14th Parliament · 1st Session
Mr. Speaker (Hon. G. J. Bell) took the chair at 11.30 a.m., and read prayers.
– In the statement which the Treasurer made last Wednesday in reference to the impending loan, the honorable gentleman said that the task of underwriting, which previously had been confined to the banks,was to be extended to embrace insurance companies. “Will this departure involve any additional coat to the Commonwealth?
– The Commonwealth Government looks to the Commonwealth Bank as the underwriters of the loan. The degree to which the subunderwriting is spread is entirely a matter for the bank. The wider spread of the underwriting group will involve no greater charge upon the Government.
. - by leave - The following wireless message from the Air Officer Commanding Royal Air Force, Singapore, was received early this morning:-
All Royal Air Force personnel engaged in the search for Kingston). Smith and Pethybridge thanks the Commonwealth Government of Australia for their kind message. We all deplore very deeply our effortsso far have failed to locate the missing airmen. I fully appreciate the anxiety and desire of the Government to continue the search. The flying boats are now at Victoria Point and will complete their search to Penang to-morrow (Friday). All States in Siam, Burma, south of the line Tavoy -Bangkok and Malaya have been asked to circulate that any person giving information leading to the discovery of the missing aircraft will be suitably rewarded. I doubt the effectiveness in this jungle country of leaflets dropped from the air. My official request for circulation will penerate more quickly and widely. You can be assured there will be no relaxation in my efforts to locate the missing airmen though I feel sure you will appreciate I have done all I can with service aircraft along the possible courses. I will employ the aircraft piloted by Captain P.G. Taylor to best advantage and will signal my plan to-morrow (Friday).
A later message is to the following effect: -
Your telegram 14.11 . 1935. - In accordance with your request am continuing search for another three days.
That was in reply to the request of the Commonwealth Government that the search should he continued along general lines for’ a further three days. This search is in addition to that being made by the D.H.86 over the jungle areas.
Motion (by Mr. Lyons) agreed to -
That the House, at its rising, adjourn until
Tuesday next at 3 p.m.
– Will the Prime Minister make an early announcement as to when the business of the House will be terminated prior to the Christmas recess, so that honorable members from distant States may make necessary arrangements ?
– I am unable at this juncture to fix a date for the adjournment prior to Christmas. I propose to consider what business it is essential that the House should first deal with, and shall then endeavour to arrange a date with theco-operation of honorable members.
– I ask the Minister representing the Postma ster-General whether it is a fact that the Government is considering an amendment of the statutory rules recently gazetted, limiting the number of commercial broadcasting stations that may bo owned by one individual or organization. Will the Government consider the appointment of a royal commission or select committee to investigate the whole matter of the control of broadcasting?
– These regulations refer to the number of stations which individuals or companies may hold throughout the Commonwealth. I am unable to reply offhand to the questions asked by . the honorable member, and request him to place them on the notice-paper so that accurate and precise information may be obtained.
– Will the Minister for Trade and Customs state whether representations have recently been made to the Government of New Zealand concerning the removal of the embargo imposed on the export from Australia of citrus fruits, other fruits, and vegetables? Some considerable time has elapsed since the negotiations in respect of this matter were resumed. Have any results accrued? What action is likely to be taken?
– On two occasions during the year arrangements were made for a delegation to proceed to New Zealand to resume the negotiations because of the failure of the conference held in Canberra to produce fruitful results. On each occasion the Government of New Zealand requested that the delegation should not leave Australia, promising that it would again take the matter up. An election campaign is in progress in New Zealand at the moment, but the Government anticipates that a request will shortly be received from that dominion. Our best effortswill be directed to the making of a reciprocal arrangement, in regard to the embargoes which unfortunately have operated between the two dominions.
Relief of Distressed Farmers
– Will the Treasurer state whether, during the recent wheat conference, a deputation representative of farmers in Western Australia requested Commonwealth assistance for wheatgrowers whose crops had completely failed? Has the honorable gentleman any reply to make to the requests then submitted?
– I met a deputation on the matter in Canberra, and at the recent meeting of the Loan Council, held a consultation with the Premier of Western Australia, Mr. Collier. The Government is now considering the possibility of rendering assistance in the near future to wheat-growers in Western Australia who are in distress. I am not yet in a position to make a pronouncement.
– Has the Assistant Minister for Commerce noticed reports from the United Kingdom of the desire of barley-growers there for the imposition of a duty on the importation of barley from overseas? Is the Government watching the position in the interests of Australian barley exporters?
– My attention has been directed to the matter. I shall make inquiries and advise the honorable member later.
Leasing of Brassey House
– Will the Minister for the Interior supply to the House the terms of the lease of Brassey House, including especiallythe financial consideration being paid by the lessee? Is there any departmental or ministerial reason for keeping this information secret ?
– It is not usual to give details in matters of this kind.
– Will the Minister for the Interior state when the ratepayers of Darwin are likely to be given the right to elect their town council?
– In the course of a few days I hope to make a statement in connexion with the Northern Territory which will cover the question asked by the honorable gentleman.
Treasurer’s Reply to Criticism
– Will the Treasurer make a statement concerning the criticism contained in the just-published report of the Commonwealth AuditorGeneral ?
– by leave - I regret that it should be necessary to refer to the Auditor-General’s report for 1934-35 in terms of indignation and resentment. To any legitimate and temperate criticism made by the Auditor-General in the exercise of his statutory functions there can be and is no objection. In this report, however, the Auditor-General has forgotten the responsibilities and the limitations of his office. His duties do not include political criticism of government policy or of parliamentary- institutions.
Of the remarks in which the AuditorGeneral, obviously sheltering behind what he conceives to be his position under the Audit Act, makes loose and irresponsible accusations against me personally, I propose to say nothing beyond this - that malice and intemperance of language illbecome the occupant of what should be the high and responsible office of AuditorGeneral.
The Auditor-General hasreferred again to the Treasury system of trust accounts, and has sought to make it appear that the system is misleading and unsound. This is not the case. In simple terms, the practice of trust accounts is that where liabilities arise in any one year for which revenue is available in that year, sufficient of the revenue is appropriated to a trust fund to meet the obligation even though it may not be necessary or advisable, or even possible, actually to pay out the amount involved within that financial year.
Any other system, particularly under the constitutional limitations that exist in Australia, would lead to complications far graver than any disadvantage in the present system.
It is to be inferred from, the AuditorGeneral’s statements that he considers that the Government should collect in taxation such amounts as represent the actual outgoings for the year of account only. This would mean violent fluctuations in the rates of taxation to meet obligations that arise in any one year, but which can and should be spread over several years. The system of trust fund accounting is the only way in which this can be done.
The charge that “Parliament and others “ are misled and deceived by the form of the accounts can only be described as untrue. The suggestion that I have personally been responsible for some changes that have resulted in a dishonest presentation of the financial position, is untrue. The accounts have been kept and presented in the same manner for 25 years, and by Treasurers of every political complexion.
Explanation of Government accounts fan be sought by any member of the Parliament, and reply is always fully and freely given.
The annual accounts of the Government are necessarily lengthy and complicated. The proposal that they can be reduced to complete simplicity by eliminating the trust accounts, is a misrepresentation of the position.
The Auditor-General makes a number of unwarranted statements in regard to invalid and old-age pensions, and in particular traduces the character and habits of invalid and old-age pensioners. The Government takes grave exception to such unsupported statements. The existing system of inspection and checks is adequate for the protection of the revenue. The results of the inspection system have not brought to light any evidence to warrant the charges and accusations made by the Auditor-General. His general criticisms of the pensions system are based largely on hearsay and prejudice, and on his own political views, and I believe are wholly unwarranted in tone and misleading in substance.
The report will, as usual, be examined in detail, and any action that the Government feels to be necessary will be taken at a later stage.
– In view of the Treasurer’s statement, does the Government contemplate amending the Audit Act so as to define more clearly the powers and duties of the AuditorGeneral, and to shear him of the responsibility, which he seems to have taken upon himself, of constituting himself a censor of public morals and parliamentary procedure?
– The Audit Act sets out in some detail the duties and responsibilities of the Auditor-General. One subjection gives him somewhat wider powers than are specified in preceding sub-sections, and I think that somewhat wider power is desirable in order to give him some latitude of expression. However, the Government does not consider that, in ordinary circumstances, it is necessary to amend the act to deal with a situation such as has now arisen.
– Is it not the usual * custom in the Public Service for officers with accruing leave to take out their leave in sufficient time to enable them to complete it on reaching the ordinary retiring age? If a public servant has twelve months leave due to him, does he not usually take it at the age of 64 years, in order to complete his service at the age of 65 years? If that is the position, is it a fact that the Auditor-General, who has accrued leave of twelve months due to him, has remained in his office up to the retiring age of 65, and that, in addition, the amount of £1,700 is provided for him on the Estimates for accrued leave, which, in effect, allows him to remain in the Service until he reaches the age of 66 years? Does the Treasurer consider that to he an action which protects the revenues of this country ?
– The matter referred to is now being examined. If the honorable member places his question on the notice-paper, he will receive an adequate reply.
– On what grounds does the Minister assume that the report of the Auditor-General is actuated by malice?
– I can only make that deduction from the terms employed by the Auditor-General himself.
– I have received a letter this morning from the Minister in charge of War Service Homes, stating that Mr. G. H. Grundy, of Lidcombe, New South Wales, whose case I mentioned on the adjournment early this morning, is to be evicted. I desire to know whether the Minister will reconsider this matter?
– If the honorable member has any further facts to support the statements made by him, I shall be prepared, as always, to reconsider the matter ; but, according to my present information, I cannot see my way clear to do other than adopt the course indicated in my letter..
Motion (by Mr. Lyons) agreed to -
That he have leave to bring in a bill for an act to amend the Australian Soldiers’ Repatriation Act 1920-1934.
Debate resumed from the 31st October (vide page 1229), on motion by Mr. Thorby -
That the bill be now read a second time.
.- This measure has the support of the Opposition, because it is designed to give relief to the growers of citrus fruits. It provides for a variation of the assistance given last year, in that it is proposed to pay a bounty of 2s. a case, instead of a guaranteed price of 13s. a case. The alteration of the incidence of the assistance is justified, in view of the fact that a guaranteed price does not provide an incentive to an improvement of the quality df the product, as would the bounty, seeing that the exporter has to rely for success largely on the quality of the product which he places on the overseas markets. The future of the industry depends to a great extent on improvement of the standard of production. In this industry, as in a great number of other Australian export industries, everything possible should be done to raise the quality of the product put on the overseas markets, thus ensuring a good name for
Australian produce, and a much higher price than has previously been paid. I should like to see the amount of the bounty increased. The industry asks for 3s. 6d. a case, and, in view of the straitened circumstances of the great majority of those engaged in the industry, it is regrettable that the Government has not granted a bounty of at least 2s. 9d. a case. The Labour party has always consistently stood for the development, scientifically and efficiently, of both primary and secondary industries. An effort is made at times to misrepresent the party’s policy in regard to this matter; but it believes that if Australia is to carry a greatly increased population in the years to come, we must not overlook the demands of the primary producers any more than the just claims of the local manufacturers, who have set out to supply Australia with the whole of its requirements of manufactured goods.
It is appalling to find a section of honorable members almost completely disregarding the value of the .local market to fruit-growers aud primary producers generally. This market is of tremendous importance to the citrus industry. In 3932-1933, the output of this .industry was 4,S73,000 bushels, ‘but as the exports amounted, to only 136,000 bushels, 4,737,000 bushels had to be sold on the Australian market. Thus, the more prosperous the people are in the cities, and the more numerous are the employees in secondary industries, the more lucrative will the local market prove to the fruitgrowers and other primary producers. The value of the local market, not only to these primary producers, but also to others, can be gleaned from the fact that 79 per cent, of our dairy products, 44 per cent, of our pastoral products, and 65 per cent, of our agricultural products, are consumed locally. I sincerely hope that those who have in mind the assistance of this great primary industry will lend a helping hand towards developing the great secondary industries of Australia which provide employment to-day directly for nearly 500,000 people.
Order ! The honorable member is introducing a subject that goes beyond the scope of the bill.
– I am directing attention to the importance of the Australian market to the citrus-growers of this country, and to the fact that out of 4,873,000 bushels of citrus fruits produced locally, 4,737,000 bushels are absorbed by the local market. If we are to get the citrus fruit-growers out of the unsatisfactory position in which they find themselves to-day, we must give more consideration to the necessity for increasing the local market. During the last twenty years the citrus industry has made considerable progress. In 1913-1914, there were 24,800 acres under cultivation for citrus fruits; by 1932-1933 the orchards covered 52,400 acres. This increase was largely ‘brought about as the result of the settlement of thousands of returned soldiers on the land producing citrus fruits. The industry received a great setback when in December, 1932, the Government of New Zealand imposed an embargo against the entry into the Dominion of all fresh fruits and vegetables from the Commonwealth. That embargo was relaxed in 1933 to the extent of permitting the entry of oranges from the State of South Australia only. It is understood that this action was taken by New Zealand as a quarantine precaution, but I submit that it was more in the nature of retaliatory action against the embargo imposed by the Commonwealth on the importation into Australia of potatoes from New Zealand. In 1934 the Dominion Government again decided to allow South Australian oranges to enter New Zealand, but only in specified quantities and by certain vessels. The total importation in 1934 was 112,000 cases. This year New. Zealand has agreed to admit 136,000 cases from South Australia, up to and including the Wanganella shipment on the 30th October. The market in New Zealand has proved very profitable to South Australian growers, and the disposal of this quantity to New Zealand has, to some extent, relieved the Australian market I understand that formerly the mandarin-growers of New South. Wales used to export large quantities of mandarins to New Zealand, and that they have been very badly hit by the embargo.
Commonwealth and State Governments have from time to time endeavoured to have the embargo placed on the importation of oranges into New Zealand, lifted. I hope that the Assistant Minister (Mr. Thorby) will be able to give honorable members the latest information regarding the negotiations which have taken place with the Dominion Government for the lifting of the embargo. I understand that the Government of New Zealand is greatly perturbed at the possibility of the introduction into the dominion of the fruit fly pest which is prevalent in some of the Australian States; but surely upon satisfactory evidence being produced, say, by the Department of Agriculture in New South Wales, that shipments of Australian oranges are properly inspected and passed for export in satisfactory condition, the objections of the Government of New Zealand’ would be largely overcome. The fact that this industry gives direct employment to over 10,500 persons in Australia demonstrates that it is of great importance to this country. The figures relating to Australian trade with New Zealand disclose a balance favorable to Australia. The total Australian trade with New Zealand, including bullion and specie, for the years 1927-28 to 1933-34, is shown in the following table -
Because of the excess of exports over imports, negotiations in regard to the lifting of the embargo placed upon Australian oranges were rendered somewhat difficult; but if the reason advanced by the Government of New Zealand is genuine - that the embargo was imposed because of the fear of the introduction of certain pests into the dominion - probably any objection raised on the score of the unfavorable balance of trade would be wiped aside. The value of the dominion market to the Australian grower is shown in the following figures : The value of the exports of citrus fruits to ‘New Zealand was £40,000 in 1927-2S; £65,000 in 192S-29; £80,000 in 1930-31; and £129,000 in 1931-32. In 1933^34, however, owing to the imposition of the embargo, the value of the citrus fruits exported to New Zealand dropped to £55,000. On the other hand the value of exports of citrus fruits to other countries, chiefly the United Kingdom, increased from £6,000 in 1927-28, to £106,000 in 1933-34. In 1933, 97,000 cases of citrus fruits were exported to countries other than New Zealand; in 1934, the quantity increased to 213,000 cases, 179,000 of which went to the United Kingdom.
The financial assistance which it is proposed to render to the citrus fruits industry is very small, considering its importance and the number of people engaged in it. The cost of the bounty in 1933 was £3,000, while it is anticipated that something like £10,000 will he required to meet the guarantee for the 1934 season. In the Estimates this year £20,000 has been provided for the bounty proposed in the bill now before the House. Thus it cannot be said that the industry is being too generously treated, particularly as it is a small-man industry and one which permits of closer settlement schemes affording employment for thousands of returned soldiers.
The problem confronting the orchardist of Australia to-day is the difficulty of finding a market for their products. According to the Commonwealth Statistician the greatest area under orchards and fruit gardens was 281,149 acres in 1931- 32. Since then the area has declined slightly owing to difficulty in disposing of surplus production. By 1932- 33 it had fallen to 273,627 acres. The marketing problem is more acute in New South Wales than in any other State. The growers in Victoria and South Australia are able to demand a reasonable price on the local market and the local demand is sufficiently great to continue profitable production. But in New South Wales there is a serious glut of fruit at certain periods, because of cither the tremendous production or a serious under consumption due to lack of purchasing power. The growers in that State are therefore particularly in favour of a scheme for the organized control of production and marketing both. locally and overseas. They were successful in having a bill introduced into the Parliament of New South Wales to deal with marketing, ‘.but ‘because of certain criticism levelled ‘by outside interests, the measure was withdrawn, and the impression is that the Government will not proceed further with it. I understand that it was drafted on lines similar to marketing legislation which was introduced to cover other pirmary products in Queensland.
Organized control of production and marketing in connexion with tlie dairying, cotton, peanut, maize and canned fruits industries has been a great success in Queensland. I hope +hat the Commonwealth Government will endeavour to bring about some unanimity among the citrus fruit growers of Australia so that an orderly marketing scheme may be j»ut into operation for ‘both local and overseas markets for the ‘benefit of the growers. Only by that means can the industry be lifted to a basis of reasonable prosperity, If growers are allowed to export indiscriminately to the overseas market, not only will it result in low prices, but also there is a possibility of a bad name being created for the Australian product. I hope the Government will do everything possible to ensure an improvement of the quality of citrus fruits exported overseas. I suggest that the Government should bring to bear upon this industry, the research activities of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. Sir David Rivett, Chief Executive Officer of the Council, speaking at the Agricultural Council in May of this year, gave a brief outline of the various research activities in progress or contemplated foi’ ‘the benefit of the citrus industry. He pointed to the fact that the Council had been conducting investigations into problems connected with the preservation and transport of oranges. Continuing, he said -
The investigations which were under the control of a citrus preservation committee, were of a restricted nature owing to the fact that only u small sum of money was available for the purpose.
In other words, he was restricted in hia activities because of the inadequacy of the appropriation made by this Parliament for the work in which he was engaged. I ask the Minister to give serious consideration to this matter and to increase the allowance for ‘ this work so that the Council will not be hampered in its activities. The prices ruling for citrus fruit in the United Kingdom market were higher last year than they are this year, but, unfortunately, oar exporters did not get top prices, for the quality of their fruit was not as good as it might have ‘been. It is interesting to note, however, that, although the British market for citrus fruit this year is depressed, Australia is getting as good a return for its fruit on that market as it got last year when the ruling prices were higher. This is due to improved quality. The United Kingdom offers possibilities of a greatly expanded market for Austraiian citrus fruits. Pot the year ended the 31st December, 1933, the imports of citrus fruit into the United Kingdom totalled 11,500,000 cwt. and the price paid was £7,9S6,000. Of this total, Australia supplied only 46,000 cwt., or 0.4 per cent., for which £44,000 was paid. It is obvious, therefore, that Great Britain could assist Australia by increasing it3 purchases of our citrus fruit. We were assured that the ratification of the Ottawa agreement would lead to a greatly expanded market for our products in Great Britain, and I have no doubt that if forceful representations were made to the British Government our claim for a larger share of the British market for citrus fruits would be acceded to, with the result that, this Australian industry would be greatly assisted. It could be represented to the British Government that many returned soldiers are producing citrus fruits, and that because of the unsatisfactory market available at present their financial position is particularly unsound. If Great Britain would assure Australia of an increased market for citrus fruits, more land could be put under citrus trees in every State of the Commonwealth, except, perhaps, Tasmania, and substantial progress could be made. An increase of our 1933 sales in the British market by only 5 per cent, would allow us to send to that market an additional 570,000 cwt., which would mean an increased return of £500,000. Australia gives Great Britain many preferences over foreign competitors. Foi the last twenty years British manufacturers have enjoyed preferences from Australia worth £10,000,000 a year, and it is surely not asking very much of the Mother Country to. request an increased market for our citrus fruits. Our exports of oranges to the United Kingdom have increased from 1,652 centals, valued at £3,000, in 1927-28, to 61,500 centals, valued at £58,700, in 1933-34; and our total exports of- all citrus fruits to that market have increased from 29,S00 centals, valued at £43,000, in 1927-28 to 128,000 centals, valued at £.128,000, in 1933-34; but when we “remember the magnitude of the British market this is. a relatively small increase.
I support the bill, but urge the Government to give further consideration to my suggestion that a more liberal bounty should be paid. This industry provides direct employment for 10,500 people who, at present, are struggling against heavy odds; and as it plays a big part in our policy of closer settlement, ic is entitled to sympathetic consideration, t also urge the Government to increase the vote for the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research to enable it to enlarge the scope of the research work on which it is engaged in connexion with the citrus industry. (Quorum formed.]
.- The purpose of this bill is to provide for the payment of a bounty of 2s. a case on oranges exported from the Commonwealth to the United Kingdom. As our citrus industry is of considerable importance to Australia, I believe the measure will be supported by every honorable member. For some years now this industry has more than supplied the requirements of the local market notwithstanding that remarkable success has attended the efforts that have been made to increase the consumption of citrus fruits in this country. The Railways Commissioners of Victoria and other States must be complimented upon the success of the campaign they set on foot with this object. We are compelled, however, to look elsewhere for markets, and the United Kingdom offers a good deal of promise in this regard. In 1933, 97,000 cases of Australian citrus fruits were exported to the United Kingdom and places other than New Zealand, and in 1934 the total increased to 213,000 cases. But this increase is not sufficient to -stabilize the industry. The various citrus-producing countries of the world compete keenly for the British market, and the growers of some countries have had a footing on it for so many years that it will be very difficult to dislodge them. It is, however, essential that Australia, ‘being an Empire dominion and a relatively new exporter of citrus fruit, should be allowed entry to this market upon reasonable conditions, and the purpose of this bill is to encourage efforts to that end. Some special assistance was given to our citrus-growers by certain provisions of the Ottawa agreement. It was provided in Schedule B of that agreement, for example, that Australian oranges should receive a preference of 3s. Gd. a cwt. from Great Britain from the 1st April to the 30th November of each year. That period was fixed because it covered a time that would not conflict with the season when other countries export large quantities of oranges to the market of the United Kingdom. Many of the difficulties of our citrus fruits industry have been caused by the policy of trade embargoes and prohibitions which has been in existence for many years. I know that the imposition of these embargoes by Australia led to retaliation on the part of New Zealand, with the result that the importation of Australian citrus fruits, other fresh fruits, and fresh vegetables into that dominion was entirely prohibited. Negotiations which have since occurred have resulted in the lifting of the embargo to some extent, but I suppose our citrus-growers and exporters of other fresh fruits and fresh vegetables have been penalized to an amount of more than £200,000 a year because of this action. It has been alleged, at times, that, embargoes have been placed on importations because of the danger of the introduction of certain diseases, but a conference of experts held at Canberra some time ago expressed the opinion that this danger was not nearly so great as it had been represented to be.
– I ask the honorable member not to continue to discuss the policy of trade embargoes and prohibitions; otherwise the debate will become much wider in its scope than it should be.
– I shall content myself with saying that it is vitally imperative that everything possible shall be done to avoid discord by the pursuit of such a policy. As we are approaching the Christmas season, with its message of “ peace and goodwill to all men “, it would, be in the interests of the producers of both Australia and New Zealand if everything possible were done to improve our trading relations. If larger markets can bo obtained for Australian citrus fruits in the United Kingdom by means of the bounty which the Government is now proposing, it will be greatly to the advantage of our producers. If, at the same time, we can regain the market we had in New Zealand, the outlook for this industry will be much brighter. I believe that it is possible for us to export fruit of tlie highest quality, although I regret that recent shipments opened up in England have not been so good as they might have been. In conclusion I urge the Government to do its utmost to reach finality at an early date in. its negotiations for a new trade treaty with New Zealand, based upon the removal of embargoes.
– I shall not discuss this measure at any great length, for it is clear to all honorable members that our citrus fruits industry requires assistance. 1 wish, howe-pv, to emphasize the request already submitted to the Government during this debate that the negotiations with New Zealand for a new trade treaty, and particularly for the lifting of the embargo on the sale of Australian citrus fruits to New Zealand, shall be brought to finality as soon as possible. It seems to me that this bill is, in some respects, an admission by. the Government that the negotiations with the Government of New Zealand for the resumption of our former trade relations with the sister dominion in citrus fruits have failed. Although this measure has been introduced with the commendable purpose of assisting the citrusgrowers of Australia to export their fruit to the United Kingdom, it is of some concern to the taxpayers of the Commonwealth that the trade with New Zealand in these fruits has apparently been lost. Are we to go on year after year providing bounties for many primary industries which are unable to meet even the costs of production? If so, the problem of finance will become serious. So much assistance has been given to those engaged in the various branches of primary production that a feeling is beginning to grow up amongst other sections of the community that they, too, are deserving of some consideration from the Government. Men have invested their life savings in businesses which, owing to the economic depression, are not returning any profits, and such persons seem to have just as much claim upon the Treasury for assistance as have the primary producers. When a bounty is paid to an industry, the public at large must find the money, either by direct or by indirect taxation. However, I accept the principle that this industry is deserving of assistance, and I support the bill.
Citrus fruit-growers in New South Wales are very anxious to know what is being done to restore their trade with New Zealand. At the present time, the outlook seems hopeless. Recently, an agent in Sydney told me that efforts were being made in New Zealand to cultivate citrus fruits for the local market, and that experiments were being carried out in connexion with the raising of citrus fruits in areas where climatic conditions are regarded as suitable.
– That is so; but it is being done only to a limited extent.
– Honorable members can appreciate the feelings of the Australian citrus fruit-growers in view of this threat to their industry. At various times delegations from this country have visited New Zealand, with a view to arranging for the resumption of the citrus fruit trade, but no success has been achieved. I do not suggest that they did not put forth their best efforts in behalf of the citrus-growers, but the fact remains that the embargo against Australian fruit is still in force. We were told that that the Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. White) intended to visit New Zealand in order to make a further attempt to compose the existing differences, but he has not gone.
– The Minister for Trade and Customs had his berth booked to go, when the dominion authorities cabled to him asking him not to go.
– I did not know that; it looks as if New Zealand does not want to deal with us. The argument of the dominion authorities is that Australia has refused to extend to New Zealand the benefits of reciprocal trade in regard to potatoes,
– I cannot permit that subject to be debated. It has nothing to do with the bill.
– That may be; but the fact remains that the whole matter of trade with New Zealand is bound up with the embargo on dominion potatoes. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Fordo) referred to the position of the mandarin-growers, and there is no doubt that they have suffered severely, a fact which must be well known to the honorable member for Parramatta (Sir Frederick Stewart). The honorable member once suggested that it would be a good thing if business methods were more generally applied to government, and I am curious to know how he would solve this problem by the application of business methods. So difficult has it been for the mandarin-growers to find a market for their product that large quantities of fruit have actually been destroyed. I support the bill, but express the hope that the industry will soon be restored to its former level, and that it will not therefore be necessary to continue for very long the payments provided for. I trust, also, that trade in citrus fruits with New Zealand will shortly be resumed.
– I support the proposal of the Government, not because I believe it is the best that could be advanced, but because I believe that the citrus fruits industry is entitled to some compensation for the inability of the Government to compose our differences with New Zealand. This has meant tremendous loss to the citrusgrowers, except those of one State which has been allowed to continue its trade with New Zealand. The honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Beasley) reminded me that I had once advocated the application of business methods to government. I can recall a certain incident, not altogether unrelated to this matter, when a deputation waited upon the Prime Minister (Mr. Lyons) and myself protesting against any concession to New Zealand in the way of allowing New Zealand potatoes’ to enter Australia, and the honorable member took an active part in that deputation.
– I merely went along to hear what they had to say.
– Whatever the cause, the fact is that we have not been able to have the market in New Zealand restored to us. As the Minister who- conducted the most recent investigations into this matter, I speak with some inner knowledge, and, in the light of that knowledge, I am convinced that there is no real reason why the difficulty cannot be composed unless it be that the Commonwealth Government is determined to give a more attentive ear to the demands of certain other sections of rural producers than to the citrus-growers. I believe that the industry would have been better served if, instead of making the money available in the form contemplated in this measure, it had been used to provide means of processing fruit, so that it might be sent to the United Kingdom in better condition. The British market absorbs annually 20,000,000 cases of oranges, of which, until very recently, Australia supplied only a few thousand cases. The loss of the market in New Zealand compelled the Australian growers to look to the United Kingdom, and when I was Minister for Commerce the first steps were taken to develop that trade. The chief difficulty arises from the length of the journey, and only as a result of recent scientific research has it been rendered possible to keep oranges in good condition throughout the six weeks’ voyage to England. More might yet be done, howover, iti the direction of providing processing sheds, and additional cool storage spare on the wharfs. I should like to know whether the Minister has received any representations from reliable sections of the industry asking for assistance in this direction.
Sitting suspended from, lg.44 to 2.15 p.m.
.- The bill in principle has the approval of the citrus industry, but I accept it merely as a stop-gap. The Commonwealth Go vernment last year guaranteed growers 13s. a case on citrus fruits of a certain standard exported to Great Britain, and as the guarantee entailed a loss amounting to more than £10,000, it is clear that the return to the growers from the sale of the fruit overseas did not amount to 13s. a case, the limit of the Government’s guarantee. The guarantee was intended only to cover the expenses of the export and not as a bounty. Accordingly, although manufacturers of the fruit cases, the pickers and the packers -and graders of the fruit, and the railway systems which transported the fruit to the seaboard, the shipping firms which carried it to the British market and the commission agents were all paid - the growers got nothing whatever.
– They will get something now.
– A bounty of 2s. a case will not cover the losses of the growers. Last year, in spite of the fact that a number of cases of fruit reached the British market in an inferior condition, the returns were higher than this year when the quality was good, and the only reason for the losses incurred was the low prices paid. This year the drop in the British prices has been greater than the margin to be provided by the Commonwealth, bounty. The bonus of 2s. is to be paid on li bushel cases or ls. 4d. on each bushel of citrus fruit. A number of growers .sent oranges to England in anticipation of the bounty this season, hut some on ‘the irrigation areas of New South Wales, who have received returns have been notified of debit balances in respect of the shipments amounting to ls. 2d. a. case. Even with the aid of the bounty, therefore, they will get the wonderful return of lOd. for a lj bushel case of selected fruit.
A critical position faces the industry. The British market cannot be looked to with optimism, as Brazil and South Africa are situated in a much better geographical position than Australia to supply citrus fruits in the British market. If Australian oranges are shipped in a certain stage of greenness to ensure their carriage in a good condition, the sugar content of the fruit does not develop sufficiently to make it acceptable to the British consumers. If, on the. other hand, tlie fruit is allowed to reach the stage of ripening .at which the sugar content will develop, it is too ripe for shipment as choice fruit, and may reach the other side of the world in an unsatisfactory condition. That defect applies more to the Eastern States than to Western Australia and South Australia, which have the advantage that the fruit takes two weeks less to reach its destination. The only profitable market of the irrigation districts of New South Wales is therefore New Zealand, which is, however, closed to it. The embargo imposed by the Government of New Zealand on the importation of citrus fruits, from Australia precipitated a crisis in the industry -in New South Wales. Certain relaxation of the embargo allowed fruit from South Australia, mainly navel oranges, entry into New Zealand; but when the season for navels ends, conditions become just as bad as they are when the full embargo operates. The Murrumbidgee irrigation area mainly produces large quantities of valencias, which, despite the fact that there is no risk of the fruit-fly, are denied entry to the- dominion. The fruit-fly danger was one of the excuses raised by New Zealand for rejecting citrus supplies from this country when the embargo was placed on its potatoes.
Various attempts have been made to reach an amicable agreement with New Zealand, but, with the exception of the relaxation of the embargo already mentioned, little has been accomplished. The stop-gap legislation which the Government has introduced for a payment of bounty to encourage the export of citrus fruits to Great Britain should not be an excuse for ceasing the negotiations, and. I should be pleased if the Commonwealth Government would approach the Government of New Zealand through the personal agency of a Commonwealth Minister. I” understand that the Minister for Trade and Customs at one stage proposed to visit New Zealand to carry on, among other things, negotiations regarding the citrus embargo. If he does not go, the Minister for Commerce, or the Assistant Minister for Commerce, should, and th<> negotiations which appear to have lapsed should be renewed with greater intensity.
– Better oranges than are available at Hotel Canberra would have to be exported to New Zealand.
– A stringent system of grading and examination exists on all citrus fruit sent from Australia. New Zealand, if it is willing to take it, can have first quality Australian citrus fruits. The people of New Zealand want it and the Australian people want to sell it. We must recognize further, however, that the producers must organize. Only 10 per cent, of the citrus fruits grown in Australia is exported, and if an excise of 3d. a case were placed on locally consumed oranges, a bounty of 2s. 6d. a bushel case would be available on all citrus fruits sent overseas. More fruit could then be exported, the glut which occurs every season in the local market would be eased, and the conditions of the industry would be correspondingly improved. Under present Conditions, however, all those associated with the export of citrus fruits to England are rewarded for their services except the grower. He receives nothing. The Government is justified in taking the action embodied in this measure, because the assistance which will be given, although small, will help to carry the growers over the period of the negotiations for the re-opening of the market in New Zealand, -which is the Australian fruit-growers’ only natural and profitable market.
– I shall support the second reading of this bill, as the assistance given under it will be of benefit to the citrus fruit industry. It has received the approval of the citrus fruit-growers. When New Zealand placed an embargo on citrus fruits in 1932, I urged the Government to do everything in its power to try to create a market for citrus fruits in Great Britain, although I realized that many countries in closer proximity to the British market than Australia were producing oranges for it. I hoped, however, that the Empire viewpoint would assist the Australian fruit-growers ; and that Great Britain would provide a profitable outlet for their product. The Government agreed to assist the growers in developing a trade with Britain and, after negotiations with the British Government, a trial shipment of oranges was sent. Unfortunately, it was not a great success, but later shipments have been better and in some instances very good prices have been realized.
Another matter which I am continually bringing before the Government is the question of the export of citrus fruit juices. I have felt for a long time that the export of citrus fruit juices would provide a further strong Australian industry. When the embargo imposed by New Zealand was enforced and thousands of cases of Australian oranges had no market, I advocated that the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, and Commonwealth departments associated with it, might be able to devise’ some means for establishing an industry by extracting citrus fruit juices. So far, however, no solution has been obtained. Similar lack of success has greeted the efforts of other countries on similar lines. I have a number of extracts from The Industrial Engineering Chemist of 1932 dealing with the question. Despite their failures, I urge the Government to encourage its scientific advisers to continue the investigations into the possibility of utilizing citrus fruits for the extraction of juices for export. I feel that a very good market awaits Australia if it can pioneer this industry.
The schedule to the bill, I am glad to notice, contains provisions which will make for the betterment of the marketing of citrus fruits. One wise provision is that misshapen or unnecessarily corrugated fruit shall not be shipped. If Australia is to improve its position in the British citrus market, it must send nothing but the best quality fruit to it. Another provision is that oranges must be graded either as special or. standard within certain definitions in the Commerce Act. Those conditions may for a while restrict exporters, but, in the long run, the growers and Australia will benefit. A third provision is that oranges shall not be treated by borax. I believe that in other countries the oranges are so treated in order to improve their appearance. But I understand also that that treatment is likely to prejudice the keeping qualities of the fruit when the distance for which it is to be carried is to be long. Certain requirements have to ‘be observed in connexion with the cases in which the oranges are packed. Many other conditions are laid down which, if observed, will be of real benefit to South Australia. I. hope that many of the difficulties in which the industry has found itself in the past will foe removed by free access being obtained to the market in New Zealand.’ I support the second reading of the bill and hope that it will have a speedy passage
.- If there is any justification for this bill and similar measures, it is that Parliament feels that it is necessary to give assistance to the industries affected. But I cannot refrain from expressing the opinion that, for ,as long as I can remember, such legislation has not been the moans of removing the ills it has been designed to cure. If the Parliament really desires to act effectively, it should start from the bottom instead of from the top. I do not believe for a moment that the ‘bounty of 2s. a case on exports will be of great value to the grower of oranges, ‘although it may assist him a little. I question whether the grower will receive the bounty. The hill does not stipulate that it must ! be paid to him. It will be paid to the exporter or his agent.
– It is to he paid to the growers.
– I should like to be shown where the hill makes that provision. Parliament has passed many measures of this nature, and invariably 95 per cent, of the disbursement has gone into the pockets of other than the producers. The person who parasitically lives on the grower will receive by far the largest proportion of the bounty. It appears to me that the machinery of this ‘bill is intended to deal more with the imposition of penalties upon those who, with a view to deriving immediate profit, have largely destroyed markets not only in Great Britain ‘but also in other countries .by trying to put something over the purchaser with an inferior product. Neither in this nor in any previous similar legislation has a means been devised to protect the home consumer. The honorable member for Riverina (Mr. Nock) referred to the glut in the Australian market, which this measure is designed to relieve by the encouragement of exports. I submit that there never would have been a glut had the community possessed effective purchasing power. Every person with a family knows that orange juice is essential to the welfare of infants; yet, tens of thousands of Australian mothers cannot supply it to their offspring. Another reason for the occurrence of gluts, is that the whole of the crop has to be marketed within a few months. A parasitical attachment to the industry, to which honorable members opposite never refer, is the person who controls cold storage. The grower has to sell his fruit immediately it is picked. The laws of New South Wales provide that every orange and mandarin must be picked by the 30th September in each year.
– There are co-operative cool stores at Griffith and Leeton.
– If a grower wishes to purchase one of his own oranges that has been in cold storage, he has to pay five or six times as much as he received for it. This is a matter to which the Government should direct its attention. A government or a parliament which desired to establish a proper internal economy would first see that adequate provision existed for its citizens to enjoy to the full the results of local production, before it allowed exports to be made. Instead of doing that, we allow the best to be exported for the benefit of others, while our own people must be content with any sort of rubbish. I commend the remarks of the honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Beasley). If the orange grower, the meat producer, or anybody else, has to be assisted because of the depredations of private enterprise and of those whose only consideration is that of profit-making, why should not everybody be assisted ? I am reminded of the story of the dozen families which lived in a street, not one of them knowing how the others obtained their livelihood, as they apparently never did any work, until a “ wag “ woke up to the f act that they existed by taking in one another’s washing. That is the stage which is being reached in Australia. If the present tendency continues, everybody will be approaching the Treasury for a bounty, and thus our internal economy will be seriously disrupted instead of promoted. The time is rotten ripe for a complete overhaul of this kind of legislation, and for a serious stocktaking to ascertain just’ where the nation is heading in merely tinkering with problems which have become so grave as to cause the social structure to be in danger of collapsing. I have attended meetings at which producers have made it evident that they are quite alive to the fact that a periodical “hand-out” of this character is as valueless to them as the dole is to the workman who has to rely upon it instead of having honest employment, which will enable him to maintain his family in reasonably comfortable circumstances. I seriously urge the Government to realize the need for a complete overhaul of the economic arrangements in primary and secondary industries. The brains of the nation should be directed towards the devising of means whereby such matters will be placed on a better footing. I want the Minister, in his reply to the debate, to show me where the bill guarantees payment of the bounty to the growers.
– Probably no section of the primary producers has been so affected by adverse conditions as have the citrus growers. This unfortunate condition has been brought about by the action of various governments in Australia, and is not due to conditions operating overseas. Some years ago millions of pounds were borrowed for the purpose of opening up the Murrumbidgee irrigation and other areas, and many ex-soldiers were encouraged to enter into a great extension of the orange-growing industry. In the course of a few years their crops caused a glut in the Australian market, because there was no corresponding increase of the export trade. In my own district, which is the largest citrus area in Queensland, the growers have been particularly injuriously affected by over production and also by inferior southern fruit being sent north owing to the crops grown on the irrigation areas of New South Wales. I am pleased to support the bounty, and I hope that it will be the forerunner of further assistance to the growers. If we exploit the possibilities of the export trade, the industry should soon be placed on a sound footing. Naturally these growers have been adversely affected by the economic depression, and the prohibition of the exportation of oranges to New Zealand.It is fortunate for the industry that South Australian oranges, which are free from the Mediterranean fruitfly, are now admitted into New Zealand. I t is hoped that at an early date the negotiations being carried on with the dominion authorities will lead to satisfactory trade arrangements. I do not know that the present attitude of the Government of New Zealand is prompted by spite on account of the embargo placed upon potatoes from New ‘Zealand, because of lire blight; but, under New Zealand’s agreement with the United States of America, it can send fruit to that country provided it is not grown in a locality in which the Mediterranean fruit-fly is known to be present, and, further, that New Zealand does not import fruit from a country infested by the fly.
Another handicap under which the industry labours is the absence of organization and control by growers on an Australian basis, and the difficulty experienced in making fruit of the first quality regularly available to the public. Much small miserable fruit should be used by factories for processing, such as the manufacture of fruit drinks. The further one goes from the capital cities, the more noticeable is the shortage of the fruit offered for sale. Oranges form a health-giving food, and the best way to encourage their consumption would be an arrangement providing for their transport over the railways at1s. a case, thus enabling country people, particularly those in the west, to obtain good oranges at reasonable cost. The present transport charges practically double the retail cost of the fruit. The value of the assistance already given to the industry is reflected in the fact that the quantity of oranges exported to the United Kingdom in 1933 was 97,000 cases, whilst in 1934 it increased to 213,000 cases. The Commonwealth guarantee against loss has made it possible for the industry to cover the export charges on its fruit. Although the growers have not made a profit on the transaction, it is satisfactory to know that the industry has been carried on, and that a great deal of labour has been employed, whilst freight has been provided for the railways in the form of fruit that would otherwise have been left to rot on the ground. If only because of the employment which the industry provides, it is deserving of further assistance.
If the growers were organized on an Australian basis, proper use could be made of small fruits for the purpose of manufacturing orange drinks. This branch of the industry is menaced to-day by the many substitutes for fresh fruit drinks, in the manufacture of which imported acids are used. Offal from factories using oranges is probably mixed with these drinks to make them resemble the genuine article. The use of the small fruit for this purpose would be particularly beneficial to the growers having old orchards in New South Wales. The industry enjoys an advantage of 3s. 6d. a case on the British market under the Ottawa agreement, and I hope that nothing will be done to interfere with that preference. I hope that the bounty will soon be increased from 2s. to 3s. a case, so that the total production of the industry may find a ready market, and that further expansion will be encouraged.
.- A fruitgrowers’ conference was held at Gosford a short while ago, and apologies for nonattendance were received from the Ministerfor Commerce (Dr. Earle Page) , the Assistant Minister (Mr. Thorby), the honorable member for Robertson (Mr. Gardner), the honorable member for Macquarie (Mr. John Lawson), and others. Apparently no parliamentarians attended the gathering, and a vote of censure was proposed, but consideration of the motion was postponed until the end of the meeting, and then the matter was overlooked.
– The honorable member must confine his remarks to the bill.
– According to the Gosford Times, the president of the Fruit-growers Federation (General James Heane) remarked -
The Federal Government agreed to guaran teethe amount of out-of-pocket expenses on all 1933 shipments of oranges overseas except to N ew Zealand. Seventy-eight thousand cases were exported, and the total cost to the
Federal Government was about £3,000. Every one connected with the export, except the grower, received full payment for services while in very few cases did the grower receive the cost of production, while quite a proportion only netted a few pence per case.
As the honorable member for Werriwa (Mr. Lazzarini) pointed out, no guarantee is given to the industry that the bounty will be paid to the growers. It is feared by the honorable member that the money will go into the pockets of those who exploit the growers, included among whom may be mentioned the shipping combine and the banking interests. The president of the Fruit-growers Federation further stated -
The governmental liability was reduced by the all-risks insurance taken out by growers. When the advantages to the Government of this class of insurance were pointed out to the then Minister for Commerce (Sir F. H. Stewart), he agreed to recommend to Cabinet that the extra premium, amounting to 5d. per case, paidonall fruit so insured, be refunded by the Government. However, this was not done, but instead the guarantee on fruit so insured was increased to 13s. 5d., which meant that fruit realizing this amount, although the grower got nothing, did not participate, and the grower had to pay the premium. This certainly appears to be a breach of faith on the part of Cabinet.
These are very strong statements by the president of the Fruit-growers Federation. [Quorum formed.] General Heane continued -
I trust that the meeting will be successful, and will result in the attention of the Government being directed to this matter emphatically to ensure that something is done. The federationhas worked very hard on both questions, and has never hesitated to take the initiative in formulating ideas and carrying out negotiations.
In a letter from Mr. P. S. McDermott-
– Order ! The honorable member will resume his seat. I direct his attention to the Standing Orders, which provides that an honorable member may not read his speech. It is frequently difficult to enforce that standing order, because sometimes it is not clear whether a member is reading his speech or simply refreshing his memory from notes. It is, however, a definite violation of the Standing Orders to read a lengthy speech delivered by a person outside this Parliament.
– May I not quote, sir, what the growers and their representatives have to say?
– I think the honorable member understands the ruling I have given.
– On numerous occasions in this House I have heard approval given for the incorporation in Hansard of long quotations, which have not even been read.
– Order ! That can be done only with the full concurrence of the House.
– Would I be in order, Mr. Speaker, in asking you if the letter from. Mr. McDermott, which contains interesting figures in relation to shipments of oranges, may be incorporated in Hansard?
– Order ! The Chair cannot give permission for that to be done.
– One of the growers present at the meeting of the Fruitgrowers Federation reported that be had exported 810 cases in 1934 and had received £47 2s. 6d., or1s. 2d. a bushel case. The estimated cost of production was 4s. a bushel case. He had, therefore, actually lost£114 1.7s.6d. Other growers reported similar losses.
– The honorable member must connect his remarks to the bill before the House.
– Honorable members on this side are afraid that the growers will not get the money which they paid for all risks insurance.
.- Fruitgrowers in all parts of New South Wales have protested to the Government against the withholding from them of £20,000, paid out by insurance companies in respect of losses incurred on fruit insured at the cost of the fruit-growers themselves. Although the growers paid the’ insurance premiums all that the Commonwealth Government offered them was the 13 s. 5d. a case guarantee. Although the growers show no lack of confidence in the Assistant Minister (Mr. Thorby) they have no confidence in the Government because of its failure to keep the promises made to them. No effort was made in England to secure better arrangements for the marketing of Australian citrus fruits. Contrast the failure of the Australian delegation of thirteen with the success of one South African Minister who was sent to England, and was able to secure a favorable agreement with Great Britain coveringcitrus fruits. All that the Commonwealth Government can do to assist the citrus-growers of this country is to provide a paltry bounty of 2s. a case. The whole position of the citrus fruit growing industry should be reviewed ; the Government should bring forward some stabilization scheme. So far none has been forthcoming. The Government has been dilly-dallying with the Government of New Zealand over this matter for months. It was said by the Minister for Commerce (Dr. Earle Page) in this House when two Ministers of the Dominion Government were visiting here that some good results would be achieved as the result of the negotiations then proceeding, but nothing has been done and the citrus-growers are still in a bad way. Micawber-like, the Government is waiting for something to turn up. Everybody will agree that the citrus-growers of this country are in a precarious position. As said by the honorable member for Riverina (Mr. Nock) the boxmaker has his money, the railways and shipping companies have their money, the exporting agents have their money; in fact, all the people who farm the farmer get their cut, but the grower himself is in debt all the time. The home market should be encouraged. Surely the Government could do something to boost up the advantages of citrus fruits to the people of this country. I agree with the honorable member for Werriwa (Mr. Lazzarini) that the people want the fruit, but are unable to buy it because of the high prices charged. It is put into cold storage and, when released, is sold at a price four times greater than when it was originally stored. A super-abundance of firstclass fruit is tied up and the people cannot get it. The Government should be prepared to render assistance to this industry on a much more liberal scale, and consideration should be given to the return of the £20,000 taken from the growers by the Government.
– That is not dealt with in this bill.
– In effect, with one hand the Government is taking £1 out of the pocket of the fruit-grower, and with the other it is putting back a florin piece. The honorable member for Reid endeavoured to show that in the speech delivered by the president of the Fruit-growers Federation of Australia, complaint was made of the failure of the Government to honour its promise to the growers in this respect. The promise made on behalf of the Cabinet by the honorable member for Parramatta (Sir Frederick Stewart) when he was Minister for Commerce, should be honoured ;but notwithstanding that a surplus of more than £2,000,000 is shown on the operation of the first four months of the financial year, the Government has intimated that assistance to the extent of only half that which was promised can be given to the citrus-growers. This is most unsatisfactory. I shall not oppose the bill; but I reiterate the opinion that more liberal assistance is required by those engaged in this industry.
, and the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Francis) that more money should be made available to assist the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research to extend the scope of its investigations into the problems of the citrus fruits industry will be carefully considered by the Government, and so also will the request of the honorable member for Parramatta (Sir Frederick Stewart) that funds should be made available to assist citrus-growers to process some of their fruit. in reply to the remarks of the honorable member for Werriwa (Mr. Lazzarini) regarding the distribution of the bounty, I make it clear that only three classes of persons can export their citrus fruit - the growers, the authorized agent of the growers, or a person who purchases the fruit from the grower’s and subsequently exports it as his own property. Every precaution will be taken to ensure that the bounty is paid to the exporter. The grower will get it if he exports direct. If he exports through an authorized agent, the bounty will be paid to the agent only on the order of the grower. The great bulk of the citrus fruits sent overseas is exported direct by the grower.
In view of the statements that have been made respecting our trade with New Zealand, I point out that in 1933 South Australian exports of citrus fruit %o New Zealand totalled 16,200 cases, and in 1934 its exports totalled 37,790, or considerably more than double the amount exported in the preceding year. The sale of this fruit to New Zealand undoubtedly relieved the position on the local market for other citrus-growers. The Government is doing everything possible to assist our citrus-growers to maintain and improve their position in the United Kingdom, to overcome the difficulties in relation to New Zealand, and to open up new markets in other countries of the world. I appeal to honorable members to facilitate the passage of the bill so that it may become law without delay.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
In committee: [Quorum formed.]
Clauses 1 to 5 agreed to.
Clause 6 -
Bounty shall be payable at the rate of two shillings per export case of oranges.
.- As I am of the opinion that the proposed rate of bounty is not sufficient, I move -
That the word “ two “ be omitted with n view to insert in lieu thereof the word “ three *’.
– 1 cannot accept the amendment, as its adoption would lead to an increase of the appropriation.
– I submit that, as this is not an ordinary appropriation bill, my amendment should be accepted. I feel disposed to move an amendment to the effect that all the words after “ of “, first occurring, be struck out, as an indication te the Government that the committee desires the bill to be withdrawn, with the object of making more adequate provision for the assistance of the exporters of citrus fruit. The circumstances of many people in this industry are deplorable. Instances have been brought under my notice of growers receiving debit notes in respect of large consignments of fruit that have been sold on the local market. In view of this state of affairs the proposed bounty of 2s. a case of oranges exported is not adequate. The unfavorable conditions that have been experienced in this industry in recent times have forced many settlers to abandon their orchards, and accept relief work.
– I must ask the honorable member to confine his remarks to the clause before the committee.
– I again emphasize that a bounty of 2s. a case, as proposed in the bill, is not adequate.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 7 - (1.) The bounty shall, subject to this section, be payable to the exporter of the oranges. (2.) Where a person exports oranges through an agent, the bounty may be paid to that agent, who shall be liable to account therefor to the exporter.
.- In my second-reading speech I expressed the opinion that this clause was not sufficiently definite. I question whether it is drafted so as to ensure that the bounty will actually be paid to the growers of the oranges exported. Subclause 1 of the clause provides that the bounty shall “ be payable to the exporter of the oranges “, and sub-clause 2 reads -
Where a person exports oranges through an agent, the bounty may be paid to that agent, who shall be liable to account therefor to thu exporter.
It may easily happen, however, that the bounty is paid to a person who is not the grower of the oranges. The intentions of a measure of this kind are often disregarded, because the language in which they are expressed is not sufficiently definite. The very fact that penalties are provided indicates that a good deal of dishonesty is likely to be practised. We know that, as the result of all sorts of manuvring, a considerable proportion of bounties of every kind that should be paid direct to primary producers finds its way into the pockets of persons not entitled to receive it. The clause, as drawn, does not state definitely that the bounty must be paid to the growers. I ask the Assistant Minister (Mr. Thorby) to indicate how it is intended to discriminate between growers who are exporters and exporters who are not growers?
.- I explained in my speech, in reply, that oranges were generally exported direct by the growers, but that it would be open for growers to authorize agents to export on their behalf, in which case the bounty would be paid to the agent only on the authority of the grower. Persons who buy oranges outright, and subsequently export them, have to ‘take all the risks, and buyers would sell in the knowledge that a bounty of 2s. a case is payable in respect of all the fruit exported which is of the quality specified in the schedule. In my opinion, the procedure laid down in the bill for the payment of the bounty is the only logical, honest and feasible one. that could be drafted to meet the circumstances of the case.
.- The statement of the Assistant Minister (Mr. Thorby) bears out what I have said, namely, that those growers who do not themselves export but sell their fruit outright in Australia will not get the bounty. It may he that, because the bounty is payable, they will receive a little more than would otherwise be the case, but it remains true that, in the majority of cases, the bounty payable under this scheme will be a bounty, not to the growers, but to the exporters.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 8 to 12 agreed to.
– I move -
That the following new clause bc inserted:- “ 8a. . A payment of bounty shall not be made under this act unless the claimant for that bounty is paying his employees a minimum wage equal to the basic wage rate in the State.” 1 can soo no reason why the Minister should not accept this amendment. He denied recently that he had ever made a statement to the effect that he favoured the breaking down of award wages and conditions. That being so, he can have, no objection to the addition of this clause, which would merely ensure that those who do the hard work in connexion with the industry shall have their interests protected. It is’ evident that, in many industries, there is to-day a tendency to avoid the payment of award rates of wages, and the Government of New South Wales has actually suspended the application of rural awards. The Commonwealth Government, when paying a bounty to the citrus-fruit growers, should ensure that they do not keep the whole of it to themselves while sweating their employees.
– I cannot accept the amendment.
.- Every bounty act passed by Parliament, with the exception of the last one or two for which this Government was responsible, has contained a provision similar to that embodied in the amendment now before the Chair. The provision is to be found in the Sugar Act, thu Cotton Bounty Act, and the Iron and Steel Bounty Act. If the Government is not prepared to accept the amendment, it will place itself in the position of using public funds to subsidize an industry that may he carried on by sweated labour.
– I support the amendment. The Government has itself laid down the principle, that it will not support industries which are not economically worth supporting. When tariff protection for such industries is sought, the Government say that the country should not be saddled with them because they are not economically sound. I maintain that no industry which cannot pay the basic wage should be subsidized out of public revenue. I cannot understand why the Minister will not accept the amendment. Probably, before it could have any application to the industry, it would be necessary for those employed by the citrus-fruit growers to organize themselves and obtain an award. That is not the responsibility of the Government, but this Parliament should at least lay down the principle that the bounty should he payable only to those who observe awards where they exist. If the Government takes up the position that it will refuse to incorporate in the act a provision designed to safeguard the workers’ from being sweated, it is well that we should know it. Opposition by the Government to the amendment can only mean that the Government is not in favour of safeguarding the interests of the workers, at least to the extent of ensuring that they shall receive the minimum wage provided by law.
Mr. THORBY (Calare- Assistant Minister for Commerce) [3.40J. - I cannot accept the amendment. It is not part of my duty to lay down, on behalf of the Commonwealth Government, the conditions of employment which must be observed in the citrus-fruit growing industry. There are other authorities whose duty it is to prescribe conditions in regard to wages, child endowment, &c. Honorable members opposite are agreed that those engaged in the export of oranges ave genuinely in need of the assistance provided for in this bill. Now they suggest that, while this assistance is being given, the Commonwealth should endeavour to impose . conditions which are really not its concern.
.- The Assistant Minister (Mr. Thorby) will agree, I think, that even the poorest citrus-fruit growers are not any worse off than ave some of the lower paid workers in this industry as in others. I had the experience some years ago of working for a citrus-fruit grower, and T know that many of these growers make a practice of paying as low wages as they can. The unscrupulous grower will work his employees all sorts of hours for the lowest possible wage, and then expect the Government to pay him a bounty derived from taxation which must inevitably fall with greatest severity upon the workers themselves. No doubt there aTe many citrus-fruit growers who deserve assistance, but others are not engaged exclusively on the growing of citrus fruits, and some of these are quite well off. They do not need or deserve help. If it were possible to devise a plan whereby only those in need of assistance should receive it, the Labour party would give such a plan its support, but we are not justified in supporting a proposal for assisting an industry which refuses to pay decent wages to its employees. The existing basic wage is surely low enough, and the Commonwealth Government would not be asking too much if it were to insist that the payment of that wage should he a necessary condition for receiving the bounty. I would rather see an industry go out of existence altogether than that it should work its employees under conditions such as operate in many industries at the present time. The record of the Assistant Minister in the State Parliament shows that he believes that the workers should be hounded down and oppressed.
– Order ! The honorable member must address, himself to the bill.
– The honorable member for Hunter (Mr. James) has been very moderate in his request. It would appear from their statements that honorable members find it impossible to make their finances last, despite the fact that they are on a much higher salary scale than the men employed on the citrus orchards. From time to time as the Government’s revenues improve, honorable members ‘ increase their salaries. The amendment moved by the honorable member for Hunter does not seek £875 a year for those workers; all that is sought is the payment of the basic wage.
.- The amendment is an attempt to hinder, by the introduction of conditions best left to the Arbitration Court, a measure which is designed entirely for the promotion of citrus exports and for the improvement of the conditions of the growers. The principle contained in the amendment, if carried into effect, would destroy the citrus fruits industry. I fail to understand how an honorable member representing a citrus fruit-growing district, as the honorable member for Hunter (Mr. James) claims he does, is able to submit an amendment asking for something which he knows should be decided by the Arbitration Court.
– The court already has fixed the minimum wage.
– The amendment is an attempt to frustrate the Government’s proposals. The citrus fruit-growers are entitled to the bounty of 2s. a case, and it should be granted without the addition of the hampering conditions provided for in the amendment. Some honorable members take every possible opportunity to advance the argument that the workers should be placed in a privileged position when a bounty is granted to an industry. The amendment moved to-day is a repetition of the effort made last night to destroy the good effects of the Meat Export Control Bill. I fail to understand why the Labour party is always in opposition to the interests of the primary producer whenever a bill is introduced for the advancement of primary industry.
For a long time the citrus fruit-growers have been subjected to marketing difficulties. The embargo imposed by New Zealand, and the fact that the Commonwealth’s efforts to have it lifted resulted only in a partial lifting as far as South Australia is concerned, indicate the extent of those difficulties. Last year, the Commonwealth Government came to the aid of the citrus-growers, and the growers throughout Australia appreciate what was done for them in helping them to market their products at a profit. One honorable member suggested that- the citrusgrowers would not receive the 2s. bounty.
– Order ! That question is not involved in the amendment.
– I have not yet finished my sentence. The honorable member suggested that the 2s. a case would be taken away from the grower by certain agents. If the Opposition fears that, how much more difficult will it be for the citrus-growers if in the exporting of their fruit they are subjected to the conditions set out in the amendment. I am justified in saying that the amendment is a deliberate attempt to destroy the efforts of the citrus-growers to market their products. The issues raised in the amendment are mere camouflage. The repeated efforts by the Opposition to interfere with legislation intended to assist primary production to the detriment of industry do not reflect a true Australian spirit. By pursuing its present course, the Opposition is not acting in the best interests of Australia.
– The honorable member does not believe in decent wages.
– At all times I have stood for the best wages for the workers, but I should not pay the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) 5s. a day. Every labourer is worthy of his hire, hut some honorable members neither toil nor spin, and get a fat salary for interrupting the country’s business. When the honorable member for East Sydney accuses me of not being in favour of fair wages, I regard it as one of the most libellous insults that has ever been hurled across this chamber, but I do not ask for its withdrawal, because throughout the country honorable members of the Opposition have the reputation of misrepresenting honest and decent men in this Parliament. A visitor to the Sydney Domain on any Sunday may hear them misrepresenting the supporters of the Government in their desire to obtain fair conditions for the citrus-fruit growers.
Motion (by Mr. Barnard) negatived -
That tlie question be now put.
– il want to defend myself against attacks that I am not in favour of a decent wage standard. I assure honorable members that all my life T have been in favour of preference to unionists and of the be3t conditions possible in industry, but I never flaunt my opinions.
– The honorable member’s present remarks are hardly in keeping with the terms of the amendment.
– The amendment, as I understand it, is that the bounty may only be paid on the condition that the basic wage is paid to men in the industry. It is ridiculous; we have no evidence that the basic wage is not paid in the industry.
– Then what risk attaches to the insertion of the proposed amendment?
– Only the risk that the parties opposite are desirous of getting by an empty gesture some political kudos to which they are not entitled. It is one of the tricks used by certain honorable members. I should like to know the motive behind the Opposition’s constant efforts to insert extraneous clauses in bills designed to promote the interests of primary industries. The matter raised in the amendment is one for industrial tribunals. Interjections made by members of the Labour party clearly indicate that the amendment is not a genuine attempt to help the citrus fruit industry, but is designed to delay the passage of the bill. But for these obstructionist tactics, the Widows War Service Homes Bill would have been carried by now. The attitude adopted by the Opposition means that measures designed to alleviate the sufferings of the people-
– Order !
– I am opposing the amendment so that the citrus-growers will not he prevented from marketing their fruit by attaching conditions to the granting of the bounty. The history of the last two or three years has shown the success of the bounty system in the citrus industry.
– I think that the honorable member has been ordered to talk out time.
– I am never ordered by anybody. My responsibilities in thi3 Parliament are for those whom I represent. “When I see an industry being penalized by an amendment of this kind, I have a right to oppose it.
– Then why waste time?
– Because I prefer to make some reply to a lot of industrial clap-trap so often heard on the Sydney Domain?
– Order ! The honora’ble member’s time has expired.
.- If the citrus f fruit-growers are entitled to the cost of production in order to make a decent living, the employees in the industry should be paid the basic wage. The Labour party does not object to the payment of the bounty, and it supports the bill, but it does not agree with the “ low wage party “ represented by the honorable member for Barton (Mr. Lane), who has described this amendment as a lot of industrial clap-trap. Far from being that, ii. is ali appeal on behalf of a large section employed in the citrus fruit industry. To nsk for the basic wage of £3 4s. a week, on which a man is expected to maintain his wife and three children in New South Wales, is not out of place. The amendment is quite justifiable, because the hill authorizes the payment to the citrus fruit-grower of a bounty of 2s. a bushel on h:3 oranges. Parliament sets a minimum price, on which the grower can base his price, on the export of his product. In those circumstances, surely no grower would take exception to paying’ the basic wage. Most of the fruit picking is probably done by contract, but, where labour is engaged by the week, it is not asking too much to expect the industry to pay a living wage to employees. Because we advocate that, we have been accused by the honorable member for Barton of speaking industrial clap-trap, and he was allowed to get away with it. Presumably, he is entitled to refer to honora’ble members as tricksters without toeing called to order.
– Order! The honorable member is incorrect in his statement. It was not put in that way; otherwise the Chair would have required the honorable member for Barton to withdraw the remark.
– Evidently the Chairman did not hear the honorable member for Barton, for I am sure that other honora’ble members noted the reference of trickery of members who support the amendment, and go to the Domain on a Sunday, trying their industrial clap-trap on the people. The honorable member is an old offender in this regard. Just as much sincerity is to -be found on this side of the House as on. the other. The Labour party desires that, whenever an industry receives assistance, all sections engaged in. it should share in the bounty. If the industry happens to be in poor circumstances and is unable to pay a proper wage to the worker, the bounty should be spread over all those engaged in it and not confined to a small section. I hope that honorable members will have consideration (rr the worker and his family. During the last six years, he has felt, more than any other section, the full blast of the economic depression. The honorable member for Barton and others like him desire to keep the worker on the dole or on the dole wage. This Parliament should take steps to protect the interests of those not employed under any awa.rd, and more especially in subsidized industry. No industry is likely to prosper when 84 per cent, of our people are receiving low incomes, because it is the 84 per cent, which supplies the biggest market for primary products. When the majority are paid an adequate wage, industry is prosperous. When the depression threw 400,000 persons out of work in Australia, the loss of their purchasingpower accentuated the severity of the slump. As soon as we can get thosepeople back to decent living standards, thestandards of all other sections will also improve. An interjection has been made that the Minister suspended the Rural Workers Award in New South Wales. I recall that awards were suspended in every State.
– The honorable member must not digress.
– Every rural award in the States was suspended. We now ask that a section of the people engaged in a rural industry should receive some protection, in view of the fact that, the industry in which they are employed is to get a bounty. I object again to the abuse that emanates from the other side of the House regarding the Labour party’s motives in moving amendments to assist the welfare of the workers.
– I do not think members on this side of the House object to the principle behind the suggested amendment. A similar principle is incorporated in the Wine Export Bounty Bill. It was inaugurated by the Bruce-Page Government, and re-enacted by the Scullin Government, and it has remained for the whole of the time a perfect dead letter.
Some impatience has arisen over (he manner in which a section of members is delaying the passage of the bill over what is an “ eyewashing “ amendment. The honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) declaimed that the bounty would be payable to the exporter who might be a dealer, other than the grower who sells. Actually, there is no serious abuse in the payment of wages in the districts where citrus fruits are grown for export, but should there be any, this additional regulation can only increase the inducement to abuse. Many growers sei! to a dealer. In the stores -and at the wharf and various other places where the fruit is handled, the dealer is undoubtedly obliged to pay award rates. As a matter of fact, the exporter receives the bulk of his fruit from the irrigation areas. Any one who is acquainted with those areas at picking time must realize that the Australian Workers Union is better organized in them than in most parts of Australia. I can say from personal knowledge that most of the growers who have large citrus orchards and big packing plants have been cited before the Arbitration Court, and are necessarily complying with the awards of that tribunal. I know that growers who have not done a fair thing by their employees have been fined for non-compliance with awards. The inclusion of the amendment in the bill could not in any way expand the safeguards provided by the industrial laws of the States and the Commonwealth Arbitration Court. It is purely eye-wash, and i3 brought forward at a time when the only effect of the debate upon it can be to delay the passage of this measure, which is so urgently needed by the citrus industry and which, in all its essentials, has the support of every section of the Parliament. I therefore uphold the ‘Minister in his refusal to accept it at this last moment. A similar provision in other bounty acts has proved quite ineffective, and we can only conclude that the intention underlying its submission is to serve propaganda publicity purposes. [Quorum, formed.’] It is futile to think that the insertion of such a tinkering amendment, which, so far as I can see, is not even drafted as effectively as a similar provision in the Wine Export Bounty Act, would do anything to improve the conditions of the workers. What really is necessary to achieve that object, is to make the industry more prosperous, and that can best be done by establishing it on a firm basis. The bill is designed to improve the position of the industry generally, and this Parliament can best achieve that desirable object by facilitating its speedy passage. We know that within recent years the primary producers have had an extraordinarily bad time. It is unfortunately true that in a great many cases they have not had sufficient to pay to their employees wages of the standard which we all desire that the workers should enjoy. The most effective means by which that standard may he restored is by placing the producers in a satisfactory financial position. In the main, they treat their employees fairly, and even generously. I urge the committee to assist the Minister to finalize the measure.
Mr. MoEWEN (Echuca) [4.16].- The sentiment behind the amendment has my approval. This is not the first time that
I have said that I should like the primary industries to be in aposition, financially or economically, that would permit them to pay the basic wage, in common with our secondary industries. In a manner, Parliament is able to legislate to compel secondary industries to pay the wages awarded by the Arbitration Court. The danger that exists with respect to this amendment, however, is that its translation into law would only have the effect, in the existing financial circumstances of the citrus-growers, of further removing those growers from the possibility of paying the basic wage. The principle embodied in the amendment that, in consideration of Government assistance being given, it shall be obligatory upon this industry to pay the basic wage, has been adopted with respect to all secondary industries in Australia. I point out, however, that machinery exists which enables those secondary industries to transfer to the community as a whole the added cost thus involved. The employers are able, if need be, to place before the Tariff Board particulars of those added costs, and to request further protection on that account. If the assistance which it is proposed to give to the citrus industry could be varied in accordance with the needs of the industry, the acceptance of the amendment would be economically practicable. But that is not the case; the assistance is fixed in its nature. It would be absolutely useless to give to an industry of this description a limited amount of assistance with one hand, and take it away with the other, as the amendment would do. I believe that if equity were to be done to all industries and all workers in Australia, we should either have to do away with every form of artificial protection and regulation of wages, - which is unthinkable - or, alternatively, establish machinery giving necessary protection to all industries, both primary exporting as well as locally manufacturing industries. [Quorum formed.] If it were practicable to apply to our primary exporting industries varying degrees of Government assistance, as is done in the case of our secondary industries, thus enabling the employees of primary industries to enjoy the same degree of protection in respect of wages that employees of secondary industries enjoy, the amendment would be a laudable one. I have on many occasions publicly declared my intention to keep this objective in view, although I doubt that the community could bear the burden that would be imposed upon it. At the moment, I do not regard this objective as economically practicable, although I repeat that it is a desirable one. The amendment should not be accepted, because the assistance which it is proposed to give to the industry is limited and of a fixed nature.
Motion (by Mr. Archdale Parkhill) put -
That the question be now put.
The committee divided. (Ch airman - Mr. Prowse.)
N oes . . . . . . 17
.- It has been said by many critics on the ministerial side, and particularly by members of the Country party, that unprofitable industries should pass out of existence. It is only fair that the workers in the citrus fruit industry should receive the basic wage, and there is no justification for the argument used by the Minister that the amendment would amount to giving the bounty with one hand and taking it away with the other. Does the Minister believe in sweating the workers? The object of the amendment is merely to safeguard their interests. It is admitted, as pointed out by the honorable member for Wakefield (Mr. Hawker), that similar provision to that proposed in the amendment is made in the Wine Bounty Act, which was introduced by the Bruce-Page Government and re-enacted at the instance of the Scullin Administration. Certain members of this Parliament, who receive about £800 a year for their services, are wheatfarmers, and collect bounty on wheat. Some of them are probably interested in the citrus fruit industry, and expect to get a further bounty. I hope that the Minister will reconsider this matter and accept the proposed new clause.
Proposed new clause negatived.
Schedule and title agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment; report, adopted.
Mr. THORBY (Calare- Assistant
Minister) [4.42]. - I ask leave to move -
That the bill be now read a third time.
Mr.curtin. - I object.
Leave not granted.
Bill returned from the Senate with amendments.
Performing Right Association - Natur aliza tion .
Motion (by Mr. Archdale Parkhill) proposed -
That the House do now adjourn.
– A number of persons in my electorate are affected by claims made by the Performing Right Association for the payment of fees in respect of music performed at various functions in the district. They do not object to the composers of music forming an organization for their mutual protection, but the fees claimed by the Performing Right Association impose a hardship on those patriotic bodies, particularly in country centres, which have built halls for community purposes, and from time to time hold functions in order to raise money either to meet repayments on the buildings, or to assist worthy local charities. It is difficult to say whether in all cases the association is the owner of the copyright of the music used. I have made representations to the Attorney-General (Mr. Menzies) who has given them consideration, and I now bring this matter forward in the House, in the hope that the Government will give some reasonable measure of protection to these community organizations which render valuable service, not for profit, but in the interests of the community.
.- Mrs. Tonazzi, an Australian woman, who is married to an Italian, made application to the authorities on the 17th July, 1933, for the naturalization of herself and her children. Before her request had been dealt with by the department, her eldest son attained the age of 21 years, and now the department is asking him to pay a naturalization fee of £5. It is not right that this young man, who is unemployed, should be penalized because the department took from July, 1933, to December, 1934, to deal with the application for naturalization. I hope that the Minister will look into this matter.
– I shall bring under the notice of the Attorney-General (Mr. Menzies) the further matters raised by the honorable member for Bass (Mr. Barnard), in regard to the Australasian Performing Right Association.
I understand the honorable member for Cook (Mr. Garden) is in communication with the Minister for the Interior (Mr. Paterson) in regard to the matter which he has raised. I shall bring under the notice of that Minister the remarks which the honorable member has just made.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at 4.51 p.m.
The following answers to questions were circulated: -
y asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice -
In view of the fact that notification was published in the Gazette yesterday that the order attaching H.M.S. Sussex to the Australian squadron has been revoked, canhe say whether H.M.A.S. Australia automatically ceases to he a unit of the British Fleet, and whether the Australia will return forthwith to Australian waters under the control of the Commonwealth Department of Defence?
– The order in council attaching H.M.A.S. Australia to the Royal Navy has not been revoked, and no date can be fixed yet for her return to Australia.
n asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
e asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
Is he yet in a position to reply to a question asked by the honorable member for Booth by on the 7th instant, regarding the establishment of an alkali industry at Port Adelaide, South Australia ?
– A reply is being supplied to the honorable member to-day.
On the 7th November, the honorable member for Boothby (Mr. Price) asked the following questions, upon notice : -
I am now in a position to furnish the following replies : -
Branch, which was appointed in 1932 to investigate Mr. McPhail’s proposal, reported, inter alia-, that “under present Australian conditions the establishment of the alkali industry cannot be regarded as economically sound.”
Clinicfor Sister Kenny.
r. - On the 14th November, the honorable member for Darling (Mr. Clark), asked the Minister representing the Minister for Health, without notice -
Whether he could give any information regarding the proposal to establish a clinic for Sister Kenny at the Royal North Shore Hospital? Is the clinic likely to be established at an early date?
I am now in a position to furnish the following answer: -
The staff is still at Brisbane being trained, but the hospital authorities are hoping to open the clinic in the middle of December.
Manchukuo and China.
s. - On the 22nd October the honorable member for Wakefield (Mr. Hawker) asked the following question, without notice: -
Has the attention of the Minister for External Affairs been drawn to the press reports of tension said to exist between Manchukuo and the adjoining provinces of China, leading toa complaint of the harbouring of seditious organizations? Has the Government any official information as to whether the dispute is likely to be brought under the notice of the League of Nations?
I am now in a position to advise the honorable member that the Commonwealth Government has information that there have been several incidents in recent months in North China, and provinces adjacent to Manchukuo, which have causedtension between the Chinese and Japanese authorities. These differences arc, however, so far as is known being settled by friendly negotiation, and there is no indication that any question arising out of them is to he brought under the notice of the League of Nations.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 15 November 1935, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1935/19351115_reps_14_148/>.