House of Representatives
9 March 1950

19th Parliament · 1st Session

Mr. Speaker (Hon. Archie Cameron) took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.

page 569




– I direct the attention of the Prime Minister to hia statement that this Government has never entertained the illusion that value can be put back into the £1 by some single legislative act, and that value only goes back into the £1 when, by reason of a series of economic measures and steps, the £1 buys more. Will the right honorable gentleman indicate the nature, number and extent of the series of economic measures to which he has referred ? Will he say when, where and by whom they will be initiated or introduced, and in what order of priority? Will they he put into effect soon or late, or even during the lifetime of this Parliament! Will the right honorable gentleman tell the House .what wage and salary earners, pensioners and persons in receipt of fixed incomes are expected to do to* meet living costs ppending the consideration and implementation of the Government’s economic measures for putting value back into the £1 ?

Prime Minister · KOOYONG, VICTORIA · LP

– The contents of the honorable gentleman’s question, or perhaps I should say speech, have been noted, but I do not propose to debate the issue at question time.

page 570




– - Will the PostmasterGeneral inform the House of the progress that the Government has made in its efforts to establish an adequate television system in Australia ? - Has the Minister’s attention been directed to press reports of a statement that was made by the chairman of Electronic Industries Limited, upon his return from abroad, that, in his opinion, television will become a ‘bigger industry than the radio industry 1 In view of the recent announcement by the Division of Industrial Development that domestic electric appliances are now in over-supply in Australia, can the Minister say whether the radio industry will be affected by the introduction of television? le it possible for certain types of radio receiving sets to be converted to television sets ?

Postmaster-General · RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP

– So far as I know, it is impossible to convert existing radio receiving Bets to television sets. Any person who wants a television outfit will have to buy a complete set. The Government is at present making inquiries in Australia and overseas regarding the introduction of television in Australia. We desire to step off on the right foot in this matter. The previous Government took the matter a certain distance, but we are not bound to accept the views of that Government, particularly in respect of its plans for the monopoly control of television under government ownership. The honorable member may rest assured that the Government has this matter under consideration. I hope that a public announcement will ‘be made soon.

page 570




– In view of the difficulty and inconvenience experienced by immigrants in securing tea and butter ration cards after landing in Australia, will the Minister for Immigration give consideration to the issuing of such cards to immigrants as they disembark in this country?

Minister for Immigration · HIGGINS, VICTORIA · LP

– This matter has not previously come under my notice, but, if the facts are as indicated by the honorable member, I shall examine his suggestion, which appears to be useful.


– A British immigrant who arrived in Australia about eight months ago has reported to me that Communist propaganda is disseminated on immigrant ships by persons who board the vessels at their principal ports of call in this country. If the’ Minister is aware of this practice, has he taken adequate steps to prevent it? If not, will be have inquiries made and, if the report is proved to be accurate, will’ he take action to prevent the practice in the future?


– No complaint about the distribution of Communist literature on ships on which immigrants travel to Australia has been brought to my attention previously. Members of the general public are not permitted to board vessels that carry displaced, persons to Australia. Those ships are directly under the control of the Commonwealth authorities-. Other ships may not be ‘boarded until customs and health clearances have been granted. I shall have inquiries made in order to acertain whether Communist literature has been distributed on ships at Australian ports and, if tho facts substantiate the report made to the honorable member, I shall determine what preventive action should bc taken.

page 570




– In view of the fact that the Government Printing Office is further behind this year than it was last year with the task of handling the printing requirements of the Parliament, I ask the Minister for the Interior whether the Government will allocate at least twenty houses in Canberra immediately for skilled printing tradesmen - so that the work now piling up at the printing office may be dealt with expeditiously ?

WAKEFIELD, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · LP; LCL from 1951; LP from 1954

– I am sure that the honorable member mud appreciate the seriousness of the housing shortage in Canberra and the difficulty that is experienced in allocating houses equitably. However, I shall examine his proposition and reply further to the question at a later date.

page 570




– I ask the Prime Minister whether it is a fact that the previous Government, during the latter part of ite term of office, appointed a commission or committee to inquire into university finances. Is it also a fact that the membership of that committee did not include representatives of either the great rural industries or women’s organizations? In view of the fact that rural industries arc of first-rate importance to our economy and that social sciences are very closely associated with women’s pro fessions, will the Prime Minister take action, if the committee is still proceeding with its inquiries, to ensure that an outstanding man and an outstanding woman, preferably with university qualifications, shall be appointed to strengthen that body?


– The previous Government announced that it had appointed a committee with a rather more limited function, I think, than the one that the honorable member has in mind. The committee appointed to investigate the financial position of the universities of the States comprised Professor E. C. Mills, Director, Commonwealth Office of Education; Mr. F. G. Thorpe, and Mr. H. J. Goodes, of the Treasury. We considered the matter and came to the conclusion that the committee might be strengthened by having added to it a representative of the universities themselves, with knowledge and experience as a teacher and as a member of the staff of a university. 1 asked the Vice-Chancellors’ committee to make a nomination, and it nominated Professor D. B. Copland, Vice.Chancellor of the Australian National University. He has therefore been appointed. The committee is designed to investigate the actual financial position of the universities as quickly as possible so that the Commonwealth may be in a position to determine what it can do to help in the matter. In common, I believe, with its predecessor, the Government desires that the investigation shall be regarded ae a matter of some urgency. If we were shaping a universities committee to determine the scope of the universities, the subjects they should teach, and how they should handle them, a somewhat more widely constituted body such as the one suggested by the honorable member would be appropriate, but this body is designed to make a quick inquiry about the financial position of the universities, particularly in the light of the facts that Commonwealth Reconstruction Training Scheme fund3 are running out, that in many of the universities salaries are probably much lower than they should be, and that the Commonwealth itself may well have to accept some responsibilities if the universities are to maintain a high standard and to preserve their necessary academic freedom.

page 571




– Has the Prime Minister noted that Dr. Fuchs, who was recently convicted of atomic espionage in Great Britain, was involved with an organization known as the British Association of Scientific Workers, and does the right honorable gentleman recall that Canadian scientists implicated in atomic espionage in Canada in 1945 were involved with an affiliated organization known as the Canadian Association of Scientific Workers? Is the Prime Minister aware that an affiliated organization, known as the Australian Association of Scientific Workers, operated in Australia ? Does he also know that these three organizations in Great Britain, Canada and Australia, together with affiliated organizations in other countries, formed a Sovietcontrolled network operating for Soviet Russia’s atomic objectives, creating the climate of treason and furthering acts of treason; and further, .that although these associations appear to have contained non-Communists of varying degrees of innocence, their effective direction, as shown in their policy, has always followed these treasonable designs? Does the Prime Minister know that documentary evidence suggests that the Australian Association of Scientific Workers, whilst not now active, succeeded in infiltrating into the former Council for Scientific and Industrial Research during the regime of the Chifley Government, and also maintained Communist agents in key positions in the Australian scientific world? Does the right honorable gentleman realize that the operations of the Australian Association of Scientific Workers were facilitated by the passive attitude of the Labour administration and the passive patronage extended through such Communist sympathizers as Mr.

Mountjoy, whom the Labour Government unaccountably appointed to a key post in the former Council for Scientific and Industrial Research? “Will the right honorable gentleman take measures to close the security loopholes left either through accident or design by the Chifley Government ?


– I have heard the statement made from time to time that the organisation referred to by the honorable member has some affiliations, open or concealed, with the Communist party. I have no personal knowledge of that matter but I do know that it has been the subject of investigation. Those investigations will continue to be made and all efforts are constantly in hand to block up any loop-hole that may exist.

page 572




– I direct a question to the Treasurer. Is it a fact, as stated by the chairman of the Rural Bank of New South Wales, Mr. C. R. McKerihan. that the Commonwealth has over £400,000,000 lying stagnant and earning no interest at all, which could be advanced to the States for home building? I assume that Mr. McKerihan was referring to the special deposits account of the Commonwealth Bank, and not to other surplus funds left lying in the coffers of the bank by the Chifley Government. If so, and in view of the assertion om Wednesday of the Minister for Housing in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly, Mr. Evatt, that if the present interest rate of approximately 3 per cent, could be reduced to 1 per cent, it would mean an overall reduction of 10s. a week in the rents of housing commission homes, will the Treasurer take steps to revise the methods of finance provided for in the Commonwealth and State housing legislation in order to alleviate the position of tenants of housing commission homes? Will the Treasurer give effect to the suggestion of Mr. McKerihan, and make available cheaper money for home building generally, through the Commonwealth Bank and other instrumentalities, in order to offset to some extent, high capital costs and enable home purchasers to redeem their homes within a reasonable period?


– The honorable member has raised a matter of policy and information on matters of policy should not be sought in questions.


– Should the Government decide to import prefabricated houses as the result of recommendations that may be made by the fact-finding commission that it proposes to send overseas to inquire into the availability of prefabricated houses, will the Minister for Works and Housing issue instructions that a proportion of any houses imported must be of a suitable design for tropical conditions and be allotted to the Northern Territory where the shortage of houses is acute, not. only in the town areas, but also in country areas?

Minister for Works and Housing · LP

– Imported houses of a design suitable for cooler climates in Australia would not be suitable for tropical regions. The Department of Works and Housing and the experimental building research station at Ryde are now dealing with the design of imported houses suitable for tropical areas, in respect of not only climatic conditions, but also other factors such as resistance to white anis. I assure the honorable member that any imported houses that will be allotted to the Northern Territory will be of suitable design having regard to the conditions in that region.


– Can the Minister state the conditions under which a company or a private individual may import prefabricated houses ?


– Under an arrangement made by the Government in recent weeks, any individual or company may import houses, free of duty if purchased in the United Kingdom, and subject to a duty of 12£ per cent, if purchased in other countries. It is hoped that full advantage will be taken of this concession which will be operative for the whole of 1950. There are many agents in this country for overseas manufacturers of prefabricated houses, and I have no doubt that they will supply designs and give delivery dates on application. The present inadequate labour supply and the lack of essential materials limit the number of houses that can be built in this country. Therefore, the Government hopes that many people will avail themselves of the opportunity to import dwellings.

page 573




– In view of the statement given to the press by the Minister for the Interior in respect of fruit and vegetable supplies in the Australian Capital Territory, and of the statement made by the honorable member for Fremantle as a result of personal experience and observation, will the Minister for the Interior agree to the setting up at once, as advocated for years to a parade of Ministers of the Interior, of a city market? Such a market should be under corporate or co-operative control to permit harassed consumers to obtain adequate supplies of essential commodities of good quality at reasonable prices.

Minister for the Interior · WAKEFIELD, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · LP

– I have already been in consultation with certain interests in Canberra for the purpose of setting up a market in this territory. Up to date no finality has been reached but the subject is being pursued.

page 573




– There is too much noise in the House this morning. To facilitate the call from the Chair I may say that I have a list of al] members who asked questions yesterday. No honorable member who received a call yesterday will get one to-day until all those who did not get a call yesterday have been heard. That remark may save some honorable gentlemen the trouble of rising.

Later :

Mr Johnson:

– I rise to order. You ha. ve stated, Mr. Speaker, that no honorable member who asked a question yesterday would get a call this morning. I have not asked a question during the whole, of this session and I have been rising to my feet since the questions commenced to-day.


– I do not see much substance in ihe point of order. I am giving the call from side to side. The honorable member for Kalgoorlie is next on the list for a call from his side of the House. The honorable member for Mallee did not ask a question yesterday.

Mr Ward:

– Will you tell me, Mr. Speaker, whore I am on the list?


– If the honorable member wants to know, he is like Solomon’s barren wife - he cannot be satisfied.


– I rise to a point of order. Is Mr. Speaker justified in casting reflections on an honorable member?


– The honorable member for East Sydney did not object to the remark.

page 573




– Can the Minister for Labour and National Service give mc any information on developments in the Melbourne tramway strike ?


– I am advised that thu State executive of the Tramways Employees Association decided last night by eighteen votes to six against a suggestion made by Mr. T. Junor, the federal secretary of the organization, that a mass meeting of members should be held to consider the position, A submission for deregistration of the union is listed for hearing by the Commonwealth Arbitration Court this morning, at 10.30 o’clock.

page 573




– As the Prime Minister has reaffirmed the pledge that he gave in the election campaign that he would not hesitate to nationalize monopolies if they were acting contrary to the public interest, will he state whether there is sufficient power under the Constitution to permit this Parliament to nationalize undertakings other than banking? If so, under what constitutional power does he consider that the Government is empowered to nationalize undertakings other than banking? If sufficient constitutional power does not exist at present, will he seek an alteration of the Constitution to give him that power or will he be content to let his pledge remain an empty promise impossible of fulfilment?

Mr Freeth:

– I rise to order. Is an honorable gentleman entitled to seek a legal opinion in reply to a question?


– No one would bc better able to give it than the Prime Minister.


– I might save a good deal of time later by saying first, that I do not propose to debate questions of policy at question time; and, secondly,that I do not propose to discuss questions of law at question time.

page 574




– Will the PostmasterGeneral state whether it is true that intending telephone subscribers in rural areas who are outside the radius of 3 miles from a post office are required to pay the full cost of the telephone lines to their houses? If this is so, will the Minister consider according more generous treatment for such people, for in many cases, they are already suffering from a serious lack of amenities?


– The position in relation to such applicants for telephones is that the department will provide the first £100 of the cost and the applicant must agree to find the balance. In reply to a question by the honorable member for Dawson recently I indicated that we were reviewing that situation and would endeavour, as far as possible, to liberalize the treatment of those people.


– I have received complaints from many of my constituents that telephone directories for country exchanges are out of date, in some instances the latest directory having been issued eighteen months ago. Will the PostmasterGeneral arrange to have country telephone directories brought up to date?


– So far as I am aware, the procedure followed in the publication of country telephone directories is the same as that followed in respect of city directories, that is, they are issued every twelve months or, in some instances, at half-yearly periods. I shall examine the matter and take appropriate action in any instance of the kind that the honorable member has indicated.

page 574




– I address a question to the Prime Minister about a recently circulated publication called the Digest of Decisions and Announcements by the former Prime Minister (Mt.

Chifley). It is issued by the authority of the Government Printer and is headed, “ Prime Minister’s Election Final Appeal “. I quote from it as follows : -

Mothers, wives, sisters and sweetheartsshould pause before voting for the Menziespolicy of conscripting the youth of Australia, for six months in the year.

Was that a true statement of the right honorable gentleman’s policy? If not,, can it be regarded as a clumsy attempt to create that fear complex which has been so much spoken of by members of the Opposition ?


– The statement wasnot, of course, a proper representation of what had been stated as the policy of the then Opposition, but I am happy to say that the mothers, wives, sisters, and sweethearts did stop, and they did think, and they tossed the Government out.

page 574




– Having at last beenaccorded the opportunity, I desire to address a question to the Prime Minister. During the recent election campaign, he gave an undertaking that if his party were returned to power he would provide some real and practical assistance to the gold-mining industry. Just what did he mean by real and practical assistance, and when may we expect his undertaking to be fulfilled? Will he keep his promise in mind when he is being pressed by largenewspaper and other vested interests to appreciate the fi ?


– The representation* of the honorable member will, of course,, be borne in mind when the Government’s policy on this matter is being formulated..

page 574




– Having regard tothe lack of materials necessary to extend electric power services from existingpower lines to rural dwellings throughout the States, and particularly in Victoria,, can the Minister for Supply and Development say whether the States have sought Commonwealth aid for this purpose, and,, if so, with what success? If the Government were asked to help in the solution of this problem that is so closely linked’ with the development of the country, what, would its answer be?


– I should say that the Government has no control now over materials of any sort. So far as I know the State governments have made no approach to this Government for assistance in respect of materials for the reticulation of electricity. If such requests were made I am quite sure that the Government would do everything in its power to assist the States.

page 575




– In view of the recent statement by the Minister for Labour and National Service that the 40-hour week was, in his opinion, one of the factors contributing towards inflation in this country, will he say whether the Government has any intention of intervening, through either the courts or this Parliament, to increase the standard working week throughout the Commonwealth?


– The answer is “ No “.

page 575




– I ask the Prime Minister whether, in view of the fact that we are becoming more security conscious nowadays, an inquiry could be instituted into the activities of a public servant who was in recent years convicted of forgery and incarcerated? Was that public servant appointed to the Public Service as a result of his own personal application? What duties did he perform in the Public Service? What were the details of his position? The person to whom I refer is Mr. J. S. Garden.


– If the honorable member would have a word with me outside the House and give me such particulars as he may have concerning the matter I shall be very glad to have an investigation made.

page 575




– Will the Prime Minister inform the House whether there is any truth in the report that Mr. K. A. Cameron, chairman of the Joint Coal Board, has resigned from that position’Is it a fact that that position is filled by consultation between the Prime Minister and the Premier of New South Wales? If that is so, will consideration be given to the filling of this position by a man who has not only technical .but also practical mining experience, so that we may achieve more harmony in the coal industry ?


– It is true that Mr. Cameron has indicated his desire to resign from the chairmanship of the Joint Coal Board, for reasons that have been referred to in the press this morning. Mr. Cameron has been offered a post of great professional interest to himself which he is very anxious to accept and certainly we did not desire to stand in the way of an advancement of that kind, particularly having regard to the work that, Mr. Cameron has already done in connexion with the coal industry. The filling of the vacancy is a matter that, at the moment, is beginning to attract discussions in the relevant quarters and during these discussions the point made by the honorable gentleman will be taken into account.


– Do the plans of the Minister for Supply and Development for industrial development in Australia place emphasis on the all-important question of quality as distinct from quantity in the production of coal ? Can he inform honorable members to what degree new fields will be opened up and increased mechanization in existing mines result in greater quantities of hard black coal being produced for specialized processes such as steel production?


– The highest quality coal obtainable in Australia is that being mined on coal-fields in New South Wales and supplies of hard black coal from that source form the core of our coal supplies. The Government in its developmental plans is taking into consideration the quality of coal, such as its calorific value, and is now examining a number of matters with respect to the development of Goal-fields such as those at Callide, which is being investigated in conjunction with the Queensland Government, and also at Oaklands in Southern Riverina in New South Wales. The honorable member’s point in respect of the quality is well taken. Coal produced elsewhere in Australia is not of the quality of New South Wales black coal.

page 576




– I ask the Minister for Labour and National Service a question relating to a reply that he gave yesterday to a question on the termination of the appointment of Mr. Mulherin, the representative at Mackay of the Australian Stevedoring Industry Board. The Minister stated that he was awaiting a report on the matter from the chairman of the board. This matter is one of very vital importance to the Mackay district, and there is a great deal of local indignation over an action that seems to amount to a penalty imposed on Mr. Mulherin for the courageous stand that he has taken against Communist-inspired waterfront disputes. There is also concern about theeffect which the termination of Mr. Mulherin’s appointment will have on the local waterfront workers who, it is well known, have boasted previously that they would secure the termination of Mr. Mulherin’s appointment. Is the Minister yet in a position to make a statement; as a. result of any report that he may have received ?


– I have received a statement from Mr. Hewitt, the chairman of the Australian Stevedoring Industry Board, relative to Mr. J. M. Mulherin and Mr. Ivey. The statement will- take a few minutes to make and, therefore, I suggest that, with the concurrence of the House, I make it at the conclusion of question time.


Minister for Labour and National .Service and Minister for Immigration · Higgins · LP

by Have - The honorable member for Fremantle raised the question, yesterday, of the dismissal of Mr. Ivey from the position of chairman of the Board of Reference, at Fremantle, and the honorable member for Dawson and other honorable members have spoken to me about the dismissal of Mr. Mulherin, chairman of the Board of Reference, at Mackay. When they spoke to me, and also when questions were asked in the House, I pointed out that neither of those decisions was made at the instigation of the_ Australian Government. They were decisions which the Australian Stevedoring Industry Board had made in the course of the management of its own affairs. However, in view of the public interest which those decisions have aroused I said that I would ask the chairman of the board whether he could make information concerning the dismissals available to the public and to Parliament. Mr. Hewitt, the chairman of the Australian Stevedoring Industry Board, has given me the following answers in relation to Mr. Ivey and Mr. Mulherin. As to Mr. Ivey he has said -

As an employee of the Australian Stevedoring Industry Board, Mr. Ivey did not come mirier the Commonwealth Public Service Act 1922-1048, but his status was similar to that of a temporary employee under the Commonwealth Public Service Act 1922-1048. His employment was terminated in accordance with the principles laid down for temporary public servants for reasons which are well known to Mr. Ivey and which were discussed with him at the time.

As to Mr. J. M. Mulherin, the chairman has -sta ted -

Mr. Mulherin had an interview with the board on the Srd March, 1050, when recent public statements by him were discussed. It was then made clear to Mr. Mulherin, as it had been made clear previously, that the board was not concerned with the opinions held by him but was concerned to prevent him from placing himself in the position where his impartiality in his dealings between employers and employees could be doubted. Iri the course of a friendly discussion, Mr. Mulherin referred to his long membership of the Mackay Harbour Board and other public authorities and to his long standing interest in the development of the sugar industry. He stated that he would not undertake to refrain from publicly repeating his statements. The board then decided that, in view f the conflict between his other interests and his duty to the Australian Stevedoring Industry Board, his appointment should be terminated.

At the time of the interview, the board was in receipt of a letter from Mr. .Justice Kirby stating that the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration regarded it as important that the practice as well as the appearance of impartiality should lie preserved in the Court’s delegates, and that further, they should not indulge in public controversy. His Honour, after referring to Mr. Mulherin’s repeated public statements, informed the Board that the Court could no longer continue to have. Mr. Mulherin as its delegate or Board of Reference.

Those details have been supplied by Mr. Hewitt. The comments are his. Mr. Hewitt, the chairman of the board, was formerly an officer of the AttorneyGeneral’s Department and, I understand, has full legal qualifications. He was appointed by the previous Government, but he also enjoys the full confidence of this Government. Protests have been made in the Mackay press against what has been described as a bureaucratic decision. The decision was not one of the Australian Government. I emphasize, as appears from Mr. Hewitt’s statement, that the dismissal of Mr. Mulherin from the Board of Reference was effected in the first instance by a judge of the Commonwealth Arbitration Court. The dismissal has been interpreted in Mackay as a Communist victory, but I desire to make it perfectly clear that the decision was taken in order to strengthen the board and to make its control of industrial matters more effective. Any persons, whether they be Communist sympathizers or opponents of communism, who interpret the dismissal .as a Communist victory will find that they are very much mistaken.

page 577




– Has the attention of the Minister for Labour and National Service been directed to a report from Newcastle to the effect that steel production has fallen to 70 per cent, of plant capacity,’ due to stoppages in certain coalmines on the northern fields? Are those stoppages the result of a Communistinspired rolling strike, similar to that being pursued by waterside workers in Queensland? In view of the importance of steel production to the whole of Australia’s industry and its paramount importance in the solution of the housing problem, will the Minister consider taking action against the persons responsible for that position?


– It has come to my notice, of course, that stoppages have occurred in coal-mines on the northern fields of New South Wales. I have not had any information officially brought to my notice which would suggest that thos« stoppages form a part of an organized plan, but I shall make full inquiries into the matter. The Government is watching the general industrial position very closely and, in due course, will introduce measures which, it hopes, will deal effectively with the situation.

page 577




– In view of the increase of the number of members of the House of Representatives, will the Prime Minister consider the advisability of extending question time by half an hour each day in order to give honorable members an opportunity to obtain information from Ministers?


– I shall take that matter into consideration, but I cannot hold out very much hope to the honorable member for Lang that his suggestion will be adopted. It is quite true that the number of members of the House of Representatives has been increased and, therefore, that more honorable members desire to direct questions to Ministers, but great problems will also arise in respect of the time available for general debates as the result of the larger number of members. In the circumstances, it does not seem to me to be practicable to extend question time. After all, more effective use could be made of this period if questions were shorter.

page 577




– I desire to address a question to the Prime Minister and, ‘by way of explanation, I should like to refer to a statement on page 7 of the twentyfifth report on the Commonwealth Public Service by the Public Service Board, which reads as follows : -

The Board is required under the Commonwealth Public Service Act to publish a list of permanent officers each year. This was discontinued during the war and has not been fully revived.

Will the Prime Minister take action to ensure the restoration of the publication of the Public Service list? Will the right honorable gentleman encourage further and to a considerable extent the tendency which has been shown in recent annual reports of the Public Service Board to give fuller information to this House ?


– The proposal that has been put forward by the honorable member for Curtin has merit, and I shall examine it in that light.

page 578




– Will the Treasurer inform me whether an allocation of dollars has been made to Australia for the purchase of supplies of newsprint? Has a reduction of the dollar allocation for newsprint been made necessary recently because of other demands on the dollar pool?


– The answer to the honorable member’s questions is “ No “.

page 578




– I refer to the purchase of wheat by small buyers in Tasmania from the Australian Wheat Board. At present, in that State, small buyers are forced to purchase ex Victorian railway yards and after being obliged to pay in advance they have to wait up to three months for shipment, whereas mill owners can purchase wheat against bond at bank and receive shipments of up to three months supplies and pay for the wheat as they use it. In view of those facts, I ask the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture whether it would not be possible for the Australian Wheat Board to establish bulk storage of wheat in Tasmania and thus enable buyers to purchase their supplies from a pool?

Minister for Commerce and Agriculture · MURRAY, VICTORIA · CP

– I shall take up with the Australian Wheat Board the proposal that the honorable member has made and if it be found practicable to do so, it will be put into effect.

page 578




– A8 a sufficient number of qualified nurses is essential to the success of any medical or hospital scheme and as thousands of patients are being turned away from Victorian hospitals to die whilst, at the same time, nursing f acilities for maternity cases are desperately inadequate, will the Minister for Health introduce a scheme to assist in the training of nurses including, for instance, the provision of generous scholarships ? Will the right honorable gentleman also relieve this problem by making conditions of service more attractive to nurses?

Minister for Health · COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP

– During the last few weeks I have discussed the subject that the honorable member has raised with Dame Katherine Watt, who is a specialist in nursing attached to the British Ministry of Health, and I have arranged to receive deputations from representatives of the College of Nursing during the next few weeks in the hope that something can be done to relieve the shortage of nurses. We hope, in consultation with the States, to be able to do something in that direction later in the year.

page 578




– I ask the Prime Minister whether it is true, as reported in the press, that he has issued an instruction, or made a request, to his Cabinet colleagues that they shall not make statements to the press unless they have been “ vetted “ by himself ? I also desire to know whether it is true that Mr. Justice Reed, the DirectorGeneral of Australian Security and Intelligence Organization, has addressed Cabinet. If these reports are true, can the Prime Minister say whether the matters referred to are part of the security check that is being made in this country?


– Neither suggestion is in accordance with fact.

page 578




– In view of the press announcement by the Prime Minister that the Department of Information is no longer to be administered by a separate Minister of State, can the Minister for Information say whether, in the distribution of members of the present organization amongst other departments, adequate protection will be given to members of the Australian Journalists Association, who number, I believe approximately 60 in this country and abroad? Will alternative’ employment be provided for journalists who will be affected by what the Primp Minister refers to as “ certain economies “.

Minister for Information · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP

– I think it may be taken for granted that adequate protection will be given to the people to whom the honorable member has referred. The allocation of duties under the re-organization will not be my function as I shall cease to be Minister for Information. However, a committee has been appointed, consisting of Public Service officials and Cabinet members, including myself, which will consider the ambit of the new bureau that is to be established in lieu of the present organization. That committee will decide how many employees willbe necessary for the new service. However, the honorable member may take it for granted that what is done will be fair, proper and just in the circumstances.

page 579



Adjournment Discussion

Motion (by Mr. Menzies) - by leave - agreed to -

That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent, before the AddressinReply is adopted, Notice of Motion No. 1 (Objection to Speaker’s Ruling) taking precedence of all other business until disposed of.

Mr.ROSEVEAR (Dalley) [11.27]. - I move -

That the ruling of the Speaker - that the honorable member for Bennelongwas in order in replying to a matter raised in a previous debate when speaking to the motion for the adjournment of the House - be disagreed with.

If any objection is taken to the ruling or decision of the Speaker, such objection must be taken at once, and in writing, and Motion made, which, if seconded, shall be proposed to the House, and debate thereon forthwith adjourned to the next sitting day.

The ruling that it is proposed to challenge was a ruling that the honorable member for Bennelong (Mr. Cramer) might continue to develop a certain line of argument. When the honorable gentleman was speaking two days ago, a point of order was raised. The ruling given then was that he could continue. Pursuant to that ruling, he did continue.No objection was taken “ at once “ and in writing, nor was any motion made. Both objection and notice were put down yesterday, after the event had occurred. It is quite true, Mr. Speaker, that yesterday you made some observations about what you intended to establish as your rule for the future, but you were not then giving a ruling on the right of the honorable member for Bennelong to speak on the previous evening. You had already given that ruling. No ruling which you gave yesterday entitled the honorable member for Bennelong to con tinue his speech on a previous occasion. The ruling that enabled that to be done was the one that was given the previous night. In my submission, that ruling cannot he challenged by objection taken in writing on the following day. I rely upon Standing Order 287. The notice of objection that the honorable member for Dalley (Mr. Rosevear) gave yesterday in writing reads as follows: -

That this House disagrees with the ruling of Mr. Speaker in allowing the honorable member for Bennelong to reply to a previous debate during a debate on the motion forthe adjournment of the House.

The ruling that was given was a ruling by you, Mr. Speaker, that the honorable member for Bennelong should be allowed to do something. That ruling was given two days ago. It was not given yesterday. I submit that, under Standing Order 287, it cannot now be challenged by the procedure contemplated by the honorable member for Dalley.


– Order ! That remark is completely out of order and is a reflection on the Chair. The honorable member for Dalley will withdraw the remark and apologize to the Chair for having made it.

Mr Rosevear:

– I withdraw and apologize. If my remark was any worse than your disgusting remark during question time-


– Order ! The honorable gentleman will not be allowed to continue if he proceeds on those lines.

Mr Rosevear:

– I am not concerned about that at all. I have withdrawn and apologized. That is all that I intend to do.


– And say no more about anything else.

Mr Rosevear:

– Really, that is too amusing. If 1 may express myself in milder terms, Mr. Speaker, yesterday, quite without warrant, if your conscience was perfectly clear that on the night before you had given a correct ruling, you returned to the matter and elaborated upon your ruling. I asked you then whether that was to be accepted as a ruling on the matter, and you said that it was. Thereupon you accepted from me the motion to which objection has been taken by the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies).

Dr Evatt:

– The motion was not only accepted but also invited.

Mr Rosevear:

– That is true. Not only did you accept the motion, Mr. Speaker, but you also invited me to write it out. Therefore, there is not the slightest doubt that yesterday you considered that you had revived a ruling. That revived ruling was then subjected to challenge. I was asked to submit my motion in writing, and I did so. I now leave the matter in your Tap.

Mr Spender:

– I rise to order. I desire to ask you, Mr. Speaker, whether Standing Order 2S7 has been complied with. It begins as follows : -

If any objection is taken to the ruling or decision of the Speaker, such objection must be taken at once, and in writing.

That means that objection to the ruling must be taken at once and also that objection must be taken in writing in terms of the motion to be debated. I have had an opportunity to examine the motion that was signed by you, Mr. Speaker. Unless another motion was subsequently submitted by the honorable member for Dalley (Mr. Rosevear) and his original motion was replaced by the one that appears upon the notice-paper, it does not appear to me that objection was taken at once in terms of the motion to be debated. Therefore, I ask yon, sir, whether objection was correctly taken under Standing Order 2S7.

Dr Evatt:

– Speaking on the point of order, I point out to the House and to you, Mr, Speaker, that it is quite correct, as the Prime Minister (Mr.

Menzies) said, that the occasion for the first ruling arose, not yesterday, but on the day before yesterday. Had nothing been said about the matter yesterday by you, sir, the occasion for a challenge could not have arisen. But yesterday you, upon taking your seat in the chair, revived the incident and not merely reiterated your ruling but also explained it and laid down a rule by which you intended, as you said, to be bound in the future. For instance, you referred to the honorable member for Bennelong (Mr. Cramer), who spoke on the first occasion, and explained that if an honorable member were engaged in some public function in the discharge of which his actions were challenged during a debate, you would, in performing the duties of your high office, ensure that he should be given the right to deal with the matter on a motion for the adjournment of the House. Therefore, I submit that it is not now a question of the correctness of that ruling or not. I am not able to refer at the moment to the transcript of the proceedings, but I ask you, sir, to look at it in order to confirm what I have said. I have a very clear recollection of what took place, and I am sure that other honorable members also have no doubt about the matter. The point is that, having reaffirmed, restated and broadened your ruling, and having laid down a ruling for the future, you indicated to the honorable member for Dalley (Mr. Rosevear), when he took objection to your ruling, the course of action that he should follow in order to satisfy his desire, and the desire of those associated with him, that the ruling should not become a precedent. You directed what was to be done and invited a challenge. This is the challenge and I submit, in the best interests of the House, that the point raised by the Prime Minister was clearly waived and disposed of by your action yesterday.

Mr Menzies:

– Did yesterday’s ruling allow the honorable member for Bennelong to speak the day before?


Before calling the honorable member for Darling (Mr. Clark), I shall say something in reply to the right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt). What I did yesterday was to refer to what had taken place the night before. Without looking at the printed transcript, which anybody can now see, I recall that 1’ stated clearly that I proposed to give two rulings, one of a general character and one of an immediate character. The general ruling was to the effect that, when an honorable member had been criticized in debate by another honorable member and had already spoken in that debate and therefore could not take part in it again, and when the nature of the criticism levelled against him was such that he could not reply to it through the medium of a personal explanation, I would allow that honorable member to state his case in defence during the adjournment debate, particularly if he, in some other capacity, happened to be responsible for the administration of certain public utilities. The immediate ruling that I gave was that, having heard the honorable member for Bennelong (Mr. Cramer) the night before, and having heard the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) make further charges against him, I would allow him, if he wished, to reply te the statements of the honorable member for East Sydney during the adjournment debate last night or when it suited him to do so. That was the ruling that I gave. When the honorable member for Dalley (Mr. Rosevear) said that he would challenge my ruling, I invited him to comply with the Standing Orders and state his objection in writing. I admit that I did not see that objection until it appeared on the notice-paper this morning.

Mr Rosevear:

– Are you charging me with bad faith in the matter?


– No, not at all. I think that the honorable member is merely guilty of bad judgment. I point out to the House that the honorable member for Dalley did not challenge either of the rulings that I gave yesterday, but did challenge the ruling that I had given on the previous night, and which it would have been competent for him to move against at that time, because he was in the House and took exception to the ruling then. The honorable gentleman did not comply with the Standing Orders and move against the ruling at that time.

Mr Clark:

– In dealing with this matter, I shall quote from the Votes and Proceedings of the House, which contain a record of what actually took place on Wednesday, the 8th March. Copies of this record have been printed and are in the hands of honorable members. The following passage appears under the heading “ Ruling by Mr. Speaker “ : -

Mr. Speaker ruled that, when an honorable member who had already spoken was attacked at a later stage of the debate, and such Member had not the “right of a personal explanation, he would be allowed to explain his position when speaking to the motion to adjourn the House. Mr. Speaker further stated that when an honorable member is questioned regarding his administration of public utilities, he shall have the right to state his position.

That is a correct report of what took place in the House. The report continues -

Dissent from Speaker’/! Ruling. - Mr.

Rosevear handed in, in writing, the following objection to the Ruling: - That tha Ruling of the Speaker - that the honorable member for Kennelling was in order iii replying to a matter raised in a previous debate when speaking to the motion for the adjournment of the Howe - he disagreed with.

That shows clearly that the objection to the ruling given by Mr. Speaker was lodged in the proper way. In view of the official record, it must be clear to all honorable members that Mr. Speaker’s ruling was challenged correctly. That fact should be accepted by you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr Chifley:

– I confess at once that I was very much astonished to hear the point that was raised by the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) and supported by the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Spender). I listened very carefully to the discussion on this matter yesterday, and I am sure that every honorable member who was completely unbiased must have gained the impression that your decision yesterday, Mr. Speaker, was, in fact, a ruling on this matter. I have grave doubts about the dangerous precedent for time wasting that would be set by such a ruling, but I do not propose to discuss that issue now. The right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt)’ has clearly stated the fact that, bad yon not raised the subject yourself yesterday morning, no formal objection could have been taken to your ruling of the Dight before. As the Prime Minister has pointed out, Standing Order 287 clearly lays down that an objection must be taken at the time when the ruling in question is given. However you, Mr. Speaker, refreshed the matter yesterday and brought it before the House again. Speaking without any partisanship in the matter, I contend that you then gave a ruling for the guidance of honorable members, many of whom had not been present on the previous night when the issue first arose.

Mr Menzies:

– A ruling for the future.

Mr Chifley:

– Perhaps so, but it seems to me to be a very paltry quibble to seek to avoid the issue raised in the motion of disagreement. You said yesterday, Mr. Speaker, presumably after consultation with the Prime Minister-


– I have not consulted the Prime Minister on this matter. I have not even spoken to him since it arose.

Mr Chifley:

– I understood that you said yesterday that this would .be the first business before the House to-day. I do not know how you could say that unless you had the approval of the Prime Minister to do so. Although I have not a shorthand note of what you said yesterday, my recollection is that you stated that this business would be dealt with this morning. You may have had an indication from the Prime Minister that he would permit this to be the first item on the business-paper this morning. It seems to me to be a very paltry quibble to seek by the points that have been raised to avoid the issue that you yourself clearly brought before the House yesterday by indicating that this matter would be debated at the first opportunity.


– I have listened with a great deal of attention to what the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Chifley) has said. On many occasions in the past the right honorable gentleman has informed this House that it is master of its own business. That is the position to-day. At present the House is placing before Mr. Speaker reasons why it considers that it should control the business of this House, and is asking him to support certain observations that have been made about a ruling of the Chair. Mr. Speaker made it perfectly clear yesterday that in a certain set of circumstances he would rule in a certain way. Those circumstances did not obtain yesterday. Mr. Speaker cannot be disciplined retrospectively by this House for an incident that occurred and was not taken into consideration ‘by the House immediately. Surely the House cannot retrospectively deal with thi* mattei-. Standing Order 287 makes it clear that such action must be taken, immediately. Clearly the wording of the motion shows that it is designed to discipline Mr. Speaker retrospectively with regard to a ruling. I submit, Mr. Speaker, that you very clearly stated that, given a certain set of circumstances, you would rule in a certain way. Until that set of circumstances obtains, and until you apply that ruling, no action can betaken to contravert that ruling.

Mr Ward:

– I wish to make a personal explanation, as I have been misrepresented by you, Mr. Speaker. You made reference a few moments ago to the fact that when speaking on the motion for the adjournment on Tuesday night I had made further charges against the honorable member for Bennelong (Mr. Cramer). I should like you to refer to the remarks that I made during my speech on the Address-in-Reply. By nostretch of imagination could it be inferred that charges were made during that speech. I merely stated that when tiehonorable member for Bennelong waschairman of the Sydney County Council that body increased electricity charges. I made no charge other than that electricity charges had been increased.


– What a;bout the blackouts?

Mr Ward:

– Mention of that was made on the adjournment. If you were to peruse the report of what I said on the adjournment, Mr. Speaker, you would find that I was seeking information rather than making specific charges, although some persons might draw that inference from my remarks. Yow made an announcement during the early part of the proceedings yesterday that on the adjournment last night the information I was seeking would be forthcoming. Although I waited until then the information did not come forward. The fact is that I made no specific charge in my speech. It is quite true that it might have been inferred that my remarks when speaking on the motion for the adjournment contained charges. Although I knew that what I was doing was contrary to the provisions of the Standing Orders, I was able to do it only with your connivance.


– If the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) will look at the Hansard “flat” of the proceedings of the night before last he will see that he linked up the honorable member for Bennelong (Mr. Cramer) as a supporter of this Government with the administration for which he was responsible in his capacity as chairman of the Sydney County Council, which had increased the charges for electric power in Sydney by 15 per cent, in January, and by 50 per cent, during the last two years. Later, when I gave the honorable member the same right as I had given to the honorable member for Bennelong, he, having asked several questions of the honorable member for Bennelong, concluded his speech by laying the charge that the honorable member for Bennelong had drawn his salary although a gentleman named Conde had done the work for him. If that is not a charge I do not know what it is.

Mr Calwell:

– We have got into a farcical situation in regard to this matter. You said yesterday, Mr. Speaker, that the challenge to your ruling would be the first matter to be dealt with to-day. With all due deference, you had no right to indicate the order of business for to-day, because the control of the business of the House is in the hands of the Government. Had the Government so desired it need not have made the matter the first item of business to be dealt with by the House to-day. The Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) chose to make it the first business to-day and moved the suspension of the Standing Orders so as to enable the whole matter to be dealt with. Having done that, the right honorable gentleman adopted the extraordinary device of asking for a ruling that would prevent its being dealt with to-day.

Mr Menzies:

– I shall not get such a ruling unless my point is right. In this matter, numerical strength is not a consideration.

Mr Calwell:

– AH we have to do is to twist about 30 honorable members on the Government side of the House.

Mr Menzies:

– Whatever ruling Mr. Speaker gives on the point that I have raised will determine the matter.

Mr Calwell:

– We have a keen regard for numbers. If the Prime Minister desires that the matter shall not be dealt with it will not be dealt with.

Mr Menzies:

– That is a very offensive remark.

Mr Calwell:

– His followers will follow him. What else are followers for ? First the right honorable gentleman makes the way clear, by securing the unanimous consent of the House to have the matter dealt with and then raises a point of order the purpose of which is to prevent the matter being dealt with. If he wanted to achieve that end he should not have moved for the suspension of the ‘Standing Orders in the first place. Some legal fiction may he involved, or some legalistic point be taken, but from the point of view of conducting the business of this House the whole position is being reduced to a farce. If the matter is not to be dealt with the Standing Orders should not have been suspended. Having been suspended, if the good name of the Parliament is to be preserved, and if we are to maintain the prestige that we hear- so much about, the honorable member for Dalley (Mr. Rosevear) should now be given an opportunity to state his point.


-It appears to me that the honorable member for Dalley (Mr. Rosevear) completely misunderstood the situation when he wrote out his objection. The objection that I asked him to state in writing was his objection to my ruling of yesterday, not of the night before. However, I shall state my own position. I do not propose to sit in the chair with a motion of dissent from my ruling over my head. According to Standing Order 287, if a motion of dissent from the ruling of the Speaker is made, the debate shall forthwith be adjourned to the next sitting day. I expected the Ministry to comply with that provision. So far as any contact between myself and the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) is concerned, we have not seen each other at all, nor have we spoken to each other on the telephone. The only

Minister who has spoken to me about what might happen to-day is one who is now on the treasury bench. He will confirm that I said that I did not give a damn what the Ministry did about the matter. So far as I am concerned, that is where the matter rests. The matter is one for the House, and the House can do what it likes about it. I have given my ruling, and if a similar set of circumstances again arises I shall rule again in that way. An easy way out, if the Government is agreeable, would be for the honorable member to admit that he was wrong and ask for leave to amend his motion.

Mr Rosevear:

– The House could not give me leave to amend my motion.


– The motion is in the possession of the House when it has been moved.

Mr Rosevear:

– But the moving of it has been challenged, and it has not been seconded. Until it has been seconded, it is not before the House. It is a peculiar state of affairs when the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) asks for the indulgence of the House towards one of his Ministers for the discussion of the amount of time allotted to the motion, and then takes a point of order. If that is playing the game, then it is playing it in a pretty dirty fashion.

Mr Menzies:

– It is time that this matter was put straight as far as I am concerned. I do not understand all this protesting about my relying upon a standing order. After all, the honorable member for Dalley (Mr. Rosevear) was himself desiring to rely on a standing order. He was seeking to rely on one and I, legitimately, was relying on another. I do not understand the process of reasoning by which a legitimate objection from one side becomes a miserable dishonest quibble if it comes from the other side of the House. I am concerned with one thing only; that is, that in the conduct of the business of this House we shall observe the Standing Orders and practices so far as they are not controlled by the Standing Orders which govern debate in this House. It is important that a standing order which requires an objection to be taken in writing and to be dealt with in a certain way should be carried out. I am entirely right in inviting Mr. Speaker to rule that those provisions have not been complied with. That is upholding the procedure of the House. Mr. Speaker will give his own ruling on that matter. The matter is not one of votes. If Mr. Speaker rules that this motion is in order, then we shall begin to debate it. It was for that purpose that the decks were cleared by my earlier motion about the business of the House.

Mr Ward:

– The Prime Minister knew that there was going to be a fight, otherwise why did he clear the decks ?

Mr Menzies:

– If the honorable member means that I knew that my objection was right, or that I believed it to be right, then he is correct.

Mr Ward:

– I believe that the right honorable gentleman knew what the decision would be.

Mr Menzies:

– If the honorable member is suggesting that there was some collusive activity in this matter, then he may forget about it.

Mr Ward:

– I think there were a few smoke signals.

Mr Menzies:

– I cannot enter into those murky matters. All that I know is that when I looked at this matter at midnight last night, so as to have a consideration about whether this motion was in order, I made up my own mind.

Mr Ward:

– The right honorable gentleman had a black-out.

Mr Menzies:

– I should not talk about black-outs if I were the honorable gentleman, because the case would be one of “ Physician, heal thyself “. There has been no communication between myself and Mr. Speaker on this matter. Whatever ruling Mr. Speaker gives on this important and proper point will be instantly accepted so far as I am concerned. If that ruling is in favour of the validity of the motion, I shall proceed to dispose of it by other arguments at a slightly later ‘ time..


– I must rule that this motion as written by the honorable member for Dalley (Mr. Rosevear) is not an objection to what I advanced yesterday. I then gave two rulings, one of a general and one of a specific nature, both of which were to apply in the future.

I did not ask for the consent or affirmation of the House, of what I had done on the previous night. At that time, the House took no objection to it. Nevertheless, in the interests of procedure, the honorable member for Dalley might ask for leave to amend his motion so as to put it .in order and allow it to be disposed of.

Mr Tom Burke:

– I suggest that there easy way out of this matter. The motion is either correct and in accordance with the Standing Orders, or it is incorrect. It would not be competent for the honorable member for Dalley (Mr. Rosevear) to ask for leave to amend the motion. I accept without any qualification the statement that there has been no collusion between Mr. Speaker and the Leader of the Government. T had no idea that there had been any collusion. However, I must comment that it was strange that when the notice of motion was presented to the Clerk of the House he did not explain to the honorable member for Dalley that he was not conforming with what was required by the Standing Orders. The point, that I make is that the ruling which you, Mr. Speaker, have given or suggested, namely, that the honorable member for Dalley might ask for permission to amend his motion, is completely wrong. The matter must be determined by your ruling and that ruling may be either upheld or rejected by this House.


– My ruling, quite definitely, is that the motion, as presented to the House, is out of order, because it deals not with what I said yesterday but with something that happened on the previous night.

Dr Evatt:

– “With your permission, Mr. Speaker, I give notice that to-morrow I shall move -

That the ruling of Mr. Speaker, given on Thursday, the Oth March, in relation to Notice of Motion No. 1, ruling such motion out of order as a result of the objection of the right honorable the Prime Minister, be disagreed with.


– Is the motion seconded ?

Mr Tom Burke:

– I second the motion.


– The motion will be the first business on the notice-paper for the next day of sitting.

page 585



Debate resumed from the Sth March (vide page 534), on motion by Mr.


That the following Address-in-Reply to the Speech of His Excellency the Governor-General bo agreed to : - -

May it please Your Excellency:

We the House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Australia, in Parliament assembled, desire to express our loyalty to our Most Gracious Sovereign, and thank Your Excellency for the Speech which you have been pleased to address to Parliament.

St. George

.- In rising to support the Address-in-Reply, I desire to congratulate you, Mr. Speaker, and the Chairman of Committees, upon your and his elevation to distinguished offices in this House. I endorse the remarks that have been made concerning the proposed visit of the Royal Family to Australia in 1952. In common with all honorable members of this Parliament, I experienced a keen sense of disappointment when the visit of Their Majesties, proposed for 1949, had to be postponed.

I desire to bring before the House four of the matters that are mentioned in the Speech of His Excellency, which have impressed themselves upon me. I refer first to national defence. This is a vita] matter and one which all members of the Parliament must consider very carefully because it rests in the hands of the Parliament. The basic decisions on defence are made in this House. The implementation of the defence policies is in the hands of the senior service officers, but it is of national importance that honorable members of this House should familiarize themselves with the problems that are associated with Australia’s defence. I have heard with a good deal of pleasure the references that have been made to the Royal Australian Navy, the Army and the Royal Australian Air Force. I was particularly interested to hear of the introduction of a scheme to assist industry to place itself upon a basis from which it may rapidly be converted from peace-time production to the production of munitions of war. That is of vital importance and I shall refer to it later. I believe I am somewhat one-eyed in my defence views.

There are honorable members in this House who will consider that as a former officer of the Royal Australian Air Force I am rather too modern for the general views of some people associated with my brother services. I believe they conform to a standard that has gone. The defence needs of Australia will alter in direct ratio to the technical advances made in aviation and if those advances continue in the same degree as they have progressed in the last four or five years the entire concept of Australia’s defence will alter entirely within ten years. The previous Government did not seem to examine this matter of defence seriously. It was not unreasonable immediately after the war to take the view that there were other matters of paramount importance confronting the Cabinet and that defence should be relegated to a comparatively minor position, but it would appear that the policy of the Labour Government was to vote £250,000,000 for five years, divide it into three and say to the services “ Here is so much for you and you and you. Work out some way to expend the money “. I think we should proceed with considerable caution. Otherwise we might find ourselves embarking on large expenditure in such a way that we shall ultimately reach the awkward position of having had a large sum expended on equipment that might be rendered obsolete overnight. Therefore I think we should concentrate largely at present on maintaining the research sections of our services so that we may conduct experiments in Australia in the latest methods of defence provided by the aircraft industry as well as in naval and land warfare.

Defence in Australia is approaching a crossroad. The United States of America ha3 reached that stage. That is indicated by a recent decision of the President of the United States of America, Mr. Truman, after he had heard the views of General H. S. Vanderberg and Admiral L. M. Denfeld. The decision made in Washington was of great military importance. It meant a change from the three-element warfare of the past to singleelement warfare to which the other forms will become more subordinate in ratio to technical advances. We should con- centrate on that line and realize that the concept of defence in Australia is altering. The maintenance of the Australian aircraft industry is vitally important. The Royal Australian Air Force has a. jet-propelled training aircraft, the Vampire fighter, which was designed in Great Britain. It is being used for training and experimental research work. The proposed construction of the Canberra jet-propelled medium bomber is an important development. This work should be proceeded with as rapidly as possible because the radius of action and strikingpower of this aircraft are something of which the British aircraft industry can be proud. However, it will not be sufficient for the aircraft to come off the assembly line in three or four years time . and go out to squadrons in twos, threes and fours. These are the main pointson which the Cabinet defence subcommittee should concentrate rather thai* indulge in expenditure on equipment which may be obsolete overnight. The principles of warfare have not changed since the days of Hannibal and Alexander the Great, and will be the same in ten years’ time, but that is not relevant to the point* In relation to the Royal Australian Air Force, I notice that the Governor-General said in his Speech -

It is my Government’s intention to develop the strength of the Royal Australian Air Forceto au extent more consistent with the defence needs of Australia. Public interest will bestimulated by plans to build up the Citizen Air Force, the Reserve, and the Air Training Corps and the re-introduction of a Women’sAuxiliary Air Force in certain suitable occupations.

This announcement will be received? with pleasure in the services. The disbanding of the Women’s Auxiliary Australian Air Force was an unfortunate move. Australia would have been far better advised to conform to the decision of the Royal Air Force to maintain its women’s auxiliary whose contribution to the war effort was most beneficial. There is a general tendency to conform to the old pattern in the formation of the permanent and citizen sections of the defence forces. Vision is required in our plansfor military training. If we set out merely to teach the principles of discipline, we shall succeed only in boring a number of young Australians- to. death.

The accent should be on educational and technical training. We should try to develop a capacity in the largest number of people to enable them to take up positions in the technical branches of the services. War is becoming more technical every day and that factor is accentuated by the introduction of weapons for mass destruction. When honorable members opposite say we shall conscript people and do silly things like that they are simply distorting the truth. We shall inform Australians on their responsibilities and train them to. handle those responsibilities. It is impossible to produce an aero fitter, a rigger or a trained engineer overnight. That became evident, particularly in the air force, during World War II. I hope that bold steps will be taken to improve our defences. I suspect that there are people in authority in Australia whose ideas conform to the old pattern. I urge the Government to take the matter into its own hands, and, if necessary, take risks. In that way, we shall stand a much better chance of improving our defences in the shortest time, with a minimum use of man-power and with the least expense.

I come now to the matter of service pensions which, I believe, should be a non-party issue. On this subject, the Governor-General had this to say -

Im mediately upon assumption of office, my Government gave consideration to the many requests which had been received from exservice men’s and women’s organizations for a. review of pensions and allowances. Such a review is now being made by a Cabinet subcommittee, all Ministers of which are exservicemen, and it is the intention to introduce -appropriate amendments to the relevant Act -as early as possible in the present session.

Every member of this House will concede that Australia owes a heavy debt to those who, during World Wars I. and II., suffered physical injury or incapacity as a direct result of their war service. The discharge of that debt is not a charitable act. The matter is not one of the Government deciding, out of its goodness of heart, to pay this or that in the way of service pensions, but is one of the people recognizing that they made a contract with every one who wore the King’s uniform during the two wars, and of abiding by the terms of that contract if called upon to do so. The leaders of ex-servicemen’s organizations believe that the purchasing power of pensions should be restored, as early as possible, to the level of 1939. At that time, when the present Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) was previously in office, incapacitated exservicemen of World War I. were paid pensions which had a certain purchasing power. It is only logical that service pensions in 1950 should have at least equal purchasing power, if that can be brought about. Many factors contributed to the defeat of the enemy - his lengthening lines of communication, the assistance rendered by the American Forces, and the loyalty and valour of our troops. To the latter only is it practicable for us to show our gratitude, and to discharge the debt we owe. The alternative to victory was the occupation of Australia by General Yamashita. Had Australia been occupied, he would have demanded from the working people of this country a considerable contribution to the Japanese war effort, without much consideration of hours of work, penalty rates, and things of that sort. Therefore, it is not unreasonable to ask that the people should pay the debt they owe to those who fought in defence of the country, and that service pensions should be able to buy as much in 1950 as they did in 1939. Ex-servicemen believe, therefore, that they have a prior right over all other Crown pensioners, although their claim is not framed on that basis. They do not say that “ x “ pounds bought so much in 1939, and that “ z “ pounds should buy at least as much in 1950. They have watered” down their claims by all sorts of devious means. They admit that the Government must weigh all the factors involved. However, if the general claim that the purchasing power of service pensions should be restored is to be denied, ex-servicemen ask that an explanation be given on the floor of this House. If the explanation is reasonable, they will accept it. They had the welfare of their country in mind when they went to war, and they are not the ‘sort to cringe or complain if a logical argument is directed against them. That was one of the tragic failures of the last Government. The former Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley), in refusing the claims of ex-servicemen, did not give a reason. If he had said that the

Government could not increase pensions for reasons A. B. C. and D, ex-servicemen would have said that it was unfortunate, but at least they had been told why the increase could not be granted. However, when a person merely says “ No “, it is indicative of what amounts almost to a convulsion of the ego. We must not make the same mistake. The matter must be openly discussed, and the whole situation explained.

I turn now to the subject of peace in industry. The Governor-General said 1U his Speech -

Of vital importance to the general well- being of the people is the question of industrial relations between employer and employee.

No intelligent person will deny that that is a matter of vital importance to the whole country. I desire to join with other honorable members on this side of the House who have paid tribute to the honorable member for Bendigo (Mr. Clarey) for his very sound exposition of this matter. I had never before heard a clearer exposition of the problem as it actually exists, nor of the ideas of the Government. We intend to implement a policy that will convince the whole of this country of the sincerity of our statements about peace in industry. I do not require to comment on what will happen if we do not implement that policy, because I know that we shall implement it. My own ideas on this matter are directed to the employers of Australia. They have the tremendous responsibility of breaking down the barrier that has grown up between worker and management. That barrier is the result of a series of sociological and economic trends that grew out of the great industrial revolution, and it is an indictment of the more educated, more cultured and more wealthy people of the British Empire that the workers of the Empire had to form themselves into great trade unions and political parties in order to obtain justice. It is sheer balderdash for any one to deny that. History reveals that to-day, throughout the world, the whirlwind is being reaped. There can be no question that if there had been a just interpretation of the rights of man over the last century, and a reasonable approach to the humanitarian aspect of economic problems, we should have achieved much of the peace in industry that is now lacking. I consider that the employers are the people who, by understanding and co-operation, as well as by the realization of their great responsibility to this nation and all its citizens, are in the position to endeavourto reach complete confidence and understanding with the people who work for them. If that is not achieved an. organization, to which I shall refer in a moment, will inevitably succeed in its aims, and when it does the principlesfor which we fought two world wars will be lost. It is all very well forpeople to say that if the trade unions donot co-operate with the Government they will be opposing the will of the people. That is very true because of the fact that trade unions, like any other group of human beings on the surface of thisearth, are always at the mercy of a ruling clique, or sub-group within a particular group. That is inevitable. But it isabsurd to blame a trade unionist for the fact that the executive of his union has decided that he shall go on strike. It is just as absurd to aver that a member of any other organization, by his loyalty to his ruling committee, has been guilty of the failure of the whole organization. In saying that the employers of Australia have the responsibility of breaking down the barrier between worker and management, I intend to imply that they have the greatest means at their disposal for the performance of the actual job. They are the people who, by their own loyalty to the country, to themselves, and to their employees, can get under the skin of the worker and convince him that they are “ on the level “. No honorable member opposite will deny that if that job can be done honestly and sincerely Australia will be well on the way to peace in industry. The trade unions themselves will conform to the principle of peace in industry once they are convinced of the sincerity of the employers, and we shall find that they have enough intelligence to realize that with management and labour working as a team Australia can take even greater strides towards full development and a great increase of the standard of living of every citizen.

I now pass briefly to my fourth point from the Governor-General’s Speech with which I wish to deal. The GovernorGeneral said -

My advisers intend taking strong measures to protect the community against the activities <)i subversive organizations and individuals, and in particular they have in mind the Communist Party and ite members. A bill will bo introduced early in the Parliament to deal with this matter.

I have listened with great interest to a number of honorable members opposite who have suggested that by a great bluff the people of Australia were fooled on the 10th December last at the general election. I do not believe that any hypocrisy is involved. This House itself provides conclusive evidence of the fact .that the crator has not gone from the demos. If someone asked me, “Have you democracy in Australia? “, I should indicate the honorable member for “Watson (Mr. Curtin) and reply, Quod erat demonstrandum. I point out to honorable members opposite that just as many honorable members on this side of the House staked life and limb during the last six years for the right of all honorable members to be here, and they would do the same thing again to-morrow if it were necessary. It is because the people had freedom of expression and the right to change their minds, and that they used the native wit and ingenuity that are inherent in them, that the Government was changed on the 10th December last, and not because of any political propaganda. The Australian is a much more hard-headed person than some people believe, and he is not often fooled. The Government was changed on the 10th December because that was the will of the people who considered that it was time for a change.

I believe that the Communist party, the subversive organization to which I referred a few moments ago, is the most highly organized functional espionage system that has been evolved anywhere in the world since the beginnings of time. Statements such as “ a political philosophy “, “ subversive organization ‘”, “ Wc shall ban them “, or, as most honorable members opposite have said, “ We have to fight them in the open “, are all masterpieces of understatement. When we approach the problem of communism we are dealing not with something normal, but with the most evil, sinister and highly organized conspiracy that the world has ever known.

Mr Menzies:

– Hear, hear!


– We have said that we intend to ban the Communist party, to outlaw and destroy it. Communists are in exactly the same category as is the anopheles mosquito. They carry with them death, and if they are permitted to have their way they will completely destroy the entire fabric of the nation. At the same time, they own the souls of the people whom they employ for their nefarious ends. By the most extraordinary methods they are able to take normal sane people and convert them into treacherous characters who would destroy their own nation. The Communists are convinced that the destruction of the democratic way of life in their native country, and the super-imposition of that diabolical form of life which exists in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, is of paramount importance. I urge honorable members, particularly honorable gentlemen opposite, to study the findings of the royal commission that investigated the espionage activities of officials who were attached to the Soviet Embassy at Ottawa. Some people claim that we cannot believe half the news that is published in the press, but, to every Australian citizen, the integrity of a royal commission is unimpeachable. Is it unreasonable, then, to expect every Australian to accept the findings of the Canadian royal commission to which I have referred? That report discloses a most extraordinary development of the espionage system and the dual system that may be described thus : “ We shall give Jack 10s. to watch the till and we shall pay Bill 10s. to watch Jack”. Between 40 and 50 Communists and their sympathizers were caught by the Canadian authorities. One of them was a squadron leader in the Royal Canadian Air Force, who was the secretary to the Joint Services Intelligence Committee. That such an officer could be engaged in espionage on behalf of Soviet Russia was incredible, but attention was drawn to his activities through the discovery of a compromising slip of paper, fie said that he believed that the super-imposition of the Communist way of life onto the people of Canada was of paramount importance and should be carried out -without delay. He was sentenced to a term of imprisonment, despite which he said that when he was released, he would renew his activities on behalf of the Communists. Such determination to destroy the democratic way of life may be countered by only one means, namely, the complete subjugation of the Communists. Eventually, we shall be forced to deal very severely with proven espionage agents, as the Communists undoubtedly are. [Extension of time granted.] I “thant the House for its indulgence. The subversive activities of the Communists emphasize the importance of maintaining the most efficient security service. Persons who are suspected of espionage should be indicated. The revelations in the Fuchs case have shaken Great Britain to its foundations. “We do not jet know who the other guilty men are, and we must always be in a state of preparedness. I agree with honorable members opposite who say that the ^standard of living of our people must be “improved in order to sterilize the ground in which the seed of communism would flourish, but I believe that we must also take firm action against the thugs themselves. The dyedinthewool Communists are the real -danger. The seed of communism flourishes only in the minds of poor submorons who are suffering from a frustration complex and, therefore, are easily brought into the maw of the Communist movement. The matters that I have raised are worthy of most serious consideration, because communism is now of vital concern to the people of the Commonwealth. I thank the House for its patience in listening to my speech.

Sitting suspended from 12.40 to 2.16 p.m.


.- At the outset of my remarks, I take the opportunity to acknowledge the confidence that the electors of Griffith have reposed in me. I sincerely hope that as their representative in the Parliament I shall prove worthy of that trust. Since the opening of this sessional period I have heard many speeches in this chamber, and with all sincerity I must express my amaze ment at the spleen and hatred that some members of the Opposition have displayed towards Government supporters. I find it difficult to comprehend such an attitude. I suggest that if those honorable members are as sincerely desirous of safeguarding and promoting the welfare of the Australian people, as they would have us believe, they could be much better employed than in making such speeches in this House. After all, the Government has been elected by a majority of the people to control the affairs of the nation, and a democratic people have the right to choose a government of whatever type they desire. So much remains to be done in the interests of the nation that each of us should have no difficulty in finding any amount of profitable work to do to achieve that objective. If the Government receives a reasonable degree of co-operation from the Opposition, I have no doubt that Australia will benefit under the present regime. To-day more than at any other time in our history we require to establish unity of purpose in the Parliament, and I sincerely trust that the Opposition will realize its responsibility in that respect. Whether it will do so, or not, only time will tell.

Much has been said in this debate about the shortages of commodities and the high cost of living, and I propose ti; make a few observations on those subjects. At present we are experiencing shortages of practically every class of manufactured goods and primary products. Similar shortages exist also in every other country. I believe that the present high cost of living arises primarily from lack of production. We must consider whether these shortages could have been avoided. I should say that many of them need not have occurred at all. Of course, we realize that the shortages of some commodities arose inevitably under war-time conditions. During the recent war we geared our secondary industries to the highest possible pitch of efficiency in order to prosecute our war effort and to equip our armed forces. In such circumstances, the production of many commodities had to be suspended or substantially reduced. However, when the war ended, this country was more highly industrialized than any of us had ever hoped to witness during our lifetime. Confronted with the problems of changing over from a war-time to a peace-time economy, it was only to be expected that certain delays would occur during that transitional period. I know of many industries that did not commence to produce for the domestic market until many months after the war had ended, and I have been informed by those interested in such industries that those delays were caused primarily by red tape and hindrances for which the previous Government was responsible. Those delays were caused simply because the government of the day was loath to surrender any of the controls that it had assumed over industry during the recent war. Such an attitude on the part of that Government was neither more nor less than political humbug. The effects of the loss of production incurred at that time are still being felt to-day, and unless that position is remedied we shall never succeed in overtaking that leeway.

Under-production has a direct bearing upon the cost of living. The average wage-earner is the greatest sufferer as the result of rising prices. He feels their effects every day of the year, and it is to him that the present Government intends to give the relief and protection that he justly deserves. In order that the Government may be able to do that he must co-operate with it by doing everything possible to bring about increased production. He must first help himself. If he does not do so, all the efforts of the Government to help him will be futile. As the representative of a highly industrialized electorate I know that most working men are willing to work hard, but that too many of them have been frustrated and humbugged by their union executives. I do not say that that is true of all unions, because I know that many unions are well administered. It cannot be denied, however, that very many unions will not permit workers to increase their output and thus enable the Government to reach its goal qf increased production.

It is only natural to assume that every worker who gives of his best in order to increase output expects to receive higher remuneration for his additional labour. That brings me to the subject of incentive payments or the system of profitsharing. I believe that any worker who increases his normal output should receive additional wages. In spite of what anybody may say to the contrary, I am firmly convinced that the system of incentive payments, or profit sharing - call it what we may - will eventually be adopted throughout this country. If such a system were adopted our production problems would be solved. We all growl about the high cost of living, but too few of us do anything about it. I believe that if a system of incentive payments were adopted the barrier erected by subversive organizations in this country between employers and employees will eventually be broken down. That barrier must be broken down if this country is to progress but it cannot be overcome in a day because its erection has taken year3. If we are to progress it must eventually go. I believe that a system of incentive payments would provide the best means that we could adopt to attain that end. I know that honorable members opposite in general do not believe in such a system. Why they do not do so, I do not know. I have heard it said in this House that if a system of incentive payments were adopted the workers would be sweated. I have lost a lot of sweat at work in my day and I have received at the end of the week only the usual amount in my pay envelope. Do honorable members opposite not think that I should have been happier had I found in my pay envelope at the end of the week an extra £1 or £2 to cover my additional work? I should then have been able to provide for my wife and children those little extra comforts that tend to make the home happier. How the system of incentive payments should be instituted, I do not know. I could only make a guess on that matter. I have some ideas on the subject but I do not intend to place them before the House at this time. Such a system must be brought into operation eventually,, whether or not honorable members opposite believe in it.

This wonderful country is blessed with all the natura] resources that any nation could desire, but many of them still remain un exploited. If we are to progress,. we shall have to develop fully the heritage which is ours. Queensland is a State of such great fertility and is blessed with such vast natural resources that it could support the whole of the population of Australia, yet it has a population of only a little over 1,000,000 persons. It has vast untapped resources of coal which have been estimated to be sufficient to supply the whole of Australia’s requirements for many years. It is a tragic state of affairs that production is lagging throughout this country because of the shortage of coal. I find it hard to understand that any government could have remained in office as long as did the Labour Government and allow such a state of affairs to continue. If we are to hold this country we must develop it to the fullest possible extent. If we fail in that task the teaming hordes in the Asiatic countries to our north will naturally ‘cast envious eyes on this country, and one could hardly blame them for doing so. We cannot develop this country without hard work. The thought of reward sweetens labour, so those people who produce more than they ordinarily would do, have the right to be paid for their additional labours. If a system of incentive payments were introduced, production would increase by leaps and bounds.

The electors of Griffith have sent me here to work for them and, if necessary, to fight for the things which they believe to be right. I shall do everything in my power to carry out my responsibilities to them. I shall do my utmost to ensure that the interests of the working man are not sidetracked in this House. In the past too many people have paid lip service to their love, respect and devotion for the working man. Only too often the interests of the working man have been the last thought in their minds.. I do not know what motives animate people of that kind unless they think that the lower the standard of the working man the greater is the possibility that he will vote for a Labour candidate. However, I do not propose to analyse their motives. I merely say that I believe that the working man of to-day would bo a lot better off if there were better administration by and better control of the executive officers of trade unions. When I say that, I do not wish to be offensive to the trade unions. I have belonged to four trade unions, and have taken a great interest in their activities. I fail to see how increasing the cost of goods, as has been the practice in the past few years, can increase production. Greater production is our most urgent need, and greater production will be achieved, I am sure, under the guidance of this Government.

From honorable members opposite I have heard wishful predictions of a split between the present Government parties. I am confident that this will not happen ; but, in any case, I should prefer an honorable disagreement with members of the Australian Country party to a dishonorable agreement with the Communists, such as the Australian Labour party has to-day.


– I have listened with great interest to speeches from honorable members on both sides of the House and I am sure that both the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) and the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Chifley) are pleased indeed at the talent that the recent general election has brought to the Parliament. I realize, of course, that the Prime Minister may have mixed feelings when he looks around at some of his younger supporters, and it may not be inappropriate to remind the right honorable gentleman of his own words when Labour was last returned to this Parliament with an overwhelming majority. He told how, at Waterloo, when the attention of the Duke of Wellington was drawn to the appearance of his army, he said, “ I do not know whether they will frighten the enemy, but by God they frighten me “. I can well understand such a feeling, because one cannot help being impressed by the sincerity, ability, and talent that have been shown by some newly elected members on the Government side. -I have no doubt that the youthful exuberance of some of them will be dampened in time, hut I trust that they will not become disillusioned and cynical because of the frustration that they will inevitably encounter whilst they sit on the Government benches. One has only to recall the experience of some members of the present Government parties in days gone by. They came to this chamber filled with enthusiasm and sincerity - we concede that sincerity is not the prerogative of the Labour party only - but when their real masters, those who provide their party funds, cracked the whip, they had to jump. I recall, for instance, that when the present Prime Minister was Attorney-General in the Lyons Government, he resigned from the Ministry because he, and the then Minister for Social Services, Sir Frederick Stewart, were not to be permitted to implement the national insurance scheme that the Government had been promising the people for many years and had at last been forced to make some attempt to bring to fruition. When it was found that the scheme would cost £1,000,000, the then Government was told by those who really held the purse-strings that the money could not be provided. However, I trust that the newly elected members will persevere, and will succeed in their endeavours to create the goodwill about which they have said so much in the course of this debate.

I am sure that the Leader of the Opposition too has been much heartened by the influx of talented new members on this side of the chamber. We should not lose sight of the fact that for eight years, including four years of war, and another four of post-war dislocation, members of the Chifley Government bore the strain of office in this Parliament and rendered excellent service to the people of this country. A worthy result of the increasing of the size of the Parliament is the presence on this side of the chamber of energetic young members who will ensure a virile Opposition. The Government will not find easy any attempt that it may make to undo the good work that Labour did during its administration. Labour has not a majority in this chamber, but it has a majority in the Senate, and I am quite sure that, when the time comes again for the Labour party to take over the reins of government, the new blood that was infused into the party at the general election will carry on the splendid work begun by older Labour leaders, and ensure the implementation of Labour’s humanitarian policy of social and economic justice.

I congratulate you, Mr. .Speaker, upon your election to your present high office. lt is true that a certain motion touching upon your activities as Speaker has been placed on the notice-paper, but whichever way I may vote on that issue, I have great admiration for your ability, sincerity and forthright approach, and I am sure that you will do everything in your power to uphold the dignity of this House. Well versed as you are in the precepts of the Good Book, you will do your utmost, I am sure, to keep honorable members on the straight and narrow path. To that end, I shall endeavour to assist you to the best of my ability. During my eight years’ membership of this chamber, I succeeded in keeping on the right side of the Speaker, although, admittedly, he did not always catch my eye when T sought to catch his. I hope that, should I ever transgress the Standing Orders, the justice that you will mete out to me will be tempered with mercy.

At this late stage of the debate, only the bare bones of the Governor-General’s Speech remain. Most of the feathers have been plucked by Opposition members, and most of the meat has been digested by honorable members opposite. It seems to me, however, that the Government intends merely to carry on the programme that was drawn up by the Chifley Government, with, of course, some notable exceptions. For instance, there is no suggestion in the GovernorGeneral’s Speech that the Chifley Government’s social services scheme will be curtailed in any way. I assume that the moneys now being disbursed in social services will continue to be so disbursed. If not, we on this side of the chamber will have something to say about it. Under Labour’s administration, social services payments increased from £16,000,000 annually in 1939-40, to approximately £100,000,000 this year - more than a sixfold increase. The improvement of social services has always been a plank of the Labour party’s platform. It has always been the historic role for the Conservative parties to resist social reforms, but when reforms are finally effected by a Labour administration the Conservative parties adopt them as their own.

A little booklet, published by the Department of Information, has been circulated during the last few months. It is very interesting in demonstrating that point, because it shows that of the eleven social services benefits that now apply throughout the Commonwealth, nine were placed upon the statute-book ,by Labour administrations. Payment of the other two was first advocated by Labour. For instance, age pensions were included in the platform of the Labour party before the Parliament made that provision, at which time Labour did not have a majority, ‘hut used what strength it was capable of exerting in the House to assist the government of the day to implement that service. We strove for the granting of child endowment for many years. That payment was first introduced in New South Wales and was eventually adopted throughout the Commonwealth by the Menzies Government, I think it was, when the then honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Holt) was Minister for Labour and National Services. On that occasion, the Minister was not able to secure a majority in his own party. The Government was tottering to its doom and it had to do something to bolster up its popularity, so the Minister introduced the child endowment legislation which was passed by the House, by a minority of the members of his own party supported by the Labour party Opposition.

Full employment is something that Labour has always stood for and has brought into being. In 1940 I was first elected to this House as member for the electorate I now represent, although, it was a much larger one then. At that time there were 250,000 persons unemployed throughout Australia. There were 250,000 workers looking for jobs. In my electorate there were 5,000 registered unemployed. To-day all the industries there are in full operation. There are no unemployed and, throughout the country, instead of 250,000 workers looking for jobs there are 250,000 jobs waiting for workers to fill them. A similar change has occurred in the housing position. In 1940 my electorate contained bushland, but to-day, thousands of houses have been constructed in those vacant areas. The proof of the pudding is in the eating. There has been a lot of criticism of Labour’s housing policy. Labour had a housing shortage to remedy after the war because of the restrictions on home-building during that period and the lack of attention to home-building in previous years, particularly during the depression. A very fine effort has been made in the .building of houses. The New South Wales Labour Government’s promise to build 90,000 houses has been criticized, but there have been in the vicinity of 80,000 houses erected in New South Wales in the two and a half years that the McGirr Government has been in power. But for the coal strike and other unforeseen circumstances, that promise would have been completely fulfilled. In any case, the achievement contrasts greatly with anti-Labour government efforts. Credit should be given where credit is due and I think the

Government members have been very niggardly in their praise of housing construction by the Labour Government in New South Wales.

Some rather, begrudging credit has been given to the Chifley Government for its immigration accomplishment. I am glad that at least some tribute has been offered in that connexion. At the same time I trust that future immigration will be organized in an orderly fashion and that the cities will not be more and more overcrowded by bringing migrants into them. If the Government is sincere in its plans for decentralization and national development it will see that these immigrants are placed in country centres. It will see that they are placed where we can open up new cities. It will send them to places such as Jervis Bay, Twofold Bay and Port Stephens. These are the places where the migrants should be sent.

I am sure they would go there in the same spirit as the old pioneers of this country went to outlying districts. The old pioneers did not wish to go into the cities to be pampered and to encroach on the conditions of the industrial population and other residents of those cities. I am sure that immigrants would be prepared to live in huts and hostels in the spirit of the old pioneers if they knew that, in the course of time, they would have their own homes and that in the days to come they would be part and parcel of the cities that they would help to establish.

The Labour party will support anything that is in the interests of the people of this country. It is not primarily concerned with place and power ; it is concerned with the welfare of the people. If there is anybackward step, we shall use the numbers we have here and in another place to ensure that the interests of the people will be preserved and we shall resist any attempt to restore the financial control of this country to an oligarchy such as the Commonwealth Bank Board that controlled the Commonwealth Bank .in the days of the depression. The Labour party will stand by the Commonwealth Bank and fight to preserve that great institution in accordance with the charter that was originally laid down by the Labour party. The Labour party will resist any attempt to revert to the financial policy that was in operation during the dole depression days. It will in particular resist the creation of a pool of unemployed. We know there are people in this community who believe, in all sincerity, that that is the way to discipline the workers and bring about the greatest production. I warn the Government that it cannot take any backward step if it wants to maintain the goodwill of the people of this country.

I shall quote from the JanuaryFebruary issue of the I.P.A. Review which is published by the Institute of Public Affairs in Victoria. This publication gives a very timely warning to the Government not to show any excess jubilation. It says -

An excess of jubilation or confidence on the part of the opponents of Socialism, would, at this stage, not merely be in the worst of bad taste but would be the height of unwisdom. It is well to bear in mind that despite the great swing in the allocation of cities between the parties, the margin between the aggregate votes cast for the victors and those cast for the defeated, was thin indeed.

The article goes on to point out that of the Liberal and Australian Country parties’ majority of 27 seats, twenty were won by less than 1,000 votes and it continues -

We have held, also, that, in the final summing up, the fate of free liberal enterprise will be decided - not at the political level by politicians, but at the business level by businessmen themselves. So long as business is big-minded and generous in its attitude, dis plays u sympathetic and constructive understanding of the other man’s problems, and is as untiring in its pursuit of the public good us it is (and should be) in pursuit of its own profit, so long will it command the respect and support of the Australian people.

The victory of 10th December should bo regarded not as a final verdict, but as a heaven-sent opportunity for free enterprise to build greater than in the past by contributing constructively to the solution of those national problems which vitally affect the welfare of all Australians, and by striving unremittingly for sound human relationships in industry. Otherwise it could prove to be a brief respite from the threat of socialism, and the reaction, if it came, would he shattering and devastating in the extreme.

Can the leopard change its spots ? I shall suspend judgment, and wait to see whether the Government and its supporters sincerely intend to carry out the promises that were made in the GovernorGeneral’s Speech.. We have heard a great deal of talk about the importance of encouraging peace in industry, but many people speak with two voices on this subject. The Governor-General’s Speech stated -

Of vital importance to the general well being of the people is the question of industrial relations between employer and employee. My Government is convinced that a rapid development of the Commonwealth depends largely on higher levels of production and, with them, higher standards of living, on freedom from industrial disturbances, and on the fullest co-operation of both sides of industry. The Government’s responsibility will be to create, not only an atmosphere for the friendly and co-operative enterprise of management and labour, but to continue and develop the research and investigations being made into methods of improving the working environment and problems of human relations in industry.

There are many ways by which a better understanding between employers and employees could be established in industry. One of the most effective methods would be for the Government to pay more sympathetic attention to the amenities and general working conditions in industry and to .the conditions of home life of the workers. Unfortunately, many employers who talk loudly about profit sharing and other schemes for the promotion of greater goodwill in industry make no effort to practise what they preach. How many employers have attempted to share, not only the profits, but also the responsibilities of industry with their employees? Most of them usually jib when it comes to the point of taking action, because they are not prepared to divest themselves of any of their powers. I trust that the Government will heed the advice that has been given to it by the honorable member for Bendigo (Mr. Clarey), who has had wide experience of industrial affairs and understands the lot of the workers. A better spirit could be developed in industry, if, in addition to providing better wages and conditions of employment, employers would allow the workers to share in the responsibilities of management and production. Therefore, I hope that the Government will give serious consideration to the establishment of works councils and other bodies in which management and labour will be able to co-operate. The system of allowing workers to share the responsibilities of management with the employers is operating successfully in other parts of the world. It has increased goodwill and has certainly led to greater production than could have been achieved otherwise.

The subject of national health was dealt with in the Governor-General’s Speech in the following terms : -

My Government proposes to confer with State Premiers and Ministers for Health in order to bring into being an effective programme in relation to health, medicine and medical research to ensure steady improvements in the standards of medical treatment and progressive provision of modern facilities for the prevention and diagnosis of disease.

My advisers consider that although people are often able to deal with minor illnesses families find real difficulty in meeting heavy, unexpected hospital and medical expenses of severe or long-continued illness. The policy to he followed will aim to bring the cost of modern and improved medical, surgical, obstetrical and hospital treatment within the means of the general public, lt is further proposed to provide specific live-saving and disease-preventing drugs, and certain drugs for chronic diseases, free of charge to the public on presentation of a doctor’s prescription. Legislation on these matters will be presented to Parliament.

I shall not elaborate on that subject at the moment, because I hope that the Minister for Health (Sir Earle- Page) will introduce special legislation in the near future when we shall be able to debate the matter in detail. However, I shall refer briefly to the Government’s declaration of its intention to alleviate the situation of people who are suffering from serious ailments and need special hospital and medical treatment. I have in mind particularly the predicament of a young woman who is suffering from an ear affection that necessitates an early operation. She has written to me explaining her difficulties in the following terms : - - , whom I believe is the only qualified specialist in this particular field, is willing to perform this delicate operation, which involves the necessity of drilling an opening through the growing’ bone. However, his fee is 100 guineas, and he quoted £80 to cover the private hospital expenses. Under the circumstances I could not save this amount.

She is a working woman in a domestic occupation. How does the Government propose to deal with the problems of such people? I hope that it will take action immediately to help them instead of waiting for months in order to complete a comprehensive scheme. They require hospital and medical treatment urgently.

I should also like to know what the Minister for Health proposes to do in order to give effect to the schemes that he advocated when he was in opposition. For instance, he talked a great deal, when the Chifley Government’s pharmaceutical benefits legislation was introduced, about the provision of free milk, citrus juices and other health-giving foods for the rising generation. The right honorable gentleman is now in the happy position of having an opportunity to give effect to his plans and he has at his disposal a considerable surplus in the National Welfare Fund that has been established from social services contributions. This Government intends to provide drugs for the people, but its scheme is much less ambitious than that which the Chifley Government formulated, and therefore it will be less costly. I hope that the Miniver will make use of the money thai will be saved in order to finance preventive measures against illness. I particularly hope that “he will supplement the efforts of the Department of Education in New South Wales and the Joint Coal Board, which provide free milk for school children in certain centres. This scheme should not be restricted merely to State schools. The Government should extend the service to pupils at denominational schools because their parents, as well as the parents of other children, contribute to the National Welfare Fund.

The Minister has intimated that he has also a keen interest in medical research. 1 hope that, before he becomes involved in the more complicated aspects of national health, he will direct his mind to the nutritional qualities of the people’s daily bread, a staple item in every home. I direct his attention to an article that appeared in Smith’s Weekly last week. That Sydney newspaper head-lined the rotten bread that is being served to the people not only in Sydney, but also throughout the Commonwealth. The article reads -

page 597



This is not a spectacular story, but it’s one that vitally concerns you and me and the Brown’s next door. . . .

The whole baking set up offers no crumb of comfort. It has led to the fleecing of the housewife by profiteering fancy bread makers, a totally unnecessary addition to an already strained family budget and a rising public indignation that is going to have strong political repercussions. It is not a scandal confined exclusively to Sydney. Last year the Victorian Government set up a Royal Commission into that State’s bread industry.’ The commission attributed the main cause of the deterioration of quality to the protection of bakers against competition.

In other capitals, too, bread quality, baking standards, have declined to a, lesser degree. YoU can blame zoning, the vanishing arts of bread baking, or, if you are more charitable, the pressure on an industry by skyrocketing city populations. But it is hard to get away from the conclusion that the chief cause lies in the wilful disregard by bread manufacturers of their responsibilities towards the health of the community.

The article then describes the kind of bread that is being delivered to people in the cities. It is indicated that many people are refusing to buy this bad bread and that the books of the master bakers disclose the loss of nearly 10,000 customers during the preceding year. People will not eat this unwholesome bread even though bread is the staple food of the community. Even in the fancy bread industry rackets are to be found. Many kinds of bad bread are being sold to the people. The article iti Smith’s Weekly stated that the facts regarding fancy bread would establish misrepresentation and it continued -

The facts would establish misrepresentation so calculated that it is little short of fraud on the general public.

But the Government until now has been content to leave the whole matter in the hands of the bread manufacturers, perpetrators of to-day’s shoddy bread. Since the lifting of zoning it permitted bread manufacturers to enforce their own unofficial brand of zoning. Instead of laying down its own standards of bread quality, rigorously enforcing them by the cancellation of baking licences” held by those whose bread fell below the standards, it has permitted the bread manufacturers to set up their own research bureau.

The personnel of the research institute guarantees an improvement in bread quality - if its findings are adopted and enforced. But that is essentially a long-range project. The general public is interested more in the present.

Bakers, with their disgusting products, have brought legislative action upon themselves and will get no sympathy from those they have asked to eat it.

It would be interesting to know the atti tude of this Government towards the much vaunted private enterprise engaged in preparation of this staple food. This capitalistic newspaper certainly has no love for the Labour party and yet we find that it advocates a research bureau, and some government control over the manufacture of bread. This Government may not be able to deal with the matter in the way that the State governments can do, but it certainly has an overall control in regard to research.

Another urgent problem, and one that is being head-lined in the press to-day,, relates to poliomyelitis. It cannot await solution until the long-range health plans of the Government are put into effect. Poliomyelitis is not only head-lined in every newspaper but is also frequently mentioned in radio broadcasts. A scare has been created which really has no basis when the incidence of the disease is compared with that of other diseases. People are dying in thousands every week from all sorts of diseases but only a matter of a few hundred people suffered from poliomyelitis in the recent epidemic. Moreover, only in a few cases did poliomyelitis prove fatal although it is a disease that may have permanent effects. Because it is somewhat spectacular in tie sudden way it attacks people and is devastating in its effects it has become news. The press is concerned only with the sensational and spectacular. If a dog bites a man it is not news, but if a man bites a dog it is. A good deal more publicity is being given to this unfortunate subject than is necessary, and the community has been so scared that mothers are afraid to send their children “to school, to the pictures, or to playgrounds, for fear that they may contract this disease. However, the publicity may have the good effect of encouraging research, into this disease. Recently, the Minister stated that nothing had been done in regard to research into the cause, prevention and cure of poliomyelitis. He said that the efforts of the experts up to date have been futile. We have been told that Dr. Stanley, an expert in the Institute of Epidemiology at Prince Henry Hospital, is to be sent overseas. Although epidemics of poliomyelitis arise every year it is only now that the necessity has been realized for an investigation into the cause and cure of this disease. [Extension of time granted.] I shall not develop this subject at any great length now: but will wait until- the foreshadowed health services bill is introduced into the House. At that time I may be able to make constructive suggestions as I have done some research myself in recent years because of circumstances that have intruded into my own life. Instead of the experts running overseas to find a solution of this problem they may be able to find it at home right under their noses. A solution of the problem may lead to the cure of many other maladies which afflict suffering humanity. Although Dr. Stanley is going to the United States to study the treatment of poliomyelitis, one of the leading medical experts in that country, Dr. Justin Andrews, in a report to the United States House of Representatives Appropriations Subcommittee on the 29th January, said that he knew of no advance in the treatment of poliomyelitis in that country. I do “not know what Dr. Stanley will gain by going to the United States, but I think that more might be achieved by investigating facts in our own community. I am pleased to know that we still have one or two medical gentlemen in the House. Instead of leaving the solution of this problem entirely to the medical profession, which is composed of very busy men who have human failings like most of us, and are moved by fears for their own economic security and by prejudice and precon- ceived ideas, we could perhaps set up a committee of honorable members of this House to consider problems of national health. Some members of the House are experts, and to the others on such a committee it would be merely a matter of sifting evidence. There are osteopaths, naturopaths, chiropractors and so on, who are doing wonderful work by curing many of the diseases of humanity. The medical profession will not recognise them, and continues to regard them as outsiders. The profession will not even investigate the work of such practitioners. The doctors stick to the old idea that every disease is caused by some sort of bacterial infection. It will be recalled that Sir Herbert Barker did most valuable work in England for many years by the manipulation of joints, but members of the medical profession would not help him or co-operate with him. During World War I., he was not even allowed to treat servicemen, even though he offered to do it for nothing. Our own Sister Kenny has also suffered from the hostility of the medical profession. A little while ago, she returned to her own country unheralded and unsung, although she has received the freedom of practically every city in the United States of America, and only recently was given a life vise, the second that has ever been issued, entitling her to enter and leave the United States of America whenever she likes. When she came back to Australia there was no public reception in her honour. At a meeting which she addressed, she explained her treatment, and demonstrated her methods, but no member of the medical profession was present to hear her. Therefore, there is need of a committee or judicial body to inquire into various methods of treatment, so that the people may be given the benefit of what is worth while.

Government supporters have spoken much about unity and goodwill. I remind them that democracy, like charity, should begin at home, and that example is better than precept. I hope that honorable members opposite will show the same tolerance and understanding that they expect from members of the Labour party. -We are human, and derisive expressions about socialists are not calculated to create goodwill. We have no need to apologize for our policy. Unlike the Liberal party, we have an objective before us. We know where we are going. We do not expect things to remain stable or to achieve a perfect society in this world, but we have our objective before us, as every great world movement has, whether it be religious or otherwise. The possibility that we may not be able to achieve our objective in full is not a reason for refusing to try to achieve it. It is always better to aim high. Even if we get only half-way to our objective, we are at least that much better off.

The one question that transcends all others in importance, although it was not mentioned in the Governor-General’s Speech, is how to penetrate the Iron Curtain. Upon the answer to that question depends, perhaps, whether we shall continue to exist. There are only two ways of penetrating that curtain. It can be done either by force or by goodwill. The Leader of the Opposition in GreatBritain, Mr. Churchill, who is a great man in spite of his political convictions, suggested .during the British election campaign that an approach be made to Stalin by national leaders in Great Britain and the United States of America. That may or may not be the right method, but if such an approach had been suggested by the Labour Prime Minister of Great Britain, Mr. Attlee, it would have been condemned as defeatism or appeasement. The British Primp Minister said that the approach to Russia should be made through the United Nations, and with that I agree. I hope that, during the debate on international affairs, the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Spender) will be able to make a positive contribution towards the solution of the problem with which we are faced. We want something better than a mere heresy hunt against Communists. We know that some of those who support the parties now in power would be glad enough to got rid of Labour leaders also. They would do as Hitler did. He started by attacking the Communists, but before long, any one holding progressive views was likely to find himself in a concentration camp, or to suffer worse penalties. In the end, even church leaders were thrown into concentration camps. Therefore, I ask the Government to put forward a positive scheme for promoting international goodwill. It is not for me at this stage to offer specific suggestions. Responsibility rests with the Government. I merely remind it that- the need is urgent. We know that, at the present time, a “ phoney “ peace campaign is being prosecuted by those of the Left. I can only hope that, by a process of autosuggestion, those who are engaged in the campaign will eventually become sincere, and thus help to promote peace and goodwill on earth.

In the meantime, I admit that the Government must look to the national defences. The advice of Oliver Cromwell to his troops was : “ Put your trust in God, my boys, and keep your powder dry “. However, the Minister for External Affairs should keep in mind the fact that it may be possible to solve a problem without a resort to force. For the first time, leaders of religion and prominent scientists have met on common ground in warning man that if he does not change his ways he will destroy himself. While recognizing that it is necessary for us in this Parliament to work the parish pump in order to keep our seats here, I urge honorable members to consider seriously the danger that threatens civilization, and the possibility that civilization may not survive even for the? next few years. Apropos of this, I quote the following from the Daily Mirror -*

Professor Albert Einstein said yesterday that the hysterical race between the United States and Russia to produce a hydrogen bomb threatened to poison the atmosphere and annihilate life from the earth. “ The ghost-like character of this development lies in its apparently compulsory trend,” said Einstein. “ Every step appears as an unavoidable consequence on the preceding one. In the end there beckons,, more and .more clearly, general annihilation.”

Only a few days ago, Cardinal Spellman, the great American churchman, said that he saw signs of the end of the world approaching. In my younger days I was a little cynical and sceptical about some of the warnings and prophecies in the Good Book, but now I am beginning to think that they may have a deep significance and it seems certain that unless we pull together, we shall be blown to pieces in atomic warfare.


.- 1 should like to make a few remarks about some matters in the Governor-General’s Speech. I have no intention of dealing with the Government’s programme, because each part of it will be the subject of legislation, which will give us a much greater opportunity to debate it in detail than we have on the motion for the adoption of the Address-in-Reply. However, it is well to remember that every item of legislation forecast in the GovernorGeneral’s Speech has been submitted to the people, and received their enthusiastic endorsement. That fact is not lost on or forgotten by members of the Labour party. Indeed, they are placed in a most embarrassing position. They feel that it is their duty, as the official Opposition, to oppose Government legislation, but they believe that there is neither wisdom nor profit in frustrating the expressed will of the people so soon after their decision has been given. I have listened attentively to the speeches that have been delivered during the last three weeks, and the principal impression that has been left on my mind is that the Labour party is astonished that this Government has not accomplished more in two or three months than the Chifley Government accomplished in as many years. Some members of the Opposition have actually

Asked the Government to explain its proposals for improving the conditions of age pensioners, promoting peace in industry, and bettering the conditions of the workers generally. Those questions have emanated from members of a political party which, to the 10th December last, proclaimed to the world that it had established a modern Utopia in which there was no evil. But the ink had hardly dried on the ballot-papers when members of the Labour party had asked the Government, in effect,’ “ What do you intend to do for the people whom we represent ? “ That attitude can be interpreted only as an admission or confession of the failure of the preceding Government over the last three prolific years.

During this debate, many honorable members have experienced the satisfaction which we all have felt on making our maiden speeches. Such an occasion is one of the great moments in our political lives. The House will agree that, generally, the speeches by honorable members on both sides of the chamber have been of a very high order. I congratulate all those honorable members who have successfully negotiated that first hurdle, some on the modesty and moderation, some on the assurance and temerity, and some on the originality and sheer merit of their speeches. But whatever the category may be, the House will say, “ Well done “ to them. A new member is only new in the sense that he has recently been elected to this House. Many of those who are new in this House are fairly long in the tooth, and anything but new in industrial fighting. Having made their contributions to the debate without interruption, they are now subject to any criticism that their speeches deserve. This House, in my experience, is a greater leveller than any other institution that I have encountered. We all come here with ideals, and it is only after the passage of years that we understand we have failed to induce any one else to share them with us. In other words, we have failed to induce the cynics in this chamber to believe that we know all the answers and that they do not. I want to say, in all kindness, that after a few hours’ reflection, we make the startling discovery that this House actually existed before most of us were elected to it, and, however unpalatable to our egotism the truth may be, it will continue to function long after we have gone from it. We should grasp that fact. If we do so, the result may be that whilst we may do no less a service to’ the interests, which we represent here, we may, through greater co-operation, do a much greater service to our country.

It is sometimes a disquieting fact that honorable members are elected, not only to make laws, but also to uphold them, whether they are industrial laws or other laws. We give a solemn undertaking that we will maintain and uphold all the institutions of democracy. During this debate, some honorable members have pretended to advise or warn the Government, but their speeches, in the ultimate, have constituted a threat to it. Those honorable gentlemen have said, in effect, that if the Government dares to exercise the authority given to it by virtue of the mandate which it has received, certain dire consequences are bound to follow.

One honorable member has made ,the position clear. He has said that if a union of 50,000 members, or even 10,000 members, determines on a course of action which may prove inimical to the interests of the other 8,000,000 people in Australia, an industrial upheaval such as we have never before experienced may be precipitated by any attempt on the part of the Government to exercise its authority for the purpose of dealing with those responsible for that situation. T have an abiding faith in my own countrymen. Their calibre is such that if any one trails his coat in this country, some one else will step on it. If any one issues a challenge, another Australian will accept it. But if a threat is made, it is always wise to look behind to see that the line of retreat is open. Australians will not react very favorably to a threat. Honorable members on both sides of the chamber will agree that, without Government interference, the recent serious coal strike would have assumed disastrous proportions. If we are threatened with a similar upheaval in future, what will be more acceptable to the people - a major upheaval brought about because the Government fails to exercise its authority, or because it takes action to suppress saboteurs and traitors from working their will on this country? There is only one possible answer to that question,-

Recently, a gentleman named Roach obligingly gave us a description of the technique of what he calls a rolling strike, which is a new system of sabotage designed to impede progress, dislocate industry, and interfere generally with the ecenomy of the country. Are any honorable members so innocent as to believe that a responsible government will allow such a devilish scheme ,to develop without taking action to prevent it? If there are any such honorable members, they are due for a. course of education at the hands of the Liberal party and the Australian Country party during the next few months. I want it to be perfectly clear that the Roachs, Healys, Thorntons and Rowes of this country cannot, unaided, conduct a major industrial upheaval. They require the support of tens of thousands of unionists who, we are led to believe, are either members, supporters, or followers of the Australian Labour party. When we realize the kind of hurdles which we must jump, we know what we are up against. Some unions - I do not know whether they are led by militants or not - have decided to adopt a policy of non-co-operation with the Government. [Quorum formed.’] In order that my last few remarks may not be misunderstood as the result of the anxiety of the honorable member for East. Sydney (Mr. Ward) to ensure- that sufficient number ‘of members is present” in the House to listen to them, I repeat” that the Roachs, the Healys, the Rowesand the Thorntons cannot conduct a. major industrial upheaval unaidedSuch an upheaval requires the consent” and support of tens of thousands off unionists, all of whom are supporters or members of the Australian Labour party. If we keep that fact clearly in our mind, we shall know what i9 in front of us. Certain trade unions, whether militantly led or not, held meetings1 recently, and determined upon a policy of non-co-operation with the Menzies Government. They said, in effect, “We shall give to the Menzies Government the same degree of co-operation that the British Medical Association gave to the Chifley Government”.

Mr Ward:

– What is wrong with that?


– That satisfies- me, as I am sure it satisfies every other honorable member of this House.. If the unionists work as long and as diligently and devote as much time to their tasks as do the members of the British Medical Association, this country will have a very happy future ahead of it and this Government will have a very easy passage.

Mr Ward:

– And determine what incomes they should receive as well ?


– The next matter that causes me some alarm - and the honorable member for East Sydney may butt in on this aspect of the problem- if helikes - is the avowed intention of theOpposition, though apparently not of many members of it, to frustrate any legislation which the Government may introduce to protect the people from the depredations of traitors and saboteurs who make no secret of the fact that they adhere to an alien ideology, and regard” it as their principal mission in life to- destroy the institutions of democracy and to establish in their stead some authoritarian type of government which attains power by deception and intrigue, and retains power by the sword and the machine-gun. Recently I received a pamphlet from a democratic league of some description which indicates that amazing numbers of organizations, have made protests against the Government’s proposal to deal with the traitors in our midst. Whilst *I agree that there are many well-intentioned and kind-hearted members of such organizations, there are others among them who fight for freedom to do as they like regardless of the effect of their activities on the freedom of other people. Honorable members opposite support them when they say that they will not permit the Government to pass legislation to deal with traitors in this country. When we use the term “ Communist “ we are not referring to the tens of thousands of deluded people who support the Communist ticket at elections. In my opinion those people, neither individually nor in the aggregate, constitute any threat to the security of this country. They are merely camp followers, and they do not know who they follow or why. When we speak of Communists,’ we refer to those other people who claim that they adhere to a foreign country, and to whom the Australian Government over the years has been granting travel permits to visit Russia to enable them to undergo courses of instruction in the latest methods of street fighting and sabotage and means for undermining the institutions of democracy. We allow them to return to this country and grant them freedom to pass on their recently acquired knowledge, and, in general, to pollute the minds of Australian youth. We have been told by one industrial leader that if we attempt to legislate to control such people Labour will use its Senate majority to prevent its passage. That statement, surely, is very pleasing news for the country! Doubtless it is also one in respect of which honorable members opposite would like to have some second thoughts.

I relate of my own knowledge an experience of a traitor who worked against Australia on Gallipoli during World

War I. The crew of a gun battery which was firing shrapnel shells at the enemy found that the shells were consistently bursting prematurely and causing enormous casualties among our own forces but doing no harm to the enemy. The gunners were naturally distressed and could not account for it. Only accidentally - and I emphasize the word “ accidentally “ because it will be important in certain remarks which I propose to make later - it was discovered that one of the members of the gun crew had been shortening the fuses in the shells to ensure that they would burst prematurely and cause havoc, death and destruction among our own men. The offender was promptly dealt with, but that was little satisfaction to the victims. Had we known that such a person existed in the gun crew we should have taken steps to deny him the opportunity to practice his treachery, as indeed would any member of the Labour party at that time. To-day, the traitors in our midst have adopted an entirely new technique. Honorable members opposite say that the Communists must not be driven underground. To adopt an expression that has been used by Opposition members, they must be left where the sun shines upon them. They say that if traitors are caught violating the laws and usages of democracy we should give them a term of social security in one of our gaols. Their victims, however, will still be dead and people will still be mourning.

We know quite well that traitors exist in our community and we propose to deny them the opportunity to practise their treachery. The members of the Australian Labour party favour the continuance of a state of affairs which would enable traitors again to shorten the fuses and bring destruction and destitution to the Commonwealth which they and we profess to love. They say that these people should be allowed to remain in the sunshine. Let us not delude ourselves into the belief that communism is on the wane merely because the total number of votes cast for Communist candidates at the recent election was some thousands fewer than that recorded in the election of 1946. It has frequently been pointed out in this House that numbers do not necessarily mean anything and that it is the individual rather than the mass that counts. I remind the House that one traitor in a gun crew on Gallipoli was able to kill and maim probably 100 of his own comrades. One man in the United States of America recently engineered the placing of a bomb in an aeroplane which blew it to pieces together with all its occupants. Given the opportunity one man could destroy a machine which is essential to the defence of this country. Let us talk common sense on this subject. If honorable members of the Labour party maintain their present attitude, the avalanche which struck them on the 10th December will bo a mere trickle compared with what will overtake them some time in the future.

I regret that I have to heap coals of fire on the already embarrassed head of the honorable member for Bendigo (Mr. Clarey). The honorable gentleman has been eulogized so frequently by honorable members who support the Government that he is wondering how he will be able to square himself with his colleagues and supporters. Indeed, he is wondering what he has done to deserve such praise. None the less I have to join the chorus and say that the honorable member delivered an excellent address on the problem of industrial unions. Such an address was expected of him because in Victoria he is regarded as without peer on this subject. He is so skilled a debater that there was no need for him to indulge in misrepresentation to make a. point. The honorable gentleman, however, did so in his reference to rising costs. He tried to delude the people into believing that if the Commonwealth still had control of prices the price structure of Australia would now be more stable. He endeavoured, whether intentionally or not I do not know, to blame the States for a condition of affairs which no government, Labour or Liberal, could have prevented, any more than any government could have prevented the financial and economic depression which visited us in the 30’s.

Let us examine the history of this, subject of prices control as it can bo viewed from inside this House. When the previous Government exercised control over prices production costs were rising at an alarming rate. Increased production costs were not in all instances passed into prices because they were cushioned by the payment of subsidies the cost of which also rose alarmingly from £15,000,000 to £35,000,000 in three years and was estimated in the year of the rents and prices referendum to. amount to approximately £50,000,000’- If subsidies had been continued and payments had continued to increase at that-, rate subsidies would now cost the country £100,000,000. No government, irrespective of its political complexion could afford to meet such a cost. However, theprevious administration became panicky and said, “ Something will have to be done. We shall discontinue the payment of subsidies. If we withdraw subsidies to-day and prices immediately rise any odium that attaches to rising prices will be cast on our heads. That will never do. However, we are reasonably certain to lose the referendum, but lose it or not, after the referendum we shall discontinue the payment of subsidies “. The referendum was held and the result is recorded in history. The Government’s proposals were defeated in every State. Indeed, they were overwhelmingly defeated in States which had been regarded as predominantly Labour States during the last 30 years.


– They were defeated on the advice of the honorable member and his friends.


– I hope that the people acted on my advice. Why not be honest about it and admit that this is a matter that requires the attention of both sides of the House and that it is much too serious to be used as a political plaything? In Labour election propaganda nothing failed so miserably as the story of prices. It failed becauseof its insincerity and because there was-, no elector so simple that he could not recognize it as politics at its worst. I believe it is axiomatic that if you have a state of affairs in any country where there is much more money in circulation than there are goods to absorb it then there is great’ competition for those goods and the spiral of inflation begins. Does not that problem provide its own answer? The answer is to increase production to equate supply with demand and have sufficient goods available to absorb the money we pas3 into circulation. There i« much talk of revaluing the £1 sterling. That is simply one of the ways of increasing the value of the £1 in Australia without interfering with the exchange rate. That is not the complete answer to the problem, but while there are several State elections looming it is possible for the honorable members of the Opposition to impute the worst motives to the Government.

The honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) showed that it is incorrect to blame the States for rising prices. He gave a few reasons for rising prices and <one was that the overseas trade balance with England of £450,000,000 simply means that we in Australia have paid £450,000,000 for goods for which we have had no return. We have received no imports to absorb that money, therefore it is inflation to the extent of £450,000,000, because that money is competing for the goods that are here. If we accept the theory that money can be reasonably absorbed in the purchase of goods which its expenditure creates then we must admit that the tens of millions of pounds which have been poured into non-reproductive services, such as defence, is a factor in the inflationary spiral because this money, which creates nothing in itself, becomes a competitor for goods which it has had no share in creating. That is a matter that requires the attention of the best brains on both sides of the House. It is too big to be made a plaything of politics and honorable members who make it such a plaything are fiddling while Rome burn9 and are not fit for their place in this House.

The honorable member for Bendigo stated that if the federal authority controlled prices they would be more stable. The federal authority tended to control prices as a part of its scheme to control everything else. It is unquestionable that the previous Government was travelling in the direction of a planned socialistic economy. I shall prove that statement with quotations. A planned socialistic ‘ economy provides for compulsion of labour and compulsion of everything else. The story’ that was told to the electors was, “ Wo cannot socialize anything. We have not the constitutional power but that is incorrect and honorable members of the Opposition know it. It is necessary only to make bilateral or multilateral agreements and, under the external affairs power, the Constitution can be by-passed. That this was the process of gaining control which was planned by the previous Government is evidenced by many statements made by the right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt), who was the Government representative at the first United Nations conference in San Francisco. That was the inaugural conference where they framed the Charter and agreed to its adoption. Article 55 of clause 9 stated that the United Nations should promote full employment and conditions of economic and social progress and development. The right honorable gentleman is reported to have said in San Francisco -

It is, of course, quite clear that every international agreement we make places an obligation upon Australia to fill it. For this reason it may well be that in certain circumstances the existing external affairs power can be used by the Commonwealth Parliament for the purpose of carrying into effect in Australia the precise terms of the international agreement.

That was a clear statement that, in certain circumstances, the external affairs powers would have been used to override the Constitution. Under such a policy, it would have been necessary only for the components of what remained of the British Empire to conclude some form of agreement, under the direction of Sir Stafford Cripps, the author of that infamous declaration that the dismemberment of the Empire was essential to the success of socialism, to have ensured that one morning we should have awakened to find, Constitution or no Constitution, that we had been socialized and that prices, labour and everything else had been brought under government control. It would not be fair to make such charges against the Labour party without offering some evidence in support of them. Therefore, I shall read some brief quotations in order to confirm my statements. If members of the Opposition can escape from these facts, they will be ingenious indeed. Dr. H. C. Coombs, one of the former Labour Government’s chief planners and now the

Governor of the Commonwealth Bank, said in 1944 -

People could not expect complete freedom after the war … It would he necessary for some individual to be given the right to say what was best for the community.

Dr. Lloyd Eoss, whom nobody would accuse of being a supporter of the Liberal party or the Australian Country party, said -

Man-power control, rather than the threat of dismissal, should be used after the war to secure industrial discipline . . . There can be no successful system of full employment if workers believe they can stop work whenever they like.

But the piece de resistance was uttered by Professor Giblin, one of the chief planners of the Labour Administration. He said -

Supposing there is a factory starting up or expanding which requires 1,000 men, but there are only 500 men who have volunteered for employment there. What kind of pressure is going to be brought to bear to take employment? You must try persuasion and inducement first, but at a certain point there must come a time when somebody must decide what is a suitable job for a man to do and he must do it.


– None of those gentlemen are members of the Labour party.


– They were the planners of the Labour Government. Professor Giblin continued -

So in the last resort, we shall require a power to direct labour to certain things with the penalty of being unemployed without receiving unemployment benefits on refusal.

That was the threat hanging over the heads of the Australian people.


– -From what source is the honorable member drawing his quotations?


The Labour-Socialist Road to Serfdom, issued by the Victorian League of Eights. The authority for the quotations does not matter provided that the quotations themselves are correct, and they are correct.

I shall now give honorable members a glimpse of what would have been in store for us had the Labour party’s desires “been effectively consummated. Sir Stafford Cripps, whom no member of the Opposition will repudiate, declared on the 29th February, 1946-

No country in the world, so far as I know, has yet succeeded in carrying through a planned economy without compulsion of labour.

As soon as a socialist government was elected to power in the United Kingdom in 1945, it rushed through the Parliament a measure entitled the Supplies and Services (Transitional Powers) Bill. The powers with which that Government invested itself under that measure when it became law were extremely interesting. Regulation 58a, concerning an Order in Council, dated the 20th December, 1945, stated -

The Minister of Labour or any National Service Officer may direct any person in Great. Britain to perforin such services in the United Kingdom as may be specified . . .

The regulation provided further that the Minister or a national health officer could determine the “ remuneration and terms of service”. The penalties specified for infringement of the regulation were imprisonment for two years or a fine of £500. [Extension of time granted.] Mr. Ness Edwards, Parliamentary Secretary of Labour in the United Kingdom, declared in 1946 -

Miners between the ages of 18 and 50 . . . will from 1st September next, not be free to take employment outside the industry.

That was a frightening indication of the shape of things to come under a Labour administration. Miners had been converted overnight into potential slaves. That declaration meant that any miner who refused to work in the mines must starve. The facts that I have stated should be enough for members of the Opposition for one day.

I refer now to the superficial aspects of defence. I believe that it is the duty of any government to ensure that the men of the nation can defend not only themselves but also their country. Every man in Australia should have some knowledge of the technique of modern war or, more important still, of the use of modern war weapons. Members of the Opposition believe only in voluntary military training. Under such a system, probably more than half of the nation’s manpower would remain untrained, thus rendering the country virtually defenceless against any fifth-rate power that might decide to invade it. For whose benefit do members of the Opposition make their appeals against compulsory military training? Are they trying to enlist the sympathy of the mothers of Australia, or do they believe that the word “ conscription “ arouses such horror in the mind of the people that they may be able to gain a few cheap votes at the expense of the security of their country? The truth is that the mothers of Australia would be the first victims of any act of aggression against Australia. In my experience I have sten no more helpless creature in a crisis than an untrained soldier or one equipped with a weapon of defence that he does not know how to use. To leave a nation of potential soldiers untrained in the use of defensive weapons would be to perpetrate a major crime against the country and humanity. There was a time when our geographical isolation and the British Navy provided us with all the security that we needed. We could take shelter then for two years, if we wanted to, in order to prepare ourselves for war. Even during World War II. we were able to take almost a year in which to organize our war effort, and we were able to do a. great deal in that space of time.

But, since the technique of air-borne invasion has been almost perfected, we must realize that we may not have six days, or even six hours, within which to prepare to repel an attacker. Certainly, if our man-power remained untrained, we should experience the humiliation of seeing the descendants of Anzacs running from a horde of invaders who would not even provide exercise before breakfast for well-trained Australians. This Government’s defence policy was” announced by its leaders in their policy speeches, and the honorable member for Melbourne (Mr. Calwell) immediately started to cry, “ Menzies will denude industry of essential labour. Menzies will conscript the kids “. The honorable gentleman might have added that he would prefer to leave the “ kids “ and their parents to the mercy of any second-rate invader who might choose to come ,to Australia or to scream his head off for the “ kids “ of some other country who had been compulsorily trained to come and help us out of our difficulties. “Finally, I refer to the mean and mischievous repetition of. the statement that anti-Labour governments did nothing to prepare for the defence of Australia prior to World War II, I shall confound the honorable gentlemen who utter that

Ifr. Bowden. parrot cry by quoting the statements of their own leaders. Prior to the advent of the Curtin Labour Government, when the present Prime Minister was in power, the honorable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr. Holloway) said - 1 c!o not join with those who say that Australia lias failed in its war effort. I know something of the organization of industry, and when we compare what has been achieved with what we previously thought to !,e possible, we realize that somewhat of a miracle lias been wrought.

Members of the Opposition can have a crack at the honorable member for Melbourne Ports for making that declaration if they like! When the Labour party assumed power in 1941, the then Prime Minister, Mr. Curtin, had this to say - 1 have to pay tribute to the Government which preceded my own for the constructive work they have done in defence and the foundations they have laid.

On the 18th October, 1941, he made this a acknoowledgment -

The NavY was at its highest pitch of efficiency, as demonstrated by the notable exploits of ite ships oversells. The Home Defence Army was well trained and its equipment had been greatly improved. The strength of the Air Force had been largely increased, both in respect of home defence squadrons and the training resources of the Empire Air Scheme. The equipment of the Air Force nad also been much improved. Finally, munitions production and .the development of production capacity over a wide range of classes, including aircraft, was growing weekly.

Those statements were made because that Government had in its ranks men big enough to make them. Unfortunately, there are men small enough to make the accusations that I have mentioned against anti-Labour governments. Those men are lamentably ignorant of the facts and are mean enough to repeat statements that can only damage the prestige of their country.

In concluding my speech, I make an appeal on behalf of a body of men who believe that they belong to a “ forgotten legion “. They are the lightkeepers employed around the Australian coast. I am not drawing the long bow when I say that there is dissatisfaction, amounting almost to unrest, amongst those men. They have .the tremendous responsibility of safeguarding our ships and their cargoes. Contentment is a prime essential for the services that we expect them to render. I ‘have received letters galore from these men, and the Prime Minister is already investigating various matters that I have referred to him. I raise the subject now because one of the men has asked me specially to discuss his grievances in this House so that all honorable members may be made aware of them. This man has assured me that the conditions of lightkeepers have not been improved over the last 30 years and he asserts that, unless appropriate changes are made, lightkeepers will resign and the lights will have to be made automatic. One head lightkeeper resigned recently because he could no longer maintain his wife and family under existing conditions of service. This man was seized by another marine organization as soon as he resigned, and was paid a salary of £18 a week. I do not blame the Public Service Board, because it may be entangled in the red tape of regulations and may not be able to do any more than it is doing now. But I ask the Minister for Shipping .and Fuel to investigate the complaints and if he discovers any substance in them to take some steps to bring about contentment in the service and an amelioration of the conditions of these officers.

North Sydney

.- It is a great honour to me to stand to-day in this House as the representative of the North Sydney electorate. I wish to give my sincere thanks to the people of North Sydney for their confidence and support on the 10th December. I shall try to give my constituents the same service as I have given them during the last nine years in local government. I pay a great tribute to the former right honorable member for North Sydney, who is now the right honorable member for Bradfield (Mr, Hughes). He did a wonderful job for North Sydney, and I hope and trust that I shall be spared in health and strength to carry on the work that he has been engaged in for so many years in that electorate. I extend my sincere thanks to the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) for his personal support during my election campaign. I am quite sure that his support, and that of the people of North Sydney, contributed greatly to my success. I also pay a tribute to the staff of Parliament House. It is only right and fitting that I should do that because when I came here as a new member I did not even know my way about the House, but was soon put at ease by one of the messengers who extended every courtesy to me. Similar courtesy should be displayed by all in their dealings with their fellow men throughout our great Commonwealth. The officers in the Sydney offices have given me great assistance and I wish to thank them, through you, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I also wish to thank quite a number of new members for their help and assistance.

His Excellency’s Speech was very inspiring and I was delighted to hear that we may be favoured by a visit of the Royal Family in 1952. The people of Australia will give Their Majesties a very sincere and loving welcome. The affection of Their Majesties for their people has united those who dwell throughout the far-flung British Commonwealth. His Excellency indicated that the increased cost of living is causing much difficulty and anxiety to age and widow pensioners. This Government will do nil that it can to relieve their anxiety because they have been the pioneers of this great country, and all honorable members on this side of the House will do their utmost to protect them. I am not forgetting ex-servicemen on pensions and the people on small superannuation payments. The latter are having a hard struggle to make ends meet with their small income, which in some cases amounts to only £2 2s. 6d. a week.

It is interesting to know that the Government is going to grapple with the coal problem. That has been a vital matter in this House because the production of coal is the main-spring of industry. If the production of coal is not increased then the production of nearly every other commodity that is required for daily use, including steel, building materials and so on will be reduced. I can speak on the subject of housing because I have been in local government for a long time. A number of other honorable members . have had similar experience. This country’s steel industry has a capacity of 1,750,000 tons a year, but owing to the shortage of coal and industrial disturbances at the steelworks, it produces only a little over 1,000,000 tons a year. We have been told that production is increasing as the years go by. The figures do not bear out that, statement. In 1947-48 the pro- duction of steel was 1,343,000 tons, and the Government imported £7,000 worth, hi 1948-49 it was 1,129,000 tons, and the Government imported £10,330 worth. T’n the last months of 1949 from the end of June to October £6,301 worth of steel was imported, which is equivalent to £18,000 worth for a whole year. As the industry has a capacity of 1,750,000 tons it is necessary that coal shall be supplied to it in such quantities that the maximum output may be obtained. On many occasions it was necessary for the local council of which I was a member to renew plans for builders because they had told us that on account of the shortage of coal from eighteen months to two years must elapse before bricks could be delivered. I am aware that a lot of honorable members are fully conversant with these facts, but J am citing them again so that the matter may be kept well in the foreground. If the production of coal is increased the shortage of houses will be overcome. Then competition and the operations of private enterprise will cause the cost of houses to be reduced. Increased production will also abolish the black market which is the curse of this and many other countries. It is not the price of an article on the ordinary market that the people have to pay. It is the black-market price. The honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) said recently that it was the retail price, not the production cost of the article that was high. Even if that is so the one thing that will reduce the retail price is competition by private enterprise. I pay a tribute to the Minister for Immigration (Mr. Holt) because I know that the immigration policy is very important. The Government must be careful to see that the country shall not be overrun by people before there are enough houses for them. I was very pleased to hear the Minister for Works and Housing (Mr. Casey) say that the Government intends lo import a number of prefabricated louses, and I hope that sufficient will be imported to overtake the lag in housing which has existed for many years. The Minister for Immigration stated that when migrants are brought to this country we should extend to them the spirit of friendship that will help them to become good Australians. I know from the experience I had when I first came to this country that help is needed by every new Australian. I received that help then, and it was again extended to me in this House three weeks ago. 1 repeat that the Government should consider the use of prefabricated houses, and in that way provide accommodation for the newcomers. The people of the Old Country, by which I mean the people of the British Isles, should be encouraged to come to Australia.

I live in North Sydney, where ths people are agitating for the abolition of the Sydney Harbour Bridge toll. It has been said that we are quibbling about the payment of a 6d. toll, but that is not th* point. Ratepayers of the municipality of Willoughby in which I live, between 1923 and 1937 paid £98,911 towards the cost of maintaining the Sydney Harbour Bridge. This money was paid in the form of a special rate that was struck to cover Sydney Harbour Bridge maintenance, and that was payable by property owners in certain defined areas. The congestion on the Sydney Harbour Bridge is very serious. During one period of one and a quarter hours in December last no fewer than 7,000 vehicles passed over the bridge. During peak hours every morning and evening, lines of traffic more than half a mile long are banked up waiting to cross the. bridge. If this Government, by making a grant to the State Government, can. bring about the abolition of the toll, it will do something to help the people of Sydney in particular, and the people of New South Wales in general. Something must be done to relieve the present congestion on the bridge, and reduce the danger to human life.

In conclusion, I take this opportunity to congratulate Mr. Speaker upon having been appointed to his high office. I am delighted that he occupies that position, and I hope that he will enjoy good health to perform his duties.


– I listened with interest to the Speech of the Governor-General, but I was grievously disappointed in its contents, particularly in view of what I had heard during the election campaign. Nevertheless, I congratulate His Excellency on the manner in which he delivered his address. I cannot understand why Western Australia has not been represented in the Cabinet. Western Australia is a very important part of the Commonwealth, and is entitled to representation. After the return to Australia of the present Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) from abroad, I was present at a civic reception tendered to him in Perth. Speaking at that reception, the right honorable gentleman discussed immigration, and said that Western Australia offered great possibilities for development. In his opinion, he said, it was capable of supporting at least 5,000,000 people. Surely a State possessing such possibilities should be represented in the Cabinet. The’ fact that an honorable member from Western Australia has been appointed an UnderSecretary means nothing. If I know the gentleman concerned, it will not be long before there is a resignation.

I recognize that the role of the critic is an easy one. If the Government will honour the promises which it made to the people, the Opposition will help it. In fact, the Opposition will demand that it honour those promises. That is our job. I turn now to the Government’s much publicized objective of decentralization. 1 know that a lot of the publicity on this subject comes from the newspapers. They helped the present Government parties during the election campaign, and they now expect to receive their dividend. If the Government wishes to develop country centres it need do no more than give effect to the plans adopted by the Chifley Government after careful and thorough investigation. The Prime Minister has referred on many occasions to the drift of population to the cities, and to the need to populate country districts. I have advocated a similar policy ever since I have been a member of this Parliament. If the Minister for Supply and Development (Mr. Casey) is sincere in his expressed desire to develop country towns, I can tell him where he may begin in my own electorate, and achieve results at very little expense. The Government of Western Australia is unable or unwilling to provide adequate water supplies for such towns as Geraldton and Carnarvon, which have great possibilities for expansion. Later, I shall talk about the Kimberley district, but for the moment I am keeping to something easy. With adequate water supplies, the population of Geraldton and Carnarvon could be trebled in a very little while. I put the proposal forward in all sincerity, and invite investigation.

Country wool selling should be encouraged. At present, wool sales are held only in the capital cities, and ohe or two large towns. The Chifley Government provided facilities for the holding of wool sales in country centres. At a. conference in this building between the Government and wool brokers, the brokers agreed to co-operate with the Government to institute country selling. A good deal of money has been expended on providing selling facilities in country centres, and those facilities should be used. The produce of the country should be directed to its natural outlets, and I shall support any attempt by the Government to achieve that end.

I now pass on to the Kimberley district, which offers great opportunities for development. A carefully thought out plan was prepared by the Chifley Government for the development of that area, and it included water conservation schemes for the Ord and Fitzroy rivers. The soil in the Kimberley district is equal to that in any other part of Australia. I hope that the plans prepared by the last Government will not be abandoned. I warn the Government that if we do not develop the areas in the north and north-west of the continent, other nations will wish to do so. I hope that the plans that the Chifley Government adopted after mature consideration will not be abandoned.

I regret that the Prime Minister has left the chamber. I realize that the right honorable gentleman is a very busy man, and cannot listen to every speech that is made in this House, but I should like him to hear the remarks that I am about to make regarding the goldmining industry. This morning I asked him a question about the Government’s proposals to stimulate the production of gold, because in his policy speech at the beginning of the last election campaign, he emphasized the importance of gold-mining to the economy qf Australia, and promised that all possible assistance would be given to that industry. In Western’ Australia the goldmining industry is considered to be of major importance to the economy of that State. All sections of the community realize that gold-mining has been one of the greatest factors contributing to the progress of outback areas. In his policy speech, the Prime Minister said -

The position of the gold-mining industry in Australia has been substantially improved by the recent devaluation of sterling and the Australian £1 in terms of American dollars. This has sharply increased the price of gold in Australian money .and should help to increase our gold production, which has fallen off a great deal in recent years. If we were producing our pre-war volume of gold, the extra dollars earned would pay for as much dollar petrol as our present shortage!

But two things must be had in mind. One is that gold-mining should be treated, not as something temporary in its nature, but as a permanent industry of great national importance. The second is that as the bulk of the world’s gold production is in the sterling areas, and as gold remains one of the significant international commodities, increased production and increased price of gold will have much to say to reducing the dollar shortage and so extricating the world from its present economic crisis.

We will, therefore, by all available means, encourage and assist the production of Australian gold on a permanent basis.

This morning I asked the Prime Minister to inform me when he intended to show some signs of giving effect to that definite undertaking. It is not easy to see by what new means that promise can be implemented in view of the strong position of the United States of America as the principal market for gold, the longterm nature of the problem, and international obligations. I fear that the Government is contemplating a. step that will have a detrimental effect on the goldmining industry. I refer, of course, to the proposed appreciation of the Australian £1. The revaluation of our currency would completely ruin the goldmining industry, gravely affect the economy of Western Australia and render more acute the present dollar crisis. I earnestly trust that for those and other sound reasons that can be advanced, the Government will resist the strong pressure that is being exerted by some vested interests for the revaluation of the £1. I make no special plea for the gold-mining companies. My major concern is for the residents of gold-mining areas, who have built their homes and established all their interests on the gold-fields. Their savings will be lost and their lives disrupted if the Australian currency is revalued. The arguments that I have adduced apply with equal force to the base metal industry. The Government should resist any pressure that may be exerted by big newspaper and other vested interests in this country, because the revaluation of the £1 would have serious, effects on the overall economy of Australia. The Government should not make any concession to those vested interests that are urging it to adopt a monetary policy which, while benefiting them, would be disastrous to the community as a whole. Every worker and every miner has a vested interest, in the gold-mining industry. Too often, mines have closed down overnight. The companies knew what was about to happen, but no warning was given to the miners. Overnight the thunderbolt fell, and the mine was. closed. For the workers, the results were disastrous. A miner, who might have “ mortgaged the future “ in order to purchase a house at a cost of £700, £800, or £900, discovered with dismay that the value of his asset had been reduced to £50. As the gold-fields are isolated from other centres of population and transport is difficult, the expense involved in moving a miner’s home a distance of some hundreds of miles to another centre of industry would be prohibitive. All honorable members are aware that propaganda is being circulated throughout the Parliament and, indeed, the country, on behalf of interests that are urging the revaluation of the Australian £1, without considering the effect of that change on the Australian economy as a whole. I hope that the Prime Minister will give the most serious consideration to the representations that I have made, and resist the pressure of those propagandists who advocate the appreciation of the £1.

I shall say little about communism until the Government introduces legislation to control it. However, I desire to make it perfectly clear that the Australian Labour party and I have opposed communism ever since it raised its ugly head in Australia.

Mr Wentworth:

– That is not true.


– I warn the young member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) that fools rush in where angels fear to tread. Having been a union organizer for 25 years, I have had first-hand experience of the attitude of employers towards the Communists who have attempted to destroy the trade union movement. Communists visited shearing sheds, mines and navvy camps, and urged the workers not to join the Australian Workers Union. To those Communists, the bosses gave preference in employment. The honorable member for Mackellar does not know anything about those matters, of which I have had first-hand experience. If the boss thought that a “ Com “ would disrupt the union, he gave him preference in employment. That statement cannot be denied. Will the honorable member admit that the preference votes of Communist candidates in the last general election went to Liberal party and Australian Country party candidates? The Liberal party and the Australian Country party did not have campaign organizers in my electorate, but the “ Corns “ were well to the fore in opposition to Victor Johnson. They helped the whispering campaign that, was commenced by the Liberal party and the Australian Country party and. circulated their insidious propaganda against the Australian Labour party.

Mr Wentworth:

– The honorable member knows perfectly well that in the last election 90 per cent, of the second preferences of the votes that were cast for Communist candidates went to the Labour party candidates.


- Mr. Speaker, I should like you to inform me whether these interjections are in order.


– Order ! There are too many interjections, but the honorable member for Kalgoorlie (Mr. Johnson) is addressing the honorable member for Mackellar instead of the Chair.


– I thank you, Mr. Speaker. The honorable member for Mackellar interjected and I had the right to reply to him. I shall exercise that right as long as I am a member of this House.


– Order ! The honorable member should reply through the Chair.


– After my brief explanation, the honorable member for Mackellar should be much better informed than he was about the activities of Communists. All he can do is to repeat a tell-tale story that somebody else had told him. He knows little or nothing about the matter. However, I shall not devote any more time to him.

I now desire to issue a warning to the Government relative to the legislation that it may introduce to control the trade union movement. My warning may be stated as follows : “ Let the Government keep its hands off the trade union movement, because that movement can conduct its own affairs better than the Menzies Government can conduct the affairs of this country “. The trade union movement will not submit to any interference in the control of its domestic affairs. It has rendered great service to Australia, lifted the prestige of this country out of the mud, and improved the standard of living. Generally speaking, it has done a wonderful job. But it will not allow the Menzies Government or any other Government to interfere in its domestic affairs. The great Australian Workers Union has more than 120,000 members, and its influence extends from the Gulf of Carpentaria to the most southern point of Australia. That organization has rendered yeoman service to this country, and is 100 per cent. Australian in outlook, but it will not tolerate any interference from the Menzies or any other government in the control of its domestic affairs.


.- I listened with great interest to the remarks of the honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Jack), who addressed the House immediately before the honorable member for Kalgoorlie (Mr. Johnson). In North Sydney, where the honorable member is highly regarded, his speech will he well received. Doubtless the pleasant timbre of the honorable member’s voice had a disturbing effect on the memories of honorable members opposite, but the honorable member for Corio (Mr. Opperman) informs me that he has assured the honorable member for North Sydney that there is little danger of any competition in that sense.

The opening of the Nineteenth Parliament of the Commonwealth was, to me, as a new member, a. most memorable occasion. I have been most impressed with a striking passage in the GovernorGeneral’s Speech, which reads -

My Government will take all possible steps to stimulate the building of homes, including, as a temporary measure, co-operation with the State governments in the large-scale importation of pre-fabricated houses, as a means of meeting the present serious gap between supply and demand.

I have since noticed that honorable members on both sides of the chamber have expressed considerable concern about the housing problem. After the war, I, in common with thousands of other people, trudged the streets for many weary months fruitlessly looking for somewhere to live. I speak from bitter experience, because I have suffered as the result of the housing shortage. It is self-evident that the shortages of coal and steel are at the very root of the problem. It is noticeable, too, that in the coal and steel industries, the Communist influence is at its height, and discontent flourishes. It was pleasing to hear the honorable member for Corio, who proposed the motion for the adoption of the Address-in-Reply, make certain suggestions that were designed to bring about a better feeling between the workers and employers. The honorable member spoke of the need for co-operation between employers and employees. His words were followed by suggestions by other honorable members on this side of the House relative to the promotion of a better understanding between labour and capital. The honorable member for Isaacs (Mr. Haworth) and the honorable member for Farrer (Mr. Fairbairn), who made very noteworthy contributions to the debate, advocated the adoption Of a system of profitsharing in industry. Beyond question, profit-sharing in industry has succeeded wherever it has been tried. I have some knowledge of that subject. I am at a loss to understand why profit-sharing should be so bitterly opposed by some trade unions. The reason can only be that they hate conditions in which harmony exists between employer and employee. Many trade union organizers believe that if they do not succeed in staging a strike, they are not worth their salt, and, consequently, they will not support any proposals that are designed to lead to a better understanding between employer and employee.-

We were told by the honorable member for Melbourne (Mr. Calwell), in his own inimitable style, that such cooperation would be achieved only over his dead body. He said that the workers would not fall for the flap-doodle and nonsense about “ co-operation between workers and employers in industry”. There lies the basic difference between the present Government and its predecessor. We want to bring about co-operation between all sections of the people. We shall strive for that objective, because we believe it to be for the common good. The Labour party, however, is dedicated to a system of perpetual class warfare, with one section of the community always at the throat of another. I have no doubt that the honorable member for Melbourne is sincere in his undying opposition to any attempt to heal the breach between employer and employee. He has been reared on class hatred, as also have many other honorable members opposite. When the Labour party came into being, the need existed for an organization to fight for the employees. At that time, class warfare raged in the community, but to-day there is no need for it. Class warfare has had its day. Irrespective of what the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) has said about the recent general election, it cannot be denied that the results marked a great victory for the Australian worker. On election day, the workers demonstrated that they were wiser and more politically astute than are their alleged leaders in the political and industrial fields. They realize that, in class warfare, as in any other form of warfare, they suffer the casualties. They know that, in industrial affairs, as in international affairs, warfare settles nothing. The women of

Australia, too, know this better than any other section of the community, and they voted accordingly on the 10th December last. On that day, the people of Australia declared that there was no room in Australia for class hatred. Unless honorable members opposite realize that fundamental fact, they and their party are outmoded.

In Australia to-day, the members of the Labour party are the true conservatives. They advocate the hopeless doctrine of class warfare, and they follow the nineteenth century dogma of worker versus capitalist, which has failed in practice. From the shelter of my maiden speech, I do not propose to deal with the remarks that have been made by honorable members opposite during this debate. I merely wish to say of the honorable member for East Sydney that, whenever he came into my electorate during the recent election campaign and sang the familiar song of hatred that he sang in this House on Tuesday last, my campaign directors estimated that his visit was worth 100 votes to me.

The problem of housing arises from not only the insufficient number of dwellings available, but also excessive building costs. We have arrived at the point, if, indeed, we have not already passed it, at which the ordinary man cannot afford to buy a home for his family. If a person borrows money with which to finance the purchase of a house, the loan represents a load around his neck that will continue into eternity. If a slump should come, the indebtedness will never be repaid. A part of the huge increase of the cost of home-building is due to the steep increase of the cost of building materials; but that is not the whole story. In Sydney, and in other parts of New South Wales, a prospective home builder has difficulty in finding a contractor who will quote him a fair price. A part of the cause of that state of affairs is the iniquitous cost-plus system that is followed by State housing authorities and also, I regret to say, by the Commonwealth itself. I do not care whether a tender is let on a cost-plus percentage basis or a cost-plus fixed fees basis, with or without penalties, the cost-plus arrangement is a very expensive way in which to undertake building operations. It is destructive of efficiency, because it destroys any incentive on the part of the; builder to erect the structure cheaply. Once the cost-plus system is introduced, it very quickly reaches astronomical figures. Naturally, the cost-plus system suits the contractor, because it relieves him of anxiety about the sum of money that is to be expended or, in many cases, wasted. So many contractors are absorbed in government work that an insufficient number is left to provide real competition for private work. At the present time, most contractors are not interested in private building, particularly when government contracts are to be had, because, in addition to any other advantage which may be gained from governmental building, there is the advantage of ‘being able to secure materials more easily than is the case with private building. Despite all the advantages that the housing authorities enjoy, labour and materials are wasted on the works that are carried out for them. How upon row of houses remain empty until a minor detail of construction is completed. That system of building houses is too rigid and inflexible, and too much red tape is associated with it. A strong suspicion exists that, in government circles, there is no great concern about rising costs to the private home-builder. In New .South Wales, the McGirr Government undoubtedly believes that the ideal .State is one in which the State owns all the homes and rents them to the people of whom it approves. Thus housing may well become a political plaything of governments, tenants being chosen for their political beliefs and affiliations and not on a basis of merit. Some people go so far as to say that such a system is already in operation. If such a system does come into operation, government-owned homes -may well become a threat to our parliamentary system.

It has been stated that the Commonwealth is not directly concerned with home-building and that the States act as principals in the matter. I believe that, as the financing authority, the Commonwealth is responsible for ensuring that value shall be secured for the money expended. It is our proper concern to ensure that money voted for housing purposes shall not be wasted.

We are vitally concerned about building costs, and the time that is taken to erect a building. I suggest that the Commonwealth and State Housing Agreement should be re-examined in the light of existing conditions. A businessman would not like to take over, without examination, an agreement that had been made in 1945 and 1946. Consequently, a review of the existing agreement at this stage may well be worth while. The Minister for Supply and Development (Mr. Casey) is to be congratulated on the action he has already taken to import homes. The purchase of those prefabricated dwellings must of course, be accepted as an expediency, but there is always a danger, in governmental affairs, that expediency will become the settled practice. Parliament House is, I understand, only a temporary structure. I readily accept the accuracy of that, because, as a novice here, I, in common with other honorable members, have experienced the greatest difficulty in finding my way from place to place. If imported homes are accepted as a temporary means of solving our housing problem, it must be realized that they will be a costly means. The actual saving of cost on an imported prefabricated home, compared with a brick dwelling erected on the site, may be approximately 15 per cent. But any home that is built of materials other than brick will prove to be a wasting asset and will involve the owner in high maintenance costs. At the present time, there is no substitute for bricks for the purpose of home-building. I trust that the Minister for Supply and Development will give attention to the need for stimulating the manufacture of bricks in this country. As we, in Australia, use the English standard-size brick, it may be well worth while to examine the possibility of inducing British firms to establish brickyards here with their own labour, and so increase the production of bricks in this country. Housing is a national problem. A large number of homes must be provided without delay. I hope that housing will be placed above party politics, and that it will be so regarded by honorable members on both sides of the House.

On Thursday of last week the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen) posed several questions to the Minister for

Health (Sir Earle Page) concerning the introduction of a free medicine scheme. I do not know whether the honorable member had any twinge of premonition in framing his questions, but I do know that, if ever the need existed for the application of an astringent, it wa3 when the honorable member for Watson (Mr. Curtin) spoke later that day. I am not sure whether the honorable member impressed me as a typhoon or a tycoon but he was good enough to offer certain advice to the new members on this side of the House. I assure the honorable gentleman that we younger members are very glad to receive advice on all matters. Not for a generation at least has there been so many young members in this House of Parliament. We, like the honorable member for Watson himself, are new but we are conscious of our limitations. “We feel that the years of experience which we shall gain on this side of the House will eventually benefit the nation. Changes are not always welcome at first. Quite frequently they come so quickly that it is hard to realize that they have occurred. Honorable members opposite may be aware of this, I believe (hat the general public has been quick to realize the different attitude that this Government has adopted towards them. After it had been in office for only seven weeks, the Prime Minister announced that petrol rationing was to cease in Australia. In the course of his broadcast, the right honorable gentleman used these words -

We are entitled to ask of you, whose servants we are, a measure of patience.

I emphasize four words only in that sentence - “ whose servants we are “. I think the people of Australia have already accepted those words as meaning that the period of socialist control has ended ; that the socialist concept of all power being concentrated in the State has been terminated. If it is proper for the Prime Minister to declare that the members of this Government are servants of the people, that attitude will quickly extend throughout the whole of the Public Service. This will be welcomed by the service. Too frequently during the last eight years appointments have been given to those who espouse the socialist cause. It became accepted that preferment would become the reward for political loyalty and consequently public servants adopted an attitude which seemed to imply that they had the power to send one to Bourke if they wanted to do so. In such circumstances there is little cause for wonder that some civil servants became uncivil masters. I see an indication that the true civil service may now assume its old functions and be free to discharge its duties with courtesy and efficiency without the interference of the socialist interloper. lt seems that it has become the practice on this side of the House for every member making his maiden speech to make some complimentary reference to you, Mr. Speaker, upon your appointment. I have left those observations until the end of my speech. I congratulate you on your election to the Speaker- ship, and I trust that history will record that during the .Speakership of Cameron there was an era of progress such as Australia had not previously experienced.


.- I have listened with a great deal of interest to the new honorable members. Whilst I am not a new member, I have been absent from this House for nearly two years so I may almost be entitled to claim the same privilege as they have extended to them. I congratulate you, Mr. Speaker, on your appointment. I believe that you will make a very good Speaker and will conduct the business of this House with the dignity that the position entails.

The speeches of the new honorable members have been very good indeed. A new speaker on this side of the House delivered one of the best speeches that I believe I have heard, particularly from a new member, and many old members also could take it as an example. I refer to the honorable member for Bendigo (Mr. Clarey). He made his speech without recriminations, and enunciated a policy which the government of the day could well follow, and which even the governments of the past could have followed. It was a policy of tolerance in dealing with the vexed subject of industrial disputes. I have had a great deal of industrial experience and have found that more tolerance could always have been practised by mine managers. My industrial experience has been principally in the coal mines. There are very few honorable members who have not made some reference to the shortage of coal and steel. I shall deal with that matter later.

I regret that the Government proposes to ban the Communist party. As some of the older members know, I have had a great deal of experience with that party. It is practically the only party that has ever opposed me. Not only has it opposed me, it has also taken me to what it describes as our “ bosses court “. My fight with this party has not been only inside the trade union movement. It has also been outside on the grass and I have been taken to court for having assaulted its members. Therefore, I should not be pleading with the Government not to ban the Communists. The Menzies Government banned them in 1940. What happened in that year? For the first time in the history of the Hunter electorate the party saved its election deposit by camouflaging its identity. My opponent stood as a candidate for what was called the State Labour party. I accused him of being a camouflaged Communist. He issued a writ against me, and I could not repeat that accusation in that election. That is not the only feature of the case. This is the most important feature. Where would you ever get a minister of religion speaking on a declared Communist’s platform ? In my electorate that is what happened, despite the fact that some of them definitely knew that they were athiests or anti-God in their beliefs. He was a member of what was called a ministers’ fraternal. I admit that they were Protestant ministers and that I am a Protestant, but if that candidate had stood as a Communist would any minister of religion have dared to speak from his platform? Yet that is what happened.

Honorable members opposite talk of banning the Communist party. What country first banned the Communist party? Russia. What country first became a Communist state ? Russia ! What country became Communist next? Roumania ! Subsequently Hungary became a Communist country. Our particular friend, Hitler, banned the Communist party. He set up a dictatorship in a fascist state that brought a blood bath to the world. He was not satisfied with, banning the Communist party. He did what this Government will have to do if it bans the Communist party in Australia. He banned trade unionism. That is what a government has to proceed to do if it bans communism. Because there may be a militant official in a trade union, that union has to be banned. That policy can only bring about the butchery and the slave state that Hitler established when he banned communism in Germany.

At one period of history Christianity was banned. Did that kill Christianity? There are various denominations which were banned. Did that kill those denominations? I do not think it wise to drive these people underground. A tree is not killed by cutting off the tap root because the other roots spread. As I have stated, Communist activities did not cease when the party was banned in 1940. Nobody can tell me that some at least of the members of the” Protestant Ministers Fraternal did not know that the State Labour party candidate I have mentioned was not a camouflaged Communist. That man has offered himself as a candidate at several elections since then. I am pleased to say that he recently lost his deposit when he stood as a candidate for a seat near Albury.

The Government has preached a policy of fear. The Labour party does not preach such a policy. We say that if communism is to be destroyed it must be fought in the open. Outfight it. Outwork it. Outsmart it. The coal-miners in my electorate are accused of being Communist supporters, but they are not, because the Communist party, at the recent general election, polled the lowest number of votes it has ever received in my electorate. I say to the workers, “Do not let them bludge on your apathy”. The trouble with the workers to-day is that they do not take the interest that they should take in their union affairs. The recent trade union ballots have shown that the Communists can be outmanoeuvred, outwitted, and defeated. Every Communist with the exception of one - and he “ ratted “ on the Communist policy but is still a Communist stooge - has been defeated in the elections to the Northern Miners Management Board and now no executive officers of the northern coal-miners belong to the Communist party. Therefore, I urge this Government not to ban the Communists,, but to let the unions deal with them. Unionists would resent any attempt by the Government to tell them what they should do about the Communists in their organizations. I appeal to the Government to give earnest consideration to my suggestions, because they are backed by a life-time of experience in the miners’ federation, the only trade union, I am proud to say, of which I have ever been a member. Communism, with its doctrines of hate and violence, could be completely destroyed if the Government would introduce social justice throughout the community and leave the trade unions todeal with the immediate problems of Communist activities in industry. Communism thrives upon social injustices and it could not survive under the administration of a truly democratic government. I make no apology for fighting communism in the open, because experience has proved to me that it cannot be destroyed by suppression. The battle-cry of the Government and its supporters is, “ We are the saviours of the nation because we will ban the Communist party”. But such a ban would be contrary to the principles of democracy. The Communist party is a political organization. If it engages in subversive activities, the Government can deal with it by invoking the law of the land and applying the remedies prescribed in the Crimes Act, although, of course, that act contains features with which I disagree. In any case, the Labour party has definitely got communism on the run. The retreat of the Communists began as a canter, but recent ballots have shown that the pace has increased to a gallop. They are galloping to oblivion, and I hope that they will never be heard of again.

Every honorable member is aware of the importance of a high rate of production in the coal industry and, until I was incapacitated by an accident some twenty months ago, I was able to help materially to maintain output. This Government’s policy threatens to hamstring the industry. Through the Governor-General’s Speech it announced its intention to reinstitute a system of compulsory military training. The shortage of man-power in Australia has never been more acute than it is to-day, yet the Government proposes to call up large numbers of young men for military training. I foresee serious consequences arising from this policy. A few days ago, I asked in this House whether the Government intended to call up a battalion of youths from the mines to go into training camps for a period of six months. Youths such as the clippers, wheelers, jiggers and other young men employed in the coal mines must not be taken away from the industry if adequate production is to be maintained. The jobs upon which they are employed demand considerable agility, and therefore they can not be replaced by older men. Perhaps the Government proposes to direct immigrants to the mines to replace these young men who are to be called up for compulsory military service. What would the mothers of those boys think if their sons were made to shoulder guns and learn how to defend the immigrants who had been placed in their jobs? Many supporters of the Government have claimed that they have won the votes of the women of Australia. They would find instead, if they pursued such a stupid policy, that women would be hurling brickbats at them whenever they visited the coal-fields.


– How would the honorable member solve the problem?


– The solution that I suggest is simple. During World War I., the coal-miners were allowed to form their own battalion, and the proportion of enlistments from the mining industry was higher than the proportion from any other industry. But in World War II., an anti-Labour government prevented miners from enlisting in the fighting forces. If that policy was good enough in a time of national crisis, when we were threatened with invasion, surely it is good enough to-day ! Youths on the coalfields should be exempt from compulsory training. That is the solution. I should not like the industry to be denuded of young men, because we are already experiencing great difficulty in persuading the sons of miners and other youths to enter the mines. The dangers are varied and considerable. Apart from the risk of accidents in the mines, there is the grave problem of dust, which has forced many miners to retire from work suffering from varying degrees of incapacity, at the early age of 40 years.

Another vote-catching promise made by the Government was that it would pay endowment in respect of the first child in each family. Under the existing system of wage fixation, the basic wage includes provision for one child in the family of every wage-earner because it is computed upon the basis of the minimum needs of a man, wife and one child. This means that the boss actually pays for the upkeep of the first child in every family. When the Government begins to pay endowment for such children, many unscrupulous employers will try to have the basis of computation of the basic wage amended so that they may be relieved of that financial responsibility. I can only conclude that the Government proposes to relieve the people whom it represents in the main, the employers, of the cost of providing for the first child in every family through the medium of the basic wage. Supporters of the Government parties fostered a fear complex in the minds of the people during the general election campaign with propaganda directed against socialism. They pictured socialism as some violent reptile that would rear up and strike the people and imperil the Australian way of life. Why do they make use of all the socialized services in the community if they honestly believe in .their own propaganda? Why do they use socialized water with which to wash themselves? If they were consistent, they would do without water and suffer from “B.O.”. The Premier of South Australia, Mr. Playford, has socialized electricity services in that State. Would honorable members opposite refuse to eat chops that had been cooked on the electric stoves of South Australia, and would they refuse to ride in the socialized trams, trains and buses that operate in every State? To be consistent, they should refuse to ride on the aircraft of Trans-Australia Airlines, the socialized service that brings them to Canberra when they attend the meetings of this Parliament. They ought to pay their fares to private enterprise. A genuine practising anti-socialist would probably force his wife to become a

Communist as the result of his ridiculous prejudice. He would refuse to use socialized water and would develop severe “B.O.”, so that his wife would refuse to live with him. Then he would refuse to ride to work in a socialized bus and would probably be sacked for being late at work, having refused to use the socialized post office in order to telephone to his boss to explain the reason for the delay. However, the family would probably be happily reunited when the son returned home from his socialized school one day with a dictionary, from which the father could discover that public schools were maintained for the public benefit. The present Prime Minister declared during the general election campaign that he would place under government control any industry that refused to pull its weight for the benefit of the people. However, when the right honorable gentleman was asked a few days ago whether he still held the same view, he replied evasively that he would only consider doing so. -

I am gravely concerned about the welfare of displaced persons at Greta camp. I visited Germany in 1945-46, and I saw there many things that prevented me from gloating too much over the Allied victory. Prior to that visit, I had seen conditions in Great Britain, where German bombs had caused terrible havoc. The men and women of that country had suffered uncomplainingly under the German onslaught, and the evidence that I saw of their fortitude made me prouder than I could have been otherwise of the people of that land, where my mother and father were born. I left Great Britain to visit France, Belgium, Holland and Germany with bitterness in my heart. I believed that no punishment could be too severe for the Germans, and I ‘ remembered the promise of Churchill that, for every bomb that was dropped on Great Britain, ten times ten would be dropped on Germany in return. “When I arrived in Germany I saw that the promise of revenge had been more than fulfilled. My inspection of the coalmining districts took me to Essen, which had been reduced virtually to a mass of rubble. What had been streets were filled with what had been buildings. Only haphazard tracks traversed the ruins.

Starvation was rife. Notwithstanding the atrocities that the Germans had committed during the war, no decent man could witness with equanimity the privations of the thousands of little children who were starving there. I saw children digging down into the ruins of what had once been a food store. Being a miner, I knew what risks they were taking. The children emerged from their tunnels eating a few spoonfuls of black stuff which they held in their hands. I asked an interpreter what they were eating, and he told me that it was sugar that had been soiled by rain soaking through the wreckage of the building. I am not ashamed of my pity for those children. I have expressed it before and have received some unpleasant letters from people who have heard me speak on the subject. I hope that the man who wrote one letter to me is listening to what I am saying now. In his letter to me he said, “ God foi-bid that you should have your way and bring these German children to this country”. I had said to the former Minister for Immigration (Mr. Calwell) that the German children should be brought here. I believe that at one time a lot of Germans settled in your own electorate, Mr. Speaker. They turned out to be very good citizens. In fact, during World War I., and I believe during World War II., also, the number of enlistments of people of German extraction was higher in that area in proportion to population than in any other part of Australia. The gentleman who wrote this letter signed his name to it and indicated that he lived in Hornsby. In my reply to him I took him to task for having used the expression “ God forbid “ and then went on to say -

By the tone of your letter I take it that you are a Christian. If you are, one of the first things you should have learned is the Lord’s Prayer, in which occurs the petition “ Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive them that trespass against us “. If you expect to bc forgiven, you must forgive.

There may be a few Germans slipping through the displaced persons camps, but there are thousands of German children who could be brought to Australia and taught the democratic way of life. Ultimately they would become very good citizens. At present they are being left behind to form the nucleus of the German armies of the next war. If honorable members had seen, as I saw, the German children starving, they would have realized that such children later on would have no love for the Allies. Honorable members will realize that more vividly if they read Hermann Goering’s book about the rise of Hitlerism in Germany. Goering wrote about the harshness of the Versailles Treaty, but more harsh than that is th, treatment of the German children who played no part in the last war and had nothing to do with the rise of Hitler; in fact some of them were not born until after Hitler’s death.. They are being allowed to live under such rigorous conditions that they will learn to hate their conquerers and our children’s children will probably have to fight Germany again. If we want to eliminate war we must be generous in our victory. Let us assume that the right honorable member for Bradfield (Mr. Hughes) is my next door neighbour, and that he and i have a “ scrap “ because he threw dirty water from his house into mine. He jumps the fence and “ jobs me “. I prosecute him and he is fined £10. He is not -able to pay the fine and tells his children the story of how he has had to pay £10 because of the action of Rowley James. But if I am big enough to say to him, “ Here is the £10 ; you are welcome to it” he will probably shake hands and remain quite friendly instead of preaching hatred against me to his children. That is a parable that is applicable to the relationships of the nations to-day. All nations oan afford to be more generous towards one another.

I turn now to the matter of coal. I am well aware of the reason why there is not a greater production of coal. Miners develop a fear complex at the pit top. They fear the dangers they have to meet in the mines. Honorable members should be under no illusion about the dangers of mining. The casualties in any other industry, or in any other two industries together are fewer than those in mining. When the miners are out in the sunlight and away from the danger of gas and fires, fearing those dangers they sometimes decide not to return to the mines. That happens both to men with responsibilities and to boys with no responsibilities. The remedy is to make mining more attractive and safe for the workers. During 1945 and 1946 I visited practically every coal mine in Britain, and many in France, Belgium and Germany. I there saw a system developed by the mine-owning class that was much superior to the Australian system of working mines. In those countries the owners make a mine instead of a hole . in the ground. Owners in Australia do not plan for the future, but overseas they plan for the extraction of coal during hundreds of years yet to come. I went into the mine in which my father worked before he left Wales in 1S60. That mine is still being worked and is still producing 1,000 tons of coal a day. Continental and British mines are made safer through the methods of hydraulic stowage and pneumatic stowage. If those methods can be used overseas perhaps they can be used in Australia. In those mines there are strata that can be used for stowage. In our mines there are big seams which do not contain such strata. Wagons leave Newcastle full of coal and return to the mines empty. Skips come out of the pits full of coal and go back empty.. Instead of those wagons and skips being sent back empty they could be taken back full of stowage that could be got from hills and beaches and other places. If our coal resources are not conserved then within another 50 years Australia will be importing coal. Provision should be made for the future of the nation and not for the immediate needs of the coal owners. The owners are adopting the policy of “ get . rich quick now and to hell with the children of to-morrow “. All they care about is dividends and more dividends to-day. In my electorate and in the electorate of Paterson millions of tons of coal are lost for all time through the stupid system of tearing it out of the mines without any thought for the future of the industry or the protection of the miners. Australia has great assets in coal and should conserve them. [Extension of time granted.] It will be a tragedy if something is not done to preserve our inheritance. What will generations to come think of us when they realize that we allowed millions of tons of coal to be lost for all time because of bad mining methods ? It is time something was done to improve stowage methods. Pneumatic stowage is the latest method. In ,the Lockhead colliery in Fi fe. there is a seam similar to the one at Pelaw Main where I first worked as a miner. Its thickness varies from 18 feet to 20 feet, and between SO per cent, and 90 per cent, of the whole seam can be recovered. Mr. Joshua Jeffries, a mining expert who visited this country, said that it- was tragic that we were able to recover not more than from 30 per cent, to 35 per cent, of the coal from the Greta seam, which is one of the richest in the world.

Mr Drummond:

– Have methods not been improved?


– Not the method of stowage. The Joint Coal Board has done much to make coal-mining more attractive, but little has been done to improve methods so that a higher percentage of available coal can be won. In the Aberdare colliery, experiments have been made with hydraulic stowage, but pneumatic stowage has not been introduced.

Dame Enid Lyons:

– Will the. honorable member explain what he means by stowage?


– When coal is taken from a seam, it is necessary to leave what are known as pillars of coal to support the roof. Eventually, those pillars correspond to the walls of rooms in a building, the empty spaces in between being known as “ bords “. Because the walls or pillars aTe 22 yards thick, they contain a great quantity of coal. With the system of pneumatic stowage, it is possible to recover as much as 85 per cent, of the total quantity of coal. Indeed, it has been claimed that as much as 98 per cent, can be recovered, although I find that difficult to believe. The average quantity recovered under this system is probably 90 per cent.

Mr Hughes:

– Is this not a matter for the New South Wales Government?


– There is now in existence a Joint Coal Board, which represents this Government and the Government of New South Wales, but it cannot achieve much without financial support from the State and the Commonwealth.

I come now to the mechanical extraction of coal from pillars, and on this point I have come into conflict with some of the unions. The miners are opposed to mechanical extraction, but I believe that their objection would be removed if their safety were assured by the introduction of pneumatic stowage, and their wages were not reduced. Under the old system, miners extracting pillar coal earn £2 a day, but under the mechanized system their earnings are reduced to 35s. a day. With mechanization, the miner will increase his output from 30 tons a day to about 100 tons a day. The owner will have more coal to -sell, and it will cost him less to get it. He will not sell it to the public for any less because of that, and the miner is not concerned that he should, but the miner certainly believes that his wages should not be reduced at a time when the owner is making greater profits than ever because of increased output. Therefore, the miner should be assured of the same wage, at least, as he now receives. Indeed, he might well be given something more, seeing that the introduction of mechanization enables the owner to win the coal more cheaply. If the miner were assured of that, I am confident that his objection to the mechanical extraction of coal from pillars would be overcome. If mechanization in that regard is likely to return him less in his pay envelope he will object to it, as I would.

A few years ago, I travelled overseas to attend a conference of the International Labour Office in London, and when it concluded I investigated practices and conditions in the coal mines of Great Britain, and also visited Germany and Prance for the purpose of examining mining problems such as have been troubling us in this country.

While abroad, I examined the two best-known methods of extracting oil from coal, the hydrogenation method, and the Fischer Tropsch method. While in Germany, I met Colonel Zueginozov, of the North German Military Government Coal Control. In spite of his name, he is a Scotsman. At any rate, he spoke with a Scottish accent. He suggested that Australia should claim as war reparations one of the plants operating in Germany for the extraction of oil from coal. Later, I discussed the matter with Major Beesley, an expert of the firm of Imperial Chemical Industries Limited. He said that it would be foolish to accept the plant suggested, because it would take a couple of ships the size of Queen Mary to convey it to Australia.

Sitting suspended from 6 to 8 p.m.


– In my report to the Government, I recommended that experts be brought -here from Germany to supervise the erection of a plant, made from Australian materials, for extracting oil from coal. I understand that, during my illness, some experts did come to Australia, but I have not seen their report, and I have no information about their recommendations.

I regret that the Governor-General’s Speech does not forecast an increase of age and invalid pensions. Most unionists are able to approach industrial tribunals in order to obtain adjustments of their wages to meet the rising cost of living, but only this Parliament can give relief to age and invalid pensioners. Many people forget that unfortunate section of the community, who have been relegated to the industrial serapheap, as it were, but they are remembered by those who have humanitarian feelings and are endeavouring to obtain for them a reasonable increase of pension to offset the mounting cost of living.

During the war, I made a speech in this House in which I recommended the construction of an important railway line in New South “Wales, but the Speaker censored my remarks. The Curtin Labour Government was in office at that time, and I believe that the right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt) was responsible for that action cn the ground of national security. As the need for that railway line is still urgent, I shall revive my proposals. Briefly, General Fewtrell and a former Prime Minister, Mr. Fadden, had taken a party of honorable members to Hexham, where a definite communications bottleneck existed. One well-directed bomb would have smashed the entire railway system,- waterway and roadway at that point, with the result that coal could not have been transported to the great industries at Newcastle, and military transport to Queensland would have been interrupted. Now that there is no danger of enemy attack, the Government should remedy that bottleneck by constructing a roadway from West Wallsend to Kurri Kurri, and building a railway line from the J. and A. Brown railway through Bluegum to West Wallsend and on to Cockle Creek, which is on the main northern line, and continues on through Kurri Kurri to Singleton. The provision of those additional communications would expedite the transport of coal to Newcastle and Sydney. That aditional transport service would be invaluable if a state of national emergency should occur in future. The honorable member for Paterson (Mr. Fairhall) has referred to the disastrous flooding of the Hunter Valley. Even if the big strike had not occurred on the northern fields last year, coal would not have been available because of the serious floods in that district.


– Order ! The honorable member’s time has expired.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Mackinnon) adjourned.

page 621



Minister for External Affairs and Minister for External Territories · Warringah · LP

by leave - The aims of Australian foreign policy are self-evident and unchanging. They are essentially the preservation of peace and our way of life. Inseparable from these aims is the closest possible co-operation within the British Commonwealth and with the United States of America and other nations friendly to the Commonwealth. Our purpose must be to determine in what ways we can co-operate in achieving our objectives, and in supporting the United Nations in its pursuit of world peace. Broad aims or objectives are, however, one thing; the ways or means employed by a nation to secure these aims or objectives are entirely different. These ways and means may change, sometimes frequently, and reflect a varying emphasis or point of view. It is this ever-fluid situation in world affairs which is the subject-matter of foreign policy.

In the pursuit of broad aims there are, of course, both long-range and short-range objectives. It is, therefore, of prime importance to know beforehand what precisely it is desired to accomplish. In both the ultimate and the intermediate, the foreign policy of any country must have regard primarily and constantly to its geographical situation and its special needs over a reasonably long period of time. Its essence consists of the means employed to accomplish its aims in a peaceful manner. A nation’s foreign policy must, however, be closely integrated with that of defence, for if the foreign policy which is followed proves incapable of achieving or maintaining peace, the departments of war must take over. Indeed the military strength of a nation may largely condition the means employed by foreign policy in seeking to achieve its purpose. One further general observation should be made. It is a fundamental fallacy to imagine that different areas of the world admit of solution of their special problems without regard to all other areas of the world. There is not a number of entirely separate solutions to apparently separate problems. Each bears a relation to the others, sometimes a profound one. The foreign policy of a country is doubtless a projection of domestic policy into external relations. But it is more than that. It is largely a projection of its domestic politics into world politics. The general direction of Australia’s foreign policy will accordingly be best indicated by the answer that is given to the question, “ What are Australia’s interests and how best can they be served ? “ The answer will not only assist us in determining the overall strategy of our foreign policy. It will, in addition, clarify our minds and throw into relief the more important matters which should engage our attention and subordinate the lesser.

In carrying out the policy which I shall outline, the Government attaches the highest importance to the full understanding and support of the Parliament. In a democracy the character of the government is decided finally by the will of the people. If the people are not kept sufficiently informed grave mistakes may be made. And so it is the Government’s intention to keep the House promptly and fully informed on all developments in our external relations which affect the vital interests of Australia, and I shall proceed shortly to a detailed examination of the main problems which confront us at the present time in the crucial areas. It is impossible, however, in an occasional statement, no matter how frank and detailed, to give to honorable members, and to the people they represent, that continuous flow of information which is essential to an appreciation of foreign affairs.

The Government therefore proposes to establish during this session a standing committee on foreign affairs which can give constant attention to the broad issues of foreign policy. Similar committees have existed in other countries for many years, and Canada and New Zealand have adopted the idea since the war. I shall submit detailed proposals at a later date, but, briefly, the Government intends that -

  1. The committee should have a broad mandate to study external affairs in the widest sense. The committee should be authorized also to inquire into all matters referred to it by the Minister.
  2. The committee should include members of both Houses. It should have available to it the best minds of the Parliament.
  3. It should consist of members of both the Government and the Opposition.
  4. The committee should not be too large since much of its value will depend on the depth of the studies it undertakes.

The establishment of the committee will not, of course, affect the responsibility of the Government for the determination and conduct of foreign policy. The committee will be able, because of its special studies and information, to give a lead to the House in debates on foreign affairs, but it will not itself “ make “ policy, since that is, and must remain, the responsibility of the Executive. Its great value will lie in its ability to give detailed study to the great problems of the day and topass on to the Parliament the expert knowledge which it will, in the course of time, acquire.

Situated as we are in the south-west corner of the Pacific, with the outlying islands of the Asian continent almost touching our own territories of New Guinea and Papua, our first and constant interest must be the security of our own homeland and the maintenance of peace in the area in which our country is geographically placed. We could many years ago reasonably regard ourselves as isolated from the main threats to our national security. Our security, however, has become an immediate and vital issue because changes since the war have resulted in a shifting of potential aggression from the European to the Asian area, and our traditional British Commonwealth and United States of America friends have not yet completed their adjustments to the new situation. A very great burden of responsibility rests especially on us, but also upon the other British Commonwealth countries of this area.

The birth of new members of the Commonwealth, Pakistan and Ceylon and the Republic of India, the creation of new national entities in the form of the Republic of Indonesia, and the States of Vietnam,- Laos and Cambodia in what was previously known as French IndoChina, are developments which have helped to shift the centre of gravity of world affairs more and more to this area. Our policy must be to ensure, to the full extent we can, that these new States co-operate with each other and with us in meeting positively and actively the new problems created in this area by the emergence of a Communist China, and by the ever-increasing thrust of communism, which endeavours to ally itself, in the pursuit of its ends, with the national aspirations of the millions of people of South-East Asia. In other words, we should work with the new States, economically, commercially, and in the technical as well as the political fields, in order to maintain newly won independence. Our foreign policy accordingly must be principally and continually concerned with the protection of this country from aggression, and with the maintenance of our security and our way of life. It is indisputably true, as I have already in other words indicated, that peace is indivisible and that what takes place in any part of the world concerns us. But it should at all times be stressed that here, in this part of the world, we are faced with special problems, and it is to a solution of these problems that our attention should primarily be directed.

Since the head and corner stone of the British Commonwealth is the United Kingdom, and since our security is to a large extent dependent upon its strength and influence in world affairs, we must be vitally concerned in its interests and safety. Next, therefore, to the maintenance of peace in the Pacific, and almost co-incident with it, comes our interest in the maintenance of peace and security in Western Europe. We also have a special interest in and duty to the British Commonwealth and to each of its members. It must be a constant purpose of Australian foreign policy to strengthen the different ties which exist between us and to build up and not to weaken our composite power and influence for peace. To this end the Australian Government will diligently and at all times direct its energies. It is, however, proper that we should understand that the British Commonwealth has, under the impact of the two forces, on the one hand nationalism and on the other hand internationalism, undergone fundamental changes during the last ten years, which necessitate a new approach to all questions which may affect it. Thirdly, as the greatest Pacific power is the United States, and as, moreover, we have a common tradition, heritage and way of life, it is absolutely essential that we should maintain the closest and best possible relations with it and initiate and carry out our Pacific policies as far as possible in co-operation with it.

Fourthly, we are members of, and as a peace-loving nation we owe obligations to the United Nations, and must be in a position to discharge them. There is a danger of exaggerating, not the importance of the aims or purposes or principles of the United Nations, but the extent to which in present circumstances it can exert real influence for the maintenance of peace in the world. It must never be forgotten that, as its membership includes representatives of all the groups of the world, it may contain those who are working to disrupt the order we believe in, as well as those who support it, although of course all are pledged to support the principles of the United Nations.

In the hope that it may assist in public understanding of the problems involved in foreign policy, and aid honorable members in their own deliberations, I propose to deal separately with each of these relationships to which I have referred. Before doing so, it is essential to have at the back of all our thinking - indeed unless it is constantly kept before us any conduct of foreign policy will be utterly unreal - the broad global picture and the struggle which has developed since actual hostilities ceased, between the western democracies and other nations that follow the democratic tradition on the one hand, and on the other the Soviet Union and the eastern European and other countries over whose foreign policies the Soviet Union appears to exercise effective control. That struggle has divided Europe and Asia in such a way as to impede, if not make impossible, the achievement of conditions of peace and stability throughout the world. It has prevented the normal flow of communication and information between different areas of the world. It has precluded those personal contacts which can help to overcome suspicion and mistrust. It has stemmed the regular course of trade and so directly and adversely affected the living standards of the peoples of Europe and Asia. It has held the world in a trance of uncertainty, doubt and fear.

What has brought about this struggle? It is proper to record that by far the major responsibility for it and for all the unfortunate results which press upon the ordinary man and woman everywhere in the world must, in the present judgment of the Australian Government, be laid on the doorstep of Soviet Russia. I wish to give reasons for this judgment. We believe that the basis of the struggle which has developed since the war lies in Soviet foreign policy. Britain’s wartime leader, Winston Churchill, once remarked that -

Russian policy is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.

The Soviet leader, Joseph Stalin, is reported as having said -

Our policy is simple and clear.

The former was perhaps more a flourish of speech. The latter is probably much nearer to the truth. The ascertainment of that policy, nonetheless, is a matter of great difficulty. What appears, however, to emerge sufficiently clear from the darkness may be expressed in the following propositions. If they are wrong, it is up to Soviet Russia - and we frankly invite it to do so - to point out where, and to what extent, they incorrectly state the position -

  1. Soviet Russia’s foreign policy is essentially global in character. There is a necessary interdependence, recognized by it perhaps more than any other nation, between European and Asiatic policies. In Russia’s case each is harmonized with the other.
  2. Its ultimate objective is world communism, a universal form of communism with Moscow as the controlling centre, either inspired by a belief that only by the destruction of other forms of government can communism be secured, or inspired by no other motive than aggression.
  3. Its immediate purpose is to work towards its ultimate objective by Communist infiltration in all democratic countries - organized from the centre, Moscow - so creating unrest, causing economic disruption and discrediting governments. The means employed may differ from time to time - “peace offensives “, propaganda and industrial dislocation may be used or discarded as circumstances dictate - but the purpose will remain constant.
  4. This purpose will be pursued in the belief that the democratic or so-called capitalist countries possess no inherent internal cohesion and will separately collapse, that they can be divided between themselves, and that time works in Russian interests.

There should be no doubt as to the mind of the peoples of the western democracies. The peoples of the western democracies have no wish to interfere with the internal organization of any country and, in fact, recognize what Soviet leaders claim to accept, that political institutions and economic organization must differ from country to country according to stages of development and historical and other relevant factoi’3. The peoples of the western democracies, of whom Australia is one, are, however, irrevocably opposed to any attempt by whatever means by any one country to impose its will or its organization on any other country. It was for that very reason that the war which commenced in 1939 was fought. In other words, the western democracies are opposed to aggression in any form whatever, whether direct or indirect, by frontal attack or by the subtle means of penetration which the world has learned so much about in this generation. It must be resisted whether it emanates from the so-called “ Right “ or the socalled “Left”. Up till recently, the United Kingdom and the United States Governments have been primarily concerned with resisting aggression in one form or another in Europe. The situation is, however, in essence no different in the western Pacific, particularly in what is generally known as South-East Asia. South-East Asian policy must therefore be seen in this world perspective. In passing, I wish to observe one aspect of the Soviet domestic policy which undoubtedly forms a part of foreign policy, that is the deliberate attempt to build up capital structures and to divert resources into developmental projects. This is done at great sacrifice to the people, who must go without goods which otherwise would be available to them. We tend to be complacent about the relatively advanced stage of western industrial development. We should have in mind how quickly relative industrial capacities can change in circumstances in which governments are prepared to impose heavy sacrifices on their people in order to speed up the development of their country.

I now proceed to consider particular areas of the world, and our special relationships already outlined; to seek to evaluate trends; to estimate Australia’s interests; and to indicate our course of action. The picture of the situation in the Pacific at the present time is unfortunately only too clear for our peace of mind. It can be sketched in a few strokes. Up to the present the main focus of the conflict between democracy and communism has been Europe. But a situation that is in essence no different from that in Europe is now developing throughout Asia and the Pacific. There are, in fact, good grounds for thinking that the success of the western democracies in presenting and holding a firm front against communism in Europe ha3 been partly responsible for the increased interest shown by the Soviet Union in fostering the spread of communism in Asia. The dominating fact is that China, with the largest population of any country in the world, has come, in recent months, almost completely under the control of a government which is Communist in form. This has fundamentally changed the whole picture in Asia. The task of restoring, after the Japanese invasion, .political and economic stability in areas that are of most direct importance to the future welfare of Australia, has increased immeasurably. To the south of China lies a group of States, all of them endeavouring to improve their material well-being. Many, if not most of them, are anxious to work in cooperation with those western countries from which they have inherited a tradition of modern democratic government. Up to the present the efforts of international communism to control and direct the new spirit of nationalism in these countries have met with very limited success. But each of these countries has its own internal Communist problem, and Communist groups throughout the whole of South and South-East Asia can be ex7pected to take fresh heart from the success of their brethren in the vast neighbouring country to the north. To the east of China lies Japan, a conquered nation still under allied occupation and still a doubtful quantity in the future of Asia and the Pacific. While the changes which have taken place in China may or may not be the result of Soviet imperialism, the changes have played into the hands of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in its search for new satellites.

Honorable members will have noticed certain points of similarity between the published texts of the treaties recently concluded at Moscow by the Chinese and the Soviet Government and those earlier treaties between the Soviet Union and its European satellites. It is, of course, too early to determine how these Russo.Chinese agreements will work in practice - in fact on first appearance it looks as though the Chinese may have driven a reasonably good bargain - but past experience suggests that we should watch events carefully.

There is still doubt and uncertainty about the way China is likely to act under the new regime. There are those who firmly believe that the Communists will find themselves so pre-occupied by the task of governing the immense area of China and creating economic order out of the present chaos that they will have little opportunity for contemplating territorial aggrandizement. There are others who believe that China’s present leaders may concern themselves insufficiently with the urgent internal organization of their own country and may be intent on aggression into other areas across China’s present borders, in which event the pattern which developed in Europe could develop in South-East Asia. But even without actually invading neighbour states, or engaging in open intimidation of them, China, either in order to secure markets and raw materials, or as part of Communist aims, without much expenditure of resources, could foment disaffection and disorder in other countries. The Chinese have a readymade instrument in the form of the many millions of Chinese scattered throughout all countries of South-East Asia. It has long been Chinese Government policy to retain every possible influence among communities of overseas Chinese, and the Communists will undoubtedly try to use for their own purposes these strong ties with the Chinese homeland.

This Government’s attitude towards the Communist regime in China is necessarily influenced by its judgment of what China will try to do to stir up unrest and rebellion in Asia, especially having in mind the avowed intention of the new government to strengthen ties between Russia and China. It is not for us to question the kind of government the Chinese people choose to live under. If they are satisfied with the Communist Government, that is their affair. As I have said before, we do not accept the inevitability of a clash between the democratic and Communist way of life; there is no logical reason why democracy and communism, as distinct from Communist imperialism, should not be able to live together in the world. We should very much dislike seeing the traditional contacts severed between China and the Western world. We should like to think that the Chinese Communists would look for the sympathetic help of the Western democracies in the work of uniting and rehabilitating their country. But such evidence as we have of the Communists’ behaviour up to date, including their treatment of United States property and citizens, and their eager recognition of the rebel forces in Vietnam, leaves us uncertain whether the Peking Government will conduct itself in accordance with recognized principles of international law and refrain from interfering in the affairs of neighbour states.

Above all, we shall watch closely for evidence of China’s interference in the affairs of the neighbouring state of Vietnam. This new state comprises the greater part of what was formerly French IndoChina. Under a series of agreements concluded and ratified by the French Government, Indo-China has been divided into the three states of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, which have now been constituted as associate states within the French Union. Honorable members will know something of the bitter conflict that has raged in Vietnam, since the end of the war, between the French authorities and the Communistdominated Vietminh, and that has gravely disrupted the life of the territory. There are supporters of the Vietminh who claim that many of its leaders are not Communists but genuine nationalists who desire nothing more than an independent Vietnam. It is possible that they may wish to follow the lead of Tito in resisting domination by Moscow or Peking. Whether this is so or not, it is an incontrovertible fact that their unchallenged leader, Ho Chi-minh, received his ‘ political training in Moscow. It is certain that if the Vietminh were to overrun the whole country the present Government of Vietnam would be replaced by a regime scarcely distinguishable from other Communist satellite governments. This is the great present danger point in the South-East Asian area. There will be resolved a struggle not dissimilar to that which not so long ago disrupted Greece. Should the forces of communism prevail and Vietnam come under the heel of Communist China, Malaya is in danger of being outflanked and it, together with Thailand, Burma and Indonesia, will become the next direct object of further Communist activities.

The establishment of Communist control over Vietnam - and over Laos and Cambodia, which could scarcely be expected to offer much resistance - would bring Thailand next in line as a target of Communist pressure. Thailand is peculiar in South-East Asia in having a long tradition of independence of which it is intensely proud. The Thais are fortunate in enjoying reasonably settled government and sufficient material wellbeing to make them relatively immune against influence from Marxist doctrine from within. In many respects Thailand is the most stable political entity in the whole of South-East Asia, and it is in Australia’s interest that it should remain stable. But Thailand too has its Communists ; they are apparently few in number, but they include a large proportion of Chinese. The Government has shown itself quite capable of dealing with opposition movements that have sought to overturn it. No doubt the Thais are aware of the mischief that a Communist regime in Indo-China would cause. Their capacity to withstand the formidable pressure which such a regime would bring to bear is, however, exceedingly doubtful.

The situation elsewhere in South-East Asia, is likewise not altogether reassuring. Burma, in particular, is obviously in a condition where active Communist intervention from outside could bring all organized government to a halt. Local Communist and other dissident groups are in control of large areas of the country, and . the most serious aspect of the prevailing disorder is the inability of the Government to reach an amicable agree ment with the Karens, who are opposed to communism and whose co-operation would greatly help the Government in putting down disorders elsewhere and in restoring unity throughout the country.

The continuing confusion in Burma has another grave consequence in that it is seriously affecting the supply and distribution of rice throughout the whole of South-East Asia. In normal times Burma is the principal rice-exporting country of the region, and, although the Burmese Government has so far been able by various means to keep rice exports up to a reasonable level, the uncertainty about future supplies is a source of grave anxiety to neighbouring governments which must look to Burma to furnish a large part of the staple diet of their people.

Malaya is another territory that is facing serious internal problems and can ill afford to have to deal with hostile pressures from outside. Malaya’s special and constant problem is, of course, a racial one, that of trying to weld a single community out of a mixture of races in which the two dominant groups, the Malays and the Chinese, are almost equal in size. On the one hand, the Malays have acquired a new national consciousness, and with it a desire to play a larger part in the political and economic life of Malaya; on the other hand, the Chinese have a firm hold on the business and commercial life of the community, and some of them have at the same time tended to allow their ties with China to colour their attitude towards their adopted homeland and towards the Malays. There are men of goodwill and long vision among both the Chinese and the Malays who see no prospect of an independent, self-governing Malaya until the two principal races have merged into a single community owing allegiance to Malaya alone. These men are working sincerely towards this end, but in the judgment of this Government progress is unlikely to be rapid and it is to be feared that the change of regime in China and the vulnerability of the Chinese in Malaya to irredentist pressure may make this possible solution exceedingly difficult.

In addition, Malaya has for eighteen months been in a state of emergency because of Communist guerrilla activity, which has caused considerable loss of life and damage over the whole of the federation. These guerrillas, most of whom are Chinese who have not been long in Malaya, have caused trouble out of all proportion to their numbers, which are comparatively small. At considerable expense and with great difficulty the Federation Government has succeeded in confining them to isolated jungle areas ; but the work of cleaning them up is arduous and slow and its end is not yet in sight. The Chinese business community in Malaya is generally out of sympathy with the guerrillas; but here again the Communists’ success in China can be expected to have given fresh heart to the guerrillas themselves and to have weakened the interest of many of the Chinese in helping the Federation Government to root out the trouble.

Farther south, in Indonesia, a new government has just assumed the responsibilities of sovereignty and is trying to mould a new nation out of Indonesia’s 70,000,000 people. I spent several days in Djakarta on my way to the Colombo Conference, and had the opportunity of meeting President Soekarno and most of his Cabinet. I formed the conclusion that they were able men with moderate views and a sober realization of the immensity of the tasks in front of them. I also formed a clear impression that the Netherlands Government, and the Dutch officials who are remaining on in Indonesia to help the new government run its administration, are equally determined that Indonesia shall return to prosperity in the shortest possible time. The Indonesians propose to hold elections as soon as possible, and to establish all the machinery of democratic government. There is, I believe, no question of their distaste for communism and their determination to resist it in whatever form it may take. Their immediate worry arises not however from Communists but from other more powerful groups who are using nationalism and the Moslem religion to rally support against the Government. The interim Government is confident that it can suppress these groups and in due course deal with the Communists, many of whom are constantly infiltrating through from Malaya to Sumatra and thence to Java, and who seem at present to be biding their time. But the situation is by no means free from danger and the Indonesian Government will need encouragement and active help from outside if it is to maintain order and at the same time give its attention to the urgent economic problems that have grown up during and since the war.

In the Philippines, although a large measure of prosperity has returned since the end of the war, and agricultural production is now making satisfactory progress, the Government is faced with a difficult problem in a Communistcontrolled movement which continues to defy authority and to perform acts of sabotage within a few miles of the national capital.

I hope that I have not drawn too depressing a picture of the possible consequences of the Communist victory in China. I feel that there is no purpose in glossing over the facts and obscuring the lesson that Australia should draw from them.

We are indeed a Pacific power. But it must never be forgotten that only our eastern coastline faces the Pacific Ocean. We have deep and far-reaching interests in the Pacific. We have similar interests, strategic and otherwise, in the South and South-East Asian area. No nation can escape its geography. That is an axiom which should be written deep into the mind of every Australian. Even though our cultural ties have been and willremain preponderantly with Europe, there is nothing we can do to alter our geographical position. We live side by side with the countries of South and South-East Asia, and we desire to be on good-neighbour terms with them. Above all, it is in our interest to foster commercial and other contacts with them and give them what help we can in maintaining stable and democratic governments in power, and increasing the material welfare of their peoples. In doing so we take’ the long view. We will be helping to provide them and ourselves with the best defence against the effective penetration of Communist imperialism.

There are two instruments of foreign policy which can be used to avert the dangers to our country to which I have referred - one primarily economic, the other primarily military. Of the latter I shall have something to say later in this speech. It is to the former that I now desire to address my remarks.

The consolidation of communism in China and the evident threat of its emergence as a growing force throughout South and South-East Asia, underline the urgency of international efforts to stabilize governments and to create conditions of economic life and living standards under which the false ideological attraction which communism excites will lose its force. It is, perhaps, doubtful whether Communist China will, at least in the near future, be in a position to make any tangible contribution towards raising the living standards of the underdeveloped and highly populated countries in this area. In this respect there may be no exact analogy with Europe where the Soviet Union has been able to some extent to use its export capacity as an instrument of bargaining and propaganda. But by so much will the democracies, if w.e but seize the opportunity, though with necessary safeguards to ensure that what is- done is not dissipated, be at an advantage compared with the situation in Europe.

The problem in Asia lies in the poverty that exists within the region itself, no less than in the pressure from external forces. Surveys made by the United Nations emphasize the comparatively low consumption standards of this area compared with others, the pressure of population on consumption standards, and the insufficiency of capital investment to make possible any rapid improvement in production, and thus in the standard of living. Already some machinery exists for promoting rehabilitation and development. So far this machinery has achieved relatively little in South and South-East Asia. This- Government is concerned that there is lacking as yet any concerted attempt to check and reverse through international economic measures the deterioration in the political and economic situation. Because, in many cases, international economic assistance will produce only slowly its effects on production and living standards, further delay in comprehensive international economic action may well have the result that action will fail to achieve its political purpose of maintaining stable government, even though such action does eventually raise living standards. .

The economic advantages of the rest of the world from the development of the output of food and raw materials of the region are, I believe, self-evident. It is one of the few areas from which it is possible to foresee a substantial contribution towards a solution of the dollar problem by way of either direct dollar earnings or replacement of supplies on which the sterling area is dependent. Because the economic situation in South and South-East Asia lies so close to the international political problems that arise in particular parts of the area, the Australian Government availed itself of the opportunity provided by the Colombo Conference to have the question discussed by the Foreign Ministers there assembled, in the hope that in recommendations to their respective governments, there might be provided an impetus and a sense of emergency which might otherwise be lacking if the question were left for determination in its economic and financial context alone.

Appraisal of the trends in both the political and economic situation suggests that- results are needed much more quickly than they have been achieved in the past. It is evident also that in view of the size of this problem the economic progress of South and South-East Asia depends very much on the extent of the participation of the United States of America. I am sure our friends of the United States will not misunderstand me when I say that their great eminence in world affairs to-day not only imposes corresponding obligations upon them, which it should be recorded they have most generously been willing to accept, but it also makes impossible the solution of such problems as we are discussing without .their active co-operation. At the same time a start needed to be made quickly and the organism of the British Commonwealth suggested itself to this Government as the appropriate body to initiate the undertaking of the task.

In the result the Australian delegation at Colombo put forward specific proposals in the form of recommendations to the respective governments there : represented which were unanimously adopted on the joint sponsorship of Australia, New Zealand and Ceylon. These recommendations have been approved in their entirety by the Australian Government and we await the responses of the other governments. Until the replies of all governments are to hand, it is not appropriate to do more than to indicate that it is proposed to set up a consultative committee, membership of which will be open, in the first place, to all British Commonwealth countries which wish to participate, with the following terms of reference: -

  1. To receive from governments an indication of the action they consider it feasible to take in response to the recommendations which envisage and deal with economic aid to the South and South-East Asian areas.
  2. To approach the governments of countries outside the Commonwealth interested in the area with a view to enlisting their collaboration.
  3. To examine the methods of co-ordinating development activities in South and South-East Asia, in association with international and regional organizations concerned, with the object of raising the level of production and the standards of living in the area.
  4. To examine the desirability of promoting international commodity agreements for basic products, which would benefit the area and could be recommended for consideration under the Havana Charter.
  5. To consider whether the economic development of underdeveloped countries of the area would be assisted by the drawing up of a coordinated plan of development and by the establishment of special machinery. fi. To make consequential recommendations *o governments.

If the recommendations which were adopted at Colombo are accepted, the Australian Government has agreed to undertake the responsibility of convening the first meeting of the consultative committee in Australia. It is hoped that this will be on a high ministerial level and will be held within approximately the next eight weeks. Each country has its own special problems, and there is no panacea that will work miracles in solving them all. If Australia or any other industrially advanced nation is to play a part in preserving order and satisfying want in Asia, it must suit its action to the particular need, bearing in mind all the time that its own resources are limited and must be used selectively where they can be expected to do most good.

I should like to emphasize three points about the proposal that we have made, First of all, it is not to be expected that it will achieve spectacular results in a short time. But we believe that this is one field in which careful planning and judicious use of resources will be more effective than haphazard measures taken with insufficient forethought and probably too late. Secondly, there is no intention of restricting the planning, or any machinery that may be set up to carry it out, to Commonwealth countries. It is obvious that there are other countries which have a direct interest in the political and economic stability of South and South-East Asia, and it is our hope that they will find themselves able to associate themselves with the project. In the third place, it should not be assumed that we are thinking in terms of aid in one direction only. It is not the purpose of the scheme that it should be a matter of what I might call “hand-outs” to Asia. “We contemplate that it should aim at stimulating the productive capacity of these countries, and to that extent we look upon it as a prelude to the promotion of trade from which Australia can profit in full measure. This planning is essentially long-term planning. It will be some time before all the results are observed. Nevertheless, long-term plans are under way, and the encouragement given thereby to the newlyestablished governments in SouthEast Asia, will have an immediate effect in assisting them to maintain stability within their own borders. Moreover, there are a number of things which we believe can be done, and done quickly, within the general context of the longer term plan. The Australian Government has helped war-stricken countries with relief supplies and also has done and will continue to do what it can to foster the spread of education in South-East Asia, both by the gift of education text-books and materials and the creation of fellowships and scholarships for South-East Asian students at Australian educational institutions. In planning for economic assistance to South-East Asia, particular attention will be given to those aspects that will produce immediate results.

A satisfactory solution of the Japanese problem is of the highest importance to

Australia. We have to make up our minds whether we are going to support a policy of holding the Japanese people down permanently or indefinitely, or whether we are going to allow them, under the necessary and essential safeguards, to resume a place as an industrial nation. If we decide on the second course, we must, in addition, make up our minds about what controls must be retained on Japanese industrial development. In the discussions at Colombo I emphasized that the Australian people, naturally enough, still entertain considerable hostility towards Japan, and I made it clear that every necessary precaution must he taken against any resurgence of Japanese militarism. At the same time, it is difficult to escape the conclusion that Japan will have to be allowed to become selfsupporting by industrial production and trade. Whether we like it or not, there is little doubt that much of Asia at its present stage of development stands in need of many goods that Japan only is at present in a position to supply.

It was the view of the former Government, and it is the view of this Government, that a peace settlement ought to be reached with Japan as soon as possible. It is also the Government’s view that Australia has an indisputable right to participate directly in the framing of the terms of peace. The difficulties which have stood in the way of a peace settlement up to the present, and still stand in the way of it, should, I think, be briefly described for the information of honorable members. As long ago as 1947 the United States Government took the initiative in suggesting a preliminary conference of all countries represented on the Far Eastern Commission - that is, all countries which could be said to have taken an active part in the war against Japan - to discuss a Japanese peace treaty and in particular to reach agreement on the procedures under which a peace conference should take place. That initiative of the United States Government could not be followed up, mainly because the Soviet Government insisted that any peace settlement must be framed by the Council of Foreign Ministers. Since that time the Soviet Government on the one hand has shown no sign of abandoning its attitude, and the United States Government for a number of reasons has not pressed its initiative. Its policy has tended in the direction of indefinite postponement of a formal peace settlementAt the same time, the United States hassought to restore to the Japanese Government a gradually increasing measure of responsibility for the conduct of Japan’s internal and even external affairs.

This does not quite accord with the wishes of the Australian Government. We have a great deal of admiration for the manner in which the occupation of Japan has been conducted, even although we might not be altogether happy about certain aspects of it. But if present United States policy contemplates a gradual relaxation of control until a state of peace can be declared without even the formality of a treaty, Australia and other countries which have misgivings about Japan’s future behaviour would run the risk of being presented with a fait accompli. We would prefer to see a comprehensive and orderly settlement worked out by the countries that took an active part in the war against Japan, a settlement that would allow Japan to become economically viable but which would at the same time contain proper safeguards against any recurrence of Japan’s aggression. In this way we believe that the interests of the United States as well as thoseof the other Allies could be protected. This; will not be easy, but we should like to see a further atempt made. In the meantime, the Australian Government has supported a recommendation agreed upon at Colombo that a meeting of representatives of all British Commonwealth countries should take place in London to consider in detail the terms of the peace settlement for Japan and to co-ordinate to the fullest extent possible the views of all British Commonwealth governments. We believe that this step will accelerate the conclusion of a formal peace treaty. The problem of Japan is such that it could form the subject of a separate debate because of its supreme significance to this country. I hope that some honorable members will take advantage of this debate to devotetheir observations solely to this subject as their observations will .be of great value to the Government in the discussions whichare shortly to take place in London. An example of the importance of the problem was provided by the matter recently referred to iri the House, that of breaking up the Zaibatsu. Australia’s policy on that subject, on shipping, and on other aspects of the Japanese problem which face the occupying forces remains unchanged. After the London discussions it is my intention to bring the matter back into this House so that it may receive full consideration.

In speaking of Japan, I have laid some stress on security against possible aggression. The security of Australia, and with it our prosperity and our freedom to pursue our way of life, is of course what is uppermost in our minds when we determine the form and direction of foreign policy. The cultivation of friendly relations with our neighbours and with likeminded countries everywhere in the world has as its ultimate objective the protection of Australia against aggression from any quarter and in any guise. I have spoken about what we might be able to do individually or in co-operation with other countries to draw the teeth of Communist imperialism by carefully applied measures of economic assistance. But such measures are, of course, essentially long-term measures. It may well be that events in Asia could move too quickly to allow time for economic and political measures alone to take effect.

It is therefore thought desirable that all governments that are directly interested in the preservation of peace throughout South and South-East Asia and in the advancement of human welfare under the democratic system should consider immediately whether some form of regional pact for common defence is a practical possibility. The concept of a Pacific pact is of course not a new one, but it seems to me that this concept has in the past been surrounded by a great deal of confusion. After the North Atlantic Pact had been drawn up and concluded last year, a number of people fell victim to an easy assumption that what could be done in Europe and the Western Hemisphere could be done just as effectively in Asia and the Far East. Others again have felt quite sincerely that a counterpart in the Pacific area of the North Atlantic Pact, lacking its military commitments and emphasizing political, economic or cultural cooperation, would meet the needs of the area. What I have in mind is something between these two conceptions. I fully realize that, under conditions as they are to-day, the North Atlantic Pact is not capable of being transposed to the Pacific. On the other hand, I find it hard to imagine that a multilateral agreement that had nothing to do with defensive arrangements would be of much use in meeting a sudden emergency. What I envisage is a defensive military arrangement having as its basis a firm agreement between countries that have a vital interest in the stability of Asia and the Pacific, and which at the same time are capable of undertaking military commitments. I would like to think that Australia, the United’ Kingdom, and, I fervently hope, other Commonwealth countries, might form a nucleus, and that such other countries as might wish to do so should be given the opportunity of associating themselves with it, providing, as I have said, that they are capable of contributing military commitments. I have in mind particularly the United States of America, whose participation would give such a pact a substance that it would otherwise lack. Indeed, it would be rather meaningless without the United States of America. But a pact confined to mutual defence arrangements is, by definition, “ defensive “. Defensive pacts are in many ways negative. We look toward a pact that has also positive aims - the promotion of democratic political institutions, higher living standards, and increased cultural and commercial ties. It is obvious that there are a large number of important factors which have to be explored before any such pact is possible. The Government regards this as an urgent objective of policy in the fast-moving events of South-East Asia to-day. No effort will be spared in pursuing this idea further. I hope to be in a position to give the House further details during this session.

Irrespective of whether or not a regional defence pact along these lines should turn out to be feasible, Australia has a duty to itself which must not be neglected. This is the duty of ensuring by every means open to us that, in the island areas immediately adjacent to Australia, in whatever direction they lie, nothing takes place that can in any way offer a. threat to Australian security, either in the short term or in the long term. These islands are, as experience has shown, our last ring of defence against aggression, and Australia must be vitally concerned with whatever changes take place in them. It is not to be assumed by any one that should fundamental changes take place in any of these areas, Australia would adopt a purely passive role. 1 have in mind particularly, but not exclusively, New Guinea, which is an absolutely essential link in the chain of Australian defence. The Australian people are deeply interested in what happens anywhere in New Guinea. As regards Australian New Guinea it is our duty to ensure that it is administered and developed in a way best calculated to protect the welfare of the native inhabitants and at the same time to serve Australia’s security interests. Honorable members will recall that an unofficial spokesman in Indonesia recently declared that Australian New Guinea should be incorporated in Indonesia. I thought it desirable to make an immediate rebuttal of any such claim, and I was pleased to see that the Indonesian Government lost no time in disclaiming that the statement that had been made enjoyed any official support.

New Guinea happens to be the largest and most important of these island areas that are of direct concern to us. But in the same way we cannot be passive observers of any developments in Timor, the New Hebrides and New Caledonia that might have unwelcome consequences to Australia. But that is negative. We are prepared positively to join with the governments of these countries in arrangements of mutual economic and security benefit. There is no question of interference in the affairs of others; it is simply a matter of common prudence and mutual co-operation.

I should like now to extend the horizon, in a slightly different context, to the South and South-west Pacific. We propose to continue and develop the cooperation that has been established with cur neighbours who are responsible for the administration of territories in the area. The South Pacific Commission, which is representative of the Governments the United Kingdom, the United States of America, New Zealand, France, the Netherlands and Australia, is a tangible and effective form of such cooperation. The objectives of the commission are the social and economic development of the non-self-governing territories administered by the governments mentioned. The commission is not concerned with defence or political matters. The economic and social development of the territories in the area is vital to each territory and has a wider significance- for the future advancement and peace of the whole Pacific area. The experience of co-operation in the commission may also i.ave lessons which could be applied in other areas important to Australia.

The work of organizing the commission is now virtually completed and experts are already engaged in field work in the territories examining problems of education, including technical training, economic development and health with a view to making recommendations to the member governments. These recommendations will undoubtedly bo helpful to the governments and administrations. We stand to gain from them because New Guinea and Papua are the largest and most populous of the South Pacific territories and their developmental problems are formidable. The Australian Government alone is responsible for action taken in its territories, but the advice of the commission on the questions within the scope of its proper functions will be welcomed and we shall support it and co-operate in its work. Representatives of the native peoples of the Australian territories will be attending a South Pacific conference which is to be held in Suva in April under the auspices of the commission. Here, for the first time in history, representatives of the peoples of these territories will meet together, along with their administering authorities, to learn what is being done for them by the commission and by their governments, and to make whatever comments or suggestions they wish.

It is a fundamental interest of Australia that the United Kingdom and its allies in Western Europe and the North

Atlantic should be strong and free. Events in Europe are still of great importance to our national security. The United Kingdom is not only the senior partner of the British Commonwealth but is also one of the leaders of the North Atlantic and European communities. Since the war, the United Kingdom Government has played a major role in promoting first the Treaty of Dunkirk with France, then the Brussels Pact with France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxemburg, and finally the North Atlantic Pact, which brings the United States and Canada into a defensive alliance with ten European countries. In addition, the United Kingdom has played an important role in the organization of the Council of Europe in which representatives of the democracies of Europe meet for consultation in economic, social, and political questions. The United Kingdom has also, of course, carried a heavy responsibility in the Organization for European Economic Co-operation.

The Australian Government welcomes these measures as positive contributions to the reconstruction and defence of Western Europe. The special interests of the United Kingdom and is close political and economic association with the Continent, are, I believe, consistent with close co-operation by the United Kingdom in British Commonwealth defence and with its special financial and economic commitments to the sterling area and the Commonwealth. The United Kingdom has given many assurances that in any steps it takes in Europe, the wider interests of the British Commonwealth will be borne in mind. In the light of those assurances we, for

Our part, have not stood and do not stand in .the way of any co-operation in Europe which the United Kingdom feels to be necessary.

The British Commonwealth can be not only an organization with which we feel proud to be associated but an instrument of our security and prosperity. If the Commonwealth can be kept together and work together, and can co-operate as a Commonwealth with the United States and Western Europe, it means an overwhelming force in support of peace. Should, however, the members of the Commonwealth insist on working as separate units, the importance of each is diminished, and the difficulty of cooperation with the United States and Western Europe is greatly increased.

I do not suggest that we can, or should, have identical policies, or duties. Australia and New Zealand have their special interests and responsibilities in the Pacific and South-East Asia - Canada in North America and the North Atlantic - the South African Union in Africa - and India, Pakistan and Ceylon in South Asia; But we should not, in any emphasis on independence, be complacent about divergence. Unanimity freely reached should always be our aim. We have sometimes boasted of the fact that within the Commonwealth we can have differences and yet remain united. But this can go to extremes. We can disagree on incidental issues but we must seek to resolve fundamental disagreements between the members of the family of the Commonwealth as a whole. This in fact is the accepted and long-standing view of all members; to-day the give and take has to be even more generous so that we can stand together in all but unimportant issues.

As regards organization, the association need not be rigid, but should provide constant means for consultation and contact. In theory these may be said to exist. In practice, except between Australia and New Zealand where close liaison is maintained by special arrangement, they have proved only too often to be insufficient or insufficiently used. Better means must be found and better advantage taken of existing methods.

Frequent meetings on a ministerial level in different parts of the Commonwealth provide at least one method. [ would also like to see as a permanent feature of our relations regular meetings of High Commissioners in the different capitals of the Commonwealth, under the chairmanship of a senior Minister. Such consultation would enable a constant exchange of views without interfering with the right of any representative to express his dissent from the views of the others. The informal consultation between Commonwealth representatives in foreign capitals is a further practice that I feel should be intensified. Having regard to the rapidity with which events these days are apt to move, an essentia] factor, if inter-Commonwealth consultation is to be effective, is speed. Situations arise suddenly which demand urgent action. The development and extension of consultation on the High Commissioner level in London can make provision for urgent consultation only if each member of the Commonwealth realizes that it is incumbent upon it to formulate and express its views quickly. In this way, as a situation is developing, policy should be crystallized. The Australian Government will do what it can to this end.

Australia’s special interest in the Pacific and South-East Asia does not relieve us of the obligation to follow closely the situation in Europe. The United Kingdom, despite its world-wide interest, remains a European power whose security is intimately linked with the international and military situation on the continent, and whose economic position is greatly dependent on its relations with the rest of “Western Europe.

The United Kingdom’s dollar problem which is also Australia’s problem, has to be bridged within the framework of the European Recovery Programme as thin is the vehicle through which American assistance is being extended to the whole sterling area. Finally, although the problem of checking Communist expansion is at present more urgent from Australia’s viewpoint in South-East Asia, we cannot afford .to ignore the internal struggles which have taken place in Western Europe since the war. The centre of gravity of world affairs never remains constant and whilst in the judgment of the Australian Government, that centre of gravity now lies in the Pacific and Asian areas, it may shift. Although the ideological struggles in Western Europe have resulted in the gradual weakening of Communist forces in that region, these internal struggles still continue, and if the economic recovery of Western Europe were subjected to a severe check, the political situation would again become precarious in several conntries. The generous financial aid provided by the United .States under the Marshall plan, following assistance provided by many nations, including Australia, through Unrra saved Europe from economic collapse, and provided a breathing space in which European countries could gradually adapt their production and trade to the new conditions of the post-war world. Although considerable progress has been made, complete recoveryis not by any means in sight. We areonly now beginning to realize the extent: of the tremendous damage wrought by World War II. in the economic structureof the world. It is now apparent that recovery will consequently take longer and will require more far-reaching changes in Europe and in its relations with the rest of the world than was expected, say, five years ago. In view of Australia’s close trade relationships with the United Kingdom and our own interests in continental markets, we are obliged to keep the progress of Europeanrecovery under continuous observation helping where we can, but also being ready to take prompt action to safeguard Australia’s interests should they be threatened by the policies of other countries designed to alleviate their own difficulties.

Although the main burden of British Commonwealth policy in relation to European affairs falls not unnaturally upon the United Kingdom, it is necessary for the Commonwealth as a whole to make its presence and strength felt in Europe as well as in Asia. It is therefore essential for us, along with other Commonwealth countries, to maintain direct diplomatic relations with the leading countries of Western Europe so as to be fully informed of events, and to adjust our policies in accordance with such events.

I have emphasized how essential it is for Australia to maintain the closest links with the United States of America for vital security reasons. But our relations with the United States go further than that. We have a common heritage and tradition and way of life. During the war we built up a firm comradeship with our American friends. This friend-, ship must, however, never be taken for granted. We propose actively to maintain the official and personal contacts and interchanges which resulted from the urgent needs of a common military effort.

Indeed, as far as possible, it is our objective to build up with the United

States somewhat the same relationship as exists within the British Commonwealth and to which I have just referred. That is to say, we desire a full exchange of information and experience on all important matters, and consultation on questions of mutual interest. “Where we conceive our interests to diverge from those of the United States on any fundamental issue, we shall, of course, firmly maintain our own point of view. But, where our general objectives coincide, we shall seek to have done with petty disagreements and follow broad avenues of co-operation. I am confident that, on the great issues affecting the maintenance of peace and security in this area, Australia and the United States can act in concert to our mutual advantage and the advantage of other countries concerned.

On a minor plane, but none the less of importance, it should be recorded that together we have established in recent months a United States Educational Foundation in Australia financed from the residual settlement of lend-lease and reciprocal aid. Only a few days ago the board of directors of this foundation met in Canberra to map out programmes for teachers and students and professors to come to this country and to provide passages for Australian students to and from the United States. “We have also just concluded with the United States an agreement for the mutual waiver of vise fees for temporary visitors. This should facilitate travel of Americans to Australia and, when dollars are again available, of Australians to the United States.

Economic conditions in Australia, together with Australia’s record in business practices, assure security and many profitable opportunities for United States and other investors in Australia. Australia’s ability and willingness to meet commitments, the observance of the Australian Government and Australian businessmen of recognized and fair business practices is well-known throughout the world. However, in business relations, it is not always sufficient to rely on past reputation, though it is fundamental. To provide a formal framework within which business and commerce can be promoted, we are discussing with the

United States Government the possible conclusion of a treaty of friendship, commerce and navigation, and of a convention on taxation. By these and other means the Government hopes to assist trade with the United’ States and to stimulate, with proper safeguards, the flow of American capital for the development of this country.

I want now to state the attitude of this Government towards the United Nations and, in general terms, its attitude towards other international organizations, working in the economic and social sphere, that are related to the United Nations. Australia will continue to apply the principles of the United Nations Charter in its own foreign policy. Moreover, the Government will give continuing support to the operation of the United Nations so long as the United Nations itself operates in accordance with those principles.

Australia will strive to make the United Nations a more effective organization in carrying out its fundamental tasks. In this we shall co-operate with the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, and other members of the Commonwealth, and all those who have shown themselves to be genuinely bent upon using the organization to find workable and just solutions of international problems.

I do not propose to embark on a long review of the work of the United Nations. Within the confines of the time available to me to make my first statement on foreign policy to the House, I feel that the priority of other questions requires me to avoid a long descriptive review of this organization and its recent activities. But a brief appraisal of its record, and of its prospects, will indicate the general attitude which will guide this Government in deciding its policy on the many matters of detail that will be discussed in the various United Nations organizations in the months ahead.

In the economic and social sphere, the United Nations and other organizations like the International Refugee Organization, the International Children’s Emergency Fund, and the agencies that have grappled with the grave problem of Palestine refugees, have done valuable work. Indeed, the work of the International Refugee Organization, in providing for the day by day needs and the future of almost 1,500,000 individuals, represents one of the remarkable successes of international co-operation since the end of the war.

There are prospects ‘ of further constructive’ achievements in international economic work and co-operation. The coming into operation of an international programme of technical assistance to under-developed countries, inspired in President Truman’s fourth point, will give constructive tasks and an important objective to a number of these international organizations. This is a programme which, if it is backed by the governments of more developed countries, can build surer foundations of economic progress and political stability in areas such as South and South-East Asia where, as I have already said, economic conditions have encouraged the growth of forces which are a threat to this country’s well-being.

Other activities of the United Nations, and some of the specialized international organizations, have less to commend them. In my view, the time will shortly come when it will be necessary for Governments to meet together, and impose some rationalization upon organizations which have tended to spring up piecemeal since the end of the war. It is necessary to put a stop to the proliferation of separate organizations and secretariats which has occupied the time of governments when their energies might have been applied more directly to solving the conspicuous economic and social problems that prevail throughout the world.

The promotion of a healthier world economic situation is fundamental to the maintenance of close political relations among democratic countries, and, indeed, to the preservation of some countries as democracies. This is a point to which I shall return later. The United Nations and other specialized economic agencies can play an important part in achieving this purpose, and Australia will co-operate with them to that end.

When we turn to the political aspect of the activities of the United Nations - the aspect which brings us close to the great continuing problems of maintaining peace - the United Nations again has done successful work in the interests of its members collectively. It has shown that it can define areas of agreement and disagreement, exercise a deterrent to unilateral or violent action, and mediate successfully. It has found international solutions of problems that have been pressed upon it. In some cases it has failed in its attempts, in others it has succeeded.

The United Nations is working under a cloud of frustration and doubt because, under present conditions, it cannot bring together the major disputants in world relations. Nevertheless, it is the only organized mechanism available to us for finding agreed solutions of problems that are international in scope. Its members should therefore apply the organization to those useful tasks that are within it3 reach at the moment, and try as well to extend its authority by seeking to find a basis for agreement on major subjects like atomic energy, disarmament and the like, which confront the world.

The Australian Government will see that Australia accepts firmly these responsibilities of membership. We shall not, however, exercise this responsibility by weak compromise on principles or by displaying an unjustified faith in either the motives of others or in the respect which they will accord to the United Nations Charter. Let us recognize how fatal it would be for Australia’s future if our foreign policy rested solely on an affirmation of faith in the United Nations. There is a distinction between wholeheartedly supporting its principles - which we do - and believing that all its members will find in the foreseeable future common agreement on the application of those principles-.

The experience of the past few years shows clearly enough that the members of the United Nations, and more particularly its powerful members, have failed to find that common agreement. I have left honorable members in no doubt about the view of this Government regarding where lies the main blame for this failure. What is of vital concern to us is that there has been no agreement on major issues in the past, there is no immediate prospect of agreement in the future,>and the basis of Australian foreign and defence policy must be adjusted accordingly. Australia lives in a dangerous world, and we must look immediately to means additional to the United Nations - not necessarily to other principles - to defend our interests and to exert our influence towards the establishment of peaceful relations among democratic governments.

In passing, I should like to point out one omission from the Charter of the United Nations - an omission of words rather than of intention. Article 2 of the Charter obliges all members to refrain from “ the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State or in any way inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations “. When the Charter was drafted, the now highly developed technique of threatening political independence by means of propaganda and “ internal change “ was not uppermost in our minds. On the contrary, one of the provisions of the Charter was an obligation to respect the principle of “ selfdetermination “. It is completely clear, however, that any outside attempt to bring about a change in or to threaten the polical independence of any State by means of propaganda or other means not involving the use of force is equally contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

I repeat that we must take no action inconsistent with the principles of the organization. We must try to foster the influence of the organization by giving it the opportunity to provide solutions. But where the United Nations is manifestly unable to protect Australian interests it is the duty of the Government to follow simultaneously a policy of making supplementary arrangements among those whom we know to be our friends.

I turn now to say a short word about foreign economic policy. The years since the war have demonstrated how interconnected are the political and economic policies of all countries and this has been demonstrated in the foreign policies of the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and other countries.

There should be a similar interconnexion in our own foreign policy and I take this opportunity to stress its importance. Australia is a large trading nation. Our economic policies can be influential in promoting the political objectives which I have outlined to honorable members, as well as serving our commercial interests.

For example, it is highly desirable for Australia that the political affinity of Commonwealth countries and Western Europe on the one hand, with the United States and Canada on the other, should not be disturbed by conflicts in commercial and other economic policies. For a variety of good reasons sterling countries like Australia have been obliged by the disequilibrium in world trade to adopt short-term policies restricting trade and overseas payments.It will be the desire of the Government to co-operate in broad measures in which all countries will play their appropriate part to overcome exchange problems so that a single multilateral currency system shall be restored, and unnecessary restrictions abolished.

Consistent with its own trade interests, Australia should encourage measures for the progressive co-ordination of Western European production and the restoration of Europe to a position independent of special international assistance. Europe’s political stability and resistance to communism can be no stronger than its economic vitality. It need not be stressed that it is our constant desire that the United Kingdom should regain, as quickly as possible, the economic strength that was so gravely undermined by the war.

Moreover, it is through economic relations that eventually we may be able to make the most effective contact with countries under Communist domination and through the increase of trade rebuild the contacts which have been sharply broken in the political sphere.

I have suggested to honorable members already that Australia should examine the possibilities of closer economic relations with South and SouthEast Asia where in so many places appalling poverty is a continuing obstacle to the maintenance of stable democratic governments with whom Australia can co-operate in a spirit of friendship and confidence.

Apart from these political considerations, Australia’s own economic interests are directly bound up with the solution of the economic problems of Western Europe and Asia and the working out of freer trade relations with the powerful economies of the North American continent.

Australia will, therefore, conduct its foreign economic policy with these major considerations in mind. We shall aim at greater co-operation with other sterling countries and seek to overcome the difficulties which prevent the development of our commercial and cultural relations with the United States of America. We shall co-operate in the international economic organizations of which we are members, to maintain sound and mutually beneficial international economic relations. We shall support the more constructive work of United Nations economic agencies, playing our fair part in such matters as the proposed international assistance programmes, to which I have referred elsewhere.

The picture just painted of the world scene is undeniably not a pleasant one. We live in a world which has lost much of its faith in the present machinery for harmonizing international differences. Once again the burden of national rearmaments is strangling economic and cultural development. International trade is clogged by fear and suspicion. Already in the great capital cities of the world people are living in a state of tension and fear which would be more widespread were the terrible implications of modern scientific knowledge more clearly understood. All these ills and fears stem fundamentally from the present impasse in relations between one-time allies - the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and its friends and satellites on the one hand, and on the other the United States of America, supported by the Western democracies.

In my review, I have outlined the policies which will be pursued by the Australian Government in order to meet the immediate situation as it appears to us, and to provide for the maximum security by our own efforts, and through co-operation with friendly States, against threats to security which appear to exist. I have emphasized that as well as securing immediate and vital Australian interests we shall pursue a policy of goodneighbourly assistance to other nations within our immediate sphere. One lesson to be drawn from the history of Ohina of the past few years is that instability in a regime is in direct proportion to low standards of living, maldistribution of wealth, and inefficiency of government leadership. We are sure that it is to our interest to provide, to the maximum extent of our capacity, those resources which will help to consolidate the governments of South-East Asia on such a sound, democratic basis that no extremism can flourish.

But” I now wish to go further. On the assumption I have made with respect to Soviet foreign policy, it is our duty to develop a security policy. At the same time, this precaution is taken - and taken with determination - without hostility, without vindictiveness, with no thoughts of aggression or destruction of another economic system, and always with the hope that the assumption will be demonstrated beyond doubt to be wrong. It is taken in the belief that, with goodwill, co-operation in the urgent tasks of peace can be secured as in war; but with the reservation that, failing co-operation, there will be a situation against which we have a duty to protect ourselves.

I believe that the people of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, like the peoples of other countries of the world, want only to live at peace with their neighbours. I cannot believe that the rulers of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics can totally disregard the feelings of their people, nor the implications of the new. scientific weapons of war. It is our earnest hope that they will not be so bound by what seem to he the dictates of their ideological beliefs, as not to respond to a new approach for an understanding, an understanding based on mutual respect for the ways of life of other people, and a genuine desire to halt the crippling cold war.

In the circumstances of the international situation as we know it at present, what can the real democracies, the real lovers of freedom and peace, do to avoid the calamity of war and to preserve their way of life?

First, it is necessary for them to understand clearly the true causes of present international tension-.

Secondly, they must realize that the preservation of their own way of life calls for a major, sustained and determined effort in every field of human activity, including the political, .economic and spiritual fields.

Thirdly, the democracies must accept the fact that any policy of appeasement is completely ineffective and even dangerous. Experience has shown that the leaders of Communist Russia regard appeasement, or any sign of fear, as evidence of weakness. They respect power, and determination to exercise power, should that prove necessary. It is only on this latter basis that any approach to the Soviet Government, whether by way of special high-level talks, or through existing diplomatic and international agencies, can have any real chance of success.

Fourthly, the real democracies have a duty to put their own domestic houses in order, that is to say, to demonstrate that their respective countries are politically stable and economically prosperous, and that spiritual values, particularly the enjoyment of freedom and the recognition of the value of individual personality, are maintained within their borders.

Fifthly, many international agencies already exist in which those who love freedom can co-operate to preserve a world which retains the values in which they believe. These include the United Nations organization and its numerous subsidiary bodies. They include also the British Commonwealth of Nations with its close family ties, and its elastic and effective machinery for consultation.

Sixthly, the democracies should give earnest and constant thought to the creation of new machinery, or new and more effective methods of co-operative action in those areas where their vital interests are affected. In this connexion, 1 refer, by way of illustration, to the Australian proposal at the Colombo Conference to organize economic aid for South-East Asia, and also to various suggestions which have been made from time to time for common political, economic and defence arrangements in the area of the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

There is no simple and magic cure for the grave ills which have developed in. the post-war world. All of us, however, must proceed to live our lives and to carry out our responsibilities in the faith that, if we honestly pursue those objectives which we believe have lasting value, we shall succeed in the task of maintaining them and spreading their influence. The experience of two world wars has shown that authority which depends on force alone rests upon hollow foundations if it is not sustained by honesty of purpose, and a recognition of the value of individual human beings. If from time to time the task ahead of us may seem almost insuperable, we should do well to remember that the empire of a dictator, whose authority depends, not upon persuasion and sympathetic, popular support, but solely upon force, rests in the last resort upon such insecure foundations that it may fall to the ground and be shattered with the same speed with which it was established.

One part Australia, along with other countries similarly placed, can play is to emphasize that countries and peoples are too dissimilar to expect harmony and easy agreement on all, or even the more important, questions. This is frequently forgotten in the constant recriminations and counter-recriminations which characterize present international relations. It cannot too often be emphasized that there are very great technical, apart from other, difficulties in working out ways in which two different economic and political systems can live side by side. .So far, we have not come face to face to work out these difficulties. “What contact there was during the war has been severed. We grow day by day further apart, and further, therefore, from a solution of the problems of living together. This drift must be arrested. I believe that if we are steadfast, it will be. Man, a civilized, rational being, is bound to seek means to escape his own destruction.

I lay on the table the following paper : -

Foreign Policy - Ministerial Statement, 9th “ March, 1950- and move -

That the paper be printed.

Dr Evatt:

– Do I understand that the paper will include those unimportant parts that were omitted in the reading?


– They were not unimportant, but I did not want to take up the time of the House in reading them. The paper, as printed, will he complete.

Debate (on motion by Dr. Evatt) adjourned.

page 641



Address-in-Reply .

Debate resumed (vide page 621).


– In addressing myself to this motion, I desire to mention one matter which has so far escaped notice. I refer to the elevation to Cabinet rank of the honorable member for Darwin (Dame Enid Lyons), who has become Vice-President of the Executive Council. Her appointment to the highest council of the nation is of great significance to the women of Australia. She has earned that great honour by her own example and political ability.

Honorable members appear to be under the impression, when delivering their maiden speeches, that, in order to place their feet firmly on the rungs of the ladder of success, they must make some allusions to your good presence in the chair, Mr. Speaker. I have heard several interjections, such as “You will get on”, when those references have been made, but I shall content myself with saying that we know that you, sir, bring to your high office ripe experience, sound judgment, and, above all, just that measure of mercy that is the prerogative of the broadminded. I also take this opportunity, on behalf of honorable members on this side of the chamber, to welcome back to the House those members of the Opposition from your State, Mr. Speaker, whose faces were missing last week.We all trust that they feel refreshed after their efforts, that they return to this chamber with the feeling that accompanies a job well done, and that the rewards of their labours are in measure with their efforts. If I may make a comparison, they look like some of those conscientious and diligent members who have listened to every maiden speech that has been made this session. If I may describe them with a well-known term, they are gluttons for punishment.

Obviously it would be impudent of me to offer any criticism of the debate at this stage. I have listened with the greatest interest to many speeches, and I believe that the subjects that have been discussed so far have cleared the air and the minds of many honorable members, particularly those who, like myself, have had absolutely no political experience. But I must comment on a few impassioned statements by members of the Opposition, because they left me with the thought that the development of the democratic prisciple and the kind of co-operation that is so necessary to the advancement of our country, is in jeopardy. Even the well-balanced and reasoned statement of a certain honorable member has left me with the thought that the brickwall of division between the employer and employee is being raised and strengthened instead of being reduced and even demolished. Perhaps I may console myself with the thought that the pattern or blueprint of that kind of speech was designed on the basis of those fulminations that issue from Pravda or the Tass Agency in order to reinforce control over & wavering supporting population. Perhaps some honorable members opposite are determined, by that kind of address, to drive supporters back into the fold before the elections that will be held in several States during the next few months.

For the information of newly elected members, I shall briefly describe the constituency which I have the great honour to represent. Wannon comprises the south-west portion of Victoria. Within its boundaries are some of the finest dairying, agricultural and grazing lands in Australia. The principal industries are dairying, wool-growing, grazing, fishing and the production of a diversity of crops. But Wannon also provides an instance of a balanced economy in the sense that the larger towns, including the cities of Warrnambool and Hamilton, possess valuable and thriving secondary industries. Therefore, the references in the GovernorGeneral’s Speech to the development of rural areas are of vital concern to my electorate. National development has been discussed on a number of occasions in this debate. I believe that the factors which concern us mainly in rural development - the decentralization of industry and the spreading of our population - may be considered under three main headings. The first is defence, which is obvious to everybody who gives the matter a thought. The second is more subtle. I refer to our vital statistics. A member of the Opposition has brought out the point that if the birth rate in the cities was comparable with that of the rural areas, the natural increase of population would be more satisfactory than it is. The third heading is a balanced economy. In other words, our population must be spread more evenly, and the drift of people from rural areas to the large cities, which has been evident for a number of years, must be arrested.

The reference in the Governor-General’s Speech to the importance of achieving a well balanced pattern of decentralization is of paramount interest to our future. The honorable member for Batman (Mr. Bird) made an allusion to that matter, and if I remember correctly, he remarked that “Deeds, not words are required in that connexion “. I do not know exactly whether his statements were intended to discredit the Chifley Government, or to attack the present Government of Victoria, but he referred to the falling off in the decentralization of industry in that State during the last few years. I have first-hand knowledge of the electorate that 1 represent, and I am able to inform the honorable member that there has been a continual spread of industries in it during the period to which he referred. I have in mind such interesting industries as one to manufacture needles for hypodermic syringes, and another to manufacture steel drilling bits. Those are the kind of industries’ that are of great value to the district in which they are located, and they assist to spread the economy. Another honorable member gave the impression that decentralization in a certain district was of somewhat recent origin. He referred to the huge industry at Castlemaine. Anybody who knows that district is aware that that industry has been established at Castlemaine for half a century, and, therefore, can hardly be described as a new enterprise.

In a discussion of this momentous subject, we should clear our minds about a few points concerning the factors that achieve the successful decentralization of secondary industries. By studying those factors, we shall arrive at certain conclusions relative to the spread of population, retaining our rural population and avoiding that tendency that is so often referred to as the “ drift of population to the cities “. It is impossible, in the brief time that is allotted to me, to discuss the subject in detail, and I should not weary the House by attempting to do so; but we can clear our minds on a few points, and recognize that some or all of the conditions that I shall describe must be satisfied in full. Before I deal with them, I shall refer to the three main types of industry that are being operated generally throughout the community. First, there is the offshoot or annexe of a large industry that has been established in a capital city or large provincial city. Honorable members can cite many examples of that. Secondly, there is the kind of industry that is started, organized, conducted and staffed by the’ people of the locality. Thirdly, there is the kind of industry that is established near a particular source of labour or material. Without attaching any direct priority to those factors that govern successful decentralization, I should like to discuss them briefly. The first, obviously, is the availability of operative labour. The second is somewhat similar to the first. There must be ready access to supplies of raw material. The third, which repeatedly figures in discussions in this House, is housing. The fourth is the vital consideration of the supply of power or fuel, and water. The fifth is satisfactory communications by road or rail, and such postal services as are necessary in modern business. The sixth is health, and educational, cultural and recreational amenities. One or more of those factors must be satisfied in full before we can arrive at a satisfactory basis of decentralization.

At this juncture, I should like to refer particularly to the matter of labour. In my electorate, on at least one occasion, an industry has been taken to a centre at which a supply of female operatives has been available. In another electorate) an industry has been attracted by the availability of raw material. I refer to a paper board manufacturing enterprise. Large butter and milk processing plants have been attracted by the dairying industry to certain districts. But none of the industries .that I have cited has attracted any great addition of population to the country. With the exception of the executive staff, most of the operatives who have been employed in each of those concerns have been derived from the district itself, and, therefore, the population of the centre has not been increased. In order to expand our rural population, we must attack the problem of decentralization in another way, and attract entire industries, with their operative staffs, to country areas. That suggestion immediately introduces a subject that is of vital concern in Australia to-day. I refer to housing and other amenities that are so necessary to influence people to live in country districts. I make a particular plea for the smaller country towns. The tendency at present is to devote attention to the housing problems of the larger provincial centres, and to ignore completely the requirements of the smaller country towns. Our duty is to study the interests of those smaller towns, and to ensure that they shall not he neglected. In discussing this subject, it is impossible for us to avoid certain State issues. The broad terms of our development policy have been mentioned in His Excellency’s Speech, and it is obvious that in the initial stages the Australian Government must give a lead to the States by providing financial support for developmental schemes.

I propose now to say a few words on the subject- of communications. Local governing bodies throughout the length and breadth of Australia will derive very great pleasure from the statement in the Governor-General’s Speech that major programmes of national expansion will be fostered in close and friendly co-operation with the States, and through them with local and regional authorities. Those who have any knowledge of the problems of local government agree that local governing bodies are to-day in an almost impossible financial position. This ray of hope in His Excellency’s Speech will do much to ease the financial worries of very many harassed shire councils throughout Australia. The extension of postal and telephone services in rural areas has been mentioned during this debate and reference has also been made to the subject on several occasions in questions that have been addressed to Ministers. 1 trust that our energetic and capable Postmaster-General (Mr. Anthony) will exhibit his enthusiasm for work in the task of tackling this problem and that ho will be able to make available supplies of materials without which the provision of improved amenities of that kind in rural areas would be impossible. The need for the provision of improved telephonic communications in rural areas cannot be over-emphasized. Even in my electorate, which covers what is relatively a suburban area by comparison with remote electorates such as Leichhardt and Kalgoorlie, improved telephone services are very urgently required. The extension and development of such in rural areas would greatly improve the attractiveness of life on the land, particularly for the women folk. Obviously the development of secondary industries is not alone responsible for the drift of population to the city areas.

I propose now to refer to the subdivision of large estates, particularly those in areas of good rain fall, which have not been brought to a state of production in keeping with modern agricultural and grazing practice. There is an understandable resistance by many large land owners, particularly those who by their own effort and energy have built up high-class flocks and herds and have developed their pastures to a high degree of productivity, to any proposals for the subdivision of their estates. Every progressive grazier or f farmer who has studied farming technique during the last generation knows that the large areas which were considered to be economic areas in the past are no longer necessary. Our land subdivision policy must be carried out with, discretion. It would be fatal to our interests for the Government to adopt an extensive policy of subdivision which would result in the reduction to an unworkable size of the sheep studs which are the basis of the breeding stock in our greatest export industry. That point must be borne in mind by the Government when formulating its land-settlement policy. In conjunction with the States, the Commonwealth is at present engaged in settling ex-servicemen on the land. No honorable member, I am sure, disagrees with that scheme. My complaint is that although the scheme has been in operation for some years, owing to shortages of man-power and other factors it has proceeded with deplorable slowness. The reference to this subject in the Governor-General’s Speech will give new heart to ex-servicemen who are still waiting for the allocation of blocks. I trust that it will also give encouragement to those who are in possession of blocks. It is a deplorable state of affairs that ex-servicemen who have been settled on the land under what we, in Victoria, call group settlement schemes have no knowledge of their future commitments. Some of them have been in possession of their blocks for more than 3 years and are still uncertain of their position. Any man in business who is unable to assess his financial position is placed at a disadvantage. I sincerely hope that the negotiations which are at present being pursued with a view to reaching finality on these matters will be speedily concluded and that the ex-servicemen, particularly those on group settlement blocks, will soon know what their financial obligations are and that their security of tenure and title is firmly established.

It has been said by honorable members opposite that the Government would prejudice the political interests of its supporters if it adopted a policy designed to bring about the de-centralization of secondary industries. At first sight in the view of honorable members opposite such a contention might appear to have some merit. However, I counsel them to consider the results of the recent general election, which prove very clearly that the political allegiance to their party of people employed in secondary industries was more assumed than real. The latter part of the nineteenth century was a period in which great developments took place in Great Britain. The earlier part of the twentieth century was marked by great developments in the United States of America. I believe that with wise government, and with the co-operation of all sections of our com- munity, history will record the latter part of the twentieth century as Australia’s great period of progress.

Mr. CLYDE CAMERON (Hindmarsh; [9.55]. - I have great pleasure at the outset of my maiden speech in this chamber in congratulating you, Mr. Speaker, on your appointment to your high office. Like most honorable members, I am confident that you will be strictly impartial and that if you make mistakes they will not favour the representatives of any particular political party. I appreciate very much the precedent that you have established by your decision not to attend party meetings while you continue to occupy your present office. That excellent principle might well be adopted by your successors. I was pleased to note from your remarks this afternoon that an effort on the part of a representative from the Government side of the House to communicate with you in regard to certain matters met with very little success.

I also congratulate the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Chifley) on his unanimous election as Leader of the Australian Labour party in this House. I am particularly pleased to do so because I know that the right honorable gentleman commands the undivided support of the Australian Labour movement. Moreover, he is still, as he should be, the idol of the working class of this country. No Prime Minister in the history of Australia has done more than has the right honorable gentleman to uplift the conditions of our ordinary working men and women. The success of the Chifley Government in raising the standards of the people generally may be measured by the votes cast for Communist candidates at the recent general election. I am confident that had the Labour Government been returned to office the problem of communism would have been completely eliminated from the Australian scene. I am equally convinced that, despite the threat of the Menzies Government to outlaw the Communist party, the Communists will gain strength during the next three years. Since the present Government was elected there has been a noticeable tendency in the trade unions for the Communist party and its adherents to regain their former strength.

They will continue to do that in spite of any attempt to ban and outlaw them so long as the Menzies Government runs true to form and disregards the interests of the working men and women of the country. When I refer to working men and women I do not restrict that term to industrial workers but apply it to all people who work for a living, including farmers, school teachers, professional men, small business men and any others who do anything useful. There are only two classes of people in society. One class is composed of those who are obliged to work and who do, in fact, work whilst the other class is composed of those who do not. Therefore, in any society, we can expect both classes to be represented in Parliament. Australians are represented in this Parliament by people who speak for each of those two classes. The Government represents the class which does not work or which serves no useful purpose in society. This class exploits and waxes fat on the toil of the vast majority of useful people such as the farmers, the small business men, the school teachers and the industrial workers. The Government represents that class because that is the class that paid for the propaganda, the lies and the distortion of fact which induced the people to vote it into office. The big airline companies, the shipping companies, the big radio interests, the private banking interests and the other interests of big business provided the hundreds of thousands of pounds which the Government spent to deceive the people at the last general election. The Labour party’s defeat was not due to a rejection of Labour policy; much less was it a rejection of the Chifley Government’s proposal to free this country from the scavenging private banking interests. We were defeated, unfortunately, by the vicious, deliberately untrue propaganda that was levelled against our party; by the false promises that were made by the Government parties in respect of petrol and other matters, in an appeal to people’s selfishness rather than to their national responsibility. The Government knows perfectly well that it cannot obtain sufficient petrol from sterling areas to meet the requirements of this country. The Liberal and Australian Country parties knew that before the general election. They deliberately lied to the people on the issue of petrol and subsequent events will establish the truth of my charge against them. If, now that they are in power, they are able to obtain sufficient petrol from sterling areas to meet Australian requirements, the only conclusion to be drawn is that, before the last general election, there was a conspiracy between them and the big oil companies to prevent sufficient supplies of sterling petrol from coming here. If they do not secure sterling petrol, only two alternatives are left: to allow the bowsers to dry up and the black marketeers to flourish again or to pawn thi* country to the millionaires of Wall-street. The members of this Government have always allowed their consciences to be dictated to by those who are financially interested in any problem with which they are confronted and they will not hesitate to pawn the future of this grand, young nation to the millionaires of the United States of America if that will enable them to get petrol. There is nothing clever in obtaining petrol by the expenditure of valuable dollars. The Chifley Government could have obtained petrol on those conditions. But it is the responsibility of any government to. see that its country shall always remain independent of the dictates of any foreign power. We know from past experience that if this country ever falls into the financial grip of the millionaires of the United States of America this Parliament will no longer be free to express itself upon any question that does not meet with the approval of those people.

Bank nationalization is a matter that must command the support of all who remember the depression. Let me remind honorable members on the Government side of the House that during the last depression the private banking interests deliberately designed its course. They refused to allow the Scullin Labour Government to alleviate the position when it wanted to do so and they dictated to the elected representatives of the people in this Parliament what the policy of the Parliament should be. I am in complete agreement with the Chifley Government’s effort to free this country for all time from the dictates of the directors of private banks. The private hanking institutions have no regard whatsoever for the welfare of the people. It did not worry them one iota to know that 560,000 employable souls were on the dole during the height of the depression. When the late Mr. E. G. Theodore proposed a fiduciary note issue to alleviate the position, the private banks intervened and declared that no such step should be taken. Another reason for the defeat of the last Government, although it was not so effective as the promise ofunrationed petrol supplies, was the undertaking given by the Liberal party that it would pay an endowment of 5s. a week in respect of the first child of a family. Many people, not realizing that such a payment would seriously undermine the trade unions’ present application for a higher basic wage, fixed on a new basis, voted for a change of government in order to get the 5s. They did not realize that the amount so gained would be offset by the greater sum they would lose when the basic wage was finally computed. They overlooked the fact that married couples without children and those whose children had grown up would be adversely affected as well as the single men and women whose wage is determined by the principle on which the basic wage is computed.

The Governor-General’s Speech referred to interference with trade union affairs. A wise parliamentarian should at all times be prepared to accept or to give advice. Whilst I do not profess to be a wise parliamentarian, I do claim to have more than an average knowledge of industrial affairs. When I was elected as the Labour member for Hindmarsh, I resigned my position as State secretary of the South Australian branch of the Australian Workers Union after having served as an officer of that union for over ten years. At the present time I am vicepresident of the executive council of that organization. I have acted as the union’s industrial advocate before the full bench and before single judges of the Commonwealth Arbitration Court. I have conducted all its cases before the eleven wages * boards of which I was a member and before the Commonwealth Public Service Arbitrator. I think I have had more experience in industrial matters, both of a legal and of a practical nature, than most honorable members on the Government side of the House. The proposal by the Government that there shall be a compulsory secret ballot for the election of all trade union officers will arouse the unanimous opposition of the trade union movement of Australia. Can the Government tell us how often these compulsory secret ballots are to be held? Some unions hold elections under their rules every year; other unions hold elections every two years; still other unions hold their elections every five years; and some unions do not hold elections at all. What does the Government propose to do if the officers of a Communist-controlled union decide to abandon the holding of elections, thus establishing themselves in office for life? That has happened already in many unions. Would the Government say, “ Oh, no, you don’t, YOU will have an election every three years, or two years, or five years, as we may decide “ ? If so, would it then direct other unions that hold elections at different intervals to do likewise ? How will the Government distribute ballot-papers to the members of the unions? Who will keep membership rolls and the addresses of unionists who are entitled to vote ? Will the proposal apply also to unions that are not registered ? I can answer the last question for the Prime Minister, who is a King’s Counsel, by telling him that he cannot enforce upon unregistered unions any outside control over their elections. Consequently the Building Workers Industrial Union, which is the source of most of the complaints that are made concerning the conduct of ballots, would not be affected by the legislation. Moreover, any Communist-controlled union could immediately escape the effects of the legislation by having itself deregistered.

Let me tell the Government something about the registration and deregistration of unions. It should not fool itself any longer by believing that deregistration penalizes a union. All that deregistration does is to free the union from legislative control and give its members an open go. Everybody knows that unions can get far better results for their members when they are free to strike as they please than when they follow the processes of arbitration. “Will unfinancial members of unions be entitled to record votes under the Government’s scheme? If not, who will be entitled to determine whether a member is unfinancial or not, and what legislation can the Government enact to prevent the unions from declaring that all their members are unfinancial when ballots arc taken? How will the Government ensure that shearers, cane-cutters, grape-pickers and other workers whose occupations are of a seasonal or nomadic nature shall register their votes? In order to conduct a secret ballot of the Australian Workers Union, it might be necessary to send a. ballot-paper to a shearer working somewhere in the vicinity of the Gulf of Carpentaria, only to find that, by the time that the ballot-paper had arrived there, the man was shearing in a shed at Longford in Tasmania. Over what period will a ballot extend, and who will supervise the counting of votes? The only measure necessary in the conduct of union elections is one that will ensure that ballots shall be taken in a proper manner. The legislation already enacted by the Chifley Government provides sufficient safeguards against corrupt practice. Provided that a union conducts its ballots without corruption and observes its own rules in all respects, nobody has the right to interfere.

Why should not the Government interfere with the ballots that are conducted for the election of company directors? There is no justification for the election of company directors by corrupt methods and by unrepresentative votes of company shareholders. Why should not officers of the Liberal party be elected by compulsory secret ballot, and why should not the pre-selection of its candidates for parliamentary honours be carried out in a similar way ? If the Government were consistent enough to agree that secret ballots should be enforced within the Liberal party, I fear that very few of the faces that we now see on the Government side of the House would be seen here again after the next general election. Most members of the Liberal party in this Parliament, except those who come from South Australia, were selected by the party because they were able to curry favour with a tiny coterie of party direc tors who sit in “ cushy “ offices. Immediately any of those stooges of big business try to stray from the party line, they are disciplined by the party and are not given an opportunity to secure re-election to this Parliament. The situation is different in South Australia, where the party bosses cannot chop the political heads off members who refuse to adhere strictly to the party line. Provided that a Liberal member of Parliament in that State can satisfy the party members in the electorate that he represents that he has served their interests carefully, he is assured of selection as a candidate. There is a tremendous element of uncertainty in compulsory ballots. Compulsory voting never results in an intelligent ballot, and it is far better to allow those unionists who have enough interest in the affairs of their organization to vote voluntarily to do so than to compel every member to vote whether he want9 to do so or not.

Another Government proposal is that a secret ballot shall be conducted before a union engages in a strike. The presumption in this instance is that union executives are responsible for strikes and that but for their directions there would be no strikes. I shall tell the Government something of the inside story of executive control of trade unions. In the period of ten years during which I have been an officer of the Australian Workers Union in. South Australia, that union has not engaged in any intra-state dispute of a major character. There have been h few minor stoppages involving street sweepers, or where three or four men in one small centre have gone on strike over a trivial matter, but that has been the extent of our industrial troubles over that period. I assure honorable members that that record was not maintained because members of the union did not want to strike. The difficulties experienced by the executive officers of most trade unions arise, not from their efforts to engineer strikes, but from their efforts to prevent strikes. We spend more time trying to settle disputes than we ever spend in trying to incite them. If the Government were to take away from the union, executives the right to decide whether there should be strikes or not and to place that power in the hands of the rank and file, 50 strikes would occur in future for every strike that occurs now. The Australian Workers Union in South Australia would have three strikes a week throughout the year if members of the union enjoyed the right to stop work whenever they decided to do so by a secret ballot. I know what I am talking about. Some men are willing to go on strike to-day upon the slightest pretext. Unfortunately, they are usually diffident about striking over matters that ought to give rise to strikes. In other words, they will sometimes strike for trivial reasons, but often cannot recgnize dangers that should be of vital concern to them. The executive of the Australian Workers Union in South Australia has often given its members the right to conduct ballots on disputes. About four years ago members employed on the Commonwealth railways wanted to strike for increased rates of pay, and the executive directed that they should conduct a secret ballot. The result was that 763 members favoured a strike and fourteen opposed the proposal. But even that decision did not prevent the executive from having the dispute settled by constitutional means. We re-submitted the original application to the Arbitration Court, supported by exactly the same arguments as we had employed unsuccessfully at first, except for the fact that a secret ballot had decided in favour of a strike, and our claims were granted.

That revealed an unfortunate tendency that has become evident in the arbitration system. It showed that the Arbitration Court will give more consideration to a union that is inclined to resort to direct action than it will give to a union that adheres strictly to constitutional means in dealing with disputes. It is all very well for the Government to say that it will do everything that it has promised, but Iremind it that, although laws can bo passed with relative ease, enforcement of those laws is a different proposition if the people do not approve of them. This Government could pass a law to compel every male person over the age of 21 years to wear petticoats, but it could not enforce it. Nor could it enforce any law that would interfere with the domestic affairs of trade unions. [Extension of time granted.] The Prime

Minister (Mr. Menzies) has stated, through the press, that threats by the trade union movement leave him cold. I believe him; but if he disregards those “ threats “, as he chooses to call them, then everybody will be left cold during the coming winter. The Government’s promise to increase the production of coal has not yet been honoured and less coal is being produced progressively each week. One Minister ha3 already learned that threats directed against the trade union movement have left it cold also. There have been more disturbances on the waterfront since the Minister concerned issued a public threat to the Waterside Workers Union than there were before it was made. Moreover, more coal has been lost since his threat was made to exterminate those workers who strike for their rights before it was made. The worker should settle his disputes by conciliation and arbitration if it is humanly possible so to do. No worker is justified in resorting to strike action until all avenues of settlement by constitutional means have been fully explored, but the workers of this country and, I hope, of the world, will never forfeit the right to strike. In exercising that right the worker is doing no more than the wealthy squatter does when he withholds his wool from the woolsales until exorbitant prices are offered, or than the dairy-farmer does when he withholds his produce from the market in the expectation of receiving a higher price. The workers have as much right to take concerted action so that they may be paid a proper price for that which they have to sell, their labour, as have the people who sell wool or vegetables or groceries.

If anybody is under the impression that the coal strike which occurred last year would not have eventuated if a secret ballot had been taken, he is labouring under a delusion. Honorable members opposite can interpret what I am about to say as a warning, as a threat, or merely as advice. No other government in this country’s history could have handled the last coal dispute as successfully as did the Chifley Government. If this Government gets itself into the predicament that the Chifley Government was forced into, it will not emerge from it as the previous government did because it will not get other unions to drag the coal from grass, or burn it in the powerhouses. It will not get the unionists of the country to tolerate the use of troops in open-cut mines. The only reason that the trade union movement supported ‘ the previous Government was that it knew that it was a Labour government headed by a man with wide industrial experience and that it could be trusted not to injure the trade union movement. If a coal strike eventuates again, the government of the day will collapse, because if coal is not produced for a long enough period, no government can carry on. Honorable members opposite need not occupy their time in reading books on English law and parliamentary government and fooling themselves with the belief that a country can be governed by theory, because if another coal strike occurs the only practical means’ of settling it will not be available to the Government.

The trade union movement throughout Australia is opposed to incentive payments because such systems encourage workers to set up a rate of .production which only young, vigorous men can maintain. The slower and older men drop into the background. After the production figures have been established, if the present economic situation is replaced by a state of depression, the employers will still expect their employees to maintain the same output without incentive payments. Incentive payments will disappear, but the rate of production established under their encouragement will continue. Only young and vigorous men will be employed and the others will pass out of industry altogether. Young men to-day, by putting up a superhuman effort and hy behaving like savages, can set up high production rates. The behaviour of some of them under those circumstances is disgraceful. In shearing sheds, some shearers on peicework will hamstring you if you get in their way when they want to catch a sheep on the bell. Opposition by workers to incentive pay is due to their knowledge that the day is not far distant when they themselves will be thrown out of the industry for being too old.

It is rumoured that the Government proposes to make available to Asiatic peoples some financial assistance to induce them to refrain from turning towards communism. That rumour indicates that this Government believes in the Chifley Government’s oft-repeated statement that communism can be dealt with effectively only by removing its cause, which i3 a state of depressed economic conditions. If the Government has so much surplus money at its disposal that it can send millions of pounds to Asia, I suggest that it would be advisable to expend some of that money in Australia. Let us make Australian economic conditions so good that there will be no possibility of our people turning to communism. Some of the surplus money could be utilized in the payment of higher age and invalid pensions. The income of a married couple in receipt of only an age or invalid pension is ;£4 5s. a week. If the Chifley Government had been returned to office, it would have considered an increase of those pensions, and undoubtedly would have raised them. The Government could expend some of its surplus funds upon the establishment of kindergartens throughout Australia. Very few people realize the inconvenience and hardship to which young mothers are subjected because insufficient kindergarten facilities are available in this country. I believe that our young women should have an opportunity to send their children to kindergartens. Some of the surplus funds could he utilized in the encouragement of research into the causes of poliomyelitis and methods of preventing the spread of the disease. They could also be used to help sufferers from the disease. Nearly 800 cases of poliomyelitis have occurred in South Australia. Hundreds of helpless young victims of the disease are being treated in hospitals and are separated from their parents for long periods, and the parents of other children who have been stricken must arrange for the transport of their children each day to the hospitals at which they are being treated. The Government could expend some of its surplus funds on the payment of trained physiotherapists to visit the homes of children who are suffering from poliomyelitis, regardless of the financial position of the parents.

I thank the House for its indulgence. I should have liked to speak for longer than I have done, because there were a number of other matters with which I should have dealt had time permitted me to do so.


.- The indulgence that is extended to newcomers to this chamber is most welcome because it is a great help to a new member to be free from interruptions when he is making his maiden speech. However, I confess that it will be a new experience f or me to be heard in grim silence. I do not intend to turn my brief speech into a quiz session, as was done by the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron), nor do I intend to indulge in the bitterness that was a feature of that honorable gentleman’s speech. His words were tinged with bitterness, and he exhibited the greatest of arrogance. He sought to teach not only honorable members on this side of the House, but also the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Chifley). He told the right honorable gentleman how the last Government should have acted when it was in office. He implied that had he then been a member of the Parliament he would have ensured an increase of pensions, and an attack by the Government of the problem of poliomyelitis. It is most unfortunate that, as an elected representative of this, the people’s House, the honorable gentleman should have devoted a part of his speech to threatening the Government with a lack of co-operation, regardless of the nature of the legislation that it brings down. The elected representatives of the people of Australia are charged with the duty of passing legislation that will be to the benefit of this very fine country. It is the duty of all honorable members, regardless of the political party to which they belong, to co-operate in securing the passage through the Parliament of measures that are designed to further the welfare of this country. Having assured the House that 1 shall not take any of the liberties that were taken by the honorable member for Hindmarsh, I admit that among my failings is a lack of skill as an orator.

I desire publicly to express my loyalty and the loyalty of the people of the electorate of Ballarat to His Majesty the King. That loyalty is as sincere in times of peace as it is practical in times of strife. I have high hopes for the success of this Parliament. The Governor-General outlined a legislative programme that will add greatly to the prosperity and security of this fair land of ours. His Excellency told us of the Government’s policy in respect of the Navy, Army and Air Force. The Government has acknowledged that we must at all times be in a state of preparedness, and I am sure that the defence policy that it ha9 enunciated will be endorsed by the Australian people.

His Excellency also referred to the intention of the Government to establish a Ministry of National Development and to foster programmes of national expansion in close co-operation with the States. I make bold to say that this is an expression of what federation really means. The Governor-General’s reference to the Government’s intention to give attention to the need for increasing supplies of basic materials such as coal, steel and building materials is proof that the Government is fully aware of the importance of securing an adequate supply of commodities that are essential to the prosperity of Australia. The GovernorGeneral further stated that the Government intends to guard our democratic rights by providing .that the people shall have the right, by means of referendums, to approve or disapprove of the establishment of monopolistic Government undertakings. That is an assurance that no government will be able to implement legislation of a socialistic nature without first securing the approval of the people to it. His Excellency referred to the Government’s intention to take action against and not to compromise with the Communist party. That was endorsed by the people at the last general election. Mention was made in the Speech of exservicemen and their dependants being treated more generously than hitherto, and of a close liaison being established between primary producers and Government departments. That is as it should be, because without doubt the primary producers are authorities on the commodities that they produce. The Governor-General also referred to another matter that I consider to be of paramount importance. I refer to the immigration policy that was administered most commendably in many ways by the previous Government. This is to be accelerated and administered more humanely. Those outstanding points in His Excellency’s Speech give me the courage to accept the responsibility of being a politician. I direct the attention of the honorable member for Hindmarsh to the fact that membership of this House affords an opportunity to serve one’s fellow men. If an honorable member serves them well, that is very commendable.

I could speak at length on any of those points, but I have chosen to deal with free enterprise. I shall not speak of a lopsided free enterprise. I believe that free enterprise for employers was assured at the general election that was held on the 10th December of last year. What I now advocate is free enterprise for the employee. This is now part of the policy of the Liberal party and of the Australian Country party. We want to provide opportunity for the regular John Citizen to receive a just reward for his labour. This can be attained by incentive payments and profit sharing. Our concern is with the wage-earner, who is a highly important member of the community. His prosperity is the thermometer of national progress, and his contentment is an assurance of national security. There is no easy way to bring incentive payments into being. The system must necessarily vary in accordance with the type of business to which it is applied. Members of the Opposition have asked how the method of incentive payments can be evolved, what is to be the method of approach to it. A definite method of approach would ‘be to get employers and union representatives to go into conference, not to argue, but to co-operate in evolving a formula by which a system of incentive payments could .he brought into operation. In the United States of America, 80 per cent, of industrialists work under incentives, whereas in Australia only 20 per cent, do so. Production is at its peak ir. the United States of America whereas in Australia, although employment is higher than ever before, it lags far behind. Is it not common’ sense that the man who is skilful and industrious should receive a greater reward than the man who is content just to hold his job? The fear of over-production, which is often advanced as an argument against incentive payments, is groundless. Have we no faith in the future of this country, so junior in years and with so small a population? Have we no faith in its future expansion? Do we not believe that Australia will be capable of absorbing all that we can produce and manufacture or, if that be not possible, that we shall be able to find an export market for the surplus? If we lack this faith, then the story told by candidates of all parties during the last general election campaign was an example of hypocrisy. On the hustings, we all said that Australia was a wonderful land, with great latent possibilities for development. If that statement brings a smirk to the face of the honorable member for Hindmarsh, let me say that I and others on this side of the House really .believe that this is a wonderful country with a great future. Those members of this House who lack faith in their own country will find it difficult faithfully to represent the people who sent them here.

Do those who oppose incentive payments fear that they may bring about sweating? There i9 no reason to fear that. The Arbitration Court will protect wage-earners by ensuring the payment of a minimum wage. We advocate, not a lowering of the minimum wage, but the providing of an opportunity to men of enterprise and energy to increase their earnings. It is an old saying, and a true one, that nothing prospers like prosperity. I believe it to be just that all should have an opportunity to share in the wealth produced provided all contribute to the efforts of production. Some may argue that the important thing is not the money itself but its purchasing power. I am trying to explain how we can make money buy more. Incentive payments will induce greater production. That, in turn, will reduce costs and selling prices, and when selling prices are reduced the £1 will be worth more. Wages are worth only what they will huy. It is far better to have low prices and a growing pay envelope, than a bigger pay envelope and a rising cost of living. The cost of living must continue to rise so long as production lags behind.

The honorable member for Bendigo (Mr. Clarey) made a plea for cooperation between employers and employees. That is a highly desirable objective which can be achieved through a system of incentive payments. Why, then, do members of the Opposition fear such a system? I do not believe that the trade union movement exists to keep its members down to one level. Its proper function is to effect the betterment of its members by obtaining for them more money, better working conditions and more amenities. If that is not so, then the trade union movement has been betrayed. If what I have suggested is the proper purpose of the trade union movement, then it should co-operate in the drive for greater production.

All of us must be broadminded and generous in working for the public good, and in seeking sympathetic and constructive understanding of the other man’s problems. The rising cost of living is to-day a national problem. All sections of the community are affected by it, including those who are trying to live on a fixed income, as well as pensioners, and young couples just starting out on life. A great many people to-day are worried and distressed by the prevailing high costs. So long as production remains low, prices and the cost of living will continue to rise, and the position can be improved only by instituting a system of incentive payments. Competition is the spice of business, but low production eliminates it. Goods sell readily because demand exceeds supply, but the quality does not improve if the market is always a sellers’ market. Greater production makes competition keener, with the result that the people obtain a better article at a lower price. I claim that the public will get better service and that he who helps to increase production will receive, through incentives, a higher wage than he at present receives. Maximum production will arrest the inflationary spiral. To bring about this desirable state of greater produc tion I again emphasize that all sections of the community mustco-operate. The employer must agree to exercise restraint in fixing selling prices and not to seek excess moneys, and he must give an assurance that dividend rates will not he raised above the average of the last few years. Trade unions, whose interest, I believe, is to protect the rights of the employees, must encourage the wageearners to increase production and agree to his participation in incentive payments. This is a national problem rather than a party problem. Unless we act along these lines catastrophe in many ways looms ahead of us. We must produce more in order to bring costs down and to help ourselves.

As a newcomer to politics, I have entered the arena prepared to give credit to all honorable members regardless of their political colour. I believe that their presence here is due to an urge to serve their neighbour, that they came here to construct, not to destroy, and that personal abuse and heroics is ill-placed in this people’s House. None has a monopoly on the will to do good. The Opposition has no right to claim to be the sole champion of the wage-earner. If honorable members opposite are sincere in their desire to help - and I trust that they are - then by their actions will they be judged. Legislation is to be brought down as outlined in His Excellency’s Speech which will be for the welfare and protection of the worker. A speedy passage of that legislation will be assured only if all honorable gentlemen co-operate to deal with the measures constructively. We seek security and prosperity; the people demand it, and ours is the responsibility to introduce it.

In conclusion, I wish to draw the attention of honorable members to the fact that this Nineteenth Parliament was opened on Wednesday, the 22nd February - Ash Wednesday, the first day in Lent, a season recognized by all churches within Christendom as a time for self-examination, for new resolutions, a renewal of faith, and a seeking of direction along truly Christian lines. I trust that we, as representatives of the people, will take notice of what this season implies and try to set our course along unselfish lines in true service to our fellow man.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Keon) adjourned.

page 653


Mr. SPEAKER (Hon. Archie

Cameron). - I understand, from information received, that in an article in this afternoon’s press regarding an incident that occurred in the House this morning, it is stated that a certain remark that I made was directed to the honorable member for Kalgoorlie (Mr. Johnson). That is not correct. The honorable member was not in my mind at the time. I can save him any anxiety, for I could not imagine him being concerned in anything that would bring him into conflict with me in that manner. The remark that I made was directed to another honorable member with whom I had been in wordy conference, and with whom I have exchanged compliments on more than one occasion. If anything I said to him this morning hurt his feelings, I assure him it was not premeditated. I would not in any circumstances let him think that I intended the remark personally for him. It was said on the spur of the moment, inreply to something that he himself said. I shall leave it at that, and I trust that any misconception that has arisen in regard to the honorable member for Kalgoorlie will be corrected by the press, because these proceedings are being broadcast. I have no intention whatever of referring to the incident again.

page 653


The Parliament: Procedure

Motion (by Mr. Holt) proposed -

That the House do now adjourn.


.- I assume, Mr. Speaker, in conformity with a ruling that you gave last week, that it is competent for an honorable member to refer to a matter that took place during to-day ?


– Only in regard to anything in which the honorable member himself was involved.


– I am involved in this way, that a number of my constituents, as well as local residents-


– I am concerned not with an honorable member’s constituents, but with the honorable member himself.


– That is what I am concerned about myself.


– I should say that the honorable member has cause to be concerned.


– As a member of the House, I was grossly offended by a statement that you made this morning. I consider that had any other honorable member made it, you would have considered it to be unparliamentary and would have demanded its withdrawal.


– Before the honorable member goes any further, I remind him that he did not take exception at the time to any statement that I made this morning. The time to take exception to a statement is when it is made. As an honorable gentleman who has occupied the chair of this House for eight years, the honorable member should know that to be so, as well as I do.


– That is exactly my view on the matter. What I want to point out to you is this, that another honorable member was permitted, when speaking on the motion for the adjournment of the House the other night, to make a speech concerning something that had offended him during the day.


– It was not a matter of offending him at all. He was not in it. Something was attributed to him to which he wished to reply. It was not because of personal annoyance. In this case the honorable member for Dalley was not concerned. I do not think that he has any cause-


– You have not heard my submission yet, Mr. Speaker. It is a most remarkable thing that you can judge acase before you have heard what I have to say.


– Perhaps I am following the example of my predecessor in the Chair in that regard.


– All I say is that, while it is not competent for honorable members of the House to say things that give offence to the Chair, it is not competent for the Chair to say things that give offence to honorable members of the House.


– I understand what the honorable member is mooting now. If an honorable member has any objection to anything said by Mr. Speaker, it can be discussed on a motion of censure moved against Mr. Speaker, but not on any other occasion.


– I cannot follow von now. I mean to say, that I do not want to follow you.


– I am not surprised at that.


– The point that 1 want to emphasize - and perhaps I shall do so more forcibly on another occasion- - is that neither Mr. Speaker nor anybody else in this House-


– The honorable gentleman can refer to Mr. Speaker in that way on a motion of censure or no confidence, but not on any other occasion. If that is what he has risen to speak about now, he may just as well resume his seat.


– I shall probably make a motion on the matter. .


– The honorable gentleman may do so.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

page 654


The following papers were presented : -

Defence Act and Naval Defence Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1950, No. 7.

Wool Use Promotion Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1950, No. 6.

House adjourned at 11.10 p.m.

page 654


The following answers to questions were circulated: -


Mr Costa:

a asked the Minister for Immigration, upon notice -

Will he give an undertaking that no Communist or Communist sympathizer among the war-time refugees, whether married or not, will be permitted to remain in Australia?

Mr Holt:

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

The conditions which non-Europeans who entered Australia during the war have to comply with in order to qualify for further residence here have already been made public. Each person’s case will be fully investigated. If hie character and conduct during his stay in Australia has been satisfactory, he is not regarded as being subversive, has adapted himself reasonably well to the Australian mode of life, and has abided by our industrial standards he will be allowed to continue to reside here under exemption for a further period. The resources of Commonwealth Security Service, the police, and other appropriate bodies will be availed of in making the investigations, and failure to comply with any of the requirements laid down will render a person ineligible to remain in Australia.


Mr. Ward asked the Minister for Immigration, upon notice -

What has been the average cost to the Commonwealth of bringing each new settler to Australia since the present scheme of assisted passages was inaugurated?

Mr Holt:

t. - The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows: -

The following immigration schemes are now in operation: - (a) British free and assisted passage; (6) displaced persons ‘from Europe; (c) Empire and allied ex-service personnel and their dependants; (d) Maltese; (e) Eire; (/) child migration. The average cost in respect of each new settler brought to Australia under each of the above schemes is set out hereunder.

British. - The cost to the Commonwealth of bringing approved migrants from the United Kingdom varies with the different ships used. The cost of berths on commercial vessels carrying a quota of migrants is considerably less than on other ships which as the result of efforts of my predecessor were obtained and specially fitted as purely migrant carriers. Final costs on these migrant carriers have not yet been determined. Their estimated high rates compared with commercial ships are due to the fact that they usually return without passengers. Over all vessels it is estimated that the average cost to the Commonwealth in respect of each migrant will be £E.50.

Displaced Persons from Europe. - The Commonwealth contributes £E.10 towards the cost of the fares of each adult migrant; the balance being paid by the International Refugee Organization. No contribution by the Commonwealth is made in respect of children.

Empire and Allied ex-Service Personnel. - The contribution by the Commonwealth under this scheme is a maximum of £E.30 for adults with rates for children according to age. The average coat per migrant has been £E.2ti 13s. 6d.

Maltese. - -The contribution by the Commonwealth” under this scheme ia alao a maximum of £E.30 for adults with rates for children according to age. The average cost per migrant has been ££.24 4s.

Eire. - Here again the maximum contribution is £E.30 with the contribution for children varying according to age. The average cost per migrant has been £E.20 8s.

Child Migration. - Child migrants from the United Kingdom have been brought under the terms of the free and assisted passage schemes as a result of nominations made by denominational and non-denominational child migration organizations. The average cost per child migrant has been fE.35 16s. 4d.

Mr Ward:

asked the Minister for Immigration, upon notice -

With reference to the return recently furnished to the honorable member for East Sydney by the Minister in which it is shown that, for the years 1047 to 1940 inclusive, 210,421 people arrived in Australia ostensibly for permanent settlement, and during the same period there were 55,016 permanent departures, how many of the people included in the total of permanent departures, originally came to this country under the assisted passage scheme of the Commonwealth Government?

Mr Holt:

t. - The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows:-

The figures of arrivals and departures given to the honorable member for” East Sydney were obtained from the Commonwealth Statistician, who, however, does not obtain from persons departing from Australia any particulars oi their country of origin. From figures recorded in my Department of Immigration, however, I am able to advise that, of the 55,018 persons who indicated that they were departing permanently from Australia 1,029 comprised British persons who arrived in Australia under the United Kingdom-Commonwealth Government free and assisted passage migration schemes. As the honorable member is probably aware persons settling in Australia under the assisted passage scheme are obliged to repay the governmental contributions to their passages should they depart from Australia within two years of their arrival.

Mr Haylen:

asked the Minister for Immigration, upon notice -

  1. What are the remaining numbers ot people in International Refugee Organization camps in Europe not suitable for migration to other countries?
  2. Has Australia made any arrangements to take any of these people on purely humanitarian grounds?
  3. Will Australia continue to pay for the upkeep of these displaced persons through the International Refugee Organization when migration from camps- has ceased?
  4. Is there any alternative organization under the United Nations ia care for the aged ‘ and sick left in camp?
Mr Holt:

t. - The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -

  1. The most recent statistical information issued by the International Refugee Organization estimates that at 30th June, 1950, there will be a total of 95,450 persons whose prospect of resettlement is unlikely. This total, it is estimated, will comprise - (a) 25,300 requiring permanent institutional care; and (6) 70,150 with varying degrees of limited opportunities of resettlement. The persons constituting (6) have limited opportunities of resettlement because of age, family composition or personal or occupational handicaps.
  2. Australia has not made any special arrangements to accept any of those represented by (a) and (6) in 1. However, the selection criteria on which Australian selection is based do not debar displaced persons from selection because of family composition or occupational handicaps. The only criteria which operate against the selection of persons represented by what is known as the “hard core “ are physical standards and economic age. Stringent limitations regarding physical and mental health apply to all migrants coming to Australia, displaced persons or others alike and in the interests of maintaining standards these cannot be relaxed. On the score of economic age - that is the selection of persons outside the age limits originally agreed upon - Australia has been as liberal as is economically feasible. It has been made possible for non-working migrants or dependants to be included in family groups selected. In addition, there has been in operation from the outset a dependants’ nomination system which has enabled many, not eligible for outright’ selection, to be sponsored by relatives who had already arrived in this country. In this way, by the extension of eligibility rules to cover family composition of any kind and by the acceptance of overage dependants and professional categories, Australia, without special arrangements, has done proportionately more towards the solution of this residual problem than most countries. 3 and 4. The general question of international responsibility for un-resettled refugees at the conclusion of the International Refugee Organization’s charter, and continuing financial and institutional responsibility for those requiring it, are on the agenda for the meetings of the Executive Committee and General Council of the International Refugee Organization to be held at Geneva this month.
Mr Holt:

– On the 23rd February, the honorable member for Port Adelaide (Mr. Thompson) asked a question which had reference to the Department of Immigration’s policy regarding the accommodation of - dependants of- displaced person breadwinners. -The honorable member during the course of his question mads special reference to the dependants of 35 men accommodated at Finsbury, South Australia, migrantworkers’ hostel. In my verbal reply I outlined the general policy followed by my department in accommodating dependants. I am now pleased to inform the honorable member for Port Adelaide that the dependants of the men at Finsbury mentioned in his question will be transferred to the dependants’ holding centre at Woodside, South Australia, this week, when a movement of about 125 dependants will be effected from Bonegilla reception centre. This movement will take place to occupy vacancies which have just become available at the Woodside centre. The movement is a- regular one planned in accordance with general policy that, as new accommodation becomes available at holding centres, the dependants of breadwinners employed in the vicinity are moved into it. Those moves arc on a priority basis determined by the length of time breadwinner and dependants have been separated in Australia. No special consideration has been given to the dependants of the Finsbury workers. It so happens that their priority of movement is such that they have been included in the group for Woodside in the normal way.

Mr Holt:

t. - On the 28th February, the honorable member for Hoddle (Mr. Cremean) addressed the following question to the Prime Minister : -

Hoa the right honorable gentleman’s attention been directed to a statement which is alleged to have been made by a customs officer to the effect that a gang of Chinese market gardeners waa recently detected smuggling Chinese into Australia T If so, will he inform the House of the position in relation to the matter?

The Prime Minister said that he would arrange for the terms of the question to be conveyed to me and that I would furnish an answer. I now advise the honorable member as follows: -

My department has been advised by senior customs officials and officers of the Criminal Investigation Brasch, Sydney, that they have found no substance in recent newspaper, statements attributed to a customs officer that customs investigators and detectives have raided homes and shops in Sydney searching for Chinese who were believed to have been smuggled into Australia by an international ring. There is, however, always a danger that stowaways from tho East will attempt to land here and precautions are taken to guard against the possibility of their doing so. These precautions resulted in the discovery only last week of twenty Chinese stowaways on the S.S. Hindustan.

Civil Aviation

Mr Swartz:

z asked the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice - .

  1. Has any decision yet been reached regarding the rebuilding and the extension of the Toowoomba aerodrome?
  2. If approval has been given, under what conditions will the work be carried out?
Mr White:
Minister for Air · BALACLAVA, VICTORIA · LP

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

No decision has been reached regarding the rebuilding and extension of Toowoomba aerodrome. Routine preliminary investigations of possible extensions have been made but in view of proximity of Toowoomba to Brisbane, the rail and road facilities already available, and the fact that there is another suitable aerodrome at Oakey, other localities not in such a favorable position nave been given priority over Toowoomba.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 9 March 1950, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.