20th Parliament · 1st Session
The President (Senator the Hon. Edward Mattner) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
– The Speaker of the House of Representatives (Hon. Archie Cameron) and I desire to inform all persons proposing to visit Parliament House that admission to this building is free of charge at all times and that no payment is due to anybody from any one being shown over any portion of the building that is available for inspection by visitors. The levying or collection of fees for such visits, either outside or inside the building, is absolutely forbidden.
– In view of the potential importance of the crayfish industry to Western Australia, can the Minister for Trade and Customs inform the Senate of the quantity and.. value i i i in dollars of crayfish tails exported ‘from Western Australia to the United States of America during the years ended the 30th June, 1948, 1949 and 1950? Can the Minister also say whether a shortage of cellophane wrapping paper limited the export of that product during the same period?
– The points raised by the honorable senator are very important, not only to Western Australia but also to Australia generally. Early this year it was my pleasure to be in Western Australia, and I had an opportunity to see the development of that important industry. Offhand I cannot furnish details relating to export in the years mentioned by the honorable senator, but I .shall obtain the’ desired information and make it available to him as soon as possible. It is true that the industry suffered some difficulties as the result of the lack of cellophane. The Government has made every effort to overcome that problem and although I believe, it has not been completely overcome, 1 assure the honorable senator that every step within the power of the Government is being taken to that end.
– In view of the importance of this year as Jubilee Yea and the significance of the part played in the development of Australia by the pioneers, many of whom are now age pensioners, will the Minister representing the Minister for Social Services consider recognizing the services of those aged persons by granting to them a special jubilee payment as a supplement to .their pensions I
– I shall convey the honorable senator’s suggestion to tha Minister for Social Services with a request that he consider it when next he reviews pensions and other social services payments.
– In view of the apparent difficulty confronting age and invalid pensioners in ascertaining the names of doctors to whom they may apply for medical attention, will the Minister representing’ the Minister for Social Services consider giving effect to a proposal that the names of such doctors be., published in various centres throughout Australia?
– It is not a fact that pensioners are experiencing any great difficulty in that connexion. I know the facts, because I have personally made inquiries. There is very little reason why there should be difficulty, because in most suburbs and in most towns it is not at all difficult to find out by inquiry, quite distinct from the services rendered by the department and by pensioners’ organizations, which doctors are available and which are not. It would not be possible to publish lists of doctors who are pre. pared to give their services, because the medical profession, in common with most other professions, has an objection to advertising. That, I suggest, is a very good thing for the community. It would be .a bad thing if professional people advertised and endeavoured thereby to attract business. A professional man relies on his reputation and his standing, and I do not think that any honorable senator would like to disturb that state of affairs. In view of what I have stated, I do not think that there are genuine grounds for complaint on this score. Indeed, I have not discovered any such volume of complaints from the pensioners themselves.
– Will the Minister representing the Minister foi Health state whether hearing aids are provided free of cost to deafened school children and ex-servicemen under the free medical scheme ? If so, will the Minister consider, extending the scheme to include age pensioners and persons on low-grade superannuation ?
– I understand that hearing aids are issued free of charge to school children and to those ex-service men and women who have lost their hearing as the result of war caused injuries or disabilities. I shall bring to the notice of the Minister for Health the honorable senator’s suggestion that the provision of such facilities should he extended to those sections of the community to which she has referred.
– For some time past I have been making representations concerning the dredging for tin on the alluvia] flats on the north-west coast of Tasmania. A considerable quantity of tin is being won, and tin is a very important commodity at the present time. Recently, I’ read that two dredges on the Bulolo gold-field in -New Guinea are for some reason out of commission. Will the Minister representing the Minister for Supply explore the possibility of buying the dredges from Dredging Bulolo Gold Limited, and making them available for dredging tin at Dorset Plats in Tasmania, so that more tin may be won and the present drift of population from this area checked?
– I shall be pleased to bring the honorable senator’s representations to the notice of the Minister for Supply, who, I have no doubt, will communicate with the tin dredging company in Tasmania and find out its requirements. The honorable senator will be supplied later with a more detailed answer to his question.
– Last Thursday week, a State banquet took place as part of the Commonwealth Jubilee celebrations, and it seemed to me that there were certain very grave omissions from the list of speakers. I refer to the failure to call on the British representatives to speak even in support of the toast of the Parliament. The representatives of the Mother of Parliaments had come a long way to do us honour. Was that failure due to precedent; was it a mere oversight, or was it because they were representatives of a Labour government? Will, the Minister representing the Prime Minister give an assurance that no offence was intended towards gentlemen who, I believe, had some reason to feel aggrieved? Viscount Alexander was a special representative of the British Prime Minister, Mr. Attlee, and of the British people. It is only right that the Government of Great Britain and the British people should be told that no slight waa intended.
– It is greatly to be deplored that the honorable senator should ask such a question in such a tone. Viscount Alexander and Lord Lawson would be the last persons in the world to support or thank the honorable senator.
– How does the Minister know that?
– I happen to know it. The fact is that a very limited time was allowed during the function for the broadcasting of speeches. It was important that all speeches to be made during the function should be delivered within a very limited time. In fact, I think that the longest speech occupied only about seven or eight minutes. It so happened that the only one of our distinguished guests from British Commonwealth countries, who occupied the position of Prime Minister in . his own country, was the representative of our sister dominion, New Zealand. Apart from those who think along similar lines to Senator Grant in this matter, nobody in the world would dream that an insult was intended or, in fact, conveyed to the other distinguished visitors who graced the banquet.
– Can the Minister representing the Minister for the Army state whether it is a fact that great dissatisfaction has been expressed by service personnel from Western Australia and other States who were in Canberra last week for the Commonwealth Jubilee Celebrations, concerning accommodation, the quality of food supplied, and the lack of recreation facilities in Canberra ? If the conditions were as stated by servicemen, will the Minister give an undertaking that if, on some future occasion, troops are invited to Canberra, special provision will be made to ensure that no cause shall be given for further com-, plaint? Will the Minister also undertake that the residents of Canberra, who are always willing to show hospitality to visitors, are given an opportunity to form reception committees to supplement the normal facilities available?
– I think that it would be fair to say that it is not a fact that dissatisfaction has been expressed by members of the Services who visited Canberra for the Commonwealth Jubilee Celebrations. On the contrary, the Minister for the ‘ Army has informed, me personally of the substantial number of letters that he has received from those who came, congratulating the command upon the manner in which the arrangements were carried out. I remind the Senate that a large movement of troops from the whole of Australia was involved. There is considerable satisfaction on the part of those in command of the arrangements because of the satisfactory manner in which they were carried out. Endeavours were made, of course, to provide social functions, but it is very difficult to cater adequately for 4,000 troops. However, some attempts were made, and the fact that they were not a success is not the fault of the visiting servicemen.
– Statements have been made in Brisbane that a number of telephonists employed in the Repatriation Department in Brisbane have suffered a reduction of wages. Will the Minister for Repatriation make inquiries to ascertain whether or not the statements are true?
– I shall be pleased to have inquiries made immediately.
– I preface a question to the Minister by making it quite clear that I believe the Repatriation General Hospital in Hobart to be well conducted, and I know that the inmates of the hospital, and exservicemen’s organizations in Tasmania, consider that the Repatriation Department should be commended for the conduct of that institution. However, I am concerned with the provision of more suitable accommodation in hospital for sufferers from tuberculosis. Can the Minister inform me what steps are being taken by the department to provide improved accommodation for exservicemen in Tasmania who are afflicted with that disease?
– Senator Chamberlain, who has always been keenly interested in the welfare of exservicemen in Tasmania, was good enough to inform me that he intended to ask a question concerning the matter that he has raised. I took advantage of his notice to communicate with the head-quarters of the Repatriation Department in Melbourne, which has furnished the information desired by the honorable senator. That information is as follows : -
In Hobart, there are 50 beds available in the Repatriation General Hospital, and although these beds are located in wooden structures, they are well situated and the wards are satisfactory. In the northern part of the island, beds are available at the State Sanatorium at Perth, although it is considered .preferable to transfer repatriation tuberculosis patients to Hobart where, every facility for treatment is provided. Because any expansion of Repatriation General Hospital, Hobart, will necessarily result in the demolition of the existing accommodation for tuberculosis patients at that hospital, it will be necessary to provide alternative accommodation in the future. As the. Tasmanian Government is proposing to build a new Chest Hospital and Sanatorium, at which all facilities for the treatment of tuberculosis will be available, it was decided in 1947 that repatriation patients suffering from tuberculosis should be treated in the same new hospital-sanatorium as the civilian patients thereby avoiding the building of two now institutions in a city with the limited population of Hobart.
In September, 1047, a preliminary conference was held between the Deputy Commissioner of Repatriation, Hobart, the Principal Medical Officer, and the Specialist in Tuberculosis, Repatriation Commission Headquarters, the Director of Tuberculosis, Commonwealth Department of Health, and the State Director of Tuberculosis in Hobart, and agreement was reached as to the site, and that 50 beds should be allotted to repatriation patients, preferably on one floor to allow of some degree of segregation. Since 1947, preliminary sketch plans have been prepared, but owing to criticism both of the plans and the site for the proposed new hospital-sanatorium, and because of newer approaches to the prospect of major building programmes for tuberculosis patients, there has been great delay in implementing the original proposals. In April. 1951, a further conference was held in Hobart, as the result of which a new site was proposed, and new plans are now in course of preparation. Those plans have not yet been prepared, but are in the stage of discussion between the Tasmanian State Department and the Commonwealth Department of Works and Housing, so that several years may elapse before this new institution will be ready for occupation. In the meantime, the accommodation provided foi ex-members suffering from tuberculosis in Tasmania is quite suitable for those patients.
– On the 13th June, Senator Arnold asked the following question without notice : -
As honorable senators are frequently asked for information concerning the procedure to be followed by age pensioners who desire free medical benefits, will the Minister representing the Minister for Health obtain a statement for the information of the Senate setting out the benefits that are available to such pensioners and the method by which they may obtain them?
The following information has now been furnished by the Minister for Health:-
A pensioners’ medical service has been established under which a general practitioner service is available to those in receipt of. an age, invalid, widow’s or service pension or a tuberculosis allowance, and their dependants. A pensioner applies for and obtains an Entitlement Card from the Department of Social Services and upon presentation of the card to a doctor who has agreed to participate in the service, the medical attention is free of charge to the pensioner or his dependant if rendered in the doctor’s ordinary practising hours. The majority of general medical practitioners in practice throughout the Commonwealth are already participating in the service and the numbers are increasing week by week. In one State, the percentage of participating general practitioners has reached approximately 90 per cent. Arrangements are now being finalized for the supply of special pharmaceutical benefits free of charge to pensioners and their dependants. These medicines will be additional to the life-saving drugs which are at present available free of charge to all members of the community, and will be available in the near future.
– Can the Minister inform me how a pensioner may know which medical practitioners are participating in the scheme?
– In Queensland, the State that I represent, most of the pensioners are advised by their own organization of the names and addresses of the medical practitioners in the various districts who are prepared to provide medical services under the medical benefits scheme. However, such information would be readily available throughout Australia from the Department of Social Services or its agents.
– All honorable senators are, of course, aware of the great work that is done by the Red Cross
Society. That work is not merely national; it is international. Recently in Western Australia it was necessary to raise £40,000 to meet the cost of the activities of the society in that State. As Australia is now seeking to build up its defence forces, and as the work of the Australian Red Cross Society is of great value to such forces, will the Minister for Trade and Customs urge upon the Government the need for a substantial grant of money from the Commonwealth to the society to enable it to carry on its valuable service throughout the Commonwealth ?
– I agree with the honorable senator that the Red Cross Society does splendid work. Admiration for the society is universal, and support of it should transcend party political considerations. The provision of a special Commonwealth grant to the society, however, is a budgetary matter, and I shall take it up with the Treasurer.
– In view of the serious condition of the dairying industry throughout Australia and the fact that butter, which is a very necessary commodity, is in short supply, will the Minister representing the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture undertake to inform the Senate at an early date what assistance the Government proposes to render to the dairying industry with a view to overcoming the shortage?
– The matter raised is receiving very active consideration by my colleague, the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture, from whom I shall obtain a reply for the honorable senator as quickly as possible.
– According to a report in yesterday’s press, the Minister for Shipping and Transport is considering sending ships from the mainland to Tasmania to pick up timber. Will the Minister assure the Senate that the proposed sailing dates of such vessels will be advertised in the mainland papers as early as possible so that Tasmanian importers will have an opportunity to utilize all available cargo space to bring urgently needed supplies to Tasmania?
– The matter raised by the honorable senator is controlled by the Central Traffic Committee, on which the Government has a representative. I shall bring the honorable senator’s suggestion to his notice to see whether it could be implemented.
– Is the Minister for Shipping and Transport aware that people living in the north-west of Australia frequently wait from three to four weeks for ships carrying foodstuffs? In view of the fact that a new ship named Dongara has been sold by the Australian Government to the Western Australian Government in order to increase services to out-lying ports, is the Minister able to inform the Senate when delivery of that vessel may be expected ?
– I understand from the manager of the Australian Shipbuilding Board that that vessel will be available early in August of this year.
– I have learned from press reports that at the conference of Commonwealth and State Minister in Canberra last Monday the Prime Minister asked the State Premiers to refer powers to the Commonwealth to deal with subversive elements in this country, particularly the Australian Communist party. In view of the fact that the high cost of living, as evidenced by the present retail price of onions, which is 2s. 6d. per lb. on the blackmarket, tends to breed communism, will the Minister for Trade and Customs inform me whether the Prime Minister has sought such power in order to reinstitute prices control throughout Australia ?
– I did not attend the conference. However, as it was open to the public I suggest that if the honorable senator is particularly interested in this matter he could ascertain what transpired from some person who was present.
– As the Minister for Trade and Customs has stated that he does not know what transpired at the conference of Commonwealth and State Ministers on Monday, and as I do not know because I was not present, will he be good enough to make inquiries and inform the Senate whether the Prime Minister made any suggestion to the Premiers that power to regulate prices should be transferred by the State government;: to the Australian Government?
– I have no hesitation in informing the honorable senator that I shall not do that. He is just as capable of ascertaining the information as I am, and I suggest that he make application to the appropriate source.
– A report appeared in last Saturday’s issue of the Melbourne Herald to the effect that the Government was considering raising a compulsory loan. Will the Minister for Trade and Customs inform the Senate whether the report was true, and if so, is he prepared to make a statement to the Senate about the matter?
– I did not see the report referred, to, nor had I previously heard of the intention of the Government to float a compulsory loan.
– Is the Minister for Shipping and Transport in a position to make a statement to the Senate concerning the progress being made by the committee or commission which was set up by the Government to inquire into difficulties that have arisen in connexion with the north-south railway line ? If so, can he inform the Senate if meetings have been held and when the Government expects the inquiry to be concluded?
– A commission has been appointed and I have been advised that it will commence its deliberations during the first week in July. It is hoped that its inquiries will not be prolonged. As soon as the report of the commission is available I shall be pleased to submit it to honorable senators who are interested. “
– Last week I directed a question to the Minister for Shipping and Transport concerning: tho facilities available on the East-West Railway line. In the course of that question I asked the Minister if he would confer with the Premier of South Australia, Mr. Playford, who was then in Canberra. Is the Minister now in a position to say what conclusions were arrived at?
– I have communicated with the Premier of South Australia in writing, in order to give him an opportunity to inquire from the South Australian Railways Commissioner whether the suggestion made by the honorable senator can be adopted. Mr. Playford was not in possession of details concerning the transference of passengers’ luggage.
– I draw the attention of the Minister for Trade and Customs to an article that recently appeared in the newspapers stating that the British Government is insisting that substantial compensation should he paid by the Japanese Government for brutalities committed on prisoners of war in Japan and that provision should be made in the projected peace treaty for the payment of such compensation. Will the Minister give an assurance that similar provisions concerning Australian prisoners of war willbe pressed for by the Australian representative when the peace treaty is being drawn up?
– I have no; been a party to any of the negotiations, but from press reports which I have read it appears that the Australian Government has made strong representations for the payment of reparations by Japan.
asked the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -
SenatorO’ SULLIVAN. - The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follows : -
Owing to the wide variety of iron and steel products, ranging from ingots and blooms to plates and sheets, wires and miscellaneous steel productsof various manufacture, the tonnages of steel exports and imports for any period cannot usefully be expressed as crude aggregates of the total quantities recorded against the many statistical items concerned. The tonnages given below have, therefore, been expressed in terms of crude steel equivalent on the basis of the conversion factors originally established by the “ Entente Internationale de l’Acier “, and commonly employed where overall comparisons of steel trade or consumption figures are under consideration: -
1 and 2. Steel Prices. - The export prices and import landed prices of steel vary widely, according to product, and are not readily obtained from trade statistics. The following average f.o.b. values of some selected steel items, however, afford an indication of price levels. It will be appreciated that these averages reflect changes in the quality and price compositions of the goods recorded, and that, particularly in the case of imports, such changes may be associated with significant variations in sources of supply: -
– I have received letters from the Leader of the Government in the Senate and from the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate nominating, in accordance with Standing Order 36a, Senators Guy, Maher, Tate, and Wood, and Senators Arnold, Byrne, and Nash, respectively, as members of the Standing Committee on Regulations and Ordinances.
Motion (by Senator O’SULLIVAN - by li’-ave - agreed to -
Tha.t a Standing Committee on Regulations and Ordinances be appointed, to consist of Senators Arnold, Byrne, Guy, Maher, Nash. Tate, and Wood, such senators having been duly nominated in accordance with the provisions of Standing Order 3Ra.
– Pursuant to Standing Order 28a, I lay on the table my warrant nominating Senator J. A.
McCallum, Senator R. H. Nash, Senator T. M. Nicholls, Senator J. O’Byrne, Senator A. D. Reid, and Senator John P. Tate, a panel to act as Temporary Chairmen of Committees when requested so to do by the Chairman of Committees, or when the Chairman of Committees is absent.
Motion (by Senator 0’Sulijvan) - by leave - agreed to -
That, during the unavoidable absence of the Deputy President, the President be authorized to call upon any one of the Temporary Chairmen of Committees to relieve him temporarily in the Chair without any formal communication to the Senate.
Message received from the House of Representatives intimating that the following members had been appointed members of the Parliamentary Proceedings Broadcasting Committee : - Mr. Speaker (Hon. Archie Cameron), Mr. Jeff Bate, Mr. Davidson, Mr. Allan Fraser, Mr. Gullett and Mr. Rosevear.
Motion (by Senator O’SULLIVAN - by leave - agreed to -
Tha.t, in accordance with the provisions of the Parliamentary Proceedings Broadcasting Act 1946, the following senators be appointed members of the Joint Committee on the Broadcasting of Parliamentary Proceedings: The President of the Senate (Senator Mattner), Senator Maher, a.nd Senator Arnold.
Debate resumed from the 13th June (vide page 43), on motion by Senator
That the following Address-in-Reply to the Speech of His Excellency the Governor-General be agreed to: -
Mav it Pi-basic Youn EXCELLENCY: :
We, the Senate of the Commonwealth of Australia, in Parliament assembled, desire to express mir loyalty to our Most Gracious Sovereign, and to thank Your Excellency for the Speech which you have been pleaded t” address to Parliament.
Senator BYRNE (Queensland) “3.481. - May I bc permitted at the outset of my speech to offer to you, Mr. President, my personal congratulations on your appointment by this assembly to one of the highest offices which it is within the province of the Senate, or of the Commonwealth Parliament, to bestow. Although I have not had the pleasure of knowing you personally, I know that those who suggested your appointment to this high office appreciate the qualities which it demands, involving as it does to some degree the discharge of judicial functions. I trust that your term of occupancy of the Chair will be both happy and fruitful.
Seldom, and perhaps never, has any honorable senator on this side of the chamber delivered his maiden speech in the Senate in an atmosphere of such gloom and desolation as now lies heavily upon the members of the Parliamentary Labour party. Last week, as you know, we suffered a very severe tragedy’ in the loss of our great leader. That loss is particularly grievous to new members of the Parliament such as I am, who had looked forward with keen anticipation and pleasure to the company of Mr. Chifley and to the benefit of his advice which had been so generously offered and which, no doubt, would have been equally generously bestowed. If we have lost the strength and comfort of his physical presence, we can at least derive some consolation from the knowledge that he left us a great example which we can all aspire to emulate. “We remember his sincerity of purpose, and his unstinted devotion to duty and to the country of which he was so proud. We can try to follow in his footsteps by adopting the simplicity and humility of his private life. Although he will not march with, us itv a physical sense we can march with him in spirit towards that goal to which he was wont to refer as the light on the hill, which is the welfare of the ordinary man and woman. The tragedy which occurred - one of a succession of similar tragedies in the national Parliament over a period of years - emphasizes the tremendous strain imposed on public men at the present time. That was referred to in the Senate yesterday and I mention it now as something to bear in mind in connexion with the proposed visit to Australia next year of His Majesty the King. We should not let our enthusiasm override consideration for His Majesty’s personal welfare. He, being a man with such a high sense of public duty, might well be influenced by the enthusiasm of our invitation to embark upon a programme without regard to the demands that it might make upon his health. We should make it quite clear that the paramount consideration in our minda is His Majesty’s personal welfare. We were all delighted to read in the press to-day that the King’s health had so far improved that he was able to adopt firm suggestions regarding bis forthcoming visit. We shall be pleased, if His Majesty’s health is sufficiently restored, to welcome him and the members of his family to Australia. His Majesty has been a devoted public servant, and has set a high standard of domestic and official integrity.
The legislative programme of the Government for the present Parliament, as set forth in the Speech delivered by His Excellency the Governor-General some days ago, carries the implication that it is to be implemented against the background of an active defence policy - a policy of national preparedness. It is radical in character, and will affect almost every facet of our national and social life. His Excellency spoke of the increasing diversion of men and materials from civilian to defence purposes. He spoke of laying aside plans for national development, or of considering them in conjunction with the defence programme. Very properly, the Governor-General regards with some concern the present economic condition of Australia, and the possibility of grave repercussions resulting from the impact of a heavy defence programme on an economy which is already, seriously unbalanced. Members of the Labour party have, for the last eighteen months, viewed with misgiving the deterioration that has taken place at an ever-increasing tempo in the national economy. This deterioration has caused grave injustice to many members of the community, particularly on one very worthy section - the people who by their industry and providence have accumulated a few assets the value of which is diminishing, not spectacularly, but nevertheless definitely, before their eyes.
Therefore, we .cannot excuse the Government, which has had in mind the implementation of a heavy and closely co-ordinated defence programme, for not ensuring that the national economy was rapidly stabilized to meet the tremendous pressure to which it is about to be subjected. We can well understand why the Governor-General expressed concern at the current economic trend. What is now taking place has been expected for some time by members of the Labour party. The Government must accept a large share of responsibility for the deterioration that has taken place. During the 1949 election campaign, we pressed for the taking of certain administrative measures that would have had the effect of stabilizing the national economy. Our proposals were not accepted, or were not accepted soon enough and completely enough to achieve the purpose in view.
The Government’s defence proposals must be far-reaching in their effect. His Excellency the Governor-General mentioned a Defence Preparations Bill designed to facilitate national organization for defence, by co-operative action where possible, but where necessary, by positive and compulsory provisions. I cannot contemplate anything likely to cause more dislocation than the project referred to specifically by the GovernorGeneral. Of the two courses open to the Government - preparation by cooperation or preparation by compulsion - the former is certainly preferable, but it is unreasonable to expect the co-operation of the people if they are not taken completely into the confidence of the Government. At the present time, the Australian people are able to assess the possibility of war and our defence needs only by reference to the newspapers, in which accounts of the situation vary from day to-day. In consequence, we live, on Monday, in complete pessimism. On Tuesday, the picture lightens somewhat, and on Wednesday a state of restrained optimism prevails. In the absence of any considered statement by the Government or by any authoritative source about the defence problem, the solution of which requires such elaborate and complex preparation, the Government cannot expect to receive the co-operation of the Australian people. I know that if the facts were clearly stated that co-operation would be completely forthcoming ; but in the absence .of a clear statement or appreciation of the position such co-operation is not to bc expected. Therefore, I appeal to the Government to be specific in the statements that it makes, not merely in outlining schemes of defence, but also in explaining the reasons that make thi’ adoption of a particular scheme necessary or preferable. I should like any such statement to be authoritative. To any scheme of national defence there must inevitably be a number of alternatives. A defence programme can be related, on the one hand, to an imminent, and grave need or situation, or, on the other hand, it can be directed to providing for a reasonable standard of national defence against any foreseeable emergency in the future. The approach to any particular scheme of defence must necessarily be completely different from the approach to another scheme. A sudden, thorough and .rapid mobilization of .the country to meet a particular, immediate threat must necessitate the abandonment or postponement of many projects that are near and dear to many of our people in their individual and domestic lives, and also in the spheres of municipal, State or national government. However, a scheme of defence which is intended merely to provide a fairly long-range defence programme and is directed to meeting some general need that may arise in the future, will in the long run be preferable because, it will be more closely co-ordinated and because it will not exclude national developmental projects that are in any degree of a defence character.
It appears to me that, unfortunately, the Government is not specific in its references to the defence programme that it proposes to implement. The people of Queensland, whom T represent, are particularly interested in the development of their State. Whilst they would be prepared to set aside for the time being some of their longstanding and most cherished developmental projects, if rapid mobilization were required, they would be most reluctant to do so in the interests of ordinary defence preparedness. In the latter event we should require - and quite reasonably so - that our developmental projects should be considered as being essentially of a defence character, and those that are not essentially related to the defence programme should at least be permitted to proceed. The natural ambition of the peoples of the various States to proceed with major developmental projects does not proceed from any mere motive of selfishness or selfaggrandisement, either on the part of the individuals or of the government of any particular State. That remark applies particularly to the Government and the people of Queensland. We have no desire to become economically prosperous at the expense of any other State in Australia. The impetus that we feel to develop our State is the natural impetus of a young and virile people, who are also conscious of the tremendous wealth that nature has created. We are conscious that we must co-operate by individual effort and governmental action to develop to the full our rich natural endowments. I repeat that we do not want to gain at the expense of other parts of Australia. It is characteristic of all young nations, and, indeed, of all great nations, that in the early stages of their history, when they are acutely conscious of the destiny that lies before them, they should embark on great schemes of national development to produce wealth in order to develop and improve their countries. That is a feature of all civilizations. Any progressive community goes through a number of defined stages, the first and most important of which is the development of material resources. Any one who has even a casual knowledge of history, particularly of ancient history, or who has even a bowing acquaintance with ancient races, will concede that that is manifest. The great development of the Roman Empire proceeded first from the development of the Italian peninsula, and in those early stages the material development of Rom was of paramount importance to them. Having achieved the development of their city-state, they embarked on the second stage of civilization, which is the development of science and the arts. The third stage is, I suppose, the development of philosophy. Those clearly defined stages also marked the development of the Greek city-states, and gave us the Greek culture, which is one of the inheritances of humanity. Therefore, if we in Queensland are conscious of the need to develop our State, I say that we are motivated. not by any mean ambition, but by a belief that we are fulfilling our destiny as an important part of Australia.
For those reasons we are not prepared to set aside our developmental schemes in the interests of defence unless very good reason is shown why we should do so. In other words, the case for priority being given to defence works at the expense of developmental works must be clearly explained by the National Government. The,developmental schemes of Queensland can be said, without any straining of language or of meaning, to relate closely to national defence. It must be remembered that Queensland has a very extended coastline, which is probably the longest stretch of settled coastline to be found in any State of Australia. Queensland is almost contiguous to Asia, and is the natural focal point for attack in the event of any invasion of this country. The development of harbours along the extended coastline is necessary not only in the interests of civilian development, but also in the implementation of any sound scheme of national defence. The provision of adequate harbour and port facilities at such ports as Gladstone, Mackay, Bowen, Townsville and Cairns is extremely important, and we press very strongly that the. provision of those facilities should be given a high priority in the national defence programme. Nevertheless, as I have already said, we would be prepared willingly to postpone temporarily our State developmental works if the National Government would take us into its confidence and explain adequately the reason for any such postponement. If the Australian Government says : “ Time does not permit of the development of natural resources such as those in Queensland because we are confronted with an emergency”, and if it furnishes satisfactory evidence of the nature of the emergency. I am quite sure -that the governments and peoples of all States would be prepared to concede priority to defence works. However, in the absence of such information from the Government, it is not, reasonable to expect the States to suspend their developmental programmes.
We have reached a new stage in the history of the Australian Commonwealth and the attainment of that stage marks the end of an era. Although we are confronted with many grave and complex problems, we must not be deterred by fears of the future. After all, the future is merely a challenge to our industry, our imagination and our courage. We are a young, virile people, and we have already written glorious pages in the history of the world. It is fitting, therefore, that to-day we should look back and pay some tribute to the elements that have made us great. I refer, first of all, to those who fought and died for this country. It is not necessary for rae to add my humble meed of praise of our gallant dead, because they are constantly in our thoughts and in our memories. However, because of certain references in some sections of the community in the speech delivered by His Excellency, I desire to refer to the position of the trade unions of Australia. After all, of all the elements that go to make up society and to develop a nation, the contribution of labour is of paramount importance. It is the application of labour to the inert forces of nature that produces wealth and makes the history of the world. To the development of this country and to its progress towards nationhood over the last 50 years, the trade union movement has made a magnificent contribution. To-day we hear suggestions of an incursion into the domestic affairs of the trade union movement. I shall not at this stage deal with the merits or demerits of such a step, but the mere suggestion of an incursion lends point to a consideration which has been in my mind for quite a long time, and on which I have had the pleasure of lecturing. Last year I was overseas and had an opportunity to meet representatives of many of the national governments of Europe and of the New World. I also met many representatives of trade unions. There is new spirit abroad. Everywhere I found general acceptance of the belief that the trade unions have not merely n negative responsibility to the community, but that they have a new status which endows them with new rights, that those rights give them an opportunity to play a positive part in the forming and direction of the society in which their members move and live. 1 believe therefore, that any interference by the National Parliament in this country with the duties of the trade unionists must inevitably force on our minds the fact that there can be no responsibilities without corresponding rights, and that the rights of trade unions, through their new status in society, must be recognized and accepted. I look forward to the day when the industrial movement will, as it does in Scandinavian countries, play an increasingly important, part in society; when the trade unions will be consulted at the top governmental level, and will assist governments in the direction, management, and formation of society.
The first chapter of Australia’s national history has been whitten. We are now beginning the writing of the second chapter. It is not given to many peoples to write their own national history, free from interference by others, but so far, it has been our privilege to control the destiny of this country. Upon those of us who sit in this legislature and in the State Parliaments, devolves the responsibility of writing the first few sentences of the second chapter of Australia’s political history. As we take up our pens for this task, let us look back on the first chapter, written in a clear, legible, and strong hand so that it may be read for all time to come. It is history through which the figures of great men move, bringing to fruition the great ideals for which they stood. We are honoured, to be given an opportunity to carry on in that tradition. We should all hope and pray that we shall discharge our responsibility to the full measure of our ability, and that ‘in so doing, we shall, in an equally full measure, receive and accept, the honour that is ours.
– As the first representative of the State of South Australia to speak in this debate, may I offer to you, Mr. President, my felicitations upon your appointment to the high office that you now hold. You served with distinction in two world wars, and now you are serving your country in another realm. As Senator Byrne said, the Presidency of this chamber may be likened to r high judicial office. I am confident, as I am sure all other honorable senators are, that you will discharge the duties of that office with great dignity and decorum. It is interesting to recall that the first President of the Senate, 50 years ago, was another distinguished South Australian. It is fitting therefore, that on the occasion of the celebration of the Jubilee of the Commonwealth, the office should once again be held by a senator from that State.
I, too, pay a tribute to the late Mr. Chifley. It is indeed symbolic of our democracy that a man who in his earlier years was a railway employee, should be able eventually to become Prime Minister of Australia. Of all that has been said about the late Mr. Chifley’s worth, the tribute that has impressed me most was paid by the widow of a former Prime Minister, John Curtin. Mrs. Curtin referred to the late Mr. Chifley as being of “ The salt of the earth “. That description appealed to me as being most apt. Salt is a vital necessity and yet is within the reach of all. The late Mr. Chifley was not likened in mellifluous tones to something sugary. He was as the salt of the earth - a preserver, and something basic. His work will be long remembered in this Commonwealth.
I join wholeheartedly in the GovernorGeneral’s prayer that His Majesty the King’s health will be restored and preserved. Reports in to-day’s press are most encouraging, but I am sure that all honorable senators, and the people of Australia generally agree that, should His Majesty’s medical advisers consider that the forthcoming Royal tour of Australia and New Zealand would be detrimental ro his health, both dominions would welcome any one near to him who may be sent in his place. It is our earnest hope, of course, that His Majesty himself will he with us next year.
As the Governor-General said, we are justly proud of our parliamentary inheritance, which, of course, is the reason for the jubilee celebrations. We inherited our parliamentary system from the Homeland. About 100 years ago, the establishment of responsible government on the British pattern began in the Australian colonies. The British legal system, including the common law of England, and the principles of equity founded in the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Lord Chancellor, and all the reforms for which men such as Hampden and Wilberforce fought and suffered became ours without any striving or bloodshed. We commenced our government of Australia in much happier circumstances than government commenced in any of the British Isles. We were fortunate to have incorporated into our legal system the principles of the rule of law and the administration of justice without fear or favour. We received our Constitution 50 years ago by virtue of a British act of parliament, and it is the jubilee of that Constitution that we aro celebrating. The preamble to the Constitution sets out that the people of the colonies of this continent had agreed to unite in one indissoluble federal Commonwealth. I emphasize the importance of those words. Therefore, the Constitution was an agreement made by the people. Let us examine this constitutional inheritance. I shall postulate, three questions: First, has it changed its shape or direction in the last 50 years ? If the answer be in the affirmative, tho second question is how has it done so? Thirdly, has such change been for good or for ill? I submit that it has been changed in two ways, the first being by referendums, as the Constitution provided. It is interesting to note that of nineteen attempts to change the Constitution by referendum, only four have been successful. Two of these were of. major importance. Possibly through either apathy or fear, the people of Australia in the main have not agreed to any change of the Constitution. It therefore appears that the people of Australia, the people who agreed originally to the Constitution, do not favour its piecemeal alteration. The second way in which the direction of the Constitution has been changed has been by judicial decisions, which have wrought tremendous changes in the direction of the Constitution since federation. Although the High Court of Australia, which was entrusted by the Commonwealth with a consideration of constitutional problems, has always been composed of men of the highest integrity, its decisions have been responsible for fundamental changes. I refer particularly to the changes that were made by the court’s decisions of 1920 and 1942. Prior to 1920 the High Court bench had directed its attention to a consideration of whether laws had conflicted with the federal nature of the Constitution. Consideration of this aspect of the matter was abandoned in 1920. In that year the people of this country first felt the impact of a judicial decision that an award of the Commonwealth Arbitration Court applied to employees in State-owned industry. That was indeed a fundamental change. Previously, State instrumentalities had been immune from federal law. That important change came about not as a result of a. submission to the people in the manner provided by the Constitution, but by judicial decision. In 1942 the independence of the States as federal parties was removed by the decision of the High Court in connexion with the validity of uniform taxation. It is therefore apparent that greater changes have been brought about by judicial decisions than by any other method. Let us consider whether these judicial changes have been for good or for ill. My first observation is that these changes have not come about as a result of agreement of the people. Therefore I submit tha1 such changes have been for ill. I submit further that the federal structure of the Constitution has been weakened, and that in effect Australia has become a unitary State rather than a federal State. This factor has aroused grave disquiet in the smaller States. The Premier of one of the less populous States was reported recently to have stated that the organization that the States had established was now devouring them. In 1929 the Constitution was considered by a royal commission. Portion of its finding reads -
A central authority is necessary for the discharge of those functions on which Australia should speak and act as a whole, e.g., defence and relations with other countries, and is desirable for the exercise of _ powers of legislation and administration with respect to matters, e.g., weights and measures and coinage, in which uniformity is convenient. But in our opinion the existence of selfgoverning units within the area of the Commonwealth is also necessary. The advantage of an independent right of selfgovernment may not be so obvious to the residents of those States which are in close touch with the central authority, but it is of fundamental importance to States which are situated at a distance from the seat of government, and which by reason of the sparseness of their populations have a relatively small representation in the Commonwealth Parliament. Where there are adequate powers of self government, there is scope for public spirit, local patriotism, and local knowledge, which would bc lost if all legislative and administrative functions in Australia were absorbed in the central government. Again, the existence of the self-governing States does, we believe, provide the best means of supervising development, and the best safeguard against a disastrous experiment.
While one is proud of our Parliamentary inheritance, we as senators, directly representing the various States, should see our duty clearly to regain the true federal system for our Constitution. in this Jubilee year I should like to see a movement towards the holding of a national Australian convention to review the working of the Constitution. Fifty years ago the people of the colonies agreed to unite. That agreement was arrived at as the result of various conventions, the last of which comprised 60 distinguished men from all over Australia and from all walks of life. The professions, industry, primary production and the trade unions were all represented. In order that our Constitution may recapture the true federal spirit, I make a plea that the holding of another such convention should be given full and careful thought, lt is clear that the Commonwealth body requires additional powers to cover subject matters and trends which were undreamed of 50 years ago. It is also clear that the States, in order to remain sovereign States, require additional safeguards to be written into the Constitution. We should endeavour to express ourselves more clearly in any new constitution. As one who has read some of the High Court judgments that have been delivered during the last 50 years, it is apparent, that the learned justices of the Court cannot interpret with clarity the words which were used in the Constitution. There therefore appears to be adequate reason, apart from any party political point of view, for the holding of such a convention.
Before passing from constitutional problems, I am reminded by the speech of His Excellency the Governor-General that the legislation passed during the last Parliament concerning the control of
Communist activities has been found to be beyond the power of the Commonwealth. It is supremely urgent that such legislation should be within the legislative power of the Commonwealth and I shall look forward, during this Parliamentary period, to such legislation being presented. I appreciate that the fundamental problem confronting Australia at the present time is that of the adequate defence of the country. It seems a pity that despite the magnificent programme foreshadowed in His Excellency’s Speech there should be legal doubts concerning the power of the Commonwealth. Despite what I have said in criticism of piece-meal alteration of the Constitution, the urgency of the situation may cause us to consider such an alteration.
In the course of His Excellency’s Speech he stated that many of the steps that are needed to correct the basic weaknesses in our economy and to lay a firmer foundation for defence and national development can be carried through successfully only by the joint effort of the Commonwealth and States. Speaking as a South Australian, I wish to refer to two matters concerning the development of that State. As representatives of the various States, honorable senators should present to the National Parliament the developmental problems that affect their States and of which they may have some specialized knowledge. 1 refer first to the problem of coal. The Australian Government has a very real interest in the South Australian coal problem. Coal is imported by South Australia from New South Wales and it is transported mainly by sea. We never seem to have enough, despite the fact that the Premier of South Australia, Mr. Playford, is very active in that connexion. The South Australian Government has established a coal-field at Leigh Creek, about 400 miles north of Adelaide. The establishment of that field concerns the Australian Government because a Commonwealth railway line links the field with the South Australian railway system. We have been informed in South Australia that the amazing development of that coal-field has been made possible because of the determination and drive of the State Government, so ably led by Mr. Thomas Playford, and the skill with which the miners work the open-cut coal-field. I wish to pay tribute to the unions responsible for the welfare of the workers in that field. There has been very little stoppage of work there. I also pay tribute to the integrity and the good sense of all of those who provide labour for the mine. I should like to see an improvement of the railway system which links that field with the industrial areas of South Australia. I understand thai because of difficulty in obtaining train crews it has not been possible to transport sufficient coal to the south. If the Commonwealth and State Governments could co-operate in an endeavour to ensure the movement of this coal continuity of employment in South Australia would result. I have no doubt that as soon as opportunities present themselves that position will bc remedied.
In the history of South Australia there is a glorious chapter relating to the development of the Barossa district, which began 100 years ago. The establishment of industries in that magnificent district was due mainly to migrants from central Europe who were brought out to work at their trades. I suggest that the Australian Government may be able to bring out to places served by the Commonwealth railway line men accustomed to the driving of locomotives and the transportation of goods. If that were done, greater development of those northerly parts of South Australia would take place.
I now wish to refer to another part of South Australia which I am able to link with the speech of His Excellency the Governor-General. In his speech His Excellency referred to the urgent necessity for increasing food production, and mention is made of the provision of milk for school children. Yeton all sides one reads of contraction of the dairying industry. The position is becoming alarming, and attention must be focussed on those parts of Australia which can remedy that situation quickly. From reports of proceedings during the recent conference of Commonwealth and State Ministers, it appears that there is to be less money available for developmental projects. In the light of those reports, it is the duty of all concerned to develop what has already been started rather than to embark on new projects. There is a vast area in South Australia, commonly known as “ the South-East “. Tt is that area which is bounded on its north by the Melbourne-Adelaide railway, on its west by the sea and on its east by the Victorian border. The distance from north to south averages approximately 150 miles, and it is 50 miles wide. The annual rainfall varies from twenty to 35 inches. It does not experience extremes of heat or cold, wetness or dryness. No part of it is higher than 500 feet above sea level. Yet in that vast area of well-watered country live barely three-quarters of the number of electors in one federal division. An examination of that area from the standpoint of quick development should be of interest to this chamber. I pay great tribute to the work done by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization. During the last twenty years experiments have been conducted concerning soils, pastures, animal health and trace elements, but it is only within the last year or so that the results of those experiments have been coming to fruition. Names are changing. What was once known as “ the Ninety Mile Desert “ is now known as “ Coonalpyn Downs I am glad to see that the Government has purchased areas in that district and that as recently as last week further purchases were announced. The Commonwealth, by co-operating with South Australia in the development of that vast area, by the provision of a broad gauge railway where now only a narrow gauge railway exists, by the provision of new arterial roads and by making available as soon as possible wire, cement and other essential requirements, could increase food production and assist greatly in the expansion of an important part of South Australia. I agree that in the vast long-term development plan adopted by the Government, important irrigation and water supply schemes require urgent consideration, but I invite the attention of the Government to the potential productivity of the Coonalpyn Downs, which has begun to come into its own in the last year or two as the result of the remarkable work carried out by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organiza- twu. Co-operation between the Com monwealth and the State will do much to achieve greatness for this nation, and willhelp to solve the food problem which is rapidly becoming acute, if not in Australia, at least in our sister nations for the feeding of which we are to somedegree responsible. These projects do not require the expenditure of large sums of new moneys. They involve merely the carrying to a successful conclusion of works which have already been begun and which will pay quick dividends, but which at present are somewhat languishing.
I have given close study to the remainder of the Speech that was addressed to us by His Excellency the Governor-General, and I shall give detailed consideration to the items contained in that part of it as they are presented for our consideration. I have much pleasure in supporting the motion for the adoption of the Address-in-Reply to His Excellency’s Speech which was so ably moved by my colleague, Senator Cormack, and seconded by Senator Seward last week, and which has been so eloquently supported from the other side of the Senate to-day by Senator Byrne.
– In contributing my quota to this debate, I desire first to congratulate Senator Cormack and Senator Seward, the mover and seconder respectively of the motion for the adoption of the Address-in-Reply to the Speech delivered by His Excellency the Governor-General. I listened very attentively to their remarks, and although I do not agree with everything they said I can sincerely congratulate them on their initial contribution to our debates. I also congratulate Senator Byrne and Senator Laught on their maiden speeches and I associate myself with the sentiments expressed by them concerning the untimely passing of our great leader, the Right Honorable J. B. Chifley. The death of that great Australian’ was a great loss to the Labour movement of Australia, and our wholehearted sympathy goes out to his widow. The knowledge that her loved one is now free of the cares of this world will no doubt assist to assuage her great sorrow.
As His Excellency the GovernorGeneral reminded us, we commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the first Commonwealth Parliament this year. The anniversary of this important event in the history of our nation was commemorated last week in the National Capital by colourful and most impressive functions and ceremonies. It was also commemorated in different ways in other parts of the Commonwealth on the appropriate anniversary day, the 9th May. I pay a special tribute to the organizers of those celebrations to whom the greatest credit is due for the outstanding success achieved. The celebrations were fittingly indicative of the national character of the occasion. To-day, when we look back over a half century of progress and development with justifiable pride we gratefully remember not only those who were responsible for the attainment of federation but also the explorers, the pioneers and the adventurers in settlement who laid the foundations for a united Australia. Unity was not achieved in a day or in a year, or by easy stages; the road to unity was long and hard. When all obstacles had been overcome and federation was finally achieved there wa3 great jubilation among the people of this country. The statesmen who played their part in shaping the Commonwealth at the constitution conventions have already been honoured for their distinguished services. We must remember that the ultimate realization of the goal of federation was made possible only by the will of the people who desired a united Australia. The attainment of federation involved the transfer of far-reaching powers from the States to the Commonwealth. Although that task was carried out with the greatest skill we have been left with a legacy of problems which are continually arising. Although now adjustments will have to be made in the relationship of the Commonwealth and the States to meet these problems as they arise, very few Australians would dispute the fact that the advantages of federation far outweigh its disadvantages and that under the Commonwealth we have seen marked progress in practically all fields of industry and national life. Economic expansion, industrial evolution, social improvements and cultural advancement have been vitalized by the greater cohesion and strength that we acquired through federation. Federation has also enabled us so to develop our capacity for united and purposeful action that Australia was able successfully to face the severe task imposed upon it by two world wars. World War I. brought world-wide recognition of Australia’s nationhood. Parallel with that recognition came the gradual raising of the status of Australia and the other dominions as self-governing units and members of the British Commonwealth. At the same time the par; we have played in international affairs has steadily grown in both scope and importance. Our voice has been heard many times in the councils of the world. The attainment of our first half century as a nation may very well bring to us a sense of maturity with no loss of that vitality which this country so urgently requires. Many difficulties have yet to be overcome and the great tasks that lie before us will demand from all Australians a resurgence of that adventurous spirit and pride in achievement which inspired our forbears to persevere and carry on until federation had been ultimately achieved. Individually, we can accomplish very little, but if all sections of the community are prepared to pull their weight our future is a foregone conclusion. We shall then march on to greatness and build this nation upon the foundations of unity that were so well established 50 years ago when the first Commonwealth Parliament was opened.
Another aspect of the speech of His Excellency the Governor-General with which I desire to deal briefly was his reference to shipping and waterfront problems. For some time past waterside workers throughout the Commonwealth have been continually under fire. Almost every day the vested interests press tells the story of irritating delays in the loading and unloading of vessels and the consequent slow turn round of ships in Australian ports. Certain individuals, in an attempt to use this state of affairs to further the interests of their own particular brand of politics, attribute the unsatisfactory position on the waterfront to Communist activities. In South Australia, for some reason which has not been made clear, their broadsides have been directed against waterside workers at Port Adelaide who have been blamed for such things as delays in the handling of essential materials, increased shipping freights and the decision of certain British and American shipping firms not to send ships to Australia until the position has improved. Honorable senators representing South Australia will no doubt remember a four-column advertisement which appeared in the Adelaide News on thu 27th April, the day before the last federal election, giving a very distorted view of the position on the waterfront at Port Adelaide. It attempted to lay the whole of the blame on the waterside workers for the slow turn-round of ships. The advertisement was inserted by the South Australian branch of the Timber Merchants Association, in the interests, it was claimed, of home-builders and timberusers. It was certainly not published to assist the Labour party, but it was perfectly timed to further the interests of the Liberal party and the Australian Country party election campaigns at the expense of the waterside- workers.
I have many friends among the waterside workers of Port Adelaide, and I know that a more conscientious body of men could not be found in any industry. They should be commended for the job they are doing instead of being maligned and misrepresented. Therefore, I propose to place before the Senate certain facts which are not generally known, hut which prove conclusively that the waterside workers at Port Adelaide are notloafing on the job, and are not to blame for the slow turn-round of ships. The influence of Communists on the policy of the South Australian branch of the Waterside Workers Federation is practically non-existent. The executive ia eager to do everything possible to assist in solving the problems associated with the handling of cargo. For some time past, the executive has been advocating a thorough investigation of all phases of waterfront activity with a view to working out n more satisfactory system of organizing waterfront work, and of expediting the handling of cargo.
The greatest obstacle to the quicker handling of cargo is the shortage of berthing accommodation. Bigger ships and larger cargoes are being dealt with to-day than ever before, yet berthing accommodation is actually less than it used, to be. Many of our wharfs are in a bad state of repair. Altogether, there are eighteen berths at Port Adelaide capable of accommodating overseas ships. Of these, thirteen are on the Port Adelaide side of the river and five on the Birkenhead side. Two are without sheds, and are, therefore, limited, in their functions to particular kinds of cargo. In addition to the eighteen berths that I have mentioned,, there are six which can accommodate only coastal vessels. Several berths, which were formerly used by overseas ships, are for various reasons no longer available. The Globe Dock, with two berths, has been filled in. The Co-operation Wharf has collapsed, and is now used only by small sailing vessels. The Darling Wharf has been out of commission for some time. The Queen’s Wharf, which has been out of commission for years, is being reconstructed, but will not be available for a long time. There are approximately ten berths fewer now to accommodate overseas ships than there were previously. At Outer Harbour there are seven berths, but one of them is being repaired, and cannot be used. Thus, the facilities for handling cargo at Port Adelaide are worse now than they were years ago. There are fewer berths, and many of the wharfs are in a bad state of repair. Some are even dangerous.
This brings mc to another important aspect of the shipping problem - the number of organizations or committees responsible for controlling activities on the waterfront. First, there is the allocation committee constituted of representatives of the employers, the Waterside Workers Federation and the Stevedoring Industry Commission. Its function is to organize labour for the waterfront. Then there is the Harbours Board, which control the wharfs and allocates berths. In addition, there is a priorities committee, which represents the ship-owners, and determines the order in which available labour shall be allocated. It is claimed that the existence of this committee is the greatest barrier to the re-organization of work on the waterfront. Its powers clash with the interests of the community. It determines priorities, not in accordance with the needs of the community, but in accordance with interests of ship-owners. lt is wrong that overseas ships with much needed cargoes of timber should have to remain at the entrance while ships with less important cargoes are brought into port for unloading.
Recently, another committee was appointed - The Cargo Handling Committee, which is representative of the Harbours Board, the Australian Stevedoring Industry Board, the Commonwealth Navigation Department, the Chamber of Manufactures, the shipping agents and last, but not least, the Waterside Workers Federation. A sub-committee of this committee was appointed to deal with three phases of waterfront problems : first, the number of men who could be advantageously employed all the year round on the waterfront; secondly, the question of taking annual leave at Christmas-time, when other industries arc closed down, thus making available 100 more men for work on the waterfront during the remainder of the year; and, thirdly, the question of working additional overtime in emergencies. It took the committee exactly two days to make up its mind what was wrong, and it reported that the difficulties on the waterfront were due to the 40-hour week and the limitation of overtime. That contention was effectively answered by the secretary of the South Australian branch of the Waterside Workers Federation at Port Adelaide, Mr. R. Whitfield, who pointed out that all waterside workers it the port were averaging 50 hours a week. The latest move in the direction indicated has been taken by the Government of South Australia, which recently appointed the Auditor-General of that State, Mr. W. P. Bishop, to investigate the position and report to the Government.
Only the other day we were informed in the Senate that the Government proposed to bring an expert from overseas to investigate the position in the various ports around the Australian coast. He is to collaborate with Australian experts and with leading trade unionists. That will be a step in the right direction, and I am sure that the investigators will receive full co-operation from the Waterside Workers Federation at Port Adelaide.
Another cause of delay in the handling of cargo is the obsolete equipment in use on the waterfront. Although there has been some improvement in recent years through the provision of cranes, forklifts and motor trains, and other modern equipment, the trucks on which the cargo is carried from the ship to the shed and from the shed to the ship are obsolete, and are continually breaking down. They were designed for the old system of horse traction, and will not stand up to motor traction.
We come now to another cause of delay. A few weeks ago, when two ships, Purnea and Jagvijay, were lying at adjacent berths, the delegate representing the waterside workers had occasion to call on the chairman of the Stevedoring Industry Commission to point out that waterside labour was being wasted, because cargo was not available for loading. In three hours twenty minutes, only fourteen loads or 84 tons of flour had been delivered to the wharf, with the result that three gangs of men lost one and a half hours in waiting time. The chairman did the right thing, and transferred three gangs from Jagvijay and one from Purnea until labour could be guaranteed for the two ships.
Probably the worst cause of delay on the waterfront is the overstowing of cargo. Recently, a ship arrived from Port Pirie with cargo overstowed, and 800 tons had to be removed before the Adelaide cargo could be unloaded. That represented three days’ work for three gangs of men. Another ship, Pioneer Star, was 50 hours unloading overstowed wool before the Adelaide cargo could be removed. On still another ship, Burhakion, 24 hours were lost for the same reason. Recently, the Italian passenger ship Australia called at Outer Harbour. A representative of the agent said that the ship would not call again because of the slow turnround, but this is what happened : Gang No. 46 was picked up to work Australia. The men waited two hours for the ship to berth, and another hour for the gear to be rigged, and then worked for seven hours removing overstowed cargo. Thus, eighteen men were unproductively employed for a whole day. Yet a representative or agent of the steamship owners attempted to lay the blame for the delay on the waterside workers, although the cause of that delay was obviously a mistake on the part of the ship’s officers. Over-stowage of cargo is one of the main causes of delay in the turn-round of ships, and it can be said that over-stowage of cargo occurs in nine-tenths of overseas vessels. That fact indicates that there is something very wrong with the loading procedure followed by shipping companies, and it is obvious that much of the delay that characterizes the handling of ships in our ports could be overcome if cargo was properly stowed on vessels. However, the stowing of cargo is the responsibility, and, indeed, the prerogative, of a ship’s officers, and no individual or organization is permitted to interfere with it.
Another criticism that is frequently directed against the waterside workers is that their federation arbitrarily restricts the number of men who are permitted to work on the waterfront, and it has been suggested that if the number were increased the turn-round of ships would be expedited considerably. Unfortunately, the difficulty cannot be overcome so easily. Only a limited number of men can be employed on the waterfront all the year round, and although the Waterside Workers Federation has the right to govern its own members, the Stevedoring Industry Board is the authority which determines the number of men who may be permitted to work on the waterfront. The degree to which the Port Adelaide branch of the Waterside Workers Federation has acquiesced in the requests made by the board from time to time is revealed in the following statistics. In March. 1.945, the quota of men who could be employed on the waterfront at that port was 1,117. At the request of the board that number was increased in November, 1947, to 1,307, and in June, 1948, it was again increased to 1,513. Only a fortnight ago, the number was further increased, at the request of the board, to 1,700. The award which regulates the pay and conditions of men employed in the industry is most complex, and one of its important provisions is concerned with the payment of appearance money. Honorable senators will realize, therefore, that any substantial increase of the number of men employed in the industry might well become a cause of complaint on the part of shipowners and stevedores. If the number of waterside workers was suddenly increased it would be inevitable that many of them would not obtain constant employment and that, in consequence, they would draw attendance money in respect of the days on which they were not employed. When that happened the first complainants would be the shipowners and stevedores, who would request the Stevedoring Industry Board to reduce the number of wharflabourers’ permits. Another factor which must be borne in mind is that there is not a reservoir of unmapped labour available from, which to increase the number of waterside workers. The only source from which additional workers could be drawn is the transport industry, and any reduction of the number of those engaged in driving transport vehicles and in storing goods would inevitably increase the time taken for handling and transporting goods to and from, the waterfront. In this connexion I direct the attention of honorable senators to some statistics that were released by the South Australian Harbours Board in South Australia only a fortnight ago. Those statistics, which are the latest available, show that in 1949- 50, the latest period in respect of which figures can be obtained, the quantity of cargo handled was 3,510,000 tons, which is greater, by 661,000 tons, than the quantity of cargo handled in 1937-38, the previous record year. Taking all relevant factors, such as the number of men employed on the waterfront, into consideration, those figures prove that the quantity of cargo handled by each waterside worker in South Australia increased by 200 tons a year since 1937-38. Furthermore, I have no doubt that if the waterside workers are given proper facilities for handling cargo, they will establish further records in the handling of cargo, and will materially expedite the turn-round of ships. In conclusion, I repeat that whilst individually we can accomplish very little, collectively we can achieve almost anything. If all sections of the community pull their weight the result will be a foregone conclusion. If we can establish real harmony among all sections of the community and if we can induce the members of all classes to do their best for the nation, we shall have accomplished something worthy of the fiftieth anniversary of the establishment of the first National Parliament on the 9th May, 1901.
– I am sorry, Mr. Deputy President, that the President (Senator Mattner) is not present in the chamber at this moment because I desired to tender him my humble congratulations on Iiia elevation to the responsible office that he now occupies. However, I should be grateful if you, sir, would convey to him my sincere congratulations. I also take this opportunity, to express my pleasure at your appointment as Chairman of Committees. I am deeply conscious of the responsibilities that accompany election to this chamber, and I trust that the contributions that I shall make from time to time to the discussion of legislation in this chamber shall be characterized by tolerance of viewpoint, and that I shall always endeavour to appreciate the sincerity of those who differ from me in their political views.
In common with all other honorable senators, I am pleased to learn of the renewed intention of Their Majesties the King and Queen and Her Royal Highness Princess Margaret to visit Australia. It is good to know that they are coming. The bonds of Empire will be strengthened by their visit. There must be very few people who do not admire the simple, selfsacrificing lives led by members of the Royal Family, and every one must appreciate the part that they play in the lives of the English-speaking peoples. We are glad, therefore, that we shall have the opportunity to express our loyalty to them once more.
I listened with interest to the GovernorGeneral’s Speech. The legislation forecast in that speech is of particular interest because it includes the provision of an adequate defence programme, without which the nation cannot feel secure. A pleasing feature of the Government’s defence proposals is that the implementation of its defence policy will not unduly interfere with our internal economy. Speaking generally, I believe that the legislative programme outlined in the Governor-General’s Speech will accomplish a great deal to assist us along the road that lies ahead.
I propose now to direct my remarks particularly to one of the major problems that confronts the country and the Government, and I trust that the suggestions that I shall put forward in all humility may assist the Government towards overcoming some of our national difficulties. I refer to the marked decline of production in this country. Although we are, seemingly, enjoying an era of unparallelled prosperity, I point out that the money indicators, on which that impression is based, are quite misleading. Certainly, we have all shared in that higher national income. Many sections of the community - the industrialist, the merchant, the businessman, thiprimary producer and the wageearner - have received their share of the increased national income. That remark applies particularly to those workers who are members of trades unions, and because of that fact have enjoyed the benefit of a sympathetic system of industrial arbitration. Most of us have also been able to put away money in our saving accounts against our future needs, and that is most commendable. However, it is important that we should view money indicators in their true light. Although there has been a marked increase of monetary returns, we cannot overlook the fact that the basic commodities on which we all depend have never been in such short supply as they are at present. The existence of that scarcity of itself draws attention to the decline of production in certain industries and the static condition of many other industries. It is also significant that the scarcity of essential commodities and goods has been accompanied by an unprecedented supply of goods and services of the luxury type. It is undeniable that our basic industries have failed to . keep pace with current demands. To emphasize that fact I need only remind honorable senators of the acute shortage of coal and of the desperate scarcity of steel. In order to realize the drift in our internal economy it is necessary for us to compare our production with that of other western countries. Those countries have progressed steadily since the war, but in Australia progress lias been slow and uncertain, and our basic industries have failed to keep pace with our demands. The rate of increase of production in Australia is only onetenth of that of Canada, and it is infinitesimal compared with that of the United States of America. Even the United Kingdom, which has been ravaged by shortages of food and other essentials as a consequence of the aftermath of total war, is increasing its production at a fit te far in excess of the rate of increase in this country. Canada is now proceeding t:o manufacture its own requirements of -steel and is making such things as farming implements. That country is also manufacturing a large proportion of it’s requirements of building materials. We need only to remind ourselves of the acute shortage of those goods in Australia to realize how little, comparatively, we are doing in this country. In 1890 the Australian income per head of population exceeded that of the United States of America. To-day the average income in nhat country is approximately double that in Australia.
It is clear, therefore, that our progress since the war has been most disappointing, and that leads us to look for the probable cause of that situation. I’ suggest that, the cause is primarily social. Unfortunately, we have got into the habit, over the years, of banding ourselves together into trade unions and trade protective organizations, such as primary producers’ associations, chambers of manufacture and of commerce and similar organizations, all of which aim at the betterment of the lot of their members, regardless of the national welfare. In other words, we tend to forget the national interest while pursuing our own sectional interests. Such a course must prove inimical to the nation’s welfare. Inevitably, we find pressure groups exerting their influence upon governments to further their own interests. The giving of an advantage to one section of the community may adversely affect the people of the Commonwealth as a whole. We must have a broad outlook. We must endeavour to work as a unit. There are, of course, many differing points of. view in a community. That is inevitable, but for one section of the community to strive for an advantage, regardless of the interests of their fellow citizens, is unjust.
It is unfortunate that, in this country which has been developed largely by private enterprise, there are many people who, instead of being staunch advocates of private enterprise, appear to be more concerned with restricting freedom of trade. Too many producers to-day are sheltering behind subsidies and stabilization plans. This country can progress only through free enterprise, and by the efforts of people whose concerted action is aimed at the betterment of Australia as a whole. That is clearly shown by the experience of other countries which have made great progress under free enterprise. However, with free enterprise goes responsibility, and in that connexion I commend to honorable senators the following words of Walter Scott, a well-known authority on business management: -
Yes, the responsibility for progress is with management. Wo must find new ways and means of furnishing opportunities for men by an increased human satisfaction for their jobs and to help the country and its citizens to determine by continuing a purposeful programme the most effective means of obtaining human satisfaction and security. We have yet to find ways to make our free enterprise system work better for all individuals in it. We have to show that we are just as concerned with human progress as we are with company profits.
That sums up my attitude. I earnestly hope that we shall be able in some way to recapture the spirit of co-operation and goodwill . which did so much to develop this country in earlier years. Without that co-operation and goodwill, production figures cannot be increased. Our output of primary products has fallen tragically. In some instances the reduction has been as much as 38 per cent, since before World War II. For instance, our exportable surplus of butter has fallen from 96,000 tons in 193S to 76,000 tons. These figures are significant in the light of our increasing population. We must do everything possible to meet the needs of our growing population. That is one of our greatest responsibilities. If we do not face up to it, we shall get ourselves into a difficulty from which we may not be able to extricate ourselves later. Our industrial leaders, particularly those in our secondary industries, have a great responsibility. The workers, too, throughout the Commonwealth have a duty to the nation. None of us is working as hard as lie could and should work.
I trust that in the coming years we shall all strive for a broader outlook. We should not continue to live in the atmosphere of the depression days. Unfortunately, the bitterness engendered by the depression still obsesses the minds of some of our industrial leaders and of some leaders of the trade union movement. We can profit by the lessons of the depression, but we should not allow ourselves to be swayed by the hatreds of those days. Let us forget them and look to the future with optimism and courage. By pulling together and working steadily for the community as a whole, instead of concerning ourselves mainly with sectional interests, we can go on to greater things, in Australia.
– We have listened to some excellent maiden speeches in this debate. I rise to make my maiden speech as an ex-president of the Senate. I am pleased to be on«e more on the floor of the Senate. I. might have been even more pleased had I remained in the chair, but I accept things as I find them, and I shall say a few v0rd3 which I hope, will be of interest to honorable senators. My observations may not be educational; they may be amusing, but at least I am happy to have this opportunity to join in the debate. I like the AddressinReply debate because it gives to honorable senators an opportunity to wander. As a propagandist in the great Labour movement for nearly 45 years, I can justly claim to have done quite a bit of wandering. On more than one occasion I have been asked by a President of this chamber to confine my remarks to the bill under discussion.
– The honorable senator will probably be called to order many more times.
– That may be. After one debate, the then President told me that I had not been on the bill at all. T said that I had been on the bill, and he replied, “ If you were on the bill you were standing on it. You certainly were not talking on it”. As I have said, when speaking in the Address-in-Reply debate, an honorable senator may wander from Dan to Beersheba, from the Tasman Sea to Cape York, or from Brisbane to Broome. I may wander to-day, but before I do, I wish to congratulate my friends, the political enemy, upon their success at the elections. I also congratulate, of course, my political fellow workers. Without wishing to appear partisan, I congratulate particularly my colleague Senator Byrne upon his splendid maiden speech. He placed the discussion on a very high level as, of course, I have endeavoured to do for many years. 1 wish too, without making invidious comparisons, to compliment Senator Nicholls, who was Chairman of Committees while I was President of this chamber, upon his noteworthy contribution to the debate. I refer particularly to his comments on the waterside workers. Let me make my position quite clear to honorable senators and to the few hundred people who may be listening to our broadcast. Whilst we on this side of the chamber are bitterly opposed to the use of the Labour movement for the political advantage of the Communists, we are not opposed to workers in various industries fighting to improve their lot. My experience has extended over 50 years. I was bom not in this country, but in another land where I learned much about the bitter struggle of the working classes to improve their conditions. There are many fights going on to-day, and the Labour movement would he recreant to its duty if it failed to assist in the great battle to improve ,the social conditions of the working people as a whole. Honorable senators opposite may smirk and smile. We on this side of the chamber know exactly where we stand. We believe wholeheartedly in the future of this country. We do not believe that all strikes are necessary. We believe, as do most members of the present Government parties, in reason and common sense; but the lying propaganda that is continually aimed at various sections of the trade union movement is hateful to us. That is why I was pleased to hear Senator Nicholls say a few true words about the waterside workers. I hold no brief for the Communists, but I also hate dictatorships and police States. There is no place in this country for an O.G.P.U., N.K.V.D., or whatever those organizations are called to-day. I hate them with all the strength of my being. [ hate dictators, and in this the Indian summer of my life, I firmly believe that we in this country can give security to our people without resorting to the methods that are employed in a police State. “We do not want that form of society in Australia. We hate the thought of it. Our system of education should be such that the Australian people will be able to seek and find the truth, particularly about industrial relations. Australia cannot be improved by domination or a dictatorship. It cannot be improved by wielding the big stick. But it can bo improved by letting every one know the truth.
One great lesson that I learned while
I was President of the Senate was that we are prone to spend too much time in this chamber skating over the surface instead of trying to find facts. Whether the impetus is to come from this side of politics or the other, the powers of this national legislature should be used not only to seek the truth, but also to make the truth known to the Australian people. Within the confines of meetings of the party of which I am a member I have said often that, to defeat communism, the people of this country must be told what democracy is, what it stands for, and what we are fighting for. Unfortuniately my advocacy of this principle has been without success, largely because of the pre-occupation of Ministers with the affairs of their departments. I have urged the spending of public money on visual education to teach Australians the facts about democracy and about the political and economic systems now operating in other parts of the world. I am informed that every week approximately 1,500,000 people in Australia attend cinemas where they see brief glimpses of what is happening in other parts of the world. This means of education should be exploited to bring home to the Australian people the truth about the Australian way of life. It matters not what political party is responsible for social reform. Communists throughout Australia are frequently heard to exclaim, “ Look what has been done in Russia “. I contend that we should take advantage of motion pictures to bring visually before our people the progress that has been made in this country in connexion with social services.
The Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna) and I had occasion recently to speak to a Commonwealth car driver, who appeared to be extremely upset. He explained that he had just received a notice from the Taxation Branch calling on him to pay his taxes amounting to £7. I.n reply to my colleague’s question, the driver stated that he was married and had three children under sixteen years of age. My colleague explained to the driver that his wife received child endowment amounting to considerably more than £7 a year. It would be a relatively easy task to prepare a script for a motion picture utilizing that theme. There could be depicted a worker arriving home with his fortnightly pay envelope in one hand and his income tax assessment for £7 in respect of the previous financial year in the other, and being met by his wife with an endowment cheque for £2 10s., representing child endowment for a fortnight. The script could also include a reference to the manner in which the Department of Health, cares for . the aboriginal children, particularly the hospital facilities that are provided for them in Darwin. There could be depicted half a dozen aboriginal children in beautiful white beds, with clean linen and snow whitepillows, with their little dark heads showing relief. I can almost imagine women viewing such a picture exclaiming, “ Look at the little darlings “. Not long ago honorable senators viewed a motion picture that had. been published by the British Government in connexion with its social health scheme. One scene depicted a British worker coming out of a post office looking at an advertisement on the back of the envelope. It showed that he was required to pay 5s. a week for health benefits. He was exclaiming. “I wish that I was back in the good old days “. The picture then raced back to the primeval slime and showed the worker as a tadpole with a huge monster chasing him. The sweat poured from him and he cried, “I wish I were back in 1951 ! “ The gradual improvement of workers’ conditions was then portrayed. Down the ages the workers have had to struggle to secure improvement of their working conditions and social security. A comparison was drawn between the circumstances of an indigent worker of years ago who lost his wife and was faced with the torments of indigence, and the lot of the worker of to-day. The story was faithfully portrayed. It demonstrated clearly the workers’ struggles against adversity, and finally showed the worger that I mentioned before emerging from dreamland and saying, “I am only paying 5s. a week for social security. I would be pleased to pay £1 a week “. By using our powers of propaganda in its finest sense through our parliamentary institutions, and by the use also of our industrial organizations and democratic intelligence, we should aim at social security for all of our people without the necessity for a revolution and without the employment of an army of sneaks and flatfoots to go from home to home imposing themselves on the community. Every person in our community should have the right to air his grievances without fear of being placed in a concentration camp. There devolves upon us a duty to bring to the people a full and complete knowledge of social development in order to make them protagonists of democracy rather than of sovietism or anything of that nature. This could be accelerated greatly by the development of visual education. I realize that we have not always done our duty and have fallen from grace on many occasions. At times in the Parliament we do not measure up to the standard that we set ourselves when speaking on the public platform. I have been a member of the Labour movement since I was fifteen years of age, when I joined the Social Democratic Federation under Hyndman and Quelch in England. Australia is now in the forefront of the world’s democracies and it ill-behoves any member of our community to endeavour to induce the workers to listen to their promise of an El Dorado by accepting their philosophy and establishing a dictatorship. I am convinced that frequently we make grave mistakes by emphasizing our party differences instead of getting down to bedrock and the truth. Although, in a general sense, I believe that we are producing more than ever before, I point out that thousands of Australian workers are employed producing capital goods. Australia is being developed rapidly, but not so rapidly as it should be. As all honorable senators know, there is a grave shortage of labour in this country despite the fact that thousands of men and women are migrating to Australia under the immigration scheme that was inaugurated by the previous Labour Government, and is being continued by the present Government. I am against those who contend that immigration should cease until houses have been built to accommodate intending migrants. That is a very foolish idea and I believe that it is wrong. Unlike a friend of mine, James Stopford, of Queensland, I am not good at figures. I recall listening to him speaking one Friday night before polling day, when I was astounded at his memory. He could quote chapter and verse and refer to specific pages. After his final pre-election speech, I said to him, “I am astonished at your remarkable memory. You appear to be able from memory to quote accurate figures in support of your contentions”. Hereplied, “ Forget it. As you know, tonight is the last night before the election,, so I invented the figures as I went along “. I am reminded of the old story that figures cannot lie, but that liars can figure. As Senator Collings remarked in this chamber not long ago, there are liars, damned liars, and statisticiansPlay can be made on figures in order to support almost any submission. However, I do believe that the figures on which I base my statement that, in a general way, we are producing morecapital and consumer goods in Australia than ever before, are accurate. I believe that honorable senators should get down to detail and present facts as well as figures, to support their views. If wemake a practice of getting down to facts instead of skimming over the surface for political purposes, we shall be doing a service to the Parliament and to this country. I must say, however, that, during the eighteen years that I havebeen a member of this chamber I have not heard a really deep analysis of the economic structure of Australia, although several of my colleagues, including Senator Grant and Senator Morrow have dealt partially with the subject. Although wa have vilified and abused the Communists, I cannot recall any honorable senator dealing fully with the development of our economy from the days of slavery to the present period of financial capitalism.
There has been a great change in the world during recent years. To-day many countries have developed their industries to the highest pitch. They now produce almost all of the goods that they require instead of importing some from other countries, as in former years. There has developed a new orientation “in regard to these matters.
Silting suspended from 6 to 8 p.m.
– Prior to the suspension of the sitting I was speaking of the need for dealing with facts and not mere political “ ballyhoo “. I also dealt with the question of visual presentation of the case for democracy, because that medium reaches so many people. I believe that if we- are to defeat a foreign ideology we must have faith in our own democratic system and we must do everything that is in our power to increase its efficacy. We must at all times endeavour to get down to the truth and not allow the force of truth to be vitiated by political expedience. The last general election has cleared the atmosphere and perhaps it is all for the best. The state of affairs that existed prior to the election was becoming somewhat irksome for the members of the Government parties and perhaps also for the members of the Opposition. It must be admitted that under our democratic system “ ballyhoo “ and slogans sometimes do more towards the winning of an election than does the truth. Of course, the truth was on the side of the Australian Labour party, but the Government parties had the power, represented by good “ ballyhoo “ and good slogans.
Bash the Corns ! “ was a great cry, I admit, and from a demagogic point of view the Government parties did very well indeed. But it is one of the weak nesses of our democratic system that men and women can be misled by slogans and “ ballyhoo “.
– The honorable senator should know !
– I admit that 1 have used them. I make no apology, because-
– The honorable senator used them well.
– The late George Bernard Shaw said that this earth is the lunatic asylum for the rest of the universe. Our conduct, therefore, is not always on the high level of sanity. If the other side uses “ ballyhoo “, in orde to defeat it it is also necessary for’ our side to make use of a programme of “ballyhoo”. The late David Lloyd George won an election by means of the cry, “Hang the Kaiser!” Yet the Kaiser died peacefully in his bed at Doom, in Holland, some twenty years afterwards. Another very good example occurred in Queensland when the late Arthur Moore coined the slogan, “ Two million pounds for ten thousand jobs “ and “ Give the boy a chance “. On huge hoardings throughout Queensland could be seen the picture of a disconsolate boy with his chin cupped in his hand. The boy who was the subject of these posters did not get a job for more than two yea,?s afterwards. Unemployment stalked the land, but Arthur Moore was swept into office. Three years later the people swept him out again. Perhaps that is prophetic and may have application to our present Australian Government.
Sir George Reid. a man after my own heart, was full of good sense and humour. He was a man of great corpulenceTowards the end of his career whilst addressing an audience he sorrowfully remarked, “ Soon I shall be going to thai bourne from which no traveller returns “. A man at the back of the crowd said. “ My God, Sir George. The fat will be in the fire then!” Sir George disseminated the “ socialist tiger ballyhoo “. From one end of Australia to the other there were pictures of a decrepit socialist tiger. The Australian Labour party was accused of all kinds of things then as it is to-day. It was said that the party would destroy the marriage tie. That was the type of propaganda that was .circulated at that time. Yet it had its influence upon the popular mind and Sir George Reid was returned to .office on that occasion. I believe that if we have better education and more understanding of the truth there will be less possibility of demogogic politicians swaying the people with slogans and “ ballyhoo “. That is why I believe so deeply .that we should endeavour to educate our children and develop their powers of analysis in order that they may think for themselves. The trouble with the world to-day is that so few people think for themselves. It will be better for democracy if we pursue the course of concentrating on developing powers of analysis in the people.
– The Australian Labour party would never get back to office then !
– That is typical of the childish stupidities that emanate from the minds of some honorable senators opposite. When Senator Payne was a member of this chamber I hurt his feelings by calling him a troglodyte. The President of that time was called upon to ask me ‘to withdraw the word. However, the President had recently been elected and he was somewhat bitter -against one of his ‘opponents for the office. Instead of -asking me to withdraw the word he said, “ Perhaps the honorable senator has a dictionary meaning for the word ? “ 1 said,’” Yes, Mr. President, I have. During the long ‘course of my extensive historical reading I have discovered that men and women ‘once ‘lived in caves and were called troglodytes or cave dwellers. The honorable ‘senator is not a cave dweller but mentally is on the ‘same level “. So, too, 1 say, is ‘the honorable senator who has “interjected. The wheel of fate turns somewhat rapidly in politics, and I have seen many .changes in this chamber. Indeed, I am the father of this present “Senate. I was here in 1.932, and not one other man who was here ‘.then .occupies a seat in this chamber to-day. As Lord Baldwin once reminded us, democracy is a modem invention of some 150 years standing. He also said that the greater part >of humanity’s story is :a story of slavery, .and that although democracy has at times sunk to the lowest depths it has also reached the greatest heights. Lord Baldwin charged us so to conduct ourselves that democracy shall remain on the heights rather .than in the depths.
Our modern system of democracy contains many contradictions that are not often spoken about in this chamber but which are analysed .by the Communists. They delve into past history. They study those contradictions and purport to give a solution with which I do not agree. Communism ,also has its contradictions. I have read ,a great deal on the subject, but I do not remember reading anywhere what the attitude of the Communists would be when they got control of Russia and other countries. There were glorious cries of “ peace and democracy “ and “ the abolition of capitalism “, but it was never visualized that the Communist economic system in Russia would develop along imperialistic lines. Yet, the economic system known as communism in Russia to-day has become imperialistic. The satellite States which owe allegiance to Russia are being exploited in the same way as imperialistic British, German and French Governments in other days exploited the colonial peoples of the world.
– That is so much tripe.
– There is anr other troglodyte! I point out to the honorable senator that I was not condemning Britain, Germany or France. Those countries carried out their economic activities and -were justified, to a great extent, in doing so, ‘because they developed -the world. There never has been a-n ‘economic system -greater than capitalism. Although I am a member of the Australian Labour party, which condemns capitalism, I say that no other economic -system has had Che ability to develop the world so rapidly. There is no doubt, however, that exploitation of colonial peoples took place, just as to-day Russia is exploiting its satellite States. Indeed, one State, Yugoslavia, found out the truth of that statement and broke away from Russia. I ask those in our working class movement who pay allegiance to the Communist party: What would be the position of Australians if we were , under the domination of Russia ?
I suggest that we would be exploited in the same way as the satellite countries of Europe are being exploited to-day. A dictator will invariably endeavour to build up the standard of living of his own people in order to ensure their support. Hitler did so. He also exploited the peoples of other countries which came under his domination. I say to all within the sound of my voice : “ Stand by Australia. We are a democratic people; we have risen to great heights as far as political development is concerned, but we have a long way to go in other directions. We will make our greatest mistake if we overthrow our democracy and institute a system of dictatorship “.
Senator PEARSON (South Australia) 1 8.15]. - I join with other honorable senators in congratulating you, Mr. President, upon your elevation to the very high and responsible position of President of this chamber. That is, perhaps, the highest honour which this chamber can bestow upon one of its members. My position is, perhaps, unique because it was my privilege to be present at a joint sitting of both houses of the South Australian Parliament which elected you in 1944 to fill the vacancy that was caused by the retirement, owing to ill health, of Senator Uppill. Consequently, I was more than pleased and proud to be present in this Senate last week and to take part in your election to the chair.
Reference was made yesterday by the leaders of both sides of political opinion in this chamber, and to-day by other senators who have participated in this debate, to the passing of a great Australian. I do not wish to add much to what has already been said because those who have already spoken on this subject have very well expressed the views of all members of the Senate. I merely wish to add my tribute to a man whom I had never met but whom I respected and regarded as a great Australian. That a man should be able to rise from such humble beginnings and become Prime Minister of Australia speaks volumes, not only for our democratic system, but also for the man himself.
His Excellency the Governor-General made early reference in his Speech to the visit which we hope their Majesties the
King and Queen and Princess Margaret will make to this country next year. We all share the hope expressed by His Excellency that His Majesty’s health will permit him to make the visit, even though it be in the nature of a holiday visit, thus enabling the citizens of Australia to give expression of their deep-seated affection and loyalty for the Throne and the Royal family. We look forward with high hopes to the restoration of His Majesty’s health so that he may be able to visit our shores.
As a supporter of the Government, I congratulate it upon having obtained such an overwhelming mandate from the i.eople to give effect to the legislative programme which was foreshadowed in His Excellency’s Speech. The Governor-, General left us in no doubt about the determination of his advisers to give effect to their legislative programme upon which the people have spoken so decisively for the second time in sixteen months. 1 am entitled to’ refer to the period of sixteen months because the issues raised at the recent general election were precisely the same as those upon which the people returned the Menzies Government in 1949. It is also true to say that this year the Government obtained a majority not only in the House of Representatives but also in the number of senators elected. Labour had a majority in the Senate after the 1949 general election only because of the eighteen senators who retained their seats ou that occasion, fifteen belonged to the Opposition party and only three were Government supporters. Again the people spoke with the same voice on those two issues of paramount importance which may be summed -up in two words “ socialism “ and “ communism “. In regard to the former, it is perhaps true to say that no legislative action is needed on the part of the Government to give effect to the wishes of the people. The very fact that the present Government occupies the treasury bench is a sufficient guarantee that the programme of socialism adhered to by the Labour Government has been effectively halted. In this, my first speech in this chamber, I make it clear that I have no personal quarrel with any honorable senator opposite, or with any elector, who believes in socialism and who seeks to bring it about by constitutional methods. However, the people have spoken on this issue and they have decided, for the time being at least, that the march to socialization shall be halted.
The other issue upon which the people have spoken decisively is communism. My distinguished friend, Senator Brown, has suggested that the Government gained office by the use of vote-catching slogans. I disagree with him. ‘ The people instinctively realized the danger that confronted their country whether from within or from without, and they returned the Menzies Government to office with a majority in both Houses of the Parliament. I am proud that they realized the threat of socialism and communism to the things which they held dear, to their way of life, and to their freedom to think, act and speak as they wished. When they realized that forces were at work in this country which sought to destroy those things they expressed their opinion very forcibly when they went to the ballotbox. They instructed the Government to destroy communism once and for all and to outlaw those whose first loyalty is not to this country but to a foreign power. The Government was instructed to outlaw those who had sought to disrupt our economy, to overthrow our democratic way of life and our system of government and, ultimately, to tear down the flag of this country and hoist another in its place. The Government is determined to put those elements in our community in their proper place. I refer not to those misguided individuals who were misled by the poisonous doctrines of communism but to those who sought to exercise tyranny and at the same time shelter behind the very institutions that they were trying to destroy. The people decided that such persons must be deal t with, and dealt with they most certainly will be by this Government.
His Excellency spoke of the methods which may have to be adopted by the Government to achieve these ends. I understand that at a conference of Commonwealth and State Ministers held in Canberra this week the Premiers of the six States were asked to refer a certain power to the Commonwealth to enable it to overcome the disabilities that resulted from the verdict of the High Court on the validity of the Communist Party Dissolution Act. I am proud to have been a supporter of the first State Premier who openly said that he would unhesitatingly transfer such power as was necessary to enable the Commonwealth to discharge the obligation that rests upon it to curb the activities of the Communists. Speaking from memory, i believe that on the night after the Prime Minister suggested thar such a reference of power might be necessary, the Premier of South Australia, Mr. Playford, publicly stated that his Government would transfer to the Commonwealth the power necessary to enable it to proceed with its policy of outlawing the Communist party. I understand that at the conference of Commonwealth and State Ministers this week Mr. Playford was one of two Premiers who indicated their concurrence in the Prime Minister’s request. I look with very keen interest to the announcement of the decision of the other Premiers on this matter. Can it be that the Premier of any State would hesitate to agree to the reference of such a power to the Commonwealth as would enable it to do the job that has to be done? Oan it be that any State Premier would hesitate to accept the undoubted verdict of the people on this matter? I trust that all of the Premiers will unhesitatingly agree to introduce bills into their respective parliaments to refer the requisite power to the Commonwealth and thus avoid the necessity for a referendum of the people, which is the alternative to the withholding of such a power. If the State parliaments decline to refer the power to the Commonwealth, the Prime Minister has indicated that he will submit the proposal to the people by referendum. I am glad to note that Government spokesmen have indicated that the Government does not intend to clutter up the form in which such a proposal will be put to the people of Australia should the taking of a referendum become necessary. In that event I trust that the proposal will be couched in definite language so that the people may understand clearly the significance of the matter placed before them. If that is done the people, will undoubtedly respond suitably to the. appeal.
Although I am a firm believer in the maintenance of the sovereignty of the States, I have spoken very firmly about this reference of power by the States to the Commonwealth. Despite what I have said on this subject I would not readily agree to the States handing powers to the Commonwealth which in my opinion should continue to reside in the States. The. sovereign powers or the States should be preserved. Because the State governments are closer to the people than is the Australian Government, the retention of the sovereign powers of the States, is an ideal for which we. all should strive. In this [ think I share the opinion expressed by the people themselves in successive referendums. As my colleague from South Australia,. Senator Laught, pointed out earlier, of nineteen proposals put to the people by way of referendum for alterations of the Australian Constitution they rejected fifteen and accepted only four. That, indicates the deepseated hesitancy on the part of the people to clothe, the Commonwealth with powers which they believe are best exercised by the States. I agree with them in general terms, but I believe that the Commonwealth should have power to deal with communism. Communists are enemies of our way of life, and they have often been directly or indirectly responsible for the tragic loss of production which has resulted in shortages of essential commodities, the lack of which has caused a lowering of the standard of living. We have only to consider how the scarcity of building materials have affected the housing position to realize how our standard of living is being steadily reduced. I believe that loss of production, together with the all too frequent breakdown of our transport services, are directly responsible for currency inflation. Communism must be destroyed, and I trust that the Commonwealth will shortly be clothed with the power necessary to destroy it.
We have been reminded during’ the last week, if any reminder were necessary, that- we are this year celebrating the Jubilee of federation. It is a great occasion, as, indeed, was the opening of the first Commonwealth Parliament in 1901. Australia is a nation and we should recognize that the nation could not have survived the tragedy of two world wars had not the people been able, through federation, to work and fight as one nation. Much has been said and written a.bout the important event which we are celebrating, and I associate myself enthusiastically with the sentiments which have been expressed by men competent to review the past and to look into the future. Federation was an historic achievement which in this. its Jubilee year, is being rightly celebrated in every town and hamlet throughout Australia. Having said that, I cannot entirely suppress j question which rises continually in my mind : How fare the States under federation? Let us not forget that it is a federation of six sovereign States that we are honouring. I believe that it. is true to say that the Commonwealth was born of the States, and from them received its infant nurture. I wonder whether in some instances there is not exhibited a hesitancy on the part of the child to recognize and provide for its parents. If that be so, it may be well to pause and think upon this matter as we pass this important milestone in our history. I believe it to be important that we should maintain prosperous, powerful, sovereign and’ independent States. It is important to keep government close to the people, and we can achieve that ideal best by fostering and strengthening- State and local government instrumentalities by making them strong and virile.
The framers of the Commonwealth were studiously careful to preserve the rights of the six States. In that they acted wisely, but what has happened since? It is true that the people have repeatedly rejected proposals for increasing the power of the Commonwealth at the expense of the States, but nevertheless, by devious means, held by the High Court to be technically valid, the powers of the States have, been gradually diminished. A notable example of- this, was the introduction of uniform income taxation in 1942. It has been well said that government is finance, and finance is government-. With the, loss by the States: of- the opportunity bo levy income tax we entered an era in which the spending authority is not responsible for raising the money it spends - a most undesirable state of affairs - and we are witnessing a consequent decline of the sovereignty of the States, which I deeply regret. As a member of a State parliament for ten years in one of the so-called dependent States, I witnessed the introduction of successive budgets all of which told the story of the increasing dependence of the State on the goodwill of the Commonwealth which, since the introduction of uniform taxation, has become the all-powerful unit, in federation. That state of affairs should not be allowed to continue. I sound a note of alarm lest we accept the present tendency as just and even inevitable. Such a tendency is not in the spirit of the Commonwealth,, which was meant to bind the States into a federation. Notwithstanding the triumph of federation, I believe that the time has arrived when there should be held a convention of representatives of the Commonwealth and of the States to review calmly and dispassionately Commonwealth and State relations with a view to drawing a clear line of demarcation between Commonwealth and State rights. We might well pause in this year of grace, 1951, in order to review our progress during the last 50 years, and to consider where the path we are now following is likely to lead us. It is our duty to serve our own generation, and to give a thought ako to the interests of those who will follow us.
I thank honorable senators for the courteous and sympathetic hearing that they have accorded me. I trust that, never during my sojourn here, be it short or long, shall I indulge in personalities. Bather do I hope to consider on their merits the various matters to which honorable senators will be called upon to address their minds.
Senator TANGNEY (Western Australia) T8.41]. - Before I address myself to the motion, Mr. President. I wish to congratulate you upon your elevation to the high office of Pres:dent of the Senate. I welcomed you here in 1044, and because of your great personal kindness to me then I regretted your tem porary eclipse, and was pleased to welcome you back. Last, week, you received the highest, honour which the Senate can confer upon one of its members. I know that you will discharge the duties of your office with dignity and justice. Let me also congratulate Senator George Rankin upon his appointment as Chairman of Committees. He also is an old personal friend. I hope that his tenure of office will be a happy, even if not a long, one - and I say that without any reference to personalities.
It would not be fair to the party to which I belong if I did. not refer to the death of our great leader, Mr. Chifley. To me, his death was a great personal loss. During the eight years that I have been in. the Senate I received from him nothing, but kindness. I speak of him to-night, not as one who was Prime Minister and a. leading parliamentarian, but as the great and gallant gentleman I knew him to be. In the midst of our rejoicings on the occasion of our Jubilee celebrations, the death of Mr. Chifley has reminded us of the personal sacrifices that have been made by our national leaders during the last 50 years in order that this nation might be great. I feel that Mr. Chifley needs no other epitaph than the work that he did for this country, because that work has earned the heartfelt thanks of so many for the improvement of their living conditions.
I cannot allow this occasion to pass without referring to the departure from public life of Dame Enid Lyons, the former honorable member for Darwin. After many years of political work in Tasmania, Dame Enid entered the House of Representatives in 1943 when I entered the Senate. Notwithstanding our different political views, we have remained close personal friends over the years. During that time I realized the value of the work that she did, not only for the State of Tasmania, but also for the whole community. I feel sad that she was compelled, because of ill health, to retire from parliamentary activity, and I feel sure that I am expressing the feelings of all members of the Opposition when I say that I hope that her retirement from politics may lengthen her Tfe and lead her to further happiness in the service of the community. Those of us who were acquainted with her know that for a quarter of a century she devoted herself to the improvement of the conditions of the people.
I have much pleasure in supporting the motion before the Chair. A few months ago, when the Nineteenth Parliament was dissolved, we went into political battle, and although it is true that the Labour party was defeated, the fact is that we were not disgraced, nor are we discouraged. Since the Government obtained a mandate in the House of Representatives, I am glad, in the interest of stable government, that it also succeeded in winning a majority in this chamber. We cannot now be regarded as a Senate “ hangover “ or as an alibi for any acts of omission of the Government. I believe that the main issue at the last election was communism, but I fear that there was a great deal of loose thinking about it on the part of many electors. I abhor communism as much as does any honorable senator opposite. Indeed, I have fought it for years. Communism is opposed to everything that I hold most dear in my political and religious views and in my every-day belief in my fellow creatures. Nothing would please me more than some resolute, but constitutional, action on the part of the Government to remove communism from our midst. Having said that, I must say that I should hate to feel that in removing one evil we were creating another evil. We cannot remove evils from our midst merely by suppressing them. We cannot remove communism without removing the causes that have given rise to it, not so much in this country as in other older countries. After all, communism in Australia is merely an offshoot from communism in the old world. Any constitutional means that the Government may adopt to suppress communism will undoubtedly have the support of members of the Opposition. We realize that the people have expressed their view on this matter, and even if they had not done so, I know that many of us would have agreed on the application of constitutional measures to suppress communism. I hope, therefore, that the Government’s campaign against communism will be crowned with success ; but I hope even more explicitly that the evils that have given rise to communism in the last quarter of a century will be combated by efficient remedial measures.
In the over-crowded countries of Asia communism has thrived on the miseries of the poor. We know that the weaknesses in our social system that were revealed during the depression and the inequalities due to unemployment and adverse conditions overseas were factors which helped the spread of communism. It is strange that to-day we do not find the leaders of communism in this country amongst the lower-paid or the lessereducated classes, but, on the contrary, they are found amongst people who should know better and who have had the advantages of higher education. In fact, the leaders of the Communist movement in this country have nothing in common with the people whose misfortunes they exploit, and that fact alone lays their sincerity open to doubt. Communism, as we know it in Australia, is a disruptive force. I have witnessed its operation in other countries, and I know that in some of those countries where there are millions of people who are badly fed, clothed and housed, there may be some excuse for communism. However, in a country like ours there is no excuse whatever for the activities of disruptive communism, which endeavours to spread its ugly tentacles to every section of the community. I say, therefore, that if the Government, by constitutional means, can destroy this monster and remove the conditions that have given it birth, it can rely on the support of the Opposition.
Although the people of this country have accomplished a great deal in the 50 years of federation, I fear that we are apt to become complacent. I desire now to direct the attention of the Government and of honorable senators generally to the condition of a large part of the State of Western Australia, which I represent. The undeveloped condition of that huge area certainly gives no cause for complacency. I refer to the northwest of Western Australia. At no time was the importance of this strategic area brought more prominently before the people of Australia than during the last war. We found that it was so utterly undefended that we were unable to protect it from enemy aircraft, which did a great deal of damage to our coast line. While I was in Broome recently I witnessed a very sad ceremony. I was present at the disinterment of the bodies of the Dutch women and children who were killed by enemy action on the beaches at Broome. When I saw the damage that had been indicted on one of our beaches I realized how little the people of Australia recognize the danger to this country presented by the vast, undeveloped and undefended condition of our northern shores. At Wyndham I saw the wreck of Koolama, which was destroyed by enemy action. That vessel was the pride of the Western Australian merchant fleet. Only to-day an honorable senator from Western Australia asked the Government when another vessel, Dongan, is to be provided to replace the ill-fated Koolama. Quite a number of people have forgotten such matters as those that I have just mentioned. At the time there was quite a lot of talk about what would be done for Western Australia after the war. When we realize that there is a population density of only one person to every 180 square miles in that area, I think honorable senators will realize what a potential danger such an undeveloped area is to our national security. The undeveloped state of that area is all the more menacing when we realize that it is only a few flying hours’ from South-East Asia. The march of science has resulted in Australia becoming increasingly involved in, and dependent upon, conditions and developments in other parts of the world. Once we could bask in our isolation. In fact, our isolation was one of our best defences. Those days have gone. Whilst it is true that we are an integral and self-governing part of the British Commonwealth, we must bear in mind that we must also become self-defending. The Motherland has had a great deal to do during the past few decades, and it cannot help us now as it could have done and as it did 30 years ago. Any scheme of development of defence which does not take full cognizance of the need to defend the north-western corner of this country is imperfect.
One forward step that has been taken is the appointment of a, member of the House of Representatives from Western Australia, as Minister for Territories, and I congratulate Mr. Hasluck on his appointment. He was a colleague of mine at the University of Western Australia, and no one was more pleased than 1 was to learn of his elevation, more particularly since he was assigned to the Department of Territories. My only regret is that north-western Australia does not come within the ambit of his office. I believe that the problems presented by the north-western portion of that State are so important to Australia that the Commonwealth should assume the responsibility for its development. It is very difficult for the Government of Western Australia, situated in Perth, which is so far removed from that area, to give to it the attention that it deserves. Although the northwestern part of the State comprises onethird of the whole territory of the State, it3 population per square mile is the lowest of any part of Australia. As I have said, its undeveloped state constitutes a potential menace to the whole nation. I take .this opportunity, however, to pay a tribute to the people of the north. 1 do not think that there are any finer people in Australia. Those who settle there know what lies ahead of them. They go into the north, which “ gets “ them, and they stay there. Although there is nothing wrong with the people of the north, there are many things wrong with the north itself. Because of its isolation we all tend to become somewhat cynical about it and its people. One of the main problems of the area is the provision of proper housing. Never in my life have I seen such makeshift house?, and I regard the women who are “sticking it out” as heroines of the nth degree. In this century they should not have to put up with such conditions. Admittedly, a serious effort has been made to provide medical services in that area, which is served by the “ flying doctor “ service and the “ flying sister “ service. Indeed, it was my privilege a few months ago to be present in Derby when ihe “ flying nurse “ visited there. .Her job is to go around from station to station and from mission to mission, tendering advice on infant welfare. The provision of those services is a great innovation, and it has certainly done something to bring security to the won,en of the north. However, a great deal more remains to be done. Hospitals must be built, particularly for the natives. I have discussed these matters with the Premier of Western Australia, who was very helpful, and the Government of Western Australia is endeavouring to improve conditions in the north.
One achievement that deserves special mention is the establishment of a leprosarium at Derby, which accommodates 298 victims of the disease. The patients, who are all natives or half-castes, are being cared for by the Sisters of St. John of God, who staff the institution. With all the talk we hear to-day about tho progress of communism in this country, it is refreshing to recollect that there are other forces at work in the world. The fact that Christianity is playing its part is evidenced by the activities of the group of talented women, who have sacrificed their lives to work for the natives. Incidentally, as an example of the difficulties that confront those good women, 1 mention that some little time ago one of the sisters made a request to the Government authorities in Perth for the supply of half a dozen violins for the patients at the leprosarium. The reply which she received was a typical departmental one, and stated that since violins were not listed as part of the curative treatment for leprosy, it was regretted that they could not be supplied. Nothing daunted, the sister concerned went to work amongst her acquaintances, and managed to obtain some violins. To-day the leprosarium has a symphony orchestra of 63 performers, whose ages ranged from 7 to 63 years. When I was at the institution they were good enough to give a concert for me. Although some of us were present at the very fine performance that was given in Canberra by a symphony orchestra as part of the Jubilee celebrations, I do not think that that performance made such an impression upon me as did the performance of the native orchestra in the wilds of a tropic night. That performance was all the more remarkable because each of the performers, formerly a leper outcast, has been given, thanks to Christian charity, a new lease of life. Until then, the hand of death was heavy upon them. To-day, the inmates of the leprosarium are growing vegetables, killing their own meat, and, generally speaking, existing as members of a selfsupporting community. The fact that that has been accomplished shows clearly that a great deal more could be done to develop the north if people could be induced to settle in those remote areas in large numbers. That is most important. Various suggestions have been made recently for methods of populating our northern regions. I am convinced that people will go to those regions and will remain there if they have adequate security, a good standard of housing and so on. I have seen two successful experiments. One is being carried out at Yampi Sound and the other at Wittenoom Gorge. The progress that has been made in those ventures indicates clearly that given good housing, satisfactory working conditions, schools for children, and health services, womenfolk will be prepared to go to the outback and make it their home. One of the tragedies of family life in the outback has been the lack of acceptable educational facilities. This has meant that children upon reaching the age of eleven or twelve years and passing beyond the scope of the small bush schools, have had to go to the cities for further education. In such circumstances, many parents ‘cannot afford to bring their children home for school holidays and they have remained in the cities. Ultimately, upon leaving school, they have obtained jobs in the cities and have been lost to the north forever. The result is that to-day, the population of some districts is less than it was 30 years ago. I say therefore that in this jubilee year we cannot look upon our efforts to develop the north of Australia - and I am speaking particularly of the region that I know well - with complacency. There is a. challenge to us to ensure that something .shall be done in the very near future. I need hardly remind the Senate that if we do not populate the north of this country, there are others who will be very willing to do it. This is a task of national importance. The Government has set up a National Security Resources Board and other authorities, but no matter how high sounding the names of such organizations may be, it is the work that they do that realty counts. The National Security Resources Board should devote some attention to this very important part of the Commonwealth and to the very important people who live and work in it.
I cannot conclude my remarks without making a brief reference to the problem of rising- prices. This is not just a. parrot cry. It is a very real problem which is rapidly becoming a nightmare to people living on fixed incomes Fir instance, the price of meat to-day puts it in the luxury class. A few years ago sausages were very humble fare ; to-day, they are amongst the aristocrats of the dining table. One chop costs more than a shilling. How often can the average family sit down to a meat meal with prices at that level? Already there is unofficial rationing of many commodities simply because prices have skyrocketed and are no longer within the reach of the purses of working people. In every city there is a shortage of sugar. Some cynics claim that as soon as the price has been increased there will’ be plenty of sugar. I do not know whether that is; true. I should like to believe that it is not, but I doubt whether that belief is justified. Butter, too, is scarce. I do not mind the producers getting a failreturn for their labour and also a reasonable margin of profit, but I am afraid that before long some direct action will be necessary to check rising prices so that pensioners and families living on fixed incomes may be able to purchase at least their minimum requirements. No longer win we lay the blame for the high cost of living, upon the Communists. Communism may be the source of some of our difficulties, but it cannot be blamed for all the problems that bother us. “We must seek an answer elsewhere. Something, constructive must be done. The Government must direct its. energies to this problem of inflation because to every one in the community, rich and poor jil ike, it is vital indeed.
I understand that the immigration policy laid down by the Chifley Government is to be followed by the present Administration. With that I have no quarrel. However, I should like to 3ee a larger proportion of immigrants of British, stock coming to this country. I was in the United Kingdom a few years ago and I learned something of what the British people had been through as the result of their struggle against Nazi-ism. We are all members of the British family and I do not regard the transfer of people from Great Britain to Australia as migration in the true sense. We should endeavour to get away from that conception and to accept people from the Homeland as members of the family to which we all belong. I believe, too, that we should not insist upon securing migrants from the United Kingdom in specific age groups. Artisans- and young people are needed to rebuild the Homeland. We must be prepared to accept British immigrants in family groups.
I pay a warm tribute to the manner in which New Australians generally are assisting in the development of this country. I do not think the trains on the East-West line could run to schedule were it not for the new Australians working on that railway. In some places they outnumber Australians by ten to one. In one camp I found that only the ganger could, apeak English. The men who I worked for him represented about six different nations. I hesitate to think how ho must have felt after working for, say, i we’ve months under such conditions; but they are all doing a good job. At another migrant camp in the isolated Esperance area I came upon a problem, which, although simple, could be fraught with serious consequences. My visit was made in summer-time and the weather was very hot. There were two sick babies in the camp. It was a week-end and- nobody in the camp could speak a word of English. From signs made by the mother I gathered what was wrong with the babies. I travelled 58 miles to obtain medical assistance and eventually found a policeman to take the required, medicine to the camp. Fortunately, the babies lived, otherwise I should have had them on my conscience for the rest of my life, because I had to guess, from the sign3 made by the mother what was wrong with them.
The people in that camp were anxious to get supplies of milk. They had a supply of powdered milk, but they had never seen it before and did not know how to use it. T had to demonstrate how to mix powdered milk. This experience impressed upon me the need to get down to fundamentals. Surely it is much more important to an immigrant to know how to ‘mix powdered milk than to know how to parse a verb or a noun. Before these people are sent to the outback they should be made reasonably conversant with our way of life. I was amazed to see what some migrants received in their grocery orders. I gathered the impression that they selected their groceries by sticking a pin in the list in much the same manner as I would select the winner of the Melbourne Cup. Apparently some tradesmen took the opportunity to palm unsaleable commodities off upon the migrants because their orders included items which would not normally be sold by a country store in twenty years. Those are just little things and, of course, there is no record of them in official documents, but they are of great importance when it comes to getting new Australian women to settle into their makeshift homes in remote mining and railway communities.
I congratulate all honorable senators upon their success at the polls, and wish them well during their term of office in this chamber. I also compliment my colleague Senator Byrne upon his excellent maiden speech. Honorable senators opposite too are also to be congratulated upon their contribution to this debate. I trust that the clouds of sorrow that descended upon us during the latter part of our jubilee celebrations will now be dispelled, and that we as members of this legislature will be able to do a job that will earn for us the respect of future generations, as did the work of the fathers of federation 50 years ago.
– I associate myself with the congratulations and expressions of goodwill that have been tendered to our President upon his election to the high and honorable office that he now occupies. I am a newcomer to this chamber and so my knowledge of the conduct of that office in the past was restricted to what I was able to glean from the parliamentary broadcasts. I confess that I was amused, and sometimes amazed when some unfortunate senator earned for himself a rebuke, or even a more serious punishment, from the
Chair, and I trust that my new proximity to the occupant of that office will not increase the danger of my incurring his displeasure. I congratulate you, too, Mr. Deputy President, upon your election as Chairman of Committees. I am sure that your wide parliamentary experience and your many years of distinguished service as a soldier of high rank have equipped you admirably for the duties of your new office.
I join with other’ honorable senators who have expressed pleasure at the forthcoming visit to this country of the King and Queen, and Princess Margaret. It is to be hoped that His Majesty’s health will soon be completely restored and that he will be able to receive and enjoy the welcome and hospitality that awaits him in this country. The Royal visit will do much for us all. It will strengthen the bonds of affection that exist not only between us as individual subjects of the Crown, but also between the Mother Country and the other member countries of the British Commonwealth.
This Twentieth Parliament is also the Jubilee Parliament because this year we are celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the Commonwealth of Australia. It is appropriate, therefore, that the celebrations should include, as they have, a review of the progress that we have made as a nation and that we should have an opportunity to honour the fathers of federation and the members of early Commonwealth Parliaments who legislated so wisely and so well for succeeding generations. The greatest tribute that we can pay to those men is to endeavour ourselves to legislate not only for the moment that is ours, but also for the years to come so that, 50 years hence, a future generation may look back and say that we too were wise. It is appropriate. I believe, that we should take the earliest opportunity to examine our Constitution in the light of modern circumstances and possible future trends. I commend the suggestion made by Senator Cormack and supported by Senator Laught and Senator Pearson, that the jubilee year is a fitting occasion for the holding of a constitution convention. His Excellency’s Speech wa.s of wide and diversified interest. I was most impressed by by its insistence on defence preparedness because to-day we are enduring an uneasy peace in an international atmosphere charged with the most frightening and dreadful possibilities. All our endeavours must be directed to prevent those possibilities from -worsening into open conflict. The outbreak of another world war could well mean the destruction of the way of life that we know -to-day. Side by side with our efforts to avert war must come our preparation for defence, for should the worst happen and our efforts for peace fail we must be ready to defend ourselves and to honour our obligations as a member of the United Nations. The new techniques of aggressive warfare set us a complex problem. In years gone by our isolation afforded us the twin protections of time and space. The introduction of modern methods has deprived us of those advantages and we must be ready to take post overnight. No longer is the speed of warfare measured by the speed of ships or motor transport. This is the age of the long-range aircraft and the air-borne soldier, the long-rang projectile and the submarine sneak attack. Assaults could be made on our shores without even a declaration of war. Our natural sea barrier is now just as vulnerable as an artificial border drawn between two adjoining countries. The history of war indicates that peace-loving democracies have always been reluctant to prepare. In 1914 and again in 1939 we witnessed the pathetic results of this reluctance. One has only to recall the dreary years early in World War II. when we were trying to develop and equip our army and at the same time fight an enemy that had been preparing for years. From a standing start the Australian Government worked wonders. It quickly laid the foundations of our war effort militarily, industrially and financially. It got under way the remarkable Empire Air Training Scheme, and quickly prepared and equipped the first elements of the second Australian Imperial Force for action. It planned for war production, supplies, and munitions. But despite those hurried preparations we were forced to pay the penalty for the years that the locusts had eaten, and for the first time in our history we suffered the direct consequences of unpreparedness. The enemy was able to bomb Darwin on the Australian mainland, and also to launch a full.scale military invasion of Papua and New Guinea, and by the use of submarines, to shell the largest of our cities. If any one still doubts the dire and unfortunate necessity for preparedness let me remind him of the time that our gallant airmen battled with the Japanese in completely inadequate and unsuitable aircraft, because this nation had not shown the wisdom to prepare in time. Let me remind him of the time when there was little or no equipment in training camps. During my own training as a gunner we made do with a field piece drawn on the ground in much the same way as children draw rings to play marbles and mark out areas for hopscotch. For months the artillery board and dial sight, the everyday stockintrade of the gunner, remained something to be read about in army manuals. Training and morale suffered in consequence. The lessons of those years, so painful and so costly, should never be forgotten. The Parliament and the Government have an obligation to prepare even against the most remote possibility of war. The initial advantage always lies with the aggressor and because in modern circumstances and conditions that initial advantage can so quickly lead to the final coup de grace it is the duty of the Australian Government to see that no enemy shall obtain such an advantage. Therefore I commend the plan for defence outlined by His Excellency..
Although a universal training scheme is not always popular in peace-time, the obligation to prepare must, and does, take precedence over any seeking after popularity. The young men shortly to be called up for training will be the first to acknowledge the value of such training. They will receive a measure of training which will be of immeasurable value in the event of hostilities breaking out, when they would be better able to look after themselves and their comrades in the field. They will learn the real value and effectiveness of army discipline and will, I believe, appreciate other Australians nurtured in an atmosphere of equality. The defence measures will probably be assailed because of their possible effect on the economy of this country. However, I submit that preparedness transcends in importance every other consideration, and that the time, money, and effort so expended should be regarded as -an insurance premium. I believe that the price of peace is eternal preparedness.
Along with our preparations for defence we must consider our own internal security. I refer particularly to the fifth column activities now being carried out by the Communists in our midst and in other democratic countries. The fifth column is one of the new war techniques. Our enemy knows the military value o” industrial destruction. He knows that a cessation of production can be achieved just as effectively by strike action as by the bombing of an industrial plant. He knows that an industrial hold-up to retard production forms just as large a part of a military manoeuvre as does an infantry advance on a strategic point. Therefore, he makes use of the political strike to further the ends of his masters, who direct him from the international Cominform To deny that top-line Communists, including those in Australia, are the agents of the Cominform is to deny the whole truth of recent history. The fifth column policy of the Communists follows the same pattern in every country in which they have cast their net. First there is the gaining of control of the basic unions, followed bv the political strike, the creation of doubt and bewilderment and chaos, and in the midst of that chaos the assumption of dictatorial power and the selling out of the country in- which they have worked. It seems a far cry from the Kremlin to the Australian waterfront or to the industrial centres of our larger cities, but close examination shows how near they are. T remind the Senate of a gentleman named Thornton, who, until a couple of years ago, was general secretary of the Federated Ironworkers Association. In 1948, he made the following pronouncement : - la the general policy of the Ironworkers Union decided in consultation with the leaders of the Labour party? No! The policy of the ironworkers is decided in consultation with the leaders of the Communist party. The same thing in many ways applies to the Waterside Workers federation, the miners federation and the Seamen’s union, and will soon apply to many other unions such as the Amalgamated Engineering Union and the Australian Railways Union.
Thornton has now left Australia. To-day he is in Peking, where he occupies a top executive position with the international Cominform. He is plotting and planning on an industrial level for the defeat 01 the United Nations forces in Korea, which include our own fighting Australians. II t becomes clear that Thornton’s appointment to his present position was a reward for his work in Australia. What, then, of the “ reds “ who remain to carry on and extend this nefarious work? Howcan we accept the view that these gentlemen are not also the paid agents of the Cominform? The stark pity of it is that just as in Korea to-day the Chinese anfighting in the Communist shooting war. so here in Australia many good Australians have been misled into fighting the Communist political war. I believe that action to be taken by the Government will do much to clear the minds of the Australians who are so often misled, and that they will in due time come to accept the action of the Government in the manner in which it should be accepted. As an immunization of ourselves againthe possibility of self-destruction hastened by failure to treat communism as tl<moral and spiritual evil that it is, I express the hope that they will reject communism as being completely un-Aus- tralian”, completely against their own best interests, and completely against th, interests of their great country.
I thank the Senate for the hearing that it has given me. I understand that it is unwise for a parliamentarian, and especially a very new parliamentarian, to make any promises. Momentarily, I ignore that advice merely to say that as long as I am privileged to occupy a seat in this chmaber I shall endeavour to think in terms of the national good and the national welfare and to act in consonance with that thought.
– It is not my intention to cross swords with the honorable senator who has just resumed his seat. I appreciate that he has made his maiden speech, and a very effective speech. However, there are one or two points on which I join issue with the honorable senator. He spoke in appreciation of the defence preparedness programme outlined in the Speech of His Excellency the Governor-General. For many years governments- have spoken of potential enemies and have, suggested that the nation must be’ prepared. There is one matter with which the honorable senator did not deal and I hope that at a later stage, when the question of defence is actually under consideration in this chamber, he will place at our disposal his ideas concerning the causes of war. He might tell us who he believes is likely to attack Australia, and he might also give us some information as to why the Australian Government is about to make a treaty with the enemy people of whom he spoke so eloquently a short time ago. I draw his attention, and that of honorable senators generally, to the fact that from the end of World War I. until the beginning of World War II. vast defence preparations were made by practically every nation. It will be remembered how France, in its anxiety to prevent the country from being again over-run. by the enemy, spent millions of pounds in building the M!aginot Line. It will also be remembered that the Germans built the Siegfried Line. Our own country, together with the United Kingdom, spent many millions of pounds in building at Singapore what was claimed to be an impregnable base that would effectively protect Australia. But when the blast of war blew, what became of all those preparations that the’ nations had made ? Were they safe as a result of their great policies of preparedness 1 History to-day shows how greatly they misjudged the course that the war would take. Who is there amongst us to-day who can definitely lay down a plan for the defence of this or of any other country!
If we are to speak of preparing for war we must remember that a very important factor is the economic position of the nation. We must determine the economic basis of Australia. Are we happy to-day about the internal economy of this country? I suggest that the majority of Australians are very unhappy about our economic conditions. I hope that the honorable senator, between now and the time that we next discuss defence and preparedness, will give some thought to that important feature.
The members of the Opposition are supporting a motion of thanks fc *Ve excellent manner in which, the GovernorGeneral’s Speech was presented to this chamber. During the ‘remarks of honorable senators reference has been made to the elevation of yourself, Mr. President, to the position which, you now hold. I congratulate you on having the support of the majority of your- party. I trust that you will carry out your duties in the very capable manner that you have displayed as an honorable senator since I have been a member of this Senate. I also support the sentiments that have been expressed regarding the proposed visit of the Royal Family to Australia next year.
On examining the Speech that was placed in the hands of His Excellency the Governor-General, and which was very capably delivered, I am reminded that this is Australia’s jubilee year and that this Parliament hsg been in existence for a period of 50 years. My thoughts go back to a tableau that was presented in the capital city of Victoria depicting the opening of the first Federal Parliament in the Exhibition Building in Melbourne. A member of the Royal Family opened the first Federal Parliament. Fifty years have passed and we have had our Parliament opened by a very eminent Australian native, one who has served his country well and who has> been elevated to the very high and honorable position of Governor-General I suggest that that is an achievement and that it shows the growth of democracy during the last 50 years.
Some honorable senators have suggested that there should be an alteration of the Constitution and that the time is now ripe for the holding of a convention for the purpose of examining the shortcomings of the Constitution under which this Parliament works. That is no new thought. I am very pleased indeed that the newcomers who have spoken have made excel-, lent ‘maiden speeches. That augurs well for future debates in this chamber. ~ hope that as they find their feet in their party rooms they will be able to convict their leaders of the force of that suggestion. Only a few weeks ago, prior to the dissolution of the Parliament, I had the temerity to suggest something of a similar nature hut I am afraid that the Attorney-General (Senator Spicer) did not give me very much encouragement. As one who has felt the inadequacy of the Constitution that was drafted by the founders of federation, I hope that the new members of the Senate will be able to bring some pressure to hear upon their Ministers in order that we may make Australia a better country in which to live.
I have found in His Excellency’s Speech nothing to encourage the people. I should have thought that the policy of the Government, as declared by His Excellency, would have made some reference to the economic conditions that exist in our country to-day. The Menzies Government sought and obtained a double dissolution because of the failure of the .Senate to pass a bill which proposed to alter the control of the Commonwealth Bank. Did we hear one word from Government supporters during the general election campaign in regard to the Commonwealth Bank Board ? Did they point out to. the people how the existence of the present Governor of the Commonwealth Bank, the great financial institution of this country, was retarding the development of Australia and how necessary it was for a board of directors to be appointed in order that the economy of the country might be placed on a stable basis? Not one word did we hear. Did the members of the Government parties point out to the people that any action on the part of the Senate had delayed the passing into law of one act of Parliament designed to improve the- economic position of Australia? Were they able to show that the members of the Opposition are responsible for the economic conditions that exist? The chief spokesmen went forth and, by fraud and trickery, obtained a majority in both Houses of this Parliament. I do not apologize for saying that, because I believe that the election was a fraud. I can appreciate that some honorable senators really believe that the conditions that exist to-day aro the result of Communist control of two or three trade unions.’ They believe it because it has been reiterated so often by their leaders. I suggest to those honorable senators that when they speak of the lack of production, of hold-ups in industry and so on, they let their vision go a little further than to one or two industries. 1 1 ask honorable senators who are members of the Australian Country party whether the Communists have taken hold of the primary industries of this .country. Why is it that there is a /shortage of butter and of milk? Why is it that onions cost 2s. 9d. per lb.? Why is it that Australia, one of the most prolific countries of the world, is obliged to import foodstuffs from Egypt? I point out to honorable senators that Egyptian onions are selling on the Sydney market to-day at 2s. 9d. per lb. Are there Communists among the onion-growers of Port Fairy and the Gippsland district? There are at the moment 600,000 people visiting Great Britain, and it is suggested that 17,000 Australians aro at present on tour abroad. That means that there are 17,000 Australians out. of production. I am sure that none of those people belongs to the working class of this country. The majority of them protested against the introduction of the 40-hour week and called upon the workers to work harder and longer so that their incomes would not be affected while they were abroad enjoying themselves. I invite the members of the Australian Country party to see that their friends who are engaged in tho very important task of supplying the foodstuffs of this country do not go slow on the job. It cannot be contended that the Communists are responsible for the conditions that exist to-day in our primary industries. Is it contended that the Communists are responsible for the present high price of meat? Can it be said that trade unions which are alleged to be dominated by Communists are responsible for the food position in Sydney to-day when lamb is being sold at a record price which’ is likely to increase to 7s. per lb., when people are scrambling for the small quantity of fish avail-able, and when despite a glut, vegetables are being sold at record prices? What does this Government propose to do about these things? Did the Speech of His Excellency the Governor-General contain one word which would indicate that the Government proposes, at an early date or a late date, to grapple with the great problems that confront this country? What does the Government propose to do about the Communists ?
– It will do nothing while conditions remain as they are.
– As Senator Grant has said it can do nothing while these conditions prevail. During the general election campaign Government supporters said that if the Menzies Government were returned to office it would effectively grapple with the problem of rising prices. They also said that it would tackle the problem of communism in a resolute way. When is it likely to deal with the Communist issue? Do Government supporters believe that the mere granting of a power by the States to the Commonwealth will enable the Government to deal with the problem of communism within a week or two of the granting of the power ? Suppose that the State governments do not refer the power to the Commonwealth - they are very wary about surrendering any powers to the Commonwealth - and that the Government makes a successful appeal to the people by way of referendum, do supporters of the Government believe that it will be possible for the Government to destroy the Communist menace overnight ? If they are so gullible it is obvious that they are not conversant with the trend of events. If the requisite power is granted to the Commonwealth and an act outlawing the Communist party is passed by this Parliament, the new legislation will immediately be challenged in the High Court. Are honorable senators opposite so credulous that they believe that the mere granting of such a power will enable the Government to achieve its objective overnight?
– Who found money for the Communists to challenge the earlier legislation in the High Court?
– I believe that the Liberal party subsidizes the Communist party. The Communists are the greatest friends the Liberals have ever had. But for the existence and support of the Communist party the Liberal party would have remained in the political wilderness for the next 25 years. Undoubtedly any further legislation passed by this Parliament to deal with the Com’munists will be subjected to challenge in the High Court. What will the Government do while the matter is sub judice? Knowing the record of the Government I believe that it will do nothing but make a great fuss about the delay in its plans. I should be satisfied if I could trust the Government to do something to bring about desirable alterations of the Constitution designed to give the Commonwealth power to deal effectively with the economic problems that beset us. I agree with Senator Laught, who said this afternoon that alterations of the Constitution have been brought about, largely as the result of legal judgments. If the Government asked the people to grant to the Commonwealth power to enable this Parliament to grapple honestly with those problems it is possible that we would travel along the road with Government spokesmen and support the request. Unfortunately, the Government has no intention to deal with these problems. Under the pretext of outlawing the Communist party it proposes to seek power which will enable it to deal drastically with the genuine demands of the working people of this country.
Senator Laught said this afternoon that the development of this country has been brought about largely by cooperation and goodwill. I am sorry that .1 cannot agree with him that progress has been made in uplifting the conditions of our working classes. Honorable senators opposite have spoken of the great trade union movement and the important part that it has played in the history of Australia, yet only a few years ago every action that could be taken to prevent the growth of trade unions was taken by the opponents of the Labour movement. Labour men who look back over the trials and tribulations of the past and the fight which they waged to better the conditions of working people cannot believe that the Menzies Government is more friendly disposed towards the working class than have been other anti-Labour governments of the past. An examination of the Governor-General’s Speech reveals that it contains a threat of the conscription of labour. Through the instrumentality of His Excellency, the Government has indicated that it may take steps to direct labour into certain channels. Will Government spokesmen deny that there is an implication in the Governor-General’s Speech that if the Government is successful in obtaining additional powers from States it may use them to the detriment of the workers? If legislation is passed to compel a worker to obey a decision of the Commonwealth Arbitration Court or a conciliation commissioner, whether it be bad or indifferent, will not the future freedom of the workers of this country be threatened? Before this Government seeks the co-operation of the workers it should state its aims explicitly and indicate clearly the road along which it proposes to travel. The Government will, undoubtedly, fail again as it has failed in the past, to be frank and honest with the people.
The Government has told the people that it will remedy the adverse economic conditions that exist in this country. It has merely repeated a fraudulent promise that it made to the people in 1949, when it said that it would restore value to the £1. A Government pronouncement on that subject should bc made immediately, because the value of the £1 is evaporating at an increasing rate every day. It is high time the Government took action to enable those on fixed incomes to enjoy a better standard of living.
The Governor-General’s Speech contains a very carefully phrased promise that the Government will consider social welfare problems and examine the scale of pensions paid to ex-servicemen and others. That is a very slight reference to what are very grave problems. The onus rests on the Government, which has been returned with a majority in both Houses of the Parliament, to grapple with these problems. Two years hence, when it is called upon to render an account of its stewardship, it will be of no use for the Government to repeat the specious plea which its spokesmen made during the general election campaign that it would have taken resolute action to deal with the problems that beset the country but for the obstruction of the Labour-dominated Senate. I do not need to remind honorable senators opposite that during the last Parliament the Labour majority in the deflate did not obstruct any Government business which was of consequence to the people of Australia. Two years hence the
Communist bogy will have’ been exploded. The onus rests upon the Government to give effect to those high ideals to which its new adherents in this chamber gave expression to-day. One Opposition senator has told the newcomers among the Government’s supporters that he wishes them well. I, too, wish them well, but only until the next general election, when we shall see whether it is not possible to replace them. In the meantime I hope that the sentiments they have expressed in the speeches that they have made to-day will bear fruit in the caucus of their party. If it does so, they will have earned their place in this1 Senate.
– As a newcomer to this chamber, I have been very interested in the points that have been raised during this debate. Coming, from a State House to this larger chamber and into a sphere of politics in which the problems dealt with are of greater magnitude than are those dealt with by the State parliaments, I have found this debate very instructive. I am a great upholder of the sovereign rights of the States, especially the less populous States. With respect to those whom my words may offend I do not look upon remote control from Canberra as being in the best interests of the States.
I congratulate the mover and the seconder of the motion for the adoption of the Address-iii-Reply to the Speech of His Excellency the Governor-General upon the very concise and informative addresses which they delivered. They began the debate on the right lines, and the speeches that followed have been, with one or two exceptions, of high quality. Honorable senators have contributed many useful ideas, some of which may eventually be embodied in legislation.
I associate myself with the expressions of loyalty to the Throne voiced by the Governor-General. It has fallen to the lot of the Menzies Government to start the Commonwealth Parliament off on its second 50 years of life. It may be said that the present Government has gone in to bat on a very sticky wicket. The problems of 50 years ago were as nothing to those which confront us at the present time. The legislation enacted by the
Commonwealth Parliament during the next few years may well have an important bearing on the future of Australia. For that reason I hope that there will be greater stability in the present Government than there was in the Labour Government which preceded it.
At the date of federation, Britain was undisputed mistress of the seas. There was no suggestion of war on a great scale, aird there was no enemy within. I regard the enemy within as constituting a grave problem that must be solved before wo ran achieve any great progress, and certainly before we can prepare to meet a,u attack from a foreign power. Whatever communism was originally meant to b«=. whatever ideals may have been held originally by Communists, communism in practice is an evil and godless doctrine which,; if not checked, can only drag the country down to poverty and. degradation.
During the last 50 years Australians have excelled in every human activity. This country has produced men and women of outstanding ability through whose efforts the country has prospered greatly. To-day, Australia is a great nation, and the people will not tolerate the destruction of the work of 50 years by a few irresponsible persons. Despite what some honorable senators opposite have said, the people will not support a party that is not prepared to fight communism to a finish. Some honorable senators opposite denied that the Communists were responsible for our economic ills. I maintain that they are almost entirely responsible for those ills. That is particularly true of the difficulties now being suffered by primary industries. The production of food is of first importance in time of war. I come from the State of Tasmania which, during the last war, produced vast quantities of food. In that State we have rich soil capable of producing heavy crops, and because there are no droughts farmers donot suffer from the same disabilities as do those on the mainland. The great difficulty with which they have to contend is the shortage of various commodities, including superphosphate, fencing material, grass seed, clover seed and bags. The successful farmer must be efficient, but the efficiency of our farmers is being impaired by the forces of evil which are abroad in the country. Communists are preaching the dangerous, doctrine that we should be on our guard against overproduction. In this they are trading on the fear left in the minds of the people by the last economic depression; I myself suffered much during the depression, and I can understand how many people may be influenced by the specious arguments of the Communists. However, there is no danger of over-production in Australia to-day. Of many commodities we are not producing enough for our own need, so that unless production, is greatly increased there will be little prospect of accumulating stocks for defence purposes.
We should prepare now for war should it be forced upon us. For that reason I believe that the youth of the countryshould undergo military training, which would improve their physique and bearing, and give them a sense of responsibility, thus making of them better citizens. I also believe that those who are not physically fit to undergo military training should be trained to play their part on the home front in the event of war. If war should break out, the services of every one will be needed. During the first world war, we saw noun-tries overrun and devastated by the soldiers of what was referred to as a civilized nation. That was bad enough and humiliating enough, but what would be our position if Australia were over-run by an Asiatic enemy? -Senator Grant mentioned the threat to Australia from Asiatic countries in our immediate north. The prospect of Australia being occupied by such people does not bear thinking of. Indeed, we should cease to exist as a people if they were to hold the country for even six months. The treatment which they would mete out to our women and children makes us shudder to think about. Therefore, we must take a realistic view of the situation and prepare for war, even though such preparation entails great sacrifices.
Most honorable senators who have spoken mentioned the needs of their own States. Tasmania’s greatest need is an adequate shipping service. The lack of such a service constitutes a grave problem which must bp. solved, because it is holdins; up production and handicapping the efforts of our people.
The Speech of the Governor-General set forth the legislative programme of the Government. I hope for the sake of the prosperity of the country and the contentment of our people that it will be possible for the Parliament to pass the legislation outlined in the Speech. If such legislation is passed and implemented, I believe that we may look forward to a period of prosperity during the next fifty years of the life of the Commonwealth.
Senator BENN (Queensland) [10.10 J. - I take this opportunity to congratulate you, Mr. President, upon your election to your high office. I do so with a certain amount of regret because your elevation to the presidency moans that we shall not in future have the pleasure of listening to your contributions to the debates. In the past, your speeches were always wise and thoughtful, and calculated to be of benefit to Australia.
I note that the Government intends to appoint another Minister to the Cabinet. Every one recognizes that during recent years the work of government has increased, and that the responsibilities of Ministers have increased accordingly. I doubt, however, whether the appointment of another Minister would improve matters. It is well understood that Ministers have more work to do than they can properly handle. It is a common sight to see Ministers sitting at the table in this chamber examining and signing correspondence. A Minister of the Crown should not be called upon to do detailed work. The affairs of the nation are so important that Minsters should be able to devote the whole of their time to general administrative work, but they should not be called upon to do the work of responsible public servants. We know that there are certain responsibilities which a Minister cannot delegate to others, but it is expected that public servants shall perform the duties with which they are properly entrusted. Australia is fortunate in having a loyal and efficient body of public servants, but Ministers in charge of departments are on a different plane. It is their duty to implement government policy, and they have in addition certain administrative functions to perform. I have here a handbook setting nut the functions and organization of Commonwealth departments, and I open it at a page which explains the functions of the Department of Commerce and Agriculture. An examination of the handbook indicates some of the multifarious functions discharged by the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture and the numerous bodies that he administers. He is charged with the responsibility of the Administration and Inspection Division, the Division of Agricultural Economics, the Fisheries Division, the Australian Trade Commissioner’s Office, the Australian Agricultural Council, the Standing Committee on Agriculture, the Australian Canned Fruits Board, the Dried Fruits Export Control Board, the Australian Dairy Produce Board, the Australian Meat Board, the Australian Wine Board, the Australian Apple and Pear Board, the Australian Wheat Board, the Australian Hide and Leather Industries Board, the Australian Whaling Commission, the Australian Egg Board and the Federal Potato Advisory Committee. In addition, he is responsible for the conduct of State branch offices and of an office in London. Australia expects one Minister to administer efficiently all the ramifications of that department! One needs only to give some thought to the importance of the functions discharged by the various commissions, boards and divisions to appreciate their importance to the economy of Australia. But, will the appointment of an additional Minister overcome the excessive volume of work that Ministers are required to perform? In fact, when the legislation foreshadowed in His Excellency’s Speech is introduced I do not propose to support it, because I do not think that the appointment of one additional Minister will be an adequate correction of the real trouble.
I suggest to the Government, in all seriousness, that the reason for the overwork of Ministers and their consequent inability to give proper attention to the discharge of all their functions is the absence of junior Ministers to assist them in their duties. I believe that a junior Minister should be appointed to assist each Minister. The establishment of additional government departments to take over some ot the functions performed by the existing departments would not solve the problem. The establishment of a new department means merely that an additional Minister is appointed, and that a secretary and a number of assistant secretaries and administrative assistants are appointed. Such an increase of departmental activity does not ensure any increased efficiency. As an example of my contention, I shall refer to the functions discharged by the Minister for National Development (Senator Spooner), who is a member of this chamber. He spends his days examining files submitted to him by departmental officers, checking columns of figures and doing similar clerical work. All those duties could more profitably be entrusted to a junior Minister, and the Minister himself would then be able to spend time in the field examining at first hand the progress of some of the major projects in which the Government is so keenly interested. He could improve his knowledge of the departmental undertakings and so fit himself to stimulate those engaged in the actual carrying out of the work to increase their activities. By that means the productivity of the country would be increased. Under the present arrangement Ministers are compelled to act as public servants, in that they cannot move away from their offices to investigate the actual work that is being carried out by their subordinates. I feel sure that if the people of Australia realized the volume and the nature of the work involved in various government undertakings they would not object to the appointment of junior Ministers to assist in the administration of all government departments.
Since I last spoke in this chamber a general election has been held. Prior to that election, members of the Opposition lii-ought before the people of Australia, whenever they had the opportunity to do so. the increasing menace of inflation. Nearly all honorable senators have, at some time or other, given their opinion of the causes of the current inflation, and have made various suggestions designed to prevent further inflation from occurring. Notwithstanding the numerous discussions that have taken place on this very important matter, and despite the re-assuring statements that have been made by Ministers from time to time, we all know that inflation is continuing to increase. Every day our money loses more of its value. I propose to say something now about the note issue, but before doing so I point out that I shall not be the first senator to mention this matter in this chamber. Prominent members of the anti-Labour parties referred to the note issue on many occasions prior to 1949, and they were most emphatic in their warnings to the people of the dangers of inflation under a Labour government. I shall cite certain statistics for the information of honorable sectors, and I desire to point out in advance that those statistics will cover a period during the major part of which an antiLabour government has been in office. From the 30th June, 1949, until the 31: January, 1951, the note issue increased from £212,854,932 to £252,520,000, which indicates an increase of £39,665,068 in a period of approximately eighteen months. To-day, the note issue aggregates £273,700,000. If we take the note issue as a guide to the extent of the current inflation, it supplies ample evidence of the continuance of the rapid inflationary spiral. From the 31st January, 1951, until the present time the note issue has increased by £21,000,000, and throughout that time an anti-Labour administration has, of course, been governing the country. In other words, in a period of nineteen weeks, the note issue has increased by £21,000,000. . The increase that occurred during the week ended the 13th June was £3,000,000. 1 think that every Australian realizes that we cannot permit our currency to depreciate at such a pace. Something will have to be done, and done very soon, to check inflation.
If any honorable senator is not convinced that inflation is attaining a dangerous momentum and is threatening the economy of the whole community, I point to the “ C “ series index, which is a valuable guide to the value of wages, pension and commodities. Members and supporters of the present Government hu in the past, referred to it as the best criterion of current values that we possess. At present the federal basic wage in .New South Wales is £9 a week. In June, 1950. it was £6 18s. a week. In other words, the basic wage has increased by £2 2s. n week in a period of less than twelve months, which represents an increase of 30 per cent. Every wage-earner in the community realizes that such a state of affairs cannot continue without wrecking his economic security. Every employee knows that his wages cannot be increased every quarter without jeopardizing the security of his employment. He also knows that the increases of the basic wage have been made solely in an attempt to meet his higher living costs. From day to day the worker witnesses new happenings in the world of industry, and he quite rightly fears that eventually his employer will have to dispense with his services. The continuing spiral of inflation is a matter to which the Government must give attention, not next year or next month, but now.
The subject of employment also provides some very provocative and important considerations. We are told that to-day there is no unemployment in the community. I hope that that condition of affairs will always characterize Australia. We are told that the number of employment vacancies in this country totals 126,000. Only the other day o ministerial statement was issued to the effect that more migrants would be brought to this country to fill the vacant positions in industry. What a lack of economic knowledge the Minister who issued that statement displayed! There are 126,000 vacancies in industry, and he proposes to bring 120,000 migrants to fill those vacancies. Will not the importation of such an army of people aggravate the existing inflation, and will not the number of vacancies increase? The mere fad that approximately 100,000 migrants will be brought to this country involves tb« provision of additional food, clothing, houses and community services for thai number of people. And honorable sena tors should remember that unless ou.i standard of living is to be lowered, services exactly similar to those provided for the Australian public must be provided for the newcomers. The provision of such services will impose a tremendous strain on our industrial plant. More electric power and gas will have to be provided; additional houses and public buildings will have to bo built; additional transport and schools will have to be provided -
– Does the honorably senator think that we should curtail immigration ?
– I say most deliberately that the migration programme should be suspended for twelve months. Although we have brought a large number of migrants to Australia, we have noi made adequate provision for their admission to our economy. The shortage nf houses is more acute to-day than it was two or three years ago, and the situation is daily becoming worse. Such device* as are provided for the people are inferior to those that were provided even a few years ago, and in some localities no community services at all are provided. Tinindustrial plant which provided our community needs ten years ago has not been enlarged materially since that time, br.1 it is now called upon to provide for : greatly increased population. That plant was working at full capacity twenty years ago; to-day it is struggling to provide for a greatly increased population. Again 1 seriously suggest to the Government that consideration be given to the suspension of its immigration plan for twelve months.
One frequently hears the statement that if production were increased most of our economic ills would disappear. Usually the reference is to production in the coal mines and factories, and to waterfront employment. Apparently many people are unable to think of any other producers, but let us examine our production figures generally. I understand that the Government intends very soon to embark upon a substantial defence programme. Apparently it considers that the economy of Australia to-day is in much the same plight as it was in 1939, although at that time it could stand greater stresses than it can face to-day. I shall deal first with primary products. Australia has always grown sufficient wheat to meet its own requirements and, in addition, there has usually been a substantial exportable surplus. Wheat is a basic foodstuff and Australia must continue to grow it. In 1938-39 the total area under wheat in this country was 15,727,680 acres. Admittedly that was a year in which the price of wheat was rather low. Nevertheless, nearly 16,000,000 acres were planted. By contrast, in 1949-50 the total area of wheat grown for all purposes was 12,714,000 -acres, a decline of approximately 3,000,000 acres in ten years.
Therefore, if there is to be a drive for production, why not increase the acreage under wheat?
– Because the price of wool is so high.
– Exactly. “We all know that large tracts of our wheatgrowing land can be readily converted to sheepraising. That -is: what is happening to-day, and that brings me to the point that I wish to make. What assurance has the’ public of Australia that even one acre of wheat will be grown next year? After all, in the first year of office of the present Government wheat planting decreased by approximately 250,000 acres. Wheat is only one basic food ; what is the position with butter? Production of that commodity in 193S-39 totalled 203,500 tons. In 1949-50, only 16S,432 tons were produced, a reduction of approximately 35,000 tons.
– Is there a 40-hour week in the dairying industry now?
– There may be. 1 have been informed that most dairyfarmers are not required to work even 40 hours because they have milking machines. Not long ago, a conference of butter factory managers was held in Brisbane, and presumably with the object of encouraging people to undertake farming, it was stated that dairymen did not work long hours. That may or may not be true, but I am sure that all honorable senators will agree that the dairy-farmer of to-day does not have to work nearly so hard as he did even twenty years ago.
– He has to work seven days a week.
– That is so, but I am not dealing at present with working conditions in the dairying industry. Dairymen have my sympathy because I know that in the past they have had to sweat their wives and children. They may still do so to-day. However, the decreased production of butter is one of the problems to which the Government must devote its attention.
We all like ham, bacon, and other pig meats, but the pig industry too is retrogressing. In 1949 there were 1,196,000 pigs in Australia. By 1950 that figure had been reduced to 1,122,000, a decrease of 74,000 in a year. There, too, is an industry in which production is far from satisfactory. In 1945-46 the production of eggs totalled 38,000,000 dozen, but in 1950-51 only 23,000,000 dozen were produced. Thus there has been a reduction of 3,000,000 dozen eggs a year for the last five years. The poultry industry is in a serious state. Many poultry farmers are leaving the industry, destroying their sheds, and using the wire netting for other purposes. The netting will be of very little value should the time come for a revival of the poultry industry.
I come now to minerals. In 1939, production of pig iron in Australia - the words “ pig iron “ have a particular significance for some people in this country - amounted to 1,104,000 tons. In 1950, it was 1,083.000 tons, a decrease of approximately 20,000 tons in eleven years. It is imperative that our output of pig iron should be maintained at a high level because it is the raw material of many of our secondary industries. There has been a serious decline also in the production of copper.. In 1939, the output totalled 20,560 tons, but the latest figures show that production is now down to approximately 13,000 tons. Copper, too, is a basic requirement for many of our secondary industries, yet production is declining.
– What is the reason for that?
– That is for the Government to ascertain if it is really interested in these things. In 1939, 280,000 tons of lead were produced in this country, but the output is now down to 213,000 tons, or a reduction of 67,000 tons. Is the Government interested in that matter? What programme has it in mind to increase production? Has it. any such programme in mind? We are informed that Australia is to be placed on a semi-war footing, but the decline in production is so serious that unless something constructive is done very soon-, it will not be possible to place this country even on a quarter-war footing, far less a semi-war footing. In 1939 the production of tin, another basic metal, amounted to 3,067- tons. The latest figures show that the output has declined to 1,973 tons. That decrease of 1,094 tons is most alarming. It is all very well for people to say that we can import tin, but only to-day we learned that Australia’s imports of this vital metal are to be reduced by a further 28 per cent. That will mean, of course, that our production of tinned foodstuffs will be correspondingly reduced. It is clear, therefore, that instead of improving Australia’s economy as honorable senators opposite promised to do if returned at the 1949 elections, they have permitted a further deterioration. I have painted a picture of Australia’s primary industries and mineral production, which is not bright by any means. Let the Government announce what is to be done to improve conditions. What does it intend to do to solidify our economy? There is much calk about what the Government intends to do to combat inflation and other evils, but it seems to tend to emulate the policy of the United States of America. There was a time in the history of Australia when the Liberal party and the Australian Country party relied upon men who had been prominent in the Labour party to lead them. In fact, as Prime Ministers they led very well. However, when the opponents of Labour have been without the services of such men they have looked to conservative Great Britain for a lead, and they have endeavoured to emulate that country’s policy. But the scene has now changed. No longer does the Australian Government look to Great. Britain for advice. Bather does it endeavour to emulate the policy of the United States of America, as far as possible. Honorable senators opposite apparently forget that the economy of the United States of America differs very largely from our economy. Nevertheless the present Government is going ahead blindly doing the same things as have been done by the American administration. On the 19th July, 1950, President Truman declared that to meet the situation then existing he would introduce a system of priorities of allocations of materials and facilities for national defence and for essential civilian use. In January this year the present Government established the National Security Resources Board for the purpose of achieving a similar result. Again, in
July, 1950, President Truman prepared to give government assistance for the expansion of productive capacity and supply; and in December of that year the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) announced that this Government would launch a greater production campaign. In J uly, 1950, President Truman announced his intention to seek credit controls; and in December last the Prime Minister announced to the Parliament that he would establish selective credit control. In August, 1950, President Truman ordered government authorities and departments to revise their programmes, giving special attention to public works projects and loans programmes ; and in December last the Prime Minister announced that his Government would seek a curtailment of public works programmes. There is a similarity of policies and proposed actions of the two Governments, and it is evident that the present Australian Government is inclined to follow the policy of the United States of America. As I have si) ready stated, that is a practical impossibility because of the different economies of the two countries. Indeed, a Minister of the present Australian Government advocated quite recently placing Australia upon a worse footing. He rated that in order to correct certain shortages in this country a vigorous im- ort policy would be adopted. What does that mean? Does it not mean that where there is a shortage of a particular commodity additional supplies will be imported? That is, instead of providing employment here in Australia and encouraging existing industries by giving them orders and assisting them as far as possible, we are to purchase overseas. The Government cannot have it both ways. During the period from 1930 to 1939 practically every commodity required in this country was available in our retail stores. Upon examination it was found that many of those commodities had been manufactured in Japan, France, Germany, the United States of America and Canada. To-day, however, very few goods from those countries are displayed in our stores. That is why there jb such a high employment level in this country. If goods are to be imported on the ground of cheaper price it will be found eventually that’ the price has been very high, because much unemployment will be caused.
– How can we continue to sell our primary produce abroad if we do not buy other commodities from overseas countries?
– I agree that balance must be maintained in order to preserve our economy. However, to improve our economy there must be a better balance between our primary and secondary industries. I contend that the Government’s present policy will not achieve the desired balance. [ shall now refer to social services. In some instances increases have not been granted since 1944 and 1945, and the recipients are suffering a very serious disadvantage. This applies particularly to the rates of unemployment and sickness benefits, which were fixed in 1944. It is apparent that in view of increases of the basic wage since then beneficiaries are being treated unjustly. Invalid pensioners who are supporting children are not receiving allowances commensurate with present cost of living. I respectfully suggest that the Government should give early consideration to increasing the rates of social service*, benefits.
Senator PIESSE (Western Australia) 10.56]. - Before speaking to the motion take this opportunity to offer to you, Mr. President, my sincere congratulations upon your elevation to the high position that you now hold, and I wish you a happy and lengthy term of office. I also congratulate Senator George Rankin on his appointment to the position of Chairman of Committees.
I shall confine my remarks to several matters of importance. I was pleased to learn from His Excellency’s Speech that now that the Government has a majority in this chamber it intends to carry out the programme that it placed before the people in- 1949. When seconding the motion for the adoption of the Address-in-Reply Senator Seward referred to postal votes. As all honorable senators know, a person wishing to record a postal vote applies to the divisional returning officer for a ballot-paper. After the elector has filled in the ballot-paper it. h placed in an envelope, which is signed by the elector. I do not consider that very much additional work would be involved by enclosing a second envelope marked “ Ballot-paper “, which would not bear the elector’s signature. Many electors in Western Australia have mentioned to me that while they do not doubt the sincerity and integrity of the divisional returning officers it would be more in keeping with the desired secrecy of the ballot if a second envelope, marked as I have suggested, could be included. Of course they readily concede that, due to the speed at which divisional returning officers work during elections, they would be most unlikely to read the signatures on the envelopes. I also wish to refer to the order in which the names of candidates for both the House of Representatives and the Senate are placed on ballot papers. I am sure that it is not the desire of candidates to secure election by the element of chance. However, it is true that candidates for the Senate are always eager to learn of the position that they have drawn on the ballot paper. Could not the ballot papers be printed differently? Where there were only two teams of candidates, 50 per cent, of the ballot papers could be printed with the names of candidates of one political party first, and the remaining 50 per cent, with the names of the candidates of the other political party first. It may be contended that the adoption of this suggestion would entail a lot of extra work. However, as we have a most efficient electoral staff I am sure that the additional work could readily be undertaken. It would be necesary for the ballot-papers to be distributed equitably. Where there were only two candidates, 50 per cent, of the ballot-papers could be printed with the name of one candidate at the top and the remainder with the name of the other candidate at the top, and the distribution could be worked out proportionately. I do not think that it is the desire of the people of Australia to have members of Parliament who are all pure Aarons or Aberdeens, nor is it their desire to debar the Zecharias .and Zedekiahs from the same chance of election. I consider, however, that the proposal that I have advanced would certainly give the people something to think, about.
Perhaps a better brain than mine will devise some scheme whereby the element of luck will not be taken into account as much as it is to-day.
– 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 pre sented : -
Bankruptcy Act - Twenty-second Annual Report by the Attorney-General, for year ended 31st July, 1950.
Commonwealth Bank Act- Appointment - L. A. W. Holmes.
Defence (Transitional Provisions) ActNational Security (Industrial Property) Regulations - Orders - Inventions and Designs (2). .
Lands Acquisition Act - Land acquired for - Banking purposes - North Steyne, New South Wales.
Defence purposes - Lowood, Queensland.
Department of Civil Aviation purposesHorn Island, Queensland.
Machan’s Beach, Cairns, Queensland.
Postal purposes -
Mr Gravatt, Queensland.
Papua and New Guinea Act - Ordinances - 1951-
No. 8 - Superannuation (No. 2).
No. 9 - Petroleum. (Prospecting and Mining) (No. 2).
No. 10 - New Guinea Land Titles Restoration.
No. 11 - Claims by and against the Administration.
No. 12 - Post and Telegraph (Papua).
No. 13 - Native Land Registration.
Public Service Act - Appointments - Department
Postmaster-General’s - H. F. Alexander, R. D. Beebe, G. A. Bond, A. E. Borg, A. L. Bowron, J. P. Burton, R. W. Chenery, W.E. Claxton, R. G. Crampton,O. H. Critchley, G.F. Cusworth, J. T. Davison, G. A. Dobbins, J. G. Donovan, L. J. Dunne, T. W. Fisher, D. J. Harding, L. A. Ives, R. W. Johnson, R. G. Kitchenn, G. H. Knight, A. K. Leita, H. Luson, T. M. Manning, S. J. Mayo, A: B. Metcalfe, V. J. Millane, K. Neal, K. C. Newham, K. Nowicki, D. A. Pender.
W. Seymour, J. N. Smith, V. J. Straford, N. C Watson,F.A. Wentworth, J. Wernicke, A. W. Westmore, K. J. White, J. W. Witty, M. F. J. Wilkins, E. Wilkinson, M. H. Winson.
Works and Housing - J. T. Nielsen, A. S. Reiher, V. A. Tolcher.
Public Service Arbitration Act - Determinations by the Arbitrator, Ac. - 1951 -
No. 43 - Amalgamated Postal Workers’ Union of Australia.
No. 44 - Amalgamated Engineering Union and others.
No. 45 - Non-official Postmasters’ Association of Australia.
No. 46- Federated Clerks’ Union of Australia.
No. 47 - Amalgamated Engineering Union.
No. 48 - Federated Ironworkers’ Association of Australia and others.
No. 49 - Professional Officers Association, Commonwealth Public Service.
No.50 - Federated Clerks’ Union of Australia.
No. 51 - Australian Workers’ Union.
No. 51 - Federated Ironworkers’ Association of Australia.
Nos. 52 to 55- Amalgamated Engineer- ing Union and others.
Nos. 56 and 57 - Association of Architects, Engineers, Surveyors and Draughtsmen of Australia and others.
No. 58 - Arbitration Court Registrars’ Association.
Senate adjourned at11 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 20 June 1951, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1951/19510620_senate_20_213/>.