17th Parliament · 2nd Session
ThePresident (Senator the Hon. Gordon Brown) took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.
– Has the Minister for Aircraft Production read a statement by a member of the Labour party, which has been given wide publicity, in connexion with the manufacture of aeroplanes? I ask permission to read the statement published in the press.
– The honorable senator would not be in order in reading a newspaper report when asking a question, but he may indicate the nature of the statement.
– If the Minister has not read the remarks to which I refer, will he make a considered statement on the matter before the Senate adjourns to-day, because the observations will have a most disastrous impression on parents whose sons risk their lives in aircraft?
– I have read the statement published in the Canberra Times, and can say briefly that it has no foundation in fact. A considered statement on the matter will be made next week.
Senator COLLINGS (Queensland-
Minister for the Interior). - by leave - At a recent sitting of the Senate, certain comments were made regarding operations of the Allied Works Council in Tasmania, and I made a statement to the effect that no men had been called up from that State for months past, adding that the personnel office of the council in Tasmania had been closed for that period. In reply to that statement it was suggested by an honorable senator that my remarks showed that I did not know what was happening in my own department. The case was cited of a man who, allegedly, bad been called up as recently as the 29th August of this year. I merely refer to this, because I think that it is always desirable that responsible Ministers should clear up matters of this kind other wise a doubt might arise as to whether a Minister was fit to continue in his position. I appreciate my job, and I wish to keep it as long as I can. The facts are that Mr. T. J. Chatters, of 676 Mainroad, Sandy Bay, Tasmania, the person who is alleged to have been called up on. the 29 th August, was enrolled in the Civil Constructional Corps over twelve months ago. He had been in Tasmania on his annual leave, to which he was entitled. On the expiration of that leave he was granted, at his own request, two months’ additional leave without pay. That leave has expired, and he is now being properly returned to the Northern Territory, from which place he took his leave and where he has been engaged.
SenatorCOLLINGS.- Yes. Because he is still an employee of the Civil Constructional Corps. Thecalling-up occurred over twelve months ago, and when his annual leave and the additional leave, which was granted at his own request, had expired, it was his duty to return to the job frcm which he came.
– Has the Minister any statement to make to the Senate regarding the calling-up, within the last month, of other personnel in Tasmania who have not been working for the Allied Works Council outside that State?
– I have no further statement to make, and I have an overweening desire that the circumstances which prompted my statement this morning will not arise again. Otherwise, I shall be prepared again to put up the same defence.
– Will the Minister for the Interior state whether a man was called up in Adelaide last week by the Allied Works Council, to go to Alice Springs, and whether, when he arrived, the only work that could he found for him was to makebeds, for which duties he received £9 a week?
– I am unable to say whether that is a fact or not, but I doubt the propriety of raising matters of that kind in this august chamber.I am sure that the honorable senator would be prepared to give to me the name and address of the person (mentioned and the facts regarding him. If he would see me in any room, I should probably be able to clear up the mystery. If the facts are as stated, the man was probably we’ll .paid to do a job which a good many railway passengers would be glad to have done for them, seeing that sleeping carriages are no longer available. If the honorable senator will see me privately, I shall endeavour to supply h in, with full information on the matter.
Sena tar McLEAY - I shall do that. The .man has stated his ease hi writing.
Frequency Modulation Wireless Sets - Station 2HD Newcastle.
– It is reported in the press to-day that Senator Amour has paid that the Government will manufacture frequency modulation wireless sets in the near future, on lines which he has suggested will be necessary. Will the Leader of the Senate state whether Senator Amour had the right to make that statement on .behalf of the Government, or whether the Government has considered the matter?
– Why not ask me whether I actually made the statement?
– I have no knowledge of the statement. If it has been made, I shall certainly supply the honorable gentleman with an answer to his question.
– Does Senator Amour deny having made the statement which is attributed to him’ to-day by the Canberra Times? I have no desire to do him an injustice.
– Questions are usually addressed to Ministers, .but they may also be directed, through the Chair, to other members of the Senate. Without breaking confidence, I may state that I have been speaking with Senator Amour, and I understand that he will take an opportunity, on the motion for the adjournment of the Senate to-day, to refer to the matter raised by the leader of the Opposition. Honorable senators will then hear the truth, which they do not always get from newspapers.
– In view of the great concern of a large number of Aus tralian manufacturers who have spent thousands of pounds on the manufacture of wireless sets, will the PostmasterGeneral make a statement to the Senate, supplied by his technical advisers, as to the position with regard to those instruments, and will he state the policy of the Government on the matter, which is one which should not be treated lightly?
– I. am not in a position to indicate the policy of the Government with regard to the .manufacture of wireless sets, motor cars, or any other articles. When the Government has reached a decision with regard to the manufacture of wireless sets, I shall certainly supply the honorable senator with the information desired by him.
asked the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follows : -
asked the Postmaster-General, upon notice-
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions arc as follows : -
Senator ALLAN MacDONALD.When does the Minister for Trade and Customs propose to make a statement regarding the ceiling prices of hay chaff, and what stops does his department intend to take in the direction of subsidizing the producers of that chaff, instead of increasing the cost of the commodity to those interested, in horse transport?
– I was hopeful that an announcement on the matter would have been made conjointly with that made regarding the price of wholemilk. I shall endeavour to obtain an answer to the honorable senator’s question within the next day of two.
– Are you prepared, Mr. President, to amplify your ruling regarding the right of honorable senators, other than Ministers, to reply to questions addressed to them in this chamber? Is any member of the Senate entitled to address a question to another honorable senator through you?
– For the information of honorable senators I shall read Standing Order 98, which deals with the matter raised by Senator Arnold -
After Notices have been given Questions may he put to Ministers of the Crown relating to public affairs;and to other Senators, relating to any Bill, Motion, or other public matter connected with the Business on the Notice Paper, of which such Senators may have charge.
Honorable senators will see that questions addressed to other honorable senators are limited in their scope; they must relate to a bill, motion, or other matter connected with the business on the notice-paper, of which such honorable senators may have charge. After twelve years’ experience in this chamber, my opinion is that it is undesirable that questions should be asked of honorable senators other than Ministers at question time. On the motion for the adjournment of the Senate any honorable senator may refer to the action, or remarks, of another honorable senator, who will then have an opportunity to reply. There is no need for honorable senators to cross-question one another dur ing question time. We shall do well to act strictly in accordance with Standing Order 98.
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice. -
Is it the intention of the Government to make an early announcement of its views and intentions in respect to the conclusions and recommendations arrived at and made by the International Monetary Conference held at Bretton Woods in Julylast?
– The Treasurer has supplied the following answers : -
The Government has not yet completed its consideration of the report of the Australian Delegation and the proposed agreements for an internationalmonetary fund and an international bank for reconstruction and development. In the meantime the documents relating to the Monetary Conference have been printed and made available to honorable senators. At an appropriatestage it is intended to ask the Parliament to express its opinion formally regarding the principles of the agreements.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction, upon notice -
Regarding the Commonwealth Reconstruction Training Scheme and, particularly, the functions of the Regional Reconstruction Training Committees -
Is it a fact that the personnel of these committees is made up entirely of public servants or the like?
Does the Minister agree that the value of the work of these committees could be enhanced by the addition of persons who have a knowledge and experience of the actual working of commerce, and the business, professions, trades and occupations of this community?
If so. will the Minister take appropriate action ?
SenatorKEANE. - The Minister for Post-war Reconstruction has supplied the following answers -
asked the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follows : -
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture, upon notice -
With reference to inland killing of stock, what provision is being made to provide for - (a) cold storage; (b) rail transport to works; (c) slaughtering of stock?
– The Minister for Commerce and Agriculture has supplied the following answer -
The establishment of meatworks at inland centres is the subject of discussions between Commonwealth and certain State Governments. The matters raised by the honorable senator will be taken into consideration when determinations are being made regarding works at particular centres.
Debate resumed from the 14th Sep tember (vide page 766), on motion by Senator Ashley -
That the bill be now read a second time.
– The Opposition does not intend to oppose this bill. My reason for asking for the adjournment of the debate yesterday was to enable the principal act to be examined. Having made that examination, I am convinced that the bill before us is in the best interests of the people generally, especially those living in outback districts, and as it appears to be quite innocuous, no objection to its passing will be raised.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and reported from committee without amendment or debate; report adopted.
Standing and Sessional Orders suspended.
Bill read a third time.
Debate resumed from the 14th September (vide page804), on -motion by Senator Keane -
That the following papers be printed: -
Estimates of Receipts and Expenditure, and Estimates of Expenditure for Additions, New Works, Buildings, &c, for the year ending 30th June, 1945.
The Budget 1944-45. - Papers presented by the Honorable J. B.Chifley, M.P., on the occasion of the Budget of 1944-45.
Upon which Senator McLeay had moved by way of amendment -
That there be added to the motion the following words: - “and that the Senate considers that the action of the Government in using public funds for Labour party propaganda, and the utilization in the role of public speakers of members of the Civil Service as advocates of government policy, particularly in relation to the recent referendum, is contrary to established practice and dangerous to democratic public administration”.
– I shall not repeat what I said last night except to express the hope that the Leader of the Senate (Senator Keane), or some other Minister, will attempt to justify the expenditure of public funds for purposes which I do not regard as a legitimate use of the taxpayers’ money.
It is always pleasing to members of a political party to see quarrels among its opponents, because it is a sign of disintegration. It would appear that one has only to mention the Allied Works Council, or the Civil Constructional
Corps, particularly the latter body, to cause dissension among those who occupy the Government benches. From time to time in this chamber we have heard honorable senators who support the Government express their opposition to industrial conscription; yet on other occasions they unblushingly attempt to justify the very thing that they have condemned. We had an example of that this morning, when the Minister for the Interior (Senator Collings) attempted to justify the sending of a man from Hobart to Alice Springs. It is hard to understand the mentality of a man who can be so inconsistent. Many fallacies have been uttered during this debate. If. in the ca3e of each fallacy, the spea’ker generated an amount of heat equal to that, produced by a ton of coal, we should have sufficient heat to enable us to restore the sleepers on. the railways serving Canberra. Unfortunately, however, the heat so generated is not the sort of heat required to run a train. While I am on this subject, the facilities now provided to enable honorable members and honorable senators to attend fittings of Parliament in Canberra are not only ridiculous, but also unfair. If the railways must continue to economize in fuel, the Government should immediately consider whether other means of transport cannot be provided to enable honorable members and honorable senators to travel to and from Canberra in some degree of comfort. Should any member contract a fatal illness under the conditions under which we are now forced to travel to and from Canberra in the course of our duty, it will be a case of murder. In this matter the Government has given another example of its partiality towards its supporters. On the last occasion I came to Canberra. I did not want to sit up in the train all night for a second time in the one week, and decided to return to Melbourne by air if I could obtain a seat in a plane. I am indebted to the Leader of the Senate for procuring a priority for me for that purpose. I paid my fare. Of course, I could not afford to do so every week. However, on the same occasion four honorable senators were conveyed from Canberra to Sydney in a government car. I cannot be accused of being unreasonable when I express doubts as to whether the administration in this matter is giving fair play to members of all parties, and that certain privileges granted to supporters of the Government are not granted to honorable senators on this side.
Senator Sheehan, with a good deal of feeling, accused all employers as exploiters of labour, and picked me out as one who had, during the course of my life, exploited the worker. I suppose that he meant his remarks for my benefit; but is there not another side to this matter? I, and other employers, provide work and wages every week for many hundreds of men at the standards fixed under Arbitration Court awards. Those men are dependent on me and other employers for their daily wage. In return, they give of their best at work; but the claim that any man who employs labour thereby exploits tho worker and should be suppressed, is one of the most ridiculous arguments that I have ever heard.
– Senator Sheehan’s complaint was that workers were exploited for the profit of employers.
– The theory that no one should work for profit, if carried out, would mean that nobody at all would work. Does ‘Senator Large mean to tell me that the man who works in any occupation is not working for profit when he works for wages? Does not the wageearner hope to increase bis profit by increasing his earnings? The statement that men who have in the past provided plant, machinery and capital, and thus provided work for employees, and ensured the success of such undertakings by virtue of their organizing ability, are exploiters of the worker, is the silliest that I have ever heard. Senator Sheehan went on to say that “ labourism “ was doomed, and added that communism meant progress. He argued that “ labourism “, as he called it, would be supplanted by communism. Yet he belongs to a party which is supposed to be fighting communism. I find it difficult to understand, therefore, how he can proclaim in this chamber that communism is progress, and that, following the death of “ labourism “, we should experience the benefits of communism.
He cited a claim by railway workers in the Arbitration Court in Adelaide to prove his argument that private enterprise exploited the workers.
– It was a shocking case. In five years it cost those railway employees £30,000 to get an award.
– The honorable senator cited that case to show how capitalism oppressed the workers. Surely, Senator Sheehan must have forgotten that that claim was not opposed bya private employer, but by the State government as the owner of those railways. Howhe could argue that in that case the State was a capitalist oppressing the worker is more than I can understand. Apparently, any stick is good enough with which to beat the capitalist or private employer, so long as the advocate of such a theory can win a little applause from the unthinking.
– In that case a hostile State government expended some of the honorable senator’s money in order to defeat the railwaymen’s claim.
– But the respondent to that claim was a State government; no capitalist was concerned in it.
– S t a tegovernments can be bad employers.
– That may be so; but that case cannot be cited in support of the argument that the workers are oppressed by the private employers and capitalists.
– What Senator Sheehan said was that in our capitalist organization in this country private interests resisted all wage claims by the workers; and be cited that case as an instance.
– My point is that that claim was resisted by the State government, and not by a private employer. Apparently, honorable senators opposite want to have the argument both ways. How any honorable senator could cite this particular case in support of that argument surpasses my comprehension.
Senator Aylett spoke about the Commonwealth Bank and the private banks, and Senator Grant had much to say about the profits of the privileged few, evidently wishing that all private banks should be suppressed. He argued that in order to suppress the private banks the Government had only to suppress what he called the privileged few. There are 71,000 shareholdersin private banksin this country, and the average holdings in the companies controlling them is £500. How the honorable senator can describe those shareholders as a privileged few I do not understand. But when he was dealing with this subject and spoke about vested interests he had in. mind,I suppose, the insurance companies. The shares in those companies, which provide the largest subscriptions to Government loans, are held by thousands of small shareholders. That is likewise the case in respect of many other companies. I do not hold any brief for those companies; but I do not think that their operations constitute an evil so far as the shareholders themselvesor their employees are concerned. Any injustice which they might do as they expand is done to their competitors, and not to their employees, because the latter must be paid the wages prescribedin Arbitration Court awards. However, the honorable senator seems to think that thrift in any form is a crime, and that a man who endeavour to save should be suppressed. That was the implication of his arguments as a whole. He contended that the incentive of profit should be eliminated in all circumstances. If that were done, it would mean the end of our civilization. One honorable senator oppositewent so far as to say that the existing financial system, of which the private bank is a feature, had been mainly responsible for the war. How he reasoned out that argument in his own mind I do not know, becausehe did not make his thoughts too clear; but he declared that private investors and vested interests, either in Australia or overseas, who had subscribed to Government loans during the last war had never offered to give or to lend any money free of interest to the Government. He said that investors in those loans had not done anything to pay for the last war. I point out that during the last war, Australia did not borrow any money from private interests overseas. All of our loans were raised internally except an amount that was borrowed from the British Government in order to meet special commitments in respect of our forces then overseas; and the British Government wrote off a considerable amount of that indebtedness at the conclusion of the last war.
– It was not even borrowed from the British Government. It was a gift.
– Yes, and the gift was worth £90,000,000, but that is the sort of fallacious argument that is accepted here and outside. The great bogy of capitalism is also trotted out on the slightest pretext. I could not help being interested, because the sole topic of at least one honorable senator was capitalism and its effect on the people. That was very noticeable. When he was speaking, I had a distinct vision of a man imprisoned in a cell, going round with a pencil writing on the walls the word “ capitalism “, and then spitting, going a little further and doing it again, with as much kindly venom as a king cobra at mating time. Capitalism was the whole basis of his complaint, yet the Prime Minister, leader of the party to which the honorable senator belongs, when pressed to nationalize the. coal mines said that all he was interested in was getting more coal and that nationalizing the coal mines would not get more coal.
– And he is right.
– He probably is, yet an honorable senator of the same party spits out “ capitalism “ whenever he speaks. If the Prime Minister believes that capitalism wins as much coal as the other system, where does the honorable senator’s argument take him? After all, the great danger to this country and to all other countries at present is lack of discipline. There seems to be a vision which appears in some of the speeches I hear in this chamber, of a pleasant country of sunshine where no one is to work, but everybody will be fed arid clothed and have plenty of everything.
– Who said that?
– The whole of the speeches of honorable senators opposite seem to give that indication.
– An honorable senator opposite said that men were getting paid £9 a week for making beds.
– I notice that the Minister did not deny it.
– If the man was making flower beds, he was receiving the right rate. Some one forgot to use the word “ flower “.
– I am inclined to think that the question related to the making of ordinary household beds. If honorable senators opposite are seeking a country where no one is to work and yet there will be plenty for all, they are going on the wrong road. They are travellers pursuing a mirage which they will never reach, and they will suffer great disappointment. A nation does not live on money.
– It lives on work.
– It does not live even on work. It lives on the things which the workers produce. Unless the people are inclined to work, their standard of living must fall. No one is more in favour of leisure of all kinds for every one than I am, but we must not lose sight of the fact that unless we produce commodities in our own country our standard of living will inevitably decline.
That brings me to the question of man-power and man-power wastage, because every man who is not usefully employed is wasted. The product of his labour is not available. There is a distinct feeling in Australia that a vast wastage of real man-power is taking place. If that is so, it should be prevented. A month of two ago a conference was held regarding the release of man-power’ from the Army, with special relation to slaughtermen, to do their own particular work. The conference was attended by representatives of the Army, the Manpower Department and other bodies. It was disclosed that 1,000 slaughtermen who were being paid, were employed for only half time. They put their tally at 60 carcasses a day, when it should have been much greater. They were knocking off work at 3 o’clock in the afternoon, and some even knocked off at 10.30 in the morning. Naturally .the Army representatives said “ The usual hours of work for the ordinary man are 40 to 44 a week, but you are asking for the release of slaughtermen, although 1,000 men in the industry are not fully employed. In these circumstances, how can you justify your request ? “ I entirely agree with their refusal to release men in that particular case. I am told that conditions are similar on the wharves. Why should men be released from the Army if those actually engaged in the work are still getting paid, but are not employed for more than half their time? There is something wrong with a system which allows things of that kind to happen. There is, as I say, a general feeling that there is a wastage of man-power, and there is a clashing of different bodies in regard to it. To give another example, there has been a general impression that on the administrative side of the Army and the Air Force, there are a number of men doing nothing in particular who could well be spared. I have heard it said - perhaps Senator Brand will correct me if I am wrong - that during this, war there are about six times as many lieutenant-generals and major-generals in the Australian Army as there were during the last war, many of whom have nothing to do.
– That is about right.
– Then the figure which I gave was correct. What is the reason? It is common knowledge that there are complete head-quarters staffs with absolutely nothing to do, because they have no one to control. In those circumstances, people outside cannot be blamed for saying that there is mismanagement somewhere. After an examination by the heads of the Air Force on the administrative, not on the executive side, it was decided that in Melbourne they could, release 44 men from the Air Force. Those 44 were all over 40 years of age, and every one of them had had more than two years’ service. The commanding officers, after going carefully through the names, said : “ Here are 44 men who can be released without detriment to the force”. The names of the 44 were sent to the manpower people, but man-power allowed only four of that number to be released. Here was a case in which the Air Force said’ it could allow 44 men, who were getting up in years and had had two or three years’ service, to go back to civil life, but the Man Power Department said : “ No you don’t, they must not return to civil life. You must keep them on your staff, even though you could spare them easily”. In those circumstances, when it becomes common knowledge that these things are happening, it is no wonder that the public ask whether their money is spent to the best advantage.
– Where did that episode occur?
– It occurred m Melbourne, as I said, and the incident of the slaughtermen also occurred in Victoria.. As I say, it is no wonder that people begin to think that the money raised by heavy taxation, and all that is being borrowed, is not being used in the best interests of the country. At the same time the cry goes up for the release of man-power from the Army. I know that there is a great need of more manpower, especially in the rural and many other industries.
– Over 40,000 are wanted now.
– Yes, but they are wanted in the circumstances that I have described, as slaughtermen, for instance, when at the same time the men already ia the industry are not working even half time.
– Whose fault is that?
– The fault of the men in charge, and that means the Government, because it is the Government that is supposed to be managing this country. That is another example of ineptitude. The Ministers in the departments concerned must know these things, or the information would not have reached me.
In the rehabilitation of servicemen in civil life, the Government has, as was done after the last war, decided to make training available to those who are discharged, and to pay them according to the award rates in the particular industries during the period of their training, until they are fully trained. It has come to my knowledge - and I think this is perfectly true, because I obtained it from a very reliable source - that technical training is not to be given in respect of certain industries. Some of those who received technical training after the last war proved to be very good nien. I had in my employ one who was the best in his particular line that I ever had in the establishment. Probably 70 per cent, or SO per cent, of all the ex-servicemen who undertook technical training after the last war were trained in the engineering and allied trades. However, it has been announced that ex-servicemen of this war will not be given training in these trades, and I am wondering just what the Government intends to do with them. T appreciate, of course, some of the reasons for the Government’s attitude. In the engineering trades there has been more upgrading of partially trained men or single purpose machine men as they are called, than there was during the last war. When this war started the membership of the engineering union was aproximately 3S,000. To-day it is more than 100,000, and I understand that these new members are practically taking control of the affairs of the union.
– They have done a good job during the Avar.
– That may be true, but the fact remains that a man who has been trained o.n one machine only, although he may be an excellent operative on that machine, is hopeless if he is called upon to undertake general engineering work in which, he is expected to have a knowledge of almost all machines. At the best he is only partly trained.
– The honorable sena tor does not. suggest that there will be no apprenticeship training in the engineering trades after the war?
– Of course not. 1 am speaking purely of the proposed scheme for the training of exservicemen. Many of the lads who are in the armed forces to-day have been drawn from, garages and other minor industrial undertakings, and from the land where they have developed a bent for this type of work, and in issuing the instruction to which I have referred, I believe that the Government is making a serious mistake. If ex-servicemen wish to be trained in the engineering or allied trades and have a definite inclination for that work, they should be given every facility to train. It is not a sufficient answer to say that the engineering trades are full because of the large influx during the Avar.
– ‘How does the honorable senator know what is the policy of the Government in this regard.
– Docs the honorable senator suggest that he is not aware that an instruction has been issued along the lines which I have indicated?
– I am speaking of after the war. The war may last another three years, and circumstances may alter radically. The instruction to which the honorable senator refers may apply only to the present.
– The honorable senator must be aware that the Government is inaugurating a scheme for the training of ex-servicemen. In fact, honorable senators opposite have sought kudos because of the Government’s proposals in that regard. It has been stated clearly that no training will be given in the engineering and allied trades. I hope sincerely that the Government will change its mind. In fact, I hope that as the result of the speech which I am making now, there will be a change of plans. To my mind the Government is proceeding on entirely wrong lines, and that is why I am ventilating the matter to-day. I am not blaming the Government, but merely offering helpful suggestions. I have been trained in the engineering industry, and I know something about it. I was associated with the training of ex-servicemen after the last war and, as a member of the Apprenticeship Board, I am associated now with the training of. 9,000 or 10,000 apprentices in all trades. I know that many more apprentices are being trained in the engineering and allied trades than in any other trade. In the light of experience, it is reasonable to assume that the men returning from this war will seek training in. these trades. I urge the Government to reconsider its decision and to grant facilities to ex-servicemen for training in whatever trades they prefer.
Little criticism of the budget can be offered because it eliminates partially certain taxation evils to which Ave on this side of the chamber have been directing the attention of the Government for some time. Apparently the Government has realized that the taxation policy which it has applied up to the present has been jeopardizing the rehabilitation of industry in Australia, and therefore reducing the opportunities for employment in industry after the war. The provision which is made in the budget for tax concessions in respect of money, which will have to be expended after the war by industrialists generally, and particularly primary producers, on the rehabilitation of buildings, plant and properties, is a step in the right direction. In recent years, these people have been called upon to pay taxes upon false incomes, bolstered up to unduly high levels by lack of opportunity to carry out normal maintenance and repairs. Had that state of affairs continued, primary producers would have had no money at all to carry out repairs to fences and properties, and lo rehabilitate their land by the extensive use of fertilizers which hitherto have been in short supply. I am glad that, as tho result of pressure put upon it, the Government has seen the light.
The last matter to which I shall refer is one within the province of the Loader of the Senate (Senator Keane) in his capacity as Minister for Trade and Customs, namely, the payment of stabilization subsidies upon the production of certain commodities. I know that the Minister is very proud of himself and of his Government because of the large sums which are being expended to-day on these subsidies. This year expenditure on subsidies will jump from £7,000,000 to £12.000.000. The Minister seems to be satisfied that this is the best method of approaching the problem. I hope that ho is not being led “ up the garden path “. ft is true that these subsidies are keeping down the prices of certain commodities.
– And the wages bill of Australia.
– Yes; but it is true also that this £12.000.000, in effect, will be paid by the people who will benefit from the subsidies. It is like trying to lengthen a rope by cutting a piece off one end and attaching it to the other. On the face of it the subsidy scheme seems quite plausible, but in the final analysis I doubt if anybody derives any benefit, lt i.-t quite tie wrong approach to this prob lem, and apparently it is based upon the erroneous assumption that inflation can cure itself.
Tho PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Gordon Brown). - Order! The honorable -en a tor’s time has expired.
Senator LARGE (New South Wales). 1 11.42]. - It is pleasing indeed to bear such eulogistic references to the budget from honorable senators opposite. Almost without exception they have proclaimed it to be a good budget. However, they have .found quite a lot to talk about apart from its actual contents. Senator Leckie managed to direct bis attention specifically to the budget only a few minutes before his speech concluded. The discussion has revealed that honorable senators opposite are still adhering to the old shibboleths. I must take Senator Leckie to task for his alleged criticism of Senator Sheehan, who, in the course of his contribution to this debate, dealt with the question of industrial conscription. Senator Leckie claims that the Labour , Da rt V is now swallowing something at which it baulked previously; that we are now reconciled to i n d u s tr i a 1 conscription.
– The Government is enforcing it.
– I draw the attention of honorable senators to the fact that industrial conscription was accepted by the trade union movemeent in this country in a spirit of patriotism, and realizing that if it were prepared to grant certain concessions for the time being, the war effort would be assisted greatly. H’or instance, the engineering union ro which Senator Leckie referred was prepared to accept the dilution of labour .in the most liberal sense, even to the employment of women. Not only were these dilutees accepted in the trade, but they were brought under union control. That is industrial conscription in the true sense. Senator Leckie is well aware that when these concessions were granted there was a declaration, made and signed by all members of the Labour party that at. the conclusion of the war we would not tolerate the continuance of any form of industrial conscription.
All the members of the Opposition have been gloating over the result of the recent referendum, mid they claim that it shows a loss of prestige on the part of the Labour party. Were I a member of a party that resorted to methods similar to those adopted by the Opposition, in order to defeat the proposals of the Government, I should be ashamed of my association with it. The bogy of industrial conscription has been introduced. Reference has been made to men being compelled by the man-power authorities to move from one job to another, and it has been claimed that, if an affirmative vote had been recorded at the referendum, industrial conscription would have been imposed on the people. I consider that that statement was not only improper, but also dishonest. The methods adopted through the press and on the public platform by the opponents of the Government were reprehensible in the greatest degree.
SenatorCollett. -What was the honorable senator’s own line of conduct?
– I told the truth, and pointed out that the tactics of the Opposition were designed to deceive the people. The suggestion was made that a “ Yes “ vote would involve, not only a continuance of the powers already being exercised under the Defence Act, but also the granting of the additional fourteen powers sought at the referendum. The whole of the propaganda of the Opposition was designed to lead the people to believe that the Government was asking for more power than it already had. Our opponents invariably said that the Government had all necessary power to deal with post-war problems; but they knew that, as soon as the war ended, the powers now being exercised under the National Security Act would disappear.
– They never challenged the Government with regard to rationing or price-fixing until the referendum was in sight.
– That is so. They tried to make a lot of political capital out of the rationing policy of the Government, exploiting all the little irritations and pin-pricks which government control renders unavoidable in time of war. Two years ago, when Japanese submarines entered the Sydney harbour, the press, the friends of the Opposition, would have pilloried any man who complained about rationing and price-fixing, but now they headline any such complaints. One
Sydney newspaper had a sub-leader every day for a certain period prior to the referendum complaining of rationing difficulties, price fixation, and various other restrictions. Tactics of that kind were adopted throughout the referendum campaign. I pointed out to my audiences that the people were not rationed during the depression, whenour opponents were in power. There was nothing then to prevent a man from obtaining all the spare coats, boots, socks and other clothing that he required, so long as his total expenditure did not exceed l1s. 2d. a week. Members of the Opposition talk with their tongue in their cheek and shed crocodile tears. Members of the Labour party do not favour industrial conscription or any of the hardships which the people have had to endure during the war; but, in order that the war may be won, we are prepared to accept those sacrifices.
The arguments of Senator Leckie were specious, to say the least of them. He referred to a statement by Senator Sheehan about exploitation, but omitted to mention that the expression used by the honorable senator was “ exploitation at a profit “. Two or three other honorable senators seem to have a misconception as to what is profit. Profit is the proceeds of unpaid labour. If a man gets the full benefit of the results of his labour, nobody makes a profit out of it. If an employer pays a man only 10s. out of every £1 which he earns, and allows 5s. for overhead charges,the other 5s. which he puts in his pocket is profit.
– What portion of the honorable senator’s parliamentary allowance does he regard as profit?
– Ifthe Leader of the Opposition works as hard to earn his allowance as I do he will not consider any of it to be profit. Money does not mean anything to me except that it is a means of living. My bank balance would not be one-tenth of that of the Leader of the Opposition.
– The honorable senator wouldbe a good man to put in charge of a business.
– I am afraid not. I should be too honest to be a business man. I learnt long ago that a good engineer is seldom a good accountant. Although I am a bad business man I take a pride inthe product of my labour. The idea thatpecuniary gain is the only incentive to work is wrong. Senator Grant mentionedmany people who were net actuated by a desire for pecuniary gain, and I could add many more names to the list. Thebest achievements are those actuated by higher motives than financial considerations. Honorable senators opposite require a different conception from that which they appear to have of the forces which move society.
A lot of loose talk has been indulged in about socialism, and communism now happens to be the bogy which has got under the skins of honorable senators opposite. I do not suppose that any honorable senator opposite could give a proper definition of communism.
– Is the honorable senator a Communist or a Socialist?
– The Leader of the Opposition does not understand the difference between communism, socialism, anarchism or any other “ ism “. He does not evenunderstand “ labourism “ - to use his own term. Every election campaign that has taken place during the 36 years that I have been in this country has been fought on bogies. One political party will put up a bogy, and then throw all sorts of mud and filth at it, and will say, “ How terrible a thing it is ! “. That is how the recent referendum campaign was fought. The basic principle of communism is: “From each according to his ability; to each according to his need “. It will be seen that that motto is all-embracing: it indicates a belief that society has a right to expect from every person that he shall give according to his ability, and that, in return, society will give to every one according to his need. No monetary incentive is included in that principle, which is more than all-embracing; it is noble as well.
– It embraces the giving of something for nothing.
– That is so. I shall compare socialism and communism so that the Leader of the Opposition may not repeat the silly mistakes that he has made in the past. Socialism stands for the common ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange.
It will be seen that of the two ideologies communism is the more embracing, be cause it makes provision for just that thing to which the Leader of the Opposition referred when he interjected that communism embraces the giving of something for nothing. Communism is concerned with the halt, the lame, and the blind. I assume that his alternative is to shoot such people, or to place them in a lethal chamber - to get rid of them by some means. There is nothing wrong with a true form of communism.
– Under communism, what would be done with the man who can work, but will not work?
– He must be educated to a sense of his responsibility as a citizen. If then, he will not work, he should not eat. Such a person would not be fulfilling the first part of the motto, namely, “From each according to Lis ability”.
– What would be done with him if he still refused to work ?
– He would have to starve. There is no alternative.
– Obviously, honorable senators opposite are becoming interested as to their own fate; they are afraid that under communism they would go hungry.
– There are many in the community who would come under Bernard Shaw’s description of “ The idle rich”; they do not work, but they do eat. They live on the achievements of their forebears. Another “ ism “ is anarchism, which is the negation of all forms of constituted authority. I have now given definitions of communism, socialism, and anarchism, and I hope that in future honorable senators opposite will not accuse us on this side of fostering anarchism whilst calling it by some other name. There are some zealous and sincere men in the Communist party ; but others who masquerade as Communists really are anarchists.
– I am still not clear whether the honorable senator is a Communist or a Socialist.
– I am a member of the Australian Labour party. Perhaps it would enlighten the honorable senator if I were to tell him a little of my personal history. My father was a Liberal, and I thought that what was good enough for him was good enough for me, and so I worked to assist Liberal candidates at various elections. The last candidate for whom I worked was Mr. Walter Runciman, now Lord Runciman. Honorable senators may recall that he visited Australia in 1940. On the occasion to which I have referred the Liberal candidate was defeated. One day a friend said to me, “ You are opposed to socialism “. I said, “ Yes. I do not believe in all this talk about equality, because even if we are equal to-day, we shall be unequal to-morrow “. It will be seen that at that stage of my life I held ideas similar to those held by honorable senators opposite to-day. My friend said, “ Half a minute. Are you not about the same age as Lord Dalmeny?” I said, “Yes. I believe he was married recently “. He replied, “ I believe that is so. Supposing you had married about the same time, and your wife and his wife had presented each of you with a son ; do you think that your son would be as good a child as his?” I said, “I think that he would be better. The noble lord may be able to talk of generations of blue blood, but I can point to several generations of pure blood, because there has not been any vicious or licentious living on the part of my forebears. I cannot be sure thathe can say the same, and therefore the chances would be in favour of my child “. My friend then said, “Do you think that children come into the world without any previous wish or desire ? “ and I answered, “ Yes. I should say that they enter this world innocent of anything that might have occurred previously “. Then he said, “ Do you think that children come into the world with an equal chance in life? “ I said, “ No. I suppose that my kiddie would be handicapped by about 25 years; his kiddie would have a seat in the House of Lords booked for him, whereas my kiddie would start 25 years behind scratch because he would have to wait that long for the chance of such a seat “.
– He might not even have a seat to his pants.
– That is so. My friend then said, “ Do you think that it is right that children should have such unequal chances in life?” and I answered,” I do not”. He then said, “Evidently you believe in equality of opportunity?” and again 1 answered, “ Yes “. He then said to me, “Don’t tellme that you do not believe in socialism. When youwalk along the street, don’t walk with your nose in the air. ‘Should you see some one addressing a crowd, stop and listen to him, and if he is saying something interesting, take notice of what he says. Don’t repudiate any one who is making an attempt to educate the people “. I said, “All right”. I did what he suggested, with the result that within two months I had joined the Independent Labour party. I was a member of that party when I came to Australia. On arrival in this country, I looked at various organizations, such as the International Socialists, the Socialist Labour party, and others. I then wrote back to the editor of the official organ of the Independent Labour party and said that after one year and nine months in Australia I was unable to place myself. I said that the Internationa] Socialists were ‘not international in outlook. My letter was printed in the Labour Leader. I received a reply in which I was told that my duty was to link up with the party which most closely approximated to my ideals. It was then that I became a member of the Australian Labour party. I hope that after the recital of this personal history I shall not again be misunderstood. I hope, too, that honorable senators opposite have benefited from my attempt to educate them.
Senator Leckie issued a warning to the Labour party regarding training in the engineering trade, but that is a matter which we can leave to the composite mind which will, I have no doubt, adapt itself to changing circumstances. During the war the organization to which I am proud to belong has opened its ranks, with the result that its membership has increased from about 28,000 to more than 100,000. Obviously, when the war ends, there will be a surplus of persons with some knowledge of engineering. In all probability, the Government will discourage discharged servicemen from entering businesses or trades which are already filled to saturation point, as is the engineering trade. In that way the problem, which evidently is agitating Senator Leckie’s mind, may be met. When the honorable senator said that there would be no more training of engineers he was a little wide of the mark, because the normal system of apprenticeship would absorb quite a number of men each year. I believe that there is a great, future before the engineering trade in this country, because I expect that in the post-war years vast developmental schemes will be undertaken, arterial roads will be built, irrigation and water conservation schemes will be put in hand, and other vast developmental undertakings set in motion. I hope to see the Bradfield scheme of watering the Australian interior an accomplished fact. These projects will require many thousands of engineers, and I believe that a big percentage of the dilutees and elevatees now in the engineering trade will be absorbed without any ill effect to the other members. I am not keen on our system of apprenticeship, because many lads in country towns have not the opportunity to learn a trade, such as engineering. I ask leave to continue my remarks at a later date.
Leave granted ; debate adjourned.
Motion (by Senator Keane) agreed to-
That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn to Tuesday, the 19th September, at 3 p.m.
Wireless Sets - Man-power - Allied Works Council - Australian Army: Representationsby Service Personnel to Members of Parliament. Motion (by Senator Keane) proposed -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– I was under the impression that it was in order for a senator other than a Minister to answer a question addressed to him. For that reason, I addressed a question this morning to Senator Amour on a matter concerning the Broadcasting Committee, of which the honorable senator is chairman. I now draw the attention of honorable senators to the following statement which appeared in the press yesterday: -
Manufacturers will be called before the Parliamentary Committee and asked to detail their ability to produce frequency modulation radio sets on alarge scale. If they are unable to submit satisfactory proposals the Government would consider manufacturing a set and selling it to the public at probably between £20 and £30.
Senator Amour said that that report was not correct. Important matters of policy are involved.
During the debate on the budget I took the opportunity to draw attention to the immediate problem of man-power, and cited cases typical of those mentioned in letters received by honorable senators generally alleging waste of man-power in certain departments. At this juncture I wish merely to refer to the following newspaper report dealing with a statement by the honorable member for Watson (Mr. Falstein) in the House of Representatives last night: -
Mr. Falstein alleged that the Department of Air was over-established in many ways. He had seen class Al men digging gardens and making places look pretty on stations which were only temporary establishments.
The honorable member for Watson is a member of, the Government party.
Earlier, I stated that from time to time honorable senators received letters pointing out that men were being conscripted in Adelaide for work with the Allied Works Council at Alice Springs, and that dozens of men on the pay-roll of the council had nothing to do. When I said that an Adelaide man had been conscripted by the Allied Works Council and sent to Alice Springs where he was employed making beds at a wage of £9 a week, the Minister for the Interior (Senator Collings) said he doubted the truth of that statement. I shall now read a letter which I received from that man. It. is as follows: -
I would like to take this opportunity to tring before your notice my experience with the A.W.C. I have put my case before Mr. Makin, but apparently ho can do nothing in the matter. In August, 1043, I was conscripted to the A.W.C. from my position as manager and buyer at Manchester House,Rundle-street, Adelaide, and sent to the Northern Territory as a labourer. After two weeks on pick and shovel work, I was considered unsuitable for that type of work, owing to my being of a small build. I was then placed as a camp steward, my duties then being, making beds, sweeping tents, filling water bags and buckets, also washing clothes for tho office staff, which included two office boys of about seventeen or eighteen years of age. When my twelve months’ service was up, I came home on leave, and obtained a position at the Actill Cotton Mills at Woodville, or alternatively at my old job at Manchester House, subject to a release from the A.W.C. I received a reply through Mr. Makin, stating that my application for a discharge was not to bc granted, owing to the fact that my reasons were not sufficient. Apparently making beds and so forth is a worthy war effort. I maintain that to return north to do similar work is a wicked waste of man-power, and as I received f 8 to £9 per week, a waste of taxpayers’ money. I do not expect you to be able to do anything in this matter, as I think Mr. Makin did his best. But just to let you know a few of the shocking things that are existing, and wastage of man-power in the north.
I do not like reading personal letters of that kind in this chamber, but I have done so on this occasion because I am inundated with such letters. I realize the difficulties which confront the Government in adjusting the distribution of manpower to conform to the altered position in regard to the war. However, I again urge it to make a thorough overhaul with a view to releasing as many men as possible for essential work in industry.
– In view of the developments imminent in broadcasting, including frequency modulation, the Government must take steps immediately in order to safeguard purchasers of receiving sets in the future from exploitation. The Gibson Committee which was appointed in July, 1941, presented its first report in. March of the following year. In the course of its investigation it heard evidence from technicians, who declared that frequency modulation was in operation in other countries in respect of not only transmitting sets but also receiving sets. The Broadcasting Committee was examining this development when Japan entered the war. From the evidence we then heard, some doubt arose as to the advisability of proceeding further in that direction. However, that doubt seems to have been based on the fear of certain, broadcasting interests somewhat similar to that exhibited by newspaper organizations at the inception of broadcasting that the broadcasting of news over the air would adversely affect the circulation of their newspapers. This disinclination on tl] part of certain broadcasting interests to welcome frequency modulation may also be due to lack of foresight similar to that exhibited in the early days of broadcasting. In those days hardly any one wanted a broadcaster’s licence. In fact, the Broadcasting Committee was told in evidence of the case of an individual who hawked & licence round the country for nine months before he could dispose of it at a. profit. The number of licences issued annually for commercial stations since .1925 tells its own story. These .”figures are as follows: 1925, 6; 1926, 9; 1927, 12; 19.29, 12; 1930, 13; 1931, 27; 1932, 43; 1933, 48; 1934, 53; 1935, 57; 1936, 73; 1937, SO; 1938, 94; 1939, 98; 1940, 100. The number this year will be restored to 100 when a licence is re-issued in respect of station 2HD Newcastle. Originally, the newspapers feared that broadcasting would constitute a serious competitor. At first they endeavoured to kill the idea of broadcasting altogether, but when certain stations commenced broadcasting news the newspaper organizations acquired a controlling interest in several stations. The Broadcasting Committee was informed in evidence that 44 per cent, of licences so far issued in respect of commercial stations are either owned or controlled by newspaper organizations. However, the fear of the newspapers was proved to be unfounded. Despite the broadcasting of news, their circulations have increased. Although more news is being broadcast to-day than at any time since the inception of broadcasting, the newspapers now have record circulations. Whereas no demand existed for a considerable time for licences for commercial stations, in 1941 there was a waiting list of 695 applicants for such licences. Only 100 have been granted because it has been impossible to provide suitable channels for additional stations. In some cases up to three stations are now using the same channel, with the result that reception, particularly at night, in those channels is very distorted. Therefore, the Broadcasting Committee inquired into the best means of eliminating the trouble arising from this congestion. Mainly because it is impossible to increase the power of existing stations without causing further interference with reception, the committee has given consideration to the possibilities offered by frequency modulation which has been proved to eliminate distortion entirely. Following the outbreak of the war, the Government limited the manufacture of receiving sets to the requirements of the Army. The position now is that the majority of receiving sets owned privately have just about outlived their usefulness. The committee was told by experts that the normal life of a receiving set is ten years. No private sets have been manufactured since the outbreak of the war five years ago. Therefore, the committee takes the view that everything possible should be done to ensure that, when the manufacture of sets for private use is again embarked upon, the public shouldbe safeguarded from exploitation by being enabled to purchase a set capable of receiving, with certain adjustments, facsimile broadcasts and also television. In facsimile broadcasting, still pictures are transmitted. In this way, printed news also can be transmitted. Certain attachments to the ordinary receiving set provide for the reception of facsimile broadcasts. We must also prepare for future developments in the field of television. Unless provision be made to ensure that sets capable of receiving facsimile and television broadcasts are made available, the public will be exposed to exploitation by toeing obliged to purchase separate sets for each class of broadcast. If these developments are so advanced in other countries, surely our technicians, who are as good as those in any other part of the world, should have an up-to-date knowledge of them ? People have asked me, “ What is your authority?” I can point -to very good authorities. I remind Senator Allan MacDonald, who was a member of the Broadcasting Committee, that I appealed to all its members to read the report of the Gibson Committee. In fact, they were all given a copy of it, but the honorable senator neglected to read it, and now asks the Postmaster-General whether he has any report to make on frequency modulation. Although that report is available, another honorable senator asked the Postmaster-General yesterday if he had obtained the advice of his technicians on the matter. I propose to quote from the evidence given before that committee by Mr. S. H. Witt, supervising engineer of research in the Postmaster-General’s Department, whom I regard as second to none on radio matters.
– But the honorable senator is not an authority.
– I have a commonsense and reasoning mind, and I have been able to reason this matter out. I have listened to all the witnesses.
– But, not being an authority, the honorable senator could not tell which authority was right.
– I have not found many to disagree with Mr. Witt, except manufacturers who want to make extra profits, and vested interests which do not want any more new stations erected. This is what Mr. Witt said : -
Frequency modulation is impracticable except on the ultra-high frequency band, that is, of 40 megacycles or more. That is well outside existing receiving technique in Australia, and new receivers would have tobe built to take it. I am convinced that the use ofthis ultra-high frequency band will grow rapidly in the future because it is particularly suited to local broadcasting. Frequency modulation, as compared with the conventional amplitude modulation, has two advantages. In the first place, a high quality of reproduction may be readily obtained and, in the second place, frequency modulation is less susceptible to the effects of electrical noises. The net result of these two factors is that the service area of a frequency modulation station is larger than that of a corresponding amplitude station. My department regards the matter as of great importance to the future of the broadcasting system. We believe that, when the manufacturers are able to make receivers in quantity, the new system will be of great value for broadcasting in the cities. In fact, future broadcasting in the cities maybe done exclusively by this system. However, that condition must be approached gradually, because the change-over involves a revolution in the art of building receivers, Every listener would have to get a new receiver, and probably most people would have two receivers, one for working with the new system, and one for working with the old. However, minor revolutions of this character have been taking place all the time, and people have been throwing out their old receivers in order to replace them with others which are more up to date. General adoption of frequency modulation will have the effect of making more channels available for use by commercial and national stations.
That information can also be obtained from the American radio journals, of which one has a cover depicting an ultrahigh frequency machine. There is no fear that anybody will be hurt. I did not. make the statement which appeared in theCanberra Times. A man came to me and questioned me as to the cost. I replied that I was not a technician, and could not tell him what it would be. I said that I did not know whether it would be £25 or £125. I did not say that we were determined to stand over the manufacturers. We know the terms of our reference as a committee, and we are vitally interested in the new order, because we believe that, if the people have to pay a licence-fee, they should get the very best programmes in return for their money. That is the main consideration of the committee. We want the co-operation of the manufacturers. We do not wish to stand over them. We want them to get busy, to prepare their plants, and be in a position to put on to the market a radio set to meet the times. We are not concerned with the cabinet in which they put the chassis. Whether they put it in a cabinet costing £100, or in a kerosene case, is no concern of ours, but we are concerned that a receiving set should be manufactured capable of taking from the air whatever programme is being transmitted. Also, we do not want the Australian people to be penalized by having to buy a different kind of radio set every twelve months. We believe that science has so far advanced in other countries that it should be a very simple matter for Australia to start with the best that the world can produce. Frequency modulation is a. new idea, but surely our engineers can begin to prepare for it? I believe that when the war is over, we shall in a very short space of time have in Australia a, brand-new order so far as broadcasting is concerned, involving a complete revolution in radio receiving sets. To my mind, this is a most important matter, and one which will play an important part in the lives of the Australian people. Therefore, some interest, should be taken in it in this country at once. It seems strange to me that the report of the Gibson Committee should have been available in this building for three years without being read. As I said, we asked members of the committee and others to read it, but, because they do not know its contents, they ask the Postmaster-General foolish questions.
– I am delighted with the announcement by the Minister for the Army (Mr. Forde), on behalf of General Sir Thomas Blarney, that the general routine order to which I referred in the Senate after members of the forces had complained to me about it, did not mean that members of the forces, who complained to members of Parliament would be court-martialled. I notice that the Minister’s reply is very carefully worded, because the two words - “court-martialled” - at the end of it qualify it greatly. What appears in this morning’s newspaper is -
The Minister for the Army (Mr. Forde) said in the House of Representatives to-day that he had received an assurance from the AustralianCommander-in-Chief (General Blarney) that no instructionshad ever been issued that soldiers who approached members ofParliament with complaints would he courtmartialled.
But has any instruction been issued forbidding members of the forces to approach members of Parliament?
– Has the general routine order been repealed?
– The soldiers do not know whether it has or not. They still claim that a general routine order is in existence which forbids them to complain to members of Parliament, or to anybody else other than an officer of the forces, under penalty of being courtmartialled. What other punishment could they receive? If the punishment took some other form, they might be worse off than if they were courtmartialled.
– What the honorable senator wants to know is what punishment they would be liable to?
– That is so. I have not launched any attack on the Minister or General Sir Thomas Blamey, but there are in the forces some officers who have never had command before, have no sympathy for their fellow-soldiers, and are liable to abuse their powers under the regulations. On one occasion, when I raised in the Senate a matter connected with the forces, a soldier was put almost under the third degree in the attempt to make him admit that he had approached me about it.’ It was not a complaint against any member or officer of the forces. It was a suggestion which I made to save manpower, and not to interfere with members of the forces in any way. My idea was to free a man for another joh. The suggestion was that warrant officers should drive themselves instead of keeping a “ lackey “ waiting around all the morning, probably to drive the car for two hours. The general routine order of which I spoke may not refer to a court-martial, so that the answer given by the Minister is by no means complete. In order to clear up any doubt, will the Minister make available all the general routine orders issued by the Commander-in-Chief, or advise me where I can sec them?
.- in reply - I undertake that the statements made by honorable senators will be brought to the notice of the appropriate Ministers.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
The following paper was presented : -
Arbitration (Public Service) Act - Determination hy Iiic -Arbitrator, &cv - No. 23 of 1944 - Fourth Division Postmasters, Postal Clerks and Telegraphist’s Union.
Senate adjourned at 12.43 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 15 September 1944, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1944/19440915_senate_17_179/>.