House of Representatives
1 November 1934

14th Parliament · 1st Session

Mr. Speaker (Hon.G. J. Bell) took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.

page 97



Christmas Relief


– Will the Minister for Commerce, who is in charge of employment, state whether any arrangements havebeen made for putting in hand works for the relief of the unemployed during the Christmas season?

Prime Minister · WILMOT, TASMANIA · UAP

– Pending the disposal of the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Scullin) to the motion for the adoption of the AddressinReply to the Governor-General’s Speech, it is not the intention of the Government to reply toquestions.

page 97


No-Confidence Amendment

Debate resumed from the 31st October (vide page 95) on motion by Mr. McCall -

That the following Address-in-Reply to the Speech of His Excellency the GovernorGeneral be agreed to -

We, the House of Representatives of the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia, in Parliament assembled, beg to express our loyalty to our Most Gracious Sovereign and to thank Your Excellency for the Speech which you have been pleased to address to Parliament.

Upon which Mr. Scullin had moved, by way of amendment -

That the following words be added to the proposed Address : “ and this House is of the opinion that to provide for relief of unemployment immediate action should be taken -

1 ) to extend the functions and activities of the Commonwealth Bank, increasing its power to make bank credit available and utilizing such credit to finance public works;

to amend the Arbitration Act to ensure that full and favorable consideration be given to progressive reductions in the working hours and increases in living standards commensurate with increased powers of production, due to mechanization and speeding up of industry;

to restore in full pensions and social services and to repeal clauses imposing charges upon pensioners’ property and relatives, thus increasing purchasing power and stimulating industry ; and

to establish anational scheme for organized marketing including the setting up of Australian-wide pools.

Prime Minister and Treasurer · Wilmot · UAP

– There is a general desire, and it has been given some expression, that we should proceed as rapidly as possible to the transaction of the business of the session. I shall, therefore, deal very briefly indeed with the amendment that has been moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Scullin) to the motion for the adoption of the Address-in-Reply to the Speech delivered by His Excellency the GovernorGeneral.

I join with the right honorable gentleman in offering congratulations to the honorable members for Martin (Mr. McCall) and Ballarat (Mr. Fisken), who moved and seconded the motion for the adoption of the Address-in-Reply, upon the excellent manner in which they made their first addresses in this chamber. Each of those speeches was worthy of the occasion, and definitely indicated that the two honorable members concerned will render very real service to the districts that they represent, as well as to the Commonwealth of Australia as a whole, during their parliamentary career, which I hope will be a lengthy one.

I take it that the chief aim of the Leader of the Opposition in moving his amendment was to indicate his desire that as early an attempt as possible be made to deal with the problem of unemployment in Australia. Although other matters are included in the amendment, the central point, particularly in the speech that he made, was the need for an improvement of the conditions with respect to the employment of our people. It appears to me that the right honorable gentleman has merely placed before this chamber proposals that were submitted to the people of Australia by him as well as by his supporters during the last election campaign. They are a repetition - in brief, perhaps - of the policy of the Federal Labour party upon which the people have passed judgment. Whatever merits they may have, this Parliament would not be justified in accepting what the people have so emphatically rejected.

Mr Rosevear:

– Not in New South Wales.


– I think the right honorable gentleman will admit that in every State of the Commonwealth the votes recorded for the candidates for the Senate reveal a definite rejection of that policy and, in the case of New South Wales, of the still more advanced proposals which were submitted by the State Labour party. In not one State of the Commonwealth has the policy of either the Federal Labour party or of the State Labour party of New South Wales been accepted.

Mr Frost:

– Is the Navigation Act to be dropped because a vote of no-confidence was recorded in Tasmania?


– There was not a vote of no-confidence in Tasmania. Three supporters of the Government were elected to the Senate to represent that State. The colleagues of the honorable member were defeated.

The Leader of the Opposition has once again repeated his desire that something more should be done for the unemployed than has been done by this Government. I do not propose to go back over the past, as he and I have frequently done, because we have to deal with the present and the future. Time and again I have shown that the position in regard to employment has been better during the whole period that this Government has been in power than it was while his Government sat on the Treasury bench. That is indicated by the figures. I am prepared to admit with him that the position in regard to unemployment is not satisfactory at the present time. It was that fact which induced the Government to outline a definite policy in relation to the question of employment. In the GovernorGeneral’s Speech it was made quite clear that that question would be given precedence over all other questions in this Parliament. We have not only said that we propose to tackle the problem, but we have also acted in such a way as to prove our bona fides in the matter. When we went before the Premiers of the various States, we gave an indication of the nature of our policy. Our association with the States is essential if that policy is to be given effect. In one respect we have departed from the policies of the past, including that of the Labour administration which held office a few years ago. We recognize now that it is necessary for the Commonwealth Government to play a more prominent part in action taken to deal with the question of unemployment than has been played by any of our predecessors. This subject has been taken up with the States and their co-operation has been sought. A definite intimation has been given to the State governments that the Commonwealth Government is prepared to take an increased share of responsibility in this regard.


– A composite government, or this Government ?


– At any rate, a government, and the honorable member is not likely to be associated with a government for a very long time. I do not desire to delay honorable members unduly in dealing with this . subject, for the delivering of long speeches will only postpone our efforts to attack the problem. In the Governor-General’s Speech it was pointed out that attention would be directed to the following three principal considerations : -

  1. A complete survey of the unemployment problem in order to determine whether there are any root causes which could be effectively dealt with by direct Commonwealth action or by some concerted action on the part of the Commonwealth and the States;
  2. The selection, preparation and carrying out of works which, by reason of their size or special connexion with Commonwealth functions, can properly be done by the Commonwealth alone ; and
  3. Close collaboration with the State employment authorities with a view to the carrying out of works which, though within the authority of the States, cannot at present be undertakenwithout financial aid from the Commonwealth.

The Leader of the Opposition has scouted the suggestion that there is need for an investigation into the subject, for he says that we already know the root causes of unemployment in this country.

Mr Garden:

– We ought to know.


– The honorable member may think that he knows everything, but he will find, before he has been here very long, that this is not a Sunday school class. The Leader of the Opposition said the root cause of our troubles was the monetary system. But that is not true of Australia. As a matter of fact, it is very wide of the mark. The right honorable gentleman himself at a later stage in his speech indicated that our difficulty was the securing of satisfactory markets; and he said that in order to ensure the success of, and additional employment in industry we needed profitable markets for our products. The difficulties of Australia have been caused by the reduced prices obtainable for our commodities in the markets of the world. We are not suffering severely from monetary disadvantages. If we could cure our outside difficulties in relation to markets we should effect an immediate improvement of the unemployment position. We have seen that there was a prompt and beneficial reaction to the recent increase of the price of wool. If we could get a general improvement of prices the unemployment problem of Australia would rapidly disappear.

The Leader of the Opposition argued that an increase of credit by the Commonwealth Bank was necessary in order that industry might be financed and the purchasing power of the people increased. His remarks indicated that in his view there had been, in Australia in recent times, a restriction of credit and that the financial policy in operation here had been one of deflation. That is not so. Whether we look at the subject from the point of view of either private banks or the Commonwealth Bank we see that there has been no policy of restriction of credits. Actually the reverse has been the case. Everything possible has been done to extend credit. There have been times as has been pointed out, when the private banking institutions have provided credits for which there was no backing. That is one of the complaints that is sometimes made against such institutions. But in recent times, when the soundest of business practices have been followed, credits have been made available in greater volume than possibly at any time within the history of this country.

Mr Curtin:

– Not by the Commonwealth Bank.


– By the Commonwealth Bank and the private banks combined. A careful examination of the position will show that this country has not stood still or allowed its position to slide. Even the deflation of our currency, which was carried out by the Commonwealth, Bank with the co-operation of the private banking institutions, was made an opportunity for benefiting the community. That, in turn, effected an improvement of the financial position. In connection with the Government itself, it has been stated clearly on numerous occasions that its first aim was the adoption of sound financial methods in governmental practice. It was intended by that means to inspire confidence and encourage private enterprise, and those objectives were attained. Whatever honorable members may think, the fact remains that an improvement of the nation’s position is clearly evident. The honorable member for Werriwa (Mr. Lazzarini) may laugh, but that is particularly true of New South Wales. The people of that State are praying to heaven that there will never be a return of the regime of the government of which he was a supporter. The aim of this Government has been to adopt sound methods of finance in government undertakings; to restore confidence among the people generally; to reduce interest rates and free money for investment purposes; and to encourage private enterprise to increase the amount of employment available. It has succeeded in effecting improvements in each of these respects. It has not relied solely upon what could be done by internal action, but has done everything possible to encourage private enterprise to increase the amount of employment available. Further than that, the Loan Council, realizing that private enterprise cannot at the moment re-absorb all the people previously employed in private undertakings, has recognized that there is a. special need for both Commonwealth and State governments to do everything possible to keep employed those who now engaged on public works and also to increase the range of such employment. If honorable member’s care to examine the figures that are available they will see that year by year in recent times, and particularly during the life of this Government, an increased amount of money has been raised, at first through the banks, and then from the market, in order that public works might be put in hand which would absorb additional workers. Each twelve months, as the Commonwealth and State Treasurers have met at Loan Council meetings, they have carefully considered what could be done in this regard, and substantial progress has been made.

The honorable member for Denison (Mr. Mahoney), who is interjecting, knows that in Tasmania in recent times important public works have been put in hand solely because the Loan Council has been able to make substantial sums of money available for the purpose. Before such money could be provided it was necessary that confidence should be restored, and I am glad to say that confidence has been restored. The honorable member must know that the recent installation of the new unit of the hydroelectric scheme could not have been undertaken had funds “for the purpose not been made available by the Loan Council. I point out that it was not the Tasmanian Government but the Commonwealth Government which was able to make the money available.

Mr Mahoney:

– At a high rate of interest.


– I am glad that the honorable member has mentioned the subject of interest, because it reminds me that this Government has aimed, ever since its assumption of office, at the reduction of interest rates; and it has been so successful that money has been obtained by recent loans at a lower rate of interest than has applied within the Commonwealth for at least a generation. In the history of the Commonwealth interest rates’ have never been lower.

The right honorable gentleman also complained that relief from taxation had been given only to the wealthier sections of the community. It must be remembered that the small land-owner is not liable for federal land tax, so that any relief in that direction must, of necessity, benefit only those with fairly large properties. But remission of land tax was not the only form of relief which has been granted, for, right down the scale of income tax, concessions to taxpayers have been made; every section of the community derives some benefit from the relief from primage duty and the reduction of the sales tax. The right honorable gentleman may be correct in his contention that the increase of employment is not commensurate with the relief from taxation. That relief has been given because the Government believes that it is better to leave the money in the pockets of the people than to take it from them unnecessarily in taxes. It has given relief which, in turn, has reduced the rates of interest, thereby assisting industry and making greater employment possible. Employment has increased; but whether the increase is in proportion to the relief from taxation, it is impossible at this stage to say. I say advisedly that I can see no prospect of any further immediate relief *from taxation, because of the necessity to finance the Government’s proposals for the relief of unemployment. The works proposed to be carried out by the Commonwealth itself, and alao those to be undertaken in conjunction with the States, will have to be financed. The Government does not pretend, as do the advocates of Douglas credit and other schemes, that it can raise money without paying for it. Expenses will be incurred in connexion with the proposed attack on unemployment, and the bill ‘to cover them will have to be met.

Mr Lazzarini:

– The right honorable gentleman’s statement shows his complete ignorance of the subject.


– I have a clear recollection of the “ Mad-hatter “ schemes suggested by the honorable member in an earlier parliament, but neither this Parliament nor the people of Australia will have anything to do with them. Had the Speech of the Governor-General contained no intimation that the Government proposed to attack the problem of unemployment, the Leader of the Opposition might have been justified in moving his amendment; but, in view of the definite undertaking contained in the Speech, that the Government will, on its own account, and also in association with the States, take active steps to reduce unemployment, it seems to me that a protracted debate on the subject will only delay action intended to remedy the trouble. I have not wearied the House with figures relating to employment ; it is sufficient that unemployment still exists, and that the problem has to be faced. 1 emphasize that, if the problem is to bb dealt with effectually, it must be attacked unitedly and determinedly. Unfortunately, unemployment is not confined to Australia; but in no other country has it been dealt with more successfully. The problem is acute in the United States of America, and it does not appear that the efforts made to cope with it there have been successful. Indeed, a prominent representative of the Labour movement in that country said recently that figures purporting to show a reduction of unemployment had been taken at a particularly favorable time, and that subsequently the position had become as bad as ever. The Government is determined to attack this problem. It is gratified at the progress that has been made in dealing with it, but it freely admits - ‘Otherwise the subject would not have been mentioned in the Governor-General’s Speech - that a task of great magnitude and urgency has to be faced. The Government cannot accept the proposals of the Leader of the Opposition, not only because it does not believe in them, but also because the people of Australia have shown recently their disapproval of such methods. I urge honorable members, irrespective of party, tq assist the Government in its efforts to deal with the problem of unemployment. The Government proposes to prepare, first, a scheme of federal works, to be undertaken by the Commonwealth in different parts of Australia and not, only in federal territories,, and, then, to cooperate with the States in carrying out an extended programme of public works. Later it will deal with the industrial position generally, in the hope of discovering some means of improving the position generally throughout the Commonwealth, and particularly in regard to the employment of youths, to which the Leader of the Opposition referred.

West Sydney

.- The Prime Minister (Mr. Lyons) opened his remarks .this afternoon by stating that, in his reply to the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition (.Mr. Scullin), he proposed to be brief, and suggested that other honorable members should adopt a similar course, because of the very important questions which Parliament would be called upon to decide. I am, therefore, at a loss to know why valuable -time was wasted yesterday afternoon. The business of Parliament might very well have been proceeded with. There was no need for an adjournment. But something extraordinary has happened in the meantime, and .the Prime Minister asks us to be brief because he knows now that he is safe. Within the last 24 hours many happenings have taken place of interest to those privileged to look on; but it will be more interesting to learn what the rank and file of Government members think about the situation. There will be a few notables missing from the front bench when the final curtain* is lowered. During the negotiations I was inclined to be sympathetic towards the leader of the Country party (Dr. Earle Page). He should have been provided with a scooter to hasten his movements between his room and the Cabinet room during the mid night parleys Avith the Prime Minister. At one time he moved along subterranean passages; at another he passed through the quadrangle. On still another occasion he chose the roof. It seems to me that the first consideration which concerned the Government was not to provide jobs for the unemployed, but rather to make provision for four jobs in the Ministry for members of the Country party. During the election campaign members of that party led us to believe that they were not in the fight for the purpose of securing ministerial jobs, and preferred to take their place on the floor of the House and fight for the principles for which they stood. How quickly have these principles been thrown overboard for the “ perks “ of office ! The chosen ones will range themselves on the front bench, and those who have had to make way will shrink to the rear benches.


– The honorable member did that himself on one occasion.


– On that occasion I stood by the principles which I held, and as the result was able to take up a position in this House of which I aw not ashamed. My attitude is perfectly plain. I would not support the Premiers plan. Whatever the circumstances of the country may be at the present moment, [ claim that, they have been brought about by the absolute failure of that plan to solve our economic problems. I think that will be freely admitted.

Mr Abbott:

– The Premiers plan was signed by Mr. Lang.


– We do not want any interjections from those who crawled after the Prime Minister like the honorable member did when a coalition government was being considered during the last Parliament. I hope he misses the bus on this occasion as before. He has already taken his seat on the other side of the chamber, and is one who is always prepared to sell his party for office.

Mr. SPEAKER (Hon. G. J. Bell).Order! The honorable member is distinctly out of order!


– After listening to the speech of the Prime Minister I am sure it would be rather interesting to hear the views expressed by those who expected so much from this Government, particularly those unemployed or only partially employed. If they were here to-day they would be disgusted by the utterances of the right honorable gentleman, who spoke of “ going into this problem,” and of “making inquiries as to the necessity for proceeding with certain works to relieve unemployment.” ‘ If this Government were a new government, and it had not a close knowledge of the conditions .that prevail in this country, or if it had not had an opportunity to consult with departmental officials, there might be some excuse for its attitude and for the lack of concrete proposals in the Speech of the Governor-General; but it has been in office for three years, and clearly there is no need for further investigation as to what works should be put into operation in order to provide employment. For the last five years committee after committee has been set up to inquire into this problem, and heads of departments have made exhaustive in quiries and have submitted volumes on the subject in the nature of reports. Within 24 hours half a dozen members now -in this chamber could bring forward a report containing suggestions that, if given effect, would immediately relieve unemployment. During ‘the life of the last Parliament whenever we came forward with a concrete proposal to tackle this problem, the Government invariably replied that it was a matter for the State governments, and was no concern of the Commonwealth at all. When, however, the Government had to face the electors and admit that in the past it had done nothing of a practical nature to solve unemployment, it decided to appoint a Minister to take charge of this question alone. In his policy speech the Prime Minister said that the Government was prepared to submit definite proposals in regard to this question. The right honorable gentleman went oil to say-

After months of careful study of the problem the Government has decided that in the national interest the Commonwealth should take a larger share in this responsibility. The States have nearly exhausted their financial possibilities in a whole-hearted effort to overcome it. The task is almost beyond their resources.

The right honorable gentleman now admits that that is the case, but when the Government met the Premiers of the States at a meeting of the Loan Council this week no concrete proposal was put forward, and from what we can gather from the meagre newspaper reports of the proceedings the matter was merely referred back to the States for further reports. I think I can say, without fear of contradiction, by taking the past as ‘a guide, that nothing tangible will be done. Honorable members on thu side have tried to secure information as to what actually took place at the meetings of the Loan Council, but, as usual, have been denied the information to which they are entitled. A Premiers Conference met here to discuss this very important question, and Parliament itself is practically ignored by the failure of the Government to reveal what actually took place. I enter an emphatic protest against this procedure. During the last three or four years all major decisions have been arrived at by an inner circle of Commonwealth and State Ministers meeting in conjunction with the sittings of the Loan Council. Ordinary members of Parliament know little or nothing of what is being done. In fact, it is of very little use for us to be here at all. The decisions are reached outside this Parliament in the first place by persons, many of whom are not even members of any Parliament. Even if we know what proposals are being discussed we are powerless to influence decisions because of the methods of which I have complained.

The Prime Minister tried to excuse himself , DY saying that the policy of the Government was endorsed by the people at the polls, but it was a strange kind of endorsement when the Government party was returned without sufficient numbers to carry on except by the help of Country party representatives. This hastily formed coalition is seen to be all the more remarkable when we remember how strongly divided were the two contracting parties prior to, and during, the elections. Indeed, the campaign in the electorates of New England and Robertson between Country party and Government supporters was so bitter as to be a disgrace to those who were involved. Those of us who were in the last Parliament remember that, before the election, there were several secret conferences between the Leader of the Country party and the Government on the subject of rural rehabilitation, and we were led to believe that a scheme had been decided upon similar to that which had only shortly before been introduced in Canada. Much publicity was given to the matter, and we expected important developments. A little later, however, when the Leader of the Country party broadcast his policy speech, there were omitted from it certain references which had been included in the written speech as circulated to the press for publication. The part omitted dealt with the rural rehabilitation scheme, supposedly agreed upon in conference with the Prime Minister. It was evident that something had occurred in the meantime. The result of all this was that the electors were confused, and were unable to give a straightout verdict in favour of, or against, the

Government. One fact is clear, and that i3 that the party to which I belong was returned in greater numbers. We, at any rate, can claim to have pioneered a policy in this country which, even though not endorsed by a majority of the electors on the last occasion, has paved the way for the adoption of a system of social reconstruction which1 is now inevitable, and which within a short space of time will be determined, whereas under normal conditions we would have had to wait twenty years for it. The political occurrences of the last 24 hours are evidence of the fear and trembling of the hidden forces which control the Government regarding the advances our policy is making. They realize that the Government’s efforts at the Loan Council the other day were utterly barren of results. It is a sorry spectacle when the representatives of the Commonwealth Government, after three years of office, are unable, in association with the Premiers of the States, to put forward a practical scheme to ensure to the country a return of that era of prosperity about which there was so much talk during the elections. Discussing the failure of the Premiers Conference, the Melbourne Age, of yesterday morning, stated -

Questioned as to the nature of the projects the Prime Minister confessed that no concrete proposals . had been prepared. Investigations - those weary investigations - are being made, and the council decided that plans could be submitted six months hence. In any sphere but the political, a corresponding display of unpreparedness and intellectual barrenness would bring any official executive instant, ignominious and righteous dismissal.

The Prime Minister set the problems of rural rehabilitation and unemployment in the forefront of his programme. It is three months since the previous Parliament was dissolved. One reason for seeking a dissolution so early was that the Government might obtain a fresh mandate to grapple at once with these problems, which had long been acute. The new Ministry, even though it includes fresh blood, knew that these were practically the first issues it would be required to face. Yet it presents itself at the Loan Council confessing that it has not one single constructive proposal in its collective head. The incident is an absolute disgrace to any Australian Government. It proclaims an incapacity for leadership, a dearth of resource and initiative, an assumption of ministerial office on politically false pretences.

Nothing could be more definite than that, and it accurately describes the situation.

Some of my friends opposite might have thought that I was quoting from the Labor Daily, but I assure them that what I have read was published in the Melbourne Age, the leading daily paper of Victoria.

The unemployed, and the farmers who are looking for relief under a rural rehabilitation scheme, will obtain little comfort from reading the GovernorGeneral’s Speech. The Government admits that the problems before it are still grave. As a matter of fact, they have been grave all along, and the Government’s tendency to rest on its achievements, such as they are, is neither edifying nor helpful. The Government has boasted that the unemployment position had been vastly improved during its term of office, but the fact is that this so-called improvement has been brought about by imposing conditions upon the workers which are an absolute disgrace. The conditions under which relief workers are employed in New South Wales are on a par with those obtaining in the most backward countries of the world. If honorable members were to visit the swamp works in New South Wales, where men are virtually working for their food, they would he convinced of the truth of what I say. Yet the Government professes to be content with the situation, and calmly proposes to suspend all efforts for a period of six months. If it persists in this attitude, a big change must take place, if not inside this Parliament, then outside it.

While I am willing to make every allowance for new members, I cannot refrain from commenting on the remarks of the honorable member for Ballarat (Mr. Fisken). who seconded the motion. He enumerated many evils that we know prevail in the community, and his speech was similar to those delivered from Labour platforms during the election campaign, but I fail to understand how he managed to derive comfort from the Governor-General’s Speech. The honorable member offered no remedy for the ills of which he complained. Possibly, as time goes on, and he obtains a clearer view of the political arena, if his thoughts continue to run along the present lines, we shall find him voting against the Government.

Minister without portfolio assisting the Minister for Commerce · BATMAN, VICTORIA · UAP

– Will he join us or the Lang party!


– It does not matter much to me, so long as he votes against the Government, for he will make one more for the Opposition as a set off against those whom the Government has been able to pull across during the last few hours.

As the session proceeds, we shall, no doubt, have many opportunities to test the sincerity of the policy speeches of the leaders of the various parties that will shortly form the Government, and we shall know what their real intentions are regarding rural rehabilitation and unemployment. Naturally, the Opposition will take the fullest advantage of all means at its disposal to focus public attention on these matters. If we have not sufficient followers at the moment to enable us to put our policy into operation, we shall continue to fight until we attain our objective. We are not disappointed or disturbed, despite the figures referred to by the Prime Minister (Mr. Lyons) in relation to the Senate votes. Probably, after all, the Government and its followers were more far-seeing than many others were in securing amendments of the electoral law on the eve of the elections, in regard to the voting for the Senate. If there had not been such a large number of informal votes the result might have been different in at least some of the States. However, it is not for me to complain of what has happened, or attempt to hold a post-mortem upon the elections. Labour is always prepared to accept the verdict of the people, although that is not always the attitude of honorable members opposite. When the Lang Government was last returned, the party opposite did not accept the people’s verdict, and by various methods finally’ succeeded in upsetting it. We profit by experience. If the Government and its supporters can get away with conduct such as that, the stage will be reached eventually when it can be counteracted.

The members of my party are pleased to vote for what may be regarded as a vote of censure against the Government. The amendment covers a wide range of subjects. It first deals with the major aspects of government policy, and then declares , the need for the restoration of social services. The members of my party have opposed the pension cuts from the beginning, and have run a consistent course during the last four or five years when these matters have been considered. We have nothing whatever to retract in that regard. We have stood firmly against the Premiers plan, and all its implications. We never believed it would bring prosperity, contentment and happiness to the homes of the Australian people. Happenings at the recent meeting of the Loan Council show that a process of faking treasury figures has been employed to make it appear that surpluses are being obtained, or that deficits are being kept within the limitations laid down. I particularly refer to the case of Tasmania, where Labour has had an opportunity to place in office a man who knows exactly how the Premiers plan has operated. It has been proved that, allegedly for the purpose of obtaining Budget equilibrium, figures have been juggled with and the actual position has been misrepresented. This is a most serious matter, and lends support to the attitude which my party has adopted throughout towards this plan. As time goes on, and as opportunities present themselves in other States, no doubt the true situation will be divulged. I hope that the people of Australia, who have been misled up to the present time into supporting this plan, will finally reach the conclusion that they have been the victims of the greatest confidence trick that has ever been put over the public. The result of the operation of the plan has been to make the rich richer and the poor poorer. We see that on all sides. It is shown by the prosperity of the large stores, and the section associated with “ big business “. The action of the Colonial Sugar Refining Company, which recently distributed £7,000,000 in bonus shares, conclusively demonstrates that the Premiers plan operates to the advantage of one side.

Time must elapse before the true position can be made known to the people. Unfortunately for my party, it is handicapped by a lack of the means enjoyed by our opponents of placing its views before the public. But that fact will not cause us to slacken our efforts. We believe that economic circumstances will eventually force the people to take a different road from that followed during the last four or five years. We believe that full pensions should be restored. As increased purchasing power is urgently needed, -we should put money into the pockets of the people. The Prime Minister has admitted that the Government’s policy is to relieve the wealthy interests of this country of some of the burden of taxation. By way of excuse, the Prime Minister said that these remissions had been made because the Government desired to put cash into the pockets of this section, so that they might distribute it among the community in whatever form they felt disposed; but nothing is said about putting cash into the pockets of the poorer classes of the community. After all it is the responsibility of those in the higher sphere to provide employment for .those who need it. If the purchasing power of the people is increased conditions generally will improve. If the full invalid and old-age pensions were restored, the additional 2s. 6d. per week would place extra cash in the pockets of pensioners and incidently provide additional employment for others. By that means we could bring about the result which the Prime Minister claims he has partly accomplished by the remission of taxation.

Because the amendment is based upon sound lines, and provides a means of dealing with all these problems, we propose to support it. I trust that the final conditions under which an alleged composite government is formed will not prevent the members of the Country party who during the elections spoke so much about fighting for principles and not for jobs from taking their place, on the floor of this chamber in expressing denunciation of the Governor-General’s Speech. Wheat-growers are now assembled in Canberra to arrive at some concrete decision in order that this season’s crop may be disposed of on a profitable basis. They realize that the Governor-General’s Speech offers them nothing real or definite. All that we could obtain from the last Government was the appointment of a royal commission on the wheat industry which reported that the debts of the wheat-growers amounted to £140,000,000. And all that is done now is the talk of the Loan Council to raise a loan of £15,000,000, of which £3,000,000 is to he expended in the redemption df treasury-bills and £12,000,000 for a rural rehabilitation scheme and providing employment. These matters are urgent and there is no reason why the Government should not submit to-day a definite and concrete scheme towards a common end. Although a similar government has been in office for three years, and seven weeks have elapsed since the general elections were held, this Government has not done anything. For these reasons it deserves the censure of the House.


.- Although we cannot agree with the opinions expressed by the mover and seconder of the motion for the adoption of the Address-in-Reply they delivered good speeches from their respective viewpoints. It is surprising to find that the Government supporters are not making any attempt to reply to the damaging criticisms of the right honorable the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Scullin) and the honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Beasley), particularly as the speech of the right honorable th6 Prime Minister was one of the weakest ever delivered in this Parliament, in reply to a strong indictment. He did not adequately reply to the slashing attack made upon the Government by the Leader of the Opposition. It is amusing to find that the members of the Country party, who roundly condemned the United Australia party policy during the election campaign, are silent. Silenced by what?

Mr Beasley:

– They are silent as the grave. The Country party benches’ are empty.


– Has there been a change of policy on the part of the United Australia party, which has justified the Country party’s acceptance of the policy enunciated by the Government? So far as I can see there is no reason for the change on its part unless it is that it has been offered four portfolios ; in the words of a late member for Wimmera (Mr. P. G. Stewart) it is prepared to throw overboard its policy for a price, that price being four portfolios paid by the

Nationalist party. Let us hope that we shall hear something from the members of that party concerning the statements they made during the election campaign. One of them declared that he would not be found dead in a 40-acre paddock with a member of the United- Australia party.

The Governor-General’s Speech, which embodies -the Government’s policy, is barren of constructive ideas, and is indicative of the fact that the Government is floundering, and does not know which way to turn. In order to avoid defeat on the floor of the House, it sent out an SOS. signal to the Country party, which it roundly condemned during the election campaign, and whose candidates its supporters strongly opposed in New England, Robertson., .Indi, Calare, Wannon, and Corangamite. Not only do the members of the Opposition declare that the Governor-‘General’s Speech is one of the weakest ever submitted to Parliament; Senator Grant, a supporter of the Government, who seconded the motion for the adoption of the Address-in-Reply in the Senate, said that the Speech waa so barren that there were few features in it which called for comment.

In dealing with the question of unemployment, the Prime Minister (Mr. Lyons) has changed ground. He said this afternoon that further taxation relief could not be afforded because of the responsibility of the Government to do something for the unemployed. In the past the right honorable gentleman stated that, if taxation were reduced, employment could- be provided, but now, after remitting £9,500,000 in taxation to the wealthy section of the community, 350,000 men are still out of employment, thus showing that the Government’s policy has been an abject failure. We were told, when a reduction of taxation was first proposed, that it was with .the object of stimulating employment by private enterprise and State governments. But impecunious State governments are controlled by the decisions of the Loan Council, and we find that the Commonwealth Government has to come to the aid of the Australian people. That is only right, because the Commonwealth has an overflowing treasury and unlimited powers in the matter of banking and monetary reform. This Government has carried on hoping that world conditions would improve and that it would be able to claim credit for any improvements which followed. If honorable members opposite were not afraid of the party whip and of outside organizations, they would support the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition. The amendment reads -

  1. To extend the functions and activities of the Commonwealth Bank, increasing its power to make bank credit available and utilizing such credit to finance public works.
  2. To amend the Arbitration Act, to ensure that full and favorable consideration be given to progressive reduction in the working hours and increases in living standards commensurate with increased powers of production, due to mechanization and speeding up of industry.
  3. To restore in full pensions and social ser- vices and to repeal clauses imposing charges upon pensioners’ property and relatives, thus increasing purchasing power and stimulating industry; and
  4. To establish a national scheme for organized marketing, including the setting up of Australian-wide pools.

Such an amendment should have the support of a majority of honorable members. The attitude of this Government since the election campaign clearly indicates that it is barren of any constructive proposals for banking and monetary reform. Whenever Ministers are called upon to consider problems connected with currency and credi t they seek the opinions of the private banking institutions, and willingly accept the advice offered to them. Left to themselves, they are absolutely powerless to initiate any reforms.

By lying propaganda during the election campaign, the Nationalist party totally misrepresented Labour’s constructive policy for monetary and banking reform, an essential feature of which is the issue of credit within safe limits to carry out national developmental works in Australia in order to remove from the dole the majority of those people who, under existing conditions, are merely ekeing out an existence. Labour’s policy is to submit definite proposals for banking and monetary reform with a view to giving employment at award rates of wages to the many thousands of persons who to-day are out of work. Our policy was rejected simply because it was utterly misrepresented by lying statements and advertise ments in the columns of the conservative newspapers, paid for by outside organizations opposed to us.

During the election, the Prime Minister announced that the policy of the United Australia party was no interference with the present system of currency, banking and credit. The right honorable gentleman endeavoured to persuade the people that everything was all right, and that there was no necessity for currency reform. At that time, it should be noted, there was no talk of a composite ministry, and Dr. Earle Page, the Leader of the Country party, announced the policy of his party in no unmistakable terms, saying he believed that all was not well with Australia, and that there should foe an inquiry by a competent authority into exchange, banking, and the expansion of credit.

The Prime Minister, in this House, and in the earlier stages of the election campaign, expressed himself as strongly opposed to any inquiry into the present system of banking. Earlier in the year, he made clear the position of his Government during the debate on the motion submitted by the right honorable the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Scullin) for a searching investigation into the present. system of banking, interest rates, and currency questions. On that occasion, he said that such an inquiry would strike a blow at confidence in private banking institutions. That was an admission that all was not well with the methods adopted by these banks. The right honorable gentleman agreed that no objection could be offered to proposals for a searching investigation into manufacturers’ businesses, to ascertain whether the tariff wall could be lowered so as to allow the freer importation of goods from cheap-labour countries; but he told the House that he was altogether opposed to an investigation into banking and currency. Later, he said that if the majority of the members of this Parliament desired such an inquiry arrangements would be made to set up a committee to give effect to their wishes. But what do we find now? Country party members, who a few months ago were clamouring for a searching investigation into the present banking practice, have, by recent political developments, been rendered silent.

Mr Nock:

– Not at all.


– Members of the Country party, having been offered a number of portfolios in the proposed coalition ministry, will not now be so ready to press for an inquiry into the present banking and monetary system. These are the gentlemen who, at the instance of their leader in 1923 - a number of them are still members of this House - passed a resolution declaring their determination not to have anything to do with a Ministry led by Mr. Hughes, or of which he was a member. On that occasion, they succeeded in ejecting Mr. Hughes from the ministerial bench, but I am informed, on good authority, that there is not now the same objection to the right honorable gentleman. On the contrary, representatives of the Country party are prepared to sit shoulder to shoulder with him in the projected new ministry. Thus do they sacrifice both principle and policy when it suits them to do so. The Governor-General’s Speech makes no reference whatever, to banking and monetary reform, and not one member of the Country party will now be courageous enough to stand up in this House to urge that steps be taken in that direction. The rural rehabilitation scheme has also been shelved.

The Labour party offers no apology whatever for the banking policy which it put before the people of Australia at the recent election. Unfortunately its proposal was not approved by the majority of the people, but as I have already stated, the verdict at the polls was due entirely to misrepresentation by our opponents, and I am confident that eventually it will be endorsed by an overwhelming majority of the people.

Mr Brennan:

– It was supported by an increased number even at the last election; we are on the up grade, and our opponents are slipping.


– The election figures show definitely that the Government and its supporters have not improved their position in this House, and that, as the honorable member for Batman has observed, the policy of the Labour party was supported by an increased number of the electors. It is significant that 45 per cent, of the electors voted for some change in the present system of banking and monetary control.

The Labour party went to the country with a definite policy to provide work at. award rates for the unemployed; to restore payments to invalid and old-age pensioners to the full 20s. a week; to initiate a scheme for monetary and banking reform; to submit a national insurance scheme, including unemployment insurance; also a comprehensive proposal for national developmental works, including water conservation and irrigation projects, better roads to act as feeders for railway lines, and the unification of the main trunk railway lines of Australia to be partly financed by the Commonwealth Bank within safe limits to be determined by an independent governor of that institution. But as I have stated, we had to face a barrage of lying propaganda to the effect that if Labour was returned the private banking institutions of Australia would close their doors. If the banks had attempted to give effect to that threat a Labour Government would have declared an Australia-wide moratorium. But by means of gross misrepresentation Labour’s opponents succeeded in frightening a sufficient number of people to secure the return of this Government, although with reduced numbers. It has not now a majority over all other parties in this House, and Ministers are forced to take to their bosoms, as it were, representatives of the Country party who, during the election campaign, declared that their policy was to tear down the tariff wall to allow the freer importation of goods from cheap labour countries like Japan, and from Lancashire.

The Labour party, when formulating its policy of banking reform for submission to the people, visualized the possibility of defeat. It recognized, however, that if the unemployment problem in this country were to be properly attacked an alteration of the banking and monetary system was inevitable. It understood the fundamentals of the economic position, and believed in honestly telling the people that the only way in which the economic ills of this country could be substantially cured was by the adoption of a policy of banking and monetary reform. We were convinced then, as we are now, that our defeat at the polls was only a temporary set-back, and that if we continue to expound our banking and protectionist policy we shall, on the occasion of the next appeal to the people, be returned with an overwhelming majority. Our election policy advocated a change, and as all honorable members are aware, change in existing conditions is not easy of accomplishment. It must be borne in mind, also, that 90 per cent. of the newspapers in this country were definitely opposed to the Labour party, with the result that, by means ofhuge advertisements in the newspapers and broadcast addresses through wireless stations from one end of Australia to the other, the people were mistakenly persuaded to return this Government to power. Those who consider that Australia does not desire monetary and banking reforms are making a great mistake. Progressive thinkers the world over are agreed that there should be some change in the existing system. Lord Melchett, head of the great Imperial Chemicals Combine of Great Britain, recently said -

The world is definitely better than it was in 1929; but we cannot enjoy the fruits of progress unless we devise a new means which will give the world goods to be consumed by millions of people, who have still an insufficient quantity of them in a world of plenty.

. We will have to face some drastic thinking. In short, we will have to face some system of making money fit commodities, and no longer try to make commodities fit money. Does it not show that, to achieve economic stability, we have got to completely revise cur views on economic questions?

That is the opinion, not of a Labour leader, but of one of the great captains of industry in Great Britain. This Government” now has a majority at its command in both Houses of Parliament, and should be prepared to state definitely that a thorough investigation into the whole question of banking credit and currency in Australia will be undertaken at once by an impartial committee of inquiry. Unless the present system is fully investigated-

Mr Beasley:

– And subsequently altered.


– Quite so. We want an inquiry, not by a committee recommended by the Bank of New South Wales or by any of the other private trading banks, but by an impartial tribunal comprising men of integrity with the necessary knowledge to ensure a recommendation that will be in the interests of the great majority of the people of Australia, irrespective of the profits of the private banking institutions. Unless the monetary issue is fully investigated by such a committee, and its implications clarified from purely Australian stand-points, no federal government may hope to be forgiven a policy of inaction.

In regard to this question, the Government is pursuing in this Parliament the policy of inaction that characterized its life in the last Parliament : the policy of submitting to the dictation of the private banking institutions, the importing interests, and the foreign traders. No government can afford to look with complacency upon the sufferings of the 350,000 people out of employment in Australia and the 1,000,000 who are in want. The honorable member for Henty (Sir Henry Gullett), in the course of a strong statement . which he made in Melbourne before the election campaign, and at a time when he was not a member of the Cabinet, declared that -

The unemployed of Australia cannot be expected to go on taking punishment indefinitely. Something will have to be done for them.

He was absolutely dissatisfied with the Government.

Mr Brennan:

– He is always saying awkward things about the Government when he is not in office.


– Yes, it was he who described the present leader of the County party as the most tragic Treasurer Australia ever had. Yet, if the tipsters be correct, he is going to sit cheek by jowl with the right honorable member in a composite government. The Government is charged with the responsibility of doing something for the unemployed. The duty can no longer be left entirely to private enterprise or passed on to the State governments, as this Ministry has done in the past. The responsibility must be shouldered by the Commonwealth itself. State Ministries are doing their utmost in most difficult circumstances; but they are hampered in their efforts by decisions of the Loan Council. We have in Australia a growing financial unification, even if we have not a unified form of government.

Take the position in Victoria, from which the Attorney-General (Mr. Menzies) comes. In August last, the local press published a paragraph stating that Messrs. Craig, Williamson and Company, one of the largest employers among the retail houses in Melbourne, advertised for 250 temporary assistants, and that more than 2,000 men and women responded to the advertisement. This enormous crowd gathered outside the warehouse, and in the crush three policemen collapsed and five huge plate-glass windows were smashed. In the end, 250 people obtained employment for one week! When facts such as these are placed before the Prime Minister he quotes statistics showing that during the last three or four years unemployment has decreased by 9.2 per cent. Such statistics offer no consolation to the thousands who rush to gain employment for even a week, or to the 350,000 men and women out of work ; nor do they hold out any hope to the 95,000 boys and girls who leave school every year and, coming on to the labour market, search mostly in vain for employment. We are now to have a watering down of the protectionist policy so that the difficulties of these people will be still further accentuated.

Mr Brennan:

– Will the composite Government have a protectionist policy?


– On the question of protection I shall quote later published statements of the Country party and the Nationalist party, which arc as wide apart as the poles. Composite governments have always been absolute failures. They have pleased nobody. The AttorneyGeneral will recall the vigorous comments made some time ago by Sir Stanley Argyle and a number of members of the Country party in Victoria with respect to the dreadful failure that composite governments had always proved to be. Later, however, the Nationalists in the Victorian State Parliament were able to rope in several honorable members of the Country party and to induce them to join their Ministry. The honorable member for Kooyong (Mr. Menzies) was not altogether enamoured of this unholy alliance, so that his colleagues were glad to “ put the skids under him “, so to speak, and to shove him into the federal sphere, where he felt he would be associated with a Ministry composed wholly of true blue Nationalists. To his horror, however, as the result of intrigues and negotiations that have been going on, that is not to be.

I , invito honorable members to read the outspoken utterances of members of the Country party concerning the nebulous policy of the Nationalist party as submitted to the electors during the recent campaign. The Nationalist party’s policy so far as it related to the interests of the man on the land was declared by the leader of the Country party to be absolutely futile. Yet we shall presently see the Attorney-General wending his way to the residence of the Governor-General to be sworn in, side by side with the leader of the Country party, as a member of a composite Ministry. I wonder what the big manufacturing interests in Melbourne will think of this. Will they be pleased with the entrance into the Ministry of a man who desired by a rule of thumb method to reduce the whole tariff to the 1921-28 level?

Mr Mulcahy:

– The manufacturers are being thrown overboard.


– The Attorney-General will have the greatest difficulty in reconciling ‘these divergent interests. The Prime Minister during the election campaign spoke of “ continued protection of sound industries with relief to the farmer, following Tariff Board recommendations “. That placated certain manufacturing interests for the time being. In this matter a. great many of them were satisfied with the policy espoused by the Nationalist party.

Mr Brennan:

– Four of them will be greatly relieved.


– Yes, four of them will be relieved of portfolios, and, judging by press reports, they are not too pleased with their position. The honorable member for Eden-Monaro (Mr. Perkins), recently relieved of a portfolio, was so dissatisfied with the action of the Prime Minister that he announced that he was thinking of joining the Country party. I do not know what he will do now that the Country party has been taken to the bosom of the Nationalist party. To-day we find both these parties in the one political bag, and during the next three years, because of the favours given to them, members of the Country party will prove to be very meek and pliant followers of a Nationalist party as they were in the period from 1923 to 1929. Did not the Leader of the Country party boast that in not one division in this chamber during that period had a Country party member voted against the Government? Because of considerations of this kind - an overweening desire to continue in office, and political expediency - the Nationalist party are taking to their bosom those who were opposed to them and their policy in the recent election campaign.

I have already quoted the policy of the Nationalist party on tariff matters. Compare it with the tariff policy as stated by the Leader of the Country party. He advocated a full investigation into the tariff, a downward revision of duties, the abolition of primage on British goods and greater Empire preference. He declared that- he would carry out those proposals if lie were given the opportunity by the electors. Now we find that he is to be made not merely an ordinary Minister, but is to be clothed with all the pomp and power of the office of the deputy leadership of the Government. According to press reports, the Prime Minister will shortly be going to London to attend an Empire conference. “Who is going to relieve him? The honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Parkhill) ? The Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. White) ? Or the Attorney-General (Mr. Menzies) who, having protectionist views, is not altogether unfriendly? No; it will be the Leader of the Country party, the gentleman who said that we should not waste time “with tariff boards, but should bring about immediate and substantial reductions of the tariff to the 1928 level.

Now let me contrast the divergent views of the two factions that have, by the promise of four portfolios, been formed into a composite Ministry with the very definite policy of the Labour party on tariff matters - adequate protection for Australian industries, primary and secondary, and the development of manufactures and a local market. In the Inverell Times of the 20th of August, 1934, appears the following extract from a speech delivered by Dr. Earle Page in the Inverell district on the 17th August, 1934 :-

There is no better way of increasing wages than by reducing costs. What better way is there to do this than to get cheap things from Japan and other places?

The right honorable gentleman was prepared to throw down the tariff wall and flood this country with imported goods from Japan and other cheap labour countries. And, in the fight between the Commonwealth Government and the Lancashire cotton interests with which side did he ally himself? In the Sydney Morning Herald of the 25th August, 1934, appeared the following statement -

Dr. Page in speeches in his electorate to-day said that lie regretted that just when the bodyline controversy in cricket with England had been given its death blow, the Federal Government by its ill-timed action in the imposition of cotton duties should raise what in England would inevitably be looked upon as a bodyline attack on the Ottawa treaty.

In that controversy, therefore, we found him on the side of Lancashire, opposing the interests of the 4,000 cottongrowers in Queensland. I should like to know what the prospective new Minister representing Queensland, the honorable member for Maranoa (Mr. Hunter), who, it is said, is to be included in the composite Government, will have to say on that matter. Will he stand on the side of Lancashire and on the side of Japan when the question of the welfare of Australia’s primary and secondary industries is at stake? Will he stand for the slaughter of 500,000 workers employed in the great factories of Australia who constitute the great local market for our primary products - a market comprised of comparatively well paid working men and women who buy the necessities of life produced in our factories and grown on our farms? Members on this side of this chamber are essentially Australian in their outlook, and stand for preferential treatment in the marketing of the products of our farms and factories. They hold the view that by carrying out that policy this country will he best enabled to find employment for a big percentage of the 50,000 boys who leave school annually and search in vain for employment in Australia. I contend that if this composite Ministry tolerates the freetrade views of the Country party it will ruin the great secondary industries of Australia. If not, the Country party must throw overboard its fiscal policy. I have great pleasure, Mr. Speaker, in supporting the very commendable amendment moved ‘by the Leader of the Opposition on the Address-in-Reply.


– I support the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Scullin) because it suggests something constructive to enable us to tackle the problems confronting this country. It is recognized by all that we are now going through the biggest crisis the world has known. We were told a short while ago that the crisis was over, but I am fully convinced that so far as this country is concerned it is going to be more severely felt this year than in any year since 1919. I believe the Government realizes this fact and, being afraid of it, has chosen to join hands with that party in this House which represents the farmers of this country who are likely to be effected more by this crisis than any other section in the community. Speaking at the Royal Agricultural Show in Sydney after he had just arrived from England on his last, visit, Mr. Bruce made a big impression on the farmers who comprised his audience. They on that occasion rose en masse and applauded him declaring : “ He is a wonderful man “, apparently expressing the hope by their applause that the sooner he was back in Australia for good the better it would be for this country. On the Monday night following I stated in a wireless broadcast speech that the farmers who applauded Mr. Bruce would be the first to wish him to the farthest ends of the earth when they understood the object of Mr. Bruce’s visit. He came here for one specific purpose, and that was to secure the restriction of Australia’s primary production. He did not then tell the farmers that he was aware of the existence of various agreements that would come into operation after June, 1935, and would seriously affect primary production in this country. Let us consider the position with regard to wheat production as the result of certain forces operating in society to-day. France is paying a bounty of from 7s. 6d. to 9s. a bushel for wheat. It is not doing that merely for the purpose of guaranteeing a supply for itsown demands for wheat, but because of the changed conditions throughout the world to-day. War is imminent and it will be fought not as the last conflict was fought but under new methods. Consequently every country is making itself proficient in the means of warfare - aeroplanes, submarines, poison gases and chemicals - which are being prepared for the next conflict. It is because of the imminence of this next conflict that they are thinking first of all of themselves and making themselves selfcontained in the necessaries of life. It is mainly because of such a position that France to-day is giving a. bounty of from 7s. 6d. to 9s. a bushel for the home production of wheat. In Great Britain, whether we like it or not, the Minister for Agriculture (Major Elliott) has had no option but to act similarly, because of the severe pressure which compelled consideration of the position of that country in relation to European affairs. He has offered a bounty of 5s. 6d. a bushel on all home-grown wheat; and that amount is likely to be increased instead of decreased. Market after market is being closed against Australian wheat. The wheat-growers of this country, who are meeting in Canberra at the present time, are demanding certain action by the Government. It is strange that whenever these primary producers ask for anything that will assist them, they always have raised against them the. constitutional bogey. They want a wheat pool that will enable them to exercise control over the disposal of their product but the Government says, “ We will leave the matter stand over for a further period “ and in the meantime takes the Country party to its bosom, thus silencing young members of that party in Victoria who have been given a mandate by the farmers of that State. The wheat-growers want a stabilized price in Australia, and they must be given it if the workers of this country are to be saved, and the industry is to be placed on a sound basis. The Government should have given a lead in this matter; but instead of doing so, it said to the Country party, “ If you will join with us we will do certain things in six months’ time.” After this season’s wheat is harvested! On the 1st August last there was a world surplus of 1,100,000,000 bushels of wheat. The only man who has shown courage in connexion with the wheat position is Mr. MacFarlane, the chairman of the “Wheat Commission in Canada. When the bulls and the bears were operating in that dominion, he said, “ That is the same propaganda that is always put over; but we are going to save the farmers of Canada, notwithstanding the operations of the European market and of other forces that are at work.” Those are the secret forces which dictate the policies of the United Australia party and the United Country party. The farmers will be told that there is no constitutional authority to accede to their wishes. They were given that answer last year. It is to the credit of the right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes) that during the war period, when he realized that Australia was in danger, he found means to overcome whatever constitutional difficulty might have existed against the formation of a wool pool. Just two months prior to the first of this season’s wool sales in Brisbane, I made the statement that that first sale, and even the second sale, would be postponed, and that there would also be a postponement in Melbourne. Why? Because international factors were operating. During the last two years, but especially last year, large purchases of wool were made by Japan, Germany, France and Italy. For what reason? Not to clothe the people of Germany and Italy, not to make available a larger quantity of woollen goods to the people of Japan, but for the express purpose of storing it in preparation for war. Those countries now have supplies that will carry them over a period of about eighteen months or two years. Let us consider the position in this country so far as the wool industry is concerned. The large companies whose taxation was remitted by this Government last year - what I term raw material companies, such as the Australian Mortgage Loan and Finance Company, the New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Agency Company, and the Australian Agricultural Association - do not desire that a high price should be obtained for wool.

Their profits are made not out of wool, but out of the cloth that is manufactured from it. They are identical with Woolcombers Limited, of England, which controls the wool industry not only of England but also of Japan. When I went abroad I visited Dundee, where I found that the jute machinery had been dismantled, cased, and shipped to Bombay and Calcutta, because jute goods could be manufactured much more cheaply in India than in Dundee. I also visited Glasgow, and found that the whole of the Clydeside was idle, the factories being closed, and the engineers out of work. I went to Newcastie-on- Tyne, where I had the same experience. But when I went to Manchester, in the heart of the black country, to which reference has been made by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Forde) in connexion with our cotton industry, I found that the factories were working night and day. I also learned that, from 1919 to 1923, £400,000,000 worth of textile machinery had been sent to Bombay, Calcutta, Shanghai, Hongkong, Yokohama, and Tokio, because cotton goods could be manufactured more cheaply in those places than in Great Britain itself. Yet we are told that the problem which confronts us is not a serious one, and that it may be solved by the United Australia party and the United Country party playing a game of tiddlewinks! Mr. Dunlop, M.L.C., president of the Primary Producers Union of New South Wales, said recently : “ The position of the great majority of dairy-farmers is desperate; many are in a hopeless position, and they are looking to new markets in China.” The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Scullin) has made a practical suggestion so far as this country is concerned. Why should we look to China for a new market when already a market is available here? Primary producers object because margarine is being eaten by the workers. The worker has no desire to eat margarine; he would rather eat butter, but has not the means to purchase it. If every adult inhabitant of this country would buy an extra half pound of butter (,, week, there would not be a surplus of one pound. To-day we have in cold storage. 1,725,000 boxes. We are told” that the problem is to be tackled by looking for markets overseas. Let us first develop the home market. Let us make it possible for our people to purchase what will enable them to live. This Government and other Nationalist governments throughout the Commonwealth, by the reduction of wages and the alteration of other conditions, lessened the purchasing power of the people of Australia by an amount of £22,000,000. Wages were reduced by 10s. a week, yet when the restoration of 10 per cent, was made it amounted to only Id. a week - not sufficient to purchase a daily newspaper. Had the workers had restored to them what had been taken from them, the dairy farmers and other primary producers would not now be in the parlous condition in which they find themselves.

Another problem referred to by the Leader of the Opposition - one of the problems of the age - is that of machine production. It has become the nightmare of every worker in industry. It is not that he does not desire the introduction of machinery to lighten labour; but he knows that every machine that is installed displaces human labour and that either he or others who are associated with him will find that its introduction will lead to his or their being placed outside industry. I have heard the honorable member for Martin (Mr. McCall) the mover of the “ Address-in-Reply, say in the Sydney Domain, that action must be taken in regard to machine production; yet not one syllable of his address in this chamber was devoted to that subject, and the Government with which he is associated has not said one word concerning the displacement of man power by machine production, or the shortening of the working week. The hours of labour must be shortened. The late Sir George Knibbs, ex-Commonwealth Statistician, said on one occasion that, with the machinery that we have available, to have a full life a man need work only two and a half hours a day. Let me give one or two examples of the displacement of human labour. At Metters’, in Sydney, two and a half years ago, a man and two assistant ironworkers, produced one and a half baths in a day. At the present time, with the aid of machine production, one moulder a nd one assistant produce 45 baths a day ; and the first quality baths are now dearer than they were two years ago, because machine production makes them more nearly perfect by reason of the absence of black spots in the enamelling. At Perdriaus, Drummoyne, one man produced in a day eleven heavy duty tyres. To-day one man produces 90 heavy duty tyres and 120 flexifort tyres. I could, if it were necessary, show that in every industry the machine has displaced human labour. Yet we have heard .not one word from the Government regarding this vital problem. Mr. Stevens, the gentleman who has just resigned from the Canadian Cabinet because he did not desire to be entangled in the fraudulent things that are being clone in Canada to-day, says, regarding machine production -

I say advisedly that if we had a complete return to the business level of 1928-29 in so far as the movement of goods and the price level is concerned, we would still be faced with a very serious unemployment problem because of the large number of men who have been driven out of industry by the introduction of modern mechanism or in other words by the installation of automatic machines to replace human skill.

Yet the Leader of the Country party (Dr. Earle Page) can only say, “ We wil! go back to 1928-29 ; we will put the clock back”. We cannot go back; we muss go ahead if we desire progress. But there is not a word in the programme submitted to us in the Governor-General’s Speech which suggests that the Government intends to. do anything except stand still. It has no policy whatever.

The Prime Minister to-day criticized the remarks made by the Leader of the Opposition about credit. But listen to what Mr. Walter Leaf, who was Chairman of the Westminster Bank, and one of “ the Big Five “ during the war, has to say on this subject. I quote his remarks from a volume of the Home University Library : -

On the outbreak of the war a new currency was established by the issue of notes through a department of the Treasury. This wasessentially a war loan, free of interest, for an unlimited period, and as such wai a highly profitable expedient from the point of view of the Government.

Of course, a new currency was established in every country of the world when the war broke out. But in Great Britain the

British Government issued sufficient treasury notes “free of interest to carry on the war. But Mr. Leaf says -

In the Baine week a change had hern made which deprived the bank return of its significance. Tha Currency and Bank Notes Act had been passed on Oth August, and the provision of cash had been taken over by the Treasury, acting through the bank; and there was no further need to be anxious about obtaining currency. In fact, from this time, owing to the method of accounting adopted by the bank and the Government, the bank return became more and’ more unintelligible and bankers ceased to pay any attention to it.

In spite of such remarks, the Prime Minister tells us now that our credit cannot he used on behalf of Australia. I may be asked what I mean by credit. Our ideas on that subject may be somewhat different from those of honorable gentlemen opposite. “We regard as credit the land that is ploughed, the farm buildings placed on the land, and the machinery used upon it; factory buildings, and the machinery used therein ; dwelling houses, and even this very building in which we are meeting. These things are the only real credit in the world, but arising out of them is financial credit. Unfortunately, this is manipulated by certain individuals to the detriment of the people. As the Leader of the Opposition has set out in his amendment, Labour desires to utilize credit for the people. It is not content that credit shall continue to bc used against the people in all directions. Labour desires to extend the functions and activites of the Commonwealth Bank, and increase its power to make credit available, and to utilize such credit to finance public works. That is what we stand for and believe in.

The Prime Minister said something about the United States of America. The Government of that country attempted to make certain reforms, but, unfortunately, it put the cart before the horse. It set out to provide shorter working hours and higher wages, but it left the control of the whole apparatus to make such reforms effective in the hands of the banking institutions and certain other private organizations. It is useless to attempt to provide a shorter working week and higher wages unless the very nerve centre of our economic life is subject to appropriate control. So long as this or any other Government continues to be dominated ‘by the private financiers it will fail to do anything effective to cope with existing difficulties. It is sometimes said that finance is government, and government is finance ; but there is a combination of both. As the Leader of the Opposition told us, when his Government was in power, the financial oligarchy came down upon it like an avalanche. It did the same to Mr. J. T. Lang in New South Wale3, as it will do it to this Government, the Country party, and every other party unless the policy which it dictates is pursued. This oligarchy controls the lives of every person in the world to-day.

Mr Mulcahy:

Mr. Davidson is the real government in New South Wales.


– He is only the mouthpiece of those who are the real government. The financial oligarchy is international. It has no soul; it knows no country, no clime, and no nation. It goes where it can make the largest profits. It shifted goods and machinery from England to such cheap labour countries as India, China and Japan because it could make larger profits there than in England. Until we place on the treasury bench a government sufficiently courageous to tackle this force which is dominating the lives of the people of Australia, our present form of government will remain a sham and delusion. It is only deceiving the people to say that this Government is governing the country. It is merely the puppet of other interests which pull the strings. When the strings are pulled the figures come up, but only such figures as those who control the strings desire. To put it in another way, “ the voice is Jacob’s voice, but the hands are the bands of Esau.”

We stand solidily behind the amendment of the Leader of the Opposition, because in three principles it is undoubtedly sound. Credit must be expanded, pensions and social services should certainly ‘be restored, and difficulties due to the mechanization and speeding up of industry should be met and overcome. This Government made remissions of taxation amounting to £7,000.,000 to large English raw material producing companies. The remissions were of no value whatever to the small farmer. Only the “ big man “ benefited by them. Any government worth its salt would immediately return to the pensioners of Australia the 2s. 6d. a week that has been taken from th em . Our pensioners are the pioneers of this country - the men and women who have stood the heat and burden of the day. Yet the Government has seen fit to help big English raw material producing companies in preference to our own people. Our primary producers need help so that they may be able to sell more of their butter and eggs in this country. We even have a surplus of eggs in these days, yet if it were possible for the people of Australia to consume one egg a week each more than they are now consuming, the surplus of eggs here would he absorbed.


– That is not so.


– If every citizen in the Commonwealth could absorb one egg a week more, every egg that is at present in cold storage in Australia could be absorbed.


– That is quite a different thing.


– It was amazing to hear a young man, who has just entered this Parliament, approve of the statement that there should be -

A complete survey of the unemployment problem in order to determine whether there are any root causes.

Mr McCall:

– Who said that?


– Is the honorable member not aware that that statement is in the Governor-General’s Speech? It is deplorable that at this late stage, five or six years after the beginning of the depression, a government which pretends to. represent the people of this country should still find it necessary to make a complete survey of the unemployment problem. We all know the root causes of this problem.

Mr Casey:

– Do we?


– I am sure that the Assistant Treasurer (Mr. Casey) must know many of them. To suggest that investigation is still necessary is childish in the extreme. If the Government has only reached the stage of instituting an investigation, it is very far from being in a position to do anything adequate to meet the crisis which faces us. I am fully in accord with the amendment of the Leader of the Opposition, because it suggests the taking of some practical steps to meet the desperate situation which faces us. The Government has adopted a negative attitude. It has no policy and has made no declaration of its intention. The policy enunciated in the amendment would be beneficial alike to primary producers, workers, pensioners and every other person who is in need in this country, and therefore I shall support it.


.- It is curious, in view of the severe indictment of the Government by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Scullin), particularly as it is expressed in the proposed amendment of the AddressinReply, that honorable members opposite should regard it as disposed of by one speech from the ministerial benches. I can quite appreciate the difficulty of the Cabinet in determining who should next support the speech of the Prime Minister (Mr. Lyons). That right honorable gentleman himself, it would appear, is in some doubt as to who will constitute his immediate supporters. Notonly is the extraordinary silence of honorable members on the benches immediately behind the treasury bench notable, but so also is the unusual and uncanny discretion of those who sit in the corner under the leadership of the right honorable member for Cowper (Dr. Earle Page). In view of the notable addresses of the proposer and the seconder of the Address-in-Reply, one would imagine that the representatives of the Country party at least would have been inspired to offer some constructive ideas regarding the proposed rural rehabilitation scheme, which figured conspicuously in the policy speech of the Prime Minister, and also found a place in the Speech which the GovernorGeneral delivered a few days ago. Apparently it also occupied an important part in the deliberations of the Premiers, but it would appear not to be of sufficient importance to warrant a statement being made direct to Parliament.

Mr Brennan:

– It has not yet taken shape.


– That is so; it is still inchoate and nebulous. I marvel that there has been no endeavour by the Government to give a clear indication of the proposals which it will ask Parliament to sanction. The supreme problem confronting the world to-day is that of unemployment, while the difficulties of the primary producer are scarcely less grave. These two phases of our economic system constitute the major problems confronting the statesmen of the world. Any statement of policy, or any proposal in regard to those problems, should, therefore, not be regarded lightly. One would have thought that at least an epitome of the Government’s proposals would have been submitted to this House. I had hoped that from the ministerial bench some definite statement would be made; but so far the debate on the AddressinReply has been contributed to chiefly by honorable members on this side. If there is any merit in enthusiastic endeavour, we on this side claim it; if there is any demerit in silence, it belongs to the Government and its supporters. It may be that honorable gentlemen opposite are silent because they do not know what <.o say, or it may be that in view of the instability of their party, they are not clear whether the policy announced to the electors by the Prime Minister, or that contained in the Governor-General’s Speech, will be that which the new Government will carry through, or whether there is to be a complete reshuffle of the Cabinet.

Mr Maxwell:

– Does the honorable gentleman suggest that any fresh thought has been expressed^ in this debate?


– It is for the Govern, ment to make a definite pronouncement of policy. It was the duty of the Prime Minister to do more than repeat in this House his addresses to the electors. In dealing with the amendment of the Leader of the Opposition he contented himself with a speech of negations. The initiation of legislation devolves on the Government of the day, and the understanding of that legislation by honorable members generally is made easier if Ministers in charge of bills give a clear exposition of their contents. The difficulties confronting the Government would have been better appreciated had the Prime Minister delivered a positive statement rather than a series of negations. The right honorable gentleman said that the unemployment position was not so grave to-day as it had been, and he attributed the improvement entirely to the policy of his Government in reducing taxation. It is true that, in certain directions, taxation has been lessened; but the aggregate taxes collected by the Commonwealth from the people have increased, rather than decreased during the last three years. In 1931 the total yield from the taxes imposed by the Commonwealth was £50,400,000, whereas the budget statement for 1933-34 gave the amount for that year as £56,400,000. That increase is equivalent to approximately £1 per head of the population of Australia. Customs and excise revenue collected in 1931 amounted to £28,200,000. By 1933-34, it had increased by £6,000,000 .to £34,200,000. During the same period, the collections from the sales tax increased by £5,200,000, the respective amounts being £3,400,000 and £8,600,000. Similarly, there was an increased yield of £1,200,000 from the flour tax. From those three sources alone, £12,400,000 more was collected during 1933-34 than in 1930-31. That increase of indirect taxation was a definite addition to the costs incurred by Australian industries. It does not suggest any diminution, but, rather, an aggravation of the difficulties of Australian exporters. I am astounded, first, at the claim of the Prime Minister that since his Government assumed office, there has been a reduction of taxation, and, secondly, that the Country party should have nothing to say regarding the effect of indirect taxation on primary industries. The Leader of the Country party (Dr. Earle Page) and his followers are so unmoved and unconcerned that they can enter into a coalition with a party which claims credit for the consequences of its policy. It is true that direct taxation imposed by the Commonwealth has been reduced, but those reductions represent only about one-half of the additions resulting from greater indirect taxation.

While the increased taxation imposed by the Commonwealth has placed a burden chiefly on consumers, and is reflected in the costs imposed on industry, the State governments have been compelled to increase direct taxation. Consequently the situation facing the Commonwealth Treasurer is entirely different from that which confronts the Treasurers of the

Status. In the first place, an increase of indirect taxation results in an immediate return to the Commonwealth Government, and, secondly, it reduces the .margin available to the State governments in the spheres of taxation allocated to them. Direct taxation imposed by the States is necessarily a tax on net incomes, whereas the greater part of the taxation imposed .by the Commonwealth is imposed not on net earnings but on turnover, and is collected whether or not the taxpayer concerned makes a profit. In my opinion, the Commonwealth violated the Premiers plan when it remitted taxation in any form whatever, so long as the budgets of the States remained unbalanced. Had the rates of tax which operated in 1930- 31 been maintained, not only would the State governments have found it unnecessary to impose taxes upon incomes of low range, but it would also have enabled them to avoid deficits to be covered by treasury-bills, and made it unnecessary to borrow for revenue purposes. Although from a superficial examination it may appear that the Commonwealth has restored stability in its own financial affairs, a dispassionate examination of the whole structure of Australian governmental finance discloses that a wrong policy had been pursued which, in turn, has delayed the restoration of stable finance generally. It is not true that because the Commonwealth Government has remitted direct taxation, the people of Australia and the industries of this country have necessarily been relieved of that taxation. On the contrary, those remissions of taxation, while lessening the burden on the wealthier sections of the community, have imposed heavier burdens on persons with low incomes - in some States those in receipt of the basic wage, and in other States even those in receipt of sustenance wages. The extraordinary taxing power conferred on the Commonwealth because of its ability to levy indirect taxation has relieved the rich of the obligation to pay direct taxation to the Commonwealth, but it has compelled the States to inflict heavier direct taxation on the poor.

I wish to make one further point, perhaps the most important of all. It is well known to those who study the economic structure of Australia that there is a considerable distribution of capital resources throughout the various States, and that if the total income of a company with resources do distributed is, say, £10,000 per annum, it pays more tax to the Commonwealth Government than it would if the Commonwealth tax were remitted and a similar tax were imposed by the States. The income derived from investments, say, in Melbourne, Sydney and Perth can be so split up that the total amount of tax paid to the States is much lower than the amount due on the aggregate profits and payable to the Commonwealth. In addition, under State laws remissions and other deductions enter into the due assessment of the tax. Thus we have the extraordinary position that, if the Commonwealth imposes taxation on an income of £10.000 a year derived from more than one State, the tax payable is far larger than would be the case if the Commonwealth vacated that field of taxation and left it to the States to impose the tax, not upon the total, but upon moieties of the total. During the last three years we have heard a good deal of talk about remissions of taxation by the Commonwealth. Those remissions have been brought about more from motives of political expediency than by any statesmanlike appreciation of actualities.

The claim that there has been a reduction of employment, on the ground that there has been a diminution in the volume of exports, is not justified. Australian export industries have not suffered any loss in the aggregate physical volume of their exports. Their problem is entirely a price problem ; the difficulties which confront them are in the main monetary and financial. 1 agree, of course, that there are economic factors operating, as a result of the derangement of capital factors, which may be termed nonmonetary. Let us take the cargo clearances from Australia during the past five years. In 1928-29, the tonnage cleared amounted to 4,900,000 tons; in 1929-30. 4,500,000 tons; in 1930-31, 1931-32, and 1932-33., 5.200.000 tons; and for the nine months of 1933-34, 3,900,000 tons. The volume of cargo tonnage of Australian exports has therefore been maintained all through the depression. Last year, when the export of wheat declined, there was a considerably increased export of wool. By favour of my friend,, Dr.. Roland Wilson, the economist attached to the Commonwealth Statistician’s office, I have been able to obtain a more detailed examination of the volume of exports based, for comparative purposes, on the 1928-29 figures. Even excluding gold production, the volume of Australian exports, using the 1928-29 .figure as a base, is larger to-day than was the case in that year, and until the last financial year of the Government’s administration, was increasing. Including gold production, the figures for the years 1930 to 1934 show an increase of from 1119 to 1145. based on the 192S-29 figure. I cite these figures in order to show that there hasbeen no contraction of employment in Australia as a result of any diminution of the volume of goods for export. It takes as much labour to harvest and handle a bushel of wheat, when the price is 2s. 3d. n bushel, as would be the case were the price 6s. a bushel. The physical volume of industry arising from Australian exports hae, therefore, for the most part remained Unimpaired throughout the depression.

There has, of course, been a considerable contraction of employment in secondary industries and in those industries which depend upon definite capital investment, such as the .building industry. But the loss in that respect has to some extent been compensated for by an extraordinary increase of employment in the gold-mining industry. In Western Australia in 1930 there were about 4,200 men employed in that industry ; on the 30th September of this year it was employing more than 12,000 men. The employment which has been made available during the last three years is not the outcome of any policy originated by this Parliament. It is explicable on two grounds; one is Ohe improvement which has taken place in the gold-mining industry, and the other is the fact that the States have spent, from loan funds or from revenue, on works vast sums of money, aggregating £70,000,000 in all during the past three years, while the Commonwealth has merely found the miserable sum of less than £5,000,000 for a like purpose. It is idle for the Com mon wealth Governm ent to claim that it has played a major part in the financial restoration of Australia. The whole of the financial burden involved in the restoration has fallen upon the State governments. The Commonwealth Government, while bearing no burden whatsoever, has had the advantage of drastic reductions of expenditure far greater than those which the State governments experienced. It has saved money in respect of invalid and old-age pensions, and it has effected considerable reductions of its interest obligations. Speaking from memory, I should say that if the Commonwealth had to meet its obligations on a scale similar to that operating before the adoption of the Premiers plan, an additional burden of something like £13,000,000 would have been placed upon the present budget. But this salvation has not been extended to the States. During this time they alone have had to carry the burdens of unemployment, high interest rates, unemployment relief and sustenance, and, in addition, have had. to meet interest payments on £70,000,000 which they have expended on relief works. Those circumstances have, to some extent, lessened the gravity of the economic problems facing Australia. Nothing that the Federal Government has done has contributed towards the re-adjustment of the situation. It may be that this magic word “ confidence “ has in it something more than a purely psychological appeal. If confidence has been achieved as the result of the return of my friends opposite three years ago, why is it that during that same period there has been no increased capital investment in industry?

Mr Holloway:

– That is the basic thing.


– That is so. It is true that there has been an eagerness to invest in Commonwealth stocks during that period, but that is not altogether explicable on the ground that the Government has the confidence of investors. Investments in Commonwealth stocks are attracted as being a safer medium, and as offering a better return. There has been a. very large investment in goldmining operations during the last three years, though I would not say that the whole of it will be justified by results. It is only because of the dearth of securities, particularly in those large-scale enterprises which in the past absorbed so much of the surplus private capital, that much idle money has been invested in safe investments, such as Commonwealth securities or in more hazardous but perhaps more enticing gold-mining shares. I submit that, by and large, our problems have not been greatly eased in character during the last three years. As a matter of fact, although there has been no falling off in the physical volume of our exports, I am not sanguine enough to believe that that desirable position will be maintained. Forces are at work which may occasion danger to the peace of the world, or, at least, are leading to the intensification of economic nationalism which is expressed in prohibitions against trade and impeding the flow of commerce in the markets of the world. The capitalistic system depends entirely upon accumulations of capital and on the circulation of commodities. When the circulation of commodities is reduced and the channels of trade become clogged, a state of economic ill health is brought about which must inevitably impose upon the nations of the world some measure of reconstruction. Financial reconstruction faces Australia. It is absurd for Australia to maintain that it can go on indefinitely producing wheat for which there cannot be a market and growing wool for which there may be no demand. Such a difficulty may involve a very definite reversal of previous policy, but, as I see the world to-day, indications point to a very definite turning in on the part of each country upon its own resources. Every country is faced with the certainty that it must greatly alter its methods of carrying on its major industries. Australia is in the position of having large capital sums invested in its primary industries. What our financial losses will be I do not think any man can say. During the election campaign, reference was made to the alleged large losses made by the Agricultural Bank of Western Australia; but they were nothing like they were represented to be. The ordinary trading banks, about which nothing was said at that time, suffered losses of equal magnitude. The capital lost in the agricultural and pastoral industries of Australia makes it difficult for us to look forward with equanimity to a contraction of activity in either wheat or wool production.

For my part, I will do my utmost to assist whatever Minister may be entrusted with carrying out the policy which is decided upon as a result of trade negotia tions between Australia and other countries. It is necessary that we should have at least a breathing space in order to organize the marketing of our wheat and wool. I say this to my friends on my own side of the House: There is nothing to be gained in the general level of employment by protecting an industry which, at the most, can afford employment to only three or four hundred men when, by so doing, we imperil our market for goods in the production of which employment is provided for 10,000 or more of our population. I can perceive that there must be a readiness on the part of those engaged in some secondary industries to recognize that Australia must, look to other countries as a source of supply for some secondary products, conditionally upon those countries agreeing to receive goods which we can produce in excess of our requirements. When the financial system has broken down, as is largely the case at present, we are compelled to resort to some form of barter. That may give rise to a certain amount of reprisal because, in any system of give and take, it is noticeable that those who take are always more cheerful than those who give. Australia must look at the problem as a whole, and those who make sacrifices for the national welfare must receive some compensation. I shall not mention any particular industry, preferring to leave that to the Tariff Board; but if any industry is closed down because it is considered better to obtain from other countries the goods which it formerly produced, a first condition should he the placement of those rendered idle in some alternative occupation. Our industrial problems are not simple. The relation of one man to another in the economic life of the world is invariably through a third person. Forexample, the customs duty on a particular item is most certainly an addition to the cost of many other items. It affects, not only the total wealth of the community, but also the price it must pay for that wealth. Thus in regard to national trade, I look forward to the certainty that we shall experience difficulty in marketing our goods, and for that reason I shall do what I can to assist the Government to carry its proposed trade negotiations to a successful issue. . I shall do that, not only in the interests of Australia, but also because I believe that it can be made a useful contribution towards ensuring the peace of the world. I understand, of course, that sometimes an agreement between two countries may lead to the making of counter agreements between other countries. Let us hope that the old hostile alignment of nations in regard to defence will not be repeated in regard to the new problem of economics which confronts the world.


– The honorable member’s time has expired.


.– I can with enthusiasm support the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Scullin), and particularly the opening paragraph relating to the provision of credits, and the utilizing of the Commonwealth Bank to finance measures for employment. Had something of that kind ‘been done when the depression first approached us, instead of waiting until we were in the very throes of it, much of the tragedy associated with the last three or four years might have been avoided.

I desire to voice my disapprobation, for what it is worth, of the political happenings of yesterday, and of the proceedings in and out of Parliament itself. The Country party and the United Australia party went before the people at the last election on policies definitely opposed to each other. In fact, they were only united in their hatred of the party to which I belong. Their representatives stated publicly that they were, diametrically opposed, and that they would fight each other to a finish; but, hardly had the echo of those words ceased to reverberate, when they forgot all their differences and became one party. We were told that they would stand for principles and nothing else, but it turned out to be just part of the bargaining - of the manoeuvring for a favorable position. It reminds me of a story I heard once of a man who went into a pawnbroker’s

Kil shop. The proprietor, a Jew, was in a back room when his little son came to him and said that there was a man in the shop who wanted to sell a watch. The father asked what the man wanted for it, and the boy replied that he wanted £5. The father said “ It is worth £4; he will take £3; we will give him £2, so you can offer . him £1.” We have been told that there were great doings in Parliament House yesterday, with people moving mysteriously about the corridors at midnight. I shall say nothing more about that, only to remark that it is well known that midnight is the hour at which he burglar begins to prowl. It looks as if the people have been made the victims of something worse than a confidence trick. If this sort of thing is allowed to go on, and the will of the electors is thus flagrantly flouted, the people will lose confidence in parliamentary government, the democratic system will be brought to ruin, and honorable members opposite will be responsible. How can we expect the people to go to the ballot-box with any sense of security, or with any confidence that th~eir wishes will bs carried out in this Parliament, when honorable members - we have to call them “ honorable “ because the Standing Orders say so - play ducks and drakes with the policies on which they have been elected? Actually, members of the Country party and of the United Australia party should be fighting one another on the floor of the House in support of the policies which they enunciated at the elections. There is nothing in the Governor-General’s Speech which can be construed as indicating the intention of the Government to put into effect the policy on which Country party members were elected. On behalf of that part of the democracy which I represent, I protest against what has taken place.

The Speech of the Governor-General referred to financial rehabilitation and industrial recovery. That is all hocuspocus. The Government claims to have restored employment. Well, if to make men work for a mere pittance is to solve the problem of unemployment, and if the Government is prepared to admit that that is the standard of living which it wishes to set up, then I admit that it has done something towards bringing those conditions about. Unless something is done to prevent it, the miserable standard of the relief workers will soon become the general standard for all workers. It is now rumoured that the work on the big ancillary water supply scheme, by the Sydney City Council, suspended four years ago because of the depression, is to be resumed on a relief work basis During the election campaign, I happened to be at Wollongong checking rolls, &s., on what was the relief workers’ pay-day. We were seated at a table on the fontpath, and some of these workers camp across to our table and showed us their pay envelopes. In one case a single man received 10s. lid. for a fortnight’s work, while a married man with a wife and three children received £1 3s. 5d. for a fortnight’s work. And some one had the audacity to enclose in the envelopes’ a slip telling the workers to put their savings in the Commonwealth Savings Bank! It will not be long before private employers will be clamouring for the same wag./s and conditions as obtain on these go-, vcm ment works.

Reference was made in the Speech of the Governor-General to the extraction of oil from coal and shale deposits. The Government, apparently, is now considering taking action that should have been taken seven or eight years ago. At that time the honorable member for Hunter (Mr. Charlton), then Leader of the Opposition, and I pressed this matter at every opportunity that presented itself in the House. We urged that the coal should be dealt with by what is known as the by-products system, which is operated in Germany and elsewhere. So long as motor cars are powered with internal combustion engines, it will be necessary to have spirit on which to run them, and this spirit can be obtained from coal and shale. If we visit any of the coal-fields of Australia at the present time, we shall see furnaces in which great coal-fires are blazing, while clouds of smoke are billowing up into the air, this being part of the process for producing coke for our foundries. In Germany, for the last 30 years, the coke required for this purpose has been raked out of the retorts from which coal-tar dyes, motor spirit, &c, have been distilled. The Prime Minister spoke of re-organizing our industries to enable them to compete with those of other countries, but what chance have we to compete effectively while we allow the most valuable products from our coal to go up in smoke? I have here a chart illustrating in a graphic manner tho enormous waste associated with the ordinary beehive coke oven. The chart was produced some years ago, when a private company issued a prospectus in connexion with proposals for the recovery of coal products, but the enterprise failed. The perfumes imported from Germany, disinfectants such as lysol, and some poisons are made from the contents of the smoke that arises in the production of coke. Thousands of barrels of tar are brought into Australia from overseas every year for use in the construction of macadamized roads, because the tar produced here in the manufacture of coal gas is not regarded as of the most suitable kind for roa”d-ina.king purposes. A problem which requires immediate solution is that of oil and petrol supplies for road and railway transport. Millions of pounds worth of petrol and motor oils are imported annually, and mainly from the United States of America, which country takes practically nothing from Australia. If an American vessel carries Australian foodstuffs for the purpose of feeding its passengers and crew, it must dump them overboard when it is within three miles of the American coastline. This policy amounts to complete prohibition of Australian goods, although millions of pounds worth of American goods are imported into this country.

A great national need could be met by manufacturing crude oil in Australia for use in diesel engines. A 30-ton motor truck, driven by a diesel engine, has been driven from Melbourne to Wagga, 280 miles, at a cost of 13s. 6d. for fuel. In November last, Captain G. E. T. Eyston English racing driver, tested the diesel engine on the Brooklands speedway. In spite of bad weather conditions, continuous rain and bad visibility, the high speed of 106 miles an hour was maintained. The car was a streamlined saloon of a normal touring type, weighing 45 cwt. At a speed of 100 miles an hour the fuel consumption was 20 miles to the gallon, the cost of the oil being 5½d. a gallon. In another test over 1,015 miles of railway track between Denver and Ch icago, (.lie journey was accomplished in 13 hours 5 minutes, or 12 hours 40 minutes less than the time taken by the fastest express steam train. The highest speed attained was 112 miles an hour, and the average was 77.5 miles an hour. The 600 gallons of fuel used cost £3 10s. The cost of the coal required by the steam train was £45. The power unit of the st ream- lined train is a 2-cycle 8 in. x 30 in. 8-cylinder diesel engine, giving its maximum power at 750 revolutions per minute. It has the low power- weight ratio of 22 lb. per horse-power. The train of three coaches i3 196 feet long, weighs S7 tons, accommodates 72 passengers and carries 22 tons of freight.

Mr Maxwell:

– Are these engines in general use ?


– These tests have been carried out in the United States of America and elsewhere, and diesel engines are in operation in Australia to-day.

A further test of the diesel engine was carried out in Central Australia. Present freight cost is from ls. to ls. 6d. a ton, which is claimed to be an unprofitable rate. The test was made from Alice Springs to Tennant’s Creek. The transport unit consisted of a 6-cylinder 130 horse-power tractor, and two trailers, each unit having eight wheels, all shod with 10-J in. sectioned Dunlop balloon tyres, kept at a pressure of 40 lb. to the square inch. The tractor weighed 8f tons and had a load capacity of 3 tons. Each trailer weighed 4 tons, with a load capacity of 6 tons. The total cost of operation was 6£d. per ton per mile.


– Would not the use of the diesel engine on the railways kill the coal industry ?


– If Australia could develop thi3 new means of transport it would help to revitalize rather than kil! the coal industry. Rail motors are in use throughout the Commonwealth at the present time, and will continue to be employed where steam trains are too expensive to run. If rail motors do not use crude oil, which we could ‘ manufacture in our own country, they will continue to burn petrol imported from the United

States of America or Great Britain. We import motor lorries, trucks and buses, and they are. propelled by means of engines consuming hundreds of millions of-gallon’3 of imported petrol. Tests have proved that 40 gallons of crude oil can be extracted from a ton of coal. If diesel engines were employed to propel road transport vehicles, Australia could be independent of imported fuel by the use of crude oil. It is said that the companies interested in the manufacture of the poppet valve internal combustion engines, which use petrol, are able to sabotage to a large extent the exploitation of the more economical crude oil which would solve our transport difficulties. Without discussing the question as to whether a thorough search has been made, we have not yet discovered flow oil in this country, and we are at the mercy of overseas countries for our petrol supplies. With the increasing use of aircraft, one asks how long the world’s supplies of petrol will last. Seeing that Australian coal-miners are idle, and the industry is languishing, the production of crude oil presents an exceedingly useful field for development, not only for the rehabilitation of the coal industry, but also for the assistance of the rural industries, in most of which machinery is employed. The problem of motor transport by road must be handled more efficiently than in the past. My proposal would meet with opposition from the oil companies and the manufacturers of motor car engines of the type now in general use. Yet if private enterprise fails to meet a crying need of the community, action must be taken along national lines.

Much has been said regarding the need to rehabilitate the primary industries of this country, but we must face the facts frankly. The statement :Vn the GovernorGeneral’s Speech regarding these industries is on a par with that respecting the grave problem of unemployment. I notice that more commissions are to be appointed. Evidently there will be a few more jobs for the Government’s friends who fell by the wayside at the elections. The Prime Minister has promised that the Interstate Commission will be revived. Although he stated in his policy speech that the Interstate Commission had never been of any service to the community he now proposes to reconstitute it, merely because there are still a few jobs to be found for some of his political friends who have fallen by the way-side.

To re-establish our primary industries on an efficient basis we shall have to reconstruct our credit and monetary laws. The Prime Minister referred to “wild cat “ finance schemes which I and others proposed some time ago in this Parliament or in the Caucus room. The right honorable gentleman or any of his supporters, including the Minister for Defence (Mr. Parkhill), who spoke so stupidly during the election cam- paign with respect to the closing of the Tew South Wales Government Savings Bank, have never been able truthfully to contradict the statements I have made on the subject of credit. The facts are, as the Minister for Defence knows, that the associated banks have stolen the deposits of the Australian people. They have already misappropriated and stolen, the deposits of the people, and if the directors of the associated banks had acted in the same way in any other commercial sphere they would have been in gaol long ago. The Minister for Defence said that if the Labour party was returned to power the associated banks would close their doors.

Mr Archdale Parkhill:

– Which the honorable member said, too.


– I did not say anything of the kind. I said, at Bulli, that if the Labour party put its policy into operation, and the ordinary banking operations of the country were carried on through the Commonwealth Bank, we would be able to dispense with the private banks within six months.

Mr Archdale PARKHILL:

– What the honorable member said was slightly different from that.


– It was not. The statement of the Minister for Defence is in keeping with his utterances during the election campaign, and as secretary of the Nationalist organization before he became a member of this Parliament. During that campaign he said that the private banks would close within six months because we would steal their savings. I repeat that the associated banks of Australia have already stolen’ the people’s deposits. They owe their depositors to-day £100,000,000 on current account and have not £15,000,000 to meet it. I remind the Prime Minister who spoke of “ wild cat “ schemes which, he said, we have propounded from time to time, that some time ago when the Scullin Government was in office, and it was necessary to raise a loan in order to meet certain commitments, the late Sir Robert Gibson was summoned to appear before the bar of the Senate, and that gentleman told the Senate that only certain things could be done. I cannot repeat his exact words, but they are on record for those who wish to read them. In effect he said that nothing could be done in the matter of expanding credit, as was then proposed, under our present monetary laws. When he was asked by an honorable senator how it could be done, he said that the monetary laws of Australia would have to be amended, and that one way was by an expansion of credit through the Commonwealth Bank and not through the Note Issue Department. The present Prime Minister, who was then the Postmaster-General, fought that principle most tenaciously. I hold in my hand a piece of paper representing a £1 Commonwealth note which is legal tender in this country to-day, but to all intents and purposes it is fiat money. There is nothing on the note to indicate that there is any security behind it. I asked under what authority those notes are printed and the Acting Treasurer (Mr. Casey) informed me that they were issued under the currency laws of this country. I have perused the Coinage and Currency Act, which has not been amended since 1909, and I cannot find a word in that act referring to anything but metallic currency. I am not endeavouring to get back to the gold standard. Before a Commonwealth note can legally be printed, as it is to-day, the monetary laws of Australia should be reconstructed. That is what we. have definitely argued in favour of for ten years or more. The Commonwealth Bank is an instrument of credit and is the only institution which can provide credits. Credit* can be provided only in one way and that is by giving the Commonwealth Bank’ a complete financial monopoly which would involve wiping out the Australian associated banks. Commonwealth notes are only “ till “ money, and they, together with the pennies, threepences, sixpences and shillings do not comprise more than 3 per cent, of the currency of Australia to-day. At least 98 per cent, of our currency is on a cheque basis manipulated by the private banking institutions of Australia, I see on the face of the Minister for Defence a silly grin-


– Order !


– Then I say: “Loud laughter oft betrays the vacant mind.” The honorable member does not believe me. I shall refer this mighty atom with so much egotism to my authority and ask him to pit his puny brain against the opinion of Henry Dunning Macleod, whose work Theory and Practice of Banking has for over a century been recognized as the bible of bankers; or against that of Reginald McKenna, another great banker in England, who told the students at the Oxford University a few years ago that 99 per cent, of our currency consisted of the cheque system operated by private banks. Less than twelve months ago this same authority declared that those who control the finances of the country directly and absolutely control the policy of the Government, and hold in their hands the destinies of the people.


– The honorable member’s time has expired.


.- The policy enunciated by the Prime Minister (Mr. Lyons) on behalf of the United Australia party consists, like many other policy speeches, of so much thin air. The Government says that the unemployed problem is most important, yet it proposes to leave its solution, as it has done for many years, to the States. The Government has now been forced into its present position as a result of the policy enunciated by the L<-‘<our party. In his speech the right honorable gentleman made only a brief reference to the unemployed problem, which is the major issue. Indeed, it is the only problem. There are hundreds of thousands of persons whose purchasing power has been so diminished, if it has not disappeared altogether, that they cannot purchase the commodities which our primary producers wish to dispose of. The

Prime Minister, with his political bounce, thought that he would knock me when he said that he was instrumental in obtaining a loan for the Hydro-Electric Department in Tasmania, but as that, money was provided by the Loan Councilno thanks are due to him. When it was; mooted that money was not available to carry on the works of the HydroElectric Department private enterprise immediately offered to lend £3,000,000 to the Tasmanian Government. Notwithstanding this, the Prime Minister will say “Look what we have done for you people in Tasmania “. I challenge the right honorable gentleman to deny that the unemployed problem in Australia is not greater to-day than it has ever been. Before I left Tasmania there were more men on the dole in Hobart than there have ever been. I remind the Prime Minister of the time when he was the Premier of Tasmania and I introduced a deputation asking for assistance for the unemployed. I got that assistance. I warn the Prime Minister that he must get on with the business of the country, but that if he continues along present lines the unemployed will revolutionize society. They demand the right to live. If we deprive them of the right to ‘ work, we take away from them the means by which they live. I remind the Prime Minister who now comes along with a moonshine scheme that the defeat of his supporters in Tasmania was due to the neglect of his Government to provide for the unemployed. That is why I am here and the gallant major has gone. The people of Tasmania would not give the present AttorneyGeneral (Mr. Menzies) a hearing because he was accompanied by a man who had failed to fulfil his obligation’s to the electors of Denison, and finished up by calling them dingoes because they demanded their rights from a Nationalist government. There is really no difference between the “ Cockies “ party and the United Australia party. The right honorable member for Cowper (Dr. Earle Page) visited Tasmania and tried to tickle the ears of the people in that State with his policy. In referring to the unemployed problem and its solution, he said that we should have a national insurance scheme but that the workers would have to pay for it. That is the policy of the “ Cockies “ party. The United Australia party has not any policy. The Government proposes to look for tho root causes of unemployment. They have been told to-day that unemployment is due to the introduction of machinery to swell the profits of those who are already in satisfactory circumstances. President Hoover, and more recently President Roosevelt, admitted that the improvement in the position of workers in the United States of America had not been commensurate with the progress made in the mechanization of industry. Every one with any knowledge of the industrial situation in practically all countries is convinced that shorter hours and increased wages are the only real solution of the present economic troubles of the world.

It is regrettable that this Government has nothing to offer the people in this respect. A few days ago the Loan Council met in Canberra, and there was also a conference of Premiers; , but. so far as we have been able to gather, no concrete and practical proposal for the relief of unemployment was put forward at either gathering. The honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Reasley) said this afternoon that half a dozen members of this House could., in 24 hours, formulate a public works programme that would provide work for thousands of the unemployed. In every State there are schemes that could be put in hand, with advantage to the Commonwealth, if finance were available. Various water supply and power schemes could be proceeded with in Tasmania if the State Government could obtain the necessary money from the Loan Council at a rate of interest that would enable the works to be carried out on an economic basis. The issue of treasury-bills at, say, 1 per cent, or f per cent., the rate ruling in England, would make it possible for State Governments to put these works in hand. How can the respective States be expected to provide for their unemployed if they are not able to secure the necessary money at a reasonable rate of interest? Without cheap money how can Tasmania proceed with its hydro-electric scheme, designed to provide power to the Electrolytic

Zinc Company for the development of the resources at Rosebery, which, if put in hand, would provide work for many unemployed, and also pay dividends to shareholders ?

It is regrettable that the Government has no policy with reference to unemployment. Even invalid and old-age pensioners are faced with harassing problems arising out of our unemployment , difficulties, because in many instances pensioners are obliged to help support sons and daughters who are out of work. The Prime Minister told tho House this afternoon that the present pension was worth 22s. 6d. a week. That was a deliberate mis-statement of the facts. One pensioner whom I know gets 17s. 6d. a week, and his son, who is on the dole, receives 5s. 3d. Between them they have an income of 22s. 9d. a week upon which both are expected to live. Why does not this Government take steps to alter this disgraceful state of affairs? The right honorable gentleman and his supporters are willing enough to give relief to wealthy land monopolists and financial institutions by reducing their taxation burdens, hut they decline to restore invalid and old-age pensions to the full amount.

Tasmania, by reason of its geographical position, suffers special disabilities, which have been discussed in this House on many occasions. I trust that I shall not be adjudged a parochial representative if, on occasion, I also direct attention to She special difficulties confronting our people. ,The mover of the motion mentioned the Government’s proposals with regard to afforestation, due, as he explained, to the depletion of Australian forests. Need I remind the House that the timber industry in Tasmania, where reserves of forests aro ample for many years to come, is languishing because tha Government has not insisted on cheaper freights and fares from the subsidized shipping companies which provide the essential services between Tasmania and the mainland. The development of the State depends on reduced shipping charges. Although the shipping companies are subsidized to the extent of £5,000 a year, and the present arrangement will stand for ten years, excessively high freights represent a definite Handicap on Tasmanian industries. The freight on a shipment of timber from a Tasmanian port to Adelaide, which offers a good market for it, is as much as is the freight from California to South Australia.

The Prime Minister, although a representative of Tasmania in this House, is really lost to that State, because he has surrendered to the influence of the big financial institutions, and now does their bidding. There is now no true representative of Tasmania in the Ministry or the ranks of its supporters. You, Mr. Speaker, by your elevation to your present ‘high and honorable position, have also been lost to the State, because you cannot now join with your colleagues on the floor of the House in fighting for the rights of the people of Tasmania. The only representatives from that State are now to be found on this side. Yesterday, in another place, tho Prime Minister was taken to task by a Tasmanian senator, who suggested that the right honorable gentleman was not now carrying out his duties as a representative of the Tasmanian people. It is my intention, when a favorable opportunity presents itself, to submit a motion which, if carried, will have the effect of forcing the subsidized shipping companies to reduce freights and fares in the interests of Tasmania. That will give the Prime Minister an opportunity to show where he stands. I shall test him on this issue. The right honorable gentleman has an idea that he can “ put it over ‘ me in this House. I fought him many years ago in the Tasmanian Parliament, and will fight him again on the floor of this chamber. I understand that on one occasion he said, “ When Jerry Mahoney Walks in, I walk out of this Parliament “. Well, I am here, as a representative of the electors in Denison, but I imagine he will not walk out of the Parliament.

The disabilities suffered by the people of Tasmania for so many years are real. Unemployment there is a serious menace. A vigorous public works policy, financed on an equitable basis, is essential if relief is to be afforded. Hitherto Tasmania has been, to a large extent, neglected in the distribution of expenditure on public works, upon which millions of pounds have been spent in recent years. We are part of the Commonwealth, and have faithfully fulfilled all our obligations under federation. We now claim our rights. I am not here to advocate secession. I do not believe in it. I believe in unification. The Federal Parliament should be unfettered in its authority to legislate for the nation. State Parliaments should be abolished. Although I sit in Opposition, I will gladly co-operate with the Prime Minister in any proposal for the carrying out of public works to relieve the distress due to unemployment in all the States.

The outlook for our boys and girls is extremely grave. I understand, from statements that have appeared in the newspapers, that the Government is considering a scheme to take boys from the coal-fields and train them for the goldmining and timber industries. Is that the best proposal that this Government can make? Is it suggested that every boy taken from the coal-fields can, by technical training, become an efficient gold-miner? A boy with a natural bent for a particular trade or profession should be given an opportunity to develop it. If he has a liking for engineering or carpentering or shows promise of success as a dentist or a chemist, an opportunity should be afforded him through our technical schools to become proficient. There is only one way - only one correct way - to deal with all these matters. A determined effort should be made to find employment for the thousands of boys and girls who leave school every year and most of whom to-day are out of work. I know men 26 years of age who have not had an opportunity to do a day’s work. Yet nothing is being done by the Government to improve the prospects of employment for our youth.

I am pleased that the Minister for Customs is among the few members of the Government present because I desire to ask him why ho lifted the primage and duties off fish imported from New Zealand. This action, which was taken under an agreement made with the Dominion Government in the interest of the New South Wales fruit-growers, led to the dumping of New Zealand fish on the markets of Australia, to the serious detriment of Tasmanian fishermen. Ministers generally should be here to listen to my appeal on behalf of the exporters of fish from Tasmania to the mainland, instead of sneaking about the corridors endeavouring to ascertain whether this one or that one is to lose his portfolio in the reshuffling now taking place. Ministers are paid to attend the sittings of Parliament and not to be dodging round dark corners seeking information concerning their own ministerial fate. I am not seeking office nor have I an ambition to be a Minister at any time. My desire is to remain one of the rank and file and to fight the cause of the people.

One of the major issues of the last election related to the present monetary system and in this connexion I express my disgust that members of the National party should have been prepared to associate themselves with the issue of despicable cartoons suggesting that Labour would rob the people of their savings. Such cartoons and posters were displayed all over Tasmania, and I understand that the private trading banks provided £1,000 for that purpose. It was suggested in these cartoons that members of the Labour party were, in plain language, thieves. Let me tell the Prime Minister that we are not thieves and that I do not come from a family of thieves. My family played their part in the development of this country and it ill becomes the Prime Minister and his followers to reflect on honest men by suggesting that if the Labour party were returned to power they would filch the savings of the people. I respect the rights, of every man. I would not deprive any man of his rights, and I am not prepared to allow the Prime Minister, the AttorneyGeneral, or anyone else to besmirch my character as a member of the Labour party by suggesting through the agency of despicable cartoons that I am a thief.

Mr Lane:

– I am sure that the Prime Minister would not do that.


– He would not hesitate to do so if by that means he could make his position secure. He and his party would not hesitate to brand their opponents as criminals of the worst kind in order to secure office. By the issue of these cartoons and in other ways, the National party insulted the relatives of men who died in the defence of their country. I resent the accusation and fling it back in the face of the Prime Minister and the Attorney-General. The latter, by the way, came over to Tasmania to take charge of it and to classify its people as a lot- of mugs. Let me tell him and the country that members of the Labour party are not out to injure any individual or any section of the community. But the people whom we represent have certain rights and we are determined to maintain them. One of our claims is that the Commonwealth Bank has not been allowed to function correctly. If it were functioning as its founders intended it should do, it would not be necessary for a Government to propose to raise another loan of £15,000,000 at H per cent. Why should not the Commonwealth follow the example of the British Government by issuing treasury bonds at per cent, from time to time? This Ministry, instead of following that excellent example, in its efforts to secure money for the rehabilitation of Australia proposes to float a loan and to pay 3£ per cent, for it to the banks who are out to exploit the people of this country. If the Government intends to do anything for the States it should proceed along right lines. If it intends seriously to tackle the problem of unemployment, without the co-operation of the States, then it should take charge of the whole situation, and make a thorough job of it. It ought npt to waste time by the appointment of committees to investigate this and that phase of unemployment nor should it lose time in appealing to the State Parliaments to propound schemes. If the State Governments are not prepared to advance schemes for the relief of unemployment, then the Commonwealth Government itself should be ready to submit plans of its own in accordance with its promise to the people. Any attempt in that direction will have my co-operation. I do not expect a great deal from the Government at once since I recognize that after a general election a government is entitled to a little time in which to prepare its policy. But there should be no avoidable delay. The motion so ably moved by our leader (Mr. Scullin) should have the support of honorable members generally. I am convinced that it has already roused the Government to a sense of its responsibilities.

I wish now to refer to the question of old-age pensions. I know of married couples who because of domestic disagreements have been living apart for years but who have been denied a pension because, owing to their religious beliefs, they have refrained from obtaining a divorce or separation order. The religious beliefs of the people should be respected. The religion of a large section of the people teaches them that it is wrong to obtain a divorce or a legal separation order. Why force any of these people who are poor and in need of help to violate a religious belief in order to secure a pension to which they are justly entitled. When I was a member of the State Parliament I met with men and women so circumstanced who had found it necessary to obtain relief from the charities department because of the refusal of the Commonwealth to grant them an old-age or invalid pension. The Government should not try to hide itself behind closed doors. We are entitled to ventilate grievances in this House where every man is free to criticize the Ministry. I ask the Minister in charge of pensions to rectify the anomaly to which I have referred. Many of these old people haveblazed the track; they have worked hard, reared large families and played their part in the building up of the State, yet to-day they are denied what is an undoubted right.

Sitting suspended from 6.15 to 8 p.m.


– The Government has no need to delay the introduction of a bill to assist the paper pulp manufacturing industry which could be one of the most important in Australia. If it earnestly desires to help this industry the Government can immediately impose an increased duty on newsprint and so discourage the making of contracts such as now exist between newspaper companies in this country and the paper manufacturing concerns abroad. If the Government afforded the necessary protection that industry would be able to make an effective start immediately and give employment to hundreds of workers.

Mr White:

– Are the manufacturers ready to start?


– Yes; preparations are complete to commence the industry immediately in Tasmania, but a start is being delayed because of the big contracts existingbetween the Australian newspaper companies and the producers of paper in other parts of the world. As a result unemployment is being caused, while those interested in the project are retaining vast areas of land that were granted to them by the Tasmanian people in the belief that this industry would be started as soon as possible.

Mr Ward:

– What does the Prime Minister care about that?


– Nothing ; he is engaged in backing and filling, and for the last week, Ministers have been scurrying about like rabbits in a warren invaded by ferrets.

I hope also that the Prime Minister will immediately carry out his promise to establish a permanent shipping service between Melbourne, Hobart, and New Zealand, to enable Tasmania to ship its produce to the dominion. I understand that the Government has already established a temporary service, but something permanent and assured is urgently necessary.

While I am a member of this House I intend to support the policy indicated in the amendment moved by my leader. I hope that this amendment will give a lead to the Government. I stand for justice for Tasmania as a State in the Federation. Tasmania was induced to enter the union on the promise that its interests would be respected by all the States. I hope, for instance, that justice will be done to Tasmania when the next allocation of monies to the different States is being made and that my State will be granted the sum of £1,099,000, to which it is entitled to compensate it for its loss of population resulting from the carrying out of public works on the mainland from loan money.


.- Much hasbeen said during this debate about unemployment and the credit system. Every one who has applied his mind to the pressing problems which confront Australia to-day must realize that an alteration of the present monetary and credit system is inevitable. There is no uncertainty as to where the Labour party stands with regard to this matter. Its members say definitely that the public credit of Australia should be owned and controlled by the people, and used in their interests. Such a change must he made, as a first step towards a solution of the unemployment problem. As the honorable member for Denison (Mr. Mahoney) stated, the present Government was returned to power ‘because of its misrepresentations to the electors. Right throughout the Commonwealth the United Australia party candidates told the people that they were in favour of a high protective tariff. Political developments yesterday, however, have left the people in a quandary, particularly the manufacturers of this country, because it is reported that a coalition is about to be formed between the present Government and a party known to be opposed to a protective tariff. Thus the secondary industries of this country are in danger.

In reply to the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Scullin) the Prime Minister this afternoon excused the remission of taxation to the wealthy people of Australia, ‘by saying that the poorer sections of the people did not contribute anything to the country’s revenue. That statement is not correct. -Indirectly the poorer sections contribute quite a large proportion of the public revenue, but it was, of course, to the advantage of the Prime Minister and his party to remit the direct taxation, because we know that much of that money found its way into the antiLabour electioneering funds. The honorable member for Denison stated that during the recent election campaign misrepresentation and abuse of the vilest kind were resorted to in Tasmania by the Government’s supporters in order to defeat the Labour party in that State. Such practices were not confined to one State. I believe they were employed on behalf of the government candidates throughout Australia. My opponent, the United Australia party candidate, in the Lang electorate, spent thousands of pounds, although he did not have a ghost of a hope of success. Undoubtedly that money came from the people to whom the Government so generously remitted millions of pounds of taxation prior to the last election. My party definitely holds the view that there are ample opportunities offering to the Government to extend the local market in Australia. Everyone realizes that the home market is the be3t market, provided the Government will restore to the people a reasonable purchasing power. If each adult in Australia bought an extra half pound of butter a day the present surplus of butter production in Australia would be consumed locally. Again, if one egg extra were purchased daily by each adult we would not have any surplus of eggs. Therefore the home market is the market that the Government of this country should encourage, and for that reason I submit that members of this House should vote for the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition. If they did I have not the slightest doubt that a stable government would be formed from this side of the chamber.

BARKER, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · CP; LP from 1944; LCL from 1951; LP from 1954

– The last Labour Government was not very stable.


– -The interjector was formerly a member of the Country party. On the 20th September the right honorable member for Cowper (Dr. Earle Page), according to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald, said at Grafton that his party was not out for portfolios, and had not altered its policy since 1931. He declared “ We are not looking for jobs ; we want results “. To-day we know that what the Leader of the Country party told the people at Grafton on that occasion was misleading and that he did not believe in his own words. That is why I say that those sitting on the opposite side of this chamber owe their presence here purely to misrepresentations made by themselves and their supporters during the recent election campaign. I again remind honorable members of what the Prime Minister said in Tasmania a few years ago, seeing that to-morrow he will probably be sitting side by side with the Leader of the Country party who, I believe, is to be appointed deputy Prime Minister. The Prime Minister said, on the occasion I refer to:

It is a terrible thing to see a man sell his principles and the party that lias lifted him up. I hope I shall never have the misfortune to leave my children the shame and dishonour of one who has become a traitor to his own class in order to save the enemies of the people.

A man who would make a statement of that nature and yet condemn and deny the policy he himself had advocated hitherto is not entitled to ask for the confidence of the people. The Prime Minister does not enjoy the confidence even of those people who supplied the cash which enabled his government to be returned to office. He is simply the tool of the wealthy interests in Australia and those overseas interests which control the wealth of this country.

BARKER, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · CP; LP from 1944; LCL from 1951; LP from 1954

– The honorable member must admit that his party produced some very good tools for its opponents in the past.


– Yes ; there has been more than one Judas in our ranks. The right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes), for instance, has been a tool of the interests which are represented by honorable members opposite. I remember how in the early days of the Labour movement it was my practice to convey by sulky the right honorable member from one Labour meeting to another. To-day I see him sitting among the enemies of those with whom he had been associated for the greater part of his life. I am told by a friend of mine employed on the Press that a week after the recent elections when the right honorable gentleman was asked what were his chances of getting into the Ministry he replied, “If I get in there I will settle that little rat, Lyons “. It is a long time since the right honorable member himself ratted, but the defection of the Prime Minister from the ranks of the Labour party is recent history. On the 21st June last, a constituent of the right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes) sought his assistance to obtain employment, and received the reply that nothing could possibly be done for him as there were in the same position hundreds of people for whom there did not seem to be any prospect whatever of providing employment. The right honorable gentleman is now a member of the Ministry, for howlong I do not know; his term of office may end to-night. For the time feeing, however, as one who is controlling the destinies of this nation, he occupies a very important position in a government that apparently has no solution of the pressing and important problem of unemployment. If it cannot alleviate, let alone cure, the ills with which we are afflicted, the sooner the Government goes out of office the better.

The mover of the motion for the adoption of the Address-in-Reply spoke of a long-range policy. I do not know exactly what he meant to convey. Such a policy might be one under which the matters that demand urgent attention may be dealt with at some distant date.

Those who are opposed to the Labour party are jealous of its having been responsible for the establishment of the Commonwealth Bank. I believe that the right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes) was a member of the Government that brought that institution into being.

Dr Maloney:

– He did his best to block it .


– That bank has rendered wonderful service to Australia, and it can do a great deal more if it is properly encouraged. The policy of the Labour party is to extend the bank’s operations throughout the Commonwealth, and give to it a monopoly of banking business. There is no necessity for Australia to have more than one banking institution. On that policy the Labour party stands, and I hope that it will be given an opportunity to put it into effect by the acceptance of the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition and the consequent defeat of the Government.


.- The speech of the Governor-General was commendably short. I propose to follow the example which His Excellency set.

It is obvious that no one can contemplate with equanimity the present position in relation to unemployment. I believe it is realized that the problem is not one that admits of a ready solution, and that no cure for it canbe put into effect over night. I consider, however, that if the proposals outlined in the Speech of the Governor-General were translated into achievement, a very real step forward would be made towards, if not a final solution, at all events an alleviation of the problem. I agree with the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Cur tin) that unemployment is reflected in the prosperity or otherwise of primary industries; but I disagree with him in the conclusions that he drew with respect to taxation in Australia at the present time. The honorable gentleman said that although the Government claimed to have reduced taxation, the figures show that taxation has increased by roughly fi a head. I contend that the reduction of taxation has resulted in an increased business turnover, which has brought additional revenue to the Commonwealth, and that that is a complete justification of the policy which the Government has instituted.

I am naturally pleased to learn that the making of trade treaties is to receive early consideration. In common with all other primary producers, I have noticed with dismay the alarming contraction of our markets. It is a truism that we must trade with those who trade with us. The sooner that policy is put into operation, the better it will be for us. If we do not quickly conclude negotiations, our markets may disappear altogether. While we all recognize the value of the home market and of Empire trade, I think it will be admitted that the exploitation of those markets alone will not solve the problem, and that it is necessary for us to develop other outlets overseas. It would indeed be a very satisfactory accomplishment if Australia could become the selfcontained economic unit suggested by the Leader of the Opposition. I am quite sure that the right honorable gentleman does not consider that that is at present within the realms of practical politics. If we are to dispose of our exportable surplus, we must consolidate our existing markets and find new ones. As the honorable member for Fremantle has said, certain secondary industries may have to go. A very complete investigation will have to be made and the inevitable repercussions must be thoroughly appreciated, before such a step is taken. All consequences must be foreseen, and provision must be made to meet them. Economic nationalism is a grave menace to Australia, which depends so largely on export markets. I believe that it must be met by the conservation of our existing markets, and extension into new markets.

The amendment of the Leader of the Opposition appears to me to be an epitome of the right honorable gentleman’s policy speech, which I submit was rejected by the people of Australia. It is difficult to break fresh ground on such subjects, and none has been broken. I did not agree with the right honorable gentleman’s arguments when adduced in his policy speech, and I do not agree with them now; consequently, I propose to vote against his amendment.


– I support the amendment of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Scullin). I have listened with a good deal of interest to what has been said by those who have preceded me. Unfortunately,, the majority of the speeches have been made by honorable members who sit on this side of the House. I agree with what the Leader of the Opposition has said in support of the addition that he proposes to make to the motion. Recently, the Prime Minister has laid particular stress on the subject of unemployment. Several months before there was any need for an election, the right honorable gentleman sought a renewal of the mandate that he claimed to have been given to deal with this important problem. Having been returned to office - with a reduced majority, it is true - that task should be undertaken without undue delay. It is regrettable that, having fought an election and been returned with sufficient support to enable him to go on with the job, the right honorable gentleman should have met the Premiers of the States as recently as this week and -admitted that he had not a practical policy to put into operation. That is extremely unfortunate for those who are anxious to return to work so that they may maintain their self-respect and pro-‘ vide homes and sustenance for their wives and families. The honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Beasley) has directed attention to a leading article in the Melbourne Age, which pithily sums up the position. Apparently, that organ is disgusted, arid has plainly expressed its opinion concerning the attitude of the Prime Minister and those who support him. Having admitted that he has not a policy to deal with this problem, I suggest that the right honorable gentleman should accept the proposals that have been made by the Leader of the Opposition. The Labour party has a practical policy which could be put into operation immediately. Indeed, much of it actually was in operation during the war period. To-day, unfortunately, when it is a matter of providing for those who fought to make the world safe for democracy, we are unable to do anything. We have it on the authority of no less distinguished a person than the late Sir Denison Miller that what was done in a time of war can be done in the interests of the people in times of peace. We are asking not for experimental legislation but for what has already been tried and proved.

In the course of his remarks this afternoon, the Prime Minister ‘ referred to the position in Tasmania, and twitted the honorable member for Denison (Mr. Mahoney) with the fact that funds have been provided by the Loan Council for the extension of the hydro-electric power scheme in that State. No one knows better than the right honorable gentleman that had the Loan Council failed to provide the money, it would have been obtained, through other channels. This scheme is a business proposition. It is one of the State undertakings which is returning a profit over working, expenses; it is meeting sinking fund payments and all incidental charges, and is entirely self-supporting. I therefore suggest that money for the extension of it could have been obtained not only in Australia, but, if necessary, overseas. In the circumstances it is absurd of the Prime Minister to twit honorable members on this side. In that regard Tasmania has received little or nothing for which it should thank the right honorable gentleman.

The Prime Minister has boasted that the unemployment figures are gratifying to him, but he went on to say that it was not desirable to look too far back into the past. I agree with him in that regard. We should be chiefly concerned with the provision of employment to-day and in future. But as the right honorable gentleman referred to the Tasmanian position, I may also be allowed to do so. Since the change of government in that State, an investigation has been made into the unemployment returns, and it has been found that the increase of unemploy ment was several thousand more than had been admitted by the previous Premier of the State. If the unemployment position has improved to the degree suggested by the Prime Minister, why is there so much hesitation about releasing the statistics collected by the recent census? I suggest that the reason is that the Prime Minister is fearful of what those figures will indicate. If additional public works are put in hand to provide more employment, I trust that the needs of Tasmania will not be overlooked. Tasmania should be given its fair share of any money that may be provided for public works.

Mr Stewart:

– If Tasmania is overlooked it will be the fault of the Tasmanian Premier.

Mr Lazzarini:

– Could prejudice be carried so far as that?


– The Premier of Tasmania is quite capable of looking after the interests of Tasmania and Tasmanians. If Tasmania is not fairly treated in the allocation of money for public works, this Government will hear about it, not only from the representatives of that State in this chamber, but also from Mr. Ogilvie.

One thing that has come to me through my election to this Parliament is a gold pass over the railways; naturally I am rather proud to possess it, as I had the honour and privilege of defeating the only Minister of this Government who lost his seat in the election. I have examined this emblem rather closely, particularly that side of it which shows the outline of a map of Australia. Underneath that outline is a speck which I presume is intended to represent Tasmania. It seems to me that Tasmania has always been treated as a speck. Although a Tasmanian repre sentative is at the head of this Government, justice has not been meted out to that State. The Prime Minister has spoken with pride of the result of the election in Tasmania, but surely the loss by the Government of three Tasmanian seats in this House is an indication that the people of that State are not satisfied with the treatment they have received. The result of the election there does not justify any self-satisfaction on the part of the Prime Minister. During the election campaign, a person who is not a

Labour supporter wrote to me a letter in the course of which he said -

There is no doubt that the present Government is unduly influenced by capitalistic interests and although I am in the fortunate position of benefiting thereby I am very anxious to see a change.

There is, therefore, at least one honest man who, although he has benefited by the legislation passed by this Government in recent years, is anxious to see a change. That feeling is becoming more general throughout Tasmania. The talk of secession there may not need to be taken very seriously yet, notwithstanding that one State has already carried a referendum in favour of leaving the union ; but unless justice is done to Tasmania secession will become a live issue there. I do not desire to hear any talk of secession. I agree with what the honorable member for Denison (Mr. Mahoney) has said about unification. In some respects we have already achieved unification, and we shall certainly achieve it in other directions a little later.

Mr Price:

– If Tasmania seceded, could all its potatoes be sold within the State?


– The potatoes we grow over there are of high quality, and I believe that even if Tasmania seceded from the Commonwealth we should still be able to sell large quantities of them on the mainland. A good deal has been said at various times about the effects of the tariff in Tasmania. In consequence of the tariff schedules tabled by the Labour Government in 1931, the Tasmanian woollen and textile industries entered upon an era of prosperity such as they had never previously known. Employment increased and these industries flourished. But if there is any tinkering with the duties on textiles Tasmania will, undoubtedly, suffer. The industry is not quite so prosperous as it was a year or 60 ago, and any lowering of the duties will most adversely affect Tasmania.

The subject of shipping was mentioned bv the honorable member for Denison. Because of its insular position Tasmania’s lines of communication have suffered severely in consequence of ‘both the action and inaction of the Commonwealth Government. That remark applies to both shipping and telephonic lines. Freights and fares between Tasmania and the mainland are so high that the position is nothing short of scandalous. The Government is paying huge subsidies to -private shipping companies, but the people of Tasmania are not reaping any benefit from the expenditure. This problem should be tackled from a different angle. A new ship is to be put on the Tasmanian run in the next few months in respect of which an increased subsidy is to be paid; but I have heard of no proposal to reduce freights and fares. The result of the increased subsidy will be that the capital cost of the ship will be fully repaid to the company in five or six years. I suggest that there should be a thorough investigation of the affairs of the monopoly which controls shipping between the mainland and Tasmania with a view to ensuring that the people will be given a fair deal. During the election campaign the Prime Minister promised the people of Tasmania that certain amendments would be made to the Navigation Act if the Government were returned to power. I was therefore somewhat amused to read in the press recently that because Tasmania has returned three Labour men to the House of Representatives the Prime Minister did not intend to fulfil his promises in this regard. Had the right honorable gentleman really desired to make this alteration he would have caused an amendment of the Navigation Act to he passed by Parliament prior to the last election. It appears to me that his expressed wish to amend the coasting trade provisions of that act is not sincere.

In conclusion, I express the hope that something tangible will be done in the very near future to cope with the problem of unemployment, for it is of such paramount importance as to overshadow every other problem that faces us. “We must get our people back to work. I hope that the Government will immediately put in hand important national reproductive works so that the people now out of work will bo provided with employment, and a greater measure of prosperity and happiness restored to the country.


.- I support the amendment of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Scullin), because I believe that if it is agreed to, and the financial policy outlined in it put into operation, increased employment will be provided for the people. The proposals of the Government will not improve conditions.

A paragraph in the Governor-General’s Speech reads -

My advisers take pride in the fact that during the past two years Australia has, together with the United Kingdom, taken a leading place among the nations of the world in financial and industrial recovery. They also observe with satisfaction the consistent and substantial improvement in employment over that period.

How better can I describe that paragraph than as a succession of word* without meaning ? Words alone will not improve the conditions of the people of this country; actions are necessary. A government fresh from the electors should have a definite policy to place before Parliament; it should not be content with appointing committees, or by other means postponing matters from month to month, or even from year to year. The unemployment situation is so serious as to demand urgent attention by this Parliament; yet the- GovernorGeneral’s Speech contains no definite proposal to deal with it. It would appear, moreover, that no concrete proposal was submitted to the Loan Council in regard to unemployment, and it seems likely that this Parliament will run its term before anything worth while is done for the workless. The Speech states also -

The Government takes this opportunity to say that the partial recovery from the depression which has been achieved would not have been possible without the patriotic cooperation of the people as a whole, and especially the gallant fortitude of those who have been the keenest sufferers.

Are we to interpret that to mean that these unfortunate people are not likely to be given relief in their lifetime ? While the present Government remains in office the future holds little hope for them. A government which, during the last three years, did nothing to relieve the unemployment situation, is not likely to accomplish much in the future. I am particularly concerned with the hopeless prospect before the youth of this country, n our midst are thousands of young men and young women who have not had a day’s work since they left school, perhaps three, or even five, years ago. No more serious problem could face any country. At the previous election the electors were informed by the party now in office that so long as a Labour government was in office it was hopeless to expect a return to prosperity. They were urged to effect a change of Government, in which case they were promised that conditions would improve immediately. A good deal was then said about the restoration of confidence, but I am inclined to think that a confidence trick was played on the people. Prosperity has not been restored ; and the proposals outlined in the Speech will not restore it. There is little hope of better conditions returning unless the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Scullin) is agreed to. The existing unemployment cannot be remedied without the expenditure of money, and to that end the resources of the Commonwealth Bank should be utilized, as proposed by the Labour party. If money is borrowed from the private banks at exorbitant rates of interest, the burden on the people will be increased, rather than lessened. On every hand there is abundance of production, and it is anomalous that in a country so blessed by nature, men willing and anxious to work are forced to be idle, merely because money is not made available. I have here a number of letters from various government departments informing me that funds are not available to carry out various works which I have suggested. Among the many works which might be undertaken to relieve unemployment is the provision of better telephonic facilities in outback districts. Settlers in the sparsely populated areas should be provided with this modern convenience, the provision of which would create employment and, in time, prove a profitable investment. Although we are living in an age of invention and progress, our financial system has not emerged from the bullock-dray stage. If we are to retain the living standards of our people, we must revise our financial system, which alone is responsible for the existing chaotic conditions in which thousands are starving in a land of plenty.

The burden of interest presses heavily on the people, and it is not likely to be lightened while the present Government remains in office. It is significant that of the £84,000,000 raised by direct taxation, for the year ended the 30th June, 1934, £56,000,000 was needed to meet the Government’s bill for interest and exchange. In other words, £2 of every £3 raised by direct taxation was earmarked to meet these charges. We cannot continue to divert to those channels moneys which should be utilized to provide employment for our people. Yesterday’s issue of the Canberra Times contained the following passage in a report of a meeting of the Loan Council -

The seriousness of the situation is emphasized by an intimation thathas been given the Loan Council by the Commonwealth Bank Board to the effect that it is not prepared in any circumstances to finance governmental deficits in 1935-36 under existing arrangements.

The situation will not improve unless the Commonwealth Bank Act is altered. The Government is controlled by the banking institutions of the country, and it is time that a change took place.

One of the chief causes of unemployment is the mechanization of industry, and the resultant displacement of workers. The Sydney Sun of 18 th September states -

London, 18th September, 1934

Directors of the Austin Motor Company have declared a dividend of 100 per cent. on ordinary shares. Shareholders are also to receive three 5s. shares for each share held, involving the capitalization of £450,000.

In 1922 the building of an Austin motor car required the services of 55 men, whereas to-day machinery has “so displaced manual labour that only eight men are required to do the same work. At the same time the profits of the company are increasing and its shareholders are receiving greater dividends. Unfortunately, it is not necessary to go to London for examples of that kind, for here in Australia the same thing is taking place. To-day, at Broken Hill, 3,500 miners, working 35 hours a week, are producing 33 per cent. more ore than was raised a few years ago by 8,500 men, working 48 hours a week. The greater use of machinery in the mines is responsible for the bigger output to-day. From the time the ore is mined until it has passed through all its various treatments and the metal placed in the trucks ready for trans port, it is not touched by hand,all the various processes being mechanical. Is it any wonder that there are 2,000 unemployed in that centre? Unhappily, that serious state of affairs is chronic, rather than temporary. These unemployed miners must be placed in other occupations; a definite scheme for their relief must be found. Young men of the Broken Hill district who are not being absorbed in industry must be provided with work. A promise that something will be done for them in the sweet by and by is not sufficent; prompt action must be taken to assist them. I am reminded of a story told to me by a policeman at Bourke who was in charge of two prisoners accused respectively of disorderly behaviour, and horse stealing. He said that the men were discussing the punishments likely to be meted out to them. The man charged with disorderly behaviour asked the other what term of imprisonment his offence was likely to merit, and the horse stealer replied “ seven days “. He added that he thought he himself would receive a similar sentence; when the other expressed surprise, the horse stealer replied : “ I mean seven Christmas days “. I sincerely hope that the Government’s promise to do something quickly is not capable of a similar interpretation, and that its days are not measured in Christmas days. It is reported that the Colonial Sugar Refining Company proposes to distribute £7,500,000 among its shareholders by the issue of bonus shares, and that it has increased its production by the installation of additional modern machinery. Not long ago that company reduced the wages of its employees by 10 per cent. and is now making restoration to them at the rate of1d. a week. It is not right that a company should treat its employees in such a niggardly fashion and its shareholders so generously. These are matters with which the workers are most vitally concerned. With the introduction of modern machinery in industry, the workers have a right to expect a shorter working week and to be paid a rate of wages that will guarantee them a reasonable standard of comfort. Instead they are living under conditions of poverty and distress. I am. sorry to note that the members of the Country party are taking little interest in this debate. I realize, however, that this has been for them a day of great worry; but we expect that when the composition of the Ministry is settled the members of that party will give more earnest consideration to the important matters placed before them and attempt to do something definite to relieve the serious position which exists in Australia to-day. The Governor-General’s Speech contains no proposals designed to improve the position; we are merely told that the Government proposes to consider certain aspects, to enter- into discussions on other aspects, and to set up committees and commissions to consider yet other aspects. This is merely a policy of delay. Weeks and months will go by and nothing at all will be accomplished. We want action to be taken in the near future, not in the sweet by and by. It is useless for honorable members to endeavour to put the views of their constituents before Parliament, if Ministers arc not present to hear what we say. This amendment is the only practical proposal which has been put forward as a solution of the problems which confront the country. The Prime Minister (Mr. Lyons) spoke this afternoon of the large sums of money available at low rates of interest for investment in industry. The man on the land is not immediately concerned with the cutting down of overhead expenses so much as with relief of the actual debt position. A sheep-farmer who a few years ago borrowed, say, £2,500, when sheep were sold at 25s. a head, borrowed the equivalent of 2,000 sheep and would have been able to pay that debt off after two or three normal seasons. But having regard to existing prices of sheep and wool, 5,000 or 6,000 sheep are required to repay the same debt. Wheat farmers and purchasers of homes are in a similar dilemma. The wheat-farmer has to provide three bushels to repay a debt which, when contracted, was equivalent to only one bushel. Unless such debts are rearranged on a sound basis, these people receive no relief at all. I suggest that the debts should be treated in the same manner as the basic wage - that all private and public debts and mortgages should fluctuate in accordance with the movements of the cost of living index figures. For instance, a man borrows £1,000 when the index figure is 1,000; if the index falls to 700, the liability should be only £700. The man who receives the money would be repaid the present equivalent of what he lent, and the debtor would repay in the same measure as that in which he borrowed.


– The fluctuation of the debt would have to work both ways. There would then be no talk about inflation or deflation; all debts and mortgages would rise and fall automatically. Take the position of a man on a basic wage of £4 a week, who buys a home and pays something in the nature of £1 a week off his debt. If his wages fall by 25 per cent, he has a balance of only £2 instead of £3 with which to buy the commodities necessary for the maintenance of his home. In other words, his effective purchasing wage falls by 33 per cent, instead of 25 per cent., but the fixed charge in respect of his home is constant. Under the proposal submitted by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Scullin) some measure of relief would be afforded to these people.

I support the amendment in the earnest belief that it offers a solution of a pressing problem. I have been twitted by the Sun with being an earnest man. T am new to parliamentary life, but as I gain experience and courage in this environment, I hope to be a little more earnest, and, perhaps, even troublesome, to the Government of the day. The Sun writer said that probably ten years hence I shall display less enthusiasm. After only about ten hours in this chamber I am disgusted with the manner in which the affairs of the country are attended to. Members of the Government, instead of conferring behind closed doors, should be in attendance in the chamber to hear the views expressed by honorable members. Perhaps to-day they may be excused because many of them do not know whether they will be in the next Ministry or not; next week they will know their fate and possibly new Ministers will be more conscientious and attentive to their duty.


.- The fact that the Prime Minister has been the only member of” the Government to speak on this important amendment indicates the lack of interest in vital problems which the Government has displayed during the last three years, and which, obviously, will continue during the next, three years. This debate is probably the most important that will take place - during this session, perhaps the most important that will take place in the Parliament. Usually the debate on the Address-in-Reply is a formal matter, but on this occasion the Leader of the Opposition has moved an amendment, setting forth what the members of the Labour party believe to be the only practical method of dealing with the most important problem of unemployment. But so casually is this matter considered by members of the Government party that many of them are not sufficiently concerned to be present while the debate is proceeding, and few are prepared to participate in it. We have to realize that the world as a whole, and Australia in particular, has reached a stage which for many years wa3 not visualized, except in the wildest Utopian dream. At last machinery is doing the greater part of the work of mankind, but instead of that benefiting mankind, providing plenty for all, it is proving a curse. It presents a problem to the world. People refer to our money income, telling us that as income has fallen, we must all be prepared to make sacrifices. The position, however, i3 that in real wealth this country is richer than ever before. Even if we could export nothing we should still be in the fortunate position of being able to produce all the food and clothing that we need ; if we should not receive any imports at all, our people could still enjoy all the necessaries of life, and even’ some of the luxuries. Therefore, there is no need for us to wait for the rest of the world to solve the problem of unemployment. Here there is no shortage of real wealth, yet we see the paradoxical spectacle of poverty amidst plenty. That would be understandable if we had not learned to control the forces of nature. Poverty might be unavoidable if those resources dried up and the earth no longer provided a sufficiency for all. But there is no logical reason why in a country overflowing with the good things of life, every man should not have his share. The Labour party, in this amendment, proposes ‘what it believes to be the first step towards the achievement of a more equitable state of affairs. We believe that the most urgent need is reform of the monetary system. Secondly, the hours of labour should be lessened. As modern machinery has increased the productivity of the people one-thousand-fold, there is no intelligible reason why men should work 48 and 50 hours a week, make sacrifices and live more frugally. Apparently the more wealth we have in the form of goods, the less the people are to enjoy. Yet that contention is often used in place of logical argument by many of our so-called experts, economists, and even parliamentarians. They wrongly assume that the present economic system is the correct one ; then they proceed to show that it must function in this way. We say that the present economic system is not necessarily the best; it produces glaring evils and if we cannot mend it we must end it. The gibe is often hurled that the Labour party has never corrected these evils and in this respect is as blameworthy as its opponents. I point out, however, that the Labour party has not had control in both chambers of this Parliament for over eighteen years. During that period it has not been able to secure the passage of any measure, except by the grace of a hostile majority in the Senate. If the people of Australia will give us a real opportunity we shall speedily give effect to our policy of monetary and economic reform. Unfortunately, as a result of the last elections, it is now impossible that this party can have control in the Senate before the 1st July, 1938, at the earliest, unless in the meantime a double dissolution takes place, and there is no likelihood of that.


– What about giving it up, then?


– No, we intend to go on doing our best for the people. We are going to continue drawing attention to the faults of the Government, and, despite the tremendous press of numbers which the Government has at its back, we shall point out the economic fallacy of its policy in the hope that, when the opportunity comes, we shall obtain control. The danger is that the people, tiring of the masterly inactivity of the Government, will rise in revolution against the parliamentary system. If that should occur., it will not be as a result of communist propaganda, as honorable members opposite profess to fear; it will be because the Government persists in doing nothing while so many of our people are starving in one of the richest countries of the world.

The Prime Minister said this afternoon that the country had turned down the policy of the Labour party; that it had turned down the policy which we are putting forward to-day as an amendment to the proposals of the Government. The people of Australia did not turn down our policy; they turned down the lying distortion of our policy printed by the wealthy newspaper press, which puts the Government into power, and instructs it as to what it should do while it is in power. If the people of Australia were only given ‘a fair opportunity to consider dispassionately the policies of every party, there is no doubt that the La’bour party would be returned by an overwhelming majority. It is, however, always the unattached, unthinking vote which is bo easily stampeded when an election is taking place. At the last election it was once more stampeded to the detriment of the Labour party.

The present depression has been deliberately engineered by financial interests in Australia, in conjunction with similar interests in Great Britain operating through the Bank of England, as well as powerful financial forces in other parts of the world. It is a man-made depression, and if this Government, which should be the greatest power in the Commonwealth, but is not, chose to use its powers, it could quickly remove the depression altogether. There is not a fair-minded person listening to this debate, no matter how reactionary he may be, who can have the slightest doubt that, if war broke out to-morrow, millions of pounds would be found to finance it. The money would be found, not in tens of millions, but in hundreds and thousands of millions of pounds, and the supply of money would keep on until the war was over. To-day we are engaged in a struggle which is just as serious as the one which has come to be known as the Great War. We are engaged in a war against poverty. Whereas in the Great War, however, the sufferers were the able-bodied men, in this war the women and children are the victims, because they lack food and other necessaries.

Members of the Labour party are not alone in saying that there must be monetary reform. In June, 1933, the Southhampton Chamber of Commerce, in the course of a report by the Economic Crisis Committee, stated -

Thus, from whatever angle it is viewed, we have the situation of widespread industrial trade stagnation with -producers capable of production, and millions iu want of the very things which can be produced in abundance. On the prima facie evidence, the fault in the economic system lies in the machinery responsible for the transfer of goods from productive industry to individuals of the community. This link between production and consumption is money . . .

In order that it should function smoothly, the quantity of money should always be sufficient to provide the community with purchasing power to have access to the goods and services available . . .

Aa the creation of money by the banking system can be effected as and for any purpose they consider desirable, it would seem that a power nothing less than the control of the entire economic activity of the nation is vested in a private monopoly.

Members of this Parliament would not consider for a moment the vesting of our customs control or our national defence in private institutions, but we are quite willing to leave the control of our monetary system, and the control of our whole economic life, in the hands of private individuals. In order to understand why this country and others have adopted a course which, on the surface, appears inexplicable, it is necessary to explain that there are three great monopolies which control the economic life of the community. It is interesting to read a list of the activities of the sugar group, controlling, as it does, sugar, tobacco and gas. This group dominates New South Wales and Queensland. The companies associated with it are Bellambi, Wallsend, Caledonian, Hetton, Abermain, Seaham, and East Greta collieries; the timber trusts under Sir Allen Taylor, and the Belalie, Brindley, and Clark pastoral properties. With these are associated the Pastoral Finance Company and the two wool-broking firms known as Harrison, Jones and Devlin, and Pitt, Son and Badgery.

Mr Lane:

– The honorable member must be quoting from the Labor Daily.


– No, I am quoting from the Castlemaine Mail, a newspaper published by a former Nationalist member of the Senate, Senator Elliott, who was driven out of the party because of the publication of these very articles. A prominent part in the proceedings of the National Union which led to his expulsion was taken by the new Attorney-General (Mr. Menzies). Senator Elliott was driven out of the party, and steps were taken to see that he was not re-elected to the Senate.

Mr Menzies:

– The new AttorneyGeneral was not even a member of the National Union.


– No; hut he made several strong statements against Senator Elliott. Other intrests associated with this first group are Burns, Philp and Company; North Coast, South Coast, Newcastle and Hunter River shipping services; Sydney Ferries Limited ;. Amalgamated Wireless, Sydney Gas, Australian Drug (Investments) Limited ; Sydney Exchange and Finance ; Mort’s Dock and Engineering Company; Sydney Bulletin, Sydney Sun, and Sydney Daily Telegraph, Tooth’s brewery, Toohey’s brewery, and Anthony Hordern and Sons Limited. The same monopoly controls, or shares the control of, the Australian Mutual Provident Society, the Australian Mutual Fire Insurance Company, the Mercantile Mutual, the Perpetual Trustees, the Permanent Trustees, the United Insurance Company, and the Queensland Insurance Company, also the Australian interests in the English Indemnity Mutual and the Liverpool London and Globe Insurance Companies. It also controls three of the nine Australian banks, viz., the Bank of New South Wales, the Queensland National Bank, and the Commercial Banking Company of Sydney.

Mr Maxwell:

– Is the honorable member in a position to vouch for the truth of all this?


– In the first place, I am quoting from the Castlemaine Mail, and, in the second place, practically identical statements have been made by Mr. Molesworth, a university tutor in Queensland and a Workers’ Educational Association lecturer. The same facts are set forth in Money Power, a book written by Mr. F. Anstey, and in case any one should doubt that authority because it is written by a Labour man, I point out that similar statements appear also in a book written by Mr. Wilkinson, who wa» awarded a prize by the Sydney University in recognition of his work. These books are in the Parliamentary Library.

When we inquire into the names of the men controlling this monopolistic group we find that they are practically all prominently associated with anti-Labour activities. They include Jas. Burns, Adam and Jas. Forsyth, J. T. Walker, and J.’R. Fairfax of Burns, Philp and Company; Knox, Kater and Buckland of the Sugar Trust; Denison, Todman and Dixson of the Tobacco Trust; and Levy, Cohen. Moses and Myles of the Sydney and North Shore Gas combine. Linked up with these are the colliery, financial, and shipping interests of Samuel Hordern, David Fell. J. R. Robertson, and the Vickery family. They also include Sir Mark Sheldon, Sir Kelso King, Sir Henry Braddon, F. H. Tout, 6. E. Friend, and Brigadier-General Jobson. Associated with this group is Sir Hugh Denison, chairman of Associated Newspapers Limited, publisher of The Sydney Sun and the Sydney Daily Telegraph. The latter journal is the one which the Government pretended some little time ago to discipline; it is also the paper to which Ministers apologized so handsomely because it insulted the Government. This company recently acquired and suppressed The Evening News, and The World, and merged The Daily Guardian and The Telegraph. It publishes The World’s News. .Sir Hugh Denison is also a director of the Australian Paper and Pulp ‘Company Limited, and a member of the Union” Club. Mr. F. H. Tout is a director of the Australian Mutual Provident Society, and a member of the board of directors of Associated Newspapers Limited. He was recently elected as an anti-Labour representative to the Legislative Council for a period of twelve years. -Sir Henry Braddon was also elected a member of the Legislative Council, the term being six years in his case.

He is a member of the Union Club, which is well known as the head-quarters of the anti-Labour group.

Another monopoly controls the National Bank of Australasia and the Bank of Adelaide. One of the most prominent persons associated with the companies controlled by the metal group is the present chairman of the Loan Council, Mr. R. G. Casey. He was connected with the mining and engineering companies of the metal monopoly up till 1924, when he became political liaison officer in London between the British and Commonwealth Governments. He is a member of the Melbourne Club, and also of the Union Club, Sydney.

Another family interested in this group are the Baillieu’s, who are powerful in the Melbourne Herald group, which controls this Government, and instructs it what to do. “When this group says that there shall be. a coalition government, such a ministry is formed. When it says there shall not be a coalition, its order is obeyed. Senator Elliott, who votes with anti-Labour representatives, stated during the election campaign that twelve men in Melbourne control the Commonwealth Parliament. Mr, Clive Baillieu is the London representative of the family, and his father, the Honorable W. L. Baillieu, was a member of the Legislative Council of Victoria for 22 years. A glance over the following list of companies will give some idea of the grip this family has on the Australian community. Members of the family are on the directorates of Australian Knitting Mills, Carlton and United Breweries, Carlton Breweries, Castlemaine Brewery, Commercial Bank of Australia, English, Scottish and Australian Bank, Dunlop-Perdriau Rubber Company, and Electrolytic Zinc Company. When I was questioned as to my authority for my statements I omitted to mention the Herald Australian Year Boole, which is published by the Baillieu press. The honorable W. A. Watt, who for many years was an antiLabour representative in this Parliament, is chairman of Dunlop-Perdriau Rubber Company, and a director of the Mutual Life and Citizens Insurance Company, Rolfe and Company, Silverton Tramways and other companies. The metal monopoly, in “addition to controlling the Commercial Bank of Australia, the National Bank of Australasia, and the Bank of Adelaide, also controls numerous insurance companies and mortgage and investment companies.

The third monopoly is the overseas group, in which one of the most prominent companies is Patterson, Laing and Bruce, of which, according to press statements, the High Commissioner, Mr. Bruce, is still a member, contrary to the provisions of the High Commissioner Act.

Sir Henry Gullett:

– To what press statements does the honorable member refer ?


– Can the honorable gentleman deny what I have said ? Almost everybody knows that it is true; but, unfortunately, many members of Parliament either do not know it or pretend not to know it.

Sir Henry Gullett:

– Give some proof of it.

Honorable members interjecting,


– These exchanges across the chamber, although goodhumoured, are disorderly. The honorable member is entitled to be heard in silence.


– The overseas group controls a number of companies, including Dalgety and Company, which it is interesting to recall, required its girl employees in Brisbane to work on the day before the last election against Labour candidates, on threat of dismissal on the following Monday. Like the two other monopolies, the overseas group has its own three banks - the Bank of Australasia, the English, Scottish and Australian Bank, and the Union Bank of Australia. The tremendous power wielded by these monopolies is shown by the fact that one Minister - -Senator Massy-Greene - resigned from the Commonwealth Cabinet to take up the position of financial adviser to the Melbourne Herald.

Sir HENRY Gullett:

– Why not?


– This was done because it meant more money, and the exercise of greater power. He resigned from a position which is regarded as one of the highest in the gift of the people, and which many honorable members opposite are scrambling after at the present time.

Mr Gander:

– The honorable member for Corio remains in the Ministry without salary.


– It is obvious why that honorable gentleman is able to retain that position without pay. He is connected with the wealthy monopolies, and does not need to worry about a parliamentary salary, as do many other honorable members.

The head office of the Bank of Aus tralasia is in London, and one of its directors is Mr. Kenneth Goschen, who is a director of the Bank of England. He is also a partner in the firm of Goschen, Cunliffe and Company, foreign bankers. This shows how our banking system is linked up with that of Great Britain and the international banking system. Another director of the Bank of Australasia is Mr. Arthur Whitworth, who is also a director of the Bank of England. Another director, Mr. C. E. Barnett, is a director of Lloyds Bank, and another, Mr. C. G. Hamilton, is a director of the National Provincial Bank. Mr. Horace Peel, another director, is on the directorate of the Westminster Bank. The two Goschens are on the directorates of the National Provincial Bank and the Westminster Bank. A similar position is discovered in connection with the Union Bank, which has its headquarters in London. Several of its directors too are on the directorate of the Bank of England and other English and overseas banks. It is clearly seen that these people are merely carrying out the dictates of wealthy financial interests overseas. That is why the people of Australia are suffering as they are at the present time in the midst of prosperity. It is easy to see why the Government is much concerned about remitting taxation to the amount of millions of pounds to the representatives of those interests. Wo find that these men are also members of the Melbourne and Sydney Chambers of Commerce, the Chambers of Manufactures, and the Taxpayers Associations. They give orders to the press and control the banking and insurance systems. Through their various organizations they have obtained the reduction of Public Service salaries and of pensions, while for themselves they have secured the remission of millions of pounds of taxation.


– The honorable member’s time has expired.

East Sydney

– Judging by the lack of enthusiasm displayed on the Government benches during this debate I fear that honorable members opposite have failed to gain any inspiration from the Governor-General’s Speech ; so we can well imagine how difficult it will be for the unemployed to bo enthusiastic about it, despite the fact that the Government alleges that its proposals will assist that unfortunate section. The Government claims that it desires time to consider its plan of action. The Leader of the Opposition, in moving his amendment to the motion for the adoption of the Address-in-Reply, expressed the pious hope that the Government would be ready to co-operate with all sections in this House, forgetting political differences, in order to assist the unemployed. This sounds well enough, but let us analyse the position for a moment. Every honorable member represents certain interests, and it cannot be expected that those who represent the exploiters will be willing to confer and come to an agreement with those who represent the exploited section. I read the utterances of the Prime Minister (Mr. Lyons) in 1931, about the time when he “ saw the light “, and sacrificed his principles and his party. He claimed that the Scullin Government had failed to do anything for the unemployed, and gave that as the reason why he had left the Labour party. The Launceston Examiner of the 9th December, 1931, stated -

Mr. Lyons referred with impassioned sin cerity to the unemployment situation and condemned the Labour Government for having failed to do something for the solution of the problem. “ That, above anything, forced me to leave the party “, said Mr. Lyons.

Three years ago the Prime Minister evidently appreciated the difficulties of the unemployed, and realized the urgent necessity to do something to assist them. On the 4th December, 1931, he said -

By a change of government every man out of work will be brought nearer to employment. Restore confidence and the money will flow into industry. Men will begin to be employed and the whole thing will grow like a snowball.

All that the Government now proposes, after many years of consideration, is to have a further inquiry. The Prime Minister, when leading the last Government, appointed a subcommittee of the Cabinet to investigate this subject and advise the various Premiers of the States and the Commonwealth Government in regard to the best steps that could be taken. In March, 1932, the Prime Minister stated in this House -

The Government has ever since its assumption of office given close consideration to the subject of unemployment. As I indicated the other day we have sot up a special subcommittee of Cabinet which has already consulted with the authorities which our predecessors in office consulted. Although we propose to carry this investigation much further we have already reached the point at which we recognize the extreme urgency of the problem.

If in the future the Prime Minister makes the same progress in the solution of this problem as he has made in the past, he will be qualified to become one of that plague of economists and experts we nave in our midst to-day. There are other members and supporters of the Government who have suggested in this House and elsewhere, means of overcoming some of the difficulties with which we are confronted. Just after the last election, when members of the United Australia party were twitted by the Opposition with having made promises to the unemployed the honorable member for Adelaide (Mr. Stacey) said -

That charge does not lie against me for I made no promise, other than to give a fair deal to all sections. The unemployed have my sympathy.

That is all the unemployed have ever received from the members of the party opposite. The honorable member for Adelaide went on to say -

Arbitration awards could be suspended temporarily to enable a uniform wage to be paid throughout Australia. I am not in favour of low wages. If the wage were on the basis of the minimum wage in South Australia to-day, this expenditure would provide employment for 52,000 men for twelve months. If 50,000 men were given employment within the next twelve months, that would in turn give employment to 75,000, and probably 100,000 others.

He and other honorable members opposite know that honorable members are not in favour of low wages.

To prove our consistency we commenced by restoring a portion of our parliamentary allowance. The unfortunate feature of that transaction waa that whilst we dipped our hands into the Treasury to the extent of increasing our allowances by £75 per annum, some forgot all about the unemployed, the invalid and old-age pensioners and others who are dependent upon social services.

Let us consider for a moment the attitude of the members of the Country party who claim to be statesmen of outstanding ability, and quite capable of showing this country a way out of its difficulties. The right honorable member for Cowper (Dr. Earle Page) has on many occasions said that the unemployment difficulty could be overcome by placing those out of work on small allotments of land to produce their own foodstuffs, as was done during the crisis in the “ nineties “. Primary producers at present on the land are able to continue in occupation only by the payment of government subsidies in the form of bounties which are provided by taxing the remainder of the community. As primary producers are now producing commodities for which there is not a profitable market, it is ridiculous for members of the Country party to suggest that the number of primary producers should be increased; such a policy would result only in placing a still heavier burden upon the general community. I do not think that there is the slightest possible hope that all members of the House will co-operate in any practical scheme to deal with the unemployed problem. Honorable members opposite represent the employing class, while we on this side represent the workers and the producers in industry who heed immediate assistance. Ministerial members are only the spokesmen of those who are waxing fat on the efforts of the working class. In such circumstances, how can we expect co-operation? The supporters of the Government have said that under the present administration the unemployment position has improved. They base that assertion on the figures of the Commonwealth Statistician, but as stated by the honorable member for Werriwa (Mr. Lazzarini) and others, those figures cannot be accepted as a reliable guide to the actual position. The Assistant Treasurer (Mr. Casey), replying to a speech by the Leader of the Opposition on the Sth March, 1933, said-

The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Scullin) and the honorable members who sit behind him have shown clearly that they regard the figures published by the Commonwealth Statistician in relation to unemployment as accurate, and a true reflection of the unemployment situation throughout the Commonwealth. They say nothing, of course, about the basis upon which the figures are compiled. They do not tell us that they are compiled from returns furnished by certain unions only, or that a number of unions do not keep any close check on the figures from which they supply their information to the Commonwealth Statistician. I cannot believe that the figures produced by the Commonwealth Statistician with such trouble and travail are worth very much as an accurate reflection of the unemployment position in Australia.

Mr Scullin:

– But surely the honorable member will agree that at least they are accurate as a basis of comparison, taking year by year or quarter by quarter


– I doubt even that. Obviously it is to the interests of union officials to make the unemployment position appear as bad as possible. One may well ask why this method of compiling information in relation to unemployment has not been queried before; but it must be remembered that until the last three or four years our unemployement figures have not greatly concerned people in this country. It did not matter whether the percentage was five, six, or four and a half. For this reason no one quarrelled with the figures or interested himself very much in them. But in recent years they have become really important. If “the right honorable member has done nothing else in introducing this discussion he has made evident the great need for reform in the compiling of these figures.

I agree with the Assistant Treasurer, but for different reasons, that the figures supplied by the Commonwealth Statistican cannot be regarded as a reliable guide in assessing the number of unemployed in the Commonwealth.. A remarkable feature of the statement attributed to the Assistant Treasurer was that when the figures which represented the unemployed were only in the vicinity of 4^ to 6 per cent, nobody was greatly concerned. In those circumstances, of course, honorable members opposite would not be worried. It is true that when the unemployment figures are low, the Government and their supporters are not in the least concerned. They are not interested when the number of unemployed is so insignificant that it is not likely to affect their political positions.

But to-day, it is totally different, and they express a desire to do something, not because they have any compassionate feelings, but because the number has reached such dimensions that they are afraid that the unemployed having become sick and tired of’ promise* and of waiting will take the law into their own hands and secure what they need. Let us. take the Government’s own argument, which says that we depend upon private enterprise to supply 82 per cent, of the employment, and, therefore, must look to those controlling private interests to solve the problem of unemployment. Reading through the speeches of members of the Government and of the Country party, we find that they are continually harping upon the necessity to reduce the cost of production. If they are consistent in their arguments, who do they expect to provide the necessities of the unemployed? They will eventually be supplied by the workers in industry which will result in costs being further increased. Honorable members on this side of the chamber have devoted a great deal of time to endeavour to obtain assistance for the unemployed, and for those who are dependent upon them, but I am not foolish enough to become obsessed with the idea that all that is necessary is to obtain employment for the workless without having regard to the rates of pay or the conditions under which men shall labour. In this country, we have prided ourselves upon having provided a higher standard of living for our people than, it is alleged, prevails in any other country. I ask those honorable members who are sufficiently interested to read what was laid down by the late Mr. Justice Higgins in the Harvester Judgment in 1907. That judgment contains the following: -

The provision for fair and reasonable treatment is obviously designed for the benefit of the employees in the industry; and it must be meant to secure to them something which they cannot get by the ordinary system of individual bargaining with employers. The standard must therefore be something else, and I cannot think of any other standard appropriate - than the normal needs of the average employee regarded as a human being living in a civilized country.

I have heard honorable members opposite dilating upon the advantages of our arbitration system, and urging the necessity for workmen to accept the decisions of the Arbitration Court or similar industrial tribunals. When decisions are against the workers, honorable members give reasons why such decisions should be accepted. In 1920, the Government appointed a royal commission to inquire into the ‘basic wage, and after hearing evidence over a lengthy period the commission decided that the basic wage for Sydney should be £5 17s. Id., Melbourne £5 16s. 6d., Brisbane £5 6s. 2d., Adelaide £5 16s, Id., Perth £5 13s. lid., and Hobart £5 16s. lid. But effect was never given to those rates in the capital cities mentioned, because the government of the day said that owing to the difficulties surrounding the position and the inability of the industry to pay the rates determined such wages could not he paid. But, on another occasion, after an inquiry into the basic wage in New South Wales was conducted and a reduction was proposed, it was not suggested by any one in this Parliament or elsewhere that effect should not be given to the recommendation of the tribunal concerned. Apparently, the determinations of the Arbitration Court shall be acted upon only wilier* reductions of wages are recommended. We have been informed from time to time that industry cannot bear the additional cost imposed by the payment of higher wages. Industry has to meet charges other than wages, but, apparently, all other charges have to be met and the maintenance of wages is the last consideration. Those who invest, money in industry expect a full return before the claims of the workers are considered at all. An anti-Labour Government led by Mr. Bruce introduced an amending .Arbitration Bill which provided that before higher wages were awarded, their effect upon the industry concerned should be taken into account’. Apparently those who had invested their, money were to receive the maximum return possible regardless of the interests of tho workers who provided the wealth which the investors collected. Those controlling an industry may decide to water its capital, and pay profits into hidden reserves over a period of years. For instance, by a stroke of the pen the Colonial Sugar Refining Company can increase its capital by millions of pounds. Those who provide the capital expect a return on their original investment, and also on their bonus shares. Who is to pay the additional amount required to provide this return? Is the burden to be placed on the workers in the industry? On the next occasion when the employees of the Colonial Sugar Refining Company appeal for higher rates of pay and better conditions, the representatives of that company will contend that unless a certain rate of interest is being paid on the capital invested, real and imaginary, the workers cannot expect any higher rates. In these circumstances, there is little prospect of anything being done to assist the unemployed. Honorable members opposite express pious hopes, but they do not act. The unemployed problem in Australia is worse to-day than it has ever been. Let us examine the sustenance payments in the various States of the Commonwealth. In New South Wales a single man receives 5s. 6d. a week and a married couple 9s. 6d. a week; the maximum payment for a family of ten is 36s. 6d. a week. And this notwithstanding the dictum of the late Mr. Justice Higgins that the workers of this country should receive wages compatible with a decent standard of living as citizens of a civilized community ! In Victoria the amount of relief ranges from 6s. a week for single men to 29s. a week for a married couple with eight or more children. In Queensland the scale is slightly higher, ‘due, I understand, to the fact that there is a Labour government in control in that State. In South Australia a single man receives 5s. 3d. a week, and a married couple 10s. 6d. ; but if there are four children they receive 20s. lOd. The average amount allowed for each child is 2s. 7d. a week. In Western Australia the amount of relief granted to an unemployed married man is 7 s. per member of his family, with a maximum of 49 s. a week. Children over fourteen years of age are not eligible for relief. A Bingie man is allowed two meal tickets a day. Apparently it is believed that an unemployed single man does not require so much food as a man in employment, [f the unemployed are homeless they are allotted free board and lodging in a camp which is appropriately named Black Boy Hill camp, and are allowed ls. a week in return for services rendered in cleaning up and doing the necessary work about the camp. In Tasmania the amount of relief granted ranges from 6s. a week for single men to 37s. Sd. a week for a married couple with nine children. The Government has always met criticism concerning these payments by pleading that it has no jurisdiction over the amount of relief granted by the various State governments. It cannot make this claim in respect of the Federal Capital Territory, so it will have to find some other explanation for the inadequate allowance to unemployed in the Federal Capital Territory of 6s. 3d. a week for single men and up to 28s. 8-jjkl. a week for a married couple with eight children. I am at a loss to understand how this last figure is arrived at, particularly the odd halfpenny, but I assume it is the result of a careful calculation by economic experts who, possibly, estimate how many slices of bread each unemployed worker is supposed to consume daily and whether he is entitled to have butter or margarine on his table.

Although we discuss frequently in this Parliament the troubles of the unemployed, I wonder how many honorable members supporting the Government really understand what unemployment means to the workers of this country - what misery they suffer and how degrading i3 the system of food relief. Only the Labour representatives in this Parliament have a true understanding of the position. Knowing how desperate is the plight of the workers I am astounded that they have been so patient. Members of this Parliament are not held in respect by the great mass of the workers, who now realize that they have been too long deluded into thinking that Parliament can assist them. They know now that the powerful financial interests, which really control this Government, are not desirous of doing anything to relieve them, and they are especially resentful of the procedure adopted by the various tribunals established, allegedly, to safeguard the wage-earners’ standard of living. Articles of apparel worn by wives of the workers arc sometimes examined in open court and estimates made as to what each should cost and how long it should last. How many supporters of the Government would care to see apparel worn by their wives exhibited publicly and hear arguments as to how much should be worn and what it should cost? Yet that is the treatment to which the workers have to submit so often in Arbitration Court proceedings.

The Government in defending its failure to relieve unemployment claims that it is an international problem. Everyone knows that international capitalism is responsible for the present situation throughout the world, and that relief will not come until we abolish the system under which goods are produced for profit instead of for use. Naturally enough no one will invest capital in industry merely for the sake of employing people. The underlying motive must be an adequate return on the capital expenditure, and this can be secured only by marketing at profitable prices surplus goods produced by the workers. Hitherto, because of the comparatively free flow of international trade, private enterprise has been able to dispose of its surplus production. But the position has altered within recent years. Practically every country now has surplus products to export, but cannot find buyers for its goods. Some Government supporters have suggested that the removal of tariff barriers will ease the situation, and the GovernorGeneral’s Speech contains a. reference to’ proposals to negotiate further trade agreements with foreign countries. I invite the Prime Minister to tell the House how it will be possible to do this and, at the same time, observe the terms of the Ottawa agreement, which provides special opportunities for British manufacturers to market their products in this country in return for certain alleged advantages conferred upon Australian primary producers in British markets. It is an axiom that imports are paid for by exports. If, therefore, we give to the Mother Country an expanding share of the Australian market, how will it be possible to grant additional concessions to foreign countries without to some extent violating the terms of the Ottawa agreement? This is a problem that faces the Government, and it is one reason why we contend that the ministerial policy contains no hope for the unemployed. All they can expect is sufficient sustenance to keep them passive, in the hope that perhaps their position will be bettered in the future. I agree with the Prime Minister that our difficulties will not be solved merely by the release of credit, because, as he pointed out, the private banks would be only too willing to expand credit if profitable avenues for investments were available. Private enterprise cannot solve this problem. The mere fact that the Prime Minister mentioned the difficulty is conclusive evidence that we shall have to find some other way out of our troubles. The raising of further loans to provide work will merely mean an increase of the interest burden a.nd a postponement of the day of reckoning. The load of public debt will increase from year to year, and eventually will crush the people unless they resolve to throw it off their shoulders.

As a member of the Labour party I welcome this opportunity to discuss the Government’s proposals. Many honorable members are new to this chamber, and I have no doubt that they have come here in the belief that they can do something to restore prosperity to this country. Before he deserted the Labour party the Prime Minister enunciated opinions similar to those which I am expressing to-night. I have been told, and I have no reason to doubt the truth of the statement, that at an early stage in his political career the right honorable gentleman was so revolutionary and so outspoken in his criticism of existing institutions under which the people were suffering, that he became a member of an organization known as the Industrial Workers of the World. He has since graduated. In the first place the right honorable gentleman left the Industrial Workers of the World because itdid not believe in parliamentary action, and he knew that while he remained a member of it he could not enter either the Commonwealth Parliament or the State Parliament of Tasmania. So he graduated into this House as a member of the Labour party and, ultimately, graduated to the other side, where to-day he leads an anti-Labour administration. Kb is prepared to-day to sacrifice every principle for which he fought in the past.

I would say to young members of the Parliament that if they want to do something to assist the country they must get down to fundamentals. Let us deal first with the causes of unemployment, and determine them once and for all. The honorable member for Cook (Mr. Garden) pointed out that because of improved methods of production - the invention of new machinery, &c. - unemployment had increased. That is quite true, but as the honorable member mentioned, the trouble is that those who control improvements in the methods of production desire particularly to use them for the benefit of the few, instead of for the betterment of the whole of the people of Australia. We can cure unemployment. The problem is by no means insolvable. If the Government had a real desire to solve it, it could readily do so; but not without an alteration of the existing economic structure. While we have production for profit we shall always have unemployment. It i-s the desire of honorable members opposite, and the interests which they represent, that there shall always be an army of unemployed - not too large an army, since in that case it would become a menace - but such an army as makes it possible to compel workers in industry to accept reduced wages and working conditions. That is what is happening to-day. I invite honorable members to read Hansard. Reference to the official reports of the parliamentary debates will show that practically every member opposite has talked again and again of the burdens on industry. The honorable member for Calare (Mr. Thorby) said that if rural industries in New South Wales were to be rehabilitated it would be necessary to relieve them of some of the burdens under which they laboured, and the burdens which he particularized were those which, he said, were imposed by the Hut Accommodation Act, the Workers Compensation Act, and the Rural Workers Award. If the workers are prepared to accept such a low living standard as that laid down by the honorable member for Calare and supported by members of the Country party generally, then I can only say that they are easily satisfied.

The Prime Minister described as “ wild cat schemes “ some of the suggestions made by the honorable member for “Werriwa (Mr. Lazzarini). Let me invite the House to examine at least one suggestion made by the honorable member for Calare. He urged the Government to make advances to farmers from some of the moneys raised by the unemployment tax. Many of the farmers, he said, were anxious to fence their land, to place. additional areas under cultivation, and to carry out necessary works on their holdings. If money so raised were made available to them free of interest, he declared, they would proceed with such works, and employment would thus be created. I emphasize the point that the money was to be advanced free of interest. When honorable members of the Labour party urge that the Commonwealth Bank should make available for national works money free of interest, we are told by the Nationalists and the Country party that it is quite wrong. On the other hand, they assert that it would be quite right to make advances to farmers free of interest. I think it was the honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Maxwell) who inquired, while the honorable member for Calare was speaking, what security the farmers would be prepared to give for such advances. The reply he received was that all that should be asked only to give their word that they would repay the money so lent to them. If such a fund is to be established I hope that politicians will not be debarred from participating in it ! Many honorable members would be prepared to accept loans from the fund on the same terms. According to the Prime Minister and members of the Country party, wild cat schemes come only from members of the Labour party! Our views may seem to some to be a little extreme. As a matter of fact, the truth when first advanced does appear to some people, at the first blush, to be rather extreme; but while the Government and their supporters are playing the part of the ostrich - burying their heads in the sand and declaring that things are getting better - the position of the unemployed, as a matter of fact, is getting much worse. I believe that in the future the patience of the workers will be exhausted. We cannot condemn them if it is. I for one would not be prepared to condemn them. Rather would I assist, them. What does unemployment mean to honorable members opposite ? They view it only as it affects the budgetary position of the investments which they and those whom they represent make in various enterprises. They have no regard to the degree of misery and suffering that unemployment causes in the homes of the workers. I suggest to honorable members opposite that if they wish to ascertain for themselves what unemployment actually means to the country, they should visit our industrial areas, enter the homes of the workers and note the wretchedness it involves. Let them see little kiddies setting out for school ill-clad, famished and almost fainting for lack of sufficient nourishment. That is the sort of thing that unemployment means and yet we allow it to exist in a country where there is sufficient for all.

Mr. SPEAKER (Hon. G. J. Bell).Order ! The honorable member’s time has expired.


.- At the outset I desire, Mr. Speaker, to congratulate you upon your elevation to the chair, and to express my belief that you will dispense justice to all sections of the House.

I intend to support the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Scullin), to the motion for the adoption of the Address-in-Reply, believing that its submission was necessary because of the lack of interest shown by the present Government in matters of vital concern to the country. When the Lyons Government -first met Parliament in 1932, the Prime Minister was then very hopeful that as the result of its policy the unemployment situation would be greatly improved. But after having been in office for three years the most he can claim for his ‘administration is that during that period unemployment has fallen from 30 per cent, to 21 per cent. I remind the House that while the Prime Minister has been in control of the affairs of the Commonwealth the price of wool has increased and that that fact in itself has been responsible for a reduction in tho unemployment figures. The Government can take to itself no credit whatever for having given any assistance to the primary producers. The wool industry - one of the biggest exporting industries of Australia, which gives employment not only in the pastoral districts, but also along the waterfront - for a long period suffered low prices. The returns received by wool-growers was not sufficient to pay for the cost of production. Yet this Government did nothing to secure for them any relief in the direction of reduced rates for the transport of their wool overseas. In 1932 the wool producers represented to the Lyons Government that there should be a reduction in these charges, but nothing was done hy it to bring about: a reduction. In the GovernorGeneral’s Speech, the Ministry promises that steps will be taken for the relief of unemployment; but those of us who have been here for the last three years will have little confidence in the statement. For the last five years this Parliament has been told that the responsibility for the relief of unemployment rests with the State Governments. The State Governments, however, during that period have found it very difficult to meet their commitments, whilst, on the other hand, the revenues, of the Commonwealth Government have increased. It has had the benefit of all-round decreases in expenditure, including reductions of old-age and invalid pensions and other social services, and the wages of its employees. In the last two or three years this country has produced more goods - wool, wheat, and fruit and other foodstuffs - than it had produced in any previous similar period. Yet while our production has been greatest, 25 per cent, of our people have been starving. While the primary producer has been unable to sell a big proportion of his goods, these people have been unable to secure sufficient food and clothing to keep body and soul together. Thousands are living on doles. In some States so much weekly is allowed for a married man and his wife, and so much for each child. In other States single men are allowed 6s. a week and given the privilege of walking from police station to police station before they can receive rations. Another big army of unemployed is constituted of the youths who are leaving school each year. I was informed by the Commonwealth Statistician last year that 55,000 boys and 50,000 girls leave school each year in Australia and do not register for employment and that of the boys, about 30,000 are placed in employment. If I were convinced that there was any practical proposal in the GovernorGeneral’s Speech which demanded serious attention, I would say to the Government; - “ Let us get on with the job. “ There is plenty of work of a reproductive nature to be done in this country. But the people, including the primary producer, will continue to suffer while we simply tax those in employment - in some cases to the amount of ls. in the £1 - in order to pay a miserable pittance of 6s. a week to those out of employment. In the last ten years this country has increased its production by 50 per cent. ; yet 37 per cent, less labour is required for the production of our goods. As a result of the introduction of machinery many people have been displaced from industry.

In reply to the- right honorable the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Scullin) the Prime Minister (Mr. Lyons) stated that his party had been returned to power and had been given a mandate to carry on the business of this country. Yet, subsequent to the moving of the Opposition’s amendment, the Prime Minister discovered that he did not have a majority in this House, and knowing that the amendment would have to be supported by members of the Country party, he immediately adjourned the sittings of this chamber in order to enter into fresh negotiations with that party for the formation of a composite Government. Ever since the election the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Country party (Dr. Earle Page) have been in consultation, bartering office for support. We know that in the first instance the right honorable member for Cowper demanded three portfolios and the Speakership for Country party members. However, he did not get everything to his liking, and the negotiations broke down. The position did not look promising at one period but on the opening day of the session, the negotiations were resumed, and as a compromise, a United Country party member was elected

Speaker, and a member of the Country party Chairman of Committees. An adjournment of the House and an allnight conference of representatives of the two parties followed the moving of this amendment. As the result of that conference, I understand, it will be necessary for this House to hear the GovernorGeneral deliver another policy speech on behalf of the Government as we know that the Leader of the Country party does not believe in the policy of the right honorable the Prime Minister. Nor can we expect the right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes) to work agreeably in partnership with the right honorable member for Cowper (Dr. Earle Page). There is no love lost between those two gentlemen. I understand that if the proposed re-shuffle in the Cabinet takes place, the representation of Queensland in the Ministry will be changed. It is freely rumoured that the Queensland member who now holds an assistant ministership - which is thought fo be quite sufficient for Queensland - is to be displaced by a member of the Country party. I would like to interpose here that it is high time that Queensland was represented in the Cabinet by a full Minister. 1 am surprised that in choosing his Ministers the Prime Minister has again dropped his avowed policy of preference to returned soldiers. The Government party includes the honorable member for Lilley (Sir Donald Cameron) who was recognized as one of the capable supporters of the Bruce-Page Government. His claim to ministerial rank has been overlooked. If Dame Rumour is right, I appreciate the prospective appointment of a country member to the Cabinet, because it raises my hope3 of getting some consideration for the requests of country residents for improved mail services and telephonic communication. Since I became a member of this House five years ago, I have written nearly 200 letters to the Postal Department, hut despite the glowing promises made by the Government to relieve unemployment, every request for improved telephonic and mail services in country electorates has been met with the reply that the financial position of the Government will not permit of such works being undertaken.

I know that other country members have had a similar experience. Having heard a good deal in regard to the confidence that has been established overseas, I was surprised when, this afternoon, I saw in the newspaper Sunraysia, of the 24th October, an article headed “ How London Views Canberra “Pungent Criticism from the Observer”; “ Strong Action Needed.” I understand that this newspaper is owned and controlled by a member of the United Country party. It is difficult to distinguish between members of the different parties that are opposed to the Labour party. In Queensland their title is the Country Progressive National party; in New South Wales, it is the United Australia party and the United Country party; in South Australia they have another tag; and in Western Australia I believe there is now the Secessionist Country party.

Mr Forde:

– Was not Senator Elliott supported by Dr. Earle Page in the last election campaign ?


– Whoever supported him wa3 not of much use to him. This article read -

If the Federal Government is not completely blind to the dangers which now threaten the economic safety of Australia, it may act upon a very broad hint from London. This friendly advice is given by the London Observer in ite issue of 2nd September; and the strength of the Observer’s voice may be judged by the fact that Lord Milne, who is in Australia at present, recently referred to Mr. J. L. Garvin, its editor, as “ the foremost writer on world affairs in Great Britain.” This is what the Observer had to say: “Lancashire is convinced that the opening secured at Ottawa for its cotton exports has been deliberately obstructed by the Commonwealth Government. That Government at one moment pleads the findings of its Tariff Board - whose advice it has rejected on countless other occasions. Then it alleges lack of Parliamentary authority - which it has found no difficulty in dispensing with in parallel cases. Lancashire feels that it has been first denied its rights, and then trifled with. The resolution to boycott Australian goods in default of immediate redress is a spontaneous outcome of deep resentment. Both Australia and the Empire may pay dearly in the long run for any electioneering profit expected from these manoeuvres.

The article went on to deal with the policy of the United Australia party, and referred to the shuffles that were likely to take place in the ranks of the Government. It said that the present Prime

Minister waa likely to be shelved, and that the Attorney-General was to be put in his place. It claimed that such a change would not be very beneficial because, although the Prime Minister supports city interests and obeys the dictates of a little coterie of twelve persons in Melbourne at the expense of the people who live in the country districts, the honorable member for Kooyong (Mr. Menzies) is a member of the Melbourne Club, and has no sympathy -with rural interests. It suggests that the honorable member for Wakefield (Mr. Hawker) might be commissioned to form a government, and asserts that fourteen members of the United Australia party are prepared to support his claims. This honorable member left the Lyons Ministry over that big national issue, the restoration of 5 per cent, of the “ cut “ that had been made in the allowances to honorable members of this House. Ho does not stand for increasing wages, being a member of the old school that believes in low wages. One can well imagine the feelings of those who, because of the impending reshuffle, have not much longer to live. Their position is somewhat analogous to that of ten Italians who on one occasion were sent by train to either Innisfail or Mackay to work during an industrial disturbance. An individual who had been engaged to scare them off walked along the train and, dramatically drawing his fingers across his throat, murmured “ So soon now.” One can imagine what a keen critic the honorable member for Balaclava (Mr. White) would become of those with whom he has served so long, should he happen to be beheaded. I understand, however, that such a calmity is not likely to befall him. I regret that other Ministers do not feel so comfortable. Already there has been a little dissension on account of the beheading of the gentleman who, in the last Government, was Minister for the Interior. I notice that the honorable member for Wentworth (Mr. E. J. Harrison) is not looking so cheerful as he was 24 hours ago, the reason probably being that the axe is suspended over his head. The right honorable member for Cowper (Dr. Earle Page) is to be congratulated upon having succeeded in raising himself and three of his colleagues from the rank and file. It must be very galling to the right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes), who served this nation as Prime Minister during a crisis from 1916 to 1918, to feel that he is to .be subjected to the dictatorship of the right honorable member for Cowper. It must be galling also to the honorable member for Henty (Sir Henry Gullett) to be obliged to serve under a gentleman whom he once described as “ the tragic Treasurer.” I am sure that the primary producers of this country cannot view with complacency the return to office of the honorable member for Gippsland (Mr. Paterson), from whose administration in a previous Government they derived practically no benefit. I am sorry that the honorable member for Parramatta (Mr. Stewart) is likely to lose his place in the Ministry. I say in all sincerity that during his tenure of office he has been one of the best men in the Cabinet with whom I have had business transactions. I have found him able to make decisions without previously consulting officers of his department. He has not found it necessary to ring up the office boy to ascertain whether he may allow a butter factory in a country district to do certain things, and when he has arrived at a decision, he has had the courage to stand by it. It takes days to obtain information from some other Ministers. Only yesterday, I approached the Department of the Interior to learn when it was likely that a Mr. Rodgers would return, and was advised that it was the function of the Minister for Development (Senator McLachlan) to supply that information. I communicated with Senator McLachlan’s office and discovered that the honorable gentleman was absent. During the last eight days the Senate has sat for four hours, and this House has sat for twenty hours, or at the rate of a little more than two hours a day. Senator McLachlan’s secretary said that I could get the information I desired from Mr. Smith, of the Prime Minister’s Department. But Mr. Smith was absent from Canberra. I was told that he would return this morning and would communicate with me. Mr. Smith has informed me that it is not known where Mr. Rodgers is, but he is expected to return to Australia in December, or early in January. Mr. Rodgers is employed by the Government as a sort of oil expert, and is now overseas looking at the American oil wells. Probably when he returns to Australia he will be able to tell us how to sink oil wells, but whether he will be able to tell us where to look for the “ good oil “ is quite another matter.

I wish briefly to discuss the conditions of the mining industry. The value of the gold production of Australia has increased during the last year from ?1,000,000 sterling to ?6,000,000. This Government, in a moment of generosity, promised that it would make ?5,000 a year available to the State Governments for the development of the gold-mining industry. It has had Dr. Woolnough flying over Australia ostensibly to find promising mining fields. That gentleman has rediscovered Charters Towers, which in past years produced millions of pounds worth of gold; and he has also rediscovered Croydon and Lolworth, which were discovered by the prospectors 40 or 50 years ago. If the Government really desired to encourage the mining industry it would show a little more generosity to the prospector who to-day is provided with only ?1 a week. By the time he has purchased a packet of fracture and a few caps he has insufficient money left to buy food for himself. He is forced to leave his wife and family behind him when he goes prospecting. Adequate assistance to prospectors would lead to substantial developments in the mining industry, for the prospector has, in the past, been responsible for all the principal gold discoveries. There is too much mining and prospecting done in Pitt-street, Sydney; Queen-street, Brisbane; and in Collins-street, Melbourne. Although there is a great need for the provision of employment in Australia, we have not half a dozen emergency landing-grounds in the continent. In such circumstances, how can the members of the Government expect to be taken seriously when they talk about defence? This Government has done more than any other Commonwealth Government to depopulate Northern Queensland.

I wish to revert, for a few moments, to the situation in Canberra. I shall not claim any originality for my remarks in this connexion, for I intend to quote paragraphs from an article in one of the newspaper organs of the Country party which, in my opinion, put the position very clearly and tell us who will become the next general of the “spare parts” of the United Australia party. That expression, by the way, is not original. I believe it was first used by the present Minister for Defence (Mr. Parkhill). The newspaper refers to the next shuffle of the political cards, and suggests that the modest Mr. Hawker may before very long be put in charge of the administration of the Commonwealth. The report reads -

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Will Mr. Perkins Join Country Party?

Situation at Canberra.

From the point of view of the United Australia party things are not well at Canberra, and Mr. Joseph Aloysius Lyons seems like unto Lucifer, who fell “never to rise again.” Mr. Lyons has been a political acrobat for long enough. He has within two sessions of Parliament espoused the ideas of both Right and Left Wings. Is this the attitude of a man who acta by the dictates of hie conscience? On the other hand, might it not be the opportunist tactics of one who sees before him a position more glorious than that of a country school teacher if he does but act as a weathercock to the opinion he thinks will load Parliament.

Mr. Lyons is finished. There can be no begging the question. He has failed in a situation that lent itself to any man with the smallest pretence to statesmanship. Overawed ashe is by the National Union and by Mr. R. G. Menzies, who is the high priest of that sacrosanct body, this Tasmanian schoolmaster, once a Labour politician, has ignored the call to statesmanship.

So we may look forward to the early displacement of the present Prime Minister by Mr. Menzies. Looking still further ahead, we may anticipate that, when the Country party again becomes dissatisfied with the policy of the United Australia party, Mr. Menzies will be displaced by Mr. Hawker. This is what the present Prime Minister calls stable government. By this means he expects to restore confidence; but this is not the kind of government that Australia requires.

This afternoon the Prime Minister boasted that three Government senators had been returned in each State of the Commonwealth; but if he examines the primary votes cast for Senate candidates, he will find that the majority of such votes were not polled for the candidates of his party. The primary votes polled for candidates of the Country party, the State Labour party, and the Federal Labour party exceeded those polled for the candidates of the United Australia party. Thus it will be seen that the Prime Minister’s boast that his party had returned three senators in each State is not in accordance with the facts. If the right honorable gentleman has many more victories of the kind he experienced at the last election, disaster will overtake him. I believe that the first time a Labour candidate opposes him in his own constituency he will join the ranks of the other Labour men who walked out of the Labour party caucus room with him three years ago.


– I do not know about that, for I remember that he said on one occasion that an interstate commission would be useless.

I hope that the right honorable gentleman is sincere in his desire successfully to attack the unemployment problem, and that his success in that regard in the next three months will be greater than his success during the previous three years. Otherwise, God help the unemployed people of this country.


.- I support the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Scullin), for it offers the only solution of the great problem confronting this country. As previous speakers have pointed out, the unemployed are tired of hearing promises; they want action. The figures quoted by the Prime Minister, in an endeavour to show that during the present Government’s term of office unemployment has decreased, are exclusive of relief workers, many of whom are working under conditions for which they are entirely unsuited.

Since the Governor-General delivered bis Speech there have been rumours of further changes in the Ministry. It is stated that members of a mutinous crew will assist to form a composite ministry. The formation of a coalition ministry is the more strange when one recollects how members of the United Australia and

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Country parties have criticized one another. The right honorable member for Cowper (Dr. Earle Page) who, it is said, is to be the Deputy Leader of the Government, is an ardent freetrader.- On one occasion he was described by the honorable member for Henty (Sir Henry Gullett), a member of the present Ministry, as “Australia’s most tragic Treasurer “. The Prime Minister pro-, poses to welcome as a colleague the leader of a party which he said, according to the Melbourne Argus of the 17 th March last, had made a change in its policy behind the backs of the people a condition of its co-operation in the Ministry. The Prime Minister does not seem to realize that he himself is making a change behind the back of Parliament, and even without the knowledge of some of the members of his own party. It ill becomes him to criticize the leader of the Country party. In Hansard of the 23rd July, 1931, the Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. White) is reported to have said -

The Country party, being a sectional party, places the interests of the primary producer first, last, and always, without regard to the claim of others. So long as it can further the interests of the farmers, it is prepared to disregard the consumers.

The honorable member for Maranoa (Mr. Hunter), who, according to rumour, will be in the new ministry, is reported in the Melbourne Argus of the 2nd January, 1932, to have said -

The Country party will rightly be afraid to trust any Nationalist promises. The Country party has been sold a “ pup “ by a man who had been on the anti-socialist side less than a year after a lifetime with Socialists.

Senator Hardy, another prominent member of the Country party, speaking at the Western Divisional Conference of the Country party at Orange, made a vigorous attack on the Lyons Government. He described it as -

A government blinded* by the dazzle of vested interests. It was a monument to the people’s bad judgment.

The Attorney-General (Mr. Menzies) expressed his view on the 17th March, 1933, when he said that he intended to hit where there was a head, whether it be that of an opponent or of an erstwhile colleague. I remind the honorable gentleman that he will be likely to strike the air on many occasions, for a number of

Government followers are most elusive. According to the Melbourne Age of the 16th March last, the Premier of Victoria, speaking of the Country party, said in September, 1933 -

The Country party has done practically nothing for the general development of the State. It has merely bargained for whatever it can get for itself at the expense of the community.

During the recent election campaign, the leader of the County party, who is to be the Deputy Leader of the new Government, said that the Lyons Government was a government of lost opportunities, and that since it came into office unemployment had increased. In the Melbourne Age of the 15th March, 1934, Mr. Allnutt, a Country party member who represents Mildura in the Victorian Parliament, is reported to have said -

A majority of the Parliamentary (Country) party is definitely under the control and dictatorship of the United Australia party. The Parliamentary (Country) party cannot be relied upon. My advice to conference is not to trust the political leaders any longer.

In view of the decision to form a coalition government, the publicity bulletin issued by the Prime Minister’s Department on the 2nd July, 1934, is interesting, because of its condemnation of the Country party.

It begins -

The following is a summary of a statement made by the Prime Minister ( the Right Honorable J. A. Lyons, M.P.) during a recent visit to Tasmania. It answers much of the Country party’s criticism of the Government’s marketing and tariff policies, and summarizessome of the results of the Government’s work.

The bulletin then proceeds to point out the fallacy of the argument that, by lowering customs duties, a new era in Empire trade will be ushered in. It states that such a policy shows an utter disregard of the fact that factories are closing, thereby causing further unemployment, and of the fact that workers in secondary industries consume 55 per cent. of our primary products. The Country party has adopted a very one- sided policy, and its members are prepared to sacrifice Australian industries in an endeavour to secure a greater share of the markets of Great Britain. The Prime Minister said further -

Great Britain, rightly or wrongly, has decided to encourage her agriculture to the highest possible pitch of production . . . Those who urge that the solution of our marketing difficulties is to be found in reduced tariffs for our secondary industries surely have forgotten what recently happened when New Zealand - which is not a manufacturing country - made a similar proposal to Great Britain. Briefly, what New Zealand proposed was that, in return for free entry of British manufactures, there should be free entry into Britain of New Zealand products, chiefly dairy products. This proposal, so similar to that which is being canvassed in Australia to-day by a small section, was not accepted by the British Government.

I think that that is a complete answer to the Country party’s policy of reducing Customs duties. Members of this House are not aware of what bargaining has been indulged in by the Country party which at one time said it had no desire to join a composite Ministry. The members of that party refused the invitation of the Prime Minister to join the United Australia party in the formation of a coalition Ministry, saying that the Country party was concerned, not with portfolios, but with results. But what do we find to-day? We are given to understand that the allocation of portfolios loomed largely in the negotiations which took place, and that the right honorable member for Cowper has been able to dictate his own terms with the result that he will be Deputy Prime Minister in the new Ministry. It is difficult to reconcile the definite statements made by those members of the Country party with their willingness to enter into an arrangement with the Government for the purpose of carrying out the policy enunciated in the Governor-General’s Speech. While I am prepared to assist the Government in every way to arrive at a solution of the problems that confront Australia, I fail to see how its proposals can provide a solution. It must be recognized that the country is governed not by the elected representatives of the people, but rather by those who control the credit resources of the nation. The world is in bondage to the money-changers, and unless this country is able to break the chains that bind it chaos must inevitably result. My words are backed up by those of a very eminent cleric, Dr. Burgmann, the Anglican Bishop of Goulburn, which are contained in a pamphlet published by him, and bearing the date 9th May, 1933. His Lordship said -

A rational and civilized society simply cannot allow that every machine whereby raw materialsare more easily turned into useful commodities, will make poverty more widespread and deepen misery and want. This would mean that when the world was fully and perfectly equipped with machinery fur the production of illimitable wealth a large portion of the world would be doomed to death from slow starvation. Man will stand a lot, be is a conservative animal, but there are limits of absurdity and injustice that will turn the dullest. To live a life of poverty in the sight of possible abundance, as is actually the case for millions at present, is asking for the breaking forth of battle, murder, and sudden death. This question is urgent; unless the folk who are comfortable at present realize its urgency they will receive a rude awakening.

These are the words of a man who could never be accused of having a revolutionary outlook, a man who has given deep consideration to the economic position of the country, and who when he resided at Morpeth in my electorate, frequently went through the coal-fields, and delivered lectures to the miners, and. made himself acquainted with the actual conditions under which they live. That he was moved to make such a statement proves conclusively that the time has arrived for action to be taken along the lines indicated in the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition. Dr. Burgmann went on to say -

No rational person to-day believes that the person in comfortable circumstances must be made poor in order that the poor might be made comfortable. It is a matter now of bringing everybody up to a reasonable standard of comfort. It can and will be done if we have courage, sanity, and a large-hearted spirit of adventure. Fear and selfishness, the love of power and the spirit qf revenge, dog the steps of man and spoil his best endeavours. The times call us to an assertion of the supremacy of the spirit of loyalty to our fellows, to a genuine comradeship, in a new-born sense of national solidarity. May our leaders hear the call before the opportunity passes.

I do not propose to weary the House with a reiteration of my views on banking reform. But the time is fast approaching when unless something definite is done to relieve the plight of the unemployed we shall not be able to control those who are suffering misery and want, who though anxious and willing to work have to endure the mortification of seeing their children underclad, undernourished, and frequently going about barefooted. In my electorate approximately 21,000 men, women and children are definitely on the bread line. I have appealed over and over again to the Government to do something to rehabilitate the coal industry, When the Prime Minister visited the coalfields, at my request, I am sure he was impressed with what he saw. The deplorable condition of 1,500 boys, whose ages ranged from 14 to 21 years, and who have never done a day’s work, must have moved him. Many of the parents of these boys have educated them up to the leaving certificate standard,, but have been unable, owing to the lack of employment, to send them to a university to continue their studies. I ask the Government to give earnest and serious consideration to the plight of these youths. The ungodly doctrine of communism is gaining ground in Australia. Three years ago in my electorate the communist candidate polled only 1,800 votes, but at the last election the communist vote had grown to 5,000. This indicates that the passions of the unemployed are being played upon by individuals who are telling them that reform can never be brought a’bout by parliamentary action. They are lending a ready ear to such counsellors, and are coming to believe that the only chance of improvement is by the short cut of revolution. I have tried to point out the stupidity of revolutions in which the workers with their bare hands must pit themselves against the armed forces of the community. All they would get out of it would be cracked skulls, while the streets would be stained with the blood of good working men and women. It is not necessary that the coal-miners should be unemployed. Time after time, I have placed before the Government reports showing that motor spirit can be produced from coal by what is known as the low temperature process, but the Government has replied that that system, is out of date, and that the only one worth considering is the hydrogenation process. Then, when it is asked to do something about the hydrogenation process it says that it would be too expensive; that it would cost millions of pounds to erect the necessary plant. We find, however, that in Great Britain they are now distilling motor spirit from coal by the low temperature method, and that it is proving a commercial success. In addition, hydrogenation plants are being erected. Recently, the Government of New South Wales appointed a committee to inquire into processes for the extraction of oil from coal, and it reported favorably upon the process being operated by the Lyons Bros. at Wallsend. On the recommendation of the committee, a considerable sum of money was allocated by the Government to enable these men to pursue their experiments. Honorable members should read the report of this committee, which consisted of Messrs. H. Barraclough, O. J. Matthews, H. J. Swain, F. A. Eastaugh, and F. S. Mance. The recommendations of the committee are as follows : -

As it is unreasonable to undertake production before the demand for the products has been thoroughly investigated, the committee does not recommend the erection of a subsidized production plant, and considers such a proposal premature.

The committee favours, however, the granting by the Government of funds for the purpose of proving the utility of, and the possible justification for such a grant is an increased demand for coal to take the place of imported liquid fuels.

It is recommended that any grant made should be expended under suitable control, and for the following purposes: -

1 ) The production in the present small plant of Messrs. Lyons Bros. of sufficient liquid fuel and activated coke for the purpose of the test.

The manufacture and installation of accessories to plant needed for trials with tar distillate in place of petrol.

The manufacture and installation of a producer and accessories for trials of the activated solid fuel.

Any expenses incidental to the conduct of such trials.

In many European countries, as well as in Great Britain, the low temperature carbonization process is in operation, and is giving favorable results. Tests have been made by the Air Force in the use of motor spirit distilled from coal, and it has been found to be entirely suitable. There is no longer any excuse, therefore, for delaying the development of this industry. Owing to the depression, and the demand for other means of power production, there is not the same demand for coal as there was before, and every possible step should be taken to exploit new avenues of consumption.

In my electorate, the dairy-farmers are also protesting against the increased use of margarine, which is displacing butter on the market. They ask that action be taken to prevent the sale of margarine. We know, however, that the workers would willingly use butter if they could afford to buy it, and they are using margarine only because of their reduced purchasing power. If we do not endeavour to cope with these problems, and reconstruct the present social order so as to provide for more equitable distribution of the things necessary for human comfort ; if we deny to the people the things they need simply because they lack employment, and because those who hold the goods cannot dispose of them at a profit, we cannot expect other than revolution and bloodshed. No one can deny that to-day world-wide poverty exists in the midst of plenty. There are at present millions of men unemployed and destitute who had never experienced poverty until the depression. They are the victims of the corrupt system whereby we take from the poor, and give to the rich. This system has outlived its usefulness.

I hope that the Government will give serious consideration to the problems that I have mentioned. There is no hope for the unemployed under the proposals outlined by the Government. It will be necessary to go, cap in hand, to those who control the credit resources of the country. My party contends that credit should be released for such works as the unification of the railway gauges of Australia and water conservation. Every political party has received the plaudits of the people for putting those works forward as desirable, and since the custodians of the credit of Australia dictate to the elect of the people, it is time we had a government that would exercise real power.


.- I regret that the amendment submitted by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Scullin) is necessary, but unemployment is rife throughout the Commonwealth. Judging by his recent speeches, the Prime Minister (Mr. Lyons) seems to doubt whether there is unemployment in this country. When he was Premier of Tasmania, he declared that the disabilities of that State were so great that it was unable to carry on without a Commonwealth grant of £500,000 a year for a period of ten years. When he left the

Labour party, however, and became leader of a Nationalist government he referred to the “ alleged “ disabilities of Tasmania. I am afraid that ere long he will be talking about alleged unemployment in the Commonwealth. The Prime Minister ia reported to have found a job for the ox-member for Denison (Mr. Hutchin), but I am afraid that he will not alleviate the position of the unemployed in Tasmania. He says that unemployment is not so heavy- now

A3 it was in 1931. There may be fewer men registered as unemployed, for the simple reason that they now find it useless to register. Many of them have had their names entered fortnightly for months without obtaining work, and they arc tired of registering fortnightly. Prior to the last election it was stated that the unemployed in Tasmania numbered less than 2,000, but, when Mr. Ogilvie became Premier of that State, a survey revealed that the number was over 10,000. I claim that there is more unemployment in Australia now than when the Scullin Government went out of office.

My electorate is the largest fruitgrowing district in Australia. Many orchardists have carved homes out of the forest, and have properties for which some time ago they could have obtained credit to the amount of £5,000 or £6,000, yet they are now looking for a job. They will have to leave their land unless they can obtain assistance. I was relying on the Country party to give them the help they need, but there is little hope for assistance from that quarter. When the honorable member for Gippsland (Mr. Paterson) was a member of the Government he put forward a proposal for the assistance of the fruit-growers, but it was rejected. I am afraid that the members of the present Government have very little sympathy with the primary producers, although many of its supporters were returned by the votes of that section.

I have lost faith in this Government because of the tactics adopted by it at the last elections. Many hoardings displayed posters depicting Mr. Lang and the Leader of the Opposition as burglars who were seeking to rob the people of their money. Other posters showed tourist ships coming to Tasmania, and bore the legend : “If you vote for the

Labour party, these ships will not be allowed to carry passengers “. Every night, over the air, for weeks I heard the statement made in Hobart: “Vote Labour and you will destroy the tourist traffic. The Labour party is not in favour of an improved shipping service “.

Mr Stewart:

– Is the honorable member in favour of removal of the coasting provisions of the Navigation Act?


– Yes, so far as Tasmania is concerned, until the Government can give that State a shipping service; but Ministers have not the courage to put forward such a proposal. The Prime Minister is reported in the press to have said that he considers the fact that three of his party out of five were defeated in Tasmania to be a vote of no confidence in him. He also said during the election campaign that, in the last Parliament, he could not bring down a bill for an improved shipping service for Tasmania because the Labour party intended to stonewall it. As there were only nineteen Labour men in a House of 75 members, how could they do that effectively?

With the honorable member for Denison (Mr. Mahoney) and the honorable member for Bass (Mr. Barnard) I shall do all in my power to fight for the rights of Tasmania and its people. I regret that the Minister for Commerce (Mr. Stewart) should have spoken as he did concerning the Premier of Tasmania (Mr. Ogilvie).

Mr Stewart:

– All I said was that if Tasmania did not get its fair share of the money to be allocated it would be Mr. Ogilvie’s fault.


– The remark of the Minister was uncalled for. When Mr. Ogilvie assumed office the financial position of Tasmania was worse than it had ever been previously, but he is now doing all that is possible to improve the. position and particularly to provide work for the unemployed. Sir Walter Lee, who led the previous Government, said that he found it impossible to do anything further to assist the people. As he had said, “ We will have to wait and see, “ the electors naturally concluded that they could not continue under such a government, and at the first opportunity effected a change. As the result of the activities of the La’bour Government in Tasmania, 2,000 additional men have been provided with employment since the 1st July last. That Government, which realizes that there is much to be done, is depending upon receiving from the Commonwealth substantial financial help to assist it with the projects it has in view. If money were available, many reproductive works could be undertaken in Tasmania at the present, juncture, but I am afraid that this Government will not render to that State the assistance it deserves.

Some time ago the possibilities of the paper pulp industry were investigated by Sir Herbert Gepp, who reported that the necessary material for its manufacture was available in large quantites. The Prime Minister said that Tasmania needed a re-afforestation scheme, but our forests are ample to supply sufficient material for the manufacture of paper pulp and other commodities. Sir Herbert Gepp reported that if the industry became firmly established,’ it would employ between 5,000 and 6,000 men in meeting Australia’s requirements.

The Commonwealth Government has provided an aerodrome at Cambridge, about seven miles from Bellerieve, but there is no direct connexion between Cambridge and Hobart. The Government should construct a bridge across the Derwent river and also the necessary road approaches. As a fast aeroplane can traverse the distance between Essendon and Cambridge in about two and a half hours, it seems ridiculous that a similar time should be occupied in travelling from Cambridge to Hobart - a distance of about ten miles. When the money is being allocated to assist the unemployed, I trust that the Commonwealth Government will see that Tasmania receives a fair share, particularly as many Tasmanian industries have not received the same measure of protection and assistance as have those on the mainland.

When previously a member “ of this House, with the assistance of the then Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. Forde), I was instrumental in obtaining more adequate protection for the carbide industry, on the company giving an undertaking to supply the whole of Australia’s requirements and not to increase the price. At that time the duty was Id. per lb., and the industry which was working for only seven months in the year had huge stocks of carbide on hand. When the duty was increased to 2d., the number of employees increased from 70 to 150, and the plant was kept in operation throughout the year. During the last Parliament the duty was reduced to Id. per lb., and now large quantities of foreign carbide are being imported; the stocks of the Tasmanian product are piling up, with the inevitable result that men will be thrown out of employment. A close investigation of the unemployment figures would show that men are sick and tired of registering; consequently the figures on which the Commonwealth Statistician bases his calculations are inaccurate.

It is the responsibility of the Government to assist primary producers for the next year or two. The fruit-growers in my electorate cannot face another season without assistance. The orchardist who looks after his property, and who produces the largest quantity of fruit, usually suffers the most because his expenses in respect of spraying and cultivation are higher than those of a man whose production is smaller or who does not pay the same attention to his orchard. Many thrifty people have been able to keep going only on what they have saved during more prosperous years. The fruitgrowers in Tasmania have had three really bad seasons. We are told that the last grant was made to assist necessitous growers; but in one district nearly twenty growers were sold up by the mortgagees in one week. This shows that, when it suits the banks, they are quite ready to crush the growers. I hope that the amendment will be carried, and that the proposals contained in it will be put into operation as soon as possible.

Debate (on motion by Dr. Maloney) adjourned.

page 158


Motion (by Mr. Archdale Parkhill) agreed to -

That the House, at its rising, adjourn until to-morrow at half-past ten o’clock a.m.

page 159


Cockatoo Island Dockyard: Employment

Motion (by Mr. Archdale Parkhill) proposed -

That the House do now adjourn.

West Sydney

. -I take this opportunity to bring under the notice of the Minister for Defence (Mr.Parkhill) a matter of very great importance to a large number of men associated with the iron trades industry, in the Balmain portion of my electorate. I refer to the method adopted by the engineering firm which secured the lease of the Cockatoo Island Dockyard. As is well known, the Government recently placed with the firm an order for the building of a sloop for the Defence Department, the idea being to provide employment additional to that ordinarily available at the dockyard. It was thought that when the firm secured contracts for the docking and repairing of vessels trading on the coast or overseas, the work provided would be additional to that in connexion with the building of the sloop. I regret to state that effect is not being given to the Government’s intention. Last week two ships came in for repairs - the Iron Monarch and the Stockrington. Considerable numbers of extra plateswere required for these vessels, the number in the case of the Stoekrington being 26. Knowing that these vessels had been docked for repairs, men accustomed to that class of work naturally expected to secure employment for a few days; but, instead of offering it to them, the lessees of the dockyard shifted men who were working on the sloop to the ships which had been docked for repairs, with the result that they were working over the week-end and were paid overtime rates. As those men were in continuous employment on the sloop for the Defence Department, this course was unfair to men who were without employment. I hope that the Government will take up this matter with the management of the dockyard, and see that in future casual work, such as that which is provided when ships are docked for repairs, is given to those who are not permanently employed. I shall be obliged if the Minister will give this matter his immediate attention, because many of my friends, who have not had much work in the ship-building industry of late, were almost inrevolt when they found out what had happened, and urged me to take the earliest opportunity to impress on the Minister the necessity for making representations to the lessees of the dockyard.

Minister for Defence · Warringah · UAP

– The administration of Cockatoo Island Dockyard is under the department which I have the honour to control, and I shall he glad to do as the honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Beasley) has suggested. The request appears to be a reasonable one, and I feel sure that it will have similar consideration.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

House adjourned at 11.48 p.m.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 1 November 1934, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.