18th Parliament · 2nd Session
Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mt. J. J. Clark) took the chair at 3 p.m. and read prayers.
– Has the Prime Minister any information to give to the House concerning the devaluation of the pound sterling and the pound Australian ? Can he indicate whether the decision to devalue our currencies -will affect Australian primary industries? What will he the general effect on the export of such commodities as wool, and on the import from, the dollar area of such goods as petrol and tobacco?
– I propose, subject to the leave of the House, to make a statement on the currency exchange rates towards the conclusion of question time, and honorable members will have an opportunity to discuss the matter during the budget debate.
– Arising out of the Government’s decision to fall in line with the action of the British Government in devaluing sterling, I had intended to ask the Prime Minister a specific question, but in view of the statement which the right honorable gentleman has just made in reply to a question, he may prefer to delay furnishing an answer to the specific query which I shall now put to him. Doubtless he is aware of the many important effects which the decision to devalue the currency will have, notably cn the prices of petrol- and tobacco which Australia imports from the United States of America and which carry , a high rate of excise. As the prices of those goods will inevitably increase unless action is taken by th,e Government, will the right honorable gentleman consider reducing the duties on them - if the Cabinet has not already decided to do bo- in order that prices charged to the public may remain unchanged)
– The whole aspect of dollar imports will have to be examined, first of all by the inter-departmental committee on dollar imports, which is considering the matter now, then by a Cabinet sub-committee, and finally by Cabinet itself. I am unable to give the honorable member any indication, or to offer any hope, of action being taken along the lines that he has indicated. All that I can say to him now is that the whole matter of dollar imports is being examined, including the issue of import licences and the collection of customs and excise duties. I do not know whether that examination can be completed within the next week or so. As soon as I am in a position to make a statement concerning the matter, I shall do so. However, I do not want the honorable member to indulge undue hopes that all dollar imports which might be affected by the devaluation of the currency will be the subject of governmental action to prevent increases of price, or that the Government will pay subsidies to obviate such increases. As I have said, all aspects of the matter will be thoroughly examined. I repeat that the position has not yet been discussed by Cabinet.
– by leave - As honorable members are aware, the United Kingdom Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sir Stafford Cripps, announced in a broadcast made in London on Sunday night, that is at 6.15 on Monday morning Canberra time, that the United Kingdom Government had decided to devalue the £1 sterling in terms of the United States dollar. The new rate fixed by the United Kingdom Government is 2.80 dollars to the fi sterling. I was informed by Mr. Attlee at the week-end of the United Kingdom Government’s decision. It was then necessary to reach an immediate decision concerning the rate of exchange to be fixed for the Australian £1 in the light of the new sterling-dollar rate.
Australia clearly could not maintain the former rates of exchange with both the £1 sterling and the dollar. The choices open were to maintain the existing relationship with the dollar and to appreciate against sterling, to maintain the existing relationship with sterling and to depreciate against the dollar, or to adopt a middle course involving some appreciation against sterling together with some depreciation against the dollar. After careful consideration of all the circumstances, it was decided to maintain the existing relationship between the £1 Australian and the £1 sterling, that is, the rate of £125 Australian to £100 sterling. This, of course, involved the consequential decision that the £1 Australian should be devalued in terms of the United States dollar by the same proportion as the £1 sterling, producing a new rate of 2.24 dollars to the £1 Australian. The International Monetary Fund was con-, suited and expressed agreement.
In order that there should be no period of uncertainty as to the action Australia would take in this important matter, I announced this decision in a broadcast at 6.45 on Monday morning. I also arranged for the Governor of the Commonwealth Bank to make a statement for the guidance of banks and the public generally. For the information of honorable members, I’ am circulating a transcript of the Chancellor’s broadcast, and also the texts of my own statement and that made by the Governor of the Commonwealth Bank.
The decision of the Government means that there will be no change in the exchange basis of our trading relationships with the United Kingdom, our most important export market. The proceeds in Australian currency received by exporters to the United Kingdom will not be reduced as a result of the exchange movements which have taken place. Neither will these movements reduce the price in Australia of goods imported from the United Kingdom. The Government had in mind the difficulties which would have been created for both export industries and industries producing for the local market if the existing exchange relationship with sterling had been altered. To have retained the former par value with the dollar would have meant that the Australian £1 would have been appreciated against sterling, and possibly against the currencies of a number of other countries in which we have important markets. This would have been to the disadvantage of exporters, and it would also have created the possibility that Australian industries would be under-sold in their home market. If a mid-way course had been taken, the same possibilities would have been present, even though to a lesser degree. At the same time the Government recognized that to devalue our currency against the dollar to the same extent as sterling would tend in some respects to increase local costs.
At the new rate of 2.24 dollars to the Australian £1 the Australian currency cost of all imported goods which have to be paid for in United States dollars will be increased. Because of the need to economize in dollar expenditure, imports from the United States have had to be severely restricted and the American goods we are now importing have to conform to a high standard of essentiality. These goods, will now cost more in terms of our own currency, and this higher cost must ultimately be reflected, at least in part, in higher prices for some of the goods we produce. It is, of course, possible that the prices of American goods may fall. However, although the goods we import from the United States are important to our economy they do not represent a high proportion of our total imports. The United Kingdom itself supplies us with roughly one-half of our total import requirements, and, as many other countries both inside and outside the sterling area- are likely to keep in step with sterling, there will be no immediate increase of costs over by far the greater part of our import trade.
The increased cost of dollar imports will call for some adjustment of import licences for dollar goods which are normally expressed in terms of Australian currency. This matter is being urgently examined and an announcement will be made as soon as possible by my colleague the Minister for Trade and Customs. On the other hand, the new rate should provide some stimulus to our export sales in the United States. Wool is the most important item in our export trade with the United States and the cheapening of wool in terms of the United States dollar may be expected to produce some increase of American consumption and some increase of the activity of American buyers at our wool auctions. The change in the exchange rate does, of course, mean that, at current auction prices, a greater volume of wool will have to be shipped to the United States to earn the same amount of dollars. Heavier buying by American mills could, however, increase our total dollar earnings from wool.
Other Australian exports to the United States may also be stimulated. Australian producers and merchants will be making their best contribution towards meeting our dollar difficulties if they take advantage of the improvement in their competitive position resulting from the depreciation against the dollar and sell as much as possible in dollar markets.
The new dollar rate also has produced an increase of the Australian currency price of gold from £10 15s. 3d. a fine ounce to £15 9s. lOd. a fine ounce. This price increase will improve the position of gold producers and to the extent that the additional incentive provided by the higher local price calls forth increased production of gold, some contribution will also be made to our dollar earnings. The alteration of the exchange rate with the dollar does not, of course, affect the dollar price of gold which remains at 35 dollars a fine ounce. The movement of a major international currency like sterling necessarily brings other changes in its train throughout the world. The Government did not, of course, have any advance information about the steps to be taken by countries other than the United Kingdom. Since I made my broadcast announcement, official advice has been received that South Africa, New Zealand, India, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Egypt have also decided to maintain the former relationship of their currencies with sterling and to depreciate in terms of United States dollars to the same extent as sterling. A number of other changes have been reported in the news services, but official confirmation has not yet been received.
In conclusion, I emphasize that devaluation in itself does not provide any automatic solution of the dollar difficulties of the United Kingdom and the rest of the sterling area. What it does is provide an opportunity and incentive for sterling area exports to the dollar area. Its effectiveness will depend on how all of us in the sterling countries respond to the opportunities offered by the new situation. I am confident that, provided we continue to act together in peace as we did in war, the British Commonwealth of Nations will not only retain, but also increase, its prestige in world leadership for the security and welfare of its peoples.
Use of Commonwealth Land
– I understand that the Postmaster-General’s Department contemplates erecting an automatic telephone exchange on a block of land that is owned ,by the Commonwealth at the corner of Lannercost-street and Townsvilleroad, Ingham. The Commonwealth Bank is eagerly seeking a block of land on which to erect new premises in that town. Will the Prime Minister consult the Postmaster-General with a view to having the land made available for the bank rather than the automatic telephone exchange?
– I am aware that it is proposed to use the block of land that the honorable member has mentioned for either a Commonwealth Bank building ot an automatic telephone exchange. I should not care at this stage to arbitrate between the two authorities who are interested in the matter, but as the honorable member has asked the question, I shall discuss the position with the Postmaster-General.
– I desire to ask the Minister for Immigration a question in reference to Theodoras van Hoof, a young Dutchman, who, it is reported, has been in Pentridge Gaol, Melbourne, since December, 1948, awaiting deportation. Will the Minister state whether it is true that this man has been in gaol for approximately nine months? If the report is correct, what is his offence other than that of being a person whose deportation has been ordered under the Immigration Act? Why has such an extremely long delay been allowed to occur? If, as reported, the delay has occurred because of the reluctance of the Dutch Government to bear the expense of his deportation, why was not Van Hoof flown out of this country at the country’s expense, since the Minister has recently used that means to deport other persons, notably Chinese seamen? Are we to expect that other nationals of a gallant ally are to be treated in this way?
– The honorable gentleman seems to know all the answers. He has asked me a series of questions about Theodoras Van Hoof, and it is probable that he has read my explanation of the reasons why that man has remained in Pentridge prison, in Melbourne, since December, 1948. Van Hoof was a stowaway, and he was arrested after a considerable period. He was charged with being a prohibited immigrant, but the case was dismissed on a technicality, because the interpreter, who gave him a dictation test in Rumanian, did not himself know that language. Before we could re-arrest Mr. Van Hoof, he had disappeared.
– The Minister does not blame him for that?
– He had some smart lawyer guy advising him, I suppose.
– That is why he is in gaol.
– Van Hoof was arrested some little time later, and was charged with having stolen £15 and 12s. worth of tobacco. That brought him within the scope of the deportation section of the act. He had previously been declared a prohibited immigrant. We kept him in Pentridge prison, and then asked the Dutch Government to repatriate him. After all, he is a Dutch national and it is only right that the Dutch authorities should bear the expense of taking him back to their country, and his country. They have been messing around for nine months trying to get his father to pay for his repatriation, and they have changed his destination from Indonesia to Holland. I understand that he will leave Australia within the next three weeks.
– Why has he been kept in gaol for nine months?
– I am not responsible for that. The Dutch authorities have taken nine months to decide how they will pay for his extradition. Does the honorable member suggest that everybody who comes into this country and is declared an undesirable shall be deported at the expense of the Australian Government?
– I think that it is tough to leave him in gaol for nine months.
– It would be tougher on this country if we were to pay for his repatriation. If the honorable member continues in that vein, he “will not have any arguments in favour of reductions of taxation when he speaks on the budget this afternoon.
– Has the Minister for Immigration seen in to-day’s issue of the Sydney Sun an article entitled “Arthur Calwell has perfected the technique of pushing people around “ and illustrated with a vicious cartoon depicting him as a veritable Gulliver gloating over the Lilliputians in his power? Does the article centre upon the intended deportation of over 50 Chinese who, it is alleged, “ are to have their private, unimportant lives stripped bare because …” a politician’s prestige is at stake.” ? Will the Minister inform the ‘ editor of the Sun and his Canberra collaborator in plain terms that all that is happening is that the law of the Commonwealth is being enforced and that, in any .case, the matter is pending before the Full Bench of the High Court of Australia? Will he also ask those two gentlemen what are their real reasons for this specially mendacious outburst ?
– I thank the honorable member for Watson for his question and his comment. I have read the article to which he has referred. It is mendacious, as he says it is. It might be called a revenge article. Major-General Lloyd, the representative in Australia of the International Refugee Organization, refused to allow another person employed by the newspaper to ‘board ships coming to Australia under the auspices of the International Refugee Organization. I had nothing at all to do with the matter, but the International Refugee Organization, through the head of its mission in Australia, decided that a certain representative of the Sydney Sun was not fitted’ to .be admitted to the ships and, certainly, was not fitted to mix with decent journalists. The Sydney Sun has maintained a grudge war against me since, and the creature that wrote the article is held in contempt in the press gallery-
– Order !
– I am at least entitled to give back as good as I am given. When I am attacked I will attack.. That goes for Opposition members, too,, who stand for the abandonment of theWhite Australia policy. The wholematter revolves around the White Australia policy. The whole campaign in this article and in other articles is directed1 towards breaking down the White Australia policy in the interests of obtaining, cheap labour for certain interests in this country.
– I ask the Treasurer whether the Premier or the Minister of Water Supply in Victoria has applied to him for the release of dollars^ for the purchase of earth-moving machinery for construction work at the Eildon Weir or other waterworks in Victoria. If so, has the application been granted?
– Numbers of- applications for the release of dollars for various purposes have been made by government instrumentalities in Victoria, and representations have also been made by the Premier, Mr. Hollway, and the Minister of Transport, Mr. Kent Hughes. In view of the number and variety of the applications, I should not like to attempt to give all the details offhand. Therefore, I shall have the information collated and will supply it to the honorable member as soon as possible.
– Is the Minister for Immigration in a position to advise me how many non-British migrants have come to Australia since the end of the war? Can he indicate what percentage of non-British migrants has been allocated to primary industries ? In view of the urgent requirements of the people of Great Britain and the vital necessity for Australian primary production to be greatly increased, will the Minister say whether the Government will give sympathetic consideration to the allocation of increasing numbers of new Australians to primary industries ?
– The honorable member will concede that an answer to his questions will require some study and preparation. I shall have a report prepared and will supply him with an answer as soon as I can do so.
– Can the Minister for Labour and National Service inform honorable members whether, new Australian migrant labour is to be placed in industries other than the iron and steel industries? I refer to such industries as the timber industry, which produce commodities that are urgently needed for house construction.
– Yes, it has always been and is still the intention of the Government to spread new Australian labour over all essential industries. It lias worked out that the iron and steel industry has been the quickest in providing accommodation, in co-operating and in making vacancies. That is why so many new Australians have been and are still being absorbed into the industry. We have paid attention to other groups of industries associated with housing in order to help both State and Commonwealth housing projects. Yesterday, 60 new arrivals started work in timber mills in Sydney and its suburbs. About 100 men started to-day in eighteen brick, tile and pottery works adjacent to Sydney. To-day, 160 men went to Port Kembla, and I assume that they started work. Today, also, a second batch of 100 men went to Newcastle.
– What about Queensland ?
– The production of iron and steel and bricks is associated with housing. If I am in order in referring to a previous question, I may say that my department has agreed with the Minister for Immigration to canvass the rural industries, and men are now touring all the States and getting into touch with pastoralists, farmers and fruit-growers to see whether new arrivals can be fitted in with them in ones, twos, threes or hundreds.
– Has the attention of the Minister for Repatriation been directed to a report in the Sunday Sun of the 18th September that an ex-Royal Australian Air Force gunner who suffered severe injuries to his head and spine during the war had alleged that when be made plans to go abroad to undergo an operation by a well-known English surgeon the Repatriation Department reduced by 50 per cent, his full disability pension? Can the Minister say whether it is a fact that this ex-serviceman, having successfully undergone the operation, was taken off a boat at Durban, although he had signed on in order to work his passage back to Australia? If so, was that due to ill-health caused by war injuries? Why did not the Repatriation Department assist this ex-serviceman to obtain the best medical treatment for his injuries by facilitating not only his passage abroad but also his return to Australia? If, as reported, this man’s health has not improved sufficiently to enable him to resume his normal work, why has not the Repatriation Department restored the full disability pension to which he is entitled?
– Obviously I could not have in my mind complete details of this particular matter. I have not seen the statement in the Sunday Sun to which the honorable member referred ; in fact I have not read any of the daily newspapers to-day.
– That appears to be in conformity with the Prime Minister’s policy.
– It is a matter of responsibility to the country in general and to ex-servicemen in particular, rather than a matter of policy. I shall examine the circumstances of the case and furnish the honorable member with full details as soon as possible. I stress that Australia is second to no other country, in the treatment that is afforded to exservicemen.
– Will the Minister for Repatriation make available to private doctors of medicine the files and records of ex-service personnel who apply to the appropriate tribunals for pensions, so that such an applicant’s local doctor may make a report concerning the application to the Repatriation Commission? I have a letter concerning this matter from an ex-serviceman who apparently does not know that there is a legal service bureau in Sydney from which he could seek assistance. The writer desires to know where he may obtain legal advice regarding his pension.
– In reply to the second portion of the honorable member’s question, I should advise the exserviceman concerned to apply for legal assistance to the Legal Service Bureau established by my colleague the AttorneyGeneral, which gives excellent assistance to ex-service personnel. In reply to the first part of the honorable member’s question, I promise to look at the case that he has raised to see what information can be made available to the local medical officer. The department does not allow its files out indiscriminately, because they are the private records of ex-service personnel and, therefore, are not made available to unauthorized persons.
General Election: Political Broadcasts - Date of Poll
– I ask the Prime Minister the following questions: (a) Has the right honorable gentleman yet studied the terms of the order governing the broadcasting of political matter that has been gazetted and issued to all broadcasting stations? (b) Is it not a fact that those conditions conform with provisions of the Australian Broadcasting Act 1948, that was introduced by this Government? (c) Does the order mean that any political party contesting more than 15 per cent. of the seats in this House, in at least three States, must be sold broadcasting time by every commercial station in this country? (d) Has the attention of the Government been directed to the fact that the Communist party has announced its intention to contest 76 seats in six States? (e) As the minimum number of seats to be contested in three States in compliance with the order is only 19 does this mean that the commercial stations must sell broadcasting time to the Communist party and give to the Communists facilities equal to those granted to other political parties? (f) What will be the position under the order in relation to stations that have always refused to sell broadcasting time to the
Communist party ? I refer particularly to station 2SM in Sydney; (g) is the right honorable gentleman aware that if the Australian Broadcasting Commission decides to grant free time over the national network to Mr. Sharkey, leader of the Communist party, all commercial stations also will have to give him free time? (h) Is he also aware that the terms of the order will mean that the parties represented in this House by the honorable member for Bourke and myself will be excluded from broadcasting unless we decide to nominate candidates in three States?; and (i) will the Government consider amending the Australian Broadcasting Act 1948, in order to safeguard the right of all stations to refuse time to the Communist party, on the ground that it advocates anti-constitutional and revolutionary action?
– I have examined the order, and I understand that the Attorney-General also has done so. Having regard to the representations that have been made, the Postmaster-General, with whom I have discussed the matter by telephone, has requested the Australian Broadcasting Control Board to re-examine the terms of the order. I am unable, therefore, to answer the honorable member for Reid beyond saying that the whole matter is being re-examined by the board at the request of the PostmasterGeneral. I shall supply the honorable gentleman with the answers to the questions that he has asked as soon as it is possible to do so.
– I ask the Prime Minister a question concerning the rights of the leader of the independent party in this House to speak over regional broadcasting stations in the Northern Territory during the forthcoming general election.
– Which leader?
– The one who represents Alice Springs and Darwin. I point out that, although the Communists have not yet definitely stated that they will put forward a candidate, they are supporting the Australian Labour party candidate in the local Communist newspaper. I further preface my question by pointing out that, although the Prime Minister may, as leader of the Australian Labour party, nominate a candidate endorsed by that party to speak over the radio on its behalf, I, who represent the Northern Territory as an independent member, am not, apparently, entitled to enjoy the prescribed broadcasting facilities because I do not belong to a political party which will contest a minimum of 15 per cent, of the number of seats at the general election. I ask the right honorable gentleman, theref ore, whether he will extend to me, as the leader of the independent party in this House, similar facilities to those which will be given to the Australian Labour party candidate ?
– I do not know whether the honorable member for the Northern Territory regards himself as constituting a political party. However, 1 can inform him that I discussed, very briefly, the position of independent candidates with the Postmaster-Genera], and, as I indicated in the course of my reply to a. question asked by the honorable member for Reid, the whole matter is being re-examined :by the Australian Broadcasting Control Board at the request of the Postmaster-General.
– In view of the efforts that are being made by the Government in other directions to ensure that all .parties shall ‘have equal opportunities at the forthcoming general election, will the Prime Minister say whether the Government has reached any decision concerning the date on which the election is to be held ? If so, what is the date?
– I may be able to answer the honorable member’s question next week. A tentative date has been agreed upon; but further consideration will have to be given to the matter because of the state of the electoral machinery.
– I ask the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture whether the home-consumption price of Australian wheat is 6s. 8d. a bushel as at port of export? Is the sea freight of wheat from the mainland to Tasmania made a charge against the wheat-growers ? If it is, does the additional charge comply with the conditions under which the home-consumption pr ice of wheat is fixed ?
– The homeconsumption price of wheat, which is the guaranteed price and the price that is fixed by the .State commissioners in each State of Australia, is now 6s. 8d. a bushel. Under the terms of the stabilization plan, the price that is fixed is the guaranteed price f.o.b. at export ports in each of the six Australian States. Technically, and possibly physically, a port in Tasmania is an export port for the purposes of the plan. In those circumstances, the price at which the Australian Wheat Board should sell wheat in Tasmania is 6s. 8d. a bushel, and tentative instructions to that effect have been issued to the board by the Department of Commerce and Agriculture. One feature of the stabilization plan was that each of the six Australian State parliaments should pass legislation complementary to the Commonwealth legislation. Under the provisions of the Tasmanian legislation, the Tasmanian Government has fixed the price of wheat in that State at 6s. 8d. a bushel. Therefore, an obligation is imposed upon the Australian Wheat Board to ensure that wheat shall be available for sale in Tasmania at. 6s. 8d. a bushel. T point out to the honorable member for Wimmera that Tasmanian wheat-growers who deliver wheat to the Australian Wheat Board are entitled to share in the higher prices that are obtained for export wheat notwithstanding that, except in a very few instances and in respect of very small quantities they do not export wheat. The Australian Government considers that, in view of the benefits that the Commonwealth wheat stabilization plan confers upon Australian wheatgrowers generally, it is justified in requiring them to pay the freight charges on wheat that is transported from Williamstown to Tasmania. When the charges are spread over the whole of the Australian wheat crop, the sum involved is less than a farthing a bushel. Surely that is a small price for the wheat-growers to pay to obtain the advantages of a system under which every State in Australia fixes the homeconsumption price of wheat within the State and the Australian Government guarantees the payment of a price, based upon costs of production, in respect of the portion of the crop that is consumed in
Australia and also in respect of 100,000,000 bushels of export wheat.
– Has the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture, on his own responsibility, refused to make wheat sacks a charge against growers’ wheat sale accounts? If so, was that decision a rejection of a recommendation by the Australian Wheat Board? Is it intended to cease demanding cash with orders for bags, and to revert to the old system of making bags a charge against growers’ wheat accounts? Will the Minister state also what is the position regarding wheat sacks for the coming harvest?
– The method of distribution of wheat sacks for this season was determined by the Government and I have acted on its direction. I have instructed the Australian Wheat Board to ensure that wheat sacks shall be sold only for cash. The wheat-growers of Australia are fortunate that, for a considerable number of years, the Australian Government has financed the importation of the whole of their requirements of wheat sacks. The Government sells the sacks to wholesale firms which in turn pass them on to the wheat-growers. Had it not been for the socialistic finance involved, the wheatgrowers on the one hand would not have been able to obtain their sack requirements for a considerable period, and on the other hand would have been the victims of jute speculators. The wheatgrowers are fortunate in having a fraternal government to distribute wheat sacks at the cost of importation plus distribution charges.
– I ask the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture to say when butter producers will receive a just price. I thank him for his previous assurances, but is it not a fact that “hope deferred maketh the heart sick”, and that an essential quality of justice is that it be not delayed? Have the States delayed justice to the butter industry since the 1st July? Is there any official reason why butter producers should be the only section of the community that has to continue to work for less than the cost of production?” Can the Minister inform me whether theStates yet show any sign of recognizing their obligations to the industry in termsof powers which had to be transferred tothem by the Commonwealth following thedefeat of the prices referendum? Can the Minister also inform me whether the State governments will return to arbitration in this matter? Are the State governments ignoring the production costs* established in this industry by an independent tribunal? Will the Commonwealth prepare to use its financial powers to ensure that the States shall honour the undertaking given to this industry and accepted by it in good faith?
– I am aware of the truth of the honorable gentleman’s statement that “ hope deferred maketh the heart sick “, and my sympathy goes out to the dairy-farmers of Australia who, due to the lack of satisfactory action by the respective State governments, have, up to the moment, been deprived of the “ found “ cost of production for the butter they have produced. So far, the Australian Government has not been officially informed of the decision of the respective States and has been waiting for finality to be reached. I have seen some references in the press to the decision of the States but they cannot be taken as an official notification of it. The honorable gentleman may rest assured that when the official decision of the six Ministers for Prices in the respective States has been received by the Australian Government the position will be examined in the light of it, and that a statement” will be made in due course.
– I ask the Minister for Civil Aviation whether investigations concerning the recent destruction of a Qantas Empire Airways flying boat at Rose Bay flying base showed that sabotage was responsible for the explosion that caused the destruction? Are major Australian aerodromes and flying bases provided with any military or police protection, and if so to what degree? If not, will the Government ensure that adequate security arrangements shall be made at such places?
– The _ question asked by the honorable member is partly, if not wholly, covered by question No. 24 on the notice-paper in the name of the honorable member for Wentworth. Information is being obtained to provide an answer to that question which will, I Relieve, satisfy the honorable member for Balaclava. I desire to point out that explosions such as that referred to do not come under the jurisdiction of the Department of Civil Aviation, but rather are within the jurisdiction of the State police forces - in the present instance the New South Wales police. However, as soon as the information requested by the honorable member for Wentworth in his question upon notice has been obtained I shall supply it to him and I have no doubt that he will impart it to the honorable member for Balaclava.
– I should like to know from the Minister for Air whether the Royal Australian Air Force is experimenting with “ semi-atomic “ bombs. My inquiry arises from the fact that residents of Evans Head, which is a practice target area, complain that the detonations of the bombs that are used by the Royal Australian Air Force at night time are so great that they cannot sleep and that the detonations rattle windows at places fifteen miles distant from the target area. Will the Minister inquire into the matter? Should it be desirable to continue such practices, as I presume it is, can they be conducted in a more remote area?
– The honorable member for Richmond was good enough to advise me this morning that he proposed to ask a question on this matter. There is a bombing range for target practice at Evans Head and it is necessary for the men employed in the Royal Australian Air Force to have such practice. However, I have not yet heard of such a thing as a “ semiatomic” bomb. Should that description of the practice bombs being used be justified, the matter, as the honorable member will realize, must involve security considerations which would preclude my disclosure of information concerning them. So far as I am aware, no such bombs are being used by the Royal Australian Air Force. I shall obtain what information is available, and if the power of the explosions is causing inconvenience assurances will be given that will satisfy the residents of Evans Head.
– I direct the attention of the Attorney-General to reports that extreme disquiet is being caused in the Commonwealth Public Service by the activities of the new security service. It is alleged by senior officers that many dossiers compiled by that service are unreliable and highly libellous, and that some of those that have been shown to heads of departments are based mainly on hearsay and .uncorroborated evidence. Are these complaints based on fact? If so, will the right honorable gentleman take action to remedy them?
– Last week, or earlier, I indicated the general authority and nature of the security service, of which Mr. Justice Reed is Director-General. Following his appointment to that position a reorganization was effected with the closest co-operation .between the British security authorities and the Australian Government. In order to protect our internal security, one result of the new arrangement is to give to the DirectorGeneral of Security a charter as ample as that possessed by the corresponding authority in Great Britain. Therefore, it is not possible that documents of the kind mentioned by the honorable member would be shown to heads of departments. Such documents are not shown even to Ministers. To all intents and purposes the Director-General of Security is free from ministerial direction. That arrangement is essential in order to maintain maximum internal security which, I have no doubt, all honorable members wish to have preserved. In principle, everything is left to the discretion, good sense and sense of justice of Mr. Justice Reed, who for many years has been a distinguished justice of the Supreme Court of South Australia. The honorable member may rest assured, that if particulars of any alleged injustice are brought to the notice of Mr. Justice Reed - which. I undertake to do if they are supplied to me - he will deal with them on the basis of justice, always remembering that the supreme consideration is the security of the country.
Murder os” Australian Officers.
– In pursuance of questions that I have been asking in this chamber for.the last four years, I ask the AttorneyGeneral to say now what steps have been taken recently to secure compensation payments for the dependants of the three Australian officers who were murdered in Indonesia shortly after the end of the war. I understand that a payment of £500 has been made to the widow and orphan son of one of the men, but the Minister undertook to continue representations to the Government of the Indonesian Republic for more adequate compensation. Has the right honorable gentleman any further information on this subject ?
– I am obliged to the honorable member for mentioning this matter. In all cases, except one in which the claim was abandoned, compensation has been paid to the dependants of the murdered men as though they had been killed on active service, which, in effect, they were. In addition, the Australian Government made a claim upon the Indonesian Republic and a further substantial sum has been paid.
– A maximum of £500 for a widow and orphan son ?
– Those payments were over and above the compensation to which the dependants were entitled under the Repatriation Act. The Indonesian Government has agreed to pay a further sum which is still owing. As the honorable member is aware, that Government has not been functioning for some time. However, I shall ascertain the exact amount outstanding, and the honorable member may rest assured that the payments agreed upon will be made to the dependants.
– I ask the Minister for External Affairs to disclose what information the Australian Government has received concerning recent reports of plans sponsored by the United .States of America and the United Kingdom to settle 5,000,000 Japanese on North Borneo and other Pacific islands. Is the approval of the United Nations organization being, sought for the settlement of large numbers of Japanese on those islands? Will the Minister for External Affairs point out to the British Government that British pre-war policy was opposed to Japanese mass migration to British-owned or controlled territories in the Pacific region, and that Australia’s policy is still opposed to such migration?
– I have only seen a newspaper’s reports of this matter. The Australian Government, both directly, and indirectly through the United Nations, would oppose any such migration scheme. The reasons for that opposition are obvious. The proximity of the Japanese during the war represented a great peril to this country. Australia’s attitude to Japanese migration has not changed, and, so far as I am aware, no action on this matter has been taken, or even suggested, by the United Nations.
Nationalization: Legal Costs
– On the 9th June last I addressed a question to the Acting Attorney-General seeking information, about, among other things, counsel who appeared on behalf of the Commonwealth before the High Court and the Privy Council in the Banking case. That information was supplied. I also asked what amount was paid in fees, refreshers, retainers, expenses and other emoluments for the appearances of these counsel before the High Court and the Privy Council. The Acting Attorney-General informed me that the information would be obtained and would be furnished to me as soon as it was available. Will the Attorney-General now indicate when I may expect to obtain the information?
– I received information only to-day from the Treasury that some items relating to these costs have still to be included. Another honorable member has asked me a somewhat similar question. As soon as the information is available it will be furnished to the honorable mem’ber
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Health. Is it true, as was stated in a recent issue of the Sydney Sun, that Dr. Reilly, who was recently appointed to succeed Dr. Webster as Government Medical Officer at Tennant Creek, has resigned his position on the ground that he is unable to adjust himself to the policy of the Department of Health in the Northern Territory? What are Dr. Reilly’s objections to the department’s policy? Are they the same as those of Dr. Webster, who was suddenly discharged after he had criticized the Government’s medical policy? How many other medical officers have resigned or have been removed or transferred from the service of the department in the Northern Territory in the last three years?
– It is true that Dr. Reilly resigned his position as medical officer in the Department of Health. It is also true that his relations with the department were perfectly harmonious. The correspondence which has passed between Dr. Reilly and the department shows that their relations were amicable. There is nothing in it to suggest that Dr. Reilly resigned because of bad feeling between the department and himself. I understand that he was appointed to his position temporarily and on the understanding that if he so desired he would be given the appointment of Chief Medical Officer in the Northern Territory. Dr. Reilly finally decided that he would prefer to go hack to private practice. Anticipating such a question as this, the Department of Health last week informed me that the correspondence on the subject of Dr. Reilly’s resignation shows that no bad feelings existed between him and the department. The honorable member has asked for information about the number of doctors who have resigned or have been discharged or, as he suggests, have been “ rail-roaded “ in some other way from the Health Department in the
Northern Territory during the last three years. I shall endeavour to obtain the information for him.
– Can the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Fuel say whether the Government is aware that when Morinda is withdrawn from the service to Norfolk Island, that island will be deprived of shipping to Australia? If so, what does the Government intend to do to provide shipment for supplies from Australia to the 1,200 inhabitants of the island ?
– I am not aware that anything of the nature suggested has, in fact, occurred. However, I shall consult my colleague, the Minister for Shipping and Fuel, and provide an answer to the honorable gentleman.
Bill presented by Mr. Calwell, and read a first time.
In Committee of Supply: Consideration resumed from the 15th September (vide page 313), on motion by Mr. Chifley -
That the first item in the Estimates under Division No. 1 - Senate - namely, “ Salary and Allowances, £12,400 “, be agreed to.
.- This is a pre-election budget and I consider that it is a good one. I have no hesitation in stating that this Government will be returned to the treasury bench. In fact, the result of the election is a foregone conclusion. The tories have nothing to offer the people. They are as barren in respect of policy as a desert is of grass. The only matter that they have found on which to attack the Government is the pledge that every member of the Labour party signs. On this issue, honorable members opposite are telling deliberate untruths. They read the pledge of the Australian Labour party, but deliberately omit the declaration that accompanies it. That declaration clearly dennes the party’s objective of socialization. Honorable members opposite know perfectly well that no political party, whether it be the Labour party, the Liberal party or the Australian. Country party, could socialize farms, shops, factories and the like. But the Opposition parties claim that the Labour party is pledged to take such measures. To preach that kind of propaganda is to state a wicked lie. A government could give effect to such a policy only after it had obtained the approval of the people at a referendum. The people themselves would have to decide the issue.
The Opposition parties are a completely spent force. The Leader of the Australian Country party (Mr. Fadden) is the most irresponsible leader who has ever strutted in this chamber. In an endeavour to gain a political victory, he makes wild and ridiculous statements, some of which, at times, would detrimentally affect the nation. He has become a complete joke in the Australian electorates. Of course, the people will not have the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies) as Prime Minister again. No power on earth can sell him to the people. The right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes) said, on one occasion, that “ Mr. Menzies could not lead a team of homing pigeons “. However, I do not ask the people to accept my word alone in this matter. I refer them to an article entitled “Things I Hear “ that was written by Mr! Frank Browne on the 28th February last. That gentleman was a member of the Liberal party. He contested the New South Wales State electorate of Bondi against the Labour candidate, Mr. Abram Landa, and, on another occasion, he contested Vaucluse as an Independent Liberal party ‘candidate against the sitting Liberal member, Mr. Murray Robson. Later, he stood for party pre-selection for the Manly seat. Mr. Browne has had a good deal to say about the Leader of the Opposition, as is shown by the following extracts from “ Things I Hear “ : -
Between now and the Federal elections the Liberal party will he spending vast sums of money in trying to build up Bob Menzies as a man the Australian voter can trust. One of the first steps has been the hiring of a Labour cast-off in Mr. Stewart Howard. Mr. Howard’s job will be to convince the man in the street that he has been wrong about Menzies.
However, in twelve years of Federal Politics, Menzies has accumulated perhaps the worst reputation of any Australian politician. He is condemned on the grounds of [a) incompetence as an administrator. (6) an utter lack of loyalty to anybody throughout his political career. (c) a complete absence of humanity in dealing with either individuals or groups. In regard to the first charge, that of incapacity, there is abundant proof. He became Prime Minister on April 2(5, 1939. Ho inherited a large working majority. He failed to win a by-election as Prime Minister. In September, 1940, as a war-time Prime Minister, he went to the polls, and despite the fact that leaders under such circumstances have an almost unfair political advantage, he succeeded in losing it. Billy Hughes commented . . . “he couldn’t lead a flock of homing pigeons “.
The country was at war, and as Australia went to the polls, the Battle of Britain was raging. The war had reached a crucial point. It was a time for action, if ever there was to be a time for action. Yet Menzies was an avowed apostle of “ business as usual “, and posters blazoning this shameful dogma plastered public buildings.
He made fine speeches. The fact was that he lacked completely the qualities necessary in a man at the head of a Government. He thought the country could be run on a series of speeches. He had come from a profession where a man could rise to great heights as the result of talk, the legal profession. He had been used to having other people make decisions for him, and then implement those decisions. In a position where both the decisions and the implementing of them devolved upon himself, he was as useless as a suit of tails at a picnic.
The Liberals have been sold on the idea that the magic of modern advertising and public relations can put him over. They have allotted vast sums of money for this purpose.. Menzies is to be sold like condensed milk, breakfast food, soap, or even, cheese. Nobody has more faith in the wonderful works of modern advertising than I have. I get my living on the value of public relations. But you’ve got to have an even break. Who could sell a soap that for tcn years had had a nasty smell about it, without first changing the perfume? Who could sell a breakfast food full of weevils? Who could sell a cheese that didn’t measure up to a public palate?
That describes the gentleman to whom members of the Opposition want the people to entrust Australia’s destiny. They boast that they are a united force. We know how united they are! We have only to look across the border at the State Parliament in Victoria to see how disunited they are. Only a few days ago, the anti-Labour Government in Victoria was saved from defeat by the vote of the Speaker. I refer honorable members to some other significant quotations which illustrate the lack of cohesion amongst members of the Opposition parties. The honorable member for Indi (Mr. McEwen) made a public statement about the huge sums of money that the anti-Labour forces had accumulated for the purpose of destroying socialism. Then he said that the people wanted to know why the wealth in the coffers of the Liberal party was being used to destroy, not the Socialist Labour party, but the Country party. The Melbourne Sun News-Pictorial, of the 8th December, 194S, revealed the unhappy situation of the anti-Labour parties in the Victorian Parliament when it published the following report : -
Galleries in the Legislative Assembly were crowded yesterday when the three party leaders and Sir Albert Dunstan met the House for the first time since the break up of the CoalitionCountry Party Government and the installation of the all-Liberal Cabinet. Mr. McDonald, Country party Leader and former Deputy Premier, described the Premier and his former colleagues (Mr. Hollway) in these words “ This contemptible political ratbag . . . the Prince of Appeasers and King of Disruptionists . . . the most irresponsible Premier ever to have strutted across the political arena . . . the archdisruptionist the first Premier to wreck his own Government. He’s done more intrigue than Sir Albert Dunstan ever thought about. He’e been pulled up on a reputation gained by wise actions forced on him by Liberal and Country party colleagues.”
Then Sir Albert Dunstan, former Country party Minister for Health added his version. i This worm-like Premier with the swollen head and the shrunken back . . . this pampered playboy . . . The Premier has come back from his three months abroad just like a joey in the pouch of a possum - that is assuming the member for Northcote has a pouch . . . (Mr. Cain, Labour Party leader, is member for Northcote) a craven cur looking in the mirror in the morning and thinking himself the saviour of his country. The weakest man who has ever drawn in this country the breath of life.” And Mr. Hollway’s reply: “ Just what do they think I am - a spineless wonder of a dictator? In the words of my late leader, Sir Stanley Argyle, Dunstan is at his old tricks again. Everything he touches politically he endeavours to destroy “.
And the Labour leader, Mr. Cain : “ We don’t have .to abuse anybody. We’re here as a party with responsibilities. We will judge the situation as we see it over the next week or two.”
There they are - the whole box and dice of them - asking this country to hand over its destiny to a set of men of their character.
I come back to the matter before the committee. The Prime Minister and Treasurer is to be heartily congratulated on his new budget. In a moment or two, I wish to quote some extracts from a leading article that appeared recently in the columns of an independent newspaper. Of course, I refer to the Argus, published in Melbourne. If an honorable member on this side of the chamber rises in his place to make some commendation of the progressive financial policy of the Government, he is usually subjected to some heckling and interruptions from honorable members opposite. Honorable members opposite neither like nor tell the truth about such matters. Eight years ago, when Labour took office, they declared that we should be able to hold office for only about twelve months, or until the next general election. That was the catch-cry on that occasion. Even twelve months would be too long, they said, because, in that time, Labour would so mismanage the Treasury as to bring disaster and chaos to the whole country. Business would be ruined, savings would disappear, and starvation and want would stalk the land. That was what they predicted and, I believe, hoped for. Eight years later, the Opposition is still feeding the electors with the same pap and hoping that it will be believed. This only serves to show how few mistakes we have made. Within two years of the end of the war, the Treasurer had introduced heavy tax reductions, increased social service payments and benefits and, at the same time, twice balanced the nation’s budget. What a record and what a credit to the Government that is. That was no mean achievement at the hands of the Treasurer, who was heralded by the Opposition as a nation-buster. The truth is that the Treasurer is proving himself the greatest nation-builder Australia has ever known. In fact, he is the Abraham Lincoln of Australia. Never before have we made such progress or been in a sounder position. However, in case my words do not carry conviction to the Opposition, I propose to read the following extract from the independent newspaper, the Argus. The article is headed “ A L-C-L Budget “ which means a lower cost-of-living budget. The article was published on Thursday, the 8th September, and it states -
Mr. Chifley, as Treasurer, has produced a Lower Cost of Living Budget.
He has resisted the tendency, tempting for political leaders, of making spectacular eleventh-hour concessions in an election year. This Bridget is an instrument of economic and social policy. The instrument is obviously to be used in .this case to under-pin social service programmes; to guarantee continued full employment; to promote the policy of planning Australia’s economic development.
As this policy is one that has clearly come to stay - not only in Australia, and not 01113 as Labour policy - .the Budget is a sound one. Some may make the criticism that the Treasurer is budgeting for deficit. The answer has already been given; he is budgeting for a social service policy.
Deficits, if the rise in national income is maintained by increased production, become surpluses, and revenue excess must mean more tax reduction. The moral is: Increased production within the working week will result in greater social security. That is, if budgeting of this kind continues.
When we examine the details it becomes clear why this an L.C.L. Budget.
It reduces forms of taxation which inflate prices. Thus it helps the individual to avoid higher living costs in some degree. It attacks the prices of commodities directly by, for example, freeing 400 items from primage; this again helps the individual, particularly that important representative of consumers, the housewife.
Further, it indicates to the public that the real power to deal with the cost of living is in the hands of the Federal Government. It is an incentive Budget, because it encourages really enterprising business to be more enterprising. It does this by making concessions for investing new capital on new equipment. And this in turn ultimately favours the consumer: enterprising and prosperous industry always does.
Concept of freedom.
This Budget embodies the conception of setting the people free. It is an instrument which frees people from fear of social insecurity and from the menace of unemployment. At the same time it extends freedom to industrial enterprise by liberating it from the restrictions nf out-of-date and outmoded machinery. That is realist, and it is economically sound.
It is sound because it gets down to bedrock and provides positive recipes for lower living costs. In short, it is a good Budget.
It is good for the best of possible reasons; that is to say, for a truly national reason. It must contribute greatly to the future stability and prosperity of all classes in Australia. It serves all interests. Lower living costs give consumers greater buying power; business incentives provide them with more to buy.
That is the opposite of an economic vicious circle. It helps to integrate all sections of the community into a cohesive social whole.
It is a good Budget; an L.C.L. Budget.
It is a great pity that more such articles are not published in the newspapers of Australia. The sound policy of the Labour Government has put the people of Australia on top of the world, and the future can be brighter still. Consider Australia to-day. There are jobs for all ; there is money in everyone’s pocket ; there is freedom from fear of unemployment, sickness and age; there is hope for and faith in the future, and, despite the warcaused shortages, which are still with us, no one in his right mind would deny that businessmen, workers, farmers and housewives and all those who make up the great majority of the community are better off than ever before. Australia, in fact, is the envy of the world. Thus Labour has proved itself to the people. It is due, more than to any other single cause, to the policies begun by the late John Curtin and carried- on by his successor as Prime Minister, the right honorable member for Macquarie (Mr. Chifley), that Australia’s position is so sound to-day. There is a story to remember. Let me touch on a few of the more important highlights of the Chifley Government’s great achievements. First I wish briefly to touch on taxation. During the last general election campaign, the Prime Minister, knowing that overhasty and over-drastic tax cuts would be ruinous to our economy, promised only that he would “make additional tax reductions as circumstances permit “. That promise has been faithfully kept without disturbance of the economy of this country. .Since the war this Government has made successive tax reductions which have amounted to £140,000,000 a year. This sound and honest policy will be pursued in the future as circumstances permit. Let us compare that procedure with the policy that our opponents preached prior to the last general election in 1946. Whilst on the one hand the leader of the Australian Country party (Mr. Fadden) offered to reduce taxes by a certain amount if the Australian Country party was’ elected, on tHe other hand the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies) promised even greater tax reductions if the Liberals -were, elected.. However the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley) dealt honestly with the people, and they believed in him..
No government in the world has done more for its ex-service men and women by way of ‘repatriation than has this Government. Nowhere has more adequate provision been made for the sick and disabled and nowhere else in the world has a rehabilitation scheme comparable with our reconstruction training scheme been introduced. In no other country has- the ire-establishment of exservice men and women in industry been so smoothly accomplished as in Australia, assisted in. no small measure^ by our preference legislation and other helpful enactments. By our policy of full employment, and the establishment of the National Welfare Fund, from which social services costing about £100,000,000 annually are provided, Labour has brought social security into the realm of practical realization. Pensions and .benefits have been increased, in some instances to double and treble the amounts previously paid, whilst national health measures providing incalculable benefits for the community have been introduced. The Government is justly proud of its record with relation to the provision of social services. Indeed it is a record of which every Australian can be proud. Considerable prosperity is now enjoyed by those engaged in primary production. Although the Government does not claim credit for the high prices at present being obtained for our primary products overseas, it does claim credit for the passage of the Wheat Industry Stabilization Act 1949, the organization of orderly marketing, and the subsidy systems.
For the. first time, in our history primary producers are enjoying real security. I am convinced that never again will they entrust their destiny to the. Liberal and Australian Country parties, because the tories have failed them so miserably in the past. The election of a Liberal-Country party government would be. suicidal for the primary producers, and I am convinced that they are: not: prepared, to commit political suicide. I shall review briefly the great advancement that has been made in this country in connexion with our secondary industries since the Australian Labour party was elected to office.
I could speak at great, length of improvements that have been effected in the electorate of Humethat I have the honour to represent, in this House. At least seventeen new industries have been established in that electorate since this Government came to office. In my home town of Tumut there is a box factory, a broom factory and the ladies’ underwear factory of Dyomee Manufacturing Proprietary Limited: Those three factories alone provide employment for 111 people. In addition a number of timber mills are now operating in the Tumut district. These did not exist prior to this Government being elected to office. This expansion and development in my electorate is typical of the expansion that has taken place throughout Australia. To-day there are 10,000 more factories in this country than before the war, and the annual monthly total of persons inemployment has risen from 542,000 to 800,000. As honorable members know, unemployment figures have reached an all time low. Furthermore, thousands of jobs yet remain to be filled. However, in the dark and desperate days when this country was governed by parties now in opposition, thousands of people were forced to live on the dole. Only recently I had occasion to look at the relief scale that was issued in the ‘thirties, when a man with a wife and seven children was paid only 22s. a week. In those days Australians were denied their birthright: to work and’ live comfortably. No less than 750,000 bread-winners were out of work and, in many instances, homeless. Many farmers were in the grip of the financial octopus and unable to dispose of their produce. Thousands were literally starving, and many business men were forced into the bankruptcy courts. Although I was in business at that time I managed to escape that fate. All of these things happened under the anti-Labour governments that controlled the destiny of this country for 21 out of the 23 years immediately prior to this Government assuming office during the dark days of war.
The opponents of Labour have attempted to ridicule the submission that the soundness of Australia’s economy and the general security of all sections of the community are due to Labour’s administration. Their refusal to recognize that this Government has had anything to do with bringing this state of affairs about sounds very unconvincing and hollow to people who remember the tragic years of financial and economic conscription under anti-Labour governments between ten and fifteen years ago. The criticism of honorable -members opposite of our economic stability is extraordinary also in view of the eulogies of Australian business men returning from abroad. Furthermore, overseas capital from both empire and non-empire countries, including the United States of America, totalling approximately £140,000,000 has been invested in Australia since 1945, and farmers, of whom there are approximately 250,000 in this country, have paid off overdrafts amounting to almost £100,000,000 and are now owners of their properties in their own right. Prior to the war they were merely token owners, who were afraid of being sold up at any time. Although, prior to the war, home dwellers and business people were in chains both financially and economically, they are now free. In 1931, no fewer than 4,666 bankruptcies were registered in Australia.
– Although the Scullin Government was in office, it was never in power. In 1939, there were 1,889 bankruptcies, and last year there were 331. That is an indication of our present economic security. Winston Churchill once said, “What is physically possible should be financially possible “. That is Labour’s financial attitude now, and it always will be.
Thousands of farmers, home-dwellers and business people who in pre-war years were financial conscripts and mortgagees who were paying high interests to financiers, enjoy freedom to-day. In 1935, according to the findings of a royal commission, the wheat and wool growers of Australia owed £288,000,000, on which they were paying £14,000,000 a year interest. Between 1930 and 1935, 20,000 farmers walked off their farms. Between 1933 and 1941 the number of wheat farms of over 20 acres in Australia decreased by 6,625. Between 1935 and 1940 the number of employees in the dairying industry decreased by 18,000. Hundreds of farmers were forced to ask their bankers for permission to buy fertilizers, bags, spare parts, hay or chaff, or sheep or cattle. I know of many farmers who were afraid to be seen at a football match or a concert for fear of their banker finding out! Even in 1939-40 there were 290,000 in the workless army of the lost. Starved of purchasing power, people had to stand by while wheat, cattle, potatoes, fruit and coffee were being destroyed, burnt or dumped in the sea, while thousands on the earth died of starvation. What an awful picture of conditions under toryism! Factories, brickyards, timber mills and other businesses were closed down. Economic conscription was the tragic experience of wage and salary earners. Under antiLabour governments, freedom was a mockery, yet to-day the supporters of the anti-Labour parties have the effrontery to talk of “ the good old days “ and of Labour taking away their freedom. The people of this country now enjoy a greater freedom than do the people of any other country. I say to honorable gentlemen opposite who preach that kind of “ tripe “ that if they are not satisfied they should get out of this country. The truth is that thousands of people are enjoying economic freedom to-day for the first time in their lives. To deny that our organized marketing, guaranteed prices, contracts for the sale of our products overseas, reduction of interest rates, credit availability, fairer distribution of wealth, prices control, &c., have not helped materially to stabilize our economy is like a man who has recovered from a dread disease of long standing, denying that his doctor has had anything at all to do with his recovery. The prospects of all who buy homes, farms or businesses to-day, with costs rising owing to the defeat of the referendum on rents and prices control last year, will be grim indeed if Labour is defeated and a policy of reaction, “ hire and fire restriction of credit and higher interest rates receives encouragement from bigbusiness anti-Labour governments.
I shall now touch briefly upon the assistance that has been given to the Mother Country by Australia. Apart from the ties of kinship, which are acknowledged by all of us, the Chifley Government has realized that the interests of Australia are bound up with the postwar recovery of Great Britain. The Government has given Great Britain all the assistance possible, including gifts of money that now amount to £45,000,000, after consulting the British Government regarding the forms of assistance that would prove to be most useful and timely. We have also made contributions to Unrra and post-Unrra, including the International Children’s Belief Fund which have amounted to £30,000,000.
Further proof of the great prosperity of this country under Labour is provided by the magnitude of savings bank deposits, which are always a good indication of the degree of prosperity that is being enjoyed by the people. In 193S- 1939 saving bank deposits totalled £244,000,000. According to the latest figures that are available, the figure is now £714,219,000. As a result, we see homes going up in every country town and city of Australia. During the three pre-war years only 30 homes were built in the town of Tumut. Those were years when many men were unemployed. Bricks and mortar were plentiful, but people lacked the purchasing power to buy even a door knob, let alone to build a home. They could not even pay house rent. During the past two and a half years, however, 75 homes have been built in Tumut. That is the answer to the members of the anti-Labour forces who sit in this Parliament.
This Government is also bringing to Australia the people that we want. Our most urgent need is man-power. The remarkable success of the efforts of the Minister for Immigration (Mr. Calwell) in bringing migrants to Australia has been freely acknowledged by the political opponents of the Labour party and by the anti-Labour press. No fewer than 110,000 migrants are expected to arrive this year.
If this Government is returned to office, a depression can be avoided. I have no hesitation in saying that the poisonous propaganda that has been pumped out by the anti-Labour parties from one end of Australia to the other will have no effect upon the Australian people. Labour came into power in the dark days of the war, when our opponents were removed from office not by the votes of Labour men but by the votes of men who placed the interests of their country before politics and gave Labour the right to govern. Labour steered this young country successfully through the war and through the difficult days of the transitional period that followed. To-day there is greater prosperity in Australia than ever there has been before. The fight is over. The efforts of the anti-Labour parties, with all the wealth that they have at their disposal, will be of no avail. In the electorate of Hume there are three gentlemen who are paid £75 a week by the bankers to go round whispering among the people.
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr. Burke). - Order! The honorable gentleman’s time is exhausted.
.- The honorable member for Hume (Mr. Fuller) seemed to be whistling to keep up his courage when he spoke about the result of the next general election being a foregone conclusion. He also spoke of the socialist pledge, and tried to justify it. The Minister for Health (Senator McKenna) also has attempted to justify the socialist pledge by stating that the Government intended to socialize only activities or concerns that, while they were conducted privately, were socially undesirable and were exploiters of the people. Who is to define what is socially undesirable ?
– Leave that to me.
– I shall not leave it to the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture (Mr. Pollard) or the Parliament. “ Socially undesirable “ is a very broad term, and I am quite sure that the people will not be satisfied to have everything socialized on such broad terms. They will want some guarantee that free enterprise shall not be killed and that control of the State shall not be exercised by a small pressure group. I advise the honorable member for Hume, before he again criticizes any other honorable member, to have a talk with the Minister for Information (Mr. Calwell), who could give him some very good advice and might be able to put him on the right . track. I always have the pleasure of following the honorable member for Hume in debates and I remember, on the last four occasions, his love and affection for the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies). I should like to draw his attention to what the Minister for Information has said about that right honorable gentleman. I refer to a very good article that appeared in the magazine section of the Melbourne Herald of the 13th August last. The article reads in part -
There were many different kinds of public speakers, Mr. Calwell said - Public life abounded with men of diverse talents who used different styles with which to appeal to their audiences.
Mr. Menzies is undoubtedly the finest active political speaker in Australia, he said.
He is always pleasant to listen to. Nature has endowed him with many gifts, both of intellect and expression.
Then follow a number of notveryflattering references to other members of the party. The article continues -
Pass Menzies and there are no really great figures in the Opposition.
There is a testimonial from the Minister for Information to the Leader of the Opposition. The Minister might be accused of being biased on occasions, but I consider that in that instance he made a very fair criticism and expressed an opinion that is shared by all honorable members. For the honorable member for Hume to rise in his place and make the ridiculous statements that he did about the Leader of the Opposition and his lack of ability-
– I did not say that the Leader of the Opposition did not have ability.
– I understood the honorable member to say so. I advise him to have a word with the Minister for Information, who will put him right.
There has been much talk about the depression years. The honorable member for Hume brought that matter up again.
We should get one thing straight. In the depression years a socialist Labour government happened to be in power. It could not be blamed for being the entire cause of the depression, but the people felt that a change of government was necessary. The Lyons Government was elected to office and made such progress in coping with the depression that it was returned with increased majorities at subsequent elections. However, all this talk about blaming any one government or section of the people for the depression is quite unfounded.
I turn now to the budget. First, I desire to speak on a matter that I consider to be of national importance. I refer to the poor state of Australia’s defences. What is the Government doing about the preparation of the country’s defences? What is its defence policy? The Government’s five-year defence plan has failed. Cabinet has allocated hundreds of millions of pounds for defence and then has said, “ Look at what we have done. We have allocated £295,000,000 for defence.” The Government has budgeted for an expenditure of £60,000,000 on defence this year. In 1939, the last year prior to the outbreak of World War II. the Lyons Government spent £35,000,000 on defence out of a total budget of just over £100,000,000, or about one-sixth of the current budget. The value of the £1 has dropped now to slightly more than half of its value in 1939. The defence expenditure in 1939 was a bona fide expenditure on our defence forces. At that time civilian staffs employed in connexion with defence were of reasonable proportions and the cost of maintenance was insignificant compared with present levels. But whereas pre-waT expenditure on defence was legitimately used for defence measures, to-day a huge amount is being spent on defence without any real value being obtained in return. That is the position now despite the fact that the world to-day faces the same trouble as it faced during the Munich crisis of 1938. It may be very comforting to imagine that war may not break out for another five or ten years. Some experts may think so, but in these uncertain and troublous times we have to be ready to meet an emergency to-morrow if necessary. The present situation in Europe is extremely explosive. Before tie last war Nazi Germany confronted the world with the same set of circumstances as those with which Russia confronts it to-day. Stalin is Hitler’s heir. He is the apostle of power politics. There is a distressing similarity in the attitude of Russia towards Yugoslavia and the German attitude to Czechoslovakia in the spring of 1938. It is the habit of European political circumstances to be repeated, and that is a fact that the Australian Government should keep well in mind. What is happening in Europe at the moment? What is the latest critical situation there ? Russia is very anxious to secure a naval base in Yugoslavia to enable the Russian fleet to be based in the Mediterranean. At the moment the straits of the Dardanelles are open to warships only in peace-time. If Russia had a naval base in Yugoslavia it would be able to move its Baltic fleet to the Mediterranean, base it on Yugoslavia and so threaten the lifeline between Europe and Australia.
In the Ear East we are no longer an isolated country. Only a few days ago the press announced that Britain’s latest jet plane would be able to leave Australia at 10 o’clock one morning and arrive in London at 10 o’clock the same morning. That sounds paradoxical, but it is another way of saying that the plane would fly at the speed at which the earth revolves. So distances by air have been reduced to nothing. We are surrounded by countries in which communism is now playing a more vital part than ever before. In the last two wars Australia was able to take plenty of time, or, at least, did take plenty of time, after the declaration of war, to train its armed forces. There was no immediate threat to our country. But even during the last war, men were sent into action without adequate training because we employed the same training and mobilization methods as we used in World War I. During the last war we trained our service personnel on the principles applying in 1939. We shall have no warning of the next war. The full fury of it will be upon us without any declaration of war by the enemy, because the atomic bomb has opened up a new and more terrifying kind of warfare. What .are our defence responsibilities not only as a Pacific power, but also as a nation which seeks to play its part among the nations of the world? First, our defence forces must be sufficient to defend our long coast line. We cannot expect Great Britain, or other allied- countries, to support us directly because they will be busily occupied in their own spheres. We must be able to shoulder our full share of Empire defence. Clearly, Australia is not at present meeting its defence responsibilities even in the Pacific. The Government claims that we do not require a large defence force and it is acting on the idea that this country should primarily become the arsenal of the Empire. That involves the provision of factories, shipyards and stores to meet defence requirements. We are told that our second defence role will be to co-operate with Great Britain in developing atomic and guided weapons. How can we embark upon the rapid expansion of our industries without adequate supplies of coal? Indeed, we have not even the prospects of obtaining sufficient supplies of coal to meet our peace-time needs, let alone our needs in war-time. We are told that the substitute for coal is to be hydro-electric power to be generated under the Snowy Mountains scheme. But that scheme will be further delayed because of our inability during the present dollar crisis to obtain machinery from the United States of America. Therefore, the completion of that scheme must be a long way off. Australia cannot hope to become the arsenal of the Empire unless we have adequate trained defence forces to guard our own shores. Admittedly, our population is too small to provide a large defence force, but each of the services must be compact and well equipped. At present, the Navy possesses only a handful of ships, whilst the army is far below strength, the regular army being 4,000 short of its modest target of enlistments and the militia forces 19,000 short. The Royal Australian Air Force has practically ceased to exist, because it possesses only two fighter squadrons, two bomber squadrons and three transport squadrons on an operational basis. Our defence reserves are a mere gesture. The Government claims that it has made the fighting forces attractive to recruits. It has glamorized the uniforms and raised the pay of members of the forces. However, the fact remains that each arm of the forces is lacking in. numbers and it is impossible to build up units with inadequate numbers. Ex-servicemen’s organizations and responsible bodies in the community have urged the Government to introduce compulsory training. We must face our responsibilities alongside Great Britain, New Zealand and other democratic countries which have introduced compulsory military training.
Honorable members opposite speak with great pride of the Government’s preparations to meet a possible recession. Let us examine the implications of their statements. The Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley) has continually forecast a recession, and every one who studies present financial trends will agree with that view. However, the Government has failed to practice even elementary economy. This is evidenced by the rapid expansion of departments and rising administrative costs. The Government is guilty of wasting the taxpayers’ money through sheer bungling. I shall mention one example. The budget discloses that the disastrous agreement to sell wheat to New Zealand has cost the taxpayers, including the wheat-growers, £7,500,000 during the last five years. The Prime Minister had been at pains to produce abundant evidence of the possibility of a depression which he is continually forecasting. A few weeks ago he announced a public works programme estimated to cost £700,000,000, which will be undertaken to counteract a depression. I believe that most people who heard that announcement were, unhappily, under the impression that the Government had a cut-and-dried scheme and that it had evolved definite measures to correct increasing unemployment and rising prices. However, the fact is that the Government has only devised new ways by which it can expend the revenues it will receive in future years. It has not set aside one penny with a view to providing the £700,000,000 to meet the cost of the public works programmes it has announced. It has not planned to set aside any sum whatever for that purpose, and it has no more idea than has the man in the moon where it will find even £100,000,000 let alone £700,000,000 which the Prime Minister boasts can be found to meet the recession he advertises so widely. The Government’s approach to the possibility of a recession, which it is surely creating, is negative. AH that the Prime Minister is planning is to spend money without giving the slightest thought to where the money will come from or whether real money will be available. The distressing fact which will face Australia if the Government’s extensive works programme is to be paid for is that the Government will, have to rely upon a policy of inflation. In other words, instead of adopting a commonsense policy of laying aside money at a time when large reserves could, with prudence, be provided to meet an emergency, the Government will resort to the printing of notes in order to finance its works programme.
The Government claims that it has made a series of major reductions of taxes since the end of the recent war. An examination of the figures shows that such a claim is sheer nonsense. Since the end of the recent war our invariable experience has been that collections of tax each year have exceeded collections in any previous year. That fact explodes the myth that the Treasurer is reducing taxes. The ordinary taxpayer is affected directly by three classes of tax, namely, income tax, company tax and social services contribution. Collections under those three heads alone during 1948-49 exceeded £272,000,000. Despite the Treasurer’s claim that he is reducing taxes, the tax burden this year under those headings will be £276,000,000. Thus, the Government is really increasing the income tax burden this financial year by about £3,500,000. But that is not the whole of the story. In the history of the Commonwealth no Treasurer has been more conservative than is the present Treasurer. I say that in a complimentary sense. On the basis of previous budgets the Treasurer should collect from £10,000,000 to £25,000,000 more in taxes than he has allowed for in the Estimates. Therefore, the Australian community will have to bear additional income tax from which collections this financial year will be from three to five times greater than the increase which the Treasurer himself sets out in the budget.
We have heard a great deal of talk about television. Let us clear our minds on this subject. The Government proposes to establish a Government monopoly of television. This new development is of great importance and pays a vital part in modern warfare, whilst it has been developed to a great degree for commercial purposes in Great Britain and the United States of America. Apparently, the fact has not penetrated the mind of this Socialist Government that the cost of conducting a television service even on a limited scale will be much greater than that of providing sound broadcasting. No doubt, in this matter the Prime Minister has been egged on by the Minister for Information (Mr. Calwell) who desires to make television a government monopoly. Therefore, the Government has decided to bear the whole of the cost of establishing this extremely expensive service without having any prospect of a reasonable financial return from licensing fees or any other source for at least two or three years. Consider the staggering losses incurred on the Postal Department’s entertainment services according to budget figures. These services will have to be increased four or five fold when the Prime Minister and his colleagues present themselves for the admiration of the Australian public on the television screen. The only possible reason for a government monopoly of television is that members of the Government themselves wish to monopolize the television screen. Television, under a government monopoly, will become a new deficit earner. Private industry is willing to share the cost of establishing television in this country. It should be permitted to do so on terms that will provide a reasonable return. The entry of private enterprise into the television field would be of great benefit to the public because the commercial stations would carry out experimental work at their own expense, and would give a very good service to the public.
I should like to say a few words now about the effect of the sterling devaluation on primary producers. Here is something that requires an answer from the Government. The drastic devalua tion of sterling area currencies shows the seriousness of Great Britain’s financial position, but Australia is entitled to know - and I hope that the Prime Minister will provide this information - how the devaluation will affect the primary producer. Some primary producers may expect higher local prices for their products. In fact, the price of wool has already shown a slight upward move, but poultry-farmers, dried fruit-growers and, to some degree, wheat-farmers, have to accept pegged prices for their products. On the other hand, they if ace sharply rising prices for many of the things that they require to maintain their properties in production. Those requirements are well known. They include wire netting, which has to be imported because of the inability of local manufacturers to meet local requirements, petrol, motor cars, certain types of farm machinery, particularly heavy tractors, and pest exterminators. The prices of all those commodities will be increased, thus inevitably forcing up production costs. Any increased return that the wheat-farmer may enjoy as the result of devaluation will be more than offset by the inevitable heavily increased cost of the materials that he requires from the dollar area. It is the responsibility of the Government to provide some form of compensation for those increased costs, particularly where they have to be carried by the primary producer. I ask the Government for a clear statement of its intentions in this connexion.
Government administration costs are still increasing. The Treasurer estimates that this year the cost to the Australian taxpayer of the expanded administration will be approximately £28,000,000. Stated in plain terms, that is the current cost of bureaucracy. Only two years ago, the figure was slightly in excess of £15,000,000, so that administration costs have nearly doubled since 1945-46. Administration expenditure during the current year will be approximately six times the pre-war figure, and that, I consider, is one of the severest indictments of the Chifley Government’s whole budget. The Government is showing a continued incapacity to bring ordinary principles of business management into departmental administration. The present cost of. living cannot readily be determined in relation to the pre-war level, but I suggest, as an approximate estimate, that the increased cost of living since 1939 is 60 per cent. On some items, of course, it is much greater, and on others it is less. In justifying this rise, the Government claims that the biggest increase has taken place in the price of clothing which is more than 100 per cent, dearer than it was in the June quarter of 1939. However, in the same period, the cost of government administration has increased by more than 600 per cent., so the Government has little cause for pride on that score.
T come now to Australian trade with the United Kingdom. Much has been said by honorable members opposite about Australia’s assistance to Great Britain. We are told continuously that Australia is pouring foodstuffs ‘into the United Kingdom in ever-increasing quantities; but I remind the committee that Australia’s prosperity in recent years is attributable not to the Government but to the remarkably high prices received for our export commodities, mainly wool and wheat. The substantial payments that Australia is receiving to-day for its exports are due, with a few exceptions, to greatly increased prices and not to an increased volume of goods. The United Kingdom not only pays high prices for the few commodities that we are able to export, but also is the main market for our1 primary products. Britain has contracted to take the entire Australian exportable surplus of many primary products including meat, dairy products, and eggs. It is,, also, I understand, the largest importer of Australian wool. Increased quantities of Australian, wheat have been going to the Homeland. However, ai comparison with 1939 figures shows, that, considering the overall picture, Australia has failed miserably in. its drive to provide the United Kingdom with essential foodstuffs. Admittedly, the value of our exports to the United Kingdom has increased but that, as I have said, is due to the high prices. For instance, the average value of Australia’s exports to Great Britain in 1938 was £6,000,000 sterling a month. The average for the first nine months of 1948-49. was £12,800,000 sterling, an increase of. 113 per cent. But. let us look at the other side of the picture.. Figures relating to the imports of food by the United Kingdom show conclusively that whilst the volume of goods received from other countries had increased, the quantity received from Australia has decreased alarmingly. I shall mention just a few figures to illustrate that point. In. 1938 Australia sent 1,550,000 tons of wheat, to the United Kingdom. In 1948, the quantity was only 772,000 tons, a drop of 778,000 tons in this one item alone. Butter exports tell the same dismal story. They declined from 90,000 tons in 1938 to 73,000 tons in 1948, a drop of. 17,000 tons. Exports of meat fell from 198,000 tons in 1938 to 133,000 tons in 1948, a reduction of 65,000 tons. Therefore, all this proud boasting about .helping, the Motherland is so- much eyewash, particularly when we remember that both New Zealand and Argentina have actually increased their exports to Great Britain over the pre-war figures. These figures reveal two disturbing trends. The first is that as the prices of wool and wheat fall, we shall be less able, out of export income, to maintain a high rate of consumer imports, or to pay for the essential import requirements of our expanding secondary indus.tries. The second is that because,, for a long period under Labour administration, Australian industry has operated far below maximum capacity, pent-up demand in Australia has had to be satisfied, at high cost, with imported goods that would normally have been available from domestic sources. In other words, the man on the land has to import a great many of his requirements at a very high price because they are not manufactured in Australia. Let us consider what has happened, in respect of wire netting, which is- a commodity urgently required by the Australian farmers.. Because of the inadequacy of Australian supplies’, wire netting has to be imported at approximately four times the. cost of the Australian product. Under the Labour administration Australia is not producing the requirements of its people and consequently they must be imported at high cost. Consequently, the percentage of our national income which is expended on imports is increasing steeply. In 1938^39 we expended 14.3 per cent, of our national income on imported goods, but by 1948-49 the figure had jumped to 22.6 per cent. The present budget makes no attempt to arrest this drift in Australian overseas trade. It is true that in his budget speech the Treasurer (Mr. Chifley) made a passing reference to the possibility of a dollar loan, but he made nothing more than a passing reference. Under the socialist Government Australia finds itself in the unfortunate situation in which it can no longer attract investments from sterling or dollar sources. British and American investors have explored the possibility of investment in Australia. How can they look with confidence to Australia when we aTe not able to obtain the basic requirement of coal or power with which to exploit additional capital and man-power? In these circumstances what hope is there of being able to attract British and American investors to Australia ? The Labour Government has not shown at any time that it can -cope with these problems. In the present budget it makes no attempt to do 30. The Government’s ambitious scheme to bring to Australia an increasing flow of migrants, good as it may be, will break down unless the attitude of the Communistcontrolled key unions to restrict immigration is reversed. Unfortunately, by the weight of the number of Government supporters this budget will be approved by the Parliament. That is unfortunate because next year the new government - the Liberal-Country partygovernment - will have no chance to do anything about it. [Quorum formed.]
.- We have just witnessed one of the greatest acts of political cowardice that has ever been perpetrated in this chamber.
-(Mr. Lazzarini). - Order!
– In considering the Estimates for the Parliament, which form an important part of the budget, I think I should be entitled to describe the incident that we have just witnessed as a disgrace to the Government. Although the Government is supported by the majority of the members of this chamber, H has deliberately refrained from arranging for a spokesman from the Government side to follow an Opposition speaker. I do not know whether this means that honorable members opposite have very little to say about the budget, whether the prima donna of the Australian Labour party, the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley), who is attempting to interject, is waiting until 8 o’clock to speak, or whether some other Government spokesman is waiting to bask in the limelight provided by the better broadcasting time after dinner.
– That is uncalled for.
– The Government is not playing the game by refraining from arranging for Government spokesmen to alternate with Opposition speakers, thus maintaining the proper sequence of the debate. I observe that the Minister for Defence (Mr. Dedman) is at the table. We can well imagine the sort of tactics that may be indulged in while he remains there. If we could place solely on the Minister for Defence responsibility for the failure of the Government to arrange for an honorable member opposite to continue the debate it would not be so bad, but we cannot do so, for the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley) was in the chamber only a few moments ago. If the Prime Minister thinks that to endeavour to make the Opposition run out of speakers quickly is smart political tactics, all I can say is that he has little regard for the intelligence of the people of Australia. ‘ Whenever the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Lang) wishes to speak in this chamber, the Government finds no difficulty in getting three or four honorable members opposite to rise and compete with him in securing the call from the Chair so that the honorable member for Reid shall be stifled. Cowardice of that kind characterizes the actions of the Government in many other directions. It is exhibited in the Governments attitude towards the Communist menace and to the necessity for legislating for the secrecy of trade union ballots. This Government runs away from the problems that confront it. It pays no regard to the needs of the community. It uses every kind of subterfuge to avoid the spotlight of publicity being shone on its activities. This is a debate on the budget.
– Hear, hear !
– My friend, the honorable member for Martin (Mr. Daly), who says “ Hear, hear “, was not ready to speak in his turn a few moments ago.
– I have already spoken in the debate. I should not mind speaking again if honorable members opposite would give me the opportunity to do so.
– For all that the honorable member contributed to the debate, nobody would have known that he had taken part in it. This is the last opportunity that members of this Parliament will have to consider the ninth budget presented by the Treasurer. Over the years we have become accustomed to the presentation of budgets, each containing record receipts and expenditure. Although with the presentation of each succeeding budget the Treasurer has pretended to grant relief from taxation, the figures published by the Commonwealth Statistician reveal that the collection of taxes from the people has steadily increased. To-day, taxation per capita exceeds £70 compared with £40 in pre-war years. “We are confronted with the paradoxical situation that although, according to the Treasurer, generous reductions of taxation have been made, taxes are, according to the Commonwealth Statistician, higher than they have ever been before. Apparently, the Treasurer (Mr. Chifley) is not only “the great illusionist,” but he is also an expert contortionist.
I shall address myself now to a number of acts of omission and commission of the Government that will be in issue during the forthcoming election campaign. The first is banking. What is the Government going to do about its banking legislation ? Although the reasons for the Privy Council’s decision in the banking case have not yet been given, it is significant that since that decision was announced the Prime Minister has not made a single statement regarding his intentions. For those who hoped that the Prime Minister would drop the subject, the absence of any statement by the right honorable gentleman is ominous. Those of us who know his attitude in these matters know that he is not only dogmatic but also fanatical in his views on certain things; and nationalization, or socialization, of banking is one of those things. Supporters of the Government, have, of course, been soft pedalling the party’s intentions concerning banking, and any reference to the matter is unpopular with them. However, the Minister for External Territories (Mr. Ward), who is probably one of the most injudicious members of the Labour party, and, for that reason, perhaps one of the frankest members of that party, told us that the Government has not dropped its banking policy, but that, on the contrary, it will endeavour to implement that policy by whatever means it can find. To those of us who know something of the Government attitude and of the Prime Minister’s technique in these matters, the Minister’s statement means that the present Government will find some way, short of referring the matter to the people, to implement its policy. We recollect very well the circumstances surrounding the introduction of the banking legislation, which, following a decision given by the High Court in litigation between the Melbourne City Council and the Commonwealth, seemed at the time to indicate the Prime Minister’s pique, The High Court had held that the 1945 banking legislation did not confer absolutely unlimited powers upon the Government in banking matters. The Prime Minister then made his decision. Instead of bringing the matter before the Parliament, or before Cabinet, the record of events indicates that the right honorable gentleman himself decided to nationalize the trading banks, and that the only individuals whom he took into his confidence were two or three senior members of the Cabinet. As I have said, he did not even consult the members of his political party. The Labour caucus was not convened until some considerable time later, and then it had to trail behind the decision which the Prime Minister had taken on its account. Those of us who have studied the technique of the Prime Minister know very well that he is only lying low until after the election, and that if Labour is returned to office he will renew his attack on the trading banks regardless of the reasons given by the Privy Council in their deferred judgment. If Labour is returned to office it will have not only a majority in this chamber but also the control of the Senate, and it will find some means to break the trading banks. In breaking the trading banks, it will destroy the right of every citizen of this country to conduct his own affairs in his own way.
Through the banking legislation that it has introduced the Government has already gone a long way to restrict the activities of the trading banks. It has frozen their surplus funds, of which it now controls between £200,000,000 and £300,000,000, and on that amount it pays interest at only approximately $ per cent. It has also restricted the business which the trading banks may accept, and it has limited their expansion. So far, however, it has not succeeded in depriving a depositor with a trading bank of the privacy which the trading banks at present afford to their depositors. However, if the Government wins the forthcoming election, the opportunity for any Australian to embark in business will be restricted because, once the trading banks have been eliminated, an applicant for credit will have only one right of appeal against the refusal of the monopoly bank to extend credit to him. Furthermore, there will be unrestricted licence for the Government’s gestapo to pry into the private business of every citizen. That, of course, is the he-all and end-all of all socialists. They aim to make the citizen, the ordinary private person, completely subordinate to the State. “We have seen what has happened in those countries where that policy has been implemented. In the totalitarian countries the liberty of the individual has been completely submerged in the overall domination of the State. We know also that the aim of the present Government is exactly the same as that of all other governments with a socialist objective.
The next issue on which the Government will be arraigned is its attitude towards the general Communist menace. What has it done to check the spread of communism ? What does it propose to do? How far has it been successful’ in combating the Communist menace? The Minister for Post-war Reconstruction (Mr. Dedman) has been, at least in the opinion of the members of the Opposition, the greatest patron of the Com munists in Australia. As a member of the Government, and more particularly in his capacity as the Minister who administers the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, he has exercised his patronage to appoint to prominent positions in that body notorious Communists, including one who was virtually convicted of treason. The individual to whom I refer occupied a position of considerable importance in the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization. Some time ago the Minister told us that there had “been a clean-up of Communists in the Public Service. In fact we remember that a short time ago legislation was passed which requires individuals who join certain sections of the Public Service to take an oath of allegiance. We have also been told that a security service has been established for the purpose of “ screening “ applicants for the Public Service - I think “screening” was the term that the Minister employed. This security organization is also intended to safeguard the public interest by preventing the admission of Communists to the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization. Some people may have believed that, but, strangely, it required the press of London to tell the. Minister what was happening in one of the sections that he administers. I shall remind him of the circumstances. During the recent coal strike, the Communists organized a demonstration outside Australia House in London. They were an energetic little group as they paraded in front of the official administrative section of Australia House. Some of them carried sandwich boards and others waved banners, but all of them loudly raised their voices in protest at the harsh treatment which, they contended, had been meted out to the Communist leaders of the Australian coal-miners who had been imprisoned for contempt of court. When pressmen began to investigate the identity of the Communists, they discovered that one of the prominent demonstrators was a person who had been granted a scholarship by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, and, as far as I know, was an employee of that body. He was a Mr. Kaiser, who, according to his own admission and also to the statement which the Minister made to this House> had been entrusted with secret research work on radar .before he was sent to England to continue his studies. When the history of Mr. Kaiser was revealed, it was obvious that he must have been a Communist for a long time.
– Who told the honorable member that?
– Who told the Minister that Mr. Kaiser was a Communist? Did the Commonwealth Investigation Service obtain that information for him? The fact is that the Minister had to wait until Kaiser publicly revealed himself in his. true colours, and, when that occurred, the Government was forced to take action. After certain questions had been asked in this House and elsewhere about him, the Government dismissed him. But when I state that Mr. Kaiser must have been a Communist for a long time, the Minister interjects, “Who told the honorable member that ? “. The security service should tell the Government who are the dangerous’ people in high places- in the Commonwealth. I remind the Minister that a gentleman who was spoken of as the “ un-elected cabinet Minister of the Chifley Government”, occupied a comfortable room opposite- the door of the room of the Minister for External Territories. (Mr. Ward) on the eighth floor of. the Commonwealth Bank building in. Sydney. I refer, of course, to Mr. “ Jock “ Garden. For many years, he. had been a close confidant and associate of a number of members of the Chifley Government.. Mr; Garden said that he- was a Communist in 1920. As a matter of fact,, it was admitted that he had founded the Communist party in this country. However, Mr. Garden stated that because the Communists objected- to his religious views - the evidence at the trial did not seem to indicate that he. had. many religious views - he had to leave tha Communist party in 1923. In 1931 Mr. “ Jock “ Garden, who was then a great power in the Labour movement, sponsored the resolution which implanted the socialization plank in the Labour party’s political platform in place of the olds objective, the cultivation, of: an Australian sentiment. Mr. Garden moved the motion that required every Labour candidate for election to. the Parliament to take the pledge- which .bound him to advocate and support at all times the socialization of industry, production, distribution and exchange. In 1934, Mr. “ Jock “ Garden, who no longer belonged to the Communist party was elected to this Parliament as the Labour member for Cook. A few years later, he was defeated, and, during World War II., he was established by the Minister for External Territories on the eighth floor of the Commonwealth Bank building in Sydney and was; given a most responsible position. But when the’ New Guinea timber case broke, and the Commonwealth police visited Mr. Garden’s office, they found a card which showed that he had been a member of the Communist party .as late as 1946. If the Minister again interjects, “ Who told the honorable member that ? “,. I shall reply that the disclosures were made by Detec tive-Inspector Wilks, an officer of the Commonwealth Investigation Service, when he was giving evidence on oath in one of the hearings associated with the timber case. That is an indication of the efficacy of the security which the Minister offers to the people;
– The Minister is silent now.
– He is silent now, but he will be vociferous this evening. Shortly after 8 o’clock, he will be able to find all the words that- eluded him when it was his turn to speak about twenty minutes ago. However, the Minister will not be able to convince any one that “ Jock “ Garden was not a Communist from 1920 to 1946, and that Garden’s declaration that, he had renounced communism was not completely spurious. He will not be able to convince the people that the Communists are not infiltrating the Labour party. Many of them have, announced that they have left the Communist party,, but if we could make a lightning, search of their wallets or of their safe, deposit boxes, we should probably find their party tickets for 1948. Communism is a matter of great importance to the people.
– Will the honorable gentleman tell us about, the secret meeting, between the- secretary of the- Leader of the Australian Country party and Mr; Healy, the secretary of the Waterside Workers Federation?
– Tell us also about the “ slush “ fund.
– If a royal commission were to inquire into the finances of the Labour party and into the source of its funds for fighting the forthcoming election, evidence would be found of the existence of the biggest “ slush “ fund that this country has every known.
While I am referring to this subject, I should like to deal with a matter which, I consider,, is a serious breach of propriety on the part of the Prime Minister and the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt). They have issued newspaper advertisements inviting all and sundry to contribute to the funds of the- Australian Labour party and to send their contributions to “the Eight Honorable J. B. Chifley or the Bight Honorable H. V. Evatt”. Honorable members opposite cannot see anything wrong with that. But do- they suggest that the loyal wage-earners who contribute to the Labour party through their union dues are sending their two “ bobs “, five “bobs”, or £1 notes to the Prime Minister and the Minister for External Affairs? Politics has been kept fairly straight in Australia,, and I do not suggest that there is anything corrupt about the Prime Minister or his deputy. However, I say that any business organization which made a contribution of £1,000 to the Labour party by cheque through the Prime Minister or the Minister- for External Affairs, as the advertisements request, would find- itself in an advantageous position if it later approached the Government to ask for some kind of concession or favour. That must be so, whatever the Prime Minister may say. If the management of a brewery, an ironworks^ a glass factory, or a business organization seeking remission of customs duties or- some other business concession, makes a large donation to the funds of the Labour party by cheque sent to the Prime Minister, the right honorable gentleman will pass the money on, but he will also remember where it came from. He would be more than human if the organization approached him and applied pressure to- secure a favour and he failed to be sympathetic. I say that the advertisements represent pressure tactics. They imply,. “ If you do not contribute^ your name will be noted amongst the absentees. If you do contribute, then we may be able to do something that is quite within the law or we may amend the law to help you”. I say that that is completely improper.
– The honorable member is speaking for Ampol.
– And who are honorable members opposite speaking- for if we are speaking for Australian Motorists Petrol Company Limited? Ampol at least is an: Australian company. Those who say that we are speaking for Ampol imply that they are speaking for foreign oil companies. The method of calling for contributions to Labour party funds that I have mentioned leaves the door open for- companies to bring pressure to bear upon the Government because of favours bestowed upon it. Another fault that will be laid at the door of the Government is its failure to increase; or even maintain,, the. production of goods and materials in Australia. We have been told that there has been a stupendous expansion of our national income. It has risen from about £800,000,000 annually, prior to the war, to £1,800,000,000. Unfortunately, very little of that increase has resulted from increased production. It has been almost entirely an increase of value only. The Government stands charged with failure to maintain supplies of food to Britain, in relation to which 0 will present facts and figures later in my speech, and with letting down the people of Australia by failing to encourage production of goods that they require for the maintenance of their industries- and for the building of homes.
Sitting suspended from 5.56 to. 8 p.m.
– Owing to the tactics of the Government in trying to prevent me from speaking after dinner, at 8 o’clock to-night, I shall have to discard my notes on the generalities of the budget, and address myself to only a few points. A distinguished churchman, with whom I was speaking recently, said to me -
The one thing that I will not forgive this Government for is that they are destroying the moral fibre of the community. On the one hand, they seek to enslave the souls pf men by bribery in the form of pretended concessions, such as free medicine, when every one with a grain of sense knows that there is nothing for nothing in this world, and, on the other hand, they seek to intimidate in such a manner as when they said to the banks, “If you do not go quietly, we will do this or that “.
The Government has departed entirely from long-established parliamentary procedure in almost every department of its activities, from the appointment of an undistinguished Labour Premier as the successor in the highest office in the land of a very distinguished predecessor, to the heavy hand which it imposes by its majority on the Opposition in this Parliament when the Opposition tries to bring facts to light. The ejectment of so many Opposition members from the Parliament on numerous occasions by the vote and weight of the Government’s majority - and they could be ejected only by its majority - is evidence of the way in which it treats the Opposition. The Prime Minister, in recent speeches, has told us of his love and admiration for Great Britain. It is a new-found love, and it seems to have been inspired only since the socialist Government assumed office in the Mother Country. No one has shown greater contempt for British parliamentary procedure than has the Prime Minister. The censure motion moved last week is evidence of that, if evidence is required. It is customary, in British parliaments, when a censure motion has been moved by the Leader of the Opposition, to give such a motion precedence over all other business, including questions; but the Prime Minister, as an indication of his contempt for both the Opposition and British parliamentary tradition, simply went on with the ordinary question time. I remind the Prime Minister, who a few days ago lectured honorable members on this side of the committee on his love of Great Britain, of how quickly the Labour party in the Australian Parliament went out of its way to show its lack of love for Great Britain when the war broke out. When the Menzies Government raised and sent an expeditionary force to the Middle East, or endeavoured to do so, the then Leader of the Opposition, the late Mr. Curtin, submitted a motion designed to prevent the departure of the force. Had the force not been in the Suez Canal zone and at Bardia, the history of the war might have been written in different language. So, when the Prime Minister lectures us about his love for Great Britain, we trace history a little farther back than the advent of the Attlee-Cripps Government.
This Government has flirted with the Communist party until almost the eve of the general election. It appointed the Communist, Healy, as a member of the Stevedoring Industry Commission, with substantial government pay. It arranged overseas trips for Mr. “ Ernie “ Thornton so that he might attend Communist meetings at Moscow, Belgrade and other Communist centres.
– That is untrue.
– Untrue ? The Government facilitated his trips and arranged1 his passport. It is in the records of the House also that it paid him a certain amount of money while he was abroad. The amount of £300, 1 think, is set down in answer to a question. It flirted with almost every leading Communist until the public, aroused at last, would tolerate such conduct no longer. Then, suddenly we find a change of front on. the eve of the general election. Thu coal strike, if evidence should1 be needed, shows what happened. The Government had the one opportunity of its career to free the public from the Communistcontrolled miners’ federation in that, had it taken permanent control of open-cut mining from the miners’ federation, we should have been independent of the federation in the event of another coal strike; but, having put troops into the open-cut mines and temporarily got over the unpleasant situation, it has now handed work in the open-cut mines hack to the Communist-dominated miners’ fed1 eration which can have the whole community under thrall at any time it likes. The one opportunity the Government had to free the community from such enslavement occurred then. The Communists are supposed1 to have lost the coal strike. Its great victory must be compared with the Battle of Blenheim, for the budget that it has presented to the Parliament, which is before me at the moment, provides a sum of not less than £8,000,000 to the State governments to enable them to meet the expenditure caused by the coal strike. In addition, private industry throughout Australia, on the authority of the research service, has suffered the loss of no less than £60,000,000 as a result of the coal strike. What kind of a defeat must it be reckoned to be when Moscow-inspired Communist controllers of the miners’ federation - and Moscow does inspire them - can sabotage Australian industry and set tho British Empire a little farther back?
We talk a lot about the dollar situation. One of the greatest contributions that Australia can make to retrieving the situation is to produce more commodities and therefore enable the Mother Country to become less dependent on the United States of America; but, because of tho successful activities of the Communists in sabotaging production to the extent of £60,000,000 in the last few months, we have been set back that far. The Government has spoken of aiding Britain with foodstuffs - a.nd no country needs aid more than that gallant little island - yet its attitude towards the farmer who produces the foodstuffs, has been niggardly and begrudging the whole way. Two years ago, the Prime Minister promised the butter producers of Australia that increases of their production cost would be met by Government action. That promise was made in a declaration issued under the Prime Minister’s name and published1 throughout the country in his own bulletin. He said that the costs of dairy-farmers would be ascertained by a committee appointed by the Government. That committee recommended in June a general increase of the price of butter by 3d. per lb. to be effective from the 1st July; but we are well into September, and the farmers are no nearer to receiving that increase than they were in June. They will, no doubt, get it, because the Government knows very well that if it goes before the country and the increased price has not been paid, the Labour party will suffer many reverses in country districts, Undoubtedly the Government will be compelled to disgorge within a very short period of time. But why not give the increased price to the dairy farmers now? Most of these people work on very narrow margins; they cannot afford to forego their proper returns even for a period. The need to expand foodstuffs production in this country should be obvious to everybody. The Minister for Immigration (Mr. Calwell) has told us that because of the large numbers of migrants that are being brought to Australia our population should reach 10,000,000 within a period of about five years. Unless there is a change of attitude by the Government towards the men on the land it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that we shall have to import foodstuffs within that period. According to the Department of Commerce and1 Agriculture, if our population rose to 10,000,000 people we should have to import each year about 130,000 tons of meat, 156,000 tons of potatoes, and about 70,000 tons of fruit.
– That is all moonshine.
– How can the VicePresident of the Executive Council (Mr. Scully), who was a former Minister for Commerce and Agriculture, claim that this is all moonshine ? I am citing figures contained in Quarterly Review of Agricultural Economics that was issued by the Bureau of Agricultural Economics, of the Department of Commerce and Agriculture, in October, 1948.
The Government has let home-building down badly. Last year the output of bricks was 38,000,000 below that of the last pre-war year. Every person who desires to build a home has virtually to enter a ballot for bricks. Of course, more timber is now being used. Last year 400,000,000 more superficial feet of timber was used than in the year prior to the war. We are denuding our natural heritage to save this Government. I know the areas from where the timebr is being obtained and am well acquainted with what is going on there. There is little or no re-afforestation being undertaken. Because we cannot produce sufficient bricks we are using more of our natural resources. Future generations will be the sufferers because our forest areas are not being replanted. However, we are not altogether bereft of increased production in this country. Whilst the production of butter in 1948-49 was over 40,000 tons less than in 1938-39, the production of beer has risen from 83,000,000 gallons in 1938-39 to 148,000,000 gallons in 1948-49. Although sugar production has decreased from 800,000 tons to 600,00.0 tons a year, the production of whisky, gin and other spirits has risen from 978,000 .gallons in 1938-39 to 2,220,000 gallons in 1948-49. In effect, we are living under a beer and gin economy. That could be expressed by a paraphrase of one of Hitler’s sayings, “‘Gin before butter “. The production of cigarette papers has increased as 2,000,000 more packets were produced last year than in the year before the war. However, we are down on ladies corsets. The production before the war was 172,000 dozen. It is now 138,000 dozen, despite the increased population. I do not know whether the ladies have given up the use of these articles or whether they are getting out of shape because of the Government.
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr. Burke) .-Order ! The honorable member’s time has expired.
Motion (by Mr. McEwen) negatived -
That ‘the honorable member .for Richmond (Mr. Anthony) be granted an extension of wine.
.. - Although we are supposed to be considering the budget, the honorable member Joi Richmond (Mr. Anthony) wandered around considerably. At the outset he endeavoured to prove that the Government was not prepared to play its part by allowing proper debate. He then endeavoured to impress the listening public. It must be obvious to honorable members that even had he spoken for 45 minutes he would have made very little mention of the budget. The honorable member referred to a high church dignitary being indignant about what the Government has done to the people of this country. I should have thought that that high church dignitary would have blessed this Government for its application of Christian teachings. Evidently the honorable .member has the idea that all that matters in this world is that there shall be a pandering to the big financial interests. I .assure him that Government members have a very different idea of things.
– The Government has been pandering to the Communists.
– The honorable member for Wakefield (Mr. McBride frequently makes foolish interjections. Tie honorable member for Richmond referred to the manner in which the Government had -hand-led the coal strike. He .said that “the Government ‘ has given the open-cut mines back to the ‘Communistcontrolled miners federation which can have .a strike whenever Communist leaders .so desire. Inferentially he said that because -a Labour Government is in office .the Communist leaders can call a strike whenever they wish to do so. Prom time to time honorable members opposite have referred to what they term the private enterprise Government of the United .States of America. They have suggested that we should emulate that country. Does the honorable .member for Wakefield consider that the Government of the United States of America is .responsible for the great -coal strike that is just commencing in that country, or does he consider that the Communists are responsible for it? I remind the honorable member, who has been interested in shipping -during the last few years, that shipping is frequently held up -at American ports f or lengthy periods because of strikes. Does the honorable member contend that the seamen’s strike that was recently concluded -at Honolulu was caused by -a Labour government? Does he suggest that that w.as the result of a Labour government not being prepared to stand up to the Communists? I am not prepared to accept the innuendoes and suggestions that have been made that this Government is responsible for the strikes that have occurred in this country, and for leaving the Communists in control. It is indeed surprising that the Opposition has not made more extensive references in this -debate to “Communist activities. During every previous budget debate in which I have participated the Opposition has concentrated on the subject of communism in an effort to win the people away from the Australian Labour party. .Although the honorable member for Richmond has endeavoured to ridicule the Government for its .handling of the recent coal strike, I . have heard many -expressions -of appreciation of the way in -which the matter was ^handled, and I am convinced that the people of this country are looking forward to a return of this Government to office so that any future industrial unrest will he competently handled in a similar fashion.
The suggestion by the honorable member for Wakefield that I had pandered to the Communists is not borne out by what happened during the recent strike. A notice about 40 feet long and 3 feet wide worded “ strike breaker “ was painted on the footpath outside my home. Also, on a long galvanized iron fence, the words “Thompson - strike breaker “ appeared in similar-sized letters. I venture to suggest that no such notice appeared outside the home of the honorable member for Wakefield. Criticisms of the kind being indulged in by honorable members opposite carry no weight with me. This budget has been conceived solely in the interests of the people of this country.
– But we have to put up with it.
– I point out to the honorable member for Pa wkner (Mr. Holt) that he is paying less in taxes to-day than he paid a few years ago.
– Taxation is still too heavy.
– There is no doubt that if the anti-Labour parties are successful at the forthcoming general election they will adjust the taxation system in such a way as will require persons with large incomes to pay less in taxes than they are paying at present. .Honorable gentlemen opposite are now telling the people that if they are returned to office they will .abolish the means test and give more benefits to the people. That would involve increased expenditure. If persons with large incomes were to pay less taxes than they are paying now, the additional money would have to be paid by persons with small incomes.
I was interested in an article that was published in a Sydney newspaper recently. A reporter asked a number of people .some questions relating to the budget, and the replies to the questions were published. It was surprising that many people did not know what a budget is.
– They must be listening to the honorable gentleman’s speech.
– If people who do not know what a budget is are listening to my speech, they will know what it is in a moment.
– Then get on to it.
– I recollect that the honorable member interjected during a speech that I made a few weeks ago. I was saying something that he did not like, and he tried to draw a red herring across the trail. I told him then that it was useless to try to catch me with a bait like that. To-night I shall deal with the budget in the manner in which I consider that it should be dealt with. I did not hear the honorable member for ‘Fawkner suggest that the honorable member for Richmond (Mr. Anthony) should “ get on to it “ when he was speaking just now. He did not seem to mind how far the honorable member for Richmond wandered away from the matter before the chair, but he has told me to “ get on to it “. What is a budget ? It is simply the figures that are presented by the Treasurer to show his estimates of income and expenditure for the coming year, to indicate where he proposes to get the income from and to reveal the way in which he proposes to expend it. This afternoon we heard Mr. Howse - -I forget for the moment the electorate that the honorable gentleman represents-
– The honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Thompson) may know what the budget is, but he does not seem to know the members of this Parliament.
– It is rather hard to remember some honorable gentlemen opposite because one does not hear of them very often. The honorable member for Calare (Mr. Howse) referred to revenue from taxes and stated that the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley) “was wrong when he said that there had been a reduction of taxes. Honorable .gentlemen opposite and their supporters .have been telling the people that, under the Chifley Government, Australians are the most heavily* taxed people in the world.
– I do not know whether the honorable member for Fawkner really believes that. I have a table which shows that, so far from being the most heavily taxed people in the world, Australians pay less in taxes than do the people of New Zealand and the United Kingdom, which are countries with which we have very much in common. In Australia, a single person, with no dependants, who has an annual income of £150 pays £3 ls. a year in taxes.
– What about indirect taxes ?
– -The honorable member for Fawkner knows very well that indirect taxes are imposed in all countries. The corresponding figures for a similar taxpayer in New Zealand and the United Kingdom are £11 5s. and £14 ls. A person without dependants and with an income of £250 a year, pays £9 a year in taxes in Australia. In New Zealand and the United Kingdom he pays £18 15s. and £32 ls. respectively. A person with an income of £300 a year pays £13 2s. in Australia, £26 17s. in New Zealand, and £44 ls. in the United Kingdom. The New Zealander pays twice as much as the Australian, and the person in the United Kingdom pays over three times as much, yet honorable gentlemen opposite have told us that the people of Australia are the most heavily taxed people in the world. A person with no dependants who has an annual income of £500 pays £37 10s. a year in taxes in Australia. The corresponding figures for New Zealand and the United Kingdom are £74 19s. and £98 ls. respectively. It may be said that the Australian Government has been pandering to the little man. Let us consider the taxes that are payable by persons with an income of £1,000 a year and with no dependants. In Australia they pay £137 10s., in New Zealand £220 and in the United Kingdom £278 a year.
– Do those figures include social services contributions?
– Yes, they include social services contributions and everything else.
– I tell the honorable “member for Wimmera (Mr. Turnbull) that what I have said is correct. It is useless for him to say “ No “. In Australia a man with no dependants and with an annual income of £2,000 pays £470 a year in taxes. The corresponding figures for New Zealand and the United Kingdom are £618 and £638.
– They have stupid free medicine schemes in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
– The people of Australia would also be receiving free medicine if the Government could put into operation the legislation that has been passed by this Parliament. Free medicine is being denied in Australia to people who need it. That position has arisen because the members of the medical profession know that honorable gentlemen opposite support them up to the hilt in the attitude that they have adopted towards the Government’s health legislation. Honorable gentlemen opposite oppose the free medicine scheme because they consider that it is a socialistic measure. They have a lot to learn about the meaning of socialism. I have been rather interested in the way in which members of the Opposition have tried to capitalize the pledge that members of the Labour party who seek election to Parliament are required to take. We make no bones about our platform and we do not mind honorable gentleman opposite reading from it in this chamber. If the pledge were something that frightened the people, the Labour Government would not be in office to-day. Much publicity has been given to our platform. It is nothing new.
The honorable member for Richmond talked a lot about what the Labour party did at the beginning of the war. I was amazed at the honorable gentleman’s remarks. He was a Minister in a government that was turned out of office, not by the people but by its own supporters because it could not do a decent job for Australia in time of war. When the
Labour party went to tie people twelve or eighteen months afterwards, it was returned with a tremendous majority. During the three years that elapsed before the next general election, the members of the anti-Labour parties made every effort to discredit the Labour party, just as they are doing to-day. At the next election the anti-Labour parties won a few seats that the Labour party had previously held, but we were still returned with a substantial majority. The honorable member for Calare said the honorable member for Hume (Mr. Fuller) was whistling to keep his courage up. Honorable members opposite want to do more than whistle to keep their courage up. Two or three weeks ago a farmer in a substantial way of business, said to me, “ I have voted for the Labour party at the last two elections and I can see no reason why I should not vote for it this time. The Labour party has done nothing to make me change my vote. The farmers are in the best position they have ever been in and the workers are more prosperous than ever before.” Let any one ‘who would deny the truth of that statement go to any farmer and tell him that he is poorer today than he was ten years ago. I was speaking recently on the subject of petrol to a farmer whom I met at the Hotel Kurrajong in Canberra. He said to me, “ I have a motor car and two sons. I asked the rationing authorities to let me have three rations of petrol, one for myself and one for each of my two sons. They refused because they did not have the sense to see that it was a good thing to do. So now I shall buy another motor car and obtain another petrol ration.” Could a farmer have talked so airily about buying an extra motor car previous to the advent to office of the Labour Government? Yet honorable members opposite say that the people are not as well off now as they were before.
This morning’s issue of the Canberra Times contained an advertisement inserted by the Liberal party’s candidate at the next general election for .the Canberra seat in this Parliament. The advertisement stated that housewives were worse off under Labour administration than ever before.
That statement is an insult to womanhood and to the workers. Evidently the candidate has never been in the homes of real workers. If he had visited the homes that I have visited and had seen the difference between what they are now and what they were ten years ago, he would realize that it is ridiculous to talk about the workers being worse off than in the past. To take only one instance, shops in all the capital cities’ are selling large numbers of pressure cookers, which cost between £5 and £6 each. The people who are buying those pressure cookers at that price and who have been buying them for the last twelve months, did not have a hope ten years ago of paying £5 or £6 for such an article. Yet the Opposition says that the people are not so well off now as they were years ago. Honorable members opposite also say that the taxation imposed by the present Government has had the effect of reducing the net income of the people so much that they are no better off on high wages now than they were on lower wages in the past. I have taken the trouble to obtain some figures regarding taxation and its incidence at the present time compared with ten years ago. The people are paying less in taxes to-day than they were paying ten years ago. When I say “ the people “ I refer to those who do not earn more than £500 a year - that is to say, the majority of the population. The figures which I have taken out refer to South Australia only, as it would take too long to present similar figures for all States. The figures show the amount paid in taxes by various grades of earners in South Australia in 1938-39, the highest rate paid during the war years, and the rate now paid. The figures show that the general incidence of taxation is now lighter than it was prior to the war. The pre-war rates that I shall quote were imposed by a Liberal-Country party government in South Australia. I can say that if the Opposition parties are elected to office at the next general election there will be an adjustment of tax rates and the present rates on the lower incomes will certainly be increased to enable a reduction of the taxation on the higher income groups. With the consent of the committee I shall incorporate the tables in Hansard. They read as f ollow : -
All these cases show a reduction on the amount paid in 1938-39 of £1 15s. less on £150, £5 16s. less on £250j £7 4s. less on £300, £8 7s. less on £350, £6 19s. less on £400, and £8 12s. 6d. less on £500.
These cases: show reductions in the amount paid in 1938-39 of £3 9s. on £150; £7 6s. on £250, £5 10s. on £300, £4 9s. on £350> £4 7s. on £400, and £2 6s. on £500.
These cases show reductions on the amount paid in 1938-39 of 10s. (the whole) on £20O, £3. 12s. (the whole) on £250, £6 14s. (the whole) on £300, £7 12a. on £350, £8 on £400 and £7 3s. on. £500. While on all the cases quoted the reduc- tion is. very great on War- Taxes.
Something has been said about the price of suits,, but honorable members opposite should not speak too loudly- on that subject. A little over twelve months ago I was addressing meetings and telling the people that if they rejected the Australian Government’s proposal to continue prices control on a nation-wide basis, the price of suits would increase rapidly.
– Like telephone rentals.
– I admit that telephone rentals have been increased, but I imagine that if the Opposition parties were in office they would increase ordinary postal rates rather than telephone rentals and charges. Generally, anti-Labour governments when they require increased revenue get it out of the man at the bottom rather than out of the man at the top of the income scale. I now propose to show how the present Government has returned the bulk of taxes to the great mass of the people. In passing I must say that I have no doubt that the real issue that will confront the people at the forthcoming general election will be whether they are to retain social security.
– - The honorable member means socialism.
– When socialism is used as a means whereby people who can afford to pay a fair share of their wealth to provide a reasonable- standard of living for persons- at the bottom of the income scale it is good; and the high dignitary whom the- honorable member for Richmond (Mr. Anthony) mentioned would, I believe, agree with that point of view.. We have been told that we have not done much to help those in need of social services benefits. For instance, members of the Opposition parties say that if they are returned to office they will, provide endowment for the first child of the family. I should like to see- endowment provided for the. first child, of each family. However, I am well aware of the circumstances in which an anti-Labour government, introduced child endowment. Honorable members opposite are proud of the fact that the government which they supported provided child endowment at the rate, of 5s. a week, and I suppose1 they think that the people should’ feel grateful to that government for its action. It was not a- socialist, government. Indeed, I do. not know how opponents’ of Labour who are always- decrying socialism can justify the institution of a reform such as child endowment which is an instance of socialism, because- it involves taking money from one section of the community and using it to help the needy.. Why did that antiLabour government introduce child endowment? Honorable members opposite know as well as I do that their argument that the present method of fixing the basic wage was at the back of the introduction of child endowment. I have often asked why a man. with a wife and. six children should receive a wage calculated to be sufficient to maintain a family of only three children whilst, at the same time, a single man should receive the same wage-. I shall explain why an anti-Labour government introduced child endowment. The basic wage was calculated to be sufficient to meet the needs of a man with a wife and three children. At that time an application was before the Commonwealth Arbitration Court for an increase of the wage, and the Commonwealth Statistician’s figures showed that it was only sufficient to meet the needs of a man, his wife and one child. A way had to be evolved to provide additional income for a man with a wife and three children without increasing the- basic wage, and the introduction of child endowment achieved that purpose. The anti-Labour government of the day provided endowment at. the Tate of 5s. a week for each child of the family excluding the first.
– The honorable member knows that what he has said is not correct.
– It is correct. The workers, who compose, the great, bulk of the people, are very much afraid that any attempt by an anti-Labour government to provide endowment for the. first child’ will be used as a means to reduce the basic wage and their standard of living generally. Certainly, the total collections- of income tax to-day are much, higher than they were previously, but the needs- of the people which are met from the Government’s revenue are also much greater than they were previously.
– ‘The- Government pays for joyrides round, the world for a lot of its- supporters:
– I have been in Parliament for- nearly twenty years and I have invariably found that regardless of the political colour of a government, the Opposition of the day has chided it about providing joyrides for its supporters. I have no doubt that if the present Opposition parties were now in office some of my colleagues would chide them with providing joyrides for their supporters. However, that attitude does not cut any ice with me. The cost of age and invalid pensions increased from £29,417,000 in 1946-47 to £36,562,000- in 1947-48, and to £41,693,000 in 1948-49, whilst it is estimated that £45,500,000 will be paid under that, heading during the current financial year. Obviously, in order to meet this increased expenditure the Government must collect increased revenue. The fly in the ointment so far as- the Opposition is concerned is that the money is to come from wealthy people. Should it come from the man at the bottom or the man at the top of the income scale? There can be only one answer to that question. Payments in respect of child endowment increased from £19,000,000 in 1947-48 to £24,000,000 in 1948-49, whilst it is estimated that £31,000,000- will be expended under that heading during the current financial year. Honorable members opposite complain that the total collections of taxes Ls increasing.. They say that if they are returned to- office they will reduce taxes and> at the. same time, provide endowment for the first child of the family. They cannot have it both ways. This Government is also providing hospital benefits which anti-Labour governments failed to do. Those benefits, in the main, are not being paid to persons in lower income groups because^ ordinarily,, those classes of persons enter the public wards o£ hospitals and,, therefore,, are not liable for payment for their treatment in hospital. Whereas payments in respect of hospital benefits amounted1 to £4,478,000 in 194-7-48, it is estimated that £6,000,000; will be paid under that head ing during the current, financial year. The facts which I have just cited: show clearly that this Government, is a people’s government because it is: utilizing the. money which, it- collects in taxes in the way in which such revenue should. be’ used.
After all, taxation is merely a means of re-distributing the wealth of the community. The Government’s policy is that persons who possess more than they require for their basic needs shall pay according to their ability into a fund which will be used to give to the needy sections of the community a higher standard of living.
One of the best indications of the prosperity of a people is the amount which stands to their credit in deposits in the savings banks. The Commonwealth Pocket Compendium, issued by the Commonwealth Statistician - obviously an authority that cannot be questioned - shows that at the 30th June, 1939, savings bank deposits in this country totalled £245,000,000. Ry the 30th June, 1947, that figure had risen to £660,000,000. The ensuing year added1 a further £21,000,000, making a total of £681,000,000 at the 30th June, 1948. The figure for 1948-49 is not yet available. That is a clear indication of the prosperity of the Australian people. I have no doubt that honorable members opposite will argue that the value of money has fallen considerably. One frequently hears the statement that the purchasing power of money to-day is not half of what it was a few years ago, but that does not detract from my argument. The honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Spender), who was the first speaker in the debate on the budget after the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley) had delivered his speech, spoke of the need for exact figures. He claimed that all that the budget meant to the people of this country was an increase of the income tax exemption for life assurance and superannuation payments from £100 to £150, and that this concession had been granted1 mainly in the interests of members of Parliament who are contributing for retiring allowance. The honorable member asked whether the Australian worker would benefit from this concession. When I said that he would not do so, the honorable member thought that he had scored. Obviously, the ordinary working man cannot possibly afford to pay anything like £100 a year for life assurance or superannuation. The honorable member’s remarks were a slur on honorable members on this side of the chamber, but I remind him that most honorable members oppositewill derive far more benefit from the increased exemption than will Governmentmembers and supporters.
– How does the honorable member make that out?
– My only income is my parliamentary allowance of £1,500- a year, of which £150 is an allowablededuction for expenses. On a taxable income of £1,350, my tax last year was less than 5s. in the £1, so that the increase of £50 in the concession for life assurance and superannuation will not mean very much to me, particularly as my tax contribution this year will be at the rate of less than 5s. in the £1. The concession in this year’s budget may save me a “ tenner “, but if I had an income like some honorable members opposite I might save £25, £30 or perhaps £40. We hear a lot from honorable members opposite about the misfortune of men who have to pay 17s. 6d. in the £1 in tax, including the social services contribution of ls. 6d. in the £1. Clearly this new concession will mean much more to taxpayers in that category, than it will to average incomeearners. In deciding upon this concession, the Government did not have in mind the advantages that would accrue to members of Parliament. There are hundreds of thousands of salaried workers throughout the Commonwealth who are contributing to superannuation schemes under which they will retire on half salary. I recall that years ago professors at the University of Adelaide, earning £1,000 a year, were paying £150 a year for life assurance policies which ensured to them roughly half their salary upon retirement. That is the type of man who will appreciate this concession. Honorable members opposite talk often about the depreciating value of money. I remind them that not only salaries, but also retiring allowances purchase less to-day than they did a few years ago. The remarks of the honorable member for Warringah about the reason for the new taxation concession were in line with statements that had already been published in Adelaide and Sydney newspapers. Incidentally, members of Parliament are paying £156 a year and not £150 a year as the honorable member claimed, so that even he was not quite precise.
The increased exemption for life assurance and superannuation payments will be of considerable benefit throughout the Public Service. There are public servants in this chamber now who, I am sure, will appreciate the Government’s gesture. For the honorable member to insinuate to the people of this country that I would demean myself as he has suggested for a paltry £10 a year is reprehensible. If that is the only criticism that honorable members opposite can offer of the Treasurer’s budget proposals, those proposals must be sound indeed. I take great pleasure in commending the budget. “We on this side of the chamber believe that in prosperous times a government should pay its way, out of revenue, just as any man in full employment and in receipt of full wages, should pay his way out of his current income. The budget represents sound family budgeting on a national scale. The Opposition parties apparently believe that we should add to the burden of future generations by financing works programmes out- of loan moneys instead of out of revenue.
– “Who said that?
Mr. THOMPSONS do not propose to delve into Hansard for exact quotations, but the view that money should be borrowed for works undertakings has been expressed by many members of the Opposition. They believe that we should mortgage the future of the country so that they will not have to pay so much in taxes.
– “Why is the Treasurer budgeting for a deficit of £35,000,000?
– The honorable member knows very well that it is likely that some of the projects for which budget provision is being made will not be completed this year. That happens frequently, not only in relation to Commonwealth budgets, but also in relation to State budgets. I suppose that if the Opposition parties had the good fortune to be elected to office at the forthcoming general election, they would reduce expenditure and seek a budget surplus. However, as I have said, Labour’s policy is that governments should live within their means in good times and save for the day when there may be a fall in overseas prices, a business recession, and some unemployment. Should that happen under this Government’s administration of the affairs of the country, funds would be available for public works and unemployment could be reduced. The budget is excellent, and I am satisfied that the people of Australia will endorse it readily when the election is held early in December.
– I do’ not propose to attempt to reply to the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Thompson). I have had occasion previously to refer to that honorable member. To-night he has excelled himself in a series of misstatements. He has deliberately evaded points made in debate by members on this side of the chamber. He has sought to convince the people of this country that the Labour party is responsible for the high price of Australian exports overseas, and for all the advantages that Australian primary producers enjoy because of bountiful crops and assured markets. I want to show another side of the picture. I do not want to dwell on what the honorable member for Hindmarsh has said. I believe that the Treasurer (Mr. Chifley) is the person whose statements in this regard carry the authority of the Government. Consequently much more consideration should be given to his statements than to those of rank-and-file members of his party. In his budget speech, the right honorable gentleman made some statements which, I feel sure, will appeal to honorable members and the public generally. He said -
Australia has been aided in these years by good seasons, and export prices have been high because of the strong post-war demand for our products abroad.
I commend that statement to the honorable member for Hindmarsh. It is much more factual than was the statement made by the honorable gentleman. The Treasurer continued -
The national income has increased and that increase has been widely shared. Imports have flowed in strongly during the past three years, adding to local supplies of goods. But the main key to this post-war financial achievement - as to many others - has been, I believe, that throughout the whole period full employment of labour has been maintained.
Government Members. - -Hear. hear !
– I knew that the reading of that statement would evoke the approval of honorable members opposite. For that reason I propose to deal with it. Export prices in June of this year were nearly 300 per cent, higher than they were in 1939. The national income for 1948-49 was 125 per cent, greater than it was in 1938-39. Expenditure on imports rose during the ten-year period by 225.6 per cent., and between July, 1939, and April, 1949, employment rose by 41.6 per cent. In his concluding remarks in delivering his budget speech, the Treasurer said -
Indeed, Australia is. in many ways much farther ahead than ten years ago. In manufacturing, our capacity has increased at least 50 per cent.
Against that statement, however, Professor Copland who, as honorable members know, was the economic advisor of this Government, and whom the Government still regards as a reliable authority, has shown that we are now producing at only 70 per cent, of our capacity. On the basis of the assessments made by the Treasurer and by Professor Copland a simple arithmetical calculation shows that production is now only 5 per -cent, above what it was in pre-war years. The Treasurer continued -
Throughout the economy as a whole there are 40 per cent, more people at work than there were then.
Prom this statement it is obvious that the production position in Australia is far from being as rosy as the Treasurer painted it in his budget speech. Notwithstanding that there are 40 per cent, more people at work than were employed ten years ago, production has increased by only 5 per cent, above the pre-war level. The Prime Minister has frequently told us that full employment is the keynote of the Government’s policy. He has also told lis that, having achieved full employment, his Government has helped Australia to attain the millenium. Pull employment on the basis of an increase of production of only 5 per cent, is of no use to this country. ‘Only if full employment and full production are achieved , side by side can benefit accrue to Australia. If we employ men and women for employment’s sake and achieve no added productive results, the national economy must suffer. Let us consider the losses of working days that have been suffered by industry during the last ten years, -of which the Labour Government has been in office for seven years. During the ten years ended the 31st December, 1948, the total number of working days lost throughout Australia was in excess of 12,00:0,000. In the coal-mining and quarrying .group, the loss was more than 4,500,000 days. In the manufacturing group the number of days lost was almost 5,000,000. In the land and sea transport group the total number of days lost exceeded 2,000,000. Let us consider the position of our manufacturing industries. Increased production is the most important objective in Australia to-day, but the Government is ignoring it. After the war Australia was left with an extraordinarily great manufacturing potential. We had remarkable opportunities. We -had trained men, skilled technicians, and an immense amount of plant. Markets were “waiting for out products and overseas countries were demanding all that we could produce. What is the position now, after four years of peace? In the light of the Treasurer’s figures relating to the national income we are “ sitting pretty “, but only on what might be termed paper prosperity. The national income has increased by more than 100 per cent., but the increase in the production of goods and services has not been commensurate with the increase in the national income. The increase in the national income has been brought about in the main by rises in prices. Because the supply of tractors, wire netting, farm implements and the like is not sufficient to meet the requirements of our primary producers, tens of thousands of acres of fertile land are going out of production. .Flocks and herds ‘are not being increased because our primary producers cannot obtain their requirements of wire, wire netting and farm implements. The same position exists in relation to the requirements of the ordinary citizen. Our people cannot obtain the goods and services which they desire. Shortages of all kinds are bearing heavily on the community. The reason for this state of affairs is obvious. If, with, a. 40 per cent, increase in employment, we are able to achieve only a 5 per cent, increase, in production, we shall never- overtake the shortages and we shall never be able to maintain the economy of the country on an even keel. It has been rightly said by the honorable member for Hindmarsh that to-day the individual has much, more money than he ever had before. But he is able to buy much less with it than he did in former years. Let me give an indication of the sorry position of our secondary industries. Professor Copland has said that we are producing to only approximately 70 per cent, of our capacity. The money value of goods produced by our manufacturing industries increased from £203,500,000 in 1938-39 to £489,500,000 in 1947-48, but the increase in the- actual physical production of goods has been only very slight. I had. estimated the increase to be 10 per cent., but on the Treasurer’s figures it is apparently nearer 5 per cent. During the same period the number of employees engaged in the manufacturing industries increased by approximately 50 per cent.
We are in a ridiculous position to-day. Although the number of employees has increased by 50 per cent., the volume of secondary production has increased by only 10 per cent. Although the nominal monetary value of production has increased by 140 per cent., our actual rate of production has declined. Those figures are paradoxical; they are fantastic. No nation can continue to function under such circumstances. We must inquire to what degree the present situation is due to shortage of basic materials, because, undoubtedly, the present situation is largely due to shortages. Take coal. A close investigation shows that the production of coal in New South Wales in 1949 will be the lowest since 1945, notwithstanding that in 1949 the production of coal is being bolstered by coal won from open cuts. The production of coal underground, which is the true barometer of coal production, will be the lowest since 1936. Honorable members know that coal is vital to industry, and that unless industry can obtain coal it cannot generate the power to produce the basic materials necessary and that, in. consequence, pro duction must languish. Consider the production of steel, which is. one of our basic industries. There was a time when Australians were proud of their, steel industry.. We were producing steel cheaper than any other country in the world. We were even exporting steel; to-day we are importing steel, even from behind the Iron Curtain. Contracts are being made which provide that imported steel is to be used for constructional purposes, notwithstanding that such steel, costs two or three times more than does Australian steel. Why is that occurring? The explanation is that, according to figures that were recently supplied , by the chairman of the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited1, steel production has declined to approximately 64.7 per cent, of the potential capa-city of the production plants. How does that decline affect us? Consider its effect upon transport,, which is the arterial life-blood of the country. Rail transport is necessary not only to haul our primary produce to market, but also to carry supplies from the sea-board and the industrial areas to the primary producers. Rail transport is the principal means of development of this country. Yet the annual report of the Commissioner for Railways of New South Wales shows that from 1943 to 1946j although orders were placed for approximately 10,000 units of .rolling-stock, including coal hoppers, wheat trucks, cattle trucks and vehicles for passenger transportation, only about 3,200 of them have been delivered. Although at the present time the Commissioner for Railways has on order approximately 145,000 tons of steel, not. one ton has yet been delivered. Honorable members can understand, therefore, why the speed schedules have been reduced on approximately 349 sections of the track. They can understand why 720 goods engines no longer operate each year. And that situation must continue because sufficient steel is not available to manufacture new trucks or even, to repair the present ones.
When we speak of full employment we must have the complete economic picture before us in proper perspective. We must remember that although we are boasting of full employment, our steel industry is not producing to more than 64.7 per cent, of its potential capacity. The underlying reasons for that situation are, I believe, first, the chronic shortage of coal, which was accentuated1, of course, during the last tragic coal strike; and, secondly, the challenge of the socialistic ideology to free enterprise. I believe that what the doctrinaire socialists fail to realize is that the goods and services which the community enjoys are the direct outcome of the activities of the thousands of business undertakings, and that those undertakings are directed by men whose job is to anticipate and to supply the needs of the consumer. Does any honorable member seriously contend that such services can be adequately provided by the State? The State has fallen down even in the supply of basic materials. I believe that socialization is a. challenge to free enterprise. Let us look at the socialist plan. That plan is not peculiar to Australia ; it is Empire-wide. “We read a lot in the press these days of Sir Stafford Cripps, who is the spokesman of the great British socialist party. In 1936 he was reported as having said at Hull, England -
It is fundamental to socialism that we should liquidate the British Empire as soon as we can.
Honorable members might have felt, as I did at the time, that his statement was nothing more than a play on words. Could any person who had a love of the Empire and of the British Commonwealth and who occupied a responsible position, advocate that the British Empire should he liquidated merely because it was standing in the way of socialistic development? As I have said, I believed at the time that his statement was a mere play on words. “What did we find later? In 1948, when he was questioned in the House of Commons concerning that utterance, he did not deny having made it. On the contrary, he said, in effect: “Certainly; that is what we have done in the case of India, Pakistan, Burma and Ceylon “. Therefore, Sir Stafford Cripps, the archpriest of socialism, whom our Prime Minister slavishly follows throughout the whole gamut of his socialistic gambling, has sworn to liquidate the British Empire, and is proud of the fact that his Government is apparently succeeding in doing so. I do not want to anticipate too much any debate that may take placeon the motion for the tabling of thepaper which dealt with the relations of the Republic of India and thegreat British Commonwealth, but for the life of me I cannot understand how it is possible for a republican state to remain within the Empire, taking all the benefits of that organization, whileat the same time accepting none of theobligations of membership. However, as I have just remarked, this plan for the liquidation of the Empire is not peculiar to Australia, but is general throughout the Empire. “We know of the trends in Great Britain, in New Zealand and in our own country, as evidenced by the nationality bill that was passed by the Parliament some time ago. “We also know that every member and supporter of the Government is obliged to implement the plank of the Labour party’s platform which provides for socialization of the means of production, distributionand exchange, and all the steps which that entails.
On an occasion such as this, when we are discussing the budget, it behoves us to search closely for the real policy of the Government, because that policy is cloaked in a mass of facts and figures which we must examine carefully to understand why the present Government is unworthy of being returned to the treasury bench. I know that the Prime Minister has said repeatedly that the Constitution does not confer power on the Government to socialize anything, hut the fact remains that he has attempted to do so. As the result of the decision of the Privy Council he will not be able to nationalize the trading banks by direct methods, but we have only to examine the banking legislation of 1945 to realize that, by a process of slow strangulation over a period of years, he can achieve exactly the same objective. “We must not forget that. During this debate, the Minister for Transport (Mr. “Ward) has made it perfectly clear that the Labour party has not abandoned its idea of nationalizing banking. He said that if the people returned the Labour Government to office, it would concentrate upon that objective. In the same way, the Labour Government will endeavour to -socialize or nationalize other sections of free enterprise. I shall briefly examine the Canberra set-up, because it is most interesting. We know the kind of action that the Government has taken to nationalize air services. By various devices, the Government is gradually -squeezing out private enterprise as a competitor in air transport. Already the Government has nationalized the shipping industry and broadcasting services, and has instituted an insurance monopoly. All those factors are a part of the pattern that is being woven into the tapestry by the arch-priests of socialism, the Chancellor of the British Exchequer, Sir Stafford Cripps, and his henchman, the Prime Minister of Australia.
I go a little farther. At one time, the Labour party had no such objective as :socialization. In 1921, the trade union congress adopted the “ red “ pledge. I recall the comment of Mr. E. G. Theodore on that occasion, and nobody can say that he was not a Labour man. Mr. Theodore said, “You have changed the objectives of Labour. You might just as well change its name “. On the drafting committee that adopted the “ red “ pledge, the notorious “ Jock “ Garden sat cheek by jowl with the right honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Scullin), and another former Labour Prime Minister, the late Mr. John Curtin. The Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. Holloway), who has stated that communism is Christ-like, was the chairman of that drafting committee, and he said at that time -
This is the culmination of the teachings of Marx. I feel that the workers of Australia have at last adopted the slogan of Karl Marx, “ Workers of the .world, unite “. At last one of the dreams of my life has become an accomplished fact.
In October, 1947, in reply to a question that I had asked, the Minister for Labour and National Service said that he could show that the aims of the Communist movement were based on the teachings of Christ. After he had adjusted his halo, he retired to his seat on the treasury bench. Since the adoption of the “ red “ pledge in 1921, the Labour party has been closely identified with communism.
– That is not true.
– It has appointed Communists to key positions. Does the honorable member say that that is not true?
– It is not true.
– The general secretary of the Waterside Workers Federation, Mr. Healy, was appointed to the Stevedoring Industry Commission by the Chifley Government.
– No, Healy was elected by members of the Waterside Workers Federation.
– Nonsense ! Does the honorable member claim that Roach was not appointed to the Stevedoring Industry Commission by the Chifley Government ?
– He was also elected by the members of his union.
– Only the Government could make those appointments to the Stevedoring Industry Commission. The Waterside Workers Federation could not appoint its representatives to that body. The unions are not yet allpowerful, although they may have issued a direction to the Government to make those appointments. I could understand that perfectly well. Of course, we have a classic example in the action of the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction (Mr. Dedman) in appointing Communists to the staff of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, the predecessor of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization.
– Not at all.
– I refer to Rudkin and Pomeroy.
– That is not true.
– Pardon me, it is true. The Minister was responsible for approving the appointment to the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization of a Mr. Kaiser, who participated in a Communist demonstration in front of Australia House as a protest against the imprisonment of the Communist leaders of the Australian coalminers in the recent coal strike. Mr. Kaiser, who has since been dismissed from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, is a Communist. During the so-called “ powers “ referendum, Communists were members of the Labour campaign committee. Do honorable gentlemen opposite say that that statement is not true? Mr. Chifley and Dr. Evatt were directors of the Labour campaign committee and associated with them were Mr. Chandler, State organizing secretary of the Communist party, Mr. Jeffrey, of the Sydney branch of that party, and Mr. Wright, a member of the central committee. I emphasize that those Communists were associated with Mr. Chifley and Dr. Evatt. I do not want the people to be misled about Mr. Chifley’s pre-election windowdressing.
– Order! I ask the honorable member for Wentworth (Mr. Harrison) to refer to the Prime Minister and the Attorney-General by their proper designations and not as Mr. Chifley and Dr. Evatt.
– I shall do so. The people will not be misled by the Prime Minister’s pre-election window-dressing. The action that he has taken against individual members of the Communist party will not mislead any one. He has not taken action against the Communist party as a whole for what he described as “ sinister and treasonable acts “ during the coal strike. When the right honorable gentleman is in a particularly difficult position in this House he refers to communism as a “ political philosophy “.
– He does not.
– Of course he does.
– When the Prime Minister was confronted with the problem of the coal strike, he referred to the stoppage as “ a sinister move on the part of these men to disrupt Australian industry “. The Minister for Post-war Reconstruction, who has appointed Communists to various positions in the Commonwealth service, is reported in Hansard, volume 181, page 44, as having said -
The Communist party is a political organization carrying on its activities in a perfectly legal way.
I wonder whether the Minister still subscribes to that view. I, personally, have no doubt that he does. I wonder, too, whether he will withdraw, after the election, the diatribes that the Prime Minister and he directed against the Communists during the recent coal strike. I am inclined to think that he will, because the quotation that I read a few moments ago is a true expression of the opinions of the Prime Minister and the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction about the Communists.
I make no further reference to the Communists. After all, they are not in power. The socialists are in power at the present time in Australia, but we shall deal with the Communists when we are returned to office. Meanwhile, the issue before the people at the forthcoming elections is socialism. First, I shall consider the view of the worker, because that is most important. In 1948, the Prime Minister attended a conference of trade unions at the Sydney Trades Hall. The delegate of the Rubber Workers Union asked the right honorable gentleman what would happen when full production had been achieved under the Government’s full employment policy. I ask the Parliament and the people to note the Prime Minister’s reply, which was as follows : -
No guarantee can be given to anybody that they can stay put in a particular industry. It is realized that there will have to be transfers of workers and in many cases transfers of whole communities to other forms of work. I am quite certain that everybody will not be able to stay at home. I am not going to fool any one in that regard.
That statement has been emphasized by the comment of the then federal president of the Australian Labour party, Mr. McAlpine, who said on the 16th January last -
It is necessary to have man-power control in the interests of the working people especially.
There will be transfers of workers, regimentation, and conscription of labour. Is that what it means ? Honorable members opposite have something to explain away there. Regimentation and the conscription of labour are weapons of the totalitarian state, and, of course, the socialist state is a totalitarian state. As honorable members know, the necessary machinery already exists. The Government still retains the Commonwealth Employment Service. It was established as the National Service Bureau during the war, when it employed 111 officers; now it has a staff of 2,171. That would be all right if those employees were engaged in finding employment for the workless but the Prime Minister has told us that jobs are available for 114,000 men, if that number could be found. Therefore, the staffs of the Commonwealth Employment Service are not busy finding work for the unemployed. They belong to the machinery that has been established by the Government for use when men have to be transferred in bodies to various forms of work. That machinery is a part of the plan for the conscription of workers, under which men will be taken away from their homes. What will happen if members of the trade unions refuse to be regimented and say, “ We will not be directed to take jobs at the ‘ back o’ Bourke ‘ under the ‘Government’s plan “ ? Do honorable members think that the Prime Minister will allow the trade unions to upset the socialist plan for the conscription of labour? Do they think that he will allow the unions to refuse to obey a government direction for transfer of employment or that he will compel them to move in a body at the direction of the employment agency that the Government has established? We know what the Prime Minister did about unionists on the coal-fields. When he considered that it was necessary for him to take action in the recent crisis, he threw troops into service on the coal-fields. He disregarded the Labour party’s platform, which specifically provides against the use of troops in industrial disputes. He refused to use members of the Australian Workers Union or to give them an opportunity to destroy communism on the coalfields. He was prepared to tear up his party’s platform. I warn the workers of Australia that the Prime Minister has declared that they will be conscripted when the stage of full production is reached. They will be directed to other forms of employment. They must not expect to remain in their own homes at night. The Prime Minister will use armed force, if necessary, to direct them into new avenues of employment. It will be of no use for them to object as trade unionists, because they will be part and parcel of the .socialist state, mere cyphers who will have to do as they are told.
I give another warning of what will happen in the socialist state. Small business men are likely to be affected equally with the trade unionists. It is well known that small business is anathema to the socialist planners. We know what has happened under the system of zoning of industries and businesses in our cities. The zoning of milk and bread deliveries is being continued. If people get bread .that is not fit to eat or milk that has a half-inch layer of dust, it is of no use for them to complain. They can complain to a deputy director on any day between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., but they are not likely to obtain redress. The discomfort of the people is a very low price to pay for planning, in the view of the socialist organizers. They realize that the absorption of small businesses represents an awkward problem. Therefore, by using all means at their disposal, they try to prevent small businesses from expanding. Evidence of this policy is to be found in the numerous restrictions that are imposed upon small business undertakings. Specific taxation is directed against small businesses. Probably we shall find that, as in New Zealand, the socialist planners in Australia will insist upon government approval for the establishment of any small industry or business undertaking. New Zealand is further advanced in socialism than is Australia. In that country, a man cannot readily engage in an enterprise on his own account as was possible in the olden days, when freedom was of paramount importance. He must obtain the consent of the Government, which acts upon the recommendations of a panel composed of representatives of the industry or business in which he wishes to engage. The socialists seek to curtail the development of small industries because small undertakings are difficult to socialize. Their object is to drive business and industry into a few large monopolies so that, when a suitable opportunity occurs, they can more easily bring their socialistic plans to fruition.
I give these warnings because I believe that freedom such as I enjoyed in my younger days is the right of every citizen. I believe that every family man has the right to determine what trade, profession, or other form of livelihood his children shall adopt. Every person who believes in freedom must hold the same view. In the ultimate form of the socialist state, the freedoms that we have known, and under which Australia was developed, will no longer exist. The budget stresses the facts of full employment and the increased national income, but it disregards all the factors that I have mentioned. It pays little heed to the fact that production has scarcely increased since before the war, although employment has increased by 40 or 50 per cent., and it passes over the rapidly accelerating spiral of money values, which are out of all proportion to the real values of commodities. Yet the . Government preens itself, and declares that it has done a good job! The truth is that we are being drawn rapidly into a spiral of inflation and, until production is increased to a level commensurate with the state of full employment, our national economy will remain unbalanced.
– Honorable members have been privileged to hear a remarkable speech by the honorable member for “Wentworth (Mr. Harrison). The honorable gentleman said at the outset that hie would not reply to statements that had been made by the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Thompson) who spoke previously, but would reply to the statements that had been made by the Treasurer (Mr. Chifley) because the right honorable gentleman had been responsible for the production of the budget. For less than ten minutes of the 40 minutes during which the honorable member spoke, he referred to the budget and the sins of omission and commission of the Treasurer. Then he set forth on a tirade of abuse of the Government, the Labour party and it affiliations, adopting the usual line of scare tactics.- I propose to have a little to say about that soon, but, at the outset, T say that I believe that the budget that has been produced in this record year of the Treasurer is excellent. It has been described by some as a “lower costofliving budget”, and that description is true. Now that we have reached the stage at which budgeting can be re-cast, it proposes to give back to the people, directly and indirectly, that which makes for a lower cost of living. There is nothing spectacular in it, but it is sound and well reasoned, and it makes no promises. I agree with this statement of the Treasurer, in concluding his budget speech -
The past ten years have proved the resilient strength of our country. When faced with danger, we put forth a military and industrial effort far greater than was formerly thought possible and since the war we have been able despite many difficulties arising from that conflict, to recover lost ground ‘and advance along the road of progress again. Indeed, Australia is in many ways much further ahead than ten years ago. In manufacturing, our capacity has increased at least 50 per cent. Throughout the economy as a whole there are 40 per cent, more people at work than there were then. From a social standpoint we have greatly extended the range and value of services available and experience has shown not merely that we can afford these services but that they have a positive worth in keeping up demand for goods and hence employment and investment. These examples of constructive achievement in a time disordered by war and the effects of war point to what can be done under normal conditions. Knowing our resources, we should not be afraid to set our goals high. I believe for example that our population can be doubled within a few decades. I believe also that our present problems of fuel and power can be solved, so opening up immense industrial possibilities. Housing, again, difficult though it has been in recent years, will bte steadily overcome if we keep up our efforts.
That is what the Treasurer said. Then the honorable member for “Warringah (Mr. Spender), who was deputed by the Opposition to be its mouthpiece on the budget, said -
We are asked to debate what I confidently hope will be the present Treasurer’s last budget. It is likely to be a memorable budget because, upon the eve of an election, it dismally fails to present any solution of the various problems, external and internal, that will confront this country within the next three years. In fact, it follows the pattern of all other budgets presented by the Treasurer (Mr. Chifley), a pattern to which we have become accustomed. It envisages a sterile socialist form of society in which every man will be encouraged to sit still at his job instead of engaging in any real effort to increase production and build up a new and vigorous nation, and will be led to believe that we can live from hand to mouth and from day to day.
The honorable gentleman was, of course, at one time Treasurer of Australia for a few months and therefore has some insight into the Treasury and how it works. He should know, or be able readily to appreciate, what has been done by the Government during the reign of the present Treasurer. He should know the credits that we have developed abroad.
He should know of the loans that have been redeemed - £110,000,000 worth in the eight years in which the Treasurer has been in charge of the treasury bench. He should know that we have full employment in Australia. He should know that in the savings banks of Australia we have more money than we have ever previously had. He should know that in the year ended the 31st July savings bank deposits increased from £36,994,000 to £719,617,000. He should know that that sum represents £90 19s. a head of population compared with £35 3s. 8d. on the 31st August, 1939. He should also know something of what has been said by people outside Australia about Australia’s stability. He should know that in London, as recently as April this year, the following statement was made : -
The Australian Government is earning a high reputation in London by its ability to foresee inflation dangers and its handling of post-war problems.
This tribute is made by the “ Financial Times “, commenting on the embarrassment to Australia by the inflow of money from abroad.
He should also know that the investments in this country from overseas in the last eight years amounting to at least £144,000,000 are greater by many millions of pounds than the sum ever invested in the country in any similar period of years. He should know that hundreds of new industries have been established in Australia since the war. He should know that what I have said are facts and that he misrepresented the position when he talked as- he did about the budget. He should also know that another loan will fall due for redemption in London on the 1st October, that the amount of that loan is £6,500,000 and that it will be redeemed. All of those facts indicate the stability of Australia. A report in the Sydney Morning Herald only a few days ago stated -
Repatriation is intended of the entire Victorian 3i per cent. £stg.6,055,000 loan maturing in London on October 1.
The Prime Minister, Mr. Chifley, announced in Canberra last night that the Loan Council had decided not to make a conversion offer to existing holders.
Funds for redemption of the loan, he said, would be provided by the ‘Commonwealth Bank and the National Debt Sinking Fund.
London loans amounting to fstg.9,500,000 were paid off and repatriated to Australia on July 1.
In the current financial year, therefore, the amount of £stg.l5, 555,000 will have been repatriated, when the impending operation is included.
The speech of the honorable member for Wentworth was of the type that he usually delivers. He never endeavours to be critical of a budget or to make constructive speeches in this chamber. As honorable members know, he normally confines his speeches to references to such subjects as communism, socialism and regimentation of the people by this Government. He endeavours to imply by half truths that there is a sinister motive behind the actions of the Government. Of course he knows, as well as do other honorable members, that this Government is seeking to secure greater prosperity and contentment for the people of this country. The honorable member referred at length to regimentation and compared it with the freedom that he enjoyed as a lad growing into manhood. He suggested that that kind of freedom should be preserved for the people of Australia. I remind the honorable member that to-day, four years after the cessation of hostilities in World War II., there is a state of full employment in this country. Everybody who is willing and able to work has a job. But let us consider what was the position four years after the termination of World War I. The honorable member stressed that care should be exercised with relation to ex-service men and women. On the 4th April, 1922, this statement appeared’ in the Brisbane Courier with relation to an appeal for funds -
For many of our returned soldiers there is no work. They have tasted something that can be more bitter than war - unemployment. What makeshifts the brave fellows have resorted to in order to make ends meet God knows - selling soap and tape and little haberdasheries at our doors.
The unemployment section of the Returned Soldiers and Sailors’ Imperial League of Australia on the 19th April of that year listed 900 unemployed in Brisbane, 300 of whom were entirely without means of livelihood other than government rations. That was the kind of freedom that was enjoyed then. There were no labour exchanges such as we have to-day, nounemployment bureaux to which men could apply for work, and no organization to which they could apply for unemployment benefits. Of course the honorable member says that he wants to see freedom in this country. That is the way that he tries to woo the electors, but I wonder if the people of this country are aware of the type of freedom that he means. About six weeks ago the Liberal party conducted a rally at Burnie, in Tasmania. Subsequently the following report appeared in the local newspaper : -
Three hundred business girls were entertained to lunch, political talks and a mannequin parade by the women’s committee of the Liberal party in the Burnie Town Hall yesterday. With the aid of donations, it was possible to provide the girls with a luncheon for1s. The organizer (Mrs. A. MacDermott) said the object was to acquaint girls with what was happening in the political field.
That was very wonderful work. The girls were provided with lunch on payment of 1s. each, and then treated to a mannequin parade. Doubtless something about politics, such as we hear from the honorable member for Wentworth, was whispered in their ears. Perhaps there was some sinister reference to members of the Australian Labour party being socialists. The socialist tiger existed even in the days of Alfred Deakin. Perhaps it was suggested that the Australian. Labour party had some sinister intention with relation to the Commonwealth Bank ; that it favoured socialism in the worst form; that the pennies would be taken out of people’s pockets, and that£1 notes would not be worth 5s. each. Of course,. I would have no objection to the ladies viewing the mannequin parade, because they like that type of entertainment. However, I do not have mannequin parades at my political meetings.
– We on the Government side of the chamber have very reason to be suspiciously minded. Recently a booklet, Is This To-morrow, was distributed in Launceston. It is a publication consisting of 45 pages, and measuring about 11 inches by 7½ inches. On the frontispiece the hammer and sickle is superimposed on a map of Australia above the caption, Australia under Communism ! On page 23 of this publication there is depicted what purports to be a picture of this chamber.. In that picture are a number of characters holding rifles with fixed bayonets, with the caption, The Opposition is Effectively Suppressed., This is a matter about which the honorable member for Wentworth should be able to enlighten us because of his activities with the New Guard. The suggestionis that the Opposition does not enjoy the rights and privileges to which it has always claimed to be entitled. Of course, having been a member of the Parliament for a number of years, I know that debates are at times concluded by the application of the gag. All governments use that expedient in order to complete their business. On one occasion. I recollect that a measure appropriating £60,000,000 was passed in a few minutes by an anti-Labour government. That was achieved by the application of the gag. I point out that the gag has always been associated with the affairs of government. In that respect the opinions of honorable members opposite are probably not different from those that were held by the Opposition during the seven years that I occupied a seat on the opposite side of the chamber. In view of distribution of scurrilous literature of this type, it is reasonable to ask what is the policy of honorable members opposite. Is it merely the same old policy of keeping the Labour Government out ? Apparently the Opposition has no common policy. Honorable gentlemen opposite have now begun to hold joint meetings of the leaders of the parties to which they belong. They are doing so in order that there shall be some semblance of unity of the Opposition as the general election approaches.
I have in my hand another document. It is headed -
Socialization in ten years. What lies behind nationalization of banking.
It contains seventeen pages, in which there are printed extracts from reports of conferences and speeches, and the extracts are presented in such a manner as not to convey a true impression. It is being thrown over garden fences so that it may be read by the electors. It is an example of the stuff that is being circulated by the Opposition as election propaganda.
I have another document which, having been produced by the trading banks, has a much more attractive appearance than has the pamphlet to which I have just referred. The front page reads as follows : -
A simple explanation of important facts you should know.
On page 41, the following passage appears : -
The depression in Australia was mainly the result of the crisis overseas, the early effects of which reached Australia in the latter part of 1929. Critics assert that the banks immediately curtailed loans, thus making the depression more severe.
The actual facts, however, reveal that when the depression first hit Australia, the banks helped their customers, and therefore the general community, by increasing advances from £257,000,000 in the March quarter of 1929 to £280,000,000 in the March quarter of 1930. This point is clearly shown by the following table: -
It is useless for the trading banks to assert that they did not call in overdrafts, because they did do so. The thumbscrew that they applied1 to persons who were in financial difficulties during the depression years was responsible for many suicides and bankruptcies. At the end of the document appears the following note : -
Published by the Bank Employees’ Committee. Authorized by W. H. J. Colville, 16 Barrack-street, Sydney.
Thousands of pounds are being expended, not to publish a statement of the policy of the Opposition, but to spread statements that it is hoped will create a feeling of suspicion and distrust of the Labour Government in the minds of” a sufficient number of people to lead to the defeat of the Government.
Let me go back to 1928. The Labour party has always produced a statement of its policy at election time and told the people of what it hopes to achieve. In 1928, the Eight Honorable J. H. Scullin, who was then leader of the Labour party, said -
No more important question demands the attention of the National Parliament than the health of the community. Divided action by
State Governments will not suffice. Disease, man’s deadly enemy, must be met by uniting the forces of the Commonwealth and the States. The heavy mortality, the suffering, and the great - economical loss can be considerably minimized. Cancer and tuberculosis take a heavy toll. More alarming still is the huge loss of infant life. Infantile mortality last year accounted for 7,283 children under one year of age. Large sums are annually spent in bringing immigrants to Australia while half the infants who die could be saved under a thorough system of medical attention.
In 1928 Mr. Scullin promised to do something to improve the health of the community, and we can now see the progress that has been made in that field by him and the men with whom he has been associated.
The honorable member for “Wentworth referred to the production of coal in Australia. In the depression years nobody cared two hoots whether the miners worked for two or three days a week only so long as the output of the coal mines was 9,000,000 tons a year. The coalowners did not want more than 9,000,000 tons a year to be produced, and if production was maintained at that rate for a few years some mines were closed because the coal that had been produced could not be sold. Now we acquire 13,000,000 tons of coal a year to meet the greatly increased demand for coal to which our industrial expansion and greater prosperity have given rise. “We want more miners and we want them to work every working day of the week. The honorable member for Wentworth indulged in a vague criticism of somebody somewhere because we have not sufficient coal to meet the need of our industries. This Government has endeavoured to increase coal production by mechanizing the coal mines, granting the miners better conditions and appointing an independent tribunal to deal with the miners’ problem. That work will continue.
I am sure that when the time comes for this Government to give an account of its stewardship, the people will endorse the policy that it has followed and intends to follow in the future. The Labour party will not make specious promises to the people. The Treasurer has certainly not done so in this budget.
– That is true. There is nothing in the budget that can be referred to as an election bribe. I think that the budget is a good one. I believe that it is a lower cost-of-living budget and that the people will accept it as such. I believe that the people will have sufficient confidence in us to return to power the progressive Government which has done so much for them over the years.
The following papers were pre sented : -
Commonwealth Public Service Act - Appointments - Department -
Commerce and Agriculture - G. W. Edwards, K. H. Ray.
Interior - D. W. Johns.
Postmaster-General - T. R. Allen, B. S.
Backstorm, S. F. Brownless, R. W. Carmichael, K. R. Collyer, E. R. Craig, J. W. Foley, G. S. Goodman, R. W. Grimes, A. Hannah, S. Helm, M. H. Jones, E. O’Hoy, E. V. Partington, J. Pyddoke, P. H. Richards, R. H. Shepherd, G. H. Sims, G. W. F. Trask
Works and Housing - R. G. W. Smith.
Lands Acquisition Act - Land acquired for - Civil Aviation purposes - North Campbellfield, Victoria.
Defence purposes - Regent’s Park, New South Wales.
Postal purposes - Victoria Park East,
Nationality and Citizenship Act - Return for year 1948-49.
War Service Homes Act - Land acquired at Bankstown, New South Wales.
House adjourned at 10.10 p.m.
The following answers to questions were circulated: -
n asked the AttorneyGeneral, upon notice -
– The information is being obtained and will be furnished to the honorable member as soon as it is available.
n asked the AttorneyGeneral, upon notice -
What is the total cost of the legal expenses incurred by the Commonwealth in actions arising out of the Banking Act 1945, the Commonwealth Bank Act 1945 and the Banking Act 1947 up to the point at which the Commonwealth lodged an appeal to the Privy Council ?
– The information is being obtained and will be furnished to the honorable member as soon as it is available.
s asked the AttorneyGeneral, upon notice -
With reference to the provision in the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act requiring certain organizations to lodge balance-sheets with the Industrial Registrar each year, will he state: (a) how many unions are required under the act to furnish balance-sheets; (b) how many have furnished balance-sheets to the Registrar, and what are the names of such organizations; (c) how many balance-sheets are outstanding and from which organizations; (d) if it is intended to enforce the provisions of the act against the organizations concerned; and (e) whether there are any provisions for the balance-sheets to be made available to honorable members?
– The information is being obtained and will be furnished to the honorable member as soon as it is available.
n asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : - 1. (a) Motor vehicles (cars and motor cycles) in Australia - At 30th June, 1939, 641,508; at 30th June, 1949, 771,910. (b) Motor trucks (commercial vehicles including tractors registered for use on roads) - At 30th June, 1939, 258,025; at 30th June, 1949, 452,275. (c) Tractors (agricultural tractors in use) - At 31st March, 1939, 42,793; at 31st
March, 1948, 70,338. Tractor statistics are published by the Commonwealth Statistician in respect of the year ended the 31st March. Statistics for the year ending the 31st March, 1949, are not yet available.
s asked the Minister for the Navy, upon notice -
– The answersto the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
t asked the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Fuel, upon notice -
– The Minister for Shipping and Fuel has supplied the following information: -
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 20 September 1949, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1949/19490920_reps_18_204/>.