19th Parliament · 1st Session
The President (Senator the Hon. Gordon Brown) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Supply whether the Director-General of Recruiting, Sir Edmund Herring, has reported that there is a serious shortage of uniforms for the Army? Is great difficulty being encountered in getting manufacturers to make uniforms, owing to the large profits that they are making from the manufacture of civilian suits and luxury wearing apparel? Has this lack of patriotism and co-operation with the Government caused large contracts to be let in Japan for khaki cloth and other materials for Army uniforms? What steps does the Government propose to take to ensure that recruits, when enlisted, shall be properly clothed and equipped?
– There is a shortage of Army uniforms, but the Minister for Supply has taken steps to deal with it. It is expected that the manufacture of uniforms will be expedited and that there will be sufficient to meet the requirements of the recruits who are being enlisted at the present time.
– In view of the fact that government control of the sale of rice throughout Australia has been lifted, will the Minister representing the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture ask his colleague to consider giving priority to shipments of this longawaited addition to the diet of our people to Tasmania, where it is still practically unprocurable?
– Has the Min ister representing the Treasurer seen a report in to-day’s press that Americans have been buying Australian currency recently in “ unprecedented volume “, and are obviously waiting for the Government’s decision about the mooted revaluation of the Australian £1 ? If this report is correct, has the Government any plans to prevent the exploitation of the Australian people by these foreign investors ?
– I have not seen the press report to which the honorable senator has referred, and I do not know whether it is correct. However, if it is correct, any people who are so speculating will only burn their fingers because the Government is not going to appreciate the currency.
– Can the Minister for Trade and Customs inform the Senate whether there is any likelihood that the very acute and well-known differences that exist between the Liberal party and the Australian Country party regarding the appreciation of the Australian £1 will be resolved?
– I am not aware that the differences to which the honorable senator has referred exist. I have read in the press, and I am inclined to believe what I have read, that there is tremendous discord and disunity in the ranks of the Labour party in relation to its attitude to the Communist Party Dissolution Bill.
– I preface my question to the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral by pointing out that on Thursday and Friday evenings last week, the Prime Minister spoke to the people of this country over the national broadcasting network for half an hour on each occasion about the causes and remedies for inflation. “Will the Minister inform the Senate whether similar broadcasting time will be made available to the Australian Labour party, to enable it to place its views beforethe people, or whether the Australian Broadcasting Commission is to become merely a vehicle of propaganda.
– As it was in Calwell’s time.
– The honorable senator who has just interjected would not know anything about the matter, because he is just as stupid as he looks.
Will the Minister also inform the Senate whether -payment was made hy the Government to the commercial stations for the complete hook-up for the broadcast of the Prime Minister’s two speeches ? If so, what was the cost? Will the Minister also say whether depriving the people of one hour’s broadcast entertainment of their own choice is in accordance with the Government’s alleged policy of granting more liberty to the individual? Is the Government’s action in making the people pay for something that they do not want a part of that policy?
– Offhand, I am unable to say whether the Government would he prepared to grant the Australian Labour party similar broadcasting periods for the purpose that the honorable senator has mentioned. However, I have no doubt that if an appropriate request were addressed to the Prime Minister it would be fully considered.
– I preface my question to the Minister for Fuel, Shipping and Transport by pointing out that to-day most vessels are fitted with expensive direction finding equipment, which is of little value to them on the Australian coast, because in a distance of 12,000 miles of coastline, we have only three radio beacons. Will the Minister consider the establishment of additional radio beacons at Cape Leeuwin, Cape Borda, Gabo Island, Point Stephens and Cape Moreton ?
– The matter raised by Senator Kendall is already receiving consideration. If he will place his question on the notice-paper, I shall be very pleased to obtain the latest information for him.
– Can the Minister foi Fuel, Shipping and Transport say when the cargo vessel Binburra. built by Evans Deakin, of Brisbane, will be commissioned? What arrangements have been made for the lifting of the record Queensland sugar crop this year?
– Binburra has completed its sea trials, but because of an industrial dispute its sailing has been delayed. We had hoped that the ship would leave to-day to load sugar in
Queensland. I have received a report from Mr. Mackay, Assistant Director of Skipping, stating that the secretary of the Seamen’s Union at Brisbane has refused to permit members of the union to sign on Binburra unless an additional crew attendant is engaged. At present, the ship carries one crew attendant as required by the orders of the Maritime Industry Commission. The Brisbane secretary is referring the matter to the general secretary of the Seamen’s Union, Mr. E. B. Elliott. It is expected that Mr. Elliott will insist on the second crew attendant being employed, and the matter will then be referred to the Conciliation Commissioner, Mr. Hamilton Knight, for a decision. I am sorry to have to inform the people of Queensland that no fewer than 23 ships have been held up during the last month for various reasons. Mr. Elliott, the general secretary of the Seamen’s Union, is a well-known Communist, and we are convinced from reports received that the many temporary holdups of shipping have been instigated by Communists.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Supply, upon notice -
Is there u fixed quota of steel plates available for ship construction and for ship repair work in Queeusland; if go, what is the tonnage in each case?
– The Department of Supply has no control over the allocation of steel plates to the shipbuilding industry. The Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited advises that shipbuilding is regarded as a high priority and the company collaborates with shipbuilders with regard to rolling programmes. There is no fixed quota but, subject to maintenance of steel production at a reasonable level, it is the aim of suppliers to meet the full requirements of the industry including shipyards in Queensland. However, difficulties that arise from time to time militate against prompt despatch of steel produced for shipbuilding purposes.
– Can the Minister representing the Minister for External Territories do anything to prevent the exploitation of Australian citizens by the authorities in New Guinea? If an Australian citizen takes a used motor car, upon which full duty has been paid in Australia, to the Territory of New Guinea, he is treated there like a foreigner, and is required to pay practically as much duty on the vehicle as was originally paid in Australia. Oan the Minister say whether anything can be done to prevent Australian citizens from being victimized in this way?
– I am not sure that the facts are as stated by the honorable senator.
– I checked the matter with the Department of Trade and Customs.
– If the position is as the honorable senator suggests. I have no doubt that it was the same during the administration of the Chifley Government. I shall direct the attention of the appropriate Minister to the matter.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for External Territories whether, in view of the fact that approximately 50 Australian children enrolled for the promised new High School at Wau, New Guinea, will find it difficult to enter boarding schools in Australia if the opening of that school is delayed much longer, he is able to state definitely whether the school will be ready in time for the proposed opening on the 1st February, 1951?
– I shall direct the attention of the Minister for External Territories to the question that has been asked by the honorable senator and supply him with an answer to it in due course.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Treasurer, and by way of explanation I propose to refer to a situation which indicates that not all hold-ups in this country are caused by Communists. It will be remembered that Senator Hendrickson, Senator Sandford, and I tried during last session to obtain from the Government an assurance regarding the payment of superannuation to officers who were recalled to Commonwealth employment. I was given to understand by the Minister that a com mittee was to be appointed to investigate the claims of those officers. I ask the Min.ister now whether such a committee was in fact appointed and, if so, whether it has yet investigated the claims? If a committee has not yet been appointed, when is one likely to be appointed so that those retired public servants may obtain the remuneration that is due to them ?
– My recollection is that the committee has been appointed and is now engaged on its task. Beyond that, I have no information at the moment, but I shall investigate the matter and inform the honorable senator of the result.
– I wish to ask the. Minister for Repatriation a question about ex-servicemen who are suffering from war neurosis and incidentally, I may say that I appreciate the Minister’s past interest in this matter. Some of the press criticism has not been fair to him. Can the Minister advise the Senate whether the nefarious practice of incarcerating ex-service, personnel suffering from war neurosis in civilian mental hospitals has been discontinued ? What progress has been made in the provision of suitable institutions for the care and treatment of those people?
– As the honorable senator is no doubt aware, the Government’s building programme not only for repatriation but also for other purposes, is meeting with considerable difficulty, and the requirements of the Repatriation Department are not being met as rapidly as we had hoped. However, I am pleased to be able to advise the honorable senator that the department’s psychiatrist, Dr. Alan Stoller, has gone overseas to study psychiatric treatment in Europe and the United States of America. His work was so well thought of by the World Medical Congress that he was invited by the secretary of that body to lecture for three months in the United States of America and in other parts of the world entirely at the expense of the congress. That invitation was a great compliment to both the Repatriation Department and to Dr. Stoller himself. I am pleased to be able to inform the honorable senator that a new repatriation out-patient clinic- was opened yesterday at St. Kilda-road, Melbourne, for the treatment of psychiatric cases. Men and women who have served in the forces and who to-day suffer from neurosis in any form as the result of their war service are well catered for by the repatriation institutions. The chairman of the Repatriation Commission informed me this morning that the new outpatient clinic in Melbourne is as good as anything of its kind in the world. It is recognized by the psychiatrists of the Repatriation Department that war experiences are very often the cause of the failure of an ex-serviceman to settle down and adjust himself to civil life. An important part of the treatment is to render these stored-up experiences harmless and thus rid the patient’s mind of deeply repressed experiences that might in the future causes trouble. Team-work in the treatment of neurosis cases has reached a very high level. Similar clinics to that established in Melbourne will be provided in each of the capital cities as soon as materials are available and additional teams of psychiatrists have been recruited. I assure the honorable senator that this branch of the work of the department has been given a great deal of consideration and is receiving very high priority. It is realized that early treatment of neurosis cases is essential if we are to prevent patients from having to enter institutions for in-patient treatment. I shall advise the honorable senator from time to time as further progress is made in the provision of facilities for the treatment of war disabilities of this type.
– I preface my question to the Minister for Repatriation with the statement that, as fresh light has been thrown upon the case of Dr. James, I desire to have some facts verified. Can the Minister say whether Dr. James was dismissed from his position at Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital because a defamatory rumour was accepted and acted upon without investigation? Is it a fact that, when the Minister caused the question of Dr. James’s dismissal to be investigated after questions had been asked in the Senate, it was discovered, on or about the 1st June, that the information upon which the authori ties had acted was completely inaccurate and that the dismissal of Dr. James could not be justified? In view of the fact that Dr. James was informed by the repatriation authorities that his dismissal had been ordered by the Public Service Board, which refused to accept responsibility for it and blamed the Repatriation Department, will the Minister explain who really ordered the dismissal of Dr. James and state the reasons for the dismissal? Is it a fact that, although Dr. James was dismissed under the authority of section 82 (6) of the Commonwealth Public Service Act, that provision does not apply to employees performing duties of the kind undertaken by Dr. James? If this be so, was Dr. James dismissed wrongfully and improperly? In view of the fact that Dr. james and others have repeatedly asked for a public inquiry into the dismissal and that the Government has refused to accede to those requests, is it not obvious that it is the Government and not Dr. James that has something- to hide ? Will the Minister explain why he is anxious to avoid the inquiry? Is the Minister aware that Dr. James has suffered personal, professional and financial damage because of what is considered to be a departmental blunder? Will the Minister, in the interests of common justice and also in the interests of patients who are being deprived of the services of a competent doctor, order that Dr. James be reinstated and compensated?
– Senator Morrow has already asked many questions about this case. The majority of the questions that he has just asked have already been answered. He has indulged in reiteration. If he will place the question upon the notice-paper, I shall let him have an answer to them at a later date.
– Will the Minister representing the Treasurer state whether the purchasers of tractors for the purposes of agriculture or road construction can still obtain a remission of sales tax imposed on such equipment? If so, is it possible for the amount of the remission to be retained by the retailer and not passed on to the purchaser? If retailers are unable to obtain a remission of tax for such purchasers, what procedure should the purchaser adopt in order to obtain a remission of the sales tax if the provision for the granting of a remission of tax in such cases still exists?
– I shall obtain the information for which the honorable senator has asked and supply him. with :it later.
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The Treasurer has supplied the following answers to the honorable senator’s questions : -
I add that the question of taxation of income from scholarships has been referred to the Commonwealth Committee on Taxation for examination and report.
– I preface my question to the Leader of the Government in the Senate by drawing attention to a report which has appeared in the press in Melbourne and Sydney to- the effect that naval ratings from H.M.A.S. Shoalhaven, who have just returned from Korea, have been frequently attacked by Communists.
– The attacks may have been made in Melbourne, but not in Sydney.
– It is reported that these incidents have taken place in both capital cities. It has been reported that it is not safe for the ratings to visit certain parts of Sydney and Melbourne. Is it a fact that naval ratings, who have recently arrived from Korea on the frigate H.M.A.S. Shoalhaven, have been bashed and battered by Communists in both Sydney and Melbourne? If it is a fact, can the Minister say what action the Government proposes to take in order to prevent such .despicable attacks? Can the Minister also say whether the members of the Communist organization in Australia are being protected by certain members of Parliament who will not allow the Communist Party Dissolution Bill 1950 to be passed ?
– The Government is determined to proceed with the passage of the Communist Party Dissolution Bill 1950 in order to prevent occurrences such as those described by the honorable senator. Although the Government has not sufficient power at the moment, it hopes to have it in the near future. The protection of the people rests, of course, in the hands of the police, but the Government feels, nevertheless, that it is vital to enact the Communist Party Dissolution Bill 1950.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Navy, upon notice -
– The Minister for the Navy has supplied the following answers to the honorable senator’s questions : -
During the long Christmas vacation of seven weeks, however, they will continue to travel by vail, this being the means of transport common to personnel of all three services during the Christmas-New Year holiday season.. Fourth-year cadets travel by rail on each occasion.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Navy, upon notice -
Will the Minister consider the re-establish- went of a naval cadet centre at Albany,
Western Australia, under the compulsory training scheme?
– So far as the Navy is concerned, the national service training centres at present envisaged are at Sydney, Hinders Naval Depot (Victoria) and Fremantle, where the greatest use can be made of existing facilities. The setting up of training centres in other areas such as Albany has been considered but is not possible at present owing to (ft) the necessity for economy of training effort enforced by shortage of officers and instructors; (Z>) the necessity for using, as far as possible, existing establishments rather than erecting new buildings; (c) the naval manning position making it necessary to commission a minimum number of ships for training purposes. However, the interest of the people of Albany in the Navy over the years is fully appreciated, and while it is not possible to set up a training centre there at present, the desirability of doing so will be kept in mind.
– Has the attention of the Minister for Trade and Customs been drawn to the result of a gall up poll recently held, showing that the people of Australia decided by a majority of 60 per cent, to 40 per cent, that control of prices should again be handed back to the Australian Government? Will the Minister consult his colleagues in the Cabinet with a view to having the measure presented by Senator McKenna, now before the Senate, declared urgent in order to enable it to pass through both Houses as soon as possible?
– I have not seen the result of the gallup poll referred to by the honorable senator, but I haveseen the result of another gallup poll indicating that the prestige of the MenziesFadden Government has increased, and that the popularity of the Labour party has seriously deteriorated.
– Is the Minister representing the Postmaster-General in a position to indicate what progress has been made in recent months with the installation of rural automatic telephone exchanges, commonly known as RAX? Such exchanges provide country people with continuous automatic telephone service, in place of the usual restricted hours during which manually operated exchanges operate.
– I have not the exact figures as to what progress has been made with the installation of the exchanges referred to by the. honorable senator, but I shall communicate with the Postmaster-General, obtain the figures, and let the honorable senator have them at an early date.
– Will the Minister representing the Postmaster-General ascertain also what development has taken place in both city and country areas regarding the provision of automatic telephones ?
– I shall be very pleased to obtain the information for the honorable senator.
– I direct the attention of the Minister representing the Postmaster-General to a recent broadcast by the Australian Broadcasting Commission in which it was reported that telephone equipment is being exported from Australia. Will the Minister request his colleague to ascertain whether the report was correct, and, if so, to state what kinds of telephone equipment are being exported from this country?
– When the attention of the Postmaster-General was directed to a statement that telephone equipment had been exported from this country to Belgium, the honorable gentleman replied that the articles of equipment that had been exported were articles of a kind that were in over-supply in this country at the present time and that the exports made no difference to the servicing of our telephone system. No telephone equipment that is in short supply in. this country has been exported.
– I preface my question, which is addressed to the Minister representing the Treasurer, by saying that the expansion of the Commonwealth Public Service has resulted in more city buildings being occupied by the Commonwealth. Because no rates are paid by the Commonwealth in respect of these premises, the municipalities in which they are located are involved in a substantial loss of revenue and, consequently, on some occasions have been forced to increase the rates levied upon ratepayers. I ask the Minister whether the Government will agree to meet representatives of some of the municipalities concerned in order to discuss with them the payment of rates upon Commonwealth properties?
– I shall convey to the Treasurer the request that has been made by the honorable senator, and supply him with a reply later.
– Will the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation say what progress has been made with the construction of the aerodrome at West Beach in South Australia? When is it expected that the aerodrome will be in operation?
– Considerable progress has been made with the construction of West Beach aerodrome. I am not quite certain of the date upon which it will be in operation, but I shall find out and inform the honorable senator accordingly.
– I direct the attention of the Minister for Trade and Customs to the fact that the Prime Minister, in a recent broadcast, stated, amongst other things, that the recent floods in New South Wales had contributed to the high cost of living and point out that, although Western Australia has not been subjected to either floods or drought, it has the highest cost of living of any State of the Commonwealth. Will the Minister inform the Senate why the problem of the high cost of living was not raised at the recent conference of Commonwealth and State Ministers, to ascertain whether something can be done to arrest price increases and put value back into the £1 ?
– Apparently the honorable senator misunderstood what the Prime Minister said. The right honorable gentleman indicated some very efficacious means by which increases of prices could be prevented. His reference to the effect of the floods in New South Wales and Victoria upon the cost of living was specifically in relation to the price of vegetables. If a shortage of a commodity is caused by floods or drought, that shortage always leads to an increase of price. That is why it is so important to increase production if prices are to be reduced.
asked the Minister for Fuel, Shipping and Transport, upon notice- -
– Concessions sought by various organizations have not been granted by the South Australian, Western Australian and Commonwealth railways systems for inter-system travel to or from Western Australia, since February, 1942. At that time, all concession fares, with the exception of concessions to blind persons and to students travelling between their homes and schools during vacations, were suspended to meet the wish of the Prime Minister that, ‘on account of the defence needs of the nation, rail travel be restricted as far as possible. Conditions since the war have not permitted of the concessions being reintroduced on the railway systems of the Commonwealth and those two States. The concessions were restored between Queenland, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania from January, 1947; but by a decision of the Australian Railways Commissioner’s Conference early this year, inter system fares concessions generally were abolished as from the 1st March, 1950. An exception was made only in the cases of concessions to students travelling between their schools and their homes during recognized vacations, and blind persons. These concessions still apply. Representations have been made to the Commissioner by a number of university societies, including the National Union of University Students, with a view to having the concessions restored; but, having regard to the fact that under existing conditions it is only with great difficulty that accommodation on trans-Australian trains can be found for all passengers desiring to travel, paying full fare - it is not unusual for intending passengers to be obliged to wait for several trains beyond that for which they wish to book - it has not been practicable to comply with the requests. Arrangements have been made, however, for the whole question to be reconsidered at the next conference of Australian and New Zealand Railways Commissioners in February, 1951.
– by leave - I lay on the table the following paper: -
Twenty-second Annual Report of the Australian Wine Board for year 1949-50.
The production of wine, including wine for distillation, has been maintained at a high level, the 1950 output being estimated at 32,000,000 gallons, compared with last year’s record of 34,180,000 gallons. The downward trend in postwar wine exports which commenced during 1948-49 has continued throughout the past year, and shipments to all overseas destinations approximated only 1,100,000 gallons. The decrease is almost entirely reflected in sales to the United Kingdom, to which market only 584,000 gallons were shipped during the year under review. It is felt that the prohibitive revenue duties being levied on wine entering the United Kingdom are largely responsible for the diminution in the volume of exports to that country and, as indicated in the board’s report, the Government is persisting in its efforts to have the rate of the import duties, particularly on Empire dessert wines, substantially reduced. The increased demand for fortified wine for sale within Australia has been considerable in recent years, and in 1949-50 the quantity withdrawn from bond for local consumption reached the record quantity of approximately 11,386,000 gallons.
– As Order of the Day No. 1, general business, Constitution Alteration (Prices) Bill 1950, could not in any circumstances become law until approved by the electors on a referendum which could not be held until next year, and the Communist Party Dissolution Bill 1950 [No. 2] will, if passed by this House, have immediate operation, I move -
That Order of the Day No. 1, General Business, be postponed until after the consideration of the Order of the Day No. 1, Government Business.
A division having been called for, and the bells having been rung,
– I have been informed by the Clerk of what I should have remembered myself, namely, that the motion proposed by the Minister for Trade and Customs (Senator O’Sullivan) deals with business introduced by Senator McKenna. Therefore, the motion is out of order, and the division will not take place.
– I rise to a point of order. Under Standing Order 65, any motion connected with the conduct of business of the Senate may be moved by a Minister of the Crown at any time without notice.
– Standing Order 6;> reads as follows : -
Any motion connected with the conduct of the Business of thu Senate may be moved by a Minister of the Crown at any time without notice.
– That is very plain, is it not?
– I do not require assistance from Senator Scott. If, in due course, I desire that the matter should be dealt with by honorable senators, I shall call for a discussion, but in the meantime I hope that honorable senators will possess their souls in patience while I am studying the point. I am not infallible. The business to which the motion refers was introduced by Senator McKenna. It has been placed on the business-paper under the heading of general business, and it seems to me that Senator O’Sullivan is out of order in moving as he did.
Standing Order 74 is as follows: -
After the Formul Motions and Orders have been disposed of, and before the Business of the Day is proceeded with, any Senator may move without notice that any Notice of Motion standing in his name, or Orders of the Day of which he is in charge on the Paper for that day, shall be a Notice of Motion or Order of the Day for some subsequent day. No Amendment or Debate shall be allowed on any such Motion, but the Senate may proceed to division thereon as in- other cases.
As the business is standing in the name of Senator McKenna, I rule the motion out of order.
– Will you hear me on the point, Mr. President?
– I have already given my ruling. You are too late, I am afraid.
Motion (by Senator Ashley) proposed -
That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent the Clerk of the
Senate from reading forthwith Government Business, Order of the Day No. 2 - Commonwealth Bank Bill 1950.
– I object most strongly to this vandalistic attempt to take the business of the Senate out of the hands of the Government. Such action is without precedent. Even when a Labour government lacked a majority in this chamber, never at any time did the Opposition behave in the way that the present Opposition is behaving, and never did it take the business of the Senate out of the hands of the Government. I sincerely trust that honorable senators will ponder this motion before they vote on it., What comfort will it be to them to know that, in order to gain a petty, political advantage, they have dragged the traditions of the Senate in the mud? This Senate has a definite part to play in the government of the country. The framers of the Constitution provided that the Senate should be a house of review to impede the passage of hasty and ill-considered legislation. The Opposition is attempting to prevent the free and open discussion of business. The matter that I am trying to get before the chamber was fully and completely debated, to the point of exhaustion of members of the Opposition themselves. On a previous occasion, I referred to a statement made by the Lord Chancellor of England - and a Labour Lord Chancellor at that - Lord Jowett, when discussing the position, powers, responsibility and duties of the House of Lords in relation to the popular chamber. The words he used are well worth repeating. This is what Lord Jowett said -
The risk of their losing the Second Chamber would be if that Second Chamber were to bring itself into fundamental opposition to the elected Chamber and thwart that Chamber. “ if we get into that position “, Lord Jowitt said, “ or if we allow our Chamber to clog the machinery of Government, or if we dispose our Chamber to embark on controversies for the sake of asserting its own power . . . then we shall have brought about the classical conditions on which we shall lose the Second Chamber altogether “.
The conditions which might goad the people into abolishing the Senate are now being created by honorable senators opposite. To-day the remnants of a party elected with a majority in 1946, but completely decimated at the elections of 1949 when every State except one returned anti-Labour majorities to this chamber, is frustrating the will of the people expressed in 1949. The Opposition is creating circumstances in which the people of this country will, with every justification, rise in their wrath, and ask Labour to implement its policy and abolish the Senate. But let the thing be done decently. Do not, for mere party political gain, debase and disgrace this chamber before it is abolished.
[4.2 . - We have certainly reached a most remarkable situation in the hour in which the Senate has sat this afternoon. First, it has been demonstrated clearly that Opposition business, and the order in which it shall ‘be considered, it sacrosanct. When the Government submitted a motion that a certain bill that it wished to bring before the Senate-
– Order ! Do I understand the Attorney-General (Senator Spicer) to be criticizing my ruling?
– No. I am not criticizing your decision, Mr. President. I am merely making a statement of the facts.
– Order! I ask the Attorney-General to resume his seat. What he is stating is not a fact. I have been in this chair for many years, and with me, no party is sacrosanct. I shall not tolerate any suggestion of partisanship on my part, either from the AttorneyGeneral (Senator Spicer) or anybody else. I have given a ruling that I believe to be right. I repeat that the business that the Minister for Trade and Customs sought to postpone stands in the name of .Senator McKenna, and that, therefore, the Minister’s motion was out of order. I ask the Attorney-General to refrain from reflecting upon the Chair.
– I have no desire to reflect on your ruling at all, Mr. President, but I submit that I am entitled to state the facts.
– Order ! The Attorney-General is implying that I am prejudiced in favour of the Opposition. He has said that, in my opinion, the
Opposition is sacrosanct. I trust that theAttorneyGeneral will not travel any further in that direction.
– I repeat that I have no intention to reflect upon your ruling, Mr. President. The facts are that the Minister for Trade and Customs (Senator O’Sullivan) submitted a motion providing that theCommunist Party Dissolution Bill should take precedence over the measure sponsored by Senator McKenna. Before you gave your ruling the Opposition had indicated quite plainly that it was not prepared to permit Government business totake precedence over the business that its deputy leader had brought before this chamber. That is my first point. My second point is, that the Opposition now proposes to interfere with the order in which Government business shall be considered. That, I suggest, has never been done before. I invite any honorable senator opposite to cite one occasion when such a state of affairs has occurred in this Parliament, in the parliaments of the States, or in the Mother of Parliaments. Certainly in the past 100 years there is no precedent for an Opposition going to the length of insisting that an item of business placed on the noticepaper by a government shall be preceded with at the request, and upon the insistence, of the Opposition. If Senator McKenna were to announce to-morrow, let us say, that he did not wish to proceed with his prices control legislation, surely it would be quite wrong for a majority in this chamber to say to him, “ You must go on with your bill “. Senator McKenna is the sponsor of the bill, and if he does not desire to proceed with it, he should not be compelled to do so. There may be a way to deal with such a situation; the attitude of the Senate would probably be, “ Very well, in these circumstances, the bill will be struck from the notice-paper “. It would be entirely unprecedented for members of this chamber to continue with the consideration of the bill after its sponsor had indicated that he did not intend to, proceed with it. Such a situation would be somewhat akin to one that might arise in a court of law. When a plaintiff brings action against a defendant, but then comes into court and says to the magistrate, “ I do not wish to proceed with this action the matter is struck out. Surely honorable senators opposite do not suggest that, in such a situation, the defendant could somehow take the matter up and deal with it in some way to his own advantage.
– The court could.
– The court would do nothing of the kind. It could do little more than strike out the proceedings, and Senator McKenna is well aware of that. The court might award costs against the plaintiff, but it is ridiculous to suggest that it would proceed in any way with the action after the plaintiff had indicated that he did not intend to proceed with the matter; yet that is exactly what this motion proposes.
– Who said that we were not going on with it?
– The Government has indicated that, at this stage, it does not intend to go on with a certain item of business.
– We say that we are going on with it.
– That is exactly what I am complaining about. Not only is the Opposition taking the business of this Senate out of the hands of the Government, but also it is taking Government ‘business out of the hands of the Government. On Wednesday last we were told by the Opposition that the most important and urgent matter of business was its bill to alter the Constitution to enable the Commonwealth to deal with prices. How far has consideration of that bill proceeded in the meantime?
– Only one speech has been made on it.
– On Thursday last we virtually had to insist that the Leader of the Government (Senator O’Sullivan), be permitted to make his second-reading speech on that measure.
– I rise to order. Senator Spicer is criticizing a majority vote of the Senate giving to the Leader of the Government the right to speak on the bill relating to prices. I take exception to the manner in which he has reflected on a vote of the Senate.
– No honorable senator may reflect on a vote of the Senate.
– In this instance no vote was taken, so I cannot be accused of having reflected on a vote of the Senate. The truth of the matter is that in spite of the efforts we made during the sitting on Thursday of last week to get on with the business on the notice-paper, it was not until late on Thursday night that the Opposition permitted the Leader of the Government to deliver his second-reading speech on that so-called very urgent measure. Now, in the afternoon of Tuesday of the following week, does the Leader of the Opposition say that the most urgent business to be dealt with is the bill designed to enable the Commonwealth to deal with the subject-matter of prices? Not a bit of it ! To-day that matter seems to have become far less urgent than the Commonwealth Bank Bill, which the Opposition desires to take precedence, over not only its own most urgent measure but also the Communist Party Dissolution Bill, which the Government regards as most urgent. From what has occurred in this chamber since we resumed our sittings last Wednesday, we can only draw the conclusion that the Opposition was not sincere when it described the bill relating to the control of prices as a most urgent measure. We can only conclude .that that measure was introduced by the Opposition for the purpose, not of serving the public interest, but of providing the members of the Labour party with an excuse for not proceeding with the consideration of the Communist Party Dissolution Bill. Now, apparently, with a view to delaying the matter still further, and to provide the Opposition with an excuse for not going on with the business with which it should be dealing, honorable senators opposite propose not merely to take the business of the Senate out of the hands of the Government but also to take over the conduct of the business of the Government and to deal with it in a manner unprecedented in a.ny democratic parliament.
– The Government has refused to act and we have had tj do so. The Attorney-General has admitted that he cannot deal with it.
– If Opposition senators do not wish to proceed with the consideration of the bill relating to prices, let them indicate their willingness to proceed with the Communist Party Dissolution Bill, which is the more urgent measure and which could be disposed of without difficulty this week. As a matter of fact, if the Opposition is really sincere about both of these measures, they could be disposed of this week. Honorable senators opposite, are not game to consider them, and because of that they now proceed to go to lengths completely unprecedented in any parliamentary institution of which I know.
– The Attorney-General (Senator Spicer), as a member of the legal profession, has a great regard for precedent. “We can understand that attitude but the honorable senator has sought to draw a wrong assumption from what has happened here in relation to the motion proposed by the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Ashley), which, he said, is without precedent in any Australian parliament. “What does that claim amount to as a matter of argument? No point is to be derived from the fact that something has been done that has never been done before. The very fact that something has not been done before may be complete justification for its being clone now. I point out to the Senate that the bill which the Leader of the Opposition proposes shall be given momentary priority is listed on the notice-paper by reason of a Government motion which was carried on the 23rd June last - that the measure be taken into consideration by a committee of the Senate forthwith. After a delay of three and a half months the Government got itself into such an unenviable position last Thursday night that in spite of the fact that earlier in the day a Minister had proposed that the Senate should sit on Friday in order to complete urgent business, it preferred to adjourn the business of the Senate at ten minutes past 8 p.m. rather than consider the bill at that stage. What troubles the Government in relation to the Commonwealth Bank Bill? Before I approach that point, let me remind the Attorney-General that the Senate is the master of its own business. The business of the Senate is controlled by the Senate and not by the parties that sit on either one side or the other. Provision is made in the Standing Orders for the submission of a motion of the kind proposed by the Leader of the Opposition, who acted strictly in accordance with parliamentary practice in submitting it. Whether or not such a motion has previously been proposed in any parliament of Australia makes not the slightest difference. On Thursday night of last week we gave to the Government an unqualified assurance that if it wanted to deal with the Commonwealth Bank Bill, which it decided should be dealt with forthwith on the 23rd June last, the measure would be disposed of in a matter of a few minutes. Our attempt to bring on that business and dispose of it in accordance with our assurance and in consonance with the motion directing that it be dealt with forthwith on the 23rd June last has provoked a debate which, at the instance of the Government, has now lasted for about half an hour. I leave it for the Senate to judge who is temporising in this matter, and who is responsible for the delay. The Leader of the Opposition proposed his motion in one sentence. I seconded it without comment. To date, two long speeches have been delivered on the motion, one by the Leader of the Government (Senator O’Sullivan and the other by the Attorney-General. Both honorable senators sought to raise various matters, doubtless with the desire to open a full debate and thus fool away the time of this Senate. I repeat the assurance that I gave on Thursday, that if the Commonwealth Bank Bill is called on it will be disposed of by the Opposition in a few moments. If the consideration of the measure takes longer than that, the delay will be attributable to tactics adopted by the Government. What is the objection of the Government to dealing with a measure that it considers urgent when the Opposition has given an assurance that it does not intend to debate it? The answer is perfectly clear. The Leader of the Government in this chamber to-day does not know as a fact whether the Opposition intends to insist upon its amendments or veer in the other direction.
– P the honorable senator does not know himself. Has his master spoken?
– It is a possibility, although not a probability, that we shall meet the Government’s view in this matter. That could happen, but the Opposition is not saying it will happen.
– We know that the honorable gentleman will do as he is told.
– The Government is in an awkward position in another place because of the introduction of an exactly similar measure. That is one of the predicaments that face it. The other is that it wants to put the Senate in the position of having refused for a long period, to deal with this measure, when the reason for any delay is wholly applicable to itself and not in any way to the Opposition. But for the debate that has been provoked by the members of the Government, this bill would have been behind us; a decision would have been reached and we should have been dealing with the extremely urgent matter of prices. From the point of view of the best interests of Australia, no better proof of the high priority of this question could have been furnished than by the Prime Minister’s own conduct. The measure to control prices was introduced into the Senate on Wednesday last and the Prime Minister rushed to the people of Australia on Thursday night. Moreover, on Friday night he rushed to the people of Australia with the solution to the problem. I ask the AttorneyGeneral (Senator Spicer) in particular, since he is a lover of precedent, had he previously heard of a Prime Minister, one week before the delivery of the budget, broadcasting its contents to the people of Australia and not disclosing them to the Parliament of the Commonwealth? If the Attorney-General is such a stickler for precedent perhaps he will point out to the Prime Minister how utterly unprecedented that action was. I invite anybody to point out a previous occasion in Australian history when a Prime Minister, on a Friday night in the week proceeding the delivery of the budget, told the whole story to the people of Australia.
The Opposition makes no apology for its contention that control of prices is the Al problem confronting Australia to-day. The Prime Minister said so in his policy speech. The Minister for National Development (Mr. Casey) also expressed that view quite recently, on the very day that the Prime Minister discussed defence, and the Prime Minister again indicated it most plainly in his broadcast to the nation only last week. I have no desire to debate the subject further. I should not have spoken at al] but for the points raised by the Minister for Trade and Customs (‘Senator O’Sullivan) and by the Attorney-General. The Opposition is perfectly happy to allow the matter to go to a vote, dispose of the Commonwealth Bank Bill very rapidly - in a few minutes as far as the Opposition is concerned - and then proceed with the real business of the Senate.
– in reply - I repeat the assurance given by- Senator McKenna that if thereis no obstruction from Government senators the measure now under discussion will take only, a few moments to disposeof. I should like to clarify statements made by the Attorney-General (Senator Spicer) and the Minister for Trade and Customs (Senator O’Sullivan). The Minister for Trade and Customs stated that nowhere else in the world has the business of government been taken out of the hands of the Government. I draw his attention to the fact that during the term of the Scullin Government, on the 23rd November, 1929, the Leader of the Government , in this chamber moved the adoption of a sessional order to provide for sittings on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and’ Fridays of each week. The Leader of the Opposition at that time objected to sittings on Tuesdays and the Leader of theGovernment stated that if an amendment were moved to that effect it would have to be accepted. On the 10th July, 1930, the Central Reserve Bank Bill was referred to a select committee. On the 5th August, 1930, the Sewing Machine Bounty Bill was negatived on the second reading. On. the 13th November, 1930, a further extension of time was granted to deal with the report of the select committee on the Central Reserve Bank Bill. That was insisted, upon by the Opposition. On the- 28th May, 1931, an address to the GovernorGeneral, regarding the re-enactment of regulations previously disallowed by the Senate, was moved by the Opposition and passed. On the 13th July, 1931, during discussion of the Appropriation Bill 1931-1932, suspension of Standing and Session Orders, to enable the bill to pass all stages without delay, was refused by the Opposition. I repeat the assurance given by Senator McKenna that the motion to be moved will only occupy the space of a few moments.
Question put -
That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent the Clerk of the Senate from reading forthwith Government Business, Order of the Day No. 2 - Commonwealth Bank Bill 1950.
The Senate divided. (The President - Senator the Hon. Gordon Brown.)
Majority . . . . 10
Question so resolvedin the affirmative by an absolute majority of the whole number of Senators.
That the ruling be disagreed with.
SenatorO’Sullivan. - I rise to order. Standing Order 429 begins as follows: -
If any objection is taken to the ruling or decision of the President-
The motion that has just been carried, does not touch on any standing order under which the Clerk of the Senate can be directed to call on an item of business. It is by tradition that the Clerk does not call on any item of government business except at the direction of the Minister in charge of the business. Perhaps I may refresh the memories of honorable senators by reading the motion. It is as follows : -
That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent the Clerk of the Senate from reading forthwith Government Business, Order of theDay No. 2 - Commonwealth Bank Bill 1950.
I shall be very loth to do so. A decision was reached1 by the Senate, and the Standing Orders were suspended. Then I merely called upon the Clerk, in conformity with that decision, to read the Order of the Day.
In cases of urgent necessity, any Standing or Sessional Order or Orders of the Senate may be suspended on motion, duly made and seconded, without notice: Provided that such motion is carried by an absolute majority of the whole number of senators.
The motion that I proposed was as follows : -
That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended’ as would prevent the Clerk of the Senate from reading forthwith Government Business, Order of the Day No. 2 - Commonwealth Bank Bill 1950.
I emphasize the word “forthwith”. That motion was carried by an absolute majority of the whole number of senators. Standing Order 261 reads as follows : -
Whenever an order of the day is read for the Senate to resolve itself into a committee of the whole the President leaves the Chair without putting any question, and the Senate thereupon resolves itself into committee, unless upon notice given an instruction thereto is proposed from the Chair.
That relates to the point of order taken by the Minister for Trade and Customs (Senator O’Sullivan I contend that the Senate made a decision and that any point of order should, if it were to be successful, have been upon that decision and not upon any decision that the President has made.
President authority to- direct the Clerk. My third point was that the bill was not in the committee stage-
That the President direct the Clerk to ca-11 on Order of the Day No. 2, Government Business.
If any objection is taken to the ruling or decision of the President, such objection must be. taken at once; and in writing; and- Motion made, which, if seconded, shall’ be proposed to the. Senate, and Debate thereon forthwith adjourned’ to the next sitting day, unless the Senate decides on motion, without Debate, that Che Question require immediate determination.
My point’ of order is-, first, that, the President made neither a- ruling nor a decision which could be dissented from. Secondly, as far as I am awares the motion is not in writing.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
The Clerk having called Order of the Day, No. 2, Government Business,
In committee (Consideration of House of Representatives’ message) (vide page 4771).
Motion (by Senator Ashley) put -
That the committee still insists on its amendments to which the House of Representatives has insisted on disagreeing.
The committee divided. (The Chairman - Senator T. M. Nicholls.)
Majority . . . . 10
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Resolution reported: report adopted.
Motion (by Senator Ashley) agreed to-
That Senators Ashley, Cooke and McKenna be appointed a committee to draw up reasons for the Senate still insisting on its amendments.
– On behalf of the committee I bring up the following report: -
Reason of the Senate for still insisting on Hu amendments to which the House has insisted on disagreeing - Because the proposal to vest control of the Commonwealth Bank in a board the personnel of which will include persons who are not officers of the bank or of the Public Service of the Commonwealth is not in the national interest. and move -
That the report be adopted.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Debate resumed from the 5th October (vide page 358), on motion by Senator McKenna -
That the bill be now read a second time.
– When the Senate adjourned on Thursday, I was pointing out that wages, for all practical purposes, were pegged when they were regulated either by a court or by agreement with the employers. That is beyond question. Wages are fixed, and that means, in effect, that they are pegged. Prices, on the other hand, which may be described as the approximate monetary expression of the exchange value of commodities, are not fixed. They are regulated by leading monopolies and trade agreements. Therefore, the purchasing power of wages can be reduced by private monopolies, by trade agreements and by other expedients, and that is precisely what is happening to-day, with the result that prices are becoming prohibitive. Prices are being charged far in excess of the value of the goods, and in excess of the ability of many ‘ wage earners, salary earners and pensioners to pay. Therefore, when the Minister for Trade and Customs (Senator O’Sullivan) said that wages were not pegged he was stating something that is contrary to fact, as is well known to every one who has to pay present-day prices. The question is whether prices are to be controlled by private monopolies or the Government should itself assume the function of controlling prices. The assumption of such control by the Commonwealth Government would necessitate an alteration of the Constitution ; hence the need to refer the matter to the people by referendum. A referendum on this question was held in May, 1948, and members of the then Opposition, almost to a man, opposed Commonwealth control of prices. In effect, they said that monopolies should exercise that control, as they are doing to-day. The parties then in opposition now form the Government, and must accept full responsibility for a situation that has been condemned by practically every section of the press. That situation will lead ultimately to chaos if something is not done. Up to the present, Ministers have done their best to prevent anything from being done. Ministers used to say that the Government would restore the value of the £1, and they sought to create an impression, in the minds of the people that immediate action to that end would be taken. However, nothing has been done yet, and I say that the Government does not intend to take any action if it can avoid doing so, because the taking of action would amount virtually to repudiating its own policy, and it is not likely to do that. Apparently, the policy of the Government is to allow things to drift in the hope that the problem will be solved by standing passively by. A state of chaos results, and hundreds of thousands of workers and their dependants are reduced to the bread-line. The Minister for Trade and Customs said that mere pricefixing, could not of itself achieve anything useful. What are we to understand by that? Speaking on behalf of the Government and its supporters in this chamber and in the House of Representatives, the Minister has clearly admitted that the present Administration does not intend to re-introduce prices control and believes, without any qualification whatever, that control of prices cannot serve any useful purpose. I contend that the Government, quite apart from its lack of knowledge of economics, has not the moral ‘Courage to control prices. If honorable .senators opposite persist in that attitude, they will impoverish hundreds -of thousands of people who voted for them at the last election, who h’ad confidence in them, and now look to them for help. Those people will be betrayed. According to the Mel.bourne Sun News-Pictorial of !the 7tl! October, the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) said -
Price fixing- becomes a mere means of recording -price rises unless the government that fixes “the .prices also controls’ all factors that go to make up prices-
Th’at is quite true, but ‘the right ‘honorable gentleman continued - and -except in time of war when we pawn our civil freedoms, or :in a dictator country, that .is impossible.
I .shall show “that it is not impossible. Included, and collected in prices are millions of pounds in capital -charges which have never ‘been incurred. That is ‘a factor that must be understood. The Prime Minister would be a party to taxing workers to “the extent of millions of .pounds of ‘alleged capital charges that have never been incurred. Consider, for instance, housing. When the initial capital cost of -a house “has ‘been recovered, the ‘ house is re-capitalized. That happens over and over again, and enables owners to recover :capital charges “that .have ‘never been incurred. That is one reason wiry there are slums in every city. We shall continue to ‘have slums as ‘long as we permit workers to -be robbed by having ‘to pay millions of pounds in capital charges that have never been incurred. The cost of -other ‘buildings, land, food, clothing, and -almost everything that the worker produces and needs is loaded -in a similar manner. The ‘Government ‘has not Che moral courage ‘to take the action necessary either to abolish or “reduce ‘to the .minimum these unjust- capital charges. If justice were done, after the capital cost of a house ‘had been -recovered, the rent would be reduced to the cost of maintenance and rates. There is no moral justification ‘for any other charge. There may be a legal justification under our property laws, but the effect of the process is to rob indirectly the -poorer section of a community which is unable to -protect itself. Most of those people do not understand the process of which they -are victims. Our slums will remain as long as the workers tolerate them and allow themselves to be misled by false ideas and promises that are never intended to be kept.
Another factor in prices, is, of course, inflation. The Government does not /propose to do anything about that either. Tt stands idly by and permits the inflationary .process to -continue. Prices today are almost .prohibitive. It is appalling to read in the press that aged ;pensioners have been reduced to scavenging at markets for the ;green vegetables that they are unable to purchase. Honorable senators opposite are parties to that state of affairs. When a worker renders a service, he is ‘paid once only. He is not allowed to re-capitalize that service and claim the same remuneration many times over. That is “the fundamental difference between the owners of the means of production :and those who have only their labour power to sell. It is clear therefore that, taking into consideration .the other factors to which the Prime Minister referred, the task to be performed if our economy is to be restored to normal is great, and requires a great deal -more courage than the Government has shown so “far.
The Minister for Trade and Customs said that one of the most-effective ways to check .rising prices was -to increase production. That is not true. Workers are -.able to purchase with their wages only a portion of what they produce. The more they .produce in excess of the purchasing power of their wages, the less they receive in payment. Therefore, no matter how much .production is increased in excess of the purchasing .power of wages, salaries and pensions, the worker does not benefit. ‘Over-production means surpluses, and what is the use of surpluses .to workers if they cannot purchase them?
– We .have to import many commodities to meet our demands to-day.
– The demand for commodities always exists. I am speaking of ‘the -purchasing power of wages, salaries and “pensions. “The workers need and want better housing, clothing and food. That demand is always there, but unfortunately purchasing power is restricted.
– When our production is inadequate, obviously our demands have to be met by importation.
– That is not so. We can produce practically everything that we need. In the past many commodities that could have been manufactured in this country have been imported. They -were produced ‘by cheaper labour in Japan or Germany. That is one reason why, at the beginning of the war, our secondary industries, particularly our engineering industries, were about 60 years behind the times. The exigencies of war -were such that, for all practical purpose we had immediately to reorganize our secondary industries to bring them up to date. We had to undertake the production of many commodities that previously had been imported. However, excess production only reduces production costs and increases profits. On many occasions in the past, the profits of employers have been 80 great that millions of pounds worth of commodities have been destroyed to keep prices up, or production has been deliberately curtailed to that end. Had World War LT. not occurred, manufacturers would probably have destroyed the colossal stocks of commodities that were accumulating at that time. Even to-day, with a war in Korea, America is overproducing and markets cannot be found for the surpluses, but the war enables big business to -work at full capacity which it otherwise would not be able to do. I contend therefore that this matter of rising prices is much more important than any other subject that has been discussed in this chamber -since the election of -the present Government. Conditions .are going from bad to worse, yet not one honorable senator opposite has a constructive suggestion to offer. There has been endless talk about putting value back into the £1. So often has this meaningless phrase been repeated, that the Prime Minister has had to tell his colleagues not to make fools of themselves by continuing to make promises which they know very well cannot be fulfilled.
Sitting suspended from 5.28 to 8 p.m.
– To the extent that the workers increase production beyond their capacity to purchase they forge a weapon that brings about their impoverishment. When what is known as a working equilibrium is maintained, there is no poverty. In economics, physics and in cosmic affairs generally it is accepted that life in all its phases exists in equilibrium only when the workers are able to purchase all they produce. In such circumstances there would be no poverty, particularly as it is known to-day in Europe and the Eastern countries. When the Minister for Trade and Customs states that increased production would reduce prices he is either unaware of his ignorance or he is deliberately trying to misrepresent the position. When workers increase production beyond their capacity to purchase the resultant surpluses of goods are very often used against them. If working equilibrium were established and maintained, there would be very little to complain about in relation to production. Production in excess of what can be purchased by wages, salaries and pensions results in lower production costs and increased profits. Because that state of affairs, which the economists describe as disequilibrium, exists in Australia, as in every other country there is appalling poverty amidst plenty. Real prices, in terms of gold as a measure of value - and gold is still the measure .of value, although it is not in circulation - or in terms of commodities other than gold, or in labour time were never lower than they are to-day ; but in terms of depreciated, .substitute, fraudulent -or counterfeit currency they were never higher and more prohibitive. Our opponents have never had the courage to make a proper approach to this subject. They are mentally bankrupt. Legal men are abject slaves to precedents that date back to the mediaeval ages. I except, of course, my friend Senator McKenna.
– I am glad that there is one exception.
– The Govern.ment must approach the consideration of this important subject in the light of these apparent irreconcilable contradictions in order to ascertain the causes of the trouble -with which we are faced. The development of labour-saving machinery and improved productive methods has resulted in the utilization of less labour and has enabled costs to be reduced. The prices position must be understood more intelligently than it has been understood in the past by any member of the Government.
– A government of which the honorable senator was a member had eight years in which to understand it but it did nothing about the problem.
– If honorable senators opposite who interjected were articulate I should be able to hear and understand them. In broad and general terms inflation may be defined as a condition in which too much money is in circulation for the work it has to do. Although that definition is not a precise one, it is sufficient to enable us to form some idea of what is taking place.
– Too much money and too little goods !
– I agree with the honorable senator. If our financial policy was based on the principle of value for value rather than on something for nothing the Government’s approach to this subject would be much more intelligible than it is to-day. I may appear to be unduly critical, but I remind honorable senators that I lived through the depression of 1S93 when the banks collapsed, and that I have suffered the consequences of subsequent depressions, including the worst of all depressions in the ‘thirties, and a position is developing now which, unless it is checked, may well make the depression of the ‘thirties seem but a comparatively unimportant incident. A similar position has already developed in overseas countries. According to reports, not from Labour sources, but from official circles, one-third of the industrial population of Italy is now unemployed. Conditions in France and Germany are just as bad. In China, Japan and India the employment position is even worse than it is in the European countries. Before the war the United States of America, the richest and the leading credit country in the world, had 6,000,000 unemployed at a time when mountains of consumable and capital goods could not be disposed of. How can such a state of affairs be explained? A similar position existed in
Australia in the ‘thirties and is again developing at this very moment. What I complain most bitterly of is that members of the Government and their supporters treat this matter as if it were of no consequence. They try to explain it away by stereotyped platitudes that have been repeated ad nauseam ever since this Government was elected to office. The Government is running true to the form its political antecedents followed in earlier years. In the ‘thirties, although we had unlimited resources and faced no problem arising from excess population, Australians were reduced to the borderline of bare necessity. Inflation has the effect of increasing prices. If prices are increased the purchasing power of wages, salaries, pensions and fixed incomes is reduced. In April this year the people were told by the Prime Minister, on the eve of his visit abroad, that price fixation was a responsibility, not of the Government, but of the people. It is a responsibility of the Government and if the Government is not prepared to accept it what do honorable senators opposite propose to do about the matter? The Prime Minister’s statement was an admission either of mental bankruptcy or of callous indifference.
Senator McKenna referred in his secondreading speech to the referendum on rents and prices which the Chifley Government submitted to the people. At that referendum the people were told that unchecked inflation would hit hardest those on fixed incomes - the recipients of pensions and other social service payments, superannuation and insurance benefits, interest on Commonwealth bonds and other invested savings, repatriation benefits, deferred pay and the war gratuity. Almost every ex-serviceman knows that the real value of the amount he will receive in war gratuity will be reduced by, at least, two-thirds.
– Why was it not paid four years ago when we wanted it?
– If I had had my way it would have been paid. If I had my way all war expenditure would be met by direct taxation, so that all the gentlemen representing financial institutions who capitalize war and the sacrifices made by the returned men would have to pay the costs of war from income they received. To-day, as the result of their investments in war-time industries and in war loans, they are making millions of pounds in profits out of the suffering and sacrifices made by the soldiers in the fighting lines. They are the men who pose as great patriots and shining examples to other men. They are also the men who are telling us that our young men must fight as conscripts anywhere in the world for their convenience and their profit. Those are the realities of the situation.
– The honorable senator does not really believe that.
– I believe it, and I know it. Profits on war-time production reacheda record figure inWorld War II. When I was Minister for Aircraft Production, from 1941 to 1945, the Treasury officials recovered at least £1,000,000 from contractors who were capitalizing on the war and who had debited the Government with costs that they should have debited to themselves. If we had had. the assistance of two or three additional costing experts we could have recovered a lot more money. Those persons were concerned about building up their own bank balances rather than about winning the war.
– And the honorable senator allowed it to go on!
– No, I did not.
– The honorable senator was in charge of those matters.
– No. If I had had my way, the persons concerned would have been conscripted and sent to the front. I should have confiscated all their excess profits and given them a taste of what the boys underwent at the front and are undergoing to-day in the repatriations hospitals and lunatic asylums.
– It was a pity the Government did not give them some aeroplanes instead of boomerangs.
– All I regret is that ex-servicemen with splendid records should come into this Senate and seek to justify the robbery, exploitation and impoverishment of their fellow exservicemen outside this chamber. I do not wish to take any credit from those honorable senators for the services they rendered during the war. All I am reflecting on is their lack of knowledge and their lack of moral courage in not standing up to their responsibility. I give the honorable senators concerned all due credit for their physical courage, but I say they are lacking very much in moral courage in merely acting as “ yes “ men to those who are responsible for the state of affairs to which I have referred.
I have already referred to inflation. Inflation means, in effect, the issuing of counterfeit notes in the name of the State. Suppose, for example, I issued £1,000,000 worth of £1 notes and the effect of that issue was to increase the price of commodities, as it surely would do. I should be able to purchase commodities and pay for services, but prices would rise all the time. I should be able, ultimately, to recover all the notes I had issued, plus a big profit in terms of intrinsic wealth, without it costing me one penny. That is exactly how inflation is operating at the present time. It amounts to the State issuing counterfeit notes. Because it is done by the State it is a legal transaction, but if it were done by a private individual it wouldbe illegal and the individual responsible for it would be gaoled. When it is done in the name of the State those responsible are regarded as great statesmen and as men who are saving the country-
– A lot of counterfeit notes were let loose when the Labour party was in office.
– I did not let any loose at all, because, being of Scottish ancestry and having Hebrew convictions, I would not do anything of that nature. My motto in all these matters is “ value for value “ or quid pro quo. Two factors are involved in the position that we face to-day with regard to prices. The Prime Minister recently referred to them,but he did not specify them. The first factor in increased prices is the enormous capital charges which have been levied, although the expenditure has never been incurred. Those responsible are actually in the same category as counterfeiters obtaining something for nothing. I referred earlier to the capitalizing of slum houses and obsolete workshops, and the re-capitalizing of obsolete machinery. Although such expenditure has never been incurred, revenue is collected because- of the .constant increasing of prices. That sort of thing is- absolutely fraudulent. Provided it is done inside the law it is allowed, but if it is done outside the law, those responsible for it are gaoled, and rightly so. I can remember back to 1893,. when practically all the banks in Australia closed their doors. For years it had been the practice of the private banks to issue credit nine or ten times greater than their deposits. When the collapse came they closed! their doors and1 repudiated their liabilities. Some of the bankers concerned are regarded as very reputable citizens^, even in our day;. The banks- caused inflation, to. that extent then, and. they are causing inflation, to-day. One has only to examine their balance-sheets to establish: this, circumstance. In fact, the banks boast about the enormous profits they make by the process.. As- I have stated in. this: chamber before,, there aire only two ways in which, profits can be made. One is by underpaying; the workers on- the job and the other- is: by overcharging them, across the counter off- the job. if honorable senators opposite can inform mc of any other way to; make -profits I shall be pleased to: hear- of it. The private banks have* been responsible’ for inflation in- the past, and they are responsible for the- inflation that is talcing place at this very moment. The- policy of the Government, isi not to> check inflation, but actually tr? facilitate it and to give back to. the private banks the power they had- previously. The Government proposes to appoint: a. bank, board to give, the banks the power they held, previously and to eii.able.them to do precisely the things that they did in the ‘thirties*
The first evil of inflation is that it destroys confidence in the currency. The fact that people to-day are paying enormous and exorbitant prices for houses, motor cars, and other commodities indicates; if it indicates’ anything at all, that they have lost confidence in the currency: That inflation increases prices is beyond contradiction. Inflation also’ increases the velocity of money; causes unfavorablerates of exchange- in overseas countries, and stimulates unnecessary enterprises and fraudulent trading. Although we find those- things’ in existence to-day, the Government has not attempted to do any- thing to remove them. Inflation is also the most corrupt form of indirect taxation. In time of war,, when, labour power becomes- more or less indispensable and the demand for goods exceeds the- supply, the workers are in a position to demand better terms and more consideration than they would receive otherwise-. Increases, in terms of money, are given, to them,, but are immediately cancelled out by increases of prices.. That is what I mean when I refer to indirect taxation. There are two forms of taxation. The first is taxation- levied by the Government in the ordinary way, both direct and indirect, and the second is taxation imposed by those who control or regulate prices and by private monopolies’ which operate through the medium of financial institutions, such as banks and insurance companies. When I say that inflation is the most corrupt form of taxation, I mean that- it is taxation imposed on people behind their backs. The workers are deceived by it. The press tells them lies, and the- whole position is misrepresented to them. Because they do not understand the position, they accept it under duress. If our educational system were as it should be and1 the workers were taught to base their reasoning upon inductive as well as deductive processes, that could not happen. When we have a snore intelligent working community, educated as it should-,, could, and must be ultimately, that kind of vicious, lying corruption- will be impossible. It is indulged’ in by men who pose as champions of the working class and say that they are democrats. In- my judgment, I do not exaggerate in the slightest when I say that inflation of the currency is the most corrupt form of taxation.
Inflation has another effect. At. the present time there is approximately £730,000,000 deposited in Commonwealth and State savings banks. Most of that money is the savings of workers. To the degree- that the currency is! inflated and its- purchasing- power reduced, these savings are liquidated and the workers are deliberately robbed’. Not knowing what they should know about the matter, they are powerless to resist by way of argument. All that is’ left to them- to- do is what they are- doing- now, that it, to- resist, as best they can but most ineffectively, by strikes and industrial hold-ups. Those are the effects, and inflation is the cause. When we can establish the relationship ‘between cause and effect, we shall be able to make a much more intelligent approach towards legislating in this .country and other .countries in the way in which it should be done.
Germany, in 1923, was a notable example of inflation carried to the extreme, as it is likely to be here. Professor Wood, of the University of Melbourne, addressing a convention of primary producers in Warrnambool some iti on tit s ago said, and it ‘has not been contradicted by other professors, by the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) or anybody else, that if the present state of affairs were allowed to continue and inflation were not checked in the “way in which it should be checked, the time would come when we should have to do as’ the Germans did in 1923. They had to take a bag of notes with them when they bought their weekly stores from the grocer or the butcher. That is what Professor Wood said, but no notice has been taken of him. The collapse of the German currency ruined millions of small traders and ‘Others, and forced the German people to adopt a system of direct barter for a period They bartered goods for goods, ©(cause >their .currency was worthless. * Extension of time granted.]* Money is n means of indirect .barter. Lt is a ru eel hu 1 1 of excha nge. W e give money in exchange for the commodities that we need. Direct barter is the system of exchanging goods for goods. The worst feature of the inflation that occurred in Germany was that it enabled the leading German .monopolists, .assisted ‘by the leading monopolists in England, France, America ‘and either countries, to establish in that country the fascist dictatorship that was primarily the cause .of .the second world -war. If honorable senators opposite require verification of that, I refer them to a report published in 1938 .or 1939 by Dr. Paul Einzen, a leading a uthority on (currency in England.
– A good old English name!
– I should imagine, from the look of Senator Maher, that he was some relation of his.
asked what was the remedy. I cannot imagine that the remedies I am about to suggest will be very palatable, but drastic ills require drastic remedies and we shall find that ultimately they will be adopted. If they are not adopted voluntarily, they will be adopted compulsorily, as they have been in other countries. In this life, there is no escape from the consequences of our acts. We cannot escape our responsibilities or obligations. We have either to face them voluntarily and do the best we can, or be compelled, by circumstances over which we have no control, to do what we could have done before, with less friction and inconvenience.
The Government must face the task of deflating the currency. First, it must increase taxes on all big incomes or impose a capital levy. I notice that that is being advocated in Europe. There is no escape from it. Secondly, the Government must substantially reduce taxes ‘on all small incomes. I say in passing .that all taxation is paid by the workers who are engaged in essential production and services. The taxes paid by the very wealthy are paid from the profits they receive as a result of the physical exertion of those engaged in essential production and services. Thirdly, the Government must reduce substantially and, where passible, abolish all indirect taxes. An indirect tax is a flat tax. The pensioner in receipt of a small pension or the worker earning a low wage pays the same amount of tax as does the wealthiest man in the community when he buys a packet of cigarettes, a pair of shoes or anything else. Under indirect taxation, the poorest pay a great deal more in proportion to what they receive than do the very rich. Indirect taxes such as sales tax and excise duties must be reduced or abolished.
– Why did not the Labour party abolish them when it was in power?
– We were in power in time of war. The AttorneyGeneral ‘(Senator ‘Spicer) asked that question some time ago. I said to him, as I say now to Senator Wedgwood, that the greatest obstacle that the Labour movement has had to face is the readiness with which the great majority of the workers have acquiesced in their own subjection, owing to their unfortunate ignorance and the way in which they have been deceived and betrayed all their lives. If they had not acquiesced, the present position would be vastly different from what it is. If they had not acquiesced to the degree that they have done, Senator “Wedgwood would not be here, because they would have made a more intelligent choice. That remark applies to other honorable senators opposite also. When a country is in the throes of war, the major task of the government is to win the war. If the members of the anti-Labour parties had been more capable and conscientious than they were, and if they had been possessed of some knowledge and initiative, the Labour party would never have been able to form the Government of this country in 1941. Because the anti-Labour forces were unable to face the situation that existed then, we assumed the responsibilities of government, although we had a minority in both Houses of the Parliament. Our opponents were unable to agree amongst themselves, because they were divided amongst themselves. The present Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Spender), who was then Minister for the Army, said that at that time one division of enemy troops could have taken possession of Australia. That shows their lack of ability, knowledge and capacity for organization. We reversed that position. We did such a good job that, when experts from America and England visited this country, they were amazed that we had been able to do so much to increase aircraft production and organize our war effort in such a short space of time. The members of the anti-Labour Government that was in power in 1941 were tragic failures. Had it been left to them, Australia would have become a Japanese colony.
The fourth step that the Government must take to combat inflation is to institute a system of government control of price-fixing in place of private control. As I have explained previously, we cannot escape controls. All the talk that is indulged in about being free to do this and that is so much eye-wash. In the field of positive science there is no such thing as freedom, because everything is conditioned. We refer to the freedom of a country in terms of relativity, that is, that an individual in a certain country is relatively free compared with an individual in another country. Only people who are ignorant of this subject speak of absolute freedom.
– Why does the honorable senator reverse his ideas when the subject of communism is being discussed ?
– I shall deal with that subject in a moment. At present I am endeavouring to show that some honorable senators opposite are inverted Communists, as some so-called democrats are inverted dictators. In the matter of prices, however, the choice that confronts us is to repose control either in the Government or in private monopolies. I recollect that during the period between 1945 and 1949 that I was Postmaster-General, many firms that were supplying goods to and performing services for the Postal Department, increased their charges by as much as 400 per cent. The department had no redress against this unwarranted increase of costs and the deficit had to be made good either by increasing postal charges, or by appropriations from Consolidated Revenue. In a number of instances it was reported to me that the supply of materials had been deliberately withheld pending an increase of prices.
– Of what use is it to control prices without pegging wages?
– I do not blame the present Postmaster-General (Mr. Anthony) for wanting to increase postal charges because he has been the victim of unwarranted increases of prices by people beyond his control. He is now in the invidious position of having to again increase postal charges or incur a substantial loss during this financial year. In effect, people who contend that prices should not be controlled are saying that suppliers of goods should be a law unto themselves and that they should be permitted to continue the corrupt process of dictating to the government of the day.
The fifth expedient that I recommend is that subsidies should be paid in relation to essential commodities such as food, clothing and shelter. Particularly in connexion with housing, the Government must be prepared to pay subsidies. It will be remembered that the previous Government paid a number of subsidies in order to keep prices at reasonable levels. The money to provide subsidies should be obtained by taxing profits; that is, by means of a capital levy. I refer to taxing exorbitant profits which are really the proceeds of the robbery of the people. Honorable senators opposite may laugh. However, I remind them that it is no new experience for me to be amongst a flock of clowns, illiterate literates, and ignoramuses. Taxation constitutes the very machinery and basis of government. If I were in office now and were able to exercise full power in relation to taxes, I would not worry about holding referendums or other expedients in relation t,o controls. Big incomes which have been made possible because of inflation and the charging of unwarranted exorbitant prices should be taxed heavily. Reference has been made by some honorable senators opposite to the quantity of “ hot “ money that is at present in this country. That money is an accumulation of the moneys of which the working people in both the United States of America and this country have been robbed, amounting to the difference between the wages that they have received and the value of their surplus produce. The persons who possess that money are attempting to capitalize their position in Australia, They hope to make profits amounting to millions of pounds if the Australian currency is appreciated. However, the Government has assured us that our currency will not be revalued for the time being. Unless the Government considers every aspect of this matter carefully a position much worse than the present state of affairs may develop in this country.
– The present Government’s policy savors of the tail wagging the dog.
– The “ hot “ money that has been mentioned has been accumulating for years.
– Of course I realize that supporters of the Government are mostly victims of the dictatorship of the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies), because they have made such an exhibition of themselves by claiming that the Government Will put value back into the £1, and because they have appeared so foolish in the eyes of the people. It is evident that the Prime Minister has foreshadowed some of the measures contemplated in the budget about to be presented to the Parliament without consulting them. My remarks apply equally to the legal luminaries numbered amongst honorable senators opposite. In effect, the advice that the present Government has offered the people is that if they live on less they will get more.
– The honorable senator should have a keen appreciation of the virtue of thrift, *
– The workers have been told that if they are thrifty they will put back value into the £1. But the fact is that they would merely make it possible for their exploiters to accumulate more wealth. The Minister for Social Services (Senator Spooner) has stated that one way to restore’ the economic equilibrium of the country” is to put the age pensioners to workThat was the best contribution that he could make towards restoring financial stability in this glorious democracy. He failed to appreciate that many age pensioners have contributed during their lifetimes in no small measure to the development of this country.
I shall now refer to the subject of Communists and communism, which has become an obsession or mania with a great many people, including paranoiacs. The Minister for Trade and Customs (Senator O’Sullivan) has stated that industrial peace will not be possible in this country until the Communists have been removed from control of the trade unions. I contend that if it were possible to remove from this country and transport to Russia every known Communist, the position in Australia would not be improved to any appreciable degree. It is essential that a basic relationship should be maintained between cause and effect, because that is the natural law.
Communism as we know it to-day,has its origin in poverty and intensive and prolonged exploitation of the workers-
– There is no poverty in this country, relatively speaking.
– In Russia, between1848 and 1917, the terms communism and socialism were synonymous. After 1917,. when the Bolsheviks seized power in that country, they discovered, as any intelligent person would have discovered, that in an economically backward country, with a population ofabout 160,000,000 people, for the most part illiterate, it was physically impossible to translate the theory of communism into action as it was originally conceived in 1848. They established the system of society which exists to-day, and which we properly describe as State capitalism.. It is not communism at all,and it may be much more ruthless in its effect than any system operating elsewhere. The word “ communism “ was coined in1848 in order to draw a distinction between the socialism of Robert Owen, known as Utopian socialism, and the scientific socialism of Marx and Engels. A great many people are either slaves to shibboleths or prisoners of phrases. AM too of ten, phrases are used, not to convey the truth to the people, but. to deceive them. Honorable senators opposite are what may be described as socialists in reverse. If they were impoverished Germans or Poles or Hungarians,andcould obtain no redress by approaching the authorities, they would become creatures of violent and bitter prejudices. They are, however, ina f avoured position. They have never known want, and have never been exploited. They usesuch terms as socialismand communism, not in an attempt to appeal to the people’s reason, but in order to appeal to their prejudices, to confuse them: and to conceal the real issue. For instance during the Korean war, there have been repeated referencesto Reds and Communists. The fact is that those who are fighting on the side of the North Korean. Government knowas much about communism as does the man in the moon. For the most part, they are. innocent, simple people who have been deliberately misled by shrewd minds? behind the scenes.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senatar Nicholls). - Order! The honorable senator’s extended time has expired.
Motion (by Senator Scott) put -
That the question be now put.
The Senate divided. (the Deputy President - Senator t.M Nicholls.)
Majority . . . . 7
Question so resolved in the negative.
SenatorO’BYRNE (Tasmania) [9.10] - Sitting opposite me are the supporters of the Government guilty men, who are the victims of their own propaganda, as one. of their colleagues said in the House of Representatives. During the 1947 referendum campaign they flooded the country with propaganda which has been proved utterly false: In the course of that campaign they did a great injustice to the people of Australia. As Senator Cameron pointed out, they cannot escape responsibility for their actions; Recently, the Prime Minister *(Mr. Menzies) spoke over all radio stations throughout: Australia pointing out the dangers of currency inflation, but the present crisis is the direct result of the Government’s own policy.I have before me some of the propaganda used by the Government pasties during the prices referendum1 in 1S947,, when; they spread lies in order todefeat the Labour Government’s- proposals. A little while ago>. Senator Maher said, that there was no poverty in Australia. J read the following from the Sunday** Sun of the- 12th August last -
Mrs,. Violet Crosbie, 71, whose sole income is her ?2 2s. Od. weekly pension, claims that she is slowly starving to death.
Figures can be produced to show that the cost of living increased, by only 5 per cent, from the end of the war to 1947, but since then it has risen by 30- per cent., and on some items- the increase has been more than 100 per cent. During the referendum- campaign, supporters of the present Government stalked the country saying that war-time control of prices should not become a permanent feature. Wow, the Prime Minister is asking to re-impose control over capital issues-
was not a war-time, control. There- is power under the Constitution to control capital- issues:
– The policy advocated by the Prime Minister now is very different from that advocated by his party in 1947. At that time, in the case for “ No “ in the prices referendum campaign, the anti-Labour parties declared -
The ordinary citizen- will get a better, deal when powers o? government are divided than when they are centred at Canberra.
After the bank nationalization experience, the. Chifley Government should not be given another blank cheque. “ Remote- control “ from Canberra, has produced a vast and growing army of officials, a tangle of red tape, inefficiency, black marketing, and injustice.
In normal times, the controls in question can he fin- more effectively dealt with, by the States, who have full power to deal with them, and whose administration would be much closer to. the. people and their needs.
I quote the.- following from a recent issue of the. Sunday Herald -
The- president of- the Retail Traders’ Association of New. South Wales; Mr. Ashley Buckingham,, yesterday described price control as an “unworkable theory”.
He was commenting on the statement of the State Prices Minister, Mr. F. J. Finnan, that price control’ would not be removed”.
Mr Buckingham; hoped that Mr. Finnan did. not. mean “ that this- artificial, inelastic, and arbitrary system of controls “ introduced as. an emergency war-time measure was. to remain “ as a permanent white elephant in the bureaucratic herd “:
Mr. Finnan and his officers had handl’ed thu now obsolete- administration’ of prices- regulations “ efficiently!, pleasantly;, and with a great deal of intelligence “,. he said-. “ But. they have not been, able- to control a rise in prices “,. he. continued.
That is borne out everywhere to-day and disproves completely the assurances given when the present Government parties advocated the handing over of prices- control to- the States. In those days- w,e heard loud criticisms of “ Canberra, control “, but now, “’ Canberra, control “ is- referred to even by Ministers- who, themselves, were the foremost critics of. the Public Service, as “ loyal co-operation from staffs “. Taken sentence.- by sentence, the propaganda of the anti-Labo.ur parties- during the prices refferendum campaign can be- proved completely incorrect. Honorable senators opposite are quite hardened, of course, tohaving the results of their misleading propaganda, brought home to them forcibly Many times they have sown the wind only to- reap the whirlwind.. It is useless to appeal to their pride,, because they aire guilty men and are- on the defensive. They will not listen to the Opposition’s plea to-day because if they were to accept this measure, they would have to admit publicly that their prices referendum- campaign was fought on merepolitical propaganda.
– The honorable senator should, be championing State rights instead of seeking to destroy them.
– I was prepared to support State rights on the recommendation of honorable senators opposite, but their propaganda has proved to ‘be against the best interests of Australia. In these circumstances- 1 am no longer prepared to foster State rights on this issue. At the time of the prices referendum, certain Premiers admitted’ that prices control could not be- administered effectively by the States. Time has proved that view to be correct.
I return again to the Prime Minister’s recent, statement announcing the reintroduction of certain economic controls’, The right’ honorable gentleman said that, control? of excess profits would be necessary. In- 1947i the- Liberal party was proclaiming its opposition to government controls of all kinds, but now, in an endeavour to cover up its past sins, it is prepared to concede openly that certain controls are necessary. It is most interesting to note the present manoeuvre to have a certain proportion of the Australian wool clip withdrawn from the open market, but sold at the price obtained subsequently on the open market. Obviously, if some of our best wools are withdrawn from auction leaving only the inferior qualities to be sold on the open market, auction prices will be depressed. That of course is only a back door method of imposing a wool tax. In spite of the proclaimed opposition of honorable senators opposite to prices control in 1947, the Government is seeking to re-introduce prices control by methods of doubtful constitutional validity. On the other hand, no support whatever is forthcoming from honorable senators opposite for this measure. Most economists, and every one who lias the welfare of this country at heart will concede that control of prices i-< basic to any plan to check inflation. As Senator Cameron has pointed out, we already have prices control in the form of wages control through the arbitration courts. Every few months wages are varied in accordance with cost of living increases. The result is that wages are continually chasing prices, but never catching up to them. Where this process will stop, no one can say, but this measure i;- the first direct attempt by the Commonwealth Parliament - the Government has shirked its responsibility and left the task to the Opposition - to deal with the problem of inflation. We on this side of the chamber have some sense of responsibility ‘ to the ordinary people of this country. That is why we have introduced this measure as the basis of an attempt to check rising prices. Unless prices are controlled, there is no possibility of stopping the inflationary spiral.
– How can the Commonwealth expect to do a better job than is being done by the States?
– That is an elementary question and can be easily answered. At present, if the price of, say, a Queensland product is higher in Tasmania and South Australia than it is in Queensland, that product will be sent to Tasmania and South Australia, thus causing a shortage in Queensland itself and such a shortage must inevitably mean an increased price.
– The same thing happened under Commonwealth control.
– It did not because prices were uniform throughout the Commonwealth.
– There were more black markets.
– Black marketing is legalized to-day. Previously black marketeers were shunned by the community at large, but now business people are encouraged to carry out black marketing activities because they see that the race is on. The modern version of the golden rule is, “ Do others before they do you “.
We are told by the press that courage is required to deal with the present situation. This Government has shown a singular lack of courage in dealing with the problem of inflation. It has wasted time with extraneous matters that have no relation to the welfare of the community. It has introduced measures into this Parliament solely in the hope of scoring off its political opponents. Not one piece of legislation sponsored by the present Government has been aimed at safeguarding the welfare of the ordinary people of the Commonwealth.
– Not even the child endowment measure?
– That was the repayment of an election bribe. One correspondent in Tasmania is reported to have written -
Dear Mr. Menzies,
Thank you for the os. a week child endowment. The butchers and stock-growers have got the lot.
The average family gained nothing from the child endowment legislation because, with prices spiralling, it was quickly absorbed in increased charges. This bill merely seeks the inclusion in the Constitution of a latent power to be used in a time of emergency such as the present. There is no reason why such a power should not have been written into the Constitution at the 1947 referendum. It would not necessarily have been as wide as the war-time power and, in certain circumstances, commodities in adequate supply could have been released from prices control. It is not in the best interests of democracy that a referendum on prices control, with all the political squabbling associated with such a proposal, should be held in a time of crisis. As honorable senators opposite have pointed out, some months will have to elapse before a referendum is held even if this bill is agreed to immediately, but that must happen with any referendum. What we have to decide is whether prices control is necessary or desirable as the basis of any plan to check inflation. It is obvious to every one that, unless the Government takes steps to curb rising prices, the situation will very soon be much graver than it is to-day. Day by day we read reports of fantastic inflationary prices. Recently the Can- berra Times reported that onions were selling at1s. 3d. each and cauliflowers at 6s. each ; yet honorable senators opposite complacently treat this” problem as if it had no. urgency at all ! They realize, of course, that the Government should have initiated action to control prices, but is too interested in playing politics to do so. It is too interested in introducing legislation to appoint “stooges” to the Commonwealth Bank in spite of the fact that that institution has never worked more efficiently than it has under its present governorship. The Government has raised one of the greatest bogies of all times in an effort to avert public attention from rising prices. I remind the Senate that foremost amongst the election undertakings of the Government parties was the promise to put value back info the £1. The Government has not even attempted to do that, yet its supporters in this chamber are sitting back criticizing the introduction by the Opposition of a measure which would accomplish the very things that the Government has failed to do.
Senator Cameron referred to the increase of postal, telephone and telegraph charges. Increased charges were made necessary by the increased cost of equipment and salaries and wages incurred by the Postal Department. The employees of the department were granted wage increases to enable them to maintain their standard of living despite rising prices.
– Does the honorable senator contend that increased wages were mainly responsible for the imposition of the increased charges?
– To a great degree the rates of charge imposed by the department were increased in order to offset losses resulting from increased salaries and wages paid to the staff. Increased wages and salaries were granted not only to officers of the Postal Department but also to the other members of the Public Service and to industrial workers generally. If the vicious circle of rising prices is allowed to continue unchecked our economy will collapse. Honorable senators opposite have indicated that they will not support us in our attempt to protect the economy of this country from the dangerous effects of uncontrolled prices. Inflation is rife throughout the world.
– Surely the honorable senator does not blame this Government for that?
– We do not blame the Government for that but we do blame it for its failure to take action to stem the rising tide of prices in Australia. Undoubtedly inflation in this country has to some degree resulted from our participation in two world wars and from the fear of the outbreak of a third world war. Those factors were, I agree, beyond our control.
– Does the honorable senator oppose the United Nations?
– No; but I am opposed to the instruments of the United Nations being used for waging war. I wholeheartedly support the United Nations as the greatest agent for peace that has ever been established by the nations of the world. I trust that the day will never come when the United Nations will be used as an instrument for waging war.
– Is the honorable senator opposed to the actions of the forces of the United Nations in Korea?
– No. I believe that they are doing a magnificent job there.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Nicholls). - Order! I ask the honorable senator to disregard interjections.
– I regret that my train of thought has been diverted by the interjections of honorable senators opposite. The inflationary spiral is world wide and the problems that confront all countries as the result of it are interconnected. A great responsibility rests upon us to guard our economy. It is regrettable that our efforts to establish in this country a democracy that is unrivalled by that of any other country in the world should be undermined by a vicious system of inflation. Unless we take positive steps to check this evil, unemployment will stalk this land and production of the basic food and clothing requirements of our people will decline. The decline of our living standards will cause increased discontent and all the talk of the Communists being the cause of unrest in this country will be as nothing compared with the anger of the people when they realize that the standards for which they have fought for more than 100 years have been lost as the result of the refusal of the Government to accept its responsibilities.
Responsibility for the existing chaotic state of affairs to a very great degree rests on the occupants of the Government benches as the result of their refusal to endorse the proposals that were submitted to the people by the Chifley Government in the referendum on rents and prices in 1947.
– Does the honorable senator blame the Conservative Government in England for the mess that exists in that country at present?
– I blame the Conservatives for much more than that. Some responsibility for the increased costs of all commodities undoubtedly rests on this Government. Let it see the folly of its ways. I invite honorable senators opposite to support us in this move to give to the people of Australia an opportunity to shape their destiny in a democratic way. The people have learned a bitter lesson from the inaction of this Government. The bad advice that was given to the people by the anti-Labour forces during the earlier referendum on rents and prices is now apparent. If honorable senators are sincere in their claim that they have the welfare of the ordinary wage-earner at heart they will not only support this measure but also take an active part in the referendum campaign that we hope will result from it. The measure itself is a simple one. It provides for the alteration of the Constitution by the addition of only one word. The bogies that were trotted out by the anti-Labour forces during the 1947 referendum campaign about red tape and form filling will not be apt in this instance. On this occasion the people will be asked to decide only whether or not the Commonwealth Parliament should have power to control pricesin periods of inflation. I commend the measure to the Senate.
.- Opposition senators who have spoken to this bill have consistently impressed upon us that it is of paramount importance and of the greatest urgency. In view of that, and as the members of the Opposition have the requisite numbers to carry the motion, I desire to co-operate with them and I therefore move -
That the questionbe now put.
Question put. The Senate divided. (The President - Senator the Hon. Gordon Brown.)
Majority . . . . 8
Questionso resolved in the negative.
Senator HENDRICKSON (Victoria) ~9A5J. - I am amazed at the -cowardice displayed by members of the Government, but I realize that the whip of the great potential dictator of Australia is stinging their backs with its lashes. The Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) has stated that those people who make mistakes will not be allowed to speak again. He has said, “ I am the dictator of this party “. Time and again, Ministers in this chamber have refused to answer questions, stating that matters of policy were involved, and that the facts would probably be made known in the budget. Last week on two occasions the Prime Minister broadcast the contents of the budget. But he has never allowed his little “ puppies “, his little “ stooges “, his little “ poodles “, in this chamber, to whom we should be able to look as responsible Ministers of the Crown, an opportunity to answer one reasonable and sensible question. As mentioned by an honorable senator on this side of the chamber, he has given his friends, who made it possible for him to return to office, a preview of what the budget contains.
– There is only one way to put anything to the honorable senator, and that is with a brace and bit. We all have a vivid recollection of what happened to Dr. Hugh Dalton in England, when he committed half -a crime a few hours before the budget was to be presented. He was asked to resign. I wonder if any of the Ministers opposite, who no doubt assisted in compiling the budget, would be prepared to ask the Prime Minister to resign. I stated a long time ago that although the Treasurer (Mr. Fadden) was in a minority in the Cabinet, when the matter of depreciation of the £1 was to ‘be decided, I would put my money on him, and I have won. It was a .great victory for the leader of the minority party in the Cabinet. It may be that the members of the Australian Country party in Canberra -are lining up with their more learned Country party friends in Victoria. They may even come round to our way of thinking. We shall look forward to an application to the Minister for Trade and Customs (Senator O’Sullivan) for an import licence.
– What does the honorable senator know about import licences ?
– All 1 know is that when I was secretary to a Minister, my job was carried out in an honorable manner. I venture to ,say that some of the things done by Senator Wright in collaboration with the master carriers of Tasmania would not bear the light of inquiry. As I said before, this is a most urgent matter.
– Then why not pass it?
– The Opposition would first like to make the members of the Government realize the importance of this measure, so that it may be given the speedy passage it deserves. If there is anything likely to corrupt and disrupt the economy of this country, it is prices. Communism is the baby of inflation and deflation. If the Government is sincere in its desire to rid this country of the Communist element that exists to-day, it must give some measure of economic security to the people of Australia. Because of the insidious and false propaganda retailed to the people in 1948, the referendum to control prices was defeated. The people were told that remote control from Canberra would be the cause of inflation and that prices control should be left to the State governments, because they, being in closer contact with the people, could do a better joh. That propaganda was supported by all the antiLabour Premiers in the Commonwealth, and by all reactionary upper houses. It was supported by all the Liberal party and Australian Country party members. The people were advised to hand hack control of prices to the States. When the Premiers met in Canberra, three or four weeks ago, they went down almost on their bended knees trying to influence the Australian ‘Government once again to take over control of prices. Included in those Premiers and Treasurers were men who misled the people, together with the press and the radio, by stating that the States should control prices.
I asked a question to-day in this chamber with reference to a gallup poll, the result of which was published in the Melbourne Herald of the 5th instant. The article stated, “ Federal price control wanted. Six out of ten people think that the Federal Government should again control prices, at least temporarily “. The Australian Government, of course, has not power in peace-time to control prices. That is a very cardinal point in our Constitution. Those interviewed were asked : “ Do you think full war-time price control by the Federal Government should or should not be brought in again now ? “ In every State a majority stated they wanted full prices control by the Australian Government. The Australia-wide vote was 57 per cent, in favour of Commonwealth control of prices, 35 per cent, opposed to such control, and S per cent, undecided. The article was published after it was decided that Senator McKenna should introduce the bill now before this chamber.
Of all aspects of politics agitating the minds of the people, the most important matter to-day is prices control. The people are realizing now that if the Government is sincere in its desire to rid this country of the Communist element, it should re-introduce prices control, in order to stabilize production and prices.
– Does the honorable senator believe that the people are well informed on that question?
– To my way of thinking, the best information obtainable is contained in the press-. The people are well informed at the moment. The Opposition is trying to drill into the wooden heads of those people who have become the puppets of the. prospective dictator of this country that at least they owe something to the people of Australia. They should endeavour, even at this late hour, to impress that obligation on other members of their parties. The Opposition is sure that the bill will pass through this chamber, but Government senators should take some active part in seeing that it is given the same priority as is accorded other measures in the House of Representatives and carried under the “ guillotine “.
Had I not listened to the Prime Minister I may perhaps have . been a little doubtful as to the attitude of some honorable senators opposite. But the right honorable gentleman, in his broadcast, has told the people of Australia that we must have prices control and subsidies. His words have been supported by those of the Minister for National Development (Mr. Casey), who has also issued’ press statements, and made broadcasts to the effect that the most urgent problem confronting the people to-day is inflation. In this instance, the Opposition wholeheartedly agrees with the Prime Minister and the Minister for National Development. We consider that this is a very urgent measure and should be given a swift passage through both Houses.
– The Government is assisting tow-ards that end.
– I should like to see whether the members of the Government intend to vote with the Opposition in favour of this bill. They will be given the opportunity later. As I have said before, I do not think they are sincere.
In November of last year a political cup was run in Australia. The parties led by Mr. Menzies and Mr. Fadden entered a champion named “ Value back in the £1 “. It looked a fine horse. I inspected it before it went out, and it looked very fit. It was ridden by “ Lower Prices “. I thought it would be a certainty.
– And so the honorable senator put his money on it?
– No. The unfortunate electors of Australia did that. When the rug was taken off the horse, and it went to the starting barrier, it was none other than the old brokendown “Commo” by “Hot Money”, out of “ Yankee Dollar “. The race is finishing fast, and the thoroughbred entered by Ben. Chifley is coming to the post. We do not want a photo or the judge to decide the result; we want the Government to allow the people to decide who shall be the winner of that political Tace. I ask honorable senators opposite to give us their support by voting with us when the motion for the second reading of this bill is put. I am surprised that they are not prepared to debate a measure which is so urgent.
– We do not want to waste time upon it.
– It would not be a waste of time. We on this side of the chamber will endeavour to prove to the people that we, at least, have never changed our minds in relation to prices control. We still believe, along with the Prime Minister and the Minister for National Development, that prices should be controlled by the Commonwealth.
I realize that the Prime Minister has no fight in him. He proved that in 1914. He was a very energetic and excellent captain in the University Rifles until war broke out and spoiled his military career. 1 realize that he is not here to fight, but I realize also that, despite his poor fighting ability, he is able to silence honorable senators opposite. When I see the crocodile tears that they shed when we submit a reasonable and sensible measure to this chamber, I think of the measures that are being discussed in the House of Representatives under the dictatorial “ guillotine “ applied by the Government. I remind the Senate that the Labour party represents 49 per cent, of the people of this country.
- Senator Scott does not believe figures. He does not believe anything. In fact, he does not believe himself. The party on whose behalf I am speaking to-night represents 49 per cent, of the people of this country. Therefore, it is competent for us to bring before this chamber a measure which is designed to give the Australian people an opportunity to say whether they think that the Commonwealth should again control prices. Why are honorable senators opposite afraid to give the people that opportunity? The people have asked for it through the capitalist press - the only channel through which they can ask. Why do not honorable senators opposite state the reasons why they are not prepared to give the electors, the only people who should be considered in these matters, an opportunity to express their opinion on this issue?
– Why is the honorable senator afraid of the deadlocks issue?
– What is- the- deadlocks issue?
– I was referring, to the Constitution Alteration (Avoidance of Double Dissolution Deadlocks) Bill.
– Members of the Labour party in this chamber and in the House of Representatives have shown that that measure would create further deadlocks.
– .Why is the Opposition afraid to submit it to the people ?
– It will go to the people in its turn. There are measures more urgent than that to be placed before the people. If the members of the present Government parties are sincere in the speeches they deliver in the Parliament and in the promises they make in the propaganda that they disseminate through the capitalist press and over the sir, they should give the people an opportunity to say whether they want prices to be controlled by the Commonwealth again.
If we are to rid this country of communism, we must give the Australian workers a fair and reasonable share of the goods and services they produce. Despite all the talk of the Prime Minister and Government supporters, who have never known what it is to take their coats off to earn a shilling, the workers are not prepared to allow themselves to be misled again or to permit a return to the conditions that obtained in this country after the last inflationary /period. When I hear honorable senators opposite urging the workers to produce more and saying that the 40-hour week has created chaos and caused the present prices spiral, I recall that during the depression years the majority of the workers of this country worked for only twenty hours a week and that 500,000 Australians did not have a job at all. In those days, according to the people who ran this country then, we had full arid plenty. We must be fair to the sons and daughters of those who endured the privation and starvation that existed then in this wonderful country. Their sons and daughters made a magnificent effort in World War II., one that * was without parallel in any other country. This Government will not be able to fool the workers again. The people will never again permit a state of affairs in which they cannot earn enough money to buy the goods that they produce. If honorable senators opposite are. well advised, they will support the Opposition and vote with us. when the motion for the second reading of this measure is put.
The Australian workers are asked to support the arbitration system, in which the Australian Labour party believes wholeheartedly. If honorable senatorsopposite believe that workers wages should be determined by arbitration, they must believe that the prices of the commodities that the workers purchase should also be determined by arbitration. I can- not say this evening whether the pricefixing authority should be. a commission or a prices court, similar to the Commonwealth Arbitration Court, but I say that, if honorable senators opposite are sincerewhen they urge the workers of this country to support arbitration, they should agree to the establishment of some tribunal or organization to fix prices.
The claim by tie trade unions for an increase of the basic wage has been before the Commonwealth Arbitration Court since May, 1949. The judges of the court, according to their own statements, have been overworked in considering the casespresented by the trade unions and the employers. It has taken them eighteen months to make their inquiries, and I believe that theywill announce their decision on Thursday. When the plaint of the trade unions was presented to the court, the cost of living was, according to the index figures, at a certain level. Evidence was given on that basis, but every one will admit that during the last eighteen months the cost of living has increased enormously. The judgment of the court will be delivered eighteen months after the workers presented their plaint.
– With nothing considered in the interval?
– There have been slight adjustments of the basic wage during that period. I think it has been increased by 7s. a week. The decision of the court will not apply retrospectively. If there is no system of prices control, immediately it is announced those who provide the workers with the necessities of life will say that there hasbeen an increase of the basic wage and, without going before any tribunal, will decide that the cost of bread, butter, meat, eggs, flour, potatoes, onions and other foods of the people should be increased automatically. Let us assume that, as. a result of. tie judgment of the court, the wage of a breadcarter is increased by 10s. a week. Let us assume also that he delivers 300 loaves of bread a day and that the baker increases theprice of a loaf of bread by1/2d. On 300 loaves a day, his takings will be increased by approximately 12s. a day.From one breadcarter working five days a week, he will make an additional £2 10s. a week. The Prime Minister and members of the Government parties are asking the workers of this country for greater production. I do not agree that the workers are not producing to capacity, but, I shall assume for the purposes of argument that they are not If we want greater production,, we must give the workers, swiftly, a better share of the goods that they produce. If we do not and if the workers’ wages are not sufficient to provide them with a decent existence, communism will breed.
– There are a number of Australian firms that share their profits with their employees. Give them credit for that.
– That may be so. I realize that Senator Robertson has a fund of information that she could give to this chamber if she spoke upon thisotion, but she is not allowed to do so. The dictator has said, “ You can ask questions, but you must not speak. If you do so, we shall take disciplinary action against you.” The honorable senator interjected this afternoon and said that we were dictated to by the federal executive of our party.
– That is true.
– Does the honorable senator realize how the federal executive of our party is elected? Apparently she does not want to know, and it would not be of any use if she did. She has lived in this country for 70 or80 years and is now propagating the cause of liberalism here. She has referred to a matter of which she has no knowledge.
– I am a trade union member.
– All I can. say is that the trade union to which the honorable senator belongs is not affiliated with the Australian Labour party. Otherwise,, she would have had a voice in deciding who were to be elected as members of our federal executive. If the honorable- senator is not conversant with that matter, perhaps Senator Guy will explain it to her when he is not busy.
Senator Wood, by way of interjection, said that employers were willing to pay the wages that the Commonwealth Arbitration Court said should be paid. I agree with him. There are very few employers to-day who are not prepared to pay the wages prescribed by the court and, in addition, as Senator Robertson pointed out in an interjection, a little bit on the side. To-day there are only two mcn available for every three jobs, instead of three men available for two jobs some years ago. The- employers are forced to compete. amongst themselves for labour in order to earn greater profits: Senator Wood stated by interjection that the employers are forced to pay court award wages. I remind him that during the depression years, when there were seven or eight nien available for each job offering, the employers did not pay anything like award wages. Unfortunately Senator Wood is not in the chamber at the moment. However, the Hansard report of his speech will show that he stated that he did not know much about the actual cost of living because he was a bachelor. The people of Queensland should see to it that he is- not again elected to represent them-
– Apparently the honorable senator does not like his chances.
– In any case the honorable senator is probably “ wood “ from the ears’ up, literally. I stress that during the depression many employers did not pay award wages-
– I doubt whether the honorable senator knows the facts.
– Of course I concede that the farmers received only very poor prices for their produce at that time. I recollect that many tons of potatoes and onions; were dumped in the ocean off Port Fairy in Victoria, because prices were so low. At that time many people were starving. Because of the extremely low prices that were being received for primary products,, many farmers were forced to mortgage their properties to the banks. That is particularly true- in both the Mallee and western districts of Victoria. Even to-day, despite the high prices that are being obtained for primary produce, many farmers are unwilling to pay award wages in the various industries. With the price of wool standing at 240d. per lb.-
– That is the top price ; the honorable senator should halve it.
– Be fair.
– The only wool that the Minister for Social Sendees (Senator Spooner) knows about is the wool that he pulled over the eyes of the electors during the last general election campaign. Wool prices have increased by more than 600 per cent, since 1938. Even if we regard 6s. Sd. per lb. as an average price for wool to-day, the increase since 1940 has been over 600 per. cent.
– By how much has the price of fruit juice increased ?
– That is entirely irrelevant. Senator George Rankin has asked his question by interjection because he knows that I have an interest in the fruit juice industry. I remind the honorable senator that in these days it is a matter of dog eat dog. It is impossible- for one swallow to make a summer and for one person to maintain prices at a reasonable level. As the honorable senator is aware, he has made another incorrect implication about me, and presumably he will make others from time to time. If the wool producers are so kind they should pay the shearers 600 per cent, more than the 1940 wages.
– They are paying award rates.
– As I have already mentioned, the woolgrowers have not always been able to pay award rates of pay because of bad seasons and inadequate prices for commodities, caused by the maladministration of governments that honorable senators opposite have supported-
– Is the honorable senator gloomy about Australia’s prosperity ?
– I am not gloomy about the present prosperity in this country. However, I point out that, due to the high prices now ruling for wool, the price of tailored suits is now between £33 and £35.
– That is the cost of fabrication.
– In turn, higher prices are charged for other commodities. I remind the Senate that prices control operated very well during the war years. It was introduced by a non-Labour government in an endeavour to maintain harmony in this country, particularly in view of the fact that the wives, sons and daughters of men who were serving in the Second Australian Imperial Force were working in munitions factories. The framers of the Constitution were farsighted men, who realized that in time of war the Commonwealth should have full control over the Army and all matters associated with defence. We realized fully in 1948 that, if prices were to be controlled satisfactorily in this country, it was necessary to maintain unity in Australia-
– What about the Communists in industry?
– Senator Gorton should deliver an address to this chamber rather than continually interrupt other honorable senators. We could scarcely have a worse crisis in this country than inflation, and I contend that the people should not be persuaded to refrain from granting the Commonwealth power to control prices during the transitory period through which we are passing. In fact the Prime Minister has stated that we are supposed to be at war, and has told the people that he lied to them in 1948. He is again seeking to control Australia from Canberra, and that is why he is “ softening “ the people. Of course, the people have a right to elect their repre sentatives to this democratic Parliament every three years, and it was unfortunatethat prior to the last general election they were misled by the insidious and untrue propaganda that was disseminated by the supporters of the present Government, He is now asking the people to give him and his supporters another chance. I want my view on this subject to be placed on record. Unless prices arecontrolled in this country it will not matter what legislation is placed on the statute-book for, finally, we shall finish up on the rocks of poverty, as has every other dictatorship in the world. I should like to know whether Senator Gorton has ever had anything to do with communism - whether he has ever tried toput up a battle with the Communists in this country.I remind him that many farmers in the Kerang district where he lives, were doing very well until thedepression forced them to turn “ Commo “. Could that be wondered at ? I know many farmers who had worked hard regularly from daylight to dark, but who lost their farms overnight during the depression. In many instances also, good Australian workmen, who were supporting wives and children, found themselves on the employment scrap-heap.
– Order ! In accordance with the sessional order relating to the adjournment of the Senate, I formally put the question -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
The following papers were presented : - .
Arbitration (Public Service) Act - Determinations - 1950 -
Nos. 45 and 46 - Musicians’ Union of Australia.
No. 47 - Association of Architects, Engineers, Surveyors and Draughtsmenof Australia and others.
Commonwealth Public Service Act - Appointoients - Department -
Interior -C. F. Hutchinson.
Postmaster-General’s - P. Abbottsmith,
Prime Minister’s - D. McCarthy.
Supply - J. M. Nelson.
Treasury - J. C. O’Donnell.
Defence (Transitional Provisions) Act - National Security (Industrial Property)
Regulations - Order - Inventions and designs.
Land Tax Assessment Act- Applications for relief dealt with during the year 1949-50.
Lands Acquisition Act - Land acquired for Department of Civil Aviation purposes - Carnarvon, Western Australia.
Northern Territory (Administration) Act - Regulations - 1950 - No. 7 (Mining Development Ordinance ) .
Pharmaceutical Benefits Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1950, No. 55.
Trade Marks Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1950, No. 56.
Wine Overseas. Marketing Act - Twentysecond Annual Report of the Australian Wine Board, for year 1949-50, together with Statement by Minister regarding the operation of the Act.
Semite adjourned at 10.30 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 10 October 1950, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1950/19501010_senate_19_209/>.