House of Representatives
2 November 1934

14th Parliament · 1st Session

Mr. Speaker (Hon.G. J. Bell) took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.

page 159



No-Confidence Amendment.

Debate resumed from the lst November (vide page 158), on motion by Mr. Mccall -

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

May it Please Your Excellency :

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 -

Thatthe 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 he taken -

to extend the functions and activities of the Commonwealth Bunk, 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 progressiva 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 a national scheme for organized marketing including the Betting up of Australian-wide pools.


– The great question which must cause concern to every honorable member of this House is that of unemployment. I doubt whether any honorable member will deny that, apart from the horrors of war, unemployment is the greatest evil with which the world is beset. Having survived the rigours of the last great war, surely a nation such as ours can grapple with unemployment along nonparty lines. Sometimes one is tempted to do other than bless the party system, because under it men frequently act, not as their consciences dictate, but as the exigencies of their party demand. Unemployment is undeniably a curse. Can it be said that those who are hungry do not want food? Do their stomachs forget to become empty? Would they not gladly purchase that with which nature has blessed us in abundance? Will any honorable member deny that from the beginning of history no country has been so bountifully provided as Australia is today with all that is necessary to sustain human life? Momentarily, the pangs of hunger may be somewhat appeased by a cup of weak tea, which has no nutritive value, or by a piece of white bread that will not build up the human frame; but would any man train for a race on such a diet? I grant that it is necessary to investigate means by which this problem may be tackled. I trust, however, that that will only be supplementary to further effort by the Government to provide immediate relief. Let the Government bo guided by what was done in the Old Country during the war period, when food was scarce. The British Government then rationed the people, and there was not a man, woman or child who wasunable to obtain a fair sufficiency of healthgiving food. That is not the case in Australia to-day. Medical men who are attached to the Department of Public

Health have stated clearly that the health of the oncoming generation will be impaired by the lack of proper and sufficient food. I hold in my hand an article entitled The New Miracle of Plant Growth, which makes it abundantly clear that the productive capacity of the earth is unlimited. This article was published in The New Era of the 18th October, 1934, and says -

In recent issues of The NewEra, we have given details of the wonderful discovery of Dr. Spangenberg, the German chemist, who has perfected a way of raising maize, oats, barley, soya, rice, cotton and other crops which increases the rate of growth from threemonth to ten days, and makes it possible to harvest enough food for 1,200 head of cattle off a single acre.

An English newspaper states that much the same process has been perfected by Mr. V. Dashwood and Mr.F. Hedinger, of England, after seventeen years’ research work.’

Dr. Spangenberg demonstrated his discovery at the National Scientific Agricultural Station at Reading. It was stated that the method would revolutionize existing methods of feeding livestock, and make the farmer practically inde- pendent of seasonal conditions. Dr. Spangenerg’s process consists of “ sowing “ seeds in trays in an airtight cabinet, from which light is excluded; they are treated with considerable quantities of water containing a small proportion of a chemical discovered by the scientist. In ten days, it is claimed, each tray develops a closely packed growth 13 to 16 inches high, which can be used as a food for animals and human beings. Long before this amazing invention was completed, it is pointed out, hundreds of British farmers had placed orders with the inventors. The invention is in the form of a cabinet, which contains ten shelves, each shelf holding enough fodderto feed twenty cows a day. For every 1 lb. of maize5 lb. of fodder is produced. Peas can be grown fully in four weeks, and the inventors are now perfecting a device which will enable every housewife to grow fresh vegetables in her own home in a veryshort time. On the farm where the experiments are being completed two herds of cows have been used. One herd has been fed in the normal way, and the other has been fed on the green fodder from the cabinet. The result has proved that the cows being fed on the cabinet fodder are fatter and their milk richer.

I particularly direct the attention of members of the Country party to what follows, because those whom they represent are perhaps affected more by this than by any previous invention. The article says -

The new invention was shown with success at the Ipswich Agricultural Show. A fresh crop of green fodder can be had every day for 365 days in a year by this process.

Even in tlie South Seas that cannot be equalled. The article goes on to say -

The views expressed closely correspond with those put forward by the Reading National Institute for Research in Dairying, which were presented to the annual conference of agricultural instructors of the department by the chief instructor (Mr. E. C. Stening)

Mr. Stening stated that the plant installed at Reading consisted of two galvanized metal cabinets about 8 feet in height, each of which held live trays of 43 square feet area. A charge of 77 lb. to 110 lb. of maize was used in the trays, and this formed a layer some li inches deep. The bottom of each tray was perforated. On top of the cabinet there was a water storage tank, to which the necessary chemicals were added. The materials used at Reading were calcium nitrate, sugar, and, it was thought, urea at low concentrations.

The seed used was maize, and at the end of ten days a thick growth of strong seedlings 10 to 12 inches high was obtained. It waa incorrect to call the materia] green food, since, Owing to tlie absence of light during the growth period, no chlorophyll (green pigment) could be formed.

The yield of fresh material was claimed to bc 300 lb. to 600 lb., and the whole contents of the tray, roots, seed, and shoots were eaten readily by cowa.

I may say that so far as I am aware China is the only country which adopts comparative methods of food production. En that country peas, beans, and other crops, are sown and allowed to sprout until they reach a certain height. They are then served as a vegetable, and I can bear testimony to the fact that they are both appetizing and nutritious. In no part of the world, but especially in this beloved Australia of ours, is it necessary that there should be any want. It is an infamous stain on our escutcheon that there should be in this country such terrible want as that which exists at the present time. We expect a man to live honestly on 6s. a week if he be single and 7s. 6d. a week if he be married. Does any honorable member believe that that is sufficient to provide proper food and shelter? Would it not he more generous if the sum fixed were that which is allowed in England, or that which is expended on the incarceration of a criminal? What an indictment it is of our present system of society that we should spend up to 28s. 6d. a week on a man who is put in gaol, and yet expect an honest man to live on 6s. a week! Is it to be wondered at that when a man is hungry he takes what belongs to another ? That great churchman, Cardinal Manning, has stated definitely that a starving man has a right to his brother’s bread, for necessity knows no law.

I come now to the question of machine production. There is no doubt that the invention of machinery has resulted in less and less human labour being required, and far more being produced than can be eaten, drunk or used. That is one of the great causes of the position with which we now have to deal. If the benefits of inventions belonged exclusively to the State as a whole, and not to capitalists or to private individuals, no such trouble as that which now confronts us would be experienced. Take the globes which illumine this chamber. In a work which has been published under the title, Want in the Midst of Plenty, reference is made to the fact that, by reason of an invention made possible by the genius of man, two men in a large factory in Chicago can now produce a greater number of globes than the 98,000 which formerly was the output of 2,000 men in a period of 24 hours. Thus, in consequence of that invention, 1,998 men were cast on the dunghill of unemployment. Had that invention been utilized for the good of the State the 1,998 men who had been displaced could have been employed in other useful work or could even have been paid the wages they had previously been receiving without doing any work. The cursed system of bookkeeping which capital employs entangles us as a fly is entangled in a spider’s web. The capitalist derives all the benefits of the genius of man while the mass continue to suffer.

When the subject of slavery was predominant throughout the world, it was stated in the British House of Commons that the slaves in the southern states of America were in a better physical, and, in many cases, mental, condition than the poor living in the slums of London and other large cities in Great Britain. Although years have passed since that statement was made, owing to the system under which we live, the slum areas in London, Glasgow, Liverpool, and other large cities are almost as bad to-day.

During the last Parliament I endeavoured to get the Government to secure control of mechanical inventions for the benefit of the State. The only way in which that could be done would be by making legislative provision that no patent protection would be afforded to any invention until it had been agreed that 50 per cent, of the profits derived from such invention should become the property of the State. At an early date, I hope to place on the notice-paper a motion to that effect. I hope honorable members will study its terms, and when the opportunity arrives support it. “What I suggest would be a means of assisting to remove the deplorable conditions which now exist as the result of the mechanization of industry. I hate poverty as I do the thought of hell. I do not believe that the Great Maker of the universe ever intended that by any system of bookkeeping or commercial manipulation some human beings should become millionaires and some paupers. The Creator never intended that some should flourish and live in luxury while others would be crushed and die in the gutters through lack of food. He intended this great universe to be the happy home of every member of the human race. 1 refer honorable members to that valuable work of Sir John Lubbock The Bee and the Ant. These little insects, with which he deals so graphically, work very hard but never suffer through lack of proper nutrition. Yet our factories are stored to the ceilings with foodstuffs while hundreds of thousands go hungry. A change must come. We cannot be at the beck and call of a few money spinners. It has been said that there are seven mufti-millionaires in the United States of America and five in Europe who virtually control the world, and have such terrific financial and commercial power that they could throw the whole universe into a state of war.

As one who has had seven years banking experience, I know the terrific power which financial institutions exercise over the whole community. I recollect an instance in a small country town when small storekeepers, farmers, and others were asked by the bank manager to reduce their overdrafts. At first the bank’s customers blamed the bank manager, but they soon discovered that it was not his fault as he was merely obeying orders from his head office. It is during periods of financial depression that accounts are overdrawn, and it is at such times that it ie more difficult for borrowers to find money to repay lenders.

I hope to live to see the day visualized by Mr. King O’Malley when he first established the Commonwealth Bank. Had there been no King O’Malley there would not have been a Commnowealth Bank in Australia to-day. The present Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Scullin), and others, including myself, helped a little, but the whole credit is due to that great man. Unfortunately, the first manager of that great institution, Mr. Denison Miller., who later became Sir Denison Miller, was called away at a comparatively early age. On one occasion a deputation of unemployed, led by Mr. John Scott, waited upon Mr. Denison Miller in Sydney. Mr. Scott is the author of that wonderful book entitled The Circulating Sovereign, which honorable members should read if they wish to appreciate his mentality. Mr. Denison Miller received the deputation very courteously, and expressed certain platitudes. Mr. Scott, realizing that he had not given a definite answer to the request, said “ Either answer the question or say that you will not, and I shall be satisfied.” Mr. Miller then said that, if the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth asked him to finance Australia and to control it as an organized community, he could extend credit to finance it. That is what was done during the war. There is no reason why the Commonwealth Bank should not control the whole of the financial operations of Australia. It is ridiculous to suggest that, if the private banks went out of existence, large numbers of bank clerks and other officials would be thrown out of employment, because, when there has been an amalgamation of certain of the associated banks operating in Australia, the employees have been absorbed in the controlling organization. My office in Melbourne is open every day of the week, excepting Sunday, and I cannot remember having received a single complaint from a bank official who had lost his employment as the result of any amalgamation. If the Commonwealth Bank were to absorb the other banks unemployment would not result. The Commonwealth Bank, of which we are so proud, is the only national banking institution in the world.

Will any one say that no man has the right to work? The bees and the ants work very hard; in fact, much too hard, because in doing so they shorten their lives. The bee lives for only six weeks, and the ant for some time longer. Human beings should have the right to work, and the State should provide it.

The right honorable member for Cowper (Dr. Earle Page), who, I understand, is to be second in command in the composite government about to be formed, was also Deputy Prime Minister in the Bruce-Page Government.I trust that the right honorable gentleman will prove -as good a statesman as he is a surgeon. On the latter point I can speak with authority. I also hope that he will be as good a Minister as he is a friend. We cannot, however, overlook the fact that, when Mr. Bruce was abroad on behalf of this country, he did not leave Dr. Pageto lead the House. On such occasions Parliament went into recess. Some honorable members will be interested to hear the conclusion of the article in the Sunraysia Daily which the honorable member for Kennedy (Mr. Riordan) was quoting when his time expired. The article states that “ Mr. Perkins was dumped from the Cabinet.” I always found the honorable member for Eden-Monaro a good and honorable man, but I suppose the exigencies of the situation demanded that some change should be made. The article continues -

The U.A.P. is in a dangerous position. It has 32 members, and of this number 14 will vote against the Lyons-Menzies’ dictatorship when the issue is brought up in the party room. Of the 18 upon whom Mr. Lyons and his “ Young Master “ can count 1 3 are in the Cabinet. How is that for unanimity?

Now let us devote a little attention to the brilliant Mr. Menzies. Mr. Menzies has so high a conception of his duty to Australia that he has agreed to go to England at the end of this year to conduct a private law suit. Does Mr. Menzies consider that the affairs of his country are of so little magnitude that the taxpayers can afford to pay him a salary in his absence? Is Australia so well founded upon the road to prosperity that Mr. Menzies can take time off for this private jaunt? Should he not rather devote his talents to the position which might be filled by a man who attains as. great- a stature in the eyes of the public as he does in Mr. Menzies own looking- glass?

The Nationalist Union has been a curse and a blight upon Australia. Smith’s Weekly published the amount of money paid to its various secretaries, the highest sum being £3,700 in Flinders. That newspaper’s statements have never been challenged, contradicted or denied. No legal action has been taken against it, and honest people must weigh the matter seriously and assist to make a law which will end such abominations. I have previously given the House a full list of the payments to which I have referred. In my own district, £900 was paid to cover the expenses of the official of this organization. He and I became great friends. He is dead now,but he told me, in the company of others, that that was the amount paid to him by the Nationalist Union. The Melbourne Age, to its eternal honour, has published leading articles against that accursed power, which at one time, would have sunk into political oblivion those members of the party who would not follow its advice. The sum of £900 was paid in two other electorates, one being that of the right honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Scullin). Smith’s Weekly stated that it welcomed a charge of the libel ; but the Nationalist Union, despite its money power, was afraid to take action.

Mr Makin:

– The sum of £15,000 was paid from the same source to defeat Senator Elliott.

Dr.MALONEY. - Quite so. Many members of my party have said that it would have been wise if Labour voters had given their No. 4 votes to Senator Elliott. I have known him for many years, and I have found him to be what was called in the old days, a good honest Liberal, but he had no chance to be placed on the party ticket. I regret his defeat at the last election, though of course, I would have preferred to see three Labour men returned. I must say to the credit of the Prime Minister that he has pointed out that the present system of electing senators must be changed. Surely there is nobody so hidebound as to say he would prefer the present party system to continue in operation.

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

– The honorable member’s party had a majority in both Houses for a sufficiently long period to enable it to alter the system.


– Is the honorable member a Daniel come to judgment? If the people could rise in their power, and take effective action to remedy the injusties they are now suffering, secrecy would not hide Labour’s wealthy opponents from the punishment which I believe they deserve. They are but a lesser evil than the great multi-millionaires who, by means of their capital and the present monetary system, have the power to make the people of any country miserable.

I now turn to members of the Country party. Silver of late years has been sold at a lower price than ever before. When I first raised the subject of silver currency, both Nationalist and Labour Governments were lackadaisical about it. My friend the honorable member for Newcastle (Mr. Watkins) supported me, but the only member of the Country party who- paid me the compliment of considering my proposal was the honorable member for Forrest (Mr. Prowse). Honorable members will recall that an election occurred shortly after the declaration of war in 1914. The Broken Hill Proprietary Company, and all the wealthy mines announced through Mr. W. L. Baillieu that they intended to carry on at full pressure if they could obtain bank accommodation, but that otherwise they would have to close down their works. Having led the unemployed for about 20 years prior to that, I knew that nothing so disturbed credit as unemployment. Every honorable member knows that to-day to his regret. I wrote on this subject to the Melbourne Age, which paid me the compliment of publishing my letter in a most prominent column. I expressed regret that the Broken Hill Proprietary Company was prepared to close down its mines, and suggested that the subject of a silver currency should be considered. I pointed out that England had debased its currency more than at any time except during the reign of King Henry VIII.-

Mr. SPEAKER (Hon. G. J. Bell).The honorable member has exhausted his time.

AttorneyGeneral · Kooyong · UAP

– I do not wish to detain honorable members for a lengthy period on the last sitting day of the week, but I have a few words to say about one phase of the problem before the chair which seems so far to have received insufficient attention. The debate, up to the present stage, if I may say so with great respect to honorable members, has proceeded on fairly well-worn lines. The usual references have been made to the alleged breakdown of the monetary system. Mention has also been made of the admitted necessity for a policy of public works for the relief of unemployment, but on quite a number of occasions,I venture to think, public works have been referred to as though in themselves they constituted a cure for unemployment. I need not indicate that these view do not find acceptance with members on this side of the Chamber. We do not advance the easy theory that the present troubles of Australia or of the world are due to monetary factors. I certainly do not accept the view that we shall cure unemployment by providing a palliative for it.

I propose to direct my mind to some portion, at least, of the amendment tabled by the right honorable the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Scullin), because in it I found some recognition of the fact that the problem is not confined to the two factors to which I have referred. If the right honorable gentleman will permit me to say so, I found in the form and substance of his amendment a confirmation of the worse suspicions that I had entertained concerning the policy which he propounded at the recent election. Yet I observe that the right honorable gentleman appreciated - although, as I shall endeavour to show, wrongly appreciated - the significance of one aspect of this matter which is commonly overlooked. That aspect will be found stated in the second paragraph of the 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 - (2.) to amend the Arbitration Act to ensure that full and favourable 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.

There, I venture to say, the Leader of the Opposition has drawn attention to a problem of the first importance. It is one that deserves the earnest’ consideration of every honorable member, and its significance is fully appreciated in one passage of the Governor-General’s Speech. It will be observed that the form of the amendment is such that it contemplates an amendment of the Arbitration Act. It does not direct attention to amendment of the industrial power, but to an amendment of the act exercising that power. It proposes that the act should be so amended as to ensure that full and favourable consideration will be given to certain views upon the interrelationship of employment and working hours.

Mr Scullin:

– We cannot alter the power by a vote in this House.


– I agree, and the first observation I make is that, whatever be the substantial merit of the right honorable gentleman’s proposal, it directs itself to an impossibility, because it is not possible for this Parliament so to amend the Conciliation and Arbitration Act as to direct the Arbitration Court to reduce working hours.

Mr Rosevear:

– The court has never been directed.


– That is so.

Mr.Scullin. - And the amendment does not direct it.


– The amendment

Mates that the act should be so amended as to ensure favorable consideration of a certain proposition. How you can ensure favorable consideration of a proposition by a court except by telling the court itself to consider the matter favorably is beyond my understanding.

The Leader of the Opposition, in advance, sought to meet that argument, I agree, by making reference to what was section 25d of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act, which directed the court to take into consideration the economic conditions of the community when making an award. Honorable members will observe that it is one thing to tell the court to consider factors, and another thing to tell it that it shall consider them favorably or give effect to them in one direction or another.

Mr Holloway:

– The honorable gentleman himself has been on a winner sometimes.


– Very frequently, particularly when opposed to the honor able member for Melbourne Ports. I am not offering thiscriticism on the language of the amendment merely in a captious way, but because I wish to use it as a preliminary to a brief consideration of the real significance of the problem raised by the Leader of the Opposition.

In 1900, when the Constitution of this Commonwealth was formulated, if we may judge by the language employed in it, the relations of employer and employee were, regarded as of importance merely as something incidental, or more or less occasional. The only power given to the National Parliament was of a narrow and artificial kind. It was given power to legislate for conciliation and arbitration for the prevention and settlement of certain disputes. That was merely an occasional power, a partial power, a power which in the light of experience has proved, in my opinion, quite inadequate for dealing with the problem that was envisaged. The reason is that, in 1900, we did not fully perceive that industrial relationships are not merely something incidental or accidental but are something going to the very root of our social and political order. Consequently, if we are to consider the great question of employment fully, we can never consider it apart from’ some real and fundamental consideration of the industrial relationship itself. On that account, I feel grateful to the right honorable the Leader of the Opposition for having brought this problem before our minds. In Australia, whenever we think of a problem of that type we are not able to think of it in quite the same way as would be done in other countries. In any country of the unitary type there are, broadly, two questions to be propounded in relation to any problem; first, what is the nature of the disease, and, secondly, what is the desirable remedy. If both questions can be answered, the remedy can be put into immediate operation. In Australia we have a division of authority - I offer no criticism of it; as a federalist I believe in it - by which we are faced with a third question : who has the power to put the remedy into operation? That may sometimes be answered by saying that no one authority has that power; two sets of authorities have each a portion of it. At any rate, such is the answer that must inevitably be given when we consider the industrial problem.

Mr Gregory:

– It was never contemplated in the framing of the Constitution.


– I am handicapped in that respect. I do not know what was intended in the framing of the federal Constitution except by my reading of it, and even then what I understand it to mean is not always in line with what I am subsequently told authoritatively it does mean. The point I want to emphasize is this: With the division of authority that exists in relation to this matter, we have not only incurred, but have also succumbed to, the risk of saying that the difficulties of problems of a constitutional order are such as to render it undesirable to consider the matter at all. A division, or a sense of division, of authority very frequently completely inhibits action; in industrial matters we have, in recent years, developed the habit of saying that we do not know who has the power to do this or that; and that consequently it is a waste of time to think about it.

Mr Garden:

– And we “pass the buck”!


– Yes; in the elegant “ language of the honorable member, we “ pass the buck “. At the outset, I said that honorable members would find in the Governor-General’s Speech a sentence which recognizes the importance of this matter. I refer to it because it has been adversely criticized, and because I believe honorable members have not properly appreciated what is behind it. The sentence is as follows: -

Consideration will be directed to three principal matters: - (a) A complete survey of the unemployment problem-

It is at that point that most of the critics have stopped. They said : “ Who wants it? Has it not been going on for years?” And up to that point I am prepared to agree with them; but the sentence does not end there. It goes on - in order to determine if there are any root causes which could bc effectively dealt with by direct Commonwealth action or by some concerted action on the part of the Commonwealth and the States.

In other words, the object of this survey is not merely to determine the causes but also to consider the causes in relation to the power that will deal with them. That is a very different inquiry. -


– Does not the AttorneyGeneral think that three years of control by the United Australia party have been sufficient to enable v this information to be obtained.


– -I hope the honorable member will not call upon me to answer for the last three years; I shall have sufficient to do to answer for the next three years. I want to suggest, for the consideration of honorable members, three or four lines of inquiry of the first importance in relation to this matter, no one of which I believe has been thrashed out to conclusion, because of this sense of constitutional incompetence. The first is the problem of the training of skilled artisans. I am told, and I have gathered from my reading, that unemployment is felt most severely to-day among the unskilled workers, skilled artisans being almost at a premium.

Mr Beasley:

– To what industry is the honorable gentleman referring?


– The building industry.

Mr Beasley:

– That is not the case in New South Wales.


– I am sorry if the aftermath of past policies in New South Wales has left the building industry in that State in a depressed condition. In Victoria skilled artisans employed in the building industry are at a premium. Whether that is so universally or not, honorable members will at least admit that the possession of skill and training on the part of workmen definitely enhances their prospects of securing constant employment. For that reason I want to remind honorable members that the whole problem of the training of artisans is of the first importance. The problems of apprenticeship and the production of skilled workers have engaged the sporadic attention of the Arbitration Court, wages boards and special tribunals ; but they have never been given complete and comprehensive consideration because of the division of constitutional authority.

Another problem which faces us is that of women employed in industry occupying positions which might otherwise b« held by men. I do not propose to deliver a diatribe on a problem, the very fringe of which we have scarcely yet touched. It is one which calls for most earnest, unprejudiced and probably courageous thought. It is one that cannot be left entirely to the higgling of the market in the Arbitration Court merely to a decision of the court in a particular case to meet a particular dispute. It is a kind of problem upon which some orderly and comprehensive view should be entertained in Australia.

The third problem, that of hours, was referred to by the Leader of the Opposition. When the right honorable gentleman speaks about hours of labour, he speaks of. them not in relation to the settlement of an industrial dispute, but as something connected with the working out of a social philosophy. He said that he did not suggest that the hours should be 44 or 48 a week in relation to a particular dispute, but rather that hours should be considered in relation to the whole problem of mechanization of industry in such a way as to give the workers an increased share of leisure as a result of the increased efficiency of production. I admit the existence of that problem. Every one who possesses one spark of humanity or has watched the progress of events must admit that it is a very real one. The point is how are we to deal with it?

Mr Scullin:

– There is no mention of that in the Governor-General’s Speech.


– On £he contrary, the speech says that we propose to look at these matters and to formulate views upon them.

Mr Beasley:

– The Government has been a long time over it.


– I remind honorable members that we have had not more than three weeks in which to consider them.

Mr Brennan:

– The Government must have been waiting for the advent of the right honorable gentleman.


– It was; much more so than for the honorable member’s return for Batman.

The fourth problem which confronts us is how far all those various factors which I have mentioned should be related to our capacity and need to carry on our export industries; in other words, how far we can afford to discuss these things as if our economic system existed in a vacuum, how far they are affected and ought to be affected by the preservation of the export industries, which keep us an international unit instead of a detached one. I do not propose to indicate in a kerbstone fashion what the answer to this question should be; but I do say that any treatment of the problem of unemployment will be partial and haphazard unless it is prepared to go to the root causes in an endeavour to ascertain how far this Parliament can effect a policy in relation to them, and to what extent it is necessary again to go to the people and say : “ We want from you a single power to enable this problem to be- dealt with as a whole “. That is a line of inquiry which opens out not only before the Government but also before every honorable member of this House. A reference is made in paragraph 4 of the right honorable gentleman’s amendment to Australia-wide pools. The pool we most urgently need is an impartial disinterested pooling of the best mental resources of all parties in this House. If we think about this problem, having not superficial, but root causes in our mind, I believe that we shall do something which will constitute a real move forward in the Australian dealing with it.

May I conclude by saying something which honorable members may choose to regard as a criticism, but which I choose to regard as a perfectly frank admission. I make it as one who, it is true, is a completely untried member of this House, but has had some experience of both office and opposition in another Parliament. When we are not in office, we all too frequently regard the task of thinking as unnecessary, and, indeed, as irrelevant; and when we are in office we are so busy that we have little time for thinking. The result is that thinking about large problems tends to be discounted, and any government which says boldly in a policy speech or a GovernorGeneral’s Speech, “ We propose to think, “ is at once accused of having idled for years past. I wish to take this opportunity to say, as I suppose it is permissible for me to say, that the members of the Lyons Ministry are to be congratulated.

Mr Gander:

– Which Ministry ? This one, or the one that will soon be in office ?


– The names of the members of the Lyons Government may be found inside the front cover of Ilansard.

Mr Gander:

– But they are being sacked.


– I wish to say that the members of this Ministry, or the members of the Ministry which succeeds to the same title, are to be complimented upon having realized the importance of this problem, and upon having invited honorable members of the House to do so. Whether we are in opposition or in office, the time has come when we must pool all our mental resources and engage iri some concerted thought about these most elementary and fundamental features of the greatest problem which confronts us.

Batman · UAP

.- The Attorney-General (Mr. Menzies), whom I, as an old member of the Parliament, welcome as a new member, intimated that my return to Canberra was not expected. I do not think that that was what the honorable gentleman would call, in another sphere, a considered opinion. It was wrung from him, more or less, by, I hope, a not-too-unpleasant interjection. I should like to say to him that he was expected in this Parliament. I felt morally certain that when I arrived here I should find that he was “ not dead but gone before. “

Mr Archdale Parkhill:

– The honorable member has been sleeping for three years.


– The Minister for Defence should Cease rattling his sword. The Attorney-General was expected in this Parliament. Certainly he was not altogether wanted in the other Parliament. Poor Sir Stanley Argyle) the Premier of Victoria, looked at the Country party and then looked at the honorable member for Nunawading, now the AttorneyGeneral of this Government, but then a colleague, and said under his breath, as an English king once said of an English prelate : “ Of the cowards that eat my bread, is there none will rid me of this turbulent priest?” The prayer so softly spoken was answered. The Attorney-General has come here because he was the chief obstacle to a rapprochement with the Country party, and the first thing that this turbulent priest did after his arrival in Canberra was to give absolution not only to the Leader of the Country party (Dr. Earle Page), but also to the party itself. If time permits I may have occasion during this speech to return to the honorable gentleman, because hia standing here and elsewhere surely merit* it.

Mr Maxwell:

– Why not deal with his speech ?


– Last night the honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Maxwell) plaintively said that he was charged with interjecting, whereas he had asked only one question. But that question drew such a crushing retort from the honorable member for Griffith (Mr. Baker) that one would have thought that prudence and experience alike would have dictated silence now. As a new member, I should like to be heard, if not in silence, at least with the respect due to a person who has been in exile for two and a half years, to the great regret of himself and the irreparable loss of his constituents.

No one could deny the modesty and appropriateness of the choice of words of the honorable gentleman who moved the motion for the adoption of the Address’inReply, and of his colleague who seconded the motion. They asked for no special notice. They did not seek praise at the hands of those who sent them forward to do this duty. They have received les* than they asked. Seldom has a motion been so cavalierly treated by its sponsors as that moved and seconded by the two young and capable members who addressed themselves to this one by direction of the Government. It is true that the Minister for Defence (Mr. Parkhill) approached the table. I thought I heard him rattle his sword in his scabbard; but I might have misunderstood the signs and portents.


– He might have been shaking his head.


– I am not sure whether the honorable member is paying me a compliment and showing a good memory of our parliamentary records, or whether he has been original in that interjection. At any rate, the Minister for Defence subsequently retired from the table suffering, apparently, from congestion of unuttered words. I shrewdly suspect that if he had been more closely observed it would have been found that he later delivered a most eloquent address to the looking glass in his own room.


– Such personal references are not in order, for they have no relation to the subject before the Chair.


– Inclination does not suggest to me that I should traverse your ruling, Mr. Speaker, and time does not permit me respectfully to argue the soundness of it.


– The honorable member must not argue with the Chair.


– I am saying that I do not propose to do so. The’ AttorneyGeneral himself appeared to be in doubt for a long while as to whether he had anything to say; but, overcharged with his dual character of a new-old member, he eventually approached the table and delivered, as we would expect him to do, an interesting address upon a subject of which he knows something. But though he knows something of arbitration; though ho has had experience in the courts and has frequently appeared therein - for my sins I have sometimes retained him for that very purpose, and I hope I have paid him- he has not had a very long experience in this Parliament. He has not heard any of the turgid sermons delivered in this chamber by the former member for Flinders, Mr. Bruce, as Prime Minister of Australia, and apparently he knows little about the ponderous platitudes with which the working classes of .this country have been sometimes chloroformed and sometimes irritated on this subject. If he had heard those oft-repeated speeches, he would have realized that his own address was painfully similar to many that have been heard here before.

The honorable gentleman referred to paragraph 2 of the proposed amendment to the Address-in-Reply which reads as follows : -

To amend the Arbitration Act to ensure that full and favorable consideration be given jio 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.

He went on to say that that could not be done because it is beyond our constitutional powers. I admit that it is beyond our constitutional powers to do many things. Because of the views of the Attorney-General and others associated with him, it is within our power only to express pious hopes to the court, to indicate to it what public opinion is and to inspire it with a more generous conception of what is necessary to be done in industry. We do not even blaze the track in that regard, because we must be guilty to some extent of following an example set by certain honorable gentlemen on the other side of the chamber. I was AttorneyGeneral in the Scullin Government, and as such it was my duty to submit from the benches opposite, an amendment of the Arbitration Act. I then criticized section 25o of the act with which the AttorneyGeneral is quite familiar, although he did not himself specifically mention it on this occasion. The section reads as follows : -

In determining any industrial dispute under this act in which the rates of pay, or conditions of employment, applying to apprentices in any industry are in question, the Court or Conciliation Commissioner shall take ‘into consideration any scheme of apprenticeship provided by or under any State law.

I argued from the other side of the table that it was the duty of the court to take these things into consideration, and that it was not for the Parliament specifically to direct the minds of the judges to something which it was their duty to consider. I pointed that out, but honorable members then in opposition decided that it was necessary to give the court a lead in the matter, and that it was undesirable that those words should be deleted from the Arbitration Act. It is true that they were taken out in this chamber, but they were speedily restored in another place. The Attorney-General and his party no longer, apparently, favour a policy of consideration by tlie Arbitration Court of outstanding facts indicated by this Parliament. Previously, he said that the court should consider economic conditions. “We are asking, with that sincerest form of flattery, which is known as imitation, that the court should consider the more obvious and fundamental things, not the things designed for party political purposes to weaken the act or to make the hard road of the worker still harder. We ask it to consider things which have long been evident to the Labour party and should now be obvious even to the United Australia party. We want to ensure full and favorable consideration of a scheme for the progressive reduction of the working hours, and an increase of the living standards consequent on the increased powers of production due to mechanization. We desire to focus the mind of the court upon the crucial problem of unemployment which is awaiting solution, and which the settled practice of the court has done nothing to solve. The Labour party would not have had need to draw an amendment of the character of that before us if effect had been given to its policy years ago; and the shackles of the Constitution, with which we have almost rendered ourselves powerless, had been removed. The honorable gentleman speaks theoretically of freedom of action in regard to industry, hut has he ever lent one ounce of support to make that possible by the only means by which it could effectively be done, namely, by an amendment of the Constitution? I am not aware that, at any time, he, or any other honorable gentleman on the other side, except when a member of the Labour party, has lent us any support whatever. We shall welcome their support, because that at least is a non-party question. It is time that we realized that the Constitution under which the people of Australia live and move and have their being should be subject to the will of the people and not the people subject to it.

The “ die-hards “ of the press, as I see by reference to a Melbourne newspaper which arrived in Canberra this morning, refer to the amendment of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Scullin) as a blunder, in that it facilitated the recon- struction of the Cabinet and further friendly advances between the Country party and the United Australia party. The truth is that seldom, if ever, has an amendment moved by a Leader of the Opposition to a motion for the adoption of the Address-in-Reply had such instant and disturbing effects as this amendment has had. It certainly expedited, even if it did not facilitate, the negotiations that have been proceeding. It has been an exhilarating sight to see the Leader of the Country party proceeding, by any means of locomotion at his disposal, from his room to the Cabinet room during these negotiations. He adopted almost every means of transit and every avenue of approach short of aeronautics; but he did not on this occasion have time to write a letter to the Prime Minister on the subject.

Mr Maxwell:

– Was the honorable gentleman spying?


– Surely the honorable member for Fawkner does not make that interjection seriously? Does he not know that the police had to clear the traffic on the highways? Spying was not necessary in order to know what was going on. It is natural that this amendment should cause disturbance, because it involves, among other things, the granting of rural relief, fair treatment of pensioners and some measure of justice to the working classes of this country. It is a serious challenge to the Country party as it is also to the honorable member for Fawkner, whose constituents are demanding that he should abandon the policy of harassing old-age pensioners and trifling with unemployment. The Government reminds me of nothing so much as one of those dissolving pictures which are to be seen sometimes at a pantomine. The real business of the Government has not been the granting of relief to those engaged in rural industries or justice to pensioners, but that of dipping into the bran pie for the spoils of office. It is a. case of “ shut your eyes and open your mouth and see what the Lord will provide “. Its business has been to determine to what extent sales of principle shall be made in order to buy stocks in the new co-operation 1 almost wonder, though it seems to be true, if I really have been out of Parliament. When we compare the Governor-General’s Speech of early 1932 with the Speech of late 1934 we could almost believe that we were back at the beginning of 1932. At the end of 1931 the United Australia party did not promise a survey of the situation in three years time but a Christmas dinner for the workless in 1931. The unemployed workers were then told that if the United Australia party was placed in power there would soon be “ a jab for every one and at once.” It is strange to find the Leader of the United Australia party, who fathered the propaganda of 1931, now proposing a survey during 1935 of the root causes of unemployment. If the people of this country continue to stand such, treatment they deserve it. My leader showed that there is no mystery about the root causes of unemployment. If the Minister for Defence (Mr. Parkhill) has ever read the policy and platform of the Labour party he will know that that party has for years known the root causes of unemployment. If those root causes are sought, and discovered, they will be found to be the inevitable consequences of the capitalistic system under which we drag along. Every day man’s inventive genius is creating new machinery to make work lighter and the burden on the worker easier. The effect is, however, only to throw men on the scrap heap while making profits greater. Unless they are absolutely blinded by prejudice and self interest, honorable members opposite know that unemployment is the inevitable result of the system which high finance has put them in office to implement. I suggest that, if Government supporters seriously seek the root causes of unemployment, and having found them, attempt to implement a policy to remove them, they, like Othello, will soon find their occupation gone.

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

– The Government of which the honorable gentleman was AttorneyGeneral did not go very far towards removing them.


– With the legislature such as it was, it is true that the Labour Government did not go very far; but the present Government has the numbers in both Houses and can do what it likes. Clumsy though the legislative machinery is, it can be put into operation by the present Government to the limits of the Constitution. The Labour party had a policy to deal with unemployment, but it did not have the numbers to support it. The present Government has the numbers, but it is afraid to give effect to the only policy which will solve this problem.

Mr Archdale Parkhill:

– Why did not the honorable member tackle the Senate?


– I did tackle the Senate, but in a way that did not please the honorable gentleman. As AttorneyGeneral, I framed eighteen regulations, and had them gazetted, to put workers back on the waterfront to do work which was legitimately theirs as against the interlopers that the honorable gentleman was subsidizing in that sphere. I did that to the very limit of our powers, and the honorable gentleman at the time said that I went beyond our powers.

We do not expect from the Government any fundamental reforms based upon root causes. I do not look to them for it, and I would even go so far as to admit that they have no mandate to attempt such work. Blinded by the propaganda of the newspapers, high finance and big business, the people have not yet espoused the policy of fundamental reforms which I believe in, which I advocated on the hustings, and which secured my return to this House by a very large majority. But, although honorable members of the Opposition do not anticipate that the Government will effect such reforms, or want to find them out by means of any inquiry they may make, at least we think that, in the space of three years, they could have put into operation palliative measures for the temporary relief of the working class. We think that they could have addressed themselves to those measures which this party suggested as being practicable, even in conjunction with the policy of laissezfaire pursued by this Governments Indeed we prepared a schedule of necessary works, and urged that these be undertaken by the Government, using the power it possesses under the Constitution over currency and banking, and as the national purse, to raise money for the purpose of enabling the States to undertake practicable measures for the relief of unemployment, and by those methods to implement also increased employment in Australia under private enterprise. That policy, we contended, could be carried out under conditions as they exist to-day without requiring any fundamental constitutional reforms. Our opponents asked, “ Where will you get the money to carry out these works?” My reply was that the money could be got by printing to the measure of our needs, to the measure of the work to be done, and the services required, and to the measure of the commodities needed to be exchanged and that prices were the guide by which safety was maintained. For making such a proposal, I was described by the propagandists of the United Australia party as a reckless inflationist.

Mr Maxwell:

– The honorable member modified those views on the eve of the election.


– I. did not qualify them then, nor do I qualify them now in this Parliament. Let the honorable member toll me when and where I qualified these views.

Mr Maxwell:

– I could point to-


– The honorable member could point to the United Australia party press, the propagandists of falsehood and masters of suppression - newspapers which he regards as his bible - to justify his assertion. However., they do not represent or express my policy or that of the Labour party. Nevertheless, even in the United Australia party press, I doubt whether he would find any suggestion that I have ever whittled down or departed from the policy which I now aver and declared at the last election - ‘that of making money the servant and not the master of the people. Many men could be at work to-day, many desolate homes could have been brightened even three years ago, if the present Government had carried out suc’h a policy. Yat this impotent and office-seeking Government remains here and has the effrontery to tell the people that in 1935 it proposes to make a comprehensive survey of the mot causes of unemployment, which are obvious. Nobody can flay that this Government has been inactive. It has been active, mischievously active. To increase the purchasing power, and to increase employment, Ministers have, to their eternal discredit, handed back offerings of gold and silver tto their rich friends. And for the same purpose, according to their own logic, and with the same ends in view, they have doubled the taxation on the pensioners and have revived every instrument of vexation and oppression upon the aged and infirm. The people have suffered, and still suffer, these injustices. But it is not my idea to suffer them patiently or happily.

I accept the decision of the electors, and for that reason I am on this side of the table; but I say our stocks ar« rising, and the stocks of the Government are falling. They have called up the mercenaries as a last resort. For them th» writing is on the wall; but we will continue on the up grade, adhering to a policy by which we believe this country may yet be saved.


.- Th» Governor-General’s Speech may be summarized under three headings. It deals with the questions, first, of unemployment, secondly, rural industry and rural relief assistance, and thirdly, secondary industries and trade treaties. One never sees in a Governor-General’s Speech much indication of practical work. Everything depends on the legislation based upon the declarations in the Speech. In the speech recently delivered there is not much that one can criticize. The amendment moved by the right honorable the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Scullin) to the Address-in-Reply has been most effectively answered by the right honorable the Prime Minister (Mr. Lyons). At the last election, I was opposed by a follower of the Leader of the Opposition, whose policy was couched in similar terms to those of this amendment. In my electoral division, as in other divisions throughout the Commonwealth, these views were turned down by the electors as being impracticable. They have been turned down by the people, and it is only reasonable that they should be turned down now by a majority in this House.

The Leader of the Opposition has seriously criticized the Government for having relieved wealthy land-owners from taxation. I venture to throw that assertion back at the right honorable gentleman and to prove that he is in error. The first step that his Government took was to assist the combines in this community to earn inordinate profits. That fact can be proved by a glance at our statistics. In 1931, the taxable income earned in Australia amounted to £122,000,000. Of that amount, the mining, pastoral and agricultural industries earned £5,000,000 and the manufacturing industries £117,000,000. The section of industry which was making the most was that section which was given additional protection by the Scullin Government lo enable it to form more combines and to make the increased profits shown in the balance sheets of concerns engaged in the match and glass industries. These secondary industries have undoubtedly made inordinate profits, yet they have not exported one farthing’s worth of goods to enable Australia to establish greater credit overseas. Because of the honorable gentleman’s adherence to his bigh protective policy, we find that for every four minutes he had control of the government, one man in Australia lost his job, and that during his period of office, unemployment reached a record height. The result was that the right honorable gentleman himself was compelled to cut wages and reduce old-age pensions. [Quorum formed.’] The policy of the Scullin Government was that of greasing the fat pig. It hedged more protection about those industries which were already highly protected, enabling prices in those industries to be increased. It must be obvious to any honorable member who examines the position dispassionately that it was because of such a policy that confidence was lost in Australia, unemployment increased and our stocks fell to the lowest price level in many years. The national debt is greater to-day than it was before the Scullin Government came into office. Yet we now have members on the opposite side of the Chamber charging this Government with hedging protection around the mining, pastoral and agricultural industries which are not getting any of the spoils, although they are the mainstay of this country. Although they are our great exporting industries and the secondary in- dustries depend upon them, they accounted for only £5,000,000 of the £122,000,000 of taxable income earned in this country in 1931. It was the other industries which received £117,000,000 out of that total that were given the greatest benefits by the Scullin Government. A glance at the balance sheets of companies engaged in these industries, as I have said, shows that they received from the Scullin Government inordinate advantages which enabled them to keep up the prices of commodities. The Minister for Trade and Customs in the Scullin Government used to say every time he laid a new tariff schedule on the table of the House, “ If this protection is granted it will be the means of providing employment for another 1,000 persons in the industry”. In another case it would bo 150 new jobs that were to be found, and so on: If the prognostications of that gentleman had been correct, there would not now be one person unemployed in the whole Commonwealth, but the plain, statistical fact is that for every four minutes that the right honorable gentleman was in office a man lost his job. His prognostications could not possibly be correct, because the income of the great exporting industries had fallen by £100,000,000 a year, so that those industries, with their allied activities, were unable to provide as much employment as before. All the while, however, the favoured section of the community, sheltering behind tariff protection, maintained the old high level of the prices of its products, and even, in some cases, raised those prices against the primary producers.

Mr Forde:

– Were not the exporting industries in freetrade countries suffering just the same?


– The Scullin Government should have reversed its policy on the principle that, as the great exporting industries had less buying power due to the decline of overseas prices, they should be helped by being given the benefit of reduced customs duties. The Government should have made it possible for them to go on buying, even with their reduced incomes. Then trade would have moved. The Lyons Government came into power, and did reverse the disastrous policy of the previous Government. It pulled down the tariff barriers erected by the Scullin Government. Acting on the advice of the Tariff Board, it reduced duties which had, in some instances, been increased a hundredfold. That had the effect of reducing costs to the users of the affected commodities, and also gave the Lyons Government an extra £22,000,000 in revenue which the Scullin Government had lost to no purpose. This, in turn, enabled the Lyons Government to abolish the pernicious primage duties, and reduce the sales tax which the Scullin Government found it necessary to impose. Since that policy was put into operation, not one additional man has lost his job in Australia, and 30 per cent, of those who were out of employment as a result of the policy of the previous Government have been put back to work. Therefore, the Leader of the Opposition can expect to reap but little credit for his amend” ment. He has had his’ try, and he had my sympathy whenever he attempted to do anything practical to alleviate the general distress. A dispassionate examination of the records of the Scullin Government and the one that succeeded it should be instructive to all members of this House, and to the public at large.

The suggestion in the amendment that hours of labour should be reduced in order to solve the problem of the displacement of labour by the mechanization of industry would be all very well if the principle could be applied all round; but this is a practical world, and I cannot see how it can be done. If we could confine our operations to Australia as a unit, isolated from the rest of the world, and free of debt, we might evolve some scheme which would bring about general equality among the people - some system of socialism. However, I am not hopeful that we can establish a 30-hour working week at the same rate of wages that we are paying to-day, and still ensure that the man on the land will receive a payable price for his products, as was. promised y the leader of the Lang party. Promises of that kind sound all right to those who do not understand the position, but those of us who have been struggling for 30 or 40 years on the land have lost all faith in those Utopian ideas.

I am in favour of the Government’s proposal to enter into trade treaties with

** Mr.** Prowse. other countries. This Parliament will have to alter its conservative attitude towards the policy of national selfsufficiency. We were advised by the British Economic Mission when it was here that Australia was attempting too much, meaning that we were establishing secondary industries before they were justified, and that, in an endeavour to bolster them up, we were imposing too great a burden on the exporting industries. Not only has this attempt placed increased costs upon the exporters, amounting to a 15 per cent, handicap, but it has also actually increased the cost of exporting our goods overseas. The duties and prohibitions imposed by the Scullin Government had the effect of stopping importations, with the result that ships were coming here in ballast. They had to recoup the cost of the voyage both ways from one lot of freight, namely, that being exported from Australia. Moreover, this extreme policy of protection had the effect of closing overseas markets against us, and, as I have already explained, actually increasing the volume of unemployment. Another serious effect has been to disfranchise the man on the land. When we entered into Federation in 1900, Victoria sent 23 representatives to this Parliament. Eight of them came from Melbourne and suburbs, while fifteen came from other parts of Victoria. Since then, Victoria has lost three members, two to New South Wales and one to Queensland, leaving her with 20. Under the last distribution, Melbourne and suburbs elected eleven members, while all the rest of Victoria elected only nine. Is that not disfranchisement of the very people who make it possible for those in the cities to exist? Statistics show the at the whole of Australia produced £15 worth of goods per head of population for export. The people of Western Australia produce £37 worth of goods per head for export, while those of Melbourne and suburbs do not produce 6d. worth per head of . exportable goods. Nevertheless, Melbourne and suburbs have twice the voting strength of the whole of Western Australia. Honorable members opposite would squeal if they were asked to enter into a syndicate with me on terms which provided that, although they put in £30 to my shilling, I should have a preponderance of voting power, and, as chairman of the syndicate, would be able to determine its policy, and distribute the dividends according to my own sweet will. In this political syndicate of ours the shilling member - that is, the city vote - has assumed control, and is distributing the dividends to suit itself. That is shown by reference to the taxable incomes, which I have already touched upon. Even the Labour party, which boasts of its generosity to the poor, is, by the policy which it supports, helping to bolster up the great combines and profit-making institutions of the cities. [Quorum formed.] It is the disfranchisement of primary producers in this House owing to the centralization that has taken place, and the natural human selfishness displayed in Parliament that has caused Western Australia to talk of separation. An honorable member from Tasmania declared yesterday that he was an ardent federalist ; yet he too suggested that there was talk of secession in that State because of its inability to secure justice at the hands of the Commonwealth Parliament. The majority of members of this House are returned by city votes. They have no interest in country pursuits. . They fail to appreciate the fact that our cities are dependent upon our export industries. They do not seem to realize that we cannot go on bleeding the primary producers, that our primary industries cannot continue to be knocked off their feet in the markets of the world; that they cannot hope to carry on when the doors of so many foreign markets are being slammed in their faces. The depression which prevails to-day would never have occurred but for the fall that took place in our export commodities. Had the high prices for wool, wheat and butter which ruled a few years ago continued to prevail, there would have been no depression here. Facts such as these should stimulate members of the Labour party to an appreciation of what is required of them and all other representatives of city constituencies. The slight rise which occurred in the price of wool last year created a most helpful spirit in the community, and gave us a favorable trade balance. The whole barometer of trade is regulated by our. export industries, yet the people who are responsible for them and thus render a great service to the country are absolutely outvoted in this House. If votes were cast in Parliament with due regard to the interests of the whole of the people, the position would be different. The Labour party should bend and give way to some of these economic industries of the country. They should be ready to support reciprocal trade movements. Without reciprocal trade we shall continue to have trouble. There is no royal road to prosperity; it is to be reached only by means of natural, common-sense trade as between the nations. The honorable member for Melbourne (Dr. Maloney) referred to an all-wise Providence who saw to it that the ants and bees and their offspring never Buffered. Was there ever a more selfish policy than that of world tariffs and the spirit of nationalism which prevent the free movement of trade and detract from the development of the natural resources of every country by trying to make natural that which is unnatural? It is because of this that we are being punished to-day.

Mr Lazzarini:

– The policy to which the honorable member refers is unnatural only because capitalism is unnatural.


– The honorable member, because of his views on capitalism, was sent into retirement for three years.

I support the motion for the adoption of the Address-in-Reply and express the fervent hope that the Government as now being reconstituted will be more helpful to our primary industries. I am hopeful also that something practical will be done by way of reversal of the policy hitherto followed, so as to give more employment in this country. I trust that we shall soon place on the statute-book permanent legislation with regard to the great exporting industries, so that we shall not be .brought here again and again merely as political footballs. The provision of bounties and measures of that kind is not statesmanlike; we need to get down to the dead bedrock of sincerity, and to provide for trade being conducted on a competitive basis.


.- We have under consideration the GovernorGeneral’s Speech, the details of which were explained by those who were chosen by the Government to move and second the motion for the adoption of the AddressinReply. We have also before us an amendment to that motion which has been submitted by the right honorable the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Scullin). I had the pleasure of hearing the Governor-General read his Speech at the opening of this Parliament, and I do not know that it could have been better delivered by any one; but its contents were such that although His Excellency’s name appeared at the foot of it, I feel sure that he was not responsible for any part of it.

Mr Brennan:

– The reading of it must have been a painful experience for His Excellency.


– In addition to a thorough grounding in politics, and a brilliant education, His Excellency has a profound judicial knowledge, and it seems to me that the attaching of his name to this political monstrosity might be interpreted by some people as a veiled attack on the judiciary.


– The honorable member is not in order.


– The Speech itself is quite aimless and meaningless, but we have learned from the Attorney-General (Mr. Menzies) this morning that much that does not actually appear in the printed statement can readily be read into it by those who have a fertile imagination. The whole purport of his remarks was that the time had arrived for the Government to start thinking. That would be a most unusual procedure on the part of a Tory administration.

A remarkable feature of this debate is the cowardly attitude adopted by the Government in leaving its justification and defence, and the explanation of the GovernorGeneral’s Speech, to junior members of its party. The Prime Minister yesterday sought to assist those juniors in elaborating the details of the Speech, but he was both brief and unconvincing. He gave, as an excuse for his brevity, a desire on his part that there should be no delay in putting into operation the Government’s plans for dealing with unemployment. Under the Standing Orders, the right honorable gentleman had an hour within which to state bis case, but he feared that if he availed himself of the whole of that time he might prejudice or delay the coming into operation of proposed schemes for the rehabilitation of the unemployed! He professed concern at the prospect of a delay of even an hour in dealing with those schemes, and so sought to excuse his brevity. I remind the House, however, that for the last two and a half years the right honorable gentleman has done nothing in the matter, and has on every occasion refused “ to accept any responsibility whatever for the position of the unemployed. Whenever the question has been raised in this House by the Opposition - and it has been raised by no other party - his invariable defence has been that the solving of the unemployment problem is the responsibility not of the Commonwealth Government, but of private enterprise and State Governments. For two and a half years he has utterly ignored the responsibility of the Commonwealth in this regard. Yet he had the effrontery to tell the House yesterday that he would not take advantage of the full time allowed him under the Standing Orders to reply to his critics because if he did so he would delay the coming into force of the unemployment relief plans that the Government has in view! Let us examine the determined methods which the Prime Minister has adopted in regard to unemployment. During a discussion of the question on a motion for the adjournment of the House on 11th March, 1932, the right honorable gentleman said -

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 set 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.

After having consulted departmental officials and all the authorities in Australia, after having appointed a subcommittee of Cabinet to consider the problem, and at a time when nearly every man in the street knew that 30 per cent, of the employable people of Australia were unemployed, the right honorable gentleman had the cool effrontery to tell the House what every one knew - that the matter was of extreme urgency. He went on to say -

The sub committee is about to submit to Cabinet certain propositions which we will put to the Premiers.

Two and a half years later, in his policy speech at the Sydney Town Hall, the Prime Minister made these further observations on the subject of unemployment -

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 wholehearted effort to overcome it. The task is almost beyond their resources.

This was not new to the right honorable gentleman, because on every occasion on which we had approached the subject we had’ told him that the Commonwealth Government was exploiting every conceivable avenue of taxation and reaping revenues that rightly should have been left to the States to enable them to provide for works for the unemployed, while at the same time it had done nothing to assist the States, and that the States had almost reached the limits of their resources in this direction. He went on to say -

A conference with the State governments will be summoned-

Such conferences had been held year after year and, after having dabbled with the subject, had dropped it -

Our aim will be to handle the problem upon a national as well as a State and municipal basis. Instructions have been given for the assembling of all the information directly accessible to the Commonwealth. This information will be supplemented by swift and detailed survey of all that has been, and is being, done by the States; and in the light of the complete information comprehensive cooperative planning between the Commonwealth and State governments will follow. “ Comprehensive co-operative planning “. Delightfully vague words these, but it is upon them that the Governor-General’s Speech hinges. This same information was imparted to this House by the Prime Minister two and a half years ago. He then admitted - and was probably the last man to admit it - that the problem of unemployment was an urgent one. He is so convinced of this now, that he was not prepared yesterday, in his brief speech, to weary the House by telling us once more that which he had so often repeated. He was very cautious in this regard; he had probably been reminded of the old adage that if you tell the same story often enough you begin to believe it yourself. It was for this reason perhaps that he was disinclined to go further with his story of two and a half years ago. To sum up the attitude of the Government, during every discussion on the subject in this House it has urged that the responsibility of dealing with the unemployed problem does not rest with the Commonwealth Government.

Both the Prime Minister and the honorable member for Martin (Mr. McCall) have’ told us that the people of Australia displayed their confidence in the United Australia party by returning it to power. The people did nothing of the kind. The real fact is that the people did not express their confidence in the capacity of the party to govern. They did not return them as a government. They took away from the United Australia party the power to govern this country.

Sitting suspended from1.45 to 2.15 p.m. [Quorum formed.]


– Prior to the last election the United Australia party had a majority in both Houses of the Parliament. Since then the Government and its supporters have not had full control in this House. We have evidence of that in the fact that as soon as the first hostile amendment was submitted, Ministers scuttled for cover, and, by a process of underground engineering worthy of Guy Fawkes himself, have secured the cooperation of a rather unreliable party in order to remain in office.

A remarkable feature of this debate is the lack of interest displayed in it by ministerial supporters. They never tire of declaring that they enjoy complete freedom of action within their party, in any set of circumstances,so it is somewhat surprising now to find that both government supporters and members of the Country party have been brow-beaten into silence. Apparently, it was thought that if they exercised the freedom of speech about which they have boasted oh so many occasions, the negotiations for the formation of a coalition government would be endangered. Members of the Country party in particular have had nothing to say as to the merits or demerits of the proposals contained in the Governor-General’s Speech. I should have been interested to hear what the honorable member for New England (Mr. Thompson) had to say about the trials and tribulations of the tobaccogrowers in his district; also what he thought of the brow-beating tactics of the Government, and whether he endorsed the following opinion expressed by the Minister for Education in New South “Wales in an advertisement published in the Northern Daily Leader during the election campaign :-

A No. 1 vote for Mr. Cantwell, the United Australia party candidate, or for Labour, is a vote to endanger the financial stability of the Commonwealth.

Do members of the Country party share that view? The honorable member for New England should be in an excellent position to say, since he was the candidate in whose interest the advertisement appeared. He should also be able to tell us whether or not the outlook for the tobacco-growers of his district has been improved by any proposals contained in the Governor-General’s Speech. It would have been interesting, too, to hear what the honorable member for Henty (Sir Henry Gullett) had to say about the inclusion of the “tragic Treasurer” in the proposed new Ministry. And the honorable member for Gwydir (Mr. Abbott) would, I am sure, entertain us if he told what he really thought about the proposals as affecting the wool-growers of New South Wales. Up to date that honorable gentleman has not ventured any opinion of the Government’s policy, although last year he deemed it necessary to move the adjournment of the House to direct attention to the parlous position of the wool industry, and then thought it expedient to vote against his own motion. The honorable member for Calare (Mr. Thorby) is another honorable gentleman whose views on recent political developments would be extremely interesting. On one occasion during the life of the last Parliament, because of the Government’s attitude towards the interests which he represented, he referred to the Prime Minister (Mr.

Lyons) as another Ned Kelly, although no one can, by the greatest stretch of the imagination, visualize the Prime Minister as a desperate “ two-gun man “. Nevertheless, I and other” honorable members on this side would like to know just what the honorable member for Calare thinks about the present situation, and whether he now considers the Prime Minister to be a useful and lawabiding citizen. It is possible, of course, that changed circumstances and Cabinet possibilities have caused the honorable gentleman to re-adjust his views concerning the Prime Minister. We may take it that the silence of Country party members in this debate is due to the fact that recently negotiations have been taking place for the formation of a coalition Ministry. I have not the slightest doubt that while they have had in mind the professions of their leader that they stand first and always for policy and principle they have also had an eye on the possibility of sharing the pickings of office. I am sure all honorable members would like to hear the views of the honorable member for Barton (Mr. Lane) on the present situation. His loquacity at any time is difficult to control. At the declaration of the poll he expressed his disagreement with certain remarks that were made as to the possibility of a composite Ministry, urging that the party which received the largest number of votes should have the right to govern the country. Within the last fewdays, and since rumours about the probability of a coalition became current, he described the attitude of the Prime Minister as one of abject surrender to the Country party. The honorable member for Martin (Mr. McCall) is one of the few speakers who, up to date, have defended the Government’s policy. He expressed the view that encouragement to private enterprise offered the only prospect of re-employing the large number of wage-earners who have for so long been out of work. It has been said that private enterprise, in normal circumstances, gives employment to 80 per cent, of the working population. I do not wish to contest that claim, but I do suggest that private enterprise does not offer employment merely for the purpose of providing jobs for the workless.

The intention is to make a profit on the investment, and as profitable avenues for investment are not so numerous now as they were a few years ago, private enterprise is not offering sufficient employment for all the people who normally find work in industry. This being so, relief should be afforded by some other means.

The success of government loans in recent years is another clear indication that people with money to invest prefer to lock it up for a long period of’ years at a low rate of interest, rather than embark upon industrial ventures.

The Attorney-General (Mr. Menzies) took part in the debate this morning. He professed to know more about the principles of the Labour party than did Labour members themselves, and charged the Labour party with advocating a public works policy as a cure for unemployment. We do nothing of the kind. We say that under the present capitalistic system there will always recur periods of acute unemployment ; but we do not put forward a public works programme as a definite cure of unemployment. Prior to the depression many millions of pounds were expended by governments on reproductive works which gave employment for thousands of people at reasonable wages, and as private enterprise is not now proriding the volume of employment which under normal conditions it makes available for the workers, it is the duty of governments to put in hand public work3. In this way large numbers would be kept in employment at decent wages, and the maintenance of the purchasing power of the people would encourage private enterprise to extend its operations. The Attorney-General found fault with the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Scullin) and directed his criticism particularly to the second paragraph which suggests an amendment of the Arbitration Act to ensure full and favorable consideration for proposals to reduce the working hours and increase the living standards of the workers. The Minister told us that the Court would not be influenced by any decision arrived at by this Parliament. I would, however, remind the honorable gentleman that, although in theory the Court is supposed not to be influenced by the known views of a government, it is a fact that when State Labour governments have been in .power, the tendency of the Court has been to grant higher wages and improvement of the working conditions in industry. This being so, may we not take it that the Court would be influenced, perhaps indirectly, if this Parliament unanimously expressed the opinion that an improvement of conditions in industry by a lessening of the hours of work and the adoption of a higher wage standard would lead to a solution of the unemployment problem ? The Attorney-General said that there were three considerations to ‘be observed in dealing with unemployment, namely, what are the causes, what are the desirable cures, and what governmental authority has power to deal with it ? I submit that there are no divergent opinions in this House as to the causes of unemployment, and 1 do not think that there is any great difference of opinion as to the desirable measures for relief; but it is a fact that on the pretext that there are divergent views on the subject itself, and also in relation to the allocation of the responsibility, the whole problem has been shelved by governments from time to time. The Commonwealth has always attempted to place responsibility on State governments and private enterprise. The Attorney-General also said that, due to the revival of private enterprise in. certain industries, artisans were now at a premium.” I, in common with my colleagues who mix more intimately with the workers of this country than does the Attorney-General, am not prepared to accept all the statements that appear in the newspapers on this point. The best way to learn whether artisans are at a premium, at all events in New South Wales, is to visit the unemployed dumps, where men who have been trained in all trades and professions - among them are solicitors and university graduates - are wielding the pick and shovel for a mere food allowance, without any provision for either clothing or shelter. If the AttorneyGeneral knows of any place in which artisans are at a premium, he might take the community into his confidence, and bring together the unemployed and the jobs that are available.

That would be more effective than the suggestion made to the Loan Council recently - that juveniles should be sent from one State to another, a portion of their salaries being paid by either the State or the Commonwealth Treasury. There is a difference- of opinion even in regard to what, authority should put that suggestion into operation. The Commonwealth seeks to throw on the States the responsibility of finding work, but is prepared to undertake the transport of the unemployed from one State to another. The States, on the other hand, wish to obtain from the Commonwealth some guarantee that it will accept a portion of the responsibility for the placing of the unemployed in industry.

It is interesting to compare some of the views expressed by certain honorable members opposite inside and outside this House. The Minister for Commerce (Mr. Stewart), speaking at a United Australia party meeting held at Parramatta on the 21st March last, made the following observations: -

Unemployment is the greatest national problem, and, whether we like it or not, it will Wave to be treated by new methods. The United Australia party will have to realize that it has been following the wrong track, And sooner or later will have to accept the methods to suit the times. Just because the Labour party hold these views nothing will top me expressing my opinion, for I honestly believe such ideas to be correct, and I intend to do all in my power to convince my colleagues in Canberra that increased wages and reduced hours are the only hopes -Australia has of solving unemployment. In many industries wages and hours do not play such an important part in costs of production as some members of our party would have us believe. A difference in wages and hours between the States has a detrimental effect, but on a Commonwealth basis it would not make any great difference even if the hours of labour were reduced to 42 or 40. Whether you like it or not. this has got to come.

Mr Stewart:

– I said most, but not all, of that.


– While negotiations were taking place for a coalition between the United Australia party and the United Country party, the position of the honorable gentleman was very uncertain. Having expressed such views as I have quoted in the presence of the members of his political organization, and haying ensured their being given due publicity in the press, I suggest that he should now avail himself of another publicity medium - Hansard - in order to malco known throughout Australia the weaknesses of the policy which his party has been following, and his conviction that that party would have to resort to Labour’s theory, whether palatable or not, that the reduction of hours and the raising of wages and purchasing power are the only means by which the present distressing condition of unemployment may be alleviated.

The Speech for which the GovernorGeneral, is obliged to accept the responsibility of having his name attached to it, states that His Excellency’s 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.” That is most interesting in the light of the statement made by the Prime Minister (Mr. Lyons) during the 1931 elections, that the slogan of his party would be, “Follow Great Britain.” Since that date, the right honorable gentleman and his colleagues have always slavishly adhered to the Imperial outlook, apparently believing that everything possible had been done by Great Britain. I need only say that Great Britain has repudiated the interest due on its debt to the United States of America, and that a similar policy has so far not been adopted by Australia. On the 20th August, 1934, according to a return furnished by the Ministry for Labour and published in the Manchester Guardian, 1,301,971 men, 62,126 boys, 185,704 women, and 48,537 girls, a total of 1,598,338 persons, were wholly unemployed in Great Britain. Those who were “ temporarily stopped “ totalled 456,841, comprising 310,754 men, 6,517 boys, 134,170 women, and 5,400 girls. I do not know how long that temporary arrangement is likely to last. In addition, were the “ normally casual “ consisting of 79,594 men, 72 boys, 1,729 women, and four girls. The grand total is 2,136,578. I may mention that a responsible officer of the Ministry for Labour, who recently arrived in Sydney, has stated that, although the conditions were improving in Great Britain, the unemployment figures totalled 2,136,578 at present, and that it could not be hoped that in future there would ever be fewer than 2,000,000 unemployed. Yet the Government has the effrontery to say that it is that country which, with Australia, is leading the world in industrial and financial recovery!

The Governor-General’s Speech also contains the following passage : -

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

I ask the Government not to continue to exploit that “gallant fortitude,” but to take practical steps towards getting the workers back into employment.

I intend, to support the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Scullin), becauseI believe that it at least takes a step in the right direction, and makes constructive suggestions for the rehabilitation of the Commonwealth - a feature that is absent from the Governor-General’s Speech.


.- I cordially support the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Scullin), in which he has proposed that, in order to relieve unemployment, the functions of the Commonwealth Bank should be extended to make credits available for the financing of public works, and that a general review should be made of wages and conditions so that additional avenues may be opened for those who are at present unemployed. The amendment further indicates that those engaged in primary production should receive some assistance from the Government in the direction of organized marketing and Australia-wide pools. By that means the primary producers could overcome some of the hardships and difficulties imposed upon them owing to the low prices prevailing for the commodities they are producing, and the restricted demand consequent upon the decreased purchasing power of the people. The amendment also provides that those in receipt of social benefits should be relieved of the unjust burdens placed upon them as the result of legislation passed by this Parliament.

I accompanied the deputation representative of those engaged in the wheat industry which waited upon the Minister for Commerce (Mr. Stewart) on Wednesday, and feel sure that the Minister was impressed by the statements made concerning the hardships experienced by those engaged in rural production in Australia. I was impressed by the earnestness of the deputation, whose claims are so just as to demand the immediate attention of the Government. The speakers clearly indicated to the Minister that, unless assistance was forthcoming immediately, many farmers would . be unable to continue in rural production. The time has arrived for something of a concrete character to be done to stabilize such an important industry. The request of the deputation was in strict conformity with the views of the members of the party to which I belong. They asked to be rescued from the speculators who manipulate markets, to have an opportunity to market their own produce, and to be guaranteed a price for local consumption. It is only in that way that the industry can be stabilized. The members of the Labour party very cordially associate themselves with the representations made by the wheat-growers, and trust that immediate action will be taken to assist this very deserving section of the community.

The unemployment problem is becoming intensified as a result of existing economic conditions, and the depletion of their resources. Those who are unemployed are considerably less able to meet the continuing adversity. The Government derives a certain amount of satisfaction from its contention that the unemployment figures show some improvement; but an independent review would disclose , that the number of unemployed in the English speaking countries, and in certain continental countries, is not higher than it is in Australia. According to the figures prepared by the League of Nations the percentage of unemployment in Australia is almost as high as in any other country. Since the Government has been in office it has not made a determined effort to relieve unemployment. During two election campaigns its supporters made certain promises in order to secure a mandate.

The Government’s policy with respect to re-employment is the most vague declaration I have heard since I have been a member of this Parliament. During the debate honorable members opposite have not attempted to explain it, or to answer the definite and direct challenge issued by the Leader of the Opposition. Their unwillingness to respond to that challenge clearly indicates their inability to submit any constructive criticism. The Leader of the Opposition presented a strong case and has suggested a means of meeting the present difficult situation. The few honorable members opposite who have spoken have hidden whatever opinions they wished to express in a maze of meaningless words.

The Prime Minister found himself in an extremely difficult position in attempting to offer an apology for the policy adopted by him in the last Parliament. It was obvious that his position was insecure and his promises uncertain. He was also perplexed with difficulties apart from those associated with the deliberations of this Parliament. He appeared to be considerably worried when he attempted to reply to the case presented by the Opposition. I draw attention to the opening passage in the GovernorGeneral’s Speech delivered almost three year’s ago, when much was expected of the Lyons Administration. The definite promise was made that the predicament of the unemployed would receive first consideration. The text of the opening sentences of the speech was as follows: -

My Ministers are deeply conscious of the fact that transcending in importance all other matters of public business at the present time is the necessity for maintaining the soundness of national finance, and for hastening, so far as is within their power, the conditions that will bring employment to the workless.

The Speech indicated how this promise was to be fulfilled. It was stated that relief would have to be given to primary and secondary industries in order to place the unemployed in profitable occupations. The Government’s record is absolutely barren of any constructive or concrete proposal to improve the position of the workless.

Private enterprise, the Prime Minister indicated, must be relied upon to provide employment for the people. That, of course, was only a specious excuse for remitting to the wealthy friends of the Government a large amount of taxation, which sum, the Government suggested, would be made available for the revival of industry and the re-employment of the people. Although taxation to the amount of £9,500,000 was remitted, that sum was not used to give a fillip to industrial operations or substantially to improve the unemployment position. It was found that the banks and other financial institutions had large amounts of money on fixed deposit, and desired to find a suitable outlet for it. They were not prepared to invest those deposits in commercial or industrial enterprises; but through new loan issues the public has had the experience of paying interest for money that should have been part of the consolidated revenue.

In the present debate, the Prime Minister has acknowledged that the policy adopted by his Government for the relief of the unemployed has proved futile, and will be discontinued for the future. If any condemnation be needed of the Government’s methods of dealing with unemployment, surely the Prime Minister’s own statement is a most effective declaration that the policy adopted was unsound, unwise and unwarranted. The learned and distinguished gentleman who now graces the office of Attorney-General has tried to justify the action of the Government. Though his statements were profound and his bearing modest, I am afraid that some of his remarks are open to challenge. In the political firmament he will, no doubt, figure as one of the most brilliant stars. Apparently, although the Lyons Government has been in office for three years, its real existence commenced only from the moment at which the honorable gentleman became a member of it. Honorable members on this side will watch the Government’s future efforts, in the fervent hope that something more will be achieved during the. life of this Parliament, and I assure the Attorney-General if we are disappointed we shall hold him responsible. He has given us to understand that his presence in the Ministry is likely to affect profoundly the future conduct of public affairs; but his maiden speech in this House did not inspire us with confidence that his presence will be quite so helpful as he seemed to believe. In his speech he dissected the autonomous powers of the Commonwealth and the States, hut brought no new arguments to bear upon the subject, and was not able to prescribe any effective cure for the ills from which we suffer. The honorable gentleman merely said that a survey would-be made of the position to determine whether there were root causes, for the removal or alteration of which the Commonwealth might have to accept responsibility. Surely the experiences of the last three years have proved that this evil is one that requires the immediate application of a courageous policy designed to secure to all our people a share of the good things which this country can supply in abundance, but which owing to serious mismanagement of public affairs have been denied them. The criticisms by the Leader of the Opposition cannot be regarded as captious. The right honorable gentleman offered as an alternative to the Government’s policy constructive proposals designed to give real relief to our people. If the Prime Minister and the members supporting the Government were prepared to visit the industrial areas and obtain first-hand knowledge of the terrible disabilities under which many people exist, they would realize that the immediate remedying of the evil is of paramount importance, and would not pursue a dilatory policy of further surveys and investigations. On the contrary, they would at once give effect to the promises made to the people before the election. At Ballarat, the Prime Minister said that the States were not able any longer to deal with the problem of unemployment, and that the Commonwealth would require to co-operate with them in a joint effort to solve it. I challenge the right honorable gentleman to honour his own promise, and by courageous effort endeavour to cope with this evil, so that people may be restored to employment and thus have an opportunity to share in the prosperity which the country is so well able to afford.

I trust that the Government will not fail to appreciate its obligation to the invalid and old-age pensioners of this country. Prior to the last election, members of the Country party indicated that it was their desire to repeal the property provisions of the Invalid and Old-age Pensions Act and to increase the maximum pension to £1 a week. I now charge them, as a part of the new composite ministerial party, to give effect to their definite promises. Legislation removing the objectionable property provisions and increasing the pension would be a very acceptable Christmas present to the pensioners, whose increased spending powers would create within the community a means of employing others.


.- I support the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Scullin) which reads as follows: -

That the following words be added to the address : -

And this House is of the opinion that to provide for relief of unemployment immediate action should be taken -

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 a national scheme for organized marketing including the setting up of Australian-wide pools.

When I rose to speak the first “ Hear, hear,” I received was from the honorable member for Barton (Mr. Lane), whose attention I direct particularly to clause 3 of the amendment. During the election campaign the honorable member informed pensioners that he would give his whole-hearted support to any action taken in this Parliament to ameliorate their conditions.

Mr Lane:

– Where did the honorable member read that?


– I had it from the pensioners themselves that the honorable member said that he would support the repeal of the property provisions of the

Invalid and Old-age Pensions Act. Ifhe votes against the amendment, I must leave him to the mercy of his electors.

I desire, Mr. Speaker, to compliment you on the high position which you now hold. Candidly, I have no regrets that I myself do not occupy the position. The people of New South Wales waited anxiously for the day following the elections, when they would hear the voice of a Daniel come to judgment - the honorable member for Kooyong (Mr. Menzies), now the Attorney-General. To-day he delivered his first speech in this Parliament. He said that he was not responsible for everything that the Lyons Government had done ; but he added that the Government would alter things now that he had joined it. If I may, with respect, adapt a passage from the Scripture, the honorable gentleman said in effect: “I am the way, the truth and the life; no man cometh unto the Father but by me. “ He gave us to understand that he was the only person through whom the ills of society could be rectified, and that his advent to this Parliament would have a beneficial effect on the whole situation. He then went on to say that the Government desired the help of all thinking members of the House. That was a plain intimation that the Government realizes its inability to deal with the situation that has arisen. There has been a change in the Ministry even in the few days that have elapsed since the assembling of Parliament. I regret that some of the Ministers have ‘been given their walking ticket. The Minister for Defence (Mr. Archdale Parkhill) has retained his position. He is a true-blue Liberal and has always voted against the Labour party. I have no quarrel with him. The Minister for War Service Homes (Mr. Francis) has lost his position. I trustthat the incoming Minister will show more sympathy with the occupiers of war service homes than the honorable member for Moreton has done. There are more war service homes in the Reid electorate than in any other constituency in the Commonwealth, and I know from my contact with returned soldiers that day in and day out for years, occupiers of such homes have been evicted because they have not been able to pay their rent. I have submitted many cases to the Minister and his officers and have met with many rebuffs. I know of five eviction cases that are now pending. The Government, in my opinion, is simply holding its hand until the conclusion of the visit of His Royal Highness the Duke of Gloucester. Then these unfortunate individuals will be turned into the streets. The Minister for the Interior (Mr. E. J. Harrison) has had too short a term of office to enable us to determine whether he would have been a good Minister or not. Probably he is thinking, with Scott, that -

One crowded hour of glorious life

Is worth an age without a name.

But possibly he is also reflecting, with Tennyson, that -

Sorrow’s crown of sorrow is remembering happier things.

At any rate he was “ king for a day “ and’ if the Cabinet should be yet again reconstructed he may regain ministerial office.

The Attorney-General (Mr. Menzies) said that no skilled tradesmen engaged in the building industries were out of employment in Victoria. I presume he meant bricklayers, carpenters, and so on. At any rate, he gave us to understand that the services of such artisans were at a premium. That is not the case in New South Wales. When I return to Sydney I shall inform Mr. Jack Kilburn, the secretary of the Bricklayers’ Union, that if he sends the unemployed members of his union to Melbourne they will be able to obtain work. But I have no doubt that if he attempts to do so the trade union officials of that city will quickly inform him that there is no opening for building trade artisans there.

I wish now to deal with a letter that was written by Mr. Weaver, the Minister for Health in the Stevens Government of New South Wales, prior to ‘the last election. Mr. Weaver had been requested to do his utmost to secure the restoration of the salary reductions imposed on the Public Service by the Stevens Government. Mr. Lang quoted extensively from this letter in one of his pre-election Sunday night broadcasts. He said -

On 27th June last Mr. Weaver, a Minister in the Stevens Government wrote a letter to a constituent. It is a very human document, and I think the most important thing that has been said or written during this campaign.

The whole letter is too long to read. I shall just quote extracts from it. The letter was written in reply to a request that Public Service salaries’ deductions should be reduced. The first quotation is as follows: - “ You would not suggest, I am sure, that we should increase taxation to enable us to make this reduction, but it is obviously necessary to effect the savings in government departments somewhere or somehow; otherwise, it will be impossible to meet the financial obligations placed upon our Government by the Loan Council and the Commonwealth Bank.”

The next paragraph in the Minister’s letter points out that he regrets the necessity for the Public Service cuts. Mr. Weaver then goes on to say - “ I know of a great number of architects who have been prepared to clean windows and blacken boots because they cannot get any work at all. I know of many doctors who have not earned the basic wage for the last eighteen months, although rendering splendid service to the community without being able to collect their fees.”

Mr. Weaver paints a pen picture of the deplorable condition in which our primary industries are, and goes on to say - “ There does not appear to bo any prospect for the dairyman and the wheat-grower to recover their losses, and it will need a further increase in wool values to enable the grazier to make a living and to recover some of his very heavy losses in capital during the past few years.

You complain of the position of schoolteachers. I have only to remind you that if world conditions do not improve there will not be sufficient money in Governments in Australia to maintain present salaries, and the day might come when you would be very grateful indeed to be in a position at all.

I am not a pessimist, but one would be a fool to disregard the low prices of practically all our exports, with the exception of wool, and we must not blind our eyes to the fact that we do not control world prices.

That is an extract from a letter written by a man who holds a high position in the New South Wales Government. He does not blame the government led by Mr. Lang for the conditions which have led architects to accept gladly the work of cleaning windows and blackening boots. If conditions in the building trade in Melbourne are as satisfactory as the Attorney-General says they are, I hope that he will communicate with Mr. Weaver, with a view to a number of Sydney architects finding employment in Victoria.

Mr Brennan:

– If a job were advertised in Melbourne, the streets would be blocked by applicants.


– I have pleasure in supporting the amendment moved by the

Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Scullin) and compliment him on the team which he leads. I predict that before many months have passed the fighting force on this side of the House will make the Government carry out its promise to alleviate suffering among the unemployed, restore in full invalid and old-age pensions, and wipe out the property sections of the Invalid and Old-age Pensions Act.


.- I have pleasure in supporting the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition, namely -

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 -

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 a national scheme for organized marketing including the setting up of Australian-wide pools “.

It is interesting to compare the proposals of the Government last year for the solution of the unemployment problem with those it has made this year. The GovernorGeneral’s Speech informs us that -

Consideration will be directed to three principal matters -

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.

I am particularly concerned with the paragraph in the Speech which reads -

The selection of these works will be a matter for consultation with the States which will be invited to consider such undertakings as the unification of the railway gauges between capital cities, further country water storage, national forestry, housing and the treatment of coal deposits and shale for oil and other commercial products. In particular the Commonwealth will aim at the creation of opportunities for the employment of youth.

A year ago the Prime Minister did not propose that the Commonwealth Government should make any direct monetary contribution towards the solution of this problem; he proposed huge remissions of taxation in certain directions, declaring that its effect would be to stimulate industry and thereby provide employment. He also said that the Government confidently anticipated that its objective would be attained, and that speedy relief would be given to a large class of debtors throughout Australia, who owed money to insurance companies, banks and other financial institutions. He proposed to reduce the income tax rate applicable to companies from ls. 4.8d. to ls. in the £, representing a total remission of £585,000 per annum. According to the right honorable gentleman, that remission of taxation would provide employment. I challenge him to show that one additional man has been given employment as a result of it. It was also proposed to remit taxation amounting to £710,000 a year, payable by life insurance companies, in the belief that that would induce the companies to reduce the rate of interest charged to policy-holders and others who had borrowed money from them. But only one company - the Australian Mutual Provident Society - lowered the rate of interest charged by it ito borrowers; the other companies accepted the remission as a gift and pocketed it. A further remission of taxation was proposed in connection with incomes derived from personal exertion, but as the Leader of the Opposition has already dealt effectively with that proposal, I shall not now discuss it, beyond remarking that that remission benefited only a small percentage of taxpayers - those with large incomes.

The reduction of the special tax on income from property from 10 per cent, to 5 per cent, gave the recipients of that concession a total benefit of £1,100,000. I would like to hear any member of this chamber try to justify that concession by contending that it tended to decrease Unemployment. Then the reduction of land tax amounted to £400,000, which, together with the reduction made seven or eight months pre- viously, made a total remission of £1,000,000, or half the amount of tax previously levied on unimproved land values. This tax was first imposed by the Fisher Government, and it stood for years as a veritable Rock of Gibraltar in federal financial policy. Every member of the Labour party, including the Prime Minister (Mr. Lyons), subscribed to the principle of the tax, but one of the first actions of the right honorable gentleman when he crossed to the other side of this House was to reverse his views on it at the behest of the people responsible for his elevation to the position he now occupies. The remission of this tax has been of no help whatever to the Australian farmers. The tax does not apply to land of an unimproved value of less than £5,000; therefore a man with a property valued at £.10,000, including improvements to the amount of £5,000, does not pay this tax. Indeed, if the property is improved at all, the tax is very light, because of the high exemption. Consequently, as is well known, this tax is not an impost on rural interests. The honorable member for Forrest (Mr. Prowse) took some pains to show that the Federal Labour Government placed a burden on the farmer by the imposition of high protective duties, but he omitted to point out that of the total remission of land tax of £1,000,000, only £11,000 was paid by the rural districts of Western Australia. Only those who had large areas, which they were not attempting to improve, had to pay the impost.

Mr Scullin:

– Most of it was paid by land-owners in the big cities.


– That is so, although in the City of Perth only £45,000 was paid. Thus it is evident that the remission of portion of this tax was at the behest of wealthy interests in Melbourne and Sydney. In no way, I reiterate, did this concession to the big city landlords help to create more employment. At any rate, no one can rightly claim that the small benefit which rural interests received through the remission of this tax has contributed to reduce unemployment to anything like the extent claimed by the members of the Lyons Government. Actually, it did not bring about the employment of one extra man. Since the Lyons Government came into power, there has undoubtedly been some change for the better, due principally to an increase by £22,000,000 in our receipts for wool, but that improvement is now rapidly disappearing, and I read in this morning’s press that we have again facing us the bugbear of an adverse trade balance; if imports continue to increase and exports to decrease we shall soon revert to that ruinous position in which the country found itself in 1930. If the Country party has decided to coalesce with the Government with the object of securing big reductions of duties, it will be sadly disappointed indeed.

Other reductions of indirect taxation made by the Government, I contend, have also proved futile. For instance, £25,000 was conceded to foreign shipping interests. I do not know why. Several members of the House are in favour of interfering with the coastal provisions of the Navigation Act. I am aware of the peculiar position of Tasmania, and the conditions on the north-west coast of Western Australia. Permits in those cases are probably necessary. But whatever may be the opinion of certain people in the State I represent, I contend that Australia must have its own mercantile marine services.

Mr Stewart:

– The honorable member has passed on to me requests that we should exempt Western Australian ports from the provisions of the Navigation Act.


– Yes; I passed on all requests, but in doing so I gave the Minister some advice as to how to act with respect to them. Recently I received from Perth a request that I should support a proposal to enable ships manned by black labour to carry goods from Perth to Geraldton. I state emphatically now that I am against such a proposal. Australia must build up a mercantile marine in the same way as Great Britain and America have done. During the last 125 years America has not allowed one foreign boat to trade between its ports. No one can claim to be a true Australian unless he is prepared to see our coastal trade confined to Australian shipping, manned by Australian seamen, paid at Australian rates of wages.

There has been considerable kite-flying by honorable members opposite with respect to the reduction of the customs and primage duties on tea. The customs duty was reduced by Id. per lb. and the 10 per cent, primage duty was removed. This concession totalled £320,000. When the remission was proposed it was claimed that it would result in a reduction of the price of tea. Apparently the supporters of the proposal held the view, that if the Australian people could not be given work they could at least be given cheaper tea. When the Minister for Customs was moving this proposal, he was aware of the position at the time, because his attention was directed to it by the late honorable member for Martin (Mr. Holman), a gentleman whom all respected and who did much useful work for Australia. The Minister was asked if the price of tea at that time had risen in foreign countries, and he replied that the wholesale price had increased considerably. Apparently the planters of India and the Dutch Indies had agreed to raise the price. But, as the Minister pointed out, the fact had not been mentioned that a considerable time earlier the price of tea on the plantations had been brought down to a very low rate, without any corresponding, reduction of the price charged to the consumers. He asked the Tariff Board to investigate the matter. I ask honorable members to mark carefully what followed. I am not blaming the retail sellers of tea for one moment, because they are compelled to charge a minimum price which is advertised in the trade reviews. For instance, I remember reading in a trade review that the price of Hill Top tea to retailers would be ls. 9d. per lb., and that the retailers must not sell to the public at less than 2s. 6d. per lb. The wholesalers obviously were not studying the consumer. When they obtained from the Government concessions amounting to £320,000, the packers immediately raised their price by Id. per lb. I remember reading a circular sent out by the Robur tea interests, which read, in effect - “ Please note that, on and after this date, the price of Robur tea will be increased by 2d. per lb.” So we see that the merchants got an advantage coming and going. They got the benefit of a 10 per cent, reduction- of primage duty, and a reduction of the ordinary import duty by Id. per lb. amounting in all to 2d. per lb. Then, in addition to that, they put up the price by 2d. per lb. to the retailer. Thus, they not only received a gift of £320,000 from the Government, but they also raked in a similar amount by putting up the price of tea. I should like to know what relief the workers of the country gained as a result of that remission of duty. Much the same thing happened in connexion with the reduction of the duty on crude rubber by 2d. per lb. Mr. William Watt, a very estimable gentleman, who at one time occupied the Speaker’s chair in this Parliament with great credit to himself and satisfaction to the House, but who has since linked up with big business, is now chairman of directors of the DunlopPerdriau Tyre and Rubber Company. When the duty on rubber was reduced, he thanked the Government very much for the Christmas box, but said that he could not give any guarantee that the price of tyres would be lowered. However, he did reduce the price of tyres, but how? The large rubber companies? import all the raw rubber that comes into Australia. When I was in Java eighteen months ago..*Mr. Watt was there in company with Mr. Glass, who had been with him in Malaya for the purpose of securing a contract for the supply of rubber. The price of rubber was very low at that time, and, like good business men, they were taking advantage of the market, for which I do not blame them at all. However, the fact is that these companies secure their rubber supplies under contract, and certain other interests in Australia, which are in fact an annoyance to them because in competition with them, obtain their supplies of raw rubber from them. As honorable members know, it is the custom for many firms to retread old tyre casings, and sell them retail at something less than half the price of new tyres. On city roads, at any rate, such retreaded tyres have something approaching the life of newtyres. When the big rubber importing firms received the benefit of a reduction of the duty on crude rubber by 2d. per lb. which meant a gift to them of £225,000 a year, they sent notice to the retreading firms that, on and after a specified date, the price of raw rubber would be increased by ltd. per lb. Thus these big companies also got it coming and going. I do not blame them, however; they were merely getting some of their own back. Elections cost these big interests a great deal of money. If evidence of that were necessary it was supplied during the last election, when great placards 20 to 30 feet long and 15 feet high were erected throughout the country setting forth in several colours the story of what would happen if the banks were nationalized.

Mr Lazzarini:

– It cost the Nationalist organization £1 a vote in my electorate.


– Probably it did, and it cost a good deal for each vote in many other electorates also. The money expended in this way had to come from somewhere, and undoubtedly it came from the banks. The placards to which I have referred displayed the picture of one big hand coming out of the void and grasping a life assurance policy, while another hand seized upon a bank book. The placard did not state to whom the hands belonged, but we are to suppose that they were in some way directed by the Labour party. There was also a picture of a farmer with his swag on his back leaving his ruined farm, while his wife trudged along broken-hearted beside him with her child. Propaganda of that kind was joined with the persistent fulmination of the newspaper press against Labour candidates. It seems extraordinary if Labour can be wrong on every point, but, according to the newspapers, it is. In spite of such propaganda, however, the cause of the Labour party continues to progress. This cause existed in the hearts of men long before the Labour party was formed. It will continue to exist in spite of all opposition, and will go on to conquer, not for anything which the men associated with it may get out of it, but because the fight must be waged on behalf of the under dog. The fact that the Labour party secured such a heavy vote at the last election, while the vote for the party which supports the Government was so seriously reduced, shows that before very long the Government of this

Commonwealth will he in the hands of a progressive party that is prepared to do something.

As for providing employment for the workless, there can be no doubt that there are public works in plenty awaiting attention. The proposal for the unification of railway gauges has been reported upon by railway engineers on several occasions. We have been told that it would cost £20,000,000 to carry out, and we are assured that the longer the work is delayed the more it will cost. Now, at long last, the Government tacitly admits that the remission of taxation amounting to £9,500,000 was merely a gift to its friends, and has stated that they cannot expect any further such gifts. It has announced that it must, in future, devote its attention to the relief of the unemployed. I make bold to say that the Prime Minister, during the next three years of office, will do no more for the unemployed than he did during the last three years’.

The honorable member for Forrest (Mr. Prowse) referred to the unhappy lot of the farmers - presumably those of Western Australia - and complained of the high customs duties that had been “inflicted “ on the country by the Scullin Government. This tariff, he said, had led to the creation of monopolies, and he quoted the match manufacturing industry as an example. I am sure that the honorable member did not support the Labour party some years ago, when it urged the nationalization of trade monopolies, although the match and machinery manufacturing monopolies seem to worry him so much to-day. I do not doubt his sincerity, but he is wrong in assuming that the operations of the match manufacturing companies inflict a serious injury on the people of Australia. What was the provision made with regard to that industry ? It was that the match manufacturing companies - one in Sydney and the other in Melbourne - should produce matches to be retailed at 6d. a dozen boxes. Does that represent a very oppressive burden on the people ? It means that they are able to obtain 60 matches for ½d. or 120 for1d. If the whole of the secondary industries of Australia carried on their enterprises on such a basis, surely there could be no cause for complaint.

Mr Prowse:

– The honorable member need not mention the price of matches per box. We have seen the companies’ balance sheets.

Mr Scullin:

– And I suppose we need not go into the price of matches in New Zealand !


– At all events matches produced in Australia are retailed at the rate of 120 matches for 1d., so that every morning one may make 120 attempts to light one’s fire at this trifling loss. No one can say that the price is unreasonable. I know of no cheaper product. Surely it is better that matches should be produced here rather than that we should revert to the condition of affairs which prevailed some years ago, when Australian boys made a hobby of gathering match-box labels, and had amongst their collections brands of matches produced in Malaya, J apan, Finland, Sweden and Russia. It is good to know that matches can beproduced in Australia by Australian workmen at a reasonable price. In the city of Perth, of which the honorable member for Forrest (Mr. Prowse) and I often speak, a small match-making factory has been established. It gives employment to 30 or 40 men and I undertake to say that the people of Western Australia have not to pay more for their matches than they paid before it was set up in the State capital.

As I understand that many honorable members desire to catch their trains I shall reserve for the budget debate other observations that I have to offer.

Question - That the words proposed to be added (Mr. Scullin’s amendment) be so added - put. The Ho use divided. (Mr Speaker - Hon. G. J. Bell.)

Ayes . . 25

Noes . . . . 31


Question so resolved in the negative.

Amendment negatived.

Original . question resolved in the affirmative.

Prime Minister and Treasurer · Wilmot · UAP

– I shall ascertain when it will be convenient for His Excellency the Governor-General to receive the Address-in-Reply, and honorable members will be informed accordingly.

page 190


Motions (by Mr. Lyons) agreed to -

That the House will, at the next sitting, resolve -itself into a committee to consider the Supply to be granted to His Majesty.

That the House will, at the next sitting, resolve itself into a committee to consider the ways and means for raising the Supply to be granted to His Majesty.

page 190


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

That, unless otherwise ordered, Government’s business shall, on each day of sitting, have precedence of all other business, except on that Thursday on which, under the provisions of Standing Order No. 241, the question is put, “ That Mr. Speaker do now leave the chair “. On such Thursday general business shall have precedence of Government business until 0 o’clock p.m.

page 190


Prime Minister and Treasurer · Wilmot · UAP

– I move -

That the House, at its rising, adjourn until Wednesday, the 14th November, at 3 p.m.

There will be a change in the personnel of the Government during next week and it will be necessary for the re-constituted Ministry to hold some Cabinet meetings before meeting the House.


.- The right honorable the Prime Minister (Mr. Lyons) has advanced very little reason why the House should adjourn until the 14th November. We should have more information before we accept the motion. It is understood that there is to be a change in the Government between now and the date fixed for the re-assembling of the House, but we should know a little more about what is likely to happen. There is, perhaps, something to be said for the motion from the point of view of some honorable gentlemen, including the right honorable member for Cowper (Dr. Earle Page). When he came to this House last week, his usually smiling face was dark and clouded because of the apparent breakdown of the negotiations for a coalition ministry. Yesterday his face was like the rosy dawn on Black Mountain - it was so bright and cheerful. I have no doubt he is now quite convinced that there is something in the truth of the old adages, “ the darkest hour is that before the dawn”, and “ there’s a silver lining to the darkest cloud “ ; likewise, “ nil desperandum “ ! I am, however, afraid he has forgotten all about “ pro bono publico “ ! But, since the smile has returned to his face wo should, perhaps, be inclined to support the motion, because we all know that, apart from his views on political matters, particularly the tariff, he is a very kindly gentleman. I am sure that if the Prime Minister (Mr. Lyons) or the right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes), or the Honorary Minister (Mr. Francis), while rushing across the corridors while the bells were ringing to take part in the division, fell down and broke his neck, the right honorable member for Cowper would be one of the first to go to his assistance, although he would not hesitate to risk breaking his own neck in order to get into the Government. The scene in this chamber during thelast few days has changed with such velocity that only a new high-speed camera could effectively record the variations. Now we have the announcement by the Prime Minister that the House is to be adjourned over next week to enable certain things to be done. Last week we had an eloquent speech from the right honorable gentleman, reminding us that the House was to be adjourned because of important celebrations in Melbourne in connexion with an event which occurs once only in every 100 years in the history of a State. We were further told that it was desirable for Ministers and members to attend functions arranged in connexion with the visit of His Royal Highness the Duke of Gloucester, and it was even suggested that some might be seen at the Melbourne Cup! The right honorable . member for Cowper and his colleagues in the Country party last week were quite definite that there should be no adjournment for the Royal visit, no adjournment for the Victorian Centenary functions, and no adjournment even for the Melbourne Cup. But, following a change in the political situation, all objections are forgotten. Members of the County party are now deeply interested in the “ Coalition Cup “ and the “ Portfolio Stakes “, and so they will support the motion for the adjournment. Because the Government is so obviously prepared now to throw overboard its declared tariff policy, we on this side do not intend to support the motion.

West Sydney

– The motion submitted by the Prime Minister (Mr. Lyons) will, if carried, seriously inconvenience a number of private members. We endeavoured last week to obtain from the right honorable gentleman some information of the probable course of events, and, according to reports which appeared in the newspapers, Parliament would meet next week. We made our arrangements accordingly. Therefore, we protest strongly against the motion for the adjournment of the House until the 14th November.

Question - That the motion be agreed to - put. The House divided.





Question so resolved in the affirmative.

page 191


The following papers were presented : -

Norfolk Island Act - Ordinances of 1934 -

No. 11 - Standard time.

No. 12 - Pounds.

No. 13 - Timber licences.

Railways Act - Report on Commonwealth

Railways Operations, for year 1933-34.

page 191


Unemployment: Christmas Relief Works

Motion (by Mr. Lyons) proposed -

That the House do now adjourn.


.- I should like to learn definitely from the Minister in charge of employment whether certain works will shortly, be commenced by the Government with a view to giving relief to the unemployed during the approaching Christmas season.

Minister for Commerce · Parramatta · UAP

.- The Government’s policy for the relief of unemployment involves a survey of works that may be undertaken within the Commonwealth departments in order that relief may be given within the next few weeks.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

House adjourned at 4.15 p.m.

page 192


The following answers to questions were circulated: -

Commonwealth Oil Refineries Limited: Agreements for Oil Supplies: Effect on Industry in New Guinea.

Mr Makin:

asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -

Will he lay upon the table of the Library all agreements between the British and Commonwealth Governments in connexion with the search for oil in New Guinea?


asked the Minister representing the Minister for External Affairs, upon notice -

  1. Has his attention been directed to a statement alleged to have been made recently, at an official function in Tokio, by Mr. Justice Parsons, of South Australia, to the effect that Australia appreciates Japan’s economic expansion and also its great thrust into Manchuria?
  2. If so, will the Minister publicly dissociate the Commonwealth Government from such a statement?
  3. In view of the fact that overseas newspapers are constantly suggesting that the British Empire is supporting Japanese intervention in China, will the Minister make a definite statement to the House in regard to the whole question?

Production of Oilfrom Coal


s asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -

While consideration is being given to the production of oil from shale or coal, will he, in order to encourage the raising of capital for such oil production, announce that no excise duty will be imposed on oil produced by any means in Australia?

Mr Lyons:

– In the consideration of proposals for the production in Australia of oil from shale or coal or by other means, the question of excise duty on such production will receive the careful attention of the Government.

Price of Sugar: Colonial Sugar refining Company’s Accounts.

Mr Beasley:

y asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -

Will he inform the House what precautions were taken to ascertain whether the statement of accounts placed before the Government by the Colonial Sugar Refining Company upon the basis of which the retail price of sugar has been fixed at 4d. a lb. until 31st August, 1936, represented a true and correct valuation of the company’s assets and profits?

Mr Lyons:

– The information is being obtained, and will be made available to the honorable member at an early date.

Blowfly Pest

Mr Clark:

k asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -

Will he inform the House of the success or failure of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in its campaign against the blowfly pest?

Mr Lyons:

– A considerable amount of good work extending over a period of many years had been done by State Departments of Agriculture in regard to the blowfly pest before the Council for Scientific and IndustrialResearch was constituted by the Commonwealth Government and attacked this problem. A study of the results of that work, together with a study of the results of investigations carried out by the council, has led to the conclusion that the problem is a most complex one of a long-range character, involving a close and necessarily protracted investigation of fundamental factors. These investigations by the council, in close co-operation with State Departments of Agriculture, are still in progress.

High Commissioned in London.

Mr Lazzarini:

i asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -

In connexion with the appointment of the Right Honorable S. M. Bruce as High Commissioner in London, will the Prime Minister Inform the House -

what is Mr. Bruce’s annual salary;

what is the annual vote for the upkeep of his official residence;

what is his annual allowance for the expenses of the official residence ; and

what is the daily rate of travelling allowance to which the High Commissioner is entitled?

Mr Lyons:

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

  1. £2,475 per annum (i.e., £3,000 per annum less 17½ per cent, pursuant to the Financial Emergency Act).
  2. ) The amount varies from year to year. The estimate for the current financial year is £440.
  3. £1,650 per annum (i.e., £2,000 less 17½ per cent, pursuant to the Financial Emergency Act).
  4. £2 per day less 10 per cent, in the United Kingdom. When abroad £3 3s. per day less 10 per cent., or £111s. 6d. less 10 per cent, when hotel accommodation is provided.

Cost of Commissions and Australian Eastern Mission.

Mr Garden:

n asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -

  1. What was the total cost tothe Commonwealth of the recent goodwill mission to Japan?
  2. What was the total cost to the Commonwealth of the recent Royal Commission on the Wheat Industry?
  3. What has been thetotal cost to done of the Commonwealth Grants Commission?
  4. What has been the total cost to date of the Royal Commission onthe Petrol Industry?
Mr Lyons:

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

  1. £4,334 16s.6d.
  2. £15,192 4s. 4d. (to date).
  3. £5.134 19s. 4d.
  4. £8,750 2s.

New Miracle of Plant Growth.

Dr Maloney:

y asked the Prime Minis ter, upon, notice -

  1. Has his attention been drawn to an article appearing in The New Era, of the18th October, entitled “The New Miracle of Plant Growth “, in which it is stated that over 1,000 head of cattle can be fed from a single acre of land?
  2. If so, has his department any further information to give to the House?
  3. Will he, if investigation justifies it, take steps to procure the details of treatment for the benefit of farmers and other persons living on the land?
Mr Lyons:

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

  1. No, but steps will be taken to procure it.
  2. See answer to 1.
  3. A report on the matter will be obtained from the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 2 November 1934, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.