17th Parliament · 3rd Session
The President (Senator the Hon. Gordon Brown) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
asked the Acting Minister for Health and Social Services, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follows : -
Volunteer Defence Corps - Pebsonal Records - Release: of Army Doctors
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Army, upon notice -
– The Minister for the Army has supplied the following answers : -
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Army, upon notice -
– The Minister for the Army has supplied the following answers : -
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Army, upon notice -
– The Minister for the Army has supplied the following answers : -
Patent Preparation for Pneumatic Tubes
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Army, upon notice -
Is it a fact that the Army Department has refused to use a patent for prolonging the life of pneumatic tubes, known as “ Dicseal which is used extensively by commercial firms and has been patented in Great Britain and in eighteen foreign countries; if so, why?
– The Minister for the Army has supplied the following answer : -
Yes. The use of “ Dicseal “ has been investigated by the Army at various times since 1938, but it has not been adopted for a number of reasons including -
Debate resumed from the 19th September(vide page 5570), on motion by SenatorKeane -
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 the Eight Honorable J. B. Chifley, M.P., on the occasion of the budget of 1945-46.
.- “When the debate was adjourned last night I was about to illustrate the necessity for making some provision of a more elastic nature to assist the settlement of exservicemen on the land immediately after their discharge. An examination of the Re-establishment and Employment Act shows that an ex-serviceman may obtain a re-establishment loan of up to £1,000 for a rural property. However, the qualifications provided in the act are such that only applicants 26 or 27 years of age or over are likely to be eligible. The reason for that is that an applicant is required to have been an owner or partowner of a farm, or a snare-farmer, prior to enlistment
– Not necessarily.
– I refer the honorable senator to the .act. Had he been present when I was speaking last night he would understand the position. For his benefit, I shall read again the definition of “ eligible person “ contained in the act - “ Eligible person “ means -
a discharged member of the forces, who -
The majority of our servicemen enlisted between the ages of 18 years and 21 years. Any man who, prior to enlistment, had been an owner or part-owner of a farm or had otherwise qualified for the loan must now be 27 years of age. Many members of the forces would like to buy farms immediately after their discharge. Under the Government’s scheme of land settlement for ex-servicemen, they will probably have to wait for from two and a half to three years in some States before they can settle on a property.
– The £1,000 loan is not for the settlement of men on the land.
– The honorable senator is too dense to follow my argument. If he will sit quietly instead of interjecting, he will have a better chance to understand me. The point is that, under the Government’s scheme at present, farms will have to be selected and improvements carried out, such as clearing, fencing, and erecting of houses. All of this will take time. In the meantime, the ex-servicemen may be able to buy improved properties for themselves if they have sufficient money. If they have not qualified for re-establishment loans they may be prevented from doing so. There are plenty of good farms which could be bought by discharged servicemen. I know of one or two specific cases. Approved ex-servicemen could be permitted to obtain re-establishment loans in order to buy such properties. The approval could be given by the Commonwealth or State authorities, and the act could he amended to permit granting reestablishment loans io ex-servicemen who are considered by the State departments of agriculture to be likely to become successful farmers.
– The honorable senator must realize that a bill relating to the settlement of ex-servicemen on the land must be passed through the Parliament. The Re-establishment and Employment Act does not deal with land settlement.
– I am speaking of existing conditions with a view- to assisting men who are now being discharged from the services. If the Reestablishment and Employment Act were amended, men could be assisted to settle on the land without delay. If the honorable senator had studied the legislation more closely during its passage through thi a chamber he would realize that.
– I know the act.
– The honorable senator skipped a lot of it when he was reading it, and there is a great deal of it which he doe3 not understand. If the Commonwealth were to empower the States to purchase farms for which they would receive reimbursement, a considerable number of ex-servicemen could be put on. the land now. A scheme of that nature is required until farms can be prepared for soldier settlement. Many ex-servicemen, who were, brought up on farms have married upon their return from the war and wish to settle on their own properties, but because they were not owners or part-owners of holdings before the war they are not eligible to participate in the land settlement scheme. 1 trust that this matter will be brought to the notice of the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction (Mr. Dedman). It may be argued that such a scheme would, be undesirable because of inflated land prices, and because ‘ a certain amount of risk might be involved; but there would not be any great risk if a Commonwealth organization were established consisting of practical men who knew their Job. Under the control of theorists, of course^ any such plan would be doomed to failure. In addition to the safeguard provided by a Commonwealth organization, there would be a check exercised by the States. I assume that after the chaos which characterized land settlement schemes after the last war, every State government will be determined to give exservicemen fair treatment on the land and will have expert advisers to examine proposed settlement areas from the point of view of quality of land, size of holdings, and economic suitability. In addition, approval would have to be given by the Commonwealth before land was purchased. A plan of this kind would be of great benefit to ex-servicemen who wish to settle on the land, particularly those who are not eligible for re-establishment in their own line of business because of age upon enlistment, or because they were not owners or part-owners of businesses at the date of their enlistment. I hope that the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction will take cognizance of my representations on this matter, because if something is not done, this is not the last word that will be heard on the matter.
I come now to subsidies. I have already dealt generally with this subject, and I wish to refer particularly now to the butter industry. The present butter subsidy brings the price of butter to ls. 7.3d. per lb. or ls. 5d. per lb. of butter fat. If the dairying industry in this country is to prosper, subsidies are inevitable whether we like them or not, and they will have to be paid on a basis mort? liberal thai’ at present. With production costs J t their present high figure, we cannot ask ex-servicemen to undertake dairying when the return for butter is only ls. 7.3d. per .lb. Butter will be in world-wide demand for many years to come. The Commonwealth Government has entered into a contract with the Government of the United Kingdom under which Great Britain has agreed to take Australia’s entire surplus of butter until 1948. That is a clear indication that butter will be in short supply. “War devastation in Europe has caused a huge reduction of the number of sheep and cattle. Speaking as a layman, and without claiming to have a profound knowledge of economic theories, I believe that it will take ten years to restore stock in European countries to pre-war level. Even if it takes only half that period, this country has a great market ahead of it for all dairy products, but farmers cannot be expected to continue to produce butter at ls. 7.3d. per lb. That return is by no means commensurate with returns from other primary products which in recent years have been supplied under contract to the Commonwealth Government On many occasions in pre-war years dairy-farmers received a much better price than that, yet we have not heard of dairymen retiring on their profits. In view of the great shortage of dairy products not only in this country but also throughout the world, I appeal to the Government to re-examine this matter to see if it is not possible to bring about a more equitable distribution of payments to primary producers, some of whom I believe could well afford to receive less than they are getting at present. Dairy-farmers should receive at least sufficient to meet their costs of production, and to provide a fair margin of profit.
Yesterday the Acting Leader of the Opposition (Senator Leckie) attacked the Government because of its allocation to the flax industry for the current year. He claimed- that there was terrific waste in this industry .because of antiquated methods and processes. I ask the honorable senator to take his mind back to the 25th June, 1941, when I moved a motion in this chamber for the appointment of a select committee to inquire into the flax industry which had Keen established by an anti-Labour administration. On that occasion I drew the attention of honorable senators to the very things to which the Acting Leader of the Opposition referred yesterday. The reply to my representation was given by Senator Gibson, who posed as the Government’s flax expert. Dealing with the very submissions which were made again yesterday by the Acting Leader of the Opposition, Senator Gibson said - . . The straw is then spread out in the field and retted. I do not know what other procedure could be adopted. Senator Aylett has suggested that the flax should be pit-retted and treated in drying sheds. T. point out that in Ireland, Belgium and other countries where flax is grown in large quantities, the flax is all dried in the fields. Drying plants to process the flax would cost about £ 10,000 each.
The honorable senator went on to illustrate the huge cost, of pit-retting equipment and a drying plant. He said, in fact, that members of the then Opposition knew nothing at all about the matter. I mention that to illustrate to the Acting Leader of the Opposition just what has been accomplished in the flax industry. The inquiry which I sought was actually’ carried out by the Rural Industries Committee, which examined the matter extensively and unearthed what can only be described as one of the most atrocious agreements ever entered into by any government. I refer to the agreement with Flax Fibres Proprietary Limited to hand back to that company free of charge, at the end of ten years, £13,000 worth of plant and equipment which the Government had purchased from it. As the result of the committee’s investigations, the agreement was cancelled. Since the inquiry was made, the flax industry has been mechanized to a great degree. Pits have been established where it has been considered economically possible to construct them. The Government benefited considerably from the previous administration’s experiments in pit-retting and drying. As I have said, pits have been established, and I understand that the process has been mastered. The advancement in dew-retting is this: Instead of trying to convert a hay-binder which cuts oats, barley, wheat and other cereals, to the harvesting of flax, there is now in use a machine which cuts the flax, and spreads it out for retting, thus saving the work of about 20 or 30 spreaders. Then there is another machine which turns the flax - another operation formerly done by hand - and a third machine which gathers it into sheaves ready to be stacked.
– Where are those machines being operated?
– In the State which the honorable senator represents in this chamber.
– That is not so.
– My information comes from the chairman of the Flax Board with whom I have had many discussions. If Senator McLachlan wishes he can verify -my statement in the Parliamentary Library. If he does so, he will find that what I have said is correct. When the flax industry was first established in this country I forecast that it would never be an economic success, but I was criticized severely by members of the then government, who said that I did not know what I was talking about. To-day the industry is still being subsidized, and those who criticizedme are squealing against the subsidy. Why has this industry been subsidized ? It has been subsidized because flax is a necessary war commodity and we were asked to produce it. by the British Government. However, as I claimed in the early days of the industry, Australia should be reimbursed by the United Kingdom for its loss on flax production, and the Australian taxpayers should have to meet the difference between the cost of producing the flax and the price received for it. I still maintain that that is the price that should be paid. If flax fibre is required in Australia for other industries it is the, duty of the Commonwealth Government to subsidize this industry. We have learned much about the production of flax during the war, and more advanced methods, particularly in respect’ of mechanization should enable us to retain flax production as a post-war industry. That would lead to the establishment of two other industries. Already, we have in Melbourne and Sydney spinning mills to deal with flax fibre, but more such mills could be established. We could also manufacture linen and rope in large quantities. Subsidizing the growing of tax might ultimately lead to the establishment in this country of other industries which would be of value, particularly if Australia were short of foreign exchange. “When honorable senators opposite refer to this and other industries, I hope that they will not forget to study the speeches made by them in 1941, and 1942.
There is a hue and cry throughout Australia for more homes. Opponents of the Government repeat the parrot cry, “ What is the Government doing in order to provide homes for the people, particularly returned servicemen?” An examination of previous budgets does not reveal that those who are most insistent in demanding that homes be provided did anything to relieve the shortage when they were in office. During the depression, when thousands of homeless people walked the streets and roads seeking work unavailingly, nothing was done by previous governments to provide shelter for them. On the contrary, those governments seemed to do everything possible to- make their conditions worse. There has been an unavoidable lag in home building during the war, because when war broke out, civil activities had to be converted to war production. But the lag goes back far beyond September, 1939; it extends over nearly fifteen years. The present Government is not responsible for the existing shortage of homes. Had previous governments done their duty, a housing programme would have been in operation during the ten years before the war, and the shortage would not now be so great.
– Previous governments won two elections by promising homes to the people.
– That is so. lt cannot truly be said that those governments did not build any homes, because one home was built for the then Treasurer, Mr. Casey. It will be impossible to overtake the lag in one or two years. To add to the difficulty, there is a shortage of materials. Yet the Acting Leader of the Opposition would close the factories which could provide those materials.
– I said nothing of the kind.
– The honorable gentleman has such a short memory that he has forgotten what he said yesterday. The prices of building materials have risen enormously since the beginning of the war. It may be that the Prices Commissioner has a satisfactory explanation of the increases, and I admit that had it not been for price control the position would have been much worse. Timber, which before the war cost 16s. for 100 super, feet, now costs 23s. 9d. Another class of timber which was obtainable at 16s. per 100 super, feet before the war, now costs 27s. 9d. In respect of another class of timber the respective figures are 17s. and 33s. 9d. Prior to the war bricks were obtainable at £5 15s. a 1,000; to-day the price is £7 10s. What is the reason? Is it due to an increase of the price of clay? It must be remembered that wages have been pegged during the war. Prior to the last increase of the price of bricks, one proprietor of a brick-making concern gave £2,500, and, later, another £1,500 to charity. It may be that those payments were included in his production costs. Something should be done to keep prices within the reach of the ordinary people who require homes; but should it be found that a house required by a workman costs, say, £1,200 or £1,500, whereas he can pay only a fair rental for a house costing £800, the Government should meet the difference in some way, because if workers are to be overcharged for their homes, child endowment will not be of much benefit to them. We must have a housing scheme which will ensure that workers will not have to pay in rent more than a reasonable proportion of their income. Extension of time granted.] I understand that many contracts for (processed fruits and vegetables have been cancelled by the Government. While this is taking place, the people of Europe are living under conditions of semistarvation. Processed fruit and vegetables can be transported to any part of the world without deteriorating. I should like to know what action has been taken by the Government to send trade commissioners to various countries to secure markets for Australian products. 1 understand that Australia has representatives in some countries but not in others which, might provide markets for our products. The Government should consider seriously the appointment of a trade commissioner to every country with which increased trade may be developed. In many European countries, as well as in both North and South America, there may be opportunities for trade. In various Pacific countries also Australia should have trade commissioners, so that this country may get a share of the trade with the big populations to be found there. If action along these lines be taken, we could settle many thousands of ex-servicemen . on the land, and instead of cancelling contracts for primary products, additional contracts could be entered into. Prompt action in this direction would lead to an expansion of our overseas trade which, in turn, would advertise Australia, and attract immigrants to increase our population. By helping ourselves we shall improve world conditions generally, because recent events have shown that if we are to continue to exist as a nation we must cooperate with other nations.
Senator ‘COOPER (Queensland; [3.43]. - The introduction of the budget gives to honorable senators an opportunity to deal with a wide range of subjects which are of importance to the whole community. The budget now before us was introduced at a time of great rejoicing. I do not mean that rejoicing was caused by the introduction of the budget; it arose from the knowledge that the war had ended. Now that hostilities have ceased, the people are beginning to realize the heavy burden of taxes that they have had to bear. All of us realize that during war-time heavy expenditure is unavoidable, and that many projects must be carried out as quickly as possible regardless of cost. In war, speed is the essence of the contract. During the six years of war through which we have just passed, and particularly since the entry of Japan into the conflict, we did not consider the volume of expenditure. Uppermost in our minds was the thought as to how quickly urgent works could be carried out. In north Queensland, we constructed aerodromes, military camps and hospitals, whilst thousands of tons of material and supplies had to be moved from the southern States to the far north. At that time, our very existence depended upon the speed with which we could carry out those works. I pay tribute to the members of the forces, employees of the Allied Works Council and other workers who were responsible for achieving those results in record time. As we know, the threat of invasion subsequently receded. During the war, Australians have been the highest taxed people in the world. In the main, our people accepted all taxes as inevitable under war conditions.
– Are we more heavily taxed that the people of Great Britain?
– Yes. As I have said, during a. period of war public expenditure is incurred on .an extravagant scale. Unfortuntely, Governments and departments get used to such extravagance, and it is very difficult when peace is restored to get them to moderate this habit. But now that the war is over a substantial portion of war expenditure should cease immediately. In future, all public expenditure must be analysed not from a war point of view but from an economic point of view. I can see no reason why in peace’ Australians should be the heaviest taxed people in the world. We have been very fortunate during the war in that very little damage has actually been done to property and industrial plants in this country. We are in a far better position than the peoples of Great Britain and European countries, where great numbers of buildings and plants have been demolished by bombs, to switch over quickly from war to peace activities. At such a time a reduction of taxes i3 imperative in order to stimulate private enterprise, encourage maximum production and provide employment for the thousands who will be discharged from the services. It is unreasonable to retain heavy war-time rates of taxes. An examination of the budget shows that some reduction is to be made, but it is only a very small reduction. The Treasurer (Mr. Chifley) said that it would be an overall reduction of 12£ per cent., but as the reduction will not operate until the 1st January next, and will be effective for only six months, it will actually’ be only a reduction of 6£ per cent, in respect of the ensuing financial year. During 1944-45 our expenditure on war amounted to £460,000,000 which was met by revenue amounting to £193,000,000 and £267,000,000 from loans. In the ensuing financial year, for ten months of which peace will prevail, expenditure for war purposes is estimated at £360,000,000, or a reduction of only £100,000,000 compared with war expenditure last year. To meet this expenditure the Treasurer estimates revenue at £207,000,000, which will exceed revenue expended for war purposes last year by £14,000,000, whilst £153,000,000 will be derived by loans. I understand that approximately £54,000,000 will be required to meet deferred pay of service personnel. However, the bulk of that sum will not be expended for that purpose because all service personnel will not be discharged during the ensuing twelve months. Thus, although hostilities have now ceased, the burden on the taxpayer in the ensuing financial year from taxation sources will be actually increased by £14,000,000 in order to meet war expenditure during the transition period. I can see no reason why expenditure on munitions and war supplies cannot be reduced in proportion to the diminishing demands of the services.
The Government would be well advised to relieve industry of that burden. Inevitably, heavy expenditure must be incurred by industry -generally in transition from war to peace. Had the war continued, we could continue to use the machinery in prod action during the war, but now that hostilities have ceased that machinery must be converted, or new machinery obtained, for the manufacture of essential civilian commodities. This change involves additional costs which will have to be borne by industry generally. Much -of the machinery to-day which has been used for war purposes is now worn out and must be either repaired or replaced.
I am convinced that these estimates were compiled by the various departments in the belief that the war would last another twelve months. It is evident that with the sudden cessation of hostilities they have not been revised. It is just as important to enable industry ;to produce peace-time requirements, as it was to gear up industry for war production. Industry will face the same difficulties and heavier costs in gearing up for peace-time production. Expenditure in respect of many departments could be substantially reduced. This possibility was indicated in the report of the Auditor-General twelve months ago, and greater possibilities should now exist in that direction. Some war departments should be abolished immediately. Already, the Censorship Branch has been abolished. Other departments established for purely war purposes could be gradually disbanded. However, some of these departments are considerably increasing their expenditure this year. In this respect, I mention particularly the Department of Information, which was created in 1939 as a war department. Its expenditure in that year was £22,000; in 1944-45, a full war year, it was £279,000, whereas its proposed expenditure for the ensuing year, in spite of the fact that hostilities have ceased, is £326,000. Maybe some explanation exists for that increase, but it has- not yet been given. In respect of nil these estimates, Parliament should be fully informed of the reasons for increased expenditure. As I have said, we took for granted huge expenditure during the war, but now that peace has returned we must analyse all expenditure on an economic basis. In addition to revenue from income tax, the Government will derive considerable sums through the Commonwealth Disposals Commission from the sale of surplus war equipment and materials. Undoubtedly, such receipts will run into many millions. That money will go into the general revenue account. Contracts for costly war materials will be gradually tapered off. It would be unwise, of course, to shut down immediately factories engaged in producing costly war machines. However, it is reasonable to expect that work on all these contracts will cease by the end of tie ensuing financial year. We can expect a big saving to be effected in that direction. Furthermore, thousands of service personnel will have been demobilized by the end of the ensuing financial year, and the majority of those discharged by that time, having been placed in employment, will be paying income tax, which will further increase the Government’s revenue from that source. In view of al! these facts, it is evident that the Treasurer’s estimate of revenue for the ensuing financial year will be exceeded. One can best sum up this budget by saying that it is a war-time budget which pays little or no regard to the fact that hostilities have ceased.
There is to be no reduction of company tax, but companies will play an important part in the re-establishment and employment of many thousands of ex-service men and women. Many companies have conducted the factories that have supplied war equipment and other defencerequisites, and they will be required to convert their plants quickly for the production of civilian goods. They will need more money to do that than they would have been called upon to expend, had the war continued. In the pastoral districts, thousands of miles of fencing will have to be renewed. Graziers and farmers are waiting to make improvements such us the construction of tanks, dams and bores. A substantial reduction of income taxation would enable that to be done, but high taxes remove the incentive to earn. It has been proved during the war that coal miners, wharf labourers and employees in the meat industry are induced to resort to absenteeism because of high taxes. Over-time was prevalent during the war, and it will also be prevalent in the post-War period, particularly in the building industry. An employee, iri receipt of £8 a week, who worked overtime for five weeks last year at £2 per week and thus earned an extra £10, was called upon to contribute £4 of it in income tax. Take the case of a single man earning £12 a week, and getting £4 worth of over-time fortnightly for twelve months. He earns an extra £102, but out of that sum he pays in income tax £44 18s. or 8s. 8d. in the £1. In the case of a single man earning £12 a week and employed at an hourly rate of 6s., he pays a tax of ls. 9?:d. “With over-time at. time and a half, or 9s. an hour, his tax totals 3s. 30-H., so for his over-time he receives only lid. an hour more than the ordinary rate of pay. “We have had many examples of absenteeism in the coalmining industry.
– Why specially select that industry?
– Because it well illustrates the point I am making. If a coal miner works only nine days out of ten, he does not suffer heavy financial loss under the system of high income tax, and therefore he considers that he may as well have a day off ; but, in the aggregate, the loss of one day a fortnight seriously reduces production. Although the war is over, Australia needs full production in all industries. Stocks of civilian goods are so low that employees in industry are required to work as hard now as during the war period, if we are to make up the leeway. An examination reveals that the Estimates could be so pruned that the taxpayers would be relieved to an amount of £15,000,000 to £18,000,000 in excess of the proposed reduction.
I am pleased that the Government has seen fit to place the social services of this country on a contributory basis, and on the. footing that was recommended by the Social Security Committee. The recommendation of the committee was that the necessary finance should be obtained by means of a graduated tax on incomes, and that the sum thus raised should be specifically earmarked for the purpose for which it was collected. That is undoubtedly a step in the right direction, but the Government has not gone far enough. We are now making it compulsory for the community, with the exception of a very small number of its members in the extremely low wage group, to pay into the National Welfare Fund, but certain persons only will obtain the full benefit of the scheme. Old-age and invalid pensioners are still subject to a means test. The system operating in Great Britain provides for contributions from all individuals, as in Australia, but. the benefits are available to all contributors.- Here the invalid and old-age applicants for a pension are subjected to a minute examination as to their financial position. The method now adopted does not encourage thrift or the part of the individual. If a man or woman has certain assets in addition te- the house in which he or she lives. t.bey are calculated as income in determining the rate of pension. This payment should not be referred to as the invalid and old-age pension, seeing that practically every member of the community is required to pay for certain social benefits. It could be more correctly described as a superannuation payment. . Many people may pay into the fund throughout their lives, and never become entitled to any benefit. I refer to members of the public services and the employees in large private companies which have established their own superannuation schemes. The banks also have adopted such schemes in i he interests of their employees. All are entitled to some benefit because of their contribution to the social services fund.
I realize that the means test cannot 1.x1 abolished immediately. To do so would probably upset the financial and economic system, but we could progressively increase the sum which a pensioner is entitled to earn, and increase the amount of assets he or she may hold in addition to a home. If this were done progressively, probably in a few years we could completely dispense with the means test, and give everybody some benefit for the money paid into the fund.
During the next twelve months, the problem of demobilization of ex-service personnel will cause considerable difficulty. I realize the problems that will confront the Department of Post-war Reconstruction, but, in the interests of national economy, it is necessary for our service personnel to be demobilized as quickly as possible and placed in productive civil . occupations. Continued high taxation will not help to achieve this result. Private industry’ will have to change over to peace-time production as soon as possible in order to provide openings for the employment of exservice men and women. Great assistance can be given to the community as a whole, and to ex-service personnel in particular, if those who. have jobs to return to are released” promptly. Both primary and secondary industries need all the man-power that can be made available in order to return to peace-time production.
Reference has been made to immigration, and members of all political parties have stressed the necessity for building up a large population in Australia. It is important that this should be done in as short a time as possible, and it is generally agreed that British migrants would be most suitable. On many occasions I have spoken to British service men and women, who have told me that they like Australia and would like to settle here. However, they have no idea of the Commonwealth Government’s policy on migration :md have no indication of what facilities for employment and land settlement would be offered to them. Many men would be glad to bring their wives and families to Australia to settle permanently. In order to encourage these people, pamphlets giving full information on the Government’s plans should be circulated to them and lectures should be arranged through the proper channels. Such publicity could do much to influence them to apply for discharge in Australia or to return to Australia after being discharged in Britain. It would give them a thorough idea of Australian conditions and would enable them to appreciate the advantages of migrating to this country. Another matter which is related to immigration concerns the widows of Australian servicemen who married in Great Britain. I have been approached on many occasions by the relatives of such women, many of whom have young children. When they visit Australia House in London to ask for information or to apply for passages to Australia so that they may join their deceased husbands’ relatives, they may receive very little help. We should do all that we can to see that these Australians - because they are Australians by marriage - are looked after while they remain in England, and to encourage and assist them to come to Australia as soon as possible.
A great deal has been said about housing, and there is no doubt that housing will be a very difficult problem for the next few years. I consider that, the housing programme should definitely be a first priority project for some years to come. Many ex-service men and women are .already trying to obtain houses, and thousands more will be doing so when they are discharged. It is estimated that about 700,000 homes will be built in a period of ten years. It is unlikely that a rate of construction of 70,000 a year can be achieved at the start; the building industry will have to be geared up so that the maximum rate of production will be reached gradually. The problem should be considered from a realistic point of view. The Government should be beyond the blue-print stage by now, and should be at work on the actual construction programme. As Senator Aylett has pointed out, building costs have increased considerably. In Queensland, a house that would have cost from £600 to £700 before the war now costs from £1,100 to £1,200. In many cases that would be a fibrocement structure. Those costs are much too high to expect ex-servicemen to pay, even if repayment were spread over a period of years. Without doubt, many thousands of servicemen will apply to the War Service Homes Commission for financial assistance to build homes, if they have not already done so. I draw attention to the report of the commission for the year 1943-44, which is the latest one available. The report, which was prepared when the war was at its height, is not very encouraging. It states -
Having regard to the large number of persons enlisted for active service and the period over which the war has continued, it can be accepted that at least some thousands will qualify as eligible persons and, being in urgent need of satisfactory cottage homes, will seek to obtain the advantages which the act confers.
Apart from the erection of dwellings iti accordance with the immediate war housing plan and those permitted to be built privately under the building controls referred to, construction of new homes remained more or less at a standstill throughout the year.
If then refers to the reasons for this, such as lack of skilled labour and essential fittings, and then continues -
The number of waiting applications on hand at the close of the previous financial year was 552. The end of the year under review brought this total to 2,065 whilst the flow of applications lodged for inclusion on the priority list increased, to some 200 monthly. All these applications, with the exception of a comparatively small number for the discharge of onerous mortgages or purchase of existing properties, cover proposals for the erection of homes.
If applications were coming in at the rate of 200 a month over a year ago, there will be a very heavy demand as soon as demobilization commences in earnest. The report continues -
The present rate of receipt of applicationsemphasizes the necessity for vigorous measures, in the matter of making available facilities and finance for the provision of homes under the terms of the act immediately the needs of war and the position as regards supplies of material and man-power will permit.
The man-power position is improving continuously. The next passage of the report is of particular importance. It states -
It is perhaps advisable to mention in this connexion that, however desirable the provision of homes may be, the commission hasat all times to take cognizance of the fact that the act requires all homes erected under its provisions to be substantial and durable in construction, and also to represent reasonable assets from a security viewpoint. These provisions protect the interest of both the Commonwealth and the purchaser or borrowerin. homes provided. The establishment of assets conforming to this standard is not easy of achievement when costs are above normal and materials are in extremely short supply or replaced by substitutes as has been the case for a considerable time. The position generally during the year indicated that had’ it been possible for applicants to proceed with the erection of dwellings, a likely risk of depreciation in value and in equities contributed, would have had to be accepted against the return of more normal conditions in thepostwar years when wider selection in firstclass building materials and fittings should be again possible, and skilled labour available. There are, of course, those who would be prepared to bear losses in this direction rather than continue with the inconveniences inseparable from the prevailing housingshortage.
The serviceman who has been away from Australia for from one to six years should not be expected to suffer financially by reason of factors over which he has had no control. Prices have increased while he has been. away. He has had no opportunity to purchase a home during his absence, and now, on his return, he will be asked to buy a home which admittedly has been built at an excessive cost. Workers who have been employed in industry during the war have received much higher rates of pay than service men and women, and many of them have been able to purchase the homes which they have been living in at pegged prices,, which are very much lower than the costs of new hom.es at present. Servicemen had no opportunity to do this. They will need homes, and they will be obliged to pay exorbitant rates for them. I agree that many civilians will be in the same position, but the Government can easily do something to assist applicants for war service homes. I suggest that homepurchase contracts should make provision for a revaluation in five to ten years, by which time prices should have returned to a normal level. Then if it were decided that the value of a home should be considerably reduced, the occupant might find that he was five years ahead with his payments, and would not then feel that he had been saddled with an unjust imposition. After the last war, the general experience was that if servicemen thought that they were obtaining value for the money they were expending, they were quite content; but if they believed that they had made a purchase at a period when prices were unduly high, with the result that in the absence of provision for revaluation, they would have to pay for conditions over which they had no control for the rest of their lives, they felt that they bad a legitimate grievance. A revaluation scheme would eliminate any fear on the part of the ex-serviceman as to the consequences of purchasing homes at the present time.
I am disappointed that no provision is made in the Estimates for the inauguration of a national drought relief scheme. It is true that there is a special appropriation for assistance, including drought relief, to the wheat industry. The total allocation is £2,186,000 of which £1,900,000 is for assistance, and £286,000 for drought relief; but again I stress the necessity for a national drought relief and fodder conservation scheme. I believe that provision should have been made in the Estimates for such a scheme, to be established, possibly, upon a contributory basis, with Government assistance. Under such a plan, maize, wheat and lucerne hay could be stored at specially selected centres where it would bc readily available in drought periods. Certain phases of primary production would be greatly stabilized in this way, because in bad seasons there would be an assured market for fodder crops.
– Does the honorable senator suggest a subsidized scheme?
– That is a matter for the Government. If the Government believes that stock is a national asset, it should pay its share of a fodder conservation scheme <I believe that some assistance should be given by the Government, because our primary industries are of considerable value to the nation, and drought losses may be a severe blow. A fodder conservation scheme would also eliminate the farmers’ dread of drought. It would be a valuable investment, not only for primary producers who would benefit from it, but also for the people of Australia. Again I ask the Government to give consideration to the inauguration of such a scheme.
I wish to refer again to a matter which I have brought to the notice of honorable senators on several occasions, namely, the losse’s incurred by stock owners as a result of the depredations of dingoes.
– The Government made cartridges available as the result of the last representations made by the honorable senator on this subject.
– Yes. That was greatly appreciated, but I have been urging for many years that the Commonwealth Government should pay a bonus of say £1 a head on dingo scalps. The eradication of dingoes is a problem which is not confined to any one State. All States suffer from these pests including, I believe, Tasmania. They travel from one State to another. Possibly demobilized servicemen with a liking for a bushman’s existence would be interested in this work. Dingo hunters must be good bushmen and good rifle shots. I am sure that if the Commonwealth were to pay £1 a scalp throughout Australia, quite a number of ex-servicemen would be only too glad to take up this work as a means of earning a livelihood. The dingoes must be tackled in the rough back-country where they have their lairs. It is no use waiting until they come down to sheep areas -and commence their depredations. In Queensland, property-owners form groups and pay, in many case’s, £3 a scalp, plus a wage of £4 or £5 a week. In addition the Queensland Government and the local shire councils between them pay n bonus of 158. a scalp. As a rule the shire council’s share is 10s. a scalp. An additional payment of fi it head by .the Commonwealth Government would be sufficient incentive to induce more men to undertake this work. I have no doubt that many ex-servicemen would develop a liking for the backcountry and remain there. A Commonwealth payment of fi a scalp would not cost more than £20,000 a year to begin with, and the saving in stock would be ample repayment. Some people claim that dingo trappers already earn too much, but 1 point out that although a hunter may make £40 a week for a week or two, ‘he cannot continue .to make that figure for long in the same area. As a dingo may kill from 10 to 50 sheep in a night, placing the value of sheep at £1 a head, the bonus cannot be regarded as excessive.
– I understand that dingo skins are used in Victoria. Is that the case in Queensland?
– No. Possibly m country where the dingoes can be killed and skinned immediately, the skins could be used, but normally in Queensland a dingo hunter goes round his traps perhaps once every three weeks, by which time the animal is beyond skinning.
– If too high a bonus were offered it might be an encouragement to breed dingoes.
– There are ample safeguards against that In Queensland men known as “ receivers “ are appointed for specific areas. A supervisor who certifies that he has received a certain number of scalps sends a certificate to the shire clerk, who forwards a cheque for the amount of the bonus. There is a receiver for each group, the members of which pay the “ dogger “ an extra bonus. A receiver soon knows whether there is anything shady going on. Generally, he succeeds in policing the scheme very well, at least to the satisfaction of the Queensland Government. I trust that the Commonwealth Government will give consideration to my suggestion, even as a post-war employment scheme.
When I was in north Queensland recently I found that there was a strong, inclination amongst many farmers to re turn to tobacco-growing. [Extension of time granted.] Many servicemen also would like to take up this activity. It is a primary industry well suited to certain individuals, and it does not require a great deal of capital.
– The growing of tobacco in this country is more urgently needed to-day than at any time during our history.
– Many people have asked me what the Government’s policy is towards the growing of tobacco in this country, and I have been unable to tell them. If tobacco-growing is to be encouraged, there should be an announcement to that effect as soon as possible because the planting season is now approaching. Prospective growers are anxious to know what is the Government’s attitude and what are the prospects of making a success of the industry.
– Our objective this year was 6,000,000 lb. but we received only about 4,000,000 lb.
– In 1943-44 the subsidy paid to the tobacco companies was £750,000, and in 1944-45, £752,000. I take it that that money was paid to stabilize the price of tobacco to consumers. If the growers could be guaranteed some stability, I am sure that there would be a good response.
Cotton-growing is another primary industry which is individualistic, and does not require a great deal of capital. Australia is short of raw cotton, and consequently our importations are heavy, Already there have been a number of investigations of cotton-growing in Australia, and I believe that if an outlet for production could be assured many exservicemen and others would engage in cotton-growing. Many farmers would switch over to cotton-growing if satisfactory results could be guaranteed.
Now that the war is over additional departments will undoubtedly be transferred to Canberra, thereby increasing the population of the Australian Capital Territory. Among those who will come here will be men and women who now enjoy the franchise, but will be denied it when they become residents of this Territory. Some thought should be given now to the granting of representation to the people of the Australian Capital Territory, even though the franchise itself may not be granted to them immediately. I suggest that legislation be introduced to provide that when the population of the Australian Capital Territory reaches, say 20,000 adults, they be given representation in the National Parliament. In support of my contention I point out that two Tasmanian electorates - Wilmot with 25,793 adults and Bass with 27,103 adults - are represented in this Parliament.
– The honorable senator’s suggestion means that the population of the Australian Capital Territory would have to reach 40,000 before the adults, who represent about half the population, would receive votes. That is looking a long way ahead.
– At the present time the adult population of the Australian Capital Territory is about 9,000 adults. This is a. matter to which I hope consideration will be given.
Following the victory which the United Nations have gained over their enemies, the Estimates should be revised to reduce war expenditure with a corresponding reduction of the burden of income tax.
– My general observations on the budget will relate particularly to arbitration, the basic wage and social services, but before dealing with those subjects I wish to refer to matters raised by the Acting Leader of te Opposition (Senator Leckie) and Senator Cooper. It is remarkable to find honorable senators opposite claiming to be champions of the working man.
– We always have been his champion.
– The history of the Opposition parties shows that they have always been against the working man, but now the leopard is trying to change its spots. The Acting Leader of the Opposition seemed deeply concerned that working men were being put off at various factories. He almost shed tears.
– If I shed any tears, it was because the other fellow was kept on.
– Almost immediately ‘ afterwards the honorable gentlemen went on to say that in conversation with a gentleman who had visited the United States of America he had inquired- whether men worked harder in that country than in Australia. The honorable senator told us that hp was informed that although in the United States of America men did not work harder, they worked faster, because one man attended three automatic machines. The honorable senator is a modern Rip Van Winkle if he does not know that during the war period many men, and also many women, in Australian factories worked three automatic machines. That was possible because there was a demand for all that those machines could produce. Before the war when many millions of men were out of work in the United States of America, large quantities of goods were dumped into the sea because there was no market for them.
– Is the honorable senator referring to the tea which was tipped into the harbour at Boston a long time ago?
– The honorable senator then went on to talk about taxation and he twitted the Government with having adopted the policy of the Opposition iri this matter.
Senator Cooper went out of his way to tell us that many persons who worked overtime because of the pressure of war work had to pay extra taxes on their overtime earnings.
– There is no extra tax on overtime earnings.
– Senator Cooper gave an illustration in which he pointed out that a man received only lid. for an hour’s work after paying tax. That was a distortion of the true position. The fact is that a man who works overtime is paid at a higher rate than for work performed during ordinary working hours, and therefore is in a different income group in which the rate of tax is higher. It is higher, not because he works overtime, but because he has a bigger income during the income year.
– Is not that obvious?
– No. The honorable senator said that because a man worked overtime he paid extra taxes on his overtime earnings, and that one man received only lid. for an hour’s work.
– That is how it works out.
– No. That is the honorable senator’s construction of what happens, but he is wrong. That is the kind of statement that causes discontent and makes the working man say, “ I will not work just to pay Chifley “. Men worked overtime because of the exigencies of war. It is characteristic of the Australian people that they grumble while they work; but it is also characteristic of them that they do the job-
– I agree with the honorable senator.
– The honorable senator grumbles about dingoes, but he does nothing to help himself. He wants the Government to do things for him; and if he cannot get what he wants from the Queensland Government, he tries to get it from the Commonwealth Government. In South Australia there in a system of levies on land holders to pay for the destruction of dingoes. The amount so raised is subsidized by the State Government. Instead of helping themselves, some people regard the Commonwealth Government as a milch cow. But let me get back to overtime payments. The difficulty associated with the taxing of such income can be solved by abolishing overtime.
– I agree.
– I hope that that will be possible in the near future.
Senator Cooper deplored the increased cost of the Department of Information, and compared the expenditure of £22,099 for the year ended 30th June, 1939, with the estimate for this year. The honorable senator did not give the figures for the years between 1938-39 and 1944-45 when Governments which he supported were in office. For instance, expenditure by that department in 1940-41 amounted’ to £63,822, or three times as much as the expenditure it incurred in its initial year. That increase was incurred under a Liberal administration.
– And that was before the Japanese entered the war.
– Yes. That is the answer to the point raised by Senator Cooper and also the Acting Leader of the Opposition. In thefollowing year, the departments expenditure under the Fadden Government was increased to £81,900, or nearly four times as much as itsexpenditure in its initial year. The estimate for the department for this year represents a small increase, but the increase is nothing like double last year’sexpenditure. Senator Cooper then asked, the reason for this increased expenditure,, and supplied it himself although,, apparently, he did not realize that he did. so. He expressed the hope that in orderto encourage land settlement in thiscountry means would be devised to .supply full and detailed information to prospective migrants overseas. That will bcone of the future functions of the Department of Information.
– The department hasnot yet given any indication that it is disseminating such information.
– Thanks largely to the Department of Information, Australia has received greater publicity overseas during the last twelve months than it had received hitherto. Certainly, much of that publicity can be traced to our participation in the various international conferences held overseas. However, the Department of Information has admirably supplemented that publicity. Senator Cooper suggests that means should be established to inform the average family man and serviceman in Great Britain of the opportunities which Australia offers to prospective migrants. I know of no medium better than the Department of Information for disseminating such publicity. The alternative would be to rely solely upon the press which honorable senators opposite are so anxious to defend.
When dealing with war service homes and soldier land settlement, Senator Cooper also said that revaluations and adjustments of prices should be effected at intervals of from ten to twelve years. This was designed to protect purchasers against a decline of prices within that period in relation to present-day costs.
– I was dealing with war service homes only.
– The principle is the same in respect of both war service homes and land settlement. The proper way to protect purchasers in the circumstances mentioned by the honorable senator is to take action immediately and not at some future period. Prices should be controlled in order to prevent exploitation of home purchasers and soldier .settlers should prices and values become deflated and cause conditions which would oblige them to seek subsidies from the Government. Only in that way can we protect soldier settlers from exploitation.
– The Government is the exploiter.
– No ; the exploiter is the person who builds the homes and handles the materials. One has only to glance at the present prices of timber and cement and other classes of building materials to realize that fact. The cost of labour is the only cost that is pegged. An effective system of price fixation would prevent exploitation. I admit that the shortage of shipping, high freights and insurance charges have been largely responsible for present high prices of building materials. Surely, however, we could find substitutes for materials which we are now importing. I repeat that the proper way to approach the matter raised by Senator Cooper is to take action immediately in order to prevent the exploitation of the settler, ‘ and thus avoid any need in the future for the adjustment of prices. This problem, of course, involves the matter of interest rates charged to settlers.
Senator Cooper also suggested the establishment of a national drought relief scheme for the purpose of building up stocks of fodder to tide farmers over their difficulties in bad seasons. The honorable senator reminds me of Rip Van Winkle. The Government has already entered into a tentative agreement with the States under which the Commonwealth will finance schemes for the conservation of fodder.
– Can the honorable senator cite one instance in which assistance has been afforded under that scheme?
– The scheme has only just been drawn up. It has not yet been put into operation. However, the honorable senator should have nocause for complaint on that ground, because governments which he supported did not make the slightest attempt to deal with this problem. Whenever those governments provided relief, recipients were mulct by way of interest charges. This is the first occasion on which any scheme of this kind has been attempted, and for the first time in our history the National Government now has complete control of our internal economy and thus will be able to apply the scheme effectively.
– Will the honorable senator give more details about the scheme ?
– The honorable senator himself can obtain those details; I take this opportunity merely to put him on the right track. Publicity has already been given in the pres3 to the scheme.
I now propose to deal with certain matters which are exercising my own mind. The first is the subject of industrial arbitration. In the transition period from war to peace we can expect considerable industrial agitation, and if we are not careful such trouble may lead to industrial upheavals. Therefore, the Government should review our present system of industrial arbitration. As the result of considerable experience as an advocate in the Arbitration Court, I know that the workers, and some employers also, are dissatisfied with certain principles observed by the court. The Government should call together representatives of employers and employees with a view to reviewing those principles and where necessary substituting others. The existing Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act should be either replaced entirely by new legislation, or substantially amended. We should provide for the appointment of more conciliation commissioners, and it should be made mandatory upon both judges and commissioners to adjudicate upon disputes regardless of whether or not employees have stopped work or are locked out. It is now becoming the general practice in the event of a stoppage of work, for both the judgesand conciliation commissioners to say, im effect, to the employees concerned, “ I will not do anything about your dispute until you fellows go back to work”. Judges and commissioners should be compelled to investigate the causes of disputes and adjudicate upon them immediately they occur. It is very seldom that the court tells employers that they must re-open their factories before the court will consider any dispute in which they are involved.
I also suggest that the scope of the court could be widened. It should be. made mandatory upon it to fix a shorter working week. Actually, the Commonwealth Arbitration Court does not observe a standard working week in its awards. It does not work on a 44-hour standard week, because some of its awards prescribe a 48-hour week, and others a working week of less than 44 hours. Up to a point, the court recognizes the principle of a 44-hour week, but it does not consistently observe that standard. That is the position generally in all of the States with the exception of New South “Wales where the State Government has proclaimed a standard working week of 44 hours. The court should be compelled to observe a standard working week. As soon as possible, a 40-hour week should be introduced. If this Parliament bad power to pass a law to provide for that, I would support it.
– At present some employees work more than 40 hours a week and some less.
– I advocate the principle of a standard working week of 4/0 hours. I also want mandatory provisions for standard annual leave of two or three weeks. That could be arranged at a conference of employers and employees. There should be a period of leave and a shorter working week which would provide for increased leisure for the employees. This matter should be dealt with as soon as possible, because demands of that kind will surely be made during the transition period.
Where an employer makes an application in respect of the wages and condi- tions of women employees who are required to work at night-time, and where the employees object to that, the court says that its practice is not to prohibit night work, but that it is prepared to im pose a penalty rate in respect of such periods. I claim that women should be protected against night work. If night work be required of other employees, the standard hours should be reduced by at least 25 per cent, without a reduction of pay. If a 40-hour week were fixed as a standard, those employed between about 7 p.m. and about 7 a.m. should have their working week reduced to 30 hours, and they should receivethe same rate of pay as for a 40-hour week. That is preferable to constant argument about penalty rates for work done at certain times.
– Would the honorable senator make the coal-miners work 40 hours a week?
– -The conditions in the mines are such that they should work only from 25 to 30 hours a week. I am dealing with the general subject of arbitration, and an amendment of the law in order to make it more workable and bring about greater industrial peace than we have had in the past. During , the war employees have sacrificed much and so have certain employers ; but, now that peace has been restored, we shall probably have applications by employers for reductions of award rates, and my desire is to make the industrial machinery operate better than in the past.
Sincethe harvester judgment was delivered in 1907, marked dissatisfaction has been expressed with regard to the method of determining the basic wage, and attempts have been made to induce the court to alter the system. Varying measuring rods have been used for the purpose of fixing the wage, but there is no standard wage throughout Australia. In South Australia the State basic wage is £4 14s. a week and the federal rate is £4 13s. a week. In New South Wales and Victoria the rates are the same, but in Western Australia and Queensland ‘the basis on which the wages are fixed is entirely different. For many years the trade unions have said that the method of assessing the basic wage is wrong. The Piddington Commission went into the matter and pointed out that since 1907 the working people had been losing a certain amount of money. As the wages increase, the loss to the workers also increases. The increase from 1939 to 1942 was 22-J per cent., but the working classes have not had a fair deal. The basic wage is different from an economic wage. It is supposed to meet the basic needs of a worker and his family. The trade unions have spent many thousands of pounds with the object of inducing the courts to recognize the justice of fixing the basic wage in conformity with equity and reason. There should be a searching inquiry into the incidence of the regimen by which the basic wage is determined. The investigating authority should have power to call witnesses and pay for their services, so that the necessary information could be obtained without the heavy expenditure incurred by trade unions in the past in establishing their claims. Their case for an increase of the basic wage was justified by the Piddington Commission, and its findings should be passed into law.
I turn now to the high rates of income tax. The exemption figure has now been reduced ,to £104. The Acting Leader of the Opposition said that the Government bad adopted the contributory social service scheme sponsored by the Opposition, but it has not done so. Although its scheme does not comply with the requirements of the Social Services Committee as mentioned by Senator Cooper, a start has been made in the right direction. All schemes for social services, even if financed through taxation, are nevertheless contributory. The other method was also contributory, but a certain amount of money was earmarked for the whole scheme, instead of particular amounts being paid by particular individuals. That is the only difference. I am particularly concerned about the conditions of men and girls earning the basic wage and less. No contribution is required from an income of £104 a year, but from an income of £105, the minimum contribution is 10s. The figures which I am dealing with now refer to wage-earners without dependants, and therefore they relate particularly to women. The contribution from an income of £150 a year, which is less than £3 a week and equivalent to the basic wage - in South Australia the basic wage for women is £2 10s. 9d. - amounts to £9 3s. a year, or ls. 4.54d. in £1.
At the £200 level, which is £3 16s. lOd. a week, the flat rate of ls. 6d. begins to apply and a person earning that wage pay3 £15. I am particularly concerned with the effect of these contributions on basic wage-earners. There is no provision in the basic wage regimen for this sort, of expense, and therefore the system requires immediate investigation. A girl drawing £2 ls. a week will be mulct, of 10s. a year, and a girl receiving £150 a year will be mulct of £9 3s. a year for social services. The effect of these payments is to reduce the standard of living of low income earners. For this reason, I want to see a revision of the basic wage made as soon as possible.. Thousands of girls who are adversely affected by this tax have worked throughout the war, paid heavy taxation, and suffered other war-time disabilities without complaint. They have cheerfully sacrificed some of their standards and many of them have worked long hours,, night and day, without extra remuneration in order to help the nation. Admittedly some of them received extra pay, but I can cite case after case in which girls have worked hard without receiving any increase of wages since 1939 other than basic wage adjustments.. Now that the war is over, I want these workers to be given at least the same standard of living as they enjoyed before the war. The Labour party’splans for economic stabilization and the improvement of social services are still being put into operation. With wages and prices kept stable, the wage earners’” standard of living is kept, stable. However, it should be gradually improving as the result of a steady increase of productive efficiency and a better distribution of income. A well-earned improvement of living standards can be brought about even during the difficult post-war transition period, and can be continued, with the provision of greater social services, when the nation has returned to a complete peace-time economy.
The Government’s social service plan covers a wide range. When the present, programme is completed, the effect will be equivalent to an increase by nearly 10 per cent. .of the average standard of” living of the basic wage-earner, although there may have been no increase of the- purchasing power of wages in the meantime. The financing of social benefits is almost equivalent, to- the subsidizing of industries. Until recently, payments were financed by means of bank credit, which will have to be paid for somehow or other. However, they are now financed out of current income. The system involves what amounts to a redistribution of income, by collecting the costs from those who are best able to pay. The Social Security Committee recommended a system of graduated taxes to pay for social services. The new scheme represents a step towards that desirable objective, and I hope that, in the near future, we shall be able to carry put the committee’s recommendations. Some relief must be afforded to taxpayers earning the basic wage or less. The income tax on £250 is £11 lis., but the wage-earner also pays an amount of £18 15s. in social services tax. That is an unreasonably large amount to take from a man earning the basic wage, in the assessment of which no provision is made for such charges. It merely provides for a reasonable measure of comfort. I hope that the Government will heed my representations with a view to giving a better deal to persons in the low income groups, which include thousands of women who have never been fairly treated under our economic system. I realize that the period of transition from a war economy to peace economy is one of great difficulty for the Government, and therefore I do not quarrel with the heavy rates of tax provided for in the budget. The nation has many commitments to meet. The Government’s sincerity is undisputed, but I urge it to ease the lot of the working people, who have made sacrifices during the war of which other people, particularly members of Parliament, are not fully appreciative. It should take action immediately to create a better standard of living for these deserving citizens.
– The documents which the Treasurer (Mr. Chifley) has presented to the Parliament on this occasion must give rise to general satisfaction. The fact that, so soon after the end of hostilities, Ihe Government has been able to agree to a substantial reduction of taxation is gratifying. Furthermore, the action of the Government in expeditiously lifting as many war-time controls as possible is a praiseworthy achievement. First, I wish to refer to the work done by the Secondary Industries Commission, which has been assisting manufacturers to convert their factories from war-time to peace-time production. I have inspected many of these factories, and I realize that the problems associated with the change-over to new forms of production for the purposes of the war were very complex. Industrialists now have an immense task to perform in changing back to peace-time work, and I have observed with a great deal of pride how successfully the Secondary Industries Commission has tackled the task. I cannot allow the occasion to pass without contributing my mead of praise to the members of the commission for their valuable services. At the outbreak of the war we promised the young people of Australia that, if they were prepared to place their bodies between us and the enemy, we should, on their return, ensure that they would be given better standards of living. It is well, now that the danger is past, to remind ourselves of those promises and to recall that, in the years when we were menaced, we had a sudden change of heart and were prepared to make all sorts of sacrifices in order to give these young men and women better conditions of life in the years after the war. It is easy for us to forget what we have said. Therefore, I remind the Senate that we owe a great debt to these people, and, in order to repay it, we must be prepared to make great changes in our economic life.
The objective of full employment which the Government has set before itself represents a very definite step towards the fulfilment’ of our promises. Before the war, one of the greatest hazards associated with life in this community was the threat of periodical unemployment for lengthy terms. We all know what misery that brought in its train. For a government to set out determinedly to achieve full employment for all its people is most commendable and I am sure that that objective will be reached. I am hopeful that in that regard we shall be able to give to the people of this country something that they have never had before. Other measures are of course required to give to Australian citizens complete protection against life’s hazards. Probably the major hazard is that of ill health. Already we have made some progress towards providing for unfortunate citizens who suffer periods of sickness. I refer to the unemployment and sickness benefits legislation. The Government has also secured the passage of legislation providing for free medicines, and I understand that shortly a bill will be introduced to cover free hospital treatment. However, the most important benefit of all, namely, free medical attention, still presents certain difficulties. 1 believe that if we could obtain the cooperation of the medical profession on this matter, a most successful scheme could be put into operation. We would then have full protection against the major hazards of life. Frankly, I am disappointed at the attitude of the British Medical Association towards a Commonwealth medical scheme. In many other countries, medical schemes have been introduced with the full approval of the medical profession, and I am confident that such a scheme ultimately and inevitably will be introduced in this country. We placed tentative proposals before representatives of the British Medical Association in the hope that they would be discussed, and possibly might lead to the presentation by the association of alternative suggestions. I regret that it has not yet been possible to secure the full co-operation of medical men generally.
– MacDonald. - The Government proposed to impose too many restrictions upon them.
– That is not correct. We have asked the British Medical Association to appoint representatives to negotiate with us and to place their views before us. I do not quite know what the honorable senator means by “ restrictions “.
– The British Medical Association does not approve of the Government’s formulary of free medicines.
– That does not have anything to do with a free medical service.
– It is bound up with it.
– No. They are completely independent matters. I am speaking now of a scheme to provide free medical attention to all members of the community, the cost to be borne by. the Commonwealth. The National Health and Research Medical Council has prepared such a scheme and we have discussed it. We were hopeful that the medical profession would accept the scheme or at least make counter proposals, but I regret that it has not been possible so far to reach an agreement.
– I have always found doctors reasonable men.
– I am glad that that has been the honorable senator’s experience, because I am beginning to believe that they are quite unreasonable. If they were reasonable men they would be prepared to discuss this matter with other reasonable men, and arrive at a reasonable agreement.
– What is the honorable senator’s suggestion?
– In the interests of the good health of the people of Australia, not only must we consider the curative side of medicine, but also the preventive side. I am guided largely by the views of the National Health and Research Medical Council, which includes some eminent medical authorities. I believe that the most efficient medical scheme would be a salaried service.
– Is it proposed that a national medical scheme should include all medical men?
– The scheme would be on a voluntary basis, and would cover all doctors who wished to come into it. Provision could be made for private practice if that were desired. The scheme we have suggested provides for the payment of salaries to all doctors operating under it.
– That would be reducing eminent medical men to the level of their mediocre colleagues.
– As the honorable senator obviously is not aware of the details of our proposals, he is mostcourageous indeed in making such a statement. The authorities by whom this scheme has been recommended to us are highly qualified, and their aim has been to devise a plan -which would operate in the best interests of the people of Australia. If the honorable senator had studied the scheme which is contained in the sixth report of the Social Security Committee, he would not make rash statements as he is doing now.
I am pleased that the Government has accepted the recommendation of the Social Security Committee in regard to setting aside portion of income taxation revenue as a contribution to social security. The committee recommended that there should be a graduated tax on income to finance all social services. There appears to be some confusion amongst honorable senators in regard to the term “ contributory scheme”. This undoubtedly is a contributory scheme, the contribution being made by a ‘graduated tax on income. Any person who earns sufficient money to bring him within an income tax group, contributes towards social security benefits. It is not true, therefore, to say that the Government has now decided to introduce a contributory scheme. The Government is only separating the social security contribution from the remainder of the income tax, and thus showing the people that they do in fact contribute towards the benefits which they receive.
– Which some of them receive.
– I should be very pleased to see all the people of this country placed in such a secure position that they would not need these benefits, and I am sure that most of the people who to-day do not need them are very happy indeed to be in that position. I remind honorable senators, too, that there are some social benefits which are entirely free from the means test. These include child endowment and maternity allowances. Sickness and unemployment benefits are subject to the means test only in regard to income and not capital. Probably some of the confusion over the term “ contributory scheme “ has been caused by the National Health and Pensions Insurance legislation which was passed by the Parliament in 1938, but which never became operative. That legislation provided for a contributory social service scheme, the essence of which was that everybody would have had to pay a flat rate. In New Zealand, I understand, contributions for social benefits are on a flat rate. In Australia that is not so. We have a graduated tax on income. It certainly is a contributory scheme, but the man who receives the greatest income makes the highest contribution. In establishing that principle we were guided by the justice of the case presented to us. If a man has an income of £5 a week and there is a flat social security contribution of ls. in the £1, he has to pay 5s. The man on £10 a week has to pay 10s., but we believe that the contributor who has to pay 5s. a week out of £5 is much worse off than the man who has to pay 10s. out of £10. In other words, the important point is not so much what a man pays, but what he has left after he makes the payment. Obviously it is much more difficult for a man to live on £4 15s. a week than on £9 10s. a week. I believe that in accepting the recommendations of the Social Security Committee on this matter, the Government has taken a wise step. One of the criticisms of the old system was that the benefits were a charity because the beneficiaries did not have to pay for them. That caused considerable confused thinking.
Sitting suspended from 5.58 to 8 p.m.
– I have already shown that a contributory system has been in operation ever since social security payments have been made from revenue. Following a suggestion by the Social Security Committee, the Government now shows on taxation assessments the proportion of the tax which will be paid to the fund from which security payments are made, and the amount of tax which will go into Consolidated Revenue. In this way the Government is making clear to taxpayers what proportion of their taxes represents contributions towards social services. The effect will be that persons in receipt of benefits will no longer regard them as charity payments, but as their right.
In regard to unemployment and sickness benefits the Government could, in my opinion, relax the means test in respect of unemployment benefits. [ believe that the full employment programme of the Government will take .up any unemployment which may exist in the post-war years. With the exception of periods when workers will be changing from one job to another, full employment for all Australian citizens should be possible. Men employed in certain trades and callings will change from one kind of work to another, or from one district to another, and there will be periods when they will be out of work while waiting to commence in a new job. It is intended that unemployment benefits shall be paid to them. The Government might well apply to such persons, not a means test, but a work test. That is to say, if a man is prepared to work, the Government should accept the responsibility of providing work for him. If he registers for work, and after seven days work has not been found for him, it is only right that he should be entitled to unemployment benefits. I suggest that in such cases a work test be applied, and the means test eliminated.
There is an anomaly in the act in respect of sickness benefits. Recently, 1 was in Broken Hill, where I found that the residents had a most complete system of health coverage. People there pay into a fund, and their payments entitle them to a complete curative health service. They are entitled to free hospital treatment, free drugs and medicines, and free medical attention, including operations. I believe that the people of Broken Hill have a more complete health service than is to be found in any other part of Australia. Throughout Australia it is usual for payments received from a hospital benefits fund to be taken into account in connexion with applications for sickness benefits. In New South Wales there is a hospitals contribution scheme under which a person who pays sixpence a week is entitled to treatment valued at £2 2s. a week. That payment of £2 2s. a week is taken into account in the means test. That is an anomaly, but as it will disappear when the Government’s hospital benefits legislation, which is shortly to come before this Parliament, becomes law, I am not greatly concerned about it. In Broken Hill, however, there is weighed against the means test lis. a day, that amount representing 6s. a day the estimated value of hospital treatment, and 5s. a day the value of the medical attention, including drugs and medicines. Cash receipts up to £1 a week from a friendly society are exempted, and moreover, medical attention and free medicines and drugs provided by the friendly society are not taken into account in the means test. I cannot agree that because in Broken Hill people pay into one fund, and from that fund obtain benefits, those benefits should be weighed against them in the means test, whereas people in other parts of the State who receive benefits from two or three separate funds, do not have such benefits taken into account. It means that Broken Hill people are practically denied the benefits of the act. That is a distinct anomaly. If the Minister gives consideration to this matter, I believe that he will agree that the only amount which should be weighed against the people of Broken Hill is the 6s. a day for which they receive valuable consideration while in hospital. I appeal to the Minister to examine this matter again with a view to seeing whether the additional 5s. cannot be disregarded in connexion with the means test.
I refer again to the unique opportunity which Australia now has to obtain worthwhile immigrants in large numbers. Twelve months ago I spoke in this chamber of the possibility of .bringing to Australia war orphans from Europe. There are in Europe about 11,000,000 orphans between the ages of two and twelve years. Many of them are homeless, starving, and badly clothed. Appeals have been made to the people of Australia to send food and clothing to them, and the response has been magnificent. No one would say that we ought not to send food and clothing to them; but would it not be better to bring those children to this country where food and clothing are available in abundance? Children under twelve years of age, if brought to this country and placed in Australian homes, will almost certainly grow up to be good Australians, whatever their present nationality, whereas foreign adult_ immigrants are likely to form national groups, and not be absorbed into the general life of the community. Hundreds of thousands of children in Europe would be glad of the opportunity to come to Australia, and they would be welcomed by the Australian people. In 20 to 25 years they would be valuable Australian citizens. I, therefore, ask the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration to give to this matter his careful consideration. I know that many difficulties will have to be faced, but I believe that if we face those difficulties courageously we can overcome them.
That brings me to ask what is being done for our own Australian children. During the last budget debate I drew attention to the fact that £72,000 had been set aside for the national fitness movement. Since then I asked the Minister to give sympathetic consideration to increasing that amount and he assured me that he would do so. However, I see that the same amount has been set aside this year as last year, and, therefore, I appeal to the Minister to examine this matter again. On the battlefields of the world many of our finest young men have laid down their lives during the last five years. It is now our task to rebuild the nation. The proposed vote represents a small price to pay to ensure that we shall have young Australians strong in body and with healthy minds. Interest in the national fitness movement is spreading throughout Australia. I believe that there is greater interest in this organization on the part of the people generally than in any other similar organization in this country. It is doing a good job for the young people of Australia. We must teach our young people how to play, how to live together, how to develop craft hobbies, how to use their leisure time profitably, so that they will have healthy bodies and sound minds. Such an objective .calls for a nation-wide organization. We have it in the National Fitness Council. I had hoped- that buildings belonging to various military establishments throughout the country would have been reserved for this organization. I appeal for more sympathetic consideration to be given to this movement, which is doing much to build up a strong and healthy Australian nation.
– All of us approach this budget with a feeling of gratitude that at last, after six years of war, we can discuss the finances of the country in a peace-time atmosphere. The only fault I have to find with the budget is that the Government has not granted sufficient relief to those upon whom the present heavy wartime taxes bear most heavily. The reduction of 12^ per cent, announced by the Treasurer (Mr. Chifley) will operate for only six months of the ensuing financial year, and, therefore, is little relief indeed, for a people who have been more heavily taxed during the war than the people of any other country. I hope that as the Government’s accounts come forward, and arrears of tax are collected, additional relief will be granted in respect of taxes of all kinds. I am not referring solely to a further reduction of tax on incomes from personal exertion or property, but to all kinds of indirect taxes which are pressing heavily upon the community at present. I have in mind, particularly, sales tax now imposed on many of the necessaries of life and various classes of building material, which were exempt from sales tax until our high war expenditure made it necessary to raise revenue in that direction. However, I shall deal fully with that problem later, because I believe that one of the most serious problems which will confront the Government in connexion with both State and Commonwealth housing schemes will be the extraordinary rise of the cost of house construction during the war period. The reduction of income tax by 12£ per cent, in respect of the last six months of the current financial year will naturally be accepted by all taxpayers as some measure of relief, although, I repeat, that reduction is entirely inadequate having regard to the cessation of hostilities. The Government will find that if it handles the nation’s finances carefully it will be able to make a much more substantial reduction in the near future. Further relief is essential in the interests of industry generally. I now refer to not only big industrial organizations but all engaged in industry, however limited, may be their operations. Such relief is essential if industry is to provide 80 per cent, of employment in this country as it has done hitherto. If the Government is to achieve its admirable objective of full employment it must co-operate to the fullest possible degree with industry, and relieve it of unduly heavy burdens. Under normal conditions, no country could possibly survive under rates of tax, which during the war period rose to 18s. 6d. in the £1, and allowing for the 25 per cent, super tax known as the tax grab, in the case of certain companies and individuals, rose to more than 20s. in the £1. Whilst high taxation naturally hits all sections of the community severely, very little regard seems to be paid to its effect upon one particular section, namely, the white-collar wage and salary earner. I refer to men on fixed incomes, earning salaries in offices and shops, who are obliged to keep up a high standard of personal appearance, and who, at the same time, are paying off their homes, and bearing the cost of educating their children and meeting life insurance charges. That is the section who have felt most severely the high taxes imposed during the war. I refer to taxpayers who are earning wages and salaries from £300 to £800 a year. During the war they have had no means of passing on the tax, as those engaged in business have been able to do; and they could not avoid the tax. At the same time, all increases of the cost of living fall heavily upon their shoulders. It was this section too which bore its full share of contributions to patriotic funds and calls of that kind. I make no apology either for declaring that we should pay some regard to the plight of those who are earning nominally big incomes, but most of which are absorbed in taxes. The average man who earns a high income does so by sheer merit and hard work.
Let us take, for instance, the case of the Governor of the Commonwealth Bank. His salary has been at the rate of £4,000 a year for many years past, and during the war years his responsibilities have been very heavy. I cite his case merely as an example. It is reasonable to assume that his net income to-day, after the payment of income tax would be considerably less than £2,000 a year. When tax rates were much lower, he would have enjoyed a net salary of nearly double that amount. Ministers of the Crown come within the same category. During the war their responsibilities have been abnormally heavy, but owing to the high rates of tax many of them actually receive little more than £1,000 a year net, which to-day is not a big income, particularly when we realize the responsibilities of their office. Men in these categories as well as wage-earners to whom honorable senators opposite have made particular reference have been most severely hit by the high rates of tax. I agree with Senator O’flaherty that an inquiry should be held with a view to revising the basic wage in order to grant relief to taxpayers on the lower ranges of income. When one studies the rising cost of living in Australia it is a miracle to me how a man on the basic wage with a family to keep and rent to pay can manage to exist at all. During the war all of our employable people have been earning wages and many of them have earned overtime and received social service payments in the form of child endowment. Nevertheless, I fail to understand, in view of the present high cost of living, how a man on the basic wage can make ends meet.
– I have never been able to understand that.
– To-day the difficulties confronting a family man on the basic wage are more pronounced than hitherto. All of us are aware of the extraordinarily high price now being charged for various classes of essential foods. I cannot understand on what basis the Prices Commissioner calculates his index with respect to the cost of living. It is useless to tell the housewife or bread-winner that during the war the cost of living has risen by only from 10 per cent, to 12 per cent., when, at the same time, a visit to the shopkeeper who supplies the ordinary necessaries of life discloses that the prices of many goods have risen from 150 per cent, to 200 per cent, above prewar prices. The present prices of meat are far too high. ‘ They are at least one and a half times higher than pre-war prices. Extraordinary high prices are also being charged for fruit, although this is a great fruit-producing country. Apples are priced at 101/2d. per lb. with three or four apples to the lb.
– I am prepared to sell apples to the honorable senator at 5s. a case.
– I, and thousands of people in the community, would be pleased to be able to buy them at that price. I assure the honorable senator that if he set up a stall and sold apples at 5s. a case he would not lack customers. The fact is, however, as a glance at price cards in fruit shops will disclose, that apples are being sold at from 21/2d. to 3d. each.
– And how much of that does the producer receive?
– I understand that for several seasons past thousands of bushels of apples have been allowed to rot in orchards in Tasmania.
– Does the honorable senator object to the Apple and Pear Board ?
– I object to the prices now being charged to the public for fruit. In some capital cities cauliflowers are fetching from 4s. to 8s. each and cabbages from 3s. to 4s. each. What chance has the average person in the community of purchasing fruit and vegetables at such high prices? It is utter nonsense for the Prices Commissioner, or anybody else, in view of these facts, to say that the cost of living in Australia has risen by only 10 per cent, or 12 per cent, during the war period. Such people should try to keep a family with prices of commodities at their present level. In preparing future budgets the Government must pay more attention to the white collar wage and salary earner to whom I have referred. In view of the other expenses to which they are inevitably committed in respect of their families, they cannot be expected, under normal conditions, to pay the prices now being charged for many foodstuffs.
Honorable senators opposite have featured in their remarks the Government’s proposal to provide full employment. Regardless of party politics, all honorable senators agree upon the principle of providing full employment in the community, and such an objective is not exclusive to any political party. Every man and woman in the community who is willing to work should be given the opportunity to work for good wages under reasonable conditions. Of course, it is not possible, in fact, for every one in the community to work, but all political parties sincerely desire to ensure full employment for our people. Many women have tempoprarily entered industry, and difficulty will be experienced in many cases in inducing them to relinquish it. One of the matters which will have to be considered at an early date is the large number of married women now in industry who have no need to take employment, and who could be ‘better employed in their own homes. If we wish to increase the birth-rate in this country, we shall not succeed by allowing both husbands and wives to take employment in industry. Employers should discourage married women from accepting employment when they are not compelled to do so. I am- not, of course, referring to women who have taken jobs whilst their husbands have been away with the fighting forces.
I shall not cavil at the expenditure proposed in respect of the Department of Information, if I am assured that the money will be used in advertising Australia overseas. This department was formed for the purpose of making known the war effort of the people of Australia, for the building up of their morale, and for ‘assisting in recruiting, but additional functions have been entrusted to the department, particularly with regard to the appointment of press attaches and representatives of the department in other parts of the world. When I was in control of it, I established the Washington branch, and from a modest beginning it has grown considerably. Visitors to the United States of America have told me that the American office of the department has done extremely good work in making Australia known through the press and other media. In order to attract suitable migrants to this country, it is necessary to make known what opportunities are available to them.
I cordially agree with Senator Armstrong that it is highly desirable to develop the tourist traffic in Australia. New Zealand has made much more progress in that direction than we have. The beauties and other attractions of New Zealand have been extensively advertised overseas, with the result that that dominion is visited by (tourists and sportsmen from all parts of the world. New Zealand has hotels of a better class than the majority of those in Australia, and it caters well for tourists. As visitors to New Zealand and other countries spend money freely, the tourist traffic has great economic advantages. Australia should take action on the . lines adopted in New Zealand, and I hope that the department will concentrate on the necessity for making this country better known overseas. A good deal of the expenditure which the department has incurred in Australia could now be eliminated. Many articles have been supplied to the local press, but few of them have been published in the metropolitan newspapers. The press can obtain its own news, and the department should give attention mainly to building up Australia’s good name and advertising its attractions overseas.
I pay tribute to the work of the films section of the department. I have seen many -of the films produced by it, and I consider that the standard of its productions has greatly improved in the last twelve or eighteen months. The department has been wise in obtaining the services of some of the leaders in the film industry and in producing pictures of a high standard. Advertising by means of films is one of the best means of making the attractions of Australia known abroad. No better kind of picture appears on the screen than the “ Fitzpatrick Travel Talks “, by means of which many Australians have been inspired with a desire to visit the countries which have been described by means of those moving pictures.
Immigration is .a matter which is very near to my heart. Even though the menace from Japan has passed, Australia still needs to build up its defence. Other powers may threaten it in future, and, in the interests of national safety, attention to the necessity for a large influx of population is essential. A steady flow of migrants is also desirable in the interests of the internal economy of the country, if we are to develop further our secondary industries. There is room in Australia for thousands of families from Europe; many of them have had agricultural experience, and thousands of farmers in Australia would be glad to employ on their properties families from overseas. Many of them would be land-minded, and would eventually settle on land of their own. When 1 was a lad in England, I visited the various offices of the representatives of Australia, Canada, South Africa, Rhodesia, and other parts of the British Empire. Each was vieing with the other to attract migrants, but the Canadian office always took the lead, because it had introduced a scheme under which employment was guaranteed to young men who were willing to migrate to Canada. Before they boarded the vessel which was to take them overseas, they were assured of a job. In country areas where labour has been scarce for many years, thousands of farmers would be willing to employ married couples on their properties.
– What wages would they be prepared to pay?
– The wages operating in various industries have already been determined.
– There would have to be a definite understanding on the matter before we asked people to come here from Great Britain.
– That was the basis upon which the Canadian scheme operated. The men knew, before they left London, what wages would be paid to them. In some of the outback parts of Queensland, even during the last depression, it was almost impossible to obtain men for station work. Because of the chaotic conditions prevailing in Europe at present, there must be thousands of good people who would be glad to escape to a country which offers such opportunities as does Australia. Senator Aylett was bitterly critical of the land settlement scheme for returned soldiers after the war of 1914-1S. Undoubtedly, losses were sustained and mistakes made. This time, under the Re-establishment and Employment Act, a number of safeguards have been provided which were not included in the previous scheme. One of these was criticized by Senator Aylett, who said that ex-servicemen who had not had experience on the land would not be eligible. I should not like the honorable senator to run away with the idea that all land settlement projects after the last war failed on account of the kind of land taken up. Some losses were incurred because of marketing difficulties in the South’ Australian scheme. Also, many men who were unsuitable for primary production were settled on the land. In Queensland, men who were settled on good orchard country in the Stanthorpe district had to wait for several years until their trees reached maturity before they could secure any (financial return. Many of them could not tolerate the delay, and became disheartened. Some of them had not lived in the country before, and they left their farms. Unfortunately, a number of these properties have since been taken over by settlers of foreign origin, who have conducted orchards successfully. It is unfair to attribute the failure of the scheme entirely to the kind of land selected. When I was travelling through a part of Queensland recently, I saw pineapples being grown successfully by foreigners in an area which had previously been regarded as worthless. Many of the blocks taken up after the war of 1914-18 were too small. There has been a tendency to settle men too closely in areas of low rainfall, and care should be taken to allot large holdings to ex-servicemen settling in such districts. The statement by Senator Aylett that the Commonwealth Government will retain complete control of the land settlement scheme for exservicemen is no assurance of better management on this occasion.
– It would result in a form of dual control, which would be worse still.
– Yes, I imagine that it would be. The State Lands Departments are familiar with the potentialities of the areas under their control, and they could conduct the scheme more successfully than could any central administration established at Canberra. The Commonwealth Government should lay down definite conditions for the scheme, and the actual supervision of it should be left to the State Departments of Lands and Agriculture. Recently the Acting Premier of Queensland, Mr. Hanlon, announced that arrangements had been made by the State Government for ex-servicemen to borrow sums of - £5,000 for land settlement, the money to be made available free of interest for the first year and thereafter at a low rate of interest. Apparently the State governments are forging ahead of the Commonwealth Government. At present, nobody seems to know what the Commonwealth Government proposes to do. It had blocks of land in Victoria inspected and surveyed months ago, but nothing further has been done. The owners do not know whether the land is to be taken from them for purposes of settlement, and the whole scheme is the subject of interminable conferences between commissions, professors of economics, and other bureaucrats, with whom the Department of Post-war Reconstruction is unfortunately overcrowded. I have referred to proposals for the immigration of suitable agriculturists from different parts of Europe. Last week-end I made a short motor trip through the outskirts of Sydney and saw where a large number of people of Yugoslavian origin have settled to produce tomatoes in glass houses. There is a complete settlement of these people, and they are reaching the early markets with their products and obtaining good prices.
– They have been there for ten years or more.
– Such settlements are extending rapidly in areas which many people considered to be virtually worthless. Many such areas will have to be developed for agricultural purposes. Up to the present, we have “ picked the eyes “ out of the good land in Australia, but now we must concentrate on poorerquality land and give more attention to soil improvement. If certain essential chemicals are absent from the soil, they must be introduced artificially, new grasses must be sown, and top dressings must be applied so that the land will produce heavier crops. ‘ Instead of working only river frontages and other rich areas, we must fall back on less attractive land. Too little attention has been paid by individual producers to the improvement of holdings. Everybody is aware that the Council for Scientific and Industrial
Research has done valuable experimental work with new grasses and other improvements, but settlers have paid very little attention to the improvement of their properties. A friend of mine, Colonel Harold White, who is well known in the northern tablelands district of NewSouth Wales, where he has a property, has concentrated for years past on the sowing of new types of grasses and the improvement of his soil. To-day his property is carrying six or seven times as many sheep as his father ever dreamed to be possible when he first took up the holding. We must improve our agricultural methods in order to carry a larger population, because, obviously, we cannot continue to survive as a mere handful of people on this huge continent with teeming millions of Asiatics to the north. We had a very lucky and narrow escape during the war, thanks to our Motherland, our Allies, and the bravery of our own fighting men. We cannot expect to be so fortunate always.
I refer now to housing. One of the most serious problems associated with housing is the tremendous increase of construction costs. The average increase has been estimated roughly by master builders, according to various reports which I have seen, to be between 40 per cent, and 45 per cent, on pre-war prices. Thus, the present cost of a brick or timber cottage for a normal family, which would have cost from £800 to £1,200 before the war, is well beyond the reach of the average worker. Prices of timber have increased by several hundred per cent, over pre-war prices. Furthermore, the output of building artisans has decreased considerably. Recently, I saw figures prepared in Victoria which showed that, whereas before the war it was considered to be a fair day’s work for a bricklayer to lay 750 to 1,000 bricks in eight hours, the present average is about 450 bricks.
– Whoever prepared those figures did not know what he was talking about. The rate depends on the class of work.
– These figures related to normal cottage building, taking in windows, doorways, and things of that kind.
– I shall be glad to show the honorable senator the figures, which are published in a pamphlet issued by the Master Builders Association of Victoria.
– Was any reason given for the decrease?
– No. The pamphlet merely contained the bald assertion that the laying of 450 to 480 bricks is now recognized as a fair day’s work, as compared with 1,000 bricks before the war. Under these conditions, it will be impossible for any government, whatever its political colour may be, to make opportunities for individuals on small or medium salaries to buy their own homes. Unfortunately, there has been too much procrastination by the Department of Works and Housing. The Minister for Public Works in Queensland, Mr. Bruce, paid visit after visit to Canberra and Melbourne in an endeavour to expedite the housing programme in Queensland. He had made arrangements for men in the Queensland timber industry to commence work on the building of pre-f abricated timber houses. As honorable senators know, timber is almost exclusively used for houseconstruction in Queensland.
– Could he obtain any timber ?
– Yes. A certain quantity of timber was available. Now, Mr. Bruce has almost despaired of obtaining results from the Commonwealth, and he is making arrangements with some of the big timber firms of Queensland to build prefabricated houses. A few weeks ago, a man showed me three, prefabricated houses that had been almost completed. Like many others, Mr. Bruce has become almost exasperated because of the continual delay due to departmental muddling.
– The delay has been eliminated at least in respect of houses costing up to £1,200.
– That is so, but I am speaking now of schemes which undoubtedly will have to be financed by governments. Purely individual building cannot solve the housing problem. The question is a national one, and must be tackled on a national basis irrespective of what government is in power.
– The Commonwealth Government does not have power to build houses.
– The Commonwealth Government has ample power to make finances available to other authorities, and that is the direction in which its effort should be made. The Commonwealth Bank has always had power to advance money for home construction. The same may be said of many other organizations, although admittedly all finance has been controlled by the Commonwealth Government during the war. We on this side of the chamber do not adopt a party political attitude towards this matter. It is the wish of every honorable senator to ensure that the people of this country shall be adequately housed. 1 suggest to Senator Sheehan that instead’ of being a perpetual apologist for the Government, he could make a far more valuable contribution to the solution of this problem by looking at the matter impartially, and determining in what directions the Government’s policy is not right.
It is regrettable that industrial disputes continue in the coal-mining industry. I am amazed at the complacency of the people of this country towards the employees in this industry who throughout the war, and since the war has ended, have caused so much inconvenience to the general public. A tobacco shortage or a beer shortage, brings an immediate outcry from the people, but there seems to be little resentment against that section of industry which ha3 caused travellers to sit up in trains over-night instead of having sleepers, has necessitated heating and lighting restrictions, and even caused unemployment. I admire the Minister for Supply and Shipping (Senator Ashley) for the manner in which he has stood up to the coal miners in the last few months. Since he became Minister for Supply and Shipping, he has given much closer attention to this problem than it has received previously, and the plain speaking that he has indulged in, indicates that he is not afraid to face this issue. I hone that he will go on facing it. He can rest assured that there are no party politics in the attitude of honorable senators on I this side of the chamber towards this problem. The Minister has the backing of all sections of the community. 1 could quite understand his feelings when he said recently he intended to hand thi? “ baby “ back to the States. In the past New South Wales Ministers have continually “passed the buck” to the Commonwealth Government. It is extraordinary that at a time when the entire community is anxious to get on with the task of post-war reconstruction, including, the demobilization of ex-servicemen, and the transition of industry from a wartime basis to a peacetime basis, that the country should be held to ransom by 8 handful of industrial brigands on the northern coal-fields of New South Wales for some reason which even the miners themselves do not know. Industrial trouble in the coal-mining industry has not occurred in other States. I hope that the Minister’s plain speaking will be followed by direct action. If he takes stern measures, he will have the support of all sections of the community.
There is another phase of the housing problem to which I should like to refer. As has been pointed out, it is no longer necessary to obtain a permit to construct a dwelling valued at not more than £1,200; ‘but there are many people who for investment purposes, wish to construct duplex homes, that is, two houses in one. I submit that these people should be permitted to expend up to £2,400, because they are providing two homes. Similarly if an investor wishes to build a block of flats he should be permitted to expend up to £1,200 on each flat. Flats are preferred by many people, and there is a demand also for houses for renting purposes. These people must be catered for. Persons wishing to invest money in property should be encouraged to do so. but one factor which discourages them more than anything else, is the infair tax on income derived from property. Many have built small blocks of flats or two or three cottages, to provide financial security in their old age, and to avoid becoming dependent upon the State. In some cases, income derived from these investments is no more than the basic wage; yet the tax on income from property greatly exceeds that on income from personal exertion. There is no statutory exemption on income derived. from property; the tax starts from the first £1 of income. Therefore, I urge upon the Government the necessity to reconsider this tax which for years has been unduly heavy, and which at present tends to discourage investors small and large from constructing flats, houses or shops.
Although many restrictions have been relaxed, I am of the opinion that too many controls remain in the hands of government departments. For instance, control of capital issues is still drastic, and tends to retard the development of new undertakings. Transfers of property are also subject to Treasury restrictions which cause undue delay, and at times .prevent sales altogether. I have received many communications from people complaining of continual delay because of those controls. I do not believe that there would be any substantial loss if those controls were abandoned altogether, because many people disposing of properties would invest in loans.
I think, too, that petrol rationing should be abolished.
– What about tyres?
– If, as the result of the removal of petrol rationing, a motorist wears his tyres out in a short period, knowing that he cannot replace them, that is his business. I understand that supplies of petrol in this country are ample for all requirements, and that no difficulty would be encountered if rationing were removed.
– The petrol is of poor quality.
– Yes, but that has been explained. The reduced mileage obtained from the spirit at present in use was one reason for the recent increase of the ration. I hope that the Minister at least will be able to continue increasing the ration, if he cannot remove the restriction altogether. That is a matter on which the Minister for Supply and Shipping (Senator Ashley), no doubt, will be able to supply some information. Again f urge that failing the removal of rationing a more liberal scale of rationing should be introduced, particularly for essential users.
– Essential users are supposed to bo getting all that they require now.
– I do not think they are. In my opinion, the Liquid Fuel Control Board is an authority which the Government could very well eliminate. I am satisfied that many departmental controls are being retained simply because those who administer them like controlling people. Many of these administrators will die hard.
Another matter which is causing a great deal of concern to the people of Australia at present is the demobilization of the forces. Frequently, we see published in the press statements concerning the number of men to be released by such and such a date. I understand that the parliamentary committee, of which Senator Amour is a member, appointed to deal with this question has reported upon i+ I am pleased that the Government has appointed General Savige as Director of Demobilization. That is a step in the right direction, particularly as General Savige is a civilian soldier. I am sure that we can now look forward to much more rapid demobilization than would have been the case had the director been some one who would not have wished to hurry the process. I cannot .understand why there is so much delay in discharging men who have already reached the metropolitan areas. These men apparently report at the General Details Depot or the Leave and Transit Depot at eleven o’clock each morning and then are free for the rest of the day. Some of them live in suburbs 10 or 12 miles out of the city. If the reception depots are not ready for them it would be better to give them a week’s leave so that they would not have to report daily. What I have said regarding the Army applies equally to the Air Force. However, now that a Director of Demobilization has been appointed I look forward to more business-like methods being adopted.
There has been some criticism of General MacArthur’s treatment of the Japanese. I regard such criticism as sheer presumption on the part of the critics. No one has had a more difficult job than General MacArthur has had since the Japanese surrender. The lives of hundreds of thousands of Allied prisoners of war and civilian internees depended on his tactful handling of the situation. Only a few days ago, both
Houses of this Parliament unanimously passed a resolution thanking General MacArthur for what he had done to save Australia; but now, apparently, any person in the community is entitled to say that he knows better than General MacArthur does how to deal with a difficult situation. There was never a more ticklish job than he was called upon to undertake when, with a small body of troops, he went to Japan. He did not know what he would find there. He :’Hd know that many thousands of Australians and other Allied nationals were scattered in various camps which were under Japanese control. He knew the fanaticism of the Japanese and he knew of their callous treatment of those in their hands. One false step on his part might have caused the death of thousands of men and women. The matter had to be handled with infinite tact. I think that General MacArthur did a magnificent job in getting so many out of Japanese hands so quickly. Moreover, we must remember that there are still many of our countrymen in Japanese hands. Had he acted differently and had his action resulted in a slaughter of prisoners of war and civilian internees by the Japanese, the people who now criticize him would have condemned him. I, for one, intend to remain silent until I know more than I do now and until all persons held by the Japanese are safe. General MacArthur knows more about the job in hand than I do, and more than most of his critics do. It is most unfortunate that a man who has done so much as he has done - the man who was mainly responsible for the defeat of Japan - should now be criticized by people who do not know the facts of the case. During the war years, Australia has had no greater friend than this gallant general. When we were discussing the war situation a few months ago, did any of us believe that the whole of the enemy forces in New Britain, Borneo, Malaya, Singapore, the Netherlands East Indies, and other places would have surrendered practically without loss to the Allied forces? Did we not expect that it would be necessary to send many divisions of men to take those places, not knowing what the result would be? We have been spared the loss of thousands of lives because General MacArthur struck at the heart of Japan.
– Some time ago the honorable senator criticized General Sir Thomas Blarney.
– It was never necessary to send Australian soldiers to Bougainville and Wewak to fight against by-passed Japanese troops.
– They were sent there by General MacArthur’s instructions.
– That is not so. If the honorable senator questions my statement, let him ask the Government which he supports to tell him the circumstances in which Australian troops went to those places. Had no attempt been made to capture the Japanese still in by-passed areas, Japanese troops there would have surrendered, as they have surrendered at Rabaul and other places. Many Australians have been killed or wounded as a result of those operations. I do not withdraw what I said on an earlier occasion about the Commander-in-Chief of the Australian Military Forces, General Sir Thomas Blarney. I stand by a’l that I said previously, and, if necessary, would repeat it. I know the American view of that strategy. It is significant that American troops did not attack those places at the same tame.
I am pleased at the welcome that has been accorded to the former Commander of the 8th Division, General Gordon Bennett, by the men who have returned from Malaya. They have not carried on the policy of persecution and victimization which some people in high places have carried on against that gallant soldier. The rousing welcome by his own men must have been a great satisfaction to him; it must have healed some of the wounds inflicted on him to find that the members of the 8th Division thought so much of him when they had an opportunity to show their regard for him.
I now wish to refer to a matter which has caused a great deal of interest throughout Australia recently, namely, the exoneration of certain men associated with the Australia First Movement. Innocent men were taken from their homes by Commonwealth secret service police; they were placed in internment camps; they were pointed at as traitors, because the Minister for the Army (Mr. Forde) said that he had evidence that they had allied themselves with the Japanese and would have assisted them had they been successful in an invasion of Australia. Now, after three or four years, the Government admits that they were wrongly arrested and that a mistake was made by Army Intelligence.
– Does that apply to all the men who were arrested ?
– No; but it does apply to some of them. I know two of these nien. One of them, Mr. Keith Bath, was well and favorably known in the suburb where he had lived all his life.
– Did the honorable senator bring his case before the Parliament?
– No. I made inquiries and was told by Security Service and the Minister for the Army that Bath and the others were guilty. In the face of such statements what could I have done? I knew him before he was arrested and I could not imagine that he could be guilty of anything treasonable.
– Why did not the honorable senator make representations on his behalf?
– I did do so. He was taken from his home at 4 o’clock in the morning. As (the result of his arrest he lost his partnership in a lucrative business, and he was shunned by his fellow men who treated him as a traitor to his country. Now he is offered a paltry £500 as compensation.
– That is what the judge who made the investigation recommended.
– That may be; but does the Government think that that is fair compensation to a man who has suffered as he must have suffered ? Again there is the case of Harley Matthews, a “ digger “ of the last war. During his imprisonment his mother died of a broken heart. He has been offered £700 compensation ! The seriousness of this matter has been intensified by the original statement of the Minister for the Army that these men were guilty. He said that there was indisputable evidence that they were traitors and would have joined the Japanese had they been successful in invading Australia. Naturally, they were shunned by all decent people. Now that they have been proved innocent after an exhaustive inquiry, the compensation offered to them is ridiculously small.
– If I had had the same opinion of those men as the honorable senator says he had, I would have ventilated their case in the Parliament.
– The honorable senator would have done nothing of the sort. He would have realized that in a time of war it would have been useless to do so in the face of the statement by the Minister for the Army, and also in view of the fact that the Attorney-General (Dr. Evatt) had promised a full investigation. That investigation took over two years.
– It was the honorable senator’s duty to ventilate the matter in the Parliament.
– The honorable senator is trying to make political capital out of this matter.
– I am not.
The remissions of taxes proposed by the Government are far too small. The Government is over cautious, and the result will be that at the end of the financial year the revenue will be far in excess of requirements. Probably the Government thinks that, with an .election about twelve months off, it is wise to have in hand a fair amount of public funds which can be distributed as largesse. The Government should take the earliest opportunity to reduce taxes. I urge it to set about the rehabilitation of service men and women in earnest, to grasp the opportunity to obtain suitable immigrants, and not to delay its housing and land settlement schemes. I have offered my remarks in a desire to make a useful contribution ito the work of the Senate.
– We are now considering our first post-war budget, and I am pleased to have been a member of the Parliament during the six years of war. I deplore the attack made by the Acting Leader of the Opposition (Senator Leckie) and his colleagues on the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt), because he had the temerity to present to the United Nations the claims of this country. At present, the Minister is attending conferences in London which, no doubt, will determine to a large degree the final peace terms. I recall that the Minister was attacked by Opposition members in 1942 for his utterances when he was sent by the late Prime Minister, Mr. Curtin, to the United States of America to seek the aid of that country in the defence of Australia against the vicious and fanatical foe from whom, fortunately, this country has been spared. At that time, honorable senators opposite and their colleagues declared that the Minister’s utterances were disloyal; and that he was a traitor to the British Commonwealth of Nations. Because he sought American aid they alleged that he slighted Great Britain. I have had the displeasure of reading in the press reports of the terrible atrocities perpetrated by the Japanese on Australian men and women. “We can thank God that we are here to-night discussing our first post-war budget, for I. recall vividly how narrow was our escape. The Japanese did much damage in their bombing raids on Darwin. Why the enemy did not come on at that stage and invade Australia, we do not know. And we have yet to learn why after our close shave in the Battle of the Coral Sea, this fanatical enemy again failed to advance upon Australia. We know that had he done so we were absolutely defenceless, and, consequently, would have seen him ravish our womenfolk and behead our menfolk with the sword. Bearing these facts in mind in relation to the efforts of the Minister for External Affairs to place Australia’s claims before the councils of the nations, one cannot but deplore the criticism levelled by honorable members opposite against the Minister. I am mindful, too, of the declaration made bv the late Mr. Chamberlain, when he was Prime Minister of Great Britain. He said that Great Britain’s plan was, first, to protect Great Britain; secondly, to protect Great Britain’s sea-lanes; and, thirdly, to protect the colonies; and that should the Japanese overrun portion of Australia, Great Britain would eject the enemy later. No Australian who realizes what the Japanese would have done to the Australian people in view of their atrocities in other countries can regard that statement with equanimity. I recall that a cablegram was sent from Australia to Mr. Chamberlain asking him if he adhered to the statement attributed to him, and to which I have just referred ; and, later, he’ stated in the House of Commons that he did. He and his colleagues had no conception of what might happen to Australia had the fanatical Japanese overrun this country. He had no conception of the horrors which this fanatical foe would have perpetrated against the men and women of Australia in the meantime.
One must deplore the criticism levelled by honorable senators opposite against the Minister for External Affairs, because it discredits Australia in the eyes of the other United Nations. Senator Poll had much to say about traitors. To be a traitor to one’s country one need not advocate openly the overthrow of constitutional government, or the setting up of a dictatorship, or resort to the assassin’s knife. One can sit in the National Parliament and indulge in the tactics of traitors. This criticism assumes a special significance at a time when the Minister is representing us at conferences which will virtually determine the final peace terms and must react not only against the Minister as their representative but also against Australia itself.
I urge the ‘Government to proceed immediately with the planning of the future defence of Australia. We do not know who may attack us in the future, but it must be obvious that unless we populate this country to its full capacity with the right type of citizens and do all in our power to increase our birth-rate, the day will not be far distant when some other nation, seeking an outlet for its overcrowded population, will turn its eyes towards Australia. Mr. E. Spooner, an ex-member of the House of Representatives, recently favoured the abolition of the White Australia policy.
He advocated the introduction, into this country of blacks and brindles, not because he believed that such people would assist to defend this nation in the event of future attacks, but simply for the purpose of breaking downour present industrial conditions. We must at all costs maintain the White Australia policy. We can do so only by bringing to this country people who will make good citizens. Thousands of people now living among the ruins of countries devastated by war will be only too anxious to accept the opportunity to start life afresh in Australia. We should not count the cost of a sound migration policy. We should endeavour to attract people, first, from the British Isles, secondly, from the United States of America, and, thirdly, from European countries. In the meantime, we must plan the future defence of Australia. We should implement the Clapp plan for the standardization of railway gauges in order to provide rapid transport in time of emergency. We should construct roads across the continent from north to south and east to west. As a first step in such a programme we should link Adelaide by road with Darwin. Already a modern road has been constructed from Alice Springs to Darwin and this highway should he maintained in first-class order.
– Is the honorable senator in favour of completing the north-south railway line ?
– I suggest that first priority should be given to the implementation of the Clapp report which, From a defence point of view, would suffice for the time being. I have visited the Northern Territory and realize its great potentialities. It would be possible to settle millions of people in the Northern Territory and also in each of the States. However, my point is that we must plan before we bring people to this country. We must first provide community amenities, transport services, roads, houses, gas and electricity services and not, aswe have done up to the present, seek to provide these services after a community for years has struggled to exist.I ask leave to continue my remarks at a later date.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
RE-ESTABLISHMENT and EmPLOYMEN T :
Preference to Service Personnel. - Armed Forces: Discharges - Japanese Atrocities on Nauru Island .
– I move -
That the Senatedo now adjourn.
During consideration of clause 27 of the Re-establishment and Re-employment Bill, honorable senators asked whether the information contained in the military certificate of discharge was sufficient to enable an employer, when considering whether reasonable and substantial cause existed for not engaging in employment a person entitled to preference, to determine, as required by clause 27, the length, locality and nature of the service of that person. A promise was made that this information would be available from the discharge certificate and other service records. This matter has now been examined. It is clear that where an employer is considering the length, locality and nature of the service of a person entitled to preference, in determining whether reasonable and substantial cause exists for not engaging him in preference to another person, the present Army form of discharge would provide sufficient information, where the person under consideration was a discharged member of the Australian Military Forces who served during the present war, to enable those matters to be taken into account, be taken into account.
Persons entitled to preference include personnel who served in the defence force or the nursing service during the war of 1914-18, as well as those who have served in the armed forces during the present war, and will also include persons who may be registered under clause 32. The only practical difference between the information given on the Army discharge certificate issued in respect of the 1914-18 war and the present war is that the discharge certificate now issued does not disclose the reason for discharge. Both certificates of discharge disclose the length of service, how much of that service was in Australia and how much was overseas. Both also show the force in which the service was rendered.
Where a member who has served overseas has been discharged for disciplinary reasons, he is not entitled to a returnedfromactiveservice badge. Therefore, in cases where the issue of such a badge is not recorded on the certificate of discharge, it will be open to an employer to make an inquiry from the Commonwealth Employment Service as to the reason for that ex-member’s discharge. The employer may, where he considers it necessary, also make similar inquiries in respect of the reason for discharge of a member who has not served overseas.
It is not considered practicable or desirable to attempt to indicate on a certificate of discharge, locality of service more closely than by stating whether it was in Australia or overseas. It is likewise considered neither practicable nor desirable to attempt to give greater details of the nature of the service beyond that already disclosed in the certificate of discharge, as comparison of the service of any two members of similar types of units could not he made without creating injustices.
– We were all shocked and grieved at the announcement in the House of Representatives last night by the Minister for Externa] Territories (Mr. Ward), concerning the circumstances of the death of Lieutenant-ColonelF. R. Chalmers, the late Administrator of Nauru Island. He was a very old friend of mine, whom I met 40-odd years ago on the veldt in South Africa. Like me, he was a veteran of the Boer. War. He elected to remain at his post to look after the interests of the Nauruans, when the Japanese took possession of the island, and he, and other gallant gentlemen were murdered in a most atrocious manner by a Japanese criminal or criminals. This outrage was perpetrated in a territory which was under Commonwealth administration, and I suggest to the Government that the matter is one of deep concern to this Parliament. The Japanese officer who was in command on Nauru Island is probably known, and he should be brought to stern justice. It behoves the Government to Bee that that is done. Those who have been guilty of these foul murders should not be given the death of a soldier, but should be hanged as common criminals. The Government should take every possible step to ensure that this foul crime shall be avenged.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
The following papers were presented : -
Banking Act - Regulations- Statutory Rules 1945, No. 148.
Customs Act - Customs Proclamations - Nos. 635, 636.
National Security Act -
National Security (Fish) Regulations - Orders -
Fish markets (New South Wales).
Sale of fish (New South Wales).
National Security (General) Regulations - Orders -
Control of -
Building materials (No. 3).
Essential materials (No. 16).
Hand and garden tools (No. 2).
Manufacture of glass - Revocation.
Production and distribution of foot wear (No. 2).
Fishingindustry (Estimates and returns).
Manufacture of toys - Revocation.
National Security (Shipping Coordination ) Regulations - Orders - Noe. 97, 99, 100, 101, 102.
National Security (Universities Commission ) Regulations - Order - Declaration of approved institutions.
Senate adjourned at 9.50 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 20 September 1945, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1945/19450920_senate_17_185/>.