19th Parliament · 1st Session
Mr. Deputy SPEAKER (Mr. C. 3?. Adermann) took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.
– I address a question to the Prime Minister with regard to the recent increase of the basic wage decided upon by the Full Court of the Commonwealth Arbitration Court. I understand the position to be that the matter may come before the Court again in the event of delays occurring in the fixation of a date for the application of the general principle to particular cases, and that under the present law it oan only be dealt with by the three judges who comprised the Full Court. In view of the fact that leave of absence has been granted to Chief Judge Kelly owing to his regrettable illness, I ask the right honorable gentleman whether the Government is considering what steps can be taken to enable the court to exercise its jurisdiction as a Full Court until Chief Judge Kelly resumes duty?
– The matter that the right honorable gentleman has mentioned has already engaged the attention of the Government. I had a preliminary discussion with the Attorney-General last night, and my colleague, the Minister for Labour and National Service, has been in touch with the Solicitor-General on the matter. The necessary steps, one way or another, will be taken.
– Some time ago I asked the Treasurer whether under his budget proposals he would consider allowing the cost of surgical boots as a deduction for income tax purposes. Do the deductions which he proposes to provide for in respect of amounts paid1 for medical and surgical appliances include amounts paid for surgical boots?
– Tes, provided that the surgical boots are prescribed by a legally qualified medical practitioner.
– I ask the PostmasterGeneral whether it is a fact that the Australian Broadcasting ‘Control Board is at present conducting an inquiry into the power of commercial radio stations? If so, can he give any reason why such an inquiry should not be held in public seeing that a similar inquiry in the United States of America was held in public? If he agrees that the inquiry should be held in public, will he ensure that the date and place of any inquiry regarding any particular station, or group of stations, shall be adequately advertised so that the public will be apprised of the matter?
– There is nothing sinister, as the honorable member appears to have suggested in the question that he has asked, about the inquiry that is being conducted by the Australian Broadcasting Control Board into the power of commercial broadcasting stations. The inquiry was in progress when the Labour party was in office, but it had not proceeded very far when this Government came into power. I instructed the Australian Broadcasting Control Board to continue the work. The matter is completely open. Certain broadcasting stations want to increase their power but certain others do not want to go to the expense of installing the transmitting equipment that would be needed if their power were increased. The board has its technical advisers on the job. The inquiry is of a completely technical nature and there is no need for a public investigation. However, I hope to make a statement to the House about any power increases that may be granted and about the general situation .as soon as the inquiry has been concluded.
– I direct a question to the Prime Minister concerning a leaflet that I received yesterday. In fairness to His Majesty’s Opposition in this Parliament, and in particular to the honorable member for Melbourne, will the right honorable gentleman have inquiries made about the author of the leaflet and its defamatory character?
The leaflet is headed, “Labour Leaders ‘ Drop the Mask “, and it goes on to say -
A few secret conferences, a few £1,000*8 changing hands - big business tycoons promising rich rewards . . . and the Federal Executive of the Australian Labour party meets again to .prepare a sell-out on the Communist Party Dissolution Bill, about which it had already made a decision only a few weeks ago. . . . But in order to serve their wealthy masters, these men must continue to deceive the workers. Hence their mouthings about “ Labour principles “, “ Socialism “ and “ freedom “.
– I rise to order. I understood, Mr. Deputy Speaker, that, you had ruled previously that honorable members must not give information under the pretext of asking a question but must seek only to elicit information.
– The point of order is correctly taken. I have allowed the honorable member for Riverina to quote sufficient of the pamphlet to explain his question but he may not proceed any further with the quotation.
– Will the Prime Minister have inquiries made about the author of the leaflet and its defamatory character?
– Quite frankly, I do not know whether I will do so or not, but if the honorable member will let me have a copy of the pamphlet I may perhaps add it to my large and growing collection.
– Is it possible for the Minister for Supply to make available immediately a substantial quantity of .303 cartridges for the destruction of emus in the Northampton, Yuna and Upper Chapman districts in Western. Australia? For the benefit of the Minister, I point out that this area is on the fringe of the agricultural belt and repeatedly at this period of the year it suffers from an influx of emus, which cause great destruction in crops. Residents of the area are suffering from such an influx now and have no means at their disposal to destroy the pest. Will the Minister make a substantial supply of ammunition available as soon as possible ?
– I am sorry to hear that this situation has arisen again in the north- western area of Western Australia. The honorable member brought this matter to my attention some time ago, and I certainly shall do what I can to help. There are stocks of .303 ammunition that are not suitable for ordinary military use because the cartridges are some years old. Those stores are under the control of the Minister for the Army, and I shall confer with him with a view to ascertaining whether it will be possible to make some of that ammunition available for the purposes that the honorable gentleman has mentioned. I shall inform him of the result of those discussions as soon as possible.
– Will the Minister for Health inform me whether the Department of Health is at present engaged in the production for the medical and pharmaceutical professions of (1) hypnotics, (2) narcotics, (3) anaesthetics, (4) analgesics and (5) anthelmintics? If it is so engaged, will the right honorable gentleman inform me of the extent of its operations? What biological research is being carried out by the department into the cortone and cortisone groups of medicine ?
– I shall obtain that information for the honorable gentleman.
– Will the Minister foi Health inform me whether it is a fact that pensioners are entitled to free medical attention as well as the provision of free drugs? Is it also a fact that many doctors who administer free drugs to pensioners charge 2s. 6d. for each injection? I am pleased to say that all doctors are not making that charge. Will the right honorable gentleman inform the House and the public of the true position regarding the supply of drugs and the provision of medical attention for pensioners ?
– At present pensioners are entitled to receive only the same benefits as those available to the rest of the community, but negotiations which are now being conducted and which will, it is hoped, be concluded in a week or two should result in free medical treatment and medicine being provided for pensioners on a generous scale.
– The Treasurer, in a. reply to a question which I asked hin a few days ago, said that no funds for our dollar loan would be used te pay for the importation of additional quantities of newsprint from the United States of America or from other parts of the dollar area. Will the right honorable gentleman now inform me whether it is a fact that quite a number of articles which were formerly purchased from Australia’s ordinary dollar allocation are now being paid for from the dollar loan, and whether our normal dollar allocation is being used to pay for the importation of increased quantities of newsprint from dollar sources ?
– The honorable member’s question is based on wrong premises, because no part of the dollar loan has yet been used, and the Government does not intend that such funds shall be expended on the purchase of other than capital goods.
– That statement does not answer the question which has been asked by the honorable member for Yarra.
– I understood that the honorable member had asked whether any funds from the dollar loan were being used for the purchase of goods that had previously been bought with funds from our ordinary dollar allocation.
– I asked the right honorable gentleman whether additional dol>lars were being used either from the dollar loan, or from our normal dollar allocation for the importation of newsprint.
– Newsprint and other commodities in the dollar area come within the ordinary dollar budget that was determined by the previous Government.
– My question to the Minister for Supply is prompted by a statement that has been made to me by the secretary of the Taxpayers Association of New South Wales in which he expresses approval of the reductions of personnel effected by the Minister in his department. Oan the honorable gentleman inform the House of the extent of those reductions?
– I am grateful for the unsolicited testimonial from the secretary of the Taxpayers Association of New South Wales, but I regret that I am not able at the moment to give the honorable member for Farrer the information for which he has asked. I shall supply it to him later. Some reductions of staff have been effected in the Department of Supply, but the House will realize that, with the expanding defence programme, the personnel will have to be increased in some respects. However, the Government is endeavouring to reduce the number of personnel, especially unnecessary numbers of personnel, in the Public Service
– Has the Minister acting for the Minister for Defence received .my information concerning the decision that is reported to> have been made by President Truman and General MacArthur at their recent meeting to withdraw certain United States military forces from the Pacific in order to build up the military strength of the democracies in Western Europe? It was reported that this transfer would be made after the successful conclusion of the United Nations’ action in Korea. If the statement is correct can the Minister say whether the military commitments of the British Commonwealth in the Pacific sphere will be increased as a result of the American decision, and, in particular, whether Australia and New Zealand will be called upon to assume a larger share of responsibility for security in that region?
– I have not received any information of any plan made by President Truman and General MacArthur for the transfer of American troops from the Pacific, but the Government is in constant consultation with the British and American Governments concerning the over-all position of world defence, and I have no doubt that the matter mentioned by the honorable member will be discussed at a later date.
– I have been requested by an association of blind persons in Victoria to inquire from the Treasurer whether, under his budget proposals, blind pensioners, whether married or single, will continue to be granted the concession that now applies to them in relation to permissible income. Under existing conditions blind pensioners are allowed a permissible income of £S a week, including their pension, whether they are married or single, whereas ordinary married pensioners may earn only £3 a week in addition to their pension, and single pensioners may earn only 30s. a week in addition to their pension. The blind pensioners are anxious to know whether their present concession will be continued.
– I cannot answer the question off-hand, but I shall treat it as having been placed on the notice-paper and furnish an adequate reply to the honorable member later.
– Has the attention of the Minister representing’ tie Minister for Commerce and Agriculture been drawn to a recent statement by the honorable member for Yarra in the course of which he made a bitter attack on the primary producers of this country for their alleged failure to increase, or even to maintain, primary production? Can the Minister furnish any information concerning the comparative output of primary producers before .the war and since, and the efforts made by farmers generally to fulfil the requirements of Australia and the United Kingdom ?
– I did not see the statement referred to, but the honorable member for Hume informed me that he desired certain information on this matter, and I have obtained it for him.. Statistics in relation to agricultural products show that in 1939 154,000,000 bushels of wheat were produced, and that in 1949 the production of wheat had increased to 217,600,000 bushels.
– Thanks to Labour’s stabilization scheme.
– The production of potatoes increased from 330,000 tons in 1939 to 460,000 tons in 1949.
– Thanks to Labour’s subsidies.
– In 1939 740,000 tons of sugar was produced, but the quantity increased to 940,000 tons last year.
– Thanks again to Labour’s administration.
– Meat production increased during the same period from 930,000 tons to 1,000,000 tons.
– Thanks to the Chifley Government’s efforts to help the United Kingdom.
– In the same period the production of milk increased from 11,500,000 gallons to 12,500,000 gallons.
– Due to Labour’s subsidy to the dairy farmers.
– If the honorable member for Lalor interjects again I shall deal with him.
– I point out that all this increased production occurred notwithstanding that 58,000 fewer persons were engaged in primary production in 1949 than in 1939. It is clear, therefore, that any reflection that was intended to be made on the primary producers of this country by the statement of the honorable member for Yarra is refuted by the statistics of production that I have cited, particularly as the big increase of production disclosed in those statistics was accomplished with approximately 58,000 fewer men on the land.
– Will the Minister for Works and Housing say whether any provision has been made, in connexion with the importation of prefabricated houses, that will enable exservicemen to obtain such houFes under the war service homes scheme, or whether it will be necessary for exservicemen to obtain such homes through a State authority? If no such provision has been made, will the Minister examine the possibility of having such homes imported so that ex-servicemen will have the same opportunity to obtain them as other people have?
– The majority of prefabricated houses are being imported by and for the State governments, and como within the terms of the Commonwealth and State Housing Agreement, under which a minimum of 50 per cent, of them are to be- allotted to ex-servicemen.
– Does that position apply to South Australia ?
– South Australia adheres to the Commonwealth and State Housing Agreement, but does not operate under it. In actual fact a considerably greater percentage than 50 per cent, of houses is allocated to ex-servicemen. That figure applies to South Australia just as it applies to every other State. The majority of the prefabricated houses being imported by the Australian Government are being made available to the armed services and public servants who must be provided with accommodation by reason of their particular occupation and location. The bulk of the houses are made available for the housing of essential officers, instructors and other personnel of the permanent armed services. The honorable gentleman will realize, therefore, that ex-servicemen generally will share to a great degree the privilege of being able to obtain prefabricated houses.
– I direct to the Postmaster-General a question relative to television. In view of statements made during the debate on that subject on Thursday last, and also in view of the importance of adopting the correct standards for television in Australia, will the Minister state whether there was collaboration between Pye Electronic Industries . and Electronic and Music Industries in connexion with advice tendered to the Government, and whether those companies, jointly or severally, endeavoured to persuade the Government to adopt 405-line definition for the proposed Australian service.
– It would be completely incorrect to say that there was any collaboration between the companies mentioned by the honorable member., for they are highly competitive. The Pye organization is a very great one in the United Kingdom as is also the Electronic and Music Industries organization.
– From what is the Minister reading?
– I do not have to read my speeches, nor do I make the same speech for twenty years on end. The Electronic and Music Industries organization is under the chairmanship of Sir Ernest Fisk.
– What is the Minister reading from?
– The standard determined by the Australian Broadcasting Control Board in collaboration with the Postmaster-General-
– What is the Minister reading from?
– Order !
– The standard of 625-line definition wa9 decided upon after a very searching investigation by departmental engineers who went to Great Britain and to the United States to satisfy themselves about the best method that could be used for the inauguration of television broadcasting in Australia. The 625-line definition determined upon for Australian television is the definition ‘ now being adopted by all the European countries that intend to engage in television broadcasting. I think that the 405-line definition is the one prevailing in the United Kingdom. The 625-line was recommended by Sir Ernest Fisk as being in his opinion the one most suitable for Australia despite the fact that his company was manufacturing the 405-line definition equipment.
– I desire to preface a question to the Minister for National Development by pointing out that the Broken Hill mining companies and the Mount Isa Mines are the sources of lead supply in Australia but the Mount Isa company is making no contribution towards the home market. The Broken Hill companies are supplying the whole of the home market. I ask the Minister whether the Government will ensure that fair and equitable action is taken to ensure that both companies shall supply the home market with lead ?
– The Government is aware of the situation with regard to the production of lead and zinc ores and metals in Australia and has had that situation under consideration for some time. The question is not quite as simple as the honorable member inferred by reason of the fact that not all the companies producing lead and zinc ores produce lead and zinc metal in Australia. However, the situation is broadly as he has described it and the Government is still giving attention to the matter.
– I wish to ask the PostmasterGeneral, as the Minister representing the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture, a question regarding information that was given to this House by the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture earlier this year to the effect that agreement had been reached with India for the supply of about 70,000 tons of jute goods by the end of December. Is the Minister able to inform the House of the terms of the contract, and can he say whether they are being fulfilled and whether the anticipated rate of delivery of the goods is being realized? If deliveries are not being made in accordance with the agreement how far are they in arrears and what are the prospects of the contract being fulfilled within the stipulated time? As serious disruption would be caused to primary industries if the contract is not likely to be fulfilled I ask the Minister whether any attempts have been made to obtain an adequate supply of jute goods from other sources?
– Replying to the last portion of the honorable member’s question first, there are no other sources of jute supply than India and consequently Australia has to depend completely on that country for its supplies. The Government-
– What is the Minister reading from ?
– Order ! If the honorable member for East Sydney persists in interjecting for the purpose of interrupting the Minister I shall name him.
– I thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker. It is very difficult to answer a question without notice when one is being interrupted in the deliberate fashion practised by the honorable member for East Sydney. In reply to the honorable member for Moore, I might say that the Government is very concerned about the jute position but the situation is not yet desperate. The J ute Controller, Mr. J. A. W. Stevenson, arrived in India on the 10th October, I. think, and is negotiating directly with the Indian jute mills. Large shipments of jute are on the way to Australia. Further quantities will be consigned within the next few weeks and it is anticipated that Mr. Stevenson’s efforts will result in the supply position being very much eased and in the requirements of the growers of Australia being fulfilled.
– Some weeks ago I asked the Prime Minister a question relating to industrial insurance policies terminated by (1) lapse, (2) surrender. (3) maturity and (4) death, by individual insurance companies, or at least, by the Australian Mutual Provident Society for the years 1947, .1948 and 1949 and he said that he did not have the information at that time. He forwarded annual reports of the Industrial Commissioner which showed the amounts paid out by the society. Would the Prime Minister institute inquiries through +,he Commonwealth Statistician to ascertain the total amounts that policy holders paid into and received from industrial life insurance policies in the years I have mentioned?
– I do not know whether the information is available to the Government through the Commonwealth Statistician, but unless it is information of a kind that I am not aware of, which is confidentially recorded, and I can hardly suppose that that is so, there is no reason why the honorable member should not have whatever information we have on record. I shall try to get it for him.
– Is the Minister for the Navy aware that serious concern is being caused amongst naval personnel by the present practice of the AuditorGeneral of surcharging the whole value of Lost or damaged naval stores to the officer or rating responsible for the lo3s or damage? In explanation, I remind the Minister that loss or damage to naval stores is always the subject of disciplinary inquiry in the Navy, and that naval courts have full authority to determine and assess the responsibility and to order the re-payment of so much of the value of the stores as the court finds just in the circumstances. In the past the AuditorGeneral had a discretionary power to surcharge, but owing to an unfortunateand apparently mistaken amendment of the Audit Act by the Chifley Government in 1948, he is now obliged to surcharge the whole value of the damage or loss to the persons responsible, regardless of the degree of their fault or negligence. Thi» absurd position is recognized by the Auditor-General himself Will the Minister take the first opportunity to have section 42 (2.) of the Audit Act 1901-1948 amended, and in the meantime will he consider whether administrative action can relieve the Auditor-General of his present obligation to make the surcharge? - Mr. FRANCIS. - I shall he very happy to examine all the issues raised by the honorable member’s question, and if I ‘find upon examination that the facts are as related by him, I shall certainly take immediate action to have the matter rectified.
– My question to the Minister for Health concerns the issuing of free milk to children throughout the Commonwealth. In many areas the distribution of milk has in the past been financed and arranged by mothers’ committees. Those publicspirited citizens are naturally wondering what changes of distribution methods are being made under this Government’s scheme. Could the Minister inform the House of the present position of the negotiations between this Government and the Sta te governments ?
– At the conference of Ministers for Health there was unanimous approval of this Government’s scheme, but at the subsequent conference of Commonwealth and State Ministers, unfortunately, the Premiers desired that the Australian Government should .pay not merely for the whole of the milk and the whole of the distribution to the schools, but also for the actual handling inside the schools. The Australian Government offered to provide to the States half of the cost of the requisite equipment. Up to the present, the New South Wales Government is the only government that has seriously considered the matter, and it has made practically all arrangements for the distribution of the milk. I trust that the other States will soon come into line with New South Wales.
– On the 12th October, a r>C3 newspaper delivery aeroplane crashed at Tenterfield, and the accident resulted in the loss of the lives of the two pilots. Has the Minister for Civil Aviation yet received a report on the accident ? ls it a fact that three aeroplanes controlled by the same newspaper company have crashed and that each of the accidents resulted in loss of life? Of the accidents to which I refer, two occurred this year and the other occurred in 1947. Ls the Minister satisfied that every precaution is taken in the servicing of aeroplanes that are controlled by the newspaper company concerned?
– The recent accident to which the honorable member has referred was not in any way due to faulty maintenance. Unfortunately, the aeroplane crashed into a hill when flying in a fog. The other two accidents to which he has referred were inquired into at the time.
– Are proper facilities made available to these aeroplanes?
– Yes. The pilot of the DCS machine which crashed recently was an expert. He had retired from the position of chief pilot which he formerly held with an Australian airline company and was about to go to Brazil to take up an appointment in that country.
– Was the pilot taking unnecessary risks when flying in a fog?
– Accidents happen in aviation just as they happen in motoring. The pilot had first-class qualifications, and it was unfortunate that his machine <rr ashed as it did.
– by leave - On the 28th September, the honorable member for Wilmot (Mr. Duthie), when speaking on the adjournment, raised certain matters with respect to ships that run between Melbourne and Strahan, on the north-west coast of Tasmania. He said that some of those ships ran in ballast and not in cargo on part of their trip, and he suggested that, in the light of information that had been supplied to him, there was evidence of an attempt on the part of shipping companies to injure the government shipping activities. At my request, the Minister for Fuel, Shipping and Transport (Senator McLeay) has inquired into the matter, and I am now able to inform honorable members of the circumstances. The reason why such vessels carry so little cargo on the outward run from Melbourne is that whereas “ E “ class vessels and two vessels of the Onion Steamship Company make, between them, from eight to ten trips a month, approximately only 800 tons of cargo is available for shipment each month from Strathan to Melbourne.
Vessels engaged in this trade cater primarily for the carriage of pyrites that are used in the manufacture of superphosphate, and the vessels are worked so as to give the maximum possible movement of that cargo. Pyrites is discharged at Yarraville and the “ E “ class vessels frequently complete their discharge in one day and are able to commence the return journey the same evening. In order to load return cargo they would be obliged to wait till the following day. In that event the ships would have to proceed u>p river to a new berth to load the cargo, or shippers would be required to send the cargo to the Yarraville berth. Shippers are not always prepared to do that.
An important factor which influences the carriage of cargo to Strahan is that comparatively large quantities of explosives must be lifted. As navigation regulations prevent the “ E “ class vessels from carrying explosives they must be lifted by Union Steamship Company vessels. Those vessels have no magazines and, consequently, they must have a considerable quantity of bagged cargo which is stowed so as to form a magazine. The vessels then proceed to the explosives anchorage in Port Philip Bay when the explosives are loaded. Where circumstances warrant, the “ E “ class vessels carry small quantities of general cargo but they, and also Union Steamship Company vessels, on most occasions sail empty from Melbourne owing to the limited cargo offering for Strahan. Cargo is carried in about three vessels each month and for the reasons I have given one Union Steamship Company vessel lifts the bulk of the cargo offering. The Australian Shipping Board is well aware of the position, and in appropriate circumstances it arranges for some cargo to be carried on the Commonwealth “ E “ class vessels. This practice is the same as that which was in force when the previous Government was in office, and I am glad to be able to inform the honorable member that the anxiety of his informants is not justified.
Motion (by Mr. Fadden) agreed to -
That leave be given to bring in a bill for an act to provide for the collection and recovery of amounts payable under the Wool Sales Deduction .Act (No. 1) 1950, and the Wool Sales Deduction Act (No. 2) 1950, and for the application of those amounts.
Bill presented, and read a first time.
– by leave - I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
This bill is introduced for the purpose of providing the machinery and procedure for collecting amounts which will be payable to the Commonwealth in respect of wool sold or exported after the 28th August, 1950. A proposal now before the House provides for producers of wool to pay to the Commissioner of Taxation an amount equal to 20 per cent, of the sale value of wool sold by them. It also provides for producers to pay to the Commissioner 20 per cent, of the appraised value of wool exported by them after that date.
The purpose of this bill is to set out the method by which those amounts should be paid to the Commissioner. It is proposed that in any instance in which wool is sold to-morrow, or after to-morrow,, through a wool selling broker, the broker should deduct 20 per cent, of the sale price from the proceeds and pay that percentage to the Commissioner and not to the producer. On and after to-morrow,, when wool is sold by the producer to a dealer, the dealer will be required to* deduct 20 per cent, from the sale priceand pay the amount to the Commissioner.. Amounts that are paid to the Commissioner in this manner will be regarded ashaving been paid to him on behalf of the producer. The bill, therefore, provides that when such amounts have been paid to the Commissioner by a broker or a dealer, the producers concerned will not be required to make a direct payment to the Commissioner.
In the case of a producer who exports wool for sale abroad he will be required to make a direct payment to the Commissioner of 20 per cent, of the appraised value of the wool. The appraised value of the wool will be fixed by the Australian War Realization Commission. Provision will be made in the regulations whereby a producer may make an arrangement with the Commissioner to defer payment until he receives the proceeds from the sale of the wool.
The producer will receive a wool deduction certificate from the wool-selling broker or the dealer for the amount which has been deducted from the proceeds of his wool. He will receive a wool deduction certificate from the Commissioner for the amount which he has paid to the Commissioner in respect of wool which he has exported. Wool deduction certificates will be forwarded by the producer to the Commissioner with his income tax return for the yea1” in which the subject wool was sold or exported by him. These certificates will be applied by the Commissioner in payment of the income tax which is payable by the producer on the income of the year concerned, and the Commissioner will refund to the producer any excess over the amount of tax payable. In other words, the procedure to be followed by producers and by the Taxation
Branch in relation to wool deduction certificates will be precisely the same as the procedure which has been followed for many years in relation to group certificates which employees receive for deductions made from their salaries or wages.
A producer who has sold his wool since the 28th August, 1950, and has already received the proceeds will be required to make a payment of 20 per cent, direct to the Commissioner. Likewise, a producer who has already exported wool for sale abroad since the 28th August will be required to pay the Commissioner 20 per cent, of the appraised value of that wool. In these cases, also, the producers will receive wool deduction certificates from the Commissioner and will be given credit for those certificates in the manner that I have already explained. Provision has been made in the bill to exempt any sale of wool where the sale price does not exceed £20, This has been done to avoid collecting amounts from a person who sells the wool from a few pet lambs. The bill makes provision for cases of hardship. Where the Commissioner is satisfied that hardship exists, he will be empowered to permit a producer to use his wool deduction certificates to pay any tax already due by him instead of holding the certificates to pay tax which will be assessed to him at a later date. There is a further provision under which a producer may appeal to the Land Valuation Board established under the Land Tax Assessment Act against any decision of the Commissioner under this hardship clause.
It is proposed that the Commissioner shall register every person who buys wool from a producer and every person who sells wool for a producer. Thus, all wool dealers and wool-selling brokers will be registered. A registered person will make deductions and will be authorized to issue wool deduction certificates. He will not, however, be required to make any deduction when purchasing wool from, or selling wool for, another registered person. In this manner, the procedure proposed in the bill will ensure that, when an amount has been paid to the Commissioner in respect of any wool, no further amount will be deducted from the sale of that wool. A registered person will, after the end of each month, remit to the Commissioner the amounts deducted during the month and will send with the remittance a copy of every wool deduction certificate issued by him during the month. The bill also contains provisions relating to administration and other provisions which are to be found in the various acts which provide the machinery for the collection of amounts payable to the Commissioner of Taxation. This measure is part of the legislation designed to give effect to the intention of the Government, as expressed in my budget speech, to restrain the effects which the excess purchasing power flowing from higher wool prices would have on the national economy. The extent to which those higher prices will affect the economy will be evident to honorable members when I say that the taxable income of woolgrowers in 1950-51 will approximate £380,000,000, an increase over the 1949-50 incomes of approximately £157,000,000, and no less than fifteen times the incomes of 1945-46, which were £25,000,000.
As I have already explained, this will not be another tax on the producer. I emphasize that fact because the Government’s proposal has been misinterpreted in some quarters. The amount which a producer is required to pay is merely a payment towards the income tax and provisional tax that he will be required to pay -under the existing laws. The laws relating to income tax and provisional tax are not affected by these proposals. The bill will give effect to an arrangement for earlier payment of taxes, and will apply to wool producers a principle that has been applied for the last nine years to 2,500,000 salary and wage earners. The measure is not intended to be permanent. It will be continued only so long as the economic circumstances of the country render it either necessary or appropriate. I commend the bill to honorable members.
– Oan the Minister tell me what will become of deductions in excess of a taxpayer’s obligations?
– They will be refunded.
– In the subject year of assessment.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Pollard) adjourned.
Reference to PUBLIC Works
– I move -
That, in accordance with the provisions of the Commonwealth Public Works Committee Act 1913-1947, the following proposed work be referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works for investigation and report, viz. : - The proposed extensions to the telephone exchange building at Lismore, New South Wales.
The extensions are required to provide additional equipment area for enlargements to the automatic telephone facilities serving the Lismore area and also to provide for the expansion of trunk-line services. The proposal envisages the erection of additions at the rear of the site occupied by the existing exchange building. These will comprise a basement and four floors. The estimated cost of the additions is £138,000, and plans of the proposal are tabled herewith.
.- I observe that the proposed work is to be carried out in the electorate that is represented by the Postmaster-General (Mr. Anthony). Many complaints about the lack of telephone and postal facilities have been made by residents of various districts throughout Australia, but the Government has failed to provide the services that are required. I have been led to believe that the general policy of the Government is to reduce works programmes by about 40 per cent, and I also understand that it has given instructions for a considerable damping down of work on Postal Department undertakings of an essential character. I have been informed that the postal authorities have been directed to proceed only with the connexion of telephones to existing services. New cables and other facilities are not to be provided. The Government has received requests for the installation of additional telephone services in the far western area of New South Wales and other remote districts but it has failed to do anything to satisfy those requests. I have been informed that one of the first official acts carried out by the present Postmaster-General was the authorization of the provision of additional trunk telephone lines in his own electorate. I ask the honorable gentleman whether that is a fact. Residents of other electorates are complaining because they cannot get adequate trunk telephone facilities. If the Minister has arranged for the installation of extra trunk-line channels in his own electorate and now proposes to proceed with the erection of an elaborate structure to increase and improve telephone facilities in the same division what does he propose to do for the people who reside in outback areas and who are badly in need of improved telephone services? Does he intend to provide additional telephone exchanges and other facilities in centres from which there have been many complaints ?
.- The statements which have been made by the honorable member for Darling (Mr. Clark) can only be described as poor, and I cannot believe that he expects the House to :treat them seriously. The PostmasterGeneral’s Department has been carrying out a. number of works in my electorate. Additional trunklines have been installed, a new telephone exchange is being erected at Narrabri, and another exchange will be built at Inverell. I realize that some country centres urgently require additional telephone exchanges, but I point out, in fairness to the Postmaster-General (Mr. Anthony), that additional trunklines and new exchanges are being provided in my electorate. Furthermore, a number of small country telephone exchanges, which provide a service only within prescribed hours, are being replaced by automatic exchanges. Those installations are greatly appreciated by my constituents.
– -The honorable member for Darling (Mr. Clark) is to be complimented on the protest which he has made against the misuse of public funds in the “way proposed in this motion. I have no objection, and, indeed, no one can have any objection to the extensions to the telephone exchange building at Lismore, or, for that matter, to extensions to post offices in any other part of Australia, but the significant feature at this time is that Lismore is situated in the electorate of the Postmaster-General (Mr. Anthony). The first reference that this Government has decided to give to the Public Works Committee is in respect of a work in the constituency of the honorable gentleman who happens, for the time being, to be the Postmaster-General. The statements by thu honorable member for Gwydir (Mr. Treloar) about the provision of increased telephonic facilities in bis electorate are equally true of every electorate in the Commonwealth. The PostmasterGeneral’s Department, over the years, has had a big programme of works which it has attempted to complete within the limits of the man-power and materials available. However, quite a number of places are equally as important as Lismore, and the House is entitled to know how many more proposals of a kind similar to the one now under discussion are to be referred to the Public Works Committee. Is there a list of such works, or are the extensions to the telephone exchange building at Lismore the only project that is contemplated? If there is n list will it be made available to the Parliament? If the Minister for Works and Housing (Mr. Casey) decides to withhold it from honorable members, the present proposal must be regarded as peculiar and it is not to the credit of the Government that it is pushing the interests of one member of the Cabinet who, apparently, is not expected to be a member of the next Parliament. The expenditure of public money in particular electorates for the purpose of trying to popularize an honorable member or a Minister, and to assist the fading fortunes of the Liberal party and of the Australian Country party, is not in the best interests of the nation. I hope that the Minister for Works and Housing, who has submitted this proposal to the House, will give us more information about it, and will not expect the Parliament to register its approval without the fullest discussion. One Minister has already won an unenviable reputation for refusing to give information about his policy.
-Order ! The honorable member’s remark is quite outside the terms of the motion.
– I submit that my comment is germane to the terms of the motion. The Minister for Health (Sir Earle Page) has refused-
– Order !
– The Minister for Works and Housing is following in the footsteps of the Minister for Health in refusing to give to honorable members all the information that they require about a government proposal. I hope that the House will not agree to the motion until it is given all the details that have been sought.
.- The Minister for Works and Housing (Mr. Casey) has merely submitted a motion the purpose of which is to refer a proposal for extensions to the telephone exchange at Lismore to the Public Works Committee. The attitude which has been adopted by the Opposition members to the proposal makes it necessary for me to remind them that the three political parties in this chamber are represented on that committee, which has to submit its findings to the House. I believe that it is proper that the Parliament should be asked to refer the proposed work to the committee. The time for Opposition members to make complaints is when that committee furnishes its report to the House. Their suggestions that the proposal is sinister and underhand because the proposed work would be carried out in the electorate that is represented by the Postmaster-General (Mr. Anthony) arecompletely without foundation. Opposition members should have sufficient faith in their own representatives on the committee to believe that its report will be proper and in the public interest.
.- I oppose the motion. It appears to me to be sinister indeed that the Minister for Works and Housing (Mr. Casey) should submit it, when the work is definitely a part of the programme of the PostmasterGeneral’s Department. Perhaps the Postmaster-General (Mr. Anthony) became conscience-stricken at the mere idea of asking the House to agree torefer to the Public Works Committee, a proposal for extensions to the telephoneexchange building at Lismore, which is in his own electorate and the Minister for Works and Housing obliged him by accepting the responsibility of submitting the motion.
– Order ! That remark is quite disorderly. The matter under discussion comes properly under the administration of the Minister for Works and Housing.
– Centres that are larger and more important than Lismore have been waiting for many years for improved post office buildings, and the provision of suitable telephone exchanges. I have made representations to successive Postmasters-General for 21 years for a modern post office at Maitland, which is a big centre. The post office of the important town of Cessnock, which has a population of 25,000 persons, is located in an old cottage. The population of Maitland is even greater than that of Cessnock. Newcastle and the surrounding districts have a population of approximately 250,000 persons, and various centres in that area urgently require improved postal facilities. Some sense of proportion should be observed in the allocation of works by the PostmasterGeneral’s Department. The little one-horse town of Drysdale, in the electorate of Corio, which was represented by a former Postmaster-General, has a. post office that is considerably larger than the Newcastle post office. Why has Lismore been awarded the honour of having a larger telephone exchange building? Does “Li*” want “more”? I do not know. Evidently she is going to get more. It is tragic, that the electorates of Newcastle and Hunter, and the new electorate of Paterson, which includes Maitland, are denied adequate postal and telephonic facilities. Maitland still has a prefederation post office. Whenever honorable members have made representations to successive Postmasters-General they have received, regardless of their political views, a stereotyped reply that has become so familiar to us all. The writer, the letters invariably state, regrets very sincerely that the applications for the installations of telephones cannot be granted.
– Order! That remark is quite outside the terms of the motion.
– I agree with the honorable member for Darling that this important subject should be referred to the Public Works Committee for a complete investigation.
– The purpose of the motion is to refer the proposal to the Public Works Committee.
– A very searching inquiry should be made into the whole subject before this particular proposal is approved. I know of many towns with larger populations than Lismore which have post offices that are much more inadequate for local requirements than is the office at Lismore. For instance, although Newcastle has high civic status and its city council is presided over by a lord mayor, it cannot obtain a new post office, or even adequate postal or telephone facilities. I oppose the proposal to erect an extension of the telephone exchange at Lismore unless the Public Works Committee inquires into other localities where the need is probably more urgent.
– I deplore the remarks made by the honorable member for Darling (Mr. Clark) and the honorable member for Melbourne (Mr. Calwell) concerning the proposal to enlarge the telephone exchange building at Lismore. Although the honorable member for Darling had something to say concerning the provision of better postal and telephone facilities for people in remote country areas, I point out that the residents of the far-flung electorate of Leichhardt, which I represent, have never received such excellent service from the Postmaster-General’s Department as they are now receiving. Metallic telephone circuits-have been discarded and replaced by new copper lines, and new post offices have been built or are in course of erection. Telephones have been connected to settlers in remote parts, who had no chance of obtaining telephone communication from the previous Government. For these reasons I certainly do not agree with the criticism of the present PostmasterGeneral (Mr. Anthony) that has been uttered by some honorable members opposite.
.- Whilst. I do not oppose the motion to refer the project under discussion to the Public Works Committee, I believe that the House is entitled to certain additional information concerning it, as it involves an estimated expenditure of approximately £153,000. Although the honorable member for Corangamite (Mr. McDonald), who is a member of the Public Works Committee, said that the committee would scrutinize the proposal most carefully, he did not furnish any information to enable the House to compare the postal needs of Lismore with those of other large towns, such as Maitland, which was mentioned by the honorable member for Hunter (Mr. James). People in the electorate that I represent, in common with people in all other electorates, are demanding better postal and telephone facilities, and whilst I am anxious that more capital expenditure should be undertaken by the Postal Department than has been undertaken so far, the Government should make a fair approach in assessing the relative merits of the large number of projects before it. I remind the Government that many thousands of people are anxiously await-* ing telephone connexions, and many of them have been waiting for years.’ I know one applicant who has been waiting for six years.
– While a Labour government was in office f
– I admit that a Labour Government was in office during the greater part of that time, but it had a programme of postal works to implement. However, I shall not waste my time in endeavouring to explain the relation of that policy to other matters, because I think that the honorable member who interjected would be too thick in the head to understand my explanation.
– Order ! The honorable member for Wills (Mr. Bryson) will withdraw the offensive remark that he has just made.
– I withdraw it, and I am sorry that I was provoked into transgressing the Standing Orders. When I was interrupted by the honorable member for Gwydir (Mr, Treloar), I was about to point out that the preceding Labour Go- vernment drew up a comprehensive works programme for the Postal Department, which was estimated to cost £42,000,000, and that programme would have provided adequate facilities for the people of Australia. That programme was subsequently approved by .the Parliament, and I desire to know now -whether it is being implemented by the present Government. In particular, I desire to know whether the proposal to extend the telephone exchange at Lismore, which is in the electorate of the Postmaster-General (Mr. Anthony), was included in the programme prepared by Labour and approved by the Parliament. Will the Minister inform the House whether the Lismore project is being undertaken in its proper order in the approved programme, and also whether the expenditure of such a large sum of money as that proposed will interfere with the provision of facilities that are more urgently needed in other parts of Australia. Ite it proposed to expend similar large sums of money on major works projects for the department in other towns, or is the Lismore project merely an isolated one? After all, the expenditure of approximately £150,000 on the extension of the telephone exchange for a town the size of Lismore suggests that the new building will be somewhat palatial. If the Minister can reassure me on the points that I have mentioned I shall withdraw my objection to the Lismore project.
.- The criticisms uttered by the members of the Opposition who have taken part in this debate amount to much ado about nothing, because, after all, the motion before the Chair provides merely for the proposal to be referred to the Public Works Committee. The apparent inconsistency in the attitude adopted by members of the Opposition in this matter is that whilst they have no objection to the proposal being referred to the committee, they have seized the opportunity to make scurrilous innuendoes against the PostmasterGeneral. I was amazed that the honorable member for Melbourne (Mr. Calwell) should have attacked the proposal, because in the last Parliament he represented the PostmasterGeneral in this House, and he must be aware that major works, such as the construction of new post offices, are placed on a priority list that is prepared in accordance with the urgency of local requirements and other legitimate considerations. Whilst I have no detailed knowledge of the works priority list for the Postal Department, I should imagine nhat the proposal to enlarge the telephone exchange at Lismore has probably been “ on the stocks “ for some time. Apparently the sole cause of all the criticism that has arisen is that the new building will be erected in the electorate of the Postmaster-General. I should imagine, however, that any suggestion fiat this project is being expedited by the present Minister so that he might obtain some improper political advantage from it . is negatived by the proposal to refer it to the Public Works Committee in the ordinary manner. Honorable members are aware that all political parties are represented on that committee, and that the report and recommendation of the committee on this project will be placed before the House in due course. Apparently members of the Opposition have not much confidence in their representatives on the Public Works Committee, and perhaps their lack of confidence is the result of the unhappy situation in which the Labour party finds itself to-day. Notwithstanding its endeavours to “ oust the Government “, to borrow a phrase from the honorable member for Melbourne-
– The honorable member should get back to the motion.
– I am sticking to the motion, and I hope that the honorable member is enjoying what I have to say. All that the motion proposes is that the project to enlarge the telephone exchange at Lismore shall be referred to the Public Works Committee. That is the procedure normally followed with any projected work, and, as I have said, I am amazed that members of the Opposition should endeavour, by innuendo, to impute ulterior motives to the Postmaster-General. I say emphatically that the present PostmasterGeneral is a worthy successor to Senator Gibson, who held that office some years ago- and did more to improve the postal facilities of this country than any other holder of the office has done.
.- I register my protest in connexion with this matter. I do not intend to do any backslapping. I contend that at this particular period, extra postal facilities should not be provided at a country town called Lismore, when there are large industrial areas in this Commonwealth, particularly in New South Wales, that contain huge factories that employ large numbers of men, yet lack any telephone facilities.
– The Government does not worry about Maroubra or Botany.
– We hear honorable members opposite calling day after day for more production.
-Order! The honorable gentleman must confine himself to the subject of the motion before the House. He will not bc allowed to discuss the merits of every other place in Australia. The question before the House is whether this proposal regarding postal facilities at Lismore shall be referred to the Public Works Committee or not.
– I register my protest for the very reason that this matter is to be referred to the Public Works Committee. The lack of telephone facilities in other parts of Australia is great. Botany, which is one of the biggest industrial areas in New South Wales, is suffering from a lack of telephone facilities and for that reason men will not work in factories in that area, because they know that in case of accidents there would be no means of communicating rapidly with doctors and ambulances. Factories in that area which employ 60, 70 or 80 men are without telephone facilities, and it is a public scandal that the Postmaster-General (Mr. Anthony) has a colleague who was willing to submit a motion connected with a proposal that is designed to aggrandize the Postmaster-General in his own electorate and thus ensure his reelection at the next general election, which, incidentally, will not be long in coming. It is scandalous that a country town should be given precedence over huge industrial areas. That is why I register my protest before the matter goes to the Public Works Committee. Let us give some consideration to the employees in this country’s great industries.
.- 1 do not think that I have heard anything in worse taste than the remarks that honorable members opposite have made because the Postmaster-General (Mr. Anthony) proposes to refer to the Public Works Committee the proposed extensions to the telephone exchange building at Lismore. Apparently honorable members opposite suggest’ that, because the location of the proposed work happens to be in the Postmaster-General’s electorate, there is something sinister in the proposal to proceed with it. Before the work will commence, honorable members representing both sides of the Parliament, who are members of the Public Works Committee, will examine the proposal. The honorable member for Darling (Mr. Clark), who led the Opposition’s objections to the proposal, said at the outset of his speech that, there was something wrong with it.
Mr. Calwell interjecting,
-Order! The honorable member for Melbourne (Mr. Calwell) is entirely out of order in interjecting from a seat other than his own.
– Then I shall interject from the front bench.
– Apparently honorable members opposite think that the Postmaster-General’s electorate should be a Cinderella electorate as far as postal services are concerned just because it happens to be his electorate. That is a most ridiculous suggestion. According to them any suggestion to extend postal facilities in the electorate of the PostmasterGeneral is to be taboo. I can remember the time when the honorable member for Maribyrnong (Mr. Drakeford), as Minister for Air in the Chifley Ministry, extended an aerodrome
– I rise to order. The honorable member for Isaacs (Mr. Haworth) is referring to matters that are not related to the motion before the House, and I consider that he has no right to do so.
-The Chair is watching the position. Mr. HAWORTH. - I wish-to draw an analogy between the proposal to extend postal facilities at Lismore, in which honorable gentlemen opposite see some sinister motive, and alterations and extensions that were made to Essendon aerodrome in the electorate of Maribyrnong during the regime of the Chifley Ministery. It was not suggested in this House at that time that the Essendon aerodrome was being extended just because it happened to be in the electorate of the then Minister for Air. Such a suggestion would have been quite ridiculous.
– Essendon aerodrome is not, and never was, in my electorate.
Honorable members interjecting,
-Order! If honorable members intend to turn this debate into a wild west show I shall see that they shall be kept in order. I am not referring particularly to an interjection that was just made by the honorable- member for Maribyrnong (Mr. Drakeford), which was a pertinent interjection.
– I rise to order. Is the honorable member for Isaacs (Mr. Haworth) entitled to make untrue statements that are a reflection upon me? The Essendon aerodrome has never been in my electorate.
– As far as the point of order raised by the honorable member for Maribyrnong is concerned, the honorable member for Isaacs was entitled to draw an analogy in relation to smother proposal that was referred in the past to the Public Works Committee. So far as any imputations or implied imputations are concerned, they were not in the same category as were some of the imputations that have been made by honorable members on my left in relation to the matter now before the House.
– I assure the honorable member for Maribyrnong that I made no imputation or suggestion against him. I was merely drawing an analogy between what happened about a year ago, when the Public Works Committee considered the extension of the
Essendon aerodrome, which, in those days, happened to be in the electorate of the honorable member for Maribyrnong-
– It never was! Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER - Order ! Mr. HAWORTH.- Then it was adjacent to the electorate. The proposal to extend that aerodrome could have been interrupted as an attempt to improve the position of the honorable member for Maribyrnong in his electorate. Such an interpretation would have been on all fours with the interpretation that the Opposition is placing upon the proposal to extend postal facilities at Lismore. I say to honorable members opposite that it is a bad show that, when a proposal is submitted by a Minister, inferences of some sinister intent are drawn from it. I consider that if the tone of debate in this House is to be improved the employment of such tactics should be taboo.
– When the honorable member for Corangamite (Mr. McDonald) and the honorable member for Canning (Mr. Hamilton) advanced as a defence in this matter, the argument that the proposal that is the subject of the debate will be referred to the Public Works Committee, as if that were a sufficient answer to the questions asked by the honorable member for Darling (Mr. Clark), they were endeavouring to pull the wool over our eyes. Nobody is arguing, so far as I am aware, that extensions to the telephone exchange building at Lismore may not be justified. Quite likely they are completely justified. The very essential point that is being made by the Opposition is that telephones and postal works are justified in every part of this continent. In every part of our rural areas there is an urgent need for telephone works to be carried out, and the answer continually being given by the Postmaster-General’s own department is an admission that these works are necessary. An answer signed by the Minister states that, unfortunately, because of the shortage of materials, labour and essential equipment, it is not possible to carry out those works, which he admits are urgently necessary in manyparts of Australia. The Public Works
Committee has no opportunity to decide what ought to be the priority in the carrying out of works of this character. That matter is decided by the department that is presided over by the PostmasterGeneral himself. Therefore, is it not legitimate to inquire whether works of this character are urgently required in every rural area in the Commonwealth and to seek to learn how it comes about that this, the first work of its kind proposed by the Minister, is to be in his own electorate?
The honorable member for Isaacs (Mr. Haworth) said that it was bad taste to raise a matter of this kind. He said that matters of this kind should be taboo in the Parliament of this nation. I suggest that exactly the reverse is the proper parliamentary practice. Any action by a member should be open to the most searching public inquiry in this House. It is proper that when there is a question that affects the administration of a Minister which requires an answer it should be raised in this place.’ That is not bad taste. It is a proper evercise of the function of this Parliament. The honorable member for Isaacs is, therefore, completely off the line when he says that considerations of this kind should be taboo in the Parliament. If they were taboo any act of maladministration or favoritism by a Minister in his own electorate would be allowed to pass unnoticed and unquestioned and that would leave the administration of this country open to the very gravest abuse. No charge has ‘been made against the Minister. A question has been asked and, on the facts submitted, there is a definite case for the Minister to answer. On the facts submitted there is definite evidence that favoritism is being extended to the electorate which the Postmaster-General happens to represent. The PostmasterGeneral may have a complete answer. If he has, the House is fully entitled to ask him for it and to put forward, as the honorable member for Darling has done, the facts in relation to the matter, particularly as this is occurring at a time when the PostmasterGeneral, through his departmental officers, is tightening up all expenditure on postal and telephone services throughout Australia.
I was astonished to hear members of the Australian Country party, who are the representatives of rural electorates, stand up in their places and declare, this morning, that they were completely satisfied with the telephone, telegraph arid postal facilities in their own electorates. I cannot imagine any honorable member who represents a country electorate-
-Order! That issue is not being debated, and is not going to be debated by the honorable member.
– I simply wish to reply to the point that honorable members raised when they said that they were satisfied with what had been done in their own electorates.
– It is still not the subject that is being discussed. The honorable member may make an answer and then return to the motion.
– I bow to your ruling. I simply say that any honorable member who appreciates the needs of the rural electorates is betraying their interests when he says that their needs are already being fully met. There is an urgent need in every part of Australia, and particularly in the outlying rural areas, for the extension of telegraph and telephone facilities and the question at issue, therefore, is whether the work proposed by the Minister to be carried out in his own electorate can be shown to be more urgent than are those other works that have been postponed for years past and are still being postponed because of the shortage of labour and equipment in the PostmasterGeneral’s Department.
– I have allowed this debate to proceed a long way before replying because I desired to hear every” point of view. This is the only proposed . work that has been presented to the Parliament out of a £20,000,000 programme which the Postmaster-General’s Department has prepared for this financial year. Post offices and telephone exchanges are being built in every part of this Commonwealth without being referred to the Public Works Committee. Not one such work has been referred to the committee. Because this matter concerned my own electorate I asked the Minister for Works and Housing (Mr. Casey) to refer it to the Public Works Committee to decide its essentiality or otherwise. 1 am directing the building of post offices from north Queensland to Western Australia without one of them being referred to the Public Works Committee because such a reference entails a colossal loss of time. In the time that the Public Works Committee takes to examine these matters, which amounts at times to four, six or nine months, the cost of a project rises immeasurably. Therefore, it is very important, when it is decided that a work is urgent, that it be commenced with the utmost expedition. Of all the works that are to be carried out. by my department, this is the only one that I asked the Minister for Works and Housing to present to the Parliament and to have investigated by a committee consisting of members of all parties. The Labour party is represented on the Public Works Committee by the honorable member for Newcastle (Mr. Watkins), the honorable member for Martin (Mr. Oconnor) and the honorable member for Grey (Mr. Edgar Russell). These honorable members examine projects and decide whether or not they are essential. They decide whether the volume of the business transacted is sufficient, whether present conditions are congested, whether there are no amenities for the employees and whether the project is too big or not big enough.
The honorable member ‘ for EdenMonaro (Mr. Fraser) has made certain insinuations but it is only two days since he brought a deputation from his electorate to me and I promised him substantial facilities for his own electorate and told the deputation that it did not matter to me whether their electorate was represented by Labour, the Australian Country party, or the Liberal party; all that mattered was the essentiality of the work. Now the honorable member has made innuendoes in the House. Bis electorate is to have, within the next year or so, one of the finest regional radio stations in Australia, which will cost about the same as this project and is not being referred by me to the Public Works Committee, because my. department has advised me that it is essential and desirable.
I could take up the time of the Public Works Committee by referring to it for investigation aud report works proposals in relation to dozens of .post offices in all parts of Australia but, in the meantime, the people who need those facilities would be left without them and the cost, would be going up. In this instance, I have asked the Minister for Works and Housing to present to the Parliament the only project that I have submitted out of scores and, because it is in my own electorate, these innuendoes have been made. As the honorable member for Isaacs asked, is it to be expected that, because an honorable member happens to be raised to the position of a Minister, his department should do absolutely nothing in the electorate that he represents? The Postmaster-General’s Department has a schedule of hundreds of works which arc listed in an order of reasonable priority. It is not possible to determine exactly whether a particular work should be number 51 or 52 but, insofar as it is possible to determine the relative urgency of those works, they have been listed in order of priority and this project at Lismore has had the highest priority in the documents of the PostmasterGeneral’s Department for a very long time. When all is said and done this matter is being referred to an all party committee, the Public Works Committee. It is for that committee to decide whether any undue favoritism is being accorded and whether the work is justified. It will report to the Parliament when it has reached a decision on the matter.
Mr. GRIFFITHS (Shortland) fl2.5]. - I oppose the reference of this matter to the Public Works Committee because of the very reason suggested by the Minister, namely,- that it is only one proposed major work out of many hundreds required throughout the Commonwealth. I believe that the motion should be amended to provide that all works of a major character shall be referred to the Public Works Committee for investigation and report before being carried out by the Postmaster - General’s Department. I know Lismore perhaps as well as any honorable member here. Lismore has a population of approximately 14,000 and has as good a postal service as has any other town in Australia. That service may be improved by making minor extensions to the telephone exchange building, but when the industrial value of Lismore is compared with that of Wollongong and the great industrial areas of the Newcastle district, such as Cessnock, Maitland and Kurri Kurri, one will understand why Lismore should not be given priority over such industrial districts. The executive officers of major undertakings in the Newcastle area for years have been unable to get telephones. Why should this matter be referred to the Public Works Committee when other matters are so greatly in need of attention in the Newcastle district? There is a great co-operative organization in the Newcastle area which has a turnover of £1,500,000 a year. The general manager of that organization has not been able to get a telephone for three years. The member for Hamilton in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly has also been unable to get a telephone.
– Order ! The honorable member cannot discuss all postal activities in this debate”. He mint deal with the motion.
– I am trying to show that this proposed work should bc referred, to the Public Works Committee not alone, but together with other works. I propose to move -
That the following words he added to the motion: - “and such other proposed extensions included in the programme prepared by the Postmaster-General’s Department for increased post office facilities in every part of Australia “.
That amendment, if carried, will ensure that proposals for works such as I have outlined will be brought before the Public Works Committee for investigation and report.
– Apparently the honor- able member wants post office work to stop altogether for years.
– I want postal services to be increased and extensions to be made in the areas that are most important to the economy of the country.
One hundred thousand pounds or £5,000, should not be expended in a town such as Lismore while there is not sufficient space in the telephone exchange at New Lambton for additional cables or lines, or any additional automatic apparatus. In the Newcastle district approximately 3,000 unsuccessful ap plications have been made for telephones, and I suggest that there would not be 1,000 such applications in the Lismore district. If the PublicWorks Committee is to inquire only intothe Lismore work, the industrial development of this country will be retarded. Our whole economy is now affected because people cannot get telephones. An example of that may be found among transport workers. Men living from 10 to 20 miles from their work must be ready to attend for work at an hour’s notice. It is necessary for such people to have telephones, but it is not so necessary for the people in the Lismore district. For years the Merewether area has. been promised a telephone exchange, but as yet there is no sign of its being built. The Minister should amend the motion to provide that the Public Works Committee’s investigations shall be so extended as to embrace the whole of Australia, and he should ensure that the work that is most important and necessary shall be carried out first.
.- If the honorable member for Shortland (Mr. Griffiths) had had available to him the time properly to consider the terms of the amendment that was handed to him and which he moved, he would not have moved it. His amendment completely negates the case that he and other honorable members of the Opposition have been attempting to sustain in this discussion.
– Order ! The amendment of the honorable member for Shortland would add to the motion the words - “ andsuch other proposed extensions included in the programme prepared by the PostmasterGeneral’s Department for increased post office facilities in every part of Australia “.
I rule that the amendment would be out of order on the ground that it is not relevant to the motion.
– I move -
That the ruling be dissented from.
I take it that the honorable member is entitled to extend the scope of an investigation as widely as he desires. If he is not entitled to do that then the whole purpose of debate in this House is nullified. Debate would then be confined within verynarrow limits, in fact to the limits set by the Minister. Apparently, nobody else would have a right to interfere with the Minister’s proposition, and all that we should be expected to do would be to register approval or disapproval of. it. If we proposed to do anything by way of an amendment registering other than approval or disapproval, we should be ruled out of order. Your ruling, Mr. Deputy Speaker, will stultify all discussion, and if it becomes the practice in other debates the Parliament will become an assembly such as that over which Hitler presided. It will become a gathering merely to register approval of everything that the Government does. I disagree completely with that line of reasoning, Mr. Deputy Speaker.
-i second the motion.
Mr. Calwell having submitted, in writing, his objection to the ruling,
Question put -
That the ruling be dissented from.
The House divided. (Mb. Deputy Speaker - Mr.C.F. Aderm ann.)
Majority . . 23
Question so resolved in the negative.
Motion (by Mr. Gullett) put -
That the question be now put.
The House divided. (Me. Deputy Speaker - Mr. C. F. Adermann.)
Majority . . . . 22
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Original question resolved in the affirmative.
Debate resumed from the 18th October (vide page 1026), on motion by Mr. Fadden -
That the bill be now read a second time.
.- Having regard to the spectacle that we have witnessed in this chamber during the last half hour, an honorable member might naturally lack enthusiasm in his approach to the debate on this measure.
– Order! The honorable member is not in order in referring to a previous debate.
– This House is frequently referred to as the “ House of Reps.”, and I have often wondered whether that term means the House of Representatives or the “ House of repetition because on many occasions during the last two weeks so much time has been wasted in debate that we have been able to achieve very little. However, the scope of debate permitted on a Supply Bill is practically unrestricted. It is unfortunate that every debate in this chamber seems to develop into a sectionalized controversy between those who commend the policy of the Government and those who criticize it and seek to depreciate its value in every possible way.
– Is the Government always right?
– The honorable member for Watson (Mr. Curtin) has some use as a member of this House, I am glad to say, because he provides us with an excellent example of the truth of the adage that empty vessels make the most sound. The Government deserves commendation for the work that it has done since it has been in office. During that brief period it has discontinued the rationing of petrol, butter and tea. increased child endowment benefits to the advantage of many families, arranged a dollar loan that will greatly benefit both primary and secondary industries, instituted a health plan that has been accepted and is helping many citizens, and pressed on with anti-Communist legislation which, although it has been a contentious measure, is now about to be written into the statute-book. An outstanding measure that was foreshadowed by the Treasurer (Mr. Fadden) in his budget speech will increase pension rates. This will be the largest increase that has ever been granted in the history of pensions in Australia. It will involve additional expenditure of approximately £8,775,000 a year. ‘ The time has come for this Parliament to deal with the subject of pensions on a proper basis. All pensions should have a fixed relationship to the cost of living. Having established the proper ratio, we should declare that there must be an annual review of pension rates for the purpose of maintaining that ratio. Pensions should be divorced from party political issues. We have too often heard political candidates promise the pensioners that, if their party is returned to power, it will increase pension rates. No member of any party should use pensions merely for the sake of party political advantage.
This Government is endeavouring constantly to stabilize our economy and to assure the people of safety. The basis of increased economic stability must be increased production. National safety is dependant upon the taking of adequate defence measures and the prosecution of an effective immigration programme. What help has the Government received from the Opposition in its efforts to achieve those ends?
– What does it expect?
– The honorable member f or Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron) could be regarded as one of the “ best-red “ men on the Opposition side of the chamber. We have read in the newspapers that production must be increased if our economy is to be stabilized, but the trade union movement has refused to co-operate. The federal president of the Australian Labour party, Mr. J. A. Ferguson, M.L.C., has declared that that party’s help will be absolutely nil. Defence is vital to our security. Yet the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Chifley) has refused to help the Government in its recruiting campaign ! The point that I wish to emphasize is that the establishment of stability and the protection of the nation are not matters of individual party responsibility. Everybody in Australia is entitled to protection and the benefits of economic stability. Therefore, every member of the National Parliament has a responsibility to work for the implementation of an adequate defence programme and the enactment of such measures as will place the national economy upon a sound footing. Those objectives can be achieved only if all honorable members co-operate.
Much has been said in this House recently about inflation. We have been told that we are living in an era of prosperity, but many honorable members are attempting, without the slightest justification in fact, to convert it into an era of fear and panic. We should have faith in our Government and faith in our ability to help this young country to attain the state of peace and security that is the entitlement of every citizen. Panic and pessimism must be supplanted. Let us take advantage of the many opportunities that are available to us.
Members of the Opposition have talked loudly about putting value back into the £1. The Government has told them how to restore value to the £1, but they have not heeded it. The result is that this Parliament has become merely a debating assembly instead of a body working quietly and efficiently for the welfare of the nation. Australia is prosperous and, under wise guidance, it can become more prosperous still. The task of restoring value to the fi must be shared by every honorable member. This is a National Parliament; it is not a sectional body. The responsibility for -increasing production rests upon every citizen. Certainly it is not the responsibility of the employee alone. The employer also must share in the work of developing the nation, and members of thi? Parliament must help both worker and management to the best ti their ability. Mechanization of industry and other modern developments that enable us to progress as a nation must be fostered wholeheartedly. Consideration should be given to exempting from income tax all earnings that accrue from overtime work. Great possibilities are inherent in incentive payment systems, which have been discussed at great length in this House. The all-important point for us to remember is that we must not be sectional in our outlook. Members of the Opposition, instead of being destructive in their comments, should do their best to convert the present era into a lasting condition of true prosperity. They should not try to secure political stains at the risk of sacrificing the nation’s opportunities for development.
The health of the nation is of great importance, and the Government could well devote a great deal of its attention to the work of assisting hospitals in all States. Defence, of course, is essential to the protection and upholding of our democratic way of life. Next in importance to defence is health. We should strive to save as many lives as possible. The work of building new hospitals and expanding existing hospitals is being considerably retarded by high costs. Most of our hospitals are suffering from a serious shortage of funds. State governments are not, able to make generous grants to hospital organizations, and therefore a more generous view of their problems should be taken by the Australian Government. All parties can find common ground in promoting work of that character.
Another field of activity in which the Government should take a keen interest is that of local government, which is carried on in an honorary capacity by publicspirited citizens in all parts of the Commonwealth. During the last fifteen years, local government organizations have been obliged to undertake, responsibilities that are far too complex and far-reaching to be handled efficiently with the funds at their disposal. At one time, local government bodies were expected merely to look after roads, footpaths, drainage and similar works. Now they are expected to provide kindergartens and similar establishments, carry out survey work, solve health problems and do 1,001 thing? that they cannot do efficiently because of the lack of finance. This Parliament has been generous in its allocations of funds for the ‘ construction and maintenance of main roads and feeder roads. But greater generosity is needed if local government is to carry out its honorary work in a fair and reasonable manner. We should not look upon local government bodies merely as poor relations. We should take them into partnership in the tasks of government. If we do so. we shall find that the burden of national administration will be considerably lightened. Both this Government and the State governments will benefit.
The Minister for National Development (Mr. Casey) is in charge of a vast programme that provides for the expenditure of £250,000,000 on developmental works throughout Australia. Under that, programme consideration should be given to the establishment of machinery pools to be administered by country roads boards and other recognized instrumentalities from which machinery could be issued on loan to municipalities according to their most urgent, needs. This would facilitate the carrying out of essentia] works at a minimum of cost. Members of this Parliament can learn a great deal from the administration of local government bodies. Party political dissensions are divorced from their activities. Each local government body has a continuing policy. <This is largely due to the fact that one-fourth of the number of members of each council must face the voters every year. That system has a great deal to commend it, and it deserves the attention of members of this Parliament. I see no reason why any Government should remain in office for the full life of a parliament without referring its policies to the electors. Each year, a proportion of the membership of the Parliament could go before the public in order to have the policies of the government either endorsed or rejected. I believe that such a system would expedite the enactment of progressive legislation and would have a generally beneficial effect upon the nation.
The honorable member for Grayndler (Mr. Daly) occupied the time of this House last night with a dissertation that lasted for about half an hour and during the course of which he read the election pledges of various political parties. The honorable gentleman would have been much more usefully occupied if he had devoted his time to the reading of excerpts from the various local government acts of the States. I am certain that, if he had to face the electors ‘ once a year instead of at three-yearly intervals, he would devote himself much more assiduously than he does at present to matters of national importance and would be a better servant of the people whom he is supposed to represent. I firmly believe that there is much to commend the system of submitting the policy of the government to the people every year in order to obtain an expression of their opinion. All of us would then be obliged to live up to our responsibilities.
Sitting suspended from 12.45 to 2.15 p.m.
– The Menzies Government has faithfully fulfilled a number of its pre-election promises. It has abolished the rationing of petrol, butter, and tea, and has instituted the payment of endowment at the rate of 5s. a week for the first child of a family under the age of sixteen years. Last May, the Government introduced the Communist Party Dissolution Bill 1950, and I await with keen expectation the day when its provisions will be enforced against the Communist disrupters of our industries. The Liberal party and the Australian Country party, in their joint statement of policy during the last general election campaign, promised that if they were returned to office, they would sympathetically review pension rates. That promise has been honoured in the Treasurer’s budget speech. I advocate that pensions should be reviewed annually and should not be made a subject of party politics for the purpose of seeking to gain votes during an election campaign.
I have already emphasized the importance of increasing production, of strengthening our defences and of maintaining the flow of migrants to this country. I deplore the fact that the Government is receiving such little support and co-operation from the Labour party. In these prosperous times, a spirit of optimism should replace the spirit of pessimism that pervades the speeches of many Opposition members. Expressions of fear and even of panic about the value of the £1 reflect the wrong outlook. The value of the £1 should be treated as a matter of national importance and concern, and should not be discussed on party political lines. In the drive for greater production, employees will need to exert greater strength and willpower in their jobs, and employers must also play their part. However, production is not wholly dependent upon th’eir efforts. Every member of the Parliament should share in that drive. By supporting constructive legislation that is designed to meet the position, we shall play our part in that all important matter.
A more practical kind of partnership of Commonwealth, State and local governing authorities is necessary. In my opinion additional assistance should be granted by the Commonwealth to the States for the maintenance and equipment of hospitals. Last, but by no means least, I deplore the endless .slurs against character, and .the destructive criticism, that emanates from senior members of the Opposition. I am generous enough to believe that their criticism and slurs against the characters of other people are spoken, not with intent, but from habit. However, it is a bad habit, and I hope that the new members of the Opposition will not develop it. We should remember at all times that a large audience listens to the broadcasts of the proceedings of the Parliament, and, unfortunately, many people, when they are asked to describe their reactions to the debates, often remark that they greatly enjoy them. That comment is not flattering. When listeners speak of enjoying the debates, they mean that they derive amusement from the repartee, the interjections and the smart sayings of honorable members. Actually, the general public should get education, and a preview of legislation from listening to the broadcasts of these proceedings. When all is said and done, honorable members are the representatives of the people, who should derive, from listening to the broadcasts of the proceedings, a clarification of the details of legislation for the betterment of the community.
The purpose of this bill is to grant Supply to the Government for the months of November and December in order to enable it to meet the costs of administration and the other commitments of the Commonwealth. I commend the bill to the House, and express the hope that it will be passed without delay. I shall now refer to another matter which has become most noticeable in this chamber. Opposition members frequently begin their speeches, not by offering constructive suggestions, but by decrying the statements of a previous speaker from the Liberal party or from the Australian Country party. They often tend, not to offer cooperation, but to utter thinly veiled threats. They do not speak in optimistic terms, but utter a dirge that falls drearily upon the ears of their listeners. I hope that experience will prove that my assessment of the position is wrong. If the next Opposition speaker makes laudatory references to my speech; if he puts forward a constructive suggestion; if he offers co-operation to the Government and speaks well of our defence programme; if he, having accepted the direction of the federal executive of the Australian Labour party, endorses the Communist Party Dissolution Bill 1950 ; if he does not make comparison between the membership of the proposed Commonwealth Bank Board and that of other boards, my statement will be wrong. But if he voices only destructive criticism which is not helpful to the NationalParliament, and if he flouts the will of the people by not assisting the Govern- ment to place worthwhile legislation on the statute-book, my assessment of the position will be justified. Having regard to what I have just said I shall wait expectantly to hear the remarks of the next Opposition speaker.
Mr. CLYDE CAMERON (Hindmarsh) “2.24]. - The honorable member for Ballarat (Mr. Pittard) will not be disappointed, because my speech, unlike his address to the House, will be constructive.
– The honorable member is beginning his speech very nicely.
– I always begin a speech nicely, and I always end it nicely. I propose to develop a theme that the honorable member for Ballarat hopes I will avoid. I hope to expose some of the false promises that were made by the Liberal party and by the Australian Country party during the last general election campaign. The Government has not even attempted to honor those promises. At the outset, I shall read an advertisement that was inserted by the Liberal party in the daily newspapers in South Australia at that time. It reproduces a photograph of the present Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) and the letterpress is as follows : -
Chifley Government’s fake excuse for high prices exposed by actual facts.
The biggest single factor in bringing about price increases was the Chifley Government’s abrupt and unwarrantable withdrawal of price subsidies and its refusal to grant funds to the States to replace the subsidies.
The Liberal party, as soon as returned, will take prompt steps along essentially practical lines to remedy the present disastrous position, and will,” by the encouragement of incentives to increase production, stabilize and progressively reduce prices.
Vote for the Liberal party and put more value into the £1.
I invite members of the Liberal party to inform the House whether the Government hag yet taken any action to put more value into the £1. The people are demanding a statement on that matter. One of the main reasons why so many of them voted for the Liberal party or for the Australian Country party at the last general election was that they believed that promise. The people are now keenly awaiting an opportunity to register their disapproval of the Government’s failure to honour it.
– We also welcome an opportunity to submit our views to the people. Let us have a double dissolution.
– The Prime Minister may ask the GovernorGeneral to grant a double dissolution whenever he likes. The Constitution makes that provision when the Senate has rejected a bill submitted to it by the House of Representatives twice within three months. I believe that the sooner we have an election the better it will be for the country.
– Hear, hear!
– The people are eagerly awaiting the opportunity to register their disapproval of this rabble of a government, which has promised to put value back into the £1, and has made no effort to do so. Of course, the Government’s hands are tied in that respect, because its masters, who paid its election expenses, will not permit it to take the only steps that will improve our present economic condition. The Government’s political masters, the private banking interests and the capitalist monopolies, which control its purse strings, prohibit it from taking the only action by which value can be restored to the £1. The situation has become so bad since this Government assumed office that it will be impossible, in my opinion, for a succeeding government to put value back into the £1. The best that could be expected would be that a new government would prevent a further decrease in the purchasing power of the £1. But this Government cannot even do that, and under its administration the £1 is continually losing value. Stern measures should be taken against those persons who are profiting from the present condition in society. Those measures should include the control of prices and the pegging of profits. However, the Government cannot even consider the reintroduction of prices control by the Commonwealth, because the Liberal party and the Australian Country party persuaded the people to reject the Labour Government’s referendum proposals in 1948 . to enable the Commonwealth to continue prices control.
The Government does not desire to control prices and to peg profits, and therefore, the inflationary difficulties in Australia will be aggravated. The Government has not sufficient courage to combat them. Only a Labour government can deal with the present economic situation. I shall give my reasons for expressing that opinion. A Labour government is the only administration that the trade union movement is prepared to co-operate with, and to trust. The Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. Holt) made a statement in the House to the effect that the president of the Australian Council of Trades Unions, Mr. Monk, had called upon employees to work harder. I took the trouble to telephone the office of the Australian Council of Trades Unions yesterday, and I spoke to the secretary of that body, Mr. Broadby, who denied that Mr. Monk gave any assurance that the workers would co-operate with the present Government or that his organization would call upon the workers to work harder. The actual text of the statement made by Mr. Monk, which was misinterpreted by the Minister for Labour and National Service, is as follows: -
The Federal Government must accept responsibility for preventing an upward, unnecessary increase in prices. Without reflecting on the price-fixing machinery of the States, it is clear that this machinery has nol. been effective since the abolition of federal price control, and there should now be no doubt of the absolute necessity for the re-introduction of federal price control. This will not be the only measure necessary to be taken by the Government, and either complementary legislation or administrative measures will be essential to meet the economic position of Australia for at least the next twelve months. Employers must endeavour to re-adjust themselves to the new circumstances, and by improved industrial technique, better handling of supplies, transportation of raw materials, &c, reduce the waste element of time operating in many industries at present in order to alleviate the cost factor in these directions.
To workers as a whole we urge that increased production is essential to prevent undue inflation, and to ensure that, as far as possible, the increase granted by the court will be a real increase and not a nominal increase.
I desire to inform the House that His Royal Highness Tungi, the Crown Prince and Premier of Tonga, is within the precincts of the chamber. With the concurrence of honorable members, I shall invite him to take a seat on the floor of the House beside the Speaker’s chair.
Honorable Members. - Hear, hear!
PrinceTungi thereupon entered the chamber, and was seated accordingly.
– Mr. Broadby assures me that Mr. Monk’s statement was not intended to be interpreted as a call to the workers to work harder unless the present Government gives effect to the reforms that are necessary to deal with the present inflationary situation. The Australian Council of Trades Unions states definitely that under no circumstances is it prepared to call upon the workers to produce more while the present unfair distribution of wealth continues. The statement made by the Minister for Labour and National Service was a definite misinterpretation of the statement published by the president of the Australian Council of Trades Unions, and when the Minister was speaking I interjected to the effect that Mr. Monk did not have authority to make any such statement as that which was being attributed to him. I repeat now that, so long as the present unsatisfactory situation continues, Mr. Monk has no authority to appeal to the workers to work harder. Furthermore, no statement made by Mr. Monk represents the voice of the whole trade union movement, or even of those unions that are affiliated with the Australian Council of Trades Unions, until it has been endorsed by at least four of the six Trades and Labour Councils of the various States. No such endorsement has been forthcoming for any appeal to the workers to work harder, and it will not be forthcoming until the present Government has the initiative and the courage to deal with the causes of inflation.
I propose to say something else about the attitude of the trade unions. The Australian Workers Union, of which I have the honour to be a federal vicepresident, is one of the most powerful unions in Australia, and so long as the Government allows the profiteers to continue to exploit their rackets at the cost of the sweat and toil of the workers, it is not prepared to call upon the workers to work harder.
– What did the honorable member’s leader have to say about production ?
– I shall tell honorable members what both my industrial and my political leaders have said. The federal president of the Australian Workers Union, Mr. H. A. Davis, of Melbourne, yesterday authorized me to say to the Parliament that so long as the present Government fails to deal with the real causes of inflation, the Australian Workers Union will not call upon the workers to produce any more than they are at present producing.Mr.. Davis rightly pointed out that, under existing circumstances, to call upon the workers to work harder, would havethe result merely of increasing the profits of those who exploit industry. Every one knows that the present Government has not the courage to deal with excess profits or to introduce legislation to prevent the proceeds of the extra efforts of the workers from going into the pockets of the profiteers. So long as the present Government continues to do everything that it can to destroy trade unionism, no trade union leader who thinks anything of his class, could dream of cooperating with it.
For the benefit of honorable members generally I shall make a further statement about the ambit of the authority of the president of the Australian Council of Trades Unions. Mr. Monk does not speak for the Australian Workers Union at all. That union is not even affiliated with the Australian Council of Trades Unions. We are quite capable of ma.king up our minds on matters which concern the industrial conditions of our members. On this occasion our view is that the workers are working quite hard enough already for the wages they are receiving, and that it would be a traitorous act for any union leader to call upon them to work harder than they are doing now. Furthermore, it would be a traitorous act on the part of any union leader to give any semblance of co-operation to a government such as the present one, which has set itself out to .destroy the trade union movement.
The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Chifley) stated that any worker who hung back in the traces was cheating not only himself but also his fellow workers, and with that statement I entirely agree. However, the right honorable gentleman did not say that a worker should be condemned for adopting that attitude under existing circumstances. After al], every worker knows that under the existing circumstances any extra effort that he puts forward will result not in any improvement of the standard of himself and his fellow workers but will merely increase the profits of the masters who control industry. T agree entirely with my leader that there is a small minority of workers who are not pulling their weight in industry to-day. But is it any wonder that there are a few individuals who adopt that attitude, when they know that the only result of increased effort on their part will be to increase the profits of those for whom they work? It is all very well for the Minister for Labour and National Service and the silver-tails opposite to speak in this chamber of the need for increased production, but I should like to see members of the anti-Labour parties go into a shearing shed and ask the shearers to work harder, or into a stone quarry and appeal to the quarrymen to work harder. I should like the right honorable member for Bradfield (Mr. Hughes), who was at one time a Labour Prime Minister, to have the courage to go into the cement works in the electorate that I- represent and tell the workers that they should work harder. I challenge any honorable member opposite to visit the Nullarbor Plains and tell the fettlers working on the railway line there that they ought to work harder. I could name half a dozen other occupations in which the workers are doing a magnificent job. In fact, I point to the production of all heavy industries as proof of the effort put forward by the workers. Con sider the output of the men who man the blast furnaces at Whyalla. Has any honorable member opposite the courage to go to Whyalla and tell those men that they are not working hard enough? In fact, I should like to see any member of the Liberal party go to Whyalla and work there. I know that no member of the Government parties could possibly keep pace with the men who work at the Whyalla blast furnace.
It is sheer hypocrisy for the Government to complain that the trade unions have not co-operated with it. How could the trade union movement co-operate with this Government, which it knows is pledged secretly to destroy the trade unions?
– From where did the honorable member get that information?
– Every worker in Australia knows that the Liberal party is pledged to destroy the trade union movement and to take from it the right to strike. We all know that the only reason why the Liberal party tolerates the. trade unions at all is that it has not the courage to do otherwise.
– I rise to order. 1 object to the statement that the Liberal party intends to destroy the trade unions, which is offensive to me. I ask that the honorable member be made to withdraw that assertion.
– On previous occasions I have ruled that when remarks have been made that reflect in a general sense upon opposing political parties, those remarks may be answered by succeeding speakers. I will apply that ruling in this instance, and the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron) may continue.
– The only reason why the Liberal party tolerates trade unionism at all is that it realizes that that movement is so strong that the Liberals must tolerate it. However, when the depression, which will assuredly follow the present inflationary period happens, thousands of unionists will be thrown on to the scrap heap. The cause of that depression will be the present inflationary spiral, which has gone completely unchecked by this inept Government. While that spiral continues the political masters of the Liberal party are getting all they can from it. As an instance of the attitude of the present Government towards the trade union movement, I ask honorable members generally what action the Government took when it decided to introduce a measure to deal with the Communists? Did it go to the trade unions and seek their co-operation? Not at all! The Government introduced a bill. The first intimation that the trade union movement had of the Government’s intention was when the workers heard the broadcast of the speech made by the Prime Minister, who introduced the Communist Party Dissolution Bill. After treating the trade union movement with such utter contempt, how can members of the Government expect it to co-operate with them now?
– That is a specious argument.
– It may bo specious, but it cannot be refuted. All that we can get from the present Government are some marvellous examples of the Prime Minister’s oratory. Undoubtedly he is a good orator - in fact, he is a marvellous orator, and probably one of the best that Australia has ever heard. However, it all ends there. The right honorable gentleman never does anything. All he does is talk, talk, talk - “beefing” over the radio. He has appeared on the newsreels so often that I cannot help thinking what a pity it is that Hollywood is not closer to Canberra so that the right honorable gentleman could have himself photographed with the bathing beauties of Los Angeles. The fact is that the Prime Minister is incapable of action of any kind. All ho can do is to make high-sounding but meaningless speeches and entertain us with his oratorical performances. All that is ever likely to come of his utterances is a continuation, and an aggravation, of the present inflationary spiral. I can understand why Government supporters are looking so glum. I can understand why they are so downcast and pessimistic about the possibility of their having to face the electors. The reason is that the Government’s dismal failure te put more value into the £1 will catch up with it at the next general election, whenever it may be held. Any one would think, after listening to government supporters, that the Government was making great efforts and great strides in connexion with restoring value to the £1. Government supporters were loud in their election promises to put more value into the £1, and when they attained office they were also loud in saying that that policy would be successfully carried out. On the 23rd February, Senator O’sullivan said -
The Government will . . . prevent the cost of living rising.
There can be no doubt that that statement represented the view of the Government, because Mr. Spender said on the same day -
Value will he put back into the fi.
On the 7th March, Mr. Holt said -
The Government has expressed its determination to grapple with the problem in order to get value back into the £1.
On the next day Senator O’sullivan said -
The Government is taking action to prevent increases of the cost of living.
On the 11th March, Mr. Fadden said -
I am confident that the situation will be dealt with adequately.
On the 19th April, Senator O’Sullivan said -
I am happy to say that considerable progress has been made in restoring the purchasing value of the £1.
On the 10th May, Senator O’Sullivan said -
We are encountering great difficulty in arresting the slide.
– I rise to order, Mr. Acting Deputy Speaker. The honorable member is referring to members of this House and of the other House by their names, a practice which, I understand, is not in order.
– I said, “Senator O’Sullivan”.
– Order! If the honorable member is> using the personal names of members of this chamber he has no right tr> an. but, he may refer to senators by their names.
– On the 25th May, Senator O’sullivan said -
He was referring to information on what the Government intended to do about putting value back into the fi. Shortly afterwards the federal president of the Liberal party, Mr. Ritchie, said -
If we attacked the position with the realism it deserves, we would immediately revert to conditions of the 50-hour week.
On the 23rd February, the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Spender) joined in the chorus by saying -
If the increase of the cost of living . . . can bc attributed to any one factor, it is devaluation … by the Labour Government.
What I want to know is whether Mr. Spender was speaking the truth when he made that statement.
– Order! The Minister for External Affairs must be referred to by his correct title.
– I wish to know whether the Minister for External Affairs was speaking the truth when he said that devaluation was the cause of the increased cost of living and the spiral of inflation. What we want to know is what the Government will do about that matter ? Does it intend to revalue the £1 ?
– The Australian Country party will not allow it to do so.
– The Australian Country party is the most remarkable political party in Australia. Its representation in this Parliament consists of a tiny pocket of tenacious, brutal and ruthless men. That tiny pocket is to-day governing _ Australia, because the individuals in that great body of Liberal party members on the other side of the House shiver in their shoes every time that they think that they might lose the support of the Australian Country party, because they know perfectly well that their own political scalps depend upon the goodwill of the Leader of the Australian Country party (Mr. Fadden) and the little coterie that supports him. The same position exists in Victoria where a little group of thirteen Country party members is in office, but it is doing a good job in Victoria because it has the support of the Labour party, which is forcing it to enact some decent legislation. ‘ Although Country party members have not been able to put it over the Labour party in Victoria, members of the kindred party in this House are very successfully putting it over the Liberal party, which is being prevented by them from removing what the Minister for External Affairs described as the cause of the increasing cost of living.
Another promise that the Government parties made at the general election was that if they were elected to office they would reduce the strength of the Public Service. That promise appeared in almost every election advertisement that I saw during the campaign. But shortly after the Government assumed office the number of Commonwealth public servants increased by 5,000. When the general election was held in December last year the Public Service provided employment for 196,000 persons. The number so employed had increased to 201,000 in April of this year. Here is what the Melbourne Herald had to say about the dishonesty of the Government parties in this matter -
In season and out, while in opposition, the members of the Government were among the most outspoken critics of the extravagant policies of the Chifley Government which built up Federal activities to drain man-power and money from private undertakings. Prompt reform was promised, but the promise has not been fulfilled. The Commonwealth payroll has grown since the election at much the same rate as it was growing under the Labour party. It has gone up by another 5,000 since the Federal election.
I am even given to understand on reliable information that the Prime Minister’s personal staff has been increased by five employees, one of whom receives a salary of no less than £1,000 a year. The Prime Minister needs that staff to do half the work that the Leader of the Opposition did when that, right honorable gentleman was Prime Minister, because he not only administered the Prime Minister’s Department but he also carried out, very efficiently, the work of Treasurer. But the present Prime Minister, with five more members on his staff than his predecessor had, is finding it impossible even to meet members of this House who wish to see him on matters of state, or matters that affect the welfare of their constituencies. He is too busy preparing polished and flowery speeches that mean nothing, and too busy doing nothing. Why does not the Prime Minister, instead of writing out lengthy speeches in flowery language, do something to keep some of his election promises and get down to the job of putting more value back into the £1 so that the working man will be able to enjoy a decent standard of life? Why does he not do something to stop this terrible spiral of prices which will lead to the economic ruin of Australia? Why does he not do something to prevent another depression? If he does not do something there will be another depression and it will be caused by his own ineptitude and his failure, to solve the problems of the day? Why does not the right honorable gentleman tell his political masters, who control the purse-strings of the Liberal party, that he is prepared to govern in the interests of the whole of the people and not merely for the benefit of the big city interests who pay his election expenses? Until we have a government with the courage to stand by its convictions, this country will never get out of the morass in which it now ls. Until we get a Labour government with which the trade union movement will co-operate, this country has not » ghost of a chance of avoiding the headlong dash to economic destruction with which we are now faced. I agree entirely with the general president of the Australian Labour party, Mr. Ferguson, and with Mr. R. A. King and all the other Labour leaders who say that they are not prepared to co-operate with this Labourhating Government which is pledged to destroy the great trade union movement and is out to negative the workers’ right to strike. Why should the workers cooperate with this Government? Any trade union leader, or trade unionists who, as an individual, would be prepared to co-operate with his political assassin would be a traitor to the great Australian Labour movement.
.- Lt is patent to me that honorable members opposite are using the debate on this measure as a means to obscure what is happening in another place. They had such a terrible set back last Monday, when the unholy twelve gave them their instructions, that they are finding it most difficult to convince the people tha.t they are still working together in the greatest harmony. 1 heard one person say to-day that Labour party members must be very pleased that at least they still have a party.
The honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde. Cameron) referred to the Government as a hater of trade unions, meaning, of course, a hater of the workers. I shall deal with that later. He began his speech by saying that the Government was elected on the main issue of putting value back into the £1, although he knew full well that that was a deliberate misstatement.
– Read the policy speech.
– I shall mention just a few of the matters mentioned in the policy speech for the edification of the honorable member. I hope that he will listen. The Government was elected on three main issues, which were, first, opposition to nationalization and socialization ; secondly, abolition of petrol rationing which was strangling production in this country; and, thirdly, the control of Communists. Other issues ware, child endowment, a revised system of taxation, and a dollar loan to assist, national development. What has han.penned since the Government was elected? We have attempted to get rid of the Communists, but the Opposition has placed every possible obstacle in the way of our doing so; and, after honorable members opposite had made most vehement statements that they would oppose the Communist Party Dissolution Bill all the way, . we saw the inglorious spectacle, when the final vote ‘ on the bill was taken in this House, of honorable members opposite maintaining an absolutely staggering silence. Not one of them had the courage even to murmur “ No “. They allowed the bill to go through. But we have been very thankful for the opposition to the bill in another place, because we are quite prepared to go to the people on the ma.tter
– The Government was frightened of its own bill.
– If the Opposition in another place rejects the bill we shall have a double dissolution, but honorable members opposite are running away from that possibility. The Opposition has thrown the responsibility of making a decision about the Labour party’s attitude to the bill, over to the federal executive of the Labour party. Honorable members Opposite are supposed to represent a great section of the people, but they admit quite frankly, without any shame, that they are prepared to take directions from a junta outside this Parliament that does not give two hoots for the people. I do not wish to dwell too long on the remarks of the honorable member for Hindmarsh, but in quoting a statement made by the president of the Australian Council of Trades Unions, Mr. Monk, he said that the gentleman had admitted that greater production would assist in controlling inflation. I wish honorable members to remember those words, because I shall deal with them later on in my speech. I consider that the remarks of the honorable member for Hindmarsh to the effect that this Government is out to destroy trade unions were the product of a filthy and warped mind.
– Withdraw !
– I shall not withdraw.
– I rise to order ! 1 ask for a withdrawal of, and an apology for, the . untruthful statement that the honorable member has made about my remarks.
Mr. ACTING DEPUTY .SPEAKER (Mr. Ryan). - I ask the honorable member for Canning to withdraw his remark.
– In deference to you, Mr. Acting Deputy Speaker, 1 withdraw, but I am going to say that the statement by the honorable member for Hindmarsh was the product of a warped mind. I withdraw the word. “ filthy “.
– I ask for an unqualified withdraw of the statement.
– The withdrawal was unqualified.
– I rise to order. The honorable member prefaced his withdrawal by saying, “In deference to you, Mr. Acting Deputy Speaker “.
– What is wrong with that?
M.r. Fraser. - I rise to order. The withdrawal made by the honorable member for Canning (Mr. Hamilton) was to the effect that he would withdraw the word “ filthy “, but that he would not. withdraw the word “ warped “.
– I desire to speak to that point of order. That is not what the honorable member for Canning said. He said, “ In deference to you, Mr. Acting Deputy Speaker, I withdraw”. He then went on to use other words, but the interpretation that has been placed on his words by the honorable member for Eden-Monaro (Mr. Fraser) is not correct.
– I rise to order. The honorable member for Canning is deliberately and discourteously evading the decision of the Chair. He made a gross statement which was almost defamatory and then said that he withdrew a section of it and, by implication, he repeated the whole statement.
– I think that the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen) misunderstood what the honorable member for Canning said. I asked him to withdraw his statement and he said, “Out of deference to you, Mr. Acting Deputy Speaker, I withdraw “. He did not use any expression which, in my opinion, was unparliamentary.
– I rise to order. You, yourself, Mr. Acting Deputy Speaker, have said that the honorable member for Canning, in withdrawing, said, “ Out of deference to you “. He must make an unqualified withdrawal.
– I regard the withdrawal of the honorable member for Canning as being quite in order.
– I rise to order. In view of the fact that you asked the honorable member to withdraw the words “filthy” and “warped”, Mr. Acting Deputy Speaker, and he withdrew them, is he in order in repeating the word warped “ ?
– I do not regard the word “ warped “ as being unparliamentary. I do regard the word “ filthy “ as being unparliamentary.
– Mr. Acting Deputy Speaker, the words “warped mind “ are offensive to me, and I ask that they be withdrawn.
– I do not regard the word “ warped “ as unparliamentary. However, I shall ask the honorable member for Canning if he is prepared to withdraw the word “ warped “.
– Yes, Mr. Acting Deputy Speaker. The honorable member for Hindmarsh has made statements, his authority for which one cannot hazard a guess, to the effect that this Government wants to destroy the trade union movement. I have never heard such claptrap in all my life. If the Government wants to destroy the trade unions, why did the trade unionists put it into power on the 10th December ? They put it into power to destroy the Communists. Honorable members of the Opposition are running away. They do not know what to do.
The honorable member for Hindmarsh stated that the employment of civil servants by the Commonwealth has increased over the last few months. The total number of employees in the Public Service in May was 157,500; the figure for June was 156,300; and for July it was 155,400, so that the number of Commonwealth public servants is decreasing. The honorable member for Hindmarsh has taken, as the basis for his allegation, the figures for Government employment throughout Australia, including semi-governmental and State bodies. The ranks of Commonwealth civil servants have been reduced over the past few months.
On the 17th October, when speaking on this measure, the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Chifley) said that he had told trade union leaders that it was their duty to encourage every worker to do his best because if any member in the community, irrespective of his calling, was not doing his best, he was cheating his fellow countrymen. Since then, the honorable member for Melbourne (Mr. Calwell), who was a Minister in the previous Government, has said that he will not encourage co-operation with this Government in the production of goods.
Yet the need for such co-operation is to enable the Government to check the inflationary spiral and make goods available at something akin to reasonable prices. As his reason for making that statement, the honorable member for Melbourne blamed the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) for coming into this chamber and talking about “ squibbing “ the issue on the Communist Party Dissolution Bill and for using some other word such as “ guts “. That word is in the dictionary but the honorable member for Melbourne said that if the Prime Minister used the language of the gutter to honorable members of the Opposition it would be of no use his asking for their co-operation. On the 23rd February of this year the honorable member for Melbourne is reported, on page 70 of Hansard, to have said-
– I rise to order. Is the honorable member for Canning (Mr. Hamilton) in order in reading from Hansard of the present session? This session started in February and I do not think that we can say that we are in another session yet.
– The point of order is well taken if the quotation in question comes from Hansa,rd of the present session. I presume that it does.
– I have only quoted the page so that honorable members can check for themselves to see whether I am speaking the truth. The honorable member for Melbourne said that the Government need not think it was going to get the houses that it anticipated. He said -
We on this side of the House will lead their protests in this place, on the streetcorners and in public .places . . . the workers of Australia are not going to be fooled by the flapdoodle and nonsense that has been talked about co-operation.
– I rise to order. The honorable member for Canning has said that we should use proper language. Now he is flapdoodling the Parliament.
– I do not think that the expression is unparliamentary. I have heard similar expressions used by honorable members on the Opposition benches.
– The words that 1 have quoted were spoken by a former Minister of the Crown on the day of the opening of this Parliament before the Government had lifted a hand. Yesterday, the honorable member for Melbourne read a statement which was supposedly made by Mr. Ritchie. He was asked several times to read what the federal president of the Australian Labour party had said.
– Tell us what Mr. Ritchie said.
– The honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) heard that yesterday. The following is a report concerning what the federal president of the Australian Labour party said : -
The. Federal President of the Labour Party (Mr. J. A. Ferguson) told a public meeting to-night that Labour’s answer to Mr. Menzies’ appeal for all out production was nil. “Labour’s help will be equal to the help that Labour received from the B.M.A. and the private banks “, he said. Labour’s answer to Mr. Menzies is this : “ The amount of assistance you will receive in respect of your appeal is nil “.
The British Medical Association, while raising objections to the previous Government’s plans, went on working. The statement that’ the amount of assistance that the Government would receive in respect of its appeal was “nil” sounded very nice, coming from a leader of the Labour party who knows full well that the only way to put value back into the fi is to increase production. I do not entirely blame the workers. I say that some of the trouble is caused by the inefficiency of the employer. I am not one-eyed like some honorable members of the Opposition. I do not say that the blame is all on one side because it is not. 1 do not blame the workers, because they are being wrongly led by the people in charge of their affairs. Whilst this Government has been endeavouring, for the past ten months, to assist unions to rid themselves of one of the menaces within their ranks, it has been obstructed in another place. It is all very well for honorable members of the Opposition to laugh but if they really want to do what they say they want to do, why did they change their minds last Monday and why did their colleagues execute the acrobatic somersault that they performed in another place? Honorable gentlemen opposite are not prepared to go to the people so that the Government can obtain such support as will enable it to control both Houses of this Parliament. Why do they not then assist the leaders who have some responsibility in their own organization? Yesterday, at the waterfront stoppage meeting in Melbourne, an amendment to a motion was carried which was sponsored by a member of the Australian Labour party industrial group and which called on the federal Labour party to devote all its energies to arrest the rise in prices. One of the greatest mediums by which the rise in prices can be arrested is increasing production.
The honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Keon) made a strange attack on the agriculturists of this country on the 17th October when he said in this House that they should produce food for the people of the cities instead of sitting back in the traces. He knows that his statement was incorrect. Yesterday, an honorable member quoted from the financial review of the Daily Telegraph. I draw the attention of honorable members of the Opposition to the remarks of Mr. Colin Clark, who, I understand, is an economist in Queensland. I have only seen Mr. Clark once, during a conference of Commonwealth and State Ministers, when he was with the Premier of Queensland who said that he was prepared to believe his adviser before any other authority that the Australian Government liked to produce. Mr. Colin Clark is reported in the Daily Telegraph of the 17th October, 1950, to have said -
The farm and pastoral population, which now only numbers one-sixth of the labour force, have increased their production by twenty-five or thirty per cent, in spite of all the shortages and difficulties with which they are faced.
Honorable members will remember that I interjected during the speech of the honorable member for Yarra, to which I have just referred, and asked him why the Opposition did not endeavour to get more materials into the farming areas so that farmers could produce still more for the people in this country and for those overseas.
Let us look now at another graph on the same page as the item by Mr.
Colin Clark to which I have referred. That graph shows that the tonnage per nian shift of coal produced in New South Wales mines dropped from 3.51 tons in 1938 to 2.91 tons in 1949. Coal is the basic commodity in the production of the goods which we require. Honorable members of the Opposition, and I am thinking particularly of the honorable member for Melbourne (Mr. Calwell), have attacked the Government on the street corners, in the gutters and everywhere else. Instead of attempting to galvanize the people into action to oppose this Government and destroy it, as they said they would do last February, they should go amongst the people and urge them to increase coal production so that steel can be made to enable industry to produce the goods which this country so urgently requires. Only in that way shall we be able to manufacture the goods which the honorable member for Yarra complains are in such short supply. New South Wales is in a somewhat different position .from that of the other States because of recent disastrous floods. Those floods have added to the troubles of the people of New South Wales. It ill becomes honorable members opposite to say in this Parliament, as responsible leaders of their constituents, that they are not going to co-operate with the Government in a drive to increase production. The PostmasterGeneral has made it abundantly clear that with a force of 58,000 fewer able bodied workers than before the war, the primary producers are producing more than they did in the pre-war years and each year their figures are increasing. The primary producers increased the production of sugar from 740,000 tons before the war to 940,000 tons last year. Other comparative figures are - Meat 934,000 tons in 193S to 1,000,000 tons last year; milk 11,000,000 gallons in 1938 and 12,000,000 gallons in 1949. 1 say to Opposition members who represent city and suburban electorates, that if there is such a shortage of food in the cities as they claim, then it is up to them as leaders of the people to see that more materials are provided for the men on the land so that they can produce the food required. If primary producers were to stop pro- ducing the city people would starve within, a very short time.
– What has the honorable member to say about price-fixing ?
– Does the honorable member want price-fixing?
– Does the honorable member also want wage-fixing?
– I have been waiting for the Opposition to mak.e that statement, and I say to the honorable member for Melbourne (Mr. Calwell) that in 1947 in this Parliament, while the wagepegging regulations were in operation, he voted against a motion to withhold payment of increased parliamentary salaries. I remember that well because I voted against my own party on that motion. The motion was moved by that very dear friend of the honorable member for Melbourne, Mr. Lang, who was at that time the honorable member for Reid.
– The honorable member took the increased salary.
– Yes, and so did the honorable member for Melbourne. But I have earned it, and I have not noticed that the honorable member for Grayndler (Mr. Daly) has earned it. If the Opposition wants prices control, capital issues control, excess profits tax and profit control, then they also must have wage pegging.
– The honorable member knows very well why, but I do not wish to expose him in front of his colleagues. I challenge any honorable member opposite to get up in the House and say openly through the microphones that he is in favour of wage pegging. If Opposition members are in favour of prices control they must also favour wage pegging. I commend to honorable members a Canadian booklet, Canada from Sea to Sea, the first paragraph on the opening page of which reads -
Land, climate and people are generally recognized as the chief elements in the making of a nation. What the people do with the land and its resources, helped or hindered by climate, makes the country’s economic history. How they organize their united strength for freedom and security makes their political history. Social and cultural development can be measured by the extent to which people master their environment and build on the traditions they have inherited.
Instead of mouthing diatribes about noncooperation with the Government, hon.orable members opposite should be prepared to co-operate with us in order to assist the people, whom they claim to represent, to produce the goods to make every one contented.
– The honorable member says “ Never “ because of his absolute hatred of the Government parties, and his profound disappointment with the result of the election on the J 0th December. I believe that the honorable member for Melbourne helped to cause that defeat because he acted as political organizer of the Labour party for the whole of Australia. If he wants to smash up his own party he and his colleagues will continue along the lines that they are following to-day.
– We shall smash the Government first.
– Perhaps that may happen in twenty years time, but not before. It is the duty of the honorable members opposite to co-operate with the Government, and yet they are doing their best to destroy goodwill among the people and to destroy all possibility of this country being led into better times.
.- I draw attention to the fa.ct that the measure before this committee is designed to provide for two months’ Supply from the end of this month. I take exception to this procedure, because this measure will authorize expenditure on items for which provision has been made in the budget, which has yet to be considered. This procedure is completely unnecessary. Parliament could have been called together a good deal earlier than it was, and the budget could have been introduced and the debate on it completed by the time Supply already granted ran out at the end of this month. The action taken by the Government in presenting this Supply Bill has been quite unnecessary. A good deal of protest should be made about the matter because a good deal has been wrongly assumed by those in authority in order .that they might achieve a certain result. When the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. Holt) was addressing the House a day or two ago he made it clear that the Supply Bill was being presented because of circumstances which have not. materialized. He told us that the Government’s plans have been completely upsetHe said that the Communist Party Dissolution Bill was to have been the keystone of government propaganda at an election designed to be held before the close of this year. The Communist Party Dissolution Bill has been so much linked up with inflation, and excuses for it, that members on the Government side of the chamber seem deflated by what has been 9a.id by the Opposition this week.
The Communist Party Dissolution Bill was to be used as the keystone of government propaganda at the next election. The budget was to have been presented as another act in the window dressing of government policy to be placed before the people at an election which was to have been held before the end of this year. The present budget may now be implemented before another election can be held. The Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) has informed the country, through the radio and by other means, that he has no intention of allowing the Communist propaganda to drop from hi> plans. He has found it too profitable. He said that he has a right to adopt that attitude because of a statement which was supposed to have been made on behalf of the federal executive of the Australian Labour party. The Communist Party Dissolution Bill now presents a good many difficulties, and honorable members on the Government side are finding them somewhat embarrassing. The measure which has been discussed in relation to inflation i? likely to result in a challenge to the Government through the High Court. If the measure proves to be invalid that will greatly embarrass the Government because it will lose a lot of prestige. It will also show to the people that the Government was merely window-dressing and never intended to put. such a law into effect. The purpose of the measure was said by Government supporters to be to bring about increased production in this country and help to reduce inflation. It was going to put value back into the £1. Now, if the measure is held by the High Court to’ be valid, the Prime Minister will have his hands full, because he will have to prove to the people that communism has mighty little to do with inflation. He will also have a lot of selecting to do if the proposed law is held to be valid. That, of course, is a matter of indifference to me. If it is held to be valid, the Prime Minister must determine which union leaders he will select, and then, with the co-operation of the electorate, he must make 9ure that no industrial disputes occur through the application of the measure. Therefore, the passing of the Communist Party Dissolution Bill would cause a good deal more embarrassment to the Government than to any honorable member on this side of the House.
The Government, like the man with the wheelbarrow, has the whole job in front of it. The Prime Minister is anxious to use communism for propaganda when he goes before the people, but he will find it most difficult to prove that it has anything to do with our inflationary trend. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Chifley) went to great pains to impress upon his listeners that he has the utmost, disgust for honorable members now supporting the Government who, during the last general election campaign, informed the people that they had a cure for inflation and would be able to put value back into the £1. He said that they had acted irresponsibly in making such promises. That is because no plan has yet been produced by the Government which has any likelihood of curing inflation or putting value back in the £1. Apparently, the Government has not even made an analysis of the factors that are contributing to inflation. In view of the promises that the present Government parties made at the last general election, the people expect that the Government will at least provide evidence that those promises were made sincerely and with every intention to honour them. However, we have not yet had any evidence that the Government has formulated a plan to carry out those promises in relation to the two matters to which I have just referred. Occasionally, as happened when substantial increases occurred recently in the price of wool, we hear panic-stricken cries from Government supporters. In their panic they talked a lot about revaluation of the Australian £1. However, apart from such instances, we have had no evidence that the Government is really concerned about devising a plan to curb inflation. As I said earlier, the Government has merely presented a vote-catching budget in which no indication is given of the methods that it contemplates adopting in order to afford the relief which many people have been led to expect under its proposals.
The Government could have indicated that in order to curb inflation it was prepared to follow one of the several courses that have been mentioned during this debate. For instance, it has been suggested that it should revalue the Australian £1.
– But the honorable member’s leader is opposed to revaluation.
– I am not suggesting that the Government should revalue the £1. I mentioned revaluation as one of several courses that have been suggested as a means by which the Government can curb inflation. At the moment, I am not advocating revaluation. However, it is obvious that the Government should have re-established capital issues control. Supporters of the Government remain silent about that matter. I also raise the question whether the Commonwealth Bank is failing in its responsibility to implement its charter to maintain a stable economy, for we know that luxury industries are being established to the detriment of our economy. Supporters of the Government might give serious attention to that matter.
– What did the Government which the honorable member supported do about it?
– I am dealing with the promises that the present Government parties made at the last general election to put value back into the £1. Turing the course of this debate, certain honorable members have quoted statements that have been made by the Queensland economist, Mr. Colin Clark. Has the Government attempted to act upon any of the practical suggestions that he makes in his book entitled Principles of Public Finance and Taxation1) Dealing with proposals that were, discussed at the conference of Commonwealth and State Ministers that was held recently in Canberra, Mr. Clark said that it was easier to think up attractive ways of spending Commonwealth money than to devise sound projects for which the electors would have been willing to pay. He was referring to the allocation of refunds of income tax revenue to the States. At that conference did the Government seriously consider the schemes that the various States submitted in order to ensure that the money would not be expended in circumstances which would aggravate present inflationary conditions? If the Government failed to examine those schemes thoroughly in that light, it adopted a very casual attitude towards its responsibility.
When the Minister for Labour and National Service was replying to the Leader of the Opposition last Tuesday night, he emphasized the degree to which costs were rising, particularly in the building trades. He went to great pains to indicate that the blame for that trend should be placed at the feet of employees, but when he dealt with the responsibility of management he was most casual. He said that the reduction of the working week to 40 hours had contributed substantially to rising costs and that increases granted in respect of holiday pay and sick pay had had a similar effect. He singled out the building trades for criticism because of the acute shortage of houses. He also said a great deal about the alleged unscrupulous attitude of the workers, which he claimed was also responsible for the increased cost of building homes. Significantly, he was guilty of certain omissions which converted his criticism into a grossly unfair attack upon, the workers. Altogether too little has been said about the attitude that management has adopted towards its responsibilities. Very little evidence is available that management is taking its responsibilities seriously. For instance, whilst absenteeism among employees has been cited as a serious factor in increasing costs, supporters of the- Government appear to take the view that absenteeism on the part of managerial personnel is not so serious: Until management stands up to its bargain with the workers- we shall never succeed in increasing production. Appa: rently, management is not very much concerned whether that objective is achieved. It is not uncommon for managerial personnel to spend much time on golf courses and race courses* leaving businesses to carry on as best they can.
Another contributing factor to inflation for which management must be held responsible is the remarkable degree of competition that has developed between firms and companies for labour. Pirating of labour is so rife to-day that it has led to blackmarketing in wages. Ridiculously higher wages are being offered in more industries than any public man has yet been prepared to admit. In addition, management has made very little effort to introduce labour-saving devices or to perfect business organization in order to offset loss of production due to shorter working hours and the conditions that have been granted under awards by Commonwealth and State arbitration courts. That lack has become most noticeable in recent years. Those who control industry could do very much more than they are doing to stimulate production. There.fore. those who go to such pains to blame - employees for the present inflationary conditions should pause and ask themselves whether they are not placing the blame on the wrong shoulders. When a union secretary refuses to ask employees who are already working to their full capacity to exert still more effort, managements seize that fact just as a drowning man will clutch at a straw as one of the causes of under-production. It is clear that if luxury industries are permitted to expand as they are expanding at present, our economy will meet with disaster. When the Government appeals to employees to increase their production, it should be very careful to indicate specifically in which spheres greater efforts can be made.
Conditions in the building industry at present are such that tradesmen and labourers are now taking the initiative in smashing inflationary tendencies in the construction of homes. I know of hundreds of men who have commenced to build their own homes because they cannot afford to pay a contractor to build them at ruling prices. They are doing so in their leisure hours, and in that way they are making a contribution of substantial benefit to the country’s economy as a whole. It is common for bricklayers, tilers, plumbers and carpenters to co-operate in the building of their own homes. That is not an isolated practice. It is being followed in dozens of instances in my own electorate. Those tradesmen and labourers find that they can build homes for themselves more cheaply than they can have homes built through a contractor. In most instances the. can carry out the work at half of what the cost would be on the basis of ruling prices. I am glad that that practice is extending, because those employees, in satisfying their own individual housing requirements, are helping to satisfy the economic needs of the country as a whole. In that way. they are contributing very substantially towards checking the inflationary trend in the building trades.
I repeat that we have had no evidence presented to us that the Government has examined any specific plan with a view to curbing inflation. What does the Government propose to do in order to stabilize prices? Is it in favour of prices fixation? Does it intend to seek power to control prices?
– I am glad to have that admission from a Government supporter. Will the Government attempt to control prices before effect is given to the declaration of the Commonwealth Arbitration Court which will have the effect of increasing the basic wage by fi a week? Will any steps be taken to stabilize prices in order to ensure that those entitled to that wage increase will really gain some benefit from it? Will prices be stabilized in order to ensure that pensioners of all classes will receive real benefit as the result of the court’s decision? Unless the Government is prepared to stabilize prices, the increases for which it has provided in the budget will be more in the nature of a back-handed gift than a. real gift.
Economists have informed us that ournational income should be doubled, and I assume that supporters of the Government are in agreement with them,, especially in relation to income from primary industries. I think that therewas some misunderstanding of the statements that were made on this subject by the honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Keon). The honorable gentleman was challenged and asked to name any commodity of which there was a shortage of production. The Postmaster-General (Mr. Anthony) said this morning in reply to a question that the output of three primary products bad increased considerably. I do not contend that there is a shortage of primary products now; but we must think of the future. and of the demands of our export markets. I contend that the challenge of the honorable member for Yarra can be sustained. Figures issued by the Commonwealth Statistician show that, although Australia produced 13,908 tons of butter in 1936-37, our output in 1948-49 amounted to only 13,433 tons. That does not necessarily mean that fewer cows are being milked or that less work is being done in the dairy industry. However, the facts demonstrate that there is ample scope for an increase of production at least until the output of butter reaches the level of 1936-37. I know people are drinking more milk to-day than they were drinking in 1936-37. Another important, primary product is mutton. Whereas we produced 16,006 tons of mutton in 1936-37, our output in 1948-49 was only 1.4.435 tons. However, the increase of lamb production has offset that decrease. Pork production decreased from 3,601 tons in 1936-37 to 2,851 tons in 1948-49. I do not suggest that there is a shortage of those commodities, but the figures support the assertion of the economists that we must increase production. I am fully prepared to accept their estimate that production ought to be doubled.
Satisfactory results can be achieved only if we transfer labour from one place to another. Thousands of immigrants are being huddled together in hostels and camps adjacent to our already overcrowded big cities. I see no reason why we should not prepare a plan for the settlement of new Australians in rural areas, where they would have a very much better chance of becoming good citizens quickly than they have when they are herded together near our big cities. Such a. scheme would contribute materially to the establishment of economic stability and an all-round increase of production. It should be possible to settle immigrants on blocks of land ten or fifteen acres in area on which they could engage in primary production and in which most of them have some skill. Such a procedure would help to bring about decentralization of industry as well. By implementing such a plan we should be discharging our common responsibility to the nation in three important ways. We should be helping, first, to absorb new Australians into the Australian way of life; secondly, to increase primary production; and third, to give effect to a reasoned plan of decentralization, which all parties consider to be essential to the establishment of economic stability. That is merely one of the plans that the Government could adopt. The suggestion is sound and I hope that the Minister for Immigration (Mr. Holt) will be willing to act upon it. It would help him to develop the plan that already has the general approval of the people and it would also help the national economy.
. -We are engaged in a discussion of the Supply Bill (No. 2) 1950, which provides for the allotment of £61,189,000 for the nation’s housekeeping. In such a debate we are permitted to speak of many subjects, but I shall refer chiefly to the proposed vote of £230,000 for “ the Department of Works and Housing. By comparison with the proposed votes of £27,325,000 for Defence Services and £10,226,000 for Business Undertakings, that amount appears so small as to give the impression that the Department of Works and Housing is of slight importance. However, that relatively small figure merely serves to cloud the true position. As far as I have been able to ascertain, the Department of Works and Housing is responsible for vast undertakings throughout the Commonwealth, which it performs on behalf of other departments. The amounts proposed to be set aside for those works appear in the Estimates of expenditure for those departments. The amount of £230,000 relates mainly to the salaries of officers and other administrative costs. The department has the responsibility of doing a vast amount of work for the Department of the Army, the Department of the Navy, the Department of Air, and business undertakings, such as the Postal Department.
This is a young Parliament composed largely of young men with high ideals who are eager to build Australia into a great nation. Most of them have creditable war records and some of them have even been prisoners of war. We are charged with the responsibility of examining the proposed expenditure of government departments with great care, keeping in mind, particularly, the legacy that has been bequeathed to us by the Chifley Government. Therefore, I propose to tell the House of some of the scandalous facts that I have discovered in connexion with the Department of Works and Housing since I moved into the Com.m on wealth sphere from the New South Wales Parliament. The money that is expended by the Department of Works and Housing is provided by the taxpayers of Australia. We must supervise the expenditure of that money with great care, especially at this time of inflation when any unnecessary governmental expenditure would have a marked effect upon the cost of living and the value of the £1. Quornm formed.] I am sorry that many members of the Opposition were not present before the quorum was formed because I was discussing the scandalous state of affairs in the Department of Works and Housing that was bequeathed to this Government by the Chifley Government. If anything constructive is to emerge from this debate, we must examine all items of proposed expenditure with the greatest care. That duty falls equally upon members of the Opposition, who hope to take over the reins of government again, though it will undoubtedly be at some remote date, if at all, and honorable members on this side of the House. The Opposition has properly expressed anxiety about the cost of living. The
Government, of course, must keep a careful eye upon the cost of living at all times, whether we are experiencing conditions of depression or conditions of inflation. That is the duty of all governments. I suggest that the Labour party has helped to cause the situation with which we are now confronted. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Chifley) has said that, according to his ideas, budgets should be planned so that we can pay as we go, meet our commitments as they arise, and put something aside for the future. I am very glad that the Minister for the Interior (Mr. McBride) is listening to the debate because his department and the Department of Works and Housing are involved in some of the matters that I shall discuss. I am sure that all honorable members will wish to scrutinize the Estimates of expenditure for both departments, particularly in relation to day labour costs.
– I rise to order, Mr. Acting Deputy Speaker. Is there any way of making honorable members stay and listen to the honorable member for Macarthur ?
Mr. ACTING DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr. Ryan). - Is the honorable member drawing attention to the state of the House ?
– Why did he not say so ?
– I thought that I had to wait for a quarter of an hour before I could again call for a quorum to be formed.
– A quarter of an hour has not elapsed since a quorum was last formed. The honorable member for Macarthur will proceed.
– The Parliament is charged with the responsibility-
– I rise to order, Mr. Acting Deputy Speaker. Under what standing order do you rule that a quorum cannot be called less than fifteen minutes after a quorum was previously called?
– The honorable member may call for a quorum at any time.
– The honorable member for Eden-Monaro (Mr. Fraser) called for a quorum, but you ruled that a quorum’, could not be called.
– Does the honorable member for EdenMonaro (Mr. Fraser) call for a quorum now?
– You asked me whether I had called for a quorum, Mr. Acting Deputy Speaker, and I said, “ Yes “. [Quorum formed.’]
– I point out, for the benefit of honorable members who were not in the chamber when attention was directed to the State of the House, that it is the duty of a government,, irrespective of its political beliefs, toscrutinize carefully the expenditure of public funds. Commonwealth spending1 has been subjected to severe criticism in many quarters, and I believe that there is justification for it, because the preceding Labour Government, by its carelessness in administration, allowed conditions to get into such a sorry state,- and left the Menzies Government a serious legacy. If I have time between calls for quorums, I shall make some interesting disclosures. A private citizen expends his income with considerable care, and perhaps denies himself some amenities in order to finance the purchase of his home. But the Commonwealth, over the years, has established a system of spending that has produced an impossible situation. The honorable member for Darebin (Mr. Andrews) has referred to day labour, a method of employment adopted by the Commonwealth many hundreds of miles from Canberra. The Commonwealth expects to get a good return from day labour, but fails to provide adequate supervision. Many foremen, engineers, architects and works officers are not delegated sufficient authority by the Government because they are not fit to be entrusted with it. Government expenditure on public works draws man-power and materials from the common pool, and increases the difficulties of private citizens, who are endeavouring to build their own homes, or of industrialists who are trying to produce the goods that we urgently require. A public works programme competes with private enterprise for labour and materials, and, indeed, it competes for the best labour and the best materials, although it does not always succeed in getting them.
– I direct attention to the state of the House. It is tragic that the honorable member for Macarthur is without an audience.
– Opposition members will not attend the chamber.
– It is the responsibility of the Government to maintain a quorum. [Quorum formed.]
– I am informed that the period that is allotted to me for my speech is reduced by the constant calls for a quorum by the honorable member for Eden-Monaro (Mr. Fraser). It is only fair to point out that the Labour party, of which the honorable gentleman is a supporter, has only six members in the chamber most of the time, out of a total membership of 47. Opposition members would be well advised to attend in force when I am discussing Commonwealth expenditure, which is of the utmost importance to the people. These constant calls for a quorum are seriously interrupting my speech.
At this stage in our national development, a welfare state is being constituted. Legislation has been introduced to provide for the payment of invalid and age pensions at an extra cost of £8,000,000 and endowment for the first child of a family under the age of sixteen years at an additional cost of £15,000,000. These and other variations of social services payments will involve a total additional cost of £30,000,000 for social services this year. In other words, we in this welfare state are endeavouring to provide amenities for the people. However, those amenities are truly represented not by money, but by goods and services. The people require physical things, such as food, transport, medical benefits, and the like. Dairy-farmers rise at an early hour to milk their cows, and factories work constantly to produce butter, cheese and bacon and other necessaries of life. The people also pay taxes to meet the costs of government. Yet what do we find?
– How much can be bought for 5s. to-day?
– Money is only a measure of the goods that can be purchased with it. The Government is keen to increase the production of the physical things that the people need. Social services are important, not in terms of pounds, shillings and pence, but in terms of what the money provided by the Parliament will buy. Those who produce the necessaries of life must be carefully looked after.
I shall now direct attention to another important matter. For obvious reasons, I shall not mention names, although I shall supply them to the Minister for Works and Housing (Mr. Casey) if he asks me to do so. My reference is to a project that has been undertaken in New .South Wales by the Department of Works and Housing, and I express the hope that the conditions that have obtained on that job are not common throughout the Commonwealth. The work, which was undertaken by the Department of Works and Housing for the Postmaster-General’s Department, commenced in August, 1949. A large number of men were engaged in a painting and repair job, and they were still occupied on it in August, 1950. The first estimate of the cost of the work was £4,000, which was probably four times as much as the original cost of the building. At this point, I make it clear that the men themselves are not to blame for the happenings that I shall proceed to relate. It is said that in the Army, there are no bad troops, only bad officers. The men on that project were bad workers only because they were subject to bad supervision. According to local talk, the men in charge of the job, who had considerable responsibility under the socialist regime to safeguard Commonwealth expenditure, were drunk all day in the hotel. I shall give the facts. It has been stated locally-
– Are those men still employed on the job?
– No. As the result of action which was taken by the present Government one officer was transferred and another resigned. The men commenced to knock off at 3 o’clock on Friday afternoon, but even that was not good enough, and they commenced to knock off “at 10.30 o’clock on Friday morning. Yet they were working in a district in which, primary producers were occupied from 5.30 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. The Commonwealth was paying the men at the rate of time and a half for” working on Saturday morning, and double time for work on Saturday afternoon. Under those conditions men were reluctant to work for farmers. One of the employees spent five hours in painting a tricycle. I have statutory declarations relevant to the ease. One of the men eventually rose to the position of senior clerk. He is a socialist, and has received a considerable amount of publicity in the Labour movement. Indeed, he calls for support for the industrial wing of the Labour movement to combat corruption and inefficiency. According to statutory declarations, that man went down to the local hairdresser at 10.30 a.m. An hour later he left the hairdresser’s establishment and went to the’ local hostelry. I admit that the beer which is supplied in that place may not be so good as is found in the southern States; but, nevertheless, he visited the hostelry. He knew that if any worker had been caught in the act of drinking on a job, he would have been sacked on the spot, but bt)-
– What is his name?
– The honorable member for Cunningham (Mr. Davies) may be able to obtain that information later. That man who poses as a socialist, has resigned from the Department of Works and Housing and I understand that he has a position in the Labour movement in. New South Wales. I hope that he has, because it would be regrettable if he had obtained employment with some State instrumentality.
– What is the name of the place?
– The man to whom I am referring is one of those persons who speaks of the wonderful ideals of socialism. He is not fit to be entrusted with responsibility. Commonwealth works should be under proper supervision.
– How do we know whether the honorable member’s allegations are true ?
– I have placed statutory declarations, which confirm those allegations, in the hands of the Minister for Works and Housing, and appropriate action has been taken. The man to whom I have referred has resigned from the department, because he must have known that the Liberal partyAustralian Country party Government would insist on getting a fair return for Commonwealth expenditure. This Government will not prostitute the ideals of the great Australian National Parliament. That man left the employment of the Department of Works and Housing, and it was said in the district in which he had been working that he would be the magazine editor for the Australian Labour party in New South Wales.
– The honorable member is venting political spite.
– I thought that the honorable member for Eden-Monaro would wake up when he heard that statement. The reason why he directed attention to the state of the House earlier in my speech is becoming plain. He was anxious to prevent me from making those disclosures. But I shall go further. I have a statutory declaration which reproduces an instruction which was given to those employees. Thirteen men, probably an unlucky number, who had been employed on the work, were sacked. Some of the people concerned were probably under the protection of the representative of the constituency of Eden-Monaro in this House. I notice that the honorable” member for Eden-Monaro is becoming almost hysterical. He seems to be in a panic. He interjects now, but he will have plenty of time to speak on this subject later.
– The honorable member is trying to destroy a man’s reputation.
– Thirteen men were sacked as the result of bad supervision. They were informed that the department was not getting an adequate return for its expenditure on the job. I shall inform the House of what happened. One week, the men were told to paint a block of houses. They were not allowed to finish that work before they were given another section to paint. They completed the work of scraping and burning, and were then transferred again. The buildings were left open to the weather and the men were given another job. Before they had finished it, they were sacked. Approximately 40 expensive paint brushes and all the paint were left on the spot, without proper supervision. It was an absolute scandal. There are inefficient and useless superior officers who are not fit to be entrusted with the supervision and expenditure of Commonwealth funds. I am informed that truck drivers submitted their time-sheets which showed that the vehicles must have travelled at a rate of 40 miles an hour throughout each working day. The conditions which I have described are typical of those which this Government has inherited from the preceding Labour Administration. Obviously, the Labour party is not fit to hold office. How can primary producers be expected to work harder when Commonwealth money is being wasted in that manner?
– Do not tell lies.
Mr. ACTING DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr. Ryan) - Order! The honorable member for Cunningham (Mr. Davies) must not use unparliamentary language.
– It is no wonder that primary producers become dissatisfied when they know that workmen, under bad supervision, are able to earn time and a half for work on Saturday morning and double time for work on Saturday afternoon. Can farmers and dairymen be expected to increase production? They cannot get men to work for them. The statistics of rural employment in that district show that the average number of men employed on each farm is only from one to one and a half.
Mr. Ward interjecting,
– It is all. very well for the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. “Ward) to interject, but it was the rotten Government of which he was a member that brought about this state of affairs.
– I rise to order. I object to the application of the word “ rotten “ to the previous Labour Administration. Tt is offensive to me, and I ask that it be withdrawn.
Mr. ACTING DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr. Ryan). - The honorable member for
Wilmot (Mr. Duthie) has taken objection to an expression used by the honorable member for Macarthur (Mr. Jeff Bate) and I ask him to withdraw it.
– In order that I may proceed with my speech without further interruption, I withdraw the word “ rotten “, and say that the previous Labour Government was inefficient and useless, and that it will take years to clean up the state of affairs that it brought about. If the honorable member for Wilmot (Mr. Duthie) discharged his parliamentary responsibility faithfully he would endeavour to assist the present Government to clean up the mess into, which Labour got the country.
The present unsatisfactory and dangerous economic situation was brought about because, when Labour was in office, it thought that it could extract an unlimited supply of money from the people with which to finance its unsound proposals. It thought that the Treasury was overflowing with money, and that it could hand out the money as largesse. Of course, the moneys obtained by any government should bc regarded as a sacred trust which should be expended only in the legitimate interests of the people.
The honorable member for Darebin (Mr. Andrews), was right when he said that day labour should be discontinued in Commonwealth building and housing projects, and that if four or five men banded themselves together to build houses and tender for painting and construction jobs, they should be permitted to do so. The Department of Works and Housing should obtain tenders for the construction of houses similar to those that it has built by day labour and compare the difference in the cost. It will then be apparent how wasteful the system of day labour is. In fact, it is impossible to continue a system which permits men to knock off work for the week at 10.30 a.m. on Fridays. If the Government cannot obtain satisfactory tenders for the construction of homes, it should invite State governments and instrumentalities or local authorities to carry out buildingconstruction for it. The absurd and wasteful system of day-labour makes such a drain upon the available pool of building labour that private employers cannot obtain men. I realize tha.t the Department of “Works and Housing contends that it must erect buildings for other departments, irrespective of whether it can obtain tenders for the work, because the departments exercise pressure on it to undertake construction. But the Department of Works and Housing should not allow itself to be pushed round by other instrumentalities of the Government, and if it cannot obtain a satisfactory tender for a particular job it should certainly not proceed with the work by day labour. The employment of men on day labour jobs merely means withdrawing men from the reservoir of labour and worsening conditions generally. If the department finds itself impelled to proceed with certain constructional work it should do its utmost to obtain tenders for that work. If the Government does not clean up the mess in the housing situation left to it by the previous Government, the present deplorable situation in which every one is competing for building materials must continue. The Minister for Works and Housing (Mr. Casey) is highly efficient. I have had occasion to make representations to him ,on a number of occasions concerning various matters and he has invariably acted promptly.
– Is the honorable member referring to the. garbage tin incident ?
– If the honorable member for Cunningham (Mr. Davies) queries the accuracy of my statement, I can show him statutory declarations deposed to by the thirteen individuals who were sacked. The supervisor who was responsible for sacking the men was contemptible enough to tell them that they could not be reinstated because, he alleged, their names had been placed on a list of Communists which had been compiled from information supplied by the defence- services. I took the trouble to check the allegation that the men were Communists and that their names had appeared on a list supplied by the services. The story was false. The services had never heard of them. I add that the unfortunate men were even dumped by the trade union to which they belonged because of the allegation that they were Communists.
– How would the services know whether or not the men concerned were Communists?
– It is becoming a habit in trade union circles to refer to any one who is unpopular as a Communist
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- Having listened to some of the statements made by the honorable member for Macarthur (Mr. Jeff Bate), I think that I should say something concerning them. He accused the previous Government of having been responsible for the acute shortage of workers’ homes that exists to-day. Obviously, the honorable member cannot be as aware as he should be of what has happened in Australia in the last ten or twelve years, because the fact is that since 1930 there has been a tendency on the part of those engaged in building construction to decline to build workers’ homes. That tendency was particularly evident from 1932 to 1939, and during the war the construction of home dwellings ceased almost entirely because of the priority given to defence requirements. In fairness to the Curtin and Chifley Administrations, it should be said that in 1945 Labour made agreements with the State governments for the provision of housing, under which the National Government made available the necessary finance and gave every encouragement and assistance to the States, which were the only instrumentalities that could build workers’ homes. It is clear, therefore, that it is not the fault of the previous Labour Administration that workers’ homes are not as plentiful in this country as they should be. In fact, it can be said with truth that similar difficulty is being experienced in the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States of America.
Some reference should be made to the somewhat startling allegations made by the honorable member concerning certain jobs carried out by the Australian Government with day labour. It is significant that when he made the. statements the honorable member inferred that he had not himself witnessed the alleged happenings on the job, which was being carried out at an undisclosed location. In support of his allegations, the honorable gentleman said that statutory declarations had been made to him by certain persons who were dismissed from the job. I have had a good deal of experience of workers who have been dismissed from jobs and have subsequently applied to their unions to bring pressure to bear on their employers to have them reinstated, and I have learned that in many instances dismissed employees make malicious and incorrect allegations about happenings on their jobs. From my experience I know that it is unwise to accept such ex parte statements without first hearing what the other side has to say. There are invariably two sides to every dispute, and it is exceedingly unfair to condemn one side without hearing its case. If the story given to the honorable gentleman by the dismissed employees in the instance mentioned by him is found after proper inquiry to be true then undoubtedly the supervisor concerned deserves the most severe condemnation. However, he should not be condemned until he has had an opportunity to put his side of the ease.
I listened attentively and with much interest to the speech made by the honorable member for Evans (Mr. Osborne) last night. In the course of that speech he made some assertions that were so extraordinary that I took the trouble to check the accuracy of the information on which they were based. The honorable member said, probably in good faith, that the Australian Labour movement had not attempted to combat communism to the same degree as the British trade union movement had combated it. He inferred that the British trade union movement had completely rid itself of all Communist influence, and complained that the Australian trade union movement had not done likewise. If the honorable gentleman had taken the trouble to investigate the present position of the British trade union movement he would have discovered that three of the largest trade unions in Great Britain are dominated by Communists.
– Only three of them?
– I have positive evidence that three of them are Communist- dominated, but there are probably more. I have not yet had time to make further inquiries. The secretary of the miners’ union, the secretary of the electrical trades union and, I believe, the secretary of the Amalgamated Engineering Union are all Communists. The British trade union movement has waged a similar struggle with the Communists to that waged by the Australian trade union movement. The fight in the Australian trade union movement has gone on for years and it has been exceedingly bitter. In fact, the struggle to remove
Communists from office in the trade unions is still going on. In fairness to the trade union movement, it should be pointed out that until the depression occurred, with its tragic unemployment and destitution, there were no Communists in control of any trade union in Australia. The frustration, hopelessness and despair which afflicted hundreds of thousands of our people during the depression disposed them to accept the leadership of those who promised them decent living conditions. Of course, we knew that that promise, like the undertakings given by the dictators in the fascist countries, could not be fulfilled. The fact remains, however, that thousands of unfortunate people were influenced to join the Communist party, and in the circumstances of the time they can hardly be blamed for having done so.
The honorable member for Evans also cited Mr. Colin Clark, the Queensland Government economist, as his authority for the statement that the increased production per man-hour throughout industry in Australia from 1938-39 to 1948-49, the latest period for which figuresare available, was only 3 or 5 per cent. I think that he said that production increased by 5 per cent., although an article which appeared in the Sydney Daily Telegraph a few days ago, on which the honorable member’s statement was probably based, stated that the increase was only 3 per cent. The honorable gentleman also made two further statements that are so mutually contradictory that I am forced to the conclusion that either he misunderstood the information on which they were based or that Mr. Colin Clark must have completely reversed the views which he held until recently.
The honorable member alleged that although production in Australia had increased by only 3’ per cent., productivity in the United States of America had increased by 70 per cent., in .the United Kingdom and Scandanavia by 25 per cent, and in New Zealand by 50 per cent. If those figures were correct, then certain economic conditions that prevail in Great Britain, Scandinavia, the United States and New Zealand could not possibly exist. Economists generally have held for many years that productivity per capita normally increases by 2 per cent, per annum. Obviously, if production in America increased by 70 per cent, in ten years, and the population did not also increase by an equal percentage during the same period, there could be no possibility of inflation in America because the production of goods and services would vastly exceed the capacity of the community to consume.
– What about Marshall aid?
– With the increase of the population a rise of 70 per cent, in production in ten years would not only enable Marshall aid to be given, but also improve the standard of living of the American people by almost double in that period. Yet in that same period when this 70 per cent, increase of productivity allegedly occurred, prices in the United States rose by 68 per cent. It is obvious, therefore that, that greater production is not the complete cure for inflation. As I believe that great production does help to curb inflation despite Colin Clark’s inference that an increase of it cannot help us at all, I considered it necessary to check the figures. The first thing that E discovered was that although Colin Clark had stated that productivity had increased by 3 per cent, or, as was given by the honorable member, 5 per cent., in the last ten years, he made an entirely different statement in the Commonwealth Arbitration Court during the hearing of the basic wage case last year when, I understand, he gave sworn evidence. The statements that he made to the court are entirely at variance with the article published under his name in the Sydney Daily Telegraph last Tuesday.
I shall quote now from a statement ‘by Professor Benjamin Higgins, Ritchie Professor of Economic Research at the University of Melbourne. He said -
No wholly satisfactory figures of productivity are available for Australia.
In fact, it can be said that no country in the world is able to supply wholly satisfactory figures in that regard. The statement continued -
However, the available figures indicate a significant increase of productivity per . manhour over the past two years. The estimates of Colin Clark (Table HI ) indicate an increase in real product per man-hour of approximately 11 per cent, between 1945:48 and 1947-48, and an increase of approximately 8 per cent, between 1937-38 and 1947-48. Preliminary figures calculated on the same basis for 1948-49 indicate a further increase in productivity per man-hour during 1948-49.
Professor Higgins went on to say - and I consider this statement to be very important -
However, for the purposes of the present inquiry, the reasons for the measure in productivity are of secondary importance. The main point is that this sample study confirms the general conclusion to be derived from Colin Clark’s more comprehensive figures, and from the figures presented by Professor Copland, which have already been discussed by the Court. Labour productivity, while virtually stagnant during the war, has shown a marked upward trend during the post-war period.
The sworn evidence given by economists indicates that an 11 per cent, increase of productivity occurred in two post-war years, with further increases of productivity being clearly indicated. The increase of productivity in the ten years between 1937-38 and 1947-48, which included the war period, was only approximately 8 per cent. Having demonstrated that, it was a question of ascertaining to what extent the actual productivity had increased in the countries that he had named. He said that productivity had increased in America by 70 per cent., in Great Britain and Scandinavia by 25 per cent., and in New Zealand by 50 per cent. It is exceedingly difficult - and I make this statement quite frankly - to secure authoritative figures regarding the production of any country, but it is generally conceded that the productivity figures and other reports on social and economic matters that are issued from time to time by the International Labour Organization are as reliable a guide as can be secured from any part of the world. 1 shall quote now from the report of the Director-General of the International Labour Organization given to the 33rd session of the International Labour Conference held at Geneva in 1950. In the preface to this report the DirectorGeneral indicated very clearly to the conference that he believed that the major problem confronting the world was that of productivity. A very large part of the report is devoted to that important matter and the Director-General also makes a number of suggestions which he considered might be of assistance to the various affiliated nations in overcoming the difficulties of the productivity rate in their own countries. I shall quote from page 79 of the report, from the section headed The Productivity of Labour, in which a table is given on the average output per manyear in industry. That table give3 some idea of the productivity of the various nations that are associated with the International Labour Organization. It takes the average production for the period 1935 to 1938, and gives it an arbitrary index number of 100. The latest figures available are for 1948. The table does not accord with the statements that are attributed to Colin Clark. According to the table Denmark lost 2 per cent, of the productivity in the ten years between 1938 and 1948. The productivity of Norway, which is one of the Scandinavian countries, fell by 13 per cent, in the same period. On the other hand, Sweden’s productivity increased by 15 per cent.
– Denmark and Norway were occupied by the enemy during the last war.
– I agree with the honorable member that because of occupation by enemy forces there was possibly very large destruction of productive enterprises, and as a result there would be great difficulty in rehabilitating those countries. That fact probably accounts for the reported decrease of productivity. The increase of productivity in the United Kingdom in the same period was 16 per cent., whilst the comparable increase in the United States was 30 per cent. In the article published by the Daily Telegraph Colin Clark gave no indication of the sources from which he had obtained his figures, and we are left to guess to what extent they can be regarded as reliable.
– What was the Australian increase or decrease of productivity according to the table from which the honorable- member has just cited figures ?
– That information is not contained in the table, but I shall cite other figures from sources that are available to us in Australia. The Commonwealth Statistician, over a long period of time, has given a good deal of attention to productivity. The recording of productivity in terms of manhours or man-years is extremely difficult because the labour factors are constantly varying. It is also difficult because of broken time and because of industries closing down. It becomes particularly difficult to compare and group together the hours of production of different articles, such as pianos, motor cars and groceries. The best that can be said of productivity figures in this or any other country is that they give an indication of trends; but that indication cannot be taken as absolutely accurate. For many years the Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics has given, in its labour reports, some idea of the production per person engaged in industry. For some reason or other that particular table has not been published during the last two years, and the last report in which I can find it published is Report No. 35 which covers the years 1945-46. Any honorable member who wishes to check that table to ascertain how it is compiled will find it at page 38 of that report. It takes into consideration the number of persons engaged in production, gives the actual production and allots to it an index number, then equates it to retail prices so as to give some indication of the real value of production. The figures show that the value of production in Australia in 1938 was £481,000,000. In the year 1945-46, following which the greatest increase of production has taken place according to Professor Higgins and Colin Clark, the increase of productivity according to value, which is not a very reliable method of calculation, was 44 per cent. Articles may cost more in money, but that fact does not prove that production has increased. Hut when the figure relating to the value of production is equated to the “ C “ series index figures, we find that for the year 1938-39 it had an index number of 124 and for the year 1945-46 an index number of 144, which indicated approximately a 7^ per cent, increase of production per person engaged in industry. That result coincides very closely with the figure of 8 per cent, given by Clark in his evidence to the court.
– On what price level?
– This table equates the prices of the “ C “ series figures, which is the retail purchasing power of money. That in itself is not the best guide, because the goods that are manufactured in Australia are in the main, not originally sold on the retail market. They are generally sold on the wholesale market and, as a consequence, it does not truly reflect every increase or decrease of value. The “ C “ series figures are the best guide. The Commonwealth Statistician indicates that even during the period when the great bulk of our manpower was withdrawn from the production of goods and commodities for civilian purposes, production was still steadily increasing in Australia. In the two years from 1946 to 1948 there was an 11 per cent, increase of production. It is possible more accurately to measure the value of production per person in rural industry because it is possible to examine the various items of production such as wheat, wool or sheepskins in reasonable quantities and to equate the man-power engaged with the production of those things so as to see whether the physical volume of goods produced has increased. A table that I have secured from the Commonwealth Statistician indicates that between 1938-39 and 194S-49 the production per person engaged in rural industry increased by the considerable degree of 26 per cent. All the figures available show clearly that productivity in Australia increased by much more than the 3 per cent, mentioned by the honorable member. There is a large number of individual items in respect of which very substantial increases of production are shown. According to the figures available for the ten years concerned, the production of jam increased by 50 per cent.; preserved fruits by 33^ per cent.; canned vegetables by 700 per cent., taking into consideration this year’s production; and canned meat by 400 per cent.
The honorable member for Evans also made a statement which no doubt will be made also by other speakers. It was, that in the first six months of the present Government’s term of office the cost of living had risen to a slightly less degree than it had during the last six months of the preceding Government’s term of office. I have obtained from the Commonwealth Statistician figures which show that the reverse is the case and that the increase of the cost of living during the first six months of this Government’s term of office has been slightly greater than was the increase that took place during the last six months of the preceding government’s period of office. The index number of the “ C “ series issued by the Commonwealth Statistician for the June quarter of 1950 was 1,403 ; for December of 1949 it was 1,466 ; and for June of this year it was 1,533. In actual fact, in the last six months of 1949 the cost of living increased by 4.49 per cent, whilst from December to June of this year it increased by 4.64 per cent. It may be said that the increase has been consistent but instead of its being slightly less for the first six months of -this year, it has, in fact, been slightly more.
– Did the honorable member say volume or price?
– This is the retail price level shown by the “ C “ series figures. That is the best guide to the purchasing power of money as it affects the consumers.
If the honorable member for Evans wishes to ensure co-operation and assistance from this side of the House he should realize that the best way to win friends and influence people is not to attack their views or to make statements of the kind that he has made but to pursue a policy based on friendship instead of antagonism and hostility.
– Order .’ The honorable member’s time has expired.
– I know that many honorable members on the Opposition side of the
House arid many officials of the trade union movement are genuine opponents of the Communist party, and that among them is the honorable member for Bendigo (Mr. Clarey). It is disappointing to find that these people, when faced with the dilemma of having to do something that may not be to the advantage of the Labour party if they are to avoid helping the Communist party, generally temporize. They do and say things that are helpful to the Communist party because they do not want to hurt the Labour party. I was shocked at some of the remarks made by the honorable member for Bendigo. He said - and I could scarcely believe my ears when I. heard him - that until the depression there was no real Communist influence within the Australian trade union movement. Has he never heard of Jock G-arden? Has he never heard of the Red Internationale of Labour Unions? Let me read to him the list of the office bearers in that Communist subsidiary before the depression. There was Comrade Clifford, of the Carpenters Union; J. A. Ferguson, of the Australian Railways Union, who is now federal president of the Australian Labour party; R. J. Patterson, of the Printing Workers Industrial Union; A. Doyle, of the Boilermakers Union; P. G. Hannett, of the Electrical Trades Union who had recently returned from Vladivostok and Moscow ; Wilson, of the Seamen’s Union ; Dodd, of White Bay power house, a wellknown Communist; T. Docker, of the Carpenters Union, another well-known member of the Communist Central Committee; W. Orr, another Communist whowas Moscow delegate and later the organizer of war-time turmoil in the Australian coal trade in 1940; Mitchell, of the Painters Union; Douglas, of Eveleigh Railway Workshops; Pettit, of the Tramways Union ; E. Knight, of the Australian Workers Union, a well-known professional Communist, and others. That list is clear proof of the fallacy that the honorable member for Bendigo was guilty of uttering. When the honorable member tried to persuade the House that communism in the trade union movement and the Labour party was merely a product of the depression he said what was untrue and I am greatly astonished that he does not know it to be untrue, because he was one of the delegates to the 1921 conference at which the Communist party foisted the socialization objective on to the Labour platform. In 1926, in New South Wales, the Communist trade union conference under the sponsorship of Rubanoff had, as its office-bearers, Mr. A. C. Willis, who was, at the same time, chairman of the rules committee of the Australian Labour party conference; Mr. W. Seale, vice-chairman, who was president of the Australian Labour party conference; and Emile R. Voigt, minute secretary, who was also minute secretary of the Labour party conference. At that time there was almost complete identity between the officials of the Labour party and the officials of the Communist party. I assure honorable members that there is a great deal of quite incontrovertible evidence of the truth of what I say and the untruth, unfortunately, of what the honorable member for Bendigo said on a subject on which he should have expert knowledge.
As honorable members ‘know, the economic situation presents two main problems. The first is the prevalence of Communists in the industrial machine, and the second is the critical shortage of coal. It would not, I think, be appropriate for me to discuss the details of the bill now before the Senate; but I think that I should direct attention to some of the remarkable circumstances that have arisen outside the Senate, not in regard to the details of that measure, but in regard to the consideration that it received from the Labour party. The Labour party’s attitude to the bill was determined not by caucus but by outside bodies. First, to a minor degree, it was determined by what is known as the Federal Advisory ‘Council. Secondly, to a major degree, it was determined by the federal executive of the Australian Labour party. It is the second body that is important. Somewhat high constitutional questions are involved in this matter because, in another place, the Labour party controls legislation and the Government of the country is, therefore, in the hands of an outside body. It is important to analyse what has happened. Let me recapitulate facts with which I think all honorable members will be familiar. When the federal executive of the Australian Labour party considered the bill it instructed the Parliamentary Labour party to insist on certain amendments. Then, more recently, when the Government re-introduced the measure and it came again before the federal executive, the voting was even and the ruling given was that the previous decision must stand. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Chifley) would not allow honorable members of the Opposition to discuss the ruling or even to vote upon it.
– He could not. Mr. WENTWORTH.- Undoubtedly, he could not. When the federal executive last met it had before it a proposal from Western Australia to the effect that a decision should be left - to the elected representatives of the people in the Parliamentary Labour party, namely, the caucus. That proposal was ruled out of order and the Parliamentary Labour party was instructed to allow the bill to be passed. Throughout, the policy of the Leader of the Opposition has been one of opposition to the Government’s proposal, and he has endeavoured to insist on the amendments that the Parliamentary Labour party wanted to insert in the bill. But he and his colleagues have acted as puppets of an outside organization. This is an extraordinary abrogation of authority on the part of elected representatives of the people. Is there a precedent for it? In all constitutional matters such as this, one should endeavour first of all to find a precedent. I looked through Hansard and turned up the report of an incident that occurred towards the end of 1942, when the question of the extension of the area in which the militia could serve was before this House. Most honorable members will recall that at that stage there were grave and urgent strategic reasons for extending the area into which the militia could be sent, but by reason of the existing legislation any such action was not possible without an amendment of the act. The Right Honorable John Curtin, who was Prime Minister at that time, attended a special conference of the Labour party that was held in Melbourne on the 17th November, I think, and took to that conference a certain proposal.
– I rise to a point of order. It is very interesting to hear about matters such as those spoken of by the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth), but in what way is the honorable member able to link them with the .Supply Bill now before the House? I ask you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, to rule whether it is in order at this moment for the honorable member to debate a matter that was debated and disposed of when a. previous measure was before this House.
– May I speak to the point of order? The relevance of the honorable member’s remarks is perfectly clear. In the course of this debate on the Supply Bill matters in relation to production have been discussed, including the effect of communism on production. The matter of the subservience of certain sections of the Labour party to the Communist party also has been discussed and the honorable member for Mackellar is now traversing that matter.
– I rise to a point of order.
– Order ! - The Chair already has before it a point of order on which a decision it about to be given. I allow the honorable member for Mackellar to proceed because his remarks have a bearing on various departments and are as much in order as have been others in reference to past history. They are leading up to facts with which I assume he will deal later.
– I move -
That the ruling he dissented from.
– Order ! If the honorable member for Port Adelaide (Mr. Thompson) wishes to dissent from my ruling he must do so in writing before attempting to discuss it.
Mr. Thompson having submitted, in writing, his objection to the ruling,
– We shall ensure an extension of time for the honorable member for Mackellar to make up for the time wasted by these points of order.
– Tell us something about the secret funds of the honorable member for Bradfield (Mr. Hughes)
– Order ! - The honorable member for Watson (Mr. Curtin) will remain silent or I shall deal with him. If honorable members want the matter of Supply to be discussed extensively it may be so discussed. If such a principle is applied to one party it will be applied to all. The ruling is that the honorable member for Mackellar is in order in continuing his discussion of communism, that not being the motion lief ore the House.
– I second the motion.
– I do not wish’ to curb any member who is speaking in this House, and honorable members on the Government side are certainly not going to curb me when I believe I have a right to speak.
– I rise to order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I submit that the honorable member for Port Adelaide (Mr. Thompson), and any other honorable member who speaks- to this motion, must confine his remarks to the motion of dissent.
– I uphold that point of ‘order.
Mr. Thompson. - I am endeavouring to confine my remarks to my motion of dissent. If the Minister would raise an objection to the disturbance of the proceedings by honorable members who are interjecting-
-Order! The honorable member for Port Adelaide must speak only to the motion of dissent.
– My reasons for submitting the motion of dissent are simple. At present the House is discussing Supply. You, Mr. Deputy Speaker, ruled, when honorable members attempted to discuss a matter that was not directly relevant to the subject of Supply that they should not discuss it at this stage. One or two honorable members wished to take a certain course of action, and you stated that they could ‘ do so when speaking to another bill. My contention is that if an honorable member wishes to deal with any matter such as that which the honorable member for Mackellar wants to discuss, and which has already been dealt with, he should not bring it up during the debate on a Supply Bill. To do so would be to take up the time of the House on matters that have already been dealt with.
– I excluded only the new matters contained in the budget.
– I do not wish to question your ruling on the exclusions) Mr. Deputy Speaker, but no part of the Supply Bill permits an honorable member to deal wholly and solely with the matter of communism, which is what the honorable member for Mackellar is doing. “
– The honorable member for Mackellar had spoken for only about three minutes.
– Whether he spoke for three minutes or not, he was just preparing to read perhaps whole pages from a book which be held in his hand.
– He has not read anything yet.
– The honorable member must have been asleep if he did not hear the honorable member for Mackellar reading. The honorable member for Mackellar is endeavouring to make observations upon a bill which is being considered at the present time in another place. I submit that that is not right. That is my reason for moving that your ruling, Mr. Deputy Speaker, be dissented from.
Question put -
That the ruling be dissented from.
The House divided. (Mr. Deputy Speaker - Mr. 0. F.
Ayes .. ..31
Noes . . . . 58
Question so resolved in the negative.
– I am sorry that the members of the Labour party are finding my remarks displeasing. Does any precedent exist for the action of honorable members opposite in asking an outside body to determine the attitude they should take towards the Communist Party Dissolution Bill? What happened in 1942? At that time the late Mr. Curtin, who was then Prime Minister, found it necessary to extend the area in which the Australian Military Forces could be allowed to serve. He made his first proposal in that respect, to a special interstate conference of the Australian Labour party that was held in Melbourne in that year. I cannot do better than quote words which Senator Cameron wrote in an article describing what happened at that conference. He said -
I consider that, while any delegate at the Federal Australian Labour Party Conference had a perfect right to bring forward any proposal or subject if he could obtain the sanction of the other delegates to do so, Mr. Curtin, as a delegate for Western Australia, had no authority from the Western Australian branch of the Australian Labour party to raise something which had not been sent forward as an agenda item for that or any other State. [Extension of time granted.]
At that time, Mr. Curtin made certain proposals. I am prepared to believe that the proposals that he made at that conference were the same as those that were actually introduced in this House. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Chifley), when speaking in the House on that occasion made an unequivocal statement to that effect. “ The right honorable gentleman said -
It is, therefore, well to make it clear that at no time hae the Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin) proposed to either a Labour conference or this country that the Government should merge to two forces into one.
Those two forces were the Australian Imperial Force and the Australian Military Forces. Yet the Labor Gall in its report of the proceedings at that conference published the following headline : -
Prime Minister proposes amalgamation of Australian Imperial Force and Commonwealth Military Forces.
It is clear that in that matter either the present Leader of the Opposition or the Labor Gall was lying. I am prepared to say that the Labor Call was lying and that the right honorable gentleman was telling the truth. Those facts are relevant to any attempt to find out whether, in point of fact, that conference altered the decision of the then Prime Minister. I find that it did not. I remind the House of certain words that the right honorable member for Macquarie used on that occasion. He said -
The Prime Minister’s original proposition was received with acclamation by a great number of people and a majority of honorable members. He hae not deviated one point from his original proposition.
In spite of the majority view of Labour members of the Parliament at that time, Mr. Curtin went on his hands and knees to the Australian Labour party conference, which did not give him a decision, but referred the matter to the federal executive of the party which ultimately, by the narrow majority of one State, graciously gave him the permission that he sought. Speaking in this House later with regard to that subject, Mr. Curtin made what I regard as a very proper statement. He said -
Having that sense of responsibility which I should hope would distinguish any occupant of the office that I hold, I went to the Labour conference. Had I failed, I alone would have paid the price of failure. My party would have survived, and my colleagues could have continued to conduct the administration. . . Had I failed, as leader of a party and as Prime Minister, I would have been so circumstanced that I could no longer have stood in this place where I now stand.
Mr. Curtin said, in effect, “ I have a responsibility. I am not a mere puppet. I will say what I want to say. If I do not get it, I will at least resign “. That attitude on Mr. Curtin’s part distinguished his position from the puppetry of Mr. Chifley.
– Order !
– I amend that by saying, from the puppetry of the right honorable member for Macquarie. It is clear from what I have said that no precedent exists for the more recent incident. In the latter instance, the leader of the Parliamentary Labour party simply gave way to the federal executive of the Australian Labour party, whereas, in the former instance, Mr. Curtin said that he would resign if he did not get his way. It is not right that members of the Labour party in this House should make themselves the puppets of an outside body. Because they have done so, it is necessary to inquire what, exactly, that outside body is. It consists of twelve members, each State being represented by two delegates. I understand that the same two delegates do not represent the same State at every meeting of the executive.
– I rise to order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. During the course of hip speech, the honorable member has wandered miles from the matters that are covered by the terms of the bill. Is he in order in continuing along those lines? If so, is there no limit to the matters that may be discussed under the terms of the measure before the Chair?
– The honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) is in order in discussing the activities of certain members of the Parliament in relation to the item, “ Salaries and Payments in the
Nature of Salary”, under the heading of “Parliament”. The honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron) devoted practically the whole of his speech to an attack upon the Liberal party.. I propose to allow equal latitude to other honorable members.
– The members of the federal executive of the Australian Labour party are as follows: - New South Wales, Mr. E. G. Wright and Mr. J. A. Ferguson, M.L.C., the latter being an ex-member of the Communist party, or, at any rate one who had close associations with it; Victoria, Mr. P. J. Clarey, M.P., and Mr. J. V. Stout ; Queensland, Mr. S. J. Bryan and Mr. A. Cole ; South Australia, Mr. J. F. Walsh and Mr. J. P. Toohey; Western Australia, Mr. C. W. Webb and Mr. F. E. Chamberlain, the latter of whom is generally thought to be associated with the Communist party; and Tasmania, Senator Aylett and Mr. E. E. Reece. How was each of those gentlemen elected as a delegate to that body and what is its authority? In order to answer those questions we must refer first to the rules of the Australian Labour party. The rules of the federal executive of the party provide that two members shall be elected from each State under the rules of the respective State branches of the party and that the members of the federal executive shall have authority over the members of the Parliamentary Labour party and shall determine the policy that the .latter shall be allowed to enunciate. I agree with the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Glyde Cameron) that that rule is binding upon all members of the Australian Labour party in the Parliament. As I have said, the rules of the respective State branches of the party differ to some degree.
I shall deal as quickly as possible with the position pertaining in two, or three, of the States and from what I have ,fo say honorable members will see that the federal executive of the Australian Labour party is a corrupt little junta which has no basis at all in democratic practice. It has been elected in circumstances that lay it open to the gravest suspicion and it has reflected the wishes of the Communist party. In New South Wales, members of the Labour party consist of members of affiliated trade unions and persons enrolled as members of the party. There is a saving provision that no Communist, shall be a member of the party, but the important fact is that members of affiliated unions are included in it. At the annual conference, which elects two delegates to the federal executive, the basis of representation is such as to give control to the union representatives. Those representatives are elected by unions, which in many instances are controlled by Communists, in ballots which frequently are conducted in a way that would not satisfy any reasonable person.
– Order ! The honorable member’s extended time has expired.
Motion (by Mr. Anthony) proposed -
That the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) be granted a further extension of time.
– I cannot accept a motion for a further extension of time.
– I listened with great astonishment to the speech of the -honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth), and I have been racking my brains- in an endeavour to find what it had to do with the subject of the debate. Of course, I realize that honorable members are permitted to cover a very wide range in a debate on a Supply Bill and I shall be happy if I am accorded equal consideration. The honorable member for Mackellar has a phobia. He can smell a Communist under every bush. He has studied the political situation from one point of view for so long that his mind has definitely become warped and he cannot give a reasonable or sensible opinion on anything that he hears or reads in connexion with communism. Apparently he has examined the rules of the Australian Labour party from the same biased point of view. He has devoted a great deal of time this afternoon to his own special explanation of the constitution and rules of the party, but his hide-bound attitude has prevented him from arriving at a reasonable conclusion. He has been unable to discover how the Australian Labour party is controlled. As a mem ber of that party, I am proud of the system under which its members work. We do not give to any secret junta the right to declare our policy. We do not ask the private banking institutions what policy we shall adopt in relation to finance. We do not ask the graziers to formulate our policy in relation to the wool tax. We do not go to the wheat-farmers to ask them what we must do. Instead we have a democratic organization which works in the open. Our rules and constitution are open to the .world. We hold our conferences in the open and we announce our decisions to the world. Everybody may know how those decisions are reached. The honorable member for Mackellar, with his unfortunate state of mind, i* unable to understand how that system works.
– Did the honorable member say “ unfortunate “ or “ unbalanced “?
– “Unbalanced” would fit the position better than “ unfortunate “. The Australian Labour party has a democratic constitution and its rank and file members have an opportunity to decide what its policy shall be. The printed policy and platform of thi’ party were framed by decision of the members, not by small secret juntas such as those which control the Liberal party and select its candidates for election to this Parliament. We work in the open and our members have the right to decide the policy that shall be adopted by the party. We are proud of our methods and one of the first principles of the party is that majority decisions of its members shall be the only decision? carried into -effect.
Government supporters talk about secret juntas. We have witnessed examples of the influence of secret juntas upon the Government parties in this House during the last few weeks. Why are we discussing this Supply measure to-day? Why is the Government asking for Supply for the months of November and December? This sort of thing did not happen under the regime of the Labour party. It is a most unusual procedure for a government that has been in office for over six months to ask the Parliament to grant Supply to cover the months of
November and December. My experience of parliamentary procedure has been that the budget has been adopted on previous occasions in time to provide Supply for that period. This did not happen last year, or for many years previously. Therefore, we are obliged to look for a reason for this procedure, and the reason is not hard to find. This House went into recess for the winter about the 22nd June, and we were informed unofficially then, I understand on the authority of the Treasurer (Mr. Fadden), that it would re-assemble during the first week of September in order to debate the budget for 1950-51. Later we were told that there had been some delay in the preparation of the budget and that we should not meet to consider it until the second week in September. However, we were not called together until the fourth week of September and, when we arrived here to debate the budget, we found that the Government did not have a budget to present. The budget was not presented until the 12th October, and because of that unnecessary delay-
– Has not the honorable member heard about the war in Korea?
– I have heard a great deal about the war in Canberra, which delayed the preparation and presentation of the budget. Because of that delay, we have to occupy a week or two of our time in discussing the Supply Bill (No. 2) 1950, the object of which is to provide finance with which to carry on the government of the country until the budget has been passed.
We could have been dealing with the budget a month ago if the Government had been business-like. But what happened? The Cabinet met day after day and week after week for the purpose of drafting a budget. Certain members of the Cabinet hit upon the idea that the first step necessary to put value back into the £1, a process which the Government has discussed at great length without taking definite action, was to revalue the currency in order to bring it to parity with sterling. Although the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies), that noble, strong man, and the Minister for National Development (Mr. Casey), wanted to revalue the £1, and the Cabinet decided to do so by twelve votes to seven, the project was defeated. Government supporters talk about secret juntas ! What secret junta enabled seven members of the Cabinet to decide the Government’s policy against the opposition of twelve, of their colleagues who wanted to revalue the £1 ? We have been told that the Treasurer and the members of his hill-billy party,- who are keeping the Government in office, were responsible for the decision. They are levying blackmail on the people of Australia while they are keeping the Government in power. There is a wonderful example of so-called majority control!
– Order ! The imputation that blackmail has been levied is disorderly and I ask the honorable member to withdraw the statement.
– I withdraw it. Nobody objected to my use of it.
– The Chair objects to its use.
– If the Chair objects to it, I withdraw it.
I come now to the next step in the preparation of the budget. A meeting of the Liberal party was called, and over i<0 par cent, of the members voted in favour of revaluation of the £1. The small coterie of Australian Country party members also met and they voted against revaluation of the £1. When the votes of both parties were counted, there was a substantial majority in favour of revaluation. But what happened ? I am addressing the new chum back-benchers on the Government side of the House now.
– Order ! I ask the honorable member to withdraw that remark.
– I withdraw it.
– If the honorable member does not keep on the track, he will have to sit down.
– I am endeavouring to stay on the track and I am keeping as close to the subject as many previous speakers did. Although a majority of the Liberal party and the Australian Country party decided that revaluation was necessary, the final decision was, “We will not revalue the £1”. What was the secret junta that told the majority that it could not have its way?
When a majority decides in favour of a certain course of action in the Labour party, that course is followed. The situation is entirely different in the Liberal party and the Australian Country party in which majority decisions are reversed. One member of the Australian Country party, the honorable member for Maranoa (Mr. Charles Russell), advocates revaluation, and he is a man of independent thought and action. He refused to accept the decision of the combined parties. He wanted the majority decision to be put into operation. What did he do? With the advice of his then leader, the Treasurer, he wrote out a resignation and quitted the ranks of the Australian Country party. Now he sits with members of the Liberal party, which he supports because it favours revaluation of the £1, even though it has not the courage to put its policy into effect. Thus, the honorable gentleman supports those who favour revaluation, but is unable to have revaluation effected. Yet honorable members who make decisions of that kind have the effrontery to rise in this House, man after man, and criticize the system under which the Labour party operates. The honorable member for Canning (Mr. Hamilton) has a weakness for doing that sort of thing. We are a democratic organization. We believe in, and carry on under majority control. We do not adopt the methods that have been adopted by members of the Liberal party and of the Australian Country party. As a result of shilly-shallying, members of the Government parties are not “game” to carry out the decision of the majority, and that is the reason why the House is debating the Supply Bill (No. 2) 1950-51 to-day.
Honorable members interjecting,
– Order! There are too many interjections and they must cease. The Chair will not allow the proceedings to develop into bedlam.
– Put them out !
– Order ! The honorable member for Watson (Mr. Curtin) will be required to withdraw from the chamber if he interjects again.
– Opposition members have twitted the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. Holt) and have invited him to explain why the Government was obliged to introduce this bill instead of proceeding with the consideration of the budget. I understand that he is the only Minister or Government supporter who has even attempted to give an explanation. His excuse - it cannot be described as anything else - was weak. He complained that because of the tactics that had been pursued by the Labour party’s majority in the Senate, the Government’s business had been delayed, and, for that reason, the Parliament was asked to grant Supply for November and December. The Opposition’s tactics in the Senate could not have delayed the Government’s administrative work between the 22nd June and the 22nd September last, because both chambers were in recess during that period. No other reason has been given in response to our requests for information. Ministers, in their endeavours to conceal their own ineptitude and to conceal their own inefficiency behind a smoke-screen, are trying to mislead the public into believing that they are prevented from giving effect to their programme by what they describe as the obstructionist tactics of the Labour party. I point out that the Opposition is entitled to be here, and to express its opinions. Every Opposition in the past has fully utilized that right. But the opposition” which has been applied by the Labour party has not prevented the Government from performing its administrative duties, or from submitting the budget to the Parliament at a reasonable time. I am endeavouring to discover, and I hope that a Government supporter will be kind enough to enlighten me in the course of this debate, the real reason why the Government has been so remiss in its duties. I have certain ideas about that matter. I believe that the principal reason is that members of the Government are incompatibles, and, as is well known, incompatibles do not mix successfully. The Prime Minister, and the Treasurer, who is Deputy Prime Minister, have been at “ daggers drawn “ for years. When, they attempted to work in double harness in the past, they failed lamentably. I notice that the Treasurer smiles at that remark, but he probably recalls more clearly than I do that not so many years ago, he made scathing comments about the present Prime Minister and used such expressions as, “ A dagger driven into my back “. He will recall those matters even more vividly than I do, because, at that time, he was endeavouring to lead that leaderless legion, the Australian Country party, and the Liberal party, which was then known . as the United Australia party. The change of name has not meant the abandonment of ultra-conservative principles. As both right honorable gentlemen were “unable to work amicably in double harness in the past, it is natural for us to expect that there will be more trouble between them in the future. The Prime Minister has not the loyalty of even the members of the Liberal party. He is being posed as a strong man. The capitalist press of Australia, and the leading lights of the Liberal party, are trying to give him a big build up in the hope that the people will regard him as a great Prime Minister. Those efforts will not be successful.
– The honorable member is making a great mistake.
– The honorable member for Macarthur (Mr. Jeff Bate) should remain silent. I am afraid that white ants have got into his head. The Prime Minister is not such a strong man as the leading lights of the Liberal party and the capitalistic press pretend that he is. Other people who are supposed to be his friends are not giving him their wholehearted support. The Melbourne Argus is a newspaper that sees fair play to-day, but it was a conservative newspaper in 1941 when it published the following report of a statement by the then Prime Minister, Mr. Menzies -
A frank discussion with my colleagues in the Cabinet has shown that, whilst they have personal goodwill towards me, many of them feel that I am unpopular with large sections of the press and the people and that this unpopularity handicaps the effectiveness of the Government by giving rise to misrepresentations and misunderstanding of its activities, and that there are divisions of opinion in the Government parties themselves which would not or might not exist under any other leader.
The right honorable gentleman had- to resign as Prime Minister. The Treasurer will recall those facts, because he stepped into the Prime Minister’s shoes, with conspicuous lack of success. His reign for 40 days and 40 nights is still remembered. The Minister for Health (Sir Earle Page), who, allegedly, is working harmoniously with the present Prime Minister, made the following statement about the right honorable gentleman on one occasion : -
I was compelled to consider the qualifications of the new leader of the United Australia Party, and to ask myself whether his public record was such as to inspire the people of Australia to the maximum unstinted effort in a time of national emergency. 1 am afraid that Mr. Menzies will not be able to get that maximum effort from the people.
The honorable member for Mackellar, who now supports the Government, was reported in that ultra-conservative newspaper, the Sydney Morning Herald, on the 13th April, 1943, as having said -
Mr. Menzies can neither call nor command as a leader. Under his leadership the party broke up, and yet he refuses to co-operate under the leadership of anybody else. In those circumstances, the greatest national service he can render the party and Australia would be to quit politics. Those of us who stand for a more vigorous policy are anxious that Mr. Menzies’ inevitable failures should not block the path of future progress.
That ultra-conservative newspaper probably would not misrepresent the views that were held by the honorable member for Mackellar at that time. I believe that the introduction of the budget has been delayed for six weeks because members of the Government are incompatibles
– That explanation is not logical.
– It is a better explanation than the Minister for Labour and National Service has given to the House for the delay in introducing the budget. Government supporters have appealed for mercy in their speeches, and have made all kinds of excuses, but they have failed to give any valid reason why the majority decision of the Liberal party in favour of revalua’tion has not been given effect in the budget. Until we are taken into the Government’s confidence, we can only draw our own conclusions from the information that is available to us and t* the general public. “What is that inference? The position is obvious. The Liberal party is strong numerically, the Australian Country party is weak numerically. The tail sometimes is wagging the dog, but at other times we are at a loss to know whether the Australian Country party or an outside junta - a word that Government supporters like - is calling the tune.
The Liberal party and the Australian Country party were returned to office as a result of a series of misrepresentations. Their candidates told the people on the hustings, and in newspaper advertisements, that, if they were elected to office, they would put value back into the £1. Their words have, been quoted innumerable times, and I do not propose to repeat them now, other than to remind them that they promised to make the £1 worth a £1. What has the Government done to fulfil that promise? The answer is simple. It has not done anything to put back value into the £1, and it is now endeavouring, by all kinds of excuses, to distract the attention of the people from those untruthful promises. Government supporters knew that those promises could not be fulfilled, and, indeed, they had no intention of even attempting to honour them. The Government is in. office to-day because the supporters of the Liberal party and of the Australian Country party misled the people into believing that they had evolved a solution of our economic problems, particularly in respect of rising prices. The people are beginn ing to realize that they fell for misrepresentations, and it will not be long before the Communist red herring will smell to high heaven, and the Government will be obliged to find another red herring with which to distract the attention of the people from its failure to put value back into the £1. The prices of all commodities are continually rising. The housewife, who has to buy them, is perfectly well aware of that fact. Day after day, the poorer section of the community is discovering that the propaganda of the Liberal party and of the Australian Country party during the last general election campaign was complete misrepresentation. They are beginning to realize that the private trading banks did not spend more than £1,000,000 on the election campaign for the benefit of the small people. Indeed, the private financial institutions are now obtaining their pound of flesh. The poor, are also beginning to learn that the people who paid to put the Government into office are issuing their instructions to it from day to day. Honorable members opposite, regardless of their personal opinions, are blindly following those instructions, because they are merely the paid servants’ of those financial institutions and capitalistic concerns.
– I rise to ‘order. I object to the statement that I am a paid servant of private financial institutions and capitalist concerns. It is offensive to me, and I submit that the honorable member for Wills should be required to withdraw it.
– Order ! The honorable member for Bowman (Mr. McColm) has objected to certain words which the honorable member for Wills has used, and I ask him to, withdraw them.
– I withdraw the words that have offended the honorable gentleman. I am sorry if 1 have hurt hi* feelings. I found, from my own observations during the last general election campaign, that the financial institutions expended a large sum of money, none of which was made available to the Labour party. I also have knowledge, from my own observations of the methods that are being followed by this Government, that those financial institutions are collecting their pound of flesh. I see that Government supporters are dancing according to the way in which the strings are pulled by ‘the private financial institutions. Perhaps I expressed myself a little crudely a moment before the honorable member for Bowman rose to order. I also notice that the great newspaper barons of Australia, which played their part in securing the return of the Liberal party and of the Australian Country party to office by misrepresentation, false statements and deliberate lies in the press day after day, are demanding their pound of flesh. They advocate the revaluation of the £1 in order to save them a few million pounds in the cost of newsprint from the dollar area. That is a part of their price for. the support that they gave to the Liberal party and to the Australian Country party in the last general election campaign. To date, they have failed to induce the Government to revalue the £1, but from what I have heard, it appears to me that they will achieve their purpose.
– Order ! The honorable member has exhausted his time.
Sitting suspended from 6.1 to 8 p.m.
Debate (on motion by Mr. McMahon) adjourned.
Message recommending appropriation reported.
In committee (Consideration of GovernorGeneral’s message) :
Motion (by Mr. Fadden) agreed to -
That it is expedient that an appropriation of revenue be made for the purposes of a bill for an act to increase the salaries payable to the holders of certain statutory offices.
Standing Orders suspended ; resolution adopted.
That Mr. Fadden and Mr. Francis do prepare and bring in a bill to carry out the foregoing resolution.
Bill presented by Mr. Fadden, and read a first time.
– I move -
That thebill be now read a second time.
The purpose of this bill is to increase the salaries payable to holders of certain statutory offices, the salaries for which are determined by legislation. It has become apparent that, despite the adjustments made by the previous Government in 1947, members of the judiciary and officers in the higher executive position? of the Public Service are not being remunerated at present on a scale commensurate with their responsibility. The salaries of justiceships of the High Court and other judicial offices cannot be compared with the earnings of leaders of the legal profession at the bar. This Government is firmly convinced that such salaries should be adequate, and accordingly has provided for increases in accordance with the principles of similar legislation enacted in 1947.
The salaries that are attached to the other statutory positions included in this bill have been determined in relation to a recent general review of the salaries of permanent heads and other high executive first division officers of the Public Service. None of these salaries is subject to variation in accordance with increases or decreases of the cost of living.
The Government is conscious of the necessity for a reasonable remuneration to coverthe responsibilities and complex duties of a head of a department. In order to attract and retain men with the necessary qualifications and experience, salaries must have some relationshipto the emoluments available to such men in private industry. Since the 1947 review, there has been a substantial movement of salaries in the levels immediately below those mentioned in the bill, through reclassification, cost of living margins and arbitrator’s awards. The salaries of officers below the first division are subject to determinations by the Public Service Arbitrator, and his recent awards have considerably narrowed and in some cases eliminated the margin between the salaries of the head of a department and his next senior officer. Honorable members will find details of the proposed increases in the schedule to the bill.
In assessing the increases which it proposes to make, the Government has borne in mind the general trend of salaries for professional and high executive positions both in Australia and overseas. It is convinced that the proposed increases are not only reasonable but also necessary to retain, in the Commonwealth’s service. the best men available. Provision for these increases, in common with increases of the salaries of permanent heads, had been made in the Estimates for 1950-51. but it is now deemed desirable to provide the additional emoluments by means of this bill. I therefore commend the bill to the House.
Debate (on motion by Dr. Evatt) adjourned.
.- Honorable members should be reminded that we are debating a Supply Bill which proposes to provide approximately £61,000,000 for the current year’s services out of Consolidated Revenue. I mention this fact because during the debate honorable members seem to have roamed over a number of subjects, unlike the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Chifley), who confined his remarks to discussion of the economic situation. The honorable member for Wills (Mr. Bryson) who preceded me in this debate, indulged in more. gymnastic feats during the course of his speech than I could have imagined possible. In fact, he had more gymnastic exercise in the course of ten minutes than I have had in the whole of my parliamentary life. It consisted of jumping to conclusions about subjects which do not concern this . chamber.
The first matter to which he referred was most interesting to students of democracy. He asserted that the rank and file of the Australian Labour party, to which he belongs, have a voice in. framing the policy of that party. I invite honorable members generally to compare that statement with the manner in which the Labour party has dealt with the Communist Party Dissolution Bill. Is the attitude they have displayed towards that measure in accordance with normal democratic processes? My view of democracy is that the people elect representatives to this Parliament to exercise their free and independent judgment on all matters that arise for discussion in the Parliament. Consider the attitude of the Labour party towards the measure that I have mentioned. After having expressed the most forthright condemnation of that measure, they accepted dictation from a junta of outside individuals, who are unknown to the Australian people. Under compulsion from that junta they were compelled to change their minds. They are now prepared, against the convictions they have expressed on the floor of the House, to vote for the bill. If that is a fair example of the operation of parliamentary democracy, it involves a conception of democracy quite different from any that I have ever heard before. The procedure adopted by the Opposition appears to me to conform more accurately with the practice followed by the political bureau in Moscow, which endorses its own candidates at elections, and then dictates to the people how they shall vote at those elections.
The next conclusion to which the honorable member for Wills jumped concerned the subject of currency revaluation. He asserted that some months ago a vote of the Cabinet was taken on revaluation, and that on that occasion twelve members of the Cabinet voted for revaluation and seven voted against it. If that were correct it would imply that nineteen Ministers were present at the meeting. The fact is that when the meeting was held only seventeen Ministers were in Australia. I admit, of course, that the matter of revaluation was discussed in our party room. At that discussion I formed a very definite impression about the sincerity with which my colleagues spoke and of the common sense .with which they supported their views. Whilst I might have gone to the meeting with somewhat firm convictions on the subject, I cannot say that after the meeting I held my views so firmly. So much for the attitude of Government supporters towards revaluation. I think the attitude of the honorable member for Wills on the subject, compared with that of his Leader in this House, might be expressed in the paraphrase, “ Let Wills rush in where Macquarie fears to tread “. Undoubtedly many members of the Opposition believe, in common with the Leader of the Opposition, that appreciation of the currency is not in the interests of the people.
The next point made by the honorable member was that the banks and financial institutions generally have poured money into the funds of the non-Labour parties.
– They certainly do.
– I am not so sure of that. I know that they did not pour any money into my election funds. However, in reply to the honorable member’s observations about party funds, I ask him whether it is not a fact that the Communist-controlled ironworkers union paid large sums of money into the funds of the Australian Labour party? Did not other Communistcontrolled unions also pay money into that party’s funds? Of course, members of the Opposition know that a number of Communist-controlled unions did pay money into their funds, and that they continue to do so in order to obtain the’ protection of the Australian Labour party. I have no compunction in telling members of the Opposition about the source from which they obtain their funds.
Returning to matters more directly related to the bill being discussed, I shall touch upon one or two matters that were very ably debated by the Leader of the Opposition. The principal criticism that he directed at the present Government was that whilst his Administration had succeeded in balancing its budget and had bequeathed to the present Government a substantial surplus, the Menzies Government has failed to stabilize the national economy or to restore the value of the fi. T cannot perceive any great virtue in balanced budgets. I know that we can do a- great deal with figures if we juggle with them. However, I think that it is more important to point out that during the tenure of the Chifley Administration production in this country did not increase by more than 1 per cent, per annum. Although Labour was in office for eight years, and during that long period failed to materially increase production, the United States of America increased its production per man hour during the period by 70 per cent., Great Britain and the Scandinavian countries increased their production by 25 per cent, and New Zealand increased its production by 50 per cent. Yet members of the Opposition indulge in cant, humbug and hypocrisy and tell us that we are not doing our best to restore the value of the £1. They know very well that prices in Australia have risen steadily at the rate of 10 per cent, during the last four years, and that during the short time that the Menzies Government has been in office the rate of increase has not accelerated. It cannot be contended, therefore, that, in the difficult position that confronts the Menzies Government, it has not taken strong measures to stabilize our economy and to deal with the problem of increased production, which is a much more important matter.
There are two other matters that arise from the right honorable gentleman’s speech which I should like to deal with although they are technical. Both he and the honorable member for Wills complained that the Government had brought down two Supply bills. It might be desirable for me to explain at this point that our financial year runs from the 31st July of one year to the 30th June of the next year, and that usually the budget and the Estimates are brought down in either August or September. It frequently happens, however, that the budget is not passed until much later in the year. During the intervening period it is usual to introduce temporary financial measures that are known as Supply bills. The complaint has been made that the Government has been dilatory and that it is most unusual to have two Supply bills during one session. I have studied the position for a number of years between 1937-38 and 1950-51 and have found that, far from its having been unusual for two Supply bills to be brought down in one session it is quite usual in this House. In 1937-38 two Supply bills were brought down, in 1940-41 three, in 1941-42 three, in 1943-44 two, in 1946-47 two, and so on. During the Chifley Government’s regime one bill was introduced in three different financial years and was quickly “ guillotined “ through this House. It is unfair and unrealistic for honorable members opposite to argue that the bringing down of two Supply bills constitutes either dilatoriness or unfair budgetary practice
I now turn to certain items that were challenged by the Leader of the Opposition. He said that he could not understand certain of the items in the budget. He obviously did not try to understand them, because any person with even a moderate knowledge of accountancy would understand them. He claimed that the expenditure on certain items had increased, which is perfectly true. He also made the charge that we had included additional items of expenditure, contrary to the normal practice. What happened was that we increased certain items purely and simply because they were related to the salaries of public servants. We had to do so because the Public Service Arbitrator, Mr. Castieau, increased the salaries of Commonwealth public servants by an award. If the right honorable gentleman wished to argue that our action was wrong the proper course for him to have taken was to argue that the Castieau award should have been rejected, and he should have had the courage to tell public servants that he disapproved of the increase given to them under that award.
Another criticism was that we had transferred from the Supply (Works and Services) Bill to this bill some allegedly capital items which are of a current expenditure nature. Those are mainly items that relate to defence and do not contribute to the country’s productive capacity. At this point I wish to pay a tribute to the Treasurer (Mr. Fadden) for having adopted what I regard as unorthodox methods of finance. He is slowly trying to get us out of the mess that the Chifley Government got us into during its eight years of office. Yesterday he introduced a bill to simplify the taxation laws of this country. Any one, after even a casual perusal of that bill, will agree that it is urgently necessary, especially so that taxpayers will understand what the taxation laws are about and, when preparing their taxation returns, will know in advance how much tax they can expect to have to pay.
The Leader of the Opposition criticized the Government in respect of certain items that are not of a capital nature and do not add to the productive resources of the community, and stated that they involved a transfer from capital account to current account. I regard that procedure as fiscally correct, and I aru glad to see it incorporated in the bill.
I consider that there is no good reason why the budgets should not be introduced by about March or April of each year, and passed by the beginning of the financial year. I know that in the beginning such a procedure would mean a lot of work, but it would be worth while in the long run. That system is adopted in Great Britain and in other parts of the world, and could be followed here. I hope that the Treasurer will give that suggestion some consideration.
I ask the Minister for the Interior (Mr. McBride), who is now in charge of the House, whether it would not be possible to abolish completely taxation on musical instruments, which I regard as taxation that is levied on cultural activities and on discriminatory taste. He would do a service to the community if he urged his colleagues to agree to such a change.
The present bill deals mainly with the salaries and wages of members of the Public Service, which are items that constitute an interesting and vexing subject. If we break down the figures relating to the strength of the Public Service into those for administrative staff and for public servants generally, we shall find that the administrative services of all government instrumentalities, federal, State and local, increased from 2 per cent, in 1939 to 5 per cent, this year of the total working force. The Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) and the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. Holt) have told us about the strenuous efforts that the Government has made to reduce the proportion of administrative employees, and the Treasurer recently informed us that it. was intended to reduce the strength of the Public Service generally, if that could be done, by an additional 20 per cent. Personnel in administrative services must be transferred to productive work to assist in the output of consumer goods. The Prime M.inister and other members of the Cabinet have made strenuous efforts to overcome that problem, which at present appears to be insuperable. I urge that still more strenuous efforts be made in this direction.
My main purpose to-night is to deal, however briefly, with the subject of production in this country. The Leader of the Opposition, during his tenure of office as Prime Minister, and many other persons, have stressed the fact that if our standard of living problems are to be overcome we must produce more. The right honorable gentleman has many very statesmanlike utterances to his credit, but I cannot say that his performances have measured up to his promises. I take my hat off to him for having the courage to tell the Australian people that if they do not produce more then they cannot eat or have as much as they wish. Recently we have seen some statistics of production in Australia compared with similar statistics from other parts of the world, which are very revealing and interesting. Even if we take the most favorable figures that it is possible to obtain, it must be admitted that we in Australia are not producing more than 5 per cent, per man-hour in excess of what we produced in 1939. That is not a very high percentage and does not permit us ti; improve our standards of living.
– Where did the honorable member obtain his statistics?
– I obtained them from figures supplied by Mr. Colin Clark. If we compare those statistics with the comparable figures per man-hour for other countries, we find that on the base period 1932-35 production has increased in New Zealand by 50 per cent., in the United States by 70 per cent, and in Britain and the Scandinavian countries, which were ravaged by the war, by well over 25 per cent. Those figures show that our problem in Australia is one not of inflation but of under-production, especially when our production is compared with the production of our democratic neighbours. The problem is not so much how many pounds we have, as of increasing the size of the cake so that everybody can get a bigger and better share of it. That is the problem to which every person in Australia must face up. There is no cause for hysteria, because our productive capacity has increased tremendously, although our actual production ha9 not greatly increased. We have a tremendous .production potential and all we have to do is to tap it so as to improve our standards of living to a point at which they will be unparalleled in our history, and at which, I believe, we shall have left every other democratic country in the world far in the rear.
An Opposition back-bencher, whose name and constituency I cannot recall, directed attention to the increase of production or lack of increase of production in our primary industries, so I took the trouble to examine the relevant figures, and I was never so astonished in my life as when I found that over a period the general increase of production in primary industries, including the dairying and pastoral industries, measured in international units of purchasing power, had been more than 30 per cent., despite the fact that employment in these industries has fallen substantially and that they account for only one-sixth of the working force of the country.
– What wages do those industries pay to rural workers?
– I do not know. I am not interested in money. If the honorable gentleman had listened carefully to my remarks he would not have made that irrelevant interjection. I am interested in the size of the cake, and in how much of it each individual will get. Primary industries have increased their production by 30 per cent., yet the total increase of production over the whole of our industry is only 5 per cent. Those figures show how indebted the community is to the primary industries. Evidence was given before a tribunal only recently that the average number of effective hours worked in coal mums is 23.2 hours a week. It was stated that if the number of effective hours worked were 35 a week we could obtain all the coal that we need. Production in the bricklaying industry has fallen by 33 per cent, a man from its 1939 level. So the story goes on. Primary production and other industries are pulling their weight, but SOW” other industries, particularly the basic industries, still require to increase their production. An improved standard of living will result from a better productive effort from our people. I am not arguing for one moment that the problem of a better productive effort is one that this Government alone can meet. I do not consider that it can even think of facing up to the whole problem, because it is a problem for attention by individual workers, managements, the Australian Council of Trades Unions and the Commonwealth Arbitration Court. I do not ask members of the Labour party to give their fullest co-operation in a production drive. All I ask them to do is not to obstruct the efforts of those who are trying to do a job on behalf of the community. The president of the Australian Council of Trades Unions, Mr. A. E. Monk, who is a man of a patriotic temperament equal to that of the honorable member for Bendigo (Mr. Clarey), the former president of that organization, stated recently that he would use his best efforts to see that the productive drive should not be hindered but should be allowed to gain full momentum. If every member of this House who belongs to a trade union or who is a trade union leader took up the same stand Australia would rapidly solve its problems. The potential is there, the industry is there and it is for us to solve the problem.
The number of Australian factories increased from 26,941 in 1939 to 41,200 in 1949-50. That is very nearly a 75 per cent, increase. “We have in Australia men who are capable of achieving anything that any one else has achieved. Witness our successes in the Davis Cup, cricket, football and swimming. There is no equal of the Australian when it comes to the necessity to do something for himself. Let him now look at the problem, not of doing something for himself, but of doing something in the public interest and for the national welfare. I repeat that we have the potential and the capacity. It is for us to make up our minds whether we want to do better. If we do, we most certainly shall.
What is the Government doing? I have said that it could not do very much except to take the role of leadership. The Prime Minister, on the two occasions on which he spoke on the air on rising prices, gave an example of inspiring leadership to the Australian people. It is all right for honorable members opposite, having failed the Australian people, to jeer. If they want to jeer, let them jeer at their own failures. What is the Government doing? I suppose that the most spectacular achievement of the Opposition was to prevent the passage o’” the Communist Party Dissolution Bill. [Favorable members interjecting.
Hr. DEPUTY SPEAKER, - Order ! Honorable members of the Opposition are continually interrupting. I ask them to be quiet.
– The Communist party is hindering production and is the greatest impediment to full production in Australia. Get rid of these Communists and you will see that the 30 per cent, increase of production which is so urgently necessary will rapidly become a reality. As I have said, in other parts of this Parliament there is still an intention to obstruct and delay. While that continues, standards of living will remain depressed.
I believe that the next most spectacular achievement was that of the Prime Minister, who went abroad and, off his own bat, obtained a loan of 100,000,000 dollars to put this country back on its feet, with a promise of a further 150,000,000 dollars in two or three years’ time. That money was borrowed for the single purpose of obtaining the heavy mechanical equipment that is necessary to eliminate the bottlenecks in Australian production. That was a singularly spectacular achievement and one which will tremendously increase productive capacity in this country. Recently, London funds - dollars and gold held in London for the Empire countries - have been considerably increased. I think that the equivalent of about 2,750,000,000 dollars is held in dollars and gold. That may mean that Australia will receive a further allocation of dollars in addition to the amount already borrowed from the International Bank. So our prospects of obtaining more dollars and of buying more goods in the international market will increase as time goes by.
Th’ose are two measures of fundamental importance. There have been others, such- as those covered by the statement that was made by the Prime Minister and repeated by the Treasurer (Mr. Fadden), that it is hoped to cut down local works services by 20 per cent, and the statement that each department was compelled to cut down its estimates by 20 per cent., so that labour could be transferred from government businesses to private enterprise. Those measures will have a considerable effect in increasing productive capacity and the prospects of this community. Whilst other measures may not be so spectacular, when added up they make a very concrete and definite contribution to productive capacity in. this country.
My main purpose in speaking to-night “was to try to impress upon honorable members and the Australian community the necessity for putting their shoulders to the wheel if Australia is to have better standards of living and if value is to be put into the £1. It is of no use for the Opposition to harp on this problem, day in and day out, ad nauseam, unless it is prepared to let the Government help to solve it. Honorable members on this side do not ask for their willing co-operation. We only ask them to drop obstruction. We ask them to forget that they are in Opposition and must maintain an Opposition complex. We ask them to think, as Australians, that Australia is more important than their efforts to cling tenaciously to seats, the representation of which enables them to draw their salaries, and that they are expected at the same time to act in the best interests of the Australian community.
.- The main thing in the sermon that has just been preached by the reverend mem ber for Lowe (Mr. McMahon)-
– Order ! That is not the way in which to refer to an honorable member.
– The honorable member’s statements have been to the effect that the Australian people are not justifying their existence from a productive standpoint. One would be justified in thinking that the remarks of the honorable member might have been directed with more truth and greater effect to the ever-present and growing problem of pernicious profit-making. During the course of his speech, he said no word about the extortionate profits that are being made in the community. He implied that the Australian workman was lagging in the production field and that he had failed to realize his responsibilities as a citizen and an Australian I should like the honorable member and his colleagues to use those arguments when they next approach the people, so that we may see what sort of a response the people give to those who support that philosophy and apply it in all kinds of adversity.
The honorable member said that this was a bill to grant Supply for certain essential services. That statement cannot bc controverted. However, he declaimed that the many arguments that had been adduced on this side of the House had diverted the attention of honorable members from the purpose of the bill. I direct his attention to three of his own statements. He said, first of all, in the course of remarks reflecting upon the party to which I have the honour to belong, that the Communist-controlled unions poured money into the Australian Labour party election funds during the course of the last general election campaign. That is a deliberate untruth. Although it is true that offers of assistance were made by those Communist-controlled unions, the Labour party rejected them wholeheartedly and unanimously and relied upon the sinews of war being provided by those who believed in Australian democracy. The honorable member’ then said that during eight years of the Chifley Labour Government, production in Australia did not improve. He seems to have overlooked the fact that in that particular period there was a cataclysmic war” and that the Labour Government to which he referred succeeded to a heritage bequeathed to it by its predecessor, yet brought efficiency to the nation where there had been inefficiency, geared the nation to the war effort and did a job the like of which had not been seen in this Commonwealth from the days of its inception.
The honorable member should verify his facts before stating that the Chifley Labour Government had got the country into a mess during the last eight years. The proof of the pudding is in the eating thereof and I challenge him to ask the housewife, the pensioner, the small income-earner and those who are represented by the Labour movement and whose views should be voiced here, whom they would prefer to be represented by now, a Labour government or the Government that occupies the treasury bench with its record of unfulfilled promises ?nd its failure to face up to facts, the Government which made promises prior to the general election which it knew it could not keep and which now seeks with all the excuses in the world to explain away its own incompetency? In the course of the policy speech which the present Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) made on the 10th November, he said -
Perhaps our greatest charge against the financial and economic policy of the present Socialist Government is that while it has paid a good deal of attention to increasing the volume and circulation of money, it has largely neglected the problem of what and how much that money will buy. Every housewife knows how grievous this problem is. The greatest task, therefore, is to get value back into the pound, that is, to get prices’ down. That is the only effective way of increasing real wages and salaries and, indeed, all monetary payments. High prices are not a cause; they are a result of an abundance of spending money and an insufficient supply of things to buy.
That policy speech was followed by much Liberal party advertising. I quote from one that was issued shortly afterwards in these terms -
Australian women! This is what we offer you. A pounds worth for every pound you spend.
How sorry has been the record of the Government since that promise was made ! How has it put value back into the £1? The “£1 is decreasing in value and profits are rampant, yet the Government seeks to justify its existence by saying, “ “We have been bequeathed a legacy of acts derogatory to the interests of the Commonwealth “. As if to compete with the Prime Minister, certain of his Ministers had something of the same nature to say. The Minister for Trade and Customs (Senator O’Sullivan) said on the 23rd “February of this year -
The Government will prevent the cost of living rising.
The Minister for External Affairs said on the 20th February, 1950-
Value will be put back into the £1.
The Minister for Immigration said on the 7th March, 1950 - ,
The Government has expressed its determination to grapple with the problem in order to get value back into the fi.
These strong men remind one forcefully of the frogs in Aesop’s fable. They blew themselves up to such a size that they imagined that they were as big as bulls; but they were still only frogs. That seems to be the trouble with the membersof this Government. They blow themselves up until they believe they are strongmen, but they are nothing of the sort. The Minister for Trade and Customs on the- 8th March, 1950, said-
The Government is taking action to prevent increases of the cost of living.
Later he said, modifying his strong words -
I am happy to say that considerable progress has been made in restoring the purchasing power of the £1.
The last statement by the honorablesenator was the weakest of all. It was -
We are encountering great difficulty in arresting the slide.
It will therefore be seen that the promises which this Government made at the last general election were vain, and have been unfulfilled. There has been a constant failure to keep its word. Honorable members should ask the housewives and those who provide for the domestic necessaries of the people whether the promise to put value back into the £1 has been fulfilled. They should ask the housewife what she can purchase with £1 and to contrast such purchases with what could be purchased for £1 during the regime of the Chifley Government. The record of the Labour movement in or out of office stands supreme in the political history of this Commonwealth among the records of governing parties.
I wish to direct particular attention to two matters that have been referred to in this debate on Supply. The honorable member for Canning (Mr. Hamilton) referred to the growth of the Public Service and denied that it had become larger since this Government assumed office. I shall quote the remarks of the Minister for Immigration .(MrHolt) on that subject from the Sydney Morning Herald of the 11th August, 1950-
Mr. Holt, the Minister for Labour and Immigration, had the following to say before the Building Industry Congress : “ The Commonwealth Government “, he said, “ has become the victim of its own propaganda against the size of the Public Service “. Addressing the Building Industry Congress at its annual luncheon the Minister declared that the present number of public servants, (100,000. was admittedly enormous but people were so used to tho services given that the pruning of departmental staffs met with strong opposition. He gave these illustrations. Example: one group of 4(i,000 workers including those in defence was reduced by 5,000 persons. The Postmaster-General’s Department, however, added 7,000 to its staff. Example: the Commonwealth Employment Service, in the interests of efficiency, was reduced by about 10 per cent. The result was that the file of Hie Minister was growing and it might be necessary to increase the department.
And so the sorry story goes on. When the Government parties were in Opposition they took every opportunity to berate the Labour Government upon the growth of the Public Service. Yet once they had assumed office they promptly increased it? numerical strength, with the result indicated in the report that I have read. That is another instance of the Government’s barren election promises. In the Sydney Morning Herald of Tuesday, the 5th April, 1949, appears a very good picture of the Prime Minister, looking his usual handsome self. It is accompanied by a report of a speech by the right honorable gentleman in which he said -
This is what we will do about Rural Housing . . .
Immediately it is returned, the Liberal Party will investigate the practicability of producing pre-cut housing units to meet the special requirements of particular rural areas, and will enable higher priorities to be granted in the supply of building materials for the rapid improvement nf rural housing generally.
– Is the honorable member referring to the McGirr promises?
– I am referring to the promises made by the Liberal party before the last general flection. The report continues -
It will facilitate the erection by State Housing Commissions and Local Government authorities of groups of workers’ homes in closely settled rural areas where seasonal labour is in short supply - and the provision of finance, labour and material to enable State Governments to undertake this work.
Country families have been fooled over housing by the Chifley Government for far too long. This accounts to a very large extent for the alarming drift to the cities, a drift -that is indescribably harmful to the entire Australian economy.
When in office we will deal promptly and effectively with the three main causes of this drift: (1) Lack of housing; (2) ineffective stabilization of prices; (3) lack of amenities.
E ask honorable members to consider how far prices have been stabilized under the regime of this nondescript Government. In the desire to justify the Government’s place in the sun, Ministers have made the most extraordinary statements. Not long ago the Postmaster-General tried to explain, in Sydney, the drift in the postal finances. He tried to show that some portion of the blame could be attributed to the fact that letter carrier? earned as much as £16 a week. I was formerly a member of the Postal Worker.” Union of Australia. Having had some experience, therefore, I say that that statement is an absolute distortion. When it was made it was a physical impossibility for letter carriers to earn anything like £16 a week. Their salaries at that time were as follows : - At the commencement . of their duties, £7 14s.- v week, rising in the second year by a £13 increment to £7 1.Ss. 6d., then to £8 3s. 4d.. £8 7s. lid., £8 12s. 6d. and £8 17s. a week as a. maximum. In order to earn that salary they worked 40 hours a week. The commencing time for letter carriers is 6.30 a.m., and the general finishing time is 5 p.m. A letter carrier, to have earned the overtime stated by the Minister, even if he were paid the highest award salary, must have worked from 6.30 in the morning without a break until 6.30 at night every day in the week. Therefore the PostmasterGeneral’s reliance upon his striking memory to justify a fact is only another indication of his incompetence. That contracts with what he said when he was a private member of this Hou.se. He said then -
Whatever else the Postal Department mav be accused of being extravagant in, it cannot be accused of extravagance in the matter of wages that it pays its stuff. I have taken out some figures relating to the rewards that, are paid to various officers of the Postal Department and it is no wonder that there is a big turnover of staff … In response to an interjection he said, “ I say that there is no extravagence in regard to the wages paid to those faithful officers of the Postal Department who serve the public. I will not criticize them, nor will I tolerate criticism of them “.
I now refer to another matter which should be the concern of this Parliament. It is of very great importance, and should be approached in the proper spirit because it is difficult to deal with. It comes within the scope of the PostmasterGeneral’s Department. I shall not preach a sermon to this House, but that this is an important subject honorable members will agree after they have heard of it. The business of this House is not only to debate political and economic subjects, but also to safeguard and raise the moral tone of the community. The business of the Parliament can he divided into three sections, namely, the economic, the social and the moral. If any one can bring to the notice of honorable members anything which may help to raise the moral tone of the community, it is the right and duty of this Parliament seriously to consider it. During the course of last week I received this letter from a Presbyterian minister, who wishes to remain anonymous -
There is another matter to which I desire to draw your attention. Only to-day my wife gaveme this week’s copy of Woman and asked my opinion on the article by Dr. Wykeham Terriss entitled “ Surgical Sterilization “. After I had read it you may be sure that I gave my opinion in no uncertain terms. An article such as this undoubtedly is constitutes a deliberate attack on public morality and apparently is an open invitation to sexual perversion.I believe, Mr. Cremean, that similar articles appear regularly and are read with the keenest enjoyment by adolescent girls and boys. If such is the case cannot something be done by the Federal Parliament to curtail the pernicious activitiesof the miscreant who calls himself Terriss but who probably uses this as a nom de plume to hide his real name. I shall be interested to learn the result of your ventilation of this matter in the Federal Parliament.
To the letter was attached the issue of the 9th October, 1950, of a periodical known as Woman. The article referred to is headed - “ A doctor looks at life “, is entitled “ Surgical Sterilization “ and purports to quote a letter sent to this Wykeham Terriss by a lady who had signed it “Miss A.P.”. She asked for certain information. Her letter was as follows : -
Dear Dr. Terriss: I read your Woman article of July 4 dealing with an operation on the Fallopian tubes, to prevent pregnancy. My particular problem is: I am 43 years of age, and intending to be married soon, so you can readily understand, at my particular age, that I do not wish to have a family. I know one can use various methods of birth control, but those are not all successful. I have abstained completely from any sexual act. Could you please tell me if this particular operation is popular, if it is a minor operation, and if all doctors recommend it?
Yours truly, Miss A.B.
This Dr. Wykeham Terriss, whose history I shall relate to honorable member’s later, replied-
– The honorable member is giving him a cheap advertisement.
– Is not this the proper place in which to ventilate a matter of this kind? Why does not the Postmaster-General, who has the power to do so, prohibit the transmission of such publications through the post?
– Why does not the honorable member take up the matter privately with the Postmaster-General?
– I consider it to be my duty to ventilate it in this House. In reply to that letter Dr. Wykeham Terriss wrote as follows: -
This letter betrays a complete misapprehension of the issues involved. I have written so many times about sterilization of the female, by cutting and tying the Fallopian tubes, that regular readers would be bored or irritated if I described the operation in detail every time I mentioned it.
Then follows a long story giving various details of how the desired result is to be achieved. I shall not read that part of the article, but I direct the attention of honorable members to the concluding portion of it, which is as follows: -
Unfortunately, there are still many doctors who are unfamiliar with the method, since, at most medical schools, no instruction at all is given about contraceptive methods, and at the few where any instruction at all is given, it is quite inadequate. In England and America there are plenty of birth control clinics to which women may go for instruction, but that is notthe case in Australia. Even where birth control clinics exist, a woman who goes to one of them for advice and instruction may be lucky enough to find one of the regular staff who is experienced in contraceptive methods; but, if she is unlucky enough to be attended by a doctor who has only recently received training in contraception the attention she gets will not be so skilled.
I read that article because material of that kind is handed round among adolescent boys and girls and tends to form their minds in undesirable moulds. For that reason, I ask the PostmasterGeneral to give urgent consideration to my representations. Articles of this kind are a regular feature of the publication that I have mentioned,
I shall now give some details about this Dr. Wykeham Terriss. His real name is Norman Haire. He was the subject of a discussion in this House on two previous occasions after he had participated in a Forum of the Air session entitled “ Population Unlimited “ on the 23rd August, 1944. He then made the following remarks, from which I suggest we can gauge the mentality of this cur : -
I am the youngest of eleven children and I know, too, the disadvantages of being one of a too large family. I know, too, what- my poor mother had to endure for eighteen years . . .
At the age of 40 years she, who had been an exceptionally strong and healthy young woman, had through her excessive and uncontrolled fertility, become a devitalized, irritable, cantankerous and prematurely old woman.
That is how that gentleman spoke about his mother. Am I not entitled to direct the attention of honorable members to the nature of articles that he i9 now writing? So. foul did Smith’s Weekly consider the remarks that he had made in the course of the broadcast to which I have referred that it headed an article dealing with them -
Making the air unfit to breathe.
The air is unfit to breath when men like Terriss, or Haire. are allowed to broadcast rubbish of the kind that I have quoted and to publish it in widely read journals. Such matters should be the concern of the Parliament. They should not be dealt with surreptitiously, but should be brought into the broad light of day in order that every one may know what kind of a man Haire is. Further information about this individual was provided in an article that was published in a Sydney newspaper on the 2nd May, 1945, which stated that Haire, who described himself as a specialist in “sexology”, was fined £5 with £10 costs at the Central Summons Court for having assaulted Mrs. Olga MacKenzie.. In the course of his defence on that occasion he admitted that he was Dr. Wykeham Terriss. the author of articles of the kind that I have read. If the Parliament is to assist in the maintenance of decent moral standards in the community, the Australian Government, or State governments, must take appropriate action to restrain men of the character of Wykeham Terriss from promulgating their filth.
– Order ! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- I was interested to hear the honorable member for Hoddle (Mr. Cremean) state that it was the responsibility of honorable members to safeguard the morals of the community. I doubt whether he has made any contribution towards that end by dealing with the matter that he raised in the manner that he adopted. I suggest rather that by airing such matter in public in that way he gave the individual whom he attacked a cheap advertisement. I am sure that as the result of the honorable member’s remarks the circulation of the publication concerned and the number of letters that will be written to that contributor will immediately increase substantially, for the same reason as the banning of a book immediately increases the demand for it. However, I agree with the honorable member that the Parliament has the duty of improving, if possible, the moral tone of the community.
Honorable members have the duty of educating and enlightening the public. For that reason we should always be very careful not to indulge in misrepresentation in the course of remarks that we make in this House. We should be certain that figures that we may cite shall not be misleading. Of course, an honorable member may make an honest mistake even when he is stating what he believes to be- facte. However, the honorable member for Hoddle was guilty of gross and deliberate misrepresentation when, relying upon a cutting from a newspaper as his authority, he misinterpreted a statement that was made by the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. Holt) with respect to the number of employees in the Public Service.
– Did not the Minister make that statement?
– The Minister mentioned the figure of 661,000 employees, but the honorable member for Hoddle endeavoured to lead us to believe that that was the number of employees in the Public Service, whereas it is the total number of public servants employed by the Australian and State governments. The honorable member could have ascertained that fact, if he was not aware of it, by reference to the figures published by the Commonwealth Statistician, Dr. Roland Wilson. Those figures also reveal that the number ‘ of Commonwealth public servants has actually decreased.
– He is pulling the honorable member’s leg.
– If that be so, he is pulling the legs of all honorable members and deceiving the people; but, of course, that is not the case. The official statistics show that the number of Commonwealth male employees decreased in June last by 1,200 and in the following mouth by 900. If honorable members opposite wish the House to believe that they are sincere when they speak about the responsibility of the Parliament to maintain a decent moral tone in the community, it is about time they ceased to misrepresent facts, purely for party political purposes, in the way that the honorable member for Hoddle has done. Of the total figure of 661,000 public servants throughout Australia, only 155,400 males are employed by the Australian Government, the remainder being employed by State governments, semi-governmental bodies and local government authorities. The honorable member for Hoddle had the temerity to suggest that the honorable member for Canning (Mr. Hamilton) was literally a liar when that honorable member cited certain official statistics.
Honorable members opposite have misrepresented the facts with respect to housing since the present Government assumed office. The official statistics show that during the quarter ended the 31st December last, for a portion of which period the previous Government was in office, the construction of 17,348 houses was commenced, whereas during the quarter ended the 31st March last, which included the close-down period of three weeks at Christmas, the construction of 17,405 houses was commenced. That figure discloses an increase during the broken period. The total number commenced during the June quarter of 1950 was 18,368. The numbers of houses actually completed during the respectivequarters were 15,219, 12,169 and 14,873. The smallest figure, of course, reflects the effect of the broken working period. The number of houses under construction during the first of the three quarters that I have mentioned was 56,759. By the end of the next quarter the total had increased to 61,999. The new Government was really in its stride by the June quarter of 1950 and, notwithstanding the fact that it had been prevented from eliminatinghindrances to production, the total number of houses under construction increased then to 65,508. Those statistics give the lie to the Opposition propaganda to the effect that the Government has done nothing to improve the housing situation. They constitute the perfect answer to the charge.
My examination of the bill has indicated to me that there is probably a great deal of overlapping between various departments. The Government appointed a committee to examine the organization of the Public Service with the object of providing greater efficiency at a lower cost to the people. The figures that I have already cited show that it has enjoyed a considerable measure of success. Nevertheless I consider that there is still room for improvement and I hope that the committee is continuing its work. The duties of the various departments should be more clearly defined in order to prevent overlapping. It is extremely difficult for us to express definite opinions on finance based on recent governmental activities unless we are in possession of the Auditor-General’s annual report. Unfortunately, the practice has been to present the AuditorGeneral’s report each year after the Parliament has considered the budget. The same practice is followed in the States. That procedure is morally and legally wrong. How can the Parliament express a considered opinion on the budget unless it is fortified by the report of the AuditorGeneral and his comments upon the conduct of business during the preceding financial year? This is a matter that affects all governments, and I bring it to the attention of this Government because 1 believe that we have some hope of getting co-operation from it.
– It has not changed the practice yet.
– Of course not. It has not yet had the opportunity to do so. I suggest that the Treasurer (Mr. Fadden) should ask the Auditor-General to expedite the preparation of his annual report so that it may be available to honorable members while the budget is under consideration.
The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Chifley) talked about the financial nestegg that the Labour Government had bequeathed to this Government. The truth is that the Chifley Government left a nest-egg of dishonest finance to its successor, a perfect example of the misuse of trust moneys.
M r. Davies. - That is wrong.
– I know that it is true. For example, the Leader of the Opposition said that the Labour Government had set aside £37,000,000 of the £67,000,000 that must be found for war gratuity payments in 1951.
– Hear, hear!
– -Where the heck is it?
– Invested !
– Yes, invested in petty cash ! It has gone. The money was used to redeem treasury-bills. The Chifley Government made use of that fund when it should have raised loans or drawn upon revenue instead. It had no right to use trust money in that way. Any private individual who adopted the same method of finance would soon find himself in trouble. What would happen to a lawyer who appropriated money handed to him to be placed in trust and afterwards told the rightful owner, “I have invested it in my business”? He would be liable to drastic penalties. Yet that is the sort of procedure that was followed by the Chifley Government! The nest-egg of which the Leader of the Opposition boasts does not exist. Certainly there is a credit entry on the books, but the money is not there. The mae fate befell the £130,000,000 of the National Welfare Fund. I agree that the Chifley Government reduced the nation’s treasury-bill indebtedness, but it did so by using funds that should have been left intact. It redeemed treasury-bills with war gratuity money, national welfare money, and other trust moneys. It used those funds in order to pay the ordinary accounts of government, wrote credit entries in the books, and then told the people, “ The money is invested. It is waiting to be used “. The result is that this Government is now faced with the task of finding £67,000,000 for war gratuity payments and, if it were called upon to do so, it would be required also to produce the whole of the £130,000,000 that is supposed to be in the National Welfare Fund but is not there. There has been a grave misuse of trust moneys. The Chifley Government set aside all the standards of conduct that the ordinary man applies to the handling of trust funds and frittered away as petty cash the so-called nest-egg of which the Leader of the Opposition has spoken. Having disposed of the money, it merely made a credit entry in the books. This Government now has the responsibility of finding funds to replace it.
The Leader of the Opposition also spoke of incentive payments and increased production. In an attempt to bolster his argument, he asked what would be gained if engine-drivers increased the travelling speed of the Melbourne to Albury express. That was a ridiculous illustration. It was a silly line of argument for a man who has been Prime Minister of Australia to advance. The right honorable gentleman completely ignored the fact that we need to increase production in our basic industries. The Melbourne to Albury express could probably travel faster if it used more coal. We need more coal. If the speed of the train were increased by that means, fares and freight charges could be reduced, with the result that the cost of goods over the counter would fall as well. We need more coal and more steel than is being produced and we need more efficient transport.
– What is the honorable member going to do about it?
– The important question is: What is the honorable member for Cunningham (Mr. Davies) going to do to help me to persuade the people who are producing coal and steel to increase their rate of production? I invite the honorable member to come with me and plead with them if necessary. Let us talk to them about the profit motive, that parrot cry of the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron). Is not the honorable member for Hindmarsh actuated by the profit motive ?
– Of course he is ! Every individual in the community is actuated by the profit motive. The man on the basic wage, the man on a wage margin, the man in business for himself, and the man receiving a huge salary are all actuated by a desire to secure in return for their services a remuneration that will provide them with a surplus of money over their living costs. They want the extra money in order to purchase luxury or additional comfort and in order to provide security for the future. If they lacked the profit motive, they would never get anywhere and would be satisfied with a bare existence. Everybody is actuated by the profit motive because he wants to enjoy something better in life than a mere livelihood. The trouble with our economy to-day is that too many people are greedily seeking too great a reward for their services. I am speaking, not of the fellow who gains his profit from the goods that he sells, but of the fellow who gains his profit from the service that he gives. That man is not giving fair service.
– Whom does, the honorable member mean ?
– I mean every man who is not pulling his weight and giving service equal in .value to the money that he receives.
Members of the Opposition have had something to say about the £103,000,000 that will provide for the pre-payment of income tax for wool-growers. The attack was led by the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley), who suggested that the scheme would not modify the effect of the inflationary spiral but would merely transfer £103,000,000 from the pockets of the wool-growers to the coffers of the Government so that the Government, instead of the wool-growers, would spend the money. The honorable member was merely voicing an opinion that was expressed in Western Australia by a professor of economics whose error I had the pleasure of explaining to him. These economic theorists do not get down to tintacks. They do not know the facts. For instance, the professor and the honorable member for Fremantle did not take into account the fact that the Government would have to find £103,000,000 elsewhere if it did not get it from the wool-growers and would thus add to the inflationary spiral. There is some excuse for the professor’s oversight. The honorable member for Fremantle may have been aware of the fact but, if so, he did not admit to the knowledge. If the Government had to find £103,000,000 from another source, the result would be that a total of £206,000,000 would be thrown into the nation’s spending pool. The Government is committed to certain definite nonrecurring expenditure this year. War gratuity payments will amount to £67,000.000, ‘ and the nest-egg of £37.000.000 of which the Labour party boasts does not exist. Therefore, the Government would have to borrow the money or tax the people more heavily. I am not arguing the merits or demerits of the wool prepayment plan, but I am analysing the fallacious idea that the Government proposes merely to transfer a certain sum from one source of expenditure to another. The Government will expend that amount of money, but its proposal will obviate the necessity to find another amount of £103,000,000 in this financial year.
– Does not the honorable member consider that the wool-growers are able to expend their own money to better advantage than the Government can expend it?
– The answer to the interjection by the honorable member for Eden-Monaro (Mr. Fraser) is/ simple. The prices of the materials that the woolgrowers require are inflated at present because of lack of productive effort on the part of supporters of the Labour party. They are not producing the quantum per man-hour that they should produce, and their indifference in that respect is causing the inflation of prices. The Government will be doing the wool-growers and any other section of the community in similar circumstances a favour if it says to them, “ Do not expend your money on. materials at the inflated prices for which the unproductive efforts of supporters of the Labour party are responsible. Wait until prices are more reasonable “. I, personally, favour a compulsory national savings tax to assist our economic position.
I deplore the statement by the Leader of the Opposition that there is a limit to which a government can go in allocating money for defence purposes. I invite the right honorable gentleman to inform the House of his opinion of what that limit is.
– The Leader of the Opposition is right.
– Is the Leader of the Opposition, the honorable member for Cunningham and any other member of the Opposition prepared to put a price on Australia’s liberty? If they are, will they state what that price shall be? I suggest that the statement by the Leader of the Opposition is tantamount to saying, “ There is a limit to which I shall defend my honour, my wife’s -honour and the honour of my family “. The right honorable gentleman says, in effect, “ I shall put up my hands so high, but no higher “. Such a statement by a man who has held the responsible position of Prime Minister is shocking at this time. Another man said on another occasion, “Not a man, not a shilling for defence “. The Leader of the Opposition did not repeat that remark, but he said that there was a limit to which a government could go in allocating money for defence purposes. I disagree with that opinion. I believe that there is no limit in that respect. Those of my confreres and I who were in Tobruk did not say, “ There is a limit to which we shall go in making a sacrifice. We shall give a toe, but not a leg “. That attitude would be just as reasonable as was the statement of the Leader of the Opposition. We cannot count the price of safeguarding Australia’s welfare and liberty. Opposition members may be prepared to put a price on preserving the liberty of their own families, but I say that no price is too high to pay for the maintenance of our freedom.
I emphasize the need for urgency in undertaking defence works, and I suggest that the Government should call a conference of defence chiefs and of State developmental authorities with a view to making a list of major defence works that could also contribute to the development of our national economy. I refer particularly to road-making. There is a dire necessity for action in that respect in Western Australia, and especially to that part of the State that is north of Perth. There is at present an agitation for the construction of a coastal road through this area. I do not know whether that project would be wise from a defence standpoint, but I emphasize the urgent need for lateral roads. For a distance of 200 miles north of Perth, there is not a first-class lateral road that i? capable of carrying heavy traffic. A conference between defence authorities and local authorities in Western Australia should be able to reach an agreement on the most suitable routes for strategic and national developmental purposes. Should such plans be made, the Treasurer should carefully supervise the allocation of money under the Commonwealth Aid Beads and Works Agreement to the State governments. The local authorities in all the States complain that they are not getting a fair deal from the respective State governments, which, it is alleged, are expending money unwisely, whilst the cost of their works is excessive. A. series of conferences between the defence authorities and local governing bodies in each State should be able to agree upon the routes of strategic roads that are urgently, required in various parts of the Commonwealth. We should be able to feel confident that we are well equipped to resist any danger that may confront us in future, and the advantage will be twofold if works for the purposes of defence can also make a contribution to our national development.
-Order! The honorable member has exhausted his time.
Mr. W. M. BOURKE (Fawkner) [9.371– The Supply Bm (No- 2) 1950-51 provides for the expenditure of an amount of £61,189,000 to meet various commitments of the Commonwealth during the current financial year. Actually, this bill is a part of the budget that provides for an expenditure of £738,700,000 for the services of the Commonwealth and makes provision for revenue of £738,700,000. I feel that, when we are considering those vast sums of money in this cloistered seclusion of Canberra, there is a danger that we may adopt an unrealistic approach. In this rather delightful place, and sitting in this air-conditioned chamber, we are apt to get away from the realities of life, and to forget that the really important consideration in our discussion of this proposed expenditure is how our deliberations affect the ordinary men and women who live in the suburbs of Melbourne or of Sydney, or in the country, in their efforts to balance their family budgets. Perhaps some of the speeches that we have heard in this debate have furthered that air of unreality, and distracted our attention from what should he the true basis of our discussions.
This afternoon, the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth), who is a man of great ability and knowledge, made a disgraceful speech. He should have dealt with matters of urgent national importance, but he indulged in vicious character assassination, and a smear campaign, which are the usual technique of the Communists, whom he professes to dislike. He disgraced the Parliament by devoting all his time to violent personal attacks upon members of the Labour party. I suggest that we should concentrate our attention on one question, namely, how do our decisions affect the ordinary people, the small people in the community? As one writer has rather graphically described the position, our £1 is bleeding to death. Our money is losing its value, and it is necessary that we effect some Wood transfusions into the Australian £1 so that, if we cannot restore its purchasing power, at least we shall prevent it from drifting any further, and prevent a further increase of prices, and a decrease of our standard of living. The person who is most vitally affected in this matter is the average housewife. After all, it is she who has to try to balance her budget every week, and to stretch her weekly housekeep ing allowance in order to make it buy the necessaries of life. It is an unfortunate but an undeniable fact that our womenfolk are showing the strain of the economic position, of trying to save a little money by buying here and there in order to make ends meet. As a result of that continual battle, their health is suffering, and they are showing signs of worry and of strain.
One of the most alarming developments that has resulted from the inflationary spiral in this country is that many mothers of young families are being forced to go to work, not because they wish to do so,but because of sheer necessity in order that they may bring a little more money into the household with which to purchase the necessaries of life for their children. Whilst they are so engaged, their children are neglected to some degree. I have spoken to school teachers in my electorate about this matter, and they say that the number of mothers of young families who go to work is really astonishing. The children are left to care for themselves, and that factor alone is laying the foundation of social problems, which are directly attributable to the fact that the Australian £1 isbleeding to death and that the Government is taking no action to restore its purchasing power, and remove those causes that are affecting the health of our womenfolk. What is the Government doing about this disastrous problem? The honorable member for Lowe (Mr. McMahon) said, “ The Menzies Government has taken strong measures to stabilize our economy”. That statement was both definite and emphatic, but the honorable member omitted to tell us what those strong measures were.
Opposition members have been waiting with keen interest for an explanation of the measures that the Government proposes to take to restore value to the £1. The Government has been in office for nearly twelve months, during which time there has been much talk, eloquent speeches have been made, and many conferences have been held, but no action has been taken. Perhaps I should admit that a little action was evident about the time the House re-assembled, a few weeks ago, when there were meetings of the Cabinet, party meetings and consultations with experts, because the revaluation of the £1 was being considered. It is well known that the majority of the members of the Liberal party were in favour of revaluation and of the abolition of that artificial exchange rate whereby £1.25 Australian is worth only £100 sterling. However, the majority of the members of the Liberal party were prevented from giving effect to their views on revaluation by the veto that was exercised by members of the Australian Country party. The honorable member for Lowe said that there were no democratic processes in the Labour party. Yet we have witnessed the amazing spectacle of the coalition government considering a matter of vital importance to the country, the majority of its supporters being in favour of revaluation, and the minority exercising its veto power, thereby preventing the Government from taking that action. Yet they are the people who complain of the alleged lack of observance of democratic processes by members of the Opposition.
A great deal has been said in this debate about production. After all, the only positive suggestion made by honorable members opposite to relieve the present inflationary pressure and to restore value to the £1 has been to increase production. They all say that we should produce more, and they piously exhort the workers to increase production. However, in the United States of America, which is the home of mass production and “speed-up” methods the inflationary spiral is galloping out of hand, notwithstanding that that country has what is probably the highest production in the world to-day. The solution of our economic ills requires more than an increase of production. The cure of inflation does not depend merely upon increasing production or of getting rid of the Communists. The real causes of inflation lie deeper than that. Whilst I do not subscribe to the point of view that there should be continual warfare between employers and employees, I am driven to the conclusion that there cannot be any real and effective co-operation between them until the employers display a new approach to industrial relationships. .1 believe in the private ownership of property and I do not believe that the State should attempt to take over industries, except public utilities or monopolies which are exploiting the community. However, if thu system of private ownership is to function in the interests of the people, the worker must not be regarded any longer as a mere cog in the machine, whose sole duty is to do what he is told, without having any responsibility other than to perform his task. In my opinion the present system, which precludes the employee from taking any responsibility for the management of industry, has a great deal to do with the unsatisfactory state of our industrial relationships. We need a new approach to the problems of industry, and we require from employers an expression of their willingness to enter into co-partnership with their employees so that their employees may have a voice in the conduct of industry. That principle of co-partnership should include a sharing of the profits between employers and employees. When that is achieved, honorable members opposite may appeal with confidence for greater production because such an appeal would then have a basis of reality and sincerity. Undoubtedly we need more production in order to check the current inflationary spiral, and I agree with the president of the Australian Council of Trades Unions, Mr. Monk, that we should produce more. However, as I have already said, greater production requires a new approach to industry, and we need some system of co-partnership and profit sharing.
I pass now to another matter that is seriously aggravating the current inflationary spiral. I refer to the fantastically high prices that are being paid for our wool. This year, Australia’s wool cheque is expected to approximate £500,000,000. Last year it amounted to £300j000,000, which was regarded as amazing, because that sum was six times higher than the national wool cheque in .any pre-war year. However, this year an additional £200,000,000 will be placed in the hands of the wool-growers. Through them, it will find its way into circulation, and will undoubtedly aggravate very seriously the present inflation. It is imperative that we deal now with this problem, which should be considered, in my opinion, from three aspects. In the first place, we must dispose of the extra purchasing power by freezing it in some way. Secondly, we must take effective action to ensure that the price of manufactured woollen goods in. this country shall not soar beyond the reach of the people. Thirdly, the problem should be attacked, not from the sectional angle of imposing some unfair or discriminatory tax upon the woolgrowers, but on some principle that will safeguard our economy while doing justice to them. I think that the plan propounded by Professor Copland is unsound. He suggested that the woolgrowers should be subjected to a special sectional tax of 33-J per cent, on their income. Whilst the imposition of such a tax would undoubtedly drain off onethird of the surplus money coming into the country from the sale of wool, it would discriminate most unfairly against one section of the community. Why did not Professor Copland include in his proposal all persons who are making excessive profits? I have in mind particularly the huge profits made by the distributors of motor cars. In the last fortnight I have noticed the balancesheets of two motor car distributing firms, which show that they are paying dividends of 110 per cent, and 60 per cent, respectively. Those dividends indicate that the firms have scandalously exploited the people. Why should such profiteers go scot-free whilst the woolgrowers are to be taxed so heavily ?
– The excess profits tax will take care of the profiteers.
– We shall be most interested to hear the details of the excess profits tax.
-Order! I will not permit the honorable member to make more than a general reference to the excess profits tax during this debate.
– What was the capital of each of the companies which paid such a high dividend?
– I have not the details with me. Undoubtedly the firms concerned cooked up their balance-sheets ; but, even after watering down their profits, they still paid those extraordinary dividends of 110 per cent, and 60 per cent.
– The capital of the companies concerned might have been very small, so that the percentage of the dividend may not be a fair indication of the profits that they actually made.
– I can assure the honorable member that his supposition is not correct. I have been forbidden by the ruling of Mr. Deputy Speaker to discuss the details of the proposed excess profits tax, therefore I shall make only one further comment on the manner in which I suggest the huge additional income from our wool should be- disposed of. There is a precedent for the suggestion that I am about to make in the action taken by the Government at the beginning of the recent war in respect of the surplus funds of the trading banks. At the beginning of the war the trading banks had huge surplus deposits, and the Government considered that if that money were permitted to be circulated by the banks it would cause serious inflation. It therefore froze the surplus funds of the trading banks by ordering them to deposit those funds in the Commonwealth Bank. A low rate of interest was paid on them, and the trading banks now have deposits of £451,200,000 in the special accounts that were established for that purpose. It appears to me that similar action might be taken in respect of the surplus income received by the wool-growers. The money could be frozen in trust accounts, and so be prevented from going into circulation. That procedure would have the additional merit that it would not involve any unfair treatment of the wool-growers.
The second problem raised by the high price of- wool is concerned with the effect which that will have upon the local selling price of woollen goods. Months ago I asked the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture (Mr. McEwen) whether he was prepared to recommend to the Government that a reasonable price should be fixed for the sale of wool in this country. I had in mind that wool intended for home consumption should be sold to the trade at 24d. per lb. instead of at the prevailing price of 63d. per lb. However, the Minister rejected my proposal contemptuously, and said that the Government would not consider it. . It is interesting to recall that similar schemes to regulate the home consumption price of certain products have already been operating in Australia for some time. For example, although lead and zinc are sold on the overseas market for £160 and £180 a ton respectively, they are sold on the home market for £65 a ton. A similar scheme operates in respect of wheat and other primary produce. Why, then, should not a similar scheme to regulate the home consumption price of wool be introduced? If no action is taken to regulate the home consumption price of wool the effect upon the present high cost of living will be most serious. I suggest that the wool-growers should adopt a national outlook in this matter, and should undertake voluntarily to make available for home consumption sufficient wool to meet our annual requirements for, say, 24d. per lb. on this basis. An amount of £20,000,000 a year would be sufficient to finance a scheme for a home consumption price for wool.
I turn now to the position of the manufacturing industries in Australia. Our manufacturing industries have been built up under a system of protection. I am a firm believer in that system, which has, in my opinion, been responsible for the extraordinary development of our secondary industries and for the exploitation of the national resources of Australia, and I consider that a continuance of that policy is essential to the prosperity of Australia. However, it cannot be denied that any system of protection is open to serious abuses. The protection can be excessive, and the effect of excessive protection is to force up the cost of manufactured goods to unjustifiable levels, thus adding to our inflationary troubles. I shall quote from page 6 of the annual report of the Tariff Board for the year ended the 30th June, 1950, which states -
The report continues -
The board has encountered circumstances which suggest that, whilst the profit element in price is not unreasonable, cost elements have not been under effective control, and prices based on those costs have been unduly high.
That statement of the. Tariff Board shows that there have been certain abuses of the protection system, and that as a result, costs and prices have become too high. The board suggests that in order to obviate those abuses it should make a sampling of the trading results of protected industries to enable some sort of periodical review to be made. I suggest to honorable members that it is very necessary that there should be some system of regular review of the operations of protected industries in this country, so that the community can be protected against exploitation through any of these industries taking undue advantage of the protection that this country has gladly and willingly afforded to them, but not for the purpose of exploiting the community or of taking undue advantage of the tariff barriers. We have to be on our guard to ensure that, through the operation of our protection policy, we shall not allow great monopolies to develop here and exploit the public ruthlessly. In my opinion insufficient attention has been given by this Parliament to the development of monopolies in Australia. We have rapacious monopolies in this country, one of which I shall mention by name. I refer to Australian Consolidated Industries. Those monopolies have been developed under our protection system, and have taken advantage of tariff barriers in order not merely to develop legitimately the industry in which they are engaged but also to establish themselves in a position of monopoly so that they can eliminate all competition and, having reached that stage, they proceed ruthlessly to exploit the community. There is no doubt that the firm that I have mentioned was entitled to protection, because it was very important that we should have a glass manufacturing industry in this country. That industry, however, is now in a state of monopoly. It has used the most ruthless and unsavoury methods to develop that monopoly.
The housewives of this country do not realize how much tribute they pay into the coffers of that monopoly. Every time a housewife buys a bottle of milk or a jar of honey or tomato sauce, she pays tribute to the glass monopoly. If she were to ask her milkman how much he has to pay each week for milk bottles she would learn how much comes out of her housekeeping money to swell .the profits of the monopoly. It seems to me that in the past the motto of this Parliament has been “ Bust no trusts “. I suggest that we change that motto to “ We shall bust those trusts “. I hope that in the course of the session we shall hear more of these monopolies and shall have an opportunity to examine their ramifications and the manner in which, as well as the methods by which, they have been exploiting the people by forcing up the prices of essential commodities in a matter so concealed that the people do not realize what is happening. If we can tackle those problems we shall be making a contribution towards improving the standards of living of the people, by reducing prices and costs.
Before I conclude I should like to make just one comment upon another factor which is contributing to the inflationary spiral. We have the evil of monopolies on the one hand, and on the other hand we have an evil that is closely associated with monopolies - the twin evil of communism. There is no doubt that the policy of the leaders of the Communist party in this country has been to sabotage industry and production so as to force up prices and to increase the inflationary spiral so that the standards of living of the workers will be depressed to a point at which the revolutionary situation that the Communists aim at will be reached. They hope, thereby, to be able to seize power in this country. There are methods whereby the menace of communism can bo dealt with effectively. I do not believe that the methods adopted by the Government will achieve success. The Communist Party Dissolution Bill about which we have heard so much will not make much of a contribution to a solution of the problem of communism. But there are methods which I hope that we shall be able to develop later, whereby we can deal with those twin evils that are
Sir. TV. St. Bourke. the curse of the community - monopolies on the one hand and communism on the other. If we can get rid of those two evils we shall be on the road to making Australia a real democracy, not only in the political sense but also in the economic sense, so that we shall be able to raise standards of living to the level which every one in this country is entitled to enjoy.
.- During this debate a number of different aspects of the present position have been discussed, but let us get down to some hard facts. On the 20th December last, ten days after the general election, the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) made his first radio broadcast to the people as their political leader. During his speech he made the following statement: -
We hope to attack our tasks boldly. The greatest of them all, I am sure you will agree with me, will bc to arrest the present alarming rise in costs and prices and so put value back into the money that you earn and spend.
Those last few words bear repetition. They are - and so put value back into the money that you earn and spend.
He continued -
We have just had an election in which we have been given your votes, and therefore entrusted with your confidence.
How he has betrayed that confidence ! What has he done to carry out the tasks that he said he would attack boldly? What has he done to put value back into “the £1? First, in his vanity and selfassurance, he thought, having gained the confidence of the people, that he would set about lecturing those same people. So he preached up and down the country. He went on the air and launched a series of lectures on what the people should do. He said that they should do this and they should do that. But he said nothing about what he should do in the way of attacking boldly the task of putting value back into the £1. He just carried on the policy of deceit, untruth and inaccuracies that he subscribes to in common with all hi? colleagues. He and those colleagues have done nothing but attack organized trade unionism, thus insulting the real and only producers of this country. What has the purchasing power of the £1 amounted to since the Prime Minister made hia series of broadcasts soon after he was elected to office? It has almost vanished. In the confusion, the right honorable gentleman attempted, as cunningly as usual - the Prime Minister is very cunning - to raise a smokescreen to obscure the real issue that facet! the country. He thinks that by doing so he can delude the people again, but he has forgotten that the housewife has to go shopping every day, and that day by day she has found that his promises are, after all, like the promises that he and members of his party have made in the past - empty, hollow and valueless. Already one of his high-ranking Ministers, the Minister for National Development (Mr. Casey) is alarmed about the position. In fact he is so alarmed that he made a broadcast in which he called a halt to the deception practised by the Prime Minister and, in effect, told him to get back to the policy that he had preached on the hustings prior to the general election. He said -
Inflation is our No. 1 problem. Defence, even, is only secondary.
What an alarming statement for him to make! Defence is only secondary to inflation! That shows what the Minister for National Development thinks of the inflationary spiral that threatens to engulf Australia. On top of that, we had another high-ranking Minister, the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. Holt) making a remarkable statement to the press. He said -
We are the victims of our own pre-election propaganda.
That statement should be enough to make all members of the Liberal-Australian Country party coalition Government hide their heads in shame. What an admission to make to the people of Australia! A bald admission of failure! But the Government attempted to cover that up by starting to appeal to the people of Australia so as to induce them to produce more. It said, “ Co-operate with us. Help us out of our difficulty “. That shows in no uncertain way .that the Government is slowly disintegrating. I noticed to-day that one of the members of the Australian Country party in this House, disgusted with the actions of his own party in not carrying out ite pre-election pledges, is seated away from the colleagues beside whom he fought the general election in which those pledges were made to the country people. I refer to the honorable member for Maranoa (Mr. Charles Russell ). who has had the courage - the Australian Country party has always lacked political courage and it has always been the tail that has wagged the dog - to resign from his party.
– He is only the first to go.
– One significant feature of this debate is the emergence of a bad habit that will destroy the Government eventually. I refer to the preaching of class hatred.
– The honorable member is the high priest of class hatred.
– Government supporters are preaching hatred of the very people to whom they are appealing for help in their difficulties. Did they hear any class hatred preached during the war years, when the trade union movement developed itself into an unassailable position? But what do we find now?
– An Australian Country party-Liberal party Government.
– They are using evil tactics to split the trade union movement assunder, but they are doomed to failure because the trade union movement to-day is the dominating factor in our economic life. It could not be in better hands. They are trying to split the trade union movement by making allegations against Albert Monk and against Jack Ferguson, whose boots members of the Government parties are not fit to wipe. Jack Ferguson is a great Australian who thinks and acts in the interests of Australia. I am proud to think that I served under the leadership of two such great Australians as Ben Chifley and Jack Ferguson.
The miners have been specially singled out by the Government parties as the object of spite and venom. “ The miners will not produce”, says the honorable member for Lowe (Mr. McMahon). Under-productions of coal is one of our major problems. If, instead of preaching the class hatred in which he is so immersed, the honorable member for Lowe would examine the report of the Commonwealth Bank he would see what it says about production in the mines. Despite losses of production during the strike in June and August of 1949 the annual output of black and brown coal for 1949-50 was at the same level as was reached in 1948-49. However, our population is expanding and so are our industries. Industrial expansion has been remarkable during the last ten years under the able guidance of the gentleman who is now Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Chifley), so that the pressure of demand has been so intensified that the supplies of fuel and power are still far from adequate for the needs of the community. The report of the Commonwealth Bank goes on to state that the output of iron and steel, which rose steadily after the war until it had exceeded the pre-war level, again under the leadership of the right honorable member for Macquarie, but which fell below that level in 1948-49, rose again this year. So much for the venom and spite that honorable members opposite have hurled against the good members of the community, the miners who go into the pits never knowing whether they are going to come up again and who work under the most disgusting conditions possible.
– Has the honorable member ever been down a mine?
– The Minister for Labour has never been down a mine in his life.
– I have been down more mines than has the honorable member. He should not talk such nonsense.
– If the Minister knew anything about mines he would do something to alleviate the conditions under which the miners work. Many of those men live in shacks on a hillside. Instead of criticizing the efforts of the Labour Government, honorable members opposite would do something for the miners if they knew of their conditions. The only hope for coal production is State ownership. I hope that, in the near future, coal mines will be taken from the coal barons and handed back to the people to whom they belong.
The waterside workers have also been criticized by the Minister for Labour and National Service for their slow turnround of ships. As usual, fools rush in where angels fear to tread. The Minister would not, of course, go to his masters, the shipowners, and ask them what equipment they have on the wharfs and how long it takes them to shift cargo from their unloaded ships which they store in the sheds on the wharfs so as to evade the cost of storing them in bond. That is the reason why ships are anchored in midstream and can be brought to the wharfs only at intervals. Modern equipment such as fork lifts can alleviate the heavy conditions of the waterside worker. Let the Minister inspect the wharfs in Sydney and other places and he may be able to do his job in a fit and proper manner. The Minister for Labour and National Service is prepared to take notice of those advisers. How happy is the Government to get a team of experts and professors who would not know their way on to a wharf unless they went in a taxi-cab! The ship-owner cracks the whip and when he talks the Liberal party pales into insignificance and goes back into its shell, otherwise no finance would be provided for the next general election. “ What is to blame,” the Minister for Labour and National Service asks, “for this lack of production? The 40-hour week ! “ Listen to this, workers of Australia! The Government wants to take from you the 40-hour week, holiday pay and sick leave - your hard-won conditions which have been made possible over the years only by Labour governments. This Government would make a man work even when he was sick. That is what it thinks of the average worker. I have seen sick men come to work for the simple reason that they could not afford to stay at home. That happened years ago when there was no provision for sick leave in awards. By means of determination and organization, sick leave came to be inserted in awards. The report of the Commonwealth Bank says -
Higher levels continue to be reached in production, employment, building and construction and other investment as well as in overseas trade and in incomes generally. The full development of the economy, however, is still being impeded by shortages of labour, capital equipment and some basic materials.
Of course, the Minister for Labour and National Service has not had much experience in connexion with labour, because he has not worked among the men as I have and seen their sufferings and struggles, which have continued until they have come to be the dominating factor in Australian life. They are not going to be bludgeoned! The trade union movement will not be bludgeoned into co-operating with an anti-Labour government. The only solution of the problem of putting value back into the £1 is to return a Labour government. Co-operation will then be given freely as it was in wartime when the workers sacrificed their hard-won conditions and allowed themselves to be conscripted. The trade union movement allowed itself to be conscripted in war-time and thus demonstrated the patriotic spirit that exists only in the working class. Honorable members opposite know that the trade union movement would co-operate freely with a Labour government. That is why they are trying to split the movement and obtain the support of sections of it. Fortunately the trade unions are wide awake and the people have realized that their legs are being pulled. I understand the uneasiness of honorable members opposite. This is their first stay in Canberra and it will be their last. Let them make the best of it because there is nothing surer than that, at the next general election, there will be a landslide and Ministers who are grinning now will bite the dust. Honorable members opposite can see the writing on the wall, otherwise they would not whine about cooperation. Why do we not co-operate? Why do we not help this Government, the members of which stood on the platform before the last general election, backed by millions of pounds supplied by the banks and other exploiters of the people, such as the food racketeers and the black marketeers. It has not the ability to handle the situation. A minister of religion, the Reverend G. R. van Eerde, of the South Sydney Methodist Mission, has been reported as follows in the Sydney Daily Mirror of the 14th August: -
Around the Mission alone I have seen scores of children with malnutrition sores. In the past few months irreparable harm has been done to children. Their constitution has been undermined because their parents can only afford to give them bread and sausage or jam. The plight of old-age pensioners was probably the worst of all, he said. A large number had died as a direct result of starvation.
I think that we would rather accept the word of the reverend minister who said that than the statements of honorable members opposite.
– That is a deliberate lie:
– The honorable member’s interjection is very offensive to the religious section of the community. Miss Molly Baker, chief dietition at the Sydney Hospital, was reported, in the Sydney Sun of the 3rd August, as having said -
A housewife must spend a minimum of 25s. a week on food for each member of the family, if they are to be normally healthy.
She said also that this - sum does not take into account, luxuries such as biscuits, bacon, sugar, jam, bread, tea and coffee. I ask honorable members : are they luxuries? Is that the state into which this great country has fallen through the incompetence and ineptitude of the Government? Honorable members on the Government side can laugh; the company directors, bank managers, solicitors who hang on to the coat-tails of the bank managers, the stock and station agents and all the rest of them can laugh, but what I am saying is the truth. All those gentlemen on the Government side did not laugh on the day of our last general election when at the bidding of the bankers they were only too eager to swallow their pride and hand out howtovote cards. The whip was cracked by the bankers and they had to obey. They knew that they would fall from their high positions if the banks went down. The banks wanted to remain in their position on top, irrespective of the feelings of their employees. One solicitor that I have in mind went to his brother, a manager of the commercial bank, and craved selection for what he thought was a certain Liberal seat. Such gentlemen will do anything for selection.
The methods of selection adopted by the Australian Labour party have been criticized in this House. The Labour party is accused of obeying a junta. The Labour party organization in a State, such as New South Wales for instance, consists of this socalled junta that is composed of delegates from all the trade unions. All the electorate branches send their delegates to the annual conference and each State conference selects two delegates to the federal executive. The delegates from all the States of Australia assemble in the federal executive, which is the supreme body of the Labour party. I am proud to say that we all obey unhesitatingly the decisions of our executive because that is how the Labour movement continues to be a strong and vigorous movement. Moreover, the Labour party never changes its name. For the 60 years that have elapsed since its formation it has remained the Labour party. Within that period I can remember the anti-Labour parties changing their names on fifteen different occasions. They have called themselves the Liberal party, the United Australia party, All for Australia party, the Protection Party, and so on. But they have remained throughout the exploiters of the people. Of course, they have their “stooges”, just as Hitler had Herr van de Lubbe. I see such men opposite, who were prepared to sell their souls, irrespective of the welfare of the people of Australia, in order to gain selection from the bankers. There are no ballots in the Liberal party similar to those in the Labour party; at least there was not such a one in my electorate. Thirty gentlemen came from Ash-street to Maroubra Junction and selected a man named Card. He was manoeuvred out by a man named Osborne in a previous selection for the seat of Evans. The liberal party wanted Mr. Card to discipline the members of his union into accepting inferior rates and conditions in their employment with the private banks. I was selected from a group of nineteen by popular ballot. Honorable members on the Government side have been castigating tha Labour party because of its methods, but the methods of the Government parties are beyond redemption. In conclusion, I wish to say something about the honorable member for Mackellar (“Mr. Wentworth). He has a bit of a kink, but we shall excuse him for that-
– Order ! The honorable member’s time has expired.
– in reply - The honorable member for Watson (Mr. Curtin), who has just resumed his seat, has proved the consistency of the Opposition, because he, parrot-like, reiterated the cry which has been resounding throughout the chamber from honorable members opposite since this debate commenced. He referred to the worn-out charge of the Labour party that this Government is not putting value back into the £1. This Government has achieved comparatively more than did any other government in the short time that it has been in power, for the benefit of the people of Australia. It has done that against the opposition of the most destructive methods that ever confronted any government. The Government realizes that the basis of putting value back into the £1 and of automatic price-fixation is production adequate to meet the industrial requirements of this nation. As a first act towards that end, we lifted petrol rationing to allow producers of goods to send their goods freely by road without the restriction and hindrance of a shortage of petrol. Our next act was to remedy something about which the previous Government had procrastinated. We subsidized the price of bread in this country by giving to the wheat-growers 7d. a bushel to meet the increased cost of production. Also left for us to do, as the result of procrastination by the Labour Government, was the granting of a subsidy for butter, based upon the cost of production. That had been artfully dodged by the previous Government. Then we set about getting basic materials into thi.? country. We were confronted with the spectacle of the need to import steel and coal in order adequately to shelter our people and to ensure that the migration policy of the Government should be carried out. It is hard to imagine the necessity for importing steel and coal into a country such as Australia, which has such vast natural resources with which to provide these essential materials. Not only did we import them, but we subsidized the importation of them by other authorities.
Wc also subsidized the importation of prefabricated houses, timber and many other materials that are needed to expand the housing programme of this country. We revised, amended, altered and removed duties and restrictions so that materials for housing and other basic materials, the shortage of which was a legacy from the previous Government, could be brought into this country. We realized that production is the measuring stick for everything. The main factors retarding the production of this country were Communist interruption, Communist control and Communist sabotage throughout the industrial life and the trade union movement of Australia. We expeditiously brought down a bill to deal with Communists as traitors in any decent country should be dealt with. What cooperation and assistance from the Opposition did we receive in our attempt to deal with the Communist menace? When honorable members ‘opposite talk about putting value back into the fi they should remember that they would have better served .Australia if they had helped this Government to put the Communist disrupters into the pound. The honorable member for Watson read a statement which he attributed to a reverend gentleman, directing attention to malnutrition in Sydney. He painted a very gloomy picture of circumstances which no decent government should allow to exist unobserved and unremedied. But where do those circumstances exist? The honorable member claims that they exist in Sydney. Sydney is in the honorable member’s home State, and the Government of New South Wales is a Labour government under the premiership of Mr. McGirr. Therefore, if there is malnutrition in Sydney, why did not the Labour Government long ago take steps to overcome it? Why did’ not the Labour-governed States take advantage of the generous and sensible offer of my colleague, the Minister for Health (Sir Earle Page) of free milk to help remedy any possible malnutrition? Honorable members should also remember that if there is any such malnutrition it is a legacy from the previous Government. If there is malnutrition of the rising generation of Aus tralians the State Labour government* should take immediate steps to remedy it, and one of the best ways in which they can start is by accepting the Australian Government’s offer of free milk for, the children of those States. I advise honorable members opposite to clean their own floors before criticizing those of anybody else. They should look at their own record before they try to cast blame on the record of this Government. They should also consider the activity, or the lack of activity, of the Labour Government of New South Wales.
The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Chifley) asked me to explain what appeared to him to be inconsistencies in the framing of the Estimates now before the House. As I explained in my second-reading speech, it has been the general practice in respect of Supply hills to estimate the amounts required on the basis of the provision that had been made in the Estimates for the preceding year. Under this measure, however, it has been necessary to make provision for the increases of salaries that have been granted under various awards, including the recent Castieau award covering public servants, increases of the cost of living during the last twelve months, and the higher rate of expenditure that has resulted from rising costs. Therefore, this bill has been prepared on the basis of requirements for six months as was set out in the Estimates that I submitted to the House last week, less the amount appropriated under the Supply Act that was passed in June last. Under that measure provision was made for a period of four months on the basis of last year’s Estimates. Under the measure now before the Chair, no provision has been made for new services. The provision for salaries, pay and general services in the defence departments has been similarly calculated, but it has been necessary, owing to a technical difficulty, to make provision for six months, that is, until the 31st December next, in respect of defence works and equipment services that were in hand on the 30th June last. The transfer of those services in the Estimates for 1950-51 from works to ordinary services will render inoperative the appropriation granted to them in the
Supply (Works and Services) Act that was passed in June last. The fact that that provision for defence works and services has been made in this Supply bill is the principal reason for the increases of expenditure in respect of the navy and army departments as compared with the estimates set out in the first Supply bill in respect of which the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Chifley) sought the information that I have just given.
The Leader of the Opposition, with characteristic repetition, pointed with pride to the financial record of his Government. He endeavours to propagate the idea that his Government managed the national finances wisely and left them in a sound position. That is one of the myths that he is endeavouring to spread about the Labour Government and its achievements. His claim is completely baseless, and its exposure is long overdue. We are asked to accept with pride the statement that Labour balanced its budget in the two post-war years. Rut how did it do that? The fact is that Labour financed the war and post-war expenditures by extravagant taxation and enormous borrowings. During the Labour regime the public debt increased by more than £1,300,000,000. Interest and sinking fund payments on that additional debt now represent a burden of approximately £45,000,000 a year. Labour managed to balance the budget in two post-war years mainly by keeping taxation rates too high for too long. But apart from those two years, 1947-4S and 1948-49, the Labour Government had a series of enormous deficits which it met by either raising loans or borrowing from the central bank; and it resorted to those means at a time when wages, prices and costs generally were controlled. Labour left the national finances very seriously out of balance. The Leader of the Opposition, in the last budget that he brought down when he was Treasurer, budgeted for a deficit of £35,000,000, but despite an increase of £35,000,000 in revenue over the estimates during the year, the result was an actual deficit of £25,000,000. It is clear that, had Labour remained in office it would have been obliged to budget for an enormous deficit in the current financial year.
The honorable member for Fremantle’ (Mr. “Beazley) alleged that although, when I was in Opposition, I listed a number of items that should be exempt from sales tax, I have not made provision in my budget to reduce sales tax on any of those items. That statement is incorrect. In the first place, following representations by me, the Chifley Government adjusted sales tax on certain items. Secondly, in framing my budget I have given special consideration to the removal of the remaining anomalies about which I complained when I was in Opposition. Under the budget proposals .those anomalies will be removed in respect of such items as tractor-drawn trailers for use in agriculture, certain building materials including bath heaters and sink heaters, ice, certain foodstuffs closely connected with goods previously exempt from sales tax, and wedding rings.
The honorable member for Fremantle at least admitted, and I have been saying so for some time, that whatever paper provision the Labour Government may have claimed to have made for the payment of war gratuity, the hard fact remains that the present Government will have to find every penny of the £67,000,000 that is still outstanding in respect of war gratuity and that it will have to be paid on the 3rd March next. The Government will have to meet that commitment either by borrowing or by imposing additional taxes, and it has made provision in the budget to honour the nation’s obligation to ex-service personnel. However, the honorable member for Fremantle is still labouring under the mistaken impression that the Labour Government, in some way, stored up purchasing power. Nothing of the sort occurred, because, as I have already said, what the Labour Government did was to claim credit, both for making a paper provision for the payment of war gratuity and for spending the cash involved to reduce treasury bill indebtedness. The result is that the present Government must now find either by extra taxation or by borrowing the cash that will be involved in the payment of the gratuity.
The honorable member for Fremantle also said that the effect of the Government’s proposed expenditure on stock-piling to meet our defence needs will have an inflationary effect. He was in error in making that statement because the bulk of the material on which that money will be expended will be imported, and, therefore, the effect of such expenditure will be not inflationary but deflationary.
The honorable member further took the Government to task with respect to the provision that is being made in the budget for relief for pensioners. He claimed that when in October, 1948, the age pension was increased to £2 2s. 6d. a week it represented 36.64 per cent. of the then basic wage whereas to-day the proportion is much less. The fact is that when the Labour Government was ejected from office the pension was still £2 2s. 6d. whereas the basic wage was £6 9s. so that the percentage then had decreased to 32.9 per cent. When this Government proposed to increase the age pension by 7s. 6d. a week the percentage of the pension in relation to the basic wage which, at that time, was £6 18s., would have been increased to 36.2 per cent. That proposal was made before the Commonwealth Arbitration Court announced its decision last week to increase the basic wage by £1 a week. Although the basic wage increased by 15s. between October, 1948, and December, 1949, the Labour Government, which was then in office, made no attempt to increase pensions during that period. Yet honorable members opposite have had the audacity to take this Government to task and to claim that it has not dealt expeditiously with the age pension. The proposed increase of 7s. 6d. a week will be the largest single increase that will have been made in pensions since the inception of federation.
Honorable members opposite have made misleading statements with respect to the number of public servants and the growth of the Public Service. They have alleged that the Government has done nothing to reduce the number of public servants. The honorable member for Fremantle said that when I was in Opposition I contended that the most urgent problem was the reduction of the number of public servants and then went on to say that the number has since increased by 30,000. That figure is incorrect. Figures that the Prime Minister (Mr.
Menzies) cited on the 27 th September reveal that the total number of persons employed by the Australian Government and its agencies, excluding members of the defence forces, numbered 197,000 when the present government took office and that that number had increased to 201,000 as at the 30th June last. Thus, the increase was approximately only 4,000. That increase occurred almost entirely in the Postal Department and in the number of employees engaged on building and construction work and in the provision of migration services. Actually, there has been a decrease of approximately 800 in the number of persons employed in general administrative activities. The Government has given urgent attention to this problem and so has honoured the promise that members of its parties made in this respect when they were in Opposition. As the result of action that the Government took, the growth of the Public Service was steadied considerably by the end of the second quarter of 1950. In June last, there had been an actual overall reduction of 1,200 public servants. The Government is taking further action in this matter. It has appointed a special committee to watch the position and to recommend adjustments in order that the taxpayers shall receive full value for their money. No doubt, we shall hear further criticism of the Government’s proposals when the budget debate is resumed and I shall welcome the opportunity to reply to such criticism in that debate.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and reported from committee without amendment or debate; report adopted.
Bill - by leave - read a third time.
Bill returned from the Senate without amendment.
Motion (by Mr. Fadden) proposed -
That the House do now adjourn.
.- I had intended to discuss two matters on the motion for the adjournment this evening. However, pending confirmation of certain facts, I propose to set one aside for the time being. I shall probably discuss it next week. The other matter arises as the result of recent developments in connexion with the action that the Government proposes to take against the trade unions of Australia. The passage of legislation that clothes this Government with tremendous powers constitutes, in my opinion, a sorry event in the political history of this country. My opinion is that a grave error has been made by people who believe that the Government ought to be given those powers. Notwithstanding all the talk that we have heard about democracy and the need to preserve our democratic form of government, 1 am satisfied-
– I rise to order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I submit that the honorable member is not in order in discussing a bill which has already been passed by this House and which has been discussed during the current session.
– I, too, rise to order. I direct attention to Standing Order 75, which states -
No member shall reflect upon any vote of tire House. except upon a motion that such vote he rescinded.
– I uphold the point of order of. the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth.)
– In what way have I reflected upon a vote of this House, Mr. Deputy Speaker? I am not questioning
– I have not said that the honorable member has reflected upon a vote of the House. He may continue bis remarks. I shall listen to the discussion.
– There is not the slightest doubt in the world that a grave error of judgment has been made by those people who believe that this Government ought to be clothed with the enormous powers that will be conferred upon it by the legislation.. It will be vested with power to establish a fascist police state in Australia.
– I rise to order. The honorable member for East Sydney has had opportunities during recent weeks to discuss this matter, but has failed to record a vote against the measure though now he seeks to speak against it. He should not be allowed to speak any further in that strain.
– No point of order is involved.
– I agree with your ruling, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I believe that the attempt, to raise a point of order was made deliberately for the purpose of irving to prevent me from saying what 1 want to say. I repeat that the Government will now be clothed with power to establish a fascist police state. Furthermore, I am convinced that it intends to make a deliberate attack upon the trade unions of Australia. I want to make clear to members of this House the fact that, although the Government has the legal power and is prepared to use it against the trade union movement, it will not necessarily succeed. Its arguments in support of the bill were merely used as a smoke-screen to disguise its intention to attack militant trade unionists. I submit to honorable members, many of whom are probably not fully appreciative even yet of the implications of the measure that has been passed by the Parliament-
– I rise to order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. You have just ruled that ir would be incorrect for the honorable member for East Sydney to reflect upon a vote of this House in connexion with the Communist Party Dissolution Bill. I now ask you whether he is or is not reflecting upon a vote that has just been taken in the Senate upon a measure that was the subject of a long discussion in this House. I submit that his remarks cannot be interpreted in any other way and that therefore they are clearly out. of order.
– The remarks of the honorable member for East Sydney refer, I assume, to the administration of the bill that has been passed by the Parliament. Therefore, I have allowed him to proceed. He must not, of course, reflect upon the legislation or upon a vote of this House. I understand that he is discussing the way in which the legislation will be administered and if be continues along that line his remarks will be in order.
– The intention of the Government is to use the powers that have been conferred upon it by the legislation to attack the trade unions of Australia with the object of destroying them. There are members of this Parliament who even yet do not understand the full implications of the measure. The talk of attacking the Communist party was used only as a smoke screen so that the Government would be able to obtain wide powers that would enable it to deal with trade unions. I shall cite an illustration of the course of action that may be followed by the Government and I challenge any Government supporter to deny that such a procedure is possible. Railwaymen are on strike in Victoria to-day. The Australian Railways Union is controlled by a Communist secretary, a man who does not deny that he is a Communist. Under the new legislation, the Australian Railways Union can be declared to be an unlawful association or organization if it becomes deregistered because of its participation in the strike and it can be dissolved and its property can be seized regardless of the fact that a great majority of railway workers are not members, supporters or sympathizers of the Communist party.
– That is quite untrue.
– That could be done, because, as honorable gentlemen will know if they have studied the measure, if a majority of the members of the executive or the committee of management of a union are Communists according to the definition in the bill, the organization can be declared to be unlawful and can be dissolved. The Minister for National Development (Mr. Casey) obviously does not understand the bill, because, under the wide definition of “ Communist “ in the measure, there is no militant trade unionist in this country who could not be declared to be a Communist - not a member of the Communist party, but a Communist. Therefore, by the declaring of a majority of the members of an executive or a management committee of a trade union, Ministers would have it within their power to dissolve and destroy the trade union. I shall tell the House what my attitude will be in this matter. If, arising out of this legislation, the validity of which is already being challenged - but assuming that eventually it is declared to be a valid piece of legislation, within the constitutional power of the Commonwealth Parliament - the trade unions decide to take direct steps to defeat the aims of the Government, to defend their trade union rights, to preserve their position in the community, to insist on the right to organize, regardless of whether this Government considers their action to be illegal or otherwise, I/ propose to support the unions with all the power that I possess both inside and outside the Parliament, and there are many other trade unionists and members of the Labour party who will take the same course. The Government has made appeals for co-operation. It is rather interesting to note that this Government has never taken any steps to outlaw fascist-inclined organizations in Australia that everybody knows are being organized for the purpose of strike-breaking. They have been trained in military tactics and are to be used at the appropriate time to attack the trade union and Labour movement of this country.
Motion (by Mr. McColm) put -
That the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) be not further heard.
The House divided. (Mb. Deputy Speaker - Mr. C. F. Adermann.)
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
.- I wish to record my protest about a member of the Opposition and an ex-Minister of the Crown, in the middle of making an important statement, being refused a further hearing by this House.
– Order ! The right honorable gentleman may not reflect on a vote of the House.
– I am not reflecting on a vote of the House. I am saying that the doing of such a thing by supporters of the Government, particularly by the honorable member for Bowman (Mr. McColm), was a sorry introduction to the coming into force of a bill such as the one that is being discussed. I am sure that that would be the view of every Australian, even if he did not support the bill.
– I think it most regrettable that the learned right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt) should make a pretence about one of the ordinary rights of the House. He knows that this legislation has been discussed in both Houses of the Parliament, and only awaits the Royal Assent to-morrow. It is indeed regrettable that one who professes to stand for parliamentary government would allow unparliamentary speeches which may incite people outside of the Parliament to riot. He has supported everything that the honorable member for East Sydney has said. Such an attitude, when it is taken by a man of his legal calibre, is most surprising.
– The honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) was not in the middle of his speech when he was interrupted. In exactly 30 seconds, his time would have expired, and he was interrupted because he was making declarations that he intended to defy the law and would advise other people to do so. If our democracy is to work, every one must respect the decision of the elected representatives of the people in the Parliament. The reason why the House took the stand that it did was that an ex-Minister of State had risen in his place, and had said, “ I am going to break the law, and I am going to advise others to do so “.
– It is a lie.
– It is not. The honorable member for East Sydney said, “ If illegal action is taken by others, I shall support it and do my best-
– The honorable member did not say that.
– The honorable gentleman’s statement is recorded in Hansard. If the former AttorneyGeneral, Dr. Evatt, sees fit to defend statements of that kind, it is a sorry state of affairs for the once great Australian Labour party. Therefore, we offer no apology for properly silencing that kind of declaration in this Parliament during the last 30 seconds of the honorable member’s speech.
, - I register the strongest possible protest against the speech by the PostmasterGeneral (Mr. Anthony), who, after the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) had been gagged, proceeded to attack him and actually to charge him with having deliberately incited people outside this Parliament to break the law. Whatever the views of the honorable member for East Sydney may be, he expressed them in this chamber and he was entitled, as a member of the Parliament, to say here what he thought. I listened to what he said. He was expressing his doubts and his concern about the possible actions that would flow from the administration of the measure to which he had referred, and, at a particular stage, the House decided that he should be not longer heard. I am not reflecting on the vote of the House, because it has the right to make that decision, and other parliaments in future will have a similar right if the Standing Orders are not amended. But once the honorable member for East Sydney was silenced, surely it was breaking the tradition of this House for two Ministers to rise and not only justify the decision of the House, but also to traduce the honorable member for East Sydney. We all are entitled to our views about the possible results of the legislation. Some people have very great fears about it. Other people’s fears are not so great. But surely, in the National Parliament, an honorable member should be allowed to state his views, and express his fears. If he breaks the law outside the Parliament, and if anybody else breaks the law, they will be answerable under the law. I know that the honorable member for East Sydney will not break the law, whatever his views may be. He has never broken the law yet.
Government members interjecting,
– Nothing that he has said in this Parliament to-night can be construed as an incitement to people outside it to break the law, except by those who are so purblind and politically prejudiced that they want to say those things about him. The honorable member for East Sydney is a very forthright and rugged personality. He has his views, and he stands up for them. In a democracy, we all generally pride ourselves that we take our stand with Voltaire, who said, “Although I disagree wholeheartedly with what you say, I will defend to the death your right to say it “. There are such things as freedom of speech, freedom of thought, and freedom of assembly. The attitude of certain honorable members, including the honorable member for Bowman (Mr. McColm), who moved the motion - I am only reflecting on his motive and not on the vote of the House - indicates that there are persons in this Parliament who have fascist mentalities, and who do not believe in freedom of speech.
.- I moved that the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) be not longer heard. The honorable member for Melbourne (Mr. Calwell) made a remark to-night about people with fascist mentalities. It was about the tenth time I have heard him make such a remark. I suggest that if some Opposition members had spent half the time and half the trouble in fighting fascism that I have, they might be in a position to speak on that matter.
– Many Opposition members fought against the fascists.
– Order ! The honorable member is not in order in interjecting, and the offence is aggravated when he interjects from a seat other than his own.
– I was amazed to hear the honorable member for Melbourne, who has been a Minister, make threats to a future Opposition to the effect that he was prepared to pre-judge an issue. His attitude was deplorable.
– Do not apologize.
– I am not apologizing. I shall explain precisely why I moved that the honorable member for East Sydney be not longer heard. There is not the slightest doubt in my mind that he was making a very inflammatory speech. I should have had no particular objection to that, if he had made it at the right time. I suggest that, had the honorable member been honest and sincere, he would have made that speech when the Communist Party Dissolution Bill 1950 was being discussed in this House, and he should have had the moral courage to vote against it. But he failed to do so. It was one of the most deplorable exhibitions of hypocrisy that this House ever witnessed, and that was why I moved that the honorable member be not longer heard. I do not regret my action for one moment. T am an ordinary decent Australian citizen, and I thought that the dignity of the House was being lowered when we had to listen to the tripe that was being spoken to-night.
.- I am another decent Australian citizen, and a member of a family that has also sent sons and brothers to the front, not in one war but in two wars, and it just makes me sick to hear some honorable members opposite speak as if they alone are entitled to wear the mantle of patriotism. They declare to the world that they are the only ones who went to fight fascism. The Labour party is composed of men who have fought all their lives, and who have reared their children to fight, in defence of this fair land of Australia.
Government supporters laugh at that statement. We make no apologies to those who shout, “ Ha, ha ! “, and who wear sinister grins on their faces. Most of them think that they are the only ones who fought in defence of Australia. Some members of my family made the supreme sacrifice. Some members of the Labour party, not ones and twos, but hundreds of them, have fought in the defence of Australia. Many of our sons and brothers made the supreme sacrifice. Let Government supporters laugh if they will. We shall not tolerate a fascist-like manner for one moment. Government supporters voted that an Opposition member be gagged, because he was expressing his thoughts and telling the people his views of certain legislation that has just been passed.
– Ring down the “Curtin”. .
– That will never be rung down while I continue to fight against fascism. Before me I can see the faces of many fascists who would, at the drop of the hat, sell their souls to please their masters.
– The serious implications of some of the things said to-night may not be clearly realized. History may be repeating itself. The remarks of the honorable member foi- East Sydney (Mr. Ward) regarding the illegal action that he is contemplating are not unprecedented. In 1940, after the National Security Act was passed for the defence of this country in the war against Hitler, when Hitler and Stalin were allies, and the honorable member for East Sydney was supporting Stalin, the honorable member said -
Candidly, I do not trust the Government with these powers. . . . And if this kind of law is going to be misused and abused as a means of smashing Australian democracy, I say quite frankly that some of us will defy the law.
In other words, the leopard cannot change his spots, and the dog returns to his vomit. What the honorable member for East Sydney has said here to-night is in keeping with what he said in 1940, when he was in league with Stalin, who was an ally of our enemy, Hitler. Just as the honorable member did not hesitate to act in such a way as to injure the country’s war effort in those days, s.» he is now quite seriously preparing the ground for treason, for the defence of the Communist party, and for the smashing of our defence preparations.
– If the honorable member is accusing the honorable member for East Sydney of treason, I ask him to withdraw his remark.
– I withdraw it. There is an even more serious implication contained in the remarks of the right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt), who may be contemplating the same kind of action as he took in 1940-41, when he acted as legal adviser to a Communist organization, the Council of Civil Liberties, which was, at that time, actively engaged in treason - and I do not propose to withdraw those words. Just as it may well be that the honorable member for East Sydney is contemplating a repetition of his misdeeds of the early war years, so the even more serious inference may well be drawn that the right honorable member for Barton, who is backing him up, is contemplating a repetition of his own more surreptitious, but perhaps even more serious misdeeds of that time.
.- 1 regret that a good deal of heat has been engendered in this debate, and that the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) has been prevented from making the statement that he desired to make. I regret the filthy attack by the PostmasterGeneral (Mr. Anthony) - . -
– Order !
– I withdraw the word “ filthy “. I regret the attack made by the Postmaster-‘General on a man who cannot reply in his own defence, because of the question being put, to ihe untruthful statements made about him. The Postmaster-General said that the honorable member for East Sydney said that he would support illegal action by trade unions. The honorable member for East Sydney made no such statement. The honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) went further, and suggested that a statement made by the honorable member for East Sydney in 1948 was treasonable statement. All the honorable member for East Sydney said on that occasion was that if democracy was attacked he would resist the attack, and he was entitled to say that. There was nothing treasonable in it. In any case when honorable members accuse the honorable member for East Sydney of being treasonable and seditious, let me remind them that there are plenty of examples in English history of the defiance of laws found to be un just. I propose to quote a couple of examples. Mr. De Valera was a rebel against the British Crown. He was an Irish Roman Catholic, and he was condemned for rebellion against what he considered to be unjust laws. Lest it be suggested that I have sectarian bias, let me remind the honorable member for Mackellar that another famous character in British history, because he considered that an unjust law was about to be enacted - I refer to Sir Edward Carson - said that he would arm the people of Northern Ireland to resist the law. That was when he learned that the King was about to assent to the Home Rule Act. Let honorable members think that over, and before they make accusations about other honorable members let them study their history. All the honorable member for East Sydney said was that if the trade unions found it necessary to resist the Communist Party Dissolution Act - and be did not say by illegal or treasonable activity -he would support them in the action they took. I resent the action of honorable members in preventing another honorable member from replying to accusations made after he had been gagged.
.- The point of this debate, which will have an importance far beyond to-night, resides in the words used by the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward). I believe that all honorable members of this House will scan those words as reported in Hansard without amendment, because I believe that they will have great significance in the time ahead. I expect that it has not escaped the attention of the House that the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) has to-night accused the honorable member for East Sydney of being a Communist. He did so on previous occasions, and I believe it has not escaped the notice of the House that on no occasion lately, when that charge has been made against him, has the honorable member for East Sydney expressed resentment, or asked that it be withdrawn.
– That is a deliberate lie. When a charge is made by a man whom I regard as a lunatic, I ignore it. If it is made by the Minister for National Development (Mr. Casey), I say that it is a deliberate lie.
– The honorable member must withdraw that statement.
– I withdraw it:
– I repeat that the honorable member for East Sydney has not resented the charge, and has not asked for its withdrawal.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
The following papers were presented : -
Commonwealth Public Service Act - Appoint men ts - Department -
National Development - R. Inglis, R. C. T. Riddell.
Treasury - W. L. Davies, J. A. Howard.
Works and Housing - H. J. D. Garrett.
Overseas Telecommunications Act - Fourth Annual Report of the Overseas Telecommunications Commission (Australia) for the nine months ended 31st March, 1950, together with financial accounts.
Papua and New Guinea Act - Ordinances - 1950-
No. 18 - Ordinances Revision.
No. 19 - Administration Contracts.
No. 20- Supply (No. 2) 1950-51. No. 21 - Commerce (Trade Descriptions ) .
House ad journed at 11.39 p.m.
The following answers to questions were circulated : -
z asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
y asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
e asked the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -
How many grain headers, grain harvesters, seedrsowing combines, pick-up hay-balers and ordinary hay-balers were exported outside Australia from Victoria (a) in 1949 and (6) in the first half of 1950?
– The Minister for Trade and Customs has supplied the following information : -
No separate record is kept of each type of machine exported. The table appearing hereunder shows the statistical grouping of the farm machinery exported from Victoria: -
e. - On the 12th October the honorable member for Bennelong (Mr. Cramer) asked me a question in regard to the publicity campaign for the encouragement of recruiting, in the course of which he suggested that space in suburban free newspapers might be used wherever it would be beneficial to do so. I then promised to have investigations made and to ascertain whether such newspapers could be used profitably in the recruiting campaign. Hitherto the advertising for the recruiting campaign has been on a wide scale and has been proceeding side by side with the setting up of the basic organization for the formation of local recruiting committees. The result of my inquiries indicates that not until these local committees have been established and reach the stage of campaigning within their municipalities will it be appropriate to advertise through local newspapers. Suburban newspapers will be used where there is a particular and local requirement. It is the intention to drive home to the people of Australia how urgent is the need and how important the task of building up the armed forces.
Royal Australian Navy.
s. - On the 17th October, in. reply to a question, I promised to supply the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) details qf payments made to Mrs. Hoy, widow of one of the victims of the Tarakan disaster. I am now pleased to supply the honorable member with the following information: -
Mrs. Hoy is in receipt of a widow’s pension of £2 7s. Od. a week. Under legislation now before the House it is proposed that this pension will tie increased by 7s. 6d. to £2 15s. per week. In addition, a sum of £314 4s. 9d. plu’s interest is duo to bo paid on the 3rd March, 1951, as war gratuity, but may be made available earlier if desired. “ Prize Money “ of an amount to be determined by the British Government will also be paid. In regard to compensation, I have confirmed that Mrs. Hoy still requests that no action be taken at the present time towards payment of same. T understand that Mrs. Hoy received certain payments from the Sydney Lord Mayor’s Ta.ra.kan Relief Fund. As previously intimated I ha.ve already had the position of Mrs. Hoy brought to the notice of the Services Can teen Trust Fund with a view to assistance being granted towards the education of the children.
l asked the Minister acting for the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
It is not the purpose of the 7i per cent, levy on wool to reimburse wool-growers should the market price fall below cost of production. The levy is intended to provide capital for a Post-Joint Organization plan of reserve prices for wool, which will be set annually having regard to various factors. It is envisaged that the reserve price would be made effective by an organization using in the first place funds derived from the levy to purchase wool for which the reserve price or better was not bid at auction by a commercial buyer. If no scheme is in operation by the 30th September, 1951, the money collected by way of levy will be repaid in pursuance of the provisions of the Wool (Reserve Prices) Fund Act 1950.
n asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
d asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
Auburn Post OFFICE
on asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
on asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
The Bankstown automatic exchange, which serves these areas, was extended by 200 lines in July, 1950, and equipment for a further roup of 200 lines will be available about the end of November. The plans provide for equipment to be installed for SOO more lines as soon us possible thereafter. Extensive underground cable projects are necessary in the East Bankstown and Chullora areas to meet the position. Some of these works arc already in progress, the first of which will be completed early in I!>51, and the remainder will follow progressively to ment outstanding applications and provide for further development.
y asked the Prime Minister, ».;)o?i notice -
– The information sought by the honorable member will take some time to collate. I will let the honorable member have the answers to his questions as early as possible.
z asked the Minister for Immigration, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
States in the event of any further hostel - .7»i:S being -approved by the Government.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 19 October 1950, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1950/19501019_reps_19_209/>.