House of Representatives
12 July 1951

20th Parliament · 1st Session

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

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Speech by SenatorW. Morrow.


– I promised the honorable member for Henty (Mr. Gullett), in reply to a question that he asked recently, that I should call a meeting of the Parliamentary Proceedings Broadcasting Committee to consider the alleged rebroadcast from Moscow of a speech that had been made in the Senate by Senator Morrow. I have not been able to obtain any information to place before the committee, and consequently I find it impossible to proceed any further with the matter.

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-Will the Minister for External Affairs inform the House about the status of the proposed treaty in relation to Japan and any accompanying arrangements? Have those documents reached final form? Can they be laid on the table in order that honorable mem- bers may peruse them at least after the agreements have been made?

Minister for External Affairs · LP

– The current draft, which is the latest draft of the proposed peace treaty, will be made available publicly just after midnight to-night. In order to enable the newspapers to publish the treaty, either in whole or in part, I am having it made available to the press at some time this evening, but the release date will be just after midnight, when I shall also see that copies shall be made available to honorable members.


– Did I understand the Minister for External Affairs to say that the copy of the proposed Japanese peace treaty will be made available to the press at midnight to-night Did he intentionally, or unwittingly, fail to let honorable members know when the ‘House will be advised of the treaty, or must we infer from his remarks that the press is more entitled than is the House to be informed of the terms of the treaty?


– The honorable gentleman is under a misapprehension. I said that the hour at which the draft peace treaty with Japan will be made available publicly from Washington and London will be shortly after midnight to-night Australian time, and that the terms of it will be made available at that time to honorable members. I also said that the press, to ‘ which the draft treaty will be made available confidentially during this evening, might make arrangements to publish it in whole or in part.

Dr Evatt:

– Why cannot honorable members obtain copies of the draft treaty?


– Because the hour at which the treaty will be released publicly in London and in Washington is just after midnight to-night Australian time.


– Oan the Minister for External Affairs1 inform the House of the value of Japanese assets that are held in countries which were neutral during World War II. and in countries which were at war with the Allies? Can he also say what the attitude of the Government is to the disposal of those assets?


– The estimated value of Japanese assets in former neutral countries is between £8,000,000 and £9,000,000 in terms of Australian currency. The value of Japanese assets in ex-enemy countries, such as Germany and Italy, is about £5,000,000 in Australian currency. I emphasize the fact that both figures are estimates. The Government has consistently maintained that these assets should be made available largely for the benefit of ex-prisoners of war and I believe that, when honorable members see the form of the draft Japanese peace treaty, they will not be displeased with the terms that the Government has succeeded in having incorporated in it.

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– I refer to a request that I made on a previous occasion to the Minister for Social Services that the maximum amount of loan that is made available to ex-servicemen under the War Service Homes Act be increased. In view of his statement that the matter was under consideration by Cabinet, and having regard to the fact that many cx-servicemen have paid their deposits but now find that they are unable to complete their homes owing to lack of adequate finance, will he instruct local directors under the act not to press for additional deposits pending final determination by the Cabinet of the amount of the increase ?

Minister for Social Services · DENISON, TASMANIA · LP

– As the proposal of the honorable member seems to be logical, I shall be pleased to consider taking the step that he has suggested.


– In view of the difficulties that are being experienced by ex-servicemen in paying for war service homes, will the Minister examine the possibility of reducing the interest rates on these houses i


– The subject of the interest rates being charged in connexion with the purchases of war service homes has already been examined. I cannot divulge the results of the investigations, but a decision will be made which will be in conformity with government policy. An announcement on this matter will have to be deferred to a later date.

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– I address a question to the Minister for the Army, and point out by way of explanation, that the Under-Secretary for War, Mr. W. L. Wyatt, made a statement in the House of Commons last Tuesday week to the effect that the British War Office had refused to consider altering the .280 rifle to enable it to take United States rimless ammunition. Will the Minister inform me of what steps are being taken by the Australian Government to ensure that our national trainees shall he taught to use the new rifle that is now in general use in the British Army? What is more important, will he state whether steps are being taken to ensure that tha new .280 rifle shall be in uniform use throughout the armies of all the members of the Commonwealth of Nations, and the United States of America, and shall take uniform ammunition? What steps are being taken to tool up our . arms and munitions establishments in preparation for making that new rifle in Australia?

Minister for the Army · MORETON, QUEENSLAND · LP

– Negotiations have been proceeding between the British Government and the Australian Government upon the subject of the adoption by Australia of the .280 rifle for our Army. The matter is at present in the technical stage of what is known as “ top secret “, so that I am not able to give to the honorable gentleman any details about it other than to say that it is under consideration. At all times, the Australian Government and the British Government have adopted uniform arms and equipment to facilitate co-operation and inter-changeability of arms and ammunition on service and since that has been the practice in the past when the British Government has adopted a new weapon, I have no doubt that the Australian Government will give the present matter favorable’ consideration.

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– Can the Minister for Territories say whether the earthquake at Mount Lamington destroyed valuable agricultural lands the property of the native Christian co-operative movement in New Guinea? Is it true that rich forest land outside the closed area would be suitable for the natives to practice on it their co-operative way of life ? Is it the intention of the Government to sub-divide that land, which is owned by the Crown, for the purpose of the settlement of ex-servicemen? Will the Government consider the advisability of making available to the co-operative movement of Papua sufficient land to replace that destroyed by the earthquake, and of reserving sufficient to allow the natives to expand their rural undertakings, before placing such land at tho disposal of white people?

Minister for Territories · CURTIN, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · LP

– The series of questions which the honorable member for Shortland has asked seems to involve three major matters: first, the rehabilitation of the area round Mount Lamington after the volcanic disaster; secondly, the rehabilitation of the native co-operatives; and, thirdly, the general use of land, in the territory. If he will permit me, I should like to answer those three questions rather than attempt to follow each of the queries that he has raised. I recently had inquiries made and I received a report last Monday from tha Administrator, then at Popendetta, to the effect that the rehabilitation of the Mount Lamington area was proceeding favorably. It was hoped that all the native gardens in that area would be in production again by the end of this year. The Department of External Territories is continuing on the spot to do everything that it can to rehabilitate the devastated area. On the subject of the rehabilitation of the native co-operative groups, I assure the House that the administration, by its own activities, is encouraging their development as one of the means of advancing the civilization of the natives of New Guinea and Papua. Honorable members may rest assured that the Government will continue to use that means of promoting the welfare of the native peoples. It is true that there is some forest land in that area. The question of its availability, either for use by the native co-operatives or for any other purpose, is still under consideration. This brings me to the broad question of the use of land in the territory. As the House knows, this matter is subject to the provisions of existing ordinances, which are based on a recognition of the fact that most of the land in the territory belongs to the native peoples. The land cannot be acquired from the natives unless they agree voluntarily to sell it, and it can be acquired only by the administration, which may then make it available for other purposes.

A commission is now being set up to determine the ownership of land throughout the territory so that the procedure that I have mentioned may be followed in fact as well as in theory. I assure the honorable member for Shortland that due regard will continue to be paid to the interests of the natives, but the object of the administration will be to strike a happy balance between the needs of the natives and the undoubted need of the territory as a. whole to use its resources to the full for the benefit of itself and the natives.

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– Can the Minister for Supply inform the House whether the results of developmental work that is being carried out by the Bureau of Mineral Resources on the Rum Jungle uranium deposits in the Northern Territory warrant the payment of an additional amount to the prospector who made the original discovery of uranium ore there? The position at present, I believe, is that the prospector has already received a sum of money as partial reward for the discovery, and that the payment of any additional reward is within the discretion of the Minister for Supply and will be determined in the light of developmental work. Ti any additional award is warranted, I ask that it be paid promptly in order to encourage the continuance of the search for this vital mineral.

Minister for Supply · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP

– A reward was paid to a Mr. “White for his discovery of uranium ore at Rum Jungle. I think that the Commonwealth paid him £1,000. Such reward would be paid only on the basis of a recommendation to me as Minister. I have received no recommendation to make an additional payment. Before I authorize the payment of public moneys I have inquiries made. I shall have this case investigated in order to ascertain whether a further payment can be justified.

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– Is the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture aware that, despite the grave shortage of butter in Australia, an extensive black market in Australian butter exists in foreign coun tries and is controlled by a Chinese named Louis J. Williams, who is the head of a marketing company?


-Order! I have already ruled that matters which concern the conduct of private persons must be put on the notice-paper.


– This company operates from Port-of-Spain, Trinidad. Will the Minister investigate-


-Order! Is the honorable gentleman trying to defy my ruling ?


– No, Mr. Speaker.


– Then he had better question the Minister about something that will be in order.


– Will the Minister investigate the source of supply of this company and take steps to see that it shall be discontinued immediately?

Minister for Commerce and Agriculture · MURRAY, VICTORIA · CP

– I could make inquiries into this matter, but what I could do a’bout having discontinued the supply of butter to the company referred to I do not know. The contract for the sale of butter to the United Kingdom that was entered into by the former Government provides that Australia shall sell to the United Kingdom the whole of its surplus of butter with the exception of such quantities as the United Kingdom Government agrees .shall be sold to other would-be purchasers. In the terms of that agreement, a. certain quantity of butter is regularly sold to the British West Indies. If, after that sale, something happens to the butter in the West Indies, that circumstance is completely beyond my control.


– In view of the urgent need for an increase of dairy production throughout Australia, will the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture give consideration to the establishment of a fund, or alternatively to the diversion of some part of the Commonwealth Dairy Industry Efficiency Grant, to provide financial assistance, perhaps on a £1 for £1 or a similar basis, for the establishment of artificial insemination centres in dairying areas? A typical proposition which might be assisted in this way is the desire of the Hunter Valley Co-operative Dairy Company Limited to establish an artificial insemination centre in the Hunter Valley to serve the valley’s 2,200 dairies, where 90,000 dairy cows produce 35,000,000 gallons of milk annually and where there are still great opportunities for expansion.


– A fund that amounts to £250,000 annually is used by the Commonwealth to aid State governments in scientific investigations or experimental undertakings designed to increase the (efficiency of the dairying industry. That fund was established during the administration of the Chifley Government by my predecessor, the honorable member for Lalor. The arrangement, which the present Government lias been glad to continue, is that discussions shall be conducted each year with the State Ministers for Agriculture with a view to determining the best manner in- which the fund can be used. Last year I approved the allocation of £6,000 to the New South Wales Department of Agriculture for the purpose of establishing an artificial insemination centre in New South “Wales. The terms of the grant do hot permit, the allocation of funds for what might be described as production purposes, and, normally, artificial insemination centres have been ruled to be in the category of production rather than experimental enterprises. It is the Government’s intention to consider what steps may be taken to stimulate the volume of production of the dairying industry, and to give an impetus to its expansion. I assure the honorable member for Paterson that his quite valuable proposal will be taken into consideration when the Government is considering its policy in connexion with this matter.

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– Is the Minister for Supply aware of the importance of the scheelite industry at Grassy, King Island ? What steps have been taken to enable the production of this strategic defence metal to be increased. Will the Minister visit King Island in the near future in order to investigate the necessity for effecting improvements to transport and shipping and for remeding other disabilities that are peculiar to King Island and are affecting this industry?


– I know that the honorable member for Darwin is interested in this area as he has spoken to me about it before. The Government is aware of the importance of the scheelite industry, particularly in relation to the production of tungsten, which is a strategic materia1, of high importance. I think that the Prime Minister mentioned that fact, during, the course of the debate on the Defence Preparations Bill. The Government is doing what it .can to stimulate this industry. One of the directors of the company concerned came to see me recently and thu Government was able to give assistance by enabling -the company to acquire some prefabricated houses for workmen in order that production might be increased. The Government knows that the industry is important and that the United States is anxious to obtain a. larger proportion than it now receives of Australian production. We are doing all we can to ensure that it . shall be available. I shall go to King Island when my duties permit me to do so, and I hope that the honorable member will accompany me on that visit.

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– Oan the Treasurer inform we whether a bill to amend the Commonwealth Employees’ Compensation Act is in course of preparation? If so, will he give consideration to providing in the bill that the new rates of compensation shall be retrospective to the 1st January of this year ?


– As I have previously stated, that matter has been the subject of investigation, and I hope that a hill in connexion with it will be brought down in due course. The honorable member’s suggestion will be given consideration.

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– My question to the Prime Minister’ concerns the hospitality that the Government is dispensing to honorable members during late night sittings of the Parliament. .If honorable members are to have their sleep curtailed by sitting until three o’clock in the morning, does the Prime Minister agree that the remaining five hours available for sleep should be undisturbed by indigestion? If so, can the right honorable gentleman arrange for something better than rehashed meat and very poor sausages to be served in the suppers given to honorable members during late sittings ?

Prime Minister · KOOYONG, VICTORIA · LP

– I am - afraid that I am not in charge of the culinary department. This* matter really seems to be one for the consideration of the Joint House Department.

Honorable members interjecting,


– Order ! I must ask honorable members to behave themselves during question time. As soon as a question has been asked, interjections occur from all over the chamber, and quite a lot of them have no relation to the question.


– I did not see the victuals offered to honorable members last night, because I decided to abstain from supper. However, I received accounts of their quality which were not entirely in their favour. Concerning the nature of the supper served on the night before last, I must completely join issue with the honorable member. Sausages frequently are dubious creations, but I thought that the sausages served for supper on that occasion were of quite good quality.

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– I am informed that a stone of remembrance which has been erected by the Imperial War Graves Commission on the special Air Force plot in the city cemetery at Cambridge, England, will be unveiled and dedicated at a special service to be held on Tuesday, the 31st July. The unveiling will be carried out by Marshall of the Royal Air Force, Lord Tedder, and the stone will be dedicated by the Bishop of Ely. In view of the fact that a number of Australian airmen from among 5,488 airmen who were lost during the fighting in Europe are buried at Cambridge, can the Minister for the Interior give an assurance that the Australian Government will be represented at the unveiling of the stone and will co-operate with the British Army and the Royal Air Force in paying due honour and respect to the memory of those to whom Australia and the Empire owe so much?


– The answer is “ Yes “. The Acting High Commissioner, and a senior, if not the senior Royal Australian Air Force officer, will be present at the unveiling. It has been the custom that when Australian graves are in the majority, or are in large numbers in a cemetery, the senior Royal Australian Air Force officer has done the unveiling or has had the honour paid to him of being asked to do it. But in this case both the officers whom I have mentioned will certainly be present.

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– Can the Minister for Civil Aviation state whether it is intended to acquire an area of land for the enlargement of West Beach aerodrome in South Australia, which will have the effect of severing Tapley’s Hill-road and causing inconvenience to the public by depriving people of the use of that thoroughfare? If a decision a.bout such acquisition has not yet been made, will he have the whole matter examined with a view to seeking some alternative scheme that would not involve inconvenience to the residents by the acquisition of a wellmade and expensive road? Tapley’s Hill-road is the only direct road between Glenelg and suburbs directly to the north.

Postmaster-General · RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP

– I personal knowledge of the circumstances mentioned by the honorable member, but I shall have the matter investigated and a decision will be made accordingly.

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– Has the Minister for External Affairs been informed of a recent decision of the Graziers Federal Council of Australia to the effect that as the wool-growers provide most of the funds for wool research by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, they should have more influence in determining the research programme of that organization? Does the Minister believe that this decision of the Graziers Federal Council of Australia is based on sound grounds?


– I am aware that the Graziers Federal Council of Australia has made some statement to that effect, but it has exhibited a grave misapprehension of the position. From the proceeds of current wool production, the wool industry is making no contribution to the cost of research into the wool and sheep industries. The proceeds from the levy of 2s. on a bale of wool that is paid by the wool industry are hypothecated entirely for publicity purposes and for the promotion of wool sales. That money is not expended upon research. The Government pays from Consolidated Revenue 2s. upon each bale of wool, or approximately £350,000 a year. That money is used to finance research into the wool and sheep industries. The wool industry contributes to the cost of that research only indirectly. The interest on a capital sum that was accumulated during the war years is used by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization to finance the erection of buildings and the acquisition of land upon which research work is carried out. There is a complete misapprehension among graziers as to the degree to which the wool industry is currently financing the research work that the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization is conducting into the industry’s own subjects. Having regard to the fact that millions of dollars are being expended in the United States of America to finance research work upon wool substitutes, there is no room for complacency in this regard by the wool industry.

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– In view of the fact that the Government had a surplus of £30,000,000 at the end of the last financial year, will the Treasurer, when he is framing his budget, give consideration to making a liberal increase of pensions? It is reported in this morning’s press that the price of butter will be increased to 4s. 2d. per lb. We are bound, constitutionally and morally, to pay pensions at rates that will enable pensioners to purchase at least some butter, whatever the price may be. When the last budget was brought down-


– Order ! The honorable gentleman is going outside the scope of a question.


– When the salaries of the judiciary were increased last year, the increases were made retrospective to the 1st June. Will the Treasurer make any increases of pensions that are granted in the next budget retrospective to the 30th June? I urge him to live up to the traditions of liberalism.


– This Government and the parties associated with it will, in true traditional manner, give sympathetic consideration to increases of pensions.

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Bill returned from the Senate with amendments.

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Motion (by Mr. Eric J. Harrison) agreed to -

That the House, at its rising, adjourn to to-morrow, at 10.30 a.m.

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Reference to Public Works Committee

Minister for the Interior and Minister for Works and Housing · CHISHOLM, VICTORIA · LP

by leave -

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 erection of a building at Southport, Queensland, for telephone exchange and postal purposes.

Plans and estimates for the erection of this building have been prepared by the Department of Works and Housing at the request of the Postmaster-General’s Department which has stated that the existing facilities are outmoded and overcrowded. The building will be a twostory brick structure faced with local bricks over a concrete frame. The estimated cost of the complete project is £193,100, and the first stage is estimated to cost £124,600. I lay on the table the plans of the proposed building and recommend that it be referred to the committee for investigation and report.

Dr Evatt:

– The Opposition raises no objection to this proposal.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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Reference to Public Works committee.


by leave - I move -

That, in accordance with the provisions of the Commonwealth Public Works Committee Act 1913-1047, the following proposed work be referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works for investigation and report, viz.:- The erection of a building in St. John’sstreet, Launceston, for telephone exchange and other purposes.

On the 7th December, 1950, the House referred this project to the committee for examination and report,but as the committee had not commenced its examination prior to the dissolution of the Nineteenth Parliament, it is neces sary, in accordancewith established procedure, again to seek the approval of the House to the reference of the project to the committee for investigation and report. The estimated cost of the project when it was last before the House was given at £657,700, but as over six months has elapsed since that estimate was prepared the project has been re-estimated to cost £710,000. I lay on the table the plans of the proposed building and recommend that it be referred to the committee for investigation and report.

Dr Evatt:

– The Opposition supports this proposal.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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Second Reading

Debate resumed from 11th July (vide page 1446), on motion by Mr. Menzies -

That the bill be now read a second time.

Mr.EGGINS (Lyne) [11.8] . -This bill relates to defence preparations during the present national emergency. In order to . remind the people of the nature of that emergency I shall read the first two recitals in the bill. They are as follows : -

Whereas Australia, in common with the United Kingdom, the United States of America and other nations associated with Australia in the British Commonwealth of Nations and in the United Nations, is pledged to support collective action for resisting international aggression :

And whereas, in the opinion of the Parliament and of the Government of the Commonwealth, there exists a state of international emergency in which it is essential that preparations for defence should be immediately made to an extent, and with a degree of urgency, not hitherto necessary except in time of war:

The first recital indicates that the proposals contained in the bill are in line with action which other democracies are taking at present and the second indicates the exceptional circumstances that call for urgent action in relation to the problems that now confront Australia and the other democracies.

The principal object of the measure is stated in clause 4, which reads - (1.) The Governor-General may make regulations for or in relation to defence preparations. (2.) The regulations which may be made under the last preceding sub-section include, without limiting the generality of the power to make regulations conferred by that subsection, regulations for or in relation to -

  1. the expansion of the capacity of Australia to produce or manufacture goods, or to provide service, for the purposes of defence preparations or for the purpose of enabling the economy of Australia to meet the probable demands upon it in the event of war; (b)the diversion and control of resources (including money, materials and facilities) for the purposes of defence preparations ;
  2. the adjustment of the economy of Australia to meet the threat of war or the avoidance or reduction of economic dis-. location or instability caused by or impeding, defence preparations; and
  3. measures to secure the maintenance and sustenance of the people of Australia in the event of war or to contribute towards the maintenance and sustenance of the people of countries associated with Australia in defence preparations. (3.) Nothing in this section authorizes the making of regulations -
  4. imposing taxation;
  5. with respect to the borrowing of oney on the public credit of the Commonwealth ;
  6. for or in relation to the compulsory direction of labour; or
  7. imposing any form of, or extending any existing obligation to render, compulsory naval, military or airforce service.

I have quoted that clause in order to place the main provisions of the bill clearly before the people and to dissipate any misunderstanding that may have arisen as the result of the efforts that honorable members opposite have made to cause confusion of thought among the people on this matter. To-day, Australia is faced with a responsibility that is without precedent in the history of this country in a time of peace. At present our man-power is overstrained. In spite of the arrival of thousands of immigrants in Australia in recent years our main industries are lamentably short of man-power, and we have no reserves of productive capacity. We have not yet been able to overtake arrears of maintenance work on our transport systems. It has not been possible for the States to restore their various railway systems which carried on so magnificently during World War II., and suffered so seriously as the result of handling abnormally heavy traffic under war conditions. Without an effective transport system the country will not bc able to meet its obligations in full. Yet, never before in the history of motor transport have our roads been reduced to such a deplorable state of disrepair as they are in at ‘present. We shall not be able to cope effectively with that problem until our railway systems are enabled to relieve the roads of the present heavy traffic that passes over them, which they would not normally be called upon to carry. The Government is faced with the urgent responsibility of restoring the efficiency of our transport systems in order to enable the nation to meet effectively the emergency that now confronts us. That task will involve prompt and determined action by not only the Australian Government, but also the State governments.

The large-scale immigration programme imposes upon Australia an unparallel responsibility. We all realize the need to increase our population rapidly, and, in order to achieve that purpose, we must bring here hundreds of thousands of persons from other countries, but particularly from English-speaking countries. . Their skills in various trades and callings will enable us to accelerate the development of our resources. However, the arrival of a large number of immigrants imposes a considerable strain upon our economy. The Commonwealth and the States have urgent developmental programmes that must be undertaken if Australia is to give a good account of itself in the sphere of production.

Another reason for such an upsurge of activity in this country is that the Labour Government was defeated in 1949, when the people returned to office a Liberal-Australian Country party Government, the main principle of which is the encouragement of private enterprise. Since that time, so far as the national economy has permitted, definite attempts have been made in many channels of activity to accomplish some of the things that were not even attempted previously because of a lack of confidence in th6 Labour Government. Such an upsurge of activity also gives rise to problems that must be resolved so far as is practicable.

The Government also has a responsibility to meet the urgent requirements for defence, and those preparations will involve an expenditure of not less than £200,000,000. The House will not know the exact figure until the Treasurer (‘Sir Arthur Fadden) presents his budget later this year, but defence preparations are a serious responsibility, and must make heavy demands upon the economy. Obviously there must be an. organized effort, otherwise little will be accomplished, because a scramble will take place to attempt all jobs, and none may be completed satisfactorily.

Australia is also suffering from the current world-wide inflationary conditions. Inflation, which presents a serious threat to the stability of our economy, is caused by huge expenditures on defence preparations and works programmes, and by the extraordinarily high returns from the sale of our primary products abroad without a corresponding supply of consumer goods. Our major responsibility, perhaps, is to increase, by organized effort, the production of food. At the outbreak of World War II., in 1939, Australia had considerable surpluses of most foodstuffs; but to-day Ave are struggling to supply the needs of our own people. As the democracies make defence preparations, Australia is allotted the task of making a substantial contribution on the food producing front. The Government must prepare to meet all those responsibilities. First things must be placed first, so that our economy may not be strained unduly, and results may be achieved. Should the Government shirk its responsibilities, every one will be trying to do something, and important jobs will not be completed.

The Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt), in a series of sweeping charges and statements, accused the Government and its supporters of having repudiated their pre-election promises in 1949, when we expressed our determination to abolish unnecessary economic controls. A stranger who listened to the speech of the right honorable gentleman could have been excused if he had thought that the Government proposed to introduce hundreds of new controls forthwith. In order .that the problems to which I have referred may be dealt with, there will merely need to be the organized control of certain fundamental materials in a sane and balanced manner. It is not suggested that the Government will flood the country with hundreds of regulations for the purpose of controlling a wide range of activities. The Leader of the Opposition, in his eagerness to emphasize that Government supporters had repudiated their pre-election promise, overlooked the fact that we were given a clear mandate by the people a few months ago to carry out this policy of defence preparations. The Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies), in his policy speech on the 3rd April last, said - ‘i the new Parliament we will bring down a Defence Preparations Bill to institute such needed controls as may be thought to be within the limit of the Commonwealth Constitution. We do not propose to rush into controls-

That statement emphasizes what I have already said -

We have an instinctive dislike for them: We do not believe that Canberra can run things better than Brisbane or Perth. They will be adopted only if emergency renders them necessary for the protection of our people.

The Australian people gave to this Government an overwhelming mandate to prepare for defence. Indeed, that mandate was granted by such an extraordinarily large number of people in Queensland and Western Australia that the deadlock that had existed between the House of

Representatives and the Senate was resolved. The people showed clearly that they recognized that the economic ills of the country required specific cures, and, therefore, the Government waa given authority to take the requisite action at the earliest possible date. But the necessary controls cannot be introduced without affecting certain people or interests. Our principal responsibility, as members of the Parliament, is to give a lead to the public, so long as we are satisfied in our own minds that the proposals of the Government in this respect are the best way in which to deal with the problem. It is not suggested that any one has the perfect answer, but the Government is at least tackling its responsibilities, and wo believe that the action along the lines proposed by this legislation will do more to promote organized progress than a policy of laisser- faire. The people know that Government supporters will not tolerate bureaucratic controls. The Prime Minister has indicated, by his actions during the last eighteen months as well as during the early part of World War II., the manner in which he will deal with the problems. Already he has called to the aid of the Government representatives of industry who, in co-operation with the most competent and experienced officers of the Public Services of the Commonwealth and the States, will apply their minds to the tasks that must be undertaken. That demonstrates that the Government is firmly determined to organize an efficient all-out effort to prepare for defence and, at the same time, to strengthen the nation’s economy. The people have a clear guarantee that they will not be subjected to bureaucratic control of the kind that was imposed upon them during the war under a socialist regime. They should realize that the wartime controls under which they suffered were drafted by a Labour government, which took advantage of the emergency situation in order to advance its socialistic objectives as much as possible. The situation to-day is entirely different, and they can rest assured that there will not be a repetition of those war-time conditions.

The Leader of the Opposition tried to convince the House and the people that there were grave doubts about the validity of the bill. I shall not discuss his arguments, but I point out that the Government has been guided by the advice of highly competent legal experts. If the Leader of the Opposition would only devote as much time to dealing with the problems of defence and national development as he has devoted to his efforts to throw out a legal smokescreen, he would do a far greater service to the country than he is doing now. He complained that the Government had not presented a specific programme to the Parliament. Obviously, a detailed programme cannot be prepared until the Government, aided by the representatives of the industries that will be vitally concerned with our defence preparations, has been able to study all aspects of the problems that will arise from this legislation. It is idle to suggest that a thorough programme could be prepared at this stage. History appears to be repeating itself on this issue. When previous governments endeavoured to prepare Australia’s defences prior to 1939, the Labour Opposition of that period withheld its co-operation, as the record of debates in Hansard clearly shows. But, when the Labour party came to power in 1941, many of its members freely criticized the alleged shortcomings of previous governments. It stands to the credit of the late Mr. Curtin that he gave the lie direct to those critics and clearly stated that the Lyons Government before the war and the Menzies and Fadden administrations in the early stages of the war had done magnificent work in organizing Australia’s defences. This Government plans to emulate those achievements. The Leader of the Opposition talked about a false war scare, but he could not disguise the fact that democracies throughout the world are in serious danger. It is far better to work on the basis of safety and to prepare our defences thoroughly now than to take any risks in the present world situation.

My sincerest hope is that, when we have carried out the Government’s plans to safeguard the nation, there will be no war. But we must insure against the contingency of aggression. Only recently, to our great .satisfaction, the Government was able to . conclude a Pacific pact with the Governments of the United (States of America and New Zealand. That was a fine achievement, but it involves certain responsibilities. We have no right to expect a powerful country like the United States of America to organize all its resources in our common interests unless we are prepared to do our best too. We should be failing in our duty if we did not equal at least the average individual American effort. Nobody approves of the bill with any great degree of pleasure. We support it whole-heartedly merely because we recognize the magnitude of our responsibilities and appreciate the necessity for the Government’s programme. Preparation for defence does not involve merely the manufacture of guns, aircraft and other equipment of war. It involves also the strengthening of our economy and the undertaking of major developmental .works. Even though such projects may be regarded now as defence measures, they will in fact contribute to national development in a way that would be highly desirable in normal times. They will provide the country with valuable assets.

Never in our history have we been faced with such complex economic problems as those that confront us to-day. The extraordinarily high level of our income from exports has caused much of our difficulty, and the situation has been aggravated by the inadequacy of our industrial production. It is essential that we get full value from the 40-hour working week. Otherwise we shall not be able to meet the demands of the present situation. In recent years we have been able to obtain manufactured goods and heavy equipment, as well as basic commodities like steel, from the United Kingdom, France and .other countries, but the great efforts that those nations are now making to strengthen their own defences will prevent them from continuing to release large quantities of such items for Australia’s use. Therefore, we shall be forced to rely to a great degree upon our own resources, and every effort must be made to increase our productive efficiency. For that reason we must accept a measure of direction from the Government. [Quorum formed.] The honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) is well known for his efforts to take up the time of honorable members who address this House. That was his purpose in calling for a quorum. In the time left to me, I want to say that the Parliament and the people must have confidence in the Executive of this nation. The Government has information regarding the threat to the country that cannot be made available to everybody. The Government has asked the Parliament and the country to accept proposals that correspond with measures that have been taken by the Governments of the United Kingdom, United States of America and Canada. It is the wish of the Government to organize the industries of this country so that an organized attack may be made on the problems that face this nation. Unless that is done we shall fail in our defence effort and fail to deal with the problem of inflation.


.- After having been a member of this House for a month, I am still somewhat bewildered by the passage of important legislation involving millions of pounds through this House as though it was on a mechanical carriage, without any opportunity having been given for its consideration by honorable members. That is the way in which this most important Defence Preparations Bill was dealt with last night after it had been decided to deal with it as a matter of urgency. I have found that I have one point in common with all honorable members in this House. I do not think there is any honorable member who would not use his very best efforts in the defence of Australia. During the recent war many honorable members did give their services and others supplied the material and labour that were required to carry on that war. “We all are prepared to act in unison so far as the defence of Australia is concerned.

When I was a young man I took an active part in boxing, but I did not walk round, day by day, in an attitude of defence. I adopted an attitude of defence only when I faced an opponent in the ring. In view of the fact that Australia has just declared the existence of a state of peace with Germany and is about to sign a peace pact with Japan, and that the United Nations organization is negotiating a peace in Korea, is it the intention of the Government to defend Australia against New Caledonia? Where is the enemy against which we must prepare? Do honorable members say that the enemy is Russia i I am speaking of defence, not aggression. Russia is not in a geographical position to attack Australia. In my opinion this bill has been introduced with the object of regimenting the people of Australia and its industries. When the last war broke out a previous government sent an Australian division to Singapore. Ti sent three divisions to Africa and left Australia absolutely bare of defences. It is a similar government that has now introduced this defence bill. If a Labour government had not taken over from that Government our soldiers would have been overseas in 1941 and Australia would now be in enemy hands. The Eighth Division was sent to Singapore. For many years authorities had guaranteed that Singapore absolutely safeguarded the Malayan area. Yet the Eighth Division and British soldiers were captured by the Japanese because there was no possibility of their being able to offer effective resistance.. The late Mr. J. Curtin called back the Sixth, Seventh and Ninth Divisions from, the Middle East and appealed to America for assistance. He was told by some qf our friends overseas that he was disloyal to the Empire. “ The fellow was a traitor “. In Australia, it was said by certain people that he was disloyal to the Empire - that he was cutting the painter. If those divisions -had not been recalled honorable members would not be holding this debate this morning. I happened to be in north Queensland and saw the Sixth and Seventh Divisions arrive.

Mr. Bowden

– Order! I think that if the honorable member would deal with the bill before the House we might get somewhere.


– If one does not study history one cannot discuss any subject. If history were not referred to by honorable members in the course of their speeches there could be no debate in this House. Any person must study history if he is to form an intelligent opinion of current events.


– Order! There is no opposition from the Chair to any honorable member dealing with history or making a passing reference to it, but the whole speech cannot be made about past events.


– I intend to relate my remarks to the bill before the House. 1 intend to bring it up to date and connect it with the bill. But one cannot just get up and advance a bare argument. It is necessary to develop the argument and lay some foundation for it.


– But the honorable member should connect his argument with the bill and not make his speech all foundation for an argument.


– As a member of the Queensland Government of which Mr. Forgan Smith was Premier, I know that we received a notification from Lieutenant-General Northcott to shift the seat of government from Brisbane.


– What was the date of that request?


– The honorable member can find out for himself. It occurred when the Menzies” Government was in power. Lieutenant-General Northcott was then in command of the northern part of Australia. The Premier of Queensland told him that Queensland was a sovereign State and that he would not shift the seat of government. He also told Lieutenant-General Northcott that he considered that that officer did not have the military power to direct the removal of the Queensland seat of government. So the Queensland Government would not shift the seat of government until the Japanese were a lot closer to Australia than they were then. That notification from LieutenantGeneral Northcott was based on a report made by Lord Kitchener in 1910, when the population of Australia numbered fewer than 5,000,000 people and Queensland’s population numbered only 300,000 people. Before World War I. there might have been some justification for the abandonment of the northern part of Australia in the event of danger, but “in 1940, when our population numbered more than 7,000,000 -people, and when big industries had been developed in Queensland on which were based a great many of our war activities, the proposal to abandon Queensland was definitely a major blunder. All our thoroughly trained and fully equipped fighting men were in the Middle East or in Singapore and Australia was left absolutely bare of defence. The Sixth and Seventh Divisions of the Australian Imperial Force were thrown immediately into the fight in New Guinea. The Ninth Division, which fought in the battle of El Alamein, returned to Australian and, after having been trained in jungle warfare and barge landing in North Queensland, went to New Guinea. In the meantime the Allied Works Council had taken over the work that I had controlled as Minister in charge of main roads in Queensland, and built two 7,000-feet airstrips,which were cleared, formed and sprayed with molasses. Preparations were so far behind that bitumen was not available for the surfacing of those airstrips, and flying fortresses had to land on surfaces made of molasses. The necessary bitumen became available later and was laid by men working round the clock on the two airstrips and on the big aerodrome at Mareeba. Incidentally, bombers operating from Mareeba, Charters Towers and Garbutt Siding during the Coral Sea Battle, in which the Japanese had naval superiority, accounted for some of the major fleet units of the Japanese Navy and the Japanese retired from the fight. We had some soldiers in Townsville when the bulk of our fighting men was mostly over in the Middle East, but there were not sufficient arms to equip them and they were withdrawn. Australia was saved from invasion at that time by either luck or Divine Providence, because we were absolutely defenceless when the Japanese took Singapore. So I say that whatever Ave may do about sending our men overseas to assist Great Britain or other allied nations, we should always maintain here in Australia an adequate force for the defence of this country. ‘ In the great wars in which we have taken part overseas, we have always supplied more men in proportion to our population than has any other country that took part in them.

Australians were always used as shock troops in those wars. The Australian soldier has proved himself to be one of the greatest fighters the world has ever known, and the reason is that Australians have had more independence and a better standard of living than people of other countries have had.


– -Order! The honorable gentleman has roamed enough. If he will now come back to the bill we shall get on very happily.


– This bill will give power to the Government to make regulations for the conscription of men. Under it the Government will be able to declare that certain commodities are essential and that certain other commodities are not essential. I have not the slightest doubt that the declaration of which commodities are essential and which are not will be such as will suit the interests of the big monopolies. I am convinced that under the regulations small businesses and small businessmen will be definitely crushed out of existence. I am also convinced, from experience, that the powers provided for in the measure will be delegated to the Cabinet, and that the -regulations made under the bill will not be brought before the Parliament for discussion. The power to make regulations will be handed over to public servants, who will become little bureaucrats and will be able to do what they like to abridge the independence of the Australian people. The bill will possibly lead to a worse form of dictatorship and bureaucracy than has been proposed by any other bill ever brought before the Parliament. It represents an immense danger to the independence and standard of living of the Australian people. It contains also the seed of another danger. Last week, when I was travelling in a bus in Canberra, I saw in it half a dozen young vigorous new Australians and two young Australians in uniform riding as passengers. While Australians of British stock are fighting, rightly or wrongly, in the defence of this country, and whilst under our immigration scheme we are getting types such as we are alleged to have received from abroad during the last few weeks - some of the dregs of Europe - Australia could be destroyed by the loss of British standards. That can be done by the indiscriminate entry of thousands of immigrants who are not of the type who should be allowed to settle in Australia. Most of those who emigrate to Australia are of a very good type, but I have read articles in the press which have described the living standards of two boat-loads of immigrants who have arrived in Australia as being on a level with those of animals, or but slightly higher. It has been said that such people have no knowledge of ordinary sanitation and hygiene, and that they obviously could not become, good Australians. Perhaps such people will become charges on our hospitals and lunatic asylums in the future, and increase and multiply while our own Australians of good British stock gradually become decimated by war while defending the country. Therefore, it will be seen that such unrestricted immigration may destroy Australia.

If Australia were involved in a worldwide conflict, great powers would have to be given to the Government so that the greatest possible efficiency could be achieved in the prosecution of the war. Our fighting services and all their ancillary services would of necessity have to be kept at their most efficient pitch. To-day we are not actually engaged in war, and it would be much better if the money and energy to be used under this measure were applied to the peacetimedevelopment of Australia rather than to military purposes. If Australia were developed along the lines of peace-time requirements, then when war came we should be in a much stronger and better position effectively to prosecute it. Another advantage of developing the country now is that in the future, even if there is no war, the money and energy will not have been wasted. If there is a war the national development of thecountry will be of enormous value, and if there is not a war it will be of the same value. The honorable member for Lyne (Mr. Eggins)” spoke about production. Before the war we had a large volume of trade with Japan,. China, India, and many European countries. To-day, our trade with those countries is a mere trickle. Indeed, we obtain from England only the exports that America does not want. This indicates that as well as being self-sufficient in primary industries Australia is now almost self-sufficient in secondary industries. Point is added to my argument by the fact that much of the money paid by England for the goods imported from Australia has not been used by Australia but remains locked up in our sterling funds in London. I do not think that I should be leaving the subjectmatter of the bill if I-

Mr Treloar:

– The honorable member has not been on it yet.


– The honorable member’s interjection has no effect on me because no doubt his standard of intelligence is not high enough for him to express an intelligent opinion.


– Order !


– Some years ago the University of Cambridge in England held a competition among its members and exmembers for the best poem about Australia. A certain Australian named Wentworth, no doubt an ancestor of the honorable member of that name in this House, had been a student at the university and he wrote a poem for the competition. Another gentleman who had never left England also wrote a poem. Although Mr. Wentworths poem was judged by the critics to be the better poetry, nevertheless he lost the competition because he suggested in the poem that Australia would become the centre of the British Empire. His English opponent’s poem dealt with the poor convicts looking with weeping eyes at the receding shores of England. It quite overlooked the fact that when convict ships left England, the convicts were not deck pasengers, they were in the holds’. But I suggest that Mr. Wentworth’s poem was prophetic. I believe that this country has the capacity to become the centre of the British Empire.

The honorable member for Angas (Mr. Downer) mentioned the enormous amount of money that is being expended on defence by Great Britain. That is quite understandable, because owing to the development of long-range weapons, including aircraft, Britain is to-day in a particularly vulnerable position. Great Britain is a group of small islands very thickly populated, and is most vulnerable to an attack by atom bombs. Therefore, it is quite understandable that Britain should spend as much money as it can afford and devote as much energy as it can afford to evolving methods of defending such a vulnerable target. Australia is not in anything like the same strategically vulnerable position as Great Britain. I suggest that considering the relative geographical positions of Great Britain and Australia, under no circumstances could it be expected that Australia should spend the same relative amount of money and energy on defence as is being spent by the Motherland. Although it - is’ difficult to estimate the destructive range of an atom bomb, I believe that Australia, owing to its huge area, is not as vulnerable to attack by atomic weapons as is Great Britain. Given the assistance of British military and industrial knowledge, we could devise effective methods of defence against such an attack. The Government, in administering this measure, must not make the mistakes of the past. It must ensure that our armed services will be supplied with modern scientific and military equipment and will be trained in modern methods of warfare. When I watched the march-past of servicemen during the recent jubilee celebrations in this city, I wondered whether some of the spectators were thinking of the days of the Boar War and of similar marches then by soldiers with rifles and bayonets on their shoulders. Our potential enemies have modern equipment and their forces have been trained in modern methods of warfare. It is essential that our forces should be similarly trained and equipped. The development and provision of the equipment will be a task not so much for our military experts as for our engineers. Service leaders have a tendency to live in the past. If a soldier has fought in a major war, he is apt to become wedded to the methods of warfare that were used in that conflict and to be slow to adapt his ideas to modern developments.

Mr. ACTING DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr. McDonald).- Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.


– I must admit that I encountered some difficulty in following the honorable member for Leichhardt (Mr. Bruce) in his ramblings through history. On the occasions when the honorable gentleman’s remarks were relevant to the bill, I understood him to say that he disputed the necessity for it, on the ground than Australia was not immediately threatened by an external aggressor. That is a matter of opinion. At the last general election, the people of Australia took the view that the present crisis was sufficiently urgent to require the return of this Government with a clear mandate to take strong and definite action to put the country in a state of preparedness. In case there is any uncertainty in the minds of honorable gentlemen opposite about whether, during the election campaign, the Government parties stated clearly to the people of Australia what they intended to do in regard to this matter, let me remind the House of what the Prime Minister (Mr.. Menzies) said in his policy speech. The right honorable gentleman made the following statement : -

In the new Parliament we will bring down a Defence Preparations Bill to institute such immediate controls as may he thought to be within the limits of the Commonwealth Constitution. We do not propose to rush into controls. We have an instinctive dislike for them. We do not believe that Canberra can run things .better than Brisbane or Perth. They will be adopted only if emergency renders them necessary for the protection of our people.

The history of government by regulation in this country is rather interesting. The turn of the wheel of political fortune has rendered it necessary for all major political parties in this country to resort on some occasions to a substantial degree of government by regulation. All people who are steeped in the parliamentary tradition deplore that method of government, but, in times of emergency, it is absolutely necessary for the government of the day to have power to make regulations.

Mr Curtin:

– The honorable gentleman did not say that before the general election.


– The musical voice of the honorable member for “Watson (Mr. Curtin) regularly punctuates debates in this chamber. On this occasion, the attractive quality of his voice is matched only by the intelligence and relevance of his remarks.

Mr Curtin:

– The honorable gentleman did not say it before the general election.


– When we hear a repetition of such braying-

Mr Curtin:

– Just give me the answer. That is all I want.


– I do not know whether the honorable member wants me to quote again the clear and definite statement that was made by the Prime Minister, on behalf of the Government parties, that he intended to introduce a defence preparations bill to institute needed controls. I cannot put that statement into words of one syllable for the benefit of the honorable gentleman. Even if I could do so, I doubt whether he would understand it. As I was saying before I was so courteously interrupted, government by regulation is deplored by all parties represented in this House, but each party, when it has been in power in a time of emergency, has been forced to resort to that form of government. In 1939, the present Prime Minister sponsored the National Security Act, under which powers were given to the government to make regulations. Those powers were as wide as, or even wider than, those that are sought now. Some very remarkable statements were made in the course of the debate on that bill. The honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) said -

Tn no circumstances would I agree to the proposals contained in this measure, but as members of the Opposition, and, indeed, the majority of the people, do not trust the present Government, I am particularly anxious to register my opposition.

In 1939, the honorable gentleman said that in no circumstances would he agree to government by regulation, but not very long afterwards he was a member of a government that promulgated many regulations. As hs was a member of that Cabinet we must conclude that he approves of government by regulation in a time of war. Australia was at war in 1939 when the National Security Act was passed. In 1946, with Labour in office, the present Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt), -who was then Attorney-General, introduced the Defence (Transitional Provisions) Bill. That measure provided for power to make obnoxious regulations of the kind against which Labour warned the country when it was in Opposition in 1939. The Defence (Transitional Provisions) Act 1946 provided substantially for the same things that are provided for under the measure now before the House. At that time the right honorable gentleman realized clearly that such a measure was necessary to enable the Government gradually to slow down from the tempo of war to that of peace. It is rather interesting to note that in his second-reading speech on that measure the right honorable gentleman employed language which was similar to that which the Prime Minister used in introducing this measure and which he now as Leader of the Opposition so vehemently attacks. When introducing the Defence (Transitional Provisions) Bill in 1946 the present Leader of the Opposition said -

The key group is that network of economic controls which keeps inflationary pressure upon prices and costs in check, and consequently ensures not only justice as between persons but also a flow of resources as far as possible to essential rather than non-essential needs and in general preserves a balance within the economy under the abnormal stresses of the post-war transition.

Do not those words strike a familiar note, having regard to the language that the Prime Minister used in the course of his second-reading speech on this measure? If honorable members substitute the words “ defence preparations “ for the words “ post-war transition “ in the passage that I have quoted, they will see that the Prime Minister on this occasion has practically repeated the view that was put before the Parliament by the present Leader of the Opposition in 1946.

The actions of governments in the past in relation to crises that arose during their respective terms of office show clearly that all of them ruled out party political considerations in dealing with national emergencies and that, regardless of party, they had no alternative but to resort to extreme measures in order to deal with such emergencies. It is true that there are certain differences between this measure and the Defence (Transitional Provisions) Act 1946. The task of the Labour Government on the former occasion was considerably simplified because it had already in force thousands of regulations. The object of that act was merely to provide for the continuance of some of those regulations and the repeal of others. On this occasion the Government is confronted with the entire problem of starting afresh and gearing up the national economy to a speed made necessary to meet the threat of war. One cannot immediately attain high speed in a motor car from a standing start. Acceleration must be gradual. Likewise a driver of a motor car when travelling at a speed of 60 miles an hour cannot hope to stop within a few feet by suddenly applying his brakes. The national economy must be worked up gradually in order to meet any outbreak of hostilities.

I repeat that when the present Leader of the Opposition introduced the Defence (Transitional Provisions) Bill in 1946, his task was relatively easier than that which confronts the Government to-day. Whilst he was obliged only to select certain regulations that should be continued, the Government on this occasion does not know exactly what regulations it may find it necessary to issue from time to time. However, there can be no doubt about the existence of the necessity to give power under this measure to the Government to make such regulations. For that reason the bill is couched in the simplest and most general terms. Honorable members opposite have expressed doubt about the constitutional validity of this measure and also fears that the Government will exercise in a tyrannical way the power that it is seeking under the bill. Those two doubts virtually cancel each other out because the High Court invariably restricts the exercise of. regulationmaking power by any government.

Mr Tom Burke:

– If this measure is held to be valid, what then?


– Every regulation that may be made under this measure will be open at all times to be challenged in the High Court. The honorable member for Perth (Mr. Tom Burke) should be aware of that fact from his experience as a supporter of the Labour Government from 1946 to 1949. Whilst the High Court upheld the validity of the Defence (Transitional Provisions) Act 1946, neverthless it declared invalid certain regulations that were made under it. Similar reasoning can be applied to this measure. Honorable members who entertain any doubt upon that point should peruse the judgments of the court in respect of the validity of the Communist Party Dissolution Act. For instance, Mr. Justice Fullagar declared -

In a world of uncertainty and rapidly changing international situations it (defence power) may well be held to arise in some degree upon circumstances which full short of an immediate apprehension of war.

It is quite reasonable to assume that the Parliament would have power to pass a measure of this kind in order to meet a situation short of war. His Honour continued - 1 am not prepared to hold that nothing short of war cr an immediate threat of war can bring into play a fully extended defence power.

Mr. Justice Webb said ;

It is lawful to prepare for war and the extent to which such preparations should bc made is a matter of policy depending upon the judgment of Parliament. A Court is not at liberty and is not in any case qualified to revise that judgment of Parliament which would probably be made and properly so on materials not admissible in evidence.

Mr. Justice Dixon declared ;

The responsibility for the practical measures taken in order to protect the country must belong to the Executive.

That is a clear indication that the High Court will approve generally of legislation to empower the Government, that is the executive of the day, to govern by regulation. Mr. Justice Dixon added -

It is no doubt true that a mounting danger of hostilities before any outbreak of war. will suffice to extend the actual operation of the defence power as circumstances may appear to demand.

Mr. Justice McTiernan said ;

It is for Parliament to measure the emergency confronting the Commonwealth and to take the legislative measures required to meet it.

Thus, the judgments of the members of the High Court, the body which protects the liberty of the subject, show that the members of the Bench are fully seised of the necessity for the Government to have some power to make regulations in order to meet a crisis that might threaten the security of the country. At the same time, however, certain safeguards are provided for the protection of individuals who may be harshly affected by a regulation.

I am happy to note that although honorable members opposite have attacked this measure they have, at the same time, admitted the necessity for enabling the Government to provide for defence preparations. Their attitude on this occasion is refreshing compared with that which they adopted towards the problem of defence generally during the last general election campaign. In the main, the Opposition has based it3 attack not on specific provisions of the bill but on the possibility that the measure may be badly administered. Several safeguards that exist render that contention groundless. The first is that the Government has a political responsibility to the country. It realizes that the people will still have their say through the Parliament. Consequently, no supporter of the Government would deliberately support any action that he believed would be likely to lead to his defeat at the polls. That is an effective safeguard against the exercise of this power to make regulations that might be harsh or tyrannical. But honorable members opposite contend that the Government is certain to make such regulations. They do not admit the possibility that it would be likely to make reasonable regulations or administer the measure wisely.

Mr Tom Burke:

– We should like to be informed about what the Government intends to do.


– If the honorable member for Perth would read the bill carefully he would see that the general object of the bill is to impose priorities in order to strengthen the national economy in the interests of defence.

Mr Tom Burke:

– We do not like the term “ general “.


– If the honorable member were a member of the Government he could not possibly forecast every situation that will arise during the next few years particularly in the international sphere and in respect of supplies of materials. The. fears that honorable members opposite have expressed are entirely groundless. They are unreasonable in their insistence that the Government should detail to the House what will happen during the next two years. I shall repeat that all the ordinary safeguards under our parliamentary system will continue in respect of government by regulation. The first of these is that our people, steeped in the parliamentary tradition, traditionally dislike government by regulation. There is also the political safeguard. Every government realizes that it cannot expect to remain in office if it issues unnecessary or unduly oppressive regulations. A further protection is provided by the High Court of Australia, which is able to scrutinize regulations that are made from time to time. Finally, protection is afforded by this Parliament, because regulations must he laid upon the table, and may be challenged by honorable members. Therefore, the fears that have been expressed by Opposition members about the provisions of this bill are mainly groundless. Unless those honorable gentlemen can find more substantial grounds for attacking this legislation than suppositions that it will be abused and badly administered, they have a poor case.

The honorable member for Leichhardt questioned whether defence preparations were necessary. ‘ I remind him that during the last general election campaign, members of the Liberal party and of the Australian Country party made it clear that the international situation was so serious that Australia must prepare for war, and- that we were determined, if returned to office, to undertake those preparations. Opposition members told the electors that we were warmongers and were deliberately trying to cause war hysteria. I am pleasantly astonished, and most gratified, to discover that Opposition members, in this House at any rate, express the view that, in general, some preparation for defence is necessary. The honorable member for Leichhardt struck a discordant note in that respect. He seemed to suggest that, because Australia was in no immediate danger of attack, we should not worry about defence. He asked who was likely to attack us. he said, in effect, “ Australia has just terminated the state of war with Germany, and a peace treaty is about to be signed with Japan. “We need not worry. We are all right here If such a view were correct, it would be very comforting. But it is not correct. Let us be realistic in this matter. Attention has been directed to the fact that the world is divided into two opposing camps. Whether we like it or not we are in the camp of the Western democracies, and Russia and its satellites are opposed to us and are exerting steady and increasing pressure upon us. Such a state has existed since 1945, and it is becoming increasingly evident that our fate is inextricably bound up with that of Hie Western democracies. How long could we survive if Russia, on the one hand, and the United States of America and the United Kingdom on the other baud, became involved in war in Europe, and the two democratic countries were defeated? I’ speak of our survival, quite apart from our obligations as a member of the United Nations and of the British Commonwealth, and under various treaties. This matter is one of national survival, and, on a reversal of the usual formula of one-out-all-out, which is so familiar to Opposition members, I claim that it is a matter of one-in-all-in from the standpoint of national survival. The honorable member for Leichhardt is completely unreal in his approach to the problem of defence.

I desire to remind honorable members that there is an acceptance by all the countries with which we are traditionally and in fact allied, of the urgent need to prepare for defence. Last year, I was privileged to attend in New Zealand the conference of representatives of the parliaments of the Commonwealth of Nations. The debates at ‘that conference were conducted upon a non-party basis by the representatives of forty-five parliaments. All political parties were represented, and honorable members who attended those meetings will agree with me when I say that the feature which stood out above all others was the complete awareness of the urgency of the international situation. A few weeks later, the delegates to that conference met in Canberra, and our deliberations were attended on that occasion by some members of the United States Congress. Defence and foreign affairs were again discussed, and the outstanding feature of those debates was again the complete awareness of the representatives of all political parties of the urgency to prepare our defences. Australia fits in to the democratic plan. We must accept the general consensus of opinion that the matter is urgent. We must play our part, and take measures in conformity with the urgency. There is no alternative. We must gear our efforts quickly for defence, and the only way in which that can be done is for the Government to take power to make regulations from time to time as the necessity arises to do so.

I need only mention certain matters such as the allocation of materials. As every, honorable members knows. Australia is negotiating with other countries for the purpose of obtaining its share of scarce materials. Our requests to those countries are based upon the requirements of our defence programme. How can we support those requests if we say to the United States of America, where strict controls are in operation, or to the United Kingdom, where war-time controls have never been relaxed, “ We do not worry about defence preparations. The competition for materials is an open go.” We cannot adopt that attitude with the United States of America and the United Kingdom when we ask for an allocation of sulphur and tinplate. We must obtain supplies of those materials as defence as well as an economic necessity..


-(Hon. Archie Cameron) . - Order ! The honorable member has exhausted his time.


.- This extraordinary bill has been received by the people of Australia with feelings of great astonishment. Indeed, the measure has even astonished Government supporters.


– Has not the honorable gentleman read the policy speech which the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) delivered during the last election campaign?


– Government supporters and many other people distinctly remember the policy speech that was delivered by the present Prime Minister during the general election campaign in 1949. The right honorable gentleman at that timeattacked the continuation of government controls, and said -

We must choose our road. Upon our decision will depend the future and fate of this nation. Every extension of Government power and control means less freedom of choice for the citizen. Government activities are monopolist. Monopolies exclude choice. No choice for the producer. No choice for the employee. No choice for the customer. The abolition of choice is the death of freedom.

If this bill does nothing else, it will make the power of monopolies more secure than it is even at the moment, because it will certainly freeze out of business hundreds, and indeed thousands, of small enterprises. I am filled with amazement at this legislation when I recall the vociferous declarations which were made by members of the Liberal party and of the Australian Country party, when they were in Opposition, about the evils of continuing war-time controls in peacetime. Gilbert and Sullivan did not conceive anything so humourous as the effect that the introduction of this bill has had on the minds of Government supporters. Honorable gentlemen opposite have literally somersaulted overnight. Even during World War II. they vigorously opposed the implementation of many controls. The pages of Hansard are studded with the reports of their bitter opposition to government by regulation. After the conclusion of World War II., they perambulated through Australia and pushed their wares labelled “No controls” before the eyes of the public. Therefore, it is not difficult to realize why Government supporters were dumbfounded when the Prime Minister introduced this bill last week.

The Opposition would, not have been astonished had the right honorable gentleman introduced a measure to prepare Australia, for Avar, but this legislation is a complete negation of the principles that the Liberal party and the Australian Country party openly espoused for many years. I, in common with many other people in the community, have grave doubts about the validity of the bill. I am not prepared to argue the case on legal grounds, because I am not a lawyer, but it is sufficient to say that a number of the Government’s erstwhile friends also regard the legislation as unconstitutional. The Director of the Federal Secretariat of the Associated Chambers of Manufactures of Australia has openly stated in the press that the members of that body will certainly challenge the validity of this measure in the High Court of Australia.

I, personally, have grave doubts about the sincerity of the Government relative to this bill. I am disposed to think that it has been, introduced because a referendum will be held shortly upon another matter, and the Government intends to try to convince the people that the Labour party has no love for Australia, because it is opposed to the. referendum and to the ; defence Preparations Bill 1951. The Labour party is not opposed to measures to provide for the adequate defence of this country, but it is opposed to the provisions of this bill, which are contrary to the principles of democracy and freedom..

It is safe to say that the principles which are embodied in this bill have not hitherto been sought by an Australian Government, except in war-time. For that reason, the Government should have allowed ample time for a discussion of ji.11 the aspects and. implications of the measure, yet it is to be rushed through the House in 24 hours. The bill is important because it provides for the compulsory control of the resources of the nation, including men, materials, money and facilities. The Government will be able, by means of regulations, to control an almost unlimited range of industrial and commercial activities. Such a far-reaching bill should be considered by the Parliament for at least a month, because it opens up a vista of almost unlimited possibilities. It may have -dire results for certain sections of the Australian economy. Every branch of commerce and industry could be seriously affected by it. The scope of the bill is too wide, because its provisions may be applied to all, and not only to particular industries. A blanket, in effect, will be thrown over the whole of Australian industry. It may be said with justification that certain industries should be specified in a bill of this kind because of the seriousness of the international situation and the ‘intentions of the Government to prepare for war, but all sections of Australian industry, even those which have not the slightest connexion with defence, will come within the scope of the legislation.

Sitting suspended from 12.1fi to 2.15 p.m.


– The detrimental effects that this bill will have upon industry are not difficult to envisage. The managements of enterprises, both great and small, will become a prey to doubts and uncertainty because they will realize that the destinies of their businesses will be lit the mercy of all sorts of individuals who may be empowered to make orders under the terms of the bill. The bill does not state who will be entrusted with these powers. A board will make recommendations to the Government, but the membership of the board remains open to conjecture as yet. We do not know whether its members will possess suitable qualifications for the onerous responsibilities that they will be called upon to shoulder. Only one body should be charged with the responsibility of placing the country in an adequate state of defence preparedness, and that body is this Parliament. The Government proposes to transfer from the Parliament to a group of individuals sweeping powers which, if unwisely used, could well dislocate the country’s industries. There is a. distinct possibility that the decisions of persons who are at present unknown to us will cause mischievous interference with industry and a consequent frustra-tion of enterprise. The result may be the reverse of what the Government wishes to achieve, and our situation in future may be much worse than it is now.

The Government has attempted to justify the bill on the ground that vast economic changes are made necessary by the present international emergency. We may or may not be at war within the next few years, but, this bill, which will come into operation, immediately it receives the Royal Assent, embodies some of the most criticized features of war-time controls. That is one reason why the Government should hasten very slowly in this matter. We have not hesitated to declare that we shall support any reasonable measures designed to strengthen Australia’s defences, but we join issue with the Government over the methods that it proposes to use for the purpose of preparing our defence programme. We contend that the system of government by regulation that is contemplated is entirely wrong in the present circumstances. We are not prepared to hand to the Government a blank cheque that could he used to acquire arbitrary authority over the every-day life of the community. There is general agreement in this House that our economy is in need of re-adjustment. The present economic trend, which the Government proposes to rectify by means of this measure, would never have developed had it honoured its obligation to the people and enacted a series of measures calculated to end the inflationary spiral. But the Government has consistently refused to take such action and has offered all sorts of excuses for its defection. An entire session of the Parliament ought to be devoted to the problems of inflation, and perhaps a dozen measures should be passed in order to deal with them. Had the Government followed that course of action and stabilized the economy, the necessity for this bill would never have arisen. A nasty dose of legislative medicine may have to be administered before the lopsided features of our economy can be cured. Such medicine can be compounded only by the Parliament and not by a group of unknown persons who have no direct responsibilities to the community. All discussions of the. means of correcting our economic ills should be conducted openly. The Parliament should make all effective decisions and should accept full responsibility for them. In the light of what has happened to the democratic system of government in many other countries, we should do everything possible to maintain the prestige of the Parliament in the eyes of the people. I contend, with all respect, that the enactment of the Government’s proposals will discredit parliamentary government in Australia.

The bill contains three principal features. The first is the proposal that the Parliament shall abdicate in favour of a board and thus evade its responsibilities.. That is a most dangerous provision. The second feature is the suggestion that the Parliament shall deliberately exclude itself from participation in the making or changing of economic policy for the purposes of defence preparations. That is most undesirable. The third is the suggestion that the Parliament shall govern only in a secondary degree, which would he objectionable to any selfgoverning community. Those three features are the very antithesis of democracy. The Parliament should play a part at all times in determining what changes, if any, should be effected to the economic organization of the country. The proposal that certain powers of government shall be delegated to a group of individuals whose names we do not know does not savour of wise democratic legislation.

What is the attitude of the Australian people to this bill! During World War II., the people as a whole acknowledged with reluctance the necessity for the Government to . vest in certain bodies the power to govern by regulation. At that time, the nation was fighting for its very existence. Therefore, although the inherent disabilities of governing by regulations were recognized, the average person agreed that the national danger justified the use of such administrative machinery. But nobody suggests that our present circumstances are parallel with those that existed during the greatest war that we have known. The two sets of conditions are not analogous. There will be plenty of time for the Parliament to meet and enact any legislation that may be necessary in the present emergency. We realize that safeguards are provided in existing legislation to cover the drafting and implementation of regulations. But those safeguards are more nominal than actual, and it is safe to assert that, under existing conditions, the people generally would prefer the Parliament to act on the matters that are to be the subject of regulations under this bill. For instance, if the bill becomes law, a regulation may be made in the dead of night by any Minister who can bring together a quorum of the Executive Council. Nobody would know what was being done until the regulation was gazetted, although it might affect the destinies of thousands of individuals in any industry or collection of industries. A section of the public might be kept in absolute ignorance of a measure that vitally affected its welfare until the proposal had become an accomplished fact. That might be justifiable in the face of a desperate assault upon the nation’s security, but such a state of affairs has not yet developed. In no circumstances other than those of the most dire national emergency should we delegate powers of such great importance to bodies that are not subject to the will of the people. Even in the most critical times the making of laws by the executive has always been suspect, although the practice has been tolerated of necessity. During World War II. supporters of the present Government parties cited numerous instances of the making of regulations that interfered with the rights of citizens in vital ways.

This amazing bill provides for the delegation of an extraordinarily wide range of powers to some authority outside the Parliament. It is true that this House can disallow a regulation after it has been made. But what would happen if an obnoxious regulation were promulgated after the House had gone into recess for a period of three or four months? Irreparable damage could be done to industries or to the interests of individuals before the House would have an opportunity to disallow the regulation. Such power is too dangerous to be placed in the hands of a few individuals in existing circumstances. If the Government wishes to deal effectively with the problems that confront it but is reluctant to hold a special session of the Parliament for the purpose of considering every conceivable issue that may arise in relation to its defence preparations, it could readily appoint parliamentary committees to supervise the making of regulations. We have only 24 hours in which to discuss this measure and it is not possible for us in that space of time to give it the detailed attention that it deserves. Many suggestions could be made for the improvement of the bill and, if the Government would allow us a longer period in which to debate it, we might be able to persuade it to effect many desirable changes. There is no guarantee that individuals who may be affected by the legislation will be allowed to state their views before the axe will fall upon them under the provisions qf some regulation. The powers that the Government proposes to take are of such vast proportions that a consideration of them almost leaves one breathless.

The power of life and death over countless business undertakings will reside in the Government, which will refer its authority to a mere handful of individuals, who may destroy the work of a lifetime merely with the stroke of a pen. I am sure that the powers that are dealt with in sub-clause (2.) of clause 4 have been noted with astonishment by everybody who has studied the bill. In a pathetic endeavour to dissipate the criticism that it anticipated, the Government inserted in sub-clause (3.) of the same clause a provision that the powers specified should not- include the making of regulations to impose taxation or in relation to the compulsory direction of labour, amongst other subjects. But a regulation could be gazetted to order, the diversion of materials for the Government’s purposes with the result that businesses could be ruined. The owners of such businesses, having been deprived of income, would not be in a position to worry about taxation. Also, by means of a diversion of materials the Government could throw thousands of workers on to the labour market. Men and women could be forced to accept uncongenial jobs by that means just as though they had been directed to them compulsorily. During World War II. the necessity for directing workers into certain avenues of employment in order that the nation could put forth the most efficient war effort possible was generally acknowledged by the people of Australia. The urgency of our danger then is not duplicated today.’ Yet a pernicious form of economic conscription may be surreptitiously forced upon us. Paragraph (d) of the sub-clause to which I have referred provides that the clause does not authorize the making of regulations to enforce any form of naval, military or air force service. But large numbers of men could be compelled, by economic pressure, to join the armed services as a result of the closing down of industries. The socalled safeguards with which the Government hopes to excuse its principal proposals will not hear strict examination.

The basis of the Labour party’s objection to the bill is the provision for the making of emergency regulations. Had the Government included in that provision certain obvious safeguards, there would not be very much ground for criticism of the proposal. I propose to quote briefly from a book entitled Planning the Modern State by F. A. Bland, M.A., LL.B. In a chapter entitled; “ Is the New Despotism Impossible “, Professor Bland wrote -

In :i brilliant analysis of this question some years ago Dr. Cecil Carr in Ms book on Delegated Legislation laid down five conditions under which power t<> make laws might bc devolved by .Parliament.

T- suggest that the clauses in this bill do not conform with the laws that were laid clown by Dr. Carr. Dr.’ Carr’s first law was that the delegation of power should he only to a trustworthy authority which commanded the national confidence. It is not known who will wield the authority conferred by this bill and therefore it cannot be said that they will command the national confidence. The second law was as follows : -

The limits within which the delegated power is to be exercised should be definitely laid down. This would rule out the power “of the Minister to do anything he thinks necessary to give effect to an act.

No limit within which the delegated power may be exercised has been stated in this bill. The third law stated was -

In making regulations or orders, the departments should be required to consult all interested parties.

No provision has been made in this bill for such consultations to take place. A person affected by a regulation will first know of its existence when he receives a communication from the government. The fourth law laid it down that -

There should be public notice both of the intention to make the regulation as well as of its promulgation.

No provision has been made for such public notice to be given. Finally, according to Dr. Carr -

There should be ample and effective provision for revocation of objectionable regulations.

Some provision has been made in thislegislation for objections to be made to regulations. But if the House is not in session it cannot disallow regulations and an appeal to the High Court is expensive. Under the proposed legislation many thousands of small businesses will Deforced into the bankruptcy court. I think honorable members will agree that Dr. Carr’s laws have been very brilliantly and clearly put forward. . The provisions of this bill demonstrate the complete inability of the Government to solve current problems. By having reversed its policy of opposition to controls the Government has earned the derision of the Australian people. By having refused to introduce legislation to put the economy of this country onto a sound basis it has earned the contempt of the people. By the proposed imposition of dangerous regulation-making powers it has shown a complete disregard for democratic practice. I am satisfied that unqualified opposition to the bill before the House isnecessary. In opposing it, honorable members of the Opposition have the support of everybody who values freedom as a priceless asset which must not be lightly thrown away.


.- I support the Defence Preparations Bill 1951, not because I like it, ‘but because 1 believe it to be absolutely necessary. The people of Australia are sick to death of regulations and controls, mainly as a result of the way in which those regulations and controls were administered by a socialistic government in an effort to bring about socialism in our time. That is one reason why there is considerable opposition to the bill outside of this Parliament. The people suffered under the regulations and controls of the Labour Government, which administered them in a manner that was repugnant to them.

The honorable member for Batman (Mr. Bird) said that this bill could have dire consequences for many people. That is quite correct. It could have dire consequences if it were badly administered. But if it were badly administered the people would have th’eir redress. At the next general election they would certainly vote against a government that administered the powers to he conferred by this bill in the way in which the powers of the previous Government were administered. I am confident that this Government will not do that. If the Government could obtain the cooperation and wholehearted support of the people of Australia there would be no need to introduce a bill such as this one. Unfortunately, people do not seem to realize how dangerously defenceless is the position that Australia is in. I blame the attitude of honorable members of the Opposition for quite a lot of that misunderstanding. The Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt) delivered a dissertation in his second-reading speech which demonstrated that the Labour party had not learnt very much in the last twenty years. During this debate honorable members of the Opposition have made statements similar to those that they made before the 1939-45 war. They wish to obstruct the efforts of the Government to put its plans into effect. Honorable members must know that world affairs are in a very dangerous condition and that Australia, in it3 isolated position, is in extreme danger.

It is to be hoped that the danger of war can be averted ; but if the Government were to carry on in a free and easy manner as a result of taking notice of honorable members of the Opposition this country could find itself in a war for which it would be totally unprepared. “When war broke out in 1914 Australia was fortunate in that a Labour government was in power which had a sense of responsibility. There were then about 90,000 trained men in the Australian forces. The railways were not then in their present neglected condition. Certainly, Australia did not have its present manufacturing industries, but it was reasonably well prepared to put men into the field very quickly. Australia was fortunate also in that that war was fought on the other side of the world. Australian industries were able to carry on. In the 1930’s the danger of another war loomed up when Hitler came to power in Germany and the then Government tried to establish in this country a state of preparedness but every action that it took was thwarted by members of the Labour party.

Mr Bryson:

– And your Prime Minister said, “ business as usual “.


– Absolutely. If this country is prepared and its economy is in a healthy condition it will be able to carry on its business as usual. The Leader of the Opposition said that the proposals in this bill should be submitted to the people at a referendum. He does not seem to want the Government to proceed with its work. Honorable members of the Opposition have spoken frequently about what the Government has not done. Yet, now that it has started to do its job, they wish to obstruct it in the. same way as the Government was obstructed in 1938 and 1939. I know it is the duty of an Opposition to point out weaknesses in government policy, but it is not its duty to be irresponsible or to lull the people into a false sense of security. When the Government tried to increase the strength of the Militia, which was an urgent necessity, the Opposition refused to co-operate with it. People are very apt to indulge in wishful thinking. Honorable members of the Opposition obtained 48 per cent, of the votes that were cast at the last general election. Consequently, any expression of opinion by them must influence a large number of the people who voted for them. It would probably influence also a number of other people who do not want to face reality. If the Opposition would only explain to the people that the international situation is desperate - as they must know it to be - the Government would obtain everybody’s co-operation and this bill would be unnecessary. However, the Government has not received the necessary degree of co-operation because people are apt to imagine that there is no danger of war. The honorable member for Leichhardt (Mr. Bruce) asked where our enemies are and said that other governments of the British nations had not introduced measures such as this. He did not mention that the United States Government, realizing how desperate the position was, had introduced similar controls to these in order to gear that country for war. The government of the United States took that action in the hope that, by preparing for war, it will avert itAre we to allow our allies to make sacrifices unaided to save the world from war? Are we to do nothing in the belief that if any one attacks Australia the United States of America will help us?

Mr Andrews:

– What the Opposition objects to is the Government’s method of making preparations for war.


– That was not the objection that was raised by the Leader of the Opposition. He did not say that he would support any of the Government’s proposals. He threw doubt on the suggestion that there was any necessity for these measures. Perhaps the Leader of the Opposition has had another thought about this matter since he addressed the House. I hope that he has authorized the honorable member for Batman to offer his support to the Government because the Government wants it. We have . 8,000,000 people in this continent, which is nearly as big as Europe, and there are hundreds of millions of Asiatics to the north of us. We cannot afford to have a section of the community failing to pull its weight. If we are not to suffer from the effects of war we must he prepared. In order to prepare the nation with the least trouble the Government must have everybody’s co-operation. If the Government is armed with the powers mentioned in the bill it will be in a position, when it meets with resistance from various sections of the community, to make regulations to overcome that resistance. A section of a certain industry might be prepared to co-operate with the Government. Other members of the industry might not be prepared to co-operate because of their selfishness. That would place in & difficult position the people who cooperated. With these powers the Government will be able to overcome such a difficulty. The Government need not necessarily make any regulations, but if it cannot obtain co-operation voluntarily it will need to introduce them.

The honorable member for Leichhardt, who was a Minister in a Queensland government, said that a request was made by the general officer commanding the area, that the seat of government should be removed from Brisbane. I asked him to state specifically when that request had been made, and he was careful not to tell me. I wish to nail that lie about the “Brisbane line”, because it has been brought up in this debate too often. The date of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour was the earliest possible date at which there could have been any thought of tha so-called “ Brisbane line “. Even after Pearl Harbour nobody thought that Singapore would fall, and until Singapore fell nobody could have thought of the “ Brisbane line “. It may be true that such a plan might have been prepared by Lord Kitchener in 1910, as the honorable gentleman said, but no country adheres to defence preparations that were made more that 30 years before, and certainly nobody would have thought of applying the 1910 plan until after the 7th December, 1941. I remind the House that the Curtin Government came into office in October, 1941, so it is utterly ridiculous for honorable gentlemen opposite to tell us now that the Menzies Government was responsible for the “ Brisbane line “ plan. The honorable member also spoke about our Eighth Division which was in Malaya when the Pacific war broke out, and he did not give it credit for doing anything to defend this country. We should realize that the work that was done by the men of that division in Malaya in conjunction with the work of British troops, in spite of the final surrender, delayed the Japanese long enough, to allow the Americans to overcome much of the disorganization that followed the attack on Pearl Harbour. Furthermore, the honorable member ignored the fact that our Sixth, Seventh and Ninth Divisions in the Middle East, by their fight against the Germans in Greece and Crete, upset the German timetable.

The history that we get from honorable members opposite does not consist of facts, but has been conditioned to suit the Labour party. I am astounded that a man who was for some time a Minister of the Crown in a State government should have talked in the way in which the honorable member for Leichhardt talked. He told us that in 1941 we .were absolutely defenceless. I do not agree with that statement but I would agree with him if he were to say that our defences now are not in the condition that they should be in when we have the threat of war hanging over us. It is because of that threat that this bill is necessary. It must be apparent to people who are familiar with the facts that our economy is all haywire. Anybody who has enough money oan buy any number of wireless sets, but no matter how much money a person had he would be unable to buy a sheet of roofing iron. The national economy is in its prsent condition because of the condition in which it was handed over to us by the Chifley Government. It was in that condition in spite of all the regulations that the Chifley Government made. That Government’s regulations caused a great deal of economic disturbance. Some of its regulations were badly drawn, and one regulation had to be withdrawn for redrafting because nobody could understand it. A fortnight later another regulation was issued to make the first regulation clearer, but the second regulation was also as clear as mud. It is the memory of such happenings that has made the people apprehensive about this bill. They should realize however, that they now have a government that does not like and does not want regulations, and that will not issue any more of them than are necessary.

It must also be remembered that the international position has deteriorated considerably since 1949. When the United States, Canada and Great Britain are preparing their defences as fast as they can so as to deter the countries behind the Iron Curtain from starting a war that would probably ruin our civilization, it is obvious that we must prepare to do likewise. I anneal to the Opposition to forsake its destructive tactics and to do as the honorable member for Leichhardt has suggested - read history and learn from it, instead of retailing it here in a biased way to support weak arguments. A study of history would show honorable gentlemen opposite that because of their actions in the 1930’s Australia was not in as good a position as it should have been when the last war broke out. Honorable members opposite have asked frequently during this debate whom we are arming to defend ourselves against. How could we know who our enemy may be! There are millions of Chinese to the north of us who have entered the Korean war unexpectedly. They may strike anywhere later. We have in our midst disruptive elements that are upsetting our war preparations and the whole of our economy.

Honorable members opposite have talked a lot of platitudes about British justice. But are they prepared to allow the freedom that we value so much to be taken away from us because of the unfounded fears that they have expressed here? Are we to carry on in the same old way, remaining unprepared, and then expect our allies to come to our aid? The honorable member for Leichhardt told us that he was formerly a boxer. He said that he did not go round all the time in a defensive attitude. But he did not go into the ring untrained or, I am certain, he would not be alive to-day. Before he went into the ring he got himself into proper condition. We are in the same position as an untrained boxer who may suddenly have to enter the ring. We are facing a threat against which the free world is preparing to defend itself. The Iron Curtain countries have far larger armies than are necessary for their defence and we must, like a sensible boxer, go into training and prepare to defend ourselves against any enemy who may attack this country. Honorable members opposite have asked what we shall do with our preparations if there is no war. We do not want a war, but if this bill will enable us to put our economy on a proper basis and to obtain the materials that we need for our defence and development, then it will prove useful as a stabilizing factor. We do not want to continue with the milk bar economy that we seem to have to-day. We do not want to encourage luxury lines and be short of the goods that are essential for the welfare of this country.

One of our great shortages is housing, about which we hear so much from honorable members opposite, especially the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward-*, who tells us time after time about deplorable housing conditions. The Chifley Government did nothing to rectify that position, and the present conditions are a legacy that that Government left to this Government We are’ catching up now on the housing lag to some degree, but if we are to do the job properly we must be able to obtain the necessary supplies of materials.

The Leader of the Opposition told us that this bill should be submitted to a referendum of the people, but to-day the honorable member for Batman said that the Parliament should decide the matter and that each one of the regulations that may be made under the bill should be placed before the Parliament. We should never get anywhere if every one of the regulations that may be made under this measure had to be the subject of as much talk as we have heard in this debate before action could be taken. Then the honorable member for Batman changed his mind in mid-flight and said that we should appoint parliamentary select committees.

Mr Bird:

– <I said “ standing committees “, which are altogether different from select committees, although the honorable member would not know that.


– Well, the two kinds of committee act in much the same way. I have not had much experience of standing committees or select committees in this Parliament, but I know that another place appointed two select committees, the members of which drew considerable fees, and that one of the committees brought out a voluminous report that took months to prepare and that was of very little value. If essential national works had to be carried out, and the necessary directions had to be issued by a select or standing committee, we should need to have a little more efficiency and a ]<”! lew talk than would seem to be likely. As far as I can see, talk seems to be the main stock-in-trade of the Opposition. What We need is action!

Mr Curtin:

– Then sit down and give it a start!


– I remind the honorable member for Watson that empty vessels make the most sound.


– The honorable member is making a lot of row. He must he a very empty vessel.


– This bill will put the Government in a position to get action, and I wish to assure the people, whether they are members of the manufacturers’ associations or any one else, that in their own interests and in the interests of the country they must achieve complete co-operation and unity of purpose with one another. Trade unions and employers’ representatives must work together, and we must have harmony and unity if we wish to hold this country. But if we are not prepared to make sacrifices, and if we are content to remain on a low productive level, then it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that this country could be overrun by some Asiatic people who may be one or two centuries behind us in civilization. If the people will wake up to that fact then we shall get the necessary cooperation. The kind of co-operation that I am now asking for is that honorable members shall tell the people, just as we have been trying to tell them, the nature of the danger that faces this country. If Australia were overrun we should not be able to breed the taint out of our blood in a century. That is why this bill is necessary. Our other great necessity is to have trained fighting men in our militia. We can achieve that objective, but in order to do so we must have the co-operation of the leaders of the community.

I support this bill because I believe it to be necessary, and I hope that when it is passed it will be unnecessary to make many regulations under it. I am sure that if the people realize that only such regulations as are absolutely necessary will be made under it, and that many of them may be made only because of the non-co-operation of certain people, they will support this measure.


– In a moment of enlightenment, in 1894, a tory statesman, Sir William Harcourt, said, “ We are all socialists now “. If he were living now he would probably say, “ We are all planners now “. ‘ This bill might more properly have been entitled the Economic Planning Bill, because under the general blanket of defence power, the Government is attempting to do in the name of defence what it should have done in the name of civil production in the last two years. The Government parties were elected to office in 1949 on a policy of removing controls. They said, “ Let us get back to business as usual “. The present bill has possibly a substratum of truth. After all, in any economy there must be a certain amount of guidance, as it were, to ensure that the resources at the disposal of a country and the available manpower shall be put to the greatest possible use. The ultimate components of our national income a re in essence what people consume, what is invested by the community in business and what governments spend. In introducing this bill the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) said - lt is basically wrong to think that the problem of defence preparation, development of basic industries and new resources and stabilization of the currency are separate and distinct. In truth, the first cannot be accomplished without the others.

He meant that there cannot be adequate defence preparation unless a lot of other things are done. But in peace-time there cannot be a proper orientation of resources unless the economy is planned. I use the word “ planned “ advisedly because that was one of the bogy words of the last two general elections. In a modern economythe question is not whether or not we should plan, but how we should plan, and who should control the plan. An important omission from this bill is any indication of who shall control the plan. The bill seeks wide planning powers for the Government, but allows the body which should control the plan, the Parliament, to have only an extremely remote control. According to to-day’s press, the budget is in a balanced condition for this year, but the figures involved in it are enormous. There has been an income to the order of £783,000,000. The disbursement of that sum by the Government, gives someindication of the role that a government plays in our economy. It indicates that the Parliament, which, after all, is responsible for appropriating the money that the Government expends, should play a. better role than that allotted to it by this bill. The most important government document is the annual budget, but during the last twenty years the activities of government have increased so greatly that now the normal method of presenting the budget should be revised. Perhaps we need new methods of presenting to the Parliament our financial information so that it may properly appreciate and deal with the problems involved. Attempts have been made to do that, because during the last five years a table of national income and expenditure has been embodied in the budget papers. That is intended to be ancillary to and explanatory of the budget. But now that table is no longer adequate to achieve its original purpose.

Mr McMahon:

– The table of income and expenditure is only a record of past events.


– That is quite true. It is now inadequate as an aid to the Parliament in its consideration of future expenditure of money. Far more explanatory material should be presented to the Parliament than is contained in that table. As the honorable member for Lowe (Mr. McMahon) rightly says, the income and expenditure table is a picture not of the future but of the past. What we now require is some sort of table that will give to us a picture of probable future events. The budget is supposed to envisage the expenditure of between £700,000,000 and £800,000,000. The way in which the money is to be expended is very important to the ordinary people in Australia. The biggest component of the national income is the income received by individuals. In the name of freedom, the way in which individuals spend their money should not be interfered with more than is necessary. That requirement is a heavy millstone around the neck of any one who wants to plan the economy to any great degree. Most people get their share of the national income by working for it, and we hold it to be essential that people shall be entitled to choose the work that they want to do. Throughout, the history of capitalism, or private enterprise, that has not always been so. In fact,’ only during the last ten years, in a period of full employment, have people been able to choose the jobs that they want to do without being forced into any sort of work by economic necessity. The problem to-day is really one that stems from full employment. The Prime Minister directed attention to this when he said - :

Despite the growth of our population and industrial capacity since the end of the war. the Australian economy is, in certain respects, weaker than it was in 1031).

I emphasize the word “ weaker “ used by the right honorable gentleman. His first instance of weakness was that there are no reserves of man-power and productive capacity. Everything is overstrained. In other words there is full employment and no unemployment. That of course limits the direction of people into defence activities. From 1937 to 1939 a large number of the people who were diverted to defence work were given jobs for the first time in their lives. Now every one who is able and willing to work has the opportunity to do so. However, that causes difficulty when we want to alter the balance of our economy and instead of making motor cars, or building hospitals, we want to make armaments and build battleships. Tt is very difficult to switch over because the economy is fairly sensitively balanced. One cause of stress in the economy is our dependence . upon coal for most of our productive power. I have certain figures published by the Commonwealth Statistician that may be of interest to honorable members on that point. Our industrial economy depends on our production of coal. According to the latest labour report of the Commonwealth Statistician, in the year ended June, 1939, 52,200 males were engaged in mining and quarrying. According to the last available figures, those for the year ended June, 1950, the total number employed in mining and quarrying had by then increased to only 53,900. Even though our population has risen from 7,000,000 to over 8,000,000 in that eleven years, the number of coal miners has remained practically stationary. The Australian production statistics of July, 1951, show that in the year ended June, 1939, the production of black coal in Australia by those 52,000 odd miners was 12,198,000 tons, and according to the last available figures, those for the year ended J une, 1950, the total had by then risen to almost 15,000,000 tons. That was an increase of almost 20 per cent, by almost the same number of miners.

Mr McMahon:

– But the coal production is less by 300,000 tons than it -was last year.


– I think that the intention of the honorable member for Lowe (Mr. McMahon) is merely to cavil, as usual. Apparently he has not been listening to me. Our economy is delicately poised on coal as a base. In 1939 when there was a smaller population and a certain degree of unemployment our total coal production by 52,000 miners was 12,198,000 tons. In the year ended June, 1950, the total production from almost the same number of miners was 14,907,000 tons. That indicates that the output per miner has risen and throws the words back into the teeth of people who say that our economy is paralysed because of the inactivity of the coal miners. But I submit that there is no reason why any body should have to work in a .coal mine. Honorable members on the Government side say that the individual is free to choose his own employment. They will have to renounce their belief if they want to solve the problem implicit in this bill. It is easy for the Prime Minister glibly to introduce a bill to do this and that, but what is likely to be done is perhaps to reduce the goods available for ordinary consumption, which would affect the standard of living and divert people from one employment into another. That is a cardinal and central matter which it should be within the province of this Parliament to discuss. But it is to be done by regulations and orders about which the Parliament will have very little to say. That is what this party criticizes.

If the Government is to achieve the most effective production and ensure the greatest degree of economic welfare, it must employ means other than the haphazard system of private enterprise. There must be a certain degree of direction and control. The Government is beginning to realize that now. It finds that it has to do this, that and the other thing which two years ago it criticized the previous Government for doing. I suggest that it is time the Government woke up to the realities of the situation. It must intervene in the economic life of the community because it must shift control from a few private individuals into the hands of a parliament democratically elected by the people. Of course, the Government represents a party that claims that private enterprise should be allowed to have its way, and having been elected it has to dance to the tune dictated by that party. There have been statements in the press recently about the chambers of manufactures having said this and that, but the Prime Minister knows that he has to govern whether he offends one group of people or some other group of people. However, the measures envisaged by the bill should not be taken behind closed doors. The Parliament should be taken into the full confidence of the Government. When measures are being brought forward they should be considered, not by “ persons as the bill says, but by the democratically elected Parliament assembled to deal with just such matters. The problem is not a simple one. If we wish to prepare our defences or undertake civil development works, we are faced with the fact that, in any community at any given time, the available resources of man-power and materials are limited. All governments are confronted with a number of problems that they wish to solve, but they cannot tackle all of them at once, and, therefore, must resort to a system of priorities. I believe that the highest priority should be given to activities that will effect the greatest improvement of social conditions. If a government wants houses to be built, it will require for that purpose materials of all kinds that could be used equally well to build cinemas, and it must decree that the materials shall be used, not for cinemas but for houses.

If this Government uses the available resources in this country to manufacture armaments and to make other defence preparations, it will be unable to use them for other purposes. Therefore, an indirect effect of the operation of this bill may be a reduction of the standards of living of large sections of the community. If that is what the Government believes will happen, why does it not say so openly? The members of the Labour party in Great Britain are faced with a similar dilemma, because they know that money expended upon armaments which some of them believe to be necessary cannot be expended also upon health services. What is important is not the expenditure of money but the proper utilization of the resources of the nation. If a government does one thing with the resources at its disposal, it cannot, at the same point in time, do something else with them. That is why, ultimately, a government must intervene in the economic affairs of the nation and take action to ensure that, at any given time, the resources of the nation are being devoted to activities that it deems to be of the greatest social importance.

The Opposition has stated clearly that it will not oppose defence preparations, if those preparations are necessary. What its objects to is interference with the lives of ordinary citizens, not by the Parliament, but by orders and regulations to which little publicity will be given. It is true that, in the past, certain precautions were taken in regard to regulations, and it was made compulsory for them to be gazetted. This measure makes provision for the promulgation, not only of regulations, but also of orders made under them. A regulation must be gazetted, but orders made under it need not be. Clause 6 reads as follows : -

An order made under the regulations shall take effect -

in the case of an order required by the regulations to be published in the Gazette - on the date of publication; and

in any other case - on the date on which the order is made, or on such later date as is specified in the order.

If a regulation did not require orders made under it to .be published in the Gazette, such orders could be issued without anybody knowing of their existence, notwithstanding that, in some instances, they provided for the imposition of severe penalties upon any person who contravened them. That is a matter about which the Opposition is entitled to be critical.

It is not denied that in a modern eco- nomy it is necessary for the Government to issue some regulations. As the honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Bland) knows, the subject of delegated legislation is one that has engaged the attention of all democratic parliaments. The making of regulations is regarded as being inevitable, and all that can be done is to take precautions to ensure that they shall be properly scrutinized by members of the Parliament. In 1932, a body known as the Committee on Minister’s Powers was established in Great Britain. The committee presented a report in which it stated most of the arguments for and against the making of regulations. It reported that, although it was true that regulations could be abused, it had not discovered many examples of such abuse. The members came to the conclusion that, subject to adequate safeguards, there was no valid objection to the making of regulations. This Government should take steps to ensure that as a protection for the people any regulation and orders made thereunder in accordance with the provisions of this bill shall be published in cbe Gazette.

I suggest for the consideration of the Treasurer (Sir Arthur Fadden) that, when he presents his next budget to the Parliament, he shall issue a document on the lines of the Economic Survey that is published every year in Great Britain, in association with the budget. The Economic Survey sets out at considerable length what the British Government intends to do in the economic field in the ensuing year. It must be tabled in the House of Commons, and may be debated there. Even in America, the great home of private enterprise, there is published a document known as the Mid-Year Economic Report of the President. It is prepared by the President’s economic advisers and is presented to the American Congress for consideration. If the Treasurer were to present a report similar to those, he would put some flesh on the stark bare skeleton of the budget.

At the present time, almost one-third of the national income passes through the hands of the Government, and governmental actions have a considerable influence upon the remaining two-thirds, [f this Government is to play its proper role in this country, it must make available adequate information about what it is doing and intends to do. What is intended to be done by means of this bill in the name of defence is what ought to have been done in the past in the name of civil consumption and production. It should be done, not by unnamed persons, but with the full cognizance of this Parliament.


.- The speech of the honorable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr. Crean) was refreshing and novel. It was refreshing because it was based upon a good deal of knowledge and was delivered with honesty and sincerity. It was novel because the honorable gentleman endorsed the principles of the bill. Indeed, he was so enthusiastic that he wanted the Government to go a good deal further than it proposes to go. I remind the House that the roar of debate in this chamber cannot drown the ominous thunder of the world events that constitute the background to the measure. It is true to say that at the present time no country in the world has a1 completely free economy. As the honorable member for Melbourne Ports said, even America, the home of free enterprise, has not a completely free economy. In Australia, our economy is neither completely planned nor completely free. It lies somewhere between those two extremes, and possibly possesses neither .the virtues nor the vices of either of them.

The Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt) said, if I recall his words correctly, that it was wrong to assume that war was either inevitable or probable. The honorable member for Leichhardt (Mr. Bruce) asked from where the danger to Australia was expected. I believe that he made a distinction between aggression overseas and the possibility of Australia being subject to aggression. If the Leader of the Opposition believes . that war is neither possible, probable nor inevitable, he is the only prominent man in the British Empire who holds that opinion. All the democratic nations of the world are placing an enormous strain upon their economies by rearming at vast expense. If the right honorable gentleman is correct in what he says, then he alone iscorrect. Perhaps I can clear the air a little by stating the- matters upon which we all are agreed. The task of this House is to concentrate upon the matters about which we disagree.

Mr Curtin:

– We all are agreed that there should be a reduction of the cost of living.


– It would be fair to say that the majority of the members of this House are in agreement with that remark. I believe that we all agree that, it is necessary to make preparations for the defence of this country. From that point onwards, there is some difference of opinion. I have heard it said frequently by Opposition spokesmen that Australia’s role in any future war would be to produce food and to manufacture munitions. Honorable members opposite have argued that under such conditions we should not, and could not, afford to contribute manpower in the event of war. The Parliament must consider this problem from, a practical viewpoint. “We must have regard to certain tendencies that have become pronounced during ‘the last few years. I refer first to food production and, as the Prime Minister emphasized, the necessity to produce sufficient food not only for our own people but also to succour our possible allies in the future. What are the facts in this respect? The proportion of people who live in metropolitan and provincial areas to the total population increased from 63.84 per cent, in 1933 to 6S.27 per cent, in 1947, when the last census was taken. During the same period, however, the rural population declined from 39.15 per cent, to 31.03 per cent, of the total population. While our overall population has increased, the percentage of people engaged in rural production has decreased.

The corresponding figures in respect of Victoria reveal a situation that is even more alarming. Whereas the percentage of urban population to the total population in that State was 65.38 in 1933 it bad increased to 79.76 per cent, in 1947, whilst during the same period the rural population had decreased from 34.53 per cent, in 1933, or a little over one-third of the State’s population, to 23. S5 per cent, in 1947, or less than one-quarter of the State’s population. Those figures do not reveal the complete picture but they give some indication of the basic problem that confronts Australia. The cold fact is that whilst we require to increase food production the number of persons engaged in rural industry is decreasing.

The problem is also aggravated by the forces of inflation, lt is true that those forces banked up during the war when rigid controls were exercised over wages and prices. That tendency was revealed, first, in terms of increased purchasing power of the community; and, secondly, in terms of demands for both consumer and capital goods. Those factors have a direct bearing on the problem of in creasing food production. The production of the ordinary necessaries of life and luxuries, and of machinery and materials for that purpose, has been inadequate to meet the demand. One result of that position has been that productive capacity has been diverted to the production of non-essential goods at the expense of foodstuffs and essential materials. That i3 evidenced by the fact that the proportion of our population engaged in rural industries has decreased and by the fact that production in those industries has been correspondingly less. Alarming evidence of this development is to be seen in the spread of the capital cities. For instance, the great octopus of Melbourne has now drawn within its tentacles large areas of land which previously were used for market gardens, poultry farms, potato growing and the production of other foodstuffs. In act. those areas previously were the main source of food supplies for city dwellers. That land has gone out of production and that development has increased inflationary tendencies. The new industries that have been established in those areas have imposed a greater demand upon the limited man-power available within a radius of 25 miles. Consequently, increasing numbers of young men and women are leaving little country settlements to go to the city. They do so for a variety of reasons but generally in order not only to obtain more congenial employment and higher wages but also to enjoy the amenities of city life.

Mr Curtin:

– What is wrong with that?


– If that process is permitted to continue OU. population as a whole will sooner, or later, be short of foodstuffs. There is a theory, of course., that man-power that is lost to primary industry is replaced by a proportionate degree of mechanization. Unfortunately, that theory has no foundation in fact, because, at the same time, the additional requirements of primary industries are not being produced. Man-power and machines that should be used for that purpose are being diverted to the production of luxury goods. Another important pointer in this problem is that from 1939 to 1949 savings banks deposits increased from £35 per capita to £77 per capita, or an increase of approximately over 100 ‘per cent. Such purchasing power must increase the inflationary pressure.

The honorable member for Batman (Mr. Bird) alleged that the Government parties, having regard to the policy they presented to the people at the last general election, had somersaulted by introducing this bill. For his benefit I quote the following paragraph from the GovernorGeneral’s Speech: -

Meanwhile, my Government proposes to introduce a Defence Preparations Bill designed to facilitate national organization for defence by co-operative action where possible, out where necessary by .positive and compulsory provisions. One of the incidents of national preparation for defence is that civil goods and services may run short because of increasing diversion of men and materials.

That paragraph is based upon the policy that the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) put before the people at the last general election. Consequently, by re-electing the Government parties the people gave to them a mandate to introduce this measure. Honorable members opposite, including the honorable member for Melbourne Ports, whose views are a little more modem than thoseof his colleagues, invariably fall back upon the relatively distant past for their inspiration and their ideas about how ve should attack the problems that now confront us. However, both internally and in the international sphere, we are now faced with circumstances that could not be envisaged in 1949. We must deal with those problems by methods suitable to the times. That is precisely what the Government seeks to do’ under this measure. In principle there is very little difference between a full-scale war and the minor war in which we are now actually engaged. It cannot be denied that conditions of warfare exist practically throughout the world. Whilst the actual shocks of that war are confined to certain areas we do not know how or where hostilities will occur in the near future. If we are prepared to meet that situation we must, as the Prime Minister has declared, face the necessity for diverting from non-essential industries materials essential to defence preparations. The honorable member for Melbourne Ports practically accepted that view. That is the object of the bill. The only difference that arises between the Opposition and the Government with respect to it is a difference of outlook. The Opposition doubts the intentions of the Government. The Leader of the Opposition described the bill as one to execute a “ powers grab “ and, not without causing some astonishment to honorable members, acknowledged that that expression was not original. My reply to him is that in view of his approach to politics and policies in the past, there would be more justification for describing the bill in that way if he, himself, had introduced it. I have no doubt that the object of any measure of this kind that he would introduce would be to concentrate all power in the hands of the Government. On the other hand, the declared policy of the Government parties is to utilize to the greatest possible degree the driving force of private enterprise and initiative. In that way we shall accomplish much more than we could ever accomplish by imposing government controls.

Mr Calwell:

– Why does the honorable member support the bill?


– I have always said that the bill, in the terms of the passage of the Governor-General’s Speech which I have quoted, is designed to “facilitate national organization for defence by cooperative action where possible “. The Government will not attempt to drive or coerce the great mass of the people, but it will apply compulsion to any section of the community whose non-co-operative attitude threatens the security of the nation as a whole. The Government asks for no more than the co-operation of all the people in the task of selfpreservation. It seeks this power, not because it lusts for power, or wishes to exercise power; but because of the knowledge that it possesses such authority the great majority of the people who are engaged in industry, commerce and agriculture will know that their efforts to co-operate in the common cause will not be defeated by a small minority who are prepared to place self-interest before the welfare of the nation.


.- While our economy is suffering from a severe haemorrhage, and while the panzer divisions of inflation roar through our economy, threatening to lay waste our land long before any real outside enemy appears, this Government has introduced a bill to re-impose economic controls, not in order to fight the internal enemy, inflation, but to regiment industry for war. The amazing thing to me is that this Government is tackling every problem but the real one, and considers that strong forces can be established in Australia on a weakened internal economy; We all must admit that our economy has been severely weakened by inflation. The prospect of building a great defence programme on an economy that is now subject to inflationary tension is as uncertain as that of erecting a great edifice on sand.

The bill has been introduced in order to back up the forecast of the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) that we have no longer than three years in which to prepare for war. That is the opinion, not of the Government, but of the right honorable gentleman, and he has introduced this bill to support it. The purpose of the measure is to control and organize our resources, not for peace but for war. Industries will be catalogued under three headings, and some of them may expect to go to the chopping-block. The three categories are, first, the essential industries; secondly, the non-essential industries; and thirdly, the semi-essential industries. If “ luxury industries “ be substituted for “ non-essential industries “ and “ semi-essential industries “, the position may be seen in proper perspective.

The Government wishes to take power to enable it to determine the industries that shall get the axe. I thoroughly agree with the action of the Government in establishing the National Security Resources Board, the chairman of which is Dr. Walker. The principal function of that body is to catalogue all the resources that aTe capable of assisting a waT effort. Primary industries, secondary industries, war potential, and, indeed, all the resources of the country, will be catalogued by that board. I believe that a Labour government, if it were in office at the present time, would take similar action, but from that point, I cease to be in agreement with the policy of the Government. In my opinion, the Government has gone much further in this bill than is necessary to make a thorough review of our resources, and to indicate the way in which industry and man-power may be utilized in war-time. The Government is setting the country on a semiwar footing, although war is not imminent. The dangers that will arise from this bill are real. I shall mention six of them. I agree with several of my colleagues that a Labour government in these times would be obliged to indulge in some forward thinking, and to make certain defence preparations for a crisis, but I do not believe that a Labour administration would have gone to the lengths to which this Government has gone in this bill. That is where Opposition members differ from the Government. We object to the methods by which it is trying to overcome the fear complex that war is just round the corner.

The first danger that may arise from the bill is that powers that are as immense as war-time powers are being given to the Executive or to a single individual. The bill is not specific, but is full of generalizations. The Government has failed to give to the Opposition and to the people a specific plan. This measure is neither more nor less than a backdoor method of “ having a crack “ at many industries that have struggled into existence since World War II. They are likely to be crushed by this legislation.

The second danger is that the bill proposes to give a blank cheque to tho Executive or to any authorized person to change the whole contour of our economy, in expectation of the war which, according to the Prime Minister, will probably occur within the next three years. The effect of such a position will be to override the Parliament. That is serious. The Australian people are prepared to submit to all kinds of restrictions in waT-time. They responded magnificiently to the rigidity of controls and the direction of man-power during World War II. But they love freedom more intensely than does, perhaps, any other nation. That characteristic has evolved from the Australian pioneers, and the way in which the country has been developed. Australians resent being “ pushed round “ in peace-time, and many of them will he scared of this bill for that reason. They will object to the placing of power in the hands of the Executive behind the back of the Parliament. Our only knowledge of regulations that may be issued under this bill will be gleaned from the Gazette from time to time, although such regulations may affect the lives of thousands of people.

The third danger is that the operation of this hill may cause the demise of many small industries that have come into existence as a result of strenuous efforts, and at considerable cost, since World War II. The Executive will decide when an industry is essential, non-essential or semiessential. Under this autocratic power, it may close certain industries almost overnight unless - and this is the threat - they can switch to some kind of war production. That may not be easy. The Government of Tasmania has built dozens of factories since World War II.,. and firms from the United .Kingdom and the mainland have utilized them for the purpose of establishing worthwhile and necessary industries in that State. The Tasmanian Government has expended millions of pounds on those projects, which are rented to the firms. I believe that some of those companies will be threatened by this bill. Many of the items that are important in fulfilling the consumer needs of the nation cannot by any stretch of the imagination be classed as luxuries. Honorable members have listened to the fantastic story of the new sales tax proposals of the Treasurer (Sir Arthur Fadden). Many of the goods that he regards as luxuries are not in that class. There is a danger that, by an autocratic decision, the Executive may rule that such industries are producing luxuries. Frequently, the line of demarcation between luxury and essential goods is fine indeed. Injustices may occur as a result of the autocratic wielding of power.

The fourth danger is that the bill will give an impetus to monopolies. ‘ Honorable members may rest assured that monopolies will not be crushed by it. They have the green light to go ahead. But little factories also are important. They add a ‘.riMe from here and a trickle from there into the main broad stream of consumer goods. But some of those small yet valuable enterprises will probably get the axe. The relation of the small companies to the large monopolies may be compared with that of barnacles to a ship. The barnacles will be scraped from the ship. In other words, the small industries will be destroyed or absorbed by the large monopolies.

Fifthly, there is a danger under the bill of conscription of man-power. Regardless of how Government supporters try to wriggle round that fact, it is undeniable. Workers will be forced, not by direct. but by indirect means, as a result of the closing of the factories in which they have been engaged, to seek employment in other industries. The spectacle may even be witnessed of hundreds of workers, men and women, wandering round the cities, in search of employment. Economic conscription in peace time is anathema to fair-minded Australians. It represents a deprivation of the freedom for which we fought in the war. This bill will lop off many of the privileges that were gained in war-time. Unfortunately, civilization has reached the stage at which, apparently, the world will always be in a state of armed peace. Such a prospect is sad-

Mr Bowden:

– It is better than being dead.


– Nevertheless, the prospect is sad to contemplate. After we have fought for freedom., we are to lose a part of it through the operation of this bill. The Prime Minister said, in his second-reading speech -

Very few in this House or out of it will relish either the departure from normal legislative processes or the invasion of normal individual freedom of choice which are involved, or may be involved in this bill.

The right honorable gentleman admitted that. But, a real danger exists that, under this legislation, a form of economic conscription will be introduced. In wartime, the control of man-power is vital, and all the political parties represented in this House were in agreement upon that matter when Australia was threatened by the enemy. Everything is fair in love arid war. Many of us, possibly, can bear testimony to the truth of that aphorism; but man-power direction is not to be tolerated in peace-time. Anything or everything is not fair in love and peace. We expect to have a little .more sanity in peace-time than is displayed in war-time.

We do not expect that our freedom which wi-. have won in the war, shall be completely whittled away in time of peace.

The sixth danger is that the bill will aggravate inflation. The Government is stockpiling materials, and may reduce the production of goods that are needed by Australian consumers. This measure will not be responsible for the production of more goods or materials for consumers in this country, but will merely redistribute among fewer people the goods and materials that are now available. The honorable member for Deakin (Mr. Davis) referred to food production, but that will not be affected by the bill.


– Of course it will.


– The honorable member may be right, but. the Government already has power to promote increased food production through the agency of the Department of Commerce and Agriculture.

Mr Bowden:

– What about scarce materials that are needed for primary production?


– The bill may be helpful in that respect, but I contend that the Government can encourage the development of primary production without resorting to the powers for which- it provides. The more carefully I examine the bill the more obvious does it become that its provisions are unnecessary. In effect, it merely provides for the redistribution of scarcity.

The main dangers that are inherent ‘n the bill lie in the proposals for control by regulation, the handing of a blank cheque to the Executive, the destruction of many small industries, the assistance of monopolies, the conscription of manpower and the aggravation of inflation. Those proposals provide evidence of an amazing somersault by the Government. In fact, I suspect that the Government is being converted gradually to socialism against its inclinations. The bill repudiates in principle two main features of the policy on which the present Government parties won the 1949 general election. The first feature was a bitter objection to controls, which both parties promised to remove, and the second feature was an abhorrence of man-power direction. But this bill provides for the imposition of. all sorts of controls as well as for the direction of labour.

Mr Bowden:

– That is wrong. The bill merely provides that the Government shall have power to exercise such controls.


– Exactly ! Such power is dangerous in the hands of a Liberal Government. The Prime Minister said in his 1949 policy speech-

Mr Eggins:

– What about his 1951 policy speech?


– He developed that from his 1949 speech. In fact, he said to the people of Tasmania, “Bead my 1949 speech and you will have my policy speech for 1951 “. He said in 1949 -

Apart from those specific matters we will resist the return of oppressive government controls of all kinds.

Yet this bill, which has been introduced so soon after the election, provides for all sorts of controls and regulations. The right honorable gentleman *ill have to make up his mind whether he wants to be on this side or the Government side of the House. I warn him that we do not want him in our ranks.

The bill provides for socialism by liberalism, or socialism by stealth. It is based on the very proposals that the present Government parties criticized so bitterly from 1946 to 1949 when they were advanced by the Labour Government. They are being converted to socialism. In presenting this bill to the Parliament, they have tacitly admitted that a policy of laisser-faire is a failure at a time of pretended or real crisis. They admit that unrestricted private enterprise, which is capitalism gone mad, is of no use when the country is in need of assistance. The Government of the United States of America has made a similar admission. Throughout the world, whenever a crisis comes upon a country, private enterprise has to be brought under government controls, and socialism has to take over. The Government is not prepared to carry socialism as far as the Labour party would take it, but the fact remains that the principles of the bill are socialist in character. I ask honorable members to consider the full impact of this legislation upon our strategic industries. War equipment will be manufactured in large quantities, but, if and when the war that’ the Prime Minister has forecast finally breaks out, that equipment will be completely out of date. What will happen to it then? It will have to be scrapped and returned to the furnaces. The Government’s policy is to waste money, man-power and materials. Governments can plan and start too soon to expend money, materials and man,power for the purposes of war.

The final clause of the bill contains an amazing provision. After all the ballyhoo in the preamble and the sweeping provisions in the other clauses, clause 13 states that the operation of the legislation shall terminate in 1953. Surely, if it be urgently necessary to regiment industry and gear the nation for war now, it will be necessary to maintain that state of defence preparedness in 1954! Why should this defence measure terminate two years hence if war has not broken out by that date? By the end of 1953 the Government will have changed the condition of the entire economy. Many factories will have, been closed down and others will have been converted to new forms of production. Apparently the Government proposes to say, “ O.K. boys, as you were. You can go back to business as usual “. What waste that will involve! After building up the economy, as it boasts that it will do, the Government intends to leave it up in the air. Australia will be like an aeroplane when its engines fail.

Many interesting comments on the bill have been published in the newspapers by friends of our friends on the Government side of the House. Yesterday’s issue of the Sydney Daily Telegraph included a pertinent statement by Mr. Latham Withall, Director of the Associated Chambers of Manufactures, who is not a noted supporter of the Australian Labour party. This is what he said- -

Mr. Menzies’ approach to the problem of rearmament and economic stability showed an immature mind. The problem offers heavy temptation to those who believe that unpopular and thwarting regimentation is justifiable. . . . The diversion of money, men and materials in this way will put a brake on production.

The interests that Mr. Withall represents propose to challenge the legislation in the High Court. The Sydney Morning

Herald stated in its leading article to-day -

Anxiety expressed yesterday by Government supporters at the party meeting on the Defence Preparations Bill reflects the wide-spread public apprehension over the danger of a return to government by regulation. The powers conferred by this bill are so unexpectedly sweeping - coming from a government pledged to minimum use of controls - that the natural reaction of members has been to press for a fuller explanation of the designs behind the bill. . . . Many of the Prime Minister’s supporters, after having campaigned vigorously against this very tendency over the past few years, must feel the irony of being called upon to endorse the present measure, which betrays a preoccupation with rationing scarce supplies rather than a determination to make more available. The Menzies Government has not yet employed to the” full the powers it already possesses to promote security and stability.

The Opposition says “ Hear, hear ! “ and “ Hear, hear ! “ again to that last sentence! The Government does not need new powers. It already has sufficient powers to enable it to promote security and stability. That article contained a very good statement of the Opposition’s point of view, which is wholeheartedly endorsed by the people.

The very fact that a bill of this nature has been introduced is an indictment of our civilization. Most of us who believe in the precepts of Christianity must realize that our civilization has failed if, after 2,000 years of the dissemination of the word of Christ throughout the world, a measure of this character has become necessary. It is a challenge to every one of us. We are not in such great danger as the Prime Minister would have us believe that we are and I am sure that war can and will be averted by the application of sanity and common sense in the councils of the nations. We must continue to work for the principles of peace throughout the world. We could easily become so utterly war conscious that we should overlook the fact that our ultimate objective is peace, whether it be achieved by war or otherwise.


– What does the honorable member suggest that we do ?


– Do you go to church ? That might help.


– If we had developed more friendships throughout the world, we should be building fewer battleships to-day.


.- In their vain attempts to discredit the Government and disparage this bill, members of the Opposition have drawn heavily on their imaginations and have employed scare tactics, with all sorts of wild suggestions about what will happen to various sections of the community when the measure becomes law. The attitude of the Opposition to this bill is like its attitude to many other major issues of national importance. It is characterized by an utter lack of realism and responsibility. I was astonished to hear the honorable member for “Wilmot (Mr. Duthie) admit that, if the Labour party were in power, it would have to do some forward thinking along the lines of this measure. The honorable member must be a little out of step with the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt) in relation to that point I He was sitting on the fence and, in his emotional state, he almost toppled over on the wrong side. The Labour party’s attitude to the important subject of defence not only lacks realism and a sense of responsibility but also is a hollow mockery in view of its record during the war and the immediate post-war years, when it insisted on retaining controls far beyond the time when they were needed. The present Government parties told the people in 1949 that they would abolish unnecessary controls. That is still our policy. We are opposed to such restrictive measures. However, we are living to-day, not under normal conditions, but in a state of grave international tension and emergency. Australia has reason to be glad that a LiberalAustralia Country party Government holds the reigns of office at this critical time. I shudder to think what would be the effect upon our people, and even upon generations of Australians yet unborn, if the irresponsible Labour party were in power at this stage of our history. Although the necessity for this measure is to be regretted I do not suggest that there is any need for an apology by the Government. The Government’s proposals represent a bold and courageous step which is designed to ensure the safety of the nation in the dangerous years that lie immediately ahead. It is all very fine for our opponents to cast in our teeth words that were uttered two years ago by quoting from the policy speech which the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) delivered in 1949 and in which he said that the Government was opposed to controls. That is still the attitude of the Government’s supporters, but time has moved on since then. Surely nobody with any proper understanding of international affairs would suggest that Australia is not much closer to a possible war than it was at that time. Any one who would make such a suggestion must be completely out of touch with the march of events during these very pregnant times. This bill was foreshadowed by the Prime Minister in the policy speech that he made in April last. It was also foreshadowed in the Speech of His Excellency the GovernorGeneral upon the opening of this Parliament.

The term “ cold war “ is becoming com mon. Too much emphasis has been placed on the word “ cold “ while not enough emphasis has been placed on the possibility of war breaking out. I deplore the attitude of the Opposition in underrating the possibility of war. The honorable member for Wilmot made a complete misstatement when he said that it was only .the Prime Minister’s personal opinion that there was a possibility of war within the next three years. That opinion was shared by all the Commonwealth Prime Ministers who were at the conference that was held in London last January it was expressed as a result of their deliberations. Who would suggest that the Prime Ministers of the British Commonwealth were not the best informed people to speak on this subject?

Mr Ward:

– It was not a unanimous opinion.


– It may not be the honorable member’s opinion.


-Order! The honorable member for Ryan (Mr. Drury) is speaking.


– That is not only the opinion of the Prime Minister. It is also the opinion of responsible leaders throughout the British Commonwealth of Nations and the United States of America. In these days we are witnessing a method of warfare that is different from the old idea of sending men into battle. The present new and sinister technique has been developed during recent years. Hitler was a mere amateur compared with Stalin in the conduct of war. The Korean war may soon be over. I hope that it will be. What will happen then? The odds are that the Korean conflict will not be the last of this series of wars by any means. I believe there is every possibility that the Soviet will extend its area of aggression further in our direction. The United States of America is fully awake to its responsibilities. It is- engaging in a full-scale mobilization in order to meet what the immediate future may hold. In his second quarterly report to the President, the United States defence mobilization director reported that 3,500,000 men were in the armed forces of the United States of America and that the country had reached the first of its military goals. He said -

We dure not slacken the pace of defence mobilization until the strength of the free world is sufficient to meet any attack. Even if n truce is reached in Korea or even if peace (here is fully restored, new aggressions are always possible anywhere along the broad perimeter of the Soviet Empire and any one of these could lead to global war.

That statement reflects the attitude of the leaders of the United States of America, our friend and ally on whom we depended so much during the recent war and on whom we would have to depend in any future war. Australia’s strategic position is not nearly so strong as it used to be. Australia can no longer depend on the protection of Britain. It is separated from its friends more than it used to be. It is much more vulnerable. As somebody has said, it is a plum that could be picked up by a strong aggressor. In this situation it behove” us to co-operate with our allies particularly Great Britain and the United States of America.

That very great Australian soldier, Sir Edmund Herring, the DirectorGeneral of Recruiting, in his Notes on Australian Defence, issued last February, made the following statement : -

Never before has Australia been in such a perilous position and there i3 perhaps, no country in the world as hard to defend. The preservation of the freedom and integrity of Australia must ultimately depend upon the

Australian people themselves: unless Australians are prepared to defend their own country and to join with oilier nations in stopping aggression we cannot hope that powerful allies will continue to preserve our integrity for us. There must be a change in the attitude of the community to defence. Australians must become conscious of their danger and defence conscious. There has been a growing tendency to discount the importance of defence forces.

That tendency has been aggravated by the attitude of the Opposition. I suggest that the time is ripe for a great national awakening in relation to the subject of defence preparedness. The prime responsibility for this task rests on the Government. In a series of broadcasts the Prime Minister outlined the Government’s programme for the Navy, the Army and Air Force. The strength of those forces has been substantially increased and will be further increased. The present measure dovetails with the Government’s budgetary defence programme for this financial year.

The United Kingdom Government originally intended to spend 8 per cent, of the national income on defence measures in 1951. The Attlee Government has now proposed that 13 per cent, of the national income should be spent on defence during the financial year 1951-52. That is the equivalent of £A32 a head of population. During 1951-52, the United States of America will spend 20 per cent, of its national income on defence which is the equivalent of £A119 a head of population. That is more than double what that country spent on defence during the previous financial year. A similar state of affairs exists in Canada and other freedomloving countries. The Labour Government of the United Kingdom must have a great deal more sense of responsibility than has the Labour Opposition of this country because the Attlee Government actually risked a party split and a cabinet split on the subject of rearmament in order to gear the British economy to meet a war situation. Controls have been reintroduced by the Attlee Government. They have been introduced also in the great democracy of the United States of America. Let us not deceive ourselves on. the gravity of the situation that faces us in our present state of unpreparedness for war. As the Prime Minister said, the Government does not regard war as inevitable but surely if we have any sense of responsibility we must realize the urgency of our need to be ready. In 1914 and 1939 we had time to . prepare. We probably will not have time to prepare for a third world war if we wait until it commences. It may be upon us with lightning rapidity and if we are to survive the tempest we must be ready before it arrives.

An enemy fifth column is operating in Australia against which the Government has planned to take action. As Mr. Churchill has pointed out, the best way of avoiding war is for the freedom-loving nations to be strong. He has stressed the great necessity for the freedom.-loving nations to co-operate in time of peace as they did in time of war. Russia is spending vast sums on defence. No figures are available to indicate reliably how much it has spent. It is known that it has a tremendous army - the biggest in the world. It has a large air force which is being increased rapidly. It has a great fleet of submarines. In the present state of international emergency nothing short of a maximum effort will be good enough to help us to survive, if the crucial test comes. We have an obligation not only to ourselves and to future Australians, but to our friends and allies. In view of the fact that Britain and the United States of America have commenced to mobilize their economies this country should take similar action. Our armed forces have to be trained and equipped. They must be ready for instant action. A boxer does not fight for a world title unless he has been trained to the nth degree. I suggest that Australia has to be trained to the nth degree in order to be ready for instant action in case of need.

Some unpopular steps may have to be taken under the powers in this bill during the next two or three years if Australia’s resources are to be effectively mobilized and marshalled for war and its economy geared to meet the national emergency. As the Prime Minister has said, the Government hopes for and expects the co-operation of all sections of the community. I believe that an overwhelming majority of the people are loyal and true. I believe that they recognize the seriousness of this situation and. are ready and anxious for the Government to lead them at this critical time. I believe that they are ready and willing to make the necessary sacrifices during the next three years in order to ensure the country’s future. The fact that some of the steps that may have to be taken may be unpopular will not deter the Government from endeavouring to achieve its purpose. First things must come first. The country must distinguish between essentials and non-essentials, and it is on that point that I join issue with the Opposition and, in particular with the honorable member for Wilmot (Mr. Duthie). Honorable members opposite do not appreciate the point that the purpose of this bill is to encourage the production of essentials and to discourage the production of non-essentials.

In ordinary times of peace a bill such as this is would meet with grave disfavour from all sides. Much as we dislike the necessity to introduce it, we consider that by doing so we arc doing our duty to the people and doing the job that the people put us here to do. The Prime Minister has pointed out that our defence preparations, the development of our resources and the stabilization of our economy are inextricably bound up, and that it is impossible to deal with one of them by itself. Surely nobody would deny that our economy is entirely out of gear and has to be straightened out. Some special steps have to be taken ‘ to remedy the situation. Our basic industries are short of man-power. The coal, iron and steel industries are producing at only 60 per cent, of capacity. In the face of a grave international emergency, that is an alarming state of affairs which must be corrected, because we have to depend fundamentally on those basic industries to produce the munitions and equipment that we need to expand our defence forces, quite apart from the need to produce the ordinary every-day necessities of the people, many of which are also in short supply. Luxury goods are, for the most part, in ample supply, and most of the industries that produce them are not suffering from any serious shortage of man-power. It must be obvious, therefore, to any thinking person, that some system of priorities is necessary.

Mr Curtin:

– Does the honorable gentleman believe in conscription of manpower ?


– No, I do not. The honorable member for Wilmot suggested that under this measure industrial conscription could be introduced. It is apparent that he has not read the bill closely, because sub-clause (3.) of clause 4. reads as follows in part : -

Nothing in this section authorizes the making of regulations -

for or in relation to the compulsory direction of labour ; or

On that point we take a different view from that of the Leader of the Opposition who, on one occasion, pointed out that an Australian’s freedom of choice on where he would work and live was only one of the freedoms that he must be prepared to forgo in the interests of the State. That was the attitude of mind of the Leader of the Opposition on another occasion. The National Security Resources Board has already done good work,, and a considerable amount of stockpiling of strategic raw materials has already taken place. But the Government has reached a stage at which more powers are necessary to enable it to make headway with the task of restoring economic balance to this country. In recent times the Government has been seriously embarrassed in its conduct of its international affairs policy because of the refusal of certain groups in the community to co-operate in increasing the production of certain commodities. It may not be necessary for the Government to invoke the powers to be delegated to it by this measure, but I think that it is necessary for the Government’s hand to be strengthened at this critical time in order that it may be able to deal with people who are selfishly minded and are not prepared to co-operate in the interests of the whole nation. Essential production must be improved and nonessential production must be cut down to a minimum, because only by that means oan we cure the disease of. inflation with which we, in common with the rest of the world are afflicted. The task of mobilizing the nation for a war which may pos- sibly come within three years - and that is only an estimate, I do not know how conservative or liberal it may be - requires the co-operation of all sections of the community. We must have an all-out effort on the part of every section. We cannot have some sections holding back in their own selfish interests while other sections have to carry the whole burden. If any section, for its own selfish purposes, refuses to co-operate, the Government should be in a position, in the present abnormal circumstances’, to oblige it to co-operate.

I have read with much interest the debate that took place in September, 1939, when the first Menzies Government introduced the National Security Bill. I have found a striking comparison between the debate on that bill and the present debate, because the attitude of the Labour party in the previous debate runs parallel with its present attitude. It decried the assumption by the Government of sweeping powers, and suggested that all sorts of terrible things would be done under these powers. It said that the Government could not be trusted with such sweeping powers. Well, the facts speak for themselves, so I do not propose to devote much attention to the debate that occurred in 1939. But I suggest that this bill does not go nearly so far as the National Security Act went, the reason being that we are not now engaged in actual war, whereas we were so engaged in September, 1939. When he introduced the National Security Bill in 1939 the Prime Minister pointed out the necessity for the Government to have, in a time df national emergency, what he called a “ reservoir of power “ upon which to draw from time to time in order to give cohesion and unity of purpose to the general direction of the national effort. The same considerations apply now.

This bill is based on the defence power that is vested in the Australian Government. Although the Government must be armed with extra powers, those powers should be flexible even although they may require to be far-reaching. But there should he, and- 1 am sure there will be, as little interference as possible with individual rights as is consistent with a concerted national effort. The Government is not contemplating the issue of a mass of orders and regulations under this measure. I personally have no fear that the Government will misuse the powers that it seeks.

Last night the Leader of the Opposition, in opening the debate for the Opposition, said that under this bill the Parliament would surrender its powers. I was astonished to hear such a statement from an ex-justice of the High Court and a man of his legal knowledge and attainments because he knows that every order and regulation issued by the Executive has to be tabled in the Parliament and can be disallowed by either ‘ House within fifteen sitting days.

Mr Ward:

– When the Parliament meets ! But the Government can keep the Parliament closed up and we shall not have an opportunity to disallow the regulations or orders.


– Even if orders and regulations were issued during a parliamentary recess the Parliament could, within fifteen sitting days of the resumption, disallow them. Therefore, I suggest that the arguments advanced by the Opposition are absolutely specious and without foundation. Any one with any knowledge of the legal position knows that the ultimate powers sought under this measure must rest with the Parliament itself, and cannot reside entirely in the hands of the Executive. It is possible that the machinery to implement the powers may be extensive, and I consider that there will be a need, .and I know that the Government recognizes this need, for a careful selection of the authorities who are to administer the regulations. I have no doubt that the Government will keep the Parliament fully informed about all the regulations that it proposes to make, and how it proposes to exercise the powers to be delegated to it. I believe, also, that it will ensure that those powers shall be exercised reasonably, fairly and in the best interests of the community as a whole. After all,’ public opinion would not tolerate any departure from, or abuse of, our democratic standards, and that fact is a guarantee that the powers will not be abused.

We are facing a national crisis and the country must be geared to meet it. Tn ordinary circumstances criticism of legislation of this kind would be fully justified, but the present circumstances are, unfortunately, far from normal, and the greater responsibilities of the Government necessitate the granting to it of greater powers. After all, a general in the field needs to have a certain flexibility of movement if he is to lead his troops to victory. Therefore, the Government, as the general in the field in this instance, needs to have this reservoir of power on which to draw in order that the national effort may be unified and made effective. In a time of national emergency such as the present the Executive must be empowered to act swiftly. The comparatively slow process of parliamentary procedure does not lend itself to the making of speedy decisions on urgent matters that involve the safety and welfare of the nation.


.- I rise, as one of the freedom-loving people of Australia, to oppose this bill. When the last war began we were told that it was a fight for freedom, a war to end all wars. Now we find that another war to end all wars is in the offing. We have an antiLabour government back in the saddle and war hysteria is being very carefully fostered by the press. Such a war atmosphere is being created that most of the members of the Liberal party have come to the conclusion, despite the differences of opinion in the Cabinet, that there will he a war. The Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) has said that there will be war in three years. The Vice-President of the Executive Council (Mr. Eric J. Harrison), not to be outdone - there must be quite a lot of jealousy about this matter - says that there might be a war in twelve months. The Prime Minister has a plan for a war in three years. I do not know what’ is going to happen to the freedom-loving Australians at the end of twelve months, when the war predicted by the Vice-President of the Executive Council breaks out. If this bill goes on to the statute-book it will be the green light for bureaucracy to run riot. I should like to talk to the people of Australia right down on the ground about this matter and warn them that they are in for a series of controls, despite the platitudes of the Prime Minister, who, during the general election campaign of 1949, told the people over the air in his silky voice : “ We are sick of all these controls “. As soon as the Government came to power the people’s savings began to be dissipated because of the mounting inflationary spiral. Their efforts to maintain a decent standard of living have been frustrated, and the .purchasing power of their fi has almost vanished. What a muddle has been caused by this party of incompetents ! To cover up their trail of inefficiency they have brought in a bill of this nature, which contains sweeping powers over the whole of our economic life. The powers envisaged by this bill are almost as sweeping as those given by the war-time national security regulations. Under this measure people will’ hardly be allowed to breathe. -They will not be allowed to ask questions about what the Government is doing. The bureaucrats will rise up in their wrath and order people to jobs here, there and everywhere in our economic sphere.

The Government has raised a cry that war is inevitable. That has been done merely to inculcate a fear into the minds of the timid people of our community. That was indecent propaganda to say the least of it, because it was intended to soften up the people in order that they would accept a bill of this nature. The Prime Minister said recently, in contradiction of his previous statement, that war is not inevitable. Now what does he mean by those two contradictory statements? He has been told to reorganize our economy, not by the leaders in Great Britain but by the rulers of America. That is one of the conditions attached to the 100,000,000-dollar loan that he obtained from. America twelve months ago. The Prime Minister has to bow to the dictates of Wall-street. This is part of the plan to conscript the Australian people. I for one will have no part at any time in this plan.

Long-range plans were worked out before this bill was introduced. With a great blast of press propaganda, the National Security Resources Board was set up which, according to the press, was to work out a plan to ensure the best and most effective distribution of our raw materials in the interests of national security.

Mr Gullett:

– Hear, hear!


– The honorable member for Henty (Mr. Gullett) says, “ Hear, hear ! “ Perhaps he will not say that after I have finished. Let us consider this National Security Resources Board.

Mr Bryson:

– Who are the members of the board?


– I shall tell the honorable member. Let us consider the members of this board. First there is Mr. Chippindall. I ask decent freedomloving people to judge the capabilities of Mr. Chippindall by considering the increased postal charges. They indicate how efficient he is. Then there is Dr. Coombs, the Governor of the Commonwealth Bank. He provides at least one ray of sunshine in the gloom. There is Mr. W. E.’ Dunk, the Chairman of the Public Service Board. We leave him to the gentle mercies of the Public Service. Then there is Mr. J. R. Kemp, past president of the Institute of Engineers of Australia. There is a very sinister person called Mr. Ian McLennan, the generalmanager of the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited.

Sir Arthur Fadden:

– What about Mr. Monk?


- Mr. Monk would bemore helpful in these circumstances than the Treasurer (Sir Arthur Fadden) is to age pensioners. Then we come to another public servant, Sir Frederick Sheddon.

He is another shining light in our economic structure. There is also Mr. A. S. V. Smith, who held a number of important posts in the Public Service before he resigned in 1945. Now he is attached to the Electricity Meter and Allied Industries Company Limited. All those gentlemen will have a lot to say in the distribution of our resources. There is also Mr. R. J. Vicars, governing director of John Vicars and Company Limited, the woollen millers of Sydney. I suggest that the ‘squatters’ representatives in this Parliament should note that appointment. He is also a director of Bonds Industries Limited and of the Commercial Banking Company of Sydney Limited. That is a sinister appointment. He is an associate member of the Immigration Planning Council, and in view of all the complaints that have been made by immigrants, the planning ability of that particular gentleman is not very high. Another member of the board is Mr. R. C. “Wilson, the general manager of the ‘Graziers Cooperative Shearing Company Limited. He is also a director of a number of other companies, including the Australian Guarantee Corporation Limited, a timepayment concern that operates in Sydney and which’, just prior to the ban being placed upon capital issues, increased its capital by £5,000,000. He evidently had inside information about the proposed ban. Then there is Dr. E. R, “Walker who, before the war, was a professor. I knew that there would be a professor behind this planning, because there is a professor behind all planning. Now we rind that although he is placed last he is going to be the leader of the planners.

I would not suggest that the selection of these individuals was made by Liberal party supporters. They have been placed in these responsible and favorable position to secure their monopolistic interests and to exclude their competitors. Just imagine the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited standing aside and allowing a smaller competitor to damage its interests. That is just not done. Now the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited, of which we had so much experience during the war, has again come to the top. To satisfy its greedy maw it wants to grab all the resources that it requires through regulations which will be just a.= tight as the war-time regulations. Moreover, companies such as is this will give advice to the Government under the cloak of secrecy. Our professors and bureaucrats love to work in secret. They will shove the people around during the recess when they will not have to answer to this House. By the time the Parliament re-assembles after the recess, which should not occur in any case, many complaints will be made about people being autocratically directed to work, and about our resources being misapplied. In connexion with the ironworking industry, complaints have already been made. Members of my union have reported that smaller firms and establishments in the metropolitan area of Sydney have been closed down hy the simple process of being deprived of steel. But if steel is required, it can be got from Japan for £60 a ton, which is about £35 a ton more than the price of the local product. However, the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited can keep on expanding and can get all the steel that it needs. Now that company is seeking further economic power.

MY advice to the Australian people is that they should show in no uncertain terms that they want nothing of this bill or of the people who are members of the National Security Resources Board. Everything connected with our industrial life will be controlled by a bureaucracy if this bill becomes law. The bureaucrats will tell the people how much they should pay for their necessaries, and what they should do to earn their living. Even the newspapers are becoming alarmed at the actions of the Government. There have recently been leading articles in most of the Sydney newspapers warning the people about controls, and those warnings seem to have had some effect in the Liberal-Australian Country ‘party caucus. It has been reported that yesterday a minor revolt was threatened in that body until the Prime Minister appeared on the scene-

Mr Falkinder:

– Who was the leader of the rebels?


– The honorable member for Henty. The Prime Minister threatened the rebels in the caucus with the loss of their endorsement at the next general election. Honorable members may laugh about that, but it has beer reported that the Prime Minister closed the meeting under those circumstances. I can understand the chagrin of the honorable member for Henty, because he has been denied a. Cabinet post and had been given the position of Government Whip merely as a sop. Now he tries to lead a little revolt, but the Prime Minister puts his foot on him. quickly and smartly. I believe that this Whip of the Liberal party will in the future, despite his fascist tendencies, lose his place of favour with the Prime Minister. He is slipping, and he knows it. Yesterday he made a desperate bid to try to regain the ground that he has lost.

The Australian Country party is veryquiet about this matter. The honorable member for Gwydir (Mr. Treloar) said that he supports this bill, but not because he likes it. I ask him to say why he supports it. Has he not the courage to rote against it? He is not poor. If necessary he could live in luxury for the rest of his life without his parliamentary salary. But perhaps he must have a seat in Parliament to satisfy his vanity, and apparently he would sell his principles for the sake of his vanity. Irrespective of his vanity, he has been threatened that unless he supports this bill his endorsement will be withdrawn. I desire to read from the editorial of the Sydney Daily Telegraph of the 8th July. It is there stated -

The Federal Government, through ite sweeping Defence Preparations Bill, seeks to control practically every phase of our industrial and economic life . . .

But the blanketing powers of the Defence Preparations Bill are so wide as to be almost government by regulation.

The Sydney Truth of the 8th July, stated -

Blanket economic and industrial powers, under the Defence Preparations Bill, will cause widespread misgiving and concern. The bill foreshadows controls and regimentation similar to those exercised during the war under the National Security Act.

Regimentation is a horrible word to freedomloving Australians, but a favourite word of fascists. Honorable gentlemen -remember Hitler and Mussolini, who declared that the people should be regimented to think as the government wanted them to think. That is what the Liberal party is trying to do with the Australian people through its fear and smear campaign which operates under the guise of war preparations. The report continued -

It is interesting to note what Mr. Menzies said in his policy speech regarding a Defence Preparations Bill -

In the new Parliament we will bring down a Defence Preparations Bill to institute such needed controls as may be thought to be within the limits of the Commonwealth Constitution. We do not propose to rush into controls, we have an instinctive dislike of them.’ We do not believe. Canberra can run things better, than Brisbane or Perth. They will be adopted only if emergency renders them necessary for the protection of our people.

It concluded with the comment -

Controls are anathema to the people. Some controls in an emergency may be necessary.

This newspaper does not consider that there is any justification for such far-reaching and blanket powers as now suggested.

No one would accuse the Truth newspaper of being a supporter of the Labour party. The Associated Chambers of Manufactures is beginning to realize the danger that is inherent in big monopolistic interests such as Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited and the oil companies. Mr. Withall, the director of the Associated Chambers of Manufactures, is slowly but surely waking up. Recently he made the following statement : -

It is difficult to believe that a Liberal government could seriously contemplate reintroducing measures that have become so completely discredited in the public mind and which largely brought about the defeat of the Chifley Government. Significantly, this legislation was drawn up without any consultation with national producers’ organizations. Neither was it approved by the Liberal and Country parties as political bodies constituting the present Government.

Mr. Withall is annoyed. Although he paid a lot of money to the various institutions that conducted the propaganda campaign of the Government parties he has not received his pay-off.

This bill was inspired by financial interests that want, through the National Security Resources Board, to obtain control of all the resources of this nation. The decent thing for honorable gentlemen opposite to do would be to vote against this measure, because it transgresses every principle of our democratic way of life. The honorable member for Deakin (Mr. Davis) said that men and women must be found for our rural industries. That was a threat. Under this measure, the Government will be able to control all the resources of the nation. It will close small industries and, through the Commonwealth employment agencies that have been established in- all parts of the country, it will tell the men who were previously employed in those industries that there is other work for them at certain places. If they do not accept that work, they will be refused unemployment benefit.

What has become of the proposal to introduce an excess profits tax? Has the Government forgotten it?

The present war hysteria is enabling munitions manufacturers to make millions of pounds. I know the rackets that exist in war industries. During the last war, munitions manufacturers made vast profits. Shortly after the beginning of that war, because a Liberal government had failed in its duty to this country, a Labour government had to take over the administration of the nation holus-bolus under blanket regulations. The enemy was then at our gates and not, as he is now, thousands of miles away. If, in addition to introducing an excess profits tax, the Government evolved a plan for putting value back into the £1 it would win the approbation of all the people of Australia.


.- The simulation of distress by the honorable member for Watson (Mr. Curtin) at the idea of controls being introduced by the present Government would be amusing if it were not for the fact that this Government is being compelled to retrace its laborious steps back to the abyss’ towards which this community had been led by the Labour Government that it displaced in 1949. If honorable gentlemen opposite were really honest, they would vote for the bill and praise the Government for having introduced it. During the last ten years, the policy of the Labour party has been, as the honorable member for Bendigo (Mr. Clarey) indicated in his considered speech on this measure, to concentrate all substantive power in Canberra in order to perpetuate the planned economy to which they give their allegiance. Many of the things that this Government must do at this stage spring from the distorted ‘ economy that the Labour party created during the rather hectic years between 1942 and 1945. which has been described by the Prime Minister as a “milk-bar” economy”. I do not think that phrase adequately expresses the distortion that occurred. I prefer to describe the economy that this Government inherited as a cross between a soup-kitchen economy and a pawn-shop economy.

The persistent demand for the reimposition of controls indicates the diffi culties that the individual encounters in his search for liberty and freedom. Honorable gentlemen opposite have conditioned the individual to accept controls, and now he almost hugs the chains that bind him. Honorable members on this side of the House, if they believe in liberalism, will continue to insist that the individual shall be freed from unnecessary restraints and given the opportunity that he needs to work out his life in his own way. That is the great difference between our beliefs and those of honorable gentlemen opposite.

Much as I regret the fact that the Government is being compelled by force of circumstances to impose controls of the kind referred to in clause 4 of the hill, I am not prepared to take any action that would embarrass the Government or give the impression that I prefer to live under an economy of the kind that the Opposition desires but I shall not support the bill, and I shall do my best to mitigate the force or oppression of the controls that will be introduced. I feel compelled to accept the judgment of the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) on the necessity for those controls. I am not in a position to assess the accuracy of the information that he has obtained from overseas and which he has told us indicates the existence of problems that any government would have to try to solve. The right honorable gentleman has made his decision, and we must accept it. The cry of Salus populi has rung down the ages as governments have told the people what they want them to do in the name of the safety of the State, but equally clearly has come down the years the judgment upon the measures that have been adopted, and, all too frequently, that judgment has been the lament of what might have been.

If I am estopped from making an inquiry into the reasons why the Government has come to the conclusion that these controls are necessary, I am not estopped from inquiring into the adequacy of the means that it proposes to adopt to do what it has decided must be done. Whether a thing shall be done is for the Prime Minister and the Cabinet to decide. Tt is a matter of policy. How it shall he done is a matter that concerns us as members of the Parliament. It is an important question to which we should give consideration.

The Prime Minister has made a statement upon this matter that has been referred to during the course of this debate. It is as follows : -

In this new Parliament we shall bring down a Defence Preparations Bill to institute such needed controls as may be thought to be within the limits of the Commonwealth Constitution. We do not propose to rush into controls. We have an instinctive dislike for them. We do not believe that Canberra can run things better than Brisbane or Perth.

I emphasize that last sentence. I believe that we should use it as a kind of motto. The right honorable gentleman continued -

These controls will be adopted only if the emergency renders them necessary for the protection of our people.

Even though that i3 a rather wide statement, it sets a limit upon the kind of things that the Government has in mind. We must accept the assurance of the Prime Minister that he has no love for controls and that only the minimum number necessary for the protection of the. people will be introduced. I ask honorable gentlemen on both sides of the House to consider whether we shall be able to ensure that what the Prime Minister has promised will be done. Whatever is done, itwill result in a new concentration of power in Canberra, and I believe that that will be regretted by all members of the Government parties.

The greater complexity of government, arising from a multiplicity of Ministers and a multiplication of their functions, has led to an increasing impotence on the part of the individual in all the contacts that he has with the Government or with the State. One of the great problems with which we are faced is that of organizing the conduct of the affairs of the State in a way that will ensure the preservation of the dignity of the individual. This measure confronts us with that dilemma in a very definite manner. We must approach the problem in a non-party spirit. Each of us must consider what we can do to preserve the dignity of the individual, which is all-important in a democratic community. This bill reveals the necessity for reconsidering the distri- bution of governmental functions between the Commonwealth and the States, with a view to ascertaining what powers the Government in Canberra can divest itself of so that some relief can be given to the individual from the remote presssure that is being applied to him. Perhaps it in not sufficient to say that the pressure is remote, but it is often uninformed because those who apply it are too far from the scene of the action to know . what ought to be done. The problem of whether Canberra could do things better than Brisbane, or Perth, keeps coming to the surface all the time. It is a matter of administration to which we have so far paid too little attention.

This new development will disturb still further the balance of Commonwealth and State relationships and make it more difficult to adjust that balance. It emphasizes more and more what I said during the debate on the Address-in-Reply about the need for a convention to examine the whole of the provisions of the Constitution in order to see how it can be moulded to meet the conditions that exist to-day.

Whatever we do, the best guide of what we must avoid will be found in the experience of the past. I do not suppose that there is one honorable member, who to-day, is not obliged to eat some of the words that he has uttered during the -last ten years. Honorable members opposite who complain that the Government is seeking too great a power under this measure sought to gain similar powers for Labour governments from 1942 onwards. They were very much annoyed because they were defeated in their desire to get more power. Some of my colleagues on this side of the chamber have expressed abhorrence at the thought of how many of these powers may be administered. Yet, to-day, they are confronted with the necessity for retracing their steps. We must realize that we must now do things that we would rather avoid doing. The whole proposal reminds members of how a small stream breaks into a large river. I have seen how measures like this bill and the National Security Act 1939 have operated. On this point, I shall quote remarks that were made by Professor Bailey, who, before he was appointed Solicitor-General, was Professor of Law and Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Melbourne. In 1941 he said -

A month ugo, when I made a count, I found that there were included in the Law Book Co.’s War Legislation Service 27 Acts of Parliament, five of them pre-war; 3:50 Statutory Rules, the children of these Acts; and no less than 974 Proclamations, Orders, Declarations and the like, the grandchildren so to say. And the Law Book Company’s Service does not contain by any means all the amendments made in the Australian Military Rules and Orders. Could even 27 rabbits have produced a more numerous progeny in the time? ‘

That is the kind of thing that torments supporters of the Government despite the confidence that some of my colleagues have expressed in regard to this measure. They seem to be satisfied that there is no danger that this legislation will spawn regulations like the National Security Act 1939 spawned them. A leopard cannot change his skin or a secret drinker his “spots”, any more than a regulationmaker can change his habits. The regulations that will be produced under this measure may, perhaps, be as numerous as the progeny of the rabbits to . which Professor Bailey referred. Despite all the difficulties that the honorable member for Watson is worried about, the Prime Minister has tried to reassure us that in his judgment it will not be necessary to make a large number of regulations. I hope that that will prove to be the case; but I do not think that anybody is in a position to indicate just how many regulations will have to be made in order to give effect to this measure.

My view of the drafting of this bill is that it has too slavishly copied the National Security Act 1939. I should like to refer to the differences between those two measures. In 1939 we were at Avar, despite the fact that it was one of those phoney wars; and we were picking our way along the totalitarian road. To-day, we know the dangers that beset us on that road. It may be true that we are not now actually at war, although our soldiers are at this moment fighting in Korea. However we view the situation, we are in a position in which the Prime Minister demands that action shall be taken by the Government as is provided for in clause 4 of the hill. That clause illustrates one of the differences between this measure and the National Security Act 1939. In 1939 Cabinet consisted of fewer than a dozen Ministers and they were unfamiliar with the political and technical things that had to be done. For that reason, they readily became pliant instruments of socialist officials who sought to give effect to their own political philosophy whether it emanated from recruits from my own university or some other university, or from the people. In those circumstances, those officials had a golden opportunity to give effect to their doctrine and that was one of the reasons why at that time regulations were spawned at such a pace and spate. Clause 4, as various honorable members have indicated, is too wide. It is evidence of the difficulty that the Prime Minister indicated, of trying to deal with this problem by regulation or substantive measure.” I believe that ‘ in respect of many of the matters that arise under this measure the people should have the protection of an act of Parliament and that the Government should not rely upon making regulations. I could, wish that several of the things that the Prime Minister has indicated that he wants to be done by means of clause 4 would be done by legislation. The right honorable gentleman has indicated some of the difficulties involved in doing all of these things by legislation. For instance, the legislative procedure would give premature warning to interests concerned of action that the Government intended to take. The regulation method is flexible and enables the Government to act quickly. It is a means of getting at the difficulties promptly. Nevertheless, the price that the people pay for regulations is very great. It is the substitution of bureaucracy for the Parliament. That is the price that we have to pay and it will be heavy unless all honorable membei’3 are careful to watch what is done and are prepared to ensure that the power granted under this measure shall not ‘be abused.

My apprehensions are increased when I peruse clause 5, sub-clause (3.) of which removes a whole series of protections that were provided under the Acts Interpretation Act. It is true that an attempt has been made to minimize the number of restraints to be eliminated, but in that respect the Government has been unsuccessful. The provisions of the Acts Interpretation Act that are to be rendered inoperative in respect of this measure were inserted in that act by the Prime Minister himself in 1937 and all the reasons that he gave for providing for those protections apply with even greater force to-day. We have learned how difficult it is to protect the people so far as the making of regulations is concerned. For that reason, if I thought that I should thereby serve any useful purpose I should like to move in committee that sub-clause (3.) of clause 5 be omitted. However, I should then be confronted with another problem that arises in respect of clause 6, which restores some of the matters that I would remove from clause 5. The point that I make with respect to the removal of protections provided for under the Acts Interpretation Act is that those protections include the rules that prevent the imposition of obligations with retrospective application. That class of regulation represents one of the real tyrannies to which people in a democratic community are subject every now and again. No democracy should tolerate regulations of that kind that retrospectively impose liabilities or curtail rights. If we really want to do that, let us take such action by act of parliament. There should be no place at all for that sort of thing under the regulation making power.

Clause 11 also offends my sense of what is reasonable in terms of legislation that should be passed by the Liberal party. That clause empowers Ministers to delegate their powers under regulations, and it is so wide as to allow anything to be done. Ministers may delegate power to do anything at all that, they want to be done. I have the greatest apprehension that the sort of thing that was done under the National Security Act 1939 will be re-adopted and continued under this measure. Under the National Security Act, Ministers were able to divest themselves of all responsibility. During the period from January, 1942, to September in the same year, which waa just after Japan entered the recent war, over 5,500 regulations and orders were issued. That fact indicates what we may expect. A spate of regulations of that kind becomes totally uncontrollable. It becomes a flood that no one can stem. The Senate Regulations and Ordinances Committee did admirable work. It was able to have many regulations withdrawn but it would be impossible for such body even to start to cope with so great a flood of regulations as occurred during the period of nine months to which I have just referred. The fact that during that period over 5,500 regulations and orders were issued gives some idea of the growth of the Public Service. Orders sprang from regulations which were not a precise expression of legislative intent. Instead, the regulations followed the form of statutes and did no more than express a general object, appoint a board, or other authority and endow it with the right to make orders. Over 1,000 regulations of that kind were made. It is now proposed to follow that practice under clause 5 of the bill. Under regulations, orders may be made and such orders will be immune from some of the protections that are provided for in the Acts Interpretation Act. In the past, orders issued under National Security Regulations were of every kind and scope. They reached the high water mark of bureaucratic indifference to public rights in rule 16 of the Land Transport Regulations, which read -

Any order or direction of the Board imposing any duty, obligation or liability upon the public at large, . or any class of persons described generally whether in respect of a particular locality or generally, shall be published in the Gazette, but the order shall take effect as from the time when it is made, and no order shall be invalid on the ground only that it has not been so published.

The significance of that rule will be apparent to every one. It was possible, under it, for a person to be prosecuted pursuant to a regulation that had not been gazetted and which nobody knew had been made. At the same time, penalties were exacted and the persons penalized had no way of finding out of what delinquency they had been guilty. Imagine the prospect of being prosecuted under an order that had not seen the light of day and whose application was retrospective! The Prime Minister said that he would insist upon ample protection being provided against the abuse of the regulation-making power. However, the protections that exist in the measure are not adequate. It is true that provision exists for the laying of regulations before the Parliament and that the Parliament may disallow any regulation. However, withdrawal of regulations could not be effected unless the Parliament were in session. But I point out that the very things which, the Prime Minister has said, make it necessary to promulgate regulations are the very reasons why there will not be any protection. Protection will be afforded if the Parliament is in session, but if it is in recess, there will be none. That is why we require protection of the kind that was suggested by the Leader of the Opposition when, as the Attorney-General, he introduced the Constitution Alteration (Post-war and Democratic Eights) Bill in 1944. He. hoped that the people would grant to the Commonwealth the powers that were sought if he imposed some restraints upon the likelihood of the abuse of. power by bureaucrats.

The greatest danger, in my opinion, is not so much in the making of regulations, as in the attitude of the officials who make them. The problem arises with the public servants upon whom the Government has to rely. It becomes impossible for a Minister to know everything that the staff of his department is doing. Departments have grown so large that Ministers cannot know precisely what their officers are doing. The difficulty arises with the public servants, and their attitude of mind, again because of the absence of any tradition of administration or of any adequate sense of the proper place of an official in a genuinely democratic community. It is for those reasons that I raise my voice against the power to issue regulations under this bill, in the hope that some kind of protection, which has been promised by the Prime Minister, will be evolved.

Another problem which arises is that which an Opposition member has referred to as the new despotism, which occurs when an official is placed in the position of adjudicating upon measures that he himself has framed. A positive protection is required. I am not satisfied with the provision that the Parliament shall have the right to disallow the regulations. The best kind of protection is a positive one, and I believe a regulation should not continue in force after the Parliament has met unless ii has been approved by the Parliament. I: is true that the House may disallow regulation, but I consider that power should be included in this bill, or should be taken by other means, perhaps by executive act, so that every regulation that is promulgated will take effect from the day on which it is issued, but will not continue in operation after the Parliamen meets unless the Parliament specifically votes for its continuance.

The other matter which I advocate, if I cannot have administrative courts, is the appointment of a standing committee on regulations, the function of which will be to search for abuses that may occur under regulations, with a view to eliminating them. A few years ago, the the Attorney-General, Dr. Evatt, appointed a special committee consisting of Sir David Maughan, Dr. Louat, and the honorable member for Eden Monaro (Mr. Allan Eraser) to examine regulations, and as a result of its investigations and recommendations numbers of regulations were discarded. Such a committee would provide another protection. But the most important thing is that I want a provision to be inserted in this bill which will give an assurance that the people will be adequately protected from abuses that can occur in the administration of regulations that may be promulgated under this legislation. Unless the power to make orders is eliminated and the principle of delegation is curtailed, I shall not be able to vote for the bill.


.- This bill is another example of the broken promises and pledges which were made by the Government to enable it to usurp power in 1949, and with which it hoodwinked the people into supporting it in the recent general election. It is evident that the Government intends to utilize its ruthless majority to steam-roll its legislation through the Parliament by the use of the gag and by other means. Those practices reflect a general, undemocratic trend towards totalitarianism. The Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) gained the support of the majority of people at the general election in 1949 by persuading them that the economic controls which had been retained by the Labour Government were unnecessary. The right honorable gentleman gave a definite assurance that if he were returned to office, he would abolish those controls. He referred, in his policy-speech, to what he described as the de-socialization policy of the Liberal party and the Australian Country party, and said -

We will resist the return of oppressive government controls of all kinds.

The right honorable gentleman also indicated that a Liberal party-Australian Country party government would streamline the Public Service, and he stated -

We believe that the rapid growth of socialist ideas and practices in Australia is transferring far too many people from productive to administrative activities and that this representsa grave danger to our future.

While therefore, we will check the present unhealthy expansion we are not contemplating (as some of our opponents seem to suggest) wholesale dismissals.

The first indication that the present Government was backpedalling on that policy was given early in 1950, when the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. Holt) admitted that the Government had been caught up with its own election propaganda. The Government, instead of cheeking the growth of bureaucracy, contemplates increasing it substantially through the operation of this bill. The Government proposes to restore the so-called planners and have a bigger bureaucracy, yet it refuses to disclose to the House reasons that may justify such action. We have only the say-so of the Prime Minister about the international emergency which he asserts has arisen, but he asks the Parliament to give him a blank cheque to enable the Government to meet that crisis.

The manner in which this bill is being ru shed through the House is causing grave concern to all sections of the community. Manufacturers and many business people have commented unfavorably upon its provisions, and the workers are greatly concerned about its probable effects upon them. ‘ They realize that their jobs in industry may be in jeopardy. The majority of the people are prepared to submit in war-time to being pushed round, hut they require weighty reasons for such a policy before they display a similar willingness in peace-time. According to press reports, Government supporters themselves are perturbed about this bill. Nineteen months ago, flushed with their victory, they burned with zeal to get on with the job. Their ranks were depleted by the general election several months ago, and the ardour of the survivors appears to be somewhat dampened. Some honorable gentlemen opposite are obviously concerned about the policy of the Government and others are under the illusion thatthe Government will avail itself of their services, and will heed their views on matters of policy. The honorable member forWarringah (Mr. Bland) has given a demonstration of that kind of thinking. We know that he holds strong views about decentralization and the retention of the federal system of government. He is a strong opponent of the centralization of power. Yet he has told us quite meekly this afternoon, that he does not desire to embarrass the Government by voting against this bill, although he is critical of some of its provisions. The honorable gentleman, when he was a private citizen, frequently told parliaments and governments precisely how they should function and do things. Now, apparently, he is not prepared to support his ideas with his vote. It appears that he, and some other supporters of the Government, have become apathetic about the situation, and now drift along with the current. They are frustrated back-benchers.

Theirs not to make reply,

Theirs not to reason why,

Theirs but to do and die.

They are like the dumb, driven cattle. Yet I sympathize with them. I have been in a similar position. I know what it is to sit behind a government which says, in effect, “You fellows are just a voting unit. Your views do not count for anything “. I sympathize with Government supporters when they are so restive, because the Prime Minister, as we have been told in the press, and apparently it is not denied, did not take the back-benchers into his confidence about this bill. When he spoke of it in the party room, he gave a very sketchy outline of it.

Mr Griffiths:

– Government supporters revolted against the bill.


– There are rumours of murmurings and rumblings of revolt around corners and in the corridors of this building. The newspapers apparently have picked up a few items about the situation from Government supporters who are not prepared to express their true feelings in the House. 1 give the honorable member for Warringah full credit for the outspoken manner in which lie has addressed the House.

Mr Sheehan:

– He was very bland.


– I sympathize with the honorable gentleman. But the Great Franquin waved his magic wand over Government supporters in the party room, and subjected them to his hypnotic and mesmeric influence. He lulled them to sleep, and into a sense of false security. No doubt they will wake up in due course.

Mr Daly:

– Does not the Government wish to appoint an additional Minister?


– Yes, and such a decision will probably lead to the establishment of a new department, and more public servants will be required to starT it. The rumblings of dissatisfaction in the ranks of Government supporters have been mentioned in the press. The Canberra Times published the following news item to-day under the heading, “ Government under Fire in Party Room “ :-

The Government was attacked yesterday in the Liberal party room over the possible administration of regulations issued under the Defence Precautions legislation.

The attack was led by Mr. Gullett (Henty) who was reported to have pointed out that the regulations would bc administered by the same officials “who carried out regulations under the Chifley Government.

Mr. Gullett asserted, it was stated, that this administration had led to abuses. It was foolish for the Government to allow these same persons to administer any new regulations.

But the Prime Minister waved his magic wand, and murmurings were silenced. The following news item, written by Mr. Frank Chamberlain, appeared in the Melbourne Sun News-Pictorial to-day under the caption “ Prime Minister Welds Party Behind His Defence Bill “ :-

Fears of abuse of the sweeping Defence Preparations Bill dominated a joint Government party meeting to-day, but the bill was approved after the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) delivered a rousing call for rank ‘ and file loyalty.

A good old emotional appeal to party loyalty to divert the minds of members from the real issues at stake ! The article continued -

Many Liberal members went into the party room gravely disturbed at the prospect of the Government re-introducing war-time controls which they denounced in 194!).

Others in the community also are greatly concerned, about this bill, especially since Government supporters have been lulled into this false sense of security by’ the Prime Minister. They realize that the Government has a majority in the Parliament and that now they need not expect from Government supporters any redress of wrongs that may be committed against them. Honorable gentlemen on the Government side of the House have, repudiated their pledge to the electors to defend liberty and oppose bureaucratic controls. The bill has brought loud protests from the Associated Chamber of Manufactures, whose president, Mr. Latham Withall, has strongly condemned the measure. The Canberra Times a’so reported to-day that the Queensland Chamber of Manufactures had sent telegrams to members of the Liberal party in this Parliament iri which they condemned the bill as the complete antithesis of democracy. I remind the House that thi? was not a protest by Socialists or Communists. The Queensland Chamber of Manufactures is a very conservative body. The report in the Canberra Times stated -

The secretary, Mr. McCray said that section four provided for controls worse than the Labour party ever demanded. Section eleven permitted unlimited delegation of power outside the control of Parliament.

The whole bill fulfilled the Labour warning that liberalism would introduce fascism. Members were strongly urged to do their best to have the bill withdrawn.

Unfortunately such protests have failed to achieve any result, although they have been made on behalf of both large and small manufacturers, all of whom realize that industry is likely to be seriously disturbed.

Government supporters have a habit of hurling epithets and ta.unts at members of the Opposition on the ground that we are subject to control from outside thu

Parliament. Now they are submitting to a dictatorship and behaving like dumb, driven cattle ! They propose to betray the people whom they represent and to hand over their responsibilities to persons outaide the party who are unknown to us. We do not know yet what bureaucrats will be empowered to make orders under the terms of this bill. Those individuals will not be responsible in any way to the people or to the Parliament, but they will be given great authority over the lives, property and businesses of many persons in the community. Heavy penalties will be provided for breaches of regulations and orders made under the hill. I direct attention particularly to clause

S, which deals with offences and the penalties that may be imposed on individuals who are found guilty of offences. As the honorable member for Warringah has pointed out very aptly, persons may commit offences in all innocence because orders or regulations may be issued without warning. The penalties that are provided for such breaches are amongst the most drastic ever to have been laid down by a Parliament. Either one of two courses of procedure may be adopted to deal with offenders. Summary action may be taken before a magistrate, or. action on indictment may be taken before a judge. A person who is found guilty of an offence by .” magistrate will be liable to a fine of £250, or imprisonment not exceeding a term of six months, or both. A conviction on indictment will entail a fine not exceeding £5,000, or imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or both. Officials behind the scenes will be empowered to issue orders for the contravention of which such punishments may be imposed.

The fact that the Government has fixed such severe punishment indicates that it is contemplating some particularly outrageous invasion, of the rights and privileges of citizens which will provoke strong resistance. The people usually abide by the laws of the land and, in a state of emergency, they are willing to make many sacrifices. Therefore, I am convinced that the Government has a special reason for fixing such harsh penalties. I remind honorable members that it was the Menzies Government, and not a Labour government, that placed the

National Security Act on the statutebook during the war. That act authorized many of the iniquitous regulations and harsh administrative acts that have been .criticized from time to time in this House by representatives of all political parties. One of the first acts of the Curtin Administration, when it took control of the nation in 1941, was to have those regulations overhauled. It appointed a standing committee, which was presided over by the honorable member for Eden-Monaro (Mr. Allan Eraser), to examine the regulations and whittle away many of their unjust provisions. That provides strong evidence of the good faith of the Labour party when it declares its opposition to bureaucratic abuses and the overcentralization of power, because it would have been possible for it to justify many restrictive -acts of administration in the emergency of war. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, and therefore the proposed delegation of powers to individuals behind the scenes of government will assuredly lead to many abuses. Bureaucracy has a tendency to run wild. As the honorable member for Warringah has pointed out, whenever the opportunity occurs regulations and orders are produced like rabbits out of a magician’s hat. The old sausage machine gets to work! Thousands of regulations were issued during the war with such rapidity that honorable members had not sufficient time in which to keep track of them. We scarcely had time to total their numbers, let alone study them in detail.

I agree with the honorable member for Warringah that safeguards should be applied to the power to issue regulations and make orders. Mere words are not sufficient. It is not enough for the Prime Minister to give verbal assurances to his followers. The best way to ensure that abuses shall be prevented is to make use of the parliamentary machinery for the purpose. The limitation of the period of operation of this measure, which is provided in clause 13, is not an adequate safeguard in itself. We all know that officials who acquire power of this sort have a vested interest in it and will always be able to find ways and means of satisfying the Government that a continuance of their authority is essential. Parliament itself has a responsibility to keep a check on the Executive and officialdom on this matter. Too much centralization of power in the hands of individuals has a stultifying effect unless there is parliamentary supervision. The Government’s proposals are not entirely new in character. They represent a hangover from the bad old days when Ministers tried to keep all control to themselves. That weakness has been apparent in all governments. Ministers are not prepared to make use of the services of rankandfile members of the Parliament, even of their own supporters, because they fear that private members may thereby gain too much knowledge and eventually supersede them. That attitude binders progress and begets inefficiency. We know that Ministers are unable to cope with all the administrative details that pass through their hands, but they are adamant in refusing to allow private members to assist them. They prefer to hand over various problems to officials, which fosters a dangerous bureaucratic trend towards totalitarianism. Members of the Parliament are treated as mere cogs in the machinery of government and are not given the chance to use their initiative. If supporters of this Government are worth their salt, they will resist this practice and try to give effect to the views that they expressed publicly during the election campaign by asserting their, right to be consulted. They command a majority in this House, and the matter rests entirely in their hands. There are capable men in the ranks of the Government’s supporters, and the Government should make use of them. However, we know from experience that it is not likely to do so.

The Prime Minister has asked for cooperation. He should set the example. There is no reason why he should not co-opt the services of honorable members on his own side of the House for the purpose of supervising the operation of this legislation. The business of government is the biggest business in Australia, and it ought to be carried on in a businesslike way. Each Minister should have a number of private members to assist him as an advisory committee. Control should not be handed over to bureaucrats outBide the Parliament. I fully appreciate the point of view of the honorable member for Warringah in relation to the proposed appointment of standing committees to examine the regulations that will be issued under this bill; but that procedure would be like locking the stable door after the horse has gone. Why not have committees of members of the Parliament to assist in the preparation of regulations so as to prevent injustices from occurring, instead of waiting to remedy them after they have occurred? I am certain that honorable members on both sides of the House would be willing to make their services available for such work. This is a vital matter, and the Prime Minister should relax his hitherto unyielding resistance to the proposals that have been made for the appointment of additional parliamentary committees. It would be impossible for any honorable member to make a careful study of every regulation issued under the bill, but small com mitteescould be formed to make specialized studies of particular aspects of administration. The Prime Minister could draw such committees either from the Government parties alone or from all parties. He might well take the Opposition into ‘ his confidence. He has said that war is imminent. During World War II., the Parliament had a body that was known as the Australian War Advisory Council.

Sitting suspended from 6 to 8 p.m.


– In the absence of complete frankness on the part of the Prime Minister, who does not seem to intend to tell the House or the people his reasons for requiring the wide powers set out in this measure, the Opposition is bound to oppose the bill at this juncture. The Government’s proposals would necessitate virtually handing over the legislative and administrative functions which ordinarily repose in this House and the Government to outsiders who would not be answerable to the electors. The Opposition must also oppose the bill because of its doubtful constitutionality. The Government has provided no evidence of the urgency with which it alleges it requires the powers that it seeks. If the community were in clanger the Parliament could be summoned to meet at a few days’ notice. The facilities of air travel make it possible for honorable members to reach this House quickly from all parts of Australia. It is also open to the Prime Minister at any time to call a secret session and take honorable members into 1 1 is confidence. Such a procedure was adopted during the war period. Even if the Prime Minister is not disposed to take the public into his confidence he could adopt that procedure. All honorable members have some responsibility in this matter. They are the elected representatives of the people and are answerable to thom and they have a right to be consulted and trusted by the Government.

The Government could call a convention of the State Premiers in order to secure a temporary transfer of such powers as may be warranted in order to deal with this situation. Of course, the Government may not be able to convince the State Premiers that’ it needs these powers, but, after all, the Premiers are responsible to the people and should have the right to judge whether such powers ore necessary. Such a convention should review the entire Constitution, which is still in the horse and buggy age, with a view to the transfer to the Commonwealth of such powers as may be deemed necessary to ensure that this Parliament and the Australian Government can properly carry on the government of the country in peace and war. Failing such .action as that, the Government could hold a referendum on the whole subject of alterations of the Constitution that would vest in the Commonwealth additional powers, including the power to control prices, instead of dealing with the situation piecemeal as it proposes to do in connexion’ with the problem of communism. Many sections of the community are perturbed by the thought of how the Government’s proposal will affect their lives, property and businesses, not only because of possible abuse of the powers sought but also because of the uncertainty entailed by the Government’s indirect method of dealing with the position through the defence power of the Commonwealth. The validity of such legislation as this, must, in the final analysis, be decided by the High Court whose duty it will be to place an interpretation on the measure. Meanwhile the businesses of many people will be dislocated and the jobs of many workers jeopardized, possibly with widespread ruin. It will be little consolation to them, after the damage has been done, to know that the act or regulations may bedeclared invalid by the High Court. The Prime Minister has assured the House that freedom can be had at a price but what is the price? That was what honorable members of the Opposition want to know. The Prime Minister has asked for a blank cheque.


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

Wide Bay

– It is astonishing to hear opposition to a bill that is entirely a national defence measure designed to give to the Government a few of the defence powers that were used during the war. So ruthlessly and with such harmful affects on the community were those powers used by a Labour government that honorable members must experience a cold shudder when they think of such restrictions being again imposed. Australia is not at war now because it takes two parties to wage a war. But the democracies have been -subjected to hostile action of other types during the last few years. A campaign of economic destruction has been waged in Australia for some time. This bill has been designed to counteract these sinister and evil activities which are being conducted with a view to our destruction. These activities were incubated during the too long regime of the Labour Government. The Opposition has endeavoured to protect the individuals who are responsible for these actions by opposing every measure that the Government has introduced for the purpose of protecting the national security against Communists. No such activity as that against which this Parliament has legislated and which this bill has been designed to prevent was known to those who drew up our Constitution. At that time no such sinister organization as the Communist party had presented itself to the world with suchdetermination to conquer the whole of civilization. Consequently, it is now difficult for the Government to deal with this menace without over-stepping its rights under the Constitution. This bill does not over-step those rights.

I do not appreciate this legislation any more than the British public has appreciated the far worse legislation that has been introduced into the House of Commons by the United Kingdom Government, and which has caused more trouble to the citizens oi the United Kingdom than the ‘provisions of this bill will inflict on the people of Australia. Any measure of this type is objectionable to all Britishers, but it is necessary for the purpose of obviating a much more objectionable occurrence which will eventuate if the Government does not act in this way. If Australia is to place itself in a position to meet invasion it must marshal its resources. This bill will give to the Government a limited degree of control in the marshalling of men and materials. If our lads are to be encouraged to go into the Army, surely it is the responsibility of this House to find the best means of protecting the country that they have offered their lives to defend. It is for the proper defence of the country that it has been necessary to introduce this bill and to call up trainees. It is unfortunate that those who dictate the policy and votes of honorable members opposite never support any provision for the defence of this young country. That does not auger well for the future women and children of this great heritage for which others have fought and died. These rubber stamps who are instructed how to vote in this House by an outside junta cannot be relied upon to support any defence measure.

The Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt) has asked the Government to submit this measure to the people by way of a referendum. The Government submitted a bil] for a referendum to the House a few days ago and the Leader of the Opposition objected to it. There is no necessity to submit this proposal to a referendum because the Parliament already possesses the constitutional power to pass such a measure as this. During the troubled times through which we are passing some form of defence is necessary. If the Government delays very much longer the friends of the traitors within this country will have a very easy passage to our shores and will take complete possession of Australia. That, of course, is a possibility that i3 worrying the whole of the democratic world to-day. What the Government proposes to do is very little in comparison with what is being done by other democratic governments. Australia cannot expect other nations which have been making great contributions to world security to help it while it does no more than encourage the enemy within its shores. There is no reason why the Government should be refused the powers that have been set-out in the preamble to this bill. In the United Kingdom the Government has imposed colossal taxation on its people. That country was shot to pieces during the last war and it has been partly rebuilt, whilst Australia was hardly touched. The Nineteenth Parliament did not accomplish anything because the Government had to contend with the unfortunate obstacle of a hostile Senate which refused to assent to any measure it submitted for the defence and security of the country. The preamble to this bill states that, in the opinion of the Parliament and of the Government of the Commonwealth, there exists a state of international emergency. That statement has been based on information that is held by the Government and was known to the last Government but it is not believed by honorable members of the Opposition. After considering the information in its possession the Government decided to introduce thi* bill.

This country has been on the verge of war on many occasions during the -last, few years. What has happened during the last month in Persia has shown that at any time the powder might explode and involve us in a war. This measure provides that the Government shall have extra power so that if war does break out it can immediately take action that it has not at present the power to take. The preamble to the bill states that the defence preparations of Australia shall include, in the first place, the raising, equipping and provisioning of the armed forces of Australia in increasing numbers and the equipping and provisioning of armed forces of other members of the British Commonwealth of Nations and the United Nations. Is there anybody who can justly claim that those provisions should be opposed by any section of the public? I know that some members of the public are uneasy about legislation that gives to a government the power to rule by regulation, because they have vivid recollections of what this country suffered under a war-time Labour government that ruled by regulation to the detriment of industry and at the cost of peace and goodwill in the community. To what provisions in this measure could anybody take exception? Could anyone rightly object to - measures to secure the maintenance and sustenance of the people of Australia in the event of war or to contribute towards the maintenance and sustenance of the people of countries associated with Australia in defence preparations?

Would anybody say that this huge country is not the country to which much of the civilized world looks for food supplies? We must increase those supplies, both for ourselves and for those who will be our allies in a war. Would anybody object to the making of regulations in relation to- the expansion of the capacity of Australia to produce or manufacture goods, or to provide services, for the purposes of defence preparations or for the purpose of enabling the economy of Australia to meet the probable demands upon it in the event of war.

The provisions of this bill are to operate for a limited period, which is stated in the bill. The Government hopes that at the end of that period the operation of the bill will have enabled us to make the preparations that we require to make for our own defence and for assistance to our allies in a war. In times like these every section of the community should cooperate for the national good, and so we have asked the Opposition from time to time to co-operate with us in gearing the country’s economy and production to meet any eventuality. But such invitations have fallen on deaf ears. There is no other country in the world in which there is such opposition to the preparations of effective defence as the Labour party in this country has shown.

Clause 4 is the part of the bill which is probably most disturbing to some people. It authorizes the making of regulations in respect of the productive and economic resources of Australia. But it contains no provision in relation to the compulsory direction of labour. It provides for compulsion only in relation to commodities and materials that are required for our defence and in relation to production of luxury goods. Subclause (3.) deals with matters in relation to which the Governor-General is excluded from making regulations. It reads -

Nothing in this section authorizes the making of regulations -

imposing taxation;

with respect to the borrowing of money on the public credit of the Commonwealth ;

for or in relation to the compulsory direction of labour; or

imposing any form of, or extending any existing obligation to render, compulsory naval, military or airforce service.

So there is nothing in the bill to warrant the opposition to it that we have met from the other side of the House. Its operation is to be limited to the 31st December, 1953. {: .speaker-KFG} ##### Mr Griffiths: -- Too long ! {: .speaker-K6Q} ##### Mr BERNARD CORSER: -- It is too long for the " Coms " and their sympathizers in Australia and for those who treat defence matters lightly and who make wise-cracks that might tickle the ears of some unthinking people, when their minds should be on the consideration of how this country can protect itself in the event of war. The Government not only has a moral responsibility to provide for the effective defence of the nation, it also has to do something to keep the promises that it made to the people. This legislation is not hasty legislation, as the Leader of the Opposition **(Dr. Evatt)** has claimed. It was conceived in those futile months when a Labourmajority in the Senate prevented the Government from governing. The bill represents one of the Government's major proposal? to achieve security for this country. We cannot give to the people the security that we promised them unless we have the powers provided for in the measure. We were twice given a mandate by the people to deal with the Communists, and those honorable gentlemen opposite who are now opposing this measure screamed against our efforts to give effect to that mandate. {: .speaker-K6T} ##### Mr Costa: -- That legislation was invalidated by the High Court. {: .speaker-K6Q} ##### Mr BERNARD CORSER: -- Nevertheless, we received a mandate and honorable gentlemen opposite - the rules of the House make it obligatory on me to call them gentlemen - opposed our attempts to put it into effect. However, we do not now require their votes to put this measure into effect. {: .speaker-JZB} ##### Mr Fitzgerald: -- The Government parties did not receive the people's votes to do this. {: .speaker-K6Q} ##### Mr BERNARD CORSER: -- We intend to fulfil the promises that we made to the "people because their fulfilment will benefit every individual in the Commonwealth. We must tackle with vigour and persistence the job that has to be done, even if the measures necessary to do it are temporarily unpopular. Conferences with those who oppose effective defence would now be a weakness. We must go straight on.' - Time is short and the activities of our enemies have been great They have used well the time that they have had to prepare against us. The military power of the mother country of the traitors in our midst is greater than it has ever been. Had it not been for the monetary and material sacrifices o.' the American people we should not b" enjoying our present freedom, and it is up to us to do our part of the job. The Government is convinced that it is right, and it will have the grit to resist opposition, whether it comes from enemies within the country or from people within this Parliament who have been instructed from outside to vote against its proposals. We are prepared to resist the elements of revolution and world enslavement. Any effort by us will be worthwhile when we consider what other countries have suffered from the Communist octopus which has spread itself over a large part of the world and sucked the freedom from so many European countries. Now it has got China and Tibet, and has its eyes on Persia, but we shall not withdraw until we have finished preparing for the fight that will come unless we are strong enough to discourage the aggressors. . It it not a fight that might come, it is not a trouble that might beset us; it is something that is with us to-day and against which we must take action. That is why this bill and other bills have been introduced by the Government. It is our duty to achieve greater production not only for ourselves but also on behalf of our allies, as well as to achieve a more effective defence of our country. The Labour party opposes the provision of effective defence, and had left us so far behind in defence matters when it went out of office, that the Government has had a very heavy task in making up the leeway. The United States did long ago what we now propose to do, but all thai the Labour Government achieved in relation to post-war defence was to drive the Americans out of Manus Island, which was the one beacon light of defence that shone to our north. {: .speaker-KJQ} ##### Mr James: -- The honorable gentleman will have to take his red tie off. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order ! This bill has nothing to do with neckties. {: .speaker-K6Q} ##### Mr BERNARD CORSER: -- When there *is* so much red on the other side of the House, surely I may introduce a little bit of colour on this side. I at least am not guilty of red thinking. Our forces to-day are below requirements, and below what we promised other nations we should maintain. Half our fleet is in mothballs, and our air force is now required to transfer to jet machines which we have not got. {: .speaker-KFG} ##### Mr Griffiths: -- Who put the naval ships in mothballs? {: .speaker-K6Q} ##### Mr BERNARD CORSER: -- The Government that the honorable gentleman supported did so. They are still in mothballs, and honorable gentlemen oppositeare doing all they can to prevent the enrolment of the necessary man-power to bring them out of mothballs again. The bill provides for the' proper organization of factory production and for the sending of labour where it can help the defence of the country by increasing our production of coal, iron and steel. {: .speaker-JTF} ##### Mr Tom Burke: -- Man-power control ! {: .speaker-K6Q} ##### Mr BERNARD CORSER: -- Manpower control does not come within the scope of this bill. The honorable member is just trying to read' that intention into the bill. We must get coal and steel for our defence needs and to provide the needs of the primary producers, whose lack of necessary equipment is hindering the increased rural production that we so badly ne-.'d. The measure will permit the stock-piling of our- own defence requirements and the supply of materials to our allies for stock-piling by them. We have already had to import some of the requirements for our factories. We should bring single workers to this country to work in our factories and on our farms. If single workers went on to farms the housing position of the country would not be worsened. The honorable member for Melbourne Ports **(Mr. Crean)** tried to persuade the House that coal production had increased. I remind the House that in 1938-39, 12,200,000 tons of black coal was produced in Australia and in 1949-50 14',900,000 tons was produced. {: .speaker-K8B} ##### Mr Curtin: -. - But how many miners were there? {: .speaker-K6Q} ##### Mr BERNARD CORSER: -- There were many more miners and much more expensive and new machinery. In addition, 7,700,000 tons of brown coal was produced in 1949-50 compared with 3,700,000 tons in 1938-39. The honorable member said that the total production of coal had increased according to his figures, but his figures included brown coal. I desire to point out to the House that the number of miners engaged that he cited included miners in gold, iron, silver and lead mines as well as those engaged in coal mines; it included all those engaged in the mining industry in general throughout Australia. One has only to consider the dreadful state of affairs in the great City of Sydney, caused by the lack of coal, to realize that the honorable member's, arguments were specious and without substance. The people of Sydney live mainly in darkness, they are denied reasonable transport between their work and their homes and they suffer many shortages of necessary commodities. That is because not enough coal is produced. The production of coal has been curtailed because the miners are controlled by those who are traitors to Australia, to Britain and to the United Nations. They are saboteurs of civilization and receive their instructions direct from Moscow. I ask honorable members to consider the record of the New South Wales coal-miners since 1939. In ' 1939, 9,900,000 tons of coal was produced from underground mines. In 1949-50, 11,200,000 tons was produced from such mines, even though more miners were engaged and much more machinery was used. The figures I have cited have been obtained from the *Monthly Bulletin of Production and Statistics,* issued by the Commonwealth Statistician in February, 1951. It is available to all honorable members. Honorable members opposite cannot laugh off their obligations to this country, . they must realize that they have the responsibility of ensuring that the people shall be protected from the Communist wreckers. The Leader of the Opposition asked why the Government did not put the substance of this bill to a referendum of the people. I have dealt with that suggestion. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order ! The honorable member's time has expired. {: #subdebate-18-0-s19 .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr CALWELL:
Melbourne .- It was Benjamin Disraeli who once said, " Power has only one duty, to secure the social welfare of the people " ; and I suggest that Benjamin Disraeli's views on the duty of governments should not be unacceptable to honorable members on the Government benches. Judged by his dictum, this bill is a complete failure. It is designed to put the Australian economy into a strait- jacket. It is a bill to impose controls on every man, woman and child in Australia in respect of one or other of many matters to be covered by regulations which will be made by individual Ministers without reference to the Parliament and without any effective control by the Parliament. It is a bill that will enable any Minister to delegate his authority to make orders to any public servant, and the orders, like regulations, will have the full force of law, as though they had been voted upon by the .members of this Parliament. This bill can help to create a police state and can enable the Executive to function without calling the Parliament together at all. The Cabinet, which is the Executive, can in respect of all but four matters, which, are mentioned in clause 4, completely govern the country without the Parliament. -Those four matters are the imposition of taxation, the borrowing of money on the public credit of the Commonwealth, and in relation to the compulsory direction of labour or the imposition of any form of, or the extension of any existing obligation to render, compulsory naval, military or air force service. Under the bill the Government will be able to do anything except those four things. The measure can affect the earnings, the livelihood and the well-being of employers and employees in almost every industry in Australia. The industries are to be catalogued. They are to be classed as essential, non-essential and partially essential. The only persons who will decide the essentiality or otherwise of an industry will be the members of the Cabinet. Not even the members of the Government parties who are sitting behind the Government members will be able to do that. They were fobbed off this morning with a bromidic talk by the Prime Minister **(Mr. Menzies),** in which he said that only one regulation will be made, and that before anything else will be done they will be consulted. The urgency which is alleged to have been the inspiration of this bill, will be the excuse given by the Government for not consulting the members of its own parties at a later stage. The earnings, the livelihood and the well-being of every employer and every employee throughout Australia can be affected by the closing down of industries, or portions of industries, according to the Government's determination of whether they are essential at this time for the security and the defence of Australia. The Cabinet, which in the final analysis is probably the Prime Minister, because he towers above the rest of the Cabinet like a Triton amongst minnows, can detrimentally affect the financial and social well-being of great sections of our primary and secondary producers by diverting and controlling goods and labour - I am using almost the exact words of the bill - and by assisting the other countries, which may be associated with Australia in its defence, by the sale of Australian products at prices lower than world market values. The wool of the wool-growers and the wheat of the wheat-growers may be taken by this Government under this bill and sold as the Government desires. Sub-clause (1.) of clause 4 will permit that to happen. That sub-clause consists of a few words, but they constitute the most far-reaching expression of a government's desire that has ever been put into a bill. The words are - >The Governor-General may make regulations for or in relation to defence preparations. There are no qualifications to that power other than those that I have mentioned. The Government can do anything. It can take the products of the wool-growers or of any other primary producers, and despite the alleged prohibition against the conscription of labour, it can close industries and put the workers of those industries somewhere else. In other words, it can confiscate and impose economic conscription. I have listened to honorable members on the Government side apologizing for their political apostasies, and I have never seen people so unhappy. Every honorable member who has spoken from the Government side has sounded hollow and unconvincing, and has looked like some one who has tried to smile after taking castor oil. It was certainly a nasty business for all of them to have to swallow this legislation together with their protestations of but a few months ago. In short under this bill, the Government may do almost anything and practically everything. The blank clause that will give this unprecedented power to the Government is clause 4, which I have quoted. That clause will give power over 8,000,000 people to a Cabinet of nineteen men, which -will shortly be increased to twenty in order to spread the area of ministerial irresponsibility and inefficiency. Had the people of Australia known on the 28th April that the return of this Government would have meant legislation of this sort, which is fraught with so many possibilities of harm, and full of so many potential and actual dangers, it is safe to assume that their votes would have been cast differently. The people of Australia were never asked by this Government to vote themselves into economic bondage. They were never asked to vote for the creation of a totalitarian regime and they were never asked to vote for a completely planned economy. All the Government's propaganda during the 1951 general election campaign and the 1949 general election campaign emphasized that, as far as the Liberal and Australian Country parties were concerned, they believed in the very antitheses of these things. When I said that, I thought I saw the honorable member for Warringah **(Mr. Bland)** nod his assent. Less than three months after the fateful election of the 28th April, this Parliament is being asked to put shackles on our industries, impose sanctions on our workers, engender doubt and confusion on every hand and arouse such resentment in the minds of the people generally as to bring on wide-spread indignation, shock, and apprehension. This is not a bill to promote the security of the nation, it is a bill to endanger it. The Parliament is asked to abrogate its functions and surrender its responsibility to a new bureaucracy and a new army of bureaucrats. Controls are to be the order of the day, and the people will know in due course just what the effect of it all will be. They will know what it is to fill in forms for permission to do this. and that and they will find that that is to be a permanent state of life for everybody. The flood of regulations and orders was accepted during the dangerous days of World War II. so that the nation might survive. {: #subdebate-18-0-s20 .speaker-JSW} ##### Mr BRYSON: -- When the honorable members on the Government side could not govern. {: .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr CALWELL: -- And after the Prime Minister had delivered his abdication speech in 1941. The flood of regulations will start again in the new situation to be established by this measure. The planners are to return, and more will join them. There will be plans and planners with all the accompanying frustrations, disappointments and dissatisfactions that are the inevitable consequence of the establishment of a bureaucracy. People believed that when World War LT. ended there would be a new order based upon the four freedoms. But the four freedoms no longer exist in the hearts of members of the Government parties or in the minds of most of their supporters. This measure is of doubtful constitutional validity. I say that to the Minister at the table **(Mr. Beale).** He is a member of the New South Wales bar and he, for the time being, is a member of this Government. He should know that, judging by the determination of the High Court on another measure that contained many recitals in its preamble similar to those in the preamble to this bill, the odds will be heavily against the bill being validated if it be contested in the High Court. The Government went to the electors with the plea that the people should give it a fair go. What about the Government giving the people a fair go by affording them an opportunity to vote upon this bill? A referendum on this bill could be held at the same time as the referendum on another question. That would involve no difficulty or additional expense. If the people were asked whether they want to vote this bill into the Constitution of the Commonwealth, there would be an 80- per cent, negative vote in each State. The honorable member for Warringah, who is seat-warming for the Australian Ambassador in Washington, talked about the leopard and the drinker and their spots. I remind the honorable gentleman that, as Professor of Public Administration in the University of Sydney and in the course of a long and distinguished career, he campaigned vigorously against bureaucracy. He did not like it at all. But to-night, like every other honorable gentleman, opposite, he ha3 been whipped into the slave, compound of liberalism, and his vote will be cast in favour of this totalitarian measure. Knowing his fondness, and yours, **Mr. Speaker,** for history, I shall regale the House with a speech that was delivered by the present Prime Minister at another time when we were supposed to be in the twilight period before a war. In a speech delivered to the Sydney Constitutional Association on the 24th October, 1938, the right honorable gentleman, who then held the office of Prime Minister, said - >Australians should realize that democracies have much to learn from other systems of government. Democracies cannot maintain their place in the world unless they are provided with leadership as inspiring as that of the dictator countries. Why was Hitler able to tear up the Treaty of Versailles, absorb Austria and the Sudetenland without firing a shot? The dominating reason why he was able *to* do it all is that he gives the German people a leadership to which they render unquestioning obedience. That is the condition of the members of the Liberal caucus to-day. The Prime Minister gives them a leadership to which they render unquestioning obedience. The right honorable gentleman continued - >If you and I were Germans sitting beside our ownfires in Berlin we would not bo cr itical of the leadership that has produced such results. The mind of the Prime Minister is no different now from what it was in 1938. He wants to govern without the Parliament, and he wants the people to agree to everything that he puts forward. Therefore, we have the extraordinary blanket clause, which is clause 4, in this measure. The Government has a majority in both Houses of the Parliament and can secure the passage of any legislation that it wants to pass, but it appears to be so dissatisfied with the situation that confronts the nation with the international situation, and so worried about the legislation that is on the statute-book, that it has almost given the impression that it has power without glory. The Prime Minister would have us believe that the Government has glory without power. Now it seeks to get such power as honorable gentlemen opposite, quite mistakenly and quite maliciously, have charged us with having misused when we were in power. {: .speaker-KQK} ##### Mr McDonald: -- It was very effective. {: .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr CALWELL: -- That is so. One cannot understand why occasionally there is mass temporary aberration. Times change and governments go. I remind honorable members opposite that, before the Government parties were returned in 1949, their leader delivered a policy speech. It was reported in full in the Melbourne *Herald,* under appropriate and heavy banner headings. In that speech, the right honorable gentleman pro- mised that a Liberal-Australian Country party Government would resist the return of oppressive government controls of all kinds. That statement was published in the Melbourne *Herald* on the 11th November - the anniversary of the Russian revolution. The junior partner in this extraordinary firm, the recently knighted and possibly benighted Leader of the Australian Country party **(Sir Arthur Fadden),** went on record a week later. The Melbourne *Argus* of the 18th November, 1949, headed its report of the right honorable gentleman's speech with these words - > **Mr. Fadden:** Your choice is Freedom, Initiative, or - Socialization. He put forward a six-point programme. The first of the six points was - . Discontinue controls. Less than two years after that speech was made, this Government proposes to introduce controls more oppressive than any that have previously been imposed in peace-time, and even in war-time. Nonministerial members had some effective controls during the last war, because the Parliament met frequently. This Parliament will not sit for longer than the Government can help. The speech to which I have referred was not one for which the Leader of the Australian Country party became sorry as the campaign proceeded. The *Young Witness* of the22nd November, 1949, reported the right honorable gentleman as having said - >We will seek to free the demands of trade by eliminating restrictions and obtaining all the goods and materials possible, having in mind the economic circumstances of Australia and the world. The Melbourne *Sun News-Pictorial* of the 11th November, 1949, advertised the present Prime Minister's policy speech as enunciating a "policy on liberty and enterprise ". I am reminded of Madame Roland's famous apostrophe on her way to the "guillotine "-" 0 liberty! How many crimes are committed in thy name ! " : In 1949, the right honorable gentleman who is now Prime Minister, in one of those dramatic attitudes that he sometimes assumes, said - >We must choose our road. Upon our decision will depend the future and fate of this nation. Every extension of government power and control means less freedom of choice for the citizen. Government activities arc monopolistic - no choice for the producer, no choice for the employee and no choice for the customer. The abolition of choice is the death of freedom. {: .speaker-K8B} ##### Mr Curtin: -- Who said that? {: .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr CALWELL: -- It was said by the Prime Minister, who has introduced this bill to kill freedom in this country. Recently, the .Minister for Commerce and Agriculture **(Mr. McEwen)** made a statement that indicates what is going to happen to the wool-growers and everybody else. Addressing the Woolgrowers Federation, he said - >It' manhood could bc conscripted and in dustry could bc directed, wool' could not have a special sacredness. That was an admission that the woolgrowers will be affected by this legislation, that there will be an indirect form of direction of man-power and that industry will be much influenced by all that the Government does. Honorable1 gentlemen opposite know that they cannot govern this country. They know that they have failed to do so, and yet to-night the honorable member for Gwydir **(Mr. Treloar)** said that the Labour party ought to help the Government to govern. The Labour party always governs in its own right or not at all. When we are returned we shall, as we always have done, clean up the mess made by an anti-Labour government. The honorable member for Gwydir, with the consummate coolness of a cultured effrontery, asked honorable members on this side of the chamber to help the Australian Country party and the Liberal party to solve their problems. Two nights ago we of the Labour party were told by the Minister for Labour and National Service **(Mr. Holt)** that we were the friends of communism, but to-night we are being asked to become the friends of Liberalism and Countrypartyism. The Labour party maintains the position that it has always maintained. It is the friend, supporter and defender of democracy, and of nothing else. It is opposed to regimentation and to all forms of totalitarianism. If honorable gentlemen opposite hand over their responsibilities to us and abdicate again, the Labour party will be prepared once more to take charge of the affairs of this country. Last night, the honorable member for Warringah stepped out of the shadows and made a speech on communism. Tonight, he stepped forward again to make a public recantation of everything that he had ever said or written in regard to liberty, bureaucracy, and federalism. He publicly recanted all his protestations over the years. The weak excuse that ho gave for supporting the measure was thai if the Prime Minister believed these controls to be necessary, he had to accept them. What courage, statesmanship and acumen .' The honorable member is probably one of the most intelligent of the honorable gentlemen who sit on the back benches on the opposite side of the chamber. He knows very well that he had to choose between voting for the things in which he believes or voting for the Government. {: .speaker-JQ7} ##### Mr Bland: -- I would sooner support my party than the Labour party. {: .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr CALWELL: -Soon the honorable gentleman may not have a party. It will cease to exist if it continues to emulate the Gadarene swine and hurtle to selfdestruction. The honorable gentleman analysed the bill and made a number of admissions. He said that the Prime Minister had promised that the number of controls would be kept to a minimum. This Government always says things of that kind. He said also" that we must preserve the dignity of the individual, which is the important thing in our democracy. Nobody will have any dignity under this legislation. The powers that it will give to the Government arc tremendous, and the penalties for which it makes provision are enormous. The people who will benefit from the measure will be the monopolists. The Government will be able to say that there shall be in the whole of Australia one piano factory and no radio factories. The Government has already treated radios as luxury goods by making them subject to a heavy sales tax. The Government will be able to say that there shall be one, two or three paint factories in each of the capital cities and no more. The bill will promote monopolies. It will make the rich richer, but it will not benefit the great mass of the people. **Mr. Withall,** Director of the Associated Chambers of Manufactures of Australia, a man who is no friend of the Labour party and, I add, no friend of democracy, said in his newsletter - >It has been repeatedly proved that controls are not a solution. Controls are just as negative as the word " no " and they are demoralizing in their effect. They offer heady temptation to those who believe that thwarting unpopular regimentation is justifiable. They offer risky but highly remunerative reward to the black marketeer, and they set up new spirals of inflation. The greater absorption of basic materials in defence contracts must cut back civilian production in many industries but controls can do nothing to prevent that, they would merely exacerbate the deficiency. The task of the defence security is not such a hopeless one and its solution lies in greater production while retaining the flexibility andadaptability of a free economy, plus the raising of industrial efficiency, which as, one factor in higher productivity, has been the first concern of manufacturers for years and remains so. All the evidence proves that the Government has done the wrong thing and that it has done something that is repugnant to the sense and feelings of the Australian community. Nobody wants to be pushed round in peace-time. The threat that war may come has held good at all times in human history. The Kaiser's action in congratulating Paul Kruger during the Boer War was proof that World War I. would occur sooner, or later; but that did not cause British governments to disturb the economy of Great Britain. **Sir Keith** Murdoch stated recently that there was now a better chance for peace than there had been at any other time during the last five hundred years. {: .speaker-KIF} ##### Mr Hulme: -- How does he know? {: .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr CALWELL: -- Well, his newspaper claims that it is always first with the latest. The Government is a prey to hysterical impulses. It is motivated by a desire to dominate and direct. Only this collection of alleged supermen presumably contains the brains of the nation ! Ministers declare that they must be trusted and be allowed to govern; and, as the Prime Minister said in 1938 in a fond hope, by implication at any rate, this Government headed by himself must be given unwavering obedience by the Australian people. {: #subdebate-18-0-s21 .speaker-JOI} ##### Mr BEALE:
Minister for Supply · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP .- I should be delighted to devote the time at my disposal to an analysis of some of the remarks that have just been made by my lively but inaccurate friend the honorable member for Melbourne (Mr.Calwell). He lashed himself into a fury with his own tail. He spoke about the wickedness of con trols. Yet a government that he supported passed a regulation to classify500 kinds of bird seed! He told the House of many dire things that would happen under this measure. He said that under it the Government would be able to do almost anything and practically everything. It will be sufficient for me to dispose of the honorable member's argurments if I give the lie direct to that statement. It is abundantly clear to any one who reads clause 4 of the bill that under this measure the Government cannot make a regulation or an order that is not directly related to defence and defence preparations. So much for the honorable member's claim that the measure is as wide as a barn door and as high asa church steeple. I pass from him to one of his colleagues whom the Australian Labour party, quite rightly, believes to be greater than he is. I refer to the Leader of the Opposition **(Dr. Evatt).** I listened to the right honorable gentleman's speech in the hope of hearing a reasoned statement from a distinguished legal colleague. {: .speaker-JSW} ##### Mr Bryson: -- And the Minister heard it. {: .speaker-JOI} ##### Mr BEALE:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP -- The right honorable gentleman reminded me of the lines in *Omar Khayyam -* >Myself when young did eagerly frequent Doctor and Saint, I did not notice the saint - {: type="i" start="1"} 0. . and heard great Argument About it and about: but evermore Came out by the same Door as in I went. I heard a lot of words but no argument from the right honorable gentleman. He talked about regulations that were likely to be promulgated under the bill. The first thing I should like to know is where he and the Australian Labour party stand with respect to necessary controls. We know where they stand with regard to the imposition of unnecessary controls, because we had eight years experience of such controls when Labour attempted to socialize the airlines, the medical profession and the private hanks. In the field of unnecessary controls, Labour's record speaks for itself. Where does the Australian Labour party stand with respect to what can be proved to be necessary controls? If honorable members opposite would say, in effect, "Yes, we realize the nature of the circumstances that exist and w.e agree that, some limitations should be imposed by regulations ", we could engage in a reasonable discussion in order to determine what controls are necessary. But, instead, the right honorable gentleman spoke about monopolies and wicked commercial groups that are going to squeeze one another out of existence. For the same reason that I gave when I referred to the remarks of the honorable member for Melbourne, that sort of talk is not only silly, but also dishonest. I repeat that under this bill no regulation or order can be made that is not directly related to defence. The High Court has ruled again and again whether regulations passed under the National Security Act 1939, which is similar to this measure, have been relevant to defence. That safeguard remains and will be a complete protection for the people. It will ensure that any regulation that is passed under this measure will relate to our dire need at the present time. Next, the Leader of the Opposition spoke about the Government's alleged impropriety in enunciating the recitals in the bill. We know that recitals to a measure are not proof of facts. The High Court has said so. However, the recitals in this bill are made in order that the people and any court that may be called upon to adjudicate upon the measure will be acquainted with the motives and reasons of the Parliament for passing what it deems to be necessary legislation. But what justification has the right honorable gentleman to tell the Government that it should not insert recitals in a bill? Apparently, he has a short memory. When he was Attorney-General in the Labour Government, he circulated at the Constitution Convention held in Canberra on the 24th November, 1942, his famous draft of a bill to alter the Constitution and he inserted, in that measure this remarkable recital - >Whereas the aims and objects of Australia as a member of the British Commonwealth of Nations and as one of the United Nations in the present war make it desirable that the > >Commonwealth should have power to carry out plans for post-war reconstruction . . . The right honorable gentleman also inserted in that measure a blanket clause to give unlimited power to the Parliament to pass laws for the purposes of post-war reconstruction. Provision was also made in that measure in respect of ' fourteen heads of power, including the destruction of section 92 of the Constitution which he proposed to wipe out allegedly in the interests of . the British Commonwealth of Nations and of the United Nations, and for the purposes of post-war reconstruction. He was going to impose controls on transport and" take certain steps for the protection of the aborigines, again, I suppose, for the protection of the British Commonwealth. What humbug! The recitals in the measure now before the House are at leastintelligible. The right honorable gentleman said that it was wrong to include those recitals, yet in 1942 he inserted in a measure that he introduced the phoniest piece of hyprocrisy that ever found its way into a bill. Next, he .denounces the regulationmaking power ' as being undemocratic. " He who is without sin, let him cast the first stone." Again the right honorable gentleman either has a short memory, or endeavoured deliberately to deceive the House, because when he was- AttorneyGeneral in 1948 his Government introduced the famous National Health Service Bill which consisted largely of a regulation-making power ten times more widespread than that which 'is being sought under this measure. At that time the right honorable gentleman was going to nationalize the doctors. He wanted to possess them body and soul and he was going to do so by regulation. Under the National Health Service Act a directorgeneral was appointed and that official was under the direct orders of the Minister for Health. The right honorable gentleman and that Minister were going to walk through the land hand in hand chopping off the heads of the doctors - except doctors of laws ! When the right honorable gentleman spoke about the regulation-making power being wrong and undemocratic he indulged in more humbug than has been heard in this House for many years. I turn now to other -matters. During the last general election campaign the Prime Minister **(Mr. Menzies)** said in his policy speech - >In the new Parliament we will bring down a Defence Preparations Bill to institute such needed controls as may be thought to be within the limits of the Commonwealth Constitution. We are doing precisely that very thing under this measure in terms of the promise that the Government parties gave to the people on the 3rd April last. Nevertheless, I believe that in the circumstances that exist a special duty devolves upon the Government to justify this measure and to show the people why it is necessary because the bill makes provision for the passing of regulations some of which may cut across the traditional rights of the Australian citizen. Moreover the Government parties have declared from time to time that they do not like this sort of thing. Thus, I for one shall gladly accept the responsibility of convincing the people that the step that we are taking under this measure is necessary. The cold fact is that the times are out of joint, and our economy is out of joint also. The impact of World War II. caused serious economic dislocation throughout the world. Man by his ingenuity was pulling out of that difficulty but, suddenly, another impact has come that has aggravated existing difficulties and given rise to new ones. This is due to the need to rearm. I hope that it will not be said by honorable members opposite that the need to rearm is not obvious, although the honorable member for Melbourne practically implied that in his remarks. If honorable members opposite still doubt our need to rearm quickly and effectively I point 0U to them that a socialist government in war-torn and war-weary Britain proposes to expend no less than £5,000,000,000 upon defence within the next three years. If that fact does not convince honorable members opposite, I inform them thai recently a delegation waited upon the Prime Minister of Canada, when his Government was about to bring in legislation of this kind, and that delegation, which claimed to represent practically the whole trade union movement in Canada with its 3,000,000 persons, approved of that Government's proposal.' I quote the words which those trade union leaders addressed to the Prime Minister - >The free world now faces the most ruthless and powerful aggressor in history. The best it can hope for is long years of heavy defence expenditures, a large proportion of its manpower and resources diverted from productive work to a great effort for sheer survival. In this effort Canada must play a major part. We have no choice. The enemy is no longer at a safe distance. He is on our northern doorstep. Our share of the free ' world's industrial potential is large and important, far larger and more important than at the outbreak of war in 1939. If we fail or falter, our allies may" be critically weakened, and disaster may overwhelm us all. I ask Opposition members: Does the Australian Labour party or the trade union movement disagree with that statement by the leaders of the trade union movement of Canada? The fact that not Australia alone but also the rest of the free world is rearming causes shortages, rising prices and great frustrations. This is especially apparent in the field of raw materials. I. remind the House that the United States of America, although it .has 40 per cent, of the world's production, is selfsufficient in only six of those basic materials which are necessary to modern economy. Australia is even less selfsufficient than is the United States of America. But in the wider field of " strategic " materials, which are those without which a war effort or a defence effort cannot be carried on, the position is even worse. It has indeed been proved to us in recent months and years, that all the nations are greatly dependent upon one another. Great Britain has recognized that fact by establishing the new Ministry of Materials, the function of which is to ensure that adequate supplies of essential materials concerned shall be available. We in Australia have recognized it by setting up the National Security Resources Board to investigate the impact of defence preparations on the civilian economy, and to work out and recommend to the Government how we may divide what we have. *For* many months the Department of Supply has been .working towards that end in recognition of the same problem. Our friends in other parts of the world, in common with ourselves, have also recognized it by appointing the wellknown International Materials Conference which meets in London and New York for the purpose of discussing the allocation of scarce raw materials and of seeing how they can be divided to the best advantage among the democratic nations. When we, who need raw materials which we do not produce here for our defenceneeds, ask at the conference table for an allocation, the first question that it will put to us is " What are you doing to conserve the consumption of materials in your own country? Wc in the United States of America and in the United Kingdom are rationing ourselves although we produce more than we need, so that some may be allocated to you. What are you doing to ration your own consumers ? " At, present, we have no power to ration supplies, and it is precisely for that kind of reason that this bill has been introduced. For the purposes of illustration, I cite some instances to show the difficulties of the situation, and why we are taking this course. I hope that my explanation will answer some of the criticism that has been offered by Opposition members to the effect that we have not taken them into our confidence, and that they do not know why we are doing this and why we want these controls and regulations. The subject of tinplate is bandied round this House at question time every day. Everybody knows that it is a strategic material of the greatest possible importance to Australia. Approximately 90 per cent, of it is used in the foodpacking industry. The consumption of it is rising all the time, and that increase cannot be curtailed. If I may use a colloquialism, Australia is a " natural " for tinplate consumption. Unless we restrict the consumption in some way, it is inevitable that the demand for tinplate will increase. Approximately 104,000 tons was used in 1949, 120,000 tons in 1950, and 130,000 in 1951, and probably 170,000 tons will be used annually in the next few years. Every Government in Australia, including the last Labour Government - and I do not necessarily criticize it on this count - has given its sponsorship to new industries that require tinplate. Yet we cannot at present get any more tinplate because Great Britain cannot increase our alloca- tion. We could have been successful in obtaining greater supplies from the United States of America, but recently, because of defence needs, that country has said to us, " You cannot even have the quantity to which you are entitled under your contracts with the American steel mills " ; and substantial quantities have been chopped off our allocation. Yet there still is a rising demand in. the foodpacking industries and in other vital industries for tinplate, which is simply not available. What, then, are we to do? Can we conjure tinplate out of the air? Shall we hope for the best? Shall we sit down and do nothing and allow industries to do the best they can? Of course not! We already have a sort of voluntary system of rationing which the industry is trying to operate to impose some sort of restrictions on the usage of tinplate in the interests of the nation as a whole. The Government will not relax any of its efforts to obtain more tinplate, wherever it can be secured in the world, but wc are under the necessity to make the best of what we have and what we can get. The supply is less than the demand. The industry is doing its best, but the situation is most difficult. It is quite unfair to ask the canister makers to ration supplies to the industry, to discriminate between one buyer and another buyer, and take the responsibility of deciding whether or not an industry is essential. It cannot be done in practice beyond a certain point. But what of the thousands of users " down the line " ? . Are some of them to be asked to say, " We admit that our usage of tinplate is not so essential, and, therefore, we shall fold up our businesses " ? That cannot be done. There must be some authority to handle that matter. I put the position to-day to a conference of the leaders of industry, who said that, in their judgment, if there are to be controls, they must stem from the Government, even if the practical- part is undertaken by the industry, as I hope it will be, with a minimum of government interference. But there must be legal sanction for such a method, and that is why this bill is now before the House. I do not suggest that control will cure all our tinplate problems. It is only a device to carry us through the present difficult period. Tinplate is rationed in the United States of America. How can we ask for an increased allocation of tinplate if we are not prepared to impose any kind of self-denying ordinance upon ourselves? We should not have a leg to stand upon in making such a request. But, if we can say to the United States of America, " We are doing our utmost ; we have taken legal powers, and are restricting the usage of tinplate to essential purposes ", we shall have a first-class argument to place before our democratic friends, in the defence interest, for an increase of our allocation of this vital strategic material. I turn now to aluminium. Honorable members are well aware that aluminium is vital. It is one of the metals for which there is a rapidly growing demand. We obtain our supplies from North America. We do not make aluminium in Australia, and we shall not make it here for some years. The Australian Aluminium Production Commission is " flat out " to get into production. I, as Minister for Supply, am after it like a hound of heaven in an effort to quicken progress, but we shall not begin to produce aluminium before 1953, Our supplies of that metal come from Canada. We used to be able to obtain it freely, but Canada now tells us, "You cannot have so much aluminium " and rations its own con.sumers controls exports of that metal and reduces allocations. We use about 6,000 tons of aluminium for normal peacetime purposes. It is estimated that, within twelve months of an emergency, we shall require 10,000 tons of aluminium for defence needs alone. What then is to happen to the civilian consumption? There will not be sufficient aluminium to go round.' In those circumstances, the Government contends that civilian consumption of aluminium must be curtailed. We hope that it will not be necessary, and we are trying all the time to obtain an increase of supplies. Lord, how we are trying! But it appears that some curtailment may be necessary. {: .speaker-KXZ} ##### Mr Peters: -- Did the Minister say " trying " or " crying " ? {: #subdebate-18-0-s22 .speaker-JOI} ##### Mr BEALE:
LP -- Some things are too deep for tears, and some things are too shallow for tears. I apply the second remark to the honorable member- for Hume **(Mr. Fuller).** {: .speaker-JYV} ##### Mr Fuller: -- I rise to order. I take exception to that remark of the Minister. I did not interject. {: .speaker-JOI} ##### Mr BEALE: -- I am sorry. I thought that the honorable member interjected. I did not say that I was " crying ". The Government must put- itself in the position of being able to organize, and, if necessary, compel a just and intelligent distribution of the available stocks of aluminium. Again, it is for that reason that this bill has been introduced. Precisely the same position arises with copper. Australia produces 11,000 tons of that metal annually and consumes *50,000* tons a year. The United States of America, from which we obtained the difference between production and consumption in the past has not sufficient copper to meet our demands: Therefore, when we approach the International Materials Conference for an increase of allocation, the first question that we are asked is " What are you doing to ration your own consumption? What steps are you taking to eliminate non-essential use ? " There is, at present, no answer to that question. We need additional legal powers, in the background at least, to ensure that there shall be some restriction of consumption in order that the available supplies may be fairly distributed and we shall have a proper case to submit to our friends in the 'United States of America for an increase of supplies. {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr Pollard: -- Does the Government propose to use those powers in respect of wool? {: .speaker-JOI} ##### Mr BEALE: -- Not so far as I am aware. Thus far, I have given illustrations of material which are in short supply in Australia, and which we import. There is another class of material such as tungsten, which we produce, but which our friends and allies do not produce. Therefore, they want us to export more of those materials to them, and when we say that we shall gladly do so, they ask us to increase our exports to them. They say to us, " We are rationing in our own countries all the materials that you require from us. Will you not ration the materials that you produce and we require?" Is there any answer to that question? This is a two way traffic, in the interests not only of ourselves but also of our allies. We must sit fairly at the conference table, and promise to take proper steps in those matters. If we make such a promise, we have to perform; and if we are to perform, we must have the requisite legal powers. I have cited a few illustrations to show how this problem affects us, and what we consider we should do in order to meet it. I hate controls like the devil is reputed to hate holy water. But after fifteen months as the Minister for Supply in a growing defence crisis in this country, I am completely convinced that we cannot coordinate defence production as between defence and civil needs unless we have some authority to do so. We have not such authority at present, and this bill has been introduced for the purpose of granting it to us. {: .speaker-JTF} ##### Mr Tom Burke: -- Why does not the Government bring down some specific controls f {: .speaker-JOI} ##### Mr BEALE: -- For the benefit of the honorable member for Perth **(Mr. Tom Burke)** and other Opposition members, I. have tried to illustrate the kind of problem with which we are confronted, and to explain how we propose to meet it. I shall now endeavour to show the kind of safeguards that have been incorporated in the bill. I know that what I am about to say may be greeted with ribald laughter from Opposition members, but it will be understood by the public. The best safeguard is that these controls will be introduced by a Liberal government that does not like controls. The present Prime Minister pointed this out in his policy-speech in 1949. This Administration has an instinctive dislike of them. The public may rest assured that we, being of that mind and temper, shall not allow these matters to get out of hand, and that the controls which are imposed will be only those immediately required for our national salvation. {: .speaker-JTF} ##### Mr Tom Burke: -- Controls just grew ou the Government! {: .speaker-JOI} ##### Mr BEALE: -- They grew on members of the Opposition because they are socialists. They love controls. They have a passionate regard for regimentation as such. It is a part of their political philosophy. But the parties on this side of the House have a natural distaste for controls, and that is the best safeguard that the public can have against the misuse of the powers for which the bill provides. The second safeguard is a statutory one. The bill excludes from the scope of the proposed powers such matters as taxation, borrowing, the direction of labour, and defence service. If such measures were contemplated by the Government, they would have to be dealt with by means of separate legislation, which the Parliament would have to approve. The Government also has placed a time limit on the operation of this legislation. Its operation must terminate in 1953 or earlier, which means that there can be no permanent clamping of controls on the nation. The Leader of the Opposition fulminated last night on the subject of regulations, although he is the worst offender that we have known in- the matter of passing enabling acts in order to provide for government indirectly by regulation. However, I point out to the House that there is a protection against the possible abuse of the regulation making power. Each separate set of regulations must be brought to this House and tabled. Thus, every regulation will be made public and will be open to criticism. If sufficient numbers can be mustered in opposition to them, they can be disallowed by either House of this Parliament. It is of no use for honorable members opposite to object that that is no good because, in any case, they have not sufficient numbers to reject a fullfledged bill and such a measure could be passed by the Parliament and become law. There will be greater protection for .the public if these regulations are brought down in small parcels, separately identified according to their subject-matter, so that they can be examined and publicly debated and criticized, than there would be if a blanket bill, such as members of the Opposition in their present frame of mind seem to want, were passed by the Parliament. There is yet another protection. Never in my life, and particularly since I have been a Minister, have I had any patience with the purely departmental approach to administration and controls. T, like my colleagues, have always contended that in such matters we should consult and co-operate with representatives of the commercial and business communities, which have to bear the inconvenience of controls. Therefore I say, if controls are to be imposed, they will be framed on the advice and with the assistance of industry. The Department of Supply has a dozen industry advisory committees that consist of businessmen who arc able to advise the Government on special problems that relate to the procurement of materials. That is the spirit in which the Government approaches this matter. Finally, the Leader of- the Opposition said with a jeer that the bill was unconstitutional. I remind the House that the right honorable gentleman should be an all-time authority on that subject because no AttorneyGeneral in the history of the Commonwealth has had more bills thrown out by the courts than had the right honorable gentleman when he was Attorney-General. {: #subdebate-18-0-s23 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order! The Minister's time has expired. {: #subdebate-18-0-s24 .speaker-KGX} ##### Mr HAYLEN:
Parkes .- The hair-tearing tirade of the Minister for Supply **(Mr. Beale)** has established nothing so much as the fact that he is in a tremendous funk about this bill, as are those honorable members who sit behind him, for the simple reason that, notwithstanding his fervid protestations, everybody remembers that he and his associates have declared their opposition to controls of all sorts a thousand times. A path of lies has brought them to their present state of frustration, and they have nobody but themselves to blame. The Prime Minister **(Mr. Menzies)** talked over a hundred radio stations, with his voice rising triumphant above the pill advertisements, of nothing but the stultifying effect of controls. Now, after two years of office, in which very little has been achieved, he sends one of his Ministers into this House to plead for our support for a nebulous programme of controls. When the Labour party was in power, the people were told that we were passingthrough troublous times and that certain utilities and services should be watched in the public interest and grouped loosely under a system of controls. But, during his flambuoyant campaign for office at any cost, the Primp Minister told the people that he would sweep away all such restrictions. Now that the chickens have come home to roost, who can be worried about the dilemma of the Liberal party and who cares about the ultimate washing-up of the Australian Country party? The weak and footling apology for the bill that was made by the Minister for Supply has not blinded us to the facts. Let it be stated firmly at once that the Labour party believes that certain controls are essential. It is a socialist party and it believes that certain industries must be supervised in the interests of the community. What housewife, worker, businessman, man of affairs or ordinary man in the street would not agree to-day that some restrictions must be placed on the new bushrangers of the 1951 era? The black marketeers must be curbed. The monopolies, the cartels, the gatherers of sudden wealth, and those miserable individuals who enriched themselves as a result of the war, must be subjected to control. After having completely dismissed the necessity for such supervision in the name of freedom, for all, as he did on hundreds of occasions, the Prime Minister now comes to the Parliament and pleads with it to cast a drag-net over the economy of the nation. He offers no reason for his plea. He merely states that it should bc done and that he should not have said before that it should not be done. The Government prates about the defence of the country. The Labour party would support it in any logical defence plan, but it will not, nor will many of the friends of the Government, support it in this mad hatter's race for controls, which it denounced for over two years. How much value will the public place on the promises of politicians and the virtues of the parliamentary system now that this high-souled, noble Government, which condemned controls in every shape, and form without equivocation. demands that it be provided with a reservoir '.of power upon which to draw as emergencies arise so that it may impose controls- upon the whole community? This is a . scandalous proposal for any government to make in a democracy. Despite what the Minister for Supply has said,- no such plan as that embodied in this bill was ever put into effect even in the heat and burden of war. There are alarums and excursions *in* the world to-day, but there are no wars. The events in Korea have been described *hy* the United Nations as an incident, not a general conflagration. The position has become happier and more hopeful, as the honorable member for Melbourne **(Mr. Calwell)** told us earlier this evening. Peace parleys rare in progress in Korea, and there is some hope of a settlement in Persia. Yet the Government persists with all this nonsense about the necessity f6r imposing controls ! The truth is beginning to emerge in a clear pattern. The Government is looking for some new form of resistance to popular will. It wants a form of government with a leaning more towards the fascist model than the democratic model. The Prime Minister's declaration of a state of emergency leading to a possible war includes a time-table of three years. The first figure in the pattern of the Government's overall plan was the bill to control certain subversive elements in the. community in preparation for a war which may or may- not occur. The pattern was continued with the scheme for the calling up of youths for service in the armed forces. Now we have this proposal to control the entire economy of the nation, to allocate the tasks of industry and to acquire the goods in short supply. that are needed for defence. The whole complaint and burden of the speech by the Minister for Supply was to the effect that his department can not operate efficiently without controls. Why did he not tell that to the electors whom he purports to represent when he made his appeal to them on the hustings a few months ago ? Why was he not decent enough to tell them that the Government that was defeated in *1* 949 had rested its case honestly upon the fact that some measure of control was necessary in the tangled and confused condition of our post-war economy? When the Government goes to the people later this year to ask them to approve of its proposal under a referendum the people will be confused and distrustful. In every piece of propaganda issued on behalf of the present Government parties during the last election campaign, there was a consistent, stupid, nonsensical .condemnation of any kind of regimentation for the elimination of the troubles that beset our domestic economy. {: .speaker-JXI} ##### Mr Freeth: -- Did not the honorable member read the last policy speech of the Prime Minister ? {: .speaker-KGX} ##### Mr HAYLEN: -- I read all the propaganda that was issued on behalf of the Government parties. The honorable member was perhaps lost in the forest of Forrest and was not aware of what happened in' New South Wales. The emphasis of the Prime Minister's election propaganda was upon his antagonism to controls and any form of restrictive socialistic government. "Let us have a free economy and all things will be free ", he- declared. But when he and his colleagues found that their system .would not work, they came mewling into this House - and none more mulish than the honorable member for Forrest - asking the Parliament to restore the old controls and impose additional controls upon the community. They have even prepared a time-table for their programme of regimentation. The bill proposes that power be given to the Government, to perform extraordinary acts over the widest possible field. A significant feature of its plan is the National Security Resources Board, which includes various bureaucrats whom the honorable member for Warringah **(Mr. Bland)** denounced year after year at every opportunity, though to-day he applauded the bill in what the honorable member for Melbourne has called his recantation. The honorable member for Warringah was numbered once among the electors whom I represent in this House, and I know of his work and of his complete and utter opposition to bureaucracy, even though at one time he was a bureaucrat himself - an inspector in the public service. ' With moneys that had been gathered by the Public Service of New South Wales and a grant from the Stevens Government of the day, he was appointed to the chair of Public Administration, University of Sydney. Prom the day when he received his first payment of salary from the Public Service, he never ceased to denounce it. He has run true to form in this House. The might and majesty of the Prime Minister have overwhelmed him and so he goes quietly along the way that the right honorable gentleman directs he shall go. Those torrents of words that he poured out against bureaucrats in books and public utterances now apparently count for nought. A 20,000 majority is better than an easy conscience, and he bows to the will of his leader! When he is not absent from the House evading a division he apparently is in the library burning his books. The board that will help the .Government to change the whole economic situation has been in existence for some time. Its members include some competent, respectable, charming but ineffective individuals. The best of them, all bureaucrats, are experienced men. They include **Dr. Walker, Mr. Dunk,** and **Sir Frederick** Shedden. But, on looking down the list, we find the name of a **Mr. McLennan,** of. the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited. He represents purely sectional interests, but he will be useful for war organization work. There is also Mi". {: type="A" start="V"} 0. Smith, a former civil servant and a man of considerable administrative ability. Another member is the rather pleasant younger son of a millionaire, **Mr. Vickers.** The sop to Cerberus - the Australian Country party - is **Mr. Wilson** head of a grazier's organization. Foi1 weeks past, members of the Government and its supporters have been tearing to pieces the reputation nf *a* certain **Dr. Coombs,** the Governor of (lie Commonwealth Bank. They have damned him as a socialist, a destroyer, a planner, n. vandal who will pull the economy of the nation about our ears! But he is now one of the star men in the organization which is to be called upon to restore, stability to our economy. How absurd :ire! the Government's protestations ! {: .speaker-JXI} ##### Mr Freeth: -- Is the honorable member opposed to the presence of **Dr. Coombs** on the board? {: .speaker-KGX} ##### Mr HAYLEN: -- The Opposition hasalways praised the work of **Dr. Coombs,** and the honorable member for Forrest(Mr. Freeth) may yet live to admire him. The outline of the Government's proposals by the Leader of the Opposition **(Dr. Evatt)** has demonstrated that thescheme is loaded in every particular. We all remember the Hytten plan for unemployment. Any suggestion that the Government proposes to adopt that plan would be laughed to scorn by its supporters, but, inherent in this scheme of controls for the war which may or may not occur, is an earnest intention to get at the throat of the worker in relation to full employment. It is not called full employment any more; the Government calls it over-full employment. I have never heard anything so ridiculous in my life! The plan envisages high levels of employment. How can that be achieved under this bill? There will be no outright .direction of labour, of course, because the Government has not the courage to be direct. But conscription of labour, cruel, harsh and vindictive, will be achieved by infiltration. Industries cun be closed under the powers for which this bill provides. Small industries, of course, will be the victims and the manpower that will be released in that way will go to other industries or will be diverted to that thin queue that is developing into a stream of unemployed - the highly desirable proportion of ten men out of work in every 100 which the prognosticators of the so-called liberal form oi democracy claim that we must have in order to have a stable economy. That is not full employment, but high level employment. There is no doubt that the revived Hytten plan, which was discussed in Tasmania, is to be re-introduced under the Government's plans for regimentation. The little man in business will be dealt with first. There will be cartelization. In order to achieve a full preparedness for war, the Government has found it necessary to stockpile materials, to put 40,000 youths into training, and to bring 250,000 immigrants tumbling into the country. Soldiers are in training and the industries are revving up. What else does it wish to do? A civilian organization will be formed upon army lines. The little man will go to the wall. When that happens, his staff will not he diverted, anywhere because the Government has not the courage to direct labour. They will be allowed to wobble between one joh and another because the highly desirable 10 per cent, of unemployed will be present for the Government to use. These facts have been stated by the supporters of the Government - the *Sydney Morning Herald,* the Melbourne *Herald* and other newspapers. I do not know what attitude has been adopted by the South Australian and Western Australian newspapers, but I dare say that there is a division of opinion upon these proposals which has been suddenly thrust upon this House in the closing hours of the sessional period. The Government is rushing like a hare to the retreat of a long recess, during which the bureaucrats will be able to put this plan into operation. If this plan were anything but a dire necessity from the Government's point of view it would not have been introduced and the members of the Government parties would not be so terrified of its implications. It has been reported in "to-night's press that there is to be an allocation of wool. Such action will bring about the destruction of the whole basis of Australian economy which rests at the present time on the wool industry and other primary industries. Yet the Government proposes to give the right of first selection to the Americans for some nebulous reason such as an exchange of wool for tinplate. After America has taken the wool that it requires . what has been discarded will be left to the British who have been this country's best customer in the past. This allocation of wool is most disgraceful. The Minister for Commerce and Agriculture **(Mr. MoEwen)** has remained out of the House in order that he might be able to avoid answering the questions of the primary producers' representatives on this side of the House. He has disappeared from the sight of honorable members without having given any indication of what he knows about the matter. Under the legislation before the House, this wool allocation plan could be put into effect. The Government's wool steal of unhappy memory is one indication that the Australian Country party is no protection to the primary producer. I have been authorized to tell the House that when the National Resources Board was set up a letter was sent to the Government by the Chamber of Manufactures asking what Australian manufacturers could do to assist the Government by taking such action as tooling up and stockpiling. That letter was sent twelve months ago and no reply has yet been received. Yet the Government has stated that speed is the essence of the contract. This bill has been introduced by the Government in a search for some way of surviving. The manufacturers of this country are in the dark as to what the Go vernment wants. The Government wishes to make this measure law so that in time it may send a couple of security police to a manufacturer to instruct him to do the Government's bidding. The Government's proposals are absurd. There is no plan behind them. They are the result of panic. I have tried to understand why a measure so vast in scope should have been expressed in terms which are so extraordinarily vague and should be presented to the House looking like a trellis with no supports. The Minister for Labour and National Service **(Mr. Holt)** changed his argument so many times that honorable members realized that this bill had no solidity. His statement that the measure corresponds with the defence plan -of the United Kingdom Government is not true. The United Kingdom has a government which believes in operating controls for the common good. Honorable members opposite have said that this measure is a replica of an American act. Nothing is further from the truth: The United States act for the gearing of its industry for war has been fair enough to the people to include a preamble which is expressed in plain English, not in words such as " whereas " when there is nothing concrete to say. The preamble to the American act states in good, understandable English, that as the American nation may be threatened in the future it is necessary to impose controls for various reasons. It states those reasons and says that the Government must have priority in the allocation of goods in short supply, that it must have authority to requisition and expand production, that it must have power to bring about the stabilization of prices and wages and to control consumer and real estate credit. In the past the Government has expressed its complete and utter hatred of controls and it issued propaganda designed to convince the people that they were being badly treated by the Labour Government. The difficulty of the Government now is to take action which will not reveal its true attitude to this matter. Previously it opposed a policy of control. Now, it wants all the controls that it can obtain and has asked for a reservoir of controls. It has said that it will state exactly what controls it wants as it proceeds to implement the provisions of this bill. The Leader of the Opposition said that this bill represented a threat to full employment. I consider that that has been established as a fact. There is a threat to industry as a whole in the regulations that the Government wishes to make. They will constitute a threat to the standard of living and to the working week. By reducing the number of jobs' available the Government could bring about the state of affairs it desires. Since the 40-hour week was introduced and the levelling of social standards has commenced the Government has never stopped whining, and its dismal, dark shadow, the Australian Country party, has been in a fever. These two parties, drunk with the power that has been given to them, would be quick to try to reduce living standards and amenities and to increase hours of work. The record of the Minister for Supply is in contradiction of his statement that this bill will only enable the Government to prepare for war. During the recess it was heard that the Minister was not stock-piling rubber for war because he had other things to do. While the relevant requisition was lying on his table unsigned he put in an order for rubber and its price rose considerably. When he again found it necessary to order rubber he decided to wait until he could get it cheaply. The next morning the *Sydney Morning Herald* announced -that car tyres had gone up by 25s. 6d. a pair. Any further cunning economic preparations of this type will put the whole of Australia out of business. There is nothing but misinformation in the Government's case in regard to this measure. Government members feel so frustrated because they have had to eat their words that they are sitting, -miserable and mean spirited, alongside the Vice-President of the Executive Council **(Mr. Eric J.' Harrison).** No one can persuade me that the caucus of the Government parties was not angry at the Government proposals. It is difficult for any man who has a desire to do something for his country to sit behind a government with a large majority for a number of years. He considers that he is neglected and, under such circumstances, there are bound to bc ruptures. Apparently the Government has quietened some honorable members who support ii; by pointing out to them that they won only small majorities *at the* last general election. They have probably been told that they had better not raise the crimson badge of courage ; that they had better remain quiet and the Government will see that they shall retain their seats. When the budget is introduced the Government will endeavour to give the pensioners a little help and will take other action designed to keep its supporters in the Parliament. The Government has been discredited by the newspapers and by its own supporters. It has -been discredited in the eyes of the people who realize that they have been sold down the river. Tremendous changes have taken place in the economy of this country. The Curtin Government and the Chifley Government were honest with the Australian people and told them that certain action had to be taken. Office can be bought at too high a price. The Government will come to realize that. An office can be bought with too much chicanery and too much cheap publicity; too much tossing of the Prime Minister's curls and too much pontification and kind words. Over the radio we hear the cultured voice of the Prime Minister that we know so well. During the elections' if came upon us with a benison and as the oleaginous accents poured over us we heard these words - >We must choose our rood. Upon our decision will depend the future and fate of this nation. > >Every extension of Government power and control means less freedom of choice for tho citizen. Government activities are monopolist. No choice for the producer. No choice for the employee. No choice for the customer. The abolition of choice is the death of freedom. Having chosen the socialist road, to what journey's end do we come? To the Master State, the one employer, the one planner. The one controller. That is precisely .the state of affairs thai the Menzies Government wishes to bring about, but with this difference: The wartime controls of the Curtin and Chifley Governments were planned and supervised in the face of war. The present proposals of the Government arc vapid, nebulous, indefinite and dangerous. In his fear of the socialist welfare state ' the Prime Minister has offered us national socialism on the nazi model. {: #subdebate-18-0-s25 .speaker-KNX} ##### Mr ERIC J HARRISON:
Vice-President of the Executive Council and Minister for Defence Production · WENTWORTH, NEW SOUTH WALES · UAP; LP from 1944 -- The House has listened with a great deal of attention to the last three speakers. T say " three speakers ", because wo have had two from the Opposition side and one from, the Government side. I know- that the honorable member for Parkes **(Mr. Haylen)** will forgive me if I refrain from saying anything about hiss speech, because, after having listened to a really good speaker, a. master of invective, on his side of the House, his effort, it appeared to me, could be likened, merely to the tinkling of a cymbal by comparison. He will, I am sure, pardon me if I just pass him over and deal with somebody who really knows how to handle the subject. I refer to the honorable member for Melbourne **(Mr. Calwell).** I have learned a great deal from that honorable member, who said that he made a point of collecting newspaper cuttings. Strangely enough, I also have, that habit, and immediately he made the remark it struck a chord in my mind. I thought, " Well, -now, I am perfectly certain that I have something in my collection of newspaper cuttings that would remind me of some incidents associated with the honorable member's regime as a Minister of the Crown". Strangely enough, also, I managed to find one newspaper cutting that dealt with quite a. number of his acts of maladministration. Let me bc charitable by so describing them. I remember that when the honorable member was Minister for Immigration and Minister for Information he won for himself the remarkable title of " Australia's No. 1 Bringer-in and Chuckerout ".- Yet to-night I heard him say, with all the unctuousness at his command, that the Labour party is the friend of democracy. Well now, how far is that claim justified? I have in my hand an article published in the Sydney *Daily Telegraph* of the 13th November. .1949. I shall pass over several of the acts of maladministration for which the honorable member was responsible that are mentioned in it and come down to one that rings a hell with me. The article reads, in part - >Left to his mercy how would Australians themselves fare? > >Well, something happened under **Mr. Calwell** in April, 1044, that hadn't happened before in Australia. > >On his orders, a delivery truck was held up at the point of the gun in the transport dock of the *Sunday* *Telegraph.* > > The *Sunda'// Telegraph* and the *Daily Tulagraph* had criticized **Mr. Calwell** for misusing war-time, powers for political censorship. {: .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr Calwell: -- Hear, hear ! {: .speaker-KNX} ##### Mr ERIC J HARRISON:
WENTWORTH, NEW SOUTH WALES · UAP; LP from 1944 -- I remind the House that the honorable member is a self-confessed " friend of democracy ". The article continued - >Following a High Court action, censorship powers were modified in the direction the newspapers had asked. Then the honorable member for Melbourne took advantage of his position in this House as a Minister of the Crown. I well remember how he came in and made a violent attack upon the judiciary in which he. said, with all that flamboyancy that he usually employs - > **Mr.** Justice Starke and **Mr. Justice** '.Ki irb threw away their wigs when they took sides on thu bench and openly barracked for the press. This champion of democracy first sought to restrict the freedom of the press, then to restrict any. criticism of his actions as Minister, and then, when the High Court took action, attacked it because as a democrat he considered that, it had overstepped its democratic privileges. We shall deal further with thi."* lust for power of the honorable member later. The article continued - >In fact, no institution is sacred if it doesn't do what **Mr. Calwell** wants . But Calwellian arrogance, intolerance, and contempt of elementary democratic principles were nowhere more vividly exemplified than in the " Manila G irls " case. Admittedly without' any reason but " fatherly interest " he demanded two years ago that Australians - men and women - working for the Americans in Guam, Manila and Tokio, should be returned to Australia, whatever their individual desires. Appeals against this '"' fatherly interest " all failed. Calwell's main excuse was that the Americans had entered into an agreement to send the Australians back. I remember other instances of his " fatherly interest ". He journeyed to Western Australia to kiss one of the new Australians who happened to be, I think, the one thousandth new Australian to come to this country. But he prevented Australian girls "from returning to work for the Americans in Manila. The *Daily Telegraph* article continued - >Apparently it didn't enter the head of this lifelong champion of socialism that no so-called democracy had any moral right to expect an agreement interfering with the human liberties of its nationals. > >Earlier, ho had stopped fifteen girls going to Manila to work for the Americans. Ho said: " In no circumstances will I issue passports to these women. They are now back in Australia, and back to stay." Obviously he had read Dale Carnegie's book, *How to Win Friends and Influence People.* I am refreshing the memory of the House and the country about these matters, because the honorable member said about the Labour party, " We are the friends of democracy". It is on that point that I shall test him, because if he were a friend of democracy then obviously he would not have sought to take totalitarian power whenever he had the opportunity to do so. I well remember that during the bank nationalization campaign in 1947, the honorable member spoke in the Ashfield town hall to the free and enlightened electors of that area at a time when he was Minister for Immigration and Minister for Information. He was asked why the Chifley 'Government would not hold a referendum on its bank nationalization proposals. In parenthesis, I direct the attention of honorable members to the fact that we intend to hold a referendum of the people to give them an opportunity to express their will in relation to another bill. But on a proposal for complete socialization which threatened businesses, industry and a large section of the people with deprivation of their interests, he and his Government refused to hold a referendum. This is what this champion of democracy, this friend of democracy said - and to-day is the anniversary of the fall of the Bastille, so let me remind the honorable member {: #subdebate-18-0-s26 .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr CALWELL: -- That anniversary will fall two days hence. {: .speaker-KNX} ##### Mr ERIC J HARRISON:
WENTWORTH, NEW SOUTH WALES · UAP; LP from 1944 -- Let me remind this champion of democracy that he said on the occasion that I have mentioned - >We have got the power and we will use it. I also remember that when this friend of democracy was speaking in the Sydney Domain on the hank nationalization issue lie said to the free and enlightened electors of East Sydney, who had congregated there to give the cheer leader the necessary support - >We are in the process of plucking the fowl, and not one feather will bc put back. That was a remarkable observation for this friend of democracy to make. I believe that the fowl to which he referred has now a very bright plumage. Indeed, it has quite a satiny finish, and every feather is in its proper place. I suggest to the honorable member that if the people themselves had not taken power out of his hands, if democracy had not asserted itself, he would certainly have succeeded in plucking all the feathers from the fowl. Yet now, with great unctuousness, he says, "We are the friends of democracy", and then, behind his hand, he says, "What we want is a little more power ". Let me remind him that the regulations that may be made under this hill, and which have caused so much comment in this debate, are not of the pattern of the regulations that he was a party to making when he was a Minister of the Crown. Our regulations are not the " pink icing " kind of regulations. They are not, like the absurd controls of the Labour Government were, designed to smash industry. The honorable member said when he was a Minister, that he would not build one more factory in either Sydney or Melbourne. Of course he would not. Yethe says that this legislation will destroy industry. But how far would regulations of the type of that which I shall now quote affect industry, and indeed the whole of the commercial world? I read to the House from the *Commonwealth of Australia Gazette* published in Canberra on Thursday the 7th February, 1946, when the honorable member for Melbourne was in the heyday of his power as a Minister of the Crown, a portion of National Security (Prices) Regulation No. 2416 which dealt, strangely enough since we have touched on the subject of fowls, with eggs. That portion of the regulation reads - >In this Order, unless the contrary intention appears - "'First quality" means, in relationto eggs in shell - > >that the shells of such eggs are clean, uncracked, and free from stain and are notthin or misshapen ; and > >that such eggs when candled are free from bloodsports and the yolks are translucent or but faintly visible and the whites are translucent and firm and the air cells of such eggs are slightly tremulous and not more than4-inch in depth. I ask the House and the country: What sort of nonsense was this that we had to put up with from the friends of democracy, who now would champion democracy but who, when in power, would have plucked every feather from the bird ; who said, " All we want is a little more power " ; who imposed fantastic regulations upon an unsuspecting public? They now say, " We are the champions of democracy, the friends " of democracy ". When they were in power they said, " We shall not build one more factory in Sydney or Melbourne. We shall not allow people to come into Australia. We shallnot allow Maoris to come into Australia.. We shall prevent Australian girls from leaving Australia, and tell them they are here to stay". The friends of democracy ! Let me move on now and say something with regard to the Leader of the Opposition **(Dr. Evatt)** because it is rather interesting to note that he launched an attack upon the Government for having dared to ask for power in this time of great crisis. I. hope to have something to say later about world conditions. The right honorable gentleman took the Prime Minister **(Mr. Menzies)** to task for having drafted a measure of this sort, and said that in no circumstances would his party follow such a pattern. I have gone to the trouble of turning up the records of the debate on the Constitution Alteration (Post-war Reconstruction) Bill 1944, and I note that a certain regulation was submitted for the consideration of the committee of the whole House, in regard to which the present Leader of the Opposition made some observations. But before I read his remarks to the House I wish to give some indication of the way in which the right honorable gentleman thinks now, so that honorable members may be in a position to make a comparison with the opinions he expressed when that bill was being considered in 1944. I quote from the *Sydney Morning Herald* of the 7th July,1951. At that time the Leader of the Opposition went into print. He said - >If the bill is passed the Government will dismiss its own supporters and govern by regulation, and despite the fact that war is neither existing nor imminent, will assume supreme power over production, supply, manufacture, distribution, development and industry generally without any adequate safeguards. That was the considered opinion of the right honorable gentleman. During the course of the debate on this measurehe said that Labour would not; give a blank cheque to the Government, much less to officials, to legislate by regulation, unless the Parliament had approved the economic and industrial programme which was to be carried out. I believe that T. have heard honorable members opposite refer to their leader as a great champion of minorities. I suggest that after a further election or two he will still be a champion of minorities, because he went; on to say this - >In this bill Mr.Menzies is asking Parliament to transfer powers of the vaguest and widest character to the Executive Government, also to unspecified persons, to make orders which are really laws. In the light of that statement,letus consider what this learned gentleman has himself done. In 1944 he introduced into the Parliament the Constitution Alteration (Post-war Reconstruction) Bill, to which subsequently he moved certain amendments. I read from *Hansard* of the 16th March, 1944, volume 178, at page 1407, what he had to say on that occasion - >I move - > >That, after new sub-section (1b.) of the new section, the following sub-section be inserted : - " (lc.) *A* regulation of a legislative character under the authority of any law made by the Parliament in the exercise of any power conferred by sub-section (1.) of this section - > >shall, subject to this section, take effect on the expiration of the fourteenth day after its contents have been notified in the manner provided by the Parliament to each senator and. each member of the House ofRepresentatives or on such later date as is specified in the regulation ; > >shall not take effect if, within fourteen days after its contents have been so notified, either House of the Parliament passes a resolution disapproving of the regulation: and > >shall take effect on the date of its making- I particularly refer honorable members to what follows : - or on such later date as is specified in the regulation, if the GovernorGeneral in Council declares on specified grounds that the making of the regulation is urgently required." That meant that any regulation at all could be made by the Governor-General in Council, which really means the Government, on the specification that it was urgently required. Upon that having been done the regulation would immediately become law and there would be no appeal from it. The right honorable gentleman also said - >Outside of the Parliament, people speak at times as if there were at present something in the Constitution, or in the law of the Commonwealth, which deprived this Parliament of any opportunity of reviewing the regulations made by theExecutive in the exercise of statutory powers, and which put theExecutive in a dictatorial position, above even Parliament. Membersof this committee know, of course, that there is no legal foundation whatever for such an impression. Delegated legislation is subject to review by each House. If, in practice, the Houses do not exercise their powers of review as actively as they should, that is a political matter, without any effect on the legal position. I ask honorable members whether they can distinguish between the action that the Government now proposes to take and the action there outlined by the Leader of the Opposition. {: .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr Calwell: -- In what year did the Leader of the Opposition say that ? {: .speaker-KNX} ##### Mr ERIC J HARRISON:
WENTWORTH, NEW SOUTH WALES · UAP; LP from 1944 -- 1944. Mr.Calwell. - That was duringWorld War II. {: .speaker-KNX} ##### Mr ERIC J HARRISON:
WENTWORTH, NEW SOUTH WALES · UAP; LP from 1944 -- The honorable member for Melbourne apparently justifies what was then done on the ground that a war was on at that time. Surely we are at war at present. Are there not Australian troops in Korea shedding their blood in the cause of democracy against communism? I shall go further than that. I have here a copy of a bill for an act to alter the Constitution by empowering the Parliament to make laws for the purpose of carrying into effect the war aims and objects of Australia as one of the United Nations. This measure was introduced in 1942, and it sought to make the Parliament itself the sole judge of whether its laws were constitutional or not. It was a complete departure from anything that had ever been contemplated, because under it the present Leader of the Opposition sought to nullify not only the Australian Constitution, but also the constitutions of all the States of Australia. He wanted to abolish those constitutions and re-write them in the Evatt way. The right honorable gentleman then said - >I desire to make it perfectly clear that the amendment' I. propose will give the decision to Parliament itself, and no person will be able to challenge the validity of Parliament's decision. . . For its decisions and actions Parliament will be responsible to one authority only - the people of Australia. I shall read the relevant clause in the measure so that honorable members may understand what it was about. It was as follows : - the power of the Parliament shall extend to - {: type="a" start="d"} 0. the production and manufacture of goods and the supply of goods and services, and the establishment and development of industries; Therefore power was to be taken over the whole of the production and manufacture of goods, the supply of goods and services and the establishment and development of industry. I point that out to honorable members in order to show that the Leader of the Opposition proposed in that measure to take complete power over the whole of industry, not war-time industries alone but the whole of industry. The last provision of that bill read - >All the powers conferred upon the Parliament by this section may be exercised notwithstanding anything contained elsewhere in this Constitution or in the Constitution of any State and shall be exercisable as on and From a date to be proclaimed by the GovernorGeneral in Council. In that case the Government of which the honorable member for Melbourne was a member intended to tear up the Constitution of Australia and the constitutions of all the States. These champions of democracy come here now and speak nothing but political humbug and cant, but they cannot convince any one because it is quite apparent that in their time they attempted to do much more than is envisaged by the bill before the House. The measure that I have referred to was not proceeded with because the then Prime Minister, the late John Curtin, would not tolerate what was to be imposed on the country by the present Leader of the Opposition, this friend of minorities, this great democrat, this friend of democracy, this man who sought power to grind the faces of the people of Australia into the dust. Honorable members should be fully aware of why the Government has brought down this legislation. They understand the nature of the world situation, they know what is happening in Korea, Malaya, Indo-China and Persia. They also know what happened to the countries now behind the iron curtain and what, is now the state of that great bastion of European democracy, Czechoslovakia. They know that the position is as we see it, and that we are seeking to safeguard our democratic rights against attack by' Soviet Russia, the only enemy that democracy has at the present time. Let us now consider the forces of Russia. At present Russia has 4,500,000 men under arms, 2,S00,000 of whom are in the army, which consists of 200 divisions of the line. On the best of authority we have been told that Russia has also the atomic weapon. What has been the effect on the United Kingdom and on Europe of those gigan- tic forces raised against the democratic interest? Before I left the United Kingdom a few months ago I saw that the authorities there were bending every effort towards putting the country into a state of defence. They had instituted controls and had controlled the production of luxury goods and non-essential goods in order that they might maintain their drive for defence. Indeed they have had to limit the amenities which have been the keystone of the policy of the British socialist Government, and have gone so far in that direction that one of their Ministers, **Mr. Aneurin** Bevin, resigned from the Ministry. The menace of Russia is real to the people of the United Kingdom, but apparently it is not real to us. In the last British budget the defence estimates were increased bv £700,000,000 tb £1,400,000,000. The Government, in the teeth of trade union opposition and realizing the difficulties that confronted it in the world crisis, increased the period of national service for the troops. Yet, as honorable members know, we in Australia have not even commenced our national service scheme. ' The British Civil Defence Corps has been restored in London. That is the organization that rendered such sterling service during the bombing raids on London. .The British Government is tightening its economy as fast as it can, and incidentally the British people are tightening their belts rather severely. Are we not a part of the British Commonwealth, and should we not pull our weight in that partnership if we are to save our hides, or are we going to leave the saving of them to others? In the light of the present world situation can any- one say that there is no need for defence preparedness? If so, let him stand and say it. Honorable members opposite will not say that, but they will indulge in intricate political byplay and subtle smart remarks while the Government is trying to bring this' country into a state of defence preparedness. Honorable members know that the only sure road to peace in this world is through the resistance of aggression. We cannot have peace by talk, we can have it only by strength. Honorable members opposite have criticized the bill. Let us look at it in the light of our actions prior to the last world war. The Department of Supply and Development was established in about June, 1939. A few months later wc were technically at war. It was true that that was a " phoney " war, but it gave to us in Australia breathing space and an opportunity to build tip our resources. By July, 1940, wc had expended many millions of pounds in developing our defence preparedness, mainly by increasing our government factory capacity. We had' also established 32 annexes in private industry at a Cost of over £1,000,000. Wc had purchased materials in large quantities and had erected stores to. protect them. All that was done with very little effect on the community because at that time we had no problems with regard to man-power or materials. As the war developed and mobilization swung into operation we discovered that man-power and materials were becoming short. Only then did. the Government institute controls that were necessary for a maximum war effort,. That was when the National Security Act was passed. If we had now the surplus of resources that we had in 1937 and .1940, we could undertake the first stage of our defence prepara-tions without having to seek power to enable us to divert resources for that purpose. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order ! The, honorable gentleman's time has expired. {: #subdebate-18-0-s27 .speaker-KXZ} ##### Mr PETERS:
Burke .- We have listened to one of the most amazing speeches that has over been delivered in this Parliament and we have witnessed one of the most amazing performances that has ever been seen in any parliament. The Vice-President of the Executive Council **(Mr. Eric J. Harrison),** presumably rose to deal with this bill, which is alleged to be designed to empower the Government to impose certain controls in order to enable it to put this country into a state of preparedness for war. The, honorable gentleman said that the honorable member for Melbourne **(Mr. Calwell)** is not a democrat, or is not as democratic as he is. He argued that, because a government of which the honorable member for Melbourne was a. member had imposed certain controls upon the people of this country, this Government will be justified in doing so. He did not point out that the Government of which the honorable member for Melbourne was a member imposed controls during the stress and strain of war and that it did so with the co-operation of the present Government parties, which were then in opposition. The Minister did not deal "with the details of this measure in any way. H.e implied that the Opposition does not agree that this country in a position to protect itself against outside aggression. The Labour party has always developed our defences when it has had an opportunity to do so. The Royal Australian Navy and the Royal Australian Air Force are monuments to the Labour party, lt was a Labour Prime Minister, the lute John Curtin, who, prior to the outbreak of the last war, stressed the necessity for us to develop our aerial strength in order to be able to defend ourselves adequately in the event of war. It was a government, led by the present Prime Minister **(Mr. Menzies)** that did nothing to prepare for war in 1939. As I listened to the Prime Minister making his second-reading speech on this measure, my mind went back to a national broadcast of a speech that the right honorable gentleman delivered in June, 1941, on his return to this country from a trip abroad. At that time Australia was at war. That speech was, in many respects, similar to his . second-reading speech on this hill. In the course of it, he said - An authority will bc established to review civil production, with power to take over factories and plant, and, if necessary, to close factories. Imports of non-essential articles will ho cut to the minimum by prohibition or bv rationing Defence and munitions works have been delayed by various causes, one of which I shall refer to later on. The right honorable gentleman said later that the cause of the delay in defence and munitions works to which he had referred was communism. He continued - Another cause is n shortage in certain areas of bricklayers and skilled trdesmen generally, a shortage on which the co-operation r.f unions will be sought. There is in Mich areas too much competition for building labour going on. It is almost an affront to one's conception of a war effort to see new blocks cf luxury flats springing up. The new regulations just announced will, I hope, sharply limit these competitive activities. If they do not, we must go further. He said in that speech, as he said in his speech on this bill, that he proposed to deal with luxury industries. . He proposed then, as he proposed in dealing with this bill, the diversion of our material and financial resources to industries upon which ,the defence of the country depended. Because he did not do what he had promised, he was deposed from his position as Prime Minister, and the late John Curtin- assumed that position. The right honorable gentleman deposed because the public believed that he would not utilize the powers that his Government possessed to ensure that,- in a period of war, Australia did not become a happy hunting-ground for exploiters, racketeers and profiteers. "When I hear the right honorable gentleman deliver a speech similar to that to which I have referred, dealing with legislation of the same type as that which was introduced in 1941, I am justified in assuming that what occurred previously will occur again. In 1941, the Government of which he was the leader protected profiteers, luxury industries ana companies that were making excess profits. I believe that this Government will not, and dare not, deal with the fundamental financial or economic issue, call it what you will, that must be dealt with before the defences of this country can be developed adequately. The Government will not do anything to - limit the power of the few to exploit the many, or the power of the few to use their wealth in a manner that will earn them the greatest profits. Many of the bodies that will be established to advise the Government will consist of businessmen. To-night, a Minister stated that the Government will not itself initiate proposals for the direction of the material resources of this country in the interests of defence, but will seek the advice of businessmen. Some of the businessmen whom the Government will consult are members of the National Security Resources Board. One of them is **Mr. A.** S. V. Smith. The only knowledge that I have of him is that which I have gleaned from a memorandum issued by the Government, which states that he is now with Electricity Meter and Allied Industries Limited. I pointed out recently that that organization is making exorbitant profits. The men who will advise the Government upon how the financial and economic resources of the country shall be utilized are men of the type of this representative of Electricity Meter and Allied Industries Limited. **Mr. Smith** will not advise the Government that the lucrative enterprise that pays his salary, and from which he probably draws dividends, should be closed, and its resources utilized for the purposes of defence. Other businessmen who have interests in organizations that are making big profits will not advise the Government that those organizations should be closed. What I have said is not a reflection upon the human race, because no man is such an infidel as not to believe in that from which he makes his profit. That remark does not apply only to honorable gentlemen opposite. Persons should not be asked to advise the Government upon propositions in which they are financially interested, because no man is a good judge in his own cause. I agree with the honorable member for Melbourne that in a time of peace it is most undesirable to impose the suggested control by regulations upon the community, but even if I were to agree that during a period when we were preparing for war it would be proper for the Government to utilize powers that normally are used only in war-time, I should say that the methods that the Government proposes to adopt, upon the advice of businessmen, would do nothing to promote the best interests of the mass of the people of this country or, necessarily, the best interests of defence. Honorable gentlemen on this side of the chamber believe in defence preparedness. We think that there is an imperialism to-day which is menacing the freedom of the peoples of the world and which is as despotic as was any previous form of imperialism. It is totalitarian communistic, imperialistic Russia. That is the menace that confronts us. We should prepare to the limit of our capacity to meet the challenge of any imperialist, or aggressor, regardless of the direction from which it may come. Because the Labour party holds that belief it will not accept the proposition that defence considerations should be made the playthings of the speculator, profiteer and racketeer. During the recent war the late John Curtin refused to permit speculators and racketeers to exploit the exigencies of war to their advantage. Probably, the danger that confronts us to-day is greater than many that we have faced in similar circumstances in the past because- the armed strength of the British Commonwealth of Nations in comparison with that of other countries is not now as overwhelming as it was in years gone by. It devolves upon Australia as a member of the British Commonwealth of Nations to make all the preparations that it can make in the interests of defence. But the Government will not evoke an effective response by the people unless they as a whole are relatively contented, physically well cared for, and mentally alert. Those requisites are required of a nation in peace as well as in war. However, such conditions do not exist in this country to-day. The Government is not seeking to base its defence preparations upon a foundation of that kind. If it were, it would say, in effect, "We must see that thousands of people in this country are not turned away from the doors of hospitals to die. We must ensure that the vast wealth of the country that is being accumulated in certain quarters shall be utilized to provide for the material and economic improvement of the people. We must ensure also that age pensioners shall not be obliged to live in want, but shall obtain proper accommodation, food and clothing ". Those are the requisites for a contented community. The old must bc cared for and the sick must be looked after. Such fundamental considerations should be- features of a civilized and Christian community. Any government that does those things will inspire the community as a whole to accept measures which, while they are obnoxious in normal times, are essential to enable the country to be placed on a proper defence basis in order to meet its obligations to other nations with which ultimately it may fight as an ally. I repeat, as I have said on previous occasions, that the Government, in order to prove that it is genuinely striving to bring about economic stability, must do three things. First, it must control prices ; secondly, it must regulate profits; and, thirdly, it must control investments in order that the financial, material and man-power resources of the country shall not be exploited in the interests of luxury undertakings. The Government has had ample time in which to have tackled those three problems; but it has failed to do so. Why ? The most favorable excuse that I can make for it is that it lacks constitutional powers to do those things. On the other hand, however, the proposals contained in this bill would lead one to think that the Government, itself, believes that it possesses adequate powers in that respect. If the Government .does not possess such powers this measure will be ineffective. A number of newspapers have suggested that this measure is merely political window dressing and shadow sparing. If that be correct, the Government is merely wasting the time of the Parliament and treating it as a puppet show. Having regard to the accumulation of legal wisdom within the ranks of the Government parties, it is difficult to believe that the Government would introduce this measure in the knowledge that the High Court would declare it to be invalid if it should be challenged. Should that occur we should be back where we started from. Whilst time will prove whether that observation is correct, there is much to be said in support of it. Some newspapers have stated that this measure is the product of the immature judgment of the Prime Minister in relation to economic and social problems. I do not believe that that criticism of the right honorable gentleman is justified. If there is any foundation for the view that the Government has introduced this measure in the knowledge -that the High Court will declare it to be invalid, I should think rather that the Government is merely playing at the game of party politics and is indulging in empty posturings and protestations in order to delude the average citizen. I believe that the Government has no intention of laying a foundation for defence preparations on the scale that the statements of supporters of the Government would indicate. The Australian Labour party will not yield in the slightest degree to its opponents in its desire to defend the institutions of this country and to make proper preparation for their defence. The whole record of our party proves that fact beyond doubt just as Australia's experience during the last war proved it. The present Government parties sat in Opposition in this House while the late John Curtin controlled the destinies of the country during the dark days of that conflict. The Curtin Government marshalled the financial, man-power and economic resources of the country and thus enabled Australia to make a maximum war effort. No one will deny that fact. However, the Vice-President of the Executive Council protested to-night that only the Government parties really desire to serve the best interests of the people in times of peace or of war. It was mainly in order to refute his protestations that I have participated in this debate. If the history of the Australian Labour party proves anything at all, it proves that Labour can marshal the resources of this country to the fullest possible degree. Our party is not tied to financial interests that would dictate its policy in a time of emergency or determine how it should direct investment and decide what industries should cease to exist. Labour is not tied to the apron strings of vested and privileged interests. Because it is not the recipient of funds for electioneering purposes from exploiters and profiteers it can deal with those interests effectively in order to promote the national welfare. But whilst Labour can do that, the Government parties cannot do it. I believe that, like the protestation that the present Prime Minister voiced in June, 1941, this bill is so much-- M r . Wjj k l k R . - H u n i bug. {: .speaker-KXZ} ##### Mr PETERS: -- Apparently, I have been able to convince honorable members opposite that the Government's action in introducing this measure is sheer humbug. If I have satisfied only the honorable member for Mitchell **(Mr.** Wheeler) on that point I shall resume my seat with pleasure. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order ! The honorable member's time has expired. {: #subdebate-18-0-s28 .speaker-JLR} ##### Mr ADERMANN:
Fisher .- I have not much quarrel with the approach of the honorable member for Burke **(Mr. Peters)** to this bill and in fact I am in agreement with many of his statements. But I strongly disagree with his declaration to the effect that he doubted the sincerity of the Government in introducing the bill. He knows perfectly well that the Government, even before the Prime Minister **(Mr. Menzies)** attended the conference of Commonwealth Prime Ministers in London last January, had drawn up a defence programme. Both the honorable member for Burke and the honorable member for Parkes **(Mr. Haylen)** challenged the honesty of the Prime Minister in relation to that programme. I remind them that the right honorable gentleman was perfectly honest: in the manner in which he presented it. They should recollect the speech that he made after his return from the conference of Commonwealth Prime Ministers and before the recent general election : but as they appear to have forgotten it. I remind them that he stated the views that the military experts had presented to that conference, and the decisions that had been reached by it, and he emphasized the necessity for a. more intense defence programme. His policy was submitted to the people, and he told them that the Government, if it were returned to office, would submit the Defence Preparations Bill to the House. That is honesty. T invite honorable members to contrast it with an action of the previous Labour Government. The then Prime Minister, the late **Mr. Chifley,** without reference to the Parliament or to his own followers, issued a 42-word ultimatum to the effect that the Government proposed to assume control in one fell swoop of all finance, and, by that means, of industry. The present Prime Minister has been completely honest. Could that have been said of the approach of the present Leader of the Opposition **(Dr. Evatt),** when he introduced the Constitution Alteration (Post-war Reconstruction and Democratic Rights) Bill in 1944, under which *he* asked the people to grant to this Parliament power to enable the Government to control all industry and man-power, And, in that way, exercise complete control? I am in complete agreement with the hope that has been expressed by the honorable member for Burke to the effect that no companies or industries shall be allowed, under this bill, to prof: at the expense of defence, or to exploit the community. However, I assure him that one of the purposes for which the Government has introduced this bill is to prevent such profiteering and exploitation. Materials that are urgently required for defence purposes will be distributed fairly in the best interests of the whole community. The honorable member for Burke was battling uphill when he sought to defend the honorable member for Melbourne (Mr. Calwell), in particular, and the Labour party in general, by saying that the previous Labour Government had used economic controls because of wartime needs. I remind him that the proposal of the Labour Government to nationalize banking was announced in 1947, or approximately two years after the end of "World War II. The VicePresident of the Executive Council **(Mr. Eric J. Harrison)** recalled in his speech that the honorable member for Melbourne said on that occasion that the Government would pluck the fowl, and that the people would not be able to put the feathers back on the bird at a later date. He meant that, once the private banking institutions had been nationalized, they could not be restored. The Labour Government sought, by means of various controls, to wield complete power. The purposes of this bill are strictly in accordance with its preamble. The measure will give the Government authority to make preparations for the defence of this country. The honorable member for Burke said that the Labour party is just as concerned about our defences as are the Liberal party and the Australian Country party. If this claim is correct, how do Opposition members reconcile their hostility to every action that has been taken by this Government to prepare our defences? They have opposed every measure that the Government has introduced for that purpose, and they are even opposing this bill. They seek at every turn to prevent the Government from making defence preparations. The honorable member for Wilmot **(Mr. Duthie)** made an astounding statement. He said, in effect, that defence expenditure is a waste of money, because there may not be a war. I challenge the honorable gentleman, who spoke quite sincerely, upon that statement. Let us assume that, by being prepared for war in the next three years,, we can prevent war. Will the expenditure of money on defence be a waste of money in those circumstances? What is the value of money compared with the lives of thousands of Australians which will be saved if our preparations now avert a war ? {: .speaker-JTF} ##### Mr Tom Burke: -- The honorable member should be sure *that he has* quoted the honorable member for Wilmot correctly. {: .speaker-JLR} ##### Mr ADERMANN: -- Does not the honorable member for Perth **(Mr. Tom Burke)** agree with what I have said? The fact is that Opposition members, for their own political reasons, do not want this Government to do anything, so that they will be able to attack it. They are not concerned with doing the right thing in the interests of the country. They do not want us to be British, as other members of the Commonwealth of Nations are. They desire us to have the protection of Great Britain and the United States of America without doing our share to help those countries. They want to defend Australia to the last British and American conscript. That is their defence policy, as has been proved repeatedly. I again remind the House of the statement that the Prime Minister made upon his return to Australia after he had attended the conference of Commonwealth Prime Ministers. The right honorable gentleman warned us that we had only three years in which to prepare our defences, because it was considered that our enemies would be ready to attack us, if we were in a defenceless condition at the end of that time. They would require until then to make a stockpile of atomic bombs. I believe that if the United States of America, the United Kingdom, and other members of the Commonwealth of Nations make adequate preparations, war can be prevented. But I see no possibility of averting hostilities if we are not properly prepared. It is the usual procedure, when defence needs are paramount, for the government of the day to possess powers which can be exercised swiftly if the necessity arises. Nearly every act that the Labour Government placed on the statute-book, whether in war-time or in peace-time, provided that regulations, could be made, not inconsistent with the provisions of the act, to carry out its purposes. That Government carried on its administration by regulation after the end of World War II. to a much greater degree than this Government will use regulations under the legislation now before the House. The honorable member for Leichhardt **(Mr. Bruce)** spoke critically of that matter, but his statements were so much eyewash. He was a member of the Government of Queensland that used orders-in-council, which is another term for regulations, and supported legislation which provided for the arrest, without warrant, of a person, even in his house, irrespective of whether there was any semblance of guilt. A Labour government in Queensland placed on the statute-book an act to provide for the confiscation of cattle upon the owner's property. A letter or a telegram is sufficient warrant for the act of confiscation. Yet the honorable gentleman has spoken critically of controls. Controls are not necessarily bad in themselves. The important matter is the way in which they arc administered. The present Government is well aware of the need to safeguard freedom in Australia, and it will wisely administer the controls that will be imposed under this bill. Like the honorable member for Burke, I hope that most of the people will not bc exploited as a result of the imposition of those controls. But whyshould they be exploited? I have always been in favour of a measure of control, if it can be so termed. Every honorable member knows of my actions in relation to orderly marketing, that is, the stabilized system of handling primary products. I believe that such a. system should be expanded. I cannot understand the attitude of the Labour party for another reason. The Parliament has passed legislation relative to the industrial section of the community, with the object of removing some of the shackles that, are preventing greater production. Why is the Labour party protesting against this bill, which will apply to other sections of the community and ensure that the available supplies of scarce basic materials shall be allocated to the best advantage to industry? Why should industry not be included in the overall defence programme? I cannot understand the attitude of Opposition members in that respect. Why do they prefer conditions under which black marketing, which was fostered by the war-time controls of the Labour Government, cannot be prevented? Their attitude is inconsistent. The controls which will be imposed by the Government under this bill are necessary for the good of the country. Responsibility for the administration of those regulations will rest with the government of the day. Those controls may be modified if the Government fails to administer them wisely in the best interests of the country. But that will not happen. The Government has accepted the challenge that is presented by the present uncertain times. Economic ills and problems confront this country. There is a need to administer controls, not only among the workers on the industrial front, where the enemies of Australia have done their damnedest to upset production, but also in industry. This is necessary because materials that are in short supply are not being used to the greatest advantage of the country. The Government seeks to correct that position. I submit that it has honoured its pre-election promises to the people, and recognizes its responsibility. With the introduction of this bill, the Government is living up to its obligations. **Mr. THOMPSON** (Port Adelaide) 1 11.13]. - This bill is a natural corollary to the actions of the Government in those times. The Government realizes, as the previous Labour Government realized, that a certain amount of regimentation is necessary in order to achieve maximum production. The Labour Government was severely criticized for using controls for that purpose, and members of the Liberal party and of the Australian Country party, during the general election campaign in 1949, promised the people that, if returned to office, they would abolish those controls. I am gravely concerned about the possible effect of this legislation on new industries, a number of which have been established in my own electorate. I am afraid that the Government will be able to make regulations or orders under this bill that will have the effect of closing down some of those enterprises which we have regarded as essential to the future welfare of Australia. In those circumstances, I am fearful of what may happen to those industries. Ministers and Government supporters have declared, that this bill will not provide that power to direct labour, but- {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order ! The time allotted for the second-reading stage has expired. Question put - >That the bill be now read a second time. The House divided. (Mr. Speaker - Hon. Archie Cameron.) AYES: 59 NOES: 40 Majority . . . . 19 AYES NOES Question so resolved in the affirmative. Bill read a second time. *Sitting suspended from 11.21 12 midnight.* *Friday, 13 July 1951* *In committee:* The bill. {: #debate-18-s0 .speaker-KVT} ##### Mr THOMPSON:
Port Adelaide -- I am concerned about action that the Government might take under clause 4 of this bill. New industries were established in this country after they had been needed for a number of years. It is possible that regulations may be made under this clause which would have the effect of closing down those industries. Clause 4 states that the Governor-General may make regulations for or in relation to defence preparations for the expansion of the capacity of Australia to produce or manufacture goods or to provide services for the purposes of defence preparations or for the purpose of enabling the economy of Australia to meet the public demands upon it in the event of war. That clause would give to the Government very wide power; for example the power to make regulations in connexion with the production of goods that may be considered necessary for the defence of Australia. {: .speaker-KZE} ##### Mr Roberton: -- To the pure all things are pure. {: .speaker-KVT} ##### Mr THOMPSON: -- I do not say that there is any impure intention. But under that clause the Government would have the power to increase the production of certain goods. Although it has been stated very definitely that there will not be power to conscript or direct labour I should like to know how the Government could give effect to a regulation to increase the production of goods if it could not direct people to produce those goods. That is the power that resides in this bill. Clause 4 (2.)(Z>) states that the regulations which may be made include regulations for or in relation to - the diversion and control of resources (including money, materials and facilities) for the purposes of defence preparations. That will vest in the Government power to give directions and orders by way of regulations for the production of what may be considered necessary for the defence of Australia. If it does not mean that, I should like to know why we are discussing the bill. Honorable members have been told that it is necessary to pass the bill so that the Government may control the production of goods that may be considered necessary for the proper defence of Australia and in order to meet the needs of the allies of Australia. In view of that fact it appears to me that my fears concerning new Australian industries are well founded. In my district there is a firm which produces pruning knives and different kinds of saws and butchers' knives. These implements were once brought to Australia from Sheffield, but during the war, due to the curtailment of imports of that kind, a very efficient business was founded for their manufacture. A number of men are working for this concern. When this bill is passed the Government might decide that the manufacture of these goods is not necessary. It might direct that no material shall go to this business. The Government will not direct the firm to dismiss a man but it will tell it that it will receive no more steel. A representative of this firm came to me about three years ago and inquired whether it would be safe for it to instal additional plant for the purpose of expanding the industry. As a Labour government was in office I assured him that the policy of the Government was that effective protection should be given to Australian industries. If this bill is passed I do not know what position that firm will be in. At Finsbury, which is also in my electorate, munitions factories were erected, during the war because of the distanceof this town from the east coast. At the conclusion of the war the Australian Government made those buildings available for the. production of civilian goods. Special trains run. to this town every morning with, loads of workmen most of whom arcemployed in new or expanded industries.. Iron and steel are being used in most of these industries some of which brought key men from England to enable themto commence production. If, under thi3legislation, the Government decides tocontrol supplies of steel and other materials what will be the position of firms such as those? I am not opposed to effective production for defence needs. I am prepared: to support honorable members opposite in any action that may be designed topromote the welfare of this country. I believe that honorable members have a responsibility to the people of Australia and . to unborn children and should doeverything possible to make their futuresafe. However, I do not think that the Government should be given the broad power to make regulations that is provided for under this bill and I object tothe Executive being vested with it. Unquestionably the bill will confer on the Government the power to make regulations when the Parliament is not in session. If the Government considered that its proposals were essential in order to obtain effective production for defencepreparations the bill should have contained a provision for regulations to lieon the table of the House for a given period. The Parliament would then have had a greater control over the issue of regulations than- it will have under this bill. The bill provides that the Government may delegate the power to make orders to other people. It states that when an order has necessarily to hepublished it shall not come into effect until the date of its publication; otherwise, it shall take effect from the time it is made. Immediately an order had; been made it could be enforced. In the circumstances, I consider that the Government is endeavouring to tackle toogreat a task. {: #debate-18-s1 .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Order ! The honorable member's time has expired. {: #debate-18-s2 .speaker-KZP} ##### Mr WHEELER:
Mitchell .. - This bill ostensibly provides for the effective defence of the country. However, there is more in defence preparation than the mere training of men arid women in the services. Behind the actual numbers in the various services must stand a strong and capable economic system which preserves and takes into account both primary and secondary industries. Without the man <>n the land and the man at the work bench a war effort is of little consequence. I pose this question to the House: Is this a bill designed for defence purposes or is it a bil] designed essentially to control, or to provide measures to be taken against inflation ? Clause 4 of the bill suggests to me that tho action proposed to be taken i3 more economic than defensive. It is true that this country faces new circumstances. We live in very difficult times. The country is undertaking a great peace-time rearmament programme before it has adjusted the financial problems which arose from the last world war. I believe that we have not yet regained our financial balance after the battering that our economy received during World War II. Now we propose to engage in preparations to meet another emergency while we are still more or less off financial balance. Public finance and a satisfactory monetary , policy have not been clearly established since World War II. Despite that, we propose to embark on a costly rearmament plan, which in turn will mean higher government spending, the circulation of more money, increased costs and the added curse of inflation. Already inflation is a disease which is spreading throughout the whole of our economy, and there is a general mood for heavy spending. If we inject into that already heavy spending the tremendous expenditure that preparations for defence will involve, and if we do not apply a brake to that spending, during the next year or two, wc shall experience a heavy fall in the value of our money. It would be absolute folly to imagine that runaway inflation cannot happen in this country. The perils of open inflation are apparent to everybody. That the in justice of it falls perhaps most heavily on fixed income earners, superannuated persons, and those who draw on social services or pensions does not need to be stressed at this stage of the debate. If, as a result of defence preparations and rearmament, more money is circulated, and if at the same time there is a tendency to reduce supplies of commodities bocal se of diversion of man-power to defence projects, greater inflation than that which exists at the present time must result unless the Government takes action to curb that inflation. Such action_ may involve the prescription of old-fashioned remedies, including a sound monetary policy and public retrenchment. If that action is not taken we shall continue to have inflation. If we have inflation and at the same time attempt to carry our. a rearmament programme the country will get into a social and economic plight from which it will be difficult indeed to extricate it. If we are to rearm and to prepare our defences, a halt must be called to the vast developmental expenditure and also to all expenditure that is not really associated with defence. Public works of all kinds should be subjected to a very close scrutiny and an investigation be made to determine whether or not they are essential to war preparedness. If they are not essential, in my opinion they should be discontinued immediately. If the Australian and State Governments have first call on labour, and if man-power is used to complete government contracts which do not involve the production of consumer goods, the spiral of inflation will continue. {: .speaker-KDA} ##### Mr Duthie: -- That is common sense. {: .speaker-KZP} ##### Mr WHEELER: -- Unfortunately, common sense does not always penetrate to the side of the House on which the honorable member for Wilmot **(Mr. Duthie)** sits. If man-power is needed for defence preparations let it be made available immediately from public works which are not essential for the defence of this country. To continue such works and at the same time to carry on defence projects would be to add considerably to the burden of the people of Australia. If we consider the matter of defence expenditure as it affects inflation, we also must consider the, problems which arise from our immigration policy. Many immigrants are at present employed on public works and development programmes which do not add to the output of consumer goods. They are employed on capital construction, the value of which may not accrue to this country for five or ten years. I have no doubt that our immigration scheme is a sound and desirable one and that so far we have attracted immigrants of a reasonably good type. As a nation, however, I believe that we have 'bitten off a little more than we can chew and that it is advisable that we cry a halt and assimilate those immigrants who are already here. It might be wise to have a national stocktaking in order to see actually where we are. Prom a defence standpoint, I believe it to be desirable to content ourselves with the number of immigrants already in the country. Whilst I admit that the number of immigrants that may be brought to this country in the next two or three years will be small in comparison with the number of persons who enter the armed services and essential industries, I consider that the entry of further large numbers of immigrants would place a greater burden on the creaking economic structure of this country. Clause 4(2.)(Z>) of the bill, which relates to the diversion and control of resources, including money, materials and facilities, for the purposes of defence preparations, is no doubt directed against so-called luxury expenditure. Whilst in time of defence preparations it is desirable that there shall be restriction of such spending, it is perhaps opportune at this stage to consider the luxury spending indulged in by the Government itself. This Government inherited from its socialist predecessor the luxury of a bureaucratic socialist system. I should have thought that it would have taken action to terminate many of the functions of the war-time departments that were set up by the Labour Government. It is to be hoped that the passage of this legislation will not mean the establishment of more departments and the appointment of many more of those officious government servants who, clothed with a little brief authority, proceed to push the people round. If this legislation meansthat we are to prepare for war, let us hope that it will be an instrument which will sever us from thebureaucratic army and the thousands of temporary attachments to the Public Service, those people who are cluttering upthe civilian landscape at the present time. Our bureaucratic army is stronger now than it was when World War II ended. I sincerely trust that this legislation, instead of adding to the numerical strength of that army, will reduce it. Appropriately used, it could well lighten the heavy strain that will be on industry when large numbers of men and women enter the services. *An Opposition member interjecting,* {: .speaker-KZP} ##### Mr WHEELER: -- I have more trustin the effective operation of a measure of this kind by the present Government than I would have if it were in the hands of a socialist government. Socialism, once started, goes on almost automatically spreading its blight further and further unless vigorous and determined action istaken to stop it. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Order! The honorable gentleman's time has expired. {: #debate-18-s3 .speaker-JUP} ##### Mr CLAREY:
Bendigo -- I rise to oppose the bill, not because I object to defence preparations for, indeed, the platform of the Australian Labour party has many planks in respect of that very matter, but because of its contents. The bill is remarkable in two respects. The first of those is the lengthy preamble which is apparently designed to justify the use by the Government of the defence power in time of peace. The second is the extraordinarily wide powers to he conferred by the measure to enable the Executive to control, by regulation, all phases of the financial and productive life of Australia except in respect of four subjects. The bill, in effect, intends to bring into operation in peace-time all the arbitrary powers of regulation that were prescribed in World War I. by the War Precautions Act in Australia and by the Defence of the Realm Act in Great Britain, and in World War II. by the National Security Act in Australia. ' I consider the bill to be bad for six reasons. lt will substitute for government through the Parliament, government by regulation. It seeks to impose, in peace-time, arbitrary and undemocratic controls that were previously introduced only during periods of actual war. It will substitute bureaucracy for democracy. It fails to indicate either the proposed or the actual plans for defence preparations.- It can, and will, seriously affect both the conditions of labour and the standard of living in this country. It will, unless it be used to control prices, accelerate the process of inflation. I shall read to the committee the remarkable statement made in the second recital in the preamble, upon which apparently the Government justifies the whole bill. It states - >And whereas, in the opinion of the Parliament and of the Government of the Commonwealth, there exists a state of international emergency in which it is essential that preparations for defence should be immediately made to an extent, and with a degree of urgency, not hitherto necessary except in time of war: {: .speaker-KEE} ##### Mr KENT HUGHES:
CHISHOLM, VICTORIA · LP -- That is not correct. {: .speaker-JUP} ##### Mr CLAREY: -- That is what the preamble says. I ask, what are the processes that we put into operation during a time of war? What are the processes that were found to be necessary under the National Security Act in World War II. during the regime of a government of the same political colour as the present Government? As the intensity of the state of emergency increased so were the controls applied under that measure considerably multiplied and extended. Leaving out the four subjects that cannot be dealt with by regulations made under this measure, here are some of the things that were dealt with by regulations between 1939 and 1945 - and if defence preparations are as essential and urgent now as they would be in an actual state of war, then these are some of the things we can expect to be dealt with by regulations made under this measure - Credit restriction, capital issue control, rationalization of industries, materials control, interest control, export and import control, censorship, rationing, prices control, wages control and a number of other things. Indeed, it has been indicated here to-night that rationing, at least, is intended in respect of certain textiles, tinplate and aluminium when this bill has been passed. What is the overall plan that requires such drastic controls to be brought into operation? No indication has been given so far by any of the speakers on the Government side, so we can only speculate about what the Government has in mind. The one thing certain - and the honorable member for Mitchell **(Mr. Wheeler)** mentioned this very matter - is that, because of the existing shortages of both material and man-power, with the advent of the Government into the realm of industry generally for the purpose of carrying out war preparations the demand for materials and man-power is bound to increase. Unless these controls that are to be available to the Government are exercised for the purpose of keeping inflation in check,, we shall see a rapid acceleration of inflation in respect of commodities and services, because the Government and private enterprise will be competing for both man-power and materials. Every effort that we have made to find out whether the Government proposes to use for the control of prices the powers it seeks, has brought no result; but, judging by the statements made by the Prime Minister **(Mr. Menzies)** and responsible Ministers in the last few months, it is certain that the Government is not prepared to exercise control over prices. So it is evident that, whatever the defence preparations may be, whether they be to defend Australia from aggression or to enable us to participate in war overseas, the cost in respect of them must increase day by day and month by month and must assist considerably to make the inflationary spiral more serious and dangerous than it is now. In the brief time permitted to mc at the committee stage I am not able to deal exhaustively with all that I should like to deal with, but it must be pointed out that if this bill becomes law it may very seriously affect the rights and interests of the working masses of t]ie people. The Government will be able, by regulation, if it so desires, to increase the hours of labour. Whilst compulsory direction of labour cannot be the subject of regulations made under the bill, nevertheless the Government may, by diversion, expansion, restriction, or the division of industries into various classes, throw labour out of employment in certain industries and force it into other industries. It may even be possible under this measure for the Government to decide to peg labour in certain industries. By that I mean, not that it would direct labour into those industries, but that it would not permit labour to leave them. These are problems that have to be* dealt with. It is certain that, if any effort is made to affect the standards of living of the workers by pegging wages, altering conditions of employment or extending hours, without at the same time taking the necessary steps to ensure that the standard of living shall be maintained and that the prices of commodities shall be controlled, there is bound to be considerable industrial strife. "Finally, I say that although this bill is to operate for a period of only two and a half years, in the present international position it is possible that we shall find ourselves bound by regulations for the next decade. We do not know whether, in two and a half years' time, our defence preparations will be complete, or, on the other hand, whether the international situation will have eased to such a degree that we shall' be able to sit back with a feeling of security. {: #debate-18-s4 .speaker-DB6} ##### Mr WENTWORTH:
Mackellar -- Some of the statements of the honorable member for Bendigo **(Mr. Clarey)** need a clear and definite answer. The honorable member directed attention to certain words in the preamble to this bill. It is necessary for us to realize why the present situation is so unusual that it demands preparations against the contingency of war of a degree and quality never previously equalled in this country. There are two very great reasons and in all sincerity I ask honorable members to realize what they are. The first is that, owing to the new techniques of war, we are not likely to have the same time lapse between the outbreak of war and our involvement in it as we have had on other occasions. In the not distant future surprise attacks like that on Pearl Harbour, but on a world scale, will become possible. Any government that .exposed its people to a risk of that kind without making such preparations as it could make to minimize the risk would not be worthy to hold office. The second great reason why we should prepare against the contingency of war is the recent growth of the fifth column and the tremendous improvements that have taken place in its techniques in recent years. There has been fifth column activity before; there was, for instance, the nazi fifth column; but they were mere amateur shows compared with the fifth column that is operating in Australia to-day. Because of the existence of a virile fifth column in our midst we have to take precautions of a kind, and to a degree, not previously necessary. In all sincerity I ask honorable members opposite to reconsider their attitude to this bill because they, like us, are in peril. Their families and their children as well as our families and children will pay the price of unpreparedness. In 1939, 1940 and the early months of 1941, a very discreditable manoeuvre was practised by the then Opposition in this Parliament. Because its members craved power they tried to impede the war preparations of the government of the day. Under the lap they cooperated with our enemies who, in many instances, were their friends, and they ultimately succeeded in achieving their objective and gained office. Members of the present Opposition are trying to reproduce a similar state of affairs. They are more eager to attain power than to preserve the safety of Australia. They are trying to embarrass the Government even though it is taking action which, in their own hearts, they know to be necessary for their safety as well as ours and for the safety of their supporters as well as ours. I do not believe that their supporters will countenance the betrayal of their safety by means of such phoney, sham practices. There is an ominous similarity between the tactics they have adopted in relation to this bill and the tactics they adopted in connexion with the bill that was passed through this chamber some hours ago. They say now, " Oh, yes, we believe in defence ", just as they said when we were dealing with an earlier measure, " Oh, yes, we believe in crushing the Communist party ". {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Order ! The honorable member's remarks would" be more appropriate to a second-reading debate. He must not make them too general. {: .speaker-DB6} ##### Mr WENTWORTH: -- I was trying to point out that the attitude of the honorable member for Bendigo to this bill is exactly similar to that adopted by the Opposition in respect of a bill that was before us a few hours ago. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Order! The committee is not concerned with what took place in the House during the secondreading debate on this bill or any other bill. {: .speaker-DB6} ##### Mr WENTWORTH: -- Although Opposition members say, "We believe in defence ", when any concrete proposal is submitted for their consideration they say, " Oh, this is no good ; you must not do that because it will hurt this person or that person ". In the nature of things they will have ample opportunity to attempt to generate a feeling of hostility to the Government because of the proposals in this hill. But this Government will disregard that threat and put the safety of Australia first, and that includes the safety of nearly one-half of the people of Australia who supported Opposition candidates at the last general election. {: #debate-18-s5 .speaker-KCM} ##### Mr DRAKEFORD:
Maribyrnong -- The honorable member for Mackellar **(Mr. Wentworth)** asked us in all sincerity to accept what he described as an answer to the remarks of the honorable member for Bendigo **(Mr. Clarey).** The oracle from Mackellar showed that he knows nothing of history when he referred to what he described as a manoeuvre on the part of the Opposition in 1941, which brought about the downfall of a government of a similar political complexion to that of the present Government. That government was removed from office because it failed to gear this country to an all-out war effort. That was the sole reason for its dismissal. Every student of political history knows that the two independent members who had supported that Government voted against it because they realized that it was not making an attempt to marshal the resources of the country in an all-out war effort. Just as that government fell so will this Government fall if it proceeds to implement the provisions of thi* bill. I, and all true Australians, would gladly assist the Government to place the defences of Australia on a sound footing, but I have not yet been able to discover that the Government has a plan to do so. Apart from the measures proposed to be taken under clause 4 (2.) it apparently has no plan for speeding up defence preparations. The uneasiness among supporters of the Government at the ineffectiveness of these proposals is becoming more evident every day. Many excellent speeches have been made on the bill by honorable members from both sides of the House, but good speeches do nothing to improve our defences. Some honorable members opposite have indulged in histronics in an endeavour to make a great deal of what the Government proposes to achieve under the provisions of this measure. When they recall the failures of past Liberal and Australian Country party governments, despite the fact that they commanded a majority in both Houses of the Parliament, is it astonishing that they have such a feeling of unease about these proposals? Under sub-clause (3.) of clause 4 the Government cannot impose taxation, deal with' matters that relate to the borrowing of money on the public credit of the Commonwealth or to ° the compulsory direction of labour, or impose any form of or extend the existing obligation to render compulsory naval, military, or air force service. But the Government can do practically everything else; if not by direct means then by indirect means. I am afraid of this measure. Honorable members on this side of the House who have had experience of the actions of previous anti-Labour governments must realize that it is a very dangerous measure. Perhaps it will be wisely administered, but it is apparent, that honorable members on the Government side have some reason to feel uneasy. This is the last of three bills debated by the Parliament this week. Those three bills are a part of a plan to control the economy, but the details of the plan will not be stated by the Government. The more this measure is examined the more dangerous it appears to be. The honorable member for Bendigo has put the Opposition ease very clearly, and has shown what it will be possible for the Government to do. He has shown that measures taken under this bill may result in people being taken from one industry and put into another. If people are taken from certain industries and put into more useful ones perhaps there will be no great objection, but if the transfer is compulsory, as it could be under this bill, then such action certainly will be objectionable. Under this bill the Government will be able to limit the number of employers in any particular industry. That will mean perhaps the throwing out of business of a number of people who have spent their whole lives building up their particular establishments and thus create monopolies. I am not prepared to trust any government, Labour or anti-Labour, with such a- power. When the power envisaged in clause 4 is considered, it will he understood that the committee is completely in the dark about what the Government intends to do if it obtains that power. I demand, as a representative of the people, to know what is in the mind of Government members: They have been very secretive about their purpose. They have said that they intend to smash communism, but this bill will affect many people who have not the slightest relationship with Communists. The three bills dealt with this week have purported to seek to increase the power of the Government to control industry and to do other things. Action under those measures could interfere with the productivity of the nation. The honorable member for Melbourne Ports **(Mr. Crean)** to-day gave to the House some very interesting figures about productivity, and unsuccessful attempts have been made by honorable members on the Government side to prove those figures false. The three bills rushed through this chamber this week will place the Government in a position which will enable it, by pretending to carry out its election promises, to bring about a complete disruption of the nation's economy. We must oppose that. If honorable members opposite are not prepared to extract from the Government a promise about what it proposes to do, then it is the duty of honorable members on this side to oppose the Government's actions at every turn. Some honorable members on the Government side have openly boasted that they are fascists. One said that he was a fascist without a shirt. That is fascism naked and unashamed, and I am not prepared to run the risk of giving these powers to a government which includes such persons. I believe that a system of fascism could be applied under this bill, therefore it will give great satisfaction to those who have fascist ideas. The statement made by the Prime Minister **(Mr. Menzies)** when he returned from overseas has been mentioned in this debate. Honorable members on this side of the House believe that they are protecting the interests of the nation in endeavouring to prevent this bill from becoming law. I doubt whether even if this measure becomes law the Government will have the courage to use the power given to it, because surely it knows that if it attempts to do so it will cause such consternation among the people that its opportunity of remaining a government long enough to achieve its objectives will be jeopardized. I hope that the measure will be reconsidered and that honorable members on the Government side will ensure that, even if the bill is passed, the Government will not use the powers given by it. If it does, then many honorable members on the Government side will certainly lose the seats that they won so recently, and Labour will have to return to office to pull this country out of stagnation such as Liberal governments invariably cause. {: #debate-18-s6 .speaker-KEN} ##### Mr FAIRHALL:
Paterson -- The powers that the Government proposes to take under this measure are very wide. Honorable members opposite have drawn on their imaginations in an attempt to picture what will happen when it has been passed, but the statute-book is filled with acts, the powers conferred by which have never been exercised. The same thing may occur under this bill. The fact that a Liberal government should feel itself forced to take this action underlines the urgency of the matter. The Government is not unmindful of the problems of the country, or of its responsibility for Australia's security. The Government will be judged on the use that it makes of the powers that it intends to take. Honorable members opposite may rest assured that we shall have a care that these powers shall not be used irresponsibly. The actions of the Government will remain under the eye of the Parliament. "When it is considered that we are now in the opening phases of a new war which is being fought with a new technique, it will be realized that the powers sought are not excessive. Action is needed to deal with the enemy fifth column in this country and it is certainly time that we looked to our defences. We have entered defensive alliances with other powers that have not hesitated to put their countries under the same restraints as are foreshadowed in this bill. If we are to enjoy the benefits of those defensive alliances, we must shoulder some of our responsibilities. The Government would be in an untenable position if it failed to assume the powers necessary to shoulder those responsibilities. The honorable member for Mitchell **(Mr. Wheeler)** has directed attention to the economic aspects of this measure. During the last war economic warfare was a most important weapon. That indicates that our preparations must be no less in the economic field than in the military field. To-day our economy is almost undisciplined. It needs a shock to put it back into proper working order. That shock can be given by only one agency which must control a wide section of the Australian economy. That agency is obviously the Government. Wherever we look there are difficulties. Of what use is it to budget for the building of 50,000 houses if there is material enough for only 30,000? The only result will he rising prices and industrial dislocation. The honorable member for Port Adelaide **(Mr. Thompson)** spoke of new industries. Today, we are developing a great number of hot-house industries which flourish under tariff protection, but which bear no relation to defence requirements. It may he necessary to permit some competition, and 1531 thus curtail their Activity. The production of food is of first importance if the country is to prepare to defend itself, but we are faced with the fact that the area under crop has fallen from 23,000,000 acres to 20,500,000 acres. Although the railways show an increase of 18 per cent, in gross earnings, the quantity of freight has declined by 15 per cent., largely because there is not sufficient steel available to keep the railway systems in an efficient condition. The Government cannot stand by and watch the national effort being diverted into channels where it will merely aggravate the problems that now confront us. There has been talk about curtailing luxury industries. I hope that we shall not develop that peasant mentality which regards as luxurious everything above the level of the bare necessaries of life. The re-direction of effort will be slow and steady, and the Opposition may be assured that the Government will take only such powers as are necessary to ensure that first things shall come first. After defence needs have been satisfied, the remaining materials may be used for essential peace-time requirement. There must be certain reservations. The Government, under the prodding of backbench supporters, will be mindful of the fact that we are putting into pawn temporarily our rights and privileges, and that we expect them to be restored to us in the not distant future. We must watch how the Government exercises these powers, and take action to see that they shall be exercised wisely. No effort will be spared to ensure that when the economy of the country - has been restored, there will be no delay in removing the controls. {: #debate-18-s7 .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr WARD:
East Sydney -- We have heard some strange reasons for supporting this measure, but none so strange as that offered by the honorable member for Paterson **(Mr. Fairhall),** who said that he was prepared to support the measure because he knew that the Government would never use the powers sought. The honorable member for Mackellar **(Mr. Wentworth)** appealed to members of the Opposition to have regard to the future security of themselves and their children. Actually, that is what is concerning me. I do not want my children to live permanently in a police state where they will be regimented. According to the preamble to the bill, a state of national emergency exists. How are we able to judge of that unless evidence is placed before us? "When the Government speaks of national emergency, I take it that it is thinking not of inflation, but of a state of emergency brought about by international tension. From the arguments advanced by Government members we must assume that we are preparing the country for a war that may take place at the end of 1953. What is to happen then? Honorable members opposite say that after 1953 the controls will disappear. At the end of 1953, unless Russia attacks us - and we have been repeatedly assured that Russia is the potential enemy - the danger of attack must still remain unless we attack Russia, and destroy its power to harm us. Is it proposed by this warmongering Government that, at the end of 1953, when we are ready to do so, we shall attack Soviet Russia? I am one of those who want the peace to be preserved. I do not want any country to be attacked. What a hopeless outlook it is for the people of Australia if, at the end of 1953, Russia neither attacks us nor we attack Russia, and controls must be continued jnd armaments maintained, because the danger of attack continues. Are Australians to be regimented indefinitely? Are personal and individual liberties to be permanently destroyed, and parliamentary government, as we understand it, swept away? The only time that controls comparable to these were imposed in Australia was when the country was threatened with actual invasion. Why do not honorable members opposite ask the Government to take the people into their confidence? During the last war, the people were told of the danger that confronted them, and they realized the necessity for control. Now, the Government merely says that a state of emergency exists, and that the people must accept economic controls. I want some evidence that a state of emergency does, in fact, exist in the sense of a threat to the safety of the country. If we examine the international situation to-day it becomes evident, with discussions for peace going on between the belligerent parties in Korea, that the prospect for ultimate peace is better now than it has been for some months. There is a possibility of agreement, and if agreement can be reached in Korea there is likelihood that it can be reached on other matters in dispute. The Government wants the powers sothat it can act quickly, without knowledge of the Parliament. If the regulations to be made under this legislation can withstand challenge, the Government will possess power not much less in extent than that exercised by Hitler in Germany from 1933 onwards. There will be little need to convene the 'Parliament except for a short period once in every twelve months as is stipulated in the Constitution in order to pass supply bills. Then, with the use of its brutal majority, the Government will be able to close up the Parliament, and go on regimenting the people. Honorable members opposite claim that there is no provision in this legislation for imposing industrial conscription. However, with the great power which it will give to the Government to close down industries regarded as being non-essential, the workers can nevertheless be directed to specific industries because they must work to live. If the organizations in which workers are employed are closed, they will be obliged to seek other employment. What the Government proposes to do is quite obvious. Not long ago, the federal president of the Liberal party was advocating a 56-hour working week. There would bc great difficulty in obtaining such a drastic lengthening of working hours through the arbitration courts, but when the Government gets the power that it is seeking, it will be able to do so without referring the matter to an industrial tribunal for decision, and it will also have the power to override established practice in regard to the determination of rates of pay and working conditions. Doubtless it will do so on the ground that the country is threatened with attack. The defeatist attitude of the Government was revealed by the honorable member for Mitchell **(Mr. Wheeler),** who said that public works that have no bearing upon defence should be abandoned. We are bringing immigrants to Australia at the rate of 180,000 a year ; but, according to the honorable gentleman, all public works that do not fit in with the Government's defence plans should be abandoned. Everybody knows that the Australian economy is in danger of collapse and that the Government is worried about it. The Prime Minister **(Mr. Menzies)** believes that it will be possible to avert the collapse by the form of regimentation to which this measure will give rise. Honorable gentlemen opposite talk frequently about the dangers of communism, but we blow that they put socialism in the same category as communism. They know that capitalism in Australia and other parts of the world is crumbling and facing its doom. They are afraid that, if the present system collapses, the Labour party will assume power and implement a socialistic policy under which the whole of the Australian community will receive social justice. We have often referred to the members of this Government as being fascistminded. This bill is a part of a fascist programme. We are not at war. Therefore, the Government cannot justify its action in seeking the powers that it says it requires. If a situation arose that demanded the use of those powers, the Government could come to the Parliament and ask that they be given to it, and the Parliament could then consider whether the request was a reasonable one. Under this bill the Government will be able to reward its wealthy supporters and crush small business men. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Order ! The honorable gentleman's time has expired. {: #debate-18-s8 .speaker-KCS} ##### Mr DRUMMOND:
New England -- For a long time the honorable member for East Sydney **(Mr. Ward)** has consistently opposed any proposals relating to the defence of this country. Apparently, he has learned nothing from past experience. The brutal aggression in which Hitler Germany and its satellites engaged has made no impression upon the honorable gentleman's mind. He is still prepared to close his eyes to facts that are obvious to everybody else, and to impute the vilest of motives to those who put the safety of their country before the interests either of the political party to which they belong or of a cause that they espouse. The Government has been stigmatized as a fascist government because it wishes to protect Australia against the worst form of fascism that the world has known. That form of fascism is to be found in Russia and its satellite countries. The honorable member for East Sydney criticized the methods that the Government proposes to adopt to put the defences of this country upon a sound basis. If the danger that threatens us is a real danger, L do not know of any other methods that could be employed. Because I believe the danger to be real, I am prepared to sacrifice, for the time being, some of my liberties in order that eventually I shall be able to enjoy wider liberties. A prominent American, writing in the *American Quarterly Review,* made the following statement about the availability of raw materials in the world : - >If, in other words, it were possible to buy an amount of copper, aluminium, steel, wool or sulphur merely by paying a high enough price, then Europe's problem and ours would be a financial problem - serious, but relatively easy to remedy. The sheer inavailability of needed commodities offers u problem of quite a different kind. To-day, an allocation ticket or an export licence is becoming a more important kind of currency than a dollar is. Even if Europeans had dollars enough to buy at current prices all the raw materials that they need, they would not now be able to do so, because raw material supplies cannot he readily expanded. That is the problem with which Australia is faced. Even if we had unlimited finance, we should be unable to buy all the raw materials that we need. The Western democracies are endeavouring to stockpile the materials that they want in a way that will cause the least possible dislocation of their economies. I have a very lively recollection of an occasion when, as Minister for Education in a State government, together with my colleagues from other States, I approached the Commonwealth and asked that technical education facilities be expanded. The position was not fully understood. The Commonwealth did not co-operate, and if New South Wales and Victoria had not expended all they could spare from their meagre resources the country would not have had the services of so many expert technicians during the recent war. I hate controls like poison, just as I hate to take medicine when I am ill. However, we must face the facts, and I point out to the Opposition that we cannot afford to trifle with preparations for the defence of this country. So long as those preparations are carried out on a basis that is fair to all, it is the duty of every loyal citizen to swing into action and do his best for his country. I propose now to offer some criticism of the Government's approach to this matter. I say at once that I do not believe that the mere allocation of quotas of raw materials will be sufficient to maintain a sound basis for our economy. I read some very disquieting facts in the first report of the Australian Stevedoring Industry Board ; that document is one of the fairest, most impartial and illuminating documents that has ever emanated from an official source. During the year 1930-31, primary and secondary exports of foodstuffs totalled 6,678,000 tons. Of course, it is not of any assistance to cite monetary values of commodities nowadays because of the enormous increase of the purchasing power of overseas countries and the depreciated value of money. In 1949-50 our exports of foodstuffs aggregated only 6,508,000 tons, so that there was a decline of 170,000 tons. That disquieting fact was, of course, concealed hy the enormous income that we received for our exports of foodstuffs. During the comparable periods we imported goods of an aggregate tonnage of 2,967,000 and 11,266,000 respectively. It is clear, therefore, that our production is not keeping pace either with our consumption or with our potential capacity, because during the period that I have mentioned our population increased from 6,093,000 to more than 8,000,000. It is clear, therefore, that our actual export tonnage per head of population actually decreased. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Order! The honorable member's time has expired. {: #debate-18-s9 .speaker-JUQ} ##### Mr CLARK:
Darling .The bill is described by the Government as a measure to empower the present Administration to make adequate defence preparations and, if necessary, to govern the country by regulation. The preamble to the bill states - . . there exists a 'state of international emergency in which it is essential that preparations for defence should be immediately made to an extent, and with a degree of urgency, not hitherto necessary except in time of war: I find myself unable to agree with that assumption. In fact, the present tendency in international affairs is towards the attainment of peace. At the moment, the representatives of the democracies are attempting to negotiate a treaty of peace with Japan and, what is perhaps more important, negotiations are at present being negotiated with a view to the cessation of hostilities in Korea, which has been the principal source of danger for some time. It is particularly significant that hostilities appear to be coming to an end in that country. I think, therefore, that the assertion in the preamble that I have just read is quite unjustified. If the Government intends, because of a real or imagined threat of war, to obstruct the development and the progress of the country it is not acting in the national interest. I have an intimate know-ledge of the developments that . have taken place in this country since I entered the Parliament in 1934. About that time progress came to a halt because the anti-Labour administrations of those days said that there was no money to expend on development. However, Ave all know that during the depression there was plenty of manpower and materials available, and many important defence works that could have been carried out were not proceeded with. During "World "War II. national development again came to a halt. Since the war various factors have combined to prevent any really worthwhile developmental works from being carried out. Any proper system, of defence of this country must be based on the stimulation of food production, which has been entirely neglected by the present Government. If it had given proper attention to that matter we should not now be experiencing the grave shortage of foodstuffs that afflicts us. It is almost impossible to obtain sufficient foodstuffs for our own population, quite apart from producing food for other countries. Another portion of the preamble states - >And whereas the defence preparations of Australia will include also measures to secure the maintenance and sustenance of the people of Australia in the event of war and to contribute towards the maintenance and sustenance of the people of countries associated with Australia m defence preparations: > >And whereas the defence preparations of Australia will include also the expansion of the capacity of Australia to produce and manufacture goods, and to provide services, for the purposes of the defence preparations mentioned in the last two preceding paragraphs and generally for the purpose of enabling the economy of Australia to meet the probable demands upon it in the event of war: I have already pointed out that we are experiencing difficulty to-day even in feeding our own people, and unless the Government concentrates on the production of foodstuffs, as did the previous Labour Administration, our national future is not very promising. As evidence of the insufficiency of our food production, I shall cite some newspaper extracts. A report appeared in the *Sydney Morning Herald* last April under the heading, " Low Basic Production and High Costs Behind Price Inflation ", which stated - >Failure to expand output of coal, steel, bricks, cement, timber, heavy chemicals and other basic industrial materials has aggravated the unbalance of the Australian economy in the past year. > >Coupled with the interminable delays in transport, it is the underlying cause of the relentless rise in costs. That article points out that the Government has sadly neglected the economy since it assumed office eighteen months ago with the result that to-day we are experiencing uncontrolled inflation. Yet, the Government now proposes to hand over to an outside body power to make regulations for the purpose of closing down many industries and public works. The day on which this measure is implemented will he a very sorry day for the industries of Australia. On this matter, I shall quote from a pamphlet entitled *Can We Stop Rising Prices^,* that has been issued by the Institute of Public . Affairs, which is an appendage of the Liberal party. The writer of the pamphlet states - >I believe that tax. increases will have to come, lt takes, however, an unusually courageous government, a high level of public education in the effects of 'government finance and taxation or a widely acceptable pretext, such as war and defence. I believe that the Government is exploiting the possibility of war as a pretext to govern by regulation. The pamphlet continues - >An over-rapid rate of inflation intensifies the " social " injustices of the unequal incidence on different sections of the community and can lead to hasty crisis measures which may do more harm than good. It can also, as it becomes more rapid, lead to the panic and complete loss of confidence in the currency which usher in " galloping inflation " and collapse . . . This distortion also brings the danger of unemployment as the solution for inflation. Indeed, in some industries, through shortages of basic materials and power, or through a process of " pricing themselves out of the market", we are, perhaps, already perilously close to the unemployment which, as it spreads, brings the traditional "depression " remedy for inflationary booms. That pamphlet points out that the present inflationary position must be attributed to neglect on the part of the Government and to its policy of raising a war scare in an attempt to save it from the effect of its misdeeds. Considerable unhappiness exists in the community because the Government has failed to control inflation. The housewife is suffering from anxiety about prices and shortages whilst the breadwinner in his endeavour to foot rising bills is daily looking more neglected, dejected and rejected. This measure will not improve but will worsen the lot of large numbers of people. The Government proposes to deprive the Parliament of the means of dealing with the economic wants of the people and safeguarding their rights. I have no doubt that under this measure it will assist the interests that support it politically. Those who will be directly represented on the authority that is to be charged with the implementation of these proposals will represent the " ins " whilst those without such representation will be the " outs ". It will be difficult to forecast which industries will be curtailed, or closed down. Many industries will be kept in suspense concerning their fate. This measure will not enable the Government to develop our resources in the way that it should. We require more roads, greater transport facilities and increased production in all spheres. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Order ! The honorable member's time has expired. {: #debate-18-s10 .speaker-KCQ} ##### Mr GRAHAM:
St. George -- During the last hour this debate has developed into a mere battle of political tactics. At the outset of my remarks, I should like to answer a few of the arguments that honorable members opposite have raised. Those honorable members take every opportunity to refer to the change of government that took place in 1941 when the Curtin Government assumed office, in the early stages of the recent war, and to claim that that Government inherited a position in which its predecessor was unable to cope with the tremendous problems that confronted the country. **Mr. Curtin,** in a speech that he made in the Sydney Town Hall in 1941, refuted that charge. He made it clear that he was happy in every respect with the administration that he took over and he admitted that the preceding government had made considerable progress towards preparing the country for a total war effort. The honorable member for Maribyrnong **(Mr. Drakeford),** who should be aware of. those facts, should not play at party politics by making a charge of the kind to which I have just referred. The honorable member for East Sydney **(Mr. Ward)** continually claims that our economy is collapsing. He should refer his views to **Mr. McGirr,** the Premier of New South Wales. During the last Christmas period, **Mr. McGirr** described the conditions that then existed in Sydney as prosperous to a degree unprecedented in that State. I wish to refer to a number of points that have not been adequately stressed. I endorse the remarks of the honorable member for Paterson **(Mr. Fairhall)** in which he referred to the commitments of the Government under the United Nations Charter. Australia is a member of the United Nations to which we have commitments and responsibilities. If we wish to accept the benefits we must accept also the disadvantages that go with membership of the United Nations. It is of tremendous importance that we play our part in the world plan of strategy to meet the threat to world peace. As the Leader of the Opposition **(Dr. Evatt)** played a leading part in the councils of the United Nations I do not believe that responsible members of the Opposition will contest that view. The next war will be a global war. The Russians have taken over the Nazi plan and developed it to a degree that was never conceived by the Nazis. A study of the distribution of the world's resources of raw materials will enable us to ascertain the areas in which the enemy will strike. There are 22 in- dustrial raw materials that are essential to a nation's self-sufficiency. They are coal, iron ore, petroleum, copper, lead, nitrates, sulphur, cotton, aluminium, zinc, rubber, manganese, nickel, chromite, tungsten, wool, potash, phosphates, antimony, tin, mercury and mica. By locating the sources of those materials one can ascertain how the enemy's strategy will develop. Current events in Persia are but the commencement of that plan. There can be no doubt about that. We must realize the importance of the failure to maintain the balance of power in Europe which had been a feature of British foreign policy for over 200 years. To-day, there can be no balance of power in Europe. There can be no doubt that should war break out the Russian army would reach the English Channel and the Atlantic coast in a matter of weeks. I shall now refer to a problem that will play an important part in Australia's general strategy in the future. That is the problem of the centralization of 1,750,000 people in Sydney and 1,500,000 in Melbourne. Those concentrations of population are a constant threat to Australia's security. The technical advances in aviation aru changing the nature if not the ultimate principles of war, and it may well be that those 1,750,000 people in Sydney and 1,500,000 in Melbourne will constitute a menace to the welfare of this country. Something must be done. There is only one authority in this country that can do anything, and that is the National Parliament. We must face this problem. We must ensure that the people of Australia will realize that, as time goes on, they are becoming more and more susceptible to the enormous forces that are getting ready to clash. A clash must come. It is sheer nonsense not to name the potential enemy or to accept the facts as they are. I know that threequarters of the members of the Opposition agree with me completely. I come therefore to my final point that when this business of planning for total war is examined ; when we get away from party politics, and the consideration of how ' many votes a candidate may gain or lose in bis electorate, we realize that it is not possible to fight a modern war without a truly national parliament. That has been discovered and proved in the United Kingdom. Under constant threat of invasion, as Britain was in 1940, the necessity for a national outlook in a national parliament becomes more and more apparent. Therefore I recommend to all members of the Parliament that they should bear in mind the fact that a situation could arise which could be met only by a truly national parliament. I believe that if we were threatened and the danger was clear to all, such a parliament could be formed, but I remember that in 1940, when World War II. was still a " phoney " war to every one except perhaps the airmen who had to fly thousands of miles looking for submarines that might or might not be there, party politics were still uppermost in the minds of our political leaders. Many of the happenings in this Parliament at that time could not bear close scrutiny. Unless we can think nationally, we may find ourselves in an impossible strategic position. After all, we are spending many thousands of pounds on the training of officers in the mechanics of war. They are instructed to be non-political, and it is reasonable to assume that should war come, most citizens would run for shelter and expect those alleged experts to defend them. {: #debate-18-s11 .speaker-JLR} ##### The CHAIRMAN" (Mr Adermann:
FISHER, QUEENSLAND -- Order ! The honorable member's time has expired. {: #debate-18-s12 .speaker-JRF} ##### Mr W M BOURKE:
Fawkner .- This bill is one of the most astounding measures ever introduced into this Parliament, and I can well understand the discomfiture of honorable members opposite. At least one of them has gone on record in books and other publications vigorously opposing the very thing that this bill will do. Every honorable member opposite was elected in 1949 on a programme of vigorous opposition to controls. They all agreed that the people did not want to be kicked around by bureaucrats or governed by regulation. They were opposed to those things and they were pledged to abolish them if elected to office. When the Government was returned with a big majority in 1949, it did withdraw some regulations. It also abolished petrol rationing, butter rationing, and tea rationing. Therefore, one can readily understand the difficulty of Government supporters in endeavouring to explain the complete somersault that they have turned in their efforts to justify this measure. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Order ! I have had to call other honorable members to order for endeavouring to make secondreading speeches at this stage. I cannot permit the honorable member for Fawkner to make such a speech. {: .speaker-JRF} ##### Mr W M BOURKE: -- I accept your ruling, **Mr. Chairman.** This measure is headed - >A bill for an Act relating -to defence preparations necessary during the recent international emergency. I earnestly believe that it is necessary that we, in company with other democratic countries, should strengthen our defences, because only by haying strong defence forces in those countries can world peace be preserved; but this measure, while ostensibly dealing with defence preparations, strikes a blow at the fundamental basis of our Parliamentary system. It seeks to place in the hands of Ministers, or of anonymous and perhaps irresponsible officials to whom powers may be delegated, authority to make far-reaching 'laws relating to a wide range of subjects. The Parliament will be completely by-passed and the elected representatives of the people will be deprived of their right to debate and criticize the Government's administration. This amazing measure will enable the Government to close down the Parliament and govern by regulation. Very severe penalties are provided for breaches of the provisions of this measure. For instance, clause 8 provides for a fine not exceeding £5,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or both. In addition, the forfeiture of any money or goods in respect of which an offence has been committed can he ordered. Surely those are novel and harsh penalty provisions. In spite of the promises to which I have referred, this Government is setting, out to do in peace-time w 'la previous governments were forced to do in time of war. Wide regulations, similar in many respects to the National Security Regulations are to be reimposed. The first thing that strikes me about the operative part of the bill is the exceedingly vague general nature of the matters referred to therein. Clause 4 could not have been drafted in more general terms. It refers, for instance, to- {: type="a" start="a"} 0. the expansion of the capacity of Australia to produce or manufacture goods, or to provide services for the purposes of defence preparations or for the purpose of enabling the economy of Australia to meet the probable demands upon it in the event of war . . . measures to secure the maintenance and sustenance of the people of Australia in the event of war or to contribute towards the maintenance and sustenance of the people or countries associated with Australia in defence preparations. One cannot imagine wider terms than those. Let us consider just what the Government will be able to do under those extremely wide powers. It will be able to issue coercive regulations to control the production and distribution of all goods, to control all services, and to regulate any industry by controlling its capital resources and materials. The manufacture of goods of all kinds could he brought under control by such regulations. Although power to direct labour is expressly excluded, control of the manufacture and production of goods at every stage inevitably involves indirect power to control and divert man-power. All tertiary or service industries, the transport industries, retailers, shopkeepers and businesses of every description, would be completely subjectto control by regulations made under this bill. It would be possible to reintroduce the rationing of foodstuffs, clothing and other commodities, and to establish priorities. I particularly direct attention to the fact that it would be possible under those sweeping powers, to control the production and distribution of primary products at every stage, just as the production and distribution of manufactured products could be controlled. One question that the people of Australia and the members of this Parliament have been asking is : " Why has the Government introduced this amazing measure at such a late stage in the sessional period ? Why has the Government decided to rush this bill through the Parliament in approximately 24 hours ? " The Parliament will reassemble shortly, and ample time could then be allotted for a consideration of the measure. {: .speaker-JF7} ##### Mr Beazley: -- It is thought that the bill will be declared invalid by the High Court. {: .speaker-JRF} ##### Mr W M BOURKE: -- That is a possible explanation, in view of what the High Court has said about trying to make a bill legal by reciting certain facts in the preamble. The same procedure is followed in this bill, and it may be declared unconstitutional by the High Court. Another possible explanation of the Government's haste to dispose of the bill at this stage is the fact that the sale of Australian wool to the United States of America is now a matter of vital importance. A few days after this Parliament goes into recess, . we may learn that an arrangement has been made with the United States of America under which a certain proportion of Australian wool will be made available to that country apart from the general system of auction which is now in operation. In view of the attitude that the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture **(Mr. McEwen)** has adopted in this matter, the explanation which the Government will put forward if this further somersault in policy takes place, will be interesting. On all previous occasions when the Minister has been questioned on the subject, he has refused point-blank even to consider interfering with the auction system of disposing of our wool. Even when the price of wool was spiralling to astronomical levels, he refused to interfere with the auction system in order to provide a homeconsumption price, and by that means, to keep down the price of wool for consumption on the home market. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Order! The honorable member has exhausted his time. {: #debate-18-s13 .speaker-JU8} ##### Dr DONALD CAMERON:
OXLEY, QUEENSLAND · LP -- This bill, together with the regulations that may he made in accordance with its provisions, is designed to deal with preparations for defence, and with inflation and the international tension. When I make that statement, I do not mean to imply that the regulations will deal with, the international tension, but their promulgation will be necessitated by the state of international tension. The effect of the external situation on the inflationary position in this country is obvious. It is due, in part, to the shortage of goods throughout the world, consequent upon war and devastation, and also upon the increased demand for goods which are in short supply. The other aspect of the external situation is the need for defence. Objections have been raised by Opposition members to statements by the Government about the need for defence preparations; but I point out that it was made perfectly plain during the recent general election campaign that there was an urgent need to defend this country. The people of Australia accepted that fact. Who decides the magnitude of the need, and whether there is, in fact, an urgent need to accelerate defence preparations? Obviously, the government of the day must make that decision, and the people of Australia have expressed their confidence in the ability of this Government to do so. Government supporters constantly kept that matter in the forefront during the recent election campaign. At the same time, it was also made perfectly plain to the people that preparations for defence would involve a series of controls, and this bill, together with the regulations that will be issued in accordance with its provisions, is designed to implement them. Who are the objectors to those controls? They are certain interests in the country, and the Australian Labour party. It is a most singular and anomalous condition of affairs that the Australian Labour party should now be objecting to controls, because if there have been any greater exponents of controls and regulations than the Australian Labour party. I have yet to hear of them. One notable instance of its love of controls and regulations was the way in which it clung to petrol rationing after not only the necessity for it but also the legality of it had disappeared. If we are to have the controls about which the Government has warned the people, every one must share the effects of them. Groups or parties that now object to them must realize that everybody has to share the discomforts caused by the preparations for defence. Who has been more vocal than the Australian Labour party in demanding action to combat inflation ? Who has done more than the Australian Labour party to frustrate the efforts of the Australian Government to combat inflation? Throughout the life of the last Parliament and tothe best of their ability in this Parliament, members of the Australian Labour party have frustrated the Government's^ attempts to solve the problem of inflation - If we are to make adequate preparations for defence, we must deal with the problem of inflation. If war broke out and we had not dealt with all the factors and aspects of inflation, the Australian Labour party and its groups and interests would be the first to complain that the Government had not discharged its duties. There are two sides to the matters of inflation and defence preparations. I describe them as the production side and the demand side. Nothing in this bill, or in the regulations that may be made under it, will prevent the Government from taking other measures, or from continuing measures that it has already taken, to deal with production. The purpose of the regulations will largely be to enable the Government to deal with the demand side of inflation, partly by exercising necessary controls in order to direct scarce resources into the most useful channels. Honorable members opposite have asserted that one effect of these regulations will be to direct man-power in an indirect manner. If the Government does not institute controls and directions, how then would man-power be directed in industry, other than by the law of supply and demand ? A prosperous industry would attract manpower, while less prosperous industries would lose man-power. The Australian Labour party always objects to the uncontrolled operation of the law of supply and demand. And when the Government proposes to institute a system of controls that would in effect, though not by actual order, direct the supply of labour to the most useful industries, then honorable members opposite object to that. {: #debate-18-s14 .speaker-K8B} ##### Mr CURTIN: -- Who objected to Labour's free medicine scheme ? {: .speaker-JU8} ##### Dr DONALD CAMERON:
OXLEY, QUEENSLAND · LP -- The people of Australia were the chief objectors. They dismissed the Labour party from office for that and other measures. I have mentioned a few of the considerations that occur to me when honorable members opposite object to the controls proposed to be exercised *by* these regulations. {: .speaker-JF7} ##### Mr Beazley: -- What regulations? {: .speaker-JU8} ##### Dr DONALD CAMERON:
OXLEY, QUEENSLAND · LP -- If it were not all pure humbug that the objectors have talked to-day, why were the Opposition benches virtually empty during the debate on the motion for the second-reading of the bill? It is evident that their objections to the proposed controls by regulation are specious and indicate that the Opposition has no real interest in opposing- the bill. {: #debate-18-s15 .speaker-JTF} ##### Mr TOM BURKE:
Perth -- The honorable member for Oxley **(Dr. Donald Cameron),** who has just resumed his seat, brought an earnest mind to the subject before the committee, but displayed a profound lack of knowledge of the Australian Labour party. He asserted that the Opposition's attack has been plain humbug. Unless newspaper reports are inaccurate - and they are seldom incorrect in Canberra- many members of the Liberal party objected to the proposed legislation. Does the honorable member for Oxley stigmatize the honorable member for Henty **(Mr. Gullett),** the honorable member for Paterson **(Mr. Fairhall)** and other- supporters of the Government, who, when roused, by a moving speech from the Prime Minister, ultimately forgot their objections to this unwholesome measure? I am reminded that the honorable member for Warringah **(Mr. Bland)** gave a very unwilling assent to the bill some time ago. Although he has studied closely the problems of government, the honorable member made only a halfhearted speech, which was more in support of the Opposition's objections than the bill. He expressed quite clearly a very deep concern for the way that this Government is acting. Contrary to what the honorable member for Oxley has said, the. Labour movement has never loved controls. It has always opposed controls, and it has always stood for freedom. The honorable member for Bass **(Mr. Kekwick),** a relative newcomer to the Parliament, had no substantial contribution to make. I dismiss him completely, whether early in the morning or late at night. The Labour movement has always fought for the freedom of the great mass of people in this community. There can be no doubt about that in the mind of the honorable member for Warringah because, having written history, he must have read the history of Labour throughout the world. The honorable member for Oxley has pointed out that the former Labour Government refused to abolish petrol rationing. He should know that Labour held to petrol rationing at the request of, and in order to help, the United Kingdom. {: .speaker-JSI} ##### Mr Brown: -- Oh ! {: .speaker-JTF} ##### Mr TOM BURKE: -- The honorable member for McMillan **(Mr. Brown)** has demonstrated his lack of knowledge by saying "Oh!". We look to the United Kingdom for defence. But when Labour relinquished office in 1949, the newlyelected anti-Labour government as a first step, abolished petrol rationing, in accordance with its election pledges. {: .speaker-KWP} ##### Mr Turnbull: -- Petrol rationing was also abolished by Great Britain. {: .speaker-JTF} ##### Mr TOM BURKE: -- - The fact is that for months the British Chancellor of the Exchequer had been pressing for the right to pay for oil and petroleum products from the United States of America in sterling. Before having attained that result, he was substantially embarrassed by the precipitate abandonment of petrol rationing in this country. The Menzies Government has shown scant regard for the United Kingdom, and. has turned its attention to other parts of the world because, in the view of honorable members opposite, Great Britain under a socialist government has not the same attraction as formerly during the long years of Tory reign. If the Government brings down specific defence measures it will receive the unstinted and unwavering support of Labour both in the Parliament and outside. But it will not receive our support for the host of generalities that comprise this billIf the Government seeks to introduce specific controls it will receive the full support of the Opposition. {: .speaker-JRJ} ##### Mr Bowden: -- We should like to see it! {: .speaker-JTF} ##### Mr TOM BURKE: -- We nave, been told that if this bill becomes law, it will be challenged in the High Court of Australia. Lawyers and laymen alike have stated that they consider that it would have scant chance of surviving an appeal. Does the Government propose to gear industry to the equivalent of war-time production? Does it intend to take charge of scarce materials such as iron, steel, coal, and other basic products? Surely the Government must know what is its intention, and it should inform the Parliament and the people of Australia what are its plans. As the honorable member for Burke **(Mr. Peters)** has pointed out, provisions is made for fines of from £250 to £5,000, and sentences of up to two years' imprisonment for a breach of a regulation the terms of which we have not seen. We are asked to approve of such drastic penalties for breaches of a regulation of which we have not the slightest comprehension. That is irresponsibility in the extreme. The Opposition would be recreant to its trust if it supported the measure as printed. This is another " phoney " move by this Government. It has not brought down a specific measure, because it has no specific plan. It has not made suggestions for defence, because it has none. It has made no provision against inflation because 'it has no ideas. You, **Mr. Chairman,** would know the facts better than I do, because you have been in the inner councils. I have only seen the frustration in the Parliament, and the Government's inability to take a single constructive step day after day and week after week. I believe that there will 'be a wide revulsion of feeling against this Government in the not-far-distant future. Defence cannot be provided for by a hollow measure like this bill, which nobody understands or really approves. Inflation cannot be checked by pious words, and- the bill will not reduce the cost of living. The people can be kidded for just so long and no longer. The Communist bogy will turn a trick for the Government now and then, but it is losing its effectiveness and, unless the Government puts aside all this camouflage and gets on with its job, it will be utterly defeated by the people at the first opportunity. That, of course, would be a happy event for Australia, but, by that time, the economy will be in a sorry plight. The Labour party will be called upon to clean up the mess, which never would have been caused had the Government been conscious of its responsibilities and capable of shouldering them. {: #debate-18-s16 .speaker-KHY} ##### Mr HOWSE:
Calare .- Six months ago, the honorable member for Perth **(Mr. Tom Burke)** was verbally belting the Government as hard as he could for its alleged inactivity. Now he says that he cannot see any justification for the positive measures that the Government has proposed to deal with the emergency that confronts us. That is typical of the contradictory behaviour of the Opposition. Honorable members opposite say now that the conflict in Korea has been settled and that, therefore, we need worry no longer about the threat of war. But every intelligent person knows that a settlement in Korea will not lead immediately to peace. Communism will strike again in another part of the world, and we may be drawn into a major war. Yet the Opposition says that there is no justification for the bill! I shall not repeat the evidence that was adduced during the second-reading debate in order to prove the seriousness of the international situation. We all know what the Governments of the United Kingdom, the United States of America and Canada are doing. Surely that should convince honorable members opposite of the urgent necessity for taking precautions in Australia to provide for our survival as a nation. The honorable member for Darling **(Mr. Clark)** should welcome the bill, because he wants primary production to be increased. As honorable members know, if the present rate of increase of our population is maintained, we shall have an additional 3,000,000 citizens to feed nine years hence, yet we are not producing any more food now than we produced in 1939. In times of war we are expected, not only to provide food for ourselves and our fighting forces, but also to help Great Britain to feed its population. During World War II. we made a substantial additional contribution to the feeding of allied troops in the Pacific area. Unless we begin to produce more food at once, our chances of preparing adequate defences will be seriously impaired. State governments should welcome the bill, because it will enable this Government to overcome the serious deficiency of food production. The regulations that will be issued will be submitted to the Parliament and, if necessary, they can be disallowed. I believe that some of them will be drafted primarily for the purpose of boosting food production. They will help us to obtain machinery and other vital farming equipment, which we badly need, and will enable us. to attract workers to our farming areas by providing suitable housing accommodation in rural areas. Too few of our immigrants are employed in the country because they cannot obtain accommodation there. They, therefore, live in the cities. In that respect, our immigration policy has fallen down. A special effort should be made to overcome that weakness, so that we may rectify the state of unbalance between the building programmes for cities and country areas respectively. Regulations issued under the bill can assist the States to develop their road and rail transport systems. This will be of particular advantage to New South "Wales, where both roads and railways are in a deplorable condition. The construction and improvement of roads and railways will be a first-class defence priority, not only because we should be able to move troops freely but also because we must facilitate the production and transport of primary products. Many millions of pounds will have to be expended in order to restore tho roads of New South Wales even to the condition that existed two years ago. The bill relates directly to Australian defence needs. It will enable the Government to meet the present emergency and give us a good chance of survival. {: #debate-18-s17 .speaker-KNM} ##### Mr E JAMES HARRISON:
BLAXLAND, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- I was astonished to hear the honorable member for Calare **(Mr. Howse)** talking about the need to rehabilitate our roads and railways. If he can see in this bill any means of building new roads and railways and restoring existing ones, I wish that he would explain the provision to the committee. The truth is that the bill goes dangerously far in one direction, hut does not go far enough in the direction that has been indicated by the honorable member for Calare. The honorable member for Paterson **(Mr. Fairhall)** referred briefly to transport, and he attributed the failure of our railways systems to the lack of steel. I direct the attention of honorable members to a report in the Sydney press this morning of an appeal by the Secretary for Railways in New South Wales for assistance from this Government. He begged the Government to exempt all employees of the Railways Department from the national service scheme because of the acute staff shortage in the department. The appeal will be rejected, of course. That is one reason why many thoughtful people will oppose this measure. The delegation of powers in the way that is proposed by the Government leads to inefficiency and waste. When the Prime Minister **(Mr. Menzies)** referred directly, in his second-reading speech, to railways and roads, I hoped that he would give a clear indication of the Government's policy in relation to land transport. I was disappointed, of course. The statement by the Secretary for Railways in New South Wales that I have mentioned pointed out that waste in the railway service in New South Wales has been caused by the cancellation of goods services owing to the lack of train crews and by the necessity for working overtime. Overtime costs the department £3,000,000 annually. That is a terrible burden upon the department. This Government must consider the best means of diverting man-power to such utilities, which are of fundamental importance to any defence effort. While there is equality of wage levels and while industries compete for man-power, great undertakings like our railway services, in which employees are obliged to undertake shift-work and suffer other disabilities, will be at a disadvantage in comparison with private enterprise. That is why I say that this bill will not be effective. There are three ways of providing manpower for the railways. One of my criticisms of the Chifley Government was that it lifted man-power controls too soon after the war, as a consequence of which the rail and other transport systems of this country became denuded of manpower. Ever since then the transport systems have been in a neglected position.' The Prime Minister knows that it is a. waste of time to talk about organizing the economy of any country without first putting the transport system into proper working order. That can only be done in three ways. The first method is to control man-power so that it can be directed to the industry. That was the policy of the Labour Government during the war and it brought the rail transport system to the greatest possible standard of efficiency. That was admitted by American technicians who visited Australia. The second method is to offer attractive wages and conditions in order to bring people to the industry. That is what was done by the Government of Great Britain, which had the same difficulty in regard to rail transport. The third method is to bring about an economic situation in which other industries are adversely affected so that labour will have to leave them and join the industry in which it is required. That would be the result of this Government's proposals and it would only worsen the present inflationary trend. Every day that would be wasted by the process of transferring man-power under those conditions would be an added economic burden. This bill will not do anything in its present form but stimulate the inflationary spiral and reduce our productive capacity. If an industry is to be discouraged for the purpose of forcing employees from it into another industry there will be a wastage of man-power while those employees make the transfer. This bill specifies that there shall be no control of man-power. The fact that the Government has written into the bill four subjects to which its provisions shall not apply illustrates the great weakness in the measure. The economic structure of Australia cannot afford any further wastage of man-power. At the present time at least 20,000 people are unemployed continuously in every State of the Commonwealth because they are wasting time by moving from one job to another. I believe that the Government will find that production will fall further unless it takes action to remedy this position. So far as the problem of man-power is concerned I believe that this bill is the most ineffective piece of legislation that has ever come before the Parliament. It will bring about a greater wastage of manpower than any that has yet occurred and I appeal to the Government to heed what was said by the Secretary of the Railways Department of New South Wales and make men available for essential industries such as the transport industry instead of training them for military purposes. {: #debate-18-s18 .speaker-KDH} ##### Mr EGGINS:
Lyne .- The honorable member for Blaxland **(Mr. E. James Harrison)** has provided the committee with the soundest arguments for the adoption of the Government's proposal. He contended that a method of man-power control is necessary to deal with the rail transport situation. He extended that argument to apply to all other industries, but it must be recognized that labour can only be channelled to given industries by directing materials to those industries. The economic pressure of the needs of development and finance and the tremendous pressure that has resulted from the urgent defence needs of the country have thrown Australia's economy out of balance. This bill will make it possible for the Government to deal with the situation and channel supplies of essential materials to wherever they can be of the greatest service. Indus.tries and governments throughout the Commonwealth are endeavouring to carry out certain work. They are all scrambling for certain resources and not one of them is making satisfactory progress. Under these proposals, with the assistance of those who are familiar with industry, it will be quite a reasonable proposition to channel materials in order to have essential work completed. Then it will be possible to proceed with less important activities. This procedure will not entirely entail the closing down of industries. But it is necessary to recognize that certain industries and works are more important than others. Unless the present inflationay condition of this country is remedied Australia will be in great danger from an external threat. There will *b?* little in this country for any one unless something is done in that regard. The Government has brought forward a very sound proposal. Let us place the responsibility for the country's present economic position where it should be - on the Opposition. The Labour party came to office in 1941 and it provided the Government of this country for eight years. That was eight years too long. During that period the late **Mr. J.** B. Chifley had plans drawn up for various purposes. There was an oversupply of planners. Everything was in readiness to set a policy in motion for the post-war period. I believe that the Labour Government claimed that it had a programme of public works estimated to cost about £700,000,000. What provision did it make to carry out those works ? In 1949, when the Government was thrown out of office, the inflationary position was rapidly becoming worse. Without the assistance of a measure such as this the Government would have no hope of improving that position. It has been possible during the last couple of years to bring considerable quantities of materials to this country from overseas at great cost. Those materials have been of assistance, but they are not now available in the same quantities. Coal and steel are. fundamental ' requirements. Therefore, the coal industry must be provided with all its needs. The amount of the steel that can be produced must depend on the amount of coal that is available to the steel industry. Other aspects can be dealt with by channelling materials. During this debate reference has been made to food producing industries. Only yesterday the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture **(Mr. McEwen)** stated that it is estimated that within the next eight years we shall need to establish an additional 20,000 dairy farmers if we are to produce sufficient dairy products to meet the increasing demands of our population. That will require an immense amount of materials, although our present farming activities are starved of essential materials. An examination of immigration figures is very disappointing from the point of view of rural industries. It has always been considered that one man on the land producing food is required for every ten persons in the towns and cities. That is the ratio. By 1950, 132,600 immigrants had come to this country from the United Kingdom, and of that number only 3.268 were agricultural workers. If the correct ratio had been maintained, no fewer than 13,000 agricultural workers would have arrived here. Every industry in this country is completely unbalanced and it is only by a proper 'approach that we can hope to improve our industrial position. Although several honorable members opposite have claimed that this Government has not faced its responsibilities, I point out that the Prime Minister **(Mr. Menzies)** arranged last year for a huge loan from the International Bank. As a result of that loan, permits have been issued for the importation of 20,000,000 dollars worth of tractors and agricultural equipment, 21,000,000 dollars worth of industrial crawler tractors and earth moving equipment; 14,000,000 dollars worth of locomotive parts with which to restore our railway systems, and 2,500,000 dollars worth of mining equipment. Thirty-nine million dollars have been made available for the purchase of capital equipment with which to modernize our factories. I suggest that the arranging of that loan was a great achievement and that when the remainder of the capital equipment arrives in this country it will assist greatly to increase production. Honorable members opposite have shown that they completely fail to appreciate the problems with which we are faced to-day. I suggest that some of them wish to see this country go down. They would like to see inflation crush our economy and perhaps would even like to see an enemy invade our territory. {: #debate-18-s19 .speaker-JF7} ##### Mr BEAZLEY:
Fremantle -- The honorable member for Lyne **(Mr. Eggins),** for the benefit of his soul, should read the volumes of *Hansard* which cover debates during the closing stages of the administration of the Chifley Government. If he does so he will find that his predecessors in the Australian Country party frequently asked questions concerning the allocation of dollars for the purchase of tractors. He will also see that large amounts were allocated for that purpose and he will have an opportunity to grasp something of the policy that was pursued by the Chifley Government in relation to that matter. I wish to address my remarks in the main to the honorable member for Calare **(Mr. Howse),** who was easily the most modest speaker on the Government side of the House, because he frequently stated that he " hoped " that the regulations would be of such and such a character. Every other Government member who has spoken during this debate has assumed a prophetic role in stating definitely the form the regulations will take. Honorable members on this side of the committee have heard the regulations mentioned as though they actually exist. When we look at the bill it is found that it contains some extremely interesting provisions. For instance, sub-clause (2.) (d) ofclause 4 reads as follows: - (2.) The regulations which may be made under the last preceding sub-section include, without limiting the generality of the power to make regulations conferred by that subsection, regulations for or in relation to - (d.) measures to secure the maintenance and sustenance of the people of Australia in the event of war or to contribute towards the maintenance and sustenance of the people of countries associated with Australia in defence preparations. That may mean, as the honorable member for Lyne has stated, measures which arc designed to stimulate food production. What the measures are, however, is very vague. It could also mean food rationing, which would be a method of assisting other countries which are concerned with defence preparations. An honorable member opposite mentioned butter. There is no doubt that it used to be claimed by the late Leader of the Opposition, **Mr. Chifley,** that the maintenance of butter rationing in this country made available an increased amount of butter to Great Britain. That, in his opinion, was the reason for the maintenance of butter rationing. Honorable members opposite who have spoken of the regulations and wish to supportthem without having seen them, cannot really tell us whether sub-clause (2.) (d) of clause 4 could lead to butter rationing or whether it could have relation to the payment of subsidies in order to stimulate production. Yet they state that if we oppose such an unknown quantity as this legislation we must be either insincere or hypocritical. The Australian Labour party certainly asked for action to be taken against infla tion. For instance, the Senate sent down a bill to provide for the control of prices. That proposed legislation represented our party's conception of one method of dealing with inflation. The members of the Opposition believed in that method and we also believed in applying prices control constitutionally by making it the subject of a referendum. If the people supported such legislation at a referendum, and power to control prices were written into the Constitution, at least that degree of power to check inflation would be certain. Every honorable member knows that there is no certainty about the effectiveness of the measures which the Government states that it proposes to take against inflation. This bill is not a measure against inflation at all. All that we can do is to express the hope that the regulations which will be framed under it at some future date will be anti-inflationary. Honorable members opposite have advanced the alibi that there will be wise administration of the regulations, in contradistinction to the administration of regulations by the Chifley Government. How sad has been the fall from grace of the honorable member for Warringah **(Mr. Bland).** I first became acquainted with the honorable gentleman's name when I was bombarded with literature from the Victorian League of Bights and found that he had been elevated, as a saint, at the altar of that body. I am sure that if he votes for this bill, as I think he will do, the league will regard him as being in a very different category. We, of course, are beyond redemption, but in the case of the honorable member it will be a case of - {: type="i" start="1"} 0. . sweetest things turn sourest by their deeds ; Lillies that fester smell far worse than weeds. and he will find himself translated into villainy. The honorable member for Calare **(Mr. Howse)** talked about rural pursuits. I do not know what rural pursuits he was referring to, but I am sure that one of his pursuits would be to try to find the meaning of clause 4 (2.) (d), which refers to what is going to happen to food production. The Prime Minister has frequently reproached us with being too concerned with cutting up the turkey - I think that was the expression that he used - instead of enlarging it, but clause 4 (2.) *(d)* is definitely a forecast of renewed rationing. This measure which has been so warmly commended by Government supporters, seems to me to consist of a series of generalizations and *re just have to stand back and hope that the regulations under it will be wise. We do not know what those regulations will be. We are also asked to believe that the bill represents a strong gesture against inflation. I do not think that these generalizations will be upheld by the High Court. Both propositions seem to me to be extremely doubtful, and that doubt warrants opposition to the measure. {: #debate-18-s20 .speaker-K6T} ##### Mr COSTA:
Banks .- This bill is a complete contradiction of the policy that was enunciated by the Government parties at the last two general elections, during which they claimed that we were planners and that they wished to remove controls. If this bill will not enable the Government to impose stringent controls then nothing will. The preamble to the bill is a " scary " one, as the Leader of the Opposition **(Dr. Evatt)** has said. It is full of scares. It was made to seem even more " scary " by the honorable member for Mackellar **(Mr. ^entworth),** who can see a fifth columnist round every corner. I believe that when oe goes home at night he looks under his bed to see if there is a Communist there waiting to " stoush " him. The preamble to the bill says something about resisting international aggression, but we have not obtained a clear statement from the Prime Minister **(Mr. Menzies)** about what aggression the bill refers to. The second paragraph of the preamble reads - >And whereas, in the opinion of the Parliament and of the Government of the Commonwealth, there exists a state of international emergency in which it is essential that preparations for defence should he immediately made to an extent, and with a degree of urgency, not hitherto 'necessary except in time of war; Apparently that paragraph is intended to indicate that we must be prepared to meet a situation in three years' time that will be the equivalent of total war. {: .speaker-KFQ} ##### Mr Gullett: -- That does seem to be "(lie general idea. {: .speaker-K6T} ##### Mr COSTA: -- Then 1 think that the Prime Minister should take" the Parliament into his confidence if he is" of opinion that the present situation makes it necessary to put these " scares " into the preamble. He should let us know by the proper method what the position is. It would not be too much for him to call a secret session of the Parliament so that he could put all his cards on the table and tell us the real reason why he considers this measure to be necessary. As one honorable member has said, this measure is likely to be invalidated by the High Court. It is full of scary preambles similar to those in previous bills, and' is apparently designed only to waste time. Clause 4 (2.) (a) states that regulations may be made in relation to - the expansion of tho Capacity of Australia to produce or manufacture goods. Or to provide services, for the purposes of defence preparations or for the purpose of enabling the economy of Australia to meet the probable demands Upon it in the event of war; Paragraph (&) of the same sub-clause provides for - the diversion arid control of resources (including money, materials and facilities) for the purpose of defence preparations: A state of industrial conscription could arise from the operation of that provision, because if it is possible to 'divert or control resources, men engaged in certain industries that may 'be closed down will have to find jobs somewhere else, and they would be required to go wherever the Department of National Service required them to go. Unless they did as they were directed, irrespective of their domestic circumstances, they would hot be entitled to unemployment 'benefit. They could be conscripted to go where the Government wanted ;them to go. I turn now to some ' of the remarks of the -honorable member for Mitchell **(Mr. Wheeler).** He said that the bill was connected more with economy than with defence and 'that it was one of the measures that the Government intended to 'use against inflation. I believe that this measure is not likely to provide any check against inflation, because the materials that will be required for out defence preparations will come from -the common pool. They will be drawn off from the supply of goods and services that' are so 'urgently required 'by the people. For instance the supply of building materials for private use will be drawn upon, and the present serious housing shortage will thereby become worse. The honorable member for Mackellar made a comparison of pre-war planning in 1939 with the planning that is now taking place. The planning that was carried out in 1939 by an anti-Labour Government was of very little consequence. It was a wellknown fact that men who were called upon to defend this country were required, in many instances, to train in the military forces without the use of even guns to do that training. {: .speaker-KFQ} ##### Mr Gullett: -- Where was that well known ? {: .speaker-K6T} ##### Mr COSTA: -- It was well known in military camps in Australia that trainees had to use broomsticks for training. There was an instance in Australia of a sentry who was on duty at a military camp who challenged a soldier who returned to camp a bit under the weather. When he was challenged at the gate by the sentry the soldier took no notice, and all the sentry could say then was, " If you don't stand your ground I'll riddle you with white ants ", because the sentry had no gun. That story is an indication of how unprepared we were at a time when we should have been prepared. I consider that this bill is completely unconstitutional, and only provides a means for the Government to waste time when it could be doing something really worthwhile. I believe that the Government should do something to control inflation by controlling prices and profits. The Government is wasting the time of the Parliament by introducing a bill such as this. It would render a much better service to the country if it introduced a bill for the purpose of asking the people by way of a referendum to clothe the National Parliament with power to cure inflation, which is the greatest evil in our midst. {: #debate-18-s21 .speaker-JVA} ##### Mr MORGAN:
Reid .The ranks of Government supporters who have spoken in favour of this bill have been greatly thinned. The Opposition members of the committee are convinced that the diversion of materials from so-called luxury industries, as contemplated in this bill, is completely unnecessary. Honorable members opposite have referred to the action taken in Great Britain and the United States of America as being similar to that proposed in this bill, but it is obvious that they have not sought first-hand information about the effectiveness of those steps from persons who have recently returned from overseas. I invite the attention of the committee to the published remarks of a gentleman who returned from the United Kingdom only a few days ago. **Mr. H.** G. Palmer, who is the managing director of H. G. Palmer Consolidated Limited is reported in yesterday's *Daily Telegraph* to have said - >If the Commonwealth Government, under its War Preparations Bill, restricts the making of so-called luxury goods, local manufacturers will be forced out of business. This will open the way for British and American exports. **Mr. Menzies** claim that Britain and America have been forced to restrict production and credit to switch to war production. I saw no evidence of this in either country. Radio sets, the working man's cheapest form of entertainment, are not luxuries. Labour-saving machines such as vacuum cleaners and washing machines help free labour for industry and commerce. Controls on production of such goods would kill a thriving secondary industry. America is capable of producing arms for the free nations - and so-called luxury goods as well. If it had not _ been for the rearmament programme millions of American workers would now be without jobs. We shall be placed in a ridiculous position if, after closing down important industries in this country and throwing the employees out of work, we have to import the goods which would have been manufactured by them from Great Britain and the United States of America. The Government proposes to vest the powers which it seeks in this bill in persons of whom we know nothing. That undesirable trend towards bureaucracy has been referred to by Lord Chief Justice Hewart in his book, the *New Despotism* in the following terms : - >The flood of restrictions and regulations with the force of law that overspread the country during the war opened the eyes of the public to the extent to which liberty may be imperilled by such a system. > >No safeguard can possibly provide against the chief inherent objection. Government bills are forced through Parliament under the pressure of the Government Whips; there is little time for discussion of their provisions either in the House or in Committee; legislation is passed in the most general terms and left to some Government department to 'apply as it thinks fit under machinery or rules to be made by it; the Cabinet is therefore in a position through its member at the head of a Government department to embark on a particular policy which has never in any detail been discussed in Parliament or communicated to the public. If the action of the department is challenged in the House, the Government can say, as has been done, that the action of the department is fully within the powers conferred upon it by the Legislature.Not merely in Great Britain, but in the Dominions, there is a rising feeling of hostility to legislation by Government departments, except in cases plainly necessary. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Order! The time allotted for the consideration of the committee stage of the hill has expired. Question put - >That the bill be agreed to. The committee divided. (The Chairman - Mr. C.F. Adermann.) AYES: 50 NOES: 32 Majority . . . .18 AYES NOES Question so resolved in the affirmative. Bill reported without amendment; report adopted. {:#subdebate-18-1} #### Third Reading Motion (by **Mr. Eric** J. Harrison) put - >That the bill he now read a third time. The House divided. (Mr. Speaker - Hon. Archie Cameron.) AYES: 53 NOES: 32 Majority . . . . 21 AYES NOES Question so resolved in the affirmative. Bill read a third time. {: .page-start } page 1627 {:#debate-19} ### CONSTITUTION ALTERATION (POWERS TO DEAL WITH COMMUNISTS AND COMMUNISM) BILL 1951 Bill returned from the Senate without amendment. {: .page-start } page 1627 {:#debate-20} ### PAPERS The following papers were presented : - Public Service Act - Appointment - Department of Defence - H. G.Rourke. Public Service Arbitration Act - Determinations - 1951 - No. 62 - Australian Broadcasting Commission Staff Association. No. 63 - Commonwealth Public Service Clerical Association and Customs Officers' Association of Australia (Fourth Division). Wool Products Bounty Act - First Annual Report for the period ended 31st December, 1950. House adjourned at 3.3 a.m. (Friday). {: .page-start } page 1627 {:#debate-21} ### ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS *The following answers to questions were circulated: -* {:#subdebate-21-0} #### Rail Transport {: #subdebate-21-0-s0 .speaker-KZW} ##### Mr Lawrence:
WIMMERA, VICTORIA e asked the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What was the average number of minutes late that the express from Adelaide arrived in Melbourne during the month of June, 1951? 1. What are the causes of lost time in the running of this express? 2. If the delays are due to poor quality coal used in the South Australian section of the line, what steps are being taken by the railways departments to remedy the trouble? {: #subdebate-21-0-s1 .speaker-JLZ} ##### Mr Anthony:
CP -- The Minister for Shipping and Transport has supplied the following information : - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. On the 26 occasions on which this train ran during June, itarrived in Melbourne on an average 56 minutes late. 2 and 3. (Information furnished by South Australia.) The average late arrival of the express at Serviceton for the month of June was 38 minutes and this was due to the quality of the coal being the worst in the history of the South Australian Railways. As the quality of the coal is entirely outside the control of the Railways Department, steps were taken during June to convert the South Australian engines hauling the overland to Serviceton to oil firing. 2 and 3. (Information furnished by the Victorian Railways.) The average late arrival at Serviceton from Adelaide was 38 minutes. In the main the additional time lost in Victoria was due to the trains running out of course and necessitating crossings at other than scheduled points and on occasions routing via North Geelong instead of Bacchus Marsh. (The locomotives hauling the express train from Serviceton to Melbourne are oil-fired.) {: #subdebate-21-0-s2 .speaker-JLZ} ##### Mr Anthony:
CP y. - On the 3rd July, the honorable member for Blaxland **(Mr. E. James Harrison)** asked the following questions : - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Whether the discussion between representatives of the Australian Government and of various Railway Commissioners on the problem of rehabilitating our railway systems have reached the stage at which a full report on this vital matter can be presented to Parliament? 1. If that stage has not been reached will the right honorable gentleman inform the House of the basis on which the discussions are proceeding? 2. Is the possibility of the Commonwealth taking over all railways in this country being discussed? 3. If not, does the Government intend to give that matter its attention? The Minister for Shipping and Transport has supplied the following information : - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. and 2. The Railways Commissioners of the States and the Commonwealth met in Melbourne on the 4th-5th June, 1951, to discuss the serious situation confronting the railways administrations in the rehabilitation in respect of railway systems due to the grave shortages of man-power and materials. The report of the Railways Commissioners on this aspect of railway rehabilitation is now receiving the attention of the National Security Resources Board. All railways systems have in hand the rehabilitation of their locomotive and rollingstock resources and equipment generally. The Commonwealth Government has approved of the modernization oi the Commonwealth Railways system and for this purpose contracts have been, or are being, arranged for the purchase of - diesel electric locomotives for the trans-Australian, Central Australia and North Australia Railways, diesel rail cars (airconditioned) for the three railways mentioned above; complete new air-conditioned passenger trains for the trans- Australia railway; passenger rolling-stock for the Central Australia railway; covered and open goods waggons and tank cars for the trans-Australia railway; goods waggons and sheep and cattle vans for the Central Australia railway - at a total estimated cost of £4,100,000. The State railways departments also have all placed extensive orders both in Australia and overseas for locomotives and rolling-stock and equipment and in some cases deliveries have commenced. Any assistance which the Commonwealth Government could give to the States in this matter has been provided. 1. No. 2. No. {:#subdebate-21-1} #### Steel {: #subdebate-21-1-s0 .speaker-K58} ##### Mr O'Connor:
MARTIN, NEW SOUTH WALES nor asked the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs, *upon* *notice-* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Is it a fact that steel produced in Australia is exported and that the same steel is then imported back into Australia by business organizations and sold on the local market at the prevailing price for imported steel? 1. If so, will he take immediate steps to stop this practice? {: #subdebate-21-1-s1 .speaker-KNX} ##### Mr ERIC J HARRISON:
WENTWORTH, NEW SOUTH WALES · UAP; LP from 1944 -- The Minister for Trade and Customs has furnished the following reply: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. No information is available to substantiate the honorable member's statement, but if he will furnish the Minister with the information on which the honorable member based his question, the Minister will have it investigated. 1. See No. 1. Australian Prisoners of War. {: #subdebate-21-1-s2 .speaker-N76} ##### Mr Menzies:
LP s. - On the 4th July the honorable member for Bass **(Mr. Kekwick)** asked the following question : - >As I have received several inquiries from ex-prisoners of war asking for assistance under the recently established Prisoners of War Trust Fund, would the Prime Minister inform me whether the board to administer this fund has yet been established? If it has not, when does the right honorable gentleman anticipate' that it will be in operation and to whom in the meantime should application for assistance be> directed ? The proposed board to administer the Prisoners of War Trust Fund has not yet been established. Certain questions concerning the terms of reference of the board have been raised requiring consideration by the Government and as a result some temporary delay has been unavoidable. It is expected that the formal establishment of the board will be completed in the very near future. The Department of Repatriation is at present holding applications for assistance already received and these will be forwarded to the office of the secretary of the Prisoners of War Trust Fund Board, when established, for attention. Burdekin Valley Development. {: #subdebate-21-1-s3 .speaker-F4T} ##### Sir Arthur Fadden:
CP -- On the 13th June the honorable member for Herbert **(Mr. Edmonds)** asked me a question about the progress which had been made in investigating the Burdekin River scheme for which the Queensland Government has requested financial assistance from the Commonwealth. I promised to furnish a statement on the position. When the scheme was originally put to the Commonwealth it was mainly on the basis of a scheme for irrigating some 250,000 acres in the Burdekin Valley, and the production of hydro-electric power was considered to be rather ancillary. Investigations of the major land use problems of the region indicate that the economics of irrigating the area on this scale are uncertain and that no comprehensive detailed formulation of a farm pattern other than for the smaller area of levee soils is possible at the present stage. A new approach to the proposal to dam the Burdekin River has been made, and this meant re-examining the scheme basically as a producer of hydro-electric power. The re-assessment has of necessity been a complicated inquiry involving prospective surveys of the power requirements of the Townsville area and of alternative means of meeting these requirements. The economics of irrigated farm production on the revised basis have also had to be closely investigation. The Queensland authorities have furnished additional information required for the re-appraisal of the scheme, which is now being completed. It is anticipated that advice will be available to the Commonwealth Government shortly for consideration. Armed Forces. {: #subdebate-21-1-s4 .speaker-JWT} ##### Mr Francis:
LP s. - On the 3rd July the honorable member for St. George **(Mr. Graham)** asked me a question in relation to the Government's decision to pay £15 to each of 500 former commandos and other personnel of the Army who escaped from Timor during the war early in 1942. The honorable member asked how many have been paid that amount, whether it is proposed to contact those who have not yet received it, and whether the payment applies also to members of the Royal Australian Navy, or Royal Australian Air Force, who may have been present in Timor during that period. I informed the honorable member that money was appropriated to make a payment to the commandos to whom he referred and that money was made available to all six Army commands in Australia. I also promised to have further inquiries made. I now advise the honorable member as follows : - >The terms of the Treasurer's approval were - ; Upon application an act of grace payment up to a maximum of £15 per head be made to the500 members of the Australian Imperial Force who served with the forces in Timor. I have ascertained that 281 Army claims have been paid to date to those members who have been located and further claims are still being received. Publicity has been given to" the approval and it is anticipated that in due course all eligible members will receive the payment as no time limit for application has been set. It is understood from the Departments of Navy and Air that there are no members of those services eligible for the payment. {:#subdebate-21-2} #### Artificial Limbs {: #subdebate-21-2-s0 .speaker-KDA} ##### Mr Duthie: e asked the Minister . representing the Minister for Repatriation, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. How many Repatriation artificial limb factories are there in Australia, and where are they situated? 1. How many artificial limbs were made for (a) ex-service men and women and (6) civilian limbless men and women during the years 1947, 1948, 1949 and 1950? 2. What was the number of employees in the Repatriation factories in (a) 1946 and (b) 1950? {: #subdebate-21-2-s1 .speaker-JWT} ##### Mr Francis:
LP -- The Minister for Repatriation has supplied the following information : - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. There are six artificial limb factories throughout the Commonwealth controlled by . my department and are situated as' hereunder: - New South Wales - 470 Elizabeth-street, Sydney. Victoria - Cr. Sturt and Miles streets, South Melbourne. Queensland - Lutwychc-street, Windsor, Brisbane. South Australia - 186 Pulteney-street, Adelaide. Western Australia -547 Murray-street, Perth. Tasmania - Davey-street, Hobart. {: type="1" start="2"} 0. Production figures for the years 1947, 1948, 1949 and 1950 in regard to ex-service personnel and civilians were- {: type="1" start="3"} 0. Staff employed in all repatriation artificial limb factories were - (a)31st December. 1946,150; (b) 31st December, 1950, 184. The exact division between staffs employed on limb making and other work cannot be precisely defined inasmuch as the directing, research and managerial staffs have duties over all and some of the artisans are employed on a variety of duties especially in the smaller States.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 12 July 1951, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.