17th Parliament · 3rd Session
The President (Senator the Hon. Gordon Brown) took the chair at 11 a.m., and read prayers.
– by leave - A good deal of uninformed criticism has been levelled at the Government in regard to its refusal to provide land-line facilities lo the commercial broadcasting stations for the purpose of setting up an independent news service. The matter has received very careful consideration, and a close review of all the relevant factors indicated that it would not be practicable, in twisting circumstances, to make available’ the land lines that would be necessary to permit interstate or intra-state networks lo be established for the simultaneous broadcasting of commercial news services on several occasions daily.
It is important to bear in mind that the present national news service was inaugurated in February, 1942, as a direct result of suggestions to the Government by the Federation of Commercial Broadcasting Stations. The arrangements entered into at. the time provided that certain specific, Australian and overseas news sessions emanating from the Australian Broadcasting Commission should be made available to nil. commercial broadcasting stations throughout Australia free of charge insofar as the collecting and editing of the news was concerned. The Government also agreed that, as its contribution towards the service, the land lines required for relaying the news programmes should bc provided without cost to the commercial stations. The total amount involved is £44,000 per annum. It is also important to emphasize that the arrangements were entirely voluntary, and that at no time did the Government exert any compulsion in the matter. There is abundant evidence that the scheme, which has operated for three years, has proved entirely satisfactory from the stand-point of listeners and the broadcasting organisations. In point of fact, no complaint lias been made regarding the quality of the service, nor have the commercial broadcasting stations at any stage, until recently, suggested a departure from the voluntary arrangements introduced in 1942. It is true, of course, that the Australian Broadcasting Commission had raised the matter of payment for the news and the adoption of some form of acknowledgment by the ‘ commercial stations that the news had emanated from Australian Broadcasting Commission sources.. Following this development, conferences were held between the various interests concerned, with a view to reaching a satisfactory settlement of the points at. issue. Unfortunately, the discussions proved inconclusive, and this ultimately led to requests- from the commercial broadcasting stations for the provision of land-line facilities in order that they might: inaugurate n separate and independent nowa service. During the discussions, the position of the Postal Department in respect of land lines was made perfectly clear, and on no occasion was any undertaking given to provide interstate facilities. Moreover, emphasis was laid on the difficulties experienced in allotting intra-state circuits.
The difficulties which confront the Postal Department in meeting the requirements of the community for trunk line services are very real, due to the enormous demands that have been made on the available facilities by the armed forces and by essential organizations on the home front. The utmost difficulty has been experienced by the Postal Department in obtaining adequate supplies of plant and equipment from overseas end from local sources, with thi’ result that, on the majority of the main long-distance telephone trunk-line routes throughout the Commonwealth, it is impossible under existing conditions to furnish a reasonably prompt service. Whilst a measure of relief will be afforded from time to time as equipment and man-power become available, there is no early prospect of any substantial improvement in this regard. The congestion is particularly acute on the main interstate routes, on which calls are subjected to serious delays,, causing great inconvenience to commercial and business organizations, including many that are associated more or less directly with the war effort. Between. Sydney and Brisbane, for instance, delays exceeding eight hours are not uncommon, and on other inter-capital routes a delay of nearly three hours frequently occurs. Whilst the position is not so acute on intra-state trunk line routes, there are long delays which give rise to much complaint from the public; in fact, Members of Parliament and important public bodies have repeatedly urged that some improvement should be effected at the earliest possible moment. ‘ Shortly after Japan entered the war, the Government was reluctantly obliged to impose severe restrictions on the provision of telephone facilities generally, and there is no immediate prospect of any relaxation of these measures. In consequence, applicants for new or additional services have been caused considerable inconvenience, and even hardship in some cases. The Postal Department has the very definite responsibility of providing the community with the most expeditious trunk line services possible, more particularly under present conditions, when so many are concerned in one way and another with the active prosecution of the war, and more people are living away from their homes than was the case in pre-war days.
The Government is fully convinced, after reviewing all the circumstances, that it would not be safeguarding the public interests if it were to provide at the present juncture the land lines which would be necessary to enable independent commercial news services to be relayed. The decision reached in the matter has been influenced by the following factors: -
The action taken in declining to provide trunk lines for independent commercial news services rests entirely with the Government, which is fully satisfied that it has acted wisely in the public interests, despite the campaign that has been and is being conducted hy the newspapers and the commercial broadcasting stations. In view of all the circumstances, the Government does not propose to comply with the request of commercial broadcasting stations for the land lines that would be required to permit interstate or intra-state networks to be established for the simultaneous broadcasting of commercial news services on several occasions daily. It should be kept in mind that the Government is now affording the necessary trunk line facilities free of cost. When it is in a position to relax many of the present restrictions, and when the Postal department is able to provide land lines without imposing serious inconvenience on other people who make use of the trunk line system, the whole situation will he reviewed, with the object of meeting all reasonable requests of the commercial broadcasting interests.It is to be deplored that some newspapers, including those associated with commercial broadcasting stations, should he attempting to misconstrue the attitude of the Government in connexion with this important matter. The Government’s decision is fully justified, and the reasons for it are quite clear.
. -I move -
That the paper he printed.
– Unless tbe paper is laid on the table, the honorable senator may not move that it be printed, He will be in order in moving that the paper be laid on the table.
– I move-
Chat the document quoted from by the Postmaster-General becalled for and made a public document.
– I second the motion.
Question resolved in the negative.
– I ask leave to make a statement with reference to the paper just read by the Postmastrvr-General (Senator Cameron).
Leave not granted.
– Has the time elapsed, Mr. President, for questions withoui notice? I wish to ask a question of the Leader of the Senate, but the Clerk rose rather quickly and read the list of papers to be presented.
– As no honorable senator rose to ask a question without notice, I called upon the Clerk to read the list of papers to be presented. I have no desire to restrict the asking of questions without notice, and although the papers have been presented 1 shall allow the honorable senator to ask his question of the Leader of the Senate. However. I ask honorable senators to observe the order of business in future, and to ask questions without notice at the proper time.
– I ask the Leader of the Senate whether the Government proposes to make a statement in this chamber regarding the debate now taking place at the conference of United Nations on
International Organization at San Francisco. Is the Government aware that press reports suggest that the Minister for External Affairs and AttorneyGeneral, speaking, apparently, on behalf of Australia, is urging that all colonial possessions, including those held under mandate since the last war, be placed under a trusteeship? Does that mean that the Minister for External Affairs is pressing for the administration under trusteeship of Papua, which has been a territory of the Commonwealth for many years, and that all colonies of the British Empire, some of which have been under the control of the Empire for hundreds of years, should be placed under a trusteeship on terms similar to those applying to mandated territories captured from Germany in the war of 1914-1S, which have been held under mandate only since the League of Nations was formed at the conclusion of that war?
– Can the honorable senator vouch for the accuracy of the press reports to which he refers’!
– No. In view of the public uneasiness on this matter, I should like to know whether the Government will clarify the position with regard to the statements attributed to the Minister for External Affairs, and whether such statements represent the policy of the Government ?
– I and the Minister for Supply and Shipping who represents the Acting Attorney-General in this chamber will confer with the Acting Prime Minister on the matter raised by the honorable senator.
asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice -
How many overseas and enemy aliens released after a period in internment camps have applied for and been granted naturalization status?
– The answer to the honorable senator’s question is as follows : -
It is not practicable to obtain the information for which the honorable senator asks. I can, however, give an assurance that no alien who has shown himself in any way to be disloyal has been naturalized. Furthermore, if a charge of disloyalty against any naturalized alien were sustained, his certificate of naturalization would be revoked.
asked the Minister for Supply and Shipping, upon notice -
Will the Minister inform the Senate when it is likely that the steamer Taroona will be returned to the Melbourne-Launceston run?
– The answer to the honorable senator’s question is as follows : -
The vessel Taroona is under the control of the Department of the Navy and its return to the Melbourne-Launceston run will depend on operational requirements.
asked the Minister representing the Acting Minister for Defence, upon notice -
If, as a result of successful Allied operations in the Pacific and elsewhere, the strategical situation no longer necessitates strong defensive action on the Australian mainland, will the Minister direct a re-organization and re-grouping of the Australian armed forces so as permit of (a) the augmentation of the armies in the field; (b) the release of additional man-power to meet unrent civil needs: (c) an improved system of army administra tion : (d) a reduction of war expenditure?
– The Acting Minister for Defence has supplied the following answers : -
In regard to the general position, the disposition of the Australian forces is entirely governed by the needs of the strategical situation and the operational plans. In regard to the particular questions the following replies are furnished : - (a.) As publicly stated by the CommanderinChief of the Australian Military Forces on loth April, the number of troops disposed for current operational plans will exceed the greatest number that Australia has maintained in the field in two wars.
The Prime Minister has stated that a revision of man-power allocations is not possible before the completion of the present phnse of operations and the fulfilment ot commitments that havebeen entered into.
As stated by the Minister for the Army, the history of the set-up of the machinery for higher direction in any of the services has been one of change to meet a varying strategical situation, and that it is for the Government to decide if and when the timehas arrived to make a. change in respect of any of them,
The extent of the war expenditure is primarily governed by the strength of the Forces to which reference has been made in (b ) .
Debate resumed from the8th May (vide page 1446), on motion by Senator Fraser -
That the bill be now read a second time.
.- This bill is of the greatest importance to the welfare of Australia. “When those engaged in an industry agree to tax themselves to an amount of £325,000 a year we can rest assured that they take a very serious view of the problems of the industry. It is unique in the history of government in this country for an industry to ask a government to tax it in this way. Those engaged in the wool industry are prepared to tax themselves not only at the rate of 2s. a bale, but also on the basis of 2s. for every 200 sheep, in order to provide funds to publicize wool and to meet the competition from synthetic fibres. The bill does not mention synthetic fibres. I believe that it should. The measure refers only to improved production of wool. No one has done more than the graziers themselves to increase the production of sheep and wool in this country.
Before dealing with the bill itself, I should like to make some illuminating comparisons in respect of the industry. To-day, we have 125,000,000 sheep in this country; and, as the Acting Leader of the Opposition (Senator Leckie) has pointed out the wool industry is Australia’s greatest exporting industry. In respect of wool production alone, exclusive of mutton and lamb, the annual value is 40 per cent. of our total exports. But should the wool industry fail, the mutton and lamb industry must go down. The number of sheep in Australia averages seventeen to each person, whereas in the United States of America, with a total of 44,000,000 sheep, the average is one sheep to three persons. From these figures, it is clear that mut ton is not in great demand in the United States of America. We can thus understand the distaste of American service personnel for lamb and mutton, and their preference for beef and pork. Whereas wool used in the United States of America averages only 4¼ lb. for each person, the average in Great Britain is8½ lb. for each person, and in Australia, 11 lb. for each person. However, events in the United States of America to-day present a good omen for the Australian woollen, industry. “Whereas the average production of wool from each sheep shorn in the United States of America is only 7.9 lb., a sheep in Australia produces an average of 9 lb. of wool. The total production of wool in the United States of America in 1944 was only 400,000,000 lb., whereas woollen mills in that country were then using 600,000,000 lb. This means that at that time the United States of America was short of 200,000,000 lb. of wool annually to meet the requirements of the mills. To-day, the mills in. the United States of America are using 1,100,000,000 lb. of wool. Therefore, it would appear that we have an opportunity to obtain a permanent market in the United States of America for at least 50 per cent. of our total clip. The United States of America is expending £6,000,000 annually in research on synthetics whereas Australia is spending at present only £36,000 annually in combating competition from synthetics. Therefore, the proposal under this measure to expend £650,000a year to promote the use of wool and to enable it to compete with synthetics is more than justified. This expenditure is worth while in an endeavour to save for this country an asset worth £73,000,000 a year. The suggestion has been made in the House of Representatives that you, Mr. President, in presiding over this chamber, should be seated on a woolsack. Personally, I do not see much justification for that suggestion. Apparently, it originates in the idea that it has been the custom in the House of Lords for hundreds of years for the Lord Chancellor to sit on a woolsack. However, that was shown to be fiction when an inquisitive Australian who was interested is the matter found that the
Lord Chancellor did not always sit on a woolsack, but for a time on a bale of kapok. H do not see much merit in the suggestion that you, Mr. President, should sit on a bale of wool. In this chamber you are a representative of Queensland, which is one of our great wool-producing States, and I believe that you would do as much to advertise the industry in your official capacity bywearing a wig made of Australian wool.
In the King’s Hall there is an exhibit arranged by the Department of Commerce aDd Agriculture, I believe, and it is the most atrocious thing I have ever seen. There is a glass case containing something, but whether it is cotton, wool or kapok, no one can tell. There is in the forefront a pen containing the figures of three rams and three ewe?. Has any one ever seen such a combination before? I have never seen three ewes penned with three rams in all my Life. It is evident that the person who arranged the exhibit had no knowledge whatever of sheep. 1 trust that what tb-c Government proposes, under this measure, to assist the wool industry will be placed under the direction of some one who has a knowledge of it. There are 100,000 flocks in Australia, but 15,000 of those flocks produce 80 per cent, of the wool; yet it is proposed in this bill that the growers who produce 80 per cent, of the wool hall have only the same representation on the Australian Wool Board as the growers who produce only 20 per cent, of the wool. Those who produce SO per cent, arc represented by the Australian Woolgrowers Council, while those who produce only 20 per cent, are represented by the Australian Wool Producers Federation and those who do not belong to any organization. The Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin), speaking on the subject of wool research on the 1st November, 1944, said -
To facilitate the development and application of research, four members of the Australian Wool prowers Council will be appointed, and two members of the Australian Wool Producers Federation.
The Government has broken away from that undertaking, and now proposes that each body shall have three representatives. I suggest that, even of those who produce only 20 per cent, of the wool, half do not belong to any organization. I urge the Government to amend the system of representation of wool-growers on the board.
It is extraordinary fiat the Government should be subsidizing the production of synthetic fibres which are in direct competition with wool. At the present time, there is a delegation in Australia seeking the assistance of the Government .in the production of synthetic fibres. The delegation includes Sir Percy Ashley, chairman, British Rayon Federation; John R. K. Tyre, chairman of the Rayon Exporters Section of the London Chamber of Commerce; and A. P. T. Holdon, an export on the weaving of wool and rayon mixture cloths. The Government has promised tha delegation every hel>p possible. As a matter of fac!, I understand that one Minister has said that, the Government proposes to give financial assistance to this enterprise. We know that the Government has sold a factory at Rutherford, in New South Wales, to be used for the manufacture of synthetic fibre. Surely the Government must realize that we cannot have it both ways.
– The factory ha3 not bren sold. A portion of a factory at Rutherford has been let.
– Yes, and the Government is providing finance to enable the enterprise to be undertaken.
– I do not admit that. These people have £6,000,000 to burn. As a matter of fact, I met that delegation.
– They are being provided with a factory, and facilities an? being made available, to enable them to compete against Australia’s main export industry. I realize that this is an unpopular statement, but I believe that the price of wool mav be high, and I say that as one who is himself a wool-grower. The present price of wool sold to the British Government is 15-Jd. per lb. in the grease, which represents 2s. 7d. per lb. scoured. Synthetic fibre can be produced at lOd. per lb., and the difference is too great to enable wool to compete successfully. I know that there is a certain section of the Australian Wood Producers Federation which is clamouring for a price of 2s. per lb., but if that price is granted there will be no sale for the wool.
The average yield per head from Australian sheep is 9 lb. of wool. Many flocks are producing as much as VI lb., so that there must be others which do not produce more than 4 or 5 lb. In the early days of wool production in Australia, the average yield per head was only 5 lb., and this has now been increased to 9 lb., which is the highest average yield in the world. In the United States of America, the average yield is only a little over 7 lb., and that is the average in other woolproducing countries. I do not want to see the same position here in regard to wool as developed in Japan in regard to natural silk. There, the production of artificial silk was encouraged, and flourished to such an extent that the natural silk industry was practically ruined. If the present competition from artificial fibres is maintained even the cotton-growers will find themselves in the same position as the producers of real silk. Price is the determining factor. If we cannot produce wool, and sell it at less than 15 1/2d. per pound, the outlook for the wool industry in Australia is gloomy, indeed. If we cannot produce wool profitably in Australia, then the price of mutton must increase, if the industry of grazing is to continue, and this will, in turn, affect the cost of living. The least the Government can do is to refrain from giving active assistance to those engaged in the production of synthetic fibres.
– The trouble is that the average woman wants rayon, not wool, in this climate.
– Markets are the solution of the problem. If we can persuade the Chinese to wear one suit of wool instead of three suits of cotton, a tremendous market for wool will bc opened.
– Yes, and kill them in the process.
– I am astonished to hear the Minister make that remark. A Chinese now puts on three suits of cotton in the wintertime in order to keep warm, whereas the same result would be achieved with one suit of wool. The United States of America is putting through its woollen mills 1,100,000,000 lb. of wool, as against 600,000,000 lb. before the war. The trouble is that there is an import duty of 34 cents, per lb. on scoured wool regardless of its quality. That is equal to ls. 4d. on every pound of wool which Australia sends into the United States of America. Surely it ought to be possible to arrange a reciprocal trade agreement with the United States of America under which our lower grade wools could be imported into that country without having to pay such high duties.
As I have said, the average production per sheep in Australia is 9 lb. of wool, but I know of one station in the Riverina where the wool clip from the ewes average 14 lb. per head, and from the wethers 17 lb. I should say- that that is about the maximum yield possible, and it shows that there is room for a great deal of improvement in the case of those flocks from which the average yield is only 5 or 6 lb. per head. Of course, the low yield is usually from those flocks which are kept for the rearing of fat lambs. A farmer does not keep full-woolled merino sheep for the raising of fat lambs. Such ewes do not make good mothers, and the ewes which are suitable for fat-lamb raising do not grow heavy fleeces.
Under the agreement with the Government of the United Kingdom, all wool produced in Australia is to be sold to that Government at an average price of 154-d. per lb. for one clip after the termination of the war. That is an extraordinarily good price, and I believe it is too high to enable us to compete successfully with synthetic fibres. It is much higher than the pre-war price. Some people argue that the system of sale by appraisal should continue after the war, but that is not possible except when there is only one buyer in the market, as at present. Others argue that we should set up an organization like Bawra; but I point out to honorable senators that Bawra never sold a bale of wool. Ite function was to pick up the carry-over, and feed it onto the market in a rational way, but the wool itself was sold by auction.
It is possible to improve the carrying capacity of our land, but, as I have said, I do not think we can do very much more an the way of increasing the yield per lead in the case of the better flocks. Some people believe that a good flock can be built up in no time merely by paying 100 guineas for a stud ram. That is far from true. Buying a ram is very much like buying a yearling at thoroughbred sales. One may pay 1,000 guineas for a yearling which may never be heard of again. In the same way, a ram costing 100 guineas may produce its first progeny and may never be used again. 1 “know breeders who have paid as much as 300 guineas for a ram, and used it for only one season. The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research can do a good job by helping the small sheep-raiser to build up a first-class flock and so improve his product. It requires years of patience and scientific breeding to produce a good type of sheep and a good type of wool. Some people believe that the sheep will produce the same quality of wool each year, but that is not so. Wool produced in one year may be classed as super quality or extra super quality, but in the next year, although the season may have been somewhat similar, a weather break in the autumn may cause the wool to be only common grade. . grower may think that his wool is just as good as it was in the previous year when it was classed as super grade only to find that the appraiser will reduce the price by 2d. per lb., and a loss of 2d. per lb. over a whole flock may mean a. great deal. That is happening continually. The quality of the wool on the sheep’s back can be greatly improved. Here again scientific research can be of assistance by ensuring that a better class of wool sheep shall be bred. I am glad to note that in. this measure the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research is being given some recognition, slight; as it is. That council is to have one representative on the proposed Wool Consultative Council; but in view of the fine work that it has been doing I consider that it is entitled to more. In clause 4 it is provided that n Commonwealth Wool Adviser be appointed. I ask the Minister by whom willi this officer be chosen ? It is essentia] that he should be a competent man, and not merely a theorist, or a departmental representative who may know little or nothing about wool. He should be chosen by the Australian Wool Board, that is, by the representatives of the growers themselves - the men who are to tax themselves to the amount of 2s. a bale. It is not likely that the board would appoint any one who was not a recognized expert. It would appoint an officer who knew the whole industry from A to Z. I notice also that the board is not to be permitted even to appoint its own chairman. As the board is. to include six representatives of the wool-growers, surely it should have power to appoint its own chairman. Therefore I suggest to the Minister that the word “ may “ be omitted and the word “ shall “ inserted. I do not think that that is asking too much. Clause 6 provides that the board shall consist of the Commonwealth Wool Adviser and six other members who shall be appointed by the Governor-General. Later in the clause, it is provided that three members shall be appointed on the nomination of each of two wool-growers’ organizations. In these cases the word used is “ shall “, but in the case of the appointment of the chairman, the bill states that the Minister “ may “ appoint the nominee of the board. That is wrong.
The proposed Wool Consultative Council is to be a very representative body, but there also the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research is to have only one member. There are two sides to the wool industry - the manufacturing side and the biological side. These are entirely separate entities and for that reason there should be two. representatives of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research on that council. The board also is to have only one representative on the council. There, again, believe that the number should be two. Further, I would favour two representatives of the wool manufacturers, instead of only one. On the other hand, I see no reason why the textile distributors should be represented on the council at all and I believe that the technical education aspect is covered completely by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research so that there is not any need for separate representation for technical education authorities. I agree with, the representation of the Australian Workers Union. Briefly, I believe that representation on the basis which I have suggested would be an improvement. If the Government sincerely wishes to make this a good bill, it should be prepared to accept suggestions from this side of the chamber.
I have said that the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research has done an excellent job. That is especially true in the field of biology - a field in which research cannot be carried out competently by the wool-grower himself. It requires an experienced staff of technicians, working in the field, to investigate methods of combating diseases. I shall give one or two instances of the success of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in tha t regard. The council has been able to convince practically every sheep-grower throughout Australia that, if he has foot rot on hi* property, it is his own fault. That is a remarkable achievement. It has been found that the foot-rot germ’ is carried by the sheep, and spread from one to another. If a grower does not have foot rot on his property at the start, he should never have it. It is the man who buys sheep with foot rot and so spreads it throughout his holding that creates an intolerable position. I know of properties which in the past have employed five men continuously working on foot rot throughout the winter. That problem has been solved completely. Success has also crowned the work of. the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research on entro-toxema which carries off tens of thousands of lambs annually in the fatlambraising districts. This disease is now dealt with by inoculation, and wonderful stride* have been made towards its elimination as the results of tests and experiments carried out by veterinary surgeons and other experts associated with research work. One of the most valuable of recent discoveries has been a cure for intestinal worms which in the past have killed millions of sheep. To-day, the sheep are given a dose of a certain mixture and in a week the disease is very largely cured, especially in young sheep. It is also possible now to treat fluke successfully. Tetrachloride destroys the fluke inside the sheep. Good results have been obtained, in the treatment of black disease. Taking these achievements into consideration, the work of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research has been invaluable; yet on the Wool Consultative Council the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, is to have only one representative. Is he to be on the biological side or on the technical side? Obviously, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research should have two representatives. Amongst the achievements of this organization on the manufacturing side is the discovery of a method of making wool unshrinkable. In the past, people have had the experience of sending to the laundry woollen undergarments which would fit the Leader of the Senate (Senator Keane) and receiving them back so shrunken that they would not fit even Senator Large. That fault can now be eliminated entirely by the manufacture of unshrinkable garments. It is also possible now to eliminate tickle from woollen garments. There are many more improvements which could be made in wool and its by-products by scientific and industrial research. Recently I showed to the Senate some samples of furs made from pure wool. These furs resemble so closely the genuine article that I defy anybody who is not an expert to tell the difference.
– It is a magnificent job.
– That is so. I am sure that when machinery becomes available we shall find that sheep skins are being made into fine carpets and fur coats which will be almost indistinguishable from the 300 or 400 guinea coats made from the fur of Arctic animals. The sheep-owners in this country should be assisted to improve their product by the spending of their own money in the right manner. .
– The sheep-owners are not providing all the money.
– They will provide about £325,000, plus of course the proportion of the Government’s contribution which they will pay in income tax. Realizing that the wool industry means so much to our external credits, the Government should be prepared to do everything possible to assist it. In conclusion I ask that adequate representations of the wool-growers and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research be provided on the board and on the Wool Consultative Council. I hope that when the bill reaches the committee stage the Government will accept amendments along these lines so that we may be sure of the preservation of this great industry. It is most unfortunate indeed that this legislation is to be administered by three Ministers. In my view there should be a single ministerial head. Recently a delegation which was supposed to represent the wool-growers as well as other sections of the industry, visited Great Britain; but what representation did the growers actually have on that delegation? The Treasury and the Department of Commerce and’ Agriculture were represented, and, in addition, half a dozen other’ public servants were included. I do no* question for a moment the qualifications of these people, but what about the growers’? Were1 they not entitled to some representation?1 I can quite understand She Treasury having its representatives on- the delegation.’ because- there will be a big carry-over of wool which I hoye will be absorbed in. the early days after the war. I feel sure that with, proper representation, on- the bodies to. be constituted by this measure we shall progress, considerably amd keep the -wool industry on a satisfactory basis.
– In speaking to- this- measure I shall direct my remarks to the ‘broader aspects of the wool industry. Previous1 speakers on the other side of the chamber have te unshed a barrage of objections to the proposed representation- on the Australian Wool Board and the Wool Consultative Co oneil!. Their’ remarks have- purported to show that it is in- the interests of Australia to export the ram material of this’ industry rather thaw the finished’ article: Senator Gibson1 apparently was thinking on those Vines whew be- objected to> the representation of the textile distributors on the Consultative Council, but not to- the representation of the Australian Workers Onion1. That- shows– clearly that whilst the honorable, senator does not object to the representation of the’ union’ concerned with producing- amd shearing- the wooli, he does object to1 representation, of the union whose members are engaged in the manufacture of textiles. He objects also to those who play an important part in the distribution of textiles. Senator Gibson remarked that, by exploiting overseas markets1, at least 50 per cent, of our wool could be exported to America. Why should we do that if American markets are available for textiles? Tb* development of the industry in Australis should1 proceed along the lines, not of exporting our raw wool, but manufacturing it in this country and exporting textiles.
– Does the honorable senator’ imagine1 that Australia could compete with low-wage countries in the production of textiles?
– If the commercial Magnates’ of Great Britain find it profitable to import wool from Australia and convert it into- textiles to be sold in the world’s’ markets, why should not Australia compete in those markets? It should’ not be said thai Australians are not sufficiently competent or enterprising no- compete with other nation’s. If we can. do that in time of war, we could do it in time of peace’, and we co-old’ do it in both primary and secondary industries. We should1 not he so weak as to say that, although we can do a’s well1 as other conn-Cries in1 the production of raw materials, we are unable Ito’ compete with them hi’ She fieldi of m<a nu ffacture.
There1 is- room for research with at view
To1 raising the- quality of our wool, and the- Wool’ Consultative Council, on which the Council for Scientific and’ ‘Industrial Research will’ be represented, may play an important part in that’ direction. As the result of scientific research, Australia may be1 aWe to produce a type of sheep winch will give both high-quality wool and (at lambs. At present Australia is able to produce wool which- fetches- over 4’Od1. per lb.
– Only one bale out of 1 ,000 realizes that high figure.
– We also produce some low-quality wool, but we’ hare’- not yet benn able to combine in’ one type of st Beep- the qualities necessary for the production of the’ finest wool and fat lambs. . Australia must develop its fat lamb industry, because that will play an im portal I part in its economy in the future ; but with scientific research it may be possible to produce fairly marketable fat lambs and at the same time high quality wool.
– That cannot be done.
– I am aware that it cannot be done new, but our present methods may be capable of improvement. As the result of scientific investigation, it may be possible in future to produce a type of sheep that will serve the dual purpose that is so desirable.
T agree that the sum of £650,000 proposed to be raised under this measure is insufficient to meet the needs of the industry, but let us consider who will contribute the money. Certainly, the wool-growers will provide half of it, but the rest must be provided by the general taxpayers. In addition to raising this fund, we should take over some of the war factories that have been built at a cost of millions of pounds, and convert them into textile factories, so that a serious effort might be made to compete in the overseas markets for textiles. We shall not obtain these markets unless we seek them. We shall not capture the markets for textiles if we rest content to export our raw materials. If we continue along the lines followed in the past we shall be very foolish, because Australia needs an increased population and increased industrial activity. The woollen industry offers the greatest hope for progress, and we cannot expect that, industry to develop as it should if it be permitted to stagnate as in the past.
Senator Gibson mentioned that, the United States of America charges ls. 4d. per lb. duty on all the scoured wool entering that country. It desires raw wool because it prefers to scour it locally, and thus give employment to its own people. Australia should insist on scouring its wool before exporting it, if it does not convert the raw product into textiles.
– Can the honorable senator explain the difference between the cost of the raw wool required for the manufacture of a suit of clothes and the cost of the finished article?
– Surely Australians are not prepared to give in at this stage and admit that pur workmen are not sufficiently competent and intelligent to manufacture textiles in this* country in competition with Great Britain, the United States of America and other countries. I am totally opposed and always have been to the exportation of raw wool. In the House of Representatives an honorable member stated recently that a bale of wool should be placed in the Senate chamber. I have seen many vacant seats on the Opposition, side in the House of Representatives, and. I suggest that they should be filled with sheep, which would at least look intelligent.
I compliment Senator Gibson on portions of his speech, because he has presented some constructive arguments which I had intended to submit. Instead of discussing petty details such as whether personal friends of himself or somebody else were to be appointed chairmen of the bodies proposed to be established, he should have taken a broader view and confined himself to the problem of how to make the wool industry one of which Australia will be proud.
– The object of the measure is to increase the production of wool, and stimulate the demand for it. The industry is of major importance to Australia and indirectly affects the whole economy of the country. It is necessary in preparing for post-war competition to d<> everything possible to place the industry in such a position that, after the war, itwill be able to meet such competition, lt has been well said that Australia is carried on the sheep’s back, and that statement is as true to-day as in the past. Reviewing the history of the industry in this country over the last 150 years, we notice that Australia’s economy and its economic progress are largely dependenten the prosperity of the industry, upon which our standard of living depends to a. large degree. Opportunities for the employment of our people are also dependent on that prosperity. Provision has to be made for the supply of overseas funds which are necessary in the development of a young country. In the post-war period those funds will be required for the purchase of goods and equipment which cannot satisfactorily be produced or manufactured in Australia. For instance we have to import rubber, jute, tea, coffee, petrol and oils, machines and machine tools. Those things are all necessary for the progress of Australia. Other importations have to be- made from overseas to enable Australians to enjoy the amenities of life and a high standard of living.
– It is necessary to develop local industries.
– Of course, but many commodities not produced or manufactured in Australia must be imported. If we are to progress we must have at our disposal the best goods and materials that the world offers. The prosperity of Australia has always depended on the prosperity of the wool industry, which supplies 40 per cent, of the value of Australian exports. The collapse of wool prices has always precipitated crises, such as the depression fourteen or fifteen years ago, which is still fresh in our minds, when the annual wool cheque fell from £66,000,000 in 1927-28 to £32,000,000 in 1930-31. Australia had no control. We had to sell our wool in the world’s markets and accept the world prices. With the restoration of the price of wool, prosperity gradually returned. The depression clearly showed how dependent this country is on the wool industry. Australia produces one-quarter of the world’s wool from one-sixth of the world’s sheep, and half the total supply of merino wool. So the industry is not only of national importance to ourselves, but also of tremendous importance to the world. We must give great credit to the flock-masters, who in the last 150 years have developed this great industry. In 1803, there were only 10,000 sheep in Australia; to-day there are 125,000,000. The flock-masters who brought about that tremendous expansion also improved the stamina and wool-carrying capacity of the sheep. The first sheep reared in Australia carried from 3 to 7 lb. of wool, whereas to-day the highest for rams is 40 lb. and the average 20 lb., and the highest for ewes is 20 lb. and the average 10 lb., and, as my colleague Senator Gibson said, the average of all sheep in Australia, including lambs and weaners, is 9 lb. The flock-masters have done a wonderful job. We produce annually 3,500,000 bales of wool worth £74,000,000. Great Britain has contracted for the war period and one year thereafter to buy the whole Australian wool clip and, by June, 1945, the wool cheques paid by Great Britain to Australia will have amounted to about £450,000,000. The British wool purchase contract has been of wonderful benefit to Australia. The fact that the wool has already been sold when it is still growing on the sheep’s backs means that the industry has no concern in the disposal of the product. We know what the income will be. But the present arrangement has its disadvantages. We are unable to test the world markets, and, to a degree, a false sense of security has beer created because the wool cheque has come in automatically year after year. A large proportion of the clip, however, 1e not being consumed. That is one of the difficulties with which we shall be faced when wool again appears on the world’s markets. Since the outbreak of war, approximately 10,500,000 bales of wool, practically four years’ clips, have not gone into consumption. I am very glad that the Commonwealth Government has realized the difficulties ahead and has sent to the United Kingdom a delegation to discuss with the British authorities methods of handling and disposing of that, huge carry-over when hostilities cease. The carry-over, however, will not be the only competitor of future wool supplies. The synthetic fibres industry has expanded enormously during the war. Before the war synthetic fibres competed only with silk, but since the war synthetics imitative of wool have been developed to such a degree that they definitely challenge wool. The annual production of synthetic fibres in the world at present is estimated to be 4,000,000,000 lb., nearly double the annual production of scoured wool. That must give Australia, which depends on the export of wool, food for a great deal of thought. We must remember that synthetic fibres can be produced from a variety of plants and animal proteins.
– And minerals.
– Yes. Production can be practically doubled overnight with the assistance of chemists and machines, but that is not so with wool, which is dependent on many factors. First, the sheep has to be bred. It requires .years of study ‘and breeding to achieve the standard ‘of wool required, whereas the scientist, at will, can turn out synthetic substances with the desired ‘quality and flexibility. Sheep are also subject to the ravages ‘of drought, ‘disease -and animal and infect pests. So, on the f ace of it, (lie synthetic industry has a lot in its favour over the wool industry, and it is necessary, therefore, that we should do everything possible in research work to assist the wool industry to produce the wy best possible, and by propaganda to promote the -use of wool. Before the war, about ‘90 ,peT cent, o’f Australia’s wool was “sold ‘On tfe world’s “markets. ‘Great Britain, which bought about 40 ner cent, of the -wool ‘clip o’f this country, was out best -customer. Europe and Japan varied in their purchases. At one time Japan bought as high as 20 or .25 peT cent, off Our wool. When this “war is over, Great Britain will no longer be a creditor country, and it will have to look for new markets to restore itself to “a sound financial and economic position. Europe has been so battered that it is hard to forecast what the position will he there. On the manufacturing side, we do not know -whether the wool mills are still standing -and equipped with machinery. But k is doubtful whether for some years Europe will le able to absorb t’he quantity of wool -used formerly. It is impossible to say what quantity of wool Japan will want. Therefore, we, too, must look for new markets, and that i-ri on’e of like purposes of the ‘bill. To our north there -are about 1,090,000/000 people, ‘all potential customers-; but they -will have to ‘be baught the advantages -of “woollen goods. It has been said that it is all very we’ll to talk about selling woollen goods to such people because at prevailing prices they cannot alford to Tray. W<e must realize chat the purchasing power of the people in those “coun’tries is low. The problem will lie to produce woollen goods at a price within their capacity ‘to pay. The first necessity “to -my mind is to get the masses to use wool. To .obtain that desirable end, what better method could be used than the introduction of the old-fashioned hand loom into the hemes of the people. If we look at the ‘history of -wool manufacturing in any country, we fed that the ‘industry started with the people scouring their own wool, combing at, ‘spinning i% and finally weaving it on ‘hand ‘looms- in their cottages. This could- be done in countries like China, where cottage industries are already established. Raw wool is not very -expensive, and the people of ‘China -could afford to buy -it from Australia. It “would pay lias country give some hundreds ‘of thousands -of spinning wheels -and hand loom’s to .China for the propose of encouraging -co’ttage weaving, and ‘for a ‘start we ‘could give a certain quantity of -wool ‘through Unrra or some ‘other organization. Tue people would soon learn to appreciate :the advantages -of wool in its varied uses. ‘I remember reading a “book which told how a T>ig American ‘oil firm introduced ite oil to Ohirra by -giving lamps to the people, who then began to huy oil ‘to light their homes. That method could well !be used to popularize Australian wool in coun’tries where ;the purchasing power -of the people is low -and they ‘have- no chance of buying manufactured woollen goods extensively.. If we Started in thaiway, there is no doubt ‘that the establishment ‘of factories would arise from h home-spinning industry. ‘Russia i another large potential market ‘for our wool. Its climate is swell as to necessitate the ‘wearing of warm clothing Tor the greater part of the year. Russia is not wet fully industrialized, “but is undergoing an industrial change. After ‘the war the people of ‘Russia will probably need out wool, and it “would be to t!he advantage of both countries if Australia could sell wool to Russia in exchange for some product with which Russia can provide us. As Senator Gibson -has said, the United States of America is using more wool now than it has ever used before, although its wool production fell in 1944 ‘to the equivalent of 1,S93,0’0:0 Australian bales. Tt is a fact that the duty -on Australian scoured wool imported into ;the “United States of America is ‘34 cents per lb. However,, arrangements -could be negotiated for that heavy tariff to ‘be reduced, as it appears “that
America is anxious to use our wool. For many years Australian purchases from the United States of America have been very high, and if that country took some of our wool it would help to adjust the trade balance.
This bill provides for research with a view to solving pasture, nutrition and drought problems as well as others related to the general production and disposal of manufactured goods. The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research has for some years carried out research work on problems appertaining to the wool industry. It works very quietly, but there is no doubt that it has done a remarkable volume of valuable work in the interests of the wool-growing industry, although it has not yet been able to solve all of its problems. For instance, it has helped in combating the blow-fly menace, and is- still endeavouring to dispose of it altogether. I suggestthat the council should be given the task of investigating a serious menace to the sheep industry, which- has increased greatly- during- the years of war. I refer to the- ravages of dingoes, which have increased alarmingly in numbers, largely as- the result of man-power shortages. Most graziers have been able to do very little in the way of trapping, poisoning and shooting these wests during the war. Dingo packs have increased so much that they are now attacking sheep on properties’ which prior to- the war had never hew* sub jjected to the i r d depredations. Recently I visited north-western Queensland and learned at first hand about the damage that dingoes are doing. It is- analarming, fact that some sheep-raisers baree had to- sell’ what sheep were left totitans by the dingoes: and undertake some other form of primary production. Others ba>3e- not been able to- breed sheep, for- the last three years, and have lost many of their- breeding ewes-. The Council’ for Scientific and Industrial Research could experiment with a view to- introducing some fatal disease- to dingo packs- so that, in time, they would be completely wiped’ out. I realize that there are many dangers, and’ difficulties, associated! with such a. project,, but- it might he- possible’ for the council tpi discover m method of quickly destroying dingoes without, menacing other live-stock. The scheme- might affect tame dogs, but they could always- be replaced from areas where there are no dingoes. At any rate, some definite move should be made to destroy the dingo.
The Australian Wool Board has been administering the Wool Publicity and Research Act since 193-6, and has done a remarkably good job with the small funds at its disposal. In 1944 it was provided with the very limited sum of £82,000 obtained, by means of a tax of 6d. a hale on all wool produced Thar is a remarkably small amount to be expended on research and publicity for
D’i industry that is worth £74,000,000 annually to Australia. The synthetic fibre industry, which is directly challenging the wool industry-, expends millions- of pounds every year on research and publicity. The bill before the Senate provides for the raising of a sum of approximately £650,000 a year- by means of a tax om. growers of 2s. a bale on all1 wool produced and an equal subsidy from the Government. This is a great improvement’, but in my opinion it will be necessary to expend even more money on research work and. .publicity if* we are to reestablish the wool industry in tha position which it occupied in the world’s- markets prior to. the wai-. The bill also propose? some important administrative changes. The Australian Wool- Board consisted Entile past of six members representing the Australian Woolgrower? Co-une-rr and one m ember nominated by the ©overnment. This bin proposes to appoint n board” consisting, of one government nominee, three representatives of the Australian Woolgrowers’ Council” and’ three representatives of the Australian. Tool! Producers’ Federation.
Sitting; suspended from 12.1^5 to 2.15 gim,.
Senator- COOPER,’. - I cam understand (she- Gov.ernment’s desire fewa different basis of representation- sine? other, “bodies representative of woolgrowers: have been established”, but some explanations of the departure from- theundertaking given by the Prime Minist.er (Mr. Curtin’)’ in November last’ should- be forthcoming. The* right honorable gentleman then said! that the- Australian’ Wool.growers Council would’ have four representatives on the Austalian’ Wool’ Baaed’-.. and that two members would be nominated by the Australian Wool Producers Federation. I assume that that statement was made only after careful consideration, following consultation with those two bodies. Probably the ratio mentioned was considered fair in view of the fact that the number of sheep owned by members of the Australian Woolgrowers Council exceeded the number owned by members of the Australian Wool Producers Federation. However, the fact that the latter body represents more individual sheep-owners may be the reason for the change.
– The basis of representation is the number of wool-growers, rather than the number of sheep.
– That is arguable. I still cannot understand why the basis should have been altered after the two organizations had come to an agreement regarding representation. Senator Aylett said that we should aim at manufacturing the whole of the Australian wool clip in this country, but many difficulties will have to be overcome before that stage can be reached. In the first place, Australia uses only about 10 per cent, of the total wool produced in the Commonwealth. There is nothing to prevent Australian manufacturers from exporting woollen goods to other countries if such goods can compete in the world’s markets with the products of other countries.
– The trouble is that a monopoly exists.
– (Australian manufacturers have not been prevented from selling their goods outside Australia. At present Australian manufacturers have an advantage over their competitors in that local manufacturers have first choice of Australian wools at appraisement centres. That wool is paid for at the appraised price, plus a small surcharge which is lower than the difference between the appraised price and the amount which the United Kingdom Government pays for Australian wool. The Australian manufacturer receives two advantages - a choice of wools and no charges for freight, insurance and other imposts in respect of transport overseas.
– It is time that the Government stepped in and did something for the industry.
– The future of this industry lies largely with manufacturers and workers in Australia. With representatives of the Australian Workers Union and the Textile Workers Union on the Wool Consultative Council, members of those bodies may learn that it is not so easy to do what some of them would like to do. The representatives of those unions may be able to persuade their fellow workers to do the things necessary to make a success of the industry, so that woollen goods of Australian manufacture will be able to compete in the world’s markets, and thereby lead to a big development of our export trade. I am glad that other bodies will have representatives on the Wool Consultative Council. That body will consist of representatives of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, the Australian Wool Board, the manufacturers of woollen goods, the textile distributors, technical education authorities, the Australian Workers Union, and the Australian Textile Workers Union. I should like to see an additional representative of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, because of the great variety of work undertaken by that body. The advice of one of its experts in another division would be of great benefit to the council. Nevertheless, I welcome the establishment of a council representing so many different aspects of the wool industry. If it consists of practical men who have the welfare of Australia at heart, and are desirous of seeing the wool industry of this country in both its primary and secondary aspects advanced so that more and more employment may be provided, a great deal of good will result. A great responsibility will rest on the members of the Wool Consultative Council, because the Government must be guided largely by their advice. They will have it in their power to do much for the wool-growing industry, and if the money at their disposal be wisely expended, the results should be continued prosperity for the wool industry and for Australian people generally.
.- The Acting Leader of the Opposition (Senator Leckie) said that the Opposition would not oppose the bill, and that every honorable senator opposite was free to express his own views regarding it. It is true that there has been no actual opposition to the measure, although some honorable senators opposite have criticized certain details, particularly in regard to matters of administration. In their discussion of the bill honorable senators opposite see in to have overlooked the needs of the nation; they have concentrated on matters of administration and have suggested that wool is the only factor to be taken into consideration. I remind them. tha.t. the needs of Australian people must be considered, and that it is important to have a national outlook in this matter. The National Parliament should not hand over its powers to any outside body over which it has no control. Unfortunately, parliamentary control has largely been superseded by control by boards, over which the Parliament has little or no control. Tn this measure, the Parliament will retain control through the Minister.
– Through three Ministers.
– In practice, control will be vested in the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture, who will be responsible to the Cabinet. In turn, the Cabinet will be responsible to the Parliament, and ultimately to the people. Tn too many instances has power which should remain with the Parliament been delegated to boards, to the detriment of the people of Australia.
Although the bill provides for a voluntary levy on wool-growers that levy is tantamount to a tax. The Government will pay a subsidy equivalent, to the amount provided by the levy, and the total sum so raised will constitute a fund for the purposes set out in the bill. That also must be administered .by the Government, that is, by the Treasury. Hence, the interest of the Treasurer in this measure. However, in the past the government of . the day has always accepted recommendations made by bodies of this kind. I know of no case in which, it has rejected the recommendations of such bodies, although it may have amended such recommendations in order to gain better results. Honorable senators opposite object to the procedure proposed for the appointment of the chairman of the board. I do not know why they should do so because the same procedure, in principle, is followed in the appointment of chairmen of directors of private companies, including pastoral companies, about which they seem to know a good deal. Generally speaking, the chairmen of private companies are chosen by the shareholders.
– That is a new one.
– Generally the shareholders appoint the chairman, although in isolated cases the procedure may be different. “Why should not the people of Australia, through the Government, appoint the chairman of the instrumentality which it, is proposed to set up under the measure?
– That is what we say should be done.
– No. Honorable senators opposite are asking that the chairman, be elected only by those engaged in the industry. However, the people generally are vitally interested in wool as a commodity, and it should be handled for the benefit of the people as a whole. I emphasize the principle that the people of Australia are represented by the Parliament, and through the Government of the day they should retain control of instrumentalities of this kind, and should have some voice in the election of chairmen of such bodies. .Surely, there is nothing wrong with that principle. With respect to the other provisions of the measure, honorable senators opposite generally support the bill, but a few have raised minor points in respect of which they present their own particular point of view. One honorable senator, for instance, praised the work being done by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, hut, at the same time, contended, more or less that the price of wool is really the only factor. That is not the case, because we can increase and improve our production of wool apart altogether from concentrating on supplying world markets. For instance, one way to increase production would be to place the manufactured article within the means of a greater number of people in our country than is the case to-day. i remember the tremendous howl from vested interests when the Labour movement attempted to establish the steelmanufacturing industry in Australia. It was said that we -could n’ot hope to compete against the product of cheap-labour countries, such as Ohina and India. However, the Labour movement hammered away at that proposal, “until eventually the steel-manufacturing industry was established ‘here. And with what result? Despite our high standard of wages Australia now produces, at a lower cost, -steel -equal in quality to that produced in any other country. “We are able to do so mainly “through competent management ‘and mechanization -of the industry. Likewise, we should fee able to establish an efficient woollen .manufacturing industry capable of competing on the markets of the world. Senator Gibson said “Chat whilst the price .of wool received by ‘the ;grower was ls. 3d. per lb., a woollen .serge suit cost £12. Personally, .1 believe that it would he difficult to -buy a woollen serge suit under £18. However, on the figures given by the honorable .senator it is .clear . t,halt .after the wool is :sold by the grower Lt is exploited by many interests ; or the high cost of the finished article in ‘comparison with the price .received by the grower ;can >only be -explained by in~ efficiency in *he manufacturing industry.. En that (sphere alone the board proposed to be Bet OP under this measure ‘will .have a “fruitful .field for investigation. :Lt should -.fina1 out Ac reason for the excessive cost of the “finished , ar.ticle in relation .to .the price paid to the .grower for this wool. .’Obviously, many interests must now get in “icnt” out-:o.f it, .’although these interests do not do a tap of work in <the manufacture .of the finished article. I .recall (that ?som.e Taw material changed hands .about .four :or *Sm times while in transit .from Australia to its destination overseas,, and <out of each transaction someone made a very substantial profit. (Et is obvious that in the .sale :and . manufacture -of woollen products in this ^country that practice .-Still continues. I can see mo reason .why, when the grower receives is. 3d. per lb. for ‘his wool, the people of ‘this country should ite obliged to pay :£1’2 for -a woollen serge suit ‘manufactured here. As the result -of inquiries ,made into this aspect -some time ago, it -was f ound that scouring doubled She tpri.ce of the greasy -wool, and that costs in manufacture more “than trebled that price. However, after ‘that, the -cost soared out of all proportion -to ‘the ser vices rendered in respect of the sale and distribution of “the finished ‘article. ‘This rocketing of costs, of course, is but one of the weaknesses of the present capitalist system which enables so many people to get. a “ cut “ out of a commodity when they make no contribution -whatever towards its production or distribution. The Australian “Wool Board which is now to be reconstituted did a good job in publicizing the “merits of wool. It went ‘into the highways and “by-ways of the world preaching the virtues of wool and established a reputation for Australian wool. There can be no doubt about that; but it is not sufficient to sell merely the raw material. We must deal with every phase of the problem. 9For instance, lie new board, with the ‘aid of its scientific :aavisers, should evolve ways and ‘means of increasing the average production of wool for each sheep. I know of instance? where individual sheep have produced fleeces weighing up to 19 lb., but the average weight of wool produced by -each sheep is only 9 ‘lb. There is a valuable “field for research. Perhaps this ‘line oF activity could ‘best be .carried out not -so much among the big “flocks as among the small flocks. “We should gradually cull out sheep w’hich have changed hands over and -over again. “For ‘instance, a grazier may buy 1,000 sheep to-day and within a short time,, if “he has the -chance of making a profit of, .say, ls. a head, he will dispose of ike same lot of sheep. That transaction is followed ‘by other similar ‘transactions. With proper control we should be able to cull out thousands of such sheep, and, at the same time, maintain our present production of wool, or even increase the present production, from fewer s’heep. This would also enable graziers to improve their pastures, ‘and help +IIi bm to ‘deal ‘more ‘effectively <with such problems as “soil erosion. The industry as ‘a whole would “be well ‘advised to follow the example set by the Government of South Australia -with .respect “-to the dairying industry. In that “State the average production -of milk from each co-w ‘was greatly increased ‘following the provision of pedigreed bulls. ®y paying attention -to the ‘higher breeding df sheep and ‘by eliminating culls, we shoUld ‘he able to increase the average production of wool from each sheep. It will mean years of toil. As Senator Gibson has pointed out, it will be necessary to cull unsuitable rams. This will have to be done rigidly and strictly by a controlling authority. I was amazed at Senator Cooper’s scheme for supplying hand looms free of cost for export to China so that our wool could be used in that country.
– lt worked with kerosene lamps.
– Yes ; but that scheme was undertaken by an American firm, which produced the lamps by the million, and distributed them in China as an advertisement for its lamp oil. The cost of the lamps of course was charged against the cost of the kerosene, l t would cost millions of pounds to undertake such a scheme in connexion with looms. It would be a retrograde step if we were to adopt Ghandi’s view that mechanization of industry must be resisted. We should use every mechanical device available to us for the benefit of the people generally. If labour can be saved by mechanization, then it should be saved. We should not even contemplate making hand looms. In any case, the task of producing them in sufficient quantities to make a scheme such as that suggested by Senator Cooper workable, would be beyond us. We would have to import the looms and then export them to China. That would be a roundabout process. Again, I say that there is no reason why the whole process of converting the raw material of the woollen industry into the finished product should not bc carried out in this country. That might take two or three years to accomplish, but with the proper mechanization of industry it could be done. Why should we export raw materials to Great Britain for manufacture into woollen garments and import the finished article?
– Does the honorable senator suggest that the woollen industry in this country is not mechanized now i
– It should be the aim of Australian manufacturers to place the finished products on the markets of the world. That is not being done to-day, and the reason is not solely the shortage of man-power due to the war. Prior to the war we were 1]ot com- peting with other countries in the manufacture of these products. Manufacturers claimed that costs in this country were too high. They were not too high, as statistics will show. In one mill in this country woollen cloth was produced at 30s. a yard, but it was sold on the market at 32s. a yard. Obviously, somebody was getting a “ cut “ out of it in the process of distribution. The cloth to which I refer was a woollen serge, which, of course, cannot be bought now owing to the exigencies of war. It will lie necessary to have this industry more efficiently mechanized than it was before the war. Instead of suggesting as honorable senators opposite are doing that we should concentrate on the export of wool, let us do our utmost to establish to a greater degree the woollen manufacturing industry in this country. We were once told that we could not produce steel, but to-day steel can be produced here cheaper than anywhere else in the world, and can be sold on the world’s markets in competition with the products of other countries. The same could be done with woollen materials, clothing, blankets, &c. I draw attention also to the success of the carbide industry in Tasmania. It was claimed that that industry could not function in this country on a profitable basis, but that view has been proved to be wrong.
– That industry has the assistance of a substantial duty on imported carbide.
– That is so. There was also a duty on steel. I am not concerned with whether or not a duty is required, so long as the woollen industry can be established successfully in Australia.
– The steel and carbide industries were established by private enterprise.
– It does not make any difference whether the job is done by private enterprise or Government enterprise as long as it is done efficiently.
– This bill does not provide for private enterprise.
– The bill is intended to help anybody who wants to get on with the job. Apparently, because it does not specifically provide assistance for a certain section of wool-growers in this country, it has no merit in the eyes of the honorable senator.
– I do not say that.
– The principle of the hill is right. I trust that the research activities for which this measure provides will include a thorough investigation of the manufacturing side. Cn South Australia millions and millions of gallons of water are going to waste every day in the River Murray and within twenty miles of that river there are huge deposits of brown coal. There wo have the water and the power; all that is required is the mechanical equipment to carry out the processing of wool. At the very least we should have woolscouring plants in operation to handle wool grown in the Murray, Darling and the Mumimbidgee areas. Transport by water is cheap. At one time huge quantities of wool were transported by river craft, but that traffic has dwindled away because of the wish to send wool straight to the seaboard for export. Not many years ago there were many woolscouring plants in operation in New South Wales. To-day, they are idle, and have been for many years, because it suited certain interests to have Australian wool scoured and manufactured overseas. That is one direction in which this measure could be used to assist the industry. The scouring of wool at inland centres would considerably reduce transport costs. Another advantage of carrying out wool scouring in this country would be the availability of the valuable by-products. The finest lanoline in the world is made from Australian wool. To-day we sell the unscoured wool to overseas manufacturers and then repurchase by-products such as lanoline at an enormously enhanced price. With a view to increasing the manufacture of woollen goods in this country, an investigation could be made also of climatic conditions in the areas in which power and water are available. A controlling factor in the manufacture of woollen materials is r,he prevailing atmospheric conditions.
The bill is on the right lines. It may have minor imperfections, but I am prepared to support it in its present form. If it can be shown after the bill has been in operation for say eighteen months or two years, that certain amendments are desirable for the more efficient operation of the scheme, action could then be taken to rectify whatever defects have become apparent. I understand that certain amendments will be made by the Government; whilst the bill is in committee, but generally speaking, the measure embodies a sound principle. Again I emphasize the advisability of carrying research beyond the production phase of the industry, and of making a thorough investigation of manufacturing potentialities. The board will be in a position to give advice to manufacturers as to how they can produce goods suitable for competition on the world’s markets. If at a later date it were found that assistance is required in this undertaking, then an approach could be made to the Government.
– I think that the Senate has agreed upon three or four main principles. The first is that the prosperity of Australia as a whole is dependent upon wool - when I speak of wool I do so in general terms. Secondly, we are agreed that there is an accumulation of approximately 10,000.000 bales of wool to-da.v which belongs to the British Government. Probably by the end of hostilities that quantity will have reached 15,000,000 bales. That wool must go into use. Australia has been paid for it, and those who have purchased it have the right to say how it shall be distributed and manufactured. In this case, the wool has been paid for by the Government of Great Britain. The other point on which we are agreed is that wool has a serious competitor in synthetic fibres. In 1939, no less a sum than £3,000,000 was paid by Australia in freight to Great Britain on wool alone, and. the freight charge on 40 cubic feet of wool is considerably greater than on the cubic measurement of any other commodity which we export. Our wool freight helps to subsidize, as it were, the freight on our other exportable surpluses. I shall not digress by saying how wool affects our prosperity, except by pointing out that, if we lost our wool industry, great areas of Australia now devoted to the production of wool could not be used so profitably in carrying on any other industry.
The object of the bill is, first, to protect the Australian industry, and, secondly, to assist the Government to distribute the great accumulation of wool. The Government of Great Britain is well conversant with the fact that a slump in wool prices would affect adversely the prosperity of Australia, and for that reason I cannot imagine it would willingly allow the price of wool to slump unduly in the near future. Perhaps I am an optimist, but I believe that, having a keen business sense, it will take all possible steps to have the accumulated stocks of wool utilized as soon as possible. Let us consider the matter on a commercial basis. The Government of Great Britain has bought Australia’s wool as a business deal, and desires to see prosperity in the world. It will therefore do all it can to ensure that the accumulation of wool shall be manufactured. “We have had over five years of war, and the people of all nations must be clothed. I am hopeful therefore that the great accumulation of wool will disappear.
– It did after the last war.
– We have reason to hope that history will repeat itself in that regard. I happen to have six children, and I desire them to have woollen clothing. My wardrobe and theirs are fairly low at present, and I wish to replenish them. Australians are said to be the favoured darlings of the world, and if the clothing position is acute in Australia, the people in other parts of the world must be similarly affected
The greatest competitor of wool is synthetic fibre. The wool industry must not hide its head in the sand like an ostrich, and say that competition from that quarter need not trouble it, but it must face the facts. The Government should not subsidize competing fibres at the expense of the wool industry. On the other hand, the use of synthetic materials may promote the use of wool, and I sincerely hope that it will. I understand that a certain fibre which has appeared on the market is used in the spinning of wool. After the wool has been spun the synthetic material is dissolved, leaving a transparent article.
We must not lose sight of the fact that the industry must supply what the public demands. The people cannot be forced to accept an article which they do not want, hut we may be able to guide them into certain channels. I hope that successive governments will bear that fact in mind.
Reference has been made to India, China and the United States of America. I sometimes wonder why cotton holds the great sway it does in America. I thought in my ignorance that the United States of America would be a much bigger user of wool than it is. Cotton, of course, plays an important part in its internal economy. It is said that on account of the central heating of houses, woollen underclothes are not so necessary in that country as in others. In India and China, almost every cottage possesses its own little loom. If we could induce the Chinese and Indians to weave Australian wool on their cottage looms, in order to clothe themselves, and so increase the demand for our wool, we might find a market in those countries for it. In India, there are 150,000,000 people who could wear woollen clothing for seven months of the year, and similar conditions obtain in China.
I am interested in the fat lamb industry, and I realize that perhaps graziers will have to take a different attitude to the industry than in the past. Personally, I like the Romney-merino cross for the raising of fat lambs, but in the fat lamb districts of South Australia, sheep-farmers have their own ideas of the best varieties from which to raise them. Perhaps in future the industry may be able to be standardized sufficiently to limit the crossing process to four or five breeds of sheep.
I hope, with Senator Aylett, that it will be found possible to manufacture wool in this country on a large scale, so that Australia may produce woollen clothing in successful competition with ‘the rest of the world. Such an ambition offers a challenge to the present-day Labour organizations. They could go into the world’s markets and purchase wool at the same price as anybody else, if they believed that they could manufacture it in Australia, and place a good article on the market which could compete successfully against the products of any other country. That would he a complete answer to the arguments of the Opposition. That would prove definitely that honorable senators on this side have advanced unsound arguments. The Labour organizations could put their own money into the venture, and the workers could devote a portion of their wages to financing it. That would be the most; convincing answer which they could give to the world. Honorable senators on both sides of the chamber should sink their minor differences. If we do not come together more than in the past, this country will be ruled, not by a Labour government or one formed by the Opposition, but by a party which I should be sorry to see in power in this Parliament, because it seem9 to have little regard for law and order and democratic rule. If we could spin our own wool and sell it. in competition with the rest of the world, we should bring about real prosperity in this country.
I believe that the Government fully realizes the importance of the wool industry. The wool-grower certainly does, because he is prepared to put £325,000 into a fund for the purpose of keeping himself in a job. It will he necessary to ensure that the money to be made available shall bc expended wisely. It may be desirable to increase the number of members of the Wool Consultative Council. I agree with Senator Gibson that the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research should have at least two representatives instead of one on the council. That matter deserves consideration by the Government. We must endeavour to impress upon the people the value of wool so that there will be a market for the clips which will be shorn in. the near future. I doubt whether growers will be able to produce wool at a much lower cost than they are doing at present. The existing price is reasonable, and I agree with Senator Gibson that it is fatal to raise the price of any commodity too high. Our aim should be to establish a price that will provide a fair return to the wool-growers and yet enable woollen goods to be sold to consumers at fair rates.
– What is a fair return ?
– It varies. To-day’s price is a fairly good average price.
– I consider that it should not be lower than 18d. per lb.
– The present price is about 15£d. per lb. for a fair average clip. Reference has been made during this debate to wool which has brought 40 1/4d. per lb., but I point out that sheep producing that quality of wool might yield only 3 or 4 lb. per fleece. It would be a very fine light wool. The bulk of Australia’s clip consists of good average wool. Men who understand the industry know very well how many pounds of wool they can expect from any breed of sheep. They realize that a cross-bred sheep producing a good clip is a more profitable proposition than a merino sheep which produces slightly better quality but lighter wool. The weight of wool taken from the cross-bred sheep decides whether the producer’s bank balance will be favorable or otherwise. I commend this bill, which, subject to one or two minor alterations, should be a very satisfactory measure. Let us get to work and popularize this wonderful Australian product.
.- The opposition to the bill by honorable senators opposite has been very subdued. Senator Gibson ridiculed the fact that there was a display within the precincts of Parliament House showing three rams and three ewes in one pen. I remind the honorable senator that at. Camden Vale, the MacArthur-Onslow estate, where the Australian wool industry was pioneered, there is a picture showing a similar scene. Probably the display referred to by the honorable senator was copied from that picture. I am not convinced that the person who arranged the display knew nothing about wool. The opposition to the bill expressed by the Acting Leader of the Opposition (Senator Leckie) was based mainly on the proposed composition of the Australian Wool Board. He also attacked the Government for allegedly attempting to destroy the wool industry by prohibiting the manufacture of double-weft cloth during the war. Nobody knows better than honorable senators opposite that such a measure was necessary in the interests of Australia’s war effort. The honorable gentleman omitted to point out that the quantity of double-weft -cloth, being manufactured to-day is equal to that produced in the pre-war period. The opposition of honorable gentlemen opposite to the proposed composition of the Australian “Wool Board convinces me that they are running true to form and looking after the interests of the big men. I have before me a table of statistics relating to the wool industry for 1937-38. There may have been slight variations since then in the figures relating to numbers of sheep and the production of wool but the table is accurate for my purpose. It shows that there is a great preponderance of small growers over large growers. Honorable members will agree that a man who produces 50 bales of wool or less annually is generally regarded as a small grower. That is the accepted standard.
– That would be the production from 3,000 sheep.
– lt would be the production from- 1,500 sheep, working on the basis of approximately 3 bales of wool from .100 sheep, the production varying slightly according to the quality of the wool. The figures show that producers of fewer than 50 bales per annum number 73,181 whereas producers of !>0 bales and over number 13,266.
– “What does that prove ?
– My point is that the majority of the small growers are members of the Australian “Wool Producers Federation, and that, the large growers are members of the Australian “Woolgrowers Council. Honorable members opposite are urging that the Australian “Woolgrowers Council should have greater representation on the Australian Wool Board than is proposed in the bill. I know that some members of the council are also members of the federation, but I contend that the members of the federation have a better claim to greater representation on the board than have the members of the council. The Australian Wool Board will exercise supervision over the industry generally. The aim of the board will be to protect the industry, as the apple and pear industry was protected by acts of Parliament governing the fruit industry, which dealt with small orchardists who were not keeping their orchards clean. Senator Gibson referred to foot-rot. The small men who are not in a position to pay such high prices as £300 for a stud ram must be protected. Such men buy their sheep instead of breeding them, and there is a risk that these sheep may bring foot-rot on to their clean soil. That danger must, be guarded against. Therefore, I” say that the 3,000 growers represented by the Australian Wool Producers Federation are entitled to the same representation as the 13,000 growers represented by the Australian Woolgrowers Council. I am sure that Senator Gibson ». ill not attempt to deny that, nor will any other honorable senator who claims to take a democratic view of the situation. The Acting Leader of the Opposition (.Senator Leckie) criticized the Government for providing a factory at Rutherford for the production of rayon. However, I remind him that in the prewar period Australia imported 60,000,000 yards of rayon annually. The factory at Rutherford, working at full capacity, will produce only 20,000,000 yards of rayon a year. In doing so, it will supply a need that exists in Australia and it will provide employment for a large number of people. I agree with Senator Mattner that we cannot force the public to buy woollen goods. It is, only necessary to examine statistics of the alarming increase of the demand for synthetic fibres to realize the serious effect that synthetic materials will have on the wool industry. Senator Cooper said that the continued prosperity of Australia and of the wool industry is dependent upon the maintenance of the living standards of our people. I go further than that and say that the prosperity of the country and the stability of the wool industry, and every other industry in Australia, are dependent upon the improvement of the standards of living of the peoples of t1’” world. Many honorable senators will ask, “ How is that to be brought about?” Let us hope that the conference at present meeting at San Francisco will make some contribution to that desirable end. When the war in the Pacific ends, we shall have markets at our front door. The living standards of peoples in the Pacific areas can be improved, and the expansion of our woollen markets will be dependent upon that. I repeat that any improvements of the methods of production, manufacture and distribution of wool will be dependent upon the improvement of the living standards of the peoples of the world. Reference has been made to a statement by the Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin) that the Australian Woolgrowers Council should have four representatives, and the Australian Wool Producers Federation should have two representatives on the Australian Wool Board. The explanation of the changed representation may be that since then the Prime Minister has seen the figures giving the membership of those two bodies, and wishes to avoid doing an injustice to a large number of small wool-growers.
– The Minister is assuming that all the small wool-growers belong to the Australian Wool Producers Federation.
– No one has objected to the basis that a small grower is one who produces under 50 bales of wool. Senator Leckie was wrong when he said that the basis was 3,000 sheep. If Senator Leckie be right in his contention, I would be justified in assuming that of the 13,000 growers who produce the remainder of the wool, only 5,000 are members of the Australian Woolgrowers Council. In view of the facts which I have set out, I see no reason why there should be any objection to the changed representation of the two bodies mentioned. I am pleased at the reception given to the bill, and hope that it will have a speedy passage.
– The Government is to be congratulated on the introduction of this bill to promote the greater use of wool, which has received the general approval of honorable senators on both sides of the chamber. It is well to remind the Senate that the Labour party, which was organized primarily to improve conditions for industrial workers, has not lost sight of the interests of other sections of the community, but has at all times endeavoured to assist them. I am at a loss to understand why there should be any disputation in regard to the representation of various bodies on the Australian Wool Board. Honorable senators’ opposite suggest that the members of the Australian Woolgrowers Council are entitled to more representatives on the board than are the growers who comprise the Australian Wool Producers Federation. That criticism comes from a section of the Opposition which seems to think that it must consider first the interests of men in business in a big way. The Australian Woolgrowers Council consists not only of woolgrowers; it includes also representatives of various agencies which are engaged in the disposal of wool, such as Goldsbrough, Mort and Company Limited, Dalgety and Company Limited, and others.
– Many of them are station-owners.
– Some who are nominally station-owners represent financial concerns which control the stationowners, especially those engaged in woolgrowing in a small way. To such organizations small growers have had to appeal for assistance in the past when drought or bush fires have taken toll of their flocks, or when prices for wool have not been sufficient to meet the cost of production. The Australian Wool Producers Federation represents mainly wool-growers in a small way. I emphasize that these men are wool-growers, and are just as anxious for the success of the wool industry as are the big graziers who have formed the Australian Woolgrowers Council. There should be no quarrel with the composition of the board on the ground that one body is more interested in the industry than is the other.
Senator Gibson suggested that the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research should have two representatives on the Wool Consultative Council. Honorable senators are agreed that the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research has performed much valuable work in connexion with various industries. Senator Gibson was right in saying that a wool-grower who had foot-rot on his property had only himself to blame because if he were to follow the advice of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research he could eradicate that disease from his flocks. This bill aims at providing means for investigating the problems confronting the wool industry. If the argument of honorable senators opposite were carried to its logical conelusion, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research would have many representatives on the Wool Consultative Council because it engages in many activities which affect wool.
In his second-reading speech the Minister for Health (Senator Fraser) said that, in addition to dealing with other matters, the Wool Consultative Council would be responsible for scientific, biological and technical research regarding wool production, and also for research relating to the manufacturing processes as applied to wool fibres, and the national and international economic aspects of the wool industry. Some of those matters are dealt with by the Department of Commerce and Agriculture. Although the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research is to have only one representative on the Wool Consultative Council, the representative will have at his disposal the advice of all the technical officers who are his colleagues, and therefore the objection which has been raised to the composition of the Wool Consultative Council is not well founded. Senator Mattner was right in drawing attention to the fact that all the Australian wool clip until one year after the termination of war has already been sold. Therefore, the industry must prepare for the postwar years. I was interested to hear the honorable senator say that he favoured a certain breed of sheep. T understand that we have over 50 breeds of sheep in Australia, each of which it is claimed serves a special purpose. Some farmers are primarily concerned with the raising of fat lambs, whilst others are primarily interested in the production of wool. At every important agricultural or pastoral exhibition in our capital cities, one sees those interested in particular breeds of sheep stressing the value of those breeds and advertising their particular virtues with the object of inducing more farmers to handle them. The board which it is proposed to set up under this measure can make a very valuable contribution to the future welfare of the industry by sponsoring scientific investigations into this problem of the variety of breeds, having regard to the production of fatlambs and mutton, and production for wool. Early in the history of the wheat industry in this country, we had a plethora of kinds of wheat, but the wheatgrowers quickly got down to a scientific basis and concentrated only on those types which were drought resisting, or had special merit in resisting certain pests peculiar to particular districts. The result is that to-day farmers grow wheat only of the type most suited to their respective areas. The same lesson can be learned by our wool-growers. As the result of scientific investigations we should be able to produce breeds most suited to particular districts. I believe, of course, that the merino will remain the basic breed in the future.
Some honorable senators opposite have bemoaned the competition from synthetic fibres. They protest that the wool industry is suffering as the result of the efficiency of synthetic manufactures, and their prospect of supplanting wool for clothing. Senator Leckie said that this Government is subsidizing the production of synthetic fibres.
– So it is.
-Does any honorable senator suggest for one moment that the present Government has been responsible for the manufacture of synthetic fibres? The people who have been responsible for the introduction of synthetic fibres on the markets of the world are the very interests which honorable senators opposite support. Those interests are always seeking to find new avenues of investment for their capital, and when they find that they can draw greater dividends, they do not care whether the development of a. particular commodity, or industry, will destroy either the wool industry or any other industry of this country. Their only interest is profit. What is the explanation, for the advent of synthetic fibres on the world’s markets to-day?
– This Government gave those interests a factory.
– The Government of which Senator Leckie was a member imported from Japan millions of pounds worth of rayons. Yet, to-day, with an air of injured innocence, he says that the present Government has been responsible for the expansion of the trade in synthetic fibres in this country. Senator Gibson says that this Government gave a factory to the manufacturers of synthetic materials. If such a factory were made available to those interests solely in order to enable the Government to meet war-time requirements, one could hardly say that by such action the Government has jeopardized the wool industry. After all, the Government must make the best of the situation as it finds it having regard to war-time conditions. The argument advanced by Senator Leckie is reasonable from the point of view of the interests which his party represents in this Parliament. He has presented a strong case on their behalf, but his statement that the Government had destroyed the wool industry by permitting the use of an inferior material in order to overcome some war-time difficulty, and the Government is now endeavouring to resurrect the wool industry, is obviously absurd. I admit that the use of the single weft material is open to debate, but that action was forced upon the Government by the war conditions, and was taken in the interests of the defence of this country. The Government was obliged to make the fullest possible use of the limited manpower at its disposal. Having regard to those facts, Senator Leckie displays bad taste when, because the war position has now improved, he reproaches the Government for its action in that direction. However, his argument with respect to the wool industry itself is not correct. Why was it that in 1936 the wool-growers decided to levy themselves voluntarily in order to create a fund to combat competition from synthetic fibres? While the Australian Wool Board, which represented the big growers of this country, had a monopoly of the industry they were not very solicitous for the future of the industry. Indeed, their attitude at that time was: “ Here is our product, take it or lump it. We will not do anything to popularize our products.” In 1936, when they realized the progress being made in the production of synthetic fibres they began to get busy, and created a fund to combat that competition. Senator 0’Flaherty expressed the opinion that the Australian Wool Board which is being re-constituted did a good job in publicizing wool. I have my doubts on that point. Of the money raised by that body, approximately £50,000 was expended on the establishment of a London office and the employment of a secretary. I do not know what work was actually performed by that officer, or office, for the benefit of the Australian wool industry. However, the expenditure of so large a sum in that direction should awaken us to the necessity of ensuring government control of the funds proposed to be raised under this measure. The Government must retain control of these funds in order to ensure that finance will be available for publicity, when it is necessary to undertake publicity, and, at the same time, ensure that finance will be available for scientific research when such work is deemed to be more urgent. The Government, therefore, looks at this problem from a national point of view, and in the interests of the industry as a whole. Pears have been expressed as to the prospects of future sales on the world’s markets. Honorable senators opposite have suggested that certain things should be done with a view to obtaining a substantial share of the American market. We, of course, as a wool-growing country, deplore the fact that the consumption of wool in the United States of America per capita is very low; but honorable senators opposite forget thatthe United States of America is more concerned with the maintenance of its great cotton industry. That country has placed a duty on the importation of wool for the purpose of protecting its cotton industry. What would we say were it suggested that we should reduce our tariff protection in respect of some important primary product? We have always strongly objected to the importation of manufactured goods which compete with the products of our secondary industries. Therefore, I am afraid that we shall have very great difficulty in, inducing the Government of the United States of America to lower its duty on wool.
– Even if it did so, we should have to reciprocate in respect of some other commodity.
– That is so. However, there are other markets available for our wool. Unfortunately, many of those countries which are prospective customers for our wool will take some time to return to normal. It is pleasing to note that India is gradually increasing its consumption of wool. This year, India imported a record quantity of wool. If as the result of the “ new order “ for which we all hope at the end of the war, it is possible to raise the standard of living of the Indian people, I have no doubt that they will be pleased to purchase Australian wool. Other peoples such as the Chinese also are potential wool consumers. We must take steps to ensure that in this country we shall produce a wool which will be suitable for those countries. Here again the instrumentality which this bill creates can be of untold advantage to the wool-grower. 1 have no fear for the immediate future of the wool industry. When the war ends, millions of people will be anxious once again to be clothed in good quality suitings. In addition, many thousands of men and women being discharged from the fighting forces and returning to their civilian occupations “will require new clothing. This will create a considerable demand for Australian wool. Despite the destruction which has been wrought in Great Britain as the result of the war, [ believe that British textile mills are still capable of meeting civilian requirements of clothing, just as they have been able to produce ample stocks of military clothing during the war. The fact that sailors, soldiers and airmen in Great Britain are still being clothed most effectively indicates that whatever destruction may have been caused to British industries, a large percentage of the textile mills are ‘ still intact, and will be ready to re-engage in civilian manufacture after the war. There, is nothing revolutionary in the suggestion that after the war Australia should become a great manufacturing country, as well as a great wool producing country. We have achieved that distinction in various commercial avenues. I recall that when the war started we discussed in this chamber the possibility of various commodities required for war purposes being manufactured in Australia. It was suggested in some quarters that our technicians would be incapable of producing these goods; but the war has shown us that what any other country can do we can do. To-day we are manufacturing aeroplane engines and soon we shall be manufacturing motor cars. In Australia already there is the genisis of an era of great manufacturing progress. We have mills capable of producing the finest quality cloth. In some cases this cloth may be slightly inferior to British cloth, but there are reasons for that. One reason, I am afraid, is that under the protection of a tariff upon imported cloths, some local manufacturers have not applied themselves assiduously to wan and means of achieving the utmost efficiency in the production of these materials. With the creation of a virtual monopoly in the home market, their attitude has been, “This will do”. It may be possible for the instrumentality contemplated in this measure to insist that these manufacturers shall devote sufficient time and attention to the production of an article of the highest standard so that instead of depending upon imported cloth, Australians will be proud to wear the locally produced article. Provided adequate attention is given to the development of this industry I see no reason why people in other countries should not clamour to purchase Australian clothing just as they are clamouring to-day to purchase certain other Australian commodities.
I believe that this measure, with one or two minor adjustments which I understand will be considered when the bill reaches the committee stage, will fill a long-felt need in this country, and that this movement which began originally as a small organization concerned largely with industrial disputes, will grow in national outlook. Australia, to fulfill its mission in the post-war world, must be not only a great primary producing nation, but also a great manufacturing nation. Holding that ideal, and being prepared to give expression to it in the interests of the nation as a whole, the Government has brought forth these proposals which will be of immense value to this country.
Fears have been expressed by honorable senators opposite with regard to the inroads that have been made in the wool industry by some of its competitors. I say that we need have no fear for the future of this industry. “Wool has been a staple Australian commodity in the past, and will continue as such for many generations. More than that, the wool industry is something of which Australians will always be proud, I commend this measure to honorable senators.
.- I shall vote for the second reading of this measure. Like other honorable senators I am hopeful that much good will accrue to the wool industry of Australia as a result of its passage. The organization which is now becoming evident in the wool industry throughout Australia is considerably overdue. This measure will enable the industry to bring itself into line with other primary industries which in the past have found it necessary to co-operate rather than compete with each other as they had done in years gone ‘by. For instance, the butter producers of Australia found it necessary to form cooperative organizations so that the number of brands of butter exported could be reduced and a standard commodity marketed. These steps undoubtedly resulted in considerable benefit to the butter industry. I realize that some of the actions taken to organize the butter industry could not be applied to the wool industry; but unlike some honorable senators who have spoken in the course of this debate, I do not entertain grave fear about the future of the wool industry as the result of competition by synthetic fabrics. T recall that by the end of the last war huge stocks of wool had accumulated in Australia, and some very novel suggestions were made as to how that accumulation should be disposed of. One was that it should be burned so that the new clips could be marketed without interference from the huge wartime accumulation. Another suggestion was that it should be dumped into the sea. However, all these forebodings were unwarranted, because it was not long before the stocks had been disposed of by careful feeding into the world markets. I subscribe to the view that after the war there will be a greater demand for wool in countries which up to date have not been regarded as wool using nations. I believe that a great awakening is taking place, and that people of many countries will not be satisfied with the type or quantity of clothing worn by them in the past. It is useless for us to rave about the synthetic textile industries. They are satisfying the public demand. I admit that the wool industry will have to be on the alert to meet this . competition, but the fact remains that synthetics such as rayon would not have come into existence had there been no public demand for them. I contend that there is room for both rayon and wool, because they serve different purposes. As my colleagues from Queensland know, the lighter type of clothing materials are absolutely essentia] in some parts of that State almost all the year round, and in the whole of the State during the summer months. We cannot gain anything by carrying on a vendetta against rayon. We should organize the wool industry to ensure that it shall take its proper place just as the rayon industry does.
I do not agree entirely with the sentiments expressed by Senator Aylett and also to a degree, by Senator Sheehan, in relation to the export of woollen products. One of the causes of international unrest in the past has been the lack of a sufficiently free flow of raw materials between various countries. There have been the “ haves “ and the “ have nots “. Certain countries have been in the privileged position of having a virtual monopoly of a commodity which in some cases they have withheld from other nations whose need for it has been just as great. This has resulted in international jealousy and ill feeling. If we decide that we shall not export wool in its greasy or partially scoured state, other countries may retaliate in the same manner with other commodities. It is not many years since only highly refined petrol was imported into this country for motor fuel. Now, large quantities of oil are imported in a crude state, and the entire refining process is carried out in
Australia. Cotton production in Australia has never had the successful results that were hoped for. “We have always been compelled to import a great deal of raw cotton, and will have to do so in future. If we object to the export of our raw wool what becomes of the trade of those countries which have raw cotton and other raw materials to export? Senator Aylett virtually said that we should export no raw wool but only finished woollen products.
I hope that the bill will result in much good to the industry. The personnel of the board and council to be established in order to operate the measure, need not worry us so much as the work which the members of those bodies will do. All of the growers are apparently prepared to work in close cooperation for the advancement of the interests of the industry, and I con.fidentally expect that good results will be obtained. The sum of money to be raised by direct levy and by government subsidy is comparatively small, provided the job is done well and the industry receives the anticipated benefit. I agree with Senator Gibson that the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research is entitled to greater representation on the Wool Consultative Council than is proposed in the bill. His suggestion that the manufacturing side of the industry as well as the production side should be adequately represented is reasonable.
– The Government cannot complain that the Opposition has raised objections to the bill. In my opinion the measure will have an important bearing on the future of the industry. Its basic principles meet with the approval of the Opposition, for it has been prepared to assist the industry after consultation with, and largely at the request of, those directly concerned with the raising of sheep. We are indebted to Senator Gibson for his excellent speech, which was prompted not by hostility to the bill but by a desire to assist the industry, in which he has had years of experience as a successful woolgrower. I am not alarmed about the future of the industry. After the last war wool was practically worthless. Owing to economic causes, people in other parts of the world were not sufficiently affluent to buy a commodity which was expensive compared with the price of other products which could be used in the manufacture of wearing apparel.
We might as well try to prevent the tide from ebbing and flowing as to attempt to hinder scientific progress. If a cheap article finds its way on the market as the result of scientific investigations, the people should not be penalized by being prevented from having the benefit of the discovery. Scientific knowledge should be applied to the great wool industry, and I see no reason to fear that wool will be unable to compete with synthetic fibres. Those most affected by the introduction of materials manufactured from synthetic fibres are the makers of cotton goods. Those engaged in the wool-growing industry have been improving the quality of their wool for a century, and it cannot truthfully be said that they have not paid close attention to the development and progress of the industry. Those engaged in sheep raising have been able to carry on the industry despite competition and the occurrence of droughts. Therefore I do not fear that the industry is likely to be destroyed in the near future.
Senator 0’Flaherty referred to the value of government control of industries, but speaking generally my view is that the Government should confine itself to assisting in the establishment of new industries and helping all industries by promoting scientific investigations. The honorable senator referred to Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited. The Government gave to that company tariff protection and a bounty, and that great undertaking which affords an outstanding example of private enterprise, has by efficient methods and the application of science to industry proved to be the keystone of this country during the war period.
The honorable senator said that Australia was manufacturing the cheapest steel in the world. That is quite true, but we must not take the war-time position of an industry as a standard when considering what should be done in the post-war period. The wool, steel and other industries of Australia will have to go into the melting pot. If the Atlantic Charter stands for what we believe it to stand, it is bound to play an important part in the adjustment of both primary and secondary industries to the requirements of peace-time. It should be abundantly clear that we are not the only people who will want to develop our industries and markets. We cannot be isolationists. We are not in the fortunate position of having a great home market consuming most of our products and leaving only a small exportable surplus. The opposite is the case. We must remember that our own needs are small in comparison with our production. We must apply science to industry so that we can produce our goode at a competitive export priCe. Let us examine the position of the wheat industry. Wheat should be grown in Australia as cheaply as in any other country. Nobody would suggest that science has not played a very important part in increasing wheat production by the use of superphosphate and the cultivation of types of wheat suitable to the varying climatic conditions. Yet we have been obliged to subsidize wheat heavily and compel Australians to pay an extremely high price for it so that we can sell it abroad at world parity. 1 am not unduly pessimistic about the wool industry, but I claim that one of our first considerations must be to reduce costs of production. We must ensure that the wool-growers themselves shall have a large measure of control over their own industry. That is the way to ensure success. The sugar industry in Australia is a good example of that. That industry had Government support of course, and bounties were paid and an embargo placed on the importation of sugar. Nevertheless, the producers controlled the industry, which has become successful and an asset to Australia. There should be no Government interference with the wool industry, and the Government’s appointees to the Australian Wool Board and the Wool Consultative Council should have not only theoretical knowledge of the industry but also practical experience. The Government should encourage experiments with the use of fertilizers, the improvement of pastures, irrigation, and, above all. the eradication of pests which have become a nightmare to producers in outback areas. Senator Cooper referred to one of the most troublesome of these pests, the dingoes. In addition to dingoes, there are rabbits and other pests which are playing havoc with primary production. Reafforestation to prevent soil erosion is another subject which requires thorough investigation. All these matters fall within the province of Government activity. I hope that the sanguine expectations of the Government and those who are engaged in the wool industry will be fully realized, and that the money to be provided for research and publicity will be used mainly in the application of science in such a way as to increase production and reduce costs, thus enabling us to sell high quality woollen goods overseas in successful competition with synthetic fibres, which some honorable senators fear will make great inroads into our wool industry. Senator Aylett said that all of our wool should be scoured, treated and manufactured within Australia. That is an impossible proposition. If we do so, we must expect retaliation from other countries. The honorable senator might just as well argue that all of our wheat should be gristed and exported as flour. We must remember that we owe something to other countries. To live up to the principles which we advocate, we must give some thought to the needs of those countries. If we endeavour to export only our manufactured products in competition with foreign countries, they will turn to other producers and buy what they need in unfinished form so as to provide employment for their own people in manufacturing the finished articles. I do not suggest that we should not scour wool and manufacture woollen goods in Australia, but to treat all of our wool in Australia would be wrong in principle, ft would be equally wrong to import raw materials only instead of manufactured goods. We must consider the problems of the patterns and dyes needed, for woollen goods. There are many thousands of different types of finished woollen cloth. In Great Britain, exclusive patterns are manufactured for only a few suits of clothes to meet the fastidious tastes of some buyers. We cannot cater for all the world’s requirements of patterns and weaves. I support Australian industries, but I contend that we must be realistic and take a practical view of our problems. We should follow a steady process of evolution and not attempt to do the impossible, which would cause disaster and failure. We must do the right thing in the interests of the welfare of our people. I support the bill, and I hope that, in committee, the Government will agree to certain amendments which have already been suggested.
– in reply - This debate has made it very clear that we are all of the opinion that the economic life of Australia is dependent largely upon the wool industry. I listened very attentively to the speech made by Senator Gibson, who displayed a practical and scientific knowledge of the wool industry. Unfortunately, he spoiled his speech by making a misstatement, which he persisted in repeating despite my efforts to correct him. This Government has always sought the co-operation of manu facturers, producers and unionists. It has endeavoured to co-operate with the primary producers in formulating legislation in their interests. Senator Gibson said that the wool-growers were not consulted before a delegation consisting of representatives of the Treasury and the Department of Commerce and Agriculture, and a number of other officials, left for the United Kingdom. Senator Gibson said that the wool-growers were not consulted, and that no person representing them accompanied the delegation.
– I said that the representation was not adequate.
– Obviously, the honorable senator spoke without any knowledge of the facts, because there are two representatives of Australian woolgrowers at the conference now being held in London, Mr. Hitchins and Mr. Cowdery. Senator Leckie contended that appointments to the Australian Wool Board, particularly to the position of chairman, should not be made by the Minister, but I remind him that previous governments which he supported appointed Mr. John Thompson as chairman of the Australian Wheat Board at a good salary, and also appointed the chairman of the Australian Broadcasting Commission.
– The Australian Wheat Board did not provide a considerable portion of the funds.
– The Australian Wheat Board is now controlled by the wheat-growers of this country. No government has given to the primary producers so much direct representation on bodies which control primary produce as the present Government has done. I shall not give details of appointments made by previous governments, but shall content myself with saying that the present Government believes that the power to make these appointments should rest with the Ministers, in the interests of not only the primary producers concerned, but also the people generally. Senator Leckie also said that the Government was subsidizing the manufacture of rayon goods which compete with woollen goods. That state ment is entirely without foundation.
– Is not the Government paying a subsidy for the manufacture of rayon goods?
SenatorFRASER- No. I shall give some facts to the Senate in this connexion. The following table shows the imports into Australia of various piece goods which contain artificial silk, but not wool : -
– Those figures indicate that Australia was more prosperous when previous governments were in office.
– They indicate that when Australia was not at war with Japan, it had not set its machinery to work to produce much needed goods. When Japan entered the war in December 1941 the present Government organized Australian industries to produce war materials.
– And in so doing it created chaos.
– What was done had to be done to save Australia. In view of the charge that the Government is subsidizing the manufacture of rayon piece goods to the detriment of the wool industry, I point out that rayon, in common with many other essential commodities, including wool, is embraced within the Government’s policy of price stabilization which came intoeffect on the 12th April, 1943. The objective of that policy is to ensure that, in respect of commodities essential for the needs of our people, the prices of such goods should not exceed the ceiling prices which were in operation in April, 1943. The wool manufacturing industry of the Commonwealth was so fully occupied in providing woollen goods on order for our own fighting forces and those of our Allies, andi for civilians within the limits of the clothing rationing scheme, that it could not provide the fabrics required for women’s outer garments even to the degree necessary to meet the restricted coupon allowance for such garments. In the circumstances, special arrangements were made for the United Kingdom Government to grant licences for the export of rayon tissues to Australia. These imported goods were subject to the ordinary rate of duty applicable to them, and the relationship of the price of wool and synthetic fibres was not altered. Indeed, where rayon tissues simulate in appearance and texture woven wool tissues, they are made subject to the rate of duty provided for the woollen goods Which they simulate. I wish to make it perfectly clear that all essential textiles, including woollen goods, are included in the price stabilization policy mentioned. With regard to rayon tissues, the adjustment varies with the landed cost of the material whilst with respect to wool, the adjustment varies with the issue price charged to Australian manufacturers; and when the basic price of raw wool was increased by 15 per cent. from the 1st July, 1942, the increase of the price of locally manufactured woollen goods was adjusted under the price stabilization principle adopted by the Government to hold prices as at April, 1943, and prevent cumulative and spiral rises in the cost of living of the Australian people. It will be seen, therefore, that rayon has not been treated differently from other imported goods.
– The scale of clothing rationing could not have been maintained without importing some rayon goods.
– It will be appreciated, therefore, that there is no question of the payment of a subsidy as such to favour one textile fibre as against another, and that the need to import rayon tissues to meet the war-time needs of the people of Australia has been the only reason for their current importation. Judging from the debate the only difference between the Government and honorable senators opposite arises with respect to the constitution of the proposed Australian Wool Board and the Wool Consultative Council. Senator O’Flaherty and Senator Sheehan have justified the procedure proposed.. They showed that honorable senators’ opposite, as a matter of policy, always favour giving the big man the major representation on bodies of this kind. At the committee stage, I shall propose certain amendments considered desirable in view of the debate on the measure in the House of Representatives.
– ‘Can the Minister say what was the cost of the building at Rutherford leased to the manufacturers of rayon, and what rental the Government is now receiving for it?
– At ihe moment .1 am unable to give the honorable senator that information.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clauses 1 and 2 agreed to.
Clause 3 (Definitions).
Senator GIBSON (Victoria) [5.1 J. - Can the Minister in charge of the bill say why it is necessary to bring into the administration of the measure the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture, the Treasurer, the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction and the Minister administering the Science and Industrial Research Act?
– All 1 can say is that that provision is necessary.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 4- (1.) The Minister may appoint a person to be the Common-wealth Wool Adviser on such terms and conditions, and with such remuneration, as the Minister thinks fit.
– I move -
That, in » lib-clause (1.), after the word ‘may”, the following words be inserted: - “ on the nomination of the Australian Wool Board “.
This clause provides for the appointment of a Commonwealth Wool Adviser. Obviously, the board will be best qualified to choose the right man foi this position, because it will be comprised of representatives of the wool-growers. If the Minister is not prepared to accept the amendment I have moved, will he accept an amendment to provide thai the Minister may appoint a Commonwealth Wool Adviser after consultation with the Australian Wool Board? Should the Minister make this appointment without such consultation, he will be taking too much on himself altogether.
.- I support the amendment. It is not asking too much of the Government. The Commonwealth Wool Adviser will noi be chairman of the board, but simply * member of the board. Therefore, we have every justification in asking that the appointment be made on the nomination of, or at least after consultation with, the board.
– The Government cannot accept an amendment to this clause. In making this appointment the Minister will pay regard to the qualifications of the appointee.
– Will the Minister accept Senator Leckie’s alternative thai the appointment be made after consultation with the board? That would give to the board some voice in the selection of the adviser.
– I urge that th, board 1x3 consulted in ellis matter, because it is more fitted than the Minister to select an appointee with the bea qualifications. It may be that the Government will appoint the head of some government department. That would bewrong, particularly in view of the fad that the growers are to provide half of tinfunds.
– I support the amendment because I believe that it will be a protection to th,
Government itself. Obviously, the board is best fitted to advise the Government on the appointment of the Commonwealth Wool Adviser.
– I hope that the Minister will not take up the attitude that he will not accept any amendment at all. He has intimated that he will submit two amendments. Consequently, the bill will be returned to the House of Representatives for further consideration. In those circumstances he should not reject my amendment merely because of obstinacy. If the Minister will intimate that he is prepared to amend the clause to provide for the appointment of a Commonwealth Wool Adviser by the Minister after consultation with the Australian Wool Board, I shall withdraw my amendment and move another amendment accordingly.
– The Government will not agree to any amendment to this clause. It is not a matter of obstinacy. The measure was thoroughly discussed in the House of Representatives, and the Government has given full consideration to the point raised by the honorable senator.
– I support the amendment because it is most reasonable. It is fair to assume that the Minister in making this appointment will be advised by the head of the relevant department. In view of the Minister’s refusal to accept the amendment, he should give some indication of the qualifications which will be required of the person to be appointed to this position. This is not a job for a public servant, no matter how competent he may be in his departmental work. We require for this position a man who has an intimate knowledge of the wool industry. Does the Minister propose to appoint a man who is a practical pastoralist, or does he propose to appoint a public servant who, because he is fully occupied with departmental duties, will be forced to regard this job as a sideline? This is to be an entirely new organization and this is a most appropriate time to give close attention to the Government’s proposals. This man is to be appointed to a key position and his qualifications should not be in doubt.
– Surely the honorable senator does not imagine for a moment that the Government would appoint a bricklayer or carpenter to this position. The Government will appoint some one who has a thorough knowledge of the industry. I cannot say what credentials he should have, but certainly he will bs a man who understands the industry.
– Senator Leckie’s amendment is most reasonable. I am sure that honorable senators on both sides of the chamber wish to see a capable man appointed to this position. The board is to include six representatives of the woolgrowers. They will be men who understand the industry thoroughly. They will know what technical information or advice will be required. Therefore, surely they will be best able to advise the Minister in regard to the appointment of this official. So far, the Minister has not given the slightest reason for his opposition to the amendment.
– I have stated why I consider that the responsibility for the appointment should rest with the Minister and not with the Australian Wool Board. Honorable senators are well aware that the usual practice is for a Minister to hold consultations before making an appointment such as this even though he is not specifically obliged by legislation so to do.
– I appreciate that the final appointment of this officer must rest with the Minister. All we ask is that the board be consulted first. That would not interfere with the Minister’s prerogative to make the final decision. After consulting the board, he would be at liberty te appoint whoever he -liked. It would not bo necessary for him to accept the advice of the board.
– I point out that the Australian Wool Board may not be in existence when this officer is appointed. How then would it be possible to consult the board? The committee has not yet passed the clause providing for the appointment of the board.
– Will the Minister say how the appointment will be made? Will applications be called, and if so will the qualifications required be specified; otherwise, how will potential applicants know what is required of them.
– In matters such iia this the Government is adopting the policy of its predecessor. When Mr. Thompson was appointed chairman of the Australian Wheat Board, the wheatgrowers were not consulted and Parliament was not consulted. The appointment was made by the then Minister for Commerce (Senator McLeay).
– If the Minister really means that the Government will adopt the policy of the preceding administration in this respect, then at least it will be going some distance towards satisfying my objection to this clause.
– I hope that the Government will not accept the amendment. Much of this argument is at cross purposes. The hill provides that the Minister may appoint a Commonwealth Wool Adviser. If the wording be altered to read “may after consultation with the Australian Wool Board”, it would mean that the Minister would not he able to make the appointment in any circumstances, unless bc had consulted the board. Is it logical to assume that this Government which hae taken so much interest in the wool industry would go out into the street and ask the opinion of the first man it met as to who should be appointed to this position? I have no doubt that the Minister will consult the board. My objection is to making it obligatory for him to do so. The Minister may consult with other authorities also. Surely it is not suggested that the board will know everything about the wool industry. I believe that the Government will appoint the man most fitted for the job. To provide -that the Minister must consult the board before making the appointment would be presupposing that the Minister was without intelligence. I believe that he will act intelligently.
– I am glad to have the support of Senator Grant on this matter.
– The Acting Leader of the Opposition has not my support.
– But the honorable senator has just said that the Minister would consult the board. If that be so, what is the objection to the amendment?
– How can the Minister consult the board on the appointment of the Commonwealth Wool Adviser when the board may not be in existence when the appointment is made?
– The Minister seems to forget that the board consists of seven members, six of whom are to be nominated by the two wool-growers’ organizations. Therefore, there will already be a board of six members. All I ask is that these six members shall be consulted before the Commonwealth Wool Adviser is appointed. As soon as the Minister accepts the nominations of the wool-growers’ organizations, those nominees will, in effect, be members of the Australian Wool Board. They will be appointed by the Minister as soon as they are chosen. If as Senator Grant has assured us the Minister will consult the board, why not make that provision in the bill?
, - It would be presumptous for us to stipulate that the Minister must consult members of the Australian Wool Board before appointing the ‘Commonwealth Wool Adviser.
– The Commonwealth Wool Adviser is to be an expert.
– Yes, that is all the more reason why the Minister should not be obliged to consult a body over which the Government has no control, when deciding who is to be his adviser.
.- I cannot see anything in the bill providing that the Commonwealth Wool Adviser shall be appointed before the board is constituted. As the Acting Leader of the Opposition (Senator Leckie) has pointed out, the board is to consist of seven members, one of whom will be the Commonwealth Wool Adviser. All we are asking is that the Minister should consult the board before appointing the Commonwealth Wool Adviser. That would not bind the Government to anything. The responsibility of making the appointment would still rest .upon the Minister. The Minister referred to the appointment of the chairman of the Australian Wheat Board. That is an unfortunate analogy. Mr. Thompson had been associated with the wheat, industry all his life, and was general manager of the Westralian Farmers Limited. He was an expert. If the Government chooses as its wool adviser a man who is closely connected with the wool industry as Mr. Thompson was with the wheat industry, there will be very little grumbling. All we ask is that the woolgrowers’ representatives be consulted before the appointment is made. I regret that the Minister cannot see his way clear to accept this amendment. Itwould add something worthwhile to the bill.
– The Opposition would be well advised to read sub-clause 2 of clause 4 which states -
The Commonwealth Wool Adviser shall have such duties and functions as the Minister from time to time determines. lt does not necessarily follow that the Commonwealth Wool Adviser will act only as a member of the board. He may have other duties to perform, and part of those duties might be to supervise some of the actions of the board. The Opposition suggests that members of the board should be consulted before the appointment of a Commonwealth Wool Adviser. I point out, however, that that officer’s duty will be to advise the Minister on matters which at times may have nothing to do with the board. If the Opposition will read sub-clause 2 in connexion with the sub-clause which they seek to amend, I do not think that they will press the amendment.
.- I ask the Minister if he will give an assurance that, in the appointment of the Commonwealth Wool Adviser, the policy of preference to returned soldiers will apply.
.- The Australian Soldiers’ Repatriation Act provides for preference in employment to ex-servicemen, and I have no doubt that when the Minister appoints a Commonwealth Wool Adviser he will take the matter to which attention has been directed into consideration.
– The Minister for Supply and Shipping (Senator Ashley) seems to imply that the Commonwealth Wool Adviser’ will be at loggerheads with the board, and that he will carry his criticisms of it to the Minister. He will be adviser not only to the Minister, but also to the board, and the Wool Consultative Council. To suggest that he will be placed in that position as a super spy on the board-
– That is the honorable senator’s interpretation. T said nothing of the kind.
– If that, be the intention, the board should have a voice as to the qualifications of the Commonwealth Wool Adviser.
– Take the reverse position. If he is to be only a tool of the board, his appointment is unnecessary.
– If he will merely take tittle-tattle to the Minister, of what use will he be? Al] of the other six members of the board will be wool-growers, and, if the chairman is not to be a man with expert knowledge of the industry, there will be perpetual conflict. In this instance the woolgrowers are supplying half of the funds, and there is no analogy between this board ,and the Australian Wheat Board. However, I suppose that, as the Government has the necessary number of supporters ‘to force this measure through the committee, it intends to do so. I had hoped that we should be able to deal with this bill on a non-party basis. The Opposition claims that men who are familiar with the whole of the ramifications of the industry should have a voice as to the person to be chosen as adviser to the Minister. They should be allowed to recommend the best man available for the position. Senator Grant said that ,any reasonable Minister would consult the Commonwealth Wool Adviser. Does he imply that the present Minister is not reasonable? Why doe3 the honorable senator object to the amendment?
– Because it is mandatory.
– The Opposition wishes it to bo mandatory, because it intends that the Minister shall receive good advice. The refusal of the Government to accept a minor amendment such as that before the committee does not augur well for the remainder of the bill.
.- I was pleased to have an assurance from the Minister in charge of the bill (Senator Fraser) that the preference provision in the Australian Soldiers’ Repatriation Act will apply to the appointment of the Commonwealth Wool Adviser, provided the applicant has the necessary qualifications. In a recent appointment to the Australian Broadcasting Commission staff preference was shown to a man who was not a returned soldier. When ex-Senator Dunn challenged the appointment, the High Court ruled against him. The policy of preference to ex-servicemen may be departed from in the appointment of a Commonwealth Wool Adviser, as happened in the recentappointment to the Australian Broadcasting Commission.
– Does the honorable senator question the authority and integrity of the court?
– I stated that a ruling of the court had operated to the detriment of a returned soldier, but I am glad to have an assurance from the Minister in charge of the bill that in this case the policy of preference to ex-servicemen, as laid down in the Returned Soldiers’ Repatriation Act, will be carried out.
– I should say that the Minister would take that matter into consideration in making the appointment. He would no doubt take into account all the qualifications of the applicant.
. - The Minister in charge of the bill (Senator Fraser) should be in a position to indicate to the committee what the duties of the Commonwealth Wool Adviser are to be. Could he be appointed chairman of the board? If there were a conflict between the board and the adviser, whose views would prevail? What are to be the duties of the adviser and what salary is he to receive? What powers would he have and what would be the relations between, him and the board ? As the woolgrowers are providing half of the funds, they are entitled to be informed fully as to the conditions of the appointment of the adviser. That is the crux of the matter. Whether the scheme succeeds or fails will depend largely on the work of the official to whom the Minister will turn for advice in any difficulty.
– I do not intend to anticipate what duties will be undertaken by the Commonwealth Wool Adviser at the direction of the Minister. Nor will I discuss his salary and the conditions of his appointment, for that will be a matter for the Minister and the Government.
Question put -
That the words proposed to he inserted (Senator Leckie’s amendment) be inserted.
The committee divided. (The Chairman - Senator Courtice.)
Majority . . . . 11
Question so resolved in the negative.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 5 agreed to.
Clause 6 - (4.) The Minister may, on the recommendation of the Board; appoint one of the members to be theChairman of the Board. (5.) On the occurrence of a casual vacancy in the office of any member of the Board (other than the Commonwealth Wool Adviser), the Minister may, after consultation with the organization on the nomination of which the member whose office has become vacant was appointed, appoint a person to fill the vacancy, and any person so appointed shall, subject to this Act, hold office for the residue of the term of themember in whose place he is appointed.
– I intend to move an amendment to this clause, which provides that the AustralianWool Board shall consist of a Commonwealth “Wool Adviser, three representatives of the AustralianWoolgrowers Council and three representatives of the Australian Wool Producers Federation. Honorable senators opposite have referred to some mythical opposition on the part of members on this side of the committee to the composition of the board. There may have been some opposition in the House of Representatives, but the composition of the board has received nothing more than a casual mention in this chamber.
– It was mentioned by every honorable senator who spoke.
– It was mentioned only in connexion with the fact that 80 per cent. of our wool is grown by members of the Australian Woolgrowers Council. The Minister went to a great deal of trouble to make some presumption that every grower producing fewer than 50 bales of wool annually is a member of the Australian Wool Producers Federation. That is totally wrong, because a vastmajority of the growers in that class belong to the Australian Woolgrowers Council. The Minister thought that he was scoring a minor victory when he said that 50 bales of wool would be produced from about 1,500 sheep.
SenatorLarge. - The Opposition’s expert said that, too.
- Senator Gibson said that that quantity, would he produced from 1,500 sheep averaging a clip of 9 lb. to 10 lb. a head. I have had a long experience of sheep-farming, and I know that the small growers of wool do not average anything like 9 lb. or 10 lb. a sheep. These are the men for whom I am advocating help to improve the weight and quality of their wool. The Minister, knowing nothing about the matter, was perfectly justified in assuming what he did from the figures in his possession.
– I rise to order. What has this to do with the amendment?
– Senator Leckie is endeavouring, with some difficulty, to point out the reason why certain persons should he appointed to the Australian Wool Board.
– Clause 6 is before the committee, and I am entitled to say anything relevant to the clause. I have not yet moved an amendment. 1 was talking about the members of the Australian Wool Producers Federation, and referring to some of the remarks made in this chamber in respect of which the Minister for Supply and Shipping (Senator Ashley) thought that he had scored. His information was not accurate.
– I rise to order. I understood that Senator Leckie moved an amendment to sub-clause 4 of clause 6.
- Senator Leckie has not yet moved an amendment. He is discussing clause 6. He has only indicated that he intends to move an amendment.
– I am sorry that the Minister in charge of the bill is so agitated that he tries to gag me. This is something new in. my experience. The Minister should restrain his emotions. The Chairman is doing a good job and has no need of assistance from the Minister. If I should be out of order he would call me to order very quickly. I move -
That, in sub-clause (4.), the word “may” be left out with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word “shall”.
In my second-reading speech I said, ineffect, that the Government was accepting the totalitarian idea by making a Minister the “ boss cocky “ of the Australian Wool Board. The bill provides for a board of seven members one of whom shall be chairman, who may be appointed by the Minister on the recommendation, of the board. The Minister for Supply and Shipping must see that, in a board of this kind, it is best to have all members working smoothly together, and that to achieve that end they should have a chairman acceptable to all of them. I ask the Minister to accept the amendment.
Sitting suspended from 6 to 8 p.m.
Question put -
That the word proposed to be left out (Senator Leckie’s amendment) be left out.
The committee divided.
Majority . . . . 9
Question so resolvedin the negative.
. -I move -
That, in sub-clause (5.), the words “may, after consultation with “ be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the following words : - “ shall, on the nomination of “.
– What is the difference between “shall” and “may”?
– One is mandatory and the other is not.
– I compliment the Minister on the influence that he must have with his colleagues to get their approval to this small amendment. As the amendment is precisely the same as one which I had intended to move, the Opposition is in favour of it.
– This amendment is not, as I understood Senator Leckie to say, similar to a previous amendment; one relates to the appointment of the chairman, and the other to the appointment of representatives of various organizations to fill casual vacancies.
– Does the honorable senator intend to oppose the amendment?
– No. I am opposing Senator Leckie’s contention that the Minister has submitted an amendment which is similar to one moved by Senator Leckie which I understood him to say the Government opposed. The two amendments relate to entirely different matters. Should a casual vacancy occur in the representation of an organization, it is only right that the organization which nominated the original member shall have the right to say who shall be appointed in his place.
– Senator Sheehan is entirely wrong in his interpretation of my remarks. This is a new amendment, which I said the Opposition support because it is exactly the same as one which I had intended to move.
Amendment agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clauses 7 to 10 agreed to.
Clause 11 (Fees and expenses).
.- This clause provides that the fees and expenses of memhers of the board shall be as prescribed. Can the Minister say who will prescribe the rates, or whether there is a schedule setting them out?
– I understand that there is a schedule of expenses which covers the cases to which the clause refers.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 12 and 13 agreed to.
Clause 14 - (2.) The Council shall consist of the Commonwealth Wool Adviser and seven other members appointed by the Minister to represent respectively -
– I move -
That sub-clause (2.) be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the following new sub-clause: - “ (2.) The Council shall consist of the Commonwealth Wool Adviser, two members of the Board actively engaged in the production of wool who shall be selected by the Minister, and six other members who shall be appointed by the Minister to represent respectively -
Under this amendment the board will have two representatives.
– This clause seems to be the crux of the hill as it provides for the establishment of a Wool Consultative Council. In sub-clause 1 it is provided that there shall be a wool consultative council “ for the pur- pose of advising the Ministers on matters concerning the Australian wool industry “. Honorable senators will notice that the council is to be established to advise not the Australian Wool Board but the Ministers. If the Wool Consultative Council is to advise Ministers, and if the Australian Wool Board is not to do so, will the Minister say what functions each of these bodies will perform? Apart from that, however, I object to the proposed council on the ground that it is not truly representative of those directly interested in the problems with which it will have to deal. The Government has now agreed to appoint two representatives of the board to the council; but the basis of the composition of the council is entirely wrong. The two sections really interested in the matter are the wool-growers and. the wool manufacturers. The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research is also interested but to a lesser degree. I agree that the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research should have one representative on the council. However, it is proposed to have one representative of the textile distributors. The textile distributors handle not only wool but also cotton and rayon goods of all descriptions. I cannot see the justification for that representative whose loyalties must be divided. He will, in effect, be a half-way man, doing something for wool and something for cotton and synthetic materials.
– We can call him an all-rounder.
– But we do not want an all-rounder on this body. His loyalties will be divided between wool, cotton and synthetic materials. Honorable senators on the Government side of the chamber have pointed out that should the opportunity present itself the textile distributors will push the goods out of which they can make the most money, regardless of the effect on the wool industry. Therefore, it does not seem reasonable to give a representative to the textile distributors. The council is also to include a representative of authorities concerned with technical education. What is the reason for that representation? The authorities mentioned are concerned with the training of men to work the looms. They do not train men in new processes, and they do not invent new processes. I fail to understand the reason why those authorities are to be represented. The council is also to include a representative of the Australian Workers Union. T do not object to a representative of the union most concerned in the industry ; but the council is also to include a representative of the Australian Textile Workers Union. Like the representative of the textile distributors, that man will be a man of divided loyalties, because members of his union are concerned with not only wool, but also all other fibres which are weaved into cloth. Why should representation be given to that union on a consultative body of this kind? As the Government has agreed to appoint two representatives of the board to the council, I suggest that it might go a little further, and appoint two representatives of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and the wool manufacturers, and eliminate the representatives proposed in respect of the textile distributors, the authorities concerned with technical education, the Australian Workers Union and the Australian Textile Workers Union. That would leave the council with the same numerical strength, namely, seven members, and would cut out useless and, possibly dangerous, representatives of the bodies which I contend are not entitled to be represented. [ shall move an amendment along those lines.
.- I. support the remarks made by the Acting Leader of the Opposition (Senator Leckie). For the reasons I have already given I regret that the Government has not seen fit to provide for two representatives of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. I again point out that research will be concerned with two distinct fields, first, the biological side, and, secondly, the technical side dealing with manufacturing and research other than veterinary work. Therefore, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research should have two representatives on the council. I am pleased that the Government has agreed that two representatives of the board shall be appointed to the council, because they will be representatives of the wool-growers. I agree with the Acting Leader of the Opposition that the wool manufacturers should have two representatives. However, I cannot see why representation on the council should be given to the authorities concerned with technical education, because that aspect will bc embraced in the field to be covered by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. I do not fake exception to one representative of the Australian Workers Union, but I do not think that representation should be given to the Australian Textile Workers Union. Then I note another anomaly. Sub-clause S provides that the Wool Consultative Council shall be controlled by the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction. Thus, we shall have divided control, the advisory work being under the control of the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction, and the remainder of the scheme under the control of the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture and other Ministers. From my own experience, I say definitely that dual ministerial control is ineffective. This measure should be administered by one Minister only.
– I regret that the Government cannot, accept (he amendment forecast by the Acting Leader of the Opposition (Senator Leckie). The Wool Consultative Council, as its name implies, will be a consultative body only. It will not be charged with executive or administrative functions and will be called together by the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction as required - perhaps several times a year. There will be three bodies dealing with wool research and publicity: First, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. This council will carry out research in all its aspects. Secondly, the Department of Commerce and Agriculture. That department will deal with general economic research relating to the wool industry in the sphere of national and international economy and be responsible for initiating Commonwealth and State co-operation to ensure that the results of research are carried out. And. thirdly, the Australian Wool Board which will deal with publicity. The responsibility for co-ordinating the work of the above-mentioned bodies will be placed upon an inter-departmental committee consisting of (a) the Com.monwealth Wool Adviser and the senior officer responsible for economic re-, search in the Department of ‘Commerce and Agriculture; (6) the officer or officers responsible for the direction of technical wool research in the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research; (e) the chairman of the Australian Wool Board; and (d) the officer of the Department of Commerce and Agriculture responsible for the co-ordination of extension work. The Council foi- Scientific and Industrial Research is controlled by the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction. That is why the Wool Consultative Council will be under his control, In reply to the Acting Leader of the Opposition, I point out that one of his own supporters, Senator Herbert Hays, emphasized the necessity of representation of the textile distributors on the Wool Consultative Council, in order to combat competition from synthetic fibres.
– The remarks just made by the Minister (Senator Fraser) have made the position worse. Apparently, it is proposed to set up another consultative body, consisting of the representatives of various departments, working alongside the Wool Consultative Council. What is the object of setting up this interdepartmental committee? Is it to synchronize the work of the two bodies? Presumably the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research will carry out the research work. Will the interdepartmental committee advise the council as to what it must do? I repeat that four of the proposed representatives on the council will know nothing whatever about the job in hand, because they will not be experts. The Minister did not explain why representation should be given to the textile distributors. Does he suggest that the advice of that representative will be helpful in respect of the mixing of wool with other fibres. Is that the reason for the proposed representation of the textile distributors and the Australian Textile Workers Union? The representative of that union will have a divided loyalty. So long as the members of that union are fully employed, he will not care whether .the textiles are made from wool or any other material. For that reason I do not think that the union should be represented, on this council. I should like to move an amendment upon the amendment moved by the Minister.
– The first part of the Minister’s amendment provides for the omission of subclause 2. If that question be resolved in the affirmative, then the Acting Leader of the Opposition will be able to move hi? amendment.
Amendment (by Senator Fraser) agreed to -
That sub-clause (2.) be left out.
– The question now is -
That proposed new sub-clause (2.) (Senator Phaser’s amendment, vide page 1542) be inserted.
.- .1 move -
That the following words bo added to the proposed new sub-clause (2.), paragraph (a), after the word “ Research “ : - “ two members “.
– This matter has been given consideration. The amendment is unacceptable to the Government.
– The representation on the proposed council seems to me to he quite out of balance. I should like to know, first, what is meant by the words “wool manufacturers “. Do they mean the manufacturers who convert the wool into cloth or other woollen material? I should like to know also if it is intended that the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research should appoint one permanent representative’ on the council, or that its representative should be determined according to the particular matters to be discussed by the council from time to time. If the latter is the case, then it is of little importance how many representatives of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research are on the council. I am heartily in favour of representation of the Council for Scientific and
Industrial Research on this body, but I do not think that it is necessary to name one specific officer as its representative. Instead of “ textile distributors “ I should like to see the words “ woollen textile distributors “. Provision is made for representation of the Australian Workers Union, and I consider that that representation should be sufficient for the workers concerned. I see no reason why there should also be a representative of the Australian Textile Workers Union. I believe also that, on this council there should be a representative of the general public. Is the public to have no voice in this matter at all ?
– Order ! The honorable senator must confine his remarks to the amendment now under consideration.
– I submit, Mr. Chairman, that I am entitled to speak on the general question as well as to the amendment moved by the Acting Leader of the Opposition (Senator Leckie). The matters to which I am referring come within the scope of the proposed new sub-clause, which sets up the Wool Consultative Council.
– It is not an administrative body.
– I shall move a further amendment at a later stage.
– I hope that the amendment proposed by the Acting Leader of the Opposition (Senator Leckie) will not be accepted; In effect it is proposed that representation should be taken away from the Textile Workers Union and given to the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. In the course of the secondreading debate on this measure these points were discussed fully first by Senator Mattner on the Opposition side and later by myself. There is good reason for the amendment which the Minister has moved, namely that two members of the board who are actively engaged in wool production shall be members of the council. It will enable the appointment to this consultative body which will he called upon from time to time to ad.vise the Minister on problems concerning the woo] industry, of two representatives of the wool-growers, one of whom is engaged in growing fine wool, and the other in growing strong wool. The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research is to be represented by one member whose duty it will be to consult with the various divisions of thai organization. If a biological question is to be discussed., he -will call upon officer? who are engaged upon that work, and obtain from them the information which he will bring to the council.
Senator -Gibson. - That is not provided for in the bill.
– The bill provides that research will be’ entrusted to the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, and to the Department of Commerce and Agriculture, which will deal with general economic research questions in the national and international spheres and be responsible for initiating Commonwealth and State co-operation to ensure that the results of the research shall be implemented. The Department of Commerce and Agriculture will call for assistance from the various State departments of agriculture, and the Australian Wool Board will deal with publicity matters. The number of repre sentatives of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research could be increased, if necessary, but that need not lx> done, because scientific information relating to the industry at the command of that body would be available to the Wool Consultative Council.
– The committee should determine first whether there should be two representatives of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research as provided for in the amendment.
– ^Senator Leckie suggested that the Australian Textile Workers Union should not have a representative, and he expressed doubt as to whether there should be a representative of authorities concerned with technical education. Why should the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research have extra representation at the expense of other bodies? There can be no doubt that the textile distributors are entitled to representation.
– I rise to order. Senator Herbert Hays attempted to argue on those lines, but was not permitted to do so.
- Senator Leckie indicated that he would submit amendments providing that three of the sections mentioned in the clause should not have representation on the council. 1 understand that the committee desires first to determine whether the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research should have two representatives or only one, but if it wishes to discuss the whole clause that may be done.
– Sena tor Herbert Hays proceeded to advocate the appointment of a representative of the public, but my remarks were directed to the claims of the Australian Textile Workers Union to representation. A representative of that body should be appointed, because its members operate the machines by which textiles are manufactured. After the Wool Consultative Council has had expert advice from the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research it will be necessary to provide machinery for giving effect to the scheme, and who could give better advice on the subject of textile machines than those who are engaged daily in operating them? Members of the Australian Textile Workers Union could report on the shortcomings of the machines now in use, and offer suggestions for their improvement. Therefore it is highly advisable that a representative of that body should be appointed to the council. Honorable senators opposite are prepared to support the appointment of a representative of the Australian Workers Union, whose members are interested in the shearing of sheep and could give valuable advice on that aspect of the industry; but I fail to see what valid objection can be raised to representation of the technicians who operate textile machinery. I also fail to understand why honorable senators opposite should take exception to the representation of authorities concerned with technical education. The students in. out technical schools include future operators of textile machinery. I regard the whole set up of the clause as commendable, and I hope that the committee will reject Senator Leckie’s amendment.
Senator J. B. HAYES . (Tasmania) 3.55”]. - The object of the bill is to secure the best possible representation of the industry on the Wool Consultative Council. All honorable senators appreciate the value of the services of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and common sense suggests that two representatives of that body should be appointed. I direct the attention of the committee to the fact that the title of this measure is the “ Wool Use Promotion Bill “. It would be quite possible for the textile distributors to choose a representative who did not deal with wool at all.
– But he must be appointed by the Minister.
– The Minister might say that it was desirable to appoint a man not connected with the wool industry. I suggest that before the words “ textile distributors “ the word “ woollen “ should be inserted. I support Senator Leckie’s amendment.
– The proposed council would be too cumbersome if every section interested in the wool industry, as well as the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, were directly represented. This will not be an administrative body but a consultative one. The member appointed as representative of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research would naturally be able toobtain information from that body on any subject which the Wool Consultative Council might wish to consider. The Government has given serious thought to the clause, and has already agreed to its amendment to enable wool-growers to be represented on the council.
– Obviously the reason for providing for the appointment of the Wool Consultative Council is to enable the objects of the bill to be achieved. I do not suggest that the membership of the council should be increased, but its constitution should be altered. If what the Minister says regarding the representation of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research be true, then it does not matter much whether it is represented by one member or two members, provided that an expert officer is called in to deal with each particular problem that arises. This bill is supposed to be for the purpose of promoting the use of wool. Who are the persons most interested in the use of wool? They are the members of the general public. Therefore a representative of the public should be appointed to the council. What definition is to be given to the term “ textile distributors”? Is a textile distributor the man who sells the cloth or the manufacturer of the wearing apparel made from the cloth? The manufacturer of clothing should have as much representation as the distributor of cloth. The Australian Workers Union will have a representative on the council. Surely that will be sufficient representation for the workers connected with the industry whether in its rural, production or manufacturing phases. There is no need to give representation to the Australian Textile Workers Union. The amendment moved by Senator Leckie would be a definite improvement on the Government’s proposal. Mothers, who have to buy such things as children’s socks, winter garments and underclothing, are deeply interested in this matter. They have a right to representation on the council. The Minister spoke of difficulties, but difficulties can be overcome, and the Government should ensure that the people are treated fairly. Who is better able to judge the value of woollen cloth, its weight and. texture, than the mothers of families, who are amongst the greatest users of woollen goods ? I ask the Minister to provide for some representation on the council for these people so that they may express their views regarding the promotion, of the use of wool.
.- Paragraph b of sub-clause 2 of clause 14 should be redrafted. It refers to “ wool manufacturers “. The only thing that can manufacture wool is a sheep; therefore “ wool manufacturer “ is the wrong term to use. The term should be “ manufacturer of woollen goods “. I am also dissatisfied with the term “ textile distributors “ in paragraph c. That should be amended to read “woollen textile distributors “ so as to exclude distributors of textiles consisting of mixtures of wool and cotton or other fibres. Senator Sheehan said that the Wool Consul tative Council could call in any repre sentative of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research as a member for the time being in order to give his opinion on subjects of which he had expert knowledge. There is no provision for that in this clause.
– I was interested to hear Senator Sheehan’s explanation of this clause. Unfortunately, his explanation differed from that of the Minister. It would be interesting to know which is correct. I agree with Senator Gibson that the wording of the clause is rather crude. What is meant by “wool manufacturers “ ? Senator Gibson made a humorous suggestion, but on considering the matter seriously, we find that “ wool manufacturers “ might include the men who scour the wool, those who spin it into yarn, those who weave the yarn into cloth and those who manufacture the cloth into garments. I have come to the conclusion that, rather than adopt Senator Sheehan’s suggestion and select the representatives of the manufacturers and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research according to the particular problems of the moment, the Minister ought to do away with the Wool Consultative Council altogether. It seems to me that the council would be of little use, because its members would be working against each other. Is the Minister agreeable to the suggestion made by Senator J. B. Hayes that the words “ textile distributors “ be amended to read “ woollen textile distributors “ ?
– The Minister is a most disagreeable person. He opposes everything, apparently because he has been told to do so. We have made our protest and pointed out the foolishness of the Government. Events will prove in the end that that foolishness exists.
– Will the Minister answer one question? Does the reference to the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in sub-clause 2 mean that one representative of the council will be appointed to the Wool Consultative Council as a full-time member, or does it mean, as some honorable senators have suggested, that any representative of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research may be called in at any time to serve on the Consultative Council?
– I shall not allow Senator Leckie to misrepresent what I have said. I said that there would he one representative of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research whose duty would be to consult with his colleagues on the various matters raised before the ‘Wool Consultative Council. It will be his duty to gather information and bring that information before the Wool Consultative Council.
– That is a different story from the one told by the honorable senator previously.
– There is no difference. Honorable senators opposite have wrongly imputed something to me. Had Senator Leckie listened to the Minister there would have been no necessity for him to misrepresent what the Minister said, and also what I said.
– It may be that the Minister will appoint Sir David Rivett to be the representative of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, and that at times such representative would be accompanied by some of his officers who would act as consultants. In that event, Sir David Rivett would still be the representative of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.
– If all of them had votes, they might influence decisions.
– Any consultants who might accompany a member of the Wool Consultative Council would not be members of the council.
Amendment (by Senator Leckie) negatived -
That the following words be added to the proposed new sub-clause (2.), paragraph (6), after the word “manufacturers”: - “two members “.
– Subclause 2 provides for the appointment of a representative of textile distributors, authorities concerned with technical education, as well as of the Australian Workers Union and the Australian Textile Workers Union. Would I be in order in moving that the paragraphs dealing with the representation of such bodies be deleted, and is the Minister prepared to accept the suggestion of Senator J. B. Hayes that “ woollen textile distributors be substituted for “textile distributors”, and also that the representative of the Australian Textile Workers Union shall be a person employed in a woollen mill? Senator Sheehan said that the representative of the Australian Textile Workers Union would be a man working on the looms, but a union representative is not necessarily a working operative. If the Minister will agree to the suggestion that one member of the Wool Consultative Council shall be a representative of the distributors of woollen textiles, and also that the representative of” the Australian Textile Workers Union shall be an operative in a woollen mill, I shall be satisfied.
– I am not prepared to accept an amendment along those lines.
. - Paragraph b of subclause 2 provides for a representative of wool manufacturers. In my opinion, “ wool manufacturers “ is not the right term. A man engaged in manufacturing products from milk is not called a milk manufacturer, nor is one who manufactures goods from honey called a honey manufacturer. I suggest that the term should be “ manufacturers of woollen goods “. Obviously, that is what is intended, but the wrong term has been used.
.- Is the Minister prepared to accept the suggestion of Senator O’Flaherty? That would be acceptable to us on this side of the chamber.
– I shall bring the suggestion to the notice of the Government.
Amendment (by Senator Leckie) negatived -
That paragraphs (c), (<!) and (/) of proposed new sub-clause (2.) be left out.
.- The promise of the Minister to bring the suggestion of Senator O’Flaherty to the- notice of the Government, is an. indication that, although he will not accept amendments proposedby Opposition members, hois prepared to listen to suggestions from Government supporters. I move -
That in proposed new sub-clause (2.), paragraph (b ) , the words “ wool manufacturers “ bo left out with a view to insert in lieu thereof the following words: - “manufacturers of woollen goods “.
SenatorFraser. - I cannot accept the amendment.
; - I should like to move that the council should include a representative of the Country Women’s Association which is not a political organization. A member of that association would be truly representative of the users of woollen goods.
– Why suggest the Country Women’s Association when there are more users of woollen goods in the big centres of population?
– There is no geographical qualification for membership of the Country Women’s Association. Many of its members live in metropolitan districts. A representative of that body would he truly representative of the users of woollen goods.
SenatorFraser.- - The Government is unable to accept thehonorable senator’s suggestion.
– That being so I shall not proceed with my proposal.
Amendment (by Senator Eraser) agreed to -
That the proposed newsub-clause (2.) (vide page 1542), be inserted.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clause 15 (Wool Research Trust Fund).
– Subclause 3 provides that “ moneys standing to the credit of the Research Account may be applied in any manner approved by the Ministers for the purposes of this Act . . . “. The Minister proposes to move an amendment to clause 17 to provide that the Minister shall determine the proportion of the moneys to be credited to the fund “ after consultation with theboard “. Why is notthe Minister prepared to accept a similar amendment in respect of the Research Account covered bythis clause ?
– The Acting Leader of the Opposition knows that the Minister is the final authority in the application of the funds.
– Why not make the same provision in respect of the Wool Research Trust Account as the Minister proposes to make in respect of the fund? The provision has the same meaning in both instances. What is the reason for this distinction?
Clause agreed to.
Clause 16 agreed to. Clause 17 - (1.) Before the beginning of each financial year after the commencement of this Act, the Ministers shall determine the proportion of the moneys to be credited to the Fund during that financial year from the proceeds of the wool tax which shall be paid by the Board out of the Fund to the Research Account, and the Board shall, from time to time as directed by the Ministers make payments accordingly
Amendment (by Senator Fraser) proposed -
That, in sub-clause (1.), after the word “ shall “ first occurring, the following words be inserted: - “after consultation with the Board “.
– Will the Minister now explain why he agrees to the principle of consultation with the board in respect of expenditure from this fund, but refuses to do so in respect of clause 15 which dealt with the expenditure of moneys from the Wool Research Trust Account ?
Amendment agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clauses 18 to 20 agreed to.
Clause 21 (Protection of members of board).
– This clause reads-
The members of the Board shall not be personally liable for any act or default of the Board done or omitted to be done in good faith in the course of the operations of the Board.
Who is to be the judge as to whetherthe board has acted in good faith in respect of some action which may have caused injury to some person or persons? In such a case it may be contended that the board acted foolishly, or for want of proper knowledge. I may do many things in good faith, but, at the same time, do a great wrong to some person or persons. What is the real intention of this clause?
SenatorFraser. - A similar provision is in the Wool Publicity and Research Act 1936.
– I presume that this clause will protect members of the board as individuals, but will not relieve the board itself of liability in respect of any act, done or omitted to be done in good faith in the course of the board’s work.
– That is so.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 22 and 23 agreed to.
Preamble and Title agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments; report adopted.
Bill read a third time.
Debate resumed from the 8th May (vide page 1441), on motion by Senator Fraser -
That the bill be now read a second time.
– This is simply a machinery measure to give effect to the financial provisions of the Wool Use Promotion Bill. The woolgrowers have agreed to pay a tax at the rate of 2s. for each bale of wool, 1s. for each f adge or butt of wool, and 4d. -for each bag of wool. The Opposition will not oppose the bill.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time and passed through, its remaining stages without requests or debate.
Message received from the House of Representatives intimating that it had : agreed to the appointment of a joint committee to examine and report upon war expenditure and requesting the concurrence of the Senate therein; and the appointment of two members of the Senate to the committee.
Motion (by Senator Keane) - by leave - agreed to -
That the Senate agrees to the appointment of a joint committee to examine current expenditure defrayed out of moneys voted by the Parliament for the defence services and other services directly connected with the war and to report what, if any, economies consistent with the execution of the policy decided on by the Government may be effected therein.
That Senators Large and Sampson be appointed to serve on such committee with members of the House of Representatives.
That, notwithstanding anything contained in the Standing Orders -
the committee have power to appoint sub-committees consisting of three or more of its members; and to refer to any such sub-committees any of the matters which the committee is empowered to examine;
the committee or any sub-committee have power to send for persona, papers and records, to adjourn from place to place, and to sit during any adjournment of the Parliament and during the sittings of either House of Parliament; and have leave to report from time to time the evidence taken;
the committee have leave to report from time to time itsproceedings, and any member of the committee have power to add a protestor dissent to any report;
three members of the committee constitute a quorum of the committee and two members of a subcommittee constitute a quorum of that sub-committee; and
the committee have power, in cases where considerations of national security preclude the publication of any recommendations and of the arguments on which they are based, or both to address a memorandum to the Prime Minister, for the consideration of the War Cabinet, but on every occasion when the committee exercises this power, the committee shall report to the Parliament accordingly.
That these resolutions be communicated to the House of Representatives by message.
Message received from the House of Representatives intimating that it had agreed to the appointment of a joint committee to inquire into and report upon social and living conditions in Australia, and requesting the concurrence of the Senate therein, and the appointment of three members of the Senate to the committee.
Motion (by Senator Keane) - by leave -agreed to -
Motion (by Senator Keane) proposed -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– Recently, aWestern Australian newspaper published an article headed “ Travel Mad “, in which Mr. C.F. Baxter, M.L.C., referring to minis terial visits abroad and to the various States of the Commonwealth, said -
One thing noticeable, however, is that, except when they wished to wheedle more power from the people in this State, the federal Ministers’ travel seldom took them westwards.
As a result of that statement, I obtained the following information in regard to visits that have been madeby Ministers of this Government to Western Australia. The present Minister for Supply and Shipping (Senator Ashley) visited Western Australia in 1943 in connexion with matters associated with the Postmaster General’s Department and the Department of Information and in support of a war loan. In 1944, he again visited Western Australia in connexion with postal matters. Recently, that Minister made a third visit. In 1944, the Minister for Trade and Customs (Senator Keane) visited Western Australia in connexion with departmental matters and the referendum.
SenatorKeane. - And in Western. Australia we obtained a majority in favour of the referendum proposals!
– Yes, . and that is something of which we areproud. The Minister for Munitions (Mr. Makin). who is also Minister for the Navy and Minister for Aircraft Production, was in. Western Australia for ten days in 1942. and two days in 1944, when he met Mr. Donald Nelson. The Treasurer (Mr. Chifley) travelled to Western Australia in 1944, his visit being of three days’ duration. The Minister for Repatriation (Mr. Frost) was in Western Australia in 1942 for a week and the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction (Mr. Dedman) was in that State for six days in the same year. In 1943, he made a second visit of five days’ duration, and recently he made a third visit. The PostmasterGeneral (Senator Cameron) has alsobeen to Western Australia on three occasions. The Minister for Commerce and Agriculture (Mr. Scully) was in Western Australia in 1944 for a week in connexion with the referendum and government business. The AttorneyGeneral and Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt) paid a visit to Western Australia in the same year in connexion with the referendum and departmental work. In1942, the Minister for the Army (Mr. Forde) visited
Western Australia on two occasions - in April and July - each of his visits being of seven days’ duration. On each occasion he was engaged on Army and other departmental work. The Minister for Health and Minister for Social Services (SenatorFraser) was in Western Australia once in, 1941, on seven occasions in 1942, on four occasions in 1943, on three occasions in 1944, and once this year. The Minister for Transport (Mr. Ward) visited Western Australia in 1943 when he was Minister for Labour and National Service, and. in 1944 in his present capacity. In contrast is the record of members of anti-Labour governments. Although Mr. Baxter is a friend of mine, I believe in fairness. The article to which I have referred is not fair. It is true that Senator Collett, when Minister for Repatriation in a previous administration, frequently visited Western Australia ; but, after all, that is his home State. Visits by other Ministers of anti-Labour governments have been few and far between. It is most unfair to suggest that Ministers of this Government have visited Western Australia only when they sought money or “ wished to wheedle more power “ from the people of that State. The interest that Ministers of this Administration have taken in Western Australia is most commendable, and the people of that State appreciate it. I bring this matter to the notice of the Senate because Ibelieve in giving credit where creditis due. No doubt, when I meet Mr. Baxter again, he will ask me why I have raised this matter in Parliament. I will tell him that he is old enough to have learned to be fair.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
The following papers were pre sented : -
Black Marketing Act - Regulations- Statutory Rules 1945, No. 65.
Lands Acquisition Act - Land acquired for Commonwealth purposes - Bushmead, Western Australia.
Nationality Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1945, No. 55.
National Security Act -
National Security (Emergency Control) Regulations - Order - Military powers during emergency.
Navigation Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules1945, No. 62.
Senate adjourned at 9.59 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 10 May 1945, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1945/19450510_senate_17_182/>.