wide patent rights and has created considerable interest in overseas countries. The actual production of the ramie came under the supervision of qualified agricultural advisers.

Civil Aviation : Trans-Australia Airlines.

Mr Falkinder:

r asked the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice -

  1. What sum of dollars has been made available to Trans-Australia Airlines for the purchase of new American aircraft in the last two years ?
  2. What sum of dollars has beenmade available to Australian National Airways Proprietary Limited over the same period for the purchase of new American aircraft?
Mr Drakeford:

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : - 1.During the two years immediately preceding11th March, 1940, the sum of1,263,290 dollars was made available to Trans-Australia Airlinesfor the payment of thebalance of the purchase price of five new AmericanConvair 240 aircraft.

  1. ‘No dollars were made available to this company to cover the purchase of new American aircraft during the two years concerned.
Mr Archie Cameron:

n asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -

  1. Has theGovernment decided to introduce into its own factories and works a system of incentive payments?
  2. If so, when will it commence, and what will be the main features?
Mr Chifley:

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

Most of the work undertaken in government factories at the present time does not lend itself to the introduction of a system of incentive payments. However, where and when circumstances appear to warrant the intro duction of incentive payments, furtherconsideration will be givento the question ofthe introductionofsuchasystem.

Mr McDonald:

ldasked the Minister for Labourand National Service, upon notice-

  1. In view ofthe fullemploymentof all man-powerresourcesin Australia to-day, what justification is there for theretentionof the Conrmonwealth Employment Service?
  2. What isthe total number of persons employedinthis service in each State?
  3. What was the totalcost per State of theservice for the past twelvemonths? 4.How manyreal jobs have been found by the service in each of the States over the same period?
  4. What isthetotal officespace occupied in each State bythe service and the costof such office accommodation ?
  5. In view of the high level of employment, will this organization be disbanded allowing theCommonwealth public servants so employed tobe absorbed in moreurgent work and the return of officespace tothose in private life urgently requiring it?

page 53


Mr Holloway:

– Theanswers tothe honorable member’s questions are as follows : -

  1. . The Re-establishment andEmployment Act 1945 declares in section 47that there shall be aCommonwealthEmployment Service with the broad functions of providing facilities forthe benefit of persons seeking to become employed, to change employment, orto engage labour and to assist inbringing about and maintaining a high and stable level of employment and with the specific functions mentioned insection 48. The Commonwealth Employment Service is, therefore, an instrument of the willof the Commonwealth Parliament. Moreover, the Commonwealth has supported a number of international instruments under the United Nations and the International Labour Organization proclaiming the importance of maintaining full employment and effective government national employment services for the discharge of the functions referred to above. The Commonwealth Employment Service is an essential part of the Government’s plans for maintaining full employment providing, e.g. the means for obtaining and furnishing vital data about the labour market of relevance to the proposed establishment of new enterprises and use of the national works reserve and other economic stabilising instruments and for handling the labour transfers involved. That there is full employment in Australia, is, in one sense, a tribute to the effectiveness of the service. Under the conditions of full employment, the most effective ultilization of the aptitude, skills and abilities of all workers is of paramount importance and a skilled employment service can contribute to this by guiding workers using it to the jobswhere their aptitudes, &c, may be used to the full. In this connexion, particular reference is made to the vocational guidance service for young people first entering the labour market, and to the facilities for placement of the physically handicapped, including many reclaimed from pensions receipt. The Commonwealth Employment Service also continues to handle the employment rehabilitation of ex-service personnel and the placement of Commonwealth reconstruction training scheme trainees. The Commonwealth Employment Service arranges the placement of migrants and displaced persons entering the Commonwealth, canvassing employers within the approved range of employment for vacancies, checking accommodation availability and conditions of employment offered, and conducting a limited followup to facilitate displaced persons’ assimilation in the community. The Commonwealth Employment Service is the natural concomitant of the unemployment benefit scheme. It applies the works test to claimants for unemployment benefit and undertakes in many of its offices a considerable part of the administration of the unemployment and sickness benefit scheme. It also acts as aorent for the Repatriation Commission and performs various services for other Commonwealth departments which have no decentralized chain of local offices. If there had been no Commonwealth Employment Service, some such agency would have had to be established for the foregoing purposes alone.
  2. State (figures as at the 9th March 1949) -

The foregoing excludes capital expenditure on premises and equipment which probably did not exceed £15,000. details of which cannot be supplied except at considerable cost of time and effort.

Employment Service. The distribution by States is as follows: -


Commonwealth Meteorological Bureau : Broadcasting of Warnings

Mr Davidson:

n asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice -

  1. Will he cause an examination to be made of the methods used by the Commonwealth Meteorological Bureau in broadcasting warnings of cyclonic disturbances, with particular reference to the recent cyclone at Gladstone and Rockhampton?
  2. Will he ensure that future warnings are issued in time to be of value to residents affected, shipping and aircraft?
  3. Will he arrange for future broadcasts to be couched in less technical language more readily understandable by the average citizen?
  4. Will he have examined comments contained in a leading article in a Rockhampton newspaper on the 8th March concerning the broadcasting of certain weather information by the Australian Broadcasting Commission, and furnish a reply to the comments therein?
Mr Johnson:
Minister for the Interior · KALGOORLIE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · ALP

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

  1. An examination has been made of the development of the cyclone which occurred in the Gladstone and adjacent districts in Queensland recently and of the methods of broadcasting warnings. The cyclone reached its greatest intensity at Gladstone about midday on Wednesday, the 2nd March. The first preliminary warning was issued by the Brisbane Meteorological Branch on Saturday, the 26th February. The first cyclone warning was issued at 10.30 a.m. on Sunday, the 27th February, and was furnished to all broadcasting stations, postal radio stations, port authorities and storm warning stations. Subsequent advices were issued at 4 p.m.,9.30 p.m., 7 a.m. and 10 a.m. daily until the storm passed. Ample warning was given, accordingly, of the approach of the cyclone. The warnings referred particularly to the coastal areas south of Rockhampton as being the part likely to be most severely affected.

    1. It is not possible in storms of this nature to state which particular locality within the broader area being affected will experience the most severe conditions. All localities and interests should take whatever steps are practicable for safety.
    2. The use of some technical terms is usually desirable for the benefit of those who understand them, but all warnings are normally phrased to give a clear statement. Instructions will be issued to ensure that the wording of the warnings will always be in the simplest possible terms to be readily understood by all hearers and users.
    3. An examination of the comments contained in the leading article in the Rockhampton newspaper on the 8th March, 1949, has shown that the criticism of the services supplied was not well founded on major pointsof service. The warnings issued from the Brisbane Meteorological Bureau commenced three days before the cyclone reached the coast and were issued approximately every six hours until the storm passed. Each warning gave the latest position of the cyclone, also Its direction as accurately as it is possible to so do. The warnings were thus made well in advance and were comprehensive, frequent and thorough. They were announced by all broadcasting stations us soon as possible after receipt. They were also transmitted to coastal radio stations, shipping interests, and to all major coastal points likely to be affected. The broadcasting stations gave very good coverage of the cyclone, especially on the clay prior to that on which the storm centre reached the coast. The examination indicates, however, that improvements in certain details could be effected. One such direction is to arrange for separate advices to shipping and land stations. Arrangements are being made for the advices to land stations to omit references to latitude, longitude and millibars and to omit also technical terms as far as. practicable. With reference to the departure of an aircraft for Brisbane at6 a.m. on the 2nd March, the consideration by the responsible forecasting officer that the cyclone had not approached nearer the coast since the previous evening led him to anticipate considerably less severe winds than were actually experienced immediately to the south of Rockhampton: conditions at the destination were not extremely difficult. The necessary action is being taken to obviate a repetition of the weakness in this particular aviation forecast. The red pennant, although not complete in itself, is regarded as a useful additional means of warning, and its continuance is considered advisable. In regard to the availability of a baragraph at Rockhampton, such an instrument is on view at the harbourmaster’s office. It is considered, in regard to the major points raised, that the warnings to the areas concerned were timely and accurate, and that the methods of distribution were very comprehensive.

Auditor-Gene ral’s Report.

Mr Lang:

g asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -

Will he consider the appointment by this Parliament of a special standing committee to consider the recommendations contained in the annual report of the Auditor-General with particular reference to (a) the reestablishment of the Parliamentary Committee of Public Accounts; (b) the review of the Audit Act to provide access to all revenue accounts, including income tax papers; (c) aircraft manufacturing contracts; (d) disposal of property purchased from United States forces in Australia, and such other matters designated by the Auditor-General as warranting further investigation by a committee of this Parliament.

Mr Chifley:

– The five items mentioned by the honorable member and other matters on which the AuditorGeneral has commented in his report have received or are receiving individual attention by the Government.


Mr Fadden:

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

  1. Has his attention been drawn to a statement by Mr. F. J. Armstrong, a member of the Queensland Wheat Board and the Queensland representative on the Australian Wheat Board, that hundreds of tractor orders, signed before the Peak Downs sorghum scheme was decided upon, were still unfulfilled?
  2. If so, will he communicate with the Queensland Government seeking a reply to this statement?
  3. Will he ascertain the number, make and horse-power of tractors supplied to Peak Downs from dollar and sterling areas respectively, and the number, size and make of cultivators, drills or combines supplied to the Food Corporation?
Mr Pollard:

– The answers to the right honorable gentleman’s questions are as follows: - 1.I have not seen the statement referred to. 2 and 3. The Queensland Government is responsible for the internal distribution of trac tors available to the State of Queensland, andI suggest that the information be sought directly from the responsible Queensland Minister.

American Comic Strips

Mr Bernard Corser:

r asked the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -

  1. On what specific information did he base his statement that the majority of foreign syndicate strips appearing in the Australian press are re-drawn here?
  2. In view of the statement of the authors and artists’ section of the Australian Journalists Association, that original imported foreign strips are sold and used in Australia, what action does he intend to take to ensure that employment of Australian artists and exservicemen who are being trained as black and white artists under the post-war reconstruction training scheme, is not jeopardized?
Mr Pollard:

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

  1. Evidence obtained during an inquiry conducted by the Department of Trade and Customs in 1943 to ascertain how newspapers were able to continue to publish overseas comic strips in view of the embargo on importation, disclosed that in many cases Australian artists re-draw these strips for publication in local newspapers. More recent inquiries have disclosed that the practice is still in operation. Similar evidence was also given at the Tariff Board inquiry into the publishing industry in 1946.

    1. This is now a matter for the Publishing Industry Committee which has been established by the Government with the view of ascertaining how best Australian authors and artists can be assisted.

Reparations: Burma-Siam Railway

Mr Harrison:

n asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -

  1. Will the Government press Australia’s claim for portion of the proceeds of the sale of the Burma-Siam railway when the question of disposing of the general Japanese reparations pool arises?
  2. Will it make any amount received available for the benefit of Australian soldiers who helped to build it, and to the dependants of those who lost their lives in building the railway?
Mr Chifley:

– The answer to the honorable member’s questions is as follows : -

No assessment has yet been made of Japan’s total reparations liability nor of the proportions of the Japanese reparations pool to be allocated to recipient countries. However, the claims of Australian soldiers who helped to build the Burma-Siam railway and of the dependants of those who lost their lives in building it, will be borne in mind when the question of reparations from Japan is discussed at the Japanese Peace Conference.


Mr Francis:

s asked the Minister representing the Minister for Health, upon notice -

  1. In view of the recent deaths of several’ Australian citizens from smallpox contracted during a voyage from Australia to England, what action is being taken to prevent the introduction of smallpox into Australia by passengers on shipboard and passengers arriving by aircraft?
  2. What immediate measures could be taken to vaccinate the population of Australia in the event of an outbreak of the disease in this country ?
  3. Is production of a certificate of vaccination required before a passport is issued in Australia to an Australian going abroad; if not, why not?

– The Minister for Health has supplied the following information : -

  1. All passengers are examined by doctors of the Quarantine Service on arrival and are required to give the address to which they are proceeding. All passengers by air are required to have been vaccinated within three years and more than twelve days.
  2. There is sufficient lymph available to cope with the greatest possible emergency. The recent amendments to the Quarantine Act give the Government power to proclaim any area in which an outbreak occurs and to take such action as is necessary to control and eradicate the epidemic and this would include compulsory vaccination and isolation.
  3. No certificate of vaccination is required by an Australian going abroad before a passport is issued. The accepted international arrangement is that each nation makes laws for people entering its territory. The only remaining reason therefore why Australians going abroad should be compulsorily vaccinated would be to protect the travellers themselves. Many Australians, however, go to places where there is no smallpox and therefore compulsory vaccination would not bo justified. In addition, a number has conscientious objections to vaccination under any circumstances.


Mr Chifley:

y. - On the 15th March, the honorable member for Bourke (Mrs. Blackburn) asked how much petrol rationing has cost the Commonwealth.

I now inform the honorable member as follows : -

For the financial years 1940 to 1948 and for the period 1st July, 1948, to 31st December, 1948, the cost was as follows: -

Flood Relief

Mr Chifley:

y. - On the 16th March, the honorable member for Richmond (Mr. Anthony) asked me the following questions, upon notice -

  1. Is the Commonwealth Government represented on a joint committee with the New South Wales Government for the alleviation of distress occasioned by the floods on the northern rivers of New South Wales in June. 1948?
  2. If so, who are the Commonwealth representatives on such committee?
  3. What money has the Commonwealth Government paid to such committee in respect of those floods?
  4. How much was distributed by such committee to flood sufferers on the Richmond and Tweed Rivers in the June, 1948, floods in the following categories: - (a) Townspeople, for the replenishment of furniture, effects, &c, giving the number of recipients; and (b) farmers, for replenishment of stock and plant, giving the number of recipients?

The following interim reply was furnished on the 16th March, 1949 : -

  1. Yes.
  2. Senator Amour.

  3. The Commonwealth Government has paid to the New South Wales State Treasury £7,500 of a £10,000 grant, made for the purpose of providing relief in cases of hardship occasioned by floods in the Northern Rivers of New South Wales in 1948. The Government of Now South Wales has also agreed to make a contribution for flood relief on a pound for pound basis with the Commonwealth.
  4. Information on this part of the question will be supplied to the honorable member as soon as possible.

Further in regard to part 4 of the honorable member’s questions, the position as at the 18th March, 1949, is shown in the following statement: -

  1. Assistance rendered to townspeople for the replenishment of furniture, effects, &c. - Number of recipients of grants, 225 ; amount provided by way of grant, £5,118 10s.
  2. Assistance rendered to farmers. - Number of recipients of grants, 110; amount provided by way of grant, £5,107.

In addition to the above, the amount expended from the funds made available by the Commonwealth and State Governments for assistance of a miscellaneous nature such as feeding and accommodating homeless people, supply of blankets, emergency feeding of marooned stock and payment of freight on fencing material amounted to £6,140 10s. The total expenditure has, therefore, been £16,426 and, while this figure may be subject to slight alteration when several recently received claims are finalized, it if unlikely that it will be materially changed. I would add that the flood relief committee has received numerous expressions of appreciation of the assistance rendered under this scheme.

Public Service.

Mr Chifley:

y. - On the 9 th March, the honorable member for Cook (Mr. Sheehan) asked a question regarding the conditions governing the appointment of female clerks to the Commonwealth Public Service. Further to my oral reply on that date, I now wish to state that the aim of the Public Service Board has been to adopt the same age limits as apply to males. Twenty years is the normal age for males - except ex-servicemen - based on the leaving certificate. Similarly, 25 years is prescribed in section 36a of the Commonwealth Public Service Act as the age limit for the entry of graduates.

Australia House.

Mr Chifley:

y. - On the 4th March, the honorable member for Swan (Mr. Hamilton) asked me a question regarding the number of employees in Australia House, London, the nature of the work upon which they are employed and the names of those in receipt of £500 or more per annum. Further to my interim reply on that date the following particulars are furnished for the information of the honorable member : -

The staff is engaged upon work involved in overseas representation, immigration, procurement of supplies, accounting, upkeep of buildings, &c.

Listof Persons Employed Receiving £500 Per Annum or More.

Central Office -

Administrative. - Mighell, N. R., Deputy High Commissioner; Duffy, V. C, First Assistant Secretary; McAteer, J. D., Assistant Secretary ; Brown, A. W., Administrative Officer (Stair) (matters appertaining to the staffs of the High Commissioner’s office) ; Maxwell, R., Intelligence Officer (Intelligence Section is the clearing house for official and other information) ; Stuart Smith, A. W., Chief Clerk (administrative,, hospitality, ceremonial) ; Stables, W. J., priority passages for Australians, shipping of brides, booking of air passages for officials; Houlden, T., Officer in charge Central Registry; Jones, H.G., Clerk (Legal) (handles inquiries from Australia and from local sources which call for legal knowledge).

Accounts. - Sprange, F. T., Assistant Secretary (Finance) ; Crook, E. A., Accountant; Martin, W. D., SubAccountant (inter-governmental finance problems including reparations) ; Mallett, L., Sub-Accountant (general accounts duties); Newton, F., Paying Officer; Smith, H. H., Migration Accounts Officer; Miller. A. C. Salaries Clerk; Goss. S., R.A.A.F. Accounts Officer: Moffat. H., Officer-in-Charge General Accounts: Harrison, F.G., Naval Accounts Officer: Cox, Miss F. N., Internal Auditor.

Controller. - Murray, F. A., Controller (upkeep and furnishing of Australia House and Canberra House).

Pensions. - Whitclaw, R. A., Pensions Officer: Peters, G. H., Pensions Paying Officer.

Sunplv and Shipment of Stores. - Reid. W., Chief Supply Officer: Murphy. E.. Assistant Chief Supply Officer; Chase. N. M., Shipping Officer: Harvey, W. E.. Officer-in-Charge Accounts and Publications; Holmes, A. R., Contracts Officer.

Departmental Representation -

Division of Aircraft Production. - Stevens. J. Hanford, Australian representative: Cannon, R. H. B., Beaufort Engineer; Crowshaw, J., Technical Assistant (liaison officer at A. V. Roe, Manchester) ; Palmer, F., Clerk in charge of office.

Australian Army Staff. - Woodward, E. W., Brigadier (Australian Army representative) ; Watchorn, B. B., LieutenantColonel (deputy Australian Army, representative) ; Vincent, D., LieutenantColonel (Staff Officer Signals); Gilchrist, T. L., Lieutenant-Colonel (Assistant Master General Ordnance); Trainor, T. G., Major (Deputy A.M.G.O.); Allen, G. S., Major (Deputy A.M.G.O.); Lowery, C. M., Major (Deputy A.M.G.O.); Tancred, P. L., Major (Deputy Assistant Adjutant and Q.M.G.); Fox, A. M., Captain (Staff Captain); Roberts, C. R., W.O.I. Regimental Sergeant Major; Ward, S.,

W.O J. Master Gunner; McDonald, S. G., W.O.I. Chief Clerk; Young, T. C, W.O. II. Clerk (Procurement of Supplies) ; Hoffmann, S. L., W.O. II. Clerk (Adjutant and Q.M.C. Branch) ; Tyrrell, G. C, Staff Sergeant (Pay Clerk); Bremner, R. S., Staff Sergeant (Clerk, Technical); Elliott, J., Sergeant (Company Quartermaster Sergeant) ; Johnson, H. W., Sergeant (Signals Clerk); Boyd,

  1. W., Private (Driver M/T) ; Hunt, J. E., Private (Driver M/T).

Auditor-General’s Office. - Darling, D., Audit Inspector, Grade 3; Quinton, H. W. D., Audit Inspector, Grade 1.

Civil Aviation. - Seymour, R. M., Civil Aviation Liaison Officer.

Customs. - Price, H. J., Customs representative; Canham, J. E., Investigation Officer; Clapson, H. A., Investigation Officer; Corley, T. F., Senior Clerk; Grundy, R. E., Textiles Officer.

Commonwealth Office of Education. - Smith, W. C. St. C., Australian representative; Fitzgerald, J. G., Assistant Education Officer.

Commonwealth Experimental Building Station. - Brown, W. P., Technical Officer.

External Affairs. - Heydon, P. R., Senior Counsellor ; Hill, B. C, ‘.! hird Secretary ; Rowland, J. R., Third Secretary.

Health.– Dowling, Dr. D. A., Chief Medical Officer.

Joint Services Staff. - Hewitt, J. E., Air Vice Marshal (Australian Defence representative) ; Armstrong, W. S., Air Commodore (technical officer) ; Barham, R. J., Colonel (assistant to Australian defence representative) ; Nurse, E. S., Captain (E) R.A.N. (Australian representative United Kingdom Ordnance Board) : Walton, J. K., Commander H.A.N. (Secretary, Joint Services Staff).

Immigration - -Lamidey, N. W., Chief Migration Officer; Smith. G. P.. Assistant Chief Migration Officer (Foreign Migration); Hedges, R. J.. Assistant Chief Migration Officer (British Migration); Beilby, II., Chief Selection Officer (Foreign Migration); Carlson, M. J., Chief Selection Officer (British Migration); Walpole. J., Cordy, G. F., Kiddle, W. G.. Dean, E. C. M.. Barnwell, W. H., Withers, A. J., Hawton, J. E., Douglas, E. J., Gamble, A. H.. Martyn, B. M., Waterman, C. L., Eddy, S. “j., Marris, W. J.. Humphries. J. G., and Casey, H. V., Selection Officers; Swinney Miss S. E., and Carter, Miss D. J., Selection Officers (Female) ; Lawrence, P. C.

  1. , Technical Adviser; Marsden, Dr. H. E., Medical Officer (assistant to Chief Medical Officer) ; Weston, R. G., Shipping Officer; Bickle, G. W. E., Clerk in charge Shipping Section; Roberts, E., Clerk in charge Records; Hooper, E. C, Approvals Officer, Selection and Approvals Section; Crouch, C. E.,

Second in charge Correspondence Section; Wilford, J. V., Approvals Officer, Selection and Approvals Section.

Munitions. - Coulson, W. H., Australian representative; Mappin, W. A., Engineer (liaison officer on engineering matters connected with armaments) ; Treharne E. D., Senior Chemist (investigations into new methods of instrumentation used in munitions research ) ; Cole, J. H., Metallurgist (Research regarding welding) ; Churcher, G. J., Engineer (liaison officer with Ministry of Supply on design of small arms ammunition) : Gardiner, A. T. S., Engineer (research regarding welding) : Barry, R. J., Engineer (liaison officer with Ministry of Supply on design of weapons) : Hodges, K. J., Deputy to Australian Munitions representative, liaison officer with filling factories: Bower, H. D.. Scientific Officer (liaison officer with explosives factories).

Naval Liaison Office. - Perry, P., Captain (S.) Royal Australian Navy (Naval liaison officer ) ; Ross, T. W., Engineer Captain Royal Australian Navy (Naval Engineer Officer, naval constructional matters); Smith, V. A. T., Commander Royal Australian Navy (Staff Officer (Air)); Hodkinson, H. A., A/Lieut. Commander (S.) Royal Australian Navy (assistant Naval liaison officer and staff officer (personnel) ) : Townsend, J. H., Lieutenant (S.) Royal Navy (supply officer and recruiting) : Reed, M. P.” Lieutenant (E.) Royal Australian Navy (technical liaison duties): Britten,” J. W. H., P.O. Writer (Captain’s office and ship’s office staff) ; Creighton, R. F., Leading Writer (Captain’s office and ship’s office staff) : Crowe, 0. F., Leading Writer (Captain’s office and ship’s office staff) : Neves, G. A., Writer (Captain’s office and ship’s office staff) ; Hawkins. C. W. V., Stoker mechanic (Postal and amenities and official transport driver) : Kaye, E., Electrical liaison officer between Admiralty and Australian Naval Board.

News and Information Bureau. - Twelftree. C. C, Director; William.-. A. C, Immigration Publicity Officer: Hawken, H. D., Journalist: Burmester C. A., librarian, also Commonwealth National Library liaison officer: Hood. W., Lecturer: Finley. D. J., Exhibition and Filing Officer; Cleary. J. S., Journalist.

Postmaster-General’s Department. -

Bradley, F. R., Australian representative on Commonwealth Communications Council.

Royal Australian Air Force Oversea? Head-quarters. - -Knox-Knight. E. G., Air Commodore (Air Officer Commanding): Davis, R. H.. Wing Commander (Senior Air Staff Officer) ; Macinnis, M. L.. Wing Commander (Senior Equipment Staff Officer) ; Prosser, C. E., Wing

Commander (Command Signals Officer) ; Richmond, W. D., Wing Commander (Senior Technic:11 Staff Officer) ; Dennett, J. E. S., Squadron Leader (Stair Officer Training) ; Townsend, J. S., Squadron Leader (Staff Officer Armament) ; Worth, W., Squadron Loader (Historian); Wright, D. A., Squadron Leader (Staff Officer Casualties! Dick, G. T., Flight Lieutenant (Staff Officer Navigation); Friend, A., Flight Lieutenant (Accountant Officer) ; Hartley, C. A., Flight Lieutenant (Equipment Officer) : Jans, A. R., Flight Lieutenant (Staff Officer Personnel); Hughes, J., Flying Officer (Assistant to .Senior Technical Staff Officer) ; Shakespeare, E. G., Flight Sergeant (Clerk Pay): Ward, R. ‘W., Sergeant (Historical Records Narrator).

Scientific Research Liaison Office. - Cummins, J. E., Chief Scientific Liaison Officer; Hackwell, A. B., Liaison Officer; Matthews, H. P., Leader; Munro, J. G., Engineer (handling technical queries from Australia) : Brooke. M. A., Deputy Lender (duties in connexion with reparations machinery from Germany) ; Douglas, R.. Mechanical Engineer (inspection of reparation plants in Germany) ; Adair, R. H., Engineer ( interview and selection of German scientists for Australia) : Meggy, F. A., Abstracting and correlation of technical reports from Germany; O’Connell W. F.. Administrative Officer: Bridges, F. P.. Architect (interview and selection of German scientists for Australia) ; Hailes, M., Abstracting and correlation of technical reports from Germany.

Taxation. - King, B. R., Australian representative.

Trade Commissioner’s Office. - Critchley, C. E., Senior Trade Commissioner; Todd. J. B.f Assistant Trade Commissioner : Bridges, J. G., Trade Information Officer: Allanson, A. D., Dairy Officer: Street, F. V., Food Officer: Morrison, H. M., Assistant to Dairy Officer: Faraker, F. C, Commercial Officer (procurement and shipping of raw materials ) : Bunning, W. H., Assistant to Veterinary Officer; Dowsett, 11. P.. Clerk in’ charge of office: Westbrook. W. D.. Assistant to Food Contracts Officer

Treasury. - Henderson, J. M.. Senior Finance Officer.

War Memorial. - McGrath, J. J.. Australian representative.


Mr Chifley:

y. - On the 1st March, the honorable member for Wide Bay (Mr. Bernard Corser) asked a question regarding the issue of a passport in favour of Mr. H. C. Williams, a member of the World Federation of Democratic Youth. Further to my interim reply on that date,

I now wish to state that I have had inquiries made in this matter. Mr. Williams applied for passport facilities in June, 1945, to enable him to attend a World Youth Conference in London. As he complied with all requirements the facilities were granted and his passport facilities were extended in August, 1946, when he again proceeded abroad. Other persons connected with the organization have been granted passport facilities at. different times, but in each case the person concerned has complied with all the requirements prerequisite to the issue of a passport. The reference that the organization is “ known widely as a Communist Front’” would not affect the issue of passports in favour of its members, as the political views of an applicant for a passport are not regarded as a disqualifying factor in the issue of such a document.

Imports of German Tools.

Mr Pollard:

d. - On the 16th March, the honorable member for Martin (Mr. Daly) asked the following questions: -

  1. Is it a fact that licences have recently been granted for the importation of certain types of spanners and other tools from Germany?
  2. Is it also a fact that those goods are being marketed in Australia at prices considerably lower than the prices of similar goods manufactured in Australia?
  3. If so, will the Minister consider giving further tariff protection to Australian manufacturers in order to protect our home products?

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

  1. Yes.
  2. The prices at which spanners, wrenches and other tools are being offered from Germany will, it would appear, enable importers to have a competitive advantage over local products.
  3. In this connexion it is the policy of the Government to rely on the advice of the Tariff Board in the imposition of rates of duty considered necessary to protect Australian industries. If Australian tool manufacturers provide Senator Courtice with evidence that they are unable to compete with tools being imported from overseas he will, he said, have the matter inquired into by the Tariff Board. It is not the policy of the Government to invoke the Customs (Import Licensing) Regulations for the protection of Australianindustry.

Private Correspondence : Allegations against department of trade and Customs.

Mr Pollard:

– On the 17th March, the honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Holt) asked the following questions: -

  1. Does the Department of Trade and Customs keep a record of the number or contents of letters that the Postmaster-General’s Department opens on its behalf?
  2. What was the number of letters that were opened during 1948?
  3. If no such record is kept, what is the estimated number of letters opened monthly? 4.(a) Has the Department of Trade and Customs placed some of its officers in the Postmaster-General’s Department for investigation purposes, or (b) does it rely on an indiscriminate test check of incoming correspondence?

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

  1. The Postmaster-General’s Department does not open letters on behalf of the Department of Trade and Customs. If a letter is required to be opened for customs examination the addressee is notified that the letter is held and that it will be necessary for him to attend the parcels post office to open the letter in the presence of a customs officer. In the case of country addressees, written authorization, usually to the postal supervisor, is accepted and the letter is opened by the authorized agent. No separate record of the number or contents of envelopes so opened is kept and in no case is correspondence examined.
  2. See answer to No. 1.
  3. It is estimated that the addressees of approximately 950 letters each month are asked to attend the parcels post office to open their letters for customs examination of any dutiable goods or prohibited imports suspected to be contained therein. 4. (a) No. (b) No.. Letters which contain goods are usually obvious and readily detected as they are mainly small packages in registered sealed envelopes. Mail sorters through long experience of handling letters are adept at. detecting seemingly innocuous envelopes which in fact contain dutiable goods or prohibited imports. Any letters which are suspect are held and dealt with as outlined in No. 1 above.

Australian Broadcasting; Commission: Feature “ Towards an Informed Public Opinion “.

Mr Hamilton:

n asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -

  1. Did the Australian Broadcasting Commission recently launch a new feature entitled “ What’s your solution to the growing social problem ? “
  2. Was the first speaker in this series Mr. J. A. Ferguson, M.L.C., president of the New South Wales Branch of the Australian Labour party?
  3. If so, who selected Mr. Ferguson to speak in this series?
  4. What procedure is it intended to adopt in the selection of future speakers?
  5. Is it a fact that listeners were invited to write to Box 487, G.P.O., Sydney, for material to enable them to form listening groups to develop “ an informed public opinion “ ?
  6. Is that the post office box number of the Australian Broadcasting Commission; if not, whose box number is it?
  7. Is it a fact that a document, “ Summary of broadcast for discussion by listening groups Australian Broadcasting Commission programme 28th February, 1949, proposed by Mr. J. A. Ferguson, M.L.C. “, contains 37 lines of matter which did not appear in the verbatim text of the broadcast?
  8. What was the text of the broadcast?
  9. Was this added material political in character ?
  10. In view of the fact that it was not broadcast, on whose authority was it included in the printed pamphlet?
  11. Will the Minister ascertain what disciplinary action the Commission has taken or intends to take against the person responsible?
  12. Will the Minister request the Chairman of the Australian Broadcasting Commission to direct that this series of broadcasts is to cease unless appropriate action is taken to ensure that the subject is not political in character?
Mr Calwell:

– The PostmasterGeneral has obtained the following information from the Australian Broadcasting Commission : -

  1. The Australian Broadcasting Commission recently launched a series entitled “ What’s your solution to the growing social problem “, in the discussion group broadcasts which have been running for ten years. Consequently, this series is not a new feature.
  2. Yes.
  3. The Director of Talks of the commission.
  4. The five speakers in thisseries were engaged some months ago.
  5. Yes.
  6. Yes.
  7. Approximately 26 lines of the document were not broadcast.
  8. The following is the text of the paragraph concerned: - “Our goal should be: Maintenance of policy of full employment. Improved social services. Increased production with commensurate advantages to the worker. Maximum application of technological improvements to industry as an aid to production. More scientific approach to the matter of industry management with special attention being given to the encouragement of employeremployee relations. In essence our actions must be defined as positive contribution to the building of a better life”. “With a view to the creation of conditions of stability and well-being which are necessary for peaceful and friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples the United Nations shall promote.” “ Some of the opposition of the Banks to sensible anti-depression policies during the great depression might be explained away on the ground that the wisdom of different policies was then still widely debated. But the Banks are even now sceptical of such policies. Thus the Bank of New South Wales in a recently published statement on Australia’s changing economy shows more concern about the ‘ inherent difficulties in any policy of full employment ‘ than about the importance of maintaining full employment.” “ It is clear, however, that in the view of the Banks full employment stands far lower in relation to other possible conflicting objectives than it docs with the people of this country and with the Labour Government.” “ It has always been the objective of the present Government to abolish the means test and, despite the government heavy annual expenditure, which for the financial year 1948-49 will amount to £492,000.000 (as compared with expenditure of £80.000.000 in pre-war years) progressive steps in this direction have been made.”
  9. The material could be construed as political, as is that of other speakers presenting different viewpoint.
  10. The material was authorized by the speaker, who supplied it in the normal way as supplementary to his talk, but erroneously called it a summary.

In connexion with items 11 and 12 of the question, the Australian Broadcasting Commission has stated that Mr. Ferguson was engaged to speak as a trade unionist and the fact that he is a member of the New South Wales Parliament was nut in the mind of the talks department when engaging him. The commission feels, however, that an error was made in engaging a member of Parliament of one party in this series without balancing the panel of speakers by engaging a member of Parliament of the opposing view, which normally is the custom observed. Steps will be taken to ensure that more care is exercised in such matters in the future, but it is not considered that any disciplinary action is called for, nor that the series of broadcasts should cease.

Mr Archie Cameron:

n asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -

  1. Under whose auspices is the feature “Towards an informed public opinion” broadcast by the Australian Broadcasting Commission on Monday evenings?
  2. Who are Mr. Mark Woollett and Mr. J. Wallace Alexander, what are their occupations and business addresses and how long have they been in business?
  3. If Sydney barristers, what are their qualifications and how long have they been at the Bar?
  4. If authors, what are their published works ?
  5. If business executives, or consultants, what are their qualifications and experience?
  6. If Mr. Mark Woollett speaks for the employers who authorized him so to speak?
  7. Are the published reports of these broadcasts a correct copy of the proceedings broadcast?
  8. Is Mr. J. A. Ferguson, M.L.C., who spoke on the 28th February, also president of the Australian Labour party?
  9. If so, why was that fact concealed from the listeners and omitted from the published pamphlet?
  10. Who is the barrister who cross-examines the speakers ?
  11. Are the questions and answers impromptu ?
  12. Would the Postmaster-General arrange for Mr. J. Wallace Alexander to be crossexamined by either Mr. Simon Isaacs or Mr. Cassidy, K.C., on Monday the 14th March, when he speaks on “ The Case for Profit Sharing “?
Mr Calwell:

– The PostmasterGeneral has obtained the following information from the Australian Broadcasting Commission : -

  1. The feature “Towards an informed public opinion “ is under the auspices of the Australian Broadcasting Commission as part of discussion group broadcasts which have been running continuously during the past ten years.
  2. Mr. Mark Woollett is a member of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and is assistant secretary of a Sydney manufacturing firm. His address is Moore-street, Roseville. Sydney. Mr. Wallace Alexander is a business consultant and a member of the Sydney Chamber of Commerce and the Royal Exchange. He is also a member of the Returned Sailors. Soldiersand Airmen’s Imperial League of Australia, but not of any political party. His address is 26 O’Connell-street, Sydney.
  3. Neither Mr. Woollett nor Mr. Alexander is a barrister.
  4. Mr. Alexander has published one pamphlet entitled “ Can Australia Make the Grade?” Mr. Woollett has not published any works.
  5. See answer to No. 2.
  6. Mr. Woollett was engaged by the Australian Broadcasting Commission as a speaker competent to explain the employers’ viewpoint.
  7. The commission is uncertain regarding what published reports are referred to.
  8. Yes.
  9. Mr. Ferguson spoke in this series as a representative of the trade unions, his subject being the trade union solution to the growing social conflict. Because of this, he was announced as the secretary of the Australian Railways Union.
  10. Mr. David Selby, whose name was announced at the beginning of the series.
  11. The speakers had no prior knowledge of the questions. The questions and answers were recorded for broadcasting.
  12. Arrangements have been made for the same barrister to question all speakers in this series, as this is considered to be the fairest method.

Optical Instruments

Mr Harrison:

n asked the Minister representing the Minister for Supply and Development, upon notice -

In view of the value to Australia of the optical precision industry which was developed during the war, will the Government give preference to locally manufactured good; when tenders are called for optical instruments to ensure that this industry may be preserved?

Mr Dedman:

– The Minister for Supply and Development has supplied the following information : -

A measure of preference is extended to goods of Australian manufacture over imported goods in cases where the Australian made article can meet the required specifications and delivery schedules.


Mr Blain:

n asked the Minister representing the Minister for Supply and Development, upon notice -

  1. In view of the statement that five compressors had been released to assist the tinminers at Maranboy, will he inform the House whether it is a fact, as reported in a Central Australian newspaper of the 11th February, 1949, that there are still eight compressors under the control of the Mines Division lying idle at Alice Springs?
  2. Could some of these compressors be made available to miners, other than mica-miners, rather than have them fall into disrepair for want of use?
Mr Dedman:

– The Minister for Supply and Development has supplied the following information: -

  1. Eight of the compressors which were procured for the mica industry have not yet been disposed of. 2.T hese compressors were specially allocated for disposal to the mica industry because of the strategic importance of that industry and although the total number allocated has not yet been taken up it is intended to hold them in reserve for the mica industry until 30th June next before giving consideration to requests from other sections of the mining industry. There is no likelihood that the compressors will deteriorate through lack of use.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 18 May 1949, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.