15th Parliament · 2nd Session
The President (Senator the Bon. J. B. Hayes) took the chair at 3 p.m., and r«ad prayers.
ELECTORAL Aer AMENDMENT.
SENATE Election. Procedure. Senator BROWN.–I ask you, Mr. President, whether your attention kas been directed to the following statement which appeared in the Sun NewsPictorial, Melbourne, on the 13th May: -
SIT-DOWN STRIKE IN SENATE.
Threat ‘ Unless Ballot System Changes.
Storey, Sunday. - Senator Dein said venterlay that United Australia party senator* would hold a Bit-down strike if ‘ the ballot- papers for the nest Senate elections were not altered;’ f “
Th.£ PRESIDENT. - I have not seen the statement referred to.
Senator BROWN.- Then T now pall your attention to it. I do not know whether Senator Dein really made the statement reported, ‘ but if he did, I ask you, sir, whether you have any jurisdiction over senators who advocate unconstitutional methods to compel the passing of particular legislation, and if so, what action, it any, do., you propose to take? Also, do you not think that such statements are highly reprehensible, in view of the Government’s efforts to convince the coal-miner’s that constitutional action is the proper course to take in order toaffect a settlement of the dispute in whichthey are involved?
The PRESIDENT.- I have no control over senators outside the Senate. In this chamber, as the honorable senator must know, Iambound by the Standing Orders.
Senator ASHLEY. - Mr. President, your attention having been drawn to the statementattributed to Senator Dein, doyounotconsider that it is at variance withthehightraditions of the Senate, andwillyou require Sena tor Dein to apologize forsuchagross insult to this chamber ?Further, as the billtoalter the form of the Senate ballot-paper has not yet passed through this Parliament, will you direct honorable senators not to makestatemenssuchasthat which Senator Dein is “ reported to have made, reflectingontheHouseof Representatives in its handlingof particular legislation?
The PRESIDENT. - Fortunately, I. amnotresponsiblefor statementsmade outsidethischamber.
Senator GIBSON.- Throughyou,Mr. President, I ask SenatorDein whether be made thestatement attributed to him?
SenatorDEIN.-I did not.
Senator BROWN.- Through you, Mr. President, and in order to safeguard the goodnameofthe Senate aswell asto be fair to the intelligence of Senator Dein, I ask that honorable gentleman whether he will make a public statementthrough the press of what he didsayat the meeting at which he was alleged to have declared that hewouldtakepartin a sit-down strike in , the event of legislation toalter theformofSenateballot-papersnot being passed?
Senator DEIN.- If Senator Brown will ask me a sensible question,I shall give him a sensible answer.
SenatorAMOUR.-byleaveIdesire to state, forthe information of honorable senators,thatSenatorArmstrong and I haveceasedourmembershipofthe A us- tralian Labour party in New South “Wales and that we are now members of the non-Communist Branch of the Australian Labour party in thatState. I have been elected the leader of that party in the Senate.
– On the 18th April, Senator Collings asked the following questions, upon notice : - -
I am now in a position to supply the following,answerstothe honorable senator’s questions: -
SenatorFOLL. - On the 23rd April, SenatorFraserasked the Minister representing the Minister for Supply and Development, upon notice -
The Minister for Supply and Development has supplied the “ following answers : -
– On the 23rd April, Senator Brown asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister the following questions, upon notice : -
The Prime Minister has now furnished the following answers: - 1and 2. Hansard can be censored only by the Parliament itself, but reproduction of any report published in Hansard is open to censorship by the war-time censorship authorities. I am advised that there were instances in both Houses during the 1914-18 War in which the President and Speaker omitted passages from speeches with the voluntary consent of the members who had made them. 3 and 4. An occasion arose recently when the Minister for the Navy directed the attention of the Principal Parliamentary Reporter to some remarks made by certain honorable members, and he was asked by the Minister if the remarks could be deleted. The Principal Parliamentary ‘Reporter informedthe Minister for the Navy that that could be done only on the authority of Mr. Speaker, and with the consent of the honorable members concerned. The consent ofthe honorable members was obtained, andthe remarks were deleted. Similar action has since been taken in one other instance.
– In regard to the serious protests to the Government against the omission of the terminal port of Newcastle as a wool appraisement centre, I ask the Minister assisting the Minister for Commerce whether he is aware that for many years the people of Newcastle strove to have that city made a centre for wool sales? Will the Government give most sympathetic consideration to the protest that has come from the city of Newcastle against the omission?
– I point out to the honorable senator that Newcastle is a wool appraisement centre at the present time. An applicationhas been received from a wool-selling firm which desires to extend its business to that city, and the request is now receiving consideration. The Government hopes to be able to make a decision regarding it during the next day or two.
– Will the Minister representing the Minister for the Army inform me whether he has yet obtained the information sought by me recently when I asked whether certain lands or buildings utilized, or proposed to be utilized, by the Defence Department had been vacated by it ? I also asked for information as to the total cost involved.
– I shall endeavour to obtain the information for the honorable senator.
– Has the attention of the Minister assisting the Minister for Commerce been drawn to the effect of the mice plague on wheat stacks in the country districts of New South Wales? What steps are being taken to deal with this menace?
– My attention has been drawn to statements alleging an infestation of mice in certain areas, and the Australian Wheat Board is taking appropriate steps to minimize the damage that could be done by the plague.
-CantheMinister representing the Ministerfor Supplyand Development give anassurancethat sufficient stocks ofammunitionwillbe made available to storekeepersin Tasmania to enable themtosupplythecartridges required by hunters during the coming open game season ?
– Ishallbringthe matter under the notice of the Minister for Supply and Development.
Overseas Artists - A.B.C. Weekly
– On Tuesday, the 23rd April, Senator Lamp asked the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral the following questions, upon notice-
The following details are now supplied for the information of the honorable senator : -
The following artists came to Australia of their own accord and have been engaged by the commission : -
On Tuesday, the 23rd April, Senator E. £. Johnston asked the following questions of the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
The PostmasterGeneral has now supplied the following answer: -
It is not considered desirable to disclose the business details of this undertaking of the Australian Broadcasting Commission.
– On the 23rd April, Senator Darcey asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister the following questions, upon notice -
The following answers to the honorable senator’s questions have now been furnished : -
On the 23 rd April Senator Darcey asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice -
The Treasurer has supplied the following answers: -
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. J. B. Hayes). - I have received the following letter from the Trustees Executors and Agency Company Limited, Melbourne: -
We write to advise that this company is the executor appointed under the will of George Thomas Allen, late of “Harrold “, 11 Selborneroad, Kew, Victoria, retired public servant, who died on the 20th ultimo.
The following is an extract from the will:-
I bequeath to the President of the Senate, if he is willing to accept it, the occasional table which was used by Her Royal Highness the Duchess of York to hold the instrument by which Her Royal Highness cabled to His Majesty the King that the Commonwealth Parliament had been officially opened.
The necessary steps are now being taken to obtain a grant of probate and when the legal formalities have been complied with we shall further communicate with you. In the meantime we shah be pleased to receive your advice as to whether you, on behalf of the Senate, arc prepared to accept the bequest.
Your faithfully, (Signed) ‘
Chief Trust Officer.
With the concurrence of honorable senators, I shall reply expressing appreciation of this generous gift, and accepting it on behalf of the Senate.
Honorable Senators. - Hear, hear!
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Commerce, uponnotice-
– The Minister for Commerce has supplied the following answers : -
Business Administration Committee
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Defence Co-ordination, upon notice -
– The Minister for Defence Co-ordination has supplied the following answers: -
The functions of a State business administration committee are -
The powers of the Board of Business Administration that may be delegated are set out in paragraph 9 of the National Security ( Board of Business Administration) Regulations, which are contained in Statutory Rules 1939, No. 182. 3 and 4. The State Business Administration Committee will consist of three members, whose names will be announced at an early date.
Message received from the House of Representatives intimating that in compliance with the request of the Senate, it had agreed to resume the consideration of this bill, which was transmitted to it for its concurrence during the last session of the Parliament, the proceedings on such bill having been interrupted by the prorogation of the Parliament.
Bill received from the House of Representatives and (on motion by Senator McBride) read a first time.
Bill received from the House of Representatives and (on motion by Senator McBride) read a first time.
Invasion ov Belgium, Holland and Luxemburg.
– by leave - The active phase of the war, which opened with. the German invasion of Denmark and Norway five weeks ago, was greatly intensified by the German attack which opened last week against Holland, Belgium and Luxemburg. It is too early at the. present stage to saydefinitely whether this attack is the main German offensive for the purpose of forcing a decision in the west - of which the possibility has been reckoned on at almost any time since the beginning of the war - or whether it, is simply the prelude to such a plan. The fighting in the Low Countries, however,, as been increasing in intensity since Friday. I propose, on behalf of the Government, to give tohonorable senators a brief review of thi position on the Western Front as it appears from the latest official information. To-morrow I shall give a more comprehensive view covering both the political and military fields.
The German offensive, was launched in the early hours of the 10th May. Troops long held in readiness poured across the frontiers of Holland, Belgium . and Luxemburg, and, at the same time, large numbers of German aircraft attacked aerodromes and military objectives over the whole region of the Low Countries and Northern France. . In combination with this attack, the Germans employed the new device of dropping troops by parachute behind the lines of the defenders.
Immediately the Allies were asked by Holland and Belgium for help, Britain and France sent strong and highly mechanized forces to their aid. Those Allied troops had long been ready for such an eventuality, and in a short space of time have taken up planned positions and begun to play an important part in the resistance to the German advance. The British advance into Belgium has proceeded with almost no hindrance, .and a substantial part of the leading divisions are now in position. Some British armoured units have been in contact with the enemy.
In Holland, the situation in the southwest must continue to give anxiety for some time to come. According to the latest reports, German troops are still being landed from the air in this area and the Dutch have not yet regained control.
In the north-eastern provinces of Holland, the Germans have been able to make considerable advances, as these areas do not lend themselves readily to defence, and are outside the main Dutch strategic zones. The enemy has, however, been delayed by Dutch troops falling back in good order on defensive positions, and by the destruction of bridges.
In central Holland, despite German advances across the Ysel and Maas Rivers, Dutch forces are maintaining stubborn resistance against the enemy in a number of places.
In the south, the Germans have overrun that part of the province of Limburg which separates northern Belgium -.from Germany. In Brabant, however, strong French detachments have advanced to the aid of the Dutch, and are helping them to hold the Germans. ‘ ‘
In Belgium, the German “forces advancing through Maastricht, in Dutch Limburg, have advanced on either -side of Liege, but have probably suffered heavy losses from the forts in front of that-city. These forced have succeeded, however, in crossing the defensive line of the Albert Canal, which runs across the northeastern corner of - the country, and the position here is causing anxiety. British and French units are helping to cover a Belgian withdrawal to prepared positions.
In Southern Belgium, the Germans who passed through Luxemburg, which was overrun on the first day of the invasion, have made contact with Allied troops at Neufchateau in the Belgian Ardennes. Fierce fighting has been- reported, and the German advance is still continuing.
Aerial activity in tins new campaign has been intense. The Germans have launched hundreds of bombers over the Low Countries and north-eastern France, and while these have been in a large measure checked by Allied fighters, they continue to inflict considerable damage on towns’ and communications, in an effort to disorganize- the mobilization of the defending armies. The Allies, too, ba.ve bombed -German troop concentrations and mechanized columns advancing in the Luxemburg area, and in Germany between the Dutch frontier and the Rhine.
It will he seen from -‘this account that the German forces now have ‘before them a very different proposition from their lightning campaign in Norway. A courageous- Dutch and Belgian resistance was put into motion ‘immediately ‘the attack opened, and the ‘French and British forces now. moving up in support, both through Belgium and- from the Dutch coast. are acting according to a’ plan long prepared to meet exactly ‘ the present d .’iii ger!. I would conclude with a note of warning against any undue optimism. Even though the full German strength Available has not yet been thrown ‘into the scale, operations so far have disclosed a formidable menace .to the Allied position in the west, and ‘every effort will be needed to avert it.
- by leave - In .submitting a. financial statement before the close of the-. current financial year, it is the desire of the Government ; to- make appropriate a,nd timely adjustments in the organization. of our. whole economy for war purposes, and;, to let the public know in advance, -what their obligations .-for next .year .will.. be, so. that individual financial .arrangements. can. t>e adapted accordingly….. .
The Government’s decision in November last to postpone full war-time taxation until our internal economic position had improved has been justified by results. Employment has improved monthly, and our (banking system is now in a strong liquid position. Interest rates are substantially lower. The Government is satisfied that the time has come to shift the emphasis in the financial ‘programme away from borrowing from the hanking system, and to rely mainly on taxation and borrowing from the public.
In the original September budget, which was based on estimates prepared in peace-time, customs and excise revenue, was estimated at £48,000,000. This was reduced in the November proposals to £45,000,000. After a close review, it is now estimated that’ customs and excise revenue will yield £52,000,000, or an increase of £7,000,000. Other items of the budget in 1939-40. are expected to result-in a net improvement of £1,000,000. Consequently, there will ‘be available £8,000,000 more for war purposes out of this year’s revenue.
Additional estimates will be’ brought down at an early date for a further appropriation for war expenditure - in the current year. “
Budget Outlook FOR .1940-41.
Customs and excise revenue for 1940-41 is estimated at £46,000,000. ‘ . ‘
After allowing on the one hand for additional’ una voidable commitments, including invalid’ and old-age pensions and war pensions, and, on the other hand, for certain savings of controllable items of expenditure and for normal growth of revenue, the maximum amount that can he provided for .defence and war expenditure on the basis of existing rates of taxation is £16,000,000.
On the basis of our present commitments, the expenditure in Australia alone for the current year “is estimated at £46,000,000 and ‘ for next year at £79,000,000, or a total of £125,000,000.
The total already provided or in sight to meet the -.estimated expenditure of £46,000,000 this year is £39:000.000 including some, balances .pf loan and trust moneys brought forward, and the unexpected windfall of £8,000,000 from the budget. Therefore, the balance to be raised to meet expenditure in Australia this year is £7,000,000.
The war expenditure and the finance required between now and the end of the next financial year may be put in the following form: -
For the two.yeafs-1939-4’0 and 1940-41 the overseas expenditure cans? be stated at a minimum of. £35,000,000. As provision for such expenditure, the Government raised in London last June a defence loan of £6,000,000 sterling. A temporary arrangement has been made with the British Government to make finance available by way of loan to meet the balance of our overseas war expenditure to the end of December, 1940. These loans will bear interest at the effective rate which the British Government itself is paying for loans of similar maturity and similar amortization, and the interest rate will- be low.
Proposals fob War Finance.
The policy of the Government is to find he amount of £70,000,000 for war expenditure in Australia almost entirely by borrowing the savings of the community and by taxation. After full consideration by the Government, the pro- posals now put forward for finance from these two sources are -
The estimated additional revenue to be obtained next year by the Government’s proposals may be summarized thus : -
lt will be seen that the amount of £20,000,000 is made up of - indirect taxation, £10,300,000; and direct taxation. £9,700,000.
Wak-time Company Tax.
It is proposed that an additional tax in the f form of a war-time company tax shall be imposed in respect, of companies earning more than 8 per een%. bli2 capital employed. The tax will be a graduated one, commencing at 4 per cent, and increasing to a maximum of 60 per cent. The first 1 per cent, of profits in excess of 8 per cent, on capital employed will be taxed at 4 per cent. ; that portion of the profits be1 tween 9 per cent, and 10 per cent, will be subject to a tax of 8 per cent.; that portion of profits between 10 per cent and 11 per cent, will be “Subject to a tax of 12 per cent., and so on. The maximum rate of 60 per cent, will apply to that portion of the total profits in excess of 22 per cent. ; - .
It is estimated that this tax will yield an additional annual revenue of £5,300,000, of which £4,250,000 will be collected in 1940-41.
The proposed legislation will make liberal provision for companies employing small amounts of capital or deriving small amounts of taxable profits.
TJ n DISTRIBUTED PROFITS Tax.
Another additional form of war-time company taxation that the Government proposes to introduce, is an undistributed profits tax. This will be a tax of ls. in the £1 on the undistributed taxable income, after allowing an exemption of 25 per cent, of the distributable income. In calculating the taxable amount, allowance will necessarily be made for all Com-> monwealth taxes paid - including the proposed war-time company tax - as well as State taxes paid. The estimated amount of the yield from the undistributed profits tax is £575,000, of which £450,000 should be collected for the financial year 1940-41.
It is not proposed that any rebate shall be allowed in respect of dividends which may at a later date be paid from such undistributed profits..
The. proposed war-time company “tax and the undistributed profits tax will not apply to the gold-mining industry.
It is proposed to increase the rates of income tax on individuals in such a manner as will produce an additional collection of £3,000,000 during the next financial year. To produce this result the yield of taxation for a full year must be increased by approximately £4,000,000. For various reasons it is not physically possible -to assess and collect within one financial year the whole pf the income tax payable in respect of’ that financial year. The present rates of tax give about £8,200,000 for the full assessment in 1940-41, so that the yield of the tax will be increased by about 50 per cent, by these proposals.
Present land tax rates will be doubled to yield an additional £1,500,000 in 194.0-41. The statutory exemption of £5,000 will still remain for residents, but the rate..pf tax will then commence at Id, /.. the. £1,. increasing to a maximum of 9d: in the £r for taxable unimproved values in excess of £75,000.
It is proposed to increase the rates of estate duty, so as to produce an additional revenue of £500,000 during 1940-41. In a full year these rates will produce an additional yield of £850,000. Although the proposed rates of duty have been increased in the middle and higher grades of taxable value, provision has been made for remitting totally- all duty in respect of estates of £2,000 and under passing to widows and children. In respect of the estates of members of the various defence forces who die on active service, provision will be incorporated in the legislation that all such estates of a taxable value of less than £5,000 shall be totally exempt.
It is proposed to increase the present rate of sales tax immediately from 6 per cent, to 8^ per cent. The increased rate of tax will produce an additional revenue of £5,000,000 in 1940-41.
CUSTOMS and excise.
The tariff proposals provide for an immediate increase by 3d. a gallon of customs and excise duties on petrol, benzol and similar spirit, and this is estimated to yield an additional revenue of £3,300,000 per annum on the basis of a reduced consumption during 1940-41!. A customs special war duty represents a superimposition of 10 per cent, of the duty, including primage, otherwise payable, but this newduty will not apply to petrol. It is expected to yield £2,000,000- during the coining financial year. - .. Conclusion. “These”- financial proposals- cover only commitments actually undertaken to date, and do not provide for expenditure to be met overseas. They surpass in magnitude anything of a similar kind ever submitted to an Australian Parliament, but in that respect are merely indicative of the seale of our national war undertaking. I feel sure, however, that it will be the desire of every citizen to accept his share of the task which lies ahead to achieve victory. I lay on the table th.o following paper :–
Financial Statement for year 1940-41, and move -
That the paper be printed.
Debate (on motion by Senator Collings) adjourned.
Debate resumed from the 23rd April, 1940 (vide page 374) on motion by Senator Wilson -
Thatthe following Address-in-Reply to His Excellency the Governor-General’s Speech be agreed to: -
MAYITPLEASEYOUR excellency: ‘
We, the Senate of the Commonwealth of Australia in Parliament assembled, desire to express our loyalty to our Most Gracious Sovereign and tothank Your Excellency for the Speech which you have been pleased to address to Parliament.
– The two statements that havebeen made to honorable senators this afternoon indicate that a considerable change has occurred in the world situation since, the Senate last met.The statement readby the Assistant Minister for Commerce (Senator McBride) will be. discussed at a future date. All I shall say about.it at the moment is that it indicates the terrible price that we shall have to pay for the present worldmadness. The Minister Assisting the Minister for Repatriation (Senator Collett) in referring to the war activities in Europe, drew attention to a significant point. At the conclusion of his remarks he said, in effect, that we should” not take things for granted, or believethatallwas well. I drawattention to that remark because, while the conflictwas being waged some weeks ago in Norway reports alleged to beauthentic were circulated to the people of Australia ; these proved tobefalse, and they misled the people as to what was really happening in Scandinavia. I admitthatthe people of Great Britain also had false information conveyed to them…When the startling information was disclosed that things were not as they appeared to be in Norway violent repercussion, occurred. We have, in the last few days, witnessed the downfall of the Chamberlain Government in Great Britain. Actually we had been hoping that internal conditions in Germany would eventually, result in the sweeping away of the German Government; it is. notable, therefore, that the change of government occurred first’ in Great Britain. We may still rejoicein the fact, however, that though theper- sonnel of the British Government has been altered, the peoples, of the British
Commonwealth of Nations, including the people of Great Britain, still maintain the democratic form of government, It is well that at the seat of the Empire the elected representatives of the people have been able to assemble in their places in Parliamentto discuss the nation’s affairs, even though such discussion involved a change of government. I direct attention to the fact that though we are engaged in a war for the preservation of democracy and all that that means, the Commonwealth Parliament is not functioning with the same flexibility as the mother of parliaments.
– Why not ?.
-Because this Parliament has ‘been kept in recess for long periods, ‘ and the representatives elected by the people havenotbeen given the opportunity to express their views in Parliament. I have said on. previous occasions, thoughperhapsnot in this chamber,that it isa short, step to a dictatorship. I fear that, through the ignoring of our parliamentary institutions, it is possible that the form of government which we so abhor in the enemy country, may become the form of government . in Australia.
– The honorable senator is putting up an old bogy;
– Ifhonorable gentlemen opposite would take the trouble to investigate the position they would soon discover that it is not a bogy. How often do honorable senators opposite find that the ordinary man in the street, and even others who maybe thought to have some higher degree . of knowledge, . are not at all conversant with our forms of government? Thousands, ofpeople throughout the Commonwealth do not know who theirparliamentary representatives are, nor do they know the difference between the House, of Representatives andthe Senate.
SenatorMcBride. - That is a reflection upon the people.
– Honorable senators also very often receive correspondence incorrectly addressed.. What I have said indicates quite clearly a lack of knowledge of the details of our form of government. In the early days of federation the newspapers ofAustralia devoted considerablespacetotheproceeding of the National Parliament; but that is not so to-day. The result is that the people are not only less informed as to what is taking place than they ought to be, but also are questioning the necessity for such an institution as Parliament. If the Government desires the people to understand the form of government associated with a true democracy, it should keep Parliament constantly in session. I hope also that while world-shaking events are taking place the Government will use every means in its power to ensure that correct statements relating to world affairs are placed before the people.
During recent days the people of Australia have been urged to play an even greater part than hitherto in the Avar activities of this country. The lightning blow struck at Holland, Belgium and Luxemburg gives strength to that appeal It: is within our knowledge that the Queen of the Netherlands and her family have sought sanctuary in Great Britain, arid that the King of Norway is practically a, fugitive in hiding in his own country. The war has entered a new phase with the invasion of the three countries which I have mentioned. In the Balkans the outlook is unsettled, and danger lurks in the Mediterranean. The invasion of Holland has brought the conflict right- to bur very doors, because of the proximity to Australia of the Netherlands East Indies. No one can say what may happen in the near future. It is true that two powerful nations, with interests in the Pacific, have expressed a desire for the continuance of the status quo in the Pacific, but at any time, on some pretext or another, one of them may see lit to “ protect “ Dutch territory ‘outside Europe, just as Hitler’s Jinnies have invaded Holland, Belgium and Luxemburg in” order to “protect” them against: the Allies. Because of that possibility, a duty devolves upon Australia. There are some people in this country who believe that Australia can render service to the Empire only by the wholesale exodus of its man-power, but I am pleased to notice that there are men, not only in the Labour movement, who realize the danger associated with such a policy. As the result of the cutting off of supplies from Denmark, Norway and other countries, Australia will be called upon to provide in greater measure- than hitherto, foodstuffs for thu people of the British Isles.
One of the most important activities that should engage our attention is the stimulation of the shipbuilding industry in Australia. If this country is to play its part, greater quantities of produce must be sent to the Allies as rapidly as possible. If, as is probable, the difficulties of sea transport become more acute as the Avar proceeds, and if, as appears likely, the Avar continues for a long period, the sooner this work is undertaken the sooner will the vessels be completed and ready for service. Some time may necessarily lapse in inaugurating the scheme, but that is all the more reason why a start should be made immediately. Honorable senators who yesterday saw the antiaircraft guns manufactured by Australian workmen at Maribyrnong will appreciate what can be done in this country. It was with a good deal of pride that I inspected those products of an Australian factory - not that I am proud that Ave have to expend money and employ artisans in the making of implements of Avar, but because when the need arose, avc were able to demonstrate our capacity to make them. In view of the statements which have been made in this chamber from time to time I may be pardoned if I draw attention to the fact that the establishment in which those weapons were manufactured was the creation of a Labour government. The work of’ these factories Shows that we are playing our part in no uncertain way. Having regard to the call foi” Australia to do its share, I shall refer to -the conditions which prevailed at the termination of the- last meeting of the Senate. At that time I directed attention to the fact that certain honorable senators are endeavouring to belittle those on this side of the chamber by conveying to the Australian people the false idea that those associated with the great Australian Labour movement represent a disloyal section in this country.. Some have tried to make it appear that the members of that party are opposed’ to the ideals for which the great British Commonwealth of Nations stands. I also directed attention to the repeated requests which have been made to honorable senators in opposition to become members of a composite ministry. Similar requests are now being made in certain quarters for the formation of a national government which, of course, would include members on this side of i he chamber. Such a suggestion is conclusive proof that impartial members of the community realize that the charge of disloyalty made against this party falls to the ground.
– Who made such a charge?
– The evidence is to be found within the party of which the honorable senator is a member.
– It is not. Suggestions of disloyalty have-been made solely for party political purposes. This party would, while pledging itself to protect this country and all its democratic institutions, fully appreciate that whether the nation be at war or enjoying peace there are certain fundamental principles which must be stated and re-stated. This party must always put forward the views of the people whom it represents, and place before them the mission which it has to accomplish.
– What is more important than winning the war?
– I am coming to that. It is most important that we should win the war, but in doing so we should ensure that our democratic institutions and those great ideals which the Australian people and the Australian Labour movement support shall remain intact. Sometimes I have misgivings that in meeting the attacks made against us by Communists and others supporting revolutionary ideas, there is a possibility that instead of keeping our ideals clearly before us we may go too far to the right. While we may declaim against the materialism of communism we must not forget the materialism of capitalism. We must not overlook the fact that whilst in some countries communism has been the means of destroying some of those things which we hold dear, the capitalist system also has been responsible for the destruction of many cherished-‘rights- and privileges.* When we appeal to the people of Australia, we must always have a policy of development and of social justice that will be a credit to this. country. I am not suggesting that Australia at present is not a credit to those who did the arduous work of its colonization. All sorts of men and women - some with rebellious tendencies - came to Australia because they were opposed to the conditions under which they were compelled to live in older countries. Many men and women who left the land of their birth because of the oppression by the ruling classes, came to Australia to work out their destiny and to give effect to those principles in which they believed. Although we have much to be thankful -for. I do not wish Australia to rest on its laurels, and allow our present democratic institutions to be overwhelmed by the great tragedy which is now confronting us.
– First things first.
– Exactly, but when an appeal is made for a united nation our thoughts and our actions must be directed in the way I have suggested. We must inspire the people of this country to rise to greater heights. Recently the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) appealed to the youth of this country. It is to the youth to whom we must appeal, and if we desire our democratic institutions to survive we must inspire youth to assist to maintain those conditions which we now enjoy. If we should fail to do so the drift may be in the wrong direction.
– Does the honorable senator suggest that we are being threatened from within?
– Every nation is threatened from within by conservatives such as the honorable senator. We are threatened from within by those persons who influence governments in their own interests and who refuse to entertain new ideas. For centuries people of this class always retarded progress. They are to be found in this chamber, and they indicate their presence by their interjections. If we desire the youth of this country to preserve our democratic institutions, obviously we must direct our activities in the direction that I have suggested. What is the use of making an appeal to the youth of Australia to support the present social system when thousands of boys do not know where to obtain employment? The fathers and. mothers of these Young neon le are faced with a great problem - the placing of. their sons or daughters in decent positions. After spending a great deal of money in educating their children to a standard which, they feel, is necessary in order to fit them for the battle of life, too many of them discover that employment is not available. In these circumstances i3 it not likely that these young people will have bred in them - a spirit of rebellion, and will not many of thom- consider chat our present democratic system of government, has outlived its usefulness?
A great deal has been said in this chamber and in the House of Representatives about the need for stamping out communism from our midst. But what breeds communism? What are the reasons for its existence in this country? If the peoples of older nations in which communism has flourished, or at least taken root, had not suffered want owing to the failure of their governments to provide them with the opportunity to live decently they would not have turned to this political creed. If, for instance, the Czarist regime in Russia had dealt fairly with the Russian people, there would not have been the bloody revolution in 1917. The same may be said of other countries in which old forms of government have had to make way for newer systems.
– What is the excuse for communism in Australia?
– The excuse for its existence here is the unsatisfactory conditions obtaining in industry, to which I have alluded, which encourage the rising generation to search for a new system of government. Listening to some Government supporters, one would think that communism existed only amongst the workers, and especially the coal-miners.
– That is not a fact.
– We on this side know that that is not so. We know that communism makes its presence felt in places whore it is least expected, sometimes amongst people of educational attainments. Why is that so?
– Because its advocates hope to obtain good. jobs.
– Senator D’ein’s interjection is a reflection upon the intelligence of honorable senators in whose hands the destiny of this country has been placed. One would expect the honorable senator to understand and appreciate the responsibility attaching to the position he occupies in the life of the community, and, therefore, to treat important matters in a more serious manner. If we desire to ensure the continuity of our present democratic form of government, it is up to us to see that social conditions shall be such that democracy cannot be defeated. This is the plea I am making this afternoon, particularly to ministerial supporters who can influence the Government to put into operation the machinery to give effect to the ideals which I have outlined. Surely they will not turn a deaf ear to my appeal. Lf wc desire the youth of this country to respond to the call that has been made by the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies), we must give to them the facilities necessary to provide them with a decent livelihood. It is useless to make such an appeal to them, and at the same time deny them the opportunity to enjoy a full and happy life. Supporters of the Government have spoken often of the growth of dictatorships and ideals which are foreign to Austraiian thought. What is the use of appealing to the loyalty of the coalminers who have to go down into the bowels of the earth in order to earn a wage which, despite what may be said to the contrary, is only a miserable pittance, whilst the owners of mines are able to enjoy all the good things of life and indulge in all sorts of frivolity, such as paying £20,000 or £30,000 for a race-horse? The miners have to accept the crumbs which fall from the owners’ table. These things should not be forgotten whene ver an appeal i3 being made to the miners. If we inspire our people by just treatment, they will do what we desire them to do.
Before we can give effect to the sentiments expressed in the Governor-General’s Speech we must bring about a state of affairs in which we can appeal with confidence to the people for an effort for victory in this war, so that the democratic institutions which we value may remain. We must prove to them . that Australia is a country worth defending. We must ensure also that when this conflict is over there will arise in Australia new social conditions under -which the people will have a full supply of the necessaries of life. They must not he east ‘back as they were at the end of the last war. They must not bc forced to submit to tribulations like those they suffered during the depression, when so much of what, they had struggled to obtain was taken from them. That spectre must not haunt them in the future. I hope that the Government will guide the destiny of Australia, so that all the good things which we desire for our people shall readily be made available to them.
.- Recent events on the other side of the world have prompted me to speak in support of the motion now before the Senate. On Friday last, after eight months of comparative stagnation, the war suddenly became one of action. The Allies are at last at grips with the enemy. Confidence in the final triumph over Hitlerism must not be associated with an early and easy victory. The struggle is just beginning. Double-column headlines in our daily press announcing some minor or local success must not be taken too seriously. Often what is gained to-day is lost to-morrow. Ill-balanced optimism should bo avoided, but there is no need far pessimism. Extravagantly worded headlines create a wrong impression and magnify a small gain out. of all proportion to the stupendous task before the Allied forces. There is no rosy path to Berlin, a city which we should have entered in November, 1918, and which must be occupied if the German, people are to be convinced of the folly of nazi-ism.
There will be reverses, as there were ‘ iii the Great War. History has shown that a set-back is an incentive to. the Briton to redouble his efforts. That will be so again. But a big Allied reverse in the present struggle will have more violent repercussions than any set-back in the last war. Nobody can accurately forecast how such repercussions will affect A ustralia. The situation is such that the time has passed for pin-pricking criticisms of the Government.
The average citizen does not really know what the Government has accomplished since war was declared in September last. There may be some items on the debit side of the ledger, but there is a far greater number on the credit side. Honorable senators opposite rightly claim to be the “ watch-dogs “ of the country’s business. So are we on this side of the chamber, but we do not bark at anything and everything. “Many of my colleagues do as I do - tell Ministers where phases of the Government’s war policy need closer attention.
Because money is plentiful for our war services, there is .a tendency to extravagance. Sometimes it is forced upon the persons concerned because of the noncooperation and selfishness of others, and because of the tendency to make profits out of this unfortunate war. I refer to the high - rents paid to wealthy landowners for housing the head-quarters of our- fighting services in Melbourne. The head-quarters staffs were forced out of their usual location at Victoria Barrack? in order to make way for the army of civilian clerks and boards created by war emergency. Accommodation is, of course, necessary for this administrative personnel. Victoria Barracks, Melbourne, is the nerve-centre of Australia’s war effort. From there orders are sent directly or indirectly to every sea,, air, and land unit engaged in the defence of this Commonwealth. It was inevitable that accommodation should be found elsewhere, without delay, for the head-quarters of the Australian Imperial Force, the Second Cavalry Division, and the Third and Fourth Divisions now almost at war strength. A house of four or six rooms would be far too small for any one of those divisions, which are now housed in expensive dwellings in an expensive suburb of Melbourne. The rents are exceptionally high. A division in France usually had its head-quarters in a cluster of huts. Honorable senators may ask why we cannot do the same here; there is plenty of park land. The answer is that municipal councils are loath to give up even a corner of park land for such a wartime service. All councillors are not so unpatriotic, but others do not seem to realize that a war is in progress. The
Government should have power to acquire such space, even if a local cricket or football club be inconvenienced.
– Would the Melbourne cricket ground be suitable?
– That would be a good place. The whole of these four head-quarters could have been placed in Fawkner Park. Lacking power to do that/ there was no alternative but to take four big houses, at whatever rent was de*manded. It is.. not ‘too late even now to remove these head-quarters to certain park lands> to build inexpensive war-time huts, and-. to save the present excessive expenditure on rents. - .
Whilst discussing governmental expenditure, I urge the Ministers concerned to take ample steps to conserve petrol. From what I can gather there is considerable overlapping in the use of the motor transport allotted to Army and Air Force units. This overlapping became so serious on the western front during the Great War that drastic action had to be taken, and a system of “ pick-ups “ and “ set-downs “ instituted in each corps area. A chit giving authority to use the road was issued to motor transport drivers. If it were found that the reason for taking the road was unsatis-factory, or contravened the orders on the subject from a higher authority, the officer who issued the chit was severely dealt with. The result was a considerable saving of petrol and wear and tear of vehicles and roads. I do not suggest that joy-riding, in the full sense of the term, is indulged in, but, certainly, there is need for a system of central control between our capital cities and the various country camps. The roads used by units’ motor transport ought to be adequately policed by military personnel, in order to check reckless and careless driving. Far too many men are involved in fatal road accidents. The compensation paid must already have’ reached a very considerable sum.
My chief object in speaking to-day is to urge the Government, in view of the latest developments in Europe, to expedite the training of Australia’s quota for the Empire air scheme. If what some of my Air Force friends of the last Avar tell me is true, there is need for a general shake-up all round. The Minister ‘ for
Air (Mr. Fairbairn), a distinguished Avar pilot, ought to be able to rectify this mat’ter, and so remove from the mind of the nian in the street the impression that too much time is wasted at our air training centres.
On the army side, much apprehension is felt by ex-servicemen, not, I am pleased to say, regarding the standard of training the Militia has reached, but because of the inadequate number being trained. The Government announces, from time to time, the strength of the Militia, plus the number of men who have passed into the reserve lists. The last estimate, I think, was 100,000 all told. What is the good of that number? The duties of onefourth of them never take them into the actual battle zone, but are essential in maintaining, supplying, and supporting the real fighting troops. For every one casualty behind the actual fighting units, there- are 20 in the latter units. Are we building up a proportional and larger reserve of trained men for actual front-line service to make good inevitable wastage, should Ave ever he called upon to take the field ? At the rate Ave are training men the answer definitely is No ! The obvious solution- is to call up every male person up to and including the a’ge of 25 years, and not merely the 20-21- year-old personnel. Nothing short of 400,000 fit men, either serving iu the Militia’ or in the Militia reserve, will suffice-. Most military men in high positions1 know that the calling-up of a few thousands of men aged 20 to 21 years makes only a piece-meal contribution to our Australian army. T: venture to say m a:t. the great majority :of our fit young men will welcome the opportunity to play their part. A second batch of the 20-21 years quota of national service personnel has recently gone into camp. These youngfellows will finish their four months’ training and return to their civil occupations, as the first batch did-, healthier and better citizens. What is more, they Will in” future turn a deaf ear to ardent peace advocates who are bed-mates of Moscow-inspired, underground disrupters anxious to see the British Empire go under in this Avar. How disappointed must the opponents of universal military training- have been, when it was found how readily these young men fitted themselves into camp life and how enthusiastically they took up their duties. After the first month they were hardly distinguishable from those with longer service in the Militia. They were certainly- high-spirited but they..; were amenable *to. the discipline peculiar ‘ to the old “ Digger “. Many of these young fellows went into camp as raw recruits, but came out with noncommissioned officer rank. For the good of the nation in these critical days, and for the benefit of our young men themselves, I hope that the Government will soon announce the extension of national service in our home defence army to include every fit young man up to the age of 25 years. We never know what is before us. It is best to be well prepared for any emergency.
Finally, I shall refer to the rising cost of certain foodstuffs. The Prices Commission has done well since its appointment at the beginning of the war. Prices generally have been kept well in hand, and have not bounded up as they did during the last war. Many people do not understand, nor arc they told by opponents of the Government, that the prices of commodities brought from overseas will invariably rise, owing’ to shipping shortages and the higher war-time freight and insurance rates, due to the risks entailed in transportation. I can usually explain that to those who complain to me about rising prices, and they are invariably satisfied with my reply; but I cannot explain to the working man, who usually has a large family, why the prices of bread, meat and dried fruits should rise when we produce wheat and the other commodities in large quantities in this country. I can point out to them, with partial justification, that the producers of these foodstuffs must live and sell their surplus overseas in order to make both mds meet, but I myself am not satisfied that there should be an increase of prices. I hope that the Prices Commission will take steps to keep down prices of such foodstuffs as are necessary for the proper nutrition of the large families of working men, who always seem to “ get it in the neck “ when a war is on. The sacrifice should be more evenly distributed throughout the whole of the community.
– I have listened with interest to Senator Brand. He usually offers candid and constructive criticism of the Government, and he has not failed to do so on this occasion. I have no=doubt. that’ ‘the- -‘Government’ will take notice of his remarks. Personally I have no great enthusiasm for the discussion of the motion for the adoption of the Address.inReply to the Governor-General’s Speech because I have in mind the grim reality of war, and what it means to the people of Australia. Our very existence as a free country is at stake, and any criticism that I may -offer to the Government will be given more in sorrow than in anger. Yet we cannot shut our eyes to the fact that the administrative acts of the Government should at all times be subjected to the closest scrutiny. Honorable senators often talk about the necessity to tune in with Great Britain, and it seems to me that this should be done at the present time. Personally, I have been greatly perturbed by the inertia and complacency of the present Government. For at least the last three years war clouds have appeared on the horizon, and we have feared that war would break out at any time; but the Government has been slow to take action to provide for the defence of Australia and for an adequate contribution by this country to the defence of the Empire. The Government has disregarded the warnings of its critics, particularly those of the Leader of the Opposition in the House of Representatives (Mr. Curtin), who, two or three years ago, almost pleaded with the Government to embark upon, a vigorous policy of aircraft construction and the training of pilots and crews for the defence of Australia and the Empire. The advice of our Leader was not only rejected, but also ridiculed, both by the Government and the press. I claim that the advice then given was very sound, and it is pleasing to know that even at this late stage the Government is making an effort to enable Australia to play its full part in the war. Had proper preparations been put in hand two or three years ago, we could have accomplished much more in this regard than stands to our credit to-day.
– Why not ten years ago?
– Preceding governments over a long number of years might have been much more active than they were in preparing for defence. One of the reasons for the past inactivity of the -parties* now in office was that- defencep reparations . involve v .the . taxing >of theirfriends. This is borne out by the fact that, so late as two years ago, when war was practically upon us, our total defence expenditure was only £6,000,000, and last year it was only a little over £7,000,000, whereas this year it will amount to nearly £100,000,000. Those figures do not reflect careful defence organization. However much we on this side criticized i he Government for its failure to prepare adequately for defence, our attitude was misrepresented by honorable senators opposite. Labour enjoys an admirable record so far as defence is concerned. Our navy was established by the first Labour Government to take office in this Parliament, and that action was taken in the face of bitter opposition by the political predecessors of supporters of this Government. Those gentlemen sneered at Fisher’s proposal to establish an Australian Navy. Their idea of defending this country, as part of the British Commonwealth of Nations, was ro borrow money from Great Britain with which to huy a battleship and to present the battleship to Great Britain.
– Surely the honorable senator does not compare the old Labour party with the present?
– The honorable senator’s interjection reminds me of the remarks attributed to a prominent Australian general that the only good Germans are the dead ones; the only good Labour men are dead ones. I enjoyed the friendship of the late Mr. Andrew Fisher, and I know that at the time when he was doing yeoman service in the interests of the defence of this country, particularly in regard to compulsory military training, “ he was accused of desiring to wreck’ the marriage tie. To-day, however, honorable senators opposite refer to him as a Labour man of the right type. Should Senator Dein live long enough politically, which I very much doubt, he will bc able to say some day that I was a Labour man of the right type. The Labour party is fully seised of tie importance of preserving the privileges which our people now enjoy. More than any other section of the community our working people have reason to preserve our democratic; liberties. We “are fast approaching the stage when, owingto the determination of the majority of the people, Australia’s resources will bo used for the benefit not of a few, but of the people as a whole. Only in this way can we hope to enable Australia to grow up. The wealth of this country must be used for the benefit of those who really produce it* This Government has failed completely to take adequate action to protect these shores, with the result that we find that wo. are unable to do all wc should like to do immediately to help the Allies win the war. Simply because we on this side do not agree with the Government’s policy, our attitude is misrepresented. Honorable senators opposite repeatedly say, “ Why do you not come and join us ?” - An intelligent Opposition can render great service to the country in the present emergency. It is quite possible that had we not been in opposition, the Government’s proposal to grant a monopoly of the manufacture of motor cars would never have been questioned. Labour’s first concern in the present crisis is the safety of Australia. That also is the first concern of every man and woman in this country. Consequently, every one should make the maximum effort to preserve all of those things which wc hold dear. We should do our utmost to stem, the brutal onslaught of our enemies. The present is no time for pin-pricking criticism, or for any .activity which tends to disrupt the community. So far as industrial strife is concerned [ am convinced that we have reached a stage when strikes are no longer of advantage to the workers, or to the community as a whole. We should march along democratic lines. For instance, the money which has been expended in connexion with the present coal strike could have been much more profitably and wisely devoted to political education among the workers concerned, with the object of securing greater representation in Parliament and having their grievances adjusted in a constitutional way. A desire for unity in our war effort is ‘ evident among the people as a whole. I have been inundated with correspondence from persons in all parts of Queensland, seeking guidance as to how they can contribute to our war effort. So far the Government seems to be concerned only with the idea of roping in the boys of this country. The peril now confronting Australia is immediate, and, consequently, the services of every section of our people should be utilized forthwith in order to strengthen the defence of Australia. The Government, however, seems to have no concern with the organization of our people, other than the boys, whom it is content to train for a period of three months. If our difficulties prove to be so great as now seems likely the Government’s attack on defence problems is somewhat belated. Had it been a little more active in: this direction three ot four years ago, . I am sure that the people- would have supported it. To-day it. is rushing into huge- expenditure, which threatens to upset our economy. - -No doubt, it hesitated to deal with this matter at the right time, because it refused to face up to the taxation problem involved. However, it is now forced, by the necessity of the nation, to come to grips with it. I have no desire to hamper the Government’s defence policy, but we on this side can do a service to the country by protecting the interests of the workers in respect of defence measures.
Much has been said in this debate concerning the present coal strike. So soon as the Government is confronted with really important problems, such as those which concern the wheat ‘ industry, for instance, instead of attempting to solve them it turns its attention to the activities of a few alleged Communists. In the past primary producers struggled for the establishment of orderly control of production, but such proposals were bitterly opposed by Nationalist governments. However, in a time of war this Government suddenly discovers that it is beyond the ‘ ability of individuals, or of private enterprise, to control primary production efficiently. I hope that after the war the Government will retain at least some share of the control which it has now assumed over primary production and marketing, and so continue to protect the interests of our producers.
I am greatly perturbed at the position of the country’s finances. It will be very difficult for us to borrOW overseas. This Government was incapable of visualizing the possibility of war, and the difficulties arising therefrom. It relied upon the belief that improved prices for our exportable -commodities would enable us to finance’ our overseas requirements. Today, however, we are unable to secure sufficient shipping for the transport of those commodities. I can- only regret that, this Government did not have the foresight- to provide for such a position as now confronts us. The Scullin Government endeavoured- to implement a -sound policy for the” encouragement of secondary industries, by building up the home market. Dependence on overseas markets is a rotten basis on which to build the economy of our country, because it involves not only acceptance of world parity prices, which may be unpayable, but also competition with industries subsidized by governments in other countries.
– What about the factor of population in the -building up of a home market?
– If a number of honorable senators opposite had their way, our population would be even less than it is to-day. I do not now reflect in any way upon the honorable senator who has just interjected. However, the policy of the Country party has been that our producers should sell on overseas markets at any old price. They- are not concerned that such a policy means low wages for the man on the land. The Scullin Government implemented a sound policy for the encouragement of secondary industries in Australia. With the object of building up the home market, it greatly curtailed imports. If succeeding governments had continued that policy our economic position to-day would be much sounder. The only suggestion the present Government can make for overcoming existing economic difficulties is that we should borrow overseas the money we require for defence. This is on all fours with the defence policy enunciated in Fisher’s day by predecessors of honorable senators opposite- borrow from
Great Britain to buy a battleship and then present it to Great Britain. The present standard of living in this country can be maintained only so long as we are able to find employment for all of our people. Our young men and women must be given economic security in order that they may be enabled to marry and have families. That is the best way in which to populate any country. However, we are not encouraging industrial development along sound lines. In this connexion I mention the cotton industry in Queensland. To-day we are importing nearly all of our requirements of cotton goods, although with a little encouragement from this Government,, such as the provision of irrigation in suitable areas, this industry could quickly be developed to a stage at which it could supply all of the lIn W cotton we need for manufacture.
– Is not that industry being encouraged?
– Tes, but only a little while ago this Government threatened to discontinue assistance to the industry. I am pleased that, on reflection, it decided to persevere with its assistance.
I shall deal briefly with some of the factors which tend to hamper the development of industry generally in this country. The Treasurer (Mr. .Spender) is a little more radical in his views than were most of his predecessors. High interest rates constitute one of the greatest handicaps to industry at the present time, and make it almost impossible for us to compete with overseas producers. If the Government is able to limit interest rates it will be doing something that will be of very great assistance to Australia generally.
This may not bc an appropriate time to discuss social legislation, but I believe that the Federal Parliament should long ago have instituted a system of widows’ pensions. In fact, it is a blot on our good name that nothing has so far been done in this direction. A widow, with three or four children to look after, is doing a fulltime job, and it is the bounden duty of the community to provide her with an income that will enable her to bring those children up properly.
– Why did the Labour party oppose widows’ pensions when they were introduced as part of the national insurance scheme ?
– That was one of the few pleasing features of that scheme. We opposed the national insurance scheme because of its many objectionable features, and the party to which the honorable senator belongs found in it so many other objectionable features that the party was instrumental in having it thrown out altogether. When Senator Wilson first entered this chamber he was a keen critic of the Government: since then he has conveniently mislaid his critical faculty, and now has nothing but approval for everything the Government chooses to do. For my part, I do not criticize the Government’s courage or confidence, but I do criticize its complacency. That is what is disturbing the people at the present time, so that when the electors had an opportunity to express their opinion a little while ago they did so by defeating the Government candidate in the Corio by-election. The Government cannot afford to go on ignoring the people. Were it not for the war, I am convinced that the Government would be defeated at the next general elections, because the people desire the country to be governed in such a way as to give the working people a fair deal, while assisting industry in every way that is necessary.
– What difference will the war make to the people’s choice?
– It will make a difference because the people, in time of war-
– Do not trust the Labour party.
– There is some truth in that, but it is because the policy and intentions of the Labour party have been misrepresented.
– It is because the Labour party has no war policy.
– The war policy . of the Labour party has been clearly enunciated. It is the policy of my party to do everything necessary to preserve democracy and personal liberty, but. because we do not rush in blindly, and support a policy that would deplete the manhood of the country, whether such action be wise or not-
– Who wishes to deplete the manhood of the country? .
– It waa done during the last war. I remember hearing the then Prime Minister telling the people that, if they agreed to conscription, the Government would see that the crops were harvested. At the same time, there were supposed to be Maltese waiting off our shores to take the jobs of the conscripts. The party to which I bolong is prepared to make every possible effort in defence of democracy, because we have most to lose. We have the power under democracy, if we use it rightly, to spread the profits of industry over the whole community, and that is our aim. I believe that the vast majority of the people of Australia would support our policy only for the misrepresentations of the Labour party, which would make them fearful-, in time of war, of placing the responsibility of government in our hands. The newspapers have hinted, if they have not said so openly, that the Labour party cannot be trusted in war-time, when the ‘ fact i3 that we realize only too well the value of democracy, and the need to defend it. We have no wish to do anything that will retard the war effort of the Government, and I want honorable senators to get it out of their minds that the Labour party is not prepared to do everything that it can to assist in the successful prosecution of the war. We are absolutely united in our recognition of the need to make a supreme national effort to make the world safe for democracy. I believe that, if the policy of the Labour party had been applied years ago, we should be in a better position now to make the effort that is demanded of us.
.- There is no doubt that, since we were here last, the gravity of the international situation has greatly increased. Honorable senators have now a better grip of what they are up against, of whom we are fighting, and what we are fighting for. We know now that our liberties are at stake, and that the ideals which we have cherished for generations past, such as liberty, culture, and free thought, are in the balance - and I mean really in the balance. Honorable senators on both sides of the chamber now realize that this is so, and that it is not a time to indulge in carping criticism of the Government which is doing everything in its power to achieve that purpose towards which Australia, and the Empire as a whole, are striving. Although the Labour party now recognizes the gravity of the situation, it, unlike the Labour party in Great Britain, is not prepared to give a full measure of co-operation. In Great, Britain, the Labour party has thrown itself freely into the national effort, realizing that its very existence is at stake. Here the Labour party is prepared only, in the words of the Leader of the Opposition. (Senator Collings), to give a “ measure of assistance “ to the Government, while remaining a separate entity. It is that measure of assistance which I propose to question.
– I said a rt greater measure “.
– The Leader of the Opposition and Senator Sheehan claimed that, because Parliament was not kept sitting continuously, members were denied the opportunity to criticize the actions of the Government in detail, and that that was an abrogation of democracy. The fact is, however, that every member of the Opposition has exhausted his full time under the Standing Orders in criticizing the Government, and most of them have received extensions of time as well.
– It was a long break from the 8th December to the 15th April.
– Senator Keane said, by interjection, that the Labour party won a by-election through its criticism of the details of Government policy. That is probably true, but it could find little to criticize in the main principles of the Government’s policy. The Labour party is applauding itself because it won that election by its little, tin-pot criticism of detail at a time when the Government, newly installed in office, was striving desperately to meet an extraordinary situation.
– Race-horses were being bought by Ministers, for instance.
– That was one of the criticisms, and it illustrates very well the kind of thing that looms so large in the minds of members of the Opposition in this National Parliament. Because of the foolish purchase, or leasing, of a racehorse by a Minister, members of the
Labour party were quite prepared to upset a National Government which is making every conceivable effort to preserve the security of the country. That is on a par with most of the criticism of honorable senators opposite. The Leader of the Opposition said “ We have pledged ourselves to bring the war to a successful conclusion. You will never appeal to us in vain “.
– What I said was that the Government never had appealed to us in vain.
– The honorable senator went on to say that he and his colleagues had never refused to vote the money which the Government sought to raise. Yet, they will not assist the Government to marshal the man-power or the cash resources of this country ‘ That is their war policy. They accuse honor-“ able senators on this side of the chamber of making provocative speeches, yet for days we have heard from them nothing except a stream of abuse of not only honorable senators on this side of the chamber but also members of the Government itself, and every person whom the Government draws from the ranks of the Australian public to assist it in any particular direction. They have a feeling of the most deadly hatred of Mr. Essington Lewis; whenever his name is mentioned, they, see red. Mr. Essington Lewis is probably the best industrial organizer in Australia at the present time. He has done marvellous things in. the industrial world, in a key industry which makes possible the defence of Australia. Yet when this great organizer is asked by the Government to advise it in the matter of supplies and equipment, he is described as a profiteer whose only concern is to maintain at a high level the profits of his own company. Only last week we had an example of how matters can be twisted by honorable senators opposite. Senator Amour accused the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited of having overcharged, the Government in respect of a contract for the production of shells, and said that the amount overcharged had to bc paid back. The true facts are that the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited was informed by the Government that it could have a contract for the production of 15,000 shells at i.271 the price at which similar shells were being made at a government establishment. The company accepted the terms offered, and finished the contract. It then discovered that the cost of production was 7s. 6d. a shell less than the contract price. It approached the Contract Board and sought to have the contract price reduced by 7s. 6d. a shell. The Contract Board said “We cannot alter the contract; if we lower the price in one instance we may be asked to raise it in another, and that would be a bad precedent”. The Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited immediately sent the board a cheque for approximately £6,000, representing 7s. 6d. each on 15,000 shells. Yet the facts are twisted by Senator Amour in order to cast a slur on the company, on the ground that it had attempted to profiteer.
– I have never heard a greater slur cast on the management of government establishments.
– If the honorable senator knew as much as I do about the running of government establishments and private industrial undertakings - with which I have been associated for 25 years - he would realize that what occurred in this case is mot unusual. Shells of this type had not been turned out previously, and new methods had to be employed in their production. It is probable that those who are in charge of government establishments are not so well equipped in knowledge as are the experts employed by the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited.
– Why was not the expert advice of M!r. Essington Lewis tendered to the controllers of government establishments ?
– The honorable senator and his comrades, instead of giving advice to the Government, abuse Mr. Essington Lewis on every occasion.
– Mr. Essington Lewis is engaged in an advisory capacity. Why were his services not utilized to see that these shells were turned out at a proper price in government establishments ?
– He does not run all of these factories; his services are enlisted in an advisory capacity in relation to purchases. When he was asked to: show what he could do in his own factory, he saved the Government close on £6,000 on one particular contract. This is not an isolated instance of savings being made in private enterprise compared with government establishments. I object to honorable senators opposite levelling the accusation of .profiteering against private enterprise merely because they believe it to be a good party political draw-card. According to them, any person who makes a profit is a scoundrel. They fail to realize that out of the profits of the people come the whole of the advancement of the people and the employment with which they are provided. Profits do not remain in the pockets of those who make them, or. in banking institutions; they are sooner or later put into plant and machinery. The number of factory employees to-day, because of the national war effort, is greater than it has ever been previously in the history of Australia.
The only place where there is no employment is on the coal-fields, and the .unemployment there is of the miners’ own making. In this time of national crisis, when we are turning out munitions for the Imperial Government, when we are producing steel of all kinds, and air-raid shelters which are sent overseas, the whole of our defensive operations are threatened by the coal-miners. Honorable senators opposite, instead of standing solidly behind : the Government, openly encourage the coalminers to throw thousands of persons out of employment and to hold up the national defence effort. If they were sincere and genuine in the statements they have made, they would have stood wholeheartedly behind the Government when trouble first threatened three months ago. They would have said to the coal-miners, “You cannot do this in a time like the present “, and they would have been listened to by the men. But they chose to sit back and not utter a word of blame against the attack by the coal-miners on the safety of the people. The reason behind the coal strike is so absurd that one wonders that honorable senators who claim to represent the people should lend it any support. The men who actually work the coal, representing 85 per cent, of the total number employed in the mines, already had a 40-hour week from bank to bank. Only 15 per cent, of the surface men, such as firemen and others, were denied it, and even they’ received higher wages for fewer hours’ work than the ordinary men in any other industry doing the same class of work under similar conditions. Yet the whole of the mines were thrown idle in an attempt to blackmail the Australian nation, with the result that the manufacture of munitions is being hampered, thousands of men have been thrown out of employment, and the whole of the domestic arrangements of the civil population have been upset. Not one leader in the ranks of honorable senators opposite has the pluck to tell the miners that they are wrong.
– That is not true.
– Behind the scenes certain Labour leaders have said to the nien, “ For God’s sake, save our .political future by going back and doing some work”. In the initial stage- one strong word by the leaders of the Labour party would have been sufficient to prevent the taking of the extreme step of- striking. The great body of the coal-miners are as loyal at heart as is any other section of the community. The leaders of the Labour party were not game to stand up to the opinions they” profess to hold.
– That is a- deliberate untruth.
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. J. B. Hayes). - The honorable senator must withdraw that remark.
– Senator Leckie said that the leaders of the Labour party of Australia were supporting and encouraging the miners, and I say that that is a deliberate untruth.
– The honorable senator must withdraw that remark, and’ I shall not permit argument on the point.
– In deference to you, Mr. President, I withdraw; but the remark was untrue.
– If Senator Ashley can refer me to one occasion when he made a public protest against the strike and urged the men to go back to work [ shall withdraw tho remark.
– The Prime Minister has publicly congratulated the Leader df the Opposition in another place (Mr. Curtin) for the help he has given in seeking a solution of the strike.
– The Prime Minister is very anxious to encourage the Leader of the Opposition in the House of Representatives, and also the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate (Senator Collings) to assist to settle the strike.
– If the right honorable gentleman had been half a statesman he would have stopped the strike before now.
- Senator Ashley does not recognize a statesman when he sees one. No person in the community has shown greater qualities of intellect, power, and leadership than the Prime Minister has done during the last six months. The right honorable gentleman stands very high, at this moment, in the opinions, not only of the people of Australia, but also of those overseas. Does Senator Ashley forget that the Prime Minister went to Kurri Kurri to discuss the strike with the miners ? After having had his meeting boycotted the right honorable gentleman went to the miners’ meeting where he had to listen for an hour to violent abuse of himself from the leaders of the miners. It is significant, however, that when the vote was taken early last week on the continuance of the strike, the miners of Kurri Kurri gave an overwhelming majority in favour of a return to work. That was the only place the Prime Minister visited.
– Why did he not go elsewhere ?
– The right honorable gentleman’s time is very fully occupied. Had honorable senators opposite done their duty they would have told the miners personally what they ought to do in view of the crisis at which the nation and the Empire stands.
– Some honorable senators of the Labour party are absent from to-day’s sitting of the Senate because they are trying to use their influence to effect a settlement of the strike.
– It is a good deal after zero hour now. Such action should have been taken weeks ago. Honorable senators opposite assert- that they ;are standing wholeheartedly behind the Government in its effort to win the war, not only for Australia, but also for the Empire, for liberty, and for democracy. but on the first occasion when they were invited to take some definite action they failed badly.
It has been claimed by honorable senators opposite that the enlistments in the Australian Imperial Force have come mostly from the homes of the workers. That statement has doubtless been repeated from many platforms. Seeing that between 94 per cent, and 95 per cent, of our population consists of workers there is a sense in which the statement may be true.
– That is what we meant. :-.
– The inference the honorable gentleman desired -to be drawn from the statement was that proportionately, the number of enlistments from among people who work with their hands was greater than the number from among other sections of the people. I say that that is not true. I do not think that any attempt should be made to discriminate between sections of the people in that way. In my opinion all sections of the people are loyal and are determined to win the war in order to preserve freedom and liberty. I believe that the enlistments have come equally from all sections of the people. The inference that the people who work with their hands have enlisted in greater proportion than other sections is, in my opinion, unwarranted.
– The statement made by honorable senators on this side of the chamber was in the form of a reply to honorable gentlemen opposite who accused the workers of disloyalty.
– I believe that the enrolments have come in fairly even proportions from all sections. I do not believe that the lower-paid workers have enlisted in greater proportions than others.
– I shall prove to the honorable senator that they have done so.
– Senator Fraser will have to be much more specific in his statements than he is generally if he expects to prove his case.
A great outcry has been made during the coal strike against certain judges of the Arbitration Court who, it is alleged, have been unjust to the coal-miners. A couple of years ago Chief Judge Beeby was lauded to the skies because he had given some decisions favorable to the workers; now he is being consigned to hell.
– We have never said anything of the kind about him.
– Judge DrakeBrockman, only a couple of years ago, was accused of being the employers’ judge, but now he is being lauded to the skies because he gave the coal-miners some benefits that he had no authority to give them. Certain provisions of his a ward could only properly be made by a bench of three judges. Honorable senators opposite, and their supporters outside, while attacking the judges of the Arbitration Court, desire us to believe that they support the principle of arbitration. Their contentions in certain regards are intensely humourous, but 1 cannot see how they can expect to reconcile the contradictions to tho satisfaction of tho public. The employers are expected to abide by the awards of the Arbitration Court and, apart from a few isolated exceptions, they do so; but the employees, it seems, must be free to go their own way. Some of them are saying, in effect, “ We shall not accept the court’s award. We shall appeal to Hitlerism. We shall blackmail the business community, and hold it to ransom, because the Arbitration Court has not given us what we want”. It has been said that a former Prime Minister (Mr. Bruce) desired to abolish industrial arbitration ; but that is not the true position. The fact is that there is a great deal of overlapping under the Commonwealth and State arbitration systems. Mr. Bruce, being sick of this overlapping and the consequential legal entanglements in attempting to decide whether a dispute existed or not, said: “Let us clarify the position. Let the people say whether the Commonwealth or the States shall have full . authority in the field of industrial arbitration “. “When the people were consulted they indicated clearly that they were not favorable to Commonwealth evacuation of the field of industrial arbitration: Honorable senators opposite say that they are favorable to arbitration and the adoption of constitutional methods for the redress of their grievances, but now that they have an oppor tunity to adhere to their declared views on this subject they are curiously inactive.
Surprising contrasts are to be observed when we compare our position in this war with our position in the last war. I have been a member of Parliament during two wars. During the last war, apart from a few pacifists and eccentric humanitarians, we were a united people; but on this occasion, when the issues are,’ if possible, more vital and the risks greater than in the last war, we are not united.
– We have no desire to be united with incompetence.
– The honorable senator has been wedded to incompetence for so long that he does not realize his own position. He seems to be unable to recognize ability. I suppose it is for that reason that he spends his time in criticizing minor details of administration while leaving the big issues severely alone. We have discovered, during this war, a large and vociferous body of people who have pledged their allegiance to a foreign country. I refer to the Labour party conference which last Easter adopted what is now known as the “ hands off Russia “ resolution. I regret that Senator Cunningham is not in the chamber to-day for I wish to refer to his remark, made a few days ago, to the effect that we had lost the friendship of Italy and Japan because Great Britain had contrived the admission of Soviet Russia to the Council ‘of the League of Nations. It seems to be impossible to reconcile Senator Cunningham’s point of view, and the attitude of some honorable senators opposite, who are now denying any sympathy with the “ hands off Russia “ policy.
– Would the honorable senator be willing for the Government to declare war on Russia?
– Senator Ashley provokes me to say that he seems to be incapable of declaring anything very clearly. On the one hand we have the criticism of Great Britain for certain action alleged to have been taken in connexion with Soviet Russia, and, on the other, we have the attitude of honorable senators opposite to the “ hands off Russia “ resolution. Apparently “ Holy “ Russia is not to be touched. Of course, we know where the orders come from for certain individuals.
– I rise to a point of order. I was in the chamber when Senator Cunningham made his speech, and lie did not use the word “ holy “.
– I did not attribute w Senator Cunningham the use of the word “holy” in relation to Russia. I said that certain organizations in this country had agreed to the “ hands off Russia “ policy, with the result that Russia had immediately become “holy”.
A week or two ago Senator Darcey said that Mr. King O’Malley was not a member of the Labour Government when the Commonwealth Bank Bill was introduced.
– I have already apologized to Mr. O’Malley for that mistake.
– The honorable senator later praised Mr. King O’Malley for his work in connexion with the establishment of the Commonwealth Bank, as he was justified in doing. Every one who was interested in politics at that time knew that Mr. King O’Malley was responsible for the introduction of the bill which resulted in its formation. Indeed, he practically forced the measure on his party, and resorted to various arts and ruses to achieve his ambition. He is entitled to all the credit that can be given w> him for the creation of the bank. Happily, he is still alive and in good health, although now advanced in years, and is naturally proud of his accomplishment. No one would willingly seek to deprive him of an honour to which he is legitimately entitled. I realize that Senator Darcey’s mistake was unintentional, as his interjection just now makes clear.
To-day, Senator Sheehan cast a grave reflection on the intelligence of the electors of this country when he said that the vast majority of them did not understand the democratic system and were unacquainted with the workings of Parliament. Generally, honorable senators opposite refer in flattering terms to the intelligence of the people, and profess to be willing at any time to appeal to that intelligence, expressing the belief that an intelligent electorate would place the Labour party on the Government benches. To-day, the honorable senator, who claims to be the enlightened representative of an enlightened .people, casts a slur on the electors when he says that many of them do not know what they vote for, and do not understand our democratic system.
One of the main features of this debate has been the promise by Opposition Bena-< tors of whole-hearted support of the Government in its efforts to preserve the liberty of the people, aud their honoring of that promise by endeavouring to block the efforts of the Government. I should like to see in Australia a national ministry, as in Great Britain, not because of any superior intellect that might be infused into the Government, but because it would provide an example to the people of Australia, and show that their elected representatives were united in- a great national effort to preserve the liberty and freedom which we enjoy’ as a British community.
– Like other honorable senators who have spoken, I am sorry to note that the war has taken a more serious turn. The happenings of the last few days give us food for thought. We must face the facts, and prepare to meet the responsibilities that are ahead of us in regard to the position, not only overseas, but also in Australia itself. Fortunately, we in this country are far removed from the devastation and sacrifice of human life which are taking place in Europe; but I submitthat the Government of this country accepts a grave responsibility should it deplete Australia of its manhood by sending men overseas in large numbers. We in this Parliament have a responsibility to the people of the Commonwealth.
– What does the honorable senator propose should be done?
– In his speech on the Address-in-Reply, Senator Wilson advocated the sending of troops overseas in large numbers. He told us, too, that France had temporarily discarded the 40-hour working week and he asked what we were going to do about it in Australia.
– It was a voluntary move on the part of the French people.
– When all of the unemployed of this country are provided with the means of earning their livelihood, it will he time enough to talk about extending the working hours. Only recently the Minister for Employment in Western Australia received a deputation from ministers of religion asking that the sustenance rate of 7s. a week he increased.
– Is there not a Labour Government in Western Australia %
– Yes. Because of its policy of providing greater social services than in any other State of the Commonwealth that Government has been penalized by the Commonwealth Grants Commission. Throughout Australia thousands of workers are unemployed, and yet Senator Wilson urges an extension of the hours of labour. I was in England during the last war when the working week was extended, but there was no unemployment there then.
– That is not so.
– There was no unemployment in England during the last war, because every man and woman, who otherwise would have been unemployed, was given work in the production of munitions. When all of the unemployed in this country are given work, it will be time enough for the honorable senator to move for an extension of the working hours.
– In that event, would the honorable senator support the move?
– Should the defence of the nation demand an extension of the working hours, I would support an extension. I say that definitely. In such an event, the workers of this country would not be found wanting.
– We want the honorable senator’s help.
– I am always pre-, pared to help in a practical way, but during this debate honorable senators opposite, with only one or two exceptions, have maintained a constant barrage against the Opposition, and have endeavoured to associate it with communism, simply because ‘ they desire to win the next election.
Senator Leckie referred to the young men of this nation who had volunteered for service overseas, and went on to say that the contribution made by the wealthy people of this country was equal to that of the wage-earning class. I interjected that it was not so. However, that is a matter that could well be left alone now. I admire men who, of their own free will, offer themselves in the service of their country. It is unfortunate that Senator Leckie should endeavour to place class against class by suggesting that those with whom he is associated bear a much heavier proportion of taxes than any other section of the community. Perhaps tho honorable senator is not aware that 1,000 persons in Australia share £8,000,000 annually, while there are 1,500,000 whose wages do not exceed £5 weekly. Unfortunately, thousands who do not receive any wages at all have to depend on sustenance from the State in order to live. If Senator Leckie studies these figures, he will find who is making the greatest sacrifice.
As suggested by Senator Brand, nothing can be gained by indulging in pin-pricking criticisms of the Government, and any observations which I have to make will, be of a constructive rather than a destructive character. There is no necessity for me to say I am not a Communist, and that I have no sympathies with the Communist movement. During the many years I have been associated with the Labour movement I have’ taken an active part in its industrial work. Honorable senators opposite should not make statements which they know they cannot substantiate. For instance, some have said that every member of the Labour party associates with Communists.
– Who said that?
—Senator Dein and other honorable senators opposite have made inaccurate statements concerning communism, and of other subjects. For instance, Senator Dein informed the Senate that the “ hands off Russia “ resolution was expunged from the records of the Labour party by only two votes; but that is wrong. When the New South Wales conference carried that resolution it knew that it would not be endorsed by the federal executive which is representative of all States. The federal executive decided unanimously that the resolution should be expunged from the records of the New South Wales branch of the Australian Labour party. It was the defence policy of the Australian Labour party and not the resolution referred to by Senator Dein which, was carried by the Australasian Council of Trade Unions by only two. votes.
– It was all in the one motion.
– Senator Dein does not know what was involved. The Labour party in Western Australia is part of the Australian Labour party, but the West Australian branch of the Australian Labour party is not affiliated with the Australasian Council of Trade Unions. Senator Dein also said that the secretary of the Miners Federation, Mr. Orr, is reported to have told the Prime Minister that he is a Communist, that he believes in displacing him and that he believes in the abolition of parliaments which govern Australia. I am opposed to Communists’ principles, but I would remind honorable senators opposite that two cases involving the activities of the Friends of the Soviet Union and Communists which were brought before the High Court by the Commonwealth Government were subsequently withdrawn at the- request of the Commonwealth. The Assistant Minister (Senator Collett), who represents Western Australia, knows that at the last general elections in that State the United Australia party stated on its “How to Vote “ cards that the second preferences of the supporters- of that party should he given, not to the Labour candidates, but to the Communist candidates. If communism is the menace which the Government says it is, the responsibility of suppressing it rests with the Government which has under our National Security Act all the power it requires to do so. The Opposition is powerless in that respect. Senator Wilson, who referred at length to communism, should ask the Government to deal with the Communist members of the profession of which he is a member, and also with those who belong to the medical profession. In the Sydney Morning Herald, the following paragraph appeared -
The Minister for Education, Mr. Drummond, last night flatly declined to comment on the result of an inquiry into charges made some months ago by Father Forrest, M.S.C. “ I have absolutely nothing to say,” Mr. Drummond declared.
Father Forrest had said that the principles of atheism and communism were being disseminated by lecturers at the Sydney Teachers’ Training College.
Mr. Drummond made no reply when asked whether action had been taken against individuals at the college.
Sitting suspended from 6.15 to 8 p.m.
– It ill becomes Senator Leckie to suggest that members of the Opposition have made no attempt to . bring about a settlement of the coal strike. I repeat what another honorable senator stated earlier in the debate that during the last three weeks many members of the Labour party remained in Canberra and took an active part in negotiations to this end. The same cannot- be said of Government supporters. As a matter of fact, the Leader of the Opposition in the House of Representatives (Mr. Curtin) was untiring in his efforts in*. .Canberra and elsewhere to end the dispute. The Prime . Minister” (Mr. Menzies) complimented the honorable gentleman upon the energy which he had displayed in the matter.
– -Has the honorable senator addressed the coal-miners?
– I have been just as close to the coal-miners as has the Leader of the Senate.
– That was a long distance away.
– Just as I would expect.
– But has the honorable senator addressed the miners?
– I believe that my leader has more chance of bringing about a settlement of the coal strike than I have; but if I thought that I could do anything I would not hesitate to offer my sendees.
– The honorable senator under-estimates his ability.
– The Leader of the Senate has not seconded the efforts of the Prime Minister, who went to Kurri Kurri to address the miners, but failed in his appeal largely because while his speech was fo be broadcast to the nation, he did not want the miners’ argument to be heard in that broadcast. Not one member or supporter of the Government has mentioned the fact that the Attorney-General (Mr. Hughes) did not attribute to the miners all of the blame for the closing of the coal-mines. He said that the owners were also at fault and certainly were not exempt from just criticism. I, and other members of the Labour party, want to see an early settlement of this dispute. Therefore, I strongly resent Senator Leckie’s attempt to belittle the efforts of our leader. Our colleague Senator Cameron is also bending all his energies to end the trouble. That is why he is not in this chamber to-night.
Communism and its alleged association with the Labour party have been the subject of a great deal of talk recently. The Labour party stands, as it has always stood, for constitutional methods for the introduction of social and political reforms. In that way it is opposed to the Communist party, which believes in revolutionary action. Senator Dein has admitted that there have been good Labour governments in Australia. The constitutional reforms which they effected are enduring monuments to their memory, and we may confidently expect similar achievements in the not distant future when the people decide once more to entrust the reins of office to Labour.
It has been well said that the price of liberty is eternal vigilance. This is emphasized in connexion with war-time censorship in Australia by means of which various organizations, without a vestige of Communist tendencies, have been deprived of the right of free speech. Many electors in Western Australia have asked me to protest against the unfair method of applying censorship. None of them has association with any of the foreigners who are said to come to this country in order to cause disruption. I have in my hand a copy of a letter which was sent to the Acting Minister for Information (Sir Henry Gullett) by the general secretary of the Australian Natives Association. It reads -
The Australian Natives Association has ever been loyal to our democratic principles and institutions, and the recent action of the Government in suppressing the right of . free expression of thought by increasing the severity of the censorship regulations is viewed by my board with deep concern. The right to free speech and free expression of thought through thepress we feel, is the main, principle underlying democracy, and any attempt to restrict this privilege makes us wonder where we are heading. Has not our Prime Minister on many occasions stated that he does not seek, however long the conflict, to restrict the right to free speech- and criticism? Is not the war itself being fought to retain this very right that is now being partly taken from us by the recent promulgation? The action taken will prevent the full presentation of views on the conduct of the war. Censorship1 shall presumably be of comment or criticism made by persons regarding the prosecution of the, war: and who shall be the judge of whethera criticism is in the best interests of the country or not? My board feels that the regulations, if permitted to continue, will make’ of our democracy a laughing stock, and suggests that urgent and deep consideration be immediately given the matter with the object of restoring the rights that every British subject is fighting for.
The following points effectively coverthe views of my board: -
It denies one section of the Australian public (not by any means only the Communists) the right offree speech.
It gives a departmental chief power by regulation to declare any newspaper a “Communist newspaper ‘”. without adducing a shred of evidence in proof, and thereby to subject it to the new restrictions.
. Under this regulation already, several newspapers, which cannot without gross exaggeration be called “ Communist “, have been subjected to the restrictions.
The subjects listed as banned for publication are not necessarily subjects which, if mentioned, would beof value to the enemy, but which may be inconvenient to the Government.
Other newspapers which do not come under the regulations will bo allowed to publish facts and views relating to these matters. This means that public opinion is to be formed by a governmental selection of facts and views.
As I have received many other similar complaints, I ask the Government to review its censorship regulations. The statements contained in the letter which I have just read are correct. One ofthe valued privileges for which we are fighting to-day, is the right of free speech. I agree that some censorship of publications and public statements is necessary in war-time; but I believe that the restrictions now imposed are too severe, and T. fear that this system may be maintained even when the war is ended. Unfair discrimination is shown in that some newspapers are allowed to publish articles on certain subjects, whereas other newspapers are not permitted to mention them.
The training of aerial gunners isan important aspect of Australian defence measures. We all believe that this country should be well equipped with fighting planes and I am pleased that the Government has decided to increase our air strength. It is, however, regrettable that certain weaknesses have been disclosed in the training of aerial gunners. Although eight months lave elapsed since the outbreak of the war, it was not until a few weeks ago that an aerial gunnery instructor was sent to the Pearce Aerodrome iu Western Australia. Air Force pilots must undergo rigid tests before they are passed as fit for active service. Since aeroplanes travel at speeds of 200 and ‘500 miles an hour, tho efficiency of aerial gunners is of particular importance to the safety of both pilots and aeroplanes. Therefore, their training should be as comprehensive as that of pilots.
In order to conserve overseas exchange the Government has, since the commencement of the war, imposed severe restrictions on imports to this country. We all recognize the necessity for these drastic measures, which bring in their train a certain amount of unemployment.
The Sydney Morning Herald, in its issue of the 23rd April, referring to the Government’s gold tax proposals, made the following statement: -
Ah amendment of the Gold Tax Act to exempt gold produced in low-grade mining enterprises from taxation may shortly lie introduced in the Federal Parliament.
I hope that some such amendment will be made. Representations have been made to the Commonwealth Treasurer by the Government of Western Australia on behalf of companies operating low-grade mines in that State. Many of them are not producing to their full capacity because restrictive measures have prevented the importation of the necessary machinery to operate them profitably. The Premier of Western Australia has asked the Commonwealth Government to make available sufficient money to provide those mines with the machinery that is needed. The total cost would be about £250,000. The money was not available when war broke out, and later, because of restrictions imposed by the Imperial Government the matter of financing the installation of the machinery necessary for the development of the mines was stopped. Consequently, mines have had to reduce produc tion drastically. Serious consideration should be given by the Government to this matter, since gold will continue to play an important part in the provision of the funds required to meet our overseas commitments. N.G.M. Limited, at Nevoria, on the Yilgarn goldfield, has, under the management of Mr. G. Lovell, expended £72,000 on development, and has disclosed supplies of ore sufficient to warrant the erection of a treatment plant of a capacity of from 5,000 to 10,000 tons monthly. It was on the point of obtaining the further capital necessary for plant purposes in London, when tfe war ended negotiations. The ore resen ts of the Ora Banda United Gold Mine, at Ora. Banda are in the vicinity of 500,000 tons, valued at 4.35 dwt. a ton, indicating that a plant of the capacity of from 20,000 to 30,000 tons monthly is warranted. A large developmental expenditure of over £100,000 took place on the property, and the manager, a young Englishman, returned to London just before the war to discuss the provision of a plant. The war interrupted operations, and finance not being forthcoming, the property is now under exemption. The manager himself was recalled to his English regiment. There are a number of other mines involved in this project and the machinery necessary with the exception of some power units can be manufactured in Australia. I do not suggest that the Government should advance £250,000 either to the Government of Western Australia or to these mining companies ; but if ‘ the necessary capital could be provided, arrangements could probably be made for the mining companies to pay back, say, 10 per cent, of the value of the gold won. This would not only reduce unemployment in Western Australia, but also provide new wealth. Although defence expenditure in respect of Western Australia has been authorized to the amount of £600,000, much of that money will be expended in other parts of the Commonwealth from which necessary materials are obtained.
A statement regarding the position of the wheat industry has been made by the Leader of the Country party (Mr. Archie Cameron), and no doubt his remarks will cause some surprise even to Senator Johnston.
– We expected something better.
– No doubt. The honorable senator will probably be even more aggrieved to learn that, for the money to bo advanced by the Government through the Commonwealth Bank for wheat marketing purposes, an interest charge of of 3 per cent, on the money advanced will be levied on the pool.
– Does the honorable senator expect to get money for nothing?
– The admission has been made that the Commonwealth Bank has given advances without charge. Much has been said by honorable senators opposite about inflation. On one occasion, Senator James McLachlan remarked that inflation was necessarily occasioned in war-time.
– Would the honorable senator be prepared to finance the wheat industry on that basis ?
– If the Minister asks me a silly question, he may receive a silly answer. It will cause surprise to the wheat-growers, if not to Senator Johnston, to learn that the pool will be charged 3 per cent, for the money advanced to it.
– What charge did the State governments make in the last war?
– I am not concerned about that. The Commonwealth Bank undertook, at the request of the Government, to advance a sum sufficient to market the wheat, and the sum of £21,000,000 was mentioned.
– And the honorable senator suggests that that sum should be advanced free of interest?
– Then how would the Commonwealth Bank be in a position to pay interest to the depositors in its savings bank?
– What interest is the Government paying on the money that the bank has already made available for defence purposes? The Minister does not like me to mention matters of that kind, but the Opposition is entitled to draw attention to them. I contend that the Opposition can do better work as a critic of the Government than by sinking its identity in a national administration.
– If the Labour party were returned to power, would it finance the wheat industry free of interest ?
– It would take over the reins of office with full confidence, and it would not ask for assistance from either the United Australia party or the Country party. It would adopt the policy of the New Zealand Labour party, which has not sought the assistance of its opponents in the government of that Dominion.
Since the Leader of the Country party has become a member of the Cabinet, his views regarding the wheat industry appear to have totally changed. A merging of political thought has taken place, although we were formerly told by the Country party that this could not be accomplished. I say definitely that the responsibility of protecting the interests of the wheat-growers of this country rests upon the shoulders of the Government. The Leader of the Country party tells the farmers that it would be in their best interests to curtail wheat production, and to resort to other forms of production. If he were a true representative of the farmers, he would endeavour to evolve a plan for the benefit of the producers, instead of merely making suggestions, thereby hoping to free himself from all responsibility in the matter.
– The honorable senator, in order to make- himself a good fellow, suggests that money should be advanced to the farmers free of interest.
– If wheat production be as essential to the welfare of this country as the manufacture of munitions of war, why does the Government consider it necessary to restrict private firms, on whose premises defence annexes have been established, to a minimum return of 4 per cent, on their capital outlay? No plan has been evolved by t,he Government to ensure the stability of the wheat industry, and, as far as I can gather, no such plan will be formulated by it.
– I hope that the honorable senator’s policy will not be given effect.
– The Labour party has a policy which, if put into effect, would prove to be in the best interests of the people generally. If the
Government realizes the seriousness of the plight of the wheat-growers, it should submit a plan for th6 stabilization of the industry, even if a restriction of production were involved. The wheat-growers themselves have shown at their conferences, that they recognize the wisdom of such a restriction.
I am pleased to know that consideration has been given by the Government to the establishment of wool appraisement centres at Geraldton and Albany. In view of the statement by the Minister for Commerce (Mr. Archie Cameron) before he became a member of the Cabinet, I hope that he will take a stand in the Cabinet similar to that which lie took on the floor of this Parliament when he declared himself for a policy of decentralization. On the 22nd November last, he said- -
All parties in this House will agree that Australia is suffering greatly from the degree of centralization which has already taken place. I do not intend to be a consenting party- to the application during war-time of a policy, which, under the excuse of war conditions, will still further accentuate the evil of centralization in our capital cities. The honorable member for Forrest (Mr. Prowse) lias a perfect right to bc concerned about the future of the port of Albany, and the honorable member for Kalgoorlie (Mr. Green) about that of Geraldton.
I hope that the Minister will press the claims of those two ports.
– We are fortunate in having the Leader of the Country -party in a position. in which he can do that.
– I trust that the honorable senator will not be disappointed. I should like to hear his views regarding the statement by the Minister concerning the wheat industry. The Minister said that the primary producers are satisfied, but, in my opinion, they are npt.. . He also declared that the woolgrowers have had a fair deal. But those growers do not think so.
– The majority of them do.
– Most of them do not. The following statement appeared in .a Melbourne newspaper of the 27th March last : - -
Dissatisfaction with tlie price at which wool of the 1939-40 clip has been sold to the British Government, and with anomalies in wool appraisements, -was expressed at the . first meeting of- the Australian Wool Producers’ Federation held in Melbourne to-day. The meeting declared that the price of 10.75d. (sterling) at which the 1939-40 Australian wool has been sold was inadequate to meet rapidly rising costs of production due to war conditions, and urged the necessity for a review of the prices for all future clips. It was declared that serious anomalies had occurred in connexion with the appraisement of wool, particularly in regard to early appraisements, where serious under-valuations were made.
The meeting recommended that a reexamination of such appraisements be made. It also requested that the average prices per lb. be published immediately each appraisement was completed, giving also the average appraised price for each State. The Commonwealth Government was requested to appoint a royal commission to inquire into the pro,duction costs of the wool industry.
In view of these facts, I cannot see eye to eye with Senator McBride. I have shown that substantial numbers of wheatgrowers do not agree with the Minister’s statement that the growers are satisfied with the present appraisement scheme. Apparently, the Minister could not resist the emoluments of office; but before he accepted office he fought the Government on these matters. Now he declares that the wheat and wool-growers have had a fair deal.
Honorable senators on this side will always be prepared to help the Government in its prosecution of the war. However, the Government can hardly expect us to agree with it upon every detail of its proposals. Criticism will be necessary, and we shall not hesitate to voice it. I can only hope that the Government will be prepared to accept our criticism in the spirit in which it is offered. The Government .deserves censure, for instance, for bringing troops from Western Australia to Ingleburn for military training, at a. cost of £22 a head. That was sheer waste of money, because every facility exists in Western Australia for the training of recruits. It was stated that these troops were brought to Ingleburn for brigade training. If such training cannot be given in Western Australia, recruits from that State will have an opportunity to obtain it on disembarkation overseas.
– That may not always be the case.
– At any rate, it is the case at- present.
Widespread’ dissatisfaction has been voiced in Western Australia against the apple and pear acquisition scheme.
– In what part of the State?
– Such dissatisfaction is apparent throughout the State as a whole. Traders who have taken years to build up an export trade are. now prohibited from exporting apples and pears except under licence.
– Let the honorable senator tell the whole of the story.
– I shall do so. Here are the facts as I obtained them in an inquiry which I made as the result of the widespread dissatisfaction voiced against the scheme -
The State Committee constituted under the apple and pear acquisition scheme made the following appointments : -
Mr. C. H. Merry to be supervising secretary.
Mr. Merry is a public accountant, who is also secretary of the Fruit Shippers Association.
Mr. Cansdale as secretary. Mr. Cansdale is an employee of Westralian Farmers Limited, which is allied with Producers Markets and Mount Barker Co-operative. Westralian Farmers Limited is a very large co-operative concern covering all sections of commerce and ships fruit and vegetables to northwest ports, Darwin, and overseas.
Mr. Q. Lantzke, as assistant marketing officer.
Mr. Lantzke is a son of the chairman, Mr. F. W. Lantzke. and previously worked in bis father’s business.
A fruit assembly, committee was formed comprising the fruit shipping firms, to carry out the work of assembly in the country. The address of this committee is that of the supervising secretary, Mr. Merry, and the firms represented are - Paterson’s Limited, Westralian Farmers Limited, George Wills and Company (Burridge and Warren), and some smaller companies.
These firms were to be paid 1-Jd. or lid. a case for this work, and with at least 800,000 cases to be handled will receive £5,000 for their work. Export licences have also been limited to the firms mentioned, who are well represented on the committee, and also on the staff of same.
One of the first actions of the committee was to circularize all growers giving details of how to pack, etc. Growers were informed that the central packing sheds must be used as far as possible. These are owned by Paterson’s and Westralian Farmers Limited, who are well represented on the committee.
Growers were ordered not to put their name on the case, thereby losing all their goodwill, but packing houses such as Mount Barker Co-operative and Paterson’s had their name on the cases and Paterson’s had the apples wrapped in special paper with their name on it. When challenged, it was said that the prohibition only applied to growers.
One company, F. Emery Limited, has specialized in export of fruit and vegetables to the north-west ports and Darwin. In addition an attempt has been made to extend its operations to Singapore and Malay States, so far with success.
The Assistant Minister for Commerce (Senator McBride) ‘inspected this- firm’s methods when in Perth during last year and complimented it on its special packing arrangements. F. Emery Limited was refused an export licence for apples and pears because it exported only 64 cases last year. This firm is only young, and the ridiculous position is that it can export oranges, grapes, vegetables and salads, but cannot send apples or pears to its clients.
The company’s rival in this trade is Paterson’s Limited, which is represented on the committee. Emery recently wanted 25 cases of apples for a client in the north, and when he applied, to the committee he was supplied with apples, with Paterson’s label on the case and name on the papa on each apple. Surely a. good way of advertising to a rival’s client! If th, apples are the property of the Commonwealth, why should this company bo allowed to show ite name at all ?
Licences have been issued to five auctioneers and four private treaty merchants operating in the metropolitan markets. Before considering the applications the committee demanded detailed information about each applicant’s business, number of cases sold for previous year, prices, etc. Applicants felt that Unnecessary details were asked for, especially when three of the members of the committee were engaged actively in the markets in opposition to them. This information could be used to the benefit of those licensees sitting on the committee.
Originally it was laid down by the committee that only merchants handling 10,000 cases or more would be considered. One merchant, a returned soldier with eight children, was refused, and only when the Returned Soldiers’- League made inquiries did he receive consideration. But this man has been severely handicapped by the distribution of the fruit by the committee and only received single lots except on rare occasions. He cannot obtain a line that is 10/20 cases., from the same grower and the same variety, size and grade. He has been forced to purchase his supplies from another licensee on thi3 account.
In the licence, which has to be read to be believed, there is a clause which stifles all criticism of the committee, its officers and its actions. If any licensee says anything derogatory or does not at all times assist the committee to the utmost of his ability, his licence can be withdrawn without advancing any reason whatsoever.
– Where did the honorable senator get his information?
– I got it from inquiries I made as the result of dissatisfaction expressed at the metropolitan markets.
– The honorable senator said that the dissatisfaction was widespread.
– I admit that some sections of the industry are satisfied with the scheme. However, many exporters are dissatisfied with it. This dissatisfaction is not peculiar to the State of Western Australia, but exists also in Tasmania and .”New South Wales. The facts which I have just read are not based merely on hearsay. I again ask the Government to investigate the causes of this dissatisfaction. I hope the Minister will conduct an investigation into thi3 matter. Only one representative of the growers, Mr. Parke, has been appointed by the Commonwealth Government to this committee. It is unfair to those men who have built up an export trade that they should be prevented from exporting those varieties for which there is a demand.
– ls the honorable senator sure that the present position is as he has stated it?
– .1 have been in Canberra since the opening of Parliament, but I investigated the position before I came here, and it then was as I have stated. The Government has made many appointments in Western Australia recently, but all of the persons appointed have been of the same political faith as the Government itself. For instance, a mau who was just returned to the Legislative Council in Western Australia, where he draws a parliamentary allowance of .600 a year, has been appointed to the Immigration Staff with the rank of colonel. He is also a practising barrister.
– He is a very good man, and his constituents re-elected him, knowing that he was doing this other work.
– I am not saying anything against him personally; I mentioned him only to emphasize the fact, that other men, who served their country in the last war and who possess excellent qualifications, have been passed over .in the making of appointments, although the professed policy of this Government is preference to returned soldiers. Mr. W. J. Williams, who was formerly superintendent of the Sydney markets, has been appointed in charge of the naval subvictualling yard in Sydney. The position was not advertised, and no applications were called. There is in Perth a man, an ex-lieutenant-commander in the Navy, who has had experience in this class of work, but he was given no chance to apply for the position which he wa? eminently qualified to fill. In all of these matters, Western Australia seems consistently to be overlooked. When a call was made for technicians, not one was selected from Western Australia. When applications were called for air force trainees, ,-no address: :»* given in Perth.,to which’ applications could be pent. They” had all to be sent to Adelaide.
– The honorable senator knows that that was rectified. No mistake can be corrected until after it ha? been made.
SenatorFRASER. - It was not corrected until after the date upon which applications closed. I trust that the Government will pay some heed to the matters I have mentioned, and particularly to my request that wool appraisement centres he established at Albany and Geraldton.
– At the outset of my speech I would like to commend those responsible for the formation of the Coalition Government, representing members of the United Australia party and the Country party, that has been formed during the time that Parliament has been in recess. It is gratifying to note that the Prime Minister is now assured of a majority in both Houses of Parliament to assist in providing the maximum efficiency in Australia’s Avar effort. The addition of Country’ party members to the Cabinet will also give direct representation of the country interests affecting so many of the population of Australia. It is now sometime since the Governor-General delivered his Speech at the opening of this Parliament, and many changes have taken place since then. The greater part of the Speech dealt with matters arising out of the war, and in the interval since that Speech was delivered we, in common with the rest of the civilized world, have been astounded again and again at the ruthless audacity ofHerr Hitler and his Government. When we listened to His Excellency’s Speech, Denmark and Norway had been invaded, but now Holland and Belgium are fighting for their existence against German aggression, and already thousands of casualties have occurred. The difference between ourselves and Germany lies largely in this : Germany has accepted without reservation the doctrine that might is right. By a series of lightning strokes Germany has overcome one small nation after another by sheer weight of numbers and superiority of equipment. Great Britain and its Allies are also mighty, and they have right on their side as well. They are using their power in defence of small nations, and for the preservation of the liberties of weaker peoples. They. have set themselves up as a barrier between the atrocities of Hitlerism and the rest of Europe. They are fighting now in defence of their democratic principles, for the freedom of the individual, freedom of speech, and the freedom of the press. Individual rights were abolished in Germany a long time ago. Even the rights of the family have been invaded, and parents no longer enjoy the power to educate and control their children as they think fit, and to choose their careers for them. This right has been assumed by the State, and family life, as we know it, has almost ceased to exist. The Empire and its allies, though under an initial disadvantage, are striving heroically to check the spread of these evil doctrines of nazi-ism.
Members of the Opposition have said that the Government is very dilatory in its handling of Australia’s war effort. Ten years ago the. whole of the defence, system of this country was broken down.
SenatorKeane. - Why ?
-I ask the honorable senator that question. The Scullin administration was responsible. I do not say that Australia was singular in that respect. At that time the great nations’ of the world were suffering from the’ malady known as war-sickness, and that will probably occur again at the termination of the present outbreak. The people naturally get tired of war effort. Wo were living in an atmosphere of false security. Military training was suspended, troops were disbanded, and war vessels were sunk, while all the time our present enemy was secretly arming. Prior to that our navy was fully manned, our air force - such as it was - was in good condition, and our military training was equal to that of any other country. When the need for preparedness again became apparent,it was not an easy matter to get back the men who formed the basis of that training, and re-erect the whole of the fabric that had been destroyed. As Senator Keane is well aware, we are an entirely democratic community. Honorable senators are elected to represent the views of all sections in each of the States. Nine years ago it was not an easy matter to convince the people of the necessity for making an immediate start to build up a huge defence force. Until the last two years, on account of the isolation of Australia, it lias been very difficult to make the people realize the apprehension and fear of attack felt by the people of Europe. Even now a large number of people in this country do not realize the gravity of the position in which Australia stands in consequence of the recent massed attacks in Belgium and Holland. Understanding of the realities of the situation has to be developed in the public mind. In that regard, the Government has received no assistance from our honorable friends opposite. In the years that have gone, general elections have been fought on a moderate war policy, and during the whole of that period the Government has received no assistance from honorable senators opposite in its efforts to establish a strong defence force. The Leader of the Opposition in the House of Representatives missed an excellent opportunity when he criticized the defence policy of the late Prime Minister (Mr. Lyons) upon the return of that gentleman from Great Britain, after having consulted the British defence authorities. Had the Leader of the Opposition agreed at that time to assist in the development of a strong defence force, instead of criticizing the Prime Minister of the day and leading tho people to believe that there was no necessity for alarmist propaganda, he would have had a good chance of obtaining control of the treasury bench. If honorable senators are frank they will admit that the Government has done a good job in respect of defence. ‘ When what the Government has done during the last, two years is quietly studied, no criticism can be levelled at it. At the end of the last war, the only ammunition” made in Australia was 303, and very little of that was produced. The Australian troops in Prance were supplied with Canadian ammunition and rifles. At the present time not only our own troops, but also those of Great Britain and New Zealand, as well as the Singapore base, are supplied with small arms ammunition, that is made in this country.
– It was the Labour party which originally established the small arms ammunition works.
– I give to the Labour party the credit that is due to it in that respect. At the end of the last, war, however, those works employed only just over 2,000 men. Honorable senators opposite have particularly stressed the need for Australia to manufacture everything that is required to prosecute our war effort. Members of the Government party have shown by the results that have been obtained that they agree with that contention. Practically the whole of the criticism from honorable senators opposite has been confined to pettifogging details, and has ignored large issues. Senators Sheehan, Aylett. Brown and I yesterday had an opportunity to see what the Maribymong works can do. We saw only a small section of the works. 3 saw the same section eighteen months ago, and its output to-day is more than treble what it then was. Yet the Opposition says that the Government has clone nothing. The Department of Supply and Development has been responsible for that expansion. To it is due the credit for the turning out of the two guns which were handed over to the military authorities for testing last Monday. The workmanship in these guns is equal to the best in any part of tho world. I was told that when the blue prints were sent to Australia- the statement was made that it would take the workmen of this country three years to produce those two guns; yet they were . produced in ‘ten months. A year or two ago, when it -was suggested that machinery for ,: th making of munitions should be purchased overseas, even from Germany, we were criticized -and were asked why : it could not be manufactured in Australia. In the Maribyrnong works I saw machines from practically every country in the world. A very good machine which was purchased from Germany is doing excellent work there. .The Government deserves credit for its’ foresight in this direction. Critics had to admit -that these machines could not be manufactured in Australia. Munitions could be produced in hundreds of thousands of tons only by obtaining the machines that ‘we needed before the outbreak, of war made it impossible to purchase them from foreign countries or even from Great Britain. I understand that the Department of Supply and Development intends to expand its operations further, and that before long 17,000 .persons will be employed .’at these works. While inspecting the shell-making department of the works, I was struck by the fact that if we were short of men for this class of work, as we probably shall be before the war ends, much of it could be done by women, as it was in England during the last war, and probably is at the present time. A certain number of mechanics who have had some training could be released and trained for service as air force mechanics, of which there is probably a shortage at the moment. If this were done a good number of men could be released for the fighting services, where they are already greatly needed, and will probably become much more needed as time goes on.
The Government has dealt in a very effective way with our surplus raw materials. Almost immediately after the outbreak of war Cabinet took this matter in hand, and within a little while had completed deals that stand out as among the most successful that we have known in this country, lt was eighteen months after the outbreak of the last war before anything effective had been done to dispose of our surplus primary products, whereas negotiations were in hand only three weeks after the declaration of this war. In a very little while much of the ground work had been covered, and several disposal projects had been practically completed. Our wool had been sold to the British Government and appraisements were actually being made within about three weeks. During the .recent parliamentary- recess I travelled through a number of woolgrowing districts in Queensland, and I found that the majority of the woolgrowers were satisfied with the prices they were getting for their wool. Whilst I do not deny that some growers were discontented, I could produce hundreds of letters from other wool-growers indicating that they are perfectly satisfied with the position. Whereas they received an average of only- 10£d. per lb. for their wool last year, they will receive an average of 13$d. per lb. this year. If honorable senators who represent Western Autralia had interviewed the woolgrowers of that State and put the position to them frankly, as 1 have done to many wool-growers in Queensland, they would have been well repaid for their Work. The wool-growers of Australia will not only receive something like “Id. per lb. above their valuation, but ultimately they will also receive the 10 per cent, that is being retained and is earning interest.
– Does the honorable senator agree that the first appraisements were too low?
– I do, but I did not agitate about it publicly; I interviewed the then Minister for Commerce (Senator McLeay). I was received with every courtesy and consideration.
– I do not think that any honorable senator would dispute the Minister’s courtesy and consideration.
– I was informed that my case would be considered. It was inevitable that in a scheme involving between £60,000,000 and £70,000,000 some anomalies would occur During the first year of the appraisement scheme during the last war, the returns of the wool-growers were down 9.2 per cent, on the official valuations. Under the first appraisements on this occasion they may be still further down. However, I feel quite satisfied that, in the aggregate, all the growers will finally receive a better price this year than they obtained last year.
In any case honorable senators should look at the alternative to the scheme. Had the British Government not purchased our wool it would have been left on our:.hands until we could effect sales overseas and arrange the necessary shipping. We must all realize that the shipping problem itself would have been extremely difficult. Under the Government’s scheme all a. grower has to do is to convey his wool to the nearest appraisement centre. I shall not discuss at the moment whether there should, or should not, be additional appraisement centres, except to observe that I agree with Senator Eraser that in large States like Western Australia and Queensland, additional appraisement centres should be established by the Central Wool Committee. In Queensland there is one appraisement centre only, situated at Brisbane, in the south-eastern corner of the State.
The . large wool-growing centre of northern Queensland has to send wool to the sea-board ports and ship it to Brisbane, involving in many cases 1,000 miles of sea freight. Appraisement centres could be granted with advantage to both central and northern Queensland. After :i appraisement wool from the centres mentioned could be shipped directly overseas, thereby making a saving in the handling of the wool. I think it quite likely that in the future there may be fewer appraisement centres in some States. My main point at the moment is that under the existing scheme the wool-grower receives his cheque, as a rule, about four weeks after his wool is appraised, and he is then finished with the whole matter. He does not have to bother about the destination of the wool. Even if the ship carrying it should be sunk at sea he is not adversely affected, for that is a matter that concerns the British Government. Moreover, the wool-growers will be entitled, after the war, to 50 per cent, of any profits on resale to other than Allied interests.
– But that affects only raw wool.
– That point has not yet been settled. We do not know whether raw wool, tops, or the finished
Article will be brought into the reckoning. Some ships carrying wool, for which the growers had already been paid, have been sunk, but such losses are borne by the British Government and are not offset’ against the profit on resales. On the whole, I consider that the woolgrowers are being well treated. They are selling their wool at quite a reasonable price.
The wheat-growers are in a more difficult position, mainly because wheat is not in so much demand as wool. Shipping is an important factor here also. If it is possible to obtain wheat from some muchnearer source than Australia, time and shipping being vital factors, the British Government would be fully entitled to take advantage of the nearest source of supply. Time is of the essence of the contract with us as it is with Germany. If we are to win the war we must consider the strategical movement of war supplies as well as of troops. Our wool is urgently needed overseas, whereas our wheat is not. The fact should not be overlooked that within the last few years the wheat-growers of Australia have received a great deal of assistance from the Commonwealth Government. Whilst I sympathize with the wheat-growers of Western Australia, I must direct attention ‘to the fact that our first job is to win the war. That is vital to us, just as it is to Great Britain. Obviously, if Great Britain be defeated we shall be defeated. In that event we shall lose not only our wheat but also the land upon which it is grown.. It is, therefore, surely our first duty to concentrate upon the job of winning the war. After we have done that we can turn our attention to devising ways and means to enable the wheat-growers to get a better living from their farms.
– The trouble is that the wheat-growers are not getting a fair living to-day.
– Many in Western Australia are not, but I believe that every honorable senator will agree that our first and vital duty is to win the war. Unless we do that we shall lose everything we have.
I wish now to discuss for a few moments the important subject of interest rates. Those who wish to be fair to the Government must admit that in this respect it has done well and deserves commendation. Interest rates have undoubtedly been kept at a reasonably low figure. I do not remember what, the position was eight months after the outbreak of the last war. I am given to understand that interest rates at that time were very high. When I returned to Australia in 1920, after my service overseas, I found that interest rates were higher still. The Monthly Review of Business Statistics for March, 1940, issued by the Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics, shows that in 1928-29 the interest rates on fixed deposits varied from 4 per cent, for “three months to 4$ per cent for twelve months, and 5 per cent, for 24 months. In March, 194)0, the rates varied from 1.75 per cent, for three months to 2.5 per cent, for twelve months, and 2.75 per cent, for 24 months. The interest rate for deposits with the Commonwealth Savings Bank was 3.9 per cent, in .1928-29 and 2 per cent, in March, 1940. The yield on Australian consolidated bonds of all issues was 5.35 per cent, in 1928-29, and in March, 1940,’ it was 3.52 per cent. In March, 1940, the yield for 1941, 4 per cent, issues, was 3.13 per cent.; for 1944 and 1947, 4 per cent, issues, it was 3.32 per cent. ; and for 1950 to 1961, 4 per cent, issues, it was 3.60 per cent. The figures relating to rates of interest on first mortgages for New South Wales are also very informative. In February, 1940, 17 per i-ent. of such mortgages were at 4J per cent, or under, 31 per cent, were at over 4-i per cent, and up to 5 per cent., 39 per cent, were at more than 5 per cent, a nd up to 6 per cent., and only 10 per cent, were at more than 6 per cent, and up to 7 per cent. In November, 193S, the corresponding percentages were 22 per cent., 40 per cent., 30 per cent., and 5 per cent. Those figures indicate clearly that the Government has the financial situation well in hand. There has been no disorganization of the money market or of stock exchange operations.
– There must have been some co-operation between the Commonwealth Bank and this Government.
– Obviously, there has been co-operation.
A good deal has been said about the Communists in our midst, and of the danger of sabotage. Members of the Opposition have endeavoured to show that the Communists are the friends of the parties supporting the Government, but the voting at recent elections shows that the Communist vote has not been cast in favour of non-Labour candidates. Probably, the electorate containing the most Communists in Queensland is the Herbert Division. At the 1937 election, there were four candidates for that electorate - Mr.. H. G. Beck, a Social Credit candidate; Mr. G. W. Martens, the present member, who was the nominee of the Australian Labour party; Mr. F. W. Paterson, the Communist candidate; and Mr. J. L. Wilkie, who was nominated by the Country party. The Social Credit candidate polled 3,622 primary votes, which were allocated as follows: to Mr. Martens, 2,375; to Mr. Paterson, 421 ; and to Mr. Wilkie, 826. Mr. Martens received 25,766 primary votes, Mr. Paterson 12,523, and Mr. Wilkie 17,252. The Communist candidate, Mr. Paterson, was the next to be eliminated. Of his 12,944 primary arid secondary votes, 11,122 went to Mr. Martens and only 1,822 to Mr. Wilkie.
– That isolated instance does not prove the honorable senator’s contention.
– Until I saw those figures, I did not know why Mr. Martens is sometimes referred to aa “the Communist member for Herbert “. Had it not been for the preference votes of the Communist candidate, he would not have won the Herbert seat.
– Does the honorable senator think that there are over 12,000 Communists in Herbert?
– Over 12,000 primary votes were cast for the Communist candidate. At the 1934 Senate elections, Communist candidates in New South Wales received 23,063 primary votes. When their preference votes were distributed, 1,811, or 7 per cent., went to the Douglas Credit candidate; 2,083, or 8 per cent., to the United Australia party candidate; and 19,214, or 83 per cent., to Labour.
– The honorable senator admits that the United Australia party is S per cent. Communist. ‘
– Perhaps no political party is quite pure.
– Evidently the honorable senator regrets that his party did not get 83 per cent, of the Communist votes.
– I might have been more interested had I been a candidate at. that election. The figures which I have cited disprove the assertion that the Communists are the friends of the United Australia party, and that Communist candidates are nominated in order that their second preferences may favour the United Australia party. The figures in every case show that the Communist vote overwhelmingly assists the return of the’ Labour candidate.
– Has the honorable senator the figures for the 1937 election showing whether the proportion of Communist preferences to Labour candidates has increased?
– I have touched only briefly on the achievements of the Government during the last two years. During that period it has trained between 75,000 and 80,000 members of the Militia., In addition, an army corps of 90,000 men is being raised, and a strong air force is being created. At the beginning, of the last war, Australia had one air squadron, which was sent to Egypt; at the end of the war, it had four squadrons in the field, and four squadrons training. It would not he wise to reveal the present strength of the Royal Australian Air Force, but the Government has announced that it hopes to have 1,500 aircraft in this country before 1941. That represents about 132 squadrons, compared with eight squadrons at the end of the last war. I could produce other evidence of how the Government has prepared to-meet the grave position which now confronts us, and I sincerely hope that these preparations will continue. Once the people of Australia realize the gravity of the situation, and the-serious .consequences, to them should Great’ .Britain and its Allies be defeated, there will be no difficulty in obtaining all of the men whom the Government will ash for in the near future.
– We meet in circumstances in which the war situation, particularly since the invasion of the Low Countries by the Germans, overshadows everything else. If the hour were earlier, I might commend the Government on its active prosecution of the war - the raising and training of men, the equipping of the troops, the manufacture of munitions and aeroplanes, and its preparations generally - but I content myself with saying that I stand behind the Government in its prosecution of the war, and that any more active steps which it decides to take will Iia ve my full support. Consequently, I approve of the main proposals outlined in the Governor-General’s Speech, insofar as they affect Australia’s participation in the- war. Honorable senators will recall, that at the outbreak of war, the Australian Country party gave to the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) :an assurance of its full support in the conduct of Australia’s war effort. That- promise has been honoured fully; between -September and. Christmas of last year, the Country party assisted the Government in respect of all of its main proposals. Indeed, it was responsible for keeping the Government in power. Many amendments desired by members of the Country party have been accepted by the Government. It can truthfully be said that its promise of support of the Government’s war effort has been fully honoured by the Country party. Since December, the circumstances have changed, for the Country party has accepted the invitation of the Prime Minister to join in forming a composite government. It did so without any bargaining.
– But Country party Ministers receive extra remuneration.
– I do not think the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Collings) really believes that the prospect of additional emoluments influenced in the slightest degree anyCountry party member of the Ministry, or that the loss of ministerial emoluments worried those members of the Menzies Government who patriotically made way for others in order that a composite government might be formed. I shall do all that I can to support the Government in its prosecution of the war, and I hope that its efforts in that direction will be intensified. Most Australians recognize that, if Great Britain is at war, the other members of the British Commonwealth of Nations are automatically at war too. Australia is now, as it was in 1914, in the words of a great Australian statesman, Andrew Fisher, with Great Britain “ to the last man and the last shilling “. There are few Australians who do not realize that our national existence is at stake, and that our retention of everything we value - our liberty, our parliamentary institutions, the political and social standards we have built in this country - depends on the success of the allied forces. It is worthy of mention as a passing thought that our security for the last 150 years, since the settlement of New South Wales began, has been- due, just as it is due now, entirely to the might of the British Navy. The story, of .Australia during that. period is a romance. How people came -here and settled the land, the way in which population -was attracted by the gold discoveries, the development of flocks and herds, the establishment of factories and the growth of our great cities all make romantic history, but such achievements would not have been possible had we not been treated with the utmost freedom by the Old Country, which handed Australia over to those who settled here. Australia’s great development and protection have been due to the might of the British Navy and to the liberty of the British flag. It is well to recall, too. when arguments about war policy crop up, that it was not Hitler who declared war on Australia - in his arrogance and blindness he thought that we might be out of it - it was Australia which declared war on Germany immediately after Great Britain had done so, through our democratic institutions, and a Prime Minister, elected and supported by the majority of the Australian people. That is a strong reason why the Australian forces should be utilized where they can be of most advantage in our defence and to secure the victory of the allied forces. Consequently, I oppose entirely the isolation policy of honorable senators opposite which is so different from the war policy of the Labour Government of our near sister dominion, New Zealand. In this connexion I commend to honorable senators opposite and to the Australian Labour party the notable example of the British Labour movement which in its three different sections, industrial, political and trade union, in the last couple of days, unanimously approved of the action of the British Parliamentary Labour party in joining, a national government under Mi Churchill. 1 am pleased to see in the British Cabinet . such men as Major Attlee, Mr. Herbert Morrison, Mr. Arthur Greenwood and Mr. A. V. Alexander.
– None of them were any good.
– The honorable son a tor knows better than that. They are men of outstanding ability and character who in the past decade, on every Labour platform in this country and elsewhere, have been hailed as examples. Those men have not changed their high character and their noble principles overnight. Neither has the democracy of Great Britain changed its view?, because yesterday the Labour conference at
Bournemouth, on a card vote of the Labour movement of Great Britain, decided by 2,213,000 to 170,000 votes to approve of the action of the British Parliamentary Labour party in joining the National Government. The movement knows that by giving not only its manhood to fight, but also its parliamentary leaders to a national government it gives of its best to the national cause. I am not here to condemn any one for expressing his own beliefs, but 1 do commend that example to the Leader of the Labour party (Mr. Curtin), to the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Collings), and to the non-parliamentary leaders of the Labour movement of Australia. 1 believe that if those leaders took similar action the overwhelming approval of the rank and file of the Labour movement recorded at Bournemouth would be repeated, in Australia. It was because of the war that the Australian Country party joined the Government without bargaining of any kind.
Opposition Senators. - Oh I
– Without une word of bargaining. An offer of possibly less important portfolios than we held in the Lyons Ministry was made by the Prime Minister (Mr.’ Menzies), and accepted by the Leader of the Country party (Mr. Archie Cameron) without bargaining of any kind. But I hope - I think that members of the Country party are entitled to hope - that the Leader of the Country party received some satisfactory assurances of improved policy towards the primary industries of Australia. Its representation in Cabinet is less than the Country party is numerically entitled to. It is also less than it had in the previous composite government. I mention that only in reply to the interjections, and because I admire the fact that the leaders of both sides decided, in the interests of the-nation, without any bargaining at all, on the coalition.
– I think that, the coalition was formed because Sir Sidney Snow went to Melbourne.
– The; ‘ honorable senator would think that but probably he is the only member of his party who does. The right, honorable member for Kooyong (Mr.
Menzies), or whoever is Prime Minister during the war, is entitled to a parliamentary majority in both Houses at a time when unpleasant and un* popular things will have to be done in the national interest. The Government is certainly strengthened in its war activities by the presence among its members of the “ Fighting “ Cameron and other Country party Ministers. But I do not want the Government to think that, because we are supporting it -entirely on the war issue, we are in a cleft stick, and are not entitled to voice the disabilities of that section of the community upon whom tho prosperity of the nation depends, the primary producers. It is our duty to speak for them. The prosperity of the nation depends more on the primary producers during war-time than at any other time, because agricultural production is required for clothing and feeding the Allies, and the gold industry for finding money for the support of not only the Australian nation but also sister dominions and the Old Country itself. The need of Great Britain for primary products is intensified to-day when millions have been withdrawn from industry and put into the fighting ranks. Apart from the overwhelming issue of the war, the decision of the Country party to enter the Government was not greeted with any great enthusiasm by Country party supporters in Western Australia and the eastern States. It is not too much to say that the primary producers throughout Australia, but particularly and emphatically in Western Australia, were in a state of little less than open revolt against the Commonwealth Government at the end of last year and the early part of this year.
– Because of the way in which their products were handled. There were the best of intentions, but the Government failed to protect adequately the interests of producers of wheat and wool in its acquisition of those products. Resentment flamed. The Leader of the Country party had experience of… this in Western Australia.’ I- motored him around and spoke at meetings with him throughout important wheat and wool districts in that State. There were hostile receptions and votes of no-confidence, particularly at the earlier meetings, but, after our explanations had been given the position improved a little. Further improvement will depend entirely on actions taken by this Government and the boards and departments controlled by the Minister for Commerce.
– Action by the Labour party.
– No. The honorable senator may think thai that is the reason, but I am prepared to justify the action of the Country party in this regard. I admit that errors were made. Generosity was not extended to the extent that I should have liked, but that Government did a good job of work for Australia, according to its lights after the declaration of war. At any rate, the Minister for Commerce knows that, there was great dissatisfaction with the Commonwealth Government over the acquisition of, and the prices paid for, wheat and wool. That dissatisfaction was vociferously expressed in Western Australia.
– Not dissatisfaction with the acquisition.
– No ; bm with the prices which followed the acquisition. Members of the- Country party organizations accepted the view thai under war conditions coalition was inevitable. But a party which has always had the interests of the nation first in its mind, .nevertheless, does expect and has the right to expect definite results from the coalition and from” the boards which are handling their products. Those results should be in the direction of greater justice, more assistance and more just financial payments for the products that have been acquired, in most cases without any consultation by the Commonwealth Government with the producers. I warn Federal Country party Ministers that they are on trial, and that, their success or failure will be judged by the treatment which the primary producers receive from the present Government. I am supporting the new Administration wholeheartedly during the period of the war, but its success will, from the point of view of country organizations, depend upon the justice which primary producers receive, more particularly, with respect to the prices which they receive for their products. Results are expected. There are five Country party Ministers in the Cabinet, some of whom are administering departments particularly vital- to the interests of important primary industries, and those engaged in them. “Whilst we entirely approve of the presence- of Country party Ministers in the Government during the war period, the men. and women members of those organizations which built up the Country party movement, and who sent, their ..representatives to this ^Parliament, expect definite results from this Government. We expect injustices to be removed, and better results than previously to be obtained. The primary producers ure looking for more satisfactory treatment with respect to the commodities which they produce, and more just treatment, from the various boards which are handling their products. The Country party was formed with, the definite.- object of protecting and furthering the. interests of- -country people, and particularly those engaged in primary production. The .Country party joined the Government in order to assist in.; the successful prosecution of the war., and its success will be judged by the measure of assistance .given to those engaged in primary production. The members of the Country party are pleased to find that the Minister for Commerce (Mr. Archie Cameron) is also Deputy Prime Minister, and, therefor, Deputy Leader of the Government. I believe that the present Prime Minister ..(Mr. Menzies), or whoever “has the responsibility to lead, the nation in this t ime of crisis, should -have the support of a substantial majority in both Houses. At the same time the members’ of the Country party -hope that those persons engaged in primary industries will receive assistance and consideration, commensurate with the high position to which Mr. Archie Cameron has been elevated as -a result of the work of country . organizations. We cannot forget, the good work which has been’ achieved “by men and women in country’ districts in building up:’ Our organizations. -‘ Their representation in this- Parliament is due to. the activity dis- played by various leagues, conferences and organizations, all of which have been instrumental in formulating the policy which we support. The objective of the Parliamentary Country party is to see that justice is done to those engaged in primary industries, and their past record is one of splendid achievement. If their representatives do- not obtain results when in power the continuance of a Country .party cannot be justified to the rank and file. .
– They must protect the interests of the general community.
– That i.s the intention, but it is their particular responsibility to assist those engaged in rural pursuits, because upon their success depends largely the financial and economic’ stability of the Commonwealth. Originally a small movement, which in obscure quarters was regarded as sectional, the Country party has grown into a national organization, whose success in protecting country interests is a. vital factor in the prosperity of our cities and towns. The secondary industries depend largely upon the success of primary production. Wheat, wool and other primary products have been acquired compulsorily by the Government without consulting the growers, or their representatives in this Parliament.
– That is not correct.
– Were the representatives of the wheat-growers consulted before their crop was acquired ? They were not. Although the wheat industry provides .move employment, directly and indirectly, than any other industry in Australia.-, its representatives were not, consulted before the wheat crop was acquired. The compulsory acquisition by the Commonwealth of wheat, wool, or any other commodity, carries with it the constitutional obligation upon the Commonwealth to pay a just price. The . Government cannot say that it. is: entitled to acquire wheat, wool, apples or any other product under “whatever conditions it decides. It has not the power to do so. Thank God, we. have a Constitution, and even a Commonwealth Government operating in such a remote place as Canberra cannot override the Constitution. The acquisition of wheat, wool and other products has been carried out under section 51 of the Constitution, which is not only a charter of public liberty, but also a deed of right for the protection of the people. Section 51, which confers various powers upon the Government, provides that Parliament shall have power to make laws with respect to the acquisition of property on just terms from any State or person, for any purpose in respect of which the Parliament has power to make laws. The Government lias power to acquire property from any person, but only on just terms. Lt cannot sell property so acquired a.t any price it pleases. The legal and constitutional power of the Government to take over farmers’ products is governed entirely by its doing so on just terms, which means fair and reasonable prices. Pair prices mean at least the cost of production, plus a reasonable profit to cover the producers’ labour. When the Government acquires wheat or wool it; has to pay the producer a just price.
– Is the honorable senator opposed to acquisition by the Government?
– No. The Government, having acquired the wheat without consulting the growers, must pay a fair price, regardless of whether it does or docs not sell the product at a profit.
– Does the honorable senator consider that the farmers are getting a fair price for wool?
– Then the honorable gentleman is in conflict with the Leader of his party.
– As I have explained, when a farmer’s produce has been acquired compulsorily, the Government is required, under the Constitution to pay him a just price for it. Paragraph 17 of the first report of the Royal Commission on the Wheat Industry stated that 3s. a bushel at sidings would enable one half of the wheat-farmers of Australia to carry on under the conditions in respect of cost of production and interest obtaining at that time. The report, which was issued in 1935, also pointed out that three-fourths of the producers would be able to continue, without readjustment, if the price were 3s. 10-)d. a bushel at sidings. That, I submit, is the lowest price which the Government should now pay for the wheat which it has acquired, because a just price can only be regarded as the cost of production, plus a reasonable margin of profit. As costs have increased substantially in recent years, the price of 4s. a bushel at sidings, now asked by Australian wheat-growers, is reasonable and has my full support. A lower price could not be regarded as a just price. So far the Government has paid, for the last harvest, only 2s. 10 1/2d. a bushel at ports for bagged wheat and 2s. S-kl. a. bushel for bulk wheat. I appeal to the Government to do the right thing for the wheat industry, which is the greatest source of employment, both direct and indirect, in Australia.
– Is the honorable senator satisfied with the present, price?
– No ; I want another ls. 4d. a bushel at least, and a further advance of 6d. a bushel to be paid next week.
Wheat-growing, more than any other primary industry, has borne the burden of the tariff. In many parts of Australia, growers have had a succession of indifferent or bad seasons. In Western Australia, with which” I. am best acquainted, many hundreds of wheat farms have been abandoned during the last few years. I am sorry to say that farmers in relatively good districts are still leaving their properties. The position is most serious, and there is a responsibility on the Commonwealth Government to provide legislative assistance to the wheatindustry, as it has assisted other Australian, industries of far less economic value, important’ though they may be.
– Is there not a State Parliament in Western Australia to help the wheat-farmers ?
– There is, and irrespective of the political views of the governments that have been in power there, the Western Australian Parliament has done, and is doing, wonderful work with very’ limited resources in administering a State comprising one-third the area of Australia with a population of only 460,000. The people of Western Australia are probably i lie hardest-working in the world. They hove produced for export more primary produce per capita than any other community. But the task of settling and developing that large area of Australia is much too great for such a small population. Western Australia needs the sympathy and direct financial assistance of the wealthier eastern States in the great work of distributing the population more evenly. Western Australia cannot develop unaided nearly one-third of Australia. I hope that the Commonwealth Government will not be backward in giving the assistance that is needed.
I was pleased when the Leader of the Federal Country party (Mr. Archie Cameron) accepted the position of Minister for Commerce in the reconstituted Commonwealth Government; but I warn him and the Government that the success or failure of the Coalition Ministry will bo judged largely by the measure of financial assistance given to the primary industries of Western Australia and of the Commonwealth. The development of that large State is a national responsibility. We do not want to see nearly all of the population of Australia on the eastern side of the continent, while the western portion is denied opportunities to establish secondary industries. Western Australia, being far from the Seat of Government, is unknown to many members of the Commonwealth Parliament, and has never even been visited by many members of this Parliament, including some Commonwealth Ministers. I make my appeal on behalf of Western Australian wheat-growers on the grounds of national expediency, and I repeat that the Government can acquire the wheat crop only on just terms. A just price is, at the very least, the cost of production, which was fixed by the royal commission in 1.935 at 3s. 10 1/2d. a bushel at sidings. That price was modified slightly in later reports for those districts where there is a * big local market for by-products. Unfortunately, Western Australia has only a small population in” towns, so the disposal of by-products does not mean a great deal to the industry in that State. The Government should be bold and do a fair thing by accepting the recommendation of the commission which, five years ago, recommended a price of 3s. 10 1/2d. at sidings. I shall not quibble about an extra lid., but I would make the price 4s. a bushel at sidings, and thus bring some measure of prosperity to wheatgrowing districts which, to-day, are being abandoned. Hundreds of young men have left their homes. I know of -areas in Western Australia where there used to be as many as six cricket teams; but last year, even before the war had started, it was not possible to arrange a cricket match because the young men had left the poverty-stricken wheal lands for the gold-fields and the cities, where there are better chances of employment and better industrial conditions. The Government must do something to bring prosperity and reasonable living and working conditions to the wheatfarmers and their employees. If it fails to do so, the Country party cannot remain an integral part of it.
– Is the honorable senator quite satisfied with the royal commission’s recommendations?
– No. Costs of production have risen by probably 20 per cent, since the report wa.’ made five years ago. A tractor costs today £200 or £250 more than it would have cost nine months ago. With the approval of the Commonwealth Prices Commissioner the price of superphosphates bas been increased by 10s. a ton.
– The price of superphosphates to-day is not higher than it was in 1935.
– lt has increased since the war broke out.
– But the price is lower than it was in 1935.
– Costs have increased in every direction since the outbreak of war. Food, clothing, jute goods, petrol and oils, machinery, and transport rates are a.ll dearer. I admit that the Government is doing its best to protect the public against increased prices, but it is failing. The only way in which primary producers can be recouped for increased, costs of essential commodities is by receiving higher prices for their products. I have just returned from Western Australia, and every wheat-grower I met, and many others who wrote to me, asked me when the Government would pay a second advance on wheat. I understand that next month the British Government will pay for approximately 25,000,000 bushels of wheat, which it has purchased. Western Australian farmers have received for hulk wheat at ports only 2s. 8 1/2d. a bushel, from which 4-Jd. has been deducted for freight. I urge the Government to make another advance of 9d. or at least 6d. a bushel. It is essential that this money should be found at once.
The argument that I have, advanced with regard, to the obligation that rests on this Government to pay a just price for wheal, which is compulsorily acquired applies also to wool. I admit that a greater price for wool has been obtained than that received in tho preceding season, but the fact remains that the price in that season was one of the lowest recorded for the last 25 years.
– The graziers’ organizations said they were satisfied with the price.
– That was not the verdict of the representatives of the small wool-growers’ associations. The growers on comparatively small areas in the farming districts cannot produce wool as cheaply as the rich squatters on the big leasehold areas in the northern and north-western pastoral districts. I maintain that the Government sold our wool to Great Britain at less than a just price, because a just price would at least cover the cost of production, plus a reasonable profit for the producer.
– The price was fixed after consultation with the growers’ representatives.
– The growers with whom I am particularly associated are not satisfied with the price. The annual meeting of the Australian Wool Producers Federation took place in Melbourne recently, and, according to the minutes, among those present were the following: -
President- -Hon J. M. Balfour. M.L.C. (Wheat and Wool-growers .Association of Victoria).
Secretary - Mr. F. B. Hitching (Primary Producers’ Association of Western Australia).
Victoria - Messrs. Marshman, Cullen, Chanter and Noyes.
Nev . South Wales - -Messrs. H. Henley, M.L.A.. mid B. Df. Cole.
Queensland - Messrs. ti. K. Humphries’ and K. J. McDonough.
Western Australia - Professor Cr. Irving and Mr. F. Fi. Hitchins.
South Australia - Messrs. Stott, Maycock and Vowles.
Apologies were received- from Mr. Powell (Wheat and Wool-growers Union of Western Australia), with authorization for Mr. Cullen to act as proxy. An apology was tendered on behalf of Mr. E. P. Beresford (Queensland) for unavoidable absence.
At that meeting the great majority of the wool-growers in each State was represented.
– As far as Western Australia is concerned, I am sure that the Primary Producers’ Association and the Wheat and Wool-growers’ Union in that State represent the majority of the growers. The decision of the meeting was as follows : -
This meeting is definitely of the opinion that the price, 10.75d. (sterling) at which the 1939-40 Australian wool has been sold to ‘the United Kingdom is inadequate to meet the needs of the industry at the present time, and urges the necessity for a review of the prices for all future clips to ensure a reasonable margin of profit to the producers, after taking into account the rapidly increasing costs of production due to war conditions. lt will be seen that the small growers, through their federation, are entirely dissatisfied with the price.
– The honorable senator saw what the Payne report stated regarding the cost of production.
– That report related to Queensland, where the conditions are different from those obtaining in the southern parts of Australia.
– In 1913 a. royal commission found that the cost of production was 9d. per lb.
– The report of the Wool Inquiry Committee which sat in 1932 showed the average cost of production to be 14d. per lb. This included the costs of the great stations conducted on leasehold tenures in Queensland and the north-western parts of Western Australia, where costs are much lower than in the southern districts of Australia. Considerable increases of production costs have occurred since that time, and further increases are inevitable. About three weeks ago the Assistant Minister (“Senator McBride) gave me a list of the average prices at which wool had been sold from- about 1914 to the present time, and these prices range, in the majority of cases, from 15d. up to, I think, over 2s. per lb.
– In the last five years the average price has been 13.13d. per lb.
– The Minister for Commerce and Senator McBride are entirely wrong in saying that the majority of the wool-growers of Australia are satisfied with the present price. The Minister for ‘Commerce and I went for a week’s tour in WesternAustralia, and we did not’ meet one grower who was satisfied. We visited Katanning, the main centre where the beautiful’ blue wool is produced, and, after we had addressed a meeting of settlers there, a vote of want of confidence in the Federal Country party was carried, owing to the price of wool and the general administration of wool ‘affairs by the Menzies Government being regarded as entirely, unsatisfactory. %. said to those, people, “You ought to have 15d. (sterling) per lb. for your wool,’ as you had after the last “war “. The Assistant Minister may laugh; but no justification exists for. asking wool producers in the farming districts of Australia to accept less than a fair price for their wool, which I submit is ls. 3d. sterling per lb.
– Suppose the buyer, refuses to give that price.
– Wool is urgently needed by Great Britain and the Allies, for this year, at any rate, the Government has compulsorily acquired the wool, and, therefore, upon it devolves the responsibility of paying to the producer a fair price. The Government has made a very bad bargain.
– At any rate the growers will receive more under that bargain than they previously received on the open market.
– That is so; but we must remember that, owing to the war, costs of production have increased considerably. The small wool-grower in Western Australia should be paid a price equivalent to that which he received in tho past. I estimate a fair price to be ls. 3d. (sterling) per lb., which is approximately ls. 7d. (Australian). The small wool-growers are- dissatisfied with the present price. I have not met one of them who agrees with the opinion, expressed by the Minister that the majority of the growers are satisfied with the present price. The Government has compulsorily acquired the wool,., and, therefore, it should pay a just price. for it. If the Government wishes to act generously towards Great Britain in respect of the sale of our primary products, I agree with its motives ; but I. say it should be generous at the expense of the community as a whole, and not merely at the expense of wool or wheat-growers, who are at present embarrassed financially. Some time ago the Leader of the Opposition in the House of Representatives (Mr. Curtin)- suggested that we should make a gift of 1,000,000 bushels of wheat to Great Britain. If the Government- wishesto be generous let it. make such a gift, but let it first pay to the Australian grower a- fair price for his product, .and not be generous at someone else’s expense.
Grave dissatisfaction has also been caused among wool-growers because of the refusal of the Government to’ establish appraisement centres at Albany and Geraldton. Although.- sheep are widely distributed in the coastal areas- of Western Australia, and despite the length of the coast line of that State, only one appraisement centre has been provided in Western Australia. This is in marked contrast to the treatment meted out in this respect to the eastern States. In Victoria, for instance, appraisement centres have been established at Geelong, Melbourne and Ballarat. I cannot understand why a centre has been established at Ballarat where the wool must now be unloaded, although eventually it must be despatched to the sea-board. These three centres in, Victoria are within 40 or 50 miles of one another. Yet in the large State of Western Australia only one appraisement centre has been established. During the last war the Attorney-General (Mr. Hughes), when he was Prime Minister, immediately consented to a request that appraisement centres be established at Albany and Geraldton. Immediately the request was. made Mr. Hughes ordered that centres be set up in those places. However, a deputation consisting of all of the
Western Australian representatives in this Parliament, as well as representatives from other States, has unsuccessfully made a similar request to, not only this Government, hut also its predecessor. Albany has a wonderful deep-water harbour and is on the direct shipping route from the eastern States. Geraldton also has an unanswerable claim. Yet our requests have produced nothing but sympathy, but sympathy without action is like mustard without beef. It seems that the present Government is lacking in backbone in this matter. . In Queensland, with its long coastline, only one appraisement centre has been established. The Government refuses to set up a centre at Townsville, Rockhampton or Bowen. I cannot understand how any Minister with any knowledge of the geography of Australia can say that one appraisement centre is sufficient for Western Australia and Queensland, and, at the same time, agree that Victoria needs three centres, one of which is inland. Apparently the Government has not sufficient backbone ; otherwise it would’ do the fair and proper thing without delay and grant our request for the establishment of appraisement centres at the places I have indicated.
– The establishment of an appraisement centre at Geraldton would mean a saving of 8s. 4d. a bale to wool-growers in the north of Western Australia.
– That is so. Albany was an appraisement centre during the last war. To-day that town has been severely hit by the refusal of the Government to re-establish a centre there. Shipping services to that port have been reduced, and warehouses and storage space which would be available for the handling of wool at both Albany and Geraldton are now empty. At the same time, I am told, much of the wool received at the one existing centre is being stored in the open. An unanswerable case has been made out for the establishment of appraisement centres at these places to not only the present Minister for Commerce, but also his predecessor and tho Prime Minister. Every one, apparently,’ agrees that the request should be granted, but nothing has been done.
I wish now to refer to the constitution of the Central Wool Committee. At a meeting last March the Australian Wool Producers Federation passed the following resolution : -
This meeting objects to the constitution of the bodies set up to handle wool under the National Security legislation insofar as it does not provide for majority grower representation on the Central Wool Committee mid. all State wool committees in accordance with the policy unanimously adopted at the British Empire Producers Conference, and by the Australian Wool Producers Federation, and request the Federal Government to make immediate provision in accordance with this policy.
These bodies have not been constituted in accordance with the- policies of both the Western Australian and Australian Country party movements. The request embodied in the resolution was placed before the Minister at several meetings in Western Australia. We asked that an additional member should be appointed as a representative of the small woolgrowers of Western Australia. On every occasion the Minister replied that he was in favour of majority grower-control on all commodity boards and committees. He mentioned certain boards which he had appointed when he was previously Assistant Minister for Commerce in connexion with which he had applied this principle. The Minister has now held his office for some weeks, and this request has been placed before him time and again by representatives of Western Australia in this Parliament. There has been a Cabinet meeting in Western Australia, and Ministers have been accorded welcomes. I hope that there will be more meetings there. Ministers have said that they were pleased to visit Western Australia to see its disabilities for themselves, and that there ought to be a Western Australian on every one of these marketing boards, because of the peculiar conditions prevailing in Western Australia, and because of its isolation. In spite of this., however, our requests for the appointment of a Western Australian to the Central Wool Committee have been rejected.
We ‘ desire a revision of the earlier wool appraisements, particularly the first ‘ and second. Glaring injustices were committed in the first assessment and, to some degree, in the second, and some action should be taken to recompense those growers who received 2d. and 3d. per lb. less for their wool than they would have obtained had their wool been appraised later.
We further desire that the Tariff Board should be asked to inquire into the costs of producing wool. Some time ago, the committee which inquired into this matter stated that it cost 14d. per lb. to produce wool throughout Australia. Yet the Government has sold the last clip at less than that price, despite increased cost of production. The fact that such widely divergent opinions can be put forward by different authorities shows the need for an impartial inquiry by a responsible body before the price is fixed for next year’s clip. The whole subject should be inquired into by a competent tribunal, and I know of no more competent tribunal than the Australian Tariff Board. It would probably recommend a price that would give the small grower a fair return for his labour and. the capital lie has invested. The Australian. Wool Producers’ Federation asks, and 1 support the request, that the Tariff Board should inquire into the costs of producing wool, and that no sales be made of next year’s clip to the Government of Great Britain except at a price that will give a fair return to the producer say, ls. 3d. per lb. sterling or ls. 7d. per lb. in Australian currency.
The Government proposes to place a heavy burden of taxation on the country. I believe that Australians in all walks of life are prepared to make the sacrifices demanded of them by the war. The Government, however, should expend wisely the huge revenues, which are being raised by taxation and by loan for the prosecution of its war effort. All expenditure should be carefully scrutinized, and waste should be eliminated. In this connexion, we do not wish a recurrence of the waste involved in bringing soldiers from Western Australia to the eastern States for training. There is an uneasy feeling that defence expenditure is being confined almost exclusively to the eastern States. We have asked that munitions be manufactured at the Midlands Junction work- shops and elsewhere in Western Australia, but that has not been done. We are now told that no more private soldiers will be brought to the east, but that recruits for technical units will have to come to the eastern States for training. Let us have a change in this regard. Let us try to develop an Australian sentiment. If it is necessary to bring all these men to one point for training, let them, for a time at any rate, be all brought to Western Australia. This would have the advantage, also, that the men from the east would be some distance on their way to their destination.
I urge the Government to repeal - not merely to amend or alters - the tax on gold production. At present half of the excess price of gold over and above £9 per oz. is taken by the Government as a tax. The price now is £10 13s. 6d., so that the tax amounts to 16s. 7 1/2d. per oz., irrespective of whether the mine is making a profit or not. A similar tax was imposed iu South Africa, but it was discovered there to be a foolish mistake, and the incidence of the tax has now been altered so as to give relief to low-grade shows. The Australian Treasury supports the tax in its present form because it brings in four or five times as much as would a tax on profits, the same kind of tax as is imposed on all other Australian industries. The gold tax has to be paid whether a mine is working at a profit ot not, and certain big mining companies working on low-grade ores are working at a loss. So serious is their plight that they are likely to suspend production.
– Mention one of them.
– Wiluna is one, and Mount Magnet is another.
– They are working 6 dwt. ore.
– No, it is of much lower grade, about 2.7 dwt. A great deal of gold has been produced at Wiluna, thanks to the enterprise of British investors, who expended £1,000,000 on equipment and developmental work. The company also received a Government loan, which was repaid in full without any loss to the lender. Because of unfavourable developments at depth, which no one could have foreseen, the British investors in this company will not get. their money back. Though the mine is a losing proposition, the company will have to pay £50,000 this year to the Federal Government in this -unjust tax. This money, expended on exploratory work, might have revealed fresh ore bodies, the discovery of which would give the mine a new lease of life. At the 2,000 feet level there are ore bodies assaying 2.7 dwt. a ton, which could and would be worked if the tax were repealed. The State Government has spent several hundred thousands of pounds in the construction of a railway to Wiluna, which carries a population of about 7,000 persons, who are dependent on one mine. The monstrous injustice of taxing this community out of’ existence should be realized even in Canberra. The Commonwealth Parliament is composed largely of men who, having been elected by populous centres, naturally know a great deal about the eastern States, with a large concentration of the population, and the expenditure of money, principally in Sydney and Melbourne. Unfortunately, a good deal of the administration is in charge of men who know nothing about primary industries or the outlying parts of Australia. That is why there is such a monstrous injustice as the taxing of gold, which is required for the prosecution of the war, on the basis of production. The greater the quantity of gold produced, the more tax is paid, whether or not there is a loss on every ounce produced. It is a wrong method of taxation, which would not be accepted in respect of any other Australian industry in the eastern States. Gold-mining is 100 per cent, a country industry, and nearly 80 per cent, of the production comes from Western Australia. It is stated that at Kalgoorlie the heavy incidence of this tax results in the passing over of a lot of low-grade ore which could be worked if the tax were removed. The tax should be opposed by all parties in this cb amb” r, on the ground that it is contrary to all of the accepted principles of taxation. Gold is vital to Australia and the Empire, in order to secure the dollar credits that are needed in the United States of America. Modern wars are waged by mechanized armies. We can secure aeroplanes and much of the equipment, petrol and other essentials only from countries that are outside sterling exchange. It is imperative that our production of gold should be increased, to enable us to make purchases in the United States of America. Production should be encouraged, not discouraged by a monstrously unfair and stupid tax. If the commodity that is most necessary to enable us to wage the war is to be taxed, at least let the tax be at the rates fixed in respect of income tax, as is done in respect of secondary industries and many other things. The production of gold is so important to Australia that it would pay the Commonwealth to waive the tax, so long as a greater quantity was produced. The increase of production would not only increase the volume of employment but also enable the production of munitions for the conduct of the war to be enlarged. When the Federal Government imposed the levy of 50 per cent, of the amount received by gold producers in excess of £9 per fine oz., it reached the decision hurriedly and without conferring with the leaders of the State Mines Departments or other authorities on the subject. Again I complain that the Government does so much of its own volition, without consulting interested parties. Since the impost, strong opposition has been voiced to what is considered tho unfair principle of taxing production value, instead of the profits that mayaccrue from’ the commodities produced. lc appears significant that gold production has been, singled out for imposition in view of the fact that the value of production in Western Australia has reached such pleasing figures. The prices of raw materials generally, especially those that are required for war purposes, have increased since the war commenced, in a number of instances to a greater degree than has the price of gold. If there be one commodity that should not be selected for a special levy, it is gold. Undue taxation discourages this industry by retarding contributions of capital, and, subsequently, by inducing an indifferent attitude by the public towards it. Goldmining is an activity of variable temperament. Suitable encouragement will reflect favorably on the industry, whilst the reverse will slowly but surely lull public interest into somnolence. The Government appears to be under the impression that gold itself has the special virtue of being of value apart from the cost of winning it. This is a fallacy. Should a prospector or a mining company win a quantity of gold at a cost greater than its value, he or it would be better off without the metal, and consequently gets out of business. The Mount Magnet Company, through its engineer and director, has recently issued- the statement that that big’ mine will soon go out of operation unless the tax on the production of gold is lifted.. The higher the value of gold, the better for all concerned. Residents of mining towns, workers, and traders, all receive value from rising gold prices. If there be any doubt concerning this, doubters should compare the active conditions to-day at Kalgoorlie, Wiluna, Mount Magnet, Coolgardie, Agnew, Marble Bar, Norseman, and other mining centres, with the conditions of those places when the ruling price for gold was S5s. per oz. The change is due to the higher price of the metal, enabling ore of lower gold content to be profitably treated. In other words, payable ore reserves have been inestimably increased. One does not need to possess much minim knowledge to know that. Increased ore reserves demand treatment plants of greater size, and this means additional employment. It is estimated that one mining employee causes employment to be found for four others engaged outside the industry. I cite towns like Westonia, where there is very little except gold-mining, and about 100 employees are responsible for a population of five times that number. The Government of South Africa imposed a tax on gold production, but later removed it, realizing that the principle was wrong and militated against production, especially in- relation to low-grade ore deposits, and even high-grade properties which possessed low-grade ore bodies within their boundaries. Canada considered the imposition of a gold levy, but, realizing the folly of the policy, did not proceed with it. Thus, of tho three great gold-producing countries of the Empire Australia alone inflicts this levy on production. In India, Rhodesia and West Africa gold-producers are afflicted with a war levy on gold, but as cheap coloured labour is employed in these countries the imposition is less burdensome than in Australia. Suggestions have been made that low-grade mines should receive special consideration, with a view to compensating them for the levy. That, however, would not remedy the position. I am not prepared to say what would be. a fair grade to fix. Threepennyweight ore might be profitable in one locality, whereas in another, remote from railway facilities, it would be quite unprofitable. I consider that the impost should be entirely discontinued, and the legislation which imposed the tax repealed. We should adhere to the usual method of taxing profits by means of the income .tax which is applied to other industries. Even 5-dwt. ore in one place might be high’ grade in another - at Big Bell for instance - in consequence of different conditions. The tax is wrong in principle and detrimental in its reactions, and should therefore be removed. An equable levy on the industries profiting from an increased output due to war conditions should be imposed. I therefore urge the Government to repeal the gold tax as it is altogether unjustifiable to impose . the tax on this commodity, which is so essential to the maintenance of our economic life.
I do not’ intend to refer at present to the other legislative proposals referred to in His Excellency’s Speech. I shall conclude by saying that I entirely support the war effort of the Government and commend it- for the actions it has taken to prosecute the war. I am particularly pleased that the Communists within our midst are to be dealt with effectively. There can be no doubt the disastrous coal strike, which is paralysing our industries and dislocating the life of our people, is entirely due to the machinations of the self-confessed Communists who are the leaders of the coal-mining unions. I hope that the Government will go to the utmost limits in dealing with the Communist menace in our midst.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Motion (by Senator McLeay) agreed to.
That the Address-iii-Reply to His Excellency the Governor -General’s Opening Speech hu presented to His Excellency by the President and such senators as may desire to accompany him.
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. J. B. Hayes). - I shall ascertain when His Excellency the Governor-General will be pleased to receive the Address-in-Reply. When the time is fixed I shall acquaint honorable senators.
Motion (by Senator McLeay.) pro posed-
That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn till 2.30 p.m. to-morrow.
.- I ask the Leader of the Government whether there is any reason why the Senate should ‘ not meet’ at 11 a.m. to-morrow?”
Question resolved in the affirmative.
The following papers were pre sented : -
Convention for facilitating International Circulation of Films of Educational Character - Proces-Verbal concerning application of certain Articles - Geneva,- 12th September, 1938..
Commonwealth Public Service ActAppointment - Prime Minister’s Department - H. P. Brown.
Regulations amended - StatutoryRules 1940, No. 74.
Customs Act - Proclamations prohibiting the exportation (except under certain conditions) of-
Bags,sacks, packs, . bales and mats of hessianorjute; Hessians and other jute piece goods’; Metal working machine tools; Petroleum products; Tetra-ethyl lead (dated 30th April, 1940).
Coal; Fuel oil; Ships’ Stores (dated 15th April, 1940).
Ores and concentrates; Minerals; Metals . and Metal Manufactures; Other Metals; Drugs and Chemicals; Miscellaneous (dated 23rd April, 1940).
Paper, waste, used and second-hand (dated 9th April, 1940).
Designs Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1940, No. 6.
Excise Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1940, No. 48.
Patents, Trade Marks, Designs and Copyright (War Powers) Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1939, No. 175.
Transport Workers Act - Regulations amended - StatutoryRules 1940, No. 62.
Wine Export Bounty Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1940, No. 49.
Air Force Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1940, No. 75.
Defence Act - Regulations amended- Statutory Rules 1940, Nos. 68, 76.
Lands Acquisition Act - Land acquired at - Byford, Western Australia- For Postal purposes.
Darwin, NorthernTerritory - For Road purposes.
Fremantle, Western Australia - For Defence purposes.
Geraldton, Western Australia - For Defence purposes.
King Island, Tasmania - For Postal purposes.
Lymington, Tasmania - For Postal purposes. ……. -
National Security Act -
National Security (Aliens Control) Regulations - Orders -
Enemy Aliens to report.
Restricting place of abode and movements of aliens.
National Security (Apple and Pear Acquisition ) Regulations-Order.
National Security (General). Regulations - Orders -
Power toobtain information.
Prohibited places (3).
Protected areas (2).
Taking possession of land, &c. ( 37 ) .
Use of land (2).
Regulations amended, &c. - Statutory Rules 1940, Nos.63, 64,65,66, 67, 71, 72, 73; 77; 78, 79. 80.
Naval Defence Act - Regulation’ amended - Statutory Rules 1940, No. 81;
Northern Territory. Acceptance Act; and Northern Territory (Administration) Act- .
Brands Ordinance - Regulations amended (No. 3 of 1940)..
Crown Lands Ordinance - Reasons for resumption of reservation of certain lands suburban to Darwin, together withplan showing area resumed.
Seat of Government Acceptance Act and Seat of Government (Administration) Act-
Ordinances of 1940 -
No. 2- -Adoption of Children.
No. 3 - Canberra University College.
No. 4 - Police Superannuation.
No. 5 - Canberra Community Hospital.
No. 6- Meat.
No. 7 - Careless Use of Fire.
Building and Services Ordinance - Regulations amended.
Police Ordinance - Regulations amended.
Public Health Ordinance - Regulations amended.
Postmaster-General’s Department - Twentyninth Annual Report, 1938-39.
Audit Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1940, No. 46.
International Labour Organization of the League of Nations - Twenty-fifth Session, held at Geneva, 8th to 28th June, 1939- Reports of Australian Delegates.
Papua Act - Ordinance No. 2 of 1940 - Postal Rates (Defence Forces).
Senate adjourned at 11.5 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 14 May 1940, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1940/19400514_senate_15_163/>.