18th Parliament · 2nd Session
Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. 3. J. Clark) took the chair, at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.
– Can the Prime Minister say whether the British Aluminium Company Limited has definiately decided to withdraw from the CommonwealthTasmania partnership for the establishment of the -aluminium industry in Tasmania ?
-Discussions took place between the British Aluminium’ Company Limited, the Australian Aluminium Production Commission and myself, as Treasurer, upon the possibility of a partnership being formed by the British Aluminium Company Limited and the Australian Aluminium Production Commission to develop the aluminium industry in Australia, but proposals in that respect’ lapsed. Subsequently, further discussions were commenced upon a proposal that the British Aluminium Company Limited should make available technical assistance to the Australian commission, and those discussions are still proceeding. The British Aluminium Company Limited’ has definitely decided not to join the CommonwealthTasmania partnership on this project. I am hopful that satisfactory arrangements will be made whereby the British Aluminium Company Limited will make available to the Australian commission any technical assistance which the latter body may’ require.
– I ask the Minister representing the Attorney-General whether it is a fact that under the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act trade unions are required to lodge their balance-sheets annually with the Registrar of the Commonwealth Arbitration Court. If so, has the Minister’s attention been drawn to a report in this week’s Smith’s Weekly that the miners’ federation and the Amalgamated Engineering Union have not at any time lodged’ a balancesheet with the registrar of the court, and that the latest balance-sheet of the Waterside Workers Federation, was dated 1930, and the latest balance-sheet of the Federated Clerks Union was dated 1945 ? Does the act provide penalties for the non-lodgment of balance-sheets? Will the Minister make immediate inquiries and give a detailed statement to the House, incorporating information as to the action taken to ensure immediate lodgment of the documents I have mentioned, both current and retrospective?.
– The Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act contains the provision that the honorable member has mentioned. I have not seen the article in this week’s Smith’s Weekly to which he has referred. The lodgment of trade union balance-sheets is a matter for the registrar of the court and’ I. am not familiar with any of the ‘details. However, I give the honorable member an undertaking that I shall make inquiries to ascertain what’ the position is and shall supply him with all the information that I am able to obtain.
– I ask the Prime Minister, in the absence of the Minister for Labour and National Service, whether he has seen a statement published in “ Column 8 “ of to-day’s Sydney Morning Herald referring to the success of the visit paid to the northern coal-fields in 1940 by the present Leader of the Opposition, who was then Prime Minister! Is the right honorable gentleman prepared to make a statement showing the actual result of that visit?
– The honorable member’s question does not seem to refer to a very urgent matter.
– I am not up to date with what news items have appeared in to-day’s press, as I have not read any newspaper this morning. I really do not know what bearing the honorable member’s question would have on the difficulties at present existing on the coalfields. I undersand that the right honorable member for Kooyong went to the coal-fields in 1940 and addressed the miners in connexion with certain existing disputes. I shall read the article to which the honorable member has referred to see whether it contains anything about which I can make a valuable comment.
– Has the Prime Minister read the reports in the . Newcastle Morning Herald of Monday and Tuesday of this week that show that only a ten minutes’ delay of the underground transport as it was moving into the Aberdare Extended coal-mine had saved the lives of about 300 men? Is he aware that 22 horses were killed at the spot where most of those men would have been trapped had the transport been on time, and that nothing could have saved them ? Is it a fact that the flooding of that part of the mine was caused through the working of an open cut near underground workings? Had a promise been made to have the No. 1 open cut filled in, and is it not a fact that that had not been done? For how long have there been complaints about this matter? Has an inquiry been asked for? Will the Prime Minister see that an inquiry is held immediately?
– I have not seen the press reports of the matter referred to by the honorable member although some mention of them was made to me by an honorable member. I shall have inquiries made, and if it be possible to rectify any of the difficulties mentioned or to supply and useful information, I shall do =-0.
– In view of the national crisis that is rapidly descending upon the community because of the threatened coal strike, has the Prime Minister yet decided to accept the offer made by the Leader of the Opposition to facilitate the passage of any legislation that may be necessary? Has a secret ballot of the rank and file of the mining unions been taken on this proposal to impose severe hardships upon the remainder of the community? In view of the possibility that the strike will commence on Monday as scheduled, will the Prime Minister permit the importation of sufficient additional quantities of petrol to maintain adequate transport services ?
– As I stated recently, ‘ while there is still a possibility of sensible reflection upon this matter by the miners, I do not believe that anything can be gained by making further statements. Negotiations are proceeding. Representatives of the Australian Council of Trades Unions are meeting officials of the miners’ federation this morning, and, in these circumstances, I believe that it would be unwise to make provocative statements about the matter. I hope that common sense will prevail, and that the miners will show some consideration for the community as a whole of which they themselves are members. I understand that no secret ballot was taken on the proposed strike. Secret ballots of course are always held at pit top meetings, and for the election of union officials. I have discussed with naval authorities and others the possibility of providing fuel oil supplies should the threatened catastrophe occur. Everything possible will be done in that direction. I have discussed petrol supplies with the Minister for Shipping and Fuel, and in that regard, too, everything will be done to meet the situation. However, there are limits on what can be done. Recently the Leader of the Australian Country party referred to an alleged ban that had been placed on tankers coining to Australia from Indonesia, There has never been any such ban. There is a free flow from Sumatra cf tankers belonging to the Shell Oil Company and the Vacuum Oil Company, which is an American organization. The right honorable gentleman’s statement was totally incorrect. “Whatever petrol is available in Indonesia “is being brought to Australia by the two companies that I have mentioned, and there has never been any interference with their tankers. The whole position has been surveyed. I do not think that there is anything more that I can say on this matter at present. Con,siderable thought has been given by myself, and by the other Ministers concerned, to ways of meeting the threatened emergency, and everything possible is being done.
– I ask the Prime Minister whether, in view of the inadequacy of the present rates of war pensions, particularly when considered in relation to the steadily increasing cost of living, he will agree to reconstitute the former parliamentary select committee composed of ex-service members of this Parliament for the purpose of reviewing the present rates and of submitting recommendations to this House ?
– At one time a joint parliamentary select committee was appointed- to examine matters relating to war pensions. No such examination has been made for a number of years. Although I am prepared to consider the appointment of such a committee, my mind, at the moment, is opposed to its reconstitution at this stage. The general principles laid down by the former committee, of which the present Minister for Commerce and Agriculture was chairman, have been followed, and reviews of the rates of war pensions from time to time without reference to any committee have resulted in some increases being granted.
– Has the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture seen the press reports of the statement alleged to have been made by Mr. Hazzard, who was recently appointed Australian Trade Commissioner to New Zealand, that from 45,000 to 50,’000 tons of Australian steel are exported to New Zealand every year at the expense of Australian users, who cannot obtain sufficient supplies and have to pay approximately twice as much for imported steel? In view of the acute shortage of steel for home-building, for the manufacture of the requirements of primary producers and for the general industrial development of Australia, how can the Minister justify the export of such substantial quantities to New Zealand?
– I shall answer the question, because this matter has been discussed with me by the Minister, and also in Cabinet. New Zealand has always depended on Australia for its requirements of steel, and now needs supplies to enable it to carry out essential works. As a manufacturer and an exporter of steel Australia must conserve and devolop its overseas markets. In the future we may have to battle for trade, and wo cannot neglect New Zealand as a permanent market for our steel. The Government decided that it would be completely justified and indeed, would only be acting fairly, if it permitted New Zealand to have a small proportion of our output. The honorable gentleman mentioned 45,000 tons.
– Mr. Hazzard mentioned from 45,000 to 50,000 tons !
– Quite so. I believe that the total quantity involved is probably even more, when we include the steel products that are supplied to that country. Very strong representations were made to the Australian Government by the New Zealand Prime Minister and, later, by the Acting Prime Minister, Mr. Nash, both of whom emphasized that New Zealand depends upon Australia for supplies of steel to keep current works in progress and to maintain men in employment. The Government accepts full responsibility for endeavouring to meet that country’s requirements to a limited degree.
– In the absence of the Minister for External Affairs, I ask the Prime Minister whether he is aware that the World Health Organization has already established medical schools in various countries, including Africa, the United States of America and certain countries in Europe? Since the United Kingdom and Australia are supporting this project, can the right honorable gentleman say whether Australia will participate actively in the scheme ?
– Australia is a participant in the World Health Organization. An international conference of its constituent members is to be held shortly. I am aware that medical schools have been established in certain countries, and that consideration is being given to an extension of that work. No decision has yet been made concerning the establishment of a school in Australia, hut I shall bring the honorable member’s suggestion to the notice of those who will represent Australia as delegates at the forthcoming conference.
– In view of the radio attack from Peiping yesterday on the British occupation of Hong Kong, can the Prime Minister say whether the Government will consider offering the Australian forces in Japan for the defence of that vital outpost in the Pacific ?
– The Australians are the only British Commonwealth force now in Japan, with the exception of fifteen or twenty British technicians who are engaged on certain work. It is the wish of General MacArthur that the Australians shall continue to participate as much as possible in the work in Japan. We believe that Australia, as one of the participating powers in the war in the Pacific, should carry on the work of occupation in Japan until the peace treaty with that country is signed. All the other forces associated with the British Commonwealth Occupation Force, those of the United Kingdom, New Zealand and India, have been withdrawn, leaving only the Australians. This Government, believing that we should continue to assist in the occupation, does not feel justified at this stage in withdrawing our forces from Japan, or in engaging in any other commitment in the Pacific at the present, time. As I have said, it is the desire of General MacArthur that the Australian forces shall remain, and he has paid high tribute to their work. It is not proposed to transfer troops from Japan to Hong Kong at the present time.
– Can the Prime Minister say whether a substantial contribution was made to the Labour party’s 1946 election campaign funds by a large broadcasting network? Was the contribution made through an officer of thai network to the Minister for Information? Waa any duress applied, or were any promises made, in connexion with the contribution ? Who was the officer of the network who handed the money to the Minister? Did the Minister make payments ranging up to £100 to certain honorable members, including the honorable member for Robertson, the honorable member for Hume and the honorable member for Eden-Monaro, as contributions to their election expenses? Did the payments involve any ties or contingencies on the part of those honorable members ?
– I give the honorable member my assurance that no contribution was received from any broadcasting network to the election campaign funds of the Australian Labour party. Certainly no contribution was received by me, or by Dr. Evatt, who is co-trustee with me of the fund. I have been assured by the Minister for Information that he did not receive any such contribution from any one. The honorable member for Reid also suggested that certain individual members of this House received financial assistance in their election campaigns from some broadcasting network. Nothing has been mentioned to me about individual members having received payments from broadcasting stations and I have no knowledge of it. In the past, members of all parties have received assistance in their own electorates from various organizations. When protection versus free trade was a live issue, very substantial assistance was given in this way to individual members. That sort of thing is not done so much now. The honorable member can clear his mind of any idea that duress was applied to any one. No duress was applied by this Government, or by any one else, to ensure the making of contributions to the election campaign funds of the Parliamentary Labour party.
– I ask leave to make a personal explanation.
– Has the honorable member been misrepresented in the House?
– Then he does not need to have leave.
– My personal explanation arises out of a question that was asked by the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Lang), in which he implied that I had received some financial assistance from a broadcasting network during the last Commonwealth election campaign. All that I want to say about that allegation is that it was totally untrue. I have never received any financial assistance from any broadcasting station or from any other source whatever. I have paid for my election campaigns out of my own expenses. It was another filthy suggestion of the kind that the honorable member made some time ago when he implied, in connexion with my personal affairs and my business at Tumut, that he had gone to Tumut to give me financial assistance for my business. That suggestion also was totally untrue. Never at any time did the honorable member for Reid attempt to give me any assistance in my business at Tumut. The allegations were entirely without foundation.
– I desire to make a personal explanation. This morning the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Lang) implied in a question that during the last election campaign I received £100 from a broadcasting corporation. That statement is completely untrue. I received no money from any company or individual. The whole of the money that was expended by me upon my election campaign came from my personal pocket and from no other source.
– In view of the Berlin rail strike, I ask the Prime Minister, in the absence of the Minister for External Affairs, whether he can inform the House how much Berlin still depends upon the airlift for its supplies, and to what extent Australian airmen are participating in the air”
– Although, the socalled Berlin blockade was lifted, the people of that city still depend substantially upon the airlift. Motor transport, of course, is running through to the German capital, and that has relieved much of the strain that was imposed on the airlift. However, rail traffic has ceased completely. Some of the members of the Royal Australian Air Force who have been engaged on the airlift to Berlin have been granted leave. We have asked the British Government to inform us of the possibility of the airlift being continued. We want to know whether it is desired that the existing strength of the Royal Australian Air Force shall bc maintained. If it is, we propose to replace the personnel now engaged in the airlift as many of them have been employed on that work for six or seven months. That will be evolved by the. Minister for Air.
– I direct a question to the Treasurer relating to deductions for income tax purposes of allowances for “ found “ employees. Arbitration Court awards allow an amount of from 30s. a week upwards as the value of keep for an employee. For income tax purposes that amount is added to a “ found “ employee’s wages ; but the employer is allowed a deduction in respect of such employees of only 15s., the amount fixed about 40 years ago, which is out of proportion to present costs.
-Order! The honorable member must ask the question.
– Some time ago I asked whether the Treasurer would consider the desirability of increasing the amount that may be claimed by employers in respect of “ kept “ employees. Has the right honorable gentleman yet done so? If he has, is he in a position to make a statement to the House on the matter?
– The honorable member raised this matter some time ago. Representations on the subject have also been made by organizations of primary produce- including, I think, tha
Graziers Association. I understand this subject very thoroughly. I have discussed it at some length with the Commissioner of Taxation and 1 have arranged for a report to be prepared in regard to it. I cannot answer the honorable member’s question to-day. In any case, his suggestion could not be given effect at present because a bill to amend the Income Tax Act is not now before the House. The most that I can do is assure the honorable gentleman that the matter is being considered.
– I direct a question to the Minister for the Interior relating to Hie failure of the Northern Territory Legislative Council to pass two ordinances which have been submitted to that body. One of them concerns the protection of the mail contractor engaged in carrying Royal mails between Alice Springs and Darwin; the other relates to child adoption. Parents ire very grieved by the failure of the council to pass the latter ordinance.
– Order ! The honorable member is not entitled to make a speech. He must ask his question.
– As the Minister for the Interior promised to approve of the child adoption ordinance before the Northern Territory Legislative Council was established, will he state whether the council has been instructed to pass the ordinance, and if the council still objects to it, will the honorable gentleman confer with the Attorney-General with a view to devising means of bypassing the council so that this most important ordinance may be given legislative effect and the stigma on adopted children in the Northern Territory may bo removed?
– The ordinances to which the honorable member has referred should have been passed at the last meeting of the Northern Territory Legislative Council.
– “Why were they not passed, then ?
– If the honorable gentleman will remain silent, I shall tell him why they were not passed. It was expected that both ordinances would be ready for submission to the Legislative Council at its last meeting; but, owing to delays in drafting, they were not available at that time. The Administrator of the Northern Territory has assured me that the ordinances have now been prepared and that they will be dealt with at the next meeting of the council.
– My question is prompted by the Government’s proposals to develop the Kimberley district and an area east of that district for beef production. Will the Minister for the Interior say whether the Government has given any consideration to the future welfare of the aborigines who live in those districts? If it has, can the honorable gentleman say what is to be done with them? Does the Minister know how many aborigines there are in these areas ? I have been informed that the number is 10,000, hut I do not know whether my information is correct. Does the Minister know of any suitable area which, if necessary, could be made available as a reserve for the aborigines who will be affected by the Government’s plans ?
– I have not the figures at my disposal now, but I suggest, from my own knowledge of the district, that there are not nearly 10,000 natives in the Kimberley area. The honorable gentleman has asked whether, when the Kimberley area and the Northern Territory are developed in accordance with the Government’s plan to increase the production of beef in Australia, the rights of the natives in those areas will be protected. Every effort is being made by the Government to institute a uniform policy for the protection of aborigines throughout Australia. Approximately eighteen months ago, at my instigation, a conference was held in Canberra to discuss the protection and welfare of aborigines. It was presided over by Professor Elkin, the chief anthropologist of the Commonwealth, and was attended by representatives of the Departments of Native Affairs of the Commonwealth and the States. The conference made certain recommendations. I have instructed the Administrator of the Northern Territory and the Director of Native Affairs to give effect to those recommendations. The Australian Government has no jurisdiction over natives in the Kimberley district. Their welfare and protection are the responsibility of the Western Australian Government. I propose to make an extensive tour of the Kimberleys and the Northern Territory when this series of sittings of the Parliament ends, and I shall give special attention to the problems of the aborigines in those areas. I assure the honorable member that any- thing that this Government can do to improve the conditions of aboriginal natives will be very willingly done.
– Has the Minister for Immigration read the report of a statement made by Mr. J. Coull, a prominent member of the Labour party in Victoria, at a meeting of the Trades Hall Council in Melbourne last night, to the effect that it is well known that many members of Hitler’s secret police are among displaced persons migrating to Australia? If the Minister disagrees with the statement - and I do not say that I agree with it - will he consult Mr. Coull in order to ascertain the source of his information?
– I wish that the honorable member would ascertain the facts of a situation before addressing a question to me in the House in a matter of this sort. In the first place, Mr. Coull is not a prominent member of the Labour party. He is not a member of the Labour party at all.
– Then how does he happen to attend meetings of the Trades Hall Council?
– I cannot undertake a course of education for the honorable member in answer to a question. People attend the Trades Hall Council as delegates from their trade unions. Some of them are Communists. Some of them in other days were Liberals, and may be so to-day. Many of them are members of the Labour party. Others are in a sort of vacuum in that they claim they are non-political; these are the most hopeless and helpless of all. Mr. Coull, if not a member of the Communist party, is a “ fellow traveller “ and is notorious in Melbourne on that account. In the statements that he has made to the Trades Hall Council in that city he has merely carried on the Communist party’s line of calumny against the Baltic people whom we are bringing to Australia. I have answered several questions this week in regard to Moscow Radio’s lies and other Communist propaganda. Coull’s story is just a part of the general pattern. In making a statement of that sort, Coull was not concerned about protecting trade union interests. He is just a stooge for the Communist party. Now that the honorable member has been informed, I hope that he will not repeat the allegation that Coull is one of us.
– by leave - I lay on the table the following paper: -
As honorable members know, the royal commissioner was Mr. Justice Ligertwood. I am aware of the general desire on the part of honorable members that this report be made available without delay, but as the document was received only last evening, it has not been possible to prepare copies of it. However, copies of the finding of the royal commissioner have been made and distributed to honorable members. The report was made to His Excellency the GovernorGeneral. The royal commission was appointed under letters patent dated the 11th January, 1949, to inquire into certain transactions in relation to timber rights in the territory now known as Papua-New Guinea.
The matters referred to Mr. Justice Ligertwood for inquiry were as follows : -
What were the real transactions involved between Raymond Parer, Harcourt Garden, Edward Farrell and John Smith Garden or any of them, and Hancock and Gore Limited or any of its directors, employees or legal representatives, in relation to timber rights in the Territory now known as PapuaNew Guinea ;
The findings of the royal commissioner were as follows: - 1.(a) The transaction embodied in the two deeds was a bare-faced fraud, practised by Farrell and J. S. Garden upon Hancock and Gore Limited, in which, by false pretences, they induced Hancock and Gore Limited to purchase a non-existent timber concession, and to pay them £50,000 on account of the purchase money. Raymond Parer and Harcourt Garden wore involved in the transactions and their conduct is morally censurable, but they have been acquitted by a jury of criminal complicity.
The working directors of Hancock and Gore Limited (which expression does not include Mr.E. R. Crouch nor Sir William Glasgow) were induced to enter into the transaction by their greed of timber and by their desire to get into Bulolo Valley ahead of their rivals. They were prepared to enter into a secret transaction which, having regard to the position of J. S. Garden as a public servant, was improper on its face. They were aware of the impropriety and were ready to take advantage of it, seeking to salve their consciences with the reflection, that they were dealing with the syndicate, and were paying full value for the timber, and that the means by which the syndicate became possessed ofthe grant, and what they did with the purchase money, were no concern of theirs. So much did they realize the impropriety of the transaction, that for a period of three and a half years, notwithstanding the fact that £50,000 was involved, they were afraid to directly approach either the Minister or the department, to’ see if there was any substance in what they thought they had purchased. The company’ssolicitor, Mr. E. E. Biggs co-operated with the working directors in negotiating the transaction with similar knowledge of its impropriety, and failed in his duty to properly advise the company and tosecure it against loss. The company’s logging manager, Mr. H. G. Forshaw, also assisted in the uegotiations with knowledge of the impropriety of the transaction.
On page 10 of the royal commissioner’s report he makes this comment -
Honorable members will see that the royal commissioner has made it clear beyond any doubt whatever that the charges made against the Minister for Transport and Minister for External Territories (Mr. Ward) are completely without foundation. Accordingly, I have asked the honorable member for East Sydney to resume the administration of his offices immediately. There are matters referred to in the report which will require consideration by the Commonwealth’s legal advisers. I have asked the Attorney-General (Dr. Evatt), who is ill at the moment, to read the report and advise the Government of the position at the earliest possible moment. I move -
That the paper be printed.
– I move -
That the debate be now adjourned.
Honorable members have not yet had an opportunity to read any of the other matters dealt with in the report of the royal commissioner, and they deserve examination. It is a matter of great satisfaction that charges against the personal integrity of Ministers or honorable members of this House should be investigated and answered.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– On behalf of the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. Holloway), who introduced this measure, I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
This bill will amend the Pharmaceutical Benefits Act 1947-1949. In the course of the debate on the motion for the second reading of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Bill 1949 I made it clear that there would be no compulsion on patients to receive pharmaceutical benefits under the act if they did not desire to do so. It was explained that the necessary provision would be made by regulations, and that the act would authorize the making of such regulations. After consideration, it has been decided that it is preferable to incorporate this provision in the act itself.
The bill now before the House achieves this purpose. It repeals new section 7a included by the 1949 act, and re-enacts it to meet the position that I have indicated. Sub-section 2 (a) of new section 7a proposed to be inserted by clause 3 of the bill provides that in any case in which the person in respect of whom, or at whose request, a prescription is written requests a medical practitioner not to write the prescription on a Commonwealth prescription form, the medical practitioner shall not be obliged to use the Commonwealth form. In any such case the patient will pay the cost of the prescription to the chemist who dispenses it. Sub-clause 3 of clause 3 will permit the making of regulations under the section, with effect from the date of proclamation. The opportunity has been taken in the bill to effect a drafting alteration to the opening words of section 7a.
Debate (on motion by Sir Earle Page) adjourned.
Debate resumed from the 23rd June (vide page1489), on motion by Mr. CALWELL -
That the bill be now read a second time.
.- There are two immigration measures before this Parliament. They are based on two entirely different principles. The Minister for Immigration (Mr. Calwell) recognized that when he made two separate second-reading speeches. One measure deals with immigration generally. The second measure is designed to deal with a number of special nonrecurring cases, and in that regard is entirely discriminatory. I propose, at this stage, to confine my remarks to the first measure before the House. That, I consider, is the only way to proceed in accordance with the proper requirements of deliberative consideration of the conflicting principles involved. This first measure, amending the Immigration Act, applies to every migrant who enters this country. It applies to Asians, to displaced persons, to citizens of the United States and to migrants from the United Kingdom. It will enable certificates of exemption to he used, in future, on a much wider scale than has hitherto prevailed. It would also appear to give the Minister power to declare a person named in such a certificate to be a prohibited immigrant, without going through the formality of a dictation test. So, this bill can be used to effect a revolutionary change in the system under which all migrants are to be admitted. In future, any one entering this country will be handed a “ ticket of leave “. They will be able to remain here until such time as the Minister decides that they must leave. While the judgment given by the present AttorneyGeneral (Dr. Evatt) when he was a justice of the High Court, in the case of Mrs. Freer, still stands, such “tickets of leave “ can be issued to British subjects as well as to migrants from other countries. Despite the Minister’s smokescreen, this bill has nothing in the wide, wide world to do with White Australia. It affects every migrant, irrespective of color, race or creed. It is just a bill to give this Minister more power. That is what he wants. The Minister himself, in his speech, admitted that such certificates would also apply to the admission of Europeans - both British and nonBritish. That is the basis on which it should bc considered by this House. It can be used as a threat of deportation hanging over the head of every migrant for a period of five years after arrival in this country. It will be used by this Minister and by his successors. It might be used at some future period to deal with any migrants who might become involved, for example, in strike action. This power might be used capriciously, or savagely. Nevertheless, in spite of all those things, this measure may prove to be very necessary. It is quite true that many undesirable types are entering this country; and the Minister is responsible for their entry. This bill will enable this Government, or future Governments, to correct the present Minister’s blunders.
Evidence is accumulating to show that Communists are entering this country under cover of the Minister’s entry permits. At least 300 refugees from Shanghai arrived in this country with passports issued by the .Soviet Legation in that city. The Minister has admitted that he had to send a special officer and the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen) to Shanghai in order to stop the influx of such people. All these people had previously been issued with entry permits on behalf of the Minister. It was only when the security people commenced to ask questions that the intake of such persons was stopped. There could be a very interesting public examination of the way in which those permits were issued. We are now told that all migrants coming to this country are screened. If that is so, Such action is belated. A large number of migrants arrived before that practice was put into operation. Some months ago I asked questions in this House about a certain Tunica y Casas, and, at first, the Minister denied having any knowledge of that case. Tunica y Casas and her hus-. hand left New Caledonia in a hurry.
They were practically run out of that country by French ex-servicemen because of their Communist activities among the native population. Tunica y Casas was the secretary of the New Caledonian Communist party. She had links with the Communist organization throughout south-east Asia. After a long delay and after several questions had been asked in this House on the subject, the Minister admitted that those people were in this country. He said that they were here on tourist visas. Then he said that they would be asked to leave this country by the end of May. However, those people are still here. That is a typical case history which shows what can happen under the Government’s present crazy migration plan.
There is similar evidence that Communists have entered this country from Europe. The Minister talked abour. 100,000 migrants coming from Italy; but in the next breath he told us that as a third of the Italian population voted in support of the Communist party at the last genera] election in that country, we must expect a similar proportion of Communists among the Italian migrants who come here. If the Minister’s deduction is correct, that means that 33,000 Communists are coming to Australia from Italy. There will be two classes of Communists among migrants coming to Australia. First, there will be those who openly avow their Communist sympathies. That class will not present much difficulty. Secondly, there will be the undercover Communists, who will have a real mission in this country. Communists of that class will be coming into Australia among displaced persons. They will come as Baits, Estonians, Latvians or other nationalities akin to Russia. They will come here as Germans, Italians, Austrians, Poles or Czechs, because communism is international in its- organization. In Canada, Communists were found to be engaging in espionage while posing as anti-Communists. A Communist agent would have no trouble in getting through the Minister’s screen. There are no records except the Nazi records. How reliable would those records be even if the Minister’s representatives had access to them ? During the war there were many
Communists living underground in Germany. They were never traced or discovered by the German gestapo. “What record exists of their history? But when the Russians took over their sector of Germany Communists in that sector quickly threw off their cloaks and affirmed their allegiance to communism. However, many would still be underground in the western sector of Germany. They would have no trouble in passing through the Minister’9 screen. The Minister now admits that he has given entry permits to Germans, Austrians and Italians who fought against Australians in the recent war ; but he says that they are not Nazis. How does the Minister know that? The leader of the German air force has been cleared by a de-nazification court, hut there is not a shadow of doubt that he was one of Goering’s most trusted lieutenants. There is a very thin borderline between the Nazi, the Fascist, and the Communist. A mercenary of one army can quickly change to being a mercenary of another camp. The Fascist of the Mussolini regime is the Communist of to-day. The leader of the German air force of Nazi days has been cleared by a de-nazification court. It is easy for the Minister and others to talk about the screening that takes place in respect of immigrants to this country, but what machinery has the Government got to carry out this job? How will the good immigrants be sorted out from the bad so that we shall be absolutely sure that the intake of immigrants to this country is 100 per cent, good? The Americans put every applicant for admission to America through an exhaustive pipeline that is under the control of its army officials. The pipeline is composed of the United States Displaced Persons Commission, the Immigration services the Army, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Public Health service and the State Department. “When the process was finished only 2,500 displaced persons were accepted, in the whole of 1948, for admission to the United States. Australia picked up many of the rejects. “We are told by the Government that we are lucky to get them. “When we consider the risks that we have been running as the result of the Minister’s irresponsible migration admin- istration, the necessity for this measure becomes apparent. “When the Minister catches up with some of his mistakes, he will be able to deport the individuals concerned. Of course, the majority will still remain here. They will include both the good and many of the bad. That is the risk we run. Although the cost of bringing each displaced person here is a very heavy charge on the taxpayers and on the National Welfare Fund, perhaps the added cost of deportation may, in the long run, prove to be a worthwhile expenditure.
There have been several instances of passengers on European migrant ships stating that they were convinced that amongst their fellow-passengers there was a number of Communists. The Minister has been more eager to blanket such statements than to investigate them so as to prove their truth or otherwise.
In supporting this measure for the reason that there must be machinery to correct the Minister’s blunders, I do so with a considerable number of reservations. Undesirables should be deported. Nobody questions that.
– The honorable member ought to be with them.
– But will the deportations stop there? There is no guarantee that, while this Minister holds the Immigration portfolio, the administration of the Immigration Act will not be subject to sudden outbreaks of unnecessary provocation. There will be nothing to prevent the Minister from deporting as the result of a sudden whim, every alien who comes under the provisions of this measure. He will only have to sign a deportation order to do so. That power is not confined to Asians. It can be directed against Americans. If Colonel Carpenter, who married an Australian girl in Tokyo, ever decides to visit this country, he may find himself singled out for the Minister’s special attention. Because of the decision in the case of Mrs. Freer the powers in this bill could even, be directed against British subjects. That was a decision by the present Attorney-General (Dr. Evatt) when he was on the Bench of the High Court of Australia. Another important reservation that I have iri mind concerns the- possibility of migrants being deported for industrial offences. The Minister says thai we are to have 140,000 indentured labourers. Their permits can be cancelled and they can be deported on the say-so of the Minister of the day. That makes them slave labour. If they go on strike, no matter how good their case, they can be dealt with by this Minister, or his successor. They can be dumped in gaol without a trial and held there indefinitely. Some have already been so held. Then they can be put aboard a ship and deported. It would appear that we are back again to the old “ blackbirding “ days. Those indentured labourers will be afraid to stand up for their industrial rights. They can be used to undermine the- conditions of Australian unionists. That is why the Minister can claim so much anti-Labour support for his migration policy. It suits big business.
There should be safeguards against ministerial blundering, or limelighting. The processes of the courts might well be opened to those affected. Then each individual case could be judged on its merits. If necessary let a jury be empanelled. There could then be no suggestion of harshness or injustice. The treatment accorded to Harry Bridges by the United States authorities is an example of what happens under American democratic procedure. First, all the facts were examined by a grand jury. Bridges was then indicted, and he is now to be tried before a federal court, where he will have the right to defend himself. That is the essential difference between tho American immigration practice and the proposals contained in this bill. The present Government long ago abandoned any pretence that it has any faith in the normal processes of justice. It would, therefore, be futile to move any amendment to improve our procedure along the lines which I have just indicated. However, since I believe that it is most essential that machinery should be established to enable the Government to remove Communists from this country when they are discovered by the investigating authorities I propose to support the bill. The administration of the measure will then become the responsibility not only of the Minister for Immigration, but also of the Government itself, and I am prepared to give the Government this little extra piece of rope with which to hang itself if it so chooses.
– lt is very difficult to cover all the ground that is traversed by these bills. The honorable member for Reid (Mr. Lang) has pointed out that the scope of one of the measures 33 narrow, and that the principle of the other is one with which we all have been familiar for years. I propose to deal, as far as ia possible in the limited time available to me, with immigration in the broadest sense of the term. I may, perhaps, claim to speak as one who possesses specialized knowledge of the matter because I am the only surviving member of the Parliament that passed into law the Immigration Restriction Act of 1901. I. desire to emphasize a point which should be known, to every member of the House and to the people nf Australia, namely, that that measure was supported by all political parties, subject to certain qualifications which I shall mention presently. It is also interesting to note that the act was introduced by a Liberal government, and that it was one of the first measures passed by the newly established Parliament of the Commonwealth. The term “ White Australia “ is in some danger of falling into disrepute amongst those who pose as its champions. The Minister for Immigration (Mr. Calwell), who introduced this measure, would have us believe that the White Australia policy owes its very existence to his fostering care. He tells us that it is in great danger, and poses as its champion. Unfortunately, I cannot marry the honorable gentleman’s statements to the facts. Let me remind the House of what actually occurred when the Immigration Restriction Act was before the Parliament. That measure was introduced by Mr. Deakin, who was AttorneyGeneral in the Barton Government. He was a most eloquent man, and he dealt with the matter in a way that left no room for criticism. I was then a member of the Australian Labour party, and I followed Mr. Deakin in the debate which took place on the 12th September, 1901. My speech, reported at page 4819 of volume IV. of Hansard, contained the following statement: -
I feel that to endeavour to offer any kind of criticism on the most admirable speech delivered by the Attorney-General would be not only ungrateful but entirely uncalled for. No man could have put the question, considered from every conceivable aspect, better - few could have put it so well - as the honorable and learned gentleman. I am sure that every honorable member and everyone outside who reads his words will re-echo their sentiment with reference to the necessity of maintaining the. purity of our race. I realize thoroughly that the Attorney-General, in putting forward such a defence - I will not say of the provisions underlying this bill, but of the spirit which animated it - did so because it may be necessary to show those elsewhere that the honorable and learned gentleman speaks not for himself or for his Government, but for all Australia in this matter.
In order to put the matter in proper perspective, I point out that although the Labour party supported Mr. Deakin, it proposed to amend the clause which prohibited the admission to Australia of certain enumerated categories of persons by adding the following new paragraph :-
Any person who is an aboriginal native of Asia, Africa or of the islands thereof.
There were two alternative proposals, neither of which lacked scope or directness. One provided that no one should enter this country unless he could pass a dictation test which required him to write 30 words from dictation. At that time it was contemplated that the test should be administered in the English language, but I opposed that proposal. Later, at my suggestion, the words “any European language “ were inserted. The other amendment was prompted by the desire to exclude coloured, labour by prohibiting the admission of any aboriginal inhabitant of Asia, Africa, and the Islands in the Pacific. However, that proposal was never carried into effect. I should do wrong if I created the impression that there was any division of opinion in substance between different sections in the Parliament. I want to point out that Mr. Watson, who was the Leader of the Labour party at that time, was supported by Sir William McMillan, whose political outlook was poles asunder from that of the Labour party. Thus, in the 1901 Parliament, although there were differences over details, there wis none on principle. We all wanted to mantain the purity of the race and our living standards. It may be argued that Labour’s amendment was directed against colour as such. I shall not deny that but this was due to our proximity to the thickly populated countries of Asia. The quarter from which an influx was to be expected naturally affected our determination to exclude coloured migrants in that category. However, although the Labour party was opposed to coloured labour coming into Australia, we would not have been less opposed to cheap labour coming into the country from Europe. That attitude has persisted throughout the years. Only last week, the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) raised his voice in protest against a flood of migrants coming from cheap-labour countries in eastern Europe. Summing up the position; it would be true to say that the motive behind organized Labour’s support of the White Australia policy was economic - a desire to protect, itself against cheap labour. The cheap labour which the Labour party had in mind at that time was coloured labour, but organized Labour in 1901 would have been as bitterly opposed to cheap labour from Europe as to cheap labour from Asia. I think that puts the position quite fairly. The Immigration Restriction Act of 1901 was a result of representations made to the British Government and to Mr. Joseph Chamberlain, a very wise statesman, by the leaders of the Australian people. While the Labour party felt constrained to put forward its views it realized, -after hearing what Mr. Deakin had to say, that ite end could be achieved by the adoption of an educational test. Mr. Deakin expressed some views which, I think, ari: applicable to the present circumstances, and have a particular reference to the immediate future. He said this -
I contend that the Japanese require to be excluded because of their high abilities. . . . Tt is not the bad qualities but the good qualities of these alien races that make them dangerous to us. It is their inexhaustible energy, their power of applying themselves to new tasks, their endurance and low standard of living that make them such competitors. I quite agree with the honorable member for Bland that the difference that separates them from iia is quite iis much in their standard of living as anything else. At all events, the faculties that make them dangerous to us are those which make their labour so cheap and their wants so few. The effect of the contact of two peoples, such as our own and those constituting the alien races, is not to lift them up to our standard, hut to drag our labouring population down to theirs. It is the business qualities of these peoples that make them dangerous, and the fact that while they remain an clement in our population they are incapable nf being assimilated, makes them all the more to bo feared. The Japanese represent the highest class of those who seek to come here, and they are people who are capable of. being dealt with on the same footing as any other civilized power.
In reply to a question whether he thought the educational test would block the Japanese, Mr. Deakin said -
I think it will, for the time being, and for this reason. The Government of Japan, which has high hopes and far-reaching aspirations, docs not desire to lose any of its population at present. It has much better employment at home for all its people, particularly the better educated, and desires to keep them nearer at. hand than they would be if they emigrated to ti, ia country.
At that time, the population of Japan was 47,000,000; to-day, it is about S0,000,000. I want to make it clear to honorable members and to the people of this country, that White Australia is not a mere banner waved by politicians and waved to inflame party passions. It is a living thing. White Australia is Australia, and everything that is inherent in the White Australia policy is vital to the very existence of Australia itself. Let us look at the world as it is to-day. What are the two outstanding factors in it? One of them, of course, is the enormous increase of population. The population of the world has nearly doubled in
Hie last 90 years. In that time, 1,000,000,000 people have been added to the population of the world and this increase is continuing. In 1901, when the Immigration Restriction Act became law, Japan had 47,000,000 inhabitants; now it has 80,000,000, and its population is increasing at the rate of 2,000,000 n year. Let me remind honorable members of our relationship to Japan. It is our neighbour. It was, in the 1914-1S war, our ally, and rendered great service to us. In the 1939-45 war, it was our enemy, and came within an ace nf destroying us. But for the victory of the American forces in the Coral Sea, we should have been utterly undone. Japan, while it did suffer to some degree in World War II.., received no mortal or even substantial injury. It remains a potentially powerful country, and its old ideals still inspire it. Togo is still the ideal of the Japanese people. Although dead, his spirit lives. The ambition of the Japanese has been checked, but its goal is still the Greater Asia with Japan at its apex. What all this means to Australia surely needs no elaboration. The increasing population of the world and of Japan in particular, is a menace to Australia, a nation of 7,750,000 people occupying an area twenty times the size of Japan. On the one hand we have communism, and on the other, the alarming increase of the world’s population. What shall we do to be saved? To-day, there is a new doctrine being preached in certain quarters. Its devotees believe that il is the duty of the world to restrict its population. That is being advocated by some authorities of high standing in Europe. A British commission appointed to inquire into this matter reported that it was in favour of planned families, which means planned restrictions of families. Whatever may be true of other countries, that doctrine means destruction to Australia. What we want is not smaller families, but larger families. Let me gather these scattered threads together. Within two or three days’ journey by air from this land, there is a nation of S0,000,000 people occupying onetwentieth of the area of Australia. Japan’s population has reached saturation point. All life is limited to the means of subsistence. When the food supply drops below that level for any organism or species, there is an end to its life. That point has been reached in Japan. Surplus millions must emigrate or die. The pressure is increasing every year by 2,000,000 people. Where are they to go ? They must go somewhere. Emigration is necessary, not only for the survival of the surplus millions, but also for the survival of the Japanese race itself. There are too many mouths to feed. If they come here what are we to do about it? I come now to the point that I want honorable members to consider. This is not something that may happen; it is something that must happen. Japan’s population continues to increase as does that of other Asian countries. The area of this country is nearly 3,000,000 square miles. It is true that much of our land is arid and uninviting; hut there is enough fertile land in this country to support from 20,000,000 to 30,000,000 people, whereas, to-day, there are less than 8,000,000. The Minister for Immigration is making great efforts to bring immigrants to this country, and as the honorable member for Reid has pointed out, the value of that venture depends upon the kind of people that are brought here. About communism I could say a great deal, but it is sufficient to say that it is with us. Between Australia and communism there can be no compromise. One or the other must go down. Which i3 it to be? The honorable member for Reid said that immigrants would be all right provided that they were of the right type. That is to say, provided they were not Communists. What we want in this country is more people who will not only be assimilated into our race, but will also assist to maintain the traditions and the individuality of Australian life. The people of this country are mainly of British origin, but have evolved, into a distinct type, which deserves to be and must be maintained. The type has all the good qualities of the British race, but it also has some of the individuality of this country. That type has made Australia what it is, and I venture to say that, tried by any test, the people of Australia, men, women and children, do not suffer by comparison with those of any other nation. The maintenance of the Australian individuality is worth while. When I speak about a White Australia policy, I mean the policy of preserving the kind of Australia that has produced the people of this country, and maintaining the standards of living and freedom that we enjoy. That is all at stake. Unless we realize that we shall shortly be called upon to fight for our lives, we shall not be able to stem the hordes who will seek opportunities here that are denied to them in their native land. The surplus millions of Asia must emigrate or die. They may come here. If they come with arms in their hands it is war. I know of no country that is so ill-fitted as is Australia to-day to repel an enemy. All my public life I have been in favour of compulsory military training. I put that on the platform of the Labour party many years ago, and as long as I remained in the Labour party it stayed there. Now, it has gone. Compulsory military training is the price of liberty. If liberty is not worth fighting for, it is not worth having. Should an invader come to this country we have an armed force of approximately 30,000 men to meet him. The other day I asked for certain figures, and I was staggered at the reply that I received. I found that we have a navy, and that there are 10,000 naval personnel - the fighting men, but not all of them seagoing - and 7,200 civilian personnel. More persons are employed in the offices than on the ships. But wars are fought by fighting men. Recently, the honorable member for Wilmot (Mr. Duthie) spoke about this being the atomic age. Of course it is the atomic age; hut in spite of that wars are fought to-day and will be fought in the future by men. Notwithstanding that the United States of America has the atomic bomb it now has more than 2,000,000 men under arms. No other country has yet probed the secret of the atomic bomb. How can the honorable member marry these facts when he talks about the atomic age? Does the existence of the atomic age relieve us of the obligation to be ready to fight for our liberties if they are endangered? On this matter of a White Australia policy I take it that there can be no difference of opinion in the various parts of this House. We all believe in a White Australia. We may differ on relatively minor matters - we may say this or that about a proposal such as the Snowy Mountains scheme - but we unanimously agree that it is vitally necessary for us to subordinate everything to the maintenance of a White Australia, not merely on a piece of paper, but a truly White Australia. We have a population of fewer than 8,000,000 persons. We live in a part of the world much of which is over populated. Millions will soon be knocking at our doors. If they came with arms in their hands we could not stop them. If they appealed to the “United Nations, what would be the answer? The Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt), who in his spare time is constantly running around the world, told us a few days ago that we should trust the United Nations to preserve peace in the world. Peace in the world ! How is peace to be preserved ? Disputes are to be referred to the United Nations. This is our dispute, and on its outcome will depend whether we shall live or die. The Minister is apparently the head of the United Nations, but he does not control the only part of its organization which has any authority. What would the United Nations do if we appealed to it? We have seen that it can act swiftly and sternly, as it did against the Dutch, but it picks its marks. It said very plainly to the Dutch, a small people, “You must be out of Indonesia by the 30th June because the Indonesians want their country”; but it does not say a word to Russia. The Dutch have been in Indonesia for 360 years, which is 200 years longer than we have been here. Why are we here? We are here by the grace of God and our good strong arm. It is evident that whether we appeal to the United Nations or rely upon our own armed force, we are confronted with a situation which fills me with alarm and one which should arouse the people of Autralia to a recognition of the danger in which they stand. Two dangers confront us. One is communism and the other is war, hut in essence the two are one, for Russia is communism, and war can only come from Russia. To whom shall we appeal if the United Nations is unable to maintain its authority in the face of Russia ? The United Nations speaks to Russia with bated breath and whispering humbleness. Only one avenue of escape is open to us. We must have powerful friends. A White Australia has been maintained for nearly 50 years, not because of an act of parliament, but because of the might of the British Empire. No statute has preserved Australia white and free. For 160 years we have been guarded and enabled to develop our heritage because we are part and parcel of the British Empire. Great Britain is no longer what it was. Sea power is no longer the decisive factor in war. The peace of the world depends upon close co-operation between America and Great Britain and this involves the maintenance of Great Britain as a first-class power. Our efforts should be concentrated on those objectives, for only in that way we may hope for peace and protection. The Minister for External Affairs has told us that he is reluctant to call the policy which he supports a White Australia policy because he hesitates to affront the people of the eastern countries. All I have to say is that for 50 years we have been able to maintain Australia white and free only because of the extistence of the British Navy and because Ave are part and parcel of the British Commonwealth of Nations. We must not forget that, or that we can continue to hold this country only if we satisfy the world that we are mindful of our responsibility to people it and develop its great and varied resources. If we are to prevent people from coming into Australia because of colour or some other disability, we must be prepared to admit those who are assimilable. The White Australia policy, which for 50 years worked so smoothly and efficiently that to-day Australia is white, free and British, is now called upon to play its part in a new world. In that new world we must satisfy the nations that we are worthy of being entrusted with the occupancy and unfettered control of this country. If we are to do that, we must gird up our loins and realize that in the very near future we shall be called upon to show our fitness by deeds.
There is much more that 1 could say. but I am satisfied to leave it at that. I shall say nothing about the bills that the Minister for Immigration has introduced and which aim at the deportation of Mrs. O’Keefe and the exclusion of Sergeant Gamboa from Australia, beyond pointing out that I have administered the Immigration Act for many years and have been a responsible Minister for many more years. Experience has taught me that it is well not to see too much. There is a sound legal maxim, de minimis non curat lex, which means that the law takes no notice of little things. It is very easy to see too much. I am convinced, also, that what matters most is not so much what one does, as how one does it. If the Minister could bring himself to realize that the greatest contribution he could make to the welfare of Australia would be to push on with his migration scheme, carefully combing out the undesirable elements to which reference has been made, leave the White Australia policy where it has been for 50 years and order his administration in such a way as to avoid giving offence to our neigbours, we should get on very well.
Debate (on motion by Mrs. Blackburn) adjourned.
The following papers were pre sented : -
Customs Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1949, No. 34.
Defence (Transitional Provisions) Act - National Security (Prices) Regulations - Order- No. 3431.
Lands Acquisition Act - Land acquired for Postal purposes -
Fortitude Valley, Queensland.
House adjourned at 12.30 p.m.
The following answers to questions were circulates,: -
n asked the Minister for Works and Housing, upon notice -
Will he ascertain (a) the average coat of houses erected by the housing commissions in all States, except South Australia, in each year since the end of the war; (b) the annual administrative costs of housing commissions in all States mentioned in each year of operation; (c) the number of officers employed by each commission; and (d) the remuneration paid to the commissioners in each of the States ?
– As the questions asked by the honorable member are largely ones for the various State governments, they will be referred to the State housing commissions for supply to him direct of such information as they are in a position to give.
l. - On the 16th June, the honorable member for Flinders (Mr. Ryan) asked the following questions: -
The Postmaster-General has now supplied the following information: -
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 24 June 1949, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1949/19490624_reps_18_203/>.