House of Representatives
28 September 1927

10th Parliament · 1st Session

Mr. Speaker (Hon. Sir Littleton Groom) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.

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– I have received from His Excellency the GovernorGeneral a commission authorizing me to administer at Canberra the oath or affirmation of allegiance to membersof the House. I now lay the commission on the table.

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– During the recent adjournment I received a return to the writ I issued on the 26th April last for the election of a memberto serve for the electoral division of Warringah. in the place of the Hon. Sir Granville Ryrie. According to the endorsement on the writ, Mr. Robert Archdale Parkhill has been elected.

Mr. Parkhill made and subscribed the oath of allegiance.

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– I have to report to the House that I waited on His Royal Highness, the Duke of York, on the evening of the 9th of May, and presented to him the Address agreed to by the House on that day. His Royal Highness was graciously pleased to make the f ollowing reply : -

Mr.Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives of the Parliament of the Commonwealth:

I thank you most sincerely for the Address which you have just presented to me on behalf of the House of Representatives of the Parliament of the Commonwealth. The Duchess and I are deeply grateful for your generous words, and I will not fail to convey to the King,my Father, the expressions of duty and loyalty to the Crown and Person of the Sovereign which it contains. The King and Queen retain the most vivid recollections of their visit to Australia when, as your Address recalls, he opened the first Federal Parliament 26 years ago.

It is a source of the greatest pride to me that I should have been commissioned by the King to open the first meeting of the Commonwealth Parliament at Canberra, and thereby to inaugurate the new Capital City. The Duchess and I rejoice to have been associated with the people of the Commonwealth on this great and historic occasion. Weshall always remember our visit to Australia, and to-day’s culminating event as one of the proudest and happiest memories of our lives.

We pray that our present tour, and especially the ceremony of to-day, performed, as it has been, in the presence of representatives of various parts of the Empire, may be the means of drawing still closer the ties of loyalty, kinship, and affection, which bind together all members of the British Commonwealth.

Albert. 9th May,1927.

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– I have to announce the receipt of a letter from Mrs. Brooks, the daughter of the late Hon. W. G. Spence, expressing gratitude on behalf of her mother and other members of tho family for the resolution of sympathy passed by the House. on the 2nd March last.

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The Late Mr. W. A. Gale, C.M.G

Mr SPEAKER (Hon Sir Littleton Groom:

– Honorable members will regret the death of the late Clerk of the House.

Mr. Walter A. Gale C.M.G., which occurred since our last meeting. The late Mr. Gale had heen associated willi the House ofRepresentatives from its first meeting. He was appointed Second Clerk Assistant on the 1st May, 1901, and in July of that year was promoted Clerk Assistant. He occupied that position until the 1st February, 1917 when he became Clerk of the House. He rendered distinguished service in every position that he occupied, and his loss will be keenly felt by the Parliament.

Prime Minister and Minister for External Affairs · Flinders · NAT

.- I move-

That this House records its sincere regret at the death of Walter Augustus Gale, C.M.G., who was an officer of the House of Representatives since the inauguration of the Commonwealth, and Clerk of the House from the 1st February, 1917, until his death; and this House expresses its appreciation of the loyalty and ability with whichhe devoted himself to his official duties, and tenders its profound sympathy to his wife and family in their great bereavement.

The news of the sudden death of Mr. Gale must have come as a shock to every member of this Parliament. He had become a familiar figure to us all, and,I feel sure, was generally regarded as a guide, philosopher and friend, who never failed, when asked, to assist in the unravelling of intricate questions of parliamentary procedure. To new members, particularly, the assistance which Mr. Gale was always ready to give was extremely valuable. There are few men who have occupied a seat in this House who have not owed to him a deep debt of gratitude in this regard. It is with profound sorrow that, at our meeting to-day, we miss his once familiar figure from its customary place. It was a great gratification to him that he was able to take his place at the table at the inaugural meeting of the Parliament at Canberra in May last, his ambition to be in the service of the Parliament at the time of its removal to the permanent capital of the Commonwealth being very strong. The motion will commend itself to every honorable member. We shall keep very dear the memory of Mr. Gale. We held him in great admiration as a parliamentary official, and also as a public servant of the best type. I feel sure that honorable members,would wish to tender their deepest sympathy to Mrs. Gale and to the family of the deceased officer.


.-. In seconding the motion, I associate myself with the remarks which have been made by you, Mr. Speaker, and the right honorable the Prime Minister. Mr. Gale was a trusted officer of this House, and always rendered excellent service. He was held in the highest esteem by every honorable member. He had the goodwill not only of honorable members, but also of every official of the Parliament. As the Prime Minister has said, the loss of such a valuable public servant is a severe one. I, in common with the majority of honorable members, was indebted to him on many occasions for the advice that he was able to give me out of his extensive store of constitutional knowledge and parliamentary procedure. I join in the expression of regret at his sudden death, and trust that it will be of some consolation to hiswidow and family to learn of the high esteem in which he was held by thosewho were brought into contact with him.


.- I had the privilege of an intimate acquaintance with the late Mr. Gale, and know something of the lofty ideals which made him a magnetic personality, both in this House and outside, among a wide circle of friends. I have met his widow and family since his death, and I can assure honorable members that it is of great comfort to them to have received from honorable members thoughtful messages of sympathy and to know that he was so universally esteemed. It was fitting that, having served the Parliament since its inception, his remains should find a resting place in the little graveyard opposite this House, where his memory will long be kept green.


.- As one who was acquainted with our late friend for perhaps a longer period than any other honorable member, and more closely associated with him than most, I desire to add my expression of sympathy to those that have already been given. From the inception of Federation, Mr. Gale was not only an officer of this House, but also a friend of every honorable member who entered it. He regarded every member as his charge. His knowledge of parliamentary procedure was profound. It will be difficult indeed to fill his .place. He was an outstanding figure in the chamber, and a guide and a friend to his fellow officers. In every way it can truly be said that he was one of Nature’s gentlemen.

Mr. HUGHES (North Sydney) (3.19]. - I would add my tribute to the memory of Mr. Gale, and associate myself with what has been said by the Right Honorable the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition, and the honorable members for Wannon and Newcastle. I knew Mr. Gale very well. As the honorable member for Newcastle has said, Mr. Gale was associated with this Parliament from its inception, and was the guide, philosopher, and friend of all who entered it. For many years I was his fellow clubman, and proud to call him my friend. He devoted his life and great talents to the service of his country, and was happy in the manner of his death, for he passed away among the surroundings in which he had spent his active life. The Commonwealth lias lost a loyal and zealous servant, and “we a good friend and wise counsellor; one from whom every member could seek advice with the absolute assurance that this would be given without party bias. His knowledge was wide and thorough. None questioned his authority on parliamentary procedure or his sincerity. And now he, who was for over a quarter of a century a figure so familiar to us all that he seemed an integral part of the National Parliament, has. gone, and we are left to carry on as best we may without his aid. His memory, however, will live. I join in extending to his widow and family heartfelt sympathy, and I feel sure that the words that have fallen from the lips of honorable members to-day will be treasured by those whom he has left behind.


– For some years, and in a period of considerable turbulence, I occupied the position of Speaker of this House, so I have a particular reason for taking this opportunity to express my deep appreciation of the wonderful assistance and counsel that I received from Mr. Gale, often in difficult circumstances and in trying situations. It has been truly said of him that not only was he an efficient officer, but also the guide, counsellor, and friend of every occupant of the Speaker’s chair, and of every individual member of the House. “Whenever an honorable member approached Mr. Gale for advice in connexion with the procedure of the House his assistance was most cheerfully given. I know of no man who had a more kindly disposition, a more tender heart, or greater solicitude for the welfare of honorable members and the staff of the House. I deeply regret his loss to this Parliament, and also to the country, of which he was so valued a citizen.

Mr SPEAKER (Hon Sir Littleton Groom:

– Before putting the question to the House, may I be permitted to say how deeply I feel the loss that this House has sustained through the passing away of our late Clerk. Mr. Gale met the obligations of his office with marked ability and courtesy, and a high sense of duty. He had a thorough knowledge of the law and customs of Parliament, and he most readily placed that knowledge at the command of honorable members and his fellow officers. The smoothness of the proceedings of the House was often due to his advice. He had the highest respect for the dignity of Parliament, and was jealous of its high traditions. Personally he was of the kindest disposition. He was thoughtful of others and most considerate in his relation with his fellow officers. He was particularly loyal in his friendships. It has been said “ There is nothing that can be taken in exchange for a faithful friend - and his excellency is beyond price.” Mr. Gale has left behind him a record of service which will be an inspiration to his successors. May it be a true consolation to his widow and family to know how highly his services to the Commonwealth are appreciated.

Question resolved in the affirmative, honorable members standing in their places.

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– In many respects this chamber differs from the chamber which honorable members formerly occupied in

Melbourne. This is so especially in regard to entrance doors and passage ways, which are more numerous than we have been accustomed to. In order to avoid confusion, I propose, with the concurrence of honorable members, to adopt the following practice in the taking of divisions : - When the bells are rung, the corner doors will be closed, tout the other doors will be left open. This means that honorable members will be able to enter the chamber not only by the main door from King’s Hall, but also by the doors immediately behind me, and those leading from their party rooms. The rule when the House is in division will be that the tellers will record the names of only those honorable members who are within the line of the back row of seats. For division purposes the passage ways round the chamber will be regarded as being outside its limits. I feel sure that these arrangements will commend themselves to honorable members, and I ask their assistance in giving effect to them.

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– I have to announce that Mr. Frank Clapin, Clerk Assistant, retired from the service of the House on the 30th June last. Consequent upon his retirement, and upon the death of Mr. Gale, the following officers in attendance in the chamber have been promoted: - Mr. McGregor to be Clerk of the House; Mr. Parkes, Clerk Assistant, Mr. Green, Second Clerk Assistant, and Mr. Tregear, Sergeant-at-Arms.

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Local Option Poll


– Will the Prime Minister inform me whether there is any truth in- the rumour that has been circulated that the proposed local option poll will be taken in the Federal Capital Territory in November? If the rumour is untrue, will the Prime Minister inform me whether it has been decided when the poll will be taken, and the conditions that will govern it?


– There is jio foundation for the rumour that the poll will be taken in November. The position is that this House decided that the poll should be taken at such time, and subject to such conditions, as Parliament itself might determine when the transfer to the Federal Capital had been effected.


– Can the Prime Minister inform the House when we are likely to have before us a bill to provide for a poll of the residents of Canberra on the question of a liquor licence?


– I cannot give that information at this stage. It is really a matter for the House to determine when action will be taken.

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Conference with Religious Missions.


– Will the Prime Minister have laid upon the table of the House the records and minutes of the conference recently held between the Administrator and the various religious missions in the Mandated Territory?


– I shall look into the matter, and see whether it is possible to make the papers available.

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-Can the AttorneyGeneral give the House any idea when the Bankruptcy Act will be brought into force ?

Attorney-General · KOOYONG, VICTORIA · NAT

– It is very probable that the Bankruptcy Act will be brought into force at the beginning of next year. It would be highly inconvenient to endeavour to bring it into operation in the course of- a judicial year, but arrangements are now being made with the States for accommodation and staff, and for the service of judges, and those arrangements have reached an advanced stage. I hope, therefore, that the act will be in operation at the commencement of the next judicial year.

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– Can the AttorneyGeneral give the House any information respecting the Abrahams case?


– In consequence of the information obtained by the execution of search warrants, prosecutions have been instituted in the High

Court for penalties under the Income Tax Assessment Act against the principal taxpayers involved in the matter, and they are to plead guilty to the charges made. Proceedings will also be instituted against other persons con- cerned, who are also to plead guilty. Bonds of a present market value of £200,000 have been handed to the Crown Solicitor in part payment of income tax liabilities, and security has been given for the payment of a further sum of £300,000; also within fourteen days £10,000 is to be paid to the Crown Solicitor on account of costs.

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Transport Facilities


– Some time ago representations were made by various returned soldiers’ organizations with a view to having motor-car transport provided for spinal and limbless cases. The Minister for Defence promised to give an early decision in the matter, and I desire to know whether any decision has yet been reached ?


– The decision of the Government will be announced almost immediately.

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– In view of the great scarcity of fodder because of drought in several States of the Commonwealth, and the consequent loss of live stock, will the Government take steps to arrange for additional transport and cheaper freights between the States in order to avoid or mitigate loss of live stock.


– I shall look into that suggestion. It is not quite clear to me what steps, if any, the Commonwealth could take in regard to State-owned railways.

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– Has the PostmasterGeneral noticed a report to the effect that on one day last week over 100 applicants for calls on the trunk line between Sydney and Newcastle could not be attended to? I should like to know what progress has been made with the long standing promise to underground the wires in order to give a better service?

Postmaster-General · CORANGAMITE, VICTORIA · CP

– I shall have enquiries made, and let the honorable member know the exact position. In regard to undergrounding the line to Newcastle, I might state that we are putting in several circuits on the carrier wave system, which we hope will obviate much of the congestion that now takes place on that section.

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– A rumour has been current for some time that the amount awarded in the Kidman-Mayoh case has not been paid. What is the actual position ?


– I am informed by my officers that the full amount has been paid.

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– Will the Minister for Works and Railways inform the House whether the bill to make provision for the construction of a railway from Red Hill to Port Augusta will be introduced during the session, and will he expedite the matter in view of the large number of unemployed in South Australia at present ?

Minister for Works and Railways · ECHUCA, VICTORIA · CP

– In respect of the first part of the question my answer is in the affirmative. I did not hear the latter part of the question.

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– Has the Minister yet received the report of the Tariff Board concerning the application for an increased duty on imported butter? If so, when will it be available for honorable members ?


– I understand that a similar question is on the notice-paper.

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– Has the North Australia Commission yet submitted any schemes for the development of the territory under its control? If so, will the Minister indicate the nature of the suggestions ?

Minister of Home and Territories · PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · NAT

– The commission has not yet reported concerning the development of the territory under its control. As soon as its report has been received it will be submitted for the consideration of the Government.

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– Has the Pacific Islands mail contract yet been concluded ; if so, will the Postmaster-General lay upon the table of the House all the papers in connexion with it?


– The question should have been addressed to the Minister for Home and Territories, but I shall have the matter investigated. I am quite certain that the honorable member will receive the information required.

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– On the 22nd March last I secured the adjournment of the House to draw the attention of the Government to the great disparity in value between the supplies of superphosphates in New Zealand and Australia. The Prime Minister, in reply, promised that he would have the whole matter investigated by Mr. Olive Macpherson, who had just been appointed the Australian representative on the Phosphate Commission. I should like to know if the Prime Minister is in possession of a report from Mr. Macpherson; and, if not, will be obtain information as to what the position is to-day?


– I discussed the whole matter with Mr. Macpherson. He has gone into the question, and has since submitted a report, which I shall be pleased to show to the honorable member.

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– Has any officer in Melbourne brought under the notice of the Prime Minister the fact that some 30,000 tons of coal has been dumped on land in my electorate? As the land is required in order to wind up an estate, and the Government has not even paid rent for it for the last twleve months, the matter is urgent.


– I remember discussing that subject with the honorable member for Newcastle (Mr. Watkins), and I shall ascertain the exact position in regard to it.

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– Will the AttorneyGeneral inform me whether the Government contemplates taking action in the direction of amending the Copyright Act with regard to the royalties charged for the public performance of musical works?


– Until the Copyright Conference has been held at Rome, which will probably be in the spring of next year, it is most unlikely that proposals will be brought down for the amendment of the act.

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– I have a question to submit to the Prime Minister, arising out of the policy of the Government. Owing to the large increase of population in New South Wales since the Lang Government has been in power in that State-


– It is not within the province of an honorable member to give information to the House when asking a question.


– Up to the present time, I have been unable to ascertain that anything whatever has been done in the direction of putting the Government’s housing scheme into effect. The matter is becoming very serious for the people of New South Wales, who are entitled to know whether the Prime Minister intends to carry out his Government’s housing policy, or whether he is simply playing an electioneering card.


– I direct the honorable member’s attention to the fact that a question dealing with that subject appears on to-day’s notice-paper.

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– Has any official decision been arrived at with regard to the establishment of a chain of emergency wireless stations under the control of the PostmasterGeneral’s Department in the cyclonic belt in North Queensland?

Mr Gibson:

– No.

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– Does the Treasurer intend to introduce a bill this session for the purpose of reducing the income tax, and, if so, what will be the extent of the reduction ?


– In the budget speech I shall be able to supply the information desired.

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– Has the Minister for Trade and Customs received the report of the Tariff Board on the tobacco.growing industry; and, if so, when is it likely to be laid on the table of the House ?


– The report has been received, but has not yet been considered by the Government.

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– Why was the report recently .furnished to the GovernorGeneral by the Wireless Commission not released to the public until many weeks after its receipt by the Government?


– All reports of royal commissions have to be considered by the Government, and the usual practice was followed in the case under notice. It is not the practice to release a report the moment it is received.


– It has been reported that when the Government received the Wireless Commission’s recommendations they were forwarded to the Wireless Board with a view to that body reporting hack to the Government. Will the Prime Minister inform the House whether the board has so reported back, and if so, what action will be taken ?


– At the time the report was released - I forget precisely whether it was on the same day or the day after - copies were supplied to the Government directors on the board of Amalgamated Wireless Limited, who were asked for their views on certain recommendations of the commission which concerned the action of the board. We have not yet received their report, but we have had several interviews with the chairman, Sir George Mason Allard, and one,

I think, with Sir George Mason Allard and Sir William Vicars. That matter is still being discussed between the Government and its representatives on the board.

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– What are the Commonwealth’s liabilities with regard to soldier land settlement as the result of the recent conference with the State Premiers?


– The whole subject was discussed with the Premiers of the States at the conference held in Sydney, and the arrangement come to between the Commonwealth and the States was that the position in each of the States should be thoroughly examined with a view to laying down certain definite principles, upon which the Commonwealth would be prepared to help the States in arriving at a satisfactory solution of the problem. We are now proceeding to make that investigation, and it is hoped that a final settlement will result.

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– Referring to recent proceedings at the Assembly of the League of Nations, during which the Vice-President of the Executive Council (Sir George Pearce), expressed opinions in opposition to international arbitration, may I ask whether Sir George acted after consultation with the Government, and whether discussions have taken place between the British and Australian Governments regarding international policy.


– To say that Sir George Pearce expressed views in opposition to international arbitration is a statement that is not quite correct. On the subject of international arbitration, Sir George Pearce would express the view of the Government, and, I believe, of the overwhelming majority of the people of Australia, which is that we desire to promote, as far as is practically possible, the principles of international arbitration. In the remarks referred to by the honorable member, Sir George was dealing with an entirely different matter, namely, the proposal to revive the protocol by which the Powers were to guarantee the observance of certain proposed arrangements. On behalf of Great Britain, Sir Austen

Chamberlain made a full statement, which is entirely endorsed by the Government of Australia, which also approves of the remarks by Sir George Pearce on the subject.

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asked the Prime Minister, upon notice. - In regard to the recent migration agreement with Britain, will he state - 1.Whathas been the average cost per migra nt under this agreement up to the 30th June, 1927, to (a) Britain and (b) Australia?

  1. What was the average cost per migrant prior to this agreement to (a) Britain and (b) Australia?
  2. How many assisted migrants have arrived in each State under this agreement up to the 30thJune, 1927, and what has been the total cost incurred in connexion therewith?
  3. Have steps yet been taken by the Development and Migration Commission to solve the unemployment problem in Australia? If so, what has been done and with what success?
  4. How much money has been allotted by this commission up to the 30th June, 1927, for the development of local industries? To whom and for what purpose has such advance been made ?

– The replies to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : - 1. (a) The Commonwealth Government has no figures regarding the cost to the British Government; (b) £12 3s. 3d. 2. (a) The Commonwealth Government has no figures regarding the cost to the British Government; (b) £9 7s.10d.

  1. The number of assisted migrants who have arrived in each State during the currency of the Migration Agreement is -

The total cost incurred in connexion therewith is £805,743.

  1. The whole question of the solution of the unemployment problem has been receiving the serious consideration of the Government, and the Development and Migration Commission has been asked to furnish a report to the Government on certain phases of the problem, which will be dealt with in conjunction with the report of the Royal Commission on Unemployment and National Insurance. The Development and Migration Commission will present a report on this matter as early as practicable. The more rapid development of the resources of Australia, providing additional avenues of employment, is one of the most hopeful means of combating unemployment, and the Development and Migration Commission is giving close attention to this matter.
  2. Reference to section 13 of the Development and Migration Act will indicate that it is not a function of the commission to make advances of money for the development of local industries, but that the commission is empowered to -

    1. Investigate and report to the Minister on the condition and development of existing industries in the Commonwealth and the possibility of establishing new industries; and
    2. conduct negotiations for the establishment of new industries in Australia and the development of existing industries.

On the recommendation of the commission the Commonwealth Government has approved of advances of loan money to the States to a total sum of £3,331,518 forland settlement, afforestation and public works associated with land settlement, under the £34,000,000 Migration Agreement.

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asked the Minister for Home and Territories, upon notice. -

  1. What tenders were received for an addressing machine required for the Government Printing Office, Canberra?
  2. What was the country of. manufacture, and the price paid for the machine eventually purchased?

– The replies to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -

  1. The undermentioned offers were received covering the supply of an addressing machine and associated apparatus for Canberra: - B. J. Ball Limited, £841 0s. 3d.; Spicers & Detmotd, £872 13s., plus packing freight, &c. £100- £972 13s.; Stott & Hoare, machine not entirely automatic £676, automatic machine £1,001.
  2. The offer of B. J. Ball & Company was accepted. Material to the value of £595 was made in Germany and the balance in England. The capabilities of all the machines were investigated thoroughly, and the “ Adrema “ equipment offered by Ball and Company was found to be best suited to the requirements of the printing office. The acceptance of the offer of B. J. Ball & Company was approved by the Stores Supply and Tender Board.

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asked the Minister representing the Minister for Defence, upon notice -

  1. What amount has been expended on the air defence force for each year since 1922-23 inclusive.
  2. Has his attention been drawn to the published statement of Group-Captain Williams, Chief of the Air Staff, on the 19th July, 1927, that “ our machines are quite good for training, but they are not adequate for defence.’’ If so, will he make inquiries to see that the money voted by Parliament for that purpose is being spent in the right direction ?

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -

  1. The money voted by Parliament for air defence is being spent for that purpose and for no other. It must be borne in mind that the building up of an. air force necessitates a considerable outlay in hangars, workshops, aerodromes, and buildings for the accommodation of personnel, &c., as well as in the training of pilots and mechanics. Up to the present the bulk of themoney allotted for air defence has been expended on these services, and the Force has relied chiefly for its aircrafton the gift equipment supplied to Australia by the Imperial Government at the conclusion of the war. These machines are, however, suitable for training purposes, and while they were available, the Government would not have been justified in scrapping them in favour of more modern aircraft. The supply of gift equipment is now becoming exhausted and a commencement is being made this year to re-equip the service units and portions of the flying training school with more modern types.

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asked the Minister for Trade and Customs,upon notice -

  1. What quantity of wine of 1927 vintage was shipped prior to the 1st September, 1927, under the 1924 (4s. bounty) act to Great Britain? 2.What amount was shipped under the same head from South Australia?

– The replies to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -

  1. 730,969 gallons.
  2. 609,308 gallons.

asked the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice-

  1. Whether instructions were issued that wine of 1927 vintage was not to be shipped under the 1924 Wine Bounty Act.
  2. If so, by whom were such instructions issued?
  3. Was the question as to whether the wine of 1927 vintage was eligible for the bounty under 1924 act submitted to the AttorneyGeneral’s Department for an opinion?
  4. If so, what was the opinion?

– The replies to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -

  1. No instructions were issued that 1927 vintage wine was not to he shipped. After consultation with representatives of the wine industry a proclamation was issued on the 2nd June,1927, prohibiting the exportation of any fortified wine less than six months old. unless the consent of the Minister for Trade and Customs had been first obtained, and it was also decided to limit the quantity of 1927 vintage wine exported under bounty conditions before the 1st September, 1927, to 25 per cent. of the exportable surplus, subject to half that percentage being blended with wine of earlier vintage.
  2. The instructions that were issued were by direction of the Acting-Minister for Trade and Customs.
  3. No.
  4. See reply to No. 3.

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Financial Relations - Child Endowment


asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -

  1. Will the Government supply to members reports of the proceedings at the conference of Premiers with the Prime Minister herd in Sydney subsequent to the conference in Melbourne dealing with financial relationships of the Commonwealth and States and child endowment of June last?
  2. Hashe received notification of the ratification of the financial proposals by any State Parliament; if so, by which?
  3. Will he await such ratification before submitting the proposals to the Commonwealth Parliament?

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -

  1. A copy of the report of the proceedings at the conferences held in Melbourne and Sydney will be supplied to each member.
  2. No.
  3. No. The agreements will not come into force until adopted by the Parliaments of the Commonwealth and of the States.

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asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -

  1. Wihat quantity of phosphate rock arrived in Australia during the vear ended the 30th June, 1927?
  2. What was the cost of landing this rock ?
  3. How much did it cost to prepare it for use as a fertilizer?
  4. What was the price paid bv the farmer for it?

– The replies to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -

  1. 509,799 tons.
  2. Average cost per ton, c.i.f., 49s.
  3. The raw phosphate is supplied to the superphosphate manufacturing compania*, whoso costs are not published.
  4. £5 7s. 6d. per ton for high grade superphosphate in Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia.

asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -

  1. What was the cost of rock phosphate from Nauru in 1922, 1923, and 1927?
  2. What was the duty on sulphur in 1922-3?
  3. What is the present duty?
  4. What is the estimated value of the concession in duty on sulphur per ton of superphosphates ?
  5. What is the price of superphosphates in the Australian States?
  6. What is the price of similar phosphatic value of superphosphates in New Zealand?
  7. Has the Minister any information regarding the price of superphosphates in the United States of America and Great Britain: if so, will he make same public?

– The replies to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -

  1. 77s. per ton c.i.f., 49s. 3d. per ton c.i.f., 49s. per ton c.i.f.
  2. British preferential tariff, 15s. per ton ; intermediate tariff, 20s. per ton; general tariff, 50s. per ton.
  3. Exempt from duty. Item 275a (1) reads - “ Provided that, so long as a bounty is payable on sulphur, under any law of the Commonwealth, the importation of sulphur vo which the sub-item 275a (1) applies shall be free of duty.” Bounty on sulphur is still payable under” Act No. 21 of 1923.
  4. About5s.6d.
  5. Last season’s price, £5 7s.6d. per ton. Price-lists for next season not yet received, but information received indicates reductions of not less than 2s.6d. per ton, with further reductions for cash.
  6. Price ruling in North Island, February last, £511s. Reduction then made to £4 2s. 6d., owing to trade war, which still continues. Price in South Island is £5 9s. 3d. for cash.
  7. In Australia and New Zealand most of superphosphate sold is high grade 45 per cent. In Great Britain and United States of America such high grade is not generally used, though it is obtainable. In Great Britain, in lots of a few tons, at about £4 2s. 6d. per ton. Standard grades in Great Britain are 30 per cent. and 35 per cent., and present average price of former is £2 12s.6d. per ton at works. It is understood prices in United States are similar, but no exact information is at present available.

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asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -

  1. Will the Government supply to all honorable members copies of the report of the International Economic Conference held under the’ auspices of the League of Nations at Geneva in May last?
  2. Was that report considered at the recent sitting of the Assembly of the League?
  3. Who were the Australian representatives at that Conference besides Sir David Gordon; and how many representatives was Australia entitled to?
  4. Has he received any communication from - (a) The British Government; (b) the League of Nations; (c) any representative of a States member of the League as to the intentions of the Australian Government regarding giving effect to the report of the Conference?
  5. Are any other steps in contemplation amongst the States members of the League or arranged for by the Council of the League to consider steps for giving general effect to the recommendation of the Conference?

– The answers are as follow : -

  1. The report is now being printed, and copies will be available to honorable members at an early date.
  2. Consideration of the report was included on the agenda of the Eighth Assembly of the League, which is still in session.
  3. Mr. W. Warren Kerr, C.M.G., C.B.E. and Mr. A. F. Bell, C.M.G., accompanied Sir David Gordon to Geneva as Commonwealth representatives at the conference. Australia was entitled to a maximum of five members, participating in a personal capacity. 4. (a) No; (b) No; (c) The Consul-General for Germany in Australiahas asked whether the Commonwealth Government contemplates taking steps with regard to the recommendations of the conference.
  4. The Belgian and German Governments have, through their consular representatives, notified respectively their approval of an agreement with the resolutions of the conference.

The Council of the League at its 45th session, held in June, 1927, considered the recommendations, and passed a resolution commending the report and recommendations to the favorable consideration of all governments.


asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -

Will he make available as early as possible the report of the Economic Conference of the League of Nations at Geneva?


– The report is now being printed, and copies will be available to honorable members at an early date.

page 32




asked the Minister representing the Minister for Defence -

Whether he will make available the report of the Air Accidents Investigation Committee, so that stops may be taken to avoid, as far as possible, the loss of life in the future?


– The Minister, after reviewing the reports, will make them available for publication, except where it is considered undesirable in the public interest to do so.

page 32




asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -

With reference to the World Population Conference opened at Geneva on 31st August, 1927-

What was the object of the conference?

By whom was the conference convened, and what led to it?

Was Australia represented; if so, by whom ?


– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -

  1. The conference was convened to discuss generally all matters relating to the world’s population.
  2. The conference was convened by Sir Bernard Mallett, late Registrar-General of England, after an informal discussion with the authorities in other countries interested in the subject.
  3. Australia was not represented at the conference, but papers were contributed by Australian writers.

page 32




asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -

Whether, in view of his statements on the 11th March, 1926 (Hansard, page 1529); the 20th March, 1926 (Hansard, page 2002); 8th July, 1926 (Hansard, page 3930); and 2nd March last (Hansard, page 31), that the scale of payments to allowance postmasters was then under review, he is now in a position, after nearly eighteen months’ consideration, to give particulars of the revised scale?


– The review of the scale of payment to allowance postmasters has been completed, and approval has been given to the introduction of a new basis which will take effect as from 1st January, 1927, and will result in the total payment for the conduct of nonofficial offices being increased by approximately, £70,000 per annum.

page 32



Purchase of Homes - Interest Rate


asked the Treasurer, upon notice - 1.Will he establish a system in connexion with the Commonwealth Savings Bank for assisting depositors to acquire ownership of their own homes, and thus bring the bank into line with similar Government institutions in the various States, as well as all the principal Savings Banks abroad?

  1. Will he consider the advisability of attracting a larger number of Savings Bank depositors to the Commonwealth Bank by fixing the rate of interest on the same basis as that of the State Savings Bank in New South Wales ?

– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows : - 1 and 2. The policy of the Government in regard to housing will be announced in the House in the near future.

page 32




asked the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -

Will he lay on the table of the Library all papers relating to the proposed importation of di-ammon Phos., its first and later classification, also reports and analysis by the Customs analysts as to its value as a fertilizer?


– The papers will be laid on the table of the Library.

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asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -

  1. How many messages have been diverted from beam to the Cable Company Telegraph System since the inauguration of the beam service to England owing to fading and other failure of beam?
  2. What is the total amount paid to the cable companies for diverted beam messages?
  3. Who has been debited with the difference in charges between beam and cable messages which have been diverted because of the failure of the beam service through fading or other causes ?

– The replies to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -

  1. The proportion of traffic diverted from the beam service to the Cable Company Telegraph System owing to all causes is less than 2 per cent. of the total outward traffic.For some weeks past no diversions have been necessary.
  2. £3,293.
  3. The difference in charges is borne by the Amalgamated Wireless Company.

page 33




asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -

  1. Has the balance-sheet of the Commonwealth Oil Refinery for the year 1926-27 been presented to the Government?
  2. When does the Prime Minister propose to lay it on the table of the House?

– The replies to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -

  1. It is expected that the balance-sheet will be available in about a fortnight.
  2. As soon as it is received.

page 33



Purchase of Officers’ Homes in Melbourne - House Rents - Transport Service - Naming of Streets - Property Rating.


asked the Minister for Home and Territories, upon notice -

  1. In connexion with officers whose homes at Melbourne were purchased by the Government, will he give favorable consideration to the question of paying interest on the money paid until such officers have been aide to select suitable homes at reasonable prices, provided it is done within twelve months. If not, will the Minister have interest paid on the money up to the time the Commission is able to quote a price for the house at present occupied?
  2. Will the rent paid be allowed if officers eventually decide to purchase houses in Canberra?
  3. What is the reason for the Federal Capital Commission requiring rent a fortnight in advance when salaries are not paid in advance? Will he have this practice discontinued?
  4. When is it proposed to considerably improve the present transport service in Canberra?
  5. Will he have expedited the naming of the streets in the Federal Territory so that residents may be able to give some indication where they live?
  6. Will he state what is the amount of general rating to be imposed on lessees of property in the Federal Territory?

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -

  1. Officers whose Melbourne homes have been purchased by the Commonwealth and who have undertaken to build or purchase and to reside in a home at Canberra within twelve months after the date of their arrival in Canberra will be paid interest on the money standing to their credit in the Canberra Building Account until the date upon which their Canberra homes are ready for occupation by them, or until the date of the expiration of the period within which they have undertaken to build or purchase and to reside in homes in Canberra, whichever date shall first occur. If, however, on the expiration of the period within which they have undertaken to build or purchase and to reside in homes in Canberra they have not fully complied with their undertakings, the amount of interest already credited will be deducted from the amount standing to their credit in the Canberra Building Account.
  2. A public servant renting a Commission house is allowed a six-months’ option to purchase, and, in the event of his deciding to exercise the option within that time, the purchase is regarded as having taken effect from the date of occupation, subject to an adjustment of the financial basis to ensure that no loss to the Commission is occasioned by the change in the nature of the tenure.
  3. The practice of payment of rent for residences in advance has prevailed in Canberra for a number of years prior to the advent of the Commission, and no request for its modification has been received by the Commission. Moreover, the conditions of all Federal Capital leases provide for rental to be paid in advance.
  4. The Commission recently invited public offers for the conduct of a satisfactory bus and hire-car service, but no acceptable offers have been received. The Commission is, therefore, arranging to extend its own existing service to meet the new requirements which have arisen, and the matter is receiving urgent attention.
  5. The Commission has been engaged on the preparation of a scheme for allotting suitable names for the streets throughout the City of Canberra. The matter is being submitted to a special historic nomenclature committee, and it is hoped to make an announcement on the question very shortly.
  6. The scale of general rating to be imposed on leases of property in the Federal Territory is laid down in the Rates Ordinance1926, which provides for a maximum rate of5d. in the £1 for land in the city area, and 3d. in the £1 on lands outside the city area, based on the unimproved capital value of the land. These rates are levied in respect of each calendar year. For the year 1926 the rates levied were -

Rates for the current year have not yet been struck by the Commission.


asked the Minister for Home and Territories, upon notice -

Regarding money held for public servants who sold their houses to the Government prior to being transferred to Canberra, will be state -

Is the public servant entitled to purchase a home from a private contractor ifhe so desires?

If so, will an advance of the money due to him be made from time to time as required ?

Will the whole of the money be handed to the public servant if at the expiration of twelve months he lias failed to purchase a house in the Federal Territory. If not, what will be done with the money?


– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -

  1. Yes.
  2. Yes.
  3. If, on the expiration of the period of twelve months within which the officer has undertaken to build or purchase and to reside in a house at Canberra, he has not fully complied with his undertaking, the amount standing to his credit in the Canberra Building Account will be reduced by a sum equal to tl.e full amount of interest paid thereon and the balance remaining will be paid to the officer upon a claim being made therefor.

page 34




asked the Minister representing the Minister for Defence, upon notice -

What has been the average cost of rifles (complete) supplied by the Small Arms Factory at Lithgow during the rears 1922-23, 1923-24, 1924-25, .1.925-20, and 1926-27?


– Since 1922 the Small Arms Factory has been reduced to a nucleus basis, financed out of the ordinary votes of the department, and the small number of rifles produced has been issued free of charge to the Military Forces. The cost for labour and material per rifle produced, complete with appurtenances, was - .

It should be noted that the cost of maintaining the factory on a nucleus basis in peace time in such a way as will enable it to be readily expanded to full output in emergency, must be regarded as a contribution towards national insurance for the protection of the country against possible attack.

page 34



C aliform ian Oranges.


asked the Minister for Home and Territories, upon notice -

  1. Who was responsible for the provision of Californian oranges on the tables .at the hotels at Canberra during the celebrations in connexion with the establishment of the Federal Government at Canberra?
  2. As oranges were procurable at Adelaide, Salisbury, Renmark, Wakerie, and other centres, why were oranges not secured from these centres?
  3. In view of the great difficulties facing the growers of oranges in Australia owing to high production costs, and the bad impression that must arise when foreign oranges are provided for such functions, will the Minister give instructions that Australian and not foreign oranges are purchased for Government services and functions?

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -

  1. The oranges provided at the hotels at Canberra during the celebrations in connexion with the opening of the Federal Parliament in May, 1927, were obtained by the Federal Capital Commission.
  2. The practice has been to obtain oranges from the nearest market, viz., Sydney. Upon receipt of a supply of Californian oranges Ill( matter was brought under the notice of the Commission’s agents, who replied that the market was absolutely bare of local oranges. Difficulty was being experienced in procuring suitable fruit, and there was not time after the receipt of the oranges in question to make any other arrangements.
  3. It is a general rule of the Commission to give preference to Australian products.

page 34




asked the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -

  1. What is the number of boxes of butter imported into the Commonwealth during the eight months ended 31st August, 1927?
  2. Whether it is a fact that there has been ample supplies of Australian butter (apart from the imported article) available during the period mentioned?
  3. Whether the Tariff Board has completed the inquiry in reference to the application for increased Customs duty on butter; if so, when may honorable members expect the report to be presented to Parliament?

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -

  1. 141,408.
  2. Ample supplies of Australian butter were produced during the period mentioned, but owing to a large quantity being exported, a shortage occurred during certain portions of the period mentioned, and this shortage was met by importing butter from New Zealand.
  3. Yes. The report is very recently to hand and has not yet been considered by the Government; when full consideration has been given, the report will be laid upon the table of the House.

page 35




asked the Minister in charge of Repatriation, upon notice -

In connexion with complaints made at the recent State Congress of the Returned Soldiers’ League on behalf of patients at “ Graythwaite,” who are not receiving pensions, has the Minister received a report from the metropolitan vice-president (Mr. L. A. Robb) on the subject, detailing specific cases for consideration; if so, has he arrived at any decision in the matter?


– The Minister has supplied the following answer to the honorable member’s question : -

Last week I received a letter from the federal secretary of the Returnd Sailors and Soldiers’ Imperial League of Australia conveying the text of a communication from New South Wales regarding inmates of “Grayth waite,” and giving specific names; each case is being fully investigated.

page 35


Commonwealth Government Shipping Activities

Mr. C. RILEY presented the report of the Joint Committee of Public Accounts on the Commonwealth Government shipping activities, including Cockatoo Island Dockyard, and moved -

That the report be printed.

Committee. I give the House an undertaking that every reasonable opportunity will be afforded for the consideration of this report.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Bruce) adjourned.

page 35


The following paperswere presented : -

River Murray Waters Act - River Murray Commission - Report for the year 1925-26.

Ordered to be printed

Commonwealth Bank Act - Commonwealth Bank of Australia - Aggregate Balancesheet at 30th June, 1927, and Statement of the Liabilities and Assets of the Note Issue Department at 30th June, 1 927 ; together with the Auditor-General’s Reports thereon.

Federal Capital Commission - Reports for quarter ended - 31st March, 1927. 30th June, 1927.

Air Navigation Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1927, No. 47.

Arbitration (Public Service) Act - Determinations by the Arbitrator, &c. -

No. 17 of 1927 - Commonwealth Public Service Clerical Association.

No.18 of 1927 - Commonwealth Public Service Clerical Association.

No. 20 of 1927 - Commonwealth Telephone Officers’ Association.

No. 25 of 1927 - Commonwealth Public Service Clerical Association.

Audit Act -

Regulations Amended - Statutory Rules 1927. Nos. 41, 74.

Transfers of amounts approved by the Governor-General in Council - Financial Year 1926-27 - Dated 1st June, 1927.

Commonwealth Bank Act - Regulations Amended - Statutory Rules 1927, No. 99.

Customs Act -

Proclamation prohibiting the exportation (except under certain conditions) of Wine (dated 2nd June, 1927).

Regulations Amended - Statutory Rules 1927, No. 95.

Defence Act - Regulations Amended - Statutory Rules 1927, Nos. 42, 58, 90, 105, 106.

Distillation Act - Regulations Amended - Statutory Rules 1927, No. 91.

Export Guarantee Act - Return showing Reports, Recommendations, and Assistance granted up to - 31st March. 1927. 30th June, 1926.

Income Tax Assessment Act - Regulations Amended - Statutory Rules 1927, No.64.

Ironand Steel Products Bounty Act -

Statements (2) of reasons for authorizing the use of imported material in manufactures (Traction Engines) on which bounty is payable.

Land Tax Assessment Act - Regulations Amended - Statutory Rules 1927, No. 49.

Lands Acquisition Act - Land acquired at -

Balgowlah, New SouthWales - For Postal purposes.

Ceduna, South Australia. - For Postal purposes.

Congwarra, Federal Territory - For Federal Capital purposes.

Hurstville, New South Wales - For Postal purposes.

Jericho, Queensland - For Postal pur poses.

Maitland, South Australia - For Postal purposes.

Queanbeyan (2), Federal Territory - For Federal Capital purposes.

Sandy Bay, Tasmania - For Defence purposes.

Seymour, Victoria - For Defence purposes.

Toowoomba, Queensland - For Defence purposes.

Tuggeranong (4), Federal Territory - For Federal Capital purposes.

Turimetta, New South Wales - For Postal purposes.

West Maitland, New South Wales - For Defence purposes.

Woden - Federal Territory - For Federal Capital purposes.

Naval Defence Act - Regulations Amended - Statutory Rules 1927, Nos. 23, 35, 59, 79, 80, 81, 82, 97, 102, 103, 104.

Navigation Act -

Compass Regulations - Statutory Rules 1927, No. 39.

Survey and Equipment Regulations - Statutory Rules 1927, No. 93.

Regulations Amended - Statutory Rules 1927, Nos. 48, 55, 89, 90.

New Guinea Act - Ordinances of 1927 -

No. 16 - Criminal Code Amendment.

No. 17 - Laws Repeal and Adopting (No. 2).

No. 18 - Advisory Council.

No. 19 - Interpretation and Amendments Incorporation.

No. 20 - Cinematograph ( Censorship ) Ordinance Repeal.

No. 21 - Native Labour.

No. 22 - Native Labour (No. 2).

No. 23.- Appropriation (No. 3), 1920-27.

No. 24- Supply (No. 1), 1927-28.

No. 25. - Natives’ Contracts Protection.

No. 26 - Transfer of Land Control.

Norfolk Island Act -

Ordinances of 1927 -

No. 1 - Dangerous Drugs.

No. 2 - Public and Patriotic Funds.

Maintenance Orders (Facilities for Enforcement) Ordinance - Regulations.

Northern Australia Act -

Central Australia - Ordinances of 1927 -

No. 1 - Slaughtering.

No. 2 - Registration.

No. 3- Bills of Sale.

No. 4 - Supreme Court.

No. 5 - Aboriginals.

North Australia - Ordinances of 1927 -

No. 1 - Slaughtering.

No. 2 - Registration.

No. 3 - Bills of Sale.

No. 4 - Supreme Court.

No. 5. - Aboriginals.

Crown Lands Ordinance - Statement and plan relative to resumption of portion of Post and Telegraph Reserve at Katherine.

Public Service Ordinance - Regulations Amended.

Papua Act -

Ordinances of 1927 -

No. 7 - Supplementary Appropriation (No. 1), 1926-27; together with Supplementary Estimates of Expenditure (No. 1) for the year ending 30th June, 1927.

No.8 - Appropriation 1927-28; together with Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure for the year ending 30th June, 1928.

Regulations Amended - Statutory Rules 1927, No. 73.

Post and Telegraph Act - Regulations Amended - Statutory Rules 1927, Nos. 32, 66, 78, 84, 85, 86, 98, 101.

Power Alcohol Bounty Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1927, No. 52.

Public Service Act -

Appointments - Department of -


E. Allen.

S. W. M. King and C. W. Adey.

S. C. Lyon, P. T. Redmond, and H. M. Green.

Home and Territories -

C. E. Lane-Poole.

Markets and Migration -

K. M. Lucas, E. J. Reid, and H. S. Lucas.

Postmaster-General’s -

V. G. Acton and W. L. Price.

G. K. Elliott.

C. J. Griffiths and V. F. Reeves.

Works and Railways -

Regulations Amended - Statutory Rules 1927, No. 40.

Quarantine Act - Regulations Amended - Statutory Rules 1927, No. 44.

Railways Act - By-laws Nos. 45, 46.

Royal Commissions Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1927, No. 75.

Science and Industry Research Act - Regulations Amended - Statutory Rules 1927, No. 57.

Seat of Government Acceptance Act and Seat of Government (Administration) Act -

Ordinances of . 1927 -

No.5 - Leases (Special Purposes).

No.6 - Provisional Government (No. 3).

No. 7 - Meat.

No. 8 - Bank Holidays.

No.9 - Maintenance Order (Facili ties for Enforcement).

No. 10 - Leases.

No. 11 - Districts.

No. 12- Bank Holidays (No. 2).

No. 13 - Church Lands Leases.

No. 14 - Tobacco.

No. 15 - Real Property.

No.16- Motor Traffic.

No. 17 - Timber Protection.

No.18. - Trespass on Commonwealth Lands.

Seat of Government (Administration) Act -

By-laws - Acco m modat ion .

Regulations Amended,&c. - Statutory Rules 1927, Nos. 37, 54, 77.

Spirits Act - Regulations Amended - Statutory Rules 1927, No. 51.

Treaty of Peace (Germany) Act - Regulations Amended - Statutory Rules 1927, Nos. 40, 53.

Wine Export Bounty Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1927, No. 92.

Wireless Telegraphy Act - Regulations Amended - Statutory Rules 1927, No.

page 37



Mr SPEAKER (Hon Sir Littleton Groom:

– I desire to inform this honorable House that I have received the following messages from His Excellency the Governor-General : -

Governor-General’s Office,

Canberra, 28th September, 1927.

The Honorable the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

With reference to the letter from the Speaker of the House of Representatives, in which was embodied the text of the resolution unanimously agreed to by the House of Representative’s at its first meeting in the Parliament House, Canberra, expressing thanks to His Majesty the King for his message on the occasion of the establishment of the seat of Government of the Commonwealth at Canberra, the Governor-General desires to inform the Speaker that he has received advice that the resolution has been laid before His Majesty, who was pleased to receive it very graciously.



Governor-General’s Office,

Canberra, 28th September, 1927.

The Honorable the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

With reference to the letter from the Speaker of the House of Representatives, dated 9th May, 1927, in which was embodied the text of the resolution unanimously agreed to by the House of Representatives at its meeting in Canberra on that date, expressing sincere gratitude to His Majesty the King for his historic gift to the Parliament, tlie GovernorGeneral desires to inform the Speaker that he has received advice that the message has been laid before His Majesty, who was pleased to receive it very graciously.



page 37

ESTIMATES- 1927-28

Messages reported transmitting estimates of revenue and expenditure, and estimates of expenditure for additions, new works, buildings, &c., for the year ending 30th June, 1928, and recommending appropriations accordingly.

Ordered to be printed, and referred to Committee of Supply.

page 37

BUDGET, 1927-28

In Committee of Supply:

Treasurer · Cowper · CP

– I have the honour to present this, my fifth consecutive budget, and the first presented in Canberra, the permanent home of the Commonwealth Parliament. Delay in its delivery has been inevitable owing to the transfer of the Seat of Government to Canberra, which has prevented Parliament from sitting in the earlier months of the new financial year.

The budget is based on a great achievement in co-operation. That achievement is expressed in the financial agreement between the Commonwealth and the States which provides for united action in the redemption of Australian public debt and the common management of future borrowing. This real combination of the financial interests and policies of all the Governments of

Australia can be regarded as the copingstone of our continuous efforts for securing co-operation in national activities.

The consequent re-adjustment of Commonwealth finances is reflected in the figures now submitted. The method of presentation of accounts adopted last year, which had bean made necessary by the continually extending co-operation of the Commonwealth and State Governments, enables the effect of this readjustment to be readily seen.

To enable the details of the budget to be understood, I shall first briefly describe the terms of theagreement.

Adjustment of Commonwealth and State Financial Relations

In view of the insurmountable difficulties in providing without experience of federation some permanent basis of financial relationship between the Federal and State governing authorities, the Constitution merely required the Commonwealth to pay three-fourths of the net Customs and Excise revenue to the States for ten years, and gave Parliament authority to decide what should be done thereafter.

After many conferences had unsuccessfully attempted to find a satisfactory and permanent arrangement, the power thus given to Parliament was exercised in 1910, when provision was made for the States receiving from Commonwealth revenue per capita payments of 25s. per annum during another period of ten years and thereafter until Parliament otherwise provided.

This system of per capita payments was unsatisfactory in many respects. The Government has accordingly been seeking a permanent settlement of the problems of Federal and State finance on a basis free from the objections attaching to the present payments and, at thesame time, mutually satisfactory to the Commonwealth and the States. To this end, the Commonwealth has in recent years met the States in conference to discuss various proposals for the adjustment of financial relationships. Prior to this year, however, no progress was made, and it became evident that while the Surplus Revenue Act remained in operation no progress would be made.

The Surplus Revenue Act was, therefore, repealed in April last, and the States invited to meet the Commonwealth in conference in June.

The proposals considered at earlier conferences aimed at giving the States, financial independence by separating the taxation fields in which the Commonwealth and the States operated.

Other avenues of settlement whicn would secure better methods for the management of Australian borrowing and the redemption of public debts were examined in June, and a settlement is now proposed which attains these objectives and at the same time makes the States financially secure.

The proposals placed by the Government before the States were briefly -

The whole of the public debts of the States at 30th June, 1929, to be taken over by the Commonwealth.

Properly safeguarded sinking funds to be established in respect of existing State debts and new borrowings;

The management of debt and future borrowing to be vested in an Australian Loan Council;

The Commonwealth to make substantial contributions towards interest and sinking funds on State debts; and

A final settlement to be made in respect of transferred properties.

In framing these proposals the need for avoiding undue disturbance of Commonwealth and State finance and the claims of the States for the continuance of equitable financial assistance from the Commonwealth were considered. The proposed scheme accordingly provided that the Commonwealth should share the obligations of the States for the payment of interest on their debts and for the provision of sinking funds.

The States Grants Act 1927 provides that, subject to any agreement made between the Commonwealth and the States and adopted by the Parliament, the States shall be paid during the present year a sum of £7,734,990, which is tha equivalent of 25s. per capita for 1927-28. The intention now is that, in lieu of these payments, the States shall receive financial assistance from the 1st July, 1927, in respect of interest and sinking fund payments on State debts, on the basis provided in the draft scheme submitted to the States.

Towards interest on the existing debts of the States, the Commonwealth is to contribute annually a sum equal to the per capita payments for 1926-27, namely, £7,584,912. This is to be a fixed contribution for a period of 58 years from the 1st July, 1927, during which period the extinction of the State debts existing at 30th June, 1927, will be effected by means of a sinking fund of 7s. 6d. per annum for each £100 of debt. Towards this sinking fund the Commonwealth will contribute annually 2s. 6d. and the States 5s. The Commonwealth contribution on the existing debts will be approximately £80S,000 per annum.

On all new State debts there is to be a sinking fund to provide for redemption in 53 years from the date of the raising of each new loan. The contributions to this sinking fund will total 10s. per annum for each £100 of debt, and will be shared equally by the Commonwealth and the State concerned. The amount of new borrowing will determine the annual cost of this sinking fund.

The adjustment in respect of transferred properties is to be made by the Commonwealth assuming liability for so much of the State debts bearing interest at 5 per cent, as amounts to the agreed value of the properties. This will benefit the States to the extent of £165,533 per annum, as in the past interest hat1 been paid at per cent.

In 1927-2S “the Commonwealth will thus pay to or for the States -

The benefits of the scheme, however, cannot fairly be measured by the visible relief to the States. The real benefits lie in the prospective enhancement of the credit of Australia and savings in interest through the better management of debt and new borrowing.

Our experiences in Australia and abroad furnish ample evidence of the ad verse effect of competition between Australian Governments for loan moneys. The plans now proposed for the creation of a permanent and complete Australian Loan Council are therefore of the greatest importance. The power for good of the present Loan Council, which has been acting on an advisory basis during the last four years, has been diminished by the fact that th% important State of New South “Wales has for a period held aloof.

The common interests of the Governments of the States and the Commonwealth in the loan market fully justify the creation of the Loan Council. Where there are common interests the best results can be obtained only by co-ordinated action. Independent action inevitably brings disadvantages to all.

The Loan Council now to be created will consist of the Treasurer of the Commonwealth and the Treasurer of each State, and will consider all questions relating to future borrowing. All borrowings will be conducted in accordance with its decisions - the Commonwealth acting as the common borrower except in certain cases where other action is deemed by the Council to be more advantageous.

Permanent effect cannot be given to these proposals unless the Constitution is altered so as to confer on the Parliament of the Commonwealth power to make laws for carrying out the proposals. The draft agreement by temporarily adopting such provisions of the scheme as can at once be made effective, ensures that the advantages of united action will immediately accrue as from the beginning of the two-year period commencing on the 1st July, 1927. Before the expiry of this period the Government proposes to seek an amendment of the Constitution to confer on Parliament power to make laws for the permanent adoption of the scheme.

The proposals of the Commonwealth were favorably received by the States and were exhaustively discussed at conferences held in June and July last.

Minor amendments were made in the scheme as originally drafted, and subsequently the Sydney conference resolved : - “ That this conference approves in principle of the draft agreement and the amendments thereto which have been circulated, and that the agreement be now referred to the law officers of the Commonwealth and the States for drafting alterations prior to being finally endorsed by the Commonwealth and the States.”

Friction between the Commonwealth and the States is always likely to arise under a temporary and uncertain basis of financial relationship. These proposals, which will shortly be submitted to Parliament, provide a permanent and satisfactory basis.

The Government confidently believes that their adoption will assure that good relationship between Commonwealth and States which is essential to the welfare of Australia, and will at the same time be of great financial .advantage to the people as a whole.

The Yeah 1926-27

I now come to the consideration of the actual details of the Budget.

On the 11th July last an approximate statement of the Consolidated Revenue Fund for the year 1926-27 disclosed a surplus of £2,623,6S6 in the year’s transactions. The actual surplus was found to be £2,635,597.

Honorable members can appreciate the excellent work of the Treasury, officials in being able, within a few days of the close of the financial year, to arrive at the result of transactions totalling more than £15,000,000, which result varied only to the extent of £11,911 from the actual, despite the fact that figures in considerable detail had to be obtained from all parts of the Commonwealth, from London and from’ New York.

The estimated surplus for the year was £.149,381. The actual surplus, £2,635,597, was £2,4S6,216 in excess of the estimate. This excess is made up as follows : -

Part I. - Departments and Services, other than business undertakings and Territories of the Commonwealth -

The estimate of the cost of the present programme of Naval Construction is £7,200,000. Of this sum, £4,500,000 had already been provided ‘ and £1,880,000 is now being provided, thus leaving £S20,000 to be still found. The amount expended since 1923 on the Great Barrier

Reef from the Defence Reserve Trust Account is £172,S72, and £120,000 is now provided to enable the work to continue.

The provision of £250,000 for science and industry investigations will enable the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research to proceed with its definite programme of investigating the problems which confront primary and secondary producers.

In 1925-26, £250,000 was applied to the purchase of aircraft equipment, the reconditioning of existing equipment, acquisition of sites, and accommodation for aircraft equipment. A further sum of £200,000 is now set aside from the surplus to extend the activities of civil aviation in order that greater benefits of transportation by air may be provided for the people of Australia.

As the funds for the education of children of deceased and permanently incapacitated soldiers, which are partly provided from public contributions, are rapidly diminishing, it is proposed to augment them by the provision of £100,000 from the surplus.

The amount of £200,000 set aside for National Insurance is with the object of forming the nucleus of a fund m connexion with a scheme of National Insurance, the legislation to cover which it is proposed to introduce during the present session.

The Commonwealth Government has agreed with the Empire Marketing Board to bear the expense, in equal proportions, of conducting an exhaustive trial in Australia of the latest known geophysical methods of prospecting. The Government has, therefore, provided £20,000 for this purpose and £50,000 for prospecting work in connexion with oil.

The amount of suffering and death caused by the dread malady of cancer is enlisting the practical sympathy of almost every Government in the worldThe Commonwealth Government has decided to set aside £100,000 for the purchase of 10 grammes of radium, and to make it available, under proper conditions, to the principal hospitals of Australia. In order that as large a number of Australian practitioners as practicable may become experienced in the use of radium, the Government has entered into an arrangement with one of the leading radium specialists in England to come to Australia for a period of three years to demonstrate the methods of use.

Revenue, 1926-27

As previously stated, the actual revenue for 1926-27 under Part I. exceeded the estimate by £2,724,214. This amount is made up as follows : -

Customs and Excise Revenue

The net increase of £1,552,478 in Customs and excise revenue is made up of an increase of £1,642,100 in Customs revenue, and a decrease of £S9,622 in excise revenue.

It is interesting to compare the experience of the United Spates of America with the experience of the Commonwealth in estimating receipts from the Customs tariff. In the year 1925-26, the Customs revenue of the United States totalled $579,000,000, which was $32,000,000, or 5.8 per cent, over the budget estimate. Last financial year the Commonwealth received in Customs revenue £31,S32,600, which is £1,642,100. or 5.4 per cent- in excess of the budget estimate.

This excess was almost wholly made up of land tax, £304,900, and income tax, £620,278. The increase in land tax was due to higher valuations and a reduction in the arrears of tax, whilst the additional returns from income tax were mainly due to a reduction in the arrears of tax outstanding.

Other Heads of Revenue

Sundry increases and decreases in the miscellaneous items of revenue resulted in a net increase of £246,405. The coinage revenue was £198,071 in excess of the estimate. The chief factor was the special issue of florins to commemorate the opening of the first Parliament at the Federal Capital City.

Expenditure, 1926-27

As I have previously given a detailed explanation of the increase in expenditure from revenue of £698,029, I will content myself at this stage by pointing out that £390,790 arises from expenditure under statutory obligations, mainly invalid and old-age pensions, war pensions, and wine export bounty. The expenditure under Miscellaneous Services increased by £204,151, arising chiefly from the expenditure in connexion with the of the Duke of York, an additional amount required to pay the guaranteed price to cotton growers, and temporary assistance to Tasmanian apple growers.

There was a reduction of £255,515 in the deficit on business undertakings. The working of these public utilities throughout the year resulted in the Post Office showing an increase of £216,219 in the estimated surplus, and the Railways showing a reduction of £39,296 in the estimated deficit.

The expenditure on the territories of the Commonwealth totalled £411,220, as compared with the estimate of £460,539, a reduction of £49,319. The revenue was less than the estimate by £12,825, the net result being a decrease of £36,494 in the estimated deficit.

Loan Expenditure, 1926-27

The actual loan expenditure for last financial year was £2,251,583 less than the estimate, and compares with the estimate as follows : -

In this connexion it may be mentioned that the total Commonwealth loan expenditure for the year approximately equalled the amount of Commonwealth debt actually redeemed during the year from the Sinking Fund and from Revenue.

New Year

Loan Expenditure

I propose to deal first with the loan estimates which are shown in the following table in comparison with the expenditure of last year: -

Provision is also made in the Loan Budget for £3,750,000 for migration loans to the States and £2,000,000 for loans to be raised on behalf of the Federal Capital Commission.

Soldier Land Settlement

The Commonwealth has undertaken to bear more than £10,000,000 of the concessions and losses on soldier settlement, and formal agreements have been entered into by the States with the Commonwealth in regard to the repayment of loans on this basis. At the recent Conference of Commonwealth and State Ministers, the Government undertook to review the matter of losses when the revaluations were completed. In the meantime the presentation of the agreement to Parliament for ratification will be deferred.

River Murray Waters Act

The expenditure incurred to 30th June, 1927, on the whole of the works completed and in the course of construction totals £5,134,500, towards which the Commonwealth Government, which provides one-fourth, has contributed £1,283,625.

Considerable progress has been made with the various works, the more important of which are the Hume Reservoir and Lake Victoria storage. The expenditure on these works is £2,135,000 and £438,000 respectively.

It is estimated that the expenditure during the current financial year will amount to £1,172,000, towards which the Commonwealth will contribute £293,000.


The Development and Migration Commission is administering the Migration Agreement between the British and Commonwealth Governments, covering a total expenditure of £34,000,000, and the subsidiary agreements with the Governments of the States. Up to the end of June last, developmental schemes representing an estimated expenditure of £12,457,000 had been submitted by the States, and of these final approval has been given to schemes upon which £5,898,000 will be expended.

During the financial year 1925-26, the number of assisted migrants reaching the Commonwealth was 26,678. During the financial year 1926-27 the total was 33,174.

Commonwealth Bank

Central Reserve Bank

Since 1924, the Commonwealth Bank, whilst carrying on the ordinary operations of a trading bank, has been carrying out many of the functions of a central bank, although without the facilities that would be provided by centralizing reserves.

In exercising central banking functions the bank has given considerable assistance to the other financial institutions by providing large sums of money in London at a time when Australian funds in London were depleted, and also by making funds available in Australia. In this way it was able to ease the stringency in Australia by assisting the banks and the trading public to meet seasonal demands.

Exchange rates have been maintained on a reasonably stable basis generally favorable to producers of exportable products.

Inview of the trend in most of the modern countries of the world to strengthen and stabilize the financial position by the creation of a bank of central reserve, the visit of Sir Ernest Harvey, Controller of the Bank of England, and his capable and explicit explanations of central banking, were of especial interest to Australia.

Profits of Bank

During the twelve months ending 30th June, 1927, the profits of the Commonwealth Bank, excluding the Note Issue Department, amounted to £580,987, as compared with £461,296 in 1925-26.

Rural Credits Department

The Rural Credits Department is becoming increasingly important in the assistance of the regular and orderly marketing of primary produce. In the initial stages trouble was encountered owing to the many co-operative organizations being unable to give legal control over the relative produce. These difficulties have now been overcome. During the year the benefits of the Rural Credits Department were extended to the following commodities, viz., wool, wheat, cotton, wine, butter, eggs, egg pulp, peanuts, canned and pulped fruits, dried fruits, osmiridium, broom millet, arrowroot, maize, and fortifying spirit.

The support given by the bank to the Wheat Pools during last year has been of material advantage to wheat producers in assisting orderly and regular marketing and in making advantageous freight arrangement possible.

The capital of this department is being steadily built up out of the profits of the Note Issue Fund.

The activity of the department is indicated by the trebled turnover: -

Note Issue Department

The profits from the Note Issue Department were £1,136,476, of which £852,357 was paid to the Consolidated Revenue Fund, and £284,119 added to the capital of the Rural Credits Department.


Legislation is proposed during the coming session to give effect to the Government’s declared policy to assist the citizens of the Commonwealth to own their own homes. A certain proportion of the increases in the Commonwealth Savings Bank deposits, and of maturing investments of Savings Bank funds, will be applied to this purpose, and loans will be raised by the Commonwealth from time to time so that, with the other funds available, the total provision for this purpose will amount to £20,000,000.

It is not proposed to enter into competition with authorities which at present provide assistance to persons to acquire their own homes, but moneys provided by the Commonwealth will be made available through existing authorities, and supplement their funds. Advances will be made to the agencies of State or Territorial administrations, State Savings Banks, or municipalities for assistance in the purchasing and building of homes, provided that the amount of the advance does not exceed £1,800, and does not exceed 90 per cent. of the valuation of the property.

It is surely a most gratifying feature of our finances that we were able to effect this substantial reduction last financial year in our war debt. During the past five years the debt under this head has been reduced by £36,000,000.

Other Debt

The balance of our public debt has been contracted on account of Commonwealth works and loans raised for the States and Federal Capital Commission.

This increase of £10,265,378 is wholly due to loan raisings by the Commonwealth on behalf of the States and Federal Capital Commission. These amounted to £11,094,240, and £828,862 was redeemed.

The total debt at 30th June, 1927, under this head is made up as follows ; -

To ascertain the net debt of the Commonwealth, there should be deducted: -

On the same basis the net debt at 30th June, 1926, was £338,841,476.

The gross debt at 30th June, 1927, is redeemable as under : -

Of that redeemable in London, £85,572,848to due to the Government of the United Kingdom.

Debt Redemption

The amount made available for debt redemption in the financial year just closed was £5,9S9,230, being £493,321in excess of that for 1925-26. The details are as follow: -

Reparation moneys credited to the sinking fund were £1,037,651 in excess of those paid into the fund during the previous year. The large addition from this source was clue to a special receipt of of £912,445 as the Commonwealth’s share of reparation moneys prior to the coming into operation of the Dawes scheme.

The sinking fund moneys were employed for the most part in the repurchase of Commonwealth securities on the market, which were then cancelled. In 1926-27, however, a sum of £1,364,460 was set aside for the redemption of securities of the 6 per cent. loan which matured on 31st May last.

New Raisings in 1926-27.

Two public loans totalling £10,804,240 were successfully floated in Australia at 5¼ per cent. on behalf of the States and Federal Capital Commission, and £28,380,860 of local war debt was converted on the same basis.

Debts of the States.

Particulars are not yet available of the debts of the various States as at 30th June, 1927. The figures for 30th June preceding, however, were as follow : -

Of this debt £85,778,751 is also included in debt of the Commonwealth, representing loans raised by the Commonwealth Government for the States, and Northern Territory and Port Augusta to Oodnadatta Railway loans taken over from South Australia. The debt of £641,334,761 was held as under : -

As State debts were contracted almost wholly for the construction of works and services of a developmental or revenue producing character, it is interesting to note that, after paying working expenses, these works and services yielded a net return in 1925-26 of £18,016,406. This amount was available for the payment of interest on borrowed moneys, and represents an average of £2 16s. 2d. per cent. on the whole amount of the debt of the States.

The State Sinking Funds at 30th June, 1926, amounted to £20,646,296. Apart from these funds, the States also make a contribution at the rate of 10s. per cent. to the Commonwealth Sinking Fund in respect of debts raised by the Commonwealth on their behalf. The amount so contributed up to 30th June, 1927, was £237,956.

Total Commonwealth and State Debts

The gross debt of the Commonwealth at 30th June, 1927, and States at 30th June, 1926, omitting debts which are included in both Commonwealth and State debts was £1,016,623,752, as against £990,642,419 for the previous year - an increase of £25,981,333.

The gross debt of Australia per head of population is £165.

Expenditure Out of Revenue

Part I. - Departments and Services other than Business Undertakings and Territories of the Commonwealth.

Having dealt with the Loan Expenditure and subjects allied thereto, I will now deal with the expenditure out of revenue. The estimated expenditure for 1927-28, under this part of the Estimates is £50,855,434, an increase of £809,485. The increases consist of: -

The increase inWar and Defence Services is made up of £254,918 in interest and sinking fund onWar Loans, and £216,904 in War Pensions. These items total £471,822. A decrease of £145,529 in the expenditure for repatriation of soldiers and other war and defence services produces the net increase of £326,293. The increases referred to are beyond the control of the Government, as they automatically accrue. The additional interest and sinking fund is almost wholly due to the redemption operation which falls due in December next, when loans bearing interest at the rates of 4½ per cent. and 5 per cent. respectively will be replaced by a loan bearing a higher rate of interest.

The increase of £260,760 in interest and sinking fund on loans for works is a natural result of the developmental policy of the Government. Portion of this amount, such as interest and sinking fund on loans for Migration and for the Grafton to South Brisbane Railway, will be recovered from the States.

The Estimates have been framed after the closest possible scrutiny of each item with a view to reducing expenditure. The amounts now remaining are the minimum sums required for efficient services under present conditions.

The Government has always maintained a strict supervision over departmental expenditure, with the result that, notwithstanding the increase in population of more than 13 per cent., the expenditure since 1921-22 has been kept practically stationary. The increase in the estimated expenditure for the present year is due in the main to the provision of new services, the adjustment of salaries by the Public Service Board of Commissioners to the increased cost of living, and the additional expenditure consequent upon the transfer of Parliament and the Administration of Government to the Federal Capital City.

The increase of £16,981 in the estimates of the Parliament, representing approximately 25 per cent, of the expenditure of the previous year, is due to the added cost of functioning at Canberra.

The increase of £54)776 in the Prime Minister’s Department is mainly due to the activities of the Development and Migration Commission, which are being carried out in accordance with the lawpassed by Parliament in July of last year.

The national health policy of the Government is responsible for the expenditure of the Department of Health advancing by £51,284.

The new service of the Bankruptcy Act, which was passed in 1924, and will shortly be proclaimed, accounts for £10,612.

The swelling volume of business handled by the Department of Trade and Customs is reflected in the large increase in the revenue collected by that department, and in an additional expenditure of £14,565.

Ministers will explain and will be prepared to justify their several Estimates.

The increase in the ordinary votes of departments since 1921-22 is £127,299 representing a percentage increase of approximately 4^ per cent. As during the same period the population has increased by more than 13 per cent., the total expenditure is still on a much lower plane than that existing in 1921-22, notwithstanding the additional services now provided.

Repatriation of Australian Soldiers

War Pensions

The experience of the past year shows that we have not yet reached the peak of the expenditure in respect of war pensions. The pension list increased by 7,212 pensions, and the total number of pensions in force at 30th June, 1927, was 259,821. The estimated increase in the expenditure for the current year is £216,904, and is due to further additions to the pension list, and to the fact that the Government proposes to increase war pensions by making the pension for the third child and subsequent children 7s. 6d. per week instead of 5s. per week as at present.

General Repatriation

Although there is a reduction in the expenditure on certain phases of repatriation, such as vocational training and sustenance to soldier settlers, there is a marked increase in medical treatment and living allowances. My forecast last year that certain factors in the progress of war disabilities would prevent any decrease in this form of repatriation has been fully borne out, as the numbers receiving medical treatment showed a definite increase- During last financial year, 26,180 applications for medical treatment were approved, and at the 30th June, 1927, there were 6,443 cases undergoing treatment.

The Government has decided to provide suitable transport - or to arrange for suitable transport at a cost not exceeding £10 per soldier per month - for recreation for certain classes of soldiers. Provision of this nature will be made under departmental medical advice, and will be limited to soldiers totally and permanently incapacitated as the result of spinal, head, pelvic or hip injury, organic cerebral, or spinal disease, and double amputation cases above or at the knee, whose means of locomotion, because of war disablement, is permanently restricted to wheel chairs or cots.

The number of applications under the soldiers’ children’s education scheme is still increasing. At 30th June, 1927, nearly 5,000 children were in training, and 2,183 had completed their training. “War Service Homes.

At the 30th June, 1927, 30,S56 war service homes had been provided, made up as follows : -

The activities of the commission in 1926-27 resulted in a surplus of £23.753. The commission is now on a sound financial basis, and the complaints by applicants are negligible.


The developmental programme referred to in the budget of 1924 has now reached its fourth year.

The submarines Oxley and Otway have already been accepted by H.M. Admiralty on behalf of Australia, while it is anticipated that the two cruisers, H.M.A.S. Australia and Canberra will be delivered by the ‘ contractors by the end of February and May, 1928, respectivelyThe building of the seaplane carrier is proceeding.

The developmental programme for 1927-2S includes the building and filling of an additional oil. tank at Darwin, the recruiting of additional personnel for the cruisers and submarines, the purchase of munitions and erection of storage facilities, munition factories, buildings and their equipment.

Improved Air Force accommodation at Point Cook and Laverton, Victoria, and Richmond. New South Wales, has been provided. Steps are being taken to purchase certain additional new aircraft, and the machines required for Royal Australian Air Force co-operation, with the inter-Empire flight by the Royal Air Force have already been ordered.

The Australian. Air Force is cooperating in prospecting for oil in Papua and New Guinea. In connexion with the detailed geological surveys which are shortly to be undertaken, a preliminary aerial photographic reconnaissance along the coasts of these territories is to be carried out by the Air Force.

Civic Aviation Develop- men t

The Government is satisfied that the time-saving element introduced by the air method of travel and mail transmission is of distinct economic and social importance in this country of immense areas and widely separated settlements, and has decided immediately to provide £200,000 out of the surplus to make available the benefits of air transport to several additional districts of the Commonwealth that appear to offer scope for developmental service and commercial enterprise.

Safe landing facilities and regular aerial communications over the following new routes, totalling 4,530 miles, will be provided, viz.: - Perth-Adelaide, Daly Waters-Camooweal, Charleville.Brisbane, Brisbane-Sydney, SydneyCanberraM.elbourne, Derby- Wyndham, and possibly MelbourneLauncestonHobart.

The existing lines with the new routes will encircle the Commonwealth and ameliorate the conditions of settlers in the outback.

Extensive aerial surveying on a commercial basis is being initiated by private enterprise. Several hundred square miles of mapping have been already arranged for, with prospects of extensive classification surveys to follow.

Invalid and Old-age Pensions.

The total amount paid in pensions during 1926-1927 was £9,144,589 for approximately 186,000 invalid and old-age pensions - an increase of nearly 10,000 during the year, after allowing for deaths. The cost for 1927-1928 is estimated to be £9,400,000.

The Royal Commission on National Insurance for old age, invalidity, accident, and unemployment has now completed its researches. The Government hopes at an early date to introduce legislation to establish a scheme of national insurance.

The Government has given consideration to anomalies in the present method of dealing with invalid and old-age pensioners who become inmates of public, institutions, and has decided to call a conference of representatives of the Commonwealth and the States with a view to placing the matter on a more satisfactory basis.

Development and Migration

The Development and Migration Commission has been investigating the condition of various industries and considering developmental schemes submitted by the Governments of the States under the terms of the Migration Agreement.

The economic position of Tasmania, and the gold-mining industry of Western Australia, were considered. In Tasmania action has been taken by the State Government to carry out the recommendations of the commission, as a result of which it is hoped that there will be an improvement in the agricultural industry in that State. Further investigations into the whole of the gold mining industry of Australia are being carried out.

Investigations have also been proceeding into tobacco growing, dried fruits, canned fruits, fisheries, forestry, and paper pulp, dairying, &c. ; while such important questions as geophysical research, mechanical transport, and standardization and simplification of methods in industry to eliminate waste are being closely examined.

An investigation into the tobacco industry is being conducted by the commission jointly with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and the States, with the liberal support of the British-Australian Tobacco Company.

Council for Scientific and Industrial Research

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research has commenced work on tomato wilt, squirter in bananas, poison plants, and various insect pests. Several species of destructive insects ave being distributed in very large numb(-rs in prickly pear districts, with the result that the annual spread of the pear, which a short time ago was estimated at 1,000,000 acres per year, has apparently been checked.

The Council is investigating the problems affecting the cultivation, of the ir.e and citrus fruits, and the preservation, storage, and transport of perishable products. An analysis of the soils of the Murray and Murrumbidgee areas is being undertaken with the object of further settling these areas in the most efficient manner.

Investigations have also been initiated into stock diseases and pests, such as sheep fluke and other animal parasites, the blow-fly pest, contagious pleuropneumonia and tuberculosis in cattle, the Kimberley horse disease, caseous lymphadenitis in sheep, &c. A comprehensive investigation of the problems of the proper nutrition of flocks and herds is being undertaken, and a special laboratory is being erected for the purpose.

With the assistance of the endowment fund of £100,000, eight research trainees have already been sent abroad, and applications for trainees in subjects such as entomology, food cold storage, plr-nt pathology, &c, have been called for.

Engineering Standards Association

Very valuable work has been done by the Australian Commonwealth Engineering Standards Association during the year 1926-27. The number of standard specifications issued by the association has increased from 28 to S3. A further 23 have been approved for publication, and 96 are in course of preparation.

Eighteen sectional committees have been constituted during the year. The total committees, sub-committees and panels of the association number more than’ 250, with a personnel of over 1,000 members.

The Power Survey Committee has prepared and published a report on power alcohol. A number of reports completed by individual States will ultimately be incorporated in federal reports. The committee, functioning in its capacity of National Committee for Australia, has also furnished reports to the World Power Conference.

Department of Health

The establishment of the Federal Health Council makes possible concerted action in public health administration.

As the result of a conference held in December, 1926, international co-operation has been secured in respect of the early announcement of the occurrence of epidemics, quarantine control of infected vessels, and research generally throughout the Pacific.

By the unanimous request of the Commonwealth and States Conference on Foods and Drugs Standards, the St-“e Parliaments are being invited to transfer to the Commonwealth Parliament their powers in respect of foods and drugs in order to effect unity of legal control.

The Government will support attempts to contribute to the knowledge of cancer in Australia. Research is now being subsidized in the universities of Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide, and at the Government’s own laboratories at Royal Park.

As already stated, the Government is providing £100,000 for the purchase <>f radium to establish a radium bank in Australia to cope with cancer

Organization of Oversea Marketing

The boards established in 1925 for two years to regulate the export and sale abroad of butter, cheese, and dried fruits were re-appointed this year. To organize the overseas marketing of canned fruits, a board of three members was appointed during the year. The average annual export of the products now subject to organized systems of marketing totals, approximately, £9,500,000.

By the regulation of shipments, by working in co-ordination with distributors abroad, and by effecting savings in freight and insurance, the boards have increased returns to producers. Savings in freight and insurance alone during the past three years amount to £150,000.

Abolition of Export Inspection Pees. “With the object of further assisting producers to compete in overseas markets, the Government has decided to abolish the inspection fees charged under the commerce regulations on certain exports. the concession, which will come into operation immediately, will amount to about £37,000 annually, and will represent substantial relief to the dairy produce, meat, and fruit exporting industries. Pees will only be charged where inspections are required to be made after official hours. There will be no relaxation of the present rigid system of inspection of goods exported, as it is essential that the existing high grade and quality should be maintained.

This concession is equivalent to a remission of taxation. “Wool.

The clip for the wool season 1926-27 exceeded the most sanguine estimates which were made twelve months ago.

At that time the drought-stricken part of Queensland had caused, and was still causing, heavy losses of sheep, which have been estimated by competent authorities to total 8,000,000. In the southern parts of Australia, over quite a wide area, excessive rains had caused an epidemic of foot-rot, which resulted in a reduction in the number of bales and also considerable losses both of sheep and lambs.

These factors were, however, far more than counterbalanced by the excellent season over a great part of Australia, and especially in New South Wales and even in Queensland in the districts which were not affected by the drought. The result was that the average weight per fleece shown was well above the average, and the sheep numbers, notwithstanding losses, showed a general increase. Even in Queensland the gain in the better districts reduced the total net losses to- something like 3,500,000 sheep, while in New South Wales the numbers reached a level not equalled since 1892. The total estimated production was 2,630,000 bales, practically all of which was sold, the carry over to the new season being negligible.

Prices have been generally upon an even basis during the year, and closed up very firmly owing to German, Russian, and Japanese demand, with very considerable support from the Australian mills. A feature of the wool season’s competition has been the increased importance of the Australian consumption, which has been referred to in all the Australian centres as a factor in maintaining prices.


During the past year there was a considerable increase in the acreage of wheat seeded, but over quite a large area the necessary rains to fill the -wheat at the critical time were either absent or insufficient. Taken as a whole, the wheat yield was a highly satisfactory one, reaching about 165,000,000 bushels.

The market opened on a fairly high level, but owing to a slight relapse in the overseas markets, and still more to the high cost of freight occasioned by the British coal strike, the value locally declined. Fortunately, earlier in the season a number of charters were made on a lower basis, which enabled better results to be secured for wheat-growers than would have otherwise been the case.

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The sugar industry is still producing considerable export surpluses, the losses on which are borne by the growers and raw sugar-millers. The losses have, however, been reduced by the Commonwealth having secured the restoration for ten years, from 1st July, 1925, of the United Kingdom preference of £4 5s. 7d. in the duty on Empire sugars, and the institution as from 1st October, 1925, by Canada of a preference rate of £5 12s. per ton. Including an estimate for 1927-28, these preferences will be worth about £1,700,000 to the sugar producers for the three years covered by the agreement.

Dairy Produce

The quantity of butter and cheese fell off during the year, owing to the dry conditions which prevailed early in the season. The Commonwealth subsidy is enabling the States to lower the cost and extend the benefits of herd testing. The Department of Markets, the Dairy Council, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, and the Development and Migration Commission are acting in coordination to establish a Dairy Research Institute in Australia, and to survey the industry generally.

Tariff Preference and Bounties

An important alteration has been made in the British tariff, which will enable Australian fortified wine to compete on moro favorable terms in the British market. The effect of this alteration is that the preferential advantage of Australian fortified wine over certain Spanish wines which competed very strongly with Australian wines has been increased from fid. per gallon to 4s. per gallon.

This alteration of the position may involve reconsideration of the rate of bounty payable on the export of fortified wine in the light of experience as to the result of the more favorable terms now applying to Great Britain. In any reconsideration of the question due regard will be given to the necessity of maintaining and extending the export trade in fortified wines.

The export trade in fortified wine has substantially increased by reason of the bounty of 4s. per gallon provided by the Wine Export Bounty Act. During 1926-27 the quantity of fortified wine exported rose to 2,212,000 gallons, on which bounty was paid to the amount of £442,410. The essential object of the bounty, namely, the ensuring of reasonable prices to grape-growers, is being observed. By an amending act passed early this year, the rate of bounty was reduced to la. 9d. per gallon. In addition to this payment a refund of the excise duty payable on the fortifying spirit contained in the wine will be allowed, under the drawback provisions of the Customs Act, making a total payment on the fortified wine exported of 3s. per gallon.

Under the Iron and Steel Products Bounty Act, the bounties paid on fencing wire, wire netting, galvanized iron sheets, and tractors amounted to £256,S53.

The production of sulphur from Australian ores for use in the manufacture of fertilizers and other products involved payment of bounty of £34,339.

The payments of bounty under the Cotton Bounty Act were - on seed cotton £17,037, on cotton yarn £30,002.

The grand total of the bounties paid in 1926-27 was £781,349.

Part II. - Business Undertakings. - POSTMASTER-GENERAL’S Department.

The estimated revenue of the Post Office from all sources for 1927-2S is £12,391,000, being an increase of £742,362 over the revenue of 1926-27.

The expenditure of the department from revenue for 1927-28 is estimated at £12,223,353. The operations of the department for the current financial year are therefore expected to yield a surplus of £167,647.

The estimated expenditure is £937,454 in excess of the actual expenditure of last financial year, and is caused chiefly by expansion of business, increased rates of pay due to arbitration awards, additional payments to Railway Departments for carriage of mails, higher scale of payment to non-official postmasters, increased cost of operating the large additions to telephone, telegraph and postal assets, and to interest and sinking fund.

The pay of non-official postmasters has been revised, and £S6,000 has been provided in the Estimates to meet increased pay from 1st January, 1927.

The Government proposes to make available a sum of £100,000 to install automatic telephones in country centres to enable small groups of settlers to avail themselves of continuous services. Pour of these installations are now operating satisfactorily.

During the year 1926-27 approximately 24,000 miles of trunk and telegraph wire were erected and 3S,709 additional telephones installed. Provision is being made for an additional 44,000 telephones during the current financial year. The introduction of the carrier wave system of telephony is giving very satisfactory service, and its use is resulting in a decrease in the mileage of trunk and telegraph wire being erected.

Australia is seventh on the list of countries showing the greatest density of telephone development on a per capita basis. The following table shows that telephone subscribers in the Commonwealth are provided with a service at considerably lower costs than those paid by residents in other countries: -

TheBeam Wireless Service with England was inaugurated on8th April, 1927, and the satisfactory service provided is being well patronized by the public. The Beam Service with Canada has not yet been opened, owing to delays at the Canadian end which are beyond the control of the Commonwealth. It is expected, however, that the service will be inaugurated in the near future.

Common wealth Railways.

Trans- Australian Railway

The financial results of the working of the Kalgoorlie-Port Augusta Railway have shown a steady improvement. In the year1920-21 the revenue failed to cover the ordinary working expenses, excluding interest, by £91,339. During last financial year the earnings of the railway were not only sufficient to pay the ordinary working expenses, but contributed approximately £30,000 towards interest and sinking fund. That is to say, the position has improved by £121,339.

Under the Railways (South Australian) Agreement Act 1926, provision is made for the extension of the 4-ft.8½-in. gauge from Port Augusta to Adelaide to enable the Commonwealth trains to run between Kalgoorlie and Adelaide. The work has been recommended by the Parliamentary

Standing Committee of Public Works, and the necessary Bill for the construction of the railway will be introduced during the present session. The breaks of guage at Port Augusta and Terowie have greatly hampered and restricted business, and it is expected that the extension of a uniform gauge to Adelaide will considerably increase the traffic.

North Australia Railway

The satisfactory improvement in the results of the Trans-Australian Railway is also noticeable in the Darwin to Katherine River Railway. The loss in the actual working, excluding the payment of interest, in 1920-21 was £15,337. Last financial year the loss was approximately £2,200. During the current financial year heavy renewals of sleepers will be necessary, and as a result it is anticipated the working expenditure will exceed the revenue by £6,000.

Central Australia Railway

The year 1926-27 was the first full year when the railway was operated by the Commonwealth Railways Commissioner, and the loss, which in 1925-26 was £105,186, was reduced to £6,26S. It is expected that for the year 1927-28 there will be a surplus of earnings over working expenditure of £2,000.

Part III. - Territories of the Common wealth.

The estimated receipts and expenditure of the Territories of the Commonwealth will result in a deadweight charge on the ordinary revenues of the Commonwealth of £446,215. The deficit in the accounts of the Territories in 1926-27 was £364,045. The increase in the cost of administration of the Territories is almost entirely due to the transfer of the Administration of Government to the Federal Capital City, and covers the purchase of Melbourne homes of officers who are transferred to Canberra.

Federal Capital Territory

Activities in the Federal Capital Territory have been continued in accordance with the Government’s decision to transfer the Seat of Government to Canberra this year, and to hold future sessions of

Parliament there. This decision, necessitated the completion of basic engineering and numerous accessory services, besides official and residential accommodation -

On 9th May, 1927, Parliament House, Canberra, was officially opened by His Royal Highness the Duke of York.

Preparatory work has been undertaken in connexion with the erection of the permanent administrative buildings, and the erection of necessary hotels and boarding houses has been completed.

During the current financial year the water supply, sewerage, and electrical services will be extended. It is proposed also to undertake a progressive review of the law in force in the Territory.

In the year 1924-25 revenue totalled £90,476; and the estimated receipts for 1927-28 are £550,000.

Northern Australia

The North Australia Commission was appointed on 1st September, 1926, and the act was proclaimed to commence on 1st February, 1927.

The commission has been organizing its staff preparatory to submitting its scheme for the development of North Australia, and has established shipping services on the eastern and western coasts.

Expropriated Property - New Guinea

With the exception of two small plantations and 30 other lots consisting of virgin land and town allotments, the whole of the expropriated property in New Guinea, officially valued at £2,111,657, has been sold for £3,345,027. The properties sold consist of plantations, trading stations, stores, town blocks, and virgin land. The plantations comprise 115,917 acres of planted, and 133,435 acres of unplanted land ; the planted area containing 5,527,000 coco-nut palms, and 331,440 cocoa, rubber, and other trees. The Expropriation Board, as a matter of policy, had employed Australian soldiers in the management of the properties, and out of 1S3 plantations sold, 169 have been secured by Australian soldiers.

It is anticipated that the unsold lots will pass into private ownership, and that the Expropriation Board, which has been responsible for the control and maintenance of the plantations since 1920, will cease to exist before the close of the current year

Part IV. - Payments to or for the States.

The estimated payments to or for the States during the current year will total £14,147,912 as compared with actual payments last financial year of £12,S86,764, being an increase of £1,261,148. Of this increase £376,14S, which will be recovered from the States, represents interest od new loans raised by the Commonwealth for the States. The remainder of the increase, £S85,000, is the Commonwealth’s contribution to the States in accordance with the proposed financial adjustment. The financial agreement includes an additional payment of £165,533 by the Commonwealth to the States for interest on transferred properties, and as this expenditure is not included in Part IV. of the Estimates, it will be seen that compared with the grants to the States iu 1926-27 the total cost to the Commonwealth of carrying out the agreement with the States during the current financial year will be £1,050,533.

The increase in the proposed financial assistance to the States as compared with 1926-27, together with the increase in the interest on transferred properties, affords relief to the States budgets to the extent of £724,000. This amount is a direct relief to the State taxpayer, and as a remission of taxation should be added to the other reductions of taxation embodied in the Government’s financial policy for the current year.

Federal Aid Roads

The whole of the States have now entered into agreement with the Commonwealth to give effect to its federal aid roads policy.

During the year 1926-27 the Minister for Works and Railways approved of road proposals totalling £2,437,544, under : -

Schedules of road proposals covering a period of five years, to the year 1931, have been submitted by the various States, with the exception of New South Wales, and represent a total of approximately 12,000 miles. The New South

Wales Government did not sign the agreement until towards the close of the financial year, and its proposals for road construction have not yet been received. Estimated Revenue fob the New YEAR

Having dealt with the revenue of business undertakings and of the territories of the Commonwealth, there remains only the revenue under Part I. of the Estimates. This includes all taxation and miscellaneous heads of revenue which together are available for the payment of war charges, for the ordinary expenditures of government, for covering deficits on business undertakings and territories, and for granting financial assistance to the States.

Revenue 1927-28

The estimated revenue for 1927-28 is £62,725,000.

Income Tax

There will be a decrease of £1,326,273 in the amount of income tax to be collected this year, due mainly to the following concessions: -

Carrying Forward of Trading or Business Losses

It is considered that the incidence of the existing income tax legislation is unjust in that a taxpayer who suffers a trading or business loss in any year or years is penalized as compared with a taxpayer who consistently secures trading or business profits year after year.

Primary producers are peculiarly at the mercy of dry seasons, floods, and droughts, as well as pests of various kinds. In a good season they may mao good profits, upon which they are taxed, but in bad seasons they suffer seriously, and are often subject to heavy losses. The only relief they then obtain, from a taxation point of view, is that in the year in which they have no taxable income they escape payment of lax.

It is proposed to amend the law to provide for trading or business losses actually incurred being allowed as deductions for income tax purposes until such losses are recouped by subsequent profits within a limit of five years.


It is proposed to amend the law to allow a deduction for income tax purposes of gifts in kind as well as in cash to public charitable institutions, and also to widen the scope of the words “Public Charitable Institution.” It is also proposed to allow as a deduction for income tax purposes the amount of donations to universities.

Allowances to Primary Producers

To encourage closer settlement of land and increased production, it is proposed to amend the law so as to allow the deduction, for income tax purposes, of certain expenditure incurred by a primary producer in making his land fully productive or maintaining the productivity of the land.

Reduction of Tax

When dealing with any alteration in the rates of taxation, a review of the history of previous alterations is of convenience to honourable members -

The first federal income tax law was passed in 1915, and tax collected for the year 1915-16.

In the next year there was an increase of 25 per cent, in the rates.

In 1918-19, a supertax of 30 per cent, was levied.

The peak was reached in 1920-21, when an additional supertax of 5 per cent, was imposed. In all, the rates then charged were 7 Of per cent, above the original.

In 1922-23 there was a reduction of slightly more than 10 per cent., which brought the excess over the original rates down to 53£ per cent.

In 1924-25 there was another reduction of a little more than 10 per cent., resulting in rates equal to 38 per cent, above the original.

In 1925-26 a further reduction of income tax rates was granted so as to bring the tax to the original rates plus 20 per cent. This represented a reduction in tax of 13 per cent.

In addition to these percentage reductions, the amount of non-taxable income was raised from £100 to £200 in 1922-23 and to £300 in 1924-25.

The Government now proposes to give further relief to individual taxpayers to the extent of 10 per cent., so as to reduce the tax to the original rates plus 8 per cent, r.s compared with the peak tax of the original rates plus 70f per cent.

Land Tax

The amount estimated to be received from land tax in 1927-28 is £445,900 less than the actual collections of last year, due to the following concessions to taxpayers.

Retrospective Assessments

The Land Tax Assessment Act grants to the Commissioner of Taxation power to make retrospective assessments during a period of two years. An assessment is issued and the amount thereof paid by a taxpayer, who during a period of two years from the date of such assessment may, by means of an amended assessment, be called upon to pay an additional amount of tax, because- of a check valuation by the department of the land owned by such taxpayer.

The issue of such retrospective assessments gives valid cause for complaint on the part of taxpayers, who are entitled to expect that, as in the case of other taxes, assessments issued in the first instance should, as far as possible, correctly indicate the amount of their indebtedness to the department. It is. therefore, proposed to abolish the practice of issuing such retrospective assessments.

It is further proposed that assessments of land tax shall be divided into triennial periods, and that the value at which any area of land or any interest in an area of land shall have been included in the assessment of the year which is the first year of a triennial period shall, subject to certain necessary provisions to meet special circumstances, not be increased during the currency of that triennial period.

Shareholding Interests in Land Owned by Companies.

Much unremunerative work is entailed upon officers of the Taxation Department, and consequent delay in the issue of assessments for land tax, through the preparation and tabulation of particulars of the value of each shareholder’s interest in the land owned by a company or companies in which he is a holder of shares at the 30th June in each year. .

To curtail such unremunerative work, and at the same time obviate the delays now caused in the issue of land tax assessments, it is therefore proposed to add a proviso to section 39 (2) of the Land Tax Assessment Act, eliminating from consideration for land tax purposes individual shareholding interests which do not amount in the aggregate to £500.

Relief from Payment of Land Tax under Certain Circumstances.

It is .proposed to remodel section 66 of the Land Tax Assessment Act so as to provide that where the Commissioner of Taxation is satisfied that the returns from land which is used for primary production have been seriously impaired by reason of drought or adverse seasons, or other adverse conditions, the Relief Board may release the taxpayer wholly, or in part, from his liability for land tax in respect of that land, notwithstanding that he may own other ‘land.

The object of this proposal is to afford relief to a primary producer when hardship would be imposed upon him by requiring him to pay land tax assessed on an area of land in respect of which he has already suffered loss from these causes.

Reduction of Land Tax

The land tax was first imposed in 1910-11 with a tax of Id. where the taxable value is £1, increasing uniformly by 1.30000th of Id. with each increase of £1 in the taxable value until a maximum rate of 6d. was reached, which rate remained constant in further increases in the taxable value.

In 1914-15 the uniform increase was 1.18750th instead of 1.30000th of Id., and the maximum rate was increased to 9d.

In 1918-19, as a war measure, the rates of tax were increased by 20 per cent. In 1922-23 the increase of 20 per cent, in the rates was remitted. The rate of tax at present payable is, therefore, that which was imposed in 1914-15, and the Government now proposes to make a reduction in those rates of 10 per cent.

Owing mainly to this reduction in the rate of tax, and to the concessions which I have outlined, the revenue estimated to be received from the land tax is £445,900 less than the actual collections of last financial year.

Appeal Board

To facilitate the settlement of differences between landowners and the Taxation Departments regarding the valuations of land, the Government proposes to appoint a board of review, to which appeals can be made by the taxpayer. The board, which will operate on the same lines as the Income Tax Board of Review will consist of persons who have had such experience in the value of land that they will be competent to deal with appeals. The decisions of the board will be final, but provision will be made that questions of law arising out of the appeals can be dealt with by the High Court.

Customs and Excise Revenue

The Customs and Excise revenue for this year is estimated to be £44,800,000.

When the Government’s federal aid roads policy was enunciated in last year’s Budget, it was intimated that the annual grant to the States of £2,000,000 would be provided out of existing revenues to the extent of £500,000, and £1,500000 would be obtained from road users by means of the Customs Tariff. When the Federal Aid Roads Bill was submitted to Parliament, only three States had intimated their intention of co-operating with the Commonwealth. As it appeared that the whole of the additional revenue would not be required during last financial year, the Government decided to waive for the time being certain additional duties proposed. Now that the whole of the States have signed the Federal Aid Roads Agreement, it will be necessary to impose these additional duties. The House will be informed of the full details of these duties later in the day by the Minister for Trade and Customs. The increased revenue for road purposes will account for £500,000 of the estimated increase in the Customs and excise revenue, leaving £747,522 to arise from normal increases.


The presentation of the fifth financial statement of the present Government affords a favorable opportunity for a review of its financial operations and policy.

The outstanding features of the Government’s financial policy have been rigid economy in departmental administration, the progressive reduction of wartime taxation, measures to enhance the national credit by the systematic extinction of debt and common management of borrowing, the improvement of banking machinery and marketing methods, humanitarian legislation to ameliorate the lot of the sick, the aged, returned soldiers and their dependants, the immense extension of postal and telephone facilities, a five-years’ programme of Defence development, and the fullest co-operation with the States in national development.

A comparison of 1921-22, the last complete financial year before the Government took office, with the present financial year, indicates the effect of this policy on our finances.

The leaders of the present Government have, during the whole period since 1921- 22, had control of the finances. The following reductions in taxation have been made, which are cumulative, and are carried by each succeeding year.

In 1923, a 25 per cent, reduction in postage was made, notwithstanding which the position of all officers had since been bettered, and the conditions of the postal and telephonic services generally had been greatly improved. The number of telephones in Australia has been more than doubled. Provision for. continuous services is being made over practically the whole of Australia.

Income taxation reached its peak in 1921-22, being then 70f per cent above the original rate of 1914-15. Successive reductions in 1922, in 1924, in 1925, and in 1927 have reduced that rate to only 8 per cent, above the original level. The amount of non-taxable income has been raised from £100 to £300, and many additional concessions granted, such as the increased deduction for children from £26 to £50, deductions for vermin-proof fencing, medical expenses, &c, and the non-inclusion in the income of 5 per centof the value of the home. As a result, only £9,800,000 income tax will be collected this year as compared with £16,790,000 in 1921-22, despite the great development that has taken place in the interim and the number of income taxpayers having been reduced by 550,000.

The land tax was reduced by 20 per cent, in 1922, and is now being reduced by another 10 per cent., bringing it below the level of the tax imposed in 1914, while additional concessions in the abolition of retrospective assessments, the extension of the relief clauses, and a triennial valuation are being given this year.

The war-time profits tax, which in 1921-22 returned £1,306,708, has since expired.

The direct taxation collected in 1921-22 totalled £22,048,4S3, whilst the estimated collections in 1927-2S are £13,750,000, a reduction .of £S,298,4S3. In the same period, the per capita burden of direct taxation fell from £4 to £2 4s. Id., a reduction of more than 45 per cent.

The Customs revenue, however, has increased despite the fact that in 1922 the duties on barbed wire, wire-netting, and galvanized iron and, in 1923, the duty on sulphur, were replaced by bounties, while in 1925 revenue duties on some 49 other articles were reduced or’ abolished.

The increases in the three items of expenditure of the following table alone amount to £519,000 more than the total increased yield from all sources of taxation in these six years, viz. : -

All sections of the community are in agreement with the principle involved in providing assistance to the aged and the infirm which the Commonwealth took over from the States in 1910. Every budget debate is characterized by a request for even more liberal concessions than those which caused practically half this increase in expenditure.

The other half of the increased expenditure has been incurred in rendering further financial assistance to the States. If the Commonwealth had not accepted this responsibility, the taxpayers would not have escaped the burden, but would have paid it through additional State taxation. Of this increase, £2,000,000 is provided by the Customs tariff for federal aid roads. This is more in the nature of a charge on road-users for services rendered, rather than taxation. It is in the same category as railroad fare? £1,050,533 additional is being paid ir connexion with the financial agreement to settle on a permanent and satisfactory basis the financial relations between the Commonwealth and the States. The bulk of this amount is a contribution to the sinking fund, which will more than repay itself in improved national credit.

The increased expenditure on service*1 of the works debt is partly due to the pro vision for the systematic extinction of the debt which was made by the Government when it established the national debt sink ing fund in 1923, and the balance is made up of new borrowing for migration, the River Murray Waters Scheme, and for developmental works, the bulk of which is really assistance to the States.

Quite apart from the specific reductions of taxation already quoted, the Government’s policy has steadily lessened the drain on the taxpayers of Australia.

The establishment of the national debt sinking fund, providing for the systematic extinction of the public debt, and the formation of the Federal Loan Council to co-ordinate State and Federal borrowing, have enhanced our national credit, and brought substantial savings to the taxpayers.

Elimination of duplication as in the amalgamation of the Federal and State income tax collection has lessened the cost to the individual of the preparation of his returns and the conduct of his business.

The amendment of the Commonwealth Bank Act, which provided machinery to enable the Commonwealth Bank to function as a central reserve bank, has given greater financial stability and markedly improved our exchange position.

The Rural Credits Department of the Commonwealth Rank, and the export control machinery created under the legislation of the Government, have stimulated orderly and regular marketing and materially increased the producer’s returns.

The assistance given to our primary and secondary industries to enable them to satisfy the needs of our home markets and to sell their surplus production in open competition in the world’s markets, the organization of oversea marketing, the extension of trade preference within the Empire, and the operation of uniform bankruptcy laws, though possibly causing increased governmental expenditure, all tend to effect savings for the people at large.

The establishment of the Federal Capital Commission, and the provision of necessary funds, are bringing the Federal Capital into reproductive use and a self-supporting position at the earliest possible moment- ,

Co-operation with the States.

The greatest savings to the people, however, will come as the result of securing the harmonious co-operation of the States with the Commonwealth in development and finance. A wide field of co-operation has already been opened in the protection and improvement of the health of the community; in scientific investigations for the assistance of the producers, through whom the benefits will be extended to the consumer; in the elimination of duplication in departmental administration ; in a policy of road construction on national lines ; in placing the railway communication between Sydney and Brisbane on a uniform gauge as a first step to the greater objective of a uniform railway gauge scheme for the whole of Australia; in developmental schemes to promote migration ; and in the formation of a Voluntary Loan Council which has proved an important factor in securing the wider co-operation of the Commonwealth and States, resulting in the agreement on which this budget is based.

Although much has been done, there is still much to do. The satisfactory adjustment of the financial relationships of the Commonwealth and States is now on the verge of accomplishment, but the permanency of the arrangement is subject to the voice of the people. The benefits that will accrue to the community are so great and their incidence so far-reaching, that it is our duty as public men to inform the public in such a way as to secure the success of the referendum to amend the Constitution and give that strength and stability to the Federal union which was the aim of federation. I move -

That the first item in the Estimates under Division I. - The Parliament - namely, “The President, £1,300,” be agreed to.

In proposing that progress be reported, I might mention that the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Charlton) spoke to me this morning, and asked that honorable members should have at least a fortnight in which to make themselves familiar with the provisions of the budget. I now inform him that the Government is prepared to meet his wishes.

Progress reported.

page 58


The following paper was presented: -

The Budget, 1.927-28 - Papers presented by the Honorable Earle Page M.P., for the information of honorable members on the occasion of opening the Budget of 1927-28.

Ordered to be printed.

page 58


In Committee of Ways and Means:

Minister for Trade and Customs · MARTIN, NEW SOUTH WALES · NAT

– I move -

That the schedule to the Customs Tariff 1921-1926 bo further amended as hereunder set out, and that on and after the twenty-ninth day of September, One thousand nine hundred and twenty-seven, at 9 o’clock in the forenoon, reckoned according to standard time in the Territory for the Seat of Government, duties of Customs be collected in pursuance of the Customs Tariff as so amended.

That, excepting by mutual agreement, or until after six months’ notice has been given to the Government of the Dominion of New Zealand, nothing in this resolution shall affect any goods the produce or manufacture of the Dominion of New Zealand entering the Com monwealth of Australia from the Dominion of New Zealand.

Honorable members will recollect that in connexion with the scheme for road development throughout the Commonwealth, duties on petrol, chassis’ and rubber tyres were submitted to the House in July, 1926, by which it was anticipated that additional revenue to the amount of £1,500,000 would be collected during the then financial year and would form portion of the Commonwealth’s financial contribution to the scheme. At that time the Premiers of certain States contended that their Governments would not agree to the scheme; so it was not deemed necessary to raise the full £1,500,000, and consequently the proposed extra duties on tyres and chassis were withdrawn. At that time it was anticipated that the extra 2d. a gallon on petrol would yield a revenue of £983,000, that the increase of 2£ per cent, on chassis and parts would yield £270,000, and that the extra 6d. a lb. and 15 per cent, on rubber tyres and tubes would yield £308,000. Since the action taken by this Parliament last year, when the proposed duties on chassis and tyres were withdrawn, in view of the total of £1,500,000 not then being required, the position has materially changed, in that all the States have agreed to participate in the scheme. To conform witu the policy of the Government, the agreement necessitates the raising of an additional sum of nearly £500,000 this financial year. It is proposed, therefore, to increase the rates of duty on motor chassis under the intermediate and foreign tariff schedules only by an additional 5 per cent, on unassembled, and 7-J per cent, on assembled chassis. This will make the unassembled chassis free under British preferential tariff, but dutiable at 12^ per cent. under the intermediate tariff, and at 17i) per cent, under the general tariff. The rates on assembled chassis will be 5 per cent, under British preferential tariff, 20 per cent, under intermediate tariff, and 25 per cent, under the general tariff. The motor chassis imported into Australia for the year ended 30th June, 1927, were valued at approximately £12,250,000, of which £7,500,000 represented chassis from the United States of America. Chassis imported from the United Kingdom were valued at approximately £3,000,000; those from Canada at £1,000,000; and those from other countries at approximately £500,000. It will, therefore, be seen that, had the increased duties now proposed been in operation last year, they would have affected imports to the value of about £9,000,000, and yielded a revenue of about £550,000. For various reasons it is not expected that the figures estimated for last year will be reached during the coming year. It is probable that the twelve months ended ‘30th June last, represented the peak year so far as the importation into Australia of motor cars and chassis is concerned. Moreover, seeing that it is not proposed to increase the duties «n British chassis, the Government hopes that the increased duties under the foreign tariff will result in a certain amount of the trade now done with the

United States of America being transferred to Britain. Whatever happens, the duty on petrol, together with the extra duty now proposed on foreign chassis, will, it is hoped, total the full amount of £1,500,000, to which reference has already been made. The estimates and the statement before the House have been carefully framed. Although made primarily for revenue purposes, and in accordance with the promise of the Government as outlined in the Prime Minister’s policy speech, the action now proposed will, it is hoped, be a further step towards the realization of that interEmpire economic development that is so desirable in the interests of all the members of the British Commonwealth of nations, and will tend to reduce the unfavorable trade balance with the United States of America. Honorable members will notice also that an increased margin is given to those persons who assemble imported chassis in Australia, and thus provide employment in Australia. The scheme of road improvement, which is now being carried out in co-operation with the States, must commend itself to all sections of the community, for the reason that it will assist to develop the assets of the Commonwealth. Land transportation in Australia in the future will undoubtedly be carried out chiefly by motor vehicles. This is the motor age. For the motor traffic of the future we must have suitable roads The new duties now proposed will enable us to raise the revenue necessary to meet the Commonwealth’s obligations under the agreement already entered into with the States. The proposal before the House is in accordance with the publicly announced policy of the Government which. I submit, has been endorsed by the elec tors. It should be remembered that the making of roads provides a considerable amount of employment and that the whole of the money expended will circulate and be retained in the Commonwealth. Honorable members will recollect that there are already two tariff resolutions on the table of the House which, though not yet passed, are in operation. This resolution forms a part of the budget proposals and will operate from tomorrow morning.

The House has to-day paid a warm tribute to the memory of one who was, perhaps, its most valued officer. May t be permitted, at this my first opportunity, to express my personal regret, the regret of the Government, and I am sure of every honorable member, at the untimely death of the late Comptroller-General of Customs, Mr. R. McK. Oakley.

Honorable Members. - Hear, hear !


- Mr. Oakley was a valued public servant whose life was devoted to his onerous duties. In the prime of life, when his services were of the greatest value to the Commonwealth, he was unexpectedly cut off. His probity honour, and integrity were unquestioned, his ability unrivalled. Mr. Oakley had the confidence of the Government and, I believe, of every member of this House as well as of the business community with which he had to deal. His place cannot easily be filled. As Minister I appreciated his worth as well as his loyalty. His passing is a great personal loss. I feel that these few, though sincere words, and their endorsement by a sympathetic House, will be appreciated by his sorrowing widow and family who will miss a true husband and father.

Progress reported.

page 60

SUPPLY BILL (No. 2) 1927-28

In committee of Supply:

Motion (By Dr. Earle Page) agreed to.

That there be granted to His Majesty, for or towards defraying the services of the year 1927-28, a sum not exceeding £4,069,925.

Resolution reported.

Standing Orders suspended; resolution, adopted.

Resolution of Ways and Means founded on resolution of Supply reported and adopted.

Ordered -

That Dr. Earle Page and Mr. Bruce do prepare and bring in a bill to carry out the foregoing resolution.

Bill presented by Dr. Earle Page, and read a first time.

Second Reading

Treasurer · Cowper · CP

. - I move -

That the bill be now read a second time.

This measure is necessary to cover expenditure from revenue for a period of two mouths, pending the passing of the Appropriation Act, for the services of the year 1927-2S. The amount to be appropriated by the bill, as honorable members will notice by a perusal of the papers before them, is £4,069,925, made up as follows: - £1,486,500 for departments and services other than business undertakings and Territories of the Commonwealth; £1,S22,720 for business undertakings; £60,705 for Territories of the Commonwealth; £200,000 for refunds of revenue; £500,000 for Advance to Treasurer. The bill is based on the estimates of expenditure for the financial year 1927-2S, but no new services are included. Provision is made to cover the pay-day which falls on the 2nd December. The sum of £3,369,925 is provided for in this bill to meet the ordinary services of departments. This amount is less than one-sixth of the total amount of £20, 202, 60S which has been provided for these services in the Estimates of 1927-28, and, added to the provision of £4,S51,495 in Supply Bill No. 1, makes a total of £S,221,420. This amount of £8,221,420 compares with five-twelfths of the total provided for the present financial .year, which is £8,41.7,790, and is less also than fivetwelfths of the appropriation for 1926-27, which amounted to £S,247,095. In addition to the amount of £3,369,925, provision is made for refunds of revenue to the extent of £200,000, and Advance to the Treasurer £500,000. As honorable members are aware, the advance to the Treasurer is to meet unforseen requirements and also to carry on works in progress at the 30th June last. These will subsequently be covered by an appropriation for additions, new works, and buildings for 1927- 2S, which, I hope, honorable members will soon have an opportunity of discussing. It is desirable that the bill should be passed as soon as possible, as it is necessary to cover the first pay-day in October.


.- I realize that it is necessary to bring down a supply bill at this stage in view of the fact that provision has to be made to meet Commonwealth obligations in the early part of next month ; but I take this opportunity of entering my protest against the numerous supply bills that have been brought down during the last year or two. The time has arrived when we should, as far as possible, deal with the finances of the country at the close of the financial year.

Mr West:

– Before the money has been spent.


– Yes; I em coming to that point. It may be urged’ in connexion with the particular bill under consideration that that course was impossible, in that the parliamentary machinery had to be removed from Melbourne to Canberra, and Parliament could not have met sooner than it has done. However, I have heard nothing up to the present time as to what arrangements are to be made for the future. Obviously, if the Parliament is not to meet in the winter months, there should be some explanation to guide honorable members in regard to future financial arrangements. If we are not to meet until three months after the close of the financial year, as in the present instance, we shall have to grant Supply for a number of months to carry us over the winter, and then, as we are now doing, grant a further supply for a couple of months until the budget has been passed by the House. That would be an altogether unsatisfactory arrangement, but I did not hear anything in the budget speech in regard to what was proposed. So far as I know there has been no public announcement on the matter up to the present time.

Dr Earle Page:

– Do you suggest we should get an extra appropriation, with the Appropriation Bill ‘(


– That is a matter for the Government; but it i3 desirable that honorable members should know whether the Parliament will sit in thu winter, and if not, what financial provision is to be made for the purpose of tiding the Government over the recess. Obviously something must be clone. We cannot go on allowing the House to be closed during the whole of the winter months without proper provision being made for an early consideration of the finances. I do not know whether the Treasurer intends to alter the financial year, or whether the present arrangement will continue. If there is to be no change I fail to see how Parliament can remain in recess for the winter period. It seems to me that it will have to meet just as it did in Melbourne. The Treasurer might have taken us into his confidence, because it has been freely circulated in the newspapers that Parliament will not sit in the winter months. Honorable members are now at a loss to know what to expect. We cannot go on granting supply to the Government if it does not recognize the financial year as it exists. It should bring down its budget within a reasonable time after the close of the year, in order to obviate the necessity of granting supply so frequently. Under present circumstances money is expended, as the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. West) suggested, before Parliament can discuss the expenditure on the Estimates. Too often there is undue delay in the discussion of the Estimates, with the result that when honorable members attempt to bring about a reduction in expenditure they are politely told that the expenditure has already been incurred, and no reduction can be made. A clear basis of procedure should be laid down, now that Parliament is installed in its new home, and thi sooner that is done the better for all concerned. We could at least satisfy the public desire to know the intention of the Parliament. The Government may intend to alter the financial year, or may have in view some other method of overcoming the difficulty. It may propose to continue the sittings in the winter months as heretofore; but the matter should be settled without delay. There should not be a recurrence of the present situation, with Parliament meeting three months after the opening of the new financial year, and being asked to grant a couple of months’ Supply to carry on the services of the country untill well towards Christmas. I expected to hear something on the subject during the course of the Treasurer’s budget speech.

I propose to refer briefly to the position into which we are drifting in connexion with public borrowing. I shall have occasion to refer to the subject in dealing with the budget, but I take this opportunity of mentioning the appalling position in which we now find ourselves in regard to trade balances. As the Treasurer pointed out in his speech, we have amended the tariff on two occasions in the last few years. It was anticipated that as a result we should be able to manufacture in Australia many articles that were previously imported, and that the trade balances would show a marked improvement in our favour; but instead of that the position has become much worse.

Mr Prowse:

– We told you so.


– The honorable member uttered such a prophecy on many occasions ; but none of us anticipated, when dealing with the tariff, that it would have that effect. I join issue with the honorable member for Forrest (Mr. Prowse) in his contention that the position is due to the tariff.

Mr Fenton:

– The tariff is not effective enough.


– No matter what tariff is imposed, if we borrow outside of Australia we shall have to take goods instead of the money, and the result will be an adverse trade balance, which practically means providing employment for people in other countries while our own people go short of it. For the year 1926- 27 the Commonwealth had an adverse trade balance of nearly £20,000,000. Its indebtedness overseas at the 30th June last was £130,635,131 in London, and £10,356,930 in New York, a total of £140,992,061. The Treasurer tells us that our New York indebtedness is now over £15,000,000, ‘ indicating that if we cannot obtain all that we want from Great Britain we are going to America to get it. That will result in more goods being brought into the Commonwealth from the United States of America, which takes a small quantity of goods from Australia as compared with what we get from that country.

Mr Fenton:

– America is almost self-contained.


– Of course. At the 30th June, 1920, the Commonwealth indebtedness in London was £91,778,559, and in New York nil, showing an increase up till June last of £49,213,502. The matter is very serious; it is idle for us to talk about reducing our indebtedness when it is allowed to increase overseas. The States’ indebtedness at the 30th June, 1926, was £349,695,298 in London, and £9,529,436 in New York, a total of £359,224,734. At the 30th June, 1920, the London indebtedness was £266,307,448, and the New York indebtedness nil, so that the increase since 1920 totals £92,917,286. This financial drift must be checked, although I realize the necessity for developing the country, and providing money for that purpose. Should we constantly borrow abroad, or should we not confine ourselves to borrowing in Australia such sums as we cannot obtain out of revenue for our requirements? That matter demands our earnest consideration. From 30th June, 1920, to the 30th June, 1927, the Commonwealthand States indebtednessoverseas was increased by £142,130,788. The total annual interest bill on Commonwealth and States debts is £23,138,939 payable in London, and £816,069 payable in America: These figures,which are the latest available to me, represent the annual interest on the Commonwealth debts as at the 30th June, 1926, and the annual interest on State debts as at 30th June, 1925. Our imports from United States during 1925-26 were valued at £37,234,257, and our exports to America at only £12,953,877, leaving a balance of £24,280,380 in favour of America. If the Commonwealth and the States borrow extensively from America this adverse trade balance will become very much greater, because all our loan money from abroad must be received in the form of goods. In other words, if we raise a loan of £20,000,000 iu the United States of America, we commit ourselves to the purchase pf American goods to that value. I remind the honorable member for Swan (Mr. Gregory) that the tariff can never become effective if by foreign borrowing this country commits itself to the purchase of large quantities of foreign goods. During the first nine months of 1927 Australia imported from America goods to the value of £30,896,000. This is a matter so serious as to demand earnest consideration. I have touched on it only briefly to-day, because it will require to be further considered when the budget is under discussion. My reason for mentioning it now is that there seems to be an overwhelming desire on the part of Australian Governments to place loans upon the American market. The sooner we restrict our borrowing abroad the better for all concerned.

Last week I had an opportunity to see the appalling conditions in the drought areas, and one is forced to speculate as to what will happen to this country if the wheat harvest this year should be a partial failure.

Mr Gregory:

– It will be.


– I believe it will. I have heard a good deal about the prevalence of a drought, and my own observations lead me to doubt that the crop this year will be nearly as good as it was in former years. The dry spell may not be general throughout the Commonwealth, but large areas are affected, and in them sheep are dying through lack of food. The prosperity of Australia depends largely upon the proceeds of the wool clip and wheat crops. What will happen to us if that revenue is lost, having regard to the large amount required each year to pay interest on a huge national debt? Undoubtedly we shall have difficulty in meeting our obligations. I have realized for a long time that since the war ended, Australia has been very fortunate; it has enjoyed a long series of good seasons, and has received high prices for its wool and wheat. Last year we had bountiful crops, and received good prices for our products, especially wool. In this way, large amounts of money were brought to this country, and if this wealth is lost to us in any year the country will suffer severely.

  1. serious position is arising in connexion with immigration. I refer particularly to migrants from Europe, other than Great Britain, and non-European countries. The large influx of people from Southern Europe and nonBritish countries, is doing serious harm to the workers of this country. About two years ago when the subject was discussed in this House, and at various intervals since, we were assured that the influx of southern Europeans would bo reduced to definite proportions. Special conditions were to apply to Italians, each migrant being required to have a prescribed amount of money on landing, and to be of good health and character. In almost every State of the Commonwealth, thousands of good Australians are unemployed and unable to get work, whilst newcomers who are not British citizens are able to get employment. Can we expect our people, especially men whohave families dependent upon them, to remain satisfied with this state of affairs? In the Newcastle district about 2,000 men are unemployed. Men flocked to that centre from various parts in the expectation of getting employment in the big works there, only to find that no openings for them existed. From South Australia and other States I hear the same complaint about the employment of Maltese while good Australians are walking the streets in idleness. Nothing will cause a greater feeting of resentment amongst the native-born population than their inability to get employment when new arrivals fare so much better.
Mr Makin:

– The newcomers are actually engaged before they arrive.


– I believe that to be true. Employers should be more considerate to our own people, and when workers are wanted preference should be given to those already here. If, after the available local labour is absorbed, employment is available for others, well and good; but I take exception to a policy which forces our own men to walk the streets in semi-starvation while newcomers, many of whom send their earnings overseas, are given employment. The money of the foreigners, other than the amount required to buy a bare subsistence, does not continue in circulation in this country.

Mr Makin:

– They live in a very mean way, too.


– Yes. This state of affairs is not in the best interests of the country. It is futile to talk about developing the country and introducing immigrants, when thousands of our own able-bodied men are unable to get work. During the six months ended 30th June last, the arrivals from Italy totalled 3,648, and the departures 652, leaving an excess of 2,996 arrivals. The total number of European arrivals was 8,982, and of departures 3,250, leaving an excess of 5,732 arrivals. Of non-Europeans there were 2,839 arrivals, and 3,310 departures, so that there were 471 more departures than arrivals. The grand totals in respect of both European and nonEuropeans were: - Arrivals, 11,821; departures, 6,560, showing a net gain of 5,261. We are often told that the per centage of foreigners arriving in Australia is low in comparison with the number coming in from Great Britain ; indeed, we ha e been assured on many occasions that the foreign immigrants represent not more than from 8 to 10 per cent. of the total.

Sitting suspended from6.30 to 8 p.m.


– For the six months ended the 30th June last the arrivals from Great Britain numbered 46,165, and the departures 35,840, the excess of arrivals over departures being 15,325. We discussed this matter two years ago, and the Prime Minister then promised to keep an eye on the influx of Europeans other than British. As a matter of fact, the number of immigrants from European countries was limited; but the only limitation placed upon Italians was that they must be persons of a reputable character, possessing so much capital, and the result has been that the great majority of those who are coming to Australia, other than from Great Britain, are Italians. I have not a word to say against Italians or other Southern Europeans; they make good citizens of Australia; but we cannot afford to allow thousands of our own workmen to remain unemployed while strangers come here and secure work. We must, therefore, do something to restrict the influx of these immigrants. It may be said that I am dealing with a delicate question that must be handled carefully; but all matters of domestic concern are within our control, and under international law immigration is a matter of domestic concern. There is, therefore, no reason why the Commonwealth Government, if it has grounds for doing, so, should not restrict, as far as it deems necessary, the influx of immigrants. America has found it necessary to regulate, control, and restrict immigration, and it must be apparent to all that the time has arrived when Australia should act similarly. If we could absorb all those who seek to come to our shores, everything would be right, but we cannot do that. Two years ago the Prime Minister said that we were maintaining a certain balance, and that all but about 10 per cent. were British immigrants. The figures for the six months ended the 30th June last show clearly that there has been one nonBritish immigrant to every three British immigrants. We have heard complaints about the influx of assisted immigrants, but these non-British people who are coming to our shores arc not assisted immigrants.

Mr Fenton:

– To a certain extent they are.


– We do not know of any Government assistance that is given to them.


– Many of them come here under contract.


– It has been said that quite a number of. them come to Australia under contract, and that they find ready employment in certain parts of Australia. There is bad feeling in many places because of that suspicion, but I say nothing about that. I think that those people make good citizens. My sole point is that the time has arrived when, in the interests of our own workers, action should be taken to prevent this continued influx. These new arrivals appear to secure preference of employment in certain directions. It is no credit to employers that they show them preference.

Mr Mackay:

– Are those who give preference to Italians all private employers ?


– I do not think so ; but whether by public bodies or private employers, I maintain that whatever preference is given should be given to Australian workmen.

Mr Nelson:

– Englishmen cannot get jobs on Commonwealth works.


– I read quite recently that on certain railway construction works there were many foreigners, and very few of our own people.

Mr Nelson:

– That is so.


– That state of things cannot continue. No doubt a contract has been let for building the railway in question, but I think that provision ought to have been made in the contract to give preference to our own people who are willing to work, and capable of doing it. It isnot a light matter for a man, unable to find employment in the southern States, to go to the Northern Territory, where he anticipates securing employment on railway construction works which he knows are in progress there, only to find himself turned down because the work has been given to people from overseas. I ask leave to continue my speech at some future date.

Leave granted ; debate adjourned.

page 65


The Late Mr. j. R. McGregor: Adjournment.

Mr SPEAKER (Hon Sir Littleton Groom:

– Honorable members will hear with the deepest regret that word has just come of the passing away of the Clerk of the House, Mr. j. R. McGregor, who was so recently appointed to fill the place made vacant by the death of Mr. Gale, and acted in that capacity in this chamber for the first time to-day. In the circumstances I arn sure that honorable members will have no desire to proceed with business, but will wish to adjourn as an expression of their sincere sympathy with the wife and relatives of Mr. McGregor, and as a mark of their appreciation of his services.

Prime Minister and Minister for External Affairs · Flinders · NAT

.-I move-

That the House do now adjourn.

Words cannot express our feelings at this moment. Earlier in this sitting we carried a resolution of sympathy with the relatives of Mr. Gale, the late Clerk of the House, and expressed our great regret at. his demise. A few moments afterwards we heard the announcement from the Chair that a new Clerk had been appointed. Now we are faced with the tragic fact that that Clerk, too, has passed away. I am sure it is the wish of honorable members that the House should now adjourn, and that our action in thus terminating our proceedings should be taken as an expression of our sincere sympathy with Mr. McGregor’s wife and relatives in their great sorrow.


.- I join with the Prime Minister in the expression of sympathy with the wife and relatives of Mr. McGregor, and of regret at his sudden death. Fate appears to have followed us to our new home. Only to-day we carried a resolution of condolence with the wife and relatives of our late beloved Clerk, Mr. Gale, and now his successor, after a few short moments of office, has also been called away. These tragedies indicate that the officials of the House have heavy and exacting tasks to perform, and we should do our best to ease their positions. “We extend heartfelt sympathy to the widow of our deceased Clerk, and we trust that she and his relatives may receive some little consolation from the knowledge that he died in the performance of his duties to hia country.


– I ask honorable members to show their assent to the motion by rising and standing in their places, and 1 shall regard the carrying of the motion for the adjournment as an instruction to me to convey immediately to Mrs. McGregor, on behalf of honorable members, their deep sympathy with her in her affliction.

Question resolved in the affirmative, honorable members standing in their places.

House adjourned at 8.14 p.m.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 28 September 1927, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.