21st Parliament · 1st Session
The House met at 10.30 a.m., pursuant to the proclamation of His Excellency the Governor-General.
TheClerk read the proclamation.
The Usherof the Black Rod, being announced, was admitted, and delivered the message that the Deputy of the Governor-General for the Opening of the Parliament requested the attendance of honorable members in the Senate chamber forthwith.
Honorable members attended accordingly, and, having returned,
The Deputy authorized by the Governor-General to administer the oath or affirmation entered the chamber.
The Clerk read the commission, under the Great Seal of the Commonwealth, authorizing the Right Honorable Allan Russell Taylor, a Justice of the High Court of Australia, to administer the oath or affirmation of allegiance to the Queen required by the Constitution to be taken or made by members of the House of Representatives.
– I have to announce that I have received from the Official Secretary to the Governor-General returns to 123 writs for the election of members of the
House of Representatives, held on the 29th May, 1954.
The following honorable members, with the exception of Mr. Kim Edward Beazley, the Honorable Arthur Samuel Drakeford, Mr. Rowland James, the Honorable Herbert Victor Johnson, Mr. Hubert Ferdinand Opperman, Mr. Hugh Stevenson Roberton and Mr. Francis Eugene Stewart, who were not present, made and subscribed the oath or affirmation of allegiance: -
Adermann, Charles Frederick, Fisher,
Allan, Archibald Ian, Gwydir, New South Wales.
Anderson, Gordon, KingsfordSmith, New South Wales.
Andrews; Thomas William, Darebin, Victoria.
Anthony, Hubert Lawrence, Richmond, New South Wales.
Barnard, Lance Herbert. Bass, Tasmania.
Bate, Henry Jefferson, Macarthur, New South Wales.
Beale, Howard, Parramatta, New South Wales.
Beazley, Kim Edward, Fremantle, Western Australia.
Bird, Alan Charles, Batman, Victoria.
Bland, Francis Armand, Warringah, New South Wales.
Bostock, William Bowling, Indi, Victoria.
Bourke, William Meskill, Fawkner, Victoria.
Bowden,, George James, Gippsland, Victoria.
Brand, William Alfred, Wide Bay, Queensland.
Brimblecombe, Wilfred John, Maranoa,Queensland.
Brown, Geoffrey William, McMillan, Victoria.
Bruce, Henry Adam, Leichhardt, Queensland.
Bryson, William George, Wills, Victoria.
Burke, Thomas Patrick, Perth, Western Australia.
Calwell, Arthur Augustus, Melbourne, Victoria.
Cameron, Archie Galbraith, Barker, South Australia.
Cameron, Clyde Robert, Hindmarsh, South Australia.
Cameron, Donald Alastair. Oxley, Queensland.
Casey, Richard Gardiner, La Trobe, Victoria.
Chambers, Cyril, Adelaide. South Australia.
Clarey, Percy James, Bendigo, Victoria.
Clark, Joseph James, Darling, New South Wales.
Costa, Dominic Eric, Banks, New South Wales.
Coutts, Wilfred Charles, Griffith, Queensland.
Cramer, John Oscar, Bennelong, New South Wales.
Crean, Frank, Melbourne Ports, Victoria.
Cremean. John Lawrence, Hoddle, Victoria.
Curtin, Daniel James. Watson, New South Wales.
Daly, Frederick Michael, Grayndler, New South Wales.
Davidson. Charles William, Dawson, Queensland.
Davies, William, Cunningham, New South Wales.
Davis, Francis John, Deakin, Victoria.
Dean, Roger Levinge, Robertson, New South Wales.
Downer, Alexander Russell, Angas, South Australia.
Drakeford, Arthur Samuel, Maribyrnong, Victoria.
Drummond, David Henry, New England, New South Wales.
Drury, Edward Nigel, Ryan, Queensland.
Duthie. Gilbert William Arthur, Wilmot, Tasmania.
Edmonds, William Frederick, Herbert, Queensland.
Evatt, Herbert Vere, Barton, New South Wales.
Fadden, Arthur William, McPherson, Queensland.
Failes, Laurence John, Lawson, New South Wales.
Fairbairn, David Eric, Farrer, New South Wales.
Fairhall, Allen, Paterson, New South Wales.
Falkinder, Charles William Jackson, Franklin, Tasmania.
Fitzgerald, Joseph Francis, Phillip, New South Wales.
Francis, Josiah, Moreton, Queensland.
Fraser, Allan Duncan, Eden-Monaro, New South Wales.
Fraser, James Reay, Australian Capital Territory.
Freeth, Gordon, Forrest, Western Australia.
Fuller, Arthur Neiberding,.Hume, New South Wales.
Galvin, Patrick, Kingston, South Australia.
Greenup, Arthur Edward, Dalley, New South Wales.
Griffiths, Charles Edward, Shortland, New South Wales.
Gullett, Henry Baynton Somer, Henty, Victoria.
Hamilton, Leonard William, Canning, Western Australia.
Harrison, Eli James, Blaxland, New South Wales.
Harrison, Eric John, Wentworth, New South Wales.
Hasluck, Paul Meernaa Caedwalla, Curtin, Western Australia.
Haworth, William Crawford, Isaacs, Victoria.
Haylen, Leslie Clement, Parkes, New South Wales.
Holt, Harold Edward, Higgins, Victoria.
Howse, John Brooke, Calare, New South Wales.
Hulme. Alan Shallcross. Petrie, Queensland.
Jack, William Mathers. North Sydney, New South Wales.
James, Rowland, Hunter, New South Wales.
Johnson, Herbert Victor, Kalgoorlie, “Western Australia.
Joshua, Robert, Ballaarat, Victoria.
Joske, Percy Ernest, Balaclava, Victoria.
Kent Hughes, Wilfred Selwyn, Chisholm. Victoria.
Keon, Stand ish Michael, Yarra, Victoria.
Lawrence, William Robert, Wimmera, Victoria.
Lawson, George, Brisbane, Queensland. Lemmon, Nelson, St. George, New South Wales.
Leslie, Hugh Alan, Moore, Western Australia.
Lindsay, Robert William Ludovic. Flinders, Victoria.
Luchetti, Anthony Sylvester, Macquarie, New South Wales.
Luck, Aubrey William George, Darwin, Tasmania.
Lucock, Philip Ernest, Lyne, New South Wales.
Mackinnon, Ewen Daniel, Corangamite. Victoria.
Makin, Norman John Oswald, Sturt, South Australia.
McBride, Philip Albert Martin, Wakefield, South Australia.
McColm, MalcolmLlewellyn, Bowman, Queensland.
McEwen, John, Murray, Victoria.
McLeay, John, Boothby, South Australia.
McLeod, Donald, Wannon. Victoria.
McMahon, William, Lowe, New South Wales.
Menzies, Robert Gordon, Kooyong, Victoria.
Minogue, Daniel, West Sydney, New South Wales.
Morgan, Charles Albert Aaron, Reid, New South Wales.
Mullens, John Michael, Gellibrand, Victoria.
Nelson, J ohn Norman, Northern Territory.
O’Connor, William Paul, Martin, New South Wales.
Opperman, Hubert Ferdinand, Corio, Victoria.
Osborne, Frederick Meares, Evans, New South Wales.
Page, Earle Christmas Grafton, Cowper, New South Wales.
Pearce, Henry George, Capricornia, Queensland.
Peters, Edward William, Burke, Victoria.
Pollard, Reginald Thomas, Lalor, Victoria.
Riordan, William James Frederick, Kennedy, Queensland.
Roberton, Hugh Stevenson, Riverina, New South Wales.
Russell, Edgar Hughes Deg, Grey, South Australia.
Sheehan, Thomas, Cook, New South Wales.
Stewart, Francis Eugene, Lang, New South Wales.
Swartz, Reginald William Colin, Darling Downs, Queensland.
Thompson, Albert Victor, Port Adelaide, South Australia.
Timson, Thomas Frank, Higinbotham, Victoria.
Townley, Athol Gordon, Denison, Tasmania.
Turnbull, Winton George, Mallee, Victoria.
Turner, Henry Basil, Bradfield, New South Wales.
Ward, Edward John, East Sydney, New South Wales.
Watkins, David Oliver, Newcastle, New South Wales.
Webb, Charles Harry, Swan, Western Australia.
Wentworth, William Charles, Mackellar, New South Waless.
Wheeler, Roy Crawford, Mitchell, New South Wales.
Whitlam, Edward Gough, Werriwa, New South Wales.
Wight, Bruce McDonald, Lilley, Queensland.
– I moveThat the honorable member for Barker (Mr.
Archie Cameron) do take the chair of this House as Speaker.
– I second the motion.
– I accept nomination.
– I move-
That the honorable member for Herbert (Mr. Edmonds) do take the chair of this House as Speaker.
– I second the motion.
– I accept nomination.
The time for further proposals having expired, .Mr, HAYLEN (Parkes) [11.11]- Thu side of the House has great pleasure in nominating Mr. Edmonds for the post of Speakership because he is an impartial gentleman with a wide understanding nf the- Standing Orders. He comes from the north of Queensland where the winds of liberality still blow and where he is known as a man who believes that what one is sent to Parliament to say .should be said. His training and .his application to the work of chairmanship in this chamber in the past gives him the right to apply for this post in. this honorable House. I do not .require to say anything else :except to add that, in the past, it has become apparent to all honorable members that the Standing Orders, which have been evolved to .ease and facilitate deliberations in this House have been used as though they were a flail and a knout on honorable members on “both sides of the chamber. Those who have fought in defence of their country are aware of the deadly nature of the .303 rifle and know of its effectiveness in big game hunting, hut in the subtleties of Parliamentary debate such a weapon should he used less frequently, if at .all. In my view, .the feeling of honorable members on both sides of the House should be that we must -return to a free and liberal interpretation of the Standing Orders. ~For that reason I commend to all honorable members sitting in this new Parliament, with fresh minds I hope, the capacity and standard which would be brought to the post of Speaker by the honorable mem’ber for Herbert.
– The acceptance by the House of the nomination ‘of Mr. Edmonds for the post of Speaker would mean that once again this House would be ruled by loving kindness instead of by fear. In Mr. Edmonds, the House is presented with a candidate who enjoys the respect -and affection of every one of his colleagues -on both sides of the chamber. That cannot be said of the nominee of the Government parties. Unfortunately, it is true that Mr. Cameron, while he possesses qualities which, I .believe, render him eminently suitable to be once again a. back bench .critic of this Government, stirring it into action, lacks the quality of fairness which is primarily necessary in the occupant of the Chair. While. Mr. Cameron possesses a certain rough humour he does not possess, .in my opinion, the qualities necessary for calm adjudication in this House. During his term as Speaker the standard of conduct in. this House has fallen notoriously. The remedy is for honorable members to elect to the Chair a member such as Mr. Edmonds who is capable of governing this House because of the affection and respect in which other honorable members hold him. If there were no other ground for refusal to continue Mr. Archie Cameron as the ‘Speaker of this House, it would be .his utter misuse of Standing Order 303. Every .honorable member knows, and you. Mr. Clerk of the House, in particular, know, that Standing Order 303 was adopted so that Mr. Speaker would have an emergency power summarily to reject an honorable member from the eli amber, but ‘ that standing order, as every honorable . member acquainted with the situation that led to the adoption of it is aWare, was to be used only in a condition of emergency inside this ‘chamber. Mr. Archie Cameron, as Mr. Speaker, has both perverted and twisted the purpose of that Standing Order, with the result tha’t: the power of the House to control honorable members and finally decide who shall sit here or who .shall be ejected, has .been taken from it. That was never intended. Such an interpretation of Standing Order 303 is a complete misuse of the intention that led to the adoption of it. >On that ground alone, Mr. Archie Cameron does not deserve any longer to be the Speaker of this chamber. But I can assure the House that we .shall have, in Mr. Edmonds, -a Speaker who will not misuse any of the great powers that are associated with that office. Mr. Edmonds, with a calm and judicial mind,, will administer justice to honorable members on both sides of the chamber.
The second defect which should (disqualify Mr. Archie Cameron for the position of Mr.. Speaker is that, with all the goodwill in the world, he lacks an essential sense of fairness for this office. He does not :give a consistent interpretation of any of the Standing Orders, and the House will agree with me when I say that one- is never sure from day to. day what will ‘ be his interpretation of any standing order. Even when, the Opposition has succeeded in having its point of view upheld by Mr. Speaker Cameron, it has nearly always been the wrong point of view. Mr. Archie Cameron, as Mr. Speaker, is almost incapable of being right.
– Is the honorable member- for Eden-Monaro biased?
– I am not biased. I have for “ Auld Gillespie “, as Mr. Archie Cameron calls himself, the sincerest personal affection. I consider that, in many other categories, he would be an eminently suitable member of this House. But I can imagine few men worse qualified than he for the office of Mr. Speaker. I can think of no one better qualified than Mr. Edmonds, as Mr. Speaker, to restore the stature and prestige- of this chamber.
– The Standing Orders provide that in the event of two or more proposals being made, the House will proceed to ballot.
The bells having been rung,
– In accordance with the Standing Orders ballot-papers will be distributed to honorable members, each of whom will mark upon the paper handed to him the name of the candidate he desires to have elected.
– I have to announce the result of the ballot as follows: - Mr. Archie Cameron, 61 votes, Mr. Edmonds, 52 votes. As the honorable member for Barker has secured a majority of the votes of the members present, he is elected to the position of Speaker of this House.
Members of the House then calling Mr. Archie Cameron to the Chair, he wai taken out of his place by Mr. McLeay and Mr. Bowden and conducted to the Chair.
– I thank the House for having elected me to the position of Speaker for the third time.
Mr. Speaker having seated himself in ihe chair,
– On behalf of the House I offer to you, Mr. Speaker, our congratu lations upon your election. As you have just reminded us,, this is the third occasion on which the House has elected you as its presiding officer. That is the greatest possible compliment that could be paid to you. You may be assured in the future, as in the past, of the warmest assistance and co-operation of honorable members.
– On behalf of the Opposition I congratulate you, Mr. Speaker, upon your- election to the very high office of Speaker.
-(Hon. Archie Cameron). - I thank the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) and the Leader of the Opposition (Lr. Evatt) for their complimentary remarks. I am as conscious of my shortcomings as they are, and doubtless I shall proceed in the same old fashion.
– I have ascertained that it will be the pleasure of. His Excellency the Governor-General to receive you, Mr. Speaker, in the Library of the Parliament at 2.46 p.m. this day.
– Prior to my presentation to His Excellency this afternoon the bells will be rung for three minutes so that those honorable members who so desire may accompany me to the Library, and there be presented to His Excellency.
Sitting suspended from 11.39 a.m. to 2.45 p.m.
The Souse proceeded to the Library and, being re-assembled,
– I have to report that, accompanied by honorable members, I proceeded to the Library of the Parliament and presented myself to His Excellency the Governor-General as the choice of the House, andi that His Excellency was kind enough to congratulate me o-ro my election as Speaker.
The Usher of the Black Rod, being announced, was admitted, and’ delivered a message that His Excellency the Governor-General desired: the attendance of honorable members in the Senate chamber forthwith.
Mr. Speaker and honorable members attended accordingly and, having, returned,
– (Hon. Archie Cameron). I have received from His Excellency the Governor General a commission authorizing me to administer to members of the House the oath, or affirmation, of allegiance. I now lay the commission on the table.
– I desire to announce to the House that the following changes have occurred in the Ministry: -
The honorable member for Richmond (Mr. Anthony) has ceased to be Minister for Civil Aviation.
The honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Francis) in addition to being Minister for the Army, has become Minister for the Navy.
The honorable member for Denison (Mr. Townley) has ceased to be Minister for Social Services and has become Minister for Air and Minister for Civil Aviation.
The honorable member for Lowe (Mr. McMahon) has ceased to be Minister for the Navy and Minister for Air and has become Minister for Social Services.
In this chamber the Minister for Shipping and Transport (Senator McLeay) will in future be represented by the Minister for Air and Minister for Civil Aviation (Mr. Townley).
It has become only too obvious over the last few years that the pressure of events requires the occupant of the Prime Minister’s position to be free to concentrate on matters of major policy. It is my intention therefore that the VicePresident of the Executive Council (Sir Eric Harrison) will, on my behalf, assume full responsibility for many things in my department, to which I have in the past attended myself. I also mention that the Minister for Shipping and Transport will be associated with the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture (Mr. McEwen) in the work of the Commerce and Agriculture portfolio.
– I desire to announce that I have been chosen as Leader of the Opposition and that the honorable member for Melbourne (Mr. Calwell) has been chosen as Deputy Leader.
– I desire to announce that I have been appointed Leader of the Australian Country party and that the right honorable member for Murray (Mr. McEwen) has been appointed Deputy Leader.
Motion (by Mr. Menzies) agreed to -
That leave be given t<i bring in a bill for an act to amend the Acts Interpretation Ant 1901-1 030.
Bill presented, and read a first time.
-(Hon. Archie Cameron). - I have to report that thu House this day attended His Excellency the Governor-General in the Senate chamber, where His Excellency was pleased to make a Speech to both Houses of the Parliament, of which I have received a copy. As honorable members have copies of the Speech, I presume that they do not desire that I should formally read it to the House. It will be included in Hansard for record purposes.
The Speech read as follows: -
Members of the Senate and Members of the House of Representatives :
Yon have been called together to deliberate on matters of importance to the well-being of the Commonwealth.
When last I addressed von, Australia was looking forward to the first visit to these shores of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh.
The visit is past; but it has taken its place among our most stirring memories. It hag strengthened, if that were possible, the deep devotion to our Sovereign which is one of the glories of our membership of the British Commonwealth. In a speech on her return to London Her Majesty spoke words which are au enduring challenge to every one of her subjects. She said : “ . . . . We return with our faith in the high destiny of our Commonwealth and Empire even stronger than when we set out. For in this and in every one of its countries men and women are looking not to the past, but to the future, and as they go forward together the efforts of each nation give added strength to the whole “.
My advisers regard their responsibilities during the life of this Parliament to be the strengthening of Australia’s security, the maintenance of a healthy economy, the development of our national resources, and the social welfare of the Australian people.
The conduct of Australia’s external relations over the last three years has been a complex task. The course of world events gives ground for concern that this task will be no less difficult during the life of the 21st Parliament.
In applying its policy, my Government cherishes and has sought to strengthen the links of the British Commonwealth. It has given full support to the United Nations. It has developed close and friendly relations with the countries of the Pacific and Indian Ocean areas. Our relations with the people of Asia and with the United States are deeply important for Australia’s future. Our special association of trust and confidence with the United States and New Zealand is symbolized in Anzus.
It was in pursuance of United Nations aims that Australia participated in action to maintain collective security against aggression in Korea. The Geneva Conference on Korea, failed to arrive at a permanent peace settlement which might replace ‘the existing armistice arrangements in Korea. My Government will continue to support such a settlement on terras which are just for the Korean people.
Events in the Associated States of IndoChina have been a matter of grave concern. Communist aggression in South-East Asia clearly affects Australia’s safety. My Ministers, by advice and consultation, have sought peace, national justice, and a common protection against the spread of hostile power They support the organization of regional collective security in the South-East Asian area. It is their hope that the people most directly affected will wish to join together with one another and with other countries in defence of their common interests in the spirit and within the framework of the United Nations Charter. Such defence, so far from being a derogation from the sovereignty of South-East Asian countries, would afford inter-national protection to that sovereignty.
Mindful of the serious international tensions and conflicts, especially in Asia, my Minister for External Affairs has, since the last Parliament, paid visits to Indo-China, India and Pakistan, has participated in the Geneva Conference, and has visited London and Washington.
My Government will continue, with other nations, its practical contribution to the welfare of the South and South- East Asian area through the Colombo Plan. Such measures of help encourage sympathetic understanding and good will.
My Government proposes to continue the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Parliament and hopes that in the 21st Parliament ali parties will participate.
My Government is undertaking a reorganization of the defence programme to achieve the maximum security that the country can provide for a long period, having regard to the needs not only of defence but also of economic stability, a steady development oi population and resources, and high levels of production and employment.
The changes in policy certainly do not provide for reduction in the size and urgency of defence preparations; but there will be some adjustments both between and within the armed services, including adjustments to improve the balance between equipment and manpower.
In the field of research and development Australia is making a notable contribution through the long-range weapons establishment, which is a joint United KingdomAustralian effort for the testing of guided weapons.
Our forces abroad demonstrate our cooperation in collective defence as a member of the British Commonwealth and the United Nations.
The national service training scheme is building up the reserve forces of each of the services.
My advisers report a general and continuing state of prosperity throughout the Australian economy. The number in civilian employment is the highest ever recorded in this country; and the output of goods and services is correspondingly high. Prices have remained remarkably steady.
At 30th June, 1954, Australia’s international reserves stood at £570,000,000, an increase of £0,000,000 over the previous twelve months. During this period, my Government progressively relaxed its emergency import restrictions, and now, for the greater part of Australian imports, no limitations are imposed on the quantity that may be admitted.
The budget for the financial year 1954-55 will be among the first of the matters submitted to Parliament during this session. It will be designed to help to consolidate our present prosperity.
In the field of Commonwealth-State financial relations, my Government will introduce three measures. The first will provide for special financial assistance to the States to supplement the amounts payable under the States Grants (Tax Reimbursement) Act 1946-48. This measure will increase the total tax reimbursement payments to the States in 1954-55 to £150,000,000.
The second relates to Commonwealth payments to the States for roads purposes. Thu Commonwealth Aid ‘Roads Act l’95’O is not due to expire until 30th June, 1.955; but, because of the effect of the increasing .production of locally-refined petrol in Australia -on the payment of petrol tax proceeds to the States, my Government has undertaken .i complete review of the existing legislation. The new legislation will provide for a -new basis and a very substantial increase in the Commonwealth aid roads payments.
The third will, after the recommendations of the Commonwealth Grants Commission have been received, provide for the payment of special grants to the States of South Australia, West Australia and Tasmania.
World economic changes have their effect on Australia’s export commodities. Though wool continues to be in a sound position and the prospects in the United Kingdom foiquality meat are favorable, wheat is selling slowly, despite lower prices. Through the Australian Wheat Board, all possible markets arc being actively explored. For many other commodities the market circumstances point very strongly to the clear need for reducing our -costs of production - if such exports are to be even maintained.
The tobacco industry, after a prosperous season, has excellent prospects.
In the period of transition from bulk purchases by Government to free market operations in the United Kingdom my Government has been giving every possible assistance to the industries affected. Moreover, the need for an expanded programme of overseas trade publicity has become fully apparent, and the Government is -taking the -necessary steps to meet the need. It will continue to give .serious attention to marketing problems as they arise, and, through the continuance of .’its various grants in aid to State authorities, wi1 assist the industries concerned in the task of .bringing about a more competitive cost structure.
It is a fundamental part of ‘the policy of my Government that the development of Australia should proceed at the highest practicable rate. ‘This requires an adequate supply -of labour and materials-; sound policies for encouraging private investment and an inflow of capital; close financial collaboration with the States, who are responsible for most public works; the encouragement of savings by monetary stability; and a carefully selected and vigorously executed programme in the Commonwealth’s own field. My advisers will continue, -in respect -of all these matters, the policies already applied. In particular., in discharge of its special responsibilities, my Government is pressing on energetically with the Snowy Mountains hydro-electric and irrigation scheme, which, in the provision of power and water, will contribute to great development both an primary and secondary industry in south-eastern Australia.
Tt has also agreed .to the recommendation -‘ the ‘River Murray Commission, that the Hume Reservoir should be enlarged to 2,500;000 acre feet, the Commonwealth to contribute a quarter of the cost of the works.
My Government will closely examine the extent to which additional transport links, including rail ‘links, are desirable .for the development of beef production in North Queensland and the Northern Territory.
The manufacturing .industries -of Australia., it is hoped, will continue their ‘development, so vital .to the national strength. My Government wall continue to accord adequate protection to efficient and economic Australian industries. In doing so, it will , relY for advice on the Tariff Board.
My Government regards it as -essential, however, to the healthy and permanent development of manufacturing industries in Australia that there should .be a continuing drive by all concerned to increase efficiency and production and reduce costs. All the techniques <of modern management need to be brought to bear on the problem ; concurrently the trade unions must realize that higher standards of .living will .be achieved through greater productivity, which will come from greater team work between employers .and employees. There are welcome signs of increasing -co-operation between management and labour.
There is now a great .expansion of the oil refining .industry. When the present programme is completed the total output -of local refineries will be substantially equal to “the Australian demand. My advisers will continue to encourage the search for oil, ‘both on the Australian mainland and in Papua and New Guinea.
It is also most important that the search for minerals should be pursued energetically and that our production of minerals should be as high as possible. In particular my Government will press forward with uranium exploration and development in the Northern Territory. It will also collaborate with the State ‘Governments in the search for this important mineral. ‘The participation of private prospectors, both companies and indivi-duals, in the search for “uranium is gratifying. At Rum Jungle -intensive investigations ‘have confirmed the existence of substantial bodies of ore and the erection of a large and complex treatment plant is virtually complete. Production should commence next month, well ahead of the original schedule.
In the field of atomic energy, research in Australia is being expanded as also is the training of Australians in research establishments, in the United Kingdom.
Australian gold .production adds ‘considerably to this country’s earnings of oversea funds. This industry has been adversely affected .by a relatively .static price for gold and high local costs. My Government will, therefore, introduce, during this Session, legislation for the provision of financial assistance to the gold-mining industry.
The continued growth in Australia’s economy has brought in its train a steadliy increasing demand for workers of all kinds.
The immigration programme for 1954-55 will be based upon Australia’s ability to absorb migrants as permanent settlers without disruption of the existing economic pattern, Slaving regard to the contribution that migrants can make to national strength, to development, and to primary and secondary industries.
In the Territories of thu Commonwealth, on the foundations la’id in the past three years, further progress may be confidently expected both in the advancement of the welfare of the people and in -the development of resources.
In Papua and New Guinea the rate of investigation and classification of land and water resources and agricultural output will be increased. Expanded services will improve the health, education and social status- of the natives.
My Government will continue to undertake h large housing programme both directly and in conjunction with the States. The provision of war service homes will be vigorously pursued.
My Government now proposes that it should be made possible under the CommonwealthState Housing Agreement .for tenants to purchase on liberal terms the homes in which they live. Negotiations have been commenced with the State Governments to reach agreement on what those terms will be. When agreement has been reached with the States legislation will be introduced to amend the Commonwealth and State Housing Agreement to put my Government’s plans into operation at the earliest possible date.
My Government will continue its policy of improving Social Services and easing and liberalizing the provisions of the means test. To this end, the limits of .permissible income and property for age, invalid and widow?’ pensions will be substantially raised.
These modifications of the means test will remove from retirement some of the anxiety with which thrifty nien and women have in the past been so greatly concerned.
My ‘Government recognizes that there is no greater human -problem affecting old people than that of care and housing. Very valuable work has been done by the Churches and charitable bodies; .but their financial difficulties in finding the necessary capital are great. My Government will, therefore, provide on a poundforpound basis -money towards the capital costs incurred by churches and recognized charitable bodies and institutions in building homes for the aged up to a total Commonwealth contribution of £1,500,000 a year.
Further development of the Government’s health plans will be continued. Voluntary insurance to provide for medical and hospital treatment will continue to receive the utmost encouragement and support. The Government’s scientific and medical advisers will press on with their research work .aimed at bringing about .continuous improvement in the .standards of public health throughout Australia.
My Government is considering the recommendations of the Royal Commission on Television and will submit its policy to Parliament.
It is proposed to continue the policy of development of Canberra as the centre of Commonwealth administration. it is intended to submit to Parliament a comprehensive measure to replace the existing legislation relating to the acquisition of land for Commonwealth purposes.
My Government will continue its programme of reviewing and bringing up to date the law’ of the Commonwealth on industrial property and other matters affecting industry and commerce. In particular, it is reviewing the laws relating to trade marks, designs, copyright, and bankruptcy.
It also has under preparation proposals to relieve the pressure of judicial business in the High Court of Australia.
The Government will submit a bill to put beyond doubt the authority and powers of the Boya] Commission on Espionage, and the protection of its proceedings.
A proposal will be submitted to the Parliament for the appointment of a committee of the Parliament representing both Houses and all parties, to review certain aspects of the working of the Constitution, and to make recommendations for its amendment.
Among other matters which it is hoped that committee will consider is the method of ensuring in the future some coincidence between the dates of elections for the -House of Representatives and of elections for the Senate.
In the earnest hope that Divine Providence may guide your deliberations and further the welfare of the people of the Commonwealth, 1 now leave you to the discharge of your high and important duties.
Motion (by Mr. Menzies) agreed to -
That a committee, consisting of Mr. Lindsay, Mr. Brand, and the mover, be appointed to prepare an Address-in-Reply to the Speech delivered by His Excellency the GovernorGeneral to both Houses of the Parliament, and that the committee do report this day.
Mr. Francis Eugene Stew abt made and subscribed the oath of allegiance as member for the Division of Lang, New South “Wales.
Sitting suspended from S.S7 to 8 p.m.
– Is the Prime Minister aware that there is an almost complete unawareness in this country of the full implications of the position in IndoChina, including the facts that the frontier of the Red Empire is now nearer to Australia, and that 1,000,000 Christians in Indo-China have been delivered into terror and tyranny? “Will the Government initiate an educational campaign in order to apprise our people of Australia’s relation to Asia?
– To-morrow evening, 1 hope to make a statement to the House that will cover the matters to which the honorable member has referred.
– Recognizing that honorable members who represent socalled non-voting seats are prevented under the relevant representation acts from voting on any question before the House other than a motion for the disallowance of an ordinance, will the Prime Minister consider the introduction of an amendment to the Australian Capital Territory Representation Act in ord_er to enable the member for that Territory properly to vote in the election of the Speaker or of other officers of this House by whose rulings and decisions he is bound but in whose election he has no voice ?
– Quite obviously, the. honorable member for the Australian Capital Territory has taken as his motto, “ I do not ask to see the distant scene, one step enough for me”. I shall give thought to his remarks, but what the result of that thought will be I do not presume to say.
– I direct a question to you, Mr. Speaker, arising from proceedings this afternoon in another place at which members of this House were present. Will you confer with your colleague who presides over the other House of this Parliament in order to see whether the reasonable needs of the press to use flashlights for the taking of photographs could not be reconciled with the still more reasonable need for silence and decorum in the Senate while Her Majesty’s representative makes his Speech? Would it not be reasonable to insist that photographs be taken in the first minute, or half-minute, of the Speech, so that the remainder of it may be heard in silence?
– May I point out to the House that proceedings in the Senate are under the control of the President of that chamber, and I think it would not be welcomed in those quarters if I were to intrude. He runs his show, and, within my limitations, I attempt to run mine.
Me. Ward - The greatest show on earth.
– The honorable member for East Sydney is the chief actor.
– I ask the PostmasterGeneral whether any improvement has occurred in the supply of rural automatic exchanges ? Are only two types of these exchanges, namely, the 40 lines and the 50-200 lines, still available?
– During the last four years of office of this Government, the number of rural automatic exchanges in operation has been, increased from about 150 to 600. We are still endeavouring to meet the demand for rural automatic exchanges in country districts, but in this respect we are limited both financially and by the number of such exchanges that are procurable. I think that, at the moment, the condition mentioned by the honorable member for Wimmera still obtains, that is to say, only the two types are available.
-Can the Minister for Health inform the House whether the lists of available drugs in connexion with pharmaceutical benefits and pensioner benefits were compiled by the statutory Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee for which provision is made in section 101 of the National Health Act 1953 ? If those lists were not compiled by that committee, who was responsible for them? What is the reason for the delay in the appointment of the committee, which is authorized by the Parliament?
– Provision is made in the National Health Act for the appointment of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee. As soon as the act was passed and the necessary regulation was gazetted, that committee vas appointed, and it has been functioning ever since. I placed in the act for a definite purpose the specific requirement that no drug should be gazetted by the Minister that had not been recommended by that committee. That position obtains at the present time. It is a specialist committee, and for that reason, the advice that it gives is the advice that the Government will take.
– “Will the Minister for Health inform the House whether the Government has discontinued its payment of ls. 2d. a day for the maintenance of each patient in mental hospitals in Victoria? If it has done so, does it propose to substitute some more humanitarian method of dealing with this matter than that which formerly operated? If so, what will be the amount of the payment? Will the Government consider supplying a wife with a reasonable special grant during the time her husband is a patient in a mental hospital instead of, as is at present the case, forcing her to apply for a widow’s pension?
– Some four years ago I pointed out to the Parliament, and the country, the stupidity of the arrangement that had been made by the previous Labour Government with regard to mental diseases. I suggested to the then State Labour governments that they should cancel that particular agreement and confer with me about a proper agreement. They refused to do that, and finally, last June, that agreement was dissolved by effluxion of time. Six or seven months ago I suggested through the Prime Minister to the State Premiers that we were anxious to have a complete examination of this whole matter, so that we could make certain that the position would be dealt with in accordance with the facts. I suggested that Dr. Stoller, who had had wide psychological and psychiatric experience throughout the Commonwealth, should be appointed to conduct that examination. The suggestion met with approval, and that gentleman was so appointed. He was carrying out the work for which he was appointed until about two months ago, when the Premier of Victoria suggested that he be permitted to attend a very important psychiatric conference in America. As I myself considered that his visit would be of some value, I agreed that he should go. However, my agreement was on one condition - that the States would not blame me for any delay that resulted through my acquiescence in this request.
– In view of the promises that were made during the recent election campaign and in the interests of common decency, will the Minister for Health immediately restore to age and invalid pensioners the pharmaceutical benefits that were taken away two days after the general election of the 29th May?
– The honorable member is singularly ill informed.
– Not singly.
– No, plurally ill informed. No regulation has been gazetted since the election. The only regulation that has been gazetted within the last three months was gazetted on the 12th May, which was nearly three weeks before the election. Although several Labour speakers have stated and have deluded various pensioner organizations into believing, that the regulation reduced the number of the benefits that are available, it increased it. Although I have received complaints from various organizations and from various honorable members opposite, I have not received one complaint from a pensioner that a drug was not available.
– I wish to ask the Minister for External Affairs whether the Government was consulted in the negotiations which recently took place between the British and Egyptian Governments concerning the Suez Canal zone. Does the Minister consider that the evolution of atom and hydrogen bombs has diminished the strategic value of a link which Australia has hitherto regarded as vital between Europe and ourselves ?
– The Australian Government has been kept well and continuously informed by the United Kingdom Government and also by our own Australian legation in Cairo over the last year, and even longer, about all aspects of the negotiations in respect of the Canal zone establishments! I do not believe that the United Kingdom Government or- this- Government puts less value than previously on the security of thecanal and the. canal zone. However, methods of waging war vary, and the methods of coping with’ the defence of a particular place or area vary similarly. We know very well that those matters have been taken into account by the United Kingdom Government. The agreement that has been reached bears in mind the necessity, in. the view of the United Kingdom Government and, I think, of ourselves, to get and maintain the co-operation of the Egyptian Government in respect of the security of the Middle East as a whole. The honorable member for Angas doubtless knows that, under the agreement, United Kingdom troops which have been, and still- are, in the canal zone are to be re-deployed and used in various ways, and decentralized in various other areas in the Middle East, with the security of thegeneral area in mind.
– When the Minister tells the House that he was kept informed, does he mean that he was kept informed after the decision was made.? If he was kept informed before the decision was made, did he give any opinion, or did the Government give any opinion, to the British Government, as was suggested in the House of Commons, before the British Government made its final decision?
– According to my memory; we have been kept advised in the course of the last two years, and possibly longer than that period, by the United Kingdom Government direct’, and, as I stated in reply to the honorable member for Angas, by our own post in Cairo, about all the proposals before they became actualities. We have had’ the opportunity constantly in recent years to make any proposals to the United Kingdom Government that we have had in mind. We have expressed our view to the United Kingdom Government on many occasions in the last few years about the question that has recently resolved itself into- the- agreement which has become public knowledge in the last month about the Suez Canal installations.
– Has the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture seen the picture, published in a recent issue of a Melbourne daily newspaper, apparently of merino sheep on their way by aeroplane to new pastures in other countries? Will the Minister advise the House whether the restrictions on the export of merino sheep are still in force? Did any merino sheep leave Australia, recently by air ?
– The ban on the export of merino sheep remains unaltered, as it has done for many years. The only exceptions to- the embargo are that permits to export merino sheep to New Zealand are granted subject to the condition that the animals shall not be re-exported from that country, and that permission was granted for about a dozen merino sheep to be shipped to the University of California in the United States of America foi- scientific purposes.
– The question that 1 direct to the Minister for Supply is based upon current reports that the Prime Minister will visit the Northern Territory to perform the official opening; of the treatment plant at the Rum Jungle uranium mine on the 17th September. As the Rum Jungle project is a national undertaking, and as the development and treatment of its deposits, on the scale that will be involved will mark the emergence of Australia as one of the world’s major producers of uranium, will the Minister consider inviting an all-party parliamentary delegation to visit the Northern Territory to witness and take part in the ceremony ?
– It is true that the Rum Jungle treatment plant will be opened by the Prime Minister on. the 17th September. This will be an. historic event, and I think it proper that members, of this House should have an opportunity to witness it. It is proposed that an allparty delegation of, I think, about ten members, representing both the: Government and the Opposition, shall go. to Rum Jungle for the event..
– Not enough.
– I remind the House that there are- other people in Australia besides members of this Parliament who may wish to go, to Bum. Jungle for the occasion, and I also point out that the expense of trips, of this sort is. considerable. However,, the Government will certainly send a representative delegation of members from both sides of the House to Bum Jungle for the ceremony.
– Has the Minister for Labour and National Service seen reports that, because of congestion on the wharfs at Townsville, the Queensland railways authorities have been refusing to carry concentrates and metal from Mr Isa and therefore, are unable to provide rail trucks for the back loading of coal? Is it a fact that, because of this circumstance, continuity of work at Mr Isa is threatened immediately and may be threatened further when the wet season begins and stocks of coal, which ought to be built up now before the railway closes, are not available?
– Various elements affect the situation at Townsville and Mount Isa and I assure the honorable member that the Government is closely examining the problems that have developed there. Some of these problems are common to all northern Queensland ports, where there is heavy seasonal traffic in sugar and meat. The shipowners themselves have established certain priorities for cargoes and, generally speaking, they give a high priority to sugar and meat and lower priorities to general cargoes, including consignments from Mr Isa, which appear at the bottom of the priority list. The Government has initiated discussions with the shipowners in relation to the size of the labour quota at the port of Townsville. In fact, the registered port strength is at present above the- quota level prescribed for the port, and the shipowners have indicated their, reluctance to increase it. If the quota is increased as a result of the present discussions, additional labour will he made available specifically for Mr Isa products. At the moment, I understand that about four pangs have been allocated to shipping in tire port. Wo are- trying to improve on that situation.
– I ask the Prime Minister under which vote of the Parliament provision is made for payments by the Commonwealth security service to persons who furnish information to it. Upon what basis and by whom is the decision on the amount to be paid made ? Who is responsible for authorizing payment? Finally, if the Prime Minister is not the person who actually authorizes payment, is- he kept informed of such transactions, and is his consent required before any payment is made?
– The. business’ of the Australian security service is conducted under the Attorney-General’s Department, in a technical sense,, for administrative purposes, but with direct- reference to myself on matters, of policy.. The security service pursues its work as security services do in other countries. It. has never been my practice to answer questions about what the security service does, how it does it, or what results it has achieved. I propose to adhere,, in the future, to my practice of the past.
– I ask the Minister for the Interior whether a site has been selected for the proposed civil defence school, and whether he is givingconsideration to my recent suggestion that the former air force training camp at Mildura, in Victoria, would he a most suitable, as well as a ready-made, location for the school?
– The site has not been finally selected. Consideration, is being given to the site suggested by the honorable member, but I doubt very much whether it is suitable for the purpose.
– I ask the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture whether, in the light of the report of the recent Australian trade mission to South Africa, steps are being taken to ensure wider publicity abroad for Australian products.
– Yes. The Trade Promotion Division of the Department of Commerce and Agriculture is, in accordance with Government policy, very active at present in helping Australian exporters to find new and wider markets. The recent trade mission to South Africa was highly successful, and very substantial new business connexions were made. Consequently, the Government recently approved the organization of a similar trade mission of Australian businessmen, who will be assisted by one officer of the Trade Promotion Division of my department, to visit selected countries in South - East Asia. In addition to that, a publicity drive is being organized in the United Kingdom, and a special publicity officer has recently been posted to Australia House. Moreover, we are coordinating the activities of the statutory marketing boards. I believe that a meeting is taking place to-day, which is one of a series of meetings, between the permanent head of my department and the chairmen of the statutory marketing boards in connexion with publicity drives in the United Kingdom. “We have also been sponsoring trade exhibitions in Montreal and other places. All those matters are indicators of the activity of the Government in its drive for additional Australian trade.
– Will the Treasurer inform the House whether he approves of the design and character of the recently issued Australian banknotes? Is he in. accord with the omission of the portrait of the ruling monarch from those notes? Does the fact that the notes seem to be following the pattern of the paper currency of the United States of America mean that, in the future, notes, instead of showing the portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, will carry the portrait of the Prime Minister?
– I do approve the design.
– My question is directed to the Minister for the Army. In view of the termination of the employment of certain personnel in the Department of the Army, particularly in base ordnance depots, have steps been taken to ensure that the equipment that has been stored shall receive adequate maintenance ?
– I can reply to that question in. one word, “Yes”. All those matters were carefully considered before steps were taken to re-arrange the staff. Adequate protection and care are being provided.
– Will the Minister for the Army state whether he intends to lay on the table of the House all or any of the papers in relation to the Stockton Bight army disaster? Is the Minister entirely satisfied with the conduct of the inquiry and also with the findings? Did the honorable gentleman learn of any irregularities that may have occurred in the course of the manoeuvres ? If so, will he indicate the nature of the irregularities and whether any action was taken in relation to them?
– The coroner conducted a lengthy public inquiry. He found that the disaster was an unfortunate accident, and I have nothing to add to his findings. It would be quite improper for me to make any comment on them.
– ‘Can the Prime Minister state whether there is or ever was a rocket-range committee? If there is or was such a body will he name its personnel and inform the House of its functions ?
– I am a little puzzled by the honorable member’s question. Is the honorable member referring to some administrative committee in Australia?
– Yes, a rocket-range committee.
– I will ascertain the facts and advise the honorable member accordingly. It does not happen to be in my parish.
Motion (by Sir Eric Harrison) agreed to -
That the House, at its rising, adjourn to to-morrow, at 2.30 p.m.
– I move-
That the honorable member for Fisher (Mr. Adermann) be appointed Chairman of Committees of this House.
– I second the motion.
– I move-
That the honorable member for Kingston (Mr. Galvin) be appointed Chairman of Committees of this House.
– I second the motion.
The time for further proposals having expired,
.- The office of Chairman of Committees is exceedingly important, but the honorable member for Fisher (Mr. Adermann), as Chairman of Committees in the last Parliament, did not appear to acknowledge the importance of his office, except insofar as it benefited members of the Australian Country party. I am confident that many members of the Liberal party in this chamber, if they were honest, would entirely agree with me. I propose the honorable member for Kingston (Mr. Galvin) because he possesses qualifications for the office that the honorable member for Fisher lacks. The honorable member for Fisher, by his actions as Chairman of Committees, has proved conclusively that he is not qualified to occupy that high and important position. It would be bad enough if the honorable member’s failure properly to discharge the duties of Chairman of Committees resulted only from incompetence in interpreting the Standing Orders. But the matter goes much further, as I can testify from my own experience. I believe that the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) and I are the only members ever to be suspended from the service of this chamber merely for interjecting. Honorable members will recall that the honorable member for Fisher demanded an apology from me on the occasion to which I refer. I cite that as an example of the vicious manner in which he carried out his duties as Chairman of Committees. On one occasion he demanded of me an apology but could not tell me why . I. should apologize to the Chair. Finally, all he could say was that I had failed to obey an order of the Chair. His action on that occasion was typical of his con duct throughout the period that he was Chairman of Committees.
The honorable member for Kingston has had wide experience in public affairs. He has shown that he possesses the quality of tolerance which the honorable member for Fisher does not, and, apparently, will never possess. The members of the Liberal party are inclined to make a great joke of my remarks, but I recall occasions in this chamber when the same honorable members did not think that treatment that they received at the hands of the honorable member for Fisher, when he was in the Chair, was so funny ; and those honorable members did not hesitate to air their views in that respect not only in this chamber but also outside.
-Order ! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- As the mover of the motion for the appointment of the honorable member for Fisher (Mr. Adermann) as Chairman of Committees, I welcome the opportunity that the remarks of the honorable member for Herbert (Mr. Edmonds) has provided for me to mention to the House some of the qualifications possessed by the honorable member for Fisher that fit him eminently for the position of Chairman of Committees. This is the third occasion on which the honorable member for Fisher has been nominated for that post; and I have no doubt that it will be the third occasion on which he will be elected to that position. That fact in itself is an indication of the appreciation of honorable members of the qualities which he has in the past brought to his task as Chairman of Committees. The honorable member for Herbert voiced disapproval of some of the actions that were taken by the honorable member for Fisher in his capacity as Chairman of Committees. Honorable members generally are highly appreciative of the work that the honorable member for Fisher has performed in that office, but it is inevitable that individual honorable members, like the honorable member for Herbert, should disapprove of some of the Chairman’s actions. However, every honorable member who has had any experience whatsoever of duties of a judicial nature, such as those that devolve upon the ‘Chairman -of .Committees, recognizes that that post calls for the application of the principles of impartiality and firmness and a determination to preserve basic dignity. Inevitably, some honorable members to whom such principles are applied by the Chairman will disapprove of the treatment that they receive. At the same time, it is .self-evident that on such occasions the .fault lies, not with the parson administering the Standing Orders, but with the honorable members who transgress them. Therefore, when exception is taken to -the application of these principles, the critics should first look to their own actions and bring their conduct into line with the dignity of the Parliament. If the critics took that advice they would have no need to criticize the Chairman of Committees for carrying out the duties of his office.
The honorable member for Fisher has invariably brought to his task as Chairman of Committees all the qualities for which he has been noted since he was elected to this chamber and which were responsible for his nomination originally for election to the post of Chairman of Committees. I refer to the high principles by which he has always been actuated in his activities on behalf of those whom he represents in the Parliament, particularly his qualities of moderation and fairness which he has invariably displayed both in debate and in his administration of the Standing Orders. One quality for which he has always been noted and which ‘he has demonstrated time and time again while he has been a member of this House is his innate gentlemanliness. I suggest that his critics could well emulate his conduct in that respect.
.- Having listened to the flights of fancy of the honorable member for Dawson (Mr. Davidson) t suggest that the House should get down to facts. The position of Chairman of Committees is second only in importance to that of the Speaker because, sir, if you have not an efficient deputy the business ‘of this House cannot be conducted in a proper manner. During the two preceding Parliaments in which the honorable member for Fisher (Mr. Adermann) occupied the post of Chairman of Committees, the business >of the committee was not carried out in the way in which it should have been. On many occasions, the honorable member completely lost control of proceedings in this chamber; and the dignity of this assembly suffered accordingly. The honorable member for Dawson did not say that the honorable member for Fisher is conversant with the Standing Orders. [ do not say that the honorable member tor Fisher is completely lacking in knowledge of the Standing Orders; but I say definitely that he is incapable of applying them. He has shown conclusively time after time that while he has occupied the chair he has been incapable of acting without bias. On every occasion on which a debate of a party political nature took place while he was in the chair, he invariably adopted a partisan attitude. He refused to permit members of the Opposition to criticize members of the Australian Country party or the utterances, or actions, of members of that party. The Standing Orders were in no respect designed to prevent honorable members of one party from criticizing honorable members of another party. On a number of occasions, the honorable member for Fisher, while he occupied the chair in committee, prevented me from criticizing policies of the Australian Country party or individual members of the Liberal party, not because my criticism offended against the Standing Orders, but simply because he disagreed with views that I expressed. On such occasions, the honorable member for Fisher acted, as the honorable member for Dawson has said, with firmness in that he prevented me from expressing mv opinions. On one occasion, when I endeavoured to vindicate my right -as an honorable member, be ordered me to leave the chamber, ostensibly under Standing Order 303. That standing order was adopted at a comparatively recent date. Why was it included in the Standing Orders? The interpretation of Standing Order 303 by the Chairman of Committees has been entirely different from the intention of those honorable members who drafted it. Indeed, Standing Order 303 has been used to protect members of the Australian Country party and the Chairman *>f Committees from criticism.
Ibelievethatthe honorable member for Kingston, whose nomination for the office of Chairman of Committees I am supporting, hasa sound knowledge of the Standing Orders, and can interpret them wisely. He has had experience of the control of meetings of various kinds, and has shownthat he can control a meeting in accordance with the rules of the organization concerned. I am jealous of the high standing and dignity of this House, and I believe that we must have in control of our proceedings officers who can uphold that dignity. But I know, after more than four years’ experience of the honorable member for Fisher as the Chairman of Committees, that the dignity of this chamber is disappearing.
– Order ! The honorable member’s time has expired.
Motion (by Sir Eric Harrison) put -
That the question be now put.
The House divided. (MR. Speaker - Hon. Archie Cameron.)
Majority . . ‘9
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Thebells having been rung and a ballot having been taken,
– I thank the House for its continued confidence in me as its Chairman of Committees. I have respect for my responsibilities and will continue to work in co-operation with you, Mr. Speaker, to carry them out to thebest advantage.
– I should like very much to congratulate our old friend, the honorable member for Fisher (Mr. Adermann), on his election. For a while this evening he semed to be going through stormy waters, but, as usual, he emerged from them serene, and enjoying the confidence of his colleagues in this House.
– I join in the congratulations to the honorable member for Fisher on his election to the position ofChairman of Committees. I hope that he will understand that any criticism of his actions thatwas made tonight was made in perfect good faith and with the hope that this timethings will go better.
Mr. Lindsay, for the committee appointed to prepare an Address-in-Reply to the Speech of His Excellency the Governor-General (vide page 13), presented the proposed Address, which was read by the Clerk.
I move -
That the following Address-in-Reply to the Speech of His Excellency the Governor-General be agreed to: -
We, the House of Representatives of the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia, in Parliament assembled, desire to express our loyalty to our Most Gracious Sovereign, and to thank Your Excellency for the Speech which you have been pleased to address to Parliament.
In moving this motion, I should like to say that I am indeed appreciative of the twofold honour which has befallen me in that first, the people of the Division of Flinders have seen fit to give me their confidence and elect me to this Parliament; and, secondly, that the duty of moving and speaking to this motion has been entrusted to me. I am particularly happy to fill, on this side of the House, the seat that was held by my kinsman, the late Rupert Ryan, whose death so shocked all of us, and of whom I have heard nothing but praise. I trust that I shall be able to carry out my duties to the best of my ability, and in a like manner to that in which he carried out his duties here, for the good of both Australia and its people. This Twenty-first Commonwealth Parliament may well prove to be one of the most historic parliaments in our history. During the last Parliament we celebrated our fiftieth year as a nation. In this Parliament we may be said to be celebrating our coming of age. I believe that these two events will make us more fit to carry out the duties that lie ahead of us. Since we won World War II. nearly ten years ago, an even darker shadow has been moving closer to us and to all lovers of freedom in the world. In the past, any such threat to us has come from Europe, and we have had time to prepare against it. But let us not lose sight of the fact that the time is rapidly coming when we might easily feel the first impact from
Asia. The pattern of current events is following closely the pattern that we have read about, heard about and even lived through. South-East Asia is being swallowed up bit by bit, and finally we might even be threatened. We saw the same pattern in the days of our late adversary, Adolf Hitler, who first took Austria, and later Czechoslovakia, in his march of conquest. Mussolini followed in his footsteps by taking Albania and Abyssinia. To prevent a similar pattern of conquest, we, together with others, may eventually be compelled to take a firm stand - even if there should be a risk attached to it. Individual strength and collective security will probably prove to be the solution of the important problems that I have outlined. Therefore, we have a double obligation to ourselves. First, we must lay a sound foundation for our future security, and, secondly, we must remember that we have grave matters to handle and that perhaps slight sacrifices may be asked of us to ensure a successful handling of them. One of the greatest statesmen in the world at present stands at our head. He is not only persona grata to the Throne, which symbolizes the British way of life, but also to the United States of America without whose friendship and unlimited resources the free world would be fettered.
His Excellency has rightly touched on the recent visit of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second and of His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh to this island continent. I did not have the honour, as did most honorable members present, of seeing the Queen in this House, but I saw her frequently in the streets during her visit. Therefore, J believe that I can rightly say that her radiant personality has given us a greater strength of will than we have ever had before, and that, as the first reigning monarch to visit these shores she has, by her. charm and kindness, knit us all even closer to the Throne. Let us, therefore as a rising nation, help the cause of freedom by showing the same solidarity that we exhibited when she was here among us. Australia to-day shows promise of future greatness which possibly even the pioneers could not imagine, although they, by their hard work, laid the foundations of our present life. Nobody can deny that we have one of the highest standards of living in the world to-day. First, gold was found in our semi-desert regions, and now we have a good prospect of bringing to reality our glittering dream of oil. Unquestionably, uranium is at present being mined in Australia in large quantities, and that element may ultimately even be the means of bringing water to our vast dry inland areas. If it should do so, those areas will be able to carry an even greater population than we could ever imagine. All this and much more is our heritage, and it i3 therefore our bounden duty to preserve and develop this nation.
His Excellency ascribed certain responsibilities to this Parliament in his Speech. He stated that they were thestrengthening of Australia’s security, the maintenance of a healthy economy, the development of our natural resources and the social welfare of the Australian people. Much has been done recently, as the international situation has worsened, to make friends with our neighbors abroad, and to build up our defences at homo. However, much more remains to be clone. In the past the Australian taxpayer has grumbled because high ranking ministers have travelled overseas, but lately his opinion has changed because he has come to realize the value of such visits. Indeed, it has recent been stated that even the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies), overburdened as he is with other duties, might travel to foreign countries in order to exercise his statesmanship abroad. If he should do so, I am sure that the taxpayers will realize that through his influence overseas, and because of the great knowledge that he will be able to bring to the affairs of government, the efficiency with which we deal with international problems will he greatly increased. As our influence abroad grows, and our defence power strengthens, our economy will benefit because incentives will be given for the necessary overseas capital to flow in and develop our resources, and attractive conditions will be developed for workers who will come from the vigorous youngsters now pouring out of our schools as well as from immigrants. In my electorate there are many many people who would be only too willing to work in nearby light industries. There are others who waste much time each day by going from the suburbs to the city.
Our programme in respect of social services is well-known. The easing of the means test is now possible, and that will prove a great incentive to thrifty people to be even more thrifty. I trust that although much has already been done by this Government by way of taxation relief to lower income earners, perhaps it will consider raising the basic age pension for those who .are absolutely dependent upon the pension, particularly those drawing the single unit. Perhaps in the past they have had no incentive to save, or they may have found it too difficult to do so. At the same time, let us not forget that it was their indomitable spirit which enabled them to lay the foundation of the position in which we find ourselves to-day.
In conclusion, I repeat that I am very proud to be a member of this Government which has done so much for Australia, and I shall do my utmost to attain the goal towards which any Christian nation aspires. England owes much to Sir Winston Churchill, and realizes it. We owe a great deal to our Prime Minister, and we recognized it by re-electing him for what I hope will prove to be a record and historic term.. He has the confidence of the people. He has the confidence of his party. May God be with him and with all of us.
– It is my privilege to second the motion of loyalty that was so well moved by the honorable member for Flinders (Mr. Lindsay). I should like to congratulate the honorable member on his speech and to state that I agree with all the sentiments that he expressed. Like the honorable member for Flinders, I am a newcomer to this House. I am taking the place of a man who, in the fulness of his life, thought that it was time for him to leave the public stage. Although all public men experience sadness when they leave public life and a lon<* association with other men, I am sure that Mr. Bernard Corser carries with him into retirement the goodwill not only of the members of this House but also1 of thousands of people in Queensland who1 appreciate his public service to that State. I should also like to1 congratulate you, Mr.. Speaker, upon your election to the very high office which you occupy. During the debate nhat preceded your, election, it was stated that you were so fair minded’ that you could criticize even the Government which you supported when you sat on the back bench. However, I am satisfied that you do not feel, that you can criticize the achievements of the Government during, the last four years. I, too, am very proud indeed to be a supporter of a government that has done more for Australia than has any previous government.
I am pleased to see my leader, the Treasurer (Sir Arthur Fadden), here after the. very nasty accident that he suffered on the eve of election day. Many of us thought that he would not be as- well as he is to-night when the Parliament assembled. It is pleasing to see him displaying that degree of courage and spirit that has enabled him to take his place in this chamber., The people of Queensland deeply appreciated the election tour of the Prime Minister. (Mr. Menzies). 1 compliment the right honorable gentleman upon his great public reception, the best reception that, a public man has ever had in that State. There can be no doubt that the confidence of the people of Australia in- the leadership of the Prime Minister was reflected in the confidence of the people of Queensland. If I were asked for my impressions to-day, I should say that the freedom of outlook that is expressed in the faces of honorable members on this side of the House far surpasses the outlook of socialism to which honorable members opposite are dedicated. There can be no doubt that freedom; of industrial life its opposed to socialism must play a. very important part in the future of this country.
It was gratifying to hear His Excellency the Governor-General, at the opening of this Parliament, indicate th-n-t the Government will carry out the promises- that, were made during the election campaign. If, during the life of this Parliament, the Government strengthens: Australia’s security, maintains ahealthy economy, develops our- natural resources’, and. attends, to- the social welfare of the people, it. will have justified public confidence. It is; time that defence plays a very important part in the life, of Australia. I- agree with the statement of the honorable member for Flinders that, in view of events, in South-East Asia, we must safeguard the defence of our country. I am pleased to note, also, that the Government proposes to retain th’: Foreign Affairs ‘Committee and that it is hoped that all parties will participate in its deliberations’. There can be no division in relation to defence matters- in w democratic country like Australia. J have no doubt that the people of: Australia are more prosperous than they have ever been and that’ that is due to the policy of the Government over the last four years. For many years I have listened to the claim that this country owes its prosperity to the wool industry. The Government recognized that the wool industry means so much to the security of our economy and that the export industries were so important that it decided to develop them. Consequently, Australia’s exports have earned manymillions of pounds..
It was pleasing to hear in the GovernorGeneral’s Speech to-day that our overseas funds are in credit to the amount of £570,000,000’. This indicates that the. Government has worked actively in the interests1 of the producers and the people of this country. But more should be done to assist the woolgrowers. This Government’s action in maintaining the auction system of marketing wool has afforded the wool industry a measure of protection and has done much to enable it to maintain its high position in the export trade. Though governments throughout Australia are ever ready to- acclaim- the wool industry as the basis of the nation’s economy they have done little to help graziers in the fight against the blow-fly and other fleecedestroying pests. I trust that this Government will realize that the wool industry may have t’o pass through tryingtimes’ with depressed prices, and’ that it will help this industry as it has helped others. The wool industry may find itself in a position similar to that of the wheat industry, which has been of immense benefit to Australia and now finds itself short of markets. It is alarming and pitiable to learn that wheat-farmers’ organizations in New South “Wales are advising growers to limit wheat acreages and to turn to other crops. This country lives largely by bread, and wheat is important. Production has been far greater than the total of our domestic requirements and our export quota under the International Wheat Agreement, and the position of the industry is now uncertain. But if anything happens to reduce our income from wool and to weaken the position of the wool industry, wheat will be of immense benefit in helping to maintain the stability of our economy.
This Government has done much tj assist the food-producing industries to achieve prosperity and to attain the production targets set for them by the Australian Agricultural Council. Those who might now be concerned about the position of some industries can take heart from the Government’s fulfilment of its election promise to continue its good work. It has again guaranteed to the butter industry, another great food producer, a price of 49.29d. per lb. The cost of production in this industry to-day is 51.5Sd. per lb. The Government’s response to the appeal of the dairying industry to continue the guarantee so that it may carry on under the present difficult conditions is an encouraging indication to all Australian food producers that this Government is watching their best interests and will ‘do its utmost to help them to prosperity. Some of our great food-producing industries have not yet attained the production targets set out for them by the Australian Agricultural Council, but this Government’s policy should ensure that they will do so by 1957-58, which was the target .year originally decided upon. The production targets in wool, wheat and .sugar have been achieved, and the target for beef has almost been attained. Producers of these commodities will need all the assistance that governments can give them in marketing their produce. I was pleased to learn to-day from the proceedings of this House that the trade missions ito South Africa and Sou.th-East Asia were highly successful and that Australia will continue to send .abroad missions of this sort. They are .good for the country., and the fact that banking institutions are sending representatives with them indicates that our financial institutions have confidence in the Government’s policy.
It is essential that we find markets for the commodities that have been overproduced as a result of a clear policy that was endorsed by this Parliament. The Government acknowledges its obliga tions to many primary industries, and I may be pardoned for mentioning one that has been of great importance to Queensland in particular and to Australia in general for many years. I refer to the sugar industry of Queensland and northern New South Wales, to which the Government and this Parliament have given close attention. Australia is now the fourth largest producer of .sugar in the world. This position has been attained only by the assistance of Australian governments. The Liberal and Australian Country parties have never sought to take the full credit for the development of the sugar industry, for they acknowledge that the Labour party has helped greatly in the development of this industry. In all sugar-producing countries governments have had to take a leading part in the development of the industry, and in Australia a peculiar form of assistance to the industry has been adopted for many years. The judgments of the past were sound and other sugarproducing countries now look to the Australian sugar industry for a lead in solving their difficulties, particularly in disposing .of the over production of ‘sugar. The industry in Australia has developed considerably .since 1949, when the Government led by the late Right Honorable J. B. Chifley sent the Queensland Premier of the time, the late .Mr.. E. M. Hanlon, to London to negotiate an agreement with other British Empire producers for a larger quota of sterling sugar, which was then in short .supply on the world’s markets. Under the new agreement Australia secured a market for 200,00.0 tons in addition to the quota of 400,000 tons which it had .been allotted under the former agreement. That meant that Australia had to supply 600,00 tons under the Empire Sugar Agreement. Whereas in 1948-49, we exported 444,000 tons, valued at approximately £13,000,000, last year we exported 740,000 tons valued at £28,325,000, the latter figure being 140,000 tons in excess of our sterling target. That expansion of the sugar industry resulted from the policy that was deliberately adopted by this National Parliament. There oan be no question that the Government has continued the Australian Sugar Agreement in a manner that is entirely satisfactory to the industry. To-day, with the exception of South African sugar, Australian sugar is the cheapest in the world. The Government has also been responsible for obtaining more favorable terms for the industry under the Empire Sugar Agreement which provides for a price of £46 a ton, an amount equal to the domestic price in this country. Recently, the Government sponsored an agreement among all the exporting and importing countries. I pay tribute particularly to the Minister for Trade and Customs (Senator O’sullivan) and also to Mr. Gair, the Premier of Queensland, for the manner in which they handled those negotiations. This Government has given considerable thought to the ramifications of the international sugar agreement. It recognized that Cuba, which was not a combatant in World War II., had produced 5,000,000 tons of sugar, and that because that country was unable to find a dollar market, over 2,000,000 tons of that quantity had been left to rot in the fields. The Government recognized that the price must be a figure which Great Britain and other sterling countries could afford to pay. Last year, sugar exported to Canada from this country earned for us a total of 10,000,000 dollars. Thus, it is a very handy commodity.
I compliment the Government upon its success at the recent general election. I acknowledge the outstanding benefits that it has conferred upon our primary industries, and I have no doubt that it will continue to pursue similar policies which will be in the best interests not only of our primary producers, to whom every encouragement should be given to increase production, but also of the people of this country as a whole.
.- First, I express gratification at my re-entry into this Parliament. I acknowledge the confidence and goodwill which the electors of Sturt expressed in choosing me as their representative here. At the recent general election I obtained the greatest majority that has been recorded since that constituency was formed. It is, indeed, a happy experience for me to renew my acquaintance with this Parliament in such circumstances.
I congratulate the honorable member for Flinders (Mr. Lindsay) and the honorable member for Wide Bay (Mr. Brand) upon their maiden speeches that they have just delivered. I have no doubt that all honorable members were keenly interested in the subjects with which they dealt and I believe that all of us will be happy to hear those honorable gentlemen whenever they participate in the deliberations of this House. If they felt somewhat nervous in making their maiden speeches, they did not reveal that fact. All honorable members who have undergone a similar ordeal fully appreciate the feelings which these newcomers to the House must have experienced in addressing this assembly for the first time.
Honorable members will be well advised to get straight certain facts about the result of the recent general election and to appraise accurately the degree to which the Government really represents the people of this country. This Government is a minority government. It does not enjoy the confidence of the majority of the electors, and honorable members opposite would do well to recognize that fact. The total polling figures provide clear proof that the majority of the electors do not endorse the policies which this Government seeks to implement. Recently, the Vice-President of the Executive Council (Sir Eric Harrison), by some remarkable mathematical process, attempted to prove that a majority of the electors had voted for Government candidates. He made a statement to that effect practically at the very moment that the Chief Electoral Officer in Canberra, on the 16th June last, when the counting of votes had been almost completed, announced that candidates of the Government parties, that is, both Liberal and Australian Country’ party candidates, had polled a total of 2,117,669 primary votes whereas candidates of the Australian Labour party had obtained a total of 2,256,164 votes, or 138,000 more. Having regard to those figures, it is clear that the Government parties were returned to office solely because of the disproportionate distribution of voting strength in the various electorates caused by the growth of new housing areas and the movement of population. For that reason, although Government candidates polled a minority of total votes, the Government obtained a majority of seven seats in this House. Consequently, honorable members opposite cannot justify their claim that the people have again given them a mandate to govern. Further proof of the truth of that statement is the fact that the Government’s majority of seats in this House was actually reduced at each of the last two general elections. Therefore, to-day, not the Government parties, but the Australian Labour party, speaks for the majority of Australian voters. The Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt) should take great encouragement from the fact that the majority of the people so clearly endorsed the policy that he enunciated during the last general election campaign. Their endorsement would have been even more emphatic but for the fact that many people regarded Labour’s policy as being a little too progressive or somewhat in advance of the times. Evidence is not wanting that those people have, since the 29th May last, realized the mistake that they then made. I have not the slightest doubt that the great majority of Australians are now concerned that this Government, being capable of implementing every pledge that the Leader of the Opposition gave to them on behalf of the Australian Labour party during the recent general election campaign, has not the power to govern. Tn these circumstances, Government supporters should not preen themselves upon the fact that they enjoy a majority of seats in this House. If the number of voters had been spread more equitably throughout the various individual electorates, not the present Government parties, but the Australian Labour party would now occupy the Treasury bench and a Labour government would be implementing its policy, fashioning a better way of life for out people, and advancing the welfare of this nation by enabling it to defend itself adequately and to exploit its magnificent natural resources.
I am astounded that the Government did not consider it necessary to summon the Parliament before to-day. During the last few weeks, grave international problems have arisen, and the public has been deeply concerned about the seriousness of the situation. The general election was held on 29th May. To-day U the 4th August. I believe that the Parliament should have been summoned at least three weeks ago because honorable members, as the elected representatives of the people, wore entitled to information about the international position. However, we had to rely upon the newspapers for information -about a number of grave matters. The Government admits that the .international situation is complex. . His Excellency, in his Speech to the Parliament this afternoon, said - .
The conduct of Australia’s external relations over the last three years has been a complex task. The course of world events gives ground for concern that this task will he no less difficult during’ the life of the 21st Parliament.
If that statement reflects the view of the Government about the seriousness of the international situation, why was not ‘the Parliament summoned earlier in order that the honorable members might be informed of the position? The Parliament has a right to information about the situation. The Prime Minister, in answer to a question this evening, indicated that he would make a statement’ to the House to-morrow on this subject. The statement will be three weeks late. The Parliament should have been given information about those matters when the vital negotiations were in progress, so that it could have expressed its views about the policy which should be adopted by the Government in the interests of the people of Australia.
National defence and the present international situation are inseparable subjects. We have reason to feel concern about, our defence position. In the dying hours of the, last Parliament,, the Minister for Defence (Sir Philip McBride). enunciated, a policy for. the defence, of Australia. I remind the House, in passing, that the statement was made more than, four years after the ‘Government had assumed office. When the policy was disclosed to the world, even some supporters of the Government felt gravely concerned about the inadequacy of it. The london Time: described it as a poor policy and asked, hi effect, “Is this- another instance of too little too late?”. Undoubtedly, that statement by the Minister for Defence aroused considerable apprehension in the minds not only of Australians, but also of the people of countries close to us in these matters. They saw Australia as a country that was only starting to determine a policy.
What has the Government done, and what does it propose to do, to strengthen our defences? I believe that this House, before it considers the budget, should have debates on international affairs, and national defence. The Minister for Defence should initiate a debate on defence matters by making a statement on that subject, laying the paper on the table of the House, and moving that it be printed. In that way, the House would be afforded an. opportunity to review fully these questions. Only in that way can. we be completely assured. I was one of the Labour ministers who were requested to take up the loose ends that a government of a similar political complexion to the present Government left when it was incapable of carrying on the war effort at the most serious period in the history of Australia. When we investigated the position, there was not a single fighter aircraft in this country, the last 30,000 rifles had been sent away, and the best of our trained men were in the- Western Desert. At that moment, we weise threatened with invasion by an enemy force. The anti-Labour Government had failed in its responsibilities to this: nation, and it was: left to the Curtin Labour Government to provide leadership and drive for the organization of the national, resources, which helped, in a large measure, to safeguard this country and other countries adjacent to it. That being so, I consider that- members, of the Government will need to- be- much more convincing in their general expressions, and. will need to provide additional proof to this. House before we shall feel satisfied they have fulfilled their obligations to Australia. I shall not prolong this debate,, because I. consider that it. should be concluded reasonably early; so. that honorable members may devote their attention to the vital matters of policy that I have mentioned. I thank the House for its indulgence and for the attention that it has paid to my remarks. I trust that many of the fine and happy associations that I have had in this Parliament in the past will be. renewed while I. represent the- Division of Sturt in this chamber..
– The honorable member for Sturt (Mr. Makin) was not known to me previously, except by reputation, but he has proved to me by his remarks this evening- that he is still as anti-Liberal in his outlook as he was when he was a member of this chamber years ago.
– How does the honorable member know that?
– The honorable, member for Sturt has given us: excellent evidence of it this evening, and he is in remarkably good company, because he is with, a batch of anti-Liberals. The honors able member sought to gain some consolation from his theory about the number of votes cast for the Labour party at the last general election. That is a very dry store- indeed and he cannot expect to extract any nourishment from it. Irrespective of the number of votes cast for the Australian Labour party at the previous election, the fact remains that the Menzies- Government continues to occupy the treasury bench.. The people have spoken. They have returned to office the political parties that have given them the sensible form of government that they have enjoyed, since they took, the reins of government from the socialists and anti-Liberals in 1949. If the honorable, member for Sturt has any quarrel about electorate*-
– He: did not. make any comment about electorates.
– He did so. The honorable member for Melbourne (Mr. Calwell) must have been asleep while the honorable member for Sturt was speaking. I inform the honorable member for Sturt that his- quarrel in that matter is with the honorable member for Melbourne, who played a> major part in the redistribution of electorates in 1949. The honorable member for Sturt was singularly modest in his claims about votes cast for the Australian Labour party, because he dealt only with primary votes. An overwhelming majority of preference votes of Communists were cast for the Labour party, and that fact would boost his figures a little. But the fact still remains that we are in- office, and continue to be the advisers of his Excellency the GovernorGeneral.
– God help Australia !
– The position would be worse- if the honorable member for Watson (Mr. Curtin) held any position of responsibility. [Quorum formed.’] I noted, with a great deal of interest the wish expressed by the honorable member for Sturt that the Leader of the Opposition should remain long at the head of the Labour party. We on this side of the House heartily endorse that wish. As long as we have the Leader of the Opposition to present to the people as an alternative Prime Minister. the political situation will suit us- fine ! The honorable member also referred to the condition of Australia when, he took office as a Minister after the general, election of 1941, and said that the affairs of the country were in a shocking’ state. The honorable gentleman speaks now in an entirely different voice from that of the late John Curtin, who on several occasions praised the foundations that the Menzies-Fadden Government had laid for Australia’s war effort.
– He did nothing of the sort.
– The fact that he did so is: on record. It is of no use for an ex-Minister to say now that things were not in order when the Labour party took office in 1941, because his leader at that time was at great, pains to praise- the work of the previous Government. The
Governor-General was able to tell thu Parliament, this afternoon that; his advisers reported w. general and continuing state, of prosperity throughout thu Australian economy. He: went on to say-
The number in civilian employment, is the highest ever recorded, in. this country; and the output, of goods, and services is correspond ingly high. Prices have remained remarkably steady.
That, is a noteworthy achievement.
Co-operation between all sections of the community, and co-operation in. the international sphere,, will enable us to maintain this remarkable’ state of internal prosperity and also to preserve the peace that is essential to the continuance of prosperity. There is scope for a greater degree of co-operation in international affairs. We, as the. parliamentary representatives of: the Australian, people, should know more of the problems that, face out neighbours in. South-East Asia, and the near north-,, particularly in Indonesia. ] should like this- Parliament to send delegations to all such countries on goodwill missions to study their, problems, and to tell them of our problems. By that means- we could gain a sound knowledge of the- difficulties that, beset our neighbours and of their plans for the future. Their ideologies, their aims and their ambitions may differ from ours, but they have- a right to pursue their own destinies. We in this National Parliament should have an opportunity to study conditions in neighbouring countries at first hand and to learn of their- plans for the future.. By doing so, we can find ways of co-operating with them! in order to achieve international peace; Much good can be gained by a frequent exchange of parliamentary delegations. We should facilitate visits to Australia, by representatives of those countries so that they can learn more about us and. our problems and aspirations than they know at present. Only by understanding each other better can we hope to break down the tensions that endanger our relations. By working together in- close co-operation we can achieve our objective of prosperity with a stable peace.
The success of the Government’s plans, which were dealt with in the GovernorGeneral’s Speech, depends largely upon co-operation between the Australian Government and the State governments. Such co-operation has been remarkable for its absence in the last few years. This has been due largely to the attitude of anti-Liberal governments in various States which have sought to make political capital out of the good deeds of this Government. No real effort has been made by State governments to work cooperatively for the advancement of our national welfare. The Governor-General’s Speech contained an. interesting reference to plans for the extension of rail links and other transport systems for the purpose of developing beef production in northern Queensland and the Northern Territory.
– It was a very airy reference.
– Such references were notably absent from Governor-General’s Speeches while the Labour party was in power. Valuable results could be achieved if the Government could obtain the cooperation of the Queensland Government in this work. It is all very well to talk of sending commissions into northern Queensland and the Northern Territory in order to consider the best way to develop the beef industry, but the files of various Commonwealth and State authorities have become choked with the reports of such commissions. ‘ There is an urgent need to increase beef production in the great breeding areas of the Northern Territory. A representative of one meat company told me in Queensland last week that his organization had planned to bring 30,000 head of cattle from the Northern Territory to its killing works at Rockhampton during 1953-54 but, because of the shortcomings of our transport system, had been able to move only 10,000 head. We must provide means of transport that will enable the industry to make the best use of the breeding areas of the Northern Territory in conjunction with the fattening areas of Queensland. Beef production can be increased vastly by that means. Unfortunately, the Queensland Government’s attitude to such plans is unco-operative.
– That is not so.
– As the honorable member for Melbourne knows full well, the State Government is prepared to cooperate only if the Commonwealth will provide all the money. It is not prepared to spend a penny on the extension of its railway services. It wants the Commonwealth to do all the work. That is an old story that we have heard over and over again. The States talk of their sovereign powers, but all they want are the sovereigns of this Government. Furthermore, they insist that they shall have the right to spend this Government’s money as they wish. I repeat that we can solve the problems that hamper the development of the beef industry in the Northern Territory and Queensland only by means of close co-operation between the Commonwealth and the State. This Government has offered to co-operate, -but the Queensland Government has refused to reciprocate.
The honorable member for Melbourne recently paid a flying visit to such places as Cairns and Darwin, after which he spoke of the alleged inadequacy of our defence system in northern Australia. He came and went like a comet and then considered himself to be qualified to make some airy-fairy criticisms of our defences. He spoke of his great interest in Queensland and the Northern Territory and said that this part of the continent must be developed and defended.
– Hear, hear!
– The honorable member and his colleagues say, “ Hear, hear !” now, but their protestations belie their actions last night, when they had an opportunity to select representatives of Queensland and the Northern Territory for appointment to their controlling body in this Parliament. In fact, they have not elected to their executive anybody who represents any part of Australia north of Sydney. That shows how much importance they attach to the development of Queensland and the Northern Territory. They elected, for example, not the honorable member for Herbert (Mr. Edmonds), but the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen), and not the honorable member for the Northern Territory (Mr. Nelson), but the honorable member for Blaxland (Mr. E. James Harrison).
No member of the executive of the Federal Parliamentary Labour party is a representative of Queensland or the Northern Territory. So much for their protestations of interest in Northern Australia! The truth is that they entirely ignored the Queenslanders in their ranks when they selected the membership of their controlling body. Why did they not choose a Queenslander or the honorable member for the Northern Territory if they were honestly concerned for the welfare of northern Australia? They tell one story with their mouths, but their votes tell a different story. We want to know where the antiLiberals stand in relation to the development of the great open spaces of northern’ Australia. I hope that some member of the Opposition will take the opportunity before this debate concludes to explain why his party neglected the representatives of Queensland when it elected its executive last night.
The problems of northern Australia are real and pressing, and there is scope for co-operation in their solution between all political parties represented in this House. This Government would welcome honest and constructive criticism of its policies by members of the Opposition, and therefore I hope that the Opposition will ask those of its members who know and understand conditions in northern Australia to apply their minds to the subject. It is of no use for any honorable member who represents an area south of the “ Brisbane line “, which the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) invented some years ago, to attack the Government on this issue. We on this side of the House want the Opposition to obtain the advice of members who come from northern Australia before it attacks the Government’s plans for the development and the defence, of that vast region. These are dangerous times and we should work as a parliament, not merely as a party political institution in which opposing sides gibe and jeer at each other. We should be able to co-operate as Australians to solve Australia’s problems. We can achieve great results if we put Australia’s interests first and set aside our differences. All honorable members should be given fuller and freer opportunities to travel around Australia in order that they might acquire a complete understanding of the country’s problems. If we were enabled to travel extensively through the country, we should be far better equipped than we are at present to grapple with the problems of the nation. I ask the Government to consider the advisability of making provision for organized tours to all parte of Australia by members of this legislature. The whole nation depends upon us for its development. Therefore, we should be properly equipped to discharge our responsibilities to it.
Greater co-operation is also needed between employers and employees. Fortunately, this Government has enabled great progress to be made in this direction and, as a result, it has attracted to itself the support of most of the trade unionists and working people of the community. In fact, the Government is in power to-day only because it has been able to foster far greater co-operation in the industrial sphere than existed previously. We are here because of that fact. We on this side of the House represent the majority and honorable ‘ members opposite represent, the minority of the electors, and I believe that each of us, using his influence, which is not inconsiderable, could promote some greater degree of good relationships between employer and employee. I believe also that there exist in Australia not only room for greater pride in workmanship, but also a need for greater pride in management. Management and labour should co-operate more closely. We, in this Parliament, have a direct responsibility to use our influence wherever possible to see that this is achieved.
We also have responsibilities towards people in the community who are poor, distressed and in need of the help that perhaps governments alone can give them. I was pleased to note that the GovernorGeneral stated in his Speech that plans are afoot to relieve still further the disabilities suffered by some people in the community. A lot remains to be done in the field of social services, but I am proud that this Government has done more in the way of extending social services benefits to the community than any previous Government has done, irrespective of the duration of its term of office.
However, as I have said, there is more to do. One of the things that. I should like , to see done is an extension of courses in rehabilitation work so that we may be able togive more people self-respect by restoring them to the working community as wage earners. In order todo so we require more trained and experienced social workers. I do not know the figures that apply in other States, because I have been unable to have them collated, but I know that in Queensland there are onlynine trained social workers for the Australian Red Cross and other similar organizations. They play a vital part in the rehabilitation of incapacitated people, and I believe that the Government would do a great service to the community if it were to initiate means whereby people in Government employment, and other people who so desired, could receive training in the field of social work. Such training would enable them to rehabilitate and restore to the wage-earning field people who are in need of such rehabilitation because of physical incapacity, who need all the sympathy and practical help we can give them. They are receiving a goodly amount now, but a great deal more could be achieved by increasing the number of trained and experienced social workers. In this way the problems of many of the distressed people in the community could be better understood, their way back to society and into the working community be made smoother, and their approach to their problems generally be made easier.. I leave it to the House. I believe that this desirable objective can be achieved and that the Government can do a. great deal towards the achievement of it. I am proud that the Government has again earned the overwhelming confidence of the people, and has been returned with a good majority. I believe that it will set out with vigour to implement the programme outlined in the Governor-General’s Speech. That programme has been presented to us as one that will be for the good of the community, and I trust that, instead of receiving abuse from the Opposition, we shall receive from it encouragement and co-operation in meeting the problems that lie ahead.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Costa) adjourned.
The following papers were presented: -
Air (Force Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 195.4, No. 30.
Air Navigation Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1954, Nos. 26, 32.
Apple and Pear Organization Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1954, No. 65.
Banking Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules . 1954, No. 60.
Broadcasting Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1954, No. 51.
Canned Fruits Export Control Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1954, No. 66.
Commerce (Trade Descriptions) Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1954, No. 73.
Commonwealth Bank Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1954, No. 61.
Commonwealth Electoral Act and Referendum (Constitution Alteration) Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1954, No. 27.
Commonwealth Grants Commission Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1954, No. 74.
Commonwealth Railways Act - By-law No. 90.
Conciliation and Arbitration Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1954, No. . 37.
Copyright Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1954, No. 81.
Cotton Bounty Act - Return for 1953.
Customs Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1954, No. 76.
Customs Act and Commerce ( Trade Descriptions) Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1954, Nos. 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49.
Dairy Produce Export Control Act -Regula tions - Statutory Rules 1954, No. 67.
Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1954, No. 33. (Defence Transition (Residual Provisions) Act-
National Security (Industrial Property) Regulations - Orders - Inventions and designs (22).
Designs Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1954, No. 82.
Dried FruitsExport Control Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1954, Nos. 53, 68.
Egg Export Charges Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1954, No. 85.
Egg Export Control Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1954, Nos. 69, 72.
Explosives Act - Regulations - Orders -
Berthing of a Vessel (4).
Repealing orders of general application.
Statutory Rules 1954, No. 34.
High Commissioner Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1954, No. 75.
Lands Acquisition Act -
Land, &c, acquired for -
Customs purposes -
Defence purposes -
Bullsbrook, Western Australia.
Concord, New South Wales.
Dubbo, New South Wales.
Glen Innes, New South Wales.
Kingswood, New South Wales.
Potts Point, New South Wales.
Rottnest Island, Western Australia.
Sunday Creek, Seymour, Victoria.
Williamtown, New South Wales.
Department of Civil Aviation purposes -
Brewarrina, New South Wales.
Broken Hill, New South Wales.
Cleve, South Australia.
Derby, Western Australia.
Forster, New South Wales.
Nyngan, New South Wales.
Parkes, New South Wales.
Wilcannia, New South Wales.
Postal purposes -
Brungle, New South Wales.
Coonamble, New South Wales.
Eight Mile Creek, South Australia.
Homebush, New South Wales.
Kickabil, New South Wales.
Laurel Hill, New South Wales.
Leeton North, New South Wales.
Mi la, New South Wales.
Mingbool, South Australia.
Mount Crystal, New South Wales.
Nundle-road, New South Wales.
South Gogeldrie, New South Wales.
Timbumburi, New South Wales.
Viewmont, New South Wales.
Returns (4) of land disposed of under section 63.
Meat Export Control Act - Regulations -
Statutory Rules 1954, No. 70.
National Health Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1954, Nos. 35, 54, 77, 78.
National Service Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1954, No. 36.
Nauru - Ordinance - 1954 - No. 1 - Local Government Council.
Naval Defence Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1954, Nos. 28, 31, 89.
Navigation Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1954, Nos. 25, 38, 39.
Northern Territory (Administration) Act -
Ord i nances - 1954 -
No. 1 - Interpretation.
No. 2 - Public Seal.
No. 3 - Hawkers.
No. 4 - Crown Lands.
Regulations - 1 954 -
No. 2 (Health Ordinance).
No. 3 (Health Ordinance).
No. 4 (Lottery and Gaming Ordinance ) .
No. 5 (Crown Lands Ordinance).
Papua and New Guinea Act - Ordinances-
No. 7 - Animal Disease and Control.
No. 9. - Motor Vehicles (Third Party Insurance) .
No. 20 - Liquor (New Guinea).
No. 70 - Registration of Births, Deaths, and Marriages (New Guinea ) .
No. 85- Motor Vehicles (Third Party Insurance) .
No. 1 - Lands Registration (New Guinea) .
No. 3 - Land (Papua).
Patents Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1954, Nos. 40, 05, 50, 79.
Pearl Fisheries Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1954, No. 58.
Post and Telegraph Act - Regulations- - Statutory Rules 1954, Nos. 29, 52.
Public Service Act -
Appointments - Department -
Air - A. V. Aarons, M. L. W. Munday.
Army - G. B. Barlin, D. C. Kirton
Attorney-General - C. M. Bentley, R. A. Blackmail, R. Brown, 13. Winter.
Civil Aviation- J. W. Allwell, J. E. Cleaver, J. A. Falconer, R. H. Jurvis, H. M. Karsen, E. W. Laurence, A. E. Lublin, J. More, C. Vahtrick.
Commerce and Agriculture - K. R. Constantine, M. T. Davies, E. E. M. Ledger.
Defence - J. E. G. Elsworth.
Defence Production - E. H. Brent, C. A. Burley, B. M. Downes, D. V. Eastwood. N. C. Grave, R. H. Jones, M. McCracken, J. W. McOrist, J. W. D. Riordan, I. C. Thomas, R. J. Wiles, R. K. Young.
External Affairs - M. J. Cook, R. P. S. Hayman, M. E. Lyon.
Health - G. A. Barr, A. P. Brammall,
Interior - B. L. Lyne, A. B. Patton, K. W. Watson.
Labour and National Service - J. Whittemore.
National Development - I.F. Reynolds.
Prime Minister- J. A. Donnelly.
Repatriation - D. S. Brandt, K. J. Byers. M. A. Clarke. T. R. B. Courtney, W. D. Ex ton, A. M. Grey-Wilson, D. B. Heness, S. E. Juttner, R. I. Myers, E. M. Palmer, D. W. Short, R. V. Southcott, E. W. Wall, J. H. Waterhouse, J. M. Wood.
Shipping and Transport - G. P. Hodge, D. W. Hodges, L. J. Prandolini, G. W. Ross, J. D. L. Williams.’
Social Services - H. E. Doe, Z. T. Fryer, C. B. Murphy, J. V. Simpson.
Supply - K. J. Ausburn, J.R. Baxter, J. L. Beard, P. W. A. Bowe,F. H. Carr, R. Cartwright, J. M. Cawley, R. S. Edgar, J. Herington, D. G. Hurley, N. K. Jones, N. P. Louat, J. P. MacFarlane, E. C. Montgomery, D. G. Strahle. D. R. D. Warren, N. Webb, D. L. Willetts.
Territories - G. E. A. Armstrong, W. C. Baxter, W. C. Laufer, L. P. Ross.
Trade and Customs - J. J. Adams, A. T. Schneider.
Works- 13. J. Amey, C. C. Balchin, D. A. Cook, D. G. Copeland, H. J. Dare, C. C. Day, P. T. Dillon, E. E. Eager, R. J. Eaton, K. Eisner, C. M. Humphries, R. A. Jones, J. Kaldor, W. C. Kerr, A. Krysztal, V. V. Makhno, C. K.” McDonald, K. T. McGrath, C. W. McKeown. G. A. McRae, C. S. I. Menzies, L. V. Pakchung, R. G. Perry, H. V. Pinkus, L. A. M. Pittelkow,” A. Potter, L. A. Rasmussen, T. J. Schuhert, I. C. Simpson, D. T. Skewes, K. R. Styles, C. W. Thompson.
Regulations - Statutory Rules 1954, No. 57, 86.
Public Service Arbitration Act - Determinations - 1954-
No. 5 - Civil Aviation Employees Association of Australia.
No. 12 - Peace Officer Guard Association.
No. 13 - Commonwealth Public Service Clerical Association and Customs Officers’ Association of Australia, Fourth Division.
No. 14 - Repatriation Department Medical Officers’ Association.
No. 15 - Transport Workers Union of Australia.
No. 16- Amalgamated Engineering Union and others.
No. 17 - Amalgamated Engineering Union and Sheet Metal Working Agricultural Implement and Stovemaking Industrial Union of Australia.
No. 18 - Commonwealth Legal Professional Officers Association.
No. 19 - Commonwealth Storemen and Packers Union.
No. 20 - Federated Ironworkers Association of Australia and others.
No. 21 - Australian Broadcasting Commission Staff Association.
No. 22 - Non-Official Postmasters Association of Australia.
No. 23 - Commonwealth Public Service Clerical Association.
No. 24 - Professional Officers Association, Commonwealth Public Service.
No. 25 - Postal Telecommunication Technicians’ Association (Australia).
No. 20 - Customs Officers Association of Australia (Fourth Division).
No. 27 - Transport Workers Union of Australia.
No. 28 - Commonwealth Public Service Artisans Association.
No. 29 - Postal Telecommunication Technicians Association (Australia).
No. 30 - Musician’s Union of Australia.
No. 31 - Postal Telecommunication Technicians’ Association (Australia).
No. 32 - Commonwealth Foremen’s Association.
Re-establishment and Employment Act - I Regulations - Statutory Rules 1954, No. 59.
Science and Industry Research Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1954, No. 41.
Seat of Government Acceptance Act and Seat of Government (Administration) Act -
No. 9 - Medical Practitioners Registration.
No. 10 - Dentists Registration
No. 11 - Foreign Judgments (Reciprocal Enforcement).
No. 12 - Workmen’s Compensation.
No. 13 - Poisons and Dangerous Drugs.
No. 3 (Canberra University College Ordinance ) .
No. 4 (Education Ordinance).
No. 5 (Public Health Ordinance).
No. 6 (Associations Incorporation Ordinance).
No. 7 (Education Ordinance).
Service and Execution of Process Act -
Regulations - Statutory Rules 1954, No. 83.
Stevedoring Industry Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1954, No. 64.
Sulphur Bounty Act - Return for year 1953-54.
Superannuation Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1954, No. 87.
Tractor Bounty Act - Return for year 1953-54.
Trade Marks Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1954, No. 80.
War Service Homes Act - Land acquired at Cabramatta, New South Wales.
Wheat Marketing Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1954, No. 84.
Wine Overseas Marketing Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1954, Nos. 71,88.
Wireless Telegraphy Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1954, No. 50.
Wool Tax Act (No. 1) - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1954, No. 62.
Wool Tax Art (No. 2) - RegulationsStatutory Rules 1954, No. 63.
House adjourned at 10.34 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 4 August 1954, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1954/19540804_reps_21_hor4/>.