House of Representatives
17 February 1953

20th Parliament · 1st Session

Mr. SPEAKER (Hon. Archie Cameron) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.

page 3


RETURNS to WRITS : Mb. E. G. Whitlam and Mb. H. B. TURNER Sworn.


– I have to announce that I have received returns to the writs which I issued on the 28th October and the ,19th November last for the election of members to serve for the electoral divisions of “Werriwa and Bradfield, in the State of New South Wales, to fill the vacancies caused by the deaths of the Honorable Hubert Peter Lazzarini and the Eight Honorable William Morris Hughes respectively, and that, by the endorsements thereon, it is certified that Edward Gough Whitlam and Henry Basil Turner have been elected in pursuance of the said writs.

Mr. Whitlam and Mr. TURNER made and subscribed the oath of allegiance.

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Prime Minister · Kooyong · LP

– As honorable members know, the Eight Honorable James Henry Scullin died on the 29th January, at the age of 76 years. The late Mr. Scullin first entered this House in 1910 as member for the Victorian division of Corangamite. He was defeated in 1913, but in 1922 he was again elected, on that occasion as member for Yarra, and he continued to represent that electorate until his retirement from politics in 1949. During Mr. Scullin’s long parliamentary career he occupied a number of important posts. In 1927 he became deputy leader of the Australian Labour party and of the Opposition in this House. From 1928 to 1935 he was leader of the Australian Labour party and during a part of that period, Prime Minister of Australia. He became Prime Minister at the end of 1929. He was, it is very interesting to record, Australia’s first native-born Labour Prime Minister. He remained Prime Minister until 1932. I have only to mention those dates for honorable members to recall that during those years immense difficulties, associated with the great economic depression, assailed this country ; and Mr. Scullin found himself Prime Minister at that time. In 1930 he was made a Privy Councillor. He represented Australia at the Imperial Conference of 1930 and at the Eleventh Assembly of the League of Nations at Geneva. He was Leader of the Opposition from 1932 to 1935 and subsequently as honorable members know, of course, he served on important committees which dealt with problems of taxation.

That is a very curt account of our late friend’s parliamentary, but the mere dates and the mere facts would not do justice to the work that he did in this country. Long before he entered the Parliament he was a stout-hearted fighter for the things that he believed in. I can remember, when I was a schoolboy at Ballarat, having the opportunity of hearing our late friend speaking in Ballarat. He began his notable activities in that city and he was .closely associated with a great deal of its work. He was the editor of an evening newspaper in Ballarat. He then entered the national field of politics and, as I have already reminded the House, he became Prime Minister at an intensely difficult time. I want to say quite frankly that, despite political differences, I always had the warmest personal affection and profound respect for him as a man of great character and of genuine religious faith, which sustained him under very great difficulties. I remember that long after he had been Prime Minister, and long after he had gone through the miseries, as they were, indeed, to him, that were associated with his Prime Ministership, I said to him one day here, “ Why have you given up being Leader of the Opposition ? “ In his reply, he said something to me which illustrated his warm humanity to perfection. He said, “ Well, yon know I have been Prime Minister in difficult times and it is not easy when you have been Prime Minister in difficult times arid know all sorts of things that happen to be a really effective and, if necessary, ruthless Leader of the Opposition. You know too much of what goes on behind the scenes. You know all too frequently that some cable has been received and the government of the day has been asked to do nothing, or say nothing, about the matter for a few weeks while other arrangements are made. Consequently, I have not been content as the Leader of the Opposition, and now that I have been told that my health really requires that I go out of the active field, I go out with a good grace “. And, indeed, everybody knows that he did. Then. having gone out of active political leadership, with all the controversy that necessarily associates itself with political leadership, he sat in this House as a highly respected elder statesman. Every one of us in this place, whatever his political views might have been, sat up and listened to the words of Jim Scullin. He always selected a subject that was not a matter of real controversy, but a matter on which, in his view, the standard of judgment ought to be raised, and I am bound to say that he never failed to raise it. All those honorable members who were his contemporaries will recall, as I do, with great pleasure and warm regard, the contribution to public life, to the standards of public debate, and to the honesty of public administration made by this late former Prime Minister of this country.

I attended his funeral in Melbourne on behalf of the Government and, I believe, in a sense, on behalf of the people of Australia, whatever their political views might have been, or are. I could not help feeling that Australia is a fine country .to live in, when a man may proceed from obscurity and, by the strength of his own mind and character, achieve the highest position in the gift of the people. On behalf of the Government, and, indeed, of all of us, I express our sympathy to his widow, and assure her that, as long as we who sat here with her late husband are here ourselves, we shall remember him with pride and affection. I move -

That this House expresses its deep regret at the death of the Right Honorable James Henry Scullin, a former member of this House for the Division’ of Yarra and a former Prime Minister and Minister of the Grown, places on record its appreciation of his meritorious public service, and tenders its profound sympathy to his widow in ‘her bereavement.

Leader of the Opposition · Barton

– On behalf of the Opposition, I second the motion. I am sure that

I am speaking for the whole House when I say that we greatly appreciate the spirit in which the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) has summed up some of the salient features of the public career of that great Australian, Jim Scullin. As the Prime Minister has correctly pointed out, the late Mr. Scullin came to high office at perhaps the most critical period economically of our history, and undoubtedly, the anxieties which beset him during that period left their mark on him physically. He appeared to be. a man of frail physique, and certainly the anxieties of the depression period weighed very heavily upon him.

The Prime Minister also mentioned that the late Mr. Scullin was a great public speaker. I regarded him as an orator when he addressed great meetings, but perhaps he was at his best as a parliamentarian in this House. Among the great debaters whom it has been my privilege to hear, I have not heard a greater debater than Mr. Scullin on his subject. He did not often intervene in a debate, but, on his subject, he debated superbly. He did not underestimate the argument against him, and tried to grapple with it. He was always listened to with rapt attention in this House. Mr. Scullin, in his political life, showed great chivalry. He looked beyond the immediate conflict of politics towards greater objectives. The Prime Minister put his finger on another important point vital to an understanding of the character of Mr. Scullin when he referred to the humility of the late right honorable gentleman. This spirit of humility sprang from the fact that he was a man of the deepest religious convictions. . I hope that the tributes paid to the memory, of Mr. Scullin will be some additional comfort to his widow and family, and his friends, because no one stood higher in the opinion of the Parliament than he did. I refer particularly to the years of World War II. It will be left to historians to describe what he contributed to Australia’s security. They will tell what he did for Australia’s great secondary industries as the Prime Minister of this country during the early 1930’s. Only when World War II. came was his work in that field fully appreciated. Mr. Scullin took part in a very important imperial conference at which the prin ciples of , dominion self-government were defined and extended. One result of that was the appointment, on his recommendation, of Sir Isaac Isaacs, the first Australian to be Governor-General of the Commonwealth. That was an important development.

On matters of finance, Mr. Scullin was a recognized authority in this House. During World War II., by which time he had ceased to be an official of the Labour party, he was a valued adviser of two Labour Prime Ministers, Mr. Curtin and Mr. Chifley. Indeed, as the present Prime Minister will recall, Mr. Scullin was, on certain occasions, the adviser of the war-time Menzies Administration. He was always available in the service of the Parliament and of the nation. He was an elder statesman of great wisdom and experience, and he was able to lighten considerably the great burdens that fell upon the war-time Prime Ministers of this country. We shall remember him as we should remember him, with pride and affection, as a great Australian who contributed much to the life of this country, and showed to people in all parts of the world how well democracy could work.

Minister for Health · Cowper · CP

– In view of my long, happy, personal, political and professional association with Jim Scullin I am very grateful to my leader, the Treasurer (Sir Arthur Fadden) for permitting me to voice the Australian Country party’s tribute to our deceased friend to-day. Time passes so rapidly in the turmoil of political life, with one event succeeding another ceaselessly, that it is hard to believe 31 years have passed since Jim Scullin entered the Parliament in 1922. He was elected by the constituency formerly held by the Labour leader, Mr. Tudor, who had. died suddenly. Almost from the first day, Mr. Seullin established himself as a force in this House. He was one of the best debaters ever to enter the Commonwealth Parliament. Within a very short time, he was first, deputy leader, then leader of the Labour party, and finally Prime Minister. He became Prime Minister in 1929 in the midst of the great world depression which brought tragedy to all countries, and placed Australia in a desperate position. As head of this nation, he seemed to take not only our own troubles but also those of the whole world, to heart. “Within a few weeks we saw his physical characteristics change completely. From an auburnhaired man, he became absolutely white in two or three weeks, and although his spirit remained undimmed to the end of his political career, there can be no doubt that the personal torture that he suffered in the depression days shortened his life considerably. He showed great courage in all that he did. He was always ready to fight for his ideals and for what he regarded to be right, and, because he was a born debater, he was able to fight with probably the most admirably chosen words and logic that we have ever heard in this Parliament. I agree with the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) and the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt) that he was essentially a great orator, who served up not only the words, but also the actual substance of any matter that he debated. He continued to the end to fight for his ideals, and he proved himeslf. even though he was out of office, to be a wise counsellor to his party. I do not think that he had one enemy in this Parliament throughout the period during which he was a member of it.

Though he wielded a whirlwind rapier in debate, he was gentle and friendly in his demeanour and in all his personal relations. Therefore he was the friend of every one. He gave very great service indeed to this Parliament and to the people of Australia, and I offer our sympathy to his devoted widow and to his relatives. I know, as do all other honorable members who knew him during the many years in which he was a member of this Parliament, that, although he suffered from physical disabilities which would have prevented an ordinary man from working, his high sense of public service drove him to continue to work for the good of this Commonwealth. He was able to continue in this work only because, of the devoted attention of his wife. I am sure that all of us wish to express to her our deepest sympathy in her loss.


– As the man who was privileged to succeed James Scullin as the representative of the electorate of Yarra in this House, I wish to add a few words to the tribute that we pay to-day to a great gentleman and a great Australian. Indeed, our words are not needed to emphasize the high regard and the admiration that the people of Australia bore towards him. Those who saw the thousands of humble people who attended in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Melbourne, at his funeral service and who lined the route to the cemetery, whose sorrow was so obvious, could not have any doubt about the genuineness of the tribute to his memory which that demonstration represented. It was fitting that this should be so, because it was to the service of these, the humble people, that Mr. Scullin had devoted his life. He was one of those who hunger and thirst after justice, and I think it would be, true to say that that hunger and thirst were the inspiration of the whole of his life and the whole of his political career. But such is the irony of life that, although none of our Prime Ministers, I suppose, has deserved better of the political fates, none faced crueller circumstances. I. think it is true to say also that only a Jim Scullin could have led this nation through the cruel days of the depression and still have retained not only the respect, but also the warm admiration and love of the people upon whom the heaviest blows of the depression fell.

With unerring instinct, the people, irrespective of their political views, knew that, in the cruel circumstances in which he found himself, Jim Scullin chose the harder path. While there was a chance of lightening the blows that the political and economic circumstances of those days rained upon his people, James Scullin refused to desert his post. Not for him, despite the superb oratory that has been mentioned by other speakers, the easy road of the demagogue! He sacrificed his health and risked that which was dearer to him than all else - the love and affection of his people for him. He did so in the hope of saving the humble people, who looked upon him as a champion, frOm the worst blows of the crisis. None knew better than did James Scullin the sacrifices and the risks involved in the course that he pursued. The ease of the other path, and the difficulties of the path which he chose in order to try to save the people from the severest scourgings of the economic crisis, are, I think, obvious to all. His political reward was heartbreak and shattered health, but a reward that he treasured above all others was the warm, love and affection of the people of Australia, and particularly of the humble people of the electorate that he represented. In their hearts and minds is the greatest monument to him, and that is the monument that Mr. Scullin himself would have preferred above all others. Some have the high intelligence to see where the path of duty lies. It is only the James Scullins, however, who have the high character to follow that path fearlessly and sacrificially to the end.


– I join with honorable members who have already spoken on this . occasion in paying a tribute of respect and affection to the memory of a great Australian, James Henry Scullin. To that glittering perspective of his political life and the gifts that stamped Kim as an unusual and unique Australian in the forums of the people I add my tribute and the tribute of the electors of the portion of the original division of Yarra whom I now represent. Truly, he was a great man. AH the political honours that we might heap upon the head of the departed former right honorable member for Yarra are as nothing when compared with the respect, affection, love and esteem in which he was held by the common mau. Transcending even their affection and the political advantages of the position that he held, were the personal merits of the man himself. I was fortunate enough to be associated with him during almost the whole of the time that he represented the division of Yarra. He never lost sight of the eternal verities of life, and he distinguished himself by a sturdy Christianity and a knowledge of the requirements of the ordinary man. He applied that knowledge to his public life as well as to his private life. His public life was but a mirror of his private life. The respect, esteem and affection in which he was held were marked by the tributes that were paid at his obsequies on last Saturday week. Mr. Scullin’s activity did not diminish throughout his political life, although it was circumscribed to a degree by his poor health.

However, he surmounted the obstacles and difficulties of a condition of almost invalidity in order to serve the country that he loved. As the Prime Minister has said, James Henry Scullin was the first Australian-born Labour Prime Minister. He never forgot that fact during his Prime Ministership, and, indeed, he carried it right through the course of his political representation. Ho loved this country, and this country loved him.

Reference has been made to his widow, Mrs. Scullin, who patiently nursed him through his many illnesses. She was his constant guide, philosopher, and friend, and to her from this Parliament to-day go the respect, sympathy and affection of all members who knew of her association with her esteemed and celebrated husband. I conclude my contribution to the far superior remarks that have been made with the prayer that the soul of this great Australian may rest in peace.

Question resolved in the affirmative, honorable members standing in their places.

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Prime Minister · Kooyong · LP

– This Parliament has been all too frequently wounded by the death of some member of this House or of the “Senate. As honorable members know Senator John Hartley Chamberlain, one of the senators of Tasmania, died on the 16th January, at the age of 66 years. Senator Chamberlain came to Australia from England. He became a farmer in Tasmania. He was a member of the House of Assembly in Tasmania for seventeen years. He was a member of the Senate of the Commonwealth of Australia only during the last two years. Therefore, perhaps he was not so well known here as he was in Tasmania, but I will say that he was well enough known here to enjoy the warm regard of honorable members on both sides of the Parliament. He was a fine, warm, human character. I think his strongest politcal opponents will retain a pleasant and warm feeling about him as a man. He was very deeply regarded by honorable senators on both sides of the Senate, and he was very deeply regarded also by those members of the House of Representatives who had the pleasure of knowing him.

One has only to go to Tasmania to discover that in that State, particularly in the north-western corner, his name was a household word. It is a fine thing that Parliament should be able to attract the services of such men - honest, upright men, whose motives are beyond question and who set out for a long period of their lives to make a self-sacrificing contribution to public affairs. In that sense, I join with honorable members in mourning the death of Senator Chamberlain. I should like to send to his widow and his family - because he left a son and two daughters - a message of sympathy and of appreciation from the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia.

I should recall that the late Senator Chamberlain served in France with the Australian Imperial Force in World War I., and was wounded in action. He was a very well-known figure in the affairs of the returned servicemen’s league in Tasmania. I think he was a member of the executive of that body in Tasmania for something of the order of twenty years. Here we have, in war and in peace, fine honorable service to the people of Australia.

I am sure that the motion that I am about to propose will have the concurrence of all honorable members. I move -

That this House expresses its deep regret at the death of Senator John Hartley Chamberlain, a. member of the Senate of the Commonwealth Parliament, places on record its appreciation of his meritorious public service, and tenders its profound sympathy to his family in their bereavement.

Leader of the Opposition · Barton

– On behalf of the Opposition, I second the motion. The Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) has referred to the meritorious services of the late Senator Chamberlain, not only during the long years of peace, when he was a member of the House of Assembly of Tasmania and of the Senate, but also in World War I. The right honorable gentleman has said correctly that no one in this Parliament could have won in so short a time a higher regard than did Senator Chamberlain. The Leader of the Opposition in the Senate has told me of the influence that the late senator brought to bear upon the deliberations of that chamber. He was a man of courage, always courteous and always strong in putting his views before the Senate. His death will be mourned sincerely by all members of the Senate and of this House. I hope that this motion will be accepted as an expression of comfort by his widow and his family.

Treasurer · McPhersonTreasurer · CP

– I desire to associate the party that I have the honour to lead, and also myself with the sentiments that have been so aptly expressed by the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) and the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt). Senator Chamberlain only entered this Parliament as a senator after the last general election. We did not have the opportunity to know him as well as his record merited, but we did have the opportunity, even in the short time a vailable to us, to assess his outstanding and sterling character.

I join with the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition in conveying my heartfelt sympathy to those who have been left to mourn the loss of such a worthy man who had performed such service in war and peace for Australia.

Question resolved in the affirmative, honorable members standing in their places.

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Prime Min ister · Kooyong · LP

– As a mark of respect to the memory of the former Prime Minister of whom we have spoken this afternoon, I move -

That the House do now adjourn.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

House adjourned at 3.37 p.m.

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The following answers to questions were circulated : -

Industrial Arbitration


n asked the Minister representing the Attorney-General, upon notice -

Will Commonwealth railways employees covered by the Northern Territory award of the late Mr. Conciliation Commissioner Rowlands bo granted long service leave benefits in accordance with the provisions of that award or does the Government propose to use the Commonwealth Employees’ Furlough Act to deprive those workers of the long service leave benefits provided forunder that award?

Mr Menzies:

– The Attorney-General has supplied the following information : -

On the 21st October, the Treasurer answered a similar question by the honorable member and furnished him with comprehensive information regarding the granting to Commonwealth railways employees of long service leave benefits. The information supplied by the Treasurer fully answers the question and there is nothing further to be added to that advice.

Conciliation Commissioners


n asked the Minister representing the Attorney-General upon notice -

Is a Conciliation Commissioner a member of the Judiciary?

Mr Menzies:

– The Attorney-General has supplied the following answers: -

A Conciliation Commissioner is not a member of the Judiciary.

Atomic We apo?; b.

Mr Mulcahy:

y asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -

  1. Is he able to say why the very distinguished occupant of the position of Director, Research School of Physical Sciences, Australian National University’, . was not invited to attend the Monte Bello trial of the atom bomb ?
  2. Has the Government yet ascertained from the Government of the United States of America why such an eminent authority on nuclear physics was refused a passport to enter that country?
Mr Menzies:

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

  1. The Monte Bello atomic test was a United Kingdom operation to which the Australian Government gave every assistance which it could. The test was conducted essentially as a naval operation. Apart from service personnel, only scientists working directly on the test were present.
  2. No.



R asked the Minister for Health, upon notice -

In view of differing opinions, will the Department of Health issue a statement on the relation of heavy smoking to lung cancer?

Sir EARLE Page:

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

The evidence so far collected would not allow any dogmatic statement to be made, but authoritative bodies in Great Britain, the

United States of America and Europe as a result of investigations extending over the past four years, conclude that the association between smoking and carcinoma of the lung is real.



;CONNOR asked the Minister for Health, upon notice -

  1. Were allegations made at the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs that Australia was exporting heroin to certain Pacific islands in violation of an international agreement signed in 1931?
  2. Has the use of heroin been banned, in the United States of America since 1922?
  3. Does the United Nations consider that the use of heroin should be abolished in all countries?
  4. Is it a fact that Australia consumes more heroin per bend of population than any other country in the world with the exception of Finland? fi. fs it a fact that a stricter stand is not taken in regard to the use of heroin in Australia as the British Medical Association opposes such action ? fi. Has the control over the use of heroin and pethidene been so lax in Australia in the past that the situation is now completely out of hand ?
Sir Earle Page:

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

  1. Yes. The allegation was made by Russia. The quantities were extremely small and for medicinal purposes only. The United Nations regarded this as a technical breach only, but exportation has ceased for some time.
  2. Since 1924.
  3. Yes.
  4. Yes. As far as is known.
  5. No. Certain remedial measures have already been taken. I have had heroin removed from the free list under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Act. It is proposed, on the recommendation of the National Health and Medical Research Council, to limit the amount of heroin to be imported to that amount required for medicinal administration by injection. On the recommendation of the National Health and Medical Research Council the possibility of reducing or discontinuing the use of heroin in legitimate medical practice is being discussed by my department with representative ‘ bodies of medical opinion.
  6. No. A recent inquiry revealed no evidence of increased addiction or illicit use. Narcotic administration at the retail level is the responsiblity and function of the States. Certain improvements in administrative procedure and amendments to the law considered desirable to ensure more effective control are at the moment being examined by State and Commonwealth officers.

The Parliament


D asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -

  1. What living-away-from-home or travelling allowance is paid to Ministers, including the Prime Minister r
  2. What arc the conditions governing these payments ?
  3. What have been the variations in these allowances since this Government first came to office in 1949?
  4. Are these allowances free of taxation?
  5. If so, does the Commissioner of Taxation require any evidence of expenditure?

    1. Are any other kindred allowances paid to Ministers?
  6. If so, what are the details?
  7. Are these additional allowances subic-‘ to income tax and does the Commissioner of Taxation require any proof of expenditure?
  8. What are the travel facilities provided for the wives and families of (fi) Ministers, including the Prime Minister and (ft) members?
  9. What amount has been received by (a) the Prime Minister and (fi) each of the other Ministers as living-away-from-home or travelling allowance since this Government first took office?
  10. What stamp allowance is provided for (a) Ministers, including the Prime Minister and (6) members?
  11. How do these stamp allowances compare with those received by members of the respective State parliaments ?
  12. What other allowances are paid to («) the Prime Minister, (.6) Ministers and (c) members ?
  13. What’ income of these further allowances is tax free?
  14. What income would an ordinary citizen subject to payment of income tax have to receive to be placed in relatively the same position in respect of income as (a) the Prime Minister, (ft) Ministers and (c) members?
Mr Menzies:

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

  1. A travelling allowance of £5 5s. a day or part thereof is payable to Ministers when absent primarily on official business from the place where the Minister’s home is situated, but excluding whole days spent in Canberra.
  2. See 1.
  3. When the Government first took office, the travelling allowance payable to Ministers was 52s. Gd. a day payable on an hourly basis. This rate was varied to the rate specified in 1 during 1951 and the present rate was supported by the Nicholas Committee.
  4. There is no specific provision in the income tax law which exempts a travelling allowance, but expenditure incurred would be deductible from the allowance.
  5. The Commissioner of Taxation has authority to require a taxpayer to submit whatever evidence he considers necessary to support the particulars included in the taxpayer’s return, but whatever evidence he does require is a matter entirely between the Commissioner and the taxpayer and I am certain it would be regarded by the Commissioner as secret. (i and 7. All other salaries and allowances payable to Ministers in respect of their duties as members of Parliament and Ministers of State are clearly set out in the Parliamentary Allowances Art 1952 and the Ministers of State Act 1952, both of which were passed without dissent hy this House earlier in the current year.
  6. The allowances which are not subject to tax are stated in section 3 of the Income Tax and Social Services Contribution Assessment Act 1952. 9. (a) There have been no variations in the travel facilities provided for the wives and families of Ministers including the Prime Minister since the present Government took office. The travel facilities available to Ministers are also made available to the right honorable the Leader of the Opposition, (fi) Copy of the rules for conveyance of members of the Commonwealth Parliament have recently been forwarded to all honorable members. If the honorable member has not received one, I would be able to arrange for him to be supplied with it.
  7. The answer to this question would require a. considerable amount of research which without good reason is not warranted. If, therefore, the honorable member desires to press for the information, I suggest that he might move for it. 11. ‘(«) Stamps are made available to Ministers including the Prime Minister as required by the departments which they administer. (fi) Honorable members receive a. stamp allowance of £4 per month. There are additional stamps made available to officers of the Parliament including Mr. Speaker, the right honorable the Leader of the Opposition, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, the leader of the third party, secretaries of the three parties, &c.
    1. No information is available. 13 and 14. See answer to 0 and 7.
  8. An ordinary citizen receiving the same gross income and incurring the same expenditure as is incurred by the Prime Minister, Ministers and members, would be placed in the same relative financial position after payment of tax as are the Prime Minister, Ministers and members.

Ministerial Visits Overseas

Mr Ward:

d asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -

  1. . How many overseas ministerial visits have been undertaken since the present Government assumed office in 1949 f
  2. Which Ministers made the journeys
  3. What was the purpose of the visit in each instance!
  4. What countries were visited?
  5. What number of Commonwealth public servants accompanied each Minister?
  6. What members of their .families* accompanied each Minister?
  7. Were there any instances in which members of the general public were included in the delegations?
  8. If so, will he furnish full details, including the cost of dinners, entertainments, &c.,. arranged in connexion with the visit of the respective Ministers which was charged to the account of an overseas Australian office or representative?
Mr Menzies:

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : - 1 to 8. The honorable member will recall that inquiries about visits overseas by Ministers have been made on several occasions in the past. The question was last raised by the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron) on the 5th June, 1952. Since a reply was given to that ‘ question, the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey), the Minister for Immigration (Mr. Holt), the PostmasterGeneral (Mr. Anthony) and the Minister for the Navy (Mr. McMahon) hare been abroad, while I recently attended the Economic Conference in London accompanied by the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture (Mr. McEwen) and the Minister for National Development (Senator Spooner). It is the policy pf this Government, as it was the policy of the previous Labour Government, that Ministers should keep abreast of international ideas and developments that concern the departments they administer. Unless they do this they cannot serve the people as they should. The pursuit of this policy had occasioned visits overseas by various Ministers and senior departmental officers who are their advisers, but, as the honorable member well knows, there is nothing new in this. Indeed ministerial responsibilities cannot be carried out (without a considerable measure of direct negotiation with other governments. I do not propose, unless otherwise directed by this House, to make available the detailed information requested by the honorable member. He may be< assured, however, that whatever expense has been incurred in ministerial visits overseas, it has not been exorbitant or wrongly incurred when one considers the ultimate benefit to Australia.

Students from Foreign Countries.

Mr Casey:
Minister for External Affairs · LP

y. - On the 29th October the honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Minogue) asked the Minister acting for the Minister for External Affairs the following question: -

Will the Minister acting for the Minister for External Affairs inform me of the number of students from foreign countries who are attending universities and technical colleges in Australia? From what countries have these students come, what is the terra of study arranged for them and what subjects are taught? What allowances arc paid to these students and what is the total cost to Australia, including travelling allowances?

I now inform the honorable member as follows -

The number of students from foreign countries who arc attending’ universities and technical colleges in Australia totalled 984 at the 30th June, 1952. These were part of a total of 2,307 foreign students in Australia at that date. These 2,307 students came from the following countries: - Borneo, Burma, Ceylon, China and Hong Kong, Cyprus, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Korea, Nauru, New Britain,. New Caledonia, New Guinea and Papua, New Zealand, Pakistan, Palestine, Philippines, Singapore and Malaya, Thailand, Tonga, and the United States of America. The term of study and subjects taught vary greatly, but an indication is given in the following figures : -

The. majority of these students are “ private students” who pay their own expenses, in eluding travelling expenses, tuition, living expenses, &c. included in the above number were 238 Colombo, plan students. The allowances paid by the Commonwealth Government to Colombo plan students are as follows: - To “ scholars “, £460 per annum ; to junior fellows, £640 per annum; to senior fellows, £800 per annum. The total cost to the Government to the 30th June, 1952 for such students under the Colombo plan since its inception was £71,680


ser asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -

  1. To what extent is a technician with the Australian Broadcasting Commission field recording unit who held an Australian war correspondent’s licence and who was attached to the Australian Army with officer status in the recent war entitled to rehabilitation and preference under .existing legislation ?
  2. If such a person is not regarded as a returned soldier for the purposes of section 7 of the Public Service Act, will the Government consider an amendment of that act to treat him as a returned soldier?

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Mr Menzies:

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

The first of the honorable member’s questions raises a question of law, and the second a question of policy) neither of which it is customary to deal with in answers to questions. ‘ The matter raised, however, is of importance. Inquiries are being made, and the honorable member will be informed when any decision on the matter can be announced.

Standardsandtrainingofeuropean Tradesmen

Mr Ward:

d asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice -

  1. Is it a fact that a delegation comprising Messrs. Eltham, Leary and McCauley, of his department, visited Western Germany, Holland and Italy some months ago to inquire into the standards of workmanship of, and the training methods for, tradesmen in those countries? 2.Hasthedelegationsubmitteditsreport?
  2. Willhe table the document or, alternatively, make it available to honorable members by some other means?
Mr Holt:
Minister for Immigration · HIGGINS, VICTORIA · LP

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

  1. Yes.
  2. Yes.
  3. Separate reports were furnished in respect to each country. These reports are not public documents in the normal sense. However, as copies of the Sutch and West German reports have been supplied to members of the central trades committees appointed under the Tradesmen’s Bights Regulation Act, I have no objection to the honorable member for East Sydney, or any other honorable member who is interested, examining copies of these reports, which will accordingly be made available on application to me. The Italian report is still under consideration and must, therefore, be regarded as a departmental document.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 17 February 1953, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.