17th Parliament · 3rd Session
The President (Senator the Hon. Gordon Brown) tookthe chair at 3 p.m. and read prayers.
– In view of the shortage of food supplies on King Island, and the accumulation of perishable products awaiting export from the island, but which cannot be moved on account of lack of transport, can the Minister for Supply and Shipping inform the Senate whether it would be possible to make additional vessels available, in order to relieve the position on that island?
-I shall have inquiries made regarding the matter, and a reply will be furnished to the honorable senator later.
Duties of Senior Officers
– In view of the statement made by the Commander-in-Chief, South-West Pacific Area, General MacArthur, that the Australian Imperial Force is likely to be called upon to play a major part in the war in the Pacific, and also in view of the recent tragic death of Major-General Vasey, will the Minister representing the Minister for the Army state whether the Government intends to endeavour to secure again the services for Australia of that brilliant officer, GeneralRowell, who has been in England for some time, and who was previously attached to the Australian Military forces? Does the Government also intend to bringback to Australia from the United States of America General Sir John Lavarack, who is now doing virtually civilian work in Washington, in order that he mayresume military duties in this country?
SenatorFRASER. - As the honorable senator has raised a question of government policy, I do not consider it right that I should make a statement on it in reply to a question.
Horse-racing Relays - Australasian Performing Right Association.
– Can the Leader of the Senate say whether anythinghas been done to lift the ban on interstate relays of broadcast descriptions of horse races, since the ban does not serve any useful war purpose?
– No change is contemplated with regard to that matter.
– Has the PostmasterGeneral read the annual report of the Australian Broadcasting Commission, in which reference is made to the fees paid to the Australasian Performing Right Association, and in which it is said that the Commission makes an annual tribute of £17,000 in excess of what would be a fair amount to pay for performing rights? Does the Government intend to take any action in the matter, to enable this unfair impost to be adjusted?
– I have nothad an opportunity to peruse the report referred to, but when I have done so I shall let the honorable senator have an answer.
– Some time ago the Minister for Trade and Customs promised to make a statement regarding the sittings of the Senate. There are rumours that the Senate will rise to-night, and will not sit again until the 17th April, but noauthoritative statement on the subject has been made by the Leader of the Senate. Canhe now say when the present sittings are likely to terminate, and when we shall be called together again? Such information would be of great advantage to honorable senators generally.
– The intention is to conclude the business on the notice-paper either this evening or to-morrow, and then to adjourn the Senate to a date to be fixed, which will be after the 17th April.
asked the Leader of the Senate, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follows : -
asked the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice - 1.Has it been found in any cases that allegations of disparity between prices charged for goods by retailers in Canberra and other capitalcitieswere correct?
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follows : -
asked the Leader of the Senate, upon notice -
Owing to the reported improvement in the coal position, cana datebe fixed for the restoration of sleeping berths on interstate lines?
– This matter is the subject of examination and consideration, at the direction of the Minister for Transport, by the Director of Rail Transport and the Coal Commissioner with the Railways Commissioners of the systems concerned. The extent to which railway services can be restored or improved will be determined by the War Railways Committee which will meet immediately after the Easter holidays.
Motion (by Senator Keane) agreed to-
That leave begriven to bring in a bill for an act to repeal the Motor VehicleEngine Bounty Act 1930 and Motor Vehicles Agreement Act 1940. and for other purposes.
Bill presented, and read a first time.
Motion (by Senator Keane) proposed -
That so much of the Standing and Sessional Orders be suspended as would prevent the bill being passed through its remaining stages without delay, and before the AddressinReply has been adopted.
SenatorLECKIE (Victoria) [3.10]. - The practice of the Government in pleading urgency in respect of a bill of this kind is becoming rather farcical, particularly at a time when the Senate is about to adjourn for one month. I have no objection to the suspension of Standing Orders to permit the Senate to deal expeditiously with measures which have real urgency. However, it has become a habit in this chamber to force the passage of bills on a plea of urgency.
SenatorCourtice. - There is nothing unusual about that.
– I know; and that is why the habit should be stopped. I t is a verybad habit. Honorable senators have a right to have placed before them all possible information in support of the Government’s plea of urgency. If the Leader of the Senate (Senator Keane) can give good reasons why it is necessary to proceed with this measure in this way I should raise no objection. It is only fair to honorable senators to have some explanation regarding the urgency of the measure. However, this bill merely proposes to repeal measures which have been on the statute-book for some years. In view of that fact I cannot understand why the Government should desire to pass it through all stages on the last day of the present sittings. Such a practice belittles the Senate, and is not fair to honorable senators. On behalf of the Opposition, therefore, I protest against this procedure in respect of this measure.
SenatorFOLL (Queensland) [3.14].- I support the protest made by Senator Leckie. It is most unusual when Parliament is still discussing the motion for the adoption of the AddressinReply for the Government to introduce any legislation at all unless it be very urgent. However, a bill of this kind which seeks to repeal two measures which have been on the statute-book for so long surely does not involve urgency, and does not justify the almost discourteous action on the part of the Government which the Leader of theSenate (Senator Keane) now proposes to take. If the Government were able to show that certain vital issues were at stake, or that there were real reasons for treating this measure with urgency, I am sure that honorable senators on this side of the chamber would be quite prepared to facilitate its passage, as has been done on previous occasions.When Senator Leckie was speaking, honorable senators opposite alleged by interjection that this action had been taken by previous administrations, but I do not recall any occasion on which the debate on the motion for the adoption of the Address-in-Reply has been interrupted by the suspension of Standing Orders, except in very special cases when the urgency of a matter has demanded immediate attention by Parliament. Today the Government has no valid excuse for bringing forward a measure of this kind which cannot possibly be of an urgent nature. I join with Senator Leckie in voicing a protest against the Government’s action.
– in reply - I am amazed at the objection to this motion by honorable senators opposite, who should be aware that the matter was discussed with the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McLeay). The Senate will adjourn either to-day or to-morrow, hut the House of Representatives will continue its sittings for a further fourteen days. The Government is anxious that thismeasure should be passed as soon as possible so that the deck may be cleared for any individual or organization which may be prepared to make motor cars in Australia. These people will not be interested in the project, so long as the acts which this measure seeks to repeal remain upon the statute-book.
– That is the first time that we have been told that.
– I discussed the matter with the Leader of the Opposition, as I usually do with any business which comes before the Senate, and I understood that there would not be any opposition to this procedure. Again I say that I am amazed at the Opposition’s objection, especially in view of the fact that ordinarily I go out of my way to give to the Opposition all available information and every possible assistance.
– There being an absolute majority of the whole number of senators present, and no dissentient voice, I declare the question resolved in the affirmative.
.- I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
This bill seeks to repeal the Motor Vehicle Engine Bounty Act 1939, and the Motor Vehicles Agreement Act 1940. The Motor Vehicle Engine Bounty Act was introduced by a previous government and was assented to on the 15th December, 1939. Briefly, that act provides for the payment of a bounty at varying rates on engine units for motor vehicles manufactured in Australia subject to certain specified conditions, one of which limits payment of the bounty to companies incorporated in and conducting business in Australia. The aft, in general terms, also provides that not less than two-thirds of the total shares of a company claiming the bounty shall be held by British subjects resident in Australia or in territories under the control of the Commonwealth, and stringent conditions are applied regarding the use of Australian materials.
The Motor Vehicles Agreement Act was also introduced by a former government in May, 1940, and was assented to on the 3rd June, 1940. Briefly, that act authorizes the execution of an agreement between the Commonwealth Government and Australian Consolidated Industries Limited, under which certain undertakings were to be made by the company and certain assurances given by the Commonwealth. The proposed undertakings by Australian Consolidated Industries Limited were mainly to form a company with a nominal capital of £1,000,000 and an initial subscribed capital of £250,000, for the purpose of manufacturing motorengines and chassis in Australia. The proposed assurancesby the Commonwealth included - (1)Safeguarding the interests of the proposed company against the establishment of similar manufacturing in Australia by foreign or foreign-controlled companies.
Bounty Act apply, and which give undertakings satisfactory to the Commonwealth as regard matters similar to those covered by the undertakings to be given by Australian Consolidated Industries Limited.
Following an inquiry by the Secondary Industries Commission and consideration of the subject by a Cabinet SubCommittee, and later by Full Cabinet, the Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin) in a press announcement on the 12th September, 1944, indicated that the Government had agreed to the following course of action : -
The changing circumstances and the marked engineering development which has occurred in this country since the outbreak of war have influenced the Government in reaching its decisions. The Government felt that, to ensure that motor vehicle engines and chassis are manufactured in Australia, it had to give all interested parties full opportunity to submit proposals for the Government’s consideration. As will be observed, the two acts are of a restrictive nature and the Government has therefore decided that they should be repealed.
The Solicitor-General of the Commonwealth has carefully reviewed all correspondence whichhas passed between the Commonwealth Government and Australian Consolidated Industries Limited in connexion with this matter, and is of the opinion that no binding agreement for the manufacture of motor vehicle engines and chassis exists between the Commonwealth and Australian Consolidated Industries Limited. As the Prime Minister has announced, the Government would never be a party to disregarding agreements or contracts but, as I have previously stated, there is no evidence that an agreement between the Commonwealth and Australian Consolidated Industries Limited has ever been executed. It will be noted that a special provision - clause 4 - has been inserted in the present bill, whereby appropriate provision has been made to safeguard any claims for compensation which may be made by Australian Consolidated Industries Limited on the ground that a binding contract between the company and the Commonwealth came into existence either in 1940 or in the latter part of 1939. In other words, if the company’s claim that a contract was made is substantiated, its right of action for compensation will not be prejudiced or taken away.
The Government is firm in its resolution that motor car engines and chassis will be manufactured in Australia and that such manufacture will take place on the best possible basis. I commend the bill as one which merits favorable consideration.
Debate (on motion by Senator Leckie) adjourned.
Debate resumed from the 7th March (vide page . 358), on motion by Senator Nicholls -
That the following Address-in-Reply to His Royal Highness the Governor-General’s Speech be agreed to: -
May it please Your Royal Highness:
We, the Senate of the Common weal th of Australia in Parliament assembled, desire to express our loyalty to our Most Gracious Sovereign, to extend to Your Royal Highness a welcome to Australia, and to thank Your Royal Highness for the Speech which you have been pl eased to address to Parliament.
– In speaking to this motion I feel, with other honorable senators, that I should confine myself to matters of national importance, primarily because of the historically significant fact that the Governor-General’s Speech itself was delivered for the first time by a member of the Royal Family. In common with Senator Amour I tender my congratulations to Senator Nicholls and Senator Sheehan for the eloquent and interesting discourses with which they initiated this debate. Since I have been a member of the Senate I have been impressed a good deal by the vast number of vital problems with which this country is faced. I am impressed, too, by the fact that they are all matters of gravity and complexity. I realize that they all demand immediate attention, and I agree that in those circumstances some selection must be made, not only by me in my private capacity as a senator, but also by the Government, and that the rest must be dealt with at some other time. The Government, like private members, is forced into choosing a via media between two principles : the first of which is that delay is dangerous, and the other that time is a solver of many problems. The immediate problems of the war and those connected with it, world security, international co-operation in many spheres, the rehabilitation of members of the fighting services, housing and all the other matters referred to in the GovernorGeneral’s Speech are of vast importance.
Whilst I readily concede the primacy of those matters I make no apology for the subject on which I am about to emhark, namely, the financial relations between the Commonwealth and the States. The position in that regard is serious, and it will grow more acute as the war progresses. It will unquestionably b very serious when the war ends. There would he no federation at all, but for the common need for defence felt by the colonies, as they were originally called. “When the Australian Commonwealth was established there was a division of functions, may I say, between the States, as they then became, and the new federal body, the Commonwealth of Australia. The taxing functions were not interfered with. Both the Commonwealth and the States were given complete play in that field, except for the fact that the States could not levy customs and excise duties, and, moreover, the Commonwealth could not discriminate between the States in the matter of taxation. A fact. I ask the Senate to remember is that, when the. States came into the federation they differed in their soil, climates, and resources and in the density of their population. They differed in other respects also. Commonwealth legislation and policy have produced unequal effects on the various States. That is a condition which is inherent in any federation and is by no means peculiar to Australia.
The Commonwealth Grants Commission recently compiled a list of what might be called the disabilities which the
States suffer under federation. I shall mention a few of them. There are the tariff policy of the Commonwealth, the gain or loss from interstate free trade, the effects of the Navigation Act, the effects of industrial policy, the dislocation resulting from the war of 1914-18, and the changes since federation in financial adjustments between the Commonwealth and the States. There are other matters adverted upon by the commission, but I have mentioned sufficient to indicate that disabilities are imposed on .the’ States of the union by recent federal legislation and policy. The adjustment of these inequalities is vital and necessary, if we are to- have in Australia a happy union, a federal spirit and a truly national outlook. The problem I envisage is not peculiar to Australia alone. It has been encountered in Canada and the United States of America. It has to be faced in Russia and India, and everywhere where there is a confederacy of States in some form of federal union. It is of great interest to us in Australia to know that in Canada a royal commission - tha Rowell-Sirois Commission - was appointed in 1937 to investigate this whole field. It took two and a half years to prepare its report, which is a monumental work of great value. Its scope was much wider than that of the royal commission which in 1927 investigated the affairs of Australia. The Canadian Commission was charged with looking into all aspects of the relations, not only the financial but also the economic and constitutional relations. The Peden Commission, in 1927, was concerned solely with the working of the federation from the Commonwealth viewpoint since the inception of federation. That, of course, restricted its inquiries and activities solely to the constitutional aspect. It will interest honorable senators to know that the Canadian Commission has had the advantage of evidence from Professor Giblin, then a member of the Commonwealth Grants Commission established in this country. Great regard was had by the Canadian Commission for the work of the Commonwealth Grants Commission.
In Canada, the constitutional position is somewhat different from that in Australia. There, specific powers have been conferred upon, the provinces, and other specific powers have been conferred on the Dominion or the federal body, whilst all residual powers not specifically men.ti 011ed, have been passed over to the federal body, and not, as in Australia, to the States. The problem with which we are faced in Australia was visualized very clearly by the Canadian Commission, which expressed its view in very few words. The following is a brief extract from its report: -
At the heart of the problem lies the needs of Canadian citizens. These needs, whether material or cultural, can be satisfied only if all the provincial governments in Canada are in a position to supply those services which the citizen of to-day demands of them. The ability of the provincial governments to meet the demands of their citizens depends in part on the constitutional powers which they enjoy, in part on their financial capacity to perform their recognized functions.
Later, the commission poses the problem very clearly in a brief paragraph, as follows : -
It is clear that the present situation in Canadian .public finance represents a wide departure from the conception of the Fathers of Confederation and from the spirit of the financial settlement that they devised. Costly governmental responsibilities which have become national in scope are being supported by regional a-nd local revenues. Revenue sources which have become national in character are- being employed by regional and local governments to the complete or partial exclusion of the central authority. . . . The efficient administration of the functions of government under present-day conditions requires some redistribution of the functions as between the Dominion and the provinces.
The commission then went on to deal with further aspects of that matter, and I submit that all honorable senators will notice a similarity in the development of Australia. When federation was established, social services were very few. The need for education was not very apparent, particularly in the primary producing areas in the States now known, wrongly, I believe as the claimant States. Down the years there has been an expanding responsibility on the .States to provide services for their citizens, and at the same time there have been contracted revenues in at least three States, namely, Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia. The findings of the Canadian royal commission are of great interest because they bear particularly on the, problem facing Australia to-day. They provided, first, that the whole of the debts of the provinces should be taken over by the federal body; secondly, that further borrowings by the provinces should be controlled by a Finance Commission which it was suggested should be established ; thirdly, that the provinces were to surrender to the dominion exclusive jurisdiction over taxes on personal incomes, taxes on corporations, and succession duties ; and fourthly, that here should be a system of national adjustment grants, to be made by a body similar to the Commonwealth Grants Commission, and providing for an annual review, and also that grants should be made without any conditions whatsoever. I refer to that matter in order to show that the problem which we face in Australia is- common to every federation, and must not be regarded as something peculiar to Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia. When we review the history of State finances under federation we find an extraordinary position, as is disclosed by the Commonwealth Grants Commission. Deference to Appendix 12 of the commission’s last report shows that from 1928-29 to 1942-43 the total net deficits of the States was £71,000,000, a colossal figure for a period of eleven or twelve years. From the beginning of federation to the 30th June, 1941, the accumulated deficits of the States amount to £93,500,000. That is a plain indication to any intelligent observer that the States have suffered financially under federation. It has been the practice to refer to the three States which make application for assistance under section 96 of the Constitution as claimant States. I do not like the term ; I prefer to call them the applicant States. All the States are, in fact, claimant States, if the term “ claimant “ is a proper one to use. Under section 87 of the Constitution - frequently referred to as the “ Braddon clause” - all the States participated in a distribution of three-quarters of the customs revenue collected by the Commonwealth up to 1910. From 1910 to 1927 the Commonwealth paid to all the States - not merely to three of them - 25s. a head of their population. All the States were claimant States in that connexion. From 1927 onwards they were again made claimant States under the Financial Agreement, and they are claimant States to-day, because under that agreement the Commonwealth contributed not only to the capital payments to be made to the sinking fund by the States, but also towards the interest to be paid by the States on their debts. The Commonwealth paid, and still pays, £7,500,000 a year as interest on State debts. That amount represents the former per capita payment of 25s. based on the population at June, 1927. Moreover, since 1927 the Commonwealth has paid one-third of the capital contributions to sinking funds on State debts as at June, 1927. From that date to the present time the Commonwealth has paid one-half of the sinking fund contributions on State debts contracted after June, 1927, and it will continue to do so. Therefore, when honorable senators speak of claimant States they should bear in mind that every State is dependent upon the bounty of the Commonwealth. That is not a feature which should cause surprise.
– It reminds me of the footpad who took a man’s money, whereupon the man who was robbed became a claimant.
– The honorable senator must have missed the point of my address, namely, that these disabilities on the part of the States are inherent in every federation. It is always a question of devising the best method to dispose of the problem. Senator Sheehan put. the matter very well when he said in Hobart recently that there could never be a truly great Commonwealth so long as there was one weak State. From 1927 onwards there was arbitrary bargaining between the necessitous States and the Commonwealth. There was no logic or sense in the arguments; it became a matter of brute force in a struggle between the Commonwealth treasury and the State treasuries. Fortunately, that state of affairs was altered in 1933 when the Commonwealth Grants Commission was appointed. Whatever criticism may be levelled against that body - and I shall probably criticize it before I conclude my speech - it certainly did tackle the problem on a logical and common-sense basis. It tabled the reasons for the grants, so that any one who wished to do so was in a position to survey. the situation and criticize what the commission so plainly placed before the people. In 1942, the States were approached by the Commonwealth to permit one tax to be levied for various purposes, the object being to extract from the people of Australia the greatest amount possible for the prosecution of the war, and also to limit their purchasing power. The system of uniform income taxation made for uniformity and simplicity. The introduction of this system necessitated four legislative enactments, the effect of which on the Constitution of the Commonwealth I regard as most far-reaching. There was. first, the act which imposed the rate3. then that which determined the basis of assessment and provided that the Commonwealth assessment should have priority over State assessments. There was also the State Grants (Reimbursement) Act, which contained the interesting provision that so long as any State refrained from imposing income taxation the Commonwealth would make grants of a specified amount during the war and for one year thereafter. The fourth -act in this series was the Income Tax (Wartime Arrangements) Act, which provided that the Commonwealth should take over the staffs, equipment and accommodation of the various States’ income tax services. That was done by the Commonwealth after all the States had been approached and had refused to come into the uniform taxation scheme. Four States, the exceptions being New South Wales and Tasmania, attacked the scheme in the High Court in 1942. I put seriously to the Senate that the decision of the High Court in that case is easily the most farreaching that has been handed down by that Court, and this Parliament will have to face up to the effects of that decision immediately the war ends. The importance of the decision is that the Commonwealth now has two powers, neither of which is the defence power, by which it can levy unlimited taxes; and secondly, make grants to any State upon any terms and conditions which the Commonwealth itself likes to impose. It is very plain that without resting on the defence power this Parliament in the post-war years may enter not only the fields of income tax and entertainments tax, which it at present embraces, but also every other taxation field, and may say to the States, “ So long as you do not levy anything in this particular field we shall make you grants of specified amounts or amounts to be determined on certain principles One can readily see what vast constitutional consequences that position may have. It enables the Commonwealth to take complete charge of the finances of the States without in any way infringing upon the Constitution. We now have the support of the High Court for that proposition. I shall read a brief extract from the judgment of the Chief Justice emphasizing that very point. His Honour said -
It is perhaps not out of place to point out that the schemewhich the Commonwealth has applied to income tax of imposing rates so high as practically to exclude State taxation could be applied to other taxes so as to make the States almost completely dependent, financially and therefore generally, upon the Commonwealth. If the Commonwealth Parliament, in a grants act, simply provided for the payment of moneys to States, without attaching any conditions whatever, none of the legislation could be challenged by any of the arguments submitted to the Court in these cases. The amount of the grants could be determined in fact by the satisfaction of the Commonwealth with the policies, legislative or other, of the respective States, no reference being made to such matters in any Commonwealth statute. Thus, if the Commonwealth Parliament were prepared to pass such legislation, all State powers would be controlled by the Commonwealth - a result which would mean the end of the political independence of the States. Such a result cannot be prevented by any legal decision. The determination of the propriety of any such policy must rest with the Commonwealth Parliament and ultimately with the people. The remedy for alleged abuse of power or for the use of power to promote what are thought to be improper objects istobefoundinthepoliticalarenaandnot inthecourts.
That is the pronouncement of the Chief Justice in the course of his judgment in that very important case. I submit that Australia constitutionally will be at the cross-roads when this war ends. Either the Commonwealth Parliament must take charge of the economic and social aspects of life in this country and treat the States as purely administrative agencies, or we must stay on the basis on which we are to-day, the Commonwealth concerning itself with its functions and leaving the States complete autonomy in the spheres which they occupy at the present. The issue of the Economic Record of December last contain? a most interesting discourse on this particular problem by Professor Bailey of the Melbourne University. In the course of a brilliant exposition of uniform taxation he comes to the conclusion that it would be desirable for the Commonwealth to invade that field, and there is a deal to be said for it from the viewpoint of developing for the citizens of Australia an even supply of services from one end of the country to the other. At present the uniform tax scheme to which I have adverted works in equalities. After all is said and done, the amounts granted to the States under that particular legislation were based upon the average of 1939-41. That average in some cases was high. Some States rendered far more social services than others. Now the whole of Australia, under uniform taxation, is contributing evenly from one end of Australia to the other to maintain services in the various States that are not of equal value. I suppose that that is one of the incidences of war that cannot be helped; but it is perfectly certain that if uniform taxation is to stay - I believe that it will and that the Commonwealth will ultimately invade more and more taxation fields - the present basis of distribution of income tax collected will have to be altered. I say to Senator Leckie that all States will be claimants in another capacity when that time arrives. That tendency is already apparent. Queensland, New South Wales, and Victoria, which are called the standard States, have had very buoyant revenues during the war years, but the tendency to revert to deficits is apparent already. As the war has moved farther north, Victoria, for instance, with less war expenditure incurred within its boundaries, finds that its revenue is not so buoyant as it was.
– Particularly railways revenue.
– That is so. I warn the Parliament very seriously that if the development which is envisaged hy Professor Bailey and others who have studied this subject comes about all of the States will be claimants in the fullest sense.
I undertook to say a word about the Commonwealth Grants Commission as part of the subject which I am discussing. I have said publicly a good deal that was critical of the commission. I probably shall do so in the future. To-day, I desire to suppress my own views, so far as I possibly can, in dealing with the position in principle. I have another reason for doing that. This Government is concerned with the issue I am raising to-day. It has appointed a committee of its own members to investigate the financial relations between the Commonwealth and the States, and, as the matter is sub judice, to use a term which will have a not unfamiliar ring in the ears of honorable senators, I prefer not to express my own views at this stage. So far as the Commonwealth Grants Commission is concerned, I say at once that it has made an. outstanding contribution to this very vast and important question. Its eleven reports are not only literary masterpieces; they supply a wonderful story of the economic history of Australia. They supply very interesting statistical data, and, generally, are works of real value, being founded on thought and logic. I should say that the Commonwealth Grants Commission has evolved order out of a state which, prior to its appointment, was chaotic in the highest degree. The value of its work is, I believe, recognized throughout the world. The commission’s main contribution to the problem was to clear up a lot of loose thinking on the subject. The various States claimed that they suffered disabilities under federation, that is, disabilities suffered not so much by the governments as by their communities; and people made various efforts to assess these disabilities, forgetting, first, that they should also assess the advantages flowing to them from federation. The commission disposed of the whole matter by deciding, fir.=t. that it was impossible to assess disabilities from a community view point; and with that view I agree. Secondly, the commission stated that even if one could assess the loss which the community in a State suffered as the result of federal policy and legislation, it would be impossible to translate that loss in terms of a State budget. It pointed out, also, that every economic factor in a State is reflected in the State’s budget, and if it concentrated on a State’sbudgetary position it would necessarily take account of the net result of the disabilities and advantages flowing to the State from federation. It also evolved the principle of working on actual budgetary results. It declined to be bound by estimates. Although that may have been the only solution that could be found, it is certainly not a good one, because it means that there is a time lag of two years between the year of review in which the commission examines the affairs of the States, and the year in which the grant is actually made. I should like to explain to honorable senators just how the commission works: its main principle I shall leave for a few minutes. First of all, the commission examines the budgetary results of the six States. It makes corrections to these results to put all the States on a truly comparable basis. Having done that, it takes the deficits of the three standard Stares, divides them by the population of these States and determines, for instance, that Queensland has a deficit for the year of £1 a head of its population. Let us assume that in one particular year the deficit in Queensland was £1 a head, New South Wales £1 10s. a head, and Victoria £2 a head, making a total of £4 10s. The commission would then determine that the average deficit for those States was £1 10s. a head. It would then ascertain the population of each claimant State and would say to them, “ We are prepared to bring your finance up to the average deficit that obtained throughout Australia “. Looking at Tasmania for instance, it would say, “ Your population is 240,000. We shall adjust your budget up to a point where your deficit will be £1 10s. multiplied by 240,000 “. In other words it would say, “We shall pay you sufficient to bring your budget up to a point at which it will, be short of balancing by £360,000 “. That of course is the principle upon which the commission acted during the first eight years of operations, and it is to those eight years that
I am referring particularly. Different conditions have applied during the last three years, and I shall deal with those conditions separately. Having determined the first approximation of the grant to a particular State, the commission says, very properly, “ Before we pay you this amount, let us see if you are taxing with the same severity as the average of the mainland standard States”. Obviously it would not be fair to balance the budget of a particular State or put it on the same basis as the mainland average, if that State were not taxing its people with the same severity as were the standard States. Accordingly, an adjustment is made. If the claimant State is taxing with greater severity than the average of the mainland States, it will receive an addition to the first upset of the grant, and if the reverse is the case, a deduction will be made. Having exhausted the revenue side, the commission then examines expenditure, with particular reference to social services, economy in administration, and maintenance of capital equipment. Again, one can readily appreciate that if there is to be fairness in these adjustments, it is necessary to ascertain what the States are spending, comparatively, on social security. The commission tackles the problem in this way: It finds out from available statistics what the three mainland States are spending on social services, comprising health, education and law, order and public safety grouped together. Let me take a recent year to illustrate my point. In 1942-43 expenditure on social services in New South “Wales was S3s. a head of the population, in Queensland 76s., and Victoria 63s. - the lowest in Australia.
– Perhaps the social services in Victoria are just as efficient as they are anywhere else despite the low expenditure.
– I am not questioning efficiency at this stage. I am dealing solely with the financial position. I repeat . for the information of the Senate that the expenditure in Victoria on health, education, and law, order and public safety, is the lowest in Australia. Having ascertained the three figures which I have mentioned, the commission finds that the average for the standard States is 74s. It then says to Tasmania, “You are spending 78s. a head - 4s. more than the average for the whole of Australia - accordingly, we shall deduct from the first upset of the grant, 240,000 times 4s.”. We cannot complain very seriously about that when the principle of relativity is preserved throughout the whole calculation, but I shall show where the commission has departed from that principle. .Similarly, looking at the expenditure side of State budgets, the commission examines expenditure on maintenance of capital assets. It makes a comparison with other States, and., if necessary, makes a further addition to or deduction from the grant. It also examines the economy observed in the administration of government departments, and if it finds that economy is being practised an additional amount is added to the grant or, should the reverse be the case, a deduction is made. Its final calculation is based upon a principle with which I disagree entirely. Having made all these calculations and determined what the grant should be, the commission deducts a certain amount because of claimancy. There can be only two views about the correctness or otherwise of that deduction: either it is right or it is wrong. In my view, as the applicant States are already in a financial strait-jacket, when they are brought to a strictly comparable basis with the mainland States, there is no reason why the commission should say, “ Because you are a claimant State you must make an extra effort and a deduction will be made from your grant on that account”. It savours a good deal of saying to a man who is urgently in need of a meal which will cost him ls. : “ Here is 9d. You must either beat the cafe proprietor down to 9d. for your meal, or you must raise the additional 3d. in some other way “. When a State is already in financial difficulties, the only additional effort that it can make is either to increase its taxation, which it cannot very well do, or to lower the standard of its social services. With either of these propositions I do not think that any State government is entitled to agree.
Broadly, I have outlined to honorable senators the basis upon which the commission arrives at its conclusions.
In fairness to the commission, I should add that in the past few years two very important factors have caused it to review the whole of its considerations and operations. The first is the fact that, during the past three years, the mainland States have had the most buoyant budgeting surpluses ever known in their history. That has been due to the fact that they have had to incur little or no expenditure upon the relief of unemployment, and also to the fact that railway revenues have been soaring. The difficulty which faced the commission was, should it bring the applicant States up to the surplus standard, or to some other standard. It has decided that those States should be brought up to the standards of balanced budgets only, and not up to the budgetary surplus standard of the standard States. In. that connexion, the first point I wish to make is this: All States will have to face deferred maintenance expenditure. They have been unable to obtain labour or materials to carry out maintenance work during the war, so that that work has accumulated year by year. As a result of Commonwealth expenditure, the mainland States have made surpluses amounting to approximately £40,000,000, which will be available not only to carry on maintenance requirements after the war but also to enter upon post-war reconstruction projects free from the necessity of approaching the Australian Loan Council with a view to borrowing money for those purposes. I feel that the Commonwealth Grants Commission has erred in that it has not observed the relativity practised by it in the first eight years of its existence. It now has regard to the state of Commonwealth finances, [n its earlier reports - particularly the third - it announced that its programme was to equalize the position as between Mie States and it was not concerned with (he expenditure of the Commonwealth Government. It has varied its point of view in that respect. In one year, when there was a surplus in one of the States if brought that surplus into account. The States are not unreasonable in this matter. They recognize that there is something in what the Commonwealth Grants Commission says, that there can be no financial needs left when the budget is balanced. The States concerned say, “ Our need to provide for maintenance is very real and we ask that we should be put into the same relevant position as the other States, but we do not ask for all the money now “. These States do not want to embarrass Commonwealth finance, but they simply ask that the amount in excess of their immediate requirements should be postponed until the post-war years. If that were done, there would be no embarrassment te the Commonwealth because, when the moneys were made available, the grants that otherwise normally would be mad* would be unquestionably less. Much might be said in discussing the principle of the relative needs or of the bare financial needs of the States. In the first eight years of the commission’s existence it dealt with the claimant States on a purely relative basis in comparison with those of the mainland States. It has abandoned that principle in favour of a balanced budget. That is the main issue that confronts the claimant States and the Commonwealth at present. I hope that this Government will give it real attention and will rectify the position as a matter of wisdom and justice.
I desire to say a few words now as to the standards of effort that the Commonwealth Grants Commission, in making its calculations, has always exacted from the claimant States. That has been arrived at by stating the position somewhat in this fashion: “We will take 10 per cent, off your social services expenditure and will require you to make a standard of effort corresponding to that amount”. There can be no logical basis for that calculation. If one refers to the third report of the commission - -the monumental report in which it set out its main principles - there will be found, in paragraph 209, a frank admission that there i.r, no logical basis on which that deduction can be made. The paragraph in question states -
The determination of these minimum and maximum standards of effort is a matter of broad judgment, based on the political and economic realities of the situation. We cannot claim any logical authority for the standards we shall propose. They therefore come in a very special way under the scrutiny of the Government and Parliament of Australia. Parliament may make these standards of effort as severe as it pleases. Our thesis is that -when a minimum standard of effort above the normal has been decided on, then special grants should be provided to enable a State to function, provided that it maintains that standard of effort above the normal. J.n other words, Parliament should take the ultimate responsibility for the fixing of a minimum standard of government below which no State should be required to go.
Neither the Government at the time nor successive governments - and certainly not this Parliament - has ever adverted to what the commission has plainly said is the Government’s responsibility in the matter. Another important change brought about by recent conditions was the imposition of uniform taxation. By uniform taxation the States were shorn of their most flexible form of revenue. They are now working on what I might describe as a pegged revenue. The Commonwealth Grants Commission in connexion with that matter, has eased up in various respects. It has not imposed such a severe penalty for the effort required on account of claimancy and in the matter of past loan losses. In the last two years, however, the commission has dropped two calculations that it made previously. My own State of Tasmania, on the commission’s finding, was always claiming a considerable addition to the grant by reason of economy in its administration. For some reason, the commission in the current year has not made that calculation; nor has it gone into the question of maintenance of fixed capital assets. It may be that the commission lacks staff to enable it to make those thorough examinations; if so, that lack should be speedily rectified. I put very seriously to the Senate this point, namely, that the principle of relativity should be followed out completely by the commission. I put this further question - whether in the determination of a standard for Australia the results in connexion with the social services, for instance, of Victoria should be fairly included ; that is, whether there should be taken the first, the third and the sixth, or whether some such standard as that should not be taken. Either there should be taken the State with the highest expenditure on social services, say with a margin of 10 per cent, above or below, or, alternatively, the average of the two highest States. My opinion is that a government outlook that has the effect of pegging social services is a poor one It is obviously the wish of the Australian people to extend existing social services, and undoubtedly these will be developed in the post-war period.
The Commonwealth Grants Commission should be given an enlarged staff. There should be, I think, a permanent chairman to supervise all the statistical work that is undertaken by the commission’s officers, and I am not sure that the commission should not be appointed as a permanency rather than be subject to reappointment every three years. Thus it could watch the tendencies of the States, both in their expenditure and on the revenue side as they develop down the years and could make adjustments to the States to enable them to fulfil their functions properly, with due regard to economy and efficiency. That is the principle that should be followed.
I have spoken at far greater length than I had intended. I would have liked before resuming my seat to have deal with the matter of federal aid to State education - a vastly important subject that will have to be faced sooner or later, but I shall postpone my comments until a more opportune time.
I shall now refer to a project which relates to post-war reconstruction. Tasmania has led, I say advisedly, in some aspects of education. Its area schools are an entirely new concept. They are based on the closing of small schools, where the teachers have had to work with inadequate equipment and teach children of all grades. The scholars from various schools are now brought by efficient transport to a central area school, where they are taught up to the primary standard, or close to the intermediate standard, and trained in matters that are important to them in living. They are really trained in citizenship. They are taught to make and repair harness, to grow crops, to keep farm accounts, to raise poultry and to do a thousand and one things necessary in their particular districts. I need nol dwell on the advantages of that kind of school, for Tasmania’s activity in that. regard is well known and thoroughly approved, not only in Australia, but largely throughout the world.
– Its example has been followed in Victoria.
– That is so. Tasmania has fifteen area schools, and many more are required. They really provide the solution of the problem of the rural child and of rural centres. A big problem remains in dealing with the children in city schools where there are large classes of up to 70 scholars, who are not trained in citizenship. In Tasmania there is a project to provide for the needs of city children at Newnham Park, near Launceston, where there is an area of 127 acres of beautiful river flats, with excellent high land. The land is planted with trees and laid out as a park. The Government of Tasmania has acquired the property, and is particularly interested in trying out for city children the same experiment as has been made with country children in the area schools. The land is situated near the terminus of a tram line. If the necessary financial aid can be secured from the Commonwealth Government, it is proposed to establish there a community school upon the lines of the country area schools. The. Commonwealth Government is to be asked to assist in the project to the extent of about £40,000. ‘ I commend the proposal to the- Government, because it would be a most interesting experiment. The project should, lie put in hand forthwith, as it would furnish most valuable data to the Department of Post-war Reconstruction, which must, if there is to be any reconstruction at all, first consider the child. If we are to build a truly great Australia, we must do what Russia did, and follow the principle, although not the ideals, adopted in Germany, by starting with the juniors and moulding them in the direction they should go. I believe that the Commonwealth Government would act wisely in- fully investigating i ho Newnham Park project. The State Government will provide the land, and assist in carrying out the scheme, as well as maintain the institution after its establishment. I commend the proposal to the Commonwealth Government.
Senator GIBSON (Victoria) [4.19’J.- We should congratulate ourselves on having a member of the Royal Family as our Governor-General. The wonderful welcome accorded to His Royal Highness and the Duchess of Gloucester throughout the Commonwealth must be pleasing to everybody in Australia. I pay a special tribute to the Minister for Trade and Customs (Senator Keane) for the good work done by him on his recent trip abroad. After Abraham Lincoln had made his great speech he went home dejected for he felt that he had made no impression but his people told him the next day that he had delivered the greatest speech in his history. The Minister has done an extremely good job, and I think it is our duty to tell him so. Such ministerial missions abroad do much good. I was fortunate enough to go abroad some time ago on a ministerial mission. One gets new ideas by exchanging views with people overseas. The Minister did remarkably good work for Australia, and the reports in the local press indicated that lie represented the people of this country and not a political party.
I congratulate Senator Nicholls and Senator Sheehan on the loyalty, modesty and tolerance towards the views of the Opposition shown in their speeches in submitting and seconding the motion for the adoption of the Address-in-Reply. Although Senator Nicholls indulged in dreams which he expects to materialize in future, the speeches set a high standard which might well be emulated by honorable senators on both sides of the chamber. I have already congratulated the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McLeay) and Senator Nash on their choice as delegates from Australia to the San Francisco conference. I am sure that when they take part” in the proceedings at a conference, which will be attended by representatives of 42 nations representing people of all colours, creeds and languages, they will at least uphold the prestige of this country.
I regard the Speech of the GovernorGeneral as a foundation garment, and we cannot effectively criticize the contents of the Speech until the figure has been fully clothed. Then the Opposition may be in a position to offer a good deal of criticism. There is little reference in the Speech to primary production. Senator McKenna referred to the rehabilitation proposals of the Government, and dealt with the matter from the standpoint of the child. He spoke of the good work done by means of area schools in Tasmania, and I remind him that Victoria, following the example of Tasmania, has already established one of those schools, which enable country children to enjoy a standard of education equivalent to that received at a high school.
In discussing the problem of the rehabilitation of ex-service personnel, I recall that the Rural Land Commission has suggested that 54,000 Australians, on their return, fa-om the war, will seek to go on the land. If we added that number of mixed farmers to the present farming population what would, happen? The first thing to do is to find markets for their products. If we cannot obtain the necessary markets there will be overproduction, and that would result in starving, not only the men being placed on the land, but also those already there. The greatest care will -be necessary in ensuring that a wise choice is made in establishing returned soldiers as mixed farmers. We cannot expect the presentprices of primary products to remain at the levels reached to-day. Land values should not be based on present prices, but on long-term average prices of primary products. One or two good seasons will not tide men over difficulties. During the last war, butter-fat was sold at 2s. 6d. per lb., and the cost of milking cows rose to £20 or £30. Wheat brought as much as 6s. 6d. a bushel, and men engaged in farming at that time on the basis of the high prices ruling for land. According to Judge Pike, who investigated the soldier settlement schemes, 37,000 men were placed on the land on 29,000,000 acres during the last war, but when he made his report only 14,000 of those men remained on the land. The balance of them had spent many years, and probably the best part of their life in struggling to make a living, but they failed. They lost, not only the best part of their life, but probably a good deal of their capital, and the Government lost £23,000,000. We do not want a recurrence of that. We should look for a better method than was applied on that occasion. It is easy to over-produce, and where could we look for further markets ? People say : “ There are markets ia the East for the whole of our products but we have tried to open up new markets in the East for the last 30 years, and we have never managed to enter them. We may have great difficulty in doing so.
It would be necessary to provide an ex-serviceman who desired to go on the land with at least 300 acres. Assuming the land to be worth £10 an acre, he would need £3,000 for the land alone. He would then require a house, because any land taken up to-day would probably be a large estate on which there were only boundary fences and a few divisional fences. The house would cost at least £1,000, and it would be a very poor dwelling at that. The Government has built several houses in my home town, and T noticed recently that several threeroomed fibrolite houses with no chimneys had cost £850 each. Then the farmer would require fencing and farm buildings, which would cost at least £400. There would have to be a hut for a man. The plant necessary for a 300-acre farm would be a tractor, a plough, a header, a truck, a horse and some cows, and I put down the cost of plant at £2,000. Farming with horses to-day is out of the question. Draught horses will be seen only in museums in future. One could find a man to-day who could drive two horses, but one could not easily get a man capable of working a team of eight or ten horses. Consider the expenses that would be incurred in conducting such a farm. The interest and sinking fund payment on the outlay would be £320 a year. The farmer would have to employ a man at the basic wage, and that would amount to £250 a year. For depreciation of plant I have set down £200, which is less than that allowed by the Taxation Department. The farmer would require at least £300 for himself. His expenditure on a 300- acre property would work out at £6 an acre, and I maintain that the proposition would be impracticable. That is why many men failed when settled on the land after the last war. It may be remarked that the plant which I have indicated as necessary is out of proportion to the area of the land, but that is not so. I know ‘ that some people will say that farmers should borrow their neighbour’s machinery, but that is not practicable.
– What about cooperative farming?
– A man cannot lend his machinery and plant unless he also lends the services of himself or a trusted employee. Should he lend a neighbour his tractor, the neighbour may neglect to change the oil in it, because it would cost, say, 16s., with the result that when the tractor is returned the owner has to meet an account of probably £50 for repairs.
– What about the New South Wales scheme?
– It is an impossible scheme. Every farmer wants to put in his crop, and take it off, at the most appropriate time; it is impossible to do that under a co-operative scheme. Co-operative farming is quite impracticable, as is also a system for lending machinery. If a man has good machinery and looks after it properly, it will last for many years, but if a neighbour treats it roughly, his asset quickly disappears. The only market that we have for butter, meat, lam,b and wheat is the United Kingdom. In this connexion, it is interesting to note that the United Kingdom now grows SO per cent, of its foodstuffs, and is planning to produce 100 per cent, of its requirements. That it will succeed in doing so I have no doubt. Great Britain will not be caught again and allow its people to be almost starved, as they were in the early days of this war, because the country could not grow its own requirements. Great Britain has 4,000,000 acres under wheat, and the average yield is 34 bushels to the acre, not 12 bushels as in Australia. Those 4,000,000 acres produce more wheat than can be obtained from 12,000,000 acres in Australia.
– What about its quality?
– It is equal to Australian wheat. Obviously, some honorable senators opposite do not know much about wheat. Great Britain has introduced modern farming methods ; farmers there do not cut their wheat with a binder, and afterwards stack and thresh it, nor do they thresh it wet thereby causing deterioration; they use harvesters.
– On a cooperative basis.
– Yes, because their farms are small. On the basis of the average yield over a great many years, an area of 4,850,000 acres in Great Britain will supply the requirements of 40,000,000 people. The annual consumption of wheat by the British people averages 3-J bushels for each person, whereas the per capita consumption in Australia is 5 bushels a year. The difference is probably accounted for by the fact that the people of Great Britain eat more oatmeal and potatoes than we -do in Australia. Before long the Old Country will be independent of wheat supplies from other countries. The position in regard to dairy produce is somewhat similar. I do not say that British dairy farms will supply the nation’s requirements, but it is interesting to note that dairy herds in Great Britain have been increased by nearly 300,000 cows since the war began. Yesterday, Senator Large mentioned a successful dairy at Whyalla, but the honorable senator may not know that the average dairy cow in Great Britain gives 50 lb. more butter a year than do the cows on the farm to which he referred. After the war other countries besides Great Britain will adopt similar methods. There was a time when Australia exported many millions of bushel* of wheat each year to Italy and France, but that has not been the position for a number of years. I fear that many men now with the fighting forces will be placed on farms when they return. I dread the thought of men being placed on small mixed farms, which will require costly plant, only to find that there will be no market for their produce. I hope that the Government will give serious consideration to this matter before adopting any scheme for settling servicemen on small mixed farms. Before the war Great Britain had to import large quantities of stock fodder from other countries - bran, linseed and other offals. To-day the Old Country has a series of drying plants. The grass is cut when 4 or 5 inches ‘ long, and treated in these plants with the result that a fodder which, is equivalent to bran, and will keep indefinitely, is available. Although these drying plants cost about £1,000 each, many of them already exist in Great Britain, and more will be established in the future. Difficulties caused by wet weather and moisture, which previously spoiled the grass hay, have been overcome. If Great Britain can do these things and become self-sufficient, other European countries, such as France, Italy and Germany, will do the same after the war.
The reports of the Rural Industries Commission are good as far as they go, but they are too academic; they deal with subjects from the point of view of a university professor. To my mind, they do not touch the practical side as they should. Despite the views of the commission, I am of the opinion that any class of country is suitable for settlement, provided certain things be done. In cutting up large estates care should be taken that each holding shall bc capable of carrying 1,000 sheep. If that be done, and the man placed on the holding knows anything about sheep, he cannot fail. In some instances, the holding may need to be of 5,000 acres or more; in other instances, 500 or 600 acres would be sufficient. There is a market for wool. The cutting up of large estates would mean that a holding on which there are now, say, 20,000 *heep belonging to one man, would be divided among twenty soldiers, each of whom would have 1,000 sheep. If those soldiers know their job, every one of them would make £1,000 a year gross.
– The honorable senator will be on this side of the chamber yet.
– I think that 1 know more about primary production than do most honorable senators on the other side, especially the honorable senator who has just interjected. Many estates have been rejected as unsuitable for closer settlement, but, in my opinion, any holding which will carry 1,000 sheep will enable a man who knows his. job to make a success of it.
– Provided there is plenty of water on it.
– There is no difficulty about getting water in the western district of Victoria, where I live. The sinking of a bore to a depth of 50 feet or 60 feet will almost certainly ensure a good water supply. Moreover, that district is well supplied with rivers and creeks. No wise person would dream of stocking country not well supplied with water. I repeat that any block is suitable for settlement provided that it will carry 1,000 sheep. Such a holding should return an income of £1,000 a year. It may be said that the policy which I advocate is wrong in that it will convert merino sheep country into come-back or crossbred country, because a man with 1.000 sheep will be most likely to improve his pastures by the use of superphosphate, in which event his land will become too strong for merino sheep, and he will go in for stronger wooled sheep and will raise fat lambs. In this connexion I point out that Great Britain will not be able to accept all the lamb which New Zealand and Australia will be able to produce and that the result will be an over-supply. Australia will have to depend mainly on wool, and on what quantity of mutton and lamb we can sell. I emphasize that wool comprises 40 per cent, of Australia’s exports, and thai primary products generally represent 80 per cent, of our total exports. It will be seen, therefore, that primary production means a great deal to Australia. We could have a better market in the United States of America for our wool if the American import duty of 34 cents per lb. on clean scoured wool, regardless of quality, were replaced by an ad valorem duty. The present duty means ls. 4d. per lb. on all greasy wool which enters the United States of America. Even if that wool be appraised in Australia at only lOd. per lb. - crossbred wool for instance - it bears a duty of ls. 4d. per lb- The duty is the same on the best Yass district merino wool, which may be appraised at 30d. per lb.
– How will the production of rayon affect wool ?
– I do not think that it will affect wool very much. I regret, however, that the Government proposes to assist a company to produce rayon in Australia in competition with wool. If the Government wishes ito do justice to the man on the land it would not assist the rayon industry in the way proposed. In order to progress, Australia must export, and the only place to which exports can be sent in considerable quantities seems to be Great Britain. Should that country not have the ability to purchase our products, I do not know what would happen. Wool is a commodity which will always find a market and there will always be a market for a limited quantity of lamb. The Government has not made any immediate provision for the rehabilitation of servicemen, thousands of whom will return after the war and will desire to work for themselves. I desire to see them properly established, should they wish to take up land. The Government will have to provide the money for their rehabilitation and the States will have to find holdings for those who wish to settle on the land. It is the province of the Commonwealth Government to see that the States do find land for these men, and for that reason I have advanced these suggestions to-day. I emphasize that my proposal merely means a transfer of production from one land-holder to, say, twenty more land-holders, and does not necessarily increase production to any great degree.
– Would the honorable senator place returned servicemen on the land before they had had a period of training?
– I would place on the land only those men who know something about land. For a farmer to have any chance of success he must be a scientist, a veterinary surgeon and a bookkeeper. We should put these men on the land and enable them to work for themselves rather than give them jobs working for somebody else. I prophesy that a property capable of carrying 1,000 sheep will return an income of £1,000 a year. I have spent most of my life on the land. I know what can be done on sheep properties, and I have no hesitation in making that estimate.
The Government is adopting a very strange attitude with respect to the wheat industry. Some members of the Government with whom I have spoken hold the view that the Government is doing the wrong thing. Why they do not insist that the Government does (he right thing is beyond my comprehension. To-day, the Government blames the drought for our small yield of wheat this year. I remind Ministers that Senator James McLachlan and I pointed out many months ago that by the end of this year we should have to import wheat; and to-day, we are importing wheat. The Minister for Commerce and Agriculture (Mr. Scully) has made some extraordinary statements. I say emphatically that the drought has not been responsible for reducing the area under wheat from 13,000,000 to 7,500,000 acres. That reduction has been due in the main to humbugging on the part of the Government, and its interference in the industry by licensing growers. Its restrictions have discouraged farmers from growing wheat.
– What about the shortage of fertilizers?
– The Government will not allow farmers to grow wheat on ground that does not require fertilizers. I have such land myself, but I am not allowed to grow wheat upon it, although I am prepared to do so. I am refused a licence in respect of such land. Notwithstanding the statements made by Ministers to-day about the licensing system, that system is still in operation. In the issue of licences, another serious defect is that the department does not seem to realize that a farmer plans a year ahead and not merely for one season. Many Wimmera farmers are now fallowing, not for next year, but for the crop afterwards. However, they can obtain a licence for this year only. What will happen in these circumstances? Obviously, that is a nonsensical policy; and I hope sincerely that senior Ministers will see that a stop is put to it. Licences were actually refused to men who had prepared their ground. I can supply to the Minister the names of men who were refused licences after their ground was prepared and, in fact, after some of the wheat grown on such land was actually sown. Under such restrictions farmers have been prevented from going into new country where a fertilizer is not needed. I also point out that wheat-growers were paid ls. a bushel less than the homeconsumption price for their first thousand bags. The man growing wheat in excess of the quota actually lost money on his operations; and he is still losing money to-day. All of these restrictions still exist, and it is about time that the Government took a hand in the matter, and told the Minister responsible that the farmer should have an “ open go “ in the production of wheat until such time as the country produces more wheat than we require. I have pointed out on previous occasions that millions of people are dying of starvation in countries not far distant from Australia, whilst we arc unable to help them because the Government prefers to pay farmers 12s. 6d. an acre not to grow wheat. The most successful wheatfarmer in “Western Australia to-day is the man who sits on the fence and receives this payment of 12s. 6d. an acre. The Minister for Commerce and Agriculture when he took office said that he would lift all restrictions. The fact is, however, that he has increased those restrictions, and made the farmers’ position intolerable. He has made the existing restrictions more severe. The wheat-farmers were also promised cash for their first 1,000 bags, but some did not receive payment until four months after delivery. Over 4,000 farmers did not receive any cash payment for their first 1,000 bags until four months after making delivery. In these circumstances, is it any wonder that production has dropped so seriously? I warn the Go- ernmout that nothing like its target of 13,000,000 acres will be sown this year simply because of the existing restrictions.
– Are the wheatfarmers like the coal-miners?
– No ; the coalminer is not licensed. The Government does not put a dog collar around his neck; but it puts a collar around the neck of the farmer. If the Government wants more wheat produced all it has to do is to lift the existing restrictions. The present Administration is entirely responsible for the mess the industry is in to-day. “When honorable senators on this side stated that wheat stocks were so low in New South “Wales and Victoria that no shipments would be made, the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture said that such statements were irresponsible and calculated to undermine public morale. But what is the position to-day ? Farmers cannot buy wheat for stock feed, and the miller cannot buy it for export. “We are millions of bushels short of wheat at present. Yet, at the very last moment, the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture replied to honorable senators who pointed out. the facts that there was any amount of wheat in this country. He said there was no intention of curtailing supplies of wheat for stock feed. Then he made the absurd statement that it was a new thing to feed wheat to sheep. For very many years past wheat has been fed to sheep, and. has proved to be the most economical food for sheep. The sales of millions of bushels of wheat for export were cancelled. I have made this statement before. That wheat was sold for from 6s. 6d. a bushel up to 7s. 2d. a bushel. But it was never delivered, and for that reason the man with over-quota wheat is receiving less than 4s. a bushel instead of about 6s. 6d. a bushel. The recent meeting of farmers at Berrigan should be a warning to the Government. Over 500 farmers attended that meeting and denounced the present scheme lock, stock and barrel. They said they were being robbed of £10,000,000 annually by the action of the Government in selling their wheat at 2s. 1Nd. a bushel out of silo instead of at 6s. 6d. a bushel bagged. The Government, of course, protests that it is paying a bounty to the farmers to make up that difference. It is paying the bounty by taking money out of the pocket of one wheat-grower and putting it into the pocket of another. It is about time that responsible Ministers, like one or two in Cabinet, took a hand in seeing that farmers are at least permitted to produce more wheat than they are producing to-day. “Wheat-growing is uneconomical at the present prices. No farmer objects to paying high wages if it is made profitable for him to do so ; but the rural workers award was not made by the Arbitration Court. It was imposed arbitrarily upon the industry and forced the farmer to pay men 2s. 3d. an hour, or over £1 a day, whilst, at the same time, the price of oats was fixed at 2s. lid. a bushel at Melbourne, which is equivalent to a price in my district of 2s. 3d. a bushel. Such a position is absurd. If the price fixed enabled the farmer to recoup the higher award wages he would not object. But under that award the farmer is saddled with a payment of £1 3s. a day to each employee. It is about time that the Government recognized that when an award is to be made it should also reconsider the prices to be paid, to primary producers for their products.
I was very interested in the statements made by Senator Large. He told us that he went for a trip to the Northern Territory. He said that at Newcastle Waters he saw wonderful country and described several species of grass which grew to 14 feet. I should “ get “ for my life from country of that kind;, because my stock would be lost in it. In any case, grass growing to a height of 14 feet could not feed any beast. It is utterly impossible to feed sheep on grass thathigh. The honorable senator also declared that that country would ‘be rushed after the war by Americans, and that it offered a marvellous opportunity for closer settlement. When he speaks of closer settlement, is he thinking of holdings of from 300,000 acres to 400,000 acres in area, instead of 600 square miles? If Senator Large thinks that that country is so profitable he can take it. up at a rental of 8d. a square mile. If he thinks that the present owners or lessees are making a fortune on it let him try settling on that country himself. The honorable senator also bad much to say about irrigating central Australia. I suggest that he take a trip down the river Murray from Mildura to its mouth. r.f he does so, he will find 1,000,000 acrefeet of water impounded in Lake Victoria and the Murray which is specifically set aside for use in South Australia. The river Murray is locked for only 400 miles, and an area of 30,000 acres is irrigated. Only one-third of the water impounded is being used. Until we make full use of this water there can be hardly any need for irrigation schemes of the kind advocated by Senator Large. The honorable senator then described his visit to Whyalla, where he saw a wonderful dairy run by the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited. At Whyalla he ako saw 10 acres of lucerne on which water was sprayed continuously, and which yielded from seven to nine cuttings a year. Has the honorable senator any idea of the cost of installing a sprinkler system of that kind? It costs £2 10s. an acre-foot to pump the water out of the river Murray on to tile river banks. From that fact he may get some idea of the cost of watering that lucerne patch at Whyalla. I should imagine that any dairy run by the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited would be a good thing; but from the figures for butter-fat production given by the honorable senator I was surprised to learn that the cows on that dairy were of such poor quality. Perhaps the honorable senator was out a couple of hundred pounds of butter-fat in his calculation, out from what he said the cows appeared to be of very poor quality. The honorable senator then spoke about the beautiful dairy which he inspected. He detailed . how the cows were taken into the stands, their udders being washed and brushed and the flies ‘being brushed off them; and how an attendant would pull one lever to let the cow into the feed bin, and another lever to let it out. He also described in detail how the cows were milked, by machine, and how the milk was passed along beautiful nickel plating to the bottles. I should like to ask him if he stayed long enough to see a cup fall off an udder in the milking process and a quantity of earth sucked into the machine and passed into the bottles. That often happens. However, the honorable senator’s knowledge of dairying, apparently, is confined to what he saw in a visit of ten minutes to a dairy run by the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited at Whyalla, at the Lord, knows what cost!
– I associate myself with the welcome extended to His Royal Highness the Governor-General. Although I believe personally that the office of Governor-General is not too high to be filled capably by many estimable Australian gentlemen, perhaps I shall be pardoned for saying that the appointment of His Royal Highness, and the welcome extended to him particularly by members of the working classes, should finally dispose of all the nonsense that has been preached against the Labour movement, including allegations of disloyalty, and such suggestions as wanting to “ cut the painter “. The welcome that has been given to His Royal Highness the Governor-General should convince everybody that criticism that has been voiced in the past about the Labour party has been nothing but political propaganda, the purpose of which has been to discredit the Labour movement.
I agree in the main with what Senator Gibson has said. However, there are one or two matters which I think he overlooked in his discourse. The shortage of cereals in this country was discussed in Parliament last session, and the Government frankly accepted portion of the blame for it. On that occasion I pointed out that early in 1942 the Government was faced with the choice of a shortage of foodstuffs in 1944 or 1945, or a shortage of man-power in 1942 which might facilitate a Japanese invasion. The Government decided that its first duty was to ensure the security of this country. It realized, of course, that the withdrawal of man-power from rural areas might mean a subsequent general shortage of primary products, but its action may have saved this country. I agree that as certain restrictions on primary production have been removed, the Government should “ go the whole hog “ and remove all the restrictions. I agree also that considerable muddling is going on in the Department of Commerce and Agriculture. Obviously some officers of that department have not any knowledge of farming. Take, for instance, the issuing of cereal-growing licences mentioned by Senator Gibson. All farmers know that the growing of crops is carried, out in rotation, and must be planned some years ahead. There is usually a cycle of three years, or, in mixed farming districts, four years; yet the Department of Commerce :and Agriculture issues licences on a yearly basis only. There should be a searching inquiry into that matter. I make no apology for this criticism, because I know that I am expressing the views of a large proportion of primary producers.
Senator Gibson said that some of the ex-servicemen who were to be settled on the land after the war should be given sheep-raising properties. I agree with that, but I cannot subscribe to his contention that this country will not have markets for its primary products in the post-war years. The honorable senator claimed that Great Britain to-day was producing SO per cent, of its food requirements and shortly would be producing 100 per cent. The point I wish to emphasize- is that Great Britain is producing not SO per cent, of its normal food requirements, but 80 per cent, of its requirements at a time when its people are existing on a very low ration scale.
– In Great Britain 34,000,000 acres of land are under cultivation. That is 10,000,000 acres more than we have.
– I admit that, but the British people to-day are existing on a ration scale which is even less than ours. For instance,’ commodities such as eggs and butter are in very short supply. Obviously, when the war ends Great Britain’s food requirements will expand considerably, and I hope that there will be a market for some of the foodstuffs grown in Australia. That increased demand should almost equal the loss to which Senator Gibson referred. The honorable senator admitted that Great Britain could not be self-sufficient in butter production, and that is one foodstuff the production of which could he undertaken by ex-servicemen. I stress, however, that, dairy-farming must be undertaken by men who know something about it.
I also support Senator Gibson’s view that properties of 300 acres are not an economic proposition for soldier settlement, unless they are available in good agricultural areas.
– And have a good rainfall.
– Yes. Generally speaking most of, the agricultural land in this country - I am not speaking of marginal areas - requires properties of 500 acres to a square mile of 640 acres, to be reasonably successful. The difficulty, of course, may be to dispose of some of the commodities produced. That was one of our greatest problems after the last war as those of us who were associated with Parliaments in “those days well know. I join with the honorable senator in urging that this problem be handled cautiously, and that there should not be a wholesale settling of men on the land as was the case after the last war, without giving to them some security in the form of assured markets for their products. I should be prepared to go further than Senator Gibson in regard to interest payments. I should not like to see any man who settles on the land mulct by the payment of any interest at all. For production purposes, credit should be made available to the soldier settler. However, that is another matter which we shall have an opportunity to discuss at another stage.
I was interested in Senator Gibson’s suggestions in regard -to the wool industry. If my interpretation of his remarks be correct, he was referring to the tariff, that is placed upon the importation of wool into America. I do not see how we can do anything about that.
– How do we deal with American motor cars in this country?
– I take it that the honorable senator .is suggesting that there should be some reciprocity between the two countries.
– In the Speech of His Royal Highness the Governor-General, mention was made of certain proposed legislation.
– Yes, a levy of 2s. a bale.
– I take it that that levy would be imposed to assist research into the wool industry, and the marketing of wool products1.
– That is a step in the right direction’. I contend that the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and the Australian Woolgrowers Council should investigate the possibility of exporting not the raw material, but the finished cloth. Apparently Senator Gibson has failed to recognize that there is now and will be after the war a tremendous market for wool in Russia. In view of that, I do not think that we need fear the competition of rayon as much as the honorable senator suggests. I firmly believe that we should process our wool right to the finished product, and then find an export market for it; by doing that we would be providing employment for a great number of ex-servicemen.
– Would the honorable senator restrict the export o£ greasy wool to our present customers? -Senator O’FLAHERTY.- The changeover could not be accomplished in a matter of days. It would be a gradual process over a number of years.
Although Senator Leckie is adept at ridiculing statements made by other honorable senators his understanding of political economy is very limited. That was obvious when he addressed himself to mathematical problems and. defined a straight line as being “ that which has length but not breadth “. As a matter of fact, a straight line is “ the shortest distance between two given points “. If the honorable senator’s understanding of political economy is on a par with the honorable senator’s knowledge of mathematics one can readily understand the illogical suggestions which he so often makes. For instance, he ridiculed a statement made by the Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin) to the effect that Australia should speak with one voice. Obviously, the honorable senator is galled by the fact that his party is not represented on the Government benches. He thus shows a very narrow outlook. I do not think that he has any. conception of the idea of seeking the advice of people of political shades of opinion differing from his own.
– He would not understand such advice, in any case.
– I quite agree. , Because of the constitutional set-up in this country, the Prime Minister proposed that certain advisers should go in the company of the two selected ministerial delegates to the representative conference which had been called by certain powers. The right honorable gentleman made it clear that the ministerial delegates could not be expected to know everything about all the subjects that were bound to arise; therefore, he said to the leaders of the various shades of political thought in this Parliament, “ We want one of your party to accompany the two Ministers in case certain political matters are mentioned with which your representative would be familiar, so that they can act as advisers”. The Prime Minister went further than that, and expert advisers were selected also - men outside of Parliament, men not connected with political matters - really to represent financial, industrial, and economic thought, and so on. The Prime Minister set up this more or less advisory panel to accompany the ministerial delegates-, and these will have the advantage of the advice of the other members of the party, and so will be able to speak for and on behalf of Australia, and with a united voice.
– Tell us another fairy tale !
– The honorable senator does not understand the opinions and ideals of anybody else. He cannot follow any political line of thought other than his own.
– He has a one-track mind.
Sena tor O’FLAHERT Y. - Exactly ! The honorable gentleman has no understanding of political economy at all. He does not realize that the wheels of time never cease to turn in their evolutionary progress. He prefers to live away hack in the old days when the landlords would not allow anybody upon their property, even to pick mushrooms.
– He is a political troglodyte.
– Possibly the Leader of the Senate is right. The point of view of the honorable senator with respect to matters industrial is such as would cause him to suggest that every advance made in the realms of science and: invention ought to be in the interests of one class of person only; that every new invention and discovery should be in the sole interests of the one section, and that if the other section of the people wish to take advantage of any new developments for the welfare of the human race they should be required to pay tribute to the few, who are entitled to all the profits.
– The honorable senator is living in a fog. He does not know what he is talking about.
– I am describing Senator Leckie’s political economy as he has stated it in the Senate again and again. The honorable senator has no conception of the real purpose of the application of new discoveries in the realm of industry. He would be violently opposed to the principle that if a new invention displaced, say, a thousand men in industry they should receive some recompense for their displacement. His one idea is that those who own the new invention or the means of applying it to industry should be the sole beneficiaries and that all others should not count.
– Now tell us another fairy story.
– The honorable senator could not tell the difference between a fairy story and reality.
– Senator Leckie could not understand the idea that all the people, and not just a favoured few, should receive the full benefits arising from scientific improvements in industry. He has made more of a row about the Government laboratories producing supplies of penicillin than any other member of this chamber.
– I have not said a word on the subject. The honorable senator is still telling a fairy tale.
– Not at all. If Senator Leckie has not referred to that particular matter within the past few days he certainly has made previous reference to it. I contend that all benefits derived from modern research and application should be made available to the whole of the people, and not to some alone. After entering upon a general criticism, and telling us about the things that should be done in the realm of industry, the honorable senator stands up in the Senate and says, “ I and I alone know how to solve the coal problems of this country “. In the course of his speech on the Add ress-in-Reply, he made reference to the statement of the Leader of the Senate covering his recent visit to the United States of America. That statement, I say, was a magnificent report. In it the Minister mentioned that President Roosevelt had called into consultation the leaders of the coalminers in the United States of America, and had come to an agreement with them whereby recompense should ensue to the miners on their achieving a greater output of coal. Senator Leckie expressed his agreement with that policy. He said, in effect, “ That is right; I believe in payment by results “. That is his belief - payment by results - with, however, a string attached. The string can he said to he that that the boss shall get first cut. That is not payment by rest-Its. The honorable senator said that the coalminers of Australia should be paid by results and that a bonus should be given in consideration of the income tax imposed upon them. That amounted really to a snide suggestion that the coalminers should evade the laws of the Commonwealth. In effect, he offered this suggestion to the Government : “ Go on with your taxing of the miners, and what you take away from them by that means you can give them back in the way of a bonus “. The honorable senator raised this matter because he knows that the Government is gradually eliminating industrial troubles on the coal-fields by lawful means.
Sitting suspended from 5.25 to 8 p.m.
– As I have said, a snide suggestion was made by ‘Senator Leckie for the purpose of evading the. laws of the country in dealing with the coal-miners. I do not know whether he has in mind the same kind of suggestion as that made by the Government which he supported, when, in the early stages of the war, it provided a war loading for certain tradesmen. The introduction of that innovation almost disrupted the industrial arbitration system of this country because certain workers were picked out to receive the benefit of a war loading, whilst others did not receive it. I do not know whether he has in mind the creation of a great industrial agitation throughout Australia which might remove the support given to the present Government and allow it to be thrown out of office. The advice of the honorable senator in these matters should be discarded. Although he says that he is in favour of workers being paid by results, the coal-miners with few exceptions work on a contract basis. They actually have a piece-work system which more or less conforms with that of payment by result i except that the employer gets the greatest cut, whilst the employee does the work. The honorable senator advocates a piece-work system with a war bonus to compensate for the heavy income tax imposed on the employees.
Two honorable senators severely criticized General Sir Thomas Blarney, and stated that he would do a great service to Australia, if he resigned. Senator Mattner had raised this matter previously. When I remarked that his statements were of a disparaging nature, an indignant denial was forthcoming. I give full credit to Senator Foll for being frank in his statements, but I cannot give credit for any pointed inuendoes made by other speakers who were not sufficiently game to say exactly what they meant. I admit that I have never met anybody who has praised General Sir Thomas Blarney, but many factors have to be taken into consideration when the Commander-in-Chief of the Australian Military Forces is criticized. Quite apart from the explanation offered by the Minister representing the Minister for the Army in this chamber (Senator Fraser), and speeches by other honorable senators, it should be remembered that there are always personal jealousies and ambitions on the part of certain officers who consider that they do not get sufficiently rapid promotion. They sometimes whisper, possibly to honorable senators, or to those who have contact with members of Parliament. No notice should be taken of remarks emanating from such sources. In all walks of life people will always be found who are jealous of those who happen to be at the top. Another factor is the failure of certain high ranking persons, not necessarily in the defence forces, to understand what may be necessary to be done under the plans laid to secure victory. Many people have no conception of the strategical considerations involved in planning the various operations that have to be carried out in the conduct of the war.
Before any criticism is aimed at a commanding officer in such a position as that of General Sir Thomas Blarney, the whole trend of war operations must be considered in relation to the results achieved. It is of no use to consider only a plan, or the persons concerned with it. but we must have regard to the results of the plan. Honorable senators who have offered die criticisms heard in this chamber concerning General Sir Thomas Blarney should thank the Almighty that Australia is in the position in which it finds itself to-day, because the. plans so far carried out have been eminently successful. Every man and woman in Australia should be pleased with the progress already made in this war. Even under the command of General Sir Thomas Blarney and the officers associated with him, the progress has been astounding. Nobody would have believed a couple of years ago that our successes would have been so great as they have proved to be. We are on the verge of victory, and I consider that the criticisms are ill-timed. It has been stated in this chamber £hat Australia’s fighting forces are engaged only in “ mopping-up “ operations. Some people imagine that that term implies that they are doing work of secondary importance. In jungle warfare “ mopping up “ is a highly skilled operation, and very dangerous. The Australian troops are doing this job, not because they particularly desire to do it, but because in the overall plan this r.ask has been allotted to them. People who imagine that it means the rooting out of the enemy with picks and shovels are greatly mistaken.
Senator Sampson, in his characteristic tone, complained of ignoramuses in the Labour caucus, and said that he had been associated with a number of “old ladies “ on both sides of politics. Immediately the words of Bobbie Burns came to my mind - 0 wad some Power the giftie gie us To see oursels as ithers see us!
Senator Collett has an entirely different voice from that of Senator Sampson. He said sedately and reverently that possibly the only people who had had experience of war and could advise on war matters were certain gentlemen whom he named, and in his egotism he forgot to mention one of the members of this chamber. When his attention was drawn to the fact he sought to excuse the omission by saying that he did not mention the name of Senator Amour because he thought that that honorable senator would prefer not to be included.
– That is not what I said.
– That is the substance of the statement. Because an honorable senator has been at the front, or is one of the “ brass hats “, he does not automatically have the right to be the sole person consulted on matters of strategy and supply.
– That was not even suggested.
– The suggestion was that certain people should be consulted and could give advice to the Senate. In every walk of life persons who are regarded as inexperienced are often able to give more reliable advice than those who have had orthodox experience. The honorable senator also complained of a lowering of the dignity of the Parliament. What an awful thing! He wanted to know why the -Government had consulted with people outside the Parliament in determining the legislative proposals which it intended to submit for consideration. B’e mentioned the party to which I have the honour to belong.
– The Government took orders from outside bodies.
– Members of all political parties, whether in office or on the Opposition benches, have always consulted with the bodies largely responsible for their election. I agree with James Russell Lowell that new times demand new measures, and that new measures demand new men. The progress that is being made in various directions rnakes it necessary for the elected representatives of the people to consult with various bodies in the community. There is no lowering of the dignity of Parliament by such, consultations. On the contrary, they tend to keep the Parliament in touch with the people and to prevent any inclination towards a dictatorship. The closer that political parties keep to the people the greater the probability of the legislation passed being in the best interests of the people.
The press and its puppets in the Parliament are endeavouring to traduce the Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin). By so doing they are lowering the dignity of the Parliament. Unfortunately, those who indulge in such tactics are not always careful to speak the truth. They have no ethical standard, but are concerned only with seeking further advantages and privileges with those associated with “ big business “. I suggest that a committee should be appointed to lay down a code of ethics to be observed by the press, so that the columns of our newspapers shall at least contain facts and truthful statements.
Plans for post-war reconstruction are referred to in the Speech of His Royal Highness. The magnitude of the task demands that something shall be done by this Parliament to remove the obstacles in the way of a proper system of reconstruction after the war. Constitutional limitations debar the Commonwealth from embarking upon such necessary projects as schemes for water conservation, except in co-operation with the States. I suggest that the whole of the members of the various State Cabinets should consult with the Commonwealth Cabinet with a view to getting agreement between the Commonwealth and States in regard to vesting in this Parliament powers at least equal to those of the States. Should that suggestion not prove acceptable, the only thing left is to hold a convention. I have taken part in every referendum campaign since federation, but only piece-meal proposals have ever been submitted to the people. The time is ripe for holding a convention at which the Constitution of the Commonwealth should be placed in the melting pot. At such a convention the abolition of State Legislative Councils and of the Senate would probably be raised, but should it be thought necessary to abolish those institutions in order to improve the Constitution, let them be abolished. I foresee that after the war six States will compete in the markets of the world for the sale of the commodities that they produce. In a struggle of that kind the bigger and more populous States will have an advantage over the others. Unless some greater powers be vested in this Parliament, whatever government may be in office will be handicapped by constitutional limitations in trying to solve the problems associated with the rehabilitation and repatriation of servicemen and women. I suggest that the Government should seriously consider means by which this Parliament may be given powers at least equal to those of the State Parliaments.
– The debate on the AddressinReply offers unlimited opportunities to discuss not only the programme foreshadowed by the Governor-General’s Speech, but also the general policy of the Government and its administration. That opportunity has been availed of fully, but it cannot be denied, that the criticism of the Government has been mild indeed. Honorable senators generally admit that the Government has done a good job. In view of all the circumstances, and the dislocation of industry inseparable from a full war effort, the man in the street will give the Government credit for having done well. I fear, however, that unless a wise policy be followed Australia will experience considerable difficulty in the days that lie ahead. The problem confronting the Government is to see that the resources of the country are used to the maximum advantage for the development of industry, the employment of the people, the increase of their purchasing power, and the good of the community generally. So far the Government has given only a slight indication of the measures that it proposes to adopt to bring about those results. During recent years Australia and other members of the United Nations have had some terrible experiences, but we should all thank God for the indications that victory is close at hand, and that we shall emerge from the conflict possessing our liberty and freedom and the right to develop this country as we desire. We have cause to be grateful, because there have been times when it appeared likely that Australia would know the horrors of invasion and of enemy occupation of its territory. The only discordant note that has been raised during this debate came from Senator Foll, who said that the CommanderinChief of the Australian Military Forces., although a gallant soldier, ought to be “ sacked “. It is difficult for any of us, including Senator Foll, to judge General Sir Thomas Blarney, because none of us can know all the facts. General Sir Thomas Blarney was appointed by a previous government, and it is unfortunate that when victory is in sight the honorable senator should see fit to criticize him. I am not capable of judging the fitness of General Sir Thomas Blarney to lead the Australian Military Forces, but I do say that Australian and American troops have performed magnificently and have some wonderful achievements to their credit. In voicing his criticism of General Sir Thomas Blarney, Senator Foll followed the example of the Leader of the Opposition in the House of Representatives (Mr. Menzies). Honorable senators will recall the right honorable gentleman’s references to Poland, when he expressed the fear that Poland would not be given a fair deal in the settlement which would follow the cessation of hostilities. I should think that at a time like the present, when the leaders of the United. Nations are striving to solve very difficult problems, the right honorable member for Kooyong, and, for that matter, any member of this Parliament, would show some confidence in the judgment of those groat men. In this respect, the right honorable member for Kooyong and Senator Foll were the only speakers to strike a discordant note in the debate on this motion in either chamber
Honorable senators opposite have been 6om.ewh.at mild in their criticism of the Government. Indeed, I almost feel that I could indulge in much stronger criticism of the Administration. However, the Government has, on the whole, done a good job. Admittedly, the man-power problem is most difficult. The Government was faced with the task of transferring 1,500,000 persons from civilian industry to war industry and the services. In -such circumstances it would be ridiculous to expect that w,e could completely avoid causing inconvenience to some people. No honorable senator opposite has spoken adversely regarding rationing and the administration of the rationing regulations. Apparently, it is agreed that that department is working satisfactorily. We all admit that rationing has been a valuable help in keeping our economy on a reasonable basis. Senator Gibson was rather severe in his criticism of the Government’s policy on agriculture. I agree with much that he said. On previous occasions, I have voiced the opinion that the Government would be ill-advised to restrict production of primary products in any way whatever. Even though, when the war ends, we shall probably be left holding millions of pounds’ worth of armaments and all sorbs of junk, none of which will be of use to us, I have always believed that we should attempt, regardless of good or bad seasons, to build up surpluses of wheat in Australia. The Government should have shown more imagination in dealing with the wheat industry. It is to be regretted that at a time when manpower is at a premium we have not encouraged the production of wheat by every man, woman, or child capable of assisting in that work. No restriction whatever should have been placed on the production of such a vital commodity. I repeat that I am a strong advocate of control of primary production. Nevertheless, we must realize the tremendous value of food. Instead of trying to control production because of the vagaries of seasons, we would be wiser to allow all engaged in primary production to produce to their full capacity.
We have heard much loose talk about settling ex-servicemen on the land. On previous occasions, I have emphasized that many of the people who have so much to say about soldier settlement have obviously not given much consideration to the real problem. I visualize that as the result of the mechanization of farms and the improvement of farming methods it will soon become very difFicult for us to absorb many more farmers in this country unless we can find sufficient markets in which to dispose of our products. It is criminal to settle people on the land unless we can guarantee them payable markets for their products, and, at the same time, enable them to obtain a fair return for their labour. That is one of the main responsibilities of a National Government. For that reason I am somewhat surprised that very little reference has been made in this debate- to the importance of our relationship with other countries, particularly our Allies in this conflict. Undeniably, our economic future is wrapped up with the prosperity of other countries. We cannot live selfishly any longer. On the contrary we must establish closer relationships with the peoples of other countries in the economic sphere. Even in negotiations with other Englishspeaking peoples, it is difficult to attain complete unanimity; and in our dealings with the peoples of foreign countries that problem becomes correspondingly greater. One oan imagine how difficult it will be to secure unanimity On economic problems at conferences at which we must deal with the representatives of 45 different nations. Nevertheless, we shall not succeed in such negotiations unless and. until other nations are enabled to understand our problems and we understand theirs. Our economic and national security depends upon the outcome of such negotiations. I urge the Government, therefore, to give constant consideration to this problem. I repeat that it is useless to talk about settling soldiers on the land., thus tending to increase land values, if, at the same time, we cannot guarantee payable markets for their products. In the absence of such markets, such a policy would result in tragedy. One way in which we can give greater security to primary production is by building up secondary industry in this country, and increasing- our population, thereby extending the home market. We must ensure the maintenance of an adequate purchasing power in the community. We must strive to give permanent employment to every able-bodied citizen. In that way we shall prevent (she recurrence of depressions, which in the past have caused’ the collapse of primary industries. Unfortunately, this Parliament has not complete power to deal with this problem. In all matters affecting the development of industry, the Commonwealth can act only in agreement with the States. It is most unfortunate that in time of war the Commonwealth Parliament has full power to determine how the resources of this country shall be used, and to concern itself with the conditions of the people in every way, yet it will not enjoy that power in time of peace. In these circumstances we must establish greater understanding and work in closer co-operation with the States. These problem’s will descend upon us very quickly after the conclusion of hostilities, when our service personnel are demobilized in thousands.
– The Commonwealth Parliament has full power to undertake soldier settlement.
– But, at the same time, it has not adequate power to ensure orderly marketing of primary products. It can deal with that problem only in agreement with the States. For this reason it must, to a large degree, concentrate its attention on the development of markets overseas, and it can succeed in that direction only by establishing the very best relationships with other countries. By distributing purchasing power equitably among all sections of the community, it will do much to enable industry to carry on. I cannot believe that the people of Australia will tolerate the recurrence of depressions. However, in order to avoid depressions, the National Government must show initiative. Private enterprise alone cannot deal effectively with this problem, and it is about time that honorable senators opposite disabused their minds of that idea. The work of developing this country by irrigation, water conservation schemes, and electrification schemes is the responsibility of the National Government. The Leader of the Opposition (Senator McLeay) had much to say about socialism. It is about time that honorable senators opposite revised their ideas on that subject also. They are mow members of a new Liberal party, and, perhaps, they will profit by the following opinion, which waa expressed by Sir Archibald Sinclair, the leader of the British Liberal party, on the 3rd February last -
The idea of an. antithesis between private enterprise and the State is unreal and out of date. There is plenty of room for both. The State need not be the enemy, but can be the ally of private enterprise. We Liberals wish to see the hoary and unreal squabbles about nationalization settled calmly and objectively on the merits of each individual case. If nationalization or some form of public control is shown to be the best solution for the problems of any industry or service then let it be our policy. We are slaves to no doctrine. We seek to apply no hard-and-fast abracadabras to these diverse problems of industrial organization.
I urge the Government to give immediate attention to the improvement of social services, particularly with respect to health and hospital treatment. Already, it. has made reasonable progress in those spheres, but much still remains to be done. It should tackle in a more determined fashion the dreadful scourge of tuberculosis. Although it is possible by X-ray examination to detect the disease in ite very early stages, very little has been done to exploit that means of combating the disease which is extremely contagious, and, very often, is spread by carriers who have not the faintest inkling that they are victims of the disease. The Government should also give urgent attention to the problem of housing, although I admit that that problem must be left more or less in abeyance until after the war. Preparations are being made for the inauguration of housing schemes, and I believe that when these schemes are brought into operation, they will absorb a considerable proportion of our man-power for a long period.
Although our control of prices has been reasonably successful, the effect of the war upon our economy has been felt most by basic-wage earners and other workers in the lower income group. Some relief must be given to the lower-paid worker who has a family to rear. To-day, he is having great trouble in making ends meet.
I believe sincerely that when the policy which has been foreshadowed by the Government becomes effective, it will benefit the country and stabilize industry to such a degree that we shall be carried quite a long way towards a better state of society.
– In rising to support the motion for the adoption of the Address.inReply, I wish to be associated with the spirit of goodwill expressed by so many speakers to the representative of our Sovereign who is with us now. His Majesty’s gesture in appointing his brother to be Governor-General of this country has done a great deal to tie even more firmly the bonds between Australia and the Motherland, and to dispel the belief held by some individuals that this Government is more concerned with Australia’s relations with other nations than with Great Britain. I trust that the stay of their Royal Highnesses in this country will be profitable to them and to us.
The most pressing portion of the Speech of His Royal Highness the Governor-General deals, of course, with the war situation. The tempo of the war in Europe has increased considerably in recent months, and there is now a feeling of certainty that the end cannot be far off. I trust that at the end of hostilities in that theatre, we shall not have to face in other countries the same problems which confronted us in Greece. I am concerned not only with the fate of Poland but also with that of every small country which has been embroiled in this dreadful holocaust. The suggestion that a foreign affairs committee should be set up within this Parliament is an excellent one. Unfortunately, most of us are so beset with parochial matters - trying to get this person out of the Army or that person into it, or doing our best to obtain a refrigerator for somebody else - that we cannot devote the time that should be given to a study of the international problems which this Parliament must face. When we speak of upholding the dignity of Parliament and everything that pertains thereto, we should realize also that the functions of honorable members of the House of Representatives and honorable senators are grossly misunderstood by members of the general public, who regard us as being here, more or less, for our own personal benefit. We owe it to ourselves, to the dignity of Parliament as an institution, and to the country generally, which has elected us to positions of responsibility and authority, to make a sincere attempt to inform ourselves on the vast international problems upon which we have to give a reasoned verdict and to express a real Australian opinion. Therefore, I support the suggestion that a committee consisting of members of both Houses of Parliament should be set up to discuss international affairs.
During the past six months, there have also been rapid developments in the South-West Pacific Area, particularly with the arrival on our shores of units of the British Fleet. We are all most grateful that this help has come, but we cannot help feeling a little ashamed of some of the incidents .that have occurred since the arrival of men of the British Navy in our land. A few weeks ago, we learned that some British sailors had been forced to sleep in Hyde Park and that others had to be given beds in gaols because of the lack of accommodation. That is- a slur upon us. “We are pleased indeed to have British servicemen in this country, and we should make every endeavour to ensure that these unfortunate happenings shall nott recur. I understand that since the incidents I’ have mentioned, steps have been taken to provide adequate accommoda’tion for visiting British servicemen, but I share with other honorable senators a feeling of utter disgust that that state of affairs should have existed.
In the Pacific war, an important part has been played by the three branches of our armed services. We have been thrilled by the exploits of men of the Royal Australian Navy, soldiers of the Australian Military Forces fighting in New Guinea, and members of the Royal Australian Air Force, both here and in the European theatres. This brings me to a serious anomaly which has weighed very heavily upon me, namely, the fact, that many of our young men who have passed all their tests for air crew and have been engaged over and over again on dangerous bombing and fighting missions, still bold the rank of sergeant, whilst wing commanders, squadron leaders, flight lieutenants, and flying officers in base areas do -not know one end of an aeroplane from another and have never been overseas. I consider that every airman who risks his life in aerial combat should have a commission, -not only for his own sake but also for the sake of his dependants. We all know that there is a high rate of mortality amongst air crew members of the Royal Australian Air Force. Surely we owe them something for the great risks they undertake, and I suggest in all sincerity that no flyer should be sent on operational missions unless he holds a commission. lit would be improper for rae to repeat in this chamber the term used by members of the Royal Australian Air Force to describe officers who have never been beyond the precincts of St. George’s Terrace, Perth, and base headquarters in other States.
On the home front, we have had years of unparalleled industrial activity due to the great pant that Australia has been
Rallied upon to , play in the war effort. We have seen a huge proportion of Australian man-power and woman-power go into war factories and play their part in our war effort. I am particularly proud of the record of Western Australia so far as freedom from industrial disputes is concerned. I do not suggest that there have not been grievances, and no doubt expression will be given, to thiem when the time comes. In fact, when the end of the war is reached, there may be conflagration in- industry, but in the meantime feelings have been repressed, in the interests of the war effort. What has been said of industrial activity in the cities is true, also, to a greater degree, of the men and women on the land. The agricultural section of our population has done a marvellous job. In many cases, men and women, have worked on their properties without adequate assistance and under conditions which we hope will very soon disappear from our rural areas. Recently, when returning to my home in Perth, the aeroplane in which I was travelling landed in a district which had been seriously affected by soil erosion. That rs one of the problems which must be faced on, a national scale. We cannot allow it to become the responsibility of the individual States. There must not be a repetition in. this country of what has happened in other lands where the menace of soil erosion has been unchecked. I am pleased that members of this Parliament are to attend the San Francisco conference, and I hope that whilst they are in America they will be able to study the methods which have been adopted there to combat this national scourge
Certain States have suffered severely during the war because of the lack of shipping facilities. It is- quite a treat to come from Western Australia to the eastern States and see in shop windows commodities that we have forgotten for two or three, years because of the lack of the shipping space required to carry them to Western Australia. Quito recently, I had the honour of launching a ship at a Queensland shipyard. That experience brought home to me the realization that it look a war to convince us that shipbuilding could be carried out profitably and well in this country. We have the workman to do the job and we have the materials of which the’ vessels can be made. Now, we have the necessity for their construction, because we depend to such a large degree upon sea transport between distant parts of the Commonwealth, and I hope that after the war this industry which has received a great impetus in the last few years, will not be allowed to languish, but will be kept in operation until we have a substantial fleet of ships engaged in peaceful commerce instead of destructive warfare. Particularly in Western Australia, we have become largely dependent upon aliens to carry on the fishing industry and I support heartily the suggestion that the construction of ships for the fishing industry should be undertaken so that men who will be discharged from the Navy will be able to find lucrative and congenial employment.
There has been little discussion during this debate of international organizations which Australia has entered during the last few years. One thing which distinguishes this administration from any of its predecessors, is the degree to which Australia has played its part in international affairs in the last few years. We have seen the birth of a nation - a nation which can stand on its own feet. We have seen our delegates in conference with representatives of other countries, and I venture to say that they have upheld the honour and dignity of Australia and have brought to bear upon questions under consideration a truly Australian outlook. I am confident that this will also be the case at the forthcoming San Francisco conference.
Much has been said about the rehabilitation of men and women of our fighting services. This will be a most difficult problem, but I do not think that enough has been said about what has already been accomplished in this connexion. The Government has been a little too modest, in publicizing its achievements. I know that in Western Australia many young men and women have been given an opportunity to attend technical schools and other institutions and to become proficient in some trade or profession which they would have had little hope of entering had it not been for the Government’s rehabilitation plan. I suggest that when we speak of publicity for Australia, we should insist that mention be made of what is being done to give opportunities to the men and women of our fighting forces.
We are informed that during this session of Parliament we shall be asked to discuss a measure granting preference to our ex-servicemen. I have said in this chamber and elsewhere that I am an advocate of work for all, but I am also a practical person. I realizethat no matter how much we may desire full employment for all who seek it, we are up against practical difficulties. Until we can bring in the new order - which cannot be created overnight - we must recognize the valour and sacrifice of those men who have kept the invader at bay. No matter what we may do or seek to do for them, it is as nothing compared with the sacrifices that they have been willing to make for us. We cannot hope to restore to men of 24 and 25 years the six years that have gone out of their manhood days while they sweltered in the deserts of Africa or in the jungles of New Guinea. In speaking in this manner I recognize the work that has been done by all those people engaged in industry. I do not wish for one moment to belittle their efforts; at the same time I realize that they have received some preference in that they are able to enjoy the ordinary amenities of home life and recreation, whereas the men who have fought on the battlefields in almost every part of the world have not known what those amenities are. Therefore, I say that before a new order can be established (here must be an interim period. Meanwhile we must not forget the service and sacrifices of Hie men of the Navy, the Army, and the Air Force, as well as of the merchant navy, many of whom have br-en torpedoed several times in the course of transporting our civilian requirements or while convoying to battle areas overseas the mon of our fighting forces.
I desire to say a few words now with respect to the problems of land settlement that will have to bo faced in repatriating and rehabilitating our fighting men. We recall that there was a scheme for land settlement after the last war, and we do not forget the many things that occurred in connexion with it. I know ‘ that there was a very bad example of those occurrences in my own State, with our group settlement scheme whereby we settled both our own exsoldiers and ex-soldiers from Great Britain. I regret to think that many of these latter are still being harassed for the repayment of their fares of 25 years ago. Before we can commit ourselves to any policy of land settlement or of overseas migration we must make certain that we have learned the lessons of the past and will not repeat the mistakes of a quarter of a century ago. In my State, as elsewhere, we have witnessed the tragedy associated with the holding of huge estates. I do not say that the people who have held them were not entitled to large estates - that is, so long as they were working them for the benefit, of the community and not exclusively in their own interests. But when I see large estates in good areas that are not being worked to advantage and are not carrying the people who should be established upon them, I feel that it is time that steps were taken to subdivide those areas so that they might be made available to workers, not only for their own benefit, but also for the welfare of the community as a whole. We have heard figures quoted here with reference to estates in various parts of Australia that are actually larger than some of the European countries. These conditions have existed while at the same time there were people seeking land who did not own enough soil to put into a jam tin, and who, despite lack of opportunity would probably be capable of working land if they were given it. Within the last few years, we have seen what has happened on land, in what are known as the marginal wheat areas, that could not possibly be productive of a livelihood for a man and his family. We cannot set out upon any programme that will be worth while unless we see to it that the amenities of life such as are enjoyed in the cities are made available also to communities in the country. Any national scheme of housing that may he evolved must pertain equally to metropolitan and to rural districts. Such things as refrigerators and washing machines, which are regarded as essentials by city dwellers, are even more necessary in the farmhouse. We must see to it that the women on the farms, whose duties are always more onerous while their relaxations are fewer, are given the amenities of life that are enjoyed by the women of the cities.
With respect to education, there is much that I would like to say to-night. Children in rural areas are sadly handicapped because of the inadequacy of the education facilities available in their neighbourhood. With respect to the rehabilitation of our service personnel, I would like to see some alteration made in the composition of the Repatriation Commission. I would like a woman included in its personnel. I say that, not because there are so very many servicewomen who may need rehabilitation when their war-time duties are ended, but more particularly because of the needs of the women dependants of our fighting men. I speak from personal experience. Many women have come to me with their stories because they have felt more confident in telling them to another woman than in having to go before a man in the service of the Repatriation Commission. I do not speak in these terms because I have any feeling that the male officials may not be sympathetic. But I realize that women cannot unburden themselves to a man as they would to another woman. The problem of repatriation after the war is going to be colossal, and because of the enormous number of women in the services, together with those who will be greatly affected as wives and dependants of servicemen, I suggest that a woman would be an acquisition upon the Repatriation Commission - provided, of course, that the right type of woman is selected. She should be one who is capable of studying and appreciating the problems attaching to the job, and who can carry out. her work with satisfaction, as I am sure many women could do.
I have previously referred to cases of men in the armed services who have been accepted as Al, but have been subsequently discharged on the ground of medical unfitness and have placed their dependants in a position of great difficulty. I maintain that if the original examination by Army doctors proves to be incorrect and men who have been passed as Al have to be discharged because of disabilities developing thereafter those men should become our national responsibility. I have taken this matter up with the Minister for Repatriation (Mr. Frost), who has told me that the commission is beyond political control. That should be so; nevertheless, there are anomalies and injustices as to which it is our duty - whether the commission is beyond political control or not - to see that, they are rectified. Where there is a definite case of injustice - where, for example, a man who has bee” classified as Al is subsequently declared to be B, C or D - some satisfaction should be afforded him. The onus should not be upon him to prove that his disability was war-caused; the responsibility, rather, should be upon the commission to prove that the disability was not caused by war conditions.
Land settlement goes very closely hand-in-hand with migration. We are told very often of the fabulous numbers of people which this country oan support. I remember, however, only about ten years ago, when we could no! support the people who were then here. We should provide a livelihood and a decent standard of living for people already in this country. I contend that any type of migration must be controlled. We cannot permit again an influx of aliens such as occurred before the war. There are certain parts of our cities to which aliens have flocked and where they have taken practically complete control of various types of retail shops. I am certain that the Minister for Trade and Customs, when he presents to the Senate his list of black-marketing offences, will surprise honorable senators because of the number of alien, names appearing on that list. Our men who have gone abroad to fight for us will want to come home to enjoy a. decent standard of living - one that will be better than it was when they left. They will find, in many instances, that the businesses which they gave up in order to join the forces have been taken over by aliens, who do not, know the Australian standard of living and have exploited their opportunities here during the war. We should ensure that those people who come into our country conform with its laws, and that they do not congregate into minority communities and live in a way that is opposed to the Australian spirit and outlook. I am pleased, in referring to this matter generally, that the Commonwealth Governmen rejected the Jewish land settlement scheme in the Kimberleys of Western Australia. That area is very rich, and there are large numbers of our own people, particularly returned soldiers, who will be prepared, and are fully capable, to make a success of settlement there if they are given sufficient financial backing while building up their holdings and are guaranteed markets for their products. I feel very strongly that those people who come into this country should become Australians and should not he permitted to form themselves merely into small communities of foreigners.
We should be able to deal with child migrants in a satisfactory manner. We have the machinery all ready to provide for them. In Tasmania, I saw the experiments that are being conducted with respect to area schools, where preparations are being made to take child migrants from the Old Country. I know that measures along similar lines are being taken in Western Australia as well as in other States. There is in existence an organization quite prepared to take certain numbers of children and give them an opportunity in this land, which should be full of opportunities, particularly for those who have lost everything they hold dear in England or in Europe.
I propose to speak now on the subject of social services. I believe that the social security of our people is a sacred duty of this Parliament and that we must keep it inviolate. In the past eighteen months I have been a member of. a committee that has been inquiring into social security problems, particularly with respect to hospitals and medical services. In the course of our activities we have come into contact with hundreds of hospitals throughout Australia, and 1 atn in a position to pay tribute to thenursing personnel in civilian hospitals, particularly in the outback areas. There, I have seen matrons performing such duties as washing the dishes and scrubbing the floors and sweeping both the wards- and the yards. They have worked for 24 hours on end, in individual instances with only one untrained nurse to help them in all their tasks. They have carried on quite cheerfully but, of course, they cannot hope to continue indefinitely. I hope that the Government will undertake the re-allocation of woman-power, particularly in the interests of the nursing services. I pay tribute, too, to the Army nurses wherever they may be engaged to-day. 1 have seen them in base hospitals, and I have closely noted their work. Many have told me that their present employment is the first time in the course of the war that they have been on duty in base hospitals. For the greater part of their war-time activities they have been either under canvas in Australia or overseas, including New Guinea. We may think that the nurses employed at the base hospitals are “on a good wicket”. They may be, but they are certainly very busy. We do not see them when they are doing their job in the front line, and we do not know the conditions under which they live and work in New Guinea and elsewhere. Without doubt, their lives at times have been almost unbearable. Therefore, I pay tribute to the women of the nursing services, both military and civil, because they are doing a great job. I only trust that it will be possible for us to ease their burdens in a short while.
The conditions of civilian nurses generally throughout Australia are very poor. There are still many people who regard nursing as a noble profession, but, apparently, they think that nurses can live on air. That attitude is due in part, perhaps, to some of the nurses themselves, particularly the older women, who look upon nursing as a profession for a lady. It is indeed one of the noblest of all professions; at the same time it is one of the hardest. There is associated with it a prolonged training period, the conditions of which are among the worst of any in which women are engaged. Even so, after the women have completed their training they are inadequately recompensed ; they are paid less, in fact, than the unskilled workers in some other callings. I trust that in the next few months the Commonwealth Government, in co-operation with the States, will take action to improve the conditions of nurses throughout Australia.
Western Australia has one of the finest sanatoriums in Australia for persons suffering from tuberculosis and the community there is rapidly becoming selfsupporting. I hope that, during parliamentary recesses, members of the Senate will visit that State and see for themselves the work being done in that direction. In my judgment, the problem of tuberculosis should be tackled when the disease is in its early stages. The Commonwealth Government is ham-strung because the powers of this Parliament are limited, but. we could divert some of the X-ray units used for military purposes to the schools and have children compulsorily examined, with a view to discovering early symptoms of tuberculosis. Early detection would enable cures to be effected. The blind do not receive the consideration to which they are entitled. In Western Australia, the education of blind children is not the concern of the State Government. At the blind school a blind woman is placed in charge of the children, and she keeps them quiet for a few hours daily, but the care of such children would provide a problem even for a person with ordinary sight. In isolated cases blind children have become brilliant scholars, and have reached a university, but at present the blind are merely regarded, as potential factory workers for the making of articles such as brooms. Any who reach a professional standard do so as the result of charity received from an organization. What is true of the blind is even more true of the mentally afflicted. Mental hygiene is the Cinderella of all the medical services. There are 20,000 persons certified as insane in various institutions in Australia for the mentally afflicted, and a large proportion of them are- children. During the last parliamentary recess I made an inquiry into educational and health facilities available in. all States for mentally afflicted children, and I found that in no State is adequate attention being paid to the subject. As the. States are not meeting their responsibilities in the matter I believe the Commonwealth Government will have to do something in the interests of this unfortunate section. The insane are now treated almost as criminals and we must alter our approach to the problem which they present. Mental affliction is just as much an illness as is diphtheria and suitable treatment must be given to the patients.
I do not agree that the problem of housing can be left until the war has been won. The average working man cannot afford to pay £950 or £1,000 for a house in which to live. As soon as possible workmen should be diverted from the war effort to home-building. The lack of decent living conditions is a contributory factor to not only child delinquency but also social diseases. The Commonwealth Hank, when reconstituted, should be given the important function of providing finance for home-building at a rate of interest which will make it possible for the wage-earner to own his own home within a reasonable period. I have been inundated with letters and telegrams regarding the Government’s proposals in connexion with the banking system. Within the last few months many institutions have anticipated those proposals, but any criticism of the suggested reform is premature. On one day I received no fewer than 25 letters purporting to emanate from various organizations in Melbourne, but on inquiry I found that the whole of thom had come from the same room in the same building, and that the telephone number was identical in each case. Large sums of money are being expended in order to defeat the Government’s proposals, but I believe that the proposed reforms will operate in the. interests of the community as a whole. The big banking interests desire to defeat the proposals and create the impression among the people that the Government is trying to take something from them. We are told that there will be a reduction of many war-time controls, and I consider that more discretionary powers could he used by the Government’s representatives in the various States in. the administration of many of those controls. I have in mind particularly the Landlord and Tenant Regulations, to which amendments have been promised by the Government.
Reference has been made by Senator Collett to communism. The party to which I belong is the only political body in Australia which has taken any stand against communism. It- is the only party which definitely precludes Communists from membership, and it has taken strong steps to combat that anti-Australian political movement.
Discussion has taken place this evening regarding the wheat shortage. One would imagine from speeches by members of the Opposition that the Government could have foretold the present disastrous drought which has been chiefly responsible for the shortage. In Western Australia, where drought conditions similar to those experienced in the eastern States have not prevailed, the wheat yield has exceeded expectations. When restrictions were placed on wheat production, this Country was fighting for its life. We had to choose between the defence of Australia and the growing of wheat, and at that time the Government had to restrict the acreage of wheat in order that farms would be kept intact for their owners on their return from the war. I have visited some of the wheat silos and sheds in Western Australia where grain was stored in large quantities, but now these great accumulations have almost entirely disappeared. Had the seasons been normal throughout Australia, the present wheat shortage would not have occurred.
The Minister for Trade and Customs has done good work in his effort to stamp out black marketing. We should be proud to know that only a small proportion of those engaged in this nefarious practice are of Australian origin. I recently lost my motor car and tried to buy another. A salesman informed me that I could not obtain a car in Perth, because nobody would sell one at the pegged price, and dealers would be afraid to ask me for a higher price because I would “ give the game away “. I consider that the [pegging of prices has done .much to prevent exploitation in which the worker would have been the greatest l’oser.
The Speech of the Governor-General forecasts that the future will not be so rosy for the people as many of them imagine it will. Much has still to be done before peace returns, and the road to peace is not easy. In the winning of the peace, as in the winning of the war, great sacrifices must be made by civilians as well asby the armed forces, and everything that can be done to lighten the task of the Government in expediting peace should receive the support of all honorable senators.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Motion (by Senator Keane) agreed to -
That the Address-in-Reply toe presented to HisRoyal Highness the Governor-General by the President and such senators as may desire to accompany him.
The DEPUTYPRESIDENT (Senator Courtice). - The President has ascertained that His Royal Highness the Governor-General will be pleased to receive the Address-in-Reply at Government House at 10.30 a.m. on Thursday next, and he invites as many honorable senators, as can make it convenient, to accompany him.
Debate resumed (vide page 427).
.- This measure has been presented in a manner which suggests that it needs little consideration, but I contend that its implications should be carefully weighed. The measures proposed to be repealed were placed on the statute-book several years ago. Unfortunately, the progress th at would have been made in the manufacture of motor vehicles in Australia was interruptedby the outbreak of war. I realize, of course, that the circumstances have entirely changed. What was right thenmaybe wrong now. The scientific and mechanical advances that have been made during recent years may now call for different methods. In his secondreading speech the Minister (Senator Keane) said very little about other legislation relating to the manufacture of motor vehicle engines in Australia. Honorable senators will recall that in 1939 this Parliament passed legislation to provide for the payment of a bounty of £30 each for the first 20,000 motor vehicle engines produced in Australia, £25 each for the next 20,000 and £20 for the following 20,000 engines. About that time also an import duty amounting to 7d. per lb. was imposed on motor car engines and pants in order to build up a fund out of which to pay the bounty on motor vehicle engines manufactured in Australia. In 1941 the amount to the credit of that fund was reported to be about £1,250,000, and by this time it must be still larger. Before I agree to the repeal of that legislationI desireto know what has happened to that money. The Minister should have explained that and other things in his second-reading speech. Apparently, the other legislation passed about the same time is not to be repealed. If it is to remain on the statute book the accumulation of funds will reach enormous proportions before long. Should that money be used to assist in the building of motor cars in Australia, well and good; but so far as we on this side know, the money could have gone into Consolidated Revenue and may not be used for the purpose for which it was obtained. I should like to know the amount of money involved, and what the Government proposes to do with it. I applaud that portion of the speech of the Minister in which he said that the Government is firm inits resolution that motor vehicle engines and chassis shall be manufactured in Australia. I agree that Australia must never again be in the position that it was in when war broke out, and motor vehicles of all kinds were in short supply. Australia’s capacity to make motor car engines has been proved; they can be made here provided the right methods are adopted. Aeroplane engines, which are much more complicated than motor car engines, have been made in Australian factories, and it only requires that motor vehicle engines shall be built in sufficient quantities, and at a rate sufficient to keep down costs to something like costs in other countries, for the industry to succeed. I agree with this preliminary step, but I desire to know what is to follow. I remind the Senate that on the 12th September, 1944, the Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin) announced that the full Cabinet had endorsed a recommendation of a sub-committee of the Cabinet that the Motor Vehicles Agreement Act and the Motor Vehicle Engine Bounty Act would be repealed; that all interested parties would ‘be requested to submit proposals for the manufacture of complete motor cars for the Government’s consideration ; r.hat when considering these proposals the question of Government factories for the production of components on a wale’ adequate to maintain the factories aa efficient units for defence production would b© examined; and that, should satisfactory proposals not be received, the Government would set up a corporation to manufacture complete cars. In the light of that announcement, it would be interesting to know whether this proposal is a step towards the nationalization of the motor car industry. I point out that, should the Government utilize factories for the production of components of motor car engines, it will put out of business hundreds of manufacturers who are already making such parts, Indeed, some manufacturers made them before the war began, and so efficient were their establishments that they were able to export their goods to other countries and sell them in competition with parts from the United States of America. I fear that the Government’s proposals will injure a number of small manufacturers.
– That will not happen.
– Who is to be the judge to decide whether or not satisfactory proposals are submitted to the Government? I take it that the Government will decide the matter; and as its avowed object is the nationalization of the means of production, it would appear that there might be difficulty in convincing it, that any proposals submitted by outside manufacturers are satisfactory. It will be seen, therefore, that these bills, far from being minor measures, have almost illimitable possibilities, and contain grave dangers, and so it is well that we should know at this early stage what the Government contemplates. I recognize that circumstances have changed considerably since the legislation now about to be repealed was introduced. [ applaud the Government for the inclusion of clause 4, which provides that any claim which Australian Consolidated
Industries Limited may have against the Commonwealth will not be affected by this legislation. I do not know whether 1 am right in suggesting that, in the event of a person or firm having no legal claim to compensation although it has incurred certain expenses which impose a moral obligation on the Government to grant compensation, the Government will endeavour to discharge that obligation. That is how I read the clause. If it does not mean that, I do not know what it means. I feared that there was a possibility of injustice being done, and therefore I compliment the Government on the inclusion of that provision. The Opposition will not delay the passage of this bill, but I repeat that it opens up a prospect which’ rather alarms me, particularly in view of the Government’s declared intention to nationalize the airways and other undertakings. I trust, too, that the Government will not attempt to carry out its programme by subterfuge, and will not try to get behind the Constitution by claiming that its action is rendered necessary by some international agreement, or that it desires a monopoly of this class of undertaking. In my opinion, a government monopoly may be even worse than a monopoly in the hand? of other people, because whilst a government can control a private monopoly ii may not be able to control its own members.
– The parties opposite sometimes find difficulty in controlling their members.
– As I listened to Senator 0’Flaherty to-night, he seemed to be in the position of a man who trie* to wipe his shadow off the wall with a dirty cloth. So far as the bill itself is concerned, T am - content. What the Government ultimately has in mind I do not know; but I warn it that if its proposals lead to the things I have spoken about, we shall oppose them. My object now is to let not only the manufacturing industries, but also the people, know that they might find themselves without a big industry when it was practically within their grasp, and that they will suffer this loss should the Labour party suddenly thrust forward its policy of government-owned industry. I am warning the people that such a possibility is in the wind, and having done so, T shall rest content for the time being.
.- I shall not oppose the bill, but I remind honorable senators that when the two measures now sought to be repealed were passed, conditions in this country were very different from present conditions. The Government of the day, of which I was a member, passed those acts in an endeavour to establish the manufacture of motor vehicles in Australia. It was then faced with a very serious economic position. Unemployment was increasing, and we had an adverse trade balance with the United States of America. In view of our huge imports of cars, films and petrol, to mention only three items, our trade balance with that country was very much against us. To-day, as the result of war and lend-lease, our position has entirely changed. The growing volume of unemployment at the time the two measures were passed made it necessary for the Government of the day to explore every avenue in an endeavour to rectify that position as well as to correct our adverse trade balance with the United States of America. I trust that with the repeal of those acts, the Government will not, as Senator Leckie has warned, rush in and manufacture cars itself with the probability that high costs of production invariably associated with government, enterprise will place the light motor car beyond the purchasing power of the average citizen. Everything should be done to enable as many people as possible to own a motor car. I do not regard a motor car as a luxury. Indeed, it is almost as essential in Australia to-day as a suit of clothes. Probably, in no other country can the motor car play a greater part in national development. I do not know what plans the Government has in mind, but I trust that, merely in order to establish a local industry, it will not rush into this enterprise itself, and, without giving due consideration to costs of production, place the average motor car beyond the means of the average family. Motor cars have always been too dear in Australia compared with the price at which they have been sold in the United States of America. I could never understand why cars should be so dear in Australia. The family Ford car in the United States of America w.as sold for years in that country at a price the equivalent of from £60 to £70 Australian, whereas its selling price in this country has never been less than £200 to £300.
– Distributing costs have been too high.
– That may be one reason. I emphasize that a cheap car should be obtainable in this country at a price well within the means of the average citizen. So far as the employment value of the motor car industry is concerned, I point out that we shall not derive the real value of the industry in that respect until the cars are actually on, the road, when owners are purchasing spare parts, tyres and petrol. It is at that stage that the greatest employment value can be derived from this industry. If a check could be made it would probably be found that the motor car industry throughout the world provides a greater volume of employment, directly and indirectly, than any other industry. I hope, therefore, that the main aim of the Government will be to place a cheap car within the means of the average citizen. ‘ In a country of vast distances like Australia, modern transport is essential, and the internal combustion engine rather than rail transport offers the solution of that problem. I hope that the Government is alive to the needs of the people of the outback in this respect. The “ jeep “ for instance, which has come into great prominence during the war as a utility vehicle will be of enormous value to the man on the land in the future, because he requires a vehicle capable of traversing rough country and suitable for hauling and other uses on the farm. I shall support the bill. I note with pleasure that provision is made to enable a company which may have a claim for compensation to submit such claim. I point out that the companies mainly concerned in the original proposals were the only ones to evince interest in this project in the past, in spite of the fact that the offer made by the Government of the day had been left open for a considerable time. I sincerely hope that what is undoubtedly recognized as a motor age will not be retarded by any attempt to establish a Government monopoly of the manufacture of motor cars, but that the people will be given every opportunity to obtain cheap cars in the future.
Senator FINLAY (South Australia; [9.55]. - I am delighted that the Government has introduced this bill, which, by repealing the two acts mentioned, will enable manufacturers to submit plans for the building of the complete motor car in Australia. I welcome particularly the provision designed to encourage decentralization of manufacture. This policy will mean that the employment provided by the establishment of the industry will he distributed equitably between the different States, and will tend to break down tho jealousy which was aroused in the past when it was proposed to establish the industry in one particular State. One sure method of bringing about decentralization is by establishing freight equalization. If that policy be adopted, it will, mean that, regardless of the location of manufacture, the actual selling price will be the same in all States. L” emphasize- that bef ore we can get down to the real problem of building the complete motor car in this country much organizing, planning and scheming will have to be done. The Government should ensure that the parts which were imported in pre-war days will be manufactured in this country. Vast numbers of workers will thus be kept in full employment in the making of chassis parts which at one stage were manufactured in this country, but, owing to changes in tariff policy by various governments, were later imported, with the result that many thousands of workers were thrown out of employment. I refer to the manufacture of such parts as the fender, bonnet, radiator, and all the chassis equipment which Australian manufacturers are capable, of making without effecting substantial changes in their present plants. I hope that the Government will carefully review the situation in order to see if we cannot revert to the position which existed when the Scullin Government was in office, when importation of all of the parts I have mentioned was prohibited, and these parts were manufactured in this country, thus providing employment for thousands of workers. I again commend the Government for introducing this bill. I sincerely hope that its action will receive the co-operation from the Australian manufacturers which it deserves, and that in the very near future we shall see the establishment of at least the nucleus of an industry capable of manufacturing a complete motor car in this country.
– in reply - I assure the Senate that in the negotiations with various companies, English, American and Australian, the point, raised by Senator Leckie will be amply covered. Manufacturers will undertake in the event of their starting manufacture in this country to use Australianmade components wherever possible. Senator Leckie said that a duty of 7d. per lb. was levied on imported chassis, and that a large amount of money had been collected in this way. The amount so collected up’ to the end of last December was £1,580,695. “When some implementation of the Government’s policy occurs, the Government must consider whether or not- that should remain.
A very important point has been raised by Senator Foll, namely, the price of an Australian-made motor car. I agree that, in the past, the price of motor cars in this country has been far too high. I remind the honorable senator that one advantage of producing vehicles in Australia will be that there will be no duty to pay upon their importation. I believe also that the commission charged by agents in this country has been far too high, and should be reduced. The fact that freight equalization will operate should also be a big factor. The Government will consider assisting any organization or company which is prepared to engage upon the manufacture of motor cars by facilitating the admission to this country of essential machine tools and other requirements which are not available in this country or which would take too long to produce here. So far, two offers have been received by the Government, and certain other interests have asked that the matter be held in abeyance for a week or two until they have time to make a proposition. The shortage of motor vehicles in this country has been due, of course, to the cessation of large-scale importation some years ago, and to the tremendous usage of utility trucks by the man on the land, heavy wagons by commercial carriers, and ordinary passenger cars by doctors and other business people. We have a supply of heavy trucks which have been obtained under the lend-lease agreement, and they are in process of distribution now.
Pending the completion of this scheme, which it is believed will take eighteen months or two years, the Government proposed to permit the importation of both American and British cars. If that were not done, we would not get any new vehicles at all. I agree with Senator Foll that there ‘is nothing more essential to the man on the land and the city worker than a motor vehicle. Whilst I was in America it was a revelation to see at the huge Ford Willow Run plant a car park for 47,000 vehicles. Of course, workers in that country are able to purchase reasonably cheap cars and have more petrol to use than is available to Australian motorists under the rationing system. There, the motor car. is looked upon as an absolute necessity and I believe that the production of a cheap motor car here will be of great benefit to this country. The action of the previous Government in passing the motor car bounty legislation was amply justified. There was a growing army of unemployed at the time, and war clouds were on the horizon. Apparently, that Government foresaw a shortage of transport.
We have deliberately inserted in this bill protection for Australian Consolidated Industries Limited. Despite legal advice which we have obtained, that company may claim that it has a definite agreement with the Government, and it is our desire to leave the door open for it te take whatever legal action it desires if it is not satisfied.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.
Motion (by Senator Keane) - by leave - agreed to -
That leave of absence be granted to every member of the Senate from the termination of the sitting this day to the date on which the Senate next meets.
Motion (by Senator Keane) agreed to-
That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn to a date and hour to bo fixed by the President, which time of meeting shall be notified to each senator by telegram or letter.
1939-43 .Star - Australian Army : Publicity for Commanders; ABSENCE without Leave - High Court.
Motion (by Senator Keane) proposed -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
Senator FOLL (Queensland) [10.7J.- Yesterday, I asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Army whether he could give me any information as to the Government’s intention in relation to the issuing of the decoration known as the 1939-43 Star. I do not know whether the Minister has been able to secure this information, but I assure him that there is great concern amongst certain sections of the Australian Military Forces in regard to the allocation of this award. As I pointed out yesterday, one case which has been brought to my notice concerned a hospital ship which makes regular trips between New Guinea and the mainland of Australia. Members of the crew of that vessel are entitled to receive the 1939-43 Star, but nurses, doctors, and other members of the Army Medical “Service travelling on that ship are not. The Government cannot delay much’ longer making a statement in regard to this matter. Another serious aspect of it is that members of the 8th Division have not yet been declared to be eligible to receive this decoration. It is true that the bulk of that division are prisoners of war, but certain members of it have since been rescued and have returned to Australia. I know that the Minister representing the Minister for the Army is sympathetic in this regard. and I urge upon the Government not to delay its decision any longer, but to make known as soon as possible just what members of the services are entitled to receive this award. It means quite a lot to individual soldiers.
There is another matter which I have already raised in this chamber in the form of a question, and to which I should like to make reference now, namely, the report which appeared in the press to-day that certain commanders are leading Australian troops in New Guinea. On several occasions, both in the House of Representatives and in this chamber, comment, has been made upon the fact that leaders of Australian forces - not merely divisional commanders but also brigade commanders and others - have not been given any publicity whatever. Whilst I realize that in the interests of national security certain military matters cannot be discussed openly, considerable publicity has been given to army commanders lighting the Germans on the Western Front and on the Eastern Front, also, the names of certain Russian commanders have become familiar to every man, woman and child in Australia. In fact, some of these soldiers have become national heroes in this country, whereas our own leaders have received no publicity at all. For that reason it was most refreshing to-day to read the names of three Australian generals who are engaged in the present operations against the J apanese to the north of Australia. They are Generals Sturdee, Morshead and Savige. I trust that the Government will ensure that in future proper credit and publicity shall be given to our own commanders as is the case with leaders of allied nations.
I trust that I shall be pardoned for making frequent, reference in this chamber to army matters, but I consider that we have had insufficient opportunity to discuss the administration of the department controlling our armed forces. I wish to refer now to a serious problem confronting Army authorities to-day, namely, the large number of soldiers who are absent from their units without leave. I admit that this state of affairs has been caused largely by the inactivity of our fighting forces in recent months. Many soldiers have seized the opportunity to return home to see their families. Although these men have not been engaged upon active service, there is no excuse for their conduct. However, ] consider the treatment of these offenders is not in the best interests of the men themselves, or of the Australian Military Forces generally. Usually when men who have been absent without leave report back to their units or are picked up by the provost corps they are sent to military detention compounds for period* varying from 2S days to 90 days or even 120 days in serious cases. The result is that in those compounds to-day men who really had no desire to break military laws - many of them acted hastily - are associated with others who are born agitators. I suggested to the Minister for the Army that the military authorities should give consideration to the question of treating these men in a different manner. My idea was that, instead of their being looked up for periods running into several months, they should be taken to New Guinea, where a certain amount of work has to be done behind the lines, including the loading and unloading of ships. That, I think, would do a great deal towards curbing their enthusiasm for going absent without leave. We are very short of manpower throughout Australia to-day and it would be an excellent scheme if some of the men who have to be punished for the prevalent offence of being absent without leave were put to labour on the mainland. I do not see why they should not be utilized either on wharf work in places such as Port Moresby and Milne Bay or in primary production in Australia. Such a course would be better for the men themselves than serving a long term of detention, and much good would be done by preventing their congregation in compounds where .they would be doing little except pack drill and the like. I appreciate that the problem is difficult and that the numbers of men involved have been such as to ca,use the commanders, and the Government as well, grave concern. I repeat that I do not excuse any man who in war-time is absent from his unit without leave. I look upon this military crime almost in the light of a disease, and I feel convinced that the disease would be very considerably reduced if the course I am advocating were adopted.
SenatorFRASER (Western Australia - Minister for Health and Minister for Social Services) [10.19]. - With regard to the remarks of SenatorFoll concerning the 1939-43 Star, I give the assurance that the Prime Minister (Mr.Curtin) will make a statement immediately upon the conclusion of negotiations with the British and New Zealand Governments. I know that the right honorable gentleman is just as anxious to make such a statement as the honorable senator is to hear it. Concerning Senator Foll’s comments as to army personnel who undergo punishment for the offence of being absent without leave, I am pleased that the honorable senator recognizes it as a very difficult problem. I may inform him that the suggestion he has made this evening has been discussed by me with the ComonanderinChief of the Australian Military Forces and the Chief of the General Staff. I am hopeful that investigations somewhat along the lines suggested by the honorable senator may be put in hand by the Army authorities. I realize that the men themselves would be far better employed in some useful direction than by merely being detained in barracks. At the same time, we must see to it that we do not encourage men to be absent without leave.
With respect to the remarks of Senator Foll concerning the accounts published within the past few days by the Australian Army authorities in which are mentioned the names of leaders of the Australian forces in New Guinea, all I can say is that General MacArthur has been responsible for the issue of communiqués. I am hopeful, however, that the work of the Australian Army - whether as a force or with respect to its leaders individually - can be given all the publicity warranted, bearing always in mind the requirements of security. That aspect must at all times be watched. It will be realized that there axe at times very definite security reasons for the absence of news regarding the activities of our Australian soldiers and their leaders.
.- On the 7th March, Senator Nash asked the Minister representing the Attorney-General, the following questions : -
The Attorney-General has now furnished the following answers: -
.- I thank the Minister for Supply and Shipping (Senator Ashley) for the information he has just furnished. With respect to the information that the High Court of Australia has not visited Western Australia since 1937, I may point out that that was before the war. Meanwhile the High Court, apparently, has forgotten that Western Australia still exists. That august body should realize that Western Australia is still a part of the Commonwealth and is indeed a most important part of it. I appreciate that the people of Western Australia are a very law-abiding community. There are very many excellent citizens there and perhaps they do not need the services of the High Court as frequently as do people elsewhere in the Commonwealth. Nevertheless, f rom time to time, it must be necessary even in
Western Australia for matters to be referred to the High Court, and it may be that owing to the fact that the High Court does not visit Western Australia many litigants are precluded from having their cases determined by that body. It is no light matter financially to have to send a legal representa tive to another State where the court is sitting or to brief some lawyer in the State in which the court is sitting. There is also the question of the costs of the transport of witnesses, and, altogether, it is not fair to the citizens of Western Australia that they should be overlooked as they have been. The High Court shouldmake arrangements to visit Western Australia at least once annually ; surely that is not too much to ask. I do not know when the full court of the High Court last sat in Western Australia. I meant to make that inquiry, but it appears to me that it may have been long before 1937.
SenatorFraser. - Probably some of the members of the High Court are too old to travel.
SenatorNASH. - That may be so. There is no retiring age forjustices of the High Court of Australia. I do not know their ages, but irrespective of that consideration I take it for granted that they are still able to adjudicate. They are eminent men and they have not lost any of their faculties, I presume. Seeing that citizens generally, if they have to travel from State to State, whether by train or air or motor vehicle, they must put up with the conditions existing to-day, I trust that the High Court will remember that Western Australia still exists and will make arrangements to visit the State at least once annually.
Question resolvod in the affirmative.
The following papers were presented : -
National Security Act -
National Security (Emergency Control)
Regulations - Order - Papau and New Guinea (Administration) (No. 4).
National Security (General) Regulations - Order - Prohibited place.
National Security ( Rationing ) Regula tions - Order No. 73.
Senate adjournedat 10.28 p.m. to a date andhour to be fixed by the President.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 8 March 1945, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1945/19450308_senate_17_181/>.