13th Parliament · 1st Session
” The House met at 10.30 a.m., pursuant to the proclamation of His Excellency the Governor-General.
TheClerk read the proclamation.
The Usherof the Blackrod, being announced, was admitted, and delivered the message that the Deputies of the Governor-General for the Opening of the Parliament requested the attendance of honorable members in the Senate chamber forthwith.
Honorable members attended accordingly, and, having returned,
The Deputy authorized by the GovernorGeneral to administer the oath entered the chamber.
The Clerk read the commission, under the Great Seal of the Commonwealth, authorizing the Honorable George Edward Rich, a Justice of the High Court of Australia, to administer the oath, or affirmation, of allegiance to the King required by the Constitution to be taken or made by members of the House of Representatives.
The Clerk announced that he had received from the Military Secretary to the Governor-General returns to 75 writs for the election of members of the House of Representatives, held on the 19th December, 1931.
The following members made and subscribed the oath of allegiance: -
Abbott, Hon. Charles Lydiard Aubrey, Gwydir, New SouthWales.
Anstey, Hon. Frank, Bourke, Victoria.
Baker, Francis Matthew John, Esquire, Oxley, Queensland.
Beasley, Hon. John Albert, West Sydney, New South. Wales.
Bell, George John, Esquire, C.M.G., D.S.O., V.D., Darwin, Tasmania.
Blacklow, Archibald Clifford, Esquire, D.S.O., Franklin, Tasmania.
Blakeley, Hon. Arthur, Darling, New South Wales.
Bruce, Right Hon. Stanley Melbourne, C. H., P.C., M.C., Flinders, Victoria.
Cameron, Malcolm Duncan, Esquire, Barker, South Australia.
Casey, Richard Gardiner, Esquire, D. S.O., M.C., Corio, Victoria.
Collins, Thomas Joseph, Esquire, Hume, New South Wales.
Corser, Bernard Henry, Esquire, Wide Bay, Queensland.
Dein, Adam Kemball, Esquire, Lang, New South Wales.
Dennis, Samuel, Esquire, Batman, Victoria.
Fenton, Hon. James Edward, Maribyrnong, Victoria.
Forde, Hon. Francis Michael, Capricornia, Queensland.
Francis, Hon. Josiah, Moreton, Queensland.
Gabb, Joel Moses, Esquire, Angas, South Australia.
Gander, Joseph Herbert, Esquire, Reid, New South Wales.
Gardner, Sydney Lane, Esquire, Robertson, New South Wales.
Gibson, Hon. William Gerrand, Corangamite, Victoria.
Green, Hon. Albert Ernest, Kalgoorlie, Western Australia.
Green, Roland Frederick Herbert, Esquire, Richmond, New South. Wales.
Gregory, Hon. Henry, Swan, Western Australia.
Groom, Hon. Sir Littleton Ernest, K.C.M.G., K.C., Darling Downs, Queensland.
Gullett, Hon. Henry Somer, Henty, Victoria.
Guy, James Allan, Esquire, Bass, Tasmania.
Harrison, Eric Fairweather, Bendigo, Victoria.
Harrison, Eric John, Esquire, Wentworth, New South Wales.
Hawker, Hon. Charles Allan Seymour, Wakefield, South Australia.
Hill, Hon. William Caldwell, Echuca, Victoria.
Holloway, Hon. Edward James, Melbourne Ports, Victoria.
Holman, Hon. William Arthur, K.C., Martin, New South Wales.
Hughes, Right Hon. William Morris, P.C., K.C., North Sydney, New South Wales.
Hunter, James Aitchison Johnston, Esquire, Maranoa, Queensland.
Hutchin, Arthur William, Esquire, D.S.O., DenisonTasmania.
Hutchinson, William Joseph, Esquire, Indi, Victoria.
James, Rowland, Esquire, Hunter, New South Wales.
Jennings, John Thomas, Esquire, South Sydney, New South Wales.
Lane, Albert, Esquire, Barton, New South Wales.
Latham, Hon. John Greig, C.M.G., K.C., Kooyong, Victoria. (
Lawson, George, Esquire, Brisbane, Queensland.
Lawson, John Norman, Esquire, Macquarie, New South “Wales.
Lyons, Hon. Joseph Aloysius, “Wilmot, Tasmania.
Mackay, George Hugh, Esquire, Lilley, Queensland.
Makin, Norman John Oswald, Hindmarsh, South Australia.
Maloney, William, Esquire, Melbourne, Victoria.
Marr, Hon. Charles “William Clanan D.S.O., M.C., V.D., Parkes, New South Wales.
Martens, George William, Esquire, Herbert, Queensland.
Maxwell, George Arnot, Esquire, K.C., Fawkner, Victoria.
McBride, Philip Albert Martin, Esquire, Grey, South Australia.
McClelland, Hugh, Esquire, Wimmera, Victoria.
McGrath, David Charles, Esquire, Ballarat, Victoria.
McNicoll, Walter Ramsay, Esquire, CB., C.M.G., D.S.O., V.D., Werriwa, New South Wales.
Nairn, Walter Maxwell, Esquire, Perth, Western Australia.
Nock, Horace Keyworth, Esquire, Riverina, New South Wales.
Page, Right Hon. Earle Christmas . Grafton, P.O., Cowper, New South Wales.
Parkhill, Hon. Robert Archdale, Warringah, New South Wales.
Paterson, Hon. Thomas, Gippsland, Victoria.
Perkins, Hon. John Arthur, EdenMonaro, New South Wales.
Price, John Lloyd, Esquire, Boothby, South Australia.
Prowse, John Henry, Esquire, Forrest, Western Australia.
Riley, Edward Charles, Esquire, Cook, New South Wales.
Riordan, David, Esquire, Kennedy, . Queensland.
Rosevear, John Solomon, Esquire, Dalley, New South Wales.
Scholfield, Thomas Hallett, Esquire, M.C., M.M., Wannon, Victoria.
Scullin, Right Hon. James Henry, P.C., Yarra, Victoria.
Stacey, Fred Hurtle, Esquire, Adelaide, South Australia.
Stewart, Frederick Harold, Esquire, Parramatta, New South Wales.
Thompson, Victor Charles, Esquire, New England, New South Wales.
Thorby, Hon. Harold Victor Campbell, Calare, New South Wales.
Watkins, Hon. David, Newcastle, New South Wales.
Watson, William, Esquire, Fremantle, Western Australia.
White, Thomas Walter, Esquire, D.F.C., V.D., Balaclava, Victoria.
The Clerk also announced that he had received a communication from the Military Secretary to the GovernorGeneral informing him of the death after his election of Mr. J. J. Clasby, and of the issue of a further writ for an election of a member for the electoral division of East Sydney; also that a return to the further writ had been received, and from the endorsement on the writ it appeared that Edward John Ward had been elected.
Mr. Ward made and subscribed the oath of allegiance.
The Deputy retired.
– I move - ‘
That the honorable member for Lilley (Mr. Mackay) do take the Chair of the House aa Speaker.
If the honorable member for Lilley ia appointed to the chief position in the gift of honorable members of this House, he will, I am sure, perform the duties pertaining to the Speakership in a manner which will do credit, not only to himself, but also to the chamber over which he will preside. The honorable gentleman has already given long service to his constituents, having been first elected to this House in 1917. He has, moreover, occupied the position of Temporary Chairman of Committees in several parliaments, and in that office has had an opportunity to show that he possesses those qualifications which justify his promotion to the higher honour of the Speakership. The occupant of the Speaker’s chair should be a man of calm temperament and impartial judgment, and the honorable member for Lilley possesses both quali- fications. He enjoys the distinction of possessing the longest unbroken period of loyal service of any member of the United Australia party.
– That is not a recommendation.
– I do not agree with the honorable member for East Sydney. If the honorable member for Lilley is appointed to the position of Speaker, he will, I am convinced, conduct the proceedings of the House in such a manner that when at length he comes to leave the Chair, he will have earned the confidence and esteem of the whole body of members.
– I have much pleasure in seconding the nomination of the honorable member for Lilley (Mr. Mackay) for the position of Speaker of this House. My acquaintance with the honorable member covers only the period of the last Parliament, but it has been sufficient to cause me to hold his personal qualities in great esteem. If elected to the Speakership, he will, I am sure, carry out his duties with honour and credit to himself and to this House.
.- I thank those honorable members who have proposed and seconded my nomination as Speaker of this House, and I respectfully submit myself to the decision of honorable members.
– It was ten years ago, in this very month, that I first took advantage of the opportunity which presents itself only once in the life of a parliament, when any honorable member can speak untrammelled by rules of debate - some of them absurd - which unfortunately up to the present have not been properly altered and amended. I do not object to the honorable member for Lilley, who has been nominated for the Speakership, because he and I have been the best of friends ever since he entered this Parliament. I have a great respect for him, and if he is appointed I hope he will emulate the splendid work of his predecessors. Rut I object on principle to the present method of appointing the Speaker, because once an honorable member is elected to that position, his electors are disfranchised; they have no further representation in this House. Realizing that the officers of this
Parliament know far more of parliamentary procedure than does the average honorable member who is appointed to the Chair, and that the conduct of Parliament really rests upon the parliamentary officers, I would prefer that some officer, and not a member of Parliament, should be elected each session to the speakership. This would enable all honorable members to represent fully their electors. Those remarks apply also to the position of Chairman of Committees. It is strange how frequently some of my dearest friends fill the positions of Speaker and Chairman of Committees, and thus become subject to my criticism.
I raise one other matter. This is one occasion on which I can hold up to scorn and contumely some of the judges of the High Court and other courts. These judges, even in the hour of their country’s need, have refused to allow any reduction to be made in their salaries, but they ‘are so terribly blinded that they have drastically reduced the wages of the workers. Five years ago I expressed the contempt and loathing in which I held Judge Lukin. To-day I hold him in still greater contempt. He receives in addition to his salary a pension of £1,000 a year from the Queensland Government. He sits in court with all the dignity of his horse-hair wig, and refuses to suffer any reduction in his salary. Men of his type took part in the French Revolution. At that time one fool said that the people should eat grass, and according to Carlyle, he was eventually strung up to a lamp post, and hanged with grass stuck in his mouth. “When the people properly control Parliament no longer will Australian men and women receive a dole of 5s. a week plus ls. 6d. for each child, while in the Motherland an unemployed man receives 15s. a week, and an unemployed woman 13s. a week. Our Defence Department has issued a regulation to the effect that 7s. 6d. a week shall be provided for each child. Is there any difference between the children who have to be maintained on Defence Department money and those who have to be maintained by other government expenditure? This is a very serious matter, although I am not blaming this Government for it._ The previous
Government deserved a lot of the blame, and they received their reward at the election. But the people have not yet obtained control of Parliament.
We talk about our democracy in Australia, but there can be no democracy here so long as this Parliament can control the people who create it. The people have the right to control the Parliament, and we shall never have a democracy until they can exercise that right. Private members have at different times tried to improve matters in this respect, but the previous Government, like those which preceded it, limited the rights of private members to the greatest possible extent. Those who were members of the last Parliament know that this statement is true.
I had a motion on the business-paper to provide for the bringing into effect of the principle of the referendum, initiative and recall. Honorable members who are sitting on the front Opposition bench may laugh, but they, like myself, have signed a platform which contains this plank. If they were sitting in a Labour conference they would not be complimented upon their laughter. Let me tell them, and honorable members generally, that I have held the respect of my constituents longer than any of them - in fact for nearly 43 years. For very many years I have tried to get this House to carry a motion approving of the principle of the referendum, initiative and recall. On one occasion, when the right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes) was Prime Minister, such a motion was agreed to unanimously; but no Labour Government has ever taken steps to give effect to this principle.
I am loyal to the Labour party. The planks of the platform of that party are as sacred to me as the Prayer Book and the Bible, and I wish to see them put into effect. I do not want to see members of this party holding on to place and pay. I say definitely that there were more “gold-diggers” in the last caucus than in any in which I have sat during my long parliamentary life. Honorable members opposite seem amused, but by and by I shall have something to say about them, and I shall not hesitate to say it. I hope to continue to hold the respect of my colleagues as I have held it during all the years. I have never said anything in this House that I did not believe, and I have never tried to attain an object unconnected with the welfare of humanity. I know that the right honorable member for North Sydney, in his heart of hearts, believes in the referendum and initiative.
I have taken care not to speak of the recall. I believe that I am the only member of this House who has trusted his constituents, and who, for 42 years, has given them the right to render the seat of their representative vacant at a day’s notice. By presenting a petition signed by one more than half the number of voters who voted for me in my constituency the electors could bring about my immediate recall. Honorable members are again laughing, but they laugh in ignorance. Poor children, there is a lot yet for them to learn. There was a time when 556 signatures could have brought about my removal from Parliament.
I have mentioned Judge Lukin. I wish also to mention Judge Drake-Brockman, Mr. Justice Rich, and Mr. Justice Evatt. I am sorry to have to do this.
If my suggestions had been accepted our poor country could be helped out of its troubles. Let us do here as they did in England during the war period. At that time food was rationed, and the highest aristocrats in the land had to submit to rationing just like the poorest people. We should remember too, that poor old England can produce only enough food for every fourth man, woman and child living there. Australia, on the other hand, is producing more than three times as much food as she requires to feed her people. Let us ration our food supply and everything else, and use all the surplus to meet our debts.
In regard to the monetary position, I wish to place on record tha following letter which I received from tho Treasury on the 16th January, 1932 :-
With reference to your telephone inquiry of to-day relative to the cost of remitting money to New York, I would point out that taking the exchange rate as 3.40 dollars to the £1 it costa £143 in London to place £100 in New York.
This £143 must be remitted to London from Australia, and at a rate of approximately 25 per cent, would cost, say, £36.
Xt will be seen, therefore, that the cost of remitting £100 from Australia to New York is approximately £179 - £79 being in respect for exchange.
It is in such circumstances that Germany has said that she cannot and will not pay her debts. All the European nations are thinking about refusing to pay their war debts. I ask whether it is right, when Australia, is willing to pay her way, that she must send abroad £79 as exchange for every £100 of principal and interest in respect of her indebtedness? If the people of this country were asked to reply with a plain “ ye3 “ or “ no “ to the question, whether they are willing to do this, I am sure that they would say no. I trust that this Government will find some way of placing all debts upon a different footing from the indebtedness incurred in respect of ordinary trade and commerce. I hope that some agreement will be made which will lift the burden of this terrible interest charge from the shoulders of the people. I shall watch the Government very carefully. Although I cannot hope to point my finger at any member so gracefully as- the Clerk of the House has done it to-day, I shall nevertheless watch the Government, and hope that it will find some means of removing this terrible burden.
I hope that I shall live to see Australia, the land that I love, and which I believe honorable members opposite love as well as I do, become a real democracy. I trust that this Parliament will come under the control of the people. At present the people have control on only one day in three years. I say with all reverence, as though in the presence of my Maker, that if God be God, He would never create anything His equal and never allow any created thing to make itself His equal. Why, then, I ask, as a representative of the people, should those who create this Parliament control it on only one day in three years? They should control it every day. Why should Ave be able to make ourselves more powerful than they? That is why, for 42 years, I have given my constituents the right of recall. I hope that some day the system will be made general. Then no longer will so many vile and wicked happenings, with their associated fraud, misery and trickery, be countenanced. -Jobbery occurred even in connexion with the building of this Capital. It fell to the lot of a member of the Labour party, the honorable member for Cook (Mr. C. .Riley), to make the exposure that certain contractors had fraudulently withheld 600 tons of cement from the foundations of a Government building in Canberra, the cost of which was estimated to be about £1,000,000. Yet no one was sacked or even censured. I know that had the Scullin Government been in charge of affairs the delinquents would have been dealt with. That great genius, Walter Burley Griffin, prepared the design for a beautiful permanent Parliament House, which was to cost £250,000, and provided a room for every member of Parliament, whether of the Senate or the House of Representatives. Through the machinations of certain departmental heads that great man was set aside and his design superseded. In place of that beautiful permanent building we have this temporary Parliament House, which was estimated to cost £230,000, but which has cost £760,000 of the people’s money. If any honorable member doubts the accuracy of my statement I refer him to the report of the inquiry that was made into the matter by the then Leader of the New South Wales Bar, Mr. Wilfred Blacket, K.C., which shows clearly how vilely Walter Burley Griffin was treated. And no one was censured. The roof of this building would not keep out the rain, and, when I drew attention to that fact 80 tons of gravel was placed upon it in a vain endeavour to rectify the fault. If a committee could be appointed with power to obtain full information before the available informants disappear or die, very severe punishment would be meted out to those responsible. I had intended speaking of this matter when the Speaker of the last Parliament was elected, but my chief dissuaded me. That I have regretted ever since.
I urge all young members of Parliament, who may feel that they are trammelled by our rules of debate to take advantage of the happy opportunity that is afforded to them on an occasion such as the present and give utterance to what their conscience prompts them to speak.
Members of the House then unanimously calling Mr. Mackay to the Chair, he was taken out of his place by Mr. M. Cameron and Mr. Nairn and conducted to the Chair. “
Then Mr. SPEAKER ELECT, standing on the upper step, said - I desire to express my keen appreciation of the great honour which honorable members have conferred upon me. I realize the responsibility that is mine in assuming the duties of the office, following as I do so many who have occupied the Chair with distinction, and I feel that I can be successful only if I have the full support of honorable members, whose goodwill I shall endeavour to deserve by the exercise of tact, courtesy and strict impartiality. Honorable members who may think that the Standing Orders are too rigid have the remedy in their own hands. In return for the efforts that I shall make to carry out my duties satisfactorily, I shall expect from all honorable members strict obedience to my rulings and decisions. It is my intention to endeavour to uphold the best traditions of parliamentary procedure, and to apply common sense to the interpretation of the Standing Orders.
.- On behalf of honorable members on this side of the chamber I offer you, Mr. Speaker, very hearty congratulations on your being elected to preside over this branch of the national legislature. In the years that you have been associated with the National Parliament you have won the respect and confidence of your fellow members, and you have on many occasions demonstrated that you possess qualifications admirably fitting you to perform with dignity, impartiality and ability the duties associated with the high office to which you have been called. I am confident that the splendid traditions that have been established by your predecessors in office will be maintained by you, and I offer you the co-operation and assistance of honorable members on this side in carrying out your important duties. I sincerely trust that the term of your occupancy of that high office will be not only a successful, but a prolonged one.
– I desire to join in the congratulations that are offered to you this morning, sir, on your being elected to the very high and honorable position of Speaker of this Parliament. On behalf of the members of the party that I have the pleasure and the honour to lead, I offer you their support and co-operation in carrying out the Standing Orders, and in upholding the best traditions of our National Parliament. I have not the slightest doubt that you will be both fair and unbiased. Those of us who have been privileged to know you for a number of years are aware that you possess the qualities of impartiality and fairmindedness that go so far towards achieving the success of a Speaker. I hope further that, while Speaker, you may witness a change in the conditions of this country that will usher in brighter prospects for the whole of our people.
– On behalf of the Australian Country party, I congratulate you, sir, on your elevation to the important position of Speaker, and assure you of the support of the members of this party in carrying out the difficult duties of your office. I am confident that you will bring to that task the qualities of impartiality and justness, because I remember that, many years ago, before you entered this Parliament, you were responsible for an extraordinarily fair piece of dealing in connexion with myself which demonstrated to me the innate justness and fairness of your character. I am satisfied that those qualities will characterize your actions as Speaker.
I hope that during the term of this Parliament you will carry out the practice of previous Speakers, and recognize, in their turn, the members of the several parties in the House as they rise to take part in a debate. That method has been used in previous parliaments. It was adopted when the right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes) was Prime Minister, and also when other governments were in office, and the practice is observed at the present time in the British
House of Commons, where the various parties are recognized in their turn in the matter of calls from the Chair. I trust that this practice will be followed in this chamber. At the same time, I point out that members of the Country party are occupying their present seats in this chamber to suit their own convenience. They desire, so far as possible, to sit together. The object of the Country party in coining to this Parliament is to put into effect, at the earliest possible moment, the policy that was jointly agreed upon by the United Australia party and the Country party prior to the election. So longas the Government carriesout the policy on which the people voted, it can rest assured of the support of this party.
. -On behalf of my colleagues in the Labour party of New South Wales and myself, I extend to you, Mr. Speaker, congratulations on your elevation to your important position. I have known you only since my advent to this Parliament in 1928, but I have always had the highest respect for you, because of the impartial way in which you have placed your views before the members of this House. Although I entirely disagree with the political opinions of the party with which you are associated, I cannot help recognizing your sincerity and impartiality in endeavouring to arrive at decisions on matters concerning the welfare of the people you represent. My party will render ‘all the assistance it can possibly give you in carrying out your important duties, and if you follow the course that you have pursued in the past, I have no doubt that at the end of your term we shall be in a position to congratulate you upon the manner in which you have discharged the functions of your high office.
.- As your immediate predecessor in the office of Speaker, and recognizing the great responsibilities associated with the duties of the Speakership, I feel that the important tasks pertaining to the office have been well placed in yourhands. I offer you my congratulations, and I am Confident that you will uphold the high traditions of the position which you are now privileged to occupy.
– The Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition, the Leader of the Country party, and the honorable member for West Sydney, have been most generous in their expressions of congratulation, and I shall endeavour to deserve the respect of all honorable members by recognizing that they all have equal rights and privileges in this House. Honest differences of opinion are bound to arise, and mutual forbearance alone can reconcile them. I confidently rely on the goodwill of honorable members in carrying out my duties.
I take this opportunity of offering a welcome to the new members. I can assure them, from past experience, that the presiding officers and the staff of the House will do all that is possible to minimise their initial difficulties in regard to parliamentary procedure.
– I have ascertained that it will be the pleasure of His Excellency the Governor-General to receive you, Mr. Speaker, in the Library of the Parliament at 2.45 p.m., this day.
Sitting suspended from 11.41 a.m. to 2.40 p.m.
The House proceeded to the Library, there to present Mr. Speaker to His Excellency the Governor-General.
The House having re-assembled,
– I have to report that, accompanied by honorable members, I proceeded to the Library of Parliament and presented myself to His Excellency the Governor-General as the choice of the House, and that His Excellency was kind enough to congratulate me on my election as Speaker.
The Usher of the Black Rod being announced, was admitted, and delivered the message that His Excellency the GovernorGeneral desired the attendance of honorable members in the Senate chamber forthwith.
Mr. Speaker and honorable members attended accordingly, and, having returned,
– Consequent on the resignation of the Right Honorable James Henry Scullin as Prime Minister, His Excellency the Governor-General commissioned me to form a ministry. The Ministry, -which -was sworn in on the 6th January last, is as follows : -
Attorney-General, Minister of State for External Affairs and Minister of State for Industry - Honorable John .Greig Latham, C.M.G., KG.
Minister of State for Defence and Leader of the Government in the Senate - Senator the Right Honorable Sir George Foster Pearce, P.C., KC.V.O.
Vice-President of the Federal ExecutiveCouncil and Minister administering the Development Branch of the Commonwealth Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Department of the Prime Minister - Senator the Honorable Alexander John McLachlan.
Minister of State for Markets land Minister of State for Repatriation - Honorable Charles Allan Seymour Hawker.
Minister of State for Health and Minister of State for Works and Railways and Secretary to the Cabinet - Honorable Charles William Clanan Marr, D.S.O., M.C., V.D.
Minister assisting the Leader of the Government in the Senate - Senator the Honorable Walter Massy Greene.
Assistant Minister for Defence and Minister administering War Service Homes - Honorable Josiah Francis.
Assistant Minister for Trade and Customs - Honorable J ohn Arthur Perkins.
– I desire to inform the House that I have been elected Leader, and the honorable member for Capricornia (Mr. Forde), Deputy Leader, of the Opposition in this House.
.- In tho temporary absence of the right honorable member for Cowper (Dr. Earle Page), I desire to announce that he has been elected Leader, and I, Deputy Leader, of the Country party in this House.
– I have tb inform honorable members that I shall lead the Australian Labour party of the State of New South Wales in this House.
Motion (by Mr. Lyons) - by leave - agreed to -
That he have leave to bring in a bill for an act to amend section 62a of the Lands Acquisition Act 190C-191C.
Bill brought up by Mr. Lyons, and read a first time.
– Almost invariably on the meeting of the House after an interval, it is the sad duty of the Prime Minister to announce the death of present or past members of this Parliament. Unfortunately, this occasion is no exception. Senator the Hon. James Ernest Ogden died on the 5th February at his home in Tasmania. The late senator was not a robust man, and his health had been failing for some time. The news of his death, however, came as a shock to his colleagues in this Parliament, most of whom had not been in close touch with him since the adjournment in November. The sudden removal from our midst of one who had been so recently sharing in the work of the Parliament, and whose personal friendship was valued so very highly, is felt particularly keenly by those of us who were associated with him.
Senator Ogden had a long record of parliamentary service, having been a member of the Tasmanian and Commonwealth Parliaments. I was associated with’ him in the Tasmanian Parliament, and in the Government led by the late Honorable John Earle. I valued his friendship and respected him for his sincerity. Before his election to the Commonwealth Parliament in 1922 he had been a member of the Tasmanian House of Assembly for sixteen years, during which time, in addition to a brief period as Treasurer, he was Chief Secretary and Minister for Mines and Labour for two years. For a brief period he was Leader of the Opposition in that Parliament. Senator Ogden was a member of the Commonwealth Government as honorary minister from the 29th November, 1928, for approximately twelve months. His parliamentary life covered a period of 26 years, during which time he did not spare himself to give of his best to Tasmania and the Commonwealth. Before his entry into Parliament, his efforts on behalf of hi3 fellow workers were such as to merit special remembrance. We tender our deep sympathy to his widow and family in their loss. I move - by leave -
That tho members of the House of Representatives record their sincere regret at the death of Senator tho Honorable James Ernest Ogden, who was a representative of Tasmania in the Senate since 1922, and performed valuable service as a member of State and Commonwealth Governments, and tender their deep sympathy to his widow and family in their bereavement.
.- I second the motion moved by the Prime Minister, and join with him in expressing our regret at the death of the late Senator Ogden. As honorable members know, he suffered for some considerable time, and the manful way in which he stuck to his duties, despite his long and serious illness, won our admiration. I join with the Prime Minister and all other honorable members of this House in expressing deep regret at his death, and desire to convey to his widow and family our sympathy with them in their great loss.
.- On behalf of the Country party, I support the motion moved by the Prime Minister (Mr. Lyons), and seconded by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Scullin), which extends the sympathy of the members of this House to the relatives of the late Senator Ogden. As years go, he was a comparatively young man, especially for a native of Tasmania, where longevity is the rule. He died worn out by the years of service which he devoted to the public. For a brief time I worked with him as a colleague in a Government, and no one could have been more conscientious or painstaking than he in the discharge of his duties. Despite constant ill health he spent many years in the service of his country, and I am convinced that the public have lost a valuable servant by his death.
– I join with the Prime Minister (Mr. Lyons), with the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Scullin), and with the leader of the Country party (Dr. Earle Page) in expressing my sympathy with the widow and family of the late Senator Ogden. I was acquainted with him only, during recent years, but I can agree Avith the Leader of the Opposition that Senator Ogden displayed great fortitude in carrying out his duties despite the serious illness from which it was obvious he was suffering.
Question resolved in the affirmative, honorable members standing in their places.
– I announce with regret that the Honorable Richard Witty Foster, a former member for Wakefield and a former Minister of the Crown, died on the 5th January in Adelaide. I was not a member of this House when Mr. Foster was representing Wakefield, but I know of his work and of the high personal esteem in which he was held by his fellow members. Mr. Foster first entered Parliament when elected to the House of Assembly of South Australia, in 1893, and was a member of that House for thirteen years, during which time he held Ministerial office for periods totalling five years. His election to the House of Representatives took place in 1909, and he retained the seat until the general elections of 1928. He attained Ministerial office in the Hughes Government as Minister for Works and Railways, holding that portfolio from December, 1921, to February, 1923. His colleagues in this chamber remember him as one imbued with a high sense of public duty, who was at all times prepared strenuously but fairly to uphold his political beliefs. Our sympathy goes out to the widow and family of one who has left behind a very valuable record of public service. I move - by leave -
That the sympathy of this House bc extended to the widow and family of the late Honorable Richard Witty Foster, who was a member of the House of Representatives for Wakefield, South Australia, from 1909 to 1928, and rendered conspicuous service to Australia as a member of State and Federal legislatures, and as a Minister of the Crown.
.- I second this motion, and regret the occasion which has led to its being moved. The Prime Minister gave a brief summary of Mr. Foster’s career. The deceased gentleman had a long record of public life, a record which was in every way honorable. The Prime Minister (Mr. Lyons) did not know him in this House, but many of us here knew him well. He was one of those figures in public life that one never forgets. He was a strenuous fighter, and a vigorous debater - none more vigorous. He fought for what he believed in, and fought strenuously, but he was personally one of the kindest men it was possible to meet. I am sure that all of us who knew him regretted the vicissitudes of public life which led to his disappearance from this House during one of those periodical upheavals which trouble the political history of the country. He was missed more in this Parliament than many others would have been, because of his driving force and personality, and because there was never any doubt of his sincerity. All members of this Parliament, no matter what their political opinions, felt a sense of personal loss when he went out of the House. Every one who knew him will join in regretting his death, and in extending their sympathy to his widow and family in their loss of a husband and a father.
.- I desire to associate myself with the expressions of regret at the death of the late Honorable Richard Foster. For’ many years I was associated with Mr. Foster in the work of this House, and applauded the vigor and impetuosity of his eloquence. I admired also the keenness with which he defended State rights in this Parliament. In that cause, as well as in all his parliamentary work, he drew upon a vast store of material which was of service to all his fellow members. I desire to associate the Country party with the expression of sympathy contained in the motion.
– I wish also to associate the members of my party with the motion. It was not my privilege to know the late Mr. Foster, because he left this parliament when I made an entry to it, but from the remarks of the Leader of the Opposition, I judge that he was a keen fighter for his principles. I join with other honorable members in extending our deepest sympathy to the sorrowing relatives and friends of the deceased.
.- As one of the oldest and closest friends of the late Mr. Foster, I wish to extend my sympathy to his widow and family. I was closely associated with Mr. Foster for many years. As the Leader of the Opposition has said, the late honorable gentleman was an earnest and energetic fighter for his principles, and I venture to say that no man who has ceased to be a member of this chamber has been more greatly missed than he, or held in greater honour.
.- I enjoyed and valued greatly the friendship of the late Mr. Foster, and wish, therefore, to utter a word of affectionate respect as a tribute to his memory. I endorse every word that has been said about the late Mr. Foster by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Scullin) and the honorable member for Swan (Mr. Gregory). Mr. Foster was no plaster saint, but he was as straight as a gun barrel. He had strong convictions and the rare courage of his convictions. The vicissitudes of life, both public and private, he met breast forward, and I question that he ever entertained a momentary doubt that right would ultimately triumph. When :we meet on an occasion like this to consecrate ourselves to the service of our King and country, and remember with honour those who have gone before, I sometimes wonder whether we are not compassed about with a great cloud of unseen witnesses - those who have finished their course and gone before. It may be so. One thing of which I feel certain is that men such as those whose memory we are honouring to-day, being dead yet speak to those who have ears to hear. They are saying to us, “ Work while it is yet day, for the night cometh when no man can work.” The most effective way in which we. can express our respect for the memory of such men is by giving earnest heed to their silent admonitions.
Question resolved in the affirmative, honorable members standing in their places.
– by leave - I move -
That this House records with regret the death of the Honorable John Earle, a former member of the Tasmanian House of Assembly, and the Senate of the Commonwealth Parliament, expresses appreciation of the public service rendered by him as a member of the Legislature and as a State and Federal Minister, and tenders its deep sympathy to his widow in her bereavement.
On the 6th of February, the death occurred in Tasmania of the Honorable John Earle, who had a lengthy career of public service as a member of the Tasmanian and of this Parliament, and as a Minister of the Crown in both his own State and the Commonwealth. It is about nine years since the late gentleman was a member of the Commonwealth Parliament, but up to that time he had been a prominent figure in the public life of Tasmania and of the Commonwealth. He commenced his parliamentary career in the State of Tasmania, being elected to the House of Assembly for .Waratah in 1906. He subsequently represented Franklin in that House. He was Premier of Tasmania on two occasions - on the second occasion for a period of two years. I was personally associated with him, being a member of his Ministry which was in office from April, 1914, to April, 1916. The late Senator Ogden was also a member of that Ministry. Mr. Earle’s appointment as Senator dated from the 1st March, 1917, and he was re-elected at the general election of 1917, holding his seat until 1922. He held office as Vice-President of the Federal Executive Council in the Hughes Government from December, 1921, to February, 1923. The sympathy of the House of Representatives is extended to his widow in her bereavement.
.- I second the motion. It was not my privilege to know the late Mr. John Earle personally, although I met him on one occasion in the Federal Parliament when I was not a member of it. He carried out his duties capably and ably. He applied himself to work in an energetic and thoughtful manner. He passed out of public life some years ago, and now he has passed out of life altogether. I join with the Prime Minister, and with other honorable members in conveying to the widow of the late Mr. Earle our deepest sympathy in her bereavement.
.- The long list of motions moved by the Prime Minister, indicates the toll that public service is taking of the politicians of this country, and the death of Mr. Earle is another instance of life devoted largely to public service. His was a long and distinguished career in public life in both Federal and State spheres, and the members of the Country party desire to associate themselves with the expressions of regret contained in the motion.
– I wish to associate the members of my party with the motion moved by the Prime Minister and supported by other honorable members. It was not my privilege to know the late ex-Senator Earle, but I recognize from the references made to him by the Prime Minister that he at one time played a big part in the public life of this country. I join with other honorable members in extending our sympathy to his widow.
Question resolved in the affirmative, honorable members standing in their places.
– by leave - I move -
That th is House places on record its deep regret at the death of the late Mr. John Joseph Clasby, who was elected as member for the division of East Sydney, at the general elections held on the 19th of December, 1931, but did not take his seat in this chamber; and tenders its profound sympathy to his mother and members of his family in their bereavement.
We have just paid tribute to the memory of three former members of the Federal Parliament. I now refer to one who, having been elected to Parliament, did not live to take hisseat in this chamber. Mr. John Joseph Clasby was elected to the House of Representatives as member for East Sydney at the general elections in December last, and died in Sydney on the 15th of January. The stress and strain associated with an election campaign had taken their toll, and he was suddenly stricken with an illness which ended in his untimely death at the age of 38 years. His was already a very useful life, which had included active service in Egypt and France during the war, and association with movements having for their object the stimulation of interest in public affairs. It seemed that he was on the threshold of a promisingcareer of parliamentary and public service, but he was not destined to take his seat in Parliament. His funeral was attended by myself and several other members of the Government. The tributes paid to Mr. Clasby on that occasion afforded a striking testimony of the esteem in which he was held by all sections of the community. The members of this House share the universal sympathy with his mother and members of his family in their sad bereavement.
.- We have been expressing our deep sympathy with the relatives of former members of this Parliament who have died after long careers of usefulness in the service of the public and close association with us in strenuous public life. Although Mr. John Joseph Clasby was in a different category, his death made a special appeal to our sympathy. Mr. Clasby was a young man who had just taken the first step in a promising parliamentary career when he was stricken down. His end was, no doubt, accelerated by the strenuous election campaign in which he had participated. We all feel the deepest sympathy with his mother and the other members of his family, who, no doubt, were looking forward with pride to the time when their son and brother would win an important position in the national life of Australia. But Mr. Clasby was not privileged to sit for even one day in the Parliament to which he had been elected. That circumstance has aroused the sympathy of the whole nation. I did not know Mr. Clasby, although I believe that I met him for a few moments on one occasion when I was travelling to Queensland and he was returning from that State; but I have heard those who knew him well in Sydney express the highest opinions of his ability, manly qualities and fine disposition. My party joins with honorable members generally in expressing the deepest sympathy with his mother and family in their great sorrow and bitter loss.
.- Personal knowledge of the late Mr. J. J. Clasby, which dated back many years, led me to predict a very great future for him in the public life of Australia, and I deeply regret that on the very threshold of a career which promised to be brilliant he should have met with such an untimely end. His death was largely the result of war service, and of the strenuous efforts he made in the time at his disposal after his ordinary work was done to benefit the public life of Australia. He was of the right age to enter political life, for although he was a man of experience, he still had the energy of youth. His death is a definite loss to Australia, and we associate ourselves with the motion of sympathy moved by the Prime Minister.
– The circumstances of the passing of Mr. J. J. Clasby touch me very closely, for I have participated in the three campaigns which have been fought in the East Sydney electorate during the last eleven months. I appreciated the fighting qualities of the late Mr. Clasby, and shall long remember the battle which was waged in that electorate in December last. I took an active part in that struggle, and fought Mr. Clasby strenuously in a political contest. He was a fair fighter, who took his part manfully, and he won from us a seat which we had held for many years. He was not permitted to enjoy the fruits of the victory he won, and we regret his death. As we look round this chamber to-day we feel that his mother and the other members of his family would have felt honoured to witness the ceremony of the opening of this Parliament, and to see their son and brother in the place to which he was elected, but it was not to be. “We regret deeply the circumstances which have made this impossible, and express our sincere sympathy to his sorrowing relatives and friends.
.- I also desire to express my sympathy with the relatives of the late Mr. Clasby. I did not know him except as a political opponent, but I can appreciate the tremendous strain to which his physical and mental forces were subjected in the campaign through which he passed last December, for I have participated in the three East Sydney campaigns of the last eleven months. I sincerely regret that Mr. Clasby did not live long enough to enjoy the fruits of his victory. He was a good fighter in the interests of his party. The vote which he received on the 19th December, was to me an indication of the personal esteem in which he was held by the electors of East Sydney rather than an endorsement of the principles of the political party in the interests of which he stood. I extend my sympathy to those who have been bereaved.
Question resolved in the affirmative, honorable members standing in their places.
Motion (by Mr. Lyons) agreed to -
That the Speaker he requested to transmit to the relatives of the deceased the foregoing resolutions together with a copy of the speeches delivered thereon.
.’ - by leave - I move -
That this House expresses its deep regret at the sinking of British submarine M2 and . tenders its heartfelt sympathy to the relatives of those who so tragically lost their lives, and to His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom in the loss the country has sustained.
Since the Commonwealth Parliament was last in session, the British submarine M2 whilst manoeuvring off the coast of England, has been lost and all her personnel have perished. It was a tragedy with, fortunately, but few equals in the naval history of Great Britain. While exercising in the Channel off Portland, Dorset, on the 26th January, the submarine dived, and did not again come to the surface. At first there was a slight hope that the lives of those on board would be saved, but that hope soon gave way to the sad realization that the 56 officers and men comprising the crew had gone to their deaths. We can hardly imagine the plight of those unfortunate men, but we can be certain that when the time came for them to abandon all hope they faced their deaths bravely, and in keeping with the best traditions of the Royal Navy. We extend our deepest sympathy to the relatives of those who perished in the disaster, and to His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom in the loss the country has sustained.
.- I associate myself with the motion of the Prime Minister. The news of the sinking of the submarine M2 struck the whole civilized world with “horror, not only because of the loss of so many lives, but of the circumstances under which the men went to their death. Although we can only imagine the feelings of those who went down in the submarine, we can appreciate something of the tragedy of the whole occurrence. We extend our very deep sympathy to the relatives of the men who died. The sinking of this submarine reminds us of the great risks taken by those who man such vessels, not only in times of war, but also in times of peace. Of course, the risks are very much greater during war time. This occurrence affords additional evidence of the urgent need for the nations to do everything that they can do, not only to prevent the possibility of war, but also to render unnecessary any preparations for war. It is one of the hopes of this Parliament that the Disarmament Conference will take the first real step towards total disarmament, and thus remove the possibility of similar disasters to this occurring in the future.
Question resolved in the affirmative, honorable members standing in their places.
– As a mark of respect to the memory of the deceased persons, I suggest that the sitting of the House be suspended for one hour.
Sitting suspended from4 to 5 p.m.
– I regret to find that in my speech of this morning I attributed blame to a man who should rather have received praise - I refer to Mr. Justice Rich. Throughout my life it has been my custom, when I have made a mistake or wrongly accused anybody, to acknowledge my error promptly and wholeheartedly. I do so now, I regret that I included the name of Mr. Justice Rich in my strictures. I am sure that that gentleman, out of the greatness of his qualities, will accept my apology.
I intend at an early date, when the time is opportune, to ask the Government to provide full information so that the people of Australia may know the names of those who should receive commendation, together with the names of those who should receive condemnation.
– I ask the honorable the Prime Minister whether the report is correct that arrangements have been made to transfer from London to Australia the sum of £2,950,000 that is due to the trading banks. If so, will the honorable gentleman state the terms on which the transfer will be arranged?
– No arrangements have been made for the transfer of that amount to Australia.
– Has the attentionof the Minister for Markets been drawn to the report that there is a shortage of refrigerated space available for the transport of South Australian apples to Great Britain? If so, will the honorable gentleman inform the House what action has been taken? If not, will he take the necessary action to try to obtain additional refrigerated space for the purpose?
– When, some time ago, my attention was drawn to the possibility of there being a shortage of refrigerated space for the export of Australian apples to Great Britain, I communicated with the Oversea Shipping Representatives Association, which undertook to provide the necessary space for all Australian apples available for export this year. It is easier and more satisfactory to arrange for the prior booking of refrigerated space for apples than for the majority of our other primary products, the output of which varies during a season. The actual details of the allocation of the available space for different consignments is now being worked out by the council in Sydney.
– Will the Minister for Markets, when making arrangements for refrigerated space for the export of apples, take into consideration, not only the quantity of apples to be exported during the present season, but also the dates upon which apples become exportable in the various States? This is important, because the season is a month earlier in some States than in others.
– Some time ago the honorable member for Forrest (Mr. Prowse) made representations to me with regard to this matter, and I am pleased to be able to inform him that the position in Western Australia has now become considerably easier. Space in another ship has been allocated to Western Australia, and arrangements are now being made to lift further shipments.
– Is it the intention of the Government to table the proposals for tariff revision that are mentioned in the Governor-General’s Speech before the debate on the AddressinReply takes place, so that honorable members may know precisely what is contemplated?
– It will not be possible to table those proposals before the debate on the Address-in-Reply takes place. Where variations in the existing schedule are proposed, a full opportunity will be given to honorable members to discuss them.
– Will the AttorneyGeneral have separate lists prepared giving the amount of wages paid to men of foreign origin employed for the last two quarters upon the waterfront of the City of Adelaide, and the number of men so employed?
– Already my department possesses a fairly comprehensive report on the matter to which the honorable member refers. It is possible that I shall be able to obtain from that report substantially the information that he desires. If so, I shall supply it. If not, I shall consider whether a report of the nature referred to can be readily and inexpensively obtained.
– Will the Government, to assist the revival of trade, consider taking early steps to reduce, and simplify, the application of the sales tax?
– The whole of the financial operations of the Government will receive full and careful consideration prior to the assembling of the next premiers’ conference. Because of the financial position of the country, I cannot hold out any hope that there will be an appreciable lightening of the burden of the sales tax.
– As, during the recent election campaign, practically the whole of the United Australia Party candidates in New South Wales promised, if returned, to effect immediately a restoration of the old rates of invalid, old-age, and soldiers’ pensions, will the Treasurer intimate the proposed date of that restoration?
– No promise was made on behalf of the United Australia party or of this Government that there would be any review or restoration of pension rates. If individual candidates made such promises the Government cannot hold itself responsible.
– Is the Treasurer aware that the flat rate deduction of 2s. 6d. from old-age and invalid pensions is equivalent in certain cases to a reduction of 50 per cent.?
– The reduction of pensions was in accordance with the financial rehabilitation plan evolved by Commonwealth and State Ministers in conference. Legislation for the application of the plan was submitted to this Parliament by the Scullin Government, and agreed to by all parties.
– Referring to the statement of the Minister for Health regarding the Spahlingerformula for the treatment of tuberculosis, which is on its way to Australia, what procedure will be adopted in testing it? What section of the Health Department will undertake the work, and what tests will be carried out?
– The information desired by the honorable member is not yet available; but if he furnishes me with his question in detail, full information will be supplied to him.
– Since a subsidy has been given to the company carrying the East- West air mails in competition with the Commonwealth railways, will the Government take into consideration the granting of assistance to National Airways Limited, a company which has met with much misfortune, and has received no subsidy in carrying mails by air from Australia to Great Britain?
– The Government is quite prepared to give consideration to the matter.
Delay in Payment.
– Is the Minister for Markets aware that delays are occurring in the payment of the bounty on last season’s wheat? By way of explanation, I may say that I have been advised by wheat-growers in my electorate that statements of claim were put in as long ago as last November, and not only has no payment been made, but no acknowledgment of their claims has been received from the department.
– The work of paying the bounty entails a great deal of checking, and the expedition with which that work can be done depends largely upon how accurately and completely the necessary forms are filled in by the farmers themselves. In New South Wales not nearly so much bounty ha? been paid out as in the States of Victoria and South Australia. In New South Wales there seems to be a much wider misunderstanding than in the other States mentioned of what is required on the forms. This not only causes delay to the individual, whose application forms have to be referred back, but it results in delay throughout the department. It has been necessary to employ in New South Wales nearly double the staff to carry out the checking that has been necessary, for instance, in South Australia. I hope that henceforward the payment of the bounty will be proceeded with much more expeditiously than in the past, since everybody concerned is now becoming more familiar with the procedure.
– What are the intentions of the Government in regard to the sugar agreement?
– I have already made a public statement to the effect that the Government feels that in times like these, when practically every section of the community and every industry is suffering, no particular industry should be left in such a position that it enjoys, generally speaking, all the advantages that it had inthe past. A definite agreement was entered into by the previous Government with those associated with the sugar industry. The present Government recognizes the existence of that agreement, and it does not propose that by any direct action, that agreement should be broken; but it feels that the time has come when the parties to the agreement should be invited to recon sider the matter, in view of the sacrifices made by every other section of the community throughout Australia, and that a voluntary agreement might be arrived at until the financial and economic conditions in Australia improve. I may say definitely that only on a voluntary basis would an amendment of the agreement be suggested.
– Regarding the proposed voluntary reduction in the price of sugar, which the Prime Minister has stated should be made, has the Commonwealth Government communicated with the Queensland Government, and with the Queensland sugar interests, indicating what reduction, if any, should be made ?
– Up to the present time, my Government has not communicated with the parties, but it proposes to do so at an early date.
– In view of the rapid spread of cattle tick infestation through the northern districts of New South Wales, involving the shifting southward of the quarantine line some 200 miles in the last month, is the Health Department taking steps to assist the cattlemen to minimize the danger of further infection southwards?
– This is a problem mainly for the Government of New South Wales, but the Commonwealth Government, in co-operating with the State Government, has been spending large sums of money for some years in an endeavour to eradicate the pest. The Commonwealth Government, in consultation with the State Ministry, is now considering whether the activities of the Federal Department, in assisting in the eradication of tick, should be increased or diminished.
– Will the Minister for Health (Mr. Marr) make immediate inquiries regarding the matter just referred to, the spread southward of that terrible menace to the cattle industry known as the tick pest? Deaths have already occurred in my electorate from red water fever, and it is well known that cattle ticks spread this disease. If it gets into the valuable herds in the coastal districts of New South Wales untold damage will result. Will the Minister treat this matter as urgent, and make a statement regarding it?
– This is a matter of peculiar and particular interest to New South Wales. It is the duty of that State to safeguard the interests of its cattle growers, to provide for the dipping of cattle and the eradication of the tick. The Commonwealth has already done more than its share in providing funds to assist New South Wales. It has cost the Commonwealth to date £55,000 for this purpose, and it is now the duty of the New South Wales Government to take drastic action for the control and eradication of tick.
– Did the Department of Health agree to the relaxation of restrictions on the transfer of cattle within and without the New South Wales quarantine area, or did the New South Wales Government act on its own initiative in this matter?
– A commission consisting of representatives of the Commonwealth and of New South Wales was set up to deal with matters relating to the control of the cattle tick pest. That commission meets periodically, and, as far as I can ascertain, it has never authorized the relaxation of any restrictions, nor did any such relaxation take place. Every effort has been made to eradicate the tick from New South Wales, and to prevent its further progress southward.
– Is the Prime
Minister yet in a position to indicate to the House when the Government proposes to meet the overseas interest obligation now long overdue by New South Wales?
– My Government has been endeavouring to obtain from the Premier of New South Wales (Mr. Lang) information that would enable it to make the payments due. We have asked for a definite statement as to the amount due, and the amount that the State is able to make available, so that the Commonwealth Government may make arrangements for the payment of the balance, but we have been unable to obtain a satisfactory reply from the Premier of New South Wales. We recognize that this position cannot be allowed to continue, and that the default of New South Wales must not be per mitted to become the default of the Commonwealth. In the circumstances, I have only this morning notified the Premier of New South Wales that my Government proposes to go ahead in the matter. I think that it will be well for me to inform honorable members of the text of the telegram that has been sent to the Premier of New South Wales. It is as follows. -
On 10th February I advised you that in the interests, of Australian credit, Commonwealth Government had decided to make arrangements for payment as soon as possible on behalf of New South Wales of overseas interest due beginning this month in respect of which Government of New South Wales had defaulted. I advised what amounts Commonwealth understood were due and asked you to confirm same. I also asked what contribution your Government was prepared to make towards paying overdue interest. On 13th February, I gave undertaking sought by you that Commonwealth would not without consent of State use or suffer to be used any reply to my telegram of 10th February in evidence against State in any pending or future litigation. To date I have not received reply from you. In view of my announcement on 10th February that Commonwealth Government would make arrangements for these payments on behalf of New South Wales as soon as possible, Commonwealth Government cannot longer waitfor reply from you and has now decided to carry out immediately its undertaking to pay on behalf of New South Wales the overdue interest. This payment will be made on basis of information now in possession of Commonwealth. My Government however is still desirous of ascertaining precise details of payments overdue by New South Wales and what contribution your Government can make towards those payments and desires that your Goverment should make this information available immediately subject to the undertaking given in my telegram of 13th February in that regard.
– During the general election campaign, the Prime Minister was reported to have said on several occasions that if his party was elected to office it would honour all obligations promptly and fully. Will the honorable gentleman explain why that undertaking was departed from in respect of the interest owing to bondholders by the State of New South Wales? Are the people of Australia to assume that such default on the part of the Commonwealth will become the regular practice?
– The default was on the part of the Government of New South Wales.
– No; on the partof the Commonwealth.
– The Commonwealth is arranging to meet the obligation of the State of New South “Wales to the bondholders, but I am justified in emphasizing the fact that the State Government is responsible for the default that has occurred. However, honorable members will have an early opportunity to discuss this matter fully.
– Will the Prime Minister lay on the table of the Library all the papers dealing with the default of New South Wales regarding her interest payments, and the Commonwealth action therewith? The newspaper accounts are difficult to follow, and it is almost impossible to understand the position.
– I shall look into this matter, and see to what extent the papers can be made available. The right honorable member must recognize, however, that there may be papers which, in view of the litigation pending between the Commonwealth and the Government of New South Wales, it would be inadvisable to make public.
– Will the Minister for Home Affairs institute immediately an inquiry into the present method of calculating variations in the cost of living with the view to the substitution of a more equitable method?
– That matter is being investigated by the Acting Commonwealth Statistician.
– Will the PostmasterGeneral negotiate with the Railway Departments with a view to the carriage of mails on goods trains where passenger train services have been curtailed?
Mr.FENTON.- The honorable member’s suggestion will be investigated.
– Does the Prime Minister propose to indicate the views of the Government on disarmament before its representative leaves Australia to attend the conference at Geneva?
– Disclosure of the details of the policy of the Government, and the attitude to be adopted by its representative at the conference, is not advisable at the present time.
– The Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Sir George Pearce) stated during the discussion on the Estimates last year that as Australia had already disarmed, expenditure on representation of the Commonwealth at the Geneva Disarmament Conference was unnecessary. Does the Government agree with that statement?
– The Disarmament Conference is of such vital importance to Australia, the Empire, and the whole world, that the Government considers that adequate representation of the Commonwealth is fully justified.
– Having regard to the great destruction that has been caused by bushfires in different parts of Australia, particularly the losses of fencing and buildings, I ask the Prime Minister whether the Government proposes to take action to ameliorate the conditions of the sufferers, and prevent the exploitation of them in connexion with the purchase of galvanized iron and other material required for re-construction?
– I shall be glad to consider the matter.
– In view of the tragic circumstances of many thousands of our people by reason of continued unemployment, will the Commonwealth Government immediately supplement the money made available by its predecessor for relief works or the granting of direct relief?
– The representatives of the Commonwealth and the States agreed at the recent conference in Melbourne that the subject of unemployment should be one of the first matters dealt with at the next conference to be held early in May.
– Will the Prime
Minister lay on the table of the Library a copy of the report of the proceedings of the Premiers Conference and meeting of the Loan Council recently held in Melbourne? I understand that a verbatim report was taken.
– No verbatim report was taken of the proceedings either of the Premiers Conference or of the Loan Council. A record was kept of the actual resolutions carried and decisions arrived at, and that record can and will be made available.
Distribution of Preferences
– Will the Prime Minister get into touch with the leaders of his party in New South Wales and ascertain from them, with a view to making the information public, the negotiations which took place between the honorable member for Cook (Mr. Riley) and others regarding the distribution of preferences at the recent election, by means of which a foul blow was struck at the Labour party in New South Wales?
Question not answered.
– by leave - The Attorney-General and Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Latham) will leave for Great Britain shortly, in order to represent the Commonwealth of Australia at the Disarmament Conference at Geneva. Owing to the great importance of the problems of disarmament, and their possible interrelation with problems of war debts and separations, it has been decided that the Commonwealth should be directly represented at Geneva. The importance of the problems to be dealt with makes it imperative that the ablest available representative should attend on behalf of Australia as leader of the delegation. In the meantime the High Commissioner in London, Sir Granville Ryrie, will represent Australia at the conference.
– by leave - I take this opportunity of informing the House that the Assistant Treasurer (Mr. Bruce) and the Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. Gullett) will represent the Commonwealth at the forthcoming Imperial Economic Conference at Ottawa. After the Ottawa Conference has concluded, Mr. Bruce will proceed to London as Minister representing the Commonwealth. He will discharge the functions of the High Commissioner, thus avoiding the necessity of a further appointment to that office after Major-General Sir Granville Ryrie’s term expires in May next. The financial position in London requires the most skilled and careful attention. There are the questions of the large, shortterm debt, and of meeting the loan of £13,000,000 which falls due in November. It is believed that the services of Mr. Bruce in connexion with these matters will be of the greatest value to the Commonwealth, and the Government is satisfied that the arrangement proposed is the one most calculated to promote the interests of Australia during the present critical period.
– I have to report that the House this day attended His Excellency the GovernorGeneral in the Senate chamber, where His Excellency was pleased to make a speech to both Houses of the Parliament, of which, for greater accuracy, I have obtained a copy (vide page 6). As honorable members have copies of the speech in their hands, I presume that they do not desire me formally to read it.
Motion (by Mr. Lyons) agreed to -
That a committee consisting of Mr. J. Lawson and Mr. Hutchinson, and the mover, be appointed to prepare an Address-in-Reply to the speech delivered by His Excellency the Governor-General to both Houses of the Parliament, and that the committee do report at the next sitting.
Air Force Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1932, No. 9.
Air Navigation Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1932, No. 8.
Appropriation (Unemployment Relief Works) Act Regulations - Statutory Rules 1932, No. 3.
Commonwealth Employees’ Compensation
Act - Regulations amended- Statutory Rules 1931, No. 143.
Debt Conversion Act - Regulations amended -Statutory Rules 1931, No. 152.
Defence Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1932, Nos. 6, 7.
Excise Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1932, No. 13.
Financial Emergency Acts - Regulations amended- Statutory Rules 1931, No. 154.
Inscribed Stock Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1931, No. 151.
Judiciary Act - Rule of Court - Dated 2nd December, 1931.
Nationality Act - Return for 1931.
Naval Defence Act - Regulations amended, &c- Statutory Rules 1931, Nos. 140, 150.
Navigation Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1931, No. 142.
Norfolk Island Act -
Ordinances of 1931 -
No. 11 - Married Women’s Property.
No. 12 - Infants’ Maintenance and Protection.
Education Ordinance - Regulations.
Northern Territory Acceptance Act and Northern Territory (Administration) Act-
Ordinances of 1931 -
No. 10 - Firearms Registration (No. 2).
No. 11 - Licensing.
No. 12 - Employees’ Accommodation.
No. 13 - Public Service.
Brands Ordinance - Regulations amended.
Mortgagors’ Interest Reduction Ordinance - Regulations.
Public Service Ordinance - Regulations amended.
Papua Act -
Ordinances of 1931 -
No. 9 - Native Labour.
No. 10 - Natives- (Non-Indentured Service ) .
No. 11 - Mining.
No. 12 - Superannuation.
No. 13 - Laud.
Patents Act - Regulations amended -
Statutory Rules 1931, No. 147.
Post and Telegraph Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1931, Nos. 135, 130, 137.
Public Service Act - Regulations (Parliamentary Officers) - Statutory Rules 1931, No. 153.
Seat of Government Acceptance Act and Seat of Govern inent (Administration) Act-
Ordinances of 193.1 -
No. 23 - National Memorials.
No. 24 - Crimes.
No. 25 - Companies.
Ordinance of 19.12 - No. 2 - Auctioneers.
Apiaries Ordinance - Regulations.
Companies Ordinance - Regulations.
Mining Ordinance - Regulations.
Transport Workers Act - Regulations amended, &c. -
Statutory Rules 1031, Nos. 144, 145.
Statutory Rules 1932, Nos. 1, 2, 10.
War Service Homes Act - Report of the War Service Homes Commission for year ended 30th June, 1931, together with . Statements and Balance-sheet.
.- 1 nominate Lieut.-Ool. George John Bell, C.M.G., D.S.O., V.D., for the position of Chairman of Committees of this House. Colonel Bell has rendered long parliamentary service to Australia, heing elected in 1919 for Darwin and, except for one Parliament, has served continuously since. He has also served his country overseas, taking part with distinction in two wars, and is held in the highest esteem by all honorable members. I am sure that he will carry out the important office of Chairman of Committees with impartiality, and uphold the position with dignity and ability. I move -
That the honorable member for Darwin be appointed Chairman of Committees of thiB House.
– As good wine needs no bush, I content myself with merely seconding the motion.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– On behalf of honorable members on this side of the House, I offer my congratulations to the honorable member for Darwin upon his election to the high and responsible position of Chairman of Committees. Arduous and difficult duties will devolve upon him, but I can assure him of the loyal co-operation and help of all honorable members on this side.
– I support the remarks of the Prime Minister. As I said about you, Mr Speaker, following your election to the chair, I feel sure that all honorable members will receive impartial treatment at the hands of the hjonora’ble; member for Darwin in the office of Chairman of Committees. Without regard to the side of the House upon which we sit, I can safely say that no honorable member is more ‘highly respected than is the honorable member for Darwin. His uprightness upon all occasions has won for him the highest respect of all honorable members, and I am glad to see him in the high and honorable position of Chairman of Committees.
.- On behalf of the Country party I congratulate the honorable member for Darwin (Mr. Bell) upon his elevation to the position of Chairman of Committees, and assure him of the support of the Country party in the carrying out of his duties.
– I also wish to congratulate the honorable member for Darwin (Mr. Bell) upon the unanimous decision of the House to appoint him to the high and important position of Chairman of Committees. May I also express the hope that, in the discharge of his duties, he will exercise wise discretion in allowing latitude to honorable members in the very keen debates which will, no doubt, take place in the committee stages of important and contentiousbills that will come before honorable members for discussion.
Mr.BELL (Darwin) [5.45].- I thank honorable members for the honour which they have conferred upon me by electing me to the very implant position of Chairman of Committees of this House. I hope that the high opinion of my qualifications expressed by the honorable member for Balaclava (Mr. White), who nominated me, and of the honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Maxwell), who seconded the motion, may be verified by my performance of the duties attached to the position. I appreciate the congratulations and good wishes expressed by the honorable the Prime Minister (Mr. Lyons), the right honorable the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Scullin), the righthon or able the Leader of the Country party (Dr. Earle Page) and theleader of the corner Labour party (Mr. Beasley), on behalf of their respective parties. I particularly appreciate the very kind words of the Leader of the Opposition. By close application to my duties I shall endeavour so to discharge them that at the end of my term of office honorable members may have no cause to regret the confidence which they have reposed in me.
Motion (by Mr. Lyons) agreed to -
That the House, at its rising, adjourn until to-morrow at 2.30 p.m.
House adjourned at 5.46 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 17 February 1932, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1932/19320217_reps_13_133/>.