House of Representatives
24 November 1927

10th Parliament · 1st Session

Mr. Speaker (Hon. Sir Littleton Groom) took the chair at 11 a.m., and read prayers.

page 1844




– In view of reported serious happenings on the waterfront, and the fact that a number of agriculturists have been requested to supply labour should it be needed to load the perishable products of primary producers, I should like to know what steps the Government intends to take to terminate the strike, and what assurance it can give the farmers that ifthey are called upon to load their own produce theywill be protected from assault and injury?

Minister for External Affairs · FLINDERS, VICTORIA · NAT

– At present there isa very unfortunate dispute between the waterside workers and the shipowners. In the ordinary course it would have been dealt with by the Arbitration Court, but, in defiance of an award of the Court, the waterside workers are adopting the tactics of direct action. As the rules of their union contain certain provisions which do not meet with the approval of the court, a judge of the court has declared that he cannot hear any claim by the union while they remain as they are. The Government has been asked to take action - to force the Arbitration Court, I imagine, with the idea of getting it to deal with the present situation - but we cannot do that. While a party toa dispute acts in defiance’ of the court it cannot expect to be heard. With regard to the second part of the honorable member’s question, the Government’s attitude will be determined by circumstances as they arise. I hope, however, that it will not be necessary for action to be taken to ensure the loading of perishable products.

Mr Gregory:

– Or any produce.


– That is so. The Government will take all steps to ensure the maintenance of the laws of the country, and if it becomes necessary to obtain assistance to load ships, it will use any power it possesses to afford protection to those who render such assistance.


– Will the Prime Minister ascertain whetherJudge Beeby definitely promised the Waterside Workers Federation that, if it settled certain minor disputes, he would hear its main case in the Arbitration Court, and whether it is not a fact that the Federation has adjusted those minor matters? If he finds that that is so, will he then ask Judge Beeby to hear the main claim of the Federation in the Arbitration Court ?


– I shall endeavour to obtain an accurate statement of the facts; but as this Parliament deliberately made the Arbitration Court entirely free from political influence, the Government will certainly not direct a judge of the court as to what he should do ina matter of this kind.

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– I ask the Prime Minister if the Australian Shipping Board is unanimous in its view in regard to the sale of the Australian Commonwealth Line of Steamers?


– I am not able to say what view is taken by the members of the Shipping Board in that regard do not are unanimous or not regarding the sale of the Line. In any case it was for the Government and this Parliament to determine what should be done with the Line, and the views of the members of the Shipping Board in that regard do not enter into the question. It is the duty of the board to acquiesce in the decision arrived at by the Government and Parliament.


– In view of the fact that the Australian Commonwealth Line of Steamers was placed under the control of a board which was created by an act of this Parliament and placed beyond political interference, will the Attorney-General tell me whether the Government has legal authority to sell the steamers before the act is repealed?

Attorney-General · KOOYONG, VICTORIA · NAT

– The Leader of the Opposition is well aware that requests for legal opinions are not within the ambit of questions which may be submitted in the House.

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Community Automatic Telephones


– When recently a boy on a small island in Bass Strait, near Flinders Island, was bitten by a snake, he was hurried across to the main island, but it was thought that time would be saved by covering the sixteen miles to the doctor by car rather than by trying to find the person in charge of the local telephone office to send a message. The boy reached the doctor, but died several hours later. I mention this incident to emphasize the question I am about to ask the Postmaster-General. Some time ago I asked him whether he would install a community automatic telephone exchange on Flinders Island. I repeat that request now, and ask him whether he will, when dealing with applications for automatic telephone exchanges, consider the special claims arising from isolation ?

Postmaster-General · CORANGAMITE, VICTORIA · CP

– The honorable member has related an incident such as, unfortunately, is bound to occur in many isolated districts, because those in charge of telephone exchanges having only one or two subscribers, cannotbe compelled to remain in attendance day and night. Investigations are now being made in America into the community automatic telephone system, and on the return of the engineer it is proposed to install as many as possible within the next twelve months.

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– In March last the Prime Minister, in reporting the proceedings of the Imperial Conference, said that it would be intolerable if, after the lapse of a. period of years, Australia was paying on its funded debt to Great Britain a rate of interest in excess of the average rate that Great Britain was paying in respect of its war indebtedness. He also mentioned that the matter was still the subject of negotiations between the Commonwealth and the British Governments. I should like to know if those negotiations have been completed, and, if so, what has been the outcome of them?


– The question is one of which notice might well have been given ; but I can tell the honorable member that I have received a reply from the British Chancellorof the Exchequer intimating that the British Government does not see its way to alter the arrangement entered into in 1921. Australia must, therefore, continue to carry out the agreement unless and until some arrangement is made for its alteration.


– I ask the Prime Minister if Australia’s indebtedness to Great Britain was not incurred in respect of payments to our soldiers, and is a debt and not in the ordinary sense a loan by the British Government to Australia?


– During the war, at the direct request of the British Government, all the Dominions refrained from raising loans on the British market, and the British Government undertook to find any moneys which they required for the prosecution of the war. In that way Australia incurred a debt of approximately £92,000,000 for moneys which were advanced by the British Government. The moneys so advanced were raised in conjunction with Great Britain’s own war loans, and were utilized for the general purposes of the war, such as the payment of our soldiers, the equipment of hospitals, the provision of munitions and equipment, and in fact all things that had to be provided during the period of the war.


– Can the Prime Minister ascertain what rate of interest the British Government is paying for the money, and what it is charging Australia ?


– This subject is scarcely one that can be adequately covered by questions and answers without notice. Possibly on some future occasion it might be discussed, although I do not think that desirable at the present moment. It is extremely difficult to ascertain the average rate of interest paid by the British Government for the whole of the indebtedness incurred for war purposes. In order to arrive at the exact figure one would have to take into account the whole of the funded debt as well as the floating debt and the arrangements made with the United States during the war and after the war. I do not know the figure, but I believe it is in the region of £4 15s. The rate of interest which the Commonwealth is paying is £418s. 4d. per cent. We pay £6 per cent, annually, but the excess over £4 18s. 6d. goes towards the reduction of the debt.


– Can the Prime Minister tell us what rate of interest Great Britain is charging France and Italy upon their indebtedness to her?


– If the honorable member wants information of that character he should put a question on the noticepaper. The rate of interest charged by Great Britain to those countries to which it made advances during the war is hardly germane to the point raised in the question submitted by the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Coleman). I do not think that Australia would ask for any concession or preferential treatment with regard to its indebtedness to Great Britain. The only point I have empha sized with the British Government - I have raised and pressed it with Chancellors of the Exchequer - is that we regard Australia’s effort as being part of the common effort of the Empire, and while we do not ask for any preference, we think it fair that Australia should pay only the average rate of interest paid by the British Government on the money raised to meet its own war indebtedness.


– Some months ago the Prime Minister assured me that, so far as he knew, no agreement had been made between the governments of Great Britain and those of South Africa, New Zealand and Newfoundland in regard to war debts. In view of the importance of this matter, and of the very large tribute paid annually to England by Australia, will the Prime Minister at the earliest possible moment, make a statement contrasting the war debt agreements made with Great Britain by countries such as France and Italy, of whose indebtedness large sums have been written off?


– I cannot accept the word “ tribute “ as applying to our payments to Great Britain. We are not paying tribute; we are paying interest on money advanced to us, according to the terms of an agreement which this country voluntarily entered into with Great Britain. I do not propose to make any statement on the subject of Great Britain’s arrangements with debtor nations, or with the dominions. The only possible attitude in this matter for a self-respecting country like Australia is that we are prepared to honor every obligation into which we have entered. At the same time, I consider that this question is one for free discussion with Great Britain. In view of the fact that we were engaged with her during the war in a common enterprise, the question might be discussed whether we should not pay interest on our debts to her at the rate which she herself is paying to her creditors.

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– There is a considerable amount of unemployment in most of the States of the Commonwealth, particularly in Victoria and, at the present time, the Postal Department is dismissing large numbers of men who have been engaged in telephonic construction work. Some of these men have had many years’ service. Will the Postmaster-General make inquiries about the matter, particularly in regard to such places as Ballarat, where there is a large amount of telephone construction work waiting to be done. Will he give instructions that the men who have been dismissed are to be re-engaged to enable this work to be completed ?


– Full inquiries will be made into the matter.

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Appointments to Board


– Is it the intention of the Government to make any additional appointment to the board of the Australian Commonwealth Shipping Line, or is it proposed to terminate the services of any of the members of the board pending the calling of tenders for the disposal of the Line?


– It is proposed to call tenders immediately for the disposal of the Line. No action in regard to the constitution of the board will be taken in the meantime.

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Receipts and Expenditure


asked the Postmaster-

General, upon notice -

What were the receipts and expenditure respectively of the following non-official postoffices during the last financial year: - Stanmore, Clovelly, Mortdale, Tempe, West Ryde, Urunga, Repton, Laurieton, Barradine, Bethungra, Glencreagh, Broadmeadows, and South Lismore?


– The information desired by the honorable member is as follow : -

The figures in respect of expenditure do not include any amount for administration, interest, depreciation and upkeep of telegraph and telephone assets, carriage of mails, stores, office equipment and other like charges.

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asked the Postmaster-

General, upon notice -

  1. Did he authorize the placing, on the front page of the new telephone directory of the Federal Capital, of a large advertisement extolling the virtues of a certain brand of gin?
  2. Does his department receive revenue for advertising in the Territory the virtues of intoxicating liquor, while the ordinance preventing the sale of such liquor in the Territory is in force ?

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

  1. No.
  2. Yes; revenue is received from advertising in the Territory under a contract that was let by tender. Future directories for the Federal Territory will, however, exclude advertisements of this nature.

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asked the Prime Minister,upon notice -

Is it intended to adopt the suggestion of the royal commission on wireless, by exempting blind persons from the payment of listeners’ licence fees, and, if so, what will be the basis of the exem ption ?


– The matter is receiving consideration by the Government.

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asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -

  1. When was the National Insurance Commission appointed?
  2. Has the commission finalized its reports?
  3. Is the Chairman, Senator J. D. Millen, still employed by the Government?
  4. If so, what paymentor allowance, if any, is he receiving?

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

  1. 7th September, 1923.
  2. No.
  3. Senator J. D. Millenhas been conducting negotiations on behalf of the Government with the Friendly Societies and the British Medical Association. 4.Travelling allowance - £2 per day on land and 25s. per day at sea whilst absent from headquarters.

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asked the Minister for Health, upon notice -

What are the names andthe diplomas of the distinguished authorities in England who recommended that the services of Dr. Burrows, radium expert be retained by the Commonwealth Government?

Honorary Minister · CALARE, NEW SOUTH WALES · NAT

– The reply to the honorable member’s question is as follows : -

Sir HughRigby, M.S., F.R.C.S., Surgeon to the London Hospital in a letter to me, and also personally, strongly recommended Dr. Burrows who has a world-wide reputation as a radiologist.

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asked the Prime

Minister, upon notice -

  1. Will the Public Service Board undertake to publish the reclassification of the clerical suction of the Engineers’ Branch, PostmasterGeneral’s Department, before the end of December, 1927?
  2. Immediately upon the publication of the reclassification, will the board make available, before Christmas, the increment of £17 as from 1st July, 1926, to all officers entitled to have their salaries advanced to £306 per annum?

– The information is being obtained and will be furnished as early as possible.

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Social Service Organization - Magisterial Courts


asked the Minister for Home an Territories, upon notice -

  1. What has been the cost to the Commonwealth up to the end of August of “ The Social Service Organization “ controlled by the Federal Capital Commission?
  2. What has been the cost to the taxpayers of social functions given to welcome civil servants at Canberra,?
  3. How much was spent in intoxicating liquor for these and other functions by the Social Service Officer acting for the Commission ?
  4. What has been the cost to date of their monthly journal, The Community News
  5. What has been the loss on that periodical?
  6. Is it a fact that without calling for tenders for the blocks used to illustrate the development of Canberra, arrangements have been made for them to be handed over to private individuals to carry on the journal?
  7. If not, what are the exact terms of the agreement or contract entered into, and the names of the persons directly concerned?
Minister of Home and Territories · PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · NAT

– The information required by the honorable member is being obtained and will be made available as soon as possible.


– Yesterday the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Makin) asked me the following questions: -

  1. What provision is made in the Federal Capital Territory for magisterial courts?
  2. Have any magistrates been appointed for the Federal Capital Territory?
  3. What is the procedure adopted in the Federal Capital Territory for arraigning persons on serious charges?
  4. If courts have been established in the Federal Capital Territory, how many convictions have been recorded in (a) major cases ; and (b) minor cases?
  5. Does trial by jury apply in the Federal Capital Territory ?
  6. If not, will the Government see that this fundamental principle of British jurisprudence is instituted for all serious indictments?

I am now in a position to furnish the following information : -

  1. The Seat of Government (Administration) Act 1910 provides that, subject to any ordinance made by the Governor-General, the inferior courts of New South Wales shall continue to have the same jurisdiction in respect to the laws in force in the Territory that they had prior to the 1st January, 1911, the date on which control was assumed by the Commonwealth.
  2. No.
  3. The Seat of Government (Administration) Act 1910 also provides that, subject to any ordinance made by the Governor-General, where any law of the State continues in force in the Territory it shall continue to be administered by the authorities of the State as if the Territory still formed part of the State of New South Wales; consequently, if a person is committed for trial on a serious charge, the indictment is presented by the AttorneyGeneral for the State of New South Wales and the matter comes for trial before a judge and jury in a Court of Quarter Sessions.
  4. No courts have been established in the Territory, but convictions have been recorded in New South Wales courts in both major and minor cases for offences occurring within the

Territory. Particulars are not immediately available, but the information will be obtained.

  1. Yes. in regard to indictable offences; in regard to civil actions trial by jury does not apply.
  2. See answer to 5.

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asked the Minister for Health, upon notice -

  1. When was “cantassium” prohibited from being imported into the Commonwealth?
  2. Is it a fact that “ cantassium,” as a cure for cancer, has had remarkable success in Great Britain?
  3. Will he consider the question of repealing the prohibition order?

– I am making inquiries, and will reply to the honorable member’s question as soon as possible.

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– On the 22nd November the honorable member for Brisbane (Mr. Cameron) asked the following question : -

Has he any further information to add to that supplied in his reply on the 11th August, 1926, to a question by the honorable member for Brisbane relative to wireless equipment on coastal vessels?

I am now able to furnish the honorable member with the following information : -

As intimated in my reply on 1 1th August last year, a committee of departmental experts (the Chief Manager of Telegraphs and Wireless, the Engineer of Lighthouses, and the Deputy Director of Navigation, Victoria) was appointed to report on the practicability of requiring wireless installations on small coasting vessels, with corresponding installations at lighthouses and other stations ashore. The questions submitted to the committee and its replies were as follows: -

Q. ( 1 ) Whether a further extension of the wireless telegraphy requirements of the Navigation Act is practicable?

A. (1 ) Yes, provided the cost of installation and maintenance is not considered prohibitive.

Q. (2) For the purpose of calling assistance if in distress, is the wireless telephone a reliable instrument for installation in small vessels?

A. (2) No, unless equipped with wireless telegraph signalling facilities and operated by a skilled operator.

Q. (3) What shore receiving stations are necessary? How far apart may they be situated?

A. (3) If the range of the ship is limited to 100 miles for telephony, shore stations would be required about 200 miles apart, except where main coastal stations intervene.

Q. (4) Could such stations be provided at the coastal lighthouses, and. if so, which lighthouses should be equipped?

page 1849

A. (4) No

Q. (5) (i) What would be the cost of installing a telephone station at (a) a lighthouse, (b) at any other selected position?

Q. (5) (ii) What would be the annual cost of maintenance at either position ?

A. (5) (ii) Operators (3) Salaries, £991 to £1,126; maintenance about £56.

Q. (6) How many vessels would be affected if the law were amended to provide that any vessel carrying more than 15 persons, and not fitted with a wireless telegraphy ship station set, must carry a wireless telephone?

A. (6) Approximately 30 to 32 steamers and 2 small sailing vessels.

Q. (7) What would be the cost to a vessel required to instal a wireless telephone?

A. (7) About£600, provided that accommodation and suitable electric power are available on the ship, but exclusive of the cost of emergency equipment.

A. (8) That such vessels be equipped with wireless telegraphy sets and be required to carry a trained operator, provided the cost is not considered prohibitive.

A copy of the committee’s report was subsequently forwarded to theBoard of Trade of the United Kingdom for favour of comment. The board, in its reply, expressed a general concurrence in what it termed “ the able report “ of the departmental committee, and intimated that the general question of the compulsory equipment of ships with wireless would be considered by an International Conference which it was proposed to shortly call together to revise the provisions of the International Convention of 1914 on the Safety of Life at Sea.

The whole question of extending the provisions of the Navigation Act in regard to wireless on ships so as to apply to small coastal steamers was also referred to the recent Royal Commission on Wireless, the report of which has been tabled.

In regard to this matter tlie commission made the following recommendation: -

A suggestion was made to the commission that, if possible, the provisions of section 23.1 of the Navigation Act 1912-20 should be extended to vessels of smaller tonnage and carrying fewer passengers than therein mentioned. As the matter involved the question of saving life and property at sea, the commission gave it closest consideration, and procured evidence from shipowners and others as to the desirability of this proposed change in the law. We are, however, of opinion that if the installation of wireless receiving or transmitting apparatus was of any value in small vessels below 1,600 tons the owners would, as a measure of self-protec. tion, instal it. Apart from this consideration, it was found that those accustomed to navigation were not favourable to the suggestion and considered it of no practical value.

Further, just prior to the evidence being submitted to the commission, a departmental committee of the Commonwealth, consisting of the Deputy Director of Navigation for Victoria, the Engineer for Lighthouses, and the Chief Manager of Telegraphs and Wireless, had also carefully considered the matter and came to a similar conclusion.

In the case, however, of vessels over 1.000 tons and carrying twelve passengers or more from and to ports within the boundaries of one State, this -is, of course, a .matter for the State Governments concerned, and, where State legislation on the subject does not already exist, the commission recommends that representations should be made with a view to vessels of that description being brought within provisions similar to those of section 231 of the Commonwealth Navigation Act.

In this connexion it may be pointed out that action in this direction had already been taken, at the instance of my department some time before the commission was appointed. As I stated in my reply to the honorable member for Brisbane last year, the State Governments wore found to be generally favourable to a suggestion that the vessels trading solely within the limits of a State, and consequently outside the scope of federal legislation, should be required to comply with the same conditions as apply under the Navigation Act. It is regretted, however, that the State Governments have not as yet given legislative effect to their assurances. In South Australia a bill was introduced into Parliament but the Government was not successful in carrying it through. So far as I am aware, nothing has been done in the other States. When the general question of wireless on ships, as a factor in securing the safety “of those on board, has been considered and reported on by the International Conference shortly to be convened, further consideration will be given to the matter.

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Oi i the 4th November the honorable member for Capricornia (Mr. Forde) asked the following questions : -

  1. What was the value to the British manufacturer of tlie Australian policy of tariff preference to British goods for the year ended 30th June, 1927 ?
  2. What are the chief articles on which this preference was given?
  3. What was the value to Australia of the tariff preference given by Great Britain to Australian goods for the year ended 30th June, 1927?
  4. What were the chief commodities on which this preference was given, and what is tlie value of the preference on each?
  5. What is the total value of sugar imported by Great Britain from (a) countries within’ tlie Empire, and (6) countries outside the Empire.

    1. In view of the substantial tariff preference given by Australia to products from Great Britain, will he discuss with the Secretary of State for the Dominions the question of the free admission into England of sugar from Australia?

I am now able to supply the following information : -

  1. The compilation of the figures relating to the year ended 30th June, 1927, will1 not be complete for some weeks. When complete the information will be supplied to the honorable member. The following figures show the value of the preference for the years 1921-22 to- 1925-20, viz.: -
  1. The chief articles on which preferencewas given for the year 1925-20, and the value of the preference given on each were as follows : -
  1. See reply to 3.
  1. Great Britain’s preferences are extended uniformly to all British Dominions and possessions. Other British possessions as well as Australia, are interested in the supply of sugar to Great Britain. .The policy of Great Britain does not admit of an exclusive preference being given to a single Dominion. The Government, in association with the governments of the other Dominions, has lost no opportunity of advocating the wider extension of preferences to the Dominions. The increased preferences on dried fruits and sugar granted in 1925, and on wine, granted in 1927, were the outcome of these representations. This policy will be continued in the future.

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

– I lay on the table the reports of the Tariff Board dealing with potatoes, cash registers, circular saws, rape-seed oil and castor oil, carbide of calcium, aluminium sulphate, sulphate of alumina, and alumina ferric, and move -

That the reports be printed.


.- I ask the Minister when this House will have an opportunity of dealing with the numerous recommendations of the Tariff Board that have been tabled in this House during the last eighteen months. There have been 46 or 47 such recommendations affecting the tariff policy of the Commonwealth. Most of them recommend increases in the tariff. All the newspapers in Australia are filled with stories of factories closing down and hundreds of .people being thrown out of work. The time has arrived when this Government should grapple with the tariff question. I make a protest against the continued delay in dealing with, the matter.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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Automatic Telephone Exchange, Cottesloe

Mr. MACKAY, as Chairman, presented the report of the committee, together with minutes of evidence relating to the proposed establishment of an automatic telephone exchange at Cottesloe,Western Australia.

Ordered to be printed.

page 1852


Motion (by Mr. Bruce) (by leave) agreed to -

That leave of absence for one month be granted to the honorable member for Barton (Mr. Ley) on the ground of urgent public business.

page 1852


The following papers were presented : -

Tariff Board Act - Tariff Board Reports and Recommendations -

Aluminium Sulphate, Sulphate of Alumina and Alumina Ferrie.

Carbide of Calcium.

Cash Registers.

Circular Saws.


Rape-seed Oil and Castor Oil.

Ordered to be printed.

Public Service Act - Appointment of F. J. Lynch.. Department of Works and Railways.

Seat of Government Acceptance Act and Seat of Government (Administration) Act-Ordinancc of 1927- No. 19- Police.


Question - That Mr. Speaker do now leave the chair - resolved in the negative.

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BUDGET, 1927-28

In Commit tee of Supply. - Consideration resumed from 23rd November (vide page 1807), on motion by Dr. Earle Page-

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

Upon which Mr. Charlton had moved by way of amendment (vide page 1414) -

That the item be reduced by £1.

Northern Territory

, - In continuing my observations concerning the possibilities of sheep raising in the southern portion of the Northern Territory, I desire to quote further figures in refutation of the statement of the honorable member for Riverina (Mr. Killen) that that country is not capable of carrying a rabbit to the square mile.

Mr Killen:

– I stated that it was capable of carrying one sheep to every 25 acres, or two or three head of cattle to the square mile.


– I donot wish to misrepresent the honorable member. The figures I produced yesterday and which I shall make available to the honorable member, will, I believe, convince him that the country is much better than he says. I should like to give some figures concerning an area at Charlotte Waters on the extreme southern border of the Northern Territory where the postal department has reserved an area of five square miles adjacent to the post office. Many years ago the department placed 300 sheep on this area, and also some hundred head of horses and a number of cattle. The total number of sheep and goats sold and used to meet the local demand during a period of three years was 1,177. In 1922 the department had 457 sheep on that area, and notwithstanding the fact that large numbers were sold and that some were used to meet local requirements, including those of men engaged on the overland telegraph line, they are still shearing about 500 sheep and lambs. It must also be remembered that in disposing of the surplus stock, the department has sold most of the ewes and female goats. The honorable member for Riverina contends that the country is capable of carrying only one sheep to 25 acres, but he will admit that the carrying capacity of the country is governed by the quantity of water available.

Mr Killen:

– I am assuming that the necessary water is available.


– Generally speaking, cattle will roam only five miles from water, and sheep perhaps not more than two and a half miles. A fair number of sheep as well as a number of goats, horses and cattle have been kept on a block of five square miles notwithstanding the fact that the water supply is on the main stock route over which thousands of cattle travel annually. In these circumstances the honorable member must admit that the country’s carrying capacity is very deceptive, and that one can only judge its real value after a number of years experience.

Mr Killen:

– To what portion of the Northern Territory is the honorable member referring ?


– To CharlotteWaters on the southern boundary of the Territory. In 1922, 500 sheep and 100 lambs were shorn for a production of 4,010 lb. of wool or an average fleece for both sheep and lambs of 8 lb.

Mr Maxwell:

– Were they crossbreds or merinos?


– They were merinos. The honorable member for Riverina will admit that an average of8 lb. for 500 sheep and 100 lambs is a very good return for this class of country. These are authentic figures taken from the official records of the department.

Mr Killen:

– I have seen the country in the vicinity of Maryvale Station which is much better than the country of which the honorable member is speaking. The manager of that station, who is an experienced man, informed me that although he carried sheep for some time he disposed of his flocks because they did not pay. He has now had cattle on the property for some time.


– I am aware that in the absence of a reliable water supply, as at Maryvale Station, it may be difficult to run sheep profitably.

Mr Jackson:

– But they have not sunk bores for water there.


– Exactly. That is retarding development, and consequently the stock is concentrated around small supplies of water. It must be obvious to the honorable member for Riverina that owing to thelong distances from that station to the head of the line it is far easier to travel cattle than sheep. In some cases pastoralists found that in endeavoring to market sheep the losses were very heavy, and they went in for cattle, which are more easily handled.

Mr Killen:

– Pastoralists have also to contend with dingoes or incur heavy expense in providing vermin-proof fencing.


– That may be so; but that does not detract from the actual value of the country. If pastoralists refuse to improve their holdings it is obvious that they must incur losses. The absence of fencing is one of the disadvantages encountered in the northern part of Australia.

Mr Killen:

– It would never pay to fence some of the country.


– I have in mind a stationnear Attunga, owned by Mr. Rosenthal who, I believe, has been visited by the honorable member for Bass (Mr. Jackson), consisting of 99 square miles of country. This property has been improved, and is now producing some of the finest cattle and horses to be found in the Territory. More money is made on that 99 square miles of country than is made by the owners of much larger areas which are unimproved.

Mr Jackson:

– And the owner of that property started without a shilling.

Mr Hill:

– But there is a good rainfall in that locality.


– It is not very good. On the subject of rainfall I have some official figures for the years 1922, 1923 and 1924, as recorded at Charlotte Waters. They are : -

Rainfall at Charlotte Waters from 1st January 1922 to 31st March, 1924.

January. - Nil

February. - 87 points, on 3 days.

March. - 9 points, on 2 days.

April. - 114 points, on 4 days.

May. - 107 points, on 5 days.

June. - 42 points, on6 days.

July.- Nil

August. - 2 points, on 1 day.

September. - 2 points, on 1 day.

October. - 14 points, on 3 days.

November. -6 points,on 1 day.

December. - 312 points, on 10 days.

Total. -695 points, on 36 days.

January. - Nil

February. - Nil

March.- Nil

April. - 1 point, on 1 day.

May. - 37 points, on 5 days.

June. - 164 points, on8 days.

July.- Nil

August. - Nil

September. - Nil

October. -61 points, on 4 days.

November. - Nil

December. - 148 points, on 8 days.

Total. - 411 points, on 26 days.

January. - 25 points, on 3 days.

February. - 3 points, on 2 days.

March. - 14 points, on 1 day.

Total. - 42 points, on6 days.

There has been an average of 4½ inches in that portion of the Northern Territory; but on the area of which I have been speaking the average has been from 10 to 11 inches a year.


– Although the honorable member for Riverina travelled up the stock route and did not see the best of the country, he presumes to tell the committee that certain portions are particularly favoured spots.

Mr Killen:

– I saw country that was above the average.


– But the honorable member did not leave the stock route.

Mr Killen:

– I saw average country.


– That was impossible if the honorable member travelled over the stock route, and I suggest that the honorable member should investigate more thoroughly the possibilities of the country he has condemned before coming to a decision. I can assure the honorable member that dozens of men are waiting to take up country in the area he condemns.

Mr Killen:

– I did not say that the country would not carry sheep; but that it would be unprofitable as a sheep proposition.


-I could quote the experience of eight or nine men who took up country in that locality only a few years ago and have now overcome all difficulties. As their flocks have increased by 100 per cent., it cannot be said that they are holding useless country. The honorable member for Wannon (Mr. Rodgers), in a statement which was supported by the other members of the party with which he visited the Territory, said that the country was real sound stock country. We have had similar opinions from many other sources. I have sent my own sons up there, and. one would not send his offspring to make a living in impossible country. A considerable amount of money is being expended in constructing railways in the Territory, and some endeavour must be made to create a volume of trade, to justify the expenditure. Nothing will induce the necessary population to settle there more than the granting of liberal and expeditious land settlement conditions.

Mr Killen:

– It is not worth the experiment.


– I totally disagree with the honorable member. Had he seen the country I should respect his opinion, but he merely travelled along stock routes, and every one knows that a stock route which has been traversed by hundreds of thousands of cattle for 30 or 40 years must be barren and absolutely useless for the purpose of comparison. The moment that the honorable member deviated from the stock route and went east or west he had to admit that he saw country that should be carrying eight or ten million sheep. Had he seen more of that country, he would have been loud in his praise of it.

Mr Killen:

– The country was not eaten out when I saw it, but was looking at its best.


– The honorable member appears to have taken up the cudgelson behalf of those people who delight in traducing Australia. Of all the squatters in the Territory, including the owners of Maryvale Station, to whom the honorable member referred, not one went there with a penny, and not one failed. The country cannot, therefore, be described as being: in the experimental stage. It has proved itself.

Mr Killen:

– All those were people who picked spots far better than the average.


– The honorable member has not seen any of the spots and, therefore, is not in a position to judge.

I shall now address myself to Workers’ Compensation, as administered in northern and central Australia, where it is governed by Commonwealth ordinances, which are highly unsatisfactory. The principal Commonwealth act itself is one of the worst of its kind in Australia. The Prime Minister has said that an alteration would be made in the Commonwealth act to bring it into conformity with the acts that have operated for many years in the different States of Australia. The Commonwealth act does not set out any schedule of rates to cover accidents, and the whole thing resolves itself into a barter. Machinery is provided whereby court, or arbitration proceedings must be taken when an application for compensation is made. Apparently, whoever is able to engage the best advocate wins the day, and frequently the applicant for compensation has to pay the expenses of the proceedings. In order that a comparison may be made between the Commonwealth ordinances and the acts in operation in the States, I should put on record the following statistics. The schedule- to the New South Wales act contains this table : -

It may be argued that I am quoting from what may be termed freak legislation, but an analysis of the acts in operation in the other States of the Commonwealth, many of which have not been administrated for long by Labour Governments, discloses that they contain very similar provisions. The New South Wales act makes these additional compensation provisions : -

Death, £800 (and £25 in respect of each child under 10).

I understand that that has been increased to £1,000-

Temporary incapacitation, 60(j per cent, of the average weekly earning, in addition to El per week for wife, and 8s. (id. per week for every child under fourteen years of age, with a, maximum of £1,000 for total incapacitation (including medical expenses).

None of these provisions is contained in the Commonwealth act. The general rule under the Commonwealth statute is to pay the injured person £2 a week, out of which he has to pay his medical expenses. Consequently, he finds himself financially embarrassed, for he loses his wages in addition. The New South Wales act provides that, in the case of partial incapacity, if the injured person can prove that he has endeavoured to obtain work but has failed owing to his incapacitation, he shall be treated similarly to one totally incapacitated. The Queensland act, as do the other State acts, provides compensation for industrial diseases and sets out the following amounts : -

All types of accidents are tabulated, and fixed rates are provided. Western Australia has provisions very similar to those of Queensland, and the same may be said of Victoria, except that instead of specifying amounts, it provides for wages percentages of from 10 to 100 per cent., according to the type of accident, which comes out very much the same as the definite amounts fixed by the other States. The South Australian act sets out 50 per cent, of a man’s earnings for partial or total incapacity, plus 7s. 6d. a week for each child. It also has a schedule similar to that of other State acts. Those particulars show how lacking the Commonwealth provision is. We make no payment to cover medical fees, nor do Ave compensate for industrial diseases. It is imperative that our act and ordinances should be brought into line with the legislation of the States, so that an injured man may know just where he stands. The Commonwealth Ordinance No. 21 of 1923 prescribes that a maximum compensation of £750 shall be paid in cases where death occurs. Total or partial incapacitation is compensated for with a maximum of 60s. a week, and the compensation must not exceed £750. The Commonwealth act should contain a schedule specifying definite amounts for each type of accident, and should cover industrial diseases, as well as making provision for mental cases, and medical expenses. At present it makes no provision for the wife and child. I have always contended that our Commonwealth legislation should be equal to, if not more liberal than, that of the States, and we should set about rectifying the presentanomalous position. At times it is difficult to interpret correctly the Commonwealth ordinances. I have a letter from a barrister at Darwin, which reads,: -

T am of opinion that Mr. Crane cannot demaud a lump sum at all, either now or eve.

His right is to weekly payments. If the Commonwealth wish, after continuing weekly payments for not less than six months, liability for weekly payments can be redeemed at the instance of the Commonwealth, and this is to be on the basis of a sum equal to an annuity of 7 fi per cent. of the annual value of the weekly payments. This redemption is done, if necessary, by arbitration, but there ave no Workmen’s Compensation rules under the ordinance. Such last mentioned rules extend to 26 closely-printed pages. I know of no such rules in force here to enable application to be made to a Local Court (which is what the “County Court” referred to in the act means here), and on wiring my .Adelaide agent to know under what rules applications under the Federal Act are made in South Australia, he says he can find none, and that the clerk of court - that would be of the Adelaide Local Court - says he has not had a. similar application. There are a few statutory rules made by the GovernorGeneral under the act, but they do not assist in what we may want.

However. I am prepared to apply to the Local Court for .weekly payments, if required, the best way one can, and see what comes of it. There ought to bo rules. If they are needed for the ordinance, why not for the net?

A lump sum or any amount can be agreed on at any time, as a schedule to the act says, or nearly that. Perhaps a settlement can thus be arranged. I. would suggest getting the member of the House of Representatives to have court rules made.

The absence of rules rnakes the act inoperative. Here is another letter which J have received from the secretary of the North Australian “Workers’ Union, under date 7th October, 1927: -

Further to the matter of workers’ compensation, wo have several cases on the railway construction needing adjustment now. One is a chap named Alex Crane. He has lost his thumb and index linger as a result of a. detonator exploding in his bund. He got the princely sum of £2 a week which amounted to £18 7s. 9d. He was then given work as a. guard on construction, which job, of course, will not last for ever. He should be compensated by lump sum payment. He has been asked to state what he claims for lump sum.

I think he will claim as according to the schedule of payments provided by the Western Australian Workers’ Compensation Act, which is for loss of forefinger £150: loss of thumb £225; total £375. I have sent Crane a copy of tlie schedule and asked him to let mc know what he claims, I will then let you know.

Another case is old “ Scotty “ McLeod (George McLeod). He has lost one eye and the other is seriously damaged, and he is also suffering severely from shook, due to an explosives accident. He is in tlie Pine Creek Hospital. He is drawing £2 per week and wants to know what lump sum he is entitled to. Wo have advised him to keep on drawing his £2 a week until he gets a settlement.

The act seems to provide (Clause 17 of the first schedule) for a lump sum equal to the amount necessary to purchase an annuity of 30s. a week. This seems a bit vague and we have not yet been able to ascertain how the provision works. Then it is further concealed by the provision “ subject to the regulations “ (see second line same clause). Sofar we cannot obtain any regulations.

These letters show that men who have met with serious accidents and in some cases have been incapacitated for life, have not been able to get redress. The Government should bring the North Australian legislation into line with similarlegislation in the several States of the Commonwealth.

I desire also to direct attention to the condition of the railways and rolling-stock in North Australia. Whenever I have asked questions on this subject, I have been informed that everything is all right; but obviously that is not true. The railway authorities in North Australia are handling many thousands of tons of material. Trains are now running daily on the line to the Katherine river, and there have been numerous breakdowns because the rolling-stock is obsolete and dangerous. The former member for Wannon (“Mr. McNeil) who visited North Australia a few years ago, described it as the worst he had ever seen. It has been suggested that it represents Stevenson’s first efforts, and the wish has. been expressed that he could be resurrected so as to make another contribution to the rolling-stock in North Australia . The following statement concerning it appeared in the Darwin Northern Standard on 10th September,

A telegram received from Mr. Owen .Howe, organiser for the North Australian Workers’ Union, Katherine, yesterday, Thursday, the 2’Jth instant, states: - “Engineer will have to close down. Engines obsolete and worn out. Engines which leave here have to be towed back. Only small quantity water being supplied on goods train in effort keep things going. Men have to come in as they have no water to drink, Running plant is disgrace to Commissioner and Australia, and would not bo tolerated in any other country.”

Practically the whole of the rolling stock of the Northern Territory railway is in a most deplorable condition, and that more largely because of its antedeluvian senility than as the result of any failure of the locomotive repair shops’ to keep it. in good condition.

Thu locomotive which should have left Darwin railway station about S a.m. 3-esterday (Thursday) morning, did not get away till about 9.30 a.m., being detained at the 2*-mile workshops on account of boiler troubles and leakages.

Hot box trucks aru a feature of the railway yard, and there are said to be loaded trucks abandoned along the line, some containing cement.

A truck containing beer for Pine Creek and Katherine and food supplies for Wave Hill station, got as far as the 2i-mile recently, when it had to be sent back to Darwin and unloaded.

And so on - and so on.

Lest it, may be contended that I am quoting the views of union organisers 1 only and of officials whose sympathies are with the working classes, I shall now read the following letter written by Messrs. Fink, Best, and Millen, a well-known firm of Melbourne solicitors, who are interested in one of the biggest cattle stations on the Victoria River:

Railways rolling stock is in a very bad condition - engines, 30 years old in one case, breaking (down and often holding up the traffic. A shortage of trucks which arc in a bad state, and too few. Passenger cars old, and getting worn out. Were used in Queeusland for years. Rather a wonder, in view of the hot. boxes, failure of engines etc., that the North South line has got on as well as it has. Trains to and from the end of the line often arrive hours late, and even a whole day is lost by engine trouble. Passengers to Darwin for the recent races in September arrived, instead of the night before, the next night when the races were finished. This should bo somewhat relieved by the engine sent by the “Marella” in September, but the other rolling stock wants increasing and renewing. When the North South line links up with the Queensland, and New South Wales systems, which should be done first, tourists will leave the steamers at Darwin and travel overland, saving time and seeing the country. In view of this other steamers should be induced to call at Darwin.

Invariably when the Estimates are under discussion all blame for the present unsatisfactory condition of things in North Australia is attributed to the workers, who are accused of go-slow tactics, whereby expenditure in the operation of the line is unduly inflated. No one can run an efficient service with an obsolete plant. The department appears now to he pinning its faith to the one new c-ugine. The whole of the rolling stock is completely out of date. The flanges of the truck wheels are worn so much that in many places they are actually shearing off the fish-plate bolts. On certain sections of the line the old fashioned iron sleepers have been eaten away with rust. In some places the sleepers are almost suspended in mid air owing to the absence of ballast. I hope that the Minister will take prompt steps to improve the -condition of the permanent way and arrange for new and up-to-date rolling stock to be supplied for the railway in North Australia. I challenge the Government to appoint an independent railway expert to report on the condition of the permanent way and rolling stock. The result would stagger Australia.

We all acknowledge the important part played by our primary producers in opening up and developing new country. I regret therefore that the sum of only £2,000 is set down for the encouragement of primary production in North Australia. The framers of the Estimates must indeed be optimists if they expect to settle a big population of producers in North Australia, for an expenditure of only £2,000. It is not too late even now for the Ministry to approach the Development and Migration Commission with the object of getting that body to tackle the job which the Government has failed to do. I notice also that the princely sum of £400 is provided for the development of the mining industry, including loans to prospectors and others. The possibilities of mining in North Australia are practically unlimited ; but expenditure on a much more generous scale is essential if the industry is to he developed along the right lines. The sum of £400 would hardly be sufficient to sink a well in a back yard. I have frequently drawn attention to “the inadequacy of the” vote for this purpose. The sum is so small that a miner would not waste his time in applying for it, even though he knew that he would get the whole of it. Mining has had a good deal to do Avith the early development of every State in the Commonwealth, and I have no doubt that if efforts were made to develop the industry in North and Central Australia good result would follow. It would be more creditable to the Government if, instead of providing a miserable £400 on the Estimates, it frankly admitted that it did not intend to do anything to assist the industry.

The amount of £250 is provided for scholarships for school children, hut the only children eligible to compete for them are those who attend State schools. I protest, as I have done on other occasions, against this discrimination. The purpose of this vote issurely to give the children an opportunity to improve their position in life, and there is no justification whatever for preventing children who attend convent or other denominational and private schools, or who receive tuition at home, from competing for those scholarships. Children are not allowed to choose the school which they attend, but are subject, in this matter, to the control of their parents.

MrMaxwell. - The State school is open to every child in the community.


– That is not so in North Australia, for many parents who live in the outlying areas are obliged to obtain private tuition for their children. There is another factor in the situation. I. was born and reared a Protestant, and my ancestors were Protestants, but I found that in order to obtain the best possible education for my children in the Northern Territory I was obliged to send them to the convent school, where they were taught music and other subjects which are not on the State school curriculum. In these circumstances there is no justification for discriminating between schools in the granting of these scholarships. I have been promised for several years that the Government would give consideration to this aspect of the matter, but so far nothing has been done.

We have heard a good deal in the last few weeks about the failure of the Government’s shipping activities. It has been said that private enterprise is better able to manage shipping, than a government department. But in North Australia private enterprise has lamentably failed, even with the aid of subsidies to the extent of £10,000 a year, to provide the people with a reliable shipping service. Some years ago the Government ran a service there with a vessel named the John Forrest, but because a loss of from £4,000 to £5,000 per annum was in curred in its operation it was discontinued, and arrangements were made with a private company to provide a service. When the Government steamer was running, the time table was as reliable as that of a well-managed railway service; but since the private company has undertaken the service it is impossible for the people to guess within months when the boat will be at a particular port. The result has been that thousands of pounds worth of produce which has been stacked on the river banks has been left there to rot. In that connexion I quote the following paragraph, which appeared in a recent issue of the Melbourne Herald -

Attention was drawn yesterday by Mr. H. V. Miller, of Windsor, who has just returned from a visit to the Northern Territory, where he has a station of 7,200 square miles, to the danger in which certain stations on the upper reaches of the Victoria, Daly and other rivers stood should the present ineffectual and decrepit boat service fail.

Only a. small auxiliary lugger of doubtful usefulness was permitted to ply between the stations andhead-quarters, leaving the stationowners the alternative of chancing it, or sending overland in motor cars. The trouble was that very often thecars could not get through. Then, should the river service fail, supplies would gradually dwindle until starvation stared the settlers in the face. “ Last year,” he said, “ the people living on stations far down the Northern Territory came near to starvation because the river service failed. Without wireless, telegraph and phone, and with a mail only once in six weeks, many of these people’s supplies were almost run out before they were able to replenish.”

It has been said on numerous occasions that the lack of development in the north has been due, to a large extent, to the unsuitability of settlers ; but I disagree with that view. I have come into close contact with many of the people who have attempted to make a success of settlement there, and I know that one of their principal difficulties has been the lack of transport facilities. The situation became so had for some of them that they were obliged to abandon their holdings. People cannot be expected to live in lonely areas when there is an interval of anything from six to eight months between steamers. As Mr. Miller pointed out, some of these settlers came very near to starvation last year, because their food supplies gave out before the vessel upon which they relied to replenish their stores arrived. The absence of roads and bridges made it necessary for some of them to use pack horses to bring to their stations such vital necessaries as flour and sugar. These people have very little opportunity to obtain what we regard as bare necessaries of life ; but theyare still battling along in the hope that brighter days will dawn. In my opinion the Government has absolutely broken faith with them, for a condition under which they settled on their holdings was that a regular shipping service would be provided for them to obtain supplies and send their produce to market. I sincerely trust that early steps will be taken to remedy the lamentable conditions that at present prevail.

We have been told time after time that the Government stands solidly behind our industrial arbitration system; and only to-day a ministerial reply was given to a question by an honorable member to that effect. But I have a vivid recollection that during 1921-22 a slump occurred in the Northern Territory, in consequence of which many men lost their means of livelihood, and the Government came along and said, “ On and after a certain date wages will be reduced to 25 per cent, less than the rates prescribed in the Arbitration Court award.” This was done in a most arbitrary manner by an Autocratic Commissioner. The men were obliged to accept employment under that condition, or leave the country. After some time Judge Beeby went to the Northern Territory to inquire into industrial grievances there, and one of his first acts was to restore the rate of wages that applied before the Government so arbitrarily reduced it. It is hypocrisy for the Government to prate about its sincerity in industrial matters. If it had an opportunity to-morrow, it would allow the waterside workers, or any other section of industrialists, to be thrown to the dogs. Let Ministers practise what they preach. I raise thepoint for the purpose of showing the Government’s inconsistency. No doubt the question asked to-day was inspired with a view to creating a suitable atmosphere for the next election.


.- So much has been said for and against the budget that little new matter can now be presented. The first speech that I heard was that of the honorable member for Wimmera (Mr. Stewart), and he gave me the impression, by his scurrilous attack on the Treasurer, that he was sadly disappointed in his political career. The attack was unjustified, because, as has already been pointed out, the Cabinet as a whole, and not the Treasurer individually, is responsible for the budget. On many occasions I have listened with great pleasure to the speeches of the right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes). His remarks on the budget, however, suggested those of a drowning man floundering in deep waters, looking for a life line with which to save himself. But the line was not to be found in the budget. His speech was probably the poorest I have ever heard from him. The reply by the Prime Minister was sufficient to convince honorable members generally that this year’s budget is one of the best that the Government has produced. Therefore, I shall give the Ministry my whole-hearted support in regard to it.

The first item relates to the financial adjustment between the Commonwealth and the States. Considering that the Government has made an equitable arrangement with the six States, in five of which Labour governments are in power, its achievement is one of which any Ministry might well be proud. Tasmania has suffered many disadvantages in the past, but under the new scheme it will derive greater benefits than ever before. It suffered from the aftermath of the war to a greater extent than did most of the other States, because under the system of per capita payments, and with much of its population drifting to the mainland of Australia, its finances were reduced so seriously that stagnation occurred. Its education system costs over £300,000 a year, and after its young people have been educated many of them move to other States. The effect of the new agreement will be to cheek the drift to the mainland. It is not often that I give Labour governments much credit, but I admit that with the assistance of the Commonwealth Government, and under the new financial arrangement made with the States, the Government of Tasmania has been able to reduce taxation by 18½ per cent., a novel achievement for any administration of Labour. The appointment of the Loan Council will materially assist the States, particularly those with small populations. In my opinion the effect of the operations of that body will be to stabilize the money market, so far as Australia is concerned, and, possibly, to reduce the interest rate. A great advantage under the altered system is that sinking funds have been established, and both old and new loans will be redeemed within a certain number of years. That will give greater encouragement to industrial enterprise, which Tasmania has sadly lacked for many years.

The Commonwealth Government has undertaken to bear over £10,000,000 of the losses on soldier settlement.. I am pleased to notice that fact, because it is some years since the Commonwealth previously relieved the States of portion of this liability. Evidently the Government realizes that the States are unable to bear the whole of it.

Much has been heard from honorable members opposite about immigration, to which their party objects. The honorable member for Darling (Mr. Blakeley) took strong exception to the influx of Italians. From 30,000 to 40,000 immigrants enter Australia every year, and only a small proportion of them come from Italy. The Italian is said to take work from the Australian ; but it seems to me that the Australian should be well able to cope with the competition of foreigners and retain his job. The honorable member admits by his speech that the Australian is an inferior workman.

Mr Blakeley:

– That is a deliberate lie.


– If an Italian takes work from an Australian, and the latter has to walk about looking for it, he is not as good a worker as the Italian.

Mr Blakeley:

– That is a deliberate lie.


– That is what the honorable member for Darling said. I did not say that.

Mr Blakeley:

– That is a deliberate misrepresentation .


– The Australian should be a better worker than any foreigner.

Mr Blakeley:

– I rise to a point of order. The honorable member for Franklin, in charging me with having said that the Australian workers are inferior to the Italians, has deliberately lied.


– Order! The honorable member for Darling must not use that expression.

Mr Blakeley:

– If the honorable member for Franklin will withdraw his statement, I shall withdraw mine.


– I ask that the statement of the honorable member for Darling be withdrawn.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.The honorable member for Darling must withdraw the statement that the honorable member for Franklin told a deliberate lie.

Mr Blakeley:

-i shall, on condition that the honorable member for Franklin withdraws his lie.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.Order! The honorable member for Darling must withdraw his unparliamentary expression. I shall deal with the honorable member for Franklin afterwards.

Mr Blakeley:

– No. You cannot put that kind of thing over me. I do not mind political misrepresentation, but I object to a deliberate lie.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.I appeal to the honorable member to have regard to the decency and order of our proceedings. If the honorable member will withdraw his unparliamentary expression any misrepresentation of which the honorable member for Franklin has been guilty can be corrected subsequently.

Mr Blakeley:

– I objectedto the misstatement by the honorable member, but instead of withdrawing, he repeated it.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.The honorable member for Darling must conform to parliamentary usage. The Chair is concerned, not with the dispute between two honorable members, but in the observance of the ordinary rules of conduct and debate.

Mr Blakeley:

– I appreciate your position, Mr. Temporary Chairman, but one member should not wilfully misrepresent another. The honorable member for Franklin accused me of having stated that Australian workers are inferior to Italians, and therefore the Italians get employment.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.Order ! The honorable member must not make a speech.

Mr Blakeley:

– I objected to the honorable member’s mis-statement, and he immediately repeated it. I then said that his remark was a deliberate lie, and I can do no other than repeat that.

Mr Charlton:

– I was not in the chamber at the commencement of this incident; but if the facts are as stated by the honorable member for, Darling, the honorable member for Franklin should first be called upon to withdraw his misrepresentation, in accordance with accepted parliamentary practice.

Mr Atkinson:

– The Temporary Chairman has said that after the unparliamentary expression is withdrawn by the honorable member for Darling, he will call upon the honorable member for Franklin to correct his misrepresentation.

Mr Charlton:

– The honorable member for Franklin repeated his misstatement after it had been repudiated by the honorable member for Darling. The honorable member for Franklin should have made amends at the time.


– The Leader of the Opposition must realize that the principal matter before the Chair is the use of the unparliamentary expression “a deliberate lie.” All that is alleged against the honorable member for Franklin is misrepresentation of the views of the honorable member for Darling.

Mr Charlton:

– I understand that, but there are mitigating circumstances. The honorable member for Franklin should have withdrawn his statement when the honorable member for Darling denied it. Although he repeated the allegation after that denial he has not been called upon to withdraw.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.I have said that I shall ask the honorable member for Franklin to correct his misrepresentation after the honorable member for Darling has put himself in order by withdrawing the term, “a deliberate lie.”

Mr Bruce:

– Our first concern must be to observe the rules of Parliamentary debate, and maintain the high standard of conduct which is expected of a deliberative assembly. The words, “ deliberate lie,” have been used by one honorable member to another, and repeated under what may be considered by the person using them as serious provocation. Parliamentary usage requires that language of that character shall be withdrawn, and the Temporary Chairman has intimated that, after the honorable member for Darling has put himself in order, he will call for the withdrawal of any misrepresentation of which the honorable member for Franklin has been guilty. I appeal to the honorable member for Darling to obey the order of the Chair.If he is not satisfied with the subsequent attitude of the honorable member for Franklin, he will have an opportunity to ask the Chair and the committee for redress. At this moment there is no course open to the Chair and the committee but to insist upon the withdrawal of an expression which has been ruled out of order.

Mr Blakeley:

– The honorable member for Franklin deliberately repeated his statement after I had complained that he was misrepresenting me. Apparently the only way to bring him to a sense of decency is to use language which is unparliamentary. Until the honorable member withdraws his mis-statement, I refuse to withdraw the words I applied to him.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.If the honorable member for Darling will not obey the ruling of the Chair, I must report this disorder to Mr. Speaker.

Mr Bruce:

– I again appeal to the honorable member for Darling. All that is asked of him is that he shall withdraw an expression which is unparliamentary. Subsequently, if the honorable member has just cause for complaint against the honorable member for Franklin, the latter will, I am sure, do what is right and proper. The authority of the Chairman must be maintained, and I ask the honorable member for Darling to put himself in order by withdrawing the words to which the Chairman has taken exception.

Mr Blakeley:

– Let the honorable member for Franklin apologize first.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.There is no course open to me but to leave the Chair, and report this disorder to Mr. Speaker.

In the House -

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.I have to report, Mr. Speaker, that disorder has arisen in committee: The honorable member for Franklin made certain statements which provoked the honorable member for. Darling to accuse him of misrepresentation, amounting to a deliberate lie. The honorable member for Franklin repeated his statement after it had been denied by the honorable member for Darling. As both honorable members have refused to withdraw, I thought it my duty to report the matter to you.

Mr SPEAKER (Hon Sir Littleton Groom:

– The usual practice is for an honorable member’s denial of a statement attributed to him to be accepted. I understand that the honorable member for Franklin did not accept the denial of the honorable member for Darling. The latter may have felt provoked, but in no circumstances is he justified in committing a breach of order by using an unparliamentary term. The honorable member for Franklin should have accepted the denial of the statement attributed to the honorable member for Darling, and the honorable member for Darling should have withdrawn th<- expression which has been ruled out of order by the Chairman.

Mr Seabrook:

– I have nothing to withdraw. I referred to a statement made by the honorable member for Darling that Italian migrants were putting Australians out of work. I proceeded to argue that tha t -statement was tantamount to saying that the Italian was a better worker than the Australian - a view which I do not share. I say that the Australian is the better worker and should be able to retain his job if he so desires. The honorable member for Darling said that I had told a deliberate lie. He was asked to withdraw that statement and refused to do so.


– If I understand the honorable member for Franklin aright, he was drawing certain inferences or deductions from a. statement by the honorable member for Darling. Inferences are not statements. The honorable member for Darling was not justified in using an unparliamentary expression.

Mr Blakeley:

– You have been misinformed, Mr. Speaker, as to what took place.


– Do I understand the honorable member for Franklin to say that the statement he made in committee was in effect what he has just told the House?

Mr Seabrook:

– Yes.


-In the circumstances, I ask the honorable member for Darling to withdraw his unparliamentary expression.

Mr Blakeley:

– If the honorable member for Franklin now states that from something I said he drew certain inferences, and was not declaring that I had said certain things, I accept his withdrawal.


-The honorable member for Franklin has just explained to the House what he intended to convey, if he did not actually express it.

Mr Blakeley:

– I accept his apology.


– Order ! I ask the honorable member to adopt the proper course. He has accepted the explanation of the honorable member for Franklin, and should have no compunction about withdrawing the expression he applied to him.

Mr Blakeley:

– The trouble is that the honorable member for Franklin has completely amended his first statement and in doing so has substituted something to which I could not and would not have taken exception:


– Do I understand that in the circumstances the honorable member for Darling has withdrawn the words he used?

Mr Blakeley:

– Yes.

Mr Seabrook:

– I have not amended my first statement.


– The honorable member has informed the House of what he intended to convey by his remarks in committee. The honorable member for Darling has said he now withdraws the unparliamentary expression used by him. That should close the incident.

Mr Blakeley:

– If the honorable member for Franklin repudiates his amended statement I refuse to withdraw my allegation that he deliberately lied.


– The honorable member for Franklin did not repudiate his first statement. He merely said that it was intended to convey what his explanation conveyed.

In committee -

Sitting suspended from 1.5 to1.45 p.m.


– Italians in Australia have to work under Australian conditions, and are paid in accordance with arbitration court awards. An Australian worker, who makes up his mind to work, is a better worker than an Italian; but, unfortunately, many Australians to-day will not work if they can get governments to keep them. Italians give better service for the money they receive than do most Australian workmen. It is true that there is a great deal of unemployment in this country. That state of affairs is largely caused by the trade unions. When unemployment is rife, honorable members of the Opposition, instead of endeavouring to obtain work for the unemployed, abuse the Government for not providing work for them. Honorable members opposite do not desire these men to get work, because if there were no unemployed they would lose their trump card - unemployment.

Mr Fenton:

– I rise to a point of order. The honorable member for Franklin (Mr. Seabrook) has said that unemployment is the trump card of honorable members on this side. As a member of the Labour party, I deny that that is so. Our efforts are always directed towards creating employment.

The CHAIRMAN (Mr Bayley)That is not a point of order.

Mr Fenton:

– I take exception to the statement made by the honorable member, and I ask for its withdrawal.


– The honorable member has not raised a point of order.


– Although my remarks appear to hurt the susceptibilities of honorable members opposite, I am not concerned with what they think. I am here to say what I think. I say definitely that honorable members of the Opposition do not desire that every man shall be employed, because in that case they will lose their trump card - unemployment.

Mr Blakeley:

– The honorable member for Franklin (Mr. Seabrook) has made the definite statement - not merely, the expresion of his own opinion - that honorable members on this side of the chamber do not desire that every man shall be employed. That statement is untrue, and therefore should be withdrawn.


– Am I to understand that the honorable member for Darling takes exception to the statement ?



– As the honorable member for Darling takes exception to the statement which has been made, I ask the honorable member for Franklin to withdraw it.


– If my remarks were offensive, I withdraw them; but I still maintain that were it not for the leaders of the various trade unions there would not be so much unemployment as there now is. The leaders of the unions, supported, in many instances, by members of Parliament, are the cause of the present unemployment.

I am pleased that the Government proposes to increase from 5s. to 7s. 6d. per week the pension payable to the children of deceased soldiers. That is another indication that the Government recognizes its obligations in connexion with the dependents of our soldiers.

I agree with what the honorable member for Richmond (Mr. R. Green) said in connexion with the payment of £10 per month to incapacitated soldiers. I have in mind a returned soldier in my electorate who, although he has suffered a double amputation below the knees, does not come within the scope of this pension. I cannot understand why men with double amputations are debarred from receiving this benefit. I hope that the Minister will take their case into consideration with a view to assisting them.

The Government has done well to provide a sum of £100,000 for the further education of the children of returned soldiers. All honorable members will agree with that provision.

On a number of occasions, I have drawn attention to the desirability of removing the Sandy Bay Rifle Range at Hobart. This range can be reached by tram from the Hobart Post Office in about seven minutes. It certainly is conveniently situated for those who practise shooting there, but, being in. the middle of a residential area, it is not regarded favourably by residents.. Not only does the existence of the range prevent the development of the surrounding district, but residents believe that it is also a source of danger. About three years ago when the Government contemplated removing the range, it asked the owner of the land to which it was proposed to remove the range to have the area surveyed and to submit plans to the department, together with the price he was prepared to accept. That was done; but for over two years nothing more was heard by the owner of the land from the Defence Department. Even.tually he asked me to take the matter up. I desire to place on record the letters I have received from him, and also the replies I have received from the Defence Department to the representations I made on his behalf. “Writing on the 27th November, 1926, Mr. Pretyman, the owner of the land, said -

It is just two years ago the Military De- ‘partment requested me to have my property surveyed and send them a plan and also a price for the property. This I did at a cost of £30, and plan was forwarded to headquarters.

What I am complaining about is I have no answer, negative or affirmative, and, consequently, am at a standstill as regards improvements or selling part of the property. J. have had several offers for one 5-acre paddock at £100 per acre, which is towards thu centre. I should much appreciate anything you could do to gut me some definite answer.

P.S. - The property was offered at £8,500, and the property at Sandy Bay, which has the j- i iia range on now, is worth at ‘least five times this price. The Sandy Bay people are pressing to get the range moved on account of the danger from stray bullets. I am told windows have often been broken and this, of course, scares the people. I am only one mile from the Glenorchy-road, and have electric light and a good water supply laid on; tram is half a mile further away, but is to be extended to Chapel-street very soon.

If the Government buys the land, the municipal council is prepared to extend the train route and to carry riflemen to the range free. When I received that letter, I. -wrote to the Defence Department, and received the following reply -

With reference to your letter of the 6th December, 1920, making representations on behalf of Mr. W. P. Pretyman, of Glenorchy, relative to the acquisition of his property by this department, I desire to inform you that I am making immediate inquiries into- the matter, and will advise you theron as soon as possible.

On the 3rd January, 1927, the following further letter was written by the department -

With regard to your letter of the 9th January, 1927, having further reference to the case of Mr. W. P. Pretyman, of Glenorchy. Tasmania, I am directed to inform you that, on receipt of your previous representations, it was found necessary to make inquiries of the District Base Commandant, Hobart, in the matter. His report has not yet come to hand, but steps arc being taken to have same expedited, and you will be again advised as soon as possible.

Again, on the 26th January, 1927, the Defence Department wrote to me in the following terms -

With further reference to your letter of the nth inst., relative to a complaint by Mr. W. P. Pretyman, of Glenorchy, a report has now been received from the Military Commandant, and it has been ascertained that Mr. Pretyman was not at any time interviewed by any member of this Department relative to the sale of his property. The property was brought under the notice of the Department by an agent named Gluskie, and was inspected on several occasions by officers of the Department. The agent produced, on request, a plan of the property made from survey. ‘ The property was for sale, and a plan was necessary in any case before a sale could be effected.

As neither Mr. Pretyman nor his agent was requested to withhold the property from sale, it is not considered that any compensation is due from this Department.

In answer to that communication I received the following from Mr. Pretyman : -

Thank you for your enclosing (1054.) Military Department note. I. have no documents, everything was done through Hy. Gluskie; 1113’ place was not in the market, and I had no intention of selling until Gluskie came along and said the military wanted the place for a rifle range, and requested me to get a plan for them, which was done. I was iu the hospital at the time, but a survey was made solely for and on account of the military people, and they had their own surveyor afterwards to take levels, &c. I think his name was Hunter. I think I should be recouped for at least the survey, and would like to know if the thing is “off,” as I want to go on with farming. Riflemen tell me the place is ideal for a range, there being 110 get away for bullets if targets were placed between two hills; and there are 252 acres for other military purposes. - Yours truly.

P. Pretyman. 7th February, 1927.

There is no doubt Mr. Pretyman was asked by the defence authorities to have a plan prepared and a survey made, and the least the department could have done, if it did not intend to take over the property, was to let the, owner know of its intention, and recompense him for his expenditure of £30, which he could ill afford. I trust that the Minister for Defence will see what can be done in the matter. The Sandy Bay rifle range must eventually go. It is right in the centre of population, and is preventing the progress of an important district. Mr. Pretyman’s property at Glenorchy is an ideal site for a rifle range. It is only 5½ miles from Ho bar t, and within easy walking distance of an existing tram route.

Last week I asked the Minister representing the Minister for Defence-

Is it a fact that the Defence Department is using imported pine boards for lining huts at Fort Nelson, Hobart?

If so, were alternative tenders called for Tasmanian hardwood lining?

If tenders were not called, will he state the reasons for using pine instead of hardwood ?

The replies I received were as follows : -



The reasons alternative tenders were not called for Tasmanian hardwood lining were on account of the fact that the huts are already partly lined with pine boards and the extra cost of using Tasmanian hardwood would amount to approximately £80.

There are many sawmills in the southern end of my electorate whose owners are practically at a standstill, yet we find the Government will not increase the duties on imported timber, and using imported timber because it is cheaper. It is all assumption for the Defence Department to say that imported timber is cheaper than the local hardwood for this purpose. How can it make that statement when it did not secure alternative quotes for imported and local timbers? I have some correspondence dealing with this matter, which I wish to place on record. It is as folows : -

Forestry Department,

Hobart, 21st October, 1927

Messrs. Chesterman & Co. Pty. Ltd.,


Dear Sirs,

Imported Timbers

Herewith please find copy of my reply to the

Honorable Minister for Forestry re Imported

Timbers, foryour information. Yours, faithfully,

  1. Stubbs, for Conservator of Forests.


Memorandum from Conservator of Forests to the Hon. the Minister for Forestry.

Imported Timbers

My attention has been called to the fact that the Public Works Department, acting on behalf of the Commonwealth Defence Department, is requiring timber for lining huts, &c, at Fort Nelson. Further, that the specification for same states - “ The whole of the walls and roofs of the abovenamed huts, at present unlined, are to be lined with half-inch T. and G. pine lining.”

I understand that imported timber is receiving preference over Tasmanian hardwood for this work.

I would recommend that the attention of the Honorable the Premier he called to this matter, and that the necessary steps be taken to inquire into same, as I am of the opinion that it is high time that drastic action was taken to insist upon the use of our magnificent hardwood timbers for such purposes as lining, flooring, &c.

In my opinion, there is no justification whatever for preference to foreign timbers in this manner.

Minister for Lands & Works. Office,

Hobart, 25th October, 1927

Conservator of Forests

Imported Timbers

I have perused your memorandum of the 21st inst. regarding this subject.

Some time ago, I gave instructions for an inquiry to be made into this matter, and until I am in receipt of the report, I propose to defer consideration of same. (Sgd.) j. Belton.

Minister controlling Forestry.

Conservator of Forests,

Forestry Dept., Hobart. 1st November, 1927

Imported Timbers

Dear Sir,

We have your memorandum of 31st ult., and have to thank you for the copy of the Minister’s communication as enclosed therein.

This letter seems to suggest the timehonoured procedure of pigeon-holing the matter. As it refers to something which happened some time ago, reference is presumably made to a similar occurrence which occurred prior to this.

We take it your department will follow the matter up. It is certainly farcical for a government to spend large amounts of money sending round a commission to inquire into means of assisting an industry - also suggesting how the business people occupied in such should conduct their business - and at the same time stipulating that foreign timber should be used in connexion with their own work. - Weare,yours faithfully;

Chesterman & Co. Pty. Ltd

page 1865



The Development and Migration Commission visited Tasmania and induced the millers to form themselves into one amalgamated company in order to protect the industry; yet the Government uses imported instead of local timber. This correspondence continues - 5th November, . 1927.

Chamber of Commerce,


I mported Timbers.

Dear Sirs,

We have perused report under the above heading appearing in the Mercury of 4th inst., and having relation to article under similar heading of previous day.

It is now pointed out the business of the tender in question is purely a Commonwealth one. This, of course, was our impression originally, and made the matter more significant. The Development and Migration Commission is also a Commonwealth matter.

Assuming the Federal department concerned is correct in stating the Baltic pine lining would be a cheaper article, this surely furnishes the best of reasons why the protective tariff for which the industry has been agitating for some time should be accorded. The disadvantages under which the local industry labours, as compared with the foreign article, are well known, and need not be recapitulated here. In fact, in this respect, their contention would appear to be an illustration of - “He who excuses himself, accuses himself.”

At the same time, we contend, a hardwood liningcould have been supplied more cheaply, and equally suitable for the purpose required; in fact, in some respects, more so. We might draw attention to the fact, whereas the hardwood lining would merely require to be oiled over, foreign pine demands adequate painting, and also the provision called for on account of the knots with which it is always plentifully endowed.

Another point is with regard to the risk of fire. The military huts would be situated a considerable distance from thefire brigade, and pine is of course infinitely more inflammable than hardwood.

However, as has already been drawn attention to, no alternative tender was called for. - We are, yours faithfully, chesterman & Co. Pty. Ltd. 16th November, 1927.

  1. C. Seabrook, Esq., M.H.R.,

House of Representatives,

Canberra, Australia

Imported Timbers for Commonwealth Works

Dear Sir,

We notice to-day’s Mercury, under the heading of “Fort Nelson Huts,” reports yourself as having raised the question in the House of Representatives as to the Defence Department specifying the use of imported pine lining re the work in connexion with the huts in question.

As our firm, first of all, brought this matter in front of the Forestry Department, and subsequently drew the attention of the Chamber of Commerce to it, it occurs to us you would be interested in perusing copies of the correspondence, and are therefore enclosing same herewith.

We think these letters set out the position fairly accurately, and would merely add it will be apparent to you the contention as to our hardwood costing approximately £80 more than the foreign article is more or less assumption - at any rate, steps were not taken to obtain alternative quotations, with a view of establishing the fact. - We are, yours faithfully,

Chesterman & Co.

It is inexcusable on the part of a Government to use imported timbers without asking suppliers of local hardwoods to submit prices. In fairness to a local industry, tenders should be called for all departmental requirements. Although some of the huts in which the timber was to be used were already lined with pine, very many of them were not lined, and local timber could easily have been used for the purpose of lining them. The only way in which the timber industry can succeed is by giving it higher tariff protection, or by the Government using local timber for all its departmental requirements.

I represent about 80 per cent. of the fruit exporter oversea from Tasmania. Dealing with the export inspection fees, the budget speech contained the following:

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. Fees will only be charged where inspections are required to be made after official hours.

I should like to know whether the term “fruit” covers fresh fruit?

Mr.Paterson. - It covers all fruit.


– I am pleased to hear that. I am also pleased that the Government is realizing its duty, and endeavouring to help industries in which I am interested. Last week I asked the Minister for Markets and Migration -

  1. Is he satisfied with the present system of inspection of oversea shipments of fresh fruits ?
  2. If not, will lie take into consideration the advisability of instituting some other system, so as to ensure better results?

The .answers given by the Minister were : - 1 and 2. ‘Die present system of inspection throughout Australia is on the whole proving satisfactory, but would be considerably improved if it were practicable to have all the fruit intended for export examined at the packing shed or at the orchard as well as at the ship’s side. On Tuesday last I was asked by representatives of the Tasmanian Fruit Advisory Board to re-arrange the system in Tasmania by placing the supervision over the exportation of apples under the direction of a State officer vested with Federal authority. T am considering the representations made by the Tasmanian Advisory Board.

I arn pleased that the Minister is giving some consideration to this important matter of providing better inspection of fruit. I have nothing to say against the inspectors, but I have a good deal to say against the system of inspection. The system is very bad, and I have condemned it for years past, and sought to secure an alteration. The remarkable thing is that Tasmania is placed on a different footing from the other States. In all the other States from which fruit is exported there is one inspecting body; that is the State inspector who acts under Federal control. In Tasmania we have two authorities, State and Federal. These authorities are often in conflict, and it is quite possible for a man. whose fruit has been rejected for export by one authority to take the brand off, place the fruit on another wharf, and have it passed for shipment by another authority. The present system leads to much duplication, and is a fruitful source of trouble. At present there are about twelve or thirteen Federal inspectors on one wharf in Hobart, and there may be anything from 150,000 to 170,000 cases of fruit on that wharf awaiting shipment. It is impossible for the inspectors to make a proper inspection of that fruit in the time available. I have always advocated that the inspectors should be distributed amongst the different shipping places such as Port Huon and Cygnet so that they would have smaller consignments to deal with, and would be able to give better attention to the fruit. When there is no inspection required to be done at the wharfs, the inspectors could go into the packing sheds and the orchards, and give valuable advice to the fruit-growers: If we are to secure any improvement in the industry, it can only be done by the inspectors working in harmony with the growers. I hope that before long the Minister will agree to the suggestion made by the Fruit Advisory Board.

While I am on the subject of fruit, I wish to draw the attention of the Minister to the subject of printed paper wrappers. As the result of representations which I made to the . Minister for Trade and Customs about twelve months ago, he agreed to allow printed wrapping papers to be brought into Australia free of duty. The argument I used at that time was that if apples were wrapped with the name of the grower printed on the paper, it would be a protection against that grower exporting inferior fruit. I have studied the regulations and the act, and I can find nothing in either which require the importer of printed wrapping papers to secure the approval of the department for the style of design which he imports. As soon as the regulations were gazetted the Rosstrevor Estate imported, through an indent agent in Melbourne, a consignment of printed wrapping paper from America. I have samples of that wrapping paper here. It has printed on it a nap c of Tasmania Avith an apple in the centre, and bears the printed words “ Superlative quality apples, Tasmania, Australia.” This consignment of paper cost £150, but the inspectors at Hobart refused to allow apples wrapped in it to be exported. There are three grades of apples, the special, standard and plain. Hardly anybody who buys apples wants the special grade, and practically only 1 per cent, of the apples exported from Tasmania are of that grade. The great bulk of apples exported are standard grade. Yet the Minister says that the department could not allow this wrapping paper to be used except on special grade apples, which nobody wants.

Mr Paterson:

– The label bears the words “ Superlative quality.”


– That is so, but what does superlative quality mean in this instance? It. means the .best of that particular grade, and that is what the firm I have mentioned was exporting.

Here is another wrapper bearing these words: “Blue label apples - The A. F. and B. Company Limited, Sydney, Australia.” The Minister says that when an apple is wrapped in the first wrapper to which I referred, that matter conveys a false representation of the apple. I ask the Minister which paper constitutes the worst misrepresentation, Tasmanian apples in a Tasmanian wrapper, or Tasmanian apples in a Sydney wrapper, and sent overseas to be sold as Sydney apples.

Mr Paterson:

– What are the words on the second label.


– “ Sydney, Australia.”

Mr Paterson:

– Does it say “ superlative quality.”


– No ; but which does the Minister think is the greater misrepresentation, to sell Tasmanian apples wrapped in a Sydney label, or to sell Tasmanian apples under the label of “ superlative quality.”

Mr Perkins:

– Both are wrong.


– The one. is just as bad as the other. This is the first time these wrappers have been used, yet after this firm of which I speak had gone to the expense of getting these wrappers from America, they were not .allowed to use them, although they were given no information that any particular type of wrapper would be insisted upon. The Minister, in preventing the wrappers from being used, is imposing a hardship on the growers. I maintain that what is printed on the Tasmanian wrapper is not a misleading statement, and is not a false trade mark. The act uses the words, “ False trade description.” I say that those words do not constitute a false trade description. This paper is 9till on hand, and I hope the Minister will see his way to allow it to be used during the next packing season. Who would take exception to the words “Superlative quality,” when the apples arrive in England? The apples themselves are good, so what difference does it make?

We have heard a great deal during this debate about Australia’s adverse trade balance. The Tariff Board, which is a body eminently capable of judging the position, has pointed out that no sooner is an increase in tariff granted for the protection of an industry, than those employed in it approach the Arbitration Court for increases in wages, shorter hours, and better conditions. The board points out that there is no benefit to the industry from the increased protection if the cost of production is increased proportionately. Industry cannot develop so long as the unions keep on demanding higher wages and shorter working hours. I intend to support the Government, and I am very well satisfied with the budget report which it has brought forward.


.- As the thirty-third speaker in this Marathon debate, I have listened to many different examples of eloquence, but the most depressing of all was that- delivered by the honorable member for Franklin (Mr. Seabrook). It was depressing in its attack on the Australian workers, and the one bright spot it possessed was its solicitude for apples. It is a pity that this solicitude was not extended to the workers of Australia. The speech was also remarkable for the similarity which exists between it and those made by the honorable member on other occasions. We continually hear the same old attacks by him on the Australian worker and Australian standards of living. The monotony of them coming as they do so repeatedly from the honorable member for Franklin made his contribution to the debate one of the most depressing we have heard.

Mr McGrath:

– He knows more about Jones and his jam factory than anything else.


– Yes ; he is a product of an environment which is responsible for the narrow view he takes on important subjects. A turgid stream of talk has flowed through this Chamber during the past three weeks. Govern^ ment supporters have anxiously en deavouredto justify their support of an administration which is already overwhelmed by the unanswerable criticism directed against it in relation to the’ economic position of Australia. The criticism hurled at the Government from this side of the Chamber has found welcome support from the honorable member for Henty (Mr. Gullett) and the right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes) to whose utterances I shall refer later. We have been asked to suggest remedies; but that is a function of the Government and not of the Opposition. We can well say to the Treasurer, “ Physician, heal thyself.” Never in the history of government was there a more ill-assorted and quarrelsome family as that which at present constitutes the Government and its supporters. There are in the Government freetrade and protectionist elements, as well as militaristic and near pacifist elements. There are those who believe in state enterprise and those who are opposed to it. The tangled skein of criticism we have heard during this debate makes it obvious that a consistent person cannot support a government possessing the colour-changing qualities of a chameleon. One day it survives a censure motion on itsbanking policy on which it has staked its life, and next day abandons the project for which it fought so desperately. One day it insists upon withdrawing the per capita, payments to the States and the next day allows them to be continued inanother form. The same government suggests that a constitutional convention should be held in Canberra this year with the object of considering amendments of the Constitution, and next day appoints an expensive royal commission to undertake work which should be done by this Parliament. This commission, which, with the exception of the chairman, is distinguished by its lack of juristic eminence, has received a considerable amount of criticism from the press on the ground of the expense it is incurring and the comparative mediocrity of the talent of its composition and because the Government could have selected a better balanced commission. Ministries affirm the necessity of government by Parliament and next day surround Parliament with a veritable hierarchy of boards and commissions. One day they say that the maintenance of an Australian mercantile marine and shipping service is essential to Australia, and the next day they sacrifice the service which gives effect to this national ideal. I listened with great interest to the speech of the honorable member for Henty (Mr. Gul- lett), and I congratulate him on his courage in ‘affirming that the war was fought for thewealthy. It was indeed refreshing to hear such a candid state ment from a Government supporter. A particular feature of the honorable member’s speech was his gloom, because of his unhappy and unwelcome surroundings. His speech would lead me to believe that his prescription for the ills to which the body politic is subject, is, in the words of the old couplet -

For joy and temperance and repose,

Slam the door on the doctor’s nose.

That seems the prescription of the honorable member for Henty and the right honorable member for North Sydney, who so often adopts the role of Sir Oracle “ When I speak, let no dog bark.” The speech of the right honorable member for North Sydney disappointed every one because of its weakness, which was owing principally to the fact that he directed most of his criticism against the Treasurer instead of against the Government. In view of the right honorable gentleman’s hectic political past, he was singularly unfortunate in comparing himself to Plaucus, the Roman consul, because according to classical authorities, both the public and private life of Plancus were stained with numerous vices. . In his political actions he was unprincipled as well as undecided. Honorable members on this side of the chamber have been anxiously awaiting a speech from the right honorable member for Balaclava (Mr. Watt), whose “entrances and exits “ have become fewer since we entered into this long-promised land. Altogether aparat from his political views, the right honorable gentleman has established a reputation as a financial authority in Australia, and I contend that it is his duty to give his views on the economic situation at present facing Australia, or “forever hold his peace.”


– Why does not the right honorable member do so?


– That is what every one wishes to know. In view of the attitude which the right honorable gentleman has adopted towards the Government on previous occasions, and as he is now within the precincts of the House, I should like to know why he does not tell us what is in his mind.

Turning now to the Prime Minister, I want to stress that he did not attempt to justify the expenditure incurred by the Government, but simply asked honorable members to show where economies could be effected. But it is the function of a government to reduce expenditure wherever possible. In any case, the information available in the budget concerning the internal administration of departments is so meagre that honorable members are prevented from suggesting any comprehensive schemes of economy. The Prime Minister says, in effect, to his supporters, “With me as your leader, restrain, ye men, your hurtful tendencies.’’ He relies very largely upon the docile support of followers, who include a few men with - speaking relatively - established reputations and wide experience, and should have the courage to give their opinions on the outstanding economic facts in Australian politics today. The press of Australia is loud in ite condemnation .of the Treasurer’s administration, and evidently there is much truth in the old Hebrew proverb, “Do not dwell in a city whose governor is a physician.” The Treasurer is not a governer of, but he practically dominates this Administration. That, I think, is the view held by a. number of honorable members opposite, who are chafing under the present inequitable composite arrangement. An example of the crticism directed- against the Government is contained in tlie Evening News, which is a bitter Nationalist newspaper, of yesterday, from which I quote the following -

The Bruce-Page Government is meeting with considerable’ criticism of its budget, and this is not astonishing. In the first place, the budget is so badly presented that it is difficult to obtain a comprehensive notion of the commonwealth finance. If it were presented more in the manner of a company’s balance-sheet, but showing both the past year’s figures and the estimates of the present year, the reader could readily gauge how the accounts stood. 1 Instead, they are hidden away in obscure paragraphs or merely implied. The second objection is that, when the obscurity of the budget is penetrated, it is discovered to be a most extravagant one.

For the defects of the budget the Treasurer is not alone to blame. Dr. Page was probably primarily responsible, but his budget was passed by the Cabinet before presentation to Parliament. Upon the whole Cabinet, therefore; and particularly upon the Prime Minister, falls the responsibility for the budget.

Dr. Page has made a poor showing as ii. financier, but he is nevertheless the mouthpiece of the Cabinet’s financial policy.

What does the Government do with its excessive revenue? It wastes it with both hands. How many federal royal commissions there are in Australia to-day passes the wit of man to remember, for a new one is appointed almost every week. That most expensive and tireless royal commission on the Constitution was appointed in- the teeth of the popular demand for a convention. These innumerable and unnecessary commissioners are symptomatic of the extravagance of the Federal Government, of which its strongest supporters, inside and outside of Parliament, complain. was the Prime Minister has asked where economies may be effected, let me point to one or two examples of extravagance which can be regarded as nothing less than a crying scandal. No less than ?70,000 has been spent upon the reconstruction and re-furnishing of Yarralumla House, to provide a residence for the Governor-General. The money wasted there in certain directions exceeds by 100 per cent, to 150 per cent, the value of the assets created. The waste of money’ in this instance is a positive scandal, and should be investigated by the Public Accounts Committee or some other such body. In the erection and furnishing of the Prime Minister’s residence at Canberra! admit that the Prime Minister is entitled to an official residence in keeping with tlie prestige of the position - ?2S,000 has been spent, while workmen in the Territory are housed in iron huts and broken-down shanties. Notwithstanding this, the Prime Minister finds that the house is not, altogether suitable, and it is now suggested that the Public Works Committee should consider the construction of another official residence. It was criminal waste and extravagance to spend so much on this structure, and the waste is intensified when it is found that the building is unsuitable. I have quoted only two examples of wasteful expenditure; but if the detailed information were available in the budget I have no doubt many similar instances could be given.

This morning, by a question, I directed attention to the unfortunate funding agreement entered into in 1921 with the British Government. This agreement can only be regarded as precipitate, seeing that many years passed before any other dominion or foreign debtors entered into any funding arrangement. I strongly protest against the extraordinary disparity between the terms received by Australia and those given to Italy and France. The Italian and French debts were written down to insignificant amounts. I do not know what arrangements have been made with Canada, South Africa, or New Zealand; but it is outrageous to find that Australia has to pay £4,191,410 annually as interest, and £1,293,035 in reduction of the principal. The strongest possible pressure should be brought to bear upon the British Government in an endeavour to amend the terms of the agreement. Great Britain should not adopt the role of Shylock in dealing with Australia, and demand its pound of flesh, by asking us to adhere to a contract which was entered into before any other nation began to recognize its debt obligations. Instead of being penalized for our willingness to meet our obligations, we should be granted treatment at least as favorable as that meted out to the allied countries.

Mr Duncan-Hughes:

– The point is under discussion.


– The Prime Minister stated this morning that he had been unsuccessful in his endeavour to persuade Great Britain to reopen the subject. Through that channel alone we are sending abroad at least £1,000,000 a year more in interest than we should have to pay which amount could well be used as a set-off. against our adverse trade balance. That debt really represents the board, lodging and equipment of our troops when on service abroad, and it is unfair for Great Britain to adhere to the letter of the contract. I do not desire any honorable member to suggest that I am in any way opposed to Great Britain, or to the well-being of the Empire to which we belong. But I .wish to see the interests of Australia conserved, and I decline to countenance without a protest, Australia being made the victim of an unfair arrangement simply because of her ready willingness to meet her liabilities. The debts of France and Italy have been written down to insignificant proportions. The paradox of the situation is that we are to-day discussing our adverse trade balance, and our heavy commitments overseas, while here is a sum which would very materially reduce that overseas. expenditure.

For the edification of my constituents who have the inclination to read Hansard, I shall summarize the arguments put forward by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Charlton), who has moved the following amendment : -

That the item be reduced by £1, in order to draw attention to our adverse trade balance; the inadequacy of the protection afforded to Australian industries, and to direct the Government to remodel its financial policy to bring it into accord with the economic necessities of the Commonwealth.

During the course of his speech the Leader of the Opposition stated that our revenue had increased from £63,834,000 in 1922-23 to £75,541,000 in 1926-27, whilst the customs revenue had increased from £22,597,000 in 1922-23 to nearly £31,832,000 in 1926-27, and a further substantial increase was estimated for 1927-28, and that direct and indirect taxation had increased from £49,885,000 in 1922-23 to £58,994,000 in 1926-27. The honorable member also stated that whilst direct taxation had shown a slight decrease, indirect taxation had increased very materially. He also directed attention to the fact that- the adverse trade balance had reached alarming proportions, amounting, in 1926-27 to £20,000,000, or, if bullion is excluded, to over £30,000,000, while the adverse trade balance for the quarter ended 30th September, 1927, was £13,500,000. I give the amounts in round figures. With a possible decline in our wool clip and a reduced wheat yield it is quite on the cards that, at the end of twelve months, if the present position is not rectified, our adverse trade balance will amount to either £60,000,000 or £80,000,000. The position is the most serious that has ever confronted the Commonwealth of Australia. The principal remedy suggested from this side of the chamber, on which I and my colleagues agree, is the imposition of an effective customs duty on imported goods which can be manufactured in Australia. The. honorable member for Wannon (Mr. Rodgers) suggested that “that nock would not fight any more.” After all, what is the test of an effective protective policy? If the customs duties, which are supposed to protect our industries, fail to do so, they are no longer effective, and we might as well have no protective policy as have one which fails to protect, and which merely adds to the cost of living. It is both iniquitous and immoral to collect money under such a guise. It is also unsound to have to depend on such duties to meet the financial commitments of the Government. Yet we have a Treasurer who is depending on a continued increase from that source of supply in financing next year’s estimates of revenue. The fact cannot be denied that depreciated exchanges and substantial reductions in wages abroad have rendered our tariff ineffective. There has been a tendency towards an improvement in countries where exchange is depreciated, but even in Italy and elsewhere, where that is noticeable, there have been drastic wage-cuts. To-day Europe, with its high cost of living, low wages, long hours, and sweating conditions, is in a deplorable condition. “Would any honorable member in this chamber change the policy of Australia for that of Europe as it is to-day? Europe is on the verge of revolution. Only recently, there was an bloody outburst of civil war in Vienna. Unless it makes a determined attempt to restore its economic balance, and to distribute its wealth more evenly, Europe cannot escape a serious upheaval. That upheaval, if it comes, will not be attributable to communistic propaganda, but to the low standard of living, the starvation, disaster, and misery which invariably accompany an unequal distribution of wealth. Honorable members opposite have attacked the high standard cf wages which prevails in Australia. They affect to ignore, or do so deliberately, the fact, that the standard in operation in Australia was established by our arbitration tribunals, and is based upon the cost of living. Those arbitration courts have the support’ of honorable members opposite if we accept their election policies, at face values. Any departure from the arbitration system would be fraught with economic disaster, and would bring industrial upheaval. It should also be remembered that it is much easier to increase than to decrease wages. It may be desirable to lower the cost of living in Australia, but that must precede any reduction of’ wages. The whole complex structure of credit and the economic system of Australia is based upon a certain purchasing power and a certain money value. Any attempt to interfere drastically with that would bring disaster of considerable dimensions. The only alternative to additional protection to Australian industries is to reduce wages, lengthen hours, or abandon our industries algether. The idea of reducing wages and lengthening hours is preposterous when one considers that the existing standard has been ‘ created by our Arbitration Court, and to abandon our industries would be to destroy our whole economic future, seeing that over half a million people are to-day engaged in secondary industries in Australia. We do not wish to see European conditions operate in Australia, -and any government that advocated them would meet with short shrift from the people. Honorable members opposite have referred with a great deal of gratification to the conclusions arrived at by the World Economic Conference recently held at Geneva. They entirely ignore the fact that the economic ‘conference was mainly concerned with the economic conditions of Europe, which do not apply to Australia, j Its intention is to assist Europe to withstand the economic pressure of the United States of America. The desire in Europe is to create an international entente cordiale between the countries of Europe, a European zollverein. It would be ridiculous to adopt for Australia findings which are based upon the geographical and economic conditions of Europe. In determining what is an effective tariff, it is necessary to examine the relative standards of the countries in competition with us. If that is done, it will be found that an 80 per cent, or even a 100 per cent, tariff is insignificant when contrasted with the standards in force in European countries. The wages in Australia generally speaking are over 100 per cent, higher than those in Great Britain, while those in Great Britain are 50 per cent, higher than those in force in foreign countries, and the Asiatic standards are still lower than the European. Those countries work long hours and impose intolerable sweating conditions that could, not be con- sidered in Australia. ‘This Government should have a tariff session to deal with every item of our existing schedule, in the endeavour to reduce our adverse trade balance. Figures could be quoted to show the extraordinary increase that has taken place in luxury importations during the last year. Luxury importations last year amounted to over £28,000,000, and this Government relics upon the duties on those and other importations, together with excies, for the bulk of its .revenue. Protection should be extended to every Australian industry that is capable of helping to solve the labour absorption problem. It has been suggested by honorable members behind the Government that there is inefficiency in Australian industry. The Tariff Board has also implied that profiteering is rampant among some of our manufacturers. I hold no brief for the manufacturers, but I do resent such implications as damaging to our tariff policy when specific instances are not given for investigation by this Parliament. For every manufacturer in Australia who may be making’ an undue profit, there are one hundred importers and profiteers robbing this country of its wealth.

The Minister himself has given specific instances in which Australian manufacturers have reduced prices, and I wish to refer to one or two of them. Shock absorbers are manufactured by Storey Bros., of Sydney, in sufficient quantity to supply the whole of Australia’s requirements. That firm has ‘reduced its price to the public from £10 10s. to £7 10s. a set. The importers of Gabriel Snubbors, under a 10 per cent, duty, sold their goods at £10 10s. a set, while under the 55 per cent duty they sell at £8 8s. a set, showing clearly that they were previously exploiting this country to the utmost. Certain Australian manufacturers, such as Sonnerdale Limited, the pioneer manufacturer of spare parts and gears for motor cars in Australia, are being penalized by the unfair methods adopted by oversea traders. On the 3rd September, 1924, the duty on spare parts for a certain car was 10 per cent., and the car agents’ retail price was £8 10s. The Spare Parts Merchants’ retail selling price, under the 10 per cent, duty, was £7, giving the car agents a profit of £1 10s. On the 1st October, 1927, the Spare Parts Merchants’ retail price under the 55 per cent, duty was £4, while their net price of imported gears, when sold to wholesale houses in lots of six or more, was, under the 55 per cent, duty, £2 Ss. The selling price of Australian-made crown wheels and. pinions to wholesale houses was £3 15s. The maximum landed cost of imported gears, allowing 60 per cent, off list price, plus 75 per cent, for duty and handling charges, was £2 6s. 8d., allowing the importer a margin of ls. 4d. profit, clearly showing that dumping is going on with a view to killing the Australian industry. These instances show the immediate need for tariff,amendments to prevent some of our industries from going to the wall. Mr. Henderson, one of the leading hat manufacturers in. Australia, has supplied me with information showing how that industry is being crushed by importations. The value of imports of fur felt hats on the 30th June, 1919, was £73,032, and on the 30th June, 1927, £385,756. As a result, hundreds of men have been thrown out of work, and hundreds of machines are lying idle. The value of imports of wool felt hats on the 30th June, 1921, was £5,274, and on the 30th June, 1927, £163,635. Let us see how these imports are made up. The imports of Italian fur hats since 1925-26 have increased by 17 per cent., and of French fur hats by 92 per cent. The imports of wool felt hats from France have increased by 560 per cent., from Czecho-Slovakia by 145 per cent., from Austria by 268 per cent., from Germany by 254 per cent., and from Belgium by 160 per cent. Most of the competition in this industry is from lowwage countries. In England a hatter is paid ls. 5d. an hour, and a trimmer Sd. an hour. The Italian rate in 1926 was ls. Id. an hour for, hatters and 7d. an hour for trimmers. In France, in 1925-26, the rate was 5d. an hour for hatters, whereas the Australian rate is 4s. an hour on piece-work for hatters and ls. 6d. an hour for trimmers. That is surely an answer to the suggestion that Australian manufacturers are sufficiently catered for by the existing tariff. I have received the following’ letter from

Mcleod and Company, -manufacturers of kalsomine, in which they complain of the trading methods of American companies which are dumping their products into Australia : -

The Muralo Company, of New Brighton, New York, United States of America, export large quantities of kalsomine to Australia. I am informed that in order to evade the declaration of the home consumption value, a kalsomine is manufactured by the abovementioned firm under the name of “ Calcimo, which is for export only; and that the same kalsomine is packed under various labels for consumption in the United States of America. If this information is correct, the Muralo Company can truly say - as they do - that the kalsomine under the name or trade mark of “ Calcimo “ is not sold in the United States of America, and, therefore, there is no home consumption value to declare.

The substance of that letter will be submitted to the Minister, and I hope that he will take some action. I have also received further letters complaining of the delay of the Government in dealing with requests for additional duties on leather fancy goods and artificial flowers.


– With regard to leather goods, the next move is with the industry


– I am glad to have that assurance from tlie Minister. Take the manufacture of electric motors, which is important, especially from the point of view of defence. The Monarch Electric Motors of Sydney have drawn my attention to the inadequacy of the tariff and its inability to withstand oversea competition. The Australian manufacturer competing under war-time conditions was able to secure a large proportion of - this trade, but since- 1920, .as a result of foreign competition, the price for electric motors has dropped from £74 to £29 10s., which was the approximate pre-war price. We cannot withstand unequal competition of this description, particularly when the cost of material in Australia is 70 per cent, higher than in England. The wage paid to fitters in England is £2 18s. 6d. a week, and the Australian rate is £5 16s. 6d. a week. There has been an alarming increase in the importation of woollen- textiles. The imports in 1925-26 amounted to £2,320,426, and in 1926-27 to £2,445,972. It makes me disgusted to think that we Australians, who were so ready to make sacrifices during the war, are to-day not prepared by supporting our own industries to do all we can to win the race for trade supermacy and economic development. During the war our uniforms were the pride of the whole allied armies, as also were our boots. We make the finest wearing apparel in the world, and yet the Government is not prepared to increase the tariff sufficiently to protect the industry. The importation of hats and textiles should be prohibited except under licence. The man who wants a» Stetson hat should be made to pay £4 or £5 for it. The Australian hat is good enough for any one, and so are Australian-made textiles. A higher tariff on textiles would increase the local consumption of our wool clip, and thus, ultimately benefit the primary producers. We have an unfavorable trade balance with the United States of America, and the Government should take steps to induce that country, if possible, to give us greater opportunity to develop our export trade, at least in wool. According to the Literary Digest, published a few weeks ago, there is a general tendency in Europe to withstand American competition. Prance has placed prohibitive and discriminatory duties upon American imports. I should not go so far as that, because of endangering possibly the general trading interests of Australia, but something should be done to .induce America to help certain of our industries. However, I do not think that American capital invested in Australia should be penalized through the tariff, although it is well known that it is being penalized under certain duties which were recently tabled in this chamber by the Minister to which I shall refer later.

It is interesting to note that according to the Memorandum on Balance of Payments and Foreign Trade Balances, compiled for the League of Nations, the imports to Australia from the United Kingdom in 1913 amounted to 51.S per cent, of the total, and in 1925 to 43.9 per cent.; while our exports to that country were 44.3 per cent, in 191S and 42.7 per cent, in 1925. We obtained 13.7 per cent, of our imports from the United States of America in 1913, but by 1925 the figure had risen to 24.6 per cent. Our exports to that country were 3.4 per cent, in 1913 and 5.7 per cent, in 1925. Our imports from France in 1913 were 2.8 per cent., and in 1925 2.7 per cent.; while our exports were 12.3 per cent, in both years. Our imports from Germany were 8.8 per cent, in 1913, and 1.4 per cent, in 1925. The trade altogether ceased during the war, of course ; but the figures show slight increases each year since the cessation of hostilities. Our exports to Germany were S.S per cent, in 1913 arid 4.6 per cent, in 1925. Our imports from Japan were 1.2 per cent, in 1913, and 2.6 per cent, in 1925; while our exports to it were 1.8 per cent, in 1913 and 7.2 per cent, in 1925. Our imports from Italy were 0.8 per cent, in 1913 and 1 per cent, in 1925; and our exports to that country were 1.3 per cent, in 1913 and 6.2 per cent, in 1925. I have read those figures chiefly to show that there is an enormous and growing disparity in imports and exports between Australia and the United States of America.

I protest once more at the delay of the Government in submitting to the House a revised tariff schedule. I ashed a question on this subject of the Minister for Trade and Customs some time ago, but his reply was not satisfactory. I appreciate the work of the Minister, and also realize the difficulty he must have in framing a policy acceptable to the widely divergent interests which support the Government. On the 15th November the Minister informed me, in reply to a question, that in the last twelve months 24 recommendations had been received from the Tariff Board for increases in the tariff; but there have been about 40 1 alterations made in the schedule since the last schedule was tabled. In view of the many occasions in this House on which the honorable gentleman called attention to the unfortunate economic trend of the Commonwealth prior to his acceptance of the Trade and Customs portfolio, I trust that he will give us an assurance that something will be done to remedy the evils with which we are afflicted.

I join issue with the Minister on one subject, and am fortified in doing so by the fact that the policy to which I am pledged, which is based upon Australian sentiment, is that to ensure the develop ment of Australian industries we should not grant additional reciprocal treaties to Great Britain, or any other country, unless we are given a quid pro quo. The Australian-made Preference League recently addressed a letter to honorable members of this Parliament, in which it protested against statements that were made during the visit of the Secretary of State for tlie Dominions (Mr. Amery). The following sentence appeared in it -

It is thought that the time has arrived when Britain should completely reciprocate by legislation and administration in favour of British dominions instead of keeping them, except in a few isolated cases, on the same footing as foreign countries.

We are receiving no proper return for the preferential treatment that we are according to Great Britain in respect of motor chassis. I question whether the latest action of the Minister in this regard is in strict conformity with the spirit of the Tariff Board Act. In reply to a question which I asked him some time ago, he informed me that the alteration which he proposed to make in respect to the duties on imported motor chassis was in accord with the revenue policy of the Government. The duties which are at present applicable to unassembled motor chassis entering the country are: - British, free; intermediate, 7£ per cent.; general, 10 per cent.; and to assembled chassis, 7 per cent., 10 per cent., and 12^ per cent. respectively. The proposals which the Government submitted to Parliament last year were as follow : - unassembled chassis, British, 2i per cent.; intermediate, 10 per cent.: and general, 15 per cent. ; and assembled chassis, 7£ per cent., 15 per cent., and 20 per cent, respectively. The latest proposals are as follow : - unassembled chassis, British, free; intermediate, I2i per cent.; and general, 17£ per cent. ; assembled chassis, British, 5 per cent.; intermediate, 20 per cent. ; and general, 25 per cent. Although the Minister has claimed that the alterations are to be made in order to provide revenue for road work. the importer of unassembled British chassis will pay no duty at all. ‘ If this is to be a revenue impost, its incidence should be such that all parties will make some contribution under it. A stronger criticism is that it is entirely unfair that, while importers of assembled British chassis are to pay a duty of 5 per cent., the importers of unassembled foreign or American chassis are to pay 17-£ per cent. Every honorable member must realize that if General Motors or other firms import a large number of unassembled chassis they must employ Australian workmen to assemble them, yet they will have to pay a higher duty by 12i per cent, than the importers of the completed British car on which no Australian labour is employed.


– Some time ago a boast was made by one motor manufacturing company that a chassis could be assembled by one man in one hour.


– I do not know whether that is so or not, ; but when I paid a visit to the assembling plant of General Motors I was informed that 70 per cent, of the cost of their cars remained in Australia in the form of wages material, &c. I would never hesitate to attack General Motors, or any other firm, if they did not in some measure encourage Australian industries, hut I believe in giving credit where credit is due. But General Motors are, I am now given to understand, assisting Austraiian industries substantially by equipping their cars with Australian-made bumper bars, shock absorbers, batteries and. other accessories ; and they should be encouraged to do so. It is fair that I should ask the Minister whether British manufacturers are doing likewise. A proper margin is not being preserved between the two countries under the new proposals. I am not attacking British preference, but only the unfair incidence of the tariff. The total number of unassembled chassis- imported into Australia last year, according to a return made available to me by the Minister, was 21,212 from the United Kingdom, while more than 68,000 came from Canada and the United States of America. That shows conclusively that the American interests are assembling many more cars in Australia than the manufacturers of any other country, including Great Britain. It is not equitable to penalize manufacturers who are assembling their cars here, for in a small degree at least they are assisting to establish the motor car manufacturing industry in Australia. I would strongly support anything which would establish motor car manufacture in Australia. I trust that the day is not far distant, when, in spite of the apparently stupendous difficulties caused by the mass production methods that are in vogue abroad, the acquiring of the necessary patterns and so on, we. shall be manufacturing a completely Australian made car: We are already doing something to en courage ‘the manufacture of spare parts here. I am afraid that the Minister is inclined to be unduly prejudiced against our cousins across the Pacific. In spite of his evident desire to make a gesture of goodwill towards Great Britain and our sister dominions, by granting them a greater margin of preference than they have hitherto enjoyed, he seems to be unduly prejudiced against America.

The flooding of this country with imports has undoubtedly brought us U: against a most difficult financial situation. The Government should try to do something to check the importation of luxuries to Australia. This undesirable feature in our economic life has been contributed to largely by what is known as the cash order system of extended credits, which encourages people to buy luxuries which many really cannot afford. I have no desire to penalize the people, but I am convinced that our economic problems are assuming such huge dimensions that we must do something to check the growth of this bad habit, or it will bring disastrous consequences to us.

I wish to express my entire disagreement with the cheese-paring policy that the Government has adopted in respect to the provision of motor transport facilities for incapacitated and disabled soldiers. My protest is endorsed by the Returned Sailors’ and Soldiers’ Imperial League, of which I have the honour to be a member. In view of the dreadful affliction of soldiers who suffer from cerebral trouble, paralysis, . or have undergone double amputations, which in many cases make their life nothing but a living death, they should be treated with the utmost sympathy, instead of which the Government, in a most niggardly, reluctant and ungenerous spirit, has granted them a few transportation concessions, which are not- as much as they desired.

I resent the attitude of the Commonwealth Public Service Board towards those under its direction. This body was appointed some years ago to classify the Service, and has ‘taken an inordinately long time in carrying out its task. In fact, most of its time seems to be spent in exceeding the bounds of its administrative jurisdiction. In its last report the board bitterly attacked the Public Service ‘Arbitrator, because, in the exercise of his judicial functions, he has made certain awards which do not please the Board. Such language should not be ‘allowed to pass unchallenged in this House. The Arbitrator is a judical” authority created by Parliament, and his decisions are entitled to be treated with respect by the authority that is administering the Public Service. The board further exceeds its jurisdiction by urging the withdrawal of the political rights and privileges of public servants. That is a matter to be determined by this Parliament alone. For twenty years the political rights of public servants have been an unchallenged feature of Australian politics, and the board is guilty of grave presumption in criticizing a principle so firmly established and generally approved. Some years ago I found it necessary to move a reduction of the Estimates in order to call attention to the extravagant language used by this arrogant authority i n its annual report. The langauge in the last report would warrant similar action if the committee were not already occupied with another amendment and discussion was restricted.

This Government shows a remarkable readiness to intrude into spheres that constitutionally do not belong to the federal authority, while failing to exercise certain specific powers which the Constitution confers upon us. Notable amongst these defaults is the neglect to introduce legislation for the regulation and control of companies, particularly those dealing with insurance. The Commonwealth Parliament has been in existence for 26 years, and it has not yet enacted a federal insurance law. Since 1921 the formation of wild-cat insurance companies, improperly financed, and scandalously managed, lias constituted a menace to the reputation and financial well-being of the commercial community. It is high time that the Government grasped this nettle, and introduced a comprehensive insurance and company law. The subject is so complex and difficult that itmight, well be referred to a select committee. Apart from the roguery in connexion with the formation of wild-cat insurance companies, share hawkers, . the numerous failures, and the financial instability of some of them, the “ expectation of life tables “ call for action by this Parliament. These tables are based upon English statistics, although the expectation of life in Australia is greater than in England.

I protest against the extent to which the censorship is exercised over imported literature by authorities who are notcompetent to decide what printed matter should be admitted and what excluded. I believe in allowing to everybody the utmost liberty of thought. I have more admiration for a man who will read Karl Marx on capital and other abstruse economic studies, than for the man who reads literature treating mainly of sexuality. The former is entitled to be regarded as a good citizen ; he has at least an inquiring and healthy mind. The censorship is resented not only by men who have communistic sympathies or who are interested in that form of political thought, but by university professors and others, who find themselves handicapped in their studies of political science and social philosophy by the restriction that is imposed by this narrowminded and intolerant Government, Professor Anderson, lecturer on philosophy at Sydney University, says: -

The Communist case, if I understand it rightly, rests in the end on this contention that society is in danger of breaking up, and that only the working class can save it. Now are we to regard ourselves as political infants, and to assume (a) that public opinion consists of the opinions of newspaper proprietors; (&) that political discussion is politically dangerous; (c) that the. only thing thatprevents ns all from becoming Communists is our ignorance of what Communism is?

Professor Bruce, also of Sydney University, ridicules the character of the censorship. Amongst the publications that are excluded are some which are of purely historical interest to students and seekers after political and economic truths. No man can pretend to understand political science if his reading is confined to conservative literature. The censor will not allow the importation of the Sunday Worker, the organ of the Independent Labour party, printed and circulated in London every week ; the Labour Monthly, which was formerly tabled in the library of this Parliament; Shop Talks on Economics, which lias been a popular text book for sixteen years;

Aiia Where is Britain Going, issued by an ultra respectable English publishing house, on sale in general booksellers, and reviewed as one of the most significant contributions to of the most significant contributions to political thought of the last three years. “Who exercises the censorship? The Collector of Customs is guided by certain instructions issued to him by the ComptrollerGeneral in 1921. A proclamation in that year prohibited the importation of literature wherein a seditious intention is expressed or a seditious enterprise advocated. The Solicitor-General, Sir Robert Garran, has defined a seditious intention as being inter aiia, an intention to promote feelings of ill-will and hostility between different classes of His Majesty’s subjects so as to endanger the peace; order, and good government of the Commonwealth.” Judged by that test, many honorable members on this side are a menace, because our utterances from time to time are calculated to disturb the peace of the House, and certainly, the peace of the gentlemen who occupy the Ministerial bench. The sole test applied to some of this literature is whether it creates ill will. Parliament has given no specific direction as to how the censorship shall be exercised, beyond prohibiting “blasphemous, indecent, or obscene works or articles, and all goods the importation of which may be prohibited by proclamation.” There is a vast difference between a book which advocates criminality and immediate acts of violence calculated to destroy constitutional government, and a publication which merely expounds certain political doctrines or those upon which government is, or may be, carried on under a different economical condition of society. I support the protest made by Professors Anderson and Bruce, who, by no stretch of imagination can be regarded as dangerous men ; they are merely teachers who desire to inform their minds: I have no desire to be misunderstood on this subject.

I am not a communist, and the Labour party does not advocate communism. We believe in political evolution. Our policy is the antithesis of communism, to the extent that it is based upon political action, and adherence to constitutional methods of parliamentary government. At the same time we believe in the utmost liberty of thought, and we ask the same freedom as is allowed in Great Britain and. other parts of the Empire where this monstrous restriction on human thought and the freedom, of the press does not operate. Leaving that, I will turn to a subject which was referred to by my leader, the honorable member for Hunter (Mr. Charlton), in the speech which he delivered on the budget. Towards the concluding stages of that speech he mentioned with regret the failure of the conference on disarmament. I have always been a believer in international peace and disarmament, and as a means thereto in the League of Nations. I speak as one who has identified himself with the League of Nations union established in Australia. If there is one form of expenditure which is hindering the economic development of the world, and which is heading Europe towards industrial turmoil and anarchy, it is the enormous expenditure on armaments. Small as this country may be, and insignificant as it may be in the scheme of things, it is our bounden duty as a nation of would-be idealists, whose country is practically the only one in the world where blood has not been spilt in warfare to try to bring about some method whereby the nations will agree among themselves to submit their disputes to arbitration without embarking on war. Some time ago the Leader of the Opposition was a delegate at the League of Nations Conference, and he has all along expressed his allegiance to the Protocol which Great Britain has discarded. On behalf of the League of Nations of Australia, I secured some days ago from the Minister representing the Minister for Defence, a statement which shows the increasing expenditure by Australia on armaments. In 1919-20 Australia’s total expenditure on’ defence, excluding war services was £3,456,000. For 1926-27, this sum had grown to £7,890,000, or more than double the previous amount. I do not want to be misunderstood in this connexion. Honorable members opposite are always only too ready, when on the public platform, to misrepresent the attitude of honorable members on this side of the House, particularly at election time. I do not want it to be understood that I am in favour of denuding Australia of defence. We must be in a position to defend ourselves, but it would be much cheaper if we, as a nation, could enter into arbitration pacts with other nations so as to render this expenditure on armaments unnecessary. If that were done money spent on armaments could be diverted to production, and our present adverse trade balance would disappear in a very short while. I view with regret the resignation of that great Conservative idealist, Lord Cecil, from the British Cabinet. He has always been a firm supporter of the ideal of disarmament. When he resigned, he said that disarmament should not be bought at any price, but he also expressly stated that in his opinion it is more valuable than any other political objective. His statement on this subject is rendered all the more significant by the recent failure of the Disarmament Conference.

I wish to congratulate the honorable member for Batman (Mr. Brennan) on the attitude he took up some weeks ago, in protesting against the utterances of a distinguished visitor - I refer to Mr. Amery, Secretary for the Dominions - to this chamber, who spoke to us on international subjects as if we were kindergarten children. He inferred’ that we had no knowledge whatever of Empire and foreign affairs. We had to meet the Secretary of State for the Dominions of a Government that is already discredited, not only in England, but throughout the world, and he came here to give an exposition of conservative politics. The total expenditure by Great Britain on armaments during the six years following the war amounts to the huge total of £1,300,000,000. For the year 1926-27 alone the expenditue was £122,834,000. The cost to the United States of America that year for armaments is approximately the same, while the total spent by the various nations of the world on armaments every year is in the vicinity of £760,000,000. What this means, to a world already impoverished by the biggest war in history can hardly be realized. Sir Josiah Stamp, in his recent book Current Problems in Finance and Government, has estimated that the cost of the Army and Navy to Great Britain is “the equivalent of at least a month’s work every year of all producers and plant of the nation.” The significance of this may be inferred from the fact that the greater part of a nation’s income is absorbed on mere necessaries, and that war expenditure has to be taken from the “ luxury-margin “ of income. Thus urgently-needed reforms in education, scientific research and economic reorganization, as well as development in the cultural arts, are all held up while nations indulge in highly individualistic policies. According to Sir Josiah Stamp -

The standards of life throughout great industrial powers would be lifted by over 10 per cent, by the cancellation of the expenditure on armaments. Such an increase would have a much greater influence upon the comfort of life, and upon the economic well-being of the people, than the mere figure itself might convey. At the stage at which we stand, it is for the mass of the peoples of these nations tlie difference between grinding penury and a reasonable standard of comfort.

Well might one say that the man who rattles the sabre ends by rattling a deficit. That is the position in Europe to-day. Lord Grey, speaking at Caxton Hall on the 16th December, 1925, said -

As long as Europe is a great powder magazine, people will not feel comfortable because the various governments have agreed that they won’t put a match to it. Nothing will make real security except to remove the powder magazine.

Let me contrast the speech of Mr. Ramsay Macdonald with what was said by Sir Austin Chamberlain in a provocative speech delivered after the Geneva conference, when he suggested that the protocol would disrupt the Empire. With that statement I entirely disagree. Mr. Ramsay Macdonald said; -

Sir Austin Chamberlain’s speech is calculated to increase Great Britain’s difficulties in Europe. In the last three years we have become more isolated. The Baldwin Government, by its trade and international policies, is giving tlie world to understand that the

Empire is unable to adapt itself to modern conditions. Nothing could be more awkward that the statement that the protocol will disrupt the Empire, and, anyhow, it is not true. We should leave our enemies to say such things. We have gratuitously thrown away our position in Europe.

Let us also contrast the attitude of Great Britain, with that of our former enemy - Germany. Germany is bound by the Locarno Treaty to a pact under which she must agree to arbitration ; and also of her own volition, at a recent conference, she has signed the optional clause of the covenant by which she agrees to submit all disputes with the signatories to arbitration.

Mr Maxwell:

– But do not our own domestic experiences show that little value can be attached to compulsory arbitration ?


– Surely it is a cheap kind of comparison to suggest that industrial arbitration - which has only been a partial success,but which, nevertheless, has been successful in 80 per cent. of the disputeswhich have occurred in this country - is on the same plane as international arbitration. In the industrial world men do not take guns and blow out one another’s brains, women are not widowed, and hundreds of millions of pounds are not wasted. Ten million men died in the “ war to end wars,” including 60,000 of our own Australian soldiers, of whom 21,000 have died since the war. One out of three of those actually engaged in the war are now dead. Surely if we are to be worthy of those sacrifices, and are to live up to the ideals which we have set ourselves, it should be our avowed determination to bring about disarmament, that ideal which was first preached by the founder of Christianity 2,000 years ago. I might appropriately conclude by saying that war is becoming increasingly impossible. If another was is held in Europe it will mean the complete destruction of civilization, or will complete the collapse of the present crumbling capitalist system throughout the world. Another world-war would mean horrors that can hardly be contemplated.For example, near the end of the GreatWar, the United States of America was preparing in its chemical laboratories a new gas called “ Lewisite “ to be used during the 1919 campaign. Professor Baker, of London University, described this new gas as follows: -

Lewisite is invisible; it is a sinking gas, which would reach down to cellars and dugouts; if inhaled it is fatal at once; if it settles on the skin it produces almost certain death; masks alone are of no use against it; it is persistent; it has 55 times the “ spread “ of any poison gas actually used in the war. Indeed, it was estimated by an expert that one dozen Lewisite air-bombs of the largest size known in 1918 - for larger sizes could not be used - might, in favorable circumstances, have wiped out the population of Berlin.

These facts give us cause to reflect. It makes the statement true that “ The road to hell is paved withwar inventions.” War conducted under those circumstances may mean, not only all the terrors which I have suggested, but practically the devastation of that age-old cradle of civilization the continent of Europe. Therefore, it is the bounden duty of this Government to see that it is strongly represented at the forthcoming conference on disarmament, at which I understand Russia, and possibly the United States of America among other countries, will be represented. We should follow the example of that other small nation - Denmark, in the direction of encouraging other nations to substitute arbitration for a recourse to war. In this connexion I may perhaps use the phrase that before we can achieve complete disarmamentwe must disarm suspicion. We cannot hope to disarm suspicion, but whilewe have military and naval rivals such aswe have in Europe to-day, I regret the failure of the Naval Disarmament Conference between Great Britain and the United States of America, which has done a great deal to endanger the future friendly relations between that great nation and the British Empire. The resignation of Lord Cecil is also a factor of far-reaching significance. The failure of the conference should occasion the strongest possible protest from Australia and other parts of the Empire. We of the Labour party realize that in the interests of oppressed humanity we need peace, but our only hope of peace is the triumph of democracy in Europe. It is reported in the British press to-day that before many months have elapsed the Baldwin Government will be forced to the people,where itwill meet its defeat. A Labour Government on the British Treasury bench will possibly give a gesture of peace which will, as far as British policy is concerned, result in an adhesion to the doctrine of recourse to arbitration and conciliation, and the substitution of international co operation for armaments, the cost of which is causing such a terrible burden of taxation upon the workers of the. world to-day.

Progress reported.

page 1881


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 be amended as hereunder set out, and that on and after the 25th day of November, One thousand nine hundred and twenty-seven, at nine o'clock in the forenoon, reckoned according to standard time in the Territory for the Seat of Government, Duties of Customsbe 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 Now Zealand entering the Commonwealth of Australia from the Dominion of New Zealand.

Import Duties - continued.

Impost Duties - continued.

That the Schedule to the *Excise Tariff* 1921-1926 be further amended as hereunder set out, and that on and after the Twenty-fifth day of November, One thousand nine hundred and twentyseven, at nine o'clock in the forenoon, reckoned according to standard time in the Territory for the Seat of Government, Duties of Excise be collected in pursuance of the Excise Tariff as so amended. It is with a considerable amount of satisfaction, in moving the resolutions in connexion with tariff adjustments proposed by the Government, all particulars of which honorable members have before them, that I am able to fully inform the committee concerning the principles which have guided the Government in connexion with the numerous tariff changes now submitted which embrace also resolutions previously placed before honorable members. The alterations in tariff items and sub-items in the proposals now submitted by the Goverment number 135. The number of duties which have been increased in both the British and foreign schedules is 23. The number of foreign duties only in which increases have been made is 26, and in these items no alteration has been made in the British rate. The items increased, therefore, number 49. There are ten alterations proposed for the rectification of anomalies, and altogether there are in addition 52 alterations in various tariff items and sub-items in the resolution which give increased preference to the United Kingdom. Twenty-four alterations give substantial reductions in duty, included in which are many popular and revenueproducing items. The present resolution can perhaps best be described as an adjustment of the tariff, so designed that our national development shall be assisted, and accompanying it is the Government's sincere desire that in the aggregate British trade with us will also be increased at the expense of foreign trade. In order to show that this is so, I quote the following figures : - The total value of overseas imports affected by the proposals before the' committee approximate £24,000,000, of which £6,000,000 is British and £1S,000,000 is foreign trade. I have approximately estimated that the further help given to our own industries will enable them to capture in value at least £3,000,000 worth of British trade, and £3,000,000 of foreign trade. Britain also should be able eventually, without any detriment to any present Australian industry, to capture half of the remaining foreign trade in this market by reason of the increased preference given her by this resolution. The net gain to Empire trade expected to bebrought about by these proposals will be at least approximately £11,000,000, of which Australia's share is £6,000,000, and Britain's nearly £5,000,000. Important new industries have been provided for which, once established, will manufacture here the bulk of the large importations of certain classes of goods that now come to us from abroad. The proposed duties will help national and essential industries, such as dairying, iron and steel, timber and textile, which are also included in the schedule. I have said that there are ten alterations which can be described as- dealing with anomalies in the tariff, the object being simplification in administration. The decreases in revenue-producing items, nearly all of which favour British trade only, are estimated to balance the additional duties expected to he received by this tariff, so that, so far as we can reasonably see, there will be no net increase in revenue or any further tax upon the community as a whole, once the tariff effectively operates. "When the tariff is in full operation it is not expected that more than £400,000 will be collected yearly by the additional duties imposed, including timber. In making this calculation, the sum of £500,000 in connexion with the budget proposals of the Government in regard to road duties, which, so far as they reflect upon the revenues concerned, has not been included. The amount of revenue remitted as represented by the decreased duties which become operative as soon as passed by Parliament, will, based on the present imports, total a sum of about £400,000 yearly. I remind honorable members that, in view of the greatly enlarged proposals for British preference, a greater decrease than this may be expected later on, as the volume of British goods imported to Australia in substitution for the foreign goods affected will, no doubt, be considerably increased. It will be noticed by honorable members that substantial reductions are proposed in the British duties on everyday lines used by the people. The mere mention of gloves, cutlery, trimmings, lace, domestic electrical appliances, and motor cycles, as well as numerous other similar items, is quite sufficient to prove that that is so. In a statement made to the House, the - other day, 1 showed that of the total customs and excise duties collected, approximately over £24,000,000 could be described only as revenue duties, and under £16,000,000 ais duties to further the policy of protection to our own local industries. Therefore, opponents of Australia's settled policy of .protection cannot now use the old bogey of the greatcost to the Commonwealth of this policy in the way of inflated customs revenue, nor can they truthfully use the argument that increased protection always means increases in prices to the consumer, in view of the illustrations I shall be able to give to the contrary. It will be within the recollection of honorable members that when the last tariff was submitted to the House an outcry occurred in connexion with ladies' imported undervests and knitted goods. Do honorable members know that the result of that tariff is that these goods are now being manufactured in Australia, instead of being imported, and are cheaper than the imported goods they displaced. I quite, anticipate another scream in connexion with this tariff ; this time, perhaps, about the poor working man's socks, or even hi3 player-piano; but proofs have been submitted to me that, quality for quality, the wholesale prices in Australia to-day of many items which were included in the last tariff passed by this House are lower than at any time since the war. I shall later give any doubting Thomases other illustrations to show that reductions in prices to the consumer have followed the establishment of efficient industries in the Commonwealth. In some of the reports of the Tariff Board are further illustrations that this is so-. But even with regard to prices, there are many instances in which a further set-off could be made against the duties collected, and it therefore cannot be admitted that the whole of the protectionist duties, amounting to, say, £16,000,000 in 1925-26, are a burden upon the public. In any case, surely some consideration should be shown to secondary industries that employ nearly half a million people, that gave an added value, in production last year of £.1.60,000,000, and that consumed nearly £250,000,000 in value of raw materials, which include 200,000 bales of our wool. My experience is that in most cases the policy of protection has developed at the expense of the importer and of the foreigner, and not at the expense of our own population. Taking all the circumstances into consideration, including some decreases in prices to the consumer which have been brought about, and which will again be experienced as a result of the expansion of local industry, keeping in view the need for developing' our industries rendered necessary by our isolation from world centres, and also bearing in mind that some of these industries are basic and vital for the purpose of defence, it is worth remembering that this policy of protection is costing the people of Australia probably less than ls. per head per week. Even this sum is being used to help pay for the legacy of the war, and if not raised by this means it would be necessary to obtain the money in some other way. I hope Ave now have heard the last of the subtle propaganda of those opponents of the national policy who would make the people of Australia believe that the policy of protection should be debited with the whole of the customs and excise revenue necessary for any government and any party to carry on the activities and responsibilities of this great Commonwealth. A review of the industrial development that has taken place in Australia since the last tariff was placed before this House and discussed .justifies in every way, and up to the hilt, the action the Government then took. I hazarded the opinion at the time that the tariff so passed would, within two years of its coming into operation, create nearly 25,000 new jobs, or in other words, provide employment directly for 25,000 additional workers, and although the two years have not yet elapsed since its passage, even a cursory investigation shows that that opinion is likely to bc confirmed. The proposals contained in this new resolution will also have the effect of creating very substantial additional employment, and will bring into use machinery now idle by .virtue of importations from foreign countries. I feel sure that these proposals will result in increased, employment running into five figures. As each worker supports four or five other persons directly and indirectly, it is clear that there will be a very substantial increase in the prosperity of our people, through the opening of avenues of new employment which will be created by the full operation of this tariff. Other important provisions affecting Australia apply to the deferred duties proposed on linoleum, artificial leathers, iron and steel pipes and tubes, and tubular knitted goods. The first three, particularly, will be important new industries, and I understand that decisions by leading world [TO] manufacturers of those goods have already been made to start operations here. One outstanding feature of the proposals is the greatly increased preference they give to British goods on many lines, which will benefit some of her important industries. A generous measure of preference has, in the past, been accorded to Britain by this Parliament, and if these proposals are endorsed by the House, it will be a further extension of the principle of imperial preference given by the Commonwealth - I say deliberately - freely and without request. The Government's proposals in this connexion defend this country from any charge of narrow selfishness in its adoption of the policy of imperial preference, as we have made in the items submitted a further great practical gesture towards inter-Empire trade. The total concessions in the direction of increased British preference proposed are estimated to be of an ultimate value to British trade here of nearly £1,500,000, thus increasing the preference given to the United Kingdom, should this schedule be passed intact by the House, to a sum of upwards of £10,000,000 per annum in her total trade with Australia. The schedule gives an increased margin of preference to Britain on most of the items dealt with, in many cases up to 25 per cent., and will enable British manufacturers to attack in this market nearly £15,000,000 worth of foreign trade- including motor chassis - now done with us by foreign nations, and will consequently help to adjust the greatly adverse trade balance which we have at present with certain foreign countries. It will be noticed, too. that this encouragement to swing over foreign trade to Britain will in some cases help our own industries, as well as Britain, whom we recognize as our best customer. It will be noticed that, in the coffee item, an innovation in our tariff has been made by giving any part of the Empire the British preference accorded this commodity. When in England recently I found an increasing interest on the part of British manufacturers in our industrial development, and all my time was occupied while there with departmental matters and in interviewing and explaining to British industrialists the advantage of establishing branch factories in the Commonwealth, thereby co-opting our own kinsmen in our own industrial progress. Probably Australia's greatest need to-day is population, and it is my firm belief that the migration of British people must be accompanied by the migration of British industry. In this way shall we create ever-increasing avenues of absorption for additional population without displacing our own workers already engaged in industry here. Not only in England, but also in Canada and America, I stressed this belief, and am pleased to say that many important overseas manufacturers have decided on, or are contemplating, the establishment of branch factories in Australia. A list of the new companies registered even during the past twelve months shows that great strides have taken place, and are taking place, in the development of this country's natural resources, and this aspect of our development must play a further material part in the much wanted increase of British population here. Despite our very practical and generous British preference one occasionally hears a criticism of our efforts to develop our industries here which may, perhaps, have a repercussion on employees in industries in Britain. I had to point out, while in England, that it must be remembered that for every employee put out of work there through the development of Australian industry, there are two or three more engaged directly and indirectly in similar work in the Commonwealth, and while we may take a little trade from Britain, we also displace the foreigner in favour of our kinsmen from the Mother Country. We, who are all Britishers, will, I think, agree that work for two extra men in Australia is infinitely better for the Empire than a policy which keeps only one at work at Home and another in a foreign country. Although our policy of protection may interfere in individual cases with individual British manufacturers and with individual lines of goods, it must be remembered that, in the aggregate, with the increase of our population and development, additional opportunities are given to British traders in this market, and experience has shown that, with these fac- tors operating, the market for British goods here on the whole is likely to be increased as we develop. We are still practically Britain's best customer, and we desire to remain so once Australian interests have been served. Whilst abroad I interviewed scores of manufacturers, and, generally speaking, I found very little antagonism to, or criticism of, our national fiscal policy from them, as it was generally realized that in strengthening ourselves we are also strengthening the Empire. In England I found a growing change of opinion in economic and fiscal policy since an earlier visit there. The Safeguarding of Industries Act there has been generally successful in conserving to Britain against the foreigner the trade covered by the items which this act embraces. The iron and steel and textile trades, not yet covered by the act, are in a most unsatisfactory position, and a great public opinion is surely if slowly realizing that even the British home market should no longer be the dumping ground for foreign goods. In the combing out of tariff applications there must necessarily be some small industries which deserve and require protection, and these also have been provided for. Provision has also been made to shelter some important local industries, and also British trade in the Commonwealth, from severe competition from foreign countries. This has been done without affecting the present British duties or any established industry in the Commonwealth. Tariff Board reports and recommendations have been made with regard to all increases proposed in the tariff. Copies of these reports, I hope, will be available for honorable members within a few days. In most cases, the recommendations in these reports have been accepted by the Government, and where variations have been made I hope to be able to supply to the committee adequate reasons therefor. Some of the reductions proposed are matters of government financial policy and are submitted for the decision of Parliament. It is obvious to honorable members that the legal methods of tariff inquiry necessitate more publicity regarding tariff revision than was required before these methods were adopted. Consequently, as was done in the last tariff that I submitted to Parliament, because of the necessity for protecting the public revenue, I have refrained from placing some proposals relating to reductions of duties before the Tariff Board pending the tabling of this motion. Action, however, will now be taken in the direction required. Some of the reductions are government proposals, and I am informed by my departmental officers that they do not appear to conflict with the interests of any Australian industries. The schedule also includes three tariff resolutions which have been placed on the table of the House at various times and not yet discussed. These include the duty on rice, which was considered by the Government to be essential to shelter and encourage that marvellous development in primary industry, that has taken place in ricegrowing on the Mumimbidgee Irrigation Area. The second resolution placed on the table of the House last year related to foreign, iron and steel duties, which the Government decided on for the purpose of protecting this vital national industry from disastrous competition from abroad, particularly the Continent. This action by the Government has achieved its purpose, and has effectively helped the industry, And the threatened attack by. continental interests upon its very existence has been shattered. The third resolution was brought down in this House quite recently, and refers to the budget proposals regarding an increase in the intermediate and general tariff rates upon assembled and unassembled chassis, and honorable members have been informed that the increased ' amount expected to be realized from this item is purely of a revenue character for the purpose of raising an additional sum of £500,000 in order to complete the Government's proposals for allocating £1,500,000 out of special customs revenue to the States for road purposes. This sum has not been taken into consideration in the figures that I have given of increased and decreased revenue. Summed up, so far as the items before the committee are concerned, the "Government's proposals include three main principles - {: type="a" start="a"} 0. the reduction or abolition of duty on some popular and revenueproducing items in every-day use by the people: {: type="1" start="6"} 0. a further measure of protection to many Australian industries; some of a. national character which, in the opinion of the Government, must be preserved and developed; 1. the expansion and extension of the policy of preference to British trade in this market as an earnest of the Government's desire to help towards a closer and well balanced Imperial economic unity, provided always tha interests of Australia are conserved. In this newest of British countries we have perhaps to-day made a gesture to our kith and kin in the Mother Country, which may be an epoch in the history of our commercial relations. We have increased the opportunity for their manufacturers to secure a larger portion of our trade once the legitimate demands of Australian requirements have been served, and we have widened the spread . of British preference in nearly all the items submitted, admitting some important lines of British goods duty free, while retaining the foreign duty intact. The Government considers that these proposals are a definite step towards consolidating and bringingcloser the unity of the Empire by the furthering of a community of commercial interests, as it believes in the feasibility of promoting closer union by means of customs tariffs while protecting also the development of the Commonwealth. I fully believe that the underlying principles of these proposals will appeal to most . honorable members on both sides" of the chamber, and I feel .that we shall all welcome, provided our own standard of living is not interfered with, any proposals to help weld the scattered parts of the -British Empire into one great economic system using its own resources for the common good. The adjustment of the many items and sub-items, which I have placed before the committee today, has from every angle been given the most careful consideration by the Government. We, in Australia, possess wonderful natural resources in the way of raw materials, and Ave realize that the foundation of our security lies in the control and development of those raw materials. In this connexion the Government considers that the schedule largely increases our opportunities, and gives a further incentive and stimulus to local manufacture from local sources of raw materials. In the items before the committee, where it appears to the Government that we have not the raw material available, or the opportunity at present of economic local manufacture, and where we are thus compelled to import our requirements, important provisions have been made to conserve and increase British trade at the expense of foreign importations The welfare of its industries is the chief interest of the nation, and nature offers no security for nations which live by the industries of others. I feel sure that the Government's proposals, so far as they go, will achieve their object - the further development of Australian industries, both primary and secondary, and the swinging over to Great Britain of a good volume of the present foreign import trade done with us in the items affected. We Australians own a vast heritage. Within the shores of our island continent there are natural advantages and wealth almost unequalled in the history of civilized races. Within our borders are to be found a variety of climates and most classes of raw materials. In these proposals we are making a distinct advance in the direction of giving added employment, and in providing remunerative industries to our ownpeople, and we are also offering the opportunity of our kinsmen in the Mother Country of increasing their trade with us, and sharing our development and advancement. I hope that the resolutions may be adopted. {: #subdebate-23-0-s1 .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr GREGORY:
Swan .- I desire some assurance from the Government that we shall have an opportunity to discuss this schedule before the Christmas adjournment. Many months ago a duty of . £9 per ton was put on barbed wire entering this country, and we have not yet had an opportunity to discuss it. It is only fair that the country should be given an opportunity to hear both sides of the case. {: #subdebate-23-0-s2 .speaker-F4B} ##### Mr BRUCE:
Prime Minister and Minister for External Affairs · Flinders · NAT -- The Government has every desire to afford Parliament a full opportunity to discuss the alterations of the tariff that are made in the. combined schedule which has just been tabled. . We are conditioned by the time available to us. For the information of honorable members let me say that our present intention is to complete the budget debate, and follow it with the discussion of the Estimates, and, if necessary, we shall sit until Saturday to do so. But I assure honorable members that we are quite prepared to make provision at the earliest possible moment for a discussion on this amended schedule. {: #subdebate-23-0-s3 .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON:
Hunter .- Certain of the duties set out in this schedule will not become operative for many months. In my opinion that allows speculators and others an opportunity to flood the country with the items concerned to the detriment of our local industries. {: .speaker-K1J} ##### Mr PRATTEN:
MARTIN, NEW SOUTH WALES · NAT -- The honorable member is referring, I presume, to deferred duties. It is the custom to impose them in this manner. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- My complaint is that seven months' notice is far too, long. Presumably these amendments have been made in the schedule in order to provide employment for our workless people, and to encourage the manufacturing industries of the nation ; but those objects will not be achieved if we give this extended notice. In the meantime manufacturers abroad could import sufficient of these goods to supply the local market for perhaps two or three years. {: .speaker-F4B} ##### Mr Bruce: -- Except for two or three items, this schedule becomes operative immediately. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- The trouble is that some of the deferred items are very important. I refer specifically to the following : - >Item 105 - (aa) - Piece goods, cotton, silk or containing silk, artificial silk .... {: type="a" start="f"} 0. (2) Piece goods, woollen or contain ing wool, n.e.i. 1. (3) Leather cloth. Item115 - Socks and Stocking for human attire, viz.: - {: type="a" start="a"} 0. Cotton. The duty on these items will not become effective until the 1st of July, 1928. The position is worse in regard to the following items: - >Item 118- (c) (2) Linoleums and floor coverings .... > >Item 152 - (a) Iron and steel tubes or pipes .... the dutyon which will remain inoperative until the 1st January, 1929. {: .speaker-K1J} ##### Mr PRATTEN:
MARTIN, NEW SOUTH WALES · NAT -- The manufacture of some of them has not yet commenced. {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr Gregory: -- There has been a deferred duty on hoop iron since 1920. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- W e have a number of iron manufacturing concerns in different parts of Australia, and we should protect their interests. Generally speaking, our manufacturing industries are languishing, employees are being dismissed, and the price of shares is falling. If it can be demonstrated beyond question that we are unable at present to manufacture the items to which I have referred, there will be some justification for deferring the duty, but otherwise there can be none. {: .speaker-K1J} ##### Mr PRATTEN:
MARTIN, NEW SOUTH WALES · NAT -- Some of the alterations to which the honorable gentleman has referred are merely consequential, and will not affect the present situation in any way. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- If the Minister is able to give me an assurance that these provisions will not affect our established industries, I shall be satisfied; but so far he has not done so. To my knowledge we are manufacturing some of the items that I have mentioned, and those concerned in the industry should be protected. Mr.Fenton. - It appears to me that Flinders-lane is being invited to get busy. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- Of course it is, and that is what I object to. I want to see Australian industries fostered and employment provided for our people. I am quite prepared to consider proposals to reduce any of our purely revenueproducing duties, for I have no desire to increase the cost of living; but I object strongly to any proposals which may have the effect of injuring either our people or our industries. {: #subdebate-23-0-s4 .speaker-K1J} ##### Mr PRATTEN:
Minister for Trade and Customs · MARTIN, NEW SOUTH WALES · NAT -- Some honorable members seem to be under a misapprehension in respect of the principle underlying the imposition ofdeferred duties. Such duties are provided to encourage the manufacture of particular articles. If and when the Tariff Board represents that a sufficient quantity of these goods is being produced within the Commonwealth, at a reasonable price and of satisfying quality, the deferred duties become operative. The deferred duty on cotton goods in tubular form, to which the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Charlton)** has referred, has been recommended by the Tariff Board. At present goods of this class are not being manufactured here in sufficient quantities to justify the immediate imposition of the duty. The honorable member referred also to the deferred duty on "piece goods, woollen or containing wool." This is simply a re-arrangement of the item, and does not affect the present duty. The deferred duty on linoleums is provided in expectation of the establishment of the industry in Australia, and that is also true of the deferred duty on artificial leather goods. The manufacture of iron and steel tubes and pipes has not yet been started in Australia. If it were started to-morrow, I doubt whether the articles could be placed on the market within twelve months. I make these statements in order that there may be no misunderstanding of the Government's proposals. {: #subdebate-23-0-s5 .speaker-F4B} ##### Mr BRUCE:
Prime Minister and Minister for External Affairs · NAT -- The committee will desire an opportunity to discuss the schedule fully, and a mere preliminary survey of the new duties at this moment would be a waste of time. The Government proposes that the debate on the budget and the consideration of the Estimates shall be proceeded with, and when the financial proposals have been dealt with the tariff schedule will be again brought before the committee and opportunity for a full discussion afforded. In regard to the deferred duties, I remind honorable members that the date mentioned in the schedule is only the earliest date at which those duties would come into operation. Before a deferred duty can be collected, the Tariff Board must inquire and report that we are manufacturing locally a substantial portion of our requirements. According to its report, the duty may commence to operate on the date shown on the schedule, or be further deferred. Some deferred duties which were included in the 1922 schedule are not yet operative. Progress reported. {: .page-start } page 1898 {:#debate-24} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-24-0} #### BUDGET, 1927-28 *In Committee of Supply* - Consideration resumed *(vide* page 1881). {: #subdebate-24-0-s0 .speaker-JUB} ##### Mr D CAMERON:
BRISBANE. QLD · NAT .- I offer my congratulations to the Treasurer upon the privilege he enjoyed of introducing the first budget, presented in the permanent home of Australia's national parliament. He has also established another record in federal politics, in that he has introduced five consecutive budgets. His nearest rival was the late **Sir George** Turner, who introduced the first four budgets in the history of the Commonwealth. Continuity of a sound policy is absolutely essential in dealing with great national problems such ns defence and migration. The Government went to the country two years ago with a policy of progressive development, including the widest possible co-operation with the States. If effect is to be given to such a policy a prolonged term of office is helpful, and particularly to the Minister who presides at the Treasury. On a previous occasion in this House I affirmed the belief that the term of the national Parliament is too short and should be extended to either five or six years. I also had the temerity to represent that view to my constituents, and I know that it is shared by a great many who cannot by any stretch of imagination be accused of personal interest. Three years is too short a term in which to give effect to a policy. In the first session the House is disturbed; possibly 33 per. cent, of its members are taking their seats for the first time, and some of the Ministers, also, may be new to their departments. In consequence, very little work is done. In the second year, the Government has an opportunity to submit to Parliament many of its proposals, but it is only human nature that during the last year of n Parliament the eyes of members and of parties are turned towards the constituents. Therefore, I think that better work would be done if the life of Parliament were extended to five or six years. I appreciate the fact that difficulties would arise in connexion with the election of members of another Chamber. I have recently read an interesting book, *Select Constitutions of the World,* which was prepared for presentation to Dail Eireann by order of the Irish Provisional Government in 1922. It shows that the Swiss and Australian Parliaments are the only ones whose term is limited to three years. The Federal Parliaments of Canada and South Africa are elected for five years; the Irish Free State Parliament for four years, the Parliament of the Czechoslovakia republic for six years, and the French and Belgium Chambers of Deputies for four years. I do not know whether this matter comes within the scope of the Constitutional Commission which is now sitting, but if it does it is wel] worthy of some consideration by that body. One outstanding feature of the budget debate has been the lack of constructive suggestions from most of the honorable members who have strongly and sometimes viciously condemned the Treasurer and the Government generally. It is quite conceivable that purely destructive criticism that is devoid of practical suggestions may do some injury to the national credit. It cannot help us to overcome the financial depression which, in my opinion, is due in a great measure to adverse seasonal conditions. Another feature of the debate has been the pessimistic note struck in some unexpected quarters. The right honorable member for North Sydney **(Mr. Hughes)** is one whose opinions are entitled to the greatest respect. He guided this country through the darkest years of its history, and by his statesmanship and ' courage, and what our American cousins would call " intestinal fortitude," gained for himself the lasting gratitude and admiration of the people not only of Australia but of the whole Empire. As time passes we are better able to view those years of war in their true perspective, and to realize the great part which the right honorable gentleman played in tlie councils of the Empire. Had he struck a pessimistic note during those troublous time, Australia's share in the victory of the Allies would, I venture to say, not have been as great as it was. I regret, therefore, that he should have declared that the Government was " plunging the country headlong down into financial and industrial hell." It is to be regretted that such criticism should go out to the world. The right honorable gentleman is known and respected abroad as a great statesman, and such criticism of our financial position coming from him may easily damage our national credit. That the financial position demands the strictest economy on the part of governments, municipal councils, and private individuals cannot be denied. -Private individuals if they are wise make provision for a lean time. Governments cannot take that precaution, because the establishment of reserves would mean increased and unwarranted taxation. They can best provide for lean, times by reducing taxation to the lowest limit so that taxpayers may he in a better position to respond to the increased call upon their resources .in time of national stress. Among many good purposes served by this debate it has indicated to the people some of the difficulties which we as a young nation must face. We are endeavouring to establish our secondary industries with a tariff which we are constantly raising, and there is always a demand that it shall be raised higher and higher. Our exports are almost, entirely primary products, and we must go out into the world to find a market for them. The artificial conditions which we are creating in this country will make it all the more difficult for us to obtain these markets.' The debate has indicated that there is a wide division of opinion amongst members in this committee as to what steps we should take to remedy the position. The Government should, at the earliest possible moment, call an economic conference. The leaders of the various phases of economic life in the country should confer regarding the effect of the tariff, the very high taxation in some of the States, and other problems which have been discussed during this debate. I am sure the people of Australia would . welcome such an action by the Federal Government. In this connexion I propose to read an extract from a speech delivered by **Sir David** Gordon in Adelaide about a month ago. He was Australia's representative at the Economic Conference held recently at Geneva, and dealing with the need for an economic conference, he said - 1 have just come from a world conference where tlie main problem was the economic chaos threatening the ruin of Europe. One of the most interesting features of that gathering was the remarkable preparation of statistics and data placed before delegates showing the condition of the countries chiefly concerned, and the extent of tlie disastrous dislocations due to war and its aftermath. The object lessons presented by Europe should not be ignored by countries more fortunately situated. Possibly the conclusions unanimously arrived at by the representatives of so many nationalities may convey useful suggestions to the statesman and people of Australia. I wonder whether the time has not arrived for the holding of an Economic Conference in tralia? Information could be placed before such a gathering indicating, not only the notable achievements to the credit of Australians, but the possibilities of further expansion, the chief problems confronting enterprises which affect State Sovereignty and solvency, of primary and secondary industries, employment, the exchange value of wages, cost of living, and other information calculated to encourage some hard thinking and possibly a few economic readjustments. I throw out the suggestion for consideration. The times call for some definite effort to check the tendency to drift aimlessly into, avoidable disaster. Although an optimist regarding Australia, I cannot help feeling that in many respects we are not making the headway we should be doing; that our political and economic difficulties are being ignored, and that disastrous consequences can only be averted by boldly facing the complex situation which is rapidly developing. There is no country in the world where the call is so insistent for enterprise and development. Ours is tlie only empty continent left, and tlie world wants to know what Ave are doing, and what we propose doing, to people and use it to its full capacity. A little heart-searching, some stocktaking, a better understanding that is capable of being created between States and the Commonwealth, between employers and employes, among producers, traders, and investors inside and outside of our frontiers, would be for the good of everybody and the stability of Commonwealth and Empire. We cannot regard the public finances of our country with any satisfaction. We dare not ignore the immediate outlook for some of our primary industries by reason of the unfavorable season. Trade 'figures showing imports in excess of exports cannot be accepted with complacency. Sometimes awards of Arbitration Courts are followed by a demand for a higher tariff. Every increase in customs duties encourages an appeal to the sympathies of some omniscient arbiter to increase wages, *or* reduce hours, or both. How much greater is this uneconomic: circle to be allowed to grow? Somebody said recently, " Australia is standing at the crossroads, and the decision of the next turning will be of exceptional consequences." Whether or not that is true, or that our democracy is trembling on the edge of a precipice, one thing will be conceded, and that is that the destiny of theEmpire, the fate of our country, must not be left to chance. As a people in occupation of a young country, we have had our fair share of difficulties and have not shirked facing them. There is no need to be apprehensive of the problems which call for attention to-day. The first thing to do is to admit them. That would be a display of courage ! Then understand them. That would be wisdom! Then apply the remedies. That would be patriotism and statesmanship of the highest order. When I set out to speak on " Australia's place in the Empire " to this large gathering, representative as it is of our State, I knew I could not hope to do justice to the importance of all the issues involved. I thought, however, that some interest might be 'created in what is a happy and vitally essential Imperial partnership. Australia stands high in the counsels of the Umpire to-day.It is for the people of the Commonwealth to maintain its prestige. Let us never forget that " Every selfgoverning member of the Empire is now the master of its destiny." Thus the full responsibility is with us. We must not, we dare not fail to keep our " place in the Empire." I am sure that speech must appeal to every one in the chamber. **Sir David** Gordon was our representative at the Geneva Conference, and had ample opportunity to inform himself concerning the economic position of the world generally. If such a conference as I have suggested were held, it might he the means of assuring the people that all the things which were said during this debate regarding the disastrous state of the country's finances are not correct. There is great need for reform and economy, and my chief purpose in contributing to this debate was to suggest to the Prime Minister that he should seriously consider the possibility and advisability of calling an economic conference at the earliest moment. {: #subdebate-24-0-s1 .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr FORDE:
Capricornia .- I wish that all honorable members of this committee were absolutely free to vote as they thought fit on the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition. If we could secure such a condition as that, I feel sure we should have a majority of honorable members voting for the amendment so well put by my leader. What is there in this amendment that cannot be supported by every member of the committee? If honorable members opposite put aside party, and placed their country first, as they so frequently say we ought to do, they would rise in their places and applaud the Leader of the Opposition for the stand he has taken. His amendment aims to draw attention to the country's adverse trade balance, and surely this step is a laudable one. Certain Government members have also criticized the Government's handling of the finances, but I am satisfied that when the time comes they will vote with their party. {: .speaker-KRD} ##### Mr McGrath: -- They are not free. {: .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr FORDE: -- The Leader of the Opposition also points to the fact that the protection of Australian industries is inadequate, and that unemployment is increasing in Australia. An amendment which draws attention to these things should commend itself to every honorable member, and it is possible that we may get a surprise when a vote is taken. If the Government went to the country on such issues as these, there would be a very different result from that of the last federal election, when the whole political horizon was clouded by side issues and political bogies. As so many honorable members have already spoken on this subject, I feel diffident about entering upon a discussion of the budget at this stage, but I recognize that I owe a duty to my electors, and should state my views on so important a matter. I intend to deal with" the trade balance, preferential duties and unemployment, and I shall also have something to say in reply to the slanderous statements made by certain honorable members, notably the honorable member for Lilley **(Mr. Mackay),** regarding the State I have the honour to represent in this Parliament. It must have been very disconcerting to the Treasurer to listen to the very candid and effective criticism that has come from honorable members on his side of the Committee in the course of this debate. It must make him feel that everything is not well in his own party, and that the rank and file are not satisfied with the way in which this country is being governed. Speeches by members of the Opposition are discounted on the ground that the Opposition is always expected to criticize, but when one hears such criticism as has come from the honorable member for Wimmera **(Mr. Stewart)** a gentleman who has held high office in the Government, it points to the fact that there must be something wrong. The honorable member for Wimmera said that the friends of the Treasurer have mistaken his energy for ability, and his shiftiness for skill. He spoke as one who knew the Government, and what went on behind the scenes, so that he was in a position to put his finger on the weak spot of the present administration. It must have been equally disconcerting to the Treasurer to listen to the speech of the honorable mem"ber for Henty (M.V. Gullett). That gentleman is a Nationalist, a man to whom we can give credit for being a deep student and conscientious. In the past, when he held the position of Director of Migration, he resigned as soon as he discovered that he could not agree with his chief, tlie right honorable member for North Sydney **(Mr. Hughes")** . He has said that the. present Treasurer is the worst Treasurer that Australia has ever had. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr Fenton: -- The most tragic Treasurer, he said. {: .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr FORDE: -- The right honorable member for North Sydney said that the Treasurer, who talked economy when in opposition ,to the Nationalist party, is now "reeling in an orgy of maddening extravagance." So much has been said in this regard that I intend to touch very briefly, for the information of my constituents who may read *Hansard, on* some aspects of the nation's finances. Notwithstanding all that tlie Treasurer has said about his careful administration and handling of the finances, the public debt of the Commonwealth has increased during his term of office. On the 30th June, 1923, the public debt stood nt £358,000,000, but on the 30th June, 1927, it was £366,000,000, an increase of over £8,000,000. Taxation, direct and indirect, has, during the same period, increased from £8 17s. Id. per head to £9 13s. Id. The members of the Government say that they keep a close watch on expenditure, and one might believe from that that there had been a decrease in expenditure while the honorable gentleman has been in office. The annual expenditure from revenue has increased by £10,000,000, while the annual loan expenditure on works and buildings has increased by £3,000,000, since the Treasurer has been in office, showing that this heaven-born financier has been playing " ducks and drakes " with the finances and the country. Our finances show that the statement of the honorable member for Henty that as a Treasurer he **(Dr. Page)** is a dismal failure, is correct. The honorable member for Wimmera **(Mr. Stewart)** said that the Treasurer does not posses any financial ability, and the right honorable member for North Sydney **(Mr. Hughes)** also expressed his opinion concerning his incapacity and inefficiency. These are the views of some of the Government supporters. {: .speaker-L1J} ##### Mr Lister: -- Surely the honorable member does not regard the honorable member for Wimmera as a Government supporter. {: .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr FORDE: -- He occupied a position in the" Cabinet until it got so hot for him that he had to get out. The honorable member for Wimmera also said that as soon as this Government began to show that it was operating in the interest of big business instead of on behalf of the primary producers, his conscience would not allow him to remain in the Ministry any longer. To-day he is fighting on the floor of the chamber on behalf of the primary producers who sent him here. There is no doubt that Australia's adverse trade balance, tj which reference has been made, is assuming alarming proportions. I do not intend to go into the figures. in detail, but in passing I may mention that Australian imports last year were valued at £164,000,000, and that the estimated imports for the current year are valued at £170,000,000, showing an increase in the excess of imports over exports for One year of approximately £6,000,000. Last year's exports, including £12,000,000 in specie and bullion, were valued at £144,000,000, whilst the estimated value of the current year's exports is set down at £121,000,000, assuming wool and wheat do not drop in price by more than, say, £25,000,000. The actual excess of imports over exports last year totals over £19,000,000. The total adverse balance last year, including our interest bill, was £44,000,000, and the probable total adverse balance for the current financial year including interest will be in the vicinity of £74,000,000. Some honorable members opposite have said a good deal concerning what they regard as the unsatisfactory manner in which Queensland is governed; but when we study the trade balance of the different States, we find that Queensland provides a bright spot in an otherwise dark firmament. Whilst the whole- of Australia is showing an adverse trade balance of £75,000,000, the Government is still blundering along in the same old fashioned way, and suggests that assistance will be given by the imposition of higher customs duties which are long over due. The honorable member for Lilley **(Mr. Mackay)** referred to Queensland as a State which had been ruined by Labour government. He quoted a leading article from a Tory newspaper to the effect that capital was being driven out of the country, that trade was stagnant, and several other inaccurate statements such as are used by supporters of the Government during an election campaign. What do the figures reveal? In perusing the statistics, I find that during the ten years period since Labour has been in office in Queensland the trade balances have been favorable, as the following figures show - The total excess of exports over imports during this period has been £72,900,000. For the last five years Australia's imports have exceeded her exports, which JI/» *Forde.'* has resulted in an adverse trade balance amounting to £60,000,000. During the same five-year period, Queensland has shown a favorable trade balance of £41,200,000. {: .speaker-K4Y} ##### Dr Nott: -- Are they the total figures? {: .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr FORDE: -- Yes. {: .speaker-K4Y} ##### Dr Nott: -- Do they include transshipments from New South Wales? {: .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr FORDE: -- The honorable member should remember that millions of pounds worth of sugar were sent to the other States, which if exported would place Queensland in an even more favorable position. I am merely endeavouring to show that it is the duty of some honorable members opposite to be honest to the States which they represent, instead of saying that industry is stagnant, and that capital is being driven out of the country. I now wish to refer to the subject of preferential duties, in connexion with which there should be a reciprocal arrangement between Great Britain and Australia. I speak as the representative of an important sugar district which provides employment to large numbers of ' men. The preference given to Great Britain by the Commonwealth is equivalent to £8,000,000 annually, whereas that given to Australia by Great Britain is valued approximately at £500,000. The amount of duty remitted by Australia on cotton and linen goods alone is valued at £1,329,000, whilst, the tariff preference given by Great Britain on the whole of Australia's products does not amount in the aggregate to more than £500,000. If Ave could induce Great Britain to give greater preference on Australia's exportable surplus of sugar, a good deal of the unemployment which now exists in Australia would be relieved. Great Britain imports sugar to the value of £33,000,000 annually, of which £26,000,000 comes from foreign countries, and £7,000,000 from countries within the Empire. I believe there is the feeling in Great Britain to-day that greater tariff preference should be given to the Dominions in this direction. The duty on sugar, other than Empire sugar, imported into England to-day, amounts to £11 13s. 4d. a ton, and preferential duty amounting to £4 5s. 7d. is allowed on Australian sugar.which makes a tariff on Australian sugar of £7 7s. 9d. a ton. In endeavouring to populate this country, and to absorb our own unemployed and a large number of the migrants who are coming to Australia from Great Britain, as well as develop the country in the way it ougbt to be developed, we bave every right to expect substantial assistance from the British Government. If the duty on Australian sugar entering England were reduced by £7 7s. 9d. a ton on our exportable surplus of 150,000 tons of sugar, it would mean a saving of £1,000,000 to the sugar industry which would be of substantial assistance. In support of my statement that there is a growing feeling in Great Britain to-day in favour of greater preference to Australian products, I quote from a speech delivered in London on the 23rd. June, 1927, at a dinner given by the Empire Producers' Organization in honour of the Hon. William McCormack, the Premier of Queensland. On that occasion the Duke of Sutherland, who is president of the Empire Producers' Organization, said - Queensland is one of the finest sugarproducing countries in the world. It has enormous possibilities for wheat and dairy production. If her sugar could be introduced into this country a new era of prosperity would be opened up for Queensland. At present she sends her surplus, but if she were accorded the preference she desires she could develop her sugar industry, and, together with other parts of the Empire, fill our requirements. The Government is fully alive to these hopes and are eager to get the services the producers of Queensland are offering to the Empire. The Treasurer has referred to increased preference to Britain, but it is time we heard something concerning the additional preference that Britain is to give Australia. Many of our industries have been languishing owing to the lack of support we have received from the Mother Country, notably in connexion with meat supplies. Huge army and navy orders were given to the Argentine, a foreign country, while the Australian meat industry was languishing. A preferential system should be reciprocal. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr Fenton: -- The British Labour party's policy in the matter of preference to dominion products is better than that of any other party. {: .speaker-K4Y} ##### Dr Nott: -- That is a bald statement. {: .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr FORDE: -- As a result of the visit of the Empire delegation to Australia in October df last year, a great deal of misunderstanding was removed. The mem bers of that delegation have now a much better knowledge of our developmental and other difficulties than they previously possessed. It is absolutely essential that the Government should endeavour to induce the British Government to give a greater preferential tariff concession in the matter of sugar imports. The Government of Cuba is at present proposing to pay a bounty of 7 dollars a ton on sugar exported, which would deflate the world's parity on sugar by 30s. a ton, and make it still more difficult for Australia to produce above our requirements. The proposed action of the Cuban Government justifies the British Government giving greater concessions to Australian sugar-growers. I do not wish to deal with the sugar industry generally, as I shall have other opportunities to deal with it.' However, as the amendment of the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Charlton)** deals with unemployment, I may mention that there is no industry in Australia, in proportion to the capital invested in it, that employs more people than the sugar industry. That industry gives employment directly to 25,000 people, and approximately 80 per cent. of the annual value of the sugar crop goes in payment of wages. It makes possible the settling and populating of that attractive country along the north-eastern portion of Australia. It also induces nomadic workers from all parts of Australia to proceed to North Queensland to obtain employment in its seasonal industry. There are some honorable members opposite who would not help the sugar industry one iota. The honorable member for Swan **(Mr. Gregory)** said that he would lift the embargo from the industry. Recently the honorable member for Herbert **(Dr. Nott)** and I visited the north of Queensland. We proceeded as far as Cairns, and, had we had the pleasure of the company of the honorable member for Swan, who would have had an opportunity to view the sugar industry at close quarters, I feel confident he would have been disillusioned, and would now be one of its firmest supporters. The honorable member also said that he would allow Fijian bananas to come into Australia. If that were done, the 16,000 Australians who are directly and indirectly obtaining a living from our banana industry would have to seek employment in other avenues, because they could not compete successfully with black-grown Fijian and Java bananas. The honorable member would wipe out that industry, as also would the honorable members for Forrest **(Mr. Prowse),** Franklin **(Mr. Seabrook),** and others. Who are the people, in Fiji about whom those honorable members are so concerned? Altogether there are only 5,000 white people in Fiji, and to assist them honorable members would sacrifice 16,000 Australians. In addition, they would put out of employment thousands of workers, consisting of timber-getters, farm-workers, railwaymen, marketing officials, and others. Unemployment vitally affects Australia, and it has reached startling proportions here. For the second quarter of 1927, according to Commonwealth bulletin *No.* 108 of June of this year, 29,217 unemployed were registered. It is estimated that fully another 20,000 are unemployed and not registered. Large numbers of unemployed are not members of unions, and even when they are they do not always register with local union secretaries. Apart from expressing a few platitudes, this Government has done nothing to assist our unemployed, who are a very deserving section of the community. The great majority of our unemployed are genuine workers, and are at their wits' ends to secure the necessary sustenance to maintain themselves and their families. They are faced with destitution, and do not know where to turn for their next meal. A great deal of. time has been spent in inquiring into national insurance; but this Government has not stated definitely that it will bring in an unemployment dole. Queensland has led the way by introducing a bill which has done a certain amount of good; but it is merely an experiment. {: .speaker-KYV} ##### Mr E RILEY:
SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- This Government will come out on the eve of an election with some flimsy promises. {: .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr FORDE: -- That is so, as it did on the eve of the last election, when itpromised a child endowment scheme, a scheme of national insurance, and £20,000,000 for house building. It also made the definite promise that it would deport anybody who held up the produce of our farmers. It has not fulfilled one promise. Our unemployed and workless are accused of asking for excessive' remuneration. I heard a statement in this chamber, which blamed the miners of Mount Morgan *for* having closed down the Mount Morgan Mining Company'3 mine. Mount Morgan has always received special care from the Queensland Board of Trade and Arbitration. It has always been favoured with a specially low rate of wages for all grades of its workers, including the engineering trades, enginedrivers, electricians, . carpenters and joiners. The miners have worked at contract rates, those rates being fixed by the manager, the miners having no say in it. The company had to cease operations merely because of the depreciation in the value of copper, making its production uneconomic. The Queensland Government paid the company a subsidy of £1,000 a. week for three years in the endeavour to keep the Mount Morgan mine in operation. Even with that subsidy, the basic wage at Mount Morgan was only £3 18s. a week; whereas elsewhere for eighteen months it was £4 5s., and for twelve months of the period £4 a week. For many years the shareholders in the Mount Morgan Company have pocketed their usual dividends. On one occasion the mine closed down for twelve months, in order to have wages reduced to the level of the Harvester judgment, in which effort the directorate was successful. The original capital of the company was £1,000,000, only £600,000 of which was called up, the balance being paid out of dividends. The company paid dividends to the amount of £11,000,000. The directors and shareholders of the company are therefore deeply indebted to the miners of Mount Morgan, and it ill-becomes honorable members opposite to accuse those miners of being responsible for the depression and dislocation of trade in Central Queensland. The Labour party is not opposed to the bringing of migrants to Australia, provided that they can be satisfactorily absorbed on the land or in our secondary industries, and that we have first done the right thing by our own people. But it certainly does object to the introduction of huge numbers of migrants when 50,000 people are unemployed in Australia. In 1926-27, 39,831 migrants came from Great Britain, while 7,599 came from Southern Europe, approximately 47,450 in all. Yet no practical suggestion has emanated from this Government for the solution of our unemployed problem. We have had the Development and Migration Commission peregrinating around Australia for the last two years, without producing any suggestion of merit to solve our difficulties. I hope that tills Government will come forward with a big developmental scheme Avhich will enable us to absorb our unemployed. We could then concentrate on migration. It is rather extraordinary that the Prime Minister, in his speech on Tuesday last, should make a statement to the effect that - >It is not likely that the honorable member tor Dalley **(Mr. Theodore)** will be called upon by the people of Australia to prescribe for them, in view of his deplorable handling of the finances of Queeusland. I should not mention the incident, but that I think that honorable members opposite might eventually believe such statements to be correct, and become obsessed by them. Certain honorable members opposite have repeatedly said that the honorable member for Dalley **(Mr. Theodore)** ruined Queensland, and that the financial position there was so hopeless that he was forced to leave that State. Those honorable members are not only unfair, but are doing a great dis-service to Queensland. Theyare keeping investors from establishing industries there, and settlers from engaging in sugar-growing, cottongrowing, banana-growing, and other pursuits. People read these dismal accounts of Queensland and go elsewhere. I would remind the honorable member for Lilley of that, because he is one of the chief offenders. The other night he slandered his own State. He quoted the Brisbane *Conner* to show that the honorable member for Dalley had not successfully handled the finances of Queensland. That neAvspaper is the chief organ of the Queensland Nationalist party, and one would naturally expect it, on the eve of an election, to paint a black picture of a Labour Premier. The honorable member for Lilley expressed no view of his own, but relied principally upon the Brisbane *Courier* and a green pamphlet in dealing with the finances of Queeusland. The honorable member for Wannon **(Mr. Rodgers)** said that the honorable member for Dalley once had a public reputation, but that it had vanished, and that when things got too hot for him he had to leave Queensland. Other equally reckless and slanderous statements have been made by honorable members opposite, in the hope that some of the electors who read *Hansard* will believe them. The best answer is that the Labour party in Queensland has won the last five appeals to the people, and that would not have been possible had it mismanaged the affairs of that State to the extent alleged. The honorablemember for Dalley was elected on three successive occasions as Treasurer and twice as the Leader of the Queensland Government. The honorable member for Lilley quoted from the Brisbane *Daily Telegraph* certain articles written by a journalist from New Zealand who knows little about the conditions of Queensland. The Nationalists were so bereft of matter to justify destructive criticism that they printed those scurrilous articles in pamphlet form, and distributed them throughout the country under the *nom de plume* of " Searchlight." During the ten years the honorable member for Dalley was Treasurer of Queensland that State, instead of being ruined, was developed, strengthened, and enriched. The honorable member for Lilley will admit that there is no better State than Queensland in which to invest capital. {: .speaker-KIT} ##### Mr Mackay: -- There ave great possibilities in Queensland- {: .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr FORDE: -- The Brisbane *Courier* made this statement - >The Labour Government has blocked the progress of the State. > >Industry has been brought to a standstill. > >A whirl of extravagance. . . reckless expenditure. > >Industry is stifled, thrift is unknown, and honesty is at a discount. What are the facts? During the period that the honorable member for Dalley was Treasurer of Queensland, its wealth production increased from £51,000,000 to £85,000,000 per annum; the output of manufactures, from £25,000,000 to £38,000,000 ; the value of farm products, from £6,700,000 to £12,200,000; the value of dairy products, from £3,899,000 to £6,67S,000; and the value of pastoral products from £18,800,000 to £22,317,000. The savings bank deposits increased from £10,100,000 to £21,400,000. The deposits per head of population increased from £14 19s. 6d. to £24 19s. Id., and the total assets of all the banks increased from £25,252,000 to £59,900,000. The population of Queensland also increased from 670,000 to 850,000, an increase of S0,000. That happened in the State that honorable members opposite allege was ruined under the leadership of the honorable member for Dalley. {: .speaker-KIT} ##### Mr Mackay: -- Tell us something about the taxation in Queensland. {: .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr FORDE: -- A bold policy of railway construction was carried out in Queensland. The north coast railway was completed to Cairns, and large areas were opened up, such as the northern Burnett and the Clyde Valley, 4,000,000 acres being made available for settlement. Tlie largest water conservation and irrigation scheme north of the Burrenjuck was launched by the Queensland Labour Government. The rail mileage of that State was also increased from 4,838 to 6,114 miles. During ten years of the so-called disastrous rule of a Labour Treasurer, Queensland's population increased in greater ratio each year than did. that of any other State, and the birth rate was also higher. The Labour party's humanitarian policy was largely responsible for a reduction in infantile mortality because of the establishment of baby clinics, maternity hospitals and other such services. The general death rate was lower in Queensland than in any other State, principally because efficient hospitals were made available to the poorer people. Queensland's overseas trade balance was more favourable than, that of any other State. The average interest rate payable on the public debt was lower, and the increase in loan expenditure per head was less in Queensland than in any other State. The wages were higher; the working week shorter and the cost of living lower than those of other States during the period that the honorable member for Dalley was Treasurer of Queensland, and yet we are told that he ruined that State. There was less unemployment in Queensland than in Victoria., where a Nationalist Government was in power, or in New South "Wales,, where a Nationalist Government had just been superseded by a Labour Government. {: .speaker-KXY} ##### Mr Perkins: -- The honorable member for Dalley left Queensland while the going was good. {: .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr FORDE: -- The honorable members for Lilley and Wannon, and also the Prime Minister, said that the honorable member for Dalley ruined Queeusland, but the honorable member for EdenMonaro now says that he left Queensland while the going was good. Those statements are certainly contradictory. Had the Labour party's record in Queensland been as honorable members allege, the party would have been absolutely routed at the polls. But what happened? The Labour party came back with an increased majority. Queensland is the only State in the Commonwealth where Labour has been in office continuously for twelve years, and judging by the incompetence of the Opposition there, Labour is likely to reign for another fifteen years. It is well-known that a Tory newspaper like the Brisbane *Courier* will, on the eve of an election, stoop to any action to defeat Labour. The views published in its columns were not those of the person, occupying the editorial chair, but expressed the policy of the newspaper. Had the editor stated his own views, he might have lauded the honorable member for Dalley to the skies as one of the ablest statesmen, in Australia. {: .speaker-KIT} ##### Mr Mackay: -- That would be a stretch of the imagination. {: .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr FORDE: -- The Brisbane *Daily Mail,* the Bundaberg, and other Queensland . newspapers, were unanimous in stating that the honorable member for Dalley was one of the ablest men who had entered public life in Queensland, and said that, although his departure would be a distinct loss to that State, there was this compensation, that he would still be connected with Australian politics. °The honorable member for Warringah **(Mr. Parkhill)** quoted from a pamphlet edited by a journalist on the *Telegraph,* under the nom de plume of " Searchlight." {: .speaker-KXQ} ##### Mr Parkhill: -- How does the honorable member account for the *Labour Daily* stating on Thursday, the 3rd November, that the Labour party in Queensland had lost touch with the bulk of its supporters, who were becoming weary of its administration, and were more bitterly re-actionary to it than its opponents? {: .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr FORDE: -- I am not concerned with what the Sydney *Labour Daily* may write regarding the Queensland Labour Government. My object in reviewing the administration of **Mr. Theodore** as Premier of Queensland is to refute the statements made by the honorable member for Lilley **(Mr. Mackay),** the honorable member for Wannon **(Mr. Rodgers),** and other honorable members, who have asserted that Labour rule has ruined the State. I am not concerned at the moment with statements that have appeared in the *Labour Daily* respecting the present Queensland administration. That is a matter between the Government of that State and the newspaper concerned. **Mr. Theodore** relinquished the office of Premier of Queensland two years ago, and it is not fair to criticize bini for the present management of the State. We have heard a great deal during this debate about trade balances. The value of Queensland's direct oversea imports in 1914-15. when **Mr. Theodore** became its Treasurer, was £13,000,000, and in 1924-25, when he resigned, it was £24,400,000. In the last-mentioned year the exports of the State exceeded its imports by nearly £12,000,000, while the oversea imports of Victoria were valued -at more than £12,000,000 in excess of her exports. In other words Victoria, under a Tory administration, went £12,000,000 to the bad while Queensland, under a Labour administration, improved her position by a like amount. The following paragraph appeared in an article in the Brisbane *Daily Mail* shortly after **Mr. Theodore** resigned the Premiership of Queensland - >For the six months ended 31st December, 1925, Australia had an adverse trading balance amounting to £3,3.16,936. Queensland was not responsible for any portion of -this adverse balance, for in the same period this State had a favourable trading balance of £9,119,706. I am a patriotic Queenslander, and I want to boost my native State and induce people to settle in it. I have no desire, as some honorable members opposite who represent Queensland constituencies appear to have, to defame and slander the State and so cause investors and the public generally to fight as shy of it as though it were a leper' home. The Brisbane *Courier* has had . nothing adverse to say respecting Victoria's unsatisfactory position - under a Tory administration, nor the Commonwealth's serious position under the BrucePage regime; but it had the following to say of Queensland under the Labour administration led by **Mr. Theodore** - >Queeusland rolls steadily along the road to ruin. My reply to that is that it has been rolling along the same way for the last twelve years, and the electors are quite prepared to allow it to continue to do so. They think that the *Courier* is quite wrong in its judgment, and that the State is really climbing the road . to greater prosperity and development. The *Courier* also made this statement, which has been repeated by certain members opposite - >The Labour Government utterly fails to bring prosperity to the workers. The best reply that I can make to that statement is contained in official statistics. {: .speaker-JWT} ##### Mr J FRANCIS:
MORETON, QUEENSLAND · NAT; UAP from 1931; LP from 1944 -- Tell me this- {: .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr FORDE: -- Will the honorable member for Moreton tell me whether as a clerk 'in the office of the Clerk of Petty Sessions, Brisbane, he was better treated under Tory administrations than he was under Labour administrations? If he is honest he will readily confess that he was far better treated when Labour governments were in power than when tlie affairs of the State were administered by Tories. The people generally have declared time after time that they desire to be governed by the Labour party, and in doing so they have displayed their wisdom. Let honorable members keep in mind the quotation that I made a moment ago from the *Courier* while they consider the following statistics: - The savings bank deposits in Queensland in 1913-14 under a Tory administration totalled £10,100,000, while in 1925, under a Labour administration they- totalled £21,400,000. Does that spell ruin? The savings bank deposits per head of the population for 1913-14 totalled £14 19s. 6d., while in 1925 they totalled £24 19s. Id. Those figures were taken from the *Year-Booh.* The absorptive power of Queensland greatly increased under Labour rule. The number of employed workers in the State in 1915 was 164,965, while in 1925 it was 204.87S. What a difference! The number of persons working under arbitration awards and industrial agreements in 1915 was 90,000, while in 1925 it was :i 63,600. The Labour Government there gave the civil servants access to the arbitration court and in every way increased the standards of living of the people. When **Mr. Theodore** resigned his seat in the Queensland Parliament the average weekly rate of wages and number of hours worked were as follow: - [. have abstracted those figures from the *Summary of Australian . Statistics* for December, 1925. In yet another outburst the Tory *Courier* stated: - >Great injury to the State has been inflicted and the greatest injury is suffered by tlie working people. Unemployment is rampant. The honorable member for Lilley saw fit to quote that statement, but let us see vha.t the *Summary of Australian Statistics* for -December, 1925, shows on that point. In a table which sets out the percentage of unionists the various States returned as unemployed in 1924 and 1925. we find the following details: - The same official publication sets out the amount required in 1925 in each capital city to purchase what £1 would have purchased in 1911. The table is as follows - It will be seen f rom these figures, therefore, that the attacks which various honorable members opposite have made upon the Theodore Labour administration in Queensland have been entirely unwarranted, as also was the unjust statement of the Prime Minister that **Mr. Theodore** had destroyed the economic fabric of the State. I have shown beyond dispute that the people in Queensland enjoy a lower cost of living than those in any other State J they work shorter hours for more pay, the purchasing power of their money is greater, their savings are greater, and the general prosperity of the State exceeds that of any other State iu the Commonwealth. {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr Makin: -- It is a people's paradise ! {: .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr FORDE: -- Comparatively speaking it is. I. challenge any honorable member opposite to disprove from any official source the statistics that I have given. It is high time that the members of this Parliament ceased defaming Queensland. *Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 7.80 p.m.* {: .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr FORDE: -- The purchasing power of the pound in Queensland at the time when the honorable member for Dalley retired from State politics was greater in Queensland than in any other State. The article in the Brisbane *Courier,* quoted by the honorable member for Lilley, included this statement: - >The Government's achievements had been those of a spendthrift..... It has loaded the > >State with debt. That is the sort of inaccuracy one expects from a journal like the *Courier;* but the following figures, supplied by the Commonwealth Statistician, prove that the increase of the public debt in Queensland from the 1st July, 1915, to the 30th June, 1925, was less per head of population than in any other mainland State - Another inaccurate statement by the *Courier* was - " The dire cost of Labour's incompetence." That is one of the nice phrases employed by Nationalist newspapers to defame Labour rule in Queensland. As Treasurer of that State, the honorable member for Dalley had to float and convert loans, and the wisdom and judgment he displayed in those operations proved that he was acting in the best interest of the State. The following table shows that the average rate of interest paid by the Queensland Government for accommodation during the honorable member's regime was lower than in any other State except Western Australia, whilst under an anti-Labour Government it was the highest in the Commonwealth : - So much for the allegations 'that the. honorable member's financial bungling adversely affected the credit of the State whose destinies he was. guiding. Those figures are taken from the *Commonwealth Year-Booh and Quarterly Summary of Australian Statistics.* Honorable members opposite have said that the honorable member for Dalley as Treasurer of Queensland ran amok, and spent loan money right and left without any regard to productive necessities. Part of the statement read by the honorable member for Lilley was to the effect that the honorable member for Dalley bad managed during the years he was Treasurer of Queensland to spend more money on a population basis than any other State Treasurer in Australia. What are the facts ? The following table shows the average annual loan expenditure in -each State of the Commonwealth during the years 1920-21 to 1924-25:- Those figures have been compiled from, the various State budgets.- In spite of misrepresentation, the State electors get the facts at every election, and that explains why Labour has been in office in Queensland for 12 years without interruption. The honorable member for Herbert was fortunate enough to go before the electors at a time when the Nationalist Government had a- good election cry - when it said to the people - " You need not consider polities: the issue is Mob Rule versus Constitutional Government.' " They were told that a revolution would certainly follow a Labour victory, and upon such misrepresentations the honorable member for Herbert and others of his party were successful at the polls. The average excess of immigration over emigration during the two years immediately preceding the retirement of the honorable member for Dalley from the Queensland Parliament was, in each State: Queensland, 22,134; New South Wales, .15,627; Victoria, 28,575; South Australia, 11,859; Western Australia. 10,554; and Tasmania, 7,S65. Not only was the Government led by the honorable member able to find employment for the people already in the State, but it attracted to the State new population at the rate of 11,000 a year. Those figures do not support the statement that the Labour Government was ruining the country. The honorable member achieved that result in the face of great odds, because men like the honorable member for Lilley were constantly slandering the State, preaching a doctrine of pessimism, and telling the people of other States that Queensland was the most heavily taxed State, and that the Labour party had ruined it. I have personal knowledge of people who intended to invest money hi Queensland industries, but were scared off by the deliberate inaccuraciees placed before them by opponents of Labour rule. The honorable member for Moreton **(Mr. J. Francis)** challenged me to place before the committee Queensland's record in regard to taxation. I. shall do so. The *Courier* said, " Industry is staggering under a load of taxation." According to the Commonwealth Statistician's wealth census of 1915, the total income of all persons in Queensland in 1914-15 was £32,608,000. The total income of Queensland taxpayers only in 1924-25, according to the Commissioner of Taxation, was £46,380,000; and the total tax assessed in respect of that income was only £2,059,000. That does not suggest that the honorable member for Dalley had been turning the pockets of the people inside out. In the last year that he was in office, so far from increasing the burden of taxation on struggling people, he raised the general statutory exemption from £200 to £250; and the deduction allowed in respect of a taxpayer's wife was increased to £40, and in respect of each child to £50. Contrast that with the action of **Mr. Butler,** the Nationalist Premier of South Australia. But what did he do? He reduced the statutory exemption to £100 in South Australia. It is £250 in Queensland under Labour. Now the Nationalist Government proposes to put a poll tax on the people in South Australia. " The taxpayers th ere are in a bad way, and they will wake up when they get a taste of the excessive taxation being imposed upon them by this allegedly business Government. When **Mr. Theodore** became Treasurer iu Queensland the statutory exemption was £150, and he increased it to £250. Let us see what taxation is paid by the people of Queeusland, and who pays it. The tax payable by an unmarried man with a net income of £250 is as follows : - The taxation paid in the different State* by a man with a wife and three children who receives £440 a year is as follows : - It might be asked where does Queensland get its money from when it allows a man in receipt of over £400 a year, who has a wife and three children, to go free of taxation. The Federal Government, of course, taxes him indirectly, but the State Government lets him off direct taxation. The answer to the question is that a man receiving £4,000 a year in Queensland pays £600 in taxation, and 'if he receives £10,000 a year he pays £1,680 in taxation. {: .speaker-JZK} ##### Mr Coleman: -- In Victoria he would pay only £300. {: .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr FORDE: -- I am sure that any honorable member in this chamber who is receiving £10,000 a year would not object to paying £1,680 to the State. If he were fair, and if he gave due consideration to the position of the struggling man on £8 a week with a wife and three children, he would be quite willing to let that man go free of taxation. Such a man has a big burden to carry, and he has plenty to do with his money. There are many wealthy taxpayers in Queensland who pay their taxes willingly because they place the interest of their State first. Surely a man oh £4,000 a year can afford to pay £600 in order that the State may carry out its progressive educational policy and provide those public utilities which characterize the work of the Labour Government in Queensland. I have said sufficient in the course of my remarks to prove that the statements made, by the honorable member for Lilley, the Prime Minister, and the honorable member for Wannon are not based on facts. Critics may point to the Queensland railways, and certainly there have been deficits. The' policy of the Queensland Government has been not to increase fares and freights to the same extent as in other States, but to keep them at a reasonable level. The speakers to whom I have referred have made charges against the honorable member for Dalley that he has increased the fares and freights on the railways in Queensland more than was done in any other State. The following table shows clearly that no undue increases have been made: - The Queensland Government determined that instead of increasing fares and freights to the settlers in. the back parts of the State in order to make the railways pay, it would make the wealthy people subsidize the railways by getting something out of the income taxpayers. I ask the honorable gentlemen, who defame and slander Queensland, not to use general statements, and not to go to newspapers such as *The Courier* to read the opinion of some secluded journalist writing in his armchair. 'We have had quite enough of this slander. Queensland is one of the most prosperous States in Australia, and it opens its arms to everybody who wants to go there and prosper. Honorable members on the Government side who represent Queensland should prove that they are true Queenslanders. They should reply to the honorable member for Wannon, and point out the position as it actually exists in Queensland. I ask them to be worthy of the trust that Queensland has. placed in them. {: #subdebate-24-0-s2 .speaker-KXR} ##### Mr PARSONS:
Angas .- Urgent public business calls me back to my State, so that my contribution to this debate cannot be a lengthy one. After such a wealth of words, perhaps brevity in this case, if not the soul of wit, may, at any rate, have some wisdom in it. This debate has been characterized by a great deal of personal abuse of the Treasurer, but has been absolutely barren of constructive criticism, or of any suggestions for alleviating the troubles to which reference has been made. It has been further characterized by a statesmanlike utterance from the Prime Minister which should be sufficient to satisfy any one who has not been completely led astray by misinformation. I shall content myself with stating very briefly my views. My suggestion as to what is needed at this juncture in order to right whatever is wrong with Australia is this: We should work harder, produce more, and squander less. ' {: #subdebate-24-0-s3 .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN:
Hindmarsh .- The budget which has been introduced by the Treasurer is the eighth that it has been my privilege to listen since my entry into the realms of public affairs in Australia. I do not think that such a statement has ever yet been received with more mixed feelings, and with a greater sense of alarm, especially among many of those supporting the Government. It is evident that the more thoughtful Government supporters recognize the seriousness of the situation that has been, created by the extravagant and prodigal manner in which the Treasurer is applying himself to his duties. The amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition is well timed. It is desirable that the people of Australia should be acquainted with the situation in which the Government has placed the country by its false policy of going abroad for the greater part of its borrowing, - and the inordinate increase in the cost of government. It is accentuating the position by the ineffective tariff which has been imposed for the protection of certain Australian industries. Any measure of prosperity and improved output is entirely due to the conscientious efforts of the direct producer, whether in primary production or the factory, and is achieved in spite of the Government's backward policy. I do not. know how far the schedule, placed on the table this afternoon, will go towards rectifying the existing anomalies in the tariff, but even if a measure of improvement is afforded, certain of those deferred duties will permit the importing agencies to so accumulate stocks in Australia, especially of woollens, that industry will receive a serious setback. Perhaps the reaction will be so great that it will be necessary to restrict output, and to effect retrenchment. There have been too many dismissals recently in Australian factories. These dismissals create a very unfortunate situation for many people, who face the approach of the festive season with great uneasiness. They are beset with a constant feeling of insecurity. As the Treasurer seeks to justify his position in regard to the present budget, it may be well for me to confront him with some of his own opinions, as expressed in 1921, when he took the then Treasurer severely to task for his alleged extravagance. He assured the right honorable member for Flinders' **(Mr. Bruce)** that there would be a day of reckoning, and that his gross extravagance was such as to affect seriously the financial position of the country. In October, 1921, the present Treasurer, when leader of the Country party, expressed himself concerning the budget presented by the then Treasurer **(Mr. Bruce)** in this way - >Hie Treasurer, instead of trying to stem the stream of extravagance, has been content to go with it. Is that not exactly what the present Treasurer has been doing since he has been in office? Has he in any way endeavored to stem, the rising stream of extravagance in the matter of public expenditure? If he has he should show in what direction it has been done. It is impossible for a Treasurer to give us any indication of the direction in which savings which in 1921 he regarded as so essential have been effected. In the same speech he said. - >The electors must know, and they will know, as far as it lies within the power of the Country party to inform them, that the proposed reduction in taxation cannot continue unless there is a permanent reduction in tlie cost of government. Has there been any reduction in the cost of government? {: .speaker-JOS} ##### Mr Bell: -- Yes. {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN: -- In what way? {: .speaker-JOS} ##### Mr Bell: -- I shall inform the honorable member later. {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN: -- The honorable member for Darwin has already spoken during this debate, and therefore cannot get away in the smoke in that way. There has been not a decrease, but a substantial increase in the cost of government. The reductions in taxation have never been greater than during the present Treasurer's term of office. {: .speaker-JOS} ##### Mr Bell: -- Does the honorable member object to that? {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN: -- Yes, because the reductions have been made in the interest of the wealthy section of the community, whilst the workers have to bear ever increasing burdens. {: .speaker-JLJ} ##### Mr ABBOTT:
GWYDIR, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP -- Have they not received any concessions? {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN: -- Emphatically I declare that no relief has been afforded, and concessions alleged to have been given to the working man have been taken from him, with indirectly added charges. Even in his budget the Treasurer has provided for a reduction in income and land taxation to the extent of £1,800,000. Tf the proposed reductions were to relieve the small landholders and those deriving incomes from primary production, I would heartily support them; but they will benefit only the wealthy sections who are receiving big incomes or holding large estates which they are not utilizing to the best advantage. {: .speaker-JOS} ##### Mr Bell: -- Has not the exemption been raised 'and the rates reduced? {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN: -- If the honorable member will study the figures he will find that an overwhelming amount of the reductions have favored those who can well afford to pay taxation. Honorable members on this side have not forgotten the way in which the wealthy landholders, with the assistance of the Treasurer, escaped payment of taxation on leasehold land. The Treasurer' endeavored to give them complete exemption from taxation, which they justly owe to the Commonwealth, and had it not been for the vigilance of the honorable member for Yarra **(Mr. Scullin),** and several other honorable members, the bill, affording them assistance would have been passed by Parliament. The indignation was, however, so pronounced, and the opposition so strong, that the bill was eventually withdrawn. These wealthy leaseholders have now to pay only the arrears, and under the Government's proposals taxation will not in future be collected on leasehold land. When one compares the Treasurer's criticism of 1921 with the budget which he has just presented, a. lamentable lack of consistency is apparent. In 1921 the present Treasurer said, "I urge the Government to give up shuffling and deceiving the public." He should follow the advice he then gave. The manner in. which he endeavours to balance the public ledger is contrary to the accepted principles of finance, and before long he will find that the Government's present, policy has been responsible for seriously impairing the financial stability of the country. He also said - >I urge the Government to withdraw the budget, to grasp the nettle firmly, and to do what every business house is doing - try to square the ledger and prepare for lean years. Has the Treasurer acted in that way? Yesterday the Prime Minister endeavoured to justify the Government's financial policy, but instead of doing that, he should direct the Treasurer to withdraw this budget and to act in accordance with business principles. I wonder if the Prime Minister recollected the serious reprimand administered to him in earlier years by his now half partner in Government, but then a political adversary. I desire to address myself in particular to the economic position. Honorable members opposite seem to think that our present economic position has been brought about by the Arbitration Courts granting higher wages and shorter hours to men engaged in industry. Some of them openly challenge the wisdom ofthe decisions given by judges in an Arbitration Court, and assert that the time has arrived for dispensing with such tribunals, and thus preventing the workers from receiving a fair share of the wealth they assist in producing. Honorable members opposite have stated that the Australian worker is going slow, and that the improved conditions obtaining in Australia have produced that effect.A regrettable scene occurred in this chamber this afternoon because the honorable member for Franklin **(Mr. Seabrook),** when comparing the relative worth of Australian and Italian workers made some apologetic reference to the Australian workerwhich conveyed a veiled inference that he was decidedly inferior to the Italian. Mr.Bell. - The inference came from that side, and not this side of the chamber. Mr.MAKIN. - The honorable member for Franklin was responsible for the protest of the honorable member for Darling **(Mr. Blakeley).** The honorable memberforDarwin **(Mr. Bell)** cannot deny that the Australian workman has done his full share in developing Australia. I have here statisticswhich prove that the Australian worker, under our improved conditions, has increased production, so increasing the wealth of the nation. It therefore ill becomes honorable members opposite to endeavour to traduce our toiler and wealth producer. In support of my contention I shall quote from this journal, which must have the respect of all. Unlike honorable members opposite, who quote only from Tory newspapers, such as the *Age,* the Brisbane *Courier,* and the Brisbane *Daily* *Mail,* I shall refer to one of our most influential financial journals, the *Australasian Insurance and Banking Record,* for the year 1926, the last volume available. That publication gives a compilation of statistics prepared by the Australian Association for the Advancement of Science, from which I extract the following particulars. In1908 the manufacturing production in Australia represented 21 per cent. of the total production, while in 1924 it represented more than 30 per cent. It is estimated that, in 1924, the productive efficiency per person engaged in industries was7¾ per cent. higher than it was in 1911. {: .speaker-KJM} ##### Mr Jackson: -- Does that allow for the increased use of machinery ? {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN: -- Yes, all allowances have been made. The total capital employed in. our manufacturing industries for the year ended 30th June, 1925, was £302,600,000, while in 1913 it was only £117,700,000. The figures for 1924-25 were made up as follows : - For the year 1924-25 the value of the factory output was estimated to be £380,500,000 made up as follows: - Those figures do not signify that the worker went slow. They indicate general prosperity. They mean that the worker has increasedthe market for our primary products. The improved conditions which apply to our workers have brought about the following improved trade conditions. Whereas in 1920 the population of Australia was able to purchase 21.38 lb. of butter per head per annum, in 1924 the consumption was increased to 28.72 lb. The consumption of cheese increased from 2.72 lb. in 1920, to 3.64 lb. per head per annum. Our people were able to indulge in ham and eggs to a greater extent than previously. In 1920 the consumption of bacon and ham was S.71 lb. per head, while in 1924 it had increased to 11.57 lb. For the years 1919-30 to 1924-25 the average percentage of interest and net profit on the capital invested in industry was 15.8 per cent. That is three times the ordinary bank interest, and two and a half times the interest received on government gilt-edged securities. I do not begrudge their profits to those who have placed their money in industry, but I ask honorable members opposite to be just to the workers who produced those returns. Instead of going slow on the job the worker has increased profits and dividends. {: .speaker-JLJ} ##### Mr ABBOTT:
GWYDIR, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP -- If those are the returns from industry, why does the honorable member and his party desire further increases in the tariff. {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN: -- Those profits apply only to a certain number of industries, which have been protected by the tariffs that have been so consistently supported by honorable members on this side of the committee. Many of our industries still need to be assisted by tariffs, and this unfortunate handicap has been responsible for accentuating the unemployment question and problem. I have in mind industries in my own electorate which are unsuccessfully competing with foreign industries. Those industries produce first class articles, but are unable to fight against the inferior and underweight products from abroad. The pastoral and dairying group produced in 1908 goods per person engaged worth £219 on the 1911 price basis, as compared with £287 in 1924. {: .speaker-KHG} ##### Mr Hill: -- The hours of work may not have been the same. Mr.MAKIN. - If there has been any alteration in the working hours of people engaged in primary industries, surely it would have been in the direction of a decrease. {: .speaker-JLJ} ##### Mr ABBOTT:
GWYDIR, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP -- There has been certainly no reduction of hours for primary producers. {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN: -- The Minister for Works and Railways suggested that increased working hours were responsible for the added value of production in the pastoral and dairying group, and is answered by his own colleague. {: .speaker-JLJ} ##### Mr ABBOTT:
GWYDIR, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP -- The honorable member is quoting values and not quantities. {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN: -- The honorable member for Adelaide **(Mr. Yates)** about a fortnight ago quoted quantities, and the honorable member for Gwydir **(Mr. Abbott)** on that occasion asked for values. Now that I have given him values he asks for quantities. {: .speaker-JLJ} ##### Mr ABBOTT:
GWYDIR, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP -- What I asked the honorable member for Adelaide for was the increased cost of production. {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN: -- The forestry and fisheries group produced in 1908 goods per person engaged worth £161 on the 1911 price basis as compared with £164 in 1924. Much has been said about miners going on strike, but little about lockouts. The mining industry produced in 1908 goods per person engaged worth £233 on the 1911 price basis, as compared with £279 in 1924. There is certainly no evidence of a go-slow policy in that case. In the manufacturing industry the value of goods produced per person engaged during the same period increased from £149 to £165. These figures are not based on inflated values, and I challenge honorable members to refute them. For all industries combined, in 1908 goods produced per person engaged were worth £198, and in 1924, £231. {: .speaker-KZA} ##### Mr West: -- That is a substantial increase. {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN: -- That is so Honorable members must admit that the national dividend gives a true indication of the position of those engaged in industry. The following was taken from an address given by **Mr. J.** T. Sutcliffe before the Economic Society of Australia and New Zealand : - >The national dividend for the year 1924-25 I estimate to be 635.6 millions of money sterling. Consequently the national dividend shows an increase of more than 13 per cent. over that for the immediately preceding year. Taking the value of' production and of services and calculating that value per head of population, and then eliminating price variations, the result in productivity per head is considerably higher than in any previous year for which the national dividend has been estimated, and is 11.6 per cent. higher than in 1911. That statement shows that there has been a substantial increase not only in the value, but also in the quantity of the products of the workers of this country. I hope that, in future, honorable members opposite will at least be fair to the workers and not seek to malign them and to defame their noble achievements. The working man is the truest asset that any nation can possess, although I admit that no man works harder than those engaged in dairying and farming. Our factories have not attained the highest degree of efficiency, hut the fault lies not with the worker, but with the management and equipment. At one time I was employed at the Islington work-shops in South Australia, an institution which was then referred to as a home from home and a place at which the men loafed on their jobs. I worked harder in that establishment than ever I worked before, and so did the great majority of my fellow workers. The fault was with the management and equipment. When the present Railways Commissioner of South Australia was appointed, he expended £500,000 in bringing those work-shops up to date. What is lacking in Australia is efficient supervision. The annual report of the Bureau of Commerce and Industry for 1922 deals with inefficiency and waste in industry. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr Fenton: -- Is not that an American report ? {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN: -- It does not say so. America is to-day, and has been for many years, one of the best organized industrial nations of the world, and it is quite reasonableto suppose that ourmanage ment less efficient than is hers. The report reads - >Management has the greatest opportunity, and hence responsibility, for eliminating waste in industry. The opportunity and responsibility of labour is no less real though smaller in degree. The opportunity and responsibility chargeable to outside contacts cannot be so clearly differentiated or evaluated. The relative measure of these is shown by the quantities in the following table, which come from the composite evaluation sheets in the engineers' field reports : - Those figures prove conclusively that inefficiency of management is more serious to industry than inefficiency of labour, and they are an unanswerable reply to honorable members opposite, who have villified the Australian working man. If those honorable gentlemen are not satisfied with our industrial development, let them take steps to see that the interests which they represent improve their methods. The honorable member for Boothby **(Mr. Duncan-Hughes)** stated last night that the unsatisfactory condition of our mining industry was due to the high wages and improved working conditions which the miners enjoy; but I submit that it is due to inordinategreed of interested capital for profits and dividends. The honorable member referred specifically to the Broken Hill mining field. I spent sixteen years of my life on it, so that I may claim to know something about it. During the years when I resided on the Barrier - and they were the years of its greatest prosperity - I found thai: the policy ofthe directors of the various mines was invariably to work the high-grade, and to neglect the low-grade ores. The eyes were picked out of such mines as Block 10, Block 14, the Broken Hill Proprietary, the Junction and the British, in order that their shareholders might draw huge dividends and bonuses. The value of the output of the Broken Hill mines up to the end of 1924 was £120,010,033 ; the authorized capital of the various companies was £7,823,000; and the dividends and bonuses paid totalled £26,341,574, Had the miners received anything like an equivalent amount in wages and bonuses, they would have been glad to retire. {: .speaker-JVZ} ##### Mr M CAMERON:
BARKER, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · LP; NAT from 1925; UAP from 1931 -- A good many of the miners participated in the dividends and bonuses. {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN: -- I knew intimately many of the people who lived on the Barrier, and very few of them were ever in a position to invest in mining shares. That field is in difficulty now because of the rapacity of directors who, years ago. were not content to work the high and low grade ore as it came, but concentrated upon the rich pockets and left the poor stuff behind. That is particularly true of the Junction mine, which has always been seriously mismanaged. If in general industrial enterprises, management is responsible to so great a degree as is shown by the figures that I have quoted, it is even more so in respect to the mining industry. The value of the Broken Hill mining field has been temporarily destroyed because of the greed of former managers and directors. Because a slight drop has occurred in the price of lead and silver, it is not profitable to-day to work the low grade ores that are available there. It has been said more than once during this debate that Australia depends to a very large degree for her prosperity upon her production of wool and wheat. We sometimes pride ourselves upon -being one of the greatest, wheat producing nations in the world. My investigations along that line have startled me. Twentyseven nations are ahead of us in the average yield of wheat per acre, and we are only producing 4 per cent of the world's requirements in wheat. The following figures for the year 1924 show the yield per acre of some of the big wheat-growing nations of the world - Even to *get a yield of fifteen bushels per acre, Australia has regularly to fertilize 75 pei1 cent of her wheat-growing lands. {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr Foster: -- Some of the older countries have been using fertilizers for hundreds of years. In any case the figures for one year only are misleading; in one year there is a drought, and in the next year bountiful production. {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN: -- To satisfy the honorable member I quote the number of bushels per acre produced in those countries during the season 1921-22 - Denmark, 44.14; United Kingdom, 33.26; New Zealand, 28.49; Germany, 26.97; Japan, 22.40; Canada, 17.19; United States, 13.41 ; Australia, 12.52. {: .speaker-KHG} ##### Mr Hill: -- What point is the honorable member trying to make ? {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN: -- Wheat production is regarded by many honorable members as one of the main buttresses of our national prosperity. I desire the committee to realize that it is a very insecure buttress, and that we should not overestimate its value, and underestimate the value of manufacturing production in maintaining the financial position of this country. {: .speaker-JVZ} ##### Mr M CAMERON:
BARKER, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · LP; NAT from 1925; UAP from 1931 -- Does the honorable member expect that we shall be able to export our manufactures? {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN: -- The time will come when the entire wheat production of Australia will be required for local consumption. To-day some of the best lands of Australia are not being tilled. In close proximity to Adelaide are rich lands used for grazing sheep, although they are eminently suitable for agriculture. The wheat growers are sent into the distantnorth and to the far end of Eyre's Peninsula. Much of the distant land might be just as suitable for stock as is thos land nearer Adelaide. A visit to Booagunyah station, about 50 miles from Tarcoola, convinced me that much of the country towards Central Australia can be utilized to greater advantage for sheep grazing than for any other form of production. Already men are growing wheat beyond Goyder's line of rainfall, and are finding it a very unprofitable business. If the land there were utilized for sheep grazing it would give a better return for the energy expended upon it, and the agriculturalists could with advantage to the community apply themselves to the richer lands nearer the metropolis. {: .speaker-KEQ} ##### Mr Killen: -- Should not the owner of land know whether it can be best used for sheep or for agriculture. {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN: -- Not every man can afford to purchase flocks with which to stock a grazing property. The poorer fa farmer usually selects wheat growing and dairy farming because they involve a smaller capital outlay. {: .speaker-JVZ} ##### Mr M CAMERON:
BARKER, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · LP; NAT from 1925; UAP from 1931 -- Because of the high price of agricultural implements and machinery it is cheaper nowadays to engage in sheep grazing than in wheat production. {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN: -- I invite the honorable member to disprove if he can the facts that I have presented to the committee. We do not even market our wheat to the best advantage. According to F. B. Guthrie, F.C.S., if our export wheat were milled into flour Australia would have saved £4,000,000 during the last ten years by returning to the soil the natural manures in the form of offal. I recognize the difficulty of compelling our customers abroad to buy our flour when they want our wheat. The reason they insist upon having the wheat is that it has the highest gristing quality of any in the world, and they can mill it with inferior wheats and sell the blend as A.1 Australian flour. That is not fair to this country. I was disappointed to find that the export of flour has seriously diminished, and that the Commonwealth is sustaining an increasing loss through not returning to the soil the offal as a natural manure. I should like to pay a well-deserved tribute to the dairy farmer. If there is one primary producer who has endeavoured to improve his economic efficiency, he is the dairy farmer, and statistics show that asa result of the improvement of his herds he is getting a. greater return per cow than he did some years ago. The number of dairy cattle in Australia in 1920 was 2,055,638, and by 1924 the number had increased to 2,444,637. The quantity of butter produced in 1920 was 208,081,864 lbs., and in 1924 313,952,291 lbs. In 1916 the milk per dairy cow was less than 300 gallons: in 1920 it was 314 gallons, and in 1924 it had been increased to 363 gallons. The number of farmers who adhere to hand processes in butter making is rapidly diminishing. The average quantity of milk churned to produce a pound of hand-made butter was approximately three gallons, but the manufacturer and his artizans have by their brains and skill evolved the separator, by which on the average a pound of butter is obtained from every two and a half gallons of milk. {: .speaker-JOS} ##### Mr Bell: -- Unfortunately separators' are not manufactured in Australia. Mr.MAKIN. - One would expect the representative of a rural constituency to know better than that. In 1911 the value of farm yard production was £20,154,000, or £48s. 2d. per head of those actually engaged in the industry. The 1925-26 production, reduced to the basis of 1911 prices, was £26,750,000, or £4 8s.11d. per head. I have endeavoured to give to the Committee figures which will enable members more fully to appreciate the services rendered to the country, both by the primary producers and the manufacturers. Wool is Australia's most important product. At the present time we produce 25 per cent. of the world's requirements in wool, an achievement of which Australia should be proud. Let me say, however, that we cannot expect always to hold the premier position in the markets of the world. Other countries are purchasing our stud sheep, and are improving their flocks to such an extent that in a very few years they will be our formidable rivals. The world's total wool production for the year 1925 was 2,096,579,000 lb. of which Australia contributed 729,243,000 lb. The average weight and value of the fleeces shorn in Australia in 1921 were 6.65 lb., 8s. in value ; and in 1925, 7.69 lb., 16s. in value. That is, the value of the wool has practically doubled, while the clip itself has been improved by the introduction of better flocks. The wool industry is the only one concerning which I have been able to. secure complete figures, and I shall quote these because some honorable members have said that, increased cost of production is responsible for the precarious position of certain industries, particularly the primary industries. They have said that the country cannot stand the improved wages and shorter hours, and that we must call a halt. The figures I am quoting are taken from the report of the Land Settlement Advisory Board of Queensland issued in 1927. Thar. State is probably the least favorable which I could use as an example formy own purposes. Honorable members opposite constantly declare that it is going to ruin, and that industry there is burdened with increasing costs. The cost of production in the wool industry in that State has increased by approximately 12 per cent. during the period from 1911 to 1925. Running costs, such as the cost of machinery, represent 8.7 per cent.; increases in shearers' wages, and better conditions generally, represent 2.06 per cent. {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr Foster: -- The honorable member should go back further than 1911 in-order to make a proper comparison. {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN: -- If I went back to the days of the flood when Noah took the sheep into the ark I expect the honorable member would still say that I should go back still further. The increases in respect to other items of cost are as follows : - Mr.Foster. - Railway charges have gone up 40 per cent. during the period mentioned. {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN: -- I quote from a reliable and authentic public document, and the charges are as I have said. I think I have proved that it is not the workers, . nor their improved conditions, that are so burdening down industry that it is unable to carry on. The honorable member for Franklin **(Mr. Seabrook)** said that no sooner did Parliament grant increased protection to an industry than the unions demanded increased wages and shorter hours. Has it ever occurred to the honorable member that the claims of the workers have to go before a tribunal - the Arbitration Court - which decides whether any increase in wages shall be granted? The wages paid are not determined on the prosperity ofthe industry, but on what it costs the worker to feed, clothe, and house himself; in other words, what it costs him to live. That is not the basis on which the manufacturer determines the protection he demands, or the dividends which he secures. The worker and his wife have to go into the box and answer questions as to what it costs them to live, even down to a postage stamp. Not so the wealthy landowner and private investor in industry. I contend that the condition of industry in this country enables it to give the worker the greater benefits which he enjoys. Their conditions should be even better than they are. I would like to see the primary producers, who are workers in a true sense secure a better return for the services they are rendering to the nation. But for those who are profiteering, and who, by their exploitation, are robbing both the workers and the primary producers - {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr Foster: -- The honorable member would hang them. {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN: -- Judging from many of the remarks which he has made, the honorable member would do even worsethan hang the working man. He would be tempted at times to boil him in oil. {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr Foster: -- I am prepared to stand by my record. It shows that my attitude has always been fair. {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN: -- I promise the honorable member that either the' honorable member for Adelaide or myself will entertain him some time in the near futurewith a. record of his own sayings and doings in reference to the working man when he was Minister of Public Worksin South Australia. I hope that I have been able to satisfy the committee that the Australian worker is not going slow on the job. He is not decreasing his output, nor impairing national efficiency, or the financial standing of the Commonweaith. By his hard toil and. consistent efforts he is contributing to the assets of the nation. . He is working in such a way as will place this country in a premier position among the nations of the world. We can maintain our present high economic conditions if the Government will realize its obligations to all sections of the community, and not relieve the wealthy men of the payment of taxes justly due by remitting £1,800,000 in land and income tax, and placing extra burdens on the backs of those least able to pay. Let the Treasurer place this proposed remission of taxation into a sinking fund to liquidate over a. period of 50 years our present Commonwealth public debt. If the Government will recognize its responsibility, give adequate protection to industry, support the primary producers by the more just dispensing of a nation's reward and recognize its duty tothe people, it will earn the gratitude of the nation as a whole, the Leader of the Opposition has been compelled to challenge the attitude of this Ministry as the Treasurer himself, in 1921, challenged the then Treasurer at that time he said - >I urge the Government to withdraw the budget- to grasp the nettle firmly, and to do what every business house is doing, namely, try to square the ledger, and prepare for lean years. That is what we are urging the Government to do now, so that we may be able to improve the financial standing and prestige of the country, and do our part to add to its future prosperity. {: #subdebate-24-0-s4 .speaker-JLJ} ##### Mr ABBOTT:
GWYDIR, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP .- I have been greatly interested in the speeches delivered by honorable members to-day and yesterday. The honorable member for Hindmarsh **(Mr. Makin)** has gone to a great deal of trouble to get his facts marshalled, and these facts have been, for the most part, very instructive. Nevertheless, I am going to vote against the motion by the Leader of the Opposition. Most of the speeches on the budget have been interesting, and facts have been fairly stated by honorable members, who have shown an earnest desire to solve some of the difficulties which be set the country at present. There were, however, one of two exceptions, and in particular the speech of the honorable member for Wimmera **(Mr. Stewart),** who has for some time past ceased to be a member of the Country party. As he has severed his connexion with that party, I do not think he should have taken this opportunity to bitterly attack, not only his former leader, but also members of the party who have always been friendly towards him, and who, in my opinion, have not swerved from their ideals in any way. I could not help thinking, when I saw the honorable member moving so silently about the chamber while waiting for an opportunity to speak, of the words that Shakespeare puts into the mouth of Julius Caesar, who, referring to Cassius, is made to say - >Let me have men about me, that are fat; > >Sleek-heeded men, and such as sleep o! nights ; > >Yond' Cassilis has a lean and hungry look. It seemed to me that the honorable member had "a lean and hungry look." In his speech, in. which he displayed a good deal of ill feeling and venom, he Said very little concerning the budget; but, at any rate, it did not do much harm. *X* regret exceedingly that the honorable member is not here, as he attacked, not only myself, but the honorable member for Richmond **(Mr. R. Green),** and tlie honorable member for Riverina **(Mr. Killen),** as well as others. I suggested to the honorable member at the time that as he had attacked us without any warning he should remain to hear what we might have to say in reply to his charges. The honorable member makes very infrequent appearances in this chamber, and comes here only to spit venom over his former colleagues, and then, departs to tickle the ears of the rustics in the Wimmera electorate. {: .speaker-KFA} ##### Mr R GREEN:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP -- He is just a rat! {: .speaker-JLJ} ##### Mr ABBOTT:
GWYDIR, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP -- He attacked his former colleagues, and, to a great extent, behind their backs, which was- not in good taste. I wish to deal with one or two of his statements about the New State movement. The honorable member for Richmond **(Mr. R. Green)** referred to the subject in his speech. So far as possible the members of the Country party in this Parliament have done all in their power to forward the movement, which every member of the party rightly supports. I particularly resent the statements of the honorable member for Wimmera on this subject. {: .speaker-KFA} ##### Mr R GREEN:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP -- Nearly every member of this Parliament believes in the subdivision of Australia. {: .speaker-JLJ} ##### Mr ABBOTT:
GWYDIR, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP -- Yes; but they regard the subject from different angles. I particularly resent the remarks of the honorable member for Wimmera in attacking the honorable member for New England **(Mr. Thompson),** who, he said, was not worthy of a seat in the committee because, whilst believing in the New State movement he had refrained from endeavouring to assist it. No one has done more for the cause, and no one has worked harder - he is still working hard - in this connexion than the honorable member for New England. The honorable member for Wimmera knows that quite well, and should not have endeavoured to place him in a false position. This is not the first time in which the honorable member for Wimmera has so acted. In his speech on the *per capita* payment issue he took the opportunity of stabbing the members of the Country party in the back, and on that occasion uttered many of the remarks he repeated the other day. {: .speaker-KFA} ##### Mr R GREEN:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP -- Why take any notice of a rat? {: .speaker-JLJ} ##### Mr ABBOTT:
GWYDIR, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP -- I wish to make a reply to the accusations of the honorable member for Wimmera, so that it may be incorporated in *Hansard* and available to his constituents, who should have an opportunity of reading the opinions of the members of the Country party. To give some idea of the inaccuracies in his speech, I may refer to two statements he made concerning me. He said that I caine into this Parliament on the crest of the New State cry, and that I defeated a sitting Nationalist member to get my seat. I do not think it necessary to contradict the latter portion of that statement as honorable members" know that I had the good fortune, if I may so put it, to defeat a. member of the Opposition. There was, at the time, no sitting Nationalist member in the Gwydir electorate. Although I have always endeavoured to assist the New State. movement, it was not a main plank on the platform on which I contested the election. I referred to it on many occasions, but I made other matters of more important moment at that time the main issues of the election campaign. {: .speaker-KFA} ##### Mr R GREEN:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP -- It is in the Country party's platform. {: .speaker-JLJ} ##### Mr ABBOTT:
GWYDIR, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP -- Yes. I stood absolutely on the Country party's platform, and as a supporter of the present Government, and I claim to have a direct mandate from the electors to support it in every detail. I came to this Parliament when it was sitting in Melbourne as a tyro in politics, and I was at first rather charmed by the honorable member for Wimmera who used to take me aside and sitting by the fire would tell me " moving tales of flood and field" when he was a sailor before the mast. The stories he told me were al- ways interesting; but unfortunately they were always followed by some stinging reference to the present Treasurer, who is the LeadeT of the Country party. As these stories usually contained some innuendo suggesting that my leader was not playing the game, I began to resent his remarks, and after I had shown him that I did so he left me severely alone. In attacking the Country party, and questioning its separate entity, he introduced the subject of political adultery which he said the party had committed in its association with the Nationalist party. That is a point I intend to deal with later; but at the moment I may say that I am expecting to see an announcement in the newspaper to the effect that " a marriage has been announced and will shortly take place" between the honorable member for Wimmera and the Labour party. That is the direction I think in which the honorable member is proceeding. {: .speaker-KFA} ##### Mr R GREEN:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP -- The Labour party will not have anything to do with him. {: .speaker-JLJ} ##### Mr ABBOTT:
GWYDIR, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP **- His** actions suggest that his interests are in that direction, as he voted against the Government on the first motion of censure moved in this chamber. Apparently he is definitely allied with the Opposition, and he wishes his electors to know where hestands. In this connexion, it is rather interesting to take the Wimmera figures for the last general election. Strangely, and for some reason which I have not been able to fathom, the honorable member was the only non-Labour member who was not opposed by a Labour candidate at the last election. If we analyze the Senate figures for that electorate we find that the Country party's candidate secured 9,485 votes, the three Nationalists 16,113 votes, and the four Labour candidates 13,225 votes. As there were 25,598 non-Labour votes against 13,225 Labour votes, I cannot help wondering what these 25,598 electors who opposed the Labour party at the last election will say when they have had an opportunity of studying what the. honorable member has said concerning the Government which he was then supporting, and of which he for some time was a member ? {: .speaker-KZ6} ##### Mr Lacey: -- Was not the right honorable member for Balaclava unopposed? {: .speaker-JLJ} ##### Mr ABBOTT:
GWYDIR, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP -- Perhaps so. I accept the honorable member's correction. In that case only two of the non-Labour members of the House of Representatives were not opposed by Labour candidates. That does not, however, affect my argument. After hearing the speech delivered by the honorable member for Wimmera the other day, and remembering what he said concerning the Country party, and the country's needs, I wish to know what the honorable member has clone for the country concerning which he has so much to say. He criticized the members of this Government, who have done their utmost on its behalf, and, in the words of the honorable member for Maranoa **(Mr. Hunter)** "he is not fit to tie their shoe "laces." He criticized the Minister for Markets and Migration **(Mr. Paterson),** who has done so much for the dairymen of this country, particularly in connexion with the butter-marketing scheme which bears his name. He also criticized the Postmaster-General **(Mr. Gibson),** who has most successfully administered a most important department, and has effected many reforms in the interests of country people. He also referred to the Minister for "Works and Railways **(Mr. Hill),** concerning whom his only grievance seemed to be that he is now occupying the portfolio which the honorable member for Wimmera vacated. The Department of Works and Railways has been successfully administered by this member of the Country party, and the honorable member for Wimmera does not like it. , It is amazing that he should have attacked the members of the Country party, which he said is now closely associated with the Nationalist party, and, as a separate entity, is lost for ever. The honorable member should recall that he was one of the party managers in 1923 who arranged the alliance between the two parties. To him on that occasion might well have been applied the line of Byron, " And saying he would ne'er consent, consented." He accepted office in the composite Government that was formed, and only vacated it owing to some little squabble about which we have no concern. In 1925 I contested the election as a member of the Country party, and as a supporter of the Government, believing it had a policy which I could support. The action taken by the party in 1923 was then endorsed by the electors. If we study the State elections since that time, we find that the procedure adopted in 1923 has, to a large extent, again been endorsed. The South Australian elections have resulted in an alliance between the two parties, whiCh I . think,, is to their credit, and to the advantage of the State. The same thing has happened in New South Wales within the last few weeks, and in Victoria, when the members of the Country party went to the people, they returned with their strength unimpaired. I could not help thinking, as I listened to the honorable member, of the saying of Isaiah - >The vile person shall not be called liberal. I think that can very appropriately be applied to the honorable member for Wimmera. The criticism of the budget has been of a very general nature. I have not heard any honorable member rise and definitely state that something or other was wrong, that this or that extravagance should not be indulged in by the Government. One of the principal criticisms, which may_have been a little less generalized than others, referred to the appointment of commissions. I would prefer to see a commission appointed by this Government on an important question such as childhood endowment rather than have the problem tackled from an uneconomic standpoint, as occurred recently in .New South Wales, and resulted in a hardship being placed on industry. Commissions are very helpful in solving knotty problems. While not desiring to criticize the Government in its appointment of commissions, I trust that we shall very soon see some tangible results from the Development and Migration Commission. Honorable members, during this debate, have spoken very freely and generally about extravagance. We all talk economy in general terms; but when it affects any of our pet schemes Ave disregard the virtue altogether. This peculiarity is adequately illustrated in to-days' "business paper. In it is a notice of motion to be moved by the honorable member for East Sydney **(Mr. West)** - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. That tlie Government set aside an area of 20 square miles of the Federal Capital Territory for the purposes of a research institute, station, and farm. 1. That an endowment of a sum not exceeding £1,000,000 he made, the income therefrom to be devoted to laboratories, field equipment, salaries of a staff of scientific specialists, and research ' scholarships and fellowships open to science graduates of any Australian university..... Notice of motion No. 2 is again by the honorable member for East Sydney, which reads - >That, owing to the duplication in the Federal Constitution and in the sovereign powers held by State governments, which still continues with increased effect to create a heavy burden of taxation with no equitable progress, an amendment of the Constitution be submitted to a referendum of the people to vest unlimited legislative powers in Australian affairs in the Commonwealth Parliament, with delegation of adequate local powers to subordinate legislative bodies and municipalities. A referendum costs anything up to about £80,000, so that the honorable member contemplates plunging the Government into an expenditure of £1,080,000. Notice of motion No. 4 is by the honorable member for Adelaide **(Mr. Yates),** and is a very worthy one, reading- >That all ex-members of the Australian Imperial Force who served overseas and have since developed tuberculosis shall be deemed to be suffering from a war disability, and be eligible for pensions under the Australian Soldiers' Repatriation Act. Although laudable, such a procedure would not tend to economy. Motion No. 5 is by the honorable member for Melbourne **(Dr. Maloney),** and seeks to bring into existence a Domesday Book, which would cost a very large sum, and again would not tend to economy. Motion No. 6 is by the honorable member for Capricornia **(Mr. Forde),** and reads - >That, in view of the great importance of the cotton industry to Australia, both in the growing of cotton and the spinning of cotton yarn, it is the opinion of this House that the Federal Government should pay - {: type="a" start="a"} 0. A bounty of 2d. per pound on seed cotton for a period of six years, and a diminishing bounty each successive year up to the tenth year, in accordance with the Tariff Board's recommendation. 1. An adequate bounty on cotton yarn manufactured in Austrlia, so as to give the necessary encouragement to both branches of the industry in their early stages and to have them developed concurrently. That may be a worthy object, but if the proposal emanated from this side the honorable member would vigorously attack us for our extravagance. Motion No. 7 is by the wonderful honorable member for Wimmera **(Mr. Stewart),** and reads - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. That, in the opinion of this House, the substitution of a system of elective Ministries for the present imperfect system of party government is worthy of consideration. 1. That the passage of the foregoing resolution shall be an instruction to the Government to forthwith appoint a committee representative of all parties in the House, with power to call for persons and papers, to make such inquiries as they may think fit, with a view to ascertaining if any such system would be likely to improve the existing machinery of Government. 2. That the committee so appointed shall submit their report and recommendations to this House during the present session for the purpose of enabling Parliament to discuss and take such action as it may decide in the light of the report and recommendation so submitted. Over the page is a motion by the honorable member for Macquarie **(Mr. Manning),** seeking the construction of a railway from Bourke, New South Wales, through Central Queensland towards Cloncurry, and thence across the Barkly Tableland to a point on the north-south railway in the Northern Territory. Again a worthy idea, but one which, as was pointed out by the honorable member for Boothby **(Mr. Duncan-Hughes)** would cost about £12,000,000. That certainly would not curtail our expenditure. Next we have a motion by the honorable member for Bass **(Mr. Jackson)** for the appointment of a committee to inquire into the welfare of our aboriginal population. I do not criticize the object, but it would swell our already heavy expenditure. All that goes to prove that, while we may talk in general terms of economy, when it intrudes upon our pet scheme it loses much of its virtue. We must all admit that the financial position of Australia is not as it should be. I shall refer to certain tariff matters, hut not from a party point of view. I am sometimes opposed to increases in the tariff, but I claim that I am not by any means a freetrader. I am one who thinks that a tariff of 40 per cent. is adequate protection for any Australian industry, taking into consideration the natural protection. Some time ago I read an article in the Melbourne *Age* that so impressed me that I searched for and made an extract of it yesterday, which I shall now read. It is from the *Age* of the 17th August, 1927, and is as follows : - >The State Government has decided to allow the Metropolitan Board to import a steam shovel from overseas firm on the understanding that the second shovel be purchased from a local manufacturer. In seeking approval it was represented that the imported shovel would be about £2,000 cheaper, and could be delivered within eight weeks, while the local article could not he delivered for seven months. One formal tender was received from Huston and Hornby, to be delivered on the job, one in eight weeks and one in eleven weeks. A tender was received from Alfred Harmon, Port Melbourne, delivered in seven months. Euston and Hornby's price was £6,034 per shovel, which included 40 per cent, duty, that would be allowed to the board if remitted by the customs. Harmon's price was £7,930, plus 8 per cent., if the working week was reduced to 44 hours, making the total price £8,564 8s. An analysis of that report discloses that Euston and Hornby's price is £6,634, including 40 per cent, duty - amounting to about £2,653 - making the net cost of manufacture of the steam shovel, with that firm, about £3,981. The same shovel, manufactured by an Australian firm, would cost £8,564. There must be something wrong with our industries when there is a difference of £4,583 between the cost of manufacture of a similar article in Great Britain and in Australia. I claim that I am supported in my views, to a certain extent, by the honorable member for Yarra **(Mr. Scullin).** "When the honorrable member delivered one of his well-thought-out speeches the other day, he said that he thought it was time that we all got together and reviewed the position of Australia. If I remember rightly, the honorable member said that we had reached a crisis in Australia and that we should, without any party consideration, face and remedy the position. He went on to say that we should confer round the table, without party distinction, in an endeavour to find a way out. I heartily support the suggestion of the honorable member. There is no doubt that there is something wrong with our manufacturing and with our financial position. It must be admitted that a high tariff has not helped our secondary manufactures. The tariffs that were before this chamber today afford ample proof of that. I oppose such tariffs, because, while they may appear to give a temporary prosperity, the position very soon is as bad as ever, and our manufacturers and workers are claiming more protection and wages respectively. We are isolating ourselves from the world and getting farther and farther away from its markets. That cannot continue. We must stop, take stock of the position, and act. That tariff is affecting our cost of living and bearing rather heavily on the cost of primary production. An examination of our primary industries reveals the fact, as claimed by the honorable member for Hindmarsh **(Mr. Makin)** that the only one above criticism is the wool industry. The honorable member referred to reductions in income and land tax. Honorable members opposite seem to think that anybody who owns land must be rich. That is by no means the case. Take the position of our wool-growers. I believe that there are 78,000 flocks in Australia. Of those 7S,000 flocks, 75,000 are of 5,000 sheep and under. I do not think that any one can claim that a man who owns 5,000 sheep and under is a wealthy man, one who should not be helped by decreases in income tax, if necessary. The honorable member for Dalley **(Mr. Theodore)** talked of locked-up lands, and said that land was not being put to its proper use. It is a moot point whether it is better to use land for wool-growing, and to make a profit, or to subdivide it into small blocks for wheat-growing, which is often not successful. There are a great many places in Australia that will grow admirable wheat if the rainfall is sufficient; but a great deal of our wheat is grown in places which have an uncertain rainfall. The cost of producing wheat is increasing, and the farmers have to rely on the prices they obtain in the open market. The question of giving a bounty on wheat production will have to receive consideration before long if the men engaged in the industry are to be kept on the land. It is indeed serious that those engaged in primary production should need assistance to enable them to make a living. That was not the case a few years ago, and it is not the case at present with wool. Butter production has had to be assisted, and wheat production will also have to be assisted, and if costs increase, as they have done in the last few years, the wool industry will soon need protection. When Australia has to protect not only its secondary industries, but also its primary industries, its position will be economically unsound. The honorable member for Richmond **(Mr. R. Green)** said that we should prohibit the export of stud sheep from Australia. I know a little about sheep breeding. and I do not think that that would be a wise thing to do. It seems to me that if we prohibit the export of stud stock, particularly !of stud sheep, we shall lessen their quality. There will be less incentive to breed good stock. It has been said that South Africa will soon become a dangerous rival of Australia; but I do not think that South Africa will ever be our rival so far as the quality of wool is concerned. Australia, because of its geographical position, rainfall, and even droughts, has evolved the best merino sheep in the world, a sheep that stands *far excellence.* {: .speaker-KF9} ##### Mr A GREEN:
KALGOORLIE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · ALP; FLP from 1931; ALP from 1936 -- Some of the English woollen manufacturers say that South African wool is better than ours. {: .speaker-JLJ} ##### Mr ABBOTT:
GWYDIR, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP -- I have heard that, but I have also been told that the South African wool keeps its quality for one clip only, and then starts to coarsen. Any one who knows the country on which sheep are run can easily understand that. Another factor is that South African wool is of a very heavy colour compared with the clean, bright appearance of the Australian wool. It is not nearly so attractive as our wool. Great Britain has been breeding and exporting stud horses for hundreds of years, and the demand for them from other countries is just as great as ever. For that reason I do not think that we should yet consider the prohibition of the export of stud sheep from Australia. We have a very keen demand for stud sheep from South Africa and other countries, and that encourages the breeders to evolve the best class of sheep. {: .speaker-KMS} ##### Mr Manning: -- It is really too late now to prohibit the export of stud sheep, because we have sold South Africa sheep to the value of £500.000. {: .speaker-JLJ} ##### Mr ABBOTT:
GWYDIR, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP -- I do not think that we shall ever need to regard South Africa as a dangerous rival so far as wool pro- duction is concerned. The honorable member for Richmond an appeal to the Government on behalf of limbless soldiers, and I hope that the Minister in charge of Repatriation will give more considera tion to those unfortunate men who are double amputees. It is a great inconvenience to lose a limb, but a terrible misfortune to lose two limbs. There are few double amputees in Australia, and the Government should do all in its power to assist them. I wish to say a* word or two about postal, matters. I shall not criticize the Government for being extravagant, because it could easily be more extravagant in its expenditure on country postal facilities. The. PostmasterGeneral has done exceedingly well. He has improved the services to a great extent, but there is still more to bc done, particularly in the provision of continuous services, which are a wonderful boon to the people living at some distance from the centres of civilization. I realize that those services are possible, not by the employment of extra hands, but by the provision of automatic telephone exchanges, and I hope that the day is not far distant when these will be installed throughout all country districts. I know that the policy of the Postmaster-General is not to improve post offices in the country or elsewhere until the telephone and postal services are in perfect order, and he has still much to do iri that direction. The conditions in the outback post offices, during a hot and trying summer are not at all satisfactory. That is not the fault of this Government but of previous governments, because many of the post offices were built years ago by the States. It is most extraordinary that in my electorate and, I think, in other electorates, many of the post offices have been built on the eastern side of wide streets, and when the sun sinks towards the west, its full glare is on the post offices until it sets. The conditions in the summer, therefore, are most trying, specially for telephone girls who work in small rooms at the back of the buildings. I urge the Postmaster-General to make the facilities for the girls a little better than they are at present. It would be a great boon to instal electric fans in post offices which are, say, 300 miles west of Sydney or even closer. The telephone girls are most efficient, and I urge the Government to consider them when the postal estimates are being discussed. {: #subdebate-24-0-s5 .speaker-JLY} ##### Mr ANSTEY:
Bourke .- I listened with interest to the speech of the honorable member for Gwydir **(Mr. Abbott)** because what he has to say is always inoffensive. Some honorable members can make speeches or interjections without being insulting; but nothing is more objectionable to me than observations and interjections which reflect upon people outside who have no opportunity to reply. I particularly refer to remarks made by the honorable member for Indi **(Mr. Cook),** a stupid and foolish old man, who, by casting reflections upon the great body of the working class, accusing it of going slow. As a matter of fact, the honorable member himself is too slow for a hearse. The honorable member for Gwydir, who has filled his place in this Chamber with credit, referred to marriage, divorce and adultery. Those three features of civil life can be aptly applied to politics. We have in this Parliament witnessed weddings of various descriptions; we have seen political divorce and adultery, open and unblushing, to which various members and sections have been party. We saw the conjunction of the right honorable member for North Sydney **(Mr. Hughes)** and the Prime Minister **(Mr. Bruce)** ; we witnessed their courting, wedding, and divorce. We saw the Country party come into existence. It was formed for a specific object, because the Nationalist party was regarded as inimical to the interests of the great body of primary producers. Yet in the fullness of time it entered into open, unblushing and shameless adultery with the Nationalist party. I had no intention of speaking upon the budget, because any plea for the workers would bc utterly useless. But in the lobbies this evening I was reminded of an occasion when, as a member of the Victorian State House, I was asked by a Victorian squatter to make a speech in the interests of some of his friends. I did so, and he had to accept the responsibility for what I said. Similarly, those who have thus caused me to speak to-night must be held responsible for what I shall say. A few weeks ago there were interesting developments from the point of view of the Labour party, and particularly of myself. I had been for a long time disappointed and sad. The clouds were dark, and prospects were gloomy. But suddenly the atmosphere lightened and brightened. Honorable members behind the Government began to raise their heads, and to talk of insurrection. Naturally the Labour party showed great interest in the division between itsenemies. Prospects looked bright for it, not because of any increase of its strength, but because of the promise of trouble among its opponents. Prom what one could hear in the lobbies and elsewhere, they were going to take their courage in their hands and dare to be Daniels. They would no longer be trammelled by party fetters, but would have the courage to express their convictions. One after another they rose and gave voice to their opinions. The honorable member for Henty **(Mr. Gullett)** rose like the trumpeter before whose blasts fell the walls of Jericho. Then on Friday last we were to have a marvellous exhibition. The great crash was to come! It was postponed until Tuesday. Still we went home at the week-end expectant and jubilant, and on Tuesday reassembled in the same happy mood. How pleased we were to think that the Government was to suffer discomfiture because of the dissension and insurrection among its followers! A cave had developed ! Its motto- >Dare to be a Daniel, > >Dare to stand alone, > >Dare to have a purpose firm, > >Dare to make it known. In a spirit of expectation the press reinforced its strength, obtained additional supplies of paper, and arranged relief to enable it to record in full the doings of the gladiator who was to appear on the scene. {: .speaker-K4M} ##### Mr Cook: -- When does the honorable member propose to touch the budget? {: .speaker-JLY} ##### Mr ANSTEY: -- I do not propose to touch it. It has already been shattered, torn and destroyed beyond recognition. I intend to take advantage of this opportunity to say a few words on other subjects of importance of this country. The audience had gathered from far and near. It was watching for the approach of the bold gladiator, clad in his shining armour - the armour of a righteous cause. He would speak in a clarion voice, his clear eye would rally his followers, and they would unitedly arise in their exceeding great strength and shatter the Government. That was the remarkable spectacle that we had assembled to see in this comic opera house of politics. The curtain was raised, the gladiator came forth. But where was his shining armour, where his clarion voice, where his glittering eye? We saw nothing but a poor little bedraggled figure, with bowed head and hands hanging to his knees, who appeared - somemhow, somewhere between Friday and Tuesday - to have been sandbagged. This was the man who was to champion the public cause, who was to engage in the 20-round fight. What was it that the little cherub above wrote about it? I cannot remember his exact words, but the substance of them was " This poor little man was no longer the brave and valiant warrior." He appeared before us as one overcome by fear; too weak to fight and too afraid to run. The audience was there, but no show was provided for it. There was the suggestion of a fight of course; but what a miserable exhibition it was! The people had paid their money and they must be given some kind of a performance, but what a poor spectacle it was ! Those of us who expected to see the Government rent by its own followers* were sadly disillusioned. The right honorable gentleman's own colleagues and. friends, when they found that their champion had fallen to pieces, slunk out of the chamber or fell asleep. The rest of us listened in disappointed amazement. Such an exhibition of abject submission we had never before seen. The vendetta of the right honorable member for North Sydney **(Mr. Hughes)** against the Treasurer, which we were assured he intended to pursue to the bitter end, was over. Had the Standing Orders permitted it, I believe that he would have gone to the extent of publicly kissing his erstwhile enemy. Once again the Government had triumphed, and our hopes were dashed to the ground. We expected so much, but we received so little. I must confess that I was a sadly disappointed man. If I were to say anything else, I should be a liar. It is said that though the world is made up of tears and laughter, we should never despair. But how could I do other than despair? I had expected to see the Government forces disintegrated and the insurrectionists victorious; but it was not to be. What has become of the honorable member for Wakefield **(Mr. Foster)** ? He has been full of grievances against the Government. He was expected strongly to support the right honorable member for North Sydney; but how silent and docile he has become! There is no fight in him now. He and other ardent reformers on the Government benches have become quiet. {: .speaker-K4M} ##### Mr Cook: -- Is the honorable member disappointed about it? {: .speaker-JLY} ##### Mr ANSTEY: -- Surely I am. How could it be otherwise? I had expected to see the Government routed by its own followers, but they failed me. I should be guilty of the sorriest duplicity were I to say that I should not be pleased to see the Government defeated. But the insurrectionists have disappeared; the Government is once more supreme; and we, poor devils, are left to lament. What has become of the honorable member for Henty **(Mr. Gullett).** Howbold and courageous he was for a while. But he will never again attack the Government. We shall hear no more from him until the next election. And how cruelly the Prime Minister treated him ! How severe he was upon him for his disloyalty ! How heartlessly he reminded this great economist of to-day that he was indifferent to the most huge expenditures only a few years since. The honorable member has become so docile, pliable, and obliging that he will never again torture the Government - at least not until it is safe to do so. His journalistic career reminds me that lie is well able to suit himself to the circumstances of the moment. Not merely in the world of politics, where corruption and the distortion or absence of the truth are common, but in the world of journalism, where truth is predominant, this honorable gentleman has proved his adaptability. What brilliant articles have flowed from his pen; and with what delight we used to read anything that appeared under his signature! Some years ago he visited Japan, and on his return from that country wrote a series of articles for the Melbourne *Herald* to prove that all our fears of a yellow menace were groundless! He told us that he had found the Japanese people a peaceable community, with no belligerent designs upon Australia. There was really no menace, he assured us, and it was entirely wrong for us to suppose that there was. One afternoon I spied the honorable member in the press gallery of the Parliament House in Melbourne, and 1 thought that in the interests of the general public, not, of course, to obtain publicity for myself, I would discuss the subject that he had written on so confidently. So I repeated his arguments on the floor of the House, and made it quite clear that the only inference that could be drawn from his facts was that there was no yellow "peril." I gave full publicity to the arguments of the honorable member. The next day I waited with much eagerness with my three halfpence ready to buy the first copy that I could obtain of the *Herald;* for I expected that the honorable member would have been glad to know that his arguments had been refuted. But what did I find? He made it clear to his readers that my statements of the previous day, which were really his statements, were a total distortion of the truth, and the utterest stupidity. In these circumstances *te* Prime Minister may reasonably expect the honorable member in the next week or two to write some splendid and convincing articles for the press to demonstrate to the public that all the criticism to which the Government has been subjected in this debate is the merest insane drivel. After the honorable member for Henty and the right honorable member for North Sydney had shown us how divided the Government party was, the Prime Minister entered the lists. How august was his presence! With what grandeur he appeared on the scene! He did not deign to discuss the charges that had been brought against the Government. It is true that he uttered a few words of admonition to the honorable member for Henty for daring to be disloyal to his party, and took care to see that it should be recorded in *Hansard,* if not in the daily press, that the honorable member had thought nothing of the expenditure of £100,000,000 or so. And as for the right honorable member for North Sydney, well, what could a gentleman do to him? Poor, insignificant little man, he deserved nothing more than a glance, and that was about all be received. He was, as it were, a pricked bubble, a toad in a cesspool, to use his own phrase. The Prime Minister went on to say that it was quite wrong for honorable members to attack the Treasurer for having produced such an unsatisfactory budget. The Treasurer, he informed us, was only one of ten little nigger boys, and was blameworthy for only a tenth part of the iniquity of the Government. Said the right honorable gentleman, "I shall stand by my Treasurer. I am as responsible as he is for what has been done, and I am quite "willing to bear the blame." What a noble attitude to adopt! What a Christian spirit! What a demonstration of how we should bear one another's burdens! The right honorable member for North Sydney was unkind enough to say something about the bank recantation, but the Prime Minister said, "I am quite willing to bear the blame for that. If the Treasurer has done wrong, we have all done wrong." He said in effect, that if the Treasurer had walked backward when he thought he was walking forward, the responsibility belonged to the Government, and that all the members of the Government were the participants in any virtue, as they were the shareholders in any vice that flowed from its administration. He then turned to the budget1 - a clever action on his part. Turning over thi pages ho glanced at one item after another. Explaining the reason for proposed expenditure amounting to many millions of pounds, he said that the Government needed the money, and therefore had to get it One -item of many millions, representing interest on borrowed money. That he explained away lightly. He said that other millions represented interest on debts caused by the war, for which his Government was not responsible There were vast sums for war pensions, oldage pensions, and repatriation - expenditure which must necessarily be met. When he came to a sum proposed to be paid to the States, be turned to one honorable member belonging to the Labour party and said "Included in this amount is a sum for the construction of the railway from Red Hill to Port Augusta. That is in your electorate. Have, you any objection to that expenditure?" Receiving no answer he continued, " Then you are silenced." Turning to another portion of the chamber he addressed a member of the Country party in similar terms, concluding, as before, with the satisfying remark, " You also are silenced." And so he proceeded, pointing first to one honorable member, and then to another, but always concluding with the same remark, " You are silenced.'-' He appealed to the prejudices of honorable members, with a view to subordinating their interest in national affairs to matters of purely local concern. He endeavoured to make us all participants in a common villany. He said in effect, "If there is any virtue in the Government's proposals, we are all shareholders in that virtue; if the Government's proposals are evil, we are all participants in the vice." The whole procedure was so easy; he endeavoured to place each honorable member in a position in which he could not answer. There are, however, a few things that might still be mentioned. If I were asked what I would speak of, if I dared, I should reply by referring to the commissions and boards which the Government has appointed. These wonderful commissions pile up the expenditure with incredible rapidity. The Prime Minister approaches a man who has dared to criticize his Government, and says " You have been described as a critic of the Government, but I shall not call you that. ' I regard you as a gentleman whose intelligence and brains are necessary to grapple with the problems of this country. I offer you a position on a commission at £5,000 per annum." In that way commission after commission, board after board, is constituted, until at last these bodies which are outside the arena of politics, are not responsible to the people. In their selection the public have no say. Their operations will continue for long periods; they will gather round them an army of functionaries and officials greater than that connected with Parliament itself. The Development and Migration Commission is one of these. Already it has incurred enormous expense. I know what the Prime Minister will answer, because if our positions were reversed I should give the same answer myself. He might reply thai no party is above accepting a bribe when offered in the shape of a remunerative post. I care not whether the men appointed to such posi tions are prominent members of the Nationalist party, or industrial leaders standing behind the Labour party; if they accept gifts of that kind they sell their principles. It is not a question of the cupidity or greed pf individuals, or whether these things are right from the standpoint of the well-being of the nation. No difficult problem is solved merely by passing the responsibility on to some one else. We in this Parliament are subject to the will - of the people; we are affected by the public conscience. It is better that the control of public offices should remain with us than that it should be delegated to boards or commissions, which are responsible to no one. We have an example of such a commission here in Canberra. I know of no greater crime than that of making serious charges which implicate men who, however, are not definitely mentioned. An honest man will not act in that manner. If he is satisfied that an individual is guilty of wrong practices he will say, " Thou art the man." As I go about this city I see things which call for immediate investigation. Any man who has visited Yarralumla cannot fail to see there things which call loudly for inquiry. In other places in this city other matters invite investigation. In ho other city of Australia, even where labour is most expensive, the "go-slow" policy most developed and the cost of materials highest, can one find what can be found in Canberra. Go even into Northern Australia, where organized labour is said to be most militant and to demand the highest wages for the least return, and we shall not find the cost of building so high as it is in connexion with the three-roomed " cribs " at Canberra. {: .speaker-KZ6} ##### Mr Lacey: -- The high cost of building in Canberra is not the result of high wages. {: .speaker-JLY} ##### Mr ANSTEY: -- No. Nor is it due to the high cost of material, nor yet because the workers are dominated by extremists, or are themselves communists or members of the I.W.W. Whether we go to Yarralumla, to Eastlake, or to Telopea Park ; whether it is the residence of the Governor-General or that of the humblest citizen, we are forced to the conclusion that things are as they are, not because of the high cost of labour and material, but for more reprehensible causes. Having said that there was nothing in the budget which could not be justified, the Prime Minister summed up the position in a few cogent phrases. He said that in framing its Estimates the Government had had proper regard for the interests of economy. With that statement I entirely disagree. I do not say that the Government's estimates of expenditure can be cut down by millions of pounds without there being first an alteration of our economic system. No one, whether Nationalist or Labour, who accepts the existing social and economic conditions can show how the budget expenditure can be reduced to any great extent But the Prime Minister said that there were no problems for the Government to solve. He urged that there should be a greatly increased production which would, in turn, enable higher wages to be paid and reduce taxation. He also said that better markets for our produce were required. He added, however, that those things were not to be done by the Government, but by private enterprise. He claimed that all the Government had. to do was to administer things as they were; that that was the end of its responsibility. The Prime Minister disposed of the remarks of the honorable member for Yarra **(Mr. Scullin)** regarding the adverse trade balance by saying that no one knew anything about it. He said, " I know nothing about it, and, therefore, no one else can know anything about it." Then, turning to a member of the Opposition, he asked, "What would you do ? If you believe there is a problem, what is your remedy?" If a person believes there is no problem, as is the case with the Prime Minister, what is the good of asking for a remedy? If there is no problem, there can be no remedy. But let us suppose that there is a problem. If not tackled, that problem will become greater until ultimately the Government will be forced to realize that it exists. Then, instead of dealing with the problem, it will go to a member of the Opposition and say " What would you do ?" If he refuses to answer, the Prime Minister will proclaim that he has no remedy. , I agree with the late Honorable Alfred Deakin that it is not the duty of the Opposition to furnish the Government with a policy. **Mr. Deakin** went further, and said that it would be useless for the Opposition to do so. He said that unless there were no more difference between the policy of a Government and that of an Opposition than that between tweedledum and tweedledee, that if the contest between them were more than a struggle between the " ins " and the " outs " ; if they differed as to the ends to be achieved or as to the methods by which those ends were to be attained, no government would accept a remedy suggested by the Opposition. Otherwise there would be no need for members to divide themselves into government and opposition factions." That should be the answer to any opposition. Do I believe that there are problems to be solved. I do ; they are vital, and will become more pressing every day. It is a disastrous state of affairs that in this young country some industries should be stagnating, and others reducing their production; that the streets should be paraded by an increasing army,of unemployed, while foreign goods are pouring into the country. There are questions to be answered and problems to be solved, not alone by the National party, but by any party that takes up the reins of government. Still, I shall not occupy the time of this committee by delivering a lecturette and expressing my own opinion. It would be futile to do so. Time will create circumstances which will compel the answers to be given and the remedies to be found, I return now to the indictment of the Treasurer by the right honorable member for North Sydney on account, of his recantation in connexion with the Commonwealth Bank Bill. The Prime Minister said that the responsibility for the Government's original policy and change of policy attached, not alone to the Treasurer, but to the whole Ministry. I regard the Commonwealth Bank as a very important institution, and capable of invaluable service in the financial and economic reconstruction of this country. As it proved a useful instrumentality in the dark hours of financial crisis during the four years of war, so, properly handled, it can become a medium of great benefit to the community in time of peace. But in regard to the bank, the policies of the Government and the Labour party are as wide apart as the poles. The policy of the Government is to destroy this portion of " The Temple of Labour," of which the right honorable member for North Sydney said that " not one stone shall be touched." It has pursued the same policy in regard to the Commonwealth Shipping Line, and, apparently, is justified in the eyes of honorable members opposite. Every one of them has referred to what the seamen and waterside workers have done to embarrass the Government ships. It may be that those workers furnished the Government with a very fine excuse for disposing of the fleet. We have been told that the seamen have no appreciation of their obligation to render to the community social service. A few days ago I heard in the train one wool buyer referring to the demands of the Australian workmen for increased wages and reduced hours. Those demands, he said, were utterly impossible, and would be ruinous to the country. "But," said another English buyer, " is not that true of others besides the workers of Australia? Is it not true of us? We come here to buy Australian wool at the cheapest possible price, and we shall take it to Europe and sell it at the best price offering. Unmindful of the Empire, we shall sell it on the continent if we can get there a fraction of a farthing per pound more than we can get in England. Before we speak of the social service due from the workmen to the nation, we who profess to belong to a superior social class, should set an example by our own sacrifice and service to the community." It is true that social service and sacrifice can be demanded from all classes. But the Government's policy in regard to the Commonwealth steamers was riot provoked by the antisocial attitude of the seamen; it has adopted the same policy in connexion with other state instrumentalities. In the woollen mills at Geelong the difficulties caused by the seamen on the Commonwealth ships did not arise: faithful service was rendered by the employees, and profits were made, and that mill might have been exhibited as a shining example of what good workmen and state ownership could do for the people, who owned the enterprise; but the Government pursued its policy definitely and unwaveringly. Unhappily for us it did so, more clearly and definitely than the Labour party does when it is in power. Whatever charge may be brought against the Government, no one will deny that it has guts enough to carry out its policy, however inimical it may be to Labour. I only hope that when next Labour gets into office in this Parliament it will have sufficient guts to enforce its policy as ruthlessly and fearlessly as this Government is doing. {: .speaker-JZK} ##### Mr Coleman: -- What has the honorable member to say of the silence of the right honorable member for Balaclava? {: .speaker-JLY} ##### Mr ANSTEY: -- He is pursuing his own policy; he is going out of Parliament; he is retiring from the battle. So why should he worry? In any case I cannot be expected to expose the iniquities of every honorable member, and certainly not of an honorable member between whom and myself a personal friendship exists. Somebody else may have a " go " at him. I was saying that the policy which the Government applied to the woollen mills has been carried clearly and definitely into the banking arena. The Commonwealth Bank was established by the Labour party in the belief that it would render good service to the people of thi? country. I believe in the bank. I would sooner see the energies of the Commonwealth devoted to the establishment and extension of a bank than to trading with cattle runs or butchers' shops, or bakers' shops. I would like to see the Bank grow, because it is not trammelled by those labour difficulties that affect industrial enterprises; therefore, it is capable of demonstrating to the best possible advantage the virtues of government ownership. But as this Government disposed of the woollen mills and the harness factory, and is about to dispose of the Shipping Line, so it is now setting out to emasculate the bank - not utterly destroying it, but reducing its virility and its capacity for growth and usefulness. It is apparent from the facts and figures that the Bank is to-day where it was years ago. In no respect has it grown. It is. stationary, if not stagnant. That is in accordance with the policy of this Government. The next step in the process of destroying this national institution was the introduction of a bill to divide it into two parts. The Treasurer said that the division would be in the interests of the institution, and of that he had proof. We questioned his policy, and asked if the bank directors supported it. He replied that they did. We asked if he had stated his proposition properly to them ; he said that he had. We asked if he had any evidence that he had done so, and he produced letters and documents which purported to prove that what he said was true. Well, I decline to do anything that is unparliamentary, nor do I wish to be discourteous; but in some walks of life and in similar circumstances a man would be called an unmitigated liar. I would not say that of the Treasurer, because the expression would be unparliamentary. {: .speaker-KJM} ##### Mr JACKSON:
BASS, TASMANIA · NAT -- It was used to-day very freely. {: .speaker-JLY} ##### Mr ANSTEY: -- My training will not allow me to descend to such rudeness. But if somebody were so rude as to say of the Treasurer, "You stated that you had placed your proposal for the division of the Bank frankly and fully before the directors. Because you deceived Parliament and secured votes on false pretences, you are an unparalleled and unmitigated liar," I would say that such a statement should not be made of the Treasurer, because even if it were true, he would still be justified, by the precedents and conduct of Parliamentarians, in being a liar. In every walk of life, in every profession and avocation, there are traditions which hind men to honorable dealings. The medical profession has its traditions, perhaps unwritten, but regarded by doctors as sacred and more obligatory than something printed in statutes and properly policed. The traditions of the legal profession date back for many centuries, and demand that a practitioner to be worthy of his profession, must practice it with decency, and deal honorably with those who become his clients. So it is even with the " bookie," and almost with the spieler on the race-course; there is honour among thieves. The profession of politics also should stand high and honoured. It should be a calling of which all of us, irrespective of party, should be proud. Whatever our faults and errors we should honour it, resolve never to besmirch it by word or deed. But, unfortunately, it has become through the long years a byword, a reproach, and a subject of contempt, so that between the prostitute who sells herself on the streets, and the politician who lies deliberately on behalf of his party and the Empire, there is in the public estimation very little distinction. I do not blame the Treasurer if he found it necessary to tell an untruth in order to win the votes of his supporters. Parallels to such action can be found in the history of this Parliament, and the lives of his associates. Who does not remember a former Prime Minister, who said to the people, " Dare to do this thing and I shall resign," and who when, the people dared to do it, violated his oath, and justified his doing so on the ground that he was serving his country and his Empire, never mentioning that he was merely indulging his private ambition. Who does not remember that other man, who having sworn fidelity to that Prime Minister, and declared him to be the only fit man to navigate the ship, yet, when an illegal and adulterous conspiracy led to him being thrown overboard, did not dare to throw him a life buoy, but, excusing himself, took the wheel. That is honour I That is what dignifies the profession to which we belong! Who does not remember that occasion and many other things that have taken place in this Parliament? Who does not remember the case of the honorable gentleman who said **"Mr. Jolly?** I have never met him. I have had no association with him," and, when a document was produced showing that he had met **Mr. Jolly,** he said "A mere meeting of. that description was not meeting him in the ordinary sense." It was asserted that he had written to **Mr. Jolly,** but he said " I have never written to him," and when his letter was produced he said, " That letter is not an item of correspondence in the official sense; it is not a communication." And so that honorable gentleman justified this duplicity, and it is upon such lines that public business is conducted. How can we blame him? I would not be one to pour the vials of my wrath on one individual or on one section of the Ministry. How can we blame the Treasurer, if he should seek to emulate and excel the examples around him? I do not. claim that the examples are all quite modern. Some of them are very old. But the world is improving year by year, and disgraceful and discreditable practices like this cannot fail to bring the profession of the politician into disrepute. These things are not done merely for money. Very often those who do them have an abundance of the world's goods. They are done more for the sake of social standing, ambition, personal gratification, place and power. But whatever may be the reason for them, that they are done at all is discreditable to the position we occupy, bad for the people and bad for Australia generally. I do not admit that the Treasurer condemned this practice of deceiving the people, but poor devil, he was the victim of his environment. Like the chameleon, he took on the colour of his environment, instead of escaping from it, and he then proceeded to excel the examples set him. The days of the impeachment of the individual are past. In the old days the Treasurer would have been impeached as one who had abused his position, violated his oath, deceived Parliament, and told untruths. {: #subdebate-24-0-s6 .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- The honorable member is not in order. {: .speaker-JLY} ##### Mr ANSTEY: -- I am not speaking of to-day, I am speaking of what would happen 200 years ago. I think it was 200 years ago that **Dr. Arbuthnot** said something about political life which could be altered and brought ut> to date to suit members of the present Government. He said, "A man has a right to expect the truth from his candid friends, a modicum of it from his family, but none from a politician." The country has no right to expect truth from a statesman, because it is the duty of statesmen to deceive the public in order to achieve whatever end they think good for the country. I excuse the Treasurer, therefore, on the ground that he regarded the methods he employed as essential in the interests of his country. I know that the Government will not bring down the Commonwealth wealth Savings Bank Bill until the close of the session, when no one will have a chance of discussing the amendment inserted in that bill by the Senate, and I am saying now what I would have' said on that bill if I had been given the opportunity to do so. I will say also what the Treasurer ought to have said. It is an undoubted fact that the board of directors of the Commonwealth Bank went on strike. It does not matter how the matter was put to the press - they went on strike. They said to the Treasurer " It is untrue for you to say that we cannot administer the savings bank, and that we believe in the division of the Commonwealth Bank. We refuse to stand for that, and we want you to withdraw the bill, or else we shall withdraw from the bank and leave it stranded." There is no difference between that strike and a strike of workmen on our wharves, except in respect of the social position occupied by the two sets of disputants. Faced with the alternative of having to lose the services of the directors of the bank or withdraw the bill, of course the Treasurer might have done something. A bold man would have said, " Gentlemen of the bank, you are there as the servants of the people. It is true that when we appointed you we told the people that you would be free from political control, but, nevertheless, we are determined that the fiat of the Government is to be carried out by you, because after all it is the Government which is responsible for all institutions' of this country. Carry out our will, or I shall be obliged to accept your resignations." But he did not do that and, as the Prime Minister has told us that he stands behind his colleagues, he must be exonerated from the charge of deceiving his fellow Ministers, and we are to assume that the policy which he put forward, and the statement of the case which he presented to Parliament as representing the views of the directors of the Commonwealth Bank, were not put forward by himself alone. The responsibility for this must also rest on his colleagues, associates and fellow conspirators. One would have thought that he would say to his Government, " These men must go. The Government has declared its position. As Treasurer I have told the people that the division of the Commonwealth Bank is not only vital to the wellbeing of the administration of the bank, but also to the future of Australia. I have used your names, and on your behalf I have told the people that the division of the bank is a vital principle of the bill. You must, therefore, choose between me and the directors of the bank. You must either dismiss them as obdurate strikers against the will of the Government, or accept my resignation as Treasurer." He did not hand in his resignation. His Government did not stand behind him. He capitulated and permitted a band of strikers to do their will because the Government knew that it was absolutely in the wrong, and that everything it had done Avas in error. The Government stands accused of giving false information. It is discredited in all its actions, and the result is a spectacle unknown in the history of Australia. When a government is called upon to recant all its previously expressed decisions, and to throw overboard principles which it has declared to be fundamental to a bill, when it has capitulated to a body of men 'who have been driven into a state of strike by a decision it has -made, if is an ignominious position that is discreditable in the extreme. But what is to be gained by talking? The Government is solid. All the insurrectionists have been broken on the wheel. The Prime Minister says that there are no problems to be solved. We declare that there are problems to be solved - problems that are *growing* and looming and still remain unanswered. We are told of the Sphinx of old, that the nations which could not answer the problems it set, would ultimately be destroyed. We may be like men crying in the wilderness, but the time will come when the pressure of economic circumstances will prove a more vital force than a few individuals in this chamber. I have taken advantage of this opportunity to express my views, not only on the details of the budget, but also so far as my ability permits me, on the fundamental problems confronting Australia. I have tried to put the position as it strikes an ordinary commonplace man with nearly 30 years experience of public life, and. I conclude by saying that, in my opinion, our hold on the public imagination can never be a strong one while infamous lies are practised in the parliamentary institutions of this country. {: #subdebate-24-0-s7 .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr FOSTER:
Wakefield .- It is about time this Parliament got to work. It adjourned on the 30th June, 192fi. resumed on the 2nd March of this year for three weeks, sat one day here at the opening by the Duke of York, and then adjourned till the 28th September. I am aware that the Prime Minister, accompanied by the then Minister for Defence **(Sir Neville Howse)** was away at the Imperial Conference, and that in their turn two or three Ministers, one after another, have gone to the other side of the world, while those left in Australia roamed all over the Commonwealth; but very little parliamentary work has been done for about eighteen months. Let me contrast that record with the record of the HughesCook administration. For about eighteen months during the greatest period of our war difficulties both leaders of the Government were in London, yet Parliament went on its way and did its work earnestly and well without difficulty. I know that it is essential that the Prime Minister should visit Great Britain frequently to attend to Empire affairs, and it is' quite possible that he may require to take a colleague with him; but it is a poor outlook for the Australian Parliament if it cannot continue the work of the country when the Leader of the Government is away from Australia on important business concerning the Empire. The debate on this budget is thoroughly justified. We have not had a thorough budget debate for the last four years. The usual practice of late has been for the Treasurer to deliver his speech, and for the Leader of the Opposition to follow him. Then the debate has . been put on one side and has not been resumed till just at the close of the session. There has not been a critical examination and dissection of the financial position for quite a long time. After our long recess the debate now proceeding is a very cheering departure from what has been the practice of Parliament since the composite Government came into office. In the old days - the good old daysstatesmen used to discuss the- budget for three weeks on end, and it was debated to some effect. Then we were dealing with a budget of £30,000,000 or £35,000,000; but now we are considering a £76,000,000 budget, and it is time that we put a little thought and criticism into it. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr Fenton: -- We have to stay up all night to do it. {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr FOSTER: -- Yes ; and I would stay up half a dozen nights to do it rather than lay myself open to the charge that I am not mindful of how the nation's finances are being conducted. We are drifting into bad habits, and do not realize our individual responsibilities to the people who sent us here. We must clear the atmosphere a little, and this budget debate has helped to do it. It has been a revelation in many ways. Things have not been all they might have been, and the interests of the country have not always been conserved. Parliamentary authority is deteriorating. We are relegating to outsiders authority which should be exercised by Parliament. During the last three years 70 boards, or committees, or commissions have been created, and we have delegated to them the authority of Par liament. It is a rotten principle - rotten to the core. It is very proper that specialists should be called to the aid of the Government, particularly in times of crisis; but it is one thing to do that, and quite another to create irresponsible boards and commissions outside Parliament to do the work that Parliament has successfully done in the past.' The tendency to create such boards may be a war inheritance. Right through thewar, and particularly through its moreserious period, there were forthcoming; a great number of experts who gave without payment their extremely valuable advice to the Goverment. We should, have found it very; difficult to carry on during the war without, the assistance so freely given by thesepeople, who acted without fee or reward, merely from a sense of responsibility to the country they loved. It is hardly necessary for me to refer to the wool industry. Where would that industry have been during the war without the voluntary assistance of some of the brainiest men in this country? {: .speaker-JLJ} ##### Mr ABBOTT:
GWYDIR, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP -- They did not receive much encouragement from the right honorable member for North Sydney **(Mr. Hughes).** {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr FOSTER: -- Do not talk nonsense about the right honorable member for North Sydney. The Prime Minister said only the other day that it was a stroke of absolute genius on the part of the right honorable member to organizethe industries of the country as he did during the war. I believe in giving, credit where credit ' is due. I am an independent member of this House, and am not under an obligation to any man; but I repeat what was said by the Prime Minister the other day, that there never was a greater stroke of genius than that which led the right honorable member for North Sydney to call to his aid the brainiest men in Australia during the war crisis. It was done, not only in connexion with the wool businees, but also for the wheat pool. Here, again, expert men came to the nation's rescue. Their services were of the greatest assistance to the Empire, and went a great way towards saving Great Britain from starvation. We are grateful to them, and we want no sneering reflections cast on them for the things which they did at that time. Every man who loves his country, and thanks God that it was served as it was during that period, should recognize with gratitude what these men did. Now, however, I am coming to the present, and I wish to say that what was proper, and even indispensable to our very existence, during the war, is not required to-day. Governments have got into the habit of taking a hand in business they do not understand, and they generally make a mess of it. We have had several examples of it lately, and some of these examples have been pitiful. We have seen largesse distributed, not for national, but for political purposes. The people are demanding that that sort of thing shall come to an end. The Government to-day, reading the position and recognizing the force of public opinion, is shedding that arrant stupidity that has cost us so much, and has caused so much discredit. Members of the Government have admitted that when a government enters into business it generally makes a mess of it. We knew that 30 years ago. The tendency of governments to enter business is not peculiar to Australia; it is a flea that is biting governments in all parts of the world. In hardly a single instance, however, have such business enterprises proved .successful. The Government and Parliament of this country have been degenerating. The Government has been reducing the authority of Parliament, and lowering it in public esteem. Some of the boards created by the Government are necessary. I do not say anything against the Development and Migration Commission, but I do say that the Government has taken too wide a sweep in its conception of the commission's functions. My objective is to. serve this country, and I do not intend to make any personal reflections against any member of the Government. I have never asked for any political favours in the whole of my political life, and I do not intend to do so now. As long as I have power to serve this country which has been so good to me, I do not intend to allow myself to be bound by any considerations of party to act contrary to my convictions. The sooner we get back to bedrock principles the better. I saw in the public press the other day the following quotation from some remarks made by the Lord Chief Justice of England, when speaking at a function arranged by the Law Society - >Tlie name of self-government would be an irritating mockery if it became a vast army of anonymous officials hidden from view, placed above the law, and administering a topsy turvey system, whereby the servants of the public would be its masters . . . > >That is a proposition upon which I do not intend to hold my tongue so long as I have a tongue to use. That advice should be followed by the members of this Parliament and the national Parliaments of other countries. Is it not time that this Government devoted its energies to its own business, instead of interfering with work which should be undertaken by the" State Parliaments? I am often told by constituents and others interested in the work of the national legislature, that as so many commissions and boards have been appointed there must be very little work for honorable members to perform. In the interests of democracy it is time parliamentary government was restored. There are certain matters which may be discussed at party meetings; but great national and constitutional questions should be settled on the floor of this House, where the people's representatives should act in the interests of the nation. Ever since the outbreak of wai-, the Federal Government has been interfering with State instrumentalities, but I am glad to see that there is not the same tendency to act in this direction as there was during the period I have mentioned, when, to some extent, it may have been necessary. The bitter struggle in this chamber over the withdrawal of the *per capita* payments to the States, which I opposed to the very best of my ability, was disgraceful to witness. I do not even now believe that the Prime Minister was the author of that scheme. {: .speaker-JLJ} ##### Mr ABBOTT:
GWYDIR, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP -- But he said that he was. {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr FOSTER: -- The right honorable gentleman is so generous, and his heart is so big, that he often shoulders the responsibility of others. The withdrawal of the *per capita* payments can, however, be further debated when a bill ratifying the agreements entered into between the Commonwealth and the States is brought before Parliament. What have we done during the current session, and what work have we before us? We have only to consider the work outlined during the election campaign to realize that, as a Parliament, we have accomplished very little. There has been too much meddling with the business of others. Whilst I appreciate the fact that a satisfactory financial arrangement has been entered into with the States, I still contend that the Federal Parliament interferes too much with State activities. This is largely clue to the fact that not a solitary member of this Ministry has had experience as a State Minister. How can the members of this Cabinet legislate in the interests of Australia when they do not understand the difficulties, financial and otherwise, with which the State Governments are faced? I say, unhesitatingly, that the responsibilities of the States are infinitely greater than are those of the National Parliament. For the information of the committee, I quote the following statement concerning President Coolidge from the *World's Work* of Srd July, 1926:- >The president of tlie United States went to Williamsburg, Virginia, where he made a plea for the power of state governments and the limitation of federal activity to its proper sphere. The most salient part of his speech was: - No method of procedure has ever been devised by which liberty could be divorced from self-government. No plan of centralization has ever been adopted which did not result in bureaucracy, tyranny, inflexibility, reaction, and decline. Of all forms of government those administered by bureaus are about the least satisfactory to an enlightened and progressive people. Being irresponsible, they become autocratic, and being autocratic, they resist all development.' Unless bureaucracy is constantly resisted it breaks down representative government and overwhelms democracy. It is the one clement in our institution* that sets up 'the pretence of having authority over every body and being responsible to nobody. While we ought to glory in the union and remember that it is the source from which the states derive their chief title to fame, we must also recognize that the national administration is not and cannot be adjusted to the needs of local government. It is too far away to be informed of local needs, too inaccessible to be responsive to local conditions. The states should not be induced by coercion or by favour to surrender the management of their own affairs. The Federal. Government ought to resist the ten- doney to be loaded up with duties which the states should perform. It does not follow that because something ought - to be done the national government ought to do it. {: .speaker-KEQ} ##### Mr Killen: -- Does not the honorable member approve of the financial arrangement entered into with the States? {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr FOSTER: -- I have already said that I do; but the position is still open to review. Certain members of the present Government would like to take control of every thing under the sun, and handle it in such a way that they would soon make a mess of it. Some time ago the South Australian Government appointed^ Chief Commissioner of Railways, who was selected by **Sir Eric** Geddes, who was in supreme control of war transport, and consequently was able to recommend the most suitable man available for such an important position. I was informed on good authority that he was one of the three best men in the United States, and came to Australia only for health reasons. One of his first acts was to divide the railway system of SouthAustralia into six . districts, which were placed under the control of district superintendents, traffic assistants, and engineers possessing special qualifications. He told them that they must do their job, or else he would quickly put others in their places who would. Prior to that arrangement, complaints reached the central office from every part of the State ; but, within a month of the change, general satisfaction prevailed. He said that his office was open to the whole of the Service, from the lowest to the highest official; but none found it necessary to complain to him. I mention those facts to show that this is the time, not for centralization, but for distribution of responsibility. When **Mr. Webb** gave each division a staff, he took considerably more than the equivalent of six staffs 'away from the central office. I now come to the subject of the tariff, and the ever-increasing taxation imposed through the Customs Department. A year ago last June, at the closing hours of the session, a definite statement was made to Parliament by the Tariff Board to the effect that the high duties levied from time to time were not yielding- satisfactory results, because no sooner were they passed than the employees approached the Arbitration Court and secured increased wages. In the report of the Economic Conference at Geneva, published in the *British Board of Trade Journal,* of the 9th June, 1927, it is stated that the economic depression in agriculture is world-wide, and is due to the great disparity between the prices of agricultural products and manufactured products. The Tariff Board's latest returns tell us only of the abuse of protection. {: .speaker-KFA} ##### Mr R GREEN:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP -- Does the honorable member believe every word uttered by that board? {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr FOSTER: -- I believe so much of it as is true. I have a higher regard for the members of that body than for those honorable members who entered the chamber as freetraders, and went back on their principles. There must be a searching of consciences, and a readjustment of ideas, if honorable members who were returned as farmers' representatives, and practically as freetraders, are to retain the confidence of the people. Although I dislike being personal, I am forced to hit hard when challenged by the very members that I have in mind. What I am concerned about is not what the Tariff Board has said, but what the Treasurer has said. Politically he is most ingenious. He remarked that the Tariff Board had come to stay, and that he knew that the farmers did not like it. I wish that the honorable member for Riverina **(Mr. Killen)** would not look so distressed. {: .speaker-KEQ} ##### Mr Killen: -- A majority of the Country party has always favoured protection. {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr FOSTER: -- When will those members know what they really are politically? The Treasurer, in the fullness of his heart, told the farmers, who had been trusting him implicitly, that, as protection was the policy of the country, they should get inside the circle. *Sitting suspended from 12 (midnight) to 12.80 a.m. (Friday).* *Friday, 25 November 1927* {: #subdebate-24-0-s8 .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr FOSTER: -- Although an interesting document, the report of the Tariff Board is distressing rather than cheerful. As it will come before us for discussion later I shall not dwell upon it now. In June, 1926, the Tariff Board made a very forcible comment on the then existing conditions of industry and the operations of the tariff, particularly as it applied to the steel industry at Newcastle. The works there are as well equipped as any in Australia, and possibly in any. part of the world. Millions of pounds are involved in that big enterprise of which all Australia should be proud. But in spite of its mechanical efficiency and the brains of its management its product was unable to compete against the imported article, the price of which had been reduced by a new process that was being operated in Europe and America. The Tariff Board reminded Parliament that the then existing duties were ineffective and that a condition of industrial paralysis had set in. The duties previously imposed by Parliament had been followed by an application to the Arbitration Court for higher wages, and the cost of living had risen sympathetically. That vicious circle was being followed then as it is to-day. The board therefore recommended to the Government that further assistance should be given to the steel and other industries upon a written assurance being given by the manufacturers, distributors and industrialists that prices would not be increased. Parliament adopted that recommendation and the steel industry was enabled for the time being, to keep its furnaces going and to employ a large number of hands. {: .speaker-KQW} ##### Mr Seabrook: -- No assurance was given by the unions. {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr FOSTER: -- I cannot speak of that, but I do not suppose that there was any increase of wages. The conditions of 1916 have arisen again. I am prepared to do anything in reason to assist an industry provided that there is efficiency all round - in mechanism, organization and man power. {: .speaker-JZK} ##### Mr Coleman: -- Is it not the function of the Tariff Board to investigate the conditions. :of an industry before making a recommendation? {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr FOSTER: -- The hoard has investigated the industry and reported that it is highly efficient; it could not do otherwise. I agree with the Government's tariff policy generally, hut I cannot follow my enthusiastic friend the Minister for Trade and Customs all the way. So far as Australian industries are concerned every dog is a lion in his eyes. Travelling in the train some time ago I read a very glowing newspaper article based upon a statement by the Minister regarding a new industry which he has discovered. My travelling companion was a successful manufacturer in Sydney, a firm believer in the policy of customs protection and an experienced traveller. I said to him " Here is something good - a big thing for Australia." He read the article and said - " This is another product of the Minister's fertile imagination For God's sake go to Sydney, inspect the building, count the number of hands employed, and let me know how much you would give for the whole box and dice." I have not yet had an opportunity to follow his advice, but I know that to-day that industry is almost down and out. Who is paying for all this ? The farmers are. The steel industry is vital to the defence of this country, and any industry that is efficient and requires help I shall stand by, but I cannot support the Minister in his proposal to protect some tinpot factories that are mere sinks for money and will never achieve anything. {: .speaker-JZK} ##### Mr Coleman: -- Where are they? {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr FOSTER: -- AH over the Commonwealth. A lot of our protection does not protect, and I understand that even amongst extreme protectionists the opinion is growing that the time has come to call a halt. {: .speaker-K1J} ##### Mr PRATTEN:
MARTIN, NEW SOUTH WALES · NAT -- That is not so. {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr FOSTER: -- I am sorry that it is not. The Minister, of course, is miles beyond redemption, but the ordinary individual, who sees things as they are, realizes that much of our protection' is ineffective or it would not be yielding millions of pounds of excess revenue each year. The newspapers are saying that we should call a halt in our fiscal policy. {: .speaker-K1J} ##### Mr PRATTEN:
MARTIN, NEW SOUTH WALES · NAT -- What newspaper does the honorable member read? {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr FOSTER: -- Even the *Age* says it is time to pull up - but I do not know whether it means it. We are in a bad way. The Economic Conference at Geneva showed that almost every country was in a similar position. In addition to industrial troubles, Australia, with the exception of Western Australia, is suffering from a poor harvest this year. I am convinced that within ten or twelve years Western Australia will be the biggest wheat producing State in the Commonwealth. We must face the situation. The Minister for Trade and Customs **(Mr. Pratten)** to-day introduced a new tariff schedule. The tariff, while assisting Sydney and Melbourne, will seriously affect the farmers of Australia by placing heavier burdens upon them. The tariff does not protect our primary producers, because it increases the price of ' the articles they require, whereas their products have to compete in the open markets of the world. The Minister should know better than to be enthusiastic about such a tariff. Even the Tariff Board disagrees with him. If our tariff were really effective, it would produce no revenue, whereas for the last four or five years the customs revenue has exceeded the estimate by from £3,000,000 to £4,000,000 per annum. That is not effective protection. Already our streets are thronged with unemployed men, and indications point to the army of unemployed being increased during the next twelve months. Money is scarce, and industry almost paralysed. The Commonwealth Government should make an attempt to face its responsibilities. Good men who want work, but cannot obtain it, should be assisted. In this connexion the Development and Migration Commission should be of great assistance, but migrants should not be brought here until unemployed Australians who are genuinely seeking work have found it.' That cannot be done unless Australian workmen are prepared to do their duty. {: #subdebate-24-0-s9 .speaker-F4Q} ##### Mr SCULLIN: -- The honorable member never fails to slander his countrymen when opportunity offers. {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr FOSTER: -- I have not slandered them. I have merely stated a fact. It is impossible to employ men unless they are prepared to give a fair return for their wages. Our tariff is a failure because Australians will not do their fair share of work. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr Fenton: -- Nonsense! {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr FOSTER: -- It is not nonsense. It requires pluck and courage to staud up to facts. If honorable members opposite would exercise a little more courage in that direction, everything would turn out all right. Men on the waterfront are not giving a fair return for the money they receive. The Government was returned with a mandate to clean up the industrial situation. {: .speaker-KRD} ##### Mr McGrath: -- The Government said that there would be no more strikes without a ballot of the men concerned. What has it done in that direction. {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr FOSTER: -- What has the honorable member done except to act as an agitator? Agitators are enemies of the working man. A great responsibility rests upon the Opposition in regard to the welfare of the people of Australia. If I could do so, I would send all agitators and rebels to hell - it is time that plain language was used in these matters. Without the assistance of the Opposition the Government is helpless, and cannot remedy the existing state of affairs. {: .speaker-KYV} ##### Mr E RILEY:
SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- What did the honorable member say at the last election? {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr FOSTER: -- I only said what ought to have been said. I said that I believed in paying a man double the award rates if he deserved it. {: .speaker-KF9} ##### Mr A GREEN:
KALGOORLIE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · ALP; FLP from 1931; ALP from 1936 -- Has the honorable member done so? {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr FOSTER: -- Many of the men in my employ have never worked for any one else. {: .speaker-KRD} ##### Mr McGrath: -- Have you paid them double the award rates? {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr FOSTER: -- I pay them as much as anybody else pays, and, in addition, I give them a bonus each year. My share farmers are treated better than any other share farmers in this country. It pays me to treat them well. We have reached a crisis; but the position is not hopeless. The members of the Labour party should realize that if they grasp the opportunity which awaits them it will mean the salvation of the country. I am not, and never was, a Jeremiah. I prefer to sing the Song of Solomon than to join in the wailings of Jeremiah. There is no need for pessimism. We are in a bad way; but there is an opportunity for us to escape. {: .speaker-KRD} ##### Mr McGrath: -- What are we to do? {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr FOSTER: -- We can get ourselves out of our present position only if honorable members will do their duty. But it is useless for men to carry the pick handle without the pick. Australians must be prepared to engage in honest work. There are wonderful opportunities ahead of this country, and with the generous assistance of the Mother Country, and the aid of the Development and Migration Commission, the way is open for us to grasp those opportunities. I have on different occasions complained of the numerous boards and commissions which have been appointed; but I have never complained about the appointment of the Development and Migration Commission. Its chairman is one of the best men in Australia. {: .speaker-JZK} ##### Mr Coleman: -- What has the commission done? {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr FOSTER: -- The honorable member should give it a chance. Its members have been working industriously, and have considered a number of schemes, in Western Australia, South Australia, and elsewhere. But before embarking on themwe should be certain that they are not " wild cat " schemes. This problem cannot be tackled unless we all work together. Surely we can agree for once to leave party interests and prejudices on one side, and do our best co-operatively to help the unfortunate men who are out of work, and to help the farmer to tide over this season. This country has marvellous recuperative powers, and before we know where we are with this co-operation we shall be out of our troubles. There is a very misleading idea current in regard to the unification of railway gauges, and in regard to the work of the experts who considered the matter in 1921. These men were engaged for a particular purpose, and that was to examine all the data relating to the subject, but not to make recommendations. The order of reference to the commission was - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Which railway gauge should be adopted in Australia, and the reasons for selection of the one recommended? 1. What is necessary to be done in order to unify the gauges of the railway system of Australia ? 2. What will be the estimated cost of unifying the gauges of - {: type="i" start="i"} 0. Main trunk lines; 1. All lines; including and showing separately - {: type="a" start="a"} 0. Alterations to existing railways and structures; 1. Any new lines necessary; 2. Adjustments of rolling-stock? 3. The order in which the work should be carried out and the methods by which it should be executed and controlled? 4. Whether a third rail or any mechanical device should be utilized; if so, what device, upon what sections, and estimated cost? The experts went to work industriously, and their report was to the effect that unification would be very costly. They gave the cost for the whole of the work in all the States, for the different States separately, and also for partial unification. In accordance with the instructions they received, they made no recommendations, but they learned that the cost of complete unification would be so great that the **chairman (Mr. Garden)** sent an addendum to His Excellency the GovernorGeneral to the effect that he felt it incumbent on him to point out that, in his opinion, it was very questionable whether, in view of the cost involved, the benefits to accrue from unification would compensate for the tremendous outlay. Another point is in connexion with the third-rail system, which the experts turned down absolutely. They said that they knew of no third-rail system, and no mechanical device hitherto discovered, had proved effective. In their report on this aspect of the matter they said - Persons suggesting these third-rail and mechanical devices usually refer to them as " intermediate steps to the final unification of gauges," and have not estimated whether the intermediate step will cost more, or cost less, than the immediate step to unification. Even were some device workable, it would not matter much whether its cost were greater or less than that of unifying the gauges, because whatever it might cost would be just that much more expense in money, and cause an unreasonable time delay for unification. Any time or money spent on third-rail or mechanical devices will be wasted. It is recommended that none of these devices be used, and that attention be centred directly upon the unification of gauges. Without any qualification whatever, the third-rail system, and every other known mechanical device of a similar nature, was turned down by the experts. {: .speaker-KIT} ##### Mr Mackay: -- The committee examined the third-rail device as a substitute for the complete unification of the whole railway system. Mr.FOSTER.- In its report the commissioners specially stated that they had never seen a third-rail system which they could recommend to be adopted. {: .speaker-KIT} ##### Mr Mackay: -- Yet **Mr. "Webb,** a man of whom the honorable member spoke highly, recommended the third-rail system. {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr FOSTER: -- **Mr. "Webb** was not allowed to report on the third-rail system or anything else. He was asked to attend before the Publice "Works Committee, and he replied to technical questions asked him. He said that there were several thirdrail systems in operation, and that they could be worked under certain conditions without danger. He said, however, that they could be worked only at a limited speed, and that trains could not travel over them through stations of any size without slowing down. {: .speaker-KIT} ##### Mr Mackay: -- His sworn evidence is in favour of the third rail system. {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr FOSTER: -- I shall take steps later to enable an inquiry to be made on that point, and it will be found that his evidence was on the lines I have indicated. Mr.Webb said that with the third rail system it would not be practicable to run trains faster than 26 miles an hour, and our prominent railway commissioners in Australia would not have such a system at any price. The report of the commission says - We know of no third rail, and of no mechanical device which is suitable for the conditions. The use in any one of the many devices suggested to us, or to other commissions, is npt recommended. Some experimental work has been done with several of these devices, but in no case hasa device been experimented with to the extent required by all conditions of installation and operation. {: .speaker-KIT} ##### Mr Mackay: -Will the honorable member read one paragraph in that report which I can point out to him? {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr FOSTER: -- I have read the report over and over again. Absolute unification, as everybody in this country knows, is an impossibility from the financial point of view. In the addendum to the commission's report, **Mr. Garvan** said that he felt it was his duty to point out that at existing costs it was very questionable whether any advantage that might accrue would justify the outlay involved. {: .speaker-KYX} ##### Mr RILEY:
COOK, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP; FLP from 1931 -- Have costs come down since then ? {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr FOSTER: -- No, they are precisely double what they were. I challenge the Government to say that **Mr. "Webb** was ever called on to make recommendations on this subject, or that he favoured the installation" of a third rail system. {: .speaker-L07} ##### Mr Lazzarini: -- He has sworn that hd is in favour of it. {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr FOSTER: -- I do not believe "it. **Mr.** Webb is fi man of the highest character. He is not a liar. {: #subdebate-24-0-s10 .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Order ! The honorable member has exhausted his time. {: #subdebate-24-0-s11 .speaker-KF9} ##### Mr A GREEN:
KALGOORLIE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · ALP; FLP from 1931; ALP from 1936 , - This is rather an unusual hour at which to make a few remarks on such an important subject as the budget; but as the Government evidently considers it necessary to continue the sitting throughout the night, " needs must when the devil drives." As I have recently returned to Australia from a trip, abroad, I may, perhaps, be permitted to give a few impressions gained during my travels, some of which have a direct or indirect bearing upon our national life. On this occasion I visited America, which I had not seen since I lived there 32 years ago, and landing in Vancouver, iu British Columbia, travelled about 1,500 miles south to Los Angeles through the Pacific States, which, in my opinion, are the most attractive in the union having regard to their productivity and natural beauty. California is a marvellous land, the fertility of which has been increased by the activities of capitalists, who have come from the less genial climate of the eastern States. Although it was considered that the conditions in America now were not so good as they were a year or two ago, I noticed very little unemployment. Visitors receive only impressions, and during a short stay may be altogether wrong in their deductions. I was told, however, that in San Francisco there was a large number of labouring men out- of employment, and although I had no means of testing the accuracy of that statement, I did not doubt my informant. A first trip to Europe brings to mind what in the old days was called by the *Bulletin* the " stinking fish party." Our forefathers came from other lands, and naturally were biased in many of their opinions. They could see good only in the country from which they had come. Possibly we are not entirely free from blame in this respect, though I think we are justified in saying that Australia is the best country in the world. Whilst the land on the Pacific coast is very fertile, there is a strip between Los Angeles and Denver City of over 1,500 miles, which, with the exception of a very small intensely irrigated area in the vicinity of Salt Lake City, is quite as poor as the poorest of the land in Central Australia. In Southern Nevada and Southern Utah there is less opportunity of obtaining good pastoral country than there is in Central Australia, where most of the bush is suitable for stock purposes, whereas in this portion of the western States of America the herbage consists entirely of sage bush, which is entirely useless as fodder. In this respect the so-called desert portion of Australia is much more valuable than a good deal of similar land in America. I found also that in wonderful Europe, as it has often been termed, there is a good deal of waste land, and in Great Britain itself I rarely saw anything that would favorably compare with the best country in the eastern States of the Commonwealth, including the Western District of Victoria, Gippsland, the Northern Rivers district of New South Wales, and practically the whole coastal district of Queensland. Figures have often been quoted to show the wonderful productivity of Belgium, "Denmark, and Holland; but when we consider the small areas that are cultivated and the extent to which they are fertilized, it is unreasonable to compare their productivity with that' "of' the 1 'Australian holdings, where thousands of acres are cultivated. I found that the wages paid in America are far higher than those ruling in Australia; but that is a point with which I shall deal later. Never having been in Great Britain before, I frankly admit that I was slightly prejudiced. Although I am the son of a Britisher, I have always felt that the Britisher has a tendency to patronize Australians, to speak of his own rich relations, and also to adopt what seems to lis an affected manner, which is copied by some honorable members in this chamber. I found that the Americans, who are sometimes considered objectionable when abroad, are most hospitable in their own country. The Englishman when in Europe is thought to display patronizing characteristics, but some Australians, too, when abroad, are open to the reproach of regarding themselves as the "salt of the earth." I was deeply impressed with the loveliness of England, Ireland, and Scotland, and had the privilege of seeing these countries at their best. I could not but admire the beautiful scenery, and the attractive freshness and colour of the herbage and flowers, which were blooming everywhere. I had been told that London was entirely out of step with modern development, and that its streets were crooked; but, as an Australian, I found London, concerning which we know so much through the wonderful writings of Dickens and others, a most interesting city, and one in which a visitor could spend six months and explore fresh scenes of interest every day. I travelled for twelve weeks on the continent, and naturally experienced some difficulty in making myself understood there. I found it absolutely impossible to understand French as pronounced, and I agreed with a lady who said that the French people would be all right if they would only speak English. We, however, surmounted these difficulties, and after a most enjoyable tour returned to Britain, and felt quite at home on again hearing our mother tongue spoken. The historical sights of London naturally attract Australian visitors, and although I was told and saw evidence of the extent ' to which poverty exists, I could not help but admire the wonderful optimism of the British people. I am not a jingoist; I am an outright Australian. But certain sterling quali-. ties are found in the English, .Irish, Scotch and Welsh, that are lacking in the people of some continental countries. England to-day has 750,000 unemployed. Its population is increasing by 300,000 a year. There appears to be no escape from the so-called dole system. Scores of thousands of young miners will never again have a chance to enter the idle mines. Yet one cannot help admiring the pluck of the people. They still believe that they will " get through." I was particularly pleased to note the wellknown characteristics of the Scotch race. Like Australians, they are democratic. They neither talk of their rich relations nor speak with affectation. Their fine physique in the rural areas cannot escape the notice of the visitor. But I was grieved to observe the extent of unemployment in Glasgow. In no European city was poverty so prevalent, except at Naples, where vagrancy has always been in evidence, though in a very different population. I visited Holland, Belgium, Germany, France, Switzerland, Italy and Spain. In Germany, to my surprise, the Britisher is given a fine reception. In going down the Rhine from Cologne to Mayence, I noticed at Coblenz, thousands of French soldiers among the unarmed German population. It seemed to me a great pity that France could not see its way clear to withdraw its armed forces from that frontier. To the traveller they appeared incongruous among a peaceful, unarmed people. In Berlin, I had a brush with a Cook's guide, a German who said that he was married to an Englishwoman. He made an uncomplimentary reference to Britishers, and I quickly put him in his place. I wrote as dignified a letter as I could about the incident to Cook's representative there, and I was assured that he would not similarly offend again. With that exception, I found that the Germans treated Britishers as they did their own countrymen, whereas in France I noticed that there was one price for the French and three or four prices for the tourist. The Germans are undoubtedly the hardest workers in Europe, and they appeared to rue to resemble tlie British, more closely than any other continental race, They realize that their best course is to make friends with their former enemies, more particularly with Great Britain and the United States of America. In visiting German beer gardens, where the liquor is so mild that it does not intoxicate - prohibition would be unnecessary in Australia, if similar liquor were consumed here - I frequently struck up conversations with Germans about Australia. So far as one could observe, about 75 per cent, of the people are opposed to the restoration of the Kaiser, or any of his kin. They say "We have no drilling now. We go in for sport." Office men, 50 years of age, are, en holidays, to be seen in canoes on the lakes near San Souci, stripped to the waist, with their fraus in bathers, rowing for four or five hours a day in order to keep themselves physically fit. A German cannot be kept down. He is full of energy. At one hotel in Berlin I found in my room a portrait in oil of the exKaiser and the Kaiserin, and I regarded it, as an insult to me as an Australian. I found, however, that the proprietor was an elderly gentleman, undoubtedly a former army officer. A number of landed gentry, more particularly iu Prussia, probably had better times under the old regime than did the majority of the people. The general feeling among the working classes, at any rate, is that Prussianism and the junker spirit have gone for ever. While not accepting responsibility for the war, many people admit that had it not been for Prussianism the last war would not have occurred. I interviewed Labour bodies in Berlin, and I was told that a large number of men were out, of employment. There was no evidence of it, because I saw modern factories of wonderfully aesthetic appearance, surrounded by woods, with choir chimneys smoking. These contrasted strongly with the old factories in the industrial parts of Great Britain that stood towering, gaunt and lifeless. Unfortunately, the cost of living is high in Germany as compared with Great Britain. Yet while clothing is dear, ironmongery of all kinds- is wonderfully cheap. Germany is making a great effort to attract tourist traffic. I regret to read that the Australian press and public have been censorious of Americans visiting these shores. Australians, isolated as we are from the rest of the world, are liable to become narrowminded compared with the inhabitants of countries that are constantly brushing shoulders with- other nationals. Germany is spending millions of marks to attract tourist traffic from America and England. We think of Switzerland as a country where the manufacture of watches and condensed milk are the chief industries; but its business in those goods is as nothing compared with the great wealth resulting annually from its tourist trade. There are 1,000,000 Americans in Europe this year, and at a very low estimate each would have £200 in his pocket. Germany gets its share of that golden stream. The British Isles, of course, get a fair proportion of it. In giving this brief account of my travels I wish to keep clear of party politics, and my references to the conditions in particular countries are not made to acquire political capital. I was surprised to find Italy practically an armed camp. I had heard people say that industry there was growing apace, but I saw little evidence of that. Certainly the water power of the Alps is being harnessed for the benefit of industries in Northern Italy. That may give an economic fillip to the country, but it is unfortunate for the British coal-mining industry. Italy is a hundred years behind Germany industrially. I saw in the British Isles, particularly in Ireland, miles of untitled country. When I asked the inhabitants why they did not cultivate the soil they said that it did not pay to do so. Surely it is better to put labour into soil that will produce something than to stand with arms folded and do nothing. In Holland and Belgium every square foot of country, much of it comparatively poor, is tilled. The wonderful yields of wheat in those countries are obtained from soil that even in Western Australia would be regarded a3 third-rate. By individual attention and the constant application of animal manure, the people of those countries are able to raise remarkable crops. In Germany, on waste country where there are no crops, forests have been methodically planted. I saw no evidence amongst the Germans of a desire for revenge. Most of them appeared to be sick of war, and to be applying themselves to the reconstruction of their country. A working day of twelve hours in factories is accompanied by the anomaly of men out of work. In offices the clerks work ten hours a day. Of course, the long hours are rendered possible by climatic conditions; I doubt if we in Australia could work those hours even if we were obliged to do so. In Italy I inquired about the Fascisti. The persons whom I questioned glanced apprehensively out of the carriage window and whispered " *You* must say nothing." Then in a stage whisper they said, "Mussolini is doing well." Not wishing to be forcibly detained I refrained from public discussion of Italian politics. When I arrived in that country I had to report myself at a police station. The " black shirts " were everywhere, and there is a special Fascisti organization for the boys. In the different municipalities I saw, in addition to the ordinary police, a special force organized by Mussolini.. His. police were always to be seen in twos or threes. Mussolini is sitting on the safety valve, and he knows it; but it is not for me to say what will happen when he dies. In Genoa, when I visited the municipal chamber, I asked for the councillors. I was told that there were no councillors, and that Mussolini appointed the mayor. When I asked whether the people should not have the right of selection, the reply I received was " No. Mussolini is the be3t judge. He appoints good men. Those elected by the people would fight among themselves." The northern Italians are good workers, as is proved by the intense cultivation of the soil in Lombardy. But the sight of a vast stretch of waste country in southern and central Italy, dry and bare after four months of drought, convinced me that we in Australia are richly blessed. Although Gregory, the explorer, has referred to " the dead heart of Australia," even the central part of our continent can be put to greater use than some of the sterile parts of Italy and Spain. I have always considered Spain a decadent country, and I was surprised to find Barcelona and Madrid wonderfully modern cities. Spain also is under a dictatorship, but General Riviera rules with a gloved hand, and consequently one is not constantly entangled in red tape as in Italy. I understand that all persons who were hostile to the dictatorship have been banished from Spain; that would account for the comparative quiet that prevailed everywhere during my visit. Generally speaking, Spain is a poor country, consisting mostly of sterile hills, on which not even pasture can be got, and many so-called rivers I found dry. Near Barcelona there are a few olive groves and orange trees, and green pastures were occasionally seen in the valleys of small creeks. But a big area of Spain is good for nothing. Much has been said during the debate about the Australian workman. I think it is a pity to unduly criticize him, even from a political point of view. Some of his critics would have us believe that he is inferior to the workmen in other lands; but, having observed the workers in Europe and America, I am convinced that, he is the best in the world. He is capable, and does the job. I could not help contrasting the Italian and southern Frenchman, the Hollander and the Belgian pottering in their little plots, with the Australian worker on his job. Having regard to the Australian production per head, it seems to me unjust and disloyal to condemn our workmen as inferior to any in the world. {: .speaker-KMS} ##### Mr Manning: -- Did the honorable member see any heavy pick and shovel work in America being done by the native-born ? {: .speaker-KF9} ##### Mr A GREEN:
KALGOORLIE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · ALP; FLP from 1931; ALP from 1936 -- It was being done by southern Italians, but the American Government realizes that the wholesale admission' of southern Europeans was a mistake. These people do not become absorbed in the great American community, whose habits, constitution, and laws are based on a British origin. The southern Italians have no more in common with the . people of the United States of America than they have with us in Australia; therefore the American Government is restricting their immigration. When travelling across the Pacific I was disappointed with the quite inadequate supply of Australian news received by wireless. On the *Niagara,* crossing the Pacific, on the steamer to and from Norway, and on the *Hobson's Bay* by which I returned to Australia, the only Australian items received by wireless related to strikes and "threatened revolution " in Queensland, the order of a court that engineers should return to work, and other incidents of industrial disturbance. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr Fenton: -- All the news is taken from the conservative press. {: .speaker-KF9} ##### Mr A GREEN:
KALGOORLIE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · ALP; FLP from 1931; ALP from 1936 -- The matter is too serious to be the subject of party recrimination. This news service is doing great harm to Australia, and I. fear that it may have a considerable influence in keeping foreign capital away from this country. If I had time I could relate my own observations, fortified by quotations from the *America Year Book,* of the numerous strikes that occur in the United States of America and the very bad feeling that exists between employers and employees in some industries. I am aware that in some of the largest factories in that country welfare schemes are in operation which maintain a community of interest between the employers and the employees, but in other industries the fights are more bitter than those in Australia and often lead to bloodshed. After such things have happened labour and capital are distrustful of each other, and class bitterness exists to an extent which I hope will never be experienced in Australia. Even in the London *Daily Mail* - a widely read but comparatively poor publication, if judged by the standard of the great Australian dailies - the only Australian news related to industrial troubles and crimes. The source of the news seemed to be Sydney. Whatever their reason for doing so, the people who send that news abroad arc doing great dis-service to Australia. No other nation is in quite the same position as we are in, because in no other country is there the same possibility of the Labour party at any time assuming the reins of government. In their discussions in this chamber and elsewhere, members of opposing parties at times say unkind things about each other. Unfortunately, those remarks are sometimes construed to do us harm and to injure the good name of Australia. During this debate the Australian workman has been subjected to a good deal of criticism. I regret that the honorable member for Indi **(Mr. Cook)** this morning should' have asked a question about certain Australian workers and obtained from the Prime Minister a reply indicating that it might be deemed advisable to take extreme measures in dealing with them. The Government should recognize that the workman is as much entitled to his point of view as is the employer. I am not acquainted with the facts of the particular dispute to which reference was made, but I know that frequently difficulty is experienced in having cases heard before the Arbitration Court. I am also aware that one or two men who are secretaries of big organizations do not always act in the best interests of the workers who pay them their salaries. In continually railing against Australian workmen, we are injuring the fair name of Australia. To the honorable member for Franklin **(Mr. Seabrook),** who seems to have an antipathy against paying wages, I commend a leading article which appeared in the *Age,* published in Melbourne on the 19th November last, under the heading "Bismarck's Blood and Iron "- >The truth may be unpalatable, but a truth it undoubtedly is that some men live too long. A few, whose temperament is philosophical, confess that has been their fate. Their own generation has passed on; they have found it impossible to adjust their pace to that of the generation pressing from behind. Other men, however, suffer from undue longevity without suspecting the nature of their complaint. The incidents of contemporary life act upon them like irritants; they derive a meagre pleasure from noting the increasing signs that the country is going to the dogs. The exclusive social club is a favorite haunt of this type. There he finds congenial spirits like unto himself, with the result that the last state of that man is worse than the first. At the club window corner in summer, at the club chimney corner in winter, they bemoan the fact that the national life is not what it used to be. Much of the criticism is directed against the lower orders, and their audacious refusal to keep what is vaguely described as " their place." These disgruntled ones are quite sure they know the one effective cure for all the social and industrial unrest. They would place *a* few of these fellows against a wall and put *a.* bullet through them ; " that would settle them.' That remedy has been suggested by the honorable member for Franklin. That leading article continues - >Of quite another sort are those who believe themselves members of a superior class, and who are determined to preserve the privileges of their class at all costs. There is much bitter complaint in these passing days that the workers are intensely class-conscious. I believe that the only way to improve conditions is by parliamentary . action and industrial unionism. Those who desire to alter existing conditions should endeavour to obtain the support of the majority of the electors of Australia. The article in the *Age* proceeds - >The fact is mentioned as if it were something reprehensibly wicked. It may not, however, lie overlooked that class-consciousness existed for many generations before the leaders of the present-day workers ever preached it. There are people much more proudly and arrogantly conscious of their class than is the average worker. And, because of that higher class-consciousness, mankind has in times past greatly suffered, human progress has been greatly hindered. > >In this present generation there is a vast host Of nien and women seeking, by political and industrial means, to raise social life to a higher level all round. I am proud to think that I may aspire to be one of those - >And at times there are unmistakable signs that some people do not like it. They say, and in certain cases they possibly believe, that all this modern unrest will ultimately prove disastrous to civilization. What they really have at the back of their mind is the thought that their class may be disturbed and its privileges invaded. Secretly they resent it, and they are prepared to do all in their power to prevent it. In places such as the House of Lords' in England and, perchance, in places such as the Legislative Councils of Australia, they have their champions. They cling to their trenches, and there fight stubbornly for their privileges. But, even as Bismarck was beaten, so in the end are they bound to be. The old patrician attitude of contempt for the plebeian groundlings is no longer possible. Attempts to set up any class obstacle in the way of a justly based, firmly demanded reform on the part of the common people are nowadays futile. A good deal lias been said regarding Australia's adverse trade balance. Honorable members supporting the Government have laid the blame at the door of the workers of Australia. They say that the demand for shorter hours and higher wages has led to the present unsatisfactory state of affairs. I do not agree with them, but whatever the cause, the fact remains that the trade balance against us is gradually becoming more serious. The Prime Minister said on Tuesday that an adverse trade balance was not necessarily detrimental. He referred to Germany, Canada, < and the United States of America as countries which, although possessing adverse trade balances, appeared to be prosperous. I also have made some investigation in relation to the trade balance of the United States of America. The *American Year Booh* for 1925-26 shows, on page 411, that the favorable trade balance of the United States of America last year was £57,400,000. So far as I have been able to ascertain, that country lias never had an adverse trade balance. The following extract from the *American Year Booh* is interesting - >The most significant development in the total exports and imports for the fiscal year 1925-2(1 was the continued growth of imports, while exports showed the first decline after successive increases since 1921-22. The specific reasons for this change were the continued higher prices of some imported products, particularly rubber. Honorable members will remember that, the people of the United States of America have complained bitterly of Britain's control of rubber. The statement continues - >On the export side, there was a decline of 58 per cent, in wheat shipments, and cotton fell greatly in price. Australia's financial position is indeed serious. During 1926-27 Australia with a comparatively small population, had an adverse trade balance of £19,960,000 and for the first three months of 1927-2S the adverse trade balance amounts to nearly £13.500,000. The unfortunate feature of the situation, and one to which we cannot close our eyes, is that unemployment is rife everywhere, with the exception, perhaps, of Western Australia, which has had an exceptionally good season. Even in that State, however, there is a danger of the labour market becoming glutted, due to workers being attracted from the eastern States. ' On abstract questions, such as freetrade and protection, there is always a wide difference of opinion; hut all economists are agreed that borrowing heavily from abroad is a factor which tends to create an adverse trade balance. Borrowing must be. followed by heavy imports. The Government has had many warnings, and one came recently from one of its own supporters, **Sir Lennon** Raws, who, in an address delivered recently in Melbourne, said that "high imports were caused, firstly, by excessive borrowings overseas." If we examine the budget papers, we shall find that our borrowing overseas has increased in practically the same ratio as our adverse trade balance. From 1923 to 1927 the increase in our borrowing overseas was £42,000,000. We had good years and bounteous harvests during that time, and the Treasurer has repeatedly stated that we have had a buoyant revenue. This is borne out by the revenue figures for the past three years. In 1923-24 the revenue was £63,000,000; while in 1925-26 that revenue had increased by nearly £12,000,000. The Treasurer should have used some of this money to decrease the overseas debt. Many honorable members supporting the Government say that our adverse trade balance is attributable partly to the high wages prevailing in Australia. With the honorable member for Franklin **(Mr. Seabrook),** opposition to fair wages is an overmastering passion. I do not think that any honorable member on the other side will claim that the Australian worker is not entitled to better conditions than those enjoyed by European workers, whether in Britain or on the continent. There, in many cases, they get scarcely sufficient to keep body and soul together. The United States of America is one of our most formidable trade rivals, and therefore it is well to study conditions in that country to learn whether high wages really do result in checking the progress of industry. I wish to be quite frank, and therefore I admit that in most of the trades in America - except in those specially favoured, such as the building trade - the hours are much longer than in Australia. Trade unionism in the United States of America has not developed to any thing like the same extent as it has here, where the workers have learned that unless they have a strong organization behind them it is extremely difficult to enforce their demands upon the employers. Most workers in the United States of America receive an average wage of £260 a year, or approximately £5 a week. This figure is obtained by getting the returns from the employers showing the total wages paid and the total number of employees receiving them, and dividing the wages paid by the number of employees. I submit that that method is not a fair one for a basis of comparison Avith Australian wages for the reason that there are many junior workers and women whose wages are lumped together Avith those of the other workers. Therefore, the amount shown as paid to American workmen is much lower wage than the actual wage paid to the adult. Even under that system of computation, the wages paid in the iron and steel industry are £6 9s. a week. or £334 a year. ; In this country such wages are, on an average, £5 0s. 6d. a week. In foundries and machine shops the wages in America are £6 9s. a week; here they are £5 0s. 6d. In the automobile trade the workers receive £6 4s. a week in the United States, and somewhere about £5 a week in Australia. The boot and shoe trade in America is in a very bad way, as it is in Australia. Those who have investigated the matter say that the extensive use of motor cars in the United States of America has led to a reduction in the number of shoes worn. Consequently, the wages in that industry in the United States of America are only £4 5s. a week as compared with £4 13s. 2d. a week in Australia. In the lumber trade, wages in America are £5 a week which is higher than in Australia. Railway workers here average £5 0s. 6d. a week whereas those in America are paid £6 3s. a week. In the woollen and worsted trade in America the rate i3 low. because the workers have to compete with European labour. The rate paid is £4 3s. a week, which is lower than in Australia, but it has to be remembered that this is one of the sweated trades in America. A large number of women are employed in that trade, and their wages are lumped together with the others for the purpose of determining the average wage. In 1907, the working week for employees in this trade was 5S hours, but as the result of consistent, agitation, this has now been reduced to 48. S- hours a week. In the specialized industries in the United States of America workmen receive what appear to us to be tremendous wages. In the tin plate mills, they work only 42 hours a week, and get £17 a week wages. Bricklayers in the United States of America receive £20 a week, while in Australia the wage is £7. I have quoted these figures to prove that America, which pays the highest wages in many industries of any country in the world, is prospering, and has an overwhelmingly favorable trade balance. In Australia, therefore, we have to seek for some reason other than high wages for our adverse trade balance. In one matter affecting industry the United States is ahead of Australia. In this country there is a tendency for employers to slack, on the job, and the same thing, I am told, applies in England. Heads of businesses take extended weekends away from their offices, and sometimes do not return until Tuesday morning. If Ave are to compete successfully with nations such as America and Germany, it is necessary for those controlling our industries to apply themselves more seriously to their work. They, should scrap out-of-date machinery, and do a little more hard work instead of going out and drinking whisky for part of the day as some of them do now. {: .speaker-KMQ} ##### Mr Mann: -- Their slackness is due to the fact that we have not enough competition in Australia. There is too much protection. {: .speaker-KF9} ##### Mr A GREEN:
KALGOORLIE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · ALP; FLP from 1931; ALP from 1936 -- I quite agree that if an industry is immune from competition, there is likely to be slackness. It is true that Australia is confronted Avith difficulties which do not exist in densely-populated countries, which undertake mass production and dispose of their products in their OWn countries, as is done in the United States of America. The amendment of the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Charlton)** refers to the inadequacy of the protection afforded to Australian industries, and the immense amount now collected in customs duties, which is an indication of the fact that the people are paying high prices for goods which should be manufactured in Australia. In other words, our protective policy is ineffective, otherwise the customs receipts would not be so heavy. Customs duties, apart from excise duties, for the financial year ended 30th June, 1927, amounted to £31,000,000, and I do not think a protectionist such as the honorable member for Maribyrnong **(Mr. Penton),** or a rabid freetrader, such as the honorable member for Perth **(Mr. Mann),** Will admit that it is in the interests of Australia to collect such large sums by this method. The freetraders do not believe in getting a large revenue from customs. {: .speaker-KMQ} ##### Mr Mann: -- That is the opinion which is too prevalent in this chamber. I object to the incidence of the tariff. {: .speaker-KF9} ##### Mr A GREEN:
KALGOORLIE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · ALP; FLP from 1931; ALP from 1936 -- The customs receipts last year were £9,250,000 more than in 1922-23, and this increased amount has to be paid by the rich and poor, but particularly by the latter. The Prime Minister **(Mr. Bruce)** recently enunciated a new theory iu regard to taxation, in which he said it Avas the desire of the Government to relieve the people from taxation as far as was possible. Adam Smith, who Avas quite as good an economist as the right honorable gentleman, said that every person should contribute towards the taxation in proportion to the income he earned. Whatever may be said concerning the undesirability of imposing too much direct taxation upon those who find the money with which the workers are paid, some means should be devised whereby the rich and poor should contribute according to their income. Indirect taxation directly affects the basic wage paid to workmen . Taking the customs receipts for last year at £31,000,000, Ave find that the amount paid by a man supporting a wife and three children is equivalent to £5 6s. per head, or a contribution of 10s. a week towards customs revenue. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON:
MARIBYRNONG, VICTORIA · ALP; UAP from 1931 -- The interest paid per head of population is about £S annually. {: .speaker-KF9} ##### Mr A GREEN:
KALGOORLIE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · ALP; FLP from 1931; ALP from 1936 -- That may be so; but I do not think the honorable member believes that our protective policy is effective when such large quantities of goods are imported into Australia. The presentbasic wage in New South Wales is £4 5s. a week. A person receiving the basic wage would pay 10s. a week in the form of customs duties, so that his actual wage is £3 15s., and not £4 5s. a week. Having regard to the purchasing power of money in 1911 as compared with to-day the £3 15s. is equivalent to only £2 3s. 8d. a week, which I am sure no one will suggest is adequate remuneration for any able bodied person. It would have been difficult for any one to correctly forecast the financial stringency which some say has arisen in consequence of declining wool and wheat prices, but it would have been better to have placed the surplus of £2,500,000 to the credit of the national debt sinking fund than to spend it somewhat recklessly. For instance, the situation in Europe seems sufficiently secure to justify the Government in making a substantial reduction in its defence expenditure, which would have been a friendly gesture to other nations. I agree with the honorable member for Wakefield **(Mr. Foster)** who said it would be of considerable advantage to Commonwealth administration if some of the members of the cabinet had had experience in State ministries. The Commonwealth Government obtains its revenue very easily, whilst the State Governments have to grapple daily with the bread and butter problems of the people. The State governments, with their limited financial resources, are doing their best to develop Australia, and it is regrettable that the Commonwealth, whose functions are strictly limited under the Constitution, has the lion's share of the funds. In the last six years the Government has spent £30,500,000 on defence, irrespective of war services. The only function I attended in the Old Country was one given to the Canadian Minister for Trade and Commerce, the Honorable J ames Malcolm. **Mr. Amery** was in the chair, and he suggested that Canada should take more British migrants and more British goods. **Mr. Malcolm,** however, said that what Canada mostly needed was more British capital. He did not raise the subject of Canada bear ing a proportion of the cost of the British Navy, or building more battle cruisers. Naval authorities agree that sea warfare in future will be confined chiefly to battleplanes and submarines which would not cost a tenth as much as cruisers. The Labour party is fully prepared to defend Australia; but it thinks that a gesture of friendliness towards others nations at this particular time would be of advantage to us from a financial point of view, and would help to obtain a favorable trade balance. Motion (by **Mr. Bruce)** put - . That the question he now put. The committee divided. AYES: 33 NOES: 19 Majority . . . . 14 AYES NOES Question so resolved in the affirmative. Question - That the proposed vote be reduced by £1 (Mr. Charlton's amendment) - put. The committee divided. AYES: 17 NOES: 33 Majority . . . . 16 AYES NOES Question so resolvedin the negative. Amendment negatived. {: #subdebate-24-0-s12 .speaker-KRD} ##### Mr McGRATH: -- **Mr. Chairman-** {: #subdebate-24-0-s13 .speaker-JOG} ##### The CHAIRMAN (Mr Bayley:
OXLEY, QUEENSLAND The question before the Chair is that the first item of the Estimates under Division I., be agreed to, and, the closure having been applied, that question cannot be further debated. {: .speaker-KRD} ##### Mr McGrath: -- On a point of order, I submit that the closure applied only to the amendment. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- The original question before the Chair was " That the first item of the Estimates, Division I. - The President, £1,300 - be agreed to," upon which the Leader of the Opposition moved, by way of amendment, that the amount be. reduced by £1. Consequently there was before the Chair a motion and an amendment. When the Prime Minister's motion, " That the question be now put," was carried, it applied to both questions then before the Chair. {: .speaker-KRD} ##### Mr McGrath: -- I desire to move that the item be reduced by 10s., as a protest against the action of the Government in closing Parliament for practically eighteen months, and, upon its reassembling, gagging honorable members. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- The honorable member is distinctly out of order. I have already told him that no further discussion may take place on the first item. After it has been disposed of, the honorable member may discuss any subsequent item. {: .speaker-F4Q} ##### Mr Scullin: -- Do I understand the ruling to be that the closure resolution debars any further amendment or discussion of the main question? I submit that before the honorable member for Ballarat can be debarred from moving a further amendment, thegag must be applied to the original motion. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Standing Order A *b* dealing with the closure reads - >When the motion " That the question be now put " has been carried, and the question consequent thereon has been decided, any further motion may be at once made, which may be requisite to bring to a decision any question already proposed from the Chair; and also, if a clause be then under consideration, a motion may be made " That the question That certain words of the clause defined in the motion stand part of the clause,' or ' That the clause stand part of or be added to the bill be now put.' " Such motions shall be put forthwith and decided without amendment or debate. When the Prime Minister moved " That the question be now put," his motion covered all the questions then before the Chair. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr Charlton: -- I dissent from your ruling, sir. Discussion was confined to the amendment before the committee, and the Prime Minister's closure motion related to the amendment only. Any honorable members who have not previously spoken on the budget may now address themselves to the motion, " That the first item be agreed to." If that were not so, those honorable members would be deprived of their right to speak. Your ruling, if enforced, would set up a precedent that would considerably impair the rights and privileges of honorable, members. Any honorable member who so desired could have spoken to the amendment only without forfeiting his right to speak subsequently on the main question. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- A member speaking after an amendment has been moved is regarded as speaking to both the original' question and the amendment. The Prime Minister's motion " That the question be now put " referred to the main question before the committee, and in order that it might be put, the amendment had first to be disposed of. The amendment having been negatived, the committee must now dispose of the main question in accordance with the closure resolution. {: .speaker-KRD} ##### Mr McGrath: -- You, **Mr. Chairman,** must be clairvoyant, for you seem to know what was in the Prime Minister's mind. I do not think you have treated us fairly. Some consideration should be shown to members who have waited long hours for an opportunity to speak on the budget. The Prime Minister has been guilty of many unfair practices, but I think that on this occasion you, **Mr. Chairman,** have not rightly interpreted his action. I question whether your ruling is in accordance with the Standing Orders. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- I cannot permit the honorable member to discuss that matter. I am waiting for him to state his point of order. {: .speaker-KRD} ##### Mr McGrath: -- I shall do so. The Prime Minister moved " That the question be now put. The question was the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition. That question was put by the application of the guillotine. We then reverted to the original question namely, that the first item be agreed to. I claim that the Prime Minister did not move the motion that you, sir, say he moved. Have you, **Mr. Chairman,** ever known a previous instance of an amendment and the main question being put together ? {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Order! It might make matters clearer if I quoted a few precedents that have been established in this House. On the 22nd July, 1920, **Mr. Hughes,** who was then Prime Minister, moved " That the question he now put." The question was put, andthe House divided. The question was resolved in the affirmative. The question " That the words proposed to be added be so added" was then put, and again the House divided. Immediately afterwards, and without discussion, the main question was put. Mr.Makin. - It is possible that on the occasion to which you, sir, have just referred, no honorable member rose to speak. The motion of the Prime Minister to-night referred only to the question then before the chair, namely, the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition. That being so, the motion " That the question be now put " could have related only to that amendment. If the Prime Minister desires now to take a course in accordance with the Standing Orders, he may do so; but I submit, **Mr. Chairman,** that it is not competent for the Chair to take the course that it has taken. I hope that you will reconsider your ruling, because I fear that it will establish a bad precedent. {: .speaker-F4B} ##### Mr Bruce: -- Most honorable gentlemen {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr Blakeley: -- We object to the Chairman doing the dirty work which the Prime Minister is afraid to do. {: .speaker-F4B} ##### Mr Bruce: -- Had the Chairman heard that remark, I feel sure he would have called upon the honorable member to withdraw it. On various occasions we have had experience of the operation of the Standing Order providing for the moving of the motion " That the question be now put." It must be within the recollection of honorable members that on every occasion when that motion has been moved and there has been an amendment before the Chair, the amendment, and then the main question have been put to the Committee. We have already dealt with the amendment. The Standing Orders provide that when the motion " That the question be now put " is moved, such motion shall be put forthwith and decided without amendment or debate. Although there is another course open to me- {: .speaker-F4Q} ##### Mr Scullin: -- Why does not the right honorable gentleman take it? {: .speaker-F4B} ##### Mr Bruce: -- Had the Chairman ruled otherwise, I could immediately have moved again " That the question he now put," hut to do that would be to make our own Standing Orders futile. Whatever honorable members may desire, I appeal to them not to render futile their own Standing Orders. Mr.Brennan. - The right honorable gentleman meets us with a club in one hand and a glove on the other. We cannot allow that. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- The honorable member for Batman is out of order. *Honorable members interjecting -* {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr Blakeley: -- I suggest that the time is opportune for **Mr. Speaker** to be sent for. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- The committee has had ample opportunity to discuss my ruling and the points of order that have been taken thereon. I again give my ruling - {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr Brennan: -- I rise to a point of order. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Order! The honorable member for Batman is out of order in remaining on his feet while the Chairman is standing. I repeat my ruling that the motion, " That the question be now put " covers both the amendment and the original motion. The question now before the Chair is - " That the first item be agreed to." Those of that opinion will say " Aye " - {: .speaker-F4Q} ##### Mr Scullin: -- I move - >That the Chairman's ruling be dissented from. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- The honorable member for Yarra **(Mr. Scullin)** has notified his intention of moving that my ruling be dissented from. I point out that I must first put the question to the committee, and thereafter any honorable member who so desires will be in order in moving that my ruling be dissented from. The question is- - " That the first item be agreed to. Question - That the first item " The President, £1,300" be agreed to - put. The committee divided. AYES: 33 NOES: 17 Majority . . . . 16 AYES NOES Question so resolved in the affirmative. Item agreed to. >That the ruling of the Chairman that no further amendments can be moved after the closure is carried and the first amendment disposed of, is contrary to the Standing Orders, and be disagreed to. If I did not believe that your ruling was contrary to the Standing Orders, I would not take this action; but if it is allowed to stand, it will be possible to move the closure on the first amendment to a clause or motion, and other honorable members will be debarred from moving subsequent amendments. Such a ruling would stultify parliamentary proceedings. It may be within the rights of a parliamentary majority to apply the closure to the debate on a particular clause, but it has not the right to make it apply to subsequent amendments. I move this motion to protect the rights of members in the future. Surely it is not intended that honorable members should be prevented from moving subsequent amendments because the Prime Minister lias had the closure applied on the first amendment. >When the motion " That the question be now put " has been carried, and the question consequent thereon has been decided, any further motion may be at once made which may be requisite to bring to a decision any question already proposed from the Chair. In this case the motion - that the first item of the estimates he agreed to - had already been proposed from the Chair. The Standing Orders provide that a motion may at once be made, and it is further stated that such motion " shall be put forthwith, and decided without amendment or debate." It would have been possible to draw up the Standing Orders in such a way as to provide for the closure, and, at the same time, to provide that if an amendment, say, that an item be reduced by £1, was rejected, any honorable member might immediately move that the item be reduced by 19s. The closure could then be applied to that amendment, and a further amendment could be moved that it be reduced to 18s., and another that it be reduced to 17s. 6d., and so on. By such methods any closure system could be rendered completely ineffective. The closure cannot be effective if it is open to honorable members to move an infinite series of amendments. It is only under such an interpretation as I have outlined that any closure system could work effectively. >After any question has been proposed either iu the House or in a committee of the Whole, a motion may be made by any member rising in his place without notice, and whether any other member is addressing the Chair or not, and moving that the question be now put. The point now is, what was before the Chair? I contend that the amendment which I proposed was before the Chair. It has been discussed during the past few days, and it was the question to be put. The Standing Order goes on to say - >When the motion " That the question be now put " has been carried, and the question consequent thereon has been decided, any further motion may be at once made which may be requisite to bring to a decision the question already proposed from the Chair: The honorable member for Ballarat **(Mr. McGrath)** rose in his place immediately after the amendment was disposed of, and proposed a further amendment in accordance with the Standing Order. The Chairman refused to accept the amendment, and decided to put the original motion proposed by the Prime Minister. That motion was really not before the Chair, until any amendment moved to it had been disposed of. Under the Standing Order, any honorable member who has the right to speak is entitled to move an amendment. To prevent that the Prime Minister must move the closure immediately after the first amendment has been dealt with. >When the motion " That the question be now put" has been carried, and the question consequent thereon has been decided - in this case that refers to t'ie amendment of the honorable member for Hunter, any further motion may be at once made which may be requisite to bring to a decision any question already proposed from the Chair. Obviously that contemplates that there may be another motion before the Chair, and that a separate motion has to be made to bring that before the House. >An amendment proposed shall be disposed of before another Amendment can be moved; after all amendments have been disposed of, the main Question, as amended, or otherwise, shall be forthwith put. I know I must not trespass beyond the point of the ruling, but I submit further that in saying that the motion must be put before the dissent from the Chairman's ruling can be debated, you, **Mr. Bayley,** acted contrary to the Standing Orders. Standing Order No. 228 says - lt any objection is taken to a ruling or decision of the Chairman of Committees, such objection shall be stated at once in writing, mid may forthwith be decided by the committee; and the proceedings shall then be resumed where they were interrupted. The position is .that the matter has been dealt with before the committee could decide whether or not it should agree with the Chairman's rulings, and dealt with it. The whole procedure is most unfair, and I shall support the motion that the Chairman's ruling be disagreed with. If the rights of members are not protected more than they have lately been in this chamber, we might as well shut up Parliament altogether. When the motion, " That the question be now put " has been carried, and the question consequent thereon has been decided, any further motion may be at once made which may be requisite to bring to a decision any question already proposed from the Chair: and also, if a clause be then under consideration, a motion .may be made " That the question, ' That certain words of the clause defined in the motion stand part of the clause, or 'That the clause stand part of or be added to the bill ' be now put." Such motions shall be put forthwith, and decided without amendment or debate. An affirmative vote of not less than 24 members shall be necessary to carry any motion under this Standing Order. When the Prime Minister moved - " That the question be now put,"- there was only one. question before the committee. For the information of the honorable member for Batman **(Mr. Brennan),** I may explain that there were two questions before the Chair - the original motion moved by the Treasurer ' **(Dr. Earle Page),** when he delivered his budget speech - " That the first item of the Estimates be agreed to," and the amendment of the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Charlton).** >Pursuant to Standing Orders Nos. 25 and 2G, whilst the Speaker or the chairman of ways and means is in the chair, after a question has been proposed if a member rising in his place, moves " That the question be now put," that question shall be put forthwith without amendment or debate, unless it appears to the chair that the motion is an abuse of tlie rules of the house, or an infringment of the rights of the minority. I admit that the practice wisely adopted by the House of Commons to prevent an infringement of the rights of the minority has not been followed in this instance. The Prime Minister has disregarded the rights of the minority by submitting the motion " That the question be now put." *May* continues: - >And if, when a division is taken, it appears by the numbers declared from the chair that not less than a hundred members voted in the majority in support of the motion, it is decided in the affirmative. Authority for that is given in a footnote, which I need not quote. Continuing : - >Closure may be moved, as the .conclusion of a speech, or whilst a member is addressing the house, and intercepts any motion which it was his intention to move. The intervention of the chair regarding closure is restricted to occasions when the motion is made in abuse of the rules of the house or infringes the rights of the minority. A closure motion may, therefore, bc sanctioned by the chair, either immediately upon or within a few minutes after, the proposal to the house of the question to be closed: as, in the discharge of the duty thus imposed upon him the discretion of the Speaker is absolute, and is not open to dispute. The authority for that opinion is also given in a footnote. *May* continues: - >As without some further provision the house might even with the help of the closure be unable to complete the matter then immediately in hand - directly after the motion " That the question be now put " has been carried, and the question consequent thereon has been decided, without having recourse to any further closure motion, the right is given to claim subject to the discretion of the chair, that such further question be put, which may be requisite to bring to a decision any question already proposed from the Chair. >The -utility of this power is specially proved by its application at the moment, when, pursuant to standing order, an interruption of business, or the adjournment of the house would otherwise immediately take place. > >An analogous, but wholly distinct, power is also conferred by standing order No. 25, whereby, subject to the discretion of the chair, when a clause is under consideration, motions may be made, to be acted upon forthwith - that tlie question " That certain words of the clause " defined in the motion, " stand part of the clause, be now put," or that the questions, " That a clause stand part of ( or be added to the bill) be now put." These motions, if the questions put thereon are carried, override all power of amendment to the words included in their scope: thus, for instance, in committee upon a bill, after certain additions proposed in sub-section 3 of the 5th clause had been negatived, a member rose and moved - " That the question, ' That the words *where ' "* (being the initial word of sub-section 4) " stand part of the clause, be now put." The closure motion, and the question consequent thereon were carried, and thereby all further additions to sub-section 3 were excluded. > >The closure motions that certain words should stand part of a clause, or that a clause should stand part of a bill, are in form and use equally applicable when the House is in committee, and when the Speaker is in the chair. These motions also can be moved although closure has not been previously enforced during the consideration of the clause; nor is it necessary that closure should have been moved on the questions last proposed from the chair. Thus on consideration of a bill as amended, no antecedent closure having been moved, a member rose and moved, " That the question, ' That certain specified words of a clause stand part of the bill ' be now put." Mr.Brennan - >And the question on the closure motion was put from the Chair. Motion (by **Mr. Bruce)** proposed - >That the question be now put. {: #subdebate-24-0-s14 .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Which cannot be debated. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr Charlton: -- It is for the committee to decide. Is the Government going to bludgeon us in this way? {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- The closure motion cannot be debated. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr Charlton: -- I warn the Prime Minister that if he proceeds in this way he is likely to make very little progress. The Prime Minister is not entitled to use his majority in order torob the Opposition of its rights. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- There can be no debate on the motion " That the question be now put." {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr Charlton: -- Surely the Prime Minister should give the committee the benefit of his views on this important point. If he deprives the minority of its right to discuss it, the members of the Opposition will retire from the chamber. {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr Blakeley: -- On a point of order- {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- There can be no point of order. The question is " That the question be now put." {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr Blakeley: -- My point of order, **Mr. Chairman,** is that the business of this committee is in your custody. The Prime Minister, as Leader of the Government, has no rights in regard to a motion of dissent from your ruling. It is not competent for him to usurp your rights and privileges. {: .speaker-KRD} ##### Mr McGrath: -- **Mr. Chairman-** {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- The honorable member for Ballarat will resume his seat. {: .speaker-KRD} ##### Mr McGrath: -- The Prime Minister is not satisfied with having moved the "gag " once to-night. He has moved it again on an important point affecting the rights and privileges of honorable members. {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr Blakeley: -- I thought I had the floor. You, **Mr. Chairman,** as custodian of the rights of honorable members, are in charge of the procedure. You have no right to allow the Prime Minister to usurp your own powers. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Lock the doors! I appoint the honorable members for Maribyrnong and Hindmarsh tellers for the "Ayes," and the honorable members for Maranoa and Macquarie tellers for the "Noes." *Members of the Opposition declining to act as tellers,* {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- There being no tellers for the "Noes," I declare the question resolved in theaffirmative. Question - That the Chairman's ruling be disagreed to - put. The committee divided. AYES: 18 NOES: 33 Majority . . 15 AYES NOES Question so resolved in the negative. Declaration of Urgency {: #subdebate-24-0-s15 .speaker-F4B} ##### Mr BRUCE:
Prime Minister and Minister for External Affairs · Flinders · NAT -- I declare that the Estimates of Expenditure are of an urgent nature. Question put. The committee divided - Ayes...... 33 Noes...... 17 Majority . . 16 Question so resolved in the affirmative. Limitation of Time. Mr.BRUCE (Flinders- Prime Minister and Minister for External Affairs) [4.25 a.m.]. - I move - >That the time allotted for the consideration of the Estimates of Expenditure shall be - for the Parliament, the Prime Minister's department, and the department of the Treasury, until 7 a.m. this day; for the Attorney-General's department, the department of Home and Territories, the department of Defenceand the department of Trade and Customs, until 12 o'clock noon this day; for the department of Works and Railways, the department of Health, the department of > >Markets and Migration, miscellaneous and war services payable out of revenue until 5 o'clock p.m. this day; for business undertakings and territories of the Commonwealth and up to and including the reporting of the resolution to the House until 10 p.m. this day. I do not propose to delay the committee at this stage because any time I occupy will shorten the period available for the discussion of the Estimates. It is only fair to remind the committee of the length of time occupied in the discussion of the budget and the Estimates in previous years. {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr Blakeley: -- There is nothing fair about the Prime Minister. *The honorable member for Batman interjecting -* {: #subdebate-24-0-s16 .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- I name the honorable member for Batman for repeatedly disregarding the Chair. {: #subdebate-24-0-s17 .speaker-F4B} ##### Mr BRUCE:
NAT **- Mr. Chairman-** {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr Brennan: -- I move - >That the Prime Minister be no longer heard. {: .speaker-F4B} ##### Mr BRUCE: -- The time to be devoted to discussion of this portion of the Estimates is in the hands of honorable members opposite. {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr Makin: -- I rise to a point of order. The honorable member for Batman **(Mr. Brennan)** has moved that the Prime Minister be no longer heard, but you, sir, have taken no notice of that motion. I should like to know under what Standing Order you have acted. Surely the motion submitted by the honorable member for Batman should be respected by the Chair? {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Although the Chair repeatedly called upon the honorable member for Batman to cease his disorderly interjections, the honorable member continued to disregard the Chair, whereupon he was named. The Prime Minister was speaking at my request when I named the honorable member for Batman. {: .speaker-KRD} ##### Mr McGrath: -- I move - >That the Prime Minister be no longer heard. {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr Brennan: -- If I have been out of order I apologise, **Mr. Chairman.** I hope that no further action will be taken against me. You, sir, will understand that because of the noise in the chamber it was impossible to hear your rebuke. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- The Chair accepts the apology of the honorable member. {: .speaker-KRD} ##### Mr McGrath: -- I remind you, sir, that I have submitted a motion. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- The business before the committee when the honorable member for Ballarat rose was the naming of the honorable member for Batman. The honorable member for Ballarat, or any other honorable member, wouldnot be in order in moving, in connexion with the naming of another honorable member, that the Prime Minister be no longer heard; but if the Prime Minister were speaking to a substantial motion, the honorable member for Ballarat would be in order in so moving. {: .speaker-F4B} ##### Mr BRUCE: -- I was proceeding to point out to the committee the number of hours that have been occupied- {: .speaker-KRD} ##### Mr McGrath: -- I now move - >That the Prime Minister be no longer heard. Question put. The Committee divided. AYES: 17 NOES: 33 Majority . . . 16 AYES NOES Question so resolvedinthe negative. >That the Prime Minister be no longer heard. Mr.Brennan. - I ask you, sir, to call upon the honorable member for Bass **(Mr. Jackson)** to withdraw that remark. *Honorable members interrupting,* {: #subdebate-24-0-s18 .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON:
Hunter .- On behalf of the Opposition, I enter my emphatic protest against the manner in which the Government is conducting the business of this committee. For almost two years we have been kept outside Parliament by the Government. We met for only three weeks during a period of fifteen months. During this session we have endeavoured to assist the Government to make up as much leeway as possible by sitting long hours. Notwithstanding that, the Prime Minister comes- down with the guillotine on the most important business with which we shall have to deal this session. He has laid it down that we shall have only two and a half hours in which to deal with the departments. {: .speaker-F4B} ##### Mr Bruce: -- There would have been more time but for that expended in the discussion of the budget. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- The honorable gentleman refers to the time occupied by the general discussion. The time spent in that discussion was more than justified, but I would remind the right honorable gentleman that most of the time was taken up by honorable members on his own side of the Committee. Immediately it suited the Prime Minister, and he could get some of his docile supporters to withdraw from the debate, he put the closure on the Opposition. {: .speaker-KFA} ##### Mr R GREEN:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP -- Why not? {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- Because every honorable member, after being shut out of Parliament for twelve months, has the right to air his views now. From one end of Australia to the other the financial position of the country is being criticized in the press. It is impossible to deal with the Estimates in a general discussion on the budget. The Prime Minister spoke of the time given to discussing the Estimates at some period in 1910 or 1911, but I venture to say that during no session has so little time been given to them as now, and never was there a time when the finances of the country were in such a bad way. We borrowed, and got no better terms than98½ per cent. This, the Prime Minister attributed to **Mr. Lang** then being in power in New South Wales. The Government has placed a loan for £7,000,000 on the market at97½, showing that even though a Nationalist government is in power in New South Wales it cannot get money on favourable terms. Two years have gone by since the last federal election, but notwithstanding all the promises made by the Prime Minister, very little has been achieved. How can the committee deal adequately with such subjects as shipping, the public service, and the Migration Commission in a general discussion on the budget? I suppose we shall be told that the time allotted for the discussion of departmental expenditure has been occupied in referring to the conduct of the Government; but the honorable members of the Opposition are surely entitled to protest against the manner in which the Government, with the assistance of its servile majority, is "bludgeoning" legislation through Parliament. As members of His Majesty's Opposition we expect reasonable treatment from the Government, particularly when we have endeavoured to meet it by sitting right through the ordinary luncheon adjournment, and later in curtailing the ordinary meal hours. The responsibility for the confusion which now exists rests upon the Government. During most of the time Parliament has been in recess its duties have been delegated to costly boards and commissions, some of which regard themselves as superior. to Parliament. Parliament is becoming a farce. {: .speaker-JOS} ##### Mr Bell: -- Yes, particularly during the last hour. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- Does the honorable member think that we are to allow the Government to act in thi3 way without protesting? {: .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr Latham: -- The procedure is in accordance with the rules of committee. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- But I have never' known an instance in which a government has stifled discussion on the Estimates in the manner now proposed. The application of the closure on the budget debate may be excusable in some instances; but the curtailment of debate on the Estimates cannot possibly be justified It is impossible for honorable members to criticize items of departmental expenditure. {: .speaker-JOS} ##### Mr Bell: -- Why not get on with the job? {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- I do not. intend doing so while the Government is stifling discussion and "bludgeoning" through £70,000,000 of the taxpayers' money. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- The honorable member has exhausted his time. {: #subdebate-24-0-s19 .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE:
Treasurer · Cowper · CP -- We have heard similar protests from the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Charlton)** on previous occasions, when we havebeen told that a longer period should he allowed in which to discuss the Estimates. *Honorable members interjecting,* {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Order! I ask honorable members to allow the Treasurer to proceed without interruption. {: .speaker-L07} ##### Mr Lazzarini: -- As the Prime Minister **(Mr. Bruce)** and the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Charlton)** have spoken, it is time we proceeded to discuss the Estimates. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr Charlton: -- The Treasurer wishes to take up the time of the committee and thus prevent honorable members on this side of the chamber from speaking. Motion (by **Mr. Lazzarini)** proposed - That the Treasurer be no longer heard. Question put. The committee divided. AYES: 17 NOES: 33 Majority . . . . 16 AYES NOES Question so resolved in the negative. {: #subdebate-24-0-s20 .speaker-L1T} ##### Mr YATES:
Adelaide .In common with other honorable members on this side of the Chamber, I object to the attitude which the Government has adopted, particularly in view of the fact that we have been deprived of the right to discuss private members' business. As the debate on the Estimates is to be curtailed, I shall not have an opportunity of submitting a very strong case in support of necessary assistance being given to soldiers suffering from tuberculosis as a result of war services. They are being ignored by the Government. The Parliament has been in recess for so long a period that if necessary it should sit almost up to Christmas, and meet again immediately after the holidays. *The time allowed for the discussion of themotion havingexpired.* Question - that the motion he agreed to - put. The committee divided. AYES: 33 NOES: 17 Majority . . 16 AYES NOES Question so resolved in the affirmative. {: .page-start } page 1962 {:#debate-25} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-25-0} #### ESTIMATES,1927-28 The Parliament, £85,160; The Prime Minister's Department. £380,514; The Treasury, £662,820 {: #subdebate-25-0-s0 .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON:
Hunter -- Owing to the brief time available to me, I shall make my remarks as short as possible, so that I shall not deprive other honorable members of an opportunity to discuss the items under consideration. I move - >That the proposed vote, " The House of Representatives, £17,920," he reduced by £1. I do so in order to affirm the control of Parliament over its legislation; with particular reference to the Shipping Act, and to direct the Government that no instruction shall be given for the disposal of the Australian Commonwealth Line of Steamers without first obtaining Parliamentary authority by an amendment or repeal of the act. This matter does not concern any department. It is entirely one for the committee to decide. Anticipating objection to the motion, I point out that the Parliament controls the Shipping Board. Not even the Prime Minister has power to sell the Shipping Line. It is necessary, therefore, that action be taken now to give honorable members an opportunity of deciding whether the Prime Minister shall be permitted to carry out his threat to dispose of it. The motion of censure levelled against the Prime Minister was condemnatory of the attitude of the Government towards the Line, and the defeat of that motion did not give the Prime Minister or the Government permission to dispose of it. I addressed a question on the subject to the AttorneyGeneral, and,instead of answering it, he stated that it was not within his province to give legal advice in answer to questions. I remarked that in a matter involving the sale of the vessels of the Shipping Line, which are virtually auxiliary cruisers, one might have expected a proper answer to the question submitted. "Whether he was able to answer it or not, I cannot say; but in any case it was an insufficient reply for him to say that it was not the usual practice for the Government to give legal advice in reply to a question. {: .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr Latham: -- I said that it was not the practice of Parliament. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- The Minister should not shelter himself behind a reply of that nature. {: .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr Latham: -- The forms printed for honorable members' guidance show that that is not the practice of Parliament. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- I desire to point out that the Commonwealth Shipping Board has full control over the Line. If the Prime Minister disposed of the Line he would be acting illegally. The New South "Wales press has stated that the Shipping Board itself claims that it has control of the Line, and the Prime Minister has no right to dispose of it without its consent. I asked whether a majority of the members of the board favored its sale, and I did not get a satisfactory answer. The legality of the prpposal is in doubt. We remember what happened in the case of the Commonwealth Bank Board, the members of which, it was discovered, had never agreed to the separation of the savings hank branch from the general bank. {: .speaker-F4B} ##### Mr Bruce: -- I have stated definitely that the Shipping Board was not consulted, and that the Government takes full responsibility for its action. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- My contention is that the Government has no power to do what it proposes to do. On the 4th July, 1923, the Prime Minister introduced the Shipping Bill, placing the Line under the complete control of a board. In his second reading speech he pointed out that the members of the board would be the actual managers and controllers of the enterprise. He said that the board would be free from political influence or any interference with the management of the Line. The Prime Minister definitely stated that the board was beingappointed by Parliament to control the Line andthat to Parliament it would have to report. When the bill was in committee the right honorable gentleman said - >No government would dispose of the shipping line unless it had considered the facts, knowing that it has to face Parliament. The Prime Minister now proposes to sell the ships without consulting Parliament. {: .speaker-F4B} ##### Mr Bruce: -- Surely that is not correct, in view of the discussion in the House recently. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- By no stretch of the imagination can the recent debate be regarded as having conferred upon the Government authority to sell the ships. Do the Prime Minister and the AttorneyGeneral contend that because of the debate on the censure motion relating to the Government's attitude towards the Line, it has a right to dispose of the ships without consulting Parliament as to the conditions of sale? Has the Prime Minister authority to give the ships away if he so desires, or to sell them fora mere bagatelle? To show how the attitude of the right honorable gentleman differs from that of his colleague who leads the Senate, I quote the following passage from *Ilansard* of the 11th November - > **Senator Sir GEORGE** PEARCE. When speaking to the main question I announced that the Government intended to take a vote in each House. > > **Senator Greene.** If the motion is agreed to, will the Government proceed with the disposal of the Line without any further authority from Parliament? > > **Senator Sir GEORGE** PEARCE. No. There will have to be further - reference to Parliament. If a suitable offer were received it would have to be submitted to Parliament, but I do not know if the introduction of a bill would be necessary. > > **Senator Greene.** Parliament would be consulted? > > **Senator Sir GEORGE** PEARCE. Yes ; in some way. > > **Senator Duncan.** Will the Minister give the Senate that assurance? > > **Senator Sir GEORGE** PEARCE. Yes. In the Senate the representative of the Government gave an assurance that Parliament would be consulted in regard to any proposed sale of the ships. In this House the Prime Minister has said that he has authority to dispose of them without further reference to Parliament. {: .speaker-F4B} ##### Mr Bruce: -- The matter was further dealt with in another place at a later date. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- I have no knowledge of that. The Shipping Board realizes that the Line can be sold only subject to the ratification of Parliament. In the cable sent to **Mr. Larkin** in London on the 28th January, 1926, and read in this chamber by the honorable member for Batman, the board said regarding an offer for the vessels - >Purchasers mustclearly understand that any agreement arrived at must be subject to ratification by the Commonwealth Parliament. The Prime Minister is of opinion that Parliament must ratify the sale of the Line, for a cable sent to the Shipping Board in London on his behalf included these words - >My opinion you may definitely rely if Cabinet accepts there will be no difficulty obtaining ratification Commonwealth Parliament. {: .speaker-F4B} ##### Mr Bruce: -- The honorable member will recollect that I stated that that cable had been sent by Admiral Clarkson. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- Presumably he first consulted the Prime Minister, who said that there would be no difficulty in getting the consent of Parliament. Perhaps he is right; he understands his followers better than I do. Section 13 of the Commonwealth Shipping Act provides - >All the right, title, and interest of the Commonwealth in and to the ships and stores are by force of this Act transferred to and vested in the Board. They are vested not in the Commonwealth Government, but in the Board. For proof of that contention I refer honorable members to the Estimates, which do not contain one item relating to the Commonwealth Shipping Line or the Cockatoo Island Dockyard which used regularly to appear on the Estimates. The Parliament deliberately gave the Board full control of the Line in order to remove it from political influence. Newspaper comment indicates that the Government's proposals in regard to the Line are causing serious perturbation. The *Labour Daily* of the 23rd November said : - >A question occupying attention is the power of the Shipping Board to sell the Line which was created by Act of Parliament. It is understood that **Mr. Latham,** AttorneyGeneral, is perturbed by the problem and is having the legal issue investigated. The *Daily Guardian* of the same date wrote : - >The calling of tenders for the ships has been delayed while Attorney-General Latham and his staff make further searches to see just what their powers really are. It was **Mr. Bruce's** intention to instruct the Line to sell the ships by tender, taking their orders from him as to what tender they were to accept. Then when the ships were sold he proposed to introduce an Act of Parliament to wipe out the Board. But the Line was created by an Act of Parliament. The Board which manages it was also created in the same way, and by **Mr. Bruce's** own act placed beyond political interference. Thus the only body who can sell the ships is the Board itself. To-day the statement is current that the majority of the Board is opposed to the sale of the ships. Evidently the members of the Board consider that the disposal of the Line would be a crime against Australian development. The only question I have raised this morning is whether the Government can, without consulting Parliament, dispose of the ships. The time at my disposal does not permit of my dealing with the subject at length, but I have moved the amendment to test the feeling of the committee.Itwillgive the honorable member for Richmond **(Mr.** {: type="A" start="R"} 0. Green) an opportunity to retrieve himself from the position in which he was placed by the vote upon my censure motion. The honorable member said he was opposedto the sale of the ships without further reference to Parliament. He knows that, the Prime Minister intends to sell the ships, and I hope that he and other reasonably minded men will support the amendment as an instruction to the Government to consult Parliament before disposing of a valuable public utility. {: #subdebate-25-0-s1 .speaker-KYX} ##### Mr C RILEY:
COOK, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP; FLP from 1931 -- I second the amendment. Parliament should have an opportunity to discuss any definite proposals by the Government to dispose of £3,000,000 or £4,000,000 worth of the nation's assets. This House should be taken into the confidence of the Government so that the interests of the country may be fully protected. When the Government wanted additional capital for the Commonwealth Oil Refineries it sought parliamentary approval. When it proposed to make a new agreement with the Amalgamated Wireless Company, the matter was referred to Parliament. Having regard to the ugly rumours that have been current during the last few months regarding secret commissions and so forth, the House should have an opportunity to review not only the tender forms but also any tenders that may be received. The Commonwealth's assets should not be sacrificed, and the interests of importers and exporters should be protected. {: #subdebate-25-0-s2 .speaker-F4B} ##### Mr BRUCE:
Prime Minister and Minister for External Affairs · Flinders · NAT -- The amendment will at least serve the good purpose of confirming the decision of this Chamber and indicating what course the Government is entitled to pursue. If the vote on the recent no confidence motion is regarded by honorable members opposite as not having given to the Government authority to sell the Line, the decision of the committee this morning will put the matter beyong doubt. I therefore welcome the action which the Leader of the Opposition has taken. If the amendment is defeated honorable members opposite will not be entitled to say that the Government had no authority from this House to sell the ships, and that any proposed sale must be referred to Parliament. The Leader of the Opposition referred to an act of Parliament under which the vessels were handed over to an independent board which was to be free from political control. There was no need for him to draw my attention to that fact. 1 do, however, object to his suggestion that I have departed from principle and exercised political influence in relation to the Line. At no time have I put any pressure on the board or attempted to dictate to it as to the control of the Line. There is the further fact that the vessels were actually transferred to, and vested in the board. They were under the board's sole control, and free from political influence. I agree that it is for Parliament to expreses its will on this question; but once Parliament has done that, it is for the Government to carry out the will of Parliament. Parliament has already expressed the opinion that the vessels should be sold. Here is an opportunity to reaffirm that decision. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr Charlton: -- No. {: .speaker-F4B} ##### Mr BRUCE: -- Once the decision of Parliament has been obtained it is for the Government to take the necessary action to give effect to that decision. In pursuance of the decision of Parliament recently given, the Government proposes to offer the ships for sale by tender. The Government must accept the responsibility for any action it takes. I remind the Leader of the Opposition of a quotation he made from a speech I delivered in connexion with the Shipping Line, in which I said that no government would dispose of the ships without first consulting Parliament, and also to his reference to a communication in which the opinion was expressed that there would probably be no difficulty in obtaining the ratification of Parliament in the event of a satisfactory offer for the ships being made and accepted. If the Government sold the ships now upon terms with which Parliament disagreed - if the ships were sacrificed and the interests of the Commonwealth were not safeguarded - that would be a question to be dealt with by Parliament. I do not suggest that the Government is the legal owner of the vessels, or that when they are sold the transfer will be signed by the Government. In the event of a sale, the board,, not the Government would be the trans feror. The board in disposing of the vessels will act in accordance with the will of Parliament already expressed. By bringing forward this amendment the honorable gentleman is giving this branch of the Parliament another opportunity to say that it approves of the sale of the Line. Unless the committee is now prepared to vote in favour of the amendment, the action of the honorable member will .enable it to confirm the view so definitely expressed recently as to the desirability of disposing of the Line. The Government welcomes the amendment because it will set at rest any doubts which may exist as to the intention of Parliament regarding the Line. {: #subdebate-25-0-s3 .speaker-F4Q} ##### Mr SCULLIN:
Yarra .The question now before us is not the merits or otherwise of the proposal to sell the Australian Commonwealth Line of Steamers. That matter was dealt with recently. The issue now before us is whether the Government proposes to act legally or illegally. Is it going to flout an act of this Parliament that the Prime Minister himself introduced in 1923? Has an act on the statute-book of this country no meaning? Has the boast made by the Prime Minister when he handed over the control of the _ ships to a board no meaning? Those are the issues to be decided. The Line was established by an act of Parliament, and only by parliamentary enactment can it be disestablished. The Prime Minister stated that the board would sign the transfer when the ships were sold. That will be necessary because the board is the only body in legal possession of the ships. The ships can not be sold unless they are sold by the board. If the board has any backbone it would tell the Government plainly that before the ships can be sold, legislation authorizing the sale must be passed by Parliament. The Government on many occasions has been guilty of flouting the will of Parliament; now it proposes to flout an act of Parliament. While it is true that a majority of the members of this Parliament have expressed the opinion that the Line should be disposed of, Parliament has not expressed its opinion in a constitutional way by the passing of legislation. Surely the Prime Minister and the Attorney-General will not contend that merely hy passing a pious resolution, Parliament can amend an act of Parliament? They surely do not contend that the Government is not bound by an act of Parliament merely because a resolution expressing the opinion of the majority of members has been carried. It is true that if this motion is defeated the effect will be the same as in the case of the defeat of the vote of want of confidence. Such a decision, while reaffirming the opinion of Parliament that the Line should be sold, would not annul or amend an act of Parliament. Under an act of Parliament the Line was established and placed in the hands of the board. The board may dispose of the vessels belonging to the Line with the consent of the Treasurer, but the act does not empower the Treasurer to instruct the board to sell the vessels. Only Parliament can do that; and even then not by the passing of a resolution. It can only be done by an amendment of the act that established the Line. I submit that as an act of Parliament established this public utility, it can only be disestablished by another act of Parliament. If a majority of the members of the board favoured the disposal of the ships and obtained the consent of the Treasurer to their disposal, the board could sell them, but I question whether it could do more than that. {: .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr Latham: -- The board also controls the Cockatoo Island Dockyard, but it could not dispose of it. {: .speaker-F4Q} ##### Mr SCULLIN: -- The mere act of selling the ships would not dissolve the Line. The power to sell the ships was placed in the act to enable the board to dispose of tonnage when such action was considered necessary; but no power is given to the board to dispose of the business of shipping. Only Parliament can confer that power on the board. For the Government to attempt by a legal quibble to flout an act of Parliament would be consistent with some of its other actions. During a period of thirteen months Parliament has sat for only five or six weeks, yet the Government applies the "gag," the "closure;" 'and the "guillotine," when the expenditure of nearly £70,000,000 of public money is under consideration. Apart from the merits or otherwise of the disposal of the Line, the Government is acting unconstitutionally in flying in the face of legislation passed by this Parliament. So far from making a mistake in bringing this amendment forward, the Leader of Opposition has forced the Government to face an issue which it desired to evade. Why is the Government afraid to introduce a bill to amend the act by which the Line was constituted? The reason is that it knows that among its own supporters there are some who, although not in favour of selling the Line, are not prepared to support a vote of want of confidence. The Government forced at least one honorable member to vote against his convictions through leading him to believe that he would have another opportunity to register his opinion regarding the disposal of the Line. A promise to that effect was definitely given in another place by the Leader of the Government there; but that promise has been broken. Why has the Government not acted in a straightforward manner and introduced an amending bill? The Prime Minister said that the board was established free from political control. What is the value of that statement if the - board must follow the dictates of the Government notwithstanding that it is in legal possession of the vessels? Apparently the members of the Government look to the Opposition to furnish them with the means of selling the ships. We ought to take this opportunity to oppose the selling of the Line, and to affirm the broader and bigger principle that Parliament should have control over ' its own legislation. {: #subdebate-25-0-s4 .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr LATHAM:
AttorneyGeneral · Kooyong · NAT -- The Leader and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition have dealt with two matters. the first being the alleged shutting up of Parliament, and the second, the power of the Commonwealth Government to carry out its declared policy in connexion with the selling of the Shipping Line. On the first point I wish to state that since 13th January last year, this Parliament has sat for 960 hours, and that is a much longer period than any of the parliaments of Tasmania, South Australia, Queensland and New South Wales have sat. I have the figures here for those four states, and this House has sat during that period more than twice as long as any of them. As honorable members know, Parliament was unable to sit until these and other buildings were ready, and a long delay was unavoidable. I now come to the matter of the Commonwealth Shipping Board. This question has been raised as a legal matter, and cannot be determined by political argument. If the- Government tries to effect the sale of the ships, and is unable to give a title to the purchaser, it can be taken for granted that there will be no sale, because the purchaser will not take a doubtful title. Therefore, in order to carry out the policy which has been affirmed by this House, the Government will have to make satisfactory legal title to the ships. If the Opposition is of opinion that the Government is unable to do that, it should be very pleased, lt should not be for the Opposition to urge the Government to make its position right by passing legislation. I admit that no resolution can repeal an act of Parliament. I admit also that the act vested the legal property in the vessels in the board, and, therefore, prima facie, it is only the board that can give a title to them. That admits the substance of everything that lias been said by the Opposition. I was asked a question yesterday on this subject, and I definitely declined to give a legal opinion in reply to a question asked in the House. It is rather unfair for honorable members to frame questions in a particular way and then expect a legal opinion on what is a very intricate matter. The rules laid down for the guidance of honorablemembers arc quite explicit on this point, and I was only obeying the rules of Parliament in declining to give a legal opinion in reply to a question. I have now conceded what honorable members opposite may think is sufficient to establish their contentions, namely, that an act of Parliament is not affected by a resolution of the House, and that the < property in the ships is vested in the board.. To these I will add one proposition which was mentioned by the Prime Minister yesterday, and which is most relevant. The board is able, with the consent . of the Treasurer, to sell the vessels, and if the board sells them there is no doubt concerning the effectiveness of the sale. That is one way of selling the vessels. The other way, if the Government is forced to adopt such a course, is to utilize the provisions of the act under which the board is bound to give debentures in a prescribed form. As honorable members are aware, the board is a long way in arrears with its payments. I have not been able, in the time available, to ascertain the actual form of the debentures - if any - which the board has given. There is power, however, to prescribe the form, and the ordinary form of debenture provides that upon default the property on which the security is given can be sold, and a debenture, speaking generally, is a floating charge upon property. If default is made, the property upon which the debenture is a charge can be sold. That is the position from a purely legal point of view. From the point of view of policy or propriety, I would point out that the Government received a clear indication that its policy is supported by the House, when the want of confidence motion proposed by the Leader of the Opposition was defeated. If this motion i3 carried it will be a further confirmation of the Government's policy. {: #subdebate-25-0-s5 .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr BRENNAN:
Batman -- The Attorney-General has now given us a legal opinion which I am quite content to believe is sound, but which discloses a most extraordinary position. It reveals also a marked difference between the view of the law as expressed so clearly by the Attorney-General, and that held by the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister expressed the view that, because on a former occasion Parliament supported his attitude in connexion with these vessels, the Government was given *carte blanche* to do what it liked with this Line of Steamers, which is vested in the board by act of Parliament. The fact is, as -.the Attorney-General says, that the property in these ships is vested in the board. As the Attorney-General knows, when land is conveyed to a particular person, no .mere expression of opinion can divest that person of the ownership of that land; but there is a legal formula by means of which the ownership can be taken from one person and vested in another. In express and clear terms the ownership of these ships has, in the technical sense, been vested in the board, and the control of the ships, in the most complete and comprehensive way, has been given to the board. The Prime Minister was recently asked the following question by the Leader of the Opposition : - >In view of tlie expressed determination bythe Government to dispose of the Australian Commonwealth Line of Steamers without further reference to Parliament, and as the provisions of the Shipping act vest the control of the Line in the shipping board, I ask the Prime Minister if the members of the board have consented to the disposal of the ships, and if the Government has been advised as to the legality of its action in disposing, without the consent of Parliament, of a business and service established by act of Parliament. The answer of the Prime Minister was as follows : - >Dic board was not consulted by the Government concerning the policy which lias now been endorsed by the House. The second part of the honorable member's question raises a matter never previously raised, but the Government certainly does not anticipate legal or other difficulties in the course it proposes to pursue. Therefore the extraordinary position is disclosed that the Government never consulted the body in which the ownership, custody and control of these ships has been vested by act of Parliament, before it undertook to sell them. That reveals an amazing position which the electors ought clearly to understand when they sire pronouncing judgment upon the Government for its attitude towards the Shipping Line. Pursuant to its policy, the Government brought down a bill to take this line of steamers out of political control, and give complete powers to the shipping board. Now ithas the audacity to take these vessels away, and sell them without even conslting the board in whom the ownership and- control of the vessels are vested. The Attorney-General suggests that the hands of the Government have been strengthened by two debates which have taken place on the subject in this chamber. I was surprised when the Prime Minister used that argument, and it is even more weakly when it comes from the chief law officer of the Crown. The Attorney-General has a second method of fortifying the position of the Government - the clever ruse of levying on the Line. The Government proposes to foreclose on the Shipping Line. The Government is the mortgagee, and proposes to seize and sell the ships without taking the members of the board into its counsels. The Prime Minister is beginning to sit up and take notice now that he is getting a little information from the Opposition. He is beginning to realize that he has apparently bungled the business, and he has asked the Attorney-General to think out some other means of giving effect to his desire. In obedience to that request, the Attorney-General now comes forward with the proposal to levy execution on the ships. This discussion which has been made possible by the removal of an obstruction, in the path, is serving a veryuseful purpose. As a member of the legal profession, I should like to express my views on the legal aspect of the case. I believe that the Commonwealth Shipping Board and the Government acting in co-operation can dispose of the vessels of the Australian Commonwealth Shipping Line. It is true that the Treasurer, with the consent of the Board, may dispose of the ships; but we do not know if the Treasurer has obtained the consent of the Board so to do. As the mind of tlie Prime Minister has been illuminated on the point, and he now admits that the Board will have to execute the necessary documents when a sale is effected, perhaps the right honorable gentleman will tell us what the Government intends to do if the Board will not consent to the sale. I venture the opinion that the members of the Board do not possess sufficient backbone to refuse to give the Government the power it requires to effect the sale. But the Government should not follow this devious course of levying execution upon the Line because of its supposed indebtedness to the Board. {: .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr Latham: -- It is a real indebtedness. {: .speaker-F4Q} ##### Mr Scullin: -- It is a very poor excuse. {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr BRENNAN: -- And a very poor method for providing for the sale of the ships without the proper consent of Parliament. If the Government is not ashamed of its policy, and is not influenced by the fact that there is a large and increasing opposition to its trading off of his great government enterprise, it should introduce a simple amendment of the Commonwealth Shipping Board Act in which it could take power to do what it desires. At the same time, it would give its supporters an opportunity to record an independent vote on the matter. Some honorable members who supported the want of confidence motion said that they were opposed to the sale of the Line, and that legislation would be introduced before itwas disposed of. That opinion may be held by many others. The honorable member for Richmond was quite consistent, but is now to be deprived of his right to express a definite opinion upon this question. The Government contends that it can do almost anything, politically, but if it wishes to be honest in this matter it should submit a proposal to Parliament in the proper legal manner. {: #subdebate-25-0-s6 .speaker-JOS} ##### Mr BELL:
Darwin .- I wish to speak upon certain proposed expenditure under the Prime Minister's Department, but provided that I will not be deprived of my right to speak later, I shall resume my seat to enable a vote to be taken on the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr Charlton: -- The honorable member will have an opportunity after a vote is taken. Question - That the proposed vote, House of Representatives £17,920 - be reduced by £1 (Mr. Charlton's amendment) - put. The committee divided. AYES: 18 NOES: 31 Majority . . . . 13 AYES NOES Question so resolved in the negative. Amendment negatived. {: #subdebate-25-0-s7 .speaker-JOS} ##### Mr BELL:
Darwin .- I propose to discuss the item - Development and Migration Commission. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr Charlton: -- I have an amendment to move regarding an earlier item. The **CHAIRMAN (Mr. Bayley).Then,** following the usual practice, I call on the honorable member for Hunter. {: #subdebate-25-0-s8 .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON:
Hunter -- I move - >That the proposed vote - Public Service Board, £42,631 - be reduced by £1. I do this as a protest against the unwarranted attacks made in the third annual report of the Public Service Board against the Public, Service Arbitrator and the political rights of members of the Public Service. {: .speaker-JOS} ##### Mr Bell: -- I rise to a point of order! I understood you, **Mr. Chairman,** to say that up to 7 o'clock any items under the departments now under consideration could be discussed. You now rule that the Leader of the Opposition is entitled to address the committee because he desires to submit an amendment upon an item on an earlier page than that on which the item I wish to discuss appears. {: #subdebate-25-0-s9 .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- It has always been the practice for honorable members to find out from one another the amendments that they desire to move in the Estimates Mr.Bell. - I desire to speak on the Development and Migration Commission. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- It is purely a matter of courtesy as between the honorable member and the Leader of the Opposition. {: .speaker-KRD} ##### Mr McGrath: -- **Mr. Chairman,** why do you allow the honorable member for Darwin to flout your rulings? He is preventing other honorable members from having an opportunity to bring other matters before the committee. {: .speaker-JOS} ##### Mr Bell: -- **Mr. Chairman-** {: .speaker-JLY} ##### Mr Anstey: -- Is the honorable member for Darwin raising a point of order or making a speech. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Order ! The honorable member for Bourke will resume his seat. {: .speaker-KRD} ##### Mr McGrath: -- The time is rapidly running out. You are not fit for your position. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- I name the honorable member for Ballarat for being offensive to the Chair. {: .speaker-KRD} ##### Mr McGrath: -- You have already given your ruling, and you allow the honorable member for Darwin to take up time required by other honorable members. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- The honorable member for Ballarat has been named. {: .speaker-F4B} ##### Mr Bruce: -- If the honorable member will not withdraw his reflection upon the Chair, there is only one course for me to pursue - to move that the honorable member be suspended from the service of this committee. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- I hope that a lenient view will be taken of this matter. You, **Mr. Chairman,** will remember that, in consequence of the proceedings in this committee since the guillotine was imposed, honorable members have become somewhat irritated, and rightly so. The honorable member for Ballarat wishes to speak upon the subject of immigration ; but we desire to mention a number of important matters before that item is reached. I have an important amendment, and I am shut out, as well as the honorable member. In accordance with the rules of debate, youruled that the honorable member for Darwin should give way to me, and you proceeded to explain to him the reason for so doing, in order to show that no injustice had been done. Only 25 minutes are left to enable us to deal with three departments, and this no doubt led the honorable member for Ballarat to speak very warmly. In the circumstances something is to be said in mitigation of his offence. Up to the present we have not discussed a solitary item, and yet the guillotine will shortly fall. I think that you should not go to the extent of suspending the honorable member for the remainder of the sitting. {: .speaker-JOS} ##### Mr Bell: -- I have every desire to see the business proceeded with, and I wish to be courteous to all honorable members. If the honorable member for Ballarat has been provoked, I hope that he will withdraw, and allow the committee to get on with its work. I am prepared to give way to the Leader of the Opposition, but I hope that he will allow me a few minutes at the conclusion of the speech. {: .speaker-KRD} ##### Mr McGrath: -- I accept the apology from tho honorable member for Darwin, and withdraw. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- I remind the honorable member that the matter is one not between him and the honorable member for Darwin, but between him and the Chair. {: .speaker-KRD} ##### Mr McGrath: -i withdraw unconditionally; but do not let anybody else talk and block the discussion of the items. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- I have submitted this amendment because of seething discontent in regard to the reports of the Public Service Board. It is the duty of this Parliament to see that when members of the Public Service act constitutionally, and go before the Public ServiceArbitrator, the board is not allowed *to* challenge his awards. If that were permitted it would be,impossible for the arbitrator to do justice to his high and important position. Whatever grievances the Public Service may have they should be dealt with on their merits without interference from any other body. If an employer criticizes a judge who has made *an* award, there are means of dealing with him, because he can be committed for contempt of court. The Public Service Board . has arrogated to itself a power that is not possessed -by Parliament itself. {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr Makin: -- It is not the first time. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- No. The Public Service has brought this complaint under notice from time to time. Its members are loyal sei- van servants and we should do nothing to interfere with the good feeling that exists between them and the departments to which they are attached. The latest annual report of the Public Service Board contains the following comments - >In the last report of tlie board, reference was made to the difficulties arising from the lack of co-ordination between the functions «f the Public Service Board and those of the public Service Arbitrator in the determina-tion of salaries, wages, and general conditions of employment. The provision embodied in the Public Service Act by Parliament for the classification of the service is being nullified to a large extent by tlie operation of a law dealing with Public Service arbitration. The position is unsatisfactory and disturbing, and > > *A* solution of the difficulties engendered by the present duality of authority must sooner or later be evolved if tlie public interest is to be conserved. Apart from this aspect of the question, tlie administration of arbitration awards through the media of the board and the public departments concerned becomes increasingly difficult and costly. Another serious item of expenditure is that connected with payment of allowances for performance of higher duties. Under arbitration determinations, officers who are required temporarily to carry out the work of a position higher than their own are entitled, after tlie lapse of 26 days, to payment of the minimum salary attached to tlie higher position, and if continued in temporary occupancy of such position increments are likewise payable as it the officer had been permanently promoted. The expenditure on these allowances is assuming large proportions as will be evidenced from the following- comparisons: - If the employees go before the arbitrator, and, as a result of evidence placed before him on their behalf, and on the behalf of the departments, certain awards are given, what right has the board to criticise the awards? Can Parliament permit that sort of conduct, and at the same time tell the public servants that they should be law abiding and submit their complaints to the proper tribunal? **Mr. Atlee** Hunt was appointed as arbitrator in order to deal with the grievances of the service. Section 12 of the Arbitration Public Service Act thus defines the powers of the arbitrator : - >The arbitrator shall, subject to the provisions of this section, determine all matters submitted to him relating to salaries, wages, rates of pay, or terms or conditions of service or employment of officers and employees of the Public Service. This tribunal was deliberately created by this Parliament to enable public servants to have their grievances adjusted in a constitutional way, and it has had a good effect. We have had no trouble with the Commonwealth public servants. They have always been able to rely on the merits of their case as presented to the arbitrator. But because he has given awards which do not meet with the approval of tlie board, the latter suggests that he has not acted equitably, and it is endeavouring to coerce him into refusing the public servants what he considers they are entitled to. It is evident that the board ' desires to have the arbitrator abolished so that it may have complete control of the service. There are many matters within the jurisdiction of the board that cry aloud for settlement. I have made representations to the PostmasterGeneral in regard" to them, but he merely takes the advice of the board and nothing is done. I am sorry to have to say that of him; I like him personally, but he appears not to have sufficient backbone to deal with genuine grievances when they are represented to him. The board's report continues: - >It is questionable whether any of the claims for these allowances can be regarded as equitable. Those claims were presented to the arbitrator appointed by this Parliament. After he has made his award, the board has the audacity to question its equity. Surely it is his job to determine these matters. Another paragraph in the report says: - >An item of expenditure which has given rise to considerable adverse criticism is that associated with payments for what is known as travelling time. The practice under arbitration awards is to grant officers travelling on public business a payment at ordinary salary rate, in respect of time occupied in travelling by train or other conveyance outside official hours. > >What right has the board to question the arbitrator's award? If it is dissatisfied it can approach the arbitrator for a re-hearing of any matter, but it is not entitled to suggest that the awards of the arbitrator are not justified and are not based on equity. The board also referred to the political rights of public servants : - > >In the board's last annual report, reference was made to the regrettable position which had arisen in connexion with the general elections, owing to the partisan attitude adopted by leaders of some of the Public Service Associations in conducting political propaganda and canvassing for contributions to a political fund. Representations were made to the Government by the board, and suggestions put forth as to the measures considered necesary to obviate a recurrence of this undesirable feature in Public Service life. > >The board has no authority to interfere with the political rights and activities of public servants outside office hours. These officers should not be denied freedom of action to give effect to their political views. The board's statement continues - > >The board regards the matter as of outstanding importance as bearing directly on the discipline and efficiency of the service, and as subversive of the policy of non-interference in party politics which should apply to servants of the Crown. While not desirous in any way of limiting political freedom of action as regards individual officers, it is considered that organized party political movements must prove detrimental to service associations and lessen their powers for good. > >The board should be told to mind its own business. This Parliament should not tolerate any attempt to deprive the public servant of the right to do as he chooses by organization or in any other way, to assert his political rights. The report further says - > >It is observed from the British press that the Government in Great Britain has been faced with a similar position, and that ar. announcement has been made in the House of Commons of intention to introduce legislation in the public interest to prevent the affiliation of civil service associations with industrial and political organizations. > >Because the Houseof Commons does a certain thing must this Parliament follow its example? All parties in Australia have recognized thatpublic servants, like other citizens, should have the fullest political freedom, provided that they render faithful service to their departments in office hours. They are entitled to form themselves into organizations, and had they not done so they probably would not have an arbitrator before whom they can voice their grievances. > >In the brief time at my disposal I propose to refer to the treatment meted out to "starred" postmasters by the Public Service Board. For the last eight or nine months I have been endeavouring to get satisfaction from the Postmaster-General in this regard, and have asked him to intervene with the Public Service Board to ensure that justice is done to those men. In the re-classification of postmasters in 1924, no fewer than 115 members of the clerical division were thrown back into the general division from which the majority of them graduated by examination as long as fifteen years ago. Of those 115men who are known as " starred " postmasters, 95 demonstrated telegraphic efficiency and an educational standard of high order to gain entry to the clerical division. They are the one section of the PostmasterGeneral's division to whom these tests were applied, for the older members of the division were admitted to the clerical division without having qualified in "sound reading" in telegraphy, and without being required to pass an educationalexamination. Because there was no provision for the regular advancement of the seventh-grade postmasters as there is for clerical assistants, telegraphists, or clerks, the starred postmasters have not received any increments over periods ranging up to ten years. Until recently seniority was based chiefly on the salary received, and because of that these postmasters lost their positions on the seniority list, and men who entered the clerical division years later than they, are now treated as senior to them, and are getting from £50 to £60 a year more than the older and more qualified men. Many of the starred postmasters are in charge of important post offices. That is a condition of affairs that should not obtain. If these starred postmasters are qualified, and have passed the requisite examinations, surely they are entitled to promotion and increments. To cap their grievances, the last basic wage adjust- ment has been refused them. All other postmasters received adjustments ranging from. £6 to £18 per annum, but the starred postmasters, the lowest paid of all, are to receive nothing. Because of their classification these qualified officers get no benefit from the basic wage adjustment. They are receiving about £300 or £305 a year, and others who joined the service years after them are receiving £350 to £380 a year. When I bring the matter before the Postmaster-General, he merely obtains a statement from the Public Service Board, andthere the thing rests. Years ago men in the Postal Department were given an opportunity to become country postmasters. Many of them did take country appointments, and filled them successfully. But because of their absence in the country over a certain period they were denied the increment that would have accrued to them had they remained in metropolitan or suburban post offices as assistants. A friend of mine was fortunate enough to refuse an opportunity to go into the country, and he is now receiving £60 a year more than a postmaster who was at that time senior to him. *At 7* *a.m.* The **CHAIRMAN (Mr. Bayley).The** time allowed for the discussion of this portion of the Estimates has now expired. {: .speaker-JOS} ##### Mr Bell: -- On a point of order. Shall I be given an opportunity later to discuss matters connected with Development and Migration Commission ? {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- That is not a point of order. If the honorable member will discuss the matter quietly with the Chair at a favorable opportunity an endeavour will be made to assist him. {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr Makin: -- Shall I have an opportunity of moving an amendment affecting the administration of old-age and invalid pensions? {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- The Chair cannot answer that question at this juncture. It has no option but to put the question. Question. - That the amount proposed to be reduced be so reduced (Mr. Charlton's amendment) - put. The committee divided. AYES: 18 NOES: 33 Majority . . 15 AYES NOES Question so resolved in the negative. Amendment negatived. Proposed votes agreed to. Attorney - General's Department, £154,170; Home and Territories Department, £298,269 ; Department of Defence, £4,713,500 {: #subdebate-25-0-s10 .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON:
Hunter -- I desire to refer to the action of the Government in appointing ex-Senator Drake-Brockman as a judge of the Arbitration Court. If there is one court in which presiding officers should be men who can be depended upon to discharge their duties impartially it is the Arbitration Court, because so much depends upon the confidence which the contending parties have in those who are to adjudicate between them. Judges of the Arbitration Court should not only be fully qualified from a legal point of view, but they' should also be without class prejudice. I regret that I cannot say that Judge Drake-Brockmaniswithout class bias. It is not pleasant to have to refer in this way to a gentleman occupying a high judicial position, but I have a. duty to perform to the community.We cannot expect industrial peace if either of the parties contesting a case before the court lacks confidence in the judge.Will honorable members say that Judge Drake-Brockman has the qualities which inspire confidence in the bench when industrial matters are being decided? I say advisedly that he is not a proper person to be a judge of the Arbitration Court. I shall produce evidence to show that before his elevation to the bench he was strongly opposed to industrialists. On pages 384 and 385 of *Hansard* of 13th July, 1922," **Senator Drake-Brockman** is reported as follows : - >I wish to say with regard to the Arbitration Court, that, in ray opinion, arbitration has been a failure in Australia........ ...... there are more industrial disputes, and more industrial unrest in Australia than in any other part of the world...... we are in a worse position to-day under the arbitration system than we were in before. A man who has spoken about the Arbitration Court in that way should not be appointed to the Arbitration Court bench. There are not more industrial disputes in Australia than anywhere else, nor is there more industrial unrest here than in any other part of the world. Judge Drake-Brockman said that we are in a worse position to-day under the arbitration system than we were in before Is a man who has given utterance to a statement of that kind a fit man to be put on the Arbitration Court bench? Judge Drake-Brockman maligned Australia because of an Arbitration Court system. The Melbourne *Herald,* of the 14th April, 1927, declared, in dealing with this appointment, " These political appointments must stop." The *Age,* of the 20th April, 1927, said- >The objections to the appointment of the former Government Whip, and former president of the Employers' Federation; are so substantially based, and have been advanced with such sincerity, thatMr. Bruce cannot dispose of the matter with a shrug of his shoulders and a wave of his hand. The *West Australian,* of the 25 th April, 1927, said- >The appointment of **Mr. Drake-Brockman** ....... is in a sense regrettable. **Mr.** > >Drake-Brockman, when a senator, was actively associated with the Employers' Federation in industrial matters. The *Age,* of the 24th April, 1927, made this further statement: - >It was obvious that a grave mistake has been made...... it is impossible to compliment the Government in this matter .... at present the only party which has suffered in reputation through the appointment is the Bruce government. The *Sunday Times,* of Perth, in its issue of the 22nd May, 1927, said : - >The perpetrators of this political frame-up are too old at the game not to be fully aware of the hostility and contempt which would be caused by appointing a forensic nobody to the important and highly technical task of interpreting industrial laws. Here is a further extract from the Sydney *Daily Guardian : -* >In careful terms the Nationalist paper *West Australian* objects to Bruce's appointment of ex-Senator E. A. Drake-Brockman as Federal Arbitration judge. > >While not doubting Judge Brockman's "zeal, integrity, and capacity," the newspaper, in an editorial, says: - > >The appointment is in a sense regrettable. **Mr. Drake-Brockman,** when a senator, was a whole-hearted supporter of the Bruce government, and was, at the same time, closely associated with the Employers' Federation in industrial matters. > >The *Guardian* last week protested against a judgeship being made a reward of party loyalty; and last year *Smith's Weekly* wrote up **Mr. Brockman** as " Bruce's paragon out of a place." > >Judge Brockman was formerly manager of the *West Australian* for his sister, Lady Hackett, widow of **Sir Wentrop** Hackett. I said nothing about the appointment at the time, although I strongly resented it, but subsequent happenings have shown that every statement contained in the newspaper extracts which I have quoted were fully justified. Judge DrakeBrockman's actions on the bench have shown that he is absolutely unqualified for the position he holds, and he should not be there any longer. Take, for instance, his attitude in regard to the **Mr Lyell** dispute. The *Age* of the 2nd August, 1927, reported the incident as follows : - > **Mr Lyell** Dispute - Judge Makes Unguarded Remark - Union Counsel withdraws from Case. - A remarkable attitude was adopted by Judge Drake-Brockman in the Arbitration Court yesterday. When hearing the views of the Amalgamated Engineering Union, he said it was obvious that they had broken thelaw. > >He refused the application made by **Mr. Menzies,** on behalf of the union, for an adjournment to consider affidavits, the contents "of which he had not been informed, and **Mr. Menzies** declined to continue. He and **Mr. Blackburn,** who was instructing him, left tlie court. > >After **Mr. Menzies** had spoken, Judge DrakeBrockman said: On the evidence before the court, it is obvious that your people have broken the law. I am satisfied that this is so and that a stoppage of work took place. > > **Mr. Menzies:** If you are satisfied of that there is no need for affidavits. > >His Honor: I am satisfied that this is only an offer to obtain more time. I am not going on with it. I am satisfied that it will not embarrass you. > > **Mr. Menzies** : You place us in a very peculiar position. You have heard only one side of the case and yet express an opinion on it...... This is the first occasion I have heard of a case being gone on with where the law has not been complied with. As you have taken this course my instructions are, in the circumstances, not to appear. , > > **Mr. Menzies** then withdrew from the court. > > **Mr. Dixon,** K.C. (appearing for the applicants) : There is now nothing for you to do but move for the order absolute. > >His Honor said he would make the order accordingly. The judge's attitude in connexion with that case proved that he is quite unsatisfactory' for the position he occupies. He pre-judged the case. He did not wait to have any affidavits taken or to hear counsel. No man who sits in judgment can do that. His attitude was just what one might expect from a person who has been associated with the employers all his life. His prejudice got the better of him. Everybody knows how this appointment was made. At the time of the last Senate election **Senator DrakeBrockman** .was abroad at Geneva. Prior to his going there was a dispute between the two political parties, the Country party and the Nationalists, in regard to Senate candidates. There was just a possibility that **Senator Pearce** would be defeated if **Senator Drake-Brockman** stood for election, and something had to be done to save the situation. **Senator DrakeBrockman** was sent to Geneva, and did not return to Australia in time. The elections were brought on hurriedly in his absence. To compensate him for that, something had to be given to him. He had to get some position, and I suppose he wanted a position that was worth while. Justice should always be pure, but whether it is in the Arbitration Court, or in civil, criminal or equity jurisdiction, our judges should be above suspicion, and they have always been so .until the present Government appointed this man, who has been actively identified with the Employers' Association, and is prejudiced against the working man. Yet he remains on the bench. I think we are justified in saying that this was entirely a political appointment. There are many persons in the Commonwealth who are more fitted for this position than the man who was appointed. Everybody knows that he was hanging about Parliament House for months after his return from Europe, living on the place as it were, and waiting on the doorstep for what might be given to him. {: #subdebate-25-0-s11 .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr LATHAM:
AttorneyGeneral · Kooyong · NAT .- The Leader of the Opposition has challenged the appointment to the Arbitration Court of Judge Drake-Brockman, upon the ground that he was not qualified for the position at the time of his appointment, that he was a partisan, and that his was a political appointment. In the first place I suggest that little attention should be given to the opinions expressed in some newspapers, and that honorable members should not be influenced by the. headlines or by comments which are often supplied by ill-informed' persons. I do not intend to pay any regard to this aspect of the question, but I shall endeavour to answer the points raised by the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Charlton).** I know Judge DrakeBrockman very well, and can give my honest opinion of his capacity and character. 1 regard him as an able, fair-minded man, well qualified for the position which he now occupies. He had legal experience as a solicitor in Western Australia, and after the war practised at the bar in Victoria: I think honorable members as a whole will admit that, when a member of the Senate, he earned the general respect of members of both branches of the legislature. He rendered distinguished service at the war, and when he returned, in common with some other members of his profession, did not immediately establish a connexion on returning to the bar. -He is, however, a well qualified lawyer and has enjoyed the respect of the members of the profession. {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr Makin: -- Had he a practice before he went overseas? {: .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr LATHAM: -- He was practising his profession in Western Australia. As the Leader of the Opposition attacked a gentleman who is not here to defend himself, I wish to submit facts so that honorable members may form their own opinions. One statement made by the honorable member may, perhaps, carry a certain amount of weight, and that is that several years ago judge DrakeBrockman, when a private citizen, was president of the Employers' Federation of Victoria. He has never been an employer of labour, but, when his fatherinlaw died he was appointed executor to his estate, and in that capacity was responsible for winding up the business. So far as I am aware, that is the only way in which he has been associated with commerce or industry. The Employers' Federation, however, recognizing his ability and legal attainments, asked him to assist the organization, which he agreed to do, and eventually became president of the Federation. In that capacity he did a great deal towards liberalizing its ideals. We have now to consider whether that is to be a factor which must be regarded as a disqualification for a person otherwise fitted to occupy such an important position as that which Judge DrakeBrockman now holds. I submit that it should not be, and that everything depends upon ability, integrity and character. The Leader of the Opposition quoted a sentence of two from a speech delivered by **Senator Drake-Brockman** in 1922, as recorded in *Hansard,* but I should like to refer honorable members to a speech which that gentleman delivered in the Senate on the 18th June, .1926, and which appears on page 3269 of *Hansard* of 1926. {: .speaker-KRD} ##### Mr McGrath: -- How long was that before he was appointed to his present position ? {: .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr LATHAM: -- The appointment was made early this year, and I suggest that honorable members interested in the subject of arbitration should peruse this informative speech, a portion of which reads - >I cwn understand tlie honorable senator speaking feelingly and strongly on this subject when he tells us so frankly that he does not believe in arbitration. That is his view. I do not agree with him. He tells us that arbitration has been a failure in Australia, but he makes that statement in very broad and general terms, and produces no evidence in support of it. > > **Senator Kingsmill.** Nor any reason to show why it has been a failure. > > **Senator DRAKE BROCKMAN.** Precisely. Compulsory arbitration is an experiment. It is being carried on in Australia and New Zealand. So far the evidence does not prove that it is a success. Neither does it show that it is a failure. As a matter of fact I think the evidence points rather to its having been a success and that, consequently, we are justified in continuing it for the purpose oi determining finally whether it is a success or a failure. It was unfair of the Leader of the Opposition to quote what Judge Drake Brockman said in 1922, when he very fully discussed the subject of arbitration in 1926. The fact that he was a member of the Senate, and a supporter of one of a political party, should' not disqualify him from occupying a position on the bench. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr Charlton: -- He should not have been closely associated with an industrial organization. {: .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr LATHAM: -- I do not think that affects the position on this point. Surely we are not going to lay it down as a principle that a qualified person who devotes his energies to the service of his "Country shall on that account be considered incapable of occupying a judicial position. No such condition obtains in Great Britain or in the States of Australia, or in other dominions, and if it did many able men would be prevented from acting in such a capacity. There may be some honorable members who may say that, as I am a member of the legal profession, I have a remote degree of personal interest in the matter,, but I hope I have the respect of honorable members opposite sufficiently for them to believe me when I say that personal considerations do not affect this appointment in the slightest degree. It would be a great mistake to regard political experience or party allegiance as a disqualification for a position on the bench. It is very difficult indeed to get suitable persons to accept a seat on the Arbitration Court bench, principally, I suppose, because its judges are always in the line of fire, which affects the work of the court, and makes it more difficult for it to discharge its important functions. The Commonwealth, however, " has been very fortunate in securing the services of very able men as arbitration judges. The course followed in some of the States has been quite different, as in New South Wales recently 2S0 conciliation committees were appointed, 200 of which were presided over by the union secretaries. In Queensland men have been appointed to discharge judicial functions, although they did not possess the necessary qualifications. Reference has been made to the Mount Lyell case, concerning which the following heading appeared in a certain newspaper: - "Judge makes unguarded remark - Union advocate withdraws." 1 have obtained the file in connexion with this case, and am in a position to say that the Leader of the Opposition has been misinformed concerning highly relevant facts. The documents are not now before me, but I speak from a recollection of their contents, which I think is correct. He said that the learned judge decided the case against the union without hearing evidence, whereupon the union advocate withdrew. Anyone who has read the reports of the case and has even a meagre knowledge of legal practice and tactics would admit that on this occasion the representative of the men had no argument to submit, and, therefore, left the court. What were the facts of the case? Sworn evidence was before the court, in the form of affidavits, which showed that a union official, **Mr. Hargraves,** who was, I think, representing an engineering union, deliberately incited a strike. Sworn affidavits were presented by a representative of the Mount Lyell company showing that **Mr. Hargreave3** had told him that the men were going on strike, or that he was going to " pull them out," or words to that- effect. There was the clearest evidence against the organization, and on the affidavits an order *nisi* was granted, on the return of which the incident to which the Leader of the Opposition referred occurred. **Mr. Menzies** appeared for the organization, and **Mr. Hargreaves,** who was with him in the court, had only to step into the box and give his evidence on a very simple issue. He did not, however, do this. No reply was made or sought to be made. A temporizing address was given by counsel, and the judge said that in a matter of great urgency - the holding up of the operations of the Mount Lyell mine was certainly a matter of great importance to Tasmania and to the Commonwealth - the defendants were playing for time. The judge used a discretion that he was entitled to exercise, and he acted on the evidence before him, which was uncontradicted and clearly established the things alleged. The newspaper reporter who referred to the judge's " unguarded remark " did not appreciate the fact that there were affidavits by which the judge had been guided, and that there was an individual in the court who could have answered these affidavits had he been in a position to do so. In circumstancessuch as that, should a judge allow every time-wasting device to prevail, when it was a matter of the working or the non-working of such a great enterprise as the **Mr Lyell** Mine? Looking at the facts, not first hand, but on statements that to the best of my belief are accurate. I put it to .honorable members that what the judge did .must reasonably be regarded as sensible and fair. A judge has to make up his . mind on many matters on which there is room for differences of opinion. That is a common occurrence in legal or quasi-legal proceedings. The losing party is often dissatisfied with a ruling, but the failure of one side to agree with it is not evidence of a lack of impartiality. This is the only public criticism of the judge that has been made since he has occupied a seat on the bench. I have placed the facts before honorable members, and I ask them to decide whether the remarks of the Leader of the Opposition were justified. It has also been suggested by him that Ministers had some personal object to serve in making the al)pointment. Bandying words upon such a subject as this is of little use. I can only assure honorable members that the Government had no object to serve except to make the best appointment it could to a position which demanded a high order of ability and integrity. It could have appointed an inconspicuous individual to the position had it chosen to do so. {: #subdebate-25-0-s12 .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr FORDE: -- Was there no barrister in .Victoria possessing higher qualifications? {: .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr LATHAM: -- I do not intend to make a comparison between a number of men who are personally known to me. These judicial positions demand special knowledge and qualifications. The majority of barristers have not the special qualifications, consisting of interest in and knowledge of industrial affairs, whicli are, speaking generally, necessary to give them a reasonable prospect of success on the bench of the Arbitration Court. It has' been suggested that the appointment was a reward to a defeated candidate who had supported the Government in Parliament, and 'to whom, therefore, the Government was indebted. The Leader of the Opposition happens to be wrong in his facts. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr Charlton: -- I did not say that he was defeated. {: .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr LATHAM: -- Then I misunderstood the honorable member. The suggestion that at the judge know what was going to happen. is entirely without foundation. There is no truth in the suggestion that the appointment was a reward for past political services. The Government made the appointment and accepts the responsibility for it, believing that the best appointment that could be made was made, and that the judge was eminently suitable for the work entrusted to him. {: #subdebate-25-0-s13 .speaker-F4Q} ##### Mr SCULLIN:
Yarra .Like the Leader of the Opposition, I am reluctant to speak concerning the judiciary, because we must endeavour to maintain public confidence in our judges. I. do not intend to discuss the details of the appointment. 1 have no quarrel with Judge Drake-Brockman personally, but although the Attorney-General spoke of his outstanding ability and suitability for his position, it was apparent that the Minister had given no evidence of it. My only reason for speaking on this matter is that I am a believer in arbitration. I consider that it has succeeded largely in this country, and has prevented many disputes that might have been responsible for great loss. T believe that industrial disputes should be settled by arbitration instead of by the brutal method of the strike or lock-out. No doubt there are times when a trial of strength is unavoidable; but we cannot make criminals of *men* who *refuse to* sell their labour at any price offered. The man who tells us that industrial disputes should always be settled by arbitration would probably be one of the first to take the law into his own hands in certain circumstances. In some cases the ordinary processes of law go by the board, and manhood comes into consideration. I tell the Attorney-General that his action, and that of his Government, whether good or bad, will strike a severe blow at the principle of arbitration in Australia. Whether all that the judge said was true or not, the fact remains that the associations of his life, industrially and politically, have been antilabour, and the Arbitration Court will practically break down .when men lose confidence in those appointed to the bench. I do not say that political service should disqualify one for appointment to the judiciary. I remember a gentleman who served with distinction to himself and satisfaction to the people, both in the political arena and in the Arbitration Court; I refer to **Mr. Justice** Higgins, than whom no greater man has appeared in both the public life and the judiciary of this country. The Government appointed three other judges io the Arbitration Court, and while I do not intend to throw bouquets at them, and say that they have done much to preserve industrial peace, it can be said that they, at least, have possessed splendid qualifications as lawyers. But I had seen no evidence of much legal experience in Judge DrakeBrockman before his appointment. If the Government had chosen a man who had been opposed to us politically, or with outstanding legal qualifications, that would have lifted the appointment above the suspicion of being a party one ; but as this judge has established no reputation as a practising lawyer, and was a ruling spirit in the Employers' Federation, the appointment has created distrust among the very men. whom we wish to come to the Court in order to make it a success. If the unionists of this country said to-morrow that they would have nothing to do with arbitration, the Government could pass all the crime laws that it chose and yet could not force them to accept the decisions of the Court. {: .speaker-KF9} ##### Mr A GREEN:
KALGOORLIE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · ALP; FLP from 1931; ALP from 1936 -- A man cannot be made to work ifhe does not want to do so. {: .speaker-F4Q} ##### Mr SCULLIN: -- That is so. We can- not make people continue in business unless it suits them to do so, and, similarly a workman cannot be forced to sell his labour at a price to which he objects. We must endeavour to set up tribunals that will win the confidence of both sides; but it will not be done by appointments such as this. I join with the Leader of the Opposition in the hope that cases of this kind will not again come under notice. The honorable gentleman referred to the appointment of conciliation officers who had had no judicial training. I submit that judicial training is not an essential qualification for a conciliation officer. I am not satisfied that he has established the claim that partisanship was displayed in relation to some of the appointments to which he referred. Even if he has, he thus accuses himself. There has been too much proneness to refer to what has been done by others. Surely this Parliament should mark out its own road without reference to what has been done in other places. I make no personal reflection upon the man who was appointed to this position, but I regret the appointment because the effect of it is to weaken the confidence of the mass of the workers in the Arbitration Court. I fear that the day is not far distant when that court will be spurned by the men to whom we look for the preservation of industrial peace. Let us appoint men in whom the workers will have confidence. Arbitration will then be made all that it should be. I shall not attempt to discuss the Mount Lyell case, to which the Attorney-General has referred. His remarks were based upon what he read in the newspapers. {: .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr Latham: -- No. I sent for the file at the time. If the honorable member is sufficiently interested I can obtain it again and show it to him. {: .speaker-F4Q} ##### Mr SCULLIN: -- I am interested. My knowledge is based upon what I read in the Melbourne *Age,* which cannot be accused of partisanship. It confirmed the opinion which I held, that a stupendous blunder had been made. {: .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr Latham: -- That was an altogether unjust criticism. {: .speaker-F4Q} ##### Mr SCULLIN: -- It was the opinion that I held at the time. The union officer had arrived from Tasmania only that day and had not had an opportunity to see any of the affidavits. He was obliged to proceed with the case immediately and during the preliminary remarks of counsel for the men, before one witness had been called in support of their case or in rebuttal of evidence that had been given against them by way of affidavit, the judge indicated clearly his opinion. That amounted to the pronouncing of a judgment. In effect he condemned the men and adjudged them guilty of the charge before he had heard one word of evidence on their behalf. That is an established fact, to which the only answer the Attorney-General has. made is that the judge was satisfied that **Mr. Menzies** knew he had no case and was only sparring for an opening so that he might walk out of court. {: .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr Latham: -- Do not attribute to the judge what I have expressed as my own opinion. I said I thought that that was obvious. What the judge said was that he acted on the uncontradicted affidavits. {: .speaker-F4Q} ##### Mr SCULLIN: -He acted on uncontradicted affidavits that had not been seen by either the counsel for the men or the person who was specially interested and who had arrived in Melbourne within a few hours of the hearing of the case and had had no opportunity to rebut the evidence that had been given against him. Any judge who knew his job would have said - "I shall wait until I hear some evidence before I find these men guilty of the charge." The attitude which he adopted must be considered in conjunction with his close association with employers as president of the Employers' Federation. That in itself would be sufficient to create distrust even if he were the fairest man living. The explanation of the Attorney-General regarding the manner in which Judge Drake-Brockman, before he went on the Bench, became president of the Employers' Federation was not convincing. He was not an employer of labour or associated with employers; he was acting only temporarily as an executor; yet his sympathies lay so strongly in the direction of the employers that he became the president of their federation. {: .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr Latham: -- The explanation is that he was keenly anxious for the well-being of industry and the maintenance of good will between each section. That was the only way in which he could help, and he chose it. {: .speaker-F4Q} ##### Mr SCULLIN: -- I hope that that is the explanation. He has not, during the whole course of his life, done very much to bring about conciliation in industry. We rest our protest largely upon the fact that a man was appointed who had no outstanding qualificationsfor the position and who in public life, both political and industrial, held anti-labour opinions. {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr Blakeley: -- And intensely conservative opinions at that. {: .speaker-F4Q} ##### Mr SCULLIN: -- The appointment has struck a severe blow at the whole principle of arbitration. {: #subdebate-25-0-s14 .speaker-JWQ} ##### Mr G FRANCIS:
KENNEDY, QUEENSLAND · NAT -- **Mr. Duncan-Hughes-** {: #subdebate-25-0-s15 .speaker-10000} ##### The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Mr Duncan: -Hughes). - The honorable member for Kennedy. {: .speaker-KRD} ##### Mr McGrath: -- You have no right, **Mr. Temporary Chairman,** to call upon any honorable member from the Government side, seeing that we onthisside have had our privileges curtailed. {: #subdebate-25-0-s16 .speaker-10000} ##### The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN: -- Order ! I have called upon the honorable member for Kennedy to speak. {: .speaker-KRD} ##### Mr McGrath: -- I do not consider that you are doing the right thing. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN: -- Order ! The honorable member for Ballarat will resume his seat. {: .speaker-KRD} ##### Mr McGrath: -- The honorable member for Kennedy and other honorable members opposite voted for the application of the guillotine, thus denyiug to honorable members who sit on this side the right to speak to the extent that the Standing Orders would otherwise allow. I therefore move - >That the honorable member for Kennedy be not further heard. Motion negatived. {: .speaker-JWQ} ##### Mr G FRANCIS:
KENNEDY, QUEENSLAND · NAT -- I listened with a great deal of interest to the remarks of the honorable member for Yarra **(Mr. Scullin)** because he was dealing with vitally important questions. It is a simple matter to attempt to discredit appointments that are made to the judiciary; but such a taskought to be undertaken with the utmost care and circumspection. During the course of the honorable member's speech I recalled the appointment of the late **Mr. Justice** McCauley to the presidency of the Queensland Arbitration Court and to a seat on the Supreme Court bench, of which he later became the Chief Justice. He was almost unknown to the legal profession throughout Queensland, and his appointment was received with a great deal of mistrust. {: .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr Forde: -- For years he had been Crown Solicitor. {: .speaker-JWQ} ##### Mr G FRANCIS:
KENNEDY, QUEENSLAND · NAT -- He was Crown Solicitor for several years, but he bad had practically no experience as a practising barrister. It is usual for appointees to the judiciary to have practised for at least five years at the bar. However, in a few short months, **Mr. Justice** McCauley, by his ability, the clarity of his judgments, and the soundness of his law, established the wisdom and the prudence of his appointment. The members of the legal' profession in Queensland accepted the appointment of **Mr. Justice** McCauley and believed that he exercised a strengthening influence on the judiciary. But there have been other appointments in Queeusland. I do not propose to discuss general principles, but I should like to remind honorable members that the Arbitration Court in that State was flouted by the unions generally and declared black by some. The State Labour Government withdrew an award that was in force and subsidized the unions for having declared the court black. It was then found necessary to make additional appointments to the Arbitration Court bench. It stands to the credit of the legal profession in Queensland that no member of it was willing to accept such an appointment. To escape from the dilemma in which he found himself the Premier of the day abolished the Arbitration Court and created in its stead a Board of Trade, of which he appointed himself the chairman and **Mr. W.** J. Dunstan a member. {: .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr Forde: -- It is absolutely incorrect to say that no member of the legal profession would accept a seat on the Arbitration Court bench. {: .speaker-JWQ} ##### Mr G FRANCIS:
KENNEDY, QUEENSLAND · NAT -- It is a fact that is undeniable. The public of Queensland regarded those two appointments to the Board of Trade as political appointments. Such a slur is easily cast. Possibly those gentlemen were chosen because of their familiarity with certain phases of industrial life. The question is, have they justified their appointment ? I think it will be generally agreed that Judge Drake-Brockman has justified his appointment to the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Court by the impartiality and fairness ' he has displayed in every matter that has come before him. It is easy to make the assertion that in the Mount Lyell case he indicated a certain condition of mind after the perusal of the evidence of only one side and before he had heard what the other side had to say. Only a. short while ago, **Mr. Piddington** declared that it was his duty to make anaward fixing a living wage before he had heard any evidence; and several weeks later he proceeded to the hearing of evidence, presumably in order to support the judgment he had already given. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr Charlton: -- In every instance his actions have been upheld on appeal. The most recent endorsement of his attitude has come from the High Court of Australia. {: .speaker-JWQ} ##### Mr G FRANCIS:
KENNEDY, QUEENSLAND · NAT -- The Arbitration Act provides that claims may be placed upon a file in the registry and served upon the other party. There is provision also for the takingof evidence by affidavit ; and such evidence may be answered by opposing affidavits. In the Mount Lyell case, certain evidence had been placed upon the file; but, although a sufficient time had elapsed to allow of the filing of answering affidavits that action was not taken. Naturally the court considered what was before it, as it was in duty bound to do. After a consideration of all the cases that have since come before Judge Drake-Brockman there can be only one verdict; that is, that the appointment has been amply justified by the wisdom, the moderation, the fairness and the evenhanded justice which the learned judge has displayed. {: #subdebate-25-0-s17 .speaker-KRD} ##### Mr McGRATH:
Ballarat -- I regret that it is necessary to refer to this appointment. With other honorable members who sit on this side I am a great believer in arbitration. I want every industrial dispute to be referred to the Arbitration Court, and its award obeyed by both parties. I feel, however, that if many more appointments of this character are made arbitration will cease to be the means by which disputes will be settled in Australia. It is of no use to tell us, as the honorable member for Kennedy **(Mr. G. Francis)** did, of certain apments that were made in Queensland. We were not responsible for thos appointments. If political considerations were the governing factor, I very much regret it. We can at least say that all previous appointments to the Commonwealth Arbitration Court - and they were made by opponents of Labour - have been above suspicion and were not challenged by Labour. The appointees have been men who stood high in the legal profession and held the respect of practically every class in the community. It remained for this Government to depart from that practice. It must be remembered that the working classes to-day are not ignorant ; they can read, and they know exactly whatis going on. Prior to the last general election, the Government took full advantage of the. shipping trouble and also raised the cry of Bolshevism. At about that time there was a quarrel between the Nationalist and Country parties in. Western Australia, and there was some trouble about the selection of candidates for the Senate. The Country party insisted upon nominating a candidate and, to clear the way, **Senator Drake-Brockman,** as he was then, decided not to submit his name for pre-selection. His decision made possible the amalgamation of the two parties for the purpose of contesting the Senate vacancies for Western Australia. Almost immediately following his withdrawal, the Government announced his appointment as the representative of Australia at the approaching League of Nations Assembly at Geneva. I asked the Prime Minister in the House if that was **Senator Drake-Brockman's** reward for withdrawing from the selection ballot, and of course the right honorable gentleman indignantly repudiated the idea. **Senator Drake-Brockman** returned to Australia to find that his party had been victorious at the polls, and then came what I believe was the fulfilment of the other promise - his appointment to the vacant judgeship to the Arbitration Court. The Ministry has no reason to he proud of its appointment. The honorable the Attorney-General **(Mr. Latham)** mentioned **Mr. Drake-Brockman's** special qualifications for the position; he did not tell the committee what that gentleman had done in his profession. We know that he could get no work in Melbourne. The Attorney-General suggested that, having served his country during the war, **Mr. Drake-Brockman** lost his legal practice. I remind him that other "gentlemen of the legal profession also served in the war and upon their return to Australia engaged in practice again. I need only mention the case of the Honorable W. Slater, the present Attorney-General of Victoria. He was qualifying to become a solicitor when war broke out; upon his return he diligently applied himself to his profession and has. since risen high in it. **Mr. A.** Green. - **Mr. Drake-Brockman** had no practice in Western Australia before he left for the front. {: .speaker-KRD} ##### Mr McGRATH: -- He had no practice because he had no. ability. The newspaper that employed him and knew him best was the first to decry his appointment to the Arbitration Court bench. When- **Mr. Drake-Brockman** came back he could get nothing to do- as a barrister because he was totally lacking in ability. He is now one of our Arbitration Court judges simply because of the peculiar combination of political circumstances in Western Australia. I regret the appointment very much. It will weaken the confidence of the people who have to appeal- before the court. His decisions may be sound enough, but there will always be the- suspicion that they are biased because of the manner in which his appointment was made. The Ministry deserves the severest condemnation for its action. I trust that the- Government will never make another appointment in this way. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Mr Duncan: -Hughes). - Owing to- an inexactitude in drafting; the Department of Trade, and Customs has been included' in the portion of the- Estimates which is to be taken up- to 12 o'clock to-day. I am informed by the Prime Minister that with the concurrence of the honorable- the Leader of the Opposition, it is intended that the Department of Trade and Customs shall not be taken up to 12 o'clock, but that it shall fall into the next section, which has to be taken between 12 noon and 5 p.m. The department mentioned will be the first to be dealt with during that period. . {: #subdebate-25-0-s18 .speaker-KMS} ##### Mr MANNING:
Macquarie -- We must all regret the bitterness of the remarks made by J;he honorable member who has just resumed his seat **(Mr. McGrath).** Those who know Judge Drake-Brockman best are convinced that he is well fitted for the high position that he now occupies. Personally, I regret very much that he is. not still a member of this Parliament. I came in contact with him perhaps more than I did with any other honorable senator, and I cannot help feeling that the country is the poorer for his retirement from political life. Knowing his as I do I cannot permit to pass unchallenged the aspersions that have been cast upon his ability by the honorable member for Ballarat. When **Mr. DrakeBrockman,** who was then a member of the Senate, left Australia to attend the Geneva Conference he had no idea that a general election was pending. It is true that he had decided not to contest, one of the Senate seats for Western Australia; it is also true that he fully intended to contest a seat for the House of Representatives; and I can assure the honorable member for Ballarat that ho is a very fortunate man. If **Mr. DrakeBrockman** had been in Australia at thetime of the last election, it is highly probable that we should now have had him> instead of **Mr. McGrath,** as the representative of Ballarat in this House. What you said, sir, in reference toappointments made to the judiciary was absolutely correct. My recollection goes back a long way. I recall many appointments that were- made in New South Wales* and I can- say,, without contradiction, that many of the ablestmen on the Supreme Court bench- in that State were recruited from the ranks of'" Parliament. It would be a great mistakeif we took the stand, that,, because a manhad' served- in Parliament - and no mem ber, of Parliament can render useful service to his country unless he is attached; to one of the parties - he should he debarred from holding a responsible judicial office in either State or Commonwealth. {: .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr Forde: -- No one would object to the appointment of the present AttorneyGeneral to the judiciary. {: .speaker-KMS} ##### Mr MANNING: -- I agree with the honorable member. It is not too much to say that the appointments made to the Commonwealth judiciary from the inception of federation, have proved to be entirely satisfactory. It is to be deplored, therefore, that there should be this attempt to besmirch a character of a man, who, because of his judicial position, is unable to reply to his critics. Reference has been made to the Small Arms Factory at Lithgow. Statements Lave been made to the effect that valuable machinery installed in that factory is being allowed to rust. I can -speak from first-hand knowledge of the establishment and of many who are conconnected with, and I say that the statement is wholly unwarranted. The honorable member for Maribyrnong **(Mr. Fenton)** suggested that the machinery, when not being utilized for the -manufacture of small arms, should be employed in making articles for other departments, and he mentioned telephone parts. We all know that the Government's policy is not to engage in State enterprises of that sort. I think that is the right course to adopt. The machinery at the Lithgow factor) has been designed for a special purpose. If it were employed for other purposes the cost of manufacture would be substantially higher than it should be. In other words, it would not be a good economic proposition. We have at that factory a fine nucleus staff. If, unfortunately, war should come again, it would be possible, by the employment of outside mechanics, working under the direction of the experts to bring it into full production at short notice. The quality of the rifles turned out at the factory has also been criticized. The rifle barrels made there are much in demand from rifle clubs throughout Australia. There is not the slightest doubt about the high quality of the workmanship, and the price is right. We have every reason to be proud of the factory. It is being worked in the best interests of the country. *Sitting suspended from 8.S0 a.m. to 9. SO a.m. (Friday).* {: #subdebate-25-0-s19 .speaker-KYI} ##### The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Mr Prowse:
FORREST, WESTERN AUSTRALIA -- The honorable member for Hindmarsh. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr Charlton: -- I call attention to the want of a quorum. *[Quorum formed.]* {: #subdebate-25-0-s20 .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN:
Hindmarsh -- It is somewhat difficult to express oneself in the temperate language becoming a representative of the people in a deliberate assembly, when one takes into consideration the circumstances in which we are compelled to debate the Estimates. This is the first opportunity that I have had, since the Estimates were brought forward for consideration - I suggest ill-matured consideration - to register my protest against, and indignation at, the way in which the representatives of the people are being deprived of the right to give adequate expressions to the opinions of their constituents. The public will not condone the offence of the Government when it recognizes that no excuse can be urged for not presenting the Estimates at an earlier and more opportune time. I desire to address myself particularly to the appointment of Judge Drake-Brockman. His was .a most unfortunate selection. Any one appointed to our Arbitration Court Bench must possess the confidence and respect of employer and employee alike, and must be entirely free from any suspicion of partisanship. Those characteristics cannot be applied to Judge Drake-Brockman. 'His earlier active political associations were directly opposed in outlook to organized labour, and must bias his judgment. It is essential that those presiding over our civil, criminal and conciliation and arbitration tribunals should hold the scales of justice evenly, so that our great system of jurisprudence may maintain and even add lustre to its present splendid reputation. One asks oneself what special qualifications Judge DrakeBrockman possessed for the position. It has been advanced by the AttorneyGeneral **(Mr. Latham)** that he was a man of some eminence in his profession, and that his extensive practice in Western Australia justified his appointment. From what I can learn his practice was of meagre proportions compared with that of successful practitioners in Western Australia. He certainly did not enjoy the prominence at the bar that the honorable gentleman indicated, andwhichhas been urged as a justification for. his selection. Did it not occur to the Attorney-General that men possessing the qualifications of Deputy Judge Webb and Deputy Judge Jethro-Brown, or even those of Deputy Judge **Sir John** Quick, were eminently better qualified for the position. A grave injustice has been done to Deputy Judge Webb, in particular. That gentleman while acting in a temporary capacity on our Arbitration Court Bench acquitted himself with great credit. His impartiality was undoubted. He rendered the country extremely valuable service, and it would have been most appropriate to makehis appointment permanent. At great personal inconvenience that gen thuan made himself thoroughly conversant with the details of every action which came before him. In many cases he gave judgments highly in favour of the employees of various industries, but in no case could he be suspected of bias. He proved himself to possess, to an extraordinary degree, the qualifications re-'' quired of an Arbitration Court judge. It is therefore remarkable that his claims were overlooked and that those of such an individual as Judge Drake-Brockman were given prior consideration. Rightly or wrongly, I am prompted to believe that the appointment of the latter gentleman savours of political partisanship - of the principle of " the spoils to the victors." It appears to me to have been a reward to one who rendered the Nationalist Party considerable service in the political sphere. My opinion is that the earlier associations of that gentleman tend to bias his outlook and impair his impartiality. The Attorney-General, in attempting to justify the appointment of Judge Drake-Brockman, explained how that gentleman became associated with the Employers' Federation. He endeavoured to make it appear that it was quite by chance that the Employers' Federation selected him- - that, as trustee for a certain estate, he was brought into touch with commercial activities, where his outstanding ability and impartiality strongly impressed the Employers' Federation. It appears to me that there was something more than meets the eye behind the selection. He was the president of the Employers' Federation, and was appointed to that position in recognition of the valuable services that he had rendered or was likely to render to that organization, and particularly in view of the fact that he had a considerable amount of political influence, and at times was admitted to the counsels of this Government. It is very evident from the organized propaganda that has been instituted by the Employers' Federation throughout Australia, that it is trying to alienate sympathy from the Commonwealth Arbitration Court. Recently, **Mr. Brooks,** who is associated with commercial interests, made a speech in Perth. He strongly denounced the Arbitration Court as being a means of unduly increasing the standard of living of the workers. It was not an isolated outburst, because **Mr. Bakewell,** of South Australia, was equally emphatic in his declaration that innumerable anomalies existed in respect of our system of arbitration, and he doubted the wisdom of continuing the court as it is constituted at present. In addition, **Sir David** Gordon, of South Australia, has expressed a lack of confidence in the Arbitration Court; in fact he styled it an " irresponsible tribunal." Even honorable members supporting the Government have repeatedly stated that they are greatly dissatisfied with the present system of arbitration. It is very evident that a well organized attempt is being made to depreciate the value of arbitration for the prevention and settlement of industrial disputes. The appointment of Judge DrakeBrockman is calculated to destroy the confidence of the working class in the Arbitration Court and to arouse suspicion and mistrust of those appointed by the Commonwealth Government to fix wages and conditions. {: .speaker-KJM} ##### Mr Jackson: -- Tell us something about the waterside workers. {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN: -- No doubt tbe circumstances associated with this recent appointment to the Arbitration Court has destroyed the confidence of the water-side workers in that institution as a means to prevent and settle industrial disputes, and to fix fair wages and conditions. It is remarkable that Judge Drake-Brockman was appointed immediately after the court decided upon a working week of 44 hours. Evidently the Government hopes to have that award reviewed and with the aid of Judge Drake-Brockman to upset it. Any interference with the Commonwealth Arbitration Court and the standards that it has set in respect of wages and conditions, will surely lead to suspicion and unrest. The workmen have a right to expect absolute impartiality from the judiciary. Would any one contend that Judge DrakeBrockman holds qualifications equal to those of eminent members of the legal profession who would have been well pleased to accept a position on Arbitration Court? {: .speaker-KYI} ##### The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Mr Prowse: -- The honorable member's time has expired. {: #subdebate-25-0-s21 .speaker-JOS} ##### Mr BELL:
Darwin .- I wish briefly to discuss the proposed vote for defence. Very many persons in the community have been alarmed to read in the press, and some of us have read in the report of the Inspector-General of Military Forces **(Sir Harry Chauvel)** that the amount of money provided for the defence of Australia is quite inadequate to enable anything but the most incomplete training to be provided for a limited number of our young men. It will be allowed by the majority of honorable members of the committee, as well as by the great bulk of our people, that the first duty of the Government is to provide adequately for the defence of the country. It is generally realized, of course, that our resources in men and money are not sufficient for us to make full provision for defence against every possible aggressor; but we should be doing far more than we are doing, and at least, we should be wisely spending the money that is available. In my opinion the methods thai arc being adopted by those who are responsible for the actual training of our young men are satis factory. We have in Australia what is called a system of compulsory universal military training, but the word "universal" is a misnomer. In consequence of the reduction of the defence vote from time to time, many of our young men are not receiving any training whatever. I know that compulsory training is not popular with some of our youths, with some selfish employers in the communnity who are not willing to allow their employees off from their work for a half-day in the month, and with some parents who, on. other grounds, object to military training; but these persons are in a minority. The community in general, and our youths in particular, are quite prepared to give up a certain amount of their leisure in order to equip themselves, in some measure, at least, to defend their country if the need for it should arise. But it is unfortunate that while the young men in some towns are compelled to train, those in adjacent towns are left free to do as they please. In my opinion we should provide sufficient money to make universal such training as is provided. The InspectorGeneral, in his report, reminds us that the compulsory training is limited to twelve days in each of three years in addition to an eight days' camp of continuous training each year. This is quite insufficient to enable our young men to become acquainted with the mechanical weapons and technical arms which are essential in these days to any moderately well-equipped defence force. Those responsible for the training of our men are doing very well under great disadvantages and discouragement, and I do not desire it to be thought that I am criticizing their work ; but I have actively interested myself for a number of years in defence matters, and although I do not suggest that I am better equipped to advise the Government than those who are at present charged with this duty, I feel that it is my duty to suggest that certain alterations should be made in our methods. It would be advisable, I submit, to provide for a period of six months' continuous training at some period in the life of our young men. The minimum period that could give any satisfactory results would be three months. We should get far better results than we are now obtaining if we were to place our trainees in camps for three months and give them an intensive course of training. Under the existing arrangement the men go into camp for one week in each year, and in addition attend twelve half-day parades. This is totally inadequate. It would be far more satisfactory to all the parties concerned if the men were obliged to enter camp for three consecutive months for the purposes of military training. That would give the officers and noncommissioned officers who are responsible for the training an opportunity to do really effective work. {: .speaker-KI7} ##### Sir Neville Howse: -- At what age would the honorable member suggest these men should be put into camp? {: .speaker-JOS} ##### Mr BELL: -- I should not take them in hand until they were at least sixteen years of age, but I would prefer them to be seventeen or eighteen years old. At the age mentioned most of them would have completed a reasonably good educational course, though they would hardly have settled down to their life's work. {: #subdebate-25-0-s22 .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr BRENNAN: -- Why not take them from the kindergarten and give them n bayonet to play with? That would be the age at which they could be taught Christian charity and brotherhood. It might even be wise to take them straight from the cradle. {: .speaker-JOS} ##### Mr BELL: -- I know that some honorable members opposite are totally opposed to any description of compulsory military training, but, perhaps, they would be willing to urge the Government to give a little more "favorable consideration to the young men in .our community who volunteer for training. Until a few months ago I had command of a lighthorse regiment, and I know of the fine work that such regiments accomplish. The young men who enlist in them are generally from the country districts, and they are keen to do their best. They provide their own horses, and give their time *t-<* the service willingly, for they know that while they obtain some pleasure from it, they also fit themselves to defend their country. When they enter camp they are paid 8s. a day as wages, and 4s. as an allowance for their horses. The difficulty in practically every district where this lighthorse training is, in vogue is the cost of keeping a horse. The men enjoy their work, but many of them find it a drain upon their resources to keep their horses. Then, again, in these days motor cars and motor cycles have much attraction for them. They cannot afford to keep a horse specially for military training. I have one complaint to make with regard to the use of the inadequate funds provided for defence purposes. Apart from the fact that the men who give their services in a voluntary way are paid very little indeed for the time they spend in training - it is certainly not as much as even the lowest-paid would be earning at home - if a horse is injured no compensation is allowed unless the injury is done on parade and under the eye of an officer. In two cases in my own regiment horses were so seriously injured going to and from parade, and through no fault of the men themselves, that they had to be destroyed. These injuries are just as likely to occur on the road as on the parade ground. I know of horses being injured in camp so seriously as to render them useless for months; but no compensation is 'paid to the owners of horses unless a veterinary officer will certify to the permanent character of the injuries. Unless the injury is so permanent as to make an animal of little further value to the owner, no compensation is paid ? In such circumstances we are not likely to get too many young men enthusiastic enough to buy or breed valuable horses for this particular purpose. The need for horses of a suitable type for our light horse, or cavalry, is referred to by the Inspector-General in his latest report. He suggests that the Government should encourage the breeding of horses by purchasing suitable sta! lions - a little of that is down now - and establishing remount farms; but I suggest that the best way to provide horses to mount our lighthorsemen is to compensate those who provide their own horses, and pay a fair fee for the use of a horse so long as it would be suitable in the event of the lighthorseman being called upon to serve his country. It would not cost very much to do- this. Honorable' members will, note that I make this suggestion! subject to the horse being in every sense suitable. Some lighthorsemen are mounted om animals; which-, although good enough for training purposes, would Be quite unfit for use on active service. It is suggested' by the- Leader of the Opposition and others that Australia in time of war can place most reliance on its Air Force. The Air Force is a very important arm of defence, but it is not our first or best means- of defence. If Australia were invaded, and had to fight seriously, it would be- called upon to- do so suddenly,, when there would be very little time for organizing trained forces. The invader, is always read. He does not strike before he is ready.. Australia would need time to prepare, and if we were invaded *I* am afraid we should have very little time to get ready. But we should have an advantage over every invader if we had the neuclei of trained lighthorse regiments. We have scattered throughout Australia men who could be trained quickly and- made smart soldiers in a little while provided we had sufficient trained officers.' I think it wise, therefore, to encourage this one arm of our forces which would give us- an advantage over every possible invader. We have men who make the very best lighthorsemen. I doubt if any invader could conquer the whole of Australia. He might bomb the capital cities, and make it uncomfortable for the people living in them, but he could not conquer a country of men trained and ready and willing to fight for their homes. I think that the Army Council, if it is still functioning, should take into serious consideration the need for organizing the whole of Australia's manhood and resources. It could be done cheaply. The Commonwealth could be divided into districts, and in each district a senior officer - and there are many of them who would be willing to do the work of organizing for the good of their country - with the assistance of a younger officer, could within twelve months place on a roll every man in the district, not only the able-bodied, but also the men unfit for military service. Data could be collected for recording the qualification of every man for some service in time of need.. These officers could report in what arm of the service each man. could be placed, with advantage; they could say who would belikely to. make the best commanders, and they could arrive at the best way to utilizethose who were not classed as fit for active work in. the field'. They could know what horses,, forage and waggons were availablein their, district. By means of such an organization, a defending force could bemobilized in a fortnight.. A few- strategist contemplating the invasion of Australia, and' knowing that the manhood and theresources of Australia could be- organized so speedily, would think very seriously before- carrying out his- intention. What I suggest has been done elsewhere. It would take me hours to outline the detail's of the scheme, but I throw out the suggestion that, over and above the forces we are training to-day, the whole of themanhood could be -mobilized in a very short space of time. It is most essential that Australia should have arms and ammunitions. We have small arms and munition factories, but I do do not think we have enough of them. An invader would seize our existing factories very quickly and that would be the end of us. I think that equipment should be provided in each centre. I do not mean in the cities alone. I think it is criminal to locate all our army stores in the big cities or in a few centres alone. They should be scattered and placed where the- men who are likely to be called upon to defend the country may be quickly equipped. God forbid that we should ever have to defend this country in Australia. If I had to fight anywhere, I should prefer to fight in the enemy's country. Those who have seen war know what it is to see homes desolated and women and children left behind at the mercy of the invader. I am afraid that those who talk lightly of the question of defending Australia do not know what war means. Every able-bodied man, fit to fight, should have the wherewithal to enable him to defend his country if, unhappily, it should be invaded. I do not wish the Leader of the Go- .vernment to think that I am criticizing the Minister or the officers responsible for our defence. No more gallant or abler men served the Empire during the war. I have the greatest respect imaginable for **Sir "William** Glasgow, the Minister for Defence. I served with him. I have seen him go " over the top," and I do not know that there is any other member of this Parliament I should select before him as Minister for Defence. But, because of the feeling in the Commonwealth that our defence is not what it ought to be, I want the Prime Minister to consider it his duty to call together his military advisers and say - " What is the matter with defence? You say that it is not what it should be and. that Australia cannot be defended with the forces we have at present." - That is borne out by the report of the Inspector-General, and many of us who know a little about defence know that what is said is true. - "How can we put matters right?" Even if the only money available is. the £3,000,000 provided on these Estimates, the money should be spent wisely and well and to the best advantage. It is our first duty to see that every man who is willing to fight is properly equipped, should it be necessary for him to defend his home against an invader. I hope that the Prime Minister will take what I have said in the spirit in which it has been uttered and, above all, I hope that our defence experts will not be able to say again, " Although we know the job is not well done, it is not our fault." {: #subdebate-25-0-s23 .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr BLAKELEY:
Darling -- This committee has now been sitting continuously for almost 24 hours. During that period honorable members have been endeavouring to place before the chamber matter that has been collecting during the last twelve months, but their opportunity to do so has been greatly restricted. The Prime Minister **(Mr. Bruce)** supported by his Ministers and those who sit behind them, came down at an early hour this morning with the guillotine and fixed a schedule to be observed in the discussion of the Estimates. He had previously closured the budget debate itself. During the last three weeks the right honorable gentleman on no fewer than three, occasions gave a definite and solemn assurance that the opportunity of honorable members to discuss the financial position of the Commonwealth would bs unrestricted. And he has broken his word! I can appreciate the leader of a government who is smarting under well-deserved criticism and condemnation - and heaven knows the material available is sufficient to condemn this Government twenty times over - forgetting for the moment the conduct that is expected of a Prime Minister in this or any other country. Private members in the heat of a debate may make misleading statements, and even Ministers may sometimes forget themselves. {: #subdebate-25-0-s24 .speaker-JOG} ##### The CHAIRMAN (Mr Bayley: -- I hope that the honorable member will not continue in that strain. I remind him that the Estimates are under discussion, not the budget.' {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr BLAKELEY: -- That is so. The Prime Mininster has apparently cast aside his dignity and his honour. At a later stage we shall probably have some comments to make on his conduct. He is not acting in an honorable manner towards us in regard to the imparting of information. A government can wear down a house very quickly; Ministers can take their sleep in relays, and leave it to others to keep the proceedings going There has been introduced into this debate the questionable appointment ot an Arbitration Court judge. We who belong to the Labour' party are rarely able to congratulate ourselves upon the sympathetic political colour of the judiciary; but the anti-Labour party of Australia are to be complimented upon their loyalty to and the gratitude they display towards those who advocate their cause. When a learned barrister works hard in a party cause it is usually with a lively sense of favours to come. There is another type of man who receives recognition in a practical manner. He may have sacrificed himself in the interests of his party, or he may be either temperamentally unfit to follow his profession or unable to build up a practice. There are very few Labour judge: in Australia. I blame the Labour party for that condition of affairs, and congratulate the Victorian Labour Government on its recent selection of a barrister from its ranks for appointment to tn judiciary in that State. {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr Brennan: -- He is a very good man, too. {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr BLAKELEY: -- I agree with the "honorable member. Judge Foster's capacity is undoubted and I am confident that he will show himself to be completely unbiased. {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr Gregory: -- Is the honorable member in earnest? {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr BLAKELEY: -- The honorable member for Swan **(Mr. Gregory)** sniggers and sneers. Evidently he is not acquainted with Judge Foster. If he were, he would not behave in that fashion. On that account he has my forgiveness. Probably only three Labour men belong to the justiciary in Australia, and two are members of industrial boards rather than judges. On. the other hand, the anti-Labour forces of this country always see to it that those they appoint to these positions have been allied in some way with party politics. This Government evidently found itself in a dilemma; and the appointment of Judge DrakeBrockman was a practical recognition of his untiring advocacy of the principles observed by vested interests, private enterprise, big business, and others whose views are in conflict with those of the majority of the people of Australia. For this he was given a position that possibly he would not otherwise have obtained. During the time that he was an honorable senator, he was responsible for many utterances, and rarely indeed were his declarations characterized by other -than great hostility to the labour unions, the Labour party, and the workers of Australia. So highly was he held in the esteem of the employing classes that out of many thousands who were available, he was selected as the president of their Federation. {: .speaker-KNP} ##### Mr Maxwell: -- Why does the honorable member denounce that appointment and applaud the Labour appointment in Victoria, which was made on the same principle? {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr BLAKELEY: -- I am satisfied to accept the honorable member's interpretation of both acts. Does he justify one or the other? {: .speaker-KNP} ##### Mr Maxwell: -- I am not justifying either. {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr BLAKELEY: -- What is the honor.abe member's implication? {: .speaker-KNP} ##### Mr Maxwell: -- The same principle is involved in both. In the one case it is denounced by the honorable member, but in the other it is applauded. {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr BLAKELEY: -- The calibre and the character of the two men are totally different. The honorable member, as a public man, has had experience of the one; and as a member of the Victorian bar I should say that he has an intimate knowledge of the other. {: .speaker-KNP} ##### Mr Maxwell: -- I have. {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr BLAKELEY: -- Possibly he is in as good a position as any one else to judge the 'work of the two men. {: .speaker-KNP} ##### Mr Maxwell: -- I am. {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr BLAKELEY: -.- I venture to say that there is no comparison between the two. {: .speaker-KNP} ##### Mr Maxwell: -- I quite agree. I say that I have had experience of the one- {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr BLAKELEY: -- Before " his appointment, Judge Drake-Brockman, as president of the Employers' Federation, was opposed to the trade unions of Australia and did everything possible to fight them. He is now in a position to determine the rates of wages and the conditions of employment of the very people he was fighting during the whole of his political life. There is another phase of the matter to which I wish to refer. An Arbitration Court that was brought into being by this Government gave a declaration in favour of a 44-hour week, to the great consternation of the employers of this country. For many years the trade unions have been compelled to wait for upwards of twelve months to have their cases heard by the court. Notwithstanding the demands made by the unions and Labour members in this Parliament, both this Government and its predecessor absolutely refused to expedite the hearing of cases. On many occasions I endeavoured to secure the appointment of a sufficient number of judges to enable the question of hours to be dealt with, but the decision was always that the court must not deal with that question. The honorable member for Bass **(Mr. J Jackson)** this morning referred in sneering terms to the attitude of the wharf labourers towards the Arbitration Court. That honorable member supports a Government which amended the act in such a way as to make it impossible for one judge to deal with the question of hours, and also refused to appoint a sufficient number of judges. For over two years, at the behest of the employers, the Government has prevented that question from being referred to the court. As an honorable senator, Judge Drake-Brockman, assisted to perpetrate that injustice upon the workers of Australia. While this government and its predecessor were tampering with the industrial judiciary we heard not one word of complaint from those who take advantage of every opportunity tq criticize the attitude of the trade unions of Australia towards arbitration. Later, when in order to deal with the referendum, three judges were appointed- {: .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr Latham: -- What does the honorable member mean by saying that " in order to deal with the referendum three judges were appointed?" {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr BLAKELEY: -- Well, shall I say that coincident with the referendum on the Constitution Alteration Bill and in anticipation that it would be carried, three judges were appointed? We can understand the amazement of the people who made the appointments at the two to one judgment in favour of a 44-hour week. Again, in order to protect the interests of the employers and to give their supporters a *quid pro quo* for funds placed at the disposal of the party by the employers, another judge was appointed to make the world safe, I suppose, for democracy - and the employers. **Mr. DrakeBrockman,** being a safe man and a good party supporter, was appointed to the position which he now occupies, and as a Judge of the Arbitration Court he deals with the claims that come before him. I for ohe decline to accept that gentleman as an unbiased judge. The AttorneyGeneral's weak defence of the questionable appointment, and the still weaker defence by the Government whip **(Mr. Manning),** has not satisfied the committee. Most certainly it will not satisfy the trade unions of Australia. {: .speaker-KMS} ##### Mr Manning: -- It has been generally approved. {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr BLAKELEY: -- I can quite understand the honorable member for Macquarie, as a representative of the employing class, saying that. The honorable member was, I believe, a delegate of the Employers' Federation, and speaks from experience. {: .speaker-KMS} ##### Mr Manning: -- **Mr. Chairman,** that statement is absolutely incorrect, and I ask that the honorable member for Darling be made to withdraw it. {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr BLAKELEY: -- If the statement is offensive to the honorable member, and if he is not a member of the Employers' Federation, I shall withdraw it. For the time being, the Government has a majority in this Parliament; but I remind Ministers that the political pendulum swings to and fro, displacing one party and elevating another. If this Government, by bestowing gifts in this way on party hacks or party advocates, intends to set an example of spoils to the victor, it cannot later object if another Government acts similarly by appointing its friends to the many positions that may become available. If this course is to be adopted, we shall soon be in line with the position in America where it is a case of " One in, all in ; one out, all out." In the United States of America, when a government goes out of office, the judiciary and civil servants all go out, too. If the Government and its supporters are satisfied with the appointment to which we have taken strong exception, and if they are prepared to let it stand as an example, they should be the last to object if, at a later period in our .history, that example is followed by the Labour party. {: #subdebate-25-0-s25 .speaker-K9S} ##### Sir JOHN GELLIBRAND:
Denison -- In the discussion of the defence vote, it is desirable, I think, that we should keep in mind the fact that for the effective defence of Australia, we must rely upon co-operation with the Imperial Forces. The InspectorGeneral's report stresses the shortage of numbers, of equipment, and of leaders. If, however, a possible enemy wished to study the condition of our defences, he would read the InspectorGeneral's report in conjunction with the* *Hansard* debates in this House,. he would supplement his knowledge by a. visit to Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, or Brisbane on Anzac Day, where lie would find men Still in the prime of life taking part in the parade arranged for that occasion. He would there see a very considerable number of men with vast military experience and whose value as fighting troops is second to none in the world. It 8.undoubtedly true, however, that in the course of time, the value of this reserve "will disappear. And it must be our concern to see what can be done to build it up. For the time being I am quite content with the arrangements made by the Government, but I realize that the present state of affairs cannot with safety be allowed to continue indefinitely. The InspectorGeneral's reference to the shortage of leaders touches a very vital matter in connexion with the defence of Australia, To illustrate my meaning I wish to draw attention to the very great difference that existed between the first and second divisions of the Australian Imperial Forces. The formation of the first division practically robbed Australia of . every officer and non-commissioned officer with training, military education and experience; so that the succeeding divisions had to do the best they could with the material that was left over. {: .speaker-KYV} ##### Mr E RILEY:
SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- And they did very well, too. {: .speaker-K9S} ##### Sir JOHN GELLIBRAND: -- Yes, but *it what expense! To send troops into the -field under the command of untrained officers is, to my mind, little short of a capital offence. It is to emphasize the danger that I now direct attention to this weakness in our scheme of defence. The InspectorGeneral has pointed to the shortage of leaders and the lack of opportunity for their training. To remedy this position we must be prepared to spend more money. At present, thanks to the patriotism of the officers, non-commissioned officers and specialists generally of the existing formations, good worts is being <lone. These men supplement the meagre allowance paid by the Government by giving freely of their time and in most =cases of their own money. The provision in the Estimates for the training and education of these three classes is only £4,600. This sum has to suffice for the needs of no fewer than 3,000 officers anl 10,000 non-commissioned officers and specialists. It works out at les* than 10s. a man per annum. I am aware that one objection to an increase in the defence vote is the fear that it will load to what is generally termed militarism, which may be defined as that f-ame of mind which induces a nation to go to war simply because it has an army of trained soldiers. I believe, however, that money spent on the true military education of leaders and specialists would be a deterrent to war. No man who knows what war really means will do anything to endanger the peace of hi? own country. I was pleased to hear the reference by the honorable member for Boothby **(Mr. Duncan-Hughes)** to the -; loss sustained by the Commonwealth through the death of Colonel Foster, who was undoubtedly a brilliant soldier and, had he been spared, would undoubtedly have been of inestimable value to the Commonwealth. The number of such men who have disappeared during the last few years has been altogether too great. Although their services remain available, their value is not infrequently impaired once they have left the army. That emphasizes the need for the expenditure of an increased amount on the education of potential leaders and specialists. One of the most effective forms of instruction is that of army exercises. On the material side of our defence preparations, the Government has done a considerable amount, towards making Australia independent in the matter of an ammunition supply. But our factories and means of supply are entirely governmental, and when emergency arises, it will be extremely difficult to extend instrumentalities of that nature to the extent required for the service of the troops in the field. That has been the experience of every nation. The subject of available ammunition stocks is one which no soldier would deal with in public, nor would the Minister consent to discuss it publicly. This Government is to be congratulated upon having the soldier element well represented in its ranks, this very important matter is not likely to be overlooked or forgotten. The re-armament of our coastal defence was the subject of comment by the Leader of the Opposition at the last elections, and more recently. With all respect, to the opinions of the honorable member, I confess that I am not a very strong advocate of heavy expenditure on re-armament, as I consider there are more pressing items on which money should be spent. While tanks, mechanical transport, and similar items may be most urgent in Europe, a similar state of affairs does not apply in Australia. During the. war one of the most efficient portions of the A.L.F. was its medical service. Our medical officers are excellently placed for peace training. They are practically all men of means, and there is scarcely one 'who does not own at. least one motor car. They are able to get away from their practices occsionally, and the result is that the medical staff tours conducted in Australia, in five military districts, have been well attended and have proved most, valuable. Without doubt our remount depots, notably the one in Melbourne, have been more economically managed than those in any other part of the world, but, while the plant and equipment may be in excellent order, I should like to see a better provision of first-class riding horses. At present the same horse has to serve every conceivable purpose, as a mount, as an artillery horse for transport and for any other service. It is very desirable that we should have available a sufficient number of first-class steeds for service when we are favoured with the presence of distinguished visitors. Australia has the reputation of breeding remarkably good horses, but that fact is not advertised by the riding horse which we now provide fo.r the use of our most distinguished visitors. It is a notorious fact that a large proportion of our mounted troops come from the cities. The majority of the men have hardly ever seen a horse until they go into camp, and they are entrusted with the care of one of these four-legged animals. Those lads have to bridle, saddle and put horses into a gun team without knowing anything about their habits. When one of those youngsters is placed on a well-fed horse, the result is' not one that commends itself either to the recruit or tO' his people. I know of an instance in the artillery, in which such youngsters, without any prior training, had to drive six horses in a gun team, with a gun behind. They were extremely lucky to escape a serious accident. The Australian Commonwealth Line of Steamers has been mentioned as a valuable adjunct to our naval defence, either in the capacity of auxiliary cruisers or transports it has been urged that the disposal of the ships will weaken our naval defence. I believe that I am correct in saying that those ships have a speed of about 14£ knots, which means that they are too slow to catch any steamer that has a reasonable pace, and too slow to escape if running away. The defensive power of those ships is such that it would be little short of murder to expose them, even to submarine gunfire. They are of practically negligible value as units in *our* naval defence, unless in the capacity of oil tankers or provision ships. {: .speaker-L1T} ##### Mr Yates: -- What about their use as transports? {: .speaker-K9S} ##### Sir JOHN GELLIBRAND: -- Even if the vessels possess a naval value even greater than I have suggested, the cost of maintaining them, estimated at £600,000 a year, could be used to infinitely better purpose on some other phase of our defence activities. {: #subdebate-25-0-s26 .speaker-KF9} ##### Mr A GREEN:
KALGOORLIE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · ALP; FLP from 1931; ALP from 1936 -- As a representative from Western Australia I desire to say something about the appointment of ex-Senator DrakeBrockman, who also represented that State in the Federal Parliament. The Attorney-General has .attempted to depreciate the value of newspaper criticism by saying that reporters are often youthful people, and that they had no knowledge of the circumstances of this case. That argument may have been sound had the adverse criticism of Judge Drake-Brockman's appointment come only from our yellow journals, but it was almost universal, and must be regarded as reflecting the general opinion of the people of Australia. The honorable gentleman also said that many excellent appointments had been made from ex-parliamentary men. No objection was based on the fact that Judge Drake-Brockman is an ex-parliamentary man, or that he was a supporter of the party that made his appointment. The principal objection is that he belongs to, and aggressively supports, that section of the community which, from time to time, clashes with the workers. Any one, to be a satisfactory appointee to an industrial tribunal, must possess an impartial temperament, an unbiased outlook, and the trust of all concerned. I have known ex-Senator Drake-Brockman for a number of years, and socially he is a fine man. Although he differs from us in politics, we do not despise him for that. But if I were appointed an Arbitration Court judge, which of course is an impossibility, because of my lack of legal training, there is no doubt that my views would be reflected in my judgments. If the Chairman of the Trades Hall of Sydney was similarly appointed, there would be an outcry throughout Australia, and what applies to one should apply to another. Ex-Senator Drake-Brockman, although he is not an employer, was the President of the Employers' Federation. He has therefore taken a definite stand against the workers of this country that utterly unfits him for appointment to a tribunal which has to prevent and settle disputes between employer and employee. The leader of the Opposition read from *Hansard* an extract from a speech made by ex-Senator Drake-Brockman, and it showed clearly that he had no faith in the Arbitration Court. Against that the Attorney-General quoted a speech made by the same gentleman in 1926, but even that did not show that he was definitely in favour of the court. It certainly showed that he was getting ready to essay a flight to a new realm. Prior to the last election it was well known that ex-Senator Drake-Brockman was not to be a candidate for the Senate. He was spoken of in Western Australia as a stranger, inasmuch as he rarely went there. He was dropped because the United party, in its own interests, agreed to accept the Country party's nominee. In view of exSenator Drake-Brockman's party sacrifice, he has been given some other position. When the honorable' member for Darling **(Mr.** Blakeley) was speaking, the honorable member for Fawkner **(Mr. Maxwell)** asked why he had not protested against the appointment of. a gentleman named Foster, who has Labour tendencies, to the County Court bench of Victoria. The cases are not parallel, because the County Court does not fix wages. It has been suggested that the qualifications of exSenator Drake-Brockman were such that he could not be overlooked. The AttorneyGeneral **(Mr. Latham)** endeavored to make out a case on this point, but it is well known, at any rate in Western Australia, that he had no practice there. He was also rather unfortunate in Melbourne as he had little or no practice there. He was appointed by the Government to represent Australia at Geneva, and while abroad he failed to secure selection for the Senate. He was at a loose end, and no doubt the Government, wishing to reward him for his sacrifice in the interests of the party, appointed him to the Arbitration Court. That tribunal' is one of the most difficult in which to adjudicate, because its principal function is to prevent and settle disputes be twee .i employer and employee. I am pleased that the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Charlton)** brought this subject up, because ex-Senator Drake-Brockman was certainly not fitted for the position of judge of the Arbitration Court, and I regret very much that the Government saw fit to appoint him. I should like the Government to inform honorable members if anything has been done to co-ordinate the different electoral offices throughout the Commonwealth. There are joint electoral offices in Tasmania, Victoria and South Australia, and the system is working satisfactorily. At this time, when every one is preaching economy, the Government should once more approach the recalcitrant States with a view to having joint electoral offices throughout the Commonwealth. {: #subdebate-25-0-s27 .speaker-KFS} ##### Mr GULLETT:
Henty .I wish to make a further brief reference to the possibility of economy in connexion with this year's expenditure. I was asked during my previous speech to suggest directions in which reductions might be made. I venture to suggest to the Minister for Defence and to the Government generally that quite a tidy sum of money could be saved by a reduction in the proposed expenditure of £200,000 on the civil aviation branch of the Air Force. I am sure that honorable members will agree that, no matter which party we represent, the feature of the debate, quite apart from my own humble contribution to it, was the strong demand for some manifestation of economy on the part of the Government. That was admitted, I think, in a very significant way by the Prime Minister himself, and one sentence of his speech gave me reason to hope that we might get, even during this year, a considerable saving in expenditure, despite the fact that the money may be voted. The Prime Minister, speaking of the Oodnadatta to Alice Springs railway, said : - tf became of the present financial circumstances and difficulty in raising loan money, South Australia agreed to the postponement of that expend iiture, the Commonwealth Government would he prepared to acquiesce. That, is the first, and a very noticeable, indication that the Government recognizes that the economic and financial outlook of Australia is not altogether promising. I would point out, however, that, to the postponement of the construction of that line there are two great obstacles. The first is that the contract has been let for the work, and the second is that it would be necessary to obtain the agreement of the South Australian Government. I doubt very much whether that government would accept the suggestion. But there is opportunity for a demonstration of economy in the item of £200,000 for the civil aviation branch, principally because there is no great necessity for the development of that service to the extent proposed. I understand that that development, if it does take place, will be in two directions - the extension of the out-back service and the establishment of services between the capital cities. I would, within reasonable limits, give the most cordial support to the extension and improvement of the far-back aviation services, because of what we owe to the people in the outlying portions of Australia ; but the establishment of interstate services is quite unwarranted at present. We have first-class railway communication between the States and the roads are improving every day. Only last week u friend of mine travelled by motor car from Melbourne to Sydney in nineteen hours. We have wireless and longdistance telephones, and therefore I cannot see any justification for increasing the burden upon the taxpayer merely to benefit a few interstate passengers. {: .speaker-KJM} ##### Mr Jackson: -- What about Tasmania? {: .speaker-KFS} ##### Mr GULLETT: -- An exception may be made in the case, of Tasmania. I urge the Government to make some reasonable curtailment in its expenditure. A large number of honorable members are uneasy about the future, and they cannot conscientiously subscribe to our present lavish scale of expenditure. The Government should make some retrenchment along the lines that I have suggested, for unquestionably there are clouds ahead of us, and probably next year will be as unsatisfactory financially as this one promises to be. The times are not normal, and we should do something to ensure that these bad years shall not be our peak years in expenditure. I make the plea also on other grounds. I doubt very much whether £200,000 should be spent on civil aviation this year. It is uncertain whether the Government proposes to make this an isolated grant, or a vote which will be continuous for several years. Personally, I should be totally opposed to the spending of this sum of money on civil aviation annually, at least until the Government has taken us fully into its confidence in the matter. We are responsible to our constituents particularly, and to Australia generally, for the expenditure which we approve, and we should not be asked to Vote money away blindly. To show its appreciation of the present financial situation, I urge that the Government should cut down the civil aviation vote to £50,000. I wish, briefly, to discuss the work of the Development and Migration Commission. I think that I was the first member of this Parliament to propose that migration matters- should be handed over to the control of an independent body; but I should be depressed if I thought that I had been responsible for the extraordinary expenditure and expansion of the Development and Migration Commission. I know that the commission has a huge task to discharge, and that we must 1101 expect immediate results from its activities ; but I, and I am sure many other persons in the community, have been alarmed at the multiplicity of the activities which it has undertaken. It has touched the fringe of a sufficient number of problems to keep a considerable number of men engaged for the next 20 or 30 years. If it were to recommend that one-tenth of the schemes that have been placed before it should be undertaken and its recommendations were adopted, this country would be involved in the expenditure of huge sums of money. If one is to judge by the statements that are made in its annual report, the commission is trespassing upon the preserves of the Public Works Committee, and also seems to have constituted itself a kind of subsidiary tariff board. In my opinion, it would show marked wisdom were it to confine its investigations to a few of our major primary industries instead of probing, as it is doing, almost every insignificant little industry that can be imagined. **Dr. Richardson,** who is our chief authority on wheat production, estimates that Australia contains 220,000,000 acres of land suitable for wheat-growing. But we have only about 10,000,000 actually under wheat cultivation. The commission would be well advised to confine its investigations into ways and means of increasing the area under wheat. If it did effective work in that direction, it would well repay the country for the expenditure which its appointment has caused. {: #subdebate-25-0-s28 .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr BRENNAN:
Batman -- lt is unfortunate that so many honorable members on this, and, apparently, the other side *y.f* the chamber, desire to contribute to the debate on the votes proposed for the department now under consideration. In the limited time at our disposal, we can only record our views on the various subjects in which we are interested in a kind of telegraphic despatch. The honorable member for Darwin **(Mr. Bell),** whose voice is not frequently heard in the chamber, discussed the proposed vote for defence. He complained that Australia lacked qualified military leaders. It appears to me that there is quite a sufficient number of military gentlemen of high rank among honorable members opposite to supply our needs in that direction. One of the minor tragedies that has arisen out of the war is that our civil and political life has become greatly influenced by the militaristic ideals of such gentlemen. I have no quarrel with, but rather an admiration for, the honorable member for Darwin personally; but £ distinctly disagree with his defence outlook. He addressed himself to the subject of compulsory military service, with which he connected, in some way, that of volunteer service. In my opinion, the compulsory military training of infants can in no sense whatever be part of a voluntary system of defence. I stood firmly, if not strongly, against the introduction into this country of conscription for military and naval service, either inside or outside of Australia. We were able, decisively, and historically, to defeat the proposal of the Government of the day, to conscript our manhood for military service overseas; but unfortunately the conscription of infants for military training in Australia is still a part of our national policy. I, with other members of the Labour party, stand for the total abolition of such service. It is un-' fortunate that child conscription for overseas naval service is not unknown in Australia. Many infants have been beguiled into joining the Navy, by the supposed romance of the life of a sailor or by the economic pressure to which their parents are subjected. The result is that our boys ha,ve been sent to malariainfected regions in the Pacific to discipline the natives of a certain territory which I need not at the moment more particularly name. A few days ago I quoted certain remarks which had been made by **Mr. Lloyd-George,** to the effect, that the forces of the nations which were allies in the great war now "number 10,000,000 men who are infinitely more formidably equipped, than in 1914." It would appear, therefore, that militarism is rampant and is expanding. I read with great interest some little time since the following cablegram, which was published in a section of the press : - >Grave charges against the British Admiralty and the Tory Government were levelled by Lord Cecil, when he explained in the House of Lords yesterday why he had resigned from the Baldwin Cabinet. > >Lord Cecil, in relating how his efforts for disarmament had been hampered and opposed by colleagues and admirers, laid the blame for the failure of the Geneva Naval Conference directly on the Baldwin Government. To show that Australia is not guiltless in hindering the progress of the movement for disarmament, let me make one or two comparisons. It has been said that our Government is in conformity with the alleged desire of the governments of the United Kingdom, the United States of America, and other countries, for disarmament; but in 1923-24 the following amounts were provided on our Estimates for defence purposes : - Navy, £2,216,000 ; Military Forces, £1,112,000; Air Force, £207,000; and Civil Aviation, £93,000, making a grand total of £3,631,000; whereas in 1925-26 the total had risen to £5,796,000; and in 1926-27, to £7,379,000. The increased figure in the lastmentioned year was due to some extent, of course, to the wasteful expenditure of money upon certain engines of war known as cruisers. I .hope that we shall live to see the day when these will he scrapped with what I have, on other occasions, called " naval honours." T should like to ask the distinguished military and naval strategists sitting on the other side of the chamber, who regard with contempt any suggestion that we* make for a reduction in the defence vote, but who speak of peace as though they desire it, whether it would not be wise for us to spend more money on judicious propaganda in the interest of peace, and less on the provision of armaments which invariably lead to war. Let them think for a moment of the disastrous wreckage that the last Avar caused to every civilized white nation if the world. What greater failure could the pacifists possibly make of the situation than these distinguished peace-by-force advocates have made ? They have strewn the world with glorious dead; they have cumbered civilization with mountains of debt ; they have created new hair:ds. they have caused a degeneracy of morals through the standards that are always applied by militarists in war time. Their disastrous and shameful record may now be seen in clear perspective. Instead of talking academically in this 20th century of the value of the different arms of defence with that special and minute knowledge that characterizes the military strategists, I ask them to raise their eyes and look abroad, and then put to themselves these questions - Has r.ot militarism proved a monstrous and diastrous failure ? Have they not been proceeding on wrong lines? Happily even some of the military and naval experts support our case, against armaments. On 30th July, 1924. the honorable member for Kalgoorlie **(Mr. A. Green)** quoted in this chamber the following remarks by Rear-Admiral W. F. Fullam on the passing of sea. power : - >The wings of " sea power '' have been clipped New naval weapons have vastly strengthened*, the defence and greatly weakened the offence in overseas warfare. Groat armadas and. armies cannot again cross the seas. Force cannot, as in the past, be carried over the ocean. > >With the sea. as a buffer, weak nations can defy the strong. A puny power, without a navy, can challenge the strongest battle fleet. It can, with intelligent energy, make its coast impregnable" against 100 Dreadnoughts. With an impenetrable barrage of mines, air forces, torpedoes, and submarines, it can easily hold a maritime enemy 100 miles from its shores. > >The freedom of the seas is in many respect: near realization. Aggression, expressed in ships, is chained to the beach. I do not for a moment endorse the scheme of defence outlined by this distinguished naval officer, but I place value on his statement, because it shows that a nation such as Australia, minding its own business, and not becoming entangled in foreign affairs with which it has no real concern, is in no danger of attack within any future period that the human mind can visualize. I ask, in conclusion, why all the civic operations of this Commonwealth are attended by military displays. It is not my business to discuss the Governor-General's position in a personal way, but I should like to know why it is always associated with heel-clicking, posturing militarism -the marching of troops, the beating of drums, and the clanking of swords and sabres. Why should this kind of thing be associated with perfectly peaceful operations? I suggest to this Government, as I shall strongly advocate to any Labour Government, that in future the opening of this Parliament should not be attended by any sort of military or naval display. The trippings of the soldier' are properly associated with fighting, killing, and outrage of nation upon nation and man upon man. They are not appropriate to the opening of a deliberative assembly and the orderly progress of a nation's daily work. Let us drop the heel-clicking militarism that I have seen outside this building - the posturing, saluting, and all those other empty formalities that have come to us from time immemorial, and which we should be able to scrap when scrapping our cruisers. {: #subdebate-25-0-s29 .speaker-JUB} ##### Mr D CAMERON:
BRISBANE. QLD · NAT -- **Mr. Chairman-** {: .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr Forde: -- I rise to a point of order. The Government having been so inconsiderate 'as to put the guillotine into operation and so prevent honorable mem hers of the Opposition from criticizing the Estimates, I ask whether honorable members on the Ministerial side are justified in monopolizing the limited tim;available. I am sick and tired of hearing them congratulating the Government. We want an opportunity to criticize the Government and its Estimates. {: #subdebate-25-0-s30 .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- No point of order is involved. The Chair cannot do otherwise than call on honorable members from each side in turn. {: .speaker-JUB} ##### Mr D CAMERON:
BRISBANE. QLD · NAT -- The honorablemember for Henty **(Mr. Gullett)** recommended the Government to reduce the amount provided on these Estimates for civil aviation. Until he spoke I had thought that the proposed expenditure was supported by all honorable members. The Leader of the Opposition, while complaining of the expenditure upon defence, said that if there must be such expenditure, he would prefer that it should be on aviation rather than on cruisers and armaments. I am pleased that the Government has proposed an additional grant of £200,000 for the encouragement of civil aviation. It is high time that we brought our aerial enterprises into line with similar undertakings in other countries. The Prime Minister told us that the last Imperial Conference had recognized the value of the civil air services. {: .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr Forde: -- Will not the honorable member give others a chance to say a few words before the guillotine falls? {: .speaker-JUB} ##### Mr D CAMERON:
BRISBANE. QLD · NAT -- I certainly shall. One particular air service which I hope will be developed with the aid of this grant is that from Camooweal to thu rail head of the line from Darwin - a distance of 650 miles, and the link between Charleville and Brisbane - 450 miles - thus reducing the time for mail and passengers between Port Darwin and Brisbane to three days. {: #subdebate-25-0-s31 .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr FORDE:
Capricornia -- In the limited time at my disposal I do not intend to congratulate the Government on anything. I am tired of waiting for aerodromes to be established at Bundaberg and Rockhampton. These projects have been brought before the Government on several occasions, and the excuse invariably offered is that the aerial traffic is not sufficient to justify the expenditure that will be involved. 1 made representations on this subject to the honorable member ft.r Calare **(Sir Neville Howse)** when he was Ministerfor Defence. The total cost of an aerodrome at Rockhampton would not be more than £3,170. About £350 would be involved in putting in order the 74 acres of land already acquired, and not more than £50 a year would be required to retain somebody to watch over the machines arriving at the aerodrome from time to time. The Government is wrong in demanding that these centres must prove that the aerial traffic is available before aerodromes will be established. Aviation cannot be encouraged unless aerodromes are provided at which aviators may land and house their machines. Rockhampton, with a population of 26,000, is the centre of the great pastoral areas to the west about Clermont, Blackall and Longreach. Business people, pastoralists, graziers and others outback frequently desire to visit Rockhampton, but there is no place there at which an aeroplane may land with reasonable safety. The circumstance3 at Bundaberg are similar. The residents of the district have asked that an aerodrome be established, and a very suitable piece of land is available at North Bundaberg. **Mr. Gibson,** who has travelled extensively, wrote to me that the site is an admirable one. But the Government says the expenditure that would be involved in establishing an aerodrome would not be justified. These: estimates include an appropriation of £200,000 for the encouragement of civil aviation. I say emphatically that I want those two aerodromes established to meet the demands of the people up there. If necessary, the Commonwealth should pay a subsidy to enable the service to be established from Rockhampton westwards and from Bundaberg to other centres, from which aviators could carry passengers to the coast. These services are absolutely essential. The Government has always answered my previous requests with pleasant words. Today I want an assurance of something more tangible. I protest against being denied an opportunity to speak at greater length on these estimates. Millions of pounds of public money are being voted without honorable members having an opportunity to criticize the Government's proposal. But in order to allow some other honorable member to voice hia protest 1 shall subside temporarily. {: #subdebate-25-0-s32 .speaker-KZA} ##### Mr WEST:
East Sydney -- The Government should be careful about every appointment it makes. The appointment of Judge Drake-Brockman was neither more or less than a political one. Judge Drake-Brockman has a brother, and both of them were pestering the Government for a long time for appointments. One was appointed as a judge in New Guinea, and he made it so disagreeable there that he had to be sent for, and. it cost the Government £2,000 to get rid of him. *At 12 noon -* {: .speaker-JOG} ##### The CHAIRMAN (Mr Bayley: -- The time for discussing the votes has expired. Proposed votes agreed to. Department of Trade and Customs. £884,500 ; The Department or Works and Railways, £351,324; The Department of Health, £174,904; The Department of Markets and Migration, £S8,113; Miscellaneous Ser vices, £2,613,623; War Services Payable out of Revenue, £1,168,358. {: #subdebate-25-0-s33 .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON:
Hunter -- The Development and Migration Commission was appointed some time back, and we have now its first annual report. I have great respect for the members of that commission I recognize that they are able men ; but I think they are taking on more than they can perform. If the commission goes on as it has begun, it will, in a year or two, . be costing as much as all the other departments put together. For its first year's operations it has already cost over £99,000, and this year £143,000 is on the Estimates. Its first report is before us now, and there is no justification for issuing a report of that kind. There is hardly anything new in it, and it is not right to add to thecost of the department by printing stuff like this. Much of the information has already been before Parliament in other reports, and has been discussed by honorable members. The whole report could have been compressed into three or four sheets. It sets out the purpose of the commission, its personnel, powers and functions, and contains a general survey of the word it proposes to do. But then it goes on, and gives great quantities of information, such as the position in regard to the home markets, dried fruits, &c, with which honorable members are already familiar. Here is an article in the *Age* of the 24th November, 1927, dealing with this commission. The article refers to the presentation of the commission's first annual report for the period ending the 30th June, 1927, and then comments adversely on the report. The article goes on to say - >They claim that a perusal of their report will disclose " the many and varied phases of Australia's problems which they have been called upon to investigate." In that remark, they unwittingly lay their finger on the supremely weak spot. The commissioners may investigate Australian problems *ad infinitum.* But to make substantial contributions to the solution of all of them is bound to be beyond them. . . . This report will deepen rather than dispel the conviction that the Development and Migration Commission is spreading itself far too widely out. It threatens to overflow into other departments where it has no right to interfere. The report includes a mass oi minutiae relating to matters which are strictly none of its business. As a commission, however, it is now with us; it is an integral part of the nation's administrative scheme. But it will be a monument of futility unless it applies itself much more concentratively. I agree with what is stated in that article. At the time this Commission was appointed I said that, while we were opposed to migration until we could provide work to absorb the new-comers, we did not object to the appointment of a commission, provided it did the work set out, namely, to discover means by. which we could absorb the people coming from overseas. The commission has recommended schemes which will cost, about £5,000,000, and already nearly £3,000,000 worth of work has been approved; but the commission has not been instrumental up to the present in bringing one immigrant to Australia. Commissions of this kind start in moderate way, and then often extend their operations to every part of Australia, and even to Great Britain, so that in a few years we find that they are costing the country hundreds of thousands of pounds. There would have been just as many migrants arriving in Australia if no commission had ever been appointed, and under this agreement, by which we are spending £34,000,000, it is costing more per head to bring migrants to Australia than it did before. We are not justified in allowing migrants to come to Australia while we have thousands of our own people unemployed. The commission should evolve schemes whereby the new-comers might be absorbed without adding still further to the prevailing unemployment. The Labour party is not opposed to bringing people to Australia. We think it necessary to have more population; but the first necessity is to ensure that there shall be work for them to do when they arrive. The commission should be instructed to prepare a practical land settlement scheme, by which something could be done within the next year or two. I have nothing to say against the chairman, or the other members of the commission, personally, but we must take care that they do not run riot with public funds. The expenditure is growing too rapidly. {: .speaker-JZK} ##### Mr Coleman: -- The test of their usefulness is the number of persons they place on the land and the extent to which they increase production. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- That is so. Some time may elapse before concrete results are obtained. The commission should concentrate on two or three specific undertakings, and get them done, so that it will have something to show for its heavy expenditure. At present it seems to be attempting numerous tasks which threaten to cause overlapping, and none of them will be completed within the next four or five years. I am inclined to think that we gave this body too much power. Immediately a board or commission is appointed, it grows into a department,, and there is danger of extravagance. I hope that the members of the commission and the Government . will heed .what I have said. The commission should try to accomplish something useful before it roams all over the globe. It may be doing good work at the present time; but it should complete some of its investigations. If it is desired to absorb more migrants, let the commission provide work for them. While I have a high regard for the members of that body personally, I shall not hesitate to draw attention to the danger of their involving the Commonwealth in very heavy expenditure. {: .speaker-JZK} ##### Mr Coleman: -- The commission will probably cost £1,000,000 in another five years. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- If it goes on at the present rate it will be as expensive to maintain as this Parliament. {: #subdebate-25-0-s34 .speaker-JOS} ##### Mr BELL:
Darwin .- Earlier in the day I intended to refer to the work of the Development and Migration Commission, but time would not permit. I propose now to deal with another important subject, the lighting of the east coast of King Island, a matter which was first brought under my notice by the King Island Marine Board. Early in 1926 I brought this matter under the notice of the Minister for Trade and Customs, and he replied that it had been considered from time to time in the general programme of improved lighting of the Australian coast, but no provision has been made for this particular work. Early this year I again interviewed the Minister, and at his suggestion I saw the Director of Lighthouses, who admitted the need for the lights. He said that from time to time he had asked for funds to provide the necessary lights, and he hoped to be successful when the present Estimates were under consideration. In May last, when I thought that the Estimates were probably in course of preparation, I again reminded the Minister of the matter, and shortly before his departure for England I was assured that tlie matter had not been overlooked. Later I received a notification from **Senator Crawford,** the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs, expressing regret .that funds were not available for the work. Since the urgent need of lighting, particularly on the east coast of King Island is recognized by the Director of Lighthouses, and by shipmasters using Bass Strait, the work should not be longer delayed. When I asked the Minister, upon his return from abroad, if there was any hope of the necessary funds being provided on Supplementary Estimates, he promised to look further into the matter. The coast of King Island may well be described as the graveyard of the Southern Seas. I believe 4hat more wrecks have occurred there than on the whole of the rest of the Australian coast. I hope that the lights will be provided this year. {: #subdebate-25-0-s35 .speaker-F4Q} ##### Mr SCULLIN:
Yarra .When last year's Estimates were under consideration, we had not a printed copy of the report of the Tariff Board, but a typewritten copy was seen by a few honorable members. In August I questioned the right of the board to interfere in matters that did not come within its province, but were among the functions of the Arbitration Court. In my protest I was supported by honorable members on both sides. I referred to a statement in the board's report that, after increases of duty had been provided in the textile industry, the unionists immediately approached the court and asked for higher wages, without consideration being given to the adjustment of the conditions in the industry. The industry was starved, so far as the board was concerned, because the employees had received no increases since 1921, although increases had been given in other branches of industry. I repeat that protest. The board has exceeded its rights, and has endeavoured in its report to justify its action last year. The annual report of the Tariff Board for the year ended the 30th June last states - >The Tariff Board ventured to sound a warning note in its last annual report as to the danger of the tariff being used to bolster up an ever-increasing cost of production',^ irrespective of any consideration being given to the ever-widening gaps between the standard maintained within the Commonwealth, on the one hand, and the United Kingdom and the Continent of Europe on the other. For performing this function, which the board considers to be its duty, in terms of section 17 of the Tariff Board Act, it has been subjected to adverse criticism by some members in the "Federal Houses of Parliament. And then it sets out section 17 of the Tariff Board Act. I challenge the board to show any justification for its comments on claims that were before the Arbitration Court. The report continues - >In view of this public trust, the Tariff Board considers it is obligatory upon it, not only to refer to this very critical matter again, but to reaffirm and further emphasize the warnings it issued last year, being convinced that the situation has become ever more ominous. I consider it my duty, and it should be the duty of other honorable members, to repeat and emphasize the warning that we issued last year to the- Tariff Board that it must not overstep the bounds of its jurisdiction - in other words, that it must mind its own business. Another paragraph of the report, on page 19, states - >A claim has been lodged with the Arbitration Court on behalf of the employees in the brushmaking industry the granting of which, either wholly or in part, will add further to the cost of production in Australia and further lessen the ability of the local manufacturers to compete with oversea suppliers. A case was before the Arbitration Court, and was *sub judice,* yet the Tariff Board had the audacity to publish that statement in the endeavour to prejudice the court and prevent it from exercising its function without let or hindrance. If we are to allow the boards that are created from time to time by this Government to carry on in that fashion, we may as well close up Parliament altogether. Those boards are usurping the legislative duties .of Parliament, and are even dictating conditions to our people, matters absolutely outside of their jurisdiction. Last year I registered a very mild protest, in which I referred to the members of the board as earnest and honest men striving to perform a very big job in a very big way. I do not withdraw my words; but I claim that they have no right to overstep their duties, and tell the Arbitration Court what to do. Section 17 of the Tariff Board Act give no warrant for the action of the hoard. I suggest to the Minister that he should instruct the Tariff Board precisely what its duties are. I shall read a protest that has been received by the secretary of the Labour party from the Trades Hall Council, Melbourne. That body regards the action of the Board of Trade as a very serious interference with the functions of the Arbitration Court. The letter reads - Mr. A. Blakeley, Secretary, Federal Parliamentary Labour Party, Parliament House, Canberra Dear **Sir, -** Strong exception is taken by the Melbourne Trades Hall Council to the comments of the Tariff Board in their last annual report relative to what they claim is an abuse of protection by industrial unions. Tlie board asserts that simultaneously with it being asked to consider large increases in the tariff in important industries applications had been lodged, and Arbitration Courts - Federal and State - had been, and were being, asked to grant increased wages and shorter hours. The Melbourne Trades Hall Council considers that the Tariff Board is getting outside of its legitimate functions in commenting upon acts of the legislature or the Federal Arbitration Court. When claims by the industrial unions are being considered by the Commonwealth Arbitration Court, the employers never fail to submit evidence that their industry is in a precarious position : but, of course, the unions do not agree that the claims of the employers are always well founded. It is the function of the Arbitration Court to consider these assertions, and not the function of the Tariff Board to set itself up as a court of review of the actions of the court or the legislature. It is the function of the Tariff Board to prescribe a tariff that will meet conditions in Australia as they find them. In view of the comments of tlie board in its l.!)2ti and 1027 annual reports, the trade union movement cannot come to any other conclusion than that the board is attempting to create a psychology against the efforts of the industrial movement to maintain, and, where possible, improve the wages, hours, and working conditions of the Australian workers generally. - Yours faithfuly {: type="A" start="B"} 0. J. Holloway, Secretary. That letter is the protest of a body of organized workers in the State of Victoria, and is signed by a man who has done as much as any man to maintain industrial peace in the Commonwealth. Those people are entitled to protest. I urge the Minister to see that, the Tariff Board attends to its own job. Let it come along with more effective tariff recommendations than have hitherto been submitted to this chamber. It will then assist to maintain proper Australian standards, which would be infinitely better than striving, by suggestion, to influence the Arbitration Court to lower the conditions of Australian workers. {: #subdebate-25-0-s36 .speaker-KQW} ##### Mr SEABROOK:
Franklin -- I rise to support the honorable member for Darwin in asking for a. lighthouse on the east coast of King Island. I know something of this island because I built the first jetty in Currie Harbour, on the west coast. There are two lighthouses on this island, one on the northwest at Cape "Wickham, and the other at Currie Harbour; but there is no light on the east coast, where a new jetty has been built, and steamers have a great difficulty in getting to this jetty without a lighthouse. Five trips out of six a steamer has to go to the east coast jetty, especially in westerly weather, the prevailing winds being westerly. The island is a small one; but cattle are regularly transported from it to the mainland, and to the mainland of Tasmania. I also urge that a survey should be made of the west coast of Tasmania. That is one of the roughest coasts in Tasmania, and is very dangerous on account of reefs and rocks. The Government, in the interests of shipping, should have the necessary survey made. It seems remarkable to me that the Director of Navigation should receive £900 a year, while the secretary, apparently his junior, receives £950. That cannot give satisfaction. {: .speaker-K1J} ##### Mr PRATTEN:
MARTIN, NEW SOUTH WALES · NAT -- The Lighthouse and Navigation Departments have now been amalgamated, and are called the marine branch of the department. The secretary is the senior officer, and is in a position similar to that of the secretary of a department. {: .speaker-KQW} ##### Mr SEABROOK: -- I accept the Minister's statement, but I ask him what he would say if his secretary were receiving more salary than himself. I consider that tlie whole position is wrong. I have received letters urging that wireless stations be erected on Maatsukyer and Tasman Islands, and claiming that such an installation is absolutely necessary, owing to the isolated position of these islands. The distances between them and Hobart are only 60 and 50 miles respectively, and a powerful machine would not be required. The unfortunate individuals in charge of the lighthouses are now totally marooned. They have to rely on carrier pigeons to carry urgent messages to the mainland, and frequently those pigeons are taken by hawks. Not long ago one man was killed and another injured at Island. Had it not been for a passing steamer picking up tlie hitter's Morse message and transmitting it to a cruiser at Hobart, he would have had to remain on the island, injured, for possibly a couple of weeks. After he had been taken to the mainland he was a month in hospital. I trust that the Minister will view the request seriously, and make the necessary provision for wireless installations on both islands as quickly as possible. **Mr. BLAKELEY** (Darling) [12.45 p.m.'. - I wish to refer *to* railway communication between Sydney and Port Augusta. Por many years this subject has been .discussed from a strategic and economic stand-point, and from time to time reports have been furnished, including the 1921 report of the royal commission on the uniform railway gauge and **Mr. Combes'** report of 1915-16 respecting the construction of a railway from Brisbane to Port Augusta. In addition, military experts who have visited Australia have reported on railway routes necessary for the proper defence of Australia. I urge upon the Government the necessity for the construction of a line from Broken Hill to Port Augusta, thus shortening the route from Sydney to Port Augusta by some 346 miles. The railway from Sydney to Broken Hill passes through Orange, Parkes, Condobolin, across the plains to Menindie, where an up-to-date steel bridge has been built across the Darling River, and thence to Broken Hill. The gauge of that line is the standard adopted by the Commonwealth. Until recently the journey from Sydney via Melbourne and Adelaide to Broken Hill took three days, but now it takes only from 25 to 26 hours. The map attached to **Mr. Combes'** report shows a proposed route from Broken Hill via 'Erudina and Hawker to Port. Augusta. An alternative route is from Broken Hill, leaving the existing line at Yunta, thence to Carrieton and Port Augusta. The former is the more direct line, but it presents more engineering difficulties. Either route would give a remarkably good connexion between Sydney and Perth, and be of immense strategic value to Australia. Various authorities have reported on the construction of a railway to link Brisbane with Perth. One proposed route is from Brisbane to Moree, leaving Coonamble to the south-east, crossing the Cobar railway at Nyngan, passing in the vicinity of Mount Hope, connecting with the railway to Broken Hill, and. thence following from there either of the routes that I have indicated. Such a line situated many hundreds of miles inland would be invaluable for defence purposes. At present we have many breaks of gauge, in consequence of which great- inconvenience is experienced; particularly by that at Albury. Breaks of gauge are- being obviated in South Australia by the construction of the railway from Port Augusta to Red Hill and the provision of a third rail from. Red Hill to Adelaide. In advocating a more direct line from Sydney to Perth I am not for one moment attempting to criticize the construction of the railway from Port Augusta via Red Hill to Adelaide, a portion of which will be of the uniform gauge. I admit that such lines are necessary for the proper linking up of the various capitals and for the quick and convenient transport of goods and passengers. The cost of railway construction is increasing by leaps and bounds, and is likely to continue to do so for some considerable time. I estimate that there are in Australia at present no fewer than *4:0,000* men unemployed, and that is a conservative estimate. Tlie census taken from time to time by the labour bureau and union secretaries shows that some 26,000 men and women are unemployed, and one can safely assume that an additional 14,000 persons who do not come into contact with labour bureaux' or trade union secretaries are unemployed. The Commonwealth Government should immediately begin the construction of reproductive works that will ultimately be of value from the point of view of both defence and of economy. Unemployment is rife throughout Australia. Three mines at Broken Hill have closed down, and 1,600 men have been out of work. Newcastle has an unemployment register of 4,000, and Victoria has over 10,000 unemployed. New South Wales, some three months ago, had an unemployment register of 6,500, and it is now estimated that 9,000 men are unemployed. Queensland has its unemployment problem, ' and in South Australia recently the State Government retrenched the railway department to the extent of 2,000 men. {: .speaker-DQC} ##### Mr Duncan HUGHES: -- It is understood that those men are only temporarily retrenched. {: #subdebate-25-0-s37 .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr BLAKELEY: -- They have been put off, and so far as I can ascertain it will be some time before they are reengaged. Retrenchment is also proposed in the other Government departments of that State. Western Australia is in the best position of all the States so far as the problem of unemployment is concerned. The Government is responsible for much of this unemployment because it has failed to assist in developing our secondary industries and in establishing new industries. I urge the Minister to consider whether it would not be wise at this juncture, when, unfortunately, there is so much surplus labour to carry out a great railway project, such as I have suggested, that would ultimately be of economic and strategic value to the people of Australia. *Sitting suspended from 1 to 2 p.m. Friday. )* {: #subdebate-25-0-s38 .speaker-KMS} ##### Mr MANNING:
Macquarie -- Early this year, after my return from England, I criticized rather severely our methods of marketing certain of our primary products there. I am glad to say now - and perhaps to take a little credit for it - that the exportation of our lowest grade of butter has been prohibited. I am also glad to be able to inform the Minister For Markets and Migration that from private sources I have been informed that the Australian apple crop has been marketed in London in better condition this year than formerly. {: .speaker-KQW} ##### Mr Seabrook: -- It was a smaller crop. {: .speaker-KMS} ##### Mr MANNING: -- That is so; but it is gratifying that it, has been marketed in better condition. I do not suggest that my informant stated that our apples were marketed in such good order and condition as those of other countries, but considerable improvement has been effected. Certain dormant regulations regarding the exportation of apples were enforced this year for the first time. I trust that in the future where practicable an effort will be made to examine our apples on the orchard instead of' just as they are about to be shipped. A good deal was said during the budget debate on the necessity of balancing our imports and exports. If we are to do that, we must unquestionably extend our primary production. We cannot expect profitably to export our secondary products. I am not one of those who consider that freetrade is the panacea for all the ills that afflict our farmers. I well remember the statement made by Abraham Lincoln that no country can ever grow entirely great on primary production alone. I realize the value of our secondary industries. But the only way to correct our adverse trade balance is to increase our primary production. In my opinion the Department of Markets and Migration is one of the most important that we have, but I am very anxious to see a Commonwealth Department of Agriculture established, chiefly to co-ordinate the work of the State departments. I do not suggest that, another huge federal department should be set up, but I know from practical experience that the co-ordination of the work of the State agricultural departments is essential in the interests of the nation. A number of honorable members had the privilege yesterday of attending the official opening of the Australian School of Forestry, and of hearing the notable speeches which were delivered by His Excellency the Governor-General (Lord Stonehaven), and. the Prime Minister **(Mr. Bruce).** It was pleasing for us also to realize that there had been a marked measure of co-operation between the Commonwealth and State Governments in the establishment of the school. It cannot be denied that- it is essential, in order to ensure the better marketing of many of our primary products in the future that we should grow more softwoods in Australia. Our hardwoods are not suitable for these purposes, and in any case are far too valuable to be used in that way. The profligacy with which we used them in the years gone by was little short of criminal. I remember some few years ago conversing with a State official who is one of the most expert foresters in Australia. He told me that we were not planting half enough softwoods, and that the bulk of our plantings were being made in New South Wales, which, climatically and otherwise, was not nearly so suitable as Tasmania for the growth of these timbers. The sooner we can grow softwoods for the purpose of assisting our primary producers properly to market their goods, the better it will be for the nation. Even the honorable member for Franklin **(Mr. Seabrook)** will admit that softwood is necessary for butter boxes. I am glad that the Minister for Trade and Customs **(Mr. Pratten, hasnot increased the duty on Oregon pine, which is so necessary for the manufacture of our fruit shooks. Had he done so,I am convinced that he would not have prevented the importation of this timber, for our orchardists are so convinced that it is necessary for the proper packing of the fruit that they would pay a higher price to obtain it. An increase in the duty would not have made our orchardists use hardwood cases ; it would have merely increaseed our revenue through the customs. It will be gratifying to many associations which have written to the Minister on this point that he has not increased the existing duty.** {: .speaker-KQW} ##### Mr Seabrook: -- The honorable Minister should visit a few fruit districts. {: .speaker-KMS} ##### Mr MANNING: -- I have been engaged in primary production all my life, but I have been glad indeed, of late years, that my interests are chiefly in wheat and wool, for the fruit-growers have undoubtedly been passing through a difficult time. During the past few months I have been obliged to send an average of two or three letters a week to the Minister for Trade and Customs, on the subject of timber duties. I have been approachedby varioussawmillers, and urged to do my utmost to obtain an increase in the existing timber duties, but I have said to them,' "I am willing to go as far as I can to assist you, but if you desire me to urge the Government to increase the duty on softwoods used for marketing our primary products, I cannot do it." I have since had letters from mew with large capital invested in the timber industry to the effect that they would be quite satisfied if the Minister would increase the duty on timbers other than those required for fruit shooks, &c. Unfortunately some of the State Governments have claimed such excessive royalties for timber that they have neutralized to a large extent the benefits of our protective tariff. It is gratifying that the Minister for Trade and Customs has not overlooked the claim of the tomato-growers for protection. {: .speaker-K1J} ##### Mr PRATTEN:
MARTIN, NEW SOUTH WALES · NAT -- I was asked to define the tomato as a fruit and not a vegetable, and that has been done. {: .speaker-KMS} ##### Mr MANNING: -- According to the tariff schedule tabled yesterday, imported tomato pulp is now to be subject to a heavier duty than formerly. Honorable members may be surprised to know that in the Bathurst, Hawkesbury and Nepean districts, there are large associations of tomato-growers. The Bathurst association alone has a membership of 120, and the minimum area that any one grower must have is one acre of tomatoes. There is no agricultural industry in Australia that gives so much employment per acre as does tomato-growing. I also congratulate the Minister upon affording increased protection to the dairying industry in connexion with the price of butter. I think that there should be an agricultural branch attached to the Department of Trade and Customs. I know that the different States are carrying on very valuable work, but their efforts should be co-ordinated. I am particularly interested in the wheat industry, and in no part of the world has greater progress been made in the evolution of new types of wheat than in Australia. The introduction of the Farrar varieties of wheat increased the average yield per acre by at least five bushels. We have been told that wheat-growing is a precarious occupation ;. but the fact remains that of the soldier settlers in New South Wales, taken as a class, only the wheat-growers were able to successfully carry on when the whole of their capital was borrowed and carried interest. Some time ago I obtained from the honorable member for Wimmera **(Mr. Stewart)** samples of varieties of wheat which he had been growing in Victoria, and which had proved very satisfactory in that State. I tried the varieties out, and obtained splendid yields from one, but the Department of Agriculture in New South Wales had never heard' of these wheats until I presented the department with a bag of each variety. The Bena variety of wheat, one of the best new wheats produced of late in New South Wales, was not known in Victoria until the honorable member for Wimmera secured a sample from me. These instances illustrate how valuable such a co-ordinating department as I have suggested would be. Excellent work is being done by the agricultural departments of the various States in encouraging the improvement of pastures. We frequently hear extolled the virtues of the man who makes two blades of grass grow where one grew before, but recently I have known instances in which pasture improvement has caused four blades to grow where one grew previously. Last week I saw on the property of **Mr. Prell,** about 20 miles from Goulburn, a paddock of grass a foot high, and quite green. This paddock was feeding three sheep to the acre. On the other side of the fence, where the pasture had not been improved by the introduction of new grasses and the use of super, the grass was quite browned by the summer sun, and was only three inches in length, and was feeding only a sheep to the acre. I suggest that the Minister take this matter into consideration, and make representations to the Cabinet, that the work of his department should be extended so as to embrace an agricultural co-ordinating department. We have the Estimates of the Minister for Works and Railways before us, and I wish to endorse what was said by the honorable member for Darling **(Mr. Blakeley),** about the necessity for running a transcontinental train from Sydney through Broken Hill and Terowie to Perth. I would prefer to see a uniform gauge right through. At present there are two gauges on this route, between Sydney and Port Augusta, the line to Broken Hill from Sydney being 4 ft. 8-^ in., while the line going through South Australia is 3 ft. 6 in. A transcontinental train run on the existing lines would shorten the journey from Sydney to Perth by 366 miles. This would effect a. great saving in travelling time, and with the building of a further short length of railway connecting either Hillston or Cargellico with the Sydney to Broken Hill line, we would have direct connexion with the Federed Capital from South and Western Australia. I trust that this matter will be given earnest consideration, and that an effort will be made to have this service provided. {: #subdebate-25-0-s39 .speaker-KZ6} ##### Mr LACEY:
Grey .- Notwithstanding the fact that honorable members have been sitting for 27 hours, I cannot allow this opportunity to pass without saying something on the vote for the Department of Works and Railways. The Commonwealth railway employees, other than civil servants, do not, at the present time, enjoy the same long-service leave as do employees in the other railway systems of Australia. Some time ago the honorable member for Kalgoorlie **(Mr. A. Green)** and myself walled upon the Minister for Railways in regard to this matter, but we have not yet received a reply to our representations. In Queensland, railway employees are entitled to three months' holiday leave on full pay after fifteen years' service. After twenty years' service they are entitled to four and a. half months' leave, and after 25 years' service, to six months' leave. In New South Wales," after twenty years' service, they are entitled to one month's leave. Victorian railwaymen are on the same footing as those in the Commonwealth service, and no long-service leave is granted. In South Australia, the long-service provision has been in operation only during the last few years, but at the present time employees who joined the service prior te the 9th December, 1905, are entitled to four months' holiday leave on full pay after ten years,' service. After twenty years' service they receive eight months' leave. Employees who joined after the 9th December, 1905, are entitled to two months' leave after ten years' service, and to four mouths' leave after twenty years' service. In Tasmania, railway employees who retire through sickness or retrenchment after four years' service are allowed one month's wages, and one week's wages in respect to each subsequent year's service, provided that the total allowance does not amount to more than 52 weeks. In Western Australia, four months' leave of absence is allowed after ten years' service, six months' after twenty years' service, and nine months after 27 years' service. Therefore, in every State except Victoria, railway employees are entitled to long-service leave. The trans-continental railway employees mingle, to some extent, in the course of their work with those of Western Australia and South Australia, as they come in contact with them at each end of the trans-continental section. I do not go so far as to say that there is any sign of industrial unrest amongst the Commonwealth railway employees, but I submit that it is not in the best interests of industrial peace that different conditions in regard to leave should obtain for two sections of workers who come into contact in this way. I also wish to refer to housing conditions as they apply to employees working on the railway from Port Augusta to Kalgoorlie. Some three years ago I moved a reduction of the Estimates in the House to draw attention to the unsatisfactory nature of the housing accommodation provided for these men. I admit that since that time the position has been remedied to some extent, and at Tarcoola the housing is now 'quite satisfactory. The honorable member for Perth **(Mr. Mann),** a gentleman who travels over that section of the line perhaps more than any other member of this House, mentioned during the discussion' on the proposed construction of another railway line, that if that line were built it might be possible to do something in the" way of housing for the workers engaged in those areas. He made that statement because he was impressed by the houses in which the employees are now living. At all the stations other than at Tarcoola the houses were regarded as temporary ; but they are still occupied by the employees and their families. Every Railway Department in Australia m has improved its cottages. The last government in South Australia erected fine buildings for the railway employees. If good service is expected from them, they must be granted decent living conditions. I suggest that this Government should adopt the scheme that has been responsible for the building of the houses at Tarcoola. The employees pay 6 per cent, on the capital cost. I hope that the Minister will give the matter serious consideration in the near future, since the sites of the permanent stations have been fixed. The Workmen's Compensation Act was passed by this Parliament in 1912 and has not been materially altered since. The weekly payment under it is £2. When the measure came into operation originally, it was regarded as the best act of its kind in Australia, and now that better conditions obtain ali round, it is the worst. The New South Wales measure is extraordinarily beneficient. The South Australian and Western Australian measures give about the same benefits, but uniform housing conditons should apply to the railway employees in all the States. In 1912, the payment under the South Australian Act was £1 a week, and little else was provided. Since then, a number of amendments have been made, and the weekly payment has been increased to £2 or half wages, whichever is the greater. The present measure in my State, however, now provides also that the employees shall receive 7s. 6d. a week for each child under the age of fourteen, and the maximum sum is fixed at £3. No such payment is made under the Commonwealth statute. The old South Australian act had no schedule providing for definite payments for specific injuries. I have known persons to be entitled to compensation ; but, as no agreement has been arrived at between employers and employees, they have had to go to the courts, with the result that most of the available money has gone into the pockets of lawyers, and those entitled to compensation have received little or nothing. Until definite payments are provided for particular injuries, those conditions will continue. The schedule should be so clear that a layman could understand the measure; there should be no scope for litigation. The Commonwealth Act applies to persons other than railway employees, and I urge the Government to give consideration to its amendment, as early as possible. I have often referred to the sum of money made available each year for the ballasting of the East-West railway. The way in which the work is now done is not economical.' We employ an excellent gang of men ; but the sum expended is too small. One honorable member said that the Commonwealth Railways were employing a large number- of foreigners ; but I stated a few weeks ago that 300 or 400 Australians were within an ace of being thrown out of employment. As the East-West railway is to be ballasted sooner or later: and as that work would be of benefit to the department, we should make the necessary funds available, and do the job properly. Whatever work could be done to relieve unemployment during the next few months should not be postponed. The subject of the education of the children of Commonwealth railway employees has never previously been raised in this chamber, and it may be considered to be essentially a State matter. On the eastern side are two primary schools, one at Cook and the other at Tarcoola. During the term of office of the last South Australian Government, provision was made for the erection of cottages on the new plan, and 1 am pleased to know that the Government is proceeding with the building of schools there. At other points along the line the children have to be educated by correspondence, although many of them are at an age when they require more than a primary education. I do not ask this Government to erect a hostel or high school to provide those children with the education to which they are entitled, but I do urge that this Government should confer with the South Australian and Western Australian Governments to see whether some concerted action cannot be formulated, possibly with the help of a subsidy, to give those children such facilities as are provided in the cities. When passing through to Western Australia I met a mau whose child was then sitting for his qualifying high school examination. The father of that boy has been in the Commonwealth service for a long time. Should that lad be successful in qualifying for the high school, his father will not be able to afford to pay his board, and it will mean that he must either relinquish his position on the transcontinental railway, and so forfeit his accumulated privileges, or deprive his son of the educational privileges to which he is entitled. The State Governments have subsidized hostels, and this Government has granted bounties to assist industries. The education of children who are above the average is more important than the fostering of an industry, and it is certainly not right that the children of Commonwealth employees should be deprived of educational advantages that are available to other children in the Commonwealth. I commend the matter to the serious attention of the Government. I have stressed secondary education, but our primary education is of equal importance and must not be neglected. {: #subdebate-25-0-s40 .speaker-KYX} ##### Mr C RILEY:
COOK, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP; FLP from 1931 .I am disappointed at the failure of this Government to take adequate steps to place on a sound and permanent basis many of our important industries that are now languishing. The several hoards and commissions created by the Government for the purpose have " fallen down on the job." Later we shall have an opportunity to discuss the tariff schedule which was tabled yesterday by the Minister. I fail to see how it will be beneficial to Australian manufacturers, although I grant that it may be of substantial benefit to British manufacturers. The Tariff Board has spent its time inquiring into matters of minor importance, while it has neglected those of major importance. We have received reports dealing with cotton waste, dictaphones, cash registers, circular saws, hood lights for motor cars, kitbag frames, potatoes; and attache cases; while matters of greater importance have been neglected. I realize that those items may be important to people engaged in such industries ; but the Tariff Board and the Development and Migration Commission should concern itself more with the creation of new and important industries, and in giving a fillip to- existing industries. I have read the report of the Development and Migration Commission, and I find that at least 80 per cent. of it is merely historical, and of little value. Reference is made to an agreement with the British Government for the training of 250 domestic servants each year. Such a scheme as the training of a small number of domestic servants is scarcely one of theproblems that should take up the time of a costly commission. The commission should be engaged in more important and broader policies. It is costing us £140,000 a year to maintain the commission, and we should get an adequate return. We know that recently the commission was careering round Queensland demonstrating the virtues of six-wheel trucks. Also that experts on its staff have spent a considerable time in Tasmania in trying to persuade the local hens to lay two eggs where they now lay one. That is ridiculous, and it is time that we stated our views frankly about what is required of it with a view to persuading the commission to tackle the problems likely to bring beneficial resultsto Australia. It would have been better had the commission perused the list of exports of our raw materials and closely analyzed the huge list of imports of manufactured goods coming into Australia - not from Great Britain, but from cheap-labour countries. Frequent revisions of the tariffseem to get us nowhere. We need a bold, constructive policy which will give our industries a footing, and allow them to employ tens of thousands of Britishers who are now out of employment. For the year 1926-27 the following artisans were out of employment in Great Britain. Our vast continent offers boundless possibilities for development. It should be an easy matter for us to encourage those British manufacturers whose valuable and up-to-date plants are idle, to transfer them to Australia, and with them the operatives who are out of work. Last year '95 per cent. of our wool was sent overseas in a raw state. That should not be tolerated. Instead,we should insist upon that raw material beingworked up here. During the year 1925-26, 769,000,000 lb. of greasy wool was exported, to the value of £56,500,000. We also exported 50,000,000 lb. of scoured and washed wool, valued at £5,500,000, and wool tops to the value of £1,160,000. Had the right thing been done wewould have scoured thatwool in Australia and exported it in the form ofwool tops or yarns. That would have created an enormous amount of employment. Had half of thewool exported in its greasy state been scoured locally - which would have provided employment in our country towns, which is very desirable - and, exported in a semi-manufactured state, that would have meant that an additional £5,000,000 would have been spent in Australia. During the same year Australia exported over 8, 500,000 sheep skins,withwool on, to the value of over £3,500,000. Had those skins been worked in ourown country an amount of £430,000would have been spent in fellmongering and scouring. If the skins had been pickled for export, an additional £100,000would have been expended in Australia, and the cost of tanning would have represented an expenditure of £160,000. During the same year over 1,000,000 hides and skinswere imported from New Zealand, including 600,000 sheep skins, to the value of £100,000. Many of our local tanneries are working only part time. They are unable to obtain local sheep skins and, therefore, are obliged to import sheep skins fromNew Zealand. That state of affairs should not be tolerated. In addition to sheep skins, Ave exported during 1925-26 hides, furred and other skins to the value of £4,760,176, and of every £1,000 worth of furred skins exported only £2 worth were exported in a dressed or prepared state. Our exports ofrawwool, sheep skins, hides, furred and other skins are enormous, and Ave are adopting a shortsighted policy inallowing them to go out of this country in araw state instead of treating them locally. We are continuing our stupid policy of exporting our skins and importing them back from other countries in the form of leather and leather manufactures. Over £500,000 worth of leather goods are imported into Australia annually, including £200,000 worth from the United States of America. Our tariff wall should he sufficiently high to shut out these imports. Nearly £3,000,000 worth of rabbit skins is exported annually, and yet we import over £500,000 worth of fur felt for the manufacture of hats and other articles. This unsatisfactory position should be investigated by the Government and the activities under its control. There is no justification for the importation of leather and leather manufactures, or of patent and enamelled leather. These articles should be produced by our own tanneries, just as the vast quantity of woollen and other imports should be made locally, and thus provide employment for our own people. For a number of years I have endeavoured to interest the Government in the cultivation of flax and the establishment of the linen industry. Unfortunately my representations have fallen on deaf ears, except that the Minister for Trade and Customs has recently requested the Tariff Board to investigate and report on the flax industry. I congratulate him on taking the initial step, and I hope that some good will result. Apart altogether from the action of the Minister, surely the Development and Migration Commission should have .recommended the cultivation of flax in Australia. The flax industry is one of the oldest industries in the world, and I cannot understand why it has not been established here. Manufactured goods such as piece goods for handkerchiefs, table cloths, and serviettes are imported into Australia. Those goods, together with the imports of hessian, linseed and linseed oil, represent an amount of £3,222,000. The establishment of the flax industry and the erection of linen mills here would enable us to manufacture linen in just the same way as we are manufacturing woollen and cotton goods. Last year we imported 736,000 gallons of linseed oil. Had the flax .industry been established, and that quantity of oil manufactured from locally-grown linseed, the residue would have made 7,000 tons of oil cake, which is a valuable cattle food and an excellent stand-by in case of drought. The growing of flax and linseed would pay the farmer better than the growing of wheat. The flax industry in Canada is well established, and is protected by a duty of 4d. a bushel on linseed. In 1913 that country had 13,000 acres of flax under cultivation ; but in 1917 the area under cultivation had increased to 695,500 acres. Excellent fibre has already been grown in Australia; but, apart from experimental work, little has been done to encourage the flax industry. The industry would provide straw for the manufacture of paper and other by-products suitable for the manufacture of twine. There is no waste from the root to the top of the flax plant. {: .speaker-KNP} ##### Mr Maxwell: -- What products were replaced by the enormous increase in the acreage under flax? {: .speaker-KYX} ##### Mr C RILEY:
COOK, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP; FLP from 1931 -- I cannot say. Evidently the Canadian Government gave every encouragement to the farmers to plant flax. We are growing less flax in Australia to-day than previously. Twenty years ago the Inter-State Commission recommended the payment of a bounty of 10 per cent, of the value of fibre produced. If that commission considered that the industry Avas worth establishing then, surely Avith the development that has taken place in our secondary industries, it is worth establishing today. By adopting the policy of working up our own raw materials, particularly Wool, mills would eventually be established in most of the important towns throughout the Commonwealth. England is exporting every year over £20,000,000 worth of machinery for the manufacture of textiles, and most of it is going to China, Japan and other countries. We cannot therefore expect England to continue to hold its position as one of the greatest manufacturing countries in the world, particularly in textiles owing to many of her former customers engaging in such manufacture. There is an enormous number of textile workers unemployed not only in Great Britain but also in Australia. The following is an extract from the Sydney *Sun: -* >Imported Textiles. As a result of tlie importation, of textiles from other countries COO employees in New South Wales ure out of work. Messrs John Vicars and Company Limited, of Marrickville, have dispensed with their night staff, and the Colonial Combing, > >Spinning and Weaving Company Limited, of Botany, has dispensed with practically its whole staff. By treating our own raw materials, we would practically eliminate unemployment. We grow the finest wool in the world, and we should sell it, whether to Bradford or the Continent, under conditions that best suit this country. I regret that the Government has seen fit to limit the discussion on the budget and the Estimates. At the end of the session there is always anxiety on its part to rush legislation through, and as a result many important financial measures do not receive the consideration that they merit. I hope later to have an opportunity to deal with *certain* Australian industries, particularly the hosiery and glass industries, which to my mind have not received sufficient assistance from the Government. {: #subdebate-25-0-s41 .speaker-KF9} ##### Mr A GREEN:
KALGOORLIE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · ALP; FLP from 1931; ALP from 1936 -- Once again I desire to draw the Minister's attention- to coastal lighting in Western Australia. {: .speaker-K1J} ##### Mr PRATTEN:
MARTIN, NEW SOUTH WALES · NAT -- To which particular lighthouse is the honorable member referring? {: .speaker-KF9} ##### Mr A GREEN:
KALGOORLIE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · ALP; FLP from 1931; ALP from 1936 -- I complain of the insufficiency of the' lighting of the Western Australian coast. Of the 10,000 miles of Australian coast 3,130 miles are in Western Australia. The north-west coast has the third highest tide in the world, and as few lights are provided it is exceedingly dangerous to shipping. I admit that shipping is infrequent there, but the traffic is increasing. The total number of lights on the coast is seventeen, as compared with 100 or so on the whole Australian coast, showing clearly that Western Australia has been neglected in respect of coastal lighting facilities. It is easy to understand that when the lighthouse system was under the control of the State authorities, iv was somewhat difficult, with the limited resources at their disposal, to adequately light such an extensive coastline. It was thought, however, that when coastal lighting came under the control of the Commonwealth the position would improve. In November, 1912, Commander R. W. Brewis, R.N., acting under directions from the Commonwealth Government, made a cursory survey of the COaSt *horn* King George's Sound right to thb border of the Northern Territory to the east ot Wnydham, to ascertain the number of lights necessary to provide effective light ing, and to report to the Government. His recommendations have been available for some time now, and. I trust the Minister for Trade and Customs during the Christmas vacation will find sufficient time to peruse this valuable report and obtain a complete grasp of the subject with which I am now dealing. He recommended the installation of eleven new lights on the Western Australian coast. Having travelled considerably in the Dutch EastIndies, a territory comparatively near to the north-wst coast of Western Australia, I am able to say from personal observation that on those islands, some of which are within 24 hours sail of Australia, the lighting conditions are infinitely better than they are on the north-vest coast, a number of danger points on the coast where there is less shipping than there is on our north-west coast, numerous lights are installed, some of which were erected before the introduction of unattended lights. Indeed,- along the coast of Java, which, as honorable members are aware, is densely populated, the lights are very closely situated, and on the Island of Timor, Sumbawa, and other islands which are closer to Australia, the lights are numerous and brilliant. The installation of these lights enables vessel, to visit the ports at any hour without danger, whereas, at our north-western ports, where there are no lights, shipmasters are often compelled to incur considerable expense through the waste of time in waiting for daylight. This leads to the imposition of higher freights, which increases the costs of settlers in the affected locality. Ships anchoring at Port Hedland on the full tide are lying on the mud when the tide is out. Similar conditions obtain at Broome, where the tide goes out for some distance, and leaves the boats high and dry. If a vessel arrives at- night off Derby - King's Sound - or Wyndham - Admiralty Gulf - it is impossible for it to proceed to the port owing to the absence of lights. Consequently vessels are held up for twelve hours until daylight, -and incur unnecessary expenses amounting to perhaps £50 during the period of detention. Unattended lights, which are now extensively used on different parts of the Australian coast, could be installed at a comparatively small cost. In the selection of suitable sites with the aid of the report made by Commander Brewis, the officers associated with the lighthouse service should be able to render valuable help. The lighthouse tenders could also be used in the work of installation and the cost thereby reduced to a minimum. Last year £22,000 was placed on the estimates for work of this nature for the whole of the Australian coastline, and I am pleased to see that this year provision has been made for the expenditure "f £57,000. I trust that the Minister will bear this matter in mind, and give the Western Australian coast more attention than it has received in the past. Between Cape Leveque and Darwin, a distance of 620 miles of most dangerous coast, there is not a single light. I have been on boats outside of Wyndham, which have had to anchor off the shore owing to the impracticability of going close in during the hours of darkness. Lacrosse Island is near, and a vigilant watch has to be kept at night to prevent vessels from being driven ashore by the strong current. lt is a risky business and only masters who have spent a long time on the coast can be trusted to navigate vessels through these treacherous waters. All the shipmasters trading on that coast are desirous that the Federal Government should take some interest in this matter. {: .speaker-F4Q} ##### Mr Scullin: -- It affects human life. {: .speaker-KF9} ##### Mr A GREEN:
KALGOORLIE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · ALP; FLP from 1931; ALP from 1936 -- Yes. Several ships have been lost up there, and I sincerely trust that on this occasion the Minister will ask for a report from his officers, and that the department will proceed with the installation, of the additional lights which are essential. A jetty costing over £50,000 has been erected by the State Government at Point Beadon, a new port; but if a vessel arrives there at night, it has to stand off until daylight, thus increasing its expenditure. I have brought this matter under the notice of the Minister on several previous occasions, and I trust that in this instance definite action will be taken in the direction of improving the lighting system on the most dangerous portion of the Australian coastline. _^ {: #subdebate-25-0-s42 .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr FORDE:
Capricornia -- I am somewhat reluctant to speak on such an important subject as the sugar industry, when the committee has been sitting continuously for 27 or 2S hours. It is obvious to honorable members that within two or three weeks the House will be adjourning for probably a couple of months, and the sugar-growers of Queensland are desirous of ascertaining the future, policy of the Government in regard to the industry. The present agreement between the Commonwealth Government and the growers does not expire until the 30th August, 192S, and there is some doubt in their minds whether the agreement will be extended for a further term of a duty imposed. Naturally the activities of the sugar-growers will be considerably affected by whatever determination may be arrived at, because before the end of the year the present crop will be harvested, and a commencement made to prepare the land for the planting of a new crop, lt is the duty of the Government to make some pronouncement concerning its policy on this subject. I do not approach the matter from a party viewpoint,' and I know that the Minister for Trade and Customs **(Mr. Pratten)** is sympathetically disposed, towards an extension, of the present arrangement. I cannot overlook the fact, however, that a Government represents the whole of the people whose interests have to be considered. The few remarks I have to make will be in the direction of removing a misunderstanding which, exists in the minds of certain honorable members, who have some doubt as to whether the industry is an asset or a burden to the Commonwealth. We have been told by certain well-intentioned but misguided persons like **Mrs. Glencross,** of the Housewives' Association, that the present policy does not operate in the interests of the people. There are some honorable members, such as the honorable member for Swan **(Mr. Gregory),** a sincere member of the Country party, and the honorable member for Forrest **(Mr. Prowse),** another Country party member and **Mr. Seabrook** (Nationalist), who favour lifting the embargo on sugar importation. The honourable member for Franklin said that he would remove tariff duties and dispense with the Arbitration Court. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr Fenton: -- But he would not oppose a duty on apples. {: .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr FORDE: -- No. He is always anxious to assist the industries of Western Australia, but does not think that industries in other States should receive consideration. I realize the difficulties of the Minister, who has the support of Nationalist members who say that the embargo should be lifted, and of certain Country party members who have said within the last few weeks that if they had the opportunity they would discontinue the embargo at once The Prime Minister visited the sugar districts of Queensland during the Parliamentary recess, but so far as I have been able to discover, his only comment with respect to them is as follows : - >If thu- embargo were renewed, the Commonwealth would probably have to run the rule over the industry with the object of ascertaining whether it was being conducted with the maximum efficiency and economy. This is not a Queensland, but an Australian industry; it affects the whole of our people. On the question whether it is efficient or not, I draw attention to a statement made by **Mr. W.** Seymour Howe, general manager of the Mulgrave mill in North Queensland, who is one of the. most noted sugar experts in Queens-' land. He recently returned from a world congress of sugar technologists that was held in Cuba and stated that Queensland obtains a ton of sugar from fewer tons of cane than any -other country in the world. This satisfactory result has been obtained by the extensive experimental work that has been done to produce the best types of cane and the greatest efficiency in milling it. Two or three years ago a number of honorable members of thi." Parliament visited South Africa, and on their return, stated that they had been struck by the fact that the sugar industry was much more efficiently conducted in Australia than in South Africa. It, is stated occasionally that some sugar countries abroad yield a better 2-eturn per acre under cultivation than does Australia; but I point out that our yield is annual, whereas theirs is biennial. I am of the opinion that in all the circumstances there is no justification for the appointment of another commission of inquiry to assist the Government to formulate its future policy for the industry. Recently the Victorian Town and Country Union circularized honorable members of this Parliament respecting the sugar industry, but their communication contained such gross misstatements that I feel it incumbent upon me, as the representative of a large number of sugar growers, to state the true facts. One paragraph in the circular of this spurious freetrade body, which has arrogantly taken to itself the duty of advising us how we should vote on fiscal issues, read as follows - >To compel the Australian public to sacrifice annually from three to four millions sterling to sugar-growers and sugar manufacturers and urge that this sacrifice is necessary to keep Australia white, is surely asking the Australian elector to swallow too much. . . . This sugar outrage . . . has something to do with keeping Australia empty. . . . It has a great deal to do with our unemployment. I understand that the honorable member for Perth **(Mr. Mann)** is connected with the Town and Country Union. {: .speaker-K4Y} ##### Dr Nott: -- He is the Union. {: .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr FORDE: -- He may be its mouthpiece in this Parliament and his is a Nationalist, so it is advisable that I should assure the Minister for Trade and Customs that a number of honorable members on this side of the committee take a keen and intelligent interest in this question. The paragraph which I have just quoted is grossly exaggerated and misleading. The annual consumption of sugar in Australia is approximately 330,000 tons. If the retail price of sugar here were the same as in South Africa, where sugar is grown by black labour, our people would pay only £2,500,000 less per annum for their sugar than at present, or an average of 2d. per week per inhabitant, but by buying sugar from black labour - South Africa, the Australian industry, worth £10,000,000 a year, would be wiped out. The retail price of refined sugar in England to-day is 4d. per lb., or, £d. per lb. less than in Australia. Eng- land depends for her sugar largely upon black labour countries. Of the £33,000,000 worth of sugar which she consumes annually, £27,000,000 worth are obtained from foreign countries, and only £6,000,000 worth from her dominions and other possessions. **Mrs. Glencross,** of the Victorian Housewives' Association, would lead our people to believe that they would make huge savings on sugar if our merchants were allowed to purchase it in the cheapest market; but that is quite wrong. The maximum saving that we could effect by buying our sugar abroad and retailing it at 4d. per lb. would be £1,000,000 per annum. The average family, consisting of a man, his wife, and three children, consumes 6 lb. of sugar a week, and the saving they would effect by buying sugar at the English, as against the Australian price, would be only 3d. per week. {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr Makin: -- Is milled white sugar available at present? {: .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr FORDE: -- Very little of it goes into general consumption, though I understand that it would be possible for householders to obtain a limited quantity of it in ton lots. {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr Makin: -- And very few of them would know the .difference between it and refined sugar. {: .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr FORDE: -- That is so ; but the refined sugar keeps better than the milled white. The Australian sugar industry provides employment for 25,000 persons directly in our northern sugar areas, and for 100,000 persons indirectly in other parts of Australia, and is worth £10,000,000 a year to the nation. If we were to cease protecting it against competition from foreign cheap-labour countries, it would soon be crushed out of existence. Surely that would not meet with the approval of any section of the community. Various manufacturing interests in Australia obtain concessions under the existing arrangement. For instance, sugar is supplied at special rates to manufacturers who process fruit. The value of this concession last year was £163,000: . Then, again, sugar is supplied at world's parity prices to manufacturers who need it for the purposes of their export trade. Over £250,000 is absorbed annually in discounts and allowances to merchants, and in freight to Western Australia and Tasmania. Great Britain realizes the importance of a local sugar industry, for she is paying a bounty at present of £19 per ton on beet sugar produced iu England. Let honorable members contrast that with the meagre £9 6s. 8d. per ton duty that was at one time imposed on sugar imported into Australia. I am glad to say that it was realized in time that the rapid fluctuations in the prices of sugar in Cuba and Java rendered the duty valueless, and it was superseded by the present embargo. It was only in that way" that it was possible to prevent commercial gamblers from buying huge quantities of sugar at favorable prices and stacking it in warehouses in Australia, to 'be sold subsequently to the detriment of the local industry. [ ask the Minister, who has recently been in England and has, I am sure, conversed with the British authorities on the question of preferential duties, to use all his influence with them to get some .reciprocal arrangement to compensate Australia for the large concession which he is about to give the English manufacturers of goods exported to Australia in addition *to the concessions previously given to them. To-day, the advantage that English manufacturers derive from our preferential tariff is worth £8,000,000. Under the tariff which the Minister has introduced it will be worth considerably more. What advantage does Australia get from England ? {: .speaker-K1J} ##### Mr PRATTEN:
MARTIN, NEW SOUTH WALES · NAT -- For one thing, Australia gets protection. {: .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr FORDE: -- I quite understand that we owe a great deal to the Mother Country for the protection of our country, but there are other ways in which she can help us a great deal. We are absorbing thousands of her surplus population. At the bottom of the migration policy of the British and .Australian Governments is the desire of Great Britain, whose unemployment problem is so acute, to get rid of her surplus population. Many of her people are being absorbed by Australia, and they are to be. found growing sugar, bananas and cotton in Queensland. Surely it is not too much for us to ask Great Britain for concessions in the shape of preferential duties to help those industries in which Britain's sons and daughters are engaged in distant Australia. I know that this is a live subject with the Minister, and when we hear honorable gentlemen on his own side of the chamber condemning his protective policy it is well for honorable gentlemen on this side of it to show occasionally that we are right behind him in regard to that policy. I believe it would be possible to induce the British Government to do something to help the sugar industry in the dominions in a very practical way, by giving them a greater measure of tariff preference. At present the British duty on sugar is £11 13s. 4d. a ton. The preference to dominion grown sugar is £4 5s. 7d. a ton, leaving £7 7s. 9d. to be paid by the dominion sugar exporters. If that duty were removed the British consumer would not pay a higher price, but the Australian sugar-cane grower would get an additional £1,000,000, if our exportation of sugar to Great Britain remained at last year's figure of 150,000 tons. A concession of that nature would be a great boon to Queensland growers in this period of over production. It would mean new capital for Australia every year. Instead of importing so much sugar from foreign countries, Great Britain should give a greater degree of preference to the product of the dominions. At present she buys £27,000,000 worth from foreign countries, and only £6,000,000 worth from the dominions. This year the area under sugarcane in Queensland is 270,000 acres, and the yield is expected to be approximately 4S0,000 tons of sugar. Seeing that the local consumption does not exceed 330,000 tons, there will thus be an exportable surplus of 150,000 tons. I trust that the Minister will confer with **Mr. Amery** before he leaves Australia. {: .speaker-K1J} ##### Mr PRATTEN:
MARTIN, NEW SOUTH WALES · NAT -- He has gone. {: .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr FORDE: -- I spoke to **Mr. Amery,** myself on the subject and I know that **Mr. Pritchard,** of Queensland, intended to speak to him on this matter. Although **Mr. Amery** could not commit himself, I feel sure that he will bring under the notice of the British authorities the wishes of Australia in regard to industry which is absorbing so many Britishers and is capable of giving employment to a great many more. This industry should be given greater assistance by means of preferential duties. Between 4,000 and 5,000 residents of southern Australia visit Queensland during the sugar-cane season, and earn big wages. In this way the industry is helping to bring up good Australians, because the majority of these men have families to maintain in the southern States. Is it not far better to help these Australians than to help black men in Fiji or Java, whom we would be helping if we were to allow sugar grown in those countries to come into Australia ? Many people who are opposed to the policy of fostering this industry say, " What is the use of helping the sugar industry; it is run by Italians." That is not correct. I do not say that there are no Italians engaged in the industry; but the figures show that the great majority of the growers are not Southern Europeans. The proportion of nonBritish growers supplying cane to the mills in 1921-22 was 22.33 per cent. In 1926, five years later, the proportion had grown to 24.6S per cent. The increase was only 2 per cent, in five years; but in the meantime the total production of cane had increased by fully 25 per cent. In 1926, there were 6,671 British growers,, and only 1,104 non-British, the proportion of non-British growers being 14 percent. The non-British growers included many who have become naturalized. These are men who have proved to be excellent citizens. They are bringing up good Australian families. Some have been growing sugar-cane for the last 20 or 25- years. Some of them pioneered the industry. I am not one to condemn a man because he is an Italian, but I think it is the duty of the Government to negotiate with the governments concerned, with a view to preventing an indiscriminate flow of Southern Europeans into Australia at a time when there are tens of thousands of unemployed here. Many of the Italian sugar-cane growers are men of a fine type.. They are peaceful, law-abiding citizens. But there are times when Italians comeout to Australia in their hundreds, and it is not possible to absorb them speedily in the community. We do not want that sort of thing when we have our own unemployed. Our first duty is to Australia. Next to Australians, I prefer British migrants. {: #subdebate-25-0-s43 .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- The honorable member's time has expired. {: #subdebate-25-0-s44 .speaker-K1J} ##### Mr PRATTEN:
Minister for Trade and Customs · MARTIN, NEW SOUTH WALES · NAT -- I rise to give the honorable members for Darwin, Franklin and Kalgoorlie some assurance with regard to the provision on these Estimates for lighthouses. This year the department is spending two and a half times the amount spent last year on lighthouses. This year work will be completed on four lighthouses, new work is in progress on two, alterations will be completed on five, and new work will be started on five more. The amount to be spent on the lighthouse service this year is about £57,000. It is the biggest works programme the department has had for some years. I have noted the remarks made by honorable members, particularly the reference by the honorable member for Kalgoorlie **(Mr. A. Green)** to the paucity of lighting on the west coast of Western Australia, and I shall go into the matter *as* the honorable member presumed I would. The honorable member for Yarra **(Mr. Scullin):** has made certain statements in regard to the Tariff Board. I should like to point out to him that the Tariff Board is a statutory body, whose powers are set out in section 17 of the Tariff Board Act. It will be remembered that it is very largely due- to the efforts of the Prime Minister that we have a preference of over £4 a ton on sugar in Great Britain to-day. We have also, owing to the attention of the Government, a further pre ference on sugar- in Canada that has enabled us- to export to that dominion during the second year of our reciprocal agreement with it, £1,000;000 worth of Queensland sugar I attended one or two meetings in london in connexion with a further extension of Empire preference, and the matter referred to by the honorable member for Capricornia **(Mr. Forde)** will not be lost sight of by the Government, because it is the Government's earnest desire to make progress in the direction indicated. {: #subdebate-25-0-s45 .speaker-KEQ} ##### Mr KILLEN:
Riverina .While I am anxious to see the timber industry in Australia in a flourishing condition, I do not think that any duty should be imposed on the class of timber which is used by fruit-growers for packing cases. The fruit-growers must use imported timber for making cases, and I am pleased that no addition to the duty is to be made in respect of this timber. I agree with the remarks of the honorable member for Macquarie **(Mr. Manning)** in that respect, but I would go further than he did, and say that there should be no duty at all on that class of timber. I have recently been in the fruit-growing districts on the Murrumbidgee, and have seen the growers there packing their fruit. They have a large co-operative packing shed at Griffith, and I saw there some cases which had been made from local timber. The cases had bulged and broken, showing that the timber was quite unsuitable for the purpose. My contentention is, therefore, that it does not matter what duty is placed on this imported timber; it would not protect the- local article because the timber required is not grown in Australia. The imposition of a tariff is a direct tax on the fruit-grower, because he must have the imported timber, whatever it costs. {: #subdebate-25-0-s46 .speaker-JZK} ##### Mr COLEMAN:
Reid .- This committee has now been sitting for twenty-nine hours continuously, and I do not intend to take up much time with my remarks because, personally, I am completely exhausted, and I marvel at the physical endurance of many of my colleagues on this side of the chamber. The time allotted for the discussion of the Estimates is wholly inadequate. These proceedings savour of a glorified farce with the Prime Minister in the leading role. In the circumstances, it makes one doubt the usefulness of an institution conducted as this Parliament is at the present time. One of the chief duties of Parliament is to exercise control over the finances of the nation, but on this occasion we are not being given an opportunity to perform that duty. Dozens of the items included in the Estimates call for explanation by Ministers, but no explanations are forthcoming because there is not sufficient time. As the Health Estimates are now under discussion, I suggest that some allocation should be made to compensate honorable members for the physical injury they have sustained in the course of this endurance contest, which has now lasted for 29, and will extend to 35 house. There are old men in this House, and some young men suffering from disabilities of various kinds, and the present procedure resembles that of the sweat shops of Flinders-lane in the way in which members and officials of the House, including the *Hansard* staff, have been kept in attendance during this prolonged sitting. Had time permitted I intended to deal with the question of war service homes. The advances for these homes are limited, for general purposes, to £800, but in special cases it is possible to Secure advances of £950.. Even that amount is totally inadequate. The War Service Homes Commission's report practically admits that the advances are not sufficient. The Minister should give some indication of the Government's policy in this regard, and should state whether there is any intention to increase the adcances. If time permitted, I should move that the item be reduced by £1 in order to draw attention to the inadequacy of the advances. Then there is the subject of repatriation. The Returned Soldiers' Conference which recently met, has urged the Government to institute a War Service Appeals Board. Such a board would, in my opinion, remedy a great many of the difficulties which have arisen in the administration, of this scheme. It has been impossible in the time at our disposal to give proper consideration to the Estimates. The discussion so far has been mostly confined to the trade balance, unemployment, and our languishing industries, in accordance with the terms of the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition. The restriction of debate on the estimates is a political outrage calculated to reduce the prestige of this Parliament in the eyes of' the people of Australia. May I direct attention to the attitude of the Prime Minister when, in his elegant style, with his best Cambridge manner, and in the tone of a grand seigneur, he asked us to point out where economy could be effected in the administration of the nation's affairs. Yet when the Estimates are under consideration, no time is afforded us in which to make the very suggestions for which he asked. Many honorable members have left to visit their States on urgent public business, believing that a reasonable time would be allowed, in accordance with the established practice, to discuss the items of the Estimates, but no such opportunity has been given. Take one item in the Estimates from the department of the Minister for Works and Railways- that dealing with the Governor-General's establishment. That item was £11,3SS in 1926-27, but estimated expenditure for 1927-28 is £15,470. There is also a suggestion that the Governor-General is to acquire a residence in Melbourne. Already reference has been made in this chamber to the enormous waste in the re-construction of Yarralumla. I am casting no reflection on the Governor-General ; the responsibility belongs to the Government. At Yarralumla there has been erected a tworoomed, weather-board bungalow, with an iron roof, at a cost of £5,500, and the value, at the very outside, is not more than £2,500. Some explanation should be given of that item. The Estimates for the two most important departments, those of the Prime Minister and of the Treasurer, were rushed through the House in the early hours of the morning with hardly any discussion. Such a proceeding is absolutely preposterous. Reference has been made in the course of this debate to the new tariff schedule. Honorable members on this side of the House are always prepared to give credit to the Minister for Tradeand Customs **(Mr. Pratten)** for trying to do whatever he can, surrounded as he is by obstructionists in his own party, tohelp Australian industry. Nevertheless, his action in varying the incidence of' Imperial preference calls for an explanation. Where factories have been established here, whether for the manufactureof motor cars or other articles, andwhether by American or other interests, they should be placed on a fairer basisthan will be possible under the incidence of the new customs duties. The- new tariff schedule is a specimen of anaemic fiscalism. The mountain has been a long time in labour, and has brought forth a mouse. Instead of the progressive tariff policy for which we were looking, we have been given a pernicious compromise based on the conflicting demands of the free-traders and the protectionists in the ranks of the Government's supporters. It will earn the condemnation of all sections of industry I rose principally to protest against these farcical proceedings. They are farcical even in the minds of honorable members opposite, who themselves have suffered because of the application of the guillotine, and should at least assist honorable members who sit on this side to see that our debates are conducted in a rational manner, under decent conditions. The Lord High Executioner should he prevented from applying the guillotine. Next week we shall be called upon to consider the tariff and other controversial matters. It is positively unfair to expect honorable members to return' to Canberra on Monday, after this exhausting experience, and discuss tariff proposals, no matter how meagre they may be. {: #subdebate-25-0-s47 .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON:
Maribyrnong .- I endorse the concluding remarks of the previous speaker. There has probably not been during the last seventeen years one all-night sitting against which 1 have not uttered a protest. {: .speaker-JZK} ##### Mr Coleman: -- This is the worst of the lot. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON: -- I believe that it is. I have always protested most vociferously, whether I have supported the Government or have been opposed to it, against all-night sittings. Unfortunately, governments appear to consider that it is absolutely essential, if business is to be put through, for the exhausting system of all-night sittings to be adopted. It is a great pity that millions of voters are not able to view the proceedings in this House during a protracted sitting lasting from 30 to 40 hours, such as Ave have had .on this and previous occasions. Members are physically and mentally weary, and almost fall asleep whilst they are transacting the business of the country. Unhappily, financial transactions are those which are most frequently considered during these very long sittings. It is time that some sensible person evolved a scheme that would not only obviate physical and mental exhaustion, but also enable the business of the country to be carried out in a manner commensurate with the emoluments which honorable members receive, and the opportunities they have to conduct their business. I am not accustomed to the use of strong language, but it is undeniable that during these fatiguing and protracted sittings men become easily irritated, and act in a fashion that is not conduce to the harmonious conduct of public business. I hope that the Government will have sufficient common sense to bring forward only a limited number of measures, so that they may be thoroughly investigated and discussed, and perhaps passed, before the Christmas vacation; and instead of adjourning for two or three months we might very well meet early in the new year and proceed Avith the legislative work that has been altogether too long delayed. It is a scandal, in a country like Australia, that the doors of Parliament should 'be shut, and the transactions of Ministers and departments be practically immune from a sensible investigation. Unless that procedure is altered, Ave shall have to go out among the electors and endeavour to arouse them to such a pitch of resentment that they will demand from parliamentarians efficient service in return for the emoluments they receive and the privileges they enjoy. In these unnatural conditions there is always the possibility of words being uttered Avith an effect similar to that which would be caused by the dropping of a spark in a powder magazine. Those who are usually most affable anc amiable are likely to act in a manner that is reminiscent of the vigorous physical combats that may be witnessed in some of our stadiums. We have had placed in our hands a volume containing 400 foolscap pages of figures that we are expected to analyse item by item. What opportunity have we had to do so ? Early this morning Ave were given an hour .and a quarter in which to consider two of the most important departments of State, those of the Prime Minister and Treasurer. We have long been clamouring for a reduction in expenditure. A perusal of the Estimates will convince honorable members that increases have been provided in practically every direction. I do not contend that some are not justified. We are at present considering the Department of Trade and Customs. Complaint has been made regarding the manner in which the members of the Tariff Board have been meandering into preserves that are not theirs, although their investigations in relation to our industries are sufficiently comprehensive and farreaching to occupy the whole of their time. When we find them intruding in the domain of arbitration and reporting upon wages and conditions of labour, it is time we told them to mind their own business, and to carry out the work for which they were appointed. I testify to the wonderful service that was rendered to Australia by that very excellent customs officer who departed this life a few months ago. He was associated with quite a number of the tariff schedules that have been considered by this parliament. I am pleased that his place as chairman of the board has been taken by one of the most able men we have ever had in the Customs Department. The salary that is provided for the chairman of the board is £1,400 a year. Travelling expenses show an increase from £1,272 to £1,700. I believe there are four members, in addition to the chairman, and each receives fees totalling' £1,000 a year. In their report I understand that a request was made, or a hint given, that they be placed on a fixed salary, with expenses. I am not aware of the number of hours that they work, and do not wish to be unfair to them; but it appears to me that they are being very well catered for in regard to salaries, fees, and expenses. So long as they confine themselves to the duties for which they were appointed, not very much complaint will be made against them. We know that some industries are languishing, and that an inquiry ought to be made into their conditions. It would be far better if the board wore to investigate those conditions and make recommendations to the Minister instead of wandering into the industrial domain and interfering with matters that are not their concern. 7. hope that the new chairman will not. follow in the old groove. He is up to date in his ideas, and wonderfully alert. I expect the business of the board to be transacted in a much more expeditious way, and a thorough investigation made of our industries. I believe that he will keep his fellow members on the right track, and prevent them from treading upon dangerous ground. I repeat .the complaint that I make annually, when the opportunity is afforded to me regarding the payment of over £75,000 for the rent of buildings throughout the Commonwealth. Surely it is time that the Commonwealth erected buildings in which the business of its various departments might be conducted! I understand that provision for the housing of many departments has been made in Sydney; but in the other capital cities it will be found that the Government is paying excessive rents. It should purchase its own sites and erect its own buildings. The amount which is now paid in rent would go a long way towards meeting the interest on the capital expenditure. The amount has been increased in one year from £58,393 to £75,715. The honorable the Minister appears to be fatigued, but it is his own fault. It is disgraceful that we should be called upon to sit continuously for 35 to 40 hours, and to rush through this enormous expenditure without adequate discussion. It is about time that disgraceful state of affairs was ended. Instead of setting an example to the' community, we are becoming a laughing stock, merely because of the tactics of this Government. {: .speaker-K99} ##### Sir Elliot Johnson: -- I have heard something like that before. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON: -- And the honorable member will hear it again. I remember the honorable member himself making similar complaints when he was in opposition. On pages 272 and 273 of the Estimates, provision is made for the expenditure of millions of pounds which will not be properly discussed by this Parliament. The honorable member for Swan **(Mr. Gregory)** frequently complains about the levies placed upon our population by the tariff imposed by this Parliament. Those levies are comparatively small when compared with the enormous amount of interest which our* people have to pay. The States and Commonwealth have to pay a combined annual interest bill of £25,000,000, which means, for the average family of three, an imposition of £S 12s. a head, or £43 for a family of five. {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr Gregory: -- When the additional tariff is superimposed it represents a very big bill. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON: -- Many of us have protested for many years against this huge accumulated interest bill, which represents one of the biggest drags on the community. We should go through this expenditure, page by page, actuated by a non-party spirit, in the endeavour to remedy matters. If that were done, 1 am confident we should save the country millions of pounds, without imposing any handicap on any one. {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr Gregory: -- Yet nearly every honorable member would continue to ask for more concessions. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON: -- The honorable member is in the same category. I did not hear him protest when this Parliament passed the special vote for Western Australia. {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr Makin: -- Does the honorable member for Swan favour a duty on maize, potatoes, and onions? {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON: -- If there is one man in political life whom I despise it is the one industry protectionist. The honorable member for Franklin **(Mr. Seabrook)** asks for a high duty on apples. The Postmaster-General **(Mr. Gibson)** wants a prohibitive duty on onions, while the Minister for Works and Railways **(Mr. Hill),** who is a freetrader on every other item, wants a prohibitive duty on canned fruits: I remind the honorable member for Swan that we have done the right thing by the sugar industry of Queensland. {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr Gregory: -- That is not so. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON: -- That country has been populated by white people who have created a magnificent industry. When it becomes necessary to support any similar effort, I shall stand behind it wholeheartedly. This Government is too prone to patronize the industry of foreigners. {: .speaker-KHG} ##### Mr Hill: -- Will the honorable member quote an instance where we have patronized the foreigner. {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr Makin: -- What about the £100,000 worth of radium, which was purchased abroad and the Australian industry overlooked ? {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON: -- If the Government fails to set an example, how can we expect the rank and file to support our own industries? The present Victorian Labour Government has issued instructions to each of its departments that wherever practical and reasonable they shall purchase Australian goods. That policy will give employment to thousands of Australians, and will encourage our manufacturers. I hope that the work-shops of the Postal Department will be extended to every capital city, and manufacture the requirements of the department. We have most of the raw material that is needed, and there are many young men in the department who have invented improvements better than those imported from overseas. They should be given additional scope. The trouble with this Government is that it is composite, and too frequently the tail wags the dog; but, notwithstanding its composite character, I trust that it will endeavour to foster Australian industries and ' so assist to create employment for our workers. {: #subdebate-25-0-s48 .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr GREGORY:
Swan .I can quite understand the desire of the honorable member for Maribyrnong **(Mr. Fenton),** when he urges that we should patronize our own manufactures, but the general tendency manifested by all people is to buy in the cheapest market. {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr Makin: -- Does the honorable member think that is patriotic? {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr GREGORY: -- If I can purchase satisfactory Australian articles I always do so; but I object to having rubbish foisted on to me simply because it is made in Australia. There was a scandalous example recently, connected with the purchase of locomotives for the Oodnadatta railway, which for generations will never pay axle grease. Day by day the Melbourne *Age* and *Herald* attacked the Government and demanded that the contract for these locomotives should be placed with an Australian company, involving an expenditure of £56,000 more than if the order were placed with Great Britain. That was done. At that time money was worth 6 per cent. If 1 per cent, of that £56,000 were placed to a sinking fund, it would redeem the amount in 35 years, so that with compound interest the placing of the order with an Australian firm represents a loss of £570,000 to the people of Australia. If a tariff is not adequate, the Government should impose additional duties and give further protection to our industries; hut it has no authority to hand over the people's money in this way at the dictates of an outside authority. The honorable member for Maribyrnong **(Mr. Fenton)** talked about the embargo on sugar. The other evening I stated that, although 100,000 tons less sugar was produced last year, the producers received more money than they did the previous year. Why was that duty imposed on sugar? To people our north? {: .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr FORDE: -- Yes; and it has done so. {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr GREGORY: -- There has been a big reduction of population in the north of Queensland. No sooner do honorable members from that State obtain an embargo on sugar than they demand an embargo on peanuts and bananas. I believe that the next item, which is receiving serious attention from the Minister, is to be sausage casings. 1 am not satisfied with the constitution of the Tariff Board, and I intend to move an amendment. {: .speaker-K4Y} ##### Dr Nott: -- The honorable member never has been satisfied with it. {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr GREGORY: -- The honorable member for Herbert **(Dr. Nott)** was not here in 1920; but in that year a most extraordinary tariff was introduced. It must have made every early protectionist turn in his grave that Australians should have the impudence to ask for such protection. Not satisfied with that, a further protection was requested greater than could be given by any tariff. It was asked that special power should be placed in the hands of the Minister to grant such protection, and, to effect that, the Australian Industries Preservation, Act was introduced. It gave the most extraordinary powers to the Minister. In the early days we had the Interestate Commission consisting of three gentlemen who were well known in business circles. That body acted as a sort of Tariff Board, as an adviser to Parliament, but not to the Customs Department. When the Tariff Board was established it was made part of the Customs Department and to a great extent placed under its control. The chairman had to be an officer of the department, and reports had to be made to the Minister. I have heard honorable members on both sides complain bitterly about the reports npt being sent to this Parliament for consideration. The Tariff Board should be the creature of Parliament, showing fealty only to Parliament. The chairman should have no association with the Customs Department. He should be free from influence in every sense. The board's reports should be sent direct to this Parliament to enable honorable members to decide what action is essential in the best interests of Australia. {: .speaker-F4Q} ##### Mr Scullin: -- The danger is that the reports of the Tariff Board are very often an indication of projected increases in duty, and if they were published before the schedule was tabled, advantage would be taken of them. {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr GREGORY: -- I object strongly to the Minister having power, except by vote of this Parliament, to make alterations in the tariff. {: .speaker-KJM} ##### Mr Jackson: -- Actually the board advises Parliament. {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr GREGORY: -- Only through the Minister. The board should be free from the Customs Department and there should be no more than three members on it. Some time ago the Country party advocated the .appointment to the board of a representative of the primary producers, and there is no doubt that we were " sold a pup." A great many members of the Country party at that time were stronger protectionists than even the members of the Opposition. The Interstate Commission was sound in its reports and that was a wonderful advantage, but I have never been satisfied with the Tariff Board. Up to three years ago, it was a star chamber board, and all evidence had to be taken in private. It was only after a long discussion in this Parliament that we were able to force an amendment in the Tariff Board Act to the effect that evidence had to be taken on oath and in public. I should have no objection to the Tariff Board's report being first sent to the Governor-General and then to Parliament in the ordinary course. There should be no occasion to suppress reports. The Minister, if he wished, could delay any reports of the Tariff with which he did not agree. I do not say that that has been done, but it can be done. {: .speaker-K1J} ##### Mr PRATTEN:
MARTIN, NEW SOUTH WALES · NAT -- Had most of the reports dealing with the new tariff been made available to the public, the revenue would have suffered considerably. {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr GREGORY: -- Not necessarily. The reports could have been sent to the Governor-General and then to Parliament. A small schedule could have been tabled even if it were not discussed for a year or two. That has been done in the past. {: .speaker-K1J} ##### Mr PRATTEN:
MARTIN, NEW SOUTH WALES · NAT -- The honorable member will agree that protection of revenue is of paramount importance. {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr GREGORY: -- I would point out to the Minister that revenue can be protected other than by imposing duties. It should not be within the province of any government to make concessions and to give preference tocertain companies and organizations, as has been done in the past. As I have pointed out previously, the Commonwealth lost £570,000, including compound interest, in connexion with the purchase of locomotives for the Oodnadatta railway. I move - >That the amount of salaries, Division 80, Tariff Board, £5,433, be reduced by £1. I do that with a view to urge upon the Government an amendment of the Tariff Board Act to constitute a Tariff Board of three members, the chairman of which shall have no association with the Customs Department, and which shall report to the Governor-General. {: #subdebate-25-0-s49 .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN:
South Australia -- I wish to draw the attention of the Minister for Trade and Customs to a serious anomaly existing in the customs branch at Port Adelaide. I have mentioned this matter previously to the Minister. {: .speaker-K1J} ##### Mr PRATTEN:
MARTIN, NEW SOUTH WALES · NAT -- Is the honorable member making this complaint after having reeived my letter {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN: -- I have received further information, which I wish to give to the Minister. Recently officers of the Customs Department approached a tribunal in Adelaide for an adjustment of their wages and conditions, and some important information was elicited. The staff is seriously shorthanded. Its work is important. We all know of the daring attempt that was made to smuggle undesirable aliens into Sydney recently, and also into Port Adelaide some time ago. The officers of the department are efficient and are doing their best, but they cannot accomplish the impossible. I find that **Mr. H.** L. Hanson, a boarding inspector, stated that under his control were eight searchers and watchmen, a foreman searcher and two senior boarding officers, and that five additional watchmen and another officer were needed for the immigration work alone. The number of first port of call passengers landed at Port Adelaide last year was 4,914, and 5,410 other passengers were also landed there. While the department is shorthanded there is bound to be some evasions of the immigration law. *At 5 p.m.* {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- I call the attention of the committee to the fact that the time allotted for the discussion of these proposed votes has expired. Amendment negatived. Proposed votes agreed to. Business Undertakings (Commonwealth Railways, £586,165 ; PostmasterGeneral's Department. £10,040,253) ; Territories of the Commonwealth, £301,025 . {: #subdebate-25-0-s50 .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON:
Hunter -- The Postmaster-General's Department comes into closer touch with the general community than does perhaps any other of our public departments. The amount voted for expenditure upon it in 1926-27 was £9,450,480, and the amount actually expended was £9,415,022. The proposed vote for 1927-28 is £10,040,253, or an increase of £625,231 on the expenditure of last year. I do not object to the expenditure of this money, for I consider that we should do our best to provide adequate postal, telegraphic and telephonic facilities for our people. A good deal of this money will be spent in the country districts and that is as it should be. The more conveniences we can provide for our. outback areas the more settlers are. we likely to encourage to go there. People who live 100 miles from the nearest railway and 40 or 50 miles from their nearest neighbour, as many do, deserve every assitance and encouragement. They are more entitled to consideration at -the hands of this Parliament than any other section of the community, for they do not enjoy many of the facilities which city dwellers look upon as indispensable. I regret that the Government has not seen fit to spend some of the accumulated surplus on the work of this department. I may be asked - " Why should revenue be spent on it?" My reply is that we should do our best to prevent our national debt from increasing, and that to the extent that we spent available surplus revenue in improving the equipment of this huge undertaking, we should succeed in doing so. Until the last few years it was the custom to allocate a portion of the surplus to the Postmaster-General's Department. Not so long ago we spent £3,000,000 of surplus revenue in one year in increasing the efficiency of the department, and on another occasion £1,250,000 of the surplus was allocated for the same purpose. It is worth our while considering whether the time has not arrived for us to place this enterprise upon its own feet. We expect our well-established railways to meet working expenses and interest charges, and it would perhaps be wise for us to look for similar results from our postal business. Even now the department is showing a small profit over working expenses. I urge the Government to keep down the expenditure of loan moneys on the department, though I realize that Ave must allow it to expand in accordance with requirements. While the progress of the department has been satisfactory in a general way there are still many towns and settlements that are not receiving the consideration that they deserve. I have not made many complaints in respect of the postal facilities provided in my district ', but it is not to be understood that everything is satisfactory there. It is high time that Cardiff, one of the most rapidly- developing towns in the Newcastle district, had a post office. At present the business of the department is transacted in a shop and under totally unsatisfactory conditions. We have been told that the department has purchased a block of land for the purpose of building a post office, but that it is not the policy, at present, to proceed Avith such works. It can hardly be argued, however that the adoption of that policy is justifiable in relation to a rapidly developing town like Cardiff when far less important adjacent towns have almost palatial post offices. I have made many representations to the Postmaster-General on this subject, and I hope that before long he will agree to undertake this work. The1 people of Cardiff belong principally to the workingclass, but like many others who live in the Newcastle district, they prefer to own their own homes rather than pay rent. It is for this reason that they have settled at Cardiff, where land is cheaper than it is in some of the more thickly populated centres of Newcastle. I have made representations to the PostmasterGeneral on other occasions respecting the lack of postal facilities in other parts of the division of Hunter, and I hope they will receive his attention. Last year the amount made available as loans for the States for development and migration Avas £1,566,518; this year it is estimated at £3,750,000. This is a burning question. Unless something is done promptly Australia will be in a bad position. I am not a pessimist. No one has more faith in the possibilities of Australia than I have ; but I cannot shut my eyes to the fact that in the immediate future things will not be as buoyant as they have been in the last few years. This season the rain has not fallen at the proper time; the wheat crop in most States is short; and the wool clip is not what it has been in other years. Everyone knows that the prosperity of Australia depends on its yield of wheat and wool. A shortage of wheat and WOOl means the circulation of less money in Australia and considerable unemployment in every State. The numbers of the unemployed are increasing every day in all the States; their outlook is black; many of them will have a gloomy Christmas, because they have no hope of employment in the near future. As I have already said, Australia, is in for a bad time. It is certainly not the time when we should be bringing more people- to this country. If ever there was a time when the migration agreement should be suspended it is the present. Expenditure on migration cannot be justi- fied while we have so much unemployment in Australia. Our first duty is to see that our own people are employed. I do not say that every individual in Australia should be at work before other people are brought here; but sufficient *n* venues of employment should be available for the absorption of every ablebodied Australian willing to work, and then, and only then, if there are openings for people from overseas we should spend money in bringing' them here. No one is opposed to a proper migration scheme that would enable us to regulate employment, and, by the development of territory in different States, permit us to absorb, first of all, those of our own people who require land and then newcomers from overseas. Who are the best fitted to go on the land, and who are most likely to make a success on the land ? Surely they are those sons of farmers who have been reared on the land, and are accustomed to an agricultural life. They will make good where others may not succeed. Since the war Australia has lost millions of pounds in its attempt to place returned soldiers on the land. In many cases the men were not suitable for an agricultural life. In other cases they had no hope of making a living while they had to pay the interest and instalments on the inflated values placed on their holdings. I am afraid that, iri order to relieve many of these men, we shall have to write millions of pounds more off the values placed on their properties. We are bound to do so, because we placed them on the land and led them to believe that they would be able to make a living. Many of them had wives and children when they went on the land, and many others have since married and have children. Their experience has been that they cannot pay their interest bill and meet their repayments and at the same time keep the pot boiling. Already some of them have thrown up their holdings, and others are on the verge of doing, so. Despite that unsatisfactory state of affairs the Commonwealth Government proposes to spend £34,000,000 on bringing people here from Britain and placing them on the land. The first duty of the Government is to make sure that the land is available. We have ample laud on which to settle millions of people, but the freehold of much of it has been given away. In close proximity to our cities and within easy access of railways, in every district can be seen beautiful country which, is not utilized to the best advantage. It is used solely for pastoral purposes. Yet we ask returned soldiers and migrants to go back hundreds of miles into the Never-Never, far removed from railways and markets, and expect them to make good. They might make good on some of this land held by others who are not prepared to put it to its full use. It is a problem that must be faced. I do not say that we should adopt a policy of confiscation, but a man who holds land suitable for agriculture and is not putting it to proper *use,* should be obliged to allow others to make use of it. The Development and Migration Commission, which is travelling all over the country, interfering with every Commonwealth activity, would do far better work if it had a stock-taking of the land available in the different States, and ascertained how it could be used to the best advantage. It could submit to the Government a. recommendation that an owner of land who is not prepared to utilize it to the best advantage has no right to hold it. I repeat that I do not suggest confiscation. But after all, the land of a country belongs to the people of that country. Although a man may have the fee simple of a piece of land, he should not be allowed to run stock on thousands of acres of good agricultural country, which would carry many families if put to its proper productive use. The Development and Migration Commission could say to the Government " There is so much land here and so much land there, which can be divided and occupied by a cert..l.i number of farmers. If the owner is not prepared to work it himself, he should be compelled to allow people who will work it to lease it from him, and if he fails to do that, he should be compelled in the interests of the people of the country to make it available to others." What is the use of talking month after month about developing this country and populating it, and borrowing money to bring immigrants to it if we are not prepared to get down to bedrock? We have the land available, and Ave ought to put suitable farmers on it. We ought to give them a chance to succeed by providing them Avith railways to take their produce to market. In a word, Ave ought to give them every opportunity to make good. Unless we are prepared to carry out a scheme of that kind, I fail to see how we can justify a migration policy while there are thousands of unemployed in the country. In the next month or two thousands more are likely to be thrown out of work. Things have never been so bad as they are now in the district I represent since long before the war. We often hear talk about the high wages earned by coal miners. It is true that the miners do make good wages when they are working full time, but they work very hard for what they receive, and they do not get full time. I heard an honorable member say last week that the miners are paid by results. That is true; but the piecework system is bad, because it brings many men to a premature grave. They work too hard, and do more than they ought to do for the sake of getting an additional shilling or two. The miners make good money while they are at work, but half the men in the district I represent do not average more than five and a half days a fortnight. The Dudley, New Lambton, Waratah, Lambton B, Bur.wood, Pacific, Northumberland, Rhonda and Killingworth collieries last year averaged from six to five and a half days a fortnight. This year many of them have not averaged five days a fortnight, and the miners have to maintain their families on their earnings during that limited employment. At present, as the demand for coal is not sufficient to keep all the mines going, the large mines with the most efficient machinery, and the greater thickness of seams, which are capable of employing more hands', are kept going while other mines arc. closed down. Some of the big 'companies own several mines, and whenever there is a shrinkage in the demand for coal they close some of their mines and keep only one or two going. As a consequence of the present shrinkage in the demand for coal, there are thousands of men unemployed in my district. Before the steel works put off men recently, there were 2,000 unemployed in Newcastle. The same serious condition of affairs obtains throughout Australia. In the face of these facts, *we* are not justified in spending large sums of money o.u an immigration scheme. We ought to wait for better times, when there will be some chance of employing the people Who come here. We are told that the new arrivals do not come into competition Avith those already engaged in industrial centres, but as many of them are not suitable for placing on the land - and even if they were the land is not available for them - they come into competition Avith workers in industrial centres, and serve to swell the number of unemployed. Every unit in the nation is an asset provided his energies can be properly utilized, but the man who is idle is a loss to a country. People say that Australia, Avith its big area, should be carrying a population of 50,000,000 people. I suppose that it will eventually carry that number, and probably a much larger population; but it does not follow that, because Ave have a large area, it will support all the people that can be brought here: Our task is to pave the way for those AA-ho come here, and provide avenues of employment for them, so that they can be absorbed on their arrival. Strange to say, every prominent person who visits Australia, and most of our own people as well. conclude that since Ave have the area we have only to bring the people here, and everything will be all right. But these things cannot be adjusted in that haphazard way They can be adjusted only by the adoption of a scheme carefully devised to regulate the stream of migrants by bringing out only those that can be absorbed, and providing employment for them by protecting our secondary industries against foreign competition and by avoiding a big adverse trade balance. That must be cut down to begin Avith. *,* When our industries are supplying the needs of our own people, additional employment will be provided and a market created for those who are placed on the land. If we were to place 1,000,000 persons on the land tomorrow they would fail because there would be no sufficient home market for their products. "We can sell overseas only wool, wheat, a little meat, and some dried fruits. The chairman of the Dried Fruits Export Control Board has advised those who are growing fruit to discontinue, doing so, because there is not a sufficient demand abroad to make it profitable. Our industries must be encouraged so that they will produce what the people require and employ many more hands. After all, the primary producer is dependent to a much greater extent upon the home market than upon those overseas, where there is no chance of selling in any quantity products other than wool and wheat. If at any time other countries were in a position to produce wheat in sufficient quantities to supply the needs of Europe, the primary producers would experience a very bad time. {: #subdebate-25-0-s51 .speaker-10000} ##### The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN: -- The honorable member's time has expired. {: #subdebate-25-0-s52 .speaker-K4M} ##### Mr COOK:
Indi .- The question that has been raised by the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Charlton)** is of very great importance. Although we cannot altogether see. eye to eye with him, we must agree with much that he has said. The present position has been brought about largely because of the *difference* that exists between the wages of employees in primary and secondary industries. It is impossible for the primary producers to pay to their employees the wages that are paid in secondary industries. The sons of farmers are not willing to slave as their fathers did, and are drifting in ever-increasing numbers to the cities, to which they are attracted by high wages and alluring conditions. 1 agree that the greatest care should be exercised in the selection of migrants. Quite a number are sent to Australia who ought to be refused admission. The Development and Migration Commission has been inquiring into the possibility of placing migrants upon land in Northern and Central Australia. It' would be more charitable to hang, a migrant than to send him up there, unless he was given admirable country and large holdings. If the land!" were cut up into reasonably large hold ings, and selectors were required to make certain improvements, it would be a wise investment if they were allowed to have it free of rent and taxes for a number of years. Closer settlement in Northern and Central Australia is out of the question for some time to come. We may realize that ambition when we have a population of 50,000,000 people instead of the paltry 6,000,000 that we have at the present time. The Commonwealth Government's share of the cost of soldier settlement already amounts to something like £10,000,000, and it will become involved to the extent of a further £10,000,000. The soldiers were placed on good land and were given reasonable quarters. It was not the cost of the land that crippled them. I have had a great deal to do with soldier settlement, and I know something about the quality of the land which was devoted to that purpose. There is not a block in the two shires in respect of which I acted as honorary valuer for the department that would not have brought at auction more than we paid for it. The men who were put on the land without a penny, however, were loaded to the extent of between £2,500 and £3,500 for land, dairy herds, buildings, subdivisional fences and other improvements, and they could not make a success of it. I agree that Australia has experienced a lean season. The falling away in our wheat and wool yield this year, it is estimated, will be £25,000,000. I maintain, however, that in the past we have had far worse seasons and have emerged triumphantly from them. I do not view the position as seriously as the Leader of the Opposition, i. I am in favour of a conference of all parties, such as that outlined by the honorable member for Yarra **(Mr. Seullin)** to discuss the very important question of our adverse trade balance. The payment of a wage of even £10 a' week would be wise expenditure if the results were proportionately as good. The trouble is we are not getting those results. Millions of pounds have' been spent on roads and other works, but the value received, does not- approach anywhere near what it was 30 years ago. How can dairymen be expected to pay the rates asked by the rural workers' log when' they are receiving only ls. 6d., ls. 9d., or 2s. a pound for their product? If they had to pay those rates, in addition to an overtime rate of time and a half, and double time for Sunday work, they would be compelled, to cease their operations. No good is gained by trying to tickle the ears of the groundlings. I -might enjoy a greater measure of popularity if I were to say that the workers were splendid fellows and were all playing the game. No matter how distasteful it may be, we must face the facts. The dairying industry is down and out. That is the reason it. is asking for what is after all a paltry amount . of protection. The timber Industry is in a similar position, because its returns are out of proportion to the amount expended. Farmers cannot keep their sons and daughters on the land because they can obtain a wage three times as great in secondary industries. The country has been drained of its manhood. Secondary industries are working under artificial conditions. {: #subdebate-25-0-s53 .speaker-KYI} ##### The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Mr Prowse: -- I ask the honorable member to confine himself to the items under discussion. {: .speaker-K4M} ##### Mr COOK: -- Recently a basic wage of £4 4s. was fixed for the rural industry in New South Wales, and it has thrown 500 people out of employment iu the Riverina district. No one engaged in that industry can afford to pay £4 4s. to casual workers. I do not mention these matters in a cavilling party spirit. I am eager to assist our migration scheme, hut I am afraid that every penny of the £34,000,000 that we are obtaining from Great Britain will be wasted if we are not careful, and that, like our soldier settlement schemes, it will prove a ghastly failure. I urge the Government to use all care in its administration. {: #subdebate-25-0-s54 .speaker-KZ6} ##### Mr LACEY:
Grey .- Notwithstanding the extraordinary circumstances in which this debate is being conducted. I desire to take the opportunity to remind the Postmaster-General of the inadequate mail and general postal services iu operation in a. portion . of my electorate known as Eyre Peninsula. I _give ' credit to the honorable gentleman and his department for having materially improved those sen-ices during the last: few years. By making frequent representation to the Minister and his department I obtained many improvements,, particularly in the way of telephone and telegraphic facilities. When I waselected Eyre Peninsula was not linked up with the main system by telephoneAfter many representations and numerousdeputations to the Postmaster-General, I was able to secure the installation of that facility, for which the residents are extremely thankful. From time to time I have mentioned EyrePeninsula in this chamber, because I recognize it to be the most neglected' part of South Australia, and perhaps themost neglected part of Australia from many points of view. It has been verymuch misrepresented, yet it is the onlypart of South Australia where any development is possible. It possesseslarge tracts of virgin country, which are only now being developed. The total area of South Australia is 243,244,800- acres, while that of Eyre Peninsula is- 18,378,560, actually one-thirteenth thesize of the whole State of South Australia. A large portion of it is agricultural land, or land which will eventually become excellent agricultural country. The acreage under- cultivation in South Australia is 13,759,615 acres, of which 3,564,293 acres is in Eyre Peninsula. So far as I can gather, the population of the Peninsula is about 20,000. Recently Professor Howe, an advisor to the Victorian Government, said that Eyre Peninsula had an assured rainfall over 6,000,000 acres. Honorable members will realize the importance of the Peninsula when I tell them that the Development and Migration Commission has decided that £584,000 shall be granted to it for the purposes of water reticulation, which will benefit 6,000,000 acres. That makes it evident that I am not advocating the cause of a barren country. The Leader of the Opposition stated that, more interest should be taken in the development of postal and mail facilities in our country districts. Generally speaking, our country districts are neglected. The revenue derived from the Postal Department has been of a very buoyant nature, and has been continually on the increase. The South Australian *Advertiser* of the 8th January, 1927, referred to the department as follows: - . POST OFFICE FINANCE. A Bouyant Revenue. *Postmaster-General Satisfied.* Melbourne, 7th January. In a statement issued by the PostmasterGeneral **(Mr. Gibson)** to-day he expressed his satisfaction at the bouyancy of the post-office revenue. Since 1923 his department had made considerable sacrifices in revenue as the result of the concessions to the public. The alterations in the postage rates accounted for an annual decrease in revenue of more than £1,200,000; the introduction of the revised method of charging for trunk lines was responsible for a decrease of £130,000 per annum, and the reduction in the cable Vate had meant a sacrifice of £34,000 in the revenue from that source. The increased frequency of incoming and outgoing overseas mails from and to the United Kingdom had accounted for a further expenditure of £00,000 per annum. All these items totalled £1,424,000. It was expected that the total loss on the operation of the whole services for the year1926-1927 would be in the neighbourhood of £200,000. On the other hand the all-round increase in revenue during the half-year ended 31st December, 1926, compared with the corresponding half-year in 1925, was accounted for as follows: - Private boxes and bags, £4,486: money orders and postal notes. £15,006; telegraphs, £23,285; telephones, £261,989; postage, £120,597; miscellaneous, £30,731; radio receipts, £8,999; making a net increase of £464,793. In any consideration of the finances of the Postmaster-General's Department, addedMr. Gibson, it should be remembered that in 1923 the post-office was unable to meet the demands tor the telephone services. Since then 24 new telephone exchange buildings have been erected in the capital cities at a cost of £317,000, and exchange equipment had been installed costing £1,255,000. J remember that, when it was proposed to reduce the cost of postage for a½-oz. letter from 2d. to1½d., many honorable members stated that the innovation would confer a greater advantage on business people and city dwellers than on people resident in the country.I agree with that view, because country residents post only an occasional letter, whereas the business man in the city has a voluminous correspondence. Nowithstanding the small loss that may be incurred, country people have the right to expect adequate facilities, and, although I give the Minister credit for having improved postal facilities, they need to be extended still further in Eyre Peninsula. Only recently the Treasurer visited that Peninsula, and I regret that I have not a copy of what he is reported to have said. He told the residents that they were entitled to have better mail facilities, and that he could not understand why they had not received them previously. He told them that the potentialities of the Peninsula surprised him most of all, and he expressed surprise with much else that he saw. The town of Port Lincoln is a municipality, and is used very extensively as a pleasure resort. It has been stated that it is one of the best ports in the world. It certainly is a very fine port indeed, as also are Cowell, Tumby Bay, Kimba, Ellerton, Ceduna - which used to be called Murat Bay - and Streaky Bay. I have received communications from those places asking that something should be done in the way of improving their postal services. The following wire is from Cowell : - >Mails arrive Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays. Depart Wednesdays, Thursdays, Sundays. Sunday's mail arrives Adelaide just before Wednesday's. Present system useless to farmers. Please urge adoption Port Augusta proposal changing to seaplane service for whole Peninsula and west coast next year. I have also received the following wire from Kimba: - >Mails now arrive Wednesdays, Fridays; depart Thursday morning and evening. The great difficulty is the distribution of mails. Mails depart from Kimba only on Thursday mornings and evenings. It is not a small town, as may be gathered from the fact that an hotel there changed hands recently for £17,000. It is in one of the best wheat-growing districts of Eyre Peninsular. I have received the following wire from Ceduna : - >Adelaide mails arrive Ceduna Wednesdays and Saturdays; depart Thursdays and Tuesdays. Ceduna therefore receives only two mails a week. The following telegram was received from Streaky Bay : - >Mailsdepart Wednesdays. Fridays, 5.30 mornings; arrive Tuesdays, Fridays, 8.30 night. This telegram was received from Port Lincoln - >Mails from Adelaide Tuesday, Friday and Sunday ; from railways Wednesday and Friday. My object in reading those wires is to give the Minister an indication of the unsatisfactory delivery of mails, and that applies generally throughout Eyre Peninsula. In some instances the newspaper proprietors subsidize the mail service so that newspapers may be circulated in the country districts. That certainly should not be necessary. The Commonwealth revenue is largely obtained from the tariff which is imposed for the protection of Australian industries, mostly in the cities, and therefore the people of the cities receive some *quid pro quo* for the burden of indirect taxation. The country people bear the burden equally with the city people and it is only right that they should receive in return some proportion of the Commonwealth revenue, and I urge the Minister to consider their case from that point of view. The facilities for mail distribution throughout Eyre Peninsula should be reviewed. If added facilities are given to one town, very often another is penalized thereby. The mails are carried by boat from Adelaide to the different ports. A mail service is so operating from Port Augusta to Whyalla, which is situated about 50 miles from Kimba. That town is served by railway, and if mails were transported there from Whyalla an additional service would be given. The route of the proposed aerial mail service to Western Australia passes over Cowell, and it would be quite possible for such a service to land mails on Eyre Peninsula. I suggest to the Government that it convene a conference of the postal authorities, the shipping authorities, those controlling the aerial mail service, and the representatives of the residents of Eyre Peninsula, with a view to organizing the distribution of mails; I do not wish it to be understood by the Minister that the Postal- .Department of South Australia has not given serious consideration to' this problem. **Mr. Kitto** and **Mr. Mason** of the Department have travelled extensively through Eyre Peninsula, and I know that the DeputyDirector of Posts and Telegraphs is also interested in this matter. I have received the following letter, dated 17th November, from Cowell - {: type="A" start="I"} 0. would like to point out that the proposal most favored by our residents is for two mails per week from Cowell to Port Augusta, retaining the present direct mail from Adelaide to Wallaroo, thence by steamer to Cowell on Thursday, as this latter mail only takes' the one day. With regard to the suggested aerial carriage of mails, we note that the route to be followed by the Adelaide to Perth air mail goes directly over Cowell, and we can see no reason why all ordinary mails, other than parcels post and breakable articles, could not be landed at Cowell by parachute without causing any delay. It would, however, be infinitely preferable to have a complete seaplane service for Eyre's Peninsula and the West Coast exclusively. This service could leave Adelaide, (lying direct to Cowell, landing in the harbour, thence to Carrow (midway between Cowell and Port Lincoln), thence to Port Lincoln, across to Elliston, Streaky Bay, and Fowler's Bay. At each of these centres is good smooth water for landing purposes, thus involving no expense for the preparation of landing grounds, and from each centre (with the exception of Carrow) there already exists a radial system of internal mail distribution. This proposal was brought before **Dr. Earle** Page on his recent visit to Cowell, and he strongly advised us to place the matter before the Postmaster-General. We have been given to understand that the Adelaide daily newspapers are prepared to subsidize an nen al mail to a very substantial extent in order to get the " Daily " distributed over this part of the State, and it certainly does not appear as if it would involve the department in a greatly increased expense, while giving the whole of this now isolated part of the State regular and speedy communication with Adelaide. I might remind you in this connexion that the vote for the encouragement of commercial aviation has been very largely increased this year, and should certainly be available for the purpose for improvement of mail services. Trusting that you may be successful in securing the improvement in service for which we are asking, Yours faithfully, Stewart Williams, Hon. Sec, I. H. Progress Committee. That letter speaks for itself. I urge the Minister to consider the suggestions that I have made, and in particular to convene a conference of those concerned in the distribution of mails on Eyre Peninsula. {: #subdebate-25-0-s55 .speaker-KQW} ##### Mr SEABROOK:
Franklin -- It is very refreshing to hear the Prime Minister say that the Postal Department has made ar considerable profit, because that gives some encouragement to honorable members to ask the Postmaster-General for greater postal facilities in electorates. I suggest to him that he bring down supplementary Estimates to provide for essential postal facilities in certain country districts. Nearly all honorable members have received letters from their electorates asking for repairs to be made to post offices and for the building of newpost offices, and in view of the profit of the Postal Department, many of these long outstanding wants should be satisfied. The allowance post office at Sorrell is a disgrace to the district and the Postal Department. The revenue derived from it warrants the building of a new office. A site was bought for a new post office some years ago, but nothing has since been done. The PostmasterGeneral should be pleased to know that the country postmasters are taking a keen interest in their work. I am now referring to the Huon post offices. I have received the following letter from one of the postmasters saying that they are having a competition to see who can reach the 100 first with telephone subscribers. Your advices through the press have been noticed. I would be glad if you would use your influence with the Works Minister to have the work treated as urgent for the following reasons: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Department is cabling the lines Huonville to Grove. 1. Department is cabling the line Huonville to Ranelagh. 2. Department is cabling the lines Huonville to Bridge. The two latter have been completed, the former is on the way, and is expected to be completed the first week in December. We are having keen competition in the Huon offices as to which office will reach the century murk first with the number of subscribers. We are at95; Geeveston, 96; Cygnet, 93; Franklin, 88. Huonville have about seven waiting for installation, but are held up owing to the contemplated addition to the office, and completion of lines cannot be given effect to until a main frame is installed, and the frame cannot be put in until the building is extended the 10 feet. If you can get the Minister to give directions for his department to send the. matter on as urgent to the State Works here, we can expect them to have the work proceeded with, say, early next month. I don't think that I am exceeding my duty in bringing this matter before you, and leave it at your discretion. That letter refers to a very important district. Five main roads meet at Huonville, and it is essential in the interests of the development of the area that the people should be given proper telephonic facilities. As things are, many of them are 'unable, without a great deal of inconvenience, to ascertain when steamers, will be in port and when it would be best for them to take their produce to the seaboard for shipment. I know that, other honorable members could bring quite a number of district complaints under the notice of the Postmaster-General; but I feel that I am entitled to press the claims of this district. I must protest against the unfairness of providing only £300 on the loan estimates for additional services in Tasmania. I submit that that State, which, as I have often said, is one of the finest little spots on earth, is entitled to have a proper proportion of loan money expended within its borders. A large number of country post offices are needed there, and other facilities provided by the department should be made available to our people. I notice that the salary allowed for the Deputy Director of Posts and Telegraphs in Tasmania is only £756 per annum, while a salary of £872 per annum is provided for the deputy director in Western Australia. The salary of these officers in the other States is still higher. Seeing that the work is similar in each State, I contend that they should all receive a similar salary. Where there is a greater volume of work to do more men are provided to do it. It is unjust to discriminate between the States in the payment of these salaries. {: .speaker-DQC} ##### Mr Duncan Hughes: -- Does the honorable member seriously suggest that the Deputy Director in Hobart should receive the same salary as the Deputy Director in Sydney? {: .speaker-KQW} ##### Mr SEABROOK: -- Certainly I do; for he has to carry the same responsibility. In view of all we have heard during this debate about the need for economy, the Government is not justified in incurring an expenditure of £1,100 per week for the upkeep of the public gardens in Canberra. As we all well recognize, the making of the gardens in this city has only commenced, and it appears to me that before very long it will be costing as much as £3,000 per week to maintain them. The taxpayers should not be called upon to meet this heavy and unnecessary expenditure at present, particularly as money is needed for more urgentpurposes in other parts of the Commonwealth. I consider that I am amply justified in urging the Postmaster-General to provide an amount of £300,000 on the supplementary Estimates for necessary postal services for Australia. *Sitting suspended from 6.25 to 7.S0 p.m., (Friday).* {: #subdebate-25-0-s56 .speaker-KRD} ##### Mr McGRATH:
Ballarat -- I have on many occasions brought under the notice of the Prime Minister the position of semi-official post-mistresses. The remarkable thing about these women is that although 'they are classed as temporary employees most of them have been working for the Postal Department for 30 or 40 years. They started at a salary of about £60 a year and for twenty years the range of their salary was from £65 to £1.10 a year. Recently it has- been increased to £165 a year. These semiofficial officers perforin all the duties of official postmasters. They do telegraph, telephone, money order and savings bank work and perform all the ordinary mail duties of a post office. One semi-official postmistress has informed me that she has the services of a junior female .assistant and a messenger. These are engaged by her subject to the approval of the district postal inspector, and their salaries are paid according to schedule ; but when either of them reaches 21 years of age he or she must be dismissed and another junior has to be engaged and trained. It seems most remarkable that these semiofficial postmistresses cannot get the benefit of the Public Service Superannuation Act. In answer to a question which I submitted to the Postmaster-General I was informed that if justice were done to the semi-official postmistress, injustice would be done to a number of "temporary employees who likewise had failed to pass the necessary clerical examination. I should like to point out to the Minister that some of these women have never had a chance to pass an examination. One woman who has been 40 years in the service of the department was 22 years of age when the last examination for female operators for the clerical position was held. She was then not able to submit herself for that examination and subsequently has not had an opportunity to qualify as a permanent employee. The budget shows that the Postal Department has made a very fair profit this year. Surely it is not the- wish to the Minister or honorable members that this surplus should be made at the expense of the employees of the department, particularly those whose claim I am now putting forward. Honorable members must not confuse the semi-official postmistresses with allowance postmistresses. The latter are allowed to engage in other business, but the former must devote the whole of their time to the service of the Postal Department. It is only within the last few years that their salary has been increased to £165 a year. For most of the period in which they have been serving the public their salary has been not more than £105 a year. How can any one make provision for old-age on such a miserable pittance? It is a reasonable claim that they should be either brought within the scope of the Superannuation Fund, or paid a retiring allowance upon reaching the retiring age. To my mind the system of having semi-official post offices should be terminated as speedy as possible. It is not right to engage young girls and boys about sixteen years of age and dismiss them when they reach 21 years of age. They are wasting the best years of their lives when they should be learning something of advantage to help them in the battle of life. I urge the Postmaster-General to give consideration to the case of the semi-official postmistresses. It ought not to be necessary to mention the matter every time the Estimates are under consideration. There are about 100 of these postmistresses and I hope that the Postmaster-General will see that justice is done to them. {: #subdebate-25-0-s57 .speaker-JOS} ##### Mr BELL:
Darling Like other honorable members I give the Postmaster-General credit for what he has done to extend telephonic communications iu the country districts, thereby providing better facilities for country people, but I am not yet fully satisfied. I want him to extend the hours during which telephone offices in country districts remain open. It is an old matter I dealt with years ago, but I have to say again what I said then. The present office hours in most country districts are from 9 o'clock in the morning till 6 o'clock at night, with an hour off in the middle of the clay. It would be a great boon to country districts if the closing hour could be extended to S o'clock. The only objection to the extension of hours I suggest is that it would cost more money; but I think that the benefit the community would derive by extending the hours during which the telephone could be used in country districts should be the main consideration, and not the actual amount of revenue to be received by a country telephone exchange during the extended hours. There are two ends to a telephone. It is not only tlie man at the distant end of a country telephone who benefits by its construction. Every one in the State who uses a telephone benefits 'by it. I believe that the increased business which would come to the telephone department from the extension of the hours of country offices would nearly make up for the additional remuneration which would need to be paid to those in charge of the office. {: .speaker-KQW} ##### Mr Seabrook: -- An extension of hours would induce more people to make use of the telephone system. {: .speaker-JOS} ##### Mr BELL: -- It would. I do not think the department appreciates the amount of extra business that would be done between 6 p.m. and S p.m. in country districts. Farmers are usually at work during the ordinary telephone office hours. It is only in the evening that they can be found in their homes. I believe that there would be a tremendous increase in business in telephone calls in country districts, if use could be made of the telephone between 6 p.m. and S p.m. I urge the Postmaster-General to give further consideration to this matter. He controls a department which can do a lot to provide people in outlying districts with those, facilities which tend to make their lot more comfortable when they are engaged in the task of developing the land and increasing its productivity. I give the Postmaster-General full credit for going carefully into every matter put before him. Whenever it is possible to do so, he will give the people the benefit of the facilities which his department can provide, and it is only with regard to the telephone office hours that he has failed. to do so. He knows all about the post office troubles in my district, and I am satisfied that he will cope with them. But I wonder what he is going to do about telegraph rates. I wonder if he intends to maintain existing State boundaries as telegraphic boundaries. It is not quite fair that it should cost more to send a telegram from Wodonga to Albury than to send one from one end of Western Australia to the other. I believe that the Minister is giving consideration to this question. For my part I should like to see the telegraphic rate fixed on a radial basis according to distance. If that could be done I am sure the alteration would be appreciated. The same thing applies to the rates for parcel postage. I can quote an instance in the Darwin electorate showing the inequity of the present system. There is a bi-weekly mail service from Kang Island. A parcel sent from King Island to Melbourne pays a much higher rate than one sent from King Island to Hobart, although the latter might be carried first to Melbourne and sent from there to Hobart. The Postmaster-General must appreciate the unfairness of a system that allows that to happen. I trust that at an early date he will provide a remedy for the grievances I have ventilated. {: #subdebate-25-0-s58 .speaker-L07} ##### Mr LAZZARINI:
Werriwa -- I say quite candidly that, in my electorate, the Postmaster-General appears to administer his department on the American principle of " spoils to the victors." Because it is represented by a Labour man, nothing is done for it. Every portion is neglected, and no satisfaction can be obtained from either the department or the Postmaster-General himself. {: .speaker-KAY} ##### Mr Gibson: -- That is a very unfair statement to make. {: .speaker-L07} ##### Mr LAZZARINI: -- If the honorable gentleman will traverse the electorate in my company I shall prove that it is true. If I make a request for some work in an industrial area on the south coast, no action is taken; yet a small progress association can apply to the department over my head and obtain permission to have the work carried out, simply because its members are political friends of the Postmaster-General. I make that statement quite definitely. {: .speaker-JLJ} ##### Mr ABBOTT:
GWYDIR, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP -- And very unfairly. {: .speaker-L07} ##### Mr LAZZARINI: -- The honorable member knows nothing about the matter. He may be able to have works carried out in his electorate, because he is a supporter of the Postmaster-General. When **Mr. Webster** was Postmaster-General, approval was given to the building of a new post office at Burrowa, and the work was put in hand. **Mr. Webster** left office and nothing further was done. Representations to the present PostmasterGeneral and his predecessor have been of no avail. The present building is a ramshackle affair, and unhealthy for those who have to work in it. It in no way fulfils the requirements of a modern post office. The postmaster's residence is falling into decay, and it is not possible to close and lock the doors. Temporary repairs only have been effected. On the south coast from Otford to the outskirts of Wollongong, the residents have neither a letter nor a telegram delivery, although the area contains a population of up to 12,000 people. The only exception is the Bulli area, and even its outskirts are not served. A telegram was sent to that area informing a person of the death of his father; but it remained at the post office, because there was no delivery, and the man's father was buried before he received any news of his decease. The district postal and telegraphic services in that district have not been improved in the last twenty years. The Postmaster-General is well aware that I send to him daily, requests, not from individuals or insignificant progress associations, but from shire and municipal councils, for the putting in hand of works that would mean the expenditure of only a few pounds; but the department 1V111 do nothing. A request was made for a telephone box, and it was promised on condition that the shire council guaranteed the department £12. I pursued the matter and the amount was reduced, first, to *8 and then to £6. Eventually the department advised that it would be provided if the council would maintain the lighting of it. Actions such as that are bringing the Postal Department into disrepute. A request was made also for a pillar-box to serve a more populous area than Austinmer. I want it to be clearly understood that I am , pleased that one was provided at Austin- mere, even though it was at the instigation of a progress association or some individual, and did not go through me. {: .speaker-KAY} ##### Mr Gibson: -- I cannot help it if the progress associations go over the honorable member's head. {: .speaker-L07} ##### Mr LAZZARINI: -- I do not care if they do. My complaint is that the department pays heed to their representations, but will not consider the more legitimate requests that I make. The Bulli shire council, which consists of representative men, made a request for a similar convenience, and was turned down. I could quote a number of instances of a similar nature. The following is a letter which I received from the Bulli shire council after the department had repeatedly refused to provide reasonable facilities that would have necessitated the expenditure of not more that £20 a year - >Referring to the letter from the PostmasterGeneral's Department of the 13th inst., forwarded through you regarding the provision of public telephone facilities at Russell Vale and Hopetoun-street, Bulli, within this shire, I have by direction, to request that you will bring this matter before the House of Representatives at the first opportunity in an endeavour to force the hands of the Postmaster-General's Department in this matter. > >Members of my council feel very strongly on this subject, and are of opinion that the need for the provision of telephone facilities where requested fully justifies the granting of the request. I shall be pleased to hear of your success in the above connexion. The members of this council are not likely to ask for anything unreasonable, because they frequently have requests of that nature made to them. This state of affairs has existed since I was elected to represent the district six years ago. The department is deliberately taking advantage of the fact that' returned soldiers in its employment are receiving' pensions, and is compelling them to work under sweating conditions. Full particulars of the matter to which I shall now refer have been placed personally before the Postmaster-General. The gentleman who is responsible for carrying on the work of the department at Scarborough would not be able to maintain his wife and children if he did not receive a war pension. The revenue which passes through his hands annually amounts to £12,540. The following are particulars of the business transacted: - That man receives the princely salaryof £15 a month, and he has to pay 8s. a week for the rent and lighting of his premises. Twice daily he has to make the forward and return trips to the railway - a distance of nearly a mile - for the purpose of receiving and despatching mail matter. The last matter to which I wish to refer is the most important of all. A new railway line is being constructed from Port Kembla to Moss Vale.In that area there are four or five camps of men, the number employed totalling about 500. Their work is in mountainous country, and is dangerous in the extreme. There have been many casualties, one of which proved fatal in the Wollongong hospital a few hours after the victim was taken there. These men have been exerting pressure upon me to secure a telephone that will connect the camps with the ambulance at Wollongong, in order that men who are injured may quickly obtain relief. The PostmasterGeneral replied that the request could not be granted. The letter conveying that intimation stated - >There is already an office atUnanderra, which is within five miles of each of the four railway encampments. In two cases the distance is only1½ miles and2½ miles respectively. Ifa man is seriously injured, the department expects that his comrades ought to walk a distance of five miles to obtain the use of a telephone so as to summon an ambulance to convey him to the hospital. It would not cost a great deal to comply with the request. I notice the Postmaster-General smiling. He is following a fairly safe occupation. He would smile on the other side of his face if he had to brave the dangers that these men brave daily. He would be the first to agitate for a telephone service, so that he might obtain the only protection that the conditions will allow. This action of the department is in itself sufficient to condemn it, and every person who is responsible for it. It is an exhibition of callous disregard for human life and the injury that may be caused to men in the performance of railway constructional work. With thehuge surpluses which the Government is now handling, there is ample finance to carry out work of this character. I suppose that, when the Postmaster-General rises, he will direct attention to the new post offices that were built at Port Kembla and Bulli. I had to fight for three or four years before any action was taken, and those post offices would not havebeen built had it not been for the fact that the old premises were decaying, and the honorable gentleman was afraid that a beam might fall down and kill some one, and so make him answerable on a charge of manslaughter. {: #subdebate-25-0-s59 .speaker-KIT} ##### Mr MACKAY:
Lilley .- It is pleasing to know that the Commonwealth and States have entered into a satisfactory agreement with regard to transferred properties. Judging by the liberal areas of land in which most of our public buildings are placed, there were very far-seeing individuals in our early State departments; I refer particularly to the post offices in suburban areas. It is quite a common thing to see our post offices standing in areas of about two acres of land. I do not suggest for a moment that that land should be disposed of, but I consider that it could, with advantage, be let on building leases for a number of years. In many cases the properties are situated on important street corners, with from one to two chains frontage either way. All that land is lying idle, and, if building leases were granted, a satisfactory income would be derived from them. Many congratulations have been showered on the PostmasterGeneral in connexion with the administration of his department. I do not wish to detract from those compliments, but the honorable gentleman must agree that ho lias been extremely fortunate in having inherited a progressive policy, his predecessor having authorized a loan of £9,000,000 in order to overtake arrears in telephonic construction and to increase country postal facilities. It is very creditable to the Government that it has pursued the policy of the honorable gentleman's predecessor and made that amount available for postal and telephonic works, which affect more closely the lives of the people than do the activities of practically any other department. I regret that recently there has been a change of policy in connexion with the provision of public telephones. I think that honorable members receive more correspondence relating to pensions and postal matters than to anything else. When we send communications to the Postal Department we frequently receive replies saying that the requests cannot be granted. I would like the Post.mosterGeneral to instruct his officers to investigate thoroughly the charge of £23 that is made for the installation of a public telephone. I consider that the amount is excessive. It certainly results in many applications being turned down because estimated receipts in suburban areas fall below that sum. I congratulate the Postmaster-General upon the prompt way in which his department replies to correspondence, but these continued refusals to erect public telephones in suburban districts are' becoming monotonous, and I believe that there is some reason for such refusals other than that advanced. I congratulate the Postal Department on the progress that it has made in the erection of automatic telephone exchanges throughout the Commonwealth. Although the cost of an automatic exchange is from £50,000 upwards, we have evidence that the expenditure is warranted, and is profitable to the department. There are quite a number of small centres, not sufficiently large to warrant the installation of the usual standard automatic exchange adopted to overcome the difficulty associated with what is termed " unattended " telephone exchanges. But I understand that the department is experimenting with a . type of unattended automatic exchange that will provide a satisfactory service. I recently made strong representation to the Postmaster-General in reference to several centres of population in the Lilley electorate, such as Bald Hills and Nudgee. Bald Hills is a progressive district with a growing population, and is partly within the metropolitan area of Brisbane. The telephone subscribers are connected with the Strathpine exchange, some miles further away, and they are compelled to pay trunk line rates on calls in the metropolitan area. I am told that no relief can be granted. I now ask the Postmaster-General to accelerate the inquiries into the new system of unattended exchanges so that centres such as I have mentioned may be provided with satisfactory telephonic facilities. I congratulate the department upon the excellent work it has performed, which has been greatly appreciated by the community, and particularly by country residents. {: #subdebate-25-0-s60 .speaker-JZK} ##### Mr COLEMAN:
Reid -- I ' direct the attention of the PostmasterGeneral to a complaint which was made to me by the Fourth Division Postmasters, Postal Clerks and Telegraphists' Union. Last year I introduced a deputation to the Minister from that organization. It had relation to a. grievance about the continuance of non-official post offices where the revenue received would warrant the staffing of such offices by a permanent postal clerk. I shall quote from this letter, and I suggest that the honorable gentleman should take the opportunity, at a later stage of the debate, to make a statement on it. It reads - >The question of the necessity for bringing about the reclassification of many of the existing non-official offices is one of the utmost importance to officers of the service generally, and members of my union in particular, the great majority of whom have all the qualifications of postmasters, and aTe anxious to secure such appointments. Under the existing system, our members are being deprived the opportunity for promotion to positions as postmaster, whilst the non-official or contract system is being retained in many important places throughout Australia. > >From the stand-point of public service, there can be no question as to comparison of the two systems, non-official and official;, whilst the former usually engage in postal work merely as a side line to other business, the latter is controlled by permanent officers of the department, who have been specially trained for such positions, and who entered the service thinking such opportunities for advancement would be open to them. > >Another most important phase of the question is in respect to arbitration awards and conditions generally covering permanent officers of the service. Permanent officers, as you are already aware, are working under awards of the arbitrator, their rate of pay, hours, &c, being regulated by awards of the court; in addition, their service entitles them to many important concessions, such as furlough, &c, and they have also the right to sick leave, annual leave, &c. It will thus be seen that not only is- the non-official system opposed to the interest of the officers and the public generally, but it is also a direct means of evading the responsibilities of award conditions - conditions which every employee in Australia should be entitled to. > >Further, the non-official postmasters have no union or association to watch their interest. They tried on several occasions to obtain registration as a union, but their efforts were unsuccessful owing to the objections raised by the representatives of the service. > >You will recollect that whilst interviewing **Mr. Gibson** last year in Melbourne I dealt with the question of the classification of the nonofficial offices. From **Mr. Gibson's** remarks I understood that action would be taken to reclassify the more important places, particularly those places where the department already owned or leased a building. It will be of interest to you to know that very few of these offices have as yet been classified; in fact, it would appear that the system of employing non-official postmasters, or letting the postal work out by contract or to business firms willing to undertake tlie work gratis, has been extended. I now have in mind the establishment of post offices at Farmers, Anthony Horderns, Civil Service Stores, and other places in the City of Sydney. All of these places are in close proximity to large, well-equipped official post offices. There does not appear to be the necessity for splitting up the postal business, and if such a necessity did exist, we were under the impression that trained and efficient officers of the department would be appointed to control the business on behalf of the department. Instead, we find that the business houses above referred to are doing the work of the department without payment of fees or commission of any kind; and as far as > >Ave oan ascertain they are supplying the whole of the equipment, staff, &c, at their own expense, merely as a trade draw for their business. If such a system is extended you will readily understand the far-reaching effect it is going to have on the service and its officers, and we are of the opinion that it was never intended that the important public service undertaken by the department would be handed over to private enterprise in this way. I direct particular attention to that part of the letter - >At the present time there are thousands of officers eligible, willing and anxious to secure appointment to offices as postmasters, postal clerks, &c. Their scope is limited, and by the adoption of the non-official system or the retention of this system in live, progressive suburban country, and even city, places, there will be no opportunity afforded officers advancement, and the service generally will suffer. During **Mr. Gibson's** last visit to Sydney, the Amalgamated Postal Workers Union, representing 12,000 postal employees, and members of my executive endeavoured to arrange a deputation to discuss the matters abovementioned. Unfortunately, **Mr. Gibson** was called away to the country, and he wired advising us that he did not intend returning to Melbourne via Sydney, hence he could not meet deputation. > >We would be most grateful to you, **Mr. Coleman,** if you could further assist us in this matter. From this, together with our previous correspondence, you Will ascertain the position as it affects us. I note from recent *Hansard* report, **Mr. Watkins** sought information relative to Newcastle district offices. There is one office in the Newcastle district which calls for particular attention, and would be an excellent example - Broadmeadows. There is an official building there, and from information we ha'e received efforts are being made to secure the services of a suitable contract or non-official postmaster - this whilst hundreds of qualified officers are anxious and willing to take the position as Grade I. postmaster, maximum salary £31.2 per annum ; and the appointment of such an officer would give entire satisfaction to the people of that district. A further letter which I have received from that union reads - >As previously explained, Ave are of the opinion that there is justification for the establishment of official offices and staffs in many of the more important places, inquiry and investigation will show that tlie official office and staff gives infinitely better service to the people, the extra expense is negligible compared with the excellence of the service, and public accommodation generally, and it is the opinion of a large number of officers seeking appointment to positions as postmasters, postal clerks, &c., that the non-official system is entirely opposed to the interests of tlie department, its officers, and the public whom it serves, except in isolated cases in the smaller places where only a small amount of business is transacted under the jurisdiction of the district postmaster or inspector, the majority of offices should be made available for permanent officers of the Service. That letter sets out the grievance of the union, which has also supplied a list of offices which it suggests should be manned by permanent postal employees. On the 24th November, 1927, I asked the PostmasterGeneral the following question : - >What were the receipts and expenditure respectively of the following non-official post offices during the last financial year: - Stanmore, Clovelly, Mortdale, Tempe, West Ryde, Urunga, Repton, Laurieton, Barradine, Bethunga Glenreagh, Broadmeadows, and South Lismore. Tlie answer that I received is as follows : - The figures in respect oi. expenditure do not include any amount for administration, interest, depreciation, and upkeep of telegraph and telephone assets, carriage of mails, stores, office, equipment, and other like charges. It is in the interests of the service, and also of the employees, that there should be properly-trained officers in charge of postal facilities. The union has also written me as follows: - >There is also the matter of special allowances whicli are paid to officers of the department, other than the Postmaster-General's Department, who arc transferred to Canberra. I note from *Ilansard* reports that **Mr. Perkins,** M.H.R., brought this matter before the Government. The union is anxious "to know the decision of the Postmaster-General, because this discrimination is causing dissatisfaction and irritation among the employees concerned. I have no complaints to make respecting postal facilities generally, but I hope that the Postmaster-General will expedite the acquisition of a site at Punchbowl and the erection of a post office there. The policy adopted by the Postal Department in respect of the provision of public telephones could be considerably improved, and I should like to know just what that policy is. In certain districts big guarantees are required before public telephones are established, and in other places they are provided without expense. There is unquestionably discrimination exercised between country districts and metropolitan areas. In the outer suburbs of Syd ney. there are places from which the nearest telephone is two or three miles distant, and in case of sickness and trouble it is impossible to get into speedy contact with a doctor. When we have asked for public telephones exorbitant guarantees have been required by the department, and I wish to know the reason. Public telephones are just as necessary in metropolitan areas as they are in country districts. I am suggesting, not that the policy should be extravagant and wasteful, but that the department should be more liberal in the provision of public telephones. *[Quorum formed.']* {: #subdebate-25-0-s61 .speaker-L1T} ##### Mr YATES:
Adelaide The guarantee that the Postal Department required for the provision of a public telephone passes my comprehension altogether. In the metropolitan areas, the policy adopted should be altered, not only in respect of public telephones, but also in respect of letter deliveries to places less than five miles distant from the general post office. The people in such areas often fail to get a mail delivery, the excuse being that the roads have not been made and it is impossible to ride a bicycle over the area. In some cases a delivery is. refused altogether. The department is adopting a cheeseparing policy. It is out to get all the revenue it can at the expense of the public for the least possible service. The suburb of Devon Park is four miles from Adelaide, and it is skirted by two main roads, one leading to Port Adelaide and the other the lower north road. The people in that area are anxious to have a public telephone. They have repeatedly asked for one, but have been told that the butcher or baker has a telephone in his shop which he is prepared to allow the public to use. The progress association of that district has pointed out that this is not satisfactory and causes great inconvenience, because after closing hours the occupier may be out, and if not, he has in some cases to be roused out of bed so that the telephone may be used. In addition many residents object to speak on business matters over the telephone in front of the shop's other customers. The following is the reply that the department forwarded to the secretary of the Progress Association: - >With reference to my letter of 20th October, 1927, on the abovementioned subject, I have to inform you that a public telephone will be erected at the corner of Harrison-road and Bedfordavenue, provided the persons concerned contribute the difference each year between the revenue actually received ( estimated at £12 10s. per annum) and the amount required to justify the facility, viz., £23 per annum. > >I shall be obliged if you will kindly notify **Mr. W.** K. Lowther, Secretary, Devon Park Progress Asossciation, " Drysdale," Harrisonroad. Croydon, accordingly, also that the facility will be established on receipt of the first year's contribution (£10 10s.). That letter contains these words - " The revenue actually received, estimated at £12 10s. per annum." How is it possible to estimate revenue on a basis of what is actually received from something that is not in existence? I could walk out to Devon Park in one hour from the General Post Office. Like the honorable member for Reid **(Mr. Coleman ) I should like to know the policy of the department in cases of this kind. Some of these people were served by the Prospect post office, and some by the Croydon post office. I was informed that the district was inaccessible and unsuitable for the use of a bicycle. Are we to understand that the people in such areas must wait until impecunious district councils are able to make all their roads and footpaths before they can obtain deliveries of their letters? I visited this area one day to make a personal survey of the position. I took the Croydon tram to North Croydon, and got out a quarter of a mile from the boundary of the district. I purposely selected for my visit a day after heavy rain had fallen. It was 4.15 p.m. when I alighted from the tram at Croydon. I walked to Devon Park, questioned six women there as to whether their mail matter was being delivered and the complaints I received I transmitted" to the Deputy Postmaster-General, and then walked' to my home in Prospect, at which I arrived by 5 p.m. My boots were scarcely soiled. The same circumstances cropped up in regard to Broadview, which is in the highest part of the division of Adelaide. I walked over the whole of it in threequarters of an hour. Incidentally I met a postman and I inquired from him whether was any difficulty, from his point of view, in delivering letters there. He replied : " None at all ; it is only a matter of time. If the department would give me time to do the work, I should be quite prepared to do it." He did not find the area at all difficult. Following upon that I made further representations to the Deputy Postmaster-General, in reply to which I received the following letter : -** >With reference to your further representations of 2.1st September, 1927, on the abovementioned subject, I desire to inform you that the matter has received further careful consideration, but until roads and/or footpaths arc provided in the district the Department would not be justified in extending the letter delivery. No gutters or channels ure at present available to carry ofl storm waters, consequently the ground, which is of a sticky clay nature, becomes slippery after rain and is dangerous and unsafe to propel a bicycle over. 1 would suggest that the residents concerned arrange to have their mail matter left by the postman at houses near the boundary of the delivery area. I was surprised at the final paragraph of the letter, for some little time earlier I had been informed of an experience of a postman who, in order to save the time of the department, and at the request of a friend, handed over two invoices for delivery in a certain, street. His action was noticed by a person who happened to be passing at the time ; he was reported for it, and severely reprimanded. Yet the people to whom I have referred were advised to get someone who lived on the boundary of the adjacent postal delivery district to take charge of their letters for them ! Next time the Postmaster-General is in Adelaide, I shall be glad to take him over this area, and, even if the visit should be made in the depth of winter, I am quite satisfied that he would not find the ground either slippery or sticky. It is extraordinary that, although the metropolitan area provides the department with its most profitable business, certain sections of it should be denied a postal delivery. I trust that steps will be taken to remedy these complaints. I wish now to bring under the notice of the Postmaster-General the case of a returned soldier named Banfield, who has been treated in a most inhuman manner by the Postal Department. He has, in fact, been robbed of his reputation and practically denied the right to earn a living, in addition to a 'right which was bestowed upon him by this Parliament in return for his loyalty -and devotion to the Empire at its most crucial stage. The ease was brought under my notice by the Returned Sailors and Soldiers' Imperial League, after my return from New Guinea last year. I immediately telegraphed the facts to the Postmaster-General. I shall allow the official documents to speak for themselves from this point. In reply to my telegram I received the following letter from the Postmaster-General, dated the 19th May: - >With reference to the protest which you made some time ago against the dismissal of > >I. Banfield, temporary postman, the Department has since endeavoured to suitably place Banfield with a view to the continuance of his employment. It was found that as a postman, Banfield was very slow and unreliable. Serious complaints were received from the public regarding late and wrong delivery of correspondence, and it was necessary to give him constant assistance in effecting" his deliveries. > >Subsequently he was tried as a cleaner, and also as a labourer, but he was found to be quite unfitted for those positions. > >In the circumstances, the Department has no option but to terminate his services, and instructions have been issued accordingly. In reply to it I wrote - >To say that I am surprised to receive your letter in reference to the returned soldier, H. > >Banfield, would be untrue, although its import to me is astounding. > >Permit me to recapitulate the facts. > >Banfield offered his services to his country in August, 1915, and served for 3 years 249 days in the Great War. He was twice wounded and discharged from service on 22nd April, 1910. > >At this time he was acclaimed, together with others, as a hero, and many promises were made as to the remembrance of this service, post war, by those responsible on behalf of the nation. A special clause (Clause 84, Section 9c) was inserted in the Public Public Service Act as a guarantee of at least one of the promises being genuine. > >On 24th March, 1924, he entered the Commonwealth Postal Department in Adelaide as a temporary letter carrier, and remained on the same round until 14th June, 1926 (2 years and 52 days). > >During this period he received two increments in salary, which is only granted to those of approved efficiency. > >At the latter end of last year he applied for permanent appointment under Clause 84, Section 9c, of the Commonwealth Public Service Act, when he .was informed that his services were to be dispensed with. > >I was awa)' in New Guinea at the time, and he appealed to **Mr. N.** Makin, M.H.R., who interviewed the Deputy Postmaster-General in Adelaide on his behalf. **Mr. Makin** was told to advise Banfield to. withdraw his .application Ipr permanency, otherwise the question of efficiency would be raised and his employment terminated: This **Mr. Makin** did on the understanding that he was to be retained in the service until after Christmas, and Banfield accepted the advice. In the New Year the axe fell and Banfield then approached me with the result; your letter of the 19th, to which this is a reply. > >You state, " It was found that as a postman, Banfield was very slow and unreliable; serious complaints were received from the public regarding late and wrong delivery of correspondence, and it was necessary to give him constant assistance in effecting his deliveries." > >Firstly, if this was so, why were increments granted to him while complaints were being received, and why did two years elapse before the discovery was made? My own house is one which was served by Banfield as a postman, and my experience lias been that I could well nigh set my watch by the time of his calling, and I have no recollection of ever having seen him accompanied by an assistant. > >Secondly, why did the edict for his dismissal synchronize with his application for the benefits of Clause 84, Section 9c of the Commonwealth Public Service Act? Returned soldiers in this State complain bitterly that the clause is as " Dead Sea fruit " to them, which has been honored in the breach more than the observance, and the present instance seems to give point to tlie contention. > >You further state that he has been tried as a " cleaner and also labourer," and has been found quite unfitted for those positions, and instructions for his dismissal have been issued. > >In view of this serious indictment, I desire to know who the Minister or the Government expects to employ him if such be the case? Surely, not any commercial house, or other . undertaking whose business it is to make profits, for it can hardly be expected that they will take a war-wracked ex-soldier with such a recommendation as that given by the Minis- ter. I expect a reply as to what is to become of this man and his wife and child and many others who are subjected to like treatment by government departments. If the nation to which they have given so much and are taxpayers cannot employ them, then I o desire to know where are the philanthropists who are going to foot the bill? > >I should have thought that at least letter delivery was one of those- avenues of light employment which the Repatriation Department so glibly turn derelict soldiers to: yet on the very ground from which Banfield has been removed, there is a young fellow of not more than twenty years of age engaged, who, in my opinion, should be more profitably employed than in the dead-end job of delivering letters. > >I again protest against the dismissal of Banfield, or any other war-wracked soldier in a like position, which, in effect, means that the Government is wilfully aud callously ignoring an obligation to which the nation is pledged in regard to maimed returned soldiers. > >I intend handing this correspondence to tlie press. 1 believethat every word in that letter is true. I have questioned tbis man very closely. He is not a bad sort. He is now engaged in canvassing. He must dp light work because he has been twice wounded and was injured in the arm. But that is the nation's responsibility. Strange to say, the Minister, in his letter to me, mentions that **Mr. Banfield** returned from his morning delivery, bringing back approximately 300 letters, that a telegraph messenger assisted him with the afternoon delivery, but in spite of this help, he did not return until 6.15 p.m., and then with 176 letters undelivered, and that he asked for further assistance on the following day. I asked **Mr. Banfield** about that. He told me that he was transferred to a district that he did not know. He was sent to Woodville, about five or six miles from the district where he had been delivering letters for two years, and the day referred to by the Postmaster-General was the day after a lot of circulars had been posted. They expected **Mr. Banfield** to deliver all these letters, but when they put another man on the same round, he returned with 133 letters undelivered.I am suggesting that the department " put the deadwood " on **Mr. Banfield.** That is to say they put him on to a round where they were certain he would not succeed. He had served my district faithfully and well and had been given two rises, but the trouble was that he asked to be appointed to the permanent staff. It was then that, they put the third degree on him and declared him to be unfit. If he accepts the Minister's advice and applies to the Repatriation Department - for a pension, I presume - the reply he will receive will he, " You are fit for light employment ; " and he will be obliged to look for it. Yet the very work the Repatriation Department would state he was fit to do is denied him by another Government department, not because he cannot do the work efficiently, but because he asks for his right to permanent appointment. He has been replaced on the round by a young boy. When **Mr. Banfield** was declared to be unfit to do the round at Woodville, he was given the job of sweeping a store room for mail bags. It is not necessary to go over the floor of a store room with a chamois leather; but he was relieved because it was found "that he could not do the work." I said to him, "Did they ever complain that you were not able to do that work?" He said, "No." I said, "Did you do the job all right ?" He said, " Any one could do it." But according to the department he could not. He was then sent to the goods yard on West Terrace, and, according to the department, he could not even lump cables or telephone material. I asked him, " Why could you not do it?" He replied "I did do it. No one ever said a word to me. I stood at a trolley and helped to load big coils, but of course I could not lift heavy weights." I said, "Did they not tell you that you could not do the job?" He said, "Not one word." The trouble was that he had asked to be placed on the permanent list as a returned soldier. Whether the Postmaster-General is cognizant of that I do not know, but that is a fact every returned soldier in the Adelaide post office knows. **Mr. Banfield** merely asked for the right, conferred upon returned soldiers by the statute at the instance of the then honorable member for Adelaide **(Mr. Blundell)** . In reply to a' question I submitted to the Postmaster-General, he said that postmasters were presumed to know other rounds. He knows well that that is not correct. If a postman is to learn another round he is not first told where he is to be sent. How can a postman serving a district at Prospect learn a Mitcham round? He cannot do it from a book. A book will not teach a man the topography of a district. The PostmasterGeneral has again side-stepped the issueHe knows that postmen do not have to learn other rounds. {: .speaker-KAY} ##### Mr Gibson: -- Will the honorable member read my reply to his question? {: .speaker-L1T} ##### Mr YATES: -- I asked the PostmasterGen er al - >As he has stated that " A postman's duty is not confined to his own particular round, but must learn other rounds in order to meet emergencies which frequently arise," will he state - (a)What instructions are issued in reference to the edict referred to? > >Isany time allowed for postmen to traverse other rounds in order to learn them? > >Are postmen at any time advised as to what areas constitute other rounds ? > >Does the edict referred to mean that a city postman must make himself acquainted with the whole of the metropolitan area and the suburbs? > >Are postmen transferred . to other areas without any notice or knowledge of the locality to which they are transferred? > >The replies givenby the PostmasterGeneral were - > >In order to minimize the difficulty which arises in maintaining the efficiency of the letter delivery service when a member of the delivery stall' falls out on account of illness, or is absent from duty through other causes, it is necessary that postmen should have a knowledge of other local rounds besides their own. The replies to the honorable member's questions are as follow: - > >The instructions provide for the rounds to be arranged in groups consisting of four in the city, four in the suburbs and two in the country, and that in no case are these numbers to be exceeded by more than one. In respect of deliveries in the capital city, an in- terchange of rounds is to be made when a postman takes his recreation leave; but in the suburbs and country the interchange is to take place oncea month, and on the afternoon delivery where two deliveries per day are in operation. > >Not when the periodical inter change is made, as it covers only one delivery; but when a postman for relief purposes or upon transfer is placed on a round with which he is not familiar he is, whenever practicable, given time to become conversant with it before taking charge. > >Yes, by means of round books and sketch maps of local delivery areas. > >No; see answer toa. > >Notice is given whenever practicable. See, also, answer tob. > >Not one of my questions was "answered precisely. I know that the department keeps supplementary men who are sent out when a postman becomes ill; but when a man is transferred to another district he is not told anything about it until he gets notice of his transfer. The department is utterly regardless of the rights of the individual. A postman may have built a home in the district in which he hopesto serve his term as letter-carrier, but no consideration on that account is extended to him when he is transferred to another suburb. It is scandalous that a man who has risked his life and been wounded in the service of his country should be thrown on the scrap-heap because he claims a right given to him by an act of Parliament. The suggestion of the Minister was that because **Mr. Banfield** had asked for that to which he was entitled and it was urged that he could not sweep out a store room or lump cables in the goods yard, although he had for two years given efficient service as a letter carrier, he should apply to the Repatriation Department; or, in other words, get a pension for his wife and children. If I know the Repatriation Department, it will take this man all his time to convince it that his injuries entitle him to a pension. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN: -- The honorable member's time has expired. {: #subdebate-25-0-s62 .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr FORDE:
Capricornia -- The Estimates of the PostmasterGeneral cover subjects that come before every honorable member, more particularly one who represents a large and scattered area as I do. I notice that the expenditure out of loan funds on postal works amounted to £3,995,787 last year, and that the provision in this respect for the current year is £4,076,000, an increase of £80,213. Last year the expenditure of the Postal Department from revenue was £9,415,022. The estimated expenditure this year is £10,040,253, an increase of £525,231. I should never ask a PostmasterGeneral to be parsimonious in handing out money for necessary postal works. He has it within his power to make conditions comfortable for thousands of people living in country districts. As the representative of a large, scattered electorate, I say to the Minister, " Go right ahead with your policy of providing better postal and telephonic facilities, but be a little more generous in providing those facilities for the people who do the real pioneering work." If there is one fault I have to find with the Postal Department it is that during the last twelve or eighteen months it has been putting off hundreds of returned soldiers who were engaged on line construction. In every State returned soldiers took up that employment. It proved to be congenial to them, and they became proficient at it. There appeared to be every prospect of its continuing, but the men have now been told that no more loan money is available, and they have been dismissed. The **CHAIRMAN (Mr. Bayley).The** honorable member will not be in order in discussing the loan estimates. {: .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr FORDE: -- The PostmasterGeneral is proud of the fact that the cost of many works is defrayed out of loan money instead of revenue. I care not which fund is used so long as the work is carried out. I am availing myself of this opportunity to enter a protest on behalf of returned soldiers who are walking the streets in Central Queensland and lining up at the police station for the dole because of the policy that has been adopted by the Postmaster-General. I again urge upon the honorable gentleman the advisability of erecting a new post office at Gladstone, which is a prosperous and thriving town, that possesses the finest harbour in Australia. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- I am loth to interfere with the honorable member, but time is getting short, and other honorable members desire to address themselves to the Estimates which are under discussion. I therefore ask him to make his speech along those lines. {: .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr FORDE: -- As Parliament is to be closed down again shortly, I wish to refer to these matters. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- The honorable member will not be in order in discussing works on these Estimates. {: .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr FORDE: -- Many mail services are required in my electorate.That which is provided at "Woongarra, Bundaberg, is a disgrace to the department. The mail is despatched in a motor car, which travels at.a rate of 25 miles an hour. It is thrown on the road, and frequently is blown away. Thus the farmers lose many letters. They have been informed that too much time would be occupied if the mail contractor had to stop to place the letters in boxes. I blame, not the man, but the system. He cannot stop because he works' to a time-table. Many of the farmers receive important letters and cheques from the business community, and frequently these are lost. I trust that the Postmaster-General will investigate this complaint. Those who live at Frenchville, five or six miles from Rockhampton, have asked for a daily mail delivery, but have been advised that they will have to subscribe towards the cost. They are engaged in a small way in farming and agriculture, and their request is a reasonable one. I appeal to the Postmaster-General, who is a member of the Country party, and is acquainted with the conditions that exist in the country, to give favorable consideration to their representations. Residents in some of the suburbs of Bundaberg have been informed that the letter carrier may deliver letters only to a certain point. They wish to have the distance extended. Mails are carried under contract from Emerald, in Central Queensland, to Fairview station and other places. Before the department will extend the service, it insists that the owner of the property to which the mails would be delivered must bear a proportion of the cost. Many similar charges are placed upon men who are engaged in pioneering work in the back-blocks. I wish that decision to be reviewed. There is an allowance postmaster at Ridgelands, twelve or fourteen miles from Rockhampton. It is a soldier settlement, which is being carried on under considerable difficulty. The postal business is at present being conducted in a new building, which cost the owner about £170. He has to receive and despatch four mails every week, including Sundays, as well as issue money orders and postal notes and conduct an agency of the Commonwealth Bank. His remuneration is 17s. 6d. a week. For that sum, he provides one-half of a new building, and the greater portion of his time. He has under him a mailman who delivers mail matter twice a week to the digger settlers. That work entails travelling over fairly rough country; yet his salary is only £104 per annum - more than twice as much as his superior officer receives. {: .speaker-KAY} ##### Mr Gibson: -- Did he tender for the work ? {: .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr FORDE: -- He would probably do it for £50 a year if by that means lie was able to. earn something at a time when nothing would grow on his drought stricken country. The postmaster applied for an increase, but was told that unless he was prepared to continue the work at the existing remuneration, the post office would be closed. The unfortunate digger settlers would in that case be deprived of the mail service. There are farmers at a place called The Caves. **Mr. J.** Kersey, of that address, has written to me stating that the department is calling upon the local farmers to pay the cost of removing a public telephone from one place to another in the district. The text of the letter received by the telephone office keeper, Pinkerton's Corner, from the district telephone officer, Townsville, is as follows : - >With reference to the proposed removal at Pinkerton's corner to the new building, it has been decided that, in view of the small amount of revenue derived from this office hitherto, its continuance would appear to be very doubtful on the ground of public necessity. If the persons interested, however, desire continuance of the service, they will be required to pay the cost of removal, which is estimated at £4 10s. It would be appreciated, therefore, if you would get in touch with those concerned and ascertain whether they are willing to pay this amount. If so, an undertaking in writing to do so should be obtained and forwarded to this office as early as possible. Honorable members know how difficult it is to collect £4 10s. from a number of farmers who have experienced a bad season. This man thought that the matter was not his responsibility, but that it should be undertaken by the PostmasterGeneral's Department. I should like the Postmaster-General to look into that case. The Postal Department has done a great amount of good for the country districts of Australia, but there are many ways in which the Minister might open his heart. Some of the people living at Nebo, another outpost in my district, made an unsuccessful application for the use of an old telegraph line. The terms quoted by the department were excessive. Some of those men had such a bad time that they were compelled to go opossum snaring for a living. The department then declared, "Oh, well, we will pull down the line," and has called for tenders to have the line pulled down. In that backblock town, 250 miles to the north-west of Rockhampton, it is proposed by the department to dismantle the line, for the Use of which the local residents were not prepared to pay a prohibitive charge! The material in that line will be absolutely worthless and will merely clutter up the post office yard at Rockhampton, where I desire to have a new building erected. **Mr. W.** G. Ney, of Broadmeadow, writing to me on the matter, states - >I must say, from what I can see, that no one cares what happens to the man on the land in the back country. Why is this telegraph line to be dismantled? As *I* told you before, around Nebo they have plenty of telephones, but because we live in the backblocks, no one gives a damn how things are. That man has a stout heart. He and his friends went out into the country hoping to do well. The country is good, but is subjected to periodic droughts. Telephonic communication is essential, for use in case of emergency. If any one was bitten by a snake it would be necessary to telephone the ambulance or a doctor at Clermont, or some other place within reasonable distance. I am advocating the granting of facilities to men who have done a noble work in developing Queensland, and should receive every encouragement and attention from this Government. {: #subdebate-25-0-s63 .speaker-KF9} ##### Mr A GREEN:
KALGOORLIE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · ALP; FLP from 1931; ALP from 1936 -- I am glad to see that an amount of £80,000 appears on the Estimates for non-official post offices, but I should like the Postmaster-General, when replying, to be good enough to tell us the grade upon which non-official postmasters are paid. I recognize that the department is a heavy spending one, and makes a considerable drain on the finances of the country when carrying out its developmental work and helping our people outback; but if there is a black spot in the department it is the conduct of these non-official offices. In my division there are two prosperous districts served by the Wongan Hills to Mullewa and Midland railways. They contain a large number of agricultural railways, and are supplied for the most part with small post offices qf the non-official type. For two years I have asked the department to establish official offices there. The first excuse of the department was that an office could not be made official unless it had an anaual revenue of £400. We thought that that was final. Those offices expanded, and now have a revenue of nearly double that amount, yet no action has been taken to establish official offices in their stead. They are conducted generally in the country stores of the district, which are managed by people who represent wheat, machinery, and other city agencies. The people of these districts object to sending business telegrams through such channels, as there might be a leakage of information. Those people complain that there is no privacy. I must admit that the service is fairly satisfactory in some cases; but the system is bad, and I urge that official post offices should be substituted. The department should consider the case on its merits. If the offices are converted into official post offices, I trust that the Government will erect buildings of which they need not be ashamed. The only sign manual of the Federal Government that the people in such localities have are the' buildings erected for Commonwealth purposes, and frequently they are not fit to be occupied even by a struggling " cockey's " horse. I wish to deal, also, with district and tropical allowances, and to refer in particular to such centres as Broome and Geraldton, as an indication of what is happening elsewhere. The cost of living at Geraldton' is fully 50 per cent, higher than that at Perth, yet departmental officials there receive no additional allowance. In Broome officials are allowed £50 per ' annum, which does not even pay for the laundering of their tropical clothing. They should be placed on at least the same basis as State government employees. They have to travel 1,200 miles to Perth if they wish to take a vacation. I saw a very "naive excuse advanced by **Mr. Skewes,** who conducted the case for the Postmaster-General, when opposing the claims of those officers. He said that the fact that a place was 1,600 miles away in the tropics, and about 18 degrees south of the equator, did not necessarily mean that the officers were isolated, as some people liked that sort of thing. That life so plays on the minds of many men, aud so enervates them, that they are afraid to try themselves out when the time comes to go to the cities. Then there is the position of " starred " postmasters, who are treated a'ery badly. Section 50 of the act states - >Efficiency shall mean special qualifications and aptitude for the discharge of the office to bo filled. If that indicates that ability shall receive prior consideration when there is a position to be filled, there is no doubt that these men would have been high-placed officially long ago. They are specially selected officers, and recruited from the ranks of the telegraphists and clerical assistants. Telegraphy is a part of their daily work. As an old postmaster's clerk, who worked sixteen years in the Postal Department, I know the merit of those men. I realized that the opportunities for promotion in the department were so few and far between that, after spending such a considerable period of my life in the Service, I left it and took the chance of securing a job outside. And I had attained to the so-called eminence of postmaster's clerk! I admit that the postal service has advanced since then; but the salaries are still proportionately low. I trust that starred postmasters will be taken out of the "dead ends" and given an opportunity in keeping ' with their qualifications. Those men were always led to believe that, if they made good as fifth-grade postmasters, they would be eligible for promotion. During my association with the service, the Commonwealth Inspector for Western Australia urged me and other likely officers to qualify for the telegraphic service, because, he said, the only chance of promotion would be through that channel. These men qualified and became postmasters. They now complain bitterly that that advice was bad, and that they would have done better had they remained as telegraphists or clerical assistants. They were placed in the fourth division fifteen or twenty years ago, passing examinations for promotion. Their claim for promotion to the second-grade office in the third division is on the grounds that they are as good as the 58 members of the same rank who were promoted in 1924. The trouble started with the reclassification in 1924. Every classification) of course must bring about some anomalies, and I ask the Postmaster-General to give these officers relief. There are not a great number of them, and it is unfair that they should suffer injustice. {: #subdebate-25-0-s64 .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN:
Hindmarsh -- All honorable members will agree that the postal officers are a loyal body of men, and that they bear a great responsibility in carrying out the postal services of the Commonwealth, but it must be regretted that the remuneration and consideration given to them in some instances have not been in keeping with their duties and responsibilities. I refer particularly to telegraphists of the 5th division of the Postmaster-General's Department. These men have served the department faithfully and well over a long period of years. Many of them have been 40 years in the Service, and 25 years in their present occupations. The position to-day is that the department is endeavouring to appoint younger men over their heads. The PostmasterGeneral may try to evade responsibility for this by stating that the conditions of work and salaries are not determined by him; but he is the head of the department, and should be the master of his own house. I appeal to him to give these men some redress. They are senior telegraphists, and have given every satisfaction in their duties. Many of them were transferred from the State service when federation took place, and they helped to inaugurate the Commonwealth postal system. Por 25 years they have held positions of responsibility, but have not been receiving the commensurate salary. It seems to be a peculiar but unjust habit of the Commonwealth Public Service to engage men in positions in a temporary capacity, and thus escape paying salaries in accordance with the services rendered. That happened in the Taxation Department four years ago. If we are to have a contented Public Service, we should remove these anomalies and sec that justice is done to those who have rendered faithful service to the Commonwealth. These senior 5th class telegraphists are receiving a salary of £306 per annum, but the salary fixed for the duties- performed by them is £336 per annum. On the 10th September of this year these telegraphists were required to sit for an .examination in order to qualify for the position that they have held for the. last 25 years, and for which the salary is £336 per annum. {: .speaker-KF9} ##### Mr A GREEN:
KALGOORLIE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · ALP; FLP from 1931; ALP from 1936 -- It was an expedient to get rid of them. {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN: -- Exactly. It would require a person who has matriculated and undertaken studies at the university to pass the examination that was set for these telegraphists. Many of these men have suffered nervous breakdowns. After a hard day's work they were compelled to spend their nights in study. This preyed so much on one officer's mind that he committed suicide. The Service owes much to these men for their long and faithful service, and I ask the Postmaster-General to do all in his power to remedy their wrongs. lt appears to me that the department is to-day .placing far too much importance upon the text-book knowledge of students, and far too little upon the practical experience of officers who for so long have rendered it loyal and faithful service. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr Charlton: -- It is w."ll known that after a man has reached a certain age, it is difficult for him to pass an examination. {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN: -- That is so. It is grossly unfair to these telegraphists that they should, after many years of service, be required to pass a technical examination on obscure subject-matter connected with their calling, or else stand by while men who are many years their junior, receive promotion above them. It is unworthy of the Government to treat its officers in this way. {: .speaker-KIT} ##### Mr Mackay: -- Will the honorable member allow the Postmaster-General a few minutes to reply to the speeches which have been made? {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN: -- It is not my fault that the Minister will have no time to reply after I have finished my speech. Honorable members opposite voted to apply the "gag," and must abide by the result of their action. I consider that it is my duty to ventilate this matter. These officers sat for their examination on the 10th September, but they are still in suspense as to the results. I sincerely trust that the PostmasterGeneral will cause representations to be made i>i the right quarter, so that the results may be made available without further delay. It is not only the senior fifth class telegraphists who are being badly treated. Many other branches of the service are suffering under injustices. I remember that not long ago a number of men who were working in the telegraph pole yard in Adelaide for the Postmaster-General's Department were obliged to accept the State basic wage instead of the Commonwealth rate, because the former was at that time a little lower. I complained about this treatment of them, and I was told that only a few married men would suffer the loss of their cost of living and child endowment allowances, and that if I raised an agitation in regard to the matter I should make myself unpopular. A threat of that kind would never deter me from expressing my indignation at injustice, whether the most menial or highest servants of the department were the sufferers. I trust that I shall not be required to make another protest against the unjust treatment to which officers of the PostmasterGeneral's Department are being subjected. The Minister expects his servants to deal fairly by the department, and surely the department should deal fairly by its employees, lt is significant that a number of these injustices have occurred since the appointment of our imported Director of Posts and Telegraphs. {: .speaker-KAY} ##### Mr Gibson: -- The honorable member knows very well that that is not true. {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN: -- That remark is most offensive to me, and I request that it be withdrawn. {: #subdebate-25-0-s65 .speaker-JOG} ##### The CHAIRMAN (Mr Bayley: The Postmaster-General has heard the statement of the honorable member foi1 Hindmarsh, and I ask him to withdraw the remark. {: .speaker-KAY} ##### Mr Gibson: -- If it is offensive to the honorable member, I withdraw it. {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN: -- I feel that there is every justification for what I said, and I shall prove this contention by asking the Postmaster-General - if the circumstances associated with added efficiency - wise or unwise, are not the concern of **Mr. Brown,** why this most costly appointment? {: .speaker-KAY} ##### Mr Gibson: -- Does the honorable member suggest that the Public Service Board has nothing to do with matters of this kind? {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN: -- I suggest that the board would not interfere with the established standards of the department unless it was moved to do so by persons acting for the Director of Posts and Telegraphs. I do not desire any misunderstanding to arise between myself and that gentleman. {: .speaker-JLJ} ##### Mr ABBOTT:
GWYDIR, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP -- The honorable member is hedging. {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN: -- I am doing nothing of the kind. {: .speaker-JZK} ##### Mr Coleman: -- I rise to a point of order. I am sure that we all appreciate the importance of the speech- that the honorable member for Hindmarsh is making, but we should like to hear the Postmaster-General's reply to many of the grievances that have been brought under his notice this evening. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- There is no point of order. {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN: -- I regret that it is necessary for me to impress on the Postmaster-General the need to do something. I want him to realize that there is on my part no feeling of enmity towards the Director of Post and Telegraphs. I assure him that I want his department to reach the highest stage of efficiency, but at the same time I want to see full justice done to those who have rendered faithful service to the Commonwealth and are deserving of higher emoluments for the services rendered by them not only in recent years, but over the last 25 years. The Prime Minister who has just entered the chamber should make himself familiar with the matter. *At 10 p.m.,* {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Order! The time allowed for the discussion of this part of the Estimates has expired. Proposed votes agreed to. Motion (by **Dr. Earle** Page) agreed to- >That the following resolution be reported to the House: - > >That, including the several sums already voted for such services, there be granted to His Majesty to defray the charges for the year1927-28, for the several services hereunder specified, a sum not exceeding £22,502,698. Resolution reported. Suspension of Standingorders. Motion (by **Mr. Bruce)** proposed - >That the Standing Orders be suspended to enable the remaining stages to be passed without delay. {: #subdebate-25-0-s66 .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON:
Hunter -- I take this opportunity to lodge a final protest on behalf of the Opposition against the manner in which the business of the House has been conducted. For the last 35 hours we have been kept sitting continuously, and have passed over £70,000,000 of public money without proper discussion. Departmental votes have been so linked together that it has been impossible to deal with the items. There are many increases on the Estimates that we have not had an opportunity to discuss in the proper way. The time allowed for discussion has been so brief that honorable members have been compelled to talk in generalities. As a result the finances of the country have not received proper consideration. "We are no longer a deliberative assembly. Taking into consideration the fact that we have been sitting continuously since yesterday morning, it cannot be said that proper consideration has been given to these Estimates. Above all, Ministers themselves have not been able to furnish honorable members with information in regard to their departments. {: #subdebate-25-0-s67 .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr SPEAKER (the Hon Sir Littleton Groom:
DARLING DOWNS, QUEENSLAND -- The honorable member is evidently overlooking the fact that the motion is for the suspension of the Standing Orders. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -I am aware that the motion is for the suspension of the Standing Orders, and I think it entitles me to give reasons for protesting against the way in which business has been conducted. I hope that what has happened at this extended sitting will never occur again. After Parliament has been closed for three parts of the year honorable members have been expected to sit night and day to do the country's work, and do it badly, as could only be expected in the circumstances. {: #subdebate-25-0-s68 .speaker-F4B} ##### Mr BRUCE:
Prime Minister and Minister for External Affairs · Flinders · NAT -- I quite understand the feelings of the Leader of the Opposition, but I ask him to have some consideration for my feelings. The Government is charged with the responsibility of conducting the business of the country and it has been necessary to do what has been done to that end. Of course, the Government must assume the responsibility for the course taken. But the Leader of the Opposition is wrong in saying that during this extended sitting the House has dealt with an expenditure of over £70,000,000. The total amount involved in these Estimates is only a little over £22,000,000. ' Question resolved in the affirmative. Resolution adopted. *In Committee of Ways and Means:* Motion (by **Mr. Bruce)** proposed- >That towards making good the supply "granted to His Majesty for the services of the year 1927-28 there be granted out of the consolidated revenue fund a sum not exceeding £12,581,278. {: #subdebate-25-0-s69 .speaker-F4Q} ##### Mr SCULLIN:
Yarra .- I take it that this motion does not come under the " guillotine," and I propose, therefore, to take advantage of that fact to say jj, few words on the proceedings in this chamber during the consideration of the Estimates. If the manner in which honorable members have been treated is what the Prime Minister calls " conducting the business of the country," the right honorable gentleman does not understand the meaning of the term he uses. To have millions of money passed by the sheer exhaustion of honorable members is not "" conducting the business of the country." Protests have been made for many years about the application of the "closure " and the " guillotine." There are occasions when both those instruments of parliamentary government are properly used. They are proper instruments for carrying on the government of the country. But their use is justifiable only when there are obstructionist tactics by an Opposition. The implication in the Prime Minister's statement that he had to " conduct the business of the country " was that on this occasion the Opposition had used such tactics. I challenge the right honorable gentleman to indicate one speech on the budget from the Opposition side that could be characterized as obstructionist or "stone-walling." There were more speakers on the general budget debate from the Government's supporters than from our side, and up to the time of the application of the " closure " there was not one suggestion of " stone-walling." It is true that fairly long speeches were delivered on the budget by some honorable members. But with the exception of the war years,- 1 do not believe that the financial outlook has ever been so serious as it is to-day. The debate has been conducted by all honorable members on a fairly high plane, and with an earnest endeavour to draw attention to the problems with which we are faced and to suggest means by which they may be overcome. When honorable members are prepared to listen to, and to take part in, a discussion that has for its object the welfare and the safety of the nation, it can be claimed that they are carrying on the business of the country. .It is not right to closure a debate of that description at 3 o'clock in the morning, and to apply the guillotine to ensure, by a process of exhaustion, the voting of a sum of £22,000,000. We have a perfect right to protest in a genuine way against this measure. Although the Opposition has fought principles with which it has disagreed, it has always been prepared to display an amicable spirit in order that our proceedings might be conducted in a business-like way. I defy the Government to say that on one occasion during this or any recent session that has not been our frame of mind. We are now asked to pass the final stages of a measure that involves the expenditure of millions of pounds. The Department of the Treasurer was linked up with a number of others, thus rendering it impossible to say -one word respecting its administration, notwithstanding the fact that this was the only opportunity we had for criticism. Will the Prime Minister say that that is a proper way in which to carry on "the affairs of a great nation? One of our biggest and most important departments is that of defence. This was the only opportunity that has been given to us in the present session to discuss the big question of defence. Although many honorable members were' prepared to contribute, to the best of their ability, to the discussion of that most important question, they were debarred from doing so. As a member of this Parliament I regard my responsibility somewhat seriously, and I represent men who are similarly inclined. I ask honorable members who sit placidly behind the Government, do they believe deep, down in their hearts that a Parliament, the doors of which have been closed for ti period of thirteen months less three weeks, is justified in conducting the consideration of financial legislation in the manner in which it has been conducted during this sitting? I suggest to the Prime Minister that the duty of the Government, and of honorable members, is to sit here in more constant session so that they may deliberate on the problems that confront them, face the issues that have to be faced, look to *thf* future, and attempt to stave off the financial crisis that is bound to come if action is not taken to prevent it. The doors of Parliament should not be closed for twelve months and then opened only in order that important measures may be rushed through in a few weeks. What does it matter if Christmas is approaching! We could have a short adjournment and then return to Canberra to discuss the problems that require urgent consideration. For over twelve months a tariff schedule has been lying on the table of this Parliament. With some portions of it I agree; with others I disagree, because they do not go far enough. There are other honorable members who consider that it is highly protective. Whatever may be their opinions, all honorable members have a right to express them in the interests of those by whom they have been returned to this Parliament. Revenues are being collected by means of a tariff that may be either excessive or not sufficiently high, yet honorable members are deprived of the opportunity of discussing even one item. Many months have passed since the schedule was tabled, and without the authority of this Parliament, duties have been collected under it. That has been done by a government, some members of which belong to the Country party, whose leader at the outset declared his intention to restore responsible government and the control by Parliament of the public purse. When he sat on a cross-bench, he expressed the view that the control of the public purse had been taken away from Parliament, and that the affairs of the nation were in the hands of an oligarchy or a bureaucracy. He said that the Country party would switch on the light and restore responsible government. That- party has now an equal voice in the government of the country;- yet this is the way iu which it allows the business of the nation to be carried on. I do not wish to detain honorable members any longer.. I know that they are as tired and as worn as I am. But I would have failed in the conception that I hold of my duty if I had not made a protest at this stage of the proceedings against what has been going on for the last 35 hours. Question resolved in the affirmative. Resolution reported and adopted. {: .page-start } page 2048 {:#debate-26} ### APPROPRIATION BILL 1927-28 *Ordered -* >That **Mr. Bruce** and **Dr. Earle** Page do prepare and bring in a bill to carry out the foregoing resolution. Bill presented by **Mr. BRucE,** and passed through all its stages without amendment or debate. {: .page-start } page 2048 {:#debate-27} ### COMMONWEALTH HOUSING BILL Bill returned from the Senate with amendments. {: .page-start } page 2048 {:#debate-28} ### CRIMES BILL Bill received from the Senate, and (on motion by **Mr. BRUCE).** read a first time. {: .page-start } page 2048 {:#debate-29} ### PAPERS. The following papers were presented : - >Development and Migration Commission - Interim Report, with Appendices, on Investigation into present position in Tasmania. - > >Interim Report, with Appendices, relating to tlie Gold-Mining Industry of Western Australia - > >1 ) Kalgoorlie ; > >Gwalia. Ordered to lie on the table. Science and Industry Endowment Act - Reports on Accounts by the Auditor-General, to 7th April, 1927, and 17th October, 1927. {: .page-start } page 2048 {:#debate-30} ### SPECIAL ADJOURNMENT Motion (by **Mr. Bruce** agreed to - >That the House, at its rising, adjourn until Monday next at 3 o'clock p.m. {: .page-start } page 2049 {:#debate-31} ### ADJOURNMENT Losses of Stock : Appointment of Committee - League of Nations. {: #debate-31-s0 .speaker-F4B} ##### Mr BRUCE:
Prime Minister and Minister for External Affairs · Flinders · NAT .- I move- That the House do now adjourn. I desire to lay on the table of the House two interim reports by the Development and Migration Commission, which have already been laid on the table of the Senate. I also desire, for the information of honorable members, to inform them that the Government has invited **Dr. Kater,** M.L.C., **Mr. Anthony** Branskill, **Mr. Ben** Chaffey, **Mr. K.** M. Niall, and **Mr. Peter** Tait, to act as a committee to give to the Commonwealth the benefit of their joint advice as to any stops which could, in their opinion, usefully be taken in order to prevent or reduce losses of stock, and consequent loss of national wealth, arising from the unfavorable climatic conditions to which many parts of Australia are subjected from time to time. These gentlemen have all had very great experience in the pastoral and associated industries, and are accustomed to consider and deal with the problems connected with the transport ofstock in large numbers. The committee will start its investigations shortly. It is offering its services to the Government without remuneration. The only expense to which the Government will be put will be the reimbursement of travelling expenses, and the provision of a secretary. The Government is very fortunate in being able to obtain the services of those gentlemen, and I desire to express my appreciation of their very public-spirited action in undertaking this work. {: #debate-31-s1 .speaker-L1T} ##### Mr YATES:
Adelaide .I have no desire to delay the House at this hour, but the Prime Minister made reference to a committee which was working in the interest of the community. I desire to bring under the notice of the right honorable gentleman a matter somewhat co-related to those activities, but dealing with the workers of the community. Every year an economic Labour conference is held at Geneva, at which certain decisions are come to, with a view to making their applicability worldwide. I do not think that one of the decisions of that conference has been ratified by any of our State Parliaments. Itis well known that there is no more arduous trade than the baking trade. For many years there has been an endeavour to cause bakers not to work while other people rested, in other words, to introduce day-baking in Australia. Daybaking has the approval of the Geneva conference. I am informed by the secretary of the South Australian Bakers' Union that he wrote to the Prime Minister on the subject, but received no reply. Iask the Prime Minister to look into the matter, and at least make a reply to the letter. The States will do nothing, and, as the Commonwealth sends a delegate to the conference, it is our duty to give effect to its finding or else not to send a representative. **Mr. BRUCE** (Flinders- Prime Minister and Minister for External Affairs). - I am not aware of having received the letter to which the honorable member referred. If it has been received by me, and I have been guilty of discourtesy in not replying, I regret the omission. I shall look into the matter for the honorable gentleman, but meanwhile I can explain the position to him. We are represented, as the Commonwealth of Australia, at the annual Labour conference at Geneva, because Australia is a member of the International Labour Organization. At these Labour conferences the most of the conventions are such as the Commonwealth could not give effect, because the matter with which they deal come within the jurisdiction of the States. All such conventions that have been passed at the Labour conferences at Geneva have been sent on by the Commonwealth to the various State Governments for consideration, and any action they might see fit to take on them. One convention has been ratified by the Commonwealth. It. is hoped to ratify three others when the necessary amendments to the Navigation Act have been made. Three conventions adopted at the 1926 sessions of the conference, which interest the Commonwealth Government, are now under consideration. Question resolved in the affirmative. House adjourned at 10.30 p.m. (Friday).

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 24 November 1927, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.