17th Parliament · 3rd Session
The President (Senator the Hon. Gordon Brown) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
– On the 10th September a paragraph appeared in the Adelaide Advertiser to the effect that Professor Copland had stated that the payment of subsidies in respect of freight on fodder sent to drought-stricken areas would probably be discontinued. As ‘ drought conditions still exist in some parts of South Australia, will the Minister representing the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture give favorable consideration to the continuance of the subsidies for a further period?
– The subject-matter of the honorable senator’s question will be inquired into immediately and I shall furnish him with a reply as soon as possible.
– Has the Minister for Supply and Shipping seen a press report that be had said that he was handing over the control -.of coal supplies to the States? Can he say whether the report is correct, and if so, when he proposes to pass this problem to the States for settlement?
– I have not seen [he press statement referred to, but it is a fact that the Government is considering matters relating to the production, distribution, and control of coal. It is not the practice to disclose Government policy in answer to a question.
– Owing to the ban imposed on the importation of optical lenses from the United States of America, the manufacture of such lenses was undertaken in Australia, but the output of Australianfactories is absorbed almost entirely in the eastern States. Will the Minister for Trade and Customs take steps to ensure that supplies are sent to other States also?
– The officer in charge of the Division of Import Procurement, Mr. En’twistle, will interview the honorable senator this afternoon in regard to the matter raised by him.
– Is it a fact that the Government intends to remove all restrictions on excisable goods, such as petrol, tobacco and beer, with a view to recouping the Treasury for any possible loss occasioned by a reduction of income taxes?
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice -
What is the present annual amount paid in rent by the Commonwealth for offices and Other buildings in each State of the Common wealth?
– The Treasurer baf supplied the following answer: -
The annual amount paid as rent by’ the Commonwealth for offices and other build inga is -
asked the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follows: -
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Transport, upon notice -
– The Minister for Transport has supplied the following answers : -
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Works and Housing, upon notice -
How many applicants for war service homes have had homes built with £10, or less, deposit (a) after the 1014-18 war, and (b) in connexion with the 1939-45 war.
– The Minister for Works and Housing has supplied the following answers: - [lie information, requested by the honorable senator in , respect of homes built on behalf nf applicants of the 1914-18 war on deposit >f £10 or less, under, the ‘provisions of the
War Service Homes Act is nui available. I < obtain this would necessitate examination u’ many thousands of accounts and transactionincluding those initiated by State instrumentalities which, at different periods, have carried out the functions of the Commission on behalf of the Commonwealth. Many homewere provided under the War Service HomeAct in the years immediately following th< 1914-18 war without any deposit being required, or upon lodgment of a deposit n” less than £10.
No homes have been - built for applicant - whose eligibility has been established as » result of service during the war of 1939-4* on a deposit of £10 or less.
Pearling and OTHER Industries.
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The Prime Minister has supplied the following answers :- 1 and 2. The subject of marine shell pro ducts generally has been tentatively con sidered by the Department of Post-war Reconstruction, from the aspect of the re-establisbment of certain sections of the industry. Ais.the Department of Commerce and Agriculture has already conducted certain surveys in view of the post-war dependence of the pearling industry on export outlets.
One export aspect which is still under examination by that department is the war time development of substitute material* namely, plastics.
The honorable senator ‘ can be assured that the Departments of Commerce and Agriculture and Post-war Reconstruction arc co-operating in the fullest manner and consulting with the various State government in an endeavour to complete the survey o’the industry.
– asked the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -
In view of the still serious food problem in Great Britain and the fact that many relatives and friends in Australia are desirous of sending food to that country, will the Minister make inquiries to see if it is possible to increase the allowance of5lb. per month per person ?
– As the honorable senator is no doubt aware, the restriction to 5 lb. per person per month of gift parcels sent abroad was imposed by the United Kingdom Government during the war years to conserve shipping space for more important cargoes. Now that hostilities have ended, the United Kingdom is averse from lifting the restrictions, on the ground that any considerable increase of the number and weight of these gift parcels would interfere with the shipment of bulk cargoes of foodstuffs to be shared by all under the rationing scheme. A communication on this subject was addressed recently to the British Ministry of Food by its representative in Australia, Mr. Bankes Amery, but so far a reply has not been received.
Butler’s Gorge Works, Tasmania
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Works and Housing, upon notice -
– The Minister for Works and Housing has supplied the following answers: -
asked the Acting Minister for Health and Social Services, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follows : -
.- I move -
That the following orders of the day be discharged : -
No. 3. - Demobilization of Defence Forces - Ministerial Statement - Resumption of debate on motion to print paper.
No. 4. - Post-war Wool Realizations - Report of Conference - Ministerial Statement - Resumption of debate on motion to print paper.
My reason for doing so is .that in the ensuing debate on the budget, honorable senators who so desire will be able to discuss these subjects.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Debate resumed from the 14th September (vide page 5451), on motion by Senator Ashley -
That the bill be now read a second time.
– This bill is to approve the Charter of the United Nations, which is the result of the untiring efforts of the representatives of the United Nations at a world conference held at San Francisco between April and June of this year. The Charter was subscribed to by 50 nations, and Australia was ably represented at the conference by the Minister for the Army (Mr. Forde) and the Attorney-General and Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt). The bill enables us to debate the individual Articles and the general aspect of the Charter, but we must either accept or reject it in toto. We can not amend the Charter. I believe that all members of this Parliament and a great majority of the people of Australia are in favour of accepting the Charter as it stands. It is possible that the Charter can be improved and that, with the passage of time, defects will appear in it. It would be most difficult to prepare a Charter which would immediately work smoothly and effectively. However, as defects appear, the Charter can be altered by the United Nations. The Charter holds out the hope that future ware will be prevented. It i9 unfortunate that the value of this measure and the full advantages that will accrue to all nations as the result of its observance are not fully understood by the mass of the people. The Charter, in fact, affects every citizen of this country individually, and other countries, also, although the publicity given to the defeat of Japan and the use of the atomic bomb has overshadowed the publicity given to this highly important document. Dis cussions in Parliament will help to clarify the issues for the public. A small section of the community has expressed fears that, under the Charter, Australia will be obliged to renounce its rights of selfgovernment in a new world order. However, I have also received letters from citizens who consider that the Charter does not go far enough. They advocate a form of world government as the only means of preventing war in the future. Speaking of the fears that we shall los’our rights to self-government, I point om that the Charter does not refer to an* such obligation and that the signing of the Charter on behalf of Australia will not involve any such result. Briefly, tb< charter provides for all signatory nationto work- in co-operation to prevent future wars, and it lays down a formula for achieving this object. It is true thai the signatory nations, both great and small, will have to relinquish to som*degree a portion of their sovereignty. If. that were not so, the Charter would be unworkable. The basis of the Charter i»cooperation between nations.
Even after a superficial study of thi Charter, one must admit that it is « sound, practical attempt to build up an international organization to save the world from war. Two major wars have occurred in the last 30 years, affecting practically every nation. Some nation? have been affected more severely than others. The western nation? have felt the impact of both conflicts probably more than any other countries, and it is problematical whether they would be able to survive another world war if such a catastrophe should occur within the next twenty years. We must consider the nature of any future war in the light of the enormous improvements that have been made in weapons and methods of destruction of life and property. There is no doubt thai the atomic bomb as we know it to-day - and there will indubitably be great improvements in it - can wipe out entire communities and cities. Even now, suggestions are being made that all industries should be established in excavation* under high mountain ranges so as to place thom out of range of atomic bombs or other and perhaps equally dangerous weapons. Considering all these factors, we must prevent war in the future at all costs. Three major fields are covered by the Charter - security, welfare, and international justice. If the aims of the Charter in these respects can be achieved, we shall make a great advance in world progress. Security is dealt with in chapter V., Article 23, of the Charter. It provides for the establishment of a Security Council, of which the five major powers, namely, China, France, Russia, Great Britain, and the United States of America will bepermanent members. The remaining six members of the Council will be appointed to membership for a limited period from time to time. The fact that the five Great Powers will become permanent members immediately offers the greatest measure of security against war that the world can provide at present. The Charter provides, in Article 24, for prompt action by the council to preserve peacp. This Article states -
That gives the Security Council complete power to act on its own initiative without having to call together in conference all members of the United Nations. It is of first importance, in the event of a threat of war, to have prompt and decisive action. The Security Council will have military forces at its disposal and will have power to take action with those forces if necessary. The League of Nations did not have that power. It depended chiefly upon the disarmament of all nations. Great Britain, the United States of America and France believed that if they set. an example to the world hy disarming other nations could be induced to follow their lead.. That their faith was misplaced, we have now learned to our cost. In 1939, the Western democracies, sadly depleted in armaments, were faced by nations which for years had been concentrating on war production and were armed to the teeth.
It is gratifying, therefore, to note that this Charter is based upon Nelson’s famous words, “ Trust in God and keep your powder dry “. Not only will the powerful nations be called upon to provide materials and finance for the purposes of the world organization, but also the smaller nations will be obliged to make their contribution.
The welfare of the peoples of the world will be in the hands of the Economic and Social Council which will consist of eighteen members of the United Nations, elected by the General Assembly. Article 62 provides -
The council has a wide field to cover, and if it functions successfully it will be able to make a valuable contribution to the advancement of peace throughout the world. Welfare is also provided for in Chapter XIII, which deals with the Trusteeship Council. This council will be concerned chiefly with safeguarding the welfare and improving the living conditions of people in mandated and nonselfgoverning territories. Article 87 states -
The General Assembly, and, under its authority, the Trusteeship Council, in carryingout their functions may - (a)consider reports submitted by the administering authority; (b)accept petitions and examine them inconsultation with the administering authority.
provide for periodic visits to the respective trust territories at times agreed upon with the administering authority; and
take these and other actions in conformity with the terms of the trusteeship agreements.
Article88 states -
The Trusteeship Council shall formulatea questionnaire on the political, economic, social, and educational advancement of the inhabitants of each trust territory, and the administering authority for each trust territory within the competence of the General Assembly : shall make an annual report to the General -Assembly upon the .basis of such questionnaire.
There again, we have something quite new in furthering the interests of the backward peoples of the world. Interest in those peoples will be taken not only by the nations which act as trustees, but by all nations. Annual reports will be made upon the treatment of these peoples and the efforts that are being made toward their social betterment. There is enormous scope for the Trusteeship Council.
Article 92 provides for the setting up of an International Court of Justice, the object of which will be to ensure that all nations shall be treated fairly in the settlement of disputes. Any nation which believes that it is being treated inequitably, or is being menaced by a neighbouring country, will he able to appeal to the court. Article 94 states -
If a nation continues to menace a neighbouring country after a dispute has been heard by the court, the Security Council may take what measures itbelieves necessary. However, before the Security Council is called upon to intervene, with armed forces if necessary, the International Court of Justice will make every possible attempt to prevent !i state of open warfare.
Experience of the working of the League of Nations was of great value in the framing of this Charter. The great lesson of the League was that world peace cannot be maintained unless the international organization has power to employ armed force where necessary. It is claimed that the League of Nations was a failure, hut is that true? Certainly it failed to prevent war, hut in other respects it was quite successful. One of its outstanding successes was the setting up of the International Labour
Office, which has done, and is still doing, valuable work in relation to world economic problems. The League also made a useful contribution to world progress by securing action to improve health standards. However, it cannot be denied thai the League failed lamentably to prevent war and, as I have said, its failure was due largely to the fact that it did noi have armed international forces at itf disposal.
– Another important cause of the League’s failure was that one major power was not associated with it.
– That is so. Had that power participated in its activities, the moral . effect alone would have been of inestimable value. This time we dare not fail because with all the implements of war that have been developed in recent years, and will be developed in the next ten years, war in the future will mean the end of civilization as we know it. Peace can be achieved only by encouraging a spirit of tolerance between nations and individuals. The family is the basis of every nation. If individuals do not have tolerance and respect for one another, there cannot be tolerance and respect between nations. We must endeavour to create a spirit of giving rather than one of grabbing. The masses must be behind the peace movement in every country. This is not a politicians’ charter or a militarists’ charter; it is a charter for the masses and for individuals, and upon the attitude of individuals to it will depend its success. This country has quito a lot to learn. In many directions, dis:cipline is sadly lacking amongst our civilian population. Only by discipline can we attain what we are setting out to attain by this Charter. Even to-day then are certain sections of the community which are inflicting unnecessary hardships upon their fellow citizens, by striking, not against actions of their employers, but against the industrial laws laid down by the Arbitration Court. I refer t” coal-miners, the employees at the Bunnerong Power House, slaughtermen, timber workers, tramway employees, shearers and others, who have taken the law into their own hands. Members of the Opposition will agree that thos’’ people are defying the law of the land.
They are not striking against conditions imposed by their employers, but against the law itself.
Tho DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Courtice). - The honorable senator will not be in order in proceeding further on those lines.
– The peace of the world is as much the concern of the workers as that of any other section. The masses of -the people do not understand what the Charter implies. They fail to realize that it is necessary for them to set an example to the rest of the world. Senator Large pointed out on Friday that the people would have to realize their responsibilities, and I agree with him, but I contend that they are not doing so at present. Some sections are not prepared to abide by the laws which i hey have helped to establish. That is a poor example to set to the other nations which are signatories to the Charter, and which do not have as high a standard of living or such educational opportunities «s wo enjoy. The Charter imposes obligations, and one of them is discipline. We should do all we can to strengthen the ties between the English-speaking nations. By doing that wc shall strengthen the United Nations which have accepted the Charter.
– I have clearly in mind what the Minister for Supply and Shipping (Senator Ashley) said in introducing the bill, namely, that the ratification >f the Charter is in no sense a party political matter. It should have been discussed on non-party lines, and, although the standard of the debate generally has been- high, certain members of the Opposition have taken the opportunity to criticize the representation of Australia at the San Francisco conference, and particularly the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt) whose contribution to the conference was, in my opinion, outstanding. Reference was also made to the efforts of the Minister for the Army (Mr. Forde). Recalling the opening days of the conference I consider that the first time the world thought that it had settled down to real work was after the introductory speech delivered by the Minister for the Army. Previous speakers had indulged in most banal terms without discussing the problems in hand, and the newspapers had begun- to write that already the conference was on its way to failure; but, when Australia’s representative, the Minister for the Army, had spoken, there was a reversal of feeling. The speech of the right honorable gentleman was accepted as one which laid foundations on which the other nations could build. He made an appeal on world affairs that had to be answered, and I am sure that that was the turning point of the conference. Yet on the return of the Australian delegates they were attacked, merely because they are leaders of the Labour party. That is, indeed disappointing.
I must refer to the outstanding wort clone by the Minister for External’ Affairs. Countries with a small population like Australia are easily mis’ understood, and the only way ‘in which they can be understood overseas is for their spokesman to state fearlessly the thoughts which they know are in the minds of their fellow countrymen. Criticism has been heard in this country because the Minister for External Affairs said things at San Francisco which might have been thought to be against the best interests of Great Britain; but, throughout Australia’s- history, its parliamentary representatives, on their visits abroad, have fearlessly expressed the views of the people. Mr. Alfred Deakin and Sir Edmund Barton always, and without hesitation, placed before the Government of Great Britain the ideals of Australia. The right honorable member for North .Sydney (Mr. Hughes) when Prime Minister, forcefully advocated the claims of Australia on his visits to Great Britain. Whatever our criticism of him may be, he always had clearly in his mind his duty to Australia. A similar stand was taken by the late Prime Minister, Mr. Curtin, and by the Australian High Commissioner in London, Mr. Bruce. On many occasions, Mr. Bruce has no doubt privately said to the Government of Great Britain things which did not please it, but he said what the people of this country and the Australian Government wished him to say.
That is always the duty of our public leaders. It is indeed strange that, when they come back to their own country to report on their work abroad, they are attacked as the Minister for the Army and the Minister for External Affairs have been. The latter is the best known Australian in the world to-day, and because of that fact he is in a position in which he can do most good for this country. What he says is heard by many people, and it is always of value to Australia. At San Francisco, the value of his work was recognized. A survey was taken by the newspapers which covered the conference, and in a ballot to find out who had given the greatest service to it there was a dead heat between Commander Stassen, representing the United States of America, and the Minister for External Affairs. They were so far ahead of the third man that his name was not even mentioned. Out of 23 votes polled they received 22. Each of the 50 nations represented at the conference had as its delegates the most intellectual men available. The fact that the Minister for External Affairs submitted 36 amendments, of which 28 were accepted either in whole or in principle, shows the value of the part played by him. Admittedly, he did not. bring back in this Charter a perfect document. Dr. Wellington Koo, the representative of China, said -
None of the delegations may fmd all that they wished to see embodied in it, but they will agree, J am sure, that it contains the essential features for the building of a world organization to promote, justice, peace and prosperity. Without the valuable contribution, however, of all, we could mot have achieved this splendid result.
Yet the Charter stands for something that the world needs. If the delegates carry on the work started at San Fran01%0 and if they can stimulate the minds of the men and women of their own countries to put into effect what was in their minds at the conference, we shall have laid the foundations for peace in our time. It has been truly said that we have learned great lessons from the last war. In the House of Commons, Mr. Anthony Eden was asked a question bout the conduct of the war by the British Government, and in a jocular way he replied. “ We have learnt many lessons from the last war and if there be a third war in our generation it will he a perfect one”. We did learn many lessons from the last war which were applied to the war just concluded. It is necessary also for us to learn the lessons to be derived from our failure after the last war in order to preserve peace. The failure of the League of Nations was not due to th,ideals which it had, but rather to the fact that the nations did not back the decision* of the League with their own force and will. It failed because the nations werenot true to its ideals. That will happen with regard to Uncio, if the nations df not play their part, and if the men and women of the world do not do their best. After the San Francisco conference thiPresident of the United States of America remarked -
If we had had this Charter a few years ag” - and above all. the will to use it- millionnow dead would be alive. If we should falter hi the future in our will to use it, million>now living will surely die.
To my mind there is one lesson we can learn and apply in this Parliament. We have had the advantage of an extensive description of the proceedings at San Francisco from Senator Nash, who attended the conference from first to last. [ have always said and now repeat thai there is a lack of knowledge on our par: of the rest of the world. I have many times advocated the formation of a parliamentary committee on foreign affairs. The war being over, the need for the appointment of such a committee is jus as urgent as it was during the progress of the war. There can be no saturation point in education, and this Parliament is the focal point in the education of it’ members. We should set up, under thichairmanship of the Minister for Evternal Affairs, or his nominee, a committee representative of all parties in both chambers, and to that committee should be made available all the cablegrams which are now made available to the War Cabinet. The committee should consider those messages under a vow of secrecy which to-day binds the members of the Cabinet. Having studied those cablegrams the committee would be in a position to advise the Government and keep it abreast of movements throughout the world. I say, frankly, that many members of the present Cabinet are not fully aware of what is going on in other parts of the world. We know that under our system of administration certain overseas messages are circulated to certain departments only. Some go ro the Prime Minister’s Department only, particularly those of a high diplomatic character. No argument, or criticism, of that method arises. Others are sent to three, or four, senior Ministers, with the result that many junior Ministers are not aware officially of many important cablegrams which would give r.hem an education and a background on foreign affairs which I believe it is imperative that they should possess. All messages dealing with foreign affairs should be referred officially to every Minister. Unless a Minister has full knowledge of the facts how can he be expected to deal with the problems which confront this country? Australia’s future lies in its own hands, and we must develop in Parliament men of the requisite calibre to move in the forums of the world and take their part abroad in discussions on foreign affairs. Possessing such a background, derived from years of experience, they will be enabled to represent this country with competence at all important conferences. Unfortunately, to-day, we ave depending in this sphere on key men such as the Minister for External Affairs, the Minister for Defence (Mr. Beasley) and the Minister for the Army (Mr. Forde), with the result that we have not a sufficient number of Ministers sufficiently well-informed to cover all the work which might be done by the Parliament in this direction. To-day, the world is shaping its future, doubtedly placing its feet on a path along which it will tread for the next 50 or 60 years; and unless Australia now makes its purpose clearly understood we shall be found lagging behind other nations. With our small population we must make up for our lack of numbers by the ability and experience of our representatives whom we send abroad to speak in the name of Australia. Therefore, I submit that the Government should inaugurate forthwith a foreign affairs committee of the Parliament of such standing that the Government will not ignore its advice, but will furnish to it all available information in order to give an opportunity through it to the Parliament to develop a world mind with the object of enabling Australia through its representatives, wherever they might be sent, to take its proper place among the nations of the world.
– I am sure that honorable senators have listened with interest and appreciation to the speech just made by Senator Armstrong. The Minister in charge of the bill in his second-reading speech outlined the contents of the measure, and the Acting Leader of the Opposition (Senator Leckie) has indicated some of its weaknesses. I am sure that every honorable senator welcomes the measure even with its obvious defects as representing, at any rate, an earnest attempt to provide means of settling amicably the affairs of the civilized world. This Charter is the third essay in that direction within the last 150 years. However, with adequate support it gives the best promise of success of the three efforts. I congratulate those honorable members and senators who have had some share, however humble, in framing the terms of the Charter. Indeed, I envy them their unique experience. I agree with Senator Nash’s observations concerning the advantages of travel abroad, and the value of new contacts as generators of new ideas. Older members of the Senate will remember the old slogan, “ Join the U.A.P. and see the world “; but honorable senators opposite have outmoded that sentiment in their thirst for cosmic knowledge. I say “Good-luck” to them.
I have no fault to find with the delegation which was sent to San Francisco, but I comment on the fact that it left Australia without prior consultation with this Parliament as to its powers and real mission. That, I think, was an error which has been thrown into relief by certain criticisms of the words and deeds of the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt). I do not wish to add to those criticisms. The Minister has set his hand to the plough and will be judged, ultimately, on the harvest we reap. I take encouragement from the few utterances of Mr. Bevin, the British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, who has given no evidence of a failure to grasp the importance of British influence and British interests in any settlements arrived at.
The preamble to the Charter claims my special attention. It is extending and at the same time, reducing to an understandable working formula, the Atlantic Charter. This is its second conversion since it left the pen of President Roosevelt. I was interested, too, in Senator Nash’s account of how Field-Marshal Jan Smuts was called in to draft the preamble. This great man has for many years been absorbed in the contemplation of a philosophy of Holism and evolution. It propounds the theory of unity and progress and was embodied in his plan for a League of Nations which he wrote prior to the Versailles Conference. The spirit of it is contained in his hopeful sentence -
The tents have been struck, the great caravan of humanity is once more on the march.
On this occasion I trust that that will be proved to be true. By way of an interpolation I may say that I have sometimes wondered why Field-Marshal Smuts has never visited, or been invited to visit, the Commonwealth.- He is the head of a sister dominion having much in common with ourselves, and yet a dominion with which we have not sought to establish closer relations, although, at the same time, we have sent representatives to such countries as South America, the Netherlands, and France. Perhaps there is some reason, yet to be revealed, for this omission.
In essence, war to-day is no more horrible than it was 1,000 years ago. Modern inventions may shorten the duration of campaigns, but what is being said of’ the atomic bomb was said of high explosives and lethal gas. I am afraid that nations will always enter into strife unless they can, by means of instruments such as that I am now discussing, have some call upon the finer feelings of the democracies. And this counts too in our internal relations where class hatred is fanned and too little scope allowed for freedom of thought and action.
Some reference to the causes of war lead me to suggest that it is a primal instinct existing and discernible in both plant and animal life. It is the struggle for existence engaged in by man ever since he first trod the earth. To that degree Senator Large is correct in advancing the argument of the intrusion of economics. But as society grew, and began to frame its own laws, it endeavoured to mitigate the impact of need by coming to agreement with its neighbours for the sharing of resources. There were many successes in that direction. But there have also been wars of aggrandizement - sheer aggression, ware of defence, dynastic wars, racial wars, and that great anomaly - religious wars. England, in its early periods, suffered severely from wars of aggression. Britons, as slaves, were taken through the streets of Rome. Approximately 2,000 years later Britons again marched through Rome, but on this occasion »? conquerors of those who had launched the greatest war of aggression in history. It was for the defence of England that Alfred the Great created the British Navy. As commerce and trade were conducted during the following centuries. Britain needed this means for the protection of its interests. But England was also becoming enlightened in a darkened world and sought a better understanding between nations and a demarcation of spheres of influence. With communities not as advanced as itself this has been a matter of slow progress. Hence arose th«> expedient termed “ The balance of power “. Much has been written abou this, and whatever Senator Large gleaned from reading Richard Cobden he should remember that Cobden wrote nearly 100 years ago when the chaos arising from the long series of Napoleonic wars wai still rife in Europe. It . seems certain that without this weapon of diplomacy. England with its small area and population, and vulnerable seaboard, would long ago have been overwhelmed.
Several references have been made to the action of Mr. Neville Chamberlain in subscribing to the Pact of Munich, and also in enunciating a policy of leaving the Dominions to their own resources in the event of a world war. I am not prepared to join in the condemnation. Mr. Chamberlain’s father was the English statesman who firstplaced the Dominions in their proper relation to the Mother Country. In 193£ Mr. Neville Chamberlain was then, handicapped by the gospel of disarmament, or unpreparedness, initiated by Mr. Ramsay McDonald’s Labour Government. which, later, Mr. Stanley Baldwin and his Government failed to correct. Our need at Munich was for time - time to rearm. As for selling Czechoslovakia, I think that, in due course, history will reveal a verdict presenting to us a statesman who put his country before all other considerations.Need I remind honorable senators that, at a later date, when Germany was battering down Poland’s western defences, Russia marched in on the other side ?
As to the fate of the Dominions, a member of the Australian Labour party in the Western Australian Parliament has put their case fairly in these words -
After all, Great Britain could not carry the burden of all the fight in Europe and elsewhere as well. It does not matter who were the politicians responsible for the state of affairs that developed.
In his indictment of Great Britain, Senator Large said that within a period of 50 years - from 1810 to 1860- that country fought economic wars against almost every country in Europe, and in the same period also fought on the side of those countries. What are the facts? From 1810 to 1815 Great Britain, with other nations, was engaged in removing the Napoleonic scourge and for three years afterwards in endeavouring to straighten out the affairs of Europe. In 1828, with light naval action, Great Britain assisted to secure the freedom of Greeks from Turkish domination. In 1831, without going to war, Great Britain and other countries secured the independence of Belgium, and, in 1860, the unification of Italy. In 1854 came the war with Russia when England, with France and Sardinia, decided to support Turkey against the Slav threat, inter alia, to invade the Balkans. Two or three years elapsed before peace was secured. After that, England was not engaged in war in Europe until 1914.
To sum up : With the exception of a break of three years, England was at peace with Europe for a period of 99 years. That century was one of the brightest stages in the history of Great Britain - a time of great scientific, technical, social and cultural development. In the Great Exhibition of 1851 the Old Country set new standards in industry. In securing the abolition of slavery it secured new liberties for the people. That century marked the formation of the true British Empire to which we owe our presence here to-day.
Senator Large seems to owe no allegiance to the Old Country. He says that we cannot differentiate between civility and servility. He mentioned “ lick-spittling “ as if he had something nasty in his mouth. He had. He spoke it when he said that he left England because it was effete. Does he still think so ? I am sure that all the United Nations look up to-day with the greatest respect and gratitude to a magnificent victory achieved only as a result of Great Britain’s virility, courage and resource. The possession of these attributes brought us all safely out from dire peril. The Mother Country does not seek servility, but it deserves civility, and merits our affection because it gave us birth and fostered us when we were young as a nation and defenceless. In return, in the two Great Wars, we have rendered Britain willing, filial service. We helped to save the Old Home; we have kept the family intact. We inherit British traditions and liberal institutions, and, personally, I find pride in belonging to one of them.
Possibly all honorable senators have a regard for the land which gave them birth and infant nurture. This quality has been conspicuous in the Russian people in the recent war, egged on, as they were, by Stalin who told his followers that in development theywere 100 years behind Western Europe. In the “Lay of the Last Minstrel”, Sir Walter Scott, inwords that must be familiar to many honorable senators, asks this question -
Breathes there a man with soul so dead,
Who never to himself hath said.
This is my own, my native land!
Whose heart hath ne’er within him burned,
As home his footsteps he hath turned
From wandering on a foreign strand?
The fate of such a man is then given -
If such there breathe, go mark him well;
For him no minstrel raptures swell;
High though his title, proud his name,
Boundless his wealth as wish can claim;
Despite those titles, power, and pelf,
The wretch, concentered all in self,
Living, shall forfeit fair renown,
And, doubly dying, shall go down
To the vile dust, from whence he sprung,
Unwept, unhonoured, and unsung.
– I am sure that every honorable senator was intensely interested in the conference which began at San Francisco on Anzac Day of this year, and was attended by the representatives of 50 nations who endeavoured to devise machinery that would prevent further war, hut I fear that the masses of the Australian people were rather indifferent to what was being attempted. The preamble to the schedule to the bill, which contains the Charter of the United Nations is couched in beautiful language, and the sentiments expressed therein are echoed in the hearts of all of us. It is well to remind our-: selves that the words “ We, the peoples of r,he United Nations” means you and me and all the rest of the people of Australia as well as of the 49 other nations which are signatories to the Charter - nations which, for the most part, participated in the war which has just ended and do not want to participate in another war. It can be said that every person in Australia signed the Charter because Australia’s delegates at San Francisco signed it on our behalf. As the Charter is now before the National Parliament for ratification, we ought to know what we are asked to ratify. A study of the report of our delegates which is a most comprehensive document, and is accompanied by annexes A to Z, would enlighten us as to what was attempted at San Francisco. The conference had three objectives : To do away with the causes of war, such as tyranny, injustice and poverty; to settle disputes that arise between nations, because disputes are bound to arise ; and to take strong action against any nation which attempts to start a war. The third objective, which is most important, was not embodied in the Covenant of the League of Nations which was set up after the war of 1914-18 as u means of preventing wars. Our. signing of the Charter, which aims at abolishing the- causes of war, commits the people of Australia, individually and collectively, ito practise tolerance, friendliness and justice in dealing with the people of other nations. According to the Charter, we must respect human rights and freedoms, without distinction of race, language, sex or religion. But the Charter also stipulates that each nation shall control its own domestic policy. That will require careful thought, because problems which are thought to Indomestic may cause wars. For instance, a country’s immigration policy, or it> tariff, may lead to war. When we have ra’tified the Charter, and have thereby accepted certain obligations, can we still control our immigration and tariff policies? It is proposed to set up a General Assembly, or as I have heard it described, a world peace parliament, of which each of the 50 nations which signed the Charter will be a member, but that body will have no real power. It may discus? matters, but as I read the chapters, articles and provisions of this Charter, it will be unable to act.
– The Security Council has that power.
– There is also to be an Economic and Social Council, which should it function efficiently, may do much to preserve peace. Disputes are sure to occur, and so - this is the crux of the bill - there will be a Security Council to deal with them. They may be disputes which a court can settle, and so there will also be a Court of International Justice, such as was established by the League of Nations, consisting of fifteen judges, no two of whom” may come from the same country. Eleven member? of the United Nations will form the Security Council. Five of them will be permanent members, and these have been termed the Big Five - Great Britain the United States of America, Russia, China and France. The remaining six members will be elected by the Assembly, and will retire after two years to allow other nation? to fake their places should that be the desire of the Assembly.
Suppose that a dispute arises between two of the United Nations, which have undertaken, hy signing the Charter, to settle disputes peacefully. One or both of them may bring the matter to the Security Council, which will arbitrate, or the Security Council may intervene and decide to investigate the dispute. But what will happen if a disputing nation should flout the Security Council? The council will then exert pressure through all the other nations which are parties to the Charter. Those nations will cease all communications with the nation which ia threatening the peace, stop all trade and commerce with it - a procedure which was known in the days of the League of Nations as the imposition of economic sanctions - suspend all services to it and sever diplomatic relations with it. In effect, the offending country will be “ sent to Coventry “. Such pressure should be very potent. What will happen if the offender persists .in its attitude and all attempts at peaceful settlement of the dispute fail? The Security Council will meet to decide on military action to discipline the peace-breaker. It will convene the Military Staff Committee, which will consist of the chiefs of staff of the “ Big Five “. This committee will call up such forces as it requires from the member nations. The Charter provides for the limitation of armaments, but all nations will be required to maintain some armed forces, although I am very doubtful whether some of them will be able to do so. Assume that an offence has been committed by a nation in Asia and that the Security Council has decided lo use force against it. In that event, the Military Staff Committee might instruct Russia to send aircraft, China to send troops, and perhaps Australia to send a naval squadron. If the trouble arose in South America, the other South American Republics might be called upon to provide air forces, and undoubtedly the United States of America would be required to despatch land forces. It is also laid down that no attacked nation i3 expected to forego the right to defend itself while it waits for the Security Council and the Military Staff Committee to act. That is rather interesting.
I now refer to the power of veto. It is necessary to understand this “ but “ in the Charter, because it is a big “ but “. It rests entirely with the Security Council to decide whether force should be used, and, if so, how it should be used. The General Assembly has no right to make decisions in such matters. The question of how the Security Council is to vote raises a question about which the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt) was very voluble at San Francisco - the veto power of the “Big Five”. In order to decide on the use of armed forces, the Security Council must have the affirma tive votes of seven of the eleven members, and - here is the catch - all of the “ Big Five “ must give affirmative votes. There is one special proviso which must be borne in mind in connexion with the settlement of disputes. No nation which is a party to a dispute may vote on the action to be taken to settle it by peaceful means. Assume that the recent dispute between France and Syria had come before the Security Council for decision. Although France is one of the “ Big Five “, it would not have voted on the peaceful settlement of that dispute. However, in the event of the necessity for military action, all five big nations must favour a common course of action, whether one of them is involved in the dispute or not. At San Francisco the smaller nations opposed the power of veto, but the “ Big Five “ said that it was an essential provision in view of their greater responsibilities.
The Economic and Social Council is important, because its aims are to promote trade, production, and communications so that everybody may enjoy an improved standard of living. It aims to prevent world economic rivalries, which create a feast for some and famine for others. It aims to create better understanding between all nations by reducing ignorance of each other. This is most important, because most misunderstandings between nations are largely due to ignorance. This process will be assisted by the ease and rapidity of modern communications. Only by the dissemination of knowledge can we establish a firm basis for international harmony. The Trusteeship Council another body which will be greatly concerned with human rights. It is based upon the idea of the League of Nation? regarding mandates over territories occupied by backward peoples. The Trusteeship Council will be a watch-dog. and will ensure that no nation shall have the right to treat backward people like slaves. In theory, the United Nations’ Charter is the best insurance policy against international disputes and wars that the world has ever been able to devise. We must pay premiums for thi? policy, and Australia must not default. The premiums do not amount to much in terms of money, because the cost will bp very slight compared with the cost of war. They are mutual understanding,fair dealing, and true humanitarianism. To put it bluntly we all must be better people in our dealings with, other people.
It is interesting to note the nations which were not represented at the San Francisco conference. Seventeen nations were not invited to attend the conference and had to learn about it through their newspapers or from other sources. They were not invited for various reasons.. Some or all of them may he admitted . later to the proposed World Peace League, because a formula was laid down in the Dumbarton Oaks draft agreement for that purpose. In order to qualify for an invitation to the San Francisco conference, a nation had to meet two requirements. First, it must have declared war on the Axis. Secondly, it must have signed the United Nations’ Declaration. These requirements automatically eliminated the neutral countries. There were six of these - Sweden, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Afghanistan, and Eire. The enemy countries of Germany and Japan were naturally not invited, nor were their satellites - Roumania, Hungary, Bulgaria and Finland.
Then there were others with vague diplomatic status. Poland, which was overrun and dismembered was not invited because it had two governments, one exiled in London and the other established in Warsaw after the Russian occupation of that portion of Poland towards the end of the war. . My opinion, which perhaps I have formed without full knowledge of the facts, is that it was a great pity that Poland was not invited. Then there was little Iceland. It was not invited, although it was almost an ally, because British troops occupied Iceland and later handed it over to American troops. However, Iceland had not declared war. Then there was Italy. Italy could not very well be invited. Although in 1943 it declared war on Germany and Japan, it is still, I suggest, technically at war with the Allies because there has been no peace treaty with Italy. Therefore, it was left out. Argentina, that great South American republic, declared war on Japan and Germany - somewhat belatedly it is true-but it has not been admitted to the United Nations The last country not invited to th, “ party “ was Thailand, which was invaded by the J apanese early in the Pacific war, and is still an unknown quantity Therefore, although 50 nations wen represented at San Francisco, 17 were not. In effect one-third of the nationof the world had no voice in the drafting of this Charter.
I have read this document very cartfully, because, not at my own request. I had to talk to a group of people it Tasmania recently on the subject of Uncio. Fortunately, I had a copy of tinreport by the leader of the delegation, the Minister for the Army (Mr. Forde) and the Minister for External Affairs. I do not know how many other honorable senators have studied the report or its many annexures, but it is an extraordinarily interesting document. There can be no doubt what the people of the world are thinking about thi.matter. War-weary, subdued by the exertion and exigencies of six years of war, every one is looking for a break. People are saying in every country, “ Give us peace with as little work and as much comfort as possible “. It wa.< to meet this world-wide want that the slogan “ social security “ was coined. In the past, British statesmen have declared collective security to be the foundation of peace; but what a snare and a delusion that policy was!
– It was not acted upon.
– What is the U5«of a policy of collective security if there is not an international force to ensure that it is implemented ? With so many nations unwilling to apply the principle of collective security, it was bound to fail. Collective security through international control and social security through state control are the creatures of the’ age in which we live. They are the signs and symbols of the trend of public opinion to-day and politicians of all parties have not been slow to seize the opportunity to further their own political ends. But the vision i3 a mirage; the remedy for weariness and over-strain is not a sedative, but a tonic.
To-day all peoples of the world are suffering from weariness and over-strain
Hud the administering of a tonic to relieve this condition requires courage on the part of the politicians - courage enough to be realistic. In origin, conception, and effect, social security and collective security have much in common. Social security through State control restricts personal independence. We cannot have it without certain restrictions .upon personal liberties. Collective security through international control limits national sovereignty, and not many nations, are prepared to forego their national sovereignty. I suggest that a nation can no more submit its right to act as it thinks fit, in whole or part, to a world organization and retain its sovereign independence, than can an individual surrender to the State his right to choose how he shall dispose of his life and labour and, at the same time, not lose that independence of character which is his inalienable heritage. So, when we talk of social security and collective security we must realize what we must forego to Achieve them. Neither of these political conceptions will find favour in a liberty loving country. It follows naturally that State control and international control, unless there is a concensus of opinion and a common interest amongst individuals or nations which become subject to the control, is a snare and a delusion. State control and international control will always be resisted by nations which have retained a spirit of independence and freedom. Putting aside all the high-sounding words and beautiful sentiments expressed in the’ Charter we must face this fact: The statement made in Article 2 that the organization is based upon the principle of the sovereign equality of all its members is nonsense. The organization cannot be based upon the sovereign equality of all its members because the United Nations organization does not possess any power to enforce the maintenance of peace upon any of the Great Powers’ - Great Britain, the United States of America, Russia, China, or Prance - unless the power whose conduct is impugned consents to such action being taken against it. So far as any of the Great Powers is concerned the United Nations organization is impotent. The General Assembly cannot take action. Sole authority rests with the Security Council which is dominated by the “ Big Five “.
– The United Nations trust the “ Big Five “ ; apparently the honorable senator does not.
– I am not expressing distrust of any one. I am endeavouring to point out in what manner this document fails. It is the old story of the League of Nations over again. Nothing can be done to deal with the “ big fellow “. The Great Powers may commit acts of aggression or perpetrate international crimes without fear of reprisals by the United Nations organization because that organization cannot take action against any of the Great Powers without the expressed consent of each delinquent.
Under the Charter, the “ Big Five “, like the Vestal Virgins, are sacrosanct. Against the smaller nations - at present 45 in number - however, action in varying degrees of severity may be taken “ for the maintenance of international peace and security” provided that seven members of the Security Council, including all the five Great Powers concur. Thus any one of the Great Powers can veto such action should it elect to do so. The substance of the Charter lies in Articles 12 and 27. They are the key provisions so far as the maintenance of world peace and security are concerned, and they show clearly how the organization is dominated by the “ Big Five “. So long as Articles 12 and 27 remain, all that the conference delegates have achieved in their aim to control the Great Powers, is to prevent threats or acts of aggression by the smaller states. The General Assembly possesses no executive authority in connexion with the maintenance of international peace and security. It may discuss matters but it cannot act. The result is that whilst the representatives of the smaller states, as members of the General Assembly, may talk amongst themselves as much as they like about matters relating to the maintenance of world peace and security, they cannot do anything whatever about it. They are completely in the hands of the “ Big Five “. In effect, they submit to the dictatorship of the Great Powers. Talk of equality is sheer humbug. Realists are under no illusion as to the effect of the provisions of the Charter as drafted at San Francisco. From the moment that Articles 12 and 27 were adopted, the Charter no longer could be taken seriously or treated as an instrument capable of securing or maintaining the peace of the world. It was seen to be a windbag which already had been pricked and deflated.
Getting down to tin tacks, world peace depends on friendly co-operation between Great Britain, the United States of America and Russia. That could surely be effected more satisfactorily by international agreements and understandings than ‘by the creation of what I am afraid will prove to be a futile and unwieldy organization. This Charter follows very closely on the lines of the League of Nations. It is true that we are endeavouring to have an international policeman to bring law breakers to heel, but nothing can be done to remove from the world for ever the spectre of war. The elimination of war has been the hope of men for thousands of years. The establishment of the League of Nations wanot the first attempt to devise a world organization for the prevention of war. Until human nature is changed, struggles between nations will continue, as they occur between individual men and women, but nobody dares to predict when the nature of man . will change. There is one way in which the resurgence of war can be rendered highly improbable, if not entirely obviated. It can be done, not by binding the nations to act together, but by the adherence of a truly united British Empire to its traditional policy of maintaining the balance of power.
Collective security through international control, as provided for in this Charter is, I suggest, as was said years ago by Lord Castlereagh in referring to the Holy Alliance, “ sublime mysticism and nonsense “. I am a realist. I believe in facing up to the facts and studying them. This Charter is a great document, but if we consider the population and resources of the 50 signatories, a tremendous stretch of the imagination is required to call at least a dozen of them nations. They have governments, but they are not nations. How vain a thing it is to talk of collective security in such circum- stances. The peace of the world will rest for many years on the friendly cooperation of that great republic, the United States of America, and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics with Great Britain. Those Great Powers could, by friendly co-operation, prevent war all( I believe that for many years to come they will see to it that the peace of the world is not broken by an aggressor.
.- It is the duty of all public men to express their views on documents like this Charter, and I hope that, irrespective of any criticism offered, our sole desire will be that the new organization for the preservation of world peace may be successful. Every honorable senator hopes thai the mistakes which brought about the failure of the League of Nations will not be repeated. One of the most pertinent remarks of Senator Sampson was that the peace of the world will depend undoubtedly upon active co-operation and friendly relations between Great Britain, the United States of America and the Soviet Republics. Those three nations are sufficiently powerful to-day to ensure world peace, but there should be a genera! desire for peace in the breasts of all people whether they belong to the small or the large nations. One of the reasons why the League of Nations failed was that, the United States of America which brought it into existence neglected it. President Wilson was largely responsible for the formation of the League, but the United States of America decided on a policy of isolation which resulted in that country remaining aloof from the League. During its life, there was never a time when all of the large and powerful nations were members. Another reason for its failure was that it became too much like a huge government department rather than the mouthpiece of the various nations. Prior to the war just concluded, it was described as the happy hunting ground_ of overpaid public servants. The Secretariat of the League at Geneva became a huge organization which issued many reports on various matters. Very few people read them and they made little contribution to the cause of world peace.
Reference was made by Senator Sampson to the large number of nations which had become signatories to the Charter, but which had very little power. That was also an obvious feature of the League of Nations. With the exception of Great Britain, and perhaps France, none of the other signatories could do anything except attach their -signatures. They were dependent largely on the chief signatory, Great Britain, believing that it could give them the protection which they desired against aggressors. But when Great Britain itself reduced the strength of its Navy and Army to a point at which it became the prey of other nations, the smaller nations found that they could no longer rely on protection from Great Britain. When Italy went to war against Abyssinia, whose membership of the League of Nations it had sponsored, and the League was called upon to decide whether sanctions should be imposed against Italy, many of the small nations were afraid to support the policy of sanctions. Once Italy had “ got away with “ its attack on Abyssinia, that was the end of any power which the League could exercise in world affairs. Previous speakers have said that whilst we all hope that the shocking occurrences of the last six years will cause mankind 0 view world affairs from a different angle from that of the past, the way to keep the peace of the world is for the big nations to remain strong enough :o enforce it. The two greatest instruments for peace in the world are frank and free co-operation, discussion, and alliances between the three greatest Powers at present, and effective British and American fleets. That is more likely to keep the peace of the world than pious resolutions. Yet I do not wish ro disparage the work done at San Francisco. Considering the fact that when the conference was held the nations were in a state of upheaval, and having regard to the various nationalities represented, it is remarkable that as good a Charter as this has emerged from the conference. It shows a desire among the nations to maintain peace. [ shall not. refer to the statements made about the work of the Minister tor External Affairs (Dr. Evatt), but it seemed strange to many people in Australia, in view of the close co operation that has always existed thro.ugh.out the British Empire during the world struggle, that the Minister, as the mouthpiece of Australia, was often alined on a different side from that of the rest of the British delegates. That created an unfavorable impression in Australia, considering that at that time, above all others, the British Empire should have spoken with one voice. The Minister for External Affairs is now in London where he is being received with the cordiality and courtesy invariably extended to all representatives of the Dominions by the British Government regardless of party politics. He is being given the opportunity to meet in conference Great Britain’s brilliant Foreign Minister, Mr. Bevin. However, if Australia is to secure the recognition which the Minister for External Affairs is seeking to obtain for us at the London conferences, we in Australia must support him by performing certain duties. One of the most important of those duties is to strengthen Australia’s status as a nation. We can do this primarily by increasing our population and developing this continent to the utmost of our ability. It is useless for us to contend that our ideas of our status as a nation will be accepted on the mere statements of our Minister for External Affairs, because countries whose populations run into scores and, in some oases, hundreds of millions, will inevitably refuse to regard a country with a population of only 7,000,000 as important or entitled to an effective voice in world affairs. If we wish to become a powerful factor in world affairs we must increase our population. We realize, of course, that Australia’s development will be limited by the large tracts of barren land in the heart of our continent. At the same time, however, this country can support many more millions of people, and we should set about the task by increasing our birth-rate and adopting an effective migration policy. Although I am as anxious as any one that our present rates of tax be reduced, I say frankly that I should prefer to maintain high rates of tax if this were imperative in order to enable us to develop this continent. Upon the solution of this problem depends not only our prospects of having our voice heard in the councils of f he nations but also our very existence as « nation. Of course, I hope that we shall be able to deal adequately with that problem and, at the same time, reduce taxes. However, one difficulty which will always confront Australia’s Minister for Exter nal Affairs in discussions on Australia’s fights and privileges as a nation in the -jouncils of the world will be the fact that be represents a nation of only 7,000,000. We must deal with this problem before ve c&n hope to secure real recognition as in active partner in the United Nations Organization. When Senator Sampson stated that such recognition would involve the making of sacrifices on our part, an honorable senator, by way of Interjection, asked what we would have to give up, and Senator Sampson replied that we might have to vary our tariff policy, that we could no longer hope to trade within our own backyard. We shall be obliged to give up many other things as well.
For instance, w.e shall be obliged to change our views on migration. I stand solidly behind the White Australia policy without any qualification whatever. That policy is not, as some people suggest, intended as an insult to other races; it is simply and solely based on economic considerations, because we know that should ire permit an influx of Asiatics into this country our white people would soon become a minority in their native land. Unfortunately, the decline of our birthrate has been so serious that we are at a very great disadvantage from a population point of view compared with many other countries. Although not one of us would defend the dictatorships established in Germany and Italy, the fact remains that under them the birth-rate in those countries rose very rapidly. Unfortunately, our population is so small that we cannot depend alone upon an increase of the birth-rate in order to populate this country to its full capacity or as rapidly as we shall be obliged to i l.o. Therefore, we should avail ourselves of the unique opportunity now presented to iis to attract migrants from European countries. There can be no doubt that in view of the frightful chaos existing in European countries hundreds of thousands nf people would be only too willing to start life afresh under the very favorable conditions that could be offered to then, in Australia. If by .some miracle we wen able to do so, it would be a most humane act to transfer millions of people from devastated countries in Europe this land of opportunity. I am sure thai every honorable senator agrees that in order to achieve full recognition of Australia in the councils of the nations w»must build up our population and develop this country in the way I have mentioned. Et is useless to justify our present position by pointing to isolationist America. Australia has been an isolationist country and we should take stock not only of the position of other countries hut also of our own position. In the past we have adopted isolationist policies in respect of fiscal matters and migration, for instance. We have failed to extend even to our own kith and kin from the Motherland the welcome which we should have extended to them. I sincerely trust that thisCharter, in spite of its imperfections, will prove to bo the foundation of an era of world peace. I also hope that the United Nations Organization will learn from the mistakes made by the League of Nations. But, above all, if we are to maintain world peace, the Security Council must not bc reluctant to act, and act promptly, should any nation commit a breach of the peace. It was because Japan was able to “ get away “ with its invasion of Manchuria, and Italy was able to “get away “ with its foul attack on Abyssinia, that other nations lost faith in the big nations upon which the strength of the League of Nations rested. I hope that all of the nations in the world will eventually participate in this Charter, but until such time as they do, I believe that the San Francisco conference acted wisely in giving supreme power to the five “ Big Powers “. It would be useless to give power to any nation which was not in a position to exercise it. I join with other honorable senators in the hope that the Charter will prove to be the foundation of a long era of world peace.
– in reply - I appreciate the reception given by honorable senators to the measure. One or two honorable senators opposite criticized the Charter, but such criticism is to be expected from an Opposition which, on principle, finds fault with any proposal which may be submitted by the Government. The Acting Leader of the Opposition (Senator Leckie) implied that the Moscow Declaration, signed on the 30th October, 1943, and the Dumbarton Oaks Conference, in August, 1943, as well as all the preparatory work at the preliminary conference of Empire countries in London and finally the work of the United Nations Conference itself at San Francisco would be practically useless. He said that the Charter appearedto be based on the maxim “ Trust in God and keep your powder dry”. He also said that the Charter contained numerous pious hopes. Certainly, he did not justify his criticism. As I have already said, it is the function, of course, of an Opposition to find fault with any proposals submitted by the Government, but one would have expected that the Acting Leader of the Opposition would have shown some regard for the fact that the Charter has been evolved by the best intellects of the United Nations most conversant with foreign affairs. If we are to secure co-operation and establish friendly relations with other nations; if we are to solve the social and economic problems which will confront the world in the future; if we are to develop international unity, it is obvious that all the nations must have the opportunity to express their opinions and to discuss problems in a friendly atmosphere. The ActingLeader of the Opposition also criticized the General Assembly, which he said would be of little value, but meetings of the Assembly will provide opportunities for nations to discuss their problems in a friendly atmosphere. I shall not refer in detail to the function of the General Assembly, but I direct attention to Article III. of ChapterIV., paragraph 2 of which reads -
The General Assembly may discuss any questions relating to the maintenance of international peace and security brought before it by any member of the United Nations, or by the Security Council, or by a State which is nota member of the United Nations in accordance with Article 35, paragraph 2, and, except as provided in Article 12, may make recommendations with regard to any such questions to the State or States concerned or to the Security Council or to both. Any such question on which action is necessary shall be referred to the Security Council by the General Assembly either before or after discussion.
That is all-embracing. This afternoon mention was made of our own jurisdiction. One of our problems in civil and industrial matters is the delay which frequently occurs before a dispute comes before the court authorized to deal with it. Internationally, this document paves the way for a nation to appear before the higher tribunal-the Security Council, or the International Court of Justice-and therefore his statement that the General Assembly will have little value was mere presumption on the part of the Acting Lender of the Opposition. The honorable senator said that the causes of the war which has just ended could not be found in the realm of economics. “Would it not be fantastic to say that the war against Germany was not the result of that country’s economic position?
– In what way?
– Is it not right to say that Hitler rose to power as the result of the economic crisis which befell Germany several years before the war?
– He took advantage of that crisis.
– Is it not generally acknowledged that Hitler was financed and morally supported by the bankers and industrialists of every country?
– Germany was.
– Is it not a fact also that Hitler seized upon the economic discontent in Germany to foist himself on the people with the support of bankers and industrialists, and then, with their support, to proceed with his policy of expansion and his programme of aggression ? There is no denying that that was so, and therefore the causes ofwar very frequently can be found in the realm of economics. We can go further. Is it not also true that Japanese bankers and industrialists, for the most part members of five big monopolies, slowly but surely pushed forward with their policy of international aggression? Is it not also a fact that the war against China was a move to seize the raw materials of that country?
– That applies to the nation of any bandit.
– It is admitted that militarists and industrialists combined to carry out the Japanese policy of aggression. The early successes of FI i tier encouraged the Japanese to covet the riches of the Netherlands East Indies and India. I submit, therefore, that the solution of economic problems is a matter of fundamental importance in international affairs. That factor, was emphasized by the Leader of the Opposition in this chamber (Senator McLeay) in a statement forwarded to me in which he said -
For the future peace of the world we must have economic co-operation internationally, and this is most urgent if we are to ensure a permanent peace. If the nations fail to plan and co-operate economically after the war they will suffer economic chaos and a much greater depression than the world has ever known.
Senator McLeay was a member of the Australian delegation to the San Francisco conference. His statement is a complete answer to the criticism of the Acting Leader of the Opposition and of Senator Herbert Hays.
I refer again to the pledge of the members of the United Nations in relation to the economic and welfare provisions of the Charter. Article 56, Chapter IX., reads -
All Members pledge .themselves to take joint and separate action in co-operation with the Organization for the achievement of the purposes set forth in Article 55.
Article 55 requires the United Nations ro promote -
higher standards of living, full employment, and conditions of economic and social progress and development;
The criticism of the Charter by honorable senators opposite is answered by Articles 55 and 56 of the Charter.
I agree with Senator Sampson that the success of the Charter will depend upon the peoples of the different nations and the standards they adopt. Some of my colleagues on this side of the chamber have suggested that Australia should set: an example to the other nations by emmarking upon a course which will lead to the fulfilment of these worthy economic and social airs.
The Acting Leader of the Opposition spoke of surrendering our sovereignty toeither the Economic and Social Council or the General Assembly, but I submit that Australia’s sovereignty is not in jeopardy. In this connexion, I draw attention to Chapter I., Article 2, para graph 7, which protects sovereign rightsIt reads -
Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any State or shall require the Members to submit such matters to settlement under the present Charter; but this principle shall not prejudice the application of enforcement measures under Chapter VII.
I do not propose to delay the Senate by carrying the argument further. There is no question of dictation by the Economic and Social Council. The council consists of eighteen members elected by the General Assembly, not by the 50 nations as indicated by the Acting Leader of the Opposition. It is the machinery for facilitating the fulfilment of the general- economic and social pledges of the United Nations. The obligations which will arise under the trusteeship scheme, and the countries which will come under the scheme, are set out in Chapters XL and XII. of the Charter. Those two chapters will provide the answer? to all of the questions that the Acting Leader of the Opposition has asked.
I associate myself with the praise of the work done, by the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt) expressed by honorable senators on this side of the chamber. The Leader of the delegation, the Minister for the Army (Mr. Forde), rendered valuable service at. the conference, and he was ably assisted by the whole delegation. The Minister for External Affairs did a magnificent job. I also pay tribute to the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate (Senator McLeay) and his forthright statements on the work of the conference. I refer honorable senators to a recent statement by Senator McLeay, which refutes some of the comments of persons who were not present at the San Francisco conference but who have been much more critical than these who were present and understood whattook place. Senator McLeay stated-
The outstanding achievement of the United Nations Conference was the unanimous acceptance of the necessity for and the decision to createthe power to enforce the laws of peace. 1 firmly believethat the results of nine weeks of laborious effort by the delegates are greater than was originally anticipated by the most optimistic. A high note of sincerity and of genuine desire for the utmost cooperation was a feature of the deliberations whilst the keenness and frankness displayed in debate cleared the air andfinally brought about a better understanding and appreciation of each others problems.
When delicate problems arose, the answer was invariably found in the question, “ If we fail to adopta charter for peace, what is the alternative ? “.
We must have no illusions about the future, the Charter is only the lifeless machine which must be driven by sincere and unselfish international support. The League of Nations failed because the nations were apathetic, selfish and indifferent. They were smugly complacent and placed too much reliance on a mere written document.
Continuous unity amongst the five permanent members of the council is essential to success. Whilst we admit that the smaller nations and middle powers have rights, surely the reliance placed upon the “ Big Five “ in war must continue if peace is to be kept.
Australia wants freedom and independence as much as any other nation, but we can only be sure of retaining this by the Grace of God and the embrace of our island continent by the British and American fleets.
That statement bears out. what has been said by Senator Slash, who was also present at the conference. Criticism of the work done by any member of the delegation is completely unjustified. The Charter is what human hands have made it, and it remains for the peoples of the world to carry it out. We in Australia must play our part in carrying out the principles laid down in this document which we all hope will be the foundation of a permanent peace and a better world.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clause 1 agreed to.
Clause 2 agreed to.
Clause 3 (Approval of Charter).
. -I have listened for a couple of days to some rather drastic criticism by honorable senators opposite of my remarks on the second reading of this bill, and I take this opportunity to show that those criticisms were based on grossly inaccurate premises. First, I make it clear that I did not criticize the Charter. The greater portion of my criticisms was of the second-reading speech of the Minister for Supply and Shipping (Senator Ashley), who introduced the bill. I said that, whilst I approved the Charter and saw in the new world organization our only hope for world peace, it had certain weaknesses which eventually might impair its efficacy. In subscribing to the Charter, Australia may be giving away some of its sovereign rights. In his reply earlier to-night, the Minister laid stress upon Chapter IX.. Article 55, paragraph c, which states -
With a view to the creation of conditions of stability and well-being which are necessary for peaceful and friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, the United Nations shall promote:
universal respect for observance of human rights and fundamenetal freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion
I draw the attention of the committee to the words “ fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion “. Especially doI draw attention to the words “without distinction as to race”. The question that I asked in my second-reading speech was to what degree will the Charter run counter to Australia’s migration policy by advocating the admission to this country of peoples whose standard of living is much lower than ours.
– That matter was cleared up by the Minister for External Affairs at the conference.
– I am afraid that the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt) has not made anything very clear, but rather has succeeded only in making confusion worse confounded. The Minister for Supply and Shipping also quoted Chapter I., Article 2 (7), which states -
Nothing contained in the present Charter -hall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within t.he domestic jurisdiction of any State . . .
That article, the Minister claimed, was the answer to my fears. Actually, what I.’ said was that the people of Australia had to face the fact that in subscribing to the Charter they might be giving away certain rights, and that it was my duty as Acting Leader of the Opposition in this. chamber to point that out. In that instance the criticism levelled at me by certain honorable senators opposite was entirely unwarranted.
I also pointed out in my secondreading speech that we should understand that this international organization might seek to impose upon the people of Australia certain conditions regarding the entry into this country of overseas goods; that in future, depending upon the interpretation placed upon the Charter, we might not be free to determine our own fiscal policy.
– Who will interpret The Charter?
– I do not know, but [ presume that it will be the Court of International Justice. That is one of the problems that we have to face. The Economic and Social Council might decide upon a policy of freetrade, which of course, would mean that we could no longer protect Australian industries.
Another criticism was that I had advocated following Great Britain at all times. T. did nothing of the kind. The opinion 1 expressed was that members of the British Commonwealth of Nations should adopt a uniform policy on all matters so that they could speak with one voice at international gatherings, because only by so doing could we safeguard our position amongst the nations of the world. L’f we become split into factions, our strength will be lost. The idea that Australia or any other small nation can force its views upon the peoples of the world is absolutely ridiculous. In his reference to “ lickspittling piffle “ Senator Large said that he had left England because
England was effete, but that country was now safe because it had a Labour Government. He ignored the plain fa«5t that at the last elections in Great Britain there was a bigger vote agains* the socialists than against the conservative factions, despite the number of seat? they won. Great Britain, therefore, may not be so “ safe “ as the honorable senator imagines.
I hope that the world organization will do all that it has set out to do, and that this Charter will mean a new era of world peace; but again I say that to a certain degree - possibly a great degree - we may have to relinquish sovereign rights which in the past we have deemed so precious. I hope that this measure will be passed without a dissentient voice and that honorable senators will realize that my criticism was directed mainly to the second-reading speech of the Minister for Supply and Shipping. In my opinion the Minister was guilty of gross fallacies which even the merest tyro in politics would have avoided. With all other honorable senators I hope that the Charter will ensure the construction in our lifetime of an organization the weaknesses of which will be .strengthened, and that the ‘ peace of the world under its care will be preserved for future generations.
– The Acting Leader of the Opposition (Senator Leckie) has accused me of gross fallacies. Again I draw the attention of the committee to Chapter I., Article 2 (7), which states -
Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any State or shall require the Members to submit such matters to settlement under the present Charter; but this principle shall not prejudice the application of enforcement measures under Chapter VII.
The Acting Leader of the Opposition then referred to Chapter IX., Article 55, but read only a portion of it. I suggest that it should be read as a whole. It states -
With a view to the creation of -conditions of stability and well-being which are necessary for peaceful and friendly relations among nations based on respect lor the. -principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, the United Nations shall promote:
higher standards of living, full employment, and conditions of economic and social progress and development ;
solutions of international, economic, social, health, and related problems;, and international cultural, and educational co-operation; and
universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion.
There is nothing in. the Charter which interferes with the domestic jurisdiction of any country. The only criticism I made of the Acting Leader of the Opposition related to his comments in his contribution to the debate. He declared that the General Assembly was of no value, but I explained its value this afternoon. Whilst I recognize that he has carried: out his duties in this chamber with ability, it was presumptuous on. his. part to pit his opinion against the combined wisdom of the representatives of 50 nations, who were appointed because of their intellectual attainments and their acquaintance with international affairs.
– The Minister for Supply and Shipping (Senator Ashley) is not entitled to say that I should not have the presumption to express an opinion contrary to that of the representatives of other nations. Any member of this Senate is free to offer criticism according to his own judgment.
– The honorable senator criticized the Minister for External. Affairs for doing that at SanFrancisco.
– I shall say again that as a diplomat he was a disastrous failure.
– He was. an. outstanding success.
– I have merely expressed my personal opinion. Again I day that the Minister in charge of the bill was not wise in his choice of language in moving the second reading of the measure.
Clause agreed to.
Schedule agreed to.
Preamble and Title agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.
Bill read a third time.
Debate resumed from the 12th. September(vide page 5274), on motion by Senator Keane -
That the following papers be printed: -
Estimates of Receipts and Expenditure and Estimates of Expenditure for Additions,. New Works, Buildings, &c, for the year ending the 30th June,. 1946.
The Budget 1945-46 - Papers presented by theRight Honorable J. B. Chifley, M.P., on the occasion of the budget of 1945-46.
– This budget has special significance, because it deals with a period of transition from war to peace. Economically, socially and financially we have, during the war, been drifting with the tide; but now we must breast the stream., We must be as realistic in our financial outlook as we were before the war. The war upset our ideas on financial matters, and quite properly the only thing in our minds was the winning of the war and the preservation of the liberty of our people. We need the fullest possible information regarding the budget, but that has not been given either in the speech by the Minister for Trade and Customs (Senator Keane) or in the budget itself. The habit was acquired during the war of withholding certain information for security reasons.. Naturally we could not disclose particulars regarding such matters as supplies of munitions and . aeroplanes and the disposition of our armed forces, because that information might have been of value to the enemy. Now, however, we are entitled to the fullest information that can be placed at our disposal, so that proper consideration may be given to the financial problems that await solution.
This budget is not characterized bya display of the complete candour associated with peace-time budgets: The wartime practice of concealing essential facts persists as though security precautions were still necessary. We are still driving in the black-out. There are still to be rationing and controls. The Division of Import Procurement is still to operate almost without any curtailment of its activities. Comparing the budget of 1919-20, immediately after the first Great War. the budget of 1938-39 imme diately before the war just concluded, and the budget for the coming year, we note the great burden which the people >f Australia will have to bear for a long period. In 1919-20, the total expenditure amounted to £46,000,000 for a population of a little over 5,000,000. The amount now budgeted for is £373,000,000, : i nd the population is only from onefourth to one-third larger1 than in 1919-20. The present budget is eight times as large as that at the end of the first world war. It will therefore be seen that the financial burden to he placed on the shoulders of every man, woman rind child in this country will be exceedingly heavy.
The total public debt of Australia at present is about £2,628,000,000, of which 1,727,000,000 is borne by the Commonwealth, and £901,000,000 by the States. This is rather a guesswork budget. I presume that most of the estimates were compiled before the termination of the war. Because of its sudden end, I suppose that the Treasurer (Mr. Chifley) asked what would be a good round figure by which to reduce the amount budgeted for in respect of war expenditure. Apparently he came to the conclusion That £100,000,000 was a very good round figure to work on and proceeded to effect reductions on that basis. Whereas 460,000,000 was expended on defence and war departments last year the estimated expenditure in respect of those activities for this year is £360,000,000. I should have thought that some explanation of how that reduction had been arrived at would have been given. Let us look at the expenditure proposed in respect of some of these departments. One would have thought that the proposed expenditure this year in respect of the Munitions Department would have mirrored the end of hostilities. However, the proposed vote in respect of administrative costs, not the cost of manufacture in the Munitions Department, is set down at £1,250,000, or a decrease of only £457,722 compared with the expenditure of £1,707,722 for last year.
– The Munitions Department manufactures various kinds of machinery, including agricultural” implements and was doing so before hostilities ceased.
– I was under the impression that the Commonwealth could: not constitutionally engage in such manufacture. However, let us look at another department. I find that the proposed vote in respect of the manufactureof fighting aircraft, of which we have fair stocks at present, is £4,724,000 compared with an expenditure of £1,855,230’ last year.
– What is wrong with, that?
– If, having regard: to the fact that the war is over, the honorable senator does not see anythingwrong with that increase of expenditure., he is incapable of viewing things in their proper perspective. It is estimated that.. although the war is over, the expenditureof this department will be treble theexpenditure incurred last year. Theremay be a legitimate explanation for that increase of expenditure, but as I said ar the beginning of my speech we have notbeen given such explanations. They arenot revealed in the budget. Honorable senators are entitled to such explanations, without asking for them. Reverting tothe expenditure proposed this year u> respect of the administration of theMunitions Department, I quote the following extract from a report published in the press yesterday: -
Staffs of all government munition factoriesin Victoria will be reduced by half by the- 1st December.
Planned dismissals from the beginning of this month total 4,472 administrative andi factory workers - 2,238 men and 2,234 women.
Staffs remaining on 1st December in all government factories will be 4,510 men and< 124 women.
We are informed that half of the workers now engaged in munitions factories arc to be put off before the 1st December. In the light of that fact ] find it difficult to understand why expenditure this year in respect of the administration of the department is estimated at £1,250,000. There seems to be some anomaly there. Although half of theworkers now engaged in munitions factories are to be put off before the end of the year the administrative staff, apparently, will remain at its present strength. This reflects the fear which we have entertained for a very long time that staffs of this kind would grow up until they became a vast vested interest.
How can the maintenance of the administrative staff of the Munitions Department at its present strength be justified in view of the fact that half of the workers in munitions factories are to be dismissed ?
– It may he only one step in transferring war workers to civil industry.
– No doubt efforts are being made to transfer workers from war industries to civil industry, because our greatest need at the moment is the production of goods required by civilians. I have no doubt that if the matter is properly handled, sufficient jobs will be found in industry for all workers -.so displaced. Nevertheless, the fact that the Government intends to maintain the administrative staff of the Munitions 1 department at its present strength whilst, at the same time, half the workers in munitions factories are to be put off requires an explanation.
– The whole subject of staffs of that kind has been under consideration for many weeks.
– That may be so; but. the point I raise is why it is necessary to maintain an administrative staff at its present strength to look after half the number of workers previously employed in munitions factories. Many people entertain grave fears that staffs “f this kind, and particularly those at head-quarters, have succeeded in building up big new vested interests, and will not be shifted without difficulty. I now come to another war department, the Department of Supply and Shipping. The expenditure on this department last year amounted to £1,228,573, whereas the proposed vote in respect of the department for this year is £1,3S7,000. No explanation of that increase has been given. This department deals almost exclusively with war materials, but it would appear that its administrative staff, instead of being reduced now that the war is over, is to be increased. The expenditure last year in respect of the Division of Import Procurement, another war-time department, was 410,394, whereas the proposed expenditure in respect of the branch for this year is £398,000, or a decrease of only £12.394. That expenditure also requires some explanation in the light of the cessation of hostilities. We come next to the Department of Information which was also established for war purposes, although it has since undertaken other functions, including that of a propaganda machine for the Labour party.
– That is not true.
– It is true. Th,honorable senator knows that- during thireferendum campaign the GovernmenT spent public money in order to bolster up the case in support of its proposals. Omhas only to look at the Army journal Halt to realize that it is a propaganda journal. The department is producing various publications on expensive paper. They contain splendid photographs and are attractive in appearance, but after a glance at them one usually throws them into the waste-paper basket. That may be a pity, but it is a fact. The department played a negligible part in assisting our war effort. During the war it produced an interesting record of events, but its value was ephemeral. However, it proposes to expend more money this year than it expended during the last year of the war. The department was instituted primarily to disseminate information in the interest of the war effort. However, as I have already said, it has departed in several vital respects from that objective. Now. we find that, although hostilities have ceased, the expenditure of this department is to be increased. Here again an explanation of the increased expenditure may be given, but such explanations should have been afforded to honorable senators before we commenced our consideration of these Estimates. The Commonwealth Prices Commission, which was established as another war-time department, expended last year £350,000; but. this year the proposed vote in respect of that department is set down at £450,000.
– The commission will have more work to do in the future, will it not?
– The Government, has stated over and over again in so many words that it would withdraw all war time restrictions as quickly as possible. We now find that £100,000 more is to b- expended on the commission than was expended on it last year.
– As a greater volume mid variety of goods will be produced in (he future, will not the need for pricefixing also be increased?
– The most effective way to ‘Stabilize prices is to employ all available workers in order to turn out commodities in abundance. In such circumstances no need for price-fixing would exist. However, this proposed increase suggests that the commission is to be retained in perpetuity. In passing, 1 note that a very large temporary building is being erected at Canberra to house the administrative staff of the commission. That is being done after the war is over and we are looking for the removal if restrictions.
– ls the honorable senator in favour of the abolition of price control?
– - Yes, as soon as possible, but T realize that in the transitionperiod some control will be necessary. The solution is to have as many workers as possible producing goods so that supplies will ‘be as plentiful. I trust that the Minister will give an explanation of these things so that the people may ‘know why, in many instances, the vote this year exceeds last year’s expenditure.
The proposed ‘reduction of taxes is welcome as a first instalment of relief from the highest income taxes in the world, but a’ the reduction will operate for only half the financial year it represents a reduction of 6i per cent, for the year. An examination of- the figures shows that ‘the yield from income tax This .year will be only about £3,000,000 loss than last year. Indeed, the income taxes to be extracted from the people this vear will be greater than last year because faxes amounting to between £20,000,000 and £30,000.000 in respect of last year’s income have not yet been asked for.
– Is the honorable senator opposed to the 12£ per cent, reduction ?
– I should like to see a reduction of 25 per cent., and that would be possible if the war-time departments were properly managed. During lie year, it i? proposed to borrow £152,0.00,000 for w.ar purposes a.nd public works. A -.close examination of .cbe ‘budget items is called for.
One aspect of the budget is welcomebecause it marks a change of policy on thepart of the Government. [ well remem ber supporters <of the Government declaring against any proposal to institute *> contributory system of social services, bur step by step the Government is adopting the policy of the Opposition.
– Yet the honorablesenator blames the Government for .it>policy.
– 1 am not blaming the Government in this matter.. In order that I should not overlook this matter. I devoted a special page of my notes tait. I wanted to commend the Govern ment on adopting a new policy. Senator Large has strongly condemned a contributory scheme of social .services but now he will, I suppose, swallow the Government’s proposals. I should think that he would feel rather uncomfortable in has digestive organs. ‘The Ministry i* leading its followers step by step towardthe policy of the Liberal ‘party. .In that respect, it is following the example of the late .President Roosevelt of the United States of America, who led the people of that country slowly until they were willing to stand shoulder to shoulder with other democratic nations against aggressor nations. The Government is leading its followers gently and tenderly to accept a policy that it bitterly condemned not long ago. I -should not be surprised if within another twelve months the Government should :claim that a .contributory system of national social .benefits was itown idea. Moreover, to every person who applies for social benefits, th’ Government says, in effect, “ Prove yan ‘ poverty “. That is the effect of the meantest. The Labour party is gradually becoming more and -more favorable to * contributory system of national insurance
T &m somewhat puzzled about lend lease and reciprocal lend-lease arrangements. I notice an item of £258,000,00’” for reciprocal lend-lease to , cover good? and services supplied to our Allies, the United States of America, but I see no reference on the revenue side of the budget to the value of goods received by the United States of America under lend-lease arrangements. I understand that Australia received from the United States of America lend-lease materials to the value of over £300,000,000 some of which were sold for hard cash to the people of Australia. Why is there no reference to that money in the budget? Large quantities of goods, inch as tinned-plate, jute and petrol, have been sold to the public for many millions of pounds. These goods were obtained under lend-lease, but I cannot discover in the budget anything to show how that money has been accounted for. I would like to know what has happened to it. The sudden termination of lend-lease arrangements came as a shock to the people of Australia.. .Doubtless, large quantities of materials were on order and, indeed, some goods may already be on the water en route to Australia. If dollars have to be provided to pay for those goods, the position may become difficult. 1 should like to know whether the United States of America is paying us for the foodstuffs and other’ goods that we are supplying to their forces. As lend-lease transactions stopped suddenly, it seems only right that reciprocal lend-lease arrangements also should be terminated. If we have to pay dollars for the goods on order,, the people of the United States of America should also pay dollars for he goods and services that we supply to Them. This matter has been exercising my mind for some time, and I should like to hear what the Minister has to say about it. I hope that the “hush hush” policy which has been followed will be discontinued, and that we shall have a lear explanation from the Minister.
A great deal has been said about inflation, price-fixing, and other matters associated with the war. A few days ago, I read a. statement by an honorable senator opposite to the effect that the value if the £1 had dropped from 20s. to 12s. 6d. since 1939.
– Does the honorable dilator accept that as correct.
– No. The budget also provides for subsidies amounting to the vast sum of £25,000,000. These subsidies are intended to provide payable prices to primary producers, to compensate secondary industries for wage increases and to reduce prices.
– Is the honorable senator opposed to subsidies?.
– Yes. The curt for inflation is production of goods ii» plenty. We must have production, production, and more production.
– And when we havegood,s in plenty we have unemployment.
– If we have good,in plenty we have plenty of men employed to. make them, and they continue to make them. The honorable senator knows that the people of Australia are starved for consumable goods.
Senator Grant interjecting,.
– Order!. The honorable senator will have an opportunity to stale his views at a later stage. I ask him to refrain from constant interruption.
– Constant and foolish interruption.
– Order !
– Many subsidiesare not necessary. An investigation of some of the industries which are subsidized would be of great advantage to the people of Australia. For instance, the flax industry is costing the country a lot of money. It was established for war purposes, and I hoped that, under scientific management, it would becomea thriving industry. But what hashappened? The management of the industry and the methods employed in it are primitive. Before the war, the* highest price ever obtained for flax wa.about £90 a ton. To-d’ay, the cost of flax produced in Australia is about £220 a ton. Uneconomic industries such as thi.must not be permitted to operate. I venture to say that, with proper- management and the use of proper equipment ina scientific manner, flax could be produced in Australia for at least £100 a ton less than the present cost of production. At present, hand-picking, handthreshingand hand-retting are practised “in the industry, whereas, as Senator Gibson could tell us from experience, the use of binders, pilers and other modem machinery for treating flax in the paddocks where it is grown, thus avoidingthe necessity for treating it by hand Svpor six times, would increase efficiency andreduce costs. Existing methods arp- absurd. The sooner we do away with the subsidizing of such industries the better it will be for Australia. I grant that, during the war, it was necessary to sub sidize many industries, but it would be foolish to continue to assist patently uneconomic industries which are badly managed either by government instrumentalities or by private enterprise.
I would have welcomed some provision in the budget for increased expenditure >n scientific research into industrial prob lems. We are not devoting nearly enough money to this sort of thing, although we have a long way to go in developing our methods of management and production. Recently, I talked to a shrewd industrialist who visited Great Britain and the United States of America a few months ago. I asked him what impressed him most about the differences between British and American industrial methods. He said that British scientists were far Ahead of American scientists, but that ordinary factory management and organization in America were far more advanced than in Great Britain. When I asked him to describe the difference between Australian and American methods, he said that workers in the United States of America did not work harder than Australians, but worked faster. He said that in America one man operated a number of automatic machines, whereas in Australia one man operated only one machine. For instance, an American using an automatic lathe to do a cut which would take half an hour would start one machine, and then, instead of standing back and doing nothing, he would start several other machines on similar jobs. In Australia, the workers demand a policy of “ one man, one machine “.
– The practice of one man operating a number of machines is not uncommon in Australia.
– Yes, but it is very much against the wishes of the unions. The practice has caused more strikes than anything else. The expert to whom [ was talking also told me that the work done by the Americans did not tire them so much as the work done by Australians; although they produced more goods per man-hour. than did British or Australian men. 1 would have welcomed provision in the budget for greater expenditure on the scientific investigation of industrial methods and education in modern methods of industrial management.
– I believe tha: America will grow out of the habit which the honorable senator has mentioned.
– Then America will become poor along with Australia and its people will become dissatisfied and will have a lower standard of living. 1 am worried about the standard of living in Australia, although the honorable senator appears to have no qualms about it. Higher wages can be paid to workers only if our industries are economic and if the goods they sell are within the reach of the working people. In order to improve our standard of living, we should intensify scientific research into industrial methods and teach the science of management and organization so that we shall be in a position to compete with the great industrial nations of the world. I shall not detain the Senate much longer.
– Hear, hear!
– The honorable senator is glad that I am about to stop, because he knows that I have been telling unpleasant, truths. I have given him enough food for thought for one day. H he digests all the wise advice that I have given him during this speech he will be a better man in the future.
As I have already said, the hiding of important facts from the Parliament by the Government should cease. In the interests of national security, it was proper for us to be kept in ignorance of certain facts during the war, but the war has ended and we are now entitled to have the fullest information on the subjects which I have mentioned, because w» are responsible for the future welfare and prosperity of Australia I hope that before this debate concludes, Ministers will investigate the matters which I have raised and will realize that the Estimates have not been properly- combed in order to eliminate wasteful expenditure. The sooner thai the Government releases men from wartime occupations in order to produce civilian goods the better it will be for Australia. I hope that the Government will also decide, in the light of my comments and those of other honorable senators in opposition, that ihe 12$ per cent, income tax rei action is inadequate and that a greater measure of relief can be afforded I* the result of savings which can be effected in government expenditure. I -hall listen during the remainder of the debate to the excuses that will be offered I by honorable senators opposite. T hope that Ministers will be able to justify the expenditure provided for in the budget and that succeeding budgets will not disclose the bad judgment revealed in this Midget.
– [ shall start where the Acting Leader >f the Opposition (Senator Leckie) finished, namely, subsidies for primary producers. In round figures the budget allocates £20,000,000 for expenditure upon subsidies during the current year. It is rather difficult to understand just what the Acting Leader of the Opposition wants. Clearly he does not believe in subsidies for rural industries, and he is amazed that provision is made in the budget for a continuance of those subsidies. Surely, the honorable senator is aware that before the war ended the Government had entered into contracts with primary producers on the basis of war requirements, and that the cancellation of these contracts now would mean the payment of substantial compensation to primary producers. I recall that in the not far-distant past, whilst I was on the other side of the chamber and the party of which the Acting Leader of the Opposition was a member held office, bills were frequently introduced for the payment of subsidies to primary producers, including wheat-growers, wool-growers, and others. The honorable senator was also a supporter of successive governments which ratified the sugar agreement with Queensland which provides another subsidy.
– It is not a subsidy.
– It. cannot be called anything else. However, the point T wish to make Ls that the payment of subsidies in those days was supported by the Acting Leader of the Opposition. I too supported those measures, and shall continue to do so. An immediate withdrawal of subsidies payable to primary producers would mean claims for com pensation by contractors all over the Commonwealth, and should these claims become the subject of litigation, the Commonwealth might also be saddled with substantial costs. The second point is that a number of primary industries are being .subsidized in order to place them on a sound footing. Ls the primary producer not entitled to the same protection and assistance as the manufacturer? For many years past manufacturing industries have enjoyed tariff protection and subsidies. Some of them have been raised from the bottom rung of the ladder. Had they been exposed to the full blast of world competition, probably they would not exist to-day, or at least they would not be in nearly such a strong position. The Acting Leader of the Opposition, of course, is associated with a manufacturing industry, which, with other undertakings, has been built up by means of assistance, either through a direct subsidy, or through indirect taxes imposed upon the workers of this country who have had to pay higher prices for manufactured goods. Now that these industries are well established, and are able to operate without help., the Acting Leader of the Opposition, objects to assistance being given to primary producers who supply goods to hisfactories. His attitude now is, “If yOU cannot produce your goods at the price prevailing in other parts of the world you. must go under “.
– I did not say that..
– What other construction can be placed upon the honorable senator’s statement that primary production should not be subsidized.
– I did not say that.
– The honorable’ senator said that he was opposed to subsidizing primary producers.
– I said that I was01)Posed to subsidies for any one. I did not single out primary producers.
– Certain primaryindustries in this country could not exist if it were not for subsidies and, but for prices control, the workers of Australis would not be able to purchase some primary products. Apparently in one blow,, the honorable senator would abandon subsidies and remove prices control. If that; were done and another serious drought. were encountered, goods in short supply would bring high prices, and would be within the reach of only a very limited number of people in the community. Prices control has served ian excellent purpose in this country. If it were removed overnight as the Acting Leader of the Opposition desires notwithstanding the fact that there’ is still a huge shortage of many commodities, including certain primary products, hardware, some clothing, machinery, farm implements, and other necessary equipment, prices would increase from 100 per cent, to 500 per cent, within a few days. Why does the honorable senator seek the removal of prices control? Is it because manufacturing interests in this country have large stocks on hand and are not satisfied with the prices which have been fixed, or does he desire to cause severe inflation with which the Government would not be able to cope? Obviously, if prices control were abandoned, even within a month or ii year, we would not be able to curb the inflation which would follow.
The Acting Leader of the Opposition would like to see the Department of Munitions, the Department of Information, the Department of Aircraft Produc11011 and the Commonwealth Prices Commission abolished forthwith. The Government has spent hundreds of millions of pounds building and equipping factories for war production. Are those valuable establishments to be. closed immediately and their employees turned out to look for other jobs, or are we to continue to make use of the factories wherever possible “by transferring them to civil production? ff the staffs of munitions factories are to be thrown out of employment immediately, where can we obtain the labour necessary to transfer the under takings to civil production? The honorable senator knows quite well that many of these factories have been manufacturing not only arms and munitions, hut also farming implements and other commodities required in rural production.
The honorable senator expressed amazement because the estimated expenditure -iti aircraft production this year is higher ‘han it was last year. The only alter.native to producing aircraft in Australia is to purchase them in the United State.of America, where our dollar reserve.have been greatly depleted. How can we maintain full employment in thicountry if goods which we can manufacture here are to be purchased overseas ‘. We must produce certain commoditiesfor export before we can import goods. If thousands of men and women were thrown out of employment, the loss to the country in taxes would be considerable and the entire budget would have to be re-cast. The Government proposes to operate its own interstate airlines in thinear future. Australian engineers and artisans have proved themselves second to none in aircraft production: Winthen should we close our aircraft factories and purchase aircraft overseas? At present, civilian aircraft in this country are inadequate for our needs. During the war we have produced military aircraft of a sufficiently high standard to fight the Japanese in territories to the north of this country. Surely our workmen are capable of producing aeroplane? for civil use. That is the reason for the increase of expenditure on aircraft production. The happenings after the last war will not be repeated. On that occasion the Australian Commonwealth Line of Steamers, which had rendered excellent service to this country, was sold for a song, as were the Commonwealth Woollen Mills. There will also be no repetition of the unfortunate occurrence? in regard to the re-establishment of servicemen after the last war.
In regard to the Department of Information. my opinion is that until the Australian delegation attended the San Francisco conference, Australia had noi been brought to the notice of the world to anything like the degree it should have been. The activities of the department in regard to overseas publicity have noi been sufficiently extensive. Australia should be more widely advertised overseas. The Acting Leader of the Opposition claimed that ‘ Australia -must have a greater population, but how can we attract migrants if we do not -advertise our own country and stress its opportunities and potentialities ? I come now to what apparently has hurt the honorable senator more than anything else, namely, the claim that the department is being used for propaganda purposes. So it should be. Why should the people of this country be ignorant of legislation passed by this Parliament? They should be fully acquainted with every enactment, particularly measures which so closely affect them as social service legislation. Many people do not know to what benefits they are entitled under our pensions, hospital benefits and unemployment and sickness benefits legislation. That information is not available to the people now because it is not published fully in the press. That is one good reason why the Department of Information should undertake this task.
The Acting Leader of the Opposition also criticized the means test. I have before me the Treasurer’s budget speech for the year 1932-33, presented during the term of office of the Lyons Administration. It states -
The Government regrets that it is necessary to impose a further reduction in invalid and old-age pensions.
The pension at that time was 17s. 6d. a week, yet it was to be further reduced ! The effect was to place the home of every invalid and old-age pensioner under mortgage. When a pensioner died the Government could claim his home as a reimbursement for pension payments. The Acting Leader of the Opposition was a supporter of a government which introduced legislation to reduce the invalid and old-age pension from 17s. 6d. to 15s. a week.
– I was not then a member of this Parliament.
– The honorable senator became a member of it a little later, and the position of the old-age pensioner was little better then than it had previously been.
– The reduction was made by the Scullin Government.
– I have been referring to the budget speech of the late Mr. Lyons. That shows how the Opposition tries to pull the wool over the eyes of the electors. In 1943-44, just prior to the next elections, the Lyons Government tried to make amends, and increased the pension to 17s. 6d. a week, but provided for an adjustment of the rate on a sliding scale, according to variations in the cost of living, and allowing for a maximum payment of £1 a week; but the means test still operated. As a pensioner was not permitted to earn more than 12s. 6d. a week, the maximum income was fixed at 32s. 6d. a week. No means test is applied in respect of child endowment.
Honorable senators opposite did not have the courage to give effect to the contributory scheme to which the Acting Leader of the Opposition referred.
– Was not that proposal put into legislative form?
– A bill was passed through both branches of the legislature, but it was not put into operation. There is no comparison between that scheme and the proposal in the present budget. The latter does not leave the pensioner with only 30s. a week, as under the scheme which the Menzies and Lyons Governments tried to foist on the people. The present plan might involve the payment of a tax of Id. in the £1 by the lower-paid workers, and provide for a much higher payment by persons on higher salaries, but the tax will not be additional to the income tax. This plan is entirely different from the innocuous contributory social benefits scheme introduced by anti-Labour governments, which they did not have the courage to put into operation, and which also provided for means tests.
– It was mean from one end to the other.
– That is trueI shall now indicate further blunders perpetrated by anti-Labour governments after the first world war. When a land settlement scheme for ex-servicemen was introduced, the States desired to retain control, and they did so. This is what was said about it by the then Treasurer. Sir Earle Page, who has been described as one who tries to “ farm “ the farmers -
When plans were first made for the settlement of returned soldiers on the land, the Commonwealth desired to control the work. The States, however, insisted on having full control and in excluding the Commonwealth from any share in the administration.
The government of the day agreed to be excluded from the control, but finally the Commonwealth authorities had to come to the rescue of the settlers and foot the bill. To make up for the losses on soldier settlements, the Commonwealth had to pay £11,762,760. The States bought properties at inflated prices and settled soldiers on land on which they had no hope of making a living. Tasmania’s proportion of the loss was £1,321,169, half of which was borne by the State and the other half by the Commonwealth. I believe that Senator J. B. Hayes was a Minister of the Crown in Tasmania when the scheme was in operation. There were similar experiences in the other States, and heavy financial losses were incurred. The taxpayers were called upon to meet the losses, and thousands of ex-servicemen were ruined.
– Is not the control to be handed over again to the States?
– The Commonwealth will hold a tight rein over the States. On one occasion a soldier settler told a Tasmanian Minister that he had become bankrupt, and the Minister decided to have a look at his farm. He could find nothing but cobblestones, and to his surprise a black cat ran past. The Minister asked the settler if it were a black rabbit, and wanted to know why it was running so fast. The reply which the Minister received was: “It has to keep running until it can find a place where it can scratch a hole “. That is the kind of land on which men were settled after the war of 1914-18, and the Commonwealth must retain sufficient control at present to prevent such happenings in theplacing of ex-servicemen on the land. Under the present scheme three of the States will act as agents for the Commonwealth and the other three will operate as principals. The Commonwealth control will have to be sufficient to prevent the purchase of properties that are not of the requisite standard. The settlement plans will have to be approved by Commonwealth officials before they can be puit into operation.
Some of the provisions of the Reestablishment and Employment Act should be liberalized. The definition of “ eligible person “ shows that he must be a discharged member of the forces and that immediately prior to his engagement on war service was engaged in an occupation, business, or practice on his own account as an active member of a partnership, as a share-farmer or as a contract worker. That definition prevents practically all ex-servicemen under 27 years of age from participation in the benefits of the scheme. Very few soldiers worked their own farms, or were share-farmers, at the age of 20, or21 or even 22. Thus, many young men who. enlisted at those ages will not be allowed to participate under that provision of the Re-establishment and Employment Act. I ask leave to continue my remarks at a later date.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
.- I move-
That the Senate do now adjourn.
Onthe motion for the adjournment of the Senate on the 18th July, Senator Mattner drew attention to certain matters relating to the welfare of troops then serving in Pacific areas, and referred paricularly to the arrangements for the cooking of food, alleging that inadequate provision had been made on unit establishments for cooks. The Minister for the Army (Mr. Forde) now states, in reply, that upon the return of the Australian Imperial Force from the Middle East, an Australian Army Catering Corps was formed in which provision was made for a sergeant and corporal cook and two privates for each company or equivalent unit; and the regimental sergeant cook was replaced by a warrant officer caterer. Colonel Sir Stanton Hicks, of the Adelaide University, was placed in charge of the Catering Corps and the work of this eminent scientist in this particular field of Army organization has been so outstanding that the British and UnitedStates Army authorities have indicated their interest in Australian Army methods, and have obtained Sir Stanton’s advice on catering and food supply questions affecting their armies in the Pacific zone.
It had long been realized that the break up of units into small parties, a tendency which has been accelerated by aerial and Pacific jungle warfare development, inevitably reduced the efficiency of troop feeding because of the difficulty of the orderly maintenance of a balanced ration supply. It was also realized that a quite small total deficiency of cooks could involve a much more serious deficiency where specific individual units were concerned. Notwithstanding the further difficulties occasioned by the reduction in numbers of catering personnel on leave or because of sickness, &c, the importance of proper and efficient feeding received all possible attention, and was regarded as a paramount obligation by the Catering Corps, which has performed splendid service under most difficult conditions. When the Minister for Health and Minister for Social Services (Senator Fraser) returned from his visit to the operational areas, he made the following comment in regard to the work of the catering units: -
From practically all the troops I visited, from the base to forward sections in contact with the enemy, the ration organization was given full praise.
It was only in the base areas that any grievances were expressed, but this, I am satisfied, was because United States of America troops when in the base received ice cream and delicacies not available to the Australians.
The General Officer Commanding stated that whatever delicacies were needed and essential were supplied to the hospitals and that it was not desirable that base troops should be given special rations and he would not advocate it even if it were possible:
Lieutenant-General Savige stated that he greatly preferred the Australian Army system of controlled meals based on balanced rations while in camps of training and in advanced operational areas, transferring over to the operational ration (still carefully balanced in its dietary content) only when necessity demanded. Not only the Australian troops, but the American authorities , and their troops, looked with favour on our system.
The above amply demonstrates, in my opinion, that whatever the troops in bases may think of the American sufficiency of delicacies, it is to say the least doubtful whether these delicacies and not a more balanced ration, such as is available to Australian troops, are in their best interests.
As regards tobacco and cigarettes, the ration available from all Army canteens issuing points in overseas areas is 105 cigarettes, or its equivalent in tobacco and cigarettes, for each man weekly.
This quantity is made available in bulk to units, and the distribution to individuals is the responsibility of the unit operated canteen. There have at times been shortages, but generally, the issues have been kept up to the scale indicated. The beer ration aimed at in overseas areas is two bottles weekly for each man. This is also made available to units in bulk from Army canteens issuing points, the distribution to individual soldiers being the responsibility qf the unit commander. Difficulty has been experienced from time to time in maintaining this ration with regularity, but it has been the objective to make supplies available on the scale indicated, and generally, this has been achieved.
With respect to the matter of clothing referred to by the honorable senator, it is known that at one period transport shortages combined with difficult unloading conditions caused by high tides and surf at Aitape, caused shortages in that area. Senator Fraser’s report, which was made available to honorable senators at the time, dealt with this matter. These shortages ceased as soon as the tidal and surf conditions’ abated.
The honorable senator also expressed concern regarding leave for troops in the islands. It is true that in many cases recreation leave credits have accumulated1, and these again were due entirely to the difficulties of transport. At the present time available shipping is being fully taxed to return to Australia, amongst others, Australian prisoners of war and long service personnel for discharge, who have been granted priority over leave personnel. For this reason movement to- the mainland for the purpose of taking recreation leave has had to-be suspended,- and as shipping becomes available it will be utilized to - bring additional troops to Australia for demobilization under the points system.
Yesterday, Senator Brand asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Army, upon notice -
The Minister for the Army has now supplied the following answers : -
Yesterday Senator Collett asked the Minister representing the Minister for Post-warReconstruction, upon notice -
The Minister for Post-war Eeconstruetion has now supplied the following answers : -
Senator Collett yesterday also asked the Minister representing the Minister for Post-warReconstruction, upon notice ;
What number of persons in Western Australia, entitled to the benefits of the Reestablishment and Employment Act 1945, have been enrolled and are engaged -
The Minister for PostwarReconstruction has now supplied the following answers : -
Figures to 27th August are as follows: -
Yesterday, Senator Foll asked the Minister representing the Minister for Post-warReconstruction, upon notice -
Will the Government issue a consolidated handbook to all members of the services setting out facilities available to them in relation to repatriation, land settlement, technical training, &c, and the ways and means of securing such assistance; also the addresses of offices in various parts of Australia when; applications must be made?
The Minister for PostwarReconstruction has supplied the following answer : -
A comprehensive hand-book giving the details referred to, together with many other particulars is in the press and will soonbe published.
– Some days ago I asked a question with regard to the passenger accommodation provided on trains from Albury to Canberra, and to-day I received an answer which stated, in effect, that the matter would be brought to the notice of the Minister of Transport in New South Wales. I requested that ordinary sanitary conveniences, together with a degree of cleanliness and a reasonable amount of comfort, should be provided for passengers travelling between those two centres. In order to assist the Minister of Transport in New South Wales to give full consideration to my request, I take this opportunity to mention some of the complaints of passengers which prompted my question. On the 9th September a train left Albury at about 10.45 p.m. for Canberra, a journey of from eleven to twelve hours. A coach consisting of first-class and second-class compartments was provided for Canberra passengers. All of the seats in both compartments wereoccupied by male and female passengers. In the first-class compartment, only one lavatory was provided for both sexes. Some servicemen who left the train at wayside stations had to sit on the floor, and they sat outside the lavatory door. No sanitary paper or towels were provided in the lavatory, whilst the wash basin was in a filthy condition. In a compartment occupied by ladies, only one tumbler for drinking purposes was provided, and this was. removed by a passenger from another compartment, who failed to return it. Passengers generally were inconvenienced by grime and air draughts. When the train drew into Goulburn, the carriage stopped short of the platform, and women passengers had to step down a great distance to the ground. In doing so they were obliged to grasp the hand-rails, which were coated with oily grime. I give these facts in the hope that they will assist the Minister for Transport in New South Wales in considering my request.
– I bring to the attention of the Minister for Trade and Customs (Senator Keane) and the Ministers representing the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction (Mr. Dedman) and the Minister for the Interior (Mr. Johnson) certain matters dealing with life at the lonely outpost of Broome, on the north-west coast of Western Australia, and the steps which are to be taken with regard to the rehabilitation of the mother-of-pearl shell industry. Honorable senators may be under the impression that this industry is not very important. I assure them that without this industry that lonely district would he practically uninhabited. The industry is the main source of employment in the area, and provides a greater volume of employment than is provided by the cattle industry further inland. During the war, no fishing was permitted in the waters adjacent to Broome. It is now some, time since I visited that area, because I believed that the authorities would be much happier if members of parliament refrained from visiting the locality during the war. It has been suggested that the manufacture of plastics will cause a slump in the demand for mother of pearl shell, but I oppose that contention because, apart from the utilitarian . aspect of this material, its attractiveness for ornamental purposes will ensure a ready market. Approximately £A.400 a ton is being offered for mother of pearl shell landed in New York. That indicates that plastics are not a menace to’ this industry. Even the common or grubby type of shell realizes £A.180 a ton in the United States of America. Inquiries have been made by former pearlers as to the future of the industry, which is capable of giving profitable employment to ex;-servicemen. After the war of 1914-18 numbers of ex-servicemen engaged in pearling, and some obtained good returns for their labours. One of the questions to bc decided early by the Government will be that of labour for diving purposes. Formerly, many of the divers employed on the north-west coast of Australia were Japanese, but it is considered that the further employment of Japanese divers should not be tolerated. That would leave sCope for the recruitment of Indonese, Malays, Chinese, and Filipinos. In the past few Filipinos were employed as divers in Australian waters. The Government should give early consideration to the granting of permission for’ indentured labour to enter Australia, because it will take some time to create the organization necessary to recruit the men who are essential to the future success of the industry. Australians will not undertake the oceangoing task of diving; it has always been necessary to recruit the nationals of other countries for that work. The building of new luggers also will require early attention, as the Navy commandeered the old lugger fleet, most of which is now too depreciated to withstand the ocean conditions often encountered ofl the northwest coast of Australia. Inquiries will have to be made regarding new equipment for the luggers, especially the diving apparatus and its components, which are not obtainable in Australia at present. The building and equipment of a pearling lugger costs approximately £2,800, whilst maintenance costs, including wages, victualling, repairs, &c.,’ represent approximately £1,800 a year. Moreover, one vessel is not sufficient for a pearler to make a success of his undertaking; two vessels are necessary. At Broome, there is a possibility of recovering 1,200 tons of shell a year, and as the price of shell is high, early steps should be taken by the Government to organize the industry on a proper footing. As approximately 100 vessels would be required to lift that quantity of shell, there is scope for considerable employment in this industry in the near future. Owing to the war, the industry has lapsed to a considerable degree, and it is believed that the growth of shell has been phenomenal. The figures which I have given are only approximate. In order that the industry may have stability in the future, it will be necessary to educate and organize new divers. A school of training is required for that purpose. Those interested in the industry would assist in establishing and maintaining such a school because the maintenance of a sufficient number of trained divers has always been a problem. Unless something be done in this connexion., there is danger that Japanese workers will again infiltrate into the industry. That should be avoided at all costs, especially in that lonely part of the continent. I trust that the appropriate Ministers will give to this matter their earnest consideration, so that an early start can be made towards there-establishment of the pearl fishing industry in this sparsely populated portion ofWestern Australia, where pearl fishing is the main industry, and without it, the population would practically disappear..
– in reply - The matters to which Senators Collett and Allan MacDonald have referred will be brought to the notice of the Ministers concerned, who will give attention to them.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
The following papers were presented : -
Arbitration (Public Service) Act - Determination by the Arbitrator, &c. - No. 47 of 1945 - Amalgamated Postal Workers’ Union.
Defence Act - Royal Military College - Report for 1944.
Lands Acquisition Act - Land acquired for Commonwealth purposes - Queanbeyan, New South Wales.
National Security Act -
National Security (Rationing) Regulations - Orders - Nos. 104, 105.
National Security (Shipping Coordination ) Regulations - Orders - Nos. 95, 96, 98.
Norfolk Island Act - Regulations - No. 1 of 1945 (Crown Lands Ordinance).
Seat of Government Acceptance Act and Seat of Government (Administration) Act-
Canberra University College - Report for 1944.
Ordinance - No. 9 of 1945 - Canberra Community Hospital.
Regulations - No. 3 of 1945 - (Building and Services Ordinance).
Wool - Report of Central Wool Committee for Season 1944-45.
Senate adjourned at 10.7 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 19 September 1945, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1945/19450919_senate_17_185/>.