15th Parliament · 2nd Session
The Senate met at 3 p.m., pursuant to the proclamation of His Excellency the Governor-General.
The President (Senator the Hon. J. B. Hayes) took the chair.
The Clerk read the proclamation.
VERNOR-GENERAL entered the chamber, and, being seated, with the President on his right hand, a message was sent to the House of Representatives, intimating that His Excellency desired the attendance of honorable members in the Senate chamber, who, being come with their Speaker,
HIS EXCELLENCY was pleased to deliver the following speech: -
Gentlemen of the Senate and Gentlemen of the House of Representatives :
You have been called together to deliberate upon matters of importance to the well-being of the Commonwealth.
The principle of that statement still stands; but the tragic truth is that we now find ourselves compelled to establish it by war.
These results could not have been achieved in a time of war, when quite other results might normally be expected, without the measures to which I have referred.
His Excellency the GovernorGeneral and members of the House of Representatives having retired,
The President again took the chair and read prayers.
Sitting suspended from 3.30 to 5 p.m.
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. J. B. Hayes). - I desire to inform the Senate that Mr. David R. Grenfell, C.B.E., member for the Gower Division of Glamorganshire in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, is within the precincts of the chamber. With the concurrence of honorable senators I. shall invite him to take a seat on the floor of the Senate beside the President’s chair.
Honorable Senators. - Hear, hear!
Mr. Grenfell thereupon entered the chamber and was seated accordingly.
– by leave - I regret to have to move a motion of condolence in respect of the death of the Honorable William Henry Wilks, a former member of the House of Representatives of this Parliament. Mr. Wilks, who died in Melbourne on the 5th February last, was elected to the first Parliament in 1901 for the Division of Dalley in New South Wales, and was re-elected in 1903 and in1906 for that division. He was the Government Whip in 1904 and 1905, and Temporary Chairman of Committees in 1905-1907. He was also a member of the Royal Commission on Postal Services from 1908 to 1910, being Chairman of the Commission from December, 1908. Although many years have passed since the late Mr. Wilks was a member of the House of Representatives, it is in keeping with Parliamentary tradition that we should honour his memory and place this motion on record. 1 express to his widow and family sincere sympathy in their bereavement. I move -
That the Senate expresses its sincere regret at the death of the Honorable William Henry Wilks, member for the division of Dalley in the House of Representatives from 1901 to 1910, places upon record its appreciation of his meritorious public service, and extends its profound sympathy to his widow and family in their sad bereavement.
– I second the motion. I did not have the privilege of personal acquaintance with the late Mr. Wilks. I agree particularly with the remarks of the Leader of the Senate that we should always pay a tribute of respect to those gentlemen who have rendered service in any way in the government of thi3 country.
– I formally associate the Coventry party with the motion. I have a personal recollection of the late Mr. Wilks, who w.as to some degree identified with the district from which I come. I should not like to remain silent on this occasion when the Senate is being asked to pay tribute to the memory of the deceased gentleman.
Question resolved in the affirmative, honorable senators standing in their places.
– by leave - It is with regret that I submit a motion of condolence with respect to the death of one who was in earlier years a member of this chamber - former Senator Richard Hartley Smith Abbott, who died in- Bendigo in Victoria on the 28th February. The late gentleman was elected to the Senate by the State Parliament of Victoria on the 18th December, 1928, in the place of the late Senator Andrew. He retired at the expiration of his term on the 30th June, 1929. He had a lengthy parliamentary career in Victoria, and at the time of his election to the Senate was a member of the Legislative Council, of that State. He was a member of the River Murray Waters Commission. The report of this commission formed the basis of the existing agreement .relating to the locking of the Murray River for the purposes of water storage and irrigation. I extend to the members of his family sincere sympathy in their bereavement. I- move -
That the Senate ex-presses its deep regret at the death of former Senator Richard Hartley Smith Abbott, places on record its appreciation of his meritorious public service, and extends its sincere sympathy to the members of his family in their bereavement.
– I second the motion. The late ex-Senator Abbott was not a member of the Senate when I was first elected to this chamber, but he had only very recently retired. He was undoubtedly a kindly gentleman. Again, I say, we are doing the right and proper thing in paying tribute to the memory of a man because of the distinguished public service which he rendered to the Commonwealth in various capacities.
– I associate the members of the Country party with the motion. I knew the late ex-Senator Abbott when he was a member of the Victorian Parliament and also when he was a leading citizen of the City of Bendigo. He did remarkably good work and leaves behind him a fine record of public service. Wo regret very much indeed the passing of a man who has done such good work as a citizen of this country. I agree with the Leader of the Senate that the late ex-Senator Abbott left a record of wonderful public service, not only as a. member of Parliament but also as a private citizen of the Commonwealth.
Question resolved in the affirmative, honorable senators standing in their places.
- by leave-I desire to inform the Senate of the following changes which took place in the Ministry after the adjournment of Parliament in December last and prior to the recent reconstruction: -
On the 26th January, theRight Honorable R. G. Casey, Minister for Supply and Development, resigned from the Ministry. The Honorable Sir Frederick Stewart was appointed Minister for Supply and Development, vice Mr. Casey.
On the 23rd February, the Honorable J. N. Lawson, Minister for Trade and Customs, resigned his appointment, and theRight Honorable R. G. Menzies was appointed to that portfolio.
– by leave - I formally announce to the Senate that, on the 14th March, 1940, the Ministry was reconstructed and is now constituted as follows: -
The Right Honorable Robert Gordon , Menzies, K.C., M.P. - Prime Minister, Minister for Defence Co-ordination and Minister for Information.
The Honorable Archie Galbraith Cameron, M.P. - Minister for Commerce and Minister for the Navy.
Brigadier the Honorable Geoffrey Austin Street, M.C., M.P. - Minister for the Army and Minister for Repatriation.
The Honorable Sir Henry Somer Gullett, K.C.M.G., M.P.- VicePresident of the Executive Council and Minister in charge of Scientific and Industrial Research.
The Honorable Harold Victor Campbell Thorby, M.P.- PostmasterGeneral and Minister for Health.
The Honorable John McEwen, M.P. - Minister for External Affairs.
The Honorable Arthur William Fadden, M.P. - Minister assisting the Treasurer and assisting the Minister for Supply and Development.
Senator the Honorable Herbert Brayley Collett, C.M.G., D.S.O., V.D. - Minister in charge of War Service Homes and assisting the Minister for Repatriation.
The Honorable Horace Keyworth Nock, M.P. - Minister assisting the Prime Minister and in charge of External Territories, and assisting the Minister for the Interior.
Although the Prime Minister has been nominally appointed Minister for Information, Sir Henry Gullett, who previously held the portfolio, will continue to administer the department.
– by leave - In consequence of the reconstruction of the Ministry, the following arrangements have been made for the representation of the Ministers in the Senate : - I shall represent the Prime Minister, the Attorney-General, and the Minister for Industry. Senator Foll will represent the Minister for the Army, the Minister for the Navy, the Minister for Defence Co-ordination, the Minister for Air and Minister for Civil Aviation, the Minister for Supply and Development, and the Minister for Social Services. Senator McBride will represent the Treasurer, the Minister for Commerce, the Postmaster-General, and the Minister for Health. Senator Collett will represent the Minister for Repatriation, the Minister for Information, the
Minister for External Affairs, and the Minister in charge of External Territories.
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. J. B. Hayes). - I have received from Mrs. Hill a letter expressing thanks for, and appreciation of, the resolution of sympathy and condolence passed by the Senate on the occasion of the death of the Honorable W. C. Hill.
– Will the Minister representing the Minister for Commerce inform the Senate on what date the Australian Wheat Board proposes to pay the next instalment on the 1939-40 wheat crop, and what amount a bushel will be paid ?
– The matters referred to by the honorable senator are now under the consideration of the Government .
– Is the Minister for the Interior in a position to state when the report being prepared on the iron pre deposits of Australia will be made available?
– I cannot answer that question at the present stage. The inspections and tests being carried out. in Western Australia are not yet completed, and, until they are, it will be impossible to obtain a full report on the matter.
– Will the Minister representing the Minister for Commerce state what action has been taken by the Government towards meeting the requests of Western Australian woolgrowers for the appointment of a Western Australian representative of small wool-growers to the Central Wool Committee ?
– That matter has received attention by the Government on several occasions. I can assure the honorable senator that full consideration has been given to the requests from
Western Australia, but, in the circumstances, the Government is unable to accede to them.
Assent to the following bills reported : -
Air Force Bill 1939.
Appropriation Bill 1939-40.
Appropriation (Works and Buildings) Bill 1939-40.
Canvas and Duck Bounty Bill 1939.
Commonwealth PublicService Bill 1939.
Customs Tariff (Canadian Preference) 1939.
Customs Tariff (Canadian Preference No. 2) 1939.
Customs Tariff (Canadian Preference) Validation Bill 1939.
Customs Tariff (Exchange Adjustment) Bill (No. 2) 1939.
Customs Tariff ( Exchange Adjustment) Bill (No. 3) 1939.
Customs Tariff (Exchange Adjustment) Bill (No. 4) 1939.
Customs Tariff (Exchange Adjustment) Validation Bill 1939.
Customs Tariff (Newfoundland Preference) 1939.
Customs Tariff (No. 3) 1939.
Customs Tariff (No. 4) . 1939.
Customs Tariff (No. 5) 1939.
Customs Tariff (No. 6) 1939.
Customs Tariff (No. 7) 1939.
Customs Tariff Validation Bill 1939.
Defence Act (No. 3) 1939.
Excise Tariff (No. 2) 1939.
Excise Tariff (No. 3) 1939.
Gold Tax Bill 1939.
Gold Tax Collection Bill 1939.
Motor Vehicle Engine Bounty Bill 1939.
News Printing Paper Bounty Bill 1939.
Northern Territory Administration Bill 1939.
Patents, Trade Marks, Designs and Copyright (War Powers) Bill 1939.
PostalRates (Defence Forces) Bill 1939.
Raw Cotton Bounty Bill 1939.
Rules Publication Bill 1939.
Seat of Government (Administration) Bill 1939.
Sulphur Bounty Bill (No. 2) 1939.
Supply and Development Bill (No. 3) 1939.
Tractor Bounty Bill (No. 2) 1939.
Trade Agreement (Brazil) Bill 1939.
Trade Agreement (Newfoundland) Bill 1939.
Tyre Cord Bounty Bill 1939.
Wheat Industry (War-Time Control) Bill 1 939.
Wire Netting Bounty Bill (No. 2) 1939.
– Pursuant to Standing Order No. 38, I hereby appoint the following senators to he the Committee of Disputed Returns and Qualifications: - Senators M. Abbott, J. I.
– Pursuant to Standing Order No. 28a I lay on the table my warrant nominating Senators M. Abbott, S. K. Amour, W. J. Cooper, J. Cunningham and Herbert Hays, a panel to act as Temporary Chairmen of Committees when requested so to do by the Chairman of Committees, or when the Chairman of Committees is absent.
– I have to report that I have received a copy of the Speech with which His Excellency the GovernorGeneral was graciously pleased to open the present session of this Parliament.
.- I move-
That the following Address-in-Reply to His Excellency the Governor-General’s Speech he agreed to: -
To Hia Excellency the Governor-General - May It Please Your Excellency:
Wo, thu Senate of the Commonwealth of Australia, in Parliament assembled, desire tu 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.
We commence this second session of the fifteenth Parliament of the Commonwealth facing a grim struggle. We are engaged in war, not because we covet the territory of any other nation, and not because we hate the peoples of any other countries; but because Australia, as a self-governing dominion of the British Empire, i3 standing loyally beside the Mother Country in its determination to defend democracy, to preserve liberty, to ensure freedom for our people, and to prevent world domination by the most proficient liar and cold-blooded murderer that the work) has ever seen. We want to preserve our civilization. That differences of opinion between nations have arisen, and will occur in the future, must be admitted’; but to suggest that these differences ‘of opinion can be resolved only by brute force is to deny the principles upon which our civilization is based.
If civilization means anything it means that peoples may live in security and without the fear, at any time, of being subjected to violence or brute force. There were some who were prepared to concede some claim of right to Germany after the onslaught on Austria, and some who were disposed to apologize when Hitler took Sudetenland from Czechoslovakia ; but there is none to condone his treachery to Bohemia and Moravia and none to justify his brutal attack upon Poland, the sinking of unarmed neutral shipping, and his latest aggression against and treachery to Denmark and Norway. If the world at large did not see it before, the fact must to-day be apparent that Hitler has one object and one object only - the subjection of the world to brute force under his dictatorship. This man, drunk with his own success to date, is attempting to force his will upon every other nation.
To those Australians who, some months ago, talked so glibly about the merits of isolation and suggested that Australia could, perhaps, remain a neutral while the rest of the Empire was at war-
– Who suggested that?
– Name one.
– I repeat that those persons who suggested that Australia should adopt an isolationist policy, should look at the position of Norway to-day.
– Who suggested an isolationist policy for Australia?
– The honorable senator is in for a bad time if he continues along those lines.
– During the invasion of Finland by Russia, Norway elected to follow a policy of isolation, and to remain neutral in a war that, as we now know, affected every other country. Unfortunately, Norway is itself the victim of the latest violence and brutality. Does any one believe for a moment that, if Britain and France were defeated in this war, Australia could continue its national existence under the conditions it enjoys to-day? The defence of this country does not lie alone in the waters surrounding
Australia. Our safety is best ensured by meeting the enemy wherever he may be. Those persons who have urged that no Australian soldiers should go out of this country to take part in this war should consider the fate of other countries that had adopted a similar attitude. If we are to save this country we shall have to defeat Germany and Germany’s allies. We can best do that by meeting the enemy at every point that may be attacked. So I suggest that every member of this chamber should, as I hope and believe he will, loyally support the Government in its war effort to rid the world of this grave menace.
– The electors of Corio did not agree with that.
– Is that the honorable senator’s interpretation of the Corio election ?
– That was the test.
– I regret that in this debate some honorable senators opposite apparently prefer to descend from what I trust will be a high plane to the low level of domestic politics. As very great principles, vital to our democratic system of government, are involved in this struggle, we should not magnify out of proportion the result of a byelection. At a time when the fate of our Empire is in the balance and when the liberty of every citizen of it is threatened, there should be no differences between honorable senators opposite and members on this side. In this struggle for the preservation of our democratic institutions we should be standing shoulder to shoulder supporting the Government in its effort to give the maximum assistance to the Mother Country and our allies.
I am not concerned about the result of a recent by-election. If in the near future the Australian Labour party took office in this Parliament, and if its war policy were framed to give full support to Great Britain and our allies, it could rely upon my whole-hearted support. I now expect the same support from them for this Government, and I deprecate this quibbling over party politics in a crisis such as we are facing to-day. I urge the Labour Opposition in this Parliament to follow the lead of the British Labour party and of the Socialist party in France, and to give its whole-hearted support to the war effort of whatever government may be in power. The issue confronting us transcends party politics. The safety of the Empire and the liberty of every British subject are at stake. I hold the view that whilst the respective political parties in this Parliament may retain their separate identities during this crisis they should sink their differences and unite in a common effort to win this war. We should not indulge in petty bickering at a time when the whole of our energies should be directed to ensuring the complete unity of all sections of the people.
On the declaration of war the Prime Minister and his Government irrevocably pledged Australia to stand side by side with the Mother Country in the prosecution of this war. In furtherance of its purpose the Government took steps to train, equip and despatch an army for oversea s service, as well as to train and equip an army sufficient to withstand any attack that might be made on Australia itself. The Australian coastline is one of the Empire’swar fronts and must be protected. Because of the attitude of certain dictators in the world to-day, we know not at what point they will strike, or when. The Prime Minister and the members of this Government have made it plain that they regard the adequate defence of Australia as of paramount importance. 1 have already said that should Great Britain and her allies fall in this struggle Australia also will fall. During this war Australia may be attacked. It is part of our responsibility and duty-
– The honorable senator recognizes that it is a responsibility.
– Every honorable senator recognizes that. As Australia may be attacked it is essential that we should have a trained fighting force sufficiently strong to repel an invader. Thanks to the British navy, a naval attack on a major scale is unlikely, but it is quite possible that a raid or a number of raids may be made upon this country. In these circumstances it is essential to have a well-trained and well-equipped mobile force to ward off any raiding party, and, if possible, prevent a landing. For that purpose the Government has provided for a trained army which our experts say is sufficient. In the Militia we have a force of 80,000 highly trained men, highly mechanized and extraordinarily mobile. From personal observation I can say that in the Militia Forceswe have as fine a body of men as Australia has ever seen. These men have enlisted to serve anywhere in Australia or in the territories under the control of the Commonwealth, and should the call come they will be available, and will, I know, uphold the honour of Australia. I deprecate the attempt made by some to draw distinctions between the Australian Imperial Force and the Militia Forces. The Militia is Australia’s army for home defence, and it is impossible to say whether the Militia or the Australian Imperial Force will be the first to contact the enemy. The army established for home defence includes some men who have had from five to seven years’ training; but during the last four months they have had additional intensive training. More than 40,000 men, who are now concluding three months’ continuous training are undoubtedly highly efficient. The personnel of the Australian Navy has been increased tremendously, and to-day that arm is co-operating with the British navy in protecting Australia against enemy vessels.We can feel a certain amount of satisfaction in saying that although the war has been in progress for more than seven months, the Australian Navy, in conjunction with the British and. French navies, has been able to keep enemy vessels from our shores. The Government has also increased the strength of the Royal Australian Air Force, which should eventually be one of the largest air forces in the world. Studying the position fairly and impartially, we must admit that during the last six months the Government has done a tremendous amount of work in preparing for the defence of the Commonwealth. Australia is not likely to be our only battle front, and in addition to providing for home defence, the Government has provided an army and air force for service overseas.
Sitting suspended from 6 to 8 p.m.
– Before the sitting was suspended, I dealt with the steps that we had taken to provide for the safety and security of Australia by buildingup a home army and by increasing our naval and air forces. I pointed out that our frontier is not at home alone, and that the Government has taken the necessary steps to enable Australia to make its fair contribution in fighting the war overseas. Hitler and von Ribbentrop said that the Empire was soft and spineless, and thatits people would not fight. Those boys who have joined the Australian Imperial Force- and some of them have already gone overseas- provide the answer to Hitler’s slander. Australia’s manhood is not soft or spineless. The German leaders said that the Empire was decadent. The Australian Imperial Force will, in no uncertain manner, give the lie to that assertion. Steps are being taken to enlist an Australian Imperial Force of 80,000 men for service overseas. In addition, 60,000 men are to be enlisted in the Air Force. Already our men have made a name for themselves overseas, and those who are yet to go abroad will uphold the honour of Australia as worthily as did the Australian Imperial Force in the last war. I say without hesitation that if the war continues, more of our men will have to go overseas, and I have no doubt that Australia’s manhood will be ready to give of their best whenever the test is applied to them.
Thiswar will be fought by not only man-power ; other means will contribute in equal measure to our success. These other means include the provision of munitions, foodstuffs, and all those things which are essential in what is commonly known as the economic war. Australia has not shut its eyes to the importance of the economic front, but has already made a valuable contribution of material to the Alliedwar effort. On the outbreak of war, the Government realized that the Allies should have first claim upon our produce.an agreementwas made for the sale of the whole of our wool to Great Britain in order that the Allies should at all times be assured of sufficient wool.We notewith satisfaction that the wool clip for the year just endingwill amount to 1,100,000,000 lb. comparedwith 982,000,000 lb. in the previous year, whilst ourwheat crop will be approximately 204,000,000 bushels, as compared with our normal crop of 155,000,000 bushels. In addition, we have supplied to Great Britain and its Allies meat, eggs, butter, bacon and many other primary products. It is gratifying to note that the value of our exports for the nine months to the end of March of this year is £7,500,000 more than for the corresponding period of last year. Admittedly we have had a bountiful season, but it is evident that our producers will play their part in the nation’s war effort. We have just supplied to Great Britain over £3,000,000 worth of munitions, whilst we are also providing it with iron and steel products and other manufactured goods that we did not export in the last war. During the last war, Australia was almost entirely a primary-producing country, whereas to-day it is a comparatively large manufacturing country. We can make a very valuable contribution to victory in this war by supplying manufactured products to the Allies. In this respect, I fear that one of the most urgent needs, not only during the war but also after it, will be ships. I trust that the Government is making every effort to expedite shipbuilding in this country. Australia has rich stores of iron ore. and some of the richest coal in the world, whilst our workmen are equal to the best elsewhere. There is nothing to- prevent us from building ships in Australia. I trust,’ therefore, that not a moment is being lost in making our contribution to the war effort by proceeding with the construction of ships in this country.
Another phase of our war efforts is the survey of dollar exchange. If we are to overcome Germany quickly we shall need to purchase munitions, aeroplanes and other commodities from the United States of America. That country is trading on a cash and carry basis, and we can secure commodities from it only if we can pay cash for the7n. Since the war began, Great Britain has expended over £30,000,000 in the United States of America. If spending continues at that rate Great. Britain’s dollar reserves will be quickly exhausted. It is up to Australia to play its part in this respect by conserving every dollar in order to enable us to purchase war equipment and other necessaries for our war effort, and also to assist the purchasing power of Great Britain. I ask the Government, therefore, to take much more drastic action than it has taken so far to increase our exports to those countries through which we can build up dollar exchange, and also to prohibit the importation from other than sterling countries of everything that is not absolutely necessary for our war effort. It is somewhat alarming to note that in spite of the restrictions that have been placed on importation since the declaration of war, goods imported for the nine months ended March of this year were worth £7,000,000 more than those imported for the corresponding period of last year. It is obvious that in spite of restrictions goods are coming into this country at an alarming rate. We are not building up our dollar exchange as rapidly as we must if we are to make our maximum war effort. It is necessary, of course, to allow the entry of raw material for our essential, industries, and also certain man.ufactu.red products which we cannot secure from sterling countries. Large quantities of goods of other kinds, however, are coming into Australia from the United States of America and other dollar countries which we could very well do without. I have received a number of telegrams urging me to request the Government to remove the restriction upon the importation of salmon. This country is at war, and if the people of Australia were obliged to go without salmon it would not be a very big war effort for them to make.
Some months ago in this chamber, realizing the difficulties of transporting our primary products overseas and the obvious shortage that would arise from the sinking of ships, both of the Allies and neutrals, I urged the Government to take steps to divert our coastal shipping to the overseas trade. I am sorry that that has not been done. I again ask the Government to consider, before it ‘ is too late, the advisability of using our coastal ships for the transport of our primary products which are so urgently needed for our troops oversea;* and those of our Allies. The German occupation of Denmark has shut off Great Britain from its main source of butter, bacon and many other commodities. If the British, people are to receive the sustenance necessary to enable them to make their maximum war effort, Australia and the other Dominions must take the place of Denmark and supply those commodities to Great Britain.. I say, first, that we must have the ships to transport such products overseas, and, secondly, we must see that Great Britain is supplied with these commodities, even if in doing so we be obliged to control our own consumption. The fighting forces of the Allies must get the best. On the declaration of war the Government realized that if Australia were to make its maximum war effort, our local economy must be kept on a sound basis. It realized that during the last war chaos, hardship and difficulty were caused by soaring prices. On this occasion it took immediate action to prevent prices from increasing abnormally. When it did so some people went round the country saying, “You cannot fix prices; such a plan will never succeed “. It has succeeded. The prices in Great Britain have increased 25 per cent. During the last war, prices in Australia increased by 100 per cent.; but, during the first five months of this war, the price increase has been under 6 per cent. The whole of that increase has occurred in respect of imports, or is due to factors arising therefrom over which we have no control. The Government is to be congratulated upon, and commended for, the effective legislation which it has introduced, and for the valuable work of the Prices Commissioner and his able associates, who have enabled this legislation to operate smoothly and effectively.
Another step necessary to maintain our economy on a sound basis was the prevention of soaring interest rates. Every honorable senator will remember that, during the last war, loans were raised at 6 per cent. At the outset of this war the interest rate in Australia, was slightly over 4 per cent., and it is pleasing to note that through effective Government control, sound policy and good management the rate of interest on Commonwealth bonds to-day is 3 per cent., the lowest rate for ten or fifteen years. I say, again, that the Government’s policy has been remarkably successful. Many people in this community overlook all the good things that the Government has done, and- ye’t are critical in respect of some small matter of administrative detail. As honorable senators know, I have no hesitation in criticizing the Government when I consider that criticism is deserved, but it is only honest to tell the people when the Government’s policy has been effective as well as when it has been ineffective. It is gratifying to most honorable senators that the Government has removed the tax-free provisions in respect of all new loans. Most of us believe that in this struggle there should be no privileged class. None should be exempt from his fair obligation to contribute to the war effort. We must commend the Government,’ further, for its foresight in training artisans, so as to enable Australia to increase its production. It was obvious that before long there would be a shortage of skilled men, and the efforts made to train artisans will, I trust, prevent any hold-up in this direction.
I shall now deal with a matter that is, no doubt, troubling the mind of every honorable senator. While Australia is engaged in the fiercest struggle that it has ever had to face, we find that our industrial production is held up by a strike. For the purpose of settling differences between employers and employees there is no need to resort to the method of force adopted by Hitler, for this Parliament has established an Arbitration Court to which either party may apply. The coal-miners applied to the Arbitration Court, in spite of the fact that the secretary of their union says that he does not believe in arbitration, and the Court gave a decision which was varied by a higher court.
– A loaded court !
– Every honorable senator must admit that the decision of <he court was obtained by arbitration. The court is the umpire to which the miners appealed, and a decision was given; but now the persons who applied to the umpire are saying, “We are not going to accept your decision. We are going to use the method that Hitler adopts - that of getting what we want by brute force.”
Senator Keane. - The miners never wanted any appeal. They wanted Judge Drake-Brockman’s award. Give the whole story!
– Surely we all must hang our heads in shame when we find that, at a time of war, there are men who refuse to produce what is essential to enable provisions and munitions to be supplied to our troops.
– Why does not the Government intervene ?
– This strike must be settled. I am not concerned about the merits of the dispute between the mineowners and the miners. That is a matter for the court. What I am concerned about is that coal, which is necessary for our industrial production and the proper conduct of this war, shall be produced. If the strike be not settled immediately, I urge the Government to take over the coal-mines, as part of our war effort, and to produce the necessary coal. Anybody interfering with its production should be treated as a traitor.
– Shoot them down!
– They should be dealt with in the same way as enemy aliens, who have been placed for the duration of the war where they cannot do any harm. We have other enemies within this country, such as the president and the secretary of the Miners Union, who areknown to be Communists, and who want to see Russia or Germany win this war. Those men are calling upon the miners to strike, not because they want to get anything for the miners, .but because they desire to see Australia’s industrial production held up, so that our war effort will be interfered with. Already hundreds of men have been dismissed from the works of Australian Iron and Steel Limited and Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited, because coal cannot be obtained. When we are asking our young men to go overseas to fight for this country, it is scandalous that the miners are allowed to refuse to produce the coal that is essential for the making of munitions. This strike must be ended. Agitators and Communists are urging honest working men, who are as loyal as anybody else, to strike, not because they desire to help those men, but because they want to help an enemy. The strongest action should be taken against, not only members of the Communist party, but also other enemies within Australia who are interfering with our war effort. Is it surprising that members of the Australian Imperial Force want to get at the throats of these men, when they hear them making seditious speeches, and praising a country that has been doing everything it possibly can to harm Australia? Why should we allow such liberty to enemies within this country, when our lads are going overseas to fight the enemy abroad? I trust that honorable senators opposite will show no sympathy with these agitators, most of whom are not Australians by birth and are probably paid agents of the Communist organization. Their mission is to do everything possible to impair our war effort.
– - Did not Mr. Hughes say that the employers were partly responsible for the present dispute?
– I do not know whether he did or not. This is a time of grave crisis. If honorable senators will help to eradicate the enemy within, by getting rid of these Communists and other agitators who are impairing our war effort, I shall feel that we have achieved something to assist the Allies to win the war. How must this strike by coal-miners appear to the workers in Great Britain and France? After a long struggle, a 40-hour week was achieved in France, but, when war was declared, the trade unions and the Socialist party of that country voluntarily agreed to a 60-hour week for the duration of the war, as an additional contribution to the war effort. What a difference between the attitude of the workers in France a.nd the action of the coal-miners in Australia who are holding up our industrial production!
– And the employers who will not play the game.
– If the employers are to blame, they must accept their responsibility. Anybody who interferes with the war effort is a traitor to the country, and should be dealt with as such. Having made a close study of the attitude of the Labour party in Great Britain and of the Socialist party in France, I cannot help being proud of the men who represent the trade unions and workers in those countries.
– Is not the honorable senator proud of us, too?
– I nope that I can be. That will depend on the actions of honorable senators opposite in the next few months. The trade unionists of Great Britain and the socialists of France are not carrying on petty bickering ; they are standing solidly behind their respective governments in their war efforts, and I trust that honorable senators opposite will adopt a similar attitude. This is no time for party bickering; this is no time for petty quarrels; it is time for united action. There is only one issue before us; there is only one matter that should occupy our minds ; that is the manner of winning this war.- I call the attention of honorable senators- to a resolution of a conference of British trade unionists and French Socialists -
Victory for Hitler and Stalin . would mean tlie enslavement of peoples, the ruin of culture, and the destruction of the hopes of the workers.
Those who carried that resolution recognize who our enemies are; our enemies are Hitler and Stalin - two of a kind, dressed in different clothes. Both are dictators; both are suppressing liberty, and both have attacked countries which have done no harm to them. I repeat that the British trade unionists and the French Socialists stand solidly behind their respective governments, and are resolved to play their full part in ridding the world of these two tyrants. I suggest to honorable senators opposite that instead of giving lip salve to these striking miners they should say to them : “ Look here, chaps, wc are at war. Your homes and your liberty are at stake ; everything we possess in Australia is at stake; what about working a little longer and a little harder for the duration of the war”?
– What about saying that to the employers?
– Let us go to the employers and ask them also to work harder. Were we all to adopt that attitude, wc would be- doing a much finer thing than indulging in petty squabbling and bickering.
– What should the mineowners do?
– They also should play their part to the fullest, both by providing the necessary finance through the medium of higher taxes, and, by working harder, to enable maximum production of the coal which is so urgently needed.
I wonder whether it is possible for the Labour party in Australia to place itself on that high plane of loyalty and service to the community, on which stand the Labour party in England and New Zealand and the socialists in France. If members of the Labour party could raise themselves to that plane, I would indeed bc proud. That is what is wanted. This is not a time for one side to try to make political capital out of a disastrous strike. We all should join hands and, if we see weaknesses in our industrial system, or in our Avar policy, Ave should strive together- to remove the defects.
I think we may justly claim that the Government has a remarkable record of achievement. There have been weaknesses in administration, but they are rapidly being cured. On its broad policy, however, the Government has a record of which it may justly be proud.
– I second the motion. At the outset I should like to say that I feel gratified to be able, as a member of the United Country party, to stand to-day in the same team as my colleagues of the United Australia party.
– It is a very belated stand.
– lt is never too late to do the right ^ thing, and I hope that the Labour party will stand with us in support of the Government’s efforts to win this war, in which defeat would mean the loss of the great privileges that they and Ave equally enjoy. There are some, honorable Senatot’s who are always over-ready to make petty and frivolous interjections, but they will recognize that to-night I am dealing with serious matters. They will admit that I have never been a bitter, abusive, or unfair opponent, and I ask of them that I be given a clean, fair go, and that I be not subjected to a running fire of foolish interruptions and comment. The very existence of our British institutions depends on the stand which is now being taken, not only by ourselves, but also by the Allies with whom we are fighting.
Senator Wilson touched briefly upon the magnificent efforts being made by the great democracies with whom we are so proud to be alined, in an endeavour to preserve the world from this stark terror of Nazi-ism, and physical and mental slavery which is engulfing so many innocent people in the world to-day. Is not the aim of my friends opposite exactly the same as mine?
Opposition Senators. - Hear, hear !
– I am not here to indulge in recriminations, or to impute disloyalty. In the course of my address, 1 shall endeavour to show that there are many people in this country to-day - my friends opposite will be the first to recognize it - who are victims of the persuasive tongues of disloyalists who are only too glad to attack the very heart of industry and paralyze the nerve centres of our war activity. That is the method that they always employ, and we must not flatter ourselves that Australia is exempt from the subversive effort that is being made in every other part of the world. “Within the hist few days reports have reached us from Yugoslavia that attention has been drawn to the arrival in that country of large numbers of young, athletic, German tourists. That influx has caused considerable alarm. We all know that during the last, few years there has been a considerable influx of European peoples to this country. Although the Commonwealth departments concerned may have taken the greatest care, it- is not to be assumed that disloyal elements have not found their way into Australia. It would be foolish to imagine that Australia is entirely immune from that rotten disloyal element, no matter what class or stratum of society it may be in, that has been so dangerous in every other country. We must stand together ; we must give to each other the hand of friendship ; we must cooperate in will, speech and deed in an endeavour to eliminate this cancer that threatens to eat into the heart of Australia. I hope that my friends opposite will adopt that spirit, and be patient with me; I do not think they will have much to complain of. They have my sympathy on account of the way in which the malignant cancer of communism has already oaten into their organizations. Gladly will I see them eliminate the disruptive elements from their ranks. Do not let us tie a bandage over our eyes, and blind ourselves to what is really happening. 1 remember a good many years ago - since the last war, but a number of years before the Spanish Civil War - a body of young Sydney men, including a relative of mine, formed themselves into a kind of literary and debating society. I have on more than one occasion adjudicated on their debates. It was their practice to call speakers from outside their organization to give addresses on different subjects. On one occasion they thought they would like to have an exposition of communism by a true Communist, and they wrote to the Communist organization in Sydney, and asked that Mr. J. S. Garden, whom they believed to be a true Communist, be sent to give the address. The Communists replied that Mr. Garden had severed his connexion with them, but that they would send a representative speaker. The Communist representative duly arrived and gave a very interesting and lucid exposition of the ideals and objectives of the Communist party. The listeners were amazed at the frankness of the speaker. From what he said it was perfectly clear that the object of the Communist movement was to “ whiteant “ Australian industry and if possible convert this land as well as other countries to communism. That was the avowed goal of the Communist movement at that time, and I do not think its principles have since changed. The interesting point was, however, that the speaker gave the boys a list showing the order in which it was hoped to convert the various countries to communism. I do not remember the whole list, but the fact, has always stuck in my mind that the first country on the list was Spain and the second was Australia. I repeat that we must not tie a bandage over our eyes, and foolishly believe that we shall be exempt from the machinations of thi3 organization.. In matters such as this we must rid ourselves of party prejudices and work unitedly to eliminate an evil from our midst.
– The honorable senator supports the Government; is not what, he suggests a government responsibility?
– That idea is entirely foolish. It is every body’s duty to* see that not alone by official act but by all possible means the Australian people protect themselves against this menace. We shall be exposed to grave risk if we delude ourselves with the thought that because the Communist party is numerically small it does not matter. I point out that although Russia had a population of 150,000,000, the Communist party numbering 250,000 has kept the entire country down.
– What does the honorable senator suggest should be done?
– I shall suggest a method by which, perhaps, my eloquent friend, Senator Sheehan, can render undoubted service to humanity and to Australia in particular. In this country there is in progress a most tragic strike, the effects and misery of which have not yet been entirely felt. I was interested to hear Senator Wilson say, earlier this evening, that he was grateful that Australia was enjoying a bountiful season. The part of New South Wales from which I come is experiencing the most devastating drought that has occurred in our whole history. So severe has the drought been that up to last week, at all events, fairly substantial ironbark trees were dying in the paddocks from sheer starvation. Water-courses that previously had been regarded as permanent were dry dust, and stock were looking miserably and helplessly over fences. Small farmers without reserves were in dire straits. Fodder supplies had been held up because the coal strike had led to to the curtailment of railway services. Consequently valuable stock had to be destroyed in order to put. them out of their misery because, owing to the strike, food could not be brought to these dumb, suffering creatures. Happily the conditions in that district were only a small aspect of the evils of this strike. Our heavy industries, upon which our war effort so largely depends, have been hung up. Our transport services are being cut down and we are gradually approaching the point of absolute stagnation. In the newspapers we have read of suggestions - I do not know how serious they are - that, although in this war our right even to exist is almost at stake, the electric light supply of a great city like Sydney should be cut off.
Even if that were not done deliberately the ultimate exhaustion of our available coal supplies would mean nothing less. Honorable senators opposite ask what we can do. We could at least say to these men : “ Before you strike and plunge women and children into the misery that you know must exist on the coal-fields, and even throughout the State, in times of industrial upheaval, you could go on every platform throughout New South Wales and state that you are fighting for democracy “. The basis of democracy is the secret ballot. In this crisis, when our country, our civilization and our homes are threatened, every honorable senator opposite, and particularly those connected with the coal-fields, should raise their voices and protest openly on the platform against this denial of the secret ballot to those who are involved in the strike. I venture to say that SO per cent, of the coal-miners of New South Wales did not want to strike. My honorable friends opposite know that that is true. They know that wherever a meeting is held to decide whether or not there shall be a strike, the rank and file of the unions dare not raise their voices because they know that if they did they would become marked men and life would not be worth living. Therefore they bow to the dictates of the union bosses. That sort of thing savours of communism. The basis of communistic subversion is to get Communists into key positions in all industrial organizations. That system is based on terrorism. What possible logical, reason is there to deny to trade unionists the right to decide by secret ballot whether or not they shall go on strike? My God! their women and their children are threatened often with starvation. They have to make the most h e a r t- r en d i n g s a c rrifices .
– Why does not the Government intervene ?
– I ask the honorable senator first to1 answer my question : “ Why does not the Labour party, if it is democratic, tell these union leaders (hat they must not deny the right to hold a secret ballot to those who will be half-starved as the result of a strike”?
In His Excellency’s speech this afternoon we could discern two main parts:
The first was a declaration that we should bend every effort towards winning the war because, after all, our future right to sit in this Parliament and express our opinions on any subject depends upon our victory. I need not indulge in any platitudinous exposition of what that means. When honorable senators read current books dealing with the internal conditions of Nazi Germany they must be filled with horror at the thought of what would happen should we lose this war. Those books describe what we and our children would have to suffer in the event of a Nazi victory. I think we all agree that life would not. be worth living under such conditions. For us, who have been reared in the free atmosphere of a democracy, life would be absolutely intolerable. There would, I believe, be many suicides if we awoke to-morrow to find a Nazi government in charge of Australia.
– What the honorable senator envisages has already happened in other countries.
– That is so. We know only too well what cruel things have been done by Nazi invaders in other countries. Is it to be supposed that the unfortunate starving subjects of conquered Poland are to be well fed by a Germany already suffering from the shortages caused by a blockade which, unhappily, the Allies must enforce against the enemy? Is it to be supposed that once under the German heel the slightest consideration will be given to Denmark, a wonderful little country, entirely democratic, progressive, peaceful and prosperous, which has set a shining example to the big, powerful, bullying neighbors around it, or to .Sweden, which has a socialist government run on excellent lines, oi- to Norway, Germany’s latest victim. Denmark is one of the most highly-developed farming countries in the world. The volume of its primary production is sufficient to provide for local consumption and for considerable exports to Great Britain. Is it to bc supposed that those people will be given anything like a fair deal in the food queues when the Nazis’ belts have to be tightened further? It is obvious that the seizure of Denmark was carried out not only with the hope of obtaining bases more convenient for the Nazis to launch an attack on Britain, but also for the purpose of robbing the Danes of the very means to sustain life - their supplies of food. That is what we could look for in Australia in similar circumstances. Under a Nazi government there would be no incentive for our producers to endeavor to grow even one ear of wheat; they would be in such a complete state of depression and despondency that they would prefer death to slavery under such masters.
Throughout the two main themes of His Excellency’s speech ran a third. As I have said, the first point was that we must bend every effort to win the war, and I state that we dare not, and must not, lose it. I believe that all of us here to-night make that resolution, but we must also look ahead, as many thinkers of the world have urged, and bend our energies to devising some means of guaranteeing to the world that this aggression shall cease.
-. - And a new social order be introduced.
– When this conflict is over we shall probably enter upon an entirely new world system. I impress this point upon the whole Senate, but particularly upon honorable senators opposite. If we win the war we may still have to live under conditions entailing the absorption of all our financial strength . in the manufacture of armaments. What would be left over for social uplift and development, so that civilization, ever ascending, might provide better and still better conditions for the general masses of the people ? If all our resources are to be utilized for the production of arms we shall get nowhere; but if we could devise some system that would guarantee security in the future - and I mean guarantee in the true sense, not a guarantee based merely on agreements, but one backed by a certain amount of central force - under a proper system the armaments of even the fourth-rate and fifth-rate Powers might be sufficient to police the world, thus releasing untold millions of wealth, to make possible the new social order that we all so much desire.
What I am saying absolutely coincides with the pronouncement made by Mr. Chamberlain, the Prime Minister of
Great Britain, when he was asked to re-state the war and peace objectives of the Allies. He stated that our main war objective was to do everything in our power to bring about victory. Then he pointed out that we must endeavour to obtain security for the future. As His Excellency very rightly said this afternoon, we must place our war effort on a firm and proper foundation and then do everything that we can, during the currency of the conflict and in the transition periods, to keep a contented, healthy and, so far as it is humanly possible, wellcaredfor people within our own shores. Those are the objectives at which any sound government must aim.
I turn now to deal with some of the expressions and pronouncements that have been made by different people and organizations of importance in the world to-day on the subjects of post-war nonaggression, peace and disarmament. We have heard President Roosevelt continually clamouring for a future guarantee of non-aggression. We have also read protests from other prominent American statesmen against a policy of aggression such as that in which Germany is now engaged. We have read the notable pronouncements by M. Daladier, the ex-Premier ofFrance, His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury, and His Holiness the Pope, as well as those by other notable peace-lovers throughout the world. When I speak so strongly in advocacy of international peace, I trust that I shall not be regarded as a pacifist. There is no room for pacifism until the war is won and we have some definite and reliable assurance that our enemies will agree to be bound as we also would agree to be bound. Surely that is the aim of every civilized country.
– Can peace be assured under the capitalist system?
– The voice of Karl Marx will not be answered now. Senator Sheehan should realize that I am not endeavouring to make political capital out of the present situation, or to draw class distinctions. We are discussing a serious subject, and I should like the honorable senator to refrain from interjecting, because in doing so he interrupts my speech. Unless you, sir, protect me I shall have to call upon you to exercise your authority. I have been subjected to a number of interruptions, most of which have come from the one part of the chamber.
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. J. B. Hayes). - The honorable senator addressing the chamber has a right to be heard in silence.
– Senator Sheehan is the only honorable senator opposite who persists in interjecting.
– The honorable senator is getting under Senator Sheehan’s skin.
– I am not saying anything offensive, but his “soapbox tactics “ are very disturbing. One of the latest and most interesting pronouncements on the international situation was that made within the last week or two by the Allied Supreme War Council as to an agreement with respect to future security against Germany. That council even considered the setting up of committees to examine various aspects of the problem - amongst others, the possibility of an Anglo-French agreement as a post-war guarantee of peace. Why should it be limited to France and Britain? Why should it not be extended throughout the civilized world? The French nation, which has had a very raw deal, has every reason to be afraid of the continued threats against its liberty. A most interesting feature is that the council even discussed the’ possibility of some form of joint electoral and parliamentary activity. The newspapers directed attention to the amazing fusion of ideals, determination and spirit of the French and British nations. The council visualized community of action in all spheres for so long as may be necessary. At a later stage, I propose to ask the Senate to adopt a suggestion to extend that principle to such a degree that nations other than Britain and France could be included. The Supreme War Council went on to say -
The only basis of peace on which Anglo- French unity can be permanently established is one which assures France’s future security against the perpetual enemy. Success of such a policy is considered to depend not only on joint military and economic safeguards, but also on the extent to which a closer post-war union - which might be the first step towards federal union - will appeal to the respective populaces. Consequently, much more will soon Ito heard in many parts of the world about the project.
That amazing and interesting condition has arisen as a result of the aggression and bullying being perpetrated under the Nazi system. Mr. Cordell Hull, who has made notable pronouncements, has already endeavoured to analyse post-war conditions which cannot be separated from the war conditions prevailing today. We must provide for cushioning between one condition and another, and in order to do so provision must be made to cater for the people’s welfare and industry when this dreadful conflict terminates. That is a direction in which -human intelligence and ingenuity should be exerted at present. It would appear that Mr. Cordell Hull rather puts the cart before the horse, because he deals with the effect rather than the cause. He speaks also of eliminating tariff barriers, bartering and import quotas, and mentions irregular currencies similar to that of Germany. He also revealed that diplomatic consultations on the subject are now proceeding in all the capitals of the world, but I do not know whether the Commonwealth Government has been a party to discussions on this subject. It is useless to establish a sound economic and financial system unless it can be allowed to operate uninterruptedly. The Danes and the Norwegians were operating’ under satisfactory systems of government, but, as they have become the victims of Germany, such systems cannot continue to function. Mr. Cordell Hull and other leaders should realize that in establishing bodies such as the League of Nations which was set up after the last war, some effective provision must be made for their security and continuity. The action of an aggressor could, unless proper precautions were taken, result in the destruction of even the most highly efficient governmental system. In these circumstances, we must endeavour to suggest something stronger, better, and with more power behind it than has been established previously, without interfering with the right of self-government. Mr. Cordell Hull went on to say -
If the forces of peace and general stability were not organized before the transition and reconstruction period autarchy, regimentation and economic totalitarianism would probably follow the post-wor.ld-war tendency.
Now we come to .the most amazing pronouncement - I do not claim that it is authentic - made by Lord Tavistock. He is supposed to have secured certain peace terms, the existence of which has since been denied. Lord Tavistock brought to Great Britain what he said were Hitler’s peace terms. Included in these, were seven or eight conditions which honorable senators have already read. Two are intensely interesting. The fourth read -
She is prepared to disarm, provided all Powers interested in an international disarmament pact do likewise.
The fifth read-
She is prepared to join the League of Nations provided the League assures that all grievances are dealt with fairly and not set aside by dominant powers like Britain and France.
Recently, I received a reprint of an article written by Sir John Paish which appeared in Conciliation, the journal of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He sets out a number of steps in the order in which they appeal to him. The ninth -read -
To agree to collaborate for the mutual good of all countries through the medium of the League of Nations at Geneva and to regard the Council and the Assembly of the League as the world’s Parliament in which all differences between the nations can be peacefully and reasonably adjusted in an atmosphere of friendship and peace.
It is a strange fact that although all these persons are able to see what ought to be done they fail to suggest any practical means which will guarantee with absolute certainty the peace of the world.
– Was not such a method provided with the establishment of the League of Nations?
– In part, yes, but the League failed for an obvious reason. Sir John Paish, in his scheme, seeks to perpetuate one of the very causes of the failure of the League of Nations to enforce peace. Discussing the subject of war aims, Mr. Chamberlain), in a recent broadcast, stated -
Our desire, then, when we have achieved our war aims, is to establish a new Europe.
Why only a new Europe? Why does he. propose to limit the benefits of the new arrangement to Europe? Let us from this Parliament send forth a message telling these reformers to think, in terms not of Europe only, but of the whole world.
– They think of Europe because Europe is the war cauldron of the world.
– Yes, they are affected by their environment, but if we are to have peace we must think and plan for the world as a whole. Mr. Chamberlain then went on to say -
Our desire, then, when we have achieved our war aims, would be to establish a new Europe, not new in the sense of tearing up all the old frontier posts and re-drawing the map according to the ideas of the victors, but a Europe with a new spirit in which the nations which inhabit it will approach their difficulties with good-will and mutual tolerance.
Let him apply his magnificent ideas to achieving the peace of the world, not only the peace of Europe. Every war that breaks out today is the concern of every individual man throughout the whole civilized world. A little while ago, a Minister of the Crown delivered an address before a certain body in Sydney in which he outlined plans for economic reconstruction after the war. To him also I say that he should not put the cart before the horse. It is first necessary to create a condition of affairs in the world in which these economic plans have a reasonable chance of being successful. Many members of Parliament also received copies of a document setting forth a thoughtful plan devised by a member of the Salvation Army for post-war readjustment. In this scheme it was proposed to transform the armies which had been fighting the war into armies of industry after the war. I mention the proposal now as something at least deserving consideration. A proposal for the creation of the United States of Europe has been put forward in Sydney by Mr. A. B. Piddington, K.C. He has issued a pamphlet dealing with the subject. I also point out that there are many others in various parts of the world working along the same lines. Only a few days before I came to Canberra I was able, through the courtesy of Dr. Clunies Ross, to look at a book published by Mr. R. W. G. Mackay in London in which he sets forth a suggested constitution for a federation of European states. Clarence K. Street has written a book in which he suggests the immediate union of all the democracies. I point out, however, that all these proposals, no matter how desirable they may be in themselves, are wholly beyond our reach at present.We must not try to do too much at once. Any attempt to federalize the European States would create argument and dispute which might last for 100 years. There would be nothing but wrangling and disputes, and no finality would ever be reached. In any case, may I ask of what use would be a federal Europe? Is it to be supposed that we should have also a federal Asia and a federal America ? In that case we should merely be concentrating all the power of devastation into three great political units which would be able to wage war even more terribly than is possible at the present time. It is all very well for us, who are familiar with the principles of federation, to make proposals, but it would be an entirely different matter to obtain the consent of countries which are, perhaps, hundreds of years behind us in their understanding of democratic principles. They would be terrified at the idea of surrendering their sovereign powers to an authority which they did not understand and did not trust. On the other hand, it is possible for us here to send out a message to all countries to join in a scheme for the control of armaments and the enforcement of international treaties. The League of Nations failed because it had no police force, no power to carry its decisions into effect. It had no force behind it at all, except the authority of a few of the Powers, upon whom must rest the responsibility of doing the dirty work, if it were to be done at all, of enforcing sanctions against recalcitrant members. Once we have won the war, and brought the bullying Nazis to their knees and made them understand that aggression does not pay, then the world can proceed to the creation of a representative international body which would have the exclusive right to possess arms for the maintenance of peace. I suggest that the same principle of representation should apply in regard to such an international body as applies in this Senate, namely, that each member
State should have equal representation. Mr. Mackay discards the principle of a Senate altogether, and provides only for a House of Representatives. The amazing thing is that he cannot see what would be the effect of giving the various component States representation on a population basis, for that is what he proposes. We are all aware that Tasmania, for instance, would never have agreed to enter federation had its representation in the Senate been only in proportion to its population. Mr. Mackay also goes on to say that this Senate has failed in its purpose as a State House. I do not think that honorable senators generally will admit that. He says that the principle of State representation has been nullified by party alinements, but in answer to that charge it is only necessary to point out how solidly State representatives, irrespective of party, vote when some matter vital to their State, such as a Commonwealth grant, is under consideration. It is quite certain that no small nation in the world would dream of entering a world federation for the control of armaments unless it were given equal representation with the most powerful nation in the world. The wonderful thing about such a proposal is that there would be no attempt to humiliate even a defeated enemy country. If Germany, after the war, were genuine in its acceptance of disarmament proposals, there would be no reason why it should not be admitted on the same terms as other countries. The body to be created would have power to deal with treaties and international law. There is really no such thing as international law to-day; it exists only so long as the various states are prepared to honour it. Under this proposal, however, when a treaty was drawn up between two nations it would be registered with the international authority, which would then automatically become the authority charged with the enforcement of the treaty. But who will say whether the treaty is being flouted or not? The answer to the question is that it will be necessary to have an international judiciary to pronounce on the point at the request of one of the parties. Such a request would be the authority for the Armament Commonwealth to take action.
Irrespective of party I invite the earnest and sincere co-operation of honorable senators at a later date in dealing with this matter. Undoubtedly all of us believe that some body in the nature of the League of Nations, yet at the same time more effective than the league, a body capable of enforcing its decisions against a country which disturbs the peace, should be set up in order to guarantee the future peace of the world.
– What would be the position of the common people under the honorable senator’s scheme? Would his scheme mean more poverty and misery for them?
– A thousand times “ No.” Let the honorable senator turn his mind to what is taking place in the world to-day. Australia, for instance, is making an effort to defend itself at a cost out of all proportion to its population. Great Britain, France and other countries are forced to spend staggering sums on armaments. If this huge expenditure on armaments could be diverted into economic fields how great an impetus would be given to progress in the world! One aspect of this problem which appeals to me more than any other is that which the honorable senator has so usefully raised by interjection. I submit that under the conditions which I have described; the armament of a fourthrate power would be sufficient to enforce the decisions of the central body which I contemplate in my scheme. Thus, much of the vast wealth now spent on armaments would be released for uses which would stimulate world progress. Unhappily such progress is denied to the majority of countries to-day. It is because of armaments that slums exist in most countries, that millions of people are forced to tighten their belts, and the developmental works which would give employment to every worker, are not undertaken. It does not take a very vivid imagination to visualize a much happier and safer state of affairs than exists at present for the millions in the humbler walks of life. If such a change could be brought about - and, after all, we achieved the League of Nations, although for the reasons I have pointed out it failed - we could bend our efforts towards establishing permanent peace and prosperity.
In conclusion I draw the attention of honorable senators particularly to one aspect of this matter. I ask them to remember what is the real cause of war. Strangely, it was Mr. Cordell Hull who said that after the war we should have to inquire into the cause of war. I am sure that every honorable senator could state here to-night the actual cause of the outbreak of war. It is undeniable that the real cause of the outbreak of war, apart from the motives leading up to war, lies in the ability of the individual nations to put into practical effect their ill-will, greed, or ambitions by reason of their uncontrolled facilities to make, possess, and use the engines and implements of war. I invite any one to challenge that definition of the cause of the outbreak of war. If these facilities be effectively controlled by a mutually constituted central body, equally and fairly representative of all of the nations, we shall achieve after this war something which will prove far more effective in overcoming the difficulties which brought about the failure of the League of Nations.
I shall not detain honorable senators further. Most of the aspects of His Excellency’s speech have been ably dealt with by Senator Wilson. With him I congratulate the Government on its efforts in prosecuting the war. As a member of the Country party and a representative of the primary producers I may from time to time have reason to criticize adversely certain of the Government’s actions. For instance, I do not bind myself not to grumble against the operations of some of the commodity boards which have been established. The Leader of the Senate knows the particular board with which I am not entirely pleased as a representative of the primary producers. He would lose much sleep to-night if I were even to mention apples and pears. On the whole, however, I support what Senator Wilson has said and congratulate the Government on its activities. I agree that for the present we have scotched the profiteer, insofar as human ingenuity can succeed in that direction. This country can rest assured that no effort will be spared by the Government to make every body, rich and poor, bear a fair share of the country’s burden in winning this great fight for democracy and for our very future.
Debate (on motion by Senator Collings) adjourned.
Motion (by Senator McLeay) agreed to-
That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn till 3p.m. to-morrow.
The following papers were presented : -
Commonwealth Bank Act - Balance-sheets of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Commonwealth Savings Bank as at 31st December, 1930, and Statement of the Liabilities and Assets of the Note Issue Department at 31st December, 1939; together with Auditor-General’sReports thereon.
Arbitration (Public Service) Act - Determinations by the Arbitrator, &c. -
No. 31 of 1939- Commonwealth Public Service Clerical Association.
No. 32 of 1939 - Commonwealth Public Service Clerical Association.
No. 1 of 1940 - Arms, Explosives and Munition Workers’ Federation of Australia; Amalgamated Engineering Union; and Australasian Society of Engineers.
No. 2 of 1940 - Amalgamated Engineering Union; Australasian Society of Engineers; Australian Federated Union of Locomotive Enginemen; Australian Workers’ Union, and Electrical Trades Union of Australia.
No. 3 of 1940- Australian Postal Electricians’ Union.
No. 4 of 1940 - Australian Workers’ Union.
No. 5 of 1940 - Federated Public Service Assistants’ Association of Australia.
No.6 of 1940- Fourth Division Postmasters, Postal Clerks and Telegraphists’ Union; and Federated Public Service Assistants’ Association of Australia.
No. 7 of 1940 - Federated Public Service Assistants’ Association of Australia.
No. 8 of 1940 - Australian Third Division Telegraphists and Postal Clerks’ Union.
Commonwealth Public Service Act -
Appointments - Department of -
Civil Aviation - H. C. Affleck, E. G. Betts, G. H. Gurr, J. D. Jarman, F. W. Stevens, and P. L. Taylor.
Commerce - R. J. Gleghorn.
Health - W. Boardman, L. C. Snook, and D. E. White.
Interior - H. T. Baker, R. Birtwistle, and A. H. Fortin.
Postmaster-General - G. V. Byrnes, M. R. Fordham, R. J. Pring, and F. S. Trengove.
Treasury - F. H. Wheeler.
Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1039, No. 167- No. 108; 1940, No. 23.
Customs Act -
Proclamations prohibiting the exportation (except under certain conditions) of -
Base metal alloys containing copper (dated 30th January, 1940).
Copper, lead, tin, zinc (dated 19th December, 1939).
Industrial diamonds (dated 27th February, 1940).
Pancreas Glands of all cattle and alcoholic extracts therefrom (dated 17th January, 1940).
Used newsprint (dated 27th February, 1940).
Wolfram and scheelite (dated 5th March, 1940).
Regulations amended, &c. - Statutory Rules 1939, No. 170: 1940, No. 27- No. 30.
Excise Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1939, No. 169; 1940, No. 17.
Raw Cotton Bounty Act - Regulations amended - StatutoryRules 1940, No. 26.
Spirits Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1939, No. 171.
Sulphur Bounty Acts - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1940, No. 21.
Tractor Bounty Acts - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1940, No. 20.
Wire Netting Bounty Acts - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1940, No. 22.
National Security Act - National Security (Prices) Regulations -
Declarations Nos. 21-35.
Declarations (Territory of Papua) Nos. 1-3.
Air Force Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1940, No. 31- No. 53.
Air Navigation Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1940, No. 25.
Defence Act - Regulations amended, &c. - Statutory Rules 1939, No. 172- No. 173; 1940. No. 2- No. 16- No. 29- No. 39- No. 58 - No. 59.
Defence Act and Naval Defence Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1940, No. 3.
Lands Acquisition Act - Land acquired at -
Adelaide, South Australia - For Meteorological purposes.
Albany, Western Australia - For Defence purposes.
Amberley, Queensland - For Defence purposes.
Archerfield, Queensland - For Defence purposes.
Ashgrove, Queensland - For Postal purposes.
Belmont, Western Australia - For Defence purposes.
Canobolas, New South Wales - For Postal purposes.
Ceduna, South Australia - For Defence purposes.
Chatswood, New South Wales - For Defence purposes.
Coolangatta, Queensland - For Defence purposes.
Darwin, Northern Territory - For Administrative purposes (2).
Darwin, Northern Territory - For Defence purposes.
East Brighton, Victoria - For Postal purposes.
East Kew, Victoria - For Postal purposes.
Essendon (near), Victoria - For Defence purposes.
Forest Hill, New South Wales - For Defence purposes.
Fortitude Valley, Queensland - For Postal purposes.
Frankston, Victoria - For Postal purposes.
Jarvisfield, Queensland - For Postal purposes.
Kingscote, South Australia - For Defence purposes.
Maylands, Western Australia - For Defence purposes.
Mildura, Victoria - For Defence purposes.
Mossman, Queensland - For Postal purposes.
Newcastle, New South Wales - For Defence purposes.
Port Lincoln (near), South Australia - For Defence purposes.
Port Melbourne (near), Victoria - For Defence and Postal purposes.
Richmond, New South Wales - For Defence purposes (3).
Stockton, New South Wales - For Defence purposes.
Tintinara, South Australia - For Defence purposes.
Townsville, Queensland - For Defence purposes.
Warrnambool, Victoria - For Defence purposes.
Williamtown, New South Wales - For Defence purposes.
Wollongong, New South Wales - For Postal purposes.
National Security Act -
National Security (Aliens Control) Regulations - Orders Amended -
National Security (Capital Issues) Regu lations - Orders - Exemptions (2).
National Security (General) Regulations - Orders amended, &c. -
Cinematograph Film’s Censorship.
Control of Photography (2).
Medical Supplies Investigation.
Press Censorship Order (3).
National Security (Prices) Regulations - Orders Nos. 44-139.
Orders (Territory of Papua) Nos. 1-4. National Security (Securities) Regulations - Order - Exemption revoked.
Regulations amended, &c. - Statutory Rules 1939, No. 165- No. 168- No. 174 -No. 176- No. 177- No. 178- No. 180 -No. 181- No. 182- No. 183: 1940.
No.7- No. 8- No. 9- No. 10- No. 12- No. 13- No. 18- No. 19- No. 32- No. 33 -No. 34- No. 35 - No. 38- No. 44 - No. 45- No. 51- No. 52- No. 54- No. 55- No. 56- No.60- No. 61.
Naval Defence Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1940, No. 11.
Seat of Government Acceptance Act and Scat of Government ( Administration) Act-
Ordinance No. 15 of 1939 - Liquor (Renewal of Licences).
Ordinance No. 1 of 1940 - Industrial Board.
Industrial Board Ordinance - Regulations amended.
Apple and Pear Export Charges Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1940 - No. 6.
Apple andPear Organization Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1940, No, 37.
Commonwealth Inscribed Stock Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1940, No. 40.
Customs Act and Commerce (Trade Descriptions) Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1940. No. 4- No. 24.
Meat Export Control Art - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1940, No. 15.
Post and Telegraph Act - Regulations amended - Statutory- Rules 1940, No. lNo. 14- No. 28- No. 50.
Quarantine Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1940, No. 43.
Norfolk Island Act -
Ordinance No. 5 of 1939 - Sea-carriage of Goods.
Ordinances of 1940 -
No. 1 - Timber Licences.
No. 2 - Importation of Plants.
Ordinances of 1939 -
No. 10- Superannuation.
No. 15 - Criminal Procedure.
No. 16 - Public Service (LieutenantGovernor’s Leave).
No. 17 - Real Property.
No. 18 - Mining.
No. 19- Lands (Kila Kila Aerodrome) Acquisition.
Ordinance No. 1 of 1940- Port Moresby Water Supply (Survey).
War Service Homes Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1940. No. 47
Senate adjourned at 9.30 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 17 April 1940, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1940/19400417_senate_15_163/>.